With getting up at around 10:00, and heading off to Oriole Park at Camden Yards, my day of adventure with Avi Miller began:
(I’ll spare you the story, but trust me when I say that picture took way too long to get taken right.) There were two things I knew coming into this game:
1. There was not going to be any BP.
2. We were going to leave the game about half way through it.
If you can’t tell, that would be several pitchers along with Chris Davis dressed like an Olympic sprinter (idea credit goes to Avi on that one). But thankfully, with the help of Avi, I was able to get Josh Stintson to throw me a ball for my first on the day:
He was in only one of two throwing pairs for the Orioles at the beginning of warm-ups, so when I saw the Rockies coming out, I got my purple on and headed to that side of the stands. At the beginning of the Rockies pitchers throwing, I noticed Matt Belisle was throwing without a partner against the outfield wall:
So since the rest of the pitcher weren’t going to be done throwing for a while–since they had *just* started. He was hesitant at first, but then he tossed me the ball and we played catch. But at about the fourth throw (like eighth overall), he abruptly stopped throwing and started asking me questions about myself that eventually lead to him saying he liked the Baltimore area. And then he just walked away at the end of our conversation. It was kind of bizarre, but despite the fact that Belisle kept the ball, that was my second ball of the day.
My third came when Tyler Chatwood was done throwing, he tossed me his warm up ball:
Then the same happened with my fourth baseball and Rex Brothers:
I then gave this ball away to a kid who I asked if he had gotten a ball. Then a more noteworthy snag came when Rafael Betancourt picked up three baseballs. I figured he had seen me get at least one of the previous two baseballs, but after handing the first two to kids, he tossed me the third ball. I then headed up the stairs and asked a kid if he had gotten a ball, but he said he had bought one in the store, so I kept the ball Betancourt. It was then that Grant Edrington–who had shown up a little late–came up to me and asked, “So he tossed you the commemorative?” Up to this point, I hadn’t even looked at the baseball, but sure enough when I did, I saw the ball was indeed a Rockies commemorative ball:
Since I may have yet given up the baseball had Grant not arrived on the scene combined with the fact that he had never gotten one of these baseballs, I gave Grant the commemorative in exchange for him giving me a future commemorative if he ever snags one that I don’t get. Anyway, that was my fifth ball of the day and last one before the position players came out to throw. It was then that I got Nolan Arenado (who was already in the dugout by the time I took the next picture) to toss me a baseball:
I was at 6 baseballs, and could have stayed at the dugout to break my record for most baseballs snagged without batting practice, but instead I headed out to the flag court with Grant. But then at the beginning of the 6th inning, Avi showed up to pick me up:
And then we were of to Bowie (pronounced like buoy) for the Bay Sox game:
Well the game itself wasn’t going to start until 6:05. We were headed off so early to make sure we were going to be one of the first 1,000 fans for Manny Machado garden gnome night. Now I would never do something like this on my own, but when Avi pitched it to me, I was completely fine with it because I had not been to a minor league game since this, and I was more than okay with seeing some extra baseball. So for a 5:00 gate opening time, we showed up at around 4:05. Were we being a little overcautious to make sure we had enough time? Probably. But not as overcautious as you’d think. I went to get food once we parked, and when I was walking back to the line at around 4:25, this was the gigantic crowd of cars I saw in the parking lot from a distance:
And as I approached the gate, I realized just the extent of the madness over these garden gnomes:
Actually, that was not even the half of it. I had to go to the front of the line to capture the full madness:
See those extra people to the right of the right of the frame? That is actually a continuation of the line. It was so long there actually had to be a bend to it so it wouldn’t go out onto the main road. But anyway, at 5:00, it was time to enter:
So we entered, got out gnomes, and came back out to put our excess “stuff” that we didn’t need for the game back in the car. Here is Avi taking a picture of his gnome:
And here is what his camera was seeing (more or less):
After that, we entered Prince George’s Stadium for good:
We stayed, threw some toilet seats for a Zach Britton bobblehead, and then headed back to Avi’s house after a fun day at the ballparks.
(Major League) STATS:
- 6 Balls at this game (3 pictured because I gave the other 3 away)
Numbers 655-660 for my career:
- 213 Balls in 49 Games= 4.35 Balls Per Game
- 6 Balls x 22,238 Fans=133,428 Competition Factor
- 111 straight Games with at least 1 Ball
- 16 straight Games with 2 Balls
- 13 straight Games with 3 Balls
- 5 straight Games with 4-5 Balls
- 85 Balls in 20 Games at OPACY= 4.25 Balls Per Game
- 20 straight Games with at least 1 Ball at OPACY
- 10 straight Games with at least 2 Balls at OPACY
- 8 straight Games with at least 3 Balls at OPACY
- 6 straight Games with at least 4 Balls at OPACY
- 4 straight Games with at least 5 Balls at OPACY
- Time Spent On Game 10:41-9:44= 11 Hours 3 Minutes
It started raining in Minneapolis at 11:00 AM. That was okay, though because according to my phone, the rain would end by 4:00 PM (before batting practice was set to start). Well, my phone was right:
Did that mean there’d be batting practice?
Yeah, when I entered this was the most exciting thing happening:
Actually, that’s not hyperbole at all. See that fan in the bright orange going down the steps? That would be my guest to this game, Sean. I had been eyeing some cheap seats on Stubhub, but they were only being sold in pairs. Sean here is in my “History of Science” class. I forget how, but somehow, we revealed to each other that we were both baseball super-fans. When he said he was going to the Twins game Friday, and said he would want to catch a game with me some time, I jokingly said something like: “How about this Wednesday?” Shockingly, he accepted the offer.
Fast-foward to today: He and I- after some confusion- met up at the Washington Ave Bridge and walked to Target Field. Fast-forward to pre-game warm-ups: The Twins pitchers you saw started throwing. I played it completely wrong, so I didn’t get a single ball from them while they were throwing. However, I went behind the dugout to try to get a ball from Alex Burnett, but when I got there, and usher started telling me something just as I was about to ask Burnett for the ball, so I couldn’t do as I had planned. Fortunately, the usher was telling me there was a ball right by where I was standing. He suspected Burnett had thrown it just seconds before I arrived. Here is where it was in the first row:
I’m glad the usher told me, but it would have been nice to start a game with no BP with two balls right out of the gate. At this time, Sean was getting food, and although I had told him that I snag baseballs at games, he couldn’t believe I had already gotten a ball when he came back.
I then changed into my Royals gear:
Yes, my actual Royals shirt hadn’t showed up yet, so I taped a paper cut-out of the logo to ma blue shirt as I have done a few times previously. Anyway, there were two pitchers warming up, Kelvin Herrera and Bruce Chen. Apparently, someway, somehow, Bruce Chen learned Spanish, because he was talking to Herrera in Spanish. Anyway, Chen went off to run, and Herrera started throwing with someone else. When they finished, I asked Herrera to toss me the ball in Spanish, and he did:
That was it for pre-game activities. Normally, that would be it for the game, but did I mention where the cheapish seats were? Yeah, well let me just say I was able to try to get a ball during the pre-game position player throwing. When they came out, though, there was a problem:
You can’t really tell from the picture, but everyone brought their glove, yet no one thought to bring a ball. Eventually, someone *did* bring a ball, and that ball got tossed to me by David Lough:
But let’s take another look at that ball:
Yep. The Royals somehow had Oriole Park commemorative baseballs.
As for the game, this was my view:
That’s a pretty nice view for $20.
I also saw something I had never seen before at Target Field. It had rained, so that combined with the natural cold to make it cold enough for the Twins to turn on the heat lamps in the concourse:
I’ve got to say, that’s a really nice touch to have for a ballpark in Minnesota. I know the shorts-clad Sean really appreciated the Twins having them.
As you can guess, I was playing the dugout for third-out balls. Well for whatever reason, whenever Eric Hosmer recorded a third out at first base, he tossed the ball to Alcides Escobar who ALWAYS tossed the ball to a kid. I could have reached for a ball in the first inning that was meant for one of said kids, but it didn’t feel right. However, in about the fifth inning, the inning ended with Mike Moustakas catching a line drive. When he got back to the dugout, he tossed the ball just to my right:
Right after I got the ball, I opened my glove up for a kid right next to me to take the ball. That was my fourth ball of the game.
Like I said before, this was a cold, rainy game to begin with, so when the Royals had Sean and I singing, “The runners on base go round and round…” it was pretty empty at Target Field:
I almost caught a Justin Morneau foul ball, but I couldn’t get my glove over one of the railings in my section, and the ball took a huge bounce off the concrete after that into the seats outside of the “moat” above me.
After the game ended, I went down to the umpire tunnel and got a all from the home plate umpire, Dan Bellino:
At the time, I thought the ball was clearly intended for me, but after I jumped to catch it, I looked right behind me to see Sean staring right at me. It may have indeed been intended for him. Don’t worry, though, I would give him the ball two days later when we once again went to the same game. Anyway, this was the second highest total I had ever recorded at a game with no batting practice. Even though I don’t like playing third-out balls for the exact reason that they are so easy to get, it was nice to be able to get three baseballs during or after the game. Normally I would be stuck at two balls on a day like this. Also, according to mygameballs.com, this was the first ball he has ever thrown up to a member.
After the game, Sean and I got a parting picture together before heading back to the University of Minnesota:
Yeah, he’s a White Sox fan as he’s from Chicago, but in all fairness, he was rooting for the Twins this game, so he’s forgiven for one game.
- 5 Balls at this game (4 pictured because I gave 1 away)
Numbers 412-415 for my life:
- 194 Balls in 46 Games= 4.22 Balls Per Game
- 5 Balls x 28,139 Fans = 140, 695 Competition Factor
- 55 Games with at least 1 Ball
- 5 straight Games with at least 2-3 Balls
- 4 straight Games with at least 4 Balls
- 26 Balls in 7 Games at Target Field= 3.71 Balls Per Game
- 6 straight Games with at least 1-2 Balls at Target Field
- 5 straight Games with at least 3 Balls at Target Field
- 4 straight Games with at least 4 Balls at Target Field
- Time Spent On Game 3:45- 11:39= 7 Hours 54 Minutes
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?