January 3, 2012
Over the past couple of years, ballhawking has really taken off. It's just another way for baseball fans to enhance their experience at the ballpark. While most just hope to walk away with a ball or two, there are some that hope to get a little more. A bonus if you will. That bonus is a commemorative baseball.
Ballhawking is fairly new to me. Over the past two years, I've snagged close to 50 baseballs. Compared to some, that's nothing. But every ball that I snag is just as exhilarating as the first, and I think most can say the same. That being said, it adds another level of excitement when you snag a ball, look into your glove, and realize that it has a commemorative logo on it. Commemorative Baseballs date back to 1978, when they were first used for the World Series. The following year, they debuted in the 1979 All Star Game. Every year there seems to be a handful of commemorative balls used throughout the season. Most are used on only specific days (Opening Day, Jackie Robinson Day, Civil Rights Game, All Star Game, HR Derby, etc.). Just a handful has been used over the course of a season. The 2012 Season will be monumental for ballhawking in terms of commemorative balls being used. In addition to the annual installments of Opening Day, Civil Rights Game, Futures Game, Home Run Derby, All Star Game and World Series, there are at least 5 other commemorative baseballs that have been confirmed to be used in 2012, with a 6th that seems to be a given.
Boston Red Sox: Fenway Park 100th Anniversary
Los Angeles Dodgers: Dodger Stadium 50th Anniversary
Baltimore Orioles: 20th Anniversary Oriole Park at Camden Yards
New York Mets: 50th Anniversary
Houston Astros: 50th Anniversary
Miami Marlins: Inaugural Season Marlins Ballpark
There has never been a season like this in the past in terms of commemorative baseballs. To put it into perspective, the past 3 seasons have totaled 5 commemorative baseballs that were used throughout the season that are not renewed every year. While it's great to see balls used for a specific series or game (San Juan Series, 2010, Marlins Final Game at Sun Life Stadium, 2011), it becomes almost impossible for ballhawks to get their hands on one unless they buy it. With the 5 or 6 being used this year on top of the recurring commemorative balls, it will be a lot easier for ballhawks to get their hands on one or two without having to go to 20+ games. I know that by January 1st every year, I start counting down the days to opening day. It seems as if the offseason will never end once it begins. I hope this helps get us through the homestretch and gives us something to look forward to once the season begins.
If you'd like to take a look at the confirmed commemoratives for 2012, you can click the link below:
If you have some spare time, check out the link below, which lists every commemorative baseball by year ever used:
Will La Russo is a contributing columnist to myGameBalls.com and also maintains a Blog.