Monday, September 06, 2004

It only took 29 years, but.... 

...I finally caught a foul ball at a baseball game.

Picture it: Sicily, 1936. I was sitting in Section 115, Row T at PNC Park. The Pirates' Jose Castillo fouls a ball straight back over the screen. Rather fortuitously, there were 4 empty seats to my left. I jump out of my seat, take a couple quick steps to the left and leap -- somewhat off-balanced -- with my left hand. According to eyewitnesses, I was in perfect line with the ball, but it was just a couple inches too high (If I'd had a glove on I would've had the height and could've been on SportsCenter for one of those "nice catch by that fan" shots!) Anyway, I land after my jump and the ball is bouncing right in front of my face. It hit something -- either someone's hand or a seat back -- and shot right back to me. I snatched it up.

Catching a foul ball is such a chancey thing. For a split second I wished I had caught it cleanly. But then I realized that had I reached the ball with my bare hand, I most likely wouldn't have been able to control it and would have instead sent it bouncing forward to some other lucky sap. After countless games, the right bounce was mine.

Interestingly enough, prior to today I'd been closer to catching an NFL football than a baseball. I once got my hand on a field goal by Gary Anderson, but the burly guy in the row behind me got two hands on it and won an extremely brief tug-of-war.

Anyway, this Labor Day was one to remember.

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