Life is truly a strange and remarkable thing, my friends. You go to an Expos-Marlins game at Comiskey Park, have an entire left-field section to yourself. You sit in the bleachers at Wrigley after a three-hour rain delay. You go to literally dozens of abandoned weekday games at the Oakland mausoleum. You go to spring training games at Maryvale, where you can sit anywhere in the stadium and hear Bob Uecker’s voice without a radio. Then you sit among a dense crowd of friendly drunken Cubs fans at one of the better-attended Rockies games of the season, and that’s the game you catch a home run.
I wish I could say I made an impressive leaping grab or something, but the fact was, I didn’t even see the ball being hit. After devouring one of those great Coors Field ultimate nacho platters (seven bucks and worth every penny, extra sour cream, please) I was more concerned with a cheese stain on my Ron Santo jersey than Jeromy Burnitz at the plate. I did bring a glove to the game, which I never do, but on account of the nachos, I wasn’t wearing it. My friend Matt (who just so happens to also throw left-handed) was borrowing it for the inning, put it on hurriedly when Burnitz made contact, and then saw the ball bounce straight up in the air off the glove.
For a moment, everything was in slow motion. I saw an army of hands all around. I don’t remember whether I even stood up or not. I don’t remember which hand I caught the ball in. But indeed, I caught it. I kept sneaking peeks at it for the remainder of the game to be sure it really happened. My uncle called from Chicago to say he saw me on TV. (Apparently Bob Brenly made fun of me.) Perhaps I made a bit of a fool of myself, but so what? I caught a home run! If ever there was a good reason for a straight man to hug another straight man in public, it’s catching a home run at a major league game.
Lost in the natural high was a pretty good ballgame. The Rockies won two of three and shut the huge Cubs contingent at Coors right up. Many people besides me caught home runs, as both teams brought their hitting shoes. I suppose I will write a proper recap later. If you’ll excuse me, right now I have to call everyone I know.