It happens in a flash. A man is watching a baseball game with his most prized possession — his child — in his arms, when the opportunity to acquire an more prized possession — a foul ball — comes screaming toward him. He can react one of three ways: 1.) Be responsible, duck away, save the kid. 2.) Toss the child aside and go after the $2 baseball. 3.) Be a real hero and embrace the challenge of simultaneously protecting a child and snagging a ball out of the air.
With Father’s Day upon us, we celebrate the bold few who opted for No. 3 and claimed their glorious patrimony. Here, in order of greatness, the five best foul-ball-catching, baby-holding dads of the past couple seasons.
5. This is a good snag, and wearing the kid makes it look even better. But it also makes it easier. To truly impress, the kid’s life must be hanging in the balance when the grab is made.
4. It’s easy to rag on this guy for reaching on to the field of play to get a foul ball. Not only is it against the rules, but he’s going out of the way to endanger his child. Still, he makes a sure-handed grab and keeps the kid’s bottle in his mouth the whole time. Solid.
3. This Giants fan is holding both baby and diaper bag when he stretches for an upper-deck foul ball. Extra points here for alertness in a section of the ballpark that doesn’t see many souvenirs.
2. Watch a bunch of empty-handed goons whiff on this bouncing foul ball before grizzled old pops here reaches out with his calloused mitt to pluck it out of the air, all without disturbing that little angel on his lap.
1. And now the champ, a beefy-armed dad who appears to be holding a 4-year-old, a concession tray full of hot dogs and a couple promotional shopping bags. He still plucks this screamer out of the air, without even rising to his feet. Let’s hope this guy’s family treats him well on Father’s Day and gives him the ultimate gift every baseball living dad hopes for — a day at the ballpark all by himself.