7/19/12 Mets at Nationals: Nationals Park

I thought I’d start off this entry a little differently. Basically, I want to give you guys an opportunity to have a look at what my day is like before I even enter the gates. I will do such a video for each stadium I visit from here on out (Nationals Park, Yankee Stadium, Citi Field, and Target Field) Anyway, here is the video for Nationals Park:

Once we left the Red Seats in center field, Rick and I both headed over to the right field, only to realize it was Camp Day and those seats would be crowded come game time. While Rick checked a variety of things on his iPhone, I watched Ross Detweiler throw a bullpen session:

20120731-021046.jpg

20120731-021133.jpgIf you didn’t know, most starting pitchers throw at least one bullpen session between starts; some even throw two. Detweiler had started the opening opening game of the series, so I’m guessing he throws two, since he only took a day off from throwing. At the end of his session, Detweiler launched the ball he was throwing with into the seats in foul territory. Both Rick and I saw it and thought it went on our side of the tunnel- indicated by the glass panels- in the next picture:

20120731-022218.jpgKeep that in mind for later on in the entry.

Soon after that, Nationals hitters started hitting. All of which can be seen in the following picture:

20120731-022426.jpgThat’s right, a grand total of two Nationals hitters hit. That was the extent of batting practice. They didn’t even have any players go into the outfield; just the coaches came out to shag the balls. The two players were: a healthy Bryce Harper and a rehabbing Jayson Werth. You would probably guess that the super-prospect would hit more balls into the stands than the old, injured, failed multi-million dollar contract, right? Well I did too. Unfortunately, both of us were wrong and Werth hit many more homers to left as I watched in helpless despair from right. The one ball I had perfectly tracked, a barehanded fan reached right in front of me and deflected the ball away.

Then, right after they stopped hitting, I headed over closer to the foul pole very discreetly, as so Rick wouldn’t notice me:

20120801-014352.jpgNot to get a ball from the pitchers you see warming up, but remember that ball Detweiler threw into the stands earlier? That portion of the stands was about to open in two minutes when I took that last picture, and I wanted to be the first one in them to get the ball.

I was indeed the first person there, but when I got to the spot I thought the ball was, it was vacant. As Rick arrived on the scene, I went up to the top of the section and asked an usher where the ball had gone. He told me it had gone on the other side of the tunnel I mentioned earlier. I went down there, and he guided me as I motioned to where I thought the ball was. This was actually the same usher who gave me my first usher toss-up at Nationals Park ever. If you can find a picture him, you win………bragging rights. (Hint: the easies way to find the entry is through mygameballs.com.)

Thanks to this ushers arsenal of saving gestures, I found the ball right under a seat:

20120801-020113.jpgI then moved back over to the pitchers warming up. I figured Strasburg, since he doesn’t shag balls in the outfield, would probably not recognize me. So, I lined up behind Jim and his throwing partner, Jordan Zimmerman:

20120801-020407.jpgUnfortunately, Zimmerman ended up with the ball, which usually means I am not getting the ball (I had never gotten a ball from him, and he has never been fan-friendly per se). Fortunately, I was the only non-Mets fan, so after he scanned the stands, he threw me the ball:

20120801-021035.jpgI would have LOVED to have gotten the ball from Strasburg, but getting the ball from Zimmerman was a fun victory in a different regard.

Then, to my surprise, the complementary ticket I mentioned in the opening video, was right behind the umpire tunnel. So until the game began, I talked mostly with the two people in the next picture, and a person slightly out of the frame to the right:

20120801-022500.jpgI had been talking to the ushers a little the previous two games when I came down to get umpire balls, but in talking to them this day, both parties (myself and the ushers) learned that the other knew of “Zack”. The “Zack” in question being one with the surname Hample.We then had a discussion about the specifics of baseball collecting and my experience beginning in the hobby.

The guy in the red is Gio Gonzalez’s dad. He actually is the one who brought up the subject (kind of). I guess he saw me by Gio while I was trying to get a ball and said, “Are you a collector?” To which I responded, “Yes ” not knowing who he was. It turns out Gio’s father is an autograph collector and thought I was the same. It was a slightly frustrating process, but when the male usher jumped in with: “Oh. You know Zack?” Gio’s father faded out of the conversation and went to his seat. Sadly, his son would get knocked around by the Mets en route to a 9-5 loss.

During the game, this was my view of the action:

20120801-103602.jpg

For some reason, I have horrible luck with third-out balls (whichever end of the dugout I go to, the ball goes to the other). Well, my luck continued for this game. I didn’t get a single third-out ball.

I’d just like to take a little time out to point out one of the members of the “Nat Pack”, Terrence. I mentioned a couple of entries ago that I believed he was the most energetic team employee I had ever seen at a baseball game (maybe I didn’t phrase it like that, but that’s what I meant). The ushers I had been talking to described this as the hottest game of the year. I don’t know about that, but it was in the 105 degree range. Well Terrence wasn’t slowing up at all. He inhabits the wheelchair section by the third base dugout. One of the things he does is whenever there’s a wave, he runs from one end of the section to the other “pushing” it along. There were more than a couple waves this game. Another example, of which I have photographic evidence, is what Terrence was doing when “Old Time Rock and Roll” started playing:

20120801-234227.jpg

That’s right. He picked up one of the fold-able chairs and started jumping around the section, pretending the chair was a guitar as he strummed it.

After the game, I was already by the umpire tunnel, so I asked the umpire, Chris Conroy for a ball. He gave it to me saying, “Here, because you took the time to look up my name.” Conroy, if my memory serves me right is number 99. I don’t know for certain, but I would bet that means he is one of the newer umpires, so I’m guessing not many people know his name:

STATS:

  • 3 Balls at this game (no picture because I forgot to take it). They were numbers 352-354 for my career

Numbers 352-354:

  • 132 Balls in 29 Games= 4.55 Balls Per Game (14 Balls under 500)
  • 3 Balls x 36,389 Fans (no way were there that many people)= 109,167 Competition Factor
  • 38 straight Games with at least 1 Ball
  • 14 straight Games with at least 2 Balls
  • 2 straight Games with at least 3 Balls
  • 105 Balls at Nationals Park in 23 Games= 4.57 Balls Per Game
  • 16 straight Games at Nationals Park with at least 1 Ball
  • 16 straight Games at Nationals Park with at least 2 Balls
  • 2 straight Games at Nationals Park with at least 3 Balls
  • Time Spent One Game 9:34- 4:07= 6 Hours 33 Minutes
  • This game will have been my 100th ever I have recorded on mygameballs.com. I have gone to more games than that, but I obviously didn’t keep a record of them before mygameballs.com, so this is the only milestone I can celebrate.

6 Comments

Mateo,
I love the video! I’ve been wrestling with how to incorporate video into my blog entries and on my website, and I really like what you’ve done. It’s informative, entertaining and really fun — just the type of thing I’d want to watch before visiting a park for the first time. Your edits are really good, too. I think you’ve done a excellent job of giving readers a taste of not only the park, but the build-up to arriving. Looking forward to more video entries. Just curious, what do you use to film these? Is it difficult to do so? Your filming is consistently good.
Malcolm
http://theballparkguide.mlblogs.com/

Malcolm- I’m going to answer your questions in a bit of a roundabout way. I filmed this on my iPhone, which is really easy since it has the two cameras on either side. I should include that I film all the videos in my bedroom with my “good” camera. I believe it’s a Rebel TX3, or something along those lines. I’d say filming is pretty easy with any camera you can fit in the palm of your hand. The problem with the good camera is it’s extremely hard to film myself and it’s uncomfortable to carry around during batting practice. I’d say that filming is actually the easiest part. Editing is the second easiest part, if you actually want to do a good job. The absolute most frustrating part is uploading it to YouTube; until this last video anyway. Both my iPhone and good camera have high-quality video, and my video editing program, Final Cut Pro X, adds on to the size of the finished product, so my videos are ginormous. When I upload the videos to YouTube, the estimated time is always upwards of 750 minutes, and my computer logs off a certain point after going on sleep, so the process usually gets interrupted several times before it finally goes through. So even after I finish the video, it could be a few days before I get it online. For this last video, I used a program called “MPEG Streamline”, or something like that (I actually didn’t know about it until Zack Hample mentioned it to me) to resize the video so that it only took 120 minutes to upload.Now I would say editing will take over as the longest part of the process. Thanks for all the complements. I would do it more often if my home computer wasn’t dealing with space problems. I’d also like to say most of what I’ve learned to this point is probably just from watching YouTubers and seeing what they do right. I hope you can figure out a way to incorporate them if you have fun making videos.

Mateo,
Thanks for the great response. I learned a lot just reading it. I’m definitely going to try something like this. I’ve actually shot a few videos in the past on my iPod Touch, but never got around to editing/uploading them. I did video editing in university and found it to be a slow process, but as you’ve shown, good editing really helps the quality of a video. Thanks for the tips about the uploading time, too. Definitely something for me to be aware of.
Thanks again and I definitely look forward to seeing future videos! I actually meant to comment on one of your past videos, saying that you did a great job, but forgot, I guess.
Malcolm

Malcolm- Sure thing. I know I commented on your blog that video might be good for your “adventures”, but I’d like to clarify that it might be better if you use them for something standard you can do at every ballpark, like say, walking from foul pole to foul pole (through the infield portion of seating), pointing out all of the quirks or other things you have learned up to that point about the ballpark.

Nice shades in the video.
-Chris
http://ballhawker.mlblogs.com

Chris- Thanks. I think they go well with my still-wet hair.

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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