One of the reasons baseball fans are baseball fans is the traditions of the game, especially when you watch the game from the stands instead of on television. There’s the seventh-inning stretch with the crowd singing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” vendors selling their wares by yelling out “Hot dogs,” “Peanuts,” or “Get your cold beer here,” and many other traditions that make watching a game so fun. One of those other traditions is the thrill of catching a foul ball. While everyone enjoys catching a souvenir ball, it’s more special for a child and there’s an unspoken rule that an adult defers to a child if they both go after a ball. As reported by SB Nation, someone at the Cubs vs. Cards game at Wrigley Field Sunday night broke that rule, and the internet was having none of it. And neither, it turned out, were the Cubs.
A video that was shared to Twitter clearly shows Cubs first base coach Will Venable toss a ball to a boy in the stands. The kid missed the ball, like kids often do, and it rolled under his seat, at which point a man behind the boy scrambled for the ball. Once he had his hands on it, he offered it not to the boy but to the person next to him.
Twitter immediately attacked the man, calling him a jerk and other things we can’t print here. The Cubs made up for the kid’s loss though and hand delivered him two balls later in the game, one of them signed by Javier Baez. It turns out, however, that there is more to this story.
Amid the Twitter uproar, some tweeted that the man who took the ball that was thrown at the young boy was being unfairly villainized. One wrote, “I was sitting the next to the boy and the same fan helped him snag a ball a few innings before this.” Another tweeted, “Every inning the players toss balls into the crowd there. The guy was great taking care of the kids around him first.”
Some on Twitter and elsewhere said that, given the full story, there’s no need to attack the guy. Others still think he was wrong to take the ball because it was clearly intended for the little boy. In the end, it turned out good for the boy though. He went home with multiple balls, one signed, and the Cubs beat the Cards 2-7. All in all, the kid had a good day at the ballpark.