“I have never in my life left a game early, because I just can’t, and now I know why,” Atwater, 34, said in a phone interview.
Atwater has a 40-game season ticket plan and was standing in front of her usual seat in Section 105, Row L in left field when Kurt Suzuki launched a three-run home run off Mets closer Edwin Diaz to cap Washington’s seven-run inning and a most improbable 11-10 win. The ball landed between Atwater’s bare hands.
“I remember thinking, ‘Oh my God, this ball is coming right at me, I can’t drop it,’ " Atwater said. “I caught it and then just started screaming. The video is fun to watch in hindsight, because I couldn’t stop screaming and I was high-fiving everybody around. People were coming up and taking photos, and it was insane. Of all the balls to catch, for it to be that one, it was amazing.”
Atwater has seen plenty of home runs land in her section over the years and always vowed to be ready if one came her way. Earlier this season, she went to a sparsely attended Wednesday afternoon game with her mom and scooped up an Anthony Rendon home run ball that bounced in her row, but Tuesday marked her first catch. She said she could relate to Ryan Zimmerman, who described Washington’s comeback by saying, “I blacked out and then we won.”
“I 100 percent feel that, because I blacked out and then I caught the ball,” Atwater said. “I never thought that was going to happen.”
Atwater’s mom once joked that her daughter’s athletic achievements peaked in high school, when she was featured as a “Top Performer” in The Washington Post after leading the Jefferson High School softball team to a stunning win in the Virginia AAA Concorde District tournament. Atwater went 4 for 4 and drove in the winning run in the championship game for the Colonials, who had won only two games against district foes during the regular season.
“She was like, ‘This is your crowning achievement, it’s never going to get better than this,’ ” Atwater said. “I texted her last night and was like, ‘Mom, I think it got better.’ "
Atwater said she has watched the video of Suzuki’s home run about 100 times and noticed something different every time, such as the Mets fans in the lower right part of the frame of one of MASN’s replays who gather their belongings and head for the exits as she holds the ball in the air and screams.
There were five or six Mets fans in Atwater’s car on her Metro ride home, yelling at each other about the sorry state of New York’s bullpen. Little did they know, the evidence from the Mets’ latest meltdown was just a few feet away.
“I just sat there smiling to myself,” Atwater said.
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