By Marc Campos

Foul Balls

Commentary has access to seats at Minute Maid where there is a lot of foul ball action. Commentary has harvested about 60 foul balls since Enron, errrr, Minute Maid opened. Sometimes I give them away to kids, sometimes I'll give to guests, particularly if they are of the female persuasion, sometimes I'll keep them. The late State Representative Joe E. Moreno went with me to a ballgame one time - I got a foul ball that evening and gave it to him. He was very appreciative. I once gave one to an elected official that was sitting a few rows behind me. Someone close to Commentary that was at the game with me that evening said I was "sucking up." I was.

My best season was 2001 when I snagged 13. Last year I grabbed 7. This year I'm up to seven, including two one evening a couple of weeks ago. I gave both balls to a little kid that was with his parents - the family was from Lake Charles, La. - his dad was an ICU nurse - a week later Rita hit Lake Charles. I've thought about that family on a number of occasions since then. I hope they are OK.

This season, this fella and his friend have sat behind me at a few games. On a couple of occasions I've gotten foul balls and they have immediately mumbled kind of under their breath "give the ball to a kid." I think they are trying to shame me into giving the ball away, cause they didn't get it. I don't think they are happy people. Last weekend, one of the Young Guns was with me at a game and snagged a foul ball - the unhappy pair were there and mumbled "give it to a kid." This Young Gun just kind of gave them a go to you know where look.

Most fans never get a shot at a foul ball. The guys I feel bad for are the ones that let one slip out of their hands and 35,000 plus fans let out a big groan. I know they are going to be feeling real down for about 48 hours. Commentary never takes a glove - you get booed if you muff one with a glove - nobody boos when you muff one barehanded. Commentary sometimes uses his lid to snag a ball.

Speaking of Young Guns - one of them used to be a batboy for the Astros. He has a lot of cool stories about what goes on behind the scenes. He doesn't need foul balls.

This afternoon at around 3 pm, this city's productivity will swing downward as folks tune in to see if this is our year to go to the Big Dance. Go 'Stros!

October 5, 2005, 9:00AM

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