An Act of Ballhawking Hypocrisy!
I’ll admit it… this coming season I’ll officially be a hypocrite. I’ll be partaking in an aspect of ballhawking that I swore I wouldn’t do. Seemingly everyone does it, but I’ve been battling to stay one of the last ballhawks to abstain from partaking in it. Everyone from Zack Hample to Casey Ward and Matt Sabel, Robbie Sacunas to Erik Jabs… they all do something I swore I’d never do, but I’m finally caving in. Though I always acknowledged the utility of the practice I didn’t think it was “pure”. I said I’d never do it, and in fact I called some people “dumb” for partaking in it.
Have you figured out what I’m talking about yet?
When I catch a baseball or get a broken bat, or really get anything off the field, I prefer to keep it precisely the way it came. When Houston Astros’ pitcher Rhiner Cruz tossed me a bottle of Gatorade last summer, I was honestly tempted not to drink it. The 90-plus degree heat couldn’t persuade me (I eventually indulged, after Cruz gave me a dirty look for not drinking it). When Jeremy Hellickson tossed me a ball caked in wet warning track dirt, I didn’t dust it off, and I placed it gently into a plastic bag only to preserve the ball in the exact condition I received it. Those baseballs, the dirt-soaked, bat-battered ones are easy to identify, but the mundane, brand new, out-of-the-box generic baseballs aren’t quite as easy to distinguish. I’m not one for doctoring my souvenirs, but I am certainly one for documenting them.
Are you still trying to figure out what I’m going on about?
When I’m going through my baseball collection, which is stored in some semblance of chronological order, I usually have a reputable idea of which baseball player threw me or hit me a baseball. While that may seem ridiculous, I assure you I’m not being mendacious. I’m blessed with a photographic memory well above average, and I can pull a baseball out of my collection and 6 to 7 times out of 10 correctly identify its source. However, it is those last 3 or 4 baseballs that have been “getting to me”.
You’ve probably got a good idea what I’m talking about now.
Yes, starting on March 15th, 2013, my first game of the New Year, I’ll officially be labeling my baseballs with the career number on the back, just under the sweet spot on the top of the left “horseshoe” or side panel.
On that auspicious Friday morning, I’ll more than likely (but possibly may not) record career baseball number 1656, and upon reception, I’ll be pressing ink onto ball, in an effort to achieve accurate demarcation, not only for myself but for any forthcoming beneficiaries of my collection.
It just doesn’t seem right to me and I can’t believe I’ll be doing it, but it’s something I must do. It doesn’t make me happy and the idea still repulses me… adding something to the baseball that wasn’t there when I received it? Preposterous! However, what is more preposterous is wasting away valuable parts of my collection in anonymity.
A few random points about labeling my baseballs:
- I’m NOT going to label any game used baseball.
- I’m NOT going to label any game rubbed baseball.
- I’m NOT going to label any baseball that I’m positive I’ll be giving away shortly thereafter.
- I’ll only label batting practice balls.
- Game used and game rubbed baseballs have their own special way of being documented already. They’re place in a plastic bag with a note with all the usual information, and eventually placed in a ball cube. Their documentation will not be affected.
- The career number ball will be written down in a pocketbook with some details, and that information will eventually be entered into a spreadsheet.
There you have it. On March 15th of 2013, I’ll officially be a big fat hypocrite.
Am I forgetting anything? Do YOU label your baseballs? Why? Why not?
Thanks for reading, everyone! My next blog entry will be all about my glove trick and how YOU, yes you, will have an impact directly upon my personal glove trick in 2013. Make sure you come back next time to read and have your influence on my personal ballhawking effect that is the glove trick! Trust me; you won’t want to miss the next entry!
UPDATE #1: Ballhawk Tim Anderson suggests that I used invisible ink/black light combination. I like this idea. Does anyone have experience with this?
UPDATE #2: Milwaukee autograph collector Ben Braden as well as Minnesota ballhawk Tony Voda (by way of suggestion from Mateo Fisher) suggest small sticky-note type labels. Does anyone have experience with these either?