You'd think it'd have happened sooner. What with having attended so many baseball games over a long span of years, I was a statistical candidate. You would think baseball and moi would have had a close encounter sooner than this. In the 1980s, a fly ball came right next to me in the box seats at Shea Stadium, near where the prime seats rose up and almost met the second deck seats. At the last second, as the ball reentered the earthly atmosphere, I chickened out. I thought it might hurt. It was a pop-up, not a liner. Someone else got it. I could have had it. I can't say even now if it would have hurt my bare hand (or hands). I tend to think not. (Dear Armchair Shrinks: Don't read too much into this regarding risk, fear, reward, benefit, fear, success, failure; did I say fear?)
Fast forward to last night, at the Louisville Bats at Syracuse Chiefs game. I was sitting with friends six or seven rows behind the dugout, third-base side, gorgeous night. Great seats. Late innings. A ball came zinging off the bat of a lefty batter, one of our guys, I think. The ball was racing to me, right at me, no doubt about it, had my name on it. It hit me square in the upper arm, right shoulder. It hurt. I knew it was going to hit me. I was oddly frozen. Just like they say about accidents, time slowed down. I saw the stitches on the ball. To me it looked like a "heavy" pitch, not a lot of rotation. But it was coming at me. Fast. Weirdly, I think I put my shoulder into it. Maybe figuring I'd protect my head or those around me. All I know is I was frozen. And I knew this would hurt. I even felt some whiplash, like my neck and whole body tightened up in recoil.
It hit me. It bounced off me, back a ways, I think. Everyone asked if I was all right. I said, yeah, I think so. Ushers were there right away. Medics were summoned. I told them, sure, take a look at my arm and shoulder. I walked with them through the stands to the first-aid station. Someone tossed me the ball. A few people clapped. Several asked how I was. Fine. Waving to them. Wearing my San Francisco Giants pullover. No hat.
The medics gave me an ice pack, took some info down. I asked for ibuprofen or something. They weren't allowed to dispense that. The upper arm was red but not terribly so. They said it felt warm.
I walked back to my seat. An usher checked on me later, brought me a new ice pack.
Talked about it. Gathered more details from those sitting around me. Whew! Sure glad it missed the young girl in front of me! If it had hit her in the head, no telling how awful that would have been.
The locals lost in extras.
Yeah, stiff and sore today but otherwise okay. Not even noticeably bruised. Yet. Hashtag metaphor.