WILY: Tenacity and the Value of a Foul Ball

On the subject of tenacity, Daniel Poncedeleon has a heckuva story. And he generously Tweeted this after pitching seven innings of no-hit baseball in his big-league debut, "Thank you everyone for the support! The love is overwhelming. I wouldn’t be here without your prayer."  No doubt he'll be back in the majors soon.

We took the family to a Rubber Ducks game in Akron Monday night.  It was an Aunt Susie's Cancer Wellness Center for Women fundraiser night (a wonderful non-profit that helps women in treatment for cancer.) 

After a nearly two-hour rain delay, the crowd was pretty thin.  Most of the kids, including our own, headed to seats in prime foul ball territory down the lines.  Ours set up camp near the right field corner.

It didn't take more than two or three pitches before Altoona's lefty batter lofted a lazy fly that was sure to go out of play.  The ball tracked several rows behind where all of the kids were posted, in a completely empty section of the stadium.

I watched the kids scatter - running down rows and up aisles - trying to judge where the ball would land.  As the youngsters began to settle on their marks, I noticed a young man out of the corner of my eye.  He wasn't going around the seats like the others, he was plowing straight ahead and over the empty rows.  After negotiating one row, he slipped on the second and face-planted into a soaking wet seat back.  Even that didn't deter him. He jumped up and continued in a straight line.

He got to the ball in a clear spot first.  No pushing or moving any of the kids out of the way.  His clothes slick with rainwater, and his face no doubt marked from kissing seat number twelve in row P, he triumphantly lifted the ball for everyone to see.

And then promptly tossed it to the closest kid.

He watched everyone else avoid the obstacles and realized the shortest path was to go up and over.  Then, having reached his goal, he shared the success with those around him and returned to his seat.

Ready for the next fly ball.