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By Stan Silliman
       
Celeb Ballhawking Tips

        Ballhawking has reached cult status.
   
       Ballhawkers are those guys who go to ball games with their gloves, sit in the outfield bleachers or the grass behind the home run fence and try to catch or corral as many baseballs as they can.  It’s wacky. These guys may be frustrated Little League outfielders who spent too many afternoons baking in the sun hoping the next ball they caught came off the bat of Hank Aaron or Lou Gehrig and instead of throwing it back into the infield they got to keep it. 
 
    They all want that, a home run ball hit by the next Hank Aaron. These guys are some of the most consistent, obsessed fans you’ll find… and many of them are celebrities.

    I guess that’s what you get when you combine baseball with the internet. If you don’t believe me look up these two blogs on MLBlogs.com – www.thehappyyoungster.mlblogs.com  and www.snaggingbaseballs.mlblogs.com . The Happy Youngster is a guy in Milwaukee who blogs after every home game, fills it with tons of pictures and occasionally gets on television after making a circus catch while snagging a homerun. The Snagging Baseballs guy is Zack Hample from New York who has collected over 4000 balls from 46 major league stadiums. He has been on the Rosie show twice, CNN, Tonight with Jay Leno, To Tell the Truth, CBS Early and Evening Show. Zack’s face may have been on TV more than some of the baseball players.

    When Barry Bonds was chasing Ruth and then Aaron and the 73 home run season, ballhawkers were coming from everywhere. It was like a convention of glove wearers. Michael Jackson could have been sitting in the midst of them and nobody would have noticed. Jack “The Snake” Frazier toppled a family of four while catching Bonds homer # 655. Tom Hoynes, a kayaker, who floats in the bay outside AT & T Park pulled up nine homerun balls with his net and sold them all for close to $ 15,000.  Barry “Cheese” Nance claims to have caught 24 home runs on the fly, which included Bonds 60th of the 2001 season.
Celeb Ballhawking Tips by Stan Silliman humor sports comedy cartoons articles
    In case you’re wondering about the most ever paid for a baseball, it’s was $ 3 million for Mark McGwire’s 70th in 1998. The buyer was Todd McFarlane, “Spawn” comic book creator.

     Here are some secrets given by Zack Hample, the 4000 ball guy who wrote the book “How to Snag Major League Baseballs” on catching special homeruns. 1) Attend batting practice to get the hang of judging the ball. 2) Know where the batter usually hits them and claim your spot early. 3) Sit on the end of a row so you can move up and down steps. 4) Prepare for a mass of people going for the ball to collectively bobble it. 5) Keep moving toward the ball because even if it’s far from you it could bounce in your direction. 6) If you’re part of a collection team, split up.
    To this we’ve added our own tips. 1) Wear a giant umpire’s vest of Velcro. 2) Carry a bullhorn and when someone else is getting ready to catch the ball, sound it. 3) Hook your glove to an extend-o-pole. 4) Carry a fake baby with you with a waa-waa recorder, leave it in a part of the bleachers where others will want to make goo goo eyes at the cutie and then when Mr. Longball hits the ball turn on the waa-waa by remote control.  5) Carry a bunch of counterfeit $ 100 bills with you. Be sure not to buy anything with them but when the homer is heading your way toss the bills up in the air.  To get more tips check out Zack’s website.

     
    
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