Archive for the ‘ Citi Field ’ Category

5/16/12 Reds at Mets: Citi Field

Since this was my first game of 2012 at Citi Field, let’s count all the things the Mets changed from 2011 that I thought would make Citi Field awesome, but ended up angering me.

1. They advertised people being able to buy a six game plan for as low as $9 a ticket.

I was ecstatic to see this because I usually buy my tickets from Stubhub, and Stubhub’s fees on each ticket are $11 plus whatever the ticket itself costs. However, when I bought the tickets, the fees the Mets added to the tickets bumped up the price of the plan from $54 to $89, so around $15 a ticket.

Now this wouldn’t have been a big deal on its own, but check out the ticket I bought at this game:

That’s right, I bought this ticket for only $10. Nowadays, the Mets sell tickets to people with valid student IDs for only $10, but they made sure to wait until AFTER the beginning of the season to publicize this fact. So in essence, what I did in buying the plan was waste $30 and make it so I *had* to attend those games or sell them on Stubhub if any plans got in the way, whereas I could choose not to go if I were constantly buying tickets the day of the game as I did here. For the record, I will probably not be able to attend four of those games that I bought, so in all likelihood, I wasted a lot more than $30 on the Mets.

2. They put up a section in Left Field that was closer to the field:

It should be obvious why I thought this was going to make Citi Field a much better place to snag baseballs. Closer to the field= more baseballs that make it into the seats. In addition, I didn’t account for how this would improve the ballhawking in the regular seating above the new section. As fellow ballhawk and neighbor Greg Barasch put it, “We would be in the place we normally are now, but it would be completely empty.” It makes sense, doesn’t it? Other fans see a section closer to the field than they are and they crowd it. In response to Greg’s comment, I jokingly said, “Yeah, but you know the Mets are going to find a way to mess this up, right?” Well, the Mets did.

How did they screw it up? This:

Unlike my fantasized LF, there were ushers checking tickets, even during batting practice. So all the section does is act as like a perpetual season ticket holder section the Mets had last year. If you don’t remember what that was or have started reading this blog since then, it was a section on the field where season ticket holders could experience batting practice from the field. What this did was keep most toss ups from being thrown to the people in the upper part of the bleachers. So if there are any people in that section, they are a lot more likely to get a ball thrown to them simply because of their proximity to the field and thus any player who would throw a ball into the stands.

I however, was the first person to those seats by about a mile, so I managed to get Mike Baxter to toss me a ball very quickly and I was on the board with one ball:

That ball, as I later discovered, is lopsided. If you hold the ball in the center, the right side of the ball has more mass than the left does. I don’t know if this will show up well in a photo, but do you see how the following picture has the ball slanted? That is because this particular ball cannot possibly sit on its middle due to the size differential between the sides. Weird, right?:

I stayed in the LF seats for a couple of minutes after that, but all the Mets in the cage were lefties, so I knew nothing was coming my way on the fly.

That brought me to the CF section, which also brings us to:

4. The Mets were going to move the fences in CF.

I thought this was going to mean they would also put in some extra seats as to make it possible for us ballhawks to catch baseballs that otherwise we would not have been able to reach. Instead this was the result:

The bottom concrete part is where the seating area ends and the orange is the top of the new wall. That means the Mets moved the fence closer, but the seats stayed the same. What did this create? A gap, and a rather large one too:

This is GREAT for using the glove trick or another retrieval device, but as it is well-documented, such devices are absolutely NOT allowed at Citi Field. That means myself and other people with devices are forced to drool over balls like the one in the picture above.

I was however, the only person in the section, so I was bound to get at least one ball there, right? Well, the Mets’ bullpen catcher Dave Racaniello went to throw a ball against the wall and I thought he was going to throw it to me, so I made a motion to catch it. As he released the ball he spotted me and tossed me a second ball he had with him. However, this was a half-hearted throw and landed a few feet short, making me lean into the gap for a catch:

I then moved over to RF, but I quickly left because R. A. Dickey was manning that portion of the outfield. He was an absolute jerk last year after being so nice in his first year with the Mets, and it was clearly the “2011 R. A.” rather than the “2010 R. A.” In addition, RF brings up… drumroll:

5. The Mets moved in the fences in RF.

Again, I thought they would add some general seating there and this would mean RF would actually be a feasible place to catch a baseball. Instead, this is what they did:

Similar to CF, the Mets added no new seating open to the public. Instead, they added a picnic-like area. The reason I say “a feasbible place to catch a baseball” is because as it is now, only the juts at the sides of the section can have a Home Run hit to them due to the overhang of the second deck. If the seating were to extend to the orange line, though, there would be a few rows of running room and some mild hope of catching a ball there. In addition to not living up to my child-like fantasy, the addition actually made that section worse. As it was last year, any ball that hit the angular wall would ricochet to the ground under the red “Modell’s” sign. This allowed experienced ballhawks to stay right above said sign and just ask whichever player picked up the ball from right above their head.

I then headed over to LF, where this was my view:

I *was* behind Zack Hample, but that’s not why I didn’t get a ball until the Reds started throwing. No, the reason for my drought was the Mets seem to not be physically able to hit a ball past the Party Deck if unless they pull it right down the foul line.

This was about the most interesting part of the rest of the Mets’ batting practice:

Has anyone ever seen a dot like that on the batting cage for the pitcher to aim at? Is this done all the time and I am just that oblivious to such details? What’s up with it? Should I stop asking so many rhetorical questions?

Anyway, I then moved over to foul ground when the Reds pitchers started throwing and lined up behind this throwing pair:

However, I had no idea what either of their names were, so when Johnny Cueto finished his throwing, I didn’t hesitate at all to wave my arms in the air and ask for a ball. I figured he would walk a little closer and throw me the ball, but he stopped right where he was and threw it a long way to me. The next picture shows how far away he was when he released the ball. The arrow on the left is where Cueto is now and the arrow on the right is where he was when he threw me the ball:

Not surprisingly, Cueto overthrew me, but the only fan behind me was on his phone and didn’t even notice the ball until it clanged off a seat right in front of him and caromed back closer to me.

Here is a picture of the ball with Cueto in the background once I got back to the LF seats:

After that, myself and the other ballhawk in attendance, Mark McConville had the treat of getting completely humiliated while Zack caught baseballs while on his cellphone:

He was getting interviewed by a Sirius XM radio station and they wanted to get him on the air live while he was snagging baseballs. That was one of two or three baseballs he managed to get players to toss him without using words.

I, on the other hand, got this:

It wasn’t all happy, though. That was the second ball that landed in that row. The first one was a ball hit to my left. I had a fancyish camera at this game and wanted to make use of it, so me, being the idiot that I am, tried to get a picture of the ball as I caught it. The action of holding the camera threw me off-balance and caused me to not only miss what would have been an easy catch, but also hit the metal armrest of a seat. This left what is a bruise that is half an inch deep, an inch tall, and three inches wide. I won’t show it for the more sqeamish people, but here is a link to the picture for those who want to see it, or you can read Zack’s account of the game, within which he details the bruise/cut (Oh, and before I get too side-tracked, that is the other ballhawk, Mark, going up to the front of the section in Reds gear.)

After I hit the armrest, my head was slowly lowering, so all I could see was some glove in the row behind me catch the ball. On the very next pitch or the pitch right after that, the same hitter hit a ball in the same row but even further to my left and I hobbled over there and picked up the ball. I guess Karma was feeling bad for me. This injury esentially fudged up my plan of going over to RF and asking a Reds player over there for a ball, because it was painful to put any significant pressure on the leg, and that was it for batting practice. The Reds hitters hit very little into the stands and their pitchers were throwing very little as well.

Oh well, at least it was a beautiful afternoon:

Also, see the usher in green, who I have further emphasized by putting an arrow over his head, in that last picture? Towards the end of batting practice, I gave him a ball that I told him to give to a kid of his choice.

One thing I do like about the Mets is that they have the lineups on the scoreboard even before the game begins. Here they are:

If you can’t tell, the Reds had 7 righties and the Mets had 6 lefties. Considering the Reds hadn’t faced a left-handed pitcher in almost a month at this point and were unlikely to hit a Home Run against one of the best left-handed pitchers in the National League, I sat in, you guessed it. Left Field.

My plan *was* to sit in the foul territory along the third base line, but with the limp I had, ushers were already checking tickets by the time I got to those seats and I decided to play Home Run balls in Left Field. I felt pretty good about that when, a few inning into the game, this was the view to my left:

and this was the view to my right:

That said, you may or may not have noticed in that last picture, but this was what the section I was planning to sit in looked like:

Thankfully nothing was hit there, but it was absolute torture watching the section be that empty.

Long story short, neither the Reds nor the Mets hit anything close to my section. I’m pretty sure I spent more time studying for an AP Macroeconomics test I had the next morning than I did paying attention to the game. This is saying a lot considering I wasn’t really invested in the test given it was going to be on the one year anniversary of my dad’s death, on which day I attempted to go to a Mets game. Then again, I guess I can’t complain about anything that happened this game considering most of fellow seniors were at prom right as I took that last picture. The one bright spot in the game is what I believe to be one of the few things the Mets managed to get right, and it is this:

I like that they have the spray chart for the hitters. Then again, it’s something that I, as a high school senior, can and have done on a daily basis, so it’s not that impressive. I’m sorry, am I being too negative? I just really don’t like that the Mets have messed up almost every “improvement” they have tried to make. I thoroughly enjoyed watching not one, but two Home Runs be hit by the Reds that would not have been Home Runs with the old dimensions.

Remember I mention I had a fancyish camera this game? Well one of the things said camera can do is take panoramic photographs, so I took one towards the beginning of the game and one towards the end of the game:

After the game, I headed out to the bullpens in CF and asked Reds bullpen catcher, Mike Stefanski, and even though not only the only fan wearing Reds gear, but the only fan there period, he completely ignore my request. I then got to think about how big of an idiot I was for banging my thigh against seat while I hopped/limped all the way from CF to the train station behind Home Plate.

STATS:

  • 4 Balls at this game (3 in this picture because I gave that one away to the usher)

Numbers 252-255 in my “collection”:

  • 33 Balls in 7 Games= 4.71 Balls Per Game
  • 16 straight Games with at least 1 Ball
  • 7 straight Games with at least 2 Balls
  • 7 straight Games with at least 3 Balls
  • 4 straight Games with at least 4 Balls
  • 4 Balls x 22,659 Fans= 90,636 Competition Factor (or an example of why this statistic is flawed)
  • 76 balls obtained in 29 games = 2.62 Balls Per Game
  • 29 straight Games at Citi Field with at least 1 Ball
  • Time at Game 4: 13- 10:16= 6 hours 3 minutes

8/31/11 Marlins at Mets: Citi Field

Again I wanted to avoid (and still am) avoiding Citi field at all costs but I had promised before the season to my service supervisor that I would take her grandson to a Mets game and that is the reason I went to this game. Before I get to the game, though, I must include a little story about how I almost lost my glove permanently earlier that day at my community service site.

I was playing catch with that grandson, whose name is Alex, on the roof of my service site on 76th and Columbus because the alternative would be to go to Central Park and I was lazy. Anyway, the roof is slanted so when I threw him a fly ball and he missed it, the ball didn’t just go straight across the roof like it would if we were on flat ground but it started rolling off the roof. Eventually it rolled off of the roof. It then landed in a neighbor’s patio area. For the record we did have another ball available to us but what kind of a ballhawk would I be not to use my glove trick. Here is a picture of the ball and the glove in the patio area:

The glove is pointed out by the arrow and the blue stress ball is in the circle (I know it’s tough to see but if look closely enough you should be able to see it through the shadows). This may seem like an easy thing for a person with a glove trick but it really wasn’t at all because the ball was under the table. This meant that to get the glove in a position behind the ball in order to pull it back I would have to throw the glove just over the ball but just under the table, which at this angle was like a window of a foot and there was no railing stopping me from falling 25 feet so I couldn’t see my target all that well. Also, I was at the outer limits of my fishing line when throwing the glove and so I couldn’t hold onto any of it. What I did was that I tied the line to the metal thing at the bottom of the last picture and threw the glove. Once the glove ran out of string it just jumped back toward me because obviously it didn’t have any more string to work with.

I tell this because after a few tries of throwing the glove from a 90 degree angle to the ball I wanted to try it from slightly off center and see if it would improve my chances. So, I untied the fishing line and moved over to my right a few feet. I then let my glove drop down and just as I released the glove I realized that I  had not yet tied my glove to the metal thing. My glove was stuck in the position you see in the last picture.

I just want to clarify that the patio was actually in a different building from my service site but I was on their roof because in New York the buildings are side by side and all about the same height so the roofs are connected and Alex and I wanted more room to throw so we ventured a few roofs. Just to give you an idea of the drop from where I was throwing my glove and where my glove drop down, here is a picture I took from the fire escape:

The top left arrow shows where I was standing/sitting trying to retrieve the ball and the bottom arrow shows where the glove fell down to. Right after my glove fell down it was time for lunch and I realized I wasn’t going to figure this out soon and just ate my lunch while I thought of a solution.

My first thought was to create like an extendo arm of sorts with various brooms and things around the building and poking one of them through the holes between the fingers of the gloves but then I took that last picture and saw exactly how far down the glove was and realized I would have needed like 5 brooms and I wouldn’t be able to get concentrated weight on them like a cup trick does (a cup trick is a ball retrieving device that uses a cup and weight along with and adhesive to grab a baseball). I then put together a variation of the cup trick using only office supplies I found throughout the building:

1. A plastic cup from the water cooler.

2. A roll of tape- I pretty much put it for visual purposes because the tape is at the bottom of the cup and barely visible. Usually in a cup trick, the cup’s opening faces downwards to fit the large-ish baseball but I realized that all I needed to get was the fishing line on my glove trick and I could then pull up the glove itself. The tape was used to stick to the string which I would then pull up the glove with.

3. Paper clips- usually when trying to get tape to stick to something you push it down as hard as possible but because I was 25 feet above what I wanted to stick to the cup I had to make the cup as heavy as possible to apply the most pressure to the tape and get the maximum adhesiveness to between the string and tape.

4. Fishing line- used to lower the cup. You may ask, “Wait, Mateo, didn’t all of your line fall down with the glove?” Luckly I keep extra line in my backpack rolled around a pen just in case:

I lowered my new device, the tape attached to the stirng on my glove, pulled up the string, and pulled up the glove attached to the glove itself.  This may have bored some of you but I just wanted to share it to show how I almost lost my glove.

Onto the game, Alex and I left JASA (my service site) at 3:30 and made a breif stop at Subway for food before continuing on the subway. I forgot what time but apparently it was early enough that I started taking pictures of the Citi Field sign from below:

If you see I pointed out the window on the second floor of the Stadium. That would be the Caesars club and I’ll get back to that in a minute or two.

I also took a picture of the blimp hovering above because the US Open was in town:

Once we got int the ballpark it was another Citi Field batting practice, slow as humanly possible. Alex and I started off by going to Right Field and asking for toss ups but then moved over to the Center Field section because I deemed the players freindlier there:

The red box shows where we had gone to as soon as the gates opened and the arrow under that points out Alex looking out to the field (with *my* Mets hat) he is a Yankee fan and I figured he would have a better chance of getting a ball from the Mets than me for a variety of reasons. After giving up on this idea because of a crowd that started to gather, we moved over to the Left field section. There, it was still incredibly slow but I got a baseball. In about the second bp group, Mike Stanton came up and launched a ball to deep Center Field. The ball took the luckiest series of bounces I have ever seen and landed in the seats. The arrows in the next picture show the path of the ball:

If you can’t tell from the yellow arrows, the ball: hit the apple, bounce on the edge of the container that holds the apple, bounced up in the air and landed in the seats. So had the apple not been up (which it usually isn’t) that ball would have fallen into the container but it didn’t and I ran over to get it nearly beating out someone who came down the staircase. Here is Alex holding the ball (again wearing *my* Marlins hat):

That was it for batting practice and the rest of the game as the Marlins threw next to nothing into the crowd. Anyway,this was our view for the game:

When I found out Alex wanted to go to this game I went ahead and bought better tickets than I usually do. For the whole Marlins series and Braves the tickets were pretty cheap and so for this game and the last I had club access. Due to this, I explored the stadium. With Alex I only went to the Caesars club and those were probably taken on this day but on the other day I also toured a bunch of the stadium and didn’t want the touring of Citi Field in tweo different entries so I held off on writing about it. Anyway here goes:

I went up to the club level through the entrance close to Right Field:

On my way to the Caesars club, I noticed a window through which was a view into the control room:

Here I learned something about the control room. Previously, I thought that the controls for the scoreboard  (jumbotron if you prefer) were in a separate room from the SNY control room. Apparently, they do both in the same room. I just assumed it would be crowded and there would be a chance of commands being mixed.

I then entered the Caesars club itself:

Looking back on it, it probably should be Caesar’s club but I guess it was meant more as advertising for Caesars Casino and Resort than it reflected the actual quality of the club. So I actually take back the point I was intially going to make when I started that sentence. By the way, for anyone who has not been, on of the negative parts about Citi Field is that the whole place is visual and audible ambush on the part of marketers. You would have to be in the staircase or something like that to not see any advertising. Every other square inch of oufield wall has something on it, the scoreboard has more to do with advertising than it does with the actual baseball game, and the between ining shenanigans the Mets put on always have someone behind them. There is: the Cascarino’s pizza pass, the Pepsi max T-shirt toss, and I think the seventh inning stretch is even sponsored by Fisher nuts.

The club itself looked like this when I got inside:

It is bascially an admirals club in a baseball stadium with a restaurant is how I would describe it.

Now the view from there is something you will never see from an admirals club at the airport. I looked out the window and took a picture of the view. The left arrow (blue) shows where I get off the train and the right arrow (red) shows where the US Open was taking place (Arthur Ashe Stadium):

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Queens. I then looked out the window to my left and took a picture of that:

This is now the part where I wonder how the Mets don’t make absurd amounts of money because they advertise everyone and their mother and each of those cars costs $20 to that person to park. I mean this is one of the teams in the worst financial situations in the Major Leagues so imagine what the Yankees are producing in the revenue department.

I then went throught the club and found out there is like a corridor thing behind the bar/restaurant the club is centered around:

Another thing in the club is that they have an electronic ticket kiosk in the club itself:

It even has the same game up so you can buy tickets to a game that you are already at (this was probably still there because I chacked it during batting practice but the fact that someone could mess up and buy a ticket for that same game is at the very least slightly flawed.) The most likely reason that they had this in the club is that people splurge to buy club seats, go inside the club and are very impressed by the schmancyness of it and the kiosk is there to get them to buy a ticket for another day based on impulse.

Anyway, for those who don’t know, there is about a 40 minute gap between batting practice and the game itself. I made my rounds of the stadium during this time. I first went out of the club going towards the Right Field seats and stopped to take a picture from the worst club level seats available:

Pretty good, eh?I then headed up to see what the worst seat in the whole stadium looked like but when I stopped to take a picture from the outside of the Acela club:

Right in this moment is where I forgot where I was going to go next and so I went to the Promenade Club which was about 300 ft away instead of the worst seat in the stadium which is about 10 (mathematical) degrees above where I took that last picture, but no I had to forget that and go all the way to the Promenade Club.

On my way, I actually took a picture of something cool I never noticed:

This is the concourse behind Home Plate in the uppermost level and I had seen this before but I had never noticed the thing pointed out by the arrow. That would be the top part of the Citi Field logo that is at the top of the fifth picture in the entry. this happens to be right behind the Promenade Club, which is why I took a picture of it. Speaking of which, this is the view looking out from the Promenade Club:

The view looking into the Promenade Club looked something like this:

This would be the restaurant within the Promenade Club. If you use your x-ray goggles, this picture would look a lot similar to the picture with the top of the Citi Field logo showing. I then took a picture that I consider to be a better view of the field from the Promenade Club:

Do you agree? It was right at this moment that I realized where I had initially pondered wandering. That which I consider the worst seat is pointed out by the arrow in the top left. So, I took a picture inside the club to show the curviness of it (it curves to match the curve of the field):

And a picture outside the club to demonstrate the equally curved cross-aisle that runs in front of it:

Sadly, this is way past foul territory and can’t fulfill its best purpose. I then headed out to inspect the worst seat in the ballpark as I had been planning for about a quarter of an hour now.

After I made the trek to get to a section closer to the worst seat, I actually went up to the level on which the seat was:

What I mean when I say I got on the level of the worst seat is that I was stadning on a staircase like the one circled in the lower right corner. That staricase leads down to the uppermost concourse. So, when I was on the concourse itself I couldn’t see where I was in terms of the seats and so I went up a staircase and decided I would work my way across through the seats.

Speaking of the seats, do you notice how slanted the stairs are? I would say that they are at about a 20 degree incline. If that doesn’t mean anything to you, check out the view from the bottom of the stairs looking up:

Suffice to say I’ve climbed Mayan pyramids with less imposing stairs. I don’t know how the people with seson tickets there can climb those things every day.

Though, the climb is in fact rewarding. When you get all the way up there and go over to the highest seat you should be able to see the entire world, right? Wrong. This is the view you are priviledged to seeing:

That thing obstructing your view of the field would be the out-of-town scoreboard. The Mets were nice enough to put TV screens on the back but would you really want to come all the way out to the ballpark just to watch the game on TV like you could have done at home.

I then goofed off a little and pretended I was flying because I have seen planes go this low by Citi Field:

The reason for that being, that LaGuardia airport is right across the way. In fact, it can be seen from said worst seat in the stadium. Here is the picture i took from right there:

I think the expression is somewhere between sheer terror of the height I was at and a yawn because of how far I was away from the field. Look at the view to my right:

This is the area behind the scoreboard in Center Field. It includes the speed pitch, batting cages, miniature field, and a variety of restaurants. It may not look that high but it was terrifying being up there when you are used to being on the ground and seeing these things full size. This concluded my post-bp tour of (part of) the stadium but I realized in about the seventh inning of the previous game that I should go to the Acela club because I had access to it.

Even though the club was technically closed, I was still allowed to enter and take pictures. Of course, the first thing I took a picture of was the food prices:

Maybe it’s the fact that I can get 2 slices of pizza and a soda for $3.00 a block from my school but I think that $6.00 is just a ridiculous price to pay for a slice of pizza. The sad part is that it is actually reasonable when it comes to pizza at baseball parks. The same slice is probably in the $9 range at Yankee Stadium. After going through various mental calculations on what else I could do with the money I spent on a meal in the Acela club, I took a few more pictures of the restaurant itself starting from the entrance and going outward. Now I will just show the pictures and you can add your own commentary:

Fast-forwarding to the title game of this entry, Alex and I went to the Mets dugout at the end of the game to try and coax something out of the Mets players. This was the crowd after the game:

It is pretty big for a crowd after the game considering the Mets were an obscene amount of games out of first at that time. To better our odds at getting a ball, I dressed up Alex in my Mets gear because I thought they would be more likely to toss him a ball than me. Suffice to say that Yankee fans usually don’t like getting dressed in Mets gear and Alex was no different:

Of course he is no idiot so he put on a face more like this one for the Mets:

Unfortunately, it didn’t matter what face Alex put on because the Mets didn’t toss anything in the crowd and with the relievers not coming in through the dugout caveat that I mentioned in the last entry. We were stuck with the Mike Stanton Home Run as the last and only ball of the night.

I then went up the stairs and had the same usher that took the picture in the last entry take it this time and here is the (slightly worse) end result:

Thus, with a subway ride concluded my last visit to Citi Field this season.

8/26/11 Braves at Mets: Citi Field

Just a few conscious moments after my last game in Washington, I magically teleported to Citi Field:

 I really wanted to stay in Washington and go to the majesty of Camden Yards but no. I had made arrangements with the now former pitching coach at Fordham Prep and had to be at Citi Field for this game because the next two had already been cancelled because of the threat Hurricane Irene posed on New York (I won’t get into what it actually because I’ve had worse thunderstorms).

Once I got in I made a beeline (or something like that), to Right Field and quickly got Lucas Duda to throw me a ball. I’m sorry that this is the only picture of the ball I have but Paint decided to stop responding while I was editing it and I only have this left as a product:

You can partially see the ball in my glove and Duda is under the red arrow.

I don’t know how quickly I did, but I did move over to the Left Field bleachers soon after. This is where things really slowed down. There were, I believe, Six other ballhawks at this game and the running lanes were clogged up as a result. It wasn’t that slow of a batting practice but there was just nowhere to move. When the Braves’  pitchers warmed up along the third base line I got Erik Hinske to toss me a ball that one of them overthrew. I was really happy about this because it almost guaranteed I would get another baseball because none of the pitchers saw me get it and so they would have no reason to not throw me a ball.

Apparently they did as that was in fact the last ball of my day. This was mainly because I wanted to stay in Left Field for as long as I could in bp because with six other ballhawks I knew I would lose my better than average spot and I would have to stand like 600 feet from Home Plate to have room to run a few sections. However, it was not any of the ballhawks at all but this guy:

that was the bane of my existence. Twice was I tracking a ball in mid-air and sure that I was going to catch it. Twice did I look to my left at the last moment to be stopped in my pursuit by this group just to see that guy (in a Red Sox hat) catch a Home Run without moving from his seat. Though, I guess I can’t blame him for just being there because I could have gone in the row in front of him and jumped up for the ball had I looked in that direction prior to the balls being hit there but I’m telling you that both would have been easy catches on the fly had I had the room to do so but such is life at Citi Field.

On top of that, the Braves weren’t throwing many baseballs to anyone over the age of 12 and even to these kids they were not throwing much. Towards the end of bp my guest (or maybe it was the other way around?) arrived and once bp ended we went almost directly to our seats. His actual name would be Chris Cositore and he is now the former pitching coach at Fordham (prep) because he just gratuated from Fordham (university) and is going on with his life blah, blah,blah. Anyway, here he is:

In case you can’t tell where we are, the seats were down the first base line and a bit closer to the outfield than the dugout. I don’t usually sit on this side of the field but the tickets were provided by the same guest that I had on this game and I’ll never pass up a deal to sit in good seats and not have to deal with Citi Field security for no additional cost.

A funny thing about this game involving Chris is that at the beginning of the game he started counting down the number of hitters for a perfect game. So when Chris Capuano (the Mets pitcher) got the first out he told me, “only 26 batters for a perfect game. He told me for every batter. When he got up to get food, he texted me the number every time an out was made. This was kind of his retaliation because he is just loyal enough of a Mets fan where you can make “your team stinks” jokes and they make sense but he doesn’t really take offense to them because he acknowledges the fact but he this was his obligatory retaliation. The way he announced it was before the game saying we were going to see the Mets’ first no-hitter. He was almost right. Capuano pitched a complete game shutout allowing only two hits. I went to the dugout after the game but didn’t get anything because:

1. Capuano wanted to (I assume) keep the game ball because he just pitched one of his best games ever.

2. The umpire tunnel is on the other side of the field on the third base side of the Field level seats.

3. The Mets relievers don’t got through the dugout to the clubhouse because there is a tunnel behind the bulpen that leads directly to the clubhouse and they have no need for going through the dugout.

Regardless, this was my view after the game:

After I eventually conceeded to the fact that there would be no more ball snagging opportunites, Chris and I got our picture taken by one of the “hospitality attendant”s. This was the first attempt that he described as: “a little dark”:

We then decided to move back where the light was (and I secretly ignited a great setting called “flash”) and this was the end product:

And I got the very rare luxury of getting driven home. Of course, it really wasn’t my house because I was staying over with friends. Anyway, that capped of my day at Citi. I then got to spend the next few days in Hurricane mode.

8/5/11 Braves at Mets: Citi Field

Today was the final chapter of the book “Why I despise going to baseball games during kids week.” This would be the line in front of me when I got to the game 30 minutes early:

But wait, it gets better. Here is the line behind me 10 minutes before the gates opened:

I initially wasn’t going to go to this game but then a member of the senior “club” that I volunteer at knew me as a person who went to baseball games offered me two tickets. So I went to the game and offered the other ticket to another ballhawk who happens to be my next door neighbor, Greg Barasch. Crazy, no? Though, looking back on it, I might have been better served to invite his dog as he makes for very tough competition. The one positive was that there was no season ticket holder section on the field:

Of course, that didn’t matter as nothing even came close, hit or otherwise, during the Mets portion of bp. I moved around a bit but not as much as I usually do. My desperation strategy for the last day of kids week was to stay put more and see if things would work out that way. It is safe to say that this strategy failed utterly and my first and only ball came from Alan Butts:

Butts is simply listed as “coach” on the roster and I suspect he is the bullpen catcher. Anyway, in the picture, the arrow pointing straight down shows where I was standing and the arrow pointing diagonally upwards is the path of the ball from Butts’ hand to my glove.  That was it for batting practice.

Now to the game. This was a game/postgame of tough breaks. Due to paint’s inability to accurately depict this next scene I will put up the picture of where I was sitting and write out what then unfolded:

Josh Thole was up and he hit a sort of high foul ball. From that view, it immediately went into the lights. I knew that it would get out of the light so I just kept my eyes still on where I thought it would exit the lights. It then exited them on the left, sliced back to the right but was now under the lights. I could tell it was coming right at me. I mean RIGHT AT ME! Thole couldn’t have thrown it to me more perfectly. I simply stood up and was ready to make the easy chest level catch when the person in front of me, who is illuminated by my flash, stood up and deflected the ball just enough for it to scoot to the right of my glove and in the row behind me. To add insult to injury, the ball hit the person in the row behind me and one seat to my left. Just as I turned to see where it had gone the ball rolled under the seat right next to me:

Then it rolled two rows below me and to add a law suit against a person who has been both insulted and injured I climbed over a row and was a quarter of a second late to the ball as a lady in that row grabbed it:

Then after the game, I convinced the home plate umpire to flip me a ball but the person in front of me reached for it and as a result swatted it down beck into the tunnel the umpires exit through. A security supervisor who has a disposition against ballhawks then picked it up and walked straight past me before giving it to someone else. I would have been fine with this had the umpire blindly thrown the ball into the crowd because that is free game but he only reacted after I called him out by name and I am 97.639% sure that the ball was intended for me.

Oh and did I mention that it was also Fiesta Latina and as a result there were Jose Reyes banners being given away. Though most people used them as a cape instead:

On the subway, I saw a father and son decked out in Braves gear and could tell they had traveled a ways to get here. I also saw that the son had a glove with him.  So, as is my natural inclination, I asked him if he had gotten a ball. When he said no, I then took my ball out of my backpack and gave it to him. They asked me if I was sure and I think I explained to them what I did or just told them to keep it.

STATS:

  • 1 ball at this game (no picture because I gave it away) number 188 for my career
  • 127 balls in 30 games= 4.233333 Balls Per Game
  • 56 straight games with at least 1 ball
  • 26 straight games with at least 1 ball
  • 1 ball*30,607fans= 30,607 competition factor
  • Time At Game 4:45- 10: 12= 5 hours 27 minutes

8/2/11 Marlins at Mets: Citi Field

What are all these people showing up early for?:

I mean seriously, I hate to break it to those fans out there but the Mets are currently 20 games out of first place. The first place team has the best record in baseball but 20 games is never good. At least I was the first one in line. That fact gave me this emptiness close to a minute after I arrived to Left Field:

Within a few minutes, I got Manny Acosta to throw me a ball:

I stayed in Left Field for a good hour and only got one ball, a Home Run on the fly hit by John Buck. Then, once the seats got this crowded:

I moved over to Right Field where this was my view:

In that last picture, number 40 would be Michael Dunn. A few minutes after I took that picture he recognized a Marlins “fan” and threw me a ball perfectly between the other grabby hands in my section:

Sadly, this would be my last ball of the day as I was over-thinking, over-moving, and not coming up with much for all my work. One reason was this:

I mean not just the obvious obstacle the crowd would provide in catching balls but also I was playing conservatively on toss-ups and trying to use the strategy that got me into double digits at Nationals Park (not a particular strategy but rather strategy in general). This works in the sparsely inhabited seats of the Upper Right Field of Nationals Park but is a bit harder when competing with a crowd of others. This is not so much a commentary of this game but all the games I have been to this point (August 15th). I have to just take toss-ups when I can get them and not worry about other pitchers seeing me.

Anyway, I sat over in this area for the game:

Not my usual spot but I did have a guest on this day and joined him by his ticketed seat and sacrificed the foul ball opportunities/ third out opportunities. What else can I say? The most “exciting” thing was Hanley Ramirez spraining his shoulder a few feet away:

I went to the umpire’s tunnel after the game but Bill (?) Welke ran out of baseballs when he got to me after giving a pair of balls away twice and telling me he was out. I’m fine with that I’m just telling what happened.

STATS:

  • 3 balls at this game
numbers 185-187 for my career:
Before I keep on going with the usual stats, is it jus me or is the ball that Manny Acosta threw me lopsided?:
Anyone? It just looks like the left is lower than the right to me. Either that or all the logos were mis-printed.
  • 126 balls in 29 games= 4.34 Balls Per Game
  • 55 straight games with at least 1 ball
  • 20 straight with at least 2 balls
  • 25 straight games with at least 1 at Citi Field
  • 3 balls*33,297 fans= 99,891 competition factor
  • Time at game 4:38-10:38= 6 hours on the dot

8/1/11 Marlins at Mets: Citi Field

Another nice and sunny day at Citi Field, right?:

Wrong!:

Suffice to say it wasn’t looking good for batting practice and I was, at this moment, resigned to the fact I wasn’t going to have a full batting practice, if any.

When I got in, there was good news and there was bad news.

Good News: There was batting practice.

Bad News: Season ticket holders were on the field:

This meant I probably wasn’t going to get a toss-up in Left Field during Mets bp and that would mean I would have to get a quick ball hit to me to keep me in rhythm that is so important whenever I am at Citi Field because I move around so much for toss-ups.

Let’s just say this was the highlight of my day to that point:

That would be a picture of the Mets leaving the field. Why was it the highlight? Well, it meant that the section of fans in front of the Left Field stands would be leaving. This meant that I could put on my Marlins gear and be ignored by them instead of the Mets. I had a few close calls on hit balls but I’ll save you the useless information and just tell you about the closest of calls. Here is the diagram that shows what happened:

John Buck of the Marlins hit a Home Run right to my row. I had made sure there was no one I could run into in my row and so I just tracked the ball. I drifted over to where I could catch the ball and I reached up for the ball. Just as I did this, I saw a glove coming up and backwards. You see that man in the white? He jumped backwards nto my row because the ball was highish and he wasn’t going to catch the ball by jumping upwards (the path of the ball is shown by the white streak in the picture) his glove first hit mine and then his body bumped back into me and the ball bounced off of his glove and into the aisle. What then happened  then was that he gave me about a tenth degree stare for costing him the ball as I told him I was sorry even though I hadn’t reached forward at all.

I went this way and went that way but just nothing was going my way. I finally went to Center Field for my third time on the day and just every Marlins player was completely ignoring my request I don’t know if it was part of what kids week (this week the Mets were letting in 3 kids 12 and under free for every paying adult) or if it was the general noise of New York but none of the players even tried to throw in my direction. It was 6:15 and I was getting worried about being shutout. Finally, at 6:18, Burke Badenhop threw a ball to a family in front of me:

The ball sailed over both the family and my heads and landed in the row behind me. I grabbed the ball but at the same time a lady came running in that row and grabbed onto my hand. She then started to try and pull the ball from my grasp as she simultaneously rubbed my hand against the coarse cement. I then, pulled my hand out and handed the ball to the girl of that family. The lady then apologized as she was trying to get the ball for them as well. As a result of this scrapping, my hand was pretty scuffed up:

You really see much because this picture was taken an hour later but my skin was peeled and I chipped the nail you can see of my middle finger. I know it probably would have been easy to avoid aggravating it but idiot me kept putting my hand in and taking it out of my pockets because all of my important things were on my right side and so I kept hurting it.

Normally, I would take a seat behind the dugout but decided not to on this. Due to the fact that I had luckily gotten 1 ball during batting practice, I knew 1 or even 2 balls from behind the dugout wasn’t going to help my day. So I set up camp a bit further from Home Plate:

Through the fifth inning, the only thing that came close was a Mike Stanton liner a few sections above. Then, in the bottom of the sixth, Angel Pagan sliced a liner to my left. It was going pretty fast so I went to the spot I thought it would hit down. I turned around three feet before that and just saw/heard the ball whizz two feet past my head and hit in a seat in front of me. There, I picked the ball up from the folded seat. I actually found out that I don’t have any pictures I could have used for diagrams or showing you where I ran.

So, my path was a mini z shape because of the railing. I ran a few feet to my left, went down a few stairs and then continued to my left. So imagine the place where I  picked the ball up as the upper left part of the z. Anyway, a good ending to a frustrating day. Too bad this frustration has now extended over two weeks.

Here is a picture that I took of the ball after the game:

I didn’t get anything after the game but I was satisfied that my stategery paid off when it counted.

STATS:

  • 2 balls at this game ( 1 pictured because I gave 1 away)

this ball doesn’t have any because up to this point I haven’t numbered foul balls but they are #s 83-84 for my career:

  • 123 balls in 28 games= 4.39 Balls Per Game
  • 54 straight games with at least 1 ball
  • 19 straight games with at least 2 balls
  • 24 straight games at Citi Field with at least 1 ball
  • 2 balls*28,862 fans= 57,724 competition factor
  • Time at game 4:35- 10:31= 5 hours 56 minutes

7/18/11 Marlins at Mets: Citi Field

Remember that I went to the game in May and it got cancelled. Well, it was rescheduled for this day in July and it looked fine:

Not as good as it did the day it got cancelled but not horrible rain-away-batting practice bad.

When I got to the gate I noticed something odd:

Do you see the gates marked by the arrows? I have never seen them before. I know I haven’t been to Citi Field in over a month but it was just weird seeing them. I know the purpose is to corral people even more  and it is a good idea but I wonder why they hadn’t done it sooner. Also upon arriving, I wondered if my ticket from the initial game would work:

It did.

Initially, I was somber because going to this game reminded of the initial game in which I am now comfortable (with all the hecktivity gone) announcing that the responsibilities I was lifted of were those of taking care of my ailing dad. On that day May, 17, 2011 my father passed away.

What game? I was the first one to the left field bleachers beating all the other ballhawks in attendance (four according to mygamebals.com). I got Mookie Wilson to toss me a ball within the first minute. I first asked him if he could toss me a ball and he told me no but then tossed it up anyway after I said that it was ok and thanked him “anyway”. That is now the second time i have used the “can you toss me a ball please” line and that exact same scenario has occurred. The last time was in Miami. Here is a diagram of where I was and the flight of the ball:

The solid arrow is where I was and the dotted is how he threw me the ball. In retrospect, he was probably about five feet from the ball but whatever, you get the idea.

As the ballhawks arrived, I moved over to the empty center field section and running down the stairs, yelled out to Ryota Igarashi in Japanese for a ball. The next picture shows how the whole thing unfolded:

The names are pretty self-explanatory. The solid line is how far he went to shag the ball. The two dotted lines are what happened afterward. He liked my request so much we played catch for as many throws as it took me to fall into the seats. You see when I throw a baseball I have a longer stride than most people and that produces my right leg (I’m a righty) to come up after the pitch every time I want to get something behind the ball. If you look carefully behind the word “me” you will see there is a railing. Since I was on the right side of the railing, that cuts the aisle in half and made me make the choice of falling off a lot into the seats on my left, smacking my leg into the railing, or throw very slowly. I was going to go with the third but when I lobbed the ball into him and he made the hand gesture saying it was ok I tried to throw my slider but because the aisle was so narrow not only did the ball have no movement as I fell into the seats but I bounced it to him. I think he knew then to stop and called it of. Still, it was a great experience.

I moved over to right field in hopes that those players shagging there would toss me a ball but it didn’t take long to figure out they had seen me play catch with Igarashi. I moved back over to Left for Marlins bp.

But first, I want to show you one of the motifs of Mets bp:

If you can’t see the screen in front of 2nd base is down. Throughout the duration of bp it kept falling down. There wasn’t that much wind. I have had days were it was gusting circa 20 mph and the screen didn’t blow down. I don’t know I guess it’s just the Mets way of life.

As I got to left field and saw the first two batters I knew it was the big group:

Those hitters are (from left to right): Hanley Ramirez, John Buck, Mike Stanton, and Mike Cameron. I think if you take any two of them it is a pretty good time to be in left field but all four of them and you have a super group. I cannot think how good the left field seats in Sun Life Stadium would be this year if it opened 2.5 hours early. That said, I only got one ball from this group. I stayed back because of their power and it paid off when a ball bounced a few rows in front of me and I ran up an aisle an grabbed it off the paved steps:

When I look at it now it was hit pretty far. Guess who hit it. Mike Stanton. Of course that was not the only thing he hit:

In my 20+ games at Citi FieldI have never seen a player hit the Amtrak club. I am surprised that someone had not hit it sooner but not surprised it was Stanton to do it. Before I get too off topic, I want to mention I gave the Stanton ball to a kid who was chasing after me:

I can’t exactly tell if that is him in the stripes as I remember his face more but considering this is the only photo of its ilk…

I then convinced Randy Choate to toss me a ball in left field. After that I moved over to center field and got Brian Sanches (no that is not a typo) to toss me a ball in the corner spot. For those who don’t know, a corner spot is a place in a section where there is no possibility of anyone being in front or to one side of you because you are in the very first row and to the extremity of that specific section. Now the corner spot is not in this picture but it just demonstrates what happened:

Sanches is number 44 in that picture.

I then, as you can probably tell from the previous picture, moved over to right field in hopes of Mike or Mike (Stanton, Dunn) to throw me a a ball. I didn’t want to be recognized by Sanches who was not that far away so I sat down on the steps near the wall. The steps are so steep that I could sit down and still barely see over the wall:

Eventually a lefty hit a ball to the wall. Mike Dunn went to retrieve it but gave it to a kid much smaller than me. However, a second ball came and since I had made my presence know on the first ball he threw me the second ball:

That was it for bp.  I stayed in left field for the game. Both center fielders were occasionally throwing their warm up balls into the stands but I didn’t get any as I was always one staircase away. I am pleased to announce however, Observing Baseball is going green:

I have now been using the promotional Earth Day Metrocard since Earth day itself.

STATS:

  • Six balls at this game (five pictured because I gave one away)
numbers 135-140 for my career:
  • 79 balls in 22 games= 3.59 balls per game
  • 47 straight games with at least 1 ball
  • 23 straight at Citi Field
  • 4 straight games with at least 5 balls
  • 6 balls* 32,411 fans=194,466 competition factor
  • Time at game 4:36-10:19=5 hours 33 minutes

5/18/11 Nationals at Mets: Citi Field

Because the day before’s game was rained out, I had not gone to a baseball game in 12 days and was in a serious need for some baseball. Then I remembered why the Mets are known as the second most dysfunctional team in baseball.

First, I got to the stadium and the old man was indeed snoring:

Considering they had cancelled the game the previous day while it was still sunny I was not too optimistic this one would be played but stayed because I had already bought my ticket and didn’t want that money to go to waste if they did play. Many of the New York ballhawks (myself included) have been angered by the Mets changing gate opening times from 2.5 hour to 2 hours but I would have taken that today. I was awaiting a 5:10 gate opening time according to the schedule set by the Mets. So I stood out in a storm that was so bad I had to keep turning myself every few seconds to keep the side wind was blowing raindrops onto from getting too cold. As I write this entry June 8th I am still sniffling from the cold I got that day. I didn’t take any pictures just because I wanted to protect my camera as it has already gone through water damage (if any long time readers have noticed the pictures have gotten more misty since a few months ago, this is why). I waited and waited. 5:10 passed and still the gates were closed. At about 5:30, the Mets finally opened the gates:

YES!!!

Then they announced we would not be able to go anywhere besides the giftshop/museum:

Now when I say Dys- you say functional.

They kept us there because they weren’t sure if they were going to play the game or not. I get why they wanted to get us out of the rain but there were maybe twenty people waiting at this point. Would it really take that much to get twenty people out of the seating bowl if the game actually got called?

For those who have never been, the Mets’ museum is linked with the gift shop and is located towards the right side of the Jackie Robinson (when entering). In fact, you can faintly see it on the left side of the last picture underneath the staircase. So, I went in because I never had before. Having now been to the museums at Citi Field and Yankee Stadium, I think that Citi Field does a better aesthetic job but Yankee Stadium had more substance. By this, I mean that Citi had things such as higher ceilings:

and better location (behind the prize jewel section that most people come through for Citi Field vs. on the third level only accessible by one random flight of ramps for Yankee Stadium). What I mean by the greater substance of the Yankees is simply the history of the Mets vs. the history of the Yankees. For example, the Mets had a quarter of the museum dedicated to buy-able artifacts:

The prices on the bottom portion would be for baseballs from different games. Not necessarily historic or anything. No, those cost a lot more than the regulars.

I thought that there was no chance for a game but I wandered and charged my phone for a while until finally there was an announcement. They would in fact be opening the gates for entry. They hadn’t scanned our tickets yet so we had to get out of the stadium only to come back in and get our tickets scanned:

The time at this point was around 6:35ish and as you can see more people had joined in the gift shop and had to get in but when eventually security got settled and let people in.

My view upon entering the bowl:

The tarp was finally being pulled off by the grounds crew.

I set up shop on the left side of the dugout because I wanted to be close to the dugout in case someone came out and started signing autographs but also wanted to be closer to left field in case they came out to throw. As I went down, Livan Hernandez tossed a ball to another ballhawk, Ben Weil. I felt good for Ben for keeping his streak alive but also disappointed I hadn’t spoken my Spanish louder as that might have been my only shot of the night. If that didn’t make me feel bad enough, a volcano of baseballs erupted on the right side of the dugout. I raced over but Mt. Stairs ran out of the baseballs from his bucket/bag:

I kid you not when I say he tossed 5-7 baseballs into the stands in a matter of  5 seconds. As I said, I was on the left side of the dugout so it was not enough time to weave through people to get to the left side of the dugout.

So now 6:50 and still no ball for me. Finally, the position players came out to throw at 6:55:

Most notably the pair you see in this picture, Danny Espinosa and Ian Desmond. Ben and his fancy jersey and fitted Nationals hat elsewhere I thought I had a pretty good chance at this ball but I kept in mind that many times before I have suffered because I committed too much to a specific ball so I stayed alert. No one else came out of the dugout so as soon as they finished I waved my arms like crazy to get Desmond’s attention and he threw the ball to me. If I were writing this the day after I would remember the specifics but I know there was something unusual about the throw. Either it went over my head, I had to leap, it bounce, or something. Maybe it was just the fact that it was quite a distance. I don’t remember.

After I got this ball I looked at the pitching match-up, saw two lefties (Jonathan Niese and Tom Gorzelanny), and stupidly thought that I could make it to left field and get a Home Run. The guards usually start checking tickets at 6:20 but the gates didn’t even open until after that so I was hoping. By this time it was 7:00 and as I got out of the seats the National anthem started playing and I knew I was defeated. Throughout the game I wandered the stadium and got rained on. As I saw how little people were at the game:

(and the fact there were no Home Runs in the game), I was kicking myself because as you can see in the picture, I would have gotten as many baseballs as there were players that brought in a third out ball.

Anyway, it kept pouring and the Mets beat the Nationals 3-0 behind a strong performance behind Niese. Although there was something with Niese in what I believe was the seventh inning as he kept throwing balls back to the umpire probably because it was pouring at the time and the balls were extremely wet.

STATS-

  • One ball at this game (#83 on the career)
  • 22 Balls in 10 games = 2.2 Balls Per Game ( I am not proud)
  • 35 Games Straight with at least one ball (I am proud and amazed)
  • 21 straight games at Citi Field with at least 1 ball
  • 1 Ball* 24,527 fans (allegedly)= 24,527 competition factor
  • Time at Game 4:50-10:10= 5 Hours 20 Minutes
I have gone to a game since then so check back tomorrow? Hopefully?

6/3/11 Braves at Mets: Citi Field

Ah summer. Having finished my last exam the day before, (barely) I was ready to get my summer started and go to some baseball. Again I needed a respite from the matters at hand. Pardon the long time to get it up I didn’t write it the day after and mis-uploaded the pictures, went on the road and never wrote the entry.

Here goes. I entered the stadium and all the hawks were in attendance:

Citi Field – Braves @ Mets
zackhample 7
piazza 4
gbarasch 3
fischerm 3
howie 2
rossfink 1
garyk 1
jona 0
Box Score

That’s right. A total of eight mygameballs.com members. Seeing this at the gate, I went towards the right field line because I figured it wasn’t worth it to race them to left. I stopped in foul territory and started searching for Easter eggs. As I was doing this, a ball rolled to around where I was (pardon also the pictures in vivid color I did have a cracked screen and couldn’t tell the pictures were shaded blue) :

Jason Isringhausen picked the ball up and after my request  threw it to me. To tell you the truth, I didn’t even know he was on the Mets. Until he turned around (so I saw the name on his back) I thought it was Lucas Duda. Either way he threw me a ball and I went over to left field promptly afterwards.

It was a slow bp considering I was sharing the left field seats with maybe a hundred people, half a dozen being very skilled. My only ball in left field was a ball that took this path:

Yes a random Met hit a ball into the second deck. I knew that it would be tough to get another ball in left field with all the competition. So I started running as soon as I judged it was going to go into the second deck because I knew it was early enough in batting practice that nobody would probably be up there. I was right. It took me about five minutes to find the ball once up there but it was worth the very long journey (because of the steep incline of the second deck, you have to climb up about fifty feet to get thirty feet over your friends in the first deck). My mistake was in running back up quickly just as I got down to the field level, because I thought another ball had gone up there. In all reality, the ball had gone up there but had I waited two seconds longer I would have seen that the ball ricocheted back onto the field. That cost me serious time.

To escape the crowd and make up for lost time, I moved over to center field in hopes of a ball getting drilled, rolling to the wall, and the player tossing it to me. How do you think it went?:

That player from which the arrow is pointing from is Bobby Parnell. When the ball rolled to the wall he jogged over and picked it up (solid line). I then called for it and he tossed it to me (dotted line).

That was it for the bp. Nothing from the Braves. Had I written this the day after I could have gone into more detail of how but I write this a month after the fact. So…

I sat in left field for the game:

Why? I thought there were two lefties on the mound. Want to see the line-ups:

That’s right, I did confuse Derek Lowe for a lefty. I was just thinking about how the ball moves out of the pitchers hands. Since Lowe is a sinker baller, and his ball moves away from lefties I thought that he himself was a lefty. I mean I knew that he was a righty but when glancing at the probable pitchers I thought he was a lefty. This was a big mistake since the line-ups (righty vs lefty) of the two New York teams (Yankees and Mets) are so predicated on the opposing pitchers, due to all the switch hitters in their line-ups, any Home Run i would catch would most likely be a Braves Home Run.  More specifically: Chipper Jones or Dan Uggla.

Nothing came even close to me. The game itself was interesting as The Mets were up 3-1 until the eighth inning. Upon which they went onto surrender 5 runs in the next two innings and lose 6-3. I had been talking to a family the whole game and since the son had a glove, I saw if he had gotten a ball already and when he said he had not I gave him one of mine Keep in mind that I did have a cracked screen so I couldn’t see how badly this picture turned out:

Oh, and for those thinking that I could even have the slightest idea of how my pictures turned out, this is how cracked the screen is:

That is with the power on.

Update: I actually stumbled upon in my notes that I gave away the Parnell ball right after I caught it while I gave the ball away from the upper deck to the kid I mentioned before.

STATS:

  • 3 balls at this game (one pictured because I gave two away)
numbers 84-86 for my career:
  • 25 balls in 11 games= 2.27 balls per game
  • 36 games straight with at least 1 ball
  • 22 straight at Citi Field
  • 3 balls*28,301 fans= 84,903 competition factor
  • Time at game (I don’t really remember but let’s estimate it) 4:40- 10:10= 5 hours 30 minutes

5/6/11 Dodgers at Mets: Citi Field

Finally back to Citi Field for a game after ten days and what do I see?
Big Crowd 5611.JPG

The invasion continues. Why is it that there are so many more people outside thew gates for a team that is actually WORSE than last year? I just hope these are people who still think that gates open 2.5 hours before game time.I was with quite a few ballhawks at the gate so I actually took the path to right field (I would just like to point out that my backpack was about 50lbs from school stuff I would need over the weekend as I came to this game directly from school). On my way over there, this guard:
Guard macro 5611.JPG
Well actually there you can’t see much so here is a more zoomed view:
Guard Micro 5611.JPG
(He would be just to the right of the foul pole on the concourse) Anyway, the guard stopped me on my trot to right field and asked me, “Are you trying to get a ball?”. (Uh…Duh) So he told me that a ball had been hit to the lowest level right of the foul pole two pictures ago.So I checked and I checked. I must have checked for a good ten minutes as he kept telling me to circle the area. Eventually the guard in the top left of this picture:
Guard+ Ball spot 5611.JPG
who was in the elevated seats towards the bottom right of the picture found the ball (which was 50 ft away from where the other guard had told me. I am appreciative but how can one get it THAT wrong) and tossed it to me.I don’t know but from the response I got from the players I think they saw me looking for the ball and getting it tossed to me. I was the only one in a section as Ryota Igarashi shagged many a ball within 10ft of me, I asked him in Japanese for every one except the last, and he cold denied me ( my Japanese is bad but not terrible).As you can see by the last picture, if familiar with Citi Field, I moved to right field after getting the ball tossed to me but as more of those ballhawks at the gate had started to trickle to right field as it was already 20 minutes to half an hour since the gates had opened. To give an idea, right field at Center Field is not that good when you are all alone much less with other ballhawks:
rightfield Citi Field 5611.jpg

In addition to having a terrible incline, the only place where a non-frozen rope homerun has any chance of landing in the seats is to the left or right of the red MODELL’S sign where the wall slants back toward the field.In center field, there was, R.A.Dickey and the bullpen catcher Dave Racaniello:
View from center 5611.JPG
(Dickey on left and Racaniello squatting fifty feet in front)
I knew this wasn’t going to go well as a ball came to the wall within five seconds of my arrival, Dickey caught it and threw it back to Racaniello after me asking him. This wasn’t good because a) I was close enough to steal his hat if I so desired and b) I was the only one in the whole section. I got to know him as a nice guy last year so I think he saw me get the ball from the security guard in foul ground. My only hope was that Racaniello would shag one but when he moved up those fifty feet I fled for the riches of left field.And by that I mean that I was a proletariat. The number of people wasn’t too bad:
view to left 5611.JPG
Pretty good amount considering it was half and hour into Batting Practice:
view to right 5611.JPG
but yet the Dodgers weren’t hitting to my section (normally this isn’t a problem but because of so many ballhawks…) and the players were quite stingy. Did I mention that I didn’t have their roster because I rushed out of school? Oh yeah, that made it doubly hard and frustrating considering they had their game jerseys. The easiest way to get a player’s attention however simplistic it may sound is to shout out his *first* name. This would have been cake had I printed out the roster but no.Two that I reasonably could have had were one hit by Rod Barajas which I was camped under but Zack (yes, that one again) came two rows in front of me, jumped and caught the ball. The second was… well let me put the picture up first:
2nd missed 5611.JPG
The ball came down about where the family is sitting down. As the ball descended, I moved over that way but was blocked by the gentleman in the black Mets shirt. He didn’t get it either the man in the black shirt to the left of him in the picture did.I then got one ball tossed up by Tony Gwynn Jr for #2 on the day. That was it. Nothing more. A little while ago I would have been happy but now that I have gotten that number so much I just want to get something else higher. Here is the ball anyway:
Tony Gwynn ball 5611.JPGTo the game. I sat out in left field as Jonathan Niese was pitching and left field is the best (maybe only feasible) place to catch a Home Run at Citi Field:
view from LF 5611.JPG

My first shot during the game was when Terry Sands caught a ball right at the wall…
Warning Track TSands 5611.JPG
He actually might have touched the wall on his deceleration. This meant a good chance for a toss up for my, decked out in royal blue or what ever you call this color. Not! He caught it and ran all the way back to the dugout to toss the ball into the stands.Well good I had Matt Kemp and Juan Uribe in the line-up to give me a chance at a Home Run snag. Well…no, they went a combined 1 for 9 on the day. In the second inning, just as I was getting my glove on once more after James Loney struck out, Rod Barajas launched a fly ball in my direction. Initially, I thought it was going to die at the wall but I saw it carrying. I ran up towards the front of the section and because it was in a row and I wasn’t about to reach in front of people, I moved behind the person that was about to catch it and hoped he would move his hands away from his body as I would be all over any rebound that went straight back. But don’t take my word for it. The video is called “Barajas’ solo shot” and it is 42 seconds long and is from 5/6/11.I am the figure running in the white hooded sweater. Now for those of you who actually saw the video, you will know that the ball just barely cleared the wall and the guy had it in his hands but bobbled it on to the field. So no one in the section ended up getting it:
Almost HR 5611.JPG
Though I do feel sorry for him because as you can partially see in the picture he generated the most animated response to anything I have seen so far at Citi Field his season. (The man is the second one in on the first row and to the right.

That was it as far as action is concerned. The Mets ended up actually winning on Home Runs that went to right and right center, both uncatchable. No, this was not a coincidence, both were caused by the design of Citi Field.

Oh, and on the train I found a new use for commemorative cups:
Cup w/balls 5611.JPG
Sadly, my cup not runneth over.

no pictures yet but let me at least get the numbers up

 

STATS    

  • 2 Balls at this game
numbers 81 and 82 on the career
  • 21 balls in 9 games=2.3333 balls per game
  • 31 straight games with at least 1 ball
  • 2 balls*35,948 fans= 71,896 competition factor
  • Time at game 4:41- 10:03= 5 hours 24 minutes

 

 

 

 

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