June 10, 2017
One of the most essential pieces of gear the Ball Hawk has at his or her disposal is, the Backpack! Why you might ask? Well it's his or hers "home away from home" while they are at the ball park. It is the piece of gear that holds all the other gear!!! It is also a very recognizable feature of the Ball Hawk, and lets everyone know that you are NOT just a regular fan...you mean business when you come to the park! It's like a businessman's brief case.
Ball Hawks are people of action! We come to the park not just to watch a baseball game, but to play our own game, collect baseballs, and explore the stadium. We are usually hard core baseball fans too, and being such, we might want to buy a new jersey while at the game from the Pro Shop, snag a Bobble-Head doll, or get something thrown to us from a player at the dugout after the game! Where are you going to put all this stuff that you snagged throughout the day, in you back pocket? It always amazes me to watch thousands of people entering a baseball game to get a Bobble-Head doll, and just grab it and go. They don't, at a minimum, bring a bag to put it in! And when it rains, what then?
Being an old retired Infantryman for 20 years, I know a thing or two about carrying, and utilizing a Rucksack!!! Having to go to the field with all your extra gear in it for two or three weeks on your back, and living out of one! Same thing as a Ball Hawk...we are not just the casual fan that goes to the game for 3 hours, we stay for like 7 hours! We make a day of it! We usually, comb the ball park taking photos of all the cool statues, go to early batting practice, changing clothes/jerseys & caps, go watch the bullpen session. Then, after BP, go watch the game and run around to different spots, trying to snag different types of baseballs (bullpen, foul balls, homers, warm up, third out, umpire, etc.) get something to eat, try to snag an Umpire Ball after the game, then go hang out for a few minutes with fellow balls hawks! That's a long day! Again, where are you going to put all the stuff you snagged?
What about when it rains? Where are you going to put that $300.00 baseball glove then?
What does a good Ball Hawking backpack need to have? Well, for me, I need it to do a few things; I need a deep main inner pocket to hold my jerseys, baseballs, and glove if need be, etc. I also need a few small inner pockets to put my wallet, and cell phone in, and a few outside pockets on it to put things in I need to get to FAST, like my water bottle, my tickets, Sharpies for autographs, "Glove Trick", my "sweat rag" ( if you have ever seen me ball hawk, I always have a *team colored* wash cloth in my hand to wipe away sweat out of my eyes during BP!), etc.
I personally have a bunch of Ball Hawking backpacks in different sizes, colors, and configurations! I use them according to what situation I might anticipate finding myself being in on a particular ball hawking day. Such as, how many baseballs I might snag from a particular team (some teams I plan to get more toss ups from, for example), a larger pack to carry more gear to change into on a chilly or rainy day, or to match one of my favorite teams' colors to look color coordinated! If you have ever seen me ball hawk, you know that I try and match up everything I wear (tennis shoes, socks, shorts, etc.) to usually the road team anymore, and color coordinate my look...I'm going so far as to match my backpacks, and gloves in hopes to look like a super fan...which I am!
So, for some of you wondering; these are some of the items I carry in my Ball Hawking backpack:
-carries food / Dental Floss (I can't live without dental floss!!!) / asprins/ water bottle/ hair comb/ Chap Stick/ Band Aids/ a small cloth to wipe my glasses with in case they get wet
-carries snagged balls/ glove trick/ extra rubber bands for the glove trick/ wash cloths x 2 ...one to wipe down seats, and one for my face
-carries extra gear/ extra caps/ jerseys/ Flags of foreign countries (Venezuela, Puerto Rico, etc.)/ your glove on rainy days!
-carries tickets/ brochures/ line-up cards/ bobbleheads/ Sharpies/ cell phone/ wallet/ camera/ car keys/ etc.
A last thing I would like to say about the Ball Hawking backpack in reference to Ball Hawking tactics is: TAKE THE BACKPACK OFF DURING BP!!! Relax, and get that heavy thing off your shoulders! Set it on a seat, so you can run a little bit, but keep an eye on it. Don't get too far from it. I always set mine in a seat a few rows infront of me, that way I can watch it while I'm 'hawking! I also will try and have fellow ball hawks that I know and trust, all put our backpacks in the seats together, so we can all watch them together! Wearing the backpack during BP also tells the players that you ARE a Ball Hawk!!! You want to look like a "Schmoe Fan" while ball hawking during BP if you can! So, Take it off!
So, you see, the Ball Hawking backpack is an essential piece of Ball Hawking gear...it ties together everything we do! So, go get you a good one! I prefer the Adidas ones here lately, but get which ever one works for you! I hope this article helps you in your ball hawking journey! As always..."GO HAVE A BALL"...I WILL!!!
Rocco Sinisi is a contributing columnist to myGameBalls.com.