Catching two fouls hardly seems fair

From Out of Bounds

By Rob Sylvester

I’ve been to a few baseball games in my life, and I’ve never caught a home run or a foul ball. In fact I don’t think one has ever come within three rows of me. However, for every Yin, there is a Yang — in comes Adam Koltun, who caught not one, but two foul balls on consecutive pitches at Friday night’s Marlins-Nationals game in Miami. This is the sports nerd equivalent of those old ladies you hear about in the news who have won the lottery multiple times.

The pitches both came off the meager bat of phenom pitcher Stephen Strasburg, who apparently has the same pinpoint control while fighting off fastballs as he does when throwing them. However, the Marlins crowd was full of haters that night, and promptly let Koltun know about their displeasure with his back-to-back strokes of luck.

“The boos came,” Koltun said, “and I thought I better give it to the kid.”

The kid would be 13-year-old Jose Wilhelm, who the second ball hit in the chest before Koltun lassoed it in off the ricochet. Koltun’s compelled gesture of generosity aside, how exactly does one get hit in the chest at a baseball game? “Hey, look at that white thing careening in my direction really fast, what is tha…UUUHMPF.” Let’s show some awareness out there, kid.

I’m firmly of the belief that all caught balls should be given to children anyway — really, what are you going to do with a foul ball? Display it on a trophy case atop your mantle, so you can regale visitors about that time that a pitcher failed to put a ball in play? Sell it on e-Bay for $2.75? Score yourself some points with the ladies in your section and hand that ball to the first kid you see, fellas — it’ll be a much bigger deal to them than it is to you.

However this is a neat story for Koltun, a statistical anomaly worth pointing out in a “huh-what-are-the-chances-of-that?” sort of way, and at least all those in attendance can say they actually saw something noteworthy in a Marlins-Nationals game (in addition to Strasburg’s six stellar scoreless innings). Plus, under pressure or not, he did give one of the balls to a kid, so good work Adam.

Unless of course he brought a glove to the game, for which he should be tarred and feathered out of principle. You have two perfectly good hands to catch a baseball, and, failing that, your beer cup. Let’s save everyone the embarrassment and leave the gloves at home, people.

***
Two pitches, two foul balls for Marlins spectator [NBC Sports]

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