I woke up at 6:45 AM in Philadelphia, left my hotel about 7:20, and was in New York City just shy of two hours later. This was the first time I had driven to New York City, so I didn’t know the ins and outs of where to park, so I parked in a stadium lot for $19. I was the first car in the entire lot.
I took a few pictures of the exterior of Citi Field from the parking lot:
I told Capps that we missed him in Pittsburgh. When they finished up, Burnett had the ball and tossed me ball #5 on the day.
The Nationals batting practice was just brutal. Very few home runs were hit into the stands, and I ended batting practice with five balls.
At one point during the bore-fest, I took a video of the Nationals batting practice which you can view below: (at least the Mets have good taste in music)
The game began, and I went to my seat in the upper deck (after being kicked out of the section behind the Nationals dugout).
In the first inning, I saw one of the more exciting plays I’d seen in awhile. Josh Willingham hit a ball off the wall with the bases loaded. Immediately, I said, “That’s a grand slam.” In the upper deck, I could see the ball was clearly to the right of the home run line. The umpires missed the call, and we got an instant replay review.
Since the umpires let the play go, I got to see Adam Dunn bowl over the catcher, and then watch Willingham get thrown out trying to stretch the play into an in the park Grand Slam.
Of course, the umpires got the call right, and much to Mets’ fans dismay, Willingham was awarded his grand slam.
You can watch the play below if you’re into excited bases clearing hits:
After a couple innings, I went exploring and took a few pictures of the concourse:
View from the upper deck:
Walking towards the right field foul pole:
Right field corner concourse:
Walking towards the Shea Bridge, under the Pepsi deck in right field:
The Shea Bridge:
View from behind the center field seats:
Food court area behind the center field score board:
Under the left field deck:
Left field corner:
Main concourse behind home plate, near the Jackie Robinson rotunda:
And the pearl of Citi Field, the Jackie Robinson rotunda:
I only stayed about half of the game, because I needed to try and get home before 10 PM, as I had to be up for work the next day.
Game: 5 balls (2 hit, 2 thrown, 1 device)
Season: 17 balls (10 hit, 2 thrown, 5 device)
Games: 4 games
Average: 4.25 balls per game
Career: 595 balls
Streak: 100 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
2009 through 4 games: 17 balls
I decided to make one final trip this week to see a baseball game outside of Pittsburgh. My brother joined me for the four hour drive down to Baltimore. We arrived about an hour before the gates opened, and were the first ones in the park.
I ran to the right field foul pole to get early entrance with the season ticket that I had bought, and sprinted around the seating bowl. When I got to left field, I had it all to myself for about 2-3 minutes.
I found ball #1 laying in the front row.
Ball #2 was a home run hit by Adam Jones into the section closest to the bullpen. I sprinted over and back several rows to pick up my second ball of the day.
Minutes later, Matt Wieters hit a line drive home run in my direction. I ran to the spot where I thought the ball was going to land and got there just in time to make the catch of ball #3. I was aided by the fact that there weren’t many season ticket holders that come to week day games. Look at the crowd at 5:15:
Game: 6 balls (4 hit, 1 thrown, 1 device)
Season: 198 balls (98 hit, 72 thrown, 28 device)
Games: 38 games (5 of which didn’t have BP)
Average: 5.21 balls per game
Career: 364 Balls
Today was the Mets’ second of four games in Pittsburgh, and my second attempt at getting a commemorative ball.
I got to the gates a little after 4 PM and was second in line. When the gates opened, I jogged into the bleachers and was the first one there. I saw a ball as I entered one of the sections. I quickly ran down and grabbed ball #1, as other ballhawks were right behind me. Much to my surprise…
it was a Shea Stadium commemorative ball from last year. Nice! I still would’ve rather had a Citi Field ball, but I’ll take it.
Moments later as I moved towards the foul pole, I found ball #2. Finding two Easter eggs is an awesome start, usually there aren’t any.
Ball #3 came from Tony Beasley. He made sure that all of the regular ballhawks got a ball today. What a good guy.
When the Mets came out to hit, there weren’t many pitchers shagging in the outfield. A ball was hit to the 410 sign in center field. It was very glove “trickable.” I started to make my way over to get the ball. Just as I got to the bullpen, a deep ball was hit right at me. Mike Pelfrey ran back and made the snag. I thought, “Great. He’s going to pick up that ball too.” Luckily, Pelfrey didn’t see it, and walked back to center field. Moments later, I reeled up ball #4.
I went back towards the foul pole when a fellow ballhawk and PNC Park regular, Dan, pointed out another ball to me. It must have rolled to the 410 sign when I was walking back to my spot. I went over and reeled in ball #5 after one failed attempt. I think I will need a new rubber band soon. The one I have might be getting to stretched out.
In the middle of the Mets batting practice, Gary Sheffield launched a deep home run to my left. I could tell it was a bomb, so rather than positioning myself in line with the ball, I ran back to the cross aisle that seperates the lower bleachers from the upper deck bleachers. The ball hit in the cross aisle and rolled partly under the overhang of the upper level bleachers. I reached down and gloved ball #6.
I made a huge mistake by heading over to center field for the last group. The final group taking batting practice was predominently left handed, so I figured I’d have a better shot. There was only one right handed batter.
Check out how empty batting practice was. There aren’t many people in the left field bleachers.
Within minutes, he was surrounded by security guards. A man in a suit came out with a clipboard and the negotiating began. It lasted about an inning. I’m not sure what the kid asked for, but there were about 4 things written down on the sheet of paper on the clip board.
It got me thinking what I would ask for if I had caught the home run. I decided that I’d ask for a game ball signed by Jaramillo, the chance to deliver the ball to him in person, and his word that he’d toss me 1 ball at any batting practice I attended (if he was in the outfield and I asked for one.)
Later in the game, I was getting
thirsty. I decided to go fill up my water bottle. As I was passing this Nacho Express stand, something caught my eye.
Yes, you guessed it. Another Easter Egg.
I had to almost lay on the ground to get that picture. I had to reach around the side of the stand to get ball #8. People probably thought I was a big weirdo for laying on the ground and reaching under a Nacho Express stand, but when they saw I pulled a ball out, I saw a few surprised faces.
I went back to center field in the ninth inning to try and get Nate’s warm up ball. His throw hit some guys arm, richoted right in front of me, but I wasn’t ready and misplayed it. Some one picked the ball up 2 rows ahead of me.
I then headed to the dugout. I had to run half of the way there, because Matt Capps got 3 quick outs. I just barely made it to the dugout as umpire Ted Barrett was coming off the field, but was in a terrible spot, off to the side of the tunnel. He gave two balls away, but not to me.
That was it for today.
When I arrived home I had this waiting for me:
I had been waiting all day for it, since I was off work today, but it didn’t arrive until after I left for the Pirate game. It was my Super Deluxe copy of Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King, Dave Matthews Band’s new album.
The CD was released today, and I had ordered it off of the Warehouse (fan club) so I could get some bonus items.
I spent the rest of my night looking through the booklets and watching the DVD. I didn’t listen to the CD the whole way through until the next day because I wanted to blast it, and it was too late to do that. I’d reccommend picking it up at Target or Best Buy for $9.99 this week. It’s their best album since 1998. Seriously.
The sweet spots:
Game: 8 Balls (4 hit, 2 thrown, 2 device)
Season: 151 Balls (67 hit, 62 thrown, 22 device)
Games: 30 Games (26 with BP/4 without)
Average: 5.03 Balls Per Game
Career: 317 Balls
I got to the gates a little after 4 PM and was first in line. When I entered the stadium, there were no Easter eggs to be found.
I got ball #1 off the bat of Robinzon Diaz. He hit a home run to the section to my right. I battled the sun and snagged the ball without incident on the fly.
Ball #2 came off the bat of Craig Monroe. It was a deep home run to my right. I could tell that it was going well over my head, so I raced up the stairs. The ball bounced and disappeared under the rotunda/bleacher area.
Game: 5 Balls (2 hit, 1 thrown, 2 device)
Season: 143 Balls (63 hit, 60 thrown, 20 device)
Games: 29 Games (25 with BP, 4 without)
Average: 4.93 Balls per Game
Career: 309 Balls