SAN FRANCISCO -- Jerry Rose stabbed out his mitt and made the catch of a lifetime. Two innings later, the record-breaking ball he caught - the 71st home run of the season for Barry Bonds - had become old news.
Rose barely had time to cherish his haul when, to lead off the third inning, Bonds launched a second homer into center field. But in the scrum to catch that million-dollar gift from above, stone-mitted fans couldn't catch the ball, and it ricocheted back onto the field.
Bonds' 72nd home run ball made its way back to the Giants' slugger in the dugout.
Rose, 49, a season-ticket holder and lifelong Giants fan, didn't seem to mind that his ball no longer was the record setter.
"We're just going to settle down, watch the game and hope for a Giants victory," he said after security guards whisked him to a secure room in Pacific Bell Park. He said he would keep the ball - at least for now.
After Rose caught the ball, on the fly, fans pounded him in celebration. The crowd was so dense that major league baseball personnel couldn't usher him out of the area. So a half-dozen San Francisco police officers forced their way through the crowd to whisk Rose and his wife out.
A determined police officer, Maria Escobar, led the charge to extricate the night's luckiest fan from his well-wishers.
"Major league baseball was trying to get him out and the crowd was surrounding him," Escobar said. "It was obvious they were not going to get him out without some assistance."
Two innings later, security guards watched in amazement as Bonds' second drive of the night in as many at bats dribbled back toward Dodgers center fielder Marquis Grissom.
"We had a big, mad rush for it," said San Francisco firefighter Steve Coffey, 47, one of a half dozen fans who jostled for the ball. "Probably all of us felt like we got a glove on it. It never hit the ground."
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