Back in 2004, I sat in the first row along the right field line. These seats were right behind the rolled up tarp and were also right behind the ballboy for that side of the field (I hesitate to call him 'boy' because he appeared to be about 25 years old).
Anyway, during a similar conversation with him, he claimed to me that he would be fired on the spot if he gave a ball away in the stands. The only exception would be if a Reds player directed him to do so (which Kearns did a few times that night).
FWIW, ball 'man' appeared to be deadly serious about his claim. So much, in fact, that I think it made him nervous to even discuss the policy with me.
"Uhm...I may have said too much already
Not quite THAT bad...but I think you get the picture.