Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Foul Ball

And lest I forget, I thought I'd share my story of the foul ball. This is another example of why I believe in fate.

Yesterday, as I'm sure many days have been of late here in the Midwest, was a hot muggy day in Rockford. Through the first four innings of the game, which started around 7:15, I was sweating like a madman, as was just about everybody else at the stadium. Now I never leave sporting events early. People who leave early make me wonder why they ever came at all. But at that point, there were a lot of things going for leaving early. 1) The sweat issue. 2) Rockford, the home team, was winning 6-0, while the other team had only 2 hits so far. 3) There was a family sitting next to me with two young girls, no older than 6, and they wanted to go somewhere every five minutes, so I had to keep getting up out of my seat to let them and their dad get by. 4) I had to wake up early the next day to drive. So adding it all up, at the end of the fourth inning, about 8:30pm, I decided to take off. As I was getting close to the exit, which is behind home plate and the protective screen, I said to myself, "Well, let's stick around until the home half of the fifth inning when the game becomes official." But instead of going back to my seat, I hung around in the standing room area behind home plate. A few pitches after I take my position, a batter swats a foul ball straight back over my head. Now this is a small stadium, seats only about 1,500 people, so most long foul balls fly outside of the stadium. Well this foul ball did just that, over the roof and into the parking lot. A bunch of kids who wanted to get a ball go tearing out into the lot to try to find it. I just laughed and turned back to the game. A few batters later, another foul ball goes straight back. As soon as the kids saw where it was going, they tear ass towards the gate. I tracked the ball as it flew over the roof. But this one didn't quite get over the roof. It hit something on the roof and bounced backwards. As soon as I saw it change trajectory, I knew I had a shot. The ball arced away from the roof, hit the concourse, bounced up about 9 feet in the air, and I jumped up and snatched it perfectly before it started to come back down. I couldn't stop grinning as I looked at it. Finally, my first foul ball! Then I looked at my other hand. I was holding my car keys in my left hand when I caught the ball! I was THAT close to leaving the game! So how's that for fate- on a cross country road trip, at a minor league game for two teams I had never heard of, in a town hundreds of miles away from home, deciding to leave the game early for all the reasons I detailed, even though I never EVER leave a game early, changing my mind temporarily, then not going back to my seat, and having the ball take a wacky bounce off something on the roof. Destiny, I tells ya! It took almost 30 years of my life, and almost 5,000 miles of driving, but I finally got me a foul ball. My white whale has been captured.

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