Jun 9, 2010
In the world of ballhawking, a horrible day can sometimes turn into a fantastic day in a matter of minutes, or even seconds. That's exactly what happend to Pittsburgh ballhawk Steve Uhlmann last Wednesday at PNC Park.
One minute he was sulking over having his potential first ever foul ball snatched quite literally from under his feet, and the next minute he was celebrating his first career game ball. By the time the game ended, he not only had celebrated his first foul ball, but his second foul ball as well.
It was a make-up game, and with only 4,000 fans in attendance Uhlmann and a friend picked out a spot in a near-empty section on the first base side. They sat in the tenth row, and literally no one was behind them. Derek Lee lined a foul ball into the back of the section in the 5th inning and Uhlmann took off into the sea of empty seats.
As he ran up the stairs looking for the ball, Uhlmann failed to notice that the ball had actually rolled right onto his feet, and before he even looked down to see it another fan had swooped in and grabbed it. "It had rolled down to me and I was oblivious to it," he said. "I slammed my glove in disgust probably realizing that I wouldn't come close the rest of the game, and the tv cameras caught it."
Fortunately, just a few pitches later he would get a chance to redeem himself. Lee fouled off another pitch, this time one section over from Uhlmann's. Uhlmann pounced on it, making sure not to repeat his previous error, and snagged the first foul ball of his ballhawking career.
Uhlmann wasn't done yet though. In the ninth inning, the Cubs' Jeff Baker hit a soft line drive right at him. "I took a step forward and the ball barely made it over a couple of fan's hands and landed right in my glove," he said. "A very young boy and his dad were the only ones sitting with us so I gave him the ball to the kid for staying the whole time and toughing out another lifeless effort from the Pirates."
Later, Uhlmann learned that the entire experience had made the television broadcast on both FSN's Final Score and the MLB Network. He watched the footage on Youtube, reliving the memorable day at PNC Park. What started out as a horribly frustrating day ended up being the greatest day of the young ballhawk's career.