There’s no mystery that I am not a fan of Joe Buck. As he called the Cubs-Dodgers game on Saturday night, Buck enlightened us that when a player slices a ball foul in Wrigley Field, watch out. Really, Joe? Thanks.
I thought we should all just turn the other way. All kidding aside, Buck says this dangerous situation is because the seats are so close together in that particular ball park. I sat in Wrigley and did not experience that feeling but what do I know. I do know that foul balls have a story to tell and when you reflect on these near misses, you learn something.
Saturday afternoon gave me the opportunity to watch my close to 19-year-old son, Chris, a sophomore at Syracuse University, start as catcher against Penn State in a three game series. As a baseball mom, I am used to running out into foul territory to lasso up balls to re-use in the game.
After all, baseballs aren’t cheap and the home team is responsible for supplying the game balls. My son laughed as I ran out to grab a good many of them in the game on Saturday but in some ways, he and I were both reminiscing about his days in Little League and Babe Ruth. It was those many days that brought him to be the player he is, contributing with his bat and glove in the win against Penn State.
Later on, there was his near miss, a foul ball in right field that would have started up a rally in the late innings. “I thought it was going to be a fair ball,” I said to him. “Nah, it was pulling foul the whole time,” he responded. Maybe, he’s right, but I remember always hoping, criss-crossing fingers, arms and legs, that he would get THAT hit. You know the one that scored the walk-off or go ahead run. That, You’re on the Mark Teixeira, key hit. We can all relate, even if it’s just from our living rooms. But then that blast slices foul and our hopes dim with the umpire’s hand signaling away from fair territory.
Then there is the pop up foul that the catcher fields that gives the defending team a free out, as I like to call it. When my son jumped up and threw off his mask today, my fingers and toes were crossed again, hoping he would make the play. And when he does and it ends the inning and the chances of the opposing team from scoring a run, the story has a happy ending for the catcher but not for the batter.
The foul ball always has a story to tell. Is it safety net for the extra base hit or the dream killer for the walk-off home run? Is it the game ending pop up or the dive into the seats heroic catch? The foul ball brings drama to an already dramatic game and it brings back memories of what could have been or perhaps, should have been.
I guess I can thank Joe Buck and even my mom who sat in foul territory watching the Syracuse game with me Saturday, for reminding me that foul balls not only intensify the game of baseball but allow fans and players alike to reflect on them. Whether you think you just have to straighten your swing to will that line drive into fair territory or hustle harder down the line to make an incredible catch, the foul balls of life have a story to tell you.
–Suzie Pinstripe, BYB Senior Staff Writer
BYB Hot Stove Columnist