October 16, 2013 - Mark Beauchamp of Clarkston has been to about 1,000 Major League Baseball games in his life. Game 4 in the Detroit Tigers' American League Division Series was the first time he took part in one.
Mark and Andrea Beauchamp, along with their children Luke, 7 months, Avery, 7, and Addison, 4, celebrate his 15 minutes of fame. (click for larger version)
"I never thought I'd be part of the game – it was pretty surreal," said Beauchamp, who fumbled a flyball by Tiger Victor Martinez, along with fellow fan John Bendzinski, Oct. 8.
"I've caught homeruns before, but this one, I couldn't hold onto," he said.
The incident led to some tense moments as officials checked the play for fan interference. They soon ruled it a homerun, however, and the home crowd cheered.
"I was happy when they came back and ruled it was a homerun," Beauchamp said. "I'm glad it ended on a positive note, so I'm not the goat."
The Tigers went on to beat the Oakland As, 8-6, then won the American League Division Series. They're now taking on the Boston Red Sox for the American League Championship.
The ball bounced from Beauchamp's hands to Bendzinski before it dropped to the field, so Beauchamp thought it was gone forever. The Tigers, however, had other ideas. They recovered, signed, and delivered it to their new favorite fan.
"That was neat, pretty classy of the Tigers to do that," Beauchamp said. "I didn't expect that."
He plans to display it in his office, and someday give it to one of the kids.
Beauchamp grew up loving the Tigers.
"I was 13 years old in 1984, with the World Series, Kirk Gibson, how could you not love them," he said.
From Owosso, he moved to Clarkston with his family in 2009.
"Once I came up here, I fell in love with it," he said. "Clarkston has the same feel – both are small towns."
He has been a season ticket holder since 1996. When the Tigers moved to Comerica Park in 2000, he was among those with first pick of seats.
"I was lucky enough to get front row seats," he said.
Fellow fans appreciated what he did. After the game, there were no shortage of offers to buy them drinks. They didn't partake, though.
"We had to work the next day," he said.
Phil is editor for The Clarkston News. He is a veteran of the first Iraq war, having served in the U.S. Army.