4/23/11 @ Citi Field

This is my second game of the season.  I would be attending this game with my cousin and it was her first baseball game. 

The weather for the game sucked.  I knew there was a zero chance for BP, as it was supposed to rain until game time.  And that really ticked me off because I paid extra to go to today’s game because the season tickets that I bought allowed me to get in a half hour earlier than anyone with regular tix. 

When we left at 9 am, it was pouring.  I was driving to the game for the first time without my dad.  Shortly after leaving, I got lost.  It took me about 15 minutes to get back on track.  And when we finally did, it started raining harder.  I called my dad and asked him if he thought the game would be cancelled.  He said yes and I agreed.  We decided to head home, thinking that we would just go to the make up game. 

 Well, 10 minutes after we arrived at home, the rain stopped.  When I checked the weather report, it said that it was supposed to stop raining by 11, with the game slated to start at 1.  We then decided to go back towards Citi.  We arrived just before 11, but we were able to get in immediately without waiting because of the season tix I bought. 

 

IMG00002-20110423-1121.jpgNothing was going on for the first half hour.  It was raining lightly, yet steadily.  I knew as soon as it stopped, players would come out to warm up.  Sure enough, they did.  Ryonta Igarashi was the first out, and he played catch with 2 other Mets, neither whom I know.  Long story short, when he was finished, he threw me his ball for my first of the day. 

He then went to run sprints.  By the time he was almost done, Igarashi was the only player on the field.  My cousin really wanted a ball.  There was a ball sitting alone in the middle of CF.  I told her to call out “Ryota” and point to the ball.  She did, and Igarashi laughed.  When he was done, I told her to call out his name again.  She did, and he retreived the ball and threw it to her.  She was thrilled. 

After that, we went to the Diamondbacks dugout, hoping to get a tossup.  Nothing.  Whatever.

Due to the large amount of rain in the previous 12 hours, there was a very low attendance.  We sat in the front 5 rows of section 125 for the whole game. 

 

IMG00006-20110423-1605.jpgThe game was delayed an hour and a half due to rain.  But, at around 2 it stopped and at 2:30, the game started.  I had planned to leave by 5 at the latest, as I had to be somewhere.  I didn’t think that we would be able to stay the whole game.  But the last 3 innings went pretty quickly, and the game ended at 5:15.  K-Rod recorded the save after allowing runners to reach second and third with only one out.  It aggrivated me a little because it took him 15-20 minutes to finish out the top of the ninth.

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IMG00005-20110423-1345.jpgAs soon as the third out was recorded, we rushed down to the first and second rows next to the umpire tunnel.  We had no competition, and Umpire Todd Tichnor had no choice but to hand my cousin and I both a nice, rubbed up baseball.

I finished with 2 balls without BP.  Could have been better, could have been worse.

Game Stats:

2 Balls

Attendance: 25,581

Season Stats:

4 Balls

2 Games

2.00 BPG

Career Stats:

30 Balls

16 Games

1.875 BPG

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The ball on the right is the rubbed up umpire baseball.  It almost looks like a Gold HR Derby baseball used with 9 outs (use your imagination a little).

4/13/11 @ Citi Field

I’m going to make this entry short and sweet.

I arrived at Citi Field at 4:15.  The new gate opening times meant that the gates wouldn’t open until 5:10.  I was first in line and first in the Left Field seats.

 

Nothing was getting hit into the seats, and I mean nothing.  I think there was 1 ball hit into the seats during the Mets portion of BP. 

I snagged my first ball of the day, and only one during the Mets portion of BP via a toss up from Ryota Igarashi. 

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The Rockies side of BP wasn’t much better.  As with the Mets, not many balls were reaching the seats.  And naturally, there was more competition because we were getting closer to gametime.  I snagged my only ball during the Rockies half of BP via a tossup, courtesy of Franklin Morales. 

 

As for the game, I sat in a few locations.  I played for homers during the first 5 1/2 innings.  For the first 3 or 4 innings, I sat in straight away LF in section 134.  Nothing was hit within 2 sections.

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I then went up to the Pepsi Porch.  I know it would take a bomb for a ball to get up there, but with the small number of people up there and the fact that there were about 12 lefties in the lineups, I figured it was a good spot.  Nothing came up.

 

IMG00039-20110413-1957.jpgThe game was exciting.  Tulo fell a triple shy of the cycle, and the Rockies ended up winning.  After leaving the porch, I sat in Section 125, which is just above the 3rd base bag and next to the umpire tunnel.  Make long story short, I got shut out from the ump after the game and finished my first game of the season with 2 balls.  Disgusting.

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My haul for the first game:

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As you can tell, I’m not happy with my total for game 1.  When I think about it, its not that bad considering the fact that probably less than 10 balls were hit into the seats.

Game Stats:

2 Balls (2 Thrown)

Attendance:  25,878

Season Stats:

2 Balls

1 Game

2.00 BPG

Lifetime Stats:

28 Balls

15 Games

1.86 BPG

2011 Season

Opening day is just one week from today, and I can barely wait for it.  I’ve already bought tickets to 8 games, with several others on my radar.  I’ve already booked a trip that will bring me to 2 stadiums outside of New York. 

The first is Progressive Field, Home of the Cleveland Indians. 

 

Progressive Field.jpg I will be attending games on August 13th and 14th, both against the Minnesota Twins. 

 

After Cleveland, I will drive to Pittsburgh on August 15th, where I will visit PNC Park, Home of the Pittsburgh Pirates. 

 

PNC Park.jpgThe Pirates will be playing the St. Louis Cardinals.  I bought Left Field bleacher seats in hopes of catching my first home run, with the crowds being so minimal in Pitt.

 

As always, I will make my fair share of trips to Citi Field.  I’ve already bought tickets to 5 games, with another being planned out.

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I will also try to get back to Camden Yards. 

 

Camden Yards.jpgI’m currently targeting 2 games in late July against the Angels, in hopes of snagging a few 50th Season Commemorative balls.

The rest of the season is up for grabs.  I will most likely end up going to 1 or 2 Yankee games.  I will also try to go to either Philly or DC.  I’d like to go to Philly again.  I haven’t been to Citizens Bank Park since the World Series in 2008.

Last year I snagged 24 Balls in 11 Games.  I would like to really up my game this year and try to get to 50.  Last season, I went to 1 Mets game before June 20th.  In that one game, I snagged 1/3 of my season total with 8.  This year, I have scheduled 1 game in April, 1 in May, and 2 in June.  I am also looking into another April game.  These weekday games early in the year is when the crowds are the lightest at Citi Field, especially during BP.  With this schedule, I should be easily able to pass last year’s total.  The question is, how high can I go?

 

2011 Goals

Snag 50 Balls

Snag at least 1 Commemorative Baseball

Snag My First Game Ball (Homer or Foul, either will do)

Reach Double Digits in a Game for the 1st Time

Snag at least 1 Ball at Every Game

9/16/10 @ Citi Field

This entry is going to be short and sweet, just like my visit to Flushing. 

I bought these tickets as part of a package back in April.  My dad really didn’t want to go to this game, but I convinced him to go and promised that I would agree to leave early.  I arrived at around 4 pm and was in line by 4:25.  I knew there would be a light crowd because it was a weekday game during the school year against the Pirates with extremely iffy weather. 

I ran in and my first sight of the field was not good.  The cages weren’t up and I was also told as I was running by a security guard that there was no BP today.  That’s just great.  The situation was perfect for a double digit performance, and no BP killed that chance.  Despite that, Chris Resop was out playing catch.  There were around 5 balls and I got there as soon as they finished.  Despite wearing my Mets gear, I called out to him and he fired me ball #1 in this area.

9/16 #1

Ironically, all four games that I have been to this year without BP, I have gotten on the board within the first 10 minutes.  After running to the first base line, then back, I found myself in a situation to snag ball #2.  Brad Lincoln was just about to finish playing catch with Daniel McCutchen.  He threw the ball to a fan to my left.  However, I noticed that he had a backup ball in his back pocket.  He started to reach in and I called his name immediately, which led to me getting ball #2.

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About 5 minutes later, I was standing in the third row when a member of the Pirates equipment staff was walking out with a bat in his hand.  He randomly handed the bat to a Pirates fan in the front row.  I was so pissed that I wasn’t in his position because I had a yellow shirt and pirates hat on.  I had been in his exact spot about 10-15 minutes earlier but left to get the ball from Lincoln.  And to add salt to the wound, the bat belonged to Andrew McCutchen. 

After getting over this tragic event, I moved over to the right field line because all of the mets pitchers were coming out to stretch and throw. 

 

IMG00157-20100916-1727.jpg At this point, it had gotten so dark to the point that they put the lights on.  And about 5 minutes later, the lightning started to hit the area.  I, along with all other fans were forced to go take cover.  Luckily, there was an area of seats underneath the overhang that was just next to the foul pole, but elevated.  When Olliver Perez finished throwing, I called out to him, even though he didn’t have the ball.  However, his partner fired the ball to me from about 100 feet away.  The ball did fall a bit short, where it slipped through my glove into the seats below.  Luckily, because of the lightning, nobody was there so I could run down and retreive it. 

Shortly after, the pitchers went in because it was about to pour.  And when I say pour, I mean pour like you’ve never seen it.  After a few minutes, the wind picked up to over 50 mph.  I later found out that a tornado had just passed through the area.  WTF????  One of the stationary concession stands actually blew across the concourse because of the excessive wind.  This is what the visibility was looking towards the field.

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Are you kidding me??  They actually made all fans go to the second level where there was more protection from the elements.  I eventually left at around 6:30 despite the rain stopping and the game practically starting on time.  Luckily, I heard during the broadcast on SNY later on that all game tickets can be redeemed for tickets to the series against the Brewers from September 27th-30th.  That means, I have at least 1 more game this season.  Possibly two because I may be heading down to Philly next weekend.

Balls for the game

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If you notice, the second ball is basically brand new.  This is because the ball was obviously just out of the box and it was in Lincoln’s pocket as a backup. 

 

Stats

3 Balls

Lifetime High 3 Balls at game without BP

Season Stats

24 Balls

11 Games

2.18 Balls Per Game

Chicago Trip (The Non-Baseball Part)

I arrived in Chicago on Saturday, August 14.  And aside from the baseball, I had a great time. There is so much to do and so many great places to eat at.  And I could have easily kept myself busy for a week, even without baseball.

Sunday night, we went to dinner at the Weber Grill. 

 

Weber Grill.jpgThey have an open kitchen with 7 gigantic kettle charcoal grills.

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We ended up ordering the BBQ platter (BBQ Meatloaf, Ribs and Chicken) and a burger.  The meatloaf sounded weird but was reccomended by every staff member that we asked.  Therefore we had to try it, and it was amazing. 

 

On Monday, we went to Gino’s East for lunch for a true taste of Chicago:  Deep Dish Pizza.

Gino's East.jpg

Gino's.jpg

I still prefer NY style thin crust pizza to Chi Town’s deep dish, but it was still delicious.

 

Finally, I stayed at the Inn of Chicago hotel in the Magnificant Mile.  This old, yet classic hotel is in the middle of everything and is very reasonably priced (around $100 per night).  The staff was very helpful and overall was a nice experience.  However, the rooms were extremely small.  Regardless, we didn’t mind it because of the location and price, but it was still pushing it.  If you come to Chicago, I would reccomend staying at the Inn of Chicago, but pay a little extra for a deluxe room/suite, which would be bigger.  It also had a terrace on the 22nd floor, which allowed you to see Lake Michigan from there. 

 

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We did walk to the lake twice, which is spectacular both during the day and at night.

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Chicago is a great city, and it really reminds me of Manhattan more than any other city that I’ve been to, but with a smaller feel.  Anyone thinking about going to Chicago, I strongly reccomend it.  It is very easy to take the subway anywhere, and there is a ton to do, whether it be the food scene, attending sporting events, or shopping.

8/16/2010 at WRIGLEY FIELD

I had been semi-disappointed after 2 games at U.S. Cellular Field.  I was told by one of the best, The Happy Youngster, that BP at The Cell was pretty good.  It was a problem that I could only get in an hour and a half both days and Sunday had no BP.  However, the disappointment just made me even more excited to step into Wrigley.  I had low expectations for snagging.  I knew that I couldn’t get into the bleachers with my regular ticket.  My goal was to snag one ball and enjoy the most spectacular old style ballpark in the MLB (Fenway didn’t wow me). 

I arrived at 3 pm for a 7 pm game and 5 pm gate opening time.  I had to walk around the stadium at least once and take as many pictures as possible, both outside and in.

Shortly after walking off of the subway, I got my first view of the inside of Wrigley

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I had goosebumps just thinking about where I was.  I have to mention all of the rooftop bleachers.  I later found out from the guys sitting next to me that these places charge around $150 to watch the game on the rooftop bleachers, which does include unlimited food and adult beverages. 

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I got a starbucks by the third base line while waiting for the gates to open.  It wasn’t hot outside, but it was nice to chill out in an air conditioned shop. 

Before I went in, I took one final picture.

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Before I even got inside, I already loved how friendly the staff was.  My dad and I were asked while waiting to get in if it was our first time at Wrigley.  After replying yes, we were told to take a right when we go in in order to receive a certificate signifying our first visit to Wrigley. 

After I ran in when the gates opened, I grabbed my giveaway cubs helmet bank, and stopped for a second, before heading down the RF Line to start snagging.

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I got shutout during the Cubs portion of BP.  I paitently waited while the Paders pitchers played catch.  I forgot my roster at the hotel, but I was able to look up the players names in the program and on my phone.  And my paitence paid off, because when Mike Adams finished throwing, he tossed my lone ball of the night. 

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I reached my goal to snag one ball.  I didn’t want to spend any time running around attempting to snag another ball during the game, although I did obviously still try during BP.

After BP ended, I started to take a bunch of pictures.

Such ast the famous Wrigley Scoreboard, which I was told was added in the 1920s.

 

 

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Once the game started, I took this panorama.

Wrigley Panorama 1.png
 

I then went to the Upper Tier to take more pictures.  On my way there, I found this old scoreboard that is in the upper part of the field level.

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I then took this panorama from behind home plate.

Wrigley Panorama 2.png
 

And this picture of the infield.

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I also got these pictures of the outfield wall dimensions with the famous Wrigley Ivy.

104_1780.JPGThumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 104_1781.JPG 104_1782.JPG


 

I was done with taking pictures for a little, and I returned to my great seats behind home plate to eat my sausage sandwich and watch some baseball.  However, I did snap this shot on the way back.

104_1795.JPG
 

It was quite a pitchers duel for a while.  Through the first 6 innings, Cubs SP Tom Gorzelanny gave up 2 earned runs, and his counterpart Kevin Correia had pitched 6 scoreless.  But in the top of the 7th, Gorzelanny gave up 3 earned, which is when it started to unravel for the Cubbies.  With the score at 7-5 at the end of the 8th, the Padres ended any hopes of the Cubs coming back by putting on 2 more in the 9th.  Cubs Win, Cubs Win?  Nope, sorry Harry.  

But speaking of Harry Caray, a Cubs fan imitated Will Ferrell when he imitated Harry Caray on SNL.  It was hasterical and made light of the Cubs losing situation.  But despite falling behind late on a Monday Night, the true baseball fans in Chicago kept the stadium completely full.  Very few fans left, even after the Padres took a 7-2 lead midway through the 8th.

Earlier in the game, I roamed around a little more to the Left field foul pole to snap some more shots.  

Here is the infield.

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 And the scoreboard with the foul pole in the way.

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And fans in the rooftop bleachers watching the game.

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Upon returning to my seats, I took my final picture from the seats.

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After the game, I had to walk out the home plate exit in order to take a picture of the famous Wrigley Field sign lit up.

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 On my way to the subway station, i snapped the lit up Cubs sign.

 

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From the subway station, I will leave you with the last 2 pictures.

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Wrigley Field is spectacular.  If I had to grade Wrigley on a scale of 1 to 10, it would be a 20.  In terms of snagging, it is one of the best, as long as you have a bleacher seat.  If you are ever in Chicago, go to Wrigley, even if you aren’t a baseball fan.  It’s a landmark and it won’t be there forever.  In my next entry, I will highlight my time in Chicago that is non-baseball related.

Stats

1 Ball

Season Stats

21 Balls

10 Games

2.1 Balls Per Game

 

My 3 Balls on this trip

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8/15/2010 at U.S. Cellular Field

 
8/15 #1I arrived at the ballpark at around 10:15 this morning.  I wanted to be first in line today and make sure I redeem myself after getting shut out the night before.  The problem with that was that today being a day game after a night game, I assumed that there would be no BP.  

8/15 #2

I assumed correctly.  I raced down to where 6 Tigers relievers were playing catch.  #36 Brad Thomas saw me and with my glove on, assumed that I would want his ball when he was done.  That particular spot that I was at had a wall that was probably no more than 2 feet high.  Thomas pointed to a spot on the ground below me and said there was a ball there.  I did not take a picture, but luckily I saw it and grabbed it for ball #1. 

After picking it up, he told me that there was another ball under the wall that was stuck.  At this point, another kid was 15 feet to my right, and raced over when he heard Thomas say that.  I looked once or twice, but saw nothing.  I then basically leaned against the wall, almost horizontally, and saw the ball and pulled it out for #2. 

With no BP, my opportunities to snag any other balls before the game started diminished when the relievers finished and didn’t throw anything into the seats.  I wanted to enjoy the game and stadium today so I didn’t try to get any toss ups.  I had good seats in foul territory in the 11th row just before the foul pole.  I had a shot at a foul ball.  I kept my glove on during the majority of the game, but took a lot of pictures.

8/15 #3

Here is Alex Avilla warming up while waiting for Armando Gallaraga:

8/15 #4

With Bullpen Catcher Scott Pickens

8/15 #5

Here is a panorama showing all of the retired White Sox players:

US Cellular Retired Numbers Panorama.png

And here are the two scoreboards located in the outfield:

8/15 37

104_1718.JPGThis game would be very exciting in terms of runs scored.

Here is my view for the game:

8/15 #7

Not bad.  There would be no score through the first 2 innings, but after that, it was far from the pitchers duel that I saw the night before.  Carlos Guillen had a 2 run single in the top of the third, and Alexei Ramirez responded with a sac fly in the bottom portion. 

The White Sox would score 3 runs in both the 5th and 6th on scattered hits and a dinger from Paul Konerko.

Being down 7-6 in the top of the 7th, the Twins tied the score on a Miguel Cabrera homer.  And in the 8th and 9th, the twins closed the door by scoring 3 and 4 runs, respectively, and winning the game 13-8. 

In the bottom of the 9th, I moved over to the 1st base dugout to try to get a toss up after the game.  This was my view:

 

104_1720.JPG And here are a couple of panoramas that I put together from various shots that I took throughout the game.

 

US Cellular Panorama 2.png 

US Cellular Panorama 3.png 

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US Cellular Panorama.png I would like to point out that despite the fact that in my last entry I said that U.S. Cellular isn’t very good for snagging, it is great otherwise.  It is beautiful inside and the concourses are great.  They do a great job showing the past history of the team.  There are throwback logos all over the place, such as here:

 

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 I do not have a picture of it, but at the end of each row,  there is a different white sox logo, both past and present on the side of the seat.  There are 8 different logos, and it starts over each row. 

Overall, Chicago is a great city, and it’s hard to judge U.S. Cellular as a baseball, and not White Sox fan, especially with Wrigley across town. 

Stats

2 Balls

Season Stats

20 Balls

9 Games

2.22 Balls Per Game

 

IMG00101-20100823-2312.jpg Here is my final view of “The Cell”

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