Foul balls - give them to kids or not?

There is a thread in the pit about some jackass who took out a little kid getting a foul ball, and kept it. That is not what this thread is about.

This thread is about the following hypothetical: You have never caught a foul ball before at a major league baseball game. You’re sitting just to the right of the foul pole in right field - prime foul ball territory. Sitting around you are people of various ages (2, 4, 7, 10, 13, 16, 23 and 93). None of them have caught a foul ball either (and you are aware of this fact).

The Mighty Casey comes up to bat (Casey is a shoe-in for the Hall of Fame, due to grabbing the Triple Crown three years running - the Triple Triple Crown, if you will). Before he strikes out mightily, he fouls a ball right towards your section. Everyone makes their own effort for the ball, but you end up catching it. Do you give the ball away, and who do you give it to (assume all had an equal attempt/chance)?

Me, I don’t give to a single person. Kids who are too young to catch the ball aren’t going to appreciate it. Kids who are old enough to catch it don’t need the patronization. The 93 year old might get it from me, but this is a ball from the Mighty Casey, fercrissake!

Does the 23 year old have large breasts?

Boy, I’d sure like to THINK I’d give it to a kid. I hate to view such things as fungible items.

But I really don’t know. I just don’t.

Though, fortunately, I now come equipped with my OWN 4 year old I could be shown giving the ball to on ESPN. I get national praise, the ball stays in the family, the kid gets into college effectively free.


Same here, JC. I’ve caught several for my kid and she still lights up every time like it’s her first. Still though, since she has a couple next time I’ll encourage her to share with someone who’s still waiting for their first.

The last time I got one was on my grandad’s 100th birthday. I gave it to him when I got home, although he later sent it back to me and insisted my daughter keep it.

It depends on how you caught the ball. If it was coming directly to a kid, and he’s prepared to catch it, and you snag it from him with your faster reflexes, then you’d be an ass to keep it. If it’s in the air, and you snag it, and you’ve never caught a ball before and you’re really excited, then keep it. Me, I’d take a little poll among the older members of the crowd (and I’d take into account the fact that I’m incredibly clumsy and will probably never catch a ball again in my life).

It’s kind of an unlikely scenario, though, as Casey never played in the majors. :smiley:

I really disagree with taking a poll. The answer is nearly guaranteed to be “give it to the kid” - and that kid isn’t going to appreciate it one bit. In fact, it’ll probably be destroyed within a week from throwing it off the side of a brick building (if the dog doesn’t get to it first). Plus, they have that much longer to get their own chance of catching the ball.

All opinions are null and void if you’re on a first date, of course. Stupid girls just don’t understand!

Your question reminds me of a story about my husband. My husband, our son (who I believe was 5 at the time), and I were at a Rockies game when a foul ball came right to our section. The stands were not crowded at all, so my husband ran into the aisle to snag it for our son. He was grappling with another man, when he happened to look up at the man’s face. He saw the man had down’s syndrome and immediately let the ball go. I didn’t see the other man’s face, just his back, so when my hubby came back to the seats I asked him why he just let the ball go. He told me why, and of course, I understood. We both felt that letting him keep the ball was the right thing to do.

The story isn’t quite what you asked, but is in the ballfield (pardon the pun). So, I guess I would give the ball up to a youngster because it is the right thing to do.

Now a home run ball…that’s another story. :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m sorta divided on this one. I’ve actually done both.

At a Lexington Legends game last year, my buddies and I gave away the ball, mainly because it hit the kid we gave it to before we caught it.

However, I was at a University of Kentucky game earlier this year and kept the one I got (I was also just about the only person in the section, too.)

When I was a little kid, a guy handed me a foul ball he caught. I never played with it and I still have it.

In light of this, I’ve always promised myself if I caught one I would give it to one of those little kids whose sole purpose there is to catch one.

A big firm “it depends.”

I wouldn’t grapple with a kid over a ball. As another poster mentioned, if the ball was headed for the kid and I snatched it away due to my quicker reflexes (bwahahaha, that’ll be the day), I’d give it to him/her. But if the ball came right at me, I’d probably keep it. Then again, if there was a Make A Wish kid sitting right next to me whose last request in life was to get a foul ball, I’d give it up.

Of course, this is purely hypothetical. The only time a foul ball came right to me, I ducked. :rolleyes:

I may skew your poll a bit since I’m not a baseball fan. Still, let’s say you managed to drag me to a game sometime – it could happen, say on a nice spring afternoon with good company. Now, if a foul ball came screaming my way, the first thing that would cross my mind would be DUCK! But if the gods of chance arranged it so the ball bounced around a bit and somehow landed in my lap, I’d probably just give it to the first person that asked. Although if it actually had hit someone in the noggin on the way over, I’d offer it to that person first.

But that’s just me. :slight_smile:

I’ve never actually caught a foul ball, but at a minor league game, I sprained my thumb in an attempt. I was about 24 or so at the time, tried to catch the lazy foul straight back, but there was incredible spin on the ball and by thumb bent all the way back to my wrist. I stood there knowing I had missed, but also waiting for the feeling in my hand to return. EMTs escorted me to First Aid, and a guy several rows back (maybe in his 50’s) who wound up with the ball, chased after me and handed it to me. “You earned it,” he said.

If it was hit right at me and I actually caught it this time with no effort or contest, I’d keep it. If my boy is with me, it’s his (after we get to the car). If there aer a bunch of kids with me and I have to reach or move over a few steps, I’d like to think I’d just toss it to the nearest kid. Unless he’s been a brat all game, then I’d throw it to the quiet kid 2 rows away from him.

I caught a foul ball clean, on the fly in about 1998. I kept it without even thinking about it, but then again, I didn’t run over any little kids to get it. Now, I’d give it to my son if he was with me, or maybe to a kid who caught my eye. Same situation again (clean catch, nobody real close), I’d prolly keep it again.

When I was kid (like 10 yrs old or so) I went to my first Giants game. My cousin (a grown up) said if he caught a foul ball he’d give it to me. I was like, why? I wanted to catch the foul ball myself. I would have hated for some grown up to catch it and just hand it to me. What’s the fun in that? IMO, the fun of catching a foul ball, is catching the foul ball.

That being said, I would never try to snatch a foul ball away from a child or reach in front of a child to get a ball. At the same time, I most certainly wouldn’t give up a foul ball I legitimately caught. Heck, just because I’m a grown up doesn’t mean I’m any less excited about catching a ball.

I’ve been going to ball games for 25 yrs now and still haven’t caught a foul or home run ball, you’d better believe if I do, I’m keeping it (unless of course it’s a Dodger hit home run and then I’m throwing it back).

I’ve been to many major league baseball games since 1974, but never caught a foul ball. The one and only time I was taken to a minor league game about 10 years ago, we had really good seats in the front row along the first base side, and our row butted up against the bullpen for one of the teams.

There was a man behind us with two little boys, and everytime a foul ball came to the first base coach, or to one of the guys in the bullpen, the little boys would beg and shout for the balls, and the players would toss them over to them – so they must have had 4, 5, 6 balls each by late in the game.

I wasn’t paying much attention to them, being focused on the game, and also having missed a couple of fouls hit our way which had ended up going over my head into the other rows…so when I heard someone to my left shout, ‘Hey! Here!’ I turned automatically, and reached up just barely in time to keep a ball from hitting my face, as a player in the bullpen had lobbed it towards me.

I was really excited, thinking this guy had seen me miss a chance for a foul, and was being nice, and I was stunned when he said to me, sarcastically, ‘Oh, nice catch, bxxxx.’

I hadn’t realised, the one of these little boys behind me had been begging the bullpen for another ball, and that the player had been speaking to him – honestly, had I not turned and snatched at the ball, it would have hit me in the back of the head. Some of the people sitting around me explained to me (and actually nicely) why the player had been nasty to me, that he’d been throwing it to the kid behind me.

So I gave it to the kid, because the players kept shouting stuff at me, and I felt bad because the ball was actually intended for the little boy – the funny thing is, a couple of people behind me, including the kid’s father, said it was ok for me to keep it, because as fast as these little boys were getting balls, they were just dropping them, and losing them.

But I felt bad because the player shouted at me, and they continued to make smarty comments for the rest of the game at me, even after I gave the kid the ball, and told the player that I had done so.

Strange stuff.

But I saw the scene in question from that game yesterday, and was gobsmacked at how awful that man was…I would have never grabbed a ball away from a little kid.

I’d hand it over. In fact, if there were no kids in the immmediate vicinity, i’d probably go looking for one to give it to.

I must say, i’ve never really understood why so many people–mainly men–are apparently willing to wrestle with each other and trample over other spectators to get something that they could buy in the store for 3 bucks.

Of course, the argument goes that a baseball from a major league game has much different significance than one bought at a sporting goods store. I can appreciate this to an extent, but it’s not as if you’re exactly the Lone Ranger if you go home with a foul ball.

I remember reading that the average major league baseball lasts between 5 and 7 pitches. One analysis that i read suggested that roughly 40 balls are used per major league game, and of those 40 most make it into the seats one way or anothers–as foul balls, as home runs, as ground rule doubles, or just by being lobbed into the crowd by a player at the end of an inning. With over 2400 major league games every season (before the playoffs), that almost 100,000 balls per season. Not exactly a rare item.

I know, i know, it’s still exciting to catch a ball. But i’d really see no need to keep it once i caught it.

Of course, if the ball were Ken Griffey Jr’s 500th home run ball, or something like that, my opinion might change a little.

Context: I am a 32-year-old man who has loved baseball as much as life itself his entire life. I think about baseball every day, every hour I’m awake. I know its history, its stories, its stats. I am an absolutely ultra-passionate fan of my local team and hold seasons tickets. I play baseball. I umpire baseball. When I am not playing or umpiring baseball I come home and play baseball video games on my computer. I love baseball. Love it.

And if I catch a foul ball it’s going to a kid. As I said in the other thread, one of the things I do when I attend a game is look around for the nearest kid to give a ball to if I do catch one. Sorry, but it’s just a baseball, and the thrill in a kid’s eyes is a lot cooler than having the ball sitting around in a drawer in my house. Unless it has significant cash value, like some dude’s 755th home run or something, I can buy ten official major league baseballs if I want, and tell people I caught them all. It would thrill a kid a lot more than it would thrill me.

But I’ve never really been a souvenir person - I don’t attach emotional significance to material things, never have. I don’t give a crap about stuff like that.

I have a foul ball that I got while covering a Stanford University baseball game. It isn’t easy for a ball to make its way from the batter’s bat into the mostly enclosed press box, but this one bounced just right. Although Stanford has produced many an MLB star, this ball was hit by reserve catcher Ken Tirpack, who has likely gone on to be a normal person. But just in case he DOES become famous, I’m keepin’ it.

This is hardly the same, but I got a shirt that was shot out of a cannon during a Thrashers game once. I gave it to the kid (probably 7ish) sitting in front of me.

I imagine unless it was some ‘big money ball’ that was hit (think a McGuire home run), I would give it away. I’m just not that big a sport’s fan and figure the kids would appreciate it more.

I give it to the 93 year old.