Matt Diaz helps security subdue fan

Updated: September 21, 2010, 11:46 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

PHILADELPHIA -- He didn't have a Taser. But Atlanta Braves outfielder Matt Diaz did have quick feet -- quick enough to help security bring down a fan who had run onto the field at Citizens Bank Park during Monday night's game against the Philadelphia Phillies.

The fan, wearing a red spandex suit with a red mask, jogged onto the field in the bottom of the seventh inning. He was chased by security guards for several seconds. After a guard slipped for the second time, Diaz coolly banged his knee into the back of the fan's knee, knocking him down. The guards then apprehended the fan.

[+] EnlargePhillies Fan
Howard Smith/US PresswireAtlanta Braves left fielder Matt Diaz and security work to bring down a fan that ran onto the field at Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park.

Diaz got an ovation from the crowd and received high-fives from teammates in the dugout.

"I saw this idiot coming right at me," Diaz told reporters. "I figured he'd be better off getting tripped than tased."

"When [the fan] came back -- I didn't want to get hurt and I didn't want to hurt him -- I just stuck out my foot," Diaz said, according to the Philadelphia Daily News. "He got back up, but their security guy crushed him. I was glad no one got hurt."

What the fan may not have realized was that Diaz had seen this movie before and didn't like the ending.

In 2007 at Turner Field, security guard Josh Garner sustained a head injury in a similar incident and was down on the field for 10 minutes before walking off to get treatment. That incident left an impression on Diaz.

"I thought he was coming at me, so I was ready," Diaz said, according to the report. "Then I saw their security guy [fall] and it reminded me when Josh went down and got knocked out. I thought 'This is dangerous.' "

In May, a police officer chased a 17-year-old fan for about 30 seconds before firing a stun gun at him, sending the boy crumpling to the outfield turf at Philadelphia's 7-year-old ballpark.

A few days later, the Phillies announced that team security guards would be responsible for apprehending those who run onto the field, then handing them over to police.

Diaz's actions endeared him, at least for a moment, to Phillies fans in left field.

"They were very complimentary," he said, according to the report. "It was funny. [I heard] everything from 'I just put you on YouTube' to a girl with an 'Utley marry me' sign, saying, 'I'll marry you, too.' "

"He'll be telling me about that all winter," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said of Diaz, his neighbor in Florida. "He took him down pretty quickly. He might get a flag in football if he did that."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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