Category: Toronto Blue Jays

3/28/14 at Olympic Stadium (NYM @ TOR)

Finally.

It was here… the first professional game played at Le Stade Olympique since the beloved Expos left for Washington, DC in 2004. I was always itching to see a game there, but in 2004, I was 15 years old and unable to leave the country by myself. I hoped and hoped every year that some kind of game… high school… alumni… college… ANYTHING would be played there. And I got my wish over the winter. The Mets and the Blue Jays were playing two exhibition games there in hopes of showing Major League Baseball that there was still a large interest in having a team there. I bought my tickets (for both games) the day they went on sale. I figured since I couldn’t go on the dream trip to Australia for Dodgers/D-Backs, this was more than ok. After getting out of my horrible grad school class and driving up through the rain for 5 hours, Natalie and I arrived in Montreal and threw on our baseball stuff for the first time in 2014: Image I wasn’t worried about the weather, we were going to see a game inside a dome. The temperature outside was around 39 degrees and raining for our walk to the train station: Image … and eventually our comfortable subway ride to the Pie-IX stop: Image

I didn’t know what to expect when I got there. Would it be crowded? I read articles that the company who headed the two games, Evenko, sold over 90,000 tickets for the two games. Where would I go when I got inside? Which gate is best to get to the outfield? What’s security like? The cool thing was that nobody else knew, either. So I was eager to get there. When you get off the subway, the station is built into the bottom of Olympic Stadium. So I was greeted with this: Image

!!!!!!!

I was surprised when we got up to the lobby that it was packed. Like, seriously crowded. Out of sheer luck, I spotted Todd, his two kids, Avi Miller, and a new Montreal ballhawk (!) named Michel Audet. He somehow knew some stuff about Olympic Stadium, so we hung with him. He’s a nice kid. The buzz for the game itself was getting so much attention. We were right at the front of the line, so I am definitely in pictures and on TV somewhere in Canada. I couldn’t find it, though. Check it out: Image The atmosphere was electric. Every person who had Expos gear on was getting interviewed by someone. There were chants of “We want baseball!” and “Let’s go Expos!!” every two seconds. I couldn’t wait to see how the game would be. We got there so early because we wanted to be first inside for BP, so waiting around for almost two hours felt like an eternity. I was first in line, when another familiar face came by, by the name of Greg Barasch. So it was almost like a mini-ballhawking convention. We were lined up away from the actual gates: Image Eventually, before the gates were supposed to open, they checked bags and let us move up to where it says “Stade”. There, we waited longer and everyone got restless, as you can see by this guard trying to calm everyone down: Image I ran into that guard several times this weekend, and he was really nice. he also tried to sell us his hideous jacket for $10. Seriously. Like I said, I was first in line: Image The whole set up was bizarre. I felt like I was waiting in line to board a plane or something. The tickets weren’t even scannable either, they had to be ripped. And the lady took forever to rip it. Canada is interesting. At long last, I was inside: Image

EHRMAGERD.

Here’s how it looked towards home plate: Image Awesome. I kept distracting myself with taking pictures that I almost forgot to snag. I headed over to left field, but look at this cross aisle: Image if only one of the New York stadiums had a cross aisle like that… I could have 300 baseballs. More on that cross aisle in Game 2. The outfield wall is very high, and the gap between the wall and the stands is pretty far. Check it out: Image See the two silver lines? The stands actually move on those and expand and contract outward for soccer and football games. I was talking with Avi about the gap and how they’re not allowed in Major League stadiums…. (again, more on that in Game 2). I also got a kick out of the *killer* sound system they had installed: Image A speaker and duct tape. Got it. Even that random sign under it was funny. I loved it. I also lost Natalie. More on that later. Eventually, I did snag my first ball of the day: Image It was a toss-up by Bartolo Colon. It was hard, because the Mets brought guys up to Montreal who weren’t going to be on the Opening Day roster, and I couldn’t look them up on my phone since I was in Canada. #firstworldproblems

When we first ran inside, Todd showed me that he snagged a World Baseball Classic ball: Image

…As well as a 2011 All-Star Game ball. When I opened my glove, i had a 50th Anniversary Dodger Stadium ball. I already had it, but it was still cool. Heres a better look at the gap between the wall and the seats: Image That’s pretty wide, and uncovered. Besides navigating between a mob of fans, if you ran backwards to catch a ball on the fly (which didn’t happen much… the balls were dying out at the warning track for the most part), you had to remember these random glass panels that were in the way: Image I ran into them twice. At the end of BP, Mets pitcher Scott Rice came up the stairs and was talking to a fan: Image …And remembered me from the day he had a catch with me. How cool is that? He also promised to toss me a commemorative ball the next game, if I was going (of course I was going). I then remembered that I still didn’t know where Natalie was, and couldn’t call her since I was in Canada. We had a plan to meet at our seats, which we did… which were up top: Image Nice view. they also did a nice Gary Carter tribute pregame… but did i sit there the whole game? NA. I sat here at the beginning of the game: Image Now that’s more like it. I got down there just in time to see the first baseball pitch in Montreal since 2004: Image I was sitting near Greg and Avi (Avi managed to snag a piece of one of the seats. Shh.) after not succeeding in a 3rd out ball because of wayyyy too many kids, we wandered out to here: Image …where I just missed out on a Jose Bautista homer hit over my head, and an Edwin Encarnacion homer that would have landed in my lap had it carried further. I saved my exploring for Day 2, but here’s what it looks like behind the left field bleachers: Image Random. Unsightly. Ugly. I love it. Here’s another view: Image Yes, that’s the bullpen in the background. More on that in Game 2. the game itself was actually pretty entertaining. The Jays won on a walk-off single up the middle. Final score:

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I was pleased with my 1 snag: Image …and took a picture with the guys quick before getting back at it in less than 12 hours… what  a day: Image From left to right, if you don’t recognize anyone: Greg, Me, Kellan, Todd, Tim, Michel rocking the Expos jersey, and Avi. Natalie took the picture. Day 2 next!

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  • 1 ball at this game (I’m counting it. BP was crazy, and there was 45,000 people.)
  • 1 ball in 2014
  • 186 career balls

 

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8/21/13 at Citi Field and Yankee Stadium (ATL @ NYM, TOR @ NYY)

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: Image 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: Image 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:  Image 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: Image 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: Image …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: Image 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: Image  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: Image 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: Image Then some Braves emerged and threw out in the outfield: Image 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: 100_0397 …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: 100_0399 (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: 100_0400 He was nice. As for the game, I headed to my usual pre-game spot for a toss-up: 100_0404 but came up empty. As for the game, I sat here: 20130821_145203 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: 17_jeff_chris_zack_andy_george 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: 100_0408 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: 100_0410 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: 100_0412 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: 100_0416 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! 20130821_190930

I headed out to the Yankees bullpen for a Harkey ball and watched Adam Warren warm up for his 1st career start: 100_0419 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: 100_0422 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: 100_0426 He picked someone off of 2nd base (for the 1st time in his career) and got the save. Final scores: metsnyy

 

final total

  • 4 balls on the day (3 at Citi, 1 at Yankee)
  • 36 straight MLB games with a ball
  • 165 career balls

4/21/13 at Rogers Centre (NYY @ TOR)

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 –

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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:

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Here I am with Natalie –

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I kept going around the stadium –

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And I reached this ridiculous thing they threw up on the side wall:

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I kept going, and reached the front (or back, I’m not sure what to call it) of Rogers Centre:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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Here was my view to my left and my right:

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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:

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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:

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The competition wasn’t too bad:

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…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:

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Welp. After throwing on my Yankee shirt, I decided to head down here for Yankees BP:

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…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:

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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:

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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:

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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…

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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:

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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:

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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.

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I managed to *sneak* my way down behind home plate and took some photos:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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In the 9th, the Yankees were down to their last out, so I went alllll the way to the last row of seats:

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See that thing on the corner? That’s a bay of lights:

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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:

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Final score:

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Here I am:

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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:

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I took a few last photos of the stadium:

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And a panoramic photo (which I think came out well, click to enlarge):

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And one last photo of Natalie and I. Were so cute, right?

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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:

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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:

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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!

8/29/12 at Yankee Stadium (TOR @ NYY)

It was a bit unexpected and last minute, but I was here early Wednesday morning:

Image… 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:

Image… nice. I knew I wasn’t going to see much of anything on the field, being this was a day game after a night game, but when I entered the park, I was surprised to see the cage was out:

Image… 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:

Image… 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:

Image(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:

ImageSweet. Streak alive. There were other Jays tossing:

Image… but I didn’t bother. They were ignoring everyone, and Romero, the awesome guy that he is, gave away 4 balls to kids and then stopped for some of these:

Image… I couldn’t manage my way in there, or else I’d have him sign my ticket. I was then bored and took an artistic photo:

ImageFeel free to use that. I hung out with my dad for a bit, we got some grub, then I took him upstairs to show him “The Harkey”. Just look at all the space I had:

ImageWhat 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:

ImageNow. 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:

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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:

ImageIt was nice to just hang for a few innings.  I was bored so attempted a panorama picture:

ImageBut you know me, I was thinking of snagging opportunities. I took myself down here:

Image… 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:

ImageI asked the groundskeeper if I could have it, and he looked at me nasty. Here’s how the situation panned out:

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:

ImageSweeeeet. I love the highlighting and the abbreviations and the sharpie editing, it’s all great.

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  • 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.

8/28/12 at Yankee Stadium (TOR @ NYY)

Another day, another ballgame…

ImageAs 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:

ImageThat was it for my section. Here was my view to the right:

ImageLook 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:

ImageNow that’s more like it. Look. At. Those. Aisles.

Of course, nothing was hit there. Eventually, bullpen catcher Alex Andreopolous walked towards the warning track with several balls in his catcher’s mitt:

ImageIn case you still can’t figure out which guy is Andreopolous, He’s the guy on the left wearing #61.

I got him to toss me up a ball. It felt good to be on the board and keep the streak going:

ImageSweet. Eventually, that was it for BP. I decided to head up to this area:

ImageAnd 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:

ImageI  had ample space to move around in case he sailed one. But instead, he half-assed the throw off the wall and it ricocheted down to the bleachers and almost hit an old man in the head. Hmph.

I decided to chill for a bit during the game, and managed to notice this –

ImageIf someone could explain to me how Curtis Granderson has 133 home runs with the bases empty but 134 RBIs, that’d be great. Maybe it’s a typo.

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:

ImageIt was crowded, but I had one good aisle to run in in case somebody gave one a ride:

ImageBut 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:

Image… as was I. Even though I got only 1 ball,my streak was alive and it was a fun night at the ballpark (That’s what it’s all about, right? Right?).

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  • 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)

7/17/12 – Yankee Stadium

Today’s goal was simple: 3. I needed 3 balls to get to the 50 milestone, and after the past few games I had (5, 3) I thought it was definitely doable. I figured since the Yankees were playing the Blue Jays, my chances could only benefit from making one of these:

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I have a whole bunch of these, which I make myself, for almost every team. I haven’t had to make some. And I refuse to make a Red Sox one. Just against the rules. 🙂

I headed down to the stadium early, and was second in line. It was brutally hot, the scoreboard in center said it was 101 degrees down by the field. I didn’t find any easter eggs, so I stood next to monument park in right field.

I have been trying all season to get a ball from Hiroki Kuroda. I’ve used signs in Japanese, yelling in Japanese, flailing my arms, nothing. He just waves to me 15 times. He probably thinks I’m a weirdo. It was slow going for the Yankees portion of BP, until someone (I believe it was Raul Ibanez) hit one into the Yankees bullpen. When the Yankees portion of BP ended, Freddy Garcia flipped it to me over the fence for my first ball of the day.

I ran over to left field and threw on my Jays gear and found some unwanted competition:

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Sigh. There were too many Jays fans and kids nearby to try and get anything to keep without getting my head bitten off.

I started talking to Henderson Alvarez and bullpen coach Pete Walker:

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….who said they would hook me up, but alas, did not.

I tried talking to Ricky Romero and Francisco Cordero…

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… who ignored me also, throwing balls to other parts of the stands.

I decided to try my luck by the Jays dugout, where nobody was really hanging out. (Also, Yankee Stadium security guards are annoying and kicked everyone out at 6. 6:30 I can understand, but 6? C’mon. The businessmen don’t get to the games until the 3rd inning anyway.)

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I was pretty much the only one there, aside from a few other Jays fans, and I knew the players could hear me. The music wasn’t playing anymore, and it was relatively quiet. Nothing pisses me off more than when athletes ignore their fans. It takes 1 minute to answer or flip a ball. ANYway, I tried getting a ball from Colby Rasmus and Rajai Davis, but they were busy playing some form of baseball-tennis with their bats. Omar Vizquel just waved to me (which was kinda cool), Brett Lawrie was busy doing  an interview for the NHL Network of all channels, and the coaches ignored me. Then, Yunel Escobar acknowledged me after I flapped my glove, and instead of throwing me a ball, he nodded his head toward me and slid his bat over the roof of the dugout and it landed on the ground.

!

But, since Yankee Stadium is a corporate prison, I wasn’t allowed into the “legends” seats, so I watched helplessly as a usher handed my bat to another Jays fan. All while simultaneously being asked to leave the section because the game is starting in another 45 minutes.

Sigh. I need to go to Baltimore.

I decided to head up to the left field bleachers and see if a groundskeeper attendant could hook me up. Sometimes they do. You have to make sure to wait until after they finish cleaning the bullpen or they ignore you. When I got up there, this is what I saw:

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Oh, what a joyous occasion. I knew the drill, and I now had 2 on the day. I only needed one for my milestone 50th.

Yankee bullpen coach Mike Harkey has a pre-game ritual where he throws about 5 or 6 balls into the stands while standing on the bullpen bench, so I headed over to right field and positioned myself for when he came.

In the meantime, I watched CC Sabathia come off the DL and warm up:

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I didn’t have time to take a picture while Harkey was doing his thing, and he sailed one to my left and shrugged sheepishly at me when he saw I was disgusted. I went to the game with my friend Brian, who wanted to meet some friends and say hello. Shortly after, we headed to our seats and relaxed for a bit.

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Towards the 9th inning, we went down by the Blue Jays bullpen, but failed to get the elusive 50th ball.

Final score – Yankees 6, Toronto 1. (Take THAT Toronto)

After that, we headed home. Next game will probably be Saturday (Dodgers @ Mets).

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(Artsy, no?)

*Stats*

2 balls at this game, 49 career. 7 straight games with a ball.

Games With at Least 1 Ball: 15
Games at Yankee Stadium with at least 1 ball: 9

Competition factor for game: 89,950

Freddy Garcia becomes 1st player to throw me 2 balls.

Yankees record when I attend: 32-19 (6-1 this season)

Blue Jays record when I attend: 1-6 (0-1 this season)