8/16/06 at PETCO Park!

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I usually don’t arrive at 2pm for night games, but my friend Hannah had somewhere to be, so she dropped me off early. Just as well. This was my last game at PETCO, and it gave me one final chance to wander and be obnoxious with my camera.

After checking out the bleachers and giant sandbox, I headed back out to the street and around the corner to the players’ entrance. Maybe, just MAYBE, I’d catch Randy Winn coming in and finally get him to sign a ticket stub from his cycle.

The PETCO regulars were there, and they already recognized me. “How many balls did you end up with yesterday?” someone asked.

“Four.”

“Four?! How’d you get ‘em?! We only saw you get that one early on from Ben Johnson.”

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I told them about my glove trick, mentioned the Ray Durham slicer, described the cricket ball, and explained how I’d gotten one from Armando Benitez after the game. “Four is a bad day,” I added. They laughed. I was serious. After coming to San Diego with an average of 7.8 balls per game, I’d been limited to four balls on each of the first two days. That left me with a grand total of 2,892. Somehow, I was going to have to get EIGHT balls at this game in order to reach my milestone.

The Giants’ hotel was just a few blocks away, so the players kept trickling in. I got a few autographs–Matt Morris, Matt Cain, and Jason Schmidt–on those old cycle stubs, then decided I was wasting them and stuck to taking photos instead.

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ABOVE: (clockwise from top left) Morris, Steve Kline, Vinnie Chulk, Eliezer Alfonzo
BELOW: Cain, Durham, Schmidt, Shea Hillenbrand

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What’s the deal with the cell phones? I realize these guys are Major League baseball players, which automatically makes them busy and cool and important, but c’mon, is it THAT much of a burden to relate to the fans for an extra few minutes? Chulk was “on” the phone the whole time and never said a word. Hmm.

Winn was one of the last players in. He blew right past me and disappeared…and what a coincidence…he ended up going 0-for-5.

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I did okay in the sandbox for the first hour of batting practice, and I owe it all to the Hoffman family. Two of Trevor’s sons were shagging balls in center, and one of them (whose name I later learned is Wyatt) tossed me a ball after Tye Waller, the Padres’ first base coach, gave him permission. Ten minutes later, I got another from Trevor himself. When I sat down to label it, a kid who’d heard me talking outside the players’ entrance walked over and said, “Hey, if you get two more balls, it’ll be a bad day.”

It actually was a bad day for the next hour. Not only did I misplay several balls in the sandbox, but when I ran into the left field seats at 5:30, I found a ball lying on the ground, grabbed it, sat down briefly, and watched in horror as some other guy ran in moments later and found TWO more balls lying on the ground within 15 feet of me. I wanted to cry and barf and shriek. If I’d really been on my game, I could’ve easily had six or seven balls instead of three.

It was time to make a choice:

1) Go to the corner spot down the third base line where there’d be fewer balls and fewer people or…

2) Stay in left field where there’d be more balls and much more competition.

I was desperate. I didn’t want one or two more balls. I still needed FIVE, so I stayed in left and went for it.

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I snagged two quick balls with the glove trick and then got my man Vinnie to toss me another. The fans in my section started grumbling. Totally uncalled for. I was the only one who’d thought of making a contraption for picking up balls, and I was the only one who’d recognized Chulk. Not only had I seen him outside the ballpark three hours earlier, but I’d also taken the time to print the Giants’ roster along with some photos of the harder-to-recognize players and coaches. Hell, I even had pics of the trainers, equipment manager, and visiting clubhouse attendant. Was it my fault for being anaI and obsessive and prepared?

Was it my fault, five minutes later, when I darted through a row of seats and reached over some guy’s hands to catch an opposite-field bomb by Mark Sweeney? It was a clean play–TRUST ME–but the other guy was so mad that he tried to rip the ball out of my glove after I’d had it for a full second, and when he failed to pry it loose, he reached around my neck with his right arm and smacked me so hard in the face that I nearly lost my balance.

I’ve been to over 600 games, including a few hundred in the South Bronx, and I have never been hit that hard before. Not intentionally, anyway. This was no accident. The other guy is lucky that I went to a Quaker college.

The only time it’s wrong to reach in front of someone is when a player points at a specific fan before tossing the ball. But if a ball is hit, or randomly tossed from a distance, you can’t claim ownership until it’s nestled snugly in your hands. Earlier in the day, two different guys had cut in front of me in the sandbox and snatched balls that were inches from my glove. (Newsflash for the b*tch-slapper: Real men refer to this as “competition.”) Was I mad? Yeah. I was mad at myself for not being quicker and more alert.

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Anyway, I only needed one more ball as batting practice was winding down, so I ran to the Giants’ dugout. The first few rows were full, so I hung back and spotted hitting coach Joe Lefebvre walking toward the bucket of balls.

“Joe!” I yelled. He looked up, and I waved my arms to make sure he’d see me. “Any chance for a ball?!”

He pulled one out of the bucket and lobbed it in my direction. Guess what happened. Some kid came flying out of nowhere, cut through the row in front of me, and grabbed the ball as I was reaching for it. Fortunately, Lefebvre picked up another ball and said, “I’m gonna give you one more chance.”

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I pointed up with both hands as if to say, “Keep this one higher so I don’t get robbed again,” and he did. The ball thief (I say ball2900labeled.jpgthat lovingly) had backed off, and no one else was close enough to interfere. Easy catch. Number 2,900 was mine. It wasn’t the most exciting snag, but whatever. I can’t control that. I’d gotten my eight balls. I was psyched…and relieved not to have to run around during the game; Hannah, a baseball novice, was planning to return to the ballpark just in time for the first pitch, and I actually wanted to sit and WATCH the game with her.

Right before the national anthem, I got an autograph from Omar Vizquel and another cold shoulder omarvizquelautograph.jpgfrom Winn. Then I met Hannah in the main aisle in straight-away right field. According to everything I’d read on HitTracker, that was the best place to be for Barry Bonds–and that’s where I’d been hanging out all series, thanks to the kind ushers who didn’t chase me away. I didn’t expect Bonds to go deep, and if he did, I knew there’d be a 1-in-1,000 chance that the ball would actually come my way, but I had to try. People are always asking if I’ve caught any historic balls, and I’ve never had a good answer. (The final ball from Mariano Rivera’s 313th career save?) Even the 95 balls I’d snagged during games are forgettable by everyone else’s standards; I usually stay behind home plate for foul tips, so a mere two of the 95 were home runs…one from Mike Stanley, the other off the bat of Mike Bordick. Ooh.

Hannah had just seen the starting lineups on the JumboTron.

“You know what I just learned?” she asked.

“What.”

“Barry Bonds is black.”

She wasn’t kidding. This was her third game ever, and the other two were accidents. Bonds was the only active player she could name, so when he came to bat in the top of the second inning, I decided to take her picture with his scoreboard photo in the background.

First, I had to get my camera out of my backpack, which I did after Chan Ho Park delivered ball one. Then I noticed I was standing next to a really tall guy with a glove, so I moved 30 feet to the right. Ball two. I was now further from home plate–a bit too far, I feared–but the aisle was emptier. If Bonds happened to get a hold of one, I’d have a clear path. Meanwhile, the aging slugger swung through the next pitch to bring the count to 2-1. Excellent. If it’d gone to 3-0, Park probably would’ve walked him.

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I had my camera in my right hand and my glove on my left. I was ready to take the pic, but Park was set to deliver, so we waited. Foul ball. Two balls, two strikes. Hannah scooted into the middle of the aisle, and I took the photo, just before Bonds took a pitch to work the count full.

“Three balls, two strikes,” I said as I handed the camera to Hannah. “Barry’s gonna do something here.”

It was a half-hearted prediction. I still wasn’t taking him seriously. I mean, c’mon, Barry Bonds is gonna hit ME a home run? I think not.

Park went into his windup, fired the ball, and Bonds jerked it in my direction. I figured it’d be another deep flyout, but that didn’t stop me from bolting to my right to get in line with it. I often run for balls that don’t come close. That’s just how it goes. I’m willing to look silly in order to get a head start on the competition–but there was nothing silly about this one.

The ball kept coming and coming, and I made it to the railing in front of the aisle with a moment to spare, wondering if this were really happening, if the ball would have the distance to clear the four rows of fans down below, if someone else in the aisle was going to reach in front of me at the last second and steal my lifelong dream.

The ball was falling short and tailing a bit to my right. The fans below reached up. I reached out, way out, right above their hands, and felt the ball hit the pocket of my glove.

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I had it, but at the same time I couldn’t believe it. I threw up my arms to celebrate as a million thoughts raced through my mind. Was this a dream? Why me? How could it’ve been so easy? Was it really that easy after all? What if I’d dropped it? What if the ball had traveled one foot less?

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The fans started chanting “Throw it back!!!” I ran toward the front of the aisle, took a crow hop, and cocked my arm as if I were going to launch it back toward the infield, then stopped abruptly and pointed at everyone with a big smile, drawing laughter and applause from the entire section. People congratulated me. People shook my hand. People gave me high fives. People wanted to see the ball. People wanted to touch the ball. People wanted to hold the ball. That made me nervous. But I let them.

I kept waiting for a Padres or Giants official to walk up and say, “Come with me,” but it never happened. Apparently, the ball isn’t THAT important, so it wasn’t marked by Major League Baseball. But still, as another friend later pointed out, I’m one of two people in America who have a 724th career home run…and mine is the one that tied Bonds with his godfather, Willie Mays, for ninth on the all-time RBI list.

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It was only 10:30pm on the east coast, so I called my parents.

“You will NOT believe what just happened!!!” I told my mom.

“Are you okay?! Is it something bad?!”

My dad joined the frantic conversation, and the three of us talked for 19 minutes. Then I called my ex-girlfriend (who remains one of my best friends) and told her what I told my parents: “Watch SportsCenter. Watch Baseball Tonight. Watch ESPNEWS. Copy it. Record it. Get footage…CRAP!! You DON’T have cable! Call people. Do what you can do. Ohmygod, I neeeeed footage of this!”

Remember Kevin, the guy in the orange shirt from 8/14/06 at PETCO Park? He was also in right field, and he’d overheard bits of my conversation as I paced back and forth with Hannah’s cell phone. (Poor Hannah hardly got to sit down all night.) Before I knew it, he was handing me HIS phone and telling me to talk to his friend, Brad, a fellow baseball collector who lives in San Francisco and tapes every game. Brad offered to make several clips of various lengths and stick ‘em on a DVD and mail it to zack724talking.jpgme. I gave him my address, thanked him at least a dozen times, and handed the phone back to Kevin, who’d actually left briefly to run to the sandbox to get in position for a certain hitter. It might’ve even been Bonds’ second at-bat. Or his third. I have no idea. The rest of the game was a blur. If Hannah hadn’t grabbed my camera and snapped a bunch of shots, I wouldn’t have remembered much. (In this one, I’m reenacting the Sweeney snag for some fans who asked how I’d gotten eight balls earlier in the day. Kevin is the burly dude in the gray t-shirt.)

After Todd Linden replaced Bonds in the bottom of the sixth, Hannah and I went to the second deck so I could get a good look at the section from above.

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Like I said, the whole thing was a blur. I couldn’t remember where I’d been standing or how far I’d moved to make the catch. Turns out that I didn’t have to move far at all…and that makes sense. That’s why I got to the railing with several seconds to spare.

I’m still in shock. Brad spent $14.40 to send the DVD overnight (wow), and I’ve already watched the footage dozens of times. (CLICK HERE to watch it for yourself.) I’m truly amazed that someone else didn’t knock me over or hit my glove or PETCOgreatseats.jpgreach in front of me. The catch seemed pretty easy at the time, but on the replays, it looks almost impossible. I didn’t realize how close the people down below had come to reaching the ball.

I didn’t want the night to end, and I nearly got my wish as the game lasted 13 innings. Toward the end, a friendly usher (whom I’d unintentionally charmed over the previous two days) let me and Hannah sit in her section, five rows behind the plate…one row behind Trevor Hoffman’s family. During the bottom of the 10th, one of his boys kept waving to him. Trevor acknowledged him with subtle nods and winks bonds724wrapped.jpgfrom the top step of the dugout. In addition to wondering what it’d be like to have Trevor Hoffman as my father, I kept thinking about how I was now in a lousy spot to catch a foul ball–and I kept not caring. I had a slightly more important ball, now wrapped carefully in a paper towel, resting safely in the zipped whosyourpadre.jpgleft pocket of my cargo pants. I decided not to mark it with a ’2901.’ I can always do that later, but for now, I want to keep it in its original condition. Marked or not, will I be able to prove that it’s THE ball? Doesn’t matter. It’s not for sale.

The nicest guy on the Giants–that would be Eliezer Alfonzo–knocked in the go-ahead run with a two-out single in the top of the 13th, and two batters later, Pedro Feliz drew a bases-loaded walk to force in another. I left Hannah in the fancy seats with one out in the bottom of the 13th, went to the Giants’ dugout, and got two balls after the game. One was given to me by home plate ump Dana DeMuth. The other was tossed by first base coach Luis Pujols.

Eleven balls. WHO’S your Padre!

STATS:

Competition Factor = 373,318.

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• 151 balls in 20 games this season = 7.55 balls per game.

• 447 consecutive games with at least one ball

• 73 consecutive games with at least two balls

• 86 consecutive games outside of New York with at least one ball

• 554 lifetime balls outside of New York

• 7 game balls this season

• 96 lifetime game balls

• 15 lifetime game balls outside of New York

• 14 different stadiums with at least one game ball

• 2,903 total balls

106 Comments

1st comment? Awesome update.

Unbelieveable. You are the man.

Quite a highlight, Zack! I guess Bonds doesn’t have to worry about the jinx, now that he’s given you a ball!

By the way, were the Giants staying at the Gaslight Hilton Hotel, I see it in the background of the Alfonzo photo… That’s where I was in June when I went to PETCO, I wish I knew where the visitors were staying, I might have tried for some autographs…

Way to go Zack — Now you now the feeling of a catching an important HR. Regardless of them wanting it back or not it’s a pretty cool thing. How many game HRs have you caught?

Anyway, Congrats …. sorry I missed getting down there but when you are a Clubbie for a minor league baseball team and they are at home it is tough to get away!

John

http://theballhawk.mlblogs.com

Nice video of Vernon Wells going deep 3 times /grin

Congrats Zack on the HR ball.

http://strosbro.mlblogs.com

OMG Zack, i knew it! From the moment i saw the home run hit, to the second i saw some reach waaaaaaaay over the railing, i knew it had to be you! congrats! you are really a true playa

hey zack do you think you could answer my questions regarding the angels game im going to pleae? Thanks

Zack, first off, congratulations, I’m sure you hear it too much yet you can’t hear it enough….
And it’s weird, laying in my bed watching Sportscenter at 1:30 AM I saw Barry go deep, and it was in SD, and I saw some guy catch the ball and throw his arms up….It didn’t register that you were there or antyhing, but I thought, “Wow that guy knew exactly what to do and that was a good catch, lucky guy…”

Good job man…You should get a special plaque made for the ball in a sealed ball holder….Like a shadowbox with a pic of bonds, a pic of you catching it, 724 and all that hoo-ha, and a copy of the DVD in the shadowbox as well, thatd be awesome…

Congrats, come to the PRO!!

What if Bonds tears all the ligaments in his knee again this weekend and never can play again? You would have the last homerun he ever hit. Wow.

Oh yeah, I’m going to all three Twins – Orioles games next week (Tuesday-Thursday) and they are all 7:05 P.M. games! The only downside? I don’t get to see Santana, Liriano, or Radke. I do get to see Garza, though. I hope to get his autograph AND witness his first major league win.

Wow that’s amazing Zack, I don’t know how you couldn’t just TELL everyone out of excitement that you caught the ball on your last blogs comments when everyone was saying you did catch it. If someone offered you $400,000 dollars for your ball, would you do it?

You catching that ball is almost as exciting as that 8 year old girl catching Catalanotos home run ball in Texas.

I saw it on spotscenter and as soon as he hit it i was like “zack is going to catch it” and it was you in clear daylight(in high definition) catching Barrys HR!! awsome!

Wow! That was awesome!! Great game!!! And great writing, I felt like I was there. That was probably the most exciting game of your ball-snagging career. 11 balls, Bons’ homer, what a day!!!

Oh and like 9 autographs!! That was just amazing!

actually mister danny doesn’t read well, he got 13 balls. his last two tosses in the end of the game.

EVERYONE-
I was up until 8am this morning, working on this entry and taking care of other things. I just woke up, and I’m about to drive 100 miles for a wedding in Connecticut. I’m so tired that it’s just stupid. I’ll be home LATE tonight, and if I’m not dead, I’ll start answering your comments. Otherwise, I’ll get to them tomorrow in the early afternoon. THANKS so much for reading this long entry, and for all the kind words. More later…

(Oh…one quick thing…is the video clip working? I have a Mac, and I could only get it to play once, but maybe all you people with PCs are able to view it?)

Video works great.

Hey great snag. Just wondering if there was any pushing to get the ball and if you talked to Trevor Hoffman and asked him if he still remembered you when you met him in New York.

//(Newsflash for the b*tch-slapper: Real men refer to this as “competition.”)//

No.

Children, and a few immature adults, refer to this as “competition”.

The extent to which you disregard others to indulge your “goals”, and then rationalize such boorish behavior as “competition” is revealing, and sad.

http://azdiamondhacks.mlblogs.com/

hey zack! i was watchin sportscenter that night! saw barry’s homer sail through the air, and get caught,, and wen u raised u’r hands, i was like, THATS ZACK!!! hahaaha,wow, great job man, it was some catch. i’m not a barry fan at all though, how bout u?

MATT –

Who appointed you sheriff of baseball fans‘ enjoyment of the game? Your decree that ball snagging is “disregard for others”, “revealing” and “sad,” tells us perhaps more about you than you want us to know.

Let’s look at the issues:

First, a fan who misses catching a ball, who in a jealous rage physically attacks one who succeeded is an insensitive bully. (Which you, for whatever reason, overlook. Is it your habit to beat up those who disagree with you?)

Second, the game of baseball belongs to everyone, not merely children. It is played by men who, for the most part, retain their boyhood joy of the game they loved as kids. (cf The Boys of Summer, the legendary book about the Giants & Dodgers, that captures the true spirit of the sport).

Third; virtually everyone who attends a game is avid to get a ball. Kids, sure. Also women (you’ve heard of this group, yes?), and men. Yet you propose to limit access to this dream to children. And to proscribe wearing a glove to the remainder of fans. Wake up, fella: balls inevitably slam into the stands. Are grown-ups to ignore them to conform with your silly, gratuitous rule? Kids have balls tossed to them, mostly when they’re in the front rows. Often their dads wear gloves in order to snag balls to give them. When the kids grow older, they continue to bring their gloves to chase balls more aggressively. It’s called stadium life. (The writer of this blog regularly offers tips to kids on how to acquire baseballs at games. Indeed, he wrote a book called How To Snag Major League Baseballs, that generously reveals his techniques to help neophytes. Watch his blog; questions abound from fans wanting his advice. He answers them all. This is called graciousness of spirit. You could look it up.)

Fourth, we Americans are a varied, idiosyncratic lot. We covet freedom to pursue whatever hobbies appeal to our interests. We don’t take lightly to those, who like you, set themselves up as judges to dictate what pleasures we may pursue. Your self-proclaimed authority to decide who may do what – and at what age – at a ballpark marks you as un-American.

What’s more, your negative posting in an attempt to besmirch this happy blog, based as it is on a pure love for the game of baseball, shows you to be arrogant, clueless and narrow minded.

To quote your own words, it is “revealing and sad.”

Go stew in your destructive juices, pal, while the rest of us inhale the the crisp air of freedom to enjoy the game. And revel in collecting whatever we choose.

Hear, hear!

regis here. boodleheimer, are you single? that was such a good answer you wrote. to an entry the purpose of which i think was to drum up some interest in his own blog. zack’s detractors tend to be people who write blogs no one reads. zack: what a beautifully written blog entry, i really enjoyed it.

Question about the video. At first it showed the Bonds homer, now when I viewed it again it showed Wells in his 3 homer game vs the sox. I don’t mind you showing it, but you might have messed up the video.

Am seeing the Bonds video fine (as when I saw it here earlier).

hey zack!
my questions regarding the angels vs red sox game that i am attending on 8/24 are in your previous blog, but i have a nother question:

1. If the game starts at 7:05 Pacific time, when should i arrive at the stadium, and when i arrive, where should i go? thanks

Nice post!!!!!!I am mad though my red sox lost again I may have to give up on their playoff hopes soon cuz they cant win to save their lives they better not get swept by the yankees!!!!!and they designated rudy seanez for assignment which does not disappoint me now if they would just do away with Julian Tavarez I would be happy JULIAN YOU CANT PITCH
-kaylee

OH MY GOD!

That is awesome. I couldnt read this entry all the way thru because I was so looking forward to seeing if you made it to 2,900

Than I see a bonds ball.

wow

Ok, So i just happen to be goiong to SD next week with my family, and I will be thre on friday. (Petco)

Help me with my rosters? where do you get thepics!

Thanks

DOGGLE-
Thanks. You must be a quick reader.

KVRPMMH-

“Unbelievable” is a good word. I’m *still* in shock, and will continue to be for quite some time.

GREG-

Is it accurate to say that Bonds GAVE me the ball? I don’t think he really deserves that much credit. I don’t know which hotel the Giants were using. I only overheard someone say that the team was staying “just a few blocks away.”*****. Wish I could give you the specifics.

JOHN-

Thank you. I never imagined it would feel this great. I have four game homers now: two on the fly, one in the seats, and one that bounced back onto the field and was tossed to me.

THOMAS-

I don’t know what’s up with the video. It’s working fine for some people. It’s showing Wells for others. And it’s not working at all for me.

SENOR-

Heh heh. Thanks. I figured you (and other people) knew, but it was fun to try to keep you waiting. I want to answer your questions, but they’re all spread out over various entries. If possible, ask all the questions again in one comment, and then I’ll do my best to answer them all. Finally, Danny is right that I snagged 11 balls.

HOCKEY GUY-

I won’t get sick of hearing “congrats” if you won’t get sick of hearing me say “thanks.” Deal? Very cool that you saw my catch on SportsCenter. You’re right…there was a lot of luck involved (although it could be argued that I skillfully chose that spot). To **** with the PRO. No offense or anything, but the more I hear about it, the more I want to stay away.

NICK-

Believe me, I’ve thought about the injury/slump/retirement factor. It’s hard to believe, though, that he won’t hit at least ONE more home run. Thanks for letting me know about the video, and GOOD LUCK with the Twins and O’s. I can’t wait to hear about it.

LOGAN-

As I just told SENOR, it was fun to (try to) keep everyone in suspense. Sometimes, when I have big news, I like to take my time in revealing it…and actually, I have some other big news that I’m waiting to share. I definitely wouldn’t sell the ball for $4,000. I probably wouldn’t sell it for $40,000. I’d probably sell it for $400,000. I’d definitely sell it for $4,000,000. I still haven’t seen the video of the eight-year-old girl. Is it archived somewhere?

SISSON-

It’s interesting how some people briefly forgot I was even in San Diego, while others (like you) were aware of the situation right away.

DANNY-

Many thanks. Definitely the most exciting game. But only four autographs. I didn’t get autographs from all the guys that I photographed.

JIMMY-

Good question about the pushing. Although the replays appear to show some jostling, there actually wasn’t anyone that made contact with me. That’s one of the luckiest things about it. As for Trevor, no I didn’t get to talk to him, and even if I had, I wouldn’t have asked him about our meeting. That was over a decade ago and only lasted about 30 seconds. Not sure what to say about the video. The link/code was sent to me, so I just stuck it in the entry and hoped for the best. Sorry it’s giving you trouble.

MATT-

Whatever.

NYYFAN-

Very cool that you knew it was me the first time you saw it. I used to love Barry. Then I hated him. Catching #724 has messed me all up. Now I don’t know what to think.

BOODLEHEIMER-

I love you.

TOWN CRIER-

You’re not so bad either.

PISSIT-

Good points, as usual. You should be a lawyer. Thanks for taking the time to read this long entry, and for the kind words. It’s always a pleasure to hear from you.

MLBLOGOSPHERE-

Thanks for letting me know. But still: hmm.

KAYLEE-

Thanks. I wish some of my good luck would rub off on the Red Sox.

DODGER DUDE-

Your *comment* is awesome. Again, it’s fun for me to hear how everyone experienced my experience, if that makes any sense. Getting the rosters and pics is easy. Just go to the team’s official site (like padres.com) and click the “roster” link. Then click on any player to get his bio. You’ll find the pic there. If you have a PC, you have to copy-n-paste the pic into a word file (and then type whatever info you want below it). If you have a Mac, you can just drag the pic.

Heres my questions,
Im sitting in right field home run seats:

1. If the game starts at 7:05 Pacific time, when should i arrive at the stadium, where should i go?

2. who is most generous?

3. where should i stand for BP?

4. when should i leave BP to get autos?

5. who do I have to ask in the end of the game for the lineup cards

6. aproximately how much time does each team use for bp?

7. Should i mention to David Ortiz that we share the same birthday?

8. Should i saw happy birthday to tim salmon, and is there a chance he would throw me a ball?

9. When the stadium first opens where should i go?

10. Do you think you could estimate how much time you think would be good to spend in what area starting from when the stadium first opens?

oh and another question who besides david ortiz, and manny ramirez should i ask for a ball in spanish?

oh zack and another question is, when the players are at BP, do they wear their jerseys, or a shirt with no number over it? if so, should i print out a picture with everyones face on it?

Got you beat — I just saved a 39,000-word post. :)

Mark

http://mlblogs.mlblogs.com

SENOR-
1) Go to the Angels web site. Click on the “Angel Stadium” link. Click on the A to Z guide. Scroll down to the G’s and you’ll find out when the gates open. Show up an hour before that.

2) Hector Carrasco, Bud Black, Josh Beckett, Alex Gonzalez, Mike Lowell, Manny Ramirez.

3) I’d go for the corner spot in the first row, out past the foul pole on the Red Sox side. You’ll probably get at least two balls tossed to you there.

4) You shouldn’t. Guys rarely sign during BP.

5) The manager. If not him, then any of the coaches. Be LOUD, but polite.

6) The teams will switch at about 5:30pm. The Sox will go ’til about 6:15pm.

7) If you can. But just for fun. I doubt it’ll help you get anything.

8) Can’t hurt, but again, don’t expect anything to come of it.

9) See number three.

10) If you get a couple balls in the corner spot, consider moving if the Sox players might be starting to recognize you. Other than that, it’s just instinct. I can’t predict from here.

10a) Anyone whose last name ends in ‘Z’.

10b) Players often cover their jerserys with numberless shirts. Print the faces.

MARK-

What?! I have to see this…

Zack if you wanna see the little girl who caught Cats homer just go to bluejays.com then click on multimedia and top plays archieve, then go to July and go to July 5th Jays vs Texas and theres a video of the little girl catching the ball.

so i should stand in section 134 or 135 for BP?

and should i head to the bullpen after that?

and if the gates open at 5:00, i should leave my house at 4:00?

oh and anohter question, where is a good place to stand in BP for home runs, or where is any good place to catch BP balls

wow just wow

I should also add that you shouldve told Shea Hillenbrand not to come back to Toronto hes not wanted here and never will be

Wow congratulations on the Bonds hr. Last week, I went to two Yankee games, but got shutout ballwise at both. Neither game was a total loss, because I managed to get past security to get to the road dugout at the end of BP during both games. This was good for 2 autographs.
Monday v. Anaheim I got autographs of Francisco Rodriguez, Kelvim Escobar (by the dugout), Tim Salmon, and Reggie Willits. Wednesday I got Fernando Tatis as he was going in after BP.

Saturday I finally got to Baltimore, and all I can say is that the proper words to describe that stadium have not yet been invented. Green seats. No railings. Outfield seats. Dugout access. Good Food (Boog’s BBQ is soooo good). I ran into the stadium, and went straight to the bleachers. I went to the spot next to the high wall and asked Bruce Chen for a ball, and he threw me one. I then went up to the flag court, but I realized that until Nick Markakis gets about 4 years older, that place is useless during BP. I then went to the 2nd row all the way out next to CF. Adam Loewen randomly tossed a ball up, and I jumped a little and caught it. A few minutes later, Jay Gibbons smacked a home run. I moved a few steps to my left, and caught it on the fly. When the rest of the stadium opened up, I ran to the Toronto Dugout, and asked Jeremy Accardo if he would sign my card. He signed it before he played catch. When he was done, he tossed me the ball. That was it for balls, but I also got Benji Molina and Reed Johnson autographs. Good game, thanks for the advice.

hey im going to a giants game vs. the reds this week and im going at 430 on a 715 game. i was wondering whose the easist on each team to get autos of and if its easier or harder then petco to get balls there?

The “Zack Hample Catches Barry Bonds’s 724th” Laugh Highlights:
1. “The other guy is lucky that I went to a Quaker college.”

2. “Barry Bonds is black.”

Question 1: Why does this not seem to be the right video on my computer? Vernon Wells home runs and no one catches them.

Question 2: Zack, how do you make sure no one gets your balls during the game? Is your bag always by your side?

What a fun game for you–Congrats!!

Oh, and I just posted a photo album of the Friday night first game against the Rockies at Shea. Sad I had to miss the ’86 celebration Saturday night!!

http://www.pickmeup.mlblogs.com/

Photo album:

http://pickmeup.mlblogs.com/photos/mets_rockies_aug_18/index.html

Zack-
congrats on the barry bonds homer ball. actually believe it or not, when i was watching highlights of the game on ESPNEWS i saw a guy with beige pants, a white shirt and dark hat catch it and i said to my friend “that guy looks like zack” just amazing.

also congrats on #2900

Ball #1 chad bradford was throwing with a coach. he stopped and looked up when i called him. “he chad, could i have that ball when your done?” i asked. he replies “im done, here ya go.”

Ball #2 there was a ball laying on the field when a trainer walked by. he’s the guy who is always wearing under-armour shirts. another 2005 ASG ball.

Ball #3 came about half an hour later on the LF side. there was a ball laying there on the field about 35 feet behind third base. endy chavez was coming out to left. when i called him and pointed to the ball. he came over and picked it up and tossed it to me. it was another unmarked 2004 ASG ball.

those were the three balls i got on 8/19/06. it was insane there, but i managed to get three. with the 86 WS reunion it was absolutely bonkers. the rockies are worse than the astros when i comes to giving out balls. it was pitiful.

i did manage to get 29 autos in and outside the stadium.

GARY CARTER

garrett atkins x7

jeff francis x3

jason jennings x2

ray king x3

brian fuentes x2

ryan spilborghs

brad hawpe

josh fogg x2

aaron cook x2

choo freeman

clint hurdle x2

mike gallego

jamey carroll

Comp. Factor: 55085 x3= 165255

Hey Zack-

All I can say is WOW! Congrats! As the others, I was reading along and enjoying your tale of your trip to PETCO, then, all of a sudden, Bonds…no ways did he catch a Bonds homer. A few sentences more and…Holy Cow! He did! Way to go.

I just got back from my ballpark tour with my dad and my nephews to US Cellular, Wrigley, & Miller Park. I was originally scheduled to go with just a friend but last minute, he had to bail since he was just hired at a new job and they just wouldn’t let him go. Anyhow, it was fun to share the baseball experience with my family instead. The only drawback is that I only had tickets for 2, so we weren’t sitting near each other too much…oh well.

US Cellular…got there a little late for BP, so we just went and played in the kid’s baseball experience in the left field corner. No ball snagging that day.

Wrigley…I had 2 tickets in the new Bud Lite bleacher box area in the right field corner. Got there just after gates opened and rushed up to our seats. My one nephew, Carl, and I weren’t there more than a couple minutes and Mateo of the Cubs tossed one up after I yelled down asking him to toss one. Carl jumped down the row and grabbed it. BALL #1. Since this new section is reserved and $60 face, unlike the other bleacher areas, their weren’t too many people in it early, and thus, not much competition for Carl.

My other nephew, David, was relegated to the right field line wall where there were just too many people for him to get one.

That didn’t stop Carl & I. I ran down and got a scorecard to know the players first names. Jeff Suppan was finishing up his sprints, so I yelled down for him to toss up a couple balls sitting by the track. He tossed a couple up. I grabbed one with my glove and a kid grabbed the other. BALL #2.

Unsure about BALL #3. I couldn’t tell if it was a Cardinal coach or Isringhausen, or Edmonds who tossed one more up to Carl which landed short and fell into the basket fence that surrounds the outfield wall. Fortunately Carl has thin arms and was able to reach under the fence and reach the ball in the basket.

Only other souvenir from that game is a picture that I took of Pujols hitting a homerun just after it left his bat.

Miller Park…Got there early to take the ballpark tour. Walked down on the field through the visiting pullpen & into the dugout.

It was lunchbox giveaway day, so we got in line early for the gates to open. We got our lunch boxes and promptly headed down to the left field line. Carl & my dad took the stood down the line on the outfield wall while David & I walked down near the Astros dugout and stood in the corner by the photog. pit. We were barely even there and Matt Wise tossed a ball up to Carl, which my dad caught. BALL #4. None for David, and he was starting to feel left out.

I had the free Brewers program and spotted David Bell finishing up infield practice. When he caught one from hitting practice, I called out his name and he tossed the ball for David. It went over my head and landed in the photographer’s pit. The usher walked over and said he knew that David meant it for my nephew, also David, and he limbed down and retrieved it for David. BALL #5.

Luke Scott was also taking infield for the Astros even though he’s an OF. Anyhow, when I saw he had an extra, I called out his name and I pointed to David. He tossed it and David stuck out his bare hands and caught it on his own. (I’ve played catch with David before, and he’s not very good, so I was shocked when he caught it). BALL #6.

We stayed in the corner and got an autograph each on our stubs from Orlando Palmeiro who stodd by us for 5 minutes signing for everyone and listening to David tell him about our trip. Very nice of him. Unfortunately the only pen I had smeared the autos on the tickets thanks to the humidity, oh well.

That was my trip. Had a blast. If I get around to posting pics, I’ll provide a link.

BTW Here’s a link for a Bonds page that has clips to his HRs.

http://sanfrancisco.giants.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/mlb/events/bonds/road.jsp

BTW Can you prove it?

If it would ever come down to it..you certainly can. You have your ticket stub, you have yourself on video catching it, and I suppose the ball would have Chan Ho’s fingerprints on it and whomever else touched it(Ump, catcher, etc.)…but then, trying to find Park’s fingerprints on it would probably not be too kind to the ball.

Hey Zack,

Im going to make it out to some Jay/Royal games this weekend so it wont be packed at all. Anyways who are some good guys for balls from the Royals? Is Buddy Bell nice if I were to try and get the lineup cards? Anyone besides Zack that knows anything your help would be great to.

Keept it up Zack 3000 isnt to far now

Z,

Man, I’m not around much anymore (football distracts me too much). Just a HUGE congrats, what a ball to catch! WOW, what a great piece of history for you to own.

OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!!!!

The Yankees just beat the Red *** for the 4th game straight at Fenway…just like the 1978 boston massacre!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OHHHHHH MMMYYYYYYYYY GODDDDDDDD!!!!!!!

Yankees Win!***** it, Kaylee!

It’s official now: the yanks are gonna win the AL Eastern division

JIMMY-
Excellent directions. I found the clip, but my stupid computer won’t play it. DAMMIT!

SENOR-

I just looked at the seating chart, and yeah, the farthest seat in the first row of section 135 looks like the best place to be. If the gates open at 5pm, you should be at the stadium at 4pm…unless you already have a ticket, in which case you should be there (at the gate) by 4:30. To catch a home run, you should probably stay on the staircase between 134 and 135 (if that’s even in fair territory) and make sure the rows on either side of you are empty. Why would you want to go to the bullpens?

TRUE PLAYA-

Thanks just thanks. I thought about asking Hillenbrand about Toronto, but decided it was best not to bring it up. I hardly know anything about the Royals. Paul Bako is pretty good about tossing balls, and Reggie Sanders is excellent. Not sure about the manager.

CHUCKSTER-

How’d you get past security at Yankee Stadium? Never mind, just wait and tell me in person. Sorry you got blanked there, but man, what a day at Camden. That place IS awesome, and it sounds like you milked it. Let’s hope the new Shea is even half as good.

GOLDFISHEZ-

So, you steal my ball and then want my advice?

:-)

No problem. I think Pac Bell/SBC/AT&T is much easier than PETCO. I’d get there earlier than 4:30pm. You might be able to get some balls on the promenade in right field before the stadium even opens. Omar Vizquel is surprisingly nice when it comes to signing. I really don’t know about the rest of the guys, though, because I only saw them signing at the players’ entrance, and when it’s THAT early in the afternoon, there are only half a dozen people waiting for autographs, so almost every player is nice. I don’t know about good signers on the Reds, but I can tell you that David Weathers is one of the nicest all-around guys in baseball.

ZOE-

Thanks for reading. Glad you had a few laughs. Apparently, the video is working for some people, but playing Vernon for others. I’m tempted to just delete it. I do keep my backpack with me at all times. Hannah was watching it for me that night, so I was able to dart through the aisle even quicker than usual. I love that you have so many photo albums. I should make a new one just for PETCO.

JONELI-

Thank you, and thank you again. For some reason (I forget why), I actually wasn’t wearing my hat when I caught the ball, but you were right about the pants and shirt. You got 29 autographs in one day?! Dear god. And you got Atkins seven times?! Did you just hand him a stack of cards? He wasn’t annoyed? Three balls is terrific at a sold-out Shea. Congrats to YOU.

RICHARD-

Wow. You win the Comment of the Month award. Thanks for taking the time, and thanks for the link. You couldn’t find more than two empty seats together anywhere? Even in other sections? Getting balls at Wrigley is not easy, so that’s cool that you were able to use the fancy section to your advantage. The Pujols photo sounds great. Must be an amazing feeling to be in the dugout. I’ve never been on an official ballpark tour, though I’ve gotten special access a couple times here and there. I’m glad your nephew finally got a couple of balls—and managed to catch one on his own. Smudging is the worst. My one Jeter autograph got smudged when a teeny raindrop landed on it. BTW, no I can’t prove which ball is THE ball, but whatever, it’s not for sale anyway, and if I do ever decide (for whatever reason) to part with it, the buyer will just have to take my word for it. But that shouldn’t be a problem. I’m a New Yorker. We’re an honest bunch. Finding Park’s fingerprints would be almost impossible. I mean, the ball was touched countless times in the Rawlings factory, then by the umpires’ assistant when it was rubbed with mud, then by the ballboy, then the home plate ump, catcher, Park, me, Hannah, me, dozens of fans, me, me, me, me, me, a few friends back home, me, me, me, my parents, me, etc. Alas. Me again. Right now…I’m holding it and typing one-handed.

D. ROSENDA-

There you are! I’ve missed you. It’s the best piece in my collection by far. The glove from Ryan Speier might be next. Then maybe the bats or lineup cards. On a personal level, ball #1,000 is a great one because that had been my goal for such a long time, but it’s not valuable to the rest of the world. It was just a practice ball that was tossed to me at Shea. Anyway, thanks.

YANKS FAN-

Ugh.

I just replaced the faulty video with a new one, in the form of a link. Try it out and let me know if it’s working. The quality is crappy because I used my digital camera to film it off a DVD, but at least it’s something. Oh, and if it IS working, is it taking forever to download?

I also replaced that little screenshot with a better one.

Video works for me! It takes a bit of time to upload on DSL, but nothing super crazy. You look so excited! Great screen shot too. A fun story all around.
http://www.pickmeup.mlblogs.com/

Yep video works fine now Zack. I’m assuming the reason the other video wasn’t working is because you linked it off MLB.com and they probably changed the video to the link.

http://strosbro.mlblogs.com

hey zack do you think sections 236-239 wouold be good spots for line drive home runs?

oh and where do you think i should go after staying in 135?

the new video looks great zack! excellent zoom in!

Have you labeled it yet?

ZOE-
Thanks for letting me know. I just added a line after the video link that says: Give it a minute to load…

THOMAS-

Thank you, too. I’m really not sure about the other video. I liked how it looked before being played because there was an actual screen there, but too many people were reporting problems.

SENOR-

Those sections are probably great for lefties, but I’m not sure if they’re connected to the rest of the stadium. It’s been 11 years since I’ve been there, and that was before Disney bought the team and renovated. If you’re up for lots of running, you could start on the Angels’ side, then run to their dugout after coming off the field from BP, then run to the visitors’ side (out in HR territory), then run back to THEIR dugout after BP.

NICK-

Still unlabeled. What do you think I should do?

dont mark it Itll be your only unmarked ball i think and youll have an amazing sotry to tell about the “unmarked ball” also if you had to sell it or something it would be worth more.

i think you should put it in the plastic ball case you got from the Aushburn Alley souveniers, unmarked, and keep it on ur mantle.

so should i stay in 135 until the angels finish, then go to their dugout, and return to my spot, and then red sox dugout? and what angels side? the foul side? i dont think they have a lot of righties

I BELIEVE IN A RED SOX COMEBACK LIKE IN THE 2004 ALCS!!! I BELIEVE!

Hey Zack-

As far as what to do with the ball?

I’d go for something like this:

http://www.teamlogocases.com/product_info.php?products_id=781

SF Giants logo, Mahogany frame, UV protected.

BTW Here’s a link to my photo of Pujols 36th HR this year. You can see the ball on its way up, just in the first row above the third person in the dugout. (Side note: One of the funnier t-shirts I saw while on the trip was a Cubs fan shirt that says “Cardinal Fans take it in the Pujols”)

Big Version (2MB)

http://home.comcast.net/~dfmaverick/pujols_36_237.jpg

Small Version (179k)

http://home.comcast.net/~dfmaverick/pujols_36_237_sm.jpg

One more pic of my nephews with their souvenirs once we got back. (Only additional markings on balls were that one was stamped ‘For Practice Use’ and one had a Sharpie ‘H’ for Houston)

http://home.comcast.net/~dfmaverick/first_snags.jpg

TRUE PLAYA-
Great point(s). Thanks. But…marked or unmarked, it’ll still always be an amazing story. Right?

SENOR-

I don’t have a mantle (unless you count my ’59 Topps Mantle), but the ball IS now in that ball cube. Good call. As for the Angels game (and all games), the key is to stay mobile. I almost never get more than two balls in the same spot, so yes, do the dugouts and the foul lines on both sides. Don’t worry about lefties and righties. In the first round of BP, all guys try to hit the ball to the opposite field, so even if you’re in right field and the group is all righties, you still might get lucky. Consider staying in foul territory near the visiting team when all the pitchers come out to throw. It’s a good time to get a ball (or two) tossed your way. The Red Sox are screwed.

RICHARD-

That’s quite a display case. Thanks for suggesting it. I’m afraid, though, that it would overshadow the ball itself. Know what I mean? I like the idea of UV protection, though. Fantastic Pujols photo! I love the t-shirt. Just hearing about it made me laugh out loud. Nice pic of the newphews, too. They sure look happy.

so right when i get their im gonna head to the left field foul pole, (because most angels batters are righties) then the angels dugout, then where should i go when the red sox bat? i was thinking where u said before in section 135, because i want to catch some lefty home runs, but most of their batters and righties.
after that i shall head to red sox dugout area what should i do?

and i just noticed that 135 is barely in fair territory, should i head out to 236-240 for home runs? and where should i stand for the red sox? and in the angels foul side 101 is also BARELY fair, im puzzled by wher ei should stand.

Itll always be a great story. It could eb though “the story of the unmarked ball” instead of the story of the barry bonds homer. but either way keep us updated on what you do with it

what i did to get atkins auto 7 times was i handed him an 8 x 11.5 (paper size) cardboard sheet with the seven cards on it held down by photo corners in the upper left and lower right corners. its thick and easy for the player to sign it and they can do it alot easier than taking one and putting it in the back, taking another and putting it in the back, etc…

i got him 3 times outside the stadium and four times right before the game on the side after he finished stretching. its not a pretty auto (it looks the same as when i got him last year) but w/e, thats not the point. the four inside got kinda smudged and wore alittle because it was raining.

so thats my story. i now have 10 GA autos including the 3 from last year.

im going on saturday versus philly, so hopefully it will be somewhere between 40-45 Gs at the game, in which case i should manage 4-6 balls.

ill keep you updated.

I wouldn’t label it until he hits another homerun. And even then I would still be reluctant. But definately DO NOT label it until he has another homer.

SENOR-
Just hang out near the foul poles on the side of the field for the team that’s batting. Move toward fair territory to catch home runs. Move back into foul territory to get balls thrown. That’s not an automatic formula for success, but for the most part, that’s where you’ll get the balls. Beyond that, you just have to use your instincts and position yourself in slightly differfent places for each hitter, and always be aware of your surroundings/competition.

TRUE PLAYA-

I see what you mean. And I’ll definitely keep you posted.

JONELI-

Ahh, yes, I know about those photo corners. Good thinking. And look luck versus Philly. I’m already looking forward to your upate.

NICK-

You are a wise one.

no i definetely understand zack! thanks for clearing my misunderstanding. Peace

Well, Bonds deposited #725 into the Bay tonight… sorry, Zack. I guess you can label it now.

hey zack where is ur hat when u caught the ball. u said u always wear a hat! AND DONT LABEL THAT BALL!!! WHATEVER YOU DO! NEER LABEL IT!

hey, zack congrats on the homer, its unbelievable, the odds, wow..but on sunday i went to the brewers astros game and it was horrible astros had no bp, i got 1 ball from wandy rodriguez and no auto’s..worst game of my life i think..but i have a chance to redeem myself on wednesday I’m going to the rockies brewer game..Joneli i have some questions what rockies players signed prior to the game inside the stadium and where did they sign? also has anybody ever heard any stories or anything on how todd helton is on signing and throwing balls?

SENOR-
Good question. I have NO idea why I wasn’t wearing my hat. I’d been switching hats all day, and I could’ve sworn I was wearing my Padres cap when the game started…but then in the top of the second, I was hatless. Go figure. And after that, I put my hat back on. I’m puzzled. BTW, no need to shout.

:-)

The ball is not going to be labeled anytime soon.

BERGIN-

Thanks so much. You’re right. The odds are pretty silly. Your worst game is still better than my worst game. Back in the early 90s, I got shut out a few times. At least you got ONE ball. Let me know how it goes on Wednesday. I can tell you this about Helton: When he catches the ball for the third out, he always takes it with him back toward the dugout and tosses it into the crowd. I got one from him like that last year at Shea.

I got shut out at a Phillies Mets game in late August last year. 2 reasons I got shut out.
a) I was in a cast

b) Zack was there

I tried to get David Wright to sign my cast, but he didn’t. No balls, no autos. I’ve been shut out ball wise at a few Yankee games this year, but always got a least 1 auto.

ZACK -

Barry’s 725 has little affect on your amazing grab of 724.

725 plopped in the water. Nobody snagged it in the air.

You still hold the title of Final Catcher of a BB HR.

Plus 725, recovered, will be lumpy when it dries out.

Leave 724 in it’s pure Bashed-By-Barry’s-Bat condition.

You Da Snagging Man!

My Day At Citizens Bank Park–
August 18th

I had bought a Nationals cap (I didn’t have a Phillies cap, though). I compiled both of the teams rosters in about 2,000 different ways. I had made the glove trick, and practiced it ’till it worked. I also spent 3 hours on the NJ turnpike in traffic, meaning I didn’t get through the gate into the park until 5:30. I would have liked to been there an 1 hour earlier, but that wasn’t the most frustrating part of my day, anyway.

As soon as I came in, I ran down to where the Nats pitchers were playing catch. I was the only one in the section wearing a Nationals cap, and I looked good by the fact that I “knew” their names. 45 minutes later: No balls! Those **** nationals gave them all to kids wearing Phillies gear. I am 13, so I was a kid too, and I was wearing their team’s stuff.

After that, BP was over, and I went down by the dugout to get some autographs. All I got was Robert Fick because they are all sooooooo lazy.***** Nationals. Oh, and I wasted 18 bucks on a Nationals cap, GOD!!!!

So basically I spent 18 dollars and all I got was a robert fick autograph. No balls. No other autographs. I am a Yankee fan, and my team wasn’t playing, so the game was boring. However, we had front row seats right behind 3rd base, so I vowed that if a foul ball came and hit the wall right by me, I would dive for it. That’s a longshot, and it never happened.

Zack, why didn’t the nats players give any balls to me? Everyone else was calling them like “number 34″ and I was like “Chad”(for Chad Cordero). I was also the only one with Nats gear on.

Yanks Fan-its because you are a yankees fan! you are being punished for being a supporter of the Evil Empire

yanksfan- the nationals are really bad for everything, they rarely threw balls when i went and for autographs the only person who would sign was bullpen coach john wetteland and i didnt have him sign my ball and now i wish i would have because little did i know he was one of the best closers of all time..ive only been a die hard baseball fan for 3 years now and i didnt really know who john wetteland was so it ******

Yeah, the Nationals are up there with the Astros and Giants in stingyness. I’d be grumpy though too if I were in last place…

Just label it and shove it in a barrel, drawer, duffle bag or where ever you shoved the rest of your balls.. err baseballs :Þ

http://strosbro.mlblogs.com

The Nats aren’t that bad. Chad Cordero doesn’t throw any balls whatsoever. Too bad Livan Hernandez got traded he was good for balls and John Patterson was pretty nice to. When I went to a Nats game I ot 3 balls but they were all those green practice balls.

EVERYONE-
I’m running off to Shea in 15 minutes. I want a ball from Pujols…and also another one of those fancy Busch Stadium balls. I’ll get to everyone’s comments late tonight, and hopefully have a new entry up by the time the rest of the world wakes up tomorrow morning.

ALBERT PUJOLS-

Did you hear me? Yeah, that’s right. I’m talking to you. Don’t let me down.

Regarding the players walking into the staduim with a cell phone up to their head – it’s a very common ‘avoidance’ thing for them. They fell they won’t be as accosted by fans if it looks like they are busy.

hey WOW WHAT A METS game I might be going to the career fair tomorow from 3:30-6:30 in the pepsi picnic area is the picnic seats any good during bp second of all can i get to the reg stadium from the picnic area third congrads fourth reyes Carlos(B and D) Wright for co MVP WHAt do u think see u 2moro ? l8r
Metsguy

By the way I have media direcotrys press guides and media guides for all the teams send me an email at metsguy@gmail.com so i can reply and send it to you it says wehre theere headquaters on the road is etc its pretty cool

Zack-

Looks like you picked a good game to be at. Homers galore. Grand Slams, multiple homers by multiple players. Delgado’s 400th, & a walk off HR to boot.

Did you get a ball from Albert? Or did he give it to ya in the Pujols?

Back from Baltimore:

Rough, Rough night… for the Twins AND me. My 13 year old brother and 2 month old brother got more baseballs than me.

I did see Nick Markakis homer in his first three at bats. Historic. Speaking of historic, Matt Garza will be going for his first career win tomorrow night. I’ll be there to witness it happen.

Prediction: 6 balls. No Pujols. 2 Busch Balls.

Nick-

I hope you’re right about Garza getting his first win tomorrow. (I am a Twins fan, after all.) I have about a dozen ticket stubs from Garza’s Major League Debut; unfortunately, he didn’t win that game. If he wins tomorrow, be sure to ask everyone around you for their tickets.

wow zack good choice for career games! i predict 7 balls, 1 busch ball,yes for pujols, and jeff weaver auto

EVERYONE-
I’m back from Shea. I’ve been watching the Yankees-Mariners (tied at 5 in the 8th) and catching up on old boxscores. I think I’ll start working on my entry about Shea and then answer all these comments. (Thanks for all the comments, BTW. Lots of fun to hear from everyone.)

What time can we expect this entry up?

Uh…like, 5 or 6am. Haven’t even started writing it yet. Just labeled my photos.

I got Boog Powell’s autograph tonight, I wonder how much time he spends at the ballpark nowadays. You got him didn’t you?

Hey Zack,

I’m awaiting your next post!! Anyways, I was wondering if you could email me with detailed info on what to do at PETCO. I’m nervous. I only get one shot, I have caught a ball at every stadium I have been to. Its my first trip, I don’t know what to do…

I have Three more games this season, 2 at Dodger Stadium and one at PETCO. I want to hit twenty five balls in a season (I am at 15). That means I have to average 5 balls a game. My highest is 4.

HELP! (I am willing to be aggressive in the “sandbox”)

Could you please email me with what Times to be where, What gates to enter in…If you get a chance???

Thanks so much,

Ethan

Dodgerdude511@aol.com

Just posted my new entry…so tired…need to wait ’til I wake up to answer comments…sorry.

CHUCKSTER-
I’ve always thought that being in a cast would be an advantage. Limited mobility, yes, but what about player sympathy?

BOODLEHEIMER-

Good point. Thanks. But I don’t think the water will actually make #725 lumpy. It could make it hard, or heavy, depending on how the person goes about drying it.

YANKS FAN-

Sorry to hear about your VERY frustrating day. You really need to get there right when the stadium opens, but that still doesn’t excuse the Nats from being a lame bunch. I mean, that’s all there is to it. They’re lame. They were lame at Shea earlier this season, and obviously they haven’t changed. I bet they’ll be better once they settle into their new ballpark. Money will be more plentiful, and they’ll give away more balls.

SENOR-

Funny. And not a bad prediction.

BERGIN-

You didn’t know Wetteland? Oy vey. It’s always good to look up the stats/bios for the coaches so you know who’s worth pursuing. I used to make that mistake all the time.

THOMAS-

Thank you for that most helpful suggestion.

:-)

JIMMY-

You’re right about Livan.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS-

Your green balls are as lame as your on-field performance. Made in China? Come on. You can do better than that.

BM RED SOX-

Yeah, I guess you’re right. You’ve seen them do it a lot? I hardly ever arrive that early, so it was a new experience for me.

NETS GUY-

the picnic area is great for balls just hang out several rows back in that wide aisle no you can’t access the rest of the stadium from there thanks and no i don’t think wright has a shot at the mvp because his numbers have fallen off although you’re right he’s still having a great season thanks for the offer to send me info on teams’ headquarters but i think i’ll hold on emailing you for now because i don’t have any more trips planned this season kind of hard to read without any punctuation just giving you a taste of your own medicine haha

RICHARD-

You’re right. It was a fabulous game. And as you can now see on my newest entry, Pujols gave me nothing but gentle lovin’.

NICK-

Soooo close on the prediction. Sorry about the crappy day at the Yards. Two MONTHS old?! I did get Boog to sign a few times. I think he’s there a lot, but whatever, it’s still cool to have gotten him.

ETHAN-

Are you telling me that you just read 5,000 words about three games at PETCO, and you *still* want more info? I have no idea what else I could possibly tell you. I’ve written about everything I did there. Hmm. Okay, well, the gate you should enter is at the “Park at the Park” at the intersection of 8th and J. Stadium opens at 4:30. People start lining up half an hour earlier. Don’t make the mistake of standing right AT the fence in the sandbox. Stay back 10 feet so you can move quicker. That’s about all I can think of. It’s okay to be aggressive as long as you’re respectful and careful. There ARE a lot of kids there, so watch out.

How do you get in the park so hours early? I was at petco the other day and the told us to wait till 5:30 for a 7pm game

The first day I was there, I asked the guy behind the ticket window when the stadium would open. He said 4:30pm, at the “Park at the Park.” That entrance is at the intersection of 8th and J. People start lining up around 4pm.

Hope that helps.

(And thanks for reading!)

Unbelievable, man – great entry and great point – you are only one of two people to have a 724 homerun ball…nice job!

Dude! Thanks.

Huh… there’s a link to your blog on the MLBlogs front page… and it’s for this entry. Weirdness. Still, it was nice to read this story again. Man, you must’ve been so thrilled.
~Matt
http://bloggingboutbaseball.mlblogs.com/

Whoa…strange. (Gotta love comments four years after the fact.) Anyway, yes, this game was one of the all-time greatest for me.

I love leaving comments like 5 years after the fact.

…and I love *getting* comments five years after the fact.

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