7/24/06 at Shea Stadium
Oh my god, what a frustrating day. Not only was there an ENORMOUS pregame crowd, but one of the people waiting to get in was a fellow ball collector known as “Chuckster.” He told me he was going for the corner spot in the right field Loge, which is basically THE spot for batting practice at Shea. When Gate C opened at 4:40pm, I could’ve outrun him and gotten there first, but I decided to be charitable and let him have it. He ended up getting more balls there in the first 45 minutes than I got all day.
My day, however, was not a complete loss.
After getting completely shut out during the Mets’ portion of BP, I was able to get two balls from the Cubs down the left field line–and I owe it all to my friend Naturi, who joined me for her first game ever. (Actually, she’d been to a game once with her grandfather, but she can’t remember what sport it was.) While I was running all around the left field seats, Naturi held the one decent spot for me down the line; when the entire front row was packed half an hour later, I was able to slip back into that spot and get the two balls.
The first came from Scott Eyre. While he was playing catch, I asked him politely if he could toss it to me when he was done.
“Probably,” he said.
Several minutes later, he hooked me up…and then signed my ticket stub.
The second ball was tossed by Angel Pagan (pronounced “ON-hell P’gone”) after he made a running catch that took him in my direction. I should’ve had a third ball, but it tipped off my bare hand after some fans next to me unexpectedly bobbled the easiest lob of all time.
And that was IT.
Nothing after BP.
Nothing during the game.
Nothing after the game.
At least we’d been able to find some good seats. The Cubs won, 8-7. Greg Maddux picked up his 326th career win despite allowing all seven runs on 10 hits in six innings.
• Competition Factor = 91,262.
• 109 balls in 14 games this season = 7.8 balls per game.
• 441 consecutive games with at least one ball
• 67 consecutive games with at least two balls
• 2,861 total balls
AND FINALLY, A FEW WORDS FROM NATURI…
Hi, guys. Just a few thoughts on my day at Shea with Zack. Bear with me since I’m no sports writer or sports reader or, well…fan. The cool things about the day were:
• How close the game was–the Mets bringing it up three points to make it 8-7 in the 7th inning. I brought a book, but didn’t even make it through a whole chapter.
• All the cheesy crowd pleasers between innings–the T-shirt tosses, the players on the JumboTron quoting lines from movies, the Kiss Cam. Good times.
• It was fun seeing Zack in action: catching a ball, dropping a ball, talking to all the fans and vendors he knows. One of the vendors even gave me a free beer. Nice to have a friend with connections.
Now for the bad part. A lot of security guys seem to have it in for Zack, especially this one who told him he’d have to give up the next ball he got after he’d only caught one. Was it because he’d be too scared to ask a player for a ball? Was he jealous of Zack’s record? Maybe it was because this guard had a butt like a girl. I hear that could make security personnel bitter.
All in all, it was a good day. Just seeing a homerun fly through the air, I can see why you all are so into this baseball thing.