Dec 14, 2009
For brothers Ben and Andy Haines, the 2009 World Series sparked a bit of a sibling rivalry. Ben, a die-hard Phillies fan, and Andy, a die-hard Yankees fan, both were pulling for their respective teams to win the World Championship. "Our home stadium is Citizen's Bank Park," said Ben. "so when the World Series came there, with me and my brother's favorite teams facing off, there was nothing that was going to stop us from making it to at least one game."
They secured tickets for Game 4, and on November 1 headed to the stadium to cheer on their teams. Although the rivalry would pit the brothers against each other during the game, batting practice was a different story. Both serious ballhawks, Ben and Andy teamed up and snagged a combined 10 World series baseballs.
Battling a huge crowd, they got to work quickly as Andy snagged the first ball of day on a toss-up from Raul Ibanez. Ben followed up with a ball of his own on a toss-up from Clay Condrey. After changing locations and heading to the right field bleachers, Ben got two more toss-ups from Chad Durbin and Brett Myers.
When Matt Stairs came to bat, Ben knew things were about to get exciting. "I knew from past experience that he puts on a show in batting practice, so I moved to straightaway right and up a few rows." And while Stairs was putting on a show on the field, Ben was putting on a Ballhawking show in the bleachers.
Stairs blasted ball after ball into the crowd, and Ben was the lucky recipient of 4 of them. Dodging seats and dozens of other fans, he ran forward and reached past another fan to snag the 1st, backpeddled and made another nice catch for the 2nd, and moved to his left and jumped into the air to snag the 3rd. The 4th was even more difficult. "This one was virtually right at me, but anything could happen with the seats packed," he said. "At the last second, I got pushed from the side, hitting my back pretty hard on the seat armrest behind me, but I still managed to catch the ball for my seventh ball of the day."
Even after 4 amazing snags, his best was yet to come. Jimmy Rollins came to bat and ripped one towards Ben's section. "The ball was going to my left, and after pushing my way through a few people, I made it to the landing spot of the ball," he said. "Another last second push nearly caused me to get beat out by the gloveless adult, but I came up with my eighth ball of the day, and was cheered by the entire section, making this the most memorable catch of the night for me."
Ben finished the day by snagging a Mark Teixeira home run, and yes, if you are keeping track the 13-year-old Ben finished with 9 balls while his older brother Andy finished with just 1. Of course, Andy got the last laugh as the Yankees emerged victorious in Game 4 and went on to win the Series.
Nevertheless, the Haines Brothers went home that night with 10 baseballs and memories that will last a lifetime.