I was back at TD Bank Ballpark for my second game in 4 days and I wasn’t sure how big the crowd would be, because it was a game in the middle of the week. I wasn’t sure how many kids would be there because of school, or how many adults there would be. I was sure that the crowd would be smaller than it would be at games on Saturdays and Sundays. When I got into the stadium, it looked like the average crowd, but it was a much more relaxed atmosphere, probably because there weren’t nearly as many kids.
There were a few pairs of Patriots still throwing, so I decided to go down and see if there was any chance of getting a ball. Someone had just finished a bullpen session, and as they were walking back to the dugout, I asked if there was any chance for a ball, and they didn’t even bother to look my way (probably because they’re such superstars playing in the Atlantic League). After that, there was only one pair of players who were still throwing, and the player who ended up with the ball apparently knew the family next to me, and immediately handed it off to one of the kids.
The Patriots were playing the Sugar Land Skeeters, the team the Roger Clemens “plays” for, although not surprisingly, he did not travel with the team from Texas.
During the game, I decided to do something different for a change, and go sit in the area of the stadium, that has three levels of picnic tables – all three of which were deserted for the entire game.
This is not my photo, but one I found on flickr, taken by someone with the username 66baseball. What you can’t see in the photo is that directly below the first row of tables, there is the visiting teams bullpen. It’s fun to go over there sometimes and just listen to the players conversations. (Not creepy, right?) While I was there, I was tempted to ask one of the pitchers if they thought Clemens was an absolute douche like I do (What guy has highlights in their hair at age 50?), but I decided against it.
I was only there to try to get a ball, and then I would be on my way. That chance came when someone on the Patriots hit a bouncer right to one of the relievers, and since I was the only fan in sight, I was pretty sure that I would get it tossed up if I asked for it. When I did, one of them peeked over their shoulder, and after about 10 seconds, Will Startup got my attention and tossed me a ball, that I’m not so sure was game used because of how dirty and scuffed it was. It probably was used at some point, because it was commemorative.
I then said my thank you’s and went back to our seats, which were close to the stairway that leads out of the stadium, just in case a ball happened to be fouled off into the parking lot. I got my chance when Dominic Ramos fouled one back, and I was the first one out. It was sitting right in the middle of the parking lot, and just like that, I had ball #2.
That would be my last real baseball of the night. The Patriots won the game on a walk off home run by Jeff Nettles. After every win, the Patriots throw victory balls into the crowd (small, squishy balls). I had never gotten one before, so as soon as they won, I positioned myself where I knew a few would be thrown. One of the Patriots threw one right over my head, which then trickled down the steps, and into my waiting hands. They look like this, except they are stamped with the team’s logo and “2012 Patriots win ball” and they don’t have the holder.
And it was time to leave, after a good night at the game.
2 balls at this game
6 minor league balls this year