How the White Sox Responded to a Foul Ball Thief

Going to a baseball game is one of the great American traditions, one that brings people of all ages and backgrounds together to eat some peanuts and cracker jacks, root for the home team, and make some sports memories.

And part of that tradition are some rules— ones that might not necessarily be written down or hung up somewhere, but still are guidelines every baseball fan should know. Among the most important rules are the etiquette guidelines of catching foul balls.

If you know baseball, you probably know what we’re talking about: Don’t interfere with the ball until it’s really in the stands. Don’t get in the player’s way. Whoever catches or gets to the foul ball first gets to keep it. And don’t take a ball away from a kid.

Pretty basic, general-common-decency kind of stuff, right? Well, for one visitor to the Chicago White Sox — we hesitate to call her a true fan — those last two rules were apparently too difficult to follow.

That’s right— not only did she take away a ball from the person who rightfully got it, she took it away from a kid.

Caught on Camera

Fifteen-year-old Ryan Baker from Montgomery, Illinois is a huge Chicago White Sox fan, so of course he was thrilled to attend a game at Guaranteed Rate Field (a.k.a. Comiskey Park) on August 21 with his aunt while his dad and his mom, currently battling multiple sclerosis, watched the Sox battle the Minnesota Twins from home.

That thrill only grew when Minnesota catcher Jason Castro hit a foul ball toward the third base line, where Ryan and his aunt were sitting. The ball skimmed over some people and landed in a row where nobody was sitting. A few people rushed to get it, but Ryan got there first. Score!

Or so he thought. The woman of whom we spoke earlier – and has not been identified – was sitting in the row in front of where the ball landed. Once Ryan had the ball in hand, she stood up, turned around, and took the ball right. Out. Of. His hand.

“She pries my fingers, takes the ball and says it’s her ball because it almost hit her. I was in disbelief,” Ryan tells Chicago’s WGN.

Watching the clip, we have to admit that we’re in disbelief, too. Not only did this woman steal a foul ball that, by any standard, belonged to somebody else, she actually grabbed him to take it away. It’s awful to touch anybody without their permission, but especially egregious when it’s an adult doing so to a kid.

So how do we know that it happened? It’s not because Ryan tattled; despite one shocked gesture of disbelief after the incident, he was a total gentleman, and didn’t fight or argue with the woman at all. No, it’s because – probably unbeknownst to this rude woman – the whole thing was caught on camera for the other fans and Ryan’s parents to see.

Also watching? Brooks Boyer, Senior V.P. of Sales and Marketing for the Chicago White Sox, and White Sox broadcasters Jason Benetti and Steve Stone. Watch how they decided to handle the situation in the video below from WGN.

What do you think of how the White Sox handled it? Do you agree with their method of basically ignoring the rude woman and rewarding Ryan? Have you ever caught a foul ball?