The name Michael Vitar probably doesn’t mean much to you, but Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez? That name should be seared into your memory.
Vitar is the actor who played Rodriguez, the hot shot kid from The Sandlot who’s shown pinch running for the Dodgers in the movie’s epilogue. And on Tuesday, he was charged with attacking a man in Los Angeles, the New York Postreports.
The attack might have been justified, though. Vitar is a firefighter these days, and on October 31st he and a couple friends saw a weirdo skipping down the street handing candy to kids. Naturally, an adult giving candy to kids on Halloween isn't that suspicious, but an attorney for Vitar and his colleages claims they became concerned because the 22-year-old man "was acting suspiciously and bizarrely and might even be on drugs, according to the Post. After the man refused to take off when confronted by two of Vitar's firefighter buddies, one chased him down and choked him out.
Vitar and two of his friends were later arrested and charged with assault. The former child star's attorney denies that he was involved in the takedown and “basically came to the aid of others." The victim was simply "visiting his grandmother in the area and was handing out candy as he walked down the street," according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Maybe we're blinded by our love of The Sandlot (and D2, in which Vitar played Luis Mendoza), but we're inclined to believe Vitar's story. This is Benny "The Jet" Rodriguez (and a firefighter) we're talking about, a guy so gracious and inclusive that he let a bonafide L7 Oscar Meyer weenie join his pick-up game. The man can do no wrong — although LA country prosecutors may have different ideas.
Photos by Everett Collection