A lot has been happening this week so I apologize that this Sundays blog has came so late. I will tell you about the game in a minute. I need to get some other things covered before we start talking baseball. First things first. My charity projects have been totally awesome. And thats mostly in part by my awesome fans that have pledged some money per baseball that I snag this year. So far I have snagged 26 baseballs this season and next week the Texas Rangers and the Chicago Whitesox come to town. So I am uber excited about that. ( First time using the word uber in my blog ) Also. A good friend of mine has put up $10 large towards Snagging Baseballs for Puppies. I think that is very thoughtful of him. So thank you, Ryan.
Something else I need to get off my chest. For years Ive had specific rules when I snag baseballs at games. One rule that Ive been sticking to is that I only count baseballs that I go home with. Well, on Saturday, David DeJesus threw me a baseball that I didnt count. But I caught it. Now we all know in professional sports if a player catches a ball and has positive control over it, its ruled a catch, right? Well, the same should go for me when Im snagging baseballs in the stands. I also looked back into my previous games and found that I had indeed caught a baseball, gave it away, and then counted it in my collection. It happened last year at Kauffman Stadium when I caught a career high of five baseballs. So naturally I should count the one thrown to me from DeJesus. Everyone agree? Good.
Oh, one last thing. Because I have SiriusXM radio in my car which means I normally dont listen to AM/FM radio but since my car is in the shop I had to drive a loaner today. So no SiriusXM. I know. Youre like, “So?”. Well, its about to get interesting. On my way to school I tuned into 99.9FM KISW the Rock of Seattle. The BJ Shea Morning Experience radio show was on and these guys were talking about how President Obama showed his birth certificate finally and then they asked the audience what sort of things are we tired of having to prove but no one believes us. Well, I texted in ” Ive snagged 124 baseballs from 7 different stadiums.” As I was pulling into the school parking lot the KISW radio team called me! They asked me if I wanted to be on the air and talk about this. I was all for it, of course… so here is the radio interview for your listening pleasure. Just fast-forward to about the 18 minute mark.
So lets talk about Sundays game. Shall we? Sundays game looked like this during batting practice ( Or lack there-of ) practically the entire time.
So it was pretty boring. Then the Athletics came out to stretch, and do their thing. More boring-ness.
Like I said. There wasnt a whole lot going on. Before the game on Sundays its pretty mellow and boring. I did have some Athletics fan chew my ear off for about 30 minutes though. So I kind of enjoyed that.
I did finally get the chance to give Brad Ziegler some U.S Army wristbands Ive been wanting to get to him. He has a foundation that I mentioned in my last few blog entries. Its actually a pretty awesome foundation. You should check it out. Brad Ziegler was sort of busy talking to what seemed to be a reporter. I overheard him mention his foundation but then they hugged. So Im not sure who the woman was. Then I waited for another Athletics fan to get his autograph, and then I moved in to hand him the wristbands. I briefly explained that I was in the Army for ten years, and I wanted him to have the wristbands. I was going to go on about giving one to David DeJesus but he seemed kind of taken back from the whole thing, and quickly thanked me as he was stepping away to go to he dugout. I thought it would be a better experience then that. I was sort of disappointed at first…but he probably receives so much stuff from fans. I left it at that.
So I pretty much spent the entire game standing in the new area at Safeco Field called “The ‘Pen”. And let me tell you. If you havent gone there yet, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? Well, actually. I take that back. Friday and Saturday games the ‘Pen is full of drunks. So its really not my scene. But Sundays game was calm, quiet and lots of older couples were in there. So it was pretty mellow. I ate here.
Remember how I said I was going to eat at a new venue every Sunday game and blog about it? Im telling you. If youve ever had good pizza you havent had great pizza until you eat a slice of heaven here. I had two slices of pepperoni and a small soda. It ran me about $14 and some change but so worth it. Its very messy so make sure you get lots of napkins. They are located on the left and right side of the venue. The awesome part about it is that this pizza didnt give me any heartburn.
Before I settled in the ‘Pen area I made sure to get on the board with at least one baseball today. I bet you cant guess who I got it from? I got it from Mark Ellis of course. My first baseball that Mark Ellis ever threw me happened at Busch Stadium on June 18th 2010. My second baseball from Mark Ellis happened a game later at Busch Stadium. And if youve been following this years blog entries youll know that Mark Ellis tossed me a baseball on Friday. So Mark Ellis is now tied with Todd Helton and Jonny Gomes for most baseballs tossed up by players. So todays baseball that he tossed me would give him the lead with four! I anticipate that he will continue to climb the ladder of most baseballs tossed to me by any player because Oakland comes to town two more times this year.
Unfortunatly, no home run balls were hit into the ‘Pen. I thought I would have dibs on anything hit into there too. So I was kind of disappointed. And I figured Id get a baseball from Brad Ziegler at the end of the game as well. But he threw one to some girl. I also didnt keep my Athletics hat on either while I was down there. So that probably made him think twice of who I was. I knew he remembered me though. So when I got home after the game I made sure I Tweeted him a thank you Tweet for accepting my wristbands. And sure he enough! He Tweeted back!
Game; April 24th 2011 Oakland Athletics vs Seattle Mariners
Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $20.00 this season.
Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $6.25 this season.
I’m probably the last guy on planet earth to have given my two-cents on this book. I mean I read it from front to back within seven hours after it was delivered to my house. Personally I wasn’t as interested in the history of the baseball as I thought I would be. I like Zack Hamples second book Watching Baseball Smarter better. That book is my favorite because it gave you an insight about the game. It gave you answers to all of those zany quirks and all of those ” Why does he do that?” questions.
The book goes well in-depth of how the baseball was created. Zack even draws out a timeline of the first baseball used in a game. It’s very interesting stuff. The last two-hundred pages or so pretty much tell you how to snag a baseball from a game. If you’ve ever read his first book How to Snag a Baseball at a Major League Stadium then you’ll probably end up skimming through this section like I did. Although there are key tips in this new book that weren’t in his first book. So if you’re a Ballhawk thats just starting out or all you want is just one baseball at a game then I would advise reading this section thoroughly. If you’ve already snagged over 100 baseballs or even 50 then I would say you’re on the right track and you can probably just pick through what you want and leave the rest.
I’m glad I bought the book. I love reading about baseball in general. Zack has an interesting way with words and his sense of humor isnt over the top. Its a great read and worth every penny.
Fans vs Fans
Well, another season is about to kick off. Im sure every baseball fan is getting ready for opening day. As I have stated many times I will be in Oakland at their Home Opener against my beloved Seattle Mariners. I really can’t wait and this week is killing me in anticipation. It’s hard to sleep at night knowing that in nearly 72 hours I’ll be at the Oakland-Coliseum trying to snag my 100th baseball. After I read The Baseball by Zack Hample I of course looked through his blog to try to find a blog entry of him at the Coliseum so I could get a leg up on the competition. You know, to find those tips and secrets that not everyone knows.
Well, to my surprise I found a lot of other blogs bashing Ballhawks. Do I consider myself a Ballhawk? Yes. I do. Its kind of bothersome to read these blogs that are floating out there though. I’ve never seen a physical altercation in the bleachers over a baseball and I’ve never witnessed any fights break out during games because a fan wasn’t sitting in their assigned seats. But one blog really stood out. http://mccarpie.mlblogs.com/archives/2009/10/ugh_ballhawks.html
Now I know she blogged this in 2009 and I even left a comment. But it’s just irritating that people draw these conclusions about Ballhawks. I have never seen anyone run over a kid. I have never seen anyone push the elderly out of the way. And I have been to plenty of baseball games. But thats not what bothers me the most. Its these self-righteous, holier-than-thou attitudes these people have and claim that every baseball hit into the stands should be given to the nearest five-year old. The Major Leagues has a huge job. They have to please everyone from the ages of 1-99. Thats a huge job. People that go to these game want to be apart of it. Hangout with the players. Walk around the field. Catch a baseball. Some people just want to sit in the cheap seats, eat a hotdog, and drink a beer. Tailgaters want to sit outside, drink beer, eat food until just before game time. Some people show up hours early to attend batting practice and shag home run baseballs. The bottom line is; ITS ALL APART OF THE GAME.
Another blog that was pretty explicit was this one http://www.millerparkdrunk.com/ Im not going to post any of the blogs about him bashing Ballhawks. If you want to read them you can pick through the blog and find them. But anyway. The point I am trying to make about this particular blog is this guy is a tailgater at Miller Park. His thing is to come to baseball games, drink beer, and eat food. Yet he complains and takes shots at guys like The Happy Youngster and Zack Hample for doing their thing at a game. Whats with all this hate? Cant a person just come to the baseball stadium and enjoy their time there?
Well, I’m not going to sit here and beat a dead horse. Its just nonsense and I guess that’s apart of life. I’ve had a few situations with fans resulting in name calling and crying kids. Like the time in Kauffman Stadium when I caught three baseballs in one game from Todd Helton. I was heckled by three college students that were obviously intoxicated. And the other time at Busch Stadium when Randy Wolf managed to drill some three year old in the face with a baseball when he air mailed it to me. Baseball will be around a long, long time. Any five year old kid today that doesn’t get a baseball will probably get one ten years from now when he goes to baseball games on his own. Like me.
Until next time…
Remember this picture? Most importantly do you remember seeing Todd Helton on Crownvision? Well today was a big day for both myself, and Todd Helton.
Well, to start things off the game started promptly at 1:00pm. Batting practice took place but I didnt get a toss up from any players, and NOTHING was hit into the seats. Except maybe a few homeruns. It really was boring. My first baseball came from Dexter Fowler. After the position players warmed up most of them did not throw a single ball into the stands. I think Ian Stewart threw one though. Like yesterday, and Friday here came security. It was my last game in Kauffman for a while so I decided to stick up for the youngsters trying to get Troy Tulowitskis autograph who was signing yet again. The ushers came down, and started asking for tickets. I dont know why they ask for tickets. They know no one has a ticket thats standing by the railing. I stood my ground, and ignored the usher as long as I could stand it.
” Sir, you need to find your seat if you dont have a ticket to be here.” She said.
” I know.” I continued to stand without moving.
” Sir. Youll need to find your seat now. The game is about to start.” She explained.”
” The game starts in five minutes. We have plenty of time.” I said back to her barely turning around.
” Sir. Without a ticket you cant stand here.” She said once again.
” Well, Ive been standing here most of batting practice, and I dont have a ticket. So what makes it so I cant stand here now?” I said back to her desperatly trying to buy some time for the kids to get their autographs.
” Well, the game is soon to start. Youll have to move.” She said again. This time in a little more of a harsh tone.
” Lady, we are down here four minutes to game time to get autographs from our favorite players. Let the kids do their thing, and we will be gone before first pitch. Stop being such a nazi about this stuff. We are here to have fun. Not be harassed by security.” I said in a more harsh tone.
She stared at me for a few seconds, and as I kept my eyes on the Rockies. Dexter Fowler was getting up, and walking to his glove. I stepped away from the usher, scurried through the row, and called to him with my glove up. He nodded, and underhanded me the ball. I looked back to the usher, and smiled to her.
” See? We are having fun, and we arent in anybodys way.” I said, as I started up the stairs. I got some light applause, and a pat on the back from a fan as I made my way up the stairs. If this is what Kauffman Stadium has turned into I think I wont ever be going back.
I took this picture before the ushers started their little harassment antics. Todd Helton is out there sitting down with his teammates. My seats were in section 122 right behind the dugout three rows up. So I had really great seats, and they were right behind the Rockies dugout. So I felt pretty good about getting multiple toss ups from the players.
This is a picture of where I sat at the game. The seats were great because Todd Helton would have to cross in front of me after he caught the third out to get to the dugout. So after the third out was caught at first base by Todd Helton, I quickly stood up and waved to him for the ball. He lobbed a high toss up my way, and I felt someone step on my foot, and then back right into me as I made the catch. I looked down, and this young kid from the seat in front of me was actually trying to catch the ball! I was amazed! Helton had lobbed it so high that there was no way that kid ( or anyone else for that matter ) would have caught the ball. The kid sat down pouting. His dad started to explain that Todd Helton threw it to me because I had on a Rockies hat. Then he told his son that maybe if I were to get another one Id give it to him.
The third inning came. Three up, and three down went the Royals. Now this next part is 100% true. I stood up to stretch. I wasnt trying to get Heltons attention by any means. I raised my arms above my head, and I was in full stretch mode when Todd Helton tossed another baseball my direction just like the last one! I couldnt believe it! So I moved over, and made the catch. No one was even paying attention. In fact if I had just let the ball go it would have landed in some little girls nachos, and made a huge mess. I dont think her parents would have appreciated her kid getting hit square in the nachos by a baseball. So I made the catch. It was my second baseball from Todd Helton. I was really in shock. But whatever. The kid in front of me that tried to catch the last one was gone. They exited their seats moments before the final out of the inning. Tough break for you kid.
By the sixth inning a lot of the kids had witnessed Todd Helton tossing multiple baseballs into the crowd. So the first two rows in front of me were empty by now. The Rockies were winning 11-4 so a lot of Royals fans were leaving. The Royals quickly went in order, and Todd Helton was on his way to the dugout again. Well, I had stood up to cheer the Rockies because they got out of base loaded jam, and I was excited. Well, I guess so was Todd Helton. He lobbed another ball towards me but it was falling short. I had to lean forward over the seats in front of me to catch the ball. Once I got it I passed it off to my buddy Ryan that accompanied me to the game. He had always wanted a ball, and since Todd Helton was being over generous to me I figured I could share one with my friend. So Todd Helton had thrown three in our direction. Im not sure why. But he did. So that was my fourth ball of the day.
Once we caught that third one though the fans behind us started to boo us a little. Some college kids started talking crap, and calling us trash. They told us we should give all the balls we caught to little kids. After I made the catch someone behind me said something along the lines that I had two baseballs now or something. I had told my buddy Ryan that if we catch another one we will start to get negative attention from the fans. Thats exactly what happened. So catching a fourth ball from Helton would probably be really bad. But I didnt care. I was loving the fact that I caught three balls from one player in one game.
Jason Giambi, and Troy Tulowitski went deep in the game, and Giambis home run ball landed down behind the batters eye. I made a decent plan to jump down there after security left to retrieve the ball. If you have read Zack Hamples Kauffman Stadium blogs when he was there, he jumped down there, and snagged up like 17 baseballs. Well, Ive been going to a few games at Kauffman now, and they strategically placed a ladder to get down there now. The balls get cleared out of there every few games now. So there isnt a chance for them to really stack up. Unfortunatly, after the game before I could even head over there, an usher went down behind the batters eye, and retrieved the ball for a kid. But it wasnt over.
The final out of the game, and I stood up to stand by the dugout. I was going to get one last baseball. Kids were pushing, and shoving their way inbetween me, and eventually some kids father tried to box me out. Glen Allen Hill had a baseball, and was pacing back and forth in front of the dugout. I didnt want to call his name out to draw attention to myself so I simply raised my glove, and nodded to him. He smiled, and tossed it to me. I caught the ball in what had seemed like a million hands were trying to grab for it. I made a clean catch, and quickly faded out of the group, and up the stairs. Five on the day. Three from one player. Not bad.
Game: Kansas City Royals Vs Colorado Rockies May 23rd 2010 1:00pm
Game Balls: Five