As Sam Sees It

When you go to an Arizona Diamondback game and an opposing player homers, you are very likely to see a fan throw the ball back onto the field. This idea, apparently, was borrowed from a the Chicago Cubs whose fans sometimes have thrown back enough balls to supply a high school league for the season. It does not matter, though, where it comes from. It is a stupid tradition and an insane practice to start.

Somewhere, be it Arizona or Chicago or elsewhere, there is a fan who threw back a home run ball that could have and should have been a treasured relic of baseball history. How would you feel if you suddenly realized that you had thrown back one of Mark McGwire’s home run balls the year he hit 70? Or perhaps you threw back the only homer ever hit by a great pitcher. That one is quite likely.

If you were Randy Johnson, would you feel any better because a fan threw back the ball somebody hit out of the park off you? Not likely. This “tradition” may well be more of an insult and more damaging to the home team’s pitcher than to the batter who hit it.

So, Diamondback fans, or Cub fans or just baseball fans keep the ball if you are lucky enough to catch one. Let those around you who are fortunate enough to get such a souvenir keep it without pressure from you. They will get enough from the fanatics that start and perpetuate such practices. If your team wins, especially if they eventually win the pennant, you will have a great souvenir of their success, even if the ball was hit by an opponent. If they don’t win anything, you will still have a Major League home run ball. Most of us would love to have one of those. You and your grandchildren will, too, someday. Hadn’t you rather have the ball than the memory of your mistake?

Winslow High School has adopted a policy to allow for the donation of up to $200 and in some cases $250 for extra curricular activities for which a fee is charged. This money is not really a donation. It is a loan that the state will repay you when your state income tax is due. All you need to do is apply and have a tax obligation that exceeds the amount of your gift. Most of us will qualify.

This program has been in effect for several years and some school districts have taken good advantage of it. It was a real pleasure to see Winslow join the parade.

This community should be a natural for this type of program. We have a single school system with a single high school. (There is a provision that would allow you to donate even more money to Northern Arizona Academy. If you are interested, you should look into this.)

I have given money to this tax credit donation program before and received a rebate on my state income tax. Because Winslow did not have such a program in place, my money went to Shadow Mountain High School in Phoenix where my brother teaches.

This year, it gives me great pleasure to write it will go to Winslow High School. Why don’t you “loan” the school some of yours as well? The state will repay you when taxes become due.

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