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ESPN baseball columnist/feature writer
Former editor-in-chief of Baseball Prospectus
Co-author of “The Only Rule Is It Has To Work”
For many of us, one of the first hints that our parents are not gods, not superheroes, not even particularly significant in a world of 7 billion, comes in the stands of a major league baseball game, when they fail to get us a foul ball.
In a typical game, about 20 catchable baseballs sail into the stands. Our parents — and, later, we — are almost never in the right section to pursue most of them. When a ball does approach our section, people have the heavy rangelessness of a streetlamp, perhaps stretching one arm hopefully at it but with none of the chair-hurdling athleticism we imagine of a true superhero. And, worst of all, if a ball does target them specifically, it almost certainly slaps off their hands and lands at the feet of a different child’s parents. “It had so much spin,” my dad explained, after the foul ball hit off his hands and landed many rows beyond.
Baseball fans ask each other if we’ve ever caught a foul