8/29/08 at PETCO Park

As I headed to this game with my friend Brandon, I told him that my goal for this entire trip was to snag 20 balls–but perhaps I should’ve been more optimistic. Good things tend to happen to me at PETCO Park. The last time I was there, I caught Barry Bonds’ 724th career home run, and now I was back to be filmed by Steve Smith for San Diego’s Channel 10 News.

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In case you’ve forgotten (or are new to this blog), Brandon is the guy who photographed me the day I brought my Big Glove to the Rays-Jays series at Champion Stadium. Thankfully, he likes using his camera more than his baseball glove, so he followed me around the stadium and documented the action.

Moments after the stadium opened, I convinced Padres manager Bud Black to throw me my third ball of the day, and yes, you read that right: third.

Before the stadium had opened, I’d found a way to get inside and snag a couple balls. Rockies pitcher Jeff Francis tossed me the first, and a female security guard hooked me up with the second. That’s all I can say. The place I went to is kind of a secret spot–more of a well-guarded secret, really, and the person who shared it with me did so only after I promised not to tell anyone else. Sorry.

heath_bell_2008_headshot.jpgSoon after I got the ball from Bud Black, I spotted Heath Bell walking by in right-center field and I shouted, “Heath!!! It’s me, the baseball collector, from New York!!!”

Heath looked up and immediately walked over and made his best attempt to shake my hand through the chain link fence. He had gotten to know me when he was an under-appreciated middle reliever with the Mets–and he has remembered me ever since. (One time, while he was still with the Mets, he played catch with me at Shea Stadium. He was on the field. I was in the stands. He even crouched down like a catcher and called balls and strikes. It was awesome. That was also the day Ryan Speier gave me his glove, and you can read about it here. As far as I’m concerned, Heath Bell is BY FAR the nicest major league baseball player.)
 
“What’re you doing out here?” he asked as Steve walked up with his camera.

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“I’m just going to a few games and hanging out with a friend,” I said, “and doing some TV stuff with the local news.”

We talked on and off for the next 15 minutes. The only reason it was “off” was because I had to race back from the fence to chase a few more balls. At one point, I got one tossed to me by someone I couldn’t identify–until I asked Heath and he told me it was Chad Reineke.

“Did you know I have a new book?” I asked.

Heath said he didn’t, so I asked if he had another minute to spare.

“I’m not doing anything right now,” he said.

“Cool, wait just a moment,” I said. “I have a copy in my bag. I’ll run and get it.”

I ran back to the first row of the bleachers and grabbed the book, and as I was about to run back, a right-handed batter hit a deep drive toward right-center that I knew had a chance to reach the warning track and bounce over the outfield fence…so I bolted to my left as the few other grown-ups in the section did their best impressions of statues, and finally, as the ball cleared the fence and bounced to the back of the sandy area, everyone started chasing it. The ball ended up hitting a concrete wall and ricocheting back toward the field as I cut across at just the right angle to scoop it up and keep running back to Heath:

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Moments later, Heath had the book in his hands:

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At around 4:55pm–five minutes before the rest of the stadium was going to open–I asked Heath if he was going to give me a “welcome to San Diego” ball.

“Just hang out here,” he said. “I’ll get you one.”

“Well, actually, I was planning to head over to left field at 5pm.”

“No problem,” he told me, “I’ll get you one before that.”

Less than a minute later, he got one of his teammates to throw one to him, and then he flipped it to me:

heath_bell3.jpg

We kept talking about a million things after that. He told me he’s hoping to get the closer’s job after Trevor Hoffman retires…and that he gets heckled for being fat…and that I inspired him to be more creative with the ways in which he gives balls to fans…and that Pedro Martinez is a cool guy. It was the BEST conversation. Oh my God. It seemed like the conversation wasn’t ever going to end. I was enjoying myself so much that I sacrificed the first few minutes of BP in left field–and definitely lost a few balls as a result, including an easter egg I heard about later from my friend Leigh (aka “padreleigh” in the comments section), but it was totally worth it.

Steve filmed me running to the left field seats and kept the camera rolling after I got there. In the four-part photograph below, starting on the top left and going clockwise, I’m 1) hurrying back into position after trying unsuccessfully to get a ball in the left field corner, 2) scribbling notes about all the balls I’d snagged, 3) giving a glove trick tutorial, and 4) showing how I labeled one of the FIVE balls that I plucked off the warning track.

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It was crazy. I kept pulling up one ball after another, and the ushers weren’t saying a word. Were they giving me a break because I was being filmed? Or because they were distracted by the guy who got hit on the nose by a home run ball and was bleeding all over the place? I had no idea. I just kept doing my thing and Brandon kept taking pics. Here are some highlights:

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Here are the five consecutive balls I snagged with the glove trick:

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I got Brian Fuentes to throw me my 12th ball of the day and then used the glove trick to snag No. 13. It was then that an usher finally walked down the steps and informed me that security had been watching me on various cameras and that I had to stop. So I did.

There was still half an hour left in BP when Steve decided he’d already gotten enough footage and took off. Ugh. I’d been planning to give away a ball or two right after BP, as I often do, and I was looking forward to having Steve film that. I wanted the world (or at least the people of San Diego) to see that I’m not a total ball hog…but…so much for that.

The Rockies were hitting bombs into the second deck in left field, and since I couldn’t use the glove trick anymore, I went up there. It would’ve been great if I didn’t have to share the terrain with a legendary ballhawk named T.C. (aka “tracycollinsbecky”), but that’s his regular spot for right-handed batters so I gave him some room. He caught several balls up there, and I only got one–a ball that he would’ve had if not for a silly/lazy mistake on his part. Someone on the Rockies crushed a deep home run over the aisle, and T.C. beat me up the steps. The ball landed on the steps and bounced all the way to the back of the section to where we couldn’t see it. T.C. assumed it had bounced over the back railing and into the concourse down below so he gave up and headed back down to the aisle.

“You don’t think it’s there?” I asked?

“I don’t know,” he said as if he didn’t have a care in the world. “You can check.”

I did check. And the ball was there, waiting for me in the last row.

Several minutes later, Brandon got a cool action shot as a home run sailed into the seats below. Check it out. I’m on the far left, leaning over the edge of the second deck, watching as a guy in the front row makes a leaping catch in front of Leigh and next to a woman ducking for cover:

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After BP ended, I got Jeff Francis to toss me my 15th ball of the day at the Rockies’ dugout, and Brandon got a couple great photos. Here’s the first one. It shows Francis as he’s about to under-hand the ball to me:

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Here’s the second pic, which shows the ball in mid-air, about a foot from my glove:

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Brandon took some photos of me with my 15 balls (the best pic turned out to be the one he took two seconds before I was ready)…

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…and then I gave one to kid (who had a glove!) who was sitting a few sections over with his dad.

What did Brandon look like on this fine day? See below:

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Earlier in the day, I’d met a kid named Timmy (aka “holdsworthtimmy”) who’s been reading this blog for a while. When I ran into him after BP, I found out that he’d snagged almost as many balls as me! Here we are with Leigh who’d also snagged a bunch.

timmie_zack_leigh.jpg

Soon after this pic was taken, four Rockies began playing catch along the left field foul line. Timmy ended up getting one of the balls, and I was left to try to talk Troy Tulowitzki out of the other. When he finished throwing, he tucked the ball in his glove and walked
over to sign a few autographs. Instead of asking him to sign anything, I asked for the ball, and when it appeared that he might not give it up, I said, “In all seriousness, Troy, it would be a real honor to get a ball from you.”

“Why is that?” he asked as he finished signing and backed away from the wall.

I thought fast and said, “I just love how you play the game. I played shortstop too.”

He then nodded and flipped me the ball.

Several Padres had just started playing catch across the field, so I raced around to the RF foul line and got there just in time. Will Venable, who’d been called up from the minor leagues earlier that day, ended up with one of the balls, and I got him to toss it to me…but the ball fell a bit short and tipped off the end of my glove as I reached over the wall for it. Then it rolled about six feet to my left and a security guard started walking toward it. I quickly let out some string and flung my glove to the left, got it to land just beyond the ball, and then tugged the string to jerk the glove back and bring the ball with it. It worked on the first shot! The ball rolled back along the warning track, right to the spot in front of me, and I was able to lunge over the wall and grab it with my bare hand.

Brandon got a pic of this too. In fact, he got about two dozen pics, but I won’t share them all–just the best one:

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I had 17 balls at that point. I needed to get three more, and my plan was simple: snag a third-out ball during the game from each dugout, then get a ball from the home plate umpire after the game.

I wasn’t sure how strict security was going to be, and I didn’t have a ticket for the seats behind either dugout, so I carefully inched a few sections closer to home plate and sat down. Leigh had generously given me one of his season tickets in left field and Brandon, meanwhile, had splurged and bought a $50 seat behind the Rockies’ dugout because–get this–he was actually looking forward to sitting in one spot and watching the game. What to do…what to do. I was hoping for a third-out ball after the top of the first inning–that would’ve made things a whole lot easier–but that didn’t happen because I was behind the outfield end of the dugout and Garrett Atkins struck out to end the frame. In other words, the catcher ended up with the ball and tossed it into the seats behind the home plate end of the dugout. If Atkins had made contact and hit an inning-ended grounder, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez would’ve ended up with the ball, and I would’ve been in the perfect position to get it.

Just then, by some miracle, the man sitting to my right made a comment about my glove and said he wanted me to protect him from foul balls.

“I’d love to,” I replied, “but I actually don’t belong in this section.” I then told him I had to run over and visit a friend behind the other dugout and asked if I could possibly borrow his ticket stub for “five to ten minutes.” Naturally he didn’t want to hand it over so I offered my book as collateral.

That did the trick.

“Wait,” he said as I headed off. “You WROTE this?”

I nodded and told him to enjoy it and that I’d be back half an inning later.

I raced around to the third base side and called Brandon. He understood the situation, and because he’s so awesome, he was willing to trade ticket stubs and sit out in left field with Leigh. (No offense, Leigh, but your view can’t compare to dugout seating.)

I didn’t get anything after the first inning because Gonzalez struck out, and I was in the wrong spot.

adrian_gonzalez.jpgIn the top of the second inning, I used the borrowed ticket stub to get back down into the seats behind the Padres’ dugout. How many more innings could I keep this up? The back-and-forth business was stressing me out. I absolutely NEEDED to get a ball this time, but I was at the mercy of the action on the field…and when Rockies pitcher Aaron Cook came up with two outs, I didn’t like my chances. I was convinced he was going to strike out, and when he fell behind in the count 0-2, I seriously thought I was doomed. But then another miracle occurred: he made contact! He stuck his bat out and punched a weak grounder to shortstop Luis Rodriguez. YES!!! Gonzalez took the throw at first base and jogged off the field with the ball. When he approached the dugout, he looked up and rolled it across the roof a foot to my left. I reached out and scooped it easily with my glove…and then realized I was surrounded by little kids who had apparently charged down the steps behind me after the out had been recorded. I felt kinda silly, towering above all those kids, so I handed the ball to the smallest one I could find and got a big round of applause from the entire section. That was my 18th ball of the day; remember that I still count balls even when I give them away.

garrett_atkins.jpgAtkins, the Rockies’ first baseman, kept ending up with the inning-ending balls, but he was tossing them all over the place to fans who were several rows deep. He was hard to predict, but I didn’t outsmart myself. I just ran down to the front row every inning and hoped that eventually he’d toss one right to me…and he did at the conclusion of the fifth inning after Cook induced Rodriguez to bounce into a 4-6-3 double play. SWEET!!! I only needed one more ball, and for the rest of the game I tried like crazy to catch a foul ball behind the plate–but nothing came close.

Fast-forward to the bottom of the ninth. The Rockies were clinging to a 9-4 lead. This meant I was going to have (at least) two more chances to snag ball No. 20–one from umpire Dana DeMuth who’d be exiting the field at the home plate end of the Rockies’ dugout, and of course another chance from the Rockies themselves.

Brian Fuentes fanned the first two batters in the ninth and then got Josh Bard to pop up to second baseman Clint Barmes to end the game.

I bolted down to the corner spot at the far right end of the dugout and got my 20th ball from DeMuth. WOO!!!

Less than a minute later, all the Rockies players and coaches walked in, and I spotted Fuentes with the ball in his glove before he even crossed the foul line. I knew he wasn’t going to keep it because a) it wasn’t a special ball (he hadn’t used it to record a save), and b) he throws lots of balls into the crowd. Well, sure enough, I got him to toss it to me, and just like that, I’d tied my second highest single-game total ever. (The other time I got 21 balls was on 9/19/07 at Chase Field.)

Here are the last two balls I snagged:

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Here are the 19 balls I kept:

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Here are the notes I’d frantically scribbled throughout the day (so that I’d be able to remember the details later and write this entry):

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Here’s one final pic that Brandon took. He’d taken a bunch of shots from across the field as I was snagging those last two balls. This one shows me jumping for what would’ve been ball No. 22. Glenallen Hill tossed it five feet over my head on his way in, and if you look closely you can see the ball in mid-air as it’s about to sail over my outstretched bare hand:

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Oh well. I won’t complain about that one getting away.

STATS:

? 21 balls at this game (tied my second highest one-game total)

? 385 balls in 52 games this season = 7.4 balls per game.

? 548 consecutive games with at least one ball

? 134 consecutive games outside NYC with at least one ball

? 87 lifetime games with at least 10 balls

? 32 lifetime games outside NYC with at least 10 balls

? 3 lifetime games with at least 20 balls, all of which occurred outside NYC (of course)

? 3,662 total balls

49 Comments

Zack- WOW. Congrats on the huge day, i’d been so anxious to read it. Heath Bell sounds like a nice guy, and it sounds like you had a great time. Can’t wait to hear about the rest of the trip.- Joe

Nice job on the 21 Zack. You deserve a standing ovation after that performance.
Devon
http://raysarchive.mlblogs.com/
http://www.raysheat.com/

does the guy who shared the spot work for the team, or can anyone use the secret spot if they know about it?

Hey Zack! Obviously you won’t see this until after the game but it is unlikely that I was or will be there. The wife kind of killed that, must be nice to be able to roam freely! Anyway, if I get to Dodger Stadium today it will be a major miracle. Tomorrow might be the same. I guess this is why being a one car family right now SUCKS!Anyway, sounds like the entire weekend has been pretty good for ya. As TCB said on Thursday I missed the Teixeira HR by 3 or 4 rows. I will try to get out Tuesday if at all possible. Most likely I am going to have to try to find a ride from the Anaheim area. Email me if you are driving up again on Tuesday!
Have Fun!
John
http://ballhawk.mlblogs.com
http://mlballhawk.com

so you did break 20!

Hey, Zack

Awesome story. I’ve never been to PETCO, but I’ve always wanted to. I don’t know if you remember me, but I met you in NY with that group of like 30 kids which you wrote about it being a “baseball snagging love fest” We took the group photo, and I was the kid in the dbacks shirt who was the only one to have snagged one that day :P. Which I later gave to a kid who was at his first MLB game.

Any who, I was just wondering if you were going to be around Chase Field anytime soon. I read some of your previous entries about it and it was actually one of the most interesting things I have ever read. I NEVER would have thought to go to Friday’s, but yesterday I did and I got 5 balls up there! Also the crowd at Chase is quite discouraging. Other than dodgers games, at BP there are about 20 people in right field, half of which don’t bring gloves. Anyways, its basically no competition!

I’ve been reading your blog for months now, and every day I get home from school I look for a new entry! I finally got to my senses and made an account so I could leave some comments. So yeah, if you are heading to chase field anytime soon let me know! I go to about 40 of their games a year so we could probably bump into each other and say hey and whatnot. Oh well, sorry for the really long post. Its awesome to read what you write and I hope to see you at a dbacks game soon! Take care!

truly awesome. sweet. i long for the day where i can get 20 in a game, but i dont think it will ever come. maybe if theres like 5 other ppl in the stadium during bp. lol

anyway, my next few games will all be at shea. sept 5, 9, 12. ill prob be at ys the 15th, shea for 2 cubs games, prob last game at shea, and well see about the postseason. theres a small chance ill be at camden the 27th. or philly.

gjk: im not likeing you at shea sept 9. i need at shea commerative. oh well. see you there

great day to be filmed, huh?!?!

puck-im desperate for a yankee commemorative. ill be there once, maybe 2 more times. shea commems are fairly easy-the whole pitchers bag is full of them..get to rf asap and get a ball from the pitchers throwing..see you at gate c.

Wicked sweet, man. You know, my brother-in-law was at that game, too. Small world, I guess.
I love the Rockies hat and shirt… looks a lot better than standard Mets gear :)
Good job getting baseballs from Jeff Francis. He’s funny. I was at a Rockies game in Dodger Stadium once and the Dodgers fans were pestering him for balls and he wouldn’t give them any–he gave one to a woman wearing a purple jersey, though, as if to make his point. He’s nice.
TROY TULOWITZKI. I love that he gave you a baseball. I actually have a long blog entry about my last encounter with Tulo. He’s a sweetheart.
Kylie — http://kylie.mlblogs.com

I’ve been reading for awhile, finally decided to post. Normally I go for autos at Yankee Stadium but after seeing you awhile back working the bleachers I decided to give snagging / ball hawking a shot. I made a cup trick and headed out Friday night for no autos just balls. I ended up with 6. 2 catches, 3 1/2 cup tricks. Best part was that 4 of the 6 were commemoratives. Then on Saturday I cup tricked one commemorative. 7 in 2 games, man that was fun.

Thanks for the inspiration top give this a shot myself.

Nice haul Zack! Told you you would need an empty suitcase to bring all your balls home! Look forward to your next entry. Going to Tex/Sea tue. 9/2 & Tex/Bos 9/5. Going for more, hoping to break double digits at least once. By the way, bought “moneyball”, will start reading it soon. Have fun!!

dude insane game! thats awesome about heath bell…hes a chill guy at the hotel when san diego comes in and it doesnt suprise me that hes so fan friendly…just overall a great entry

That’s cool Zack :) Good luck at Dodger Stadium..

-Roberto
http://baseballislife.mlblogs.com/

Hey Zack-
Congrats on the huge day. I wanted to thank you. I met you in July at Yankee Stadium and since then I’ve been reading your blog. Last weekend I went to Boston for a Red Sox game and was determined to snag my first ball ever. My family had no interest in showing up early for batting practice so I figured my best chance would be to get 3rd out balls. At the end of the bottom of the first inning Ken Griffey Jr. caught a fly ball and I made my way down to the White Sox dugout. Nobody else made any attempt to get the ball and Griffey tossed it to me. The whole section applauded which was kind of weird since I didn’t do anything special but it was cool. For the rest of the game every time a third out was made it seemed like every kid in the stadium would rush to the dugout to get the ball which was hilarious. Anyway thanks for all the tips.
Brian

Aaron–
I wouldn’t consider what happened in RF “being hassled”. Some guards aren’t fond of ball-retrieving devices (which is their right), but he never really told me I couldn’t use it or threaten to take it away. And yeah, nice meeting you and hanging out. Nice work on your seven.

Puck–
1) Yeah, you can create a free account on Flickr, then you upload your pics.
2) I have no clue what “gregb123″ is. It’s not even an e-mail account I have. But I don’t know how to change it.
3) I never touched the cup-trick ball in RF. The guy was getting closer, so I tried yanking it up a little too fast and the ball fell out, about halfway up. It definitely shouldn’t count.
4) No, I didn’t count the Futures Game balls.
5) I’ll be at Shea on Sept. 9 as well. See you and njmetfan there. Are you gonna be there early?

As a Padres fan, it is really cool to read about you snagging at Petco. I will definitely be trying to get balls next time I go to a game. Great book, by the way. GO PADRES!!
Kaybee (kaybee.mlblogs.com)

well idk if im gonna be there at 4:30. i might have to judt work the dugouts, but i was planning on the corner spot that evan had.

greg, okay. if you toached it you should count it but if it fell dont. OMG all this competition. what ev

Awesome job the 20 balls! Petco is my favorite new ballpark of the ones I’ve been to. Wrigley is my favorite overall.

I’m sort of feeling silly now that you and Greg both have accomplished your all-time high at Nationals Park and I haven’t even ever gotten to double digits (nine is my high). Oh well, at least I know that I can’t be envious of any other ballhawks in different cities. It’s still hard for me to believe that Nationals Park is easier to snag in than the Trop, the new Kauffman Stadium (with more outfield seats than before) or the Ballpark at Arlington.

Aaron
http://districtboy.mlblogs.com/

Hey Zack, just got back. Thanks for the signature. I am now really happy.
AutographHound

Congrats on the 21! I think I know where that secret spot is, but something tells me you found one better lol. If I had to live on the west coast, I’d pick San Diego. Great stadium and great weather. Now if they could work on that team on the field…

Hi Zack…

That was a fun day huh?!! I had a blast snagging that day and watching you get the 21. You TRIPLED my 7 for the day. I should have got a couple more for double digits myself, but I was lazy. That Timmy kid did pretty good though. That was just a great snagging day for everyone. Even the Channel 10 guy got one. Ha ha!! Well, I’ll be off to work in a minute, take a power nap in the morning and I’ll be off to Dodger Stadium at about 1:30pm. With the drive that puts me there about 3:30ish. I’ll give you a call when I’m close and we can maybe hang out again a little. I think I’m going to hang in the LF Pavillion for BP. See you tomorrow.

Leigh

Zack…

Oh yeah….thanks for not “robbing me” a couple of times. You were very nice to do that. I know your 21 could have been much higher if you weren’t.

Leigh

Zack-
Hope you managed a monster day at Dodger Stadium today… I think i spotted you, so check your email, theres a photo you might like!

Ill see you tomorrow- I think im going to go for auto’s… It appears that with so little space in Dodger stadium, and all these extra- intense snaggers, it’s going to be a rough day.

–Ethan

Zack- At the Dodgers game last night did you get the final out ball or any gamer cuz that was maddox’s 354th career win.

I really like the impromptu pic of you with the 15 balls… Very Clint Eastwood. (You do know who that is, right?)

Hope you have another great day of snagging!

Zack,
I’ll be there with a buddy of mine today–and I’ll bring the book. Where will you be during BP? Center, left, or on the Field level? I haven’t been to Dodger Stadium in a while. I’m hoping to break my (paltry) record of two.
Congrats on your 21!

Zack,
Where you in Chicago a couple of days ago at the cubs game? The only reason I ask is because while my brother was watching the game(he is a cubs fan, I am a sox fan) he told me to come and look at the tv and it was video of a guy during bp with a big glove like the one you brought to Florida for the games at Champion Stadium. I could not make out the guys face because his hat blocked his face but I immediately thought it was you. Also the guy with the big glove was featured on every nightly sports broadcast in Chicago. You should come back to Chicago again. I would love to meet up with you at a game.
Congrats on the 21. (Man I have a hard time getting 2 balls)

way to go zack,
i bet other fans are jealous of you when they see you talking and playing with actual major league players. good luck in l.a.

Hey Zack,

The Yankees use some commemorative balls on the road, right? If you were to guess, what percentage of their batting practice balls are commemorative? I live in Seattle and da Yanks are coming to town, so I think I’m gonna try to snag a commemorative.

Thanks,
Max V

Zack
I went to the 8/23 Marlins and 8/30 Dodgers game at Chase. In those two games I have had a grand total of 2 balls. Nothing against the Marlins (except an Eric Byrnes bobblehead) but we had fantastic seats so I’m not complaining. It was absolutely packed! largest I have ever seen at Chase for BP. The Dodgers game that I went to was about the same. There wasnt as many people as the Marlins game (which suprised me) but there was a whole bunch of obnoxious Dodger fans. I got a couple cool photos of Manny interacting with the crowd while Billingsley was in his wind-up. As for the balls, I got Dan Haren’s warm-up and another from the bullpen catcher, which I gave to a little girl attending her first MLB game. Tommorow could possibly be my last game of the season. But hey I have six extra weeks of baseball with the Arizona Fall League coming up.

Does anyone know if the bleachers at the new yankee stadium r connected to the rest, or is it like the old one?- Joe

Zack, after you leave California, will you be going back to San Diego or any other California baseball teams? If so, good luck.
AutographHound

BTW after Edgar Gonzalez struck out, you were on FSN Prime Ticket lifting up your arms.
AutographHound

did anyone on here see Jim Edmonds try to rob a homer at Wrigley but slam the wall and TWO balls fell out of the ivy. one was a batting practice ball that got stuck in the ivy and no one went to get it. i thought that was cool

the new bleachers have a tunnel from under them that goes into the regular stadium, so unless ushers are checking tickets, they should be connected.

I didnt know it was you…but I was sitting in my 1st base dugout seats and saw you reaching over the kids for the ball that adrian threw up there. I dont remember any applause, but I do remember you giving it to the kid. It is cool now to read the story and realize that was you.

Zack,
Is the Beach in Petco a good place to get balls during BP?
Thanks,
Kaybee (kaybee.mlblogs.com)

Zack,
It was great to meet you yesterday at Dodger Stadium. I only ended up with one ball (during BP) but at least the game was interesting for the most part. My collection is now at a ******** 14. Thank you for signing my book! I can’t wait to read your blogs about Angel and Dodger Stadiums. I’ve been to quite a few Dodger games and the fans there can be incredibly aggressive (I got threatened after you left the left field bleachers because I had a Padres hat on… go figure). BTW, I snapped a few photos that have you in them–average quality… I can send them to you if you want. Thanks again!
~Matt

EVERYONE-
I’m at the airport in San Diego…about to get on a plane and fly back. I can’t believe I’m now FOUR blog entries behind. How did this happen?! I haven’t even gotten to label the pics yet from the August 30th game in Anaheim, but I’ll be working on that during the flight, then writing about that game when I get home, so that entry should be up by this time tomorrow. Then I’ll just try to crank out one blog entry per day, so check back often so you don’t miss anything. I have some really cool pics and stories to share. Wait ’til you hear about Heath Bell on the August 31st game. Oh my God. That’s all I can say. I got a ton of balls overall and had a great time hanging out with Brandon and his friends, plus other baseball collectors in both San Diego and Los Angeles. It was an amazing trip. I have more bruises and boo-boos than I can count. I’m so happy. I’ll be at Shea on Friday. Anyone else going? I’ll answer blog comments later…

cant wait to see the blogs..

theres a very good chance ill be at shea friday..can i meet you in front if your there? i should be there by like 4-415 latest..

soxsider-

The person with the big glove was a ballhawk named Dave.

Zack-

You NEED to go to Miami soon, there were about 600 people there at the first pitch… Talk about foul ball/home run heaven.

BP must have been a dream too.

EVERYONE-
Thanks for all the comments. Much appreciated. I just posted a long entry about my August 30th game in Anaheim, and I’m still three games behind. I’m super pressed for time, so I’m (pretty much) only going to answer the comments in which people asked questions…

PUCK COLLECTOR-
Anyone can go there.

COLETRAIN-
Nice to hear from you. I’m honored that you created an account just to leave comments here. Congrats on the Friday’s balls…but unfortunately I don’t think I’ll be heading back to Chase Field anytime soon. Maybe if Delgado rolls into Phoenix in the next year or two with 499 career homers, I’ll make an appearance. I don’t know. I didn’t even know I’d be making this West Coast trip until a couple weeks beforehand.

JOSHSCARDS-
Seriously.

MIGHTYRERUN-
Awesome. You’re very welcome. Got any more games planned at Yankee Stadium? Hopefully we won’t have to compete with each other. I’ll be there a few more times this month.

BRIAN-
Simply awesome. Thanks for letting me know…and congrats.

AUTOGRAPH HOUND-
You’re welcome! I don’t think I’ll be back in California again this year, unfortunately.

LEIGH-
You da man. Always a pleasure hanging out with you.

YANKEES5221-
No final-out ball for me. I’ll be sharing all the details soon. Right now, though, I gotta get started on my entry about August 31st at PETCO Park, and then I’ll be all set to start blogging about L.A.

VEGAN TEMP-
Um, yeah, I think I know who Clint Eastwood is. Hockey player, right?

BLOGGINGBOUTBASEBALL-
Sorry I didn’t get to respond earlier, but I’m glad you were still able to find me. Nice meeting you as well. Sorry you only got one ball, but at least you didn’t get shut out. By all means, send me any photos you got. Brandon wasn’t with me that day so I don’t have any photos of myself.

SOXSIDER26-
Nope, not me in Chicago. I now have really close friends there (they just moved from California) so I might actually be there soon…like, within the next year or two.

MAX V-
I’m not sure about the balls the Yankees use on the road, but at home, I’d say at least 90 percent of the their BP balls are commemorative. I’m pretty sure that they must have SOME commemorative balls on the road.

TYFRANK-
Cool. I don’t remember reaching over any kids, though. You sure they weren’t trying to reach over me? :-)

KAYBEE-
It’s a decent spot if a) there aren’t a million little kids running around and b) the players are being generous. Anyway, that’s the only section at PETCO that’s open at the start.

GJK2212-
Tomorrow is a “Watch With Zack” game, and I’m picking up the kid I’m taking (his mom is showing up later) at 3:45pm (!!) so hopefully I can meet YOU. Hopefully I can just make it to Shea before the gates open…or at least by the time BP starts at like 4:55pm. Save a spot for me outside Gate C, eh?

CUBS0110-
Six hundred?! Don’t tease me by telling me these things.

are you still under a vow of silence for the secret spot?

Ha. I actually talked about in my new book, The Baseball. (Is that helpful enough? Too much of a plug?)

No, haha. I read The Baseball, too. Having a brain fart.

The secret spot is the Western Metal Supply Company building, I think. I was just re-reading the top 10 stadiums for ballhawking the other night.

SKIM-
No comment. :-)

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