6/23/10 at Lewis and Clark Park Sioux City Explorers vs. Saint Paul Saints

I got to the stadium at about 5:40 for batting practice. Once again, there wasn’t a whole lot of action, but there was 4 balls back there. I saw a little kid run behind the wall shortly before me, but he didn’t see any of the balls laying around so I gave him one.

Once again, I stayed out in the parking lot until they stopped taking tickets. I didn’t get anything out there. But I felt tortured. I saw one ball land right in my spot, another ball land short of my spot, ( I probably would not have gotten this one.) and another land right in my spot. I felt litterally sick. I was getting so ancy out there.

After I looked for I think the tenth time I saw that they were not taking tickets. I thought about staying out until the end of the bottom of the fourth. But I hurried into my spot. Well, that really paid off! Get ready for this! My first foul ball came from Ray Cerrano. It was a ball that I thought would stay on the field. The ball was just missed by the first baseman and right fielder. It bounced right on the edge of the warning track and right to me. The next ball was also hit by Ray Cerrano only one pitch later. It landed outside the fence. I climbed the fence and ran after the ball. I grabbed it, hustled back only to see yet another foul ball by my spot. The kid I beat out on my last ball the night before got it. I wasn’t too dissappointed, there was nothing I could do. I found one ball just sitting by a gate on to the field. I was up to 7 balls at this point.

Ole Sheldon hit a ball that I was sure was going to land in the seats, but it bounced off the top of the stairs, took a bounce that I wasn’t ready for, and was beaten out by the same kid. Two batters later Brent Krause came up again. He lined one just over the top of the bleachers and into my glove! I yelled at the Saints bullpen “that one was for you” as they cheered.My next ball was in the bottom of the fifth. Derek Schemerhorn hit a ball that only cleared the bleachers by about 4 feet. I caught it while turning and making the catch just over my shoulder. Once again, I turned and looked at the cheering Saints bullpen. I was up to 9 balls and I had gotten 5 in 6 outs of play!

My next ball came when Flint Wibke hit a ball just outside the fence. I saw it hit the ground, bounce, and roll farther into the parking lot. I ran after the ball and got it easily. My next ball was hit again by Ray Cerrano. It was a high fly ball that I tried to catch. It landed just over my shoulder and I snagged it on the bounce. My 12th ball was also hit by Brent Krause in the top of the ninth. It was a line over the bleachers. I tried to catch it, but it hit the palm of my glove and I dropped it. I heared the Saints bullpen playfully heckling me. One pitcher even said “oh you know you dropped it”.  I picked the ball up and made my way up to the Explorers dugout. I ended up grabbing the Saint Paul Saints line-up card after the game.

641 baseballs

205 baseballs in 2010 


My spot for righties.

My spot for lefties.






6/22/10 at Lewis and Clark Park Sioux City Explorers vs. Saint Paul Saints

Ok, I will keep this entry short because the game was pretty boring. I got to the stadium at 5:40 for the end of batting practice. I ended up finding 3 beat up batting practice balls behind the wall. Of course I’d always like if they hit more out. (Also,lately the Explorers have been picking up their batting practice home runs.) But I still got off to a good start.

I can’t always afford tickets, so I usually wait out in the parking lot until they stop taking tickets around 8:00. Well I did this and it is always extreemly frustrating. I never seem to get foul balls out in the parking lot. I saw a ball on top of the batting cage when I did this. I didn’t think the ball would still be there when I got in. But when I entered in the bottom of the fourth, it was still there. I went inside the batting cage and threw my glove at the ball. I had to hit it so it would move off of the top of the net. I got that and that was ball number 4. The rest of the game was really slow. I ended up getting one foul ball hit by Brent Kraus. It was a high fly ball that I didn’t think would clear the stands. But it ended up traveling past the stands and into the mud right at my feet.

I am not sure who hit my 6th ball. It was a foul ball straight over the stands. It landed in the parking lot. I saw it bounce, but I didn’t see where it ended up. I climbed the fence, ran in the direction of it, and look hurridly for it. I saw it sitting in the street, beat a 14 year old kid I know well out, and grabbed it. It felt good to get that one to close out the night.

Overall, it was a blow out game with not a whole lot of foul balls, so it was pretty frustrating. Did I mention that I was beaten out on two home run balls? A friend of mine always goes after mostly home runs. He isn’t nesscarily a ballhawk, but he likes getting balls with out a glove. He always seems to beat me out on home runs, so that is very frustrating

629 balls

193 in 2010.



6/21/10 at Lewis and Clark Park

Ok, I arrived at the stadium at 5:30 P.M. only to see batting practice happening in the batting cage. I was crushed because my stats have been suffering due to the lack of batting practice happening on the field lately. My goal coming into the season was to get to 1000 baseballs. It was probably too ambitious, but it is the truth. But going into that game I had just 619. And the Explorer’s first half home schedule was almost done.

Anyway, I waited patiently outside the stadium as the game started. The parking lot is a great place for foul balls so I figured I’d try it. Well on the third batter of the game he hit one my direction. I saw it land and bounce, but I was distracted by seeing one of my friends go after it and missed the ball. I pannicked and looked everywhere, but it was nowhere to be found. A little kid ended up finding it just past my car to my right! It was so frustrating, but I had to move on. I joined my friend inside the staduim after that.

My first foul ball came when another ball landed in the parking lot and I hopped the fence on the first base side. I hopped the fence, saw it land and where it went, and it seemed pretty routine.

My second foul ball was a high pop up that almost hit the stands. It also almost hit a little 6 year old girl in the head. Well it missed both, dropped right at my feet, and stuck on the soft grass!

Ball 3 was a 3rd out ball from right fielder Jason Cooper, who I mistook to be Brent Kraus. Anyway, he messed with me earlier when I tried to get one from first baseman Ole Sheldon. He said to me “what do you say”? Well, he looked straight at me, with the ball this time, laughed and said “what do you say?” I said “please” and he tossed it to my bare hand; and away from other kids trying for the ball!

And my fourth and final ball of the night was a foul ball that the bullpen tossed to a couple of kids while I was in my spot for lefties. It was a bad throw and ended up coming to me. I dropped it, but I still got it. I would have given it to the kids, but they were about 12 years old. And at L&C if you are 12, you should get a foul ball on your own. I would have given it to them, but it was a game used foul ball, with an interesting rub on it, and I simply don’t give away game balls! I don’t care where I am or how I got it, a game ball is a game ball and it is important to me.

4 balls : 623 for the season.



6/17/2010 at Kaufman Stadium and I am Back!!!!!!!!!!!

Ok, I’ll admit. I had really abandoned the blog effort, but I’m back now for good!

So far this season I have snagged 176 balls in 13 games. So I am up to 615 in 2 years.

Last Thursday I had the chance to go down to Kaufman Stadium for the first time since it’s renovation in 2009. I only had one game down there and it was going to be tough. I wanted to get to the stadium by 4:30 P.M. so I could roam around and take pictures. But… well… apparently that was too hard for my baseball hating stepmom and sister.

During the whole 4 hour trip to KC I slept and dremt of the new remodled Kaufman Stadium. Even though I am a Chicago Cubs fan attending a Kansas City Royals vs. Houston Astros game, I lost sleep over the wait to get to the K.

Anyway, back to my stepmom and sister. I soon realized that my dad was a ***** and would cave to my stepmom who utterly hates anything to do with sports. (She didn’t even realize the Kansas City Royals were a Major League team until 2:00 P.M. the day of the game. She thought they were Triple-A. This came even after we talked about the Omaha Royals being the Kansas City Royals Triple- A affiliate as we passed through Omaha.) I propssed the idea of leaving at 4:30 P.M., knowing I’d have to give way to 4:45 P.M. Still, I knew I’d have 15 minutes or so to wander towards Home Plate and then on over to the LF gate.

As 4:00 P.M. came up I knew I was in trouble. Everyone was napping. My parents hate to being woken up early from naps. At 4:30 my heart started beating. Nobody was awake except for me! What was I going to do? I just had to get there to take pictures! 4:35. Nothing! Still Sleeping!!!! 4:40. My dad wakes up, but the evil stepmom complains and sleeps for 5 more minutes!!!!!!!!!! My dad realizes our toilet is plugged and just blames it on me. He makes me run to the front desk to get a plunger. It’s 4:42 right now! WE HAVE TO GO!!!!!!! WHO CARES ABOUT A TOILET!!!!!!!! I race up and down the elveator. They can’t find the plunger. I don’t care! I see other fans leaving for the game and I think “This can’t be happening”. My stepmom isn’t ready until 4:55. We leave at 5:00 P.M.

The drive there only took 8 minutes, but I couldn’t take pictures like I really wanted to. We are told to to park right by the right field gate. Well, at least that is good. The gates don’t open until 5:30 and it is 5:10 P.M. Still, there are a bunch of fans over there. I know I will not be the first one in. Or will I?

As I approach the gate, I am pleasently surprised to see most of the fans in line for tickets. I just happened to meet another ballhawk named Kyle at the gate. Well, this happened to be extreemly lucky. Kyle and I ended up sharing a lot of knowledge about ballhawking. He told me about all of the best spots and told me things that I never would have figured out if it weren’t for him. My first ball came on a toss up from Ronny Paulin in Right Center by the gap. My second ball came on a toss up from Wanndy Rodriguez. As Wanndy wen to grab the ball a kid in a Royals shirt had a HUGE GLOVE!! I am not 100 % sure if it is exactly the same big glove as Zack Hample, but it had to be about that size. Check his out here to see his big glove: http://snaggingbaseballs.mlblogs.com/archives/2008/04/42408_at_champion_stadium.html.

Anyway, this kid shouts “my glove is bigger”. Well, I was in my Astros shirt and simply shouted “I’m an Astros fan”. And that sealed it! I knew once I said that the ball was mine and Wanndy didn’t even think about tossing it to that other kid!! HaHa! Score one for PJ!!!!! I have no clue who my third ball came from. It was a toss up from some pitcher to some kid. The kid’s mom went for it at the same time as the kid. It bounced off their hands and came straight down the wall to me. I felt kind of bad, but I was at my first MLB game this year so there was no way I was giving it away! 

The rest of BP was pretty slow. I tried to use my glove trick on a ball in the center field gap, but an usher stopped me. He said the Royals have gotten much stricter about ball retriving devices since the Zack Hample incident last June. See Here: http://snaggingbaseballs.mlblogs.com/archives/2009/06/ Basicly he said using any device in the gap, on the field, of in the fountains is like running onto the field or into the fountains. What!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!????????????????????????/ Did I hear him correctly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!???????? Just using a ball retrieving device can get you a night in jail???????? And they don’t have this posted anywhere!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Anyway, I also couldn’t use my fountain device and I painfully watched as a couple balls sank. I mannaged to get Kevin Cash to toss me a ball in the Astros bullpen as he started his warmups. The rest of the game was cool. Kyle and I really tried for foul balls on the lower concourse entrances, and I came fairly close once, but some old man got luck and caught it bare handed. Oh well

4 balls

2 year total: 615 balls in 60 games

5 MLB Balls

10 balls outside of Sioux City.





New blog, welcome to the blogosphere

Well today is a big day for me. It is the start of my very own blog. So, I bet you want to know a little bit about myself. (I would) My name is Philip Joens, but you can just call me Phil. This will be my 2and season, obviously, as a ballhawk. I am a Junior at Sioux City East High School in Sioux City, IA. I am an aspiring journalist and broadcaster. I am particularly interested in sports journalism. 

Ok, so Sioux City, IA isn’t the closest city to a Major League city. I hope that doesn’t turn anybody away from this blog, but this will be a minor league blog. But minor league baseball is fun!!!!
I’ve loved baseball my whole life. I attended my first Chicago Cubs game when I was 2 years old, and I’ve said “since that day I was destined to be a baseball player”. I’m not the most talented guy, I have never played High-School baseball. Unfortunately been cut all 3 times I’ve tried out. I go to a big school… that is a baseball school… What can I say? It sucks, and it is not what I thought would happen 3 years ago, but who knows what can happen in April of 2010. Being cut has not dampened my love for the game one bit… In fact being cut has probably strengthened my bond with baseball. I have been a Little League Umpire for 4 years, 5 next year; and I am going to get certified to do High-School games in the spring of 2011. Because I was cut last year I had some free time on my hands and I found ballhawking!!!! I also found Zack Hample’s blog on MLB.com blogs. (For those of you who don’t know Zack Hample is only the Great God of Ballhawking. Here is a link to his blog                                http://snaggingbaseballs.mlblogs.com/)
My local team is the Sioux City Explorers of the American Association of Independent Baseball.
(They are in the same league as the St. Paul Saints for those who are not familiar with the
American Association.) They are one of the original Northern League teams from 1993. These
teams formed the foundation for independent professional baseball today. I am also near the
Iowa Cubs and Omaha Royals of the Pacific Coast League. (BTW the Iowa Cubs and Omaha Royals are AAA teams for the Chicago Cubs and Kansas City Royals respectivly for those who don’t know.) I am also near the Sioux Falls Canaries, Linclon Saltdogs, University of Nebraska Baseball, and of
course, the Collage World Series.
I’ll be honest and say that my home park is almost a little too easy for a collector (no joke the only thing that keeps me out of games is ticket prices. I’ll rant about that later), but none the less
here are my 2009 season stats:
Last year I snagged…
-436 baseballs in 43 games
-Averaged 10.6 balls per game
-snagged balls in 3 different stadiums
-186 foul balls( at my home park)
-1 foul ball outside home stadium
-15 HR at home
-2 Grand Slams at home
-6 bats at home (5 broken 1 intact)
-30 Line-up cards
-6 Leagues in 2009
(-MLB, American Association, PCL, Northern League, Golden League, NAIA)
Thank You very much for reading my first blog entry and please stay tuned to future entries that will be coming in the coming days. 🙂 🙂