The Cubs won their series finale against the St. Louis Cardinals, and in doing so, also won the series and increased their NL Central lead. The game also featured a moment that started off poorly, but ended up swell for a young fan.
There are commercial jingles made about these guys, and one particular gentleman has gained notoriety for taking it to the extreme. As former Cubs broadcaster Bob Brenly suggests, usually when one catches a foul ball and there is a young fan nearby, it seems like good etiquette to “give it to a kid.” There’s nothing that mandates it, of course, but since adults supposedly have jobs and can purchase an authentic major league baseball for less than $10 somewhere (cheaper than a typical Wrigley beer these days!), it’s not like they lose anything by allowing a young fan to have their spoils of fandom. After all, you never know when that is the moment that hooks a kid to the sport for life, or inspires the next great major leaguer.
Then, you have this guy…
When going to a baseball game, DON'T be this guy. pic.twitter.com/pAeiRN6Q2X
— Cut4 (@Cut4) July 22, 2018
Even in the Under Armour Game, the high school players knew to toss as many practice balls and foul balls to the kids that were sneaking out just past the netting. They probably remembered when their parents took them to ballparks, and the rare occasion when they could get close enough to the field to interact with the players and coaches. Even rarer was the opportunity to snag a souvenir.
Well, after this unfortunate douchebag incident, knowing that Coach Will Venable intended the souvenir for the kid, the Cubs made things right:
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 22, 2018
Not only did the kid get a used ball, he also got a nice shiny new one signed by Javier Baez! I hope that improved his day substantially. The douchebag deserves to be shunned, and the kid deserves to be happy. Everybody wins!
UPDATE 10:30 PM: We should probably also take this with a grain of salt, but if this is from the gentleman who was next to the guy who took the ball, then perhaps we should consider this account:
I was sitting next to this guy. That ball was between my feet. The kid already had a ball the same guy helped him get. He handed it to his wife. She took a picture of it and they gave it to the kid next to them. This guy was great. This story is BAD.
— Chuck Mycoff (@cmycoff2) July 23, 2018
I would be interested in additional corroboration and if the kid already got a ball, it would explain why he wasn’t too disappointed after all. I guess the guy who took the call could have been more communicative with the kid regarding why he wouldn’t get the ball this time around. And it really is quite inconvenient that the video clip did not continue to show what happened afterwards.
I’ll leave my original narrative up just for pure transparency and try to update this if information is available, but let’s just say the optics don’t help the guy regardless.
UPDATE: 7/23 11:25 AM: David Kaplan helps put this situation in context:
I spoke with people from the Cubs. The man who grabbed the ball on the widely seen video had actually already helped the little boy get a ball earlier. The young man has a game used ball and a Javy Baez ball. All is well. Guy is A-OK so let it go people.
— David Kaplan (@thekapman) July 23, 2018
Here is the final wrap up on BallGate at Wrigley on Sunday: Eddie Olczyk and I just spoke with a man who was sitting next to the gentleman in question. "That guy did nothing wrong. He gave three balls out to people around him including the little boy in question. He was great."
— David Kaplan (@thekapman) July 23, 2018
So with a great bit of regret for putting this guy on blast, we would like to apologize to the gentleman in question and shout him up for actually doing what Bob Brenly said in giving it to a kid. This is probably also a good object lesson to make sure everything is in context before everyone on the internet flips out on a guy, since the video was only 10 seconds long. All is well that ends well, and hopefully the guy has no hard feelings, while the kid got another souvenir out of the deal.