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:
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:
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.
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
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:
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
- 1 friggin ball at this game (#80)
- 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.
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:
- 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
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:
- 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.
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) :
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.
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:
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:
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:
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:
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.
- 2 Balls at this game
- 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
This is the picture for the Diamondbacks’ 2010:
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?
“So Donny, how’d ya think you’ll do in your first year”
How do You think they did?
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
This time they were just too far behind to get into the playoffs.
Ty Wigginton, Jose Lopez, Matt Lindstrom, Joe Crede, and Willy Taveras.
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
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:
Aaron Harang, Cameron Maybin, Dustin Mosely, Jason Bartlett, Orlando Hudson, Brad Hawpe, Gregg Zaun, Chad Qualls, and Jorge Cantu.
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
Not much better than winning the World Series:
Though like many champions, the players wanted more money.
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
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.
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.
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:
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:
The snagging room was as good as it ever will be because of the brief spurts of rain/lightning.
The view to my left:
The view to my right:
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:
- 5 Balls at this game
- 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