Off to San Diego…

It’s 5:23am.
My car to Newark Airport arrives in four hours and 52 minutes.
I haven’t finished packing.
I haven’t started sleeping.

PetcoThe official PETCO Park countdown is at 59 hours…and by the way, the official name of the stadium is, in fact, “PETCO” (as opposed to “Petco”), so when you see me write it, don’t mistake it for shouting.

Last season, when I went to Cincinnati and Houston, I stayed in cheap hotels and had plenty of alone time reserved for blogging. In San Diego, however, I probably won’t be able to blog THAT much because I’ll be staying with my friend Hannah who has all kinds of fun stuff planned for us when I’m not at the ballpark. I’ll check in when I can. I might only have time to respond to comments on this entry. I might be able to post short entries with quick updates. Or maybe I’ll find a chunk of free time after all, but there’s no way I’ll be posting three full-length entries about PETCO in three days. I might have to catch up on everything when I’m back in New York, so bear with me.

Hannah_1But back to PETCO…
I’ll be seeing three games (Mon-Wed) against the Giants, and I have several goals:

1)Take advantage of the fact that for at least one day, the ushers and security guards and players and fans won’t recognize me.

2) Snag at least 16 balls and reach No. 2,900. It’s always nice to achieve a milestone at a new stadium. I got No. 2,600 from Brad Hennessey last year at Great American Ball Park. There’s a chance that he could hook me up again. I’ve never gotten two milestone balls from the same player.

3) Get Randy Winn to sign a ticket stub from his cycle.

4) Catch a Barry Bonds home run during a game so I can throw it back onto the field. I never get to show off my arm.

And in other news…
Last night, one of my co-workers asked me if I’m ever going to stop collecting balls. (Yes, when I die.) Another guy overheard the question and said, “He’s gonna get to 20,000 balls, throw them all in the ocean, and have 20,000 balls under the sea.” Aha. Right. So yeah, anyway, a few people have been posting comments and asking about my newest book. It’s about baseball, but NOT about collecting balls. After several years of work and nail-biting, I finished it this spring. I haven’t talked about it much, but that’s gonna change pretty soon.

13 Comments

Hey Zack,

Number 1 again!! 2 str8! Anyway, wanted to wish you good luck in PETCO. Also, how did u get ur 2500, 2600, 2700, and 2800th ball? Hope u have fun there!

Wow your actually gonna throw a ball back?!

and from barry bonds???

your collection would be incomplete if you threw it back after your caught it!

darn i wish i could come down to san diego to see you, i only live 1 hour and a half away in Orange County, but since i cant yet drive no one willl take me to PETCO. Have a fun time.

Wooo!!! I’ve arrived. Perfect weather out here.

DANNY-

2,500 was a foul ball during a game at Shea, hit by Marlon Anderson.

2,600 was thrown by Hennessey in Cincy.

2,700 was thrown by Mike DiFelice at Shea.

2,800 was thrown by Mike Gonzalez at Shea.

JIMMY-

Actually, no. I was joking.

TRUE PLAYA-

Ditto.

DSCHLINDWEIN-

Ditto.

SENOR-

I’m sorry you can’t swing it. That woulda been fun. Meanwhile, hurry up and age.

I know that I never posted my entry for my Great American Ballpark adventure, but I just never got around to it. Funny you should mention throwing the Barry Bonds home run ball back, though.

In Cincy, during the top of the 1st inning, a cheap opposite field linedrive was hit into the gap in right center. Being the GABP, the ball carried over the wall and into the first row. I was in the fourth row. The ball landed in the same seat as me, just three rows down (argh). The ball also landed in the barehands of a man, who in one motion caught the ball and threw it back onto the field. About a half an inning later some stadium personnel brought the guy a brand new official major league baseball. Except this ball had the words “I threw it back” printed in yellow on the sweetspot.

Well,

Happy Trails

Zack-

Have fun in SD and good luck on snagging balls.

I’ve never been one for snagging balls. I’ve always wanted to catch one, yes, but never really worked at it. The closest I ever came was at the All-Star Workout at the dome in ’85 and a homerun ball by Paul Molitor, in what was then the HR Derby but not as it’s known today, came at me while I had my hands full of food. I stuck up one hand and the ball hit my palm and bounced to my right, never to see it again. Well, I had those stitches imprinted on my hand all night.

That said, I went to the Metrodome today. I brought my glove for like the first time since I was a kid. I was going early for Tony Oliva mini bronze statue night and they would open the gates early. I picked up the freebie, the main reason for going, and marched down to sit in left center. The folks had already crowded the first couple rows, so I sat down about 10 rows up on the aisle…I did pick something up from your book.

The Twins wrapped up their hitting and the Jays came out. Many people went back to their normal seats during the switch. It took a while until HRs were being hit. Troy Glaus hit one deep toward my section and row. The row was empty, so I started shuffling and scampering down the row until I had to make a lunge at it as it was going to be a row or two above me. I rolled over a bit on the seats and I could feel nothing in my glove attached to my hand behind the seats in the row above me. I felt a big let down as I was starting to get up. I saw a kid in that row walking away, assuming he was the one to get the ball. A guy above me said nice one…thinking he meant the effort, I was thinking…”Gee. Thanks. Hmmmph”

Then I opened up my glove and there it was! My very first ball at a ballpark ever! I haven’t caught a baseball in my glove since high school. I figured that the reason I didn’t think I had it was that the glove has long since been conditioned for the size of a softball. A couple people congratulated me on my running & lunging grab. It was just a green practice MLB, but I didn’t care. It was mine. This isn’t gonna get me started snagging, but I thought I’d relay the story. If it hadn’t been for reading your site the last couple months, I probably would have never brought my glove. Thanks.

I’m heading on a ballpark tour this week. Field of Dreams, US Cellular, Wrigley & Miller Park. Not planning on snagging, but will bring my glove to Wrigley since I’ll be sitting in the Bleacher Box in the right field corner. Should be fun.

Competition factor: 1 x 36,261 = 36,261

congratulations, Richard.

Have fun on your ballpark tour!

NICK-
That’s awesome! I had no idea that teams (or the Reds) did that. But it’s also un-awesome that the ball fell three rows short. I guess you weren’t sitting on the end of the row or else you would’ve jumped up and raced down the steps, huh?

RICHARD-

That’s a fantastic story. Congrats, and thanks for taking the time to write about it in such detail. I’m glad my blog inspired you. I think it’s actually kind of cool that you got a practice ball. Those green ones are rare. And think of it this way: Now you have a reason to go back with your glove…you still need to catch a regular ball. I will echo Yanks Fan in wishing you a great time on the tour.

Zack if you do indeed caught a bonds homer would you sell it or keep? If you would keep it what if it was the 715 ball?

I couldn’t sit on the end of the row because we didn’t have those seats… it was a big crowd. But anyways, I thought the ball was gunna fall in the gap, not fly over the wall…

Good luck at PETCO.

TRUE PLAYA-
I’d keep it unless it were REALLY valuable, in which case I’d use it as a bargaining tool with Bonds and/or the Giants and/or MLB itself.

NICK-

Gotcha. Thanks.

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