So, this will probably be the shortest post I’ll ever write. BP was slow, there was not much action during the game, and I was feeling under the weather for a while and it was catching up with me. I caught all 3 of my balls pregame out in left field, before the game started:
And there you have it. The shortest post ever. This was also the first game of a 5 day stretch where I’d go on to see 5 games in the 5 days. Baltimore, Philly, and Scranton. Final score:
My other posts will be more exciting, I promise.
It’s funny how things work sometimes. I was really on the fence about going to this game. The night before, I decided I was too tired to go so I stayed home. Also, for some reason a Yankees game vs. Kansas City was way more expensive than it should’ve been, given the talent being put on the field that night. Same thing for tonight’s game. The Yankees had a day game after a night game, so there’d *likely* be no BP there. So last second, I decided to go to the Renegades game vs. Jamestown. I’d never seen the Jammers before, so I figured why not.
…are you kidding me? So ugly. Anyway, I got to the stadium decently early. It was replica home jersey night, so the crowd would fill up fast, at least for a minor league game. When I got around to left field, I was pleased to finally see a team out taking batting practice at the Dutch: I figured I’d ask the players for a ball later. I wanted to check the woods for any Easter eggs, plus the off chance that someone actually hit one out while I was there. I headed over a little to the left into the woods. As I was walking, I happened to check the support beam for the scoreboard: Well, that was easy. But wait, there’s more! I headed into the woods a few more feet and found these two: That was even easier. I found a few more… by a few I mean 4 more. This put me to 7 on the day. I already broke my personal record of 6. You might be saying, “yeah but you had it so easy.” Not quite the case. If you ever ballhawk at a Minor League game, you’ll know that it almost is more difficult than a Major League game. There’s less space to move, less accessibility, and easier ways to be recognized. I usually have a tough time at Dutchess Stadium, so I was relishing this opportunity to really do some damage. I quit searching in the thorn-ridden woods (my legs learned a lesson from last time), and took in some BP. As luck would have it, someone on Jamestown sliced one down the line. It rolled right out of the stadium into my hands for my 8th ball of the day. One of the players actually asked me if I could give it back to him, which I thought was weird. So I did. Personally, I count this as a snag. But at the end of the day, I don’t officially “count” it in my career totals. I number every baseball I get, and since I threw this one back, I can’t number it and there will always be a missing ball for that number in my collection. Catch where I’m going here? What would you do? Throw it back? Keep it and run away? Count it and skip one? A few minutes later, Elvis Escobar (no way that’s his real name) fielded a liner: …and I clapped my hands and he tossed it to me for my 9th ball of the day. I decided enough was enough when a random employee came over and told me I couldn’t stand there, even though that guy I’ve previously mentioned (7 year season ticket holder) always rummages back there for balls, that I headed inside, picked up my replica jersey (which seems to get cheaper every year) and headed over here for the remainder of BP: and later got Jeff Roy to throw me my 10th ball of the day. As you can see, even though the Jammers have those lovely green and purple shades for team colors, they are wearing Pirates apparel since they are a Pirates affiliate. Makes sense. I thought it’d be cool to get the warm-up ball from the pitcher, so I headed over to the Renegades side of the field which I haven’t done much this year. This year’s squad doesn’t seem too friendly.Last year’s bunch were very friendly and fan oriented. I built a loose relationship with a few of them, and a few of them even Facebook friended me. Here is where they were: The pitcher on the left is Austin Pruitt, and the catcher on the right is Omar Narvaez. Neither of them threw the ball to me. I went back over to the Jammers side of the field: but nothing much was going on over there either. I feel like I got my luck out of the way early in the day. Eventually, the game started, and I positioned myself here for a game ball: but I didn’t have any luck there either. The catcher for Jamestown seemed like he didn’t speak much English, and in the few innings that ended in strikeouts, he ran straight into the dugout.
The object of the game was to play the popular game, “cornhole,” but on a larger scale. This was using pillows. I apparently was “on fire” according to the PA announcer, and “thumped” the opposing player 15-7 and won a lovely duffel bag which I am using right now.
I also played foul balls outside for a little as well. The idea is to watch them as they go out here from the bleachers: …so you can see where or what car the ball lands on or rolls under. Of course, none were hit on this side, so I headed down to the 1st base area to watch a late Renegades rally fall short. I DID, however, get umpire Matt Winters to toss me a perfect, no smudge, mud rubbed ball to make it 11 on the day and close the night out:
- 11 balls at this game (Kept and officially counted 10)
- 127 career balls
- 4 straight MiLB games with a ball
Also if you notice, another three MLB balls made it into Single-A ball.
As I finish this post, I’m sitting in a Starbucks outside of Lowell, MA. Mateo Fischer is sleeping in my car. Why you ask? Check back for my next post and find out!
I initially wasn’t going to go to this game. I had gotten the tickets for free for starters due to the long rain delay in my last post, plus it was raining all night and day leading up to the game. I decided to go anyway, and headed to the usual spot: Not much action there. Neither the Renegades or IronBirds were taking BP, so it came down to looking for homers in the woods if I wanted to keep my streak alive. I wound up finding 2 baseballs in about 15 minutes (and 100 thorn wounds later), both of which were very water logged: I made sure to keep those separate because I didn’t want them to smell. I went inside and hung out until the IronBirds came out to toss: I joked around with a few of them and later got Trey Mancini to toss me my 3rd ball of the day. This also caught my eye: :::Drools:::
The equipment manager quickly snagged those up, and the game started. During the game, Trey Mancini (the guy who tossed me the ball) hit a homer into the woods in left field. I immediately got up and ran out to the area where he hit it. On the way, a few of the bullpen pitchers for Aberdeen whistled at me and got my attention and said they’d trade me a different ball for his home run, since it was his 1st career dinger. I was extra motivated now to find it. There was this other man who retrieves home runs there for about 7 years now who made his way out there and proceeded to find it in like 2 minutes. He was also a bit arrogant, which I didn’t like. I would’ve had it, but I made the mistake of not watching where the home run landed and just running over there because I was excited. Next time I’m getting the home run.
As we headed in, 2 batters later, Jeff Kemp hit another home run to left field. Without seeing where he hit it (because I couldn’t), I ran back to the woods, and wouldn’t you know it… the same guy got that one too. $$%$&*@#@%$ !
I did however, snag this: … and handed it to the nearest kid. Another sidebar: the first three Renegades games I’ve been to now this season, I’ve befriended one of the “Fun Team” members. These people run the in between inning games and promotions. Every game so far he promised me I’d do the best contest prize wise with a friend. And every time, it’s been cancelled for some reason. He signed me up again today, and wouldn’t you know it… it got cancelled again. They did hook us up with some hats and free tickets though: Towards the end of the game, I headed over here for an umpire/3rd out ball: …but came up short. I almost got a bat, as well, but missed out. Final score:
- 3 balls at this game (another MLB’er in there again!)
- 113 career balls
- 3 straight MiLB games with a ball
On my way to Dutchess Stadium the sky got incredibly dark. I was hoping that the weather would hold off at least for BP, since I took advantage of a special deal the Renegades were having and I had a ticket for a suite for tonight’s game. More on that in a minute. I went around back behind the left field wall, as BP was still going on. Then it proceeded to downpour, thunder, lightning, and hail on me. I took cover under a tree (awesome idea, right?) until the storm passed. I would’ve gotten a shot of the rain coming down (it was impressive), but I didn’t want to risk ruining my camera. After about 10 minutes, the rain passed and I made my way around until I found this guy for ball No. 1 on the night: I continued my way around: Would it kill them to do a little landscaping? Jeez. I found my 2nd home run of the day a little further ahead. Now, the opening night game they were doing post-game fireworks, which were being set up behind the center field wall. I stopped when I got to that point last time, but today there was no fireworks, so I made the full trip around to the right field area: (Note the 2012 Champions Flag hung there. Wooot Woot.) I found my 3rd ball of the day there, but it was a weird looking ball. Definitely not a Rawlings ball but perhaps a training ball of some kind. Here it is: I’ll show you a closeup later on. I made it to the right field corner, adjacent to the Renegades clubhouse. Nothing to see here: Nothing but a big mud pile, and no baseballs. Now, remember how I mentioned the suite? Well, yes, I was sitting in a “luxury” suite for tonight’s game. I put luxury in quotation marks because the minor league equivalent of a luxury box is about the equivalent of the Caesar’s Club at Citi Field, except you get free food. Still cool though. The ticket was only 25 bucks, as well. Here’s a shot I snapped as I entered the suite level: And here’s the suite itself: Niiice. The most relieving thing of the entire experience was that it was air conditioned. The air was so unbelievably muggy from the thunderstorms that it was pleasant to be in air conditioning. I thought it was pretty nice for 25$. I was waiting for my friend Brian to show up, and from the looks of it, the suite was to ourselves (so far). I spent some time taking photos of the field with the tarp on…which was fine with me because I was inside. Ha HA! I was excited: Tired eyes, FTW.
I was reminded of Yankee Stadium (minus the communist-like security) when I was forced to put this on: Yet, the game was still delayed. I was curious as to the policy for a rainout if I had a suite ticket on discount. Could I just exchange it for 4 games at 6 bucks a piece for regular seating? Hopefully I wouldn’t have to find out. On my way to the men’s room, I noticed a incredibly large shiny object on this man’s hand. I decided to take a closer look, and: Turns out he was a scout for the St. Louis Cardinals (duh), and he was showing of his bling. How cool is that? The ring was very impressive. The tarp came off finally two hours later…
…and to compensate for the wait, the Renegades gave out free tickets for the July 2nd game vs. Aberdeen (which I’m headed out the door to right now). The ‘Gades are awesome.
As for the game:
- 3 balls at this game
- 110 career balls
It was interesting too, the 2nd ball I got was a Major League Ball. Also, remember that weird ball I was telling you about? Check it out:
It was my first Renegades game of the season, and it was their home opener. They are defending their championship from last year, and they have a 4-0 start to the season, so I was pretty excited to get there. Of course for some reason, this was my view for an HOUR for what is normally a 15 minute drive from my house to the stadium: Therefore, I subsequently missed about an hour of BP and got there when the gates opened. I was not pleased: Eventually though, I did get there: Yaaaaaaaaaaaay. I decided to try a trick I read about during the offseason, so I continued past the front gates around to the side of the stadium: And a little further: …just a little more, until I got here: Since it was the home opener, I wasn’t expecting to find many home runs to be lying around. The Yankees were still hitting, so I made sure to keep my hears open in case a ball sailed over the wall. It was a bit dangerous because you can’t see whats coming. See what I mean? So you pretty much have about a second to look and react if one’s coming over the wall. Nothing did, though, so I kept searching the grass for a bit. Someone had to have hit at least one out today. Eventually, I found this guy: Sweet. I also grabbed a shot of the scoreboard from where I was: It would have been cool if they threw that logo on the game balls for tonight. Then I took another artistic shot of my first MiLB ball of the year: Behind center field they were setting up for the post-game fireworks, so I didn’t want to interfere with that. Next time I’m looking forward to making the full loop around and check it out. I went inside, not before being told I couldn’t bring my drawstring bag into the park. It was considered a backpack, and even though I only had a glove in it, given the recent Boston events I wasn’t allowed to bring it inside. Stupid rule. So next time I’ll bring a big ugly shopping bag that takes up twice the space. I did a quick check for Easter eggs, and went over to the area behind the Yankee dugout: A few minutes later, I got a player I couldn’t recognize to toss me my second ball of the day. I hung out for a bit more, until the game started. I was trying for a 3rd out ball in case there was a commemorative logo on the balls:
After a few innings, I decided I had enough and went to hang out with some friends. I was also supposed to do a between-innings game on the dugout after the 5th inning, but the intern working there made a mistake but promised me I’d get a game in on Monday when I go. So that’s cool. The Renegades went on to go 5-0:
What was even cooler is that somehow after the game, we got to meet NBA player Deandre Jordan. He plays for the LA Clippers. How awesome is that? Turns out his brother Cory plays for the Renegades so we introduced ourselves to him, as well. Good times. After that, the fireworks were about to begin:
And then we hung out in the parking lot for the traffic to dwindle down. Good times.
It was Game 2 of the Penn-League Finals, and I was there:
(just noticed the guy doing acrobatics in the background) I was only looking to get one ball to start a new streak, and I was looking forward to just watching the game but trying for a foul ball in case one came near me. The Valley Cats came out to toss –
Now, on to the game.
I sat here the whole time. I did not get a foul ball. The Renegades went on to win tonight, and then the next night (I couldn’t make it -___-) they won to become NY-Penn League Champions! Very cool stuff.
I have some things cooking up to close out the season.
- 1 ball at this game
- 79 Career balls
This will be a quick post… because from a ballhawking standpoint, nothing really happened for me tonight. The day started off with a bad omen here:
It was Game 3 of the Semi-Finals. If the Renegades win, they go to the finals. If Brooklyn wins, they go to the finals. Rich and I had to wait for our tickets to show up to the park, and it was nearing first pitch. As each minute passed, I knew my chances at keeping my streak alive got smaller. I then moved down to here for the start of the game:
…. Foul. Ball. Heaven. Since it was a school night and 6 p.m.-ish, there was NOBODY there, all things considered for a playoff game. Only problem was, nobody hit any foul balls. At all. You would think maybe one, possibly two, but no. I was still ready in case one sailed over the railing and landed in here:
… that’s where the staff park. To the left though, is a smoking area for fans. Normally, during the summer, a ton of little kids hang out here for foul balls, but again – being a school night, there were tumbleweeds drifting by out back. All I would have to do is quick run back and see what car the ball landed by and it was mine.
Of course though, nothing was hit there. I decided to go and stand on the concourse. After one inning, I asked 1st baseman Jayce Boyd for a third out ball. He looked at me, stared, then walked into the dugout.
While I was waiting, I snagged a free bag of peanuts:
Nothing more really happened snagging wise, and eventually I screamed like crazy when this happened:
The Renegades won 2-0 on a combined 1-hitter, and will face the Tri-City Valley Cats for the NY-Penn League Championship. Since the Renegades had the best record in the league, Game 1 is in Tri-City tomorrow night, but I am going to Game 2 at the Dutch Thursday night. I am also most likely going to the Nationals-Mets game tomorrow night. Stay tuned!
- ZERO balls at this game. (DSMFGNLDSFXZ.UGhFDZJSKB!!!!!!)
- Overall streak snapped, MLB streak still intact.
Here were my Sunday plans:
… I was excited to just take in a smaller atmosphere, lately I’ve been chasing commemorative balls, and rushing, etc., so I was looking forward to just going to a ballgame with a small crowd, doing my thing, and just overall enjoying a ballgame. Since I had season tickets for today’s game, you don’t have to wait in line at the main gate and you can enter at the side. There was nobody there, so I was excited to run in and potentially see BP with nobody in the stands and easter eggs for the taking. Instead, here was the view when I got in:
… and got Felix Gonzalez to toss me my first ball of the day:
Since I was the only one who was actually asking for a ball, I didn’t want to seem greedy in front of the other fans and headed over to the IronBirds (Orioles A-Affiliate) side to try to get a ball. There were a few guys tossing, but I was only able to head over so far towards left field without a “Picnic Area” ticket. Therefore, a bunch of balls were tossed into the crowd in that area. I was busy getting an autograph (I never usually do autographs, so I don’t know what compelled me to here) from Jose Nivar when 2 more balls were tossed into the crowd. Later, there was one sitting up against the wall, so I asked Jose to give it to me and he kid of playfully said no. I thought he was kidding so I gave him a yes-nod and he threw it to the bullpen catcher.
After that, I headed to my seats for the game…
… and got Cameron Edman to toss me the 3rd out ball from the bottom of the 2nd inning. It was a grounder to third, which was scooped up at first. Nice.
I was satisfied with my totals for the game, and decided to just hang for the rest of the day. I was walking around the concourse when I ran into a stand ran by the Dutchess County Sports Museum. I was going to keep walking, until this caught my eye:
… I could barely get the glove shut around the ball. That alone made me respect old time ballplayers even more. I couldn’t imaging catching a liner down the line or a deep fly ball with this thing. There was plenty of padding, but not a lot of mobility with it. I thought it was really cool.
I tried getting a ball from the home plate umpire after the game:
My next game is probably Tuesday (Jays @ Yankees).
- 2 balls at this game
- 68 career balls
It was a bit last minute, but I was here Monday night:
Sorry for the dark picture, I forgot to take one during daylight. It is Dutchess Stadium, the home of the Single-A short season Hudson Valley Renegades. They are the affiliate for the Tampa Bay Rays. I’ve been here plenty of times, and my personal record here is 5. You have a good chance of finding an easter egg or two here, and a toss up. The Renegades were playing the Williamsport Crosscutters. Since it was last minute, I didn’t get in when the gates opened. When I did get in, I headed over to left field because this was going on:
Catcher Kevin Quaranto was having a long toss with some other player, and I got him to toss me his ball after he was done. Minor League balls get used a LOT more often than MLB ball, just take a look:
A few of the Renegades recognize me, so they always say hi when I go. I figured I’d try my luck over on the 1st base side:
A few minutes later, there was a whole group of kids from a camp in front, so I knew the players wouldn’t throw me one and risk hitting someone. Once the game started, my two friends (Brian and Rich) and I hung out here:
…Where I narrowly missed getting a foul ball. It hit off the gutter on the roof behind me and darted to the right. So close. Later we moved down by the dugout (where I’ve gotten a few third out balls before):
…because the clubhouses are behind the right field wall, and tried to ask the home plate umpire Blake Carnahan for a ball. I saw he threw a bunch by the dugout, and when he got to me, he was all out. There was a father/daughter dance on the field, so that was my cue to head out.
- 1 ball at this game
- 54 total balls
Next game – 7/31 Baltimore @ NYY