March 27, 2015
The day I snagged my first baseball, I was hooked on Ball Hawking! I wanted to learn more about the sport, so I pulled up videos on Youtube. Not until I found out about Zack Hample, and read his first book on ball hawking, did I want to become a 1000 Ball Hawk!
It felt to me, and Zack made it sound like in his book, that snagging one thousand baseballs was like reaching the pinnacle in the sport / hobby. I can see his point after going to game after game, just snagging 3 to 6 balls a game! It takes a long time to snag a 1000 baseballs! Years!!! It is NOT going to happen over night, and it is not easy. You have to have some serious stick-to-it-iveness to pursue that goal. I give "Mad Props" to the guys that have snagged over 2000 baseballs...NOW that's getting it done!!!
You have to remember, that snagging just one baseball at a Major League baseball game is a big deal for the average fan! It is NOT easy to snag a baseball at the ball park; you have to know what you are doing, or be a very cute little kid with a baseball glove sitting over the dugout-- that's why Zack wrote some books about it. I believe that snagging a thousand baseballs is like being a Black Belt in the Martial Arts. It means that you have seen almost every known ball hawking situation, or have tried to snag a baseball in almost every way conceivable at the ball park. Or, you should at least have the basic ball hawking concepts down, and are working on mastering the nuances of the sport.
Some things you need to know about being a 1000 Ball Hawk...snagging 1000 baseballs will cost you a lot of money, and give you a lot of bumps & bruises in the process too. You are going to make a lot of friends, and some enemies at the park. People get jealous! Also, players are going to see you in the stands if you come to a lot of games, and stop throwing you baseballs! They might outright hassle you, wanting to know why a grown man 20 to 60 years old brings a baseball glove to the ball park, and wants a baseball that should go to a child. So, be prepared.
Now, being a 1000 Ball Hawk doesn't have to be your only goal in Ball Hawking! You can set some other great goals for yourself in the process of trying to become a 1000 Ball Hawk. The first goal you should set is to have FUN at the ball park!!! Enjoy the catch! Make some friends along the way. Go on some "Road Trips". Visit and enjoy some new cities. Help the little kids snag some baseballs! Give a ball away to an elderly Veteran, or a handicapped person in a wheelchair.
You also can start your goals out with snagging 100 baseballs, especially if you are a younger ball hawk. Work on getting into the "100 Ball Club" first. Or, you can just work on snagging game balls, or commemorative baseballs. You should work on travelling to different ball parks, and maybe go to them with some of your friends in the summer. I have a personal side goal of trying to get all the famous pitchers in the league to toss me a baseball. There are plenty of goals you can set for yourself in the sport, until you reach 1000 baseballs.
You don't have to feel like you have to be a 1000 Ball Hawk in three years or so. You have plenty of time to accomplish that goal. If you truly love baseball, and you are a young person; you don't have to "kill yourself" trying to snag that many baseballs...you will have a lifetime to do that. This way you won't have to injure yourself to do it.
I chose to push the numbers, because I never do anything that I love "half-assed', and I am running out of good health...I'm getting up there in age, and I wanted to complete my goal of snagging 1000 baseballs. Everything is starting to hurt now, and I am going to have to slow down here soon!
So you see, being a 1000 Ball Hawk is pretty cool, but it is about the journey, and not the number that will be more enjoyable to you in the end. I smile every time I look at old photos of me and some ball hawking buddies snagging baseballs at the ball park! It truly puts a smile on my face. The great times, and friendships I had while snagging the ball, probably mean more to me than the actual balls that I snagged. Each ball represents a memory...remember that!
So, go put a smile on your face, and have some fun at the ball park this year!
As always, "GO HAVE A BALL"...I will!
Rocco Sinisi is a contributing columnist to myGameBalls.com.