9/28/14 @ Citizens Bank Park

Originally, I thought that this game would be slow for ballhawking. The Phillies and Braves wouldn’t be taking BP because it was:

A) a Sunday day game

B) The final game of the season for the Phillies and Braves. Translation: The game would be pointless since neither of the teams were  going to the postseason.

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When the stadium opened, I didn’t even bother running into the seats. Nothing was going on. I found a spot to sit by the left field foul pole and hung around there until some Braves pitchers came out.

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Luis Avilan and Alan Butts were one of the first people who started playing catch. After he was finished throwing, Avilan placed a baseball in my glove for #1 of the day.

My second baseball was a tossup from Aaron Northcrest.

The Phillies side of the stadium was packed with fans. Trying to get a baseball from a Phillies player would’ve been impossible.

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My Dad and I ate lunch by the Phillies bullpen. While he went to our seats for the game, I hung around to see if Jesus Tiamo would give away any baseballs before the game.  I sat down in section 101 and waited for Jesus Tiamo to walk to the bullpen. Then an usher came down and asked to see my ticket. Shoot. My seat for the game was behind the Braves dugout in section 131. I thought the usher was gonna kick me out, but after looking at my ticket he said, “You’re here for batting practice. Right?” Well obviously buddy. Soon after, Jesus Tiamo strolled into the bullpen and proceeded to throw three baseballs to some young fans and then toss one to me. After catching the baseball, I yelled gracias at him, tucked my glove under my arm, and hurried out of the section. (I didn’t bother looking at the baseball.)  When I opened my glove to put the ball in my backpack, this greeted me.

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A 2008 NATIONALS INAUGURAL SEASON COMMEMORATIVE BASEBALL! I don’t know how the thing got in the Phillies bullpen bag, but after snagging the baseball I was ecstatic.

I stood by the Braves bullpen because with some prior knowledge I knew that Eddie Perez would toss some baseballs to some fans right before the game. I was right and got a
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Like I mentioned before, my seats for the game were behind the Braves dugout. At the end of every inning, I tried to get a third out baseball. Freddie Freeman ended up fielding most of the third out balls and he wouldn’t toss them to any kids. Jerk. The closest I came to getting one was in the third inning, when Freddy Galvis flew out to left field to end the inning. Ryan Doumit, the Braves left fielder, slowly walked back to the Braves dugout with the baseball in hand. I called his name out, he looked up at me and lobbed the ball at me. The only problem with this was that two dozen eight year old boys were piled on top of the dugout and one of them grabbed the ball before it got to me.

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In the bottom of the 7th, I convinced a Braves coach to give me the warmup ball for that inning. Obtaining the baseball was too easy. Right before the first at bat of the inning, I walked to the bottom of the staircase of the section, flapped my glove at the coach, and he rolled it across the roof of the dugout. There was nobody else going for a baseball. In fact, I feel ashamed of getting the baseball because it required little effort for me to obtain it.

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Cody Asche ended the Phillies season by striking out, (no surprise there.) After the final out of the game, I ran to the home plate end of the Braves dugout and waited for the players to start leaving the field. Three different Braves players threw a pair of batting gloves to me, but some idiot pried them out of my glove. Shortly after, B.J. Upton came out of the dugout with three bats in hand. He slid one across the roof of the dugout, not giving it to anyone in particular. For a few seconds it was just laying on the far end of the dugout, closest to the field. I could tell that the idiot who stole the batting gloves from me was contemplating whether or not to climb on top of the dugout and retrieve the bat, so I made a rash decision and beat him to it. SUCCESS!!!!

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Satisfied, my Dad and I left the stadium, one person happier than the other.

Ballhawking Stats:

• 5 baseballs at this game

• 87 baseballs in 16 games this season = 5.44 balls per game

• 34 games with at least one baseball

• 159 total baseballs

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Wrap Up

Overall, I think that it was a wonderful ballhawking season. As for the Red Sox season, I’d rather not talk about it. Expect to see a post about my Ballhawk of the Year ballot coming up after the postseason is over. About attending any Orioles postseason games, I can’t give a definite answer to whether or not I may be going to one of them. My Mom and Dad work with some people who are Orioles season ticket holders and make a decent profit by selling their tickets to their friends. During this winter, I probably won’t be writing that much because:

A) I don’t know what to write about

B) I’ll be very busy this winter

So expect this blog to be dormant for a while!

Quick Update

Unfortunately, the baseball season is winding down. The Red Sox are still in last place, the weather is getting slightly colder, and other winter sports are starting their seasons. As for me, I’ll be going to the last two Phillies games of the season on September 28th & 29th. On the 29th, I’m hoping to snag a bonus item from the Phillies or Braves since neither of the teams are going to the postseason.

8/30/14 @ Oriole Park at Camden Yards

I live within a 1.25 hour drive away from Baltimore and Philly. This is super beneficial because I’m close to two stadiums that are relatively easy to ballhawk in. Also when the Phillies aren’t in town, I can go to the Orioles and vise versa.

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My aunt and cousin from Boston were in town for the week, so the latter attended the game with me. (My dad was also there too.) If you’ve noticed, my Mom and sister aren’t usually in these entries. Why? It’s because they both despise baseball. My sister prefers to watch soccer, but that’s another story.

The Ohio State  and Navy football team had just finished a game when we arrived in Baltimore. My Dad dropped my cousin and I off at the one side of Eutaw Street. The initial plan was the he would park in one of the lots behind Camden Yards. However, there were hundreds of football fans trying to get out of those parking lots and the security officials wouldn’t allow my Dad into one of those lots. By the time my cousin and I were in the stadium, he was just finding a parking space. I was freaking out and worried about him.

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Instead of switching shirts during batting practice, I decided to wear my Twins gear. Because of this I was at a disadvantage when the Orioles were out. All of their pitchers ignored my requests for baseballs. Somebody came through. It was…

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the police officer stationed in the center field grassy knoll! I thought that he would throw one of the baseballs  to a 35ish woman begging for a baseball. (She didn’t have a glove.) “Being younger” paid off in this situation.

The Twins came out and I walked over to the left field foul line and I got an unknown Twins player to toss a baseball to me. (He’s turning away from the photo.)

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Most of the Twins players were hitting the ball into right field. I would’ve gone over there if it hadn’t been so crowded. That and the possibility of trampled by the people who were on their third/fourth glass of beer made me not want to go there.

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Do you see all of the little kids stationed in the front row of the center field bleachers? Every time that a ball would roll within at least 20 feet of the center field wall the kids would scream ball. You could hear them from the other side of the stadium. Crazy.

After batting practice ended, I bought some food and decided to stop by my seat for the game.

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(This photo was taken during the game.)

I scarfed my dinner down and rushed over to the Orioles bullpen. One of the Orioles coaches threw me a baseball, which I gave away. It was a commemorative and I might’ve been able to pull the switchero before handing it to the kid.

I continued to stand by the bullpens. Kyle Gibson, the Twins starting pitcher for the game, came over and started warming up. Gibson dropped the baseball he was using. The Twins pitching coach, Rick Anderson, proceeded to pick up the baseball. After doing so, I called out at him and he flipped me the ball.

While browsing through my Twitter feed, I always see that one of the Baltimore ballhawks somehow obtain Adam Jones’ pregrame warmup ball.  Determined to get one, I stood behind the Orioles dugout. Right after taking the panorma the usher in the photo told me to get out of the section.

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I moved over to the left and positioned myself on the staircase between sections 26 and 28. When Adam was finished throwing, I called out his name and waved my arms. He noticed and beckoned at me to move down the stairs. Jones threw  a pop up at me over the heads of the small crowd of children located at the bottom of the staircase.

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This photo was edited with Instagram. I’ve mentioned this dozens of times, but I have an Instagram account that I would highly recommend following.

During the game, I went for third out balls during the game and had horrible luck. After making the final out in the inning, Kennys Vargas, the Twins first baseman would exit the field through the home plate end of the dugout instead of the third base side. Extremely frustrated, I walked around the cross-aisle and waited for a foul ball to come near me.

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This went on for a few more innings until in the 8th inning. Nick Markakis grounded a force out to Brian Dozier who threw the ball to Edurado Escobar. The ball proceeded to go into my glove.

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Then my cousin and I headed over to the Umpires tunnel. Andy Fletcher dissed everyone. There were only two fans attempting to get an umpire ball, teenage-ish guy and I.

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My dad parked his car in a parking garage about four blocks away from the stadium.  It was located in a somewhat shady part of the city.

8/23/14 @ Metro Bank Park

I usually don’t blog about my visits to minor league games, so this will be a once and done thing.

Metro Bank Park is the home of the Harrisburg Senators, the double a affiliate of the Washington Nationals. For the game, they were playing the Trenton Thunder, the double a affiliate of the Yankees.

Prior to this game, I had never been to Metro Bank Park before. This is somewhat of a surprise, since I live within one hour of four different MiLB teams. My Dad and I arrived at the stadium around 4:00. (It was going to open at 4:30.)

Metro Bank Park is located on City island across the river from Harrisburg. There were plenty of things to see around the ballpark, so I walked around the stadium….

and discovered a soccer field right next to it.

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I could also see into the stadium from certain vantage points. I attempted to get a ball from one of the Thunder players, but they either ignored or didn’t hear me. I tried to get into the outfield area, but some stadium workers wouldn’t let me get back there. However, they disappeared during the game.

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See the riverwalk? Remember that. It’ll come into play later in the entry.

For the first ten minutes that I was inside the stadium, I was in left field.

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When I that a bunch of lefties were due up in the cage, I relocated to right field. The move paid off. Less than two minutes after I entered the right field bleachers, a player caught a baseball and turned to the stands, looking for someone to toss the ball to. I flapped my glove at him. The guy looked at me with a strange expression on his face and questioned, “Will you catch the ball?” *Ho hum. If I haven’t stated this before, I’ll say now. Just because I’m a girl that doesn’t mean that I can’t catch a baseball. Have you heard of Mo’ne Davis? Enough said.* I replied yes and he lobbed a pop up to me, which I made a clean grab on it. IMG_9931

Shortly after, batting practice ended. My next baseball was a warmup ball that came from a Senators player.

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Then I decided to check out the visiting team bullpen. I had read somewhere that fans could get very close to the players inside it. Intrigued, I discovered that this was true. I obtained number three of the day here, a simple toss-up from the Thunders’ bullpen catcher.

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Things started to get way more exciting after that. At Metro Bank Park the dugouts are positioned 12 feet above the field. This made it kind of hard to go for third out balls because while exiting the field players aren’t at eye level with the fans.

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But it hit me. Foul balls. I saw a few baseballs fly out to the stadium. I guessed that some of them would be on the riverwalk that I mentioned earlier. I checked the Senators reentry policy and found out that they do let fans go in and out of the stadium – all you need to do is get your ticket marked.

Oh yeah. Upon exiting the stadium and running out onto the riverwalk, I found two baseballs. Unbelievable. But that wasn’t the end of it. Throughout the game, I still went for third out balls, but had no success.

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Still in the top of the eight inning a Senators batter sliced a baseball onto the riverwalk. Again, I rushed down there to find it laying on the sidewalk. The baseball was lonely, waiting for someone to pick it up. Alas, it now resides in a Home Depot paint bucket full of better quality Major League Baseballs! (Sorry buddy, I didn’t mean to go there.)

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I was surprised that these baseballs weren’t picked up by somebody else. There were quite a few people milling around the riverwalk.

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Seats for the game

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Panorma

8/18/14 @ Citizens Bank Park

I couldn’t pass up the opportunity of a weekday game with the Mariners in town. The Mariners are such a  friendly team and some of their players can really pull the ball.

After finding out that three other ballhawks were going to the game, I was skittish. This did not end up being an issue because I got eight baseballs at the game, a new record for me. In fact, the four ballhawks that were at the game snagged a total of 31 baseballs.

Ball One

A batting practice home run. It landed in a section over from where I was standing. I barely beat out another fan in the chase for the baseball.

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Ball Two

Phillies BP was sad. The few baseballs that went into the stands were hit by lefties and those were hit into right field. For some odd reason, fans were not allowed into the right field seats for thirty minutes. I watched stadium workers pocket the home runs that touched down in the right field seats.

Fortunately, the Mariners came to the rescue. I got one of their pitchers to toss my second of the day.

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Ball Three

Chris Young to flipped me this ball after I asked if he could spare one for a “Mariners fan.”

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Ball Four

Back at Safeco Field on 8/5/14 I hung around the Mariners bullpen for a couple of innings. I attempted to get a baseball from the Mariners bullpen coach, but had no success. This time he gave in and threw me a ball.

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The coach is on the far left side of the photo

Ball Five

After batting practice ended, there were still a few baseballs laying in the bullpen from the Phillies and Mariners. Before the game started, Jesus Tiamo lobbed one of them to me. However, a lady decided to reach into my glove and pry the baseball out of it. She then fled from the scene of the crime. What the heck. (I’m still debating whether I should count this ball. If you think that I should count this ball, then please write “yes” below in the comments. If not, write “no.”)

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Jason Phillips saw this and shortly after he decided to give me ball five of the day.

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Ball Six

Chris Taylor pre-game warmup ball.

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Ball Seven

With Ryan Howard on first base, Marlon Byrd grounded out to shortstop Chris Taylor. Taylor threw the ball to Robbie Cano, who made the final out of the first inning. Cano proceeded to chuck the ball to me.

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Ball Eight

For the third time this season, I failed to get an umpire ball at Citizens Bank Park. A nice fan decided to give me a baseball that a Mariners reliever tossed to her when he was coming in from the bullpen.

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GAME UPDATE

I’ll be going to one of the Orioles Twins games next weekend. I don’t know which one because I’ll have to factor in ticket prices, the weather for the day, etc.

Photos from Seattle and Oregon/ Recap

NOTE: Some of the photos used in this entry from my Instagram. While you’re at it, you can follow my account because there’s a 99% chance that I’ll follow you back.

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Day 1: 7/31/14

My vacation began with a five hour flight from Philadelphia to the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

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Day 2: 8/1/14

There aren’t any Dunkin Donuts in Seattle (or the state of Washington.) This is unfortunate because I’m a huge fan of their coffee and donuts. In order to quench my thirst for some coffee, I decided to buy a vanilla latte at the first Starbucks location.

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Later in the day, I visited the Seattle Center, an entertainment hub with museums and the famous Space Needle. My favorite photo from the day was probably this:

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the Space Needle feat. some Chihuly glass work.

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Day 3: 8/2/14

My parents really wanted to drive down to Oregon because neither of them had been in the state. After a four hour car ride, we settled in Cannon Beach for the day. The main attraction at Cannon Beach is the Haystack Rock, a large sea stack formation on the beach.

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Day 4: 8/3/14

My mother, father, sister, rented a boat and spent the day on the water.

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We returned at the dock just in time to watch the sunset over the bay.

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Day 5: 8/4/14

Ever since they visited the Grand Canyon, my Mom and Dad have become obsessed with the National Parks. So naturally while they were in Seattle, they *had* to visit Mount Rainier National Park.

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Day 6: 8/5/14

The highlight of my day was going to a Mariners game and snagging seven baseballs. I wrote a whole entry about it, which you can read here.

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Day 6: 8/6/14

Olympic National Park is also five hours away from Seattle.

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Day 7: 8/7/14

I spent my last full day in Seattle at Bainbridge Island. There, I had a very tasty sorbet at Mora’s Iced Creamery.

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Day 8: 8/8/14

On the flight coming home, I flew over Lake Michigan and Lake Erie.

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8/5/14 @ Safeco Field

After spending eight days in Seattle, I can conclude that it is an upbeat and vibrant city. Everything there seems to be different, whether it’s the clothing that people wear, the laid-back attitude of it’s residents, or even the lack of ballhawks at Safeco Field.

I arrived at Safeco Field around 2:50, more than an hour before the gates were supposed to open. I walked around the stadium, not sure of what to expect. I noticed that there were banners hung around the stadium for the Season Ticket Holder Early Gate Opening. (If only the Phillies would do something like this.)

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I had purchased tickets from a season ticket holder on Ebay. I was a little nervous about the tickets, because I thought at first that they were phonies. They look really bland compared to the ticket stubs of Orioles and Phillies season ticket holders. 

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These got me into the stadium THREE HOURS before the game started. Season ticket holders could roam around  the stadium without anybody stopping them. It was perfect. On top of that, all of the people entering the stadium early were going after autographs. No ballhawks. It was perfect. (These season ticket holder early batting practices occur on Tuesdays and Saturdays.)

At 4:00 Safeco Field opened to the Season Ticket Holders. Upon entering the stadium, I was offered some snacks and candy by an usher, which I graciously accepted. I sprinted into the stadium and saw that the Mariners hadn’t started batting practice! Some Mariners were playing catch along the right field foul line.

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I got an unidentified Mariner one to throw me my first ball of the day. Afterwards, I was super happy to be on board for the day. All the stress and making my blood pressure go through the roof was for nothing.

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Less than five minutes after catching my first ball, I received another one, in similar fashion.

My third baseball was yet another tossup from a Mariners player who I can’t identify. After obtaining my third of the day, the STH early BP ended. Non season ticket holders were confined to center field standing room, so it didn’t feel like it ended.

This photo basically sums up Safeco Field for the first hour after the gates to it opened.

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There were about 30 fans in the stadium around the time that the photo was taken. Most of them were trying to get autographs, not baseballs from the players. More people showed up later, but still. It was awesome.

When batting practice began, I ran over to the center field bleachers. Anthony Fernandez had retrieved a few baseballs that landed in the center field grassy knoll. He threw his last one to me. By then I had snagged four baseballs within the last hour. Thoughts of reaching double digits crossed my mind, but after that things began slowing down dramatically.

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You wanna know how many baseballs I snagged during the rest of the Mariners and Braves batting practice? Zero. Zilch. Nothing. Right when the Braves came out to take batting practice, normal fans were allowed into the seating bowl. The majority of those people were Braves fans. Throughout the whole game it felt as if I was at Turner Field.

During the Braves BP, I was decked out in my Braves garb, but it was useless. There were so many Braves fans in the bleachers. Many of them were cute, young children. (Unfortunately, my child-like cuteness has worn off.)

Since there are no right field seats at Safeco Field, all of the fans attending batting practice were confined to the right field bleachers. Freddie Freeman and Evan Gattis were putting on a show. They hit at least 15 balls into the RF bleachers and I think that one or two of their home runs made it into the Hit It Here Cafe, (the second deck above right field at Safeco Field.)

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The Mariners gave me six of the seven baseballs I snagged that day. Odd because the majority of baseballs I snag at a game are usually from the visiting team.

I was super determined to snag five balls and had a trick up my sleeve. Ballhawks read this very carefully. Eddie Perez is probably the nicest bullpen coach in MLB. (Sorry Jesus Tiamo, but you’re a bullpen catcher not a coach so there is a difference there.) At the end of the Braves BP, he threw out seven baseballs (to Braves fans of course.)

There were a bunch of glove trickable baseballs in the Mariners bullpen that I considered going for. However, I’m not a big fan of the glove trick and I put a halt on that idea.

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I knew that Eddie would toss a couple of baseballs by the Braves bullpen before the game started, so I moved over there.

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In the photo you can see that Eddie Perez has a baseball in his left hand, which is the one that he ended up throwing to me.

After placing my backpack under the silver little ledge, I went to get myself some napkins that I could use to blow my nose because I had the cold at the time. 

(I really shouldn’t write at the time because I am currently suffering from the same virus, but oh well.) When I came back, there was beer spilt all over the ledge and most of it was cascading onto the ground, where my backpack was resting. I went to clean up the mess and a lady saw me mopping up the beer, exclaimed “YOU DID THIS!” and pushed me into the puddle of beer. Not only was my backpack soaked in Miller Lite, but I was too! I tried explaining that I didn’t create the mess and was only trying to mop it up, but the lady wouldn’t listen. The lady sulked back to her husband, who glared at me and proceeded to hand her beer. I stood behind the lady until Eddie Perez walked into the bullpen. He had a baseball in his hand and when I flapped my glove at him, he chucked it to me. The baseball sailed over the lady’s head and I made a horrible catch on the it.  Another Braves fan had been going for the baseball, so his arm slammed into mine. I felt something hit my glove and when I looked up, the baseball was there. The Braves fan looked at me (I was expecting him to yell at me or something) and said nice snag then walked away. The lady was looking at me dumbfounded. I smiled at her before turning around and walked to my seat for the game. In situations where you encounter a person like this, you smile at them. (It confuses people.) Please note: this is the only “bad” encounter with a person that I had in Seattle. Everyone in the city is super lax and chill. This lady however, was not a good example of it.

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My next goal of the day was to get a third out ball. One thing that I’ve learned about snagging third out balls is that you should always try to get one in the first three innings. Why? Because after that fans start grasping the idea of “snagging a baseball after the third out.” Less competition = a greater chance of getting a baseball. 

In the top of the first inning. Freddie Freeman struck out swinging. The Mariners catcher, Mike Zunino, ended up with the baseball. I expected him to carry the ball back to the home plate end of the dugout, but instead he threw it to Robbie Cano, who then tossed the it to me. I don’t know why, but this stroke of luck helped me get my 6th baseball of the day.

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An inning later I walked to the Mariners bullpen and tried to persuade the bullpen coach to give me a me a ball (which he didn’t.)

I really wanted to break my record of seven baseballs in a game. I stood by the bullpens in case a batter would hit a home run into one of them. Logan Morrison had a double that bounced over the center field fence. I might’ve been able to snag the ball by persuading a groundskeeper to throw it to me, but in order to get myself into the little CF gap I had to sneak into the 21+ drinking area, (which wasn’t that hard. I had done it before after BP had ended.) Mark my words: I will snag my first home run by the end of the season.

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One of the 21 and older areas at Safeco Field.

The only complaint that I have about Safeco Field is that there some sections in the ballpark where only people that are 21 years or older can enter. In RF, all of the home runs that are hit there get swallowed up by the bullpens. There is a small standing room only area, but that’s for fans who are above the age of 21. To make things even worse, I noticed that there was a glove-trickable ball in one of the areas. It was mocking me.

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I moved back to my seat and watched the game for a few more innings…

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and then attempted to snag an Umpire ball. Have I ever whined about how tough it is to get to the umpire’s tunnel at Citizens Bank Park? Well, forget about that. Maybe I positioned myself wrong at Safeco Field, but it was an absolute nightmare attempting to run down to the Umpire’s tunnel. See this photo here? When the game ended, I tried going into the seats on the staircase by the right, but was stopped by an usher. I quickly rushed over to the other side of the tunnel, but by the time I got there, the umpire’s were in the clubhouse. Darn. I stood by there for a few minutes until I saw the authenticator for the game walking towards the dugout. He had a baseball in his hand! As he was nearing the dugout, I waved and pointed at the baseball in his hand. When he got to the dugout, he handed the ball to me. Yay!

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For the third time this year, I tied my single game record. On top of that, I managed to get two gamers! Not bad considering that I was ballhawking at a foreign stadium.

I’ll be seeing the Mariners again at Citizens Bank Park next week! I’m super excited to be going to a weekday game at the Phillies! I am looking to break double digits at the game. Is it a long shot? Yes, but I have my hopes set high.

Oh, and I’m dragging taking my Mom to the game. Kudos to her because when she’s visiting Philly, I know that she’d rather be at the Philadelphia Art Museum not a baseball game.

Random Photos From the Game: Playing around with a DSLR Camera

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Robbie Cano and first base coach, Andy Van Syke, converse.

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Braves’ slugger Freddie Freeman

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“Exciting” News!

Boston Ballhawk now has a Facebook page! In the sidebar on the right, there’s a widget where you can hit the “Like” button. When I publish a new post on this blog, a little notification will show up in your Facebook timeline.

Unfortunately, my Instagram account was hacked. I created a new one, which you can follow here.

On Twitter I won a contest from the MLB Authenticator. The prize? The baseball that was used to record Yoenis Cespedes’ 4th out in the first round of the 2014 MLB HR Derby. Now I own two of the commemorative baseballs that were used in this year’s All Star Game festivities. Pretty neat huh?

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7/19/14 @ PNC Park

PNC Park is a beautiful stadium. However, the two times that I’ve visited Pittsburgh the weather has been iffy. On June 26th 2013, I sat through a 2.5 hour rain delay at PNC Park. My more recent visit consisted of on and off rain, which wasn’t an issue because both teams ended up taking bating practice.

Instead of lodging at one of the three North Shore hotels, my father and I staying at the Renaissance. Arriving in Pittsburgh at around 2:45, we checked in at the hotel and got situated in our room. The hotel is much nicer than any of the hotels right next to PNC Park. Rooms are spacious and offer great views of the city. The only downside to this is that the the price for one night at the Renaissance is more expensive than any of the North Shore hotels.

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The view from the room was decent. (Nothing compared to the one I had while visiting Alaska or even Niagra Falls.)

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In order to get to the stadium, I had to walk across the Clemente Bridge.

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From one vantage point, I could see that the Pirates were taking batting practice, though it was drizzling.

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I did a quick lap around the stadium…

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Soon after the weather worsened. Rain began to pour down, so I seeked shelter in the Pirates team store. On the second floor of the store, you can look into the stadium. I noticed two Pirates players throwing long toss. Though, appeared as if the Pirates had stopped batting practice.

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Erik Jabs, a regular at PNC Park, graciously let me into the LF bleachers with the season ticket holders. (The stadium opens up 2.5 hours before the start of the game, but only season ticket holders can get into the main seating bowl. Fans aren’t allowed into the the center field and right field bleachers.) Without his help, I probably wouldn’t have snagged as many balls. A huge thanks goes out to him.

At 4:30, Erik and I sprinted into the LF bleachers. For myself, I shouldn’t say sprint.

While packing for the trip, I forgot to take along a pair of sneakers. This proved to be a huge disadvantage for me because I spent the majority of the night slipping along the concrete walkways in the stadium. Plus all the squeaking noises coming from the flip flops that I was wearing annoyed the people in the section that I was sitting in.

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Please note that the wall between the field and bleachers in left field at PNC Park is low. Because of this a lot of baseballs that bounce onto the warning track end up far back in the left field seats. An usher, who was standing in a handicap section, picked up a baseball that Andrew McCutchen had hit and had done exactly what I just mentioned in the sentence prior to this one, and gave it to me.

The Rockies then came out to throw at the other side of the stadium, so I moved over there.

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I saw on Twitter that some other ballhawks had snagged some Rockies 20th Anniversary baseballs from 2013 this year. I snagged one last year albeit the logo is scuffed up. My goal for the time was to snag another one of the commemorative baseballs that would *hopefully* be in better condition.

After seeing me in my Rockies gear, Charlie Blackmon tossed me a ball that had been lying in the wet grass.

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Batting practice was soon underway. Despite the drizzling rain, both the Pirates and Rockies ended up taking BP.  The only issue that I had with the rain was that it made everything in my backpack wet. All of the baseballs that I snagged that day, my print-at-home ticket, and iPhone were soaked.

A friendly usher who came into the section after I received a baseball from Charlie Blackmon. The usher retrieved a bunch of baseballs that to the right of the handicapped section. He chucked two of the three baseballs back onto the field and then handed one to me. (If you need any help visualizing how I obtained the ball, look at this photo for further assistance.)

Ball five was a tossup from Brooks Brown, (the guy in the photo above touching his face.)

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For the end of the Rockies portion of batting practice, I stayed in the tiny section of the center field bleachers. All of the players kids ended up fielding most of the baseballs, so nothing from here. (At least children whose fathers play for the Red Sox, give baseballs away. The Red Sox Nation is generous and has class. :) )

As for the game, I sat in foul territory. Two baseballs came my way, but I wasn’t quick on my feet.

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The game was interesting.  Much better than anything you’ll see in Philly. The Pirates and Rockies ended up going into extra innings with the score at 2-2. The Pirates ended up winning in walk-off fashion. With Neil Walker on second base, Jordy Mercer hit a double, which brought the scoring run home. Once again, another day in Pittsburgh where there’s rain and the Pirates end up winning through a walk-off.

By then, I was at the umpire tunnel and ended up getting rejected by Tim Welke. A photographer saw this and proceeded pulled out a very dirty baseball from his bag, which he placed in my glove.

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The day ended with an awesome fireworks show.

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[caption id="attachment_1379" align="alignnone" width="3264"]IMG_8857 Six baseballs including a possible gamer?!?

 

Schedule Update:

The next game that I’m going to will be at Safeco Field in Seattle. As Perry Como once said, “The bluest skies you’ll ever see are in Seattle.”

 

 

7/11/14 @ Citizens Bank Park

The Phillies were holding some kind of event, so only people with special tickets could enter the RF bleachers at 5:00. This made the LF seats a madhouse.

My day did not get off to a good start.

The following photo shows the size of the crowd in the left field bleachers. I don’t know why a ton of fans showed up for the game because there wasn’t any giveaway. I’ll give it to the Phillies. Despite having a  horrible  season, they still are able to draw more fans to their games than the Marlins, who are playing pretty well this year, but nobody attends games at Marlins Park.

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Mike Adams was being very generous and threw me my first ball of the day.

The LF bleachers became a madhouse plus Mario Hollands wasn’t throwing up any baseballs, so I relocated to the Phillies bullpen.

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I noticed a baseball lying in the bullpen and got a nice groundskeeper to toss it to me.

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When the RF bleachers finally opened to the normal fans, I claimed the pizza wedge spot.

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Because of the heat, the Nationals bullpen coach walked into the Phillies bullpen and got some water. (I don’t know why he couldn’t have gone into the Nationals bullpen.) While in the bullpen, he picked up three baseballs that batters had hit into there and lobbed one at me.

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That was it for batting practice. Before the game, I hung around the Phillies bullpen and noticed that the sky was getting darker and darker.

Larry Larson, a ballhawk from Chicago was also at the game. It was cool being able to talk and hang out with another fan, who like yourself goes after baseballs during the game and batting practice. While you’re at it you can follow Larry on Twitter here.

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I think Larry got one baseball that day. Larry, if I’m wrong please say so below in the comments.

Before the game started, Jesus Tiamo didn’t throw ANY baseballs up into the stands. This was super disappointing and I thought that the days of him adding baseballs to my collection were over.

Disappointed, I scurried over to my seat for the game:

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At least if it rained, I’d be sitting under an overhang.

In the bottom of the first inning, I noticed that Jayson Werth, the right fielder for the Nationals, would throw his warmup ball into the crowd. At the bottom of every inning from thereon, I’d rush down to the bottom of the staircase, and pray that Jayson would toss a ball to me.

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In the fifth inning, I hatched a new plan. Instead of going to the staircase on the far right side of section 104, I’d move to the left, where the was less competition.

My move paid off and for my reward I received this beauty:

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The Phillies were actually playing very well. They ended up hitting a couple of home runs during the game, (Jimmy Rollins had two.) Plus all of their players had a base hit except Ryan Howard. The home runs were hit right into my section, but I was trapped in the middle of a long row, so I wouldn’t have been able to snag them or at least I tell myself that.

Later in the game, I moved by the Phillies bullpen because the Nationals pitchers were being stingy.

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Ken Giles was warming up in the bullpen. After he was finished, Jesus Tiamo ended up with the ball. Tiamo looked around for any younger recipients, but there were none, so he tossed the ball to me.

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Gracias Jesus! Even though you didn’t throw any balls up in the he beginning of the game, you eventually came through!

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Goodbye Citizens Bank Park, I won’t be seeing you again until early September. Next stop, PNC Park and Safeco Field!

 

 

7/2/14 @ Fenway Park

Out of the ten MLB stadiums that I have visited, Fenway Park has to be my favorite. I’m not just saying this because I like the Red Sox. Just a walking around the ballpark can make you feel as if you’re traveling back to 1912, when the stadium first opened.

During my visit to Boston, I was staying at my aunt and uncle’s house. Since she lives 10 minutes from Fenway, my aunt volunteered to drive my father and I to the stadium around 3:00. After dropping my father and I off at Fenway, she picked up my cousin and uncle from their respective workplaces and finally dropped them off at stadium. So essentially, she drove to Fenway six times on Wednesday. Special thanks goes out to her.

Earlier in the week, I had purchased a Red Sox Nation membership, which would get me into the ballpark 2.5 hours before the start of the game.

At about 3:30, I arrived at the stadium. There were to a lot of Cubs fans at the game, so I wanted to situate a good spot in the line at Gate C.

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When the gates opened at 4:40, I sprinted to the center field bleachers. The RSN membership enabled me to also go on the Green Monster.  However, I neglected to use this perk. I had no interesting in going on the Green Monster because it looks like a horrible place to snag baseballs. I would love to watch a game from that location, but not attempt to get baseballs there.

Literally a minute after I entered the center field bleachers, a Red Sox player’s kid threw my first ball of the day to me.

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Ball two was a tossup via Junichi Tazawa.

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Quickly after scouring the bleachers for Easter eggs, I noticed that there were four glove trick-able balls lying in the Red Sox bullpen.

I ran over and found this awaiting me:

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I considered using the glove trick to pluck the baseballs from the bullpen, but decided not to. Later, a groundskeeper walked over and picked all of the baseballs up. I asked for one and he handed it to me for my third of the day.

At the end of the Red Sox portion of BP, an unidentified player chucked a ball at me.

Ball five was a home run hit by a Cubs player. The reward for standing in deep center field and out running some 50+ year old beer drinking loonies.

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The Cubs players that were tossing baseballs out were in left field by the Green Monster. I didn’t feel like going on the Monster. With my fear of heights, the last thing I wanted to do was plunge to my death after attempting to snag a tossup from a Cubs player.

I stood by the Cubs bullpen while Travis Wood was warming up. During that time, the bullpen coach for the Cubs, Lester Strode, said hi to me. He and Justin Grimm saw me switch shirts at a Phillies game the month beforehand. Grimm, who was also in the bullpen at the time, asked me how shirts I had on. I replied one and he gave me a thumbs up symbol. (It’s nice to be recognized by an MLB player, even if he plays for the Cubs.)

Right before the game started, a Cubs pitcher walking into the bullpen from the dugout tossed me a ball.

I sat here for the game:

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Red Sox tickets can get expensive. Though you can get a fair price for seats in the bleachers, (where I sat.) Just don’t get seats too far in the back of sections because as you get away from the front the fans seem to get rowdier and drunker.

I took this photo of my sixth ball of the day:

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(The picture is from my Instagram page. Feel free to ffollow itollow it.)

Around the middle of the eighth inning, I moved here:

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(Notice the lady giving me the evil eye.)

My goal was to get an umpire ball. In the bottom of the ninth, I thought that the Sox were going to walk it off. However, this didn’t happen and they lost 16-9.

The home plate umpire for the game, Jerry Meals, handed me my final ball of the day. I asked him for the lineup cards for the game and he replied that he couldn’t give them out. Darn.

Special thanks also to Jacqui Reynolds for telling me where the umpires tunnel is located at Fenway. While you’re at it, go follow her on Twitter here

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A Cubs player also handed out a broken bat to a fan. I’m certain that if I would’ve been wearing my Cubs hat, than I would be in possession of that bat.

Good times never seemed so good at Fenway.

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