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A Special Ballgame Moment – Guest Post From ProfRobert

ProfRobert, one of our most loyal readers and one of the most frequent posters in our comments section, recently attended a Yankees game in the Bronx. As he sat in the stands, he was able to witness a very special moment. This story was shared in the comments a few days ago, but it deserves a post of its own.

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I was at the games (single-admission double header — how Old School is that?!), and scored a single ticket 11 rows behind the Yankee dugout on StubHub for relatively cheap. Two batters into Game One (the game began with the Rays hitting back-to-back homers) I was wondering about the wisdom of my decision, but it all worked out.

One thing I really enjoyed was seeing the speed differentials and breaks on the pitches. It’s one thing to watch on TV, but another so see a curve creep up to the plate and drop, especially compared with 95 mph straight heat. It really brings home how special MLB hitters are that they can connect with stuff like that.

In Game Two, a family with two boys sat down the row from me. They were wearing Yankee jerseys and hats, and the boys had their gloves — they were visiting from out of town, and this was the boys’ first major league game. I got to talking with them a bit over the course of the game.

The elder boy, who I’m guessing is about my son’s age, was part of collection of people calling for infield or end-of-inning balls from the Yankees as they came into the dugout, but into the eighth inning, he had no luck. I said to him, “I’m going to destroy your dream. This is my 50th year coming to baseball games, and I’ve never gotten a ball,” (that looks harsh as I type it, but he knew I was just having fun with him).

Not five minutes later, an adult on the other side of the aisle catches a ball from Judge. My friend is in the aisle and is crestfallen, but at the prompting of the crowd, the guy turns around and tosses the ball to the kid. He lights up like the Fourth of July and Christmas rolled into one. When he finally sits down, I turn to him and say, “Fifty years! Fifty years! And this is your first game! You’re killing me!” and we all laugh. He generously lets me hold the ball and inspect it, and kindly offers to give me the next one he gets, and I tease him about being over-confident. (Unsurprisingly, the game ends an inning later with no further baseballs headed our way.)

I remember going to my first game with my Dad. The Mets beat the Giants 9-5, so there was a lot of scoring action, and I saw Willie Mays play, though admittedly at the time I didn’t know who Willie Mays was. Just like I remember that 49 years later, these boys will remember this game in, say, 2068, and going with their Dad, and getting a ball from Aaron Judge (with an assist from a kind fellow in the next section).

That’s magical.

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