I wrote last summer about my lifelong quest to get a baseball from a game (home run or foul ball or just a ball thrown into the stands by a player).
It finally happened on Easter Sunday at a home game between the Yankees' triple A minor league team, the Scranton-Wilkes Barre Railriders, and the visiting Norfolk Tide (the Baltimore Orioles’ triple A team).
My friend Josh and I were strategically seated on the left field side of the stands, prime territory for foul balls sliced off by left handed batters. There were not many more than 100 fans in attendance which I assessed was good for me. It would mean not having to fight a frenetic mob for a ball that landed in the stands.
Sure enough in the 5th inning, a Tide batter chipped at a pitch and sent it flying straight toward me. I rose. Here it was, closing fast. A little high and to my right but easily within my reach. I stuck out my right hand. The ball smacked my thumb as I tried to close my hand around it, then it caromed off to the left, landing on the ground in the empty row in front of ours. Josh moved to get it but I immediately reckoned that if he got to it first and gave it to me, it wouldn’t really be “mine.” It would be a humiliating act of charity. So I cut Josh off, leaned down and snatched it.
I examined the treasure I held. It was scuffed up and bore a mysterious blue stain. No matter. I had done it.
But, just as Roger Maris’s 61 home runs were at first assigned an asterisk,* the authenticity of my foul ball for my purposes was soon called into question. My friend, Bill, to whom I texted a photo of the prize replied with congratulations, but added: “I guess you still need one from the big leagues cool as it is to have one from Scranton.”
I guess the quest continues.
* Maris hit his 61 home runs in 162 games. Babe Ruth hit 60 in a 154-game season, initially earning Maris an asterisk in the record books. It was later removed and was recognized as the record.
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