Who “Deserves” a Foul Ball?

I’ve been a baseball fan all of my life and I have attended several dozen games over my 32 years, but I’ve never gone to a game and assumed that I was going to catch a foul ball, a home run ball, or have a ball tossed to me from the ball boy or a player. I don’t leave a game disappointed by not taking home a souvenir, and, even when I was younger, I wasn’t ever upset by not acquiring an autograph after waiting near the field prior to the game. I don’t really understand why anyone would feel so entitled to count on getting a single baseball, let alone several baseballs, when going to a baseball game.

Perhaps that idea was ruined by Zack Hample, who has his own blog with MLBlogs and has written several books, a man who has collected over 7,000 baseballs since 1990, and, while he does collect them for charity and gives them to children, the fact that he got 16 balls and gave away four of them at the 9/25 Yankees game shows the selfishness of our culture…charity or not. With all due respect to Hample (which according to Ricky Bobby allows me to say anything here), if I saw someone leaving a game with 12 baseballs, I’d: a) consider him a total tool, b) want to throat punch him, and c) assume that he is douchier than a Costco box of Summer’s Eve.

But I digress. Americans and baseball fans have long left baseball games empty-handed, so why should this happen:

If you’d rather not watch the video, an adult fan caught a baseball and a toddler cried because he didn’t get it. The parents went on ABC’s Good Morning America because of the uproar, encouraged by the audacity of “ball stealers” by the YES Network‘s Michael Kay (if you listen closely to the video), and the kid was rewarded with a jersey AND a baseball signed by the entire Texas Rangers club for his tearful self-loathing over the situation. Do you know what would have happened to my daughter there…we would have left the game because she was crying (because she was obviously acting tired or spoiled rotten, which we may cope with differently than other parents) and she would have understood, through a nice chat, that we were one of 30,000 or more people in the crowd and that not everyone gets a ball. Why should she be any more special than anyone else?

It gets better, though. If you look for reactions from losing foul balls online, you’ll find several fantastic examples. This is another good one:

The child immediately pouts and eventually gets a ball tossed to her mother as she looks on in Milwaukee. Again, the adult was bastardized for “taking” a ball while being in the same location.
But now, this week, we have a fine example of adults going a bit too far:

The evil, evil woman from Houston who stole the ball right out of the little girls hands…and I do mean out of her hands. This one is a legitimate claim to being entitled, as the ball was in her hands and snatched by the adult woman.

Courtesy: Zack Hample, zackhample.mlblogs.com
Courtesy: Zack Hample, zackhample.mlblogs.com

Sure, I may have an issue with how “The Baseball Collector” goes about his business, as he says that he doesn’t run into anyone to get a ball but his own website depicts otherwise, but maybe that man that “took the ball” from that girl in Milwaukee didn’t see her or had been to as many games as I have without ever leaving with a ball. That kid has more time left on this planet to get it done than her elder! Deal with it and try again next time…maybe it won’t take her another 20 years like it did that poor man that apparently has character flaws for intercepting a baseball that he didn’t know was meant for someone else.

All I know is that my child wouldn’t be crying over not getting a baseball. If she did, I would have been embarrassed to go on national television to describe the situation because I would have thought that my kid was acting like a spoiled brat. I want tremendous things for my daughter, but sometimes it is best to let your child actually earn those things. In a society that seems to demand so much for the future of our children, teaching kids that they are entitled to have things such as trophies for participating in a sport and not actually winning or guaranteeing a foul ball when they show up to any baseball game seems to be the wrong approach. They’ll assume they can just ask for everything that they need for the rest of their lives.

Then again…I wouldn’t want my kid to be Zack Hample when they grow up, either.

No one deserves a ball at a baseball game and while the lady in Houston is taking a lot of heat for snatching that ball out of the hands of that little girl, more power to her. Maybe that kid learned a great lesson during that moment…work on your grip strength and know that others could work harder to get what they want.


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