The latest diss
I’ve been heckled a lot. It’s nothing new. I’ve had whole sections of fans boo and threaten me (for catching too many balls). A few years ago, a guy showed up at one of my book signings and started shouting from the back of the room, accusing me of being a ball hog. And, of course, thousands of people (including radio hosts during live interviews) have told me that I have no life.
Whatever. I don’t expect everyone to love me.
The latest diss came from one of the Wrigley Field “ballhawks,” who left the following comment after my last entry:
“This is getting ridiculous. What is your actual total of Balls Caught? Not handed to you or begged for!! All those guys at Wrigley actual work for their baseballs and catch them. I am guessing that over 50% of the balls that you have are CHARITY BALLS. Why don’t you stop begging for the balls and start catching them like the rest of us do! You are like the Barry Bonds of Ballhawks. Real Ballhawks DONT BEG!!
Real Ballhawk then proceeded to:
a) insult my ball-snagging statistics
b) list his own accomplishments
c) compare asking for balls to taking steroids
Kids write to me all the time and ask stuff like, “Can I count a ball in my collection if it was given to me by a hot dog vendor?” I tell them that there isn’t ONE way to collect baseballs so they should do whatever feels right. For me, “begging” feels right. Would I rather catch more home runs? Yes, of course, and if I lived near a ballpark the size of a little league field, there’s no doubt that I would. Instead, I’m stuck with Shea and Yankee Stadium (since I don’t count minor league or spring training balls, unlike some of the ballhawks), so I’ve incorporated “begging” into my arsenal. Anyway, that works out well because for me, collecting baseballs is about making a connection to the players; when one of them tosses me a ball, I feel that connection more than ever. I think it’s pretty obnoxious for someone–especially a fellow collector–to insult that.