Moving

I’m moving. Today. Finally. After five and a half years. Old apartment: 270 square feet. New apartment: much bigger. Sorry I haven’t blogged much lately. Things have truly been nuts. And now I probably won’t have an internet connection for a few days, so I’ll leave you with two quick stories…

1) Last week, I sold a few pieces of furniture on craigslist. One woman responded to my ad with her phone number, so rather than emailing her back, I called. She showed up later that evening to get the item (a white, five-drawer dresser if you really wanna know) and as soon as I opened the door, she said, “Wow, you really ARE the baseball collector!” Turns out my name popped up on her caller ID and she Googled me.

2) Last night, at around 1:30am, I was listening to 1050 ESPN Radio when host Brandon Tierney started talking about breaking his thumb a few years back while trying to catch a Tino Martinez homer during batting practice–and then he described the few other balls he’d snagged. I jumped out of bed, called the station, got through on the first try, told the call-screener about myself, and then, after a commercial break and a sports update at 1:40am, I was live on the air. The screener hadn’t mentioned anything about me, so when I started talking about my “thirty-two hundred baseballs,” Tierney cut me off and was completely skeptical–but one of his assistants quickly looked me up, and Tierney acknowledged on the air that I was legit. Anyway, most people who call in get cut off within the first 30 seconds, but Tierney left me on for the entire segment, which I think was about 10 to 15 minutes. And then, after the commercial break, he kept talking about me. Fun stuff.

Alright, gotta go to bed. The movers are coming in less than seven hours…

38 Comments

Hope you enjoy the new place. Go to the library and post. And yes, don’t get into an argument with me.

Someone in Africa must really like me. I keep getting emails from people in Nigeria telling me I’ve won a lot of money in lotteries or excess money from bank transactions. Good stuff. Good luck in your new place Zack. Anything has to be better than 270 square feet. Only 35 more years and you can retire to Florida like all the other New Yorkers. Much better square footage there. Have a great day.

Leigh

Wow Zack you are mr. popular around NY! Haha Leigh I also get emails from people in Europe saying I have won like 150,000 Euros. I wish it were true….

http://youtube.com/watch?v=y9xgoO9zicA
i posted a longer spring training video. and yeah, i keep getting e-mails from people in africa too. and zack, are you gonna cover the new appartment with posters of faces again

Go islanders:

We (the islanders)*****. And DP is having hip surgery.

leigh-yes me too!!!!!! i thought i was the only one!!! i get routinely 15-20 a day, from all different addresses..

zack-on previous entry on pnc-no problem, youre right it probably is hard to determine from one game…ill look forward to puckcollectors though..

anyone hear about the sox refusing to go to tokya until the money stipend was reinstated. lolll

Zack..Congrats on the Bonds story, hopefully that will be his last HR ball. Bye Bye Barry!! Cool on the new apartment, guess you can use all that extra space for baseballs. Jim

Zack, you should try and get a one-hour show on the graveyard shift for some station. You’d have a lot to talk about.

Puck Collector, where’s that PNC report? My top three tips for PNC: 1) try and get hard copy tickets from a season ticket holder because they let you into LF 1/2 hour earlies than others (who can still roam the concourse). Seats behind the dugout cost on $35 –so if you can score those, even better 2) Get the seats down the LF line where the seats jut towards the foul line. Lots of ground balls down the 3rd base line will head right to those seats; 3) Stay in a downtown hotel w/i walking distance. You can get a great price on Hotwire. PNC is a blast and remains my favorite ballpark.

puckcollecter

weve fallen apart. only 1 win this month. the only upside is baseball is coming back. but wade dcghjdtyjtyjtk *****. im just…. i cant deal with it.

Go Islanders….

That video was tight. The Mets park looks really small compared to the ones in the Phoenix area. That’s a good thing for you guys though I guess. Nice job meeting Johan Santana. I think I OFFICIALLY hate the Red Sox worse than the Yankees now. The Dodgers still hold the top spot, but the Red Sox “nation” makes me ill.

Leigh

I’m back from Florida. Spring Training is God’s gift to baseball collectors. Got a BUNCH of balls and I’ll start writing a lengthy report once I get all my **** together.

leigh-Why is it that you hate the redsox? is it because we win the world series and the padres choke and lose on the last possible day? Or is it because we belive in fairness. If the players are getting paid, the coaches should be getting the same compensation. They put in just as much if not more time than the players. Its only fair that they get compensated for making the voyage to japan. Think about it leigh.

zack,i love your blog and I am happy to finally be posting in it. I have been viewing your blog for a while but I have never been able to post.

will you be bringing any of your buckets of balls to ur new place?

how many games u gonna head to this year.

I was the guy who asked some questions on the radio you where on a little bit back.

from, sanjib getty…

comment later, good blog

Hi Red ***. You’re the best. I loved your post. Haven’t seen you post in a while. I don’t hate them because of the stipend thing. It’s just the whole loser fan, bandwagon culture. Similar to the Oakland Raiders. It was watching all their “fans” in the stands during the broadcast the other day that was the clincher. You can root for whoever you like though. Have a great season. Also, you should always capitalize people’s names. Example: Leigh. Wouldn’t want you to fail English. Hey, what’s your first name? RedSux is so impersonal. Do you live in Massachusetts?Know what the Padres got for going to China? A giftbag. That’s awesome. After the Red Sox debacle, MLB has said it will also compensate the Padres and Dodgers for the China trip. They didn’t say how much though. I doubt it will be 40K though because it was pre season.

EVERYONE-
I’m in the new place, and I have a high-speed wireless connection. Wooo!!!

PUCK COLLECTOR-

I’m enjoying it a whole lot.

LEIGH-

I have to admit, I’m getting a bit annoyed by “Red Sox Nation,” but it’s hard to blame people in New England for being so crazy. There’s only ONE team up there for all those states, and it didn’t win a championship for 86 years!

DB3PAR-

Getting there…

GOISLANDERS4-

Fantastic video. Seriously. Not sure yet about magazine pages. I’m thinking yes, but it’ll be a while before I can do anything about it.

GJK2212-

…and now you have some info.

UTAHSTEELER17-

Thanks, and as for the baseballs, I doubt I’m gonna take them over to the new place. I’d rather just have the empty space, I think.

FATHER PUCK-

Excellent tips on PNC, and that’d be pretty cool to actually be on the radio regularly.

GREG-

Get your **** together fast. I want to hear about everything.

REDSOX342445-

Ouch.

SANJIBGETTY1-

Hey! Thanks for reading the blog and finally leaving a comment. I hope I’ll be hearing more from you once the season gets underway. I’m not sure how many games I’ll end up going to this year. Probably at least 30 or 40. Maybe even 50 or 60, depending on how certain things play out. As I mentioned above in a comment, I don’t think I’m going to take any baseballs to the new place. It’s big but not THAT big. :-)

Long time reader, first time poster. I’m like GREG, I need to write up all the great stuff I got at Spring Training this year. It was my first ST, and it went really well. Thanks for the tips, Zack. Go REDS!

Well im a big hockey fan and ive been reading you blog for a while and commented a few times. I want to know your opinion of the Rangers and Islanders possibly closing yankee stadium on new years day with a hockey game. Im all for it whats your thoughts.

Only 3 weeks till my first mets game of 08

LI7039: Is the LI for Long Island? Im a big hockey fan, and my dad is an isles seaon ticket holder. I would love to see an Isles Rags game as the last game in YS, but Gary Betman is a *******, so that probably won’t happen. Wang and the isles first approaches Betman and got approval for a game at Yankee Stadium, but Betman wants his money, so even though the Isles did all the work to get approval, it looks likle the the Rangers will get a game there if ther is one.

GJK: I’ll eventually get to my PNC post.

Happy moving — you’ve been the excerpted MLBlogger today (Friday) on the new area of MLB.com. BTW anytime you want some other blog specifically excerpted there, just leave it as a comment or email me dude. Where’s the move? UWS all the way.

Mark/MLB.com

http://mlblogs.mlblogs.com

Hey Zack….

Looks like MLB came through a little bit for the Padres and Dodgers. This was in today’s San Diego Union Tribune.

China stipend

Gonzalez said he has heard from Major League Baseball that the Padres players traveling to China last week will receive between $1,000 and $5,000 each as a bonus.

“I think it’s going to be between $3,000 and $4,000,” said Gonzalez. “It’s cool, they didn’t have to give us anything.”

Players from the Boston Red Sox and Oakland A’s are getting $40,000 each for opening the season in Japan with two games plus a pair of exhibitions against Japanese teams.

“But those are regular-season games that make money,” said Gonzalez. “Ours was a goodwill trip.”

Gonzalez didn’t know whether Padres coaches, trainers and staff would receive stipends.

Well, at least they got something, huh? Have a great day in the Big Apple.

Leigh

Alright, here’s my Spring Training report. It’s obnoxiously long and I love it.

First of all, this trip was one of the greatest four-day spans of my life. Spring Training is a gold mine for baseballs and I advise anybody who collects them to visit at some point.

I set up a photo album using Flickr, which you can view here (you might want to open it in a new window): http://www.flickr.com/photos/23712484@N07/sets/72157604180498121/show/

Click any of the pics for a caption, and click “back to gbarasch’s Spring Training 08 set” if you want to exit the slideshow and view the images separately.

I saw four games at four different ballparks. Here was the schedule:

1. Sunday 3/16, Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Blue Jays @ Twins

2. Monday 3/17, McKechnie Field in Bradenton, Blue Jays @ Pirates

3. Tuesday 3/18, Joker Marchant Stadium, Nationals @ Tigers

4. Wednesday 3/19, Al Lang Field, Phillies @ Rays

For geographical reference, use this: http://www.flickr.com/photos/23712484@N07/2349395371/

My father and I flew down to Tampa late Saturday morning and drove almost half way down to Fort Myers––which is about 120 miles south of Tampa International Airport––before sleeping in our rental car. The next morning, we woke up at 6:45am, grabbed a light breakfast, and completed the drive to the Twins facility. We got our first glimpse of Hammond Stadium from about a mile away at just after 9. As we approached the ballpark, I asked a parking attendant what time the gates opened. He said 10am, which seemed about right considering the game was scheduled to start at noon. But as we walked up to the ballpark, it became apparent that the actual gametime was 1:05pm, meaning that the gates would be opening over THREE hours before the first pitch! Spring Training was already looking promising.

I walked around the complex and took dozens of pictures. I found the players entrance, accompanied by a few autograph collectors wearing Twins gear. I discovered that Hammond Stadium features built-in batting cages underneath the third-base grandstand which are visible from the outside of the ballpark and are separated from the people outside only by two hanging nets. Adjacent to the cages, Ron Gardenhire and special instructor Tom Kelly were hitting fungos to minor league infielders on a practice field. I wanted to watch––and ask for one of the balls they were using––but it was already 9:55, and I noticed the gates had just opened. (Wow, what a ballpark!) Within the next fifteen minutes, I snagged three balls, all down the third base line.

BALL #1: Tony Oliva, who I later found out is working as a special Spring Training batting instructor for the Twins, was warming up with another coach. When they finished, Oliva tossed me the ball. My season was underway.

BALL #2: In an eerie repeat of the Oliva ball, I got a ball from Brian Buscher, an infielder who had a cup of coffee with the Twins at the end of last season.

BALL #3: The third was slightly more interesting. Because Hammond Stadium’s third base stands extend out only to the edge of the outfield grass (see this pic: http://www.flickr.com/photos/23712484@N07/2348308690/sizes/l/ ), I had to yell down to Juan Rincon, who had just finished catching about 150 feet further down the third base line. Rincon heard me and lofted the ball high enough that it would bounce on the warning track and over the low wall. Fun.

BALL #4: A while later, coach Joe Vavra tossed me a ball at the Twins dugout.

BALL #5: Hammond Stadium has a small berm section down the right field line. I went out there to try to get a ball––or twelve––from the Blue Jays pitchers who were warming up down in the corner. Within minutes of entering the section, a foul ball was hit over my head that bounced off a concrete barrier and into my chest.

BALL #6: Several minutes after that, I asked Jays pitcher Jesse Carlson for a ball, but he ignored me. Randy Wells had seen this and instantly tossed me his warm-up ball.

BALL #7: Rod Barajas was warming up in front of the dugout shortly after the start of Jays batting practice. After he finished, he went over to first base and fired the ball towards center field, where a Jays player picked it up. Barajas made a “throw it back” motion, and the player threw it all the way back to Barajas at first. I placed a polite request and the former Phillie flipped it right to me.

BALL #8: After BP ended, the Twins took full infield/outfield practice. At one point, the right fielders were taking fungos and throwing the ball to third base. I was waiting behind the third base dugout when one of these throws skipped off the warning track and bounced over the dugout, where I picked it up under some seats.

BALL #9: Just after the national anthems (plural), Hector Luna tossed me his warmup ball on the way in. Another fan’s finger got stuck in the webbing of my glove, which took a good ten seconds to free.

My trip was off to a great start. We visited the Red Sox facility across town before driving up to Bradenton for Monday’s afternoon game.

We woke up early again on Monday morning, and hopped over to McKechnie Field. I discovered that behind left field, there is a eight-foot wide alleyway that is open to the public at all times. (See the following two pics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/23712484@N07/2348315402/ and http://www.flickr.com/photos/23712484@N07/2348316044/ ) The alley is divided in two by a chain-link fence. The fence is about ten feet behind the left field wall, and is ridiculously easy to climb. Just foul of the foul pole, there’s a gap in the wall through which you can see the batter. Because home plate is only visible from foul territory, I chose to stand right down the foul line so that I could see the batter while still maximizing my range. I had to react quickly if a ball was hit hard towards left-center, because a whole family of baseball collectors had staked out a spot 400 feet from home plate in straight away left center. But I had a huge advantage: I could see the ball all the way. I found out that the gates would be opening at 11am for the 1:05 game, which meant that I would be able to spend about 45 minutes of BP in this alley. That stretch of time turned out to be one of the most entertaining 45 minutes I’ve ever experienced as a baseball collector.

BALL #1: Within five minutes of the start of BP, a Pirates player hit a home run that cleared the outfield wall, but not the chain-link fence. After taking a quick look to make sure nobody with authority was watching, I hopped the fence, picked up the ball, and quickly climbed back over the fence.

BALL #2: A home run cleared both the wall and fence and almost hit me when I lost it in the sun. But it bounced off the building behind the alley and I caught it on the ricochet.

BALL #3: Following a ten minute drought, another ball landed in the gap between the outfield wall and the chain-link fence, close to the foul pole. I jumped up and over, scampered to the ball, and returned to my spot.

BALL #4: A home run cleared the outfield wall in left center. Before the family even saw it, I was on the other side of the chain-link fence picking it up.

BALL #5: As I bent down to get the previous ball, another ball landed in the gap and I was all over it.

BALL #6: Just before 11am, a ball bounced into the gap right next to the foul pole. It rolled so close to the chain-link fence that I could touch it from the other side. Since the family was blocked from seeing the ball, and since it was so close to me, and since I was tired of jumping the fence, I quickly set up my cup-trick and manipulated the cup over the ball. Within ten seconds, I had my sixth ball of the day … and the gates were just about to open.

BALL #7: As soon as the gates opened, I headed to the third base side, where all the Blue Jays pitchers were warming up. Even though I didn’t recognize Mike Gallo (because he was strangely absent from my roster), he tossed me his ball anyway.

BALL #8: The Pirates hitters were still taking BP despite the fact that seemingly every person who’s ever played for the Toronto Blue Jays was already on the field. (Spring Training rosters are huge.) Because the Blue Jays were all over the field, I already had my Jays hat on. So when Pirates pitcher Ian Snell fielded a grounder in shallow left field, I had to swiftly remove the hat before requesting the ball. (I didn’t bother to get out my Pirates hat.)

BALL #9: I went over to right field (with my Jays hat back on) where I quickly got a ball thrown to me by Reed Johnson, who had seen Alex Rios ignore me two minutes earlier.

BALL #10: A few minutes later I positioned myself behind Lyle Overbay, who was receiving throws from David Eckstein and John McDonald up the middle. One of the throws sailed by Overbay and into my glove on one hop off the warning track.

BALL #11: At the end of BP, Blue Jays coach Gary Denbo was in charge of transferring the balls from the baskets to the bags. When he finished, I asked him for one of the balls that had fallen out of the bag. Before I finished saying the word “Gary”, he was already in the process of cocking his arm back to toss it to me. (Clearly, he was waiting for somebody to ask.) The ball was one of the dirtiest balls I’ve ever gotten–-and I love it.

BALL #12: Several Jays position players warmed up in shallow left field just before the national anthems (plural again). David Eckstein (who has a surprisingly normal throwing motion when long-tossing) flipped me his ball on the way back to the dugout.

BALL #13: The game was one of the quickest I’ve ever attended––official length: 2 hours and 16 minutes, but it felt shorter––and after it ended, home plate umpire Tom Hallion tossed me one of his leftover gamers. Check out how poorly the umpire’s assistant rubbed this up: http://www.flickr.com/photos/23712484@N07/2350438589/sizes/s/

So that was Day 2 in Florida. What a day. I know it’s cheapened by the fact that it was Spring Training, but it was still **** fun.

My next game was over at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, the Grapefruit League home of the Tigers. I had done extensive research on all of the ballparks, and I was most excited about this one for one reason: the berm section in left field, which can be seen here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/23712484@N07/2347495017/sizes/l/

The berm is open to anybody who has ticket to any part of the ballpark, so I was looking forward to batting practice out there. But I’ll get to that later. I got to the park over an hour before the gates opened (11 o’clock for the 1:10 game).

BALL #1: I took a lap around the place and took pictures and noticed that it might be possible to get a ball tossed to me outside the gate down the left field line. (See this pic: http://www.flickr.com/photos/23712484@N07/2348322940/sizes/m/ ) Tigers reliever Jason Grilli was fielding BP grounders in the left field corner, and after he picked one of them up, I yelled his name at the top of my lungs, waved my arms like an idiot, and flapped my glove like a Little Leaguer. He lobbed the ball with a high arc and it just barely cleared the top of the chain-link fence in the photo. Unfortunately, it was one of those nasty blue training balls, but I’m not complaining.

BALL #2: Shortly after the gates opened (but before the Nationals started taking BP), I went out to the third base grandstand, where Lastings Milledge tossed me his warmup ball after catching with Dmitri Young in shallow left field. Another training ball.

BALL #3: Nationals lefty Mike Bacsik then tossed me his warmup ball from about 75 feet out in the outfield. (This was the fourth ball he’d thrown me in the last 367 days––and all four were training balls.)

BALLS #4-6: I then went on a cup-trick tear over the next five minutes. I reeled up three balls in foul territory: one from the third base grandstand, one from the berm, and one from some dead space down the left field line which is used to store the BP batting cage during the game. I gave two of these three balls away to kids, and the second kid’s mother offered me a dollar for my trouble.

BALL #7: Out in the berm, I was tossed another training ball by Nats pitcher Joel Hanrahan after he retrieved a BP liner that had rolled to the wall.

BALL #8: The berm was significantly more crowded than I’d anticipated for a Grapefruit League game. And a lot of the people had gloves. And good judgment on fly balls. And speed. I was getting shut out on homers for about an hour until one was dropped by a mob of fans. It began to roll down the sloped berm, but I used some fancy footwork to stop it and pick it up all in one motion.

BALL #9: After the game, home plate ump Mark Wegner placed a ball in my glove down the right field line after I struggled to get his attention.

The game was a complete waste in terms of balls, but it was interesting in itself. Milledge hit a home run that landed well *behind* the berm, Tim Byrdak allowed six runs in one inning of work, and ESPN made its presence felt by holding up the game after Jeremy Bonderman finished throwing his warmup pitches (drawing the ire of many of the Detroit fans who were otherwise mellow). After the game, my dad and I made the half-hour drive over to Winter Haven, the Spring Training home of the Indians. Every gate was left open, so I wandered into the seats to take a look. I loved being in a completely empty ballpark. We took a lap around the perimeter and when I saw that part of the left field fence was open, I meandered out onto the warning track and soaked in the moment. Good times.

The trip was winding down, but I had one game left. We drove over to St. Pete on Wednesday morning and reached Al Lang Field at about 10am. The Rays pitchers were stretching inside, and I could see them through a chain-link fence down the right field line. (See this pic: http://www.flickr.com/photos/23712484@N07/2347496889/in/set-72157604180498121/ ) This was an hour before the gates opened, and at this moment I remembered why I love Spring Training.

BALL #1: The pitchers started throwing, and bullpen catcher Scott Cursi saw me waiting patiently behind the fence. He walked over and asked me if I was hoping for an overthrow. I responded, “Yeah … that would be awesome.” Cursi walked out to a stray baseball and picked it up, then turned back towards me and walked closer to the fence. He tossed it up and over (and I almost got blinded looking straight up into the sun, but I still made a clean catch without ever seeing the ball).

BALL #2: Still outside the stadium, but now on the left field side, I convinced Rays catcher Hector Gimenez to throw me his warmup ball over another chain-link fence from about 80 feet away. His throw fell short, hit the fence, and dropped to the ground. If not for a kind stadium employee who got the ball for me, I could have easily used my cup-trick the way I did for ball #6 two days earlier in Bradenton. In the preceding two weeks I had been in contact with a fellow baseball collector named Andy (a.k.a. “munkittr”), who posts on the blog and goes to many of the Rays’ games in Spring Training. He’d given me all his tips and tricks for snagging outside the ballpark. We happened to bump into each other outside left field, just before I snagged the Gimenez ball. He recognized me by my Rays roster (Andy, correct me if I’m wrong about that detail). We hung out behind the left field wall for about half an hour. I came close to getting a foul home run that just cleared the wall and deflected off a palm tree. Andy was able to snag a BP homer that settled in some grass behind the parking lot in which we were standing. (He ended up snagging four balls without entering the stadium at any point.) The Rays weren’t hitting much out, so when the gates opened at 11am, I didn’t hesitate to go inside.

BALL #3: A few minutes after the gates opened, several Phillies started catching in front of their dugout. I asked infielder Ray Olmedo if he could throw me his warmup ball when he finished, but Carlos Ruiz ended up with it instead. Olmedo went over and pointed me out to Ruiz, who tossed the ball up to me.

BALL #4: Several minutes later, Pedro Feliz threw me his warmup ball at the outfield end of the dugout.

BALL #5: Al Lang Field––which is officially known by the unfortunate corporate name “Progress Energy Park, home of Al Lang Field” but is referred to as “Al Lang Field” by everybody I talked to––features a berm section in foul territory down the first base line that is similar to the one at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers. After talking my way past an usher, I convinced Phillies reliever Clay Condrey to flip me a ball that had rolled along the warning track in front of the berm.

BALL #6: After a frustrating half hour in the berm, I used the cup-trick to retrieve a ball from the warning track.

BALL #7: Just before the end of BP, I saw Ramon Henderson pick up a ball from behind the Phillies dugout and got him to throw it to me.

BALL #8: The top of the first inning ended with a strikeout that required a putout at first base when the ball rolled away from the catcher. The first baseman for the Rays was Eric Hinske, who tossed me the ball on his way into the dugout.

BALL #9: After the game, home plate ump Phil Cuzzi tossed me a leftover ball from his pouch.

All in all, a wonderful trip: four days, four ballparks, and 40 baseballs. My season is off to an awesome start.

(Sorry if I bored anyone with the length of this recap. If I hadn’t gotten so many pesky baseballs, I wouldn’t have had to write so much…)

Puck Collector and Father Puck…

I forgot to mention this a few weeks ago. When I was in Arizona for Spring Training I got to see a Phoenix Coyotes vs Montreal Canadiens game. It was fun. I didn’t get any pucks though. Kind of cool to go to a baseball game at noon, then an NHL game at 7pm.

Zack…

You are very right about the Red Sox 86 years of frustration factor. I’d be pretty stoked to win a World Series 2 out of the last 4 years after a drought like that. Heck, the Padres have been around 40 years and we haven’t wone one. I’ll take just one. 9 days to go till opening day. Can’t wait.

Leigh

Greg,

I loved your post. Now, that’s a Spring Training trip!! You TRIPLED my ball count. Awesome. Nice pics too. I’ve been to all those stadiums, but not for years. Good times. Have a great season.

Leigh

Thank you Leigh, and thanks for taking the time to read that whole thing!

Puck- yea im from long island and i attend 10-13 Rangers games each year. Never gotten a puck though. I read that its NBC that wants it to be Rangers vs another team so it will draw more viewers. And Bettman is a ***

What do you have in your collection as far as autographed baseballs are concerned? I’m curious. Good luck with your new place and take care. Let’s go yankees!

I forgot to mention that the Eckstein ball (BALL #12 in Bradenton) was my 300th lifetime ball. I’m sure I forgot a couple other tidbits that I wanted to note here, but whatever.

Hahahaha greg, I almost made the same mistake too about Hammond Stadium. The Twins are in Minnesota, so all of their times are CENTRAL. I caught it right before we were going to leave, so we waited another hour.

db3par – Oh, that makes sense! That’s really funny. It actually worked out really well in my case, but that’s good to know.

British Lottery-you have won 10000,0000 euros reply with your money order to claim worthless check.Padreleigh you have won a trip to fenway pack,pack yor car in tha yord

EVERYONE-
I’m so busy and so tired and so worn out…I don’t even know where to begin. I’ll try to put up a new entry before I leave on March 27 for a weekend wedding in Louisiana…

Zack, interesting article in the NY Post today about the Mets and Yankees wanting to buy their ballparks before the wrecking balls hit, so they could sell anything and everything.

http://www.nypost.com/seven/03242008/news/regionalnews/yankees__mets_want_their_cut_103240.htm?page=0

One interesting note in the article is that the writer says “Each of the 55,000 bright orange seats at Shea could sell for as much as $500…”. I shot him an email to let him know that only about 25% of the seats are orange, and that the rest are blue, green, and red. He’s probably never even been to Shea!

BIG BIG NEWS!! BIG NEWS!

I went to the opening game at Nationals Park on 3/22, GWU vs St. Josephs college, and I scoped out the BP potential.

This stadium will be a snagger’s delight.

First of all, the center field gates open 2 1/2 hours before the game, allowing fans into the center field stands for all of Nationals BP, which is almost unheard of. The rest of the stadium opens 1.5 hours early as usual. The foul territory is small, and wraps back towards the field, so down the lines you are right at field level for ground balls and line drives. My seats are right down the 1st base line, 2nd row, so I expect a shot at quite a few balls, especially when the seats in row 1 are vacant and I move down until filled :-)

Being at RFK, one of the harder parks to catch balls at due to the curved wall, huge foul territory, no true center field stands, and high seating area that was tough to reach the field from, this should make for a very fun year.

I will be attending both the 3/29 Exhibition game and 3/30 Opening Day, so I will surely post with a ball count and what everyone else attending can expect.

ARSCHNELL-
Thanks for reading my blog, and welcome to the comments section, where all the cool kids hang out. :-)

LI7039-

I hadn’t heard about the Rangers’ and Islanders’ plans, and now that I do…I don’t really care. Are you asking me if I think baseball should be the last sport played there? Eh, whatever.

MARK-

Thanks for excerpting me, but ****, I missed it. I’ve moved to West 79th (from West 69th). Not a big change in neighborhood, but a huge change in terms of space.

LEIGH-

Cool. Good for your boys.

GREG-

I scrolled fast through your “comment” to see how long it was before I read it…and when I finally made it to the end, I didn’t expect to read it all. But I did. And it was great. Love the pics. You write really well. (I think I told you this before.) And wow, 40 balls in four days? Spring Training or not, that’s really impressive. I just think it’s unfair that you now have a 40-0 lead in our season competition. My favorite part of your stories was when you were standing in foul territory and could see the batter through the chain-link fence. That made me wish I were there, more than any other part, although it was all good.

MERKED82-

I don’t have too many signed balls. I have about 1,500 autographs overall, including about 1,000 on ticket stubs. As for balls, I have the entire 1986 Mets team on one ball thanks to my mom who’s an autograph dealer. I have Charlie Sheen. Jarrod Washburn. Pretty much every player from the short-season Northwest League in 1995, including Miguel Tejada. I think I had Junior Griffey on a ball at one point, but he wrote it in red ink and it faded. And of course I have Cal Ripken Jr.

TRACYCOLLINSBECKY-

Huh?

PSU532-

Good article. Bad mistake about the 55,000 orange seats. Nice find. Stupid of them not to correct it. I own the back of a seat from Yankee Stadium. About 15 years ago, I just found it lying loose on the ground, way at the back of the upper deck, and all the seats around it were intact (and empty), so I smuggled it out and took it home. HA!!!

ALEX-

Awesome. I can’t want to go there and snag like a maniac. Thanks for letting me (and everyone else) know how great the place looks.

I thought we agreed my Spring Training balls wouldn’t count for our little competition? And anyway, you’ll beat me even if my 40 balls do count.

By the way, have you heard anything about the balls being used in the games in Japan this week? They must be using commemorative balls, but I can’t find anything about them. In other commemorative ball-related news, this is what the balls should look like at Shea this year:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=160218670526&indexURL=1#ebayphotohosting

Nice, huh?

greg-you think those will hafta be gamers? or get mixed in with bp?

im guessing eventually youll see alot of them in bp..wow theres alot of potential “logo” balls this year

-inaugural nats stadium

-yankees last season

-yankees all star game 2008

-mets last season

-07 world series (hoping!)

whos planning to be up to kick off the regular season tomorrow morn at 6 et?

gjk – I imagine some of the Shea balls will end up in the BP supply. And I’ll be waking up for tomorrow’s game.

Also, check out what I just found. It’s the official ball from that series in China last week:

http://photos.signonsandiego.com/gallery1.5/Road-trip%3A-China/665747730a1e423b9c9a83153a11ad98

gjk2212, don’t forget there will probably be a bunch of 2008 Futures Game logo balls lingering around Yankee Stadium also.

I wonder what they do with the gold balls from the home run derby, since those obviously can’t be used for BP. I bet all of the player’s children probably snag them.

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