Tagged: Diamondbacks

8/23/11 Diamondbacks at Nationals: Nationals Park

I would rather forget this day as quickly as I possibly can. This three game series was supposed to be my redemption for a horrible trip to the mid-west (snagging wise). Just about everything went wrong that could have gone wrong. Let’s go through the list shall we.

1. My bus broke down and I had to switch buses causing a 30 minute delay at the very least.

2. I got to Washington 15 minutes after the earthquake that day and as a result the roads were blocked off and I arrived to Union Station (our final destination) at 3:30 which was 6 hours after we left New York. Due to the earthquake, Union station was closed and I couldn’t take the metro from there. Here is the crowd gathered there:

3. I had to walk about 2 miles with my backpack that was packed like a suitcase, in 90+ degree heat in my long pants and sweatshirt that I had on because the bus is always pretty cold, to the nearest train station and get on that. Though, I can be thankful I didn’t get to Washington like 30 minutes later because this was the traffic:

4. After finally getting on the train itself and riding my initial stops seamlessly and slowly, I ran into a bit of a crowd at my transfer station:

The crowd was like ten people deep all the way across a platform that was about 500 feet wide. So, it took a few trains for the 10th person back to get on a train because only so many people can fit on one train. Given the fact that the trains were running at reduced speeds for workers to make sure the tunnels were structurally sound and every other train was different at this same stop, it wasn’t a surprise that I got to the ballpark an hour and twenty minutes after I left Union Station at 4:50.

5. Due to the delayed metro etc., Nationals Park was understaffed and made us wait until 6:40 to enter the park. For example, here is a guard who usually supervises the whole let-in-the-people-at-4:30-and-make-sure-everything-goes-smooth actually setting up a gate:

6. The gates didn’t open until 6:40 which was 20 minutes before the game was scheduled to start and this is what I felt like:

Oh and want to see all the productive work I was getting accomplished:

I took the picture with some thought process in mind that I as going to explain here but it was along the lines of: “Usually that sign says WELCOME TO NATIONALS PARK but the fact that the gates aren’t open makes the sentence WE COME TO NATINALS PAK” For those who don’t know, the Nationals had a jersey mistake a few years ago where Majestic Athletic actually  spelled their name as “Natinals” on the jerseys of Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn. Since then, it has been a running joke in baseball and beyond to call them the Natinals whenever they are trying to be put in a negative/mistake prone light and it as interesting that the bars left this message. I know it’s a bit confusing but it made sense in my head at the time. Oh and the “we” that the modified inscription was referring to was this whole pack of people that came to the ballpark but were still waiting to get in:

7. While I was at the gate waiting for it to open, I got into a discussion about snagging baseballs with a kid who was about 10 and with his dad and got ridiculed by him for only snagging two baseballs at US Cellular in my last game.

8. The final and most painful of the day’s misfortunes was during the game itself. So of course I will take you step by step through how exactly I messed this up. First of all, the video of this situation is here. It would be a video of Sean Burroughs’ first Home Run in five years due to substance abuse problems, which also happened to drive in the only two runs of the game. Now this is no Josh Hamilton story but it would have been nice to catch part of such a nice story and had I, who knows, he might have asked for it back because it meant so much to him.

Anyway, I will show you what to look for in the video.

1. Seconds 3-7 show me running across two sections towards where I thought the ball was headed, the ball hit off the hands of a person to whom the ball was hit, hit off my hand, bounce into a seat in the row in front of me and roll me reach down to grab it. Here I am beginning my run to the ball:

I apologize for the blurriness but this is from the video I linked to and the camera is moving. The arrow on the left is where I was sitting and the arrow to the right is pointing to the blurry reddish figure as I was wearing my  D-Backs jersey. This next screen shot shows the moment about a half a second before the ball touched down:

The left arrow would be pointing to me and the right pointing to the guy off whose hands the ball bounced. Here the arrows represent the same things as they did in the last picture but it is while the ball is bouncing off of my hand:

2. Seconds 12-13 show the person in the row behind me holding the ball up:

The left arrow would be the guy with the ball in his seat and the right arrow would be me still looking for the ball. What happened was that the ball fell into the seat and I started looking for the ball in the seat but when it wasn’t there I started looking in the row in front of the seat and so forth when I noticed that everyone was looking behind me. This two seconds or so on the video actually document me looking at their faces and turning back to come to the sad realization that I had completely missed the ball. Let me put you in my head a little further by explaining how confused I was at this moment. I would have understood how the ball ended up in his hands but it had been traveling forwards and the person who was in possession of it was sitting down. I had no idea how this happened until I looked at the tape and saw that….

3. Seconds 48-54 show a replay of what happened in the seats and reveal this:

If you are confused as to what you are looking at I don’t blame you. the right arrow is just to show where I was. You can sort of see my maroon-ish jersey peeking out between the bald guy’s arm but the important thing is the left arrow, which shows the guy who ended up with the ball reaching through my legs to snatch up the ball. What I figured out later was that the ball was indeed wedged in the seat for how brief a moment but when I or the other people converging on the ball hit the seat towards the field the seat created a ramp of sorts for the ball and it shot through my legs just as I was searching for it in the seat.

9. Oh and there was something the camera didn’t pick up: the guy threw the ball back. Why would you go through all that effort to get the ball if you’re just going to throw it back onto the field.

By the way, here is the path I had to take to get to the ball in the first place:

The two connected arrows show the path I ran and the lone arrow points out the guy that ended up with the ball.

I don’t want to say, though, that it was just a day of bad breaks because there were two positives that happened.

1. I did get to see the Nationals top three prospects get honored and have their first taste of stardom:

2. There were people that saw my effort. This group of four:

commented a few times on how far I ran and what an effort I had given and eventually gave me this in the ninth:

Apparently they had gone to the Nats’ team store and bought that for me. It was a very kind gesture and as they say made my day. The end.

4/24/11 Diamondbacks at Mets: Citi Field

Today was the first day of trying a new strategy. I first went out to left field but once I got there, I saw that the season ticket holder bp field spot had actually grown:

sth bs 42211.JPG
On Friday, it stopped before the Shea sticker on the wall. Here it covers a whole new section.
As you can tell by where I took this picture from, I decided that I would go to right field because no one was there and the Mets were going against a righty pitcher in Armando Galaraga (more people taking bp left handed).
There I got rejected in my request for a ball from five different players and a bullpen catcher in three different languages (Ouch!). Yeah, most of them *did* hear me.  I got laughed at by Ryota Igarashi and his translator, flat out denied by DJ Carrasco (although it occurs to me that he might not understand spanish as he was born in Arizona), and probably not heard by R.A. Dickey and Dave Racaniello.
Back to left field… I came back to left field as the Diamondbacks started hitting and the season ticket holders started to vacate the field. I wish I had been there for Mets bp as although there were not many balls thrown or hit I forget that with some bp before people get there, there are now easter eggs to be found.
Even with the elapsed time this:
left bp 42411.JPG
was the view to my left.
This to my right:
right bp 42411.JPG
but the person who shagged the most balls by far in the outfield, J.J. Putz, did not throw a single ball into the stands (while I was there). Here he can actually be seen asking for a ball from another player so that he can throw it in:
JJ Putz 42411.JPG
(He’s the one in red)
Couple that with the fact that the Diamondbacks only hit two Home Runs while I was there and you have a slow day in straight away left. My first ball actually came when I saw a player hit a line drive to left center, ran over and was rewarded by Chris Young (of the Diamondbacks) for being the only D-Backs “fan” in that section for ball #1 on the day.
While taking the picture of that ball is when my camera died so the rest of the entry is writing.
My next ball came when Gerrardo Parra cam across a ball, was about to throw the ball back, and heard someone that actually knew his name ask him for a ball in Spanish. That fan would be me. So he tossed me the ball for #2 on the day.
Nothing else came my way for the rest of the day because of Mr.Putz and his crew of Barry Enright and David Hernandez. I was satisfied but did not want to be stuck in left field as the Mets would be 2/3 lefty and the D-Backs had 4 lefty hitters. So at 12:20 I made my way over to foul ground to go for third out and foul balls.
The very first inning I got Xavier Nady’s third out ball for ball#3. Getting that so quickly made me skeptical that I would get another so I moved back a little and played foul balls but despite the fact that it was Easter Sunday and only 22,232 fans showed up it was not reflected in the field level seats. There were no balls that I had a realistic chance of getting.
Then a foul ball dribbled down the line, the ballboy picked it up, tossed it to Don Baylor, the D-Back’s hitting coach, who tossed it to me after the inning ended as I was the only one who recognized him as “Don” instead of “Mr.Baylor” or “Number 25”. I then handed this ball to a girl who had been racing up to the dugout every inning with her glove but had come up empty every time that far. For those keeping score at home, that would be ball #4 on the day.
And Presto!I had turned a slightly below average day into a slightly above average day.
The game was even more surprising as the Mets swept the Diamondbacks by pouring on the runs and made it 4 straight.(?)
Diamondbacks 4 Mets 8
Stats:
  • 4 Balls at This Game (3 Pictured because I gave one away)
Balls 42411.JPG
Number 76-79 on the Career:
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  • 18 balls in 7 games = 2.57 balls per game
  • 32 straight games with at least 1 ball
  • 19 straight games at Citi Field with at least 1 ball

4 balls* 22,232 fans= 88,928 competition factor

  • Time at game: 10:26-4:05= 5 hours and 39 minutes
Now this is tentative on my Fordham Prep baseball schedule but the plan as of now is to be at Yankee Stadium Tuesday through Thursday and possibly Friday Saturday (the Fordham Prep schedule has conflicting information. One way I can go. The other I can’t.) So I’ll go to my game today and update this tomorrow. That would be this entry. I don’t think I’ll create a separate entry for this information

4/22/11 Diamondbacks at Mets: Citi Field

Looking to redeem myself for yesterday’s weather anomaly. The spirit of redemption was in the air. I could just feel it (well actually not in the air because it was absolutely fafafafreezing). I thought this would be a great day for snagging:

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This was definitely NOT the case. Here is the view of the outfield to my left:

Outfield 42111.JPG
Looks harmless great for a day of redeeming,right? Well, the view to my right in the Outfield:
Right Outfield 42211.JPG
Well that’s pretty bad too but below was the stupid season ticket holders batting practice on the field made toss-up almost impossible for all of Mets Bp.
Diamondbacks Bp:
DBacks Bp 42211.JPG
 is best summed up as, “They (weren’t) throwing anything and (weren’t) hitting anything” I thought it was just the left field guys but when I went over to right field, the Major League coach (whatever that is),Wilson Valera, was hitting back every ball that came to the wall with a fungo:
Don Baylor 42211.JPG
Every… Single… One.
That was it. Nothing for the duration of Bp.
The plan as for the game was, go back into foul territory for the Diamondbacks’ at-bats and go for third out balls when the Mets were hitting.
Zack Hample was in Left Field (yeah he was at yet another of my games) for the game but I did meet two other ballhawks:
Group Photo take 2 42211.JPG
They would be: Howie (a ballhawk/autograph collector) in the Happy Youngster shirt and Jordan Elkin (ballhawk just this season who has already caught a Russell Martin Home Run and is averaging 3.33 balls per game)  in the red and balck sweater. Yes I did crop myself out of the picture because the person taking the picture couldn’t check to make sure he got the picture right because of my cracked camera screen.
Anyway, I used my, whatever shade of Red the Diamondbacks gear is now, hat to get Russell Branyan to throw me the third inning third out ball for #1 on the day. Sweet relief! I now went almost solely for foul balls over here:
Foul View 42211.JPG
I actually should have had two and learned a valuable lesson, Never Give Up On A Ball. The first Foul ball:
1st Foul 42211.JPG
went about three people deep in the row started by the kid in the Navy blue hood and black windbreaker. Rushing down only by looking at the ball, I stopped chasing once I got to the row it was going to land in because I couldn’t go any further into the row. The ball was then dropped into the row in front of the people, which I could have easily entered and caught the rebound had I been aware of the fact.
The next foul ball, bounced of the electronic video strip:
Video strip 42211.JPG
Fell down:
Rush down 42211.JPG
And landed a row behind me:
Thumbnail image for Foul ball spot 42211.JPG
It actually landed in the chair of the gentle man in the jeans but everyone (including Jordan) rushed to a spot they thought it landed two seats to the right. I didn’t want to get in that mess (if you look carefully, you can see the result of the spilling of various beverage and food items) nor deny Jordan of his first foul ball if he got it.
Turns out, they were chasing a phantom ball as the man leaning over the baby carriage:
Foul Catcher 42211.JPG
snatched it from underneath their noses.
That was pretty much it for the night. The umpire, Greg Gibson, only gave out one ball that was designated to one person in the stands.
One other thing of note, though. I got partial documentation of it while I was taking this picture:
Keith Olbermann? 42211.JPG
of a poster saying, “Why leave a city with six professional sports teams and the Mets?” (so true now that the Knicks are relevant again). The poster is towards the upper part of the picture (left if oriented properly) but after taking it I realized the person cut off by the bottom of the picture looked like Keith Olbermann. It may indeed have been him as the person was carrying a briefcase and wore a mlb.com credential holder but the person also had a cane and broken/fractured foot. So can anyone who follows Olbermann tell me if something happened. Obviously, it doesn’t make much of a difference now but it would be a fun story to tell/know. Matt, do you read ballhawking entries or just the “Offseason Recap and Preview”s?
Oh, and the Mets won their third straight.
Diamondbacks 1 Mets 4
Stats:
  • 1 measly ball at this game (#75)
Ball 42211.JPG
  • 14 balls in 6 games this season= 2.33 balls per game
  • 31 straight games with at least 1 ball
  • 18 straight games at Citi Field with at least 1 ball
  • 26,546 fans * 1 ball= 26,546 competition factor                                                                
  • Time at Game 4:55- 10:23= 5 Hours 28 Minutes
  • 6 straight games with Zack Hample/other ballhawks ruling my decisions sub/abconcious.
Just a warning, the entry about Sunday might not go up quickly because I have no charger for my battery.

Arizona Diamondbacks Offseason Recap and Preview

This is the picture for the Diamondbacks’ 2010:
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Losing close to 100 games with a power hitting line-up will do that to a team.

Grade: D

Notable Additions:
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Zach Duke, Melvin Mora, JJ Putz, Henry Blanco, Xavier Nady, Willie Bloomquist, Wily Mo Pena, Cody Ransom, Micah Owings, and Armando Galarraga.

Notable Subtractions:
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Mark Reynolds, Brandon Webb, Rodrigo Lopez, DJ Carrasco, Adam LaRoche, Augie Ojeda, and Dontrelle Willis.

Why?:  This is the one team where the quality of the stars lost beats the quantity of the additions gained. The losses of Brandon Webb, Adam LaRoche, and Mark Reynolds are big as all three have played major roles in the Diamondbacks organization. Without LaRoche and Reynolds, the big strength of the team, it’s power, is considerably weakened.

I just don’t think that they will be able to win if they cannot score runs like they used to. Even if they do well in the pitching aspect of the game. I like the fact that they are trying to change the culture of the free swingers. Now if only they can get rid of Chris Young.

I do wonder how they will rebuild, though.

Predicted Record Range: 60-65 wins. Well if they won 65 with LaRoche and Reynolds, then they should win a bit less if not more.

Up Next: Nobody. Wohooo. Finally I’m done. Two weeks into the season isn’t that bad, right?