Do you think the couple should have given the ball to the child?
As we all know, the Internet can be a force of pure evil or an invaluable blessing.
When all the Internet brings us is another day of Hologram Tupac jokes, I start to wonder if we really even need it at all. I mean, think about it. Don't you think you could live the rest of your life having never seen another LOL'cat or having to skim through the comments section of a local news story? I know I could.
But, then there are the times where the Internet acts as a form of non-violent vigilante justice, like the Guardian Angels, the Super Friends or the A-Team. And that was the case with the video that has gone viral from last night's Rangers-Yankees game.
In case you have yet to see it, let me catch you up. Mitch Moreland tosses a foul ball into the stands, as players do dozens of times in a game. This ball ended up in row that was occupied by a middle-aged couple seated next to another couple with a young son. The boy, as most kids do, was excited to be able to take home the foul ball as a souvenir. Only Mitch's throw was a bit off and the ball landed in the crosshairs of the middle-aged couple.
No biggie, right? All adult humans not raised by a pack of ill-mannered wolves know that if you catch a foul ball and there's a kid around, you give them the ball. This is also commonly (or not so commonly, since I'm inventing it right now) referred to as "Mean Joe Green'ing" a kid. It's just a foregone conclusion you give the ball to the kid. It's written into our social contract.
A foul ball is worthless, as far as a sellable piece of memorabilia. It's not as if giving the ball to a kid would take money out of anyone's pocket. Not to mention that in this particular video, it's very apparent that the small child was reaching for the ball, and when he realized the couple had no intentions of handing over the ball, the little boy started to cry.
Okay, let me stop right there. Now, we don't know where this couple is from. Maybe they are from a country far, far away from ours and they are unaware of our society's traditions and customs. I'm willing to bet that this is not the case, if for no other reason than the fact that the middle-aged woman who kept the ball is wearing a bedazzled Rangers cap that just screams Frisco.
So, let's safely assume that this was not some sort of wacky '80s comedy where foreigners who have no clue that you give foul balls to kids go around inadvertently making children cry. If you are an adult with at least a few synapses firing correctly and see that there is a child next to you who wanted that foul ball and is now crying because you have decided to keep it and are okay with that, I don't want you at the Ballpark. You are, at least on paper, a terrible person.
Now, once again, if you haven't seen this video, you might think, "Well, the game was a sell out and it was loud, so maybe the couple didn't realize there was a kid next to them that wanted the ball and was, in fact, crying over it." Nope, that doesn't work either because it's not as if the couple caught the ball, admired it and then tucked it away safely in a handbag or backpack. No, this couple proudly posed for pictures with the ball. At one point, in the process of posing for a picture with the ball, the crying child meekly reaches up for the ball in a final attempt to right the wrong. He's unsuccessful and the couple goes back to obliviously posing for pictures with the ball.
Listen, I know the waters of "is it okay to use a viral video to shame someone publicly for rude, obnoxious behavior?" are murky. And, as I said before, perhaps there's some hilarious explanation for the couple's behavior. But, based on the video, this is a case where the Internet has done an efficient and appropriate job of shaming people who are oblivious to those around them.
This video is sweet revenge for everyone who has been stuck in the 15 items or less line behind someone with a cart full of groceries or anyone who has watched as an able-bodied person inconsiderately parks in a handicapped spot. Sometimes it feels like the fabric of social courtesy is unraveling with each passing day. A viral video like this mends and patches those tears. And, if nothing else, it serves as a not-so-gentle reminder that you give foul balls to kids. No exceptions.