It’s one of the great paradoxes of life: the more you learn, the more aware you become of the depths of your own ignorance. Try as I might to improve my knowledge, there are just some aspects of the workings of the universe I will never understand. One of those enduring mysteries concerns a certain type of behavior of a certain type of fan who attends a professional baseball game.

I call to your attention the adult spectator who brings his glove with him. Is he playing in the game? Well, no. He’s watching from the stands. He’s a customer. So why is he bringing a glove? Beats the hell out of me.

Do you wear a stethoscope around your neck when you visit the doctor? When you go out to dinner at a restaurant, do you bring along your favorite frying pan? Of course not. That would be very strange behavior indeed.

And yet, there are some people who reach the age of maturity still operating under the delusion that it is socially acceptable to bring a glove to a baseball game. And for what purpose? Well, to catch a baseball, of course.

Yes, a baseball: A bunch of yarn covering a core of cork contained in a shell of cowhide. But it’s been touched by the hand of Max Scherzer and blessed by the bat of Bryce Harper! It has value, dammit! I need to have it, and woe to any children who stand in my way!

Every time I watch or attend a baseball game, I am bound to see a gaggle of adults scrambling for a ball that finds its way into the stands as if the Holy Grail itself had been dropped into their section. The only anxiety I have when going to a Phillies game nowadays — aside from the fear that the bullpen doors will open and Brad Hand will step onto the field, prepared to pitch in his inimitable “grope around for the strike zone as if it were a light switch in a pitch black room” style — involves the remote possibility of a baseball finding its way in my general direction as a pack of souvenir zombies crash into me, desperate for a piece of game-used memorabilia that will inevitably collect dust on a shelf. It’s a minor worry, one that a couple of overpriced beers can wash away, but a worry nonetheless.

Most of the adults engaged in this silly exercise nevertheless retain a small capacity for shame. They won’t bring a glove. If a ball is to be snagged, they will do it with their bare hands. Like a man.

But there is a subset of baseball-crazed fan who lacks such inhibition. He will bring his glove, consequences and opprobrium be damned. Nothing will stand in the way of snagging that most precious commodity, certainly not a child whose capacity for wonder and innocence needs to be crushed immediately. Take note of the most recent offender, which the team at Jomboy Media flagged and shared on their Twitter feed:

Two little kids were vying for that ball before Juan Soto snagged it from them! I couldn’t believe it when I saw it. Thankfully, the clip caught the attention of the social media team for the Washington Nationals, who reached out to the young girl and rectified the situation.

We all can be guilty of jumping to conclusions on the basis of a clipped video shorn of context. And there will invariably be contrarians who rush to the defense of Glove Guy. Perhaps he gave the ball to his own child. It also appeared that the kids in the group already collected a few baseballs.

Notwithstanding these caveats, I cannot fathom the audacity it would take to steal that ball away from children. And to what end? What treasure is so valuable that you would rob a kid of joy? Certainly not a baseball that a couple of big leaguers on the worst team in the Major Leagues tossed around in between innings.

As much as I would like to see this gentleman stand trial at The Hague, I hope he isn’t identified. Glove Guy isn’t solely responsible for this crime. We as a society have failed. We have countenanced this deviant behavior for too long. The security teams at the gates need to start confiscating the gloves of any person over the age of 15 who dares try to bring one to a sporting event in which they are not an active participant.

We have also let the act of Zack Hample, the obsessive ball hawker who has turned his odd hobby into a career, remain on the stage for too long. Follow the brave example of the Portland Pickles and ban him from every stadium, if that’s what it takes to restore order and sanity in the stands. Hample has collected so many baseballs (over 12,000, he reports in the FAQ section of his website) that he stores them in large trash bins. A fitting home, I say.

Okay, maybe I’m being a little extreme. I can hear the cranky elements of the Crossing Broad community already, adopting the voice of Al Bundy: “I served my country. I played high school football!” I thank you all for your service, and I acknowledge you can behave however you want at a baseball game.

I humbly ask, however, that you consider the humanity of the people sitting around you. Please don’t trample over us in pursuit of your elusive prize. And maybe think about the kids standing around you as you wait for the anonymous player patrolling the outfield for the Washington Nationals to lob a warmup ball into the stands. Make their day, stand aside, and let them have the baseball.

Above all, take a moment to remember that the athletes playing the game, the people you seem to idolize, are goofballs just like you. Don’t take my word for it. Dirk Hayhurst, a former pitcher who captured his experiences toiling in the minor leagues in The Bullpen Gospels: Major League Dreams of a Minor League Veteran, wrote the following about overzealous fans seeking autographs and other baseball merchandise:

“It always boggles my mind how fans will fight all over themselves at a chance to get one of our names scribbled on their souvenirs. If only they knew what we were under these jerseys. Just hours before the game, the team debated the question of when a protein shake should be consumed — before or after sex? During, we decided, if you have a hand free.”

So I ask my fellow adults, politely, to leave your gloves at home. Your dream of being a big league ballplayer is over, and that baseball will not fill the existential void in your soul. Neither will doing The Wave, so stop participating in that act of collective absurdity, too. Let’s act like grownups, sit down, have a beer, and heckle the opposition while complaining about whichever Phillies hitter is currently slumping.