By Dave Bruning
The unabashed joy and giddiness of a child is a wonder to behold. Too often we lose sight of this as adults, or even worse, fail to ever experience it again. I am blessed and fortunate to have those moments on a daily basis with my daughter. The great game of baseball and Coors Field allowed me to have one of those great moments. I caught my first foul ball at a major league baseball game. A week later, I am still that giddy child!
I was fortunate to secure a couple of tickets to the Rockies/Texas Rangers game thanks to my boss at the Sports Station and one of our quality vendors. The seats were 10 rows behind home plate, just a drag bunt down the 3rd base line. I played baseball throughout my life and am a passionate baseball fan. These were the best seats I have been blessed to watch a baseball game from.
One of my best buddies, Marty, was my partner in crime for the day. He even volunteered to drive. I should have realized karma was smiling on me that day. We left around 4, beat rush hour traffic and ended up tail gaiting at a cool downtown Denver bar called the View House. Close to Coors Field with a spectacular outdoor, rooftop patio, it was a wonderful place to enjoy a couple of adult beverages before the game.
I was anxious to get to our seats, yet we still missed the first pitch. We found our section and made our way down to our seats. It is a magnificent feeling to just keep walking down the aisle and get closer and closer to the field. The baseball diamond seems surreal at field level.
We settled in and I promptly told my boss I would run his ass over to get a foul ball. He issued me the same warning and we had a good laugh. The father and son next to us then casually mentioned that despite our excellent seats, not many foul balls came our way. They did not realize the baseball karma that I possess!
The Rockies jumped out to a 7-0 lead and our entire section was reveling in a great night at the ball park. The bottom of the 4th inning brought Carlos Gonzalez to the plate. Cargo fouled a ball back, and I knew immediately it would land close to our seats. Foul balls behind home plate have over spin and actually move back toward the field. Not many people realize this. The ball landed a row or two behind me, was mishandled and bounced around. It rolled right to my feet. I pounced on the ball like my dog Josie embraces a taste of steak off the grill.
I was ecstatic. Giddiness consumed me. I hollered triumphantly and exchanged high-fives. I was then overcome by emotion. I sat down and buried my head in my hands to reflect on the moment, or to hide my tears of joy; it’s hard to say which. A foul ball is the Holy Grail for a baseball fan and I am blessed.
I had always told myself if I ever caught a foul ball I would find a little boy close by and give him the ball. I wanted to share my love for baseball and create a moment a young fan would never forget. Two things have changed for me. First, there was no little boy close by. Secondly, I have a daughter and wanted her to have the ball.
When my inner child settled down we headed for the new Rooftop area of Coors Field to celebrate with a beer. This area is sublime adult entertainment. They have taken a little-used area of the ball park and created a must-visit atmosphere with must-see views of the field and the glorious Colorado Mountains. I would love to see them put this thought and focus into their product on the field, but that is for another blog!
Posing for pictures and sharing the moment via social media ensued. I love sharing the excitement of the moment. It is social media at its best. We returned to our seats behind home plate to discover Texas had made it a very entertaining ball game. The Rockies rallied for an 8-7 victory.
My childish enthusiasm carried me all the way home. I was pumped to present the ball to my daughter in the morning. To borrow a baseball euphemism, it was a perfect game.