March 8, 2011
Over the past two years, myGameBalls.com has developed a growing presence at most of the Major League ballparks. I took some inventory of our members this morning and to be specific, 20 out of the 30 stadiums have a solid presence on the site. For those 20 stadiums, I'm confident that given some time, most if not all of the ballhawking "regulars" will end up joining us here at myGameBalls.com.
For whatever reason, the other 10 stadiums haven't really taken root. And although I haven't been to most of them, I'm convinced that the reason isn't because of a lack of ballhawks. Wherever a stadium opens its gates for batting practice and Major Leaguers are launching balls into the seats, there are ballhawks.
So why haven't the ballhawks from those 10 stadiums joined the site? I really don't know for sure. It may be because they haven't heard of it. It may be because they have heard about it, but think it's lame and a waste of time. Whatever the case, I thought I'd take some time to list the 10 most underrepresented stadiums on myGameBalls.com, with the hopes that some people reading this column will help spread the word to these unreached areas. Personally, I am a horrible salesman, so I generally rely on others to spread the word.
So here's the list:
10. Progressive Field (2 members) - There's only a couple members here, but the thriving PNC Park ballhawking crowd routinely make trips to Cleveland. I think it's just a matter of time before the Cleveland locals decide to join up.
9. U.S. Cellular Field (3 members) - There's a few dedicated ballhawks here, so it's got some potential for growth.
8. Oakland Coliseum (1 member) - I went to a game there last summer but for some reason was really unmotivated to talk up the site to the local ballhawks. But there were a ton of ballhawks there, so hopefully somebody will do the recruiting that I failed to do.
7. Chase Field (2 members) - The two guys here have combined for just 10 balls. We've got some work to do to build up Arizona's online presence in the ballhawking world.
6. Busch Stadium (1 member) - St. Louis is known for having some of the best fans in baseball, not to mention a power hitter that deposits about 20 or 30 balls into the bleachers during BP. If word gets around to these folks they could have a huge presence on the site.
5. Target Field (2 members) - Two guys here with only 8 combined balls. Target Field hasn't received great reviews for its ballhawking appeal, but I'm sure there's at least a few hardcore ballhawks there.
4. Sun Life Stadium (0 members) - Still no sign of life from South Beach. With the small crowds there and the hot weather keeping people away from getting there early for BP, there's got to be some guys who gobble up baseballs there. I'd love to get them on the site in time for the new stadium in 2012.
3. Comerica Park (0 members) - I have no idea what kind of ballhawking scene there is in Detroit, but if there are any serious ballhawks there, we should try to bring them in to our community.
2. AT&T Park (2 members) - Kayaker Dave Edlund has certainly made his presence known, but the other San Fran ballhawks are missing in action. I've heard there's some big time ballhawks there, both in the water and on dry land, who could really bring a lot to myGameBalls.com. I keep hearing about a guy named Jake "The Snake" Frazier, so it'd be great to get him in the mix.
1. Wrigley Field (5 members) - Yes, we've got a handful of ballhawks here, but for years Wrigley has been known as the Mecca of ballhawking. With the popularity of ballhawking on Waveland and Sheffield, there's no reason why those 5 members couldn't grow to at least 15 or 20.
By the end of this year, it'd be great to have myGameBalls.com well established at all 30 stadiums. It really shouldn't be too hard to get the word out. In 2009 I attended a game at Camden Yards when at the time there was only one or two Baltimore ballhawks on the site. I struck up a conversation with Matt Hersl and Avi Miller and told them about myGameBalls.com, and by the end of the season Camden Yards had one of the biggest communities on the site.
So the next time you're at one of the these 10 parks and see a local fan sprinting through the gate and into the outfield bleachers, follow close behind and take some time to introduce him to myGameBalls.com.
Alan Schuster is a contributing columnist to myGameBalls.com.