Jim Thome spent less than two seasons with the Minnesota Twins. But in that short time, he became a beloved figure in the Twin Cities. Even this season when going to Target Field, you often will see people wearing Thome jerseys and T-shirts.
Now playing for the Philadelphia Phillies, Thome burned his former team last night. He homered and drove in four runs in a Philly victory.
I wasn’t watching the game that closely last night since I was in the office working. But according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, a fan in the stands at Target Field threw Thome’s home run ball back onto the field.
Throwing home run balls hit by the opposing team is a common practice. So rather than focus on the act as it pertains to Thome, I’d rather speak to the issue in its entirety.
It’s stupid. I don’t understand it. What purpose does it serve to throw that ball back on the field? Do fans really think that throwing the ball back shows up the opposing team in any way?
The last Twins game I went to was last month. They were playing the Blue Jays, and Jose Bautista, predictably, hit two home runs (BTW, he’s now hit five in the last two games I’ve seen him play at Target Field!).
After hitting his second home run that night, a fan threw Bautista’s ball back onto the field toward the Twins left fielder. I had incredible seats, sitting in the third row in foul territory down the third-base line.
One of the ball guys stationed down the third-base line ran onto the field, retrieved Bautista’s home run ball, then turned in my direction and threw a one-hopper into the first row, right to a kid who was probably 10 years old. Made his day! He was beaming ear to ear the rest of the game.
And therein lies the answer as to what fans should really do. If you catch a home run ball, rather than throw it away, show some real courage. Give the baseball to a kid.