April 2011

4/26/11 White Sox at Yankees: New Yankee Stadium

Let’s just say that I won’t be in the mood for Yankee games for a while. First, there were three people in line at 4:50 for a playoff game last year. This was the line at 4:45 for the center field gate:

Line 4/26/11.JPG

I
really don’t get how that can happen. That wasn’t that bad as most of
them didn’t go to the outfield for batting practice anyway (why do you
show up this early then?) Then when I optimistically entered the stadium
for a day of working on fly balls:
field as entering 42611.JPG 

Well actually that looks kind of nice but when you look further up as one does on Home Runs:
Sun 42611.JPG 

you’re
lucky if your eyes come back down with both retinas still fully
functioning. This made it nearly impossible for a skilled ballhawk to
catch a ball on the fly (without sunglasses) much less my unskilled
self. I lost three potential balls from this sun as I “had” to let them
drop and hope they stayed in place so I would be able to pick them up.

As
for toss-ups, normally Yankee player toss-ups are *very* (relatively
speaking) hard to come by as a wall of “here”s blasts as soon as the
player comes close to the ball but today it was just one fan. One kid
who seemed like a semi-regular by how the players recognized him, got
well over 50% of the toss-ups that went into the seats while I was
there.

Finally, Curtis Granderson stepped in and hit a fly ball
to my right. I ran to the direction it was hit in, descended two rows
after I saw it touch base and beat out aforementioned “kid” to find it
tucked between the pads of the seat for Ball #1 on the day.

I wanted to stayed a bit as Rafael Soriano went into the bullpen to try and get a toss-up from the ball left in the bullpen:
bullpen 42611.JPG
but as I had no spot at a rail gap in right field because of Ben Weil and Tony Bracco,
and there was a mostly righty group of Yankees coming up, I made my way
over to left field. Absoltuamently nothing. Two Home Runs and for some
reason the White Sox didn’t throw any of their warm-up balls into the stands. Had there been any I wouldn’t been able to move that much because when I got there the rail gaps in left-center had already been taken.

As the groups passed, more and more lefties came up to the plate. So when lefties came up, I went to both see how Jake Peavy was rehabing:
Jake Peavy 42611.JPG

And at the same time waited for him to end and get a ball from Pitching Coach, Don Cooper:
Don Cooper 42611.JPG
as he was sitting on a bag of about twenty baseballs.

As I looked up to see the time to get an idea of when security would come and try to kick me out, I saw this:
Ben rail gap 42611.JPG

How did Ben get in the rail gap that I had just seen occupied by a family of three? It was just that type of day. I could not catch a break.

Would I be able to escape the ticket checkers? Let me show you how in three easy steps:
1. Spot the guards coming from your left:
guards on left 42611.JPG

Guard #1 behind the two fans in the row furthest left, Guard #2 in the blue coming through the middle row, and Guard #3 checking the White Sox fan’s ticket towards the right. Whoa, they had never sent more than two guards to check tickets before.

2. Escape to your… wait no there’s a guard to right:
Guard right 42611.JPG

When I first developed a strategy to get past the ticket checkers only one guard came from your left and so you would be able to keep moving to your right until his sections of responsibility ended and go back to left field for the rest of bp.

3. Hope the guard to your right stops at a certain section

When they installed the second guard, they hoped he would make people just resign themselves to one side or the other and the guard stopped at a certain section and let the guys coming from left field get the people left in between them. This is the window where you would be able to just keep going left and out wait the guards but this security kept advancing until he met up with the left field guards. The result:

4. Get your ticket checked and be forced to leave.

Frus-tra-ting because of my false start to foul ground I wasn’t even allowed to go back and ask the other ballhawks if they could collaborate in getting me back into the field level seats. I tried going through the tunnel and asking them but apparently i wasn’t even allowed to stand in the tunnel leading to the section unless I had a ticket for that section.

5. Take a picture on the outside looking in:
outside looking in 42611.JPG

6. Wander Stadium looking for a lazy guard until the game starts.

Did not work. The Yankees have guards at every seat entrance (except for on the fourth level) well before the first pitch because they figure that if they charge so much for tickets than a person not sitting in their assigned tickets cost them that much more. Let’s do some math shall we? 137 entrances to the seats that have security guards (can we call it 140 for the sake of math) +1 supervisor for every ten openings+ 8 ticket checkers= 162 security guards for two hours before the game starts* even $6 per hour=$1,944 every game spent on security and I’m sure they make noticeably more than $6 per hour. That’s just the time from when the gates open until when the game begins.

7. Go back to your paid seat 5,000 feet from home plate:

Thumbnail image for 5 leagues away from the plate 42611.JPG

I would have wandered for the rest of the game but I had a guest to entertain all the way up there (I would introduce you but the picture I took was awful).

After the fifth inning I got incredibly bored and frustrated that I was all the way in section 432a. So, I asked the invited if he had ever been to the Yankee museum. He didn’t even know they had one.

Some of the things I saw:

1. World Series Ring:
WS Ring 2009 42611.JPG

2. The whole room centers on a display of Don Larsen’s last pitch from his perfect game. There is Yogi Berra:
Yogi 42611.JPG
Don Larsen:
Don 42611.JPG
and in between the two is a display case which is shaped on the top by the vertical curvature of Larsen’s last pitch. This case contains baseballs from many (maybe all but probably not) of the Yankee’s past and current players:
case side 42611.JPG
(this picture is from the Yogi Berra side so I was actually kneeling as I took this.)

They have autographs from players as far back as:
27th out 42611.JPG

and me with there most recent World Series trophy:
WS trophy 42611.JPG
Only in their museum did I wear a Yankee hat out of common courtesy but as you can tell by my face I was not too happy at the organization as a whole at this particular moment.

As we walked out of the museum, we immediately came upon then seats near the right field foul pole. I was scoping the area for lazy guards and what do you know, the first opening to the seats was security free. I pointed it out to my guest and we made quickly to our new seats.

A better view, wouldn’t you say:
this is better 42611.JPG

Though I wish I were in left field for the game as this was how empty it was:
I wish I were there 42611.JPG
When I pointed this out my guest called me whiner. I suppose this is true but with the Yankees it is actually deserved. The reason me wanting to be left field remains relevant three days after the fact is because Paul Konerko hit the game winning Home Run two sections from where I would have been sitting. There is actually a good story on what happened to this ball written by Tony Bracco.

That was it for me only one ball. By the way, I apologize for the lateness but Mlblogs has been acting up with the pictures again so I have had to work around those problems.

Stats:

  • 1 friggin ball at this game (#80)

Ball 42611.JPG

  • 19 balls in 8 games= 2.37 balls per game (Bleh)
  • 33 straight games with at least 1 ball
  • 7 games straight with at least on ball at Yankee Stadium
  • 1 ball* 40,785 fans= 40,785 competition factor
  • Time at Game 4:45- 10:22= 5 Hours and 37 Minutes

Not sure when my next game will be this weekend all depends on how Fordham does in a tournament.

4/24/11 Diamondbacks at Mets: Citi Field

Today was the first day of trying a new strategy. I first went out to left field but once I got there, I saw that the season ticket holder bp field spot had actually grown:

sth bs 42211.JPG
On Friday, it stopped before the Shea sticker on the wall. Here it covers a whole new section.
As you can tell by where I took this picture from, I decided that I would go to right field because no one was there and the Mets were going against a righty pitcher in Armando Galaraga (more people taking bp left handed).
There I got rejected in my request for a ball from five different players and a bullpen catcher in three different languages (Ouch!). Yeah, most of them *did* hear me.  I got laughed at by Ryota Igarashi and his translator, flat out denied by DJ Carrasco (although it occurs to me that he might not understand spanish as he was born in Arizona), and probably not heard by R.A. Dickey and Dave Racaniello.
Back to left field… I came back to left field as the Diamondbacks started hitting and the season ticket holders started to vacate the field. I wish I had been there for Mets bp as although there were not many balls thrown or hit I forget that with some bp before people get there, there are now easter eggs to be found.
Even with the elapsed time this:
left bp 42411.JPG
was the view to my left.
This to my right:
right bp 42411.JPG
but the person who shagged the most balls by far in the outfield, J.J. Putz, did not throw a single ball into the stands (while I was there). Here he can actually be seen asking for a ball from another player so that he can throw it in:
JJ Putz 42411.JPG
(He’s the one in red)
Couple that with the fact that the Diamondbacks only hit two Home Runs while I was there and you have a slow day in straight away left. My first ball actually came when I saw a player hit a line drive to left center, ran over and was rewarded by Chris Young (of the Diamondbacks) for being the only D-Backs “fan” in that section for ball #1 on the day.
While taking the picture of that ball is when my camera died so the rest of the entry is writing.
My next ball came when Gerrardo Parra cam across a ball, was about to throw the ball back, and heard someone that actually knew his name ask him for a ball in Spanish. That fan would be me. So he tossed me the ball for #2 on the day.
Nothing else came my way for the rest of the day because of Mr.Putz and his crew of Barry Enright and David Hernandez. I was satisfied but did not want to be stuck in left field as the Mets would be 2/3 lefty and the D-Backs had 4 lefty hitters. So at 12:20 I made my way over to foul ground to go for third out and foul balls.
The very first inning I got Xavier Nady’s third out ball for ball#3. Getting that so quickly made me skeptical that I would get another so I moved back a little and played foul balls but despite the fact that it was Easter Sunday and only 22,232 fans showed up it was not reflected in the field level seats. There were no balls that I had a realistic chance of getting.
Then a foul ball dribbled down the line, the ballboy picked it up, tossed it to Don Baylor, the D-Back’s hitting coach, who tossed it to me after the inning ended as I was the only one who recognized him as “Don” instead of “Mr.Baylor” or “Number 25″. I then handed this ball to a girl who had been racing up to the dugout every inning with her glove but had come up empty every time that far. For those keeping score at home, that would be ball #4 on the day.
And Presto!I had turned a slightly below average day into a slightly above average day.
The game was even more surprising as the Mets swept the Diamondbacks by pouring on the runs and made it 4 straight.(?)
Diamondbacks 4 Mets 8
Stats:
  • 4 Balls at This Game (3 Pictured because I gave one away)
Balls 42411.JPG
Number 76-79 on the Career:
sweet spots 42411.JPG
  • 18 balls in 7 games = 2.57 balls per game
  • 32 straight games with at least 1 ball
  • 19 straight games at Citi Field with at least 1 ball

4 balls* 22,232 fans= 88,928 competition factor

  • Time at game: 10:26-4:05= 5 hours and 39 minutes
Now this is tentative on my Fordham Prep baseball schedule but the plan as of now is to be at Yankee Stadium Tuesday through Thursday and possibly Friday Saturday (the Fordham Prep schedule has conflicting information. One way I can go. The other I can’t.) So I’ll go to my game today and update this tomorrow. That would be this entry. I don’t think I’ll create a separate entry for this information

4/22/11 Diamondbacks at Mets: Citi Field

Looking to redeem myself for yesterday’s weather anomaly. The spirit of redemption was in the air. I could just feel it (well actually not in the air because it was absolutely fafafafreezing). I thought this would be a great day for snagging:

Welcome 42211.JPG
This was definitely NOT the case. Here is the view of the outfield to my left:
Outfield 42111.JPG
Looks harmless great for a day of redeeming,right? Well, the view to my right in the Outfield:
Right Outfield 42211.JPG
Well that’s pretty bad too but below was the stupid season ticket holders batting practice on the field made toss-up almost impossible for all of Mets Bp.
Diamondbacks Bp:
DBacks Bp 42211.JPG
 is best summed up as, “They (weren’t) throwing anything and (weren’t) hitting anything” I thought it was just the left field guys but when I went over to right field, the Major League coach (whatever that is),Wilson Valera, was hitting back every ball that came to the wall with a fungo:
Don Baylor 42211.JPG
Every… Single… One.
That was it. Nothing for the duration of Bp.
The plan as for the game was, go back into foul territory for the Diamondbacks’ at-bats and go for third out balls when the Mets were hitting.
Zack Hample was in Left Field (yeah he was at yet another of my games) for the game but I did meet two other ballhawks:
Group Photo take 2 42211.JPG
They would be: Howie (a ballhawk/autograph collector) in the Happy Youngster shirt and Jordan Elkin (ballhawk just this season who has already caught a Russell Martin Home Run and is averaging 3.33 balls per game)  in the red and balck sweater. Yes I did crop myself out of the picture because the person taking the picture couldn’t check to make sure he got the picture right because of my cracked camera screen.
Anyway, I used my, whatever shade of Red the Diamondbacks gear is now, hat to get Russell Branyan to throw me the third inning third out ball for #1 on the day. Sweet relief! I now went almost solely for foul balls over here:
Foul View 42211.JPG
I actually should have had two and learned a valuable lesson, Never Give Up On A Ball. The first Foul ball:
1st Foul 42211.JPG
went about three people deep in the row started by the kid in the Navy blue hood and black windbreaker. Rushing down only by looking at the ball, I stopped chasing once I got to the row it was going to land in because I couldn’t go any further into the row. The ball was then dropped into the row in front of the people, which I could have easily entered and caught the rebound had I been aware of the fact.
The next foul ball, bounced of the electronic video strip:
Video strip 42211.JPG
Fell down:
Rush down 42211.JPG
And landed a row behind me:
Thumbnail image for Foul ball spot 42211.JPG
It actually landed in the chair of the gentle man in the jeans but everyone (including Jordan) rushed to a spot they thought it landed two seats to the right. I didn’t want to get in that mess (if you look carefully, you can see the result of the spilling of various beverage and food items) nor deny Jordan of his first foul ball if he got it.
Turns out, they were chasing a phantom ball as the man leaning over the baby carriage:
Foul Catcher 42211.JPG
snatched it from underneath their noses.
That was pretty much it for the night. The umpire, Greg Gibson, only gave out one ball that was designated to one person in the stands.
One other thing of note, though. I got partial documentation of it while I was taking this picture:
Keith Olbermann? 42211.JPG
of a poster saying, “Why leave a city with six professional sports teams and the Mets?” (so true now that the Knicks are relevant again). The poster is towards the upper part of the picture (left if oriented properly) but after taking it I realized the person cut off by the bottom of the picture looked like Keith Olbermann. It may indeed have been him as the person was carrying a briefcase and wore a mlb.com credential holder but the person also had a cane and broken/fractured foot. So can anyone who follows Olbermann tell me if something happened. Obviously, it doesn’t make much of a difference now but it would be a fun story to tell/know. Matt, do you read ballhawking entries or just the “Offseason Recap and Preview”s?
Oh, and the Mets won their third straight.
Diamondbacks 1 Mets 4
Stats:
  • 1 measly ball at this game (#75)
Ball 42211.JPG
  • 14 balls in 6 games this season= 2.33 balls per game
  • 31 straight games with at least 1 ball
  • 18 straight games at Citi Field with at least 1 ball
  • 26,546 fans * 1 ball= 26,546 competition factor                                                                
  • Time at Game 4:55- 10:23= 5 Hours 28 Minutes
  • 6 straight games with Zack Hample/other ballhawks ruling my decisions sub/abconcious.
Just a warning, the entry about Sunday might not go up quickly because I have no charger for my battery.

4/21/11 Astros at Mets: Citi Field

Finally a normal day for snagging (last year the majority of my games were Citi Field Weekday games). I was excited enough to notice the outer beauty of Citi Field (well I guess it’s not technically outside but can be seen from outside) :
42 in JRR 42111.JPG

Yep, that’s it the Jackie Robinson Rotunda.

Although, I don’t have a picture of the line as of yet (because I was too busy getting my copy of The Baseball signed by the author). Though I think it was due to the fact that there were fans who still thought the gates opened at 4:40.

The view as I got to left field:
DSCN2072.JPG

For a long time it was surprisingly empty there considering the line at the gates.

But if you have really good eyes you noticed that:
ze flags 42111.JPG

the flags show the wind was blowing directly in. None of the balls were carrying.

Normally this wouldn’t have been a problem because the players would still toss balls up but when I looked to see the balls that had rolled to the wall I saw this:
stupid season tickets 42111.JPG

That would explain why none of the players made an effort to get the balls at the wall. This would continue until Astros batting practice. The wind however, would continue all of Batting Practice.

As my running lanes got clogged up and the hitting group of Hunter Pence and Carlos Lee came up, I decided I wanted to get at least one ball on the day. So I moved up to the second deck in left field and hoped the winds would swirl just as someone hit a high Home Run. Unfortunately I can’t get my exact section because of the sun but this picture should give you an idea of how empty it was:
 
2nd deck 42111.JPG

Right after I got up there (Don’t let the distance between the decks fool you. It was a trek in it’s own), a ball got hit two rows behind the exact spot I was standing in on the first level. Nothing was even coming close to my level as it was being knocked down by the wind but I decided that two go down would be a double waste of time. So, I decided to wait until the group finished hitting or I caught a ball, whichever came first.

Surprisingly, Carlos Lee absolutely launched a ball, through the wind, and I easily caught it on the fly (but it only got to the third row of the section). I then quickly ran down, decided that the left field section wouldn’t yield much, and decided to go to the right field bleachers. On the way, I stopped at the top of the center field section pondering whether or not to go down. While I talked to the Security Guard at the top, a ball got hit behind Bud Norris who was patrolling that section. Mid-sentence, I broke off going down to convince him t give it to the only Astros fan in the section. Guess what, it worked.

I came back up to the congratulatory guard (even though I was wearing Astros gear) and continued out to right field. This was a mistake. Although I was the only one wearing Astros gear, there was only one lefty in the final group, Michael Bourn, and he was working on hitting the ball the other way. Even if there was a Home Run in that section, I feel I wouldn’t have caught it because of the sun:
Sun 42111.JPG

 Feeling accomplished and not feeling like being locked out, I moved into right field foul territory to try and catch a foul ball considering there were tow lefties, Chris Capuano and J.A. Happ, starting:
Foul bp 42111.JPG

There I came to recognize Nelson Figueroa as one of the more fan friendly players. He was patrolling left field during bp. Immediately after that ended, he gave some one his glove and signed autographs all the way from the corner in right field to the Mets’ dugout. That is about 200 ft of autographs. He signed my ball:
Nelson Figueroa signing ball 42111.JPG 

and even granted my ridiculous request of taking a self portrait for the 2011 http://www.mygameballs.com scavenger hunt  (which I am still undecided on whether or not I will enter but he seemed like a friendly guy):
Nelson Figeroa self-portrait 42111.JPG
Sorry it is sideways but Mlblogs undoes any rotations a person does to a picture (if you want to see proof of the “self” part, look in his sunglasses.

The game itself was surprising as the Mets actually routed someone else. In the process, Mike Nickeas collected his first career Home Run . Now, I don’t know what there is in the video as I can’t watch them myself for whatever reason but it was Zack Hample that caught the ball. As far as what he told me it is a great story to what happened afterward. Here is the link.

No foul balls anywhere near me but at least I had a great view of the game for a $25 ticket:
View 42111.JPGMax 42111.JPG

If you can’t tell because of my unsteady hand, that is my backpack loaded with free soda. It might be a fun thing to collect in addition to baseballs.

Stats:

  • 2 Balls at this game

Balls 42111.JPG

Numbers 73 and 74 for the Career:
Sweet Spots 42111.JPG
  • 13 balls in 5 games this season= 2.60 balls per game
  • 30 straight games with at least 1 ball
  • 17 straight games at Citi Field with at least 1 ball
  • 32,819 fans* 2 balls=65,638 Competition Factor
  • Time at Game  4:45-10:00= 5 hours 15 minutes
  • 5 straight games with Zack Hample ruling my subconscious decisions

Arizona Diamondbacks Offseason Recap and Preview

This is the picture for the Diamondbacks’ 2010:
www.timesunion.com.jpg

Losing close to 100 games with a power hitting line-up will do that to a team.

Grade: D

Notable Additions:
zach%20duke.jpg

Zach Duke, Melvin Mora, JJ Putz, Henry Blanco, Xavier Nady, Willie Bloomquist, Wily Mo Pena, Cody Ransom, Micah Owings, and Armando Galarraga.

Notable Subtractions:
Thumbnail image for mark-reynolds.jpg

Mark Reynolds, Brandon Webb, Rodrigo Lopez, DJ Carrasco, Adam LaRoche, Augie Ojeda, and Dontrelle Willis.

Why?:  This is the one team where the quality of the stars lost beats the quantity of the additions gained. The losses of Brandon Webb, Adam LaRoche, and Mark Reynolds are big as all three have played major roles in the Diamondbacks organization. Without LaRoche and Reynolds, the big strength of the team, it’s power, is considerably weakened.

I just don’t think that they will be able to win if they cannot score runs like they used to. Even if they do well in the pitching aspect of the game. I like the fact that they are trying to change the culture of the free swingers. Now if only they can get rid of Chris Young.

I do wonder how they will rebuild, though.

Predicted Record Range: 60-65 wins. Well if they won 65 with LaRoche and Reynolds, then they should win a bit less if not more.

Up Next: Nobody. Wohooo. Finally I’m done. Two weeks into the season isn’t that bad, right?

Los Angeles Dodgers Offseason Recap and Preview

Thumbnail image for la_u_colletti_mattingly_300.jpg

“So Donny, how’d ya think you’ll do in your first year”

How do You think they did?

NL_West_2010_Standings2.png

 

Grade: B

 

Notable Additions:

boston-red-sox-matt-guerrier-minnesota-twins2.jpg

Matt Guerrier, Juan Uribe, Tony Gwynn Jr., Eugenio Velez, Dioneer Navarro, Marcus Thames, Gabe Kapler, Jon Garland, and Ron Mahay.

Notable Subtractions:
RussellMartin.jpg

Russell Martin, George Sherrill, Chin-lung Hu, Reed Johnson, Ryan Theriot, Scott Podsednik, Brad Ausmus, and Jeff Weaver.

Why?: Yet another team that lost and gained many players. Except as you can tell by the grade, they gained some more than they lost. They some power behind the plate and in the outfield but unquestionably improved their rotation replaced all the talent in the outfield and then some and stabilized their bullpen.

There is still much instability in what happens with the McCourt divorce case and how that will affect the team. Wow! Just as I wrote that sentence, a news story flashed on SportsCenter saying that MLB has taken over the operations of the Dodgers. This does have a bit of foreshadowing pointing to forced sale of the team. This to me means, the team is one or two years away from financial and emotional stability.

Until there is more news on this situation i have nothing more to report.

Predicted Record Range: 80-85 wins. I actually have little idea because they have talent to win more but as I said the whole McCourt situation is very enigmatic.

Up Next: Arizona Diamndbacks

Colorado Rockies Offseason Recap and Preview

As always, a September run headed by Troy Tulowitzki:
troy-tulowitzki-dexter-fowler-2010-9-10-22-1-24.jpg

This time they were just too far behind to get into the playoffs.

 

Grade:C

 

Notable Additions:

00077288_Ty_Wigginton.jpg

Ty Wigginton, Jose Lopez, Matt Lindstrom, Joe Crede, and Willy Taveras.

 

Notable Subtractions:

octavio_dotel.jpg

Octavio Dotel, Jeff Francis, Miguel Olivo, Manny Delcarmen, Yorvit Torrealba, Joe Beimel, Melvin Mora, and Clint Barmes.

 

Why?: They are another one of those teams that lost a lot of players but managed to replace them talent wise. One example of the many would be that they lost Melvin Mora but replaced him with Joe Crede.

 

I have no real concerns or things that I see can elevate this team. One thing of interest will be to see how Chris Ianetta plays out as the starting Catcher now that Yorvit Torrealba is on the Rangers and Mr. Kidney Stone Miguel Olivo has left. The other thing of note is seeing how Ubaldo Jimenez does this year. Was the first half the real him or was it the second half.. I wish I would have paid more attention to why he did poorly in the Second half but personally I think if you can get six inches of movement on a 95-98 MPH fastball you will do well in even the MLB.

 

Predicted Record Range: 83-88 wins. I think that they got off to a bit of a slow start last year and can win an extra few games if they start quicker out of the gates.

 

Up Next: Los Angeles Dodgers

San Diego Padres Offseason Recap and Preview

For every team that makes the playoffs there are 4.33 teams that don’t. The Padres were the first third of a team to not make the playoffs. Anyone remember how dominant they were in the West through the first part of the season and the team the Giants beat in the last game of the season to get into the playoffs:

yy-nl-west-articleLarge.jpg

Grade: F

Notable Additions:

Aaron_HArang_nuxhall.jpg

Aaron Harang, Cameron Maybin, Dustin Mosely, Jason Bartlett, Orlando Hudson, Brad Hawpe, Gregg Zaun, Chad Qualls, and Jorge Cantu.

Notable Subtractions:

110113_adrian_gonzalez.jpg

Adrian Gonzalez, Chris Young, Matt Stairs, Jerry Hairston Jr., Tony Gwynn Jr., Miguel Tejada, Jon Garland, David Eckstein, Scott Hairston, and Cesar Ramos.

Why?: In this case, it is in fact the loss of one man that brought them down a couple of letter grades on his own. Let me put it this way, WITH him they had the second lowest Batting Average of.246 in the league and he hit .298. With him they had the fifth lowest runs per game and he scored 81 runs and drove in 101. The second closest player in both categories was Chase Headley with 77 runs and 58 RBIs.

I don’t know about last year but the year before last he drove in over 33% of the team’s runs. That is a big percentage in Basketball where there are 5 players that can produce points but even more so in Baseball where there are nine different players.

In addition to that they did lose a variety of starters to the offseason. I also think that they will still have their great bullpen but the starters will not do as well with an offense that might even be worse than that of Seattle last year.

Predicted Record Range: 70-75 Wins. All I have to say is that you can’t win if you don’t score runs.

Up Next: Colorado Rockies

San Francisco Giants Offseason Recap and Preview

Not much better than winning the World Series:

mlb_g_giants-celebration05WAR.jpg

Though like many champions, the players wanted more money.

Grade: D-

Notable Additions:

miguel_tejada.jpg

Miguel Tejada, Jeff Suppan, and Elmer Dessens (?).

Notable Subtractions:
juan-uribe-home-run.jpg

Juan Uribe, Chris Ray, Todd Wellemeyer, Edgar Renteria, Eugenio Velez, Jesus Guzman, and Jose Guillen.

Why?: Let us just say that they were a few players away from an F. They lost 3 starters from their World Series team and also overpaid for some of the players they kept. The reason they didn’t get an F was, they let the right players go.

Renteria was overpaid and is still deteriorating (which kills me as he is a fellow countryman of mine). Uribe was also a good player to let go because of his absolute lack of patience. He is underrated as a defender but it is good that the Giants are trying to rid themselves of the culture that put them last in the league in OBP in 2009 and in 19th last year.I also like the fact that they kept Aubrey Huff and Cody Ross. Even if they did overpay for them. The biggest thing all these transactions do is, enter in a new era of offense to win more championships with that outstanding staff

The Pitching will continue to improve. That’s right IMPROVE. The front three I don’t see regressing and Jonathan Sanchez can actually improve by just cutting down on balls. Barry Zito may or may not figure it out (he won’t be in the rotation but the pitcher I want to focus on is, Madison Bumgarner. Remember that last year was essentially his rookie year. The only thing I see getting in his way this year is how  much he pitched last year with the unexpected playoff run. Unless this affects them, I actually see the Giants Pitching as well as the Phillies this year.

Predicted Record Range: 89-94 wins. Pitching wins championships but I see them not moving up that much because they lost all that offense (for them it’s a lot).

Up Next: San Diego Padres

4/17/11 Rangers at Yankees: New Yankee Stadium

Ah Sunday Night Baseball. The lights, the people, and the only game going on at that time. The ballhawk’s nightmare. First, there is the normal weekend crowd. Then, there is the Sunday Night Baseball crowd. Then, there’s the fact it is a Yankee game.

So a ballhawk like myself would have to get there extra early right? Well, I didn’t. I set myself up to get to the ballpark at 5:30 but because of the MTA’s modified 1 train schedule on weekends which has it not working from my station to the stop before Yankee Stadium. In a nutshell, I got to the ballpark at 6:24, my ticket blew away into the street as I was told to take out my phone. Not a good day to that point.

Sorry for the lack of pictures during BP itself but I was in a frenzy trying to get a ball considering all the previously mention factors but I did manage to get a picture as I entered:
its grandness 41711.JPG

That managed to calm me down some but don’t let it fool you, the left field stands were absolutely crammed considering how big they are. Actually, I shouldn’t say that. There were more competent people than I expected. In Citi Field on the weekends it is actually easier to snag baseballs because everyone crams in the front row and there are no ballhawks to be found. Here, you had Zack Hample, two other people who looked like they knew what they were doing and a whole mess of roadblocks in the guise of fans.

From this, it is no surprise that my first ball was thrown. Seeing little hope for Home Run snags, I headed over to foul ground to get a ball from the pitchers warming up. I initially lined up behind Neftali Feliz because of the Spanish factor but moved onto new pairs as the former pairs didn’t throw me a ball.

Finally, Mark Lowe saw my Ranger’s gear and tossed me his warm-up ball for Ball #1 on the day. I was relieved. It seemd like the perfect set of circumstances to get shutout.

I then moved back into fair territory and as this happened a ball came to Neftali Feliz. He threw it back but I managed to get in the words, “la proxima, por favor?” which translates to, “the next one please”. Within five minutes another ball came to him and he lofted it to me for Ball #2 on the day. I was ecstatic. I had just matched my season average in Yankee Stadium on the weekend.

After this, I moved over to pull city in left field expecting security to come down any minute asking for people’s tickets. That’s when a person I identified as Adrian Beltre:
Beltre 41711.JPG

hit a Home Run a section to my left. I got there with plenty of time but from the corner of my eye it looked like someone was camped under the ball. I didn’t want to reach in front of the person so I backed off and prepared for a ricochet. But I then saw the person back off as they seemed to be afraid of the ball. I quickly put out my glove and snow-coned the ball. For those of you just following, this is a big deal because I am HORRENDOUS at tracking fly balls and catching them in the seats.

I moved back to my spot and after a whole five minutes Matt Harrison tossed me a ball for #4 on the day (being the Rangers fan that I am). This was by far my most efficient day snagging five balls in fifty minutes of Bp.
 
That’s right, five. First, I did a manuvering job to not get kicked out by security. Ironically after this message aired on the big screen:
 
 
Oh, Security 41711.JPG
It is under the red arrow and the ironic part says says, “Guests will be treated in a consistent professsional and courteous manner by Yankee Stadium Staff an the Yankees ask for the same in return.” Ha!
 
Then, Bp ended:
Bp ending 41711.JPG
 
I stayed by the Ranger’s bullpen as Alexei Ogando warmed up. As he played catch the bullpen catcher, Josh Frasier, went into the bullpen and tossed the hit balls to the bleacher creatures. After being encouraged, he tossed “one up to a Rangers fan”.
 
 
I knew that I wasn’t going to be getting anything else until gametime So, I took my spot in foul territory and look who showed up right in front of my eyes:

Kruk walking 41711.JPG

Under the red arrow would be ESPN’s John Kruk picking his favorite seat of Yankee Stadium as he will every Sunday Night Baseball.

 

Here he is doing the actual segment:

Best Seat 41711.JPG

The listed attendance was 40, 811 and for once it felt like that. This picture is from before the game and it is still pretty full:

Thumbnail image for attendance 41711.JPG

 

The snagging room was as good as it ever will be because of the brief spurts of rain/lightning.

 

The view to my left:

To the left 41711.JPG

 

The view to my right:

To the right 417111.JPG

Sadly, the only ball that came within 100 ft of me went into the second level just as I thought I had it caught.

 

The game as all I have gone to at Yankee Stadium was indeed exciting. The Yankees won again by scoring a run in the eighth off of Arthur Rhodes.

 

Rangers 5 Yankees 6

As I left, I saw the set atop a parking garage of Baseball Tonight:

BT set 41711.JPG

 

Stats:

  • 5 Balls at this game

Balls 41711.JPG

Numbers 68-72
Sweet Spots 41711.JPG
  • 11 Balls in 4 games so far this season= an average of 2.75 Balls Per Game
  • 29 straight games with at least 1 ball
  • 6 straight at Yankee Stadium (just to clarify I only got one ball at the old Yankee Stadium waaay before this blog so Yankee Stadium refers to the new one)
  • Competition Factor 40811 fans* 5 balls= 204,055
  • Time at game 6:24-11:14= 4 hours and 50 minutes
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