May 3rd, 2010
In the above picture on the top shelf are my first ten baseballs Ive snagged from four different stadiums. Busch Stadium, Kauffman Stadium, Great American Ballpark, and Safeco field. I only attended a handful of games last yearbut when I went I never left a game without a baseball from the stadium. The second shelf holds my first 20 autographs from Major League Baseball players. This season I am now up to 72 autographs, and 28 baseballs from five different Major League Stadiums. Some of my current streaks are as follows;
10-game streak of getting at least one ball outside of Busch Stadium.
13-game streak of getting at least one ball during a game.
5-game streak of getting at least one ball in a different stadium I havent been to.
Current average of baseballs at a game- 2.0 Baseballs a game.
Probable Future Games;
May 4th Cellular Field
May 11th Busch Stadium
May 12th Busch Stadium
May 18th Wrigely Field
May 19th Cellular Field
May 22nd Kauffman Stadium
I know Im beating a dead horse by blogging about steroid use in professional sports. I have been thinking about this for a long time, and I wanted to finally blog about it. A lot of people dont care if athletes use steroids. In fact there are quite a few people out there that encourage the athletes to use them so they can witness better performances on the field. Well, I think thats absolutely selfish. Its wrong, and it degrades the sport.
Remember this guy? Sure you do. Thats Mark McGwire. He broke the single home run record that was formly held by Roger Maris. We all remember that day. September 8th 1998. Steve Trachsel on the mound facing McGwire. There it went. Over the left field fence. Number 62. The lucky stadium worker that found it, in my humble opinion, should have made some kind of deal with MLB for finding that baseball. Or kept it. McGwire would finish the season with 70 home runs. Sammy Sosa finished with 66 that season. And we all know that three seasons later, this guy would break that 70 home run mark.
Yup. Barry Bonds shattered that record with 73. A remarkable season for him. Barry Bonds has so many awards to his name its not even funny. Hes played with two teams his entire career ( Pittsburgh/San Francisco )and hes played in 14 all-star games. Quite the player, you’d say. So when exactly did these two players decide to start taking steroids? Well, McGwire in many interviews this last January said he used them when he first got to Oakland. He also put the blame on Jose Canseco. Jose Canseco even wrote a book on the steroid use thats taking place in baseball. Canseco also stated in an interview on the Chelsea Lately show that he wasnt trying to “out” baseball players. He was simply trying to identify a problem in the league, and get other players to back him up on it. Well, it all backfired on you Mr. Canseco.
So in the end with Bonds, and McGwire, was their entire career a total wash? Should all of their statistics have an asteriks by it? Rafael Palmerio tested positive on August 1st 2005 for steroids. He went before a congressional hearing, and denied ever using them. Canseco stated that he personally injected Palmeiro with steroids. Oddly enough, our good friend Rafael is a member of the 500 HR, 3000 Hit club. Palmeiro isnt offically retired. He just hasnt played baseball since 2005. Whats he waiting for? This whole steroid thing to blow over? To make sure his stats will stick before he retires? Who knows.
The following players were connected to steroids, either use or possession, in the Mitchell Report:
Paul Lo Duca
Exavier “Nook” Logan
The following players were cited under “Alleged Internet Purchases of Performance Enhancing Substances By Players in Major League Baseball.”
Gary Matthews Jr.
The following players were linked through BALCO
So what has all this madness done to our beloved American sport? In my opinion it has ruined it. Although, the home run chase back in 1998 probably saved baseball from the horrid 1994 baseball strike, but since then I think its done some serious damage. A lot of these players on the list have come forward, admitted they were wrong, apologized, and moved on. I guess in a sense, I should too. But recently when I got my hands on the Mitchell Report I was heartbroken that a lot of these players that I thought would have nothing to do with steroids had taken them or at least were accused. Their accomplishments arent real to me anymore. Theyve cheated the game. Theyve used performance enhancement drugs to propel themselves to do above and beyond what they normally arent capable of doing. Dont get me wrong. You still have to be an athlete to play this game. You cant just be some shlub off the street, eat some steroids, and magically hit 70 home runs in one season. I think these guys are incredible athelets for being able to do what they do. But Id rather see them hit 70 home runs by working hard, spending extra time in the batting cage, and with the batting coach, and studying each pitcher before they face them. They probably did that…but steroids helped them throw, hit, and run faster.
So because these players can perform beyond their normal capabilities it increases their value as a player. People say ” oh so what. So he took steroids. He can hit 500 foot home runs now. He can hit over 60 in a season.” Sure. Thats great. We all love seeing home runs. But now are beloved favorite player thats sending bombs to the outfield now wants to be paid millions on top of millions because hes doing that. And it doesnt help that guys like Scott Boras are encouraging that. So you ask ” well, whats the problem?” Well, Ill tell you what the problem is. Now simple people like you, me, and the rest of the baseball fans out there cant sit in seats behind home plate. Or we cant sit in seats behind the dugout. Why? Because this guy injecting himself with trash, and hitting a thousand home runs a game is making so much money that they have to raise ticket prices. They have to charge $10.00 for a beer. They have to charge $30.00 for two hotdogs, and a soda. Thats the problem. For a family of four, they have to sit in the cheap seats on the 500 level deck because four tickets at the field view are $70.00 a pop. Get what Im saying?
But I digress. The only think that keeps a crowd from coming to the ballpark is a losing team nowadays. And Im fine with that. I just think its criminal for these players to get paid so much money, and the fan is the one that loses out. Anyone that comes to the stadium shouldnt be limited to where they can sit to watch the game of baseball.
I really debated on typing this blog today. But Its been something on my mind for a long time now. And since its my blog, I suppose I can type just about whatever I want. ( Within reason ). Well, ever since I started this season off by trying to snag as many baseballs at the stadiums as possible, Ive noticed that Ive gained the attention of a lot more fans than usual. I try to be as friendly as possible when I go to games. I try to be courteous, and respect while Im there. I pick up after myself, and Im careful with what I say because I know there are children, elderly, and other fans around me. When I go to baseball games I dont have that sense of feeling that the players, and staff owe me anything. I dont feel obligated towards anything at the ballpark except a good time. I want to have as much fun at the baseball game as possible. I dont whine when I dont get my way, I dont complain when the umpires blow calls, or when my favorite players strike out. I just laugh, and continue seeking fun.
Now this blog entry isnt directed towards the children at the games. Its really kind of directed towards anyone that shares this attitude. Mainly adults. Mainly the adults because I see it more with them than anyone else. Im not sure when this unwritten rule was established or when it became so popular but Im rather kind of tired of it. Honestly, there isnt anything I can do to change it. All I can do is complain about it on my MLB Blog. Im talking about those adults ( most with their own children ) that think that everything at the baseball game is obligated towards the children. It doesnt matter if its autographs, baseballs, being the first to run the bases, the free giveaways, the promotions, or the best seats in the stadium. There are adults that go to these games that think its all for the children. Its not.
I guess I see it more now because everyone at the stadium wants a Major League Baseball. Everyone does. Some are more adament about getting one than others. Some have a very relaxed attitude about it. ” Ill get one if I get one. If not, so what.” But people like me that want as many as I can get at a stadium, and Ill go to great lengths to getting them. Mind you, I’d never push or shove or steal from anyone. But if I can find the best position at the ballpark to get them, Ill hold my ground until its time to move on. I was at Busch last week on Thursday, and I was fortunate enough to snag four grounders that came my way as I perched on the third base line. I had a whining father/son duo behind me that were crying to the baseball players to throw them a ball. It never happened because of their pathetic attempt to get one. But after I snagged my fourth the complaining started to get directed at me. Like I had something to do with their unsuccessfulness at retrieving a baseball. In a way, I guess I did. I had the prime spot for all the baseballs that came down the third base line. But I planned it that way. I was the first person into the stadium. I invested an entire day to this. So shouldnt I be entitled to keep the baseballs I caught? After all I caught them.
If a small child reached out and shagged a ball in front of me, I wouldnt be upset. Kudos to you kid for getting out there before I could. My point is all these young kids around me make absolutely no attempt to get a baseball. They just stand on the base line waving their hands, or shlumped over the wall waiting for a lucky toss. Hey, theyre kids. So what..? That doesnt make me any less of a fan. That doesnt make me any less obligated to try and field a sharply hit ground ball my way, and if I catch it keep it for myself. I dont have to give the ball away because Im an adult, and Im surrounded by little children that can barely see over the wall to even see that ball coming. If I were to give away one ball then the kids around me would look at me like Im some kind of ball boy here to catch, and give away baseballs to them. You want a ball? Get down there and get one. Thats all Im saying. If these adults think that baseball is just for kids, then maybe the father of the child should bring his glove, and get down on the baseline, and start to try and get his own kid a ball. Not rely on some stranger to shag them for their kids. Get real. How many times do you see unsupervised children on the walls with parents up in the aisles drinking beer, and laughing with friends? I see it everytime I go to a game. Yet, Im supposed to give up baseballs that I catch.
In my short lived ballhawking career, I have assisted four children ages five and below with catching a baseball. Where was the mother? Not at the game. Where was the father? Happily sitting in his seat drinking a beer. I feel like saying something. ” Hey buddy, this is your kid. Not mine. Put the booze down, and come help him catch these baseballs.” The last kid I helped catch a baseball he could barely see over the dugout. His father was three rows back encouraging him from afar. He’d tell his little boy to get his glove on, and hold it up. Wave to the players, and ask for a ball. So the players would toss this rowdy bunch of kids a few balls, and luckily for the youngster beside me the ball got loose from the pack, and rolled into the dugout. Finally the ball was tossed again, and the same thing happened. I watched this entire thing unfold. Those kids already had a handful of baseballs tossed to them. So I interjected and told the player to throw the ball to this little kid beside me. I caught the ball, and handed it over. Looking over my shoulder at the father, oblivious as to what was going on. Shame.
Anyway. Enough ranting for one day. My whole point of this blog ( and I may even delete it ) is that those adults out there that bring their kids to the games should probably interact more with them instead of relying on guys like me and other fellow ballhawkers to step in, and make sure these youngsters get a baseball. If I had a son or a daughter, thats exactly what I would be doing. Id be down on the field level teaching my kid the names, and numbers of these players, and teaching my child how to get these baseballs from the players. For those parents/adults out there that participate with their kids at the games I couldnt have more respect for you. One day when your child gets older, and theyre able to come to games on their own they will ballhawk too.