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 Marc, a.k.a. La Ball Hawkins…I’ll let him tell you more about himself….
Allow me a small introduction: I am La Ball Hawkins. I once was just a normal fan attending about 10 games a year at best. The paternal side of my lineage are baseball fans. My Dad showed me the passion and joy of The Game. My favorite uncle growing up had played amateur ball in El Salvador for a team called Los Molinos (the Windmills) in the 60’s. I was indoctrinated in the Orange and Blue of Mets and NHL’s Islanders at an early age and in time for the former’s 80’s rise to the latter’s 4 cup dynasty. Pop , My beloved late father, would score tickets to games behind dugouts at the only stadium I really cared about: Shea stadium , God Bless it.
My first trip there in 1985 was Glove Day. I waited in line as patiently as a 7-year-old could while waiting for a free baseball glove. I can recall the kind older usher handing me a glove and my father instructing me to say “Thank You”. Pop grabs my hand as we walk through the cold concrete tunnels until blue sky and green grass appear through the perfectly framed opening. “Now” he said with a big fatherly smile “Let’s try to catch a ball!” 28 years passed by, I lost My Father to God and I found myself in a new home, South Florida.
Here’s La Ball Hawkins in action at a Marlins/Diamondbacks game. It’s directly from Cut4.
I was looking for a way to maintain my connection to Pop and Our cherished memories. Baseball had come back into my life after my father’s passing and I soon discovered a new life within baseball, Ballhawking. While in the park “hawking” takes me to the feeling of that day in 1985 when I met The Game in person so to speak. So much for a short intro. ha ha!
WHEN DID YOU SNAG THE FIRST BASEBALL?
APRIL 13, 2013, Marlins Park, Batting Practice in LF, BPHR hit by Ryan Zimmerman caught on the fly with a Rawlings Sandlot first baseman’s mitt. That moment was gas on the proverbial baseball fire. I have since then snagged about 400 more at various locations throughout baseball.
WHAT IS YOUR VIEW ON EXTENDED NETTING?
Obstructed and conflicted. There’s a paradox here for me. While I do not want to see people hurt or seriously injured, I do believe something should be done to minimize fan injury. Exploring all options may be better than a knee jerk reaction to reduce lawsuit payouts to injured fans. However, the fans have their ultimate responsibility for their safety in the seating choices they make.
DID YOU PLAY BASEBALL GROWING UP?
Yes. I played Babe Ruth for 3 years. I also played organized Lacrosse and Soccer. I was raised in the suburbs in my early life and played numerous team sports in the streets. Roller Hockey was the best. I couldn’t skate so I always played the goalie along with my 1985 Glove day glove as my goalie mitt!
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST MEMORY OF THE GAME?
1986 New York Mets Championship Season. My whole family including the family dog was in one room experiencing the ups and downs of Game 6 and the Glory of the last out of Game 7. I was 9 and allowed to have a sip of champagne to celebrate. Best memory of childhood.
WHAT IS YOUR WORST MEMEORY?
Attending Braves v Marlins on September 21,2017 then awakening the next AM by texts reading “Jose is Dead” founding out about such a promising life in and out of baseball was gone quicker than the drop on his sinker. May God Rest His Soul. JDF#16
IS THERE A FAVORITE SPOT TO SIT IN?
The answer really depends on what kind of experience you want. Foul balls are plentiful so sit in section 13 for righties and section 19 for lefties. HR balls are increasing with the new juiced ball in play (2015 total MLB HR: 4909, 2016:5610) and not just because the Cubs have a stacked lineup. PED testing can rule out artificial means so the only culprit is Mr. Rawlings Official Baseball. In that case stand by the Budweiser Bar and wait for a Stanton moonshot. Pepsi Homerun Porch for Lefty HRs. Dugouts are good for tosses, especially by Martin Prado the designated third out ball tosser. Look out for him during the third out walk off the field.
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR MARLINS PARK?
This is the best advice for guaranteeing yourself a ball at Marlins Park that I can think of. Early admission. Befriend a regular season ticket holder who gets early admission and you can get in super early as their guest. Don’t know a season ticket holder? Twitter @DoubleAgentsMP .
Now You do.
WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU COULD GIVE ASPIRING BALLHAWKS?
Learn how to deal with frustration. As you grow with the hobby you will encounter numerous obstacles to your goals. Competition in a low producing park, security relationships, heckling fans, haters, areas of inaccessibility that hold countless baseballs, etc. The hobby is a competition and not everything is going to go your way. Staying positive and remembering that you need to have fun while you do this. I have gotten wrapped up myself in ballpark drama and it can definitely suck the fun right out of things and that is not cool. How you deal with these issues will add or subtract the enjoyment of the experience.
DO YOU PREFER MLB OT MiLB?
MLB. Stats and data are easier for me to access and process so I can use that to dictate how and who I play for baseballs when I’m at games. MiLB is uncharted territory for me personally. Possibly in the future but I am happy with attending MLB games.
IF I COULD CREATE AN MLB RULE WHAT WOULD IT BE?
THE LEAGUE WIDE RETIREMENT OF ROBERTO CLEMENTE’S 21. Latino baseball players hold this man in the highest esteem for good reason: He is Our Godfather in The Game.
MIAMI HOSTS THE ASG 2017 THIS SEASON BRINGING MANY OF YOU HERE TO SUNNY SOUTH FLORIDA FOR THE EVENTS STOP BY THE EAST PLAZA, WE HAVE PRE-GAME LONG TOSS BEFORE GAMES BY THE CENTER FIELD GATE.