I've been to quite a few sporting events in my almost 36 years of life, mostly baseball and hockey. I have also been lucky enough to catch two hockey pucks that flew into the stands (1 NHL, 1 USHL), but I have never been fortunate enough to catch a baseball at any level.
Well, a couple of weeks ago, I went to a Minnesota Twins game, and discovered a really cool promotion that allowed me to still take a piece of the game home with me.
My wife and three daughters were visiting her family in Texas, so I was up here by myself and went to the July 17 game at Target Field against the Cleveland Indians. Soon after I entered at "Gate 34," I saw a booth where they were selling various pieces of game-used memorabilia. They had a few jerseys, bats, and balls on display, and while the jerseys and bats were well out of my price range, I figured I'd check to see how much a baseball would cost. Of course, there were varying prices, depending on if the ball was a hit or a foul, but the woman working the stand informed me that not only do they sell baseballs from past games, they sell balls from the current game, as well.
All you have to do is pay the fee, put your name on the list, and at the end of the game, you would come back and get a ball that was actually used in the very game you were attending. The cost was $34.99, which when you consider what a brand new Rawlings Official Major League Baseball would cost, you're only paying an extra $15 over the price of a new one to have one that was actually used at the game.
I went back to the booth at the end of the game, and had a couple that I could choose from. Of course, I picked the one that had the giant scuff mark on the Rawlings logo, because I really wanted for it to look "used." As an added bonus, each of these balls comes with an MLB Authentication hologram sticker to certify its authenticity. In addition to that, the serial number on the sticker can be plugged in to MLB's authentication website, where it will tell you the exact play in the game where the ball was used. The one I selected was used in the bottom of the third, was pitched by Cleveland's Josh Tomlin, and fouled back to the screen by Minnesota's Max Kepler.
I know that this isn't the same as actually catching the ball in person, but it is really cool to bring a piece of the game home with you.