Baseball games are long, so even America’s favorite pastime can grow a bit monotonous when the action gets slow. But it seems that whenever fans grow the most restless at the lack of long balls, stolen bases and strikeouts, a wacky foul ball spices up the game.
Some are routine. Some are dangerous. Some are show-stoppers. Some are hilarious. These are the best foul ball moments to date.
Dad Barehanded Catch with Daughter in Other Arm
This dad became the envy of the stadium when he caught a foul ball in one hand while holding his daughter in the other.
But fathers out there take note: This is NOT a good idea. Learn from this fool who dropped his child and this kid dropper in Taiwan. The second guy didn’t even get the ball — just a death stare from his (probably now ex-) wife.
President Bush Dodges a Bullet
President George W. Bush used to own the Texas Rangers, so he knows his way around a baseball diamond. So it was surprising to see a look of terror on his face as this foul ball approached. Fortunately, the Secret Service wasn’t needed because, as they say, if you can dodge a shoe, you can dodge a ball.
Three Brewers Collide, Drop Pop Up
There are no shortage of plays where professional baseball players — who in theory earn half their salary catching balls — have badly, horribly, embarrassingly botched fly balls in foul territory. The best come when multiple players point skyward to indicate they know an easy out will soon be theirs. Then the ball falls anyway.
But the collision also has a special place in blooper lore, and the Brewers submitted one of the finest examples just this month when three collided and watched the ball fall to the ground.
Senior Citizen Web Gem
Bottom of the 9th. One-run game. Three-two count. It’s the scenario we all dream of as kids—even if you grew up in the 1940s having “League of Their Own”-era fantasies. One grandmotherly Giants supporter achieved these dreams with an upper-deck snag of lore, proving senior fans can be way more successful than many people half their age.
And although it wasn’t a foul ball, for my money, the best fan catch ever came when former NBA All-Star Dan Majerle made this one-hand stab — while eating! — on a ground-rule double.
Lil’ Knight in Shining Armor Gives Ball to Girl
This saint of a kid got himself on TV by—like Chris Rock and one Bay Area cop before him—paying a foul ball forward to another fan. Such chivalry stands in stark contrast to another kid who pulled the ol’ switcheroo after catching a foul ball and presenting it as a gift. This was essentially the 12-year-old’s version of giving a girl a cubic zirconium ring.
Although even he has a leg up on this Astros fan whose girlfriend was drilled in the arm after he opted to dash out of the way to save himself from a deep foul ball.
Kevin Mitchell Makes Catch of Century – Barehanded
Nothing comes close to matching the over-the-head, barehanded snare by Giants left fielder Kevin Mitchell. Cardinals shortstop Ozzie Smith hit the ball, and though the Wizard of Oz may have more highlight catches on his resume than anyone, even he had to be amazed on the way back to the dugout.
‘An Explosion of Cheese’
Pro tip: If you’re at a baseball game, watch your nachos. Otherwise, an errant foul ball might land in your lap, resulting in, as the Red Sox broadcaster termed it, “an explosion of cheese.” If you’re going to use food to grab a foul ball with food, might I suggest popcorn? Or, as this Boston fan did, just use your beer.
It could be a coincidence that this keeps happening at Red Sox games—or could this be a conspiracy to sell more overpriced beers and slices of pizza in Fenway Park?
The Bartman Ball
We save the best for last—unless you’re a Cubs fan. Only one foul-ball has been so memorable that a full-length documentary was made about it. We’re talking about, of course, the time superfan Steve Bartman cost his hometown Cubbies a chance to go to the World Series by interfering with an outfielder trying to make an out against the left-field stands.
The play left such a bad memory in Chicago that a local restauranteur paid more than $100,000 for the ball at auction only to have it destroyed publicly. “It’s like the ring from ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and we’re kind of like Frodo, trying to get it over with,” the ball’s final owner told ESPN.