SOMETIMES, all the media attention in the world can't beat a cruise down the sidewalk on a pink, Disney Princess bicycle.
Speeding along with the help of training wheels, 3-year-old Emily Monforto knew why a half-dozen news vans had descended on her suburban street in Gloucester Township, Camden County, yesterday, but left the details to her mom and dad.
"Emily, why are all the cameras here?" her mother, Kathleen, asked.
"To take pictures for when I was at the Phillies game," the little girl in the purple helmet replied as she pedaled along.
In a few short hours, Emily went from a cute preschooler captured on an endearing video during the Phillies 5-0 win over the Washington Nationals Tuesday night to an Internet sensation on her way to the "Today" show, via limousine, in New York City.
Emily's dad, a season-ticket holder who shares games with friends, scored last-minute tickets to the game at 5 p.m. Tuesday for his wife, Emily and 15-month-old Cecelia.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, when outfielder Jayson Werth fouled back a pitch, Stephen Monforto saw a lifelong dream zooming toward him in the 300 level.
"I saw it coming and all I thought was that I didn't want to drop it," said Monforto, 32. "I've always wanted to catch a foul ball, ever since I was a kid."
Stretched out over the glass partition, Monforto made a beautiful grab, raised his arms in triumph and handed the ball to Emily.
As she threw it back, a groan rose from the crowd.
"Yeah, she just tossed it," Monforto said with a laugh.
"She was definitely startled, but I gave her a big hug and let her know she didn't do anything wrong."
Bonnie Clark, the Phillies' vice president of communications, told MLB.com that a whole host of Phillies executives, including GM Ruben Amaro, had scrambled to get the Monfortos a replacement ball, which Stephen clutched on his front porch yesterday.
Clark told MLB.com that the Monfortos would be presented with a "surprise" gift on the "Today" show. The family, clad in red and pink Phillies gear Tuesday night, hasn't heard anything from Werth, but said it would certainly be "cool," at least for Dad, if they did.
Stephen Monforto said that he wasn't surprised that the video became a heartwarming home run. He just didn't think it would happen so fast.
"A friend sent a link to the YouTube video before the game was over," he said.
Yesterday, he had to take a half-day from work at Lockheed Martin, and an afternoon's worth of interviews with local and national media didn't leave the family much time to pack for the "Today" show limousine waiting across the street.
"After about the 75th phone call, I realized I was gonna have to leave work," he said.
Kathleen Monforto said that Emily, a veteran of about six Phillies games, likes riding her bike, running and watching "Dora the Explorer." She also likes playing catch with Daddy.
"That's what she thought she was doing," Kathleen said. "It's all just a nice little daddy/daughter moment, caught on tape. It's a happy story."
Emily certainly seemed happy about all the attention, too, until her mother said it was time to put her bicycle back.