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The Slice: It doesn’t take a glove to catch a keepsake

Tue., July 15, 2014, midnight

The Slice asked for foul-ball stories and Moses Lake’s Tom Hilliard had one.

“Years ago when the Mariners were still playing in the Kingdome, my brother-in-law, Keith Schafer of Odessa, and our families attended a game versus the Toronto Blue Jays. Our seats were in the upper level behind home plate. Sitting next to Keith were two guys from Vancouver, B.C. – rooting for the Jays – who probably had a couple too many adult beverages.

“A foul ball came up toward us, so Keith and the two Canadians went to the railing but the ball fell short. That didn’t deter one of the Canadians from reaching a little too far over the rail. But Keith grabbed his belt and pulled him back to safety.

“A couple of innings later they had another chance. This time the ball was hit over the rail and all three of the guys reached for it but it was bobbled and landed somewhere on the floor. All looked frantically for it, but Keith found it and held it up for all to see, smiling from ear to ear.

“It had ended up in the cup of beer belonging to the guy he saved from falling over the rail earlier.”

And John Mraz shared this.

“My foul-ball story isn’t all that interesting other than from a statistical viewpoint.

“The very first time I attended a Spokane Indians game, a foul ball was hit over our heads and headed out of the stadium. Being a rookie spectator, I gawked at it all the way. Lo and behold, the wind caught it and gradually brought it back toward the stands. No one else seemed to be paying attention, so I put my beer between my knees and reached up and caught it. Ball, and beer … Safe! I gave the ball to a friend’s little boy sitting a few rows in front of us.

“Now for the stats connection. About four rows behind me sat our neighbor from across the street. He later told me he hasn’t missed an Indians game in decades and had never caught a foul ball. Maybe I should have given it to him, but somehow I think it meant more to the little boy.”

Today’s Slice question: Ever encountered Simba the therapy cat in a local hospital or nursing home?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email All responding readers said it is fine to use unsolicited return-address stickers.

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