Junior Ballhawk of the Year

Apparently it’s Award Season in the MLB community. Yeah, well I’m going to completely disregard that. I have interest in it, don’t get me wrong, but if you want to read about the awards, my friend Matt Huddleston is doing comprehensive coverage of all of the awards on his blog, The Unbiased MLB Fan. No, here at Observing Baseball we are completely self-absorbed in the awards converge, covering only awards that the staff (read: me, Mateo Fischer) win.

So yes, I won mygameballs.com’s Junior Ballhawk of the Year:

The subtitle phrases it perfectly when it says I am honored. If you are a ballhawk with any normalcy to your life’s schedule, there are many times when it may not seem worth it to keep ballhawking. Then there’s the fact that I had to do something half-way decent to be considered for the award. Then, after that, when you consider that this is a peer-voted award, it adds a whole new level of honored to the mix. To people outside of the ballhawk community (and maybe even to people inside it) this may not seem like much, but it feels pretty great to me right now. Getting back to the urge to quit that 95% of ballhawks get, there are very many things that make you want to quit, but at some point or another, unless you do in fact quit, there is something keeping you from quitting. This, although not directly, is an indication of what tips the scale back for me.

Now I’m not going to sit here and say that it was my goal to win any award at the beginning of this year, as indicated by its absence in the goals I *did* set for this year. (Psst. Link to that here.) In fact, I wasn’t even considering that when I wrote the goals. I didn’t even know I was going to be eligible for it at the end of the season. For those who don’t know, my birthday is in October, before the award voting began, but apparently, the cutoff date was in July  That said, when I did eventually win the award, it meant something to me as I have described above. It is what it is: a really cool thing that came along through the course of doing my ballhawking thing throughout the season.

Anyway, thank you to Alan Schuster for just creating mygameballs.com and the people who voted for me. I don’t want this to sound like an Oscar acceptance speech or anything; I just want an entry on the blog documenting the fact that I won the award. This is a sort of awkward entry for me. On the one hand, I didn’t not want to write an entry and make it seem like I’m better than the award or anything, because it does mean something to me, but at the same time, I know it doesn’t mean that much to a lot of people.

Also, congratulations to all of the other ballhawks who received votes for Junior Ballhawk of the Year:

Keep your eyes glued to mygameballs.com for the next few days as the announcement for Ballhawk of the Year should be up, which is a much greater feat than this. Could it possibly be that Greg Barasch takes it and we be the first and possibly the last next-door neighbor combination to sweep the awards?

And I know this entry was both late and unrelated to the poll I’m conducting this offseason, but I felt it was necessary and I had a bunch of things that got in the way of entry writing this week. New entry up on Monday. Meanwhile, keep voting on the assortment of polls I have provided below if you have not already done so (P. S. Thanks to everyone who has voted, the main poll is over 20 votes as of me writing this):




If you have no clue what some of the entries in the first poll are, here’s the link to the entry where I explain them.


Update: So Greg didn’t win and the results proved to me that Ballhawk of the Year is just a popularity contest with a splash of actual stats looking. Anyway, congratulations to Zack, but a cool thing about that being announced is that there was a new addition made to the “award winners” page on mygameballs.com:


  1. Quinn

    Yes, that’s very true. Most Minor league Stadiums that I have gone to are pretty good. Buffalo is great for ballhawking. It has 17,500 seats and a hill in Right Field so it’s quite easy to get balls sometimes. For example,the Rochester Red Wings stadium is okay for ballhawking. The ushers and people there act like there at Citi Field or New Yankee Stadium.

  2. Quinn

    Well, during the junior voting, Alan claimed Austin ineligible because his stats didn’t make sense and I asked Austin and he said he thought gamers where balls that said Official ball International League and that minor league practice ball meant it was before game. So Austin emailed Alan telling him what happened and Alan made him eligible for the ballhawk of the year in which he ended up winning. I always wonder what it would be like if Danny, Austin and myself didn’t ballhawk at the same stadium as we would probably put up at least 50 more balls to are stats each year as there aren’t a lot of ballhawks in the minors.

    • Mateo Fischer

      Quinn- Ah. That makes everything make so much more sense. I would add, though that it depends where you would go, because there is a wide variety of ballhawking conditions in the minors, so you might actually suffer if one of you went to a stadium that’s horrible for ballhawking.

    • Mateo Fischer

      Quinn- Thank you. I was wondering why Austin and Danny flip-flopped in Junior and regular ballhawks of the year, since they are both “junior”, but congrats on your second-place finish.

  3. Cook & Son Bats

    Congrats, again, Mateo! Your comments discussion with Nick is interesting. I didn’t realize people with no balls recorded got votes. Oh, well. Anyway, I don’t think there can be many complaints against the winners. In the BOY category, I was going to vote for Zack as first place initially, but then decided to go with Greg first and Zack second since Zack had already won it twice and Greg had a higher per game average this season. But Zack really went off with the homerun catches. Anyway, both Zack and Greg went off this season with crazy per game averages and competition factors. I was surprised that Greg was all the way down at #9.

    • Mateo Fischer

      Todd (Cook & Son Bats)- I never actually investigated it, but I’ve constantly been noticing Gary Kowal getting votes, who has been “retired” for a couple seasons, since his last season was my first. I thought about going your order for the BOY voting, but then I thought about all of the home run and foul balls Zack has over Greg and then I also thought about how many more times Greg has played third out balls than Zack. I didn’t go through all of the stats, but I thought that it must be at least .65 of a ball worth. I then voted for Erik with my third vote. I think I would have gone with Devin Trone, but Erik said it would most likely be his last season and I wanted to maybe see him win it. I thought of the “Zack monopoly” on the award, but then I realized that it is just because he *is* that good. I don’t think I should penalize him in my consideration because he has won it a couple times already. I think one of us just has to step-up and provide some more competition, which should be really tough if the voting evolves to a more holistic view of the candidates.

  4. Nick Badders

    Congrats! I got 2 2nd place votes! I looked through the list of people and noticed that a lot of those people never snagged a ball in 2012 or ever recorded a ball on MyGameBalls.com, which surprised me. I wonder if next year, Alan would do something to sort through people that never recorded a ball that year, to make them ineligible. I assume you won’t be eligible for the award next year? If not, I wonder who would win the award.

    • Mateo Fischer

      Nick- I did notice that too and I think there maybe should be something for that, but I think that if people vote for people vote for a person who hasn’t snagged a ball, this won’t stop them from making another bad decision.And no, this was my last season of eligibility.

      • Nick Badders

        There a a lot of deserving ballhawks that I’m sure won’t get votes because of the random people getting votes. It was the same way for Minor League Ballhawk of the Year. Of the people who got votes, I think close to 2/3 of them didn’t snag a ball in 2012.

          • Nick Badders

            That’s unfortunately true. I would rather people who snagged 50 balls, or someone like Spencer Sanborn or Ben Weil, who both snagged about 100 balls this year get votes, rather than people who have never logged a ball. I noticed Rocco Sinisi, who finished 6th in the season standings, with over 350 balls this year, only got 2 3rd place votes. I wonder if people are voting for themselves. I know Alan says you can’t vote for yourself, but every account is listed, including your own, and you can still select it. I wonder if there is a way for him to filter out people that haven’t snagged a ball.

            • Mateo Fischer

              Nick- Actually, you can’t vote for yourself at all. If you put yourself on the ballot, it says something like “Sorry. I know you think you’re a great ballhawk, but you can’t vote for yourself.” I really think it’s a shame that Rocco and a bunch of other people got less vote than me. I’ going to suggest your idea and a 10-vote ballot to Alan, but I don’t know how feasible your idea is. We’ll see, though.

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