Diaz helps security apprehend fan on field
After tripping man, Braves left fielder cheered by crowd
PHILADELPHIA -- Braves outfielder Matt Diaz might not be as powerful as a taser gun. But it appears that he can prove just as effective against Philadelphia fans who choose to run on the field during a game.
An unidentified man dressed in a red body suit ran on the field in the seventh inning of Monday night's game between the Braves and Phillies. After eluding a group of security guards, he was stopped by Diaz, who stuck out his right foot and tripped the man to the ground.
"I figured the guy would rather me trip him rather than get tased," Diaz said in reference to the fact that a Philadelphia police officer used a taser gun to subdue a fan who came on the field at Citizens Bank Park in May.
When the man entered the field from the left-field stands, Diaz initially thought he was coming toward him. This prompted him to bow his shoulders before the trespasser eluded security officers and made his way to center field.
When one of the security officers went to the ground, Diaz immediately thought about Josh Garner, a Turner Field security officer who suffered a concussion while tackling a fan who entered the field during a game a few years ago.
"I said, 'This is dangerous, if he comes back I'll try to tackle him,'" Diaz said. "Well, he came back and I didn't want to get hurt and I didn't want him to get hurt. So I just stuck out my foot and he hit it and then he got right back up and their security guy crushed him."
After claiming a series-opening 3-1 win, many of the Phillies were in their clubhouse talking about Diaz's casual takedown.
"He'll be telling me about that all winter," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "He lives right down the road from me. He took him down pretty quick, didn't he? He might have gotten a flag in football, though."
The Phillies fans seemed to appreciate Diaz's action and cheered after he forced the man to fall to the ground. The Braves outfielder responded with a tip of the cap.
"I like the Philly fans," Diaz said. "They're fun to mess around with. Sometimes they're attention-starved. So if you turn around during the game, they'll treat you right. They've always treated me right here."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.