Before we know it the 2014 MLB and MiLB will begin. It is an exciting day for all baseball fans when the another season rolls around. I personally can’t wait for the season to start and I am looking forward to all the baseball games and baseball events that I will be participating in this upcoming season. One of the main event/games I am looking forward to is the California League/Carolina League All-Star Game that will be hosted at Frawley Stadium this upcoming summer on June 16th.
Recently the Wilmington Blue Rocks announced that part of the All-Star festivities will include the first ever Minor League Home Run Derby with the field being swamped meaning the batters will bat from centerfield hitting towards the stands and toward the normal location of home plate. To explain this I included the photo below.
I am very excited about how this will operate and I can’t wait to be shagging the home run balls that will be flying into the stands in this years California League/Carolina League All-Star Home Run Derby. Thanks for reading guys! Jack Hoopman
Hi guys, I apologize for the delayed post but between school and the christmas season I have been too busy to post anything. Today’s update is going to be about some of the Phillies offseason moves with grades and some thoughts for each one.
- Carlos Ruiz resigns with the Phillies for 3 years and 26 million (Grade: C+) While Ruiz has been a solid catcher for the Phillies and the pitchers love him, signing a 34 year old catcher coming off one of his worst offensive seasons of his career is not a good decision by Phillies management.
- Marlon Byrd signs with the Phillies for 2 years 16 million (Grade C) Byrd coming off his best offensive season as of yet thrived with the Mets and Pirates, yet, signing a player for 16 million who is just one season removed from hitting .210 with 1 home run and 9 rbi is a risky move by Phillies.
- Will Nieves signs with the Phillies for 1 year 1.125 guaranteed with up to $500K performance bonuses (B-) Solid player great depth player. Good sign by the Phillies.
- Phillies trade catcher Erik Kratz and minor league pitcher Rob Rasmussen for right-handed relief pitcher Brad Lincoln (B-) Good bullpen depth piece should fit nicely in the young Phillies bullpen.
- Roberto Hernandez signs with the Phillies for 1 year 4.5 million (C+) Not the best starting pitcher on the market but still a solid pickup for the ever evolving Phillies rotation
Hi Everybody, for this weeks blog post I decided to compile a list of all the things I bring to the stadium when I go to a baseball game. If you guys have any ideas for things I might want to bring that I don’t have on my list please comment below. Also, what do you bring to games? Please comment below to answer that question or you can write a bog post in response. Thanks for reading guys!
- Player Preferred PP120R 12” Glove
- Roster For Both Teams
- Ipad/Camera for pictures
- 2x Rubber Bands
- 10’ cotton string
- Opposite Team’s Hat and T-shirt/Jersey
- 2x Autograph Blue Ball Point Pen
- 2x Black Sharpie Marker
- 2x Blue Sharpie Marker
- 2x Major League Baseball
- Baseball Card Binder
- 3x plastic baggies
Hi Everybody- First of all I want to thank you guys, my parents, and friends for supporting me this season. This year I had a ton of fun ballhawking at minor league stadiums and enjoying the game we all love, baseball. This season I snagged 17 balls in 5 games meaning I averaged 3.40 balls per game. I also got over 30 autographs and was able to interact with many players over the course of this season. I enjoyed the friendly competition of ballhawking with my cousin Connor and other people over the course of the season and reading about many of your interesting games you attended. So thank you very much.
I’ve been thinking about what to do with this blog in the offseason. I would like to post once every two weeks. I will post articles about free agents news and signings, previews or major league and minor league teams, hopefully a player interview or two, and the baseball books I am reading.Thanks so much guys, I can’t wait for next season.
- Jack Hoopman (wilmingtonBH37)
My Church group had been planning for months to go a Blue Rock’s game. So I was very excited when I learned we would be going to Rocky Blue Winkle Bobble-head night. On Tuesday, I convinced my cousin, Connor, to come as well. I hoping that we could to get to the game early to ensure that I would get a bobble head. However, I was ecstatic when my Mom offered to get to the game by 5:45. An amazing 1 1/2 hours before game time. After eating an early dinner of pizza at my house we left around 5:05 and got to the stadium by 5:30. I immediately headed out to left foul pole on the outside of the stadium to watch the Pelicans have BP and try to get a ball. I took a picture right away when I got to the foul pole.
This was the view. I promptly asked the player in front of me , Will Lamb, who is one of the Pelicans pitchers for a ball. He threw a bullet to me over the fence. I was on the board for ball # 1. After catching that ball I stayed put and promptly got my second ball from Will Lamb again. After catching ball #2 I felt I had extended my luck and moved on behind the home run fence hoping for a home run ball. However, as I was walking over behind the home run fence a Blue Rock’s staff member drove passed me looking for home run balls. He quickly snatched at least 4 balls from behind the wall. As you can probably guess I was pretty disappointed. However, my disappointment was short-lived because I found ball # 3 hidden in some deep grass. After placing ball #3 in my bag I ran over to to the visitors bullpen and was promptly thrown two other balls from a Pelican’s player without a number on his back. Now I was at 5 balls and I realized I had a really good chance to break my record of 8 balls in one game. Pelican’s BP ended, so I started to make my way back around the home run fence to the ticket booth at home plate. As I was walking back I found another home-run ball for ball # 6! Once, I got to the ticket booth I found Connor who unfortunately couldn’t find us and did not get any balls in BP because he was waiting by the car. We soon got into the stadium. Where I got my bobble head.
The reason the bobble head is plain is you were supposed to paint it. I quickly moved down on the first base side with my eyes on the prize of this.
However, when Connor asked for the ball. The grounds crew member refused to give it to him because he said Connor had enough. Which I’m guessing he said that because I was showing Connor all of my balls and he assumed they were Connor’s. I took a picture of Connor’s no ball face right after the grounds crew denied him his first ball
After that disappointment I hanged out behind the Blue Rock’s dugout hoping to get some autographs before the game. I got Vance Wilson to sign of card I had of his. Here is a picture of it.
After getting Vance on a card. I moved in position a little past the first base bag for a warm-up ball right before the start of the game. As the Blue Rock’s were throwing and stretching I motioned to Daniel Mateo to throw me his warmup ball when he was done. He nodded his head and when he finished he threw me a strike from about 25 feet away. Then right before the start of the game there was two players finishing throwing. I recognized Ethan Chapman who was the closest to me and called out to him. He promptly threw it to me for my 8th ball of the game tying my record. After catching that ball I stopped and took some pictures of the field. Then I got in position to get the top of the first third out ball. However, when I moved down the stairs as the fielder was running off the field. The usher told me that I was not allowed to go for third out balls any more. As you can imagine I was pretty frustrated for one there were no other people going out for it other then Connor and I. Secondly, we moved out of the way as soon as the ball was either thrown or kept, so it wasn’t like we were blocking peoples view for too long, After that I decided to not get more than 100 feet close to that usher for the rest of the game. For the rest of the game I either was playing the cross isles near the food stations on the first base side or by the bullpens of both teams.
Now for the funny story of the day. At around the 5th inning Connor and I decided to hang out by the visitor’s teams dugout watching the game behind the fence. Then all of a sudden a heard a water pattering sound. We looked up at realized the catcher was peeing in the corner of the bullpen behind a sign. Then when we were snickering the catcher said, “HEY”!, “Quit looking”! So there’s the funny story of the day. After my Mom yelled at us for looking for balls in the woods. We headed back into the stadium. Then we left at around the 6th inning with the Blue Rock’s losing 5-0, and me standing still with 8 darn balls, still one shy of my record. Overall it was an awesome night even though I wish I had broken my streak it gives me a goal for next time. Here is a picture of all the stuff I got and my stats for the game, the season, and my career.
- 8 Balls (7 pictured because I gave one away)
- 17 Balls
- 5 Games
- 3.40 Balls Per Game
- Most Balls In One Game: 8 Balls (this game)
- 35 Balls
- Games With at Least 1 Ball: 12 Games
- 12 Games
- 2.92 Balls Per Game
- Most Balls In One Game: 8 Balls
I was staying at Connor’s house for a sleepover. For his birthday we went to the Blue Rocks game. It was a awesome and fun-filled game. We got into the stadium about 5 minuets before the game actually started. I couldnt help taking picture of the precious ball bag ROFL!
My first chance for ball came in the top of the 1st inning. When with 2 outs the Key’s batter popped up to right fielder Jorge Bonifacio. My cousin I both raced down for the ball behind the Blue Rock’s dugout. We both called his name and he promptly threw to both of us. Connor had the better angle however I managed at the least second to stick my glove in front of his and catch the ball. I was on the board with ball # 1. I stayed on the first base side for the 3 straight right handed hitters while Connor moved on to the third base bag to try for the third out ball. No sooner had Connor left with 2 outs. A Blue Rock’s batter hit a towering fly ball behind home at out of the stadium. As soon as I saw it go foul I rushed down the stairs leading out of the park and finding the gate unlocked I ran outside and promptly was tossed the ball by the security guard who was directing traffic. I ran back into the stadium after getting my ticket re-scanned. Once I was back in the stadium I took a picture from the third base side of the stadium which I edited when I got home.
After that there was not much action ball hawking wise. However, I did meet a little kid who did’nt have a ball so I gave him the 2nd ball I just had gotten. After hanging around the third base side for a while. I moved to the Blue Rocks bullpen to hoping for a high pop up foul on the first base side near the bullpen. Soon enough a right handed batter hit a hard line drive into where the relievers sit. There was a ton of little ballhawks yelling at catcher Kenny Swab, who caught the ball, to give it to them. However, I positioned myself away from them and politely called his name and asked him for the ball . He promptly threw a 5 foot pass to me. For my third and final ball of the night. I took a picture of the bullpen after catching the ball.
Here is a picture of where the relievers sit. You can also see Kenny on the far right.
On my way to the third base side after getting my third ball. I happened to glance up in the stands behind home plate and recognized a face that at first I couldn’t put a name to. The guy was clocking Blue Rock’s pitchers pitch speeds with his friend. Soon, I grabbed a Blue Rock’s blueprint and realized the guy was no other then Royal’s top prospect Kyle Zimmer and the man with him was John Lamb who is also a top prospect.
After confirming it was Zimmer and Lamb. I went over into the team store and bought an official Carolina League ball intending to get Zimmer to sign it because I had no autographs by him. At the end of the inning, my cousin and I ran over to where Zimmer was sitting and asked him to autograph my ball. He was really nice and autographed it and talked to us for a few minutes. Here is the baseball Zimmer autographed. He also inscribed first round pick so that’s really cool.
John Lamb had left his seat to go to the bathroom so we waited until the end of the half inning and got him to sign as well. Here is a picture of the helmet he autographed for me. Unfortunately it got a little smudged in my backpack. But its still really cool.
After that really cool experience. I watched the game which turned out to be an exciting game and soon it was tied in the 9th. I positioned myself for an umpire toss-up if the Blue Rocks could walk off. However no such luck and soon the game was into extra innings. It stayed tied until the top of the 1oth when Key’s runner , Delvi Cid, scored on a fielders choice to put the Keys up by 1. Blue Rock’s pitcher Andrew Triggs then got Christian Walker to ground out to end the inning. However with a never say die spirit the Blue Rocks rallied in the bottom of the tenth. Starting with a Lane Adams walk. Jared Schlehuber then doubled to get Adams to third. Then Daniel Mateo walked, to load the bases. Parker Morin then flied out to tie to game at 7 a piece. After a wild pitch advanced the runners to 3rd and 2nd. Alex McClure was caught trying to steal home. However, after McClure was tagged out catcher Michael Ohlman tried to get Mateo out at third however, he threw the ball of the third baseman’s head allowing Mateo to score the winning run. Another Blue Rocks win! After getting a few more pictures of the field. We left and met Kyle Zimmer at the players exit where I got a picture with him. So cool!
After getting a few more pictures we left for home. Overall it was a awesome and exciting game and I cant wait to get back for some more ballhawking. Here’s some pictures of the balls I got.
Here our my stats for the game, this year, and my career.
- 3 Balls (2 pictured because I gave one away)
- 9 Balls
- 4 Games
- 2.25 Balls Per Game
- Most Balls In One Game: 3 Balls (this game)
- 27 Balls
- Games With at Least 1 Ball: 11 Games
- 11 Games
- 2.45 Balls Per Game
- Most Balls In One Game: 8 Balls
To say the least it was a awesome and fun filled game. While I only got 1 ball on the day, it was still a great day. Due to the torrential rain on Friday the Blue Rocks could not open their home-stand against the Potomac Nationals. They cancelled the game and moved the game to Saturday for a double header. Additionally, my cousin, Connor came also to ballhawk. The first game was scheduled to start at 5:10. We got in to the stadium at around 5:20 due to traffic and a late start. While our parents were in line to order tickets my cousin and I walked around the field, hoping to find any foul balls. As we made our way along the outside of the stadium. We found this next to the visitors club house door.
Unfortunately, it was completely empty. However, it was still really cool to find so we hid it, aiming to come back for it after the game. By 5:25 we were in the stadium. They had a hat giveaway so I picked up one of those.
Before we were even in our seats Lane Adams hit a moon to center to put the Rocks up by 1. My cousin and I started in the left field box seats about 20ft past 3rd base. However, we saw no action for about an inning. So we moved on to the first base side hoping for a third out ball. Sadly, there was a bunch of little kids yelling for it each time so no luck. The game progressed pretty fast. Soon the Rocks were up by 2-0 thanks two another towering moonshot by Jared Schlehuber. On the other hand, Rock’s Kyle Zimmer had a no-hitter going through 4 before it was broken up in the 5th on a questionable call. I did forgo to mention it was a beautiful day for baseball.
We stayed on the first base side for most of the game hoping for a chance of a lefty hitting fouls down the first base side. However, there was not alot of action. I sat up by the concessions hoping for a foul-ball. My cousin, meanwhile, was sitting close by the field in a box seat when lefty batter Dennis Raben got jammed causing the bat to break into two main pieces all over the field. Before I realized it my cousin ran over to the dugout just as Geulin Beltre was returning with the broken bat. Connor quickly asked for it and what do you know, he returned with a broken, game used bat. How sweet is that! No sooner had I finished taking a picture of Connor’s bat a righty hit a scorching foul ball over the Rocks dugout and out of the stadium. Connor immediately started sprinting after it. By the time I was sprinting down stairs Connor had already gotten to the ball. After that frustrating miscue I moved on to the Rocks bullpen to watch Robinson Yambati warm up.
He sort of knew me from previous games so I said “hi” and told him good luck and stuff like that. No foul balls came even close to the bullpen. So I stayed next to the bullpens hoping for a toss-up from Robinson. As I was waiting for Robinson to finish warming up I caught a t-shirt. Pictured here.
After Zimmer recording the final out of the 7th inning and the game, due to the fact that the doubleheaders were only 2 7th inning games, I nicely asked Robinson if he could toss me one. He consented and threw one of the bullpen balls to me. Thanks Robinson! After the game I went to our seats in the Bullpen Picnic Pavilion and grabbed a coke in between games. Eventually the player came back onto the field and started warming up and streching. I had brought a ball to get signed at the game and soon I had more than 10 autos including pitching coach Steve Luebber. Here’s pictures of the ball I got signed.
I stayed in my spot watching Rocks starting pitcher Tyler Sample warm up. Here’s a picture of Connor, my little brother, and I by the Rock’s bullpen.
After talking to Tyler Sample and wishing him good luck. I bought two lineup cards from the Quarry for only $4.
After dropping the lineups cards in the car. Content with my baseball total and all my other stuff I headed over to watch the game, till the 4th inning, from the front row of the box seats on the 3rd base side. My Dad took some really nice photos for me. Thanks Dad!
After watching the game till the top of the 4th. My parents told us it was time to leave so we left with the Rock’s trailing 5-1. Overall, it was a very time and even though I wish I had came out with 2 balls, I still had a blast. Here is a picture of my haul and my stats for this year and my career.
Total Balls (2013): 6
Total Game (2013): 3
Game Average (2o13): 2.0 balls per game
Total Balls (career): 24
Total Games (career): 10
Game Average (career): 2.40
Go Follow Connor’s Blog Right Now: http://flashtheleathermlb.wordpress.com/
So my Dad and I decided the week before to go the Orioles game. We were super excited to see Justin Verlander pitch and both team’s offense’s battle it out. Before we could go to the game my Dad had a 5k to run with my younger brother. The race was scheduled to start at 9:15 and end around 9:45. I assumed my Dad and I would rush home eat lunch and leave at around 12. However, unfortunately this was not the case. We were all scheduled to go but then my Dad had some things around the house to do. So by the time he was done it was already 1. After stopping for gas and money we were on our way. We arrived at the stadium at around 3, only one hour before gametime.
I knew it was trouble when I saw most of the parking lots filled up. My Dad took this picture of me before heading in.
What a beautiful ballpark! When we got in I rushed to our seats only to see this.
We were so late that BP was done. I knew from then on this was going to be a long day for ballhawking. Once we put our gear at our seats we walked around the whole stadium killing time till the game started. I stopped at the bullpen hoping for a toss-up however the bullpen was completely empty as evidenced by this picture.
While we looking at the field from behind the bullpen my Dad took this picture which I edited when I got home.
Pretty cool huh? After looking around the stadium I headed over to left field where Justin Verlander was warming up and doing some long toss. I took these pictures of him.
I tried to get the warm up ball from the catcher but he just ignored me and kept walking right past me. Frustrated at having no balls, I went to our seats trying to think of ways to get a foul ball during the game. While I was sitting there I moved to the front of the seats to try to get one of the Tigers o sign a ball for me while they streched and warmed up. The man who I was sitting next to grabbed his wife and had her yell at Victor Martinez. He eventually walked over to where the man, his wife, and I were standing. Victor signed for me first on the sweetspot. When I got home I took a close up of the ball.
I started the game from our seats. Here is the view.
They were super nice seats and I would of sat in them the whole game if not for the lack of balls. In fact only two foul balls even rolled down foul the whole game. Which the ballgirl gave to two little boys which I perfectly understand. After the 4 innings and seeing the Orioles getting their butts kicked, I walked around the long cross isle that goes around the whole stadium. Hoping for a foul ball to be hit to me. However, fate seemed to have it that I would have endless trouble trying to get a ball. After about 2 innings of frustration. I moved to right field due to the fact that there were 7 homeruns hit in this game total. I stood rooted to my position for about 2 innings. Then headed to get something to eat. After eating my $4.50 hot dog. I prepared myself to have to settle for a umpire toss-up at the end of the game. However, as I was postiong my self at the end of the 8th. My Dad afraid of the traffic ,which happened to be non-existent told me we were leaving. As you can probably guess I was frustrated at a ball-less day and further frustrated at a perfect opportunity to get a ball being wasted. So I left ball-less with the O’s trailing 10-3 which turned out to be the final score of the game. Here are some pictures of the game I took including Miguel Cabrera who hit a grand salami to cap off the explosion in the 4th inning.
After I got home I took a picture of the autographed V-mart baseball, my Orioles program, some all star ballots I picked up, and our parking pass. One interesting thing I saw today which I sadly did not get a picture of was that Jim Harbaugh head coach of the Ravens attended to game and people two sections across from us were getting pictures taken with him. However there was too many people get a good picture of him.
Here our my stats as ugly as the may be.
Major League Stats 2013:
Balls: Current Streak of at least one ball: 0
I’m officially done ranting about the game and I cant wait to rebound my ballhawking ways when I go to my next blue rocks game which should be very soon. Thanks so much for reading this long entry. – Jack Hoopman
PS I saw Mateo Fischer at the game from afar go check out his blog its pretty epic and he’s a great ballhawk. Here is the link http://mateofischer.mlblogs.com/
Hello everybody just wanted to update you on my schedule for this weekend. I will be heading out to Baltimore on Saturday afternoon to catch the Orioles vs Tigers and Camden @ 4:05. I will be ballhawking and getting some autographs. Additionally we will be sitting in section 60 row 7 which is shown here.
I will have that post up hopefully by Sunday night. If you have any ballhawking tips for Camden please get back to me as soon as possible. Thanks so much. Go O’s! – Jack Hoopman
It was yet again a very rainy day for a Blue Rocks game. It had been raining all day and as we drove to the game I knew it was going to be a very wet game. I arrived at the stadium at 6:45 , ten minutes after game time. The reason being is we didnt get out of the house till 6:15 and then we had to stop for gas. However after many red lights and frustrating delays we made it to the stadium. The Blue Rocks happened to be playing the Potomac Nationals. The Single A affiliate for the Washington Nationals , which is my least favorite team in all of baseball. Once I got in to the stadium I directly headed over to the Third Base Side, where usually there are no fans. I took this picture to show how crowded it was.
Look at all the the empty aisles to my right and believe me it was the same to my left. Soon my first opportunity game to catch a ball. With two out is the bottom of the third a left handed batter hit a high pop-up which drifted all the way to where they store the tarp for the infield. The shortstop and the left fielder came sprinting in fortunately they were not quick enough. It hit a seat right in the box level seats and then bounced onto the cement steps and about 10 feet to my left. However before I could grab it a Dad with his older son scooped it up. I was pretty upset because if I had not lost it in the lights I would of probably of caught it. After that missed opportunity I moved from the third base side to snag a third out ball from both teams. However no such luck because both teams didn’t throw a single third out ball the whole time I was there. After walking around the stadium for a bit I stopped to take some pictures of the stadium and the field on the third base side.
As you can seen the sky started to get really dark around the 5th inning and soon it started to rain. However it ended up a positive for me because many people left there seats to stay dry under the concourse. I headed back over to the third base side because I knew the next three Nationals were all lefthanded and I knew I had a good chance of snagging a ball. Soon enough a batter hit a scorching foul ball right into the party deck which was empty due to the fact of the rain. However I knew I couldn’t get the ball because you have to have a special pass to get onto the party deck. I took this picture of the party deck knowing the ball was on the last level until the field.
Soon however and usher seeing me and another guy looking into party deck walked over and said, “One of you can go get it”. That was all I needed to hear and I raced down the steps. Within one minute I found the ball lying under the table on the third level. However I was not done yet. Knowing that the Blue Rocks rarely let you go in party deck without a ticket I decided to look around the other table on the deck just in case someone had hit a foul ball in bp that was never picked up. I had checked the whole deck but as I walked back up to the top level to move to the concourse I saw a white ball lying under the table. Not believing my luck I picked up the ball and discovered it was a batting practice ball but still very cool. Satisfied with my total of 2 I sat and watched the rest of the 6th inning. After the end of the 6th my little brother ,who had brought my Mom and I to the game with the tickets he won from his school, began to complain of being tired so I packed up my stuff and left with my mom in between the 6th and 7th innings. Overall it was a pretty good game. The only thing that would of made it better is if it didn’t rain, we weren’t so late, and if we didn’t have to leave so early. Here are my stats for the year and my Minor League Ballhawking career.
2013 Balls: 5 Balls
2013 Games: 2 Games
Total Balls: 23 Balls
Total Games: 9
Career Average: 2.6 Balls Per Game
Here are the two balls I got this game
Look at the awesome smudges on the foul ball hit.
Here is the bat smudge.
Here is where I numbered the BP ball.
Thanks for reading! Jack Hoopman