It would only seem timely that here, with only a couple of weeks left in the baseball season and the Red Sox carrying only a 3% chance of making the playoffs (editor’s note: that’s up from 1.7% chance last week thanks to a little four-game run), that we’d pay tribute to the world’s greatest game and the foul ball.
Second to a catching a home run, the foul ball is the ultimate souvenir. It’s your chance to obtain, without trespassing, a piece of the game and, in many cases, it’ll come right to you. You don’t have to stand in line, push yourself into a crowd of hungry autograph hunters. You can just sit there and wait like a fisherman. And, in time, you’ll be thrusted right into the action as a hot foul ball is inches from cracking your skull into fifteen different pieces just before you throw your hand up to write history that you’ll tell your grandkids. It’s a moment of glory that many men drool over. It’s that dogged competitive hardwiring that curses the common male. Girls are cool because, in short, they don’t give a good damn about foul balls. Hear me out. But first, look at this picture and tell what ballpark we’re at:
I’m calling the Ballpark (Soupbowl) in Arlington because it seems every team is represented except the Rangers. You have the Sox (of course, they’re twenty deep now everywhere you go), Orioles, Indians, Rays and, if you look carefully even a lowly National League team…the Diamondbacks. The Diamondbacks?! I didn’t know D-Back fans could travel outside of Phoenix without shriveling up and dying. The other thing you have to notice about this picture: the only morons with their hand extended to get that rock are, in fact, men. Men failing. Men failing horribly. That Rays fan (in the Virginia shirt and the braided belt [awesome]) is put in a compromising position that no man wants to deal with: beer or foul ball. Looks like he might end up losing both.
There’s not one woman in the mix there trying to grab that ball because, simply, girls don’t understand the importance of catching a ball that was foul. Conversely, men will risk life and limb for a foul ball. That one fan who fell from the second deck in Arlington leaning over the ledge for a foul ball…yep, you guessed it…was a dude. Or Lou Ferrigno here back in 1981 caught by that lustful pursuit of greatness and almost losing his life in the process. Luckily, he brought a clone to the game to help his dumb ass back up to the second deck. Dude, it’s just a foul ball. Home run? Yeah, extend yourself for a homer, but not a foul ball.
It is estimated that there are roughly 40 foul balls in any one major league baseball game. That means that, in every game, there’s 40 opportunities to see men act a fool and claw, scrape and clobber themselves into contention for a foul. Some men, like the one below, opts out of the game and now he’s captured and enshrined into the internet hall of shame. This not-quite-a-man because he wanted nothing of the foul ball is actually measured less than others who might attempt for the foul and still come up empty handed. The rule? Better to play and lose than not play at all.
Bartman will always represent to fans that there are times to just stay seated and don’t let your own ego and manhood get in the way of the ballgame. Normally, it’s when you’re sitting in first few rows from the field of play that you have to worry about this. Oh, Steve, why must you suck so much. I guarantee you, though, if he was a little eight year old girl, you wouldn’t know her name. In fact, you probably wouldn’t have remembered that a fan got in the way. Moises “Mr. Pee Hands” Alou probably would’ve never reacted that way and it would’ve been another botched foul ball. But because Bartman had testicles and chose to chase the foul ball and, in the end, embarrassingly didn’t even come away it, he stands as a sore reminder of poor judgement and the fine line that exists between glory and a lifetime of loneliness. Girls, however, know nothing of this line because that they’d even want a foul ball in the first place moreover pursue one so aggressively is rare.
How about another stupid man. This one happens to be a Yankee fan. Probably a drunk one.
Or yet another. A Twins fan taking an eye jammie. Woman looks onward mid-applaud. Good for her.
How about a ball to the neck? This woman says “no thanks” and ducks out of the way like any normal logical human. The man, however, thinks that he’ll be able to catch the ball with his neck and a fist. This technique is new to me.
Another thing that I’ve noticed is that most ballclubs know the difference between a man coming up on the business end of a foul ball and a woman going through the same experience. Let’s take, for instance, a man taking a foul ball to the backside of his hand as he’s protecting his face from an incoming scud. He might get a visit from security. Make sure he’s okay. Tell him to throw some dirt on it and be a man. A woman takes the same missile to the body and there’ll be two or three attendants. One from security, one medic and a representative from the front office to offer her a voucher for an upcoming game. Girls can col’ rake in.
Just this year, there was a perfect example of this paradigm. A sharp foul ball was sent coasting into the stands at an Astros game. The replay clearly shows a young man in position to catch the foul ball in front of his girlfriend who, like most girls, is chilling there with no intent of getting that ball. That’s what boys do. At the last second, the boyfriend makes a sharp movement out of the way of the foul ball and the ball strikes his unsuspecting girlfriend. Here we see a still as the foul ball hits his girlfriend. Look at his position. He’s about five or six feet away from the trajectory. There’s a number of failures here.
First, he positions himself in front of his girlfriend blocking her view of the action. When you take this position, you’re expected to catch the ball. You assume liability because your girlfriend can’t get ready to catch it because she can’t even see it. Secondly, the last second bail. By quickly moving out of the way at the last second, not only does he prove he’s not a real man, he’s not boyfriend material either. When the going gets rough, this dude’s gonna bolt. Of course, I could tell you that by the way he wears his ballcap like a dropout rapper. Third, afterwards he blames the lights on a line drive. Not only is it a lousy excuse for his poor performance, it’s unlikely that’s the reason he failed. That’s like blaming the sun in the Astrodome. Dude’s just scared of catching a foul ball on his bare hands and even more scared of looking like a loser to his friends. Instead, he comes off like not only a loser but a bad boyfriend. So is the story of a man not capable of catching the foul ball. If this was two girls, it wouldn’t even get a mention. These two made it on the Early Show.
And three days later, she dumped him. Good for her. Girls have that power. As a man, you’re to catch the foul ball. As a girl, you’re to get the foul ball your boyfriend caught. That’s a great gig. And if he fails to catch it, you have the power to col’ dump him. The tape doesn’t lie: this man is a loser. And it all started with one innocent foul ball. One of 40 that were sent into the stands that night.
Girls are cool because they got their priorities straight. A foul ball ain’t worth anything. They don’t care who’s bat it came off of.