College kid is quite the catcher
I read a small item in your paper recently about a guy who caught two home run balls in the same Major League Baseball game. Can you tell me more?
Caleb Lloyd, a 20-year-old student and soccer player at Thomas More College in Crestview Hills, Ky., was planning to play video games on the night of Monday, May 21, until a friend called and said he had tickets to the Cincinnati Reds-Atlanta Braves game in Cincinnati. The seats were in the leftfield bleachers.
In the fourth inning, Cincinnati pitcher Mike Leake hit a drive toward Lloyd's seat. Lloyd told a reporter at mlb.com:
"The first one, I actually barehanded. It hit my hand. It didn't expect I'd actually catch it. I never caught a home run ball. I caught it and it like bounced off the palm of my hand, and I just reached out and grabbed it. It hurt really bad. I don't recommend doing it again."
The next batter, shortstop Zach Cozart, hit one to almost the same spot.
"The second one bounced behind me and then it bounced into my lap," he told the Cincinnati Enquirer. "My buddy's like, 'You caught a second one!' I was like, oh my gosh, this is crazy."
Outfielder Drew Stubbs followed with yet another homer, but to right-centerfield.
But Lloyd went home with no baseballs.
"I gave the Cozart one to my buddy, whose uncle actually got us the ticket," he told the Enquirer. "I gave him the ball because he was kind of one of the reasons I was here. The Leake ball, I gave it back because I know it's Leake's first ever major league home run. I just want to meet him and shake his hand."
What are the odds? When a Houston fan caught two homers in a 2006 game, Brad Efron, chairman of Stanford University's department of statistics, told ESPN.com that the odds are not as much as you'd guess. He estimated it was between 1 in 1,000 and 1 in 5,000.
"Of the 43,000 people there, there are actually only a couple thousand people in the ballpark who can catch a home run ball," Efron said at the time. "So the odds are not as astronomical."
NCAA basketball draft specifics
If a college basketball player declares for the draft, but does not sign with an agent, can he wait and see where he's drafted, then decide whether to turn pro or not?
A new NCAA rule states that U.S. collegiate underclassmen who do not sign with an agent have until the first day of the spring National Letter of Intent signing period to withdraw in order to keep their eligibility, an NCAA spokeswoman told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. This year, that date was April 10. Those who did not withdraw their name are eligible to be drafted. If a player is drafted, the team that chooses him has exclusive rights to the player. Even if a player isn't drafted, he loses his amateur status in that sport, according to the NCAA. The NBA draft is June 28.