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.