Publisher’s Corner

A Boy And His Baseball

My life changed forever on Wednesday, September 19, 2012. It was a beautiful night for baseball, as Harry Caray used to say. My wife Niki and I had scored some great seats to the Cardinal game against the Houston Astros. Section 164, row 3, seat 9 to be exact. An aisle seat is my favorite so I can stretch out my 6’ 3” frame during the game. There was a gentle breeze in Busch Stadium as the game began with St. Louis pitcher Lance Lynn setting down the Astros in the top of the first inning. I took a chug of my beer as Cardinal center fielder John Jay led off the game for the home team. Just 15 rows from the field down the left field line, we had a great view of Jay’s open left handed stance at the plate. The Astro pitcher bent over and looked in. Got his sign. And made the pitch. A fast ball on the outside of the plate which John Jay swung late on but got a very solid piece of the ball. I watched as his line drive sliced down the left field line toward the seats. I looked up into the bank of lights making it hard to pick up the ball completely. But I could tell it was coming in my direction. It sliced more and what seemed like a blink of an eye it hit the railing just to the left of my seat with a screaming thud and ricocheted just five feet along the concrete steps to the left of my seat. Without getting out of my seat, I reached over and with the agility of a cat chasing a housefly, I snatched the ball in my paw. A young man in his 20s with a glove had dived across the aisle from some 30 feet away in a feeble attempt to spoil my thunder. But it was not to be. I held in my hand an official “mud rubbed” Rawlings Major League Baseball while the crowd around me yelled and cheered my somewhat lucky and agile feat of ball-hawkery. Because the line drive was so hard hit, the ushers rushed over to see if anyone was hurt by the incoming missle. But the smile on my face and baseball in my clutches quickly assured them that there was no agony here, just ecstasy. Within a moment a youngster came over to look at the ball in my hand and promptly snatched it from my grasp and ran to his mother across the aisle. She told him to give it back and he chucked it at me with quite the arm of a future major leaguer. Niki scampered down our row to retrieve the misguided toss. When the game ended, the youngster passed by me clutching his newly purchased stuffed rally squirrel and said, “I’ll never get a baseball.” I wanted to tell him, “Hey, wait your turn, it took me 61 years to get mine.” But he had already made his way up the steps with his mom. Some things are better the longer you have to wait for them I guess. I’m hoping John Jay will sign the ball some day, and I am going to get a plastic display case for it, too. There’s something to be said about a boy and his baseball. No matter how old the boy may be.

Stop by our Healthy Planet Natural Living Expo Oct. 14 in Webster Groves. I might have the baseball on display! See page 3 for discount tickets.

Make sure you vote, Nov. 6. If you are not part of the process, you are part of the problem.

J.B. Lester; Publisher