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)
Today’s game was a pretty spur of the moment decision. I was celebrating my anniversary with my girlfriend in the city, and decided to take her to the DBacks/Mets game at night. The day started off with a nice picnic at Croton Gorge Park: …followed by some ice cream (sidebar: if you’re ever in the city, go to Big Gay Ice Cream on E 7th St. Nevermind the name, the ice cream was fantastic.), some walking around and hanging at Bryant Park. I also came across this:
The security at Citi does the same thing every time I’m there: They line everyone up in two very long lines even though there eventually are 8 tables you can line up in to get checked. And when you try to start a new line, they tell you that there’s no line there even though there will be. So I stayed where I was, and wound up being one of the first people inside. I ran over to left field, where I saw fellow NY ballhawks Greg Barasch and Ben Weil. We all separated into different sections, and right away, a player I didn’t think to identify hit a homer into the seats. Greg and I ran for it, and it slammed off a seat and… disappeared for lack of a better word. We looked and looked and couldn’t find it for a good minute or so. Then, I went back down to the front row of the section in case the ball rolled down there. When I got there, a security guard had picked it up, saw that I was actively looking for it, and tossed it to me for my 1st ball of the day. Here’s a visual in case the story was confusing: So, as you can see:
1) Ball enters the seats
2) Ball slams seats
3) Ball rolls down
4) Ball gets snagged
I headed over to the Diamondbacks dugout to try to get a toss up before BP. But, I forgot the stupid rule that the Mets have where you can’t go behind the dugout before the game in case you don’t have a ticket. So instead, I hung out over here – …and watched Greg snag his 3rd ball of the day. I initially wasn’t going to go to this game like I said for a few reasons:
The next day was July 4th, so everyone was off from work.
This game was a fireworks game.
Matt Harvey was pitching.
Since that was the case, the left field seats were already mobbed. I decided to head to center field first. Nothing happened there, just kids screaming at Heath Bell for 10 minutes to give them a ball. Instead, I went over to right field: and after a few minutes, I *politely* asked him to toss me up a ball, and he did. He’s a cool dude. A few minutes later, I was still there. Either Miguel Montero or Jason Kubel came up to hit. I was in the section closest to the Mets bullpen, under the Pepsi Porch. This section isn’t completely covered, which will be important. A liner came right at me, and I tried to backtrack up the stairs. The steps out here are higher than the average stair, so I tripped going up. I leaned my glove out and narrowly missed the ball. By an inch at the most. That one pissed me off. But as luck would have it, he hit another one right at me the very next pitch. So I quickly set myself, put up my glove, and snagged my 3rd ball of the day. My 2nd homer of the day. It felt good. Natalie was on the other side of the park and intently watches every pitch ever since David Ortiz hit her back in Minnesota, and saw the catch. She even congratulated me through text:
I figured I’d outlasted my welcome in right, so I headed back to left. Too crowded. The DBacks ran off shortly after. I went to my usual spot when this happened: Not cool. My main concern was the length of the delay. We had taken the train to this game, and the train I wanted to take the absolute latest left at 12:50. It takes about a half hour to get to Grand Central from Citi, so I needed to leave around 12 in order to make it. To make matters worse, the rain got heavier: So there was that. Eventually, the tarp came off the field: The players then came out to warm up: …and eventually got Cliff Pennington to toss me his warm up ball. I was excited: I tried to get a ball the rest of the game and was positioned here: but nothing came of it. There were too many people there and it was nice to just relax. The game ended around 12:30 a.m. afer a 2 hour rain delay, so my initial plan was out the window. Also, the entire stadium was still packed for fireworks. Then to make matters worse, the 7 train rode past the Willets Point station twice without picking anyone up, thus making us two minutes late for our Metro North train, making us wait at Grand Central for almost an hour, thus getting me home at 4:00 am. Thank you, MTA. Thank you.
- 4 balls at this game
- 117 career balls
- 27 Straight MLB games with a ball.
It was game day, and here’s how it started:
I grabbed the Metro North to Yankee Stadium for the DBacks and Yankees. It was my first Yankee game of the year, and I was interested to see how the security was for the game. I kept hearing stories and rumors about how ridiculous it’s gotten, but I was interested to see for myself. When I got off, I noticed the Yankees had put up a tribute for the victims of the Boston Marathon tragedy:
Classy move by the Yanks. I headed around to Gate 2, and I was aiming to be the first one in line. And I was: After about a half hour or so, I came across Zack Hample and we hung out until the gate opened. He’s taking part in this charity fundraising through BIGS Sunflower Seeds. They sent him a big bucket of them to try, and I was lucky enough to get a sample from his fist ever bag:
Pardon my lack of excitement. I’ve just been really tired and out of it lately. I’m not sure why. Eventually, the gates opened, yet Zack got to the left field seats before me. I don’t know what my deal is when I enter the stadium, I’m always fumbling with my bag, or ticket, or glove. I have to be better. Anyway…
I ran to left and found myself in front of David Robertson, and some other player I couldn’t identify. A few balls came to him, but he wasn’t tossing much up. There were no home runs getting hit to my area either. A very dull BP, if you ask me. I was disappointed because I had plenty of aisle space, but no reason to run in it: You can see Zack in the picture next to the “ZooYork” sign. I was tempted to run to right field, but A) the Yanks weren’t hitting anything over there, and B) with only 45 minutes until I got kicked out of the section, it wasn’t worth it to run over. After a while, another group of players wound up in front of me: And I got David Phelps to toss me ball #1 on the day: Cool. There was about 20 more minutes of lifeless BP from the Yanks, so after they ran off I headed over to the Arizona dugout:
Now, take a look to the left. See #5? That’s Steve Sax.I asked him if I could have his ball when he was done, and he said no. Later on, he ignored kids and everyone else and fungoed balls from the outfield to the infield. Lame. Since security sucks, I got kicked out of the field seats and ran up to here:
I was hoping a lefty on the DBacks (Chavez, Goldschmidt) would pop one up to me, but nothing happened. I saw Zack catch a few just feet from my grasp, however. BP ended, and I was on 1 ball. I headed over here for the “Harkey”:
During the game, I was bored so I headed up to the highest spot of the stadium:
- 2 balls at this game
- 4 balls this season
- 85 career balls
- Yankees record when I attend in 2013: 1-0 (36-22 all time)
- Diamondbacks record when I attend in 2013: 0-1 (1-3)
I checked these balls for invisible stamps, as well. Only one had a visible stamp:
Until next time…