It all started when a Cubs batter sent a pop-up foul sailing toward the first base line -- and straight for a young family seated in the front row. Perhaps sensing that the ball was as good as his, the dad stood up, reached out one hand and nabbed the ball -- bare-handed! -- right from under the Dodgers infielder. It was a sensational catch worthy of the highlight reel, not least because his baby was tucked under one arm the whole time! (Check out the full video here.)
This dad isn't the only parent juggling a baby and ball, either. Over Father's Day weekend, a Gilroy, Calif., mom intercepted an errant foul ball in the stands while balancing her toddler on the other hip. And on Mother's Day, Pennsylvania dad Mike Capko easily swatted down an in-the-stands hit while his babe hung out in the carrier. (Hey, at least he wouldn't accidentally drop him!)
Now, I don't think any of these parents purposely tried to put their kiddos in harm's way. When a ball is coming toward you, it's natural to put your hands up to stop or catch it. But as cool as these catches look, I can't watch them without squirming a little. I've been to enough games -- and had enough brushes with a foul ball -- to know that a crowd catch rarely happens smoothly. There's usually some bobbling over heads before the ball lands in the lucky recipient's hands. So even though none of these babies were hurt, the fact that a rock-hard baseball came that close their vulnerable little bodies makes me uncomfortable, to say the least.
As much as I love going to ball games, we held off on bringing our son along until he was around 3 years old. And even then, we'd only buy seats that were behind the safety netting or in the nosebleeds (basically, nowhere near a flying ball). Overkill? Maybe, but I'll take a less-than-awesome view over an injury any day of the week.
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