Foul Ball Distribution

It can be a swift, random toss, or a premeditated handoff.  When foul balls are hit down the lines, the pitchers and catcher in the bullpen are responsible for who gets these balls.  “Can I have a ball?” is the most commonly posed question from kids hanging over the rails in the ballparks where fans have direct access to the players in the bullpens.  It is so incessant that we are immune to them, with our responses of, “We get fined if we give them out” or, “We’ll give you a foul ball when it comes” being spoken robotically in reply.  This usually buys us a few moments of silence before the next wave of kids comes to the rail.

When the foul ball finally does come, a decision must be made: do you casually flip the ball into the crowd of kids so one at the bottom of the scrum can come up with it, or do you hand it to someone you have preselected?  Provided I have had ample prep time, I tend to follow the latter practice.  This prevents the kids from tackling each other trying to get the ball and the risk of anyone crying as a result.  Who do I look to give the ball to when I get one?  I usually look for the smallest and quietest kid I can find.  These are the kids that poke their heads over the rails amidst the older and bigger kids (who are generally the ones repetitively asking for a ball), not really thinking they even have a chance among the trees to their sides.

The reaction of these little ones upon the ball offering is typically one of shock, as if to say “Are you serious?  That ball is for me?”  After some reassurance they will take the ball, face beaming as they trot back to show their friends or parents.  This is just another public service we provide the fans in an effort to make their experience at the ballpark more enjoyable.


2 Responses to “Foul Ball Distribution”

  1. Stephen C. Smith Says:

    I always wondered why the front office doesn’t post a security person or usher at the edge of the dugout to keep kids from leaning in and demanding you give them equipment.

  2. Ron Kelley Says:

    I think that the practice of foul ball distribution is the greatest. The rapport that you as a player can make with a “little one” is invaluable. Not only as an athlete, but, in the greater area of an adult. These “kids” look up to all of you and by taking just that moment in time to toss the ball, or hand it to one of your fans can mean so much. Heck it can mean alot to an old man like myself! (at 68 I am considered old by some)..In my own younger days we were not allowed to give the “kids” a ball. I applaud you and your team mates for all that you do and for brining a great brand of baseball to the community. Great job “Rosie” and good luck in your future.

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