7/25/14 at Citizens Bank Park (AZ @ PHI)

I had the entire day free, and was off from work the next day, so I decided to hop in the car and go here:

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I wasn’t alone, however. If you look under the picture of the Philly Phanatic, you can see three people. I stopped in Manhattan and picked up Greg, Mateo, and Mateo’s roommate from college, Sean.

This made the car ride go a lot quicker, for sure. We left earlier than usual so we wouldn’t lose time in New Jersey in traffic, which is always a given. We also endured many fun things on the way, such as people driving wherever they pleased, gridlock, tunnels, turnpikes, and everyone napping (besides me -__-). As you can see, we got there in plenty of time with lots of line space.

We had a nice long catch outside CBP, and 5 minutes before gate opening, here was the line:

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I guess being in last place will do that.

When I went inside, of course the Phillies were just about done:

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It was a frustrating day. From what I remember, Greg had a few bad bounces, as well as me, and Mateo only got one or two. When Arizona came out, I headed down the left field foul line and got Addison Reed to hook me up for ball No. 1 on the day.

I noticed that right field in foul territory had virtually nobody there, so I jogged over:

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I got Chase Anderson to toss me ball No. 2, likely because he was looking to get rid of it, and I was the only one who yelled his name out.

I headed over to straightaway right, where I got Nick Evans to toss me Ball No. 3 of the night. This one was cool because there was a homer that landed in the seats, and I could have easily taken it. Instead, I let a little boy grab it, and Evans must have saw because the next grounder he fielded, he pointed to me and tossed it up to me.

Also, Evans signed in Japan right after the game. So who knows, maybe I snagged his last ever ball given away in an MLB game.

I caught up with Greg after BP, and he was a bit busy:

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He was cup tricking a ball in the center field batters eye, and after about 5 minutes, he finally got it. He gave it away after all the hard work, but he had a decent audience watching. Imagine him doing that at Yankee?

Before the game, I perched up by the Diamondbacks bullpen:

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Their bullpen coach this year is Mike Harkey, who you might remember from the “Harkey trick” at Yankee Stadium where he’d throw about 6 balls into the bleachers before the start of every game. Maybe he remembered me, because he ignored me. I also need to learn to be more vocal. I was too apprehensive to yell out at first, until Greg did and got a ball. They don’t know me, so why should I care if they think I’m annoying or if they say no? That’s my new goal for 2015.

During the game, I sat here:

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This was nice, but I couldn’t seem to snag a gamer. The warmup ball every inning went to this guy:

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That’s Henry Blanco, who ignored me every half inning. I was the only one trying, and the only one in a D-Backs shirt. Seemed to be the theme of the night. I even got a few texts from Greg, which said a blunt “WTF?”

After the game, we drove Mateo and Sean to the bus station, where they were going to the airport (I think?) the next day. I drove home with Greg and got home very late.

Final score: Phillies 9, Arizona 5.

3 balls (217-219)

7/22/14 at Yankee Stadium (TEX @ NYY)

Uneventful game alert!

I went to Yankee Stadium for Texas/NYY. I met up with Zack at the gate, we chatted, business as usual. We wanted to enter left field one more time before they added metal detectors at Gate 2. It was the only gate getting them added, and would soon be a nuisance.

I entered left field, and quickly caught a Derek Jeter homer on the fly. It was surprising that A) I actually was able to catch one on the fly, and B) Jeter actually pulled a ball to left field. Given this was his last season, that one was a special snag. And you know what? That was it. I snagged one ball tonight.

Texas came out:

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Nothing.

I tried here:

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Nothing.

I tried here:

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Nothing.

And the bullpen ignored me all night.

After that, I was pissed and went home. The end.

 

Final score: Yankees 2, Texas 1

1 ball (216… in a rut again!)

7/19/14 at Nationals Park (MIL @ WSH, Ballhawkfest 2014)

The day started off in the morning, meeting at a park in Virginia somewhere to have the home run derby and skills challenge. A lot of ballhawks were there hanging out and catching up, and for some incredibly stupid reason, I took zero pictures.

Afterwards, we walked over to a restaurant and ate, mingled, and won “door prizes” courtesy of Alan (MGB founder) and some other folks. I didn’t take pictures there either (IDIOT!).

I also neglected to take any pictures at the gate hanging out with everyone, as well. Maybe I was distracted.

Fast forward to BP time, where I started off here:

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For some reason, I was allowed over here yesterday, but today, I was getting a lot of crap from the center field ushers about having to wait to go over to right field even though the day before, I was there. And, there were people there now. I slipped past him when he wasn’t looking, went up a staircase, and down a separate one and was in right. I had a decent amount of space to move:

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…and if you look close enough, in the mini pizza wedge off to the right, you can see the Cooks doin’ their thing.

In this photo, you can see the other ballhawks in their neon green shirts (you can click to enlarge):

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I don’t like wearing the shirts during BP, because yes, its fun to spot your friends at any second, but I don’t want the players recognizing such a neutralizing color. So I wait to wear the shirt.

Things were getting a little dicey as the day went on. The Nationals hit for a short while, but I was still scoreless. When the Brewers headed out, I went over to left field mainly because nobody was over there, and eventually got new call-up Jimmy Nelson to toss me my 1st ball and get me on the board. The Brewers also weren’t hitting much, so I didn’t snag much during their session either. I went over to the left field bullpens. Why you ask?

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I eventually got Lee Tunnell to toss me one of those pregame. He’s awesome.

I spent the game here:

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After running around for two hours in the 90 degree heat, I pounded down 2 apple cider things (not sure what they were called, but they were cold, and refreshing). I took turns alternating innings on the aisle with someone new that I met, he goes by the name of Happy Youngster. You can check out his twitter here. We spent a lot of time talking, and hes a really cool guy. If you ever get a chance to see him, tell him I said hello.

After the bottom of the 5th inning, Marco Estrada struck out Tanner Roark, and then Jonathan LuCroy tossed me the strikeout ball for my 3rd and final ball for ballhawkfest. Here is a photo of everyone who came:

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Let me try and do this right: Starting with me on the bottom, you have… me, Rick Sporcic, Kellan and Tim Cook, and Alan Schuster.
The next row up left to right is Rick, Grant Edrington, Todd Cook, and Harrsion Tischler.
The last row features Mateo, Greg, Tak, and Happy.

Also, thanks to Mateo for unknowingly letting me screenshot the photo and use it.

And finally, my final haul for the weekend. It’s hard to write about every single thing that happened,but overall it was a very fun weekend and I’m glad I was able to attend.

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After the game, a post-game Austin Mahone concert was about to begin, which was my cue to head out of there.

3 balls (213-215)

Final score: Washington 8, Milwaukee 3

7/18/14 at Nationals Park (MIL @ WSH)

The time for Ballhawkfest weekend was upon us, and I decided that if I was going to drive all the way down to Washington for a game, I might as well go the night before, enjoy the city, and spend 2 nights. So this was the first game of the weekend, between the Brewers and Nationals. I got to DC in plenty of time, and made my way over on the metro to Nationals Park:

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There I ran into Rick Gold, and we caught up for a little while, and eventually it was time to head inside. The first half hour, I didn’t snag anything. Most Nationals were stretching and tossing. When the upper deck was opened at 5:30 I believe, I ran up there and eventually found this:

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I noticed the Nats were still tossing:

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…so I had time to get back down and quickly headed back downstairs to lower right and still had time to spare:

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Shortly after that, I got Gio Gonzalez to toss me my 2nd of the day, and a few minutes later, Adam LaRoche hit a liner into the seats that I grabbed quick for ball No. 3 on the day.

After all this, it was still pretty empty:

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Eventually the Brewers came out, where I got a toss-up from Matt Garza:

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My next ball was kind of a fluke. I snuck over by the Milwaukee dugout, since BP had just ended. They were still putting the balls into the buckets by the dugout steps, when Rob Wooten looked up at me and I flapped my glove quick. He pulled a ball out of his back pocket, and tossed it to me for ball No. 5 on the day. That never happens.

For the game, I stayed here:

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I eventually became bored there and wasn’t scoring any game balls, so I wound up here:

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No home runs to report. After the game, I caught coach Lee Tunnell heading out of the bullpen and got him to hook me up with my 6th and final ball of the night.

Mateo was at this game as well, and we caught up in the 9th inning in the outfield seats. During the post game fireworks, I watched him try to unsuccessfully cup trick a ball under the flowerbeds in left field. Then, I headed back to the hotel on the metro excited for the next day.

Final score: Milwaukee 4, Washington 2

6 balls at this game (#’s 207-212)

7/7/14 at Citi Field (ATL @ NYM)

Thanks to another 1 month layoff because of summer classes, I felt refreshed to get off the 7 train and see this:

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I attended Old Timer’s Day at Yankee Stadium on June 22, but did not try to snag that day and just watched a 8-0 Orioles win. I also attended a minor league game on July 1st, and snagged 4 balls, eclipsing the 200 mark. Two were game home runs, two BP homers. Today though, I met Zack and Greg and we had a catch before the gates opened. When I got inside, the Braves were already out:

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I didn’t come close to snagging anything hit, but I got a toss up from Luis Avilan to get me on the board.

I tried also pregame by the Braves dugout:

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But nothing.

During the game though, I did get Jason Heyward to toss me the 3rd out ball  to end the 2nd inning when Eric Campbell flied out. So there’s that.

Pretty basic night at Citi.

Final score: Mets 4, Atlanta 3

I took the 7 back to Grand Central, and took the long ride back home, and got back very, very late.

These posts get better, I swear.

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6/2/14 at Yankee Stadium (SEA @ NYY)

Thanks to grad school, a whole MONTH passed between games. I decided to go to this game last second because for one, it was a Monday night. Two, it was a remake game while Seattle was on the East coast. So… 1 game series, Monday night, I didn’t expect many people.

If I remember correctly, I was here with Zack, so I let him have downstairs and I headed up to the 2nd deck:

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One was hit up there (I think by Brett Gardner), but somebody got to the  bounce before I did. On my way up the stairs to go back to left field though, I spotted this:

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Beauty!

I headed downstairs to lower right, and caught a Kyle Seager homer that bounced off the façade of the bleachers right to me.

Moving over to left field, not much happened. I moved over to the bullpen because I lucked out and got to watch the King pitch:

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I didn’t snag anything else that night. Felix was dealing for the most part, and I wasn’t able to interact with the bullpen. Also, nobody homered towards me.

Final score: Seattle 10, Yankees 2

2 balls at this game (198, 199)

4/26/14 at Citi Field (MIA @ NYM)

Sometimes I think I have bad luck. Everytime I buy a season ticket for a Mets weekend game, it either rains or there is no BP. The point of a season ticket is so you can enter a half hour before everyone else does. Usually this means having an entire stadium essentially to yourself. Gate times were opening at 4:40. I met Greg at the gate, and at 4:35, it started raining.

-__-

Greg went home. I didn’t have such luxury, since I live an hour away. So, I went inside, and voila:

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Yep.

As for me? I was soaked and thrilled:

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What happened next is exactly why I hate New York stadiums and security. Look at the picture before my angry selfie. See all the people? Well, the usher in my section decided I wasn’t allowed to stand there – I was the only person in the stadium – I was literally standing there looking at my phone – and he had probably the crappiest attitude I’ve ever seen someone have.

Since I had, oh – 2 ½ hours to kill, I walked around the entire park looking for any easter eggs in case either team hit earlier in the day, which sometimes teams do. Here’s a cool shot from the 2nd deck:

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See the open space next to the foul pole?

Someone else had the same idea as I did, and while I was up taking pictures in the second deck, he found the only easter egg sitting there.

Dayum.

So for the next 2 hours or so, I popped in my ear buds and listened to music while I watched a 15 minute shower pass by and then some clear sky with no rain:

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Eventually, the Marlins came out, and I set up near Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich:

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Stanton hooked me up for ball 1 of the night. That felt pretty cool, because I love Stanton. Though, it’d be cooler to catch a BP homer of his.

During the game, it started raining again:

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So I didn’t have much competition. When Travis d’Arnaud flied out to end the 3rd inning, Yelich tossed me the ball for my 2nd and last ball of the night.

Final score: Marlins 7, Mets 6

2 balls at this game (#’s 196, 197)