November 16, 2009
East Coast vs. West Coast. L.A. vs N.Y. The comparison goes on and on, whether it be about food, attitude, accents, or ballhawking? You heard right, as lately much discussion has been appearing on who has better ballhawks, where it is more difficult to chase balls, the method of acquiring each and every baseball, and even differentiating between "ballhawks" and "ball snaggers".
Looking solely at mygameballs.com statistics from this season, in the top ten, there are four New Yorkers, three Californians, and three neutral participants from Pittsburgh, D.C., and Houston. This seems to be fairly neutral, no? However, the winners of both Ballhawk of the Year and Junior Ballhawk of the Year both went to East Coast New Yorkers. Looking at lifetime statistics, however, there are four Californians, three New Yorkers, and three outsiders. This isn't a very helpful field, except that the conclusion can be drawn that these two cities dominate the ballhawking community.
Looking at the different stadiums on each coast, I'm going to focus on the big four-two in New York, two in Los Angeles. The Dodgers led the league in attendance, barely edging out the Yankees. However, everyone knows Dodgers fans are notorious for arriving late and leaving early, not creating an issue during prime ball collecting times. Having experienced Yankee Stadium firsthand, unfortunately, I can honestly say it is the hardest place to acquire anything in all the majors. As for the home of the Angels, it is comparable to CitiField in attendance, except for the large batting practice crowds and cavernous dimensions. Therefore, I also consider this factor to be a push, although it could definitely be argued either way.
The final thing I want to talk about is all the chatter about the titles of "ballhawk" vs. "ball snagger". Personally, I think this is completely ridiculous. Why classify it? It seems to me that many here in the New York area prefer the term ball snagger, while those out west usually choose to say ballhawk. Personally, I think both terms fit anyone who collects baseballs. I strongly disagree with the notion that ballhawks prefer to catch their baseballs on the fly and mostly go after hit baseballs, while ball snaggers use every method and trick in the book. Is there a rulebook? Is there a right and a wrong way?
When one says ball snaggers "beg" for balls, this is where I get angry. Honestly, how often do those who ask for balls make it a begging situation? Asking for a ball is one thing, begging is being annoying and not stopping until you get what you want. After reading many forum posts, I began to ponder a thought. Many people at ballparks already disagree with collecting baseballs in large quantities such as everyone on this site does, why do we argue? I think all the ballhawks and ball snaggers and whatever you want to be classified as should stick together, because we're really all out there doing the same thing, just in different ways.
Gary Kowal is a contributing columnist to myGameBalls.com.