Some people want riches.
Some people want spiritual enlightenment.
Some people want world peace.
Me? All I’ve ever wanted was a goddamn foul ball.
Don’t get me wrong…I would love riches. Spiritual enlightenment would be pretty cool as well. And, to crib a line from Steve Martin, world peace would be great too as long as it came after I got all that other stuff.
But what I have really wanted since I was the height of Mini-Me is a damn foul ball.
Let me explain a bit. I am a baseball fan. Big time. The San Francisco Giants, for the last twenty-two years, have had my allegiance, and will for as long as I am still kickin’. Well, I suppose if they move to a new city I’d give up on them, but I’d probably give up on my wife too if she moved into a new dude’s home. Until that happens the Giants (and my wife) can always count on me.
But I digress. The point I’m trying to make is that I was that kid who went to the game with a glove on his hand. I used to sit in my seat, punching my glove, spitting into it, and dreaming of a ball coming by way. In my fantasy I would make an amazing diving catch that would set the stadium cheering. The catch would be so brilliant, in fact, that the Giants on the field would all forget their game and tip their caps at me. I would nurse this fantasy all game long until the last out was recorded. I would then leave – happy the Giants won or pissed that they lost – but also sad somewhere deep inside that I didn’t catch a foul ball.
Often, on the way out, I would see pretty chicks push up their “girls” and wink at a player who would then throw them a ball. I hated these bitches. First, they didn’t earn it. A foul ball is supposed to be attained through amazing athleticism (and supposed to set the whole stadium cheering….remember?) Second, I hated these girls because I had no boobies to push up. Okay. I did have boobies. I was a fat kid. But my boobies were not nearly as sexy as the ones the ladies were toting, and certainly couldn’t have scored a ball no matter how high I pushed them up.
For twenty-one years I went to hundreds upon hundreds of games and never once got a ball. I did, however, come close a few times. Sadly, like my beloved Giants who came close to a World Series championship but never sealed the deal, I also never went home with a prized foul ball.
What follows are a few of my greatest moments (of failure) in my attempt to score a foul ball:
1. My best friend and I stood in the bleachers during batting practice when Darryl Strawberry launched a bomb toward me. I, of course, had my glove. As the ball sailed right toward me I opened my glove. This was my CHANCE!!! The ball hit the pocket, then bounced back onto the field. The whole stadium booed me. Deafeningly so. My dream had come true, but it was the version in hell where everyone booed instead of cheered. A Giant grabbed the ball on the warning track and looked up at me. I smiled and pushed up my man boobs. He shook his head, disgusted, and threw the ball toward the infield.
2. My Dad and I went to get food in the third inning (remember, I was a fat kid and needed hot dog sustenance). As we stood in line for my fattie food we saw on the TV that a ball LITERALLY bounced off my seat. Until that day I had never cried while eating a hot dog…but you can be sure that I did that day.
3. A couple years later a line drive rocketed toward my Dad and I. I opened my glove ( and likely closed my eyes). Soon huge CHEERS erupted. I smiled and looked into my glove. There was no ball. I then looked to my Dad. He held the foul ball over his head as fans cheered. Traitor, I thought. When was I gonna get MY ball?
There were other times, but there’s no need to discuss them. The story is always the same. I never got a ball…until this year.
At the time of this writing I have TWO balls in my possession, both acquired this year. How, may you ask, did I get two balls in one year after never getting one in more than twenty? Here is the answer:
BALL #1: At the Dodgers’ opening day this year against the Giants the Dodgers started a new promotion where a small portion of the outfield along the warning track was fenced off so fans could be on the field for batting practice. Cool, right? I totally thought upon arriving at the stadium that no one would be out there as the promotion, ironically, hadn’t really been promoted, but upon stepping onto the field I saw fans were everywhere. I took a spot along the fence, squished among hundreds of fans, and watched batting practice until Giants’ first baseman Daniel Ortmieier launched a ball toward the outfield. The trajectory was headed right toward me. The people around me SCREAMED. I kept cool. It bounced once. I leaned over the fence and snagged it with my bare hand. People were impressed. I’d finally got one!
My accomplishment would be even cooler if every time I told the story my wife didn’t interject with, “It was caught during batting practice. Not the game. So it’s not actually a foul ball.” This, of course, is technically true. Thanks, honey.
BALL #2: I was elsewhere when, during the Giants’ batting practice last week, Giants outfielder Fred Lewis saw Maddie in the stands and told an usher to give the ball to her. When I returned to Maddie (and her grandparents who had been holding her) I learned the news. Maddie, at her 4th game ever!!! got a ball by being cute!!! And she didn’t even have to raise her “girls.” I stared at my little girl and knew she was going to be one of those bitches I hated.
Maddie, of course, won’t be a bitch, and she’ll never flaunt her “girls” because I’m going to raise her to be too classy for that, but she is TOTALLY going to get WAY more baseballs than her old man. I, of course, am cool with this because I want Maddie to be better than me at everything.
So, in conclusion….YOU GO, LITTLE GIRL!!!!