1999 padres

The Foul Ball-Popcorn Incident

It’s the summer of 1999.  Freshman year of college is over.  It’s the season after the 1998 Padres went to the World Series.  Baseball fever is still burning in San Diego and voters are excited about Petco Park.  (Incidentally, I voted in favor of the Petco Park initiative in the first election I ever voted in after I turned 18)

My best friend and I decided to catch a midweek baseball game at Qualcomm because someone had tickets on the first base line that they couldn’t use.  So off we went.

The seats were great.  We were about three rows up from the field and we were right in line with Wally Joyner at first base.  My friend had a crush on catcher Ben Davis, so her attention was diverted when the pitch was thrown, the bat connected with the ball, and a pop up fly ball was sent high into the sky.

Like I said, we were given the tickets and we left for the game without any real preparation. This meant I didn’t bring any protection.  No, not that kind of protection.  I’m talking about my trusty baseball glove.  I’d never caught a foul ball before; I always went to games with my glove in hopes of catching one.

As I looked up, it became painfully obvious that the ball was going to drop straight in our seats.  Time stopped—it literally stopped—as I started to ponder my predicament.

I don’t have my glove.

That ball is coming right down at me.

She’s not going to catch the ball.  It’s up to me.

If I catch the ball barehanded, I could break my hand.  That is not good.

I don’t have my damn glove.

I can’t possibly catch it in my left hand.

Everyone is watching me.

I don’t have my f—ing glove!

I don’t have my glove, but I DO have this bucket of popcorn.  Hmm.  I wonder if this will work….

When time started working again, my friend realized what was about to happen and started to scream. As if that was going to help. Geez.

Suddenly, as I moved to position the popcorn bucket, the man behind us reached between our seats (with his glove poised ABOVE my popcorn bucket) and caught the ball.

He caught MY ball.

The moral of the story:  Never go to a baseball game without protection.  Trust me on this one.