Letter: Dodger Dream

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Letter to the Editor

I’ve been a Dodger fan ever since the team moved to Los Angeles after seeing my first game at the L.A. Coliseum in 1958 as a nine-year-old. Fifty-five years and over 500 games later, I had yet to land a cherished foul ball. For years, I’d bring my baseball glove and imagine making a circus catch of an official league ball. 

Recently, the unlikely happened — a foul ball came our way. It headed toward a kid sitting with his parents in the row in front of us. Unfortunately, the little boy was unable to make a clean catch, and the ball rattled around the seats and concrete, eventually rolling to a stop at my feet. Finally. Now, for the first time, I got to hold a genuine major league baseball from a real game, which, moments earlier, was thrown by a major league pitcher and hit by a major league batter. My buddies high-fived me, and my 55-year-old dream was realized. 

Then, I thought of the little boy in front of me. He was probably about same age I was back in 1958, possibly at his first major league game. Without hesitation, I tapped him on his shoulders, handed him the ball and whispered, “Here, this ball is for you.” My eyes welled up and I felt goose bumps as he took the ball. It was the most emotional moment I’ve experienced at a game — and I’ve seen Wills steel bases, Koufax strike out players, “The Duke” hit homers and the Dodgers win a World Series game. But, all that didn’t hold a candle to see the look of wonderment on his face as he gazed at that ball. We were both speechless. It felt like the moment I dreamed about back in 1958, when I first imagined catching a foul ball. 

Fifty-five years later, two nine-year-old kids caught the same foul ball at a Dodger game. That ball most likely means just as much to me as it does to him.

David Pepper