Baltimore -- The scuff mark on the back side of the laptop screen is my simultaneous badge of honor and error. I didn’t duck when the foul ball cleared the screen and hurtled toward me in the first row of the press box Sunday night during Game 1 of the Yankees’ division series against the Orioles. Nor did I get my hands around the fragile machine and together fast enough to keep the ball from splitting them like uprights in an end zone, short-hopping off the back of the screen and into crowd.
       All good intentions aside, E-me.
      The official ruling came from Mike Vaccaro ‏@MikeVacc of the New York Post, who was sitting directly behind me and immediately posted on Twitter:
     “Score that E-@HarveyAraton
      Honestly, it happened so fast that I don’t even remember what exact inning it was or who was batting. It was early in the Yankees’ 7-2 victory, is all I know, and I was amazed and delighted that the computer – beyond the souvenir smudge – was unscathed and fully operational.
       We in the sports writing business live in mortal fear of being short-circuited in the middle of a hot deadline event. But it invariably happens because, I tell you, it’s a jungle out there in the press box. When the Red Sox were here in Baltimore last season to complete their September death spiral someone knocked a cup of cold coffee onto my key board. The screen within seconds looked like some weird mathematical computation from the film adaptation of the Carl Sagan novel, “Contact,” starring Jodie Foster, before going completely dark.
       Anyway, before I returned my full attention to rewriting the column I had already filed before the rain-delayed game to the New York Times I recalled the last time I had come so close to a souvenir baseball at a major league game. It was only about 45 years ago, in 1965 or 66.
       I was with a few of my teenage friends at Yankee Stadium – I mean, the very old Yankee Stadium – in the right-field bleachers, peering over a barrier and down into the Yankees’ bullpen. Hal Reniff, a portly right-handed reliever, was warming up when a ball popped off the mitt of the bullpen catcher and somehow sailed right to where my arms were dangling.
       Unfortunately, I had a program in one hand, a pen I strangely imagined I would use to score autographs with in the other. I butchered the play and dropped the pen in the process. Reniff ignored my pleas to fetch it and toss it back.
       That might have been the moment I realized I wasn’t going to be a major league ballplayer. But even with the inability to hold onto the most important piece of equipment for a journalist, I somehow managed to make it into the sports writing business.
       Anyone out there have a good “ball” story?


Craig Weeks
10/10/2012 10:54pm

Harvey - several years ago I had a first row seat in the upper deck of Comiskey Park right on first base. The guy next to me had brought his three identically dressed daughters to the game. Three foul balls were in his hands and instead of having a souvenir baseball for each of his kids he dropped all three of them. To add insult to his injured ego when he dropped the third ball the crowd booed him.

michael leone
10/11/2012 3:30pm

in may 1976...night game,,maybe 15,000 people in the stands..sitting along 1st base downstairs...chamblis hits a hr into the lower deck...only a security guard is there..gets the ball and throws it right to me 150 ft away from him...still have that ball!!!

06/26/2013 6:39am

Yankees’ 7-2 victory has been that proove that inspires the approaches for their magnificent game of that time! Thank you a lot for sharing with us these reminds.

Jason Bush
10/12/2012 10:01am

In 1967 my dad and and I went to a Boston game at Fenway. We were sitting in the press box and Ken Harrelson hit a foul ball that lodged in a grating that extended beneath our feet. I reached down to get it with my dad grabbing my ankles so I wouldn't fall and managed to get it. I think I got Harrelson to autograph it after the , game. Of course, over the years it got misplaced along with the ball my father got me featuring the signatures of every member of the 1962 pennant winning (and very nearly World Series winning) San Francisco Giants including future Hall of Famers Mays, McCovey, Cepeda and Marichal.

10/13/2012 4:33pm

And how many times at court side did we have push back from the press table to avoid a flying NBA player? Cokes splashing, laptops vulnerable?


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