A pair of idiot fans in Tampa went dumpster-diving during a game in search of a foul ball. Yet, that is one of the rare instances these days when grown men actually go after foul balls for their selfish pleasure, turning a portion of a stadium into the Octagon. (See the video here.)
Typically, fans nowadays give their well-earned baseball to little kids. That hasn’t always been the case.
As a former baseball beat writer and a baseball fan, I have been to probably close to 700 games in my life – and that’s a lowball estimate that includes spring training games – and yet I have caught one – yes, one! – foul ball. And it happened when I was in the press box, so I was working. (Yes, it was a legitimate catch. I didn’t fumble it or let it hit the ground and I caught it with my bare hands.) I have never caught a ball during a game as a fan.
And, believe me, if I ever do, I am not going to give it to some punk kid who doesn’t deserve it. Why? Here’s some reasons:
- Because I have been a baseball-paying fan for many years. I feel I have earned the right to that ball.
- I caught it. It’s mine.
- No, I stopped bringing my glove to games when I was 11. If I get to be bigger than a kid going for a ball, he’s allowed to have a glove. That’s a fair trade.
- Unless it’s my own kid, I don’t know this schmoe and who knows how much of a fan he is, where the ball will end up or if he will throw it back onto the field like a dummy.
- Yes, I can handle the boo birds if I won’t give the ball to a youngster.
And, the most important reason is this: When I was 14 I broke my foot and was in a cast from my left foot up to my knee. I was fortunate enough to have my dad score seats to a Dodgers game about five rows behind the Dodgers dugout. Before the game Raul Mondesi had a ball in his hand and I stood up and asked him to throw it my way. He looked around, saw that I was the only person under 20 and tossed it at me.
The irony is that one of Mondesi’s best attributes was his rocket arm and he softly tossed the ball my way and he short-armed it. As I hobbled to move to the aisle and down a row to catch it, I tripped over some fat ass’ foot and fell down. The ball landed in said fat ass’ hand and I was on the ground of the stadium. This man did not look at me, with my cast on, the fact that I was easily 200 pounds lighter than him, that Raul Mondesi was tossing the ball my way and not to him, or that I was younger than him. He kept the ball.
This man had replaced his soul with too many calories. Let’s hope he has ballooned to 600 pounds and can no longer go to baseball games – or for that matter, leave his house like the mom in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.
(Now, rightfully so, he caught the ball, I fell down and ate shit and that’s that. However … I was in an effin’ cast!)
So, unless a child legitimately wins the right to a ball in the stands, he should not get that ball. Whenever America started the pussy-fication of kids by handing out participation ribbons and trying to shield them from the facts that sometimes life sucks is when everyone in the stadium felt that a kid deserved a ball they had no right to. At least in my case, Mondesi pointed at me, then threw the ball towards me. Not Moby Dick.
Sorry, kids, but back when you had to earn a ball, is some of the times that Throwback Attack remembers well.