March 28, 2011
The 2010 baseball season was supposedly the year of the pitcher. Just hearing that as a ballhawk makes me cringe, thinking that I want every year to be the year of the slugger. But while the Giants reached the World Series based on their mainstay of a strong rotation and bolstered bullpen, there were still 75 major leaguers that hit 20+ home runs during the season; 37 in the American League and 38 in the National League. 18 players hit 30+ bombs; 8 in the AL, 10 in the NL. Even two guys hit 40+ shots; who else but King Albert [Pujols] (42) and the HR king Jose Bautista (54).
As a ballhawk, we can only hope that these power number continue on during 2011, or better yet, thrive with young sluggers up and coming in the system like Mike Stanton and Jason Heyward. In the ballhawking community, with more people making trips across the country for hawking opportunities, it is important for us to know where the power hitters have shifted around a bit this off-season. Below, find a list of all of the players that fall under the 20+ HRs in 2010 category that changed teams sometime after the 2010 season, either by trade or signing in free agency (HR total in parentheses):
There is not one team that has net more than one 20+ HR guy this off-season, though there are multiple who brought in two and lost one (Nationals and Rangers). The Blue Jays, who led all of MLB with 257 HRs as a team last season, lost three of the guys above while the Diamondbacks lost two.
So there it is. When you go out to a major league game in 2011, you not only will have to take into account how many home runs each team hit last year (http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/stats/byteam?cat=Overall&sort=706), but also these off-season moves. The shifts in power are sure to help their new teams not only produce more runs, but provide ballhawks with different opportunities for snagging. So my advice here is to just take note and pick your games and spots accordingly.
And with that, I wish everybody the best to begin the 2011 MLB season. Good luck with snagging, but also always remember where you are. Every day, every game, you are witnessing a part of baseball history. Even if I go to watch my Orioles faces the Pirates, and however irrelevant and worthless ESPN will treat the game like it is, it is still a part of our national pastime. Take in the sights and sounds of ballparks,snap lots of pictures, and be sure to keep your mygameballs.com account updated so other ballhawks can keep up with the accomplishments of others. And let's make it a year of networking, as I hope to continue to meet new ballhawks after a grand 2010 in which I met 5+ new hawks at Camden Yards.
Avi Miller is a contributing columnist to myGameBalls.com and also maintains a Blog.