As you can probably tell from the title, I was about to be ballhawking the American Association home run derby! CHS Field is the home of the St. Paul Saints, and I have ballhawked there a few times before. When I heard there was going to be a home run derby, I knew I had to go. The stadium has a great Ballhawking layout so I knew it would be easy to catch a home run.
When I got to the stadium with my friend Noah, I immediately got a ball. It’s not what you think, it was just a commemorative American Association ASG ball that they were giving away. I’ll call it…
The derby wasn’t going to start for a while, because there was a “celebrity” softball game going on. The reason I put “celebrity” in quotation marks was because they were hardly celebrities. They were some local radio show people and maybe one or two athletes.
After the softball game, I stood by the umpire tunnel and asked the umpire for a softball. He told me he wasn’t allowed to give them away so he apologized. Then he asked one of the Saints coaches who was standing nearby what he should do with the softballs. He told him it didn’t matter, so the umpire tossed one to me.
They ended up letting everyone on the field after for some random concert that was on it, so I took the picture of the softball there.
After that I noticed Minnesota Wild rookie Mike Reilly was standing by the dugout. I got a picture with him:
Then, I noticed that New York Islanders player Nick Leddy was standing near him. The only reason I had recognized him was because I have known his cousin since I was in 1st grade, so he had shown me pictures of him. I had always wanted to meet him, so I went up and got a picture:
Then I had him sign my softball:
Then because Mike Reilly was right there, I had him sign it too:
They kicked everyone off the field a few minutes later so they could get started with the derby, so I went out to the left field grass berm. I looked down in to the bullpen which is directly in front of the berm, and noticed tons of baseballs down there. They must have taken BP earlier before the softball game. It was a good thing I had my cup trick with me, because I ended up using it for the first time ever to get my first ball of the day. It was pretty tough though because the wind kept blowing the cup so I had to time it perfectly.
I got this ball the same way as number 1. Cup tricked from the bullpen. The only difference is that I gave this ball away right after.
The derby had now officially started, and I almost caught a home run from the first batter. It was hit directly at me, and I thought it was gonna be the easiest catch ever. That was until I started getting shoved down the berm by some other kids trying to catch the ball too. I had to try and make a leaping catch, but the ball ended up hitting the side of my glove and some other kid caught it. That really doesn’t have anything to do with how I got my 3rd ball, I was just saying something that happened. My third ball was a ball from the bullpen that I didn’t cup trick. A worker walked through and tossed every ball up, and I was one of the people to get one.
It took a while, but I eventually snagged a home run. I had been out in left field almost the whole derby because there was only one lefty out of the entire group of guys in the derby. His name is Art Charles, and he plays for the New Jersey Jackals. As soon as he came up, I sprinted to the right field standing room area as fast as I could. He started crushing the ball to right which was a good thing. I knew I had a pretty good shot at catching one. Charles hit a bomb, and I could tell it was going REALLY high, and about 10 feet to my left. I ran through a huge crowd of people, got in line with the ball, reached up as high as I could, and caught it. Because it was so high, it came in at a really sharp angle and I wasn’t able to catch it in the web of my glove. So, it hit me right in the palm. Not a good feeling.
If you want to see a video, go to this link and skip to 2:10:00.
I was back out in left field again, but this time I was standing on the concrete area behind the berm because the berm had got way too crowded. At one point. I saw noticed a ball fly up about 30 feet to my left over the berm, over the concrete area I was standing on, on the the grassy area behind the concrete area, and under a picnic table. I knew it wasn’t a homer because I had been watching the batter, so I knew it had to have been from the bullpen. I sprinted over to the picnic table, dropped to the ground, and reached under the table to grab the ball.
It was most likely a homer that landed in the bullpen and was chucked up by someone who was in there.
This was my final ball of the night, and it was also my favorite one I got. Saints outfielder Alonzo Harris came up to bat, and I knew that he could crush the ball. I suddenly remembered I had my GoPro with me, so I took it out, clipped it to my hat, and started recording.
It’s a good thing I did.
Here’s what happened.
For those who didn’t watch the video for whatever reason, I’ll explain what happened. Alonzo started crushing the ball deep, and I had a feeling he would hit one towards me. He ended up doing that, and I tracked it well enough to catch it on the fly in the middle of tons of other people. I caught it in a really weird place in my glove. Take a look:
I didn’t move the ball at all to take the picture. That’s EXACTLY how it landed in my glove. I’m shocked that it actually stayed in there!
I can’t believe I didn’t mention this earlier, but look at what I tweeted at Alonzo before the game:
Wanna know what else? I was talking to a guy who ballhawks New Jersey Jackals games (Art Charles’s team) and told him I’d catch an Art Charles home run.
I CALLED BOTH OF MY HOME RUN CATCHES.
That’s just crazy.
Noah, the friend I brought, ended up catching the last homer of the derby. His glove isn’t that broken in so it popped out of his glove at first, then was bobbled by a couple people, but eventually secured by Noah before it hit the ground.
There was another concert on the field when the derby ended, so Noah and I went on the field and played catch with ball #3.
All the players were still on the field by the dugout, but there was a rope blocking people off from going in to the infield. So I called Alonzo Harris over to sign so I could get his autograph on the homer he hit. I reminded him of the tweet I sent him saying I would catch his home run, and he thought that was cool. I took a picture with him and the ball.
Here is a better picture of the autograph:
I left the stadium shortly after that. It was a really cool experience getting to Ballhawk at this event. Unfortunately, the derby can’t be in Minnesota every year. How cool would that be though?
Balls at this game: 6 (CT, CT, Stadium Worker, Art Charles, Bullpen Person, Alonzo Harris)
Autographs at this game: 3 (Nick Leddy, Mike Reilly, Alonzo Harris)