Cutest. Photo. EVER.

I get emails all the time from people who want advice about snagging baseballs. Back in April, a man got in touch and asked me how to get a ball for his very young son at Citizens Bank Park. I wrote back and gave him some suggestions, and he recently sent me the greatest response—and photo—of all time. I asked him if I could share it on the blog, and he said yes, so here it is…


Zack, thanks to your blog, and tips below, I was able to snag a ball for my
son, Colin. One of my lifelong goals was to get an MLB game-used ball, and
it came on the perfect day–Father’s Day with my dad and 2-year-old. (See

Better yet, it was tossed to us by none other than Ryan Howard. Now that I
see how easy it is, I look forward to passing the tips along to Colin when
he’s old enough to understand.

Thanks again.

-Jim Walls




    Zack –

    With your ball-snagging passion, intrepid blog, and generous nature, you have managed to bring joy to a man and his child (and probably his father as well) – plus catalyze a loving, grateful response. This combination of characteristics – and the result – are rare indeed in this world of minor & major cruelties. Mark me as a fan of yours, whatever else I may be.


    I agree with boodleheimer. In fact, I probably couldn’t have put it more eloquently myself.

    Anyway, the hats for the teams I am going to see this summer on my ballpark trip arrived in the mail a couple days ago.


    Hey Zack,

    Great picture!

    And thank you for being so kind and generous answering baseball questions and sharing ball-snagging knowledge. There must be a lot of ppl got their 1st major league ball because of you. I have learned so much about ball games reading your blog and book. Before, I go to ballgames simply collecting autographs that I leave usually at 7th inning trying to beat traffic. (Oh yeah, I live in Los Angeles area.) However, after I learn that I could set up ZackTrap, ask line-up cards and make ballpark panorama. I begin to enjoy ballgames much more.

    I still can clearly recall that when I used the glove trick 2 weeks ago first time. A female fan was shouting out “Oh my god!” A kid near me said “the glove is not going to hold it.” (like I have never tried it at home.) The usher one feet near me was in shock and speechless after my act. Another usher, like 10 feet away, was shouting out “YOU CAN’T DO THAT!” which scared the daylight out of me. It ended up he was joking. He came over checked the design of the glove with the other usher. Afterward, I had the usher taking a pic of me with the glove trick. Later on, I had the Pirate reliefer Masumi Kuwata signed the ball. (He used to be a super star player in Japan.) It is a day I would always remember.

    Btw, I am going to Dodgers Stadium on Thur and Petco Park on Sat.


    wow, thats a great pic. its a good thing that the kid didnt throw the ball back. ive seen that happen lots of times before, when the dad gives his son the ball, and his son looks at it like a vegatable, decides he doesnt like it, and chucks it back onto the field.

    redsox: prince has changed. he didnt say a word to me, not even a hello. well that just proves how making the bigs can change a guy.

    sammy: i get the OMG’s and the “it wont work” alot. i just love it when i get the ball, and people ask how do u do it, and i just walk away


    i guess he must have changed since i last saw him and ur rite..that is what the big leagues can do to a guy..but then again everyone in rookie ball is just excited that people want their autograph..i have even had guys thank me for asking them to sign!!!

  6. Zack

    Thank you soooo much. I really appreciate your response to this.


    Thanks to you as well. Glad you got your hats. That’s one of the keys to successful snagging.


    Okay, one more thanks. Why not.


    I still get a rush every time I use my glove trick (or “ZackTrap” as Rick Reilly of Sports Illustrated first called it). I’m glad I helped you to enjoy baseball more and to experience that rush for yourself.


    Yeah, it really IS a good thing. Stuff like that always seems to make it onto SportsCenter.


    Not much.


    Less than 40 hours ’til I leave for the airport. Tomorrow, I’m going to post some pics that’ll show EXACTLY where I’ll be sitting for the Home Run Derby and All-Star Game so you can look for me on TV.


    zack, are you going to count HR Derby balls in your collection?

    try to get the special gold ones that they use.

    i went to the yankke gm today with my camp, and we got there before the gates opened, at went straight to our seats!! :(

    but a counselor took me and 4 other kids to left for bp for about 20 minutes, but i didnt get anything.

    im not counting this game against my average for the year.


    oh, and i saw pat neshek pitch today.

    he has the oddest motion ever. i know its because of an injury, but it soooo wierd.

    it was funny cuz my dad said that matsui could hit him because he saw that in japan, and matsui did hit the game winning homer

  9. Zack

    Yes, I’ve decided to count Derby balls in my collection, including balls I get before the Derby during batting practice. But I won’t count any of the balls from the Futures Game since it’s played by minor leaguers. What do you think about that decision? I think your decision not to count today’s game at Yankee Stadium is a good one. I did the same thing way back in 1991 when I went to summer camp in Canada and we took a few trips to SkyDome and headed straight up to the 500 level. I didn’t think Matsui would do anything against Neshek. Your dad is smart.


    yeah i agree with your decision. the HR Derby is just like BP, only the balls and the bats and the players(although bonds is not participating) are juiced.


    Hey Zack, I have a question…

    (I haven’t been to a AAA game in a while)

    I was wondering if they do batting practice like they do in the majors? with the gates opening 2 hours early, and such..



    I just checked the site, and this particular stadium opens 1.5 hours prior to gametime..

    but they still do BP right?

    is snagging at a minor league stadium similar to a major league one?

  13. Zack

    I think it’ll be much harder to get balls at the Derby because of all the competition. It’ll be like BP with a full stadium and super strict security.


    Yeah, the teams should still take BP. Depending on the layout of the stadium and what lies beyond the outfield wall, you might want to consider staying outside the ballpark while the teams are hitting. Players are much less likely to throw balls into the crowd (it’s harder to identify them as well) so you should probably focus on getting balls that are hit. Even during the game, it might be better to stay outside the stadium behind the home plate grandstand for foul balls…although that’s not exactly the best way to WATCH the game.


    alright, cool.

    There seems to be an outfield lawn section, so I’ll probably hang out by there for BP (and maybe the game)

  15. Benjamin

    Cute or not, as a Phillies fan that child is in for a lifetime of suffering.

  16. Zack

    That’s the way to tell it like it is. But it could’ve been worse; he COULD have been a Cubs fan.


    ha…. ha…. ha….


    hey, we’re only 4.5 out now…

    and OVER .500!!!!



    I am going to San Diego this weekend and I need some advice. I was “studying” your old entries on PETCO Park. I will try to get autographs from players when they walk from hotel to the park. I notice the skybridge on one of the pic that the players seemed to come from the hotel that is connected to the stadium. Is that right? And for a 12:55pm Saturday game, how early should I arrive? (They have a 7pm game the day before.)



    I doubt there’ll be batting practice that day… but you never know.

    And they still have to warm up.


    sammy: get to the stadium before the gates open. just like the last comment said, the pitchers still warmup, and that happened to me last week, but i still got 5 balls. the one bad thing is that its likely that there will be TONS of little kids


    Hey Zack who are the good tossers and graohers on Cleveland? If anyone else know can you please help me out?


  22. Zack

    Yeah, but what hurts more…finishing 4.5 games out of first place…or 45 games?


    As “cubs0110” and “puckcollector” said, you should still get there early. I think PETCO opens two hours early every day, but if you get there *really* early, you’ll be able to wander into “The Park at the Park” and walk right down to that sandy/bleacher area in right-center field. I never heard anything about a hotel being connected to the ballpark, so I don’t know what to tell you. I think if you hang out on the street near those steps, you’ll do fine.


    Excellent advice.


    Way cool.


    Paul Byrd is nice. Jason Michaels is the opposite of nice. And…as is the case with most American League teams, I haven’t seen the Tribe much in recent years.


    uh 45 games?

    But don’t worry, the Cubs won’t be finishing behind ANYBODY this year. yes, this year.


    true playa i saw the tribe last year and cc sabathia seemed nice and so did jake westbrook…cc threw me a ball and jake signed for me

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