I have season tickets behind the screen at the Network Asso…er…McAfee Coliseum. When I first purchased the seats many years ago, I specifically asked for tickets behind the screen, because I have young children, and I don’t want to have to worry about my kids being hit by foul balls.
My seats usually serve that purpose very well. Foul balls in my section are rare, maybe three or four a year. If ball is hit too low, it hits the screen. If it’s too high, it usually goes into the second deck. Reaching my section requires a weak pop foul by a right-handed batter off a soft-tossing, fly-ball lefty.
On the fourth pitch of today’s game, David Eckstein hit a weak pop foul off of a soft-tossing fly-ball lefty, Mark Redman. At first it seemed headed right toward me, but then it started spinning away. I tried to catch it, but it landed just out of my reach, in the row in front of us, and two seats to the right. It bounced off the seat and into another section.
In my row, directly behind the seat where the ball hit, sat my three-year-old daughter. My wife had jumped in her way to protect her from the ball, so she wasn’t really in any danger. But the thought that my daughter was less than three feet away from serious injury was very frightening.
Four pitches later, Vladimir Guerrero hit a pop foul that also seemed headed straight for us. It fell short, landing three rows in front of us.
Four pitches after that, Troy Glaus hit one that landed about three rows behind us.
A couple of innings later, another pop fly nearly hit a man sitting in a wheelchair at the end of our row, five seats down. All in all, we got six or seven foul balls hit into our section in the first five innings. That’s about twice as many as we usually get all year.
As soon as Mark Redman was removed from the game, the assault from above mercifully ended. I like watching Redman pitch, but from now on, if Redman is the scheduled starter and I have tickets, the kids are staying at home.