9/27/08 at Shea Stadium

This was a day game that followed a night game, and it was drizzling when the stadium opened, so you can imagine how shocked I was when I ran in (with my girlfriend Jona) and saw the Mets taking batting practice.

I raced out to the seats along the right field foul line and quickly got my first snagging opportunity. There was a slicing line drive hit by a right-handed batter, and as the ball was curving toward me, I could tell that it wasn’t going to curve enough for me to reach it, so I climbed over one of the many orange railings and darted five feet to my right and reached far out of the seats at the last second and made a back-handed catch. It felt good at the time (especially when all the Mets who were standing in right field applauded) and it felt even better later on when I saw the great photos that Jona had taken from the Loge Level.

Here’s one that shows me starting to lean out for the ball. I’m wearing a white long-sleeved shirt, and if you look closely at the photo you can see the ball itself:

zack_catching_ball3809a.jpg

Here’s another photo that Jona took just after the ball entered my glove. Notice the full extension:

zack_catching_ball3809b.jpg

Here’s a closer look:

zack_catching_ball3809c.jpg

I didn’t realize just how far I’d reached until I saw the photos. Go me.

Jona headed back down to the Field Level and took a few more photos of me before we headed out to the bleachers (which you can see in front of Citi Field below):

zack_field_level_BP_09_27_08.jpg

There wasn’t much action out there:

zack_bleachers_09_27_08.jpg

In fact, it was so dead that I only snagged one more ball for the rest of the day. It was a BP homer by Nick Evans. I caught it on a fly, and Jona once again caught me in action:

zack_catching_ball3810a.jpg

Cool, huh?

Both of my baseballs were commemorative:

two_baseballs_09_27_08.jpg

Jona and I never left the bleachers. After BP ended, we staked out a great spot for potential home-run catching, but as it turned out, nothing left the yard. It was all about the pitching. Johan Santana, working on three days’ rest and fighting to keep the Mets’ playoff hopes alive, went the distance and blanked the Marlins, 2-0. He allowed three hits and three walks while striking out nine…truly brilliant. The crowd of 54,920 was as revved up as ever, and I took a bunch of photos during the final few pitches of the game.

This was my view of the field:

fans_excited1_09_27_08.jpg

This was the view to my left…

fans_excited2_09_27_08.jpg

…and this is proof that just about EVERYONE in the stadium was standing:

fans_excited3_09_27_08.jpg

The Mets had entered the day one game behind the Brewers in the Wild Card race. The Brewers lost their game to the Cubs, which meant it was all gonna come down to the Final Day…

STATS:

? 2 balls at this game

? 533 balls in 71 games this season = 7.5 balls per game.

? 567 consecutive games with at least one ball

? 337 consecutive games at Shea Stadium with at least one ball

? 3,810 total balls

No Comments

Hey Zack, nice catch today, too bad there wasn’t enough room to do your dance, or at least I didn’t see you do it. Too bad the Mets bullpen was sooooo bad this year, imagine what they could have done with just a decent bullpen. Dan

Dan
true, like in 2006. the bullpen was the reason the mets made it so far. without that bullpen, 2007 (mets) happens.
and those are amazing shots of you catching BOTH balls zack,,,

i still cant belive the season is over and i can NEVER go inside shea stadium again

Zack,
I was just watching ESPNews and I was like, “That’s gotta be Zack!” Awesome, dude! Too bad the loss knocked the Mets out of contention. Was that the last home run hit at Shea, or were there others after?
And those are great action shots!

Bloggingaboutbaseball –

I’m 99.9% sure that was zack that caught Beltran’s HR … however, the Marlins hit 2 HRs after that. Congrats Zack on catching the final Met HR at Shea.

Phill in Utah

Zack…I am just getting inon the West coast from a hectic day and I have no idea what has happened on the last day of the season…so, I turn on sports centre and I see you catch another one! Come on man! That is awesome! There is being in the right place at the right time and there is creating your own luck…but this is nuts. I have been to hundreds of games over the years and ratrely in the right section when a dinger is hit. You must be living right my friend. Nicely done! (sorry about the outcome of the game however) chris

the really amazing thing about your story is that you have a girlfriend.

you make it look so easy

No post season in ny. I’ve never heard that in my life.
Clif- i was trying to contact you but your youtube was gone.
Congrats zack.- Joe

Zack,

You are unequiovocally ‘THE MAN’. Over 500 balls snagged this year. (3) HR balls in two stadiums…WOW…I was there ready to snag Sheffs 500 HR ball in left at the COPA this weekend. No dice..Did get a nice gamer off Santiago on Sunday..

Mike in Detroit
(BTW, I told Dan Wheeler that you said “hello”.)

Rays are very tight with giving out baseballs, unless you are 3 yrs old, or a nice looking blonde……

you need to get check out, man.
are you sure you’re not from another planet or something?
you have a talent (i’m 99% sure you caught the beltran ball)…THE LAST HOMERUN BY A MET AT SHEA STADIUM…that might just be bigger than the Bonds ball…maybe your biggest?

nice catch! talk about over extending. too bad the mets are out of the playoffs again.

Wow, Zack, you’ve had a great year. I can only imagine what next year will bring! Are you planning on going to any playoff games?
Kaybee-http://kaybee.mlblogs.com

Zack,

first time commenter, have read your (1st) book numerous times and I live by it when i go to games.

nice catch on that home run by beltran, when i saw the highlight i was like “wow that had to be zack.”

appreciate the blog, i find it highly enjoyable.

-emac

Last HR HIT BY METZ AT SHEA!!!! holy crapz zack your a frikin beast all i can say is wow…… i cant wait to see the blog im so excited

GOING TO ANY POST SEASON GAMES????

…and the final day sucked. i was there and it was the worst day of my life because not only did the mets lose the season, but my dallas cowboys lost to the washington redskins. Zack, next season at Citi Field shall be a good one. MAYBE*** I’ll see you there. hahaha. peaceeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

– Donnie

Yes Zack,forget foul balls.You should go to 160 games a year,break my record of 25 home runs in one season,1992,.Sheffield 500th opening day ,plan now,i thought he was suspended. Jona saved your backpack from being stolen probably,when you did your O face dance

joe
yeah that thing got deleted cause i put so many commercials on it for mlb and madden 09. it sucks but i can still email you

donnie
youre a DALLAS FAN! that sucks. go birds allthough we lost to the bears on a game where many oppertunities were lost……..

GROISLANDERS4-

what is your blog adress

carter
i dont have one

you’re becoming (or already are) the forrest gump of baseball. Not only were you at some of the most important events this season but were involved too. Somebody better be giving you World Series tickets so you can go.

Clif- Wats the email, idont think i have it. Thanks- Joe

I can’t believe the Mets lost! Not that I care, but that is terrible. I was at my brother’s baseball game, checking the score of the Mets game and the Brewers one, literally once every 30 seconds on a blackberry. Not a good last year for the stadiums in NY, both teams missed the playoffs (When was the last time that happened?) but the Sox are in!

Go Lester!

Hmm well I made an account just to leave a comment.
I’ve never been much of a baseball guy but man what you’re able to do is quite impressive. One of the coolest sports stories i’ve read.

Keep it up.

I think you should go toWrigley,out on waveland.or fenway on landsdown,get in the park garage,keep it going.I dare you to wear a dodger shirt in chicago.Dave jake ya.

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