Matt Diaz, in what some fans are calling the best play the Atlanta Braves made all night in a 3-1 road loss to the Phillies on Monday, tripped up a fan who had breached security and was eluding his pursuers in the outfield. As Philadelphia Daily News reporter Ed Barkowitz wrote: It was the bottom of the seventh inning and a fan dressed all in red jumped onto the Citizens Bank Park field right near left field where Diaz patrolled. Diaz, a bull of a guy at 6-1, 215 pounds, once saw such stupidity result in a serious injury and wasn't going to let that happen again. After a brief chase by security guards, Diaz assisted by tripping the fan."
"I thought he was coming at me, so I was ready," Diaz said. "Then I saw their security guy [fall] and it reminded me when Josh went down and got knocked out. I thought 'This is dangerous.' "
Diaz was referring to a 2007 incident in which Turner Field security guard Josh Garner was injured in a similar incident. Garner lay on the ground for more than 10 minutes before eventually walking off to get treatment for a head injury.
"When [the fan] came back - I didn't want to get hurt and I didn't want to hurt him - I just stuck out my foot," Diaz said. "He got back up, but their security guy crushed him. I was glad no one got hurt."
The incident also evoked memories of earlier this season, when 17-year-old Steven Consalvi's wild run across the outfield at Citizens Bank Park on May 3 was cut short by a stun gun. The boy fell face-first to the turf and lay motionless for 30 seconds, his muscle function completely incapacitated.
The identity of Monday night's man in the red bodysuit has not been released.