Results tagged ‘ stadiums ’

8/14/13 Angels at Yankees: Yankee Stadium

There was one goal for me on this day: Get 4 baseballs. It was my third and final game at Yankee Stadium in 2013, and I was sitting at 96 career baseballs at Yankee Stadium. I think I’m only one of five ballhawks to have gotten 100 baseballs at three different stadium–of which I am *BY FAR* the worst of, and I think I would be one of only 3 to have it at four or more stadiums, but I’m not sure. I just wanted to get 100 at Yankee Stadium, and like Citi Field, not ever *have* to come back to it again. And for my journey to 100, Andy Bingham thankfully showed up at the gates and offered to help document my quest for me. And so here he is one he took of Chris Hernandez and I talking at Gate 6:

81413 Opening Picture

And then of me getting my ticket scanned:

81413 Ticket Scan

And then because I was so far ahead of both of them, a picture of Chris running into the the stands:

81413 Chris Running

When I got in there were already people in the right field seats, but somehow all ten or so of them missed an easter egg in the last row, and I made sure to scoop it up:

81413 Ball 1

Chris’ lateness also might have helped him, because he took a while through the seats as well and found an easter egg of his own by the foul pole. And when Andy got to the seats, this was my happy reaction to already having one baseball on the day:

81413 One

My next ball of the day came when A-Rod, who I coming into this series I completely forgot was still in baseball, hit a ball that didn’t look like it was going to clear the wall near the bullpen, but I kind of jogged in the direction of it just in case. Then, when the did hit the warning track dirt, that jogged turned into a sprint, and I had my second ball of the day:

81413 Ball 2

I then turned and asked the kid in the front row if he wanted the ball. When he said, “Sure” normally I would have just tossed it to him, but Andy told me to go and hand it to him for the picture you are about to see:

81413 Ball 2 Give away

And so while I took my spot at the back of the section:

81413 Back of the section

Chris was towards the beginning of what was a pretty boring day for him in terms of hit baseballs:

81413 Chris Sun

Not that the rest of my time in the right field seats was particularly productive. I had a couple near misses, but no other baseballs. First there was this baseball that I had judged, but was a going to land two rows behind me:

81413 Miss 1

An then this ball that you can see being picked up by another guy:

81413 Miss 2

Then the group changed and both Chris and I–seen by us both having our backpacks on–were ready to head out to left field:

81413 Mateo and Chris

And in a move of friendly competition, when Chris ran to his left towards a ball that was hit that way, I didn’t even go after the ball and instead bolted to left field in order to secure my spot out there:

81413 LF

My third ball of the day was almost a mirror image of my second in that it was another ground rule double right up against the bullpen that I jogged after but then sprinted for once I realized it was going over:

81413 Getting Ball 3

(The “mirror” part being that it was on the other side of the field.)

81413 Ball 3

That was ball 3 for me, meaning the next one would be 100 for me at Yankee Stadium. So while I went into foul ground when the Angels started throwing, there was a huge chunk of me that hoped I didn’t get a ball down there, because I wanted to get a hit baseball. That said, I’m not good enough to have the luxury of getting a specific baseball the way I want it, so I mostly just wanted to not get shutout the rest of the game.

So when the aforementioned huge chunk of me was pleased by me not getting a baseball in foul ground and I headed back to left field:

81413 To the left

It looked like 100 was going to have to be hit. (Side note: Do you notice the man in blue with a glove about four rows below me in that last picture? That’s Erik. He was actually at and commented on the first ever game I wrote about on this blog. Side, side note: If you do click that second link, please excuse my bad writing.)And it was. Mike Trout crushed a ball to my right, and while I knew I wasn’t going to be able to catch the ball on the fly, my hope was if I chased after it, the ball could maybe deflect back to me. It didn’t exactly. Instead it popped up off a seat and I out jumped Erik for the ball that was now literally up in the air:

81413 Ball 4 Happening

Yay! Number 100. And from Mike Trout? Perfect. To celebrate, I went back to my bag, put 100 in a special pocket, and gave the second ground-rule double away to a kid in a Teixiera jersey that you can see in this next picture of me talking to a woman for about something I don’t recall:

81413 Kid of Ball 3

My next ball was also one I robbed ballhawks friends of. See Chris was over to my left for most of the time we were in left field:

81413 Chris to my left

(His expression says everything about how his day was going to that point. He had snagged two baseballs relatively early in BP, but he wasn’t getting much action.) But as the people who didn’t have tickets for left field got kicked out, Chris first talked a little:

81413 Chris and Mateo

But then he went  off to my right to get more space:

81413 Chirs on right

So when Mark Trumbo hit a baseball about two sections to my right, I figured either Chris or Erik would have it, but when the ball took a bounce off a seat away from both of them, I was able to make up the section-long headstart they got on me and get the ball:

81413 Ball 5

Since they had been so much closer to the ball than I had been when it was hit, when I got it, Chris uttered a sentence–in a friendly way (as you can see from him smiling in that last picture)– that I won’t re-write here on the blog.

My sixth ball of the day came as a result of another Mark Trumbo homer that Chris almost definitely would have gotten had I not been there. Trumbo bombed a ball to the back of the LF seats. I came from the right of the ball, and Chris from the left (if you were looking from the field), and we both jumped and came up short. But the ball hit off the wall, and then hit me. I was in pain from the ball hitting me, but I looked down on the ground, saw the ball, and picked it up:

81413 Ball 6

And then I tried to get a ball from Mike Harkey:

81413 Harkey Ball

And then for the game I stayed out in left field. For the game, I headed out to my seat in left field and tried for a home run. But then at about the eighth inning, I got someone’s ticket and sat by the dugout. My main goal was to get an umpire ball at the end of the game, but that wasn’t going to stop me from going for a third-out ball. So when Chris Nelson jogged in from the field, I yelled his name and he threw me this:

81413 Ball 7

That was my seventh and final ball of the day.

STATS:

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

81413 Baseballs

Numbers 636-642 for my lifetime:

81413 Sweet Spots

  • 196 Balls in 46 Games= 4.26 Balls Per Game
  • 7 Balls x 38,379 Fans=268,653 Competition Factor
  • 108 straight Games with at least 1 Ball
  • 13 straight Games with 2 Balls
  • 10 straight Games with 3 Balls
  • 2 straight Games with 4-5 Balls
  • 103 Balls in 27 Games at Yankee Stadium= 3.81 Balls Per Game
  • 27 straight Games with at least 1 Ball at Yankee Stadium
  • 14 straight Games with at least 2 Balls at Yankee Stadium
  • Time Spent On Game 3:30-11:21= 8 Hours 20 Minutes

6/20/13 Rockies at Nationals: Nationals Park

After over a week off from games and simply doing other cool stuff, it was back to Nationals Park where I met up with some familiar faces:

62013 Opening Picture

Those would be my friends–left to right–Zack Hample and Ben Weil. They drove in from New York pretty much to get a shot at the Rockies baseballs. Well at least Ben did. Zack was almost guaranteed to get a Rockies ball, but he also needed to knock out Nationals Park as he is going to all 30 stadiums as a part of some year-long craziness that BIGS Sunflower Seeds is putting him on.

When it came time for the gates to open, we all rushed inside just to be disappointed:

62013 No BP

What I deduced was that the Nationals had an eleven-inning game in Philadelphia the night prior combined with a bus trip back, so they got back to Washington pretty late and Davey Johnson who is notorious for listening to what the players want to do decided not to take batting practice. So Ben and I just hung out in the left field seats. I don’t know what he was potentially waiting for in this next picture, but we sat down after that:

62013 Ben on staircase

And then talked for 45 minutes or so while we sat and watched more nothingness:

62013 Still no BP

The first action we saw was pretty much an hour after the gates opened when the Rockies simultaneously started hitting and warming up. I could have stayed in the outfield to try to snag a couple home run balls, but I headed here instead:

62013 At the dugout

That’s because some players and coaches (Yorvit Torrealba being the only one in-frame for this picture) were tossing baseballs around at the dugout, but all of them tossed their baseballs into the infield when they were done with them. It was frustrating to me because I figured they would be done before the infielders and outfielders were done warming up in shallow left field, but they actually took longer. And I know this cost me a ball because when he and his throwing partner were done, Jordan Pacheco turned looking for a person to throw his warm-up ball to but then ran into the outfield when he didn’t see anyone. Had I been over there in Nationals gear I probably would have gotten the ball, much less being decked out in purple as I was.

I then headed further down the line where I got Jhoulys (that’s probably wrong) Chacin to toss me a ball. Unfortunately, Chacin tossed it over my head where the ball then deflected at a 90-degree angle. So while I was looking for the ball in the rows below where it had hit, an old man picked the ball up and offered it to me. I told him to keep it, but he insisted I take it. So while I didn’t count it, I walked over to the outfield and gave it to a kid with a glove on my way.

My first actual countable ball came when Nolan Arenado hit a ball to my right in the Red Seats. I ran over, initially thinking the ball was going into the left field bullpen, and caught the ball as a man in a blue shirt–who was tracking the ball the whole time and whose reflection you can kind of see in the next picture–ran into me:

62013 Ball 1

It wasn’t with bad intentions that he ran into me, but to use a basketball analogy since this game was the same day as Game 7 of the NBA Finals, it was an “and-one” situation. He was actually also involved in my next snag. Carlos Gonzalez hit a ball opposite field in that same group, and while it isn’t my custom to reach in front of anyone if I’m not in a row in front of them, this same guy was camped under the ball with no glove, so I went right behind him in case he couldn’t handle the ball on the fly. Surprise alert: He couldn’t. The ball bounced through his hands, hit the seat in front of me, and flew up in the air, where I snatched it up. I then handed it to a kid to my left.

A couple minutes later though, something that has never happened to me ever happened. The kid came back to me and asked me to sign the ball for him:

62013 Signed Ball

It was cool and embarrassing at the same time because I have awful handwriting to begin with, so adding in the curvature of the ball made the signature all the more horrendous. Please don’t enlarge the image to see. (And of course now that I said it, about 50 of you are going to click on the picture and enlarge it.)

My next ball was tossed up to me by this guy:

62013 Ball 3

I initially had no clue who he was, but upon retrospection, I’m pretty sure he is the Rockies strength and conditioning coordinator, Brian Jordan. Anyway, he tried to toss me a ball initially by hitting this advertisement thing:

62013 Ad thingy

and then having the ball roll down the hill in center field. It may sound ridiculous, but look how close he got:

62013 Ball on grass

He then just tossed the next ball he got up to me normally after saying, “I’ll get you a baseball; don’t worry.” So that was nice of him. I then focused my attention on getting a Rockies 20th year commemorative baseball, but it actually cost me a ball as I called out to Jim Wright–who was in the bullpen by one of said baseballs, so I gave up on that pretty quickly. (The way it cost me was I was over by the bullpen and a ball was hit right to where I had been standing beforehand.) But regardless, my next ball wouldn’t come until almost after batting practice was over. Right at the end of batting practice, the Rockies catching coach–a.k.a. the “we have a pretty good hitting catcher prospect but he can’t field at all, so we need a coach just for him” coach–Jerry Weinstein came into the bullpen, so I asked him if he could toss me one of the baseballs that was down there. By the time I had got to him he had already tossed the commemorative up, but he tossed me a regular ball up:

62013 Ball 4

And that was it for the game. I headed to the dugout at the end of batting practice and met up with Zack and Ben there where we found out about a very special food offer at Nationals Park. I then headed out to left field with Ben while Zack went to the dugout for the game itself, where this picture pretty much sums up our first sour innings out in left field:

62013 Ben, ballots, and bobblehead

If it sounds like I’m being uncharacteristically vague, that’s because I am…purposefully. And that’s due to the fact that I included all of these details in my latest vlog, so check that out if you want to fill in the gaps. I actually didn’t include all three of us playing catch before the gates opened, which I should have, but this is something that is going to start happening here. If I cover stuff that happened during or surrounding any given game in the vlog, I won’t write about it here because that just seems redundant. I won’t announce when vlogs come out on here, but if you so desire, you can subscribe to my channel by clicking here or you can follow me on Twitter by clicking over in the sidebar over there —-> to get an update every time I upload a video. Here was the view for Ben and I for pretty much the whole nine innings of the game:

62013 View from Left

But anyway, both Ben and I tried to get a ball from the bullpen people after the game. He did; I didn’t. So he ended with 5 baseballs along with Zack, who had actually been trailing both of us as BP ended with 3 baseballs, but since he started the game out at the dugout, he snagged two third-out balls and lead both of us until Ben got the ball right at the end of the game.

And that was it. I chatted with Ben for a couple of minutes after the game, but then headed out with my step-dad, who had joined Ben and I in the bleachers at the seventh inning stretch. He had been in the stadium the whole game, but because I didn’t know where I would be sitting before I got to the game and both of our cellphones were getting horrible service, it wasn’t until then that we could know where the other was.

STATS:

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

62013 Baseballs

Numbers 562-565:

62013 Sweet Spots

  • 119 Balls in 29 Games= 4.10 Balls Per Game
  • 4 Balls x 31,927 Fans=127,708 Competition Factor
  • 91 straight Games with at least 1 Ball
  • 152 Balls in 33 Games at Nationals Park= 4.61 Balls Per Game
  • 25 straight Games with at least 1 Ball at Nationals Park
  • 9 straight Games at Nationals Park with at least 2 Balls
  • 7 straight Games at Nationals Park with at least 3 Balls
  • 5 straight Games at Nationals Park with at least 4 Balls
  • Time Spent On Game 3:28-11:03= 7 Hours 31 Minutes

5/14/13 White Sox at Twins: Target Field

First of all, before I get started, I forgot to tell all of you that the BallhawkFest video I did a while ago came with it’s fair share of bloopers, so here’s that video:

It’s unlisted, so you can see it here, but the only other place to see it is I’ll have an annotation for it in the main BallhawkFest video.

Now that we have that out of the way, here’s your semi-regularly-scheduled entry. Well actually, while we’re posting videos up here, I made a Before The Gates Open video for here. Yes, I coming back with this video series in 2013, re-doing all the stadiums I did last year and any new ones I visit this year. (Except for the Cell because those two games I went to the weekend prior to this game were probably the last I’ll be there this season.) But anyway, without further ado, here is the 2013 version of Before The Gates Open- Target Field:
Click here to go to that video, since it’s being stupid and doesn’t want to embed on this page.
After that, Sean and I stood in line and waited for the gates to finally open:
20130530-133202.jpg

Once we got in the gates, it was Sean and not I who snagged the first baseball. See Sean had been in contact with either Hector Santiago or Brian Omogrosso—I can’t remember which— on Twitter and had gotten whoever it was to follow him. He had also asked the player if the player could toss Sean a ball at the game later on. When Sean asked him for a ball, the player recognized him and obliged his request:

20130530-133816.jpg

He then rubbed the fact that he had snagged infinitely more baseballs at this game than I had for the next five to ten minutes. But, being Sean, that was his day of ballhawking as he went and got food soon after that.
While he was gone eating, I was snagging. The first ball I got was in right-center field. When a ball rolled to the wall, I got Matt Thorton to toss me my first ball of the game:20130530-135257.jpg

After I got this ball, I headed to the back of the section I was in and gave the ball to the usher instructing him to give the ball away to the next kid with a glove he saw.

I then headed out to the standing room for one reason: Adam Dunn was hitting. Just as I got there Dunn put a ball right in the middle of the triangle created by Gate 34, the program vendor, and the beer stand in the following picture:20130530-135933.jpg

(Normally I would draw an arrow for you, but I’m writing this entry on my phone.) I chased after this ball, but it bounced outside of the gate, so I couldn’t pursue it any further. After I gave up on the chase, I went back to the flag pole of the American flag. A few pitches later, Dunn launched a ball almost directly at me. I took a couple steps forward before I saw a man in front of me in the wheelchair section reaching up for the ball with his hand. Since I’ve narrowly missed getting clocked by a couple deflections, so I simply put my glove where the ball would go with no deflection and turned my face away from the ball. Thankfully the guy completely whiffed and the ball landed in my glove:

20130530-141316.jpg

Given that I’m one of—if not THE worst ballhawks I’ve seen in the outfield at judging fly balls, this was a nice proud moment for me. Unfortunately it would be my last ball of batting practice. I would head off to left field after that, and had an open row to run:

20130530-142039.jpg

But everything that cleared the wall was going in the first two rows. There was also room deeper in the section:

20130530-142209.jpg

But of course it pretty much takes a line drive to reach back there, so it’s not a great place in general. Fast-forward to after batting practice, Sean and I met up with one of his dorm room floor friends, Mikey in left field. Mikey—like most sane people—got to the game after batting practice given the fact that it was 99 degrees. We then decided that all three of us needed to document our group with each of us taking a different form of social media. Sean took Vine, Mikey took Snapchat, and I picked putting the picture of this blog:

51413 Group picture

When the White Sox coaches came to the bullpen, I headed over there to try to get a ball from them as they cleared the balls that had gone in there during batting practice. Then, I got a ball from the back-up bullpen catcher, whose name I don’t know, tossed me one of the the baseballs in the bullpen:

51413 Ball 3

We then stayed in left field for a couple innings until the seats got crowded. Sean and Mikey then went to seats in third base foul ground, and I headed out to the standing room in right field:

51413 View from Standing room

I don’t need to sit when I have a view like that.  Of course no one hit a ball anywhere near me, but it was a nice game to watch.

At the end of the game I headed down to the umpire tunnel and got a ball from home plate umpire Jordan Baker for my fourth and final ball of the game:

51413 Ball 4

So yeah. Overall a fun day at the ballpark. I would then meet Mikey and Sean, and we would head out of the stadium and back to campus where Sean and I would say goodbye until probably September as I would spend the next two days preparing for my final on Friday, which I would still find a way to not do that well on.

STATS:

  • 4 Baseballs at this Game (3 shown because I gave 1 away)

51413 Baseballs

Numbers 509-512 for my career:

51413 Sweet Spots

  • 66 Balls in 14 Games= 4.71 Balls Per Game
  • 4 Balls x 32,023 Fans(Nice palindromic attendance number)= 128,092 Competition Factor
  • 76 straight Games with at least 1 Ball
  • 3 straight Games with at least 2-3 Balls
  • 117 Balls in 26 Games at Target Field= 4.5 Balls Per Game
  • 24 straight Games with at least 1 Ball at Target Field
  • 4 straight Games with at least 2-4 Ball at Target Field
  • Time Spent On Game 3:32-10:47= 7 Hours 15 Minutes

5/12/13 Angels at White Sox: U.S. Cellular Field- Mother’s Day

Another day, another day arriving late at U.S. Cellular Field. And again, I have myself to blame for it.  First of all, whenever I’m going to the game with other people–in this case Sean and his mom–I get nervous about telling people how early we actually need to be at the game, because I know that my obsession with being the first one in the stadium may seem absurd to some people. So what ends up almost always happening is I take whatever time I would usually leave and shave off 15 minutes, which usually ends with me getting to the gate before it opens but way after I wanted to be there. This isn’t the worst flub I have to blame myself for, though. Since it’s all I’ve ever heard, I always assumed U.S. Cellular, and I was more-or-less correct. Here’s a screenshot directly from the White Sox’ A-to-Z guide:

51213 Gate times from CWS website

Well apparently Kids Days are every Sunday game, even when it’s a night game. So when I arrived to the gate 15 minutes before I thought it was scheduled to open instead of my usual 30+ rule, I saw that people were already entering, and this was my view of the field once I got inside:

51213 Opening Picture

Oy. Other people’s mistakes I can live with because they’re not preventable. But I don’t know how many baseballs I cost myself in my two games at “the Cell” because two stupid mistakes. While it doesn’t seem like it’s in the upper echelon of ballhawking stadiums, I had still cost myself a ton of time at the best ballpark I would be at for probably my first two months of ballhawking.

As I made my way through the right field bleachers to try to get out from behind the White Sox bullpen, I saw the heads of most of the people I was facing to my left start turning up and to their right. I knew that meant a ball was coming my way. Good news: I had my glove on already despite having just put on my Angels attire. Bad news: I hadn’t even thought of putting on sunglasses. So as I looked up into the sky to see where this baseball was going, I couldn’t pick it up through the sun until  it was too late and the ball was on its way down, and thus another fan beat me to it when the ball landed. I got mad at myself for a second about that before realizing that I still had way more batting practice to go and that I could make myself forget about that ball with one quick snag.

The next couple of minutes would be very weird for me because of the people in the bleachers. As I kept going towards right-center field, I saw a person that as I passed, I immediately thought, “I’ve seen his face before. Where have I seen his face before?” We had passed each other going in opposite directions at that point, but it drove me nuts for the next few minutes thinking of where I recognized him from. I would later learn/remember that it was John Witt (a.k.a. The Major League Ballhawk) who had at that point recently snagged his 3,000th ball from a major league stadium (just four days prior). We failed to meet up much during this game, but here’s the link to his account of the game, so go give that some love by reading it. While I was being driven nuts by where I recognized John from, I saw a fan bring out a ball-retreiving device and use it on a ball in the gap that lies in front of the left field wall. He also had a giant-sized glove as well as a regular-sized one, so I knew he must be a ballhawk. Oddly enough, though, I had no clue who he was because I had never seen his face before. I would later learn that he was Dave Davison (a.k.a Ballhawk Dave), who has snagged plenty of baseballs himself. As I moved even further into the section, I saw yet another face I thought I recognized. This time I was pretty sure I knew who it was but couldn’t tell because he had a winter hat on. I would later be confirmed of my suspicion that it was Nick Yohanek (a.k.a. the Happy Youngster) who is yet another ballhawk with 1,000 baseballs snagged.

How did I get all of this information after the fact? Once I parked myself in a spot in left field and completely misjudged a couple Trumbombs (it was an awful day for me judging fly balls), a person came up to me and asked, “Mateo Fischer?” (Or something along those lines.) This face I needed no hesitation in recognizing. It was that of Shawn Bosman (a.k.a. Ballhawk Shawn (side note: I think you need to have at least 1,000 baseballs snagged to merit a nickname)(side note to the side note: He was the one who ran me through who all of the other ballhawks were)(side note to the side note’s side note: I’m an idiot for not getting a picture with these guys when I had the chance, but I figured we would meet up either after BP or after the game, which I did with Shawn, but it would have been nice to get a group picture)(side note to the side note of the side note’s side note: parentheses inside parentheses are fun and all, but I’m going to get back to actually putting pictures up in just a second.)

Shawn and I talked a little in left field, but since I was having a bad day judging fly balls and would have been the worst ballhawk in the section by far regardless, I headed out to right field as soon as possible. There I managed to get Garrett Richards to toss me a ball by whadda ya know, actually calling him by his correct name unlike the other twenty people calling him “Jered”:

51213 Ball 1

That ball would be it for me during batting practice itself. In order for me to get in line earlier, Sean had dropped me off while he and his mom parked the car and went in the stadium. Once batting practice started, I saw them a couple more times, but I wanted to give them their mother-son time on Mother’s Day, so once batting practice ended, I camped out in foul territory waiting for the Angels infielders to warm up. When they did I got a ball from the player who had ironically been the bane of my existence the game prior in Alberto Callaspo. I was the first one to yell his name when he was finished throwing, so he looked up and flipped me the ball:

51213 Callaspo Ball

After I took that picture, a person behind me offered to take a picture of me with the ball. So here’s that:

51213 Mateo and Ball 2

After that I filled my time until the game by playing with my phone and calling my mom to wish her a happy Mother’s Day in New York. My plan was to stay behind the dugout for the game until I got a Mother’s Day ball, and then go to sit with Sean and his mom in right field for the rest of the game. One problem: I never got a third-out ball the whole game. Albert Pujols got one ground out to end the inning all game and he kept that ball. With the Angels, if the third out of the inning isn’t a ground out to the first baseman or a strike out, the ball ends up in the hands of the third baseman, which in this case was Alberto Callaspo. I was sure he would recognize me from the ball earlier, so I didn’t even try. I just kept waiting for Pujols to get the ball, but he never did. Which brings me to a lesson for all of you people out there: don’t make judgments based on assumptions you make on a topic you know nothing about. Okay, so this was my view for the game:

51213 View during the game

Do you see the woman looking to her right? Well every inning for most teams, the first baseman throws the infield warm-up ball into some coach who then throws the ball back to him as he leaves the field after the third out. While it’s one of the dumber traditions in baseball in my opinion (Why doesn’t the coach just hand the ball to the first baseman when he enters the dugout?) she absolutely trashed Pujols every single inning just because he wasn’t throwing that ball up.

Anyway, the whole game passed and I still didn’t have a Mother’s Day ball. So in the ninth inning I set myself up to where I could hurry down and get as close as I possibly could to home plate umpire Ed Hicox without jumping on the field or in the seats behind home plate. (Although I was prepared to jump the fence and go in those seats if he didn’t hear me.) My main concern was him hearing me, though. At the point in the game when I got closer to home plate, Chris Sale was throwing a shutout since his no-hitter had gotten broken up a couple innings earlier. I knew that once the game ended the crowd would erupt into applause, so being so far away from the umpire, I was worried he wouldn’t be able to hear me. And I was right. Sort of. See Hicox had to wait for the rest of his umpiring crew, so I yelled at him twice at the top of my lungs, so as to pierce through the roar of the crowd, but he still didn’t hear me. Then on the third time I yelled his name, he turned, spotted me, and after I made my polite request, tossed me a Mother’s Day ball before heading off the field:

51213 Mother's Day Ball

And what a beauty it was. While some of the ink smudged off, here are the pictures I took of it when I got back to Minnesota:

51213 MD Ball 2 51213 MD Ball1

I wasn’t the only one who snagged a Mother’s Day Ball, though. Shawn had gotten one before the game from Robin Ventura at the White Sox’ dugout. After the game we both found ourselves at the Angels dugout, so we took a picture of both of us with our Mother’s Day balls:

51213 Mateo and Shawn with MD Balls

Shawn’s mom was nice enough to take that picture of us. We were going to try to get a picture of all three of us together, but even as we were taking that last picture, we were being kicked out of the section to prepare the lower level for Kids Run The Bases. So I said goodbye to Shawn and said hello to Sean. (See what I did there?) I met Sean at guest services where we found out that his mom ad indeed not won the 50-50 raffle, before we headed back to Sean’s house and fell asleep before waking up early in the morning to head back to Minnesota.

STATS:

  • 3 Baseballs at this Game

51213 Baseballs

Numbers 496-498 for my “lifetime”:

51213 Sweet Spots

  • 52 Balls in 12 Games= 4.33 Balls Per Game
  • 3 Balls x 22,088 Fans= 66,264 Competition Factor
  • 74 straight Games with at least 1 Ball
  • 6 Balls in 3 Games at U.S. Cellular Field= 2 Balls Per Game
  • 3 straight Games with at least 1 Ball at U.S. Cellular Field
  • Time Spent On Game 4:03-10:39= 6 Hours 36 Minutes

Gate Opening Times 2013

I just wanted to have a single place where people can see all of the 2013 gate times for all 30 stadiums because I know that especially in my first year ballhawking, it was a pain to look for the times thttp://mlblogsmateofischer.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post-new.phphe gates at different stadiums opened. And before you say anything, I know this is a complete rip-off of Erik Jabs’ entry. The reason I write it is that entry is two years old, so I figured we needed an updated version of it for the 2013 season. Disclaimer: these times are unofficial and are derived from a combination of personal experience and researching the teams’ websites as of January, 15, 2013. If you want to be 100% sure this information is correct and current when you plan to go to the ballpark, contact the team beforehand. So here we go:

Angels Stadium:

Home Plate Gate opens 2 hours before first pitch is scheduled, except on day games (12:35p, 1:05p and 4:05p). On day games it will open 90 minutes before first pitch. All other gates open 90 minutes before first pitch every day.

AT&T Park:

All Gates open 2 hours before game time. (Pro Tip: You can see through the RF wall, so you can possibly get toss-ups even before the gates themselves open. If you’re hoping to get something during normal BP, though, you need someone to hold your place in line at one of the gates before you do this, because especially this year the bleachers get packed really early, so you should try your hardest to be the first person in the stadium.)

Busch Stadium:

All Gates open 2 hours before game time.

Chase Field:

Chase Field opens one and a half (1.5) hours before each game Monday through Thursday and two (2) hours before each weekend game.”

(Pro Tip: You can get into the stadium even earlier by going through the “Friday’s” in left field.)

Citi Field:

Monday-Friday/Weekday GamesRotunda and Hodges VIP Entrance open 2 hours before the game. All other gates 1 1/2 hours prior to the game.

Saturday & Sunday GamesRotunda and Hodges VIP Entrance open 2 hours before the game. All other gates 1 1/2 hours prior to the game. Rotunda opens 2 1/2 hours before the game for Mets Season Ticket Holders.”

(Pro Tip: The Mets don’t allow guests, so you must actually have your own season ticket to get in early on the weekends.)

Citizens Bank Park:

Ashburn Alley Gate opens 2.5 hours prior to first pitch every day.

All Other Gates open 1.5 hours before game time on weekdays and 2 hours before game time on Saturday and Sunday.

(Pro Tip: When Ashburn Alley opens, you can only be in the left field of the bleachers. When the other gates open is when the rest of the stadium opens to the public.)

Comerica Park:

“Start Time – Gates Open
1:05 P.M. – 11:30 A.M.
3:05 P.M. – 1:30 P.M.
4:05 P.M. – 2:30 P.M.
7:05 P.M. – 5:30 P.M.
8:05 P.M. – 6:30 P.M.

The starting times of all games are tentative and subject to change due to Major League Baseball television agreements with ESPN and FOX. Time changes can potentially occur up to 10 days prior to a scheduled game date. Guests should be advised that game tickets will be honored on the game date listed regardless of the time change. Guests should be aware of this possibility. Log on to tigers.com or check other local media outlets for the time changes that may occur.

The Tiger Den, Tiger Club, Beer Hall, The Labatt Blue Light Jungle, MotorCity Casino Champions Club and Suite Levels open two (2) hours prior to the scheduled game time.

On select days throughout the year Season Ticket Holders have an exclusive early entry allowing them in the ballpark 2 hours prior to game time to watch batting practice from left field behind the bullpens to the statues in left-center field. Entry is through Gate C located on the corner of Adams and Brush Streets.”

Coors Field:

“Gates A (Rockpile entrance) and E will open 2 hours prior to game time for Guests who want to view batting practice. Guests will be required to stay in the Left Field Pavilion area until the remaining ballpark gates open. Gates B, C and D will open 1 1/2 hours prior to game time. Gate opening times may vary if game is rescheduled.”

Dodgers Stadium:

“Third base side Field & Loge Level and Left Pavilion gates open 2 hours prior to the start of the game. All other gates open 1 1/2 hours prior to the first pitch. All parking gates open 2 hours prior to the start of each game. Gate times may vary for special events such as Opening Day and the Postseason.”

Fenway Park:

“The ballpark opens two hours (120 minutes) before game start time on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and 90 minutes before game start time Monday — Thursday.”

(Pro Tip: Last year–although there’s no information for the upcoming season–members of Red Sox Nation got to enter the stadium on the Green Monster 2.5 hours early. The price–again, because there’s still no information about the 2013 season–last year was $15 for a one-time membership fee.)

Great American Ballpark:

All Gates open 90 minutes before the game.

Season ticket holders get to get into the stadium 2 hours before first pitch.

(Pro Tip: In 2012, I believe–there wasn’t anything on the site–there was a “BP Tour” where people could get in 2.5 hours early, so be on the lookout for that in 2013. The tickets to the tour are $15, but it could be well worth it with an extra hour of essentially ballhawking alone.)

And here are some great nuggets of information the previously mentioned Erik left as a comment: “In Cincy, there is a BP tour that leaves at 4:30 from the Hall of Fame Club and costs $17. Season Ticket Holders come in at 5:10 – at that time folks on the tour are permitted in the seating bowl to the Reds dugout, and 5:40 you can go anywhere when the rest of the gates open – usually a dash to left field for all the easter eggs.”

Kauffman Stadium:

All gates will open 1.5 hours prior to game time Fri – Sun. Gates A & E in the Outfield Experience will open 1.5 hours prior to game time Mon – Thurs. All remaining gates (Gates B, C & D) will open 1 hour prior to game time Mon – Thurs.”

Marlins Park:

Premium Gates open 2 hours before game time. All Other Gates open 90 minutes before game time. (Pro Tip: There are ways to get tickets that can get you in through the “premium” gates.

Miller Park:

  • “Gates open 2 hours prior to the scheduled start for all Marquee Games.
  • In April, May, and September, gates open 90 minutes prior to the scheduled start of non-Marquee Games, 7 days a week.
  • In June, July, and August, gates open 90 minutes prior to the scheduled start of non-Marquee Games Sunday-Friday and 2 hours prior on Saturdays.
  • All gate opening times are subject to change.”

(Pro Tip: You can get into the stadium early through Friday’s Front Row Grill in left field. However, know this: There is a one-hour table limit, and there is a minimum bill (it was $30 when I went there last) so pre-arrange  a meet-up with SOMEone to split the bill with, because 1. That’s a lot of extra money to spend. 2. One should probably not ingest $30 worth of food and beverage before ballhawking.)

Minute Maid Park:

All Gates open 90 minutes before game time.

Nationals Park:

Center Field Plaza Gate opens 2.5 hours before first pitch.

All Other Gates open 1.5 hours early.

(Pro Tip: When the main gate opens, people are always allowed into the left field and Red Seats in center field. However, they sometimes have the lower and upper seats in right field open when the main gate opens. If they aren’t open when the main gate opens, they, along with the rest of the ballpark will open with the rest of the gates. Foul territory is (almost) never open until 1.5 hours before game time.)

Oakland Coliseum:

Gates open 1.5 hours before game time Monday-Friday, and 2 hours early Saturday & Sunday.

Oriole Park at Camden Yards:

The Eutaw Street Gates (A and H) open 2 hours before game time. (Pro Tip: Season ticket holders are allowed to go into the main seating bowl at this time while “regular ticket holders” must wait until 1.5 hours before game time, so see if you can get tickets from them. They’re nice people, so I’m sure you can get hooked-up.)

Petco Park:

“Many ballpark gates open for admittance one and one-half (1 1/2) hours prior to the first pitch for Monday through Thursday games, and two (2) hours before the first pitch for Friday through Sunday games. The Park at the Park opens two and one-half (2 1/2) hours prior to the first pitch and allow guest access to the Park at the Park and the Padres Power Alley.”

PNC Park:

“Gates open one and one half hours (1 1/2) prior to game time (Monday through Sunday) and two hours on Opening Day. The Riverwalk will open two (2) hours before weekday (Monday-Friday) games and two and one half hours (2 1/2) prior to weekend (Saturday-Sunday) games.” And a bit of information Erik himself gave about the gate situation”PNC Park Riverwalk opens at 4:30 Mon-Sat for night games. For day games, it opens 2 hours early, but there is no early entrance to left field during BP. You have to stay out on the riverwalk until 90 mins before first pitch.”

(Pro Tip: When the Riverwalk opens, Pirates season ticket holders into the left field seats. Like Oriole Park at Camden Yards, these holders are nice people too, so you can/should see if you can get one of them to bring you in (ideally beforehand) too, because they are allowed to bring in guests.)

Progressive Field:

“For all night games at Progressive Field (Monday – Saturday), Gate C will open at 4:30 p.m. to allow fans access to the Market Pavilion, Heritage Park and the Right Field Lower Reserved seats until 6:00 p.m. This will enable fans to watch the Indians take Batting Practice, as well as time to enjoy Heritage Park in the center field area. At 6:00 p.m. ALL gates will open. For 1:05 p.m. day games, all gates will open at 11:30 a.m. For all 12:05 p.m. day games, gates will open at 11 a.m. Special gate times exist for Terrace Club and Premium Seating guests.”

Rangers Ballpark:

“First and Third Base Gates open two hours prior to game time for night games and one and one-half hours prior to game time for afternoon games. Home Plate and Center Field Gates at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington open one and one-half hours prior to game time for all games. Guests are encouraged to arrive early to watch batting practice, infield workouts and pre-game ceremonies. Gate openings are subject to change.” (Pro Tip: I’ve heard that season ticket holder get to go in a half-hour early and get to bring in a guest, so see if you can make friends before the gates open to possibly get in a little early.)

Rogers Centre:

They actually have *nothing* on their site about the gates, so I’m going to go out on a whim and say they haven’t changed since when Erik wrote his entry, but if you’re reading this sentence, Malcolm, please enlighten us on the truth. By the way, if you want to check out Erik’s entry, this whole excerpt from it is linked to the entry itself:

“Guests can enter the stadium 90 minutes before the first pitch on any weekday home game. On Saturday and Sunday home games, the gates to Rogers Centre open 2 hours prior to game-time.”

Safeco Field:

Center Field and ‘Pen Gates open 2.5 hours before first pitch.

All Gates open 2 hours before the game starts.

(Pro Tip: Like most stadiums with one gate opening earlier than the others, when the ‘Pen and Center Field Gates open, you are limited to that part of the stadium and when the rest of the gates open, you can access the rest of the stadium.)

Target Field:

Gates open 90 minutes before the game Monday-Thursday.

Gates open 2 hours before first pitch Friday-Sunday.

(Pro Tip: Unless you have a particular spot that is essential to your ballhawking strategy, there is a small chance that you can get a ball from outside of the gates at Gate 34 in right field.)

Tropicana Field:

See Target Field…minus the Pro Tip part.

Turner Field:

“Main gates (Plaza, Museum & Guest Relations gates): 2.5 hours prior to game time

Bowl Seating gates: 2 hours prior to game time”

(Pro Tip: Again, you are limited to the left and center field seats for the first half-hour– the former of which is fortunately is one of the best sections of outfield seating in all of baseball–but 2 hours before the game begins, you can go into foul ground and the right field seats. So if there are a bunch of lefties or the left field seats are just packed, that’s when you can get out of there.)

U.S. Cellular Field:

“The U.S. Cellular Field gates open 90 minutes prior to game time, unless otherwise noted. On Kids Days, the gates will open two (2) hours prior to game time.”

(Pro Tip: This is only in the case of tickets being waaaay out of your price range; don’t try this if you can help it. But at “the Cell”, it is their policy that you *need* a field-level ticket to access the field-level seating no matter if it’s right as the gates open or anything. However, if you find yourself without a ticket for there, you can ask to visit something that only exists on the lower level–like a hat store or something; do your own research! And then, depending on the humanity of the usher, you can maybe get in there. (Credit: Sean Bigness))

Wrigley Field:

All Gates open 2 hours before the game.

(Pro Tip(s): Like the other Chicago park, be conscious of where your ticket is. I have heard of some exceptions (although no one who has done it seems to know how they did it) but for the most part; if you buy a bleacher ticket, you can only be in the bleachers for the whole game, and vice-versa for a seating bowl ticket. So that’s the first thing. The second thing is: the bleachers are general admission. That means the first person gets the best seat. Naturally, this means people show up earlier for the bleachers. Thirdly, Wrigley Field–renovations and all–is still small in the left field bleacher portion of the stadium, so it’s possible to snag baseballs before you get in the stadium on Waveland Ave. Additionally, there are some (although substantailly fewer) fences in the outfield wall where one can see into the stadium, so it is also possible to get a player to toss you a ball while out there before the gates open.)

Yankee Stadium:

All Gates open 2 hours before first pitch.

(Pro Tip: Don’t let this fool you, unless you can splurge for a field-level ticket–because of the Yankees’ suckiness when it comes to fan relations–it’s more like a ballpark that opens 1.5 hours before the game because it’s there policy to kick anyone without a ticket for field-level seats 45 minutes after the gates. (So during the beginning of visitor’s BP.))

Sorted By Earliest Gate On Weekdays:(This discounts early-access stadium tour and such like those at Fenway Park and Great American Ballpark.)

2.5 Hours Early:

Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Petco Park, Progressive Field, Safeco Field, and Turner Field.

2 Hours Early:

Angels Stadium, AT&T Park, Busch Stadium, Citi Field, Comerica Park, Coors Field, Dodgers Stadium, Marlins Park (Premium Gates), Oriole Park at Camden Yards, PNC Park, Rangers Ballpark, Wrigley Field, and Yankee Stadium.

1.5 Hours:

Chase Field, Fenway Park, Great American Ballpark, Kauffman Stadium, Miller Park, Minute Maid Park, Oakland Coliseum, Rogers Centre, Target Field, Tropicana Field, and U.S. Cellular Field.

Sorted By Earliest Gate Opening Time On Weekends:

2.5 Hours Early:

Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Petco Park, PNC Park, Progressive Field, and Safeco Field.

2 Hours Early:

Angels Stadium, AT&T Park, Busch Stadium, Chase Field, Citi Field, Comerica Park, Coors Field, Dodgers Stadium, Fenway Park, Marlins Park (Premium Gates), Oakland Coliseum, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Rangers Ballpark, Rogers Centre, Target Field, Tropicana Field, Wrigley Field, and Yankee Stadium.

1.5 Hours Early:

Great American Ballpark, Kauffman Stadium, Miller Park (? Read the whole Miller Park thing; it’s semi-confusing, and makes it impossible to categorize properly.), Minute Maid Park, and U.S. Cellular Field.

Oh, and before we even entertain the possibility, I’m not making this next year, so I suspect one of you reading this will have to pick up the torch next offseason. However, while you’re here, you can vote for what you’d like to see me write about next, if you haven’t already. Keep in mind you can vote for more than one entry topic. This is especially important this time because I’ve already begun writing the next entry by the time you read this:

And here’s the entry ideas that have been exhausted already:

1. Ballhawk Interviews- 33 votes

2. Stadium Profiles- 26 votes

3. Ballhawk Profiles- 33 votes

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

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

6. Weird Observing Baseball Facts and Records- 28 votes

7. New Observing Baseball Icon- 17 votes

8. MLBlogs I Recommend- 33 votes

9. Observing Baseball Trivia- 32 votes

10. My Favorite MLB Players- 28 votes

11. Characters of Observing Baseball- 29 votes

12. Gate Opening Times of MLB Stadiums- 30 votes

Not Proofread.

243,658 Words Written so far…

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