Results tagged ‘ disappointment ’

5/1/12 Orioles at Yankees: Yankee Stadium

I was very optimistic coming into this game. I had just done very well in the previous day’s game, and that was with me basically only going for hit balls all game. I assumed no other ballhawks would be in attendance since the ones I had talked to during the previous day’s game said they would not be coming to the game. According to the aforementioned ballhawks, the forecast called for rain, but I was going to the game anyway since my school was taking a trip to the game. More on the field-trippers later. The reality, though, was that bp was dead. Here is a picture that I took once I settled into my spot in RF:

As you can see, there was one ballhawk in the section, Erik, a regular at Yankee Stadium, who you may recognize from when I pointed him out in yesterday’s entry.

Things looked pretty good. I had the back spot in the section right behind Erik, who had the middle spot. This was the view to my left:

This was the view to my right:

Unfortunately, the Yankees weren’t hitting anything deep and I missed two opportunities, shown in this next picture:

Both times I was close to the field coaxing players to throw me a ball. The numbers that are floating by themselves show where the balls landed, while the numbers by the arrows show where I ended after chasing that specific ball.

1. I was asking Boone Logan or someone for a ball when a lefty launched a ball clear over my head. I ran into the row where I could line up with the ball, but the ball was still several feet over my head despite being hit on a line, and I missed it when I jumped for the ball.

2. Again I saw a ball hit over my head, so I recalled what good ballhawks do and ran to where I thought the ball was going to land. Unfortunately, though, this was hit by a righty to RF and so it didn’t act like a typical fly ball in that it was curving back to where I had been. Had I not put my head down to run for the ball, it probably would have been an easy catch for me.

When the Yankees headed off the field, I realized, “There are two of us ballhawks and we are both in RF. That doesn’t seem right. Why don’t I just go to LF and make it easier for both of us?”

Once I got there, I saw Adam Jones shagging fly balls in CF, so when a ball came close to my section in LCF, I ran as close as I could get to him and called out to him, upon which he tossed me Ball #1 on the day. Here is the ball with Jones on the right side of my glove:

Soon after, I went over to foul territory in order to ask a pitcher for a ball. When Tommy Hunter finished throwing, I waved my arms like a madman, and when he noticed the bright orange brim of my hat, he tossed the ball to me a few rows back.

I then got my third ball in what we ballhawks call a “scramble”. A scramble is when a ball hits in the seats and people converge on the ball to pick it up.  A ball hit about four rows behind the wall, and since I was tracking the ball, I managed to pick it up before a man could get to it. I gave this ball away to a kid on the concourse after batting practice.

Soon after, I had to leave the LF seats since they were checking tickets and headed over to RF. I am about to post a picture that has two bp events linked to it:

The first is that it was yet another ball I missed out on. While I was in RF on my first “go around” this game, a righty hit a ball above the right part of the Modell’s sign. I was about to use my glove trick to knock the ball closer to me and reach through the bars to pull the ball out, but another guy decided to climb over the gate. As you may suspect, his action is completely against the Yankee Stadium rule, but he was just told not to do it again. The second ball involving this section hit in basically the same place (this time in my second stay in RF), but a few rows deeper. I had been following the ball the whole way, even though it was clearly over my head, in case there was a ricochet back to me. What do you know, that’s exactly what happened.

This is the perfect example of how ballhawking is a combination of luck and skill. To most observers, I just got lucky, but I put myself in a situation where that could happen. Had I stayed put where I was, because I probably wasn’t going to snag the ball, I would have missed out on this opportunity.

However, I wasn’t done with my missed opportunities.  I should have caught a ball whose landing spot is depicted in the picture below:

As you can see, even the people wearing sunglasses were shielding their eyes. A ball was hit to my left and as I was tracking it, the ball passed right in front of the sun and I lost it. It then proceeded to hit right where the red arrow is in the picture. Normally, that would have been an easy catch for me since it touched down in the exact same row I was running in. Instead, I was left covering my head from the ball like everyone else.

That was it for batting practice. My ticketed seat was for the bleachers, but I knew that nothing was going to be hit where I was sitting, and so I headed up to the seats furthest away from Home Plate to be with my classmates. This was the view:

Wouldn’t you know it, I actually came closer to catching a HR in this section than I would have in the bleachers. In the bottom of the first inning, Curtis Granderson absolutely launched a ball. He hit it so hard that the initial trajectory was actually RIGHT at us… before, you know, gravity kicked in. Regardless, the ball managed to land in the Upper Deck. This is a very rare feat in the New Yankee Stadium, because the third deck is actually further back than it was in the Old Yankee Stadium.

While I was up there, the coaches started asking me about how my batting practice went and I ended up giving both of the bus drivers for this event a baseball, including one who was attending a baseball game for the first time.

Two other things of note happened in this game.

1. Let’s play “What’s wrong with this picture?” You have to guess what had just happened for the first time by looking at the following picture. So, what *is* wrong with this picture?:

If you guessed Nick Johnson standing on second, you were correct. I took this picture after Nick Johnson got his first hit of the season, raising his batting average to an incredible .033. At the time, it was ruled an error on left fielder Eduardo Nuñez, but Major League Baseball retrospectively changed the ruling citing he never touched the ball.

2. The Orioles managed to hold on and win the game 7-1, which gave Buck Showalter his 1,000th win as a manager. I knew this because Avi Miller asked me to pick up some ticket stubs for him.

STATS:

  • 4 Balls at this game (1 pictured because I gave 3 away)They are numbers 240-243 for my “career”.
  • 21 Baseballs in 5 games= 4.20 Balls Per Game
  • 14 straight games with at least 1 baseball
  • 5 straight games with at least 3 balls
  • 2 straight games with at least 4 balls
  • 4 balls x 37, 790 fans= 151,160 Competition Factor
  • 35 ball at the New Yankee Stadium in 11 games = 3.18 Balls Per Game
  • 11 straight games at the New Yankee Stadium with at least 1 ball
  • Time at game 4:27- 10:17= 5 hours 50 minutes

Re-view of the Preview: Minnesota Twins

I’d rather forget this entry , but here is the original.

Predicted Record Range: 91-96 wins

Actual Record: 63- 99

So I was only off by about 30 wins. I really have no words to describe how bad this prediction truly was or how the Twins got to this point. All I can do is break down where they downgraded.

Bullpen: They definitely downgraded in the bullpen as most of their bullpen help from 2010 were mid-year acquisitions. In addition, their established set-up men like Jesse Crain and Matt Guerrier also left and their injured relievers like Joe Nathan and Pat Neshek underachieved according to what their past said they should be doing. I think that this bullpen has to be completely re-done.

Rotation: It pretty much stayed the same,but would have downgraded if Francisco Liriano did not improve like he did. The main thing with the rotation this year is that they were injured too much. Rick Anderson has his fingerprints on the organization in such a way that throwing strikes will get you to the show and any talent you have past that is just icing on the cake, but I don’t think that having your best pitchers get injured is the best way to win because of the inconsistency it causes. I think the rotation is best run with the laissez faire  approach because this farm system turns out consistent pitchers like there’s no tomorrow.

Outfield: It was just two years ago when playing MLB 2k9 that I remarked to my dad that the Twins had too many Outfielders who would be starters one other teams. This year, (no disrespect to him) they had Ben Revere among others playing in the Outfield. Jason Kubel certainly has dropped off. He used to be a player you could count on for 30 HR and 80+ RBIs. The same coudl be said for Michael Cuddyer except when he did it this year he was an exceptional player on the Twins instead of being one of the background players he usually is for putting up his usual numbers. This needs be completely re-done with the losses of Delmon Young, Michael Cuddyer, and Carlos Gomez (yes I know he left a few years ago).

Infield: As far as defense goes, the Twins will never have major issues because they take 1,000 ground balls a day, but as far as the offensive production goes, they have fallen off. I think we can attribute this to Justin Morneau not coming back to full strength. Like Starting Pitchers, the Twins produce solid middle infielders because of the aforementioned 1,000 ground balls a game. I think they are pretty well set with Danny Valencia, but that 1st base situation must be stabilized by one way or another.

 

Overall, I completely failed with this prediction. The only worse thing I could have said is: ” they will win the World Series.” I am still trying to forget this season in general when it comes to twins baseball because as you might remember, my consecutive games streak came to a close at Target Field in August.

8/23/11 Diamondbacks at Nationals: Nationals Park

I would rather forget this day as quickly as I possibly can. This three game series was supposed to be my redemption for a horrible trip to the mid-west (snagging wise). Just about everything went wrong that could have gone wrong. Let’s go through the list shall we.

1. My bus broke down and I had to switch buses causing a 30 minute delay at the very least.

2. I got to Washington 15 minutes after the earthquake that day and as a result the roads were blocked off and I arrived to Union Station (our final destination) at 3:30 which was 6 hours after we left New York. Due to the earthquake, Union station was closed and I couldn’t take the metro from there. Here is the crowd gathered there:

3. I had to walk about 2 miles with my backpack that was packed like a suitcase, in 90+ degree heat in my long pants and sweatshirt that I had on because the bus is always pretty cold, to the nearest train station and get on that. Though, I can be thankful I didn’t get to Washington like 30 minutes later because this was the traffic:

4. After finally getting on the train itself and riding my initial stops seamlessly and slowly, I ran into a bit of a crowd at my transfer station:

The crowd was like ten people deep all the way across a platform that was about 500 feet wide. So, it took a few trains for the 10th person back to get on a train because only so many people can fit on one train. Given the fact that the trains were running at reduced speeds for workers to make sure the tunnels were structurally sound and every other train was different at this same stop, it wasn’t a surprise that I got to the ballpark an hour and twenty minutes after I left Union Station at 4:50.

5. Due to the delayed metro etc., Nationals Park was understaffed and made us wait until 6:40 to enter the park. For example, here is a guard who usually supervises the whole let-in-the-people-at-4:30-and-make-sure-everything-goes-smooth actually setting up a gate:

6. The gates didn’t open until 6:40 which was 20 minutes before the game was scheduled to start and this is what I felt like:

Oh and want to see all the productive work I was getting accomplished:

I took the picture with some thought process in mind that I as going to explain here but it was along the lines of: “Usually that sign says WELCOME TO NATIONALS PARK but the fact that the gates aren’t open makes the sentence WE COME TO NATINALS PAK” For those who don’t know, the Nationals had a jersey mistake a few years ago where Majestic Athletic actually  spelled their name as “Natinals” on the jerseys of Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn. Since then, it has been a running joke in baseball and beyond to call them the Natinals whenever they are trying to be put in a negative/mistake prone light and it as interesting that the bars left this message. I know it’s a bit confusing but it made sense in my head at the time. Oh and the “we” that the modified inscription was referring to was this whole pack of people that came to the ballpark but were still waiting to get in:

7. While I was at the gate waiting for it to open, I got into a discussion about snagging baseballs with a kid who was about 10 and with his dad and got ridiculed by him for only snagging two baseballs at US Cellular in my last game.

8. The final and most painful of the day’s misfortunes was during the game itself. So of course I will take you step by step through how exactly I messed this up. First of all, the video of this situation is here. It would be a video of Sean Burroughs’ first Home Run in five years due to substance abuse problems, which also happened to drive in the only two runs of the game. Now this is no Josh Hamilton story but it would have been nice to catch part of such a nice story and had I, who knows, he might have asked for it back because it meant so much to him.

Anyway, I will show you what to look for in the video.

1. Seconds 3-7 show me running across two sections towards where I thought the ball was headed, the ball hit off the hands of a person to whom the ball was hit, hit off my hand, bounce into a seat in the row in front of me and roll me reach down to grab it. Here I am beginning my run to the ball:

I apologize for the blurriness but this is from the video I linked to and the camera is moving. The arrow on the left is where I was sitting and the arrow to the right is pointing to the blurry reddish figure as I was wearing my  D-Backs jersey. This next screen shot shows the moment about a half a second before the ball touched down:

The left arrow would be pointing to me and the right pointing to the guy off whose hands the ball bounced. Here the arrows represent the same things as they did in the last picture but it is while the ball is bouncing off of my hand:

2. Seconds 12-13 show the person in the row behind me holding the ball up:

The left arrow would be the guy with the ball in his seat and the right arrow would be me still looking for the ball. What happened was that the ball fell into the seat and I started looking for the ball in the seat but when it wasn’t there I started looking in the row in front of the seat and so forth when I noticed that everyone was looking behind me. This two seconds or so on the video actually document me looking at their faces and turning back to come to the sad realization that I had completely missed the ball. Let me put you in my head a little further by explaining how confused I was at this moment. I would have understood how the ball ended up in his hands but it had been traveling forwards and the person who was in possession of it was sitting down. I had no idea how this happened until I looked at the tape and saw that….

3. Seconds 48-54 show a replay of what happened in the seats and reveal this:

If you are confused as to what you are looking at I don’t blame you. the right arrow is just to show where I was. You can sort of see my maroon-ish jersey peeking out between the bald guy’s arm but the important thing is the left arrow, which shows the guy who ended up with the ball reaching through my legs to snatch up the ball. What I figured out later was that the ball was indeed wedged in the seat for how brief a moment but when I or the other people converging on the ball hit the seat towards the field the seat created a ramp of sorts for the ball and it shot through my legs just as I was searching for it in the seat.

9. Oh and there was something the camera didn’t pick up: the guy threw the ball back. Why would you go through all that effort to get the ball if you’re just going to throw it back onto the field.

By the way, here is the path I had to take to get to the ball in the first place:

The two connected arrows show the path I ran and the lone arrow points out the guy that ended up with the ball.

I don’t want to say, though, that it was just a day of bad breaks because there were two positives that happened.

1. I did get to see the Nationals top three prospects get honored and have their first taste of stardom:

2. There were people that saw my effort. This group of four:

commented a few times on how far I ran and what an effort I had given and eventually gave me this in the ninth:

Apparently they had gone to the Nats’ team store and bought that for me. It was a very kind gesture and as they say made my day. The end.

8/9/11 Red Sox at Twins: Target Field

It was my first game at Target Field. Yes I had heard it was a tough stadium to snag at and yes I knew the Red Sox bring a big following with them wherever they go. So why did I get there 15 minutes before the gates opened? This was the first game of a five game, two week trip in the Midwest that came together through offers by people to stay with them at my dad’s living memorial a few months ago. It started as a strictly baseball trip but quickly evolved to include college  visits in it. Today’s visit was the University of Minnesota. I bring this up because this and the fact that me and my partner for this leg of the trip (my uncle) had to pick up our tickets from a friend afterward and as a result got to the gates a little later than I would have liked.

Anyway, here I am at gate 6:

As you can see there were a lot of fans at the gate. The gates by the way, are named after famous Twins. So gate 3 is named after Harmon Killebrew, gate 34 after Kent Hrbek etc. Gate 6 happens to be named after Tony Oliva. Once I got in the stadium it wasn’t much better. I initially went to Left Field but it was so crowded since it took five minutes for me to get into the stadium and the steps were so sloped that there was almost no chance I would catch anything so I changed into my Red Sox gear and opted for the emptier Right-Center Field seating:

There was nothing to be found there or anywhere for that matter. I just kept trying my luck with the players and coaches in that area but they kept throwing the balls to kids and other people in my section even though I was one of three people in Red Sox gear:

At one point, one of the coaches actually motioned that he couldn’t throw that high because he didn’t have the arm. It was at most 20 feet up and I suspect he just didn’t want to cause anyone’s harm. I tried to get the players at just the right times when they were closest to the wall but they appeared deaf. Simply put,  I was not ready to attend a batting practice on this day. I hadn’t thought of a good place to go during bp, I had no rosters printed out, and had I it wouldn’t have mattered because most of the players were wearing their pullover bp lining which does not have either their name or number on the back. Here I am contemplating my strategy while a three players are on the field, two of which have the pullover jerseys:

In addition, there is a portion in Right Field that juts out and obstructs a persons view of players in the corner or close to it and blocks out a person’s shouting to said players with requests for a ball. You can see that here:

You may also see that I have drawn an arrow in that last picture. It had no presence in my mind then but of course occurs to me now that I could have stood there and tried to scoop up rollers that players hit down the line as that corner spot would be ideal for such a strategy. If you have never been to a stadium that opens 1 and1/2 hours early you should know that the time goes by really quickly. That is what happened here. Batting Practice was over and I did not have a baseball.

As I made my way over to my seats for the game I stopped in the Standing Room Only section in Right Field and took a picture of the “Shimmering Wall”:

This majesty would be a wall in front of a parking lot made up of thousands of individual metallic panels about three by two inches. These panels are hanging by a hinge at their top so that they flap slightly upwards when a breeze goes by thereby creating a different reflection than the other panels on the wall. This makes sort of a stream going through the wall showing the wind. You can sort of see it towards the top right of the picture where there is a u shape that is darker than all of the panels around it. If you have never been and will visit Target Field you should really check it out as it is beautiful. I would have explored more and done quirky things like that but I was for this whole trip with family and the exploration part of a new stadium is fine and dandy but lugging around another person that doesn’t want to explore can be a bit of a pain. It’s not to say that the people i was with wouldn’t want to explore but i just didn’t want to find out that they didn’t mid-exploration. Speaking of those seats, this picture shows both where the seats were and how absolutely crowded the stadium was:

If you can also see the man in the gray shirt and green hat bending down, he was the ball that came in closest proximity to me just seconds prior to me taking that picture is what he is looking at at that moment. a few others  came within 20 feet of me but it was just so packed that all I had to move on was the staircase on which I was sitting. Usually, I would have tried the dugouts but I didn’t want to abandon my family and the stadium was just so beautiful that I pretty much decided that besides any hit balls that came close to me I would sit back and enjoy the game. I realized I was risking a 57 game streak but the Midwest portion of my family and friends of family is one that I enjoy spending time with the most most of my branches (no offense to Colombia and California). Sure I was a few seats away because I wanted to sit on the aisle but I didn’t want to venture a few sections away.

 

Actually, I shouldn’t say that. The only time I left considerably was during Jim Thome’s at-bats because he was 2 Home Runs away from 600 and I didn’t want to miss either 599 or 600. A few batters before Thome got up I would get out of my seat and make the trek to the Right Field Standing Room Only section on the other side of the field:

My face say it all:

Thome hit neither of his two Home Runs that day and no one even came close to the section the whole game.

 

I would have gone down to the umpire tunnel but the Twins had a semi-moat in the infield seats and I didn’t want to leave my family waiting for me a the top of the section until i came back up. Here is a picture of the moat:

The moat begins at the wall I have inside my dotted box (made of Minnesota limestone). I say that it is a semi-moat because usually moats keep everyone except ticket holders for that section out starting when the gates open. This however is not the case as you can see the ushers pointed out by my three arrows are well away from the staircase which is to the left of them in the picture. So people can enjoy bp from these seats and THEN get out (you listening Yankees?). The usher was at her post at he end of the game so I figured not to make a ruckus and just leave the seats.

 

Speaking of my family here they are in a picture we took at the top of the section:

That would be:

1. Mateo Fischer- Myself wearing my now official magnetic pen of baseball labeling. Provided by the good people at Private Home Care.

2. Richard Fischer- My uncle and now whenever he wants to be the honorary photographer for Observing Baseball. He really did by far the best job of any of the photographers I have had. Not only in this game but in the next three blog entries I will do so keep on the look-out for that.

3. Mark Fischer- Richard’s son aka my cousin who showed up for the day when he heard we had an extra ticket and who I visited when I was in Minnesota for the last season of the Metrodome.

4. John Fischer- Richards’s other son aka my other cousin who actually provided myself and Richard with housing while we were in Minnesota for these two days creating havoc for his less-than-100-percent household at the time.

 

STATS:

  • 127 balls in 31 games= 4.10 Balls Per Game
  • Time at Game 5:17- 9:56= 4 hours 39 minutes

 

 

 

 

 

 

8/5/11 Braves at Mets: Citi Field

Today was the final chapter of the book “Why I despise going to baseball games during kids week.” This would be the line in front of me when I got to the game 30 minutes early:

But wait, it gets better. Here is the line behind me 10 minutes before the gates opened:

I initially wasn’t going to go to this game but then a member of the senior “club” that I volunteer at knew me as a person who went to baseball games offered me two tickets. So I went to the game and offered the other ticket to another ballhawk who happens to be my next door neighbor, Greg Barasch. Crazy, no? Though, looking back on it, I might have been better served to invite his dog as he makes for very tough competition. The one positive was that there was no season ticket holder section on the field:

Of course, that didn’t matter as nothing even came close, hit or otherwise, during the Mets portion of bp. I moved around a bit but not as much as I usually do. My desperation strategy for the last day of kids week was to stay put more and see if things would work out that way. It is safe to say that this strategy failed utterly and my first and only ball came from Alan Butts:

Butts is simply listed as “coach” on the roster and I suspect he is the bullpen catcher. Anyway, in the picture, the arrow pointing straight down shows where I was standing and the arrow pointing diagonally upwards is the path of the ball from Butts’ hand to my glove.  That was it for batting practice.

Now to the game. This was a game/postgame of tough breaks. Due to paint’s inability to accurately depict this next scene I will put up the picture of where I was sitting and write out what then unfolded:

Josh Thole was up and he hit a sort of high foul ball. From that view, it immediately went into the lights. I knew that it would get out of the light so I just kept my eyes still on where I thought it would exit the lights. It then exited them on the left, sliced back to the right but was now under the lights. I could tell it was coming right at me. I mean RIGHT AT ME! Thole couldn’t have thrown it to me more perfectly. I simply stood up and was ready to make the easy chest level catch when the person in front of me, who is illuminated by my flash, stood up and deflected the ball just enough for it to scoot to the right of my glove and in the row behind me. To add insult to injury, the ball hit the person in the row behind me and one seat to my left. Just as I turned to see where it had gone the ball rolled under the seat right next to me:

Then it rolled two rows below me and to add a law suit against a person who has been both insulted and injured I climbed over a row and was a quarter of a second late to the ball as a lady in that row grabbed it:

Then after the game, I convinced the home plate umpire to flip me a ball but the person in front of me reached for it and as a result swatted it down beck into the tunnel the umpires exit through. A security supervisor who has a disposition against ballhawks then picked it up and walked straight past me before giving it to someone else. I would have been fine with this had the umpire blindly thrown the ball into the crowd because that is free game but he only reacted after I called him out by name and I am 97.639% sure that the ball was intended for me.

Oh and did I mention that it was also Fiesta Latina and as a result there were Jose Reyes banners being given away. Though most people used them as a cape instead:

On the subway, I saw a father and son decked out in Braves gear and could tell they had traveled a ways to get here. I also saw that the son had a glove with him.  So, as is my natural inclination, I asked him if he had gotten a ball. When he said no, I then took my ball out of my backpack and gave it to him. They asked me if I was sure and I think I explained to them what I did or just told them to keep it.

STATS:

  • 1 ball at this game (no picture because I gave it away) number 188 for my career
  • 127 balls in 30 games= 4.233333 Balls Per Game
  • 56 straight games with at least 1 ball
  • 26 straight games with at least 1 ball
  • 1 ball*30,607fans= 30,607 competition factor
  • Time At Game 4:45- 10: 12= 5 hours 27 minutes

6/24/11 Indians at Giants: AT&T Park

Like Nationals Park this was technically not my first time here but it was my first time really ballhawking as last year I came here on a Sunday and there was no batting practice:

I still managed to get a ball on an overthrow by Mike Adams but it didn’t feel like ballhawking if you know what I mean. I apologize in advance for the lack of (relevant) pictures. I brought a photographer because I thought I would get #100 who wasn’t necessarily into baseball and as a result didn’t photography…but hey here’s a picture of the Willie McCovey statue:

While waiting in line, I realized just how gargantuan it was and how many of them looked like regulars. I would have a picture for you if I was by myself but…

As soon as I got in I raced to the right field seats just as Segio Romo. I actually talked to him extensively  when we stayed in the same schmancy hotel in Milwaukee. I don’t think he recognized me but I still gave him a shout  and he nodded as if he were about to turn around and toss me his ball but he turned around and chucked his ball to the inner outfield. He then later went onto do his running:

and later went into the dugout without ever granting my request.

Without digressing too much, that gargantuan line I was talking about earlier. Yeah it turned into a gargantuan crowd pretty quickly:

I am the one in the white hat and black shirt closest to longish gate closest to the camera. I was in the bleachers themselves for a while but am not used to them and they were close to being as crowded. I probably should have left earlier but I had my photographer  listening to his iPod and I was being so stubborn in the fact that I wanted to snag a ball with the glove trick  or  a ball from right field in general. The first quickly got shot down when the first ball rolled to the wall and as I got there I was met by a combination of about ten cup/bucket/net/water bowl/food pan tricks. There was absolutely no chance I would get a ball with my glove trick as in the time it would take me to set it up at least one other trick would swoop in. The second idea then died when the Indians pitchers started throwing on the first base foul line.

I got on my horse but moved about as fast as a student driver on a stick shift as I had to keep waiting for my photographer. Eventually though, I did get around the stadium in time to get Chris Perez to toss a ball to the only Indians fan in the section (me!). One down two to go in my quest for 100. Since I am working with limited pictures let me use one picture to explain multiple things:

  1. The arrow furthest to the left-pointing to Chris Perez. The player who threw me the ball.
  2. The dotted box- the emptier part of the bleachers where I should have been standing. I thought it was too far away from the plate but realized after the fact that I usually play fruther from the plate at Citi Field.
  3. The remaining arrow- where I was standing for the first however many minutes of bp.
This picture shows my path to my next ball:
I was playing in the very thin right field of AT&T. At the moment in the picture (I am the one with the red backpack) some lefty was up but because it is such a thin section I could be behind the actual seats but walk up to the front of the wall (that’s what right field basically is at AT&T) once a ball was grounded to the outfield. So I walked up to the front and tried to get Justin Masterson to throw me a ball but right in the middle of that a ball came right to me. I mean I didn’t have to move an inch to catch it.
On two unrelated notes: there was a new Indians fan in the section I had been when Chris Perez had thrown me a ball so Perez threw about five balls from a hundred feet out until the fan finally got the ball (he didn’t bring a glove and tried to catch them with his hat) and while taking a random picture of a kayaker on the bay (as in he didn’t know about Bonds’ Navy and just thought it was interesting that there were guys in kayaks in the bay) my photographer took a picture of one ballhawk that I did know of:
The arrow would be pointing to Joe Dirt a ballhawk that, as his name suggests, stays on dry land and tries to get baseballs by throwing out a fishing line at them with a net at the end of it. He also has a glove but the wall right in front of him prevents most Home Runs from landing on the concrete.
That was it for me in terms of snagging because the Indians lefties hit maybe three Home Runs and there was constantly a crowd of people going through the five foot wide cross aisle behind the seats and thus always moving obstacles to maneuver. So Boo-Hoo no 100 today.
While righties were up I actually ran into a ballhawk from The Baseball‘s top 10 ballhawks, which (ahem!) I wrote a review for, Lee Wilson. If you want to read the section on him in the book, it is on page 285. If you don’t have the book, buy it. It is less than $10 and has something for any baseball fan. Not a baseball fan? Why are you reading a baseball blog?!
Anyway, batting practice ended and I made my way back to the group that came for the game (later on in the day of course):
  1. Andres-My step-brother and (semi)photographer for the day.
  2. Rusty- my mom’s high school soccer coach who actually got this group of four’s tickets he didn’t have a fifth so I went on Stubhub.
  3. Andy- my mom who’s actual name is Andrea but the nickname is one she would like to leave in the past so of course I have to use it. Oh and while we’re at it Andres’ family nickname is Pipe (pronounced Pee-peh).
  4. Fabio- my step-father who conveniently did not hear me at the moment as he was playing with his camera (which he did not trust Pipe with).
There were however, many great pictures that he took throughout the game. For example:
I mean they’re just regular pictures but I do know understand why professional grade cameras are so important here are my/Fabio’s best pictures of Brain Wilson side-by-side:
I mean I know it would kill my WordPress storage space but still I can see in Fabio’s picture that Wilson is holding a cutter. In my picture….I might not have been able to recognize him had it not been for the beard.
The line-ups were mostly lefty so I alternated between the standing room in right field and the group’s seats depending on the type of hitter that was up, i.e. in foul ground for Andres Torres (who actually did hit a Home Run, ugh) and in right field for Aubrey Huff. While in right field I talked with Lee Wilson on a variety of subjects not necessarily baseball. Fun. Not much Home Run action going on but Jonathan Sanchez did take a beating in the first few innings as he was out soon after hitting (and putting out for 8+ weeks) Shin-Soo Choo in the fourth inning. They eventually won on two sac flies after they had loaded the bases. They then brought in Brain Wilson to the tune of Jump Around. Not the most ominous or impending entry song as I have gone to my fair share of Yankee games but it certainly got people on their seats and… well jumping.
STATS:
  • 2 Balls at this game
Numbers 98 and 99 on the career. Number 100 will indeed be in Tampa (at least hopefully) because I am just too busy with stuff of all sorts to go to a Yankee game
  • 38 balls in 14 games= 2.71 Balls Per Game
  • 39 straight games with at least one ball
  • 2 straight at AT&T Park
  • 2 Balls*41,690 fans= 83,380 Competition Factor
  • Time at Game 4:25-10:36= 6 hours 9 minutes

San Diego Padres Offseason Recap and Preview

For every team that makes the playoffs there are 4.33 teams that don’t. The Padres were the first third of a team to not make the playoffs. Anyone remember how dominant they were in the West through the first part of the season and the team the Giants beat in the last game of the season to get into the playoffs:

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Grade: F

Notable Additions:

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Aaron Harang, Cameron Maybin, Dustin Mosely, Jason Bartlett, Orlando Hudson, Brad Hawpe, Gregg Zaun, Chad Qualls, and Jorge Cantu.

Notable Subtractions:

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Adrian Gonzalez, Chris Young, Matt Stairs, Jerry Hairston Jr., Tony Gwynn Jr., Miguel Tejada, Jon Garland, David Eckstein, Scott Hairston, and Cesar Ramos.

Why?: In this case, it is in fact the loss of one man that brought them down a couple of letter grades on his own. Let me put it this way, WITH him they had the second lowest Batting Average of.246 in the league and he hit .298. With him they had the fifth lowest runs per game and he scored 81 runs and drove in 101. The second closest player in both categories was Chase Headley with 77 runs and 58 RBIs.

I don’t know about last year but the year before last he drove in over 33% of the team’s runs. That is a big percentage in Basketball where there are 5 players that can produce points but even more so in Baseball where there are nine different players.

In addition to that they did lose a variety of starters to the offseason. I also think that they will still have their great bullpen but the starters will not do as well with an offense that might even be worse than that of Seattle last year.

Predicted Record Range: 70-75 Wins. All I have to say is that you can’t win if you don’t score runs.

Up Next: Colorado Rockies

St. Louis Cardinals Offseason Recap and Preview

They thought they were the champs. They fought the Reds strongly:

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They took the competition late into the season. Then this happened:

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Grade: B-

 

Notable Additions:

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Jim Edmonds, Ryan Theriot, Lance Berkman, Gerald Laird, Miguel Bautista, Ian Snell, and Nick Punto.

 

Notable Subtractions:

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Brad Penny, Randy Winn, Pedro Feliz, Brendan Ryan, Aaron Miles, and Jeff Suppan.

 

Why?: Initially I was going to give them a C- but then I typed in all the notable additions and they are all solid players. I then looked and saw they didn’t have many subtractions worth crying about. They boosted each of the four Cardinal (pun intended) categories of Relief Pitching, Stating Pitching, Infield, and Outfield.

 

The losses are also solid players but everywhere they replaced the players and then added some more. This entry was supposed to be before Wainwright went out so I won’t count him as a subtraction but looking at these players they did decently in the offseason.

 

Predicted Record Range: 80-85 wins. The Wainwright isn’t enough alone to lower the wins THAT much so I say with his actual stats gone and the emotional blow it adds, 3-5 wins should be expected off of last year’s win total.

 

Up Next: Milwaukee Brewers

New York Mets Offseason Recap and Preview

Normally I provide a picture at the beginning of an entry to describe the team’s last season. The Mets are no exception:

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Grade: B-

 

Notable Additions:

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Chris Young, Chris Capuano, Boof Bonser, Chin-lung Hu, and Scott Harriston.

 

Notable Subtractions:

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Oliver Perez, Luis Castillo, Pedro Feliciano, Hisanori Takahashi, Sean Green, Henry Blanco, John Maine, and Fernando Tatis.

 

Why?: Had I done this entry when I planned, I would have given them a C. With the subtractions of Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo they actually did not hurt their chances of winning this year by that much. It also set them up for the future rather well not having to worry about the contracts of those two.

 

The only thing that it could be interpretted negatively as is, as a declaration of defeat by the Mets (that would be Mets fans that say this). Yes, it is a declaration of defeat, but come on, did Mets fans really expect them to get to the playoffs this year (some do).

 

Maybe this is just my talk radio trained ear overreacting to Mets fans expecting their team to do well. I wish them well for all the Mets fans in New York (Although, a worse team does mean more empty seats) but I just don’t see it this year… at all.

 

Predicted Record Range: 65-70 wins maybe they go on more extended versions of the tears last year because of injured players coming back but I also see two players in contract years that could act as trade bait. This number is assuming either Calos Beltran or Jose Reyes gets traded mid-season. If not, see this number go up maybe even by double digits.

 

Up Next: Washington Nationals

 

To try and hide this entry (as to not get hate mail from Mets fans) quickly I will try and get the Nationals Recap and Preview up ASAP.  

Tampa Bay Rays Offseason Recap and Preview

They did win the most games out of anyone in the American League:

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because I knew the they won the AL East but it is still shocking in retrospect.

Grade:D- F

Notable Additions:

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Manuel Ramirez, Johnny Damon, Kyle Farnsworth, Casey Kotchman, Felipe Lopez, and Dirk Hayhurst.

Notable Subtractions:

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Carl Crawford, Dan Wheeler, Rafael Soriano, Jason Bartlett, Matt Garza, Joaquin Benoit, Grant Balfour, Randy Choate, Carlos Pena, Dioneer Navarro, Gabe Kapler, Brad Hawpe, and Chad Qualls.

Why?:  Well, let’s see where to start? For one, that is the first three line notable subtractions segment I have written. Normally, its about five guys that are notable and then ten or something minor leaguers that they lost to free agency. Here, it was just the opposite. I think everyone knew that this was the year they would lose most of their top talent but they lost the barn with the cows, losing so many people in their bullpen:

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They did sell the barn to strengthen the farm though. They definitely know what to do with high draft picks. There was a book written on the subject. I think that the Rays will be better in the future because of not paying for their core but the grade is still how they helped their team THIS YEAR.

So, will they one up last year? No, but will they have a solid “time waste” year? What does that even mean?

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3rd Place? 4th Place? Or just surviving the year with minimal financial loss?

Predicted Record Range: 65-70 wins Even if they can get a lot of runs. I see this being like the 2007 season. If anyone remembers, they would get ahead of very good teams and then give up afew runs late in the game because of their bullpen and lose. Their bullpen is even worse now but I think that their offense is much better as well. That year they didn’t have Evan Longoria in their line-up.

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