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:
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:
I guess being in last place will do that.
When I went inside, of course the Phillies were just about done:
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:
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:
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:
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:
This was nice, but I couldn’t seem to snag a gamer. The warmup ball every inning went to this guy:
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)
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:
I tried here:
I tried here:
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!)
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:
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:
…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):
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?
I eventually got Lee Tunnell to toss me one of those pregame. He’s awesome.
I spent the game here:
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:
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.
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
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:
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:
I noticed the Nats were still tossing:
…so I had time to get back down and quickly headed back downstairs to lower right and still had time to spare:
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:
Eventually the Brewers came out, where I got a toss-up from Matt Garza:
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:
I eventually became bored there and wasn’t scoring any game balls, so I wound up here:
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)
Thanks to another 1 month layoff because of summer classes, I felt refreshed to get off the 7 train and see this:
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:
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:
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.
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:
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:
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:
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)
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:
As for me? I was soaked and thrilled:
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:
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.
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:
Eventually, the Marlins came out, and I set up near Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich:
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:
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)
My first game of 2014 at Yankee Stadium was… frustrating to say the least.
I got there early and headed inside. I wasn’t there early enough to try and find easter eggs in right field, so I perched up here for the time being:
Nothin’ doin’ there.
Every time I come here I am so indecisive. I always think of going up to the second deck, but I wind up going against it. The days I don’t go up there, Ichiro swats a good 5-6 homers up there unattended, and they bounce back onto the field. The days I go up there, absolutely nothing. It really is hit or miss if you decide to try it.
So, I tried today since the Yankees weren’t really looking at who toss ups were going to, and I’d be by myself in the 2nd deck. It isn’t too terrible a view either:
Plus, I had the whole section to myself:
Nobody came close to reaching the 2nd deck, so I got Vidal Nuno’s attention (likely because I called his name instead of “HERE! HERE!”) and he hooked me up with my 1st ball of the day:
Take a look at the ball, notice anything? See the “CE”? Check it out”:
It was a “practice” ball. I haven’t seen one of those in about 2 years. I was glad after the fact I went up there, you’ll see why in a minute.
The Angels came out to hit:
…and I came so close to making some on the fly catches. It was just too crowded towards the end.
I tried to get C.J. Wilson’s warm up ball pregame (which was a longshot), and came up empty. As for the game, I sat here which was a change of pace:
I chose to sit here because coming into the game, Albert Pujols was sitting on 498 career home runs. When I bought the tickets 2 weeks prior off of Groupon, he was projected to be at 499 for this game. So 2 was doable, especially at Yankee Stadium. I was also excited because if he hit one behind me, I wouldn’t really have a problem:
Pujols indeed homered that game, but only once. It landed two sections to my left. The Angels pounded the Yankees 13-1.
1 ball at this game
This game was fun for a few reasons. First, this was the 1st time I’d ever seen the St. Louis Cardinals at a ball game ever. I had now seen every team play live, which was kinda cool. Also, I skipped my grad class at night (shh) and went to the game. I’d had enough.
I decided to start the day out in the right field corner:
Sometimes I like to go there first because everyone rushes to left field. Usually I have a friend hold a spot in line for me and I let them go in first, so by the time I get to left field all the good spots are taken. Once I was there, I found Daisuke Matsuzaka:
After he did his drill players do where they throw the ball at the wall and field it, I asked him for the ball in Japanese and it actually worked! That was the first time I tried it and it worked, so that was very fun.
I later moved over to straightaway right and got Dillon Gee to toss me this one:
The Mets were done, so I headed to left and waited for the Cardinals to hit:
Now, plenty of ballhawks have told me that the Cardinals aren’t the friendliest of teams. I try to give everyone a fair shot, but man, these guys are just rude sometimes. I had Cardinals gear on, and I got pretty much ignored. Even the kids. I wonder if there is a rule they have in place or something. I get that they don’t HAVE to give anything away, but still. C’mon.
One example in particular – I was standing along the left field foul line when a little girl asked Trevor Rosenthal for his ball. He looked at the ball, and proceeded to launch it across center field into the black batter’s eye. I’d never seen that before. Look at the photo above if you need a reference.
Shortly thereafter, the Cardinals ran off:
I do remember that a St. Louis player hit a home run into the area between the original outfield wall and the wall that the Mets moved in a few years ago, and I got a security guard to toss me that one for my 3rd of the day.
My seats were pretty good, and the Mets were wearing camo uniforms for the game, but otherwise not much more action here.
3 balls at this game
Final score: Mets 2, Cardinals 0
Balls this game: 3
So it’s been quite some time since I made a post… I attribute that to being busy with grad school, and mostly being lazy. But, I plan on catching you up to speed (if you’re still there), so here goes:
April 19th I went to Citi Field with Natalie for the Braves/Mets.
I also got another ball from Kyle Farnsworth before the Mets ran off. I got shut out during Braves BP, and sat here for the game:
Mets lost, 7-5. I wish I remembered more.
- 2 balls at this game
Today was possibly the worst ballhawking day possible. A few days prior, I had bought the tickets because it was my only day off from work. What I neglected to do was check the weather. The forecast for the game was rainy with temperatures barely exceeding 40 degrees. With wind. I’m an idiot.
I brought my friend James with me to the game, and it was his 1st ever MLB game. I don’t think I could have brought him on a worse evening.
After waiting outside the gates in excruciatingly cold winds, the gates opened and I already knew there wouldn’t be BP. And there wasn’t. After a few minutes, though, the Mets came out and started tossing. So I figured at least they’d play the game. I was mainly concerned at this point with getting 1 ball and keeping my streak alive. Here was the scene shortly after:
Closer to me, I had Jose Valverde (who isn’t really regarded as fan-friendly) tossing with Bartolo Colon. I wondered if Colon remembered me from Montréal. Everyone who was tossing then did the following:
A) overthrew the ball into left field and left it there
B) threw it behind to foul territory.
So that was that for the pre-game toss. Still off the board.
Eventually, the tarp came off: I was situated out by the Mets bullpen. I was literally the only person there besides James (who left to get fried dough), and some other kid who was wearing a black jacket. I had on my Mets gear. I signaled over to Ricky Bones who had a few balls in his hand. He was about to throw to me one when he pointed at something, and then threw it to the other kid.
I situated myself here for the pre-game tosses by the infielders (who at this point only had one ball with them). You would think that since it was 40 degrees out you would want your arm to be warm. But nobody tossed at all, and Brandon Phillips tossed the ball to his right (my left) out of reach. At this point I’d have to get a gamer in order to keep my streak alive.
I sat here during the game: As you can see, it was raining, and hardly anyone was there. This was tough because the guards were more lax than they usually are, and let people move down. Therefore, after every half inning the lower part of the section near the dugout was mobbed, and for some reason Todd Frazier kept throwing balls to the same two people, and Joey Votto wouldn’t throw anything at all. He seems like a jerk. Hopefully I’m wrong. I was wearing a Reds shirt, and the security guard in my section saw the previous two 3rd out balls tossed right at me get caught by other people. He tapped me on the shoulder and told me to get right in front, which was nice of him. At the end of the 7th inning, I got 1st base coach Billy Hatcher to toss me this: …it wasn’t a gamer, but a warm-up ball. And I’ll gladly take it. Streak intact. The weather was nice and co-operative:
There was two innings left, so after being cold and wet, James hung out under the overhang and I hung out here chasing foul balls: I didn’t get a foul ball. I headed over to the umpires tunnel at the end of the game, and home plate ump John Tumpane handed a ball to the guy directly in front of and behind me.
A day to forget mostly at Citi.
- 1 ball at this game
- 189 career balls
- 44 straight MLB games with a ball
Game 2 of the Olympic Stadium series was going to be as exciting as the previous day. The game plan for today was to meet Todd and his kids, Avi, and Michel at the same gate and hope that batting practice would be scheduled for today, a day game after a night game. I figured it would still be on, since the series was a special occasion. After the quick subway ride up to the stadium, we were in the familiar spot again waiting for the gates to open: When the gates opened, I ran inside and was excited to see the cages were still up. The Blue Jays were off the field already if they even hit, and the Mets were out tossing: Since there was nobody hitting in the cage immediately, I decided to head over and find Scott Rice and see if he remembered his promise from the day before. He was over on the end tossing: Do you see the two balls in his back pockets? He turned around when he got the chance, saw me, and tossed me one and just like that, I was already on the board on a day where there was an expected crowd of 50,000 people plus. Not bad. To make things more exciting, it was a Red Sox Fenway Park 100th Anniversary ball!
BP was about to start, so I headed out to left field: One of the negatives about this game was that since there was an incident in the game before, the cross aisles were off limits to fans. this was going to put a huge blow in everybody’s totals, since it would take quite a home run to reach the seats without landing in the cross aisles or below. There were also too many fans for toss ups. It was going to be a tough day for sure. I’ll show you what I mean: See the cross aisles? Empty. A few minutes later, someone on the Mets who I couldn’t identify hit a homer that landed in front of the bleachers, and rolled under the seats and back to the back end where there really isn’t anything. I ran up the stairs, looked over the back railing and noticed that it rolled to a stop by the “Genie Boom:” This semester I happened to be taking a course in French. I knew it would come in handy at some point on this trip. Walking by was a newspaper photographer (I assume, he had a camera in his hand and looked official). I called over to him…
Puis-je avoir la balle s’il vous plaît!
S’il vous plaît!
He tossed the ball up to me, but it was too short. I was nervous others would catch on and take it from me, but he got it to me in time: As you can see, it was a Marlins Park commemorative. Shortly afterwards, the Mets jogged off and BP was over.
We all decided that it was time to explore Olympic Stadium, something I didn’t get to do the day before. This was alright with me, since it was still a spring training game. Kellan wanted to have a catch (maybe it was Todd) in the concourse, so to kill some time that’s where we all headed: …the best part of this was that several security guards walked right past us, even through us at times and didn’t say a word. Could you imagine doing that at Yankee Stadium? You’d spend the night at Rikers. We kept walking around, and I saw a lot of Expos gear: I somehow got down low by the field for pregame warmups, along with Avi and Greg. Avi snagged something special from Stade Olympique as well, but you’ll have to ask him about it. Nobody got a pregame toss up, so we decided before we get kicked out of the seats, we all wanted to head up to the furthest spot up in left field: It was hilarious sitting up there. It was dusty. The seats were dirty. We all actually got kicked out of our seats in the last row of the stadium. Cross that off the bucket list. It was time to walk around the entire stadium to the other side. Check out the concourse: Weird. Ugly. Bizarre. Beautiful.
Check out the cool panorama I took from right field: The structure is so interesting to me. You have the arching step like roof, the blue colored roof, the weird lighting structures, the hanging speakers, the random center field scoreboard jutting out and obstructing view… I loved it. it’s a shame there isn’t more baseball here. On the concourse, they even had doors built into the walls: When we got down to the second level, we went behind the right field bleachers until we were told to leave: I decided to try and snag a ball over where todd did the day before in left: I didn’t have much luck. We did however, see a Melky Cabrera home run come sort of our way as you can see on tv: That’s us circled, obviously. There’s also all of this random stuff behind the center field batter’s eye: Renovating for future MLB games? I can only hope. By this point, we missed like 7 innings of the game. We headed down by the dugouts for the end of the game, and the Blue Jays pulled off the win. Final score:
I saw this on one of the seats… wishful thinking, perhaps: …since it rained/snowed the day before, and today was sunny (but still 29 degrees), i had to walk around the outside and take some pictures like I always do. Check it out:
- 2 balls at this game
- 3 balls this season
- 3 commemorative balls
- 188 career balls
It was here… the first professional game played at Le Stade Olympique since the beloved Expos left for Washington, DC in 2004. I was always itching to see a game there, but in 2004, I was 15 years old and unable to leave the country by myself. I hoped and hoped every year that some kind of game… high school… alumni… college… ANYTHING would be played there. And I got my wish over the winter. The Mets and the Blue Jays were playing two exhibition games there in hopes of showing Major League Baseball that there was still a large interest in having a team there. I bought my tickets (for both games) the day they went on sale. I figured since I couldn’t go on the dream trip to Australia for Dodgers/D-Backs, this was more than ok. After getting out of my horrible grad school class and driving up through the rain for 5 hours, Natalie and I arrived in Montreal and threw on our baseball stuff for the first time in 2014: I wasn’t worried about the weather, we were going to see a game inside a dome. The temperature outside was around 39 degrees and raining for our walk to the train station: … and eventually our comfortable subway ride to the Pie-IX stop:
I didn’t know what to expect when I got there. Would it be crowded? I read articles that the company who headed the two games, Evenko, sold over 90,000 tickets for the two games. Where would I go when I got inside? Which gate is best to get to the outfield? What’s security like? The cool thing was that nobody else knew, either. So I was eager to get there. When you get off the subway, the station is built into the bottom of Olympic Stadium. So I was greeted with this:
I was surprised when we got up to the lobby that it was packed. Like, seriously crowded. Out of sheer luck, I spotted Todd, his two kids, Avi Miller, and a new Montreal ballhawk (!) named Michel Audet. He somehow knew some stuff about Olympic Stadium, so we hung with him. He’s a nice kid. The buzz for the game itself was getting so much attention. We were right at the front of the line, so I am definitely in pictures and on TV somewhere in Canada. I couldn’t find it, though. Check it out: The atmosphere was electric. Every person who had Expos gear on was getting interviewed by someone. There were chants of “We want baseball!” and “Let’s go Expos!!” every two seconds. I couldn’t wait to see how the game would be. We got there so early because we wanted to be first inside for BP, so waiting around for almost two hours felt like an eternity. I was first in line, when another familiar face came by, by the name of Greg Barasch. So it was almost like a mini-ballhawking convention. We were lined up away from the actual gates: Eventually, before the gates were supposed to open, they checked bags and let us move up to where it says “Stade”. There, we waited longer and everyone got restless, as you can see by this guard trying to calm everyone down: I ran into that guard several times this weekend, and he was really nice. he also tried to sell us his hideous jacket for $10. Seriously. Like I said, I was first in line: The whole set up was bizarre. I felt like I was waiting in line to board a plane or something. The tickets weren’t even scannable either, they had to be ripped. And the lady took forever to rip it. Canada is interesting. At long last, I was inside:
Here’s how it looked towards home plate: Awesome. I kept distracting myself with taking pictures that I almost forgot to snag. I headed over to left field, but look at this cross aisle: if only one of the New York stadiums had a cross aisle like that… I could have 300 baseballs. More on that cross aisle in Game 2. The outfield wall is very high, and the gap between the wall and the stands is pretty far. Check it out: See the two silver lines? The stands actually move on those and expand and contract outward for soccer and football games. I was talking with Avi about the gap and how they’re not allowed in Major League stadiums…. (again, more on that in Game 2). I also got a kick out of the *killer* sound system they had installed: A speaker and duct tape. Got it. Even that random sign under it was funny. I loved it. I also lost Natalie. More on that later. Eventually, I did snag my first ball of the day: It was a toss-up by Bartolo Colon. It was hard, because the Mets brought guys up to Montreal who weren’t going to be on the Opening Day roster, and I couldn’t look them up on my phone since I was in Canada. #firstworldproblems
…As well as a 2011 All-Star Game ball. When I opened my glove, i had a 50th Anniversary Dodger Stadium ball. I already had it, but it was still cool. Heres a better look at the gap between the wall and the seats: That’s pretty wide, and uncovered. Besides navigating between a mob of fans, if you ran backwards to catch a ball on the fly (which didn’t happen much… the balls were dying out at the warning track for the most part), you had to remember these random glass panels that were in the way: I ran into them twice. At the end of BP, Mets pitcher Scott Rice came up the stairs and was talking to a fan: …And remembered me from the day he had a catch with me. How cool is that? He also promised to toss me a commemorative ball the next game, if I was going (of course I was going). I then remembered that I still didn’t know where Natalie was, and couldn’t call her since I was in Canada. We had a plan to meet at our seats, which we did… which were up top: Nice view. they also did a nice Gary Carter tribute pregame… but did i sit there the whole game? NA. I sat here at the beginning of the game: Now that’s more like it. I got down there just in time to see the first baseball pitch in Montreal since 2004: I was sitting near Greg and Avi (Avi managed to snag a piece of one of the seats. Shh.) after not succeeding in a 3rd out ball because of wayyyy too many kids, we wandered out to here: …where I just missed out on a Jose Bautista homer hit over my head, and an Edwin Encarnacion homer that would have landed in my lap had it carried further. I saved my exploring for Day 2, but here’s what it looks like behind the left field bleachers: Random. Unsightly. Ugly. I love it. Here’s another view: Yes, that’s the bullpen in the background. More on that in Game 2. the game itself was actually pretty entertaining. The Jays won on a walk-off single up the middle. Final score:
I was pleased with my 1 snag: …and took a picture with the guys quick before getting back at it in less than 12 hours… what a day: From left to right, if you don’t recognize anyone: Greg, Me, Kellan, Todd, Tim, Michel rocking the Expos jersey, and Avi. Natalie took the picture. Day 2 next!
- 1 ball at this game (I’m counting it. BP was crazy, and there was 45,000 people.)
- 1 ball in 2014
- 186 career balls
9/14/13 at Citi Field (MIA @ NYM), 9/25/13 at Yankee Stadium (TB @ NYY), and 9/27/13 at Citi Field (MIL @ NYM)
Man, what grad school will do to you. I’m currently writing about these games almost 6 months after I attended these. Life has been a whirlwind with school, taking 15 credits, learning French… oh, and I got engaged. Did I mention that? So you’ll be seeing a lot more of Natalie in my posts. But on to baseball…
I knew that initially when I bought these tickets, It was a 4:05 start. So there was a decent chance of BP. But the night before, it rained and they called for a day/night double header. This was cool because it was single admission, so I got to watch 2 games for the price of 1. But there was likely going to be no batting practice. I’d have to really try to keep my streak alive.
Unfortunately, my laptop between September and now died… and I lost all of my pictures from this game, and the next. Eventually, Todd Cook will send me some pictures he snapped and I can throw them in. But basically I hung out with him and his boys for 18 innings of baseball. It was pretty fun. There was a little BP for this game, it ended early. The Marlins never came out. And I can recall it was “Take your dog to the park” day. But here is what I snagged on the day:
Ball 1 – Dillon Gee toss up
Ball 2 – Homer hit to left field (unknown player)
Ball 3 – Tom Goodwin toss up
Ball 4 – Greg Burke toss up
Ball 5 – Donovan Solano pregame warmup ball
Ball 6 – Jake Marisnick threw me the 3rd out ball when Juan Lagares flied out to end the 6th inning for the Mets. That one felt good
The Marlins beat the Mets 3-0 in game 1, and the Mets won 3-1 in Game 2. This day was really fun, and I’m disappointed that I lost my pictures.
Rays @ Yankees
Honestly, I don’t remember anything about this game. The only thing I remember was that I caught an Alex Rodriguez BP homer on the fly in what was likely one of his last games as a MLB player. Other than that, I can’t remember a thing.
Yankees lost, 8-3.
Ball 1 (180) – A-Rod BP homer on the fly
Ball 2 (181) – unknown toss up from TB
Ball 3 (182) – unknown toss up from TB
Brewers @ Mets
You’ll never believe what happened at this game, and I have zero pictures to prove it. That’s how life is, I guess. I went to this game last second because there was going to be nobody there. This game meant nothing to both teams, so I thought it’d be a good day of snagging. BP was probably the weakest I’ve ever seen, and I got 1 ball hit into the seats that I caught off a ricochet, and I got a Brewers relief pitcher to toss me a ball in right center during the Brewers’ portion of BP.
I snuck down behind the Brewers’ dugout easily, and watched the game from there. During the course of the game, this kid who was sitting by himself, no more than 13 years old was just heckling all of the Mets players. He was pretty funny too. I can’t remember how, but we got to talking. He showed me that his cousin was Yuniesky Betancourt of the Brewers. They were in town for the last road trip of the year and following the team. He was telling all sorts of crazy stories from the locker room, and told me how they felt about the Carlos Gomez incident, which was pretty cool too.
At the end of the game, jokingly I said “You should take me to the locker room.” And he said he would. So at the end of the game, I found him just as I was leaving Citi Field. I happened to turn around and he was about to enter down by the Jackie Robinson Rotunda with his father (Yuni’s brother). I ran over quick, and got stopped by the security guard. I told him I was with the Betancourts and pointed to them… at this point, the kid turned around and recognized me and waved back, leading to the guard letting me in. So here I am just sitting here in the tunnel outside of the Brewers locker room. All the players are walking past me to the bus, but no Betancourt yet. The kid came back out, said it’d be a few more minutes, but handed me a ball from the locker room. I didn’t care, I counted it. I had to move out of the way so a small cart could get through, and when I did this, the Betancourts came out and were whisked away by security. I didn’t really see any point in hanging around any more, so I went outside and met up with Zack and had a catch in the parking lot for about a half hour:
and later headed home.
Ball 1 (183) Unknown Met
Ball 2 (184) Unknown Brewer
Ball 3 (185) Betancourt’s cousin
I will never lose pictures again. Lesson learned. On to 2014!
A week had passed, and I was back at Citi Field: I had bought tickets for this game before the Phillies game, as a backup in case I didn’t snag any commemoratives in Philadelphia. I saw Zack was at the gates a few minutes after me, so we did the usual hanging out before the gates opened. I already knew he was going to left field, so I tried my luck in right field (which was a wise choice because a group of lefties was hitting) and headed down here: …and got Tim Byrdak to toss me my first ball of the day. In usual Mets fashion, nobody hit any homers, so I didn’t overuse my toss up requests in right field. I hung out there for a little more and moved into center field and feasted my eyes on this: I was so tempted to use my cup trick to move it closer towards me, but I didn’t want to piss off the security guards. So I kept my eye on it for the time being, and focused on the field. A few Mets tossed balls up into my section, but I didn’t grab one. And… that was about it for Mets BP. I got a Mets groundskeeper/security guard to toss me the aforementioned ball to me for my 2nd ball of the day after the Mets jogged off.
It was the moment of truth, as the Nationals came out: They do this routine where one relief pitcher runs out as if he’s going on a football route, and another relief pitcher tosses them a ball, and so on. They ignored me for the most part, so I headed into the seats to try and snag some homers. For some reason, I made a ton of mistakes tonight. I misjudged two balls, and on a third, I could see Zack running towards me in my peripheral vision. So my natural instincts made me look over, and in that half second, I misjudged the homer and it tipped off my glove into the aisle. That one sucked. A couple of pitches later, I caught an Anthony Rendon homer on the fly in the 1st row in front of the Party City Deck. So I redeemed myself. For the record, the Nationals were NOT using commemorative balls, so I was glad I decided to go last second to Philadelphia the week before. I headed over by the dugouts, where I saw Jeff Kobernus talking to someone I’m assuming he knew: I asked him if he could toss me a ball when he got the chance, and he said he would. After he disappeared, I screwed around on my phone until I saw these guys come out: If you hadn’t noticed, it was 9/11. I was at the Mets game in 2012 on 9/11, coincidentally against the Nationals, and coincidentally because they were using old commemoratives. It was time to pay respects and view the ceremonies: I also failed to snag any of the pregame balls. Kobernus never came out, either (LIAR!). If you’re a kid (or look like one), hang back a bit and get Ian Desmond’s attention. You’ll probably get a ball. I sat out here for the game: Normally I sit by the dugouts, so why was I out here you ask? Take a look: The way the Nats were hitting this series, I couldn’t pass the opportunity up. Of course, nothing came my way, except a Ryan Zimmerman home run that landed in the party deck.
My day will come.
At the end of the game, I took a shot of the Shake Shack sign in center field, because it has the same piece of the scoreboard from Shea Stadium that shows the NYC skyline, so I felt it was my duty as a New Yorker to take this photo: and then I made the 1 hour drive home. Final score:
- 3 balls at this game
- 173 career balls
- 38 straight MLB games with a ball