Detwiler ball

I couldn’t help but smile while watching the end of the College World Series last night. Fresno State won the championship after right fielder Steve Detwiler recorded the final out by catching a line drive. Detwiler then immediately put the ball in his back pocket before joining the celebration with his teammates. He wasn’t shy about attempting to keep a souvenir of the victory, proudly showing the ball to members of the media in the locker room after the game and saying, “This ball, this is the last out right here. The national championship ball.” Given the acrimonious battle between Doug Mientkiewicz and the Boston Red Sox over the final ball used in the 2004 World Series, I wonder how the sometimes draconian NCAA establishment will handle this situation. I’m sure they would like the ball for display in their Hall of Champions in Indianapolis.

I can certainly identify with Detwiler’s desire to keep a memento of his team’s success. I played on many intramural teams in college, but we could never win a championship until the spring of our last year. It was a coed softball league and like Detwiler, I was fortunate enough to catch the final fly ball that sealed our title. I ran to my duffel bag and switched the game ball for another practice ball, which I then gave to the umpire so that he could return it with all the other equipment supplied by the school. It may seem like a silly thing to do, but I still have that ball more than twenty years later. So when I saw Detwiler tuck that ball away, I couldn’t help but smile.

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