I almost didn’t go to this game. The forecast called for a 50% chance of rain. Nick Pelescak decided not to go. So, around 11 AM, Amy and I were sitting talking about what we were going to do for the day, she really wanted to go to Baltimore as she, like I, enjoy traveling. I looked at the hourly forecast one more time before leaving:
I figured if it did rain, I should at least be able to get a ball from an Athletics pitcher with my A’s jersey with a gold (pirates) sweatshirt underneath.
We arrived at the stadium at 3:55, and there were literally 20 people ahead of us.
Its a good thing that we got there when we did because 30 minutes later, the line snaked far off into the distance out of view.
Everyone was here to see the unveiling of the Frank Robinson statue in center field and get their replica statue giveaway.
The gate surprising opened a couple minutes early, so I made a mad dash around the stadium into left field. You may be able to see me in the picture below, I’m wearing an orange shirt:
I got on the board early as I caught a Robert Andino home run on the fly here:
I had to run a section and a half to make the catch, but it felt good to get on the board early, especially as I was worried about the stands crowding up quickly. Unfortunately, the ball wasn’t a commemorative.
Not long later, an Orioles lefty hit a home run near the bullpen that I ran over and caught barehanded as it bounced off of a seat. Commemorative!
During the Orioles last group, I ditched the left field bleachers because I felt I had a better chance of getting a ball from an Athletics pitcher or two or three.
There weren’t many people there, and I had A’s gear on, so I was hoping that they’d hook me up. Jerry Blevins did when he was done, tossing me a commemorative ball:
But he was the only pitcher to toss me one, so I returned to left field.
Coco Crisp was hitting some bombs, and one of his liners rolled to the warning track. I had told the folks in the front row that I’d give them the ball if they let me get it, so they let me glove trick. When I pulled it up I noticed it was a brand new white shiny Oriole Park commemorative. I asked the guy who moved to his left for me if he’d accept another ball, since I wanted the Orioles Park one, he said he didn’t care, he just wanted a ball, so I gave him one of my decoy ones that I brought from home.
It was only 5:33 and I had 4 balls, not bad for a half hour. But then, the groundscrew came out and put the tarp on, ending the A’s batting practice shortly after it had gotten started. It had been lightly sprinkling, but nothing that the A’s couldn’t have hit through. I was very disappointed. I decided to run over to the dugout to try to get a ball as the A’s made their way off the field, but was too late.
At the dugout, I noticed a player sitting in the corner signing autographs. It was Yoenis Cespedes. Yes, THE Yoenis Cespedes – the player who I came all the way from Pittsburgh to see take batting practice.
I joined the small group of autograph seekers huddled in the front row and passed Yoenis the shiny new commemorative that I had just glove tricked in left field moments earlier.
He signed the ball:
He seemed very quiet and humble – Baltimore ballhawk Avi Miller said that he’d been signing each day for every fan that asked.
The trip was not a waste at all, even though 60% of BP got rained out. Not only did I get four baseballs and a Cespedes autographed baseball, I also got four Frank Robinson statues:
Believe it or not, I sold all 4 statues within 12 hours on ebay for $57 each with shipping included. So, I made $200 on those 4 giveaways. I could’ve made so much more money. As it was raining, I walked around the seating bowl looking for baseballs and came across at least 12 abandoned Frank Robinson statues that I suppose I could’ve just picked up. I didn’t though. I was torn – did the people just forget them? They probably didn’t even care if they were just going to leave them there in the rain… Oh well.
It turned out to be a great trip for Amy, Olivia and I. After BP we went out to eat in Baltimore because we didn’t want to stay at the game if there were going to be off an on showers.
Since the Pirates are out of town for a week, and I’d like to snag my 500th career ball sometime in 2009, I decided that I needed to make a road trip or two this week. My first stop would be Camden Yards in Baltimore.
I attended this game with two friends, one of whom is in the ballhawk league (Andrew).
We arrived at 3:30 and got our tickets. There are two gates that open at 5:00. The Eutaw Street gate near the Babe Ruth statue…
And the one on the opposite end, nearest to the right field foul pole.
Which didn’t happen.
We stayed l
ong enough to watch all of the batters from each team hit, and then left the game early. We had a four hour + drive, and made it back home a bit after midnight.
Here are today’s baseballs:
And the sweet spots:
Game: 3 balls (3 hit)
Season: 263 balls (137 hit, 84 thrown, 42 device)
Games: 56 games (5 of which didn’t have BP)
Average: 4.70 balls per game
Career: 429 balls
Streak: 71 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.