I have caught two baseballs at a ballpark in my life

Regarding the infamous foul ball couple from Texas (Sean Leonard and Shannon Moore) and the attention that my post on that topic got, let me demonstrate what you are supposed to do when you get a batted ball at the ballpark.

I have caught two baseball at a ballpark in my life.

The first one was at Shea Stadium in 1993.

The Mets were rotten that year. The infamous “Worst Team That Money Can Buy” club. They lost 103 games and did so with no class and (for that time) an outrageously high payroll.

So that summer when I was in New York preparing for my senior year at NYU, I went to a game and good seats were available.

I was there for batting practice and a foul ball came right to me. I went up to the aisle and caught it (there wasn’t a lot of competition.)

I held up the ball for all to see.

I then looked up and saw there was a dad and his son walking toward my aisle getting ready to find their seat.

I ran up and handed the ball to the little boy. (That’s the boy and the dad below..)

He was about 4 or 5 then. He’s probably about 23 or 24 years old now. And I bet he remembers getting a ball at a Mets game when he was a kid.

That ball meant more to that kid than it would have to me. And I KNOW the father was thrilled when I gave it to him. He gave me his address and asked for me to mail a copy of the picture. (That was PRE digital picture days. You actually had to mail prints back then.)

The only other time I got a ball?

It was 2008 and I went to a game at San Jose Municipal Stadium to see the Single A SJ Giants play the Modesto Nuts.

I took my twin sons to the game, which was their first professional game.

They barely could tell what was happening in the game.

But at one point a ball came our way.

I got it and handed it to my son Aidan.

He asked me where I got it from and I told him it was one of the balls the players were using.

Aidan then got upset and said “It’s the PLAYERS ball. Not OUR ball. You told us that if we found something that doesn’t belong to us, we should give it back!”

It took a while to explain that a foul ball into the stands was an exception.

My other son, Matty, had no such problem. In the picture above, Matty is holding onto the ball while Aidan is looking into the field, trying to figure out which player the ball actually belongs to.

Either way, the point is, you catch a ball, you give it to a kid.

The kid will be happier to have the ball and you have a better story to tell.

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Foul Ball and Media lessons from Sully

A lot has been made about that event in Arlington the other day. A ball was tossed into the stands by Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland. A parent and his son tried to catch it. Instead Sean Leonard caught it and gave it to his fiancee Shannon Moore. And while they grinned and posed with the ball, the kid was crying his eyes out next to them.

All the while it was being captured on the YES Network with Yankees announcer Michael Kay trashing Leonard and Moore. Eventually someone on the Rangers got wind of this and made sure the kid got a ball. While the kid was smiling, Leonard and Moore were oblivious and still in Kay’s doghouse.

Since then, the event when viral on line and Leonard and Moore have become villains. And they have tried to counter attack by demanding an apology from Kay and trying to get sympathy through the media about them getting married soon.

So let me give Leonard and Moore a few pointers.

First of all, why the hell do we know your names now?
How stupid can you be to have people know who you are? You two did interviews? Told people where you were from?

Have you ever been ON the Internet?

People already think you are awful people. And when people think you are awful and go on line, they can attack you with the safety of anonymity. Before you were just two douches at a Rangers game. And today you are Sean Leonard and Shannon Moore.

Nice job. I’m sure people sending you stuff on line will be very sympathetic.
I could post a picture of one of my sons kissing a baby duck and someone would write an obscene comment. (And someone else would go on a Ron Paul rant.)

What part of this seemed smart?

News cycles move so fast that everyone on the planet was going to forget about you before I finished typing this sentence.

So what did you do? You prolonged it by going on TV to tell your side of the story and demand an apology from Michael Kay!

Oooh, I’m sure Michael Kay just wet his pants. He’s been an employee of the YES Network for over a decade which means for a while he was taking orders from George Freaking Steinbrenner. Call it a hunch, but I’m guessing a dopey engaged couple in Texas isn’t going to get an apology from a seasoned New York sports figure.

Secondly, what is to gain from “Getting your story out.” Every time the story is told, people are reminded of who the heck you are and see the video clip again. Nobody will listen to a word you say. They are already swearing at you and calling you unrepeatable names. Do you really think anyone is saying “Wait! Let’s hear what the douchey couple has to say!”?

The best thing you could have done after the game was to lay low, say nothing and in a day or two it would have passed.

The worst thing? Everything you did.

The one positive thing you DID do was you didn’t trash the kid.

As for catching a foul ball, the protocol is quite simple.
You give the ball to the kid. When a ballplayer or a ball boy or girl throws a ball into the stands, they are looking for a kid and will toss it directly to them.

It’s THEIR ball. Fork it over.

I’ve been to more Major League games than I can count. Do you know how many balls I have caught from my first game in 1977 to now?


Do you know where that foul ball is?

I gave it to a kid.

In 1993, I was 21 years old and went to a Reds/Mets game at Shea Stadium. A ball came my way. I got it. I held it up so everyone could see I got it. Then I looked around, found a kid, handed him the ball, and that was that.

If you don’t know you are supposed to do that then why the hell are you at a ballgame?

Finally, let me give you one more tip, Sean and Shannon.
If you two ever have kids together, you will find out that the act of staying at a ballgame with a young kid is tenuous.

It usually is late, they don’t understand the game and they get antsy sitting there.
And as a baseball fan, you hope to enjoy the game as much as you can without the kid becoming unbearable.

Do you know what is unbearable?
Having the kid cry.

Simple solution. Fork the ball over.

It’s not that complicated.

Have a nice wedding. I hope you don’t interfere with anyone trying to catch the bouquet.

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