In December, I received a brochure from the Cincinnati Reds asking me to renew my season tickets. I once was a Reds season ticket holder in 2010, when I bought a Baker’s Dozen 13 game plan. I spent like $90 on one seat for 13 games. I ended up only attending three games in Cincinnati that year, and snagging 13 balls total, but one of those games was game three of the NLDS, where I snagged six balls and set a single season record.
It was early October, and it was Amy and my first ever road trip together, so I have a soft spot in my heart for Cincinnati.
Without giving away too much information about my 2012 master schedule (we’ll save that for another blog) , it looks like I’ll be attending hopefully at least 10 games there, although I could attend up to 20 games there.
I figured that since the Reds will be a hot ticket this year (they’re going to win the Central) that I would go ahead and buy a VIP plan. Full 81 games. 2 tickets to each game. 162 tickets in total. It cost me $1289.50, but I made a lot of that back by selling my opening day tickets from the plan. I plan on holding back 40 tickets worth and selling the other 122 to at least break even.
So what’s there to like about the Cincinnati Reds and Great American Ballpark this year? Here’s some of the benefits:
1) Early access
I’ll be entering at 4:30 many games by buying a BP tour ticket. If the tickets are sold out, I’d still get in at 5:10 with the season ticket holders, but imagine having BP with just a hand full of other people for the first 70 minutes of batting practice. That’s right – the general public doesn’t get in until 5:40. Zack Hample took advantage of this in 2011 and snagged 36 in one game. What would you rather ballhawk in? This?
The crowds at Great American Ballpark can really suck, especially when you have to factor in those railings in the aisles that block your mobility. You can pretty much forget snagging much from 5:40-6:10.
2) Good resell value
I’ve sold 8 of the 122 tickets that I won’t use already on stubhub. The cheapest opening day seat is currently selling for $109. That’s for just one ticket! With the Tigers and Indians coming to GABP, there’s demand.
3) Opportunity to buy more Opening Day tickets.
All season ticket holders are guaranteed the opportunity to get more opening day tickets. Meaning, at the very least, if I bought two more for $20 and resold them for $220 – well, you can do the math. We’re just chipping away at that $1289.50.
4) Take batting practice on the field.
All full season ticket holders get to take batting practice on the field at Great American Ballpark. Unlike PNC Park, its for full season ticket holders only, so hopefully there’ll be less people there resulting in more cage time for me. My ultimate goal is to jack one out of a major league ballpark. I haven’t been lifting all these weights for nothing. I haven’t been able to do it at PNC Park yet.
5) Post-season guaranteed tickets
When the Reds make the post season in 2012, I’ll get to buy more tickets. Even if I can’t attend, reselling the tickets will make this investment more beneficial.
6) Unused season ticket exchange program
I used this before in 2010 when I had the Baker’s Dozen plan to exchange my unused tickets for a game later in the season against the Brewers that I could easily spin off to a buyer on ebay. It’s simple, by mail, and if you can’t get rid of your tickets, then you can request games later in the season.
With the purchase of these Reds tickets, that makes 7 season tickets for 3 different teams that I’m now the owner of. That’s 567 tickets that I have.
Did I go overboard? What do you think? Were the Reds tickets worth it? I think they were. All of my tickets for my 2012 games are bought and paid for, and I’m going to get a lot of that money back by reselling the ones I can’t use.
At any rate, if you need a season ticket to get in early to PNC Park or Great American Ballpark, you now know where to turn.
There’s only 58 more days until Opening Day, 11 days until pitchers and catchers report to spring training, and 6 days to win this Brandon Phillips jersey Tshirt.
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RT’s: Zac, Craig, Mateo, Brandon, Connor, Daniel P
I came into today needing just six baseballs to break the single season record of 543 baseballs snagging in one season. After a dismal performance at my last game on September 29th, I was determined to bounce back.
Amy and I arrived at Cincinnati around 3PM, in plenty of time before the 5:07 gate time.
We parked a ways a way and made the walk along the Ohio River, but had fun goofing around on the way to the stadium:
Amy was along to keep me company and take pictures to document today’s possibly record setting game.
Coming into the game, I needed six balls to break the all time single season record of 543 set by Zack Hample in 2008.
We killed some time before the gates opened by walking around Great American Ballpark, including wandering around the team store.
Here we are outside of the main gates:
I was able to secure a ticket through my Baker’s Dozen Partial season ticket plan. Since I only had one seat in the plan, we went to Cincinnati hoping to buy an extra ticket for Amy. Since the game was sold out, we had to turn to scalpers. The cheapest ticket available was $250, and Amy refused to let me pay that. She insisted on sitting outside Great American Ballpark while I went in and did my thing. I reluctantly agreed and rushed inside when the gates opened.
Upon entering the stadium, the Reds were warming up.
Including Aroldis Chapman, the 105 mph throwing rookie.
I tried to get one of them to toss me a ball but failed. And since BP was getting underway, I darted out to the left field seats to get to work.
There, I caught ball #1 on the fly off the bat of catcher Corky Miller here:
I was to chase down my second ball soon after as it rattled around a seat in the same general area.
I used the Cleveland stick to prod a ball on the batter’s eye close enough to reach for ball #3.
And returned to left field to snag a Jonny Gomes home run here:
That was the last ball I got during the Reds portion, and the seats were really starting to fill up when the Phillies came to bat.
After getting shut out by the first group, I headed over to right center field in hopes of snagging a Shane Victorino, Ryan Howard or Chase Utley home run ball to tie the single season record. It happened, and I happened to be video taping when it did. The ball hit behind me and ricocheted down towards me, and I was able to smother it just as several other fans reached for it. Here’s the video evidence! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTdHPeEtoug
So, at the very least, I would finish the 2010 season tied for the single season record.
In the meantime, I didn’t get anything else from that group, and my hope rested on the final group of bench players. Since they were mostly right handed, I headed back to left field.
That’s when this guy:
I don’t know who:
Launched a deep fly ball. It was going over my head, so I started running up the stairs in the open aisle. I was able to make the catch as I headed up the stairs in a reaching back hand fashion. It was a great catch, and it set the single season record at 544 balls in a single season!
After making the catch, I asked a nearby fan to take a photo for me with the ball.
I left after batting practice to meet Amy, I didn’t want her to be alone for too long. I showed her the record setting ball:
She was really happy for me:
Re-enactment of the catch of 544:
It was getting late, so I bid farewell to Great American Ballpark,
and the 2010 season, as this was my final game.
Game: 6 balls (5 hit, 1 device)
Season: 544 balls (261 hit, 131 thrown, 75 device, 77 found)
Games: 88 games
Average: 6.18 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 6
Career: 1,122 balls
This would be the second most crowded game that I have ever attended. The attendance of this game was 41,326. The most packed game I ever attended was last year at Citizen’s Bank Park when a Reds vs Phillies match up drew 41,538. At that game, I only managed to snag two balls. Would today be different? I was hoping so, since Cincinnati opens its gates 30 minutes early to season ticket holders.
I stayed there for several minutes, but got tired of watching a few balls sail into the lower level seats. I ended up moving all over the place for the rest of batting practice, but it would never lead to any more baseballs.
Batting practice also ended early, as there would be lengthy on field ceremonies to honor Negro League Baseball players and African American ballplayers’ contributions to the Civil Rights movement.
By the way, about that ball in center… It seemed to be a bit too far out to throw my glove out and nudge it closer, plus there was a security guard right there. After batting practice, when he went to get the baseballs that landed in the bat
ters eye, I was going to ask him for one, but I heard him tell another fan, “If I have to give one to you, I have to give one to everyone.”
Apparently, the Civil Rights game is a huge event. I didn’t know this. Had I been aware of the competition I would face, I would’ve headed to Baltimore to see the Indians there.
Some more pictures:
Left field wall:
Field with podiums and chairs for the on-field ceremonies:
Tonight’s game would be broadcast on the MLB Network:
A seemingly never ending stream of inner city baseball little league teams circled around the stadium on the warning track:
And continued to the concourse ( and out of the stadium ).
Steam boat wheel:
The game wouldn’t start until about 7:45 PM due to the lengthy on field ceremonies. Had I stayed at the game, I wouldn’t have gotten home until after 3AM.
I left the stadium before the game began.
Game: 2 balls (1 hit, 1 thrown)
Season: 115 balls (70 hit, 24 thrown, 10 device, 12 found)
Games: 16 games
Average: 7.19 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career: 693 balls
Streak: 112 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
My first game of the 2009 season was a Pirates vs Reds game at Great American Park. I figured the best way to close the season was by making my final game of the 2009 season a Pirates vs Reds game at Great American Park.
I left my house around 11 AM, and arrived just before 4 PM.
Unfortunately, the gates at Great American don’t open until 90 minutes before the first pitch, so I would have to wait around until 5:40 to get in. I was thinking, “I should’ve gone to Baltimore.” (To see the Blue Jays vs Orioles).
I sat outside the center field gate, read the newspaper, checked scored on my phone, and waited for the gates to open. While there, Cincinnati natives tried to engage me in conversations about the NFL and the Steelers, a subject that I didn’t really care to talk about at a baseball game. Unlike most Pittsburghers, I’m pretty indifferent when it comes to the Steelers and Penguins.
When the gates finally did open, I ran in and snapped a quick picture.
I had a whole TWENTY FIVE MINUTES of ballhawking. No wonder I
didn’t do so well here earlier in the season (eight balls over two
If I hadn’t had bought a ticket directly behind the Pirates dugout, I
may have left to get back to Pittsburgh at a decent hour. Plus, 411
isn’t a great looking number to me. I wanted to get one more ball.
I walked around the stadium and snapped a few more pictures:
Before the game began, I got Andy LaRoche to toss me his warm up ball, except right before he was about to release it, he pump faked upon seeing a four year old girl with her glove up, two rows behind me. He paused and pointed at the girl and underhanded the ball. The ball floated two feet to my right. I should’ve reached out and grabbed it, and given it to the girl, but I didnt. I watched it float slowly by and land in the little girl’s glove. I started kicking myself for not catching it – it would’ve been ball #7 of the day.
I would have to try and get a ball by some other means.
In the second inning, Pirates’ first baseman Garrett Jones tossed me ball #7 as he came off the field. I was a bit disappointed that he had switched the warm up ball tossed by the coach with the game ball that he was bringing in towards the dugout.
I watched in subsequent innings as he did the same thing.
With the Pirates trailing by a large margin, I left in the 6th inning to make the four and a half hour drive back to Pittsburgh. I got home sometime after 1:30AM.
Was it worth the trip for 25 minutes of batting practice? I’d say so. I ended the season on a positive note, with seven balls, and 412 snagged during the 2009 season.
Coincidentally, 412 is also my telephone area code, which is somewhat cool.
Game: 7 balls (6 hit, 1 thrown)
Season: 412 balls (217 hit, 125 thrown, 70 device)
Games: 81 games (10 of which didn’t have BP)
Average: 5.09 balls per game
Career: 578 balls
Streak: 96 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Happy Easter everyone!
My friend Joe and I went to Great American Ball Park today.
It was an afternoon game, so I was worried that batting practice would be canceled. We waited in line for about 10 minutes to get in. At 11:40, when the gates opened, I rushed to left field. The Pirates were taking batting practice!
I was the first one there, but the stadium ushers must have picked up all of the Easter Eggs, because there were none to be found. Yesterday’s starter Paul Maholm was alone in left field. I shouted to him to congratulate him on his great start yesterday. I then asked for a ball. He looked up and threw me a ball. His aim was off and it was wide and to my left. It tipped off my glove and landed a row behind me. Luckily, there was still no one around, so I turned around and picked it up. It was ball #1. I asked Matt Capps, John Grabow, and Tyler Yates for balls in left center field, but was ignored. I didn’t feel like pestering them, so I found an open aisle about 6 rows back that wasn’t being blocked by those long railings I mentioned in Friday’s entry.
Freddy Sanchez soon launched a deep fly ball to left. It was right at me, in the center of the section. However, it was sailing over my head. I hate it when this happens. I don’t have latitudinal range, and get stuck. It happens often at PNC Park. The ball landed about 5 rows back, so I had to climb over the chairs to beat some Reds fan there by a split second. It was ball #2.
Game: 5 balls (3 hit, 2 thrown)
Season: 8 balls (5 hit, 3 thrown)
Average: 4.0 balls/game (8 balls/2 games)
Career: 174 balls
I attended today’s game with my best friend from my childhood days, Joe Filipowski. We got to the gates about 10 minutes before they were to open. I hate how the gates don’t open until 90 minutes before the first pitch. At 11:40, we were finally let inside. The Pirates were already in mid batting practice.
I checked for Easter eggs in left field, but there was nothing there. With some of the Pirates better hitters coming up and being left handed, we headed over to right field. I was shocked at how amazingly rude the Pirates were towards their own fans. I got totally ignored by Zach Duke, Jesse Chavez, Craig Monroe, Eric Hinske, Brandon Moss, and Donnie Veal in right field. I asked each of them for a ball on more than one occasion, but was ignored. The irritating part was that they were giving balls to little kids with Reds gear on, even though I was completely decked out in Pirates gear, including their new alternate batting practice jersey. It looked like it was going to be one of those days.
I decided to try and get a batted ball from one of the left handed power hitters. Nate McLouth hit one, but it was over my head and some guy just barely beat me to it. My friend Joe got the first ball of the day, but gave it away to a little kid. Jesse Chavez pointed the kid out and tossed it to him several rows up, but the kid missed it. Joe ended up catching up, but out of kindness gave it to the kid. He later said he regretted giving it away, it being the first ball that he’d snagged since the 1994 Home Run Derby at Three Rivers Stadium.
Moments later, Brandon Moss launched a deep fly ball to right field. I drifted over about 5 seats and camped out underneath it. The ball landed squarely in my glove. It was ball #1 of the day for me, and my first ball of 2009. It’d been over 6 months since I last snagged a ball, so it was good to finally get one. If you can find the #1 below, that’s the exact spot I snagged Moss’ Home Run.
I didn’t take any pictures during batting practice because I felt like having my camera around my neck would be a distraction for me and make moving around a little tougher. After Adam LaRoche and Brandon Moss’s group hit, I decided to move to left field. It would prove to be a little late because Andy LaRoche was absolutely raking balls into left field while we were in right.
I made my way over to where Matt Capps, Tyler Yates, and John Grabow were standing in left center field. I asked several times for some balls, but was ignored by Yates. At least Grabow looked at me, but decided to throw the ball into the bleachers instead. I made eye contact with Capps. He got a ball and pointed at me and tossed it. Out of no where, a Reds fan dives in front of me and steals the ball before it reached me. (I was in the second row, he was in the first). Luckily, another ball was hit to Capps. He turned around and made sure I caught this one, arching it perfectly. It was ball #2 of the day.
I then decided to move to the left field line where Ian Snell and Craig Hansen were hanging out. Since catching a HR ball would prove tricky here, I decided to try and ask every Pirate I could for a ball. I settled into the second row in one of the sections near the line. I chose an empty row so I could somewhat move. Moments later, Craig Monroe lauched a line drive in my direction. I barely had to move. There was some competition for the ball from some people in the front row, but since I am 6’5″, I was able to outreach them and made the snag for ball #3 on the day. The below picture shows the exact locations of balls #2 and #3: