Justin De Fratus is probably a name that many of you haven’t heard before. I hadn’t either until I was at the Louisville Bats game this past Wednesday (8/24/11). He only pitched 1 inning for the Ironpigs (the AAA affiliate of the Phillies), but I was more impressed with what he did before he even took the mound. Our seats were down the first base line, right behind the apposing teams bullpen. De Fratus came out to warm up during the 8th inning and was greeted by heckling from the group of guys sitting in the section next to us (it was a greeting that every player, regardless of the team, was met with from the same group). While he was warming up a father a 2 sons, wearing Philadelphia gear, came down to see Justin in action close up. The heckling continued and started to get worse, the group was now cussing and being very inappropriate. Up until this point De Fratus didn’t give much attention to the hecklers, he just continued to warm up. The guys finally crossed the line and De Fratus turned and told them that they need to look at who is around before they talk like that and be disrespectful. He said something that I and the people I went with wanted to say the whole game. Shortly after the guys left, which earned an ovation from our row.
Not many people, especially professional athletes, would care about what words the kid in the crows was hearing. I thought it was awesome that De Fratus would stand up for what was right and put the fans in their place. I don’t know if Justin De Fratus will ever be a household name, but I would love to see it happen. He may have sent my Bats down in order, but he gained another fan that day. I know it isn’t much, but I think he at least earned a wallpaper for his actions lol.