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On Sunday, June 13, 2004, Matt Starr was at Ameriquest Field in Arlington, Texas, watching the home team Rangers take on the St. Louis Cardinals. When a foul ball was hit toward where he was sitting, the 28-year-old landscaper leapt over the seat in front of him. Even though the ball had landed at the feet of 4-year-old Nicholas O’Brien, Starr knocked the boy against the seats and pounced on the ball. The boy’s mother, insulted by the aggressive behavior, swatted him with her program, while fans chanted, "Give the boy the ball." But, clutching the ball to himself, Starr returned to his seat unwilling to part with his new souvenir.

Even the ballplayers witnessed Starr’s actions. Between innings, Cardinals’ outfielder, Reggie Sanders, went into the stands to give the boy a bat. Nicholas also received souvenirs from the Texas Rangers, including one signed by Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan. Video of Starr’s self-serving behavior was shown on television stations across the country.

When interviewed on Good Morning America, Edie O’Brien, Nicholas’ mother, admitted calling Starr a jerk, among other names. "I said, ’You trampled a 4-year-old boy to get this ball,’ and he said, ’Oh, well.’"

Four days later, Starr, a former youth minister at a nearby church, expressed sorrow for his behavior. He agreed to send a letter of apology to the O’Brien family. Starr also indicated he would give the boy the ball. In addition, he would buy tickets for the entire family to a future Rangers’ game.

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