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.