I recently attended a Dodger game with SoSG Sax, who brought his glove with him. As related in the At-Game Recap, the lady next to me asked if he had ever caught a foul ball. I lied and said, “Nope, but who am I to ruin the dream.” Which made me realize that I, unfortunately, have never experienced that very dream - the dream of catching a foul ball.
Now I did catch a home run ball, but during batting practice and not at Dodger Stadium, but at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, in Baltimore, Maryland. However, the story goes further back than that incident. It was 1992 and I was at the new Oriole Park, incidentally again with SoSG Sax. Sax was more concerned about his other companion that he had met up with at the park and they were talking and having a beer in the bar beyond right field. It was still an hour before the game and I was more interested in the ballpark than their conversation, so I told them I was going to walk around. The park was brand new and the red brick motif was stunning. I walked onto Eutaw Street and was indulging in the brand new Oriole Park with the smell of Boog Powell’s ribs wafting from the grill and the sounds of the crowd echoing off the B&O Warehouse beyond right field. I then hear someone yell “Heads up!” and I look toward my left and see a ball screaming towards me. Stunned, I stick my right hand out to grab it. The ball careens off the ground and skips right into my hand...and then abruptly spins off of it like a gyroscope hitting a wall. BAM - and in less than a second and the ball is heading off towards someone else. There is a scramble for the ball on the ground and some lucky fan raises it up in victory. Feeling euphoric from my brush with greatness, I raced back to Sax and his friend, out of breath, and could only get out the words “Ball....hit hand...almost caught....” Sax and his friend looked at me like I was hit in the head with the ball, instead of almost catching it. Plus, I think I ruined their alone time.
I did return to the scene of the crime (I was robbed) about six years later. I was again walking Eutaw Street before an Oriole game and I heard someone say “Incoming!” I looked to my left and see a ball bounce right in front of me and arching right towards my position. It is funny how I can close my eyes and still picture that ball against the cloudy sky spinning straight for me. This time I jumped a little and caught the ball with two hands. Triumphantly, I held it up in victory. Redemption at last.
I have gone to Dodger Stadium on numerous occasions and have even brought a glove to some of the games. I sometimes sit along the third-base line on the field level behind the Dodger dugout trying to anticipate a left-hander that is late on a fastball. I see a number of fans on Diamond Vision victoriously displaying their souvenirs. I love watching someone catch a foul ball on the fly and their reaction afterwards. I also wonder what the proper etiquette is after you have the ball. Should you celebrate only if you catch it on the fly? If you pick it up from the ground is that sort of cheating? Should you give it to the little kid sitting in front of you or keep it and place it on your bookcase to collect dust (as my Oriole Park one is doing right now)? Have any of you caught a foul ball? If so, please share your story so I can live vicariously through you. I still wonder if I will ever catch a foul ball - hopefully on the fly and bare-handed. That will truly be a dream come true.