November 20, 2013
Oriole Park at Camden Yards, what many consider the Holy Grail of Ballhawking venues. With many circumstances that favor Ballhawks, Baltimore attracts the most ambitious and competitive Hawks from around the nation. If you are radical about your "career" as a BallHawk, you will most likely find yourself in Baltimore. I'm sure there are many other stadiums that can produce solid Ballhawk statistics, but, I'm not in a valid position to evaluate or give any type of opinion, as I only have experience in Baltimore. I will one day venture out to other venues for a broad spectrum of the Ballhawking community. However, I'm fortunate enough to have the summit of all Ballhawking as my home stadium, therefore it's a no brainer for me.
Early access (before BP) to Eutaw Street, and the center field picnic area (or statue area) will provide opportunity for toss ups, and maybe a glove trick in the bullpen if your lucky. From a Baseball perspective, OPACY is considered a hitters park, which, in Ballhawk terms translates to "Home Run Heaven". With the left field wall a shallow 333ft., This makes it ideal for right handed batters, especially when the attendance is low, which creates sufficient room to maneuver between the seats. The right field Flag Court allows adequate room to maneuver, scramble, and position yourself for the best possible chance for home run balls. The stadium layout, along with the main cross aisle, that wraps around the entire stadium will provide a "highway" to easily navigate your way to the proper position.
The layout also provides easy access in, and out of the concourse, which makes it simple to make adjustments behind home plate, to position yourself for foul balls. All this, of course, may give you an undemanding sense of achievement. But, make no mistake, an unprepared Ballhawk that comes to Baltimore with the expectation of triumph will inevitably be introduced with the harsh reality, that there is a fierce competitive force that must be reckon with, and a strategy that must account for.
As I mentioned above, a Ballhawks best chance at snagging a game homer is undoubtedly the right field Flag Court. However, chances are you will find yourself surrounded by multiple lurking Ballhawks in wait of the same opportunity. Not just any ordinary Hawks, but guys that have proven to be in the top tier of the BallHawk community. Alex Kopp, who stands well over six feet tall, has recorded 9 game home runs in 2013. Which included two from Chris Davis's record breaking season (I believe both on the Flag Court) Tim Anderson, also a skyscraper, (as I refer to Ballhawks who are much taller then me) who practically "owns" the left field bleachers, has recorded 7 homers last season, and an astounding 25 lifetime game home runs, and Grant Edrington, recently named the 2013 Junior BallHawk of the Year on myGameBalls.com also recorded a game home run. One that I still have nightmares about, as I lost the battle for a jump ball-Quentin Berry home run that found its way up to the Flag Court on the last regular season game of 2013. I must mention that, there is quite a few more notable Ballhawks that call OPACY home, but, I have no personnel interactions with these people.
For me, this brings a new dimension of the Ballhawking strategy to employ when going to the ballpark. Not only do Ballhawks need to utilize a methodical process to their strategy in an attempt to place their self in the best possible position, but must also account for the barrage of quality gloves, that will certainly find their way to the ball. If you plan a Ballhawking trip to Baltimore, you must essentially prepare for battle. Although, I would like to point out that, I have no intent to undermine any other stadium or Ballhawks associated with them, I merely want to express the quality I have personally experienced in the venue itself along with its competitors. I can assure you that Baltimore will produce substantial statistics in 2014, and I hope to be apart of the elite group that has set the standard for Ballhawking in Baltimore.
Chris Scheufele is a contributing columnist to myGameBalls.com.