This Week in Foul Balls (April 29-May 5): #RemoveTheNets Movement Starts, Lots of Smiling Kids, Ballboys Bungle Balls, A Ball Licker and More

The 2018 MLB baseball season rolls on, and with it the foul ball fun keeps on going and going. Welcome back to this week’s version of “TWIFB Notes” (‘This Week in Foul Balls’). In this weekly post, I look at the best and worst foul ball moments in Major League Baseball…and sometimes Minor League Baseball…and sometimes softball and high school baseball.

First, my running total of foul ball hits in the facial area, or what I call “Foul Ball Facials”, as they are reported ONLY on Twitter. This is the count thus far for the 2018 season (again, based ONLY on tweets):

#MLB #FoulBallFacials via Twitter 2018 RUNNING TOTALS:

Day 5/5:  69 total

  • 7 Just flat out hit (10.1%)
  • 18 Using phone/not watching (26.1%)
  • 2 PARENTAL NEGLECT! (1 gave son bloody nose!)
  • 3 Ricochet
  • 37 going for ball (53.6%)
  • 2 Other (food/alcohol)
  • 1 BRAWL!
  • 11 net fails

53 smiling, happy kids who are now lifelong baseball fans.

About 80% are self-inflicted/fault of the fan.

Compare to last season stats:

126 total

  • 61 Using phone
  • 8 DRUNK
  • 32 going for ball

93.6% Self-inflicted injuries


Someone, not me, has become so fed up with the extended netting this season, they’ve started a petition to have MLB take them down. If you hate the obstructed views, the loss of integrity, the missed chances to catch a ball and to interact with your favorite players, then you NEED to SIGN THIS PETITION NOW!

Aw. These are the moments people like Nocera and Andy Zlotnick DESPERATELY want to end…unintentionally…with their netting argument. They fail to consider the number of kids who fall in love with the game versus the number of kids who get injured due to parental neglect. It’s sad they are, essentially (and I honestly hope, unintentionally) so anti-children.

Really wasn’t sure where to put this, so decided here simply because it’s the first time in all my seasons doing FoulBallz that I’ve seen or heard about a fan licking a foul ball: “Guy who caught Neil Walkers foul ball immediately licked it”. This was tweeted by @JomBoy_ on May 2. See image to right. Upon research, there has been at least one other fan who’s decided they wanted to lick the ball. That fan also got slapped by the person they were with at the game.


In all the seasons I’ve been writing this column, I’ve seen fans snag 4, 5, even 6 balls at a game. It never gets old for me. Check out Marist College women’s hoops coach Brian Giorgis catch 2 foul balls at Yankee Stadium:


It was a bad week for ballboys as a ballboy saves run for Cubs, and later this headline: “Royals bail out ballboy by rallying for 4-2 win over Tigers”.

I used to catch in little league before my knees started going. I loved the position…regrettably, I also know the feeling Molina has when this happened to him last week:

I’ve not yet been able to locate the audio for this, but several tweets were made May 5, 2018 that at the Chicago CubsSt. Louis Cardinals game announcers were arguing over whether or not it’s okay to push a kid down at the game to catch a foul ball as long as you give the ball to said kid. Seriously? That’s a discuss? It’s worse than Eric Baynes of MLBNetwork almost injuring his kid to get a foul ball! What is wrong with people?


This is how you celebrate a foul ball! This happened at the May 1 showdown between the Texas Rangers and the Cleveland Indians. NOTICE this is a line drive and the fan is supposedly behind netting? Or is the camera behind it? If he’s behind netting, it sure failed, and if the camera is behind it, the netting is horribly obvious.

I’m not a huge fan of giving things to people. I know there’s a debate about giving a foul ball to a kid, but really, there are so many reasons to NOT give a random kid a ball, and there are so many reasons TO give them one. This is an example of the grey area within this topic: “A frustrated young Phillies fan missed two foul balls, but the broadcast team made it up to him“. .