This offseason I will be reviewing all the baseball stadiums I have been to. I will be reviewing them based on 3 things: Ballhawking, Fan experience, and surrounding area ( the area around the Ballpark and city ). First up is Wrigley Field.
Wrigley Field is not the best ballhawking park. The first problem you run into is the ushers. They are very strict, but friendly ( most of the time ). They ask where you are going every time you walk in the cross aisle and It slows you down a ton. Before you walk in the cross aisle come up with an excuse just in case ( and don’t talk about ballhawking! They seem oblivious to it, and we don’t want that to change….).
The next problem you run into is tickets. In order to get into the bleachers you need a bleacher ticket. It is pretty annoying being contained to the seating bowl during BP. Second, if you want to go for third out balls you can’t enter the sections right behind the dugout unless you have a ticket there. If you don’t have a ticket you can only enter that section after the game. Those tickets price from around $90 to $110 depending on who the Cubs are playing.
The gates open 2 hours early almost every day. Before the gates open you can ballhawk on Waveland and Sheffield avenues for baseballs flying out over the bleachers. 2014 may be the last year this is possible, since the Cubs are putting up a ridiculously large jumbo tron in left field. Don’t bother bringing the glove or cup trick. If you are caught using it you could be kicked from the stadium. If you have any ballhawking questions please leave a comment.
The feeling of being at Wrigley Field is impossible to describe. It is surreal to walk in and see the Scoreboard, and the Ivy on the walls. Overall it is a great experience. It has a very friendly atmosphere. The crowds are large, especially in the summer. There are so many diehard fans, and friendly people. The food is nothing special, but it isn’t horrible. Beers and Soda is ridiculously over priced, so bring your own soda and water. I don’t think you can bring in beer or alcohol. I recommend to sit back relax and take in the scenery ( the best time for this is after BP and before the game starts. )
The Wrigleyville neighborhood has so many local places to eat, within walking distance of the park. If you need a quick bite to eat before hitting the road there are many fast food places also. If you are wondering about safety, there is a large police presence on gamedays. And Wrigleyville is one of the more safe places in the city, so you can enjoy a walk around the neighborhood.
I hope this brief review was helpful to you. If you have any questions please comment.
Offseason Boredom post #1: Things I’m planning on doing this offseason and reaction to recent cubs news
Now that baseball season is over you may ask what the heck I will be doing this offseason. Well here are a few things I will be doing until Pitchers and Catchers report in February. I also have a few things to say about the recent Cubs news.
Baseball related things
Reading baseball books- I know for sure I will be reading Ted Williams by Leigh Montville, Just tell me I can’t by Jamie Moyer and Larry Platt, but I need some ideas. If anyone has recommendations please leave them in the comments
Watching MLB network- Best channel on T.V.
Training for next season- I don’t just watch baseball, I also play it.
Non baseball things
Kendama- A highly addicting Japanese skill toy. It takes lots of hand eye coordination, and I am pretty good at it. Search it on youtube. It is SUPER fun
Watching Football- Lets go Bears! In Marc we Trest!
Watching Hockey- Lets go Hawks!
Watching College basketball- I LOVE watching college basketball. It is way more entertaining than the NBA.
Cubs Hiring Rick Renteria: This is going to be interesting. I really don’t like Theo and Jed’s choice here. I think they could have gone out there and gotten a solid coach ( not that Rick Renteria isn’t ) or former manager that has proved himself, and been in a winning culture ( cough… cough… Dave Martinez… cough…cough…..) . Rick Renteria hasn’t really been in a winning culture. One of the few good things about hiring Renteria is that he speaks Spanish, so that will be good for the young Latino and Hispanic players on the Cubs.
Keith Moreland stepping down as broadcaster: If you didn’t get to listen to Keith on WGN radio that is to bad. He brought great insights and stories to the radio booth. He wasn’t as great as Ron Santo was, but Ron was a different type of broadcaster that is impossible to replace, but Keith was pretty good. I am sad to see another Cubs radio broadcaster’s time with the Cubs end so abruptly.
Cubs and WGN tv possibly parting ways at the end of 2014: This stinks. The Cubs have always had at least some of their games on WGN every season. And with WGN being a national station this would be bad for Cubs fans who live all over the country. I guess money means more to the Cubs than their fans do…………
2013 was a great season. My family and I went to 9 games. 2 Cubs games, 3 Sox games, 2 Brewers games, A Pirates game, and an Indians game. I finished the season with 10 baseballs.
There are a few thank you’s I need to give.
First of all to my parents- Thank you for taking us to all these games, and for putting up with me talking about ballhawking all the time.
Zack, Erik, Mike, and Shawn- Thank you for taking the time out of your day ( and games ) to meet me. I look forward to seeing you next year.
Nice Ushers- Thanks for giving us more opportunities to ballhawk. Tell your colleagues to be nicer.
Everyone reading this- Thanks for reading my blog. It has been a great first season.
What should I write about in the offseason? Any Ideas? Baseball book reviews? Stadium reviews? Give me your ideas in the comments.
If anyone needs a few blogs to read this offseason here are a few I read:
Mateo Fisher’s blog: http://mateofischer.mlblogs.com/
Tony Voda’s blog: plouffesnewhairdo.mlblogs.com
Todd Cook’s blog: cookandsonbats.mlblogs.com
Zack Hample’s blog: zackhample.mlblogs.com
Stay tuned for an upcoming post with lots of pictures……
I couldn’t believe this was the last game of the season! It went by so quick! We got to the game around 30 minutes before the gates opened ( which I am pretty sure is a record for us when it comes to Sox games ). After we parked we bought our lower corner seats at the box office, put our dog Jett: Into the dog check and got in line 10 minutes before the gates opened. When we got in we saw this: No BP, 2 games in a row. As soon as we saw that we moved down by where there were 2 Royals playing catch: And got nothing. But then I got a call from my mom and she said that Steve Stone and Ron Kittle were signing autographs in the concourse: I had them sign my ticket and scorecard. By the time I found Nick and Jack the Royals were done playing catch. When Nick and Jack were in line for autographs I met ballhawk Shawn behind the Royals dugout. We talked about mygameballs.com’s new verification system, and other ballhawking stuff. I was kind of relieved when he told me he was also getting shut out. It drives me nuts being the only one getting shut out. After I said bye to Shawn; Nick, Jack, and I moved here: And didn’t get any baseballs, but Nick did. But I did have Nate Jones sign my ticket.
He is in the Cubs jersey at the bottom of the stairs. He was also wearing a Bears helmet.
In the bottom of the between the Eighth and Ninth inning we moved to the closed unguarded section ( yes, the ushers were actually checking tickets…… not a good sign….. ) to the Royals dugout. And after the top of the Ninth ended Nick, Jack and I moved here:
And a girl got Josh Phegley’s bat.
After that we left the stadium, picked up our dog, and left.
Its gonna be a LONG winter……
10 baseballs this season, 12 lifetime
Skipping school. Going to the Cubs game. Ferris Bueller style. We got to Wrigley field around 10 minutes before the gates opened, bought our rather expensive tickets at the box office, and then got in the small line under the marquee to get into the stadium. When we got in this was the scene: No BP. But this was going on in right field: After they were done talking they started playing catch and I moved here: After they finished playing catch I ran back over to where I was and got bullpen coach Euclides Rojas to throw me a ball: It is my ball ever at Wrigley Field. After that Jason Grilli came and signed autographs for EVERY SINGLE PERSON waiting: He even signed my brother’s shirt! I had him sign my baseball: He is THE best. After the Pirates went into the clubhouse I went into the concourse to buy a scorecard. But they were SOLD OUT! You got to be kidding me! I know the Cubs are pretty cheap but you really didn’t print enough scorecards? Unbelievable.
Like I said earlier they were pretty expensive, but they were great seats. This was the only Cubs game I have ever went to when I was pulling for the other team. The Pirates were still in the division race and we really wanted them to win the division. That is one of the reasons we went to this game.
But as usual we didn’t get any chances at any foul balls. As for the game the Cubs jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first but the Pirates came back and tied it. Eventually the Cubs pulled away and won 4-1.
But before the game ended lots of stuff happened. In the top of the ninth Nick and Jack ( my brothers ) and I went here:
In hopes of getting to the Pirates dugout at the end of the game to get a ball. At Wrigley field the ushers don’t let you go into the section right behind the dugouts. Even for a 3rd out ball. It stinks, I know, but at least they let you in at the end of the game. Anyway, as soon as the last out was recorded we ran down to the dugout. We told everyone good luck in the playoffs and then Garrett Jones randomly said ” here guys ” and slid this beautiful, game used, broken bat:
Nick and I grabbed it at the same time so we shared it. It’s a ” Max bat ” model AM22. It has a crack from about half way up the handle to around where the black part of the bat starts. Its pretty cool.
After that we went back to around where our seats were, had our parents hold the bat, and we went down by the Pirates bullpen because they were still warming someone up, to get their work in I think. When they were done warming up Rojas threw me a ball, AGAIN! Wow! Has anyone else gotten two balls from one player in one game?
Thats them on the bridge. I would have gotten a better picture but I really didn’t have a chance.
A good last game at the real, authentic Wrigley Field that I know and love……..
2 baseballs, 10 this season, 12 lifetime
8 ( I think ) straight Cubs wins when I am in attendance ( they have never lost a game when I have went ).
We went to this game straight from school, so we were on pace to get there about 45 minutes before the gates opened ( 5:40 ). And then Traffic happened.
The entrance to I-94 from I-894 was closed. To make a long story short we made it there with around 10 minutes to spare. We went and bought our tickets at the box office ( we used the $10 vouchers we got at the last game ) and got in line right when they opened the gates
When we got in the stadium we ran over to the right field bleachers. After asking the 2 Reds players that were in right field for a ball we decided to move around a bit. First we headed to the second deck in right:
( I borrowed that pic from my friend Matthew’s Instagram, he came with )
Then we made the trek over to the second deck in left.
And got nothing.
After a few close calls I got Chris Heisey’s attention and he threw me a ball. It was my 10th ball lifetime.
My brother Nick tried using the glove trick for a ball ( upper right in the photo above ) and an usher yelled at him. I guess the glove trick is officially outlawed at Miller Park….. After BP was over the grounds crew came into the ‘pen and tossed all the balls out. Both of my brothers got one.
The game was pretty exciting. It seemed like the Brewers played with lots of energy. They jumped out to an early 2 run lead in the first and didn’t look back. The final score was 5-1. Kyle Lohse pitched a complete game. Carlos Gomez tied a career high 5 RBIs.
So he went to the ball bag and grabbed one for them. But here is the interesting part. I saw from afar that it was a Rockies 20th anniversary commemorative ball. Has anyone else gotten a commemorative ball from the Reds?
Can you guess why? Leave you guess in the comments ( that excludes you Nick….. )
In the 9th inning we moved to the seats right behind the Reds bullpen ( right above the yellow UW Milwaukee sign when it is shown on TV ) to get in position for a ball after the game ended. One ball was thrown into the crowd and Nick caught it.
Another good game at Miller Park
1 ball, 8 this year, 10 lifetime
4 consecutive games with at least 1 ball
Aviator Stadium? Yes, Aviator Stadium, Home of the Rockford Aviators of the Frontier league. They used to be the Rockford RiverHawks, until they held a name the team contest and some lucky person ( who was most likely bribed by the Chicago Rockford International Airport ) submitted the name Aviators, and won season tickets for life. Don’t you think Rockford Rock would sound better? ( that was my submission )
We went to this game because I got ticket vouchers from a baseball camp I went to earlier in the summer and this was basically the last chance to use them. We got there in the 3rd or 2nd inning ( I don’t remember ) and our seats were right behind the Aviator’s dugout:
They were pretty good seats. It is fun to be right there with the action and see the velocity, and break on pitches etc. When we got to the game it was already 6-0 Aviators, but the Slammers came back and grabbed the lead.
Aviator’s Stadium has a bit of a strange layout. It has no bleachers or outfield seating except the party porch in right field, so behind the fence there isn’t anything but weeds. So every game we go to at some point we sneak behind the fence and look for baseballs. This game we did it around the 4th inning when someone on the slammers crushed a homer over the left field fence. When we got behind the fence we ran over to where we thought the home run landed and looked for the ball. I was the lucky one to find it:
And went back into the stadium.
After that we tried for foul balls for an inning or 2 and then my brother Nick and I went and sat in a almost completely empty section by the Slammers bullpen. We talked to the bullpen catcher and a few pitchers for a bit. After we talked for awhile the bullpen catcher gave us some gum:
And a baseball. After that we went and sat behind the net with our Dad and our brother Jack.
In the bottom of the 9th inning Jack and I went by the Slammers dugout, so Jack could go for a ball, and I could go for a lineup card. With 2 outs and a man on 1st an Aviators hitter hit an easy pop up to shallow right field that was NOT caught for the last out of the game. The next batter crushed a home run to the Party Porch. Jack and I sprinted to the porch and started looking around for the ball. When the ball was found by someone else we sprinted back to the Slammers dugout and I asked for the lineup card. When I asked about it this guy (in the white shirt):
Said ” Don’t bug them right now “. And I started walking away. They he said ” Here you go ” and he gave me the card:
When I started walking away he started ranting about how much he hated Rockford. Whatever. Rockford isn’t that bad.
It was quite a game. Go ROCKFORD!
3 baseballs, 3 minor league balls this season.
1 lineup card
1 piece of gum
It has been about a week and a half since MLB doled out the suspensions, and I really haven’t had a chance to talk about them at all.
I have heard people talk about Alex Rodriguez’s suspension as not fair. I completely disagree. His suspension is completely fair. What I people are getting confused about is this suspension isn’t just the result of A-Rod taking PED’s, it is also a result of him interfering with MLB’s investigation. It has also been said that he recruited others to take PED’s. In my opinion he should be suspended for life.
Ryan Braun is the one player that just makes me MAD. He cheated, succeeded at covering it up, and made everyone believe him. He let down Brewers and baseball fans everywhere ( including me ). He has lots of explaining to do………
Once this CBA expires I think they should create a new drug policy along these lines: First positive test: suspended for a whole season, including the playoffs. Second positive test: Suspended for life. Most of the player’s would support this policy because they play the game the right way and don’t take PED’s. That is the only way to clean up the game. There are too many chances given to players that cheat, and they are going to keep taking those chances unless MLB invokes stricter penalties.
This was an Interesting game ballhawking wise. This is the first game I brought Zack Hample’s glove trick to and I had a few opportunities to use it.
When my brother ( Nick ) and I ran in the stadium he got in line to get some autographs that the Sox have every family sunday, and I tried to get a toss up from a Twins player. I probably would have recognized him if he didn’t have sunglasses on. Then all of a sudden BP ended. It kind of seemed early. That’s the problem with stadiums only opening 90 minutes early.
Once Nick got a few autographs we went to the Twins bullpen to see if there were any baseballs sitting around. Sure enough, there was a ball sitting in perfect position for the glove trick.
Nick ” called it ” and started setting it up in his glove. Once he got it set up his string was a tangled mess. He tried untangling it and reeling it down but he needed it to be untangled more for it to reach the ball. When he finally got his string untangled he got the ball without a problem.
After that we walked over to the White Sox bullpen. This is where things get interesting. There were 3 balls in the bullpen; 2 were close to the stands, and one was sitting over by the wall. My brother went for the 2 sitting close to the stands while I went for the one by the back wall ( when they show the sox bullpen on TV it would be right in front of the Majestic ad ). When Nick used the half-glove trick ( when you take the pen and rubber bands off the glove and throw the glove at the ball to knock it closer ) to get the ball within arms reach a security guard came out of some stairs right by the stairs and told my brother to ” STOP ” right as he was about to grab the ball. Meanwhile I was using the half-glove trick myself to get the ball close enough to use the full glove trick. When the guard was done reprimanding Nick on how he ” couldn’t use that ” and ” He couldn’t give the ball away or else he would get fired ” and ” There were cameras everywhere watching him ” he came over to me ( right as my glove descending on the ball ) and took the ball. I asked him ” Can I have that? ” and he said ” No I can’t give it to you. ” and I said ” I thought security couldn’t keep baseballs ” and he said something inaudible and walked away with the baseballs that we would have had.
What the heck. I just didn’t get it, and I still can’t seem to figure it out. 1) It’s in the bullpen, not on the field. 2) Nothing was going on on the field, and no one was in the bullpen. 3) We were trying to get baseballs, and we weren’t hurting anyone. 4) We didn’t have any trouble in the Twins bullpen. No wonder there aren’t any regular ballhawks at U.S. Cellular……… I was completely convinced I was going to get shut out, and any thought of ballhawking was driving me nuts.
After the bullpen fiasco Nick and I met up with our Parents and Jack ( my youngest brother ). We bought our scorecards and found our seats. Before the game started 2 things happened: 1) My Dad’s friend Scott met us at our seats. (He is one of the smartest people I have met, and he is great to talk baseball with) 2) Nick and I went down by the left field line to try to get a ball from some some White Sox playing catch. I think Gordon Beckham was playing catch with Jordan Danks, and Alejandro De Aza was playing catch with someone I couldn’t Identify. After De Aza was done I asked him if I could have the ball in spanish. He looked around the crowd and then pointed to a little kid in front of me and tossed it to him. If the kid wasn’t there he most likely would have tossed it to me.
and watched the game.
The game was a shutout until Brian Dozier hit a solo home run into the White sox bullpen to break the silence. Me and Nick rushed down to the bullpen to ask for the ball. By the time we got down there they had picked the ball up and put it somewhere. On our way up the stairs an usher said ” You can’t go there during the game “. Why didn’t you tell me that when I was walking TO the bullpen?
Between the top and bottom of the 9th innings all of us moved to empty seats behind home plate with the idea of getting an umpire ball after the game. The White Sox attempted to start a comeback, with 2 solo home runs; one by Adam Dunn ( Who always seems to hit home runs only when it doesn’t matter ), and one by Connor Gillaspie in the bottom of the 9th. While this was happening my brothers and I were getting in great position for an umpire ball. We waited at the top of the section that went right above of where the umpires exit. Once Tyler Flowers struck out to end the game we went right down the stairs right into the perfect position. When Home Plate umpire Dan Iassogna started walking through the tunnel he handed 2 or 3 balls to people in the seats right behind home plate ( where you need a special ticket to get into ) and then tossed me his last baseball! YES! Sweet relief! It was a near perfect ball:
All mud-rubbed and game ready. Pretty cool.
I found out a few things after this game: 1) U.S. Cellular field’s ushers are more annoying than you would think. 2) I need to write the White Sox about the gates opening 90 minutes early. 3) I need to go for umpire balls more often 4) I need to take more pictures
1 baseball, 7 this season
3 games in a row with at least 1 ball
1.17 balls per game average
We decided to go to this game mainly because the Nationals were in town. Earlier this year my dad went to a Nats game and my dad ended up meeting Mike Rizzo ( Nationals GM )
When we got into the stadium we went down by the right field line to try to get a toss up. There were only a few players there, and they weren’t tossing any baseballs into the crowd, so we moved to the right field bleachers to try to get a home run. There were very few opportunities for home runs. My best shot at a ball was a ground rule double that bounced of the warning track right to my brother. I bounced off his glove, and then bounced around a bunch of other people’s gloves, and a little girl ended up catching it. What was just driving me CRAZY was there were 3 baseballs just sitting on in the right field bullpen that would have been easy to get with Zack Hample’s glove trick. I will definitely bring that to the next game….
After having no luck in the bleachers we moved to Toyota Territory in right center field. A nice usher let us in. There were two Nationals standing right in front of us. Almost every ball they got they threw back in. Then an unidentified nat hit a ball of the wall and one of the players came to get it. I asked for it and he tossed it up to me. I am having a hard time figuring out who he is. He is one of these 2:
I know one of them is Ian Kroll but I can’t figure out the other one.
After I got that ball I backed off and let my brothers go for toss ups, and I just went for home runs. The Nationals decided not to use any left-handed power, and I didn’t get any more baseballs. Right after batting practice ended we ran around the concourse to the Nationals dugout to try to get some baseballs or autographs. We got to the dugout to late to get baseballs, but Stephen Strasburg was signing autographs! I really wanted him to sign something. When I was getting in the line for him to sign an usher started kicking people out of the section! OHMYGOODNESS can’t you just let people get some autographs?!? Its Stephen Strasburg!!!!! Some ushers just don’t know anything about baseball…….
After that we headed to our seats in the upper deck.
It was pretty cool to see Hank Aaron in person.
After Yount threw the first pitch, the game got under way.
Classic. Shame on Braun.
Between the top and bottom halves of the 9th we moved to the field level.
That is when I should’ve/Could’ve/would’ve caught a foul ball. I had the choice of sitting behind home plate, or moving behind the Brewers or Nationals dugouts. At first we started walking towards the Brewer’s dugout, but I figured the Nats were going to win, so I would have a better chance at getting at ball there. So when we started walking in that direction a foul pop up came over the net right to the spot I was standing. I tried to get back to catch the ball, but I couldn’t get it. UUUUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!! The thought is still driving me crazy a week later!
When we made it to the Nationals dugout after the Nationals won my dad pointed out Mike Rizzo. When he started walking up the steps my dad asked him if we could get a picture, and he said yes:
1 baseball, 6 this year
1.20 average balls per game