After a week off from baseball, it was back to this place:
…for a match-up between my two favorite teams in baseball. (Well, actually I don’t know about that, but I’ll possibly get to that in an offseason entry.)
When I got in, this was my view:
However, the only reason I came to an 85% full Target Field was because the Yankees were a power-hitting left-handed team. Thus, I was going to try again to go exclusively for hit balls, and my view was this for almost all of batting practice:
For a while, I was misjudging balls left and right. That “while” was called batting practice. I don’t know why, but when I’m on the same level as a baseball (i.e. field level), I have no problem judging fly balls. But whenever I’m elevated, I become a complete klutz trying to judge them. Despite this, I managed to snag a ball off the bat of Nick Swisher after in bounced in here:
Do you see the logo? That was an Oriole Park at Camden Yards ball. All of the balls I snagged during batting practice were.
It was about at this time that I saw how empty the section of seats in right field was compared to the standing room:
So I walked down into the section. That’s when I heard a voice behind me say, “Excuse me, you need a ticket for this section.” It was the usher right at the entrance to the section
“What?” I said, “Even for batting practice?”
“Is it just something for the Yankees series or the whole season?”
“The whole season.”
I didn’t want to blow up on him and make at least one new enemy, but that was absolute BS. That had never been a rule, and wouldn’t be in any of the games I would go to afterward. Since the ushers don’t always have the same usher for the same section, it was obvious he was a club-level usher or something like that and misinterpreted something his supervisor told him. Anyway, I had my one ball, so I just bit my tongue and moved on with my life.
I headed over to left field for a few hitters, but that yielded nothing but a look at some crowded bleachers:
Not to mention the searing sunlight those guys are shading their eyes from:
I forgot exactly all of the members of the group, but when a group of mostly lefties came up to hit, I went back to right field. There, I got a Curtis Granderson home run that landed in a beer vendor’s ice:
So yeah, that’ll be a fun fact to tell people: I’ve snagged a ball that was hit into ice.
Then I missed about three different balls out in the standing room. One resulted in some one getting a bloody nose and another almost took my head off because I looked away just as it was hit and didn’t see it until it was about ten feet away from me. After this, though, I managed to catch my first ball on the fly in the standing room ever. I just barely did, as it missed the flagpole by less than a foot before landing in my glove. I gave this ball away to a kid out in the standing room.
Then batting practice was about to end, so I started making my way to the Yankee dugout. When I just about got there, I noticed it was too crowded around the dugout for me to get a ball. Instead of pushing through the autograph seekers, I took this picture that illustrated me not knowing who to root for in this game as the transplanted New Yorker:
This was in left field. While I was there, I noted that even though batting practice had ended, the Yankees forgot to pick up a ball in foul territory, so I headed into foul ground and this was the result:
Yes, I used the glove trick to reel in the ball.
For those of you wondering, this was where the ball had been sitting:
Well, when I reeled it in. I actually had to knock the ball closer to get it into range.
I then went back to sit in my seat in left field when I realized: “This is stupid. I’m trying to get 222 baseballs this season. Why am I limiting myself by not asking for balls today? I mean, yeah, it makes me focus on hit balls, and I may very well benefit from it, but I have a goal to reach.” If you didn’t know, one of my goals at the beginning of the season was to double my career ball total up to that point. Before the season my career ball count was 222, so my goal for this year was to snag that many; or get the career total up to 444.
Anyway, so when Mike Harkey came into the bullpen and picked up a ball that had been hit in there during batting practice, I called out to him and he tossed me the ball:
Obviously, I’m used to getting balls from Mike Harkey tossed to me from much longer distances, but I’ll take that.
As for the game, the two lineups were mostly lefty. And given my seat was in left field, I played home runs in the standing room all day:
Out there, there were a couple things of note: 1. FSN had this camera installed right above the standing room that I had never seen before:
I was at all of the games I could possibly watch from this point on in the season, so does anyone who actually watched a game on the network know how it would possibly be used?
The second thing of note takes some setting up, so bear with me. When I’m out in the standing room, the fact that I have my glove on and stand further back than anyone watching the game often brings people to talk to me. Well to guys eventually did talk to me, and through our conversation I brought up that I give balls away to kids. A few innings after I talked to these guys, another guy showed up and asked me if I was the guy who gave baseballs away to kids in the hospitals. I’m guessing he misinterpreted what the other guys had told him, but we straightened things out. Anyway, he told me his son, Tucker was in the (I believe it is a specially children’s) hospital in Mankato. He asked me if I could possibly be willing to talk to the kids about what I do. During this conversation, what ended up happening is I gave him two baseballs, one with my e-mail address for the hospital to possibly talk to me about the opportunity and the cleanest OPACY ball I had snagged during BP for Tucker:
As for the actual game itself, the Yankees’ lefties were bombing away on Liam Hendricks, but I had nothing to show for it. Although, I did make it into the highlights for two of them.
1. When Curtis Granderson bombed his 40th home run of the season, it was hit so high that even though I was in the standing room when it took off, this is where I was when it landed:
I had run all the way up the stairs to the second level in right field. Link to the full video: here.
2. When Raul Ibañez yanked a ball down the right field line and the cameras cut to showing the standing room, this is where I was:
I was turned around when he hit it, but you can see I’m the first person reacting( in terms of moving) in the standing room. When the ball first showed up on the screen, this is where I and it where (hint: I’m not the one soaring through the night sky):
It felt like I was moving in slow-motion at the time, but looking at the replay, it looks like I was going really fast. Here is where I and the ball where when it bounced:
It then took a series of bounces away from me, and then a group of guys converged on it as I watched helplessly:
If you want to see the full thing, here is the link.
Suffice to say, I wasn’t thrilled with the trend:
Then in the seventh inning, Pedro Florimon came up to bat. As he had been since I got to Minnesota, he had yet to hit his first career home run. Then this happened:
I was in the standing room when it landed, but when I saw that it was indeed a home run, I rushed over to see what the deal was/ if I could miraculously find it while people searched the wrong place. But there was nowhere to stand, and you had a genius who did this:
If you didn’t notice it the first time, this was where I was in that highlight:
If you noticed, the guy put the flowers down just as the camera cut away. That’s because this supervisor came running down the stairs yelling at them to put the flowers down:
And let me clear up that this is isn’t a bad usher; it was just some fans doing something they shouldn’t have been doing. The flowers had been planted the previous day, so no one wanted them to get ruined just a day after they had been planted….even if that’s what eventually happened.
What ended up happening to me is this was my view for the remaining two innings of the game while I prayed no one hit a home run into the standing room:
I wanted to make sure these guys never left my sight:
After the game, this was the scene behind the flower beds:
This was the first flower pot they pulled out to search. When they found nothing there, they pulled out a second pot:
Meanwhile, I was showing the security officers the footage of the home run, so we could try to pinpoint which flower pot held the baseball. Here they are trying to figure it out:
The guy on the right even suggested I should get the ball if they found it to negotiate with Florimon. They main problem in finding it, though, was the camera was at an angle. So even though it was in the middle of the partitions in the metal fence, it was most likely one or two flower pots off that in real life. Unfortunately, the guy on the right would leave before the ball was found, so his suggestion was lost.
Meanwhile, we had become the main spectacle in the stadium:
The game ended at 9:56, and we had been there for a good half-an-hour.
Eventually, I was allowed to search in the flowers as well:
I felt like Charlie from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (or Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory if you want to go by the movie’s title); just hoping for that golden ticket.
Sadly, after almost an hour of searching, it was an employee, and not myself who found the ball- which will probably lead to a life of negative word association with the word “Yahtzee”:
So yeah, that was a slightly anti-climactic ending, but I’m glad I was at least around to see what happened with the ball. For the record, there were a total of four flower pots pulled out to be searched. And if you’re wondering; Yes, they did make a mess in the seats:
At this point, it was 10:54, or almost an hour after the game had ended, and I’m pretty sure I was the last non-employee left in the stadium:
Although, the FSN guys were still in their mini-studio out in the standing room, having just finished with their segment:
Oh, and if that wasn’t late enough, I got lost for an hour and a half on my way back to my dorm when I was supposed to be studying for a test that same morning. (Yes, it was past midnight by the time I eventually got back to my dorm room.)
Numbers 428-432 lifetime (you get logos this time because I don’t like to write on commemorative baseballs if I don’t have to):
- 210 Balls in 50 Games= 4.20 Balls Per Game
- 5 Balls x 33,720 Fans= 168, 600 Competition Factor
- 59 straight Games with at least 1 Ball
- 9 straight Games with at least 2-3 Balls
- 42 Balls in 11 Games at Target Field= 3.82 Balls Per Game
- 10 straight Games with at least 1-2 Balls at Target Field
- 9 straight Games with at least 3 Balls at Target Field
- Time Spent On Game 4:15- 12:35= 8 Hours 20 Minutes
Ah. Another day, another game at Nationals Park. This time with extra 5 Hour Energy:
Once I got inside the gates, I first went over to right field to try to get a ball from the pitchers pictured:
Then I moved over to the left field seats, where this was my view:
I got Drew Storen to toss me my first ball right over the visitors’ bullpen. The ball had bounced off the outside of the bullpen, so check out the marks on it:
After that, I went over to the Red Seats, where this was my view:
You may notice that the pitcher in the middle of the three is Drew Storen. While he was there, I didn’t want to ask any of the pitchers for balls, figuring he would recognize me. When he left, however, I got Craig Stammen to toss me a ball:
(Stammen is the guy to the right of my glove.) After that, a person came up to me and asked, “Hey, what’s your name?” When I responded, he said, “Do you write a blog on Mlblogs?” The mystery person was Steve Miller, a guy who also writes a Marlins-themed Mlblog entitled, Fish Fry. I had actually commented on it a couple of times, and he has a picture of himself on the blog, but for whatever reason, I didn’t recognize him until he introduced himself. This is just one example that if you are at the ballpark and spot myself or another ballhawk you recognize, introduce yourself. We don’t ignore you on purpose. It’s just that with all the interactions/faces that we come across during an average game, it can be hard to keep track of. I know that I personally will never “shoo” anyone away who introduces themselves, and the worst that will happen with most other ballhawks is they’ll ask you if you can talk after batting practice instead. Anyway, I stupidly didn’t get a picture with Steve.
Right after Steve introduced himself, I said, “Man, I wish I could get a hit ball instead of a toss-up, so I can give it away to one of these kids.” pointing to the kids in the first row.
Well, I did get a hit ball to come to me. A Nationals righty hit a high fly ball that I could tell was going to hit the warning track. I aligned myself with the ball and was ready to catch the ball as it bounced over the wall and right right towards my glove. Perfect, right? Well the ball hit off the warning track with such spin that once the ball bounced into my glove, it bounced right out of my glove. It then went into the gap between the two walls I the Red Seats. It was extremely frustrating, but they’ll be more on this ball in a bit.
Okay, now it’s time to make some New York ballhawks jealous. This was the view to my right:
I caught my third ball of the game half way between the kid in the red and the man in the white in the row behind them. I was taking a picture, and just as I took the picture and was putting my phone in my pocket, Adam LaRoche hit a ball to my right. I was still putting it in my pocket, and had to make a back handed catch, leaning over a row of seats. I then gave that ball to the kid in the red hat in the next picture:
Here is the view to my left:
See the man in a blue shirt in the row emanating from the lower left corner of the picture? I got two hit balls right where he is standing in the picture. The first was a ball Roger Bernadina hit that landed in that spot. I then picked it up after running over there from where I took that last picture. I was the heading back to the spot where I took the picture from when Rick Ankiel hit a ball to the same exact spot. I moved back over to the spot and made the catch for which I got some applause.
Sensing that everyone in the section had just seen me get two balls, I asked, “Who hasn’t gotten a ball yet?” Four people raised their hands zero of which were kids with gloves. I didn’t want to be a jerk and crush people’s hopes that I had just gotten up, so I gave the ball away to a girl in the front row.
Soon after this, I was still thinking about if the ball I had dropped into the gap was still there. I figured it was, so I VERY quickly and discreetly went to the center field gap (In a different shirt, hat, and sunglasses, just in case.), and I glove tricked the ball, having learned from my previous- failed- attempt the day prior. After I reeled it up without anyone seeing me, I got out of there as fast as I could and went to left field.
In left field, Fernando Rodney tossed me a ball left handed. Naturally, the ball was off target. I then grabbed the ball and l gave it away to a girl who had been jokingly complaining that her brother had gotten a ball while she hadn’t. I should mention that this ball came after I missed two other toss-ups. One was a similar one from Rodney that I missed all together. The other was from another Rays player I never identified. Both sailed over my head, where I never got them.
The Rays had a VERY abbreviated batting practice. After getting 6 balls in Nationals B.P., I was eyeing double digits. The Rays actually only had one group of hitters, the pitchers. I thought the infielders were dead until I saw them take the field for the game.
Anyway, after batting practice ended, I got Jeremy Hellickson to toss me a ball as he entered the Rays dugout.
For those of you wondering why there is a lack of pictures in the latter part of this entry, my phone, on which I take pictures, was dying, so I didn’t want to use it that much. Finally, when it was essentially dead, I took my last picture of the day, which was my view for the rest of the game:
I would have gone back and forth from the two sides of the outfield, but there were really only righties in the two line-ups that could homer (with the exception of Bryce Harper). I did go over to right field once or twice, but it wasn’t until the later innings I did so. On one of those trips, the usher I know asked me if I could give him two baseballs, so I did. If you are keeping track, that was now SIX of the eight balls I had snagged that I had given away. I will no longer field any “ballhawks are greedy” comments.
After the top of the inning, the Rays bullpen catcher, Scott Cursi, would warm up Desmond Jennings. EVERY inning, I went down to try and get the ball, and every inning ended the same way, me walking back up the stairs in dejection.
The Nationals won the game on the wings of Gio Gonzalez as he bested the Rays’ starter, Matt Moore. The final score was 5-2.
After the game, I went down to see if I could get the lineup card from Stan Boroski, the Rays’ bullpen coach. Not even a reaction when I asked him.
• 8 Balls at this Game (2 pictured because I gave 6 away)
• 62 Balls in 13 Games= 4.77 Balls Per Game
• 22 straight Games with at least 1 Ball
• 2 straight Games with at least 2 Balls
• 2 straight Games with at least 3 Balls
• 2 straight Games with at least 4 Balls
• 2 straight Games with at least 5 Balls
• 2 straight Games with at least 6 Balls
• 2 straight Games with at least 7 Balls
• 2 straight Games with at least 8 Balls
• 8 Balls x 29,551 Fans= 236,408 Competition Factor
• 75 Balls at Nationals Park in 15 Games= 5 Balls Per Game
• 8 straight Games at Nationals Park with at least 1 Ball
• 8 straight Games at Nationals Park with at least 2 Balls
• 5 straight Games at Nationals Park with at least 3 Balls
• 2 straight Games at Nationals Park with at least 4 Balls
• 2 straight Games at Nationals Park with at least 5 Balls
• 2 straight Games at Nationals Park with at least 6 Balls
• 2 straight Games at Nationals Park with at least 7 Balls
• 2 straight Games at Nationals Park with at least 8 Balls
• Time at Game 4:09-10:27= 6 Hours 18 Minutes
I actually had been to Miller Park before. I went for a three game series against the Giants in 2009. Of course, things were a little different this time. I wasn’t staying in the same hotel as the visiting team and the Brewers were/are a really good team. It was good that I reasearched this because I was going to wait until gametime to buy tickets but to give you an idea of how popular the Brew Crew is, here’s a picture of the line at 12:00 pm:
The best part was that people were buying tickets for weeks and even a month in advance. Go down to the stats and see the attendance in the competition factor stat to be surprised that the stadium holds 43,000.
Anyway, I got my tickets for this game and the next day’s game but the only tickets available for the next day were Standing Room Only.
To the game. I arrived to the ballpark 2 1/2 hours early because Miller Park actually has a restaurant called Friday’s Front Row Grill which overlooks the field and where balls may then be snagged:
When buying the tickets we had the luxury of parking a few feet away from the stadium but for the game we had to park about 2+ miles away and walk to the stadium in order to avoid parking fees. Here is Richard pointing to the stadium as we walk towards it:
As for Friday’s, we somehow went through an opening in the stadium where your ticket didn’t need to be scanned. Don’t ask me how it just happened that way. We were then seated with two small caveats: 1. There was a 1 hour time limit on the table ( knew about this and was fine with this because the gates would be opening as our table expired) 2. There was a $30 minimum. The latter was a bit tough considering both Richard and I are vegetarian and Friday’s, Applebee’s, and that brand of food is not known for its vegetarian options. As for the actual spot of our table, it was all the way to the left of the the seating (I took this next picture with my back against a wall):
Initially, I thought this was going to be a problem because I couldn’t range to my left in order to snag balls but as you can see, the ceiling was pretty low and as a result not many baseballs would go into the seating. The positive part of having no one sitting to my left was that any ball hit to my left on that the players came out to field I would have exclusive asking right to ( no one else would be closer to the ball.
To add another theme to this trip, it was the trip of over-cautiouness. As in, I was too cautious about not having players see me get a ball from another player and as a result got nothing from the Brewers players. Here is a picture illustrating what I’m talking about:
I see a ball rolling to the wall to my right but I am not calling out to Tim Dillard as he was fielding it because I was afraid the other players would hear me and not toss me balls after that. Let’s call the culmination of this cautiousness lost opportunity #1.
Lost opportunity #2 came when a ball was hit to my left and here I am re-enacting the moment:
A ball came what seemed to be right at me but it kept tailing and tailing and eventually went just out of my reach. I might have been able to get it but there was a bit of a fall and in the moment I didn’t have my hand on the railing like in this picture but had I, I might have caught the ball but it bounced off the concrete then the railingabove it and back onto the field. While we’re talking about life threatening situations, let’s get them all out of the way. Right after/during Richard taking that last picture, another ball appeared to be hit right at me again. Except instead of tailing, this ball kept hooking. I would have tried to lunge out and grab it over the table but I realized it was headed right at Richard and so I yelled either “Heads up,” or “Duck,” as I knew he was looking at me and not the field. The ball whizzed six inches over what would have been his head had he not ducked and hit this metal container of sorts:
It then of course didn’t stay in the restaurant but then bounced on the concrete below us and back onto the field. The Brewers threw neither of these back to us.
Finally, a ball came that was snag-able. A ball was hit far too low/left for me to catch but it bounced right into the gap in front of me. Since I had my glove trick ready, I started to lower it into the gap to knock the ball closer:
All the people in the restaurant were huddled over the railing but a police officer came from the right of the gap, smiled at my glove trick, picked the ball up and threw it to me for my non-existent copyright infrigment. Here I am with the ball:
I would say this was at the 50 minute mark of our 1 hour stay at Friday’s and it was definitely disappointing to only have one baseball to show for a hour of being in the stadium while having four opportunities pass by me. When I thought it was a good time, I lined up to get into the stadium itself. I thought my ticket would be scanned at this line but turns out Richards and I could have not bought a ticket and still had the same results we had as we never pulled out our ticket once by request.
As soon as I got into the stadium, I lined up in Left Field foul ground behind the Pirates warming up and hoped to get a ball from them. I tried all of the pirates but here are the highlights from my time there. I called out to Joel Hanrahan and he took a look at me but tossed the ball to a young Brewers fan with whom I had been talking to in line and had actually mocked me for wearing Pirates gear (jokingly). I had heard that Hanrahan was anti-ballhawk and I am pretty sure he knew something was up when he saw me but he also seemed confused by my cheerful nature when dealing with the other fans getting baseballs. I even assisted him in getting baseballs to the kids two other friends whom he had invited to the game (both from Hanrahan). The bullpen catcher saw me doing this deed and threw me a baseball but a Brewers fan reached in front of me and gabbed it. The catcher shrugged and I shrugged back because I knew I would be seeing him later on as I was headed to the lower Right Field bleachers.
Here I am once Richard got there to take my picture:
I am the one to the far left of the picture in the bright yellow. Don’t worry, I wasn’t texting or any of that on my phone. I was looking up a player on the Pirates as my phone becomes my roster when I forget to print them out the day before. I sometimes use my phone to look up the player’s hit chart to know where to stand but this is usually more during the game so I am pretty sure I was looking up a player.Why do I point out that girl with the arrow? Well, she becomes important in my next baseball acquisition. I ran to my right as I had seen the batter ground a ball into the Right Field corner:
I then waved at a person I later identified as Mike Lincoln because I didn’t know his name at the moment as it was not on the phone roster. After that, he pointed what I thought to be straight in my direction and threw the ball to me at about stomach level. I was right behind that girl at this pint and she deflected it into the row behind me. I picked up the ball and suddenly was wondering whether the ball was intended for me or not. To remove all doubt, I gave the ball to her.
Then it was glove trick time. I am very shy about using the glove trick because I always think the ushers will have a problem with it but I saw a ball close to the wall of the bullpen in Right Field and dropped my glove over it. Here is the three part sequence:
That would be me:
1. Looking at the ball
2. Dropping my glove
3. Pulling the ball up
Notice the ball to the left of the picture? I probably wasn’t going to get that ball via the glove trick I waited for that bullpen catcher to come into the bullpen a few minutes later and asked him if I could have another chance but he said something that I couldn’t hear and left the ball. I then gave up on the fact and went up to the second deck where I would have more of a shot at hit baseballs because the second deck really hangs over the first and so only like the first five rows have a shot of getting a ball hit to them:
Right after he took that picture, Richard took a picture of where we came from:
That may not seem like that much of a walk but it was a very indirect route due to the fact that there were railroad racks in the way. For those who know the area, we parked at about 50th and National, walked to the Hank Aaron trail, walked that from National to the pedestrian bridge and walked over that to get to the Harley Davidson gate in Center Field.
Back to ballhawking, here is a picture showing the first part of an interesting event:
A Pirates lefty hit a ball to my right. I looked to make sure my path was clear (pictured) and ran to where the ball was headed. I thought I was camped under it but moved about two feet to my right and so I reached for it. Turns out a man who looked like he knew what he was doing reached out at the same exact moment and our gloves knocked into each other and neither of us ended up getting the ball. You may remember that a similar incident happened on this day at Citi Field. However, on that day the man who knocked into MY glove stared me down and turned fire engine red where as this was Milwaukee and we both apologized to each other for bumping into the other’s glove.
I then saw a ball go in the direction of the bullpen. I was on the second deck of the bleachers and had never used my glove trick from more than 7 feet up but I looked down anyway to see if it was in range. Surely enough it was. Here is my glove using all of its available fishing line:
I measured out 30 feet of fishing line when I initially cut it. So, Richard and I discussed it and eventually concluded that I had glove tricked the ball from 26 feet up. I obviously couldn’t see the fans behind or to the side of the bullpen but when my glove got five feet off the ground with the ball in it I heard a noise from those two sections that was loud enough to be classified as a roar. I leaned over the railing a bit and saw close to 50 people gathered to watch on the lower level. Here I am pulling the glove almost all the way up:
That was nice but unfortunately it was my last ball of the day. Soon enough, batting practice was over and it was time to head to our seats. We were in Left Field. Want to guess where exactly?:
If you guessed right behind the foul pole give yourself a cookie. The tickets said partially obstructed view and I suppose the foul pole wasn’t big enough to completely block the field but we were right behind it two rows back from it section 233 row 2 seats 2+3. Safe to say we didn’t sit there. Instead, we sat from where this picture was taken and surprisingly no one came to take our seats. The stadium was absolutely packed. Miller Park holds 43,000 and the attendance for this game was 40,000 something.
For the game, the Brewers won the game and continued on what was an amazing hot streak for them. I don’t remember the exact score but I do remember that Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder hit back to back Home Runs in their last at-bats.
- 9 baseballs at this game (4 actually snagged and 3 pictured because I gave one away)
- 133 baseballs in 34 games= 3.91 balls per game
- 4 baseballs* 41,820 fans ( i was wrong in my estimate)= 167,280 competition factor
- Time at Game 4:27- 10:06= 5 hours 39 minutes
Second day at Turner Field:
I was excited because it was now the day after the fourth of July and the attendance would probably be low not only because it was a day not fourth of July but specifically because it was the day AFTER when not that many people would want to get to the game at 4:30.
As foreshadowing, my day started off poorly. I was obligated to put on sunscreen outside the gate and as a result the glove trick with fishing line (as I use it ) became a very difficult task because my hands kept slipping on the line and thus i couldn’t get a ball that fell in the LF gap:
I eventually conceded to a person with a cup trick that snagged it in five seconds after he readied his device.
Why was I not by the first base foul line for the pitchers warming up you ask? Well because right field and all sections to the right of that were closed until 5:00 but I did eventually make my way to the center field corner spot (the spot furthest to the front and left, from my perspective, of the section). From there I had priority to any ball hit in right field. I used this to get Brain Snitker, the third base coach, to toss me a ball.
I then moved back to left field when a few righties came up and when Martin Prado tossed a ball to a kid and missed high I collected it and handed it to him right away.
Back in right field when Jason Heyward’s group came up, I used my glove trick to pick up a ball that landed in the gap between the walls:
Yes that is a Hilton pen that I have my fishing line on. Why? In order to prevent tangling like that which I pointed out at the end of the day before’s entry. There was another ball that landed in the gap later on during bp (I don’t remember when) but it was wedged perfectly between two metal strips in the gap so that I could not move it. I then moved back to left field when the Rockies pitchers came out to warm-up and got Ubaldo Jimenez to toss me a ball:
Bad News: He under threw me by two feet and the ball fell into the gap.
Good News: There was a construction/painting platform below me so I just had to lean over a bit and I picked it up.
Back to right field. I got Matt Pagnozzi to throw me a ball. As you can tell there really wasn’t much Home Run action. Had there been I might have found myself in double digits at the end of the day. Oh well, someday. There were a few that came near me but people were just in the right spots as I positioned myself to have as much open running room as possible. The picture to describe this:
I would described the feeling behind my face as tired due to running back and forth, disappointed because of the balls I got blocked on, and a little annoyed because I don’t have one shot of me actually snagging a ball. I mean I’m not catching ten balls a game so it is a bit tough with a screen that goes to sleep every five seconds but given my luck at that point the smaller details were what I was fretting about to distract myself from how the game had gone.
…Until I made it to my seat:
I mean that was AFTER the game had started. I mean literally if a foul ball landed in that section I had a 50% chance of catching it. Turns out all I needed was that one row as in the second inning Nate McLouth hit a foul ball right to that row. I only had one person to beat which was a kid behind me that also had a glove but he was talking to his dad at the time and didn’t even see the ball go up. I ran about half way through the row, put my glove up, caught the ball and then had my left leg hit the back of a seat because I had been tracking the ball. That was what I was going for so I was happy but not surprised. I stupidly did not have my mom take a picture of me after I caught the ball but here I am with it later on:
I am actually holding the smudge that the bat created on the ball towards the camera, if you can see. I also made a shocking discovery involving my first foul ball (as a ballhawk. I ended up with one in… 2000 I think.) that I had not thought through before catching this one. It had not been rubbed up much if any. Here is a picture of me with that ball that I took for a mygameballs.com article:
If you look at the color difference of the two it shows you how little this ball was rubbed up with mud. I have gotten umpire balls before that were rubbed up but I guess it took me catching a second foul ball to realize that those had just been in the game. I know this train of thought may seem weird but I just didn’t think about the ball at the time because I was too excited that I had,won a scramble for, a foul ball.
Wanting to catch another foul ball, I stayed in those seats until the seventh inning stretch. At which time, I moved over to around the Rockies dugout, via seat weaving. The view:
I got nothing in two innings (because there was no bottom of the ninth) from, first baseman at the time, Ty Wigginton. He just threw it elsewhere to one Rockies fan and one non-Rockies fan.
I then tried to once again tie my career high by getting the home plate umpire (I don’t remember who) to toss me one of his excess baseballs. He either had none or wasn’t in the mood after being argued with by both teams various times and walked straight into the umpires’ room.
Next up was the bullpen guys who just had no baseballs with them. Actually I shouldn’t say that. The bullpen guys always have a ginormous bag full of baseballs but unless one of the actual pitchers picked a ball up before it was put into that bag and had it in his pocket it is unlikely the person carrying the bag will go through the trouble of setting the bag down, unzipping it, taking a ball out and zipping it back up again just to give a ball to one of their out-of-town fans. I would have been fine with this but I was on my way out of the stadium when, rookie bullpen pitcher, Rex Brothers arrived and started signing autographs. I ran down in hopes of getting a ball signed when he stopped signing. The culmination of these things led to this face (notice I did not forget my attention grabbing Rockies shirt this time):
- 6 balls at this game (4 pictured because I gave two away)
- 56 balls in 17 games= 3.29 balls per game
- 42 straight games with at least 1 ball
- 3 straight games with at least 5 balls
- 12 straight games outside of New York with at least 1 ball
- 6 balls*17,718 fans=106,308 competition factor
- Time at game 4:18- 10:13=5 hours 55 minutes
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.