It has been one year and one day since the death of Mike Coolbaugh. Fans of baseball remember the story of this gentlman being killed by a foul line drive that hit him just below the left ear coaching 1st base. You shouldn’t care about baseball losing one of their own, you should care that a family lost their father, husband, son, and brother. He was a family man, through and through, that left behind a wife and three children, the youngest who was born after his untimely death.
A few weeks ago, I took my oldest son, Kyle to a minor league game out by where we live at. Now Kyle is 12, has played ball for several years, and understands the game. Part of that understanding is that you MUST pay attention to every pitch, for nothing else…safety. Since my son knows this, we always get seats down the first base line in the front row, so that we have a chance for foul balls. We have been lucky…a ball for each of the past few games we have went to.
We have also seen incidents, at every game mind you, of where there is a chance of people getting hurt. Children AND adults. There is no excuse for this.
Case in point – Last year, Kyle and I went to the final game of the season for our local minor league game. We were sitting second row, looking straight at first base. We are close to the action. In front of us, were two married couples, one which had an infant in her arms (another bonehead move, but that is for another time). during one of the half innings, the husbands got up to go get refreshments and told their wives to make sure the watch the action while they were gone because of the chance of a foul ball.
The request was ignored. The wives proceeded to talk and laugh the whole time. not once did they pay attention to the game. To this day, I still remember Kyle an I giving each other the “we better be ready to jump if needed” look. Sure as a 6-4-3 double play, a right handed batter fouled off a fast ball straight at us. Kyle didn’t have a chance to get to it, but thankfully I did. I had to make physical contact with the woman in front of me to get my hand in the way of the ball.
I wasn’t able to catch it, but I was able to deflect it to where it bounced away from them…and yes, it stung!!!
Several things happened right after…
1)I popped a blood vessel in my hand. No biggie, I played catcher before, I’m used to it.
2)The woman in front went from pissed off at me to scared to death after realizing just what happened faster than a funny car on a quarter mile track.
3) The husbands were walking down the aisle back to their seats when it happened and saw the whole thing. this was one of the few times in a married man’s life where he could say “I told you so” and get away with it. 😉
4) I got a beer from the two couples, and my son got the baseball.
Can you imagine what could have happen to the person in front of me if Kyle and I were not paying attention?