Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A baseball just isn't worth it

You see it almost every day during the summer.  A sharply hit ground ball past third base rolls towards the on-the-field seating in left field.  Some fat ass, 4-5 beers in and looking to impress his annoyed/bored lady friend, lunges his girth toward the rolling piece of cowhide and rolled up string.  He may have even brought his glove to the game, seemingly oblivious to the fact that no one would ever want to see him play the game.  Losing his balance (an inevitability, really) he half flops out onto the field, possibly even losing his pants in the process.  The ushers help him back into his seats, everyone has a good laugh, and if it was a fair ball he's probably going to be ejected from the park.

Seriously, this happens every damn game.  And all for a $12 piece of leather with Bud Selig's reproduced autograph on it.

Baseball goes through about 160,000 of these suckers every year.  They aren't that special.

Now, and this is the God's honest truth, I hope to never go home with a batted ball.  Before every game that I attend I look around, find a kid sitting near me, and pledge to myself that if I were to end up with a ball in my hands that the kid, and not myself, will go home with the souvenir. It's not out of any bullshit sense of pseduo moral authority, it's just that I honestly don't care about a game-used ball.  I can go online right now and plunk down $20  to buy a game-used ball.  As a grown-ass man, $20 bucks is essentially nothing, and that ball bought online would mean as much to me in 10 years as one snagged in a real game would be (i.e.: nothing).  But I bet the kid would appreciate it.

But the pursuit by some of a game-used ball has even effected the outcome of championships.   The name Steve Bartman ring a bell?  With a trip to the world series, and possibly his team's first championship in (then) almost a decade, on the line, poor Mr. Barman forgot himself and took a catchable ball away from his team.  That the resulting onslaught of runs can more realistically be attributed to Alex Gonzalez's error or Mark Prior being a soft daddy's boy is beside the point; Bartman has become synonymous with fans obsession with batted balls.
He's been canonized on the southside.

Baseball fans just go nuts for a damn ball.  Hell, anyone, baseball fan or not, would seemingly trade all of their dignity for a 5 ounce piece of sporting equipment.  Maybe it's the adrenaline rush of seeing a fast moving object rolling/flying towards you.  Maybe it's the large amounts of alcohol that many people feel obliged to consume in order to enjoy a ballgame.  Regardless, concern for ones safety is seemingly thrown out the window.

This past week that point was tragically driven home last week when Texas Rangers fan Shannon Stone fell 20-feet onto concrete after lunging to catch a ricocheted foul ball in Arlington.  Despite the best efforts of doctors, Stone died in the hospital.  All over a ball.

One would hope that the incident would give all fans a sense of somber pause when chance presents them with a fleeting opportunity to grab a cheap souvenir, if only for a few months at least.  Maybe it's just not worth it, afterall.

But some fans are impervious to the warnings of fate.  Not 4 days after the incident in Texas, an idiot at last night's home run derby decided that his life was worth a ball hit in a glorified round of batting practice.  Keith Carmickle and his buddies hard already grabbed 3 balls last night before he lunged for a fourth, hurtling a metal table to do so.  He of course lost his balance, and nearly tumbled to his death in an incident eerily reminiscent of the one in Texas.
"Weeeeeee!  I'm gonna die!!!!!!"
Dude already had 3 other balls from the event!  What the flying fuck was he thinking? 

I really don't know what to say at this point.  Maybe some people would honestly rather have a ball than the rest of their lives.  (This Carmickle guy sounds like a damn moron.)  I guess I can only plead with everyone out there to please be aware of your surroundings and the fact that Dick's Sporting Goods, and a whole pallet of baseballs waiting for purchase, is just down the street.  A ball just isn't worth it.


Rico said...

I never understood the appeal of the HR derby. Ok, they're hitting balls really far. Isn't that what we pay them to do against good pitchers?

RumblinBuff said...

It's glorified batting practice and not worth any true baseball fans time. But, as Mark McGwire would say "Do you want to know the terrifying truth, or do you want to see me sock a few dingers?"

The people who watch that crap are the same people who go to Kevin James movies. In summation, people are idiots.

JT said...

Did you happen to see these morons?

~Tuba John

RumblinBuff said...

I did. It's becoming an epidemic.