Jul 16, 2010
Believe it or not, in the history of ballhawking a ballhawk has never snagged game home run balls in the same at-bat. Miller Park's Ballhawk Shawn, however, did the next best thing last Saturday in Milwaukee.
The Brewers' Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder went back-to-back in the third inning, and Shawn managed to snag both gamers from his front row seat in right-center field. It was an accomplishment that very few ballhawks, if any, have been able to pull off. Back-to-back home runs are pretty rare in and of themselves in baseball, but a single fan ending up with both balls is virtually unheard of.
Shawn's first big snag of the day required an assist from Pirates' outfielder Andrew McCutchen, who incidentally is leading myGameBalls.com in toss-ups this season. Braun blasted his 116th career homer to center field and the ball caromed back onto the field. McCutchen picked it up, spotted Shawn in his bright yellow shirt, and tossed it right to him.
It was Shawn's second career Braun homer, the first coming on July 6 of 2008 at Miller Park. Overall, it was his 12th career gamer. "After I snapped back into reality, I began to inspect the ball," he wrote on his blog. "It was the standard game home run... the special rub, the bat mark and the landing abrasion."
Just six pitches later, Shawn was still holding onto the ball when another long fly came sailing his way, this one from lefty slugger Prince Fielder. "I set Braun's gem down, throw the glove on, and sprint to my left," he wrote. "In a group of about 4 people vying for the sailing ball, I was the tallest fan, as well as the only one with a glove. Seconds after Prince sent the ball into orbit, it crashed directly into the web of my glove."
Shawn went crazy, and as the camera zoomed in on him he held up two fingers, signaling his second gamer of the day. A large portion of his wild celebration was seen by the near-capacity crowd at Miller Park, thousands of fans watching at home, and later on Sportscenter and MLB.com.
TV announcer Bill Schroeder gave him a shout-out for the nice snag. "Billy's partner, Craig Coshun, wondered if the 'P' on my Pirates hat stood for 'Prince or power'," Shawn wrote after seeing the replay. "Whatever floats your boat, Craig. I know you think I'm a Pittsburgher, but I'm just a ballhawk. Common mistake. You'll see me catch a few more relatively soon."