SportsProf

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Sunday, June 01, 2008

Silliness of a Ritual at Citizens Bank Park

First, it's not original.

Second, it doesn't accomplish the intended purpose.

Third, it's a bit silly.

What I'm talking about is the ritual where fans in the outfield are compelled through peer pressure to throw an opposing team's home run ball back onto the field. It's a bad ritual for a whole host of reasons.

First, it's the Cubs' ritual. (I don't think it's a particularly bright ritual, and while lots of great things come from Chicago, they're bound to come up with some doozies of bad ones, too, all from a franchise that hasn't won it all in 100 years).

Second, it fails to accomplish the intended purpose, which is to tell the world we don't want their stinkin' ball and it should go into the trash. Because that's not what happens. What happens is that an outfielder throws the ball to one of the ball girls on either the first- or third-base line, who then gives it to a fan along the right- or left-field line, as the case may be. Usually a young fan, but why does this make any sense at all? So, a little boy catches a home run off say Manny Ramirez, a future Hall of Famer, and to his great dismay "must" throw the ball back onto the field (the self-appointed zealots, fueled by thin $6.50 Budweisers, can be menacing, to say the least, especially for a youngster or adolescent). That ball could end up in the mitt of a similar little boy who sits in one of the first rows along the left-field line. That doesn't seem fair, does it?

Third, who really cares? Let the fans who get the ball keep the homer the same way that fans long the base lines keep foul balls. Because the logic, to a degree, is the same, and no amount of peer pressure can compel a fan to toss back a foul ball, and for security reasons I doubt management could tolerate a constant tossing back of balls.

In any event, Philies' fans, you're a good lot, but let's come up with something more original.

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