It was Mother’s Day, and I was going to Citi Field. Don’t worry though; I made sure my mom was cool with it before I went, and I had a good reason for going, as you’ll see.
I hit some traffic on the way down, and I was worried I wasn’t going to get a good spot on line. The gates opened at 11:10, and I was there around 11:50. However, people are either too dumb to realize, or too lazy (which is probably the case) to walk the extra 15 feet to a line with 2 people on it, so that’s what I did and I was sixth in line.
Now, I’ve had this game circled on my calendar for a few months now. The whole reason I was going to this game was a secret. A month or two prior, bigleaguebaseballs.com posted a photo of a special ball that was being used on Mother’s Day, and I hadn’t seen or heard much about it since. I wanted to keep the competition down. While I was in line, I didn’t see too many ballhawks around. Which was good.
The gates opened, and instead of going out to left field like I usually do, I headed out to right:
A Mets player sliced one into the seats in foul territory, smacked off some concrete, bounced back onto the field, and I quickly got Dillon Gee (pictured) to toss me my first ball of the day about 2 minutes in. There were a lot of lefties hitting, so I took my spot in this area here and hung out for a bit and listened to a kid get yelled at by his mom:
After a few minutes, I noticed Zack Hample and some other ballhawks below the Pepsi Porch snagging balls. Today would be a challenge for Mother’s Day balls, for sure. I walked up a section and hung out near this awkward area near the right field foul pole:
…and eventually got Jeremy Hefner to toss me my second ball of the day. His toss was weird – he kind of just underhand floated it to me. It was my oddest snag I’ve ever had so far. It’s hard to explain. I moved around to the area under the Pepsi Porch in right, and got denied by Ricky Bones. Later though, a few balls made it to the warning track, and I got bench coach Bob Geren to hook me up with ball number 3 on the day:
…and after a few minutes, a homer was coming right at me. I positioned myself, but the ball was dropping quick, and slammed off the railing in the Party City Deck and went straight up into the air. I stuck my glove out, and if I weren’t incredibly short, my arm length probably would’ve reeled it in. I barely missed it, and it bounced back onto the field. Here’s an idea if you’re a visual person:
Ricky Bones (who had moved to left to talk to Scott Rice) must have saw how I just missed and tossed me the ball for No. 4 on the day. I had previously asked Scott, but he probably remembered me from five days prior when I was there against the White Sox.
That was it for the Mets portion of BP, so when some Pirates came out to toss, I headed over here:
…and it was then I found out that the Pirates would not be taking BP today. I really thought I had a chance at double digits. It was only 11:45, but they weren’t coming out. Bummer. I tried for a toss-up after long tosses, but they all went up to the left field area. I did, however, get Mark Melancon’s autograph:
I asked him if he missed playing in New York, and he said yes. Then I told him he was having an awesome year (which he is, check his stats) and to keep up the good work. I always think it’s cool when athletes approach fans instead of thinking they are better than everyone else.
I headed to my usual spot to try and get a pregame ball:
And there was only one. I tried to get it from Jordy Mercer or Clint Barmes, but they gave it to Pedro Alvarez. Fun tip about him: Every pregame he autographs a ball and tosses it into the crowd (at least the games I’ve been to, anyway). And that’s what he did. So I didn’t get it.
During the game, I was behind the Pirates dugout:
Ben Weil was to my right, and Zack Hample was to his right. Greg Barasch was going for 3rd out balls on the Mets side, so I had a *moderate* chance at a Mother’s Day ball. As soon as the 1st inning ended, David Wright grounded out to third, and it was then that Garrett Jones tossed the ball into the crowd, and I stuck my glove out. There were about 5 hands up in the way, and I wasn’t even sure I had gotten the ball. When I moved my glove back, took a deep breath, opened it up with anxiety, and….
Here are some more pictures of the ball:
Look how gorgeous that is. The writing on the sweet spot was a bit missing, and the Rawlings logo was buffed a bit, but you know what? I didn’t care. It made it unique, and mine. The ribbon was intact, so it was all good. I was just thrilled to have one. Nice job by MLB to make the ball. It happened so fast. I was thinking of different strategies for getting the ball… 3rd out balls, foul territory, umpires tunnel, and just like that, I had one. It was NOT expected at all, given my competition. I had seen Zack get one on a Travis Snider foul ball about 5 minutes earlier, so we were trying to make sure all the ballhawks got one. I laid back for the rest of the time until Ben finally got one in the 7th inning. Here’s a look at his ball which was in a little better shape than mine:
I also took a panorama of the game:
At the end of the game, we found out that Greg had gotten one at the end of the 8th inning, so now that we all had a pink ball, it was fair game for another. So, I headed to the umpires tunnel at the end of the game:
A few minutes later, I got Jose Contreras to throw me a ball on his way into the dugout for my 6th ball of the day. My personal Citi record is 6, and I would’ve broken it easily if the Pirates took BP. Oh well. I love that I’m getting on a hot streak right before my baseball trip. If you don’t know about it, stay tuned.
… as you can see. Greg, Ben, and I got 1 each, and Zack wound up with 3. Then, we parted ways, and I sat in traffic for an hour listening to the Rangers playoff game 6 until I got home another hour later.
- 6 balls at this game (Ties my Citi Field record)
- 97 career balls (closing in on 100!)
- 21 straight MLB games with a ball
I also checked my snags for invisible stamping. Only a few had them, check it out:
It was most likely (maybe not) my last game of 2012, and I was spending it here since the Yankees were on the road in Minnesota:
I ran to the left field bleachers and positioned myself here:
There wasn’t much action to begin with, but there were a few homers. My view to the left was the same as the one to my right in the photo above, so when David Wright hit a home run into the eye black, I ran over to my left, and stood by the edge of the railing. The following picture is an old photo of the eye black, but I’m using it to give you perspective:
So, obviously, I was standing where the arrow says “me”, and the ball was where… well, yea. I asked the guard if I could go get it since the rumor was you were allowed to go down there. He said no, but then he went down and tossed it up to me for #1 on the day. As he tossed it up, a kid in Pirates gear was running around from the other side of the apple. I guess you’re allowed to run on to the eye black as long as you don’t go down the Party City Deck. Whatev.
The Mets ran off the field after a whopping 7 minutes. So I took some time to enjoy my free box of Cracker Jack:
Then, the Pirates came out:
Lots of homeruns, no action towards me. For some reason, the crowd in BP was immense for a Tuesday night September 25th game between the 75-78 Pirates and the 70-83 Mets. It was just one of those nights. Eventually I was surrounded by kids, then a family of like 24 surrounded me on my left, and I kept barely missing home runs, and I got too fed up. I tried to move myself over here:
I headed over by the dugout, when this caught my eye:
I had some time to kill after BP, so I took some pics:
But none of them had any baseballs. Eventually, Pedro Alvarez (who would’ve been a GREAT name to add to my list) had a ball in his hand, autographed it and then threw it to a little kid. Dayyyyyum. I sat here during the game:
I also got this cool picture of Andrew McCutchen:
I moved over here to try and get a ball from umpire Greg Gibson:
The Pirates made their way out:
I had set out earlier this year in April to have a personal goal to snag 50 baseballs this season. To start the season, I had 21 career balls. Now, I have 81. I snagged 60. Some people snag this in a 4 game series. But I’m proud of myself. 2012 has been fun, It’s going to suck big time to wait until 2013. Unless I sneak one more game in this year 😉
- 2 balls at this game
- 81 career balls
- 9 straight games at Citi with a ball
- 15 straight MLB games with a ball
- Mets record when I attend: 2-8 in 2012, 12-17 overall
- Pirates record when I attend: 1-0 in 2012, 1-1 overall