ESPN goofs; Des Moines Register wins

I have two snag-related stories to share…


1) Last week in Oakland, a teenaged ballhawk named Warren Laufer got screwed by ESPN. Basically, what happened is that he snagged a game home run ball off the bat of Bobby Abreu, and then 10 minutes later he grabbed a foul ball hit by Kevin Kouzmanoff. Not bad, huh? Well, one of the TV cameras zoomed in on him after the foul ball. It showed him switching balls before giving a ball to a little kid — and that’s when things went downhill. The clip went viral, and ESPN made Warren look like a bad guy for giving away a phony ball. It turns out that that’s not actually what happened. Click here to read Warren’s blog entry about it. Truly fascinating stuff. Warren later demanded an apology, and it looks like he may have gotten it. (Warren, if you’re reading this, let us all know how it turned out.)


2) In other news, another fellow ballhawk named Phil Joens recently had a big article written about him in the Des Moines Register. Click here to check it out. You’ll see that he does most of his snagging at the Independent League level, but hey, pro ball is pro ball, and what else are you supposed to do when you live hundreds of miles from the nearest major league stadium? Before Phil was interviewed for this article, he contacted me to get some advice on how to deal with the media. Then, evidently, when he was being interviewed, he mentioned me to the reporter, so my name ended up appearing in the piece. If you read the article, don’t miss the two-minute video segment, and while you’re at it, check out Phil’s blog.
That’s it for now.


  1. chasicle

    I haven’t seen the not top 10 and heard what they said about it there, but I don’t understand what the big deal was even if he DID switch out the ball. Why would friends/family/teachers make a big deal about it? It’s his ball, he can do what he wants with it and give a different one away if he wants.

    But yes, the video definitely looks like he gave the girl he sat down with the ball we see him picking up, and then pulling out a ball on his way down to the family and giving that one away.


    Hey Zack-
    The article in the Des Moines Register was great. I actually live in Iowa and read the article in the paper yesterday. It was really surprising to see it. Living in Iowa is quite interesting when deciding which MLB team you want to see. If you are willing to drive about 4-6 hours in any direction from where I live you can choose from about 5 different teams. There are also a couple minor league teams within close range.


  3. padreleigh

    Hey Zack….and everyone….

    Interesting night. Adrian Gonzalez hit a home run right at me in the 4th inning. Since it was an oppo shot it tailed away from me at the last moment just out of reach. Another kid to my right went for it, but tanked it. It hit his wrist above his glove and deflected into my arm. After that it went down into an empty seat and the kid’s dad got it because he was just sitting there. I’ve never been hit by a deflection of a live home run before. It kind of hurt a little. It would have been nice to claim my second Adrian Gonzalez homer. Maybe next time. Then, later ANOTHER earthquake hit during the game. What a weird night. We had an earthquake at the game this past weekend too. Anyway, you all can check out the highlight. So close…..


    That was a sweet article. I liked it a lot.


    Sorry you got hosed by ESPN (or is it NESN?). Welcome to the club. We get hosed by them every night on the West Coast.


  4. zackhample

    It’s not a big deal, or rather, it shouldn’t have been. The toddler that he gave the ball to wouldn’t have known the difference if it were a Little League ball, but ESPN still made it look like a shady operation. You know how it goes. These 24-hour news networks have to create stories and find things to report, so they pick on the smallest details.

    Four to six hours is quite a trek. Yikes.

    Wow, that’s insane…and bad luck with the ricochet. That has happened to me on foul balls during games, but never a home run.

  5. yankeehater626


    Yea, ESPN put an apology up on the Sportscenter website and Around the Horn sent out a twitter. Of course, the sportscenter apology got the story wrong again….but at least it was closer. Thanks for blogging about it.

    I had my first non Angel Stadium MLBlogger meeting on Monday. I met Todd and Tim. I think its really cool how this has advanced into a whole community. Hope you come out here in the near future.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s