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August 19, 2011

Friday 5: Tim Anderson

Raise your hand if you've ever caught a ball at a baseball game.  Raise your hand if you've ever caught a home run ball.

How about three?

Now that I've got your attention, 17-year-old Tim Anderson did the unthinkable last week.  Not only did he catch homers on three consecutive nights...but he made ballhawking cool.

HOVG:  Break it down for me.  Over the last week, you've gone from being a 17-year-old Baltimore Orioles fan to a Sportscenter conversation piece.  How has this all played out...and what is it like?

ANDERSON: It all really happened so fast. Getting the first home run was nothing special of course.  I had done it before. Getting the second was just cool because I had never gotten multiple game home runs in the same month, let alone back-to-back games. When I caught the third, I was thinking that it was just a really big deal, and that no one would really notice it. Who at any news outlet is going to notice the same fan getting a home run in three games in a row? It's not like I did some crazy dance or anything to get noticed. 

(Fellow ballhawk and author) Zack Hample, who knows a thing or two about being noticed for catching home runs, told me as we were leaving that I shouldn't be surprised if it goes national.  Boy did it ever.  First it was the Orioles' TV broadcast station, MASN, who noticed that I had gotten all three. Then it rocketed to ESPN where I was the #9 top play of the night, then to Baseball Tonight. All of a sudden, I have interviews lined-up for the next day with MASN, ESPN, and the Baltimore Sun. People then tell me that I'm the top story on Yahoo!, a topic on Around the Horn, and mentioned on Intentional Talk on MLB Network. 

Now, I'm just kind of back to being that 17-year old Orioles hard as it may be to do that. 

HOVG:  What is your strategy when it comes to ballhawking?

ANDERSON: My strategy is pretty much having my glove and giving myself some space. I don't want to have to climb around people to catch a ball, and I definitely don't want to hurt anybody. Besides that, I feel as if it's out my hands. 

HOVG:  You impressed many with the three-straight home runs last many home runs have you snagged overall and this season?

ANDERSON: The third homerun of the streak was my sixth on the season and ninth overall. Here's what I've caught/picked up off the ground:

1 - Adam Rosales - 5/27/10*
2 - Adam Jones - 9/14/10*
3 - Brandon Inge - 10/2/10
4 - Vladimir Guerrero - 4/20/11*
5 - Johnny Damon - 6/12/11
6 - Nolan Reimold - 7/15/11
7 - Carlos Quentin - 8/9/11
8 - J.J. Hardy - 8/10/11*
9 - Alexei Ramirez - 8/11/11*

(* means I caught them on the fly)

HOVG:  And how many balls total are in your collection?

ANDERSON: Unofficially, since I have only been counting for the last season and a half, I have 317 balls (229 this year).

HOVG:  What do you do with your baseballs?  How do you store them?  Do you catalog them?

ANDERSON: Most of the balls I end up giving away during the games. The ones I take home end up going in a large green bucket...which is almost over flowing at this point. I really don't catalog them besides updating my My Game Balls account

HOVG:  Outisde of the three straight homers, what has been your greatest feat so far...any memorable stories?

ANDERSON: I'd have to say the Vladimir Guerrero home run that I caught. I made a pretty athletic catch on it and celebrated a good bit afterwards, landing me extended TV time as well as MASN to make a commercial of the celebration. 

HOVG: ballhawking "luck" or "skill"?

ANDERSON: It's a little bit a both. Let's just say you enhance your luck with the more skill you have. 

When Tim Anderson is not at Camden Yards, he is online contributing to both Sports Nickel and Baseball and That Other Good Stuff.  You can find "Mr. Shagtastic" on Twitter at @sportsnickelTim.

In a few weeks, Anderson will be entering his senior year at Calvert Hall College High School in Baltimore.

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