CHICAGO -- Last seen, the fan who tried to catch the ball was wearing a jacket on his head and being led into the underbelly of Wrigley Field for his own protection.
He may forever be referred to as "that fan" or any number of other names after he reached for a pop foul that Chicago Cubs left fielder Moises Alou was about to catch for the second out in the eighth inning of Game 6 of the National League Championship Series, with the Cubs leading 3-0 and five outs away from the World Series.
But the ball struck the fan's hand and bounced free, opening the door to an eight-run Florida Marlins rally and an eventual Cubs loss that forced the series to a deciding seventh game.
Within moments, the fans down the left-field line began booing and chanting, "Get him out." The object of their scorn still sat in his front-row seat, wearing headphones and a Cubs cap, as the Marlins began to pile up runs.
"It cost us the game, pal," shouted one fan. Another fan tossed a beer cup toward the man's seat, but it fell short.
Three security guards ejected one fan after throwing beer. "I hope you're happy," the man screamed. "You cost us [an expletive] World Series."
Another fan yelled, "You could tell we're better than Boston or he'd be dead already."
Within a few minutes, Cubs security closed access to the lower levels of the stands and kept reporters out of the area. Moments later, another fan who said his name was Jim Cuthbert was escorted shouting from the area. Cuthbert said ushers took him out of the park because he had gone to confront the fan who had touched the ball and refused to return to his seat.
"I said, `What the hell is wrong with you?' " said Cuthbert, who added he caught the man's eye and challenged him to come outside. Cuthbert said the man wouldn't answer.
Cuthbert said he wanted to know why he had been kicked out while the fan who touched the ball was allowed to remain.
"The [usher] said, `Sir, take your seat,' and I said, `I ain't taking my seat. Why is he still sitting there?' So then they said, `Get out of here.' "
Pat Looney, 34, was seated nearby and was in a more forgiving mood.
"Hey, it looked like it was out of play," Looney said in an interview after the game. "I don't blame the guy. He was looking up at the ball, not down on the field."
Looney said nobody in that part of the stands saw Alou coming, especially the fan in Seat 11, Row 9.
"If I had seen Alou coming, I would have pushed [the other fan] out of the way," Looney said.
Looney, who said he was a Chicago firefighter, said he already received numerous calls on his cell phone from friends and co-workers watching TV.
"I said, `I didn't touch it,' " Looney said.
At the end of the eighth, team security escorted the fan away from the stands. Officials said he had asked to stay at the stadium until it cleared before he made his way home. A man who was with him was taken out of Wrigley and hastily put into a taxi.
"We're not giving away any names," said a Wrigley Field official. "We're protecting our patrons."
Some fans were actually sympathetic.
"Ninety-nine percent of these fans would have done the same thing," said one spectator as the insults rained down. "They're all hypocrites."
The incident recalled memories of Jeffrey Maier, a 12-year-old Yankees fan, who reached into the field of play over Orioles right fielder Tony Tarasco in Game 1 of the 1996 American League Championship Series, to catch a ball hit by New York's Derek Jeter.
The ball was ultimately ruled to be a game-tying home run, and the Yankees went on to win in extra innings.
The Chicago Tribune is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.