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!)
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)
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
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!
It’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to sit down and catch up on posts. School, work, and life have been busy lately. But enough about that. On August 20, I noticed that the Mets played the next day at 1:10, and the Yankees played at 7:05. So, the gears started to turn and I decided I’d attempt to pull off the day/night split stadium NYC doubleheader. At the time, silly me thought I was the only one clever enough to think of that. Not quite the case…
I started the day early by taking the Metro-North down to Grand Central: Normally I drive to Citi, but I wasn’t about to deal with rush hour traffic heading to the Bronx and having to pay $40 to park. I’m not exaggerating either. So mass transit it was. I got to Citi field around the same time as all the workers were arriving, so I was early. After a while, I ran into a familiar person: That’s me, Rick Gold, Zack Hample, and Garrett Meyer, a ballhawk in town from Kansas City. We just hung out in the heat for a while, and eventually, the gates opened. I took a picture of my tickets: I knew since it was a day after a night game, there’d be little to no chance of BP going on. So when I ran inside, I headed over here: Just for the hell of it, I decided to look over to my left in the little alcove where the foul pole is, and I was greeted by this: …and strolled over and picked it up for ball No. 1 on the day. After a while, the Mets were done tossing, and I got Scott Rice to toss me my 2nd ball of the day: Now this snag was special. Right after I made the snag, Scott flapped his glove for me to throw it back. So I did. He pretended to put it away in his pocket, then threw it to me again. So I caught it. He then asked for the ball back, and to make a long story short, we had a catch for about 5 minutes. Now, at any other time, Zack would’ve had a ball by now. But at the moment, i had 2 and he had 0, so he was fiercely trying to snag in foul territory, especially since he had a reporter following him around. So, of course, since nobody else was in my section, I had no one to *officially* record me having a catch. But, right after, I asked Scott to autograph the ball, and he did: Awesome. I will now be a Scott Rice fan for life. If you don’t believe that I had a catch with Rice, ask Zack, he’ll vouch for me. i figured I’d exhausted my resources in this area of the ballpark, so I headed over by the bullpens and came up empty. A little later, two players were tossing by the 1st base area: I came up empty there, as well. Then, the field was desolate for the next 40 minutes. I decided to switch into my Braves gear and hung out here for a little while: Then some Braves emerged and threw out in the outfield: I decided to stay where I was instead of run over there, and I’m glad I did. Here’s what I think happened: Zack was out in the left center field seats, because he was trying to figure out how to get a coverless ball out of the bullpen gutter. The Braves came out to toss near him, and since he’s had a bit of a history with Craig Kimbrel, I honestly think they decided to move over towards me: …so he couldn’t bother them. If so, thanks, Zack. I was waiting for David Carpenter to finish tossing with Kimbrel, when Luis Avilan came over. When he noticed that he was the odd man out with no throwing partner, he saw my Braves shirt and threw me – and I mean threw me – my 3rd ball of the day: (That’s Avilan in the background, #43.) I was excited to get a ball from him, since he’s 5-0 this season with a 1.43 ERA as I write this. A couple of minutes later, I got Craig Kimbrel’s autograph: He was nice. As for the game, I headed to my usual pre-game spot for a toss-up: but came up empty. As for the game, I sat here: Nice. When I spoke to Zack earlier, we figured that the game would be in around the 8th inning or so when it was time to leave. At the very latest, I had to leave at 3:15 if I wanted to walk to the 7 train, take it the 45 minutes into Manhattan, and then grab the 4 up to Yankee Stadium in time to be on line at 4:30 for gate opening. And that’s exactly what happened. Although I forgot to mention Jason Heyward got hit in the face with a Jon Niese fastball and had to leave the game. It was a scary moment. I grabbed the 4 with Zack, Rick, and the reporter, and we got in line at Yankee Stadium. I was hungry, so I went up the block to a deli for a sandwich, and grabbed one for Zack, as well (with about 15 requests). Here we all are: The guy on the left is George (I think), one of Zack’s friends, me, Zack, Andy (you remember him from my last post) and George’s son.Rick took the picture. I decided to head up to the 2nd deck in right when the gates opened, since the bottom was already crowded thanks to the same security guard who made me empty my entire bag before entering: It was severely dead. I quickly realized my mistake in going up there, and ran back downstairs to lower right. And it was crowded. And nothing got hit out. I decided to run over to left field: where it was pretty dead too. A few minutes later, Chris Stewart hit a homer into the walkway closest to the bullpen, where I ran over and grabbed it: I was relieved to snag that one. I wanted to get a ball at both games to keep my streak up, which I knew would be hard to do given the circumstances (no BP, crowded) and I was surprised that up to this point, I’d snagged more at Citi Field. The Yanks were done and the Jays were on, and they threw nothing into the crowd. Not one ball. And they hit hardly anything out, as well which was hard to believe. Not to mention the crowds: There was no room to run. I was getting frustrated, and nothing was getting hit out. I remembered why I hated coming here. I couldn’t believe it!
I headed out to the Yankees bullpen for a Harkey ball and watched Adam Warren warm up for his 1st career start: I didn’t get Warren’s ball. Or Harkey’s. I had a teenage kid right on top of me and had no space. On a lighter note, during the game, I was privileged to be in attendance for this: Congrats. It was awesome to be there for it. And in true Yankees fashion, they had t-shirts and souvenirs for sale the next inning. Any way to make a buck, sheesh. And stupidly enough people were buying it. And, in the top of the 9th, I didn’t really think of it at the time, but I saw Mariano Rivera pitch in person for what could very well be the last time ever: He picked someone off of 2nd base (for the 1st time in his career) and got the save. Final scores:
- 4 balls on the day (3 at Citi, 1 at Yankee)
- 36 straight MLB games with a ball
- 165 career balls
It had been a long time since I’d been to Yankee Stadium. 3 months and 15 days, to be exact. The last game I saw there was 4/30/13 against the Houston Astros… so I thought it’d be time I get back there. I’d been going to Citi Field much more than usual because of the lighter security and lower prices. But I had an itch to ballhawk, and just the Yanks were in town, so I quickly made an Angels shirt (and then proceeded to forget it), and headed down to the Bronx…
Where I ran into a familiar friend: Yes, that’s Mateo. If you’re reading this blog for the first time, check back to other posts and you’ll find him in a lot of them. That photo was taken by a new friend named Andy, who takes a lot of good photos. I misplaced his business card, or else I’d post his email and he could probably take pics of you hawking at Yankee Stadium. We talked for a while until the gates opened, and this is where my bad ballhawking luck came into play. I was third in line, so I had the security guard check my bag (they check it very in depth) to save me time when the gates opened. Then, like 4 more people behind me did the same thing. So, when it was 5:05 and they started letting people in, she asked me to check my bag again. I told her she literally just looked at it 5 minutes ago, but she insisted that I get searched again. So I had to empty my bag out after just putting everything back in, and the whole thing cost me 5 minutes. Ridiculous. When I finally ran inside: …everyone was already in the right field seats. I saw Mateo already had snagged 2 balls, so I knew Easter eggs were out of the question. I decided to walk down in foul territory since that was still empty, and I was rewarded with this: It was just sitting there. Perhaps the security guard was a blessing in disguise? Who knows. I headed over to the right field seats, where it was already getting crowded: That’s Mateo in red, and me in blue. Neither of us caught that homer that we were all trying to catch. Things were slowing down a bit since the last group of Yankee hitters were about to get ready to hit. So while the coaches were refilling the ball bucket, I ran upstairs and decided to try my luck here (where I was then asked to show my ticket … really, Yankees?) : Sometimes Ichiro goes last and he can put on a show in BP, so I played my chances and had the entire section to myself. Of course, Ichiro had already hit. So, eventually when Boone Logan fielded a ball, I held my glove up and yelled his name. He saw me, only it was after he tossed a ball into the lower bowl. I through my arms up in disgust (playfully, mind you) and he held his finger up as to say, “one second.” The next ball he fielded, well…. Thanks Boone (that’s him in the background). Shortly after, the Yankees were done and the Angels were getting ready. As I mentioned, it was around this point in time that I realized I had forgotten my Angels shirt. I had missed the Metro North train which I intended to take, so I had to drive to the game, and making the shirt was the reason I was late. So the sole reason I was late for the train was the shirt and I had forgotten it. I had a good bit of running room to my right, but other ballhawks had gotten the better sections so I was confined to the section by the bullpen for a bit: And here’s a shot Andy got of me with the 2 balls I had snagged up to this point: …and a shot of me and Mateo talking: …if you’re wondering why my Yankee shirt is backwards, it was because I’d forgotten the Angels shirt and didn’t want the Angels players to see a Yankee logo. I’ll sum up the next 20 minutes quickly… I didn’t snag anything, and came very close about 4 times on homers. They were ricocheting all over the place, and Mateo beat me to two of them. One bounced off a seat, and I went to grab it on the ground and he got it before me. Then about 10 minutes later, there was a ball on the fly that I was panning to my left for, and I bumped hips with somebody who was a little taller than me, who just made the grab before me. When I looked to see who it was, it was Mateo. That’s just how things go sometimes. Here is a picture of me *playfully* calling him a curse word I probably shouldn’t write here: …and with that, BP was over. I headed over to the bleachers and tried the Harkey trick: but there were too many people. I usually go on the batters eye food court, but the Yankees finally decided they could make more money by renting out that space for private events, and that’s what happened tonight. So I was stuck in the crowded bleachers. As for the game, I hung around all sorts of places, and took a shot of Ichiro legging out an infield single: …just because Ichiro is the man. Then, I checked out the Steiner store and laid my eyes on this: I asked if the Yankees were going to use these in game action, and of course nobody had any idea. Or, they did, and just wanted me to buy one. Which I might do at the end of the year, but I don’t want to give them the satisfaction. Reminds me of the Chipper Jones ball the Braves had last year. Then the guy tried to sell me an autographed set of 9 for $4,000 (HAHAHAHAHA), and later made insulting comments about the school I go to. Sorry we all don’t have $75,000 bucks to spend on an ivy league school.
I found my way here at the end of the game: …where I hung out for about 5 innings. At one point, Ernesto Frieri was out warming up: I had looked away for a second, to put my phone in my backpack. It was in that short amount of time that Frieri was done warming up, looked to give me the ball, and couldn’t find me, and tossed it into the bleachers, much to the delight of the usher in my section. Sigh.
Also, it was this game where I forgot my digital camera in the cupholders in this section, where, thankfully, a good Samaritan picked it up, looked on the camera for my info, and mailed it back to me. Without their good natured honesty, I would have lost all my pictures from my Baltimore trip, Ballhawkfest, PNC Field, and Provident Bank Park. So if you’re reading this, you know who you are. Thank you.
- 2 balls at this game
- 160 career balls
- 34 straight games with a ball at an MLB game
Check out that big-league smudge!
I got to Yankee Stadium around 4 p.m. When I got there, I threw on my ipod, got in line, and was graced with the presence of people like this:
…yeah. Anyway, I was there for a few more minutes when I ran into this guy:
… and then he hooked me up with some Frank’s Red Hot (which I LOVE) sunflower seeds. He’s doing a whole thing with BIGS Seeds for charity, and you can check it out here. That also explains why he’s decked out in BIGS gear. When the stadium opened, I decided to head to the 2nd deck in right field. Nobody usually heads up there first, so when I went up there to start, here was my view: There were no Easter eggs around, so I just waited. And waited. Here’s what the Yankees were up to:
And after a few minutes, I got Boone Logan to toss me my first ball of the day. I was also competing with Zack, Greg Barasch, and Ben Weil, to name a few. And, as luck would have it, the area I was just stationed in in the 2nd deck, proceeded to get 7 home runs hit up there by Travis Hafner and Lyle Overbay.
I had my eyes on this guy:
The guy I’m speaking of is #34, Vidal Nuno. I heard his story on TV the night before and how he almost quit baseball for a number of reasons, and toiled in the independent leagues, but stuck with it until finally making his Major League debut the night before. I wanted to tell him how I thought it was great hearing his story, but someone beat me to it and got a ball from him (I didn’t want a ball, I just wanted to talk). So I didn’t think Nuno would think I was being genuine, so I didn’t bother. Later, I moved to Left Field and it was the deadest BP I’ve ever been a part of. Anywhere. Minors, Yankee Stadium, you name it. So I was bored and took a panoramic photo:
Now, the reason I chose to go to this game is because the Astros are using commemorative balls this season. I made my way over to the Astros bullpen, where a few guys were practicing some catcher drills. Why was this important? Well, they dumped the entire bag out so I looked for stampings:
Zack was up in the bleachers and told me that none of the balls had any markings on them. The Astros were the only team I didn’t get a commemorative ball from the year before, and it looked like I wasn’t gonna get one this time. Oh, and did I mention that the Astros didn’t come out for batting practice? Same for the night before. Seems to me that a team that is 8-22 and in last place would…. you know, take batting practice. But what do I know, right? Shortly thereafter, Phil Humber and Jason Castro came out to toss:
… I was the only fan in Astros gear, plus it was quiet at the moment, and they proceeded to ignore me. Humber is 0-6 with an ERA north of 7, so you think he would be as endearing as possible for fans. I’ve heard from other people that the Astros weren’t really fan friendly, and I noticed this last year when I saw them on 8/25/12 at Citi Field. He went in to the bullpen, and I got this good picture of him:
and nothing. I headed around to the 3rd base line for a toss up, but the players couldn’t see me.Therefore, I missed out on trying for a “Harkey.” I moved back to the bullpen and talked to bullpen catcher Javier Bracamonte. He’s a really cool dude if you get a chance to talk to him. Here he is:
“We don’t take those on the road.” So that was that. Money and time wasted! Huzzah. As for the game, here were my seats:
IT stayed like that all night. Just one homer needed to go my way and it was mine. Of course, the anemic lineups of the Astros and injury-riddled, lefty heavy Yankees lineups weren’t in my favor. My only chance was when Astro Chris Carter came up to hit. And his 3rd time up, he homered… but to Right Field. I’ll get my chance someday. I mean honestly though, here’s how it looked in the 9th:
Sigh. Mariano Rivera then came in and shut the Astros down 1-2-3 for the save.
- 1 ball at this game (what’s with the dry spell?)
- 6 balls this season
- 87 career balls
- Yankees record when I attend in 2013: 2-1 (37-23 all time)
- Astros record when I attend in 2013: 0-1 (0-3 all time)
I also checked the ball under a UV light, but there was nothing there.