When I left my apartment, it just started raining. When I got to the ballpark, it wasn’t, but the line was already somewhat long:
What was the net result of my weather situation? This:
Bleh. It looked like getting number 300 would be a challenge today. I was currently at 296, but getting four baseballs at Yankee Stadium without batting practice isn’t that easy. Heck, getting four while there IS batting practice is no cake walk either.
See those two players warming up? That was Cody Eppley and Dave Robertson. Naturally, I moved over to try to get a ball from them. I didn’t. However, while I was waiting for them to finish up their throwing, an usher with a Yankee hat was walking through the Legends seats with a ball. I asked him for it, and he let me have it:
After that, I moved over to the other side of the stadium to the Cleveland Indians pitchers warming up. Every time they threw it to someone else. I think I probably would have had a couple toss-ups, had I actually brought an Indians shirt, but all I had was an Indians batting practice- not really decipherable from 100ft away- and a generic red shirt. A fan I had seen at prior games, whose name I discovered this game was Eddy, had full Indians stuff, so he got four balls from the Indians.
After all the Indians pitchers left the field, Eddy and I sat down behind the visitors dugout and talked while we waited for some sign of movement out of the dugout for another chance at a few baseballs. We discussed a variety of things baseball, ranging from reckless aggressiveness in the stands to how we got started catching baseballs. While this was going on, I noticed there was an unusual amount of notable media members. I guess this is pretty random, but I saw: Tim Kurkjian, Keith Olbermann, and Harold Reynolds all down by the dugout. It would be one thing if they were all from the same network, but those were three members of the media coming for (presumably) three different reasons. Reynolds was the only one who had cameras following him, so I assume he was doing something for MLB Network. Kurkjian was almost definitely there because this game was on Monday Night Baseball. As for Olbermann, he’s just a baseball fan, or nerd as he describes himself. When he was between networks last year, he went to a New York baseball game almost every night despite the fact that he was on crutches. I’m guessing that was the case here. He actually struck up a pretty long conversation with Manny Acta that lasted as long as my conversation with Eddy.
My conversation with Eddy was broken up when an usher came down and asked for our tickets. We then went our separate ways. I stupidly didn’t get a picture of him or of both of us, but he’s at most games, so I’m sure I’ll get a picture sometime. Anyway, he went to his seat in the lower level right field seats, and I went to my seat in the left field bleachers (for those who don’t know, the bleachers are the section right above the lower outfield seats, but cost 10-15 times less than those seats, given the day.
Once I got up to my seats, I watched the day’s starter, Josh Tomlin, warm up. While he was warming up, a ball dropped in the mud and the pitching coach (who was in the bullpen to watch Tomlin warm up as all pitching coaches do) picked it up and tossed it up to me after I asked him for the ball. He then moved out of the frame just as I took this picture:
Do you notice how dirty looking the ball is? Actually, that’s not the dirtiest part of the ball. I took off my glove and turned the ball around for this picture to show the even dirtier side of the ball, which is still like that as I type this sentence:
Now I can say I have a mud sample from the Yankee Stadium bullpen. A shallow victory, yes; but a victory nonetheless.
That was it for snagging. My seat was soaked from the rain, but I reluctantly sat down for the rest of the night as I watched the Yankees cream the Indians behind stellar pitching and hitting performances of Hiroki Kuroda and Robinson Cano, respectively.
Another thing of note in this game is that in one of the later innings, Nick Swisher started off the inning with a sliding catch. Even if you aren’t from New York, you may know that Nick Swisher is absolutely adored by Yankee fans to begin with. Whenever he makes a sliding/diving catch, there’s a pretty big cheer. After that sliding catch, he went onto make the next two catches in the inning, the latter of which ended with him in a very awkward position. The place went nuts for that. If that weren’t enough, he was leading off the inning immediately after those three catches. You can imagine he got a pretty big ovation.
Oh, and for the record, this was my view the whole game:
After the game, I tried to get bullpen coach, Dave Miller, to toss me a ball, but he didn’t even look up when I yelled his name. I tried throughout the game to get a ball from both of the Indian’s two bullpen catchers, whose first names I only know: Francisco and Armando. However, even though they looked my direction, I think there was the same problem of them not being able to see my Indians hat’s logo.
- 2 Balls at this Game
numbers 297-298 for my career:
- 76 Balls in 16 Games this season= 4.75 Balls Per Game
- 25 straight Games with at least 1 Ball
- 2 Balls x 42,290 Fans= 84,580 Competition Factor
- 54 Balls in 16 Games at the New Yankee Stadium= 3.38 Balls Per Game
- 16 straight games at the New Yankee Stadium with at least 1 Ball
- Time Spent On Game 4:10- 10:22= 6 hours 12 Minutes
I did a new vlog entry. I’ll let it speak for itself, though. The only thing is, if you read this entry right as it came out, the video might be a bit less than desirable, since I still have to make some changes. Also, I realize there are some green flashes. I don’t what’s up with them. I thought you would like this entry more since it is much shorter than the last one. Anyway, here is this entry:
Previous game’s entry:
A mere 12 hours after my dad and I had left Citizens Bank Park, we were in Detroit for a three game series between the Cleveland Indians and the Detroit Tigers. Either the Detroit airport is a pretty good ways away from downtown, or we arrived in a diffirent airport, because I remember we took a semi-long bus ride from the suburbs to downtown after arriving at the airport.
I also had no idea where our hotel was. When we arrived, I was amazed by the hotel:
That, if you don’t know, is the GM Renaissance Center, or the RenCen. The red circle you see in the picture is an approximation of where our hotel room was. Also for those who don’t know, the RenCen is actually about four or five buildings together. They appear as separate buildings in the picture, but they are all joined at the base. It was truly one of if not the best hotel experience I have had.
Anyway, it was soon off to the game that we went. I don’t believe we went to batting practice this game, but we might have. Anyway, the thing from this first game is that Grady Sizemore hit a home run in the first at-bat of the game. It was off some pitcher who was starting to really do well that season. His name was… Armando Galarraga? I have no clue who the Indian’s pitcher was, though. Sizemore would go on to hit a second home run later on in that game.
I’m pretty sure I didn’t take any pictures at this game, but it was an exciting game nonetheless. I’m almost certain it went extra innings, and I know that the winning run came via a Franklin Gutierrez. (Yes, Franklin Gutierrez was on the Indians at one time. He then got traded to Seattle in the deal that sent J.J. Putz to the Mets.)
As short as this entry is, I really don’t have anything more to report about THIS game. I don’t remember anything else. All the memories I can recall were for the other two games in this series that I went to, so those entries should be MUCH longer. Anyway, here is the ticket for this game I still have. I don’t know where the second ticket went:
2011 was truly a fun year for the Cleveland Indians…the first half anyway:
Casey Kotchman, Jeremy Accardo, Jose Lopez, Derek Lowe, Felix Pie, Kevin Slowey, and Dan Wheeler.
Jim Thome, Adam Everett, and Austin Kearns.
Why?: This is a weird entry/grade. The addition far surpass the subtractions. That said, I usually don’t put in more than one or two players in the “Notable” lists that have been signed to a minor league contract. In this entry, however, I have five players that were signed to minor league contracts on the list. This serves as an indicator that a lot of the players aren’t game changers. In other words, the subtraction players aren’t that far away from equaling the value to a team that the addition players present, a fact which reflects itself in the grade I gave their offseason.
Also, Kosuke Fukudome and Chad Durbin have yet to sign, which may bring the Indians’ grade down as they were on the Indians last year.
Predicted Record Range: 77-82 wins
First off, here is the original entry detailing the Indians 2010 season, their offseason, and predictions for their 2011 season, which is now over.
If you are new to the “Re-view of the preview” entries, they are entries looking back at a series of entries I did last season called “Offseason Recap and Preview”, which were entries that examined teams’ free agent signings and trades during last offseason. I then went on to predict how the moves would affect the respective teams and their records for the 2011 season. First, I attach a link to the initial entry as you saw above. Then I go into how well I actually predicted that team’s season now that the season is over and I can actually see the discrepancy in record.
Predicted record: 73-78 wins
Actual Record: 80-82
Although it may seem like the two records are pretty similar, I really underestimated the “Tribe” they started off really well and cooled off from then. When I saw them play in Chicago, I think it was the first time I really had a look at their entire lineup and I do believe their first half record was closer to the mean and their second half was a *bit* of bad luck and they could easily have won in the 84-ish range.
My mistake in looking at this team was that although they had a tough(er) 2010 season, they had some prominent players injured and the return of these players made them a better team than the net gain from their “Notable” additions and subtractions during the offseason would suggest. Their pitching pretty much stayed the same, if you ignore the addition of Ubaldo Jimenez.
Overall, I kind of, sort of pegged this team.
Originally, I was planning to go to three games but because of changes to that plan that I was not made aware of, this would be my first and last game at US Cellular Field this year. I had taken a tour of Northwestern in the morning so this was my view coming off of the el or L (short for elevated train):
In that first picture, you are actually looking at gate 6. I then went over to gate 4 to meet my uncle (not Richard) with the tickets. From there I went to the Stadium club entrance between gates 2 and 3 because Rick Crowe told me he might be there but might also be inside the stadium for a season ticket holder promotion (long and complicated story that I’d rather not explain). He wasn’t there so I assumed that he was in the stadium and went over to gate 2 to see the length of the line because that goes into Right Field. The line was long enough for me to inspect how long it was at gate 1. Apparently, this was the gate they were doing the season ticket holder event thing at and no other people were allowed through. By the time I made my way back to gate 2 the time was 5:20 (10 minutes pre-gate opening) and the line was this long:
The arrow would be where the front of the line was because the line kind of curved to its destination. Now I didn’t know it at this time but what I should have done was go back to gate 6 because that would get me to the Left Field seats and it would be much less crowded than this line. One of the reasons this line was so crowded was because it was also the patio gate. The patio area is a picnic table area that is actually under the Right Field seats. I didn’t know these seats even existed and so most of the people in this line were actually in it for that reason and other gates did not have this extra crowd. In addition, I didn’t know that we were not on the field level of the stadium. So when faced with the decision, I did not go up the ramp but actually followed the people going to the patio area. Here is actually a picture of the people going towards the patio area through this tunnel type thing that most stadiums have but fans are rarely allowed through:
So if I weren’t late enough already with waiting for the fans in front of me, I was made even tardier by the fact that I went the length of the tunnel and back. Eventually, I did make it to the 100 level and the Indians were already taking bp:
I quickly did pick out Rick Crowe:
He is obviously under the red arrow but I would also like to take this opportunity to show the best thing about US Cellular Field: No guard rails on the aisles. This means that any row is accessible. Usually, in a place with railing you will see ballhawks stationed in railing gaps during batting practice. These are one-row-wide gaps between one railing and the next. They do this because it allows them to access both sections of seats on both sides of the aisle. Without the railings, a ballhawk can just pick the spot on the aisle that is least crowded. For example, I would be able to stand in the second row here and not be worried about being limited to going to only one side due to the railing but I could just pick out the emptiest row and stand in the respective aisle. Anyway, in the process of introducing myself to him I actually missed out on two balls that landed more towards Right-Center Field. I was okay with this in the moment and I’m glad I met him at my first chance but I really wished I would have spotted him like two seconds later.
I then noticed two things that made me leave for Left Field: the Left Field seats were bleachers and Chris Perez was shagging in Left Field. The former made me go over there because bleachers are far easier to maneuver through and snag baseballs in because one can be more of an outfielder and adjust to the ball depth wise. Let me explain this a bit better. In a seated section, one has to pick a row to run through within about one row of where the ball is going to land because jumping over seats is a time-consuming process where as bleachers are very easy to jump over and allow a person to start running laterally right away and adjust to the distance of the ball once they get in line with it. The latter made me want to be in Left Field because there are certain guys in the league that give out twenty thousand balls a batting practice and Chris Perez is one of them. This batting practice he tossed up any ball that he fielded within ten feet of the wall. Most players mope around and want to do the least amount of exercise possible in batting practice but he played every ball like he was an outfielder in the seventh game of the World Series and how quickly he got the ball would decide if his team won or not.
Anyway, the latter proved to be a quicker source of a baseball as Perez threw me a ball within the first two minutes I was in Left Field:
I then changed into a different outfit from my standard Indians gear to see if I could get Perez to actually throw me another because as I said he was throwing ball after ball into the crowd. This is what I came up with:
That would be my standard Indians bp hat (bought in Cooperstown), Mets give away sunglasses, and a Red Sox shirt turned inside-out. I didn’t get anything else from Perez as he didn’t field any balls close to me but I did get other players to throw me balls. Unfortunately, I was under-thrown on both occasions. The first is pictured in this diagram:
The guy who threw it to me is under the right-most arrow and the two connected arrows show the arc of the ball. It was headed right in my direction but it was severely under-thrown and landed in the first row where the kid in the White Sox jersey picked it up (and yes I am 95% sure that the ball was intended for me and not the kid as he only looked back to us when I called out to him). I am not completely sure but I think the armless pitcher was Chad Durbin. I do know, however. The person was in fact a player and not a coach that threw the ball as much as it might look like a coach in that last picture. The next ball was closer to straight away Left Field and was almost the same exact scenario except for the fact that the ball was closer to me but I was standing on the bleacher and so it took me longer to get down and that’s when I lost it.
Then next ball I actually did get was a hit ball:
Don’t be fooled, I was not as lucky as it may seem with the crazy series of ricochets show here. Keep in mind that I was tracking this ball so I was moving back and forth with each bounce. I gave this away to a father with what looked to be a one year old. I was planning to spend the game wherever Rick Crowe was sitting but it turns out he only attends the batting practices and no the games so I played Home Run balls out in Right Field.
As for the game, it was a 14 inning affair but I only staid for 12 innings. I would have staid longer but my means for getting back to shelter wanted to go home in the 12th. Speaking of which, here they are:
1. Mike– My uncle that treated us to this game on the field level and currently (in the picture) trying to walk without pain from an injury sustained during the t-shirt toss when an over-exuberant knocked over both he and my mother (should have stayed with me closer to the field). Wait, who’s my mother?
2. Andrea– my mother who wanted to come to this game but yet not stay for the duration of it.
We weren’t the only ones who left early so we had constant updates on the train from other on their smart phones.
- 2 balls at this game (1 pictured because I gave one away)
- 135 balls in 36 games = 3.75 balls per game
- 2 balls * 29,700 fans= 59,400 competition factor
- Time at game 4:59-11:14= 6 hours 15 minutes
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