Many Major League ballplayers are men who started playing baseball in the yard with their dad or someone, tossing a wiffle ball, and then graduating through the ranks to Little League, high school, college, and minor league ball, until they reach the major leagues.
Baseball fans are a devoted bunch, and they plan family outings to the ballparks to see their favorite players slug it out on diamonds across the nation. Watching the very best of the very best play the very best game in the world (sorry, soccer!) is a great pleasure.
And them some clown like Steve Hartley decides to butt in.
Hartley is a Cubs fan from Andersonville, Illinois. Tuesday night's game at Wrigley Field had the Los Angeles Dodgers in town to meet the Cubs, so Hartley brought his 7-month old son, Isaac, to the game.
There is nothing wrong with that.
Hartley was bottle-feeding the infant in a front-row seat near the visitors' dugout during the second inning when Cubs pitcher Jason Hammel popped a foul fly in their direction.
Adrian Gonzalez, the Dodger first baseman, ran and reached over the rolled-up tarpaulin (known as the "tarpoleon" in Baltimore) to grab the ball, only to watch Hartley grab the popup with his right hand while holding baby Isaac with his left.
“I was just feeding him and I saw the ball coming our way and held on to him and made sure I protected him and I stood up and it kind of just fell in my hand,” Hartley said.
"I made sure the baby was out of the way and sat back to watch a baseball player play baseball, instead of reaching over and inserting myself into the on-field action like an oaf," Hartley did NOT say.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly justifiably argued that Hartley had interfered with Gonzalez making the catch. Umpires reviewed the video. The play was indeed ruled fan interference. Hammel was called out. Gonzalez pointed out that, "It would have been more impressive if the baby had caught it."
Security came down and hollered at Hartley, but, really, what it is about people thinking they can just be part of the game like that? Catch all the fouls and homers you want if those balls reach the seats, but you aren't supposed to lean over the railing and affect the course of the game.
I do realize that everyone has the right these days to do anything they doggone well please, and I fully expect to see the day when a family takes little Fauntleroy to the Meyerhoff Hall to hear the town band play, and the child wanders down and starts in on the tympani during the concert, or cousin Iggy from out of town parades into the kitchen at a nice restaurant and starts cooking his own dinner because he *wants* to.