Friday, August 29, 2008

Baseball Cliffhanger Part Two


Before getting into the tales of Phelps, monsoon beach volleyball, the Olympic torch auction and seeing the closing ceremony for free (coming soon), first some unfinished business: resolution of the "baseball cliffhanger" post of last week.

As noted on previous entry, my colleague Paul and I were able to attend the Canada versus China baseball game early during the Olympic adventure. During the sixth inning or so, Canada was up 5-0 and we were thinking of heading back to the B.C. Canada Pavilion, so I offered my Flip Camera to Paul so he could shoot a quick flick for his kids back in Vancouver.

Paul started filming behind first base, when we heard the crack of the back (slightly audible on the video). I started hollering that the fly foul was heading our way, and uncanny luck dropped the ball two seats to Paul's left (the ball is also visible in the air for a split second of the video).

That Beijing Olympic logo-clad baseball bounced across Paul's lap and INTO MY EDELMAN COMPUTER BAG!!!

I screamed "WE GOT IT!" because I really thought we got it.

But we did not get it.

Withing milliseconds of the ball's freak arrival in by bag, dozens of Chinese baseball fans in our section dove over, under, across and into my seat! The video does not reveal the panic we all faced trying to retrieve the baseball. Dozens of arms and hands and fingers were all over that bag with a lot of Chinese people yelling and Paul and my frustration voiced as well.

In hindsight, the scene of Danny DeVito in "Romancing the Stone" (reflecting on having 'the stone' in his grasp for a few seconds) comes to mind when reflecting on the incident.

Paul and I were denied the keepsake baseball. One of our neighboring seatmates snatched it. I felt lucky that my laptop, Ziplock-bag-o-pins, and other valuables from inside the laptop case did not get snatched as well! The jumbotron displayed the new owner screaming and jumping, with Paul and I frowning in disbelief, only unable to repeat our pleas "Canada! Canada!" (I guess we thought they would feel sorry for us and give it back as visitors in their midst.)

We begged, attempted bribes of pins and cash -- a LOT of cash -- and I think even an offer of another coveted Olympic event ticket, all in vain to get the baseball back in our hands, to no avail. Fortunately the guy who grabbed it did reluctantly agree to let us pose for photos and another video with the ball.

Paul summed up the situation later in the day in response to my comparing the moment to the Cubs baseball game scene with a pop fly foul into the stands.

"That baseball coming to us was just like 'Ferris Beuller's Day Off,'" I said.

"No it wasn't, Nick ... because they freakin' caught it [in the movie]!" said Paul.

So, somewhere in China, there is a trophy case or mantle display with "the ball" that was wrestled from our possession. And I expect there is a blog entry -- in Chinese -- for its new owner somewhere out there. And all the Olympic pins in the world could not be traded for it.

video

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