Oh Fourth of July. The proud day where Americana reigns supreme and the gates open… THREE HOURS EARLY?! Thank goodness my mom had taken a tour at 3:00 because had she not gone I would have showed up a little late for the gates as she warned me via phone of this scheduling change. As I arrived I saw this:
Nothing horrible but then I got the priviledge of sitting for half an hour doing nothing:
My first “ball” of the day was sort of a weird situation as Bullpen coach Eddie Perez threw a ball to a person. That person rejoiced because he thought he had gotten a ball. Eddie then flapped his glove like he wanted it to be thrown back. The man threw it back and Eddie continued this process with several other people. Eventually, I convinced Eddie to throw me the ball but then had to throw it back. I have had this situation happen to me before where I have caught a ball and the player asked for it back but the number of people that actually touched this ball makes me wonder if I should count it. For the moment, I am counting it but let me use the handy dandy poll daddy widget to find out the readers’ reaction/opinion
When the Braves pitchers began to warm-up along the 1st base foul line. You can expect I made my way over there (I was in left field). My mother however, thought I was coming back to left field right after the pitchers ended their warm-up. So before I go into detail on a miny snagging rampage here is a picture of a group of pitchers in left-center field (if you’re a little lost my mom had the camera so I don’t have any pictures of said rampage):
Now to the rampage. Although I didn’t get any balls from the pitchers warming up, a ball got hit to the wall in the right field corner where George Sherrill picked it up. Since I was in foul ground I was the closest to him because of a tunnel leading back into the depths of stadium where there were obviously no seats. So I called out and he promptly tossed me the ball. I then moved into the actual right field seats and caught a Home Run from a lefty I didn’t recognize at the time, but later identified as Freddie Freeman. This due to the fact that it was the exact same swing as Home Run he hit during the actual game (to be seen later). I stayed put in left field because a) there were a lot of lefties up and b) this was the crowd in left field at almost that exact same time:
You can see in the background how much less crowded the right field seats were. Anyway, a ball got hit into the Braves bullpen in right center field and no one went after it but me. Scott Proctor was in the bullpen and as he picked up the ball I got him to throw it to me . While I was coming back down the steps, a ball got hit and a kid around seven years old managed to stop it but it dropped into the gap between the walls and so I swooped in with my glove trick and after a bunch of tangling brought it up and handed it to him.
While in right, I noticed a fair amount of balls going into the center field bleachers (or Pavillion as the Braves so graciously renamed it). Like just as many as in left and right. Since it was 400+ feet from home plate to glove so there weren’t that many people there but in all actuality the rightmost section (looking from home plate) is really right center and isn’t that out of the question when it comes to Home Runs. Anyway, five minutes after I got there, Brian McCann hit a Home Run to that rightmost section I ran and set up right behind the (barehanded) person camped under it but he deflected it forward and a third person out-scrambled him for it. This turned out to blessing in disguise as a the next pitch McCann launched a ball back to my right and all I had to do was run ten steps and catch it. For those keeping score at home that is now six balls on the day, five sans Perez ball.
I met back with my mom in Left Field and stayed there for the remainder of Braves bp because I wanted to wait until the Rockies pitchers finished throwing:
I got nothing from them and returned to right field, this time with a photographer. The closest I came to a ball in left field because of the crowd was a ball that landed in the gap. I had my glove trick and got to the point quickest but gave way to a person with a cup trick type thing a few moments afterward. I add on the “type thing” because it was a cup trick but I am used to something other than a roll of duct tape being used as a weight:
Anyway, Rockies batting practice was pretty slow. Not necessarily in terms of balls hit into the stands but it seemed like there were never balls hit close enough to the stands to shout to the players for toss-ups. It was also pretty crowded in right field on the aisles so of course let me give you a picture of the middle of the row:
Towards the middle of Rockies batting practice, a lefty hit a Home Run to my right. I was two sections so I came a little late to the party but managed to win the scramble when the barehanded person inevitably dropped the ball and I scooped it up. I then proceeded to give the ball to a kid also chasing it. I probably should have given it to a kid with a glove but it was more of a reactionary move to endear myself to the section as they had seen me snag a few balls. I just kept trying the players from close up using words and from far away using gestures:
but it was hopeless as I forgot my attention grabbing Rockies shirt in a rush to get to the stadium and just had my hat add that to the fact it was the Fourth of July and the stadium was packed, even in bp. So batting practice ended:
and I was happy as I had set my season high and tied my career high for balls in a game. I didn’t try to go for third out balls and set a new career high just yet. If it were to come, it would be a Home Run or a bullpen ball that sent me to #8 as this was the view from my seat:
Guess what. A Home Run did come within twenty feet of me and guess who caught it. Not me. This was my view right after the catch as I had to watch helplessly because of the crowd:
I mean he caught it on the fly so there was nothing I could really do about it but still I go in my mind to thinking how that would have played out on a day that was not the fourth of July. That of course, the Freddie Freeman Home Run that I referenced earlier that helped me identify him as the one that hit the ball that I caught.
There were mostly lefties hitting so I just watched the spectacle that was a family trying to land more peanut shells on the first wall than each other:
In the eighth inning it started to rain and the section really emptied out but it was too late:
as there were only six hitters after that point.
Still the Braves commemorated my six/seven ball performance with some nice fireworks:
Can you spot my hotel? I am staying at the Holiday Inn. I stayed for the entire fireworks ceremony and ended up drenched:
The funny part about that picture is the camera didn’t move that much it was the water on the lens that made it look so blurry.
Oh and remember how I said my glove trick got tangled on the first ball. Here is a picture of it after I got home:
Just keep that in mind when I write my next entry today/tomorrow.
- Seven balls at this game ( four pictured because I kept that many)
- 50 balls in 16 games= 3.13 balls per game
- 41 straight games with at least 1 ball
- 11 straight outside of New York
- 7 balls*36,137 fans= 252,959 competition factor
- Time at game 3:38- 11:27=7 hours 49 minutes A record I do not think I will break any time soon.
Like Nationals Park this was technically not my first time here but it was my first time really ballhawking as last year I came here on a Sunday and there was no batting practice:
I still managed to get a ball on an overthrow by Mike Adams but it didn’t feel like ballhawking if you know what I mean. I apologize in advance for the lack of (relevant) pictures. I brought a photographer because I thought I would get #100 who wasn’t necessarily into baseball and as a result didn’t photography…but hey here’s a picture of the Willie McCovey statue:
While waiting in line, I realized just how gargantuan it was and how many of them looked like regulars. I would have a picture for you if I was by myself but…
As soon as I got in I raced to the right field seats just as Segio Romo. I actually talked to him extensively when we stayed in the same schmancy hotel in Milwaukee. I don’t think he recognized me but I still gave him a shout and he nodded as if he were about to turn around and toss me his ball but he turned around and chucked his ball to the inner outfield. He then later went onto do his running:
and later went into the dugout without ever granting my request.
Without digressing too much, that gargantuan line I was talking about earlier. Yeah it turned into a gargantuan crowd pretty quickly:
I am the one in the white hat and black shirt closest to longish gate closest to the camera. I was in the bleachers themselves for a while but am not used to them and they were close to being as crowded. I probably should have left earlier but I had my photographer listening to his iPod and I was being so stubborn in the fact that I wanted to snag a ball with the glove trick or a ball from right field in general. The first quickly got shot down when the first ball rolled to the wall and as I got there I was met by a combination of about ten cup/bucket/net/water bowl/food pan tricks. There was absolutely no chance I would get a ball with my glove trick as in the time it would take me to set it up at least one other trick would swoop in. The second idea then died when the Indians pitchers started throwing on the first base foul line.
I got on my horse but moved about as fast as a student driver on a stick shift as I had to keep waiting for my photographer. Eventually though, I did get around the stadium in time to get Chris Perez to toss a ball to the only Indians fan in the section (me!). One down two to go in my quest for 100. Since I am working with limited pictures let me use one picture to explain multiple things:
- The arrow furthest to the left-pointing to Chris Perez. The player who threw me the ball.
- The dotted box- the emptier part of the bleachers where I should have been standing. I thought it was too far away from the plate but realized after the fact that I usually play fruther from the plate at Citi Field.
- The remaining arrow- where I was standing for the first however many minutes of bp.
- Andres-My step-brother and (semi)photographer for the day.
- Rusty- my mom’s high school soccer coach who actually got this group of four’s tickets he didn’t have a fifth so I went on Stubhub.
- Andy- my mom who’s actual name is Andrea but the nickname is one she would like to leave in the past so of course I have to use it. Oh and while we’re at it Andres’ family nickname is Pipe (pronounced Pee-peh).
- Fabio- my step-father who conveniently did not hear me at the moment as he was playing with his camera (which he did not trust Pipe with).
- 2 Balls at this game
- 38 balls in 14 games= 2.71 Balls Per Game
- 39 straight games with at least one ball
- 2 straight at AT&T Park
- 2 Balls*41,690 fans= 83,380 Competition Factor
- Time at Game 4:25-10:36= 6 hours 9 minutes