Statistical formula for snagging

I got an email the other day from a guy who created an elaborate statistical formula to predict how many baseballs I will snag at any given game. His name is Nic Shayko, and he describes himself as an “aspiring political pollster and a lover of baseball.” He wrote a fascinating entry about this formula on his blog, and you can check it out HERE.

I have two thoughts about all of this:

1) It’s really cool and I’m honored that Nic spent so much time analyzing my baseball-snagging.

2) The formula needs a bit of tweaking. If Nic can somehow factor in the times that the gates open–in other words how much batting practice I get at each stadium–the formula will be more accurate.

What do YOU think?



Nice. How do you insert a hyperlink in a comment? I cant figure it out. Let me see if this works:


yes, it worked

that is very cool

Here’s my statistic….
I understand about 30% of Nic’s blog.

Interesting formula. I think that there will always be variables that effect snagging that can’t be accurately accounted for however. I asked the “keeper of the baseballs” at the dome tonight about the 2K9 balls and he had never seen one and if anyone had, it would be him since he brings all the balls out to the ump. He also said that for opening day, the Twins got 1 dozen of the opening day logo commemoratives. I think he kept one for himself and the others got used during the game. Maybe the 2K9 balls are just in New York.

30% ………. I was lucky to understand 20% ………. WOW and I though Ballhawks had a lot of free time!!!

Baseballs 4 MADD
Major League Ballhawk

Too many numbers for me, too. I’ll stick to running around and leave the number crunching to folks like Nic. Props to you, Zack, for the recognition. You’re becoming more famous by the day!

I’m definitely with GRAHAM on this subject, understanding just 30% of what Nic was talking about, but, I do think what this gentlemen did was pretty damn cool, considering he did it “behind your back.” This type of formula will obviously only work with ballhawks like yourself, John, Erik, Greg, Happy, you know, the guys who snag non-stop at baseball games haha. I’m not a fan of numbers really, but I gotta give it to him — it was a job well done. And I’m in favor of tweaking the formula a bit for the gate opening times, even though each park is different. See you tomorrow night at Citi if you won’t be there tonight, Zack-a-Rooski. Peace in the middle east!

– Donnie

What do I think?

I think my head hurts. : /

Hey, posting from CitiFiled at some verizon place in center.

Got 4 balls today- 3 from the glove trick (which was tough due to the wind) and i dropped on HR ball back onto the field (E10) and Jason Berggman flipped it to me.

I’m gonna try to sneak behind the dugouts now to get a commemorative ball.

The formula also needs to factor in whether or not you can use the glove trick, get behind the dugouts for 3rd out balls, and i think the games you snagged before you invented the glove trick and the hat swap should be thrown out, b/c you weren’t snagging at your full potential.

I wonder what the statistics are on MORONS throwing back MILESTONE Home Run balls are like the guy that threw back Thomes 349th HR on Monday in Anaheim. That HR put him in 13th place on the all time HR list passing Mike Schmidt!!

Thome wasn’t the ONLY ONE to reach a MILESTONE on this night!!

Check out my MLBlog and see what happened!

Baseballs 4 MADD
Major League Ballhawk

No game for me tonight. I was leaning toward going to Citi Field, but the weather is iffy so I decided to just stay home and work on my book.


The dude who Bill James’d your snagging stats should also factor in the incidence of security personnel who prevent you from top efficiency at games; eg, blocking you from fertile snagging areas, proscribing use of the glove trick, etc. He’ll need reports of how often the snag-stoppers put up obstacles along with how many balls you would have acquired had they remained cool.

Any chance you will be at citi field on friday?
I am going.


An interesting effort. My first thought is the old saying that there are lies, damn lies, and then there are statistics (i.e., stats can be manipulated to tell any story you wish to tell). My recollection of statistics and regression analysis is that the more variables you include in a statistical formula, the less reliable the model, because each variable has so much error correlated with it that the more variables you use, the cumulative error effect is overwhelming. Thus, I credit Nick with trying to limit his variables–the main issue being what variables are most important. For me, if we are looking at total balls per event as opposed to game balls, I would tend to weight the time of gate opening, the availability of early entry for season ticket holders, and day of the week as far more significant than overall attendance or many other factors. It’s easier to get balls with a 4:40 gate opening time on Tuesday for a game attended by 45,000 people than it is to get balls on Saturday at the Metrodome which opens 1 1/2 hours before game time–even if the ultimate crowd is only 25,000 people.

I was actually more interested in some of the theological questions Nick posed on his website, but that’s another story.

i think you should arrive before batting practice and you could even meet the players

Hey Zack,
I’ve been a reader for about 2 years but I’ve never commented, until now. Last night I had a dream that you were indirectly involved in. I dreamt that I was at Yankee Stadium and I found a hidden snagging area. In this area, there was an index card taped to the ground that said something like “Zack Hample was here – sign your name if you find this!” so I signed my name. Soon thereafter, I snagged an A-Rod homer and then woke up. Do you have a lot of snagging dreams?

That reminds me of one thing … Why I failed Stats in University! lol. Very cool that someone cracked those numbers on you! A little under 6 balls a game (for the mean) is amazing btw.

I probably should’ve mentioned in my entry that I only understand about 30 percent of it as well.

Who exactly is this “keeper of the baseballs”? I’m wondering if I could/should interview him for my book.

Congrats on your milestone. Truly awesome.

I’ll probably be at Citi on Friday if the weather’s nice.

Good point about limiting the variables.

Awesome dream. I’m honored to be part if it…seriously. And thanks for finally leaving a comment. I used to have snagging dreams ALLl the time. Every single night. Back in 1992 and 1993 when I was going to games all the time. At this point, I probably average one or two snagging dreams per week during the season.

The “keeper of baseballs” is a guy named Waldo, who is probably 50, and snags balls the way you did when you were 20- with no consideration for anybody else. I think Bob once told me that he gets around 400 balls a year- which at the Met is great- but he goes to every game. He has no devices (they aren’t even allowed in the Dome) and he is decked out in Twins gear, but his seat is advantageous. Not only is it in HR territory, but its a corner spot so outfielders can easily throw him warm-up/3rd out balls. Also, his biggest advantage is that because of the angle, he can see Easter eggs in the first 2 rows, which are blocked to all other fans, and get them.

From what i observed, he didn’t seem like a guy who would be willing to give an interview, and if he did he would ask for profits from the book, or he would give a bad interview, but that’s just my opinion(!) and i only saw him for 2 games, so if I’m totally wrong (which I may be) don’t bash me for it!!!!!


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