When we reached our seats in the third row down the left-field line at Cashman Field tonight, I surveyed the field and told Dad, “We could catch a foul ball in these seats tonight.”
He responded, “I want some nachos.”
A little later, in the third inning, Las Vegas 51st lefty Xavier Paul faced a 1-1 count with one out, nobody on, against the Sacramento River Cats’ Kirk Saarloos. Saarloos grooved a fastball ... or was it a breaking ball? Could’ve been a knuckler for all I know. But Paul strode into his swing a little late, making contact squarely but tardily, and the ball soared with a discernible hook similar to one of my tee shots. It homed in on our section, our row, as if in slow motion. It was descending straight for my seat, no question. Suddenly there were a sea of hands, a loud “whack!” as it struck someone’s palm, and the Official Ball of the Pacific Coast League landed unclaimed between my Tevas.
I reached down, casually, as if picking up a dropped dime, plucked it off the ground and held it aloft.
Then I looked at Dad’s left hand, which was pink and a little swollen. Ouch. So I gave him the ball. He turns 66 in a few days, and he’s never caught a foul ball. So happy birthday, Daddy-O.