May 24th, 2010
Remember this picture? Most importantly do you remember seeing Todd Helton on Crownvision? Well today was a big day for both myself, and Todd Helton.
Well, to start things off the game started promptly at 1:00pm. Batting practice took place but I didnt get a toss up from any players, and NOTHING was hit into the seats. Except maybe a few homeruns. It really was boring. My first baseball came from Dexter Fowler. After the position players warmed up most of them did not throw a single ball into the stands. I think Ian Stewart threw one though. Like yesterday, and Friday here came security. It was my last game in Kauffman for a while so I decided to stick up for the youngsters trying to get Troy Tulowitskis autograph who was signing yet again. The ushers came down, and started asking for tickets. I dont know why they ask for tickets. They know no one has a ticket thats standing by the railing. I stood my ground, and ignored the usher as long as I could stand it.
” Sir, you need to find your seat if you dont have a ticket to be here.” She said.
” I know.” I continued to stand without moving.
” Sir. Youll need to find your seat now. The game is about to start.” She explained.”
” The game starts in five minutes. We have plenty of time.” I said back to her barely turning around.
” Sir. Without a ticket you cant stand here.” She said once again.
” Well, Ive been standing here most of batting practice, and I dont have a ticket. So what makes it so I cant stand here now?” I said back to her desperatly trying to buy some time for the kids to get their autographs.
” Well, the game is soon to start. Youll have to move.” She said again. This time in a little more of a harsh tone.
” Lady, we are down here four minutes to game time to get autographs from our favorite players. Let the kids do their thing, and we will be gone before first pitch. Stop being such a nazi about this stuff. We are here to have fun. Not be harassed by security.” I said in a more harsh tone.
She stared at me for a few seconds, and as I kept my eyes on the Rockies. Dexter Fowler was getting up, and walking to his glove. I stepped away from the usher, scurried through the row, and called to him with my glove up. He nodded, and underhanded me the ball. I looked back to the usher, and smiled to her.
” See? We are having fun, and we arent in anybodys way.” I said, as I started up the stairs. I got some light applause, and a pat on the back from a fan as I made my way up the stairs. If this is what Kauffman Stadium has turned into I think I wont ever be going back.
I took this picture before the ushers started their little harassment antics. Todd Helton is out there sitting down with his teammates. My seats were in section 122 right behind the dugout three rows up. So I had really great seats, and they were right behind the Rockies dugout. So I felt pretty good about getting multiple toss ups from the players.
This is a picture of where I sat at the game. The seats were great because Todd Helton would have to cross in front of me after he caught the third out to get to the dugout. So after the third out was caught at first base by Todd Helton, I quickly stood up and waved to him for the ball. He lobbed a high toss up my way, and I felt someone step on my foot, and then back right into me as I made the catch. I looked down, and this young kid from the seat in front of me was actually trying to catch the ball! I was amazed! Helton had lobbed it so high that there was no way that kid ( or anyone else for that matter ) would have caught the ball. The kid sat down pouting. His dad started to explain that Todd Helton threw it to me because I had on a Rockies hat. Then he told his son that maybe if I were to get another one Id give it to him.
The third inning came. Three up, and three down went the Royals. Now this next part is 100% true. I stood up to stretch. I wasnt trying to get Heltons attention by any means. I raised my arms above my head, and I was in full stretch mode when Todd Helton tossed another baseball my direction just like the last one! I couldnt believe it! So I moved over, and made the catch. No one was even paying attention. In fact if I had just let the ball go it would have landed in some little girls nachos, and made a huge mess. I dont think her parents would have appreciated her kid getting hit square in the nachos by a baseball. So I made the catch. It was my second baseball from Todd Helton. I was really in shock. But whatever. The kid in front of me that tried to catch the last one was gone. They exited their seats moments before the final out of the inning. Tough break for you kid.
By the sixth inning a lot of the kids had witnessed Todd Helton tossing multiple baseballs into the crowd. So the first two rows in front of me were empty by now. The Rockies were winning 11-4 so a lot of Royals fans were leaving. The Royals quickly went in order, and Todd Helton was on his way to the dugout again. Well, I had stood up to cheer the Rockies because they got out of base loaded jam, and I was excited. Well, I guess so was Todd Helton. He lobbed another ball towards me but it was falling short. I had to lean forward over the seats in front of me to catch the ball. Once I got it I passed it off to my buddy Ryan that accompanied me to the game. He had always wanted a ball, and since Todd Helton was being over generous to me I figured I could share one with my friend. So Todd Helton had thrown three in our direction. Im not sure why. But he did. So that was my fourth ball of the day.
Once we caught that third one though the fans behind us started to boo us a little. Some college kids started talking crap, and calling us trash. They told us we should give all the balls we caught to little kids. After I made the catch someone behind me said something along the lines that I had two baseballs now or something. I had told my buddy Ryan that if we catch another one we will start to get negative attention from the fans. Thats exactly what happened. So catching a fourth ball from Helton would probably be really bad. But I didnt care. I was loving the fact that I caught three balls from one player in one game.
Jason Giambi, and Troy Tulowitski went deep in the game, and Giambis home run ball landed down behind the batters eye. I made a decent plan to jump down there after security left to retrieve the ball. If you have read Zack Hamples Kauffman Stadium blogs when he was there, he jumped down there, and snagged up like 17 baseballs. Well, Ive been going to a few games at Kauffman now, and they strategically placed a ladder to get down there now. The balls get cleared out of there every few games now. So there isnt a chance for them to really stack up. Unfortunatly, after the game before I could even head over there, an usher went down behind the batters eye, and retrieved the ball for a kid. But it wasnt over.
The final out of the game, and I stood up to stand by the dugout. I was going to get one last baseball. Kids were pushing, and shoving their way inbetween me, and eventually some kids father tried to box me out. Glen Allen Hill had a baseball, and was pacing back and forth in front of the dugout. I didnt want to call his name out to draw attention to myself so I simply raised my glove, and nodded to him. He smiled, and tossed it to me. I caught the ball in what had seemed like a million hands were trying to grab for it. I made a clean catch, and quickly faded out of the group, and up the stairs. Five on the day. Three from one player. Not bad.
Game: Kansas City Royals Vs Colorado Rockies May 23rd 2010 1:00pm
Game Balls: Five
Kauffman Stadium was hosting a 1985 World Series Championship Softball game featuring players from the 1985 World Series Champions Kansas City Royals, and of course their opponents the St. Louis Cardinals. The softball game started at 1:00pm, and gates opened at noon. I knew that batting practice wasnt going to be happening today. So I didnt get to the stadium early to be the first one in. In fact, I didnt get to the stadium until about 1:30pm. The softball game was already in full swing, and the Royals were ahead. Just like in 1985! Wow!
Once inside I quickly ran over to the left field seats because I saw Joe Beimel playing catch.
I was super excited because the stadium had probably 5,000 people inside for this softball game, and I was the only guy with Rockies stuff on! I thought it was a for sure thing! As soon as I got set up to ask for the ball from Joe, hoards of Rockies fans came over. Well, maybe not hoards but the railing filled up fast. Mostly little kids with a Royals t-shirt on, and a brand new Rockies hat on. Wow. Not to point anything out Mom, and Dad but your kid is wearing both teams colors. How confusing. But I knew what the parents were after. They wanted a player to throw their kid a ball. Joe would stop every once in a while, and look around to see all of these fans gathering at the railing. They all wanted one thing. A baseball. Unfortunatly, only one fan was going to get it. I was right behind Joe, and I kept telling myself to move to his left over by the foul pole. He would see me better. As soon as I did that five minutes later he turned around, and threw the ball to the person that took my spot.
With the softball game nearly in its last few innings, Melvin Mora came out with a glove, and a couple baseballs. He was helping Joe with some mechanics on pitching, and a few other players started tossing the ball around. Then they all dropped their gloves, and started doing wind sprints. Melvin Mora started to walk off towards the dugout. He still had a ball. So I followed him. I stayed a few rows up, and when he finally reached the dugout, he sat by a female reporter in a chair next to her. There were two more Rockies fans that had pens, and baseballs, and were calling to Melvin to sign. I took that opportunity. I ran down to the dugout, and called out to him for the ball. He gently tossed it to me, and I promptly thanked him.
Now I dont know if I wasnt paying close attention to the field or I had tunnel vision from trying to get Joe Beimel to throw me a ball but over in the right field corner were four baseballs just laying on the grass. No grounds crew, no players, no security in sight. I ran from the third base dugout all the way to the right field foul pole to set up shop. I switched to my Royals hat in the process, and I think I had to reallyw ait maybe 25 minutes before Josh Fields came over. I was the only one standing there. As Field made his way to the ball pile a younger kid joined me, and started to call out to Josh for a ball. I just held my glove out. As more kids ran down the stairs towards me, Josh looked to me, and held up a ball. I asked nicely for it, and he tossed me one.
Josh Field in fact threw all four into the stands. That was really generous of him to do that. He could have just gathered them all up, and tossed them into the bullpen. Thats what I expected him to do. But he didnt. He got all four to four different fans. Thanks Josh!
After the softball game ended I headed over to the spot where the Rockies warmed up. Since Ian Stewart already hooked me up yesterday for a ball there I was really kind of hesitant to go back, and wait on a ball. Plus security was being a real pain the in butt. I stayed as long as I could, but all the warmup balls were tossed several feet to my right, and left. I was in a bad position anyway. So I really didnt expect to get one. I just didnt want to get harassed by security. If you stand over by the bullpen they tell you that you have to go find your seats because the game is about to start. ( This is 15 minutes prior to game time ) I dont know why security thinks they have to enforce these rules. Especially at Kauffman Stadium.
Game: Kansas City Royals Vs Colorado Rockies May 22nd 2010 3:10pm
Game Balls: Two
So I decided to try my luck at Kauffman Stadium for the weekend. The Colorado Rockies were in town for a three game series. For the most part the Rockies ignored me during batting practice. Interesting enough the Royals werent even on the field at all. I caught up with some fellow Ballhawks that generally chase foul balls, and one of them has over 800 to his name. But he told me that he gives a lot of them away to the kids. So being that it was a Friday night the gates were supposed to open two hours before game time. So why were the gates opening up at 5:30pm then? Well, rumor has it that the Royals have put a complaint in to the upper management about the fans being inside the stadium while they take batting practice. I dont know why the Royals would complain about the fans being at the stadium. Wouldnt they want more of a fan base? Anyway. So for the rest of the season the gates are going to open up an hour and a half early to include weekends. Also, I was told that the batting cage was moved up to less foul balls reached the stands. Whether thats true or not I dont know. Its all about perspective I guess. But these two Ballhawks were pros. So I took their word for it. They also told me that David Glass ( owner of the Royals ) was looking for a way out of his contract, and to either move the team or sell it. In any case it was a real drag to take in all this news.
About the batting cage. If it was moved up intentionally to keep foul balls from reaching the seats they did a pretty good job. Because only three baseballs reached the seats in foul territory during batting practice. Batting practice was scheduled to end at 6:30pm. It was 6:27pm when I relocated from the outfield bleachers to the first base side where Jeff Francis was shagging many baseballs in the right field corner. I still didnt have a ball, and I was going into panic mode. I had two games left at Kauffman, and I was wondering if I should just cancel the rest of the games after this, and head home. At 6:29pm Jeff Francis shagged three ground balls in a matter of seconds, and didnt have any time to throw any of them in to the infield. He threw two in, and turned to the fans. I was shouting his name, and waving my Rockies hat wildly to get his attention so he would at least throw the ball NEAR me. I had kids lined to my right, and to my left. If it was high enough I would be able to snag it. Jeff reared back, and tossed a perfect throw three feet to my left. I would have to stretch out for this one though. I planted my right foot, and carefully eased over to my left towards the ball. I will be completely honest at this point. I do not know how this happened, but as I made the catch some chunky little 12 year old girl slammed right into my left hip. I dont know if she though she had a better angle on the ball than me, or she just came out of no where to try, and make the catch but she ended up chasing her baseball that she caught earlier down the aisle. I guess when she ran into me it jarred her ball loose. Anyway, she got her ball, and looked back at me with those sad eyes. I told her I was sorry for her running into me, and I hoped she was okay. Enough said.
Here is a picture of Kauffman from the 400 level.
You see Todd Helton on the Crown Vision? Well, I didnt mean to take the picture with him on the there but if you keep reading the blogs from the series youll be reading A LOT about him on Sundays Blog. I didnt stay up here long because I wanted to get a baseball from another Rockies player before game time. ( This picture was actually taken after I got my second ball. Oops) So back down to field level I went.
The Rockies position players were warming up, and Jason Giambi finally came out. The guy is massive. His arms are as big as my thighs, and he has these huge viens that are very visable on his arms. I dont know if he actually took steroids, but every time he was up to bat people behind the dugout gave him crap about steroids. So who knows. Ill have to check the Mitchell Report to see if his name was brought up. So as Im standing against the railing the ushers come down in their pretty little green shirts, and sun hats, and start ushering kids, and teenagers, and adults off the railing. Troy Tulowitski was busy signing autographs, and the ushers denied plenty of fans the opportunity to get an autograph from him. I didnt want to speak up, and defend anyone because I had two more games here, and I didnt want to be in the spotlight. So I ducked out of view, and sat down in the fourth row back. Once the ushers started back up the stairs I took position back on the railing. Three minutes to game time, and Ian Stewart turned around glove in hand to head back to the dugout. I called out to him, and he underhanded me the ball. I got a few praises from some Rockies fans, and I headed off to take a look around the stadium.
Odd. Why dont they move these sort of things more out in plain view? Its probably a conversation that goes something like this..
” Hey, lets get a statue of liberty, paint it up with Royals stuff, and just put it somewhere in the corner. Any corner will do.”
Whatever. So I continued around the stadium to take more pictures. Nothing great. But Kauffman is a beautiful stadium. Probably the most elegant, and down to earth that I have ever been to.
The water fountains. They are located in the outfield, and the Pepsi Party Patio is just below that. During the summer months when its a blistering 90+ degrees standing directly under the fountains is very refreshing if the wind is blowing the water around. The only downfall to this is the sun is constantly beating down on you during day games. So its kind a a lose/win or win/lose depending on how you look at things.
The game was decent. The Royals won. Which I guess is great. I didnt care much for the game. I was still more interesting in learning why the gate times were moved back. I still couldnt believe all that I heard.
Game: Colorado Rockies Vs Kansas City Royals May 21st 2010 7:10pm.
Game Balls: Two