May 18th, 2010
Another miserable day at the ballpark. Its May, and the crappy weather is still around. I can not wait for June-July baseball. Really, I can not wait. I hate coming to the ballpark, and wondering if batting practice will happen or not. It sits on my shoulders like a 2-ton bag of bricks. When there isnt batting practice, I get a real sick feeling inside of me. Not because the chances of me not getting a baseball are very high, its because I dont want to lose my streak! Alright. Enough ranting.
So batting practice was in full swing when I got to the stadium. I went to the right field gates to peak in, and sure enough the cage was set up but nobody was batting. So I returned to the thirs base gates, and waited. I thought about trying my luck on some easter eggs in the centerfield bleachers. I thought about it for probably the majority of the time I sat at the third base gates. I almost went. I held my position. It really did pay off this time. Once I entered the stadium, I was beat down to the base line wall by an older gentleman. He had a glove, and a backpack so I knew he was serious. But what he didnt see were two baseballs laying right underneath the front row directly behind him! I didnt hesitate. I wanted to take a snapshot but I needed to secure the baseballs. Two easter eggs were all mine! ( Note; on Mygameballs.com those two baseballs put us at lifetime baseballs 19,000 )
It wasnt long before another serious ballhawk showed up. Here is my competition.
The guy in the red coat, and the other guy in the grey t-shirt. Each one of those guys got one baseball a piece. I started the evening out with two. So I felt pretty good. Two more slow rollers came down the line, and those were easily snatched up by some other folks. We also had a hot chopper hit right to us, and I backed up to play it on the hop but I got hungup on the seats. Soon after that one, another one was hit right into the seats. It hit down in a seat that wasnt occupied, and I easily got it. After that happened one of the ushers showed up with a glove, and stood right in front of me. He scooped up an easy grounder that was headed right for me. I really hate it when these guys come out, and block others from getting a baseball. Its happened twice now, and its looking like my spot is no longer available. So I moved on.
I moved around the diamond looking for stray baseballs that maybe a coach or a player would throw me, but to no avail it didnt happen. I wondered if three was going to be my number tonight, and as I looked back down to my spot the usher had left, but batting practice was about to end. So I went up, and got me some grub, and waited on the Nationals to come out, and warm up. As soon as they did I perched on the spot, and called out to Ian Desmond. But he nodded to me, gestured that he was going to give the ball to a little kid. Well, I hate to encourage that in ball players because everyone is a fan, so I just eye-balled him hoping that would help change his mind. No dice. Adam Kennedy also had a ball, and I called out to him. No dice from him either.
And that was it. No other baseballs came my way. The umpires leave the field directly behind home plate. So if you have tickets to the expensive seats you can get a baseball from them. I think those tickets are like $230.00 but theyre all you can eat. Well, Im not spending $230.00 to sit behind home plate to wait on an umpire to throw me a baseball. I guess if I were desperate. But Im not.
Game: St Louis Cardinals Vs Washington Nationals May 17 2010 7:15pm.
Game Balls: Three
Unfortunatly this blog entry will be without pictures. When I synced them off of my iphone, somehow I must have clicked DELETE ALL OF THEM. Well, my last blog entry when I tried to upload pictures a different way they came out way distorted. So no pictures.
Typical evening game at Kauffman. Although it was a Saturday so the crowd was a little larger than normal. Maybe 18,000? Who knows. All I know was it was COOOLLDDD and MISSERABLEEE!! I hate games like these too. But running around got the blood pumping, and got my spirits up. I wasnt as aggressive going after baseballs as I was last night though. The game was delayed by an hour due to rain, and the crowd kind of set the town. It was military appreciation day. So a lot of the attention from the players went to those guys. Most of them wore their uniforms, and brought their children. So really my chances of getting a ball was dwindling by the moment when I saw all the guys in uniform with little kids.
I pulled my WhiteSox cap down tightly, and prepared to enter. BATTING PRACTICE WAS CANCELED!?!?!? Oh boy. This was bad. Luckily Garcia was out throwing the ball around. So I raced over to the third base side calling to him to throw me a ball. I was desperate at this point. I had to really fight now. He threw it to a kid. BLAST! I then spotted two baseballs sitting out in the rain on the edge of the grass in deep centerfield. I darted out there. Switching caps on the fly. I didnt know who was going to get these baseballs. But when they did I would be ready. I sat on them for 52 minutes, and finally a grounds crew member came over, and scooped them up. If you ask for one they say they cant throw them to anyone. But thats a lie. Ive seen them throw them to kids in every stadium Ive been to.
Now what? Well, the baseball players usually warm up right before the game. That was my only shot. I ran back to the third base side, and I switched caps. Id have to try to get a ball from a White Sox. It was my only chance. The game started at 7:05pm. When no player came out of the dugout to throw the ball around by 6:55pm, I knew the game was delayed. It was. One hour later Mark Teahen, Gordon Beckman, and Alexei Ramirez came out, and started running, throwing the ball around, and stretching. Two baseballs, a thousand kids, a thousand military men, and women, and ME. Mark Teahen, and Beckman were the first to get done. Beckham gave the ball to Teahen, and he wandered over to the stands. He signed it, and handed it to a soldier with his kid. Great. One ball left, and Ramirez had it. He was throwing with the strength, and conditioning trainer. So Ramirez would end up with the ball. And he did. I called to him.
” Alexei-SMACK!” The ball smacked right into the heal of my glove. Some lady next to me was caught off guard, and stared at me wide-eyed.
I smiled, and headed up into the concourse for some food, and shelter from the cold, and rain, and some guy stopped me.
” Hey, that guy..he threw a ball to you.” An older gentleman said to me in passing.
” Alexei Ramirez. Yeah, he did.” I nodded, and smiled.
” How did you get him to do that?” He asked.
” I asked him for the ball. Its pretty simple.” I said.
” He saw your Chicago hat. Thats why he threw it to you.” Said the man.
” Yeah, the probably has something to do with it.” I said in return.
” So you have more than just that ball in your backpack then. You probably got a bunch.” He continued.
” No, not today. I only have this one. Yesterday I was able to get four though.” I shrugged.
” FOUR?! You mean to tell me you got four baseballs yesterday, youre here again today, and you got ANOTHER one?” He looked at me shocked, and in disbelief.
” Yes sir. Thats what Im telling you.” I nodded, and shifted my weight onto my other leg as I stood on the stairs.
” What do you do with all these baseballs you get? How many baseballs do you have altogether?” He asked.
“Well, this one that I caught just now is my 40th. Its my 28th Ive gotten this season.” I answered back.
” Fourty!!?? How many games do you go to? You must go to a lot to get all these baseballs!” Wide-eyed now the man shifted in his seat seemingly astonished.
” This would be my eleventh or twelveth game this season. And no. Im not from Chicago.” I chuckled.
He smiled warmly at me, padded me on the arm, and dismissed me. After I jetted up the stairs I could barely hear the old man chuckle, and tell his wife how impressive those numbers were. If only this guy knew Zack Hample.
Game: Kansas City Royals Vs Chicago WhiteSox May 15th 2010 7:05pm.
Game Balls: One