Sep 2, 2010
A few weeks ago, New York ballhawk Mateo Fischer received some on-the-job training from Zack Hample at Citi Field as a "Watch With Zack" client. Since that game he has snagged at least one ball in seven straight games, and this past Saturday he struck gold by snagging a Luis Hernandez foul ball.
Just 15 years old, Fischer appears to be coming into his own as a ballhawk. Having snagged just 4 balls prior to this season, he has now snagged 25 balls in 2010 including the big foul ball snag on Saturday, and is averaging 2.27 balls per game. Very impressive, considering his ballhawking competition in New York includes the likes of Hample, Greg Barasch, Gary Kowal, and Joe Faraguna.
On Saturday Fischer was fortunate to be virtually the only serious ballhawk in attendance, opening up lots of good opportunities. He grabbed a respectable three balls during batting practice, but it wasn't until the very end of the game when he would get his big chance at a game ball.
Scoring a ticket stub from an exiting fan, he made his way to a section on the lower third base side, where the competition for foul balls was scarce. He was tempted to head over to the umpire tunnel in pursuit of a post-game umpire toss-up, but he decided to stay put. With the lefty Hernandez at bat, Fischer was well prepared to chase down a ball at a moment's notice. Sure enough, Hernandez sliced a ball towards the seats, and Fischer was off. "The ball was at a decent height and was initially going toward my right so I put my head down and ran to where I thought it would go," he said. "That shows you I have never played foul balls before because as I had run past 15 seats the ball was slicing five seats back to my left. The ball hit a seat in my row and I then beat the person in the row behind me to the ball."
Fischer joined Hample, Barasch, Faraguna, and Tony Bracco as the only myGameBalls members to snag a foul ball at Citi Field.