4/24/08 at Champion Stadium

I brought a secret weapon for my third and final game at Disney, and to make myself stand out even more, I bought an obnoxious/eye-catching shirt on my way to Champion Stadium. Are you ready for this? Hang on tight. Here goes:

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Yes, I had the biggest baseball glove that anyone had ever seen. Don’t ask me where I got it or how much it cost. I have no idea. All I can tell you is that a friend (who wishes to remain anonymous) sent it as a surprise house-warming gift when I moved last month.

There weren’t any other fans around when I pulled out the glove to take this pic, but several stadium employees ended up walking by and asking a bunch of questions: “Where’d you get that thing?” (I don’t know. A friend sent it to me.) “How much did it cost?” (Unlike you, I was polite enough not to ask.) “Is that Shaquille O’Neal’s glove?” (Actually it’s Verne Troyer’s chair.) “You wouldn’t happen to be compensating for something, would you?” (Ask my girlfriend.) “Is that real leather?” (I think so.) “Can you actually catch with that?” (Probably not.)

And so on. It was fun to get all that attention, and I was hoping that the players on the Rays and Blue Jays would notice me as well.

brandon.jpgShortly before the stadium opened, a 20-something-year-old guy walked over and introduced himself. His name was Brandon. He’d been reading this blog for a while and knew I was gonna be at this game. He’d written to me on MySpace a week earlier (here’s HIS profile) to say he’d be there too, but because I’m a slacker when it comes to that site, I hadn’t gotten the message…so he summarized it. Basically, he’s the photographer for a band called The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. They’re on tour. He’s traveling around with them. They were playing a few shows at Disney. He had an off day and was spending it here, and he offered to follow me around and take a ton of photos.

He didn’t miss a thing. He even got me going through the bag check:

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Thankfully, unlike John Adams, the fan in Cleveland who brings a drum into the stadium, I didn’t have to buy an extra ticket for my oversized item.

The left field berm was dead as usual, and I don’t understand why. For the first 20 minutes, there was not ONE home run that landed there, and as I mentioned before, the slope of the hill and the height of the outfield wall made it impossible to see the warning track. At any regular major league stadium, fans would’ve been asking for the balls in the pic below, but here at Disney we were oblivious:

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I didn’t use the big glove at first. I decided to snag like a normal person while the berm was still reasonably empty, and before long, I had a chance to catch one. Someone on the Rays hit a deep fly ball, and one of the pitchers (Edwin Jackson, I think) ran back and made the catch and disappeared from sight. In the four-part pic below, you can see exactly what happened next. Starting from the upper left and then going clockwise, we’re all reaching up with our gloves in anticipation of the ball being tossed over. Then, when the ball flies up in the air, we all jockey for position. On the lower left, I’m jumping and reaching unsuccessfully for the ball, and on the lower right, I’m landing and feeling both frustrated AND good about myself. Check out the pics, and then I’ll explain why…

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Okay, see the little kid wearing blue who’s standing on my right? I knew he was standing there before the ball was tossed, so when it started sailing to my right…well, rather than moving in that direction and potentially bumping into him while getting under the ball, I sacrificed my own chance of catching it in order to prevent him from getting hurt. In other words, I didn’t move laterally. Instead I jumped straight up and reached to my right, and as it turned out, the ball missed my glove by six inches, but NO ONE GOT HURT. I can’t stress enough how important it is to respect the safety of the fans around you, especially when there are little kids involved. One of the reasons why I hate Yankee Stadium so much is that the “grown-ups” there are truly out of control. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been knocked down while reaching for balls just like this.

There still weren’t any homers being hit, and the berm was getting uncomfortably crowded, so I finally broke out the big glove:

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I got a few laughs from the Blue Jays pitchers in the left field corner, but I realized this wasn’t the best time or place to harass them; they were just starting to throw (and therefore needed their baseballs), and the Rays were still hitting (so even if a ball had been hit to the Jays, it wouldn’t have been theirs to give away), so I ran around the stadium and found a spot in the right field corner. Dan Wheeler, a former Mets reliever who always used to talk to me at Shea Stadium, was out there and immediately recognized me.

“What’s up!” I yelled, holding the big glove up in the air.

“Can you fit all your balls in there?” he asked.

“Not quite,” I told him as another player (not sure who) walked over and asked me to toss the glove down.

“Let me try out that glove,” said the other player, “and I’ll give you a ball.”

I didn’t have to think twice about it. I tossed the glove over the railing (and briefly got scolded by a security guard until I informed him that one of the players ASKED me to do it), and the player with the glove headed back to straight-away right field and started posing:

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Wheeler ended up being the one to reward me with a baseball, and Brandon took a pic JUST as I was about to catch it:

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The snagging was underway, and life was good. (If you look closely at the pic below, you can see the mark on my nose where I was hit with a ball two days earlier.)

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The Rays player (can anyone tell who it is?) tried fielding a few batted balls and then flung the glove back up to me:

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I reached out and made another clean catch:

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Shortly before the Rays’ wrapped up their portion of batting practice, I told Wheeler that if he got another ball and put it on the warning track below me, I’d show his teammates the glove trick and then give the ball to a kid of his choice.

Less than 10 seconds later, there was ball in place, but unfortunately, as soon as I started setting up my glove, the players had to run off the field and make way for the Blue Jays.

“Make sure you give it to a kid!” shouted Wheeler as he ran off.

“Don’t worry, I will!” I yelled and we both waved goodbye.

For some reason, my string was more tangled than ever before, but the trick still worked, and I reeled in the ball with ease:

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There were a few kids to my right who asked for the ball, but they weren’t wearing gloves so I kept scanning the section. (I never give balls to kids without gloves. When I was a kid, I ALWAYS brought my glove to games and I remember how badly I wanted a ball. Even when I was starving and got my first hot dog of the day, I’d wait until the third out to eat it, and in the meantime, I was often standing on my chair and holding my glove high over my head and shrieking, “Hit it heeeeeeeeere!!!” so whenever I see a kid without a glove, it tells me he [or she] doesn’t care THAT much about getting a ball, and when I see a kid who IS wearing a glove, it reminds me of myself.) The smallest kid around happened to be wearing a glove, and even though he was wearing a Braves cap, I called him over and started walking down the steps. The kid started climbing over the benches, and his father was smiling in the background. It was a pretty cute scene:

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I put on my Blue Jays cap and ran back to the berm. Not only was it still dead out there, but now I had to battle the sun:

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Eventually there was a little action, but it just wasn’t happening for me. Jason Frasor threw me a ball and missed. Then another ball was tossed over my head, and I raced up the hill for it…

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…and lost:

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It didn’t help that I was carrying my backpack and the big glove, so I put them both down just behind the outfield wall, but that didn’t help either as I lost another race:

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It was time once again for some Big Glove Love:

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All the Blue Jays pitchers immediately spotted me and started cracking up. B.J. Ryan tossed me a ball (my third of the day) which I managed to catch IN the glove. This was quite an accomplishment. The glove was so big and heavy that it was impossible to close all the way. It was also a bit stiff, as new gloves tend to be. How am I supposed to break it in? Rubber-band it around a basketball and stick it under my mattress?

Moments later, Jeremy Accardo called me over to the foul pole, and when I got there, he said he wanted to use the big glove for a few minutes, and he offered me a ball in exchange. I couldn’t believe it. He’d already thrown me a ball each of the last two days, and now here he was asking ME for something and handing me another ball. Incredible.

We made the trade…

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…and he took the glove into left field:

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I was wearing my regular glove when he ran over and threw the big one back to me:

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I made two jumping catches in the next ten minutes. The first was a ball that landed in the fenced-off gap next to the berm and was tossed up by a random employee. The second was a ball that rolled onto the warning track along the left field foul line and was thrown by Blue Jays bullpen catcher Alex Andreopoulos. Then I snagged two more balls from the bullpen with my glove trick, and I want to thank Jim from St. Louis (the guy wearing the Cardinals cap in the pics below) for pointing out the first one. It was about eight feet out from the wall, so before I rigged the glove with the Sharpie, I flung it out and tried to knock the ball back toward me:

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It took longer than it should have…

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…and I was almost certain that stadium security would appear and force me to stop, but they didn’t, and before long, I’d moved the ball close enough to lower the glove straight down over it:

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The second bullpen ball (number eight on the day) was much easier. It was already sitting right next to the wall, and I had it in my glove within seconds:

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Everyone stared as I headed to the dugout toward the end of BP…

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…and as soon as I got there, the on-field photographer swung his camera around and started taking pics of me instead of the players:

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My one complaint about Brandon is that he didn’t tell me that the tag was sticking out of my hat, but I suppose he was just doing his job. As a photographer, he’s probably just supposed to document history, not change it.

I ended up getting my ninth ball tossed at the dugout by some random kid who happened to be standing on the warning track. (Hey, it counts.)

I didn’t have any luck during pre-game throwing along the left field foul line…

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…so I hurried over to the Rays’ dugout:

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Did you notice the Rays smiling at me? Here’s a close-up of the pic above:

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I didn’t think I was going to get a ball there because Carlos Pena, the Rays 1st baseman, was one of the last two guys throwing. First basemen rarely toss their pre-game warm-up balls into the crowd because they use them again when they actually take the field…but Pena couldn’t resist. If you look closely at the pic below, you can see him smiling too as he walked toward the dugout:

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Look closely again at the following two pics and you can see the ball in mid-air. Here it is in front of the police officer’s right elbow…

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…and here it is about to enter my glove. There are four holes in the pocket, and you can see the bottom half of the ball through the upper right hole:

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I should’ve used two hands to squeeze the glove shut, but I didn’t and the ball popped out, so I had to grab it with my bare hand. Jonny Gomes (the player standing on the left, watching intently) was disappointed when I bobbled it and made me give the ball back to him so he could toss it again. He probably thought I was a complete klutz, and I don’t blame him because I *did* look shaky with the big glove, but I doubt he had any idea just how hard it was to use. Anyway, he’s not even a good fielder with a normal glove, so whatever, and for the record, I got the ball to stay in the glove when he tossed it back to me.

I ran into the Rays’ cheerleaders and let them be in a photo with me…

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…and then I walked with Brandon to the open-air concourse along the right field foul line. I’d snagged a foul ball there during each of the previous two games, but it was dead for Game Three. It was so dead that I went outside the stadium for half-an inning, hoping that the hard-throwing Dustin McGowan would induce a few monstrous foul balls, but no. Still, I have two things to say about being out there:

1) Big thanks to Andrew (who also reads this blog) for letting me go out there. He was about to head outside as well but then generously changed his ball-snagging plan and let me go outside by myself.

2) Since I couldn’t see the batters or hear the PA announcer, and since the game wasn’t on the radio, I had no way of following the action, so Brandon stayed on the inside and called my cell phone and gave me the play-by-play. (“Here’s the pitch…NOW.”) Even though nothing came over, it was fun just to have an accomplice and make an attempt. And by the way, this was my view as I stood outside the stadium, looking up at the sky:

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The game itself was fine. Nothing spectacular. (The highlight was hanging out with Brandon.) The Rays won, 5-3, to sweep the series and improve to 6-0 all time at Champion Stadium. McGowan took the loss. Andy Sonnanstine made a quality start to pick up the win. Carl Crawford went 3-for-5 with two stolen bases. Evan Longoria was 2-for-2 with a double and a triple. Troy Percival worked a scoreless ninth to earn his 328th career save, and that was pretty much it.

I’ll leave you with a few more pics that might be of interest. First, here’s a shot that Brandon took mid-game from the first base side…just a nice look at the stadium:

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Here’s a pic I took of a table in the concourse that was loaded with free stuff, including magnetic schedules (on the far left) and vouchers for free tickets at Tropicana Field (on the right). If there’s anyone reading this who wants some vouchers, leave a comment or send me an email. I took a whole bunch of them to give away. (Do they give these out AT the Trop?) It’s nice of the Rays to give them out, but it’s also sad that a major league team literally can’t give away free tickets. FYI, you have to redeem them at the Rays’ box office, and they’re only good for weekend games in May and June.

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Here’s a pic of the nine balls I kept:

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I didn’t get anything after the game except a pack of sunflower seeds at the Blue Jays’
sunflower_seeds.jpgdugout and a free ride back to my hotel from a father/son snagging duo named Paul and Michael. So…another thanks to them. I can’t believe how many people I met on this trip who read this blog…Leigh from San Diego (aka “padreleigh”), Paul and Michael, Andrew, Jim from St. Louis, and Brandon. Am I forgetting anyone? Hope not.

I’m not sure when my next game will be. I might go to Shea on Monday. (Anyone else planning to be there?) I’ll probably (unfortunately) be going to Yankee Stadium Tuesday through Friday as long as the weather’s nice. I might head up to Boston for Manny’s 500th home run. I might go to Shea for Griffey’s 600th. I’m now officially planning to go to Coors Field this season (I have a few friends out there now, and there’s also a Denver-based writer who wants to do a story on me). I’ve also been offered a free trip to Wrigley Field. And has anyone heard about the Mets and Marlins playing in Puerto Rico later this season? Details, please! I might need to go and raise my stadium total to 45. Oh, and another random thing…I haven’t had time to answer comments for the last few days, but I’m planning to catch up very soon, so if you’re waiting for a response, keep an eye on my recent entries.

Last thing, I promise…

STATS:

? 10 balls at this game

? 78 lifetime games with at least 10 balls

? 87 balls in 8 games this season = 10.875 balls per game.

? 504 consecutive games with at least one ball

? 112 consecutive games outside of New York with at least one ball

? 801 lifetime balls outside of New York (The ball from the kid at the dugout was No. 800.)

? 3,364 total balls

48 Comments

That glove has got to be one of the better gift ideas ever. I couldn’t stop laughing! Congrats on the great snags.

ill be at shea monday…trevors birthday is tomorrow(4/27) and my present to him is 2 tix to see johan pitch monday (because you remember how much he loves him lol)

ill also be at shea at least 2 of the days going for griffeys 600th..

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3121189
mets in puerto rico…i heard something about it more recently i know but i cant find the link… so thatll do…

nice with the huge glove/homer shirt lol thats hilarious..

i went to shea today, as i said before free tickets…no bp, but i still got balls from jorge cantillo and mike hampton??!! i thought he was still hurt, but him and smoltz were throwing and he gave me it. i also got one for my sister from chris resop. thats it ball wise, they were literally my only opportunities. no bp though, i was satisfied. more of an autograph day, there was nothing else to do.(nelson figueroa, jorge sosa, duaner sanchez, jair jurrjens, will ohman, blaine boyer, royce ring, buddy carlyle). i almost got johan, but the mob was huge. if he would signed another 5 autos, i woulda had him. oh well, see you monday maybe.

Hey Zack!

This is all I found on the Puerto Rico series. It’s rather old, but it gives potential dates.

http://toronto.bluejays.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080201&content_id=2361458&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb&vkey=news_mlb

I don’t know why the link includes the Jays, but just ignore that.

If I come across anything else, I’ll be sure to let you know.

Peter

RED SOX ANGST-
Thanks. Glad I was able to entertain.

JBERG08-
I’m away right now on an overnight trip, so I’ll email you tomorrow around this time and let you know…

NJMETFAN-
Nice job at Shea with no BP. I’m glad I wasn’t there. Thanks for the Puerto Rico link. Just getting those potential dates is very helpful. Happy birthday to Trevor! Nice gift you got him, and yeah, I remember how he feels about Johan. I’m glad you like my shirt. My girlfriend doesn’t (she’s actually rather horrified that I woulld wear such a thing), so it’s nice to show her that someone else actually digs it.

JFUNK-
Thanks! Because of this article, I now know the name of the stadium where the games might be played. How did I *not* hear about this until now?!

dioner navvaro?

this is puckcollector: if youre at yankee on wedsnday, then i might need to make an effort to get out early.. maybe i can convince my mom to let me take the subway alone cuz u will be at bp, so there will b someone who may notice if i get kidnapped. i have heard about the puetro rico thing but i forget where. maybe it was Fuzzy.

what brand is the glove.

and leigh, there is nothing like hearing a zack hample yelling tirade, cuz i hear 2 in one game last year and i was cracking up the entire time and i can only imagine how upset he was when he got nailed in the nose.

and finnaly on another side nite, i saw an arena footbll game today and it was terrible. too many penalties and tooo much offense.

good luck w/ manny and griffey!

Hi Zack…

I went to the Rays vs Red Sox game Friday night. I took the 12 vouchers I got at the Disney games. During a break in the action I went to the advanced ticket window to get some tickets using the vouchers. The people in the ticket office had NO CLUE what those vouchers were. Can you believe that crap? They had to pass them around, call supervisors, etc. I could not believe they had no information about their existence. Way to go Rays marketing staff. In the end I FINALLY got two tickets to six different games this summer at the Trop. I’m going to keep them at work and give them to people that stay at my hotel that are from Tampa. If I still have any left I’ll just keep them as souveniers. Maybe get autos in the future or something.

As for the game….Rays won in extras and the 90 percent Red Sox fans in the crowd went home disappointed. It was so great! To prove the ignorance of the majority of Red Sox fans there, my friend Chris and I would ask random, loud, obnoxious fans to name three Red Sox other than David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez and Kevin Youklis. One one person of the bunch we asked could do it. Way to go Red Sox nation. Big fans.
Traffic, parking and BP were a ZOO before the game. I didn’t get any balls. I did get one during the last Disney game though. So, I took home four balls. They will be a nice addition to the collection and I can add the Disney stadium to my snagging collection as you did. It was also nice to see my nephew Jack get a ball (and a Carlos Pena autograph on it) at his first Major League game. He was pretty happy with that.

Glad to see you got a ride from the Dad and son snaggers. They seemed like real nice people. I’m flying home on Monday. It will be sad to leave. I had a great trip.

Leigh

id be honored to own that shirt lol

im pretty pumped for monday, gettin there really early, i wanna be 1st in line at gate c. but youll beat me, no doubt lol

im gonna try picnic area i think, but i most likely wont be allowed in. they all of a sudden went from no security there pre bp to 3 guards there. i dont get it.

Oh yeah, Brandon was a real cool guy too. It was good to meet a fellow San Diegan there.

Leigh

I’m expecting to be at Shea on Monday as well, but the weather looks awful, so we’ll see what happens. I’ll also be back in Philly on Tuesday (weather permitting) and I’ll be at Yankee Stadium on either (not both) Wednesday or Friday (weather permitting).

The big glove is absolutely hilarious. I laughed so hard after seeing that first pic that I woke up my mother. (Sorry, mom.)

Zack….that tshirt and glove are so over the top that you had to get many double takes from other spectators. At least the cheerleaders seemed to like it. I agree totally with some “rules” of trying to get a ball. There is no need to become violent, it takes away from the fun. It seems it was a great getaway to Florida. As for the nose injury, it gives ya character, lol.

FATHER PUCK/PUCK COLLECTOR-
I don’t think it was Dioner. Tell your mom that the subway is fine, and if she wants me to unofficially supervise you, I’m happy to do it. Not sure about the brand of the glove, only because I’m not home tonight so I can’t look at it. Glad you like my tirades. Consider yourself lucky to have witnessed one. They only occur about once per season, so it’s good I’ve gotten the 2008 installment out of the way early.

LEIGH-
That is REALLY lame about the Rays ticket people not knowing about the vouchers. It just goes to show that the entire organization could use some help. Good idea about keeping extra tickets as souvenirs and/or giving them to people at the hotel. I have mixed emotions about the clueless Red Sox fans, and I’m trying to focus on the positives…like the fact that even if these people are just riding the bandwagon, they’re still supporting Major League Baseball, and that’s a good thing. Right? But I hear what you’re saying.

NJMETFAN-
I’m going to make sure that Jona reads your comments about the shirt. As for Monday at Shea…I just don’t know. The main reason I want to go is that I need to buy one more ticket for a “Watch With Zack” game coming up, and I wanted to do it in person, but I suppose I could just get one on StubHub instead.

GREG-
Man, you’re going all over the place next week. Thanks for keeping me posted. I love the mom fact.

UTAHSTEELER17-
Many many double takes. Totally. Even triple and quadruple takes. Glad you agree about the “rules,” but I’m not so sure I agree with you about character. :-)

Zack….

I had a chance to talk to some families of Red Sox Nation that were at the game. What people were telling me is that it’s the kid’s Spring Break in the Boston area. So, the Rays vs. Red Sox series just happened to perfectly coinside with the families’ vacations to Disney and other points in Florida. Good schedule making for the Boston fans. That’s why there were so many of them. You are right though. At least they paid their money to see the games. The Tampa Bay Rays are sure happy to take it. Of course, all the Rays vs. Yankees, Red Sox and Cubs are “Prime” games and they charge more. I kind of despise that, but it’s a business. I get it. I’m just glad they lost, but that’s just my own, personal opinion of course. Too bad the Blue Jays fans didn’t show up at Disney like the Red Sox fans did in Tampa.

Leigh

jonny gomes 100% is that player
look at the mustache

Zack,
That glove is pretty cool. I have once seen a mascot with BIG glove in a independent league baseball game. Seriously, that glove is PERFECT for catching pretty much anything that tossed from dugout to audiences. (but I would tape the hope on the webbing first). I have been to like 5 ballgames this year including the coliseum one and I met Tony Gwynn at my school. But I have been too lazy to document them but I will post pictures and blog them when my school is over this semester.

I am 90 percent sure than I will be visiting NY in early August for Yankees-Angel and Mets-Padres games. Looking forward to met you. Because I will be graduating in like 2 weeks. There is a pretty good chance I will move back to my contry. (leaving completely) so that I will go to games like crazy this summer. I am thinking about visiting Chicago.

Nice shirt btw.

puckcollector again:
leigh: last year the islanders had a promotion night where if a kid wrote an article about the game he could send it in to the isles and they would pick one winner from each school(they didn’t specify if it had to be a LOng Island school) and the winner would get like a press pass to a game and follow a reporter around. the grand prize winner would get to interview the coach. well since im like the only isles fan in my school (cuz i don’t live on long island) i wrote an article and figured id win. well i NEVER heard about the promotion again. i asked the isles pers almost every game and every time none of them knew what it was. then this year my dad went on a trip to c the isles in minnesota and a fellow season ticket holder, who invited his friend who waas the announcer for the isles, and HE knew what it was.

as a kid its so frustrating to see your favoite team be about as reliable as a dog. and zack, the rays might be bad, the islanders can’t even put the correct logo on their team store. they altered the logo on the team store. i don’t know if it was on purpose, or if they are just m-o-r-o-n-s.

Z –

I only just figured out this ayem (revealing to the entire world how clueless I am) that your selection of the yellow shirt was not simply a random silly notion, but (based on your clever, steel-trap Scrabble/wordplay brain) was chosen because the character is Homer. Pitch, swing, smack, it’s … a HOMER!

DUH!

Hilarious… Enjoyed it as always.

Zack

I think you should take a bit of a break from snagging. You keep going to lots of games.

I got a question, if you are always going to these games how do you have enough money to keep going to them. you must not work, if you keep going to them

sorry I am asking.

take a break.

sanjib

I just have a quick post. Saw something AMAZING this weekend during the Nats Cubs series… There was a guy at BP snagging balls, drunk as a skunk. This is a first for me. Each time a ball would come our way in the outfield seats, this guy is all over the place, running through aisles falling down, yelling at everything and everyone, yelling at people who caught the ball, yelling at seats that tripped him. It was a sight to see, he had to have started drinking at noon to get that bad.

Zack, man you crack me up. Spring Training snagging is always rough because of all the open space. I might go to a Mets game this Saturday at Chase – have you caught any Commemorative Balls from the Mets during BP or from any of the coaches. Keep up the good work.

ugh its supposed to DOWNPOUR tomorrow…even if they play there wont be bp. im pissed. alot. im guessing you wont go if it rains, i wouldnt if i didnt have tickets. maybe it will rain after bp. then i wouldnt mind as much.

also, dnesbitt-i have 4 shea commemorative balls during bp this year. you may get one, if they bring them on the road. idk, ive gotten them at shea.

Yeah, Gary I’m not going either (unless the forecast dramatically improves). That sucks, because I was really looking forward to seeing Johan pitch in person. Oh well.

By the way, Zack. That ball that Carlos Pena threw you and Jonny Gomes re-threw you, who gets credit for the throw on your list of players/coaches who’ve thrown you balls?

LEIGH-
I don’t think it’s too bad at all that the Blue Jays fans stayed away from Disney. It made things a lot easier for me to get balls from the the Jays players.

JONELI24-
I was thinking it might be Gomes, but then I assumed it was a pitcher. Gomes, huh? You think so? Interesting. I think you might be right.

SAMMYWU17-
The holes in the pocket are a little smaller than a ball, so I think I’m okay. Don’t wait too long to document the games you’ve attended or you might forget some of the details. Glad to hear you might come to NYC. Keep me posted.

PUCK COLLECTOR-
What’s this about the Islanders’ logo? I never heard anything about that.

BOODLEHEIMER1-
Thanks for noticing, although I should admit that my decision to buy that shirt was mainly motivated by silliness. I did consider the whole “homer” thing at the time, and when I was on the fence about whether or not to buy it, that’s what made me decide to go for it.

‘STROS BRO-
Thanks. I appreciate that.

SANJIB-
1) Most games I go to are cheap.
2) On average, I attend only one game every 10 days over the course of a calendar year.
3) I get paid to go to some games.
4) I earn money in other non-traditional ways.

ALEX-
Oh my GOD. I’ve never heard of anything like that. I’m sorry I missed it, and yet…not.

DNESBITT14-
Cool, let me know how it goes. Hope you get a commemorative ball. The Mets HAVE been using a few of them during BP, although the three I snagged all came during or after the game.

NJMETFAN-
No way I’m going if it rains.

GREG-
Have you EVER seen him pitch in person? Pena gets the credit.

I think the pitcher who used the big glove is Shields….you can tell by the leg kick he is using in your pick…I would bet money it is Shields… I am a long time Rays fan, and that looks like him.

Zack,
I am at Shea a few times a year. I can somewhat do the glove trick. Where can you possibly do it at shea stadium?

i got a video of the presidents mascot race at nationals park
http://youtube.com/watch?v=mtAjNcXLyQ4

plus, i love the picture with the cheerleaders. the glove is amazing and its a real attention grabber

Zack,
Been reading this blog for a couple of weeks now and can’t get enough of it. I was at Shea yesterday (4/27/08) and had a feeling you were there but, I guess not haha. I’ll be at Shea May 9, 2008 to hopefully retrieve Griffey’s 600th HR. I won’t be able to compare to the collection you put up but if I see ya, I’ll say, “hey.” Thank you for entertaining me when I’m not in work.

No, I’ve seen Santana pitch in person, just not as a Met. Remember last year when the Twins came to Shea and Johan pitched a complete game shutout? Well, I was there. (Weren’t you there too, Zack?)

Zack-
Well done on the trip to Disney. I’m sure I can speak for all of us who read the blog, that we appreciate the quickness that you were able to post about the games. They are always entertaining and like most people that have already commented, I laughed at the first pic as well. I did have a couple of quesetions though … How did Jona feel about your collection when you first started dating? Did she like it from the beggining? If not, how did you convince her?

EVERYONE-
I’ve read that some of you will “post” your snagging expiriences. I would like to know where you post. Do you have blogs like Zack’s? I would love to read more. … Living in Utah, (UtahSteeler you know this) it’s harder to get to MLB games for snagging. I try to get to at least a couple games a year, but that doesn’t quench my thirst for baseballs. I think it’d be cool to have a “snagging community” that we can give each other tips for new ballparks, and just enjoy the game we all love. Thanks. — Phill in Utah —

I forgot to mention. I went to Colorado last Sept. and along the first-base line there is a rawlings exibit there where they show how to make bats, gloves and BALLS. When my wife and I were looking around, there was a worker there lacing up a ball. When he was done he gave it to my wife. Pretty cool. What brought this whole to my mind was when Zack said, “No (the big glove) is Vent Troyer’s chair.” In the Rawlings exibit, there is a glove that is actually a chair. Zack, make sure you check it out on your trip.

–Phill in Utah–

no game at shea tonight. im glad. im going to go tomorrow for 5 reasons.

1-i couldnt go today, there was no game
2-johan is pitching
3-its supposed to be gorgeous out
4-i cant go to a game after this til the reds come in may 9-11
5-tickets are $5 and im pretty sure i can exchange mine from today for any game at the same value

are you gonna go since they didnt play today? tuesday night, april, johan, pirates….it wont be THAT crowded.

“post” means comment, but since blogs are free now, if i have a monster night i would make one and post pics.

Zack,

I have been reading your blog for over a year now and I have read every word. After discovering it, I went back and read the archives and seldom go a day without checking for an update. I have never felt the need to comment until now. My wife and I enjoy collecting baseballs as well and have our own little competition going. Unfortunately (or fortnunately) her cute/hotness factor has her slightly ahead of me since we started three years ago. But the real reason for the comment is to ask about the Rays vouchers. We live in Jacksonville, FL. and take day trips down to Tampa occasionally and would love to go for free. Any vouchers you could send our way would be great. Thanks for the blog.

Phillip

THE 6-4-3-
I’d be too scared to bet, but I don’t think it’s Shields. I think Shields is taller and scruffier.

ASCPORT79-
There aren’t THAT many opportunities there. The best (and trickiest) is from the Loge in the left and right field corners when a ball barely clears the outfield wall. You can also sometimes get away with using the trick from the DreamSeats when a ball plops onto that sloped grassy area. And finally, when a ball drops into that random little dirt triangle area down the foul lines, you can also glove-trick it if the on-field security guard doesn’t steal the ball for himself.

GOISLANDERS4-
Good stuff. You’re a YouTube fiend!

DONNIEANKS-
I almost never go to day games, and on top of that, I almost never go on weekends. So no…I wasn’t there yesterday. Hopefully we’ll see each other in a couple weeks, and I’m glad I’ve been entertaining you with this blog.

GREG-
Ahh yes, THAT game. Yup, I was there.

PUCK COLLECTOR-
Cool. Nice detective work.

PHILL-
Thanks so much. I’ll look for the ball display at Coors for sure, and as for Jona…there were several “things” that she had to “deal with” when we first started going out. The whole snagging thing was the least of it, believe it or not. In general, whenever I start dating someone new, I just understate my passion for baseball and let the truth come out little by little. I think, though, that if you like a person enough, you inevitably start to like (or embrace, or at least accept) what he/she is into.

NJMETFAN-
Last time I checked the weather, it said that it’s supposed to rain tomorrow until 2pm, so there might not be batting practice. Anyway, no, I’m not going to Shea. If the weather clears up in time, I’ll be going to Yankee Stadium. And if the weather stays nice, I’ll probably be there on Wednesday and Thursday and Friday, too (unfortunately).

UGASOX-
Can I ask how you DID discover this blog? Regardless of the answer…thanks for being a regular reader. I love the competition you have with your wife, and I’d definitely put it in the “fortunately” category. As for the vouchers, I’ll send you a separate email…

i just checked weather.com and it says it wont rain after 5 am…and theres a 20% chance until like 1, and 10% or 0% after that..i dont think itll rain, hopefully they hit. good luck in the bronx, ugh that means im sitting in yankee stadium traffic on the way home tomorrow. oohh the tigers are coming in meaning you might be getting minor league balls again…bummer…well good luck anyway

Its most likely Scott Dohmann, although I cant tell since there isnt a close up.

Also in the photo with the Rays smiling its BJ Upton, Matt Garza, James Shields, one of the bullpen pitchers, and Edwin Jackson

YOU are the guy who snagged, wait.. flat out STOLE a baseball underhand tossed by Aaron Rowland then of the Phillies intended for my 5 year old behind the visitors dugout at Shea last September.

No, it wasn’t a misunderstanding.

At the last second you leaped from nowhere getting your fat butt in my son’s face and STEALING his baseball. Then you ran like a girl when everyone who witnessed your manic behavior booed you.

YOU don’t remember stealing the ball from my kid, but he sure does. Shame on you.

Karma, baby, Karma.

I’m terribly sorry to hear what happened to your son (and to hear that he’s still upset about it), but I want to assure you that I was NOT the person who stole that ball. Here’s proof:

1) I keep a VERY thorough list of every player and coach who has ever tossed me a ball, and Aaron Rowand (not “Rowland”) is not on it. That list can be found here on my web site:

http://www.zackhample.com/baseball_collection/lists/thrown_balls.htm

2) I didn’t see the Phillies play at Shea Stadium last September. (I wish I had so I could’ve booed them.) Of the five games I attended that month at Shea, one was against the Astros, another was against the Braves, two were against the Nationals, and the last was against the Marlins.

In addition, I know it wasn’t me because I simply don’t DO that to people. I’ll admit that when I was a kid, I used to reach in front of people for balls, and I’m ashamed I acted that way. The good news is that I learned from my mistakes and cleaned up my act. Now, not only do I go out of my way to help kids get balls, but I even GIVE away lots of balls to kids.

So yeah, you got the wrong guy. It happens. No hard feelings, at least not from my end. I realize I’m pretty generic-looking, and on top of that, there are lots of other people at Shea who try to snag baseballs. Some, apparently, go about it the wrong way.

Again, I’m really sorry to hear what happened to you guys, and I hope this clears things up.

Hey Zack, it’s me Alex. I just wanted to know how big is your glove ? and where you bought. Because from the looks of it you get a lot of attention from the players who pretty much end up tossing you a baseball. So I was thinking I can probably do the same thing hehe. Thanks

Your Pal,

Alex

The glove is about 20 inches, and I have no idea where it came from. A friend found it online and surprised me by sending it to me in the mail. I should warn you, though, that ever since I posted this blog entry, a bunch of other people have started bringing big gloves to game, so you actually might not get quite as much attention as you think. The novelty of it has already worn off. :-(

Any idea where you can get a big glove like that?

Actually, no. A friend got it for me and sent it as a surprise gift. I think he found it online somewhere.

You’ll never be able to go to a ball park w/out someone asking what’s the story with that city sized glove hahaha I saw one in New York on T.V. a few nights ago & said Whoa! Now I’m on the lookout for one my self lol.

True. I’m thinking I should bring it with me to Citi Field sometime soon.

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