May 9th, 2012
There is a lot of controversy surrounding ones that claim to be a “ballhawk.” If you are unfamiliar of what a Ballhawk actually is, you may need to attend a few more Major league baseball games in your life. I don’t mean that in a negative fashion, either. I’m just saying. If you’ve ever encountered a Ballhawk roaming the confines of any Major league stadium, you may have received a baseball from one, hopefully. I, myself, have snagged nearly 270 baseballs since 2005 when I received my first official baseball from an usher at Kauffman stadium during my mid-tour leave from combat. I also make sure to be very careful how I go about snagging baseballs and not to get too greedy. Although, I’ll jump on just about any opportunity to snag one, I give a fair share of baseballs away to fellow baseball fans both young and old.
A few years ago, a young man named Nick Yohanek attended a baseball game and caught Chris Coglan’s first career home run. Yohanek, at the time, seemed to be an icon in Milwaukee’s old stadium before Miller Park was created. He’d attend many baseball games and put up strong numbers by snagging game home run baseballs. It’s quite impressive, actually. But to some, Yohanek and others that share similar interest in snagging gamers, are annoying and just get in the way of the game. Well, I’ve never hindered anyone from catching a baseball. Or have gotten in the way of someone trying to enjoy the game. For Yohanek, it’s been a different story. And not to dig up old stories, but rumor has it, or had it, that Yohanek asked for a laundry list of items from Coglan after snagging his first career dinger. From there, it spiraled out of control.
Zack Hample is another that snags quite a few game home runs and has snagged many first career home runs as well. After catching the ball, security instantly comes down and tries to pry the baseball from your hands and if you don’t have a good grip or are an easy push over, you’ll lose your change to get something in return for that prized possession. For me? Just meeting the player is enough. For others, they’ll ask for money, bats, balls, batting gloves, you name it. If it isn’t nailed down, fans want it.
Anyway. Enough of all that. Here’s a great write-up from a person that wanted to shed some positive light on the ballhawking world. It’s a little long, but worth the read.
When I showed up at Safeco, things were a little more busy than I had expected. Even the ‘Pen was a little packed for Safeco standards and the Moose man even made an appearance:
And as soon as he showed up, the Coors light girls showed up too:
My first baseball came from Hector Noesi. As he was shagging baseballs out in centerfield, every time he caught one and looked towards the ‘Pen, I’d flap my glove to him. I’m not much for yelling at players from 500 feet away, so I use hand and arm signals. The next baseball that flew towards Noesi went way over his head, bounced off the warning track and back behind the batters eye. I thought all was lost, but Noesi actually went through the opened centerfield gate to retrieve the baseball. Once he did that, I flapped my glove at him again and he lobbed me a soft, high arching throw that never really reached me. The ball took a lucky bounce off the railing and landed back to his (Noesi) feet. Again, I flapped my glove at him and he hit his mark. Check out the pattern on the baseball after it had hit the batters eye:
Once the rest of the stadium opened up at 5:10pm, I was able to glove trick a ball out from behind the manual scoreboard:
The Twins hustled onto the field roughly ten minutes after my last snag so I changed from my Mariners hat to my Twins hat. But I really didn’t need to because I had already snagged a couple baseballs and I wasn’t trying to rely on toss-ups from players unless I really had to. So I wandered around in foul ground waiting on another opportunity. It wasn’t long, (not sure who hit it) but a screaming line drive came down the third base line, bounced off the warning track, flew over about ten rows and right smack into my glove. I got a small standing ovation from the surrounding fans that attempted to catch it, or ducked out-of-the-way, and I was on my way towards the Twins dugout for any photo opportunities and/or autographs. Here’s a picture of the foul BP ball I had snagged moments prior:
That’s Ryanna sticking her “rabbit ears” up behind the baseball. Cute, yes? I waited around at the dugout until batting practice ended and unfortunately I didn’t get one picture or autograph. But. The fun wasn’t over just yet. As I walked back to the ‘Pen, I noticed a white orb sitting in the visitors bullpen as I came down the staircase. Easy snag! I gave it away to the nearest fan as soon as I reeled it in and since the Mariners were using special opening series Japan baseballs during BP, one of my friends, Krista, was able to snag one of those during BP!
I have yet to snag one of these puppies, and sadly, they may all be gone. The added bonus to this season though, the Orioles, Dodgers, Mets and Marlins are all using special baseballs this year. So I still have plenty of opportunities to snag some commemoratives like the one in the above picture that Krista is holding.
As far as the game goes, I really couldn’t stay the entire length of it. Work calls, and I had to bail to catch the bus back to my home station before the third inning got under way. That’s what it’s going to be like all season long, too. But I’m grateful I get to at least attend batting practice and see the first few innings of the game. On my days off and early game starts, I’ll be able to stay for the games entirety. Such is life, right?
And for your viewing pleasure, below is the current, updated stats on how my charity is doing so far this season. I can’t thank the long list of donors this year, enough. Just know that you are greatly appreciated and remember sports fans; the top donor receives an official Snagging Baseballs for Puppies coffee mug after the 2012 season! (Please allow 3-6 weeks for delivery)
I’m snagging baseballs for puppies again this season for the Seattle Humane Society! If you want to check out my charity information, just click here!
Last season, with the help of all of you, we were able to raise over $250 dollars! This year I’d like to break $300!
Today’s game snagging Highlights: Minnesota Twins vs. Seattle Mariners- attendance 22,492
Baseballs snagged: four (Hector Noesi toss-up, glove-tricked two, caught BP foulball)
Total baseballs snagged this season: 28
Total baseballs snagged last season: 135
Total dollars raised at this game: $8.46
Total dollars raised for Snagging Baseballs for Puppies this season: $53.82
Total dollars raised for Snagging Baseballs for Puppies last season: $257.00
Total number of donors this season: 9
Total number of donors last season: 7