Tag: babe ruth

The Shot Remix

A few months ago, I told y’all about The Shot a.k.a. that time when B requested that I hit him a foul ball, and, despite severely lacking any baseball skills, I somehow did it. Well, all good stories deserve a sequel.  Today, I’d like to tell you about the time recently when B called his shot.

Lemme set the scene. It was a clear black night, a clear white moon (word to Warren G!). Me and B were on the street…..walking to the Rogers Centre. I had scored a pair of wicked, first row seats to a Toronto Blue Jays – Baltimore Orioles game, which B had been excited for weeks about. He was going to stay up late on a school night to eat junk food, watch the Jays up close, and, most importantly, he was going to catch a foul ball!

Wait, what?

You see, in his mind, catching a foul ball at a recreational, co-ed three-pitch game is cool…..but snagging one at an actual Major League Baseball game is way cooler. So,  leading up to it, B  had been nonchalantly mentioning that he was going to catch one. Not hoped to. Not wanted to. He was GOING to. The day before the game, at school, he even drew a picture, and wrote (I’m paraphrasing here. I don’t remember the exact words.)  “I’m going to the Blue Jays game tomorrow.  I’m going to catch a ball.”

Now, we’ve seen the Jays play in person several times, but B had never made such a bold proclamation before.  Accordingly, I tried to temper his expectations. The stadium would be near capacity (close to 50,000 people).  Say 40 balls end up going into the stands. The odds of us getting one just weren’t very good. Nonetheless, B remained unfazed. As a parent, you hate to see your kids be disappointed about anything, especially when their hearts are set on it. However, if they are undeterred in spite of your opinion,  then what can you do? Make no mistake about it, B was undeterred.

So what happened?

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At the game, B spent the better part of five innings in a ready position. That is, whenever a ball was hit, he would jump up and raise his baseball glove, in preparation to catch a pop fly. While several foul balls whizzed by, none landed close to our general vicinity. Regardless, he was wasn’t worried. His only concern was the possibility of getting hurt if he didn’t get his glove up fast enough, when a ball came to him.

In bottom of the sixth, the Jays’ catcher, Russell Martin, came to the plate.  After a pitch or two, he ripped a foul ball down the first base line, right towards our section. Once it neared the stands, a man reached over and grabbed it. He then turned to B, and pointed the ball at him . While B stared at the guy, dumbfounded,  I held my hand up, and he tossed me the ball. To make it official, I then flipped it up to B, who happily caught it. The look on B’s face after was priceless.  Unsurprised disbelief turned all the way up probably describes it best. He said that he would do it, and, against all odds, he did it. B called his shot. He caught a foul ball!

Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m a pretty pessimistic dude. Children, however, aren’t so jaded. In their eyes, as Kevin Garnett said, anything is possible. When a kid makes a crazy statement like they’re going to catch a foul ball at a jam-packed stadium, maybe we, as adults, shouldn’t be haters. There really is something to thinking a big idea, telling yourself that you are going to make it a reality, and then making it a reality. It’s something we all probably should do more of.

OK, real talk over. Later, peeps.

Go catch a foul ball or something, will ya?

 

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A pic of the ball. Despite what B says, RA Dickey did not sign it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Shot

I’m a real sucker for “dad” moments in sports.

You know, those heartwarming incidents that happen during a game or event, which really highlight the love between a father and their children.

From Jeff Hornacek wiping his face during free throw attempts as a way to secretly say hi to his kids, to the dude who saved his son’s head from a flying bat, to Derek Redmond’s pops jumping out of the stands to help him finish an Olympic race,  to (my personal fav) John McDonald fulfilling a promise he made to his dying dad by hitting a home run on Father’s Day, stuff like this really gets to me.

And to these iconic moments, I’ll add one of my own, one which will forever be known (in our house anyway) as The Shot.

It occurred during  three-pitch softball recently, where B had come with me to my game. Despite it being a fun, recreational co-ed league, there are a ton of people in it who can flat out crush the ball. Yours truly, however, is not one of them. Possessing shallow outfield pop-fly power, I am the most slap-single happy guy in the whole league.

While effective, this isn’t exactly sexy.  Other kids at games cheer their dads on to “hit a homer!” Meanwhile, B gets to watch his old man leg out infield grounders. As a result, B’s taken to the sluggers on our team, and roots for them more than me, because, well, dingers!

Glad you find that funny, Bryce Harper

Glad you find that funny, Bryce Harper.

Which brings me to The Shot.

 

B had been having a blast playing ball boy that day. When a foul ball was hit, he would run to retrieve it, and throw it back on the field.

As I was waiting on deck, for my turn to bat, B came over to me and said “Daddy? I’m going to go over there (he pointed to the backstop, behind home plate). Can you hit a foul ball to me?”

Now, besides having no power, I should mention that I also have no aim. I’ve never picked a spot and hit a ball to it. I’d have just as little a chance of perfectly fouling off a pitch as I would of hitting a home run.

So of course I told B that I would hit a ball to him!

As he excitedly ran off to the backstop, it dawned on me what a bad idea this potentially was. I would only have two chances to perfectly foul off a pitch (I couldn’t get out by wasting the third pitch). On top of that, there was a decent crowd of people.  I would have to hit it in the area that B was, so he alone could retrieve the ball. I also had to hope that the ball wouldn’t injure someone, too.

Negative thoughts filled my head when I stood at the plate. I pictured me swinging, and having the ball bounce off my face, shattering my nose. As I bled profusely, B would laugh and call me a failure, and immediately seek emancipation from his loser dad. Maybe Kelly Clarkson would write a song about it.

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Glad you find that funny, Kelly Clarkson.

Anyway, with all that on my mind, the pitcher threw the ball.

As it neared, I took an uppercut swing.

CRACK!

The ball floated up. It sailed back. Back over the backstop…..back over B……and landed and rolled safely, a good 20 feet behind him.

B happily sprinted off, scooped it and proudly threw it back onto the field.  After the game, he was more turnt up about that play, than any other hit or home run. #winning

Against all reasonable explanation, I said that I would hit a foul ball to my son, and I did it. I called my shot, forever to be known as The Shot.

Babe Ruth would be proud. Or  indifferent. Definitely indifferent.

Babe Ruth would be envious. Or  indifferent. Definitely indifferent.

 

Now truth be told, B’s probably forgotten about this little play, and I’m the only one who still thinks it was awesome .

That’s cool, though.

You see, in baseball and in parenting, we can’t all be home run hitters.  All we can do is try our best. Sometimes we’ll strike out. Sometimes we’ll hit a single. Sometimes, we’ll knock one out of the park.

And sometimes, on that rare occasion, a foul ball will be just as good as a homer.

SAYNG

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