2007 All-Star Game

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The best thing about the All-Star Game was that it truly WAS an extravaganza. Outside AT&T Park, the red carpet for the players’ parade seemed to stretch for miles. Inside the stadium, every single seat was covered with a seat_cushions.jpgcushion–even in the bleachers.

The worst part about the All-Star Game was that it was a zoo. The line to get in was one of the longest I’d ever seen, and a large percentage of fans were acting like animals.

The gates opened 15 minutes before batting practice started, so the aisle in my small section was already full when the National League starting hitting. Less than a minute later, one of the batters smacked a line drive that rolled up against the outfield wall right in front of me. It was PERFECT for the glove trick, but I was scared to go for it. The day before, security had told everyone that ball-retrieving devices were strictly prohibited, and on top of that, I’d received an “official warning” from an evil usher who was out to get me.

I looked around. He wasn’t in sight. There were a few other ushers nearby, but I knew that their view of the warning track was going to be blocked by the wall of people standing in the aisle. I swung into action and set up my glove and began lowering it over the ball. The trick failed. My rubber band was old…it was too loose…it had to be tighter to keep the ball inside. CRAP! I looked over my shoulder and saw the security supervisor marching toward me from the far end of the section. DOUBLE-CRAP!! I yanked my glove back up, tightened the rubber band, and quickly lowered it back down.

“Sir!” she yelled. “I need you to STOP doing that RIGHT NOW!”

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“Ohhh…really?” I asked sweetly as the glove dangled one foot above the ball. I just needed a couple seconds to line it up and make my move.

“Your contraption needs to COME UP RIGHT NOW!!!”

“Ohhh,” I said while lowering my glove the rest of the way. “I’m sorry. I didn’t know that.”

“RIGHT NOW!!!” she screamed.

“Okay,” I said while dropping the glove over the ball. “Here it comes. Back up. I’m really sorry about that.”

“Those balls need to stay on the field,” she snapped, “and you need to stay in the seats!”

“No problem,” I assured her. “I’ll leave the ball there. It won’t happen again.”

She stood behind me, arms folded, as I lifted my glove back up. I couldn’t tell if I had the ball, and I didn’t want her to know so I moved the glove closer to the wall to block her view. After a moment, I could see that the ball wasn’t on the warning track, which meant I had it! I turned my body at the last second to shield my glove from her menacing glare and carefully slipped the ball into my pocket–at which point I heard a familiar voice begin to protest…

“You’re gonna let him keep the ball?!”

It was bully #1. He’d threatened me at the Futures Game and bragged about knocking people down at the Home Run Derby. Now, at the All-Star Game, he was trying to get the supervisor to confiscate my ball.

“I better not see that again,” she said to me before disappearing into the crowd.

“Awww MAN, that’s so un-FAIR!!!” said the bully, who proceeded to complain that out-of-towners get to do whatever they want because no one knows them, while HE has to deal with extra strict rules from security because he’s there all the time.

I heard soon after that he had told the supervisor that I was using my glove trick, and by the way, the ball didn’t have the All-Star logo. It was a leftover ball from the Derby, and I was extremely disappointed.

During the first hour of BP, I misplayed one ball that bounced off the slanted brick wall, and I literally got attacked while going for another. It was tossed up from the warning track, and when I tried to jump and reach for it, one fan ripped my arm down while six others lunged wildly and knocked me flat on my back. No one even apologized or helped me up, and to make matters worse, I learned soonteam_photo.jpg after that the ball didn’t even have a special logo. It was a regular ball, and I decided at that moment to shut down my snagging efforts. For the first time in over 650 games, I feared for my safety. I just wanted batting practice to end so I could watch the All-Star Game and leave that stupid city in one piece.

Both All-Star squads took a planned break for their team photos, and then the American League started BP. The stadium was packed, and my section was dead. I was so frustrated every time another righty launched another homer into the left field bleachers that I didn’t bother watching. I just wanted time to pass.

After BP, I caught up with Brad at the back of the right field arcade. Then, since I had some time to kill before the contrived Willie Mays celebration, I made a point of taking photos of fans representing teams from every division:

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After suffering through the worst batting practice of my life, it was truly uplifting to see so many fans of so many different teams all coming together in one place. Of course there was a little Giants-A’s hostility, but overall, the stadium was jumping with a positive vibe. (NOTE: The Rockies fan on the upper right is named Dan. He’s the most successful ballhawk at Coors Field. Anytime you see a homer land in that wide aisle just behind the wall in straight-away left field, there’s a good chance he’ll be the one catching it.)

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I didn’t have the greatest view for the pregame ceremonies or the game itself, but it was still a dream come true to be there. Ichiro Suzuki threw his warmup ball 10 feet over my head in the middle of the first inning, and that was the only ball that came within 100 feet of me all night. It was pathetic, and yet there was still some fierce jockeying for position during the game.

When David Ortiz came to bat in the top of the first, bully #1 stood in the tunnel between sections 143 and 144. It was the perfect spot to snag a home run, so naturally I got out of my seat and joined him…not to get in his way, but merely to prove a point.

The supervisor raced over, walkie-talkie in hand, and shouted, “I NEED YOU IN YOUR SEAT RIGHT NOW!!!!!”

Naturally, she was only shouting at me, so I pointed to the bully and calmly said, “If he gets to stand here, then I should get to stand here too.”

She sent us both back to our seats.

When Barry Bonds stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the first, both bullies got up and stood behind their front-row seats, just a few feet to my left. I got up too, prompting the supervisor to rush back to my section and ORDER me to sit down.

I gave a little head tilt toward the bullies and said, “If they get to stand up, then I should too.”

She made us all sit down, and they were fuming.

“C’mon dawg,” said bully #2, “why y’gotta ruin it for the rest of us?!”

Why? It’s pretty simple, really: mess with New York City and New York City will mess with you. Dawg.

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Ichiro finished 3-for-3 and hit the first inside-the-park homer in All-Star Game history. He won the MVP award, and the American League won the game. Again. The National League nearly came back in the bottom of the ninth, and it’s just as well that they didn’t because I had a flight to catch.

STATS:

• 140 balls in 20 games this season = 7 balls per game.

• 475 consecutive games with at least one ball

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

• 642 lifetime balls outside of New York

• 3,101 total balls

39 Comments

shoulda said hi, i was out there with you. Started watching ASG behind RF foul pole, guy right next to me caught Beltran foul that just barely missed at start of game. Watched HRD from left field, where all the action was. Being in green room before Red Carpet Parade was best of all, a blast just chatting with everyone involved. Oh, and the Cracker Jack at our MLB.com party.

http://a5.vox.com/6a00c2251d7f4a8e1d00cd973fdead4cd5-pi

Mark

http://mlblogs.mlblogs.com

only 1 ball!? Do you knopw if they used special balls during the game itself?

if you could ounly get 1 ball, then im screwed for Yankee next year, especially if they make you go straight to your seat when you enter.

we you aloowed to enter other sections during BP?

man i want to catch AROD’S #500.

Even if there wasn’t any ball snagging action, I’m glad you got a little get-even action!

greg, in colorado, was there a wall that separated the bleachers from the rest of the field?
did you have to go through the concourse to get to the bleachers, or could you just walk through the setions to get to the bleachers like at shea?

MARK-
I was wondering if you were in San Fran. During the Futures Game, when security wasn’t tight at all, I wandered right in the front of the press box and peeked inside in case you were there. I spotted a guy there (Ian) from MiLB.com and asked if you were around, but he wasn’t sure. Anyway, sounds like you had a great time, which is not surprising. (I could go for some Cracker Jacks.)

PUCK COLLECTOR-

Yeah, there were actual All-Star balls used during the game. I should’ve mentioned (but was too frustrated) that the ball thrown over my head by Ichiro was an All-Star ball. I was not allowed to enter other sections during BP. Security was as strict as I’ve EVER experienced at any game, so basically, you need to get outfield seats at Yankee Stadium for next year’s event. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to, and if I can’t I simply won’t go.

SURFNUSA-

Yes indeed. Revenge is sweet.

JONA-

Hi.

Wow. Sounds like the the fans and security were really a hassle out there. I don’t remember anything like that in Pittsburgh, but maybe I wasn’t trying hard enough. I swear some teams only hire security that hates sports.

I hate San Fransisco. I’m glad you ruined those jerks chances.

It’s okay, the city got what they deserved.

Dodgers sweep= Giants weep.

-Ethan

CEETAR-
Pittsburgh is mellow. So are most major league cities that aren’t on the coasts. I don’t know why that is.

ETHAN-

There *are* some really nice people in San Francisco (namely Brad), so it’s hard for me to root against the Giants all the time. But yes, my repeated run-ins with a few specific fans and ushers left me with a negative impression of the place. Too bad.

I responded in the home run derby entry, so I’ll just say something short.

The Giants fan I was talking to was sitting in CF during the HR derby, and All-Star game, and he said that he caught prince fielders home run ball. (boo brewers)

He DID have the pretty awesome seat cushion!

AND he gave away necklaces that I suppose he got at fan fest.

He gave it to the regulars, (like Rambo, who is the one that bobbled the would be derrek lee home run against the padres)

Zack- Don’t worry though, It’s really all of the west coast. The nicest fans are in ANA and SD, but the fans lack in knowledge of the game the further west you go (CA). I would love to see a game in a city like NY or BOS… when the home team is down 3-2 in the bottom of the 9th with the tying runner at 3rd… The crowd goes crazy. NL west? Let’s do the wave, or hit a beach ball.

blech.

-Ethan

well maybe if my dad gives me his second ticket, ill sell it and buy an outfield seat, but i know that thats not gonna happen.

if there is anyone in San Fran who is reading this (Brad?) do you know if the giants are using leftover derby or all star game balls in BP?

I snagged six balls at Fenway last night, including one thrown to me at the top of the Green Monster by a Red Sox coach during the stadium tour! Here’s a tip for anyone who goes to Fenway. For a 7:05 game, take the 3:00 tour. It’s about 55 minutes long and costs $12. For the last ten minutes of the tour, they let you just sit in the Monster seats, and during this time, early BP is happening. A couple home runs were hit up there (none close to me), and this coach tossed a couple balls up. Plus, you have plenty of time to be first on line at any of the gates (which open at 5:05). It’s definitely worth it.

Puckcollector – There is no dividing wall. You have access to every part of the stadium from anywhere. But during the first half-hour of BP, you’re stuck in the left field seats. You do have to walk through the concourse to get to the third base side of the field because there is a railing that runs through the seats behind the foul pole. But the concourse is open-air and easily accessible from the left field seats. By the way, you’ll want to go to Gate E in left field, because that’s the first gate that opens (two hours before gametime).

the giants fan I met at wrigley said they were…

but I didn’t catch any from the giants… so I can’t confirm anything.

thanks greg, i actually went on the website, and it looked like San Fran, with that alley, so i assumed that i had to go thorugh the concorse.

Cubs: was that last comment to me?

Zack-

I just started reading your blog and boy oh boy am I impressed!

I have to ask…

Do you have a girlfriend?

- :)

I went the All-Star game at Yankee Stadium in 1977 and my recollection is that BP wasn’t nearly the event that it is today. So while the crowds were bigger than normal, you could still access right and left field. Also, most of left field had no buffer between the seats and stands because the fences were further back. I do seem to recall, however, that the one who bombed the most long balls was Dave Parker.

There are two things I can guarantee Puck Collector. First, he is correct that his father is highly unlikely to allow him to sell his ticket for an outfield seat. Second, if Puck Collector’s spelling, grammar, and typos are not cleaned up, there will be no ticket in any seat!

Hi Zack and everyone….

Snagged three balls from the Mets last night. Billy Wagner threw one up when asked. Ricky Henderson threw one up and I jumped and got it. Last ball I caught on the fly on a BP homer from Reben Gotay. The majority of the Mets seemed very friendly in BP. There were throwing up a ton of balls. The only “****” in the bunch seemed to be Aaron Heilman. Not friendly at all. There were a lot of Mets fans there and I am pleased to tell Puck Collector that all were well behaved. There was ONE drunk Mets guy in the Western Metal Building giving Milton Bradley the business in left field, but Milton just laughed at him and pointed to the scoreboard. Padres win 5-1, Heilman gets roughed up in relief. Karma is great.

Leigh

way to stick it to those bullies!

wcimons: C’MON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
that last sentance had NO spelling errors.

leigh: yanks fans aren’t as nice. :(

puckcollector:

yes :)

so I think they do… but not 100%

CUBS0110-
I gave away my seat cushion. I heard I probably could’ve gotten $20 for it on eBay, but I didn’t want to bother with the hassle.

ETHAN-

That comment *really* made me laugh.

PUCK COLLECTOR-

You’re already thinking about selling an extra ticket. I’m just worried about getting one!

GREG-

That’s an incredible insight about Fenway. Wow wow wow, and congrats on the half-dozen.

VEGANTEMP-

Thanks and welcome aboard. I already have several girlfriends, but there’s definitely room for another.

WCIMONS-

How cool that you were at The Stadium for The Game all those years ago. I agree about the puck collector. He better clean up his act.

LEIGH-

I’m glad the Mets were nice overall. Heilman is the worst, and Feliciano is almost as bad. Joe Smith hardly ever tosses balls into the crowd either. Good luck tonight and tomorrow. That’s awesome that you got one from Rickey.

CHARLIE-

Thanks!

Dude, you shouldnt be so scared of other people. What do you do if you walk down a street & a person coming from the other end is a tough guy? Do you run the other way? Glad you wont be going to next years All-Star game if you dont get your exact seat you want. I heard they are going to make you sit in your seats too. It’s the same policy as they have now. Rules Are Rules. Live by them.

This is Nick’s brother (don’t have the time to get on my account) and I have some info for RFK if anyone is planning to go there. I went last night to their opener against the Astros (W: 4-3) and my grandma had great seats down two rows from the field in right field. Since she only had two and her sister was in town, she gave the other one to her sister and my second cousins and gramps went into the upper deck. Well, i found a way to get down there without getting yelled at by “power hungry ushers who need to get laid”. Well…atleast at RFK. They stop checking tickets after the 5th inning. So i just walked right down to my grandmas beautiful right field seats that any other stadium’s ushers would have laughed at me for even attempting to get there. Just letting everyone know that after the 5th inning if you wunna get balls down by the dugout or in the outfield, its all fair game. PS: the sseats around the area have to be empty…

AAAAAAAAAAAA4082-
Well, as someone who’s been mugged before…yeah I might go out of my way to avoid certain people if I were to find myself walking down an empty street in any number of neighborhoods here in New York City. Some people look for trouble; I try to avoid it.

NICK’S BROTHER-

That’s a great piece of advice. I probably won’t make it down to any more games at RFK, but I’m sure some other people here will benefit from reading that.

-Zack

I would do exactly the same thing if I run into bullies.

I went to that met vs. padre game on monday as well. I just realized that how horrible I am at ball snagging without the glove trick. I didn’t get any ball at all. The glove trick is pretty much useless at left field. (Or I am not skilled enough.) I have some chances getting ball. But when a ball comes to me,some kids would sneak in front of me or some fat man will occupy the entire space. Neither did I get autographed during BP. BTW, I spent 2.5 hrs driving from LA to SD and I carried 10 brand new MLB balls hoping to get auto. I was really frustrated when the game starts.

However after the game, I decided to try my luck waiting for Mets players to come out. I waited beneath the skybridge that connected a hotel and the park. (It can be seen on the matt morris picture of the SD trip in August 2006 entry) El Duque first came out, totally ignored the fans. Then I spotted John Maine, got him siged on the middle of street. Then it was Shawn Green, I was getting his auto while walking backward with a heavy bag and exhausted body, so afraid I gonna trip. Then Scott Schoeneweis also signed. 20 minutes late, I also got Paul LoDuca then David Wright. It was the first time I ever got auto after a game. Lastly Mota came out, totally ignored the fans.I guess steroid impair his hearing. However, the 12-hr trip was totally worth it!!!!

Just curious, how long is your string for the glove trick? Mine is only 7 feet.

-Leigh

Maybe you should come to my school next yr during for SDSU vs USC game. And nice work, 3 balls.

Giants fans aren’t as bad as the A’s fans. I know because I am one. But I would’ve told both of you to sit down.

SAMMY-
It’s really hard to use the glove trick at PETCO, especially near the foul pole in left field. But if you go further out toward left center, the wall isn’t as wide, and you can lean far enough out to use the trick. Still, you shouldn’t be relying on the trick. It’s a good idea to focus on other strategies and then use the trick as a backup. The string on my glove is at about 25 feet. I need it to be that long so I can use it from the Loge (2nd deck) at Shea for balls that land in the very narrow gap behind the outfield wall. Congrats on all the autographs you got after the game. That’s really great.

JENNIFER-

Fair enough.

Sammy…..

I didn’t know you were going to be at the game. I had an extra ticket in row 2 of left field Monday. I sat alone. Would have been nice to have some company. Are you going Wednesday by any chance? Maybe you could come by and say hello if you want? Sec 130, Row 2, Seat 1 if you or anyone wants to say hi at PETCO. That’s AWESOME about the autographs. I have never waited after the game for autographs, but I’ve heard that’s the spot to be in. I work midnight shift so I usually go to work right after the game. Great job though. I’ll have to try that sometime. I don’t know about coming to USC next year. That neighborhood is really bad. If I can find a ghetto pass I’ll think about it.

Zack….

Mets were friendly again today. I got shut out, but I wasn’t really trying. Kinda tired. Just tried to catch some BP homers. None close. I did see Heilman throw up ONE ball and Feliciano(sp?)ONE as well. Billy Wagner was the hero again. He threw up about 10 and some old man coach threw up a few as well. Peavy had nothing today and got no run support. Mets win 7-0. Rubber game tomorrow. I will try the dugouts tomorrow for balls. I usually just do the outfield for BP homers and toss ups. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Leigh

Did anyone watch The Bronx is Burning last night? Its a great show.

I’m heading to Yankee tonight.

Ugh!!

(Perfect Grammar! What!!)

yeah puckcollector i saw that, i am a sox fan and i really enjoy that show, its great!

did anyone notice Ichiro’s inside- the-park homer hit right off the bat of that outline of a person on the ad for the all-star game in right field?

So do you still plan on answering all the comments from the All-Star week?

(Whatever happened to Nick? He never wrote that entry about his big trip. Weird.)

Zack,
25 feet, that’s CRAZY. That really some kind of record belongs to Guinness World Records for ball retrieving device with the longest snag.

In Dodger and Angel stadium, 7 feet is sufficient.

I think I should go back to autograph hounding. BTW, have you ever heard BudLight’s hilarious radio commercial Real man of genius on OVERZEALOOUS FOUL BALL CATCHER?

-Leigh

On the Monday game, I was also in LEFT FIELD 2ND ROW, IN 128 SEAT 12.I won’t be at Wed game. But I will go to the Sat game. Will you be there? My seat is left field row 2 seat 20 section 128. I will try to get auto before game (from 12:30pm to 3:30pm at the same location)

I go to game alone most of time. Not many ppl are crazy enough or have the energy of spending 7-hr for a game(Angel stadium), 5,5hrs (Dodger Stadoum) and at least 11.5hrs (PETCO) There are parking avaliable at my school. So you can avoid ghetto area.

Really? You don’t have a “special” girl in your life? A girl that is a little meshuginah in the head and dances ’round like a hip hoppin’ shmendrick and would eat coconut rice witcha @ Shea Stadium (even though she might kvetch at the top of the 5th inning and ask ” Zaaaaaaaack, is it over yet?” wayyyy to many times) Someone that you could tickle ’til until you both plotz with nakhes?

You don’t have one of those?!

That’s a shame…

im pretty sure he took his girlfriend to a game not to long ago, but idk, just throwing that out there, not trying to but in

LEIGH-
I’m amazed that the two jerks actually tossed a ball apiece into the stands. I wonder if the old coach was Guy Conti. Oh well, doesn’t really matter.

PUCK COLLECTOR-

Nope, didn’t see it. I really don’t watch much TV aside from (live) baseball. Good grammer except “The Bronx is Burning” shoud’ve been in quotes.

:-p

CHARLIE-

I just answered you on my new entry…the one about the All-Star Week photo album.

GREG-

Thanks for reminding me. Yeah, I think I might answer all the comments later today as an actual blog entry. I have no idea about Nick. I hope he’s okay, but I assume he is. We probably would’ve heard about him from his brother, so I figure he’s just slacking (which is, of course, allowed).

SAMMY-

My string used to be even longer, and I once used the trick from the right field upper deck at Tiger Stadium. That was like 40 feet high, or so it seemed. (WHAT was I thinking? I got the ball, though.) I’ve heard that commercial. Actually, people keep sending me links to listen to it, so I’m kinda sick of it.

VEGANTEMP-

You sound like a lot of fun, if not a bit meshuginah yourself, but actually the girl you described DOES the resemble the one I’m seeing. Lucky me.

RED SOX-

No worries. You’re not butting in. These are public comments, so feel free to say whatever’s on your mind. Perhaps “vegantemp” missed that entry where I took my girlfriend to Shea.

Zack! I wish I had found your blog last year! I started collecting balls from many trips to the Rogers Centre (Skydome as it should be still). I’m making my first appearance at Yankee Stadium this Saturday, and I am quite nervous since I am a Red Sox fan living in the Big Apple. I just wanted to say I love your blog and I’m glad there are more people like me who are crazy about getting as many balls as possible!

Welcome aboard. Better late than never. You picked a really tough day to go to Yankee Stadium. I doubt there’ll be BP since there’s a day/night doubleheader. Good luck, though, and I look forward to hearing from you some more.

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