Results tagged ‘ blog ’

9/6/13 Blue Jays at Twins: Target Field

Oh how good it felt to be back at Target Field. And look who joined me for the game:

9613 Jonathan and Mateo

If you’re semi-new to the blog, that’s me on the right and my friend Jonathan on the left. Jonathan, if you don’t know, accompanied me for the first time ever the game I snagged my first ever game home run. And today, we had my “fancy camera”, so he was going to be my designated photographer.

You also may have noticed that we were standing at Gate 3 instead of my usual Gate 34. I was trying something semi-new. Usually the only reason I ever went to Gate 3 was if I got to Target Field late, but here I just wanted to see how it would be like to be the first person in the left field seats, since this is usually where I bolt to anyways when the gates open.

So when we got in, I headed straight for the middle spot of the left field bleachers, and when he got there, Jonathan took a picture of me there:

9613 Mateo in LF

And he didn’t get my first ball on camera, because he saw the ball falling short of the wall and didn’t bother to have the camera pointed that way. But anyway, it was a ground rule double some Twins hitter (I think Wilkin Ramirez, but am not certain) hit that bounced up, off a guy’s chest, and back to me. There was a second ground rule double later on, but a guy caught it two rows in front of me as it was headed straight towards me.

After I got this ball, the Twins ended BP ridiculously early. I’d say at 5:10. Usually during weekdays, we get a solid 5-10 minutes of Twins BP despite the gates opening at 5:30. As a result, Jonathan and I then headed over to foul territory to get a ball from the Blue Jays:

9613 Mateo in Foul Ground

And I do mean WE. See the guy in the following picture that I’ve put an arrow over was playing catch with Rajai Davis:

9613 Player

Well when he was done throwing, I asked if he could toss me the ball. So as he was running off, he kind of submarined the ball and launched it over my head. And guess who got the ball:

9613 Jonathan ball

I was happy for Jonathan, but I would have rather the player–whoever he was–been on target with his throw.

After that, I rushed out to right field for the Blue Jays first group. Since Jonathan was both in much less of a hurry to get there than I and was carrying the camera bag, I snagged two baseballs before he even got there and then two within a few seconds of him getting there. So here are the spots of the four baseballs labeled by their numbers on the day for me:

9713 Baseballs 2-5

2. Adam Lind hit a ball straight over my head. Except by the time I looked at the ball, it was already halfway towards me, so I wasn’t able to get out my row. All I could do was see it go over my head and wait for it to bounce back into a row where I could pick it up.

3. Some Blue Jays righty hit an opposite-field home run into the flower pots. I was in the right field seats when it landed, but when I saw the people struggling to find/reach for it, I ran over to the flower bed in the right-center field seats, and offered to pick the ball up for them and hand it to them. So when I saw where it was, I leaned way down into the flower pots, picked the ball up, and handed it to the couple who was right above it.

4. There was another Blue Jays lefty homer–maybe Lind again. As it flew toward the corner of the rose bush, I moved over to the side of the section that juts out in right field just in case the ball stopped there. Well it hit the corner and as I got to the wall, it bounced up the side of the wall,  I stopped the ball from bouncing any further with my glove, and picked it up.

5. Right before I got ball 4, Jonathan had arrived on the scene. So after I got it, I went towards him and into the aisle to see if he had gotten a shot of me getting the ball. Right as I turned away from him, I heard a clank to my right.  A ball had hit just in the right-center field seats. This one Jonathan did get a shot of as I jumped the mini-wall separating the two sections and grabbed the ball:

9613 Ball 5 happening

I was nervous I was going to get yelled at for jumping over the wall, so I immediately turned to my left after getting the ball and tossed it to a kid who was fifteen feet away after making sure that he had not yet gotten a ball. But of course Jonathan didn’t get that on camera. (No, but seriously, taking pictures for a ballhawking entry is tough. It’s tough to realize what is going to happen next and what should have a picture taken of it if you’re not familiar with ballhawking. And if one is familiar with ballhawking, that usually means he/she is usually going to be ballhawking his/herself and can’t take pictures.)

After that, a group of mostly Blue Jays righties came up. Since righties usually try to hit opposite-field, I went into the right-center field section and tried to get toss-ups from the players who were shagging baseballs below me. Instead, though, one of those righties (Edwin Encarnacion?) hit an opposite-field home run into the flower bushes, and while the pictures I will show you were from a scenario later on almost exactly the same where I didn’t get the ball, they serve the purpose of visual aids. So when I first saw the ball hit, I ran towards the spot where it was landing:

9613 Mateo Running

And then when the ball went in the flower pots, I leaned down to the side of the woman it landed in front of (same woman as in this following picture, interestingly enough), picked it up:

9613 Mateo Leaning over

And handed her the ball. I then realized that Edwin Encarnacion was starting to hit baseballs into the second deck in left field, so I went up there, since I suspected there would be many more to come. I was right.

Encarnacion and the rest of the people hit about 8 or 9 baseballs up there in their time at the plate. And I should preface the pictures you’re about to see and the fact that I only got 1 of those by saying that being in the seats in the second of Target Field is one of the worst places in fair territory to run for a baseball through the seats. But there was one ball I had tracked:

9613 Mateo Tracking

And I could tell the ball was going to be landing in the row below me, but unlike most places where there is barely a difference in height between rows, here the row in front of me was about two feet below me–despite how it may seem in the picture:

9613 Mateo Reaching

So I couldn’t get down fast enough and dropped the ball. But thankfully, I was able to trap the ball with my glove:

9613 Trapping Ball

And when this group ended, I headed back to the seats in right-center in hopes of a toss-up. Well I didn’t get any player to toss *me* a ball, but when Jeremy Jeffress went to the wall to retrieve a ball:

9613 Jeffress Path

And there were two kids who were asking him by name for the ball, I knew I had no chance competing with them for the ball directly. So instead, I used the ridiculous steepness of Target Field and went in the row behind them. I knew that unless Jeffress went out about twenty feet from the wall, he would have to toss the ball over the kids’ heads to get it to them. So like clockwork, this happened:

9613 Ball 8 Diagram

But of course I then immediately gave the ball to the kid, since I had still caught it over his head. (Well that and the fact that the ball was intended for him.) That was my last ball of batting practice.

Now stuck at 8 baseballs, I went to the bullpen(s) after batting practice with Jonathan:

9613 Jonathan at bullpens

And because there were a ton of baseballs in the Blue Jays bullpen, that’s whose team gear I was in while I was there. But when a familiar-but-unexpected face started tossing them up, I quickly took of my hat, covered my shirt, and got him to toss me one for my ninth on the day:

9613 Ball 9

Can you tell who it is? No? It was TC Bear, the Twins mascot, who tossed it to me. He went through both bullpens and tossed up every single ball that was in both of them.

As for the game, both Jonathan and I headed out to the standing room in right in hopes of a game home run:

9613 View from RF

Of course, though, I knew both teams, minus maybe a select few members from either team, had any chance of putting a ball up there. What I did instead with my time was take a bunch of pictures, since I had my “good” camera at my disposal–like these:

9613 AL West Standings 9613 Minneapolis Skyline 9613 Targetland 9613 THIS IS…137 9613 Twins Logo

And I did take more, but they’ll be in the Facebook gallery that I’ll put up some time after this entry gets up. In the meantime, though, here’s the link to the Facebook Page for this blog if you have a Facebook and want to “like” it.

After the game, both Jonathan and I headed to the dugout for an umpire ball. But since the game ended on a double play, I was caught off guard and had to quickly change the camera lens to the smaller one, gave it to Jonathan, and told him to take a continuous series of pictures if I managed to get the ball from home plate umpire, Mark Wegner. Wegner thankfully waited for the other members of his crew to get to the tunnel, so I was able to get down there in time:

9613 Mateo at Tunnel

And then I asked him for a ball as he approached:

9613 Asking For Umpire Ball

And when Wegner tossed me the ball, I caught it in front of the hand of the man sitting next to me, who snatched at it not realizing that the ball was intended for me:

9613 Ball 10

I then got a more proper picture with my tenth ball of the day as Jonathan and I awaited the bus to get back to campus:

9613 Ball 10 at the Bus Stop

And so concluded only my sixth double-digit game ever, but interestingly enough the fourth this season.

STATS:

  • 10 Balls at this game (6 pictured because I gave 3 away, and I think I lost one when my backpack fell open as I was running through the seats at one point during BP)

9613 Baseballs

Numbers 680-689 for my lifetime:

9613 Sweet Spots

  • 243 Balls in 53 Games= 4.58 Balls Per Game
  • 10 Balls x 27,044 Fans=270,440 Competition Factor
  • 115 straight Games with at least 1 Ball
  • 20 straight Games with 2 Balls
  • 17 straight Games with 3 Balls
  • 9 straight Games with 4 Balls
  • 3 straight games with 5 Balls
  • 127 Balls in 27 Games at Target Field= 4.70 Balls Per Game
  • 25 straight Games with at least 1 Ball at Target Field
  • 5 straight Games with at least 2-4 Ball at Target Field
  • Time Spent On Game 3:42-2:00= 10 Hours 18 Minutes

 

BallhawkFest Video

I recorded/made this video last week as a little bit of an insight to BallhawkFest 2013. However, I never got the time to write even this short intro for it, so now that I’m about to go to sleep, here is the video for all of you on the blog to see. I’m going to go to sleep and in the morning I’m going to go ahead and start work on the entries from the four consecutive games I have attended these past few days before going to my fifth in the night. Many good stories come from these games, so stay tuned. In the meanwhile, though, here’s the video this entry is dedicated to:

Because the embedding process isn’t working at all right now, click any part of this sentence, and it’ll take you to the video itself.

4/16/13 Angels at Twins: Target Field

Another day, another beautiful game at Target Field. And this time, I had company:

41613 Opening Picture

That would be myself on the right underneath the “Gate 34″ sign and my friend Jonathan on the left. If Jonathan seems familiar, it’s because he’s filmed a couple of videos for me, and thus ended up in a couple Behind the Scenes and Blooper videos, but he also had joined me for exactly one game prior to this one. That game would be the one where I snagged my one–and to this point only–game home run off the bat of Trevor Plouffe. So, if you feel like clicking on the picture and zooming in, that’s why I’m crossing my fingers in the picture, because I was hoping he would be my good luck charm once again.

He wasn’t the only one with me at the gates, though. The photo credit for that picture goes to Tony Voda (who actually has an entry written about this very game that you should check out by clicking here. Don’t worry, I made it so the link opens in a separate tab/window). I was going to take a picture (Well, more specifically, have Jonathan take a picture) of the two of us, but he suggested we take the picture when Paul Kom (who also wrote an entry about this game)arriveth to the gates. Well Paul eventually arrived, but to a different side of the gates than we thought we would see him on:

41613 Paul and Tony

If you’re new to this blog or are just unfamiliar with the two, that would be Tony on the right bowing his head in shame and Paul on the other side of the gates taking a picture of us outsiders. He was enjoying this moment way too much, though. Check it out:

41613 Paul Laughing

Oh, Paul. He had gotten free tickets, so that’s why he was at this game. Those tickets happened to be a part of a 20-game plan, so Paul checked to see if those tickets could get him into the gates early. As you can tell, he was right. This lead to Tony–who owns a 20-game plan–questioning whether he could get in the gates too, and…well…see for yourself:

41613 Tony inside

41613 Mateo outside

Yeah, so there was that. Unfortunately for them, there was no batting practice (Ha ha) going on at the time, so they were still on a level playing field with me when I got in the gates. Paul, however, used the extra time before the gates formally opened to get positioning and snag the first baseball of any of us. The next person to snag a baseball, however, was a very unlikely one:

41613 Jonathan ball

That’s right. Jonathan managed to pick up a Mike Trout home run that landed in the seats. Remember how I said in the last entry that struggling with the hit ball can be frustrating in two ways: either not many baseballs are reaching the stands or you’re misjudging them? Yes? No? Well for only the second time this season, baseballs actually were reaching the stands, but I was just flat-out misjudging them. If I went down two rows on my initial read, the ball was flying over my head; if I backed up on the ball, it died a couple rows in front of me.

In just giving up on chasing home run baseballs for the first round of the Angels’ second BP group, I headed over to foul territory to try to get a ball from the pitchers warming up. When I got there, I immediately knew which pitcher I was going to try to get a ball from. I have mentioned it a couple of times, but just to refresh who didn’t read the entries in which I mentioned it: I am adopted from Colombia. So, given this fact, my obvious target for a toss-up was the Angels’ Colombian-born closer, Ernesto “Ernasty/Ernie/E-Money” Frieri. As I got in position to get a ball from Frieri, though, I saw two guys to my left looking towards me in a really weird way. They then looked slightly past my feet in that same weird way. I looked to my right and saw there was a baseball that lay there completely untouched. I grabbed it and then handed it to one of the guys, since I wouldn’t have gotten the ball had he not semi-pointed it out to me.

After this I asked Ernesto Frieri for a ball once he was done throwing by using the phrase: “Una pelota para un Colombiano?” It translates to: “A ball for a Colombian?” He turned out of the crouch he had been receiving the pitches from his throwing partner from and tossed me the ball. He then proceeded  to do something that has never happened before: he followed his toss and walked up to me. He asked me a bunch of questions and we ended up having a five-minute conversation consisting of nothing but him asking me questions about my life. It was a pretty awesome experience. At the end of it, he told me (even though I didn’t ask) that he can’t sign anything during batting practice itself because he would get fined, so that I should find him after batting practice. It was okay with me, though, because I don’t care excessively about autographs. What I did ask from him is if he could take a picture with me, and, well:

41613 Ernasty and Me

A great experience to say the least.

It however did negatively affect my snagging experience, because due to my natural paranoia, I didn’t want him to see/hear me asking any other players for baseballs because he might think that I just made up that I was Colombian to get a ball from him, which isn’t true. Before I got to that, though, I managed to snag my third baseball of the day. I saw a baseball on the ground, just out of my reach. Normally I would have just reached out and grabbed it, but since there was a police officer not more than twenty feet away, I asked him if I could get the ball for a couple to my left (since I had just gotten the ball from Frieri pretty much a couple seconds prior). He tossed me the ball, and I then promptly handed the ball to the wife/girlfriend half. Here’s where the ball was:

41613 Ball 3 location

And here is the couple–who thanked me multiple times–I gave the ball away to:

41613 Couple

I then went cold for a very long portion of batting practice. My next ball came in the right-center field section of seats. When I headed over there, I saw a person who I couldn’t recognize the first batting practice of the series, but because he had entered that previous game, I knew it was Garrett Richards. Once I identified the player as Garrett Richards, I asked him for a ball and him toss it to me for my fourth ball of the day. Here’s a general idea of how he tossed me the baseball:

41613 Ball 4 Diagram

That would be my last ball of batting practice. After batting practice Tony and I met up at the bullpens:

41613 Tony and Me

(Yeah, I have no idea what I’m doing there either.) Almost immediately as I got there, though, I noticed a person clearing the baseballs in the batter’s eye, so I quickly excused myself from the conversation I was having with Tony, ran over to the corner spot in the right-center field seating(right above the flowers in the picture above), and shouted at the groundskeeper to get his attention. The result was my fifth ball of the day. At that point Tony had snagged three baseballs, so here he is conveying that fact:

41613 Tony "3" V

(You can see the corner spot itself in this picture above and to the left of  Tony’s head and the 96.3 K-Twin ad.) And at this point I didn’t know how many baseballs I had snagged, but I knew it was either four or five. See, I just keep track of how many baseballs I give away, let the pictures I take remind me of how I snagged the baseballs, and then add the number of baseballs I have given away to the number of baseballs I have in my backpack to figure out my total. Anyway, here I am conveying my uncertainty, with Tony giving his thought on the matter?

41613 Tony and Mateo 3

For the game, I stayed out in the right field standing room, where this was my view:

41613 Target Field view from RF

I would have taken a lot more pictures of the game, but I had lost my gloves earlier in the week and despite the sun showing itself for stints during this game, it was still cold enough that I didn’t want my hand constantly exposed to the cold. Instead I just leaned against the original Metropolitan Stadium flagpole with my hands in my sweater pockets:

41613 Flagpole Base

I did, however get one picture that I think is kind of nice of the view behind me as the sun was setting:

41613 View behind RF Target Field

Nothing came even close to going out to right field, but I got down to the dugout just as the game ended and managed to snag a baseball from home plate umpire, Paul Nauert:

41613 Ball 6

After that, I headed over to the other side of the dugout and got Steve Soliz to toss me a ball for my seventh day. I then got Jonathan to take a picture of myself with those last two baseballs I snagged at the dugout:

41613 Mateo with dugout baseballs

And while we’re mentioning Jonathan, he is my same boat in that we both generally dislike hecklers. The difference between us two is that I just like the uncreative hecklers. Jonathan, on the other hand, hates the whole idea of heckling. So much so that even though he’s a Cardinals fan and is not happy with Albert Pujols having left St. Louis, when fans by us started heckling Pujols, who was then at-bat, Jonathan tried to counter it by giving Alberta positive reinforcement such as, “You’re doing a great job out there” and gems of that ilk.

And after I snagged my last two baseballs, I briefly looked around to see if I could spot Tony and see how he did during the game. I assumed since I had last seen him sitting on three baseballs that I had the lead for baseballs at Target Field. On the bus I received a call from Tony and found out he had managed to more than double his total during the game and snagged five baseballs, bringing his total to eight baseballs for the game. An amazing performance that would have to make my possession of the Target Field lead wait for another day.

STATS:

  • 7 Balls at this game (5 pictured because I gave 2 away)

41613 Baseballs

Numbers 471-477 for my “career”:

41613 Sweet Spots

  • 31 Balls in 6 Games= 5.17 Balls Per Game
  • 7 Balls x 23,299 Fans= 163,093 Competition Factor
  • 68 straight Games with at least 1 Ball
  • 18 straight Games with at least 2 Balls
  • 5 straight Games with at least 3 Balls
  • 4 straight Games with at least 4-6 Balls
  • 86 Balls in 20 Games at Target Field= 4.30 Balls Per Game
  • 19 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 4-6 Balls at Target Field
  • Time Spent On Game 4:01-11:37= 7 Hours 36 Minutes

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…

Observing Baseball Trivia

Since I can’t write “Ballhawking Gear” until I get back to Minnesota in three weeks, here is your next-most-voted-for entry: Observing Baseball Trivia. Here’s how it will go:

  • 100 Questions total
  • 10 on Historical Baseball Stuff, 10 on Contemporary Baseball Stuff, 30 on Ballpark Trivia, 10 on Ballhawk Stats, 10 on Name That Ballpark, 10 Trivia about the content of the blog itself, and 20 on Moments in Observing Baseball History.
  • Each question will be multiple choice.
  • You don’t need to write out the question, but please include the number to the question in your answer.
  • Each person only gets to take one guess for each question. If a person takes a guess at a question that is wrong, they can no longer answer that question. They will, however, be allowed a guess at any subsequent questions.
  • I will try to post a question on every hour or half-hour that I am up between today and Monday.
  • The contest will be taking place not just here on the blog, but also on my Twitter account, the Observing Baseball Facebook page, and on the newly-made Instagram account (because EVERYone said I should make one. Well, not everyone, but family, people on Twitter, and people in the comments of this blog). Twenty-five of the hundred questions will appear on each medium. I won’t announce which questions will be on which, but every set of four questions will have one question on each medium. In other words, you will always be able to predict on which account the fourth, eight, and so on questions will be one, but you won’t be able to predict the three questions preceding
  • The questions won’t close until someone answers question #100.
  • The people credited with answering the question will be decided by *my* time stamp. I’ll try update the standings below as I get the results.
  • Only one person can get credit for answering the question correctly. The person to get it is the first person to answer it correctly.
  • I’ll post questions from other places on here after they’re answered.
  • Correct answers will be bolded.
  • To be accredited with the right answer one needs to answer on wherever the question is… unless you let me know before the question is posted that you don’t have an account on any of the sites listed above. In that case I’ll allow you to answer by commenting on this entry. So, to be clear, if I post the question on the blog, comment the answer; if I post the question on Twitter, reply to the tweet (or one tweet in the series of tweets containing the tweets, since I probably can’t fit a whole multiple-choice question in 140 characters) with the answer; if the question is on Facebook, comment on the post where I ask the question with the answer; and if the question is on Instagram, comment on the picture I ask the question in.
  • The winner of this contest will get their choice of *one* of these four prizes. And for every ten people who submit an answer throughout this contest, I’ll add on an extra winner (i.e. If more than ten people submit an answer, I’ll give away two prizes. If more than twenty people do, I’ll give away three prizes etc. If more than forty people submit an answer–which I *highly* doubt–I’ll pick some more prizes for them to possibly pick from.) Anyway, here are the prizes:

1. Rollie Fingers-signed baseball:

Rollie Fingers autographed baseball

2. Yankees 2009 Commemorative World Series DVD (unopened):

Yankees 2009 Wordl Series DVD

3. Mr. Met Bobblehead:

Mr. Met Bobblehead

4. Radar Gun:

Radar Gun

Rankings:

1. Nick Badders- 29. Received: Radar Gun.

2. Paul Kom- 24. Received–by winning the tie-breaker 3-2-1: Rollie Finger autographed baseball.

3. Quinn Imiola- 24. Received: Mr. Met bobblehead.

4. Kimberly Imiola- 8

5. Jared Serre- 3

6. Sean Bigness- 3

7. Joey Orr- 2

8. Danny Chojnacki- 2

9. Brendan Weingarten- 2

10. Pascale Badders- 2

11. Tony Voda- 1

12. Matt Huddleston- 1

And here is the first question:

1. Who received the highest percentage of votes in the Baseball HOF’s inagural class? ANSWERED (by Quinn Imiola)

a. Walter Johnson

b. Ty Cobb

c. Babe Ruth

d. Honus Wagner

2. (on Facebook) What year was Fenway Park’s construction finalized? ANSWERED (by Bredan Weingarten)
A. 1912
B. 1924
C. 1909
D. 1918

3. (on Instagram) What is the date of the longest time I’ve spent “at the ballpark”? ANSWERED (by Matt Huddleston)

A. 8/24/12

B. 7/4/11

C. 10/2/10

D. 7/17/12

4. (on Twitter) Who is the only ballhawk in mygameballs.com history to have four consecutive 400+ ball seasons? ANSWERED (by Nick Badders)

A. Nick Pelescak

B. Zack Hample

C. Garrett Meyer

D. Erik Jabs

5. (on Facebook) Name That Ballpark! ANSWERED (by Nick Badders)

tropicana-field_display_image

A. Rogers Centre

B. Tropicana Field

C. Tokyo Dome

D. Metrodome

6. (on Twitter) Which pitcher lead the league in 2012 in K/9? ANSWERED (by Nick Badders)

A. Max Scherzer

B. Justin Verlander

C. Lance Lynn

D. Zack Grienke

7. At Target Field, Harmon Killebrew’s longest home run ever (at Metropolitan Stadium) is the spot of______? ANSWERED (by Nick Badders)

A. A Mini Donut Stand

B. A Gold Glove

C. A Plaque Commemorating the Home Run

D. His Statue

8. (on Instagram) The Brewers mascot, Bernie the Brewer, slides down the slide in left field every time… ANSWERED (by Paul Kom)

A. A Brewer hits a home run

B. The Brewers score a run

C. An opposing batter strikes out

D. All of the above

9. What is the single-season record for Balls Per Game on mygameballs.com? ANSWERED (by Nick Badders)

A. 8.83

B. 8.65

C. 9.33

D. 9.5

10. Who tossed me my 100th baseball? ANSWERED (by Nick Badders)

A. Chris Perez

B. Rick Ankiel

C. Jeremy Hellickson

D. Jaime Garcia

11. (on Twitter) Which stat comes at the end of the “stats” portion of each ballhawking entry? ANSWERED (by Nick Badders)

A. Streaks

B. Competition Factor

C. Time Sent On Game

D. Balls Per Game

12. (on Facebook) What was the original name of the New York Yankees franchise? ANSWERED (by Nick Badders)

A. Washington Yankees

B. New York Knickerbockers

C. New York Highlanders

D. Baltimore Orioles

13. (on Facebook) In 2007, the Arizona Diamondbacks dumped which color scheme in favor of sedona red and black? ANSWERED (by Brendan Weingarten)

A. Normal red and white

B. Purple and turqouise

C. Gray and black

D. Gray and teal

14. (on Instagram) Name That Ballpark ANSWERED (by Quinn Imiola)

20130104-174404.jpg

A. New Yankee Stadium

B. U.S. Cellular Field

C. Old Yankee Stadium

D. Citizens Bank Park

15. (on Twitter) Who hit the first foul ball I snagged that I wrote about on this blog? ANSWERED (by Paul Kom)

A. Angel Pagan

B. Luis Hernandez

C. Nate McLouth

D. Justin Morneau

16. Marlins Park was built on the site of which former building? ANSWERED (by Nick Badders)

A. Miami-Dade County Courthouse

B. Miami Hurricane’s Mark Light Field (baseball stadium)

C. Pro Player Stadium

D. Old Orange Bowl Site

17. (on Twitter) My first Observing Baseball-documented snags came as a result of a loan from which ballhawk? ANSWERED (by Danny Chojnacki)

A. Zack Hample

B. Ben Weil

C. Greg Barasch

D. Avi Miller

18. (on Instagram) Before Marlins Park, what was the only ballpark with a pool? ANSWERED (by Paul Kom)

A. Tropicana Field

B. Chase Field

C. Minute Maid Park

D. Safeco Field

19. Which of the following are true concerning my 200th career ball? ANSWERED (by Paul Kom)

A. It was a ball hit in the second deck of Nationals Park

B. I out-ran an usher for it

C. I gave the ball away

D. All of the above

20. Which of these is not a feature of the Rogers Centre? ANSWERED (by Quinn Imiola)

A. Its outfield measurements are in meters

B. It only has three levels of seating

C. It is next door to the CN Tower.

D. There are hotel rooms in the outfield

21. (on Instagram) Which of the following *is* a seating section at Busch Stadium? ANSWERED (by Paul Kom)

A. Right Field Porch

B. Outfield Redbird Club

C. Diamond Club

D. Bank of America Club

22. What was the original name of the Atlanta Braves organization? ANSWERED (by Kimberly Imiola)

A. Boston Red Stockings

B. Boston Braves

C. Milwaukee Braves

D. Milwaukee Brewmasters

23. I snagged my first Observing Baseball-documented commemorative baseball at which stadium? ANSWERED (by Kimberly Imiola)

A. Nationals Park

B. Citi Field

C. Oriole Park at Camden Yards

D. New Yankee Stadium

24. (on Twitter) Name That Ballpark! ANSWERED (by Jared Serre)

A_0NRsvCcAAlWq7.jpg_large

A. Nationals Park

B. Citi Field

C. Target Field

D. New Yankee Stadium

25. (on Facebook) PNC Park leads the next-highest ballpark on mygameballs.com by how many baseballs?ANSWERED (by Nick Badders)

A. 1,367

B. 730

C. 579

D. 1,504

26. This Ballpark has a see-through fence in one of its outfield walls so that people can see the field from outside the stadium. ANSWERED (by Quinn Imiola)

A. Oriole Park at Camden Yards

B. AT&T Park

C. Minute Maid Park

D. Chase Field

27. (on Instagram) What month and year did I upload my first–admittedly awful–video for Observing Baseball? ANSWERED (by Nick Badders)

A. December 2011

B. March 2012

C. October 2011

D. January 2012

28. (on Twitter) Which gate at Citizens Bank Park opens earlier than all of the rest? ANSWERED (by Tony Voda)

A. Third Base Gate

B. Center Field Gate

C. Home Plate Gate

D. Right Field Gate

29. (on Facebook) Which of the following is *not* in the top-5 active pitchers in terms of WAR? ANSWERED (by Quinn Imiola)
A. Mariano Rivera

B. Roy Halladay

C. Justin Verlander

D. C.C. Sabathia

30. What was the date of my first ever Observing Baseball-documented minor league game? ANSWERED (by Nick Badders)

A. 3/29/12

B. 9/13/11

C. 4/29/12

D. 4/11/12

31. (on Twitter) Which of the following ballparks moved in its fences for the 2013 season? ANSWERED (by Jared Serre)

A. Citi Field

B. O. Co Coliseum

C. Petco Park

D. U.S. Cellular Field

32. (on Instagram) Which of the following does not have the majority of its seats green? ANSWERED (by Kimberly Imiola)

A. Target Field

B. Oriole Park at Camden Yards

C. Citi Field

D. Marlins Park

33. (on Instagram) Which of the following is in the top-5 active leaders in terms of OBP? ANSWERED (by Quinn Imiola)

A. Adam Dunn

B. Joey Votto

C. Kevin Youkillis

D. Joe Mauer

34. (on Facebook) Who hit the walk-off hit in the game I caught Trevor Plouffe’s game-tying home run? ANSWERED (by Nick Badders)

A. Denard Span

B. Josh Willingham

C. Ben Revere

D. Justin Morneau

D. Justin Morneau

35. What year did Roger Maris break Babe Ruth’s single-season home run record? ANSWERED (by Paul Kom)

A. 1961

B. 1958

C. 1949

D. 1965

36. (on Twitter) What date did I first encounter the “Tomahawk Chop”? ANSWERED (by Nick Badders)

A. 7/6/11

B. 4/14/11

C. 7/4/11

D. 8/15/11

37. (on Facebook) Who leads mygameballs.com in Balls Per Game? (minimum 10 Games) ANSWERED (by Nick Badders)

A. Jaycob Porter

B. Donny Haltom

C. Zack Hample

D. Joe Faraguna

38. (on Twitter) Which of the following ballparks doesn’t have a standing room-only section in the field level of the outfield? ANSWERED (by Quinn Imiola)

A. AT&T Park

B. Progressive Field

C. Oriole Park at Camden Yards

D. Fenway Park

39. I caught what sequence of baseballs in my three games in Miami in 2011? ANSWERED (by Quinn Imiola)

A. 8, 7, 2

B. 5, 5, 5

C. 7, 6, 2

D. 7, 3, 6

40. (on Instagram) Name That Ballpark! ANSWERED (by Kimberly Imiola)

20120804-144216.jpg

A. Target Field

B. Sun Life Stadium

C. Citi Field

D. Nationals Park

41. (on Facebook) Senator George Mitchell is a part of which baseball organization? ANSWERED (by Quinn Imiola and Paul Kom)

A. New York Yankees

B. Los Angeles Dodgers

C. Milwaukee Brewers

D. Boston Red Sox

42. (on Instagram) Name That Ballpark! ANSWERED (by Paul Kom)
62411 ball #2 path

A. AT&T Park

B. PNC Park

C. Citi Field

D. Oriole Park at Camden Yards

43. (on Twitter) Who was the first president to throw out a ceremonial first pitch? ANSWERED (by Quinn Imiola)

A. Woodrow Wilson

B. Herbert Hoover

C. William Howard Taft

D. Calvin Coolidge

44. How many sports has Wrigley Field played host to? ANSWERED (by Joey Orr)
A. 2
B. 4
C. 3
D. 5

45. (on Facebook) What percentage of balls have I given away since I started Observing Baseball? ANSWERED (by Joey Orr)

A. 34%

B. 21%

C. 29%

D. 26%

46. (on Twitter) How many ballparks have I been to? (MLB) ANSWERED (by Kimberly Imiola)

A. 10

B. 15

C. 16

D. 18

47. (on Instagram) In which ballpark can you find this? ANSWERED (by Paul Kom)
20121119-140823.jpg

A. AT&T Park

B. Turner Field

C. Miller Park

D. Coors Field

48. What was the date of my first double-digit game? ANSWERED (by Nick Badders)

A. 7/29/11

B. 8/12/11

C. 7/23/11

D. 6/24/11

49. Which of the following is not true about my 300th ball snag? ANSWERED (by Paul Kom)

A. I caught it on the fly

B. It was hit by a Yankee

C. It was on Derek Jeter’s birthday

D. I ran into a tunnel to get it.

50. (on Facebook) Which of the following doesn’t have a double-decker bullpen? ANSWERED (by Nick Badders)

A. Target Field

B. Citizens Bank Park

C. Citi Field

D. Oriole Park at Camden Yards

51. (on Instagram) Name That Ballpark! ANSWERED (by Paul Kom)
6712 People in tunnel

A. Oriole Park at Camden Yards

B. New Yankee Stadium

C. Citi Field

D. Sun LIfe Stadium

52. (on Twitter) What is oldest ballpark in the AL Central? ANSWERED (by Paul Kom)

A. Progressive Field

B. U.S. Cellular

C. Comerica Park

D. Kauffman Stadium

53. (on Twitter) What was the date when I tied for most baseballs snagged in the inaugural Ballhawkfest? ANSWERED (by Nick Badders)

A. 7/7/11

B. 6/9/11

C. 7/13/11

D. 7/23/11

54. (on Instagram) Which Ballpark was top in the league in 2012 in terms of HR Park Factor? ANSWERED (by Nick Badders)

A. Oriole Park at Camden Yards

B. U.S. Cellular Field

C. Coors Field

D. Miller Park

55. (on Facebook) Which is the third oldest ballpark in the AL East? ANSWERED (by Nick Badders)

A. New Yankee Stadium

B. Tropicana Field

C. Oriole Park at Camden Yards

D. Rogers Centre

56. On what date did I snag my first career home run? ANSWERED (by Nick Badders)

A. 9/13/11

B. 9/12/11

C. 9/13/12

D. 9/14/12

57. (on Twitter) Who is the Yankees’ career RBI leader?ANSWERED (by Nick Badders)

A. Lou Gehrig

B. Babe Ruth

C. Mickey Mantle

D. Joe DiMaggio

58. (on Instagram) During which game did I get this ball signed? ANSWERED (by Kimberly Imiola)
Instagram Picture

A. 8/5/12

B. 9/15/11

C. 7/7/12

D. 6/24/12

59. (on Facebook) Who holds the record on mygameballs.com for most home run snags in a season? ANSWERED (by Kimberly Imiola)

A. John Witt

B. Rick Gold

C. Tim Anderson

D. Shawn Bosman

60. Who is the active leader in WAR? ANSWERED (by Paul Kom)

A. Albert Pujols

B. Chipper Jones

C. Manny Ramirez

D. Alex Rodriguez

61. (on Twitter) Where can you find a “Cuban Sandwhich”? ANSWERED (by Quinn Imiola)

A. Marlins Park

B. Tropicana Field

C. Citi Field

D. Petco Park

62. (on Facebook) How many home stadiums and cities have the Oakland A’s had? ANSWERED (by Quinn Imiola)

A. 4, 4

B. 3, 3

C. 4, 3

D. 5, 3

63. Which current MLB stadium has the highest Seating Capacity? ANSWERED (by Nick Badders)

A. Dodgers Stadium

B. New Yankee Stadium

C. Coors Field

D. Rogers Centre

64. (on Instagram) Name That Ballpark! ANSWERED (by Jared Serre and Quinn Imiola)

81311 cross aisle

A. Turner Field

B. Metrodome

C. Tropicana Field

D.  Miller Park

65. (on Twitter) How many *numbers* have the Yankees retired? ANSWERED (by Quinn Imiola)

A. 14

B. 16

C. 17

D. 20

66. When was the first time I was let into the stadium over a half-hour after I should have? ANSWERED (by Danny Chojnacki)

A. 8/24/11

B. 5/18/11

C. 8/13/11

D. 8/23/11

67. (on Facebook) What’s the newest MLB stadium? ANSWERED (by Quinn Imiola)

A. Target Field

B. Citi Field

C. Marlins Park

D. New Yankee Stadium

68. (on Instagram) What game did I snag this baseball? ANSWERED (by Sean Bigness)

ball 104

A. 7/2/11

B. 6/24/11

C. 7/4/11

D. 7/5/11

69. What were the dates of my first consecutive games with one game ball? ANSWERED (by Kimberly Imiola)

A. 7/5/11, 7/6/11

B. 7/31/11, 8/1/11

C. 8/13/12, 8/14/12

D. 7/22/12, 7/23/12

70. (on Instagram) What stadium is this from? ANSWERED (by Sean Bigness)

A. Oriole Park at Camden Yards

B. Nationals Park

C. Citi Field

D. Target Field

RULES FROM THIS POINT ON:

We will do the normal question every 30 minutes until we reach total question. After that, we will take a break and I will post the remaining 25 question on the blog in a free-for-all comment war. I will only post this group of 25 questions on an hour (so 1:00, 2:00, etc.) it will not be on any random time like 3:49 and won’t be on the half-hour either. It will most likely go up tonight, but if I can’t finish the list by 12:00 AM EST, the list will wait until Monday   (tomorrow) and go up between 6:00 PM and 12:00 AM EST, again, on the hour. I’d say we’ll resume the “regular” 30 minute trivia at around 6:00 EST today. If it doesn’t resume by then keep checking back every half hour on either Facebook or Twitter, since those are the only two remaining possible mediums for questions 71 and 72.

71. (on Twitter) Which book did I review in March of 2011? ANSWERED (by Paul Kom)

A. Watching Baseball Smarter

B. The Baseball

C. Moneyball

D. The Extra 2%

72. (on Facebook) What year did the Giants and Dodgers come to the west coast? ANSWERED (by Quinn Imiola)

A. 1951

B. 1949

C. 1955

D. 1957

73. (on Instagram) Which player has hit the most home runs in this stadium? ANSWERED (by Quinn Imiola)

Old Yankee Stadium

A. Alex Rodriguez

B. Babe Ruth

C. Curtis Granderson

D. Mickey Mantle

74. Name That Ballpark! ANSWERED (by Paul Kom)

7512 Rick ball

A. Nationals Park

B. Turner Field

C. AT& T Park

D. Miller Park

75. (on Twitter) Where can you find “The Beach”? ANSWERED (by Sean Bigness)

A. Dodgers Stadium

B. Marlins Park

C. Petco Park

D. AT&T Park

76. Where might one find “Greene’s Hill”? ANSWERED (by Quinn Imiola)

A. Rangers Ballpark in Arlington

B. Busch Stadium

C. Kauffman Stadium

D. Angels Stadium

77. In getting the hitter’s Triple Crown, Miguel Cabrera was the first player since whom to do so? ANSWERED (by Nick Badders)

A. Stan Musial

B. Carl Yastremski

C. Don Mattingly

D. Hank Aaron

78. Which notable ballhawk has been my next-door neighbor for 18 years? ANSWERED (by Quinn Imiola)

A. Zack Hample

B. Ben Weil

C. Greg Barasch

D. Rick Gold

79. Which player was responsible for my first ever batting practice baseball? ANSWERED (by Quinn Imiola)

A. Prince Fielder

B. Barry Bonds

C. Andy Pettitte

D. Ryan Howard

80. Which ballhawk has the lowest Ball Per Game average on mygameballs.com? (Min 100 Games) ANSWERED (by Pascale Badders)

A. Leigh Barratt

B. Tony Bracco

C. Rick Gold

D. Don Chilcote

81. The renovations to Kauffman Stadium were completed by commencement of what season? ANSWERED (by Paul Kom)

A. 2005

B. 2009

C. 2007

D. 2008

82. In this entry I wrote about the process Ruben Amaro Jr. undertook to get three aces on the Phillies rotation. What was the name of the entry? ANSWERED (by Nick Badders)

A. Good boy, Roy

B. A Plethora of Pitchers

C. Pure Genius

D. The Phantastic Phillies

83. Who lead the National League in Strikeouts in 2012? ANSWERED (by Pascale Badders)

A. Clayton Kershaw

B. Gio Gonzalez

C. R.A. Dickey

D. Adam Dunn

84. Which of the following ball totals would get one number 10 on the mygameballs.com career totals? ANSWERED (by Quinn Imiola)

A. 1,252

B. 1,138

C. 967

D. 1,504

85. What detail was first overlooked in the renovations of Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum by the Oakland Raiders? ANSWERED (by Nick Badders)

A. Installation of bullpens

B. A room for grounds crew materials

C. Foldable seats to stow away for baseball games

D. Shatter-proof glass in outfield boxes.

86. The usher who lets me into his section at Nationals Park works in which part of the ballpark? ANSWERED (by Paul Kom)

A. Lower-level right Field

B. Lower-level left field

C. Behind the third base dugout

D. Foul ground left field

87. Which of the following franchises originated in Milwaukee? ANSWERED (by Nick Badders)

A. Atlanta Braves

B. Baltimore Orioles

C. Oakland Athletics

D. Milwaukee Brewers

88. Name That Ballpark! ANSWERED (by Paul Kom)

blank stadium

A. Riverfront Stadium

B. County Stadium

C. Crosley Field

D. Sportman’s Park

89. When did I ask Josh Thole to return an item to me and he did? ANSWERED (by Quinn Imiola)

A. 7/23/12

B. 7/30/11

C. 7/17/12

D. 8/26/11

90. What ballpark was supposed to host the 2000 All-Star game? ANSWERED (by Quinn Imiola)

A. Angels Stadium

B. Wrigley Field

C. Sun Life Stadium

D. Safeco Field

91. Which stadium used to be called Pac Bell Park? ANSWERED (by Paul Kom)

A. AT&T Park

B. Chase Field

C. Sun Life Stadium

D. Petco Park

92. Which of the following didn’t happen on 4/21/11? ANSWERED (by Nick Badders)

A. Zack Hample caught Mike Nickeas’ home run

B. I got my copy of The Baseball signed

C. I got Nelson Figueroa to take a “self-shot” with my camera

D. I got reprimanded for trying to get too many “Pepsi Max” samples

93. Who lead Major League Baseball in WAR in 2012? ANSWERED (by Nick Badders)

A. Miguel Cabrera

B. Buster Posey

C. Mike Trout

D. Andrew McCutchen

94. What was the best Ball Per Game average in 2012? (Min 10 games) ANSWERED (by Paul Kom)

A. 8.00

B. 8.65

C. 9.33

D. 7.00

95. Where would someone encounter the “Tomahawk Chop”? ANSWERED (by Paul Kom)

A. Progressive Field

B. Turner Field

C. PNC Park

D. Minute Maid Park

96. Who accompanied me on the night of my first home run snag? ANSWERED (by Paul Kom)

A. Sean Bigness

B. Chris Cositore

C. Jonathan Mueller

D. Alex Pistolesi

97. Who is the all-time leader in WAR? ANSWERED (by Paul Kom)

A. Denton Young

B. Babe Ruth

C. Barry Bonds

D. Walter Johnson

98.Name That Ballpark! ANSWERED (by Quinn Imiola)

screen-shot-2011-10-12-at-6-43-42-pm

A. Turner Field

B. Target Field

C. Citi Field

D. Nationals Park

99. When did I first come to Target Field? ANSWERED (by Paul Kom and Nick Badders)

A. 8/28/12

B. 8/09/11

C. 8/10/11

D. 9/8/12

100. Where is McCovey Cove a main attraction? ANSWERED (by Quinn Imiola)

A. AT&T Park

B. Fenway Park

C. PNC Park

D. Marlins Park

 

Not proofread.

238,481 Words Written so far…

Weird Observing Baseball Facts and Records

Ah weird numbers: my specialty. So, it was completely natural for me to write this entry. What better to do than find arbitrary statistics about my blog and place meaning in them. Just call me the Tim Kurkjian of the MLBlogs world. (Kurkjian still does the “Kurk-gems” segment, right? I’ve pretty much stopped watching Baseball Tonight in favor of MLB Tonight on MLB Network.) Here goes some of the random numbers.

Words:

First, let’s start off with the big one: number of words total. Over the course of this blog, I have written 225, 518 words. That’s a lot of words. I am astounded by this number personally. With the number of entries I currently have up, that works out to an average of 823 words per entry. However, you’ve got to keep in mind there are certain kinds of entries that are way under and over this average. For example, none of my “Re-view of the Preview” entries even reached this number. I don’t think any of them even surpassed the 600 word plateau. With the average for the thirty of those being 200-300 words, it brings the average way down. If I had to guess, my average ballhawking entry is probably in the 1,400 word range. My longest entry ever is 3,631 words. You can check that out here. It was when I met up with the Cook family in Washington D.C., so I decided to take up Todd Cook’s style of writing for a day and over-document. It wasn’t my longest entry by a mile, though. The next closest entry in terms of words was my informal tour of Citi Field where I covered a lot of ground in general with a guest by the name of Alex also joining in with me. (And for the record: no, he didn’t accompany me on my mini-tour of Citi Field. He entertained himself in the club level while I ran around the stadium for five minutes.) You can check out that entry if you’d like by clicking these words I have typed in this sentence. That entry was 3,344 words long. The least amount of words I have ever written in an entry is 19 words. The reason for it was because the entry itself was pretty much a video entry, so the 19 words were the introduction the video. Click here for the link to that entry. I believe it was my first video filmed with a high-quality camera. And by high-quality, I mean not a webcam. As for the quality of the video…Eh, I made an unsuccessful attempt at a homemade teleprompter that is very obvious when you watch the video.  It’s pretty bad looking bad at it. But hey, cut me some slack; it was my third video ever.

Baseballs given away:

Next fact: The past two years I have snagged 384 baseballs. Of those, I have given 110 of them away. For those who don’t have a calculator, that is 29% of the baseballs I have snagged I have given away. Whenever I talk to people and they ask me the question everyone asks ballhawks: “What do you with all of the baseballs?” I tell them that I give about a third of them away. So that’s pretty accurate, right? In 2011, I gave away 34 of 161 snagged (21%). The most I gave away that year was 4 baseballs in a game. I can’t remember when that was, but to me now, that’s a low “high” number. I think my lack of giving stems from the fact that I was snagging baseballs at a ton of different stadiums for my successful period of ballhawking in July, so I didn’t have to worry about pleasing any ushers for later games. I was planning to give the majority of my baseballs towards the end of the year when I wasn’t as mobile. When this happened, however, I hit an absolute cold streak where I wasn’t snagging more than three baseballs at a game that often at all. As such, I didn’t have that many baseballs to give away. As a result, the middle of the summer remained my peak for giving away baseballs. In 2012, I gave away 76 of 223 baseballs (34%). This was lead by games where I gave away a ton of baseballs. The most I gave out in a game was 7 baseballs ( I snagged 9, I believe that day). However, it was one of three games where I gave away 6 or more baseballs this year.

Pictures:

In my entries I have used a total of 4,545 pictures. That averages out to 16.5 pictures per entry. That’s a lot higher than I would have guessed. Although, I guess the list is top heavy with ballhawking entries bearing the brunt of the load. The most pictures I’ve used in a single entry was the same as the entry where I wrote the most words ever with 80 pictures.

Commemorative Baseballs:

I have snagged 30 commemorative baseballs since I started this blog. I snagged a Citi Field commemorative baseball in 2010, but besides that, all of my commemorative snags have come this past year. My record for snagging commemorative baseballs in one game is 7. This came–I believe–when the Nationals were using nothing but Shea Stadium and Nationals Park commemorative baseballs.

Time Spent On Game:

I have roughly spent 40,882 Minutes on the 85 games I kept track of either the “Time at Game” or “Time Spent On Game” stat for. That’s over 681 Hours I have spent on baseball games. If you don’t know how the stat works, it is the time I spend at the ballpark itself plus the time I spend traveling to and from the ballpark. For the games where I only had the “Time at Game” stat, I added a round amount of hours (usually 2 hours for local games) to the total I had in place to account for transportation time. For those without calculators, the average amount of time I spent on a game was 481 Minutes or just over 8 Hours.

Video:

As of late I have been incorporating videos a little more than before, but I have been using videos in my entries for over a year now. As a result, I have uploaded 6074 seconds of video to YouTube for this blog. Why seconds? Because have you ever tried to add up times when they’re in this format: 6:51+ 4:26? No, because it’s annoying as heck. Also, I do have other YouTube videos out there (I’ll get to some of those in the next entry), but these are the videos made for the purpose of incorporating them into a blog entry. If you’re wondering what that seconds mark translates into in the 0:00 format, though–First of all, get a calculator; I’m sick of doing all of the math for you–it is 101 Minutes 14 Seconds. If you divide that by the number of videos, it is an average of 6:20 per video. However, I should include the caveat that the shortest video I have put on YouTube is 6 six seconds, which kind of throws off the average (and can be found in the entry I’m linking to here). Meanwhile, the longest video is 16 Minutes 2 Seconds. That was the entry where I took apart a baseball a couple weeks ago.

That’s all I have for you for now. Surprisingly–even though it doesn’t appear that way–this entry is over 1,000 words. However, if you have any obscure stats you think of and would like for me to include, leave your suggestions down below in the comments, and if it doesn’t take an eternity to calculate like these almost did, I will calculate it and add a section below that last one right above this paragraph.

I realize I have been off schedule lately, but the holiday/finals time threw a wrinkle in my plans. So, to make it up to you, I plan to have published three new entries (in addition to this one) by/on January, 1, 2013. While it is pretty set in stone what those three will be, you can keep voting on which entries I will write after those in this poll down here. I will include all of the already-used ideas below it as well as the rankings of the remaining categories:

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

And here are the standings for the remaining poll items as they stand while I type these words:

T1. Observing Baseball Trivia/MLBlogs I Recommend- 28 votes

3. Ballhawking Gear- 27 votes

T4. My Favorite MLB Players/Characters of Observing Baseball- 25 votes

6. Ask a Statistician- 24 votes

T7. Salute to Up-and-coming Blogs/10 Minutes with 2 GMs- 23 votes

9. Instructional Videos- 22 votes

10. My Favorite MLB Teams- 21 votes

T11. Gate Opening Times of MLB Stadiums/Complementary Tickets!- 20 votes

T13. Blast From The Baseball Past/ Battle of the Retreival Devices- 19 votes

15. Reference Guide to Ballhawk Terms- 18 votes

16. Evaluate and Critique Ballhawk Statistics- 16 votes

T17. New Observing Baseball Icon/Look at MLBlogs Themes- 15 votes

19. Format of the Entries- 12 votes

If you’re confused as to what all of these names mean, here is the link to the entry where I explain nearly all of them. And here is the entry where I explain the other two.

Also, you can vote which of the remaining days you’d like to read an entry on. I don’t know, for example if people are more or less likely to read something on Christmas, so here you can tell me that. Unlike the other poll, though, you can only vote for three days and not as many times as you’d like:

227,100 Words Written so far

Junior Ballhawk of the Year

Apparently it’s Award Season in the MLB community. Yeah, well I’m going to completely disregard that. I have interest in it, don’t get me wrong, but if you want to read about the awards, my friend Matt Huddleston is doing comprehensive coverage of all of the awards on his blog, The Unbiased MLB Fan. No, here at Observing Baseball we are completely self-absorbed in the awards converge, covering only awards that the staff (read: me, Mateo Fischer) win.

So yes, I won mygameballs.com’s Junior Ballhawk of the Year:

The subtitle phrases it perfectly when it says I am honored. If you are a ballhawk with any normalcy to your life’s schedule, there are many times when it may not seem worth it to keep ballhawking. Then there’s the fact that I had to do something half-way decent to be considered for the award. Then, after that, when you consider that this is a peer-voted award, it adds a whole new level of honored to the mix. To people outside of the ballhawk community (and maybe even to people inside it) this may not seem like much, but it feels pretty great to me right now. Getting back to the urge to quit that 95% of ballhawks get, there are very many things that make you want to quit, but at some point or another, unless you do in fact quit, there is something keeping you from quitting. This, although not directly, is an indication of what tips the scale back for me.

Now I’m not going to sit here and say that it was my goal to win any award at the beginning of this year, as indicated by its absence in the goals I *did* set for this year. (Psst. Link to that here.) In fact, I wasn’t even considering that when I wrote the goals. I didn’t even know I was going to be eligible for it at the end of the season. For those who don’t know, my birthday is in October, before the award voting began, but apparently, the cutoff date was in July  That said, when I did eventually win the award, it meant something to me as I have described above. It is what it is: a really cool thing that came along through the course of doing my ballhawking thing throughout the season.

Anyway, thank you to Alan Schuster for just creating mygameballs.com and the people who voted for me. I don’t want this to sound like an Oscar acceptance speech or anything; I just want an entry on the blog documenting the fact that I won the award. This is a sort of awkward entry for me. On the one hand, I didn’t not want to write an entry and make it seem like I’m better than the award or anything, because it does mean something to me, but at the same time, I know it doesn’t mean that much to a lot of people.

Also, congratulations to all of the other ballhawks who received votes for Junior Ballhawk of the Year:

Keep your eyes glued to mygameballs.com for the next few days as the announcement for Ballhawk of the Year should be up, which is a much greater feat than this. Could it possibly be that Greg Barasch takes it and we be the first and possibly the last next-door neighbor combination to sweep the awards?

And I know this entry was both late and unrelated to the poll I’m conducting this offseason, but I felt it was necessary and I had a bunch of things that got in the way of entry writing this week. New entry up on Monday. Meanwhile, keep voting on the assortment of polls I have provided below if you have not already done so (P. S. Thanks to everyone who has voted, the main poll is over 20 votes as of me writing this):

 

 

 

If you have no clue what some of the entries in the first poll are, here’s the link to the entry where I explain them.

 

Update: So Greg didn’t win and the results proved to me that Ballhawk of the Year is just a popularity contest with a splash of actual stats looking. Anyway, congratulations to Zack, but a cool thing about that being announced is that there was a new addition made to the “award winners” page on mygameballs.com:

8/24/12 Astros at Mets: Citi Field

‘Twas the week before college, and action was dead. So I went to dear Citi. What’s wrong with my head?

I travelled with my neighbor, Greg Barasch, on the subway to the game. There began the motif of this game: fun people, bad baseball.

When we got to the gates, he went ahead and bought a student ticket for himself and Zack Hample. Meanwhile, I met a kid by the name of Michael who told me he had read this blog. I stupidly didn’t get a picture of all four of us before the gates opened, but I wanted to include Michael in the entry somehow, so….yeah. After that I got some free pudding the outside the Jackie Robinson Rotunda.

After I got in the gates, it didn’t take me long to miss my first ball of the day:

I had gone down to the first row to ask Josh Edgin for  a ball. Just as I was leaning down, to cup my hands and yell at him, I saw a ball get hit to my right. Just to my right was the guy in blue in the last picture. I figured he would still be trying to get the ball from Edgin, so I hopped into the row behind him and got right to the spot I thought the ball was going. As I was tracking the ball, I saw him and his glove starting to reach up. He missed the ball, but deflected oh so slightly so that the ball that previously would have gone into the pocket of my glove hit the side of my glove and bounced two rows behind me. Greg had an eye out for this ball, so when it landed in the seats, he was already running for the ball and grabbed it.

When the gates opened, Greg and I took the left field seats and Zack took the seats in upper right field. That meant until Zack showed up in the section, I had this view of the “action” (if you can call Mets-Astros BP action):

Meanwhile, Zack had moved from right field to center field and got Dave Raceniello to toss him a ball:

That meant I was the only one not on the board yet.

I figured I would just go ask for a toss-up in center field:

There, I got my first look at the Mets’ All-Star game logo:

I don’t know what I think of the logo, but I can tell you with 90% certainty that unless I miraculously don’t have to pay for my ticket, I’m not going to the All-Star Game at Citi Field.  I definitely don’t want to pay an extra-expensive ticket just to go to an extra-packed Citi Field. That and I kind of want my first All-Star Game to be at Target Field. Sure it’s a pretty bad stadium for snagging balls, but at least through two games, it actually feels like home in the same way that Nationals Park sort of does. I don’t know why, but I can only maybe say this for Yankee Stadium and definitely can’t for Citi Field.

Anyway, I don’t think you’re here to hear me talk about future plans. You’re here for the snagging (or lack thereof):

While I was in the center field seating, a ball got hit to Brandon Barnes (an Astros outfielder). I didn’t know his name, so I just gave him a generic request and he loft the ball to me as is shown by the arrow. It was a pretty good throw.

Then began the “nothingness”. First of all, if you don’t know, the Astros are a team of a bunch of guys who have maybe been in the major leagues for a year. On top of that, almost all of them had their warm-up jerseys on. Basically, they were indistinguishable from each other, so I had no clue who was who. The next thing is I made the mistake of standing behind this guy:

In standing behind Zack, I was banking on the fact that balls would be hit over his head enough that I could judge them well enough to make a jumping catch. That didn’t happen. Instead, Zack went on to catch three balls on the fly that I most definitely would have had if he weren’t there, but you can read about all that and more in his account of the game: 8/24/12 at Citi Field. By the way, I’ll do this for anyone, not just him. If you are a ballhawk who has a blog, and you go to the same game as me, just let me know and I will always feature it regardless of whether it comes out before or after my entry (as long as I remember to do it and it’s PG).

As for the game, I stayed out in left field because, as was the case with the previous, oh I don’t know, six Mets games, David Wright was sitting on 199 career home runs. Oh, and he hit it this game, but it was quite possibly the cheapest home run in the history of Citi Field:

Had it been either a foot lower or a foot further to the right, it wouldn’t have been a home run. To make matters even more frustrating, it was tossed up by the uniformed Astros right fielder to a fan who didn’t even catch it on the fly, yet got whisked away by security. You know what though, I’m happy for the fan. I’m just frustrated that I didn’t get it. In my ideal world, everyone in the stadium would get David Wright’s 200th home run, but obviously that’s not possible. The home run was so close it actually had to be reviewed by the umpires. When the umpires came back out and waved him through, I was honestly contemplating leaving the game right there.

Even though Greg had called me during the game to tell me the Astros didn’t have ANY commemorative baseballs (pretty much my only reason for scheduling this game), I had made the plan to go to the bullpens after the game, so I did:

There, I yelled out to the Astros bullpen catcher Javier Bracamonte for a ball, but he said something back in Spanish, shrugged, and walked away. On the bright side, this was my 50th game in a row with at least 1 Ball.

I then hopped over to the area behind the visitors dugout, because Zack and Greg were waiting for me. After much confusion, due to the post-game Merengue concert, we finally saw each other and headed to the Jackie Robinson Rotunda where I took pictures like this:

and this:

The reason we were in the Jackie Robinson Rotunda is Zack (shown by the left arrow) wanted to make sure a glove he had lost a few days earlier hadn’t shown up in the Mets’ Lost and Found. While we were there, we asked the guy designated by the second arrow to take a picture of all three of us since I would be leaving for Minnesota in two days:

First, the reason I am pointing at their two baseballs with a face like that is they both got balls at the end of the game and I didn’t. Second, the reason I took a bunch of pictures of the rotunda is that may very well have been my last game at Citi Field. If you’ve noticed, I go to a lot of Nationals games. Well that’s because my step-dad lives there. If you’ve ever noticed it, married couples don’t usually lives cities apart….so, there is a chance that by the time I get back from Minnesota next summer, I will be returning to Washington D.C. and not New York.

If that is the case, it’s been a blast being a part of the New York ballhawking scene for these couple of years. I have befriended so many people throughout the process (including a neighbor I had never talked to before) that it’s amazing. Although I may not have been in love with the stadiums, it was the people in the stands that I had the pleasure of conversing and competing with that made the experience even tolerable. Sure, I’ll also miss being in quite possibly the best city in the world, but this is a baseball blog, so I thank everyone out there that made that aspect of New York life so special. (If I indeed am moving. If I’m not moving, then keep making it special. Pretty please?)

Speaking of special people, after we left the rotunda, Zack, myself, and Greg all rode back on the train together, talking about things from nail biting to corner spots.

STATS:

  • 1 Ball at this game (I completely forgot to take a picture before I left for Minnesota)
  • It was number 392 of my life.
  • 170 Balls in 41 Games= 4.15 Balls Per Game
  • 1 Ball x 25,513 Fans= C’mon can’t *you* do that math?
  • 50 straight Games with at least 1 Ball
  • 86 Balls at Citi Field in 33 Games= 2.61 Balls Per Game
  • 33 straight Games at Citi Field with at least 1 Ball (It’s a wonder how I haven’t been shutout there.)
  • Time Spent On Game 3:45- 10:56= 7 Hours 11 Minutes

7/16/12 Blue Jays at Yankees: Yankee Stadium

Finally, it was my “game to survive at Yankee Stadium before I get back to Nationals Park”, and look who joined me for the occasion:
20120718-155025.jpgThat would be me on the left and Ben Weil on the right. In fairly usual “Ben” fashion, he came running down the hill at which Yankee Stadium is at the bottom of and met me at the front of the line with five minutes to spare until the gates opened.

When said gates opened, it didn’t take long until I botched my first ball of the game:
20120718-160119.jpgI was in the lower-right hand comer of the section trying to get a Yankees player to toss me a ball. Just then, a Yankee lefty hit a ball. Off the bat, it looked like it wasn’t even going to make it to the warning track, but it just kept carrying and carrying. Eventually, it hit the railing perpendicular to the fourth row of seating, where it then floated right to Ben, standing in the back row of the section.

My ventures then took me to the left field foul line, where I asked for a ball from, and got rejected by, nearly the whole Blue Jays pitching staff. Okay, so maybe I only asked like two of them, but it was still frustrating. I then headed over to the left field seats… just to see that the right field seats had pretty much cleared up, and were better for snagging than where I now was:
20120719-232923.jpgDo you notice the guy in the lower-left corner of the picture? That would be Rick Gold. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because Rick, prior to this game, had been at three of the same games as I had this year at Nationals Park. However, this would be the first time we would attend a Yankee game together since 2010 (before this blog existed and Rick had snagged his 1,000th ball).

In addition to Rick, Ben was standing on the same staircase with me. To be more specific, he was standing right behind me when I took the picture. Eventually, though, things would change so Rick would be in front, Ben in the middle, and me in the back. Then there was a ball hit. Rick, as he usually does, broke after the ball as soon as it was in the air. Ben, meanwhile, knew it was coming right on our staircase, so he did the smart thing and waited as long as he could to make a break on the ball ( as to not give me time and space to get in front of him and use my height advantage). The result of all of this was five gloves went up in the air for the ball- our three and two others- and mine came up with the ball:
20120720-113456.jpgI think the best way to described the way I caught the ball is that my glove was in the position a first base man scoops a ball in, but the glove was above my head. Truthfully, it was a stupid decision. With all of the gloves in the air, the chances of me getting smacked in the face with the ball vastly outweighed the chances of me catching the ball. But, I caught the ball, so chances are I’ll probably make the same mistake again and get hit in he face before I learn my lesson.

After this, I headed over to right field just as they were clearing the seats. Why? Thanks to Ben, I had a ticket for section 104, which meant I could stay there for all of batting practice. Just look at how empty it was once they cleared the seats of all other people:
20120720-121902.jpg
20120720-122152.jpgEven better was the fact that the Blue Jays group of power lefties was up. I got two balls from this group. Both of which I will explain using the next picture:

My first ball was hit by Adam Lind. It hit off the metal strip above the guy yelling (as shown by the arrow), with a hand to his mouth. The second ball I wasn’t sure if I should count. It was hit by Cody Rasmus, and rattled around in the seats. Do you see the guy in the gray shirt and “NYPD” hat? That is Tak, a very friendly guy who is pretty starting to ballhawk this season. He was right on the ball, but didn’t catch it, so when the ball hit the ground, I picked it up. Tak, then just seeing a ball being taken, instinctively grabbed it through his legs. The combination of him being a friend and the awkward position we were now in made me let go of the ball. I initially wasn’t going to count this ball, but Tak talked me into it after batting practice ended. Also after batting practice ended, Tak and I got a picture together:

After we got the picture together, I showed Tak the “Mike Harkey” snagging opportunity that is always available at Yankee Stadium. We headed up to the top of the batter’s eye, where this was our view:

I left Tak in that spot with the advice “Act animated” and moved closer to the bullpen, so we wouldn’t be getting in each other’s way. When Harkey did throw his ball to the batter’s eye, it whizzed right past me. Initially, I was pretty upset. That was, until I saw who caught the ball:

I’m always happy when another ballhawk snags a ball, even at my expense. Even more so when said ballhawk catches 4 balls less than you per game according to his mygameballs.com account (that’s the link I attached to his name when I first introduced Tak in this entry).

As for the game, I was in left field, where this was my view of the game:

20120721-210141.jpgDo you see the right fielder in the picture? That would be Jose Bautista. In the first inning, he turned around with his warm-up ball in hand. I then got up and waved my arms around. He looked at me and tossed the ball, but he missed me and the ball sailed about 15 feet to my right (or at least I think he was aiming for me. I can’t be sure, but as you saw in the picture of myself and Tak, I was wearing a very attention-grabbing Blue Jays shirt.), but I had picked an empty row to sit in:

20120721-225518.jpgso I was able to get right behind the ball as it sailed towards my row. As it neared my glove, though, a twenty-something in front of me reached up and tipped the ball right into my row. He then dove into my row, but I tapped the ball just out his reach and picked the ball up.

As for the game itself, I saw some action, but it was just frustrating. Adam Lind hit a ball I could tell was going to clear the wall, but I also  knew it was going to be in the middle of a packed row, so I went down my staircase just as a formality. Here is a screenshot:

The arrow on the left is where the ball landed and the arrow on the right is me running down the steps. After this, miraculous, but semi-tragic happened: the ball bounced within inches of my glove. Actually, the ball bounced right at my glove, but…well, let me put up another screenshot and then I’ll continue explaining:

You can see me in the attire I was in when I took the picture with Tak earlier. Then in front of me, there’s the kid/guy in the burgundy shirt bending down. As I said, the ball bounced and was headed RIGHT at my glove, but this guy deflected the ball away from me. The guy in the Yankee hat (in the screenshot) then tried to get down for the ball at the same time as me, but even though I take up virtually no space, both of us couldn’t fit through the narrow opening, so we both got stuck and the guy in the burgundy bent down and picked up the ball. If you’re at all counfused by my explanation of this, here’s the video:

 

Anyway, that was pretty much it for things of note for this day. The only other thing was it was now the second game where I had seen a pitcher with an innings total that was the same four digits repeated:

If you don’t know why I’m posting this, the explanation is in my last entry. Just scroll down, or, if you’re reading just this entry, go to the bottom of the page and click the “Previous Entry” thingamajig.

 

STATS:

  • 4 Balls at this game (2 pictured because I only kept two)

Numbers 343-346 for my life:

 

  • 124 Balls in 26 Games= 4.77 Balls Per Game (or 6 Balls under 500)
  • 4 Balls x 42,819 Fans= 171,276 Competition Factor
  • 35 straight Games with at least 1 Ball
  • 11 straight Games with at least 2 Balls
  • 81 Balls in 21 Games at New Yankee Stadium= 3.86 Balls Per Game
  • 21 straight Games at New Yankee Stadium with at least 1 Ball
  • 6 straight Games at New Yankee Stadium with at least 2 Balls
  • Time Spent On Game 3:38-10:44= 7 Hours 6 Minutes

 

 

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