I love the game of baseball. I have followed it since I was a kid. As a kid, I learned to respect what happened in the game of baseball. I could never hit, on a regular basis, the balls coming at me at all speeds. I learned to respect the game.
Recently, my dad pointed out to me that I had coached on championship youth teams in basketball and football. “Son, you need to go coach one in baseball and win one of those to finish it up.” I replied, “ No sir, I will never coach baseball, it is my past time. I just want to watch and enjoy.” Anyone who has ever coached a sport knows that watching games in that sport, you can not help but think about what you would do. Baseball is my brain candy and enjoyment.
Well, my enjoyment was hit by tragedy last night. I root for three teams, the Atlanta Braves, the Chicago Cubs and the Texas Rangers. The Rangers are my AL team to root for.
First, baseball is about fun. Going to the park, at the college, minor league or major league level, is fun. You grab a beer and a bad hot dog. You hope to grab a foul ball when you sit in the bleachers like I do. You just hope to have a good time.
That is what that firefighter in Arlington, Texas was after last night. He wanted to have a good time with his young son. A ball player, doing what he thought was the right thing, threw a foul ball up into the stands, that firefighter went for it, misjudged his position, and tumbled head first to his eventual death over the rails. My brain candy became hard reality when I saw the footage. A boy lost his dad, a wife lost her husband, and oh how I feel for that poor guy who tried to reach for him and grab him.
In the coming days we are going to hear all sorts of things. You can bet someone will reach out to the grieving family and help them find a way to sue the Rangers or Major League Baseball. There will be jerks out there who say, “why do that for a just a baseball?”
When all those things come out, I ask you to remember this. A dad took his son to a baseball game. That dad tried to get his son a foul ball to remember the date. It was tragic. But, it was what any dad would do for his kid at a baseball game. What he done was not stupid. What the player for the Rangers did in throwing the foul ball up to the stands was not sinister. What happened was a tragic accident. It was horrific.
But, the great game goes on. There have been fans who leapt to their deaths for all sorts of reasons. There have been players who got killed running into outfield walls and by pitches. But, what hits hard is there was this good guy, a good dad, trying to get the sweet souvenir for his kid. Anyone who loves the game of baseball is saddened by what happened. For that guy in Arlington who died going for the foul ball defines the game. We all want that foul ball. We all want that sweet souvenir. But, even in our brain candy moments, life can be harsh and brutal. Any fan of baseball mourns over that dad losing his life.
VUI offers prayers for the family and friends of the fallen fan.