Infant

New Dads Catching Foul Balls: DOS and DON’TS

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The moment I take my seat in a baseball stadium, catching a foul ball is always top of mind. I often suss out the crowd seated near me. Sure, we’re cheering for the same team, but once a ball is headed to our section, these fellow fans instantly become foes. Like that 70 year old lady over there? I think she can move faster than she’s letting on.

This excitement was instilled in me as a young boy at the first game I went to with my father. He encouraged me wear my glove during most of the game, “you have to be ready” he said. I have been on high alert ever since.

But that was then and this is the new dad era. These days we’ve brought precious cargo with us so being ready means keeping our baby safe. Not just from balls – bats often make their way into the stands. And of course the flailing limbs of would-be ball catchers when one comes within 20 feet of their seats.

The good news is that many MLB stadiums recently extended the netting along the first and third baseline. Sitting at field level will be far safer than it was just a year ago. The bad news is that it came as the result of numerous injuries to fans, most notably a serious one to a toddler at Yankee Stadium.

Do some research to determine where the safest seating areas of stadium are. Only sit at field level if you can get a seat behind netting. Once you arrive in the stadium tell your former-overzealous-foul-ball-chasing-self to have a seat. Dad’s in charge now. Stay on high alert. Pay attention to each at bat. Keep your eye on the ball. Stay put. Be aware that foul ball melees tend to get chaotic – shield your baby. Catching a ball should really only be a by-product of protective measures. If the incoming ball is anymore than just an arms reach away, forget about it!

Here’s a breakdown of dads with babies did it right. They stood their ground. Their reactions were knee-jerk. They didn’t lunge, bend or climb. Most importantly they didn’t put their babies safety at risk.

DOS

This dad appears out of nowhere, snags the ball…and does it on father’s day?!

This dad gets bonus points for the after-catch showboating.

This dad’s reach is epic.

This dad proves that even the worst seats in the house ain’t so bad!

And here’s a breakdown of dads with babies who did it wrong. They were erratic and too caught up in the moment. Their baby’s safety was clearly put at risk.

DON’TS

No. No. And NO!

Unstable baby. Mad Momma. Game over.

Bending over. Reaching. Crying baby. Mom wants the baby back.

Bonus points for making the catch while feeding the baby a bottle. But catching a ball that’s still in play? That can make you public enemy number one. Think Steve Bartman.

Have you or would you bring a baby to a ballpark? Do you have any safety tips? Or any other thoughts? Let us know in the comments below!

Jimmy A.

Stay-at-home, try-to-work-from-home, father of two boys ages 4 years and 21 months. Exiled from Adventure Bay by the Paw Patrol, now chilling on Griffin Rock with the Rescue Bots.

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