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Wednesday, July 30, 2008 

Big Al almost becomes Steve Bartman

Once upon a time in October 2003, a man named Steve Bartman became famous. However, not the famous that you would not want to wish on your worst enemy. He purchased one seat in the first row at Chicago's Wrigley Field and made one mistake - he interfered with a baseball that cost the Chicago Cubs their first trip to the World Series since 1945. It's been almost 5 years since that incident, and he's still mentioned as the Cub's excuse for failure.

Last Sunday, I was sitting in the first row of left field lower box, and I could have become the next Steve Bartman. Okay... it wasn't a playoff. The Giants were down 7-0 aided by Randy Johnson's masterpiece. Had I interfered I may have made Sportscenter, but I would easily have been forgotten. However, for a split second I understood what Bartman felt on that cold October night in 2003.

(My almost famous moment. Do you see me? Photo courtesy of 4nyay.com.)

The Giant's were losing 7-0 to the Arizona Diamondbacks. There were 2 outs. One of the Arizona players skies one to left field. Everything got quiet. I could hear my heartbeat. It may have been just me, but I became focused. It was just me and the ball. I knew it was out of play. I slowly reached out, but something made me pull back. A split second later, Fred Lewis comes crashing into the wall and catches (traps) the ball. Out #3!!!

(Freddy signaling to the umpire that he caught (trapped) the ball. See me yet? Photo courtesy of 4nyay.com.)

It was surreal. I really could have reached out and grabbed the ball. It would have been interesting to see if I actually would have caught it or bobbled it back onto the field. In my 21 years of going to baseball, this was as close as I have been to a live ball. To date, I have not caught a foul ball nor a homerun. I did get a foul ball tossed to me back in 2002 at an A's game, but I don't count that. I'm happy to say that my streak of not getting a ball continues, but with the surety that my attempt didn't lead me to become the next Steve Bartman.