5/12/13 at Citi Field (PIT @ NYM)

It was Mother’s Day, and I was going to Citi Field. Don’t worry though; I made sure my mom was cool with it before I went, and I had a good reason for going, as you’ll see.

I hit some traffic on the way down, and I was worried I wasn’t going to get a good spot on line. The gates opened at 11:10, and I was there around 11:50. However, people are either too dumb to realize, or too lazy (which is probably the case) to walk the extra 15 feet to a line with 2 people on it, so that’s what I did and I was sixth in line.

Now, I’ve had this game circled on my calendar for a few months now. The whole reason I was going to this game was a secret. A month or two prior, bigleaguebaseballs.com posted a photo of a special ball that was being used on Mother’s Day, and I hadn’t seen or heard much about it since. I wanted to keep the competition down. While I was in line, I didn’t see too many ballhawks around. Which was good.

The gates opened, and instead of going out to left field like I usually do, I headed out to right:

Image A Mets player sliced one into the seats in foul territory, smacked off some concrete, bounced back onto the field, and I quickly got Dillon Gee (pictured) to toss me my first ball of the day about 2 minutes in. There were a lot of lefties hitting, so I took my spot in this area here and hung out for a bit and listened to a kid get yelled at by his mom:

ImageAfter a few minutes, I noticed Zack Hample and some other ballhawks below the Pepsi Porch snagging balls. Today would be a challenge for Mother’s Day balls, for sure. I walked up a section and hung out near this awkward area near the right field foul pole:

Image …and eventually got Jeremy Hefner to toss me my second ball of the day. His toss was weird – he kind of just underhand floated it to me. It was my oddest snag I’ve ever had so far. It’s hard to explain. I moved around to the area under the Pepsi Porch in right, and got denied by Ricky Bones. Later though, a few balls made it to the warning track, and I got bench coach Bob Geren to hook me up with ball number 3 on the day: 

ImageI then figured I’d exhausted all my resources getting three balls in the tough right field at Citi, so moved over to left center:

Image …and after a few minutes, a homer was coming right at me. I positioned myself, but the ball was dropping quick, and slammed off the railing in the Party City Deck and went straight up into the air. I stuck my glove out, and if I weren’t incredibly short, my arm length probably would’ve reeled it in. I barely missed it, and it bounced back onto the field. Here’s an idea if you’re a visual person: 

Image Ricky Bones (who had moved to left to talk to Scott Rice) must have saw how I just missed and tossed me the ball for No. 4 on the day. I had previously asked Scott, but he probably remembered me from five days prior when I was there against the White Sox.

That was it for the Mets portion of BP, so when some Pirates came out to toss, I headed over here:

Image …and it was then I found out that the Pirates would not be taking BP today. I really thought I had a chance at double digits. It was only 11:45, but they weren’t coming out. Bummer. I tried for a toss-up after long tosses, but they all went up to the left field area. I did, however, get Mark Melancon’s autograph: 

Image

ImageI asked him if he missed playing in New York, and he said yes. Then I told him he was having an awesome year (which he is, check his stats) and to keep up the good work. I always think it’s cool when athletes approach fans instead of thinking they are better than everyone else. 

I headed to my usual spot to try and get a pregame ball:

Image And there was only one. I tried to get it from Jordy Mercer or Clint Barmes, but they gave it to Pedro Alvarez. Fun tip about him: Every pregame he autographs a ball and tosses it into the crowd (at least the games I’ve been to, anyway). And that’s what he did. So I didn’t get it. 

During the game, I was behind the Pirates dugout:

Image To give you another idea of where I was sitting, here is a screenshot of the SNY broadcast right before Clint Barmes homered in the 3rd inning:

screenshotBen Weil was to my right, and Zack Hample was to his right. Greg Barasch was going for 3rd out balls on the Mets side, so I had a *moderate* chance at a Mother’s Day ball. As soon as the 1st inning ended, David Wright grounded out to third, and it was then that Garrett Jones tossed the ball into the crowd, and I stuck my glove out. There were about 5 hands up in the way, and I wasn’t even sure I had gotten the ball. When I moved my glove back, took a deep breath, opened it up with anxiety, and…. 

Image…HELLLLLLZ YEAHHH!!!!! (Sorry.)

Here are some more pictures of the ball:

Image

Image…and the pink stitching… 

Image Look how gorgeous that is. The writing on the sweet spot was a bit missing, and the Rawlings logo was buffed a bit, but you know what? I didn’t care. It made it unique, and mine. The ribbon was intact, so it was all good. I was just thrilled to have one. Nice job by MLB to make the ball. It happened so fast. I was thinking of different strategies for getting the ball… 3rd out balls, foul territory, umpires tunnel, and just like that, I had one. It was NOT expected at all, given my competition. I had seen Zack get one on a Travis Snider foul ball about 5 minutes earlier, so we were trying to make sure all the ballhawks got one.  I laid back for the rest of the time until Ben finally got one in the 7th inning. Here’s a look at his ball which was in a little better shape than mine:

ImageNice.

I also took a panorama of the game:

ImageYou can click to make it larger. And a picture of David Wright hitting, because I think he’s awesome: 

ImageAt the end of the game, we found out that Greg had gotten one at the end of the 8th inning, so now that we all had a pink ball, it was fair game for another. So, I headed to the umpires tunnel at the end of the game:

Image …and Home Plate ump Andy Fletcher said he didn’t have any left, even though I saw his pouch full of 4 of them. He probably wanted some for himself, and who could blame him?

A few minutes later, I got Jose Contreras to throw me a ball on his way into the dugout for my 6th ball of the day. My personal Citi record is 6, and I would’ve broken it easily if the Pirates took BP. Oh well. I love that I’m getting on a hot streak right before my baseball trip. If you don’t know about it, stay tuned.

Final score:

Image After the game, we all met up and took a celebratory picture of our snags:

Image… as you can see. Greg, Ben, and I got 1 each, and Zack wound up with 3. Then, we parted ways, and I sat in traffic for an hour listening to the Rangers playoff game 6 until I got home another hour later. 

Image

  •  6 balls at this game (Ties my Citi Field record)
  • 97 career balls (closing in on 100!)
  • 21 straight MLB games with a ball

I also checked my snags for invisible stamping. Only a few had them, check it out:

Image

Image

ImageI may be going to Yankee Stadium Thursday, but if I don’t, I’ll be saying hello from a surprise location Friday night!

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10 comments

  1. Paul K

    Sounds like a great time! I didn’t even know about the pink balls until after the fact. I had to work anyways, so I wouldn’t have been able to go to target field on mothers day.
    I wonder where you’re going to be this Friday 😉

  2. bdweingarten

    Great post! Can’t believe all of you got the Mother’s Day balls! BTW, I try to avoid the right field area once BP starts because chances you get a HR ball is so slim. Batting Practice was really short that day, lucky that A.J. Burnett threw me a ball.

    I’m actually in the photo below, this was right before Burnett threw it to me.

    • ch1088

      Yeah, the RF area is hit or miss. I usually hang there at the very beginning if there’s players over there, or if there is a big lefty bat about to hit. As for the Mother’s Day balls – it was a pleasant day for everyone. I was wondering how I would’ve done had the Pirates hit, I had 6 without Pirates BP.

  3. Pingback: Mother’s Day Baseball! 5/12/2013 « Take The 7 To Citi

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