Apr 30, 2010
Ballhawk Shawn owns a collection of game home run balls that includes homers from a lot of great players, including Adam Dunn, Ryan Braun, and Prince Fielder. His latest, snagged Tuesday night at Miller Park, doesn't have such a big name attached to it. It was hit by the Brewers' young catcher George Kottaras, who in his third year has played in just 56 Major League games and hit only 3 home runs.
"It was my 10th career home run, and Kottaras'3rd," Shawn said. "It's pretty wild to hawk a home run that is lower in number for the player's career than in mine."
The home run snag salvaged a poor performance from Shawn during batting practice. "The day had gone rather disappointingly," he said. "A few of the other Milwaukee ballhawks (well known and unknown) resorted to rather questionable and flat out rude tactics during most of batting practice, so my total when the game began was pretty low."
He had good seats in the right field power-alley, located in prime home run territory. With the likes of Fielder and Braun on the team, Kottaras was the last person he expected to launch one into the seats when he came to bat in the 7th inning. But to his surprise, Kottaras ripped a high shot in his direction. Shawn ran towards it, but the ball eluded him by about 20 feet and was caught by Pitcher Javier Lopez in the visitors' bullpen.
Shawn watched as Lopez kicked the ball under the bullpen bench. "I was pretty upset at that point," Shawn said. "For the rest of the game I was quite literally ballhawking with an eagle eye. I could see the back 1/4 of the ball protruding from under the bench and I knew I had to walk away with it."
He stayed fixated on the ball throughout the game, and kept watching it even as the game concluded. His patience paid off, and closer Octavio Dotel grabbed the ball and tossed it out of the bullpen and into Shawn's glove.
Shawn was pumped about his 10th career game home run, but was also aware that many ballhawks do not count tossed-up home run balls as true Gamers. Like John Witt and his recent snag at Angel Stadium, Shawn counts home run balls as Gamers no matter how he snags them. "I had taken my seat in the right field power alley hoping to catch a gamer, rather than have it tossed up, but I'll take it," he said. "It counts in my book."
As of this morning Shawn had not posted his blog entry, but stay tuned to Ballhawk Shawn's Blog to read the full report.