My ballhawking for charity initiative started out yesterday and it is quite exciting. I had an article recently done about my 100th catch as well as starting out for charity. The article was written by Alan Schuster and here is the article in it’s entirety:
“Pittsburgh ballhawk Zac Weiss snagged his 100th career baseball last week at PNC Park, and after reaching the first major milestone of his ballhawking life he’s ready to start giving a little something back.
“I will start snagging for charity in June,” he declared, excited about the possibility of contributing to a worthy cause. “It will be a beta test of sorts for next season, but of course all proceeds will go to charity. People also in addition to making a pledge per ball can also make one cumulative donation.”
Weiss has announced that his charity of choice will be The Children’s Institute, a non-profit group that helps children who lag behind their peers physically and/or academically. He’s hoping to quickly spread the word and gain lots of pledges, and his goal is to snag 128 balls this season. If he keeps snagging at his current pace, he could be able to present his charity with a big check at the end of the season.
As for the details of his 100th snag, it was somewhat anti-climatic, but still very gratifying. Upon seeing fellow ballhawks Erik Jabs and Nick Pelescak move towards the right field bleachers, he slipped in behind them to the center field seats. He was there all alone, sitting on 99 baseballs and hoping for an epic snag for the milestone ball. As he looked around, however, he quickly spotted what would become his 100th ball, laying unclaimed on the ground. He picked it up and immediately felt the satisfaction of reaching triple digits. “Not really a memorable catch to be honest, but a snag is a snag,” he remarked.
“It has been a fun ride chasing down 100 plus baseballs, and each baseball snagged adds to my confidence,” he said. In a submission to myGameBalls.com, Weiss wanted to publicly thank those who have helped him achieve his milestone. Here are his acknowledgements, in his own words:
- My parents, for putting up with this and understanding. Last year they were skeptical about ballhawking and this year they are all excited about it, always calling me to see how many I have snagged.
- Erik Jabs and Zack Hample for getting me into ballhawking. Zack Hample’s two snags at Old Yankee Stadium was probably what got me started in this, and then Erik’s ballhawking league was what encouraged me to start chasing down these baseballs.
- Pittsburgh ballhawks for making me earn every last one of my snags.
- Also want to thank Alan for the great website and the ballhawking community for their competiton and kind words.”
Lastly, the charity movement I have started has made it to the mainstream press as a journalism buddy of mine John Perrotto featured me in his notebook and talked about my initiative. I talked to him on Facebook this week, and he told me that we would talk again in June about doing an article, but I guess that he had enough material to run it now. The article made it into the Beaver County Times and Uniontown Herald. Here is that article in it’s entirety.
“Though he has been in Western Pennsylvania less than a year since being hired as the Pirates’ manager, the Children’s Institute holds a special place in Clint Hurdle’s heart.
It also holds a special place in Zach Weiss’ heart. He is a Pittsburgher through and through, having grown up in the Squirrel Hill section of Pittsburgh, graduated from Taylor-Allderdice High School and just finished his first year at Point Park University.
Weiss’ passions are the Pirates and “ballhawking.”
Ballhawking? It’s getting to the ballpark early, camping out in the outfield seats and trying to catch batting practice home runs. Weiss recently hawked his 100th ball, coming off the bat of Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp.
Now Weiss is going to turn his knack for catching BP homers into something that can help The Children’s Institute, a facility in Squirrel Hill for children with special needs. Project STAR, located in Monaca, is a satellite office of The Children’s Institute.
Beginning in June, Weiss is going to sell each ball he hawks. His goal is to get each ball signed by the player who hits it, which would obviously cause an increase in value. Weiss is also looking for fans to pledge a certain amount of money for each ball he hawks.
Weiss will donate 100 percent of the proceeds to The Children’s Institute, where he was treated when he was slow to develop certain motor skills. The facility is also one of the few in the country who treats children with Prader-Willi Syndrome, which Hurdle’s daughter Madison is afflicted.
More information about Weiss’ endeavor may be obtained by e-mailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org”
I have been very aggressive in my efforts, and I have at least a couple of other projects I am working on it terms of spreading the word out through the press. I will not share those now out of respect. I am excited for what the future holds for Ballhawking 2011 Proudly Supporting The Children’s Institute. I thank both Alan and John for spreading the good word and hope that people will help me out.