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)
Here were my Sunday plans:
… I was excited to just take in a smaller atmosphere, lately I’ve been chasing commemorative balls, and rushing, etc., so I was looking forward to just going to a ballgame with a small crowd, doing my thing, and just overall enjoying a ballgame. Since I had season tickets for today’s game, you don’t have to wait in line at the main gate and you can enter at the side. There was nobody there, so I was excited to run in and potentially see BP with nobody in the stands and easter eggs for the taking. Instead, here was the view when I got in:
… and got Felix Gonzalez to toss me my first ball of the day:
Since I was the only one who was actually asking for a ball, I didn’t want to seem greedy in front of the other fans and headed over to the IronBirds (Orioles A-Affiliate) side to try to get a ball. There were a few guys tossing, but I was only able to head over so far towards left field without a “Picnic Area” ticket. Therefore, a bunch of balls were tossed into the crowd in that area. I was busy getting an autograph (I never usually do autographs, so I don’t know what compelled me to here) from Jose Nivar when 2 more balls were tossed into the crowd. Later, there was one sitting up against the wall, so I asked Jose to give it to me and he kid of playfully said no. I thought he was kidding so I gave him a yes-nod and he threw it to the bullpen catcher.
After that, I headed to my seats for the game…
… and got Cameron Edman to toss me the 3rd out ball from the bottom of the 2nd inning. It was a grounder to third, which was scooped up at first. Nice.
I was satisfied with my totals for the game, and decided to just hang for the rest of the day. I was walking around the concourse when I ran into a stand ran by the Dutchess County Sports Museum. I was going to keep walking, until this caught my eye:
… I could barely get the glove shut around the ball. That alone made me respect old time ballplayers even more. I couldn’t imaging catching a liner down the line or a deep fly ball with this thing. There was plenty of padding, but not a lot of mobility with it. I thought it was really cool.
I tried getting a ball from the home plate umpire after the game:
My next game is probably Tuesday (Jays @ Yankees).
- 2 balls at this game
- 68 career balls
I was here on Saturday:
… it was the last game of Rich and I’s ticket plan, and it was Mike Piazza bobblehead day. So I knew there would be somewhat of a crowd for this game between the 40-87 Houston Astros and the 58-69 New York Mets… a game with huge implications.
Huge implications on my snagging record, that is. I needed one Astros 50th Anniversary Commemorative ball to complete the 6-ball set this year (Boston, Baltimore, LA Dodgers, Miami, NY Mets, Houston). I knew it would be tough to get, being a day game after a night game, plus an ominous comment from Mateo Fischer :
I was, however, excited to see this:
Yay for BP!
Looking around, I was the only one around wearing Astros gear. If there was a commemorative to have, I was confident I’d get it. I headed over here:
…and got Wilton Lopez (player to the right of the coach in the shorts) to throw me my first ball of the day. I almost didn’t get it. He threw it short, and it tipped off my glove. He was cool about it and threw me another ball on target and I even got a wave after (Neither ball was a commemorative). I then saw a ball here in front of the tarp:
I decided to try my luck over by the Astros dugout:
…Interim manager Tony DeFrancesco walked over and I asked him for an anniversary ball. He told me he didn’t have any with him, and hadn’t seen one in a while.
Later, Jose Altuve came out to pose for a baseball card:
I knew this wasn’t true, because I have seen Zack Hample get one in Philadelphia earlier this season. So based off of this info, I refused to accept it.
I did, however, snag some of this from Lucas Harrell:
I then got denied by ten… count ’em, TEN Astros after the national anthem:
…I then got bluntly kicked out of the section. I did our usual hang out in center field-thing we usually do, occasionally heading down to the Astros bullpen to see if anything was up. I got the attention of bullpen catcher Javier Bracamonte who actually took the time to look through the ball bag for a commemorative, but only sifted through about 4 or 5 until saying sorry and heading back to the bench. I went down again later, and found Rhiner Cruz stretching:
Manny Acosta came out back by the fence and I said hi. I wasn’t about to bother him or ask him for a ball. It was weird just sitting there with him for about an inning:
What am I supposed to do, travel to Houston now? Go back to Citi tomorrow in hopes that this isn’t true? For sure not. So much for completing the set.
I set my sights on an umpires ball so I sat here behind two Met fans with clear taste for great pitching:
Here was my actual view:
- 2 balls at this game
- 66 career balls
- 7 straight games at Citi with a ball
- 11 straight games at an MLB game with a ball
- Mets record when I attend this season: 2-6 (12-15 overall)
- Astros record when I attend this season: 0-1 (0-2 overall)
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)
Here I was Saturday (with long entry lines):
I went to this game with my two friends, Brian and Rich. They elected to stay in the parking lot and drink. I myself, was having BP withdrawal so I headed in. I ran up the stairs of the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, around the 3rd base concourse, and wound up here:
Surprisingly, the stadium wasn’t that packed yet. The fact that the Mets have been playing so poorly might’ve helped. Anyway, here was my view to my right:
The Party City deck was empty, so balls that landed there would either ricochet towards me, or go back on the field. And the seats were empty so I could run around freely to get anything I missed. Of course, the Mets didn’t hit anything noteworthy in my direction. Someone hit a ball towards me that banged off the wall, and then I took this picture:
A few minutes later that was it for the Mets portion of BP as the Braves came out:
I decided to move over to the left field corner:
I moved over to the foul side of left field to try and get toss-ups. First my view to the right –
And behind me:
See the ball clearly in his pocket? I asked him if he wanted to have a catch with me (Keep in mind I’m in Braves gear) and he made a motion as to say “I don’t have a ball”. When he did. And then took it out five minutes later and threw it to a Met fan. S*** list for you now, Benjamin. I didn’t even want the ball, I wanted to have a catch. Whatevs.
I headed over to my usual spot for pregame warmups and here was the scene:
As busy as things looked, it wasn’t very busy. A lot of stretching, and nobody loosened up by throwing. The trainer took the 3 balls they had out there and brought them back to the dugout with him. It was dead for a bit, so security guards asked a Braves fan if he wanted to take a picture in the visiting dugout. That was fair. Then for the next 10 minutes, this was the most exciting thing going on:
….yeah. Then they walked off and that was it for pregame. I headed up to Center Field to meet my friends where we watched the game. The Braves jumped out to score 7 runs in the 2nd inning for a 9-0 lead, so in the middle of the game I took a walk and headed here:
If you haven’t been to Citi Field yet, if you get the chance, the bullpens are located right near a picnic area where you can interact with the players (if they don’t ignore you). I was sort of zoning out leaning up against the fence watching Avilan warm up. I still had my Braves gear on, and as Avilan was getting called into the game, Bullpen Coach Eddie Perez looked at me, and nodded upwards, so I moved back a bit, and he tossed me this (I didn’t even ask!):
Nice. On the way back, a random kid came up to me and asked me how old I was. I told him, and then he offered me one of his beers. I took it to be nice, but I didn’t drink it (it’s NYC, you never know).
I made my way down here towards the end of the game:
I took one last photo with my friends:
- 3 balls at this game (personal Citi Field record!)
- 59 career balls
- 6 straight games at Citi with a ball
- 8 straight MLB games with a ball
- Mets record when I attend: 10-15 (1-6 this season)
- Braves record when I attend: 1-0