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Pleasanton Preps: Recent Dublin grad reflects on his viral grab as Oakland A's ball boy

Thalblum draws cheers after diving catch of line drive near visiting bullpen last weekend
BallBoy
Oakland Athletics ball boy Jon Thalblum of Dublin, seen here during a game earlier in the season, was trending on social media after a play he made on a foul ball at the A's stadium last weekend.

Last Saturday night, July 23, was a pretty normal night for 18-year-old Jon Thalblum as he held down his spot as an Oakland A's ball boy on the first base (visitors) side of the field.

The A's took a 3-1 lead over the Texas Rangers into the top of the eighth inning and when the Rangers got a pitcher up in the bullpen. As part of his responsibilities, Thalblum got into position, standing behind the bullpen mound in foul territory to have the pitcher's back from any batted ball.

And that's when the night all changed. Power-hitting Adolis Garcia -- a right-handed batter -- drilled a foul ball right toward the Rangers' bullpen.

Without hesitation, Thalblum moved to his right, then went horizontal to snag the line drive.

"I just reacted," said Thalblum, who graduated from Dublin High in June. "It was a cool moment for sure."

It was such a hard hit ball, it took a second for people to react, but suddenly the Texas players in the bullpen, as well as the pitcher warming up, all started applauding.

Then the A's fans in the stands started cheering. The catch would go on to make the rounds on social media overnight as well.

"The whole stadium started cheering," Thalblum said. "The Rangers' bullpen coach told me nice job, and the bullpen catcher gave me some knuckles."

But the night wasn't done yet.

Leody Taveras was the next batter and he proceeded to rip a liner right back into Thalblum's area. This time he short-hopped the ball to his side, making another sharp play.

"At that point, the fans started chanting MVP, which was pretty cool," Thalblum said.

It wasn't a shock that Thalblum made the two plays as he has an athletic history for Dublin. He played four years of football, three years of basketball and one year of baseball.

It was also just another night at the ballpark for the Thalblum family. Jon's dad Mike is the visiting clubhouse manager for the A's, having been with the team for 42 years, starting many years ago selling programs out front of the stadium.

Jon's brother Stewy has been with the A's for three years and is the ball boy on the home side of the stadium.

It was also a great way to top off his first season with the A's as he will be leaving for his freshman year at Arizona State University on Aug. 12.

In just his first season of doing the job for the A's, Thalblum has had a great time and he looks forward to next summer when he returns from his first year of college.

"It's been great talking to the players and just being around the pros and seeing what they do," explained Thalblum. "A lot of the players are so cool."

Thalblum lists Garrett Richards and Brad Miller -- both on the Rangers -- as some of the good guys.

Then there are others.

"You'll get one or two guys that will give us a hard time," Thalblum said. "But it's not our job to critique them -- we just do our jobs."

While he will miss the rest of the season after heading south, Thalblum will get a jump on the next season, as he will be in Arizona in college when the A's head down for spring training in 2023.

"It's going to be cool that I will get to see my dad during spring training," Thalblum said.

If you haven't seen the video of the first catch, check out the Oakland A's Twitter page, or go to YouTube and search for "Oakland A's Ball Boy catch."

Editor's note: Dennis Miller is a contributing sports writer for the Pleasanton Weekly. To contact him about his Pleasanton Preps column, email acesmag@aol.com.