The baseball player behind that amazing catapult over the catcher is actually a shy business major at Fordham University. Who knew his acrobatic maneuver would be captured on video and circulated through cyberspace everywhere?
"I guess I'll have my 15-minutes of fame," said Brian Kownacki when we invited him into our studios here at WNBC. He appeared a little puzzled and, quite frankly, a little shell-shocked at the media attention he has received. Indeed, his run from third base to home plate would have been unremarkable had the catcher not blocked his way, ball in hand, ready to tag him out.
"My first instinct was to jump over him and that's what I did," recounted the 20-year-old shortstop. The jump was actually a summersault. Brian rolled up to his feet and no one who was watching, not even his parents, could believe what he or she saw. "They told me it was dangerous and not to do it again," he said with a sheepish grin.
The accommodating athlete patiently signed autographs for some of the children visiting here at 30 Rock for "Take Your Kids to Work Day". Then he was off for more interviews and we headed north to find out what his team and schoolmates had to say.
"He just flipped right over and I was in awe," exclaimed fellow Rams player Steven McSherry who ran to home just before Brian made his monumental leap for the team.
"After we calmed down and realized what he had done, we realized it was something very special we would probably never see again," commented teammate Matthew DeSilva, who was the first runner back home on the three-run single that Brian has now made famous.
"It was just incredible," said Nick Martinez who was on deck and next up at bat.
The Fordham Rams did beat out the Iona Gaels 12-9 as a direct result of that three run single. However, the "Fordham Flipper" is the buzz of the Bronx campus. Word of mouth spreads fast there, though maybe not as fast as word on the Internet. "Everyone was posting on Facebook," offered coed Samantha Marinucci.
"If the catcher has the ball you cannot run into him,"(under NCAA rules) stated Nick Restaino, Fordham's head baseball coach. Does this mean the coach might incorporate tumbling over catchers into the training program? "Not likely," he said with a laugh. But it does make you wonder.