Buster Olney Photo Credit: ESPN

Buster Olney wears many hats at ESPN, as an MLB insider, podcast host, analyst and Sunday Night Baseball reporter.

Sunday night, Olney added two more roles to his resumé: Detective and marriage counselor.

A little explanation is obviously in order.

Olney sprang into action after a strange situation in the bottom of the fourth in the Sunday Night Baseball game at Dodger Stadium. San Diego Padres star Manny Machado ripped a home run, and an LA Dodgers fan caught the ball and immediately hurled it back on the field.

But wait — the fan didn’t really throw Machado’s home run ball back on the field. The ESPN camera caught him quickly removing another ball from his jacket pocket and tossing that one on the field. The Machado prize stayed hidden in his glove.

That’s the kind of scenario that demands an investigation, and Olney quickly arrived on the scene.

“He’s gonna tell us a story of the old switcheroo, he made great plans for this,” Olney said, crouching beside the fan.

The fan explained that if he didn’t throw the ball back, Dodgers fans around him would be unhappy, but he didn’t want to part with the ball.

“Nobody in the stands called me out for the switcheroo, everybody high-fived me and was happy I threw it back,” the fan said. “The telecast seems to be the only people who caught it.”

“What are you gonna do with the baseball?” Olney asked.

“I’m definitely going to keep it. The wife won’t like it, because I try to collect baseballs a lot and I have too many as it is,” the fan said. “But this one for sure’s going on the mantle.”

Play-by-play announcer Karl Ravech checked in and after asking if the fan had caught any other home run balls, Olney popped an unexpected question.

“So why is your wife mad at you?” Olney said.

“Umm,” the fan said, momentarily stumped by the surprising question. “We don’t have enough time on the telecast to talk about that.”

We’re not sure how Olney would have responded if the fan started explaining why his significant other is mad at him. Some questions are better left unanswered.

Fans were impressed with ESPN and Olney’s enterprising efforts in both catching the switcheroo act and interviewing the culprit.


About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.