Results tagged ‘ baseballs ’

Characters of Observing Baseball: Zack Hample

Zack Hample COB

Entries with Zack in them: 27

How I met Zack: I don’t know if there was a single time I heard of Zack. The first distinct event I remember, though, was this: I was known–among other things–as the baseball-obsessed kid in my pre-teen years. (Trust me; I have the years worth of baseball books I never read to prove it.) Anyway, as I alluded to in that last sentence in parentheses, this lead everybody and their grandmother to go with baseball-related books when in doubt as gifts. One such book was “Watching Baseball Smarter”. Unlike most of the books that I have been given–which I convinced myself I’d read later as I put them on my bookshelf, only to be left, still unread–it seemed interesting, so I started reading it. While it ended up not being a book I particularly enjoyed, when I saw the author’s picture on the back, I thought, “Hey, that’s that guy who catches baseballs that I’ve heard of a few times.” (Again, because I was “the baseball kid”, a couple of people had told me about Zack before that point, but it was never more than a mention until I realized *he* had written the book.) After I read the book, I went on two road trips with my dad and snagged a combined four baseballs in 18 games. While it’s true that I didn’t get to the gates before they opened, didn’t really ask players at all for baseballs, and didn’t read Zack’s blog, I was kind of feeling, “You know, this whole do-it-yourself snagging thing really isn’t working, so I should learn directly from the expert himself.” So, that next year I saved up the whole year to A. Go to a “Watch With Zack” game, and B. Go on a third baseball road trip with my dad where I would have a clue as to how to snag a baseball. And that Watch With Zack Game was where I met Zack (more specifically, the 79th street subway station). I would write more about the experience, but I’m saving it for the “Blast from the Baseball Past” entry I hope to write on the game eventually. In the meantime, here’s Zack’s entry on the game.

First of all, since this is the first entry of its ilk, let me go through what this series of entries unofficially is. There are many people who I mention or just appear in my ballhawking entries, so these entries are to give you some background into the person and my relation to them. (So why they are even appearing in the entries.) Zack, for the .0000009% of you who don’t know, is the snagger of 6,459 baseballs (as of January, 14, 2013), and as such has appeared in a ton of my ballhawking entries since we are often at the same game in New York.

If you didn’t pick it up in the paragraph where I described how I met Zack, Zack was the one who taught me how to ballhawk. He was the inspiration for me starting to ballhawk and the reason this blog exists in general. Granted I haven’t written any other of these “Character of Observing Baseball” entries yet, but I’d say this is probably the hardest to write since there is so much known about Zack already out there, so most things I would write would be redundant. That, and my encounters with him are numerous enough that I can’t just narrate to you those one or two times I’ve been to the same game as him. My best advice is to click the “26″ earlier in the entry and simply read a few of the entries for my experiences at game with him. So, good people, I give you a few links to somewhat get to know Mr. Hample yourself:

1. Blog

2. Website

3. Twitter

And, for fun: 4. Wikipedia Page

Now, just because I think you were too lazy or whatever to click the “26″, here are some of the synopses of the games we have both attended:

1. 4/9/11 Nationals at Mets- Every ballhawk in the New York it seemed came to this game because back then everyone went to Citi Field instead of Yankee Stadium only to find out that the reason they had gone there had been taken away from them by the Mets in that the Mets pushed the gate opening time from two-and-a-half hours before first pitch to two hours before it.

2. 4/14/11 Orioles at Yankees- Zack formally introduced me to Ben Weil forcing my first memory of Ben being the scrapes on his legs from the Yankee Stadium ground.

3. 4/17/11 Rangers at Yankees- I showed up half way through batting practice for this Sunday Night Baseball game only to almost out-snag Zack for the first time ever.

4. 4/21/11 Astros at Mets- I got Zack to sign my copy of “The Baseball and got Nelson Figueroa to sign a ball and take a self-shot with my camera. What did Zack snag? Only the first ever mygameballs.com-recorded Citi Field home run snag, which just so happened to be Mike Nickeas’ first career home run.

5. 7/24/11 Angels at Orioles- Zack caught Mike Trout’s first ever home run, so I got to have a semi-behind-the-scenes look at OPACY and got to see a 19-year-old Trout in person as he met with his family for the first time after hitting his first major league home run.

6. 8/1/11 Marlins at Mets- This time it my turn to snag a game ball. I snagged an Angel Pagan foul ball which Zack, myself, his half-brother, and his half-brother’s son had fun taking pictures of (none of which show up in the entry, but I that was the main interaction during the game).

7. 8/15/12 Rangers at Yankees- There was a bunch of rain , so Zack explained to me the difference between him and Mickey Mantle, helped me snag a ball from a groundskeeper, and provided almost half of the pictures I used in the entry.

8. 8/24/12 Astros at Mets- Since it was my last game before going off to school in Minnesota, I rode back the entire subway journey back with him and Greg Barasch.

9. 8/14/11 Rangers at Yankees- I did a “Before The Gates Open” video in which Zack made a ridiculous cameo–from which the picture up top is a screen cap of.

I think I could write more about the other games, but again, check them out. Mostly because I don’t feel like transcribing the entries all into this one single entry. And if you were wondering…Yes, making it so you can find every game I attended with any given ballhawk through tags is one of my mini-projects under the larger project of re-doing the blog this winter. I already have it so you can see every entry a certain player hit or tossed me a ball, but I realize now that I had no clue what tagging entries actually meant. So if you notice, as of late, I haven’t really been tagging the entries myself; I’ve just been using all fo the tags WordPress suggests for me. That’s because I’m trying to figure out what I actually want my tags to be used for. Once I have a concrete idea and get up the motivation to undertake the project, I’m going to re-do almost all of the tags. That’s yet another reason why I got rid of so many entries from the past. Anyway, if you couldn’t tell, the main part of the entry is over, so this is the part where I tell you to vote for the entry(s) you would like to see next if you haven’t already:

And here are the already-exhausted entry ideas. For those who don’t know, after all of the items on the poll get written, I will put some of the exhausted entries back up and we’ll do this all over until Opening Day (yes I capitalize it; it’s a national holiday) rolls around:

1. Ballhawk Interviews- 33 votes

2. Stadium Profiles- 26 votes

3. Ballhawk Profiles- 33 votes

4. Dissect (a) Baseball(s)- 26 votes

5. Tour Target Field when there’s snow on the ground- 26 votes

6. Weird Observing Baseball Facts and Records- 28 votes

7. New Observing Baseball Icon- 17 votes

8. MLBlogs I Recommend- 33 votes

9. Observing Baseball Trivia- 32 votes

10. My Favorite MLB Players- 28 votes

11. Characters of Observing Baseball- 29 votes

Not proofread.

240,670 Words Written so far…

Resolutions/Goals for 2013

So typically I post an entry on or around the new year setting out my goals for ballhawking the next year like this and this. Well, given this is the definition for resolution:

the act of resolving or determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure, etc.

And this is the definition for goal:
the result or achievement toward which effort is directed; aim; end.
And since it’s pretty obvious most of the things in those prior two lists were mostly goals, my first change to this year’s list was obviously the title of the entry itself as you can see above.
Secondly, ballhawking will no longer be my sole focus. For this entry, I will be establishing goals and resolutions for many different things. I haven’t thought of them all while I write these words, but I’m going to think of them later and write all of them below. For each different category, I will have 10 different goals/resolutions.
Ballhawking:
1. Have multiple double-digit games- I never have in a season before. The most games I have ever had in a season where I snagged 10 or more baseballs is one. In 2013 I think that needs to change one way or another.
2. Snag 4 or more game balls- In the past three seasons I have snagged 1, 2, and 3 game balls, respectively. I’d like to keep that growth going. It’ll probably easier to do it if I don’t wait until July 23rd to snag my first game ball.
3. Snag multiple game home run balls- This may not jive with my previous goal–since that is most easily achievable in foul territory–but I’d like my Plouffe home run snag to not be a one-time thing.
4. Snag 100 thrown baseballs,100 hit balls, 50 on the fly, 10 Easter Eggs, and 5 Glove Trick balls- I came pretty close last year with all of these, but I have still never done most of them. The only one I passed last year was the thrown ball mark. I would be willing to give away some in this department to supplement the other categories.
5. Give away a third of my baseballs or more- Since I tell everyone that I give away about a third of my baseballs, I figure I should make it a point to actually live up to that figure. I did last year, so I’m hoping to repeat.
6a. Average 4.5 Balls Per Game
6b. Average 5 Balls Per Game- Towards the end of the season it felt nearly impossible for me to do this (I averaged 4.21 Balls Per Game this season.) but we’ll see if I got better. I, for whatever reason, seem to struggle when the calendar hits August; but I think that if I can get off to the same hot start I did this year and then just not fall off the cliff at the end of the season, I can achieve one, if not two parts of goal 6. I would like to say that I was above both goals at one point or another. True, I was only averaging more than 5 balls a game for one game, but I still was doing it.
7. Go to a new stadium- I didn’t last year, and I’m very disappointed that I didn’t. I, like so many other baseball fans, would like to see all 30 stadiums, and I’d rather not take 25 years to do it, so stepping it up next season is a must.
8. Go to 50 Games again- I could up the ante by raising this goal, but I like milestone numbers and the next one I think I could make a case for is 75. And as far as I can tell you right now, I’m not going to 75 games next season.
9. Make it to 100 straight Games with at least 1 Ball- I’ve often mentioned that I will stop caring about which games I go to once I reach this mark. Frankly, having to worry about it every game I go to is limiting and stressful, so I want to get it done as quickly as possible.
10. Do all of this with a new glove- I can’t say too much as I want to save it for the “Ballhawking Gear” entry, but I got tired of using my mom’s glove since I wasn’t able to find my glove from this game forward. I definitely went “out there” with my selection of glove, but it wasn’t without reasons behind the purchase. It could go very well or it could go horribly wrong.
Writing:
1. Write at least 10 entries each month in 2013-(FAILED) It’s really easy to do during baseball season, but I want to keep things consistent all the way through the year. Now that I’ve written this goal down, I think I can do it.
2. Write 100,000 words- It just seems like a good, round number to shoot for. I won’t research it because it’s annoying to do it, but I would guess that I’ve never done it in a single year before. It’s possible I did it last year. We’ll see if it’s on WordPress’ statistical report this year (I’ll be making it visible for you guys tomorrow. I may have seen the report by the time you read this, but I’m writing the entry ahead of time, so I have no clue how many words I wrote this year.
3. Proofread at least 10% of my entries- Besides my internship in spring of 2012, I didn’t proofread a single one of my entries and I can’t imagine how many mistakes. If I proofread an entry, I will try to remember to put something at the end by the “x Words Written so far” line; this will be my means of tracking my success in this goal. (Note: Perhaps it’s due to inexperience, but I am awful at proofreading my own writing, so just because I proofread something does *not* mean it is perfect.
4. Write ballhawking entries all within a week of the game (FAILED)- When you’re going to game after game, it is really easy to just give up on trying to keep up with entries. And by no means do I feel I have to. I mean, there was a time during the season last year when I was getting the entries written the day after I went to the games, but that’s just frosting. What I want to avoid is getting extremely backed-up on entries. Those scenarios are the killers. So, my goal is to never publish an entry a week or more after the game took place.
5. Write 20 entries in one month- Sure it’s harder when I don’t have any cheapy entry series’s like Offseason Recap and Preview or Re-view of the Preview to pad my entry numbers, but it’s been a while and I want to have one month this year where I just go absolutely bonkers and put a twenty spot on the board.
6. Write 6 mygameballs.com columns- I’m supposed to be writing one every month (whoops)and I realistically know that will not happen with everything else going on, but I’d like to fulfill at least half my requirement.
7. Read 5 baseball books- Yes, this goes under “writing” because part of writing is reading. And although I’m not a huge reader of books–they’re just too long. I read tons of things via blogs and other websites, but they’re all delivered in small doses. I guess that’s just the nature of the generation–but I’m not a huge writer either. I figure if I can write a baseball blog, I can read five books on my own. I realize that’s not much, but it really is nearly impossible to read for recreation while doing all of the things you would like to do in college, and in the summer I’m off going to baseball games and blogging.
8. Average 1,000 Words Per Entry (If I capitalize a series of random words like this, it usually doesn’t mean I messed up, they usually have some sort of significance behind them. In this case it’s that “Words Per Entry” is a statistics that I made up on the spot.)- I figure that if I average 823 words with small-entry series’s like the two I previously mentioned, I can average this much in the long run.
9. Write a 4,000-word entry- It seems crazy, and I have no clue what I would write it about, but I would like to write a super-crazy-long entry this year.
10. Go on a streak of 5 days in a row publishing an entry- The past three days I have published an entry each day. I don’t think it would be *that* hard. It’s just a little more difficult when trying to average 1,000 Words Per Entry and managing all of the other stuff that gets in the way of writing for five consecutive days. I think I’ve gotten into double digits with consecutive days posting an entry ( I’m pretty sure my record for most entries in a single day is four), but they were mostly short entries, so it should be interesting to see if I can do it with “real” entries.
Video:
1. Average less than 5 Minutes Per Video- Right now the average is 6:20, and I know I personally don’t want to watch a video that long, so I would like to lower the amount of time my videos take up.
2. Upload 100 Minutes of video- That means what? 20+ videos? I think I can do that.
3. Re-do the “Before the Gates Open” videos for all of the ballparks I visit in 2012- I think I can do them better now that I’ve had some experience doing them, so I want to take another stab at them. I’m saving the details for the Ballhawking Gear entry (which will have to wait until I get back to Minnesota to be done, since I have most of the “gear” there). However, I can say that I plan to do have them a little more “professional-looking”, or at least that’s the plan.
4. Not do a video over 15 Minutes- Ideally I wouldn’t have any videos over ten minutes, but there will be those nuggets that have things that can’t be cut; making the video longer than ten minutes. However, that leads me to my next resolution….
5. Not include things I don’t have to- It would be one thing if my videos were masterpieces of entertainment value, but I don’t think ANY of my videos needed to be over ten minutes this year. I should have been more selective about what I included in the videos.
6. Use more appropriate transitions and effects- I feel like many times I didn’t include things when I could’ve, but other times I feel I used effects, music, and other things just for the sake of having them instead of using something that actually fit the situation.
7. Do one all-video ballhawking entry- This maybe the 10+ minute video, but I wan to do one entry where really the whole entry is done by video. It should be interesting.
8. Do a ballhawk highlight video- I meant to do this last year, but it was supposed to be during BallhawkFest, which I never ended up attending. We’ll see. I don’t feel like I’m ready to do the video yet, but you never know how far I can progress during this first half of the year. I just don’t want it to be a video I end wishing I did later when I was better at filming/editing, so it wouldn’t be a tragedy if I didn’t do it this year, but the main goal of this list is to remind myself of things, and this is one of those things I’d like to remind myself about.
9. Do the “stuff people say to ballhawks” video- see above.
10. Get to 50 subscribers on Youtube- I mean I only have 14 as of right now, but I plan on producing better content, so maybe more subscribers? I’m trying to stay away from goals I can’t control, but this is one of those that I can’t help but stay away from.
Twitter:
1. Get to 300 followers- I’m at 167 as of right now. I mean there aren’t a ton of people out there that haven’t already followed me that are likely to, so this is pretty hard, and again, not in my control, but I thought it’d be fun to have this goal. Plus, I can’t think of many goals for Twitter.
2. Not reach 7,000 tweets- I’m at 3,555 right now, and while I can’t control how much people tweet me–thus how many times i respond to them I don’t want to be an account that spams others’ feeds, which brings me to number 3…
3. Be an account I would want to follow- While most tweets are driven by whatever is happening around me, I’d like to just remind myself of this. I want people who follow me to enjoy the experience. I don’t want people to regret following me every day and going back and forth on whether they should unfollow me.
4. Tweet more from the games I go to- At least I think I should. If you guys who follow me on Twitter think that I should actually do that less, feel free to tell me. I just think that sometimes I think I let the idea of making each blog entry almost a complete surprise gets in the way of using Twitter what it’s for and letting people know what’s happening. Usually I go a long time without tweeting at a game and then I’ll just go berserk one game with the tweets. I’d rather just keep it consistent throughout the season–dependent on the interesting-ness of the game.
5. Focus on quality and not relevance- With Twitter it’s easy to get caught up in only focusing on things that are relevant within the past three days or so. I’d like to instead of focusing on that, focus on what people might find interesting. This isn’t really quantifiable, but that’s why this particular number is a resolution and not a goal.
6. Not manufacture material- Often it feels like I *need* to tweet something every day or whatever. I need to remember that I tweet plenty as it is. There is no need to even send out a tweet every day if I don’t actually have anything related to baseball that is interesting. Many times I’ll send out these “manufactured” tweets because I feel like “hey, I haven’t sent out a tweet in a while; I should probably do that.” I need to remember that it’s more than okay that I haven’t sent out a tweet as I spend more than enough time reading my timeline.
7. Reference Twitter context in entries- Sometimes I forget that not everyone who reads my blog entries follows me on Twitter, so I need to remember to reference any Twitter context that I superimpose into any entries I may do so on.
8. Spend less time on Twitter- I’m not judging anyone who does this, because I am currently one, but I need to not feel the need to read EVERY. SINGLE. TWEET. On my feed. I seriously don’t know if I’ve missed a tweet since around November or earlier. I mean remembering them is a whole other thing, but it is for me, my morning newspaper and my afternoon/every other time of the day entertainment platform. If I haven’t checked it in a while, I seriously do feel the need to scroll through and skim all of the tweets I missed. It’s because of a psychological thing that most all of us humans have–but I won’t get into that right now. I just need to be okay with maybe not needing to be so attached to the internet world.
9. Welcome followers- Oftentimes a person will follow me and/or I will follow a person and we’ll never converse. Spam-bots aside, I think it’s because we’re both nervous about looking completely awkward initiating conversation out of nowhere. However, if I greet all of my followers, it will give them some talking material if they really did wan to follow *me*. So, it would help me get to know people on Twitter a lot easier.
10. Meet three people I’ve only known over Twitter/ the internet- Sure, Twitter and the e-community is a great, but real life is, well, real life.
Facebook:
1. Post pictures from games within a week of the entry for the game being up- I really fell behind last year. I’d like for that not to happen to anywhere near that extent this season. Especially when I only use Facebook for ONE thing, which brings me to my next point…
2. Figure out another thing I can use Facebook for besides a behind-the-scenes look at the games- With just this present, the blog page doesn’t really present something unique other than it’s another medium to get to my blog from. I want it to provide something unique so people actually want to “like” and experience the page. Any Suggestions?
3. Get 30 “likes”- This number is because that’s the number of “likes” it takes to get analytics on the page. I currently have 14, so I think it’s do-able.
4. Interact with people slightly more on Facebook- With Facebook and myself it’s pretty much a “drop my content and then peace-out” thing. I don’t really know Facebook since I don’t actually use it outside of the page, which everyone who has ever “friend request”ed me on Facebook ever will know. I don’t exactly know how, but I’d like to interact with people on there that I don’t get to interact with on Twitter because they simply aren’t on Twitter.
5. Not accept a friend request- You may be like “Whoa; mean person here,” but it’s not so much a goal as it is a statement. Simply put, I *don’t* use Facebook the way you are “supposed to use it; I use for my page and that’s it. So I guess it’s kind of just a statement of my resoluteness. If only they had a word for that (yes, that is sarcasm. I think you can figure the word out).
6. Maybe post some non-game pictures- I feel bad for the Facebook people now that’s it’s winter, because all that really happens on the page is a post (is that what it’s called?) pops up on the page anytime I publish a new entry. Really the main idea of creating an account on Facebook was to post the pictures I took at games but couldn’t put on the blog because it would take forever to do so. I never thought there would be people whose only window into my blog was the Facebook page. An example of this would be like when I was working on the icon I might’ve posted something on the Facebook page’s timeline with a rough draft of the icon or the original picture I used for the icon. I don’t know, I’ll build on this as it solidifies in my mind.
7. Maybe dip into some other social networks- I realize that it is *the* biggest social network in the world, but before Facebook I never realized that through opening accounts on social networks I would meet new people and expose new people to my content. I always thought that it would just be a new way to connect with the people who were already reading. A couple people have mentioned Instagram, and I was right on the cusp of creating an account when there was the split between them and Twitter and the mass-exodus of people when someone misunderstood a change in their terms and conditions and spread it to the world (I may be altering the story in my paraphrasing of it, but this is just what I’ve heard). Anyway, I wanted to wait and see what happened when all the commotion had subsided. And it has, so what does everyone think? Should I go ahead with the Instagram creation? (What is this? Like item number 3 or 4 on your comment homework? Feel free to leave monster comments if you want to answer all of them or a small one if you want to just answer one. Or don’t comment at all. Whatever.) I’ve also thought about, well, many other social networks, but I’ve always talked myself out of them like I did with Twitter and Facebook a few years ago.
8. Try to respond to things on a timely basis- I have done this so far–or so I believe. However, it’s been mostly luck that I check the page the days on or after people post stuff on there. I think I should check more often to be able to maintain this level of responsiveness.
9. Maybe write longer things on Facebook- On Twitter there are a bunch of things I wish I could write but they are just too long for the 140 character limit. Then I think of putting them on the blog, but they don’t deserve their own entry either and aren’t really long enough either to stand on their own. Facebook could be the place for these in-between pieces.
10. See if there’s a way to integrate Twitter and Facebook- Like I said, I’m rarely on Facebook and I’m constantly on Twitter. And it’s not like they’re mutually exclusive to each other. They are just two different forms of social networking. So, if there was a way to link the two together (besides publishing tweets to the Facebook account. I’ve thought of that and may do it.) I could better devote excess time to Facebook and thus be more active on there.
So that’s it. I know I have a ton of things on the list, but if at any point while reading this you stopped and thought, “Wait, why didn’t he put that as a goal/resolution?” feel free to suggest to me in the comments any resolutions/goals you think I should include. You can even suggest a whole new category for me to write 10 goals/resolutions for if you’d like to. I can’t guarantee that I’ll say yes to ANYthing, but if it seems reasonable/cool, I more than likely will tack on to the entry.
Two last things. First, Paul Kom, Nick Badders, and I had a thing going today where we would all publish our entries on the same day and give each other a plug. Paul has already published his entry, so you can go check that out here. And Nick hasn’t published his entry as of me writing this, but he said he would around noon today. So if it is after noon on the first day of 2013, you can click this link and it will most likely take you to his entry. And if not, that’ll at least take you to his blog where you can find the entry/homepage by clicking the name of the blog (7000 Coliseum Way) at the top of the page.
Oh, and now that I’m done with holiday-season stuff, I will go back to writing more of the entries from the poll I have set up. If you haven’t yet voted and you would like to, here’s the poll:
“Ballhawking Gear is currently the most voted-for item on the poll, but I can’t do this until at least January 22nd when I get back to Minnesota–since a ton of said gear is in Minnesota–so I’ll skip over it for the time being. So, unless there is some objection to the following entry (I still won’t do Ballhawking Gear from New York if there’s objection) will be Observing Baseball trivia. This would begin Friday and most likely span the whole weekend. The winner of the trivia contest would win…I don’t know. That’s another part of your comment homework: tell me what you think the winner of the trivia should get. Please keep it to reasonable things, though. After all I *am* a broke college student.
As a part of your poll homework, here’s a poll those of you who voted on the main poll two months ago and have been fed up that you can vote on it can partake in. I want you to tell me what kind of questions you’d like to see on the Observing Baseball Trivia. I will make it so you can vote for as many items on the poll as you would like. And if you hate all of my suggestions or have a great idea of your own, you can insert your own idea along with or as a substitute to your other choices:
I also won’t be able to do “Ten Minutes With Two GMs” until the 22nd either, so if/when that becomes the second option, I’ll write the third option on the list–whatever that may be at the time.
And actually in writing this entry, I completed one of my goals on the list. This entry is over 4,100 words long. If you stuck around this long, thank you and have a great 2013.
Oh, and if I didn’t formally mention this yet, I picked the new Observing Baseball icon. It was number 5, or this one:
Icon 5
So this is the image I get to bombard you with for the next year or so.
Not proofread.
234,941 Word Written so far

Winter Writing Ideas

1. Blast From The Baseball Past

2. New Observing Baseball Icon

3. Dissecting a Baseball - Except I should clarify I would be dissecting multiple types of baseballs, not just MLB ones.

Be sure to vote as soon as you can because I want to start publishing regular entries this Monday, so I’ll write about what it is that has the most votes at the end of today

Ballhawking Season’s End Review- 2012

If you want to know the context for this entry, here’s last year’s version. I go over stats from the past season of ballhawking. It’s fun for my stat-geek mind. If you’re into stats, it might be fun for you too, but it’s really to have a record of everything. Feel free to leave a comment below suggesting any other stats you’d like to see in the entry.

Here are the overall numbers:

Baseballs (B): 223 (12th on mygameballs.com)

Games (G): 53 (12th on mygameballs.com)

Balls Per Game (BPG): 4.21 (24th on mygameballs.com. Ouch.)

Game Balls (GB): 3 (23rd on mygameballs.com)

Hit Balls (HB): 94

Hit Balls Per Game (HPG): 1.77

Balls Caught On The Fly (COF): 41

Balls Caught On Fly Per Game (CPG): 0.77

Thrown Balls (TB): 119

Thrown Balls Per Game (TPG): 2.25

Easter Eggs (EE): 7 (which is actually less than last year)

Easter Eggs Per Game (EPG): 0.13

Glove Trick Balls (GT): 3

Glove Trick Balls Per Game (GPG): 0.06

Balls During The Game: 5 (less than last year)

Balls After The Game: 16

Average Competition Factor (ACF): 143,718 (16th on mygameballs.com)

High: 11 (14th on mygameballs.com

Overall Snag Tracker:

Stats Broken Down By Month:

April-

B: 17

G: 4

HB: 14

COF: 5

TB: 2

BPG: 4.25

HPG: 3.5

CPG: 1.25

TPG: .5

High: 5

ACF: 130,511

May-

B: 19

G: 4

HB: 8

COF: 2

TB: 11

BPG: 4.75

HPG: 2

CPG: 0.5

TPG: 2.75

High: 8

ACF: 167,425

June-

B: 60

G: 11

HB: 30

COF: 17

TB: 28

GT: 1

EE: 1

BPG: 5.45

HPG: 2.73

CPG: 1.55

TPG: 2.55

GPG: 0.09

EPG: 0.09

High: 11

ACF: 211,817

July-

B: 39

G: 11

HB: 10

COF: 1

TB: 25

EE: 4

BPG: 3.55

HPG: 0.91

CPG: 0.09

TPG: 2.73

EPG: 0.36

High: 7

ACF: 115,158

August-

B: 38

G: 12

HB: 17

COF: 8

TB: 19

EE: 1

GT: 1

BPG: 3.17

HPG: 1.55

CPG: 0.73

TPG: 1.73

EPG: 0.09

GPG: 0.09

High: 9

ACF: 106,822

GB: 1

September-

B: 50

G: 11

HB: 10

COF: 2

TB: 19

EE: 1

GT: 1

BPG: 4.55

HPG: 0.91

CPG: 0.18

TPG: 1.73

EPG: 0.09

GPG: 0.09

High: 8

ACF: 140,522

GB: 2

Balls broken down by Stadium:

New Yankee Stadium-

B: 65

G: 16

HB: 32

COF: 15

TB: 33

BPG: 4.06

HPG: 2

CPG: 0.94

TPG: 2.06

High: 8

ACF: 144,034

Snag Trackers for Yankee Stadium in 2012:

Snag Trackers for just the hit balls:

And for just the thrown baseballs:

Nationals Park-

B: 65

G: 15

HB: 21

COF: 10

TB: 37

EE: 5

GT: 2

BPG: 4.33

HPG: 1.40

CPG: 0.67

TPG: 2.47

High: 9

ACF: 114,684

Snag Trackers for Nationals Park:

Snag Trackers for just the hit balls:

And just for the thrown balls:

Target Field-

B: 53

G: 12

HB: 14

COF: 4

TB: 37

EE: 1

GT: 1

BPG: 4.42

HPG: 1.17

CPG: 0.33

TPG: 3.08

High: 8

ACF: 136,276

GB: 2

Snag Trackers:

Snag Trackers for just hit balls:

And just for thrown balls:

Oriole Park at Camden Yards-

B: 21

G: 4

HB: 17

COF: 9

TB: 4

BPG: 5.25

HPG: 4.25

CPG: 2.25

TPG: 1

High: 11

ACF: 190,801

;

Snag Trackers:

Just the hit balls:

And just the thrown balls:

Citi Field-

B: 14

G: 5

HB: 6

COF: 1

TB: 7

BPG: 2.80

HPG: 1.20

CPG: 0.20

TPG: 1.40

High: 4 (so sad, but so Citi Field at the same time)

ACF: 71,614

GB: 1

Snag Trackers:

Just the hit balls:

And just the thrown baseballs:

Citizens Bank Park:

20121105-035008.jpg

**EDIT/NOTE**: In looking at the image above, I realized I put this into my records incorrectly. I snagged 6 baseballs during this game, as you can see from the entry. That means I actually snagged 224 baseballs this season. I’m dumb for doing that, but I’m just going to leave everything as it is. If you want to see how that extra baseball affects my stats, click the link over there ——> in the sidebar for “my mygameballs.com account”. I got all of these stats from there and the site has more information stored than I could ever write about, so you should check it out anyway and sign-up if you have ever snagged a ball at a baseball game. And to those of you on mygameballs.com, make sure you not only vote for president and all that stuff, but make sure you vote for Ballhawk of the Year and Junior Ballhawk of the Year. Voting is now open for the two awards on your account’s page. Back to the rest of the entry…

In this version because I only attended one game there this season and I didn’t want to do all of the stats stuff for just one game.

As for my New Year’s Resolutions, they’re not really resolutions; they’re goals, but whatever. We’ll see how many of them I managed to reach:

1. Go to 50 games- Yes, I went to 53.

2. Average 4.5 Balls Per Game- No, I averaged 4.21.

3. Go to 8 Stadiums- No, I went to 6, but I could have gone to 8 easily without school getting in the way (both high school and college).

4. Double my career total- Yes, I did it on the last game of the season.

5. Catch one Game Home Run. Period- Yes, Trevor Plouffe’s game-tying home run to be specific.

6. Catch 5 Game Balls total- No, I only got started catching game balls at the end of July and only managed to snag 3. I’ll take game balls in back-to-back games over this goal, though.

7. Be in the mygameballs.com Top 10- No, I was in 12th. You were right, Alex.

8. Go to 10 games at Nationals Park before June’s end- I don’t know what I was thinking when I wrote this goal, but no, I didn’t.

9. Average 5.0 Balls Per Game at Nationals Park- No, I averaged almost half-a-ball under this mark.

10. Average 3.5 Balls Per Game at Citi Field- No, I didn’t anticipate Citi Field becoming a worse ballpark due to their additions.

11. Average 2.5 BPG at Yankee Stadium- Yes, I actually blew this out of the water with a 4.06 average.

12. Improve on my HB/TB ratio- Yes, from 0.51:1 in 2011 to 0.79:1 in 2012.

13. Go to Camden Yards 3 times- Yes, I went 4 times in 2012.

14. Enjoy the summer of Baseball- I would say I did. Some times I wasn’t having fun, but overall, the whole summer was a pure blast.

15. Post Entries Regularly- Compared to 2011, I definitely posted my entries a lot more quickly when discounting these past few entries at the end of the season that have taken me forever to get up.

 

If you made it this far: thank you. You are too kind. (And you probably have a longer attention span than I do. Even if I did write this whole entry pretty much in one night.) I will be trying very hard to get a video up Friday explaining my winter blogging plans. I’m very excited the potentiality for awesomeness the stuff I have planned for the winter, so make sure you check the blog sometime during this next weekend November 9-11. If it isn’t up then, that means I decided to post the video November 12th. Anyway, the winter blogging plans are dependent on reader input, so make sure to read and vote on what you want to read. But anyway, I feel like I’m just confusing you. More explanation will come Friday…or Monday. It depends on when the video comes out. I haven’t even fully scripted the video. If you were wondering, I am planning to get on a regular entry-posting schedule; or at least attempt one. That’ll be in the video too, so like I said, watch out for a video coming soon.

9/30/12 Tigers at Twins: Target Field

It was Sunday, September 30th 2012. It was my last game of the season. Except, when I awoke early Sunday morning, it didn’t feel like it at all. It just felt like another day at the ballpark. Except I semi-changed things up by going to Harmon Killebrew’s gate:

I knew there wouldn’t be batting practice, and my bus drops me off right by Gate 3 when I take it; so I didn’t feel like walking to Gate 34.

When I entered the left field seats, this was my view:

No surprise there.

I went down to the Tigers’ dugout, but there wasn’t anything going on down there:

See? Nothing.

Eventually, Jeff Kunkel– one of the Tigers’ bullpen catchers– came out to play catch with one of the pitchers:

I don’t remember who the pitchers was, but I do remember that after playing catch they went to the bullpen to throw a bullpen session.

Then there was a long break in action. How long? It was long enough for Kunkel to go to the bullpen, catch the session, and come back out to be the catching partner of the next pitcher who came out:

I don’t know who it was. The face looked most Luke Putkonen, but he didn’t look 6’6″, which Putkonen is listed at. But who knows, MLB players routinely “round up” on their listed heights, so it wouldn’t surprise me if it was Putkonen.

Anyway, at this time, the Twins came out to throw:

I had half a mind to go over there, but I decided against it since my most notable competition on my side of the field was a family who were expecting the Twins to take batting practice and a couple of kids with their parents.

It looks like I made the right decision, because minutes later, I got this from Luis Marte by working some Spanish magic:

One down, four to go to get to my goal of 444 career baseballs. I gave this ball away to the family I mentioned before, since they had engaged me in conversation over day games after night games, the Twins, and a whole bunch of other things.

After Marte, I would get a giant boost in my campaign for four baseballs in a BP-less day. Two words: Phil. Coke:

Yeah he’s one of the nicer players out there, but the reason he was so good in my quest for four baseballs on the day is he was absolutely the most wild I have ever seen a pitcher in a session of catch.

Here was my view of Coke and his throwing partner, the other bullpen catcher, Scott Pickens:

To give you an idea of Coke’s wildness in this particular session, Pickens was at least thirty feet in front of the stands. Now that you have this fact in your mind: Coke threw four balls into the stands by me. The first almost decapitated me because I wasn’t paying attention to Coke at the time. I ducked just in time as the ball whizzed over my head, bounced off a seat two rows behind me, and bounced back onto the field. After that I was sure to pay attention. The next ball actually technically didn’t make it into the stands on the fly. As soon as the ball was half-way between Coke and Pickens, I could tell it was sailing way over Pickens’ head, so I moved into position and caught the ball right at the wall. So even though I was in the stands, I caught the ball itself over the field of play. Without a hesitation, I gave the ball back to Pickens and he told me he would give me the ball when they were done throwing.

The third ball was a HUMONGOUS overthrow that sailed over even my head. It then bounced off of a seat behind me and bounced back towards me. At this point, I acted like a catcher who was blocking a ball in the dirt and just blocked the ball with my chest, deflecting it to the seats to my left. Basically, this was the path of the ball:

After I deflected the ball, I ran after it and just barely scooped it up before anyone else could get to it. I then proceeded to give the ball to the second-closest to the ball who just happened to be a ten-year old boy with a glove. This was technically my second ball of the day since I gave the first overthrow I snagged back to Pickens. I was gave away two consecutive baseballs because I knew I was approaching milestone/goal territory and I wouldn’t want to give away any of the latter balls I snagged in the day.

 

Then a fourth bounced to almost the exact same location, but this time, there was someone closer to me after the deflection, so he scooped it up. I really didn’t have a chance because I wasn’t paying attention to Coke at the time, Instead, I was talking to the family I gave the Marte ball to, so I didn’t see the ball until I turned around and saw it hit the seats.

 

When Coke finally finished throwing, he came to sign autographs. Pickens headed straight for the dugout and Coke headed straight for the foul line. This is where he showed his awesomeness. First, there were a bunch of baseballs sitting on the foul line. He picked up a couple of baseballs. The first he threw up to the second level. When the woman who he threw it to didn’t catch it, he jokingly got on her case by flinging his glove on the ground, yelling “COME ON!”, and then using her former softball playing to further his discussion even though she was a hundred feet away. The second ball also went to that woman and she caught it this time. (No glove on, by the way.) He then came over to start signing. While he started signing, he asked me if Pickens had given me the ball. When I said no, he jokingly reprimanded Pickens for not doing so and tossed me a ball:

While he kept signing, we talked for 1-2 minutes about the ball he just tossed me and why I hadn’t snagged the last ball he threw into the crowd. I realize that doesn’t seem like that long time, but it is when you consider it was a major league player I was talking  to, it’s pretty special.

 

Because I had to get four baseballs in a BP-less game, I got a ticket in Target Field’s “moat” to have a shot at a ball during the game, since I figured I would enter the game under four baseballs for the day.I waited there until the position players came out to throw. When they finished throwing, I got Andy Dirks to toss me career baseball number 444:

Oh. Yes:

This effectively eliminated the possibility of me going to a playoff game in 2012 (I didn’t, but I was seriously considering a trip to Detroit.) What it also did was it made it so I wouldn’t have to sit by the dugout for the game. Sure, those seats are nice and all, but I wanted to end my season with a game home run if I could. So instead, I stood out here for most of the game:

How awesome would it be to end my season with a Prince Fielder, Justin Morneau, or Joe Mauer home run. Or even better, an opposite field bomb by Miguel Cabrera to lock-up the triple crown for him. Alas, the only home run any of those players hit was a Prince Fielder home run to left field.

 

In the middle innings, though, I was kind of tired, so I decided to do something I had always wanted to do at a major league stadium but was always to busy running around to do: I went to Target Field’s Best Buy gaming station to play MLB The Show:

Yeah, for one real baseball inning, I was that guy who pays no attention to the game and just plays video games at a baseball stadium. And you know what, it felt nice to relax a little in frantically trying to get to first fifty games in the season and then reach 444 career baseballs, I hadn’t had much of a break in the action between ballhawking, blogging, and schoolwork. (If you’ve noticed the relaxed pace of entries lately, it’s because I still had some overload left in me. I’ll be ramping the blogging schedule back up in a bit.) So yeah, it was nice:

For the record, I was the Nationals; not the Astros.

 

When I realized I was never going to score any runs because I had no clue how to hit in the game (yes, it took three innings to realize this),  I headed back out to the standing room section just in time:

That would be Mike. He and his friend (not pictured) are– besides myself, Tony Voda, and Paul Kom– the closest thing Target Field has to regular ballhawks. I believe they are both season ticket holders, but they only try to catch baseballs on less than half of the games they go to. Anyway, he was dressed in this get-up to pay homage to Red Solo Cup. If you don’t know about it, don’t worry, I didn’t know about the song until I got to Minnesota. Mike pretty much always has the hat on, but this was the first time I had seen him with the cup costume itself.

 

As previously mentioned, there was no action out on the standing room. At the end of the game, I headed down to the moat and got a ball from home plate umpire, Jim Wolf:

This meant I had officially “passed” my goal of 222 baseballs in 2012. Yay?

 

After which, I simultaneously tried to get the lineup card(s) from Jim Leyland and tried to get a ball from the Tigers relievers coming back from the bullpen:

It wasn’t because of my multitasking, but I failed at both. When I realized there would be no on-field demo by FSN due to Kids Run The Bases, I went around the stadium saying goodbye to all of the ushers I had met in the last month of season and I headed out.

 

One last thing before I get to the stats portion of the entry: my next entry will be a statistical recap of the season. I have a general idea of how I’m going to go about it alla last year’s review, but let me know in the comments below if you have any ideas for stats you think of or anything you would like to see in review of the season.

 

STATS:

  • 5 Baseballs at this game (3 pictured because I gave 2 away):

Numbers 441-445 for my career:

  • 223 Balls in 53 Games= 4.21 Balls Per Game
  • 5 Balls x 32,554 Fans= 162,770 Competition Factor
  • 62 straight Games with at least 1 Ball
  • 12 straight Games with at least 2-3 Balls
  • 2 straight Games with at least 4 Balls
  • 55 Balls in 14 Games= 3.93 Balls Per Game
  • 13 straight Games with at least 1-2 Balls at Target Field
  • 12 straight Games with at least 3 Balls at Target Field
  • 2 straight Games with at least 4 Balls at Target Field
  • Time Spent On Game 11: 44- 4:47= 5 Hours 3 Minutes

9/28/12 Tigers at Twins: Target Field

So I filmed a Before The Gates Open Video… Wanna see it? Too bad, I’m showing you anyway:

Since it was Friday, the stadium opened 2 hours early– or when the Twins were still hitting. I didn’t get anything from the Twins. When the Tigers started to warm up, this was my view:

If you couldn’t tell, those were the position players. Both them and the pitchers didn’t give in to my requests for baseballs. Well not all of them, but while I was in the midst of waiting for players to finish throwing, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder’s hitting group started hitting. I first saw Cabrera, so I rushed over here:

At the time, Miguel Cabrera was only a couple home runs from having an outright triple crown. Let me just say this: I can see why he was in this position. He was hitting line drives everywhere on the field. Do you want to know what’s scary? It’s that he’s just so much more talented than other people. Major League Baseball is a place for freaks of nature. Miguel Cabrera is a freak among freaks.

Sadly, him and the other righty hitters in his group were hitting the ball too far, and were making on of the ballhawking flaws of Target Field very evident: besides the fact that you risk serious injury going up and down the bleachers due to the slope of it, this is also the view from the front row when you stare straight up:

That would be the overhang of the second deck. Because of the second deck, there are very few rows in the left field bleachers where a home run can be hit to without having to be a line drive.

It was a try unlucky day for me in general. Before the gates opened, when both Paul and Tony said they would be going into the standing room for Prince Fielder’s at-bats, I stated I would be going up to the second deck because I thought he’d be hitting them up there. Instead, I decided to try my luck in the standing room for Fielder’s at-bats. And whadda ya know, Fielder wasn’t hitting much at all, but whatever he did hit was going into the second deck. In running to right field for Fielder’s at-bats, I only missed one round of one righty hitter. In that round, Delmon Young hit THREE baseballs within five feet of where I had been standing for the righties. It was a generally disappointing group given it contained Fielder, Young, AND Cabrera. At the end of that group, I expected to have five baseballs; instead I was still at zero.

I was unable to get anything else for a long period in BP. Towards the end of it, though, I got Phil Coke to toss me a ball in the left-center field corner; I quickly gave it away to a kid right next to me who had also been calling out to him. I got a nod from Coke in response, so that was fun.

At the very end of batting practice, I went down to the Tigers’ dugout. I got there just as the equipment guy for the Tigers was packing up the balls. As he was bringing them into the dugout, I asked him if I could possibly have “the dirtiest ball in the bag. A ball that’s just a disgrace to the Tigers organization.” As he entered the dugout, and Paul said, “I’ve never heard someone say that before,” I thought my chances at the dugout were over. Just as I was about to leave, the guy came back out and tossed me my second ball of the game

He also tossed Paul his third ball of the game. (If you want to read Paul’s full account of the game, here’s the link.) (Oh, and if you want to read Tony’s, here’s that too. They’re both running some really great blogs….unless you hate the Twins. In that case, don’t read Tony’s blog. He’s a “real” fan. As in he writes about the team itself on his blog instead of just ballhawking/ MLB stuff like myself and Paul. If  it’s not the Twins but ballhawks you hate, then why are you reading this in the first place?)

Paul and I had no idea who he was, but as he was walking back into the dugout, he acknowledged a kid who called him Mario. We then both headed over to the bullpens to try to get a ball there:

I didn’t get anything from the coaches, but when Gerald Laird came out to warm up, I got him to throw me his warm-up ball after he was done playing catch:

I then continued to watch my new friend, Gerald, catch the pre-game bullpen session:

While this was going on, an usher who has always patrolled the staircase nearest to the bullpens, came up to us. Ironically right after Paul had told me this usher had kicked him out of the section once. What he did was pretty much the opposite. He told us we were welcome to sit in his section if we wanted to, but we just couldn’t stand on the aisle to watch the pitcher warm up; we would have to be in the bleacher-ed section of the seats. We even talked with him about how he had been an usher at Tigers Stadium for a while before going to Vietnam and then started ushering many decades ago in there Metrodome. Sadly, though, I *had* to sit in my seat in first-base foul ground, so I couldn’t take him up on his offer.

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

The reason I “had” to sit in foul ground was this:

My mom was in town for parent’s weekend, so she decided to accompany me at game time. Actually, though, I should clarify: I wasn’t in my seat *all* the time; I still went to the standing room for power-hitting lefties, but I spent the rest of the game with her– the fact that she was paying for this game didn’t hurt either.

As for the game, Ryan Doumit was able to single-handedly drive in all four of the Twins’ runs as they sped to a 4-2 victory, which meant I got to see Glen Perkins close the game even though the crowd got excited to see Matt Capps warming up in the bullpen as if he was going to come into the game.

STATS:

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

Numbers 343- 345 for my life:

  • 213 Balls in 51 Games= 4.18 Balls Per Game
  • 3 Balls x 30,315 Fans= 90,945 Competition Factor
  • 60 straight Games with at least 1 Ball
  • 10 straight Games with at least 2-3 Balls
  • 45 Balls in 12 Games at Target Field= 3.75 Balls Per Game
  • 11 straight Games with at least 1-2 Balls at Target Field
  • 10 straight Games with at least 3 Balls at Target Field
  • Time Spent On Game 3:27- 10:32= 7 Hours 5 Minutes

9/16/12 White Sox at Twins: Target Field

How do I spend my Sundays? I go to Twins games when there is no batting practice?

Apparently, the Twins *never* take batting practice on Sundays. I learned this from various ushers. It doesn’t make any sense to me. Anyway, I was pretty much the first one at the gate, expecting there to be potential baseballs to catch, but I just had to stand outside for half-an-hour doing nothing.

When I got in, I saw that no Twins were doing anything. However, two White Sox were throwing, so I headed over there to the third base side of the field while changing my gear. Minutes later, I was the first person in the ballpark to snag a ball by getting Dylan Axelrod to toss me a ball:

Here’s a cruddy diagram of the throw- with a poorly chosen color choice for the arrow:

Then, because nothing else was going on at the time, I headed over to watch Axelrod and some other White Sox pitchers throw bullpen sessions:

I did this for about ten minutes, but I then saw there were Twins pitchers warming up across the field:

So I went over there to try to get a ball from them:

There was only one problem: after about ten minutes of them stretching, there were signs of life on the White Sox’s side of the field:

So I had the decision to make: go over there, or stay where I was.

For the “pro”s of staying, I had:

1. I wouldn’t have to move and regret it if I didn’t get anything from the group.

For the “con”s, I had:

1. I would be pretty much the only one with White Sox gear on.

2. There weren’t that many people period on that side. (As opposed to this side where this was the crowd):

3. I wouldn’t have to comet with a bunch of kids.

4. Since I haven’t seen them that much in batting practice, I essentially knew the Twins as well as I did the White Sox.

Anyway, even though all common sense pointed to going to the White Sox’s side, I stayed on the Twins side because I figured the Twins would finish first, and I could maybe get over to the White Sox side just as they were finishing.

Well, after he finished catching baseballs by running in football-esque running patterns, I yelled out to Tyler Robertson, and he tossed me a ball. Then, in the same motions I caught the ball, I handed it to the kid next to me. Here is Robertson walking away with the kid also in the shot:

Right after I took the picture, I ran over to the White Sox side. Much to my surprise, only one throwing pair had finished and headed in to the clubhouse by the time I got over there. Also to my surprise, despite this fact, I didn’t get a single ball from them. They just waited to toss the balls up until when they were closer to the dugout and I wasn’t by the dugout, so I missed out on all opportunities.

 

Although, it was fun to see Chris Sale talk for half-an-hour with some fans:

I like it when athletes don’t feel so above people to for even a little time when they have nothing else to do. I don’t think I worded that last sentence as well as I could have.

 

That was it for pre-game warm-ups snagging-wise, but there was something else interesting brewing in Target Field:

But since I had no clue what it was, I asked the teacher in charge of the operation. What I found out was they were a group of University of Minnesota students preparing to launch a weather balloon with a baseball attached to it signed by Justin Morneau. The balloon you saw in the last picture was the test balloon. This is what happened when they launched it:

Yeah, it went high.

 

Oh, and in between the practice balloon and the real one, I marveled at the work of art that is the Target Field visitors dugout roof:

That might not seem like much, but most dugout roofs are just slabs of concrete with paint on it. Heck, if you’re at Citi Field, they didn’t even put in the effort to paint it; they just put slabs of pre-made dugout designs on it:

In the pre-game ceremonies, I got to see the students inflating the balloon:

And here is the ball attached to the balloon on the Jumbotron:

As I mentioned on Twitter, I had half a mind to try to shoot down the balloon and try to snag the ball. Anyway, here is the balloon going up-up-and -away:

Fun stuff.

 

Anyway, this was my view for the game:

I didn’t get a third-out ball, because for whatever reason, Adam Dunn and whoever tossed the ball to Alexi Ramirez, who always tossed the ball away to a section that wasn’t the one I was in. When Gordon Beckham caught a line drive for the third out of the inning, I was sure I had a ball awaiting me. You see, before the game, I had yelled out happy birthday to him, and he acknowledged me by saying thank you. Unfortunately, he too threw the ball to Ramirez. As a result, the only ball I got at the dugout was a ball after he game from umpire, Gary Cederstrom:

That made three balls on the day for me. I then got to see Dan Johnson say hi to his wife and kids:

And then I got him to give me the whole bag of ball in the dugout. Well, no, but I got him to shake my hand.

 

STATS:

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

 

Numbers 425-427 for my career:

 

  • 205 Balls in 49 Games= 4.18 Balls Per Game
  • 58 straight Games with at least 1 Ball
  • 8 straight Games with at least 2-3 Balls
  • 37 Balls in 10 Games at Target Field= 3.70 Balls Per Game
  • 9 straight Games with at least 1-2 Balls at Target Field
  • 8 straight Games with at least 3 Balls at Target Field
  • Time Spent On Game 9:31- 5:06= 7 Hours 35 Minutes

9/13/12 Royals at Twins: Target Field

It was back to Target Field again. Once again, I had a guest to accompany me to this game:

This time, it was my friend who lives two doors down from me, Jonathan Mueller. If you’re wondering, (probably not) I had my “professional camera”, so I gave it to a lady waiting outside the gates to take a picture of the two of us. If you’re new to the blog, I’m on the left and Jonathan is on the right.

Pretty much as we got in, I semi-rushed to the right field seats (I say “semi” because in New York, it’s a straight-up race to the seats. Here in Minnesota, people take their time, so the only reason to run is if you’re going from the left field gate to right field or vice-versa.), and I quickly got Jeff Francoeur(That’s right, right?) to toss me a ball:

I can tell he’s a cool guy, I would have liked to have met him better when he was on the Mets, but his departure coincided with my introduction to ballhawking.

Anyway, I then headed over to left field to try to get a ball over there. First, I asked Jeremy Guthrie for a ball, but he saw my make-shift Royals t-shirt, and just laughed and threw the ball back. It looked a lot like this shirt but with a bigger logo. If you’re wondering why I had to tape a logo to a blue shirt, it was because my actual Royals shirt was still en route. It wasn’t until two days later that I actually got the shirt in the mail. Suffice to say, it wasn’t an impressive job on the part of USPS considering I had ordered it a week prior to these two games:

Sorry for the repeat graphic for those of you who follow me on twitter. (If not, you can over there in the sidebar —->;)

It was at that point that I put my MLB Fan Cave t-shirt back on. Also, in left field, I saw these guys:

I just took the picture because Kelvin Herrera is the guy who tossed me a ball the day prior and Alcides Escobar was the guy who prevented me all day from tying a no-BP record of six balls in a game the previous game. After I figured I wasn’t going to snag any more baseballs from the Royals via toss-up, I headed back two right field. This was disappointing, because given the fact it was the Royals, I was eyeing big numbers when I first got to the left field seats.

There I snagged two balls from the bat of unidentified Royals within a span of a few seconds. The second of which I immediately gave away to a kid. That might sound good, but there were about four hit in a row–all of which I lost in the sun and allowed to hit the seats. These two were just the ones I managed to pick up. It was an interesting situation 1. I didn’t have time to put on sunglasses since they were all consecutive. 2. It wasn’t the sun itself, I guess it was just the brightness of the sky. I saw the baseballs traveling through the air perfectly one second, and poof, it disappeared from my sight. Like I said: weird. 3. On the first, I was running to my left, and I was going to jump up and stop once I caught the ball. However, once I lost the ball mid-jump, my concern wasn’t stopping; it was just not getting my skull hit by a ball. Anyway, because of this, I kind of bumped into a guy. Right after which, I made sure to apologize for bumping into him. Just for that, he gave me a dirty look and told me, “You gotta be more careful.” Sorry, sir, for caring about my mental health.

These two baseballs would be it for batting practice, but I headed back to left field later in batting practice where I managed to do this to my leg on the edge of a bleacher:

Anyway, given all of the circumstances, this was my (blurred) reaction to “only” snagging three balls during batting practice:

I did score a few other items, though:

The shoelaces were to promote cancer awareness and the other scrubby thing was a company’s promotion within the ballpark itself.

During the game itself, I had two main views. This one:

And when a string of lefties came up, this:

Over here, I got stopped by a woman who asked me where I got my MLB Fan Cave shirt. I learned from talking to her that it was because *she* had been one of the nine cave dwellers at the beginning before getting eliminated- as six of the nine have been- since then. Her name would be Lindsay Guentzel, and she gave both myself and Jonathan one of the bajillion baseball cards the Fan Cave had given her upon her departure:

So that was a fun thing. I believe that was around the seventh inning. At that point, the Twins were losing 3-1. In the bottom of the eighth, the Twins managed to score a run off a bases-loaded walk. After which, Justin Morneau struck-out with the bases loaded to end the inning.

The bottom of the ninth rolled around and the Twins were down by a run, so I changed my get-up to fit the situation and took my glove off to take this picture:

Right as I lowered my phone, I saw this happen:

Let’s just say I had a pretty good view of the home run. Here’s the picture of the stands when the cameras first turned to the crowd. I’m in the green circle just having lowered my phone to see a ball flying through the air:

Here I am getting out of my seat, and going down a row, with the arrow pointing to where I was going. I was doing this all while simultaneously making an attempt to put my glove on my left hand:

I judged the ball as perfectly as I have ever judged a ball. Here I am with the ball entering my glove:

Unfortunately, I only had the glove half on, so I couldn’t squeeze it at all and the best I could do was pull the ball towards me as to not have it skip away from me before I could grab it on the ground. Meanwhile, Jonathan was raising his arms in celebration in the green rectangle:

And you just read the account of my first ever home run. Better yet, it tied the home run. As a Twins fan, there was nothing better short of catching a walk-off Joe Mauer home run. Wow. I still can’t believe it.

Here I am right after I snagged it:

I was so excited about it I even took a second while I was chasing a second home run of the game in the standing room:

Yep, a home run snag…….Minnesota Style:

Well, I didn’t get a second home run, but what I saw from the standing room was good enough for me:

That would be the Twins team celebrating around Denard Span after he had the walk-off hit to win the game in the bottom of the 10th:

He was especially celebrated because it was his first game back from a DL stint.

I then stuck around after the game by Anthony Lapanta and Tom Kelly:

While I was out there, a lot of people passed me since I was right by gate 34, the main gate into and out of Target Field. One of those people was the woman who took the opening picture that you saw. She came up to me while I had my camera pressed to my eye and said: “Did you catch the Plouffe home run?”

“Yeah, you saw that?” I said

“I was saying to my husband: ‘ I took a picture of those guys before the game.’ Congratulations!”

But why was I out there? I wanted to get a better look at my home run snag when they showed it on the Jumbotron. (Is that one of those things where the brand has become synonymous with the individual product? You know, like Kleenex.)

Actually, I got a better look at it than when I went home to see the replay:

That would be me in the process of dropping the ball with Jonathan about to celebrate. If you enlarge the picture, you can see my phone in my right hand. And the second picture:

That would be me going down for the baseball and seeing it behind me through my legs before I turned around and grabbed it with my glove since my open hand was occupied with my phone. What made the home run *even* better was it was the first game home run ball snagged in the outfield at Target Field on mygameballs.com. It was just recently that I started calling Target Field because of the University of Minnesota, so it’s nice to be the first one on mygameballs to record a hit game home run snag, and do something I could never in any of my other stadiums.

STATS:

  • 4 Balls at this game (3 pictured because I gave one away)

Numbers 417-420 for my career:

  • 198 Balls in 47 Games= 4.21 Balls Per Game
  • 4 Balls x 28,669 Fans= 114, 676 Competition Factor
  • 56 straight Games with at least 1 Ball
  • 6 straight Games with at least 2-3 Balls
  • 5 straight Games with at least 4 Balls
  • 30 Balls in 8 Games at Target Field= 3.75 Balls Per Game
  • 7 straight Games with at least 1-2 Balls at Target Field
  • 6 straight Games with at least 3 Balls at Target Field
  • 5 straight Games with at least 4 Balls at Target Field
  • Time Spent On Game 3:31- 11:36= 8 Hours 5 Minutes

9/12/12 Royals at Twins: Target Field

It started raining in Minneapolis at 11:00 AM. That was okay, though because according to my phone, the rain would end by 4:00 PM (before batting practice was set to start). Well, my phone was right:

Did that mean there’d be batting practice?

Nope:

Yeah, when I entered this was the most exciting thing happening:

Actually, that’s not hyperbole at all. See that fan in the bright orange going down the steps? That would be my guest to this game, Sean. I had been eyeing some cheap seats on Stubhub, but they were only being sold in pairs. Sean here is in my “History of Science” class. I forget how, but somehow, we revealed to each other that we were both baseball super-fans. When he said he was going to the Twins game Friday, and said he would want to catch a game with me some time, I jokingly said something like: “How about this Wednesday?” Shockingly, he accepted the offer.

Fast-foward to today: He and I- after some confusion- met up at the Washington Ave Bridge and walked to Target Field. Fast-forward to pre-game warm-ups: The Twins pitchers you saw started throwing. I played it completely wrong, so I didn’t get a single ball from them while they were throwing. However, I went behind the dugout to try to get a ball from Alex Burnett, but when I got there, and usher started telling me something just as I was about to ask Burnett for the ball, so I couldn’t do as I had planned. Fortunately, the usher was telling me there was a ball right by where I was standing. He suspected Burnett had thrown it just seconds before I arrived. Here is where it was in the first row:

I’m glad the usher told me, but it would have been nice to start a game with no BP with two balls right out of the gate. At this time, Sean was getting food, and although I had told him that I snag baseballs at games, he couldn’t believe I had already gotten a ball when he came back.

I then changed into my Royals gear:

Yes, my actual Royals shirt hadn’t showed up yet, so I taped a paper cut-out of the logo to ma blue shirt as I have done a few times previously. Anyway, there were two pitchers warming up, Kelvin Herrera and Bruce Chen. Apparently, someway, somehow, Bruce Chen learned Spanish, because he was talking to Herrera in Spanish. Anyway, Chen went off to run, and Herrera started throwing with someone else. When they finished, I asked Herrera to toss me the ball in Spanish, and he did:

That was it for pre-game activities. Normally, that would be it for the game, but did I mention where the cheapish seats were? Yeah, well let me just say I was able to try to get a ball during the pre-game position player throwing. When they came out, though, there was a problem:

You can’t really tell from the picture, but everyone brought their glove, yet no one thought to bring a ball. Eventually, someone *did* bring a ball, and that ball got tossed to me by David Lough:

But let’s take another look at that ball:

Yep. The Royals somehow had Oriole Park commemorative baseballs.

As for the game, this was my view:

That’s a pretty nice view for $20.

I also saw something I had never seen before at Target Field. It had rained, so that combined with the natural cold to make it cold enough for the Twins to turn on the heat lamps in the concourse:

I’ve got to say, that’s a really nice touch to have for a ballpark in Minnesota. I know the shorts-clad Sean really appreciated the Twins having them.

As you can guess, I was playing the dugout for third-out balls. Well for whatever reason, whenever Eric Hosmer recorded a third out at first base, he tossed the ball to Alcides Escobar who ALWAYS tossed the ball to a kid. I could have reached for a ball in the first inning that was meant for one of said kids, but it didn’t feel right. However, in about the fifth inning, the inning ended with Mike Moustakas catching a line drive. When he got back to the dugout, he tossed the ball just to my right:

Right after I got the ball, I opened my glove up for a kid right next to me to take the ball. That was my fourth ball of the game.

Like I said before, this was a cold, rainy game to begin with, so when the Royals had Sean and I singing, “The runners on base go round and round…” it was pretty empty at Target Field:

I almost caught a Justin Morneau foul ball, but I couldn’t get my glove over one of the railings in my section, and the ball took a huge bounce off the concrete after that into the seats outside of the “moat” above me.

After the game ended, I went down to the umpire tunnel and got a all from the home plate umpire, Dan Bellino:

At the time, I thought the ball was clearly intended for me, but after I jumped to catch it, I looked right behind me to see Sean staring right at me. It may have indeed been intended for him. Don’t worry, though, I would give him the ball two days later when we once again went to the same game. Anyway, this was the second highest total I had ever recorded at a game with no batting practice. Even though I don’t like playing third-out balls for the exact reason that they are so easy to get, it was nice to be able to get three baseballs during or after the game. Normally I would be stuck at two balls on a day like this. Also, according to mygameballs.com, this was the first ball he has ever thrown up to a member.

After the game, Sean and I got a parting picture together before heading back to the University of Minnesota:

Yeah, he’s a White Sox fan as he’s from Chicago, but in all fairness, he was rooting for the Twins this game, so he’s forgiven for one game.

STATS:

  • 5 Balls at this game (4 pictured because I gave 1 away)

Numbers 412-415 for my life:

  • 194 Balls in 46 Games= 4.22 Balls Per Game
  • 5 Balls x 28,139 Fans = 140, 695 Competition Factor
  • 55 Games with at least 1 Ball
  • 5 straight Games with at least 2-3 Balls
  • 4 straight Games with at least 4 Balls
  • 26 Balls in 7 Games at Target Field= 3.71 Balls Per Game
  • 6 straight Games with at least 1-2 Balls at Target Field
  • 5 straight Games with at least 3 Balls at Target Field
  • 4 straight Games with at least 4 Balls at Target Field
  • Time Spent On Game 3:45- 11:39= 7 Hours 54 Minutes

9/10/12 Indians at Twins: Target Field

Now my third game at Target Field since starting school, I was starting to develop a routine by walking directly from my last class of the day to Target Field and falling asleep in the giant glove outside the gates:

The glove itself, for those who don’t know, is to commemorate all of the Twins Gold Glove winners in history. (That’s the plaque right over my right shoulder in the picture.) The position of the glove is to commemorate the furthest home run in Twins history; which I believe was measured at 520ft.

It isn’t exactly ideal to show up two hours before the gates open, but one of the perks is being the absolute first fan to check into the game using MLB.com’s At The Ballpark app. What I didn’t know was the perk of that was this:

Here’s the t-shirt’s front design:

And here’s the back design:

I didn’t wear it that day, but you may see it in a couple entries (hint, hint).

Once 4:30 rolled around, I went up to the gates-as is my usual routine- and readied myself for any baseball that might reach me at the gate. It’s very unlikely, but I like that there’s at least a possibility of getting a ball. It makes the time go so much faster. Citi Field gate time goes slowly for reasons I have already mentioned, and Yankee Stadium minutes, if there’s no one I know is at the gates, takes FORever. Long story short: I didn’t get any balls that bounced to the gate, but what *did* happen was, out of the blue, a guy pulled up to me in a trolley-type thing and handed me a baseball through the gates:

Just like that, I was on the board. At that moment, I decide I wasn’t going to ask for a ball for the rest of the game. I was just going to go for home runs and help other kids get baseballs.

Want to see the crowds outside the gate five minutes before it opened?

How cute.

When the gates opened, I headed straight for right field, because I figured the Indians group who had supplied with so many baseballs the first day would be hitting just as I got in. Instead of getting a hit ball, right when I got to the seats, Corey Kluber saw my Indians gear, flashed a ball he had, and threw it up to me. I realize that all of these may seem VERY unlikely given the fact I said I wasn’t asking for any baseballs, but I swear, I didn’t ask for *any* of these. Kluber just looked up at me, and tossed me the ball:

Given the fact I got two balls, though, I was considering asking for balls if I got in a rhythm catching hit balls. Unfortunately,those two would be the only ones I would get for the extent of batting practice. Unlike Saturday, there wasn’t THAT big of a crowd, but nothing was coming close to me.

This was my view for most of Indians batting practice:

When there’s enough room, so far my strategy has been to be in a spot where I can both run back to the standing room or run down to catch a ball that is hit in the seats in right field.

I then headed over to left field, but as you guessed it, not much came my way. The balls that did come my way, but I lost them in the sun even though I was wearing sunglasses:

I think Target Field left field is one of the underrated sun havens.

While I was there, though, I saw a crime against what might as well be ballhawks everywhere. It was only directed at one person (not myself), but it was pretty bad. Here ‘s something to help you out:

As you can see, I labeled some people. Well, it all started when Francisco Morales threw the ball snagger a ball. Esmil Rogers looked at him and tapped his foot as if he were waiting for the ball snagger to give the ball away to the kid next to. I suspect it was because he had seen the guy get a ball before. And the ball snagger *did* give the ball away, and Rogers clapped for him. That’s all fine and good, but when a line drive got hit RIGHT at the ball snagger, Rogers stepped right in front of it and caught the ball on the fly. When a ball rolled right to where this guy was standing in the corner spot, Rogers stepped in front of the ball and snagged the ground ball so the guy couldn’t scoop it up as it rolled to him.

I mean, yeah, he snagged ONE ball. Big deal. He did what you wanted him to do and you repay him by blocking two balls that he would have gotten. WHo was he hurting by snagging TWO baseballs? It isn’t like some kid would have gotten that ground ball had he not been there. And on that note, how are you helping ANYone by then taking the ball and throwing it right back into the infield bucket? What you saved the Indians $20? Good job, Mr. Rogers. Gee double-oh dee jay oh bee; good job, good job. It’d be one thing if you tossed the ball to a recipient you deemed more deserving, but this is just being an absolute jerk over nothing.

Sorry for the mini-rant; I try not to do that too much. But I thought I needed to get that off my chest because it just makes no sense to me when people who makes hundreds of thousands of dollars, or millions of dollars a year obsess over a fan getting a couple baseballs. Fine, he already got a ball. That means you won’t toss him a ball if he asks, not you have to attempt to the best of your ability to make sure he doesn’t get another ball for the rest of the game.

That’s all I have to say about batting practice. For the game, I sat over here:

Actually, my ticketed seat was “better” (being closer to directly behind home plate), but I figured I’d have a better chance of catching a foul ball here, since it didn’t have the hindrance of the protective netting. I also kept my Indians gear on and waved my arms whenever I would have usually been yelling, because, you know, I had that whole “I’m not going to ask for balls for the rest of the game” thing going on.

At the end of the game, though, I raced down to the dugout to see if I could finally get my first line card (I didn’t say anything about asking for lineup cards). I got rejected. However, I was right by where the umpires exit the field- known as the umpire tunnel. Usually, I always look up who the umpire is, but I didn’t even bother to this time, since I wasn’t going to ask him for a ball. Then, a weird thing happened. The only other game I had gone to the umpire tunnel, a swarm of kids ran to it just as the game ended. Since this was my only experience of it thus far, I figured that was the norm. This time NO one was at the umpire tunnel. The umpire was literally searching the crowd for people to throw balls to. Since I was the only one with a glove, he flipped me a ball:

I later searched and found out the home plate umpire’s name was D. J. Reyburn.

I then went to the other side of the dugout. There were two little sister who in conjunction with their parents, had been trying all game to get a ball from the dugout, but had failed to this point. I went over, and as Dave Miller, Francisco Morales, and Armando Camacaro neared the dugout. I just pointed almost cartoonishly at the two girls; acting as a billboard for “give these two kids a ball”. They both did, and as I guess a reward, Armando Camacaro also tossed me a ball:

If you’re wondering (you’re probably not) Camacaro’s name translates to bedcar.

Geez. Why can’t convincing players to toss me baseballs be this easy when I *want* them to toss me baseballs? I mean seriously, I got four toss-ups without even asking for them; yet when I want a toss-up, it seems like I’ll never crack a player. Anyway, weird times at Target Field.

STATS:

  • 4 Balls at this game

Numbers 408- 411 for my “career”:

  • 189 Balls in 45 Games= 4.20 Balls Per Game
  • 4 Balls x 27, 526 Fans= 110, 104 Competition Factor
  • 54 straight Games with at least 1 Ball
  • 4 straight Games with at lest 2-3 Balls
  • 3 straight Games with at least 4 Balls
  • 21 Balls in 6 Games at Target Field= 3.50 Balls Per Game
  • 5 straight Games at Target Field with at least 1-2 Ball(s)
  • 4 straight Games at Target Field with at least 3 Balls
  • 3 straight Games at Target Field with at least 4 Balls
  • Time Spent On Game 2:17- 10:41= 8 Hours 24 Minutes
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