Results tagged ‘ foul ball ’
Again it was back to Target Field for the fourth time in five weekdays and the sixth time in a week. The funny thing is, I really didn’t feel worn out by going to all of these games along with classes at all.
Once I got in, my initial plan was to run directly to the left field, but since Denard Span and Ben Revere were the first two hitters, I thought, “What the hey, I can run over to left field in a couple pitches if Josh Willingham comes up.” In waiting to head over to left field, I managed to snag a Ben Revere home run:
I then went to left field, and much to my dismay, Revere and Span put on a show (for them) while Willingham failed to hit a ball to the field level bleachers.
After this, I headed to the White Sox’s dugout, where too was Tony Voda:
Tony is the guy in the white shirt, by the way. I didn’t get anything by the dugout, but that was because I got impatient and headed back out to left field when I saw the White Sox were hitting mostly righties for the first group. Once again, I didn’t get anything there, but I did get pretty close to balls that ended up bouncing back towards the field after they hit in the bleachers. I just wasn’t judging the ball well, and since it wasn’t staying in place when it touched down, it was costing me.
Eventually, I ran into the seats in right-center field to try and get a ball there. While I was there, my friend Sean—who you may remember from two entries ago. As you may also remember, he’s a huge White Sox fan, so he was able to identify all of the White Sox in the outfield for me. But when he identified a guy in the outfield for me as Francisco Liriano, my first was, “No, that’s him?” Just because his haircut looked ever so slightly different from when he was with the Twins. Anyway, long story short, I asked Liriano for a ball, and he tossed it to me. Unfortunately, his throw was way short, so it took a second try to get it up to me:
I didn’t know it at the time, but this was a very special ball for me, because it marked the first ever time I had snagged 200 Balls in a season, as it was my 200th ball of 2012.
It was then that I headed over to the standing room section in right field. There were several balls hit there by Adam Dunn, but I just failed to judge any of them well enough to catch one. The highlight (or lowlight if you’re FSN/the Twins) was that Dunn hit a ball into Fox Sports North’s TV set-up in the standing room and the ball hit the TV there, breaking the screen:
The guy in the blue is the security supervisor for right field. If you ever go through Gate 34 at Target Field, you’ll see him.
After the group containing Adam Dunn and A.J. Pierzynski, I headed BACK to left field. The only problem was there wasn’t a way to have more than ten feet of mobility in the front few rows:
And if I wanted to go to left-center field to play for toss-ups, there were three problems all kind of shown in this picture:
1. There were a ton of kids crowding the front row.
2. Tony was playing the corner spot all the way in left-center field.
3. It wasn’t the White Sox, but rather their kids who were shagging balls in the outfield. Usually, the kids tend to throw way less baseballs into the crowd than their dads do, so that cut down on the opportunities.
The White Sox actually ended batting practice a little early. Why? They took fielding practice afterwards:
While this is an anomaly nowadays, I’ve seen it a couple of times. It’s still a strange surprise.
Anyway, while I probably would have gotten that in the extra BP time, I did manage to get a ball during this. The fielders went off in waves, so when A. J. Pierzynski came off the field, I called out to him as he was approaching the dugout. Unfortunately, he was right in the process of throwing the ball he had to a kid just as he made eye contact with me. I thought when he disappeared into the dugout that it was the end of that, but second later, a ball was rolled right across the dugout roof to me:
I’m assuming it was Pierzynski, but it could have been someone he told to toss me a ball. All I saw was a hand and a ball.
During the game I sat over where my view was this for the game:
What s that arrow you ask? In the third inning, Justing Morneau hit a foul ball waaaay over my head, which followed the path of the arrow I have drawn (okay so it’s not technically an arrow since there’s no head but trust me, I actually used the “arrow” tool; I just drew the head off the page). Anyway, as is always my custom, I turned around in case there was a deflection. What happened was the ball bounced off of the facing of the upper deck and bounced RIGHT to me. I didn’t even have to move an inch:
Oh my goodness. It was a bit surreal to me. I’ve never snagged two game balls in the same month, and here I had snagged a home run and a foul ball in consecutive games. Wow.
Unfortunately, that was it for the game, but I really didn’t care. I mean seriously, I can never be disappointed by a game in which I snag a game ball…unless of course I miss another game ball.
Oh, and I forgot to mention the giveaway that had attracted an excess of fans to Target Field this game. Yeah, since the Twins had just lost 6-0, I’m pretty sure I was the only one reppin’ my team this late after the game had ended:
(Special thanks to Tony for taking that picture of me).
- 4 Balls at this game (3 pictured because I gave 1 away)
Numbers 421-424 for my “lifetime”:
- 202 Balls in 48 Games= 4.21 Balls Per Game
- 57 straight Games with at least 1 Ball (My highest streak of this sort ever. The next highest streak was ironically broken in my first ever visit to Target Field.)
- 7 straight Games with at least 2-3 Balls
- 6 straight Games with at least 4 Balls
- 34 Balls in 9 Games at Target Field= 3.78 Balls Per Game
- 8 straight Games with at least 1-2 Balls at Target Field
- 7 straight Games with at least 3 Balls at Target Field
- 6 straight Games with at least 4 Balls at Target Field
- Time Spent On Game 3:41-11:14= 7 Hours 27 Minutes
Look where I was on the one-year anniversary of the first BallhawkFest:
When I got there, though, the day-of-game-tickets windows were closed and I found out there was only one student ticket left. The windows were going to open at 5:00 (ten minutes before the gates), so I either going to get that last ticket or go home. Would I get the last ticket and get to go in, just decide to splurge on a more expensive ticket, or would I get locked out of the stadium and have to wander around and take pictures like this game? While you wonder, I’ll inject this anecdote to build suspense for the answer [insert childish giggle here].
While I was waiting for the windows open, a guy approached me and said “Hi”. This guy was Chris Hernandez, a fairly new ballhawk, who those of you who read the comments may know better as “ch1088″. If you would like to read it, he already posted his entry of this game. The link to which is hiagh. His girlfriend and a friend of hers were with him, so those two held a spot for both of us.
Why did I need a spot in line? I got this at the ticket window:
The lines were rather long, but instead of being at the back of them, thanks to Chris and his friends, I “only” had this many people in front of me:
Do you know how car sickness works? Basically, your brain gets confused because your eyes tell you you’re moving, but you yourself aren’t, so you get nauseous -or something along those lines. I don’t really get car sick anymore, instead I get grounds crew sick. Instead I get nauseous when I see sun and feel warmth, but there is a tarp on the field.
Long story short: I got rejected by every one of the Nationals pitchers. Actually, I even got rejected by the position players that came out to throw. I’d estimate that fifteen balls were thrown in the stands by the Nationals. By the way, I’m not complaining, just reporting what happened. There were a ton of balls that left the hands of Nationals and fell into the stands, and I was having some bad luck considering there weren’t that many fans and I was one of the few with Nationals gear.
At this time, I was pretty sure that if I got a ball, it was going to be at the Nationals dugout during the game. Spoiler alert: my streak of bad luck with third-out balls and I didn’t get anything at the dugout the whole game. Anyway, I almost got three balls from Drew Storen when he bounced three slider into the dirt. I would have gotten each of the had it not been for the wheelchair section they all bounced into. All of them were going right in my direction, but all fell short in front of me where other people got them since I couldn’t go into the section. No, I didn’t get a ball from Storen, but when the position players came out to warm-up, you can bet I was waiting for them to finish and toss me a ball:
Actually, though, none of the position players tossed me the ball. See the guy in the Red? My guess is he’s a Strength and Conditioning guy. Anyway, after all of the players had gone into the dugout, he tossed me one of the balls they had left on the field. Here is a diagram of what happened:
The horizontal arrow starts from where the guy was standing and ends where I was standing when he threw the ball. The vertical arrow points to the kid I gave the ball away to right after I caught the ball. It was a perfectly good ball, but I was in essence making a sacrifice to the baseball gods for not shutting me out. Don’t you just love my religion? All of same practices and rationale but no dying is involved. Also, you can see Chris at the far left of the picture. He’s the one standing up in the red. The reason being, he was trying to get a ball from the Nationals dugout. He was constantly coaxing them into throwing him a ball, but got dissed each time.
The game wasn’t particularly interesting during the middle innings, this was all I snagged through six innings:
Something else was happening at this time. Can you spot it in this picture? (you can click on the picture to get a closer look):
By the time I saw the Star Wars people in the concourse, it had already been raining for a while. I liked it. When it rains, less people are in the stands. That’s just one example, but you can read a lot more reasons to attend a game where there is rain in my most recent mygameballs.com column, The Rainy Day Gambit.
Then, in the latter innings, it started to pour. Ian Desmond decided to be a little more generous to the fans that stuck around:
Also in the latter innings, the seats were empty enough for me to walk around without getting in anyone’s way, so I did:
Do you see how empty it was? I mean this kind of emptiness is nothing new to me just because I’m insane and brave ridiculous weather in the name of baseball, but why does it take a rain storm for either New York stadium to be this empty? The game went into extra innings (for the second time in four games between these two teams- all of which I attended), and the combination of that, the Mets giving up six runs in the top of the tenth, and the rain made foul ground ballhawking heaven. It was like batting practice but during the game. What do I mean by that? People were actually standing up with their gloves on:
I’m not kidding you, if the Nationals sent a righty to pitch instead of Tom Gorzelanny, I might have caught three foul balls. I had a reasonable shot at catching anything hit within four sections of me. I was sitting close to the dugouts, so here’s a better look at how empty it was there:
Also, I should probably mention that part of the reason I say I could have gotten maybe three foul balls is I actually *did* get a foul ball in the top of the tenth that landed one and a half sections away:
Danny Espinosa fouled a ball off that went pretty high, so I raced from the section to the left of where I took this picture from and just as the ball landed, I was on the first staircase you see in this picture. The ball then bounced off the seat and whizzed right by my ear. It then hit the first “elevated” row and bounced into the row under that. I had changed direction and was the only one within twenty feet of the ball, so I picked it up. Here is the ball with the spot I picked it up in the background:
It was fun, and just like that, I had my first hit “game” ball of the year.
After the game, I headed over to the umpire tunnel, but the folks at MLB.com mistakenly had David Rackley as the home plate umpire in the box score. I had gotten a ball from David Rackley earlier in the year, so I knew it wasn’t him. During the bottom of the tenth, I figured out the umpire was Alan Porter, with the help of Greg Barasch, who was at home watching the game. When the game ended, I headed to the first row of the section and yelled out to Porter before anyone else had access to him and he tossed me the ball:
At the umpire tunnel, I ran into Mark McConville, who you may remember from me mentioning a few times in entries last month. We really hadn’t said hi to each other yet, so we walked out of the stadium after none of the Nationals pitchers (the ones that were left anyway) didn’t toss any balls into the crowd.
- 3 Balls at this game ( I gave one away)
Numbers 355-357 for my lifetime (I’m showing the logos because they were both commemorative):
- 135 Balls in 30 Games= 4.50 Balls Per Game (16 balls under 500)
- 3 Balls x 26,735 Fans= 80,205 Competition Factor
- 39 straight Games with at least 1 Ball
- 15 straight Games with at least 2 Balls
- 3 straight Games with at least 3 Balls
- 82 Balls in 31 Games at Citi Field= 2.65 Balls Per Game
- 31 straight Games at Citi Field with at least 1 Ball
- 3 straight Games at Citi Field with at least 2 Balls
- 3 straight Games at Citi Field with at least 3 Balls
- Time Spent On Game 3:32- 11:24= 7 Hours 52 Minutes
- 1 Hit Game Ball this season
- 5 Pieces of bubblegum snagged and chewed at this game
This is pretty much a cautionary entry to anyone going to a game on a Saturday between two teams in contention. I went through the same pre-game ritual this game as I did at my last and was already to redeem myself for lost opportunities the game before by arriving once again at 4:30 for a 7:00 game when I heard the roar of a crowd:
I then took that last picture. When Richard and I were driving to our parking spot of the previous day, he noticed that the parking lot was packed but I had been to Miller Park previously before this trip and attributed it to the fans tradition of tailgating as I had seen it was very prevalent in my last trip. I should have known, though. When there weren’t many people outside the cars themselves. The reason that I showed up late was that when I looked at the game it was scheduled for 7:00 pm central but Fox then took over the game and moved it to their standard 4:00 pm eastern time slot and I had no clue this had happened. Okay, it was on my ticket but I did not even have the slightest clue to check for the time. What makes it even more painful is that Richard and I were doing a whole lot of nothing the whole day waiting for my mom’s flight to arrive and could have easily shown up to the game.
When we got in it was already the fifth inning. Had I not gotten shutout at Target Field I would have turned around when I saw the crowd and walked back to the car. Instead, I tried to get into prime foul ball territory and this was the result:
No one checked my ticket or anything. You see there is a cross aisle behind Home Plate and in front of the press box that is a pretty good spot for catching foul balls and I thought it would take an ID-ing just to take pictures of it but I walked right in without getting anything checked. My only complaint is that the protective netting is too high for baseballs to come back on a line but here I am in the cross aisle:
I will say, though, that with the net being say 5 feet lower it is the perfect height and distance from Home Plate for a foul ball to get there. As you can see, I have an orange circle in the upper right of that last picture. That highlights just some of the hundreds of white spots on the wall caused by foul balls. Of course, a security guard noticed I was shifting back and forth from batter to batter and asked where my tickets were. I showed him that they were standing room only and he then told me I (and Richard) would have to leave the section.
We eventually made our way to the Left Field Lodge bleachers and sat there for the inning remaining of a 1-0 game. As you can (maybe) imagine, I was pretty angry at myself for not checking the time of the game but I must say that it as the most energy filled game I have ever been to and I grew up a Yankee fan and attended my fair share of games at the old/new Yankee Stadium. Perhaps it was because there was so much tension in the air. The Brewers only had a 1 run lead in the ninth inning and whoever was pitching loaded the bases with no outs and John Axford got three consecutive outs to end the game (I’m not sure if Axford came in before the Ninth started and loaded the bases or if someone else did and he just finished it off). That was the most excited I have ever been at a baseball game.
Lastly I would like to thank Richard for being the best camera person I have ever had (to this point) by far. I know it was a bit of a stretch to be away from home for that long and attend more games than he had in the last century but I would like to thank him for doing so. Even if I couldn’t put up a show for him during any of these batting practices, I might have to go back to the midwest next year just to have him as my photographer.
No stats for this entry as there isn’t anything to write about this particular game.
Second day at Turner Field:
I was excited because it was now the day after the fourth of July and the attendance would probably be low not only because it was a day not fourth of July but specifically because it was the day AFTER when not that many people would want to get to the game at 4:30.
As foreshadowing, my day started off poorly. I was obligated to put on sunscreen outside the gate and as a result the glove trick with fishing line (as I use it ) became a very difficult task because my hands kept slipping on the line and thus i couldn’t get a ball that fell in the LF gap:
I eventually conceded to a person with a cup trick that snagged it in five seconds after he readied his device.
Why was I not by the first base foul line for the pitchers warming up you ask? Well because right field and all sections to the right of that were closed until 5:00 but I did eventually make my way to the center field corner spot (the spot furthest to the front and left, from my perspective, of the section). From there I had priority to any ball hit in right field. I used this to get Brain Snitker, the third base coach, to toss me a ball.
I then moved back to left field when a few righties came up and when Martin Prado tossed a ball to a kid and missed high I collected it and handed it to him right away.
Back in right field when Jason Heyward’s group came up, I used my glove trick to pick up a ball that landed in the gap between the walls:
Yes that is a Hilton pen that I have my fishing line on. Why? In order to prevent tangling like that which I pointed out at the end of the day before’s entry. There was another ball that landed in the gap later on during bp (I don’t remember when) but it was wedged perfectly between two metal strips in the gap so that I could not move it. I then moved back to left field when the Rockies pitchers came out to warm-up and got Ubaldo Jimenez to toss me a ball:
Bad News: He under threw me by two feet and the ball fell into the gap.
Good News: There was a construction/painting platform below me so I just had to lean over a bit and I picked it up.
Back to right field. I got Matt Pagnozzi to throw me a ball. As you can tell there really wasn’t much Home Run action. Had there been I might have found myself in double digits at the end of the day. Oh well, someday. There were a few that came near me but people were just in the right spots as I positioned myself to have as much open running room as possible. The picture to describe this:
I would described the feeling behind my face as tired due to running back and forth, disappointed because of the balls I got blocked on, and a little annoyed because I don’t have one shot of me actually snagging a ball. I mean I’m not catching ten balls a game so it is a bit tough with a screen that goes to sleep every five seconds but given my luck at that point the smaller details were what I was fretting about to distract myself from how the game had gone.
…Until I made it to my seat:
I mean that was AFTER the game had started. I mean literally if a foul ball landed in that section I had a 50% chance of catching it. Turns out all I needed was that one row as in the second inning Nate McLouth hit a foul ball right to that row. I only had one person to beat which was a kid behind me that also had a glove but he was talking to his dad at the time and didn’t even see the ball go up. I ran about half way through the row, put my glove up, caught the ball and then had my left leg hit the back of a seat because I had been tracking the ball. That was what I was going for so I was happy but not surprised. I stupidly did not have my mom take a picture of me after I caught the ball but here I am with it later on:
I am actually holding the smudge that the bat created on the ball towards the camera, if you can see. I also made a shocking discovery involving my first foul ball (as a ballhawk. I ended up with one in… 2000 I think.) that I had not thought through before catching this one. It had not been rubbed up much if any. Here is a picture of me with that ball that I took for a mygameballs.com article:
If you look at the color difference of the two it shows you how little this ball was rubbed up with mud. I have gotten umpire balls before that were rubbed up but I guess it took me catching a second foul ball to realize that those had just been in the game. I know this train of thought may seem weird but I just didn’t think about the ball at the time because I was too excited that I had,won a scramble for, a foul ball.
Wanting to catch another foul ball, I stayed in those seats until the seventh inning stretch. At which time, I moved over to around the Rockies dugout, via seat weaving. The view:
I got nothing in two innings (because there was no bottom of the ninth) from, first baseman at the time, Ty Wigginton. He just threw it elsewhere to one Rockies fan and one non-Rockies fan.
I then tried to once again tie my career high by getting the home plate umpire (I don’t remember who) to toss me one of his excess baseballs. He either had none or wasn’t in the mood after being argued with by both teams various times and walked straight into the umpires’ room.
Next up was the bullpen guys who just had no baseballs with them. Actually I shouldn’t say that. The bullpen guys always have a ginormous bag full of baseballs but unless one of the actual pitchers picked a ball up before it was put into that bag and had it in his pocket it is unlikely the person carrying the bag will go through the trouble of setting the bag down, unzipping it, taking a ball out and zipping it back up again just to give a ball to one of their out-of-town fans. I would have been fine with this but I was on my way out of the stadium when, rookie bullpen pitcher, Rex Brothers arrived and started signing autographs. I ran down in hopes of getting a ball signed when he stopped signing. The culmination of these things led to this face (notice I did not forget my attention grabbing Rockies shirt this time):
- 6 balls at this game (4 pictured because I gave two away)
- 56 balls in 17 games= 3.29 balls per game
- 42 straight games with at least 1 ball
- 3 straight games with at least 5 balls
- 12 straight games outside of New York with at least 1 ball
- 6 balls*17,718 fans=106,308 competition factor
- Time at game 4:18- 10:13=5 hours 55 minutes
First, Happy New Years to every one.
Second, I was thinking of my new year’s resolutions and realized that they were all ballhawking related. So, I thought I should share them with anyone who cares. Hey! I heard that thought. You don’t hear me thinking mean thoughts like that about your hopes and aspirations. Then again, you don’t have my powers of super awesome mind reading.
Anywho, here are my goals for the following season in ballhawking. Not necessarily in this order.
1. Go to AT LEAST 40 baseball games.- I went to 20 games last year and started about half way through the season so this should be do-able.
2. Average 4.0 balls per game.- I was hovering around 3.5 in the last two months. So, I think this could be achieved. Note: at this point I am still a pitcher. Ergo, I am absolutely horrid at tracking balls in the air and catching them. For example, my only game ball was a ball that I overran and then scrambled to get. This can obviously be improved by pure experience.
3. Go to 10 stadiums.- I am definitely going to the 3 South-East stadiums. There are 8 stadiums that I can get to otherwise. That is eleven by my count. This definitely depends on how my dad is feeling in the summer (whether or not he is in the mood to schlep me or not) . However, the 3 South- East are a definite as this is the Marlins’ last year in Dolphins… no Land Shark…. whatever that Stadium is called now, and I want to get me a commemorative baseball.
4. Get 100 baseballs.- This is dependent on how many games I go to, but if I go to 40 and keep my pace for last season. I would… finish… just… shy… of 100. Wow, that was deflating.
5. Catch a game homer at Citi field (preferably, before anyone else does it).- It has never been done before by a mygameballs.com member because of the ballhawk’s death valley that is right field and the left field furthest from home plate in the major leagues, but Citi Field ballhawks tend to lie closer to the dugouts and therefore there is no professional competition in left field. However, there is an over hang that prevent a home run from going more than ten rows back. So, I can see why they are by the dugout but, I’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.
6. Get five game-balls total.- Now this one, I’m not too sure of. If I sit in a spot to do it, t’will be a piece of caketh. But if I don’t, then it will be near impossible because only 7 people achieved this feat last year. And that, is why you never start a sentence with a conjunction.
7. Lead the mygameballs.com community in Umpire balls for my first full month of ballhawking.- The only reason this would be difficult is if I am going for Home Runs in Citi Field there is an evil gate that prevents fans from going to the dugout seats (umpire tunnel) from the outfield. Therefore, I would have to get to the dugout seats by getting tickets from exiting fans, a fickle source. Besides that, I have a secret weapon to get umpire balls. This is why I only expect to lead for my first month because I know Citi Field ballhawks will want to know where I got it and then have just as good of a chance to get an umpire ball as I do.
8. Be in the Top 10 for mygameballs.com at some point in the season (preferably after the last game of the world series).- Now if I average 4.0 balls per game. I would only have to go to… 35 games to be in the 2010 top 10. Like I said, many of these (if not all) are dependent on the degree to which the first goal is accomplished.
9. Post entries regularly. This is the hardest goal yet. This goal depends not on whether I know Spanish or can catch a baseball. It is a matter of pure sit-down-and-write-itness. I was previously known as the “if only he applied himself he could do well” kid. This might shine through if I am tired from running around and blogging on back-to-back-to-back-to-back games which will probably happen if I want to go to forty games (considering I will lose most of April, May, and September to Fordham P Baseball).
10. Aaand a Paaartriiidge iiin a peaaar treee.- I like round numbers and nine doesn’t really accomplish this goal. So, I wanted to have a tenth goal but had no actual tenth goal and so this is just to fill up space and satisfy my round number goal and… Why am I still writing?
Anyway, I hope your New year’s resolutions are accomplished as well (unless they make mine even a degree harder ’cause like I said, I don’t feel like applying myself that much more.) and I’ve said it a million times to other people but what ever you never, ever, exaggerate anything, especially your goals.