6/16/11 Cardinals at Nationals: Nationals Park

Let’s start with a more proper picture this time:

Why was I able to do this? I actually had a camera with a non-cracked screen. Before, it would have taken a very understanding picture taker or a very lucky sequence of button pushing along with awareness that the camera was on an automatic timer:

The camera would actually have looked better had I been able to take a picture of it with itself but since I needed to use one of my cracked cameras it showed up with a blue tint much like the pictures of the entry that I have not yet written.

But I digress.

I went to this game with the realization that it probably would rain in spurts so my only hope was that the spurts were before and after bp so as to have the least amount of competition. Can you see the field in the first picture? No? Here is how I did once my arm was out of the way:

If we zoom in even more we can see:

… that either the Nationals or the Cardinals were expecting rain as well because they were taking early bp. Although, it was only 4:10 so I punched out all-star ballots until the gates opened:

After listening to a very sarcastic conversation between the security guard and a father who happened to be a Cardinals fan I was off to left field as the was a blockade put up until 5:30 preventing fans from going to the right field bleachers.

I think it was due to the early bp (that I now suspected the Nationals had taken) but the group consisting of Michael Morse, Ryan Zimmerman, and Jayson Werth ,whom usually hit later on, were the Nats’ first group to hit. The same thing happened to me this day as it had the day before. I caught two balls on the fly (well the day before one hit the seat behind me, but hey it never touched the ground.) within 10-15 minutes. The first was a Mike Morse Home run that I had to run half a section to my left for. The second was a Ryan Zimmerman Home Run that I had to turn my back to and run to my right to catch.

Finally, to complete the trifecta I scrambled for a Jayson Werth Home Run that this fan almost caught and then proceeded to drop:

Notice that he does have a glove on but is SITTING DOWN. This was actually an epidemic at this game as I have never seen so many people going to bp to sit down in my life:

which was good for me because they wouldn’t be competition but they also sat in just the right places so that I had to move way back and hope that this group would blast them. They did. Though unfortunately for me they hit them over even my head:

Michael Morse hit that ball and just to show how much of a bomb that was the railing you see there is at the top of the left field section and the ball even went over the head of the guy in green and he had to run and chase it down.

A little while later I took a picture of the big screen showing the time:

The next picture I took:

Just three minutes later it started to absolutely pour and the dreaded tarp came out. That didn’t stop me from snagging, though. The Cardinals pitchers had started to warm-up and didn’t mind staying in the rain for a little while. Michell Boggs actually started blurting out a country tune that I recognized and knew the name to in the moment but have since forgotten. The rain actually helped me in retrospect because I was the only one (besides a few Cardinals fans with umbrellas crazy enough to stay in the outfield seats, which had a current going through them big enough to support a small family of goldfish.

Anyway, Jason Motte and his partner finished throwing and I was hoping to get his ball but he threw it to another Cardinals fan  and headed for the dugout. I didn’t know it a the time but this actually benefited me (see later on in the entry) as Trever Miller tossed me his ball minutes seconds later:

I’m snaaging in the raain and yes that is an A-Rod glove. I realized that there actually other kids there in the rain with me. One had gotten the Jason Motte ball but I gave my Trever Miller ball to the other after all the pitchers had left and he was still empty handed.

I then wandered around,got excited that the grounds crew was taking the tarp off, took a picture:

and got extremely disappointed when just as I was taking that picture it started to pour again and my next picture was this:

Yes they were pulling the “turtle” off the field which meant that either batting practice was over, batting practice starting up again would be delayed the time it would take them to get the turtle back on the field or I could possibly set a new Nationals park record if they started hitting again. My gut feeling was the third but sadly that did not happen. I set myself up behind the Cardinals dugout:

but  then saw this at game time:

That*(the fact there was an enormity of Cardinals fans the night before+the Cardinals players were getting bigger cheers from my section than the Nationals)=I headed over to left field. I did get an autograph from Tony Cruz before exiting, though:

At Nationals Park they give out free programs at the gate so for the first time in who knows how long I took score at an MLB game:

I had a good feeling because as you can see there was not yet a ball hit on the ground and every other hitter was a righty so that probably meant alot of fly balls to left field.

Then I took a picture of a group of 56 kids going by in the aisle as they filled up the section to my right:

I also took the picture because I was sure that Matt Holliday was going to hit a Home Run right on that aisle that would have been an easy catch…blah,blah. Well guess what actually happened. Matt Holliday hit a Home Run two seconds after I put my camera in my pocket that I knew right away was over my head. It’s tough to say but I’m pretty sure I could have at least touched the ball had I been allowed to go into the aisle and position myself in the row it eventually landed in. Instead, I positioned myself in line with the ball, made a pathetic looking jump, the ball landed three rows behind me:

(do you see that girls face? I certainly didn’t I was too busy being mad at myself for jumping for a ball I had absolutely no chance at instead of playing the rebound or the trickle down the seats if it settled and didn’t bounce. Had I she probably would have gotten one of my bp balls)  bounced up, and landed right in the hands of a man about ten feet to my right upon which he made a pretty impressive one handed grab.

Although, you don’t have to take my word for it here is the video:

http://mlb.mlb.com/shared/flash/video/share/ObjectEmbedFrame.swf?content_id=15968555&width=400&height=254&property=mlb

I am the fan in the red shirt. I know you may be thinking :”Thanks, Mateo. You’re the fan in the red shirt at a Cardinals Nationals game. That really narrows it down.” However, if you look for a fan doing what I described myself as doing above it should become evident after a view or two which one I am. Or if that video is too tiny, here is the link.

Anyway, the game went on and I got excited when Jose  Bengie Yadier Molina hit a Home Run in the top of the ninth to tie it up because the group had left a few innings prior and by the prospect of catching a walk-off Home Run. There was indeed a walk-off HR but it went to right field so I had to settle for getting a ball from the dejected Jason Motte after the game as he exited the bullpen:

You see now how it was better I got the ball from Trever Miller because Motte actually picked up all of the spare baseballs before exiting the bullpen and may have recognized me had he been the one to throw me the ball.

So that was it. This was a very productive trip to my step-father’s as I achieved what had taken me the previous five games in two. After I left I recognized a kid from bp on the Metro:

asked him if he had gotten a ball (he hadn’t) and gave him the Miller ball. I know this because that was the only ball missing in the post-game pictures. Just for fun, I actually got a ball from the day before signed so if you want to spot the signature in the post-game picture from last game it should be partially visible in the second of the two baseball/ticket stub pictures.

STATS:

  • 5 balls at this game (four in this picture because I gave one away)


which would be #93-97 on the career and makes it so I will probably snag my 100th ball here in San Francisco.

  • 36 balls in 13 games= 2.77 balls per game
  • 38 straight games with at least 1 ball
  • 3 straight at Nationals park
  • 5 balls* 19,662 fans= 98,310 competition factor (better than I usually do in New York)
  • Time at game 3:49-10:11= 6 hours 22 minutes
  • 1 more reason to visit my step-father more often

Hello, observers of baseball. Let me know what you though of the entry no matter what you thought of it. Additonally, let me know if you'd like to see me do anything in specific or what I'm doing right or wrong when I do write entries.

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