Recently I had the chance to finally see the film Ballhawks. The film chronicles the men who chase baseballs on the streets outside of Wrigley Field in Chicago.
Sheffield and Waveland are two of the most famous streets in sports as players, both Chicago Cubs and visitors, attempt to launch baseballs out of the stadium and onto the streets. Waiting, glove in hand, in those streets are men and boys alike. Some have been there for decades and some a new to the game on the streets.
The men who wait come rain or shine are interesting. There is Moe the “King of All Ballhawks”, Super Dave the “Bad Boy Ballhawk”, Rich the “Elder Statesmen”, and George the “Rookie”. They are all out there for different reasons. Some could no longer afford tickets to the games, so they took to the streets with their gloves.
The main characters have caught thousands of balls. They all have their spots and their routines. Their lives are as varied as any other group.
The film follows them through the 2004 season when the Cubs fell apart at the end of the year to lose out on the Wild Card spot. Then the following season as they also head to spring training, but not for the same reasons as most fans. They head to spring training and use it as their own spring training to get ready for the season of catching balls.
It’s an interesting film as you get an inside look at some of these Ballhawks. A few of them keep miticulous records of all the information from their catches.
However, not everyone in the film seems to think these guys are enchanting. Harry Teinowitz, a Chicago radio personality, seemed to think they were a bit more like losers than anything else.
I can’t say I fully agree with Teinowitz, but I did find I was tuning out after awhile of the film. It’s well made and even has Bill Murray as the narrator, but it seemed to go a little too long.
If you are a huge Cubs fan, I would say give it a go. It’s an interesting part of Cubs history, but the characters themselves weren’t as captivating as I had hoped.
You can find more information at the Ballhawks website or watch it on YouTube’s movie channel. Check out the trailer below and decide for yourself.
Eric Bynum is Managing Editor here at BaseballdeWorld. He spent three years as an ESL teacher in South Korea, and is now working on his master's degree in history with a focus on baseball and WWII. He has played and/or written about baseball for the past 30 years and is an avid Atlanta Braves fan.