Take me out to the ball game……..

Posted: July 10, 2011 in Sports

Some of the best sports movies are written about baseball. Bull Durham, The Rookie, The Natural, Field of Dreams……..I could go on and on. And on this day, the baseball heavens opened up and provided another script just waiting to happen.

Love or hate the New York Yankees, love or hate Derek Jeter, a true baseball fan has to respect the accomplishment. Actually , a true sports fan should respect the accomplishment. Today Jeter became only the 28th player in history to reach the 3,000 hit mark in his professional career. The fact that he is the only NY Yankee to do so was actually more astonishing to me than the fact that he joined the 3000 Club. All the historical, great Yankees and he is the only one in pinstripes to be in the club. Jeter has been a Yankee his entire career – perhaps that is a more amazing fact. The Captain has definitely earned the prestige of membership.  I have been trying to wrap my mind around the numbers. 28 players in MLB history have reached this milestone. This is tremendous – to me, to fans, and to the sport of baseball. Prestigious indeed.  Number 2 hit the solo homer heard around the world off Tampa Bay’s David Price and Jeter took his run around the bases to a cheering crowd,  and players – Yankees and Rays alike  – paid their respects by tipping their caps as he rounded the infield. It was DJ’s day all day. He tied a career 5 for 5 and he singled the go ahead run in at the bottom of the 8th. Derek Jeter will never forget the date made up of all odd numbers – 7/9/11.

 In case anyone was wondering, the fan that retrieved THE ball, gladly returned it to Jeter saying he deserved it. In return, the Yankees gave him 4 tickets to the rest of the home games for the season and some memorabilia. I need to know what this memorabilia is, because it better be some damn good stuff. The ball this fan returned today is already worth more than 4 tickets to the remaining home games. Come on Yankees……you’re the wealthiest baseball organization in the league – could you not afford lifelong season tickets? (and free hot dogs and beer – just sayin) Again, I don’t know what the memorabilia is, but clearly this is a real fan who wanted Jeter to have the ball because he recognizes the accomplishment. Perhaps I am wrong – maybe it should be DJ to give him a lil sumpin sumpin – maybe a little “alone” time with his girlfriend, Minka? Yes, I know that would make Jeter a pimp – it’s just a way of saying, I hope Derek at least gave this guy something worthwhile. If it were me, I would have gone straight up selfish bitch and held out for something big. And by something big, I mean some “alone” time with Derek Jeter – that way we could exchange balls.

So, as I said from the beginning, whether or not you love or hate the Yankees and/or Derek Jeter, today was an exciting day in the baseball world. A positive day – and MLB needed something positive – this fact cannot be argued. With a jury being chosen for the Clemens perjury trial  and the tragedy in Texas a couple of nights ago, I am glad to see something to cheer about in the sport of baseball. Negativity and steroids have seemed to take over baseball headlines and let’s not forget the bankruptcy of the Dodgers. I am not a Yankees fan, but I’m a fan of seeing history being made. Say what you will about the Captain – he has a pretty clean record throughout his years playing professional ball. I don’t know who they’ll get to play him in the movie, but he better have pretty eyes – it is imperative.

On a serious note – Texas fireman Shannon Stone took his young son to the Rangers – A’s game Thursday night. As we all know, Stone called out to Ranger’s outfielder, Josh Hamilton for a ball to give to his son. Hamilton obliged and when Stone leaned over the railing to catch it, he toppled over the railing 20 feet and landed head first on concrete behind the left field wall. He unfortunately lost his life en route to the hospital. As he lay on the ground, he was still conscious and his last words to the paramedics were words of concern  for his little boy because he was left unattended.

My dad played baseball, he coached baseball, my brother played and I played softball. I grew up on a baseball field. I can’t tell you how many days in Busch and Royals Stadiums I spent with my dad. Unfortunately this American pastime is fizzling out and I am saddened. I would give anything to be sitting next to my dad at a ball game again. When I think of childhood memories, those are the best ones.  I still get excited to see my dad’s records that stand to this day. Though I don’t watch it faithfully, I am a baseball fan – it is in my blood. To hear people even having the nerve to blame Josh Hamilton for this tragedy is absolutely absurd. This is someone who threw a ball to a fan to be a nice guy and make his ballgame experience one to remember and to have a special souvenier to be treasured forever. Josh Hamilton heard a fan, and granted a request for a ball – probably because he remembers watching the big leaguers and knows what it’s like to want a ball – especially from one of your favorite players. Would Josh Hamilton be called a jerk by such fans because he ignores them? Most likely. To those people blaming him for this – shame on you.

And finally, to those of you that say Shannon Stone was stupid for leaning over the rail to catch the ball – I admit, I don’t get it. I do understand everyone has their opinion, but this one actually confuses me. I have heard someone say all he had to do is sit there and the ball would have landed in his lap. How many people have leaned over rails trying to catch a ball in a ball park? Countless. The excitement of possibly being the one to get the ball overtakes the moment. Even when it seems a player is throwing it right to you because you asked for it – that very moment – the only thing you’re thinking about is being the one to actually catch it instead of someone else leaning a little bit further and stealing it from you. I know this – I have leaned over many a railing for a ball. (unsuccessfully) Grabbing that ball is an intense thrill to a true fan. For a father to be able to get that ball with his young son watching, and for him to be able to give that ball to his son is a once in a lifetime emotion – for the dad and the son. If it were me, I would have been leaning too – just to make sure I get that ball. It is a natural reaction – how often does a ball land in your lap? There is nothing but sadness to this story. Josh Hamilton, trying to be a good guy is scarred and will probably never make another fan’s dream come true by throwing him or her a ball. Shannon Stone leaves a family behind. The most tragic part of this story is his young son watched his dad – who stopped at the store on the way to the game and bought him his first glove in case he could catch a ball on his own – fall to his death at a baseball game. This child will never want to watch another baseball game as long as he lives. He will forever have nightmares and visions of his dad falling over a rail. Shannon Stone did not died because he was stupid. It was a tragic accident and he died trying to get a ball for his young son he chose to spend time with at the ballpark. If this is “stupid” then it’s a damn shame there aren’t more stupid men out there that choose to be good fathers who actually want to spend time with their sons.

Leave Josh Hamilton alone, people. Don’t blame the ballpark – reaching over a railing is something that happens a countless number of times in every major league ballpark in America. And please don’t call Shannon Stone stupid. He was a hero to his son and in his everyday life as a fireman. If you are reading this and still have your dad, take him to a ball game. And don’t hesitate to grab a ball for him.

I miss my dad.


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  1. Peter says:

    Amazing stuff leesa! regarding the Jeter story, im not a yankee nor a jeter fan, but i tip my cap to him, hes a constant in baseball. The Rangers fan story, still has me speechless, ive been thinking about what to write about, but i cant get the words out….

  2. Momma Things says:

    I can’t wait to read more its @adrienne78

  3. Scotty says:

    Another great post, Leesa.

  4. A poignant point made and a mental image of ball exchanging burned in my psyche…well done, Leesa!

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