November 2008

YOUR photos

Four weeks ago I invited my readers to send me photographs of their baseball collections. Here they are (in the order in which they were received)…

PHOTO #1

SENT BY: Aaron King

AKA: “districtboy” (in the comments section on this blog)

AGE: 13

LOCATION: Washington, D.C.

BLOG: http://districtboy.mlblogs.com/

IN HIS OWN WORDS: 289 baseballs shown (entire lifetime of
snagging)…Readin’ since June of 06! I credit 98.6% of the baseballs
I’ve ever snagged to you (I had only gotten four balls before I started
reading).

districtboy.jpg

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PHOTO #2

SENT BY: Alex McMurray

AKA: “alexmcmurray”

LOCATION: Castro Valley, CA

IN HIS OWN WORDS: Here’s my favorite baseball photo from my VERY amateur ballhawking

days. What’s easier than getting to the dugout and having a player
autograph a ball that he gives to you? And then he keeps your Sharpie
and signs for another 10 minutes while you convince the usher that the
player has your Sharpie? That was me on my birthday in July. 

alexmcmurray.jpg

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PHOTO #3

SENT BY: Jim Walls

AKA: “sixto”  

IN HIS OWN WORDS: Here’s a photo of my son Colin after getting his
SECOND ball ever at the Phillies’ division-clinching, final regular
season game of 2007…The ball is the final out from the 7th inning,
pitched by reliever J.C. Romero and caught by Michael Bourn in left
field before he tossed it to us. Using the tips on your blog, we ran
down to the Phillies’ dugout just in time to get the catch. We were
lucky enough to attend spring training this year, where Colin got this
very ball signed by both Jamie Moyer and Cole Hamels. We also got a
ball at that same spring training game (a foul), as well as a ball at a
Wilmington Blue Rocks’ minor league game, bringing his grand total to
4. (since he’s only three, he counts minor league balls).

sixto.jpg

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PHOTO #4

SENT BY: Robert Harmon

AKA: “robertdean1000″

AGE: 59

LOCATION: Arvada, CO

ARTICLE ABOUT ROBERT: Barry Bonds’ final home run ball — the FULL story

IN HIS OWN WORDS: from left to right top row bp ball i caught at
at&t in apr.08  #2) garrett atkins homerun w/ clean catch pin from
21 jun.08 mets at coorsfield.  middle top, the infamous barry bonds
#762 evil twin – homerun ball with ticket by where it all went down 5
sep 07,  #4) clint barmes homerun w/ clean catch pin from 3 sep 08
giants at coorsfield. far right, bp homerun ball i caught at
progressive field at cleveland from the kansas city line up. aug
08…now the next one, bottom left side, is very special (to me
anyway), i caught it in yankee stadium off the bat of the #34, thats
right, the big pappy. i’ve dream’t of catching a ball at yankee stadium
for going on 50 years. and it doesn’t hurt that ortiz was the one to
hit it. last but not least, just before the futures game at yankee
stadium jul 08, dexter fowler (of the rockies organization) well, the
ball landed and stayed on the warning track in front of me. when he
thru it up to me i thought i had a couple of octopuses behind me, for
all of the arms that came over and around from behind me, i didn’t
think i had a chance for it. but there it was in my glove. and then
when he was called up in sept. he remembered me and signed it for me.
i’ve had better seasons for getting balls, but never have i gotten
better memories, in large part do to zack. thanks buddy!!

robertdean1000.jpg

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PHOTO #5

SENT BY: Joe Faraguna

AKA: “yankees5221″

AGE: 13

LOCATION: Sag Harbor, NY

IN HIS OWN WORDS: The baseballs are from lifetime 1 year, a few from
past when not collecting. There are 22 baseballs [3 in hat, 1 in hand,
18 on top shelf] 28 lifetime.- gave 6 away. All from mlb regular season.

yankees5221.jpg

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PHOTO #6

SENT BY: Mike Miller

AKA: “snagfan”

AGE: 41

LOCATION: Byron, MI 

IN HIS OWN WORDS: I have included my ‘bounty’ for the 2008 Snag Year. Stats:

209 Balls Total
5 Gamers
60 Games Att
47 Games w/ BP
4.45 BPG AVG
39,536 Att AVG PG
12 Given Away
7 Glove Trick
26 Caught BP
169 Thrown
7 Easter Egg
68 Autographs

Could not of done all this without your awesome blogs Zack…Thank you very much for sharing your experiences with us…..

snagfan.jpg

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PHOTO #7

SENT BY: Brandon

AKA: “helmet guy” 

IN HIS OWN WORDS: Here is a shot of my stash from the past 2 years + 1
old one. The ball that is encased is the first one I ever got (YS, May
1999). Total of about 80 balls. Of course I had to show one of my
vintage helmets!

helmet_guy.jpg

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PHOTO #8

SENT BY: Dan

AKA: “07nlchamps”
AGE: 34

LOCATION: Denver, CO

IN HIS OWN WORDS: I probably could have filled up a couple full walls
if I never gave a ball away, but that’s what I do, give them away. The
two best balls in there are the back-to-back game home run balls I
caught on the fly off of Mike Lansing and Jeff Cirillo. Most of these
balls are autographed, game home runs I have caught, logo balls, or PCL
balls. I have A LOT of Pacific Coast League balls because you can get a
bunch during batting practice at the Sky Sox games, and there are no
kids around to give them to. There are about 500 balls in there right
now, and should be filled by about June next year. When it gets full,
I’ll start pulling out the autographed and game home run balls and get
them in cases… I hand painted the MLB
logo underneath all of the balls, and you can see the right side of the 13 foot wide Rockies logo on the left, which I also hand painted. Then on the right are bats that I have traded players for wanting important or meaningful home run balls back that I caught. All of this is in my daughter’s bedroom, she loves it. I also painted the 07′ World Series logo and 07′ NL Champs logo on another wall.

gorockies2003.jpg

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PHOTO #9

SENT BY: Don

AKA: “Rock Pile Ranter”

AGE: 42

LOCATION: Broomfield, CO

BLOG: http://baseballsnatcher.mlblogs.com/

IN HIS OWN WORDS: There are 48 baseballs in the picture. 31 are
autographed and all were snagged by me except the 4 Colorado Rockies
logo balls( I purchased) = 27 baseballs.

17 unsigned baseballs also snagged by me (I couldn’t get them
autographed, I ran out of season) For a grand total of 44 baseballs in
38 games. Here is a link to my blog that breaks down the autographs.

rock_pile_ranter.jpg

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PHOTO #10

SENT BY: Nelson Varona

AKA: “nelsonvarona”

LOCATION: Bronx, NY

IN HIS OWN WORDS: Shea Family Day at the picnic area…My daughter’s
name is Valentina. The ball was hit and it rolled toward her and she
grabbed it. The ball is in her left hand and you’re next to her. Her
first snagged and you signed it! Thanks Zack!

nelsonvarona.jpg

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PHOTO #11

SENT BY: Peter

AKA: “tigerssss”

AGE: 14

LOCATION: Ohio

IN HIS OWN WORDS: 2008 spring training game, Astros @ Blue Jays…two balls, and vernon wells’ game-used wristband.

tigerssss.jpg

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PHOTO #12

SENT BY: Joe (and Kym)

AKA: “milton157″

LOCATION: Long Island, NY

IN HIS OWN WORDS: only 2 balls, our first 2 that we got at yankee stadium during the last week of the 2008 season

milton157.jpg

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PHOTO #13

SENT BY: Mike G.

AKA: “nm_rockhound”

AGE: 27

LOCATION: Albuquerque, NM

IN HIS OWN WORDS: Only 5 balls and they’re all Pacific Coast
League balls that I’ve retrieved from Albuquerque Isotopes games from
the past 2 years.

nmrockhound27.jpg

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PHOTO #14

SENT BY: Bryan

AKA: “pittsburghballhawk”

AGE: 15

LOCATION: Pittsburgh, PA

IN HIS OWN WORDS: Here’s [one of my] favorite pictures of me and my
brother and…a legendary ballhawk from Pittsburgh…the baseball that
my brother Nick got is from Nate Mclouth and our friend got his ball
from Nate Mclouth too. My baseball is from a bullpen coach named Luis
Dorante.

pittsburghballhawk.jpg

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PHOTO #15

SENT BY: Clif

AKA: “goislanders4″

AGE: 14

LOCATION: Tenafly, NJ

IN HIS OWN WORDS: this was so hard to do. first, i had to get 4 bats to
make a square and then make an unstable mini pyramid. it was so
unstable that i had to wedge something into the front bat so it wouldnt
roll away (thats why a triangle of commemorative balls is in the front)
then i had to gently put both of your books on top which only made the
bat want to roll away even more. the pyramid collapsed a couple of
times. next, you have to remember that there is a big square hole in my
wall where my tv is. i had to wedge my camera in between the bottom of
the square in the wall and the bottom of the tv at a certain angle to
get the whole ball collection in the shot (and i couldnt get a glimpse
of the screen either). my camera is really delayed because its old so i
had to gently press the button to snap the shot, while making sure it
didnt fall out of its position. then i had to quickly sit down and make
an original clif messing around face. so it was tough but fun. and i
finally got it done!

goislanders4.jpg

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PHOTO #16

SENT BY: Gail

AKA: “gailquack”

LOCATION: Tenafly, NJ

IN HER OWN WORDS: I couldn’t get any good ones of me, so here are my
balls with my newest foster baby, Callie. She’s much more photogenic
than I am! She wouldn’t leave me alone when I tried to take a pic…so
I hope you don’t mind. These are my 15–since our game last september.
Callie wouldn’t let go of dirty #14,  which I got from Al Reyes at Shea
during BP on Sept 5 this year. Must be something about the mud (we
figured it was game used).

gailquack.jpg

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PHOTO #17

SENT BY: Gary Kowal

AKA: “gjk2212″

AGE: 17

LOCATION: New Jersey

gjk2212.jpg

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PHOTO #18

SENT BY: Michael

AKA: “pjpmc1″

AGE: 15

LOCATION: Florida

IN HIS OWN WORDS: In this photo is all the baseballs in my collection.
I have snagged 262 and all of them are pictured. the ones in my hand
are a yankee stadium commemorative and nationals park
commemorative. I have 30 game balls and the rest are Batting Practice.

pjpmc1.jpg

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PHOTO #19

SENT BY: Jere Smith

AKA: “jere80″

AGE: 33

ACTS LIKE: 14

BATS: L

THROWS: R

LOCATION: Providence, RI

BLOG: http://letsgosox.blogspot.com

IN HIS OWN WORDS: I’ve been trying to catch balls at baseball games
since I was a little kid. I’ve never managed to snag one in a game, but
I am proud of the six Major League baseballs I’ve managed to acquire in
batting practice. #1, 8/1/89, Twins at Yankees, Yankee Stadium: Twins
outfielder Randy Bush hits a rocket shot right at me. 13-year old me
reaches out and snags the liner on the fly, using my own glove, despite
that I was given a cheap plastic one, as it was Glove Day. # 2,
6/15/03, Astros at Red Sox, Fenway Park: A left-handed Astro hits a
hooking liner–it takes one hop and I look it into my bare hands. My
guess is it was Jose Vizcaino who hit it. I later find out on Zack’s
site that the “H” on the ball is not unique. #3, 5/14/04, Red Sox at
Blue Jays, (then) SkyDome: Brian Daubach hits a HR ball that bounces
off a woman and goes to me. I give it to her, but later she gives it
back to me. #4, 9/22/04, Orioles at Red Sox, Fenway Park: David Newhan
tosses a ball to me. #5, 9/25/07, Athletics at Red Sox, Fenway Park:
David Ortiz hits a HR ball into the bleacher seats–I am positioned
perfectly and snag it before anyone else. #6, 4/24/08, Angels at Red
Sox, Fenway Park: Mike Lowell (though on the disabled list at the time)
loops one into the stands, and I pick it up. In the picture the balls
are placed in chronological order from left to right (with 2 and 3
reversed, my mistake), except for the ball at far left, which is the
one ball my dad has caught in his life–an in-game foul ball pitched by
the Red Sox’ Ray Culp and hit by Frank Baker at Yankee Stadium in 1971.
It’s cool to see the “Mississippi Mud” on it. More details descriptions
of each snag can be found on my blog.

jere80.jpg

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PHOTO #20

SENT BY: Alex

AKA: “alco24″ 

IN HIS OWN WORDS: The Photo’s bats are as followed from top to bottom:
Mike Lowell, Brett Myers, Michel Hernandez, Johnny Damon, David Ortiz,
Brian Anderson, Willie Harris, Jody Gerut. In my left hand i am holding
the 2008 Game 4 Final Out ball WS, an ASG 08, Final Season Yankee.
Right hand is A. Phillips double from 8/4/07, Giambi game used ball
from 9/19/08 that is NOT commemorative, and a 2008 Nationals foul
tip. The ball in the lower right with the case next to it is a Mariano
Rivera signed game used baseball. Around

1,983 Professional Baseball autographs and around 1,765 MLB autographs.

alco24.jpg

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PHOTO #21

SENT BY: Brian

AKA: “puckcollector”

AGE: 14

LOCATION: New York

IN HIS OWN WORDS: The balls are from my entire snagging collection, and
111 balls are used to spell “PUCKCOLLECTOR”…And as for the balls in
the pic starting with the top left column; 2008 XM All-Star Futures
Game ball, Mariano Rivera auto, Joba Chamberlain auto, Chien-Ming Wang
auto, Nationals Park Inaugural Season Ball, and a Bobby Abreu auto.

Top Right Column:Yankee Stadium Final Season Ball, International League
(Triple A) 125 Anniversary Ball, Shea Stadium Final Season Ball, David
Price auto, and Price Fielder auto, and finally, my first ever ball
autographed by Pedro Borbon Jr.

puckcollector.jpg

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PHOTO #22

SENT BY: Ben

AKA: “sportzfreeka”

AGE: 15

LOCATION: Seattle, WA

IN HIS OWN WORDS: In this photo are all the balls flowing from this
basket I snagged at Safeco Field in Seattle, WA – 2008. The balls in
the background lined up are minor league balls. There are 22 balls in
this pic but one didn’t get in the picture. I officially started
snagging this year so these balls are my lifetime total and by
allotment of 2008.

sportzfreeka.jpg

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PHOTO #23

SENT BY: Jim

AKA: “utahsteeler17″

AGE: 40

LOCATION: Price, UT

IN HIS OWN WORDS: Here is a picture of my 12 baseballs that I have
snagged at Coors Field and Busch Stadium. They are proudly displayed in
my living room on top of my big screen TV. They make for a very
interesting conversation piece when people see them. I never came close
to ever getting a ball, even at minor league games until I began
faithfully reading your blog. You get all the credit with your tips and
stories. I thank you for making baseball even more enjoyable that it
already was for me.

utahsteeler17.jpg

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PHOTO #24

SENT BY: Rick

AKA: “LAsmog”

AGE: 42

LOCATION: California

BLOG: http://havingaballattheballpark.blogspot.com/
IN HIS OWN WORDS: This is a picture of me, my two oldest kids and the
22 balls we snagged this season, over 14 batting practices this season.
Not a whole lot, but much more than the two I got in 2007. Alina and
Tommy each had four balls thrown to them, and I snagged the 14 others.

lasmog.jpg

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PHOTO #25

SENT BY: Philly Guy Joe

AKA: “keekernd”
IN HIS OWN WORDS: Just one of those balls that you always will remember
where, when and how you obtained it…We were in Minnesota on vacation
visiting family this past July 4th holiday. We went to the Sunday
afternoon game between the Indians and the Twins, with Cliff Lee
pitching. Because of a Saturday night game the previous day and an
early start time, neither team took batting practice or fielding
practice that day. The only players even warming up that day were
Fausto Carmona and Sal Fassano throwing a bullpen session, with
Fausto’s interpreter and about 4 coaches. An hour before first pitch,
with the stadium still about 98% empty, C C Sabathia came out to right
field and began a soft toss session with his throwing partner. I knew
that C C Sabathia was on the trading block at this time and I stayed
along the right field line Indians bullpen all pregame waiting for him
to finish. Halfway through soft toss, even before the players started
cooling down by walking closer together and reducing their throwing
distance, a coach came up to C C and he stopped throwing.  What few
players were on the field for the Indians then started coming up to C C
out in right field. C C then walked down the right field line to the
Indians dugout. I knew what had just happened. I got C C’s throwing
partner to toss me the ball before he left the field, and I watched the
Twins hand Cliff Lee his first American League loss…all the while
knowing that the Indians had just traded C C Sabathia and I was
probably the only non MLB employee / media representative to know.

keekernd.jpg

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PHOTO #26

SENT BY: Matt Jackson

AKA: “sonicmaj”

AGE: 25

LOCATION: Irvine, CA

BLOG: http://bloggingboutbaseball.mlblogs.com/
IN HIS OWN WORDS: The photo is of me with my collection of 28
baseballs. 28 – that’s a lifetime total for me. I caught my 1st during
Angel Stadium BP when I was 21. I turned 25 this August. Thanks to you,
sir, I collected 19 of these baseballs in 2008! I started reading your
blog in July…in August and September I snagged 19 balls at 4
different stadiums (Angels, Dodgers, Padres, White Sox). Many thanks!

sonicmaj.jpg

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PHOTO #27

SENT BY: Greg

AKA: “gregorybarasch”

AGE: 19

LOCATION: New York, NY
IN HIS OWN WORDS: The balls in the pic are my lifetime total, minus my
foul balls and the ones I’ve given away. I’d say there are about 535
balls there (out of my 581 total).

gregorybarasch.jpg

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PHOTO #28

SENT BY: Erik

AKA: “333greystreet”

AGE: 28

LOCATION: 15 minutes outside Pittsburgh, PA

BLOG: http://countingbaseballs.mlblogs.com/

IN HIS OWN WORDS: There are 128 balls in the photo – all from 2008.

333greystreet.jpg

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PHOTO #29

SENT BY: Aaron Cheris

AKA: “acsport79″

LOCATION: Long Island, NY

IN HIS OWN WORDS: These are my balls from my all time best game – 7 Balls on 8/25/08 at Camden Yards.

acsport79.jpg

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PHOTO #30

SENT BY: Matt Hiett

AKA: “braves04″ (formerly “lsthrasher04″)

AGE: 22

LOCATION: Lithia Springs, GA
MYSPACE:
www.myspace.com/lsthrasher04
IN
HIS OWN WORDS: I formed a “30” as my lifetime total, since a few were
from last year.  All 30 aren’t in the photo as some were given away,
but the bottom of the zero features the lone Shea commemorative as well
as the two caught on the fly during BP.

braves04.jpg

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PHOTO #31

SENT BY: Anthony Herr

AKA: “chuck.herr”
AGE: 27
LOCATION: Barboursville, WV
AIM: crazychuck051503
IN HIS OWN WORDS: Top Left: This is an over view of my collection. Top
Right: In this pic you’ll see from top left to right a ball signed by
edinson volquez and johnny cueto, under that is one signed by jose
rijo. The in the forefront labeled hot pack is the bp home run ball I
caught from mike cameron in Cincinnati, beside it is a ball signed by
many current and former reds team members. In the row behind from left
to right one signed by gary majewski, next to it is one signed by josh
Hamilton, and another reds team ball. Bottom Right: The two balls in
front were purchased after my trip to yankee and shea this season,
behind them from right to left a ball signed by chris Dickerson, beside
it is signed by javier valentin, and the next one is signed by Ryan
freel. The left tower of balls were signed by bronson arroyo, homer
bailey, rob dibble and chris sabo. The right tower contains balls
signed by bill bray, dusty baker, Aaron harang, Todd benzinger, and Mr
perfect tom browning. The two balls next to those were signed by
brandon Phillips and eric davis. Most of these were signed either at
great American ballpark or in the winter at Redsfest. Bottom Left: The
ball in the case was signed last December at redsfest by future hall of
famer Ken Griffey Jr. They had stacks of OMLB balls waiting he picked
up the ball then signed and handed it to me. Behind it is a bp home run
ball hit by sammy Sosa when he was with the rangers.

chuck.herr.jpg

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PHOTO #32

SENT BY: David

AKA: “dgoldberg1313″

LOCATION: Toronto
IN HIS OWN WORDS: I don’t think I’ve made a post in a really long time,
but I constantly follow your blog, and if you remember I sent you an
email around a year or 2 ago. I’m the one from Toronto who caught
Delgado’s 3rd homer from the 4 HR night, and I have around 50 pairs of
batting gloves from players. Here’s my photo, its a picture of my best
signed balls sitting behing my best pairs of batting gloves.

dgoldberg1313.jpg

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PHOTO #33

SENT BY: Max Van Hollebeke

AKA: “joltinjoe9″
AGE: 15
LOCATION: Seattle, WA
IN HIS OWN WORDS: I (Max Van Hollebeke) am on the right and my 11yo brother (Luke Van Hollebeke) is on the left. We just learned about you at the end of the 07 season so we’re only rookies. My total for this season (which is my whole career) is 40. Only 38 balls are pictured. Luke’s total for this season (and his whole career) is 14. Every ball is pictured. He didn’t attend many games.

joltinjoe9.jpg

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And that’s it. If I got any of your personal info wrong, or it you want
me to add anything (like your last name or age, or whatever), just
leave a comment and let me know, or send me an email. Also, if you
don’t have a blog but you’re on Facebook or MySpace or Friendster (do
people still use that?) and you want to share your profile with
everyone, send me the link and I’ll stick it in the entry. For everyone
else who wishes they sent photos but didn’t get around to it…hang
onto them for now. There’s always next time.

Thanksgiving 2008

I’m giving you all an extra day or two to send me your photos. I’ve received 30 so far, and they’ll be in my next entry. In the meantime, here’s how my Thanksgiving went down…

I spent it with my parents and girlfriend (and roughly 20 other people) at the home of David Amram about 40 miles north of New York City. In the following four-part photograph, starting on the top left and going clockwise, you can see a) the initial gathering in the living room, b) the dining room all set to go with bowls of butternut squash soup, c) the heavenly desserts, and d) singing/strumming at the campfire:

thanksgiving_2008_collage_.jpg

Of course this Thanksgiving recap wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t share my traditional dinner plate photo. So here it is. Starting at the top middle of the plate and going clockwise, you’re looking at sweet potato with marshmallow topping, stuffing, cranberry sauce, turkey with gravy, ham, mashed potatoes, snow peas with some type of creamy bacon goodness, a corn muffin…and in the very center (to make myself feel all healthy) I had a few roasted brussels sprouts:

thanksgiving_2008_plate.jpg

Wow. I think I gained about five pounds, which means the day was a success.

In other news (for people who live north of the border), I did a taped radio interview the other day which is supposed to air this Sunday (Nov. 30) in Canada on the “Inside Sports” show on XFM 98.9.

That’s it for now. Get ready to see everyone’s baseballs in my next entry…

FINAL STATS — 2008

You asked for it.
You got it.
Here are my final ball-snagging stats from the 2008 season…

2008 TOTALS:
? 73 games attended (including two without batting practice)
? 13 stadiums
? 543 balls
? 7.4 balls per game
? Most balls at one game: 28
? Fewest balls at one game: 2
? 23 games with at least 10 balls
? 13 game balls (not counting game-used balls that get tossed into the crowd)
? 1 game ball every 5.6 games

BALLS BY MONTH:
? April — 94
? May — 31
? June — 94
? July — 51
? August — 138
? September — 131
? October — 4

BALLS BY SOURCE:
? Thrown — 299
? Hit — 140
? Glove trick — 97
? Found (aka “Easter eggs”) — 7

BALLS BY PORTION OF THE DAY:
? Batting practice — 399
? Pregame (not during BP) — 68
? During games (including thrown balls) — 45
? After games — 31

BALLS CAUGHT ON A FLY:
? During batting practice — 52
? During games — 11

BALLS BY STADIUM:
? Shea — 107
? Citizens Bank — 95
? Yankee — 90
? Camden — 48
? Coors — 38
? PETCO — 33
? Nationals — 28
? Champion — 27
? Dolphin — 27
? PNC — 16
? Dodger — 15
? Angel — 11
? Fenway — 8

SHEA STADIUM:
? 17 games attended
? 107 balls
? 6.3 balls per game

CITIZENS BANK PARK:
? 9 games attended
? 95 balls
? 10.6 balls per game

YANKEE STADIUM:
? 20 games attended
? 90 balls
? 4.5 balls per game

CAMDEN YARDS:
? 5 games attended
? 48 balls
? 9.6 balls per game

COORS FIELD:
? 5 games attended
? 38 balls
? 7.6 balls per game

PETCO PARK:
? 2 games attended
? 33 balls
? 16.5 balls per game

NATIONALS PARK:
? 1 game attended
? 28 balls
? Wow!

CHAMPION STADIUM:
? 3 games attended
? 27 balls
? 9 balls per game

DOLPHIN STADIUM:
? 4 games attended
? 27 balls
? 6.8 balls per game

PNC PARK:
? 2 games attended
? 16 balls
? 8 balls per game

DODGER STADIUM:
? 2 games attended
? 15 balls
? 7.5 balls per game

ANGEL STADIUM:
? 1 game attended
? 11 balls
? 1 cracked rib per game

FENWAY PARK:
? 2 games attended
? 8 balls
? 4 balls per game

NYC STADIUMS:
? 37 games attended
? 197 balls
? 5.3 balls per game

STADIUMS OUTSIDE OF NYC:
? 36 games attended
? 346 balls
? 9.6 balls per game

RECORDS:
? Most balls in one season: 543
? Most balls in two consecutive seasons: 859
? Most balls in one season outside of New York City: 346
? Most balls in one month: 138
? Most balls in one week: 70
? Most balls at one game: 28
? Most balls at two consecutive games: 38
? Most balls at three consecutive games: 48
? Most home run balls during games in one season: 5
? Most balls at one World Series game: 4

MILESTONES:
? 500th consecutive game with at least one ball — 4/9/08 at Shea Stadium
? 3,300th ball — thrown by a Mets coach on 4/9/08 at Shea Stadium
? 3,000th ball since my consecutive games streak began — thrown by Marlins coach Pierre Arsenault on 4/10/08 at Nationals Park
? 800th lifetime ball outside of NYC — tossed by a ballboy on 4/24/08 at Champion Stadium
? 100th ball of the season — retrieved with the glove trick on 5/21/08 at Yankee Stadium
? 100th lifetime ball at Citizens Bank Park — tossed by Phillies coach Ramon Henderson on 5/28/08
? 3,400th ball — thrown by Chad Bradford on 5/31/08 at Camden Yards
? 80th lifetime game with 10 or more balls — 6/2/08 at Citizens Bank Park
? 200th ball of the season — foul ball hit by Ben Francisco during the game on 6/19/08 at Coors Field
? 900th lifetime ball outside of NYC — thrown by Ramon Castro on 6/20/08 at Coors Field
? 3,500th ball — thrown by LaTroy Hawkins on 7/2/08 at Yankee Stadium
? 100th game ball since my consecutive games streak began — home run hit by Kevin Millar during the game on 7/28/08 at Yankee Stadium
? 120th lifetime game ball — foul ball hit by Tadahito Iguchi on 8/6/08 at Shea Stadium
? 300th ball of the season — retrieved with the glove trick on 8/9/08 at Shea Stadium
? 10th consecutive Watch with Zack game with at least two balls — 8/19/08 at Citizens Bank Park
? 3,600th ball — home run hit by a Nationals righty during batting practice on 8/19/08 at Citizens Bank Park
? 10th game ball of the season — hit by Brandon Backe on 8/23/08 at Shea Stadium
? 1,000th lifetime ball outside of NYC — home run hit by a Rangers lefty during batting practice on 8/30/08 at Angel Stadium
? 550th consecutive game with at least one ball — 8/31/08 at PETCO Park
? 400th ball of the season — tossed by Heath Bell on 8/31/08 at PETCO Park
? 90th lifetime game with 10 or more balls — 9/2/08 at Dodger Stadium
? 3,700th ball — tossed by umpire Jerry Meals on 9/2/08 at Dodger Stadium
? 20th game of the season with 10 or more balls — 9/11/08 at Camden Yards
? 500th ball of the season — thrown by Will Ohman on 9/22/08 at Citizens Bank Park
? 3,800th ball — thrown by Martin Prado on 9/24/08 at Citizens Bank Park
? 10th consecutive post-season game with at least one ball — Game 4 of the 2008 World Series

OTHER ITEMS COLLECTED:

? Blue Jays/Yankees lineup card on 4/2/08 at Yankee Stadium
? Blue Jays/Rays lineup card on 4/23/08 at Champion Stadium
? Heath Bell’s cap on 8/31/08 at PETCO Park
? Greg Norton’s bat on 9/24/08 at Citizens Bank Park
? Braves/Phillies lineup cards on 9/24/08 at Citizens Bank Park
? Wes Helms’ batting glove on 9/28/08 at Shea Stadium
? Jorge Cantu’s cap on 9/28/08 at Shea Stadium
? 20 autographs (not counting managers’ signatures on lineup cards): Matt Antonelli, Milton Bradley, Jamey Carroll, Scott Elarton, Jeff Francis, Edgar Gonzalez, Jason Grilli, Todd Helton, Ryan Howard, Mike Lincoln, Steve Pearce, Brandon Phillips, Jon Rauch, Tim Redding, Wandy Rodriguez, Adam Rosales, Benito Santiago, Greg Smith, Ryan Spilborghs, and Dave Trembley

ULTIMATE HIGHLIGHT:
? Catching the last home run ever hit by a Mets player at Shea Stadium. CLICK HERE for the video.

3816_last_mets_shea_homer2.jpg

LIFETIME TOTALS:
? 3,820 balls
? 124 game balls
? 1,087 balls outside of NYC
? 25 game balls outside of NYC
? 44 major league stadiums with at least one ball
? 1,006 players and coaches who’ve thrown balls to me (including 117 new ones this year)
? 751 games attended (approximation)

CURRENT STREAKS:
? 569 total consecutive games with at least one ball
? 338 consecutive Mets home games games with at least one ball
? 142 consecutive games outside of NYC with at least one ball
? 128 consecutive Yankees home games with at least one ball
? 61 consecutive Yankees home games with at least two balls
? 14 consecutive Watch With Zack games with at least two balls
? 11 consecutive seasons with at least 100 balls
? 10 consecutive seasons with at least one game ball
? 10 consecutive post-season games with at least one ball
? 5 consecutive seasons with at least 200 balls
? 4 consecutive World Series games with at least one ball
? 2 consecutive Home Run Derbies with at least three balls
? 2 consecutive seasons with at least 300 balls

TYPES OF BALLS:
? 2,090 major league
? 1,060 National League
? 523 American League
? 40 no-logo balls
? 31 blue training balls
? 27 from the 2005 All-Star Game
? 13 from the 2000 World Series
? 8 green training balls
? 6 from the 2008 All-Star Game
? 5 from the 2000 All-Star Game
? 4 from “Serie de los Expos de Montreal”
? 4 from the Pacific Coast League (snagged on 4/8/08 at Fenway Park)
? 3 from the 2001 World Series
? 3 from the 2002 All-Star Game
? 2 from the 2006 All-Star Game
? 1 from the Arizona Fall League (snagged on 5/14/07 at Shea Stadium)

BALLS BY YEAR (GAME BALLS IN PARENTHESES):
? 1990 —- 4
? 1991 —- 14
? 1992 —- 128 (9)
? 1993 —- 218 (14)
? 1994 —- 201 (6)
? 1995 —- 273 (8)
? 1996 —- 177 (5)
? 1997 —- 59
? 1998 —- 192
? 1999 —- 251 (7)
? 2000 —- 163 (6)
? 2001 —- 134 (5)
? 2003 —- 168 (4)
? 2004 —- 300 (10)
? 2005 —- 321 (10)
? 2006 —- 209 (9)
? 2007 —- 316 (13)
? 2008 —- 543 (13)

? Average season: 201 balls including 6.5 gamers

AVERAGE ATTENDANCE FOR GAMES I ATTENDED:
? 1990 —- n/a
? 1991 —- n/a
? 1992 —- n/a
? 1993 —- 25,061
? 1994 —- 25,044
? 1995 —- 21,111
? 1996 —- 19,675
? 1997 —- 21,409
? 1998 —- 26,949
? 1999 —- 30,116
? 2000 —- 29,524
? 2001 —- 26,678
? 2002 —- 34,421
? 2003 —- 28,407
? 2004 —- 28,094
? 2005 —- 34,075
? 2006 —- 36,885
? 2007 —- 42,154
? 2008 —- 40,934

? Average attendance of every game I’ve ever attended: 29,408

That’s it.
Now I want to hear from you.
Feel free to leave a comment and share your final stats with everyone.
(And don’t forget to send me your photos. You have four days left.)

PETCO Park TV interview

Remember when I was interviewed on 8/29/08 at PETCO Park? Well, the segment is finally up on YouTube:

In other news, I’ve started compiling my final stats for 2008, and I’ll be sharing them soon.

(Don’t forget to send me your photos by Thanksgiving.)

TV reel

I finally have a TV reel that I feel good about. I know it’s not perfect, but hopefully it’ll still get the job done. Check it out if you have a few minutes to spare…

…and don’t forget to send me your photos. I’ve received 11 so far, and I suspect there are a lot more on the way. I plan to share them in the order in which they are received, so if you want yours to be closer to the top, get moving.

Bill Clinton

I met Bill Clinton a couple days ago. He was at my family’s book store,
getting an early start on his holiday shopping. I got to shake his hand
and say a quick hello. That’s been the highlight of my week,
along with getting to hang out with an old college friend (who came to visit all the way from New Mexico and also got to meet the former prez).
I’ve also been working on putting together a TV reel, and I’ll share
that here on the blog when it’s ready. That’s about it for now. Just
wanted to check in. Don’t forget to send me your photos

Pyramid of baseballs

Way back in high school, when I had fewer friends and more free time, I decided to build a pyramid of baseballs. I knew I needed something around the bottom layer of balls–something to contain them so the whole thing wouldn’t collapse–so I built it in the narrow hallway outside my bedroom. The walls held the side edges of the pyramid in place, and I used other stuff to hold the front and back. It was pretty lame, and to make matters worse, I took just ONE photograph (with a non-digital camera), then scanned it way too small and eventually lost the original, so this is my ONLY surviving image:

early_lame_pyramid.jpg

Well, I built a new pyramid last week, and this is the story…

It started with a 14-block walk to Mike’s Lumber & Hardware on 88th Street between Broadway and West End Avenue. I was with my girlfriend Jona (who took the photo below) and my friend Brandon (who you might remember from earlier blog entries such as this and this and this):

pyramid1_street.jpg

I had decided that the best way to contain the bottom layer of balls was to build a wooden frame. That way I wouldn’t be a prisoner of the hallway or any other location, and I could make it as big as I wanted. How big? The bottom layer of my first pyramid was 13 x 13 (baseballs, that is) and I wanted this one to be bigger. I did the math, figured out how much space and how many balls it would take to make it 20 x 20 and decided to go for it. Naturally, I brought 20 balls with me to the lumber store and laid them out in a straight line so we could measure precisely and make sure to get the wood cut just right. Brandon took the photo below, and you can see Jona looking on:

pyramid2_hardware_store.jpg

I asked one of the guys in the store if this was the wackiest thing he had ever worked on for a customer. He told me that two giddy women had once come in and requested wood for a replica stripper pole. (Gotta love New York City.)

Anyway, we carried OUR wood back to my parents’ place (where I still keep most of my baseballs), and I began putting the frame together:

pyramid3_building_the_frame.jpg

Brandon was practicing his knuckleball grip while I was struggling…

pyramid4_building_the_frame.jpg

…and let me tell you, it WAS a struggle:

pyramid5_building_the_frame.jpg

(What can I say? Carpentry has never been a strength.)

We lined up the 20 balls to make sure they were going to fit…

pyramid6_building_the_frame.jpg

…before I screwed in the last of the L-brackets:

pyramid7_building_the_frame.jpg

Poor Brandon was tired and picked a beautiful place to nap:

pyramid8_building_the_frame.jpg

The frame was finally finished:

pyramid9_building_the_frame.jpg

Then came the fun part:

pyramid10_bottom_layer.jpg

Brandon helped me line up the balls into 20 neat rows of 20:

pyramid11_bottom_layer.jpg

Here’s another shot of us working on the bottom layer:

pyramid12_bottom_layer.jpg

Here’s Brandon taking a break to send a very important text message:

pyramid13_bottom_layer.jpg

The bottom layer was done, and Brandon insisted that I share this photo of it:

pyramid14_bottom_layer.jpg

It was time to work on the second layer:

pyramid15_second_layer.jpg

The dumping method was quicker:

pyramid16_second_layer.jpg

Then it was on to layer No. 3 (check out the Apple IIGS in the background):

pyramid17_third_layer.jpg

Jona helped for a bit…

pyramid18_construction.jpg

…and I kept at it:

pyramid19_construction.jpg

Here’s a shot of one side of the fast-growing structure:

pyramid20_construction_balls.jpg

I stopped to admire it when it reached 13 layers–the final height of my first pyramid:

pyramid21_construction.jpg

Finally, it was done:

pyramid22_zack.jpg

Brandon took lots of photos of me…

pyramid23_zack.jpg

…in different poses:

pyramid24_zack.jpg

(Okay, Brandon, you like the Padres. We get it…)

pyramid25_padres_cap.jpg

Brandon suggested that I break out my old summer ball jersey:

pyramid26_zack.jpg

The following photo was also his idea:

pyramid27_watching_baseball_smarter.jpg

How cool a batting tee would THIS be?

pyramid28_zack.jpg

Here’s a photo that makes the pyramid look really tall:

pyramid29.jpg

Here it is from above…

pyramid30_complete_from_above.jpg

…and here it is from below:

pyramid31_from_below.jpg

Eventually I took a bunch of photos with my own camera. Here’s one…

pyramid32.jpg

…and here’s another:

pyramid33.jpg

And that’s pretty much it.

Total number of baseballs used in this pyramid: 2,870.

Don’t forget to send me your photos.

OBAMA!

thank_god.jpg

PICTURED ABOVE: A photo I took after getting home from an election-night party.

PICTURED BELOW: A photo from the party during President-elect Obama’s victory speech. People (myself included) were crying tears of joy. It was (and will forever remain) one of the best moments of my life.

2008_election_night_party.jpg

To those of you who don’t like Obama…sorry for getting political, but I hope we can agree to disagree. More importantly, though, I hope (for everyone’s sake) that he ends up proving you wrong.   :-)

Send me your photos.

Let’s try something different here. I think it was my friend Leigh (aka “padreleigh” to those of you read the comments) who suggested it. Basically I want to post an entry with photos of my readers with their baseballs, but here’s the catch: I’m only going to post photos from people who have left comments on this blog. (If you haven’t commented yet, it’s not too late.) So…if you’re one of these people and you want to be included in this collection of collectors, go ahead and send me your best shot.

Here are a few guidelines:

1) Email your photo to zack@zackhample.com and put the word “PHOTO” in the subject.

2) Send one .jpg image only.

3) Tell me about the balls being shown in the photo. For example, are they from 2008 only? Or from an entire lifetime of snagging? Also let me know how many balls are in the photo.

4) Tell me your name (and blog nickname) along with your age and the city/state where you live.

5) If you have your own blog/site that you’d like people to check out, send me the URL and I’ll link to it.

I’m going to choose an arbitrary deadline…just because. So let’s make it Thanksgiving of 2008. That gives you a few weeks to think about it and gather your balls, as it were, and recruit someone with a nice camera to take your picture.

Cool?

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