Steve Horgan, the “bullpen cop” celebrating David Ortiz’s grand slam in the iconic double-V photograph by the Globe’s Stan Grossfeld, will forever have a special niche in Red Sox fandom. Nonetheless, the photo, and some postgame comments by Detroit Tigers right fielder Torii Hunter, who plunged head over heels over the bullpen wall trying to catch Ortiz’s blast, may raise questions about what, precisely, are the responsibilities of a bullpen cop.
“He’s supposed to protect and serve . . . help me, then cheer, fool,” Hunter reportedly said, perhaps as a joke, but perhaps not. While the duties of a bullpen cop — the term itself sounds like an Adam Sandler movie — aren’t spelled out, they center on making sure that fans don’t harass players; they don’t include getting involved with on-field play.
The photo captures Horgan’s arms raised in an exultant cheer for Ortiz’s grand slam while Hunter’s somersaulting legs are splayed in exactly the same position. If Horgan had, instead, rushed to the wall to brace Hunter as the ball flew by, umpires would probably still be debating how to call the play. Instead, Horgan rightly let Hunter pursue the ball, and his joyful reaction likely preceded any awareness that the Tigers player may have been injured. Soon after, as Sox relief pitchers rushed to Hunter’s aid, Horgan waved for medical help. Fortunately, Hunter turned out to be fine. So, too, should Horgan’s reputation.