Daily sports photo #51

April 24 – That’s a strange looking beach ball.

I absolutely loved Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium. There was a lot of history of great college baseball games being played there and the locals really came out and supported college baseball. Imagine, you’re a player that maybe saw a couple of thousand fans at most at one of your games and now you’re on the field in Omaha before 20-30,000 active, screaming fans. Easily an experience of a lifetime.

Rosenblatt was ideal for the players and fans. The outfield bleachers were almost always packed because that’s where the fun was. Fans could (would) lean over the outfield wall to bang on the pads, play tricks on some of the outfielders, stamp their feet on the bleachers, AND their biggest and most important contribution – bounce and bat beach balls that they smuggled in. It was a big game to try and keep it away from security and the fans loved it.

During a late afternoon game in 2007 with Arizona State play Oregon State I hear the usual cheers and laughter from fans around me that signaled something was happening somewhere in the stands. I quickly surveyed the outfield bleachers from left field to right field. I saw some action in right-center but it was hard to make out what was going on because the sun was setting and there was a harsh light hitting the outfield stands. I saw something being tossed in the air, but it certainly didn’t look round like a beachball.

I took a photo and looked at the pic on the back LCD. Ahhhh, so that’s why it’s causing such a stir. The beach ball was actually a well-endowed blowup doll in a pink polka-dotted bikini. Clever these fans from Omaha.

I was impressed with the overall aerodynamics of the doll and how high and how far the doll could be batted around. But the doll met with the same fate of most beach balls. “She” was batted beyond the stands and landed into the field of play. Now, at each game there were young kids that were stationed near the foul poles that would run out to quickly grab the beach ball or balls, deflate them, and throw them away. Often to the booing of the fans. It was a game you see, and each character had their part and security were the villains.

As usual a young kid ran out and grabbed the beach ball, I mean inflatable doll, and quickly ran along the warning track back to the foul pole. However, this time there was a loud roar of cheers and laughter from the crowd.

Surprisingly, the kids did not throw the doll away. But instead gave her an honored seat on the bench of the Arizona State’s bull pen where she was able to watch the rest of the game in peace.

How can you not miss baseball?

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To view more of my photos please visit www.richardlmillerphotography.com.

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