It was the bottom of the ninth with two out, Friday, March 13, 2015 at Sloan Park. The Cubs were executing one of their patented #fakerallies at the end an eventual 7-4 loss to the Indians. Lefthanded-hitting right fielder Billy McKinney fouls off a ball into the left field grandstand where I had gone to catch some shade after baking in the hot berm sun, saying to my girlfriend Nicole what I always say, "Let's go down here, maybe we'll get a ball."
McKinney's foul landed on the awning over our heads a few rows back and a few seats over. I gave up on the ball, but managed to catch a side eyed glimpse of it falling through a slat in the awning. The ball fell 30 or so feet into the hopeful hands of one of the rowdier rows of ninth-inning inebriates that still inhabited Sloan that hot Friday. The guy botched the play, sending the ball my way. It bounced once and into a folded up chair four seats away. I scrambled over and snagged the dormant ball nestled in the crevice of the uninhabited seat. Finally, after hundreds of days and nights spent at dozens of ballparks, I got my first-ever foul ball.
I had said earlier in the day after a guy on the berm botched his catch of an Indians home run: "You never wanna be the first guy who touches the ball. Let him break his hand and you get the rebound." I also privately said to my partner in crime Nicole something I had never said before, "You know, now, if I got a ball I'd probably give it to a kid." This coming from a guy who purposely moves away from kids in order to NOT have to give the foul ball up. I watched a dude at Citi Field in New York be booed by the crowd after he pushed a little kid out of the way, retrieved the ball, celebrated by lifting up his shirt to show off his washboard abs, which he indicated with a slap of his hand, and sat down to his horrified girlfriend who had seen the whole kid pushing incident, which he was apparently oblivious to. He looked like a little kid himself as he was scolded by his lover, while the crowd above, myself included, taunted him mercilessly for the 15 or so seconds it took him to realize what had happened, at which point he gave the ball to the kid he had run over. We then cheered him.
That cautionary tale had such an impact on me, that I've often moved away from children in order to avoid that very scenario. Until yesterday, my motto was "I've waited 40 years for a ball! That kid has the rest of his life to get one!" But yesterday, I changed my tune and got a ball.
And lucky for me, there were no kids around to have to give it to!!!
Still, I knew it was a cheap foul ball. I didn't catch it on a fly to the cheers of fans. It wasn't a home run. It's Spring Training. Billy McKinney. I wasn't sitting in my proper seat. And the rowdy row behind me botched the play in order for me to get the rebound.
I looked back at the photo, and noticed how hilarious the pissed off #greentshirtguy's outstretched arms are coming out of my ears. It even looks like some of the color of his T-shirt rubbed off on the ball!!! It totally cracks me up!! (Although of course that's probably green paint from the roof.)
I immediately thought of all the hilarious memes that could be created through Photoshop. Da Vinci's "Last Supper" or "Man," maybe the statue of Jesus Christ that looms over Rio, or an "Evita" poster. Photoshop my ugly mug onto those iconic images and put a green T-shirt and a rally cap on Jesus, Evita or Man. I thought of others, but they are inappropriate. I'll let you guess what those might be in the comments. If any of you have image-editing skills, I would love to see what you can do, just for a laugh. Can you think of any other iconic images with outstretched arms? (Keep it clean please!)
Nicole and I recreated the moment later in the night.
Anyway, it got me thinking. I need to find #greentshirt guy and give him the ball. I'm not certain whether he's the one who botched the play, but his hilarious disappointment and my silly grin turns the photograph of my first foul ball into a work of comedic drama. And for me, the photo is enough. So now I must find him! I am a on a quest to return the ball to its rightful owner: #greentshirtguy.
Help me find him! I need memes tweeted with hashtags like #whereisgreentshirtguy?
I'm not a superstitious man, but for me to change my tune on foul balls, on Friday the 13th, and on the last batter of the game, get a cheap foul while not in my seats, and I was supposed to be in Las Vegas?! That's too much Juju for one foul ball. The "T-shirt smudge" on the ball proves it out. I must find #greentshirtguy!!
Let's find #greentshirtguy and get this foul ball to where it belongs!!!