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Pizza delivery a national phenomenon
04/27/2007 12:43 PM ET
BOSTON -- His name is Matt Madore, and you've probably seen him -- he's the guy in the black jacket, khaki Red Sox cap tugged backward, ducking under the Famous Flying Pizza.

Now, rewind. Drag the play bar back and watch the pie fly. After the moment of impact, observe as the khaki hat pops up out of the muddle, like one of those heads in an arcade game that you're supposed to slam with a mallet.

Would you know that Madore, who's not even the second-most important actor in one of the most-viewed Internet phenomena of the 2007 baseball season, is a regional celebrity?

It all started on TV, actually. Before the Great Bloody Sock Debate, there was Pizza-Gate. Red Sox play-by-play men Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy were calling NESN's broadcast of the Red Sox Patriots' Day game on April 16, when the action on the field took an unexpected turn into the stands.

Dan Kelly came to the game with his friend, Madore, and stood next to him in a Patriots jacket with a gigantic slice of pizza in hand. The two had snuck down to the field box level of Fenway Park -- on a cold, rain-delayed Monday morning, Fenway was under capacity -- and were taking some abuse from Red Sox fan Jason Sole for the whole pizza they'd just bought. That's when Angels left-fielder Garret Anderson -- and Sole -- made a play on a pop-up in foul territory, sending beer flying.

In the confusion, "stupidity set in," according to Kelly.

"I decided to give him his slice," he said, after throwing his slice of pizza at Sole.

"He thought it was the perfect opportunity," Madore said. "Whoops."

NESN captured the toss on cable television, and Orsillo and Remy spent several minutes -- "Here comes the pizza!" -- breaking down the slow-motion replay.

Minutes later, Fenway security came to kick Kelly and Madore out of the stadium. Madore initially tried to deny it.

"How do you know?" he asked the security guard.

"Because you're on national TV, idiot," security responded.

The Boston Herald's John Thomase interviewed the men after the game, giving Sole a chance to relay his version of the events.

"I've never caught a foul ball in my life," Sole told Thomase. "It's been my dream to catch one. That's the closest I've ever come. The pizza just thwarted it."

Madore expected that the story would be buried in the back of the paper. The next morning, Madore saw something else.

"I open the paper, and there's this big article with two pictures inside," Madore said. "It was surreal."

That's when the calls came in. Friends from high school checked in for the first time in years. Acquaintances from his hometown of Presque Isle, Maine, called his parents.

"In Maine," Madore said, "word travels fast."

Meanwhile, the clip was becoming a viral video hit. Madore was bombarded by interview requests from print, radio and television media from across New England. ESPN left a message. Bloggers seized on both the Thomase article and the video. When Madore Googles his own name, he says, more than 270 Web sites come up referring to the pizza story. Kelly, who tried his best to "squash" the furor, even got his own four-paragraph entry on Wikipedia.

"It just took on a life of its own," Madore said.

Madore was nervous about the information getting back to the StoneBridge Country Club in Goffstown, N.H., where he has been the local golf pro for six years.

Instead, when the club found out, it proudly sent e-mail blasts to members, advertising the new celebrity in its clubhouse.

Kelly, for his part, refused to divulge his line of work when asked, and wouldn't say whether the pizza video will have the same positive impact on his employers as it did for Madore.

"No comment on that," Kelly said. "The people from work haven't put two and two together yet."

Now, the Internet chatter has begun to settle. Kelly made his web gem, and now he's famous. But at what price?

"I always wanted to make SportsCenter," he said. "But not like that."

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.