Detroit – Until Wednesday night, Ely Hydes, Sterling Carter and John Shina, three friends from their days together in the Peace Corps, were making plans to attack Cedar Point on Thursday.
But they took another look at the forecast, and by Thursday morning, they decided that staying in the rain spitting to ride the GateKeeper was not their idea of a great moment, but chose to stay at the venue for a game of the Tigers. , if the weather allows it.
It turns out, Hydes, a 33-year-old law student who lives in Detroit, has to ride the roller coaster anyway.
Early on Thursday afternoon, Hydes had his first souvenir baseball, and it was one of the history books, launching and securing the third homerun ball of the third inning of Albert Pujols that represented the 2,000th career of the Los Angels Angels race. .
Only three other men, at least officially, have reached 2,000 RBIs, and only five men unofficially.
"When I sat down, eight seconds later, a guy pbades with a baseball glove and I say:" Yes, friend of baseball gloves. "I almost brought my own, but there's no way we can take out a flying ball. " Hydes said as he sat in his seats just to the left of the left-field foul stick, well behind the bullpens.
"Then, just like that (snap your fingers), the bat hit, I ran behind the ball, and it jumped towards me.
"I did not even see who hit him."
Hydes quickly learned that it was Pujols, and quickly learned that it was a big problem.
In a few moments, while the Tigers announced the importance of the homer, Hydes was surrounded by fans, and then, quickly, the security of the Tigers, who initiated the bartering process to return the ball to Pujols. That's where the story takes a sharp turn and something uncomfortable.
In the end, to the chagrin of many fans across the country and social networks and several people in the clubs of the Tigers and Angels, on Thursday, Hydes decided to keep baseball, either to give his brother, a fanatic lifelong. The Cardinals of San Luis (first team of Pujols) or to transmit to his son, which is scheduled in two weeks. Despite at least three offers from the Tigers and Angels officials for the ball, Hydes left before the end of the Tigers' 13-0 loss, baseball still in his possession.
"I do not want money," he told The News. "I do not care".
There is a standard process when a fan catches a ball of historical importance. Team crews, starting little by little with the offer and moving forward until reaching a resolution. More times than not, the ball is delivered.
According to Hydes' friends, the first offer was a baseball autographed by Pujols; the second, an autographed ball and an encounter with Pujols; the third, a ball autographed by Pujols, a salute and a Pujols shirt; And the fourth all that, plus some memories of Miguel Cabrera.
The problem, said Hydes and his friends, was that the team's representatives, including the Tigers' security chief, made a difficult sale from the start, putting pressure on Hydes. Among the interactions, he was informed that according to the MLB policy, because the ball was hit in the seats and due to concerns about the chain of custody, it could not be officially authenticated. (And unlike some landmarks, there were no specially marked balls put into play when Pujols was on the plate).
The message was that the ball would not be marketable for sale without authentication, implying that Hydes was looking to collect.
"I think the Tigers really ruined this bargaining deal," said Shina, 24, of Detroit.
Said Carter, 34, of Indiana: "The mistake they made was really pushing him early, especially with him, he's stubborn. That was the wrong way."
The Tigers disputed the account that Hydes was pressured.
But Hydes and his friends saw things very differently.
"Next time, try the soft sale," he said. "I do not care about money, it's a relic."
Hydes said the last words of a Tigers official before saying his last one, "This ends now when I walk away."
Pujols will still have many items to remember at number 2,000, including his bat and the Comerica Park bases, which were authenticated by MLB after the game.
But the ball, he can not have, and he said he was fine with that.
"I told the guys," Just let him in. Just let him have it. " I think it can have a big part of the story, "Pujols told reporters later." We play this game for fans too, and if they want to keep it, I think they have the right. "I just hope he can enjoy it.
When asked if he would ever consider paying the ball, like real cash, not just loot, Pujols discarded it.
"I would not pay a dime for that," Pujols said. "He can have it, I do not play this game, so I can pay the fans, he can have that piece of history, it's for the fans we play for, too.
"You have the right to keep it. The ball went to the stands. "
The fans of social networks had stronger reactions than Pujols, many opted to return the ball, which, of course, is easy to say when you were not the one who caught the ball.
In the clubhouse of the Tigers, the feeling was similar, although it was more sympathetic to the fan than the people who got blisters on Twitter.
"I'd just say, give it back in. There are some milestones you should have and your family, and it's probably one of them," said Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire. "And I imagine that if I did (returning it), I would probably get something very good from Albert.
"That would probably be the right thing to do, I know it's hard."
Said left-hander Ryan Carpenter of the Tigers, who left the home run in the third inning: "It's hard to say, I'd probably give it back, I'm sure it's a ball and a memory, I'm sure he wants it forever."
Big baseball fan
Hydes grew up being a big baseball fan, since his father had a baseball card store.
Remember that when he was 7 years old, his father took him and his brothers on a trip across the country to see all the stadiums they could. The young Hydes always had his glove. And never, never got a ball.
"I still bring my glove at times." We brought our baseball gloves faithfully, just begging for a ball, "he said." And we had so many calls closed, and yet we never got one.
"Then I feel today and …"
Bam. He has one
So many things had to go well for this to happen. They had to skip the cedar point. Then they had to decide to leave the Elwood Bar once it looked like they could possibly participate in the baseball game. The game really had to be played, which did not look so promising on Thursday afternoon. Then, the three friends had to stop their long and unsuccessful search for a Hebrew National hot dog (which is no longer sold in Comerica Park).
All the stars finally lined up and Hydes and his friends finally sat in their left-field seats for five to 10 minutes before Pujols made mincemeat with Carpenter's 2-0 fastball.
After Hydes took the ball and learned its meaning, he absorbed his 15 minutes of fame, and probably another 55 minutes, just in case. There were interviews, on television and for print media, of the local media and the West Coast media. And oh, the fans wanted photos, lots of photos, some with Hydes and some without him. He was incredibly confident. He gave the ball by chance to anyone who just wanted a selfie with the piece of the story, without fear of being scammed.
"Nah, the people are good-hearted, come on," said Hydes, who planned to enjoy a low profile day at the stadium at the end of her second-year law finale. "Anne Frank!"
While many fans on social networks chased him to keep the ball, one after another in left field, some with T-shirts and other T-shirts of the Angels, applauded him for staying with their weapons. He keeps the ball and possibly makes it a Christmas gift for big brother Dylan, the lifelong Cardinals fan who became a Cardinal fan because when you grow up in Portland, you have to choose a team.
Unless, that is, the Tigers want to make him one more offer.
"Can I rescue this ball," said Hydes, "for the Hebrew Nationals to be back in the stadium?"
Twitter: @ tonypaul1984