The Rules of Baseball
by Olivia Hemmerich
Wham: the sound of a foul ball landing on the roof right in front of the press box where I am currently sitting. Panic: the emotion that registers as my eyes narrow in on the exact landing spot of the baseball in front of me. Slow and stupid: the realization that if I am watching the ball land, then I did not even come close to reacting fast enough to get out of the way.
Since I was a little girl I have been going to baseball games with my father and was expected to follow three crucial rules while in attendance. Rule one- if you’re going to a ballpark, you have to buy a hotdog. Rule two- bring your glove and pay attention to where the ball is hit. Rule three- there is no crying in baseball (although he may have stolen that from Tom Hanks in A League of Our Own). At 21 years old and currently in my first internship in professional baseball, it never occurred to me that the second rule would be so relevant.
I have recently made the mistake of glancing down for a second too long or concentrating on my writing instead of the ball in play. Do not underestimate the foul ball heading straight for your nose. Heed the warnings- pay attention.
In the stands, while getting food, walking to your seat- anywhere in the ballpark is equal game for a hard hit foul ball. “Be constantly aware of who is at bat and where the ball is going,” was the line I was reminded of repeatedly. Notice if the batter is right-handed or left-handed to clue in on the direction it is most likely to go. All sound advice for surviving a minor league baseball game.
There is not a seat in the house that is immune to the dangers; not even the dugout and certainly not if your sitting down the first baseline. Remember rule number two- from the stands to the press box, it is just as significant today as it was when I was nine years old.