They’ve killed more people than crab apples. I don’t know if that’s really true. I can only assume that nobody has ever been killed by a crab apple. This deadly device, the killing machine, I am referring to are foul balls. There are hundreds of them every day. They whiz through the air at children. They’re the goal of every straight male to get. I’ve been lucky with foul balls at baseball games. I’ve gone to enough and know enough “tricks of the trade” to get them. It’s really rather easy. Just go to batting practice and beg every millionaire you see for one. If you’re a kid or a girl (the two types of humans that pro athletes like to fuck) you’ll probably go home with a souvenir baseball. Congratulations! You’ve saved $8 from the Pro Shop.
Most of the foul balls I’ve gotten don’t have that exciting of a story behind them. I’ve only ever caught once during a game and even that one bounced off a railing. My baseball coach saw it and gave me a thumbs up. He’s dead now. I don’t think the two are related.
The first foul ball I got was at the same place, a minor league baseball stadium near my home. I went with a friend, we’ll call him Michael because that was his real name and chances are he will not read this, remember it, nor care. As we were leaving, a man tossed us a foul ball. In the car ride home, Michael and I had a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors to determine who deserved the ball more. I won and he wanted to go best out of 3. That sneak. Fuck him. I had never gotten a foul ball before. Who knew that I’d end up with about 80 more in my lifetime?
The first major league foul ball I got was when I was with a friend named Brian. Brian is interested as he has the privilege of being the only guy I have ever showered with. I’ll get to that story another time when my therapist thinks I’m ready. It was 1998 and Philadelphia Phillies bullpen coach, Galen Cisco pointed to me over the bullpen and tossed a ball 20 feet into the air and into my glove. It was an amazing feeling. A fat old man who I had seen on television had made eye contact with me and thought that I deserved a souvenir. I could have dove off the grandstand because my life hasn’t had any greater moment.
My foul ball escapades continued. Most of them were “caught” hanging outside of the actual stadiums at minor league ballparks. It was easy and my dad enjoyed it because he could smoke and watch his fat son run after irrelevance.
The most famous place I have ever gotten a foul ball was at Fenway Park in Boston. During batting practice and during day games, they place a black tarp over the centerfield seats. I stood in front of that tarp and waited as batting practice home runs would be hit at me and onto the tarp. They’d roll down and I’d race middle-aged men for them. I got three in one day. The first had rolled down the tarp and a slightly overweight man even more than slightly had shoved me out of the way. He overran it and the ball rolled into my Barry Bonds glove. Why did I own a Barry Bonds glove? He’s one of the my least favorite players of all time. I had a shirt with him on it too. Christ I’m the white version of an Uncle Tom. The second ball I got was similar except I had to crawl through a few seats to get it. A hot girl with big tits and braces bumped into me and said “Sorry.” This was the first time a hot girl with big tits and braces had ever talked to me. I felt like a stud. She probably thought I was so badass to have two foul balls. The only way to impress her more was to get a third. I got that by reaching in front of a younger kid when a player threw it up in our direction. To be fair, he had also gotten two balls already. I had to one up the ante. Big titted, braced, pussy was on the line. My dad tried getting into the action and thought he got a ball to give me when really it was a stray that one of the players had overthrown to another kid. The player and kid were having a catch and the kid didn’t time his jump. So my dad dove, knocked off his glasses, and held the ball up trying to get me a four-peat. I explained that they were having a catch which was no big deal because now I got to have catch with a major league baseball player. It was fun and I’ll never forget it. The player will probably never forget it either because I plunked him in the head and he had to retire three weeks later due to repeated concussions.
As I grew older, foul balls no longer meant much. Sure, when I go to a game I’ll try to grab it if it comes at me. I just don’t find it necessary to bring a glove, fishing net, or a large top hat and go running after anything. I’ve had my fair share of foul balls and it’s time for the new kids to go after them. I’ve begged my heart out for most of them, I’ve showed up early and pushed children out of the way for others, and only on very rare occasions would they just fall into my lap. Look how much I have written on foul balls. It’s no wonder people die trying to catch them.
The last foul ball I got was at batting practice when I went on vacation to Toronto. I swear, I am the only one that got a single foul ball that entire session. It was a grounder and I reached over the fence and took away before a thinner, more attractive male who probably makes more money than I do could get it to give to his girlfriend. I felt a little bad about it. Reaching over for the ball was nothing more than instinct. This poor guy probably has never gotten a ball in his life. His relationship could have been riding on it and here I come, foul ball catching semi-pro, and I steal his thunder. I apologized and said he could go after the next one which I immediately realized was the cockiest thing I could say when really I meant it nicely. No other balls did come and he probably killed himself when he got home. The ball sits in a giant container filled with loose change in my apartment. I have a lot of loose change so it has plenty of company.
Foul balls are such a simple thing that can bring such joy to a human being. I love it when I see a baseball player toss one up to a fan. It’s all they need to do to say “Hey, thanks for cheering for me!” Imagine, foul balls, something that may have little to no outcome to the rest of the game may be the turning point in a child’s life that makes him a fan forever. Foul balls don’t kill people, carelessly reaching over railings do.
My dad informed me that in Texas, the place where the guy fell to his death reaching for the third out of an inning (not even a historical ball), they are building a statue to commemorate the fallen. This is silly. A man falls to his death and he gets a statue? Aren’t statues supposed to be reserved for people with great achievements, not the klutzy? I know it’s tragic that this guy died, but a statue?
All of the statues I can think of are of important historical figures doing important historical things. Statues of George Washington have him riding a horse. Statues of Martin Luther King Jr. have him giving speeches. What could a statue of this guy possibly be doing? Landing on his head with his feet dangling in the air? Adding a statue of a man who died doing something stupid negates the power of every other statue. Five years from now people are going to go up to it and scratch their head as to what he contributed besides making a bad decision. Insensitive hoodlums will cave in the head with sledgehammers. It’s a dumb idea. If we put statues up every place someone died we’d have a world full of statues. How about a patch or a commemorative pin if they feel so badly about it? I have to stop asking so many questions, I already know the answers, leave it alone and let the family grieve without a dumb bronze statue.
Statues are built for a reason. When aliens attack and destroy civilization some remnants of statues will remain. After we defeat the aliens we will find these statues and be reminded of the great past achievements we as human beings have had. They’re essential to our culture and remind of where we came from.