8/22/05 at Yankee Stadium
Last night’s Yankee game was as basic and frustrating as it gets. There were over 50,000 people, and it felt like all of them showed up in right field for batting practice. Within two minutes, the aisle behind the right field wall was packed.
Hideki Matsui stepped into the cage several minutes later, and I moved back about eight rows because the seats were still somewhat empty. Sure enough, he launched a line drive right over everyone’s head and into my glove. I had to move a couple steps to my left, and I caught it with two hands just to be safe. The whole section erupted with cheers. Then the seats around me filled up. Funny how that works.
A couple minutes later, Matsui lifted a deep fly ball in my direction. I worked my way down three or four steps and wiggled into the swarm of fans waiting for the ball to land. I timed it perfectly and jumped at the last second and caught it several inches above all the outstretched hands.
People didn’t cheer that catch, but they should’ve because it was my 200th ball of the season.
I thought I was heading for another good day, but no. After having an A-Rod ground-rule double knocked out of my glove by a fat hairy guy wearing gold chains and a tank top, I managed just one more ball with my glove trick toward the end of BP. That was it. The aisle and seats were so crowded (this photo of the crowd was taken during BP) that I couldn’t move back and forth for righties and lefties. I was trapped, and I hated it.
Before the game, I went to the left field side and got Russ Adams to toss me a ball, only to have it snatched by a leaping fan in front of me.
Gregg Zaun signed my ticket.
I headed to my actual seat. (Imagine that.)
I met my friend.
We sat in the last row before the main aisle, just past 1st base. This is normally a decent spot, but of course there wasn’t a single foul ball that came within 50 feet of me. Even if one had, I wouldn’t have been able to run for it because I was chained in by security. What a nightmare.
The game itself was entertaining, the footlong hotdogs were sublime, and my friend (who’s shy and would probably kill me if I mentioned her name) was delightful…but from a collecting standpoint, this was the most frustrated I’ve been all year.
• CPB = 0.00. (Free ticket, baby!)
• 201 balls in 30 games this season = 6.7 balls per game.
• 414 consecutive games with at least one ball.
• 40 consecutive games with at least three balls.
• 2,632 total balls.