5/17/13 at Yankee Stadium

The order of my posts will not be in order for a little while because my hard drive on my computer crashed, and until I can copy my photos over onto a new drive, 9/19/12 at TD Bank Ballpark and 10/11/12 at Yankee Stadium will not be published. If you want to see how I did on September 19th, here.

This would be my first game of 2013, and it was a birthday present from my parents, as my birthday was the following day. My Dad had picked me up two hours early from school so that we could get something to eat on the way, as well as get to the stadium in time for the gates to open. The drive from where I live to Yankee Stadium is about an hour and a half. When we arrived, we took a lap around the stadium, and I saw the spot in front of Gate 4 where the Bluth’s Frozen Banana Stand had been the day before.

spot

When we arrived at Gate 6, because there were no benches open to sit at and we were planning on getting in line very soon, we just stood around by the benches, and gazed at the house that Steinbrenner built.

stadium

We also saw this guy.

'Merica

When the time finally came for the gates to open, I ran inside towards the right field seats and began to look for easter eggs, but I ended up finding nothing. Every Yankee batter was hitting the ball to left field, and whenever there was a ground ball or two hit into right field, Ichiro would get it and toss it to a younger kid in the seats around, he ended up doing this four times. One of the kids ended up getting a ball by saying that it was his birthday. This would have worked for me a few years ago, but the kid factor is just about out of reach now, as I am almost six feet tall.

Also, when I first got into the stadium, one of the younger kids was close behind, and when he got into the seats, he saw a player standing next to Boone Logan, who didn’t have his number out and happened to be black. The kid immediately begins screaming, “CC SABATHIA!!!!! LOOK OVER HERE!!!!” Of course, it wasn’t CC, and as the kid continued this for about a minute, the player (I’m still not sure who it was) put his glove up in order to shut the kid up.

I eventually gave up on right field, which I probably shouldn’t have, and headed over to left field where my seats were.

bp view

The seats began to fill up at about this time, and I began to worry that I would get shut out and my small streak with at least one ball would end, even though it was still very early in BP. The main part of the left field stands, in front of the bleachers were gradually filling up as I watched home run after home run being hit to right field. Because of this, I moved over to the sections next to the foul pole and farther away from the tunnels. After the Yankees had left the field and the Blue Jays had begun their portion of BP, Jose Bautista and the group of hitters that he was with began to hit bombs into the sections around me, many of them going directly above the Syracuse sign on the second deck.

syracuse

I finally got my chance when someone crushed a home run in my direction. It was headed straight at my Dad who was looking at his email on his phone. Several people yelled heads up, and at the last second, he put his hands on his head as the ball sailed through another fans hands. It smacked underneath his seat and ricocheted into the row right above me. I got on my knees and planted my glove over the ball.

glove with ball

A few minutes after I had gotten my ball, someone in the same group of hitters obliterated a ball into the far side of the bleachers towards the foul pole. A girl went over to pick it up, because she was basically the only one in the bleachers, and just as she was walking back to her seat, a line drive homer sailed about two inches above her head, ricocheted off of some of the bleachers in front of her, and bounced directly to the only other fan in the section. Everyone who had been watching let out a collective sigh of relief.

The rest of BP was pretty uneventful, although it was entertaining watching Zack Hample trying to get his first ball, (Sorry Zack!) which he finally did on the second to last pitch of BP. I seem to be a bit of a bad luck charm whenever I go to a game that Zack is also at. On 8/15/12 at Yankee Stadium, Zack also struggled to get on the board because of the horrible rain delay which meant no batting practice, and on 8/31/12 at Yankee Stadium, we both botched our shot at catching Curtis Granderson’s 201st career home run.

I decided to relax and stay in my seat during the game, because I was already on the board. However, my lack of Blue Jays gear probably cost a ball or two, because there were several fans around me, all noticeably older than myself, in Blue Jays gear who ended up getting balls mainly from Alex Andreopoulos, their bullpen catcher. However, my seats were absolutely perfect. I was in the fifth row in section 136, with seats 23 and 24, which for those of you who don’t know are the two seats closest to the visiting team’s bullpen, one of them being an aisle seat. I was able to watch Mark Buehrle warm up up close.

buehrle

It was a very relaxing atmosphere for the majority of the game, with not one home run being hit. This was the view from my seats for the entire game.

view

Also flying in circles around the entire stadium for the majority of the game was a blimp advertising Despicable Me 2.

despicable me 2

Lately, there has been a noticeable drop in attendance for the Yankees, which isn’t that great of news as a Yankees fan, but great news as a ballhawk. I don’t want this to become the Yankee Stadium of the late 80s and early 90s. Even though that is a more recent image, you get the point.

When the game ended, and the Yankees won 5-0 thanks to a fantastic performance by Hiroki Kuroda, I listened to Sinatra and saw everyone walking to their cars and taking up the entire street.

walking back

Here’s a nice panorama taken from my seat during the game.

panorama

STATS:

1 ball at this game

4 consecutive games with a ball

1 ball this season

33 lifetime balls

Here’s the box score:

box score

A few days ago, I was browsing mygameballs.com when I came across an article written by Mateo Fischer talking about the death of Baltimore ballhawk Matt Hersl. I saw that it had happened over a month ago, but this was the first time I was hearing about it. I’ve only been to Baltimore to ballhawk three times, but I distinctly remember seeing Matt on each occasion. At my first ballhawking game ever, on April 6th of last year, I remember seeing Matt being positioned perfectly for each Oriole batter that was in the cage and catching homer after homer after homer on the fly. It blew me away how good some people could be at ballhawking. After batting practice that day, while walking through the concourse, Matt walked up to my Dad and I and asked if I was willing to sell either of the balls that I had gotten that day, more specifically the commemorative one. My guess was that out of all of the balls that he had caught, none of them had the commemorative logo, and he was looking to get one as soon as possible. We politely declined and went our separate ways, not thinking we would see him again, which we didn’t. The trip to Baltimore in August had been unplanned and we were looking forward to seeing if he would be there again. The first of the two games that we were at did not have batting practice, so we did not see him, as I have heard he was always wandering during the games. In the second game, the one thing that sticks out from bating practice was watching him run back and forth whenever a ball was hit, even when he knew he had no chance of getting it. He seemed like the fan that many people would like to be like, and it is a tragedy that he left us so soon and in this way. RIP.

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