“If our love is only a will to possess, it is not love.” — Thich Nhat Hanh
So, there’s been a lot of backlash about The Happy Youngster’s lastest escapade. He’s a “ballhawk,” which I guess means he runs around at batting practice and baseball games trying to collect the most balls. Basically, this rookie Marlins player hit his first home run last Wednesday at Miller Park and then there was some unpleasantness when THY tried to get some swag in return for the ball.
THY seems to be having a lot of fun, and that counts for a lot in my book. I was entertained by “The Catch” he made in spring training — but mostly because of the television announcer’s “He just lived his T-shirt!” I didn’t become a regular follower of his blog, because I’m not that interested in the intensive details of ballhawking.
But it’s disappointing to read about how it took conversations with the visiting team clubhouse manager, a media relations manager and a Florida Marlins team psychologist before he gave up the ball, especially because he’s some sort of sheriff’s deputy. I would not expect a law enforcement officer to require a psychologist to diffuse an argument he had about a souvenir.
There’s a funny moment in this video from 2000 in which Bill Schroeder is asked if he “created a monster” by giving the guy his nickname, and Schroeder vehemently denies it:
“No, he created himself. I mentioned it once or twice on the broadcast last year. He comes back this year with a T-shirt, he’s got his girl with him every night, now he’s got you interviewing him. Now, not only have we not created a monster, you now have created a monster, along with himself.”
Despite my fear that THY or someone like him will one day become the Brewers very own Steve Bartman, I don’t care if these ballhawks continue in their overzealous ways. They’re having fun.
But the thing is, I have never caught a baseball — fair, foul or batting practice. The one time I watched BP with the hopes of catching a ball, it ended with a tragic, nacho-related injury. And I would still love to catch a ball — to hold it, feel the leather, examine it’s stiches, to remark “I always thought it would feel heavier.”
In the wake of all this, though, the fact I have this simple hope — that one such alabaster artifacts would land in my personal space — is making me feel like a loser. A sad, unhappy youngster.