Meet the fan who caught Cal Raleigh’s home run to end the Mariners playoff drought
Some baseball fans go their whole lives without ever catching a home run, but 17-year-old Puyallup resident Marchany Roman managed to catch perhaps the most iconic home run in Seattle Mariners history during his first major league game.
On Sept. 30, Roman caught Cal Raleigh’s home run in a 2-1 victory over the Oakland Athletics and put the Mariners in the playoffs for the first time in 21 years.
For a kid who had never seen a major league field in person before, this was an unforgettable experience.
“It was such a great moment,” Roman said. “It’s so hard to explain, but it was amazing. People I’ve never spoken to in my life, they came up to me, hugged me and were super proud. It was great.”
Roman attended the game with his mother, Marines Marchany Quinones, stepfather Shawn Brandvold and baby brother Joey Marchany. The tickets were a reward from Brandvold, as Roman recently learned that he had formed a baseball club team he had tried out for called Hooks Baseball.
Roman has always loved baseball, playing since he was 3 years old and has been a Mariners fan since moving from Puerto Rico to the Seattle area in 2015. But before that Friday, he had never been able to attend to a big league. Game.
“We never really got the chance,” Roman said. “My mom was a single mom for a long time, we lived in Auburn and money was really tight. We could never afford it.”
When Brandvold told him he had bought tickets to celebrate his achievement, Roman’s excitement was “through the roof.” Tickets were purchased three weeks in advance, so no one knew at the time that this would be one of the most important games in franchise history.
When he first walked through the stadium gates, it was like a dream come true. After years of playing, watching and loving the game, Roman’s first glimpse of a major league field was dazzling.
“I walked up the stairs and the second I saw this pitch, everything was like, ‘Oh my god, this is the greatest experience ever,” Roman said. “I had no idea it was going to get any crazier.”
The Mariners took a 1-0 lead late in the first inning, when Ty France led Dylan Moore with an RBI brace. But the A’s tied the game in the top of the second when Shea Langeliers hit a solo homer.
The game remained tied for the next 6 1/2 innings, and Roman could feel the tension in the right field stands. When the bottom of the ninth arrived, he pulled out his phone and started recording.
Roman sat in his seat, shaking with excitement as Raleigh came home with two outs against A pitcher Domingo Acevedo. When the “Big Dumper” swung and sent the ball over the right field wall for a home run, Roman and nearly everyone in the stadium let loose with a jubilant roar.
After the ball hit the large windows of the Hit-It-Here Cafe and fell towards the bleachers, Roman jumped high in the air to catch it, admittedly “pushing” his little brother out of the way.
“It was awesome, but at the same time kind of scary because I didn’t know what was going to happen,” Quinones said. “And then when everyone realized he had the ball – pictures, hugs, people coming from the bottom of the stairs. It was like a minute after he got the ball back that the guy in the suit showed up .
Within moments, Mariners staff came to speak to Roman and certify that the bullet in his possession was indeed the one Raleigh had driven into the Mariners’ immortality. While that would have made for a pretty epic memory, Roman immediately decided to return the ball to Raleigh.
His only request was that he give the ball to Raleigh in person, which Mariners staff quickly granted.
Roman said Raleigh asked if he wanted to keep the ball and seemed relieved when the young fan said no. He just wanted to return the home run to the man who hit it, knowing how much the ball would represent Raleigh, his family and the Mariners.
“It was awesome,” Raleigh said. “It was super nice of him to do that, he didn’t have to do that. I was just happy that he got to make a game, and he seemed very grateful and very excited.
Roman did not come away from the trade empty-handed, as Raleigh gave him an autographed bat and ball. The family also has free tickets to a game of their choice next season, courtesy of the Mariners. Raleigh said he also wanted to get them tickets to a future game.
Raleigh remembers how he felt when he first attended a major league game and was grateful to be able to help make Roman’s experience so special.
“It’s a special moment,” Raleigh said. “It’s like walking into a cathedral, you know. It’s different. The grass is super green, the dirt super smooth and there are so many fans. It’s so big, and it’s crazy when you first walk into the stadium, wide-eyed and shocked and speechless. I was happy that he was able to attend this game and catch this ball. It’s something he will probably never forget, and something I would never forget if it happened to me.
At 17, Roman still dreams of playing in the big leagues himself. His baseball idols include fellow Puerto Rican Javier Baez of the Detroit Tigers, Mariners rookie phenom Julio Rodriguez and now Raleigh.
One day, he hopes, he might be able to hit a spectacular major league home run himself.
“I worked really hard,” Roman said. “Let’s hope, who knows, maybe someone will ask me for an autograph one day.”