You may remember, if you read semi-regularly, that my high school team played at the Myrtle Beach Pelicans’ stadium fairly recently. If not, here’s the link to the entry. Well, this was now our second game in a season playing at a minor league ballpark. It’s pretty cool to play in a minor league stadium period. To do so twice in a season is fantastic. This time, for those who don’t know where this ballpark is, it was the Staten Island Yankees’ stadium that we would be playing in:
I took that last picture immediately upon entering the stadium, and as you can see there were already players ahead of me. Apparently, we weren’t supposed to have entered. The gate was only open because a local network by the name of MSG Varsity was filming the game and needed to get their cameras in. We were supposed to (and eventually did after we filled out the paperwork that we wouldn’t sue the Yankees if anything happened to us) go to the visitor’s locker room.
The locker room was truly amazing. I know this because I have been to both, but it was close to the quality of a Major League one in terms of appearance, even if it was a little smallish. All the lockers had the names of the players, and the locker room was completely carpeted. Sounds amazing enough for me to take pictures, right? Unfortunately, it was here that I found out I had forgotten my camera’s memory card for the second time in four days. I guess I was freaking out about this, because the following is the extent of my documentation of the locker room:
Fascinating, isn’t it?
Soon after we made our way to the field, I was asked to go up to the booth to help with the pronunciation of names. Here is the view from one of the booths behind the plate:
The arrow in that picture points to the PA announcer’s mic. He was the one I assisted in this particular booth. While I was there, I figured I should probably take a picture of the massive cluster of monitors the SI Yankees people had:
I should also add that they pulled me away when the rest of the team was paying catch, so I was watching the assistant coach who is usually my catch partner and I was glad he found someone else to throw with:
Next, I helped the MSG Varsity announcer with pronunciations in their booth; he’s the one with the red arrow above his head:
After that, I went down, and since the team was done playing catch, I wandered the seats to take a bunch of pictures. I started out by taking a picture with my camera touching the RF foul pole:
moved over to show the dining portion of the seats:
took a picture of the standing room section I would be standing in for most of the night where there was also an MSG Varsity camera present:
showed a view from the seats in foul territory down the first base line:
made sure to take a picture from the closest I could get to being directly behind the plate (I’ll explain later):
took a picture from foul ground on the third base side:
took a picture from as close as I could get to the foul line in LF:
took a picture of the gate 90 degrees to my right (with an arrow pointing at the bus we had driven in that is hidden in this picture):
then took my last “tour” picture of the stairs that lead to this corner of the stadium from the main concourse:
Right after that, I started my day of “snagging”. From now on, the entry will read more like a ballhawking entry.
I found a ball in the seats as I was going back to the dugout:
A St. Raymond’s pitcher was warming up nearby, so I asked him if the ball was theirs and threw it to him when he held out his glove. A few seconds later, I found another ball in the seats and decided to keep this one. Here is a picture of it:
After the National Anthem and opening ceremonies, I went to a second standing room section between the first one I showed you and the dining seats:
St. Raymond’s hitters didn’t hit any foul balls, but our leadoff hitter (who is a switch-hitter batting left-handed) hit a foul ball on the first pitch of his at-bat. Guess who ended up with the ball?
What happened was that the ball went into the concourse behind me, but then bounced off the wall and back into the seats. Here is the picture of the ball that I took when I turned around to show where it came from:
This hitter got out on the very next pitch and the next batter was a righty, so I ran over to the other side of the seats. Just as I was entering the seats, he hit a ball to my right that did the exact same thing as our leadoff hitter’s ball in that it bounced off the wall and back into the seat. Here I have the two baseballs because I hadn’t yet been able to throw the first one back (you couldn’t keep the balls):
Right after I picked up the ball, I heard and then saw three kids running up to the concourse and asking each other, “Where is it?” Do you remember Pat O’Shea from the Pelicans game I went to? Well those were his two younger brothers and younger sister. The sister would stay with her parents, but for the rest of the night, I had a friendly competition with both of the brothers to see who could snag the most baseballs.
My next ball came when a righty sliced a ball down the line. I was playing closer to Home Plate than both of the brothers, so I accepted the fact that they would get the ball. The older one then came back like I expected with a ball. However, this ball was dirty like the ones I had found in the seats before the game started. It was the second inning, so I thought that it should be a pearl still. I ran down the line searching for a ball that matched my description, and what do you know, I found it!
If you’re not keeping track, that was my fifth ball of the game. I would go on to snag two more balls in the game. I can’t remember how I got my sixth ball, but I know that I caught the seventh one on the fly in the standing room section that I mentioned earlier. This beat the older brother by two baseballs, since he snagged 5, while the younger brother snagged 3 at this game. That is all on the snagging front, but I wanted to share a few more things.
1. Here is are the blank standings in the stadium because the SI Yankees’ season doesn’t start until June 16th I believe:
2. Here is a picture from the spot I was standing for most of the night. It is of the MSG Varsity camera man, and I thought the picture was nice-ish:
What do I like most about that picture? The skyline in the background. Here’s a close-up of it:
3. It was a very exciting game, albeit poorly played. The score was tied 1-1 going into the 7th inning (we only play seven innings). St. Raymond’s scored one run off a leadoff double. This meant we would have to score a run in the bottom of the seventh to win. Not only did we score one, but we also scored a second run to win the game, driving in the runs by walking with the bases loaded and hitting a sacrifice fly.
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?