Apr 4, 2012
Ballhawk Shawn, whose lifetime total of 1,350 ranks 4th on the all-time leaderboard, warmed up for his 2012 campaign last week in Arizona and quickly found his groove. The veteran ballhawk from Milwaukee recorded his first major highlight of the year by snagging an Alex Gonzalez home run at Maryvale Park in Phoenix.
The game was very well attended, with over 6,000 fans at the park, so there was plenty of competition for the Gonzalez homer. "Before the game began, my girlfriend and I staked out our spot on the outfield lawn," he said. "I chose the spot because it was the closest spot relative to each of the snags I had made earlier during BP, effectively, it split the differences. The wind was blowing out, and there was a power pitcher on the mound. If there was going to be a home run, it would probably be a deep, deep blast."
Shawn's analysis was correct, but he still wasn't quite in the right spot when Gonzalez launched his moonshot to the straight-away left field. Shawn was positioned in the power alley and had to fight his way through the crowd 40 feet to his right.
The ball landed on the sidewalk and took a huge bounce over a retaining wall and into an alley way. The other fans chasing the ball didn't see it clear the wall and began scampering around trying to find it.
"I didn't even bother to try and get in the scrum, I knew EXACTLY what happened," he said. "I turned on the afterburners as I saw the ball bounce, not to make the catch, but to beat the few competent people who were smart enough to try and leave the park and search the alley way."
Shawn arrived on the scene to find the ball laying in a group of rocks and sand, and he easily scooped it up to secure his 14th career game home run.
"The ironic part that I'm unjustly upset about," he remarked, "is even though I know there's not reason to be, is that while I was coming back inside the stadium from retrieving the home run, Aramis Ramirez hit a home run to the exact, and I mean EXACT(!!!) spot where I was sitting when Gonzo hit his homer. C'est la vie, I guess. That's the life of a ballhawk!"