The Reds are coming off of a pretty underwhelming seven game road trip where they managed to pile up one W. Today, the Colorado Rockies come to Cincinnati for a three game series at GABP. Whenever they come to town, I’m reminded of a traumatic experience I had as a kid at a Reds/Rockies game.
Let me set the stage for you. The year is 1998. On a warm May day, the pudgy pre-pubescent 12 year old version of me is pumped to be heading to Riverfront stadium with my uncle and siblings. We didn’t go to a ton of Reds games when I was a kid (2-3 a year, tops), so that day was a special treat. A pregame meal of Skyline and soda had me hyped up as we took our seats near the outfield foul territory along the 3rd base line.
Our seats were close enough to the field that at the beginning of each new half-inning, I was able to try and cheer/beg my way into an outfielder tossing me a ball he had just used to warm-up his arm. As the innings passed, I got more and more desperate to make eye contact with a Reds or Rockies player as they tossed balls into the stands. I eventually moved up to the front row (don’t tell Whitty) in an abandoned seat in order to try and get an amazing souvenir from our day at the diamond.
And then it happened. As Rockies LF Dante Bichette took the field for the bottom of the 6th inning to warm up, my confidence grew. This one was mine. Bichette (who would become a Red later in his career) finished his long tosses with the center fielder, turned my way and began to jog closer to the stands to throw the ball up to the awaiting fans. He made direct eye contact, and lobbed the baseball directly at me. I barely had the ball on the tip of my fingers when I felt something crash into my back, jarring the ball loose, and sending me to the ground.
A mother of two that had been sitting behind me all game had come barreling down the aisle, and tackled me in order to get the baseball; she then promptly picked the ball up off the ground, and handed it to her 6 year old, all while I was crumpled up with my back against the wall wondering WTF had just happened.
It’s almost 20 years later, and I think of this event every year that the Rockies come to town. I’ve caught a few foul balls since that day, and each time I have, I’ve looked around for a kid to give it to. I’m not saying I’m a hero for that… but…
I really hope that the kid in this video doesn’t have a great long-term memory. If she’s anything like me, she’ll be 30 years old, laying on a nice couch while the therapist listens to a story about the day her childhood ended.