After taking an almost year-long hiatus (the last time I was here before this game was 8/15/12), I was back at Yankee Stadium for a three game series against the Angels:
And for the first time ever at Yankee Stadium, I had a person to take pictures of/for me during BP. It wasn’t intentional, though. As I waited in line as the first person in line, a man started waiting in line next to me. And after about a minute, he asked, “Are you one of Zack’s boys? I assumed so because you’re here standing in line so early.” It turns out this was Andy Bingham. (Who also has an picture-based MLBlog that you should check out. The link to it is on his name.) Anyway, he told me he has taken pictures of Zack Hample in the past for his blog, so he offered to do the same for me and this blog entry that you’re about to read.
However, right as I got in, I was glad that Andy wasn’t around to take pictures, because some Yankee hit a home run as I was checking for easter eggs, and so I turned towards the field, and then I jumped for the ball, but it tipped off of my glove, hit a seat behind me, and bounced back to the front row of the section, where one of the only other two kids in the section picked it up. A ball then got hit into the bleachers. Everyone else on the field level went back toards the field and snagging looking for future home runs, but I stuck around the bleachers, waited for the usher up there to retrieve it, and asked him for the ball:
But then I headed over to left for the second group of Yankees that I saw hit. Within seconds of me getting there, some Yankees righty hit a ball to my left. So I drifted over to the spot where the ball was headed, and caught the ball on the fly:
It was so soon after I got there that Andy, who was trailing me in the tunnel didn’t get there until I had put the ball back away in my backpack. Although, I pulled it back out for him to take a picture when he got there:
I will have to say that the catch stung a little. That was because earlier in the day, before I even got to the stadium, I had run down a foresty hill to get to the train that took me to the stadium. And since everything on said hill wasn’t exactly stable, I fell down and cut my hand on a rock. So when I told Andy about it, he took a picture of my hand slit:
So yeah, while I was excited to catch the ball, I would have maybe passed up catching ten baseballs on the fly that day. Thankfully, it would be last hit ball of the day. I then headed over into foul ground to try to get a ball from the Angels players who were throwing:
And interestingly enough, I ran into some fans I had seen the week prior at Nationals Park in the Red Seats:
It’s funny because we had talked for a while; myself, Dave Butler, and the father of the family, so to see him/them at a game in a different state within the span of a week was funny. But as far as the snagging down the line was concerned, there was none. I tried to get players’ attention:
but to no avail. And I’m not complaining; that’s just how it is some games, and this happened to be one of those games. It was then that Andy had to meet some Yankees representative for something or other. So that would be the last I saw of him that game.
Meanwhile, I saw that Josh Hamilton was crushing baseballs into the bleachers in right field, so I went up there:
But by that time, the only home run he hit into the bleachers was actually one that went way over my head. I didn’t take a picture (I should have), but if you’ve ever been to or seen Yankee Stadium, the ball almost cleared the bleachers and went into the concourse/walkway behind them.
My next ball came up in the bleachers, though, when a player I later identified as Nick Mardone fielded a ball in front of the Yankee bullpen and saw my Angels gear, he lofted a ball over the screen in front of the bullpen to me:
Well he actually lofted the ball over me, but I managed to scurry over and get it before anyone else could. That would be my third and final ball of BP. After BP I went to the ticket my “guest” for the game treated me to. And by “guest” I mean I told my former religious studies teacher I was in town and asked him if he wanted to catch a game while I was there. He then said yes and bought me a ticket for section 130. If you’ve never been to Yankee Stadium, this was the view from our seats:
I didn’t take a picture of him because I am always nervous about people being okay with their pictures being taken. I almost never initiate a picture of a person I’m meeting for the first time, so if you ever meet me, let me know if you want me to take a picture of/with you for this blog, because I probably won’t otherwise. I also saw Ricardo Marquez in the stands, but we didn’t talk much because I was hosting my guest, and I really wasn’t going to abandon him to talk to even a former MLB Fan Cave Dweller.Besides that, it was just a beautiful day at Yankee Stadium:
And a fun day too. (By the way, Trout’s New Jersey following can be seen in the left field bleachers. They’re the sea of red you can see out there.)
- 3 Balls at this Game:
- 184 Balls in 44 Games= 4.18 Balls Per Game
- 3 Balls x 37,146 Fans=111,438 Competition Factor
- 106 straight Games with at least 1 Ball
- 11 straight Games with 2 Balls
- 8 straight Games with 3 Balls
- 91 Balls in 25 Games at Yankee Stadium= 3.64 Balls Per Game
- 25 straight Games with at least 1 Ball at Yankee Stadium
- 12 straight Games with at least 2 Balls at Yankee Stadium
- Time Spent On Game 3:13-10:56= 7 Hours 43 Minutes
I just wanted to have a single place where people can see all of the 2013 gate times for all 30 stadiums because I know that especially in my first year ballhawking, it was a pain to look for the times thttps://mlblogsmateofischer.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post-new.phphe gates at different stadiums opened. And before you say anything, I know this is a complete rip-off of Erik Jabs’ entry. The reason I write it is that entry is two years old, so I figured we needed an updated version of it for the 2013 season. Disclaimer: these times are unofficial and are derived from a combination of personal experience and researching the teams’ websites as of January, 15, 2013. If you want to be 100% sure this information is correct and current when you plan to go to the ballpark, contact the team beforehand. So here we go:
Home Plate Gate opens 2 hours before first pitch is scheduled, except on day games (12:35p, 1:05p and 4:05p). On day games it will open 90 minutes before first pitch. All other gates open 90 minutes before first pitch every day.
All Gates open 2 hours before game time. (Pro Tip: You can see through the RF wall, so you can possibly get toss-ups even before the gates themselves open. If you’re hoping to get something during normal BP, though, you need someone to hold your place in line at one of the gates before you do this, because especially this year the bleachers get packed really early, so you should try your hardest to be the first person in the stadium.)
All Gates open 2 hours before game time.
“Chase Field opens one and a half (1.5) hours before each game Monday through Thursday and two (2) hours before each weekend game.”
(Pro Tip: You can get into the stadium even earlier by going through the “Friday’s” in left field.)
“Monday-Friday/Weekday Games – Rotunda and Hodges VIP Entrance open 2 hours before the game. All other gates 1 1/2 hours prior to the game.
Saturday & Sunday Games – Rotunda and Hodges VIP Entrance open 2 hours before the game. All other gates 1 1/2 hours prior to the game. Rotunda opens 2 1/2 hours before the game for Mets Season Ticket Holders.”
(Pro Tip: The Mets don’t allow guests, so you must actually have your own season ticket to get in early on the weekends.)
Citizens Bank Park:
Ashburn Alley Gate opens 2.5 hours prior to first pitch every day.
All Other Gates open 1.5 hours before game time on weekdays and 2 hours before game time on Saturday and Sunday.
(Pro Tip: When Ashburn Alley opens, you can only be in the left field of the bleachers. When the other gates open is when the rest of the stadium opens to the public.)
“Start Time – Gates Open
1:05 P.M. – 11:30 A.M.
3:05 P.M. – 1:30 P.M.
4:05 P.M. – 2:30 P.M.
7:05 P.M. – 5:30 P.M.
8:05 P.M. – 6:30 P.M.
The starting times of all games are tentative and subject to change due to Major League Baseball television agreements with ESPN and FOX. Time changes can potentially occur up to 10 days prior to a scheduled game date. Guests should be advised that game tickets will be honored on the game date listed regardless of the time change. Guests should be aware of this possibility. Log on to tigers.com or check other local media outlets for the time changes that may occur.
The Tiger Den, Tiger Club, Beer Hall, The Labatt Blue Light Jungle, MotorCity Casino Champions Club and Suite Levels open two (2) hours prior to the scheduled game time.
On select days throughout the year Season Ticket Holders have an exclusive early entry allowing them in the ballpark 2 hours prior to game time to watch batting practice from left field behind the bullpens to the statues in left-center field. Entry is through Gate C located on the corner of Adams and Brush Streets.”
“Gates A (Rockpile entrance) and E will open 2 hours prior to game time for Guests who want to view batting practice. Guests will be required to stay in the Left Field Pavilion area until the remaining ballpark gates open. Gates B, C and D will open 1 1/2 hours prior to game time. Gate opening times may vary if game is rescheduled.”
“Third base side Field & Loge Level and Left Pavilion gates open 2 hours prior to the start of the game. All other gates open 1 1/2 hours prior to the first pitch. All parking gates open 2 hours prior to the start of each game. Gate times may vary for special events such as Opening Day and the Postseason.”
“The ballpark opens two hours (120 minutes) before game start time on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and 90 minutes before game start time Monday — Thursday.”
(Pro Tip: Last year–although there’s no information for the upcoming season–members of Red Sox Nation got to enter the stadium on the Green Monster 2.5 hours early. The price–again, because there’s still no information about the 2013 season–last year was $15 for a one-time membership fee.)
Great American Ballpark:
All Gates open 90 minutes before the game.
Season ticket holders get to get into the stadium 2 hours before first pitch.
(Pro Tip: In 2012, I believe–there wasn’t anything on the site–there was a “BP Tour” where people could get in 2.5 hours early, so be on the lookout for that in 2013. The tickets to the tour are $15, but it could be well worth it with an extra hour of essentially ballhawking alone.)
And here are some great nuggets of information the previously mentioned Erik left as a comment: “In Cincy, there is a BP tour that leaves at 4:30 from the Hall of Fame Club and costs $17. Season Ticket Holders come in at 5:10 – at that time folks on the tour are permitted in the seating bowl to the Reds dugout, and 5:40 you can go anywhere when the rest of the gates open – usually a dash to left field for all the easter eggs.”
“All gates will open 1.5 hours prior to game time Fri – Sun. Gates A & E in the Outfield Experience will open 1.5 hours prior to game time Mon – Thurs. All remaining gates (Gates B, C & D) will open 1 hour prior to game time Mon – Thurs.”
Premium Gates open 2 hours before game time. All Other Gates open 90 minutes before game time. (Pro Tip: There are ways to get tickets that can get you in through the “premium” gates.
- “Gates open 2 hours prior to the scheduled start for all Marquee Games.
- In April, May, and September, gates open 90 minutes prior to the scheduled start of non-Marquee Games, 7 days a week.
- In June, July, and August, gates open 90 minutes prior to the scheduled start of non-Marquee Games Sunday-Friday and 2 hours prior on Saturdays.
- All gate opening times are subject to change.”
(Pro Tip: You can get into the stadium early through Friday’s Front Row Grill in left field. However, know this: There is a one-hour table limit, and there is a minimum bill (it was $30 when I went there last) so pre-arrange a meet-up with SOMEone to split the bill with, because 1. That’s a lot of extra money to spend. 2. One should probably not ingest $30 worth of food and beverage before ballhawking.)
Minute Maid Park:
All Gates open 90 minutes before game time.
Center Field Plaza Gate opens 2.5 hours before first pitch.
All Other Gates open 1.5 hours early.
(Pro Tip: When the main gate opens, people are always allowed into the left field and Red Seats in center field. However, they sometimes have the lower and upper seats in right field open when the main gate opens. If they aren’t open when the main gate opens, they, along with the rest of the ballpark will open with the rest of the gates. Foul territory is (almost) never open until 1.5 hours before game time.)
Gates open 1.5 hours before game time Monday-Friday, and 2 hours early Saturday & Sunday.
Oriole Park at Camden Yards:
The Eutaw Street Gates (A and H) open 2 hours before game time. (Pro Tip: Season ticket holders are allowed to go into the main seating bowl at this time while “regular ticket holders” must wait until 1.5 hours before game time, so see if you can get tickets from them. They’re nice people, so I’m sure you can get hooked-up.)
“Many ballpark gates open for admittance one and one-half (1 1/2) hours prior to the first pitch for Monday through Thursday games, and two (2) hours before the first pitch for Friday through Sunday games. The Park at the Park opens two and one-half (2 1/2) hours prior to the first pitch and allow guest access to the Park at the Park and the Padres Power Alley.”
“Gates open one and one half hours (1 1/2) prior to game time (Monday through Sunday) and two hours on Opening Day. The Riverwalk will open two (2) hours before weekday (Monday-Friday) games and two and one half hours (2 1/2) prior to weekend (Saturday-Sunday) games.” And a bit of information Erik himself gave about the gate situation”PNC Park Riverwalk opens at 4:30 Mon-Sat for night games. For day games, it opens 2 hours early, but there is no early entrance to left field during BP. You have to stay out on the riverwalk until 90 mins before first pitch.”
(Pro Tip: When the Riverwalk opens, Pirates season ticket holders into the left field seats. Like Oriole Park at Camden Yards, these holders are nice people too, so you can/should see if you can get one of them to bring you in (ideally beforehand) too, because they are allowed to bring in guests.)
“For all night games at Progressive Field (Monday – Saturday), Gate C will open at 4:30 p.m. to allow fans access to the Market Pavilion, Heritage Park and the Right Field Lower Reserved seats until 6:00 p.m. This will enable fans to watch the Indians take Batting Practice, as well as time to enjoy Heritage Park in the center field area. At 6:00 p.m. ALL gates will open. For 1:05 p.m. day games, all gates will open at 11:30 a.m. For all 12:05 p.m. day games, gates will open at 11 a.m. Special gate times exist for Terrace Club and Premium Seating guests.”
“First and Third Base Gates open two hours prior to game time for night games and one and one-half hours prior to game time for afternoon games. Home Plate and Center Field Gates at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington open one and one-half hours prior to game time for all games. Guests are encouraged to arrive early to watch batting practice, infield workouts and pre-game ceremonies. Gate openings are subject to change.” (Pro Tip: I’ve heard that season ticket holder get to go in a half-hour early and get to bring in a guest, so see if you can make friends before the gates open to possibly get in a little early.)
They actually have *nothing* on their site about the gates, so I’m going to go out on a whim and say they haven’t changed since when Erik wrote his entry, but if you’re reading this sentence, Malcolm, please enlighten us on the truth. By the way, if you want to check out Erik’s entry, this whole excerpt from it is linked to the entry itself:
Center Field and ‘Pen Gates open 2.5 hours before first pitch.
All Gates open 2 hours before the game starts.
(Pro Tip: Like most stadiums with one gate opening earlier than the others, when the ‘Pen and Center Field Gates open, you are limited to that part of the stadium and when the rest of the gates open, you can access the rest of the stadium.)
Gates open 90 minutes before the game Monday-Thursday.
Gates open 2 hours before first pitch Friday-Sunday.
(Pro Tip: Unless you have a particular spot that is essential to your ballhawking strategy, there is a small chance that you can get a ball from outside of the gates at Gate 34 in right field.)
See Target Field…minus the Pro Tip part.
“Main gates (Plaza, Museum & Guest Relations gates): 2.5 hours prior to game time
Bowl Seating gates: 2 hours prior to game time”
(Pro Tip: Again, you are limited to the left and center field seats for the first half-hour– the former of which is fortunately is one of the best sections of outfield seating in all of baseball–but 2 hours before the game begins, you can go into foul ground and the right field seats. So if there are a bunch of lefties or the left field seats are just packed, that’s when you can get out of there.)
U.S. Cellular Field:
“The U.S. Cellular Field gates open 90 minutes prior to game time, unless otherwise noted. On Kids Days, the gates will open two (2) hours prior to game time.”
(Pro Tip: This is only in the case of tickets being waaaay out of your price range; don’t try this if you can help it. But at “the Cell”, it is their policy that you *need* a field-level ticket to access the field-level seating no matter if it’s right as the gates open or anything. However, if you find yourself without a ticket for there, you can ask to visit something that only exists on the lower level–like a hat store or something; do your own research! And then, depending on the humanity of the usher, you can maybe get in there. (Credit: Sean Bigness))
All Gates open 2 hours before the game.
(Pro Tip(s): Like the other Chicago park, be conscious of where your ticket is. I have heard of some exceptions (although no one who has done it seems to know how they did it) but for the most part; if you buy a bleacher ticket, you can only be in the bleachers for the whole game, and vice-versa for a seating bowl ticket. So that’s the first thing. The second thing is: the bleachers are general admission. That means the first person gets the best seat. Naturally, this means people show up earlier for the bleachers. Thirdly, Wrigley Field–renovations and all–is still small in the left field bleacher portion of the stadium, so it’s possible to snag baseballs before you get in the stadium on Waveland Ave. Additionally, there are some (although substantailly fewer) fences in the outfield wall where one can see into the stadium, so it is also possible to get a player to toss you a ball while out there before the gates open.)
All Gates open 2 hours before first pitch.
(Pro Tip: Don’t let this fool you, unless you can splurge for a field-level ticket–because of the Yankees’ suckiness when it comes to fan relations–it’s more like a ballpark that opens 1.5 hours before the game because it’s there policy to kick anyone without a ticket for field-level seats 45 minutes after the gates. (So during the beginning of visitor’s BP.))
Sorted By Earliest Gate On Weekdays:(This discounts early-access stadium tour and such like those at Fenway Park and Great American Ballpark.)
2.5 Hours Early:
Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Petco Park, Progressive Field, Safeco Field, and Turner Field.
2 Hours Early:
Angels Stadium, AT&T Park, Busch Stadium, Citi Field, Comerica Park, Coors Field, Dodgers Stadium, Marlins Park (Premium Gates), Oriole Park at Camden Yards, PNC Park, Rangers Ballpark, Wrigley Field, and Yankee Stadium.
Chase Field, Fenway Park, Great American Ballpark, Kauffman Stadium, Miller Park, Minute Maid Park, Oakland Coliseum, Rogers Centre, Target Field, Tropicana Field, and U.S. Cellular Field.
Sorted By Earliest Gate Opening Time On Weekends:
2.5 Hours Early:
Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Petco Park, PNC Park, Progressive Field, and Safeco Field.
2 Hours Early:
Angels Stadium, AT&T Park, Busch Stadium, Chase Field, Citi Field, Comerica Park, Coors Field, Dodgers Stadium, Fenway Park, Marlins Park (Premium Gates), Oakland Coliseum, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Rangers Ballpark, Rogers Centre, Target Field, Tropicana Field, Wrigley Field, and Yankee Stadium.
1.5 Hours Early:
Great American Ballpark, Kauffman Stadium, Miller Park (? Read the whole Miller Park thing; it’s semi-confusing, and makes it impossible to categorize properly.), Minute Maid Park, and U.S. Cellular Field.
Oh, and before we even entertain the possibility, I’m not making this next year, so I suspect one of you reading this will have to pick up the torch next offseason. However, while you’re here, you can vote for what you’d like to see me write about next, if you haven’t already. Keep in mind you can vote for more than one entry topic. This is especially important this time because I’ve already begun writing the next entry by the time you read this:
And here’s the entry ideas that have been exhausted already:
1. Ballhawk Interviews- 33 votes
2. Stadium Profiles- 26 votes
3. Ballhawk Profiles- 33 votes
4. Dissect (a) Baseball(s)- 26 votes
5. Tour Target Field when there’s snow on the ground- 26 votes
6. Weird Observing Baseball Facts and Records- 28 votes
7. New Observing Baseball Icon- 17 votes
8. MLBlogs I Recommend- 33 votes
9. Observing Baseball Trivia- 32 votes
10. My Favorite MLB Players- 28 votes
11. Characters of Observing Baseball- 29 votes
12. Gate Opening Times of MLB Stadiums- 30 votes
243,658 Words Written so far…
Again it was back to Target Field for the fourth time in five weekdays and the sixth time in a week. The funny thing is, I really didn’t feel worn out by going to all of these games along with classes at all.
Once I got in, my initial plan was to run directly to the left field, but since Denard Span and Ben Revere were the first two hitters, I thought, “What the hey, I can run over to left field in a couple pitches if Josh Willingham comes up.” In waiting to head over to left field, I managed to snag a Ben Revere home run:
I then went to left field, and much to my dismay, Revere and Span put on a show (for them) while Willingham failed to hit a ball to the field level bleachers.
After this, I headed to the White Sox’s dugout, where too was Tony Voda:
Tony is the guy in the white shirt, by the way. I didn’t get anything by the dugout, but that was because I got impatient and headed back out to left field when I saw the White Sox were hitting mostly righties for the first group. Once again, I didn’t get anything there, but I did get pretty close to balls that ended up bouncing back towards the field after they hit in the bleachers. I just wasn’t judging the ball well, and since it wasn’t staying in place when it touched down, it was costing me.
Eventually, I ran into the seats in right-center field to try and get a ball there. While I was there, my friend Sean—who you may remember from two entries ago. As you may also remember, he’s a huge White Sox fan, so he was able to identify all of the White Sox in the outfield for me. But when he identified a guy in the outfield for me as Francisco Liriano, my first was, “No, that’s him?” Just because his haircut looked ever so slightly different from when he was with the Twins. Anyway, long story short, I asked Liriano for a ball, and he tossed it to me. Unfortunately, his throw was way short, so it took a second try to get it up to me:
I didn’t know it at the time, but this was a very special ball for me, because it marked the first ever time I had snagged 200 Balls in a season, as it was my 200th ball of 2012.
It was then that I headed over to the standing room section in right field. There were several balls hit there by Adam Dunn, but I just failed to judge any of them well enough to catch one. The highlight (or lowlight if you’re FSN/the Twins) was that Dunn hit a ball into Fox Sports North’s TV set-up in the standing room and the ball hit the TV there, breaking the screen:
The guy in the blue is the security supervisor for right field. If you ever go through Gate 34 at Target Field, you’ll see him.
After the group containing Adam Dunn and A.J. Pierzynski, I headed BACK to left field. The only problem was there wasn’t a way to have more than ten feet of mobility in the front few rows:
And if I wanted to go to left-center field to play for toss-ups, there were three problems all kind of shown in this picture:
1. There were a ton of kids crowding the front row.
2. Tony was playing the corner spot all the way in left-center field.
3. It wasn’t the White Sox, but rather their kids who were shagging balls in the outfield. Usually, the kids tend to throw way less baseballs into the crowd than their dads do, so that cut down on the opportunities.
The White Sox actually ended batting practice a little early. Why? They took fielding practice afterwards:
While this is an anomaly nowadays, I’ve seen it a couple of times. It’s still a strange surprise.
Anyway, while I probably would have gotten that in the extra BP time, I did manage to get a ball during this. The fielders went off in waves, so when A. J. Pierzynski came off the field, I called out to him as he was approaching the dugout. Unfortunately, he was right in the process of throwing the ball he had to a kid just as he made eye contact with me. I thought when he disappeared into the dugout that it was the end of that, but second later, a ball was rolled right across the dugout roof to me:
I’m assuming it was Pierzynski, but it could have been someone he told to toss me a ball. All I saw was a hand and a ball.
During the game I sat over where my view was this for the game:
What s that arrow you ask? In the third inning, Justing Morneau hit a foul ball waaaay over my head, which followed the path of the arrow I have drawn (okay so it’s not technically an arrow since there’s no head but trust me, I actually used the “arrow” tool; I just drew the head off the page). Anyway, as is always my custom, I turned around in case there was a deflection. What happened was the ball bounced off of the facing of the upper deck and bounced RIGHT to me. I didn’t even have to move an inch:
Oh my goodness. It was a bit surreal to me. I’ve never snagged two game balls in the same month, and here I had snagged a home run and a foul ball in consecutive games. Wow.
Unfortunately, that was it for the game, but I really didn’t care. I mean seriously, I can never be disappointed by a game in which I snag a game ball…unless of course I miss another game ball.
Oh, and I forgot to mention the giveaway that had attracted an excess of fans to Target Field this game. Yeah, since the Twins had just lost 6-0, I’m pretty sure I was the only one reppin’ my team this late after the game had ended:
(Special thanks to Tony for taking that picture of me).
- 4 Balls at this game (3 pictured because I gave 1 away)
Numbers 421-424 for my “lifetime”:
- 202 Balls in 48 Games= 4.21 Balls Per Game
- 57 straight Games with at least 1 Ball (My highest streak of this sort ever. The next highest streak was ironically broken in my first ever visit to Target Field.)
- 7 straight Games with at least 2-3 Balls
- 6 straight Games with at least 4 Balls
- 34 Balls in 9 Games at Target Field= 3.78 Balls Per Game
- 8 straight Games with at least 1-2 Balls at Target Field
- 7 straight Games with at least 3 Balls at Target Field
- 6 straight Games with at least 4 Balls at Target Field
- Time Spent On Game 3:41-11:14= 7 Hours 27 Minutes
(For the record, the glove gets HOT when exposed to direct sunlight, so you need something underneath you so you won’t burn. I used my Indians shirt.)
Anyway, since it was a Friday and the gates were opening two hours early (as opposed to 1 1/2 hours Monday through Thursday), Josh Willingham’s group was still hitting, and so I went to left field right away:
Right as I got there, Josh Wilingham launched a ball in my direction. I got in line with it, but I could tell the ball was sailing over my head, so I started going up the bleachers. Just as I was five feet from the landing spot, the ball landed and deflected back towards the field. Gaaah! Here is a diagram if you’re having trouble visualizing it:
That wasn’t the end of my left field woes, though. Willingham hit another ball three sections to my right. I could tell the ball was headed right over the heads of the people in the section, so all the ball had to do was stay in the spot it landed and I would easily scoop it up. Instead, the ball deflected back my way, but it tailed back towards the field. Since I was running full speed through a row of bleachers, I couldn’t stop and change directions, so it landed right by where I had just run by and some other person picked it up. Again a diagram for the people who aren’t able to visualize this:
(The dotted arrow is my running path while the solid arrow is the ball’s deflection. That guy standing on the bleacher wasn’t there when the ball landed there.)
After that, Willingham hit yet another ball over the fence. This time, I had a beat on it. I ran about fifteen feet to my right and made the catch:
That felt really good as it was my first ever ball at Target Field I had caught on the fly.
After that, I headed over to the Indians dugout as they warmed up, but I got shutout by the infielders. I was going to stay and try to get a ball from a pitcher, but I saw there was a mostly-lefty group nearing their second round of swings in the batting cage. So…. I headed out to right field and readied myself.
My first ball out there was hit by Carlos Santana and would start a theme for me: balls that went over my head but I managed to beat people out for. As the name of the theme suggests, the ball went over my head and to my left, but when it bounced, I played the deflection and scooped up the ball before anyone else could:
I don’t know who hit my next ball-it might have been Santana again, but I don’t know-but the same exact thing happened; except this time it went over my head and to my right:
The last ball from this group of hitters came when Asdrubal Cabrera hit right in the middle of the section and over my head:
That would be ball number 4 for those of you keeping score at home. I didn’t really realize it at the time, but my next ball would be career number 400. I actually had been making a big deal about #400 back in New York, but I guess the magic of it wore away as it kept taking me longer and longer to get there. Anyway, as much as I would have liked #400 to be hit, I’m perfectly fine with what ended up happening. When a ball got hit to the warning track to my right, I looked over to see who was retrieving it. I couldn’t recognize practically anyone else on the Indians, so I was relieved when Chris Perez got the ball. Not only is Perez very distinguishable with his long hair, but he is one of- if not THE- nicest players in all of baseballs when it comes to toss-ups. When I yelled out a request at him, he turned around and kindly obliged:
It took me a few minutes to realize it was number 400, which fortunately didn’t cost me. Had there been a kid with a glove, I might have given him that ball. This mistake actually happened to me with ball number 200. STILL, there was no kid to give the ball away to. I mean, yeah, there were kids, but none with gloves. I have truly never seen anything like it. I don’t know if this is true, but it may have been my longest streak ever without giving away a ball. (I had caught five at this point.)
Then the next group of Indian hitters came up to the plate. A couple rounds in, Casey Kotchman hit a ball to my right, so I ran over and made the catch:
After that, I FINALLY found a kid with a glove two sections away and gave him the ball:
My next ball came when an Indians pitcher threw a ball to a kid in front of me, but sailed him by two feet. I was right behind him, so I picked the ball up and naturally gave it to the kid.
I then headed over t right field for the final group of BP. There, I convinced Joe Smith to toss me a ball for my eighth and final ball of the day:
As impressive as this is, I feel I really could have done much better. In addition to the balls I detailed that I missed in left field at the beginning of batting practice, there were countless other in right field. Why do I tell you this? I don’t want any sympathy or anything (mostly because it was *me* messing up my opportunities); it is because I might have passed the Target Field record of twelve had I been on my game. Oh well, I’ll have plenty of other shots at it.
As for the game, it was freezing. I guess I should have expected that when I came to Minnesota for college. What made matters worse was I was out in the standing room section in right field where the winds came through. It was so cold, in fact, that I actually bought food at the ballpark. I usually never do since it adds on a considerable expense if I do it with any sort of regularity. Anyway, to warm me up, I got a bucket of mini-donuts:
They look pretty vile from that picture, but they were absolutely amazing. And since they were baked right on the spot, they served to warm me up for a couple innings. This, however, could not make up for the Twins’ loss as they had gone up 4-0 only to lose 7-6. Since I was playing home runs the whole game, that was it for snagging.
- 8 balls at this game (6 Pictured because I gave 2 away)
- 8 Balls x 30,111 Fans= 240,888 Competition Factor
- 52 straight Games with at least 1 Ball
- 13 Balls in 4 Games at Target Field= 3.25 Balls Per Game
- 3 straight Games with at least 1-2 Ball(s) at Target Field
- 2 straight Games with at least 3 Balls at Target Field
- Time Spent On Game 2:15- 11:38= 9 Hours 23 Minutes
So… I think I’ll start off the entry with a “Before The Gates Open” video:
If you didn’t get it from my video, this was my view of the field when I first got in:
No, my first ball of the day came when the Rangers started throwing. Nelson Cruz tossed a ball to me, but it sailed over my head where Greg Barasch picked the ball up. Went all the way to the ball bucket and picked a ball out of there:
(Do you see him? He’s the one closest to the bucket with the ball in his hand.) He then launched that ball over my head with relative ease from over 200 feet away. When I ran up the stairs chasing the ball, it bounced back towards the field and over my head where another fan got it. Cruz then got a third ball. This time, I made sure to be up higher on the staircase. He threw the ball, and I saw it was falling short, so I ran down the stairs, cut into the row, and caught the ball. All in all, it was a fun experience. Here’s the ball as Cruz headed off to right field:
My next ball came when I headed to the left field seats in fair territory. Ian Kinsler hit a ball that I could tell wasn’t going to reach me on the fly but might reach me after bouncing off someone’s hands. It bounced off some hands, off a seat; it then went behind me, and it then bounced off a glove behind me, where it landed in the row behind me and I picked it up. It was in this general area that I snagged it:
After this it was time for Josh Hamilton’s group. All of us four ballhawks who had met at Gate 6 had the same idea: go to right field. For the record, I was the first one out of the left field section, but the other three followed seconds after. So, on our way to right field, we divvied-up the right field seats as to not get in each other’s ways, Zack got the field level seats, and Ben got the bleachers:
There, I had one mission in mind: Get a ball from Joe Nathan. (He was/is one of my favorite players ever for his role on my beloved Twins.) Here was my view of him:
Unfortunately, I wasted all of the remaining batting practice up there, but I *was* able to make it down to the dugout just as the players were running off, and I got a ball from a player I can best identify as Mark Lowe:
After batting practice, I met up with a few ballhawks in the left field seats:
The people- left to right- are:
1. Ben Weil– A ballhawk best known for having the biggest collection of jerseys in the Milky Way. (If you want to see just how big, I put a link to his name for a reason.) However, Ben purposely pulled off his beautiful Rangers jersey to display the shirt you see in the picture.
2. Greg Barasch– Probably the best ballhawk at amassing as many balls in a single game as he can in the country (even if he DOES always go for third-out balls at the games he goes to).
3. Matthew Latimer– A reporter for MLB’s Cut4, who may or may not interview me next season at a Yankee game if there’s a slow news day.
4. Zack Hample– The man, the myth, the sweater (that’s why he’s holding out his two-shaded shirt out).
5. Moi- I’m holding out three fingers because it was the third game in a row Zack and I had been to a game together.
6. Mark McConville– A ballhawk who you saw towards the end of the video. We’ve seen each other at quite a few games considering how many games he’s been to (12).
As for the game, Hiroki Kuroda threw a complete game two-hitter. Also, I personally found this stat amazing:
• 3 Balls at this Game
Numbers 363-365 for my lifetime:
• 143 Balls in 33 Games= 4.33 Balls Per Game
• 3 Balls x 44,533 Fans= 133,599 Competition Factor
• 42 Games with at least 1Ball
• 18 straight Games with at least 2 Balls
• 86 Balls in 23 Games at the New Yankee Stadium= 3.74 Balls Per Game
• 23 straight Games with at least 1 Ball at the New Yankee Stadium
• 8 straight Games at the New Yankee Stadium with at least 2 Balls
• Time Spent On Game 3:58- 10:12= 6 Hours 14 Minutes