Baseballs in the stands? To keep or give away

A lot has been made of the scene Wednesday night in Arlington where a couple caught a ball tossed into the stands by Mitch Moreland, seemingly stealing it from a little boy, who ended up in tears.

The couple has gone to the press to say that they didn’t see the little boy. Someone from the Rangers dugout saw the crying kid and tossed him a ball, which seems to mean that everyone left happy, but it does bring up an interesting question:

Is there etiquette for baseballs that enter the stands?

It seems to be a general consensus that there’s a difference between a ball tossed into the stands by a player and foul balls. Players usually target children when they soft-toss into the stands, meaning no adult should ever steal that away. Foul balls, however, are fair game.

But there are some that are saying any adult that catches any baseball in the stands should be handing it off to a child near them.

And frankly, that makes me a little angry.

I’ve never caught or been tossed a baseball and dammit, if I do, I’m keeping that sucker. Don’t boo me, don’t judge me – that ball means as much to me as it would to that kid. I’d put it in a place of honor in our (wo)man room. My parents didn’t introduce me to baseball as a kid – I never got the opportunity to get a ball as a child. I’d be frickin’ ecstatic over that ball and I’m not sure why I should have to give that up. Of course, that only accounts for the first ball. I’m not greedy. If I were ever lucky enough to get a second or third ball, those would, of course, go to kids around me.

Certainly I don’t mean taking a ball from a child, or pushing, shoving or trampling anyone in order to get said ball. But if I’m lucky enough to catch one of those suckers, I shouldn’t be shamed into giving it up.

The scene in Arlington is especially interesting because the child kind of had a tantrum both before and after he didn’t receive the ball. There’s an argument to be made that the kid shouldn’t have gotten a ball just because he was crying – that’s certainly not the type of behavior I’d want to reinforce in my children.

Is there also an argument to be made that at three years old, he’d never remember the incident and wouldn’t be interested in the ball in a few weeks, whereas the couple was clearly thrilled and catching the ball was a highlight for them – they immediately started taking pictures with the ball?

So clearly I’m a selfish, no-kid having bastard, but what do you all think?

3 thoughts on “Baseballs in the stands? To keep or give away

  1. I AGREE. Quite literally with everything you said, excellent points about the tantrum. It appeared to me that Moreland wasn’t specifically throwing it at anyone and it did seem that there was no actual “snatching”. Interesting thought about foul ball vs. toss into the stands…never thought about it that way.

    I’ve never caught a foul ball, and would be so excited to get one that I would want to keep it! I agree that in most cases it would probably be more to me than a kid—I probably follow the game a lot more closely than any child in attendance. I’ve always said that if I get one, I’ll keep it the first, but that should I ever get lucky enough to get multiples, I would consider giving it away to a child that deserved it (was well-behaved and actually interested in the game and/or player who hit it).

    Well said.

  2. Agreed! It seems to me that’s a perfect teaching opportunity. You can’t always get what you want, but you can be happy for the person who received such good fortune!

  3. As someone who’s been attending games for 20 years and has never once caught a baseball (though my dad did right next to me two years ago–GRRRRR), I 100% agree with you about not giving a kid a foul ball so long as you don’t literally trample over him to get it. I think the fans around you are going to understand if you say “I’ve never caught a ball before”–heck, that kid has like 20 years on you to get lucky before he’s as old as you are. If it’s a soft-tossed ball from a player, however, and there’s a little kid it was most likely meant for, the tyke can keep it.

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