One small step for Fordham's baseball team, one giant leap of publicity for sophomore shortstop Brian Kownacki, aka the Fordham Flipper - the super viral Web Gem star of the moment.
If you think Michael Jordan soaring from the foul line to the rim was something to behold, you have to see Kownacki take flight.
Kownacki started his odyssey by reaching base after being hit by a pitch in a nine-run eighth inning for Fordham in its 12-9 win over Iona late Tuesday. With the bases loaded, Chris Walker hit the ball into centerfield, where it was misplayed. Two runs scored and Kownacki, 5-11 and 180 pounds, was racing for the plate when the ball reached Iona catcher James Beck, 6-2 and 203. He literally went airborne, diving headfirst over the catcher, who was down on one knee, and landing with a handstand on home plate.
It was something Kownacki had never tried to do. "Maybe I thought I could get up that high, but it's not a good idea,'' he said last night. "I'll stick with sliding. I think the adrenaline definitely helped."
Will he do it again? "Right now, I guess they'll know I'm coming,'' he said. "I might be able to do the same thing.''
Kownacki, who lives in Connecticut, felt like a lottery winner. He was scheduled to appear this morning on network news shows. Fordham has been fielding calls from as far as Hawaii. He is open to all the possibilities his newfound fame might bring. A commercial, perhaps? "That would definitely be something fun that I would like to try,'' he said. "I feel like I'm the same old person. Something remarkable just happened in my life.''