The day of this game, I found out that the everyone on the team except for those who wanted to go to dinner with parents would be going to the Pelicans game. After arranging for the bus driver (we had been using a Greyhound to get around Myrtle Beach) to take me to the stadium early, I was at the game. It was only sort of early, though. We did aim to get to the stadium the full hour prior to first pitch to be there when the gates open, but got there only about 45 minutes prior since we got lost a couple of times and it isn’t easy to back up a full-length bus.
Long story short, I missed all of bp if there was any. However, there were a couple of players on the field signing, so I got both of them to sign one of my baseballs from the Ripken Experience. If you thought I meant that they were along the warning track signing when I said “on the field”, you are that’s a bit off. When I said “on the field”, I meant literally ON the field. Let me see if this picture will clear things up:
You see? They were actually set up on the field signing for anyone who came up to them, table and all. I have no clue who either are, and it didn’t help that I completely goofed on taking the second player’s picture. Let me explain the circumstances of it before I show the picture. I was taking the picture with my iPhone, and I usually like to keep the brightness on my phone down to save the battery, so I was just pointing the camera at the player and taking the picture. In addition to having a conventional camera, the iPhone also has a camera on the front for self-pictures and video chat. The button that switches between these two cameras is on the touch screen of the phone (you know, the one I couldn’t see). Okay, so I think I’ve explained it enough, here is the picture of the second player:
“Look, Ma, I made it to the minors!”
After that I just wandered around. I had exchanged a few tweets as well as a few comments on this blog with Quinn Imiola, a fellow blogger on the nybisons blog, about possibly meeting up this game. Since I had no idea what he looked like and he knew what I looked like more or less, I just tried to walk around the cross-aisle and make myself visible. Sometimes I got a little bored and went up to talk with the other person that had left on the bus early, a Jesuit Priest from my school by the name of Fr. Sullivan.
When I saw the Pelicans warming up down the right field line, I went over to try to get a ball from them:
While I was down there, though, I had my eye on the ball bag in the bullpen:
Simply because the pitcher that was warming up was taking forever. Finally, after waiting for him to end his throwing session, I went over to the Nationals side of the field, because I figured it would be easier to get a ball from the opposing team due to my fitting attire (I had Nationals gear ready in my backpack).
There I encountered this group of pitchers:
I also saw my competition to my right. A kid was there also decked out in Nationals gear. As I was trying to look through my roster to make sure I knew the players’ names, I saw the player in his red warm-up shirt talking to another in Spanish. He then started walking towards me with a ball in his hands, so I called out to him in Spanish, asking for him to throw me the ball.
He flicked his glove hand up, which if you don’t know is the sign for a fastball. However, he threw it a little low, and since the railing was high at that specific point, I had to reach over so much that I was trying to “snow cone” the ball and it bounced off the tip of my glove and into the bullpen. One of the other bullpen pitchers tossed the ball back to this pitcher after he requested it and I had another shot. This time I moved over to where the railing was about 4-6 inches lower and bent down pretending like I was a catcher. He signaled fastball again and fired a strike right to my glove. Here is the picture of the ball with the pitcher in the background, looking at the camera and starting to give me a thumbs up (you can’t really see that he is giving me a thumbs up, but trust me, he gave me a thumbs up right after I took the picture. It was so soon after that I thought I had it on film):
Any MiLB people read this blog? I have absolutely no idea who it is. He never took off his warm-up the whole game.
Soon after (or before?) I got the ball, my “competition”, aka the kid to my right who was also in Nationals gear, looked at me and said, “Mateo?”. It was Quinn, the person who I referenced at the beginning of the entry! You can read his account of the night here. We spent pretty much the whole game together since we were both in pursuit of foul balls. Here is a picture Quinn’s dad took of us in the during the game:
For those wondering, I don’t have a Rangers shirt, so I tired to at least color coordinate by wearing a blue shirt, so I turned my Cubs shirt inside out as to not show that it was indeed a Cubs shirt.
The game experience itself was mostly categorized under setting up people for them to have their own successes. Before I go into detail on what happened for everyone else during the game, here is the extent of my snagging for the day:
A guy (underneath the red arrow in the picture) just came through the cross-asile with a bucket full of candy and started throwing it into the stands. There were two foul balls hit anywhere near where my spots for standing during at-bats were. The first was a ball that went to my right. I raced after it, but could tell it was going short. It bounced and I can tell you that it was headed right towards my glove, but unfortunately another fan’s pillow blocked the ball and it trickled away where some other fans picked it up. Seriously? Who brings a pillow to a Baseball game?! The next ball was hit and looped perfectly onto the ramp I stood next to all day when righties were up (the ball was hit by a righty). Where was I? Left Field, of course. Since it was the last inning, myself and Quinn decided to go out there and try for a HR ball. I am 95% sure I would have caught that ball on the fly. Like I said, I had been standing within 10 feet of where the ball landed all day.
I would also like to share with you where my ticketed seat was. Here is a picture of my ticket, and I’ll let you guess where it is:
Any guesses where it is? The following picture will show you:
Of course, I didn’t sit there at any point during the game and must have offered the ticket to five people, but they all chose not to take it for one reason or another.
Now that I’ve gone through all that, here is all the other “stuff” that happened during the game:
1. Quinn managed to snag three balls throughout the course of the game. The first, as he told me, came from the same guy that threw me my ball, but it missed Quinn so the catcher tossed him the ball. The next two came from going down to the dugout for third-out balls. I could have competed with him for those, but I was pretty much interested in foul balls, so I let him do his thing down by the dugouts – for those who don’t know, third-out balls are when a team makes the third out, the defensive team usually brings the ball back to the dugout and tosses it to the fans above the dugout. Here is the first of his two dugout balls:
2. I was asked by a Pelicans personnel member to be in a dance-off, but I instead refered them to a Fordham Prep Baseball Player, Alex Porco, and although he didn’t win, he looked like he had fun and the rest of the team that was present certainly had fun with it.
3. I was also asked if I wanted to participate in “Ball Launch”, but refered the people to yet another Fordham Prep player, Michael Goldstock. He enjoyed that, and I believe he got a mini soccer ball from it.
4+5. At the end of the game, I tried to get a ball from the bullpen, so as a result, my some other players stayed back with me as they wanted to see if I’d get a ball. I didn’t. However, two of the players, Paul Pache and Patrick O’Shea, said that they saw the Nationals’ left fielder, and wanted to try to get a ball from him since Patrick had been begging him all day in LF. All the other players, myself included in the bunch, were leaving as this happened, though. We all thought that we were REALLY late for the bus, and were trying to make sure the bus didn’t leave without us. The left fielder came through on giving Pat a ball:
The day, however, was definitely won by Paul as… well, I’ll let the picture speak for itself:
Not only did he get a shirt from the left fielder, but he also managed to get A BAT from him. I don’t care if it was broken, that’s pretty cool. [Just a little note, I thought it was funny that Paul got the bat and Pat got the ball. You know, since Paul rhymes with ball and Pat rhymes with bat]
So even though I myself didn’t do that well snagging wise, it was a good day since so many people were able to come away from the game happy and satisfied. Paul, Pat, and Michael are all my roommates, so I was able to get a picture of all the items collected throughout the day after a really good game (except for the candy. That I ate.):
- Ball that I didn’t mention in the entry that has Splash, the Pelicans’ mascot,’s signature on a ball
- The mini Soccer ball Michael Goldstock acquired.
- The ball I got with the two players’ signatures.
- The awesome bat Paul managed to get.
- A ticket stub that I wanted to use to “complete” the picture.
- The T-Shirt Paul got.
- The ball Pat got from the Nationals’ left fielder.
- The ball I got.
Everyone else who was at the game said it was freezing, but I guess I was too busy having fun to feel the cold. Thus concludes the best Minor League game I have been to so far.
Okay, so I know that I said I wouldn’t be blogging about Fordham Prep Baseball anymore, but at the moment I took these pictures, I was more sure than not that this would be my only game at this stadium, and brought my “professional” camera in addition to taking a boatload of pictures as a result.
This particular day started very early for us (The Fordham Prep Varsity Baseball team). The game was scheduled for 8:00 AM and we usually get to the field around an hour early for warm-ups and what not. It was early enough when we got on the bus that when I checked the ballpark’s live webcam, it was a black screen. It wasn’t just some error; I had checked earlier in the day to see if it had worked and also looked on the webcam later. It was just THAT dark. Once we got to the field and found an entrance that was actually open, it was light enough to the point where I, the first person from my team to enter the playing area, could take a few pictures of the field (I did so via an opening in the RCF fence):
The scoreboard in LCF.
The backstop from the CF warning track.
I tried to make a couple of panoramas for you in Photoshop, but failed miserably, so here are the pictures I took starting from the LF foul pole and rotating counterclockwise:
After that I popped in the dugout and took a picture of something interesting:
That’s right: the whole Pelicans’ roster was up on the wall.
Check out the scoreboard as the game began:
It’s a pretty cool feeling to see your high school team’s name on the scoreboard of a stadium where professionals usually play.
As the game started, I took my seat right behind Home Plate. Here was my view of the game:
However, I sit right behind Home Plate for all of Fordham Prep’s games, and decided to get up and try for some foul balls, as practice, in case I did in fact make it to a game during the Pelicans’ series against the Potomac Nationals.
There are two tunnels at TicketReturn.com Field through which one can access the main seating bowl. Conveniently, they are both right on the cross-aisle and are just about the right angle for foul balls. Here is the view from the tunnel where I stood when a right-handed batter was up at-bat:
And here, is what the tunnel looked like from the concourse (this one is where I stood for left-handed batters):
Now I’ll let you guess right now how many foul balls stayed in the stadium. Choose your number and I’ll announce it later on it the entry, but in the meantime, here is the view looking towards the outfield from the concourse behind the “righty tunnel”:
Here is the view looking towards the area behind Home Plate:
Finally, here is a sign in one of the tunnels that I liked:
Okay, so you’ve had a little time to think of how many foul balls there were during the game that stayed in the stadium. Are you ready to guess? There were a total of three balls hit foul that fit that criteria. All were hit by righties. Here is a picture of the path of all three:
1. The ball went straight over my head and bounced on the awning/roof type thing and rolled down. I lined myself up perfectly with the ball and it was coming straight at my glove, but hit the heightened portion of guardrail before it got there, and since I was on the cross-aisle, I couldn’t have reached over it. I then climbed up a few stairs and grabbed it.
2. The ball looped over my head and I ran after it, but I didn’t have time to look back at the ball. Since it was too late, I just stuck out my glove hoping the ball would land there. Not surprisingly, the ball bounced out of my reach where I later picked it up.
3. This ball missed the protective netting completely, but was also a little loopy. I should/would have run over and caught it had I not been playing with my camera. Some parent picked it up.
That was it for foul balls. I did do some exploring, though. Between innings, I went out to both the left and right field bleachers. Here are the pictures from my journey to RF:
The view of the RF seats and picnic area preceding it from the “righty tunnel”.
Once I got to the picnic area, I decided I should take a picture from there. What you see is the result.
A look inside the Home Bullpen, just because I thought it was interesting that you could see right into it as a fan. Even more interesting is that the RF seats are right above the bullpen.
An artsier shot of the seats up in the RF section.
The view from the seat closest to CF in the RF section.
A picture from the seat that is directly on the foul line.
Now, here are the pictures from my venture to the LF seats:
One of those things where you put your head int it and take a picture that way. Behind it, I learned from my game while the Pelicans were playing, are some deflated bouncy castles. This was down the LF line in foul territory.
This picture was taken in “just foul territory”. It shows the beach area (pretty self-explanatory, right?), the visitors’ bullpen just after that, and then the dugout/Home Plate area.
The view from straight away LF.
A mysterious staircase leading out the left side of the section. There was some fecal matter in the seats themselves, but I didn’t take a picture for your wellbeing. I think (read: hope) that someone brought their dog, but I thought to myself right then, “…and on that note, I think it’s time to get back to the seats behind Home Plate.”
As for the game, I’ll let the scoreboard speak for itself:
So the game ended, and the teams shook hands:
That’s it for this game, but I’d just like to include a few things about the trip itself:
- We went 5-2 for the trip’s entirety.
- I snagged a total of 65 balls at the games I attended over the trip. 5 of which were tossed to me by various players/ people. For example, when a foul ball went over the artificial river on the complex that I obviously couldn’t cross, I convinced people in the parking lot to retrieve and toss me the ball.
- My record for one game was 19 in a game at Griffith Field. That particular game started at 9ish Thursday, April 12th, and it ended after 12:00 AM Friday, April 13th. I actually had the opposing team’s fans cheering for me by game’s end.
- Let me explain something about the Ripken Experience’s policy on foul balls. If you return them to a booth behind Home Plate, you are given a coupon for some restaurant e.g. get a free chicken sandwich at Chick-Fil-A. Since they were all for meat dining options, I gave all of them all away to random people in the stands or on the team.
- My top streak of 3 foul balls snagged on 3 consecutive pitches was during the “19” game, and on the second of these, the guy in the booth said to me, “Since you’ve gotten a hundred for me already, here’s one for you.” He then pulled a ball right out of the plastic wrapping and gave it to me.
- The JV team also accompanied us on this particular trip, and they went I believe 1-5. All was not bleak, though. They lost *every*one of their first 5 games. The worst loss came on the fifth where they were up 7-2 and lost 8-7. In the last game of the trip, it seemed like they were headed down the same road, down 7-0. Then, in the sixth inning (we play 7 inning games), they scored 8 runs to take the lead. They, like every other team competing, were starved for pitching, so they put in their rightfielder to close the game. From what I heard, he was throwing absolute heat and also broke out a “Knuckle-Change” that had the hitters absolutely baffled.
A nice trip, yes, but I also was away from Wi-fi the whole time and have a lot to catch up on. The next entry I write will be that which details my trip to the game between the Pelicans and the Potomac Nationals the next night. Would I be able to use my experience from this game to snag a foul ball?
Yeah, remember how in the recap of the Tiger’s offseason, I said it’s bad if you’re remembered for a failure rather than your successes. Well, does anyone remember the Indians for anything else than failing at failure:
I mean really, can anyone think of anything else ’cause I’ve got nothing. I would say that this is a bit worse, than being know as the Tigers are that is. At least the Tigers got a great deal of good publicity but the Indians: Lost the game, almost got a perfect game thrown against them, messed up a perfect game by running a ball out, forever a side note, and still best know in 2010 for this error.
Austin Kearns, and Adam Everett.
I tried looking up all the names of the player they had lost and saw nothing special about any in the group. Can’t lose what you never had. Except for obviously, Carlos Santana to injury.
Why?: They didn’t lose anything but didn’t gain anything. Had they made their improvements and subtractions with bigger names I probably would have given them a better grade just because bigger names fire up the fan base more, but the Indians don’t have the capital to accomplish this. If any doubt that the Indians lost no notable players, here are the names Drew Sutton, RJ Swindle, Winston Abreu, Luis Rodriguez, Chris Gimenez, Andy Marte, Wyatt Toregas. If you see any please tell me.
I like that they added two good players in Kearns and Everett, which is why I didn’t give them a C-. Overall, not much to report on this front. They do look to develop with the forever anticipated and maybe only fantasized day that Travis Hafner returns to his former greatness as the second best DH in the game (this was when David Ortiz was hitting 40 HRs) and Carlos Santana develops into an above average catcher (he may be now but we haven’t seen it because of the previously mentioned injury).
Predicted Record Range: 73-78 wins. This is again the mean for the possible scenarios that develop with Santana, Hafner etc. This means the range could go to 75-80 if everything goes right or they could actually lose more games because of their lack of improvements and the much improved AL Central.
Next up: Kansas City Royals
Again, well see when it comes to today’s double header at Fordham. One thing to look forward to (for some people, I get that not all of you like Spring Training much less High School Baseball) is that these following entries *WILL* have pictures! So no more pictures showing how awesome are field is:
but look at it. This is college level field where I have my own luxury suite (more on that in the entry). Where was I going with this point again? Oh… yeah, the following entries will be much more extensive and more visually appealing than there outdated counterparts.
Any time your team is most remembered for a failure than its successes. It’s not good:
Why?: Although they did make some improvements, they did so in a way that managed to anger the other 29 teams for what may be years to come. Now, I’m not saying that it wasn’t inevitable but whoever gave the first big multi year deal to a middle reliever was going to be hated. It just so happens that the Tigers made that move. From now on, acquiring and developing middle relief talent will be changed forever in that it is now a more valuable asset.
The losses, although insignificant in talent could come back to bite the Tigers if they keep the injury bug with them in 2011. Although they upgraded the spot of fourth and fifth starters with Brad Penny and Phil Coke, they sacrificed depth when they let go of Galarraga and Miner. Now if any starter goes down (and who ever heard of a rotation going through the season completely healthy) they will have to turn to Mr. AAA instead of a proven starter like Galarraga. This might cost them just enough spots to be edged out by one of the other strong teams in the Central.
Also, they did get rid of defensive depth in Laird but took care of that by getting Omir Santos. Everett on the other hand, should have been kept. I know the Tigers like to think optimistically but when was the last time he played 120+ games. I’ve got the answer, 2007. Again, I like Everett significantly better than a AAA shotstop or second baseman or even Ramon Santiago.
Predicted Record Range: 84-89 They made some significant additions and are getting players back but the Tigers’ players do tend to ebb and flow (Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera). Will they finally all have good seasons at the same time? If so, this team has enough talent to win the division but the mean of the ebb and flow is the predicted range.
Next Up: Cleveland Indians
Tomorrow is a double header for Fordham. So the data from this game might back me up over part of the weekend. I will get the first entry by end of Saturday but make no promises about the second. I will try and get the player bios on the roster entry as soon as I can but baseball season can be hectic. We’ll see.
Ah the playoffs. So much excitement in the air. So magical the feeling, that people must show up really early… at least that’s what I thought.I left my school at about 2:45.
I walked down Fordham road to the B train and waited what seemed like a fifteen or twenty minutes because I wanted to beat all the people that were getting to the stadium today.
At the time I was willing to accept defeat to all the people that had surely camped out
When I got out of the subway, I saw a huge line of people going towards what looked to be the center field gate.
Instead of going in this line and hoping it lead to the gate I went to the front to see if there was any hope of getting to the front of it.
Sound the fanfare for I have gotten to the front of the line. Their turned out to be two lines in the bigger line.
The first line turned out to be for people who were waiting try and get tickets being released before the game. Or at least, something to that nature. The second line was for employees waiting to get in.
The game was starting at 8:00 and the gates were opening at 5:00. So I had almost two hours to burn before I could even get in to the stadium.
And if you are wondering, the clothsline clip on my hat is because the Yankees had World Series hats for $5 but they were all size 8s. I am a size 7 so I needed the clip for it to not go down to my ears.
From about 3:30 on every ten minutes felt like an hour in itself. There’s an hour and a half between 3:30 and 5:00 so do the math.
Also, remember how I thought people would be camped out over night before. Well I could have come at 4:45 and still have been the first one in line. However, the worst thing was that even though I had been waiting since 3:00 and all the security guards had seen me since then, they waited until 4:55, when there were sizable lines to tell the people that they would only be opening one gate and it wasn’t mine.
WOW!!! I had waited since 3:00 to be the first one in line and they waited until people started getting there to tell me that I would have to go to the back of the newly formed line. (Maybe I should change the name of this blog to the Big Apple Rant because it seems that’s all I do.)
Anyway, while in line a person came into it behind me that I thought I recognized. He was a man with glasses and a sting back pack. That looked something like this:
I wasn’t really sure at that point so I wasn’t going to make an idiot out of myself and ask some random stranger if I know them. However, when people started mentioning different times for the gates opening. he looked like the person who would most likely know. So I asked him if the gates were opening at 5:00 or not. He told me they were and followed up with “You’re Mateo aren’t you? You were one of Zack’s clients.” I affirmed his suspicsion and he told me about how he had read the article about me . He then went on to introduce himself as the Yankee Stadium Ballhawk. I had looked at his profile on www.mygameballs.com once or twice and remebered him vaguely.
Anyway, enough of this, open the gates already!! I got into the stadium, got my bag checked and raced behind Alex who I probably should have mentioned was at the gates with us.
Well, it was 5:00 and you’d think they would have started bp by now but:
I now had some time on my hands (never had that before he said sarcastically). Tony Pena was playing catch by the dugout with an UTY (unidentified throwing Yankee).
For those who haven’t read the descrition of the blog I go to a high school called Fordham Prep, which is on the Fordham U campus. What our school does is, instead of making and buying their own gear they just take the left overs the university’s baseball team has.
He went to Fordham U and recognized the sweatshirt of his alma mater and responded accordingly. The reason I mention this is one of the growing list of reasons why I won’t be going to Yankee Stadium again soon. I would have been able to talk to him about how to break into the sports broadcasting industry had it not been for the moat of seats by the dugouts that no one is allowed to get in even during batting practice (AAAAAAAAAAARGH).
The Yankees then came out to stretch and throw:
but when he finished, his throwing partner took the ball and started throwing with someone else.
I moved on. I started playing umpire whenever Kerry Wood threw a ball to Sergio Mitre and it worked… sort of. Alex was in front of me and trying to get the same ball. When Kerry stopped throwing we were both waving. Alex in the front row and I in about the twelveth row. Kerry tossed it up so I thought at first it was going to Alex but then realized it was thrown to me. The ball was very underthrown. I started running forward but to no avail. It landed in the sixth row and bounced over my head and into about the twentieth row, where a fan in the twenty fifth row beat me
“Show me that arm Kerry!!”
For the Yankee’s batting practice I tried right field. Waaaay too crowded. I went up to the second deck. “you can’t come up here for batting practice”. Really, This is further from home plate than the field level seats.
So I went to the bleachers. There were two balls I had a shot at in the bleachers. A-Rod hit one (without batting gloves which was weird) and I ran over but someone was already standing there and dropped it when it hit his hands but caught it in midair before it hit the ground. The next was hit by Curtis Granderson, I ran down to the bottom of the bleachers and stretched as far as I could without falling onto the field level seats.I was seriously worrying about getting shutout for this game.
Texas came out to throw and I raced to the left field seats:
It got me three toss ups from Rangers playersI followed Neftali Feliz when he finished throwing all the way from left field until the dugout waving my arm like crazy and holding my Ranger’s towel in my mouth. He finally rewarded me when he got to dugout. I was so thankful I gave it to a lady that was legitimately trying to get the ball as well.I was walking back to left field when I noticed that Michael Krikman was finishing his throwing. I stopped in foul ground and he gave me ball #2.
I then made my way to left field and held the towel up for every player that finished throwing. Mitch Moreland was about the third player gave me my third ball of the day.
I was initially kicked out from left field by this usher:
but then he let me stay for the rest of batting practice. Now he left for parts of bp and I probably could have moved down the sections but didn’t want to ruin it for all others after me that wanted to stay for batting practice.
I occasionally went up to my actual seats but which view would you rather have.
The game was over and I was the only person within a mile of the bullpen and guess what. No baseballs from Rangers players. I then changed into Yankee’s gear in anticipation for the groundskeeper throwing the remaining five baseballs into the crowd:
- 4 baseballs at this game (3 in the picture because I gave one away)
- 56 baseballs in 20 games this season = 2.8 balls per game
- 57 total baseballs
I just wanted to get this in because I thought it was important and was reminded by the memorial at Yankee Stadium. Fred “Freddy sez” Schuman had a heart attack last week, went into a coma, and died last Sunday.
Here are some of the pictures from the memorial:
I found out on Sunday because one of Dad’s friends was very close to Freddy. I forgot about it until I heard the echo of the pan in the great hall and stumbled upon this.
In any case, R.I.P.