Foul Ball

The topic of conversation in the household tonight is a question of character of sorts. Perhaps not quite of the caliber of the Kobiashi Maru test, but a question we’re more likely to face than a Romulan ambush.

If we’re at a baseball game, in particular a major league game, and we catch a foul ball or a home run ball hit into the stands, only to look down and see a doe-eyed seven- or eight-year-old — do you keep the ball or give it to the kid?

We’re assuming you didn’t run over the kid and knock him or her out of the way in your scramble to get the ball. Do that and you’re an asshole — you not only need to give the kid the ball, you also need to buy them ice cream and cotton candy as well. And maybe a foam finger.

We’re assuming it’s a major league game, not a minor league, college, or high school game. First of all, if it’s a high school game they’ll probably ask for the ball back so they can keep using it. Budget cuts, don’t you know! And if it’s a college or minor league game, well, it’s just a college or minor league game. Make the kid’s day.

We’re assuming that you don’t have season seats in a location where you get about a dozen of these a year and it’s more of a nuisance than a moment you’ll remember the rest of your life.

We’re assuming it’s not someone’s first career home run (they’ll want the ball and they’ll give you beaucoup swag for it) or someone’s 800th career home run or 80th home run in the season (you’ll get $100,000+ for it on EBay). Maybe not even the walk-off, game winning home run. Just a home run. Or even a foul ball.

We’re assuming that you’re not the person who steps in and grabs a ball being tossed into the stands by a player or ball boy (or ball girl) when the tosser obviously is tossing it to a kid intended to be the tossee. Do that and you’re a ginormous asshole who needs to hand over the ball, ice cream, cotton candy, foam finger, hat, mini-bat, and then get your butt tossed out of the stadium.

We’re assuming the kid isn’t there with a t-shirt or sign that says something like, “I have cancer and a week to live and this is the first (and only) ballgame I’ve ever been to.” (That t-shirt is one heck of a game changer.)

No, it’s a clean catch, you’re at Anaheim or Wrigley or Fenway, you either brought your glove (honestly, do not even get me started on people who think grown men are silly or stupid for bringing a glove to a game) or your hands are stinging, they might be putting the replay on the scoreboard, it’s the first time you’ve ever gotten a real major league baseball — and here’s this kid, not your kid, a total stranger, and they want you, as the adult, to give the ball to them, the kid, as a present.

Do you keep the ball or give it to the kid?

{Insert Final Jeopardy music here}

{Do you have your answer?}

{Are you ready to defend it?}

{Yeah, I’m stalling for space to try to move the answer down off the bottom of the screen.}

Consensus here is that, given all of the assumptions, you keep the ball.

I’m old, I’m going to be dying sooner than the kid, they have their whole life in front of them, I’ve been trying to get a real, official, game-played, major league ball for well over fifty years, and damn it, I caught it fair and square!

The kid has years to go to keep trying to get their own ball, plus they have cute going for them, so they can still try to convince someone else to give them a ball. That’s an unfair advantage, since the cute ship sailed a long time ago for me.

In addition, kids are coddled too much today. They might think that it’s not fair that some mean, booger-brain adult (i.e., me) won’t give them the ball, but hey, kid, here’s a clue – life’s not fair. Is it fair for me to not have gotten a ball in all those decades with all of the games I’ve been at?

So there, it’s settled.

Until the little voice in my brain asks, “What if it’s a major league game, but just a spring training game?”

Stupid little voice in my brain.

Fine, let the kid have it.



Filed under Farce, LA Angels, Sports

2 responses to “Foul Ball

  1. Ronnie

    Nice one dear

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Glenn Glazer

    For some reason, I first read this from the perspective of an outfielder, in which case, it is “The ball costs almost nothing to the team, make the kid’s day with a souvenir.”

    But for an adult in the stands, I look at it differently. First I look at relative joy: for me, the ball is cool. For the kid, thinking they’re not going to get it, getting and the pure joy of the ball itself brings orders of magnitude more joy into the world.

    And I will take more joy from their joy than the ball will ever give me.

    Liked by 1 person

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