Cubs fans do it because…well…it’s just something Cubs fans do. While ballhawks outside Wrigley Field chase down any home run ball that leaves the park, fans who catch one in the bleachers throw it back if it was hit by an opposing player. The general idea is that a home run ball hit by the other team isn’t worth keeping. It may have been funny once, but now it’s just tradition. Nonsensical tradition, but tradition. It’s spread to other stadiums too. And one fan is out a lot of money because of it.
Last week, Albert Pujols became just the third player in baseball history to hit three home runs in one World Series game. The others? Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson. His third of the Cardinals’ Game 3 rout wound up in the seats at the Ballpark in Arlington, among a throng of disgusted Rangers fans. A college student did what everyone asked and threw it back on the field.
The ball probably could have paid for a year of school. It’s a piece of baseball history that was definitely worth keeping–or selling–even if it drew the ire of your fellow fans.
Players don’t understand why fans who normally beg for any ball–batting practice, foul ball or otherwise–are so anxious to throw one back. Neither does ESPN’s Jim Caple who visited Rangers fans to try and find some sense in it all.