Years ago at Yankee Stadium, I was sitting in the first row of the upper deck along the 3rd base line when a left-handed batter sliced a foul ball over my head and into a section of empty seats on my left. It was Fleet Week; sitting 20 rows up, above the main aisle in the “Tier Reserved” seats, were dozens of guys from the navy, all dressed in white suits and white hats.
I was already sprinting through my row of seats before the ball landed; the guys from the navy, of course, reacted much slower–but it was hit closer to their section.
They started climbing over railings, pouring down the stairs, and combing through the empty rows of seats. I was still running and climbing up, hoping to reach the spot and find the ball before they did.
It was a magnificent race, one that is unfortunately no longer possible in today’s overcrowded Yankee Stadium, and I won. I didn’t win all my races of the early-90s, but I found this ball first and, perhaps unpatriotically, did a series of obnoxious dance moves (i.e. John Travolta in “Pulp Fiction,” the end-of-the-level dancers in Tetris, etc.) to celebrate my triumph.
I carried on for at least 30 seconds, parading through the aisles as if I’d just caught a record-breaking home run ball.
I was happy.
What can I say.
The next day in school, my baseball-loving classmates informed me that the cameras showed a clip of my dance routine, and that when it dragged on, Yankees announcer (and Hall of Fame shortstop) Phil Rizzuto said, “Okay, son, take your seat, it’s only a baseball.”