September 15, 2015
Everybody reading this article is wondering, what the heck is a Barometer Ball Hawk? Well, let me explain. We all love to go to the park to snag some baseballs, and we all think that we are good at what we do, because we've snagged a few balls in the past when we went to a game.
But now, as ball hawking has taken off as a sport/hobby unto itself, and a "Game within a Game" if you will, and we are all snagging more baseballs than ever with the help of this web site, and cool ball hawking blogs (where we learn from these cool articles, like Zack Hample's Youtube videos & blog, and other famous ball hawks blogs, ESPN's Hit Tracker, etc.)... we want to test ourselves against the best ball hawks out there to see where we rate!
Some of you out there probably won't care about this article, but most of you out there will. Some of you out there are just happy to go to the ball park and snag your few baseballs, and will be happy & satisfied, but I meet a lot of people every time I go to the park that want to snag more baseballs. These people always come up to me and ask me to help them try and snag *a* baseball, or help them snag *more* baseballs. Our local Hall of Fame Batting Practice tour guides, always tells the fans that attend the early BP tour to come and see me, because "he knows what he's doing;" therefore, I feel obliged to help these fans out. Other fans that come to BP, use me as a measuring stick to see where their "game" is at. I do the same thing when Hample, Jabs, or NickPNC comes to G.A.B.P. We all do it if we know it or not. We are all in search of validation!
Most people, are "people watchers" by habit; they watch what other people do in airports, at school, or wherever. People that are doing something that they enjoy (a hobby), and that other people do as well, are always trying to get better at it, like golf, building RC model airplanes, or taking up the Martial Arts for instance. These people that are trying to get more enjoyment out of whatever hobby they choose to take up, usually go to conventions, seminars, workshops, etc., to try and get better at what they want to do. Unfortunately, these outlets don't exist for ball hawks, unless you want to pay Zack Hample to take you to the ball park to show you how to snag a baseball. So, we try and learn from watching each other, asking a few questions, and reading the ball hawking blogs, etc., to figure out how to apply our new hobby skills.
So, once you watched all the Youtube videos, read the blogs, asked all the questions, etc., it's time to put all your skills into practice! Once you start to ball hawk at the park, you realize that you might not be as good at it as you thought! Or, that there are a few types of baseballs you do not like to snag, or situations that you do not feel comfortable with, like asking for toss ups, or using the "Glove-Trick" for instance (some people are just shy). But, some of you out there are like, okay, today I want to see if I can snag as many baseballs as Erik Jabs today. So, you go to Pittsburgh, and run around the park to see if you can keep up with him. You have now just used Erik as a barometer for your ball hawking prowess. You wanted to see if you can catch as many homers as him, get player toss ups, beat him to hit balls, or glove trick as many baseballs as him to see if you are now a good ball hawk. And in the end, you will seek his approval for your ball hawking status! We all do it. Even Zack Hample wrote about meeting the "Old School" hawks in his book "The Baseball" that he was fond of.
So, what we all know is, that we all can't wait for Zack to come to our park, ball hawk along side us, and then ask him to sign our books! It's not a bad thing, and sometimes I bet we don't even know that we are doing it. We all need someone to measure ourselves against to see how far we have progressed in our hobby/sport. We all like to know where we stand in our skill level. I will even go as far to say that some of you out there brag about beating Zack, or other elite ball hawks to a baseball, and it makes you feel validated, and good!
So, that's what a Barometer ball hawk is in my opinion...a "Measuring Stick" if you will. Let me know what you think.
As always, "Go have a Ball"...I will!
Rocco Sinisi is a contributing columnist to myGameBalls.com.