6/9/09 at Camden Yards

You know it’s going to be a bad day when you’re waiting outside a stadium and there’s a middle-aged man wearing a cut-off T-shirt:

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See what I mean? Bad day. It went from bright-n-sunny at 4:30pm to dark-n-cloudy by the time the gates were set to open half an hour later:

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And sure enough, once again, I got screwed out of batting practice. This is what I saw when I ran inside the stadium:

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At least the Mariners came out and played catch in shallow left field:

4_mariners_playing_catch.jpg

(Did you notice the psychotic sky in the photo above?)

Here I am in the front row:

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I basically had the place to myself, but then of course it started drizzling, and then there was thunder and lightning, so the ushers kicked me (and the few other fans) out of the seating bowl. Somehow, apparently, it was perfectly safe for the players to stay on the field, but it was a life-and-death situation for everyone else.

Anyway, the ushers were nice enough to let me stand in the cross-aisle just underneath the overhang of the second deck. This was the view (from right behind my crinkly, circa-1995 Mariners cap):

6_zack_wanting_balls_from_afar.jpg

A couple players finished throwing and launched a ball over my head to the fans sitting above the aisle. In the photo below, you can see me turning and looking at it:

7_ball_thrown_over_zacks_head.jpg

Who was taking all these photos, you ask?

Hmm…

Another pair of players finished throwing and chucked their ball right to me. Sweeeet! The only problem was that I couldn’t figure out who threw it–mighta been Brandon Morrow–but that’s because I got THREE more balls within the next 60 seconds. It was nuts. There’d been a huge bolt of lightning right near the stadium and then it started pouring half a minute later, so all the players abandoned the field within a very small time frame. Felix Hernandez threw me my second ball of the day, and I have no idea who threw me the third. Here’s an action shot of that snag:

8_zack_catching_thrown_ball.jpg

I ended up giving that ball away to a kid, and I’m glad to report that the fourth ball came from David Aardsma. I’d been hoping to get one from him because of his last name, which is first alphabetically in the history of major league baseball. You know that long list I have of all the players and coaches who’ve thrown me balls? Now it really starts with a bang. (No offense to Jim Abbott.)

My friend Mike (the one who hooked me up with free parking on 6/3/09 at Nationals Park) showed up soon after, and we hung out for a bit and got pizza. Look how awesome the pizza is at Camden Yards:

9_camden_yards_pizza.jpg

(The ball is there for perspective. Without it, you might’ve thought that each slice was only three inches wide.)

This is the best food deal I’ve ever found in any stadium. You get ALL that pizza for $6.25, and yes, that’d be a ripoff in the real world, but as far as MLB concession stands are concerned, it’s great. (You can find this pizza stand behind third base on the field level concourse. Go there, eat some, and think of me.)

The highlight of the game was seeing a two-run homer overturned because of fan interference. Mariners left fielder Endy Chavez tried to make a leaping catch at the wall, and as soon as the ball skipped off his glove and landed in the front row, he protested. The umps huddled and then walked off the field and were gone for like 5 or 10 minutes (during which time, I would argue, the replay should have been shown on the Jumbotron), and when they returned, they called the batter out. Naturally the fans were pissed, but they got what they deserved.

The rest of the night was uneventful. I camped out in the standing-room-only section for lefties, ran around to left field whenever the switch-hitting Matt Wieters was batting right-handed, and played all other righies along the right field foul line. I didn’t get any more balls, but I did get a cool picture of the sky:

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And…uhh…that’s it.
Boring, boring, boring.
Ken Griffey Jr. was worthless.
Final score: Zack 4, Orioles 3, Mariners 1.
I haven’t been to a game with batting practice in TWENTY days.
That’s a ninth of the season!
Karma?

SNAGGING STATS:

• 4 balls at this game

• 197 balls in 26 games this season = 7.58 balls per game.

• 595 consecutive games with at least one ball

• 161 consecutive games outside of New York with at least one ball

• 4,017 total balls

CHARITY STATS:

• 107 donors (click here for more info and to make a pledge)

• $24.00 pledged per ball

• $96.00 raised at this game

• $4,728 raised this season for Pitch In For Baseball

20 Comments

Sorry about BP. Hopefully you will get it today. Good luck:-)

What’s going on with BP? Well, the weather is weird here (We’ve had one day in Denver in June that has not been overcast/raining). I say you take a trip to Arizona! Nice pictures too, those two of the sky are excellent and the guy with the cutoff shirt is hilarious.

Man 20 Games is Alot But im sure you can recover all that time. Wish you luck tonight with the weather. See ya around

go to lil caesars for the 5$ pep pizza,it will give you extra energy for snaggin.eat right before BP. Pics taken by the oriole bird?

Zack,
Nice job on snagging 4 balls at a non-BP game. I think I am going to sign up for that mygameballs site after all. Its just going to be a little time consuming putting in the back data.
Good luck with the rest of your Baltimore trip.

Erik
http://countingbaseballs.mlblogs.com

The rain is ticking me off too. My work softball games have been rained out two weeks in a row now. Even the make up games are getting rained out. And this is in Utah. It never rains here. The rain has got to stop!!!!

Nice recap! Those pics are actually pretty cool (especially the orange sky), and I’m going to guess Brandon took the photos? Isn’t that the guy’s name from LA last year? Anyway, 4 balls w/ no BP is not bad, but you’re gonna rebound soon. I stand by my 20 ball prediction from a previous entry. Go get ‘em!
Brian
http://txbaseballfan.mlblogs.com

That is an AMAZING picture of the red/orange sky.

Also, the replay of the homer wasnt shown because under MLB rules, teams are prohibited from showing replays of controversial plays.

I guess that dont want upset drunk fans running onto the field and hurting an ump

Zack- Sorry about the weather bro, eventually we will get some rain free days, hpefuly thats when my big stretch of games start. But hang in there, and heck your killing it without BP just wait till you got it. And it is a girl taking the pictures isn’t it? Tell us.

dhbball — Where have you been?! Haven’t heard from you in a while. Have you been able to get to any games in D.C. or anywhere this year?

Zack,

You need to come out here to the West Coast. It doesn’t rain haha. And you’re right, by the way. Dodger stadium does suck (for snagging). Otherwise, I love it. I hate the bleacher separation from the field. It’s like spring training. I’ve had a successful trip out here, for me. I’ve got 4 balls in 3 games, which is far and away better than my poor amateur status should allow for. By the way, the Dodgers played San Diego yesterday, so Heath Bell was there obviously, and I had been hanging out in right field, where I actually managed to glove trick a ball(sort of), and then started over to left field, where I see Heath sitting on the wall talking to fans in fair territory. Just chillin, in the crowd, surrounded by Dodgers fans. I make it over there, he didn’t seem to remember me from last week in San Diego, but I was of course wearing a Padres jersey, and he greeted me with a handshake. He was being Heath Bell, as always. Funny, nice, goofy. He was joking with some little kid about trying to give him a ball. He eventually did give him a ball, and he gave me one as well. What a great guy. He was saying how he just loves the game, and when the Padres have a Sunday day game, he’ll go home and watch Sunday night baseball. And you could even see it, as he’s like the only player intensely watching from the bullpen.

Anyway, that’s my dodger stadium/west coast story. Good luck in K.C. Remember the balls behind the wall.

Ben

“Who was taking all these photos, you ask?

Hmm…”

Building suspense I see…

Greg- I just got finished with my high school baseball season last Friday so I have only been to two games so far; one in Cincinnati vs the Cubs on Saturday. But I am traveling to San Francisco the first week of July for games there and possibly one down in LA. Then a few in between in Cincy and Pittsburgh. Then the first week of August I will be in Philly and New York. What about you its been forever?

who took the pictures??? i say a new girlfriend for zack…. or boyfriend…………just kidding….

Clif- Thats what i’m saying brother except i didn’t say boyfriend… but I mean its cool either way if thats what your about… just kidding too.

Yeah, not that there’s anything wrong with that. Haha

I finally snagged a game ball tonight in Atlanta. Freddy Sanchez fouled one off that deflected on to the cross aisle, where I usually sit with a friend and never get bothered by ushers. It’s a great location and knew I’d get one eventually by sitting there so much.
Derek Lowe had an autograph session for the Food Bank before the game. The only issue was that it was scheduled during Pirates BP, meaning I would need to leave the ticketed area and re-enter with another ticket. As it turned out, there was no BP due to weather. I ended up with a Derek Lowe autographed ball and snagged a game ball when I didn’t have high expectations. Now on to Cincinnati next week…

Greg is there something we should know. Haha kidding. And are you getting to any games soon?

Is your photographer someone that has taken many pictures for you in the past???? Maybe Jonah??

Just throwin it out there!

That post a few back said you would be at the Orioles game last night. Did you see Nick? Just curious! Read his post and you might figure out why I ask!

John
http://ballhawk.mlblogs.com

CUBBIES1945-
Thanks for feeling my pain.

CHARLIE-
The way things are going, I might have to MOVE to Arizona.

YANKEEKID-
Thanks.

TRACYCOLLINSBECKY-
The bird? Not quite. That friggin bird annoys me.

ERIK-
Cool, yeah, I think it’s a good idea to sign up, and the guy who runs the site might even help you get your old data in there.

GRAHAM-
Ouch. Sorry about that.

BRIAN-
Brandon IS the guy from California, but he wasn’t the one who took the pics.

PUCK COLLECTOR-
Yeah yeah, I know about that rule, but if the umps are allowed to see it, and if they’re obviously going to make the “right” call, then why can’t the fans see it too? Dumbness, I tell ya.

DHBBALL-
A girl? Oh yes.

BEN-
Thanks for the Heath Bell story. Great stuff.

CUBS0110-
I do what I can.

GOISLANDERS4-
Boyfriend?!

GREG123-
Thank you, Mister Tolerant. :-)

BRAVES04-
Nicely done with the gamer!

JOHN-
Nice guess, and yeah, I saw Nick.

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