Saturday, August 22, 2009

On Catching Foul Balls


By now it should be obvious to anyone that the hapless Sarasota Reds, a Class A minor league team in Sarasota stink with a capital S. There is no other word to describe them.

Through out this summer season for the Reds I have been one of their most consistent and vociferous fans. To show my dedication I have sat almost every game in Section 14, Row A, Seat 1 in less than impressive Ed Smith Stadium.
Throughout the summer and all of the Reds defeats I have sat in that seat and hoped to catch at least one foul ball. I don't know how many times I've had a foul ball rocketing back at my face only to be stopped by the backstop mesh net. Lots of foul balls were caught by people down the left field line and down the right field line. Few came directly behind home plate and none of them came close to "my" seat in Section 14, Row A, Seat 1.

On Monday this week I went to yet another Reds game. This time the Reds played the Jupiter Hammerheads and this time they won resoundingly by 9-2.

I arrived at the stadium late thinking that maybe if I got there late I'd help the team win. Everything else I have done did no good - maybe a late arrival would help? When I went to purchase my ticket, my buddy Marc told me that someone else had already purchased seat 1 in Row A of Section 14. I took a seat five rows back from "my" seat in the front row. Imagine my frustration Monday night when I watched the kid sitting in "my" seat catch not one but two foul balls! Those should have been mine.

Tuesday night this week the Reds were defeated by the Manatees by a score of 8-2. The highlight of tonight's game was the umpire kicking the Sarasota pitcher out of the game for supposedly throwing a ball at a Manatee batter. He came no closer to hitting that batter than I am right now. The Sarasota coach came onto the field and was immediately ejected from the game also. I think that the Sarasota coach's use of the word "cocksucker" to describe the umpire may have contributed to his ejection. I sat in my usual seat and no foul balls came by.

Wednesday night the Reds are thoroughly demolished by the Manatees by 8-4. No foul balls came near me. The same story held last night (Thursday night) as the Reds are demolished by the hapless St. Lucie Mets by the score 10-4 with the Mets having 10. Again no foul balls fell into my seat.

Which brings us to tonight's game again against the St Lucie Mets.

On entering the stadium I purchased "my" seat and took up my position behind home plate. The first pitch of the game was thrown at exactly 7:00 p.m. with the temperature 78 cold degrees. The Mets batter swung at the first pitch and hit it foul directly behind home plate. I watched it sail over the mesh back stop and then hit the Press Box area. There it bounced forward and headed back toward the field. Seeing the ball come over the fence I watched its trajectory as it hit the Press Box and then bounce outward. It was coming directly at me in my seat.

Seeing the ball I leaped up and cauught it in my uncovered left hand! As I was grabbing the ball I held a large cup of Budweiser in my right hand. I grabbed the ball and didn't spill the beer.

The Reds beat the Mets by a score of 8-5. And to top it off I caught Minor League baseball. Life is definitely good for the retired.

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