First of all, here, is the link to the initial entry for all of your viewing pleasure.
Predicted record: 87-92 wins
Actual Record: 97- 65
I know it does look like I got them wrong, but if you read the actual entry, you will see that NO ONE had the Yankees close to what my prediction was. I am not exaggerating when I say that New York sports fans hyperbolize -*EVERYTHING!!!*- (sorry, couldn’t resist using that joke). Seriously, though, I heard people speculating they would be in third or fourth place in the division. It was to the Yankees’ credit, though that they resisted the temptation to make their usual Mega-star signing of the offseason and opting to sign Rafael Soriano instead, which I still don’t understand. Instead they went a more Ray-esque route of signing undervalued place holders and winning through their ab-par performance. As in, who could have expected both Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia to be viable starting options for the highest payroll in baseball.
My main point in the enty was to point out that the Yankees weren’t going down the tube, but instead, the Yankees were going to maintain their same general level of play and have a chance at making the playoffs in September. In this respect, I was right in the spirit of my words. In the extent to which they accomplished this I was a bit off.
On more thing I would just like to explain about the Yankees is that their high payroll does not mean that their Front Office is dumb and a s a result inefficient. The reason that they spend so much and don’t ever try and be patient and make smarter signings is that the Yankees always have the money to spend a lot in the offseason, and, unlike almost any other team, there is a pressure to win Every. Single. Year. So, because of the the overreactive tenency of Yankee fans, the Yankees must spend every year and not back off for a year or two and be smarter about how they use their money.
Overall, I was a bit off on the Yankees, but I was a lot closer to the reality than the public perception was.
When the Yankees playoff game was postponed from Friday to Saturday, a lot of people were upset because they had different plans on Saturday. Since the Yankees and MLB have protection against this liability, those people had no chocie but to sell their tickets on StubHub or other ticket broker sites. I didn’t know if I would be able to make it to this game because of other plans and wouldn’t have been able to afford the tickets at the last minute had the date switch taken place.
When I found out I was available, I bought tickets on StubHub and arrived on the scene some few short hours after that. It was drizzling outside. So I was pretty surprised when I arrived in the stadium and the Yankees were taking batting practice. The Yankees have a LOT of reasons to be disliked by ballhawks (notice my last Yankee game was in April) but they are not quick at all to put the tarp on because of the quality of the field (it drains better than most fields).
It was not a very exciting batting practice as neither team hit many balls into the crowd. I started out in Right Field but decided to go to Left Field. There, I had some close calls.
1. I was usually in the railing gap about ten feet from the field and closest to Center Field in the Left Field stands (I don’t say bleachers at Yankee Stadium because there really are bleachers behind the Left Field stands), and a ball went to my left. I chased after it and was behind two other people who were contesting for the ball as well. They knocked each other down and the person to my left’s presence didn’t allow me to go after the ball rolling down their row. For the record, the guys were fine with the fact that they lost each other the ball but neither was given the ball as a prize for their effort. I personally would have given one of them the ball despite the fact that they were grown men.
2. I almost convinced Joaquin Benoit to throw me his warm-up ball but as he looked at me, he saw the kid next to me was more “worthy” and tossed it to him. The exact thing that happened was that I started yelling out his name (that’s what it takes just to get heard at Yankee Stadium) and when he looked at me, I asked him for the ball in Spanish. When he threw it to the kid next to me, I thought that he wasn’t actually Hispanic and I’d just dissed him by asking for the ball in Spanish because neither Joaquin nor Benoit are exclusive Hispanic names. I later checked and saw he was from the Dominican Republic so I assume the first explanation in the paragraph is what happened. I would also now like to point out that somewhere in the process of getting my Tigers gear on, I lost the Tigers roster itself, so this is why I didn’t get any balls from the other pitchers because it relied on them just seeing me in my Tigers stuff.
3. A Tigers coach was going along the wall and picking up all of the balls and fungoeing them into the infield. One fan asked him if he could have one of the balls for his daughter and the coach didn’t respond ( because there were so many balls and he was probably going to give them one of the latter he picked up). So in New York fashion, the father started calling the coach a bum. I then asked the coach if he could: “toss a ball up for a Tigers fan.” He then responded by saying that I could thank the father for him not throwing the ball up to me. Had I been the first to ask, I am almost certain I would have ended up with the ball because there were just too many balls for him not to throw a few into the crowd. And yes, I was breifly considering using the glove trick on these balls.
Throughout all of bp there was rain coming down consistently.The Tigers finally ran off the field with about 40 minutes of bp left. I then focused all of my attention on a throwing pair down the line (don’t know for sure who they were because again I didn’t have my roster). I couldn’t identify the guy in the outfield so I just relied on my Tigers gear and started waving like a madman. I was like five feet from the back of the crowd on edge of the field and lined myself right up with his line of view so he could clearly see me. When he finished throwing, he kept his eyes on me and lobbed me the ball perfectly over the sea of people running after the ball because they thought they had been overthrown. I then caught it and waved/mouthed an emphatic “Thank You” from sixty feet out.
Then came the part that bothers me. I went back into the covered seats with the rest of the people hiding from the rain and was sitting there for at least 1/2 an hour to see if batting practice would resume. Then out of nowhere an usher came down to the seats and asked to see my ticket. I wasn’t doing anything but sitting there. I then told him that I didn’t have a ticket and he chuckled like he already knew the fact (I didn’t care that I was kicked out because I was going to go to the bleachers anyway because I was going with a guest). I then left and looked back. From what I could see, he only came down to check my ticket and go back up.
Maybe I’m just being paranoid but I think the Yankees have people constantly on cameras surveilling the seat to make sure that no one is in their precious field level seats that isn’t supposed to be there. If so, it is really over the top because I was not doing anything to disturb people, nor was I going to try. I grew up a Yankee fan and still root for the team, but geez, they are making it *really* difficult to keep rooting for them when the organization goes all OCD in security. The Yankees are the only MLB team that I know of that hires Securitas people to even be ushers. I know of some teams that hire out of office for some positions, but with the Yankees, they run the whole shebang. This was the only damper on the otherwise great night.
The original starters had been CC Sabathia and Justin Verlander, but because they began already and THEN postponed the game, Ivan Nova and Doug Fister replaced them. Even though I would have liked to see Verlander, Nova did a job that CC Sabathia would have gotten a curtain call for. The game was really cold for me because I had been in the rain and all my clothes were soaked and also the bleachers were soaked. This did make it a little less enjoyable game for me, but I was glad overall that I went. The last time I saw these two teams play was in the ALDS in 2006 some rookie pitcher that had won 17 games, named Verlander outdueled Mike Mussina to even out the series at 1 apiece. This game was really unenjoyable because, besides the fact that I was a much bigger Yankee fan and they lost, this game had also been rained out. In the rain out part, my dad and I were in the bleachers (for those who don’t know, the bleachers in the outfield at the old stadium were like an island isolated from the rest of the stadium and the concourse built on the inside of said island) and went down the tunnel to the concourse. Since it was raining, everyone else was also inside the tunnel and it was hot and humid on the concourse. Also, some people had started drinking even before the game had begun and one of those people was behind me. He didn’t act out or anything so how did I know he was drunk? All of a sudden, I felt a warm luquid on the achilles tendon of my right leg. He had just barfed all over the floor and my shoe. We then found out that game was postponed to a later day a few seconds after that. There is a bright side to this story, though. The game gave me a really good excuse to leave school early.
Anyway, I was happy with my one ball from a player that I later (semi) identified as Max Scherzer.
My next entry will probably be a recap of my first full season as a ballhawk.
Let’s just say that I won’t be in the mood for Yankee games for a while. First, there were three people in line at 4:50 for a playoff game last year. This was the line at 4:45 for the center field gate:
really don’t get how that can happen. That wasn’t that bad as most of
them didn’t go to the outfield for batting practice anyway (why do you
show up this early then?) Then when I optimistically entered the stadium
for a day of working on fly balls:
lucky if your eyes come back down with both retinas still fully
functioning. This made it nearly impossible for a skilled ballhawk to
catch a ball on the fly (without sunglasses) much less my unskilled
self. I lost three potential balls from this sun as I “had” to let them
drop and hope they stayed in place so I would be able to pick them up.
for toss-ups, normally Yankee player toss-ups are *very* (relatively
speaking) hard to come by as a wall of “here”s blasts as soon as the
player comes close to the ball but today it was just one fan. One kid
who seemed like a semi-regular by how the players recognized him, got
well over 50% of the toss-ups that went into the seats while I was
Finally, Curtis Granderson stepped in and hit a fly ball
to my right. I ran to the direction it was hit in, descended two rows
after I saw it touch base and beat out aforementioned “kid” to find it
tucked between the pads of the seat for Ball #1 on the day.
I wanted to stayed a bit as Rafael Soriano went into the bullpen to try and get a toss-up from the ball left in the bullpen:
but as I had no spot at a rail gap in right field because of Ben Weil and Tony Bracco,
and there was a mostly righty group of Yankees coming up, I made my way
over to left field. Absoltuamently nothing. Two Home Runs and for some
reason the White Sox didn’t throw any of their warm-up balls into the stands. Had there been any I wouldn’t been able to move that much because when I got there the rail gaps in left-center had already been taken.
3. Hope the guard to your right stops at a certain section
When they installed the second guard, they hoped he would make people just resign themselves to one side or the other and the guard stopped at a certain section and let the guys coming from left field get the people left in between them. This is the window where you would be able to just keep going left and out wait the guards but this security kept advancing until he met up with the left field guards. The result:
4. Get your ticket checked and be forced to leave.
Frus-tra-ting because of my false start to foul ground I wasn’t even allowed to go back and ask the other ballhawks if they could collaborate in getting me back into the field level seats. I tried going through the tunnel and asking them but apparently i wasn’t even allowed to stand in the tunnel leading to the section unless I had a ticket for that section.
Did not work. The Yankees have guards at every seat entrance (except for on the fourth level) well before the first pitch because they figure that if they charge so much for tickets than a person not sitting in their assigned tickets cost them that much more. Let’s do some math shall we? 137 entrances to the seats that have security guards (can we call it 140 for the sake of math) +1 supervisor for every ten openings+ 8 ticket checkers= 162 security guards for two hours before the game starts* even $6 per hour=$1,944 every game spent on security and I’m sure they make noticeably more than $6 per hour. That’s just the time from when the gates open until when the game begins.
7. Go back to your paid seat 5,000 feet from home plate:
After the fifth inning I got incredibly bored and frustrated that I was all the way in section 432a. So, I asked the invited if he had ever been to the Yankee museum. He didn’t even know they had one.
Some of the things I saw:
As we walked out of the museum, we immediately came upon then seats near the right field foul pole. I was scoping the area for lazy guards and what do you know, the first opening to the seats was security free. I pointed it out to my guest and we made quickly to our new seats.
That was it for me only one ball. By the way, I apologize for the lateness but Mlblogs has been acting up with the pictures again so I have had to work around those problems.
- 1 friggin ball at this game (#80)
- 19 balls in 8 games= 2.37 balls per game (Bleh)
- 33 straight games with at least 1 ball
- 7 games straight with at least on ball at Yankee Stadium
- 1 ball* 40,785 fans= 40,785 competition factor
- Time at Game 4:45- 10:22= 5 Hours and 37 Minutes
Not sure when my next game will be this weekend all depends on how Fordham does in a tournament.
Ah Sunday Night Baseball. The lights, the people, and the only game going on at that time. The ballhawk’s nightmare. First, there is the normal weekend crowd. Then, there is the Sunday Night Baseball crowd. Then, there’s the fact it is a Yankee game.
So a ballhawk like myself would have to get there extra early right? Well, I didn’t. I set myself up to get to the ballpark at 5:30 but because of the MTA’s modified 1 train schedule on weekends which has it not working from my station to the stop before Yankee Stadium. In a nutshell, I got to the ballpark at 6:24, my ticket blew away into the street as I was told to take out my phone. Not a good day to that point.
From this, it is no surprise that my first ball was thrown. Seeing little hope for Home Run snags, I headed over to foul ground to get a ball from the pitchers warming up. I initially lined up behind Neftali Feliz because of the Spanish factor but moved onto new pairs as the former pairs didn’t throw me a ball.
Finally, Mark Lowe saw my Ranger’s gear and tossed me his warm-up ball for Ball #1 on the day. I was relieved. It seemd like the perfect set of circumstances to get shutout.
I then moved back into fair territory and as this happened a ball came to Neftali Feliz. He threw it back but I managed to get in the words, “la proxima, por favor?” which translates to, “the next one please”. Within five minutes another ball came to him and he lofted it to me for Ball #2 on the day. I was ecstatic. I had just matched my season average in Yankee Stadium on the weekend.
Under the red arrow would be ESPN’s John Kruk picking his favorite seat of Yankee Stadium as he will every Sunday Night Baseball.
Here he is doing the actual segment:
The listed attendance was 40, 811 and for once it felt like that. This picture is from before the game and it is still pretty full:
The snagging room was as good as it ever will be because of the brief spurts of rain/lightning.
The view to my left:
The view to my right:
Sadly, the only ball that came within 100 ft of me went into the second level just as I thought I had it caught.
The game as all I have gone to at Yankee Stadium was indeed exciting. The Yankees won again by scoring a run in the eighth off of Arthur Rhodes.
Rangers 5 Yankees 6
As I left, I saw the set atop a parking garage of Baseball Tonight:
- 5 Balls at this game
- 11 Balls in 4 games so far this season= an average of 2.75 Balls Per Game
- 29 straight games with at least 1 ball
- 6 straight at Yankee Stadium (just to clarify I only got one ball at the old Yankee Stadium waaay before this blog so Yankee Stadium refers to the new one)
- Competition Factor 40811 fans* 5 balls= 204,055
- Time at game 6:24-11:14= 4 hours and 50 minutes
As soon as I took that picture a security guard said something that I thought was “Hi”. After a round of unsuccessful bp I headed over to left field for the second Yankee group. As I was headed out, the security guard:
I then went through a patch where neither Yankee nor Orioles were hitting balls to my part of left field. It was a group made out of all lefties except for one weak hitting righty. Since I wasn’t getting any toss-ups from the Orioles it was a tough bp. I think I probably should have been louder because it seemed like they always just missed my Orioles cap when scanning the crowd. Me not having my Orioles t-shirt didn’t exactly help either.
Then the power group came up. The group consisted of: Mark Reynolds, Derrek Lee, Caesar Izturis, and either Robert Andino or Adam Jones. This led to plenty of Home Runs to make up for the previous group. Most were out of my reach but several came into my axises of power. A few went over my head yadah, yadah.
Though, two came into my row. The first was hit by Derrek Lee two sections to my right (left if looking from home plate). I ran over and scooped it up as it trickled down back to my row for ball #2 on the day. The second, was hit by Mark Reynolds and actually landed in my row. So, I slid to get it before it rolled into the row in front of me. In the process of sliding I actually ripped the knee of my pants:
Although the pants were double layered, I can still say I would have been much happier on this specific ball if I had gotten it because I pretty scraped up, not on the slide but on banging my knee on the seat getting up.
I was in no mood to keep running around in the outfield. So seeing as it was the last group of bp, I got a head start on the end portion of bp. Nothing came of that. There I met up with Zack Hample and another ballhawk I had never met before named, Ben Weil (boys and girls, this is why you wear long pants even when it is warm outside:
(Can’t you tell a high quality camera picture when you see it. That would be both high quality photography and high quality camera.)
I stayed behind the Yankee dugout before the knee started hurting again and I knew I had to start moving to have it ready for the game (it was about 6:40 at the time). I abruptly left for right field because I knew there were two righties on the mound that day and the Yankees have many switch hitters.
From my spot in right I took time to laugh at those trapped in the bleachers I had been on my last trip to Yankee Stadium:
As far as the rest of the game goes, it was pretty good but for some reason the more I go to Yankee Stadium the less I am a fan of the Yankees themselves. Through this game, I was actually more disappointed that the Twins lost in a devastating fashion than the win the Yankees had. I was looking up here all game:
After the end Rafael Soriano threw a ball into my part of right field as he left the bullpen:
I didn’t want to get in front of the person who it was intended for so I let him try and catch it but he missed it completely and so neither of us got it.
Yankees 6 Orioles 5
- 2 Balls at this game
- 2.0 Balls Per game
- 28 straight games with at least 1 ball
- 5 straight games at Yankee Stadium with at least 1 ball
- Competition Factor: 81,034
- Time at Game: 4:30-10:30 Six hours
My post-school day began in the Fordham Prep Gym as the rain forced practice into the batting cage:
This was the longest 1-hour practice I have ever been a part of. First, I could not wait to go to my first game of the season. Second, the game happened to be between my two favorite teams. Third, watching hitters in the cage if you are not involved gets monotonous after fifteen minutes much less an hour.
I was so excited you cannot believe. I have been waiting for baseball season since December and had a temporary case of ADHD where I literally could not sit still. I was so happy I was even described as glowing by one person. When I left the Prep at 3:45, I must have ran a seven minute mile to the train. I went through the whole shebang I did last time with the train.
After that picture was taken (I assume), I turned to the photographer and saw it was none other than, Zack Hample. If you do not know the story, I was a Watch With Zack client of his last year (which led to one thing which led to another which led to this blog). He quickly raced over to the left field side of the stadium. Seeing as the right field bleachers were much less crowded than they had been in my playoff game and I have enough trouble catching a ball on my own not competing with Zack, I stayed in right field. Bad move.
There would not be one Home run hit there and a wall of beggars would glue to the wall in the front row of the section. This would have gone pretty well had a ball gone into the seats but as I said, it didn’t happen. I then jogged to left field as the Twins did the same.
As the Pitchers warmed up I managed to wrongly judge that a ball was going to: go over my head, fall short, be right at me, not hit the top of the wall, not bounce back all the way to the field, was going to deflect off of a fan trying to catch the ball. Some of those more than one time. Had I played all correctly (or had ridiculous luck like last season) I would have had my all time record.
Then there were the pitchers. I camped behind the long toss partnership of Capps and Nathan. I was 99.9% sure that if Nathan ended up with the ball I would be able to coax it out of him because, as I put it to Nathan, ” Joe, could you give me the ball, please?Who else in the Stadium is wearing you jersey?”
Unfortunately, even the depleted sea of “Here”s drowned out my request and the ball went to not even a Twins’ fan on the outfield side of him.
I then went down the line. 1 pairs. 2 pairs. Nothing. The Twins seemed like they didn’t even care about road fans. There must have been a dozen Twins fans but less than half of the balls went to Twins fans.
Now onto my fourth pair, I was wondering if Carl Pavano would even throw his ball into the stands considering how his experience in New York went. I was as usual trying to get in his line of view so he would see the Twins hat and shirt.
This was not going well for me: I misplayed however many balls, couldn’t stay in left field, my camera screen broke so I couldn’t see what I was taking a picture of, and now the ___hole chant.
I didn’t want to stay there any longer because of the aformentioned chant and the fffffreeezing temperatures. So, wandered around the Stadium to get warmer, hope a security guard was taking a break, and get a better view:
In the third inning, I gave up trying to find an open spot in security decided it was boring and went up to the second level. Not three sections from the stairs I saw an open, unguarded aisle. I went down to take a seat and this was my view:
Prime Foul ball snagging territory.
As I was walking down the stairs and taking that picture. A foul ball zoomed back just a stair case to my left:
If it helps, the ball landed where the soda vendor is standing in the picture. I quickly got my glove on but was blocked by fans in their seat.
Throughout the game, I moved further to the right as I thought it was an akward angle where I was currently sitting but three foul balls went to the Foot Locker sign in the previous picture and none were sliced within three sections of me.
The game went well as I root for the Twins in Yankees-Twins games (the Yankees beat them too much) and the Twins loaded the bases and Delmon Young hit a double to empty the bases and send the game into extra innings where the Twins won it on a single with runners on first and third.
- 1 Ball at this game(no picture because I gave it away)
- 1.0 Balls per game
- 26 Straight games with at least 1 ball
- 4 games at the New Yankee Stadium with at least 1 ball
Oh, and sorry this entry took too long but MlBlogs was having weirdness and I couldn’t upload pictures.
Another year, another playoff. The only time the Yankees have missed the playoffs in my life time was in 2008 and they were closing a historic stadium:
As far as the other players lost go. Most were the product of mid season trades anyway. Meaning, the Yankees were not afraid to lose them. The Yankees will almost always have mid season acquisitions because they will almost always be in the hunt (how they always have trade pieces is another issue).
Predicted Record Range: 87-92 wins They will slow up a little. Maybe I’m just a spoiled Yankee fan but I think they will indeed contend once more. Another thing to take into account is the impact Jesus Montero will have on the line-up which I cannot account for.
To parents: recaps of our last two games will be up tomorrow. To everyone else: the study I mentioned in some entry I can’t remember about adults’ perception of baseball will be up before next Sunday.