THROW IT BAAACK!!! (even if it’s a fake ball)

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.”

Amen, brother.

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.



    Zack, i completely agree with you…i dont think id ever throw a homerun ball back. the only way they’d get me to throw the ball back is if they would throw me with the ball.


    I have a story about an obnoxious fan yelling “Throw it back!”

    I was sitting in the left field seats at Camden back in April. The Twins and Orioles were battling in the top of the 10th inning when Jacque Jones hit a HR to center field, the Orioles fan behind me starting yelling, “Throw it back!” He went on yelling until the next pitch to Shannon Stewart… This pitch ended up flying right at us. A sure HR right in my reach, but I was blocked by a few fans crowding the aisle, the ball bounced off a few people’s hands and landed in the grasp of the obnoxious ‘throw it back’ fan. What did he do? He held onto it tighter than the lid on a pickle jar.

    It just goes to show that most fans who yell, “Throw it back!” wouldn’t throw it back if they had caught the ball.


  3. Zack

    It’s good to know I’m not alone on this issue, though I suspect most people who read this blog would agree.


    That’s a GREAT story. I love it. Thank you. Nice comparison to the jar.


    Thanks, Zack. Whens your next game? My Twins are in NY right now… you should check them out.


    Hey Zach hows it going? Anyways I read the entry titled ”Is there a fact checker in the house”? and you gave a link to an article someone wrote about you and you said they made a big mistake. Can you tell me what that mistake was? Im pretty curious. Also I was wondering, when did you go to the Rogers center and was it a good park for snagging baseballs?


    In response to‘s comment, I just moved to Toronto, and rogers centre is amazing. It’s a GREAT place to snag balls, theres basically NO crowds. They have $2 tickets most of the time, and the crowds are empty–unless it’s a yankees or red sox game. However, it’s pretty dull looking, just a cement building that hosts baseball in addition to various, various other events ::yawn :: I cant wait to get back to yankee stadium– the intensity is crazy down there.

  7. Zack

    I’m not sure when my next game will be, and that’s really frsutrating. I tried to see your Twins last night, but things didn’t exactly go as planned. I’ll explain what happened in my entry later today.


    It’s good to see you back on here. Aside from two aborted trips to ball games in the last six days, everything’s great. The mistake in that FHM article was in the blurb about Randy Johnson. Maybe you can figure it now that I’ve narrowed it down for you? Haha! Suspense! If you go to my personal web site ( and click “Snagged Balls: When & Where,” you can look at all the games I’ve been to since 1993. You’ll see that I got to the Rogers Centre (back when it was still called “SkyDome”) in ’93 and again in 2000. The reason why I didn’t get any balls there the first time is that I was on a camp trip and missed BP and got stuck in the upper deck for both games.

    evilsnare is right. The place is ugly, but it’s great for balls because the crowds have shrunk in recent years. Also, I found Canadian baseball fans (as a whole…yes, I’m gteneralizing) to be extremely passive. When I was in Toronto, it felt like I was the only one in the ballpark who was REALLY going for balls. People were looking at me like I was crazy. (And I was looking at them like THEY were crazy.)

    I suppose the intensity of Yankee Stadium might be fun once in a while for you out-of-towners, but I consider myself unlucky to be stuck with that place as my local ballpark.


    Man I still cant find out the mistake for some reason. I bet its something really obvious but im just to stupid to realize what it is. I see the Johnson bit when he asks you about just wearing a Mets hat but I cant seem to find the mistake.

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