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.
I was in Toronto Sunday. See the tower in the background? That’s the CN Tower, a 1,815 foot concrete communications and observation tower in Toronto. It was completed in 1976, becoming the world’s tallest free-standing structure, and world’s tallest tower at the time. I lost my picture at the moment, but the day before, I was looking down at Rogers Centre through the glass floor observatory. Later that day, we explored Toronto more, and I even tried Indian food for the first time! Anyway, on to the next day: game day –
To make a long story short, I was with my girlfriend visiting her sister in Buffalo. Friday night, I went to a Ranger game where they beat the Sabres 8-4 ;), and when I planned this trip early in the winter, before I even looked at the schedule I decided I was going to do a baseball game in the area, whether it be the Blue Jays, the Buffalo Bisons, or even a Detroit Tigers game if I had to. I don’t normally get to this area of the country, so I wanted to make the most of it. The Jays happened to be home this weekend, but of course the Yankees were in town, so I expected crowds of 45,000 plus. This was in contrast to the crowds of 15-18,000 the Jays were pulling in earlier in the week vs. the White Sox (it seems like I can never catch a break).
I started with my usual walk around the ballpark, taking in the atmosphere and appreciating the architecture around the area:
Here I am with Natalie –
I kept going around the stadium –
And I reached this ridiculous thing they threw up on the side wall:
I kept going, and reached the front (or back, I’m not sure what to call it) of Rogers Centre:
Here, is where the Renaissance Hotel connects to the Center Field windows inside, and you can watch a game from your room. The only person I know who has done this is Zack Hample, and you can check it out on his blog here, here, and here.
I moved around to the area where Gate 2 is. If you ever go to Rogers Centre, Gate 2 is pretty much a little to the left of where the Right Field foul pole would be, to give you an idea. So you can plan your entrances accordingly based on that info. When I got to Gate 2 however, this is what I was looking at:
Ay yai yai. Turns out it was “Edwin Encarnacion” bobble head day, so that plus the Yanks in town didn’t bode well for me from a ball hawking perspective. (Remember when I talked about luck earlier?) On the other hand, I was glad to see the Jays have a full house. I hate seeing teams fail to bring people in. I did, however, notice a much, MUCH tinier line here:
This was Gate 3. (Duh.) When I lined up, I started chatting it up with some locals, and apparently this gate is for people who need an elevator to get up or down to the correct floor. I didn’t know this at the time. Also, there were representatives from Spitz Sunflower seeds handing out free samples. Score.
Now, the game was slated to start at 1:07 (I still don’t get the Toronto :07 start times.). Around 10:58, two minutes before the gates were supposed to open, a crabby Blue Jays “team member” came out and said anyone in this line without a suite ticket was required to move to another line and wait.
No way was I doing that. The lines were backed up all the way to Front Street, and I was really aiming to be the 1st one up to the 200 level for some Easter Eggs. I wasn’t leaving. The two elderly people behind me told me to pretend I had a bum knee (which I kind of do, so it’s not really lying, right? Right?) And that I needed the elevator. I was going to go with that. Most of the people were freaking out because they were worried they wouldn’t get a bobble head. Which, I didn’t care about. When I went inside, they checked my bag, but not my ticket. I quick hopped onto the suite elevators, ran out to the 200 level, and was disappointed to see I wasn’t the first one there, naturally. Here was my view, though:
Here was my view to my left and my right:
I could’ve gone either way. I was torn between going to the 100 level, or staying in the 200. There weren’t many balls being hit, and Darren Oliver and Aaron Loup, shown below, weren’t throwing anything up to anybody. The music wasn’t loud, so I know they heard everyone yelling:
After a good 35 minutes of nothing, a ball got lined but over my head. It was traveling so fast, I had no time to react. It hit off a seat about 6 rows behind me, so I jumped up high for the ricochet but it barely left my glove and landed back on the field. Ugh, I wanted that one. I decided to try my luck in Left:
The competition wasn’t too bad:
…but I just needed something to be hit there. Encarnacion was putting on a show, but he was pulling them down the line. By the time I ran over there, I knew that he would start hitting them where I was at. That’s just how my luck is. Eventually, he was pulling them my way. One was caught by a guy who had to be at *least* 350 pounds in front of me, so I had no chance on that one. The second was hit just to my right, and landed off a woman’s forearm. After that, the Jays headed off:
Welp. After throwing on my Yankee shirt, I decided to head down here for Yankees BP:
…and it was just as slow. David Phelps, Phil Hughes, David Robertson, and Hiroki Kuroda all ignored the ONLY Yankee fan in the area. I’m telling you, I couldn’t believe it, but I was the only one there at the time. Kuroda in particular, it must be a Japanese thing. I’ve struggled with him forever, and he either ignores me, waves, or half-asses a ball underhand that goes nowhere near me. I WILL get a ball from him this season. I even asked him in Japanese last year! Does anyone have a player they struggle with?
As for competition, I was becoming boxed in, and I didn’t like it:
To my left, was a random railing that separated the sections, so yeah, I was pretty much boxed in. Considering my seats were in the 500 level with a packed house expected, I was facing getting shut out.
Travis Hafner then pounded one in my direction, but it hit the warning track and fell just short of my glove on the bounce over the wall and landed here:
Now, before the game, I planned on making my glove ready for the “glove trick,” but my rubber bands broke and I couldn’t get to a drugstore before game time. That’s what I get for not being prepared. There were 3 balls in front of me, but I had no retrieval device.
If you haven’t been to Rogers Centre before, this is how the outfield wall is set up:
The gap there eats up so many homers. If you have a glove equipped with a glove trick, and can use it well, bring it. The security sparingly checks the area for balls every 30 minutes or so.
The Yankees were down to their last few guys for BP it seemed. Just when I was getting ready to accept defeat, I decided I’d wait it out. Then, Lyle Overbay lined one right to me. The trajectory was perfect. The height was perfect. The kid next to me had his glove up. I leaned further in than he did, held up my arm…. And…
Sweet! MY first ever BP homer on the fly! It felt awesome. I knew it’d come sooner or later. Some guy demanded I give it to him even though he didn’t have a glove. Come prepared, pal. I ignored him, and headed out of there quick over to Left Field:
The only guy there, as you can see, was a trainer of some kind, and he’s not allowed to toss balls up, so I just hung around hoping for another homer. BP ended shortly after, so I continued my walk exploring the inside of the stadium now (I do this for new stadiums, by the way. It won’t be like this every post.). I came across the Jays pregame show:
On the right is former MLBer Gregg Zaun. The guy on the left, who knows. It took forever to get around, the concourse was PACKED.
I managed to *sneak* my way down behind home plate and took some photos:
After a while, I got bored sitting there, and walked around more. I stuck my camera through a hole in the batters eye in Center Field and snapped a photo:
Later in the game, a home run went into this area and I imagined myself sneaking under the tarp to grab it.
It was game time, and here is where I was positioned:
Too far away for a foul ball, and after the busy, busy weekend I had, I was too tired to care. I had 1 ball, and I was on the board. To give you perspective of where I caught my home run, I took a shot from my seat:
In the 9th, the Yankees were down to their last out, so I went alllll the way to the last row of seats:
See that thing on the corner? That’s a bay of lights:
Imagine having those seats for a season ticket plan? Woof. I’ve never seen something like that before. How do you see the scoreboard? I guess you don’t. Here’s another cool architectural photo:
Here I am:
If you’re wondering what the “3” is for, I’m planning to attend a game in all 30 stadiums. When I do, I’m taking each photo with a sign number, and making a large collage out of it to hang in my man cave. Cool idea, right? I know. The seats emptied fast, but there was still one guy left in the crowd:
I took a few last photos of the stadium:
And a panoramic photo (which I think came out well, click to enlarge):
And one last photo of Natalie and I. Were so cute, right?
And get this: Look how this clown parking attendant decided to park his car in front of mine, after claiming I didn’t pay him for the spot when I clearly did, then magically gave me a 10$ fine because I didn’t have the parking pass displayed on my windshield even though I asked him and HE SAID NO I didn’t have to:
That’s my car in black. What a clown. Be wary where you park in Toronto. Also, be aware of the immense amount of traffic you’ll encounter if it’s a busy game like this one. Ooof.
- 1 ball at this game
- 5 balls this season
- 86 career balls
- Yankees record when I attend in 2013: 1-1 (36-23 all time)
- Blue Jays record when I attend in 2013: 1-0 (3-7 all time)
I also took a black light photo of the ball Overbay hit to me:
That’s all for now. See you next week at Yankee Stadium for Astros-Yankees. I’m planning on going Tuesday. If I don’t get a commemorative, I’ll be there Wednesday. I hope to get a commemorative 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…
I was looking through some old pictures and was thrilled to find some old pictures of me at the old Yankee Stadium, and coincidentally, this was the last “game” I attended at the stadium (I was at the 2008 All-Star Game, but that is an interesting story for another day in a future post). Also, I’m sure you remember Natalie from earlier posts. This was actually one of our first dates, so that’s exciting as well. I’ll have to give her credit for tagging along with me to baseball games from the get go. It was her first (and last) time at Old Yankee. Believe it or not, I actually tried ballhawking at this game (with no glove). Here we go…
And hung out there for a little while. I knew that this was probably my last time there, so I tried to savor every moment of it. It was such a historic place, and it was going to be gone forever. I can still remember it now. I took some artistic photos:
Oh come on. I had to have it! Of all people, Hall-of-Famer Ken Griffey, Jr. was walking over to me. At the the time, I had zero balls snagged in my life. What a name to get your first from, huh? So here he was:
After BP had ended, I headed up to my seats:
…at my last game ever. I discreetly scrounged together some pieces of concrete wall from the outside and some infield dirt before they tore it down, so I’ll always have a piece of the REAL Yankee Stadium forever.
- 0 balls at this game (I was a rookie!)
It was a bit unexpected and last minute, but I was here early Wednesday morning:
… I was about to board the Metro North with my dad to go to Yankee Stadium for the 2nd time in 2 nights.He hasn’t been to a game all season, plus he was off from work, so what the heck. I don’t normally take the train to the game, but when I got off, I never realized the awesome view of Yankee Stadium you get when you make your way out:
… Turns out a few guys were hitting grounders to Alex Rodriguez. If there was to be batting practice for the Jays after, It was going to be another toughie. Here’s how it looked in the left field seats:
… it was only going to get more crowded. After about 20 solid minutes of Jays tossing, I played the patient waiting game, spotted out Ricky Romero, called his name, and got him to toss me ball No. 1 for the day:
(Romero is the one throwing in the photo.) My dad has never been to a game yet with me where I was ballhawking, so he was amazed at how I managed to get that ball. To my credit, I was the only one who recognized any of the players and actually asked for one. What a concept. Here is the ball in all its beauty:
What a view. I mean honestly, he could absolutely sail one to the left, and I could run over uncontested and grab it. I couldn’t believe for a day game crowd how empty this area was, but I wasn’t complaining. Here was my view down to the bullpen to give you perspective on height and distance, keep it in mind:
Now. Harkey came over, did his usual 4 or 5, then looked up at me. I waved my glove a few times, (I mean really, who else could he look at) and we made eye contact and he chucked it up. It was falling short, and quick. I decided to make a move. I took my right hand, grabbed as much of the stone wall as I could, and lunged over the wall. I would have to estimate that I was at least hanging over the wall up to my kneecaps. I almost over-judged the ball, as it smacked into the heel of my glove. I couldn’t believe it. To date, it was the sickest snag I’ve made. My dad couldn’t believe it. The bleacher section below shown in the photo above gave me a round of applause and cheers. People were high-fiving me, even cops were telling me how nice the grab was. It was a pretty surreal moment.
As quick as that escalated, that’s how quick it died down. So we headed up to our seats. On the way, I noticed the Yankees museum had NO line to get in. I’ve been wanting to check that place out for 3 years now, so we went in quick. Here are a few photos:
Okay. Thanks for getting through that. Of those pictures, we have:
1) the 2009 World Series ring the Yankees received
2) a signed Rickey Henderson ball. The Yankees have almost every signature they could get from the superstars to the mop-up relievers, one on each ball inside a glass case. I picked Rickey’s because he was just an awesome player.
3) A collection of rings the Yankees earned from 1977-2009
4) The model of Yankee Stadium that the Steinbrenners proposed to the city of New York
5) Thurman Munson’s old locker from the Old Yankee Stadium
Here were our seats:
… and got denied a few times. The seats were pretty empty (it was pretty hot out), but nothing was hit my way. The game ended. Jays 8, Yanks 5. Since it was getaway day, the Jays hi-tailed it out of there. However, I spotted one of these bad boys on the wall:
Groundskeeper: “I just gave you one yesterday.”
Chris: “No, you didn’t. That was Zack.” (Sidebar- I was standing next to Zack Hample when he got the lineup card the night before, as you can see here. See? I was there.)
G: “Yes, you did. Why do you gotta lie to me?”
C: “I swear to you, it wasn’t me! I was there, but you gave it to Zack.”
G: “You don’t gotta lie, man, I’m gonna give it to you anyway, but don’t lie to me man.”
…… what the heck?
I wasn’t going to let that ruin my day though. I snagged more balls today with no BP than the night before. And I got a lineup card. Here it is in all it’s glory:
- 2 balls at this game
- 71 career balls
- 9 straight games at Yankee Stadium with a ball
- 13 straight MLB games with a ball
- Yankees record when I attend: 35-22 (9-4 in 2012)
- Blue Jays record when I attend: 2-7 (1-2 in 2012)
I’m thinking of going Friday vs. the Orioles, but I’m not sure just yet.
Another day, another ballgame…
As ridiculous as the Gate 6 lines looked, I headed over to Gate 8 behind center field, and waited about 5 or 10 minutes until I grabbed my “Old School Yankee Pennant” and headed out to left field, which was pleasantly surprising:
Look at all that space. I had so much room to run, but… I just needed someone to hit a ball to me. Chris Stewart came up for what seemed like 20 minutes, and then the Yankees vanished. The Blue Jays came out, and hit nothing that really came my way. I saw a few balls get hit in the section to my left, and some were hit into the bleachers above me. After that, it got really crowded. I’ll save you the time. Kids got toss ups (don’t get me wrong, that’s great – as long as my streak is alive), and nothing was hit towards me. The Jays started hitting towards right field. Until of course, the ushers started kicking people out:
Of course, nothing was hit there. Eventually, bullpen catcher Alex Andreopolous walked towards the warning track with several balls in his catcher’s mitt:
I got him to toss me up a ball. It felt good to be on the board and keep the streak going:
And made my way to the center field cafe area to try and work my magic for “The Harkey”. If you don’t know what this is, refer to my other Yankee Stadium posts, it’s explained there. Here was my spot:
I decided to chill for a bit during the game, and managed to notice this –
Later, Adeiny Heccevarria hit his 1st career homer to right field. And the guy that caught it? …. He gave it back to Right Fielder Moises Sierra in a trade for what was probably a crappy BP ball. For shame. If it was me, I would’ve told Moises that I simply wanted to hand it to him myself.
Moving on… I headed down to here after about the 7th inning:
But nobody hit one out. Yankees won the game, 2-1 in a very quick game for two AL East foes. After the game, I met up with the famous Zack Hample, and talked for a good 15 minutes. We talked a bit before the game during BP, both expressing our hate for Yankee Stadium. He managed to snag the bullpen lineup card and was immediately stoked:
- 1 ball at this game
- 69 career balls
- 8 straight games at Yankee Stadium with a ball
- 12 straight MLB games with a ball
- Yankees record when I attend: 35-21 (9-3 in 2012)
- Blue Jays record when I attend: 1-7 (0-2 in 2012)
I got a ticket for this game for 1 reason and 1 reason only:
I wanted a Fenway commemorative ball. Correction: I NEEDED one. I did not feel like going up to Boston just for one ball. I had some previous obligations to take care of earlier in the day, so I was already in the city. I was actually able to make it to the stadium very early for once, and it felt good. Thus, my journey starts here on 51st Street and Lexington Ave:
I then grabbed the 4 at 59th street, and a few cramped, crowded, sweaty, woman next to yous sweaty armpits minutes later I was here:
I love being there when nobody else is. I normally go inside Gate 6 (Right Field), but since I had the time, I decided to go inside Gate 2 (Left Field). The line was huge, look where I had to stand:
I never eat McDonald’s. Today was an exception. I was going to be running plenty to burn that off. Around 4:45 (gates open at 5), this guy behind me all of the sudden decides to cut me. It was the weirdest thing ever. The lady next to me offered to say something but the guy was old, and honestly, did not look like he would be ballhawking. I would get in eventually just like everyone else. I found it funny though because no matter WHAT I do, I am never the first on line. Anyway, I got my bag checked and ran in to left field. Here was my spectacular view to my right:
When I was checking for easter eggs, I could see that a usher had a ball in his hands. I wasn’t going to ask him for it. The next moment, Andruw Jones blasted a home run that hit off the logo next to the “State Farm” to the right in the above picture. I ran over a few rows, and before I knew it, 2 minutes in I had this:
It was the first home run that I snagged that was hit into the seats that wound up into my glove. Very cool. 15 seconds later, Andruw smacked one into the walkway tunnel for the section to my right, so I ran up and snagged it before someone running behind me could get it:
… and just like that, 3 minutes in I had 2 balls, both of them hit into the stands and retrieved by me, something I have never done before. Very awesome. They didn’t have Fenway commemorative logos on them, so there was more work to be done. I knew it wouldn’t be this easy for much longer, as the crowd was filing in:
I think it’s funny how everyone swarms to the front row. I’m guilty of this myself sometimes, but you usually have better luck standing back further. I usually do this when I get caught up in trying to get Hiroki Kuroda to toss me a ball. Which he will successfully, someday. 5 minutes later, the Yankees were done. The Sox still were stretching, so I ran over to here:
Where I later got my third ball of the day from Ryan Lavarnway, who was tossing with Cody Ross. I quickly looked at the ball, and there was no logo on it. I moved closer to the cage where Dustin Pedroia was hitting:
I avoided trying to go to the field and get a toss up because it looked like this:
I looked over in the bullpen and saw this:
But, bullpen coach Gary Tuck was being a jerk the whole night and put them back in his bag. I tried asking Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ryan Lavarnway for theirs:
I did take this cool picture of Franklin Morales warming up:
Later, Derek Jeter apparently “crushed” his 250th home run.
I tried every half inning for a toss up, and would not quit. I got Alfredo Aceves to acknowledge me:
in the top of the 9th and he said he’d get me. So I waited. And the game ended. Gary Tuck -___- took the bag with him, so that was that. So I headed down to the bullpen gate, in hopes of asking the groundskeeper for a ball and hoping it was a commemorative. 5 anguish-filled minutes later….
SA-WEEEEET! (One E for each commemorative) I now had FIVE commemorative balls out of the SIX this year, and I have ONE and only one chance to get it next Saturday when the Astros play the Mets. It was smudged, but hell, I’ll take it. Ironically, a short minute later, Aceves actually came through and threw me a commemorative ball, but it fell short hitting the fence. I was busy high-tailing out of there to catch my Metro-North train, and headed home after a LOOONG day in NYC. Following pic taken on the train:
- 4 balls at this game (Ties personal MLB record!)
- 64 career balls
- 7 games in a row at Yankee with a ball (new record!)
- 10 straight MLB games with a ball (new record!)
- Yankees record when I attend: 34-21 (8-3 in 2012)
- Red Sox record when I attend: 5-2 (1-1 in 2012)
Next game: Possibly mid-week Rockies/Mets, otherwise Astros/Mets 8/25 to try and complete the Commemorative Set!
For some reason, it was ridiculously crowded at Yankee Stadium today. Gate 6 was a swarm, so I headed over to Gate 8 (CF Bleachers) and it wasn’t as bad. Have a look:
- 1 ball at this game.
- 60 career balls
- 6 games in a row at Yankee with a ball
- 9 straight MLB games with a ball
- Yankees record when I attend – 33-21 (7-3 this season)
- Texas record when I attend – 0-2 (0-1 this season)
One day after going to the Renegades game, I was here on Tuesday with Rich:
Unfortunately, I had to wait for Rich to get home from work. But, I made record time down to Woodlawn to catch the 4 and get to Yankee Stadium by 5:45. When we got in, I headed over to the left field bleachers because the lovely Yankee Stadium security kicked everyone out at 5:50. They used to not do this in right field, but it’s Yankee Stadium so lets treat it like a prison. Here’s where I wound up:
I looked over to my left and saw Tommy Hunter and Wei-Yin Chen playing pepper:
…and failed there too. Both looked up at me, but did nothing. I did, however, see Zack Hample ask Chen in Taiwanese for a ball, so there’s that. He recognized me and struck up a conversation, which I thought was cool as well.
Then that was it for BP. I headed over to left field to the bullpen, since the right field bullpen only had one ball hit into it which was given away by a security guard:
I really wanted an Orioles commemorative ball since this would probably be my last chance this season, and I didn’t want to bank on the Orioles coming to New York in April and trying to get a leftover. I also wasn’t going to make it down to Camden so, it had to be today. The groundskeeper in left threw one up to a fan, and then I politely asked him for one and he told me he was fresh out.
I then decided to head up here and try the “Harkey”:
… and finally got him to throw me one, so I was on the board for the day. I almost lost it, as someone lunged in front of me and almost got it. I leaned a little more forward than he did, and managed to get it. He then proceeded to tell me how he didn’t want to get in my way, when in fact he did. But he was a cool guy and congratulated me on the snag. Here’s the ball:
The Yankees managed to take a 5-0 lead in the 1st inning, only to give it away in the 2nd by allowing 7 runs. It was that kind of a game. We headed down behind home plate in the 8th to watch Ichiro Suzuki hit:
Then I went over by the Oriole bullpen in the bottom of the 9th to try and get a commemorative from coach Bill Castro:
Now. It was sort of quiet at this point, so I struck up a conversation. I asked Castro if they had any commemorative balls. He looked at me like I had three heads. I simplified the question and said “the ones with the Camden Yards stamps on them?” and he rummaged around the ball bag and held a commemorative up. I gave him a thumbs up and said could I please have one and pointed to the Orioles logo on my shirt, and he threw it up. I didn’t expect him to sail one, so it landed perfectly in this womans lap sitting to the right of me. It fell on the ground, and she picked it up. Then she gave me the snarkiest smirk on her face, I swear I wanted to lose it. And she was going to give it to me until her son told her to keep the said ball that was totally unintended for her. I would have given it to them if it was the other way around. So I went back to Castro and asked for another because a lady took it. He said “Sorry, kid”.
Yeah. So the game ended, final score: Orioles 11, Yankees 5. After the game, I asked him one more time to try again. He looked at me and said “You better catch this one”, so I stood back and he flipped it up to me.
I now have 4 commemoratives this year (BAL, LAD, NYM, MIA) and need 2 more to go (BOS, HOU). It felt great to get that one.
I headed home and ended the day with the 2 I snagged.
- 2 balls at this game
- 56 career balls
- 5 games in a row at Yankee with a ball
- Yankees record when I attend: 32-21
- Orioles record when I attend: 5-2
Not sure when my next game is.