Aug 10, 2010
Baltimore season ticket holder Matt Hersl has been going to Orioles' games for decades, and through all those years he never once experienced the thrill of snagging a game home run. Until last night, that is.
Hersl, a seasoned ballhawk who has snagged over 100 BP balls this year, was seated near the bullpens in left-center field when Ty Wigginton crushed a 6th inning line drive into the power alley. When it became clear that the ball would carry into the seats, Hersl moved laterally through his row and approached the landing spot, where several fans were reaching up for the attempted snag.
"It happened so fast, all I recall is moving towards the ball," he said. "I believe it hit off of someone's hands, to the ground where I grabbed it." The video of the homer on MLB.com shows the fan in question dropping the ball and Hersl immediately pouncing on it. He then runs up the steps, triumphantly displaying his first gamer. As a die-hard Orioles' fan, Hersl wasn't just celebrating the home run snag; he was also celebrating his team tying the game and setting the stage for their eventual 3-2 win in the 10th inning.
The White Sox had a game-tying homer of their own in the top of the 9th, a Paul Konerko blast that Hersl narrowly missed snagging for his second of the night. But when Brian Roberts hit a walk-off homer in the 10th, any disappointment that Hersl felt for not snagging the Konerko ball quickly faded away. In fact his night really couldn't have been any better -- he finally got to snag a gamer, and he got to witness his Orioles win in dramatic fashion to improve their record under new manager Buck Showalter to 6-1.
Despite his big snagging accomplishment, Hersl has soured on ballhawking a bit in recent weeks, saying that a disturbing trend seems to be developing in Baltimore. "I have not been logging the balls I catch because I've been noticing more and more over aggressiveness," he said. "not that I have not been a little bit in the past but some of these ballhawks take the cake. It's not fun anymore!"
Perhaps the ballhawk community needs to be reminded of veteran ballhawk Rick Gold's thoughts on ballhawk etiquette.