PNC Park too crowded for ballhawks

Maybe you’ve heard of ballhawks. These are guys (and they all seem to be guys, fully grown) who go to Major League Baseball games to collect as many baseballs as they can — home runs, fouls, tossups from friendly players.

Point Park student Alex Stumpf profiles ballhawks this week. And in the process, he uncovers a gripe from one who used to clean up at a nearly empty PNC Park. The Pirates have become too popular, he says. Check it out — along with the great photos by student Matt Nemeth — and see if you agree.

Either way, two weeks to Opening Day on the North Shore.

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Ballhawk Erik Jabs has a collection of nearly 3,000 baseballs. Photo: Matt Nemeth | Point Park News Service

By Alex Stumpf, Point Park News Service:

Ian Weir does not remember when he went to his first baseball game, but he remembers what he brought.

“I’ve taken my glove to every baseball game I’ve ever been to,” Weir, 20, of Oakmont, said.

Weir used his glove to snag nearly 200 balls last year and is a part of a distinct demographic of fans known as “ballhawks.”ballhawk3

A ballhawk refers to a fan that is able to collect multiple baseballs a game. They say they do this for a variety of reasons, from being able to tour stadiums around the country, to meeting fellow ballhawks nationwide and to boosting their memorabilia collections. The subject has spawned multiple blogs, a book and even a documentary narrated by Bill Murray.

Read the rest of the story here.

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Talk to strangers

Sometimes the best stories come from doing what your mother always told you not to do: Talking to strangers. PPNS reporter Joel Anderson and I were walking through Pittsburgh’s South Side this fall when we stopped to talk with a man picking up litter. Joel turned it into this article about one man’s Sisyphean obsession with cleaning up his neighborhood — and how others are helping out.

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Dressed in his Sunday best of khakis, a button-down shirt and a Habitat for Humanity hat, Adam Christian walks the streets of the South Side carrying a white bucket, red broom and dust-pan. Christian is doing his best to keep his neighborhood clean.

“I’m looking for any kind of honest work,” he said. “I have some spare time, so I’ve been pitching in and cleaning litter around the house, literally around the house – not in the house.”

For the residents of South Side, trash is an everyday problem. As soon as they make headway cleaning up the barrage of garbage, party crowds of 20,000 to 30,000 non-residents visit the area’s amenities, messing it all up again.

“I love the South Side,” Christian said. “I think it’s the greatest place I’ve ever lived. That’s why I try to help keep it clean.”

To read the rest of the story, click here.