July 24, 2017
I don't know if you've noticed lately, but there are a million more little kids running around the ball parks with hats, gloves, and backpacks glove tricking baseballs, snagging baseballs and uttering the words: I'm doing this like "Zack Hample"!
I am seeing a drastic surge in visiting ball hawks from other ball parks coming to visit our park. I have had a bunch of kids come up to me lately asking me if I am "Rocco"? I say, why yes I am, and how do you know me, and they say...I've seen you in a Zack Hample YOUTUBE video! Wow!
I have been sitting back watching these kids at BP, and they amaze me at how saavy they are with their knowledge of Ball Hawking, and level of skill at their age. They tell me that they are all reading Hample's blog. There is also a new bunch of older ball hawks too; 15 to 30 year olds out there.
I have also noticed that a bunch of DADS are bringing their baseball gloves to the ball park, along with the kids being ball hawks! These dads are usually in Polo shirts and no baseball caps and don't look like the typical "Ball Hawk", but they are 'Hawking none the less! Some of the dads have come up to me and said, we have noticed that you come to the ball park all the time, and have a cool glove on, so we decided to bring ours too...cool...I'm flattered! (Maybe I am helping change the perception that bringing your baseball glove to the ball park is NOT just for little kids!!! I hope!)
I have discussed this with the purveyor of the MYGAMEBALLS.COM web site, and he has stated to me that there has been an uptick in interest in the sport, and in on-line registration.
Well, what does this mean for the Sport/Hobby of Ball Hawking? I think that it is great that the sport is growing! It's great that the sport has some heroes...Hample, Jabs, NickPNC, Devo, PadreLeigh, Greg Barasch, the Cooks, Cole Adkins, Angle, etc. all over the country. It's great in my opinion that the sport is attracting older fans! I have seen more females bringing their gloves to the yard too...little girls & older women. I think this is great for competition, the web site, and the ball hawking community as a whole!
Now, some of us "Old Timers" have to be great ambassadors for the sport like the Pro Athletes are. There should be MORE competition for the upcoming AWARDS here in the future too!
I have seen some ball hawks come & go here recently, so this should be a good thing for the sport to blossom!
The down side of this is, that the ball players have noticed this too! There will be less baseballs to go around, and Ball Hawk STATS will inevitably will be down. So, ball hawks will have to find creative new ways to stand out to the ball players to snag player toss-ups, bullpen balls, 3rd out balls, etc. Bring better gear, new sayings, or do more in-depth homework to know who the players are for instance. Things are going to get tight!
Well, I just thought that I would enlighten some of you out there to the new realities of the modern Ball Hawk. Tell me what you think.
As always, "GO HAVE A BALL"...I will!
Rocco Sinisi is a contributing columnist to myGameBalls.com.