This time, a Moises makes the catch
Aptly named Dominican outfielder elicits memories of Bartman with grab
SAN FRANCISCO -- History refused to repeat itself on Monday as the Dominican Republic moved on to the World Baseball Classic championship game with a 4-1 victory over the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Dominican left fielder Moises Sierra dove in the seats down the third-base line at AT&T Park in a semifinal game of the World Baseball Classic to grab a pop fly hit by Andruw Jones, ending the first inning with Kingdom of the Netherlands leading, 1-0. Sierra avoided a fan in the stands who was angling to grab the ball with his glove.
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The play was eerily similar to the one that occurred in the top of the seventh inning of Game 6 of the 2003 National League Championship Series between the Cubs and Marlins when Luis Castillo lifted a pop down the left-field line at Wrigley Field.
Another left fielder named Moises -- in that case Moises Alou -- hustled toward the brick wall in an attempt to make the catch, but the ball was deflected by Steve Bartman, a Cubs fan. Alou, ironically, is now the general manager of Team Dominican.
"Hey, even the guy had glasses like Bartman," Alou said after the game. "This time, the guy missed the ball and Sierra caught it. I didn't have to even think about it. The broadcaster had already mentioned what happened in '03 in Chicago. Maybe that's a good sign. He caught the ball and maybe we're going to win the championship."
The 7-0 D.R. will have its shot at it on Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET against rival Puerto Rico. The Dominicans have beaten P.R. twice already in the tournament.
On Oct. 14, 2003, the Cubs were leading, 3-0, at the time of the Bartman play and had a chance to clinch the pennant by winning that game. Instead, the Marlins came roaring back in the inning, won that night and the series in seven games. The Marlins beat the Yankees in the World Series and the Cubs still haven't won the Fall Classic since 1908. They haven't even been in the World Series since 1945.
Starter Edinson Volquez opened Monday's game by walking the first two Dutch hitters, who advanced to second and third on a grounder tapped to the right of the mound. Andrelton Simmons scored what turned out to be the only Dutch run on Wladimir Balentien's grounder to short. Jurickson Profar moved to third.
Jones popped the fourth pitch of his at-bat toward the stands and Sierra, a late lineup replacement for Ricardo Nanita, raced toward the low railing down the line.
This time, the fan missed the ball and Sierra made the catch. And this time the team with the two guys named Moises got the win.
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow@boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.