Last night, a fan in the left field bleachers at Wrigley Field snagged a Pedro Feliz home run ball and refused to throw it back. The other Bleacher Creatures immediately started yelling at him to throw it back, but he was already sitting down, earphones on, prized souvenir cupped securely between clasped palms when he mumbled a few words to no one in particular. I read his lips: “I’m sorry. I can’t.”
What happened next? The cameras caught a woman (wearing a “Throw it back!” tee-shirt) handing another ball to this guy and encouraging him to throw that one back on the field. He did, and the crowd went nuts.
Yeah, nice tradition.
I would NEVER throw a ball back…and I did once have the chance after catching a Mike Bordick homer a few years ago at Yankee Stadium. Bordick was then a member of the Orioles, so naturally the Bronx faithful weren’t too pleased when I decided to keep it. The entire left side of the stadium began chanting a seven-letter word in unison, a word unsuitable for print, but let’s just say that it begins with an ‘A’ and everyone has one. Shortly thereafter, a beer-guzzling monster got right up in my face and screamed, “THROW IT BACK RIGHT NOW, MOTHER[EXPLETIVE DELETED]!!!”
I looked up at the guy and said, “YOU catch a home run, and YOU throw it back.” And that was the end of it.
Ahh, I miss Yankee Stadium. It’s been nearly six weeks since I’ve had the pleasure of overpaying to be abused there. And tonight, I’m going back. I wish the attendance would be under 40,000, but that’s unlikely. All this home run talk–and lingering nightmares of Rob Marchese–is making me want to sit in the short porch in right. If, by some miracle, there’s an empty seat, I will. Look for me on TV. I’ll be wearing a black tee-shirt to go with my very shaved, very white head.
20 days ’til Cincinnati.