I’m pretty sure the tradition started with Chicago Cubs fans at Wrigley Field. If it didn’t, well, that’s where I first encountered the sight of watching fans throw opponent home run balls back onto the field. Now, it happens at Arizona Diamondbacks games all the time and I think it’s lame.
I grew up a Cubs fan. When I was a kid, I thought the tradition was actually pretty cool. Now, it’s a little ridiculous, especially when fans who don’t want to give the balls up are goaded into doing so, like last night at Chase Field.
There I was, sitting in the left field bleachers. In Houston Astros batting practice, the balls were flying out of the yard. During the game, it continued. One in-game homer ended up in the hands of a lady just a row down and to my right. She looked pretty happy to have it. Except the rest of the bleacher fans started egging her on to throw it back. You could kind of tell she wanted to hold on to it. A big smile had hit her face when she got it. That, or a look of complete surprise. I don’t know the lady, so, it could have been either with her. From my vantage point though, she seemed to think it was pretty cool.
So, she sat down, still be egged on for a few seconds. She kind of rolled her eyes and threw it half hearted back onto the field. Now, I don’t think she was devastated to give it up by any stretch. However, what if that had been a kid? I’ve seen it happen before. Kid gets ball, even dad gets in the act and tells the kid to throw it back. C’mon people. Let people be. I realize it’s kind of a fun thing for people, but did you ever stop to think the person that has the ball might NOT want to give it up? Even if it is the opponent? I mean, how many chances in a lifetime do you have to catch a home run ball. Yeah not many.
Obviously there are people that get the ball and they do want to give it up happily. I don’t have a problem with you giving it up, just stop throwing it back onto the field. It was funny 25 years ago. How about giving that ball to kid instead of causing a game delay by throwing it back onto the field?