Crack of the bat

I doubt I’m the only one in the world who can do this, but I can usually tell where a ball is heading by the way it sounds coming off the bat. During batting practice, I sometimes have to ignore the batter for a pitch or two to label a ball that I just caught. While I’m looking down, I listen for the crack of the bat, and I know whether or not I need to look up. There’s a distinct difference in the sound between a ball that’s pulled versus one that’s hit to the opposite field.

Listenup_1(Is this freaking you out? Tell me you can do this, too.)

Foul tips have their own special sound. I can’t really describe it—it’s more of a click than a crack—but I definitely know when one is coming. In 1999, back when I was a junior at Guilford College, a reporter from the Greensboro News & Record went with me to a minor league game. I took him out into the parking lot behind home plate just in time for the first pitch and told him I wasn’t going back inside until I got a foul ball. He started asking me why it was a good spot and how many I’ve caught and how long I thought it was going to take, and I started explaining my strategy.

What happened next?

Read his article.

And please keep in mind that my grand total of 2,653 does NOT include minor league (or spring training) balls.

5 comments

  1. doppychico89@yahoo.com

    You are right Zack. RFK is an easier ballpark without BP. I got only one ball today with BP at RFK, it’s tougher because the players are paying more attention to the batters than anything else. O well. By the way, you must have a mighty fine ear.

  2. mamano80@aol.com

    Hi Zack, I realize you don’t collect minor league baseballs, but about how many do you have? And from how many different leagues?
    Matt

  3. raider61990@yahoo.com

    Yea I can do that too…I think it just comes after you hear the sound of the bat and are watching, then your mind just builds in a “memory” of it.
    -Mike

  4. Zack

    DOPPY-
    I don’t think it has to do with the players’ attention. I just think that when there’s no BP, there aren’t as many fans, so it’s easier to get balls thrown to you. At a place like RFK, there’s no room to maneuver in BP so the size of the crowd really makes a difference.

    JONELI-

    Neither. Like Mike said, it’s just one of them thangs, a natural phenomenon that develops on its own over time.

    MATT-

    I’ve probably collected about 100 minor league balls. I got most of them in 1995 when I was interning with the short-season Class-A Boise Hawks of the Northwest League. I got a dozen (or so) Pacific Coast League balls a few years back in Tacoma. I got another dozen from the South Atlantic League earlier this year in Greensoro. (I was there on May 5th and wrote a long entry about it, in case you want to check out my archives.) I got a Southern League ball in…like, 1996. I got an International League ball during a game in Pawtucket in 2000. And that’s about it. I’ve never gone out of my way to get minor league balls. If I ever happen to attend a minor league game, I’ll show up early (if I can) and bring my glove, but 99 percent of my ball-collecting energy is spent inside major league stadiums.

    MIKE-

    Well said. I’m glad I’m not the only one. I was starting to worry.

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