Some teams mark the sweet spot on their baseballs to discourage employees from stealing them and getting them signed. I’ve snagged a bunch of marked balls over the years, but I’ve never seen one like this:

It was snagged in Milwaukee by a woman named Sue who got in touch (after she saw me on TV at the Home Run Derby) and asked if I knew what “Cha” meant. She said, “I got this tossed to me from Nilson Robledo from the Nationals in 2006, who got it from another player.”

I’m stumped. Any theories?


  1. puckcollector@optonline.net

    Well, it has that upside-down “u” on top of the “a” so it might be another language.

    Or the guy just wanted to say hello.

  2. towncrier18@hotmail.com

    In Mandarin, “chǎ” means 3 things:

    1. to diverge; to open (as legs)

    2. open seam of a garment; shorts; panties

    3. to tread on, walk through

    By the looks of the first two definitions, whoever wrote it, it was someone after your own heart, Zacky! :)

  3. gregorybarasch@yahoo.com

    Maybe someone on the Nationals was just trying to screw with us, and we’re falling into his trap by discussing it here? In other words, yeah, I have no idea.

    I guess you’ll always be able to hold that long comment over me. So the story about my double tickets for Tuesday: originally, me dad’s coworker/friend had regular tickets as part of his seven-pack which he bought before the season. Two weeks ago, he realized he inadvertently chose tickets for two consecutive games (the 24th and 25th). So he sold the Tuesday tickets to my dad for like half price (we were going anyway). Then we heard about the bleacher tickets being available online for $5.00, and my dad gave the original tickets back to his friend. The next day, we tried to buy the bleacher tickets online (the only way they were available), but we couldn’t get past the annoying “waiting room” page (because our internet connection *****). So the next day, my dad asked for the tickets BACK from the friend. And while he was at work, I tried the bleacher ticket online thing again, and got through. My dad realized it might be fun to have tickets to both parts of the stadium (and to be able to move around during BP), and the bleacher seats were cheap anyway, so we bought a pair of seats out there. It was a whole stupid series of events, but it worked out well. (Long story, but really not that interesting.) Anyway, I’m looking forward to spending some quality time out in the bleachers in BP. You know how when you’re in the LF loge, you always hear balls slamming down into the Picnic Area, and some little kid or his father calmly walks over and picks up the ball because they’re the only people out there? Well I’m hoping it’s like that, except I hope to actually catch the balls.

    There’s a chance I’ll be at Shea on Wednesday too, but it’s a small chance. Any reason you chose Philly over Shea for Tuesday, or just the obvious anything-is-better-than-Shea thing? As in, are you being filmed or something?

  4. andrekimjr@hotmail.com

    maybe it meens sweet spot in spanish
    but please do tell me if your going to this wednesdays game

  5. markshark22@yahoo.com

    chicken hill animation… i don’t know. i just like thinking up stupid names.

  6. sammywu17@hotmail.com

    Here is the link to the Papi news. I don’t understand that players who already make so much money playing baseball would bother sign contract to sign baseball.


    Here is picture of me and Leigh:


    Leigh snagged 2 balls. No, I didn’t snag 3 balls. Instead, these are 3 signed balls.

    Here is picture of what I got on Sat, include Tony Gwynn poster:


    Top to down of the balls are Rollins, Howard and Hamels.

    As u can see I didn’t get any on sweet spot, however I usually do.

    Whenever I try to get auto, this is how I hold a ball. (For right hand signer)


    It is what it looks like in player’s point of view.


    Notice that I didn’t hold the ball like that randomly. There are 3 reasons why I hold the ball like that.

    1. The grip allows me reaching out the longest distance possible.

    2. The sweetspot is facing player.

    3. Lastly, notice that on the player point of view picture, the pen is at right side. The reason is that it is grip for right-handed signer. Players are more likely to sign my ball if he sees the pen is on the right side of the ball, making it easier for him to grab and sign. If it is left-handed signer, I would hold my pen on the other side.

    But not always players would sign on sweetspot, some would flip the ball, other would sign just below the seam of sweetspot due to bigger space. However, I don’t really care too much where players sign. As long as they put their name of the ball, I am happy.

    Oh yea, Tony Gwynn got his statue revealed in park in the park. There was a tribute to Tony event on Sat.


  7. Chris


    I have never seen a ball like that before. I have only seen the balls with the stamp that say “Practice”. How many balls do you have that say practice??


    Ps- What games you going to coming up??

  8. puckcollector@optonline.net

    Man, i hope A-Rod can slow down abit. I want to see him hit 500, and try to catch it.

  9. Zack

    Yeah, the little mark above the ‘a’ does make it look like another language. I agree about A-Rod. I’ll be blogging about him soon.


    Very nice indeed. Thanks.


    Why didn’t I think of that?


    That was an excellent story, and I’m glad you told it. How did you even find out about the bleacher option? I’m jealous, and I’m glad I won’t be there tomorrow. I’m going to Philly with my mom, and tomorrow is the best day for her. I still don’t know if I’m being filmed. I think it’s a lost cause. I’ll shoot another email to the producer right now…


    I wonder how you DO say “sweet spot” in Spanish. I probably won’t know until Wednesday if I’m going to Shea. I might be too tired from the night before. The weather might be bad. I might decide I don’t want to be there if I have to leave early. Etc. So check back in and read the comments over the next couple days.


    Certified Horsemanship Association?


    I love all the pics, especially the one of you and Leigh. It’s nice to finally see what you guys look like. I think it’s really cool that you put so much thought into how you hold the pen and the ball. That DOES make sense, and believe me, I understand the importance of teeny details.


    I’m not sure how many “practice” balls I have. Probably a few hundred. I’ll be blogging soon about my upcoming games.

  10. yayminh@gmail.com

    Maybe a chinese ballplayer was just having a little fun from the looks of towncrier’s translations, haha

    Oh and Zack, I just bought your ‘Watching Baseball Smarter’ book from barnes and noble. i tried looking for it before, but I never saw it until today

  11. mike.los@lhsc.on.ca


    Obviously this ball has been signed by none other than the most wanted man on your list of stolen balls — “Gustavo Chacin” of the Toronto Blue Jays…

    Chacin just wants to keep track of all the balls he now signs and tosses to his loyal fans in the stands…

    Just think, you could be the next owner of a personally stamped “Gustavo Chacin” batting practice baseball. Yahoo!

    Now you know what pitchers do when they are on the disabled list…

  12. Zack

    How many Chinese players can you think of? Thanks for getting my book! Hope you like it.


    Nice theory.


  13. markshark22@yahoo.com

    chucking hickie applesnot. i have no idea where i got that name. no idea at all.

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