Juan Soto

A Lucky Fan Snagged Juan Soto's 1st Home Run Ball as a San Diego Padre. Here's What He Did With It

Tyler Brower got to meet the phenom by doing the right thing

Last Tuesday, the Padres beat the Giants at Petco Park thanks to a Manny Machado walkoff home run. But that was maybe the 2nd or 3rd most exciting thing to happen to one fan in attendance.

Tyler Brower had a day off from his job at Discount Tire. His friend’s aunt has season tickets so he invited Tyler to go to the game.

Talk about being in the right place at the right time. In the 4th inning Brower was standing just beyond the right field fence when Juan Soto, a Hall of Fame talent the Friars added in a trade just a few days prior, launched a majestic line drive down the line.

“When he hit that ball, I saw it coming and I was like, I don’t know if that’s gonna make it or not. I thought it might go foul,” says Brower. “Then all of a sudden it goes past the foul pole, fair, and I’m like, OK, I think I might have a shot at getting this. It ricocheted off the walls in the tunnel and I just picked it up, grabbed it, and everybody started coming over, picking me up and celebrating.”

Photo Credit: Yanely Bautista

Immediately, the Padres security team found Tyler and didn’t let him out of their sight again.

“They handled that situation in the best possible way,” says Brower. “They ended up having one or two guys standing over us the rest of the game just to make sure nothing bad happened to us. They’re super professional with what they were doing so huge shout out to them.”

It’s a long tradition for baseball players to keep balls from milestone moments. Usually, the person who catches a historic homer negotiates a little bit for something in return because they can fetch big bucks on the memorabilia market. Tyler wasn’t looking for a pay day. He’s a real fan, and real fans understand the situation.

“I had some people coming up, making jokes, trying to offer me money for it. Giving the ball to him is worth more than any amount of money. That’s a memory that I’m going to have the rest of my life. I’m going to tell people until the day I die, basically, that I met Juan Soto and caught his first home run ball as a Padre.”

After the game, Tyler was escorted onto the field, where he got to meet the Padres new phenom, who was waiting with a pretty good compensation package.

“Three signed balls, two of which were by Jake Cronenworth and Trevor Hoffman. And then once we went down on the field to meet him, we ended up exchanging balls. I got to shake his hand and hand him his 1st home run ball and he ended up signing a ball for me and putting his accolades, like two-time Silver Slugger, World Series champ, Home Run Derby champ, two-time All-Star. That alone is worth more than any amount of money.”

Photo Credit: Hayden Roach

For Tyler, the arrival of Soto (and Josh Bell,Josh Hader, and Brandon Drury) has done something that hasn’t happened in his lifetime as a Padres fan.

“If you’ve been to a game since the trade, every single seat in the place is packed. So, I think with acquiring all these guys, they’re really putting us back on the map for San Diego and this could go on for quite some time. I’m excited to see where we’re gonna go with it.”

Even without Fernando Tatis Jr. for 80 games, the Friar Faithful has hope. And, if the playoffs come to town, they’ll have more of those rare chances to get their hands on a piece of baseball history.

LISTEN: With NBC 7 San Diego's Darnay Tripp and Derek Togerson behind the mic, On Friar will cover all things San Diego Padres. Interviews, analysis, behind-the-scenes...the ups, downs, and everything in between. Tap here to find On Friar wherever you listen to podcasts. 

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