He spent his dad's last night watching and talking and crying over the near-lifeless body, and he spent the days leading up to this historic Giants game thinking, God, how much I wish Dad could be right there with us watching his guy, Barry, launch one into eternity.
Maybe...yes, he must've. Suddenly Patrick was filled with a certainty that it was his father who had guided the ball into his sight amid that snarl of fingers and elbows and knees. That Barry Bonds and a baseball had brought Patrick and Larry Hayashi together again. He pictured, at that very moment, his dad smiling down at him.
Now Patrick might meet his father's hero. A mob of media would be waiting to speak to Bonds and Patrick both at a press conference as soon as the game was over.
Patrick sagged into his chair as his brother left with a police escort to store the baseball. Two Giants employees were talking in the next room. Patrick couldn't help eavesdropping. "That guy's life's about to change forever," one said. "His neighbors will know who he is, people will recognize him wherever he goes."
Dread began to grow in some part of Patrick that wasn't numb. He was so simple and unadorned a man that he never hung anything on his apartment walls, so private a man that his personal life was a blank to his family. He hadn't thought of fame—of having all America's eyes on him—when he'd reached for the ball. Now he became aware of a stir outside the door. Someone else besides the media, he was told, was waiting out there. Some fan claiming that the sacred ball had been stolen from him.
No, Patrick told Giants officials. He didn't want to meet the media horde. He just wanted go home and begin sorting through another tangled heap, the pile of emotions inside him. It had all seemed so simple, just reaching out and taking hold of the ball. Or had the ball taken hold of him?
So many people all across the Mediterranean basin once craved possession of John the Baptist's skull that soon there were John the Baptist skulls all across the Mediterranean basin. The Shroud of Turin, purported to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ, was reportedly stolen from Constantinople and taken to France during the Fourth Crusade. Jesus's crown of thorns is said to reside in the church of Sainte Chappelle in Paris—never mind that 25 cathedrals across Europe claim to own thorns from that crown. In the sixth century the bodies of saints were dug up and cut into pieces to be distributed or sold.
Ownership of objects once touched by or belonging to someone who has attained immortality makes a man matter—and maybe immortal too. Such objects have always been worth lying, stealing and pillaging for.
Something deep and powerful began to stir inside Alex as it sunk in that his relic was gone. By the second inning, ushers and police were arriving to sort out the mushrooming controversy, and a few dozen people who had seen the ball enter his glove began chanting, "Do the right thing! Do the right thing!" By the fourth inning he'd collected a pocketful of telephone numbers from witnesses. Doug Yarris had offered his because, as a 12-year-old at a Stanford game, he had caught a football that had been kicked into the stands on an extra point, and it had been ripped from his arms by two kids. Sorenson offered hers because, she says, "I'm tired of seeing injustice. I'm tired of seeing O.J. Simpson get away with murder."