Why do we keep having a problem with how to react when baseballs go into the stands, Rangers fans?
By now you've probably seen the video of the man stealing a ball that Mitch Moreland tossed to a youngster during Wednesday night's win over the Yankees. If you haven't, here's a link. Fair warning, it is going to make you very angry, especially when the guy's female friend poses happily with the ball for a picture while a screaming child is just inches away from her.
Kudos to the Rangers for making things right and getting the kid another ball, but it seems like a good time to go over the rules for these things. This has happened before at the Ballpark, so it seems like it is a necessary discussion for all of us to have.
The first rule is the one violated in both the cases cited up above. Kids get primacy for any ball thrown into the stands by a player. If you catch one in the air or off a bounce on a foul ball, that's fair game. You might still want to hand it to a kid so that you can bask in the adulation of the others in your section, but you work for it then you have a right to it.
When a player flips a ball to a kid and it winds up in your hands, though, just act like an adult and give it up. It wasn't meant for you -- possible exception for beautiful women who have caught the eye of a player -- so don't act like it was. Karma matters, people.
Since we're on the subject of balls thrown into the stands, only kids should beg for a ball. It's okay to ask for one for your kid, but, again, remember you're an adult. You really want people to see you begging for something you can pick up in a sporting goods store at a pretty reasonable price? Catching a foul ball is a story you can tell with pride. Begging for and getting a ball isn't something most people want to hear about.
Also, don't bring your glove to the game if you are old enough to vote. Yes, we all like to feel nostalgic about our days on the sandlot but there's something unseemly about seeing a 37-year-old man wearing a baseball mitt on one hand while trying to drink a beer with the other. Yes, the balls can come at you pretty fast but once again we're going to fall back on acting like an adult.
Let's all commit these rules to memory and make the Ballpark a place that can be celebrated for the great team that calls it home instead of ridiculed for the people sitting in the stands.