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When a fan of the Jays caught a home run ball, he did something truly amazing… even though it was for a rival team’s supporter.

Sports can bring everyone together, even fans of rival teams.

On May 3, 2022, the Toronto Blue Jays played the New York Yankees on the Blue Jays’ home turf, but the 9-1 win for the Yankees was not the most talked about moment of the game. Instead, everyone was talking about what happened off the field.

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Aaron Judge hit a 427-foot home run into the second deck of the left-field seats, sending the ball straight to a group of fans hungry to take it home. Mike Lanzillotta, a Blue Jays fan, caught the home run ball and threw his hands up in celebration. Seconds later, he turned around and offered it to a young Yankees fan behind him.

“Instinct just took over and I turned right to the kid and I said, ‘Here you go, buddy,'” said Lanzillotta. “He wrapped his arms around me, and I just had an overwhelming feeling of joy and elation.”

How a Blue Jays Fan and a Yankees Fan Made Each Other Cry – in the Best Way

That young Yankees fan was Derek Rodriguez, a nine-year-old in a Judge jersey. Rodriguez was so thrilled, he threw his arms around Lanzillotta and began crying.

“For a Blue Jays fan to have that moment with a young Yankee fan, that’s a moment seen around the world,’’ Judge said. “It speaks volumes to the Blue Jays fans they have here… It was cool.”

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When videos of the moment circulated on social media, many viewers praised Lanzillotta’s kindness. Luckily, his warm heart didn’t go unacknowledged. The day after the home run, Lanzillotta and Rodriguez were invited to meet Judge in the Yankees dugout before the series finale.

Rodriguez still has the home run ball; he even brought it to school to show his friends. He has been calling Lanzillotta “a best friend for life.”

The Blue Jays Proved Kindness Is Its Own Reward – But So Is Recognition

Toronto Blue Jays game
Photo by Donna Lay on Unsplash

The Blue Jays have also come out to recognize their fan’s kind gesture.

Blue Jays outfielder George Springer sent Lanzillotta a signed jersey before Wednesday’s game. Both Rodriguez and Lanzillotta will also be in attendance at the next Jays-Yankees game, up in Judge’s Chambers in the Yankee Stadium.

Without hesitation, Lanzillotta turned to gift the home run ball to a young stranger behind him. His selfless act made Rodriguez’s game so memorable and has shown the world the uniting power of sports. If brutal baseball rivals can be kind to each other, anyone can.

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