Today I was at the Brewer game, a 1-0 pitchers' duel between the Cardinals' Chris Carpenter and Milwaukee's ace, Yovani Galardo. Bill Hall's pinch-hit single in the bottom of the 10th sent the fans home happy this Memorial Day. On a more personal note, something of interest took place earlier in this game, between the fourth and fifth innings.
Before St. Louis came up to bat in the top of the fifth, the Brewers outfielders, as they usually do, were playing catch in order to stay loose. My wife and her friend had gone to purchase some baseball trinkets, and I was left alone in the seats right on the aisle. Before the public address announcer could let the crowd know that Yadier Molina was making his way to the plate, something white and round came whizzing toward my general area. The two gentlemen in front of me ducked, but my reaction was to get both hands up. I reached up above my left shoulder, towards the aisle, and was able to slow the momentum of the ball. It bounced off my fingertips and hit the concrete steps one row up from my seats. What proceeded in the next fraction of a second could only be described as a maelstrom of legs, hands, and Alan H. Selig's signature. Somehow, someway, I was able to get my fingers around a good portion of the ball. There was another force pulling the ball in the opposite vector, but my kung-fu was stronger than theirs. The ball was mine.
In the half-inning that followed, I was able to piece together what had happened. The man I had wrestled the ball away from was a large strapping fellow, much bigger than me (not hard to do), and was wearing... get this... a baseball glove! I guess you don't need one of those to get a ball.
I also gathered that it was rightfielder Corey Hart who had thrown the ball. You know how the players usually just lob the ball to a little kid hanging over the railing before an inning starts? This was not one of those times. As you can see from my ticket, I was sitting in the 22nd row. I have no idea why Hart would have thrown the ball that hard and that far. I also consider myself lucky because the seats I was in were purchased by the friend of a friend, and they were probably the closest seats I have had to the field since Miller Park was built.
It was pretty neat to get a ball with some obvious usage. It also had a black mark on the back, probably to signify that it was a ball intended not for game use, but for practice only.
Here's the culprit and the first card of his that popped up in my Big Box o' Brewers. Corey is wearing a red cap, as all the Brewers did, in recognition of Memorial Day. I would like to thank him for the part he played in getting me my first game ball... foul, home run, or otherwise... in all my years of faithful attendance.