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Bartosh

Give me a reason not to detest you

An open letter to an unknown woman in Texas:

  Hey lady!
  You get the Jerry Lewis-style opening here because I don’t know your name. Most people across the land probably don’t either, but you’ve nevertheless managed to attract a great amount of both attention and enmity for a recent act you performed that found its way onto the Internet.
  Let’s call it your 15 minutes of fame — or, more accurately, your 22 seconds of infamy. The video clip in question was shot at Minute Maid Park in Houston and involved your retrieval of a baseball that bounced on top of one of the dugouts during a game.
  As most fans would attest, all’s fair in the pursuit of a foul. That means normally frowned-upon behavior, such as jostling others to purposely knock them off-balance and better position yourself for a payoff, is considered acceptable. And that’s certainly understandable — after all, such a souvenir is rare enough that only a few million others have one to call their own.


  In most instances, however, the most ardent pursuers of said balls are of a similar physical stature. Elderly fans generally stay seated and very small children let their fathers or older siblings take a stab at them.
  But there is an unwritten rule involving the chasing of foul balls, and it’s this: If kids do go after them, the youngsters get first dibs. Just as a tie goes to the runner on a close play at first base, the same precept applies to the smaller individual whenever two people gain simultaneous possession of a ball.
  You, lady, disregarded that principle. Instead, you yanked a ball away from a girl who appeared to be no more than 7 or 8 years old. On the video, it seems as if she is on the verge of tears, and then a guy in the group you’re with adds insult to injury by high-fiving you when you return to your seat.
  And the congratulations were well deserved. I don’t know of many other baseball fans who would have been able to successfully pull off a similar now-you-have-it, now-you-don’t stunt on a grade-schooler.
  After watching the video and reading comments about it, I was eager to join the ever-growing list of those who decided to pile on you. But then I rethought my stance.
  Without knowing anything about you, I deemed it unfair to immediately jump to an unfavorable conclusion. Sure, you looked like the devil’s spawn for doing what you did, but maybe there was more to your action than met the eye.
  One obvious conclusion that could be drawn is that you had gotten a little too friendly with the beer man during your visit to the ballpark. The stadium may be named after a juice brand, but I’m guessing the suds flow just as freely at Minute Maid Park as at any other pro baseball venue.
  So perhaps you had overindulged in alcoholic beverages, weren’t seeing too clearly, and thought there were three or four kids present instead of just one. With the numerical odds stacked against you like that, you had to act — and do so quickly.
  We didn’t see it happen, but maybe the one kid who really was there gave you a cheap shot at some point in order to station herself next to the dugout and you were merely retaliating, or it could be that the little girl simply reminded you of a bratty kid in your neighborhood. You know the kind — someone who goes out of her way to irritate you by stepping on your front lawn, teasing your pet, or ringing your doorbell and running away before you can answer.
  I know if any of those things happened to most of us, we’d be more than happy to take out our revenge on someone who wasn’t guilty of anything other than an unfortunate facial resemblance to some little troublemaker.
  Maybe you were just fed up with children always receiving preferential treatment. The same ballplayers who are willing to sign autographs for kids and charge them nothing suddenly suffer from hand cramps when asked by anyone older than 12 to do likewise, and for all any of us knows you experienced that indignity before the game and were put in a sour mood because of it.
  If that were so, perhaps you should have tried a different approach with the player, such as asking him to sign a boob instead. Of course, with your luck, he would have taken that to mean you wanted him to write his name on the forehead of your male companion.
  Something else that no one mentioned — it could be that we’re all mistaken about your date of birth. While you look older, maybe you’re only 11, and just tall and well developed for your age. If so, then you had every right to battle for the ball because you’re still just a kid.
  Or it could be that, instead of being mean, you were actually doing right by that child by showing her that things don’t always work out the way we’d like. Chances are, the girl’s parents have babied her through most of her young life, and the little princess probably thinks the primary job of every adult she encounters is to pamper her and make her feel special.
  Sorry, kid, it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, and the faster you understand that, the better off you’ll be. Thank goodness there’s at least one adult who cares enough about the truth to demonstrate to you exactly how rotten much of society can be, and that even youngsters shouldn’t expect to be spared.
  Or there’s also the possibility you were subliminally suggesting to the child that a ballpark is no place for little girls. In your own way, you were perhaps letting her know she’d be better off playing with dolls and makeup, and keeping her entertainment interests focused on pop music and boy bands.
  A little girl like that should save her cheers for Justin Bieber instead of Justin Verlander or Justin Morneau. In that situation, the only foul ball she’d ever come across is the guy on stage.
  I don’t know which of these scenarios might have influenced your behavior at Minute Maid Park, lady, but I wouldn’t be surprised if at least one of them applies. And while we’re on the subject, where were the girl’s parents or adult chaperones?
  If you were so completely out of line, wouldn’t some larger person have interceded on her behalf? That didn’t appear to happen, so I’m wondering why not.
  I’m sure she didn’t drive herself to the game and purchase her own ticket. Allowance only stretches so far, and the same goes for her legs. In short, she’s too short to operate a car.
  If neither you nor any of your pals received a fattened lip or blackened eye because of what you did, then maybe this is just a whole lot of hullabaloo over nothing. And in that case, you are not deserving of a verbal dressing down, but an apology for all the nasty things that have been said and written about you.
  So in closing, lady, you should appreciate the fact that someone finally took a few moments to consider your feelings. Please realize I’ve really tried hard to understand the other side of this supposedly one-sided story — tried, but ultimately failed.
  You, lady, really are a piece of garbage. I have just one question:
  When you crawl back beneath your rock, how are you going to get the baseball to fit under there with you?