6/18/12 Orioles at Mets: Citi Field

I don’t care if I took this picture two days earlier, it’s the perfect picture to start off an entry of a game at Citi Field:

When I got off the train, there were maybe four other people waiting at the gate. Eventually, I struck up a conversation with a father and son close to me. It turns out they were from North Carolina. Why were they up at Citi Field for a baseball game then?The father actually went to high school with Bobby Parnell, or at least he gave off that impression. What I *do* know is that he knew Parnell enough that he had been working to meet up with him during B.P., and have Parnell’s number because he said he would text him when they were entering the stadium. This was the reason they was at the gates so early. Actually, that’s only a partial-truth. They was there early to try to meet up with Parnell, but they were there 2.5 hours early because the ticket rep they had spoken to told them Citi Field opened 2.5 hours before game time. Ha, ticket rep, I only wish it still did.

I kept up conversation with these two until two ballhawk friends, Ben Weil and Avi Miller, showed up at the gate and told me there was free pudding in a tent, about a hundred or so, feet away. I would have taken a picture of the pudding, but I want to send the message: “Yes, I’m a loser, but I’m not THAT much of a loser.” Us three then talked until the gates opened. As that happened, I was pretty much the only person out of everyone who entered the stadium who went to the right field side of the stadium.

There, I found this guy:

I would point out the ball with an arrow, but I like to assume a certain level of intelligence in my readership, and I trust that you can find it by yourself. Also, I should mention finding Easter Eggs is VERY rare at Citi Field and Yankee Stadium. I don’t know why I presume it’s the ushers, but nowhere else where the gates open after the beginning of B.P. do I have such a problem finding Easter Eggs.

After that, my plan was to get a player to throw me a ball from here. This was my view of the field:

I then saw that a ballhawk named Vin had left the right field, so I made the ill-conceived decision to move over there. It was ill-conceived because this was my view there:

Do you know what “BB” stands for? Ballboy. Translation: never going to get a ball from me. Heck, I know a ballboy on the Yankees and he hasn’t thrown me a ball. Do you think this guy is going to toss me one? Nope. I stayed in this section for a whole Mets group, because they were mostly lefties, but I should have moved elsewhere.

Finally when I did move out of the section, I went to the left field seats. I spent the rest of bp there, but this was all I had to show for it:

Right from the spot where I took the picture, I caught that ball on the fly, off the bat of a player who I would later identify as Vinny Rottino. I offered this ball to a kid near me, but he turned me down. I must say: congratulations. I like giving baseballs away to kids, but I like it even more when they want to snag a ball for themselves and turn me down.

I was genuinely surprised that was it for B.P., though. Citi Field is semi-notorious for habitually slow B.P.s, but look at how the flags were blowing:

They were blowing straight towards left field, where I was for all of B.P. The reason there weren’t a bunch of balls in my section is the Orioles just didn’t lift any balls. Really all they had to do was get them a certain height and the jet stream would have done the rest.

Like I said, that was it for batting practice. Once it was done, I went over to the Orioles’ dugout to meet up with these people, with whom I spent the entirety of the game with:

They would be:

1. Ben Weil- A guy I believe I met at the ballpark one game and became friends with through just getting to know him at several games as “the guy who has every jersey known to man and monkey”. Seriously, just click on his name. Jerseys and hats are his “main” thing, but he has lots of other stuff too.

2. Avi Miller- A person who I met through Ballhawk Fest last year. He was in town for the Mets-Orioles series, because he is an Orioles fan. On a similar note, he is also a Camden Yards regular, who attends 8,000 Orioles games a year, you know, give or take 7,915 or so. He is either seeing if he can tweet without looking at his phone or hiding his face because R.A. Dickey had as many hits as the entire Orioles team combined.

3. Matt”y G”- Ben’s friend, who I first met in my last actual game before this, and who also engages casually in the ballhawking scene when he goes to games.

All three of us sat behind the Orioles. I was going to sit further down the line, but I figured that I might as  well sit at the dugout, since it had been so long since the last time I’d done it. At first, I sat in the aisle seat due to other fans showing up with tickets to the seats Matt and Ben were sitting in. I was so out of practice when it came to third out balls, I completely forgot to get up when the Mets made the third out in the first inning. Ben actually had to say, “Go, Go!” I then realized what was happening, and moved down the stairs to get Mark Reynolds to throw me the ball. It was COMMEMORATIVE! That was actually my first Mets commemorative ball. Here is the ball with Reynolds at first:

After I got this ball, I wanted to give a ball away, so I put the commemorative ball in backpack and pulled out one of my bp balls. I then offered a ball to a girl, but she didn’t want it, so I gave the ball to whom appeared to be her brother:

As you can see, I’ve pointed out the two with green numbers. Well, the boy did accept the ball, but right about when I gave him the ball, I felt something hit my back. I turned around to see a baseball rolling around on the steps. According to Avi (with help from Ben), Wayne Kirby had thrown a ball meant for the girl who didn’t accept a ball from me, and someone else picked it up.

When I returned to our row, I switched seats with Ben; he sat in the aisle seat, and I sat in the fourth seat in. Sadly, for Ben, Mark Reynolds didn’t hook him up the rest of the night, nor did anyone really. We sat in this format for the rest of the night. I assume we would have shifted again had Ben gotten a ball, but like I said, he didn’t. I must say, though. This was probably THE best game I’ve had sitting with other people. Usually, either I am trying to get a ball and the person isn’t interested enough in snagging to sit next to me, or it is another ballhawk who is serious about snagging as well and we try to sit away from each other  in order that we both have room to do our thing. Here, we all sacrificed that tiny advantage in getting third out balls to sit together. We just talked the whole time and made fun of each other. It was a great experience that reminded me you can have a sucky game ballhawking but still have a great time. Kind of like my first game at Target Field last year.

The only thing that really was a clear missed opportunity is that a foul ball came right into our section. Ben then shot up the stairs. I didn’t get a clear look at the ball, so I just followed him. That said, I learned from a Chris Young home run last year, that you should only trust YOUR eyes, so I looked to make sure he wasn’t misjudging the ball. When I saw the path of the ball, it looked like it was going ten rows up the stairs. I kept running up, but just then it hit one of the steps. Turns out, it had some massive backspin on it and came waaay back. I forgot this little tid bit about foul balls. Well actually, not really. I had practiced judging foul balls while my high school team was in Myrtle Beach, SC. The thing is, though, I was practicing on flat ground. In the stands, the incline of the seats magnifies any spin on the ball.

After the ball bounced off the step, it bounced back into a row behind us where a father (or was it a mother?) picked it up. This was kind of depressing. I should also mention there were two other semi-ballhawks in the section:

That in the yellow would be Aaron, who I believe goes by Howie sometimes, for whatever reason, and his friend whose name I don’t know. I know Aaron, or Howie, or whatever the heck you want to call him, because I sat down in this region with him last year.

The game was a great one. Not only did we get to see Ike Davis’ first career grand slam, but we also got to see R.A. Dickey pitch an absolute masterpiece. He threw 9 innings, 13 strikeouts, gave up 1 hit, and allowed no runs. Only the 7 hitter and pitcher got on base.If that weren’t enough, Dickey (like I mentioned earlier) had as many hits offensively as he gave up as a pitcher. Isn’t that something? I wonder how many times that has happened?

After the game ended, Ben and I headed over to the umpire tunnel where umpire Gary Cooper didn’t give a ball to anybody who was there. His ball pouch wasn’t flat either. Maybe I’m just operating out of context, but what is he going to do with those baseballs in the umpire room?

After all ball snagging opportunities were exhausted, we took the following picture by the dugout:

Admittedly, this isn’t the best take when it comes to me specifically, but it was the best group picture, so you have this awkward picture of me saying something while the camera was taking a picture; probably “Cal Ripken”.

I parted from the rest of the group at the jackie Robinson Rotunda and headed home on the “7” train.

STATS:

  • 3 Balls at this game (2 pictured because I gave one away)

numbers 265-267 for my lifetime:

  • 45 Balls in 10 Games= 4.50 Balls Per Game
  • 19 straight Games with at least 1 ball
  • 10 straight games with at least 2 balls
  • 10 straight games with at least 3 balls
  • 3 Balls x 29,014 Fans= 87,042 Competition Factor
  • 79 Balls in 30 games= 2.63 Balls Per Game at Citi Field
  • 30 straight Games with at least 1 ball at Citi Field
  • 2 straight Games with at least 2 balls at Citi Field
  • 2 straight Games with at least 3 balls at Citi Field
  • Time of Game 4:09- 9:42= 5 hours 33 Minutes

18 Comments

All right. I might be doing a combined Philly then Baltimore trip sometime in late July or early August.

Skim- Good luck.

Interleague usually draws bigger crowds. Fenway is always sold out anyway. August 25th vs the Royals looks like it won’t draw a lot of fans. Anyway, there aren’t that many Royals fans in general so you won’t have much competition.

Skim- Eh. I already have all my games scheduled. If I break the schedule for anything, it would probably be for Citizens Bank, not Fenway.

I got tickets for the Friday night of Memorial Day weekend at Fenway for $15 and $16 (one for me, one for my brother). Of course, they were for the back of the right field bleachers, but I sat in the 6th row behind the visitors dugout on the aisle seat and my brother sat in the front row in center field. Since the Red Sox have a small stadium and most of the fans are loyal, you will be one of few with visiting team gear. The best place to be, even better than the corner spot, is in the cross aisle in right field but right by the center field fence. That way, you can run for home runs if needed and you are in the ideal place for tossups. Also, bring your glove trick. I didn’t bring mine but I should’ve. Balls come rolling to right under you and you can’t reach them without a device. Some balls bounce close to you but hit off the wall and end up in a good place for the use of a device. For some reason, the catcher and first baseman both come in at the home plate end of the dugout, which is good for 3rd out balls, but Carlos Pena kept throwing them to the other end. If you have more questions about Fenway, please ask.

Skim- Hmm. Interesting. Maybe it was just the fact they were playing the Braves that it was sold out. Thanks for all the advice. I almost definitely won’t be going this year, but I may call upon this information whenever I DO go there.

Fenway was easier than I expected. Since I went for tossups, i had a very easy time. I went to where the right field wall is perpendicular to the centerfield wall and got 3 tossups there. I had gotten one ball on the Green Monster as well. At the Rays dugout, I got a ball thrown by one of the coaches. During the game, I got a third out ball, a foul ball thrown by the Red Sox 3rd base coach, and I got one after the game. I’m still trying to work out a trip to Baltimore/D.C./Philadelphia.

Skim- I actually would have been there this past weekend if it weren’t for the price of tickets, but with your description of it, I might have to go there sooner than I planned.

Well I’m not completely new. From 2006 until 2008 I got 2 balls altogether at Shea when I was going for autographs and not balls. I got none in 2009. In 2010, I got 2 in one game at Citi Field. In 2011, I got 2 at one game at Citi and 6 at another game at Citi. This year, I got 1 at one game at Citi, 8 at one game at Fenway, and 5 at this game at Citi Field. I also go to Atlantic League games.

Skim- Still, that’s pretty impressive. I’d say the Fenway game is more impressive, though.

Yes, Ben was referring to me. I’m fairly new to ballhawking, so you probably never saw me before this game. Also, I don’t go to games very often so my ball total is a mere 26. I didn’t go over and introduce myself to you because I thought it might have been you but I wasn’t sure. I’ve seen your picture in Zack Hample’s blog posts sometimes, but I wasn’t positive.

Skim- What? You’re new to ballhawking and you got FIVE balls at this game? Wow, congrats. I can completely relate to the “is that really him or just someone that looks like him” feeling. If you’re ever in doubt about myself, though, I have my schedule for the rest of the year on my mygameballs.com page.

Oh, and I was sitting behind the dugout on the home plate side. I was wearing a bright orange Orioles shirt and a hat and I kept going down to the dugout. I don’t know if you saw me.

Skim- Awesome that you can relate to so many of the things from the entry. Next time, if you would like to, just introduce yourself. I’m pretty sure I saw you for this reason: when a kid I thought looked about thirteen caught a ball in a bright orange Orioles hat and shirt, Ben said, “I’ve seen that kid get about five today.” This was you I presume?

I was at this game. I saw you catch the batting practice home run out in left field, I saw you offer it to a kid, I saw you get the third out ball from Reynolds, and I saw how the umpire didn’t give away a single ball. I got 5 at this game, but that’s because I go for tossups, not homers.

Skim- Oh, and one more thing, if you’re ever at batting practice and I don’t acknowledge you, I’m not being rude, I just don’t usually recognize people I haven’t greeted a few times. I just realized this tonight as this scenario ensued with a fellow MLBlogger. I’ve seen his picture plenty of times, but I didn’t recognize him at all until he introduced himself.

Ah, a Mets commem! Nice work!

Wayne- Yes. Thank you.

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