Monday, September 5, 2011

A Slightly Aimless Rant about...That Idiot Who Interfered on Hunter Pence's Home Run/Double/Out Today

2-2 ball game. Ryan Howard on first base. Hunter Pence at the plate. Pence lifts an opposite field shot to right field. Florida Marlins outfielder Whatshisname (Sorry, I don't know who the guy is, and why would I since he plays for a last-place team that draws 15 people to its home games?) jumps for the ball. Just as he approaches the ball, a pasty white guy with a massive beer gut and a hardly fitting Phillies jersey reaches over the field with his hat to try and "catch" the ball. He interferes with Outfielder McGee. The ball is ruled a double on the field. After protest by Marlins manager Jack McKeon, the umpires go to replay. Instead of a double that would have put runners on 2nd and 3rd in a tied contest, Pence is declared out and Ryan Howard is made to go back to first base. With everything settled on the field, the idiot in the stands goes back to drinking his 18th Bud Light of the day until the ushers come down and kick he and his equally foolhardy companion out of the got dam ballpark. After their departure, the stadium is declared to be containing less people than the average town in Cormac McCarthy's The Road.

Now I could go on and on about how the umpires should not have been able to rule Hunter Pence out. They are not supposed to go to replay to review a double (which is what the play was called on the field). They are only supposed to be checking out whether a ball called a home run on the field was actually a double due to interference or a foul ball, etc. But I find that it would be shameful repetition to declare that umpire Joe West is an arrogant douche. It has been said in eloquent fashion so many times before. No, instead I would like to go back to the doofus who interfered with the play on the field and maybe even explore the phenomenon of grown men going after baseballs at the ballpark like they are Indiana Jones going after the Holy F'ing Grail.

Anyway, today's jackass committed several violations in my book. First of all, he is a grown-ass man wearing a baseball jersey. I'm not into jerseys. I don't think adults should dress like five-year olds unless they are being paid millions to play a game. If a uniform must be worn it must be a throwback, or more importantly the player on your back must be OLDER than you. There is something inherently creepy about a guy walking around idolizing someone who is five to ten to twenty years younger than he. Maybe that is just me, but I think one thing cannot be argued: if you are going to wear a jersey or any other piece of clothing, it should at least be the right size. The jersey this buffoon was wearing in Florida (he was probably also a bandwagon-jumping arseclown) was at least a size or two too small. There's no excuse for that. Either start trimming the pounds or hit the Big & Tall's sports section.

Secondly, the guy tried to catch the ball...with his hat. I didn't think there was anything more pathetic than an adult who rocks a glove at the ballpark, but I discovered it today: a man who can't even sack it up to throw his hands out to grab the ball. He can't take a little sting to the hands in pursuit of his treasure, so instead he takes off his Starter cap and attempts to wield it as a fisherman would a net. That is just weak.

But, of course, the number one violation in this whole thing is the idea of going so zealously after a product that you could buy at any Wal-Mart for a buck or two. I see it all the time at the games. Either it's a guy reaching out over the fence to try and grab a ball in a clutch spot, or it's a 300-pound galoot bowling over a Grandma, or it's a drunken fiend tearing the ivory sphere out of a ten-year-old girl's grasp. You've got guys trying to catch them while they are holding their toddlers. You've got people leaning over the rail of the third deck trying to catch a foul ball like it's their life's great achievement. Hell, this year, you even had a guy plunge to his death and send Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton to a lifetime full of psychiatrist's treatments while attempting to attain a small white ball with laces on it.

I really don't get it. What superpowers do these baseballs have? Do they have the power to make any stripper you encounter during the post-game revelry remember your name? Does the holder have the right to trade in the baseball for a season's worth of eight dollar Coors Lights? Will the holder experience a five-inch growth in his member immediately upon secreting the souvenir to his man cave? Or does the attaining of said ball remind the customer of their long-lost years as a boy who hoped and dreamed that his goals of baseball success would become a reality, only to find that life is not a fairy tale and an extended sentence as a workaday stiff was the more likely destination (of course this is it).

Look, man, I realize that I am a slightly restrained fan. I go to the game. I sit on my hands most of the time. I cheer during exciting moments, but I am not going crazy the whole time as if my life depended on my team's victory. Still, I'm not some milquetoast bystander either! If you like to get a little more passionate, that is fine. If you like to wear the jersey of a guy just out of college who just signed for more money than you will make in your entire life, that is fine. If you want to call up the radio station and wait on hold for 90 minutes to tell the disinterested host who you are using as a substitute for a healthy personal relationship how you ran over some old lady to catch the game-winning walkoff home run, that is fine too. I mean, it's a free country. You can do what you want. Can you do me a favor though: Make sure you don't cost the Phillies a game in the process. And also try to catch it with your hands. To do otherwise makes you look like a cowardly goofball.

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