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!!!!!!"|
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.