7/9/11 Astros at Marlins: Sun Life Stadium
Seventh and final game of the baseball trip and third and final at Sun Life Stadium:
I mean I did feel a bit like I show in the picture but that specific face came from the fact it took twenty seconds of my mom/photographer looking through the lens to take that one picture. Besides that, can anyone tell a difference in that picture. The good news is that I had my step-father’s high quality camera at my disposal for the game and because it was Saturday, all gates were opening at the same time. This means that I didn’t have to run all the way from home plate to get to the right field seats. Instead I could actually go to the right field gate and get extra Marlins bp. The right field gate at Sun Life stadium is gate F:
The bad news is that I don’t have any pictures from the baseballs that I snagged. However here is a cropped picture I took later on in the game that I edited to show where I snagged all my bp balls:
1- I knew the Marlins would be off the field in a heart beat so I ran down the steps and called out to Leo Nunez that had just fielded a ball by the wall and got him to throw me the ball. I then moved over to the other side of the tunnel to try and get a ball from the group of pitchers shagging in right-center but just as I got there the pitchers ran in as Marlins bp had ended. Since I was still the only person in right field I looked for Easter eggs down the first row.
2- I found one sitting in a puddle of water right in the first row. Just an interesting ball because of what the water did to it. Check it out:
The water actually dyed the baseball the color of the pavement (that greenish hue you see).
3- I went up the aisle and found another ball in about the fifth row tucked inside a seat I then kept going up even though it would have taken a bomb to get a ball that high…
4- …but still finding a ball in a cup holder almost in the last row (like second to last row or something). Wow. It must have been crushed. Mind you that this was right-center field we are talking about.
I then saw some Astros pitchers warming up where I had gotten Enerio Del Rosario to toss me a ball the day before. I hustled over there and set myself up to ask one of them for their ball once they finished throwing but at that same time the guy who caught the Mike Stanton Home Run the first day, flagged me down and motioned for me to meet up with him. He was in the section above me so I sacrificed my chance at a ball from the pitchers in order to talk to him for about twenty minutes. His name is Joe and let me just show a picture to give you an idea of how this conversation went:
You see Joe has season tickets in the club level seats and so he was up in the blue seats which were separated from the orange seats I was in by a wall. After the game in which he caught the Stanton Home Run I ran after him and talked to him briefly before letting him go because I could see he was in a rush to get Mike Stanton’s autograph (well I didn’t see he was in a rush for that specific reason but rather just saw he was in a rush). I just let him know about mygameballs.com amongst this blog and other things.
During this talk, he told me that he ballhawks regularly and has caught various historic Home Runs: Ken Griffey Jr.’s 600th and Dan Uggla’s 30th Home Run from the season where he became the first Second Baseman to hit 30 Home Runs 4 years straight. He then went on to tell me how differently the situations had gone. Basically, the Marlins/Uggla handled it well while the Reds/Griffey… not so much. After I told him that I lived in New York he asked me if I knew a guy there that went to a lot of games and caught baseballs. You know, this guy. I told him that he was actually the one that taught me how to do this etc and found out that they knew each other because when he caught the Griffey Home Run, Zack gave him his business card just as he was being whisked away by security. In all, it was a fun conversation and I got to know a new ballhawk.
…Now to the not so fun part. After I finished talking to Joe I realized something: it was an hour before game time and the cages were being pulled off the field. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It wasn’t like it was too early even for the poor rich MLB players as it was 6:00 pm but I guess there bus came late or something because I was really disappointed because I had 4 balls in less than half my predicted bp time (so I was only half an hour into what I predicted to be an hour of bp) and because it was my last day I could be as loud to the players as I wanted because I wouldn’t have to worry about them recognizing me the next day. The view at 6:10:
It was depressing, boring, and weird as I expect that any night game with perfect weather to have batting practice until about 45 minutes to half an hour before the game. Although, notice where I am sitting. Oh yeah right on the staircase that is at the perfect angle for right handed hitters. The advantage:the two teams were heavily right handed dominant. The disadvantage: the net was in the way. Let me give you a better look out:
In the first game of the series I thought it would be a disappointment if I didn’t catch a game ball but I didn’t realize that a lot of people showed up for the different promotions. Today was Super Saturday (autograph sessions as the gates opened, a Cirque Du Sole performance after the game, and probably some other things. I am fine with missing the autograph sessions as long as it wasn’t Hanley Ramirez and Mike Stanton because keep in mind that if I would have stopped for that I might not have gotten one ball until the game.) and it got pretty crowded:
Trust me when I tell you that this is *VERY* crowded for a Marlins game.
That picture was taken during the game but before the game I had some time so I finally took my Sun Life Stadium bonus picture for the mygameballs.com scavenger hunt:
Why was I not trying to get a ball at the dugout for third out balls? Well let me start with a picture of blue seats:
Do you see it? In the eighth row as one is going down the steps the seats turn from Orange to blue. The blue seats are off limits to anyone who does not have a ticket in those seats. They’re sort of like the moat of Sun Life Stadium.
During the game, I was optimistic because I had all this room to run:
Actually this isn’t much room to run at Sun Life, as crazy as it may sound. It was however, in a place where balls could just barely clear the protective screen and fall down to. I didn’t catch anything but check out how another fan caught a ball:
It wasn’t on the fly but it is still impressive when you can get a foul ball with baby in arm. His wife is holding the ball in this picture but I can assure you he caught it.
I don’t know what was happening in this picture but I just wanted to share because it was the last with the high quality camera and it was a beaut:
I think that right after that picture was taken I left to get a ball from home plate umpire Jerry Meals. I succeeded. There was that Cirque Du Sole dreams performance but it had been a long trip for my mom so we got out right after the game.
STATS FOR GAME:
- 5 balls at this game
- 73 balls in 21 games= 3.48 balls per game
- 46 straight games with at least 1 ball
- 11 straight games with at least 2 balls
- 16 straight on the road with at least 1
- 3 straight with at least five (I give this half a day in New York)
- 5 balls*20,402 fans= 102,010 competition factor
- Time at game 4:57- 10:13= 6 hours 15 minutes.
- 35 balls on this trip (29 pictured because I kept 28 and brought #99 on the trip), which are #s 100-134 on my career
- 35 balls in 7 games= 5.0 balls per game
- 6/7 games with at least five baseballs
- 159,275 fans total= 22,754 fans per game
- 115, 365 average competition factor
- 2 rubbed up balls
- 0 wins for the away team in games
- 1 patient and improving (somewhat) photographer.
- 1 fun trip