Yahoo Baseball Columnist Hits It Out of the Park

Ed Sherman has a gem lined up for this Thursday's DePaul journalism class.

How’s this for the highest level of peer compliment?:

I’m teaching a sports journalism class at DePaul this fall. One of my constant themes is that the students should strive to do things out of the ordinary in their work.

On Thursday, I plan to show them Jeff Passan’s column off of the Cubs-Cardinals game Monday.

JeffPassanCubs_FeaturedThe compliment comes from Ed Sherman in today’s Sherman Report, and he is absolutely right. MLB beat writer Passan’s profile of the six different fans who caught home run balls at Wrigley Field on Monday is out of this world. We loved the personal background of the person who caught the third home run ball:

George Gatto played for six seasons in the Cubs organization, a third baseman who never made it out of the low minor leagues. Even though his nephew Jim grew up on the South Side of Chicago, White Sox territory, he was always a Cubs fan, family loyalty trumping all.

Jim Gatto is a doctor in Wisconsin, where he runs a family practice. He still has Cubs season tickets. He gives some to friends and sells others, making it to about five games a year. He wasn’t going to miss Game 3, not under any circumstances. Gatto is 46. No matter how wonderful the future looks, these are the Cubs, and to take any year for granted is not in his DNA.

Never, in all his years going to Cubs games, had Gatto caught a ball. Not in batting practice. Not a foul. Certainly not a home run. So when the opportunity came in the bottom of the fifth inning Monday, he understood his imperative.

This column is a fall classic. The next home run ball catcher Passan connected with was at his first playoff home game since the Steve Bartman incident. By the way, Gatto was happy to surrender his ball to a Wrigley security official, since it was Chris Bryant’s first playoff dinger and, as such, a ball the rookie would want.

Thanks to the Cubs’ Oct. 12 heroics, Chicago became the first team in MLB post-season history to slug six home runs in a single game.
 
[H/T: Marty Chase]