John Bendzinski might have been the happiest fan in the Motor City.
Instead of joining infamous fans Jeffrey Maier and Steve Bartman, the suburban Detroit chef is simply a guy with a story to tell his friends.
Tigers slugger Victor Martinez connected in the seventh inning Tuesday night in Game 4 of the AL Division Series, but the drive to right was disputed by the A’s because two fans appeared to interfere with the ball.
After looking at replays, home-plate umpire Jim Reynolds twirled his right index finger in the air to signal the homer stood.
“I was relieved,” Bendzinski said later in the inning. “These guys were all going after the ball and I cleared them all out. It was unbelievable, baby!”
Bendzinski was one of the fans in front row who reached over a railing to try to catch the ball.
The season-ticket holder said he does know there are rules regarding fans and balls in play.
“Dude, I was getting that ball no matter what!” he shouted. “I’m not supposed to reach over, but I didn’t. I was right on the line.”
The Tigers, facing elimination, scored another run in the seventh inning, and three more in the eighth before holding on to win 8-6 and send the series to a decisive Game 5 Thursday night in Oakland.
Bartman was cursed by Chicago Cubs fans in 2003 after deflecting a foul popup away from Moises Alou with Chicago just five outs away from the World Series.
Maier was the 12-year-old New York Yankees fan who reached over the outfield wall in the 1996 playoffs and caught Derek Jeter’s homer away from Baltimore’s Tony Tarasco.