Look for me on TV…

I’m flying to San Francisco tomorrow for three big baseball events at AT&T Park:
1) The Futures Game on July 8
2) The Home Run Derby on July 9
3) The All-Star Game on July 10

I’m going to have the same seat all three days, and I want to show you exactly where it is so you can look for me on TV. Check it out:

Seat1

Here’s a closer look at the section:

Seat2

I’ll be sitting in the FRONT ROW in right-center field, just to the left of the “Bank of America” ad. But this isn’t your typical front row:

Seat3_1

Here’s what the section looks like (from above) during a typical game:

Seat4

Hold on, there’s more…

To make it even easier for you to spot me during the Home Run Derby, I’ve decided to wear the most

obnoxious_shirt.jpg

obnoxious shirt I could find. Instead of “Where’s Waldo,” think of the Derby (which airs at 8pm ET on ESPN) as a big game of “Where’s Zack.”

I’m ridiculously excited about this trip, having never attended a Home Run Derby or an All-Star Game. I would’ve been thrilled just to sit in the last row of the upper deck–or to float in a kayak in McCovey Cove–so to be in a spot where I can actually see the action and possibly catch a home run is mind-boggling. Literally. This is one of those situations that seems to defy reality, and I’m having a tough time believing that it’s really happening, but assuming it is, many MANY thanks to my friend Brad. Quite simply, there’d be no trip without him. (If you’re new to this blog, or if you’ve forgotten who Brad is, check out my entry called 8/16/06 at PETCO Park. Not only did I catch Barry Bonds’ 724th career home run that day, but I “met” Brad as a result.)

In addition to looking for me on TV, you can also listen to me on the radio. From 4am to 5am ET on Sunday, July 8, I’ll be doing a live in-studio interview with John Rothmann on KGO 810 AM.

My other plans for San Francisco include: checking out FanFest, eating garlic fries at the ballpark, not getting enough sleep, hanging out with Brad, complaining about not being IN the Celebrity Softball game, taking waaay too many photographs, helping a mother and her 12-year-old son snag balls at the Derby, meeting up with my friends Hannah (also mentioned in last year’s PETCO entry) and Ronen for a late-nite game of Scrabble, and blogging about everything when possible.

Time to start packing…

32 Comments

I have no doubt that you’ll stand out in the crowd wearing that shirt. I wish I could go to the home run derby. Maybe when it’s in New York next year I will.

Hey Zack, I won’t be able to play “Where’s Zack” with you. I’ll be in far away China! Anyway, hope you go crazy in San Fran!! And I haven’t been first to comment in a while. So, see ya later!

Oops, someone beat me to first! Whatever!

is that a private section?

if it is that’ll be great because youll have the security guards keeping people out of your section in BP and the derby?

do you think that the teams will take bp before the ASG

YANKS FAN-
I might try to go next year as well at Yankee Stadium. The ticket might be extraordinarily expensive, but at least I won’t have to pay for a flight and a hotel. But let’s just deal with one Derby atta time. :-)

DANNY-

China?! Just a vacation or what?

PUCK COLLECTOR-

It’s not normally a private section, but security will definitely be keeping people out (and in their seats, I hear) during the Derby itself. During BP, the section might be open to everyone, but that’s fine because I suspect that a lot of the people who DO have tickets there might wander off to other parts of the ballpark. And yes, there is BP before the All-Star Game. Ohboy.

Hey, Good luck to you and the 12 year old kid at the derby, I’ll be watching for ya.

Hey. Thanks!

Hey zack its darron again just wanted to say good luck at the all star game and homerun derby im hoping to get to go in 2009 i have tickets to see bonds tommorow. after the all star game i have more tickets on the 24th of july and im hoping that tony larussa will swipe about 30 all star balls so i can get one im goning to try for a bonds homerun ball and i like that shirt you picked colourful i will not be watching the derby but i will watch the replay and tell you how many times i see you so good luck and bye for now

Good luck man, and if you haven’t already… cut your hair =).

-Stros Bro

http://www.crawfishboxes.com

Well, I just got home from Colorado. I’m too tired to report on my snagging now, so I will tomorrow!

Anyway, great luck at the Derby. I’ll make sure to look for you!

Hi, Zack,
I’m a reporter from the San Mateo (CA) Daily Journal and I’m covering some of the “outside” stories on the All-Star Game. One of the pieces I’m writing is on the host city itself–how San Franciscans are handling the influx of All-Star tourists and how All-Star tourists view SF as a host city. Since you’ve been to so many ballparks, it would be great to include your perspective, how you think SF measures up as an All-Star host compared to other cities, etc. Let me know if that would be feasible. Thanks and good luck at the Derby!

Rachael

DARRON-
Thanks, and good luck getting a Bonds homer. It’d be cool to know the exact number of times that I’m on TV at the Derby, so try to keep a running tally. Talk to you soon.

THOMAS-

Aww, you didn’t like that haircut?

GREG-

No problem. Take your time and lay the big report on me when you get a chance.

RACHAEL-

Do you want to talk about this on the phone? I’m not sure how much info I’ll be able to give you since I’ve never been to any other All-Star Games, but I’ll do my best. I’ll send you an email (from zack@zackhample.com) and we’ll take it from there…

PEOPLE WHO’VE EMAILED ME RECENTLY-

I’ll get back to you as soon as I can, but it might take me a few days.

BED-

Here I come.

Zack,

Great idea on the shirt. I’ll be on the lookout. At a bare minimum ball-wise, I’d think the glove trick will be in full effect. Is there a particular player you’re most excited to see?

Okay, here’s a lengthy recap of my week-long, two-game trip to Colorado:

I flew out to Denver early Monday morning. It was awesome waking up on the east coast and knowing that I’d be seeing a game later that day more than 1500 miles away at a stadium I’d never been to. I had a feeling Monday’s game would be a lot of fun when I reached Coors Field at 2:55 for the 7:05 game. I noticed how similar the outside of the ballpark looked (and felt) to Camden Yards and took a crapload of pictures. I explored the ballpark and its surrounding area before starting a line outside left field’s Gate E – the first that opens – at 3:45.

When the gate opened at 5:00, I raced in and almost immediately snagged my first ball of the trip from Rodrigo Lopez. (Somehow, I knew who he was just by seeing his number and face, without looking at my roster. Weird.) About ten minutes later, he inexplicably tossed me another.

Left field was dead – it’s surprisingly deep, considering Coors Field’s reputation as a bandbox – so I headed to left-center at about 5:25. When a ball rolled to Rockies bullpen catcher Mark Strittmatter, I yelled to him and he tossed it over. I had three balls in the first half hour and thought I was on my way to an unbelievable day. But then things really slowed down. When the rest of the stadium opened up at 5:30, I went up to the second deck in right field, which beautifully hangs over the bullpens and the rocky waterfall area behind the center field fence.

At about 5:50, I made the coolest snag of my life (through no effort of my own). Howard Johnson was shagging BP balls in right-center and using his fungo bat to hit them back to the net behind second base. Each time a ball rolled close to him, I would yell “HoJo!!” I could tell he was hearing me, but he seemed reluctant to toss one up. After three or four rolled to him, he finally decided to give me one. But here’s the awesome part: instead of throwing it, he hit it to me with his bat!! It was pretty accurate considering the circumstances, but it sailed six feet over my head and rattled around three rows back. I was the only person within four sections, so I had no problem finding it and picking it up. (Has this ever happened to you? Anybody else?)

Anyway, the Mets ended BP at 6:10 because of the 98-degree heat. It was too late to get to the dugout from the second deck in right field, so my father and I scanned the rocks in the waterfall display (as well as the backs of the bullpens) for baseballs that might have landed there. We each found one. The first one was in the very back of the display, tucked in between some rocks and bushes. I reeled it up with my cup trick within a minute (my fifth ball on the day and 199th lifetime). The second one would have been even easier … but some old usher guy with a big white mustache stopped me as I lowered the cup into the back of the Rockies bullpen. Whatever. I was excited to have five balls and figured that I could probably get a couple more before the game started, one during the game, and maybe even one more after the game. But then I discovered that security was not as loose as I would have expected, based on how much the Rockies stink and how few people go to their games. Ushers were checking tickets at the top of every section in the field level and I had an upper deck ticket. I was screwed if I couldn’t find an unguarded section. I took two-plus laps around the stadium before I found one. The Rockies position players were just starting to warm up in shallow right field. I hung out there and pondered who might throw me my 200th ball. It turned out to be Jeff Baker (who also threw me one back in April at Shea). Cool.

The rest of the day was a *******’ nightmare. Ushers were everywhere, checking tickets within every section as well as at the top of every staircase. In addition, nobody was allowed into the first five rows behind the dugouts unless they had tickets there. I couldn’t move, and eventually got stuck in the middle of a long row. In the third inning, I gave up on sneaking around and decided to wander around the stadium. I was fine with six balls for the first game at a new stadium, and figured I would get plenty the next day.

That was not the case. The place was packed (even two hours before the game) for the post-game fireworks show. Not only that, but five drops of rain cancelled the Mets portion of BP. The Rockies, however, did take BP, and it was a good thing because I got my first ball five seconds after I reached the left field seats. I was by far the first person in the stadium, and a home run landed deep in the section and trickled right down to me. Ten minutes later, I saw a ball land in the Rockies bullpen over in right field. I still can’t explain why, but the whole stadium opened at the same time this day, so I headed over there. I let down my cup trick and started reeling the ball up when the same usher who stopped me from retrieving that ball out of the bullpen the day before stopped me again (and almost confiscated the cup trick). What a jerk. I wasn’t hurting anybody. In fact, nobody even saw me doing it, yet he still felt the need to ruin my day.

I spent the next 35 minutes stewing in frustration and anger (at both that usher and at the fact that the Mets decided they didn’t need to take BP after exploding offensively for two runs the night before), until Guillermo Mota and El Duque played catch in left field. I hung out in foul territory, behind El Duque, hoping for an overthrow by Mota. Instead, I got an underthrow. El Duque missed it on a short-hop, and I scooped it up. He held up his glove to ask for it back, and for some reason I tossed it back without hesitation (right to his chest, which was cool). When they finished, Mota tossed it back to me. The kid next to me decided to play dirty and hold my glove down, so I had to barehand the relatively hard throw. I was considering giving the kid an elbow to the face to punish him for being a bad sport (and a little putz), but I’ll leave that to karma.

That was the end of my snagging for the day. I had a good “seat” for the game, at the spot next to where the left field ballboy would sit if Coors Field had ballboys, but nothing came within reach. The fireworks were spectacular, and the drive back to my relatives’ house in Boulder (35 minutes north of Denver) was filled with loud blasts of more fireworks in the distance.

Despite the lack of many balls on Tuesday, it was a fun trip anyway. But I’m angry about the amazingly tight, almost Yankee Stadium-like security for such a lightly-attended stadium.

interesting how security was tight at coors. it qas the same in Pittsburgh. it was the last out of a 10-3 game, and i still couldnt get behind the dougouts.

well, greg, u made me mad know cuz im goin to coors later in august, and this does not sound good.

how many feet of string will i need for a glove trick to get balls in the waterfall display?

can i even get the balls with a glove trick, or are the rocks too jagged?

Yeah, I couldn’t believe security was as tight as it was. I actually got thrown out of the second deck in right field during the Monday game, which had an attendance of just 28,000. I’m sad to hear about the tight security at PNC (because I’m probably going back there in August).

As for the glove trick at Coors, bring at least 45 feet of string (it’s proabably only like 40 feet, but bring more just to be safe). You won’t need that much for the waterfall display, but you might be able to retrieve some balls from the bullpens from the aforementioned second deck in right field. The waterfall display can be tricky. It’s only about 20 feet below, but you might have some trouble if you use the glove trick. A cup trick is much more favorable, because it’s the exact size of the ball … i.e. if a ball can fit somewhere, the cup can fit there to get it. The glove trick is obviously more jagged, but if you spot a ball, go for it. But watch out for the usher I talked about (the old one with the white mustache), because his personal philosophy is that you can only have a ball if someone throws it to you. He hangs out in the concourse behind the right field lower deck, so be careful. Make sure you write a detailed report about your trip here when you get back: I would love to hear how it goes.

Hey Greg,

My name is Mick and I was wondering how your cup trick works. What kind of cup to use, how to make it, etc. Any info would be great!

Zack,

I’ll look for you on TV. Is the game on ESPN? Because I have ESPN High Def so it will be clearer and easier to find you. Good luck, and I hope you bring home a “golden ball” That would be sweet!

Thanks

Mick

How in the **** did you get tickets! You aren’t even a Giants fan.

Hey Zack!

Is that Freddy Kreuger’s or Charlie Brown’s shirt?

EVERYBODY-
Thanks for the comments. I’ll have to answer them later. I just got back from the radio station (the interview will be archived on the KGO web site for 24 hours, so check it out), and I’m waking up in less than six hours for early BP on the portwalk before the gates open for the Futures Game.

zack-good luck at the futures game, my prediction is 16 for the game and bp at the futures game…greg and puckcollector-i was at coors about 4 years ago and they were still doing the same thing..u couldnt get within 5 rows of the dugout but i just figured it was cuz of the big crowd to see bonds but that *****..i think the best stadium i have been to to snag at is safeco…the ushers could care less if u sneak down behind the dugouts as long as u dont sit in the padded seats which are like th first 6 or 7 rows…its sooooo nice..but still congrats on snagging 8 at coors greg!!

Pigpen: Okay, so my cup-trick is kind of complex. You’re going to need a cup with an opening that is the size slightly bigger than a baseball, some string, duct tape, and something to act as a weight (either coins in a bag or magnets or whatever you can find). Look around your house and test all the cups you have by putting a baseball inside them until you figure out which one has the tightest fit without being too small. The ball should only fit about two-thirds of the way into the cup (as in, a third or so of the ball should hang out of the cup without falling – if you can’t find one that the ball sticks in, line the inside of the top of the cup with a little tape to decrease the diameter). Once you find one, stab a tiny hole in the center of the base of the cup and pull the string through and tie it inside the cup. Next, put your weights in the cup and tape them to the bottom. Make sure they can’t fall out when you dangle the cup upside down. Also make sure that the weight is close to being evenly distributed, so that when you dangle the cup, it doesn’t swing too much or lean to one side. Now, practice picking up a Major League ball (not a crappy ball that’s just lying around your house, because some non-MLB balls have slightly different sizes and weights). If the ball doesn’t stay in consistently, make whatever adjustments you can think of. If you have trouble getting it to work, send me an e-mail and I’ll send you some pics of my cup trick.

Redsox: Really?! I can’t believe that the ushers are like that all the time! I thought security was just tight because it was the July 4th series. That makes me sad.

****, i watched the futures game, but forgot to look for you..

EVERYONE-
Just got back from the Futures Game and Celebrity Softball (and a long dinner). I’m not sure if I’ll be able to finish blogging about before I head to the ballpark for the Home Run Derby. Who knows? Maybe I will. These three days are about as crazy as it gets, so I might just have to do lots of catching up when I get back to NYC.

hey guys..my trip went great i got 71 autographed cards and 4 balls all in 6 games..i actually chased grady sizemore down a street till he got to a red light and he rolled down his window and signed my ball..i also got carl crawford, prince fielder, and future ROY Ryan Braun…PUCKCOLLECTOR- did you stay at the william penn hotel?because i think i might have talked to you in the elevator about princes autograph that you got at the hotel?anyways some cool things happend like talking to chris capuano on a sidewalk waiting for a cab for 5 minutes, and us staying at the d-backs hotel where i rode an elevator with scott hairston and brandon webb

bergin- THAT WAS YOU?!! Cool. were you with a friend, or was that your dad, but he looke dto young to be your dad?

greg-well, you could run down into the seats behing the doughout after the third out, but there are tons of kids.

oh, and if you buy tickets on ebay, and if they are a season ticket holders tickets, you can get into the stadium 1/2 an hour before everyone else, if you go through the center field gates, which are closer to the left field bleachers that the left field gate.

ill talk more when the time comes

I cannot wait to play “Where’s Zack?” What an awesome idea!!!!

omg!!! i just saw you catch the first HR of the derby…. that was exciting haha you looked so excited… that obnoxious shirt did help

DUDEE.. I saw you get that first homer, your shirt really stands out

greg-yeah unfortunatly it seems that it is always like that

EVERYONE-
I’ve been saying it a lot, and I’ll say it again: Thanks for all the comments. Normally, I make a point of answering everyone individually, but things are just too crazy this week for me to do that. I really appreciate hearing from everyone, and I’ll try to catch up on all the comments soon.

puckcollector- yea that was my friend…well that was wierd i never would have guessed that was you..haha

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