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A Word From the Webmaster

BallhawkFest 2011 Update

As you may recall from my previous column, plans are underway to gather myGameBalls members at Camden Yards on July 23 for the first ever "BallhawkFest." It's all coming together nicely, and I'd like to devote this column to updating everyone on the latest details of the event.

Those who've already signed up to be part of BallhawkFest are already aware of all of these details. I've been using a special mailing list to gather input from the attendees and keep everyone informed of the latest plans for the event.

So if you're already on that mailing list, this column isn't for you. The main purpose of this column is to entice others, some who've heard about BallhawkFest and some who haven't, to join us at Camden Yards on July 23. As the founder of this website, I'd like to personally meet as many of you as I possibly can, and it would be really cool to see this online community come together for a day of fun and ballhawking.

That being said, I don't want to get too caught up in numbers. Even if only five or six people show up to this thing I know I personally am going to have a blast. But still, I am going to do everything I can to encourage as many of you as possible to come to Baltimore for this exciting event.

Now, on to the details. BallhawkFest 2011 will get started around 11 am at a softball field a few miles from the stadium. You heard that right -- softball! We'll divide up into teams and play a seven inning game of friendly competition. This is guaranteed to be a ton of fun and a great chance to get to know each other in a casual setting. If you're not athletic or haven't played softball/baseball before, please don't let that stop you from coming out to play. No experience is neccessary.

We'll get out of the sun before the afternoon heat arrives and cool off at a nearby restaurant for the BallhawkFest 2011 luncheon. Matt Hersl, a Baltimore native, is looking around at restaurants in the area to find us a nice yet affordable place to have the luncheon. We'll enjoy good food while hanging out and talking baseball and ballhawking.

After the luncheon we'll have an hour or two to relax or tour Baltimore before meeting at the gates to take some pictures and claim our spot in the front of the line. When the gates open, the "running of the ballhawks" will be underway as we make our way to the bleachers and start snagging everything in sight. I'd love to witness some record-breaking individual performances, and as a group my hope is that by the end of the night everyone will have snagged at least one ball.

As the game gets underway we'll all be wearing our official BallhawkFest 2011 T-shirts. We haven't decided on a final design, but they will be a color that makes us stand out in the crowd. They also will feature our names on the back along with the number of career balls that we've snagged. Since ballhawks are always on the go there probably won't be too much time spent sitting together as a big group, but it should be pretty cool to look across the stadium during foul balls and home runs to see if anyone with a BallhawkFest T-shirt makes the snag.

So if you weren't quite sure you wanted to do this BallhawkFest thing, hopefully this rundown of activities will convince you to join the fun. If you're concerned about the cost, that's understandable, but we're doing everything we can to make this affordable. In fact, Matt has found a way to get us tickets for close to nothing, and I've been able to find a great price on the t-shirts. In total, you'll be able to get a game ticket, a BallhawkFest T-shirt, and a great meal for around $40-$50 per person.

If you want to stay informed about all the latest plans for BallhawkFest 2011, you need to join the mailing list. Just drop me an email at to join the list. You'll need to be on this list in order to hear about the specific locations for the softball game and luncheon, and to get the details for ordering t-shirts.

Make plans to be there. You know you want to.

Alan Schuster is a contributing columnist to

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