Some years ago, during the recent long stretch of Astros futility, I caught my first foul ball at MinuteMaid, or any ballpark, in fact. It came after at least 600 major league games over the many years. I usually sit far enough away from home plate that a ball reaching me is a near impossibility, so the odds were much better last night.
Once before, I picked up a foul ball at my feet at Fenway Park a decade or so earlier; it wasn't a catch. It came from a screaming line drive in a blowout game that had hit the head of a unsuspecting, shirtless and drunken buffoon a few empty seats away ricocheting to the side of my hip, and the ball dropped to my feet. Even though we were about 200 feet from homeplate, a good distance up the third base line and about fifteen rows from the field, the ball was hit with such force, even after deflecting off the melon of said idiot, I had noticeable marks from the stitches from the ball for several days and a black-and-blue mark for six weeks. Needless to say, my helper in obtaining this ball was not only a bit dazed, but also bleeding profusely, which he discovered after staggering back to his feet. Acceding to the wishes of the crowd, in a moment of weakness, I surrendered the ball, which had been destined to my friend's young son, to this guy as he was being assisted out by paramedics.
Somewhat paying attention to the game at the time, with Kaz Matsui at the plate hitting from the left side, the ball came directly to my seat on the third base side of home. It was an easy chest-level catch; I didn't even have to break stride in the conversation. The fact that only several beers preceded it certainly helped make it routine.
Coincidentally, I had another friend and an acquaintance sitting several rows directly in front of me on the second row. I went down to show them the ball. My friend had not even bothered to turn around to see the catch, and had to be convinced. While kneeling in the row next to their seats a kid, maybe eleven or twelve, had walked down and interrupted us and said something to the effect of, "What would it take to get the foul ball. He is my favorite player." A bit taken about by the audacity, I retorted, "Go to about 500 more games and maybe you'll catch one, too." It drew a big laugh from the guys I was talking with and the several older guys seated behind them. What a spoiled kid. And, whose favorite player was ever Kazuo Matsui, anyway?