I knew this was going to be an interesting game when I found out I was going. I knew it was going to be difficult. Cubs vs Cards, a weekend game in the middle of July, and a giveaway day. I knew it was going to be a near sell out, and I had a feeling I would be walking out of the stadium with just a Jack Brickhouse bobblehead.
That wasn’t the only thing I was worried about. My lifetime Cubs undefeated record was at risk. They have never lost a game with me in attendance. My first game was in 2006. Coming into this game my record was 7-0. Including a Rich Hill complete game (2006), A win at at Miller Park vs the Astros (The day after Zambrano threw his no-no, in 2008), and a win against Albert Pujols’ Cardinals in 2009. It’s safe to say the streak is battle tested.
Anyway, this game was part of a family reunion that lasted all weekend.
Anyway, the ballhawking group for today was Nick, and Jack, my cousin Erik, and my second cousin Ben.
After we parked the car, we walked to the street corner of Waveland and Kenmore, where some consider the birthplace of ballhawking. From there, we split up. Nick, Jack, and Erik got in line for the gates, and Ben, my second uncle Dave (Ben’s dad), and I stayed out on the street.
Out there, I met Ballhawk legend Moe Mullins, and Dave Davison. We stood an talked for a few minutes and then I found a spot.
Here’s where I stood:
We didn’t get many chances at any balls. Only one ball left the stadium, and it took a bounce off the last row of bleachers inside the stadium, and bounced straight down. A few of us sprinted towards it, but it fell right to an usher (Yeah, an usher outside of the stadium. Fun stuff), who handed it to a Cardinals fan (Yeah, a Cards fan. These ushers are crazy). Shortly afterwards all the ballhawks ran over to Sheffield, because Anthony Rizzo’s group was up. Before we headed over there I got my picture with Dave (who stayed over on Waveland):
We stood here on Sheffield:
Nothing made it out of the stadium over there, so we headed inside.
For those who aren’t familiar with Wrigley field ballhawking, if you don’t have a bleacher ticket you can’t get into the bleachers. This was a big hit to my chances.
After we entered the stadium and got our bobble head we headed down the right field line:
Cubs BP was still going on, but there weren’t any Cubs players standing in the corner. Right as I was going to run over to the Cubs dugout to try to get the elusive Wrigley Field commemorative baseball, the Cubs BP ended. It was very disappointing. I knew this was probably the last chance for me to get the Wrigley Field ball today. It was frustrating to say the least.
Anyway, I moved on, and tried to get something out of these Cardinals players:
The three guys closest to me on the right were doing some pitching drills. I was waiting on an overthrow, but it never came. They looked Hispanic, and they were talking to each other in Spanish, so I tried that with them, and that didn’t work. No players in my general area even looked into the stands. Very stingy.
But the players by the bleachers? Not so much. Matt Holiday and his kid were throwing almost EVERY ball they got into the stands. I was very jealous. Just as I saw that going on, Matt Adams stepped into the box. My. Goodness. Gracious. Half of his BP homers found the street. He even hit one oppo onto Waveland. I was wasn’t very happy about not being in the bleachers. I even thought about sneaking in at one point. I quickly scrapped that idea and I started to move towards the Cardinals dugout. I cut through a section, and as soon as an usher turned his back I moved into perfect position to get a ball after BP.
So, I stood and watched the end of BP. When BP ended nobody tossed out anything. Zip, Zilch, Zero.
So much for the “Best team in baseball” being nice to the “Best fans in baseball”. Smh.
After that I headed to the other side of the seating bowl, When an usher wasn’t looking, I moved here:
That same usher swiftly kicked me from the section. After checking my ticket he said “Yeah, BP is over”. Really? You think I’m that stupid? Whatever.
After that I went over where Wellington Castillo was warming up.
After he finished playing catch, he put on his gear, and he started practicing blocking balls in the dirt, right up against the wall, right in front of me. When one rolled behind him, I saw the logo, and it was commemorative! He also had another one in his back pocket. After he finished he scanned the crowd for people to throw the balls to, and he threw one to someone to be right (who dropped it 2 times), and someone just to my right. I guess it was just one of those days.
During BP, my uncle took a picture of Jack, and Erik, which basically describes the day ballhawking wise:
After that I headed up to my seat. Here was the view:
When I got up there I decided to not try for baseballs during the game. It was tempting, but I really just wanted to sit back, relax, and watch the game with some of my family that I don’t see often.
As for the game, it was a nail biter. The Cardinals took a first inning lead, and the lead seesawed back and forth for the rest of the game. Luis Valbuena hit the game winning dinger in the bottom of the 8th to put the Cubs up by a run. They would hang on in the 9th to win 7-6, to keep the streak intact!
Overall, It was a great day, even though it wasn’t so great ballhawking wise.
Here are some picture my uncle took during the game:
8 lifetime Cubs games
Lifetime record 8-0
Ryan Sweeny has 8 RBIs and 2 homers when I am in attendance
0 balls this game
14 this season
Everyone else: 0
This was the most frustrating game of my ballhawking career. By far. It was rough.
It all started leaving Baltimore. We got out of the hotel late, and once we got on the road we hit bad traffic right around Wilmington, Delaware. We crawled all the way to Philly. By the time we got to the hotel the gates were just about open. We had the choice between that night’s game, and Saturday night’s game. I’m not entirely sure what the heck I was thinking, but we ended up going to that nights game…. Ugh.
By the time we got out of the hotel (it was the Marriott Courtyard right by the sports complex) it was just about 5pm (the time the gates opened), and we didn’t have tickets yet. So, we had a taxi drop us off by the left field ticket office, where we bought tickets, and then we headed over to the left field gate:
Which was just opening. We had such a hard time getting to the gates on time this trip. It’s very frustrating.
After I got my bag checked and my ticket scanned I ran to left:
Where I didn’t get any toss ups. The only interesting thing that really happened was the Nats throwing around a football thing that made a noise like a bird whenever it was in the air. They did that at every game we saw them before BP. Pretty funny.
After about a half hour of not much action, I headed over to right, which was closed for the first half hour because of ‘Social night’.
I mainly came to this game just to meet them. My main goal isn’t just snag baseballs when I go to games, I also like to meet people. It’s especially nice to meet some people your age!
By the time I got to right field, Phillies BP was over, and the first group of Nats BP was underway. That group included the best BP hitter I have ever seen; Bryce Harper. After seeing him in BP the last 2 games, I knew exactly where to play him. When he stepped in the box I headed up to about the 15th ish row, and stood on the aisle. Well, my position was spot on……Sort of……
Harper started CRUSHING homers to the other side of the section. I ran to that side, only to see it bounce off someone/something, and deflect back onto the field. That happened about 4 or 5 times. It was EXTREMELY frustrating.
After that I headed back over to left. It was very very crowded, so I mainly went for toss ups. A group of three Nats were standing on the outfield. Lots of fans were yelling at them to throw up a ball whenever one of them got one. Eventually one of them obliged and threw it to some adults right in front of me. Somehow it got passed them, and rolled right to me. A scrum ensued. Some other kid and I dropped to the ground and started grabbing for it, but neither of us could get a handle on it, and it rolled down the aisle, right to a kid who just got one.
After that, nothing much happened. I thought I would go down by the foul line, because the player that was over there was tossing out a bunch of baseballs. As soon as I started heading over there, someone hit a homer right where I was standing. It was just that type of day, I guess.
Shortly after that, BP ended. So, I headed over the the ballhawking world famous pizza wedge, where we awaited the ballhawking world famous Jesus Tiamo, as he always throws out two baseballs before the game. Here they are sitting on the bench in the ‘pen:
(one is right behind the yellow thing). After a loooooooonnnnngggg wait, Jesus arrived:
He entered the bullpen, grabbed one of the balls, and tossed it to………………….. You guessed it!!!
That one baseball just sat. So Maddie and I waited and waited and waited for him to toss it out. And he never did. Right before the game started we got kicked from the wedge, so I headed up to my seat:
Where I sat for a while, and then went down to field level to get this heavenly Philly cheesesteak:
It was the highlight of my day. By far.
After watching the game for a few innings at our seats, Nick and I headed over to the SRO area right behind the Nationals ‘pen, to try to snag a ball and salvage the ballhawking disaster that was this game:
Every inning we tried to get a warm up ball out of the Nats coach. Nick got one in about the 8th inning, but I had no such luck.
At that point I just tried to stay positive. I was actually pretty confident I would get one at the end of the game. So, the top of the 9th rolled around, and the Phillies were just about to close it out. I was just about ready to spring into action and keep the trip’s streak alive. But guess who decided to show up. The rotten, no good, malicious, Mr. “I already snagged two balls, but I’m hungry for more”, kid brother; Jacob “Jack” Larson.
Sure enough, he comes and stands right next to me. At this point I was anything but calm. I was livid. I knew my chance of getting a ball was over.
So, as soon as the game ended, the people from the pen started cleaning up their stuff, and started to get going back to the clubhouse. But, a warm up ball was still sitting out. Right as a Nats player was about to head out with the bag, a security guard handed him the ball, and he started scanning the crowd. He obviously found Jack, and threw it underhand right between us. A million thoughts went through my head in the 2 or 3 seconds the ball was in the air. Ultimately, my ballhawking instincts kicked in, and I reached over the railing and caught the ball. As soon as I did, Jack was not to happy. As I was getting chewed by Jack, the Nats player pointed at Jack, so I handed him the ball. I’m not that big of a jerk. But guess what? The knucklehead was ungrateful. He pouted the whole way out of the stadium and back to the hotel.
And, hey, I wasn’t to happy either. I’m not a big fan of giving away baseballs. I just don’t like doing it. I like to keep the balls that I snag. I like to watch my actual collection of baseballs grow. Sure, I’ll give away a ball to a little kid every once in a while, but my brother? Heck no.
It was just the cherry on top of a frustrating day.
And, yes, I’m counting the ball. I count the balls I give away. It would have been mine if the thief didn’t show up anyways…..
One more thing. Save your “You get plenty of baseballs” and “Your a crybaby, shut up” comments. This is my brother, okay? I wouldn’t be mad if this was some random little kid. This is different.
Just a frustrating day at the park. But hey, at least I saw a new ballpark! I’m now at 8 lifetime.
Just like the last game, I was looking forward to this game for a long time. A lot more than the Nats game. But, I knew it was going to be more difficult.
At first, I was scared that there would be no BP. This was the scene as we pulled in to Baltimore:
(Yes, I know, that’s a football stadium). It was POURING. Like crazy. For about an hour.
My worries went away, when Rick Gold reported that the cage was up.
We ran a little bit late, and got to the gates with about 3 minutes to spare. Again, we had a spot in line saved for us, by Grant Edrington. Just like the game at Nats park, we couldn’t get couldn’t get to the spot before the gates opened.
When we got in the stadium we ran to left field for Season Ticket holder BP (courtesy of Avi Miller).
Yeah, it was bright and sunny. Crazy, right?
Anyway, when I ran in I said hi to Grant, and then found a spot. There were a few homers I was close to, but nothing super close during O’s BP.
Shortly after Nationals’ BP started, the floodgates opened, and the public was let into left field. It was a huge crowd. I knew then it was going to be difficult to get shutout.
A few minutes after the public was let in I had a super close call. A National hit a homer that hit a seat and then rolled onto the ground. I scrambled up to the row in front of it, and tried to grab it. It somehow ended up on a seat in my row. It was me and some other guy who grabbed it at the same time. I almost had it in my grasp, when the other guy moved his glove up (the ball was kind of resting on his glove, which was on his hand) in the air and the ball flew up in the air and landed a few rows behind us. It was frustrating.
Right after that I introduced myself to Alex Kopp. He helped me out big time. Here’s how:
There was a kind of short and chubby coach wandering around the outfield, and he was tossing out a few baseballs here and there. I asked Alex if he knew who he was (Grant also chimed in) and he said he knew his first name was Ali.
That’s Ali in the middle (he might have seen me take the picture. He’s looking straight at me).
The next time he got a ball I climbed down a few rows, and yelled “ALI!”. He started looking around with a strange expression on his face, so I yelled his name again and waved. He looked at me with a strange, almost suspicious look on his face and said: “How do you know my name?”. I really didn’t know what to say at that point, so I said “I read the roster!”. He said “I’ll give you one later…”. So, I went back to my spot. After a few minutes, he ended up getting a few. So, I waved my hands, and he threw it right to me, but then some guy, who meets the description of a four letter word that I’m not going to say on this blog, ran through the row in front of me (I was standing in about the 4th row) and swatted it down towards the front row. Ali looked at me/the guy with a not to happy look on his face, and he waved me down to the front row. After a few pitches he came over and said “Why didn’t you push him over?” and I said “I don’t want to start a fight!”. He laughed and handed me a ball:
It was kind of fun.
After that I went back to my spot.
There weren’t any close calls until the very last pitch of BP, when a National crushed a homer in my direction. I ran through a row, and got in perfect position, but another guy who was in the row in front of me was also in perfect position, and he caught it. My glove was literally right behind his. Well, according to Alex, the last pitch of BP is good luck, so better than nothing I guess.
Anyway, after that I followed Alex, and met up with all the ballhawks (Grant, Rick, Tim Anderson, and a former usher whose name I forgot). From there Grant, Alex, Rick, and I went to do trivia (I couldn’t do trivia, you have to be 18). What happens is, you have to take a survey, then you get a free t-shirt, then in order to do trivia you have to have your t-shirt.
So, I watched Grant do trivia:
(I’m not sure who he is playing with..)
After that Grant gave me the t-shirt (which is on the table in the last photo)!
After we finished over at trivia Grant and I headed down to the third base line to try and get a warm up ball out of Adam Jones. I grabbed a seat about 10 or 15 rows up from the field (Jones usually launches his warm up ball deep), and waited for Jones to finished. As soon as he did he started scanning the crowd, and didn’t throw it anywhere near me. But, two players were still warming up, one of them was Manny Machado. When he finished playing catch he scanned the crowd, found me, and tossed me this:
Commemorative! I’m glad to have another one. I like the logo.
After that, I headed over to the flag court to meet up with Grant and Alex again.
After a half inning there I headed over to my seat:
I sat there for a few innings. They were nice seats, but I was stuck in the middle of the row. Just as I was thinking about moving around, it started raining, so we moved here:
The rain wasn’t very bad, so I decided to move around a little bit.
First, Nick and I headed over to the flag court for a few innings. We went to the flag court for lefties (there weren’t many), and sat and talked for righties. After we said bye to Grant and Alex we headed over to where Rick was sitting.
There was lots of room to run. If there was a home run or foul ball anywhere in that area, Rick would have got it. No doubt.
We sat and talked for about a half inning or so. Before we left I had Rick take this picture for the MGB scavenger hunt:
And then we headed to get in position for an umpire ball.
We walked through the cross aisle all the way from Rick to the home plate area, where we walked right past an usher and a cop (who were in a conversation…) to get here:
Yeah, it was that easy.
Anyway, after the 3rd out was recorded, the home plate umpire came through the tunnel, and handed out a ball to Nick, Jack, and some random kid.
After that, we went by the dugout, and got nothing. We were going to wait for the people in the bullpen to come in, but they were having some sort of throwing session, so we headed out.
Overall, Camden Yards was awesome. Awesome park, good ballhawking, nice people.
Before I get to stats I am going to do something I usually don’t:
Avi- Thanks for all the help with the tickets! STH BP was a big advantage! The seats were great. We’ll have to meet in person sometime!
Grant- Thanks for all the tips, and the t-shirt! The tips helped out big time! And the t-shirt is an awesome souvenir. You saved me a few bucks!
Alex- Thanks for the assist on the Ali toss up. Needless to say, it was huge!
Rick- It was nice to meet you at these two games. It was very fun. Hope to see you in Chicago later this season!
Everybody- Thanks for letting us raid your territory for a few days. It was a lot of fun. Keep in touch.
13 on the season
5 games this season
Post about CBP coming soon
I had been looking forward to this game for a
long loooooooooooonnnngggggg time. But, first, before we start, I have something interesting to share. When we were touring the capitol building that morning I saw something that was kinda baseball/ballpark related (where ever I am I’m always thinking about baseball….). We walked through an interesting room that had a bunch of statues in it, and the room used to be the old house of representatives. On the floor it had small plaques marking where famous politician’s desks used to be:
It kind of reminded me of the home run landing spot plaques at Camden Yards (my next stop on our baseball road trip).
Anyway…… We got to the gates around 4:27, 3 minutes before the gates opened. Rick Gold had spots saved for us at one of the gates, but we couldn’t find him, so we just hopped in the back of a line right as the gates were opening:
After I got my bag checked and scanned my ticket I ran right to the red seats in left-center.
Where I was greeted by Rick. Right after that a ground rule double bounced right to where another guy and I were standing in the front row. It bounced off one of our gloves, over our shoulder to right where Rick was standing. He wasn’t expecting it to get to him, so it bounced off him and rolled into the middle of a row. There was a scrum, and Rick came up with it.
A while after that I got a toss up from an unidentified National:
After that I headed over to right:
I stood on an aisle behind Rick. After a few close calls with some BP homers, I got a toss up from Gio Gonzalez.
I wasn’t sure whether to catch this one or not. He tossed it right passed a guy in an Orioles’ jersey, right to me. I didn’t have to even move. I offered it to him, but he declined.
After a little while without much action a National hit a homer to the section to my right. I started moving toward it, but I couldn’t get to the spot in time. It bounced off of someone’s glove or a seat or something, and rolled down the row right to me, almost like it wanted me to have it.
It was then I realized I was in reach of breaking my single game record (4), which was my goal for the day, and it was only Nats BP!
During the last group of Nats hitters a few balls landed in the stands along the right field line. I saw a few ushers scanning those seats, but I didn’t see them come up with any baseballs. So, as soon as Nats BP ended I made my way over there right as the seating bowl was opening. As soon as I got down there I looked in all the rows for the baseballs, but they weren’t there. Apparently the ushers did pick them up.
After that I headed over to left, which was packed. Nothing really happened, except Rick cup tricked two balls from the pen. After I realized that Left field was impossible I headed back over to right. At this point the O’s were putting on quite the show. Chris Davis, and Nelson Cruz hit a bunch of homers. I wasn’t near many Davis homers, and the closest Cruz came to hitting one oppo was putting one on the batters eye in center (next to the red seats, keep that in mind later).
After their group was done Nick Markakis’ group stepped up. He started hitting bombs right away. He hit a few to the second deck, and a few right around me. One of those was hit about a section away, and Rick and I chased after it. I gave up on it pretty quick and headed back to my spot on the aisle. Right when I got back to my spot Markakis hit one right to me. I reached up, but I squeezed my glove a bit too early, and the ball bounced off my glove, and I caught it with my bare hand. It was pretty cool. Then, I looked in my glove, and it got even more cool:
After BP ended a guy walked down the batters eye to get the balls. A few people asked for them, and he couldn’t decide who to give it to (most of the people were wearing O’s stuff) so he tossed them both straight in the air. I jumped, and came up with one:
After that I headed over to our seats, which were right by the bullpen. Over the course of BP I saw lots of balls land in there.
When I got there I discovered they were still there:
9, to be exact (not all are pictured here).
While we were waiting for the O’s to come and toss the balls up from the pen’ I got this picture for the mygameballs.com scavenger hunt:
Then, all of a sudden, a voice came over the PA system and said “Attention fans: The start of the game has been delayed due to approaching weather”. I pulled out my phone and looked at the radar, and there was a line of storms approaching DC. It looked like a quick little squall line that would move right through, but it wasn’t. At all.
The grounds crew pulled out the tarp when it was still sunny, and it didn’t rain until about a half hour after that, but then, the flood gates opened.
The rain came in slow at first, but then it started pouring, then it slowed up, then it started pouring, over and over and over. For 2 hours!!!!!!!!
We found a spot in the concourse under the second deck, and waited and waited and waited. While we were waiting Rick Gold came and joined us. We talked for about an hour and a half or so.
He demonstrated his cup trick, and we got this picture:
Also, for the scavenger hunt.
After a loooooooooooooooooong wait, the grounds crew came on the field and started prepping to take the tarp off. Then, it started pouring again, so we decided to leave.
When we were on the Metro on the way back to the hotel, we learned that the game had been postponed.
Overall it was a great game, without a game.
I liked Nats park. It was a lot different than I pictured it to be, but it was nice. I will have to return sometime…….
11 this season
5 on road trip
6 lifetime stadiums
Remember I was here ( 9/16 @ Aviator stadium)? Well, I had a pretty good ballhawking day. Today? Not so much.
It was a pretty rainy day, and we didn’t decide to go until about the 2nd inning .
We got there in the 3rd inning:
We bought our tickets at the box office, and we went in.
My plan for this game was to go for foul balls. The crowd was low, and there weren’t many people going to foul balls, so I thought it would be pretty easy.
That wasn’t the case…..
I stood here for righties:
And the other side for lefties ( I forgot to take a picture ).
After a few innings I got this picture:
I thought that was pretty cool.
Innings past, and I still didn’t have a foul ball. I didn’t know what to do. Go for toss ups, when most of the players weren’t tossing anything out, or keep going for foul balls.
I decided to stick with going for foul balls.
In the bottom of the 8th I had an extremely frustrating close call. I was walking through a few sections to get back to my spot for righties when a righty on the Aviators smashed a slicing line drive a few seats behind me ( right where I was about 10 seconds ago). I ran back toward it, but I was to late. It hit a seat and bounced all the way back onto the field. Ugh.
In the top of the 9th it finally came. I was in my spot for lefties when a lefty on the Greys ( who the Aviators were playing ) hit a hard line drive that bounced of a wall:
Hit a plastic fence:
And rolled right to me:
I didn’t get anymore baseballs, which was fine. I was happy to not get shutout, and I didn’t ask for a toss up the whole night!
1 baseball, 1 minor league ball this season
5 minor league balls lifetime
When it became official that we were going to this game, I knew it was going to be good:
Officially going to the Sox game Thursday. It's going to be a big game. I feel it—
Larry Larson (@MLBLarry) June 11, 2014
And it was. The pitching mach-up was Sale v.s. Scherzer, and the attendance was going to be low. Perfect from a Ballhawk, and a normal fan standpoint.
We got to the cell about 10 minutes before the gates opened:
We walked to the box office, bought our tickets for the Chris Sale K Zone (a promo they have whenever Sale pitches. More on that later). By the time we got in line for the gates, the gates were open. Once we got through the security bag check thing we ran inside (Today, the group was: My Dad, Nick, John and Justin from our baseball team, and I).
Right when we got into the seating bowl Justin said “Heads up!” and a ball bounced off the warning track and landed on a seat. Justin, John, and I all went for the ball, and I narrowly beat Justin to it, for #1 on the day:
It had a sharpie mark across the sweetspot. Why do teams like the Tigers even do that? When you have Miguel Cabrera on your team you are going to lose a whole lot of BP baseballs.
After that, we went over to left field:
It was pretty packed out there. Miggy and V-Mart put on quite the show. Cabrera probably hit about 12 homers, all over my head, or a few ‘sections over (towards center field), and he hit a few to right. Martinez hit a few, but none of them were very close to me. After a few lefties hit, BP ended.
So, we went and got our t-shirts and signs:
After that, John and Justin wanted to go up to the Xfinity fundamentals deck:
We did the speedpitch type thing, and I got 4 points for the mygameballs.com scavenger hunt for this picture:
After we were done up there we headed to our seats. This was the view:
Our section was a lot of fun. Whenever Sale struck someone out, everyone stood and shook their sign. It was a good atmosphere.
In the middle of the game I got two more scavenger hunt pictures.
You posing for a picture while t-shirts are being thrown into the crowd 4 points:
(top right corner is where the people are throwing the shirts)
and Bonus 1: You posing with a ball you snagged that day with the stadium name in the background (one point per stadium):
After talking, and having some fun watching the game, between the 8th and 9th innings we headed to get some umpire balls at the end of the game.
First we headed to the closest aisle towards the home plate end of the Tigers dugout that wasn’t guarded by an usher. So, we ended up here:
There was one close call, where the bat boy ended up with a foul ball, but he handed to someone before we got down the stairs.
We sat there until Robin Ventura challenged an Adam Dunn hit to center that hit Austin Jackson’s glove. While the umps were looking it over, it bought us time to move over a section to get in PERFECT position for an umpire ball:
As soon as Dayan Viciedo struck out to end the game, we stood right above where the umpires exit the field. As home plate umpire Mark Carlson gave a ball to John, Justin, and I!
After that, we went and found Nick, who was behind the Tigers dugout. He got a bunch of gum from the bat boy, and a high five from Max Scherzer, who just pitched a complete game.
I didn’t know it, until some Tiger fans that we saw in the middle of the 9th, were talking about it, that Scherzer had never thrown a complete game before. Therefore, we witnessed history. Pretty cool.
Before we left, I got a picture of my baseballs:
After we exited the park, we got an awesome pic by the Comiskey Park home plate:
And drove home.
It was good to get out, see some history, snag some balls, and support a team that doesn’t get much support from it’s own fans.
2 baseballs, 6 this season, 18 lifetime
First game since March! It felt like opening day. I was ready to go when I got a first glance at the Park:
We got there about 40 minutes early. We parked, bought our tickets, and went into Friday’s for a pre-BP snack:
I didn’t get any balls there. The closest I got to one was a BP homer by Rickie Weeks (I think) that bounced off a guy’s glove, and onto a short canopy thing. Nick got it after I left to go into the park.
I went to Left Field first:
And didn’t get anything. No action at all. Soooooo I went over to right:
Where there was TONS of action, but also LOTS of competition. Ballhawk Shawn (@BallhawkShawn on twitter), Ballhawk Kenny (@Ballhawkkenny), Jake Starck (@starckie24), and Mike (@GrollMike). There were lots and lots of close calls, but I still didn’t get anything. But, I wasn’t all that disappointed. I was around some great hawks, and I was learning from them. It’s all a learning experience. I am lucky to have met so many great ballhawks over the last few years. And I’ll only meet more, and learn more, and get better.
And, as soon as I got there all the home runs stopped. Ugh. My bad luck continues. After helplessly watching the last group of BP, and getting ignored when I asked for toss ups, I headed down the third base line to wait for Trevor Plouffe:
Why Plouffe? Well, I had this awesome sign with me:
And I wanted him to see it, if not sign it.
Until Trevor came out I sat and talked with Mike and Jake. While we were talking Mike gave me this:
(That’s Mike in the background). Yes, I’m going to count it. Why not. When I’m this age I should count balls that other people give me. When I’m 16 I’ll re-visit that rule.
Anyway, Trevor eventually came out and he saw my sign. He pointed at me and gave me the ‘OK’ sign. After he was done getting stretched out he came over and he signed my sign, and got a picture!!!
He’s an awesome dude. He signed for everyone, including Jake and Mike. VOTE PLOUFFE EVERYONE!!!!!!!!!
After that I walked back up to our seats in left field. This was the view:
I watched the game until about the 3rd inning, and then went over a few sections to talk to Jake and Mike some more. They said that Kris Davis throws his warm-up ball into the crowd every other inning, and he throws it about 5 rows in. While we were talking about this Davis was finishing warming up. When he started scanning the crowd we stood and I threw my hands up (so he could see me). I think he spotted me, and he chucked the ball to the aisle we were standing in. It was me and one other adult that had a shot at the ball. I reached just above/in front of the adult’s glove and caught the ball:
In Brewers’ fashion it had a mark on the sweet spot:
I like snagging balls like that. It’s unique, and kinda looks cool.
After that Nick and I walked around the concourse to buy some bobble heads. It was a good deal. 2 for $5. I got Corey Hart and Casey McGehee. Jake told me that every 1 in 1,000 McGehee ones have a throwback uniform on. Mine has a throwback!
After that we went to say hi/bye to Shawn, and then headed back to our seats.
It was nice to sit back and watch a MLB game in person for the first time in a few months.
In about the 8th inning Nick and I tried to get down to the Twins dugout so we could get some baseballs after the game from the Twins or the Umpires. The ushers didn’t let us go behind the dugout until the very end of the game, and by the time we got down there we missed the umpires. Nick ended up getting a ball from the Twins, but I didn’t get anything. Lets hope I can have some better ballhawking luck next game.
Overall, it was great to meet some new people, see Plouffe, and just be back at the park.
2 balls, 4 this season , 16 lifetime
1 autograph, 1 this season
1 player picture
1 new favorite player.
Max (my brother Jack’s friend): 2
DON’T FORGET TO VOTE PLOUFFE!!!!
Hello everyone. In case you haven’t noticed I haven’t been to a game in a while, and it’s kinda frustrating, and I’m not happy about it (Just ask my parents…). But, I am planning on going to a few games shortly. So here is an update on my schedule:
I have at least two games set in stone. The first is June 3rd Brewers v.s. Twins at Miller Park. The second is June 28 or 29 at Miller Park. Our schedule just hasn’t lined up with any Cubs or Sox games, but they will come later in the season. But, I am perfectly fine with going to games in Milwaukee. Out of the three stadiums I go to regularly I am the most comfortable with Miller Park. I am not sure why. It’s kind of grown on me. Maybe it’s because it’s easy for foul balls. Maybe because other ballhawks have been friendly to me. Probably because I just like the park.
What have I been doing these 2 months without going to a game? Well, a few things:
If you follow me on twitter you definitely know I am part of my friend Tony’s campaign to vote to get Trevor Plouffe to the all star game . I would encourage you to do the same. All you have to do is vote for the all star game every day and pick Trevor Plouffe for third base on the AL ballot. Easy. We NEED to get him to the top 2 for 3rd base. Also, follow @voteplouffe on twitter for updates
A ballhawking podcast is in the works. It is still in the planning stages, but the first episode should be coming up shortly. Mateo Fischer, ‘ExiledMetFan’ and I. For updates follow @mygameballs and @observebaseball on twitter for updates.
That’s all I got for now. Look out for a post about a game at Miller Park, and another ballpark review shortly.
Go Cubs and VOTE PLOUFFE!
The next installment of my ballpark review is U.S. Cellular Field. Again, I will review the park on 3 things: Ballhawking, Fan experience, and surrounding area.
When it comes to ballhawking, the Cell is kind of a wild card. It can be bad some days, and okay other days. Overall its not great. The gates open 90 minutes early, so you will only get to see the visitors BP. The best days for ballhawking are mid-week night games. Not a lot of people show up, and it is insanely easy to get balls in BP and during the game.
For third out balls, stay away from the ushers (unless you have a ticket for the section that you are in) because they can be picky sometimes. But as long as you avoid them they don’t go out of their way to check your ticket.
As for ball retrievers, you have to be super quick and stealthy to use it. Don’t use it on the field, but use it in the bullpen. But you have to be SUPER QUICK. I learned that the hard way.
Also, people who buy tix for the 500 level have to stay up there, so don’t buy tickets there.
So the bottom line for the Cell is be quick, and move fast, and you’ll survive ballhawking wise.
U.S. Cellular isn’t a bad fan experience, but it’s nothing special. It is a pretty nice ballpark. You can easily see the game from the concourse so thats nice. The food is pretty good, but overpriced (just like everywhere else in the bigs). It’s a nice park. If you get a chance to go to a game there, take the opportunity. It’s worth it, and the Sox will appreciate your attendance.
Lots of homeless people and parking lots. Be careful.
Hope this was helpful. If you have any questions drop a comment.
We got here SUPER early. About an 1 hour and 30 minutes before the gates opened.
And not a lot of people were there. Most of the lines at the gates looked like this:
First we bought our tickets at the box office, and I got this picture:
for the mygameballs.com scavenger hunt. And then, since it was about 32 degrees we went into the team store:
My friend Matthew ( you might remember him from my last game at Miller Park ) and I found this weird Carlos Gomez shirt.
I think it is supposed to be dirt, but it sure looks like ” Carlos Gomez ” just got sick to his stomach……
Anyway, after hanging out in the store for about an hour or so we headed over to Fridays!!!
I’ve always wanted to go there. We went in there just to grab some fries, because everyone was hungry ( The whole group was: Nick, Matthew, my Dad, my friend Leighton, and her dad ). We got a table outside, and this was the view:
When we got there the Royals had just started to come out of the dugout and warm up, so I really didn’t go for toss ups until the Brewers left the field, so the Royals wouldn’t catch on to my switching hats act. Anyway, after we finished up our fries, Nick and I left the restaurant to ballhawk in the stadium. First we headed up to the left field bleachers:
And got something. But it wasn’t a baseball. Back in October Ballhawk Shawn had a social media contest, and I won. So he gave me my prizes: A Brewers rally towel, A Yankees 2012 phantom World Series ticket, and a 2012 postseason lanyard (I’ll have pictures at the end of the post). Thanks, Shawn!
After having no luck in Left field, Nick and I met up with Leighton and Matthew. Leighton and I went up to the second deck in right field. I didn’t get any balls, but there were a bunch of frustratingly close calls. First, I miss played a line drive home run. At first it looked like it was headed right to me, but then it started slicing towards the foul pole, so I took a step over, reached up, and it bounced off the very top of my glove and went behind me to the competition ( Shawn, and Ryan Mortenson, who Shawn introduced me to about a minute earlier ). And right after that, another homer game right over my head and landed a few rows behind me. But what I did get was a good view of the redesigned Toyota Territory:
It looked so nice I decided to go check it out. This was the view:
It would have been pretty good for some toss-ups but it was kinda crowded in there, and there were a few guys who kept yelling at Brett Hayes, and Tim Collins ( The two players closest to the territory ). And the one toss up from Hayes went to the crazy guys, to (Most likely) shut them up. And then BP ended.
After BP I met up with Matthew and Nick at the bullpen. Nick and Leighton went to get autographs while Matthew and I waited for someone from the Royals to come to the Bullpen and toss out these:
After a few minutes the Royals ball/bat boy came to put some Gatorade cups in the orange box/cooler thing. After he did that we asked him for the balls and he tossed one to me and one to Matthew.
I was relieved to get on the board. Also, that was Matthew’s first baseball he’s ever snagged!
After we were done out by the bullpen we headed up to our seats. Not just any seats. The best foul ball seats in the big leagues. This was the view:
The bleachers were complete ghost towns!
But then again, it was an exhibition game.
For the first few innings I sat and watched the game from our awesome seats. One thing that kinda made me mad was when Ryan Braun’s name was announced in the lineup, and when he stepped to the plate, everyone cheered and kissed his butt. My dad and I were the only ones booing. And to make matter’s worse he hit a home run to dead center field in his second at-bat. Smh.
Anyway, at about the middle of the 4th inning I decided to go all out for foul balls. I mean, how pathetic would it be to sit in the best foul ball seats in the MLB, at a game with 10,151 attendance, and not snag a foul ball?
The first half inning I was told by an usher that “You really can’t stand here” (the aisle right below the press box) and to “Grab a seat in the back row” which really wasn’t a problem. While I was sitting there I got a really close call with a foul ball. A pitch got fouled off, right on line with me. It bounced off a seat about 3 rows in front of me, over my shoulder ( I was leaning forward, attempting to snare it after it bounced off the seat ), hit the blue wall right below the press box, and rolled under my seat. Then a scramble ensued for the ball, and some little kid ended up with it. It was frustrating. At that point I was not going to settle for sitting in the back row of the section. After the inning ended I went up to a different usher and asked if I could stand along the wall to go for foul balls, and she said yes.
This is where I stood for righties:
and this is where I stood for lefties:
After I had switched back and forth for about 4 batters in the top of the 5th, Salvador Perez ( a righty ) stepped to the plate. About 2 pitches into the count (I don’t remember the exact details) he fouled one back my way. I ran about 4 or 5 steps to my right, reached across my body with my glove hand and made the catch, on the fly:
It was great. I got a bunch of high fives from people. It was an awesome moment.
For the rest of the game I sat back, relaxed and watched the rest of the game. The Royals won 5-4
Talk about a great way to start the season! Thank God baseball is back!
2 balls at this game ( one pictured here because I gave my BP ball to Leighton )
2 balls this season ( so far )
14 balls lifetime
Ryan Mortensen: 4