Fate of Virginia Tech homerun hammer celebration lies in NCAA vote

Published: Jul. 22, 2022 at 2:55 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - Virginia Tech’s homerun hammer has been called the best prop in college sports and helped a talented team celebrate some of its biggest moments.

The slamming started in 2019 with an offense in search of an identity.

“We just started telling our guys to hammer the baseball, hammer the baseball,” remembers hitting and catching coach Tyler Hanson. “Eventually it caught on and I went to Lowe’s and bought a hammer.”

Simply put, they nailed it.

“Slamming the hammer, it builds our energy in the dugout, it builds the fan’s energy, people come to see it,” explains Hokie infielder Nick Holesa. “I think it brought more people in and we use it as part of our recruiting, like ‘hey we’re the hammering Hokies’.”

However, a proposed change by the NCAA Baseball Rules Committee could cause the hammer to get the axe.

“What we’re hearing is that they want to get rid of props. They believe it’s taunting,” says Coach Hanson. “I can tell you it has zero to do with the other team. It’s bigger than the team and us taunting somebody else because that’s not what it’s about.”

The rule would specifically ban the use of celebratory props outside the dugout.

This past season, Tech had to opt for an ‘air hammer’ going into Super Regionals following a NCAA ban on props.

“I know it does affect the guys and it actually affected our fans too because throughout the Super-Regional, the fans had signs that said, ‘free the hammer’,” he adds. “Some teams have the fur coat and the helmet. That stuff is all great.”

As of now, the team hasn’t nailed down how they’ll adjust if the ban goes through.

The NCAA will take a vote on the prop ban outside the dugout and other proposed changes August 11.

“I would tell the people who are making the decision that it’s about us connecting with our fans and hopefully creating future Hokies and more fans,” says Hanson.

“I’ll remember 40, 50 years from now slamming the hammer for the first time,” describes Holesa. “It’s something you’ll remember for a lifetime. It’s just something special that we started and would love to continue.”

Copyright 2022 WDBJ. All rights reserved.