Today was the final chapter of the book “Why I despise going to baseball games during kids week.” This would be the line in front of me when I got to the game 30 minutes early:
But wait, it gets better. Here is the line behind me 10 minutes before the gates opened:
I initially wasn’t going to go to this game but then a member of the senior “club” that I volunteer at knew me as a person who went to baseball games offered me two tickets. So I went to the game and offered the other ticket to another ballhawk who happens to be my next door neighbor, Greg Barasch. Crazy, no? Though, looking back on it, I might have been better served to invite his dog as he makes for very tough competition. The one positive was that there was no season ticket holder section on the field:
Of course, that didn’t matter as nothing even came close, hit or otherwise, during the Mets portion of bp. I moved around a bit but not as much as I usually do. My desperation strategy for the last day of kids week was to stay put more and see if things would work out that way. It is safe to say that this strategy failed utterly and my first and only ball came from Alan Butts:
Butts is simply listed as “coach” on the roster and I suspect he is the bullpen catcher. Anyway, in the picture, the arrow pointing straight down shows where I was standing and the arrow pointing diagonally upwards is the path of the ball from Butts’ hand to my glove. That was it for batting practice.
Now to the game. This was a game/postgame of tough breaks. Due to paint’s inability to accurately depict this next scene I will put up the picture of where I was sitting and write out what then unfolded:
Josh Thole was up and he hit a sort of high foul ball. From that view, it immediately went into the lights. I knew that it would get out of the light so I just kept my eyes still on where I thought it would exit the lights. It then exited them on the left, sliced back to the right but was now under the lights. I could tell it was coming right at me. I mean RIGHT AT ME! Thole couldn’t have thrown it to me more perfectly. I simply stood up and was ready to make the easy chest level catch when the person in front of me, who is illuminated by my flash, stood up and deflected the ball just enough for it to scoot to the right of my glove and in the row behind me. To add insult to injury, the ball hit the person in the row behind me and one seat to my left. Just as I turned to see where it had gone the ball rolled under the seat right next to me:
Then it rolled two rows below me and to add a law suit against a person who has been both insulted and injured I climbed over a row and was a quarter of a second late to the ball as a lady in that row grabbed it:
Then after the game, I convinced the home plate umpire to flip me a ball but the person in front of me reached for it and as a result swatted it down beck into the tunnel the umpires exit through. A security supervisor who has a disposition against ballhawks then picked it up and walked straight past me before giving it to someone else. I would have been fine with this had the umpire blindly thrown the ball into the crowd because that is free game but he only reacted after I called him out by name and I am 97.639% sure that the ball was intended for me.
Oh and did I mention that it was also Fiesta Latina and as a result there were Jose Reyes banners being given away. Though most people used them as a cape instead:
On the subway, I saw a father and son decked out in Braves gear and could tell they had traveled a ways to get here. I also saw that the son had a glove with him. So, as is my natural inclination, I asked him if he had gotten a ball. When he said no, I then took my ball out of my backpack and gave it to him. They asked me if I was sure and I think I explained to them what I did or just told them to keep it.
- 1 ball at this game (no picture because I gave it away) number 188 for my career
- 127 balls in 30 games= 4.233333 Balls Per Game
- 56 straight games with at least 1 ball
- 26 straight games with at least 1 ball
- 1 ball*30,607fans= 30,607 competition factor
- Time At Game 4:45- 10: 12= 5 hours 27 minutes
At least they lost to the eventual champions.
Well they didn’t do that well in 2010:
… again but the Royals have never been about winning today (seriously, have they won since George Brett was there?). They are building for tomorrow. Take that into this preview with you.
Vin Mazzaro, Joaquin Arias, Jeff Francoeur, Melky Cabrera, Alcides Escobar, Jeremy Jeffress, Lorenzo Cain, Zack Miner, Jeff Francis, and Pedro Feliz.
Zack Greinke, David DeJesus, Gil Meche, Yuniesky Betancourt, and Brandon Duckworth.
Why?: I know that they lost Zack Greinke this off-season. However, even though the grade is for how well the team set up for their immediate future, I lessen the penalty of losing a star player if the team got something good in return. The Royals definite deserved this slight bump for what they got back for Greinke. Also, they added some crazy depth everywhere. Although, am I the only one to notice that Robinson Cano’s best year came after Melky left? We’ll see what impact he has on players like Alcides Escobar.
I would like to point out that KC’s rotation overall did improve because of names like Vin Mazzaro amongst others. Although they did come in last in their division last year and lost their ace in the offseason, I see a solid transistion year. Let me make an argument for a better rotation in 2011. They traded for Vin Mazzaro and must have seen something in him to give up a piece like David DeJesus. Zack Miner is a solid back of the rotation starter that constantly hovers around 4.00 ERA.
Now… the Jeff Francis case. Does anyone remember that he was the ace of the Rockies’ World Series run in 2007? Anyone? Well, he was. He had 17 wins and had an ERA of 2.21 until the World Series (where the whole Rockie team shut down). He did horribly in 2008 but it was later revealed that he had an injury in his shoulder. He didn’t pitch in 2009 because of arthtoscopic surgery. Pitched badly again in 2010 with an ERA of 5.00 on the dot. I think that this may have been because of the recovery from the surgery. For most shoulder surgeries, it is usually takes a few years to fully recover. If he can get anywhere close to where he was before, the Royals have a much better staff than last year.
Predicted Record Range: 68-73 wins Like I said, this depends on the pitching staff because their young defense will be unpredictable and can fluctuate ( so their wins will fluctuate). We have yet to see how the offense will come together but with solid pitching they can improve a bit on their win total last year.
For those of you who did a little link clicking and wonder why I am so behind on game recaps, I have a lot of homework which is also why this entry took so much time. I have yet to see how baseball will affect my blogging but I can’t post the game recaps of games last weekend until next Monday because my pictures for those games are in a computer that I do not have access to.
One word to describe this team, disappointment. So, what did the front office do?
Well, they are the defending American League champions:
Adrian Beltre, Yorvit Torrealba, Mike Napoli, Arthur Rhodes, Brandon Webb, and Dave Bush.
Cliff Lee, Jeff Francoeur, Rich Harden, Frank Francisco, Jorge Cantu, Bengie Molina, and Vladimir Guerrero.
Why?: Well actually, after losing out on Cliff Lee I thought the Rangers had a pretty good off-season. They certainly increased the depth in their line-up. Despite this, the reason I give them a C and not higher, is that Cliff Lee’s role as a role model for a very young rotation might have been greater than his individual contribution to the team. When Nolan Ryan first joined the Rangers as an executive, he wanted to have the pitchers throwing more innings and more strikes. Well, no one this side of Roy Halladay does this better than Cliff Lee. Although, Yorvit Torrealba did have some experience in managing a budding staff with the Padres last season and he will probably be the starting catcher for the Rangers for most of this season. As Mike Napoli’s defense behind the plate is a concern for the coaching staff and front office.
I see the Ranger’s becoming a better version of their 2005-2009 clubs, an offense that has to score more runs than the starters give up. True, they have more depth than those teams had, but they still have no clear cut #2 after CJ Wilson. I do like best, their acquisition of Brandon Webb more than that of Adrian Beltre. I think that he could get back to being a top of the line starter. Will he? Probably not but if he doesn’t, you are only paying a million dollars for most likely a veteran who contributes in the back of the rotation. This is dependent on the fact that Michael Young is staying but, I think that the only team without a weak roster spot ie the Yankee’s fourth and fifth starters or the Red Sox’s Catcher.
Predicted Record range: 86-91 wins and 76-71 losses. Which will be good for either 1st or second place in the West depending on the Athletics’ record but I don’t see them reaching the World Series if they do win because of the lack of a dominant ace, though they do have a plethora of depth in the rotation. There is always the possibility that they have the World Series loser syndrome, which is to say that they will fall off substantially but I think that they will keep the pace because of their youth. True that this could be a reason for their demise but… where was I going with this? Can I change my mind now? Oh well, I already wrote the entry.
Up Next: Oakland Athletics
P.S. I know this isn’t a letter but, did anyone notice that even though I wrote a pretty extensive entry on Spring Training beginning. I was not featured on the Mlblogs home page (for those who don’t know how to get there click on the Mlblogs Network in the upper left corner) I mean there were entries that were only three sentences and even one that only had eight views when I saw it (#15).