Archive for the ‘ Citi Field ’ Category

4/24/11 Diamondbacks at Mets: Citi Field

Today was the first day of trying a new strategy. I first went out to left field but once I got there, I saw that the season ticket holder bp field spot had actually grown:

sth bs 42211.JPG
On Friday, it stopped before the Shea sticker on the wall. Here it covers a whole new section.
As you can tell by where I took this picture from, I decided that I would go to right field because no one was there and the Mets were going against a righty pitcher in Armando Galaraga (more people taking bp left handed).
There I got rejected in my request for a ball from five different players and a bullpen catcher in three different languages (Ouch!). Yeah, most of them *did* hear me.  I got laughed at by Ryota Igarashi and his translator, flat out denied by DJ Carrasco (although it occurs to me that he might not understand spanish as he was born in Arizona), and probably not heard by R.A. Dickey and Dave Racaniello.
Back to left field… I came back to left field as the Diamondbacks started hitting and the season ticket holders started to vacate the field. I wish I had been there for Mets bp as although there were not many balls thrown or hit I forget that with some bp before people get there, there are now easter eggs to be found.
Even with the elapsed time this:
left bp 42411.JPG
was the view to my left.
This to my right:
right bp 42411.JPG
but the person who shagged the most balls by far in the outfield, J.J. Putz, did not throw a single ball into the stands (while I was there). Here he can actually be seen asking for a ball from another player so that he can throw it in:
JJ Putz 42411.JPG
(He’s the one in red)
Couple that with the fact that the Diamondbacks only hit two Home Runs while I was there and you have a slow day in straight away left. My first ball actually came when I saw a player hit a line drive to left center, ran over and was rewarded by Chris Young (of the Diamondbacks) for being the only D-Backs “fan” in that section for ball #1 on the day.
While taking the picture of that ball is when my camera died so the rest of the entry is writing.
My next ball came when Gerrardo Parra cam across a ball, was about to throw the ball back, and heard someone that actually knew his name ask him for a ball in Spanish. That fan would be me. So he tossed me the ball for #2 on the day.
Nothing else came my way for the rest of the day because of Mr.Putz and his crew of Barry Enright and David Hernandez. I was satisfied but did not want to be stuck in left field as the Mets would be 2/3 lefty and the D-Backs had 4 lefty hitters. So at 12:20 I made my way over to foul ground to go for third out and foul balls.
The very first inning I got Xavier Nady’s third out ball for ball#3. Getting that so quickly made me skeptical that I would get another so I moved back a little and played foul balls but despite the fact that it was Easter Sunday and only 22,232 fans showed up it was not reflected in the field level seats. There were no balls that I had a realistic chance of getting.
Then a foul ball dribbled down the line, the ballboy picked it up, tossed it to Don Baylor, the D-Back’s hitting coach, who tossed it to me after the inning ended as I was the only one who recognized him as “Don” instead of “Mr.Baylor” or “Number 25″. I then handed this ball to a girl who had been racing up to the dugout every inning with her glove but had come up empty every time that far. For those keeping score at home, that would be ball #4 on the day.
And Presto!I had turned a slightly below average day into a slightly above average day.
The game was even more surprising as the Mets swept the Diamondbacks by pouring on the runs and made it 4 straight.(?)
Diamondbacks 4 Mets 8
Stats:
  • 4 Balls at This Game (3 Pictured because I gave one away)
Balls 42411.JPG
Number 76-79 on the Career:
sweet spots 42411.JPG
  • 18 balls in 7 games = 2.57 balls per game
  • 32 straight games with at least 1 ball
  • 19 straight games at Citi Field with at least 1 ball

4 balls* 22,232 fans= 88,928 competition factor

  • Time at game: 10:26-4:05= 5 hours and 39 minutes
Now this is tentative on my Fordham Prep baseball schedule but the plan as of now is to be at Yankee Stadium Tuesday through Thursday and possibly Friday Saturday (the Fordham Prep schedule has conflicting information. One way I can go. The other I can’t.) So I’ll go to my game today and update this tomorrow. That would be this entry. I don’t think I’ll create a separate entry for this information

4/22/11 Diamondbacks at Mets: Citi Field

Looking to redeem myself for yesterday’s weather anomaly. The spirit of redemption was in the air. I could just feel it (well actually not in the air because it was absolutely fafafafreezing). I thought this would be a great day for snagging:

Welcome 42211.JPG
This was definitely NOT the case. Here is the view of the outfield to my left:
Outfield 42111.JPG
Looks harmless great for a day of redeeming,right? Well, the view to my right in the Outfield:
Right Outfield 42211.JPG
Well that’s pretty bad too but below was the stupid season ticket holders batting practice on the field made toss-up almost impossible for all of Mets Bp.
Diamondbacks Bp:
DBacks Bp 42211.JPG
 is best summed up as, “They (weren’t) throwing anything and (weren’t) hitting anything” I thought it was just the left field guys but when I went over to right field, the Major League coach (whatever that is),Wilson Valera, was hitting back every ball that came to the wall with a fungo:
Don Baylor 42211.JPG
Every… Single… One.
That was it. Nothing for the duration of Bp.
The plan as for the game was, go back into foul territory for the Diamondbacks’ at-bats and go for third out balls when the Mets were hitting.
Zack Hample was in Left Field (yeah he was at yet another of my games) for the game but I did meet two other ballhawks:
Group Photo take 2 42211.JPG
They would be: Howie (a ballhawk/autograph collector) in the Happy Youngster shirt and Jordan Elkin (ballhawk just this season who has already caught a Russell Martin Home Run and is averaging 3.33 balls per game)  in the red and balck sweater. Yes I did crop myself out of the picture because the person taking the picture couldn’t check to make sure he got the picture right because of my cracked camera screen.
Anyway, I used my, whatever shade of Red the Diamondbacks gear is now, hat to get Russell Branyan to throw me the third inning third out ball for #1 on the day. Sweet relief! I now went almost solely for foul balls over here:
Foul View 42211.JPG
I actually should have had two and learned a valuable lesson, Never Give Up On A Ball. The first Foul ball:
1st Foul 42211.JPG
went about three people deep in the row started by the kid in the Navy blue hood and black windbreaker. Rushing down only by looking at the ball, I stopped chasing once I got to the row it was going to land in because I couldn’t go any further into the row. The ball was then dropped into the row in front of the people, which I could have easily entered and caught the rebound had I been aware of the fact.
The next foul ball, bounced of the electronic video strip:
Video strip 42211.JPG
Fell down:
Rush down 42211.JPG
And landed a row behind me:
Thumbnail image for Foul ball spot 42211.JPG
It actually landed in the chair of the gentle man in the jeans but everyone (including Jordan) rushed to a spot they thought it landed two seats to the right. I didn’t want to get in that mess (if you look carefully, you can see the result of the spilling of various beverage and food items) nor deny Jordan of his first foul ball if he got it.
Turns out, they were chasing a phantom ball as the man leaning over the baby carriage:
Foul Catcher 42211.JPG
snatched it from underneath their noses.
That was pretty much it for the night. The umpire, Greg Gibson, only gave out one ball that was designated to one person in the stands.
One other thing of note, though. I got partial documentation of it while I was taking this picture:
Keith Olbermann? 42211.JPG
of a poster saying, “Why leave a city with six professional sports teams and the Mets?” (so true now that the Knicks are relevant again). The poster is towards the upper part of the picture (left if oriented properly) but after taking it I realized the person cut off by the bottom of the picture looked like Keith Olbermann. It may indeed have been him as the person was carrying a briefcase and wore a mlb.com credential holder but the person also had a cane and broken/fractured foot. So can anyone who follows Olbermann tell me if something happened. Obviously, it doesn’t make much of a difference now but it would be a fun story to tell/know. Matt, do you read ballhawking entries or just the “Offseason Recap and Preview”s?
Oh, and the Mets won their third straight.
Diamondbacks 1 Mets 4
Stats:
  • 1 measly ball at this game (#75)
Ball 42211.JPG
  • 14 balls in 6 games this season= 2.33 balls per game
  • 31 straight games with at least 1 ball
  • 18 straight games at Citi Field with at least 1 ball
  • 26,546 fans * 1 ball= 26,546 competition factor                                                                
  • Time at Game 4:55- 10:23= 5 Hours 28 Minutes
  • 6 straight games with Zack Hample/other ballhawks ruling my decisions sub/abconcious.
Just a warning, the entry about Sunday might not go up quickly because I have no charger for my battery.

4/21/11 Astros at Mets: Citi Field

Finally a normal day for snagging (last year the majority of my games were Citi Field Weekday games). I was excited enough to notice the outer beauty of Citi Field (well I guess it’s not technically outside but can be seen from outside) :
42 in JRR 42111.JPG

Yep, that’s it the Jackie Robinson Rotunda.

Although, I don’t have a picture of the line as of yet (because I was too busy getting my copy of The Baseball signed by the author). Though I think it was due to the fact that there were fans who still thought the gates opened at 4:40.

The view as I got to left field:
DSCN2072.JPG

For a long time it was surprisingly empty there considering the line at the gates.

But if you have really good eyes you noticed that:
ze flags 42111.JPG

the flags show the wind was blowing directly in. None of the balls were carrying.

Normally this wouldn’t have been a problem because the players would still toss balls up but when I looked to see the balls that had rolled to the wall I saw this:
stupid season tickets 42111.JPG

That would explain why none of the players made an effort to get the balls at the wall. This would continue until Astros batting practice. The wind however, would continue all of Batting Practice.

As my running lanes got clogged up and the hitting group of Hunter Pence and Carlos Lee came up, I decided I wanted to get at least one ball on the day. So I moved up to the second deck in left field and hoped the winds would swirl just as someone hit a high Home Run. Unfortunately I can’t get my exact section because of the sun but this picture should give you an idea of how empty it was:
 
2nd deck 42111.JPG

Right after I got up there (Don’t let the distance between the decks fool you. It was a trek in it’s own), a ball got hit two rows behind the exact spot I was standing in on the first level. Nothing was even coming close to my level as it was being knocked down by the wind but I decided that two go down would be a double waste of time. So, I decided to wait until the group finished hitting or I caught a ball, whichever came first.

Surprisingly, Carlos Lee absolutely launched a ball, through the wind, and I easily caught it on the fly (but it only got to the third row of the section). I then quickly ran down, decided that the left field section wouldn’t yield much, and decided to go to the right field bleachers. On the way, I stopped at the top of the center field section pondering whether or not to go down. While I talked to the Security Guard at the top, a ball got hit behind Bud Norris who was patrolling that section. Mid-sentence, I broke off going down to convince him t give it to the only Astros fan in the section. Guess what, it worked.

I came back up to the congratulatory guard (even though I was wearing Astros gear) and continued out to right field. This was a mistake. Although I was the only one wearing Astros gear, there was only one lefty in the final group, Michael Bourn, and he was working on hitting the ball the other way. Even if there was a Home Run in that section, I feel I wouldn’t have caught it because of the sun:
Sun 42111.JPG

 Feeling accomplished and not feeling like being locked out, I moved into right field foul territory to try and catch a foul ball considering there were tow lefties, Chris Capuano and J.A. Happ, starting:
Foul bp 42111.JPG

There I came to recognize Nelson Figueroa as one of the more fan friendly players. He was patrolling left field during bp. Immediately after that ended, he gave some one his glove and signed autographs all the way from the corner in right field to the Mets’ dugout. That is about 200 ft of autographs. He signed my ball:
Nelson Figueroa signing ball 42111.JPG 

and even granted my ridiculous request of taking a self portrait for the 2011 http://www.mygameballs.com scavenger hunt  (which I am still undecided on whether or not I will enter but he seemed like a friendly guy):
Nelson Figeroa self-portrait 42111.JPG
Sorry it is sideways but Mlblogs undoes any rotations a person does to a picture (if you want to see proof of the “self” part, look in his sunglasses.

The game itself was surprising as the Mets actually routed someone else. In the process, Mike Nickeas collected his first career Home Run . Now, I don’t know what there is in the video as I can’t watch them myself for whatever reason but it was Zack Hample that caught the ball. As far as what he told me it is a great story to what happened afterward. Here is the link.

No foul balls anywhere near me but at least I had a great view of the game for a $25 ticket:
View 42111.JPGMax 42111.JPG

If you can’t tell because of my unsteady hand, that is my backpack loaded with free soda. It might be a fun thing to collect in addition to baseballs.

Stats:

  • 2 Balls at this game

Balls 42111.JPG

Numbers 73 and 74 for the Career:
Sweet Spots 42111.JPG
  • 13 balls in 5 games this season= 2.60 balls per game
  • 30 straight games with at least 1 ball
  • 17 straight games at Citi Field with at least 1 ball
  • 32,819 fans* 2 balls=65,638 Competition Factor
  • Time at Game  4:45-10:00= 5 hours 15 minutes
  • 5 straight games with Zack Hample ruling my subconscious decisions

4/9/11 Nationals at Mets: Citi Field

So, I was on 67th street at 2:00 and had yet to pick up my Mets/Nationals gear. Long story short I showed up waay late to the game… but wait why haven’t the gates opened?
long line 4911.JPG

Did I actually show up late?
4:55 4911.JPG
Yeah, by almost a hour (last year I got to Citi Field 4:00-4:10 for a 7:10 game. If you can’t see that says 4:55)

Apparently the ever endearing Mets thought it best to open the gates a mere 2 hours before game time. This put me both at the back of a line of people and will take half an hour away from me every time I go to Citi Field. Why are both New York teams horrible at dealing with fans?

Anyway, the gates opened at 5:10 but I didn’t get until probably 5:20 because of the line delay.

As the gates opened I quickly identified the fans racing up the escalator as ballhawks Zack Hample and Joe Faraguna. Since they were probably going to go right to left field, I figured I should pray that the pitchers were still throwing in right.

They weren’t so I went to center field in hopes of getting a ball from the posse that shags balls there. At first, it seemed like that would never happen. Pedro Beato was cutting everything way in front of the wall (wasn’t that hard considering I was about a thousand feet from home plate). One then finally made its way to the wall. A group of kids was yelling at him and he didn’t turn around. Finally, I accused him of being racist towards Colombians. He laughed and threw me the ball.

On to left field. I got there and literally every feasible landing sector had a ballhawk patrolling it. There must have been half a dozen ballhawks. Let’s see how many I remember. 1+2 the ones listed two paragraphs above. 3. Tony Bracco. 4. Oliver Rowles. 5. Gary Kowal. 6. Ross Finkelstein. It must have been the fact that it was the first 7:10 game of the season but take my word for it there are almost never ballhawks at weekend games (which is why I like them). Just check the day of the week I made this major snag on. I think that was everyone but I can’t be that sure seeing as I didn’t talk to many on account of me moving around so much.

Nevertheless, none of the ballhawks dared to be in the corner of left field amongst a sea of weekend fans. So when Michael Morse hit a homerun behind that sea, I ran through my aisle to the ball. I was late because of a few fan but the ball hit off a seat and stayed in the air for what seemed like minutes before I caught it on that fly (technically it is not on the fly but it didn’t hit the ground so that’s good enough for me. If you haven’t picked up, I stink at tracking fly balls). I then got a toss up from a player I later identified as Chad Gaudin. I gave that one away to a kid who had missed the previous toss-up.

I then moved over to right field for the rest of Nationals bp. Seeing as I was the only Nationals fan in the section, you would think I would get a ball quickly:
DSCN1909.JPG

Nope. The two players: Tyler Clippard  and  Drew Storen were tossing up balls galore. Except not to me. It was so bad that even other Met fans started vouching for me as “#1 Nats fan up here”. One appeared to be thrown to me by Clippard but he under-threw it and another fan in the row in front of me reached it front and grabbed it. Solid day but could have gone way better. I seem to have a problem with finishing bps. I get a few early but then run dry in the closing minutes.

Though my seat for the game was pretty good:
DSCN1913.JPG

I would have gone to the third base side but since I am stubborn and was determined to get a ball from the two Nationals, I didn’t have time to run over there (security doesn’t let you enter after bp ends). There was no shot at getting an Ike Davis 3rd out ball. He threw them solely to the front to rows, which the security guard at the bottom of the stairs wasn’t giving access to.

Although, had a person not gone down the staris mid at-bat, I would’ve had my second foul ball at Citi Field:
DSCN1914.JPG

Imagine the two or three fans standing up are the fans that got in my way. The ball went where the two or three fans are and I ran down the stairs with plenty of fans but couldn’t reach out the extra three feet because of the fans and couldn’t run around them because of the railing. This left the ball going into the row of fans where it was dropped and recovered. It was actually a great night for foul balls on this side because of the two lefty pitchers but not that many balls went into my section.

I then missed out on an opportunity for an umpire ball because I was again, seated on the wrong side of the stadium (but it may be good security doesn’t know me, though. I saw the adverse affects this can have with Greg Barasch being essentially banned for the last few games of the season a year ago.)

The game was actually a decent one with the Mets winning 8-4. I would have a more detailed recollection of the game but I am doing this entry five days later.


Stats:

  • 3 Balls snagged (2 pictured because I gave one away )

    
Balls 4911.JPG 
A different side if you prefer below.

Sweet Spots 4911.JPG

  • 2.0 Balls Per Game
  • 27 straight games with at least 1 ball
  • 16 ga
    mes straight at Citi Field with at least one ball.
  • Time at Game: 4:55 to 10:30= 5 hour and 35 minutes
  • Competition Factor= 95,088
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 413 other followers

%d bloggers like this: