This series of uber-fans continue, and include a series of short interviews with ballhawks and uber-fans of baseball. These fans all agreed to answer 10 simple questions, no pressure, and very little editing. It’s been a wonderful experience for me to get to know these individuals in some capacity through Twitter. I hope you enjoy reading the answers as much as I have.
Miss the earlier posts? Here they are:
Next up is Boog. Follow Boog on Twitter at @boog_77
I was still in the womb when people started calling me “Boog”, after Baltimore Orioles great, “Boog” Powell. So, I guess you can say baseball has been part of my life since before I was born. I grew up in Orange County, California and frequented Angels and Dodgers games my entire childhood. Occasionally, my family would take a trip down to Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego to watch the Padres. These days, I’m located right between Angel Stadium and Petco Park, along with three minor league parks, all within an hour of my house. Needless to say, baseball season is a pretty busy time for me.
When I’m not taking in a baseball game with my son, you can find me on the golf course. I’ve been a golf pro for the past seven years, which was my second ambition in life, behind playing baseball professionally. The artistic side of me has led to a graphic design career. I specialize in creating sports related logos and advertisements. Someday, I’d love to work alongside Todd Radom designing professional sports logos.
I hope you enjoy this Q & A with FoulBallz.com, and if you see me out at the ballpark, be sure to say hello!
- When did you snag your first ball?
As a kid, I always begged my dad to take me to the ballpark early for batting practice. I know I snagged a few, but the one day that stands out was when I was able to enter Jack Murphy Stadium early as a participant in the Padres’ Fastest Pitcher in the West competition in 1991. I was 14 years old and snagged one during batting practice. I still have the ball because, then rookie pitcher, Ricky Bones signed it for me.
- What do you think about the extended netting issue?
The extended netting issue is just another example of the softening of our society. By putting up extended netting, we’re basically saying it’s a bigger priority to serve those that dont pay attention, rather than those that pay good money to get close to the action wihout an obstructed view. If you want to sit on your phone all game, or you have small children that are contantly taking your focus off what’s going on on the field, then buy a ticket out of harm’s way and out of the way of people that are there to enjoy the game. For the ballhawks and autograph seekers, extended netting is a real bummer as it prevents easy access to the players around the dugout area.
- Did you play ball growing up?
I played baseball at every level from rec ball to College and in men’s leagues until my arm finally said enough is enough. My Pony baseball coaches were the first ones to take notice of my strong arm and started developing me as pitcher. I was fortunate to work with former Angel pitching great, Clyde Wright, throughout junior high and high school which prepared me for the next level. I walked on at a local Junior College team and played alongside several amazing players, including “The Shredder” Nick Punto.
- What’s your greatest memory of the game?
I have so many great baseball memories, from hearing the chants of “WALLY, WALLY” and “REGGIE, REGGIE” at Anaheim Stadium to watching Mark McGwire hit 11 of 12 batting practice balls over the pavillion at Dodger Stadium. But, the greatest memory has to be when the Angels won the World Series in 2002. I was at every home playoff and World Series game with my thundersticks and entire head painted red.
- What’s the worst?
Baseball doesn’t produce too many bad memories for me, so I guess the worst one would have to be balking in the winning run in the NABA championship game after starting and pitching the whole game.
- Is there a favorite spot in your park to sit?
I like to move around a lot a baseball games so I can get the full experience and maximize my chances of snagging a ball. However, I enjoy sitting close to the action no matter what ballpark I’m in. Left field is a favorite of mine at Petco Park with Wil Myers in the lineup, and right field is fun at Angel Stadium because Mike Trout and Kole Calhoun always take turns throwing their warm-up balls into the seats.
- Tips for others who might want to try snagging more balls?
The first thing is to always bring a glove. It’s not dorky. Dorky is dropping a ball because you didn’t have a glove on. Learn the players’ names. No player is going to respond to, “Hey number 39!” Move around and anticipate where a ball might be hit or where a player might toss one after warming up. Wearing the visiting team’s gear always helps, as they will be more likely to toss a ball to their own fans. Finally, remember to always say please and thank you.
- What advice do you have for other fans?
No matter what you’re doing, whether it’s ballhawking, autograph seeking, cheering, booing, etc., always have respect for others around you. Don’t tackle someone for a baseball, don’t crush a little kid trying to get an autograph, and don’t yell obscenities when cheering and booing.
- Do you prefer MiLB or MLB and why?
Both MiLB and MLB are fun in their own ways. I enjoy going to minor league games because it gives me a chance to see the prospects up close. I’ve often been able to have conversations with players and coaches, which isn’t easy to do at a major league game. From a ballhawking standpoint, obviously, there are less people at minor league games, so it also makes for a nice experience. On the other hand, ballhawking at a major league game is more rewarding because of the difficulty and the potential for getting a ball from a star player.
- If you could create one rule for pro baseball, what would it be and why?
Something needs to be done about replay with regards to holding the tag on a runner as he’s sliding, hoping the camera will catch the one nanosecond he comes off the bag. I’m more referring to coming off above the bag, as opposed to sliding past the bag. I don’t think this is what replay was created for and I think it’s bad for the game. As far as a rule for it, maybe something along the lines of the “cylinder rule” in basketball.