Imagine: you're taking in a baseball game, and because you're not a middle-school kid, you're not wearing a glove to the ballpark. Then, there's a loud CRACK of the bat, and the fans all around you stand up in anticipation of catching a foul ball. Only one problem: all you have to catch your prize with is your $14 plastic cup filled with beer, and whether or not you actually go for the ball, you're either going to be bumped into by the throng of spectators nearby attempting to collect their souvenir or you will spill making your own grab for glory.
Believe it or not, there's a right way to do this, but there are also plenty of wrong ways to go about catching a foul ball with your beer cup.
[This post has been updated with new videos from the 2017 season. The article was originally published in June of 2017]
Photo: Getty Images
By Jimmie Kaska
WRONG: Over-The-Shoulder Catch
First of all, you can't see the stupid ball coming, so you're risking taking one to the dome. Second of all, if you're not Ken Griffey Jr., you're probably not going to end up with the ball.
At least this Brewers fan got his beer replaced, although he did not end up with the foul ball.
RIGHT: See The Ball, Catch The Ball, Drink The Ball
If for whatever reason you DO end up catching a foul ball in your beer, proper etiquette dictates that you must then chug your drink. It's a matter of practicality: your flimsy plastic cup was probably destroyed in the spectacle.
It also helps to have friends with you in a relatively empty section to hold your beer cups together to form a Voltron of foul ball-catching alcoholic beverages.
Bonus points if you're a female spectator.
WRONG: Lack of Beer Awareness
It's hard enough to track a foul ball screaming towards the upper deck, but a dedicated fan will never put their beer in harm's way.
Keeping your head up is advice for both Little League stars and front-row beer enthusiasts, no matter which section you're in.
RIGHT: Use A Beer Bucket Instead Of A Beer Cup
I mean. Vendors are people too. As a vendor, you get to carry around lots of beer. So, why not use that to your foul ball-catching advantage?
Not only do you have a bigger area in which to receive the foul ball, but you will probably up your sales for the game too from the sheer awesomeness of the play.
WRONG: Using Your Beer As A Shield In Self-Defense
For some people, there is no incentive to catching a foul ball. Sometimes, you want to enjoy the game, and while you're hanging out, checking Twitter or Facebook on your smartphone, a baseball zooms towards your section...
Let it be known that 12 ounces of beer and a plastic cup are not very effective in self-defense.
WRONG: Getting The Ball, Losing Your Beer, Then Losing The Ball
Minnesota Nice backfires in this scenario. Two fans go for the ball, one with a cup of beer. The one sans beer ends up losing the ball to the fan with beer... so the first fan TAKES the other guy's beer.
All right, so it was maybe half-full, but is that really worth it for a foul ball? Apparently not, because just minutes later, he returned the ball and did not get a replacement beer. All of that and nothing to show for it.
WRONG: Scooping Up A Loose Foul Ball With Your Beer, Then Getting It Stuck
Good news: you found a foul ball! Bad news: it's stuck in your beer cup.
Set down your beer can, and pick the ball up with your hands. Save a beer. Be the hero.
WRONG: Giving Yourself A Beer Shower After Getting A Foul Ball
A perfectly good waste of beer.
The whole point is to save your beer in order to be able to drink it, not give yourself a $15 shower.
WRONG: Using Your Food Tray As A Supplemental Foul-Catching Device To Your Beer Cup
Not only are you likely to waste your entire meal, but you can't make much of a play on the ball if you can't see it.
In this case, you have to commit to one or the other. Trying to use a plate of nachos and a beer to catch a foul ball like a Venus flytrap is a very bad idea.
ALSO WRONG: Tucking Your Beer And Food Away In One Arm To Make A Foul Ball Catch Attempt With The Other
In a follow-up, if you commit to saving your food and/or beverage, be sure to catch the ball without moving too much, because...
$25 in food and beer gone to waste, and no foul ball to show for it. The absolute worst.
RIGHT: Section's Empty! Get Under That Foul Ball Like A Punt Return
If there are fewer people to interfere with your foul ball-catching attempt, you can get under it like you're fielding a kick return in football with perfect form.
There's no fair catch interference here, and of course, when you make the play, you HAVE to chug your beer.
WRONG: Throwing Your Beer After Missing Out On A Foul Ball
I mean, this is just wasteful.
And, the kid behind him got the ball anyways, an especially classy move by the fan who, it should be noted, DIDN'T throw a tantrum like the baby behind him.
WRONG: Using The Side Of Your Cup Of Beer To Catch A Foul Ball
Use the open top of the cup to make a catch, not the side.
It's harder to catch a baseball with the side of a cup of beer than the top.
WRONG: Trying To Catch A Baseball Player With A Cup Of Beer
Pro tip: most baseball players don't fit into the average beer cup.
Nice try, nice effort.
RIGHT: Let The Ball Come To You
At a certain point, Zen takes over and the foul ball can be "willed" right into your beer cup without even standing up to get it.
As is customary, you must then chug your beer in the cup containing your souvenir.
WRONG: Using A Beer Bottle To Catch A Foul Ball
It's simple physics. A ball can't easily fit into a beer bottle, no matter how much you want it to.
Not sure the shower there is worth it, although the explosion looks pretty cool.
ALSO, RIGHT: Using A Beer Bottle To Catch A Foul Ball
I really hate when I'm immediately wrong, but apparently it IS possible to catch a baseball with a bottle of beer.
I mean at this point we might as well use sunglasses to go after our prize.
RIGHT: Using A Beer Cup Where Baseball Hats Fail
Person in front of you opting for the hat catch? Beer always beats hat when it comes to catching foul balls.
Yes, chugging the beer is required.
RIGHT: The Almost-Perfect Foul Ball-Catching Play
If you can get the ball without spilling your beer, that is indeed the best-case scenario.
He is very impressed with himself, as he should be. That is a full beer!
RIGHT: The Perfect Foul Ball Catching Play
So, what could the guy above have done better?
This is absolutely perfect:
-You make the catch without spilling (much of) your beer
-You give the ball to a young fan
-You enjoy your beverage as originally intdended
And with that, this has been our definitive guide on how to catch a foul ball with a cup of beer.
by Jimmie Kaska