ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – Seconds after Albert Pujols sent his third home run of the night sailing 397 feet into left center field during Game 3 of the World Series, season ticket holder Jordan Hartsell felt it shoot into her side.
“It was about two rows in front of me. Guys put their hands up, it deflected off of them and nailed me right in the ribs,” she said.
The ball came to a stop in front of her mother, Donna, who picked it up off the ground. Jordan wrangled it from her mom as other fans in her section clamored for her to send the ball back where it came from.
So she did.
“People were screaming at me to throw it back, or, ‘Hey, I’ll pay you to let me throw it back!’ There were a lot of people yelling at me,” she said. “You have to be loyal. We’re season ticket holders. I came every week this summer.”
That home run marked the first time since 1977 that a Major League slugger has whacked three out of the park in one game. That ball put Pujols in a league with Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson, the only other two players to ever achieve that feat.
But the Hartsell family is loyal to their team. To Jordan and her mother, that ball wasn’t a piece of history, it was yet another roadblock to a World Series title. It needed to be sent back.
That was the initial idea, rather.
“I appreciate the competitiveness of it, and the spirit of it, but I wanted that ball,” said Jordan’s dad, Jay Hartsell. “I could have given it to my grandson!”
Jordan and her mother spent much of Sunday afternoon rebuffing flak from fellow tailgaters outside Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Jordan said she realized her decision “might have been a bad choice” when she saw her father’s face following the 16-7 loss.
But even as Jay choked back tears Sunday, Jordan and Donna stood by their choice.
“You get that homerun ball from the opposing team and you throw it back in, that’s just what you do,” Donna Hartsell said.
That historic ball – or roadblock, depending on your viewpoint – was the first Jordan’s grabbed at the Ballpark. And even if she would’ve thought about what that ball meant, she said she’d still hurl it back down to the field.
“I’d probably still do it,” Jordan Hartsell said. “Even if I would have known the importance of it.”