Jun 14, 2014
Veteran ball hawk Rick Gold plans his ballhawking road trips with Military precision before the season even starts. Gold stated that the day the MLB schedule comes out, he immediately sees what ballparks he can go to, to snag baseballs that season. Gold had planned to attend a couple of games at Nationals Park to see the Nats take on the Marlins, but couldn't get the days off from work to do that. Gold stated that he originally had Tuesday and Wednesday off, but his boss had chaged it to Thursday 29 May 2014 for working the Memorial Day holiday. Gold stated that he checked the MLB schedule for Thursday games, and noticed that all the local teams in his area (Yankees, Mets, and Orioles) were out of town, but that the Mets were at the Phillies, so he penciled that game into his schedule, and headed off to Citizens Bank Park. Lucky for him, his boss did him a huge favor... Gold was about to have a very memorable night!
Gold had made it to Philadelphia and the ballpark before the gates opened, at 4:30 to be on the safe side, and got into batting practice (BP) on time, but had a lousy BP. Gold snagged only one baseball, a Wilmer Flores homer on the fly. Gold at this point thought to himself that this might be a wasted trip, but he still had the game itself to try and snag some more balls.
Gold stated, "I had tickets for left field, near the left field foul pole, but right before the game, I moved over two sections to an aisle seat in the fourth row that was pretty much empty, and one row behind me was almost empty. In the fourth inning, Mets outfielder Chris Young came up to bat with a runner on base. He hit a high drive to left field that I immediately knew was gone! There was only one problem, I lost the ball off the bat. I stood up, and stared at the sky for what seemed forever trying to pick up the ball. When I finally did, and could see it wasn't going more than a few rows up, I knew I had a shot of snagging it. I ran across the row to my left and the ball hit a seat in the row in front of me just before I got there. Losing sight of the ball for just a second or two, probably cost me a chance to catch it on the fly. Fortunately, I got a great bounce. The ball gently plopped down right in front of the seat it hit, and I reached over and picked it up before another fan in the row could grab it. I hustled back to my seat, and put the ball away, ignoring the usual fans urging me to throw it back!"
Gold further stated, "This was not only my first homer of the year, but the first homer I had a shot of snagging. I've just been at the wrong place at the wrong time all season. The day after my last game in Cleveland, David Murphy hit a homer in the ninth inning right to my seat for the previous three games! It had just been that kind of year so far, so this was a huge relief. It feels like a burden has been lifted, and now I feel no pressure, and can look forward to my next opportunity whenever it comes. The next homer will be number 50 in my life time, so hopefully I don't have to wait too long to snag it".
Good thing Rick's boss changed his day off, now he has #49 sitting on his ball hawking trophy shelf at home! Great job Rick, we are all routing for you to snag #50!