Sep 2, 2014
It was 27 July 2014, and Angel Arroyo and his Dad decided to head to Minute Maid Park in Houston. The Arroyo's almost didn't go to the game that day, it was a last minute decision to purchase tickets to the game. Once at the game, Arroyo had a successful batting practice (BP) in which he snagged 7 baseballs on a Sunday, and snagged his 200th lifetime baseball that day. After BP, Arroyo and his Dad had tickets to section 407 in the upper deck, however they did not want to sit there, so they set out to "upgrade" their seats on a gameday with a sparse crowd. The Arroyos headed toward the lower seating bowl, and made their way past security, and found their way to section 107 on the third base side of the ball park toward the outfield, in prime "foulball hunting" territory!
Once there, the game started with Colin McHugh on the bump, and Christian Yelich up to bat. On the second pitch of the day, and with the first batter up, Yelich ripped a liner down the line to the right of Arroyo. Arroyo stated, "right off the bat, I took off as my ballhawking instincts came through. I quickly followed the route of the ball to where it bounced off of a railing, and towards the last rows of the section. With no competition, I located the ball and picked it up. I felt pretty ecstatic, and could hear the cheers of the crowd in that section. I went back to my seat to greet my Dad, and he gave me a big high five! "
Immediately an usher came up to Arroyo, and he feared the worst! He knew she was going to ask for their tickets to see if they were sitting in the right seats, but all she asked them was if Arroyo was okay, and then she gave them each a high five! Arroyo stated, "I sat down in glee, and continued to watch the game, and was paying attention to more foul ball opportunities."
In the third inning, as Yelich came up to bat again, Arroyo clapped for him, and paid close attention to his at bat. Arroyo was thinking, "wouldn't it be cool to catch another foul ball of his"? As soon as Arroyo was done thinking about that, Yelich hit another slicer down the line right at him. Arroyo stated, "the ball came directly to me, and I should have made a clean catch, but I lost the ball in the lights. I saw the ball bounce right to my feet, and as I was about to pick it up, a grown man in his mid twenties beat me to the ball as I was trying to snag it with my glove. Everyone cheered me again as I went back to my seat. I lost the foul ball race. I was very devistated, and thought...' that was my chance' ! I could have had two foul balls already by the same guy! I was happy for the guy that snagged it, because he had a wife and two small children. It was a bittersweet ballhawking moment for me. I also scraped up my knees very badly going for that ball!"
It was now the 6th inning, and Arroyo saw Christian Yelich back up to bat. Again, Arroyo was telling himself, and prayed to God to give him another chance to catch a second foul ball. Arroyo stated, "If he (Christian Yelich) could hit 2 foul balls in this section, he could hit 3, right?" On a 2-2 count, Yelich hit another rocket down the line at Arroyo! Arroyo stated, "I could tell that the ball was going to sail over my head just a bit. My ballhawking instincts kicked in once again, as I tracked the ball in mid flight while climbing over seats. As the ball landed, I had challengers of two men right next to me, but I had the advantage! How? I had a glove! I immediately put my glove over the ball before the two men could get their hands on it! I held up the ball, and held up two fingers towards the crowd as they applauded me. I couldn't believe it! I was given another chance, and took advantage of it. People started coming up to me to tell me congrats, and it gave me a good vibe! My Dad couldn't believe that I had just snagged two foul balls."
Yelich came up to bat in the 9th, but 3 foul balls in one game was not meant to be. Arroyo stated, " overall it was a great day...I had just snagged my 200th lifetime baseball, and snagged 2 foul balls by the same player. What a day at the ball park!"
It's a good thing the Arroyos decided to go to the game that day. It sounds like Angel had the time of his life! It's going to be hard to top that performance in the future. What a great Father and Son day at the ball park! Next time Angel will wear knee pads at the game (did he read my last article?). Anyway, we all congratulate him on his ball hawking accomplishments, and wish him well in the future!