Results tagged ‘ foul territory ’

8/19/13 Rays at Orioles: Camden Yards

This was a pretty run-of-the-mill day at Baltimore. Avi Miller had some work still to do, so he nicely dropped me off at the subway station in his hometown, where I got slightly lost  but managed to make it to Oriole Park at Camden Yards in time to get into left field with everyone. I didn’t find any easter eggs because Garrett Meyer scooped up the only one. Coming into this game, both Garrett and I wore Rays gear coming into the left field seats, because we figured the Orioles wouldn’t throw us any baseballs anyways and that it would be better for us for when the Rays came out to throw and hit in case they were to see us changing.

I say this because I ran up to the front row for a ball that I thought I could maybe catch in the front row. Instead the ball hit off the wall over the glove of Rudy Arais. Just in case the ball had hit him on the back when he was jumping for it, I asked, “Are you okay, Rudy?” He then looked back smiled, and said, “Yes.” It was at that point that he started to pick up the ball, and I realized he had not seen my Rays shirt yet because the wall was blocking it, so I blocked it with my glove. And when Rudy turned and threw the ball to me, I made sure to catch it with my bare hand as to not reveal my Rays logo:

81913 Ball 1

Most of the other ballhawks were astounded because I had made of point of wearing Rays gear before the gates opened, and yet I still got a toss-up from the Orioles. My next ball came in I want to say the second group of Orioles hitters. Some righty in that group hit a ball a little bit to my right, so I went over and caught it on the fly for my second ball of the day:

81913 Ball 2

If it was indeed the second group, it was probably hit by either Steve Pearce or Alexi Casilla, but I’m not going to guess just for the sake of having a name attached to the ball, so we’ll just call him a UHR (Unidetified Hitting Righty). My third ball of the day came when I went into foul territory to get a baseball from the pitchers and position players warming up. I didn’t actually get the warm up ball of any player, but Jeremy Hellickson was helping Chris Archer guard the pitchers from hit baseballs. (You’ll often see there’s one person doing this, since the pitchers are parallel to–in this case–the invisible line between second and third base and can’t see a ball coming at them without turning their heads sideways. But from my experience, it’s usually a bullpen catcher who guards them and not another pitcher; just because the pitcher has to warm up himself.) Anyway, a ball came to Hellickson, and so I shouted, “Jeremy can…” and before I could finish my request he turned to me, so I put up my glove and he threw me my third ball of the day:
81913 Ball 3

That was kind of awesome for me personally, because I believe the last time before that Hellickson had tossed me a baseball was when he tossed me my 100th baseball ever back in 2011. So yeah, pretty much no one else but me would have found it that cool, but I thought it was great.

My fourth ball of the day came when I headed out to the right-center field section for the Rays hitters. ( I didn’t go over there because a bunch of lefties were up. I just usually head over there when the non-season ticket holders flood the left field seats.) Chris Archer fielded a ball at the wall, and tossed me my fourth and final ball of the day when he saw my Rays gear and I called out to him by name. I then asked a kid to my left if he had gotten a ball, and when he said he hadn’t, I handed him the ball:

81913 Ball 4 Happening

For the game, Grant Edrington, Alex Kopp, and I all sat out on the flag court. There were two home runs, both of which we could have possibly gotten but didn’t. (The first of which I am still mad about since I was eating a strawberry-flavored lemon chill when it happened.) But the coolest thing I would say we did the whole night was walk through the cross-aisle:

81913 Through Cross-aisle

And handed Matt Hersl‘s brother a shirt and piece of paper that all of us participants of BallhawkFest 2013 had signed. Despite the fact that this was my first time meeting his brother, it was special from simply my connection to Matt himself. And by far the weirdest thing I experienced that game was on the way back seeing a person about my age not paying attention to the game because he was playing Pokemon on a Gameboy SP:

81913 Gameboy

After that, Garrett, Alex and I headed back to Alex’s place, where we all stayed, I ate some pizza, and was thankfully the only one of the three who didn’t have to wake up before 8:00 in the morning.

STATS:

  • 4 Balls at this Game (3 pictured because I gave 1 away)

81913 Baseballs

Numbers 661-664 of my lifetime:

81913 Sweet Spots

  • 217 Balls in 50 Games= 4.34 Balls Per Game
  • 4 Balls x 25,044 Fans=100,176 Competition Factor
  • 112 straight Games with at least 1 Ball
  • 17 straight Games with 2 Balls
  • 14 straight Games with 3 Balls
  • 6 straight Games with 4 Balls
  • 89 Balls in 21 Games at OPACY= 4.24 Balls Per Game
  • 21 straight Games with at least 1 Ball at OPACY
  • 11 straight Games with at least 2 Balls at OPACY
  • 9 straight Games with at least 3 Balls at OPACY
  • 7 straight Games with at least 4 Balls at OPACY
  • Time Spent On Game 3:44-11:56= 8 Hours 12 Minutes

5/24/13 Braves at Mets: Citi Field

With my last game and my snagging of six baseballs, I was at 95 career baseballs for Citi Field. The goal of me going to five games was to get to 100. Only five baseballs. When I got up in the morning, I was thinking how I could simply knock the goal out in a single game and then not have to attend games the rest of the weekend. Then I checked what the weather was supposed to be at the place I volunteered at most of the past two summers and for every day of this week:

52413 Weather

Snagging five balls in this game was going to be a lot harder than I expected. And even worse, notice how I said that I checked the weather while I was at the place I volunteer at. That means I was already out of the apartment I was staying in. See it was nice-ish out when I left, so I decided I would wear shorts. Fifty degrees and raining isn’t exactly shorts weather. That brings me to this picture:

52413 Homemade Poncho Time

Because I was in shorts still, I figured I would need a poncho of sorts, so I fashioned this out of an extra table lining we had at the previously-mentioned senior center I was volunteering at. I took it and cut a hole in the top for my head and made two slices in the sides for my arms. I don’t know if you can tell from that last picture, but the tables where bags normally get checked were moved from their usual spot right behind where I was standing to way back almost at the turnstile:

52413 Tables

It was so the security checking bags would be under the overhang and out of the reach of the rain. It also meant that I would lose almost a minute in getting into the stadium because I couldn’t have the guard check my bag before the gates themselves opened. Normally I would be mad about this, but I figured there wasn’t going to be batting practice, so every second wasn’t as precious as it would normally be.

When I got in the stadium I saw the Mets pitchers warming up in almost by the right field foul pole, so I headed over there and headed down the steps into the seats in foul territory down the first base foul line. As I started down the stairs, I heard an usher stop me. He apologized and told me that he knows fans are usually allowed down into the seating bowl, but since there was no batting practice, he was told not to let people into his section. I don’t doubt his sincerity in believing what he was saying and not making up a rule just because he saw an 18-year-old with a glove that matched the description of what Citi Field security seems to hate, but he was either a) Enforcing an absolutely ridiculous policy, or b) He misinterpreted what his actual instructions were. I saw him turn down several other people after me, but people somehow eventually started coming down into the seats, so I’m guessing it was the latter and someone else clarified the situation for him. Because of this, I had to try to get the players to toss me a ball from the right field seats instead of being behind them, which would have been the easiest toss-up snag ever. Regardless, I got Brandon Lyon to toss me a ball after he was done throwing with LaTroy Hawkins for my first on the day:

52413 Ball 1

And look at all the action that occupied me after the pitchers left the field:

52413 Tarp on the field

Given the fact that the tarp was on the field and absolutely nothing going on, I headed over to the third base side of things and waited for the Braves to come out and throw:

52413 Poncho pants

Right around then Ben Weil came into the stadium. So I chatted with him until the Braves came out to throw. When they did I stationed myself behind Craig Kimbrel and his new throwing partner now that Johnny Venters was injured, and then moved on to Cory Rasmus and his throwing partner, but eventually ended up getting a ball from bullpen coach Eddie Perez instead:

52413 Ball 2

A ball which I would then get signed by Craig Kimbrel as he passed by signing people’s thing-a-ma-do-hickies. And then it was back to tarp-watching:

52413 Did someone ask for more tarp?

I believe the game’s start time was only delayed less than half-an-hour by the rain, so once it started Ben and I sat behind the dugout. Ben eventually just left the game around the third inning to go home, but I stayed behind the dugout the whole game. Unfortunately I was on the outfield end of the dugout and the Mets kept striking out to end the inning. At the end of seven innings when he came out, Braves starter Kris Medlen had nine strikeouts. If you didn’t know before, when a strikeout ends the inning, a catcher typically takes the ball to the home plate end of the dugout and tosses it up there. So as a result of all of these strikeouts, I found myself repeatedly on the wrong side of the dugout to get a third out ball.

It had been drizzling pretty consistently throughout the game, but at about the beginning of the eighth inning, it started absolutely pouring. When the Braves scored two runs in the top of the inning, I thought for sure that they were going to win the game on account of the rain, but the umpires let the game go on into the bottom of the eighth inning and the Mets came right back and scored two run of their own. It was after the end of the eighth inning–during which I should have caught a Rick Ankiel foul ball on the fly–that the tarp was finally brought out and the game delayed. When this happened I did the stupidest thing possible: I walked right up the steps and to the concourse. Now I did pick up a ticket for the section to get back in should I need to when play resumed:

52413 Ticket

But that’s not why it was a stupid decision to walk out of the section right as the game was being delayed. To a ballhawk, a rain delay is the equivalent of the end of the game in terms of snagging opportunities. So what I *should* have done was first go to the umpire tunnel and try to get a ball from the umpires exiting the field, then try to get a ball from players coming from a bullpen, and then maybe try to get a ball from the side of the dugout looking in at any players/coaches who were still mulling around in the dugout. And a great thing about a rain delay in New York is that unlike the end of the game, security won’t kick you out after 30 seconds because there is still the potential for the game to resume. These were all great opportunities I wasted because I was so fixated on getting out of the rain and inside some club (since I had a ticket that got me into pretty much every club in Citi Field):

52413 Delta Sky 360 Club

I did a lot of wandering during the rain delay, but I won’t post all of the pictures here; they’ll be in the album on Facebook that I post for every game. In wandering the concourse and clubs themselves, though, I was wasting yet another golden opportunity. If you’re ever at a game that has gone less than five innings or is tied, search through the seats for as many ticket stubs as you can find, because if the game is postponed to a later date because of the rain, most teams allow you to trade in the value of the ticket for any game later on in the season. So if you have enough tickets in good seating, you could end up not paying for a ticket at that stadium for the rest of the season, and having great seats too. I was actually planning on going down to the field level and doing this at midnight, but it was announced at 11:58 that the game–or the inning that was left, anyway–was being postponed until the next day and would be played at 6:10, right before the game that was regularly scheduled to begin at 7:10. So I left Citi Field at about 12:02 and headed home:

52413 Leaving Citi Field

And while it may seem as though my day was all the way through, it was what happened after I left Citi Field that’s what I’ll be telling everyone I know about this game form now on. The following timestamps are estimates since my phone died half-way along this journey:

12:02- I called the person who I was staying with to tell her that it probably wouldn’t be the best idea if I returned to her apartment that night, since it would require me possibly waiting an hour in the Bronx for a bus. I meanwhile texted my friend Greg Barasch, whose apartment I had stayed in that past Tuesday to see if I could stay there again that night, but he was “asleep” so he didn’t respond until many hours later in the afternoon.

12:25- Since the game itself never actually ended, and it was late anyways, there was no express “7″ train to get on. Nevertheless, I went to the express track because there was a 7 with its doors closed where the express train usually is. I figured it eventually open its doors and head to Times Square. After watching two trains pass on the regular track, I came to the conclusion that this train was never going to leave the station and finally went to the other side of the platform and caught a train after 20 minutes of waiting.

12:40- The train cruised through the above-ground portion of Queens, but on the first stop underground, our train was stopped for what was announced as “signal difficulties”. Suffice to say I was bored out of my mind/not amused:

52413 Done with transit

1:08- After waiting around for almost half-an-hour on the train, it was announced that because there was an investigation happening at Times Square that our train was being suspended and everyone needed to get off the train:

52413 People getting off train

We were then told to go up to the booth for this station, pick up a pass for an extra subway ride and walk to a station for the “E” train, that would then take us to Times Square.

1:21- The person at the booth had given us wrong directions to the other station, so myself and a group of about five other people spent almost 15 minutes wandering what Ben Weil would tell me the next day was not such a good part of Queens at 1 in the morning.

1:55-Because it was the weekend and so late at night, the trains were running even more infrequently than they do normally on the “E” line, and so even once we figured out our way to the station, we had to wait for a while for the train to arrive in the station. It was in this time that I got teased by the Mets fans in the station for wearing Braves gear.

2:17-Finally the train arrived and it took all of us lost Mets fans to Times Square.

2:37-From Times Square I would transfer to the “2″ train making local stops that would take me to the 96th street station before going off in a direction I didn’t want to take it, so I got off at 96th.

3:02- My phone had died at this point, but I still needed to get to 110th street to get to my now-vacant apartment. With the next “1″ train that would take me to the 110th street stop being 19 minutes away, I decided to walk the 14 blocks (roughly 3/4 of a mile) despite the fact that it was almost 3 o’clock in the morning. It was a little after 3:00 by the time I got into the apartment. And when I got there, I found out that all of the bed sheets I had left in the closet when I left Monday had been taken out of the apartment, so this was my bed for the night:

52413 Make-shift bed

It was even more comfortable than it looks. And with me collapsing on this makeshift bed from exhaustion at 3:15, I could finally say that my day of adventure had ended. But I would have to wake up in less than ten hours just to get back to Citi Field and do it all again.

STATS:

  • 2 Baseballs at this game

52413 Baseballs

Numbers 522-23:

52413 Sweet Spots

  • 77 Balls in 17 Games= 4.53 Balls Per Game
  • 2 Balls x 32,325 Fans= 64,650 Competition Factor
  • 79 straight Games with at least 1 Ball
  • 5 straight Games with at least 2 Balls
  • 97 Balls in 36 Games at Citi Field= 2.69 Balls Per Game
  • 36 straight Games with at least 1 Ball at Citi Field
  • 3 straight Games with at least 2 Balls at Citi Field
  • Time Spent On Game 4:10-3:02= 10 Hours 52 Minutes

Resolutions/Goals for 2013

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

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

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

8/17/12 Mets at Nationals: Nationals Park

Coming into this game, I was excited:

20120820-204553.jpgWe’ll get into my use of the past tense later, but the reason for my excitement was it was my first game at Nationals Park in a while. I was having my second “August” slump in as many years, and I thought Nationals Park would be the perfect cure.

When I got in, I did what I usually do and headed to the left field seats:

20120821-134840.jpgWhen you enter Nationals Park, the starting pitchers are hitting. That means you can go to either the left field seats, or the Red Seats to try to catch home runs. I choose the left field seats out of comfort, but the Red Seats are pretty good for pitcher’s batting practice since Stephen Strasburg, who’s the best hitting pitcher, hits most of his home runs to the Red Seats. A third option is going to right field and trying to get a ball from the relievers warming up. (You can’t go past the foul line, though. That opens an hour after the main gates open) I don’t use this option because I’m at Nationals Park fairly regularly and the pitchers would recognize me after a few days of doing this.

When the rest of the stadium was about to open, I headed over to the right field seats. I had seen a ball hit in the seats in foul territory, so I wanted to get it. When that part opened, I trailed a kid who was also looking for balls. The only difference was, I knew where the ball was. Unfortunately, he was taking up the whole aisle, so I couldn’t get past him. When we finally arrived at the row where the ball was, I spotted it and started moving closer to it, but the kid then picked up what I was looking at and RAN after the ball. Sadly, had I not been there with him, I probably would have gotten the ball. As I was taking my walk of shame back to the right field seats, a Nationals lefty hooked a ball right in front of me. I ran after and secured the ball quickly:

20120821-140404.jpgThat would be my one and final ball of the day. Long story short: there were no catchable balls, all bounces went away from me, and the Mets fans invaded the front row. That said; did you notice the logo on the ball? Snagging that ball alone made my day. If you couldn’t see it, here’s a close-up:

20120821-145420.jpgWhen I snagged it, my first reaction was utter confusion:

20120821-145640.jpgIt almost immediately jumped to excitement when I realized I had just gotten one of the commemorative balls I had missed before I started ballhawking:

20120821-145754.jpgI don’t think even that picture does my excitement justice.

As for the game, if you couldn’t gather it from the picture of the ball, I was sitting in the right field seats. While I was there, Johan Santana gave up two home runs that I could’ve been within ten feet of. (I determined the latter would be un catchable as soon as it got hit, so I ran to the front of the section in case I could get seen on TV.) The first was a Michael Morse opposite field grand slam that initially looked like it was headed RIGHT at me, but tailed into a crowded row at the front of the section. The second was a Bryce Harper two-run blast. Those would be all the runs the Nationals scored as they won the game 6-4.

I wish I could write more about this game, but frankly, there is no more to write about. It was a “meh” game in many respects.

STATS:
• 1 Ball at this game

20120821-154735.jpgBaseball number 368 (logo shown because I don’t usually mark commemorative balls:

20120821-154831.jpg• 146 Balls in 35 Games= 4.17 Balls Per Game
• 44 straight Games with at least 1 Ball
• 106 Balls in 24 Games at Nationals Park= 4.42 Balls Per Game
• 16 straight Games at Nationals Park with at least 1 Ball
•Time Spent On Game 3:38-10:33= 6 Hours 55 Minutes

7/19/12 Mets at Nationals: Nationals Park

I thought I’d start off this entry a little differently. Basically, I want to give you guys an opportunity to have a look at what my day is like before I even enter the gates. I will do such a video for each stadium I visit from here on out (Nationals Park, Yankee Stadium, Citi Field, and Target Field) Anyway, here is the video for Nationals Park:

Once we left the Red Seats in center field, Rick and I both headed over to the right field, only to realize it was Camp Day and those seats would be crowded come game time. While Rick checked a variety of things on his iPhone, I watched Ross Detweiler throw a bullpen session:

20120731-021046.jpg

20120731-021133.jpgIf you didn’t know, most starting pitchers throw at least one bullpen session between starts; some even throw two. Detweiler had started the opening opening game of the series, so I’m guessing he throws two, since he only took a day off from throwing. At the end of his session, Detweiler launched the ball he was throwing with into the seats in foul territory. Both Rick and I saw it and thought it went on our side of the tunnel- indicated by the glass panels- in the next picture:

20120731-022218.jpgKeep that in mind for later on in the entry.

Soon after that, Nationals hitters started hitting. All of which can be seen in the following picture:

20120731-022426.jpgThat’s right, a grand total of two Nationals hitters hit. That was the extent of batting practice. They didn’t even have any players go into the outfield; just the coaches came out to shag the balls. The two players were: a healthy Bryce Harper and a rehabbing Jayson Werth. You would probably guess that the super-prospect would hit more balls into the stands than the old, injured, failed multi-million dollar contract, right? Well I did too. Unfortunately, both of us were wrong and Werth hit many more homers to left as I watched in helpless despair from right. The one ball I had perfectly tracked, a barehanded fan reached right in front of me and deflected the ball away.

Then, right after they stopped hitting, I headed over closer to the foul pole very discreetly, as so Rick wouldn’t notice me:

20120801-014352.jpgNot to get a ball from the pitchers you see warming up, but remember that ball Detweiler threw into the stands earlier? That portion of the stands was about to open in two minutes when I took that last picture, and I wanted to be the first one in them to get the ball.

I was indeed the first person there, but when I got to the spot I thought the ball was, it was vacant. As Rick arrived on the scene, I went up to the top of the section and asked an usher where the ball had gone. He told me it had gone on the other side of the tunnel I mentioned earlier. I went down there, and he guided me as I motioned to where I thought the ball was. This was actually the same usher who gave me my first usher toss-up at Nationals Park ever. If you can find a picture him, you win………bragging rights. (Hint: the easies way to find the entry is through mygameballs.com.)

Thanks to this ushers arsenal of saving gestures, I found the ball right under a seat:

20120801-020113.jpgI then moved back over to the pitchers warming up. I figured Strasburg, since he doesn’t shag balls in the outfield, would probably not recognize me. So, I lined up behind Jim and his throwing partner, Jordan Zimmerman:

20120801-020407.jpgUnfortunately, Zimmerman ended up with the ball, which usually means I am not getting the ball (I had never gotten a ball from him, and he has never been fan-friendly per se). Fortunately, I was the only non-Mets fan, so after he scanned the stands, he threw me the ball:

20120801-021035.jpgI would have LOVED to have gotten the ball from Strasburg, but getting the ball from Zimmerman was a fun victory in a different regard.

Then, to my surprise, the complementary ticket I mentioned in the opening video, was right behind the umpire tunnel. So until the game began, I talked mostly with the two people in the next picture, and a person slightly out of the frame to the right:

20120801-022500.jpgI had been talking to the ushers a little the previous two games when I came down to get umpire balls, but in talking to them this day, both parties (myself and the ushers) learned that the other knew of “Zack”. The “Zack” in question being one with the surname Hample.We then had a discussion about the specifics of baseball collecting and my experience beginning in the hobby.

The guy in the red is Gio Gonzalez’s dad. He actually is the one who brought up the subject (kind of). I guess he saw me by Gio while I was trying to get a ball and said, “Are you a collector?” To which I responded, “Yes ” not knowing who he was. It turns out Gio’s father is an autograph collector and thought I was the same. It was a slightly frustrating process, but when the male usher jumped in with: “Oh. You know Zack?” Gio’s father faded out of the conversation and went to his seat. Sadly, his son would get knocked around by the Mets en route to a 9-5 loss.

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

20120801-103602.jpg

For some reason, I have horrible luck with third-out balls (whichever end of the dugout I go to, the ball goes to the other). Well, my luck continued for this game. I didn’t get a single third-out ball.

I’d just like to take a little time out to point out one of the members of the “Nat Pack”, Terrence. I mentioned a couple of entries ago that I believed he was the most energetic team employee I had ever seen at a baseball game (maybe I didn’t phrase it like that, but that’s what I meant). The ushers I had been talking to described this as the hottest game of the year. I don’t know about that, but it was in the 105 degree range. Well Terrence wasn’t slowing up at all. He inhabits the wheelchair section by the third base dugout. One of the things he does is whenever there’s a wave, he runs from one end of the section to the other “pushing” it along. There were more than a couple waves this game. Another example, of which I have photographic evidence, is what Terrence was doing when “Old Time Rock and Roll” started playing:

20120801-234227.jpg

That’s right. He picked up one of the fold-able chairs and started jumping around the section, pretending the chair was a guitar as he strummed it.

After the game, I was already by the umpire tunnel, so I asked the umpire, Chris Conroy for a ball. He gave it to me saying, “Here, because you took the time to look up my name.” Conroy, if my memory serves me right is number 99. I don’t know for certain, but I would bet that means he is one of the newer umpires, so I’m guessing not many people know his name:

STATS:

  • 3 Balls at this game (no picture because I forgot to take it). They were numbers 352-354 for my career

Numbers 352-354:

  • 132 Balls in 29 Games= 4.55 Balls Per Game (14 Balls under 500)
  • 3 Balls x 36,389 Fans (no way were there that many people)= 109,167 Competition Factor
  • 38 straight Games with at least 1 Ball
  • 14 straight Games with at least 2 Balls
  • 2 straight Games with at least 3 Balls
  • 105 Balls at Nationals Park in 23 Games= 4.57 Balls Per Game
  • 16 straight Games at Nationals Park with at least 1 Ball
  • 16 straight Games at Nationals Park with at least 2 Balls
  • 2 straight Games at Nationals Park with at least 3 Balls
  • Time Spent One Game 9:34- 4:07= 6 Hours 33 Minutes
  • This game will have been my 100th ever I have recorded on mygameballs.com. I have gone to more games than that, but I obviously didn’t keep a record of them before mygameballs.com, so this is the only milestone I can celebrate.

6/29/12 White Sox at Yankees: Yankee Stadium

You know you didn’t get everything the day offered when your first picture is of a ball you missed:

20120703-200010.jpg
A ball, which I should have caught on the fly, hit right below the “State Farm” sign. I was on the staircase, below it, but it ricocheted so quickly, it zoomed right past me, where a guy picked it up.

Greg Barasch was at this game, and so was his dad, Shelly . A few seconds after I returned to my spot on the staircase, Shelly arrived on the scene, telling me he saw me miss the ball that I agree I “should have had. He then tossed me a bottle of water:

I can’t thank him enough for him. This was a game with ridiculous humidity, and I would have been miserable/dead had I not had this bottle of water.

My first ball of the day came in an unintentional way. I went down to the front row to get Jayson Nix to throw me a ball. Just as I called out to him, a Yankees righty hit a ball just to my right. There was another person there, but they were only paying attention to Nix, so I reached slightly over them and caught the ball:

The arrow points to where I was when I caught the ball.

My next ball was also kind of lucky. I misplayed it, like most balls this day, but I ended up with it. Here is the path the ball took:

I “should” have gone in the last row, where I could have caught the ball on the fly, but I went two rows under that, so I turned around and tried to play the bounce. It bounced way too fast for me to actually catch it, but miraculously, the all hit my foot, and stopped right there so I could pick it up. I think I gave this ball away, but it may have been the next ball I snagged that I gave away. I need to take better notes, I know.

After this, I went over into foul territory, along with Greg to get the White Sox to toss us some baseballs, but the White Sox didn’t throw ONE SINGLE baseball into the crowd, not even to Greg or myself, who were decked out in White Sox gear. After getting rejected by all the White Sox, we both went back to the left field seats.

I then sandwiched a ball that hit right off my glove, and I should have had between two balls I caught on the fly in left field. Despite the fact that the ball I missed was one I definitely should have had, I am VERY proud I caught two balls on the fly. Why? This was the view of the spot where I was standing (I stepped out of that spot briefly to take the picture):

That said, I was taller than all of them, so when I caught the second of the two home runs (I don’t know who hit either). I I gave it away to one of the kids.

I can’t remember if it was before or after the catches, but while I was in the left field seats, I bore witness to the gutsiest thing I’ve ever seen at a ballpark. Coincidentally, it was Greg who did it:

Greg is the one in the circle. When a ball got hit into the bleachers where the arrow is, no one in the bleachers was closing in on it, so Greg climbed into the bleachers to secure the ball. The weirdest thing about the whole experience was no security guards ever came up to him afterwards. Nothing.

Like I had done the previous day’s game, I went over to the right field seats when Adam Dunn’s group came up. As is expected, they took a few rounds before they started pulling the ball. When they did, most of the balls were going into the Yankees bullpen, but Adam Dunn hit one the back row, where I was stationed, so I ran over and caught it on the fly:

The spot where I caught it is pointed out, but do ou notice anything odd about the baseball? If not, this should clear it up:

Oh. My. Goodness. It was a Dodgers Stadium 50th anniversary ball. That means I only have to snag the Astros and Marlins balls to have gotten all of the specialty commemorative baseballs this year. For those who don’t know, there are six commemorative baseballs being used during the regular season. They are: the Mets are commemorating their 50th year as a team, the Houston Astros are doing the same, the Dodgers are commemorating Dodgers Stadium’s 50th anniversary, the Marlins are commemorating the inaugural season of Marlins Park, the Orioles are commemorating the 20th anniversary of Oriole Park at Camden Yards, and the Red Sox are commemorating the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park. I have now snagged four of these.

Soon after the catch, security cleared everyone out of the left field seats. I then headed down the narrowest concourse (if you even consider it a concourse and not a tunnel) known to man, which also happens to be one that I have to deal with most days since it links right and left field at Yankee Stadium:

and up to my seats in the bleachers. I didn’t get anything up there for the rest of batting practice, but after it, I headed up to the batter’s eye where I got Mike Harkey (not pictured, because he walked out of view) to toss me my 6th ball of the day:

After which, I headed to my seat in left field, where this was my view:

As for the game, it was fugly, or a nice low scoring football game depending on your perspective. More specifically, the White Sox beat the Yankees 14-7. Like I mentioned, before, it was über humid this game. Even though the bleachers were packed to start this game, these were the views of the bleachers towards the end of the game from my seat:

Juan Nieves ignored me for the second straight night, and I left the game with 6 baseballs.

On my train ride back to Manhattan, I saw something you don’t often see:

I don’t know the exact odds, but I’d say it’s pretty rare when you see only one subway door open, not on purpose. So in this case, would it be “Stand clear of the closing door, please”? [lame New York joke] Oh, and the arm in that picture belonged to Greg. He ended the day with his post-B.P. total of 5 balls, despite sitting by the dugout the whole game. That’s bad for him, but it meant I had out-snagged the two ballhawks with the highest per-game averages on my gameballs.com the past two nights. This game I out-snagged Greg (number 2 on the site with an average of 7.31 Balls Per Game) 6-5. The previous game’s night I had out-snagged Zack Hample (number 1 on the site with an average of 7.47 Balls Per Game) 7-5. Yay for shallow victories!

;

STATS:

  • 6 Balls at this Game (4 pictured because I gave two away)

numbers 313-318 for my lifetime:

  • 96 Balls in 19 Games this season= 5.05 Balls Per Game
  • 28 straight Games with at least 1 Ball
  • 4 straight Games with at least 2 Balls
  • 3 straight games with at least 3 Balls
  • 3 straight games with at least 4 Balls
  • 3 straight games with at least 5 Balls
  • 3 straight games with at least 6 Balls
  • 74 Balls in 19 Games at Yankee Stadium= 3.90 Balls Per Game
  • 19 straight Games with at least 1 Ball at the New Yankee Stadium
  • 4 straight Games with at least 2 Balls at the New Yankee Stadium
  • 3 straight Games with at least 3 Balls at the New Yankee Stadium
  • 3 straight Games with at least 4 Balls at the New Yankee Stadium
  • 3 straight Games with at least 5 Balls at the New Yankee Stadium
  • 3 straight Games with at least 6 Balls at the New Yankee Stadium
  • Time Spent On Game 4:03- 11: 15= 7 Hours 12Minutes
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