Let’s just say that I won’t be in the mood for Yankee games for a while. First, there were three people in line at 4:50 for a playoff game last year. This was the line at 4:45 for the center field gate:
really don’t get how that can happen. That wasn’t that bad as most of
them didn’t go to the outfield for batting practice anyway (why do you
show up this early then?) Then when I optimistically entered the stadium
for a day of working on fly balls:
lucky if your eyes come back down with both retinas still fully
functioning. This made it nearly impossible for a skilled ballhawk to
catch a ball on the fly (without sunglasses) much less my unskilled
self. I lost three potential balls from this sun as I “had” to let them
drop and hope they stayed in place so I would be able to pick them up.
for toss-ups, normally Yankee player toss-ups are *very* (relatively
speaking) hard to come by as a wall of “here”s blasts as soon as the
player comes close to the ball but today it was just one fan. One kid
who seemed like a semi-regular by how the players recognized him, got
well over 50% of the toss-ups that went into the seats while I was
Finally, Curtis Granderson stepped in and hit a fly ball
to my right. I ran to the direction it was hit in, descended two rows
after I saw it touch base and beat out aforementioned “kid” to find it
tucked between the pads of the seat for Ball #1 on the day.
I wanted to stayed a bit as Rafael Soriano went into the bullpen to try and get a toss-up from the ball left in the bullpen:
but as I had no spot at a rail gap in right field because of Ben Weil and Tony Bracco,
and there was a mostly righty group of Yankees coming up, I made my way
over to left field. Absoltuamently nothing. Two Home Runs and for some
reason the White Sox didn’t throw any of their warm-up balls into the stands. Had there been any I wouldn’t been able to move that much because when I got there the rail gaps in left-center had already been taken.
3. Hope the guard to your right stops at a certain section
When they installed the second guard, they hoped he would make people just resign themselves to one side or the other and the guard stopped at a certain section and let the guys coming from left field get the people left in between them. This is the window where you would be able to just keep going left and out wait the guards but this security kept advancing until he met up with the left field guards. The result:
4. Get your ticket checked and be forced to leave.
Frus-tra-ting because of my false start to foul ground I wasn’t even allowed to go back and ask the other ballhawks if they could collaborate in getting me back into the field level seats. I tried going through the tunnel and asking them but apparently i wasn’t even allowed to stand in the tunnel leading to the section unless I had a ticket for that section.
Did not work. The Yankees have guards at every seat entrance (except for on the fourth level) well before the first pitch because they figure that if they charge so much for tickets than a person not sitting in their assigned tickets cost them that much more. Let’s do some math shall we? 137 entrances to the seats that have security guards (can we call it 140 for the sake of math) +1 supervisor for every ten openings+ 8 ticket checkers= 162 security guards for two hours before the game starts* even $6 per hour=$1,944 every game spent on security and I’m sure they make noticeably more than $6 per hour. That’s just the time from when the gates open until when the game begins.
7. Go back to your paid seat 5,000 feet from home plate:
After the fifth inning I got incredibly bored and frustrated that I was all the way in section 432a. So, I asked the invited if he had ever been to the Yankee museum. He didn’t even know they had one.
Some of the things I saw:
As we walked out of the museum, we immediately came upon then seats near the right field foul pole. I was scoping the area for lazy guards and what do you know, the first opening to the seats was security free. I pointed it out to my guest and we made quickly to our new seats.
That was it for me only one ball. By the way, I apologize for the lateness but Mlblogs has been acting up with the pictures again so I have had to work around those problems.
- 1 friggin ball at this game (#80)
- 19 balls in 8 games= 2.37 balls per game (Bleh)
- 33 straight games with at least 1 ball
- 7 games straight with at least on ball at Yankee Stadium
- 1 ball* 40,785 fans= 40,785 competition factor
- Time at Game 4:45- 10:22= 5 Hours and 37 Minutes
Not sure when my next game will be this weekend all depends on how Fordham does in a tournament.
Ah Sunday Night Baseball. The lights, the people, and the only game going on at that time. The ballhawk’s nightmare. First, there is the normal weekend crowd. Then, there is the Sunday Night Baseball crowd. Then, there’s the fact it is a Yankee game.
So a ballhawk like myself would have to get there extra early right? Well, I didn’t. I set myself up to get to the ballpark at 5:30 but because of the MTA’s modified 1 train schedule on weekends which has it not working from my station to the stop before Yankee Stadium. In a nutshell, I got to the ballpark at 6:24, my ticket blew away into the street as I was told to take out my phone. Not a good day to that point.
From this, it is no surprise that my first ball was thrown. Seeing little hope for Home Run snags, I headed over to foul ground to get a ball from the pitchers warming up. I initially lined up behind Neftali Feliz because of the Spanish factor but moved onto new pairs as the former pairs didn’t throw me a ball.
Finally, Mark Lowe saw my Ranger’s gear and tossed me his warm-up ball for Ball #1 on the day. I was relieved. It seemd like the perfect set of circumstances to get shutout.
I then moved back into fair territory and as this happened a ball came to Neftali Feliz. He threw it back but I managed to get in the words, “la proxima, por favor?” which translates to, “the next one please”. Within five minutes another ball came to him and he lofted it to me for Ball #2 on the day. I was ecstatic. I had just matched my season average in Yankee Stadium on the weekend.
Under the red arrow would be ESPN’s John Kruk picking his favorite seat of Yankee Stadium as he will every Sunday Night Baseball.
Here he is doing the actual segment:
The listed attendance was 40, 811 and for once it felt like that. This picture is from before the game and it is still pretty full:
The snagging room was as good as it ever will be because of the brief spurts of rain/lightning.
The view to my left:
The view to my right:
Sadly, the only ball that came within 100 ft of me went into the second level just as I thought I had it caught.
The game as all I have gone to at Yankee Stadium was indeed exciting. The Yankees won again by scoring a run in the eighth off of Arthur Rhodes.
Rangers 5 Yankees 6
As I left, I saw the set atop a parking garage of Baseball Tonight:
- 5 Balls at this game
- 11 Balls in 4 games so far this season= an average of 2.75 Balls Per Game
- 29 straight games with at least 1 ball
- 6 straight at Yankee Stadium (just to clarify I only got one ball at the old Yankee Stadium waaay before this blog so Yankee Stadium refers to the new one)
- Competition Factor 40811 fans* 5 balls= 204,055
- Time at game 6:24-11:14= 4 hours and 50 minutes
As soon as I took that picture a security guard said something that I thought was “Hi”. After a round of unsuccessful bp I headed over to left field for the second Yankee group. As I was headed out, the security guard:
I then went through a patch where neither Yankee nor Orioles were hitting balls to my part of left field. It was a group made out of all lefties except for one weak hitting righty. Since I wasn’t getting any toss-ups from the Orioles it was a tough bp. I think I probably should have been louder because it seemed like they always just missed my Orioles cap when scanning the crowd. Me not having my Orioles t-shirt didn’t exactly help either.
Then the power group came up. The group consisted of: Mark Reynolds, Derrek Lee, Caesar Izturis, and either Robert Andino or Adam Jones. This led to plenty of Home Runs to make up for the previous group. Most were out of my reach but several came into my axises of power. A few went over my head yadah, yadah.
Though, two came into my row. The first was hit by Derrek Lee two sections to my right (left if looking from home plate). I ran over and scooped it up as it trickled down back to my row for ball #2 on the day. The second, was hit by Mark Reynolds and actually landed in my row. So, I slid to get it before it rolled into the row in front of me. In the process of sliding I actually ripped the knee of my pants:
Although the pants were double layered, I can still say I would have been much happier on this specific ball if I had gotten it because I pretty scraped up, not on the slide but on banging my knee on the seat getting up.
I was in no mood to keep running around in the outfield. So seeing as it was the last group of bp, I got a head start on the end portion of bp. Nothing came of that. There I met up with Zack Hample and another ballhawk I had never met before named, Ben Weil (boys and girls, this is why you wear long pants even when it is warm outside:
(Can’t you tell a high quality camera picture when you see it. That would be both high quality photography and high quality camera.)
I stayed behind the Yankee dugout before the knee started hurting again and I knew I had to start moving to have it ready for the game (it was about 6:40 at the time). I abruptly left for right field because I knew there were two righties on the mound that day and the Yankees have many switch hitters.
From my spot in right I took time to laugh at those trapped in the bleachers I had been on my last trip to Yankee Stadium:
As far as the rest of the game goes, it was pretty good but for some reason the more I go to Yankee Stadium the less I am a fan of the Yankees themselves. Through this game, I was actually more disappointed that the Twins lost in a devastating fashion than the win the Yankees had. I was looking up here all game:
After the end Rafael Soriano threw a ball into my part of right field as he left the bullpen:
I didn’t want to get in front of the person who it was intended for so I let him try and catch it but he missed it completely and so neither of us got it.
Yankees 6 Orioles 5
- 2 Balls at this game
- 2.0 Balls Per game
- 28 straight games with at least 1 ball
- 5 straight games at Yankee Stadium with at least 1 ball
- Competition Factor: 81,034
- Time at Game: 4:30-10:30 Six hours
My post-school day began in the Fordham Prep Gym as the rain forced practice into the batting cage:
This was the longest 1-hour practice I have ever been a part of. First, I could not wait to go to my first game of the season. Second, the game happened to be between my two favorite teams. Third, watching hitters in the cage if you are not involved gets monotonous after fifteen minutes much less an hour.
I was so excited you cannot believe. I have been waiting for baseball season since December and had a temporary case of ADHD where I literally could not sit still. I was so happy I was even described as glowing by one person. When I left the Prep at 3:45, I must have ran a seven minute mile to the train. I went through the whole shebang I did last time with the train.
After that picture was taken (I assume), I turned to the photographer and saw it was none other than, Zack Hample. If you do not know the story, I was a Watch With Zack client of his last year (which led to one thing which led to another which led to this blog). He quickly raced over to the left field side of the stadium. Seeing as the right field bleachers were much less crowded than they had been in my playoff game and I have enough trouble catching a ball on my own not competing with Zack, I stayed in right field. Bad move.
There would not be one Home run hit there and a wall of beggars would glue to the wall in the front row of the section. This would have gone pretty well had a ball gone into the seats but as I said, it didn’t happen. I then jogged to left field as the Twins did the same.
As the Pitchers warmed up I managed to wrongly judge that a ball was going to: go over my head, fall short, be right at me, not hit the top of the wall, not bounce back all the way to the field, was going to deflect off of a fan trying to catch the ball. Some of those more than one time. Had I played all correctly (or had ridiculous luck like last season) I would have had my all time record.
Then there were the pitchers. I camped behind the long toss partnership of Capps and Nathan. I was 99.9% sure that if Nathan ended up with the ball I would be able to coax it out of him because, as I put it to Nathan, ” Joe, could you give me the ball, please?Who else in the Stadium is wearing you jersey?”
Unfortunately, even the depleted sea of “Here”s drowned out my request and the ball went to not even a Twins’ fan on the outfield side of him.
I then went down the line. 1 pairs. 2 pairs. Nothing. The Twins seemed like they didn’t even care about road fans. There must have been a dozen Twins fans but less than half of the balls went to Twins fans.
Now onto my fourth pair, I was wondering if Carl Pavano would even throw his ball into the stands considering how his experience in New York went. I was as usual trying to get in his line of view so he would see the Twins hat and shirt.
This was not going well for me: I misplayed however many balls, couldn’t stay in left field, my camera screen broke so I couldn’t see what I was taking a picture of, and now the ___hole chant.
I didn’t want to stay there any longer because of the aformentioned chant and the fffffreeezing temperatures. So, wandered around the Stadium to get warmer, hope a security guard was taking a break, and get a better view:
In the third inning, I gave up trying to find an open spot in security decided it was boring and went up to the second level. Not three sections from the stairs I saw an open, unguarded aisle. I went down to take a seat and this was my view:
Prime Foul ball snagging territory.
As I was walking down the stairs and taking that picture. A foul ball zoomed back just a stair case to my left:
If it helps, the ball landed where the soda vendor is standing in the picture. I quickly got my glove on but was blocked by fans in their seat.
Throughout the game, I moved further to the right as I thought it was an akward angle where I was currently sitting but three foul balls went to the Foot Locker sign in the previous picture and none were sliced within three sections of me.
The game went well as I root for the Twins in Yankees-Twins games (the Yankees beat them too much) and the Twins loaded the bases and Delmon Young hit a double to empty the bases and send the game into extra innings where the Twins won it on a single with runners on first and third.
- 1 Ball at this game(no picture because I gave it away)
- 1.0 Balls per game
- 26 Straight games with at least 1 ball
- 4 games at the New Yankee Stadium with at least 1 ball
Oh, and sorry this entry took too long but MlBlogs was having weirdness and I couldn’t upload pictures.
Ah the playoffs. So much excitement in the air. So magical the feeling, that people must show up really early… at least that’s what I thought.I left my school at about 2:45.
I walked down Fordham road to the B train and waited what seemed like a fifteen or twenty minutes because I wanted to beat all the people that were getting to the stadium today.
At the time I was willing to accept defeat to all the people that had surely camped out
When I got out of the subway, I saw a huge line of people going towards what looked to be the center field gate.
Instead of going in this line and hoping it lead to the gate I went to the front to see if there was any hope of getting to the front of it.
Sound the fanfare for I have gotten to the front of the line. Their turned out to be two lines in the bigger line.
The first line turned out to be for people who were waiting try and get tickets being released before the game. Or at least, something to that nature. The second line was for employees waiting to get in.
The game was starting at 8:00 and the gates were opening at 5:00. So I had almost two hours to burn before I could even get in to the stadium.
And if you are wondering, the clothsline clip on my hat is because the Yankees had World Series hats for $5 but they were all size 8s. I am a size 7 so I needed the clip for it to not go down to my ears.
From about 3:30 on every ten minutes felt like an hour in itself. There’s an hour and a half between 3:30 and 5:00 so do the math.
Also, remember how I thought people would be camped out over night before. Well I could have come at 4:45 and still have been the first one in line. However, the worst thing was that even though I had been waiting since 3:00 and all the security guards had seen me since then, they waited until 4:55, when there were sizable lines to tell the people that they would only be opening one gate and it wasn’t mine.
WOW!!! I had waited since 3:00 to be the first one in line and they waited until people started getting there to tell me that I would have to go to the back of the newly formed line. (Maybe I should change the name of this blog to the Big Apple Rant because it seems that’s all I do.)
Anyway, while in line a person came into it behind me that I thought I recognized. He was a man with glasses and a sting back pack. That looked something like this:
I wasn’t really sure at that point so I wasn’t going to make an idiot out of myself and ask some random stranger if I know them. However, when people started mentioning different times for the gates opening. he looked like the person who would most likely know. So I asked him if the gates were opening at 5:00 or not. He told me they were and followed up with “You’re Mateo aren’t you? You were one of Zack’s clients.” I affirmed his suspicsion and he told me about how he had read the article about me . He then went on to introduce himself as the Yankee Stadium Ballhawk. I had looked at his profile on www.mygameballs.com once or twice and remebered him vaguely.
Anyway, enough of this, open the gates already!! I got into the stadium, got my bag checked and raced behind Alex who I probably should have mentioned was at the gates with us.
Well, it was 5:00 and you’d think they would have started bp by now but:
I now had some time on my hands (never had that before he said sarcastically). Tony Pena was playing catch by the dugout with an UTY (unidentified throwing Yankee).
For those who haven’t read the descrition of the blog I go to a high school called Fordham Prep, which is on the Fordham U campus. What our school does is, instead of making and buying their own gear they just take the left overs the university’s baseball team has.
He went to Fordham U and recognized the sweatshirt of his alma mater and responded accordingly. The reason I mention this is one of the growing list of reasons why I won’t be going to Yankee Stadium again soon. I would have been able to talk to him about how to break into the sports broadcasting industry had it not been for the moat of seats by the dugouts that no one is allowed to get in even during batting practice (AAAAAAAAAAARGH).
The Yankees then came out to stretch and throw:
but when he finished, his throwing partner took the ball and started throwing with someone else.
I moved on. I started playing umpire whenever Kerry Wood threw a ball to Sergio Mitre and it worked… sort of. Alex was in front of me and trying to get the same ball. When Kerry stopped throwing we were both waving. Alex in the front row and I in about the twelveth row. Kerry tossed it up so I thought at first it was going to Alex but then realized it was thrown to me. The ball was very underthrown. I started running forward but to no avail. It landed in the sixth row and bounced over my head and into about the twentieth row, where a fan in the twenty fifth row beat me
“Show me that arm Kerry!!”
For the Yankee’s batting practice I tried right field. Waaaay too crowded. I went up to the second deck. “you can’t come up here for batting practice”. Really, This is further from home plate than the field level seats.
So I went to the bleachers. There were two balls I had a shot at in the bleachers. A-Rod hit one (without batting gloves which was weird) and I ran over but someone was already standing there and dropped it when it hit his hands but caught it in midair before it hit the ground. The next was hit by Curtis Granderson, I ran down to the bottom of the bleachers and stretched as far as I could without falling onto the field level seats.I was seriously worrying about getting shutout for this game.
Texas came out to throw and I raced to the left field seats:
It got me three toss ups from Rangers playersI followed Neftali Feliz when he finished throwing all the way from left field until the dugout waving my arm like crazy and holding my Ranger’s towel in my mouth. He finally rewarded me when he got to dugout. I was so thankful I gave it to a lady that was legitimately trying to get the ball as well.I was walking back to left field when I noticed that Michael Krikman was finishing his throwing. I stopped in foul ground and he gave me ball #2.
I then made my way to left field and held the towel up for every player that finished throwing. Mitch Moreland was about the third player gave me my third ball of the day.
I was initially kicked out from left field by this usher:
but then he let me stay for the rest of batting practice. Now he left for parts of bp and I probably could have moved down the sections but didn’t want to ruin it for all others after me that wanted to stay for batting practice.
I occasionally went up to my actual seats but which view would you rather have.
The game was over and I was the only person within a mile of the bullpen and guess what. No baseballs from Rangers players. I then changed into Yankee’s gear in anticipation for the groundskeeper throwing the remaining five baseballs into the crowd:
- 4 baseballs at this game (3 in the picture because I gave one away)
- 56 baseballs in 20 games this season = 2.8 balls per game
- 57 total baseballs
I just wanted to get this in because I thought it was important and was reminded by the memorial at Yankee Stadium. Fred “Freddy sez” Schuman had a heart attack last week, went into a coma, and died last Sunday.
Here are some of the pictures from the memorial:
I found out on Sunday because one of Dad’s friends was very close to Freddy. I forgot about it until I heard the echo of the pan in the great hall and stumbled upon this.
In any case, R.I.P.