I don’t understand the “tradition” of throwing back the ball when the opposing team hits a home run. I don’t know where this got its start although, if I were forced to take a guess, I’d say either Boston or Chicago. But you’ve just caught a home run ball at a major league baseball game. Off the bat of a major league baseball player. You’ve either just completed a feat that requires some degree of athleticism, or been extremely lucky, or a combination of the two. To then throw the ball back on the field at the urgings of some meatheads seated around you is inexplicable to me.
First, if security can pick you out of the crowd, and they will, you’re going to be tossed out of the stadium. Second, with only a small amount of effort, you’ll probably be able to find some wide-eyed kid sitting nearby whose month you could absolutely make by tossing the ball to them. Third, in the unlikely event that ball turns out to be the first career homer by the guy who eventually breaks Barry Bonds’ career record, and it’s worth a fortune, you’re going to feel like an utter tool.
Seriously, don’t be that person. Remember what it was like the first time you saw a game live. If you can’t recapture that feeling yourself, help someone else create some early baseball memories.
On an unrelated note, I love good, intelligent writing – writing that advances well-argued positions, writing that makes you think, writing that moves you. I’m always jealous of that kind of talent, but I love finding it. There’s a lot of that writing out there today if you know where to look for it. If you’re a baseball fan, and you don’t already know about Joe Sheehan, you should. Joe’s a booming voice full of logic and passion, ex of Baseball Prospectus and currently found writing for Sports Illustrated, co-hosting a podcast, and publishing a subscription newsletter. It’s in the latter forum where I think Joe particularly shines, unfiltered and unconstrained by word count and publishing deadlines.
Joe stepped away for personal reasons just as the current baseball season was getting geared up. Upon his return, he managed to pull off the difficult feat of writing both obliquely and movingly about the reasons for his absence. Now, a couple of months later, he’s in fine form, dissecting the all-star rosters, Cliff Lee’s win-loss record, the confounding mystery of R.A. Dickey, and the draft over the last month to provide just a few examples. On Saturday, he wrote a phenomenal piece about the latest developments in the Jerry Sandusky/Penn State situation.
I’m in no position to give anyone in the media a bump. But, if I manage to throw just one newsletter subscription his way beyond mine, I’d call that a win. It’s money well spent – check it out at www.joesheehan.com.