For many young baseball fans, one of the biggest thrills in the world is to bring home an actual ball from a big league game.
You should’ve seen the mass of humanity I had to wriggle out of as a lad just to emerge with a foul ball back at Three Rivers Stadium in the ‘80s. But I still cherish it to this day.
So imagine how nice it must have been for a young Philadelphia Phillies fan to simply have a ball handed to him at Citizens Bank Park last week. No wrestling, no struggle, nothing to endure whatsoever.
Well, maybe not. The ball was handed to him by Colorado Rockies first-base coach Rene Lachemann, a Los Angeles native and 48-year baseball veteran who has a tradition of handing out baseballs to young fans.
With a catch -- they also have to listen to a lecture on life’s lessons.
Check out the video below from Comcast Sports Nets in Philadelphia. As the boy is admiring his souvenir, Lachemann suddenly thrusts a finger right in the child’s face: “Hey! Don’t you be lying to me -- you listen to your mother and father?”
The confused young man nods and is then forced to listen to a lecture on such topics as taking out the trash, lifting the toilet seat, cleaning his room, not getting a cellphone or playing video games, eating vegetables, doing homework, etc.
Broadcaster Gregg Murphy said Lachemann, a father of two and grandfather of three, has been doing this since 1994 as a way of forging a lifelong love for baseball in youngsters.
And perhaps a lifelong fear of opposing teams’ first-base coaches.