July 2009

7/24/09 @ Miller Park

I had two (2) objectives:

  1. Snag as many baseballs as possible (like always)
    AND
  2. Give them all away.

I’ve always given away baseballs to deserving kids, but I’ve never given a whole day’s snagging away.  It seems I’ve always returned home with one.

I wanted to mix things up a bit.
Let the snagging tales begin…

4:30 pm – Arrived at Miller Park.

4:40 pm – Grabbed a bullpen patio table at Friday’s Front Row Bar & Grill.

5:10 pm – Spotted this…

7_24_09 Braves vs Brewers @ Miller Park.jpg

…nestled tightly against the rolled-up tarp.  Hmm.

5:10-5:22 pm – Plotted how I would snag said ball.

5:25 – Relocated to barricaded area down the left field concourse.

5:30 pm – Stadium seating bowl open.

5:30 pm – Sprinted like hell to tarp.

5:31 pm – hand-picked BALL #1 off field!  Yay!

5:47 pm – glove-tricked BALL #2 out of Brewers bullpen.

5:48 pm – glove-tricked BALL #3 out of Brewers bullpen (while I had been reeling up ball #2, ball #3 bounced into the pen in nearly the same spot).

5:55 pm – Snagged a MATT DIAZ BP homer off the railing (it ricocheted off the front railing and spun straight toward me in the 3rd row at a million miles per hour…landing safely in my glove without touching the ground).

6:05 pm – Snagged GARRETT ANDERSON BP homer on fly.

6:06-6:22 pm – twiddled my thumbs while hoping for homers as BP came to a bitter end.

6:30 pm – glove-tricked BALL #6 out of visitor’s bullpen.
Immediately handed it to a nearby youngster.

6:45-7:02 pm – gave the remaining five (5) baseballs away to deserving youngsters.

7:07 pm – 1st pitch.

8:25 pm – left the stadium (missed my wife and kids…needed some family time).

 

 

2009 BALLHAWKING STATS

  • 6 total balls 7/24/09

3 batted baseballs

3 device

ATTENDANCE:  41,941

2009 TOTAL BASEBALLS

4/7/09   = 5   baseballs
4/8/09   = 10 baseballs
4/9/09   = 10 baseballs
4/10/09 = 3   baseballs
4/11/09 = 5   baseballs
4/12/09 = 5   baseballs
4/13/09 = 11 baseballs
4/14/09 = 6   baseballs
4/21/09 = 5   baseballs
4/27/09 = 15 baseballs
4/28/09 = 9   baseballs
4/30/09 = 4   baseballs
5/01/09 = 7   baseballs
5/02/09 = 4   baseballs
5/08/09 = 11 baseballs
5/09/09 = 1   lousy ball
5/12/09 = 14 baseballs
5/13/09 = 12 baseballs
5/19/09 = 8   baseballs
5/22/09 = 3   baseballs
5/23/09 = 2   baseballs
5/26/09 = 3   baseballs
5/29/09 = 6   baseballs
5/30/09 = 5   baseballs
6/01/09 = 1   baseball
6/02/09 = 9   baseballs
6/09/09 = 4   baseballs
6/10/09 = 0   baseballs
6/11/09 = 2   baseballs
6/12/09 = 9   baseballs
6/23/09 = 6   baseballs
6/24/09 = 9   baseballs
6/26/09 = 9   baseballs
6/27/09 = 4   baseballs
6/29/09 = 3   baseballs
6/30/09 = 5   baseballs
7/07/09 = 6   baseballs
7/10/09 = 3   baseballs
7/20/09 = 7   baseballs
7/24/09 = 6   baseballs
___________________

247 baseballs (40 games)
6.18 average per game

 

 


Meeting “American Idol” David Cook

I must admit:  I like to meet famous people.

It doesn’t matter what they’re “famous” for, I just enjoy talking with people who have carved an identity for the masses.

I don’t get awe-struck.  I don’t go ga-ga. 
(Meeting Brett Favre one-on-one August of 2005 still remains the exception)

I just enjoy the interaction.

I mentioned in my previous entry that my wife and I would have the chance to meet David and his bandmates.

Here we are…
7_23_09 Meeting David Cook & Band 014.jpg

…out near his trailer.

From left to right:  Neal, Joey, my lovely wife-April, David, myself, Kyle and Andy.

Notice a few things:

1).  I’m wearing a KC Royals hat.
2).  Neal is holding a baseball.
3).  April is holding two (2) photos.
4).  Sunglasses are hip.
5).  I have a special pass affixed to my left thigh.
6).  David looks the part.

  • I’m wearing the Royals hat because David Cook was raised in Missouri and remains an avid KC Royals fan.
  • Neal is holding the baseball because I had everyone in the band sign it. 
  • April, the kind and generous soul that she is, picked two young girls out of the crowd who were standing behind a barricade trying to get an autograph with their Mother (made impossible by security). 
    Hence, the two signed photos in her hand.  Yay for April!!!  Boy, do I love her.
  • Sunglasses?  Everyone’s wearing ‘em.
  • The backstage pass allowed us past the big, beefy security guards. 
    Why are you covering yours up, April??
  • His look says it all.

After exchanging some baseball chatter and some handshakes, we parted ways.
(I told David if he sees the yellow shirted home run catcher snag Jose Guillen’s 200th career homer on ESPN-it’s me.

A few pics of the show…
7_23_09 Meeting David Cook & Band 015.jpg
7_23_09 Meeting David Cook & Band 045.jpg

7_23_09 Meeting David Cook & Band 052.jpg
7_23_09 Meeting David Cook & Band 053.jpg

The band put on a great show.  If you like a little new age rock, I would highly recommend seeing them perform.

The walk out during the encore…
7_23_09 Meeting David Cook & Band 067.jpg

A random shot of pollution…
7_23_09 Meeting David Cook & Band 010.jpg

The baseball I had signed…
7_23_09 Meeting David Cook & Band 068.jpg

7_23_09 Meeting David Cook & Band 069.jpg
7_23_09 Meeting David Cook & Band 070.jpg
7_23_09 Meeting David Cook & Band 071.jpg
…ahhhh, baseballs.  What else is there to get signed??

7/20/09 @ US Cellular Field

Let’s get the 2nd half rolling, shall we…??

 

I had spotted this date on the calendar a few months ago.  The defending A.L. champion Tampa Bay Rays were going to be in Chicago to play the south-siders on a Monday night.

I circled the date.

A good friend of mine, Jamil, was taking the trek with me.

We jumped on a train headed to downtown Chicago and before we knew it, we were in “The Windy City.”

This would be my 4th trip to “the Cell” this season. 
My 2009 U.S. Cellular Field stats:

  • 5/19 = 8 baseballs
  • 6/1   = 1 baseball (rain)
  • 6/2   = 9 baseballs

For all you math majors, that’s a 6 ball average…right on par with my current season average.

 

When we arrived at the ballpark, we immediately went to the ticket windows to purchase our seats (as you may or may not know, select tickets are 1/2 price every Monday night).

“Two 1/2 price bleacher seats, please,” I said confidently.

“All we have are upper reserved,” the ticket rep responded.

Huh?? 

Turns out it was Italian night or something.  All tickets were 1/2 price! 

Great.  Just great.  There goes my batting practice. 

For those planning a trip to see the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field:  you must have a lower level ticket to be able to access the bleachers for Batting Practice.

So, we sat by the home plate entrance and waited for a few ticket sellers/scalpers to show up.
They never came.

5:15 pm rolled around and we had to make a decision.  Either buy upper reserved and HOPE we could access the bleachers
OR
get back on the train, drink some beer and go home.

I decided we would take a chance and buy the upper reserved (total nosebleed).
After the tickets were purchased (for $9.50 each), we jumped in line.

When the gates opened, we went up the ramp and approached the security guard that was checking tickets/granting access to the lower level.

As luck would have it, he recognized me from ESPN and granted me access.
Are you kidding me?!?!

Shortly after the gates opened, the left field bleachers were crowded.
Take a look…

7_20_09 Rays vs White Sox @ US Cellular Field 001.jpg

…it got much worse.

There was another challenge…

7_20_09 Rays vs White Sox @ US Cellular Field 002.jpg

…the sun is brutal at “the Cell.”
See all the people shielding their eyes??

No worries.  I had a secret weapon to beat the crowds and the sun…the glove trick.

I was about to have a glove-trick party. 

The 1st thing I did when I ran into the left field bleachers was to scan the moat that’s positioned between the 1st row of seats and the left field wall.

What did I see??  A lonely baseball lying down there yet to be claimed.

But, wait…there’s more!

I quickly lowered the glove trick and had my 1st ball on the day.

Check this **** out…

7_20_09 Rays vs White Sox @ US Cellular Field 011.jpg

…sweet Mother of God!
An absolute perfect World Baseball Classic ball.

The White Sox are using WBC balls??  Holy hell!!

I was not finished.

A quick peek into the Sox bullpen in left field…

7_20_09 Rays vs White Sox @ US Cellular Field 004.jpg

…oh yeah!

BALL #2 and BALL #3 were waiting for me. 

What was even better?? 
#2 was another WBC ball!

What was even better than that??
#3 was given away to a nearby kid standing with his Dad.

A closer look at the two (2) WBC balls snagged…

7_20_09 Rays vs White Sox @ US Cellular Field 039.jpg

…as you can see, they were perfectly white.  Only marred by the ridiculous “PRACTICE” stamp. 

I hate that stamp.

By the time I had reeled in those three, the Rays had already begun to hit.  I found a spot in the 2nd row where I could stand and actually have enough room to itch my asssss. 
That is where I would make my biggest error on the season.

With Jamil as my witness, I had a Longoria BP homer ricochet off the end of my glove. 
It was a combination of three things I tell you:

  • sun
  • bad footwork
    and
  • white men can’t jump

    ****!!  That sucked.

It was a good thing I still had the secret weapon. 

Before BP was over, I managed to glove-trick three more balls out of the Sox bullpen, bringing my total on the day up to six (6).

BALL #6 was given to an adult.  Yeah, you read that right.  An adult. 
Earlier, the guy had that very same ball bounce off his bare hands only to have it drop into the pen.
At first, I asked him if he had any kids.  He was slow to respond which meant, “no.”

It didn’t matter.  I gave it to him, anyway. 
He had been overly cool about letting me into the aisle above where the baseballs had been lying.  Besides, he and his wife said I was awesome.  What more do you need? 

Toward the end of Batting Practice, I noticed Rays reliever Randy Choate limp-wristed one toward the front row.  It fell short and fell into the moat…
7_20_09 Rays vs White Sox @ US Cellular Field 003.jpg
…oh, darn.

After BP, I went over to the spot where I could recall the ball had landed…
7_20_09 Rays vs White Sox @ US Cellular Field 009.jpg
…there it was.
 
(The above picture was taken by leaning way over the fence and aiming my camera underneath me and the fence.  That ball could not be seen by simply looking st
raight down)

To get it, I would have to swing the glove underneath the platform and knock it back out so it would be directly below me.

Surprisingly efficient, it took me two swings to get it into position.  Another 5 seconds and BALL #7 was mine.

7 balls snagged…all via the glove trick.  Sweet.

Hey Zack…if you’re reading this, what’s your single-game record for glove-tricks??
Just curious.

Jamil posing with 2 of the 5 remaining baseballs7_20_09 Rays vs White Sox @ US Cellular Field 010.jpg
…we were having a good time.

We took a stroll, ending up over at the Rays pen. 
Just in time to see this young stud take his warm-up pitches…
Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 7_20_09 Rays vs White Sox @ US Cellular Field 020.jpgThumbnail image for 7_20_09 Rays vs White Sox @ US Cellular Field 019.jpg
7_20_09 Rays vs White Sox @ US Cellular Field 021.jpg7_20_09 Rays vs White Sox @ US Cellular Field 023.jpg

7_20_09 Rays vs White Sox @ US Cellular Field 025.jpg

…David freakin’ Price.

That guy is a stud.

The stadium was packed, so, we wandered around.
After consuming over $50 in concessions (between the two of us), we ended up behind the plate by the 9th inning.

I was going to try to make it 8 balls on the day.

For those who plan on visiting “The Cell,” the ump entrance/exit is located below…

7_20_09 Rays vs White Sox @ US Cellular Field 032.jpg

…through the gate and up that tunnel.

Home Plate umpire Mike Reilly wanted to keep his balls, though. 

No problem. 

Our night was over.

The five baseballs I took home…

7_20_09 Rays vs White Sox @ US Cellular Field 038.jpg

…which reminds me-I have to set a couple aside for Jamil’s two boys.

One final picture taken on the train-ride home…

7_20_09 Rays vs White Sox @ US Cellular Field 034.jpg

…apparently, we were not the only ones who had a fun day.


2009 BALLHAWKING STATS

  • 7 total balls 7/20/09

7 device


ATTENDANCE:  39,024

2009 TOTAL BASEBALLS

4/7/09   = 5   baseballs
4/8/09   = 10 baseballs
4/9/09   = 10 baseballs
4/10/09 = 3   baseballs
4/11/09 = 5   baseballs
4/12/09 = 5   baseballs
4/13/09 = 11 baseballs
4/14/09 = 6   baseballs
4/21/09 = 5   baseballs
4/27/09 = 15 baseballs
4/28/09 = 9   baseballs
4/30/09 = 4   baseballs
5/01/09 = 7   baseballs
5/02/09 = 4   baseballs
5/08/09 = 11 baseballs
5/09/09 = 1   lousy ball
5/12/09 = 14 baseballs
5/13/09 = 12 baseballs
5/19/09 = 8   baseballs
5/22/09 = 3   baseballs
5/23/09 = 2   baseballs
5/26/09 = 3   baseballs
5/29/09 = 6   baseballs
5/30/09 = 5   baseballs
6/01/09 = 1   baseball
6/02/09 = 9   baseballs
6/09/09 = 4   baseballs
6/10/09 = 0   baseballs
6/11/09 = 2   baseballs
6/12/09 = 9   baseballs
6/23/09 = 6   baseballs
6/24/09 = 9   baseballs
6/26/09 = 9   baseballs
6/27/09 = 4   baseballs
6/29/09 = 3   baseballs
6/30/09 = 5   baseballs
7/07/09 = 6   baseballs
7/10/09 = 3   baseballs
7/20/09 = 7   baseballs
___________________

241 baseballs (39 games)
6.18 average per game

ONE LAST NOTE:  Through a connection of mine, I’m now off to meet a celebrity who happens to be a big baseball fan.  He got a few backstage passes for my wife and I.

Here’s a few hints…

  • he’s an “IDOL”ized musician 
  • he was raised in Missouri
  • now lives in Tulsa, OK
  • performed at the 2009 Home Run Derby
  • is an avid baseball fan who cheers for the K.C. Royals. 

Any guesses or did I give it away????

 

2009 All Star Futures Game & Home Run Derby

All-Star Week was finally here.  I had been looking forward to this for months.  Much preparation had finally come to fruition. 

St. Louis…here I come.

7/11/09
My flight left Milwaukee in the evening and I arrived at the St. Louis Airport around 9:30pm.
I was staying at a friend’s house located just outside of St. Louis in the beautiful suburb of Brentwood.

Here they are picking me up at the airport…
7_13&14_09 Futures Game & Home Run Derby @ Busch Stadium 001.jpg

…Justin and I are best of friends.  We go back a long ways.

Mike (who I was staying with) is one cool dude, himself.
Mike flies these…
apache.jpg

…the apache helicopter.
One of the most unbelievable fighting machines ever created.

Both Mike and Justin are veterans of war (it’s great having friends that kick ***).

7/12/09
FUTURES GAME
I woke up early and jumped on the downtown train.  I arrived at Busch Stadium around 10:30 am and immediately found a guy selling Standing Room Only tickets.  I purchased one (1) at face value ($25) and grabbed a spot in line by the left field gate.

The line at 10:45 am…
7_13&14_09 Futures Game & Home Run Derby @ Busch Stadium 006.jpg
…everything was a “sea of red.”

When I ran into the stadium, this player was out shagging BP in right field…
7_13&14_09 Futures Game & Home Run Derby @ Busch Stadium 009.jpg
…Pirates former 1st Rd. Pick Brad Lincoln.

I congratulated him on being named to the Futures Squad. 
A few minutes later, he returned the favor by flipping me a baseball.  When I inspected the ball, I discovered it had a worn Futures Game logo on it.  Okay-that’s a start.

A group of lefties were hitting so I stayed in right field.

A big lefty (Brett Wallace, I think) started to jack a few.  One was hit hard and coming toward my section.  I ran down three rows to the bottom railing and leaned out over the fence to make a sweet grab on the fly.

Upon further inspection…
7_13&14_09 Futures Game & Home Run Derby @ Busch Stadium 010.jpg
…it was a pearl!!

I managed to snag two more Futures baseballs before BP concluded.  One was another pearl and the other was well worn.

After BP, I wandered and took a few pictures of the stadium…
7_13&14_09 Futures Game & Home Run Derby @ Busch Stadium 011.jpg

…straight-ahead toward home plate from above the right field bullpen…

and…
7_13&14_09 Futures Game & Home Run Derby @ Busch Stadium 012.jpg

…looking over to left field.

Eventually, the lineups were announced…
7_13&14_09 Futures Game & Home Run Derby @ Busch Stadium 025.jpg
…and the two teams lined up.

PLAY BALL!!

Unfortunately, they only made it through the top 1/2 of the 1st inning…
7_13&14_09 Futures Game & Home Run Derby @ Busch Stadium 026.jpg

…before the rain came.

And came…
7_13&14_09 Futures Game & Home Run Derby @ Busch Stadium 038.jpg7_13&14_09 Futures Game & Home Run Derby @ Busch Stadium 033.jpg

…!!!

So, what does one do during a 4 hr. rain delay???

Wander around, eat concessions and pose for pictures!
7_13&14_09 Futures Game & Home Run Derby @ Busch Stadium 034.jpg

                                                          Justin and I.

The weather didn’t look good…
7_13&14_09 Futures Game & Home Run Derby @ Busch Stadium 039.jpg

…judging by the big green, red and yellow blob on the radar.

After getting wet some more, we retreated to the concourse and joined all the normal people…
7_13&14_09 Futures Game & Home Run Derby @ Busch Stadium 048.jpg
…where it was totally packed. 

I’m sure the Cardinals made a killing on concessions during this delay.
Heck, I personally contributed over $20 (nachos, hot dog, ice cream cone, etc.).

There was much wetness to go around…
7_13&14_09 Futures Game & Home Run Derby @ Busch Stadium 046.jpg

…along with mass exiting…
7_13&14_09 Futures Game & Home Run Derby @ Busch Stadium 040.jpg

After another dozen messages over the PA and some more on the scoreboard, things were looking up…
7_13&14_09 Futures Game & Home Run Derby @ Busch Stadium 056.jpg
…the scoreboard says, THE FORECAST CALLS FOR THE RAIN TO END WITHIN THE HOUR, AT WHICH TIME WE INTEND TO CONTINUE THE FUTURES GAME.

See all the people huddled underneath the overhangs?

This rain delay actually got me thinking how much I miss rain delays.  At Milwaukee County Stadium, rain delays were the best.  With Miller Park, that’s one thing I miss.
I just like being at the ballpark, ya’ know?

Eventually, the rain lessened and the tarp was removed from the infield…
7_13&14_09 Futures Game & Home Run Derby @ Busch Stadium 060.jpg

…!!

After I gave them the signal…
7_13&14_09 Futures Game & Home Run Derby @ Busch Stadium 062.jpg

…it was time to resume play.

For the remainder of the game, we were invited to sit with a man and his son on the wall down the right field line in the front row. 

Although many people had left, the bleachers were still well populated.  So, I gave up my home run quest for the day and took the opportunity to sit down the line.

I forget which inning…a foul ball bounced about 7 feet in front of me on the warning track.  I thought I was going to catch it on the fly but it never reached me.  After it hit the track, it took a super high bounce into the air and spun about 15 rows behind us. 

That was the closest I would get to any ball for the remainder of the evening.

Final take…
7_13&14_09 Futures Game & Home Run Derby @ Busch Stadium 063.jpg

…4 Futures balls.

The Celebrity Softball Game is only cool if you’re playing in it, so, we left after watching 15 minutes of that.

It was already past my bedtime…

7/13/09
HOME RUN DERBY

I arrived at the stadium at 2pm.  The gates were set to open at 4pm.
In line ahead of me were two well known ballhawks.

The 1st was Wes from St. Louis (formerly of Chicago).  Wes is a great guy who gave me a few pointers about his home park.

The 2nd was Dan from Denver.  Dan had his lovely daughter Emily accompanying him.

Here’s Emily and I before the gates opened…
7_13&14_09 Futures Game & Home Run Derby @ Busch Stadium 079.jpg

…what a cool kid.

Here I am standing in line…
7_13&14_09 Futures Game & Home Run Derby @ Busch Stadium 076.jpg

…doing the cheesy 6-shooter with a mysterious wet spot on the ground.

I assure you, I did not wet myself before, during or after the taking of this photo.

When the gates finally opened, I immediately ran for right field.  You see, I had heard a rumor that they were giving out wristbands to the 1st 20 people who asked for one from a particular usher over in right field.  This wristband would allow the 20 people the opportunity to stand in a small standing room only area over in the aisle in right field. 

This was too good to be true, so I thought.  But, I had nothing to lose.  If it was just a rumor, I still had my front row ticket above the right field bullpen. 

So, I raced over to right field. 
Much to my excitement, this was the scene…
7_13&14_09 Futures Game & Home Run Derby @ Busch Stadium 080.jpg

…people getting wristbands!! 
Holy hell!!
(the above photo was taken after I had already secured my wristband, of course)

BP soon began.

Here’s a few views from my actual ticketed seat (and the spot where I played during BP)…
Thumbnail image for 7_13&14_09 Futures Game & Home Run Derby @ Busch Stadium 014.jpg7_13&14_09 Futures Game & Home Run Derby @ Busch Stadium 013.jpg

7_13&14_09 Futures Game & Home Run Derby @ Busch Stadium 015.jpg7_13&14_09 Futures Game & Home Run Derby @ Busch Stadium 016.jpg

The National League All-Stars hit first.  Followed by the American Leaguers.
Each player took about a dozen swings.  It was like an assembly line of studs. 
One after the next.  Unfortunately, BP was sort of anti-climactic (kind of like how this entry will be).

The only player that really put on a show was Josh Hamilton.  He was hammering ball after ball into the right field bleachers. 

Don’t get me wrong…there were plenty of opportunities, just no room to roam.  Plus, everyone had their gloves AND everyone was ball-conscious, if you know what I mean.  The ball had to be hit right to you to have any kind of chance.

I did manage to snag one baseball before the end of BP…
7_13&14_09 Futures Game & Home Run Derby @ Busch Stadium 064.jpg

…an absolute beauty!!
(pictured with a tiny scorecard)

But, I didn’t come to the Home Run Derby to snag BP balls.  I came for the real deal.

I was so mentally prepared for this day it’s not even funny.  I get so wrapped up in mental preparation you might think I’m even more of a geek than you already do. 

FACT:  If you visualize success, success will come. 

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity”

Bring on the Derby.

Here’s where I stood for all left-handed hitters…
7_13&14_09 Futures Game & Home Run Derby @ Busch Stadium 018.jpg
…right in the walkway.

Here’s a view of where I stood from further out…
7_13&14_09 Futures Game & Home Run Derby @ Busch Stadium 057.jpg
…right in the cross-aisle.

Check these views of the aisle out…
7_13&14_09 Futures Game & Home Run Derby @ Busch Stadium 021.jpg

…toward centerfield…

…and toward the left field foul pole.
7_13&14_09 Futures Game & Home Run Derby @ Busch Stadium 022.jpg

Here’s where I stood when the righties were hitting…
7_13&14_09 Futures Game & Home Run Derby @ Busch Stadium 023.jpg
…in a little standing room only area behind the left field bleachers
(approx. 450 ft. from home plate).

So, with positioning like that, it would be easy to snag a homer during the Derby, right?

Wrong.

Yeah, I came real close to snagging 2 home runs.  If you were watching on ESPN, you probably saw me in the scram for about 6 more.
Let me remind you:  close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

The aisle advantage in right field gave me decent lateral movement.  Yes. 
But, it was just too crowded to make a difference.  There were 5 beer vendors at all times walking back and forth directly in front of me or to the sides of me.  Throw in a cotton-candy vendor, a few soda vendors and a whole ****-load of people straying from their seats and whaddya have??

A big freakin’ mess.  That’s what. 

Physically, I did everything I could. 
I sprinted.
I jumped.
I side-stepped everyone I possibly could.
At one point, I slammed into a guy walking a few full beers back to his seat.  I think 1/2 of each beer spilled on the ground. 
Hey pal, whaddya expect??  IT”S THE HOME RUN DERBY!!
Oh, btw, Ryan Howard was hitting when genius-boy decided to walk his precious beers back to his seat.  I got called a “dick” for my actions.  Oh well.  Think it through next time.

I’m going to end this post right here because I’m getting fired up.

All in all, it was a great experience being able to run after home runs.  It was like a dream come true just having the opportunity. 

Next year, the Derby is in Anaheim.  Who knows, you just might see me out there.

A few more things…just for the record.

I WAS wearing a Twins hat during the Derby. 
I had been wearing the Twins hat during BP because I was trying to get a ball from Joe Nathan.  After BP concluded, I left my backpack underneath my seat in the crowded section.  Just before the Derby was about to start, I realized I still had on the Twins hat.  But, it was too crowded for me to go down to my ticketed seat and retrieve my Brewers hat out of the backpack.  So, I just left the Twins hat on!

Lastly,
the pictures of the stadium were all taken the day before the Derby.  That’s why the seats look so empty.  As you can imagine, I wanted to pack light for the actual Derby.  I didn’t want anything holding me back from running free…

7/10/09 @ Miller Park

I’m strapped for time so this entry will be short and sweet…my flight for St. Louis leaves in 5 hrs. and I still need to pack.

When I ran into the stadium, there were a bunch of the players’ kids shagging BP.  After about 2 minutes, a young man (maybe 13-14 yrs. old) tossed me BALL #1 as the players’ and their kids exited the field.

The Dodgers came out and BP homers were few and far between.  The stands were packed and the sun made shagging in left field nearly impossible.
So, I headed to right field. 

After little to no action over there, I asked BRENT LEACH for a baseball.  He turned and I had BALL #2.

Here’s what that ball looked like…
7_10_09 Dodgers vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 021.jpg

The Dodgers write “LA” on the sweetspot of their BP balls.

I don’t mind…gives the ball a little character.

Can you believe that was it for BP? 
Man-Ram hit three BP homers (2 of which went into the left field bullpen).

Everyone thinks their home stadium is tough to ballhawk in…I get that.
But, believe me, Miller Park is tough. 

No place to roam.
No place to run.
Strict ushers.
Huge crowds.
AHHHHHH!!

After BP, I wandered.

I wanted to gain access to this elite little picnic area of the stadium that I had never been to before.  It’s all-you-can-eat until 1 hr. after the 1st pitch.
It’s called the AirTran Airways Landing Zone.
It’s located directly on the field behind the rightfielder.

Here’s a few pics taken from the field bleachers above…
7_10_09 Dodgers vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 001.jpg

Here’s a few pics from inside…
7_10_09 Dodgers vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 009.jpg

…yeah, baby!  Just in time for the 1st pitch.

In the top of the 1st inning, Rafael Furcal lifted a long fly ball in my direction.  I thought…was this too good to be true??  It was.  The ball was caught right in front of the fence (and directly in front of me) for the out.

After eating 1 cheeseburger, 1 hot dog, 1 bratwurst w/ kraut, 2 cookies, some baked beans and a pulled pork sandwich…I could hardly move.

After the 3rd inning was complete, I left to go find another view of the game.

Here’s where I ended up…
7_10_09 Dodgers vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 012.jpg
…it’s called “The Point.”  Only two or three people are allowed to sit in this section per game. 

This is why…
7_10_09 Dodgers vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 013.jpg

…during a pitching change.

To my left…
7_10_09 Dodgers vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 015.jpg

…finally, to my right…
7_10_09 Dodgers vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 014.jpg

Trevor Hoffman blew the save in the 9th and the Brewers ended up losing in ten innings.

I did get an ump ball from Mark Wegner after the game to make it 3 on the day.

Finals…
7_10_09 Dodgers vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 020.jpg

…3 baseballs.  (only 2 are shown-1 was given away to a young Brewers fan on the walk out of the stadium)

2009 BALLHAWKING STATS

  • 3 total balls 7/10/09

3 toss-up baseballs


ATTENDANCE:  41,811

2009 TOTAL BASEBALLS

4/7/09   = 5   baseballs
4/8/09   = 10 baseballs
4/9/09   = 10 baseballs
4/10/09 = 3   baseballs
4/11/09 = 5   baseballs
4/12/09 = 5   baseballs
4/13/09 = 11 baseballs
4/14/09 = 6   baseballs
4/21/09 = 5   baseballs
4/27/09 = 15 baseballs
4/28/09 = 9   baseballs
4/30/09 = 4   baseballs
5/01/09 = 7   baseballs
5/02/09 = 4   baseballs
5/08/09 = 11 baseballs
5/09/09 = 1   lousy ball
5/12/09 = 14 baseballs
5/13/09 = 12 baseballs
5/19/09 = 8   baseballs
5/22/09 = 3   baseballs
5/23/09 = 2   baseballs
5/26/09 = 3   baseballs
5/29/09 = 6   baseballs
5/30/09 = 5   baseballs
6/01/09 = 1   baseball
6/02/09 = 9   baseballs
6/09/09 = 4   baseballs
6/10/09 = 0   baseballs
6/11/09 = 2   baseballs
6/12/09 = 9   baseballs
6/23/09 = 6   baseballs
6/24/09 = 9   baseballs
6/26/09 = 9   baseballs
6/27/09 = 4   baseballs
6/29/09 = 3   baseballs
6/30/09 = 5   baseballs
7/07/09 = 6   baseballs
7/10/09 = 3   baseballs
___________________

234 baseballs (38 games)
6.16 average per game

Now, it’s off to St. Louis.

If you’re watching the Home Run Derby on Monday night, watch for the yellow shirt in the right field bleachers at Busch Stadium.
My seat is located directly behind the right field bullpen in the 1st row on the railing.
I’ll have my trademark yellow “Happy Youngster” shirt on.

Hopefully, one of the big boys will hit me one or ten.

 

Wall Street Journal article

A few months back, David Biderman from the Wall Street Journal e-mailed me about doing a ballhawk-related article.

Here it is…

wall_street_journal2d.jpg

I thought it was a bit sneaky to quote Chris Coghlan, “he told me he goes around a lot and catches these balls and holds them for ransom” only to leave out the last (and most important) part of that original quote.  “While he didn’t say that he does, it seems that way.”

The piece made all ballhawks look like greedy bloodsuckers.  Not true.
But, I have to admit:  being in the WSJ is still pretty cool.

Zack Hample (in red shade) and a few other ballhawks got mentions as well.

Photos courtesy of Zack Hample

7/07/09 @ Miller Park

Do you remember when I went to Toronto during Opening Week of the season and the Detroit Tigers were using International League baseballs

More on this later…

My last game was on 6/30/09.  A whole week without games.
 
The baseball portion of my day started with the usual walk…
7_07_09 Cardinals vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 002.jpg

…with the arrows pointing to two popular Brewers bars located on W. Bluemound Rd.

Long Wong’s Chinese-American Sports Bar and Kelly’s Bleachers.

If
you’re ever visiting Milwaukee and want a great place to hang out
before, during or after ballgames, you have to check out these two
great establishments.
(No, I’m not on either places payroll).

My walk continued to the corner of W. Bluemound/General Mitchell Blvd…
7_07_09 Cardinals vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 003.jpg
7_07_09 Cardinals vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 004.jpg

…along Mitchell Blvd. Park.

Eventually…
7_07_09 Cardinals vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 007.jpg

…down the little pathway.

In the picture above, do you see what the red arrow is highlighting?
That’s a section of Miller Park’s roof peaking through an opening in the trees.

Further down the pathway…
7_07_09 Cardinals vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 008.jpg
7_07_09 Cardinals vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 009.jpg

…that parallels Interstate 94.

Finally, putting me into the NORTH General parking lot…
7_07_09 Cardinals vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 011.jpg…with the red arrow pointing to the Miller sign peaking above the trees down in the valley at Miller Brewing Company.

Finally, I had arrived.

When
I entered the stadium, Prince Fielder was hitting.  So, I took a little
stroll over to right field to see what he could do.  It didn’t take him
long to hit a bomb that probably traveled in excess of 450 feet.  I
retrieved that baseball after it bounced around a bit. 

I
waited patiently for more Fielder bombs but they didn’t come.  Earlier,
it was announced that Fielder would be participating in the 2009 Home
Run Derby down in St. Louis.  I thought he would be putting on a home
run clinic to tune-up for the event.  I was wrong.  Not due to a lack
of effort; he was trying, but most of his contact sent the balls on a
line.

I wandered over to left field to try my luck with Ryan
Braun. 
After about 5 minutes, “Brauny” sent one into the left field
bleachers that I retrieved on the bounce, as well.

Thumbnail image for 7_07_09 Cardinals vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 023.jpg
Remember how the Brewers write funny sayings/words on a large percentage of their BP balls??

Well, this particular ball had “KEEP ON SMILING” written on the sweetspot.

That ball was meant for me.

Near the end
of batting practice, I noticed an unusual amount of players’ kids
gathered on the warning track out in left-center field.

I noticed, but thought nothing of it. 
Until
I heard a baseball hit the bleachers and make a BANG! about 15 feet
from me.  I looked around and did not know where that ball came from. 
I looked up.  I looked right and left.  WTF?!!
I soon realized that a few of the players’ kids were tossing baseballs into the stands out of one of the ballbags.

So, I got in on the action. 
All together, approx. 10 of these baseballs were tossed up.

Here’s the one (1) that I snagged…
7_07_09 Cardinals vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 022.jpg

Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be an OFFICIAL LEAGUE ball.  Huh??

I looked closer and noticed the ball had a logo on it.  Yeah!
The BIGS2 video game. 

I do not play video games. 
Heck, I barely have enough time to blog. 
But, this was pretty cool. 

Am I counting it toward my season stats? 
Damn right.

Here’s why:
1).  The ball was obtained at an officially sanctioned MLB event.
2).  I did not purchase the ball.
3).  I was the 1st fan to obtain possession of the ball.
4).  The ball was not obtained through an announced stadium promotion (it’s not like the 1st 15,000 fans received one).
5).  It wasn’t just an official league ball.  It had a cool logo on it!
6).  I skinned my knee snagging it, dammit!

The Brewers left the field.  The Cardinals came out.

I don’t know what’s been going on around Miller Park, lately.  But, balls being hit into the stands are starting to become a bit of a rarity.  Opposing teams have not been hitting many during BP over the last few weeks.  Makes ballhawking a bit tough, don’t ya’ think?

Not to mention, I’ve never been a big fan of begging for baseballs, either.  I’ve adopted that tactic this season, largely, because of the ballhawk league.

As the Cardinals hitters did their best to avoid any baseball reaching the seats, my frustration grew.
Actually, during this BP, I counted 7 baseballs that were hit down the left field line.  All playable for those standing in the front row.  Just simply lean over.

Wanna guess how many baseballs made it into the bleachers at this point?
Three.

I didn’t get my next baseball until Cardinals reliever JOSH KINNEY Thumbnail image for josh kinney.jpgand his sweet fu manchu mustache tossed me one over in right field.

Regretfully, I didn’t take his picture.
But, as you can see by the artistic demonstration to the right, Mr. Kinney’s mustache was, indeed, a sweet one.

The next group of Cardinals hitters contained both Albert Pujols and Ryan Ludwick.

I sprinted over to left field as if my pants were on fire. 
Rumor has it, those two put on a homer display back on Memorial Day.

They both combined to hit approx. 4 into the bleachers.  Ooooh.
Major disappointment. 

What was even more disappointing??
The fact that I lost one of Pujols’ bombs in the sun.  The sun is brutal around 6pm at Miller Park during the summer.  Absolutely brutal.   
I saw the ball go up.  I fluently made my way through the swarms of clueless people.  I picked the exact spot it was going to land.  I looked back up to the sky and was blinded.
All I could do was cringe like a scared schoolgirl on prom night. 
Shakin’ naked in the fetal.
The ball ended up landing about 6 feet away from me. 

Of course, nobody else tracked it.  Of course, everyone else heckled.

BP ended and I had snagged 4 baseballs.  Not the best showing.
But, I always say, if they don’t hit ‘em or throw ‘em, can’t snag ‘em.

Time to wander.
I was looking to waste some time.

That’s when I ran into this big fella…
7_07_09 Cardinals vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 017.jpg
…Adam “Big” Rygg. 

The “Big Rygg” has his own Brewers blog in this network. 
It’s called THE BREWER NATION and it’s a well-written/well-informed blog about the Brew Crew.  Did I mention that Adam also works for the Brewers??

He’s a great fan of the Brewers and a good guy.  So, go check out his blog.  Do it-do it now.

I stopped, grabbed a couple hot dogs (relish, please) and made the trek back to my seat.

The 1st few innings were weird.
Allow me to explain:
1).  Cards infielder Skip Schumaker was thrown out at 2nd base attempting to tag up from 1st.  The fly ball was not deep and the throw utilized the cut-off man.  What??

2).  The Brewers had the bases loaded and Mike Cameron was hit with a ground ball trying to advance to 3rd base.  Baserunner is out.  ???

3).  Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum was ejected from the dugout for arguing balls and strikes (Home Plate umpire Bill Hohn had a rough night-more on him later).  The weird part was that he didn’t come out to get his money’s worth. ???

4).  Brewers bench coach Willie Randolph was then ejected for the same reason in the top 1/2 of the inning.  ??

Some things you don’t see everyday.

One thing you do see from time-to-time:
The yellow-shirted fan snagging a home run ball.

Okay, it wasn’t a glamorous snag.  But, I’ll tell you anyway.

Do you recall my not-so-glamorous snag of Cardinals phenom COLBY RASMUS’ 5th career homer which just so happened to be my 50th career game home run?
If not, click here.

Do you also remember me saying how Brewers RF Corey Hart has hooked me up time after time over the years??
If not, click here and here.

Well, Corey was at it again.

It was the top of the 5th inning.  No outs.
Cardinals stud COLBY RASMUS jacked one that left the yard, striking an advertisement sign positioned at the front of the loge bleachers.  The ball ricocheted down to the field and rolled to Brewers RF Corey Hart.  Corey attempted to lob it into the visitor’s bullpen to the Cards relievers.  The problem good thing was that it fell short and merely bounced off the outfield wall.  The ball rolled on the warning track where it came to a rest closer to my location.
This time, though, Corey looked up to my section and lobbed it up.  Immediately, I realized it
would be over my head.  So, I jockeyed for position while backing up.  At the last possible moment, I jumped straight up with my glove stretched as high as I could.  I felt the ball hit the pocket as I came down in a small crowd of people.

Career game home run #51. 

Like I said-not glamorous, but I’ll take it.

The Colby Rasmus game home run snagged
 on 5/26/09…                                             AND           the one snagged 7/07/09…
Thumbnail image for 5_26_09 Cardinals vs Brewers @ Miller Park 010.jpg

                 Career HR #5                             AND                      Career HR #11

macha arguing with hohn.jpgToward the end of the game, I made my way down to the umpire well
located near the visitor’s dugout.  Fresh off two coach ejections and a
horribly called game, Home Plate umpire BILL HOHN flipped me a game
ball from the pouch to make it 6 baseballs on the day.

I think 2009 might be the year of the mustache.  (Giambi-look what you started!)

The 6 baseballs snagged on this day…
7_07_09 Cardinals vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 020.jpg

2009 BALLHAWKING STATS

  • 6 total balls 7/07/09

2 batted baseballs

4 toss-up baseballs

(1 game home run-Colby Rasmus career #11)


ATTENDANCE: 
36,557

2009 TOTAL BASEBALLS

4/7/09   = 5   baseballs
4/8/09   = 10 baseballs
4/9/09   = 10 baseballs
4/10/09 = 3   baseballs
4/11/09 = 5   baseballs
4/12/09 = 5   baseballs
4/13/09 = 11 baseballs
4/14/09 = 6   baseballs
4/21/09 = 5   baseballs
4/27/09 = 15 baseballs
4/28/09 = 9   baseballs
4/30/09 = 4   baseballs
5/01/09 = 7   baseballs
5/02/09 = 4   baseballs
5/08/09 = 11 baseballs
5/09/09 = 1   lousy ball
5/12/09 = 14 baseballs
5/13/09 = 12 baseballs
5/19/09 = 8   baseballs
5/22/09 = 3   baseballs
5/23/09 = 2   baseballs
5/26/09 = 3   baseballs
5/29/09 = 6   baseballs
5/30/09 = 5   baseballs
6/01/09 = 1   baseball
6/02/09 = 9   baseballs
6/09/09 = 4   baseballs
6/10/09 = 0   baseballs
6/11/09 = 2   baseballs
6/12/09 = 9   baseballs
6/23/09 = 6   baseballs
6/24/09 = 9   baseballs
6/26/09 = 9   baseballs
6/27/09 = 4   baseballs
6/29/09 = 3   baseballs
6/30/09 = 5   baseballs
7/07/09 = 6   baseballs
___________________

231 baseballs (37 games)
6.24 average per game

6/30/09 @ Miller Park

When I ran into the left field bleacher seating area, I found not one, but two easter eggs lying down in the front row!
It was nice to have BALL #1 and BALL #2 in the bag before I really even got started.

Considering the way the Mets were hitting the day before, I thought I would need all the help I could get.

I was right.

The Brewers quickly ended their BP and out came the Mets.

As I always do at this time, I scanned the home bullpen for any glove-trick opportunities.  There was a ball nestled almost tight up against the bullpen wall, so, I ran down a level for a closer look.
It was still there when I got down there.  Quickly, I had BALL #3 in the bag.

I then ran over to the visitor’s bullpen to scan for more glove-tricks.
There was a ball about 5 feet out from the side wall.  So, I went down and stood on one of the bleacher benches.  I lowered my glove and had BALL #4 after about 10 seconds.  During that time, I heard various people say, “that’s not going to work” and “he needs a way to close his glove.”

I have to say, the best part about doing the glove-trick is baffling everyone around me.  Most people don’t know how it’s done. 

Ball #4 was given away to a young Brewers fan standing nearby with his parents.

With all the big boppers on the DL for the Mets, BP homers were scarce.

I did manage to snag BALL #5 on the bounce off the bat of DANIEL MURPHY.
Other than that, it was slim-pickings.

BP ended. 
Wow…what a power display put on by the Mets!

In two days, I think I snagged 1/2 of the baseballs hit into the bleachers.  A slight exaggeration, of course.  Just a tad frustrating. 

In the 7th inning, I received a phone call from my wife.  She told me we had an outlet fire in our house and that I needed to come home ASAP.

I said my goodbyes to everyone and left early.  Something that I NEVER do.
This was an extreme circumstance, though.

I arrived home and everything was fine…in the house.
I turned on the Brewers game and a young star by the name of Fernando Martinez was standing at the plate.

I’m not kidding-3 seconds after the TV picture came on, Martinez lifted a long flyball to right field.  It kept going and going…until it finally landed…IN MY SECTION!!

The kids 1st career homer. 
I now officially have a reason to hate electricity.

If I would have been there, that ball would have been mine.  I know it.
Oh well, it just wasn’t meant to be (sob-sob).

The five (5) baseballs…
6_30_09 Mets vs. Brewers @ Miller Park.jpg
…only 4 are shown.  #4 of 5 was given away to a small Brewers fan.



2009 BALLHAWKING STATS

  • 5 total balls 6/30/09

3 batted baseballs

2 device


ATTENDANCE: 
35,369

2009 TOTAL BASEBALLS

4/7/09   = 5   baseballs
4/8/09   = 10 baseballs
4/9/09   = 10 baseballs
4/10/09 = 3   baseballs
4/11/09 = 5   baseballs
4/12/09 = 5   baseballs
4/13/09 = 11 baseballs
4/14/09 = 6   baseballs
4/21/09 = 5   baseballs
4/27/09 = 15 baseballs
4/28/09 = 9   baseballs
4/30/09 = 4   baseballs
5/01/09 = 7   baseballs
5/02/09 = 4   baseballs
5/08/09 = 11 baseballs
5/09/09 = 1   lousy ball
5/12/09 = 14 baseballs
5/13/09 = 12 baseballs
5/19/09 = 8   baseballs
5/22/09 = 3   baseballs
5/23/09 = 2   baseballs
5/26/09 = 3   baseballs
5/29/09 = 6   baseballs
5/30/09 = 5   baseballs
6/01/09 = 1   baseball
6/02/09 = 9   baseballs
6/09/09 = 4   baseballs
6/10/09 = 0   baseballs
6/11/09 = 2   baseballs
6/12/09 = 9   baseballs
6/23/09 = 6   baseballs
6/24/09 = 9   baseballs
6/26/09 = 9   baseballs
6/27/09 = 4   baseballs
6/29/09 = 3   baseballs
6/30/09 = 5   baseballs
___________________

225 baseballs (36 games)
6.25 average per game

BASEBALLS SNAGGED BY MONTH:

APRIL:  88 baseballs in 12 games (1 game home run ball)
MAY:    76 baseballs in 12 games (2 game home run balls)
JUNE:   61 baseballs in 12 games (0 game home run balls)


6/29/09 @ Miller Park

A Mets team without the likes of these guys…
carlos beltran.jpg
carlos delgado.jpg

Thumbnail image for jose reyes.jpg
…Beltran, Delgado and Reyes.

How exciting can this blog possibly be? 
I feel cheated by the injury Gods of Major League Baseball.

All lefties-all with power.  Do I need to remind you that I sit in right field? 
A perfect spot to snag baseballs from players like these.

What did I get instead?

These sluggers…
daniel murphy.jpg
argenis reyes.jpg

alex cora.jpg
Daniel Murphy, Argenis Reyes and Alex Cora.

Wow. 
Better pay attention during Batting Practice with those future Hall of Famers at the plate.

BALL #1 came from Mets catcher OMIR SANTOS. 
He was shagging BP out in deep centerfield.  I noticed there was a commemorative ball lying on the warning track.  The logo looked too big to be a Citi Field commemorative, but it was worth a shot.  I asked Santos for the ball but he tossed it in.  After he threw it in, he looked up to me.  I told him I was looking for a commemorative ball with the logo.  He almost acted like he didn’t know what I was talking about.  ??  Just in case, I went into further detail about what I was looking for.

After our discussion, every ball that came his way was further inspected.  If there wasn’t a logo on the ball, he would toss it in. 

Finally, after about 5 minutes, he fielded one.  I could see a commemorative logo where the MLB logo was supposed to be.  He looked up to me and tossed it up.

Turns out, it was a Shea Stadium commemorative from last season.
No biggie.  The effort he displayed was appreciated. 

QUESTION:  How many big leaguers would do what Omir Santos did?
ANSWER:  Not many.

I think I have a new favorite Mets player.

BALL #2 came via tossup from BOBBY PARNELL.
bobby parnell.jpgBobby tossed it a bit short.  While it was in the air, I heard Bobby say, “you got it??!!”  As I leaned out over the fence and made the grab.

tim redding.jpg 

BALL #3 came from Mets pitcher TIM REDDING. 
I wasn’t sure if he had seen me get a ball from either Santos or Parnell.   But, I asked him for a baseball anyway.  He turned around and said, “how many do you have?” 

I answered him and he still tossed it up to me. 

That was it. 
3 baseballs.

The Mets absolutely put everyone to sleep.  It was one of the worst displays of BP power I had ever seen.  I can only imagine the possibilities if the three big guns weren’t on the disabled list. 

I pride myself on snagging batted baseballs.  It wasn’t possible on this day.

2009 BALLHAWKING STATS

  • 3 total balls 6/29/09

3 toss-up baseballs


ATTENDANCE: 
39,872

2009 TOTAL BASEBALLS

4/7/09   = 5   baseballs
4/8/09   = 10 baseballs
4/9/09   = 10 baseballs
4/10/09 = 3   baseballs
4/11/09 = 5   baseballs
4/12/09 = 5   baseballs
4/13/09 = 11 baseballs
4/14/09 = 6   baseballs
4/21/09 = 5   baseballs
4/27/09 = 15 baseballs
4/28/09 = 9   baseballs
4/30/09 = 4   baseballs
5/01/09 = 7   baseballs
5/02/09 = 4   baseballs
5/08/09 = 11 baseballs
5/09/09 = 1   lousy ball
5/12/09 = 14 baseballs
5/13/09 = 12 baseballs
5/19/09 = 8   baseballs
5/22/09 = 3   baseballs
5/23/09 = 2   baseballs
5/26/09 = 3   baseballs
5/29/09 = 6   baseballs
5/30/09 = 5   baseballs
6/01/09 = 1   baseball
6/02/09 = 9   baseballs
6/09/09 = 4   baseballs
6/10/09 = 0   baseballs
6/11/09 = 2   baseballs
6/12/09 = 9   baseballs
6/23/09 = 6   baseballs
6/24/09 = 9   baseballs
6/26/09 = 9   baseballs
6/27/09 = 4   baseballs
6/29/09 = 3   baseballs
___________________

220 baseballs (35 games)
6.29 average per game

BASEBALLS SNAGGED BY MONTH:

APRIL:  88 baseballs in 12 games (1 game home run ball)
MAY:    76 baseballs in 12 games (2 game home run balls)
  

6/27/09 @ Miller Park

When I pulled into the parking lot and into my stall, this vehicle was parked next to me…
6_27_09 Giants vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 001.jpg
…a Pilsner Urquell Czech Republic beer truck/van.

Seeing I’m of Czech ancestry, I got to thinking.

Was this a greater power telling me it was about to be a good day??
OR
Was it telling me to just forget ballhawking for the day and have a few cold ones??
OR
Did it mean nothing at all??

My 1st BALL of the day came from an unsuspecting source.

Know this little guy??
6_27_09 Giants vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 002.jpg

That’s Mekhi Cameron.  The youngest son of Brewers CF Mike Cameron.

Cam’s two boys can be seen shagging baseballs during BP a few times a week. 
This little dude happened to be in the Brewers bullpen collecting the balls that had landed in there.  I happened to be standing in the loge bleachers (2nd level) when he was below me.  He tried a few times to toss it up before connecting.  The 1st toss actually went way over my head and back onto the field.  The 2nd toss fell short.  The 3rd toss was juuuuust right.
You could tell the little fella was having a blast doing it. 

I started to think how cool it would be if I could snag a ball actually hit by Mike Cameron.  I wonder how many times a ballhawk has done this?? 
Getting a ball from both father and son the same day.  I’m sure it would be easier to get toss-ups from both father and son, but a toss-up and a batted ball? 

I gave it everything I had.  It just wasn’t meant to be.  Big “Cam” only hit 1 baseball into the bleachers and it was quite a ways from me.

I always say, a ballhawk is only as good as the players hitting or tossing them. 
If they don’t hit-there’s no baseballs to snag.
If they don’t toss them up-there’s no baseballs to snag.

The Giants were now on the field.

I moved to right field after watching Pablo Sandoval’s hitting display the night before.

In the process, I snagged BALL #2 off the bat of TRAVIS ISHIKAWA.  It was retrieved on the bounce after hitting in the 5th row and bouncing up another 10 rows.

For the record, Sandoval’s bat was quiet during BP.

The Giants are a very light-hitting team.  If it wasn’t for their stellar pitching, they would be the most boring team in the league (that distinction goes to the Pirates).

I was growing frustrated with the lack of long balls.  By this time, I was back in left field.

brandon medders.jpg

A small group of Giants pitchers were horsing around in left field.  Among them, was this guy————————————————>
Giants pitcher BRANDON MEDDERS.

I called down to him and he looked up and behind without turning around.  He had a ball in his glove and underhanded it backwards high into the air.  When it had finally reached it’s highest point and started its descent, it now became a jump ball.  BALL #3-chalk it up.

Much to my dislike, BP ended without any further events. 

It was time to wander.

I passed this location of the stadium…
6_27_09 Giants vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 003.jpg

…out in left-center field.

It’s the camera platform located just to the left field side of the batter’s eye.
I know it doesn’t look like much, but something told me to take a closer look.

So, I walked up to the gate…
6_27_09 Giants vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 008.jpg

…and opened it up (it’s not locked or restricted).

I pushed the black fabric screen to the side and peered in…
6_27_09 Giants vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 007.jpg

…there was a ball lying in there!

“X” marks the spot where BALL #4 was lying.  An easter egg at its very best!

During the game, I once again played the 2nd level below the press box for foul balls. 
Once again, I had no luck.

The section where I have season tickets had good luck, though. 
Giants stud Pablo Sandoval hit two (2) home runs into the section on this evening.

I need a “Happy” clone so I can be in two places at once.

Final score:
Brewers 7
Giants 6

After the game ended, I tried to get an ump ball from Home Plate Umpire Joe West.
I think I’d have better luck getting a ball that fell from the heavens. 

Joe West is a grumpy old man. 
I’ll say no more.

2009 BALLHAWKING STATS

  • 4 total balls 6/27/09

2 batted baseballs

2 toss-up baseballs


ATTENDANCE: 
42,065

2009 TOTAL BASEBALLS

4/7/09   = 5   baseballs
4/8/09   = 10 baseballs
4/9/09   = 10 baseballs
4/10/09 = 3   baseballs
4/11/09 = 5   baseballs
4/12/09 = 5   baseballs
4/13/09 = 11 baseballs
4/14/09 = 6   baseballs
4/21/09 = 5   baseballs
4/27/09 = 15 baseballs
4/28/09 = 9   baseballs
4/30/09 = 4   baseballs
5/01/09 = 7   baseballs
5/02/09 = 4   baseballs
5/08/09 = 11 baseballs
5/09/09 = 1   lousy ball
5/12/09 = 14 baseballs
5/13/09 = 12 baseballs
5/19/09 = 8   baseballs
5/22/09 = 3   baseballs
5/23/09 = 2   baseballs
5/26/09 = 3   baseballs
5/29/09 = 6   baseballs
5/30/09 = 5   baseballs
6/01/09 = 1   baseball
6/02/09 = 9   baseballs
6/09/09 = 4   baseballs
6/10/09 = 0   baseballs
6/11/09 = 2   baseballs
6/12/09 = 9   baseballs
6/23/09 = 6   baseballs
6/24/09 = 9   baseballs
6/26/09 = 9   baseballs
6/27/09 = 4   baseballs
___________________

217 baseballs (34 games)
6.38 average per game

FINALLY,

I would like my readers to meet the MOST diehard and dedicated Brewers fan on this planet.
His name is Robert-but not to you and me.

He’s known around Miller Park as “The Maniac.”

“The Maniac” has been going to games longer than I can remember.  His devotion to the Brew Crew is unmatched.

One awesome dude…
6_27_09 Giants vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 011.jpg
…who attends pretty much every single home game.

If you see him, give him a shout-out for me!

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