What are the details of your baseball dream catch?
Perhaps you snag that historic home run at the top of a 47-inch vertical leap while holding a beer in one hand. The Internet will preserve the moment forever.
Maybe you grab history and a little notoriety by knocking over someone’s grandmother, spilling nachos and stepping in front of a 5-year-old at his first game.
It’s more likely you will wait until the ball stops rolling, bend over and pick it up while showing an adoring nation the color of your underpants.
However you come into possession of baseball history, you should know the right way to enjoy and share your fortune.
In my trip to Goodyear last week, I met the Tribe official who finds Progressive Field fans who caught historic balls. He wasn’t interested in sharing his name but he did have advice for how you can turn Francisco Lindor’s first home run ball into something nice to take home.
First rule: BE NICE.
Not every ball is museum-eligible. If J.P. Arencibia fouls off an 0-1 pitch to you in the upper deck, it’s yours to keep. Nothing will prevent you from building a legend around your prize.
Other balls will be a little more valuable. A pennant-winning homer would look nice in a Tribe museum for all to see. Carlos Santana is close to hitting his 100th homer and he might like to have that ball back when it happens. If you are that lucky fan who catches a treasure, don’t be surprised if an Indians representative comes bearing gifts.
What would your ball be worth? The circumstances change with every ball. That’s where being nice comes in. If you say you want five season tickets, unlimited nachos the rest of the season and a limo ride home, it’s likely you will retain possession of the ball and put it on the shelf next to an old peanut butter sandwich and your varsity letter from those days on the high school bowling team.
If you are nice, you are likely to go home happy.
Keeping the ball is always an option.
Don’t get too excited about cashing in on eBay. There is nothing on the ball to prove it is historic. Your potential buyer knows the ball might have come from a batting practice homer. Those balls are discards from a previous game. They even have the light brown color that comes from the famous mud umpires apply to game balls. Not worthless but worth much.
My Indians friend in Goodyear said you could get some nice, autographed stuff worth more than the ball you caught if you play your cards right. You still can build a legend around the stuff you trade for. Your friends would even have reason to believe it.
So when that ball comes flying at you in the cheap seats, please don’t spill my drink, jump over my back or expose your less-flattering side. Just wait for history and good fortune to come to you and prepare to politely negotiate.