For those of you who are loyal listeners of The O Show, you may recall that in episode 8 (if you haven’t listened to that or any of them, head over to iTunes and get on it), I ranted and raved about how I have been going to baseball games all of my life, hundreds at this point, and have never once left with a game ball. Not one of any kind. No foul balls, no pre-inning warmup balls, not even a batting practice ball if I got there early enough. I mean for fucks sake they just pass those things out during batting practice. Not to me though.
So yesterday my roommate and dear friend Anthony approached me with tickets to the upcoming Mets/Orioles game. As a Phillies fan, I had no dog in the fight but I love a good game and I have an Orioles hat that I happen to look really good in, so I happily accept his offer. After a subway ride to the game that included delays and, according to the MTA, “a customer struck by an oncoming train”, we arrived shortly after the first inning began. What got me particularly excited for the game, aside from my appearance in the hat, were our seats. 16 rows behind the third base side dugout. Prime ball territory. Maybe not for every foul ball, but prime territory for a flip into the crowd by a player who made the last out of the concluding half inning. With all the impending possibilities, my senses were heightened.
Fast forward to the third inning. I don’t remember who was hitting or what team it was, but who the fuck cares because thats not what matters. The unidentified batter fouls one up to the third base side. My eyes widen. But the dream quickly dwindles when I soon realize is trajectory is at least 10 rows behind us. But then, as if god himself heard my podcast, no one in the 10 rows behind us caught the ball. It landed in said row, but took a friendly bounce back toward the closer rows. Specifically, row 16, seat 8. Right at me. All of the sudden I was 12 years old again, still having hope for my life and for the world itself. While the ball was in the air time stood still. The stadium fell quiet. All eyes and lights were on me. My heartbeat was incalculable. My time had come. Nothing and nobody was getting in my way.
Until someone did.
My “roommate and dear friend” to my left in seat 9.
The blatant and shameful pass interference caused the ball to skim off my right index finger, plummet in to the seats, and bounce rows forward in to the unworthy hands of some hopeless Mets fan. The ball, gone. My Hope, Gone. I’m 22 again. Overweight, miserable, hopeless. The debate raged on as to who’s ball it actually was, with Anthony believing it was his to make a play on. It was mine, and only mine. And I let it slip through my fingers like a good opportunity.
I will never get that moment back, and I believe that may really have been my only chance. The beauty of life is that you do get those opportunities, with the kicker being they only come once.
So I leave yet another game, ball-less and hopeless, and now I wait for the next big moment life throws me that will inevitably skim off my finger.