April 4, 2011
A while back, I proposed the idea of having a Ballhawk Tournament. Ballhawks from all over the country would decend on one stadium for a three game series and battle it out for the right to be crowned tournament champion.
Overall, there was mixed reaction to the idea. Although a lot of people liked it, there were just too many questions. How could the competition be judged in a fair way? Would ball retrieving devices be allowed? What if violence erupted in the bleachers as 30 ballhawks pushed and shoved their way to the baseballs?
But while there was varying support for the idea of a Ballhawk Tournament, there was unanimous support for one aspect of such a tournament -- namely, the idea of gathering the myGameBalls.com community, which includes both hardcore ballhawks and people who don't even consider themselves ballhawks, in a single venue on a designated day. I've gotten countless emails from people clamoring for an official gathering of the myGameBalls community.
So when Matt Hersl from Baltimore sent me an email on this subject a few weeks ago, I decided that now was the time to make this happen. Matt and I agreed that the best place to put this together would be Oriole Park at Camden Yards, for a number of reasons. First, there's already a handfull of members who attend virtually every game there. Secondly, it's proximity makes it a reasonable travel destination for members from DC, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and New York. Third and most important, it's a great place to ballhawk and watch a game.
Once we settled on a place, it was time to pick a date. We felt that it would be best to start out by getting a small group of 5-10 people to all agree on one date before we announced the date to everyone. So after a week or so of emailing around I was able to get a core group of members to put a specific date on their calendars.
And hopefully many of you reading this column will put this date -- Saturday, July 23 -- on your calendar as well. The Angels will be in town and will be using some flashy commemorative baseballs. Assuming last-minute scheduling conflicts don't arise, here's the group that's already planning on being there: Myself, of course; Matt Hersl and Avi Miller from Baltimore; Todd Cook and son(s) from the Philadelphia area; and Zack Hample, Joe Faraguna, and Cliff Eddens from New York. Rick Gold from New York is also a good possibility.
As for the specifics of the event, nothing has been decided yet. I'd love to hear some of your ideas for how to make it a success. If all goes well, this will be the largest gathering of ballhawks in history. From this point forward it will go by the name "BallhawkFest 2011."
I know many of you won't be able swing a cross-country trip to attend this event, but hopefully in the future we'll be able to pull off similar events on the West Coast and other areas. Again, this idea is just starting to formulate and I'm very open to any suggestions you may have. I'm hoping that this will be such a fun event that we'll continue to do it year after year.
Note: Please contact Avi Miller for discounted tickets to this game.
Alan Schuster is a contributing columnist to myGameBalls.com.