This story is much shorter and much more simple than the two that came before. The reason why this tale is shorter, it was much less historic and my notes/memories of it are lacking.
To put it in the simplest of terms, I found an easter egg.
An “easter egg” is a ball that you find already in the stands as you enter the stadium. It could be left over from batting practice or it could have been strategically placed there by a player (Matt Capps is said to be a member of this party). I don’t remember which gate I was coming from (more than likely either 29 or 34), but I remember heading down the section 102/103 area and noticed that a ball was just sitting on the stairs. It was a ball without alone on the rough streets (aisles if you are picky) of Target Field; lightly used, and in need of a good home.
I was the only person around, so I collected my prize and carried on. I ended up watching the rest of BP and who knows what else. I might have been in the split ballhawk/grapher modes, as collecting autographs also interested me at the time. No matter what else I did that day, I learned another valuable lesson, one that was beginning to sound like a broken record, and one that was severely flawed; “Right place at the right time”.
Ballhawking is not based on luck and the phrase “right place at the right time” to me had always been rooted in luck. It assumed that the person who receives such a fortune (good or bad) did not control anything themselves, but rather the universe put them in the right place at the right time. There is more to it than that, at least on a ballhawking level, “Put yourself at the right place at the right time” should be the more complete mantra.
Like I said before, it’s not dumb luck or sheer coincidence that a ballhawk snags a ball or thirty-two (my max to date is only three), it’s a lot of hardwork, research, and formulating strategies based on your prior experiences. Really, it’s much like anything else in life, if you are able to pick up patterns, survey your surroundings, and do your ‘homework’ there is no reason why you cannot be successful.
By no means am I saying that you will get a ball every time, and I am also not saying that there is NO luck at all, because our existence is not like that. Sometimes the person/team most deserving of a win gets shutout, and that’s OK. Maybe batting practice is cancelled, or maybe that big lefty ends up taking swings in the cages instead of outside. Or, maybe the sheer volume of people is too much and you are lost in a sea of hawks. There are always factors out of your control, but when you come to pick up on certain cues or patterns, you at least give yourself better odds than the guy without a glove sitting in 301 at Target Field still hoping he MIGHT get lucky and get a ball.
This game was the last regular season game for the Twins in 2010. They are going to face the New York Yankees. In a year where everything was going right on the field, and in our new home, what could possibly go wrong?! This was the year that the Twins were finally going to beat the Yankees and get that monkey off their back. We could feel it!… CRAP! (The next two balls will come from that series against the Yankees and the joy of getting good at ballhawking will be massively overshadowed by the Yankees dissecting the Twins.)
Thank you Easter Bunny!! (or Matt Capps, or Twins hitter who hooked it massively foul, or some other generous Twin acting as the Easter Bunny)