Runner says ‘soul decided’ to join PNC Park race

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PITTSBURGH (AP) - God gifted him with a really nice vertical, Luke Emory Oyler says.

The shirtless 29-year-old Garfield man broke up the longest baseball game ever played in Pittsburgh by entering the highly anticipated pierogi race following the fifth inning of last Wednesday’s Pirates-Cubs game.

He leapt onto the field at PNC Park, dodged security in the outfield and crossed the finish line about three seconds behind Oliver Onion, the bow tie-and-glasses-clad pierogi.

Sure, Oyler wanted to finish alongside the mascots or maybe set the world record for time spent evading security, but as far as he’s concerned, it was winner Cheese Chester who lagged behind.

Jesus says, ‘The last shall be first, and the first last,’ so by his rules, I was in first place,” Oyler said.

Still edging out at least four members of park security, Mr. Oyler continued running along the warning track and sprung over a fence, only to be tackled by park staff and handcuffed by Pittsburgh police. He was then taken by police to a park security office where he was cited for defiant trespass, Pirates spokesman Brian Warecki said. (The Pirates went on to beat Chicago, 4-3, in 16 innings.)

It was a mistake Oyler says he doesn’t regret.

For days before the game, he thought about jumping on the field, but when he saw how close his seat was, Oyler said, he knew he had to do it.

“If my stupidity brings one person to the love of Jesus Christ, then I have served a greater purpose and the consequences are well worth it,” he said.

Those consequences could include being banned from the park and up to $2,000 in fines, city police spokeswoman Sonya Toler said.

Oyler said he felt roughed up when park staff caught him, but afterward they were kind and even gave his clothes back.

Warecki said such intrusions are rare, and “PNC Park security staff correctly followed procedures in tracking down the individual.”

In 2012, no one attempted it, and in 2013, there was only one similar incident during the postseason, he said.

To be clear, Oyler doesn’t say God directed him to break the law, but that God knew he was going to do it.

“I guess my soul decided to break the mold and jump into the limelight to show people not all believers are these mundane, frozen, chosen who don’t have any fun,” he said.

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