Keep the ball!

A few months ago, Star Tribune writer Patrick Reusse wrote one of the most important columns ever written in the history of baseball. It revealed why we do stupid things:

“You have the ball in your hands for one second, and there are 100, 200, I don’t know how many people, hollering in unison, ‘Throw it back, throw it back,… I always said, ‘I would never throw back a ball,’ but the approval of the crowd is irresistible, I guess.”

It was a column about Chris Fink of Minneapolis who threw Alex Rodriguez’ 526th career homerun back on the field because the peer pressure was too much to resist. It’s time expand the DARE program to Twins fans.

I’ve been a baseball fan as long as anybody, but throwing a homerun ball back as a sign that you’re a real baseball fan is about as illogical as it gets. A real baseball fan has an appreciation for the exploits of its best players.

The thing is: it happened again last night. Ken Griffey Jr., who, if it weren’t for injuries, would be the all-time home run champion in baseball, hit his 611th career home run.

Griffey is 38 and is, for the most part, finished. That home run may be the last one he ever hits, and it puts him in 5th place on the all-time home run list.

And somebody threw it back.

People, this isn’t even a Minnesota tradition! It’s a Chicago Cubs tradition. Throw a fish back! Better still, rip off one of you kid’s T-ball “homers” and when you catch a ball tonight, throw that one back instead.

Your kid will never notice. And neither will anyone else in Section 112 212.

  • http://www.trailblz.com Brian Hanf

    I agree, keep the ball.

  • http://www.minnpost.com/davidbrauer/2008/03/14/1171/dolan_media_buys_politics_in_minnesota David Brauer

    Just about the stupidest fan thing ever. Reusse had it right when he referred to people who do this as “baseball dullards.”

    (Confession: I feel the same way about fans who do the wave.)

    It’s a dumb, imitative tradition that makes Twins fans look like rubes.

    Screw the crowd, I’m keeping any ball I get.

  • http://mplsstpl.com/ Todd

    “A real baseball fan has an appreciation for the exploits of its best players.”

    ??

    I’d say most fans are there to cheer on the home team.

    I fully support the visiting-team-home-run-ball rejection system. It’s totally at the fan’s discretion.

    Also, the Twins don’t have a section 112.

  • http://mplsstpl.com/ Todd

    Ditto on the wave. That crap is weak. I’ve seen a major downward-turning trend in the wave at Twins games this season.

    But I still think rejecting a home run ball—at any park, regardless of whether one team or another started the tradition—is absolutely okay, and a great way to show fan camaraderie for your team, and against whatever chumps are in town this time. Just because it started one place doesn’t mean it has to be constricted there. If that were the case, we wouldn’t have a seventh inning stretch or sing “Take me out to the Ballgame.”

    But the wave can go ahead and die for all I care. Leave that crap to Japan.