SAN FRANCISCO - One San Francisco Giants fan has made it his life’s mission to gather up as many “splash hits” as possible from AT&T Park that get sent out into the chilly bay waters of McCovey Cove.
It’s hard to miss Dave Edlund at Giants games.
“I’ve been a Giants fan all my life,” said Dave Edlund.
He’s at the ballpark about 40 times a year. But you won’t find him inside the stadium. Or for that matter, on land. You’ll find him out on the water in a kayak, trolling for home run balls.
Of the 163 so-called homers hit into the water in AT&T Park history, Edlund has retrieved 37 of those "splash hits," earning himself the nickname “McCovey Cove Dave.” He's also retrieved 73 game balls.
Edlund ticked off the skills that make him so successful.
“I would say the No. 1 attribute is being alert,” he said, adding that being a fast kayaker, and being in the right spot are close seconds and thirds.
“Once I get in my area it's hard for someone to compete with me because I am in the right area, I am a fast paddler,” he said.
Though - believe it or not – his success rate is actually as much about smarts as it is speed.
“There was another part that really turbo charged me, which was analytics,” he said. “I’m trying to use math to figure out when the ball is going to land and where.”
Then he explained his process: “Every player I study, every home run they hit, and I draw a map. The red dots represent the home runs where they hit. You want to position yourself where the concentration of home runs is the greatest. Some players hit their home runs down the line, I shift. Other times they hit toward the Ferry building, so I slowly paddle and take position.”
Edlund adds that while he prefers to be out on his kayak, he can also play outfield if he has too, like when the Giants play the Oakland Athletics at the land-based Coliseum.
“I'm amphibious,” he said. “Because I catch them on land and water.”