Every time I umpire a baseball game where my assignment is home plate, I jokingly tell the coaches — just before the game begins — “This is my favorite part of the game.”
It’s when the coaches hand me the game balls: white, shiny, clean…
I tell them, “When we’re kids, we never got to play with new baseballs.”
They nod knowingly and chuckle.
But there’s a world of difference between being child-like over new baseballs vs. child-ISH.
Last night, many of us saw the video of a husky, middle-aged man rushing into view and barreling an elderly woman out of the way in order to take from her a baseball that had landed just over the center-field fence in Philadelphia.
Then the fellow had the nerve to take a selfie, boasting that he had caught a home-run ball.
The “Get A Life Foundation” located its poster boy.
Years ago, I remember a Major Leaguer commenting in an interview in Life magazine: “A man will rip a $500 suit to get a $5 baseball.”
That’s certain for some adults. The rest of us have a sense of proportion. What is worth diving for? Pushing a kid out of the way of an oncoming car — certainly. Diving for a foul ball and fighting others for it?
I dare say if most of us were attending a Major League game and a foul ball came our way, and amid the scrum we were the ones who emerged with the ball — the very first thing we would do is look around to see what kid we could give the ball to. The delight in the youngster’s face would feel much more exhilarating than the ME moment of boasting and holding up a foul ball as if sticking it in everybody’s face: “I got it!”
Nothing sadder than a childish adult. It says, “Here is a life mis-spent. Growth has not occurred.”