Video: The great foul ball controversy

To cleanse the palate. We missed this yesterday but that’s for the best, as the ensuing 24 hours gave the key players in this little national drama time to speak up and provide the missing context. Let me set the scene: Two couples sitting side by side at the ballpark, one with a three-year-old decked out in full fan regalia and the other without. A foul ball is tossed into the stands and the childless couple snags it. What to do? Go watch the video at Deadspin of the aftermath as it happened. First it’s horrifying and then, when the woman poses for a picture with the ball, it’s darkly hilarious, one of the most comically vivid candy-from-a-baby scenarios you’ll ever see. No wonder the news networks picked it up. Worst human beings evah.

Or are they?

“I felt sorry for Cameron and for the other couple because they were made out to be such horrible, cold-hearted people and I didn’t get that impression from them at all,” said Cameron’s mother, Crystal. “They were very sweet and they talked to Cameron a lot.”

The couple was attending their first baseball game and are getting married Saturday. They actually offered the toddler the ball, but his parents turned down the gift

“I never once thought that they should have given him the ball,” said Crystal. “We’re trying to teach him he doesn’t get everything every time.”

The “childless” couple actually isn’t childless at all. They’ve got seven kids between them and had to issue a statement after the game when the media started hassling them:

“[We were] honestly unaware of the situation of the little boy sitting next to us last night since we were so caught up in the excitement and moment of being at our first Rangers baseball game together,” they said in a statement given to ABC Dallas afiliate WFAA. “Please know that as the parents of a soon to be combined family of seven children, Shannon and I completely understand how upsetting a situation like that can be for a young child surrounded by the chaos and excitement of a ball game. Again, we would never intentionally taunt and/or wish to see a young child disappointed in such a way.”

The little guy ended up with a ball anyway when another fan took pity on him and tossed him one. All’s well that ends well! End of story, right? Not quite: There’s no baseball detail too small that fans of the game won’t vigorously debate it, so now it’s time for the obligatory “do you have to give the kid next to you a foul ball if you catch one?” argument. The correct answer: Yes, of course, unless the “kid” is, say, old enough to shave. Good lord, people. If little AP had gotten that close to a foul ball at a Mets game as a kid only to have it snatched away by some guy, I’d need therapy to this day. On top of the therapy I already need for being a Mets fan, I mean.

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