4/19/11 at Camden Yards

It rained until 4pm.

Camden Yards opened an hour later, and this was the scene:

No batting practice.

Snoresville.

A fellow ballhawk from New York (who desperately needs to update his MyGameBalls.com profile) made an unexpected appearance at this game. His name is Alex, and in the following photo, we’re discussing our snagging strategies for the day:

(That’s me on the left in the Mauer shirt.)

Basically, we both wanted to snag as many baseballs as possible without getting in each other’s way, so we negotiated and planned to cover different parts of the stadium at different times.

Five minutes later, Alexi Casilla walked by while bouncing a ball on his bat, as if to taunt me:

My first ball of the day was thrown by Jose Mijares. Here it is sailing toward my waiting glove:

It was dead after that for a solid hour. The only action involved getting Matt Capps to sign my ticket. Here I am showing it to Jona’s camera…

…and here’s a closer look:

Did I mention that it was dead?

Seriously.

Boring.

B
O
R
I
N
G

There was absolutely nothing to do except sit there:

I decided to pass the time by blowing spit bubbles — a special skill that I picked up at sleep-away camp when I was 12 years old. Here’s one floating out of my mouth:

Jona is normally grossed out by the bubbles. In fact, she hates them so much that she typically responds with violence and abusive language, but things were different this time. Why? Because she had her fancy camera and was willing to take pics.

Here’s another bubble floating out of my mouth…

…and if you can’t spot it in the photo above, here’s a closer look:

Don’t ask me how to blow spit bubbles. When I was 12, I saw a camp counselor doing it, and when I begged him to teach me, all he said was, “It can be learned, but it can’t be taught.” (That’s deep.) Ever since, that’s been my answer whenever someone asks me.

Blowing spit bubbles for the camera made me crack up. That made Jona crack up. And then things just got silly:

Yeah.

Did I mention it was dead?

Shortly before game time, Matt Tolbert tossed me a ball…

…and then I was set to get another from Danny Valencia. Here he is about to throw it my way:

Here’s the ball flying toward me…

…and oh damn:

The ball went to Alex in the 10th row.

Good for Alex.
Bad for me.
It was one of those days.

During the game, I hung out in the standing-room-only section for all the left-handed hitters. Tim Anderson, a Camden Yards regular, joined me for Jim Thome’s at-bats. He normally sits in left field, and in the following photo, he’s pointing out his exact spot:

Thome, sitting on 590 career home runs, went 0-for-2 with a walk and a strikeout before being lifted for a pinch hitter in the 8th inning. Meanwhile, Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer didn’t even play. From a ballhawking standpoint, it was a total waste of time.

Here’s a random photo that Jona took during the game (the Orioles won, 11-0)…

…and here I am showing how I felt about having snagged just two baseballs:

On a positive note, this was the 200th consecutive game at which I’d snagged at least two balls — a streak that dates back to the 2007 All-Star Game.

Finally, since it’s now 4/20 as I sit here blogging, I’ll leave you with this:

Really, Orioles?

BALLHAWKING STATS:

• 2 balls at this game (one pictured on the right because I gave one away)

• 97 balls in 13 games this season = 7.46 balls per game.

• 674 consecutive games with at least one ball

• 200 consecutive games with at least two balls

• 4,759 total balls

CHARITY STATS:

(I’m raising money again this season for Pitch In For Baseball, a non-profit charity that provides baseball equipment to underprivileged kids all over the world. Click here to learn more.)

• 36 donors

• $5.74 pledged per ball (if you add up all the pledges)

• $11.48 raised at this game

• $556.78 raised this season

7 Comments

Weed and lemonade……what a combination.
-Matt

Zack,

great seeing you in philly Friday. Only 2 balls at Camden? Even with rain that seems low for you. Hope your friends enjoyed philly. Getting my Dback helmet ready for Citifield.

Brendan

Hey it’s Darron from STL I still read this Blog constantly even though I have not snagged a ball in awhile last time I did though got 5 from the Pirates last year. This marks the first post with no blacklight photo this year :( .

I love your face in the last photo. haha.

Zack,

I just wanted to say that I picked up a copy of your book today and hopefully I’ll get to start reading it soon. I will let you know how I liked it after I’m done. If you end up coming out to U.S. Cellular Field for a few games this season let me know as I would love to meet up during a game and have you sign my copy of the book as well as see you in action.

Good luck with the rest of the season,
Eric W.

Also, I saw on your Twitter that you were thinking about going to Kauffman on Sep 3-4. You may want to reconsider because that Saturday is Joakim Soria bobblehead night. There’s sure to be a ton of people early to get that. If you ask me, that last homestand (9/13-21) looks pretty darn appealing for ballhawking.

Garrett

MATT-
Ha, you like that, huh?

HELMET GUY BRENDAN-
Great seeing you too. How’d you end up doing at Citi? I guess I’ll hear about it after I post my entry…

DARRON-
It’s good to hear from you again. Glad to know you’re still keeping up with the blog. Thanks!

GARRETT MEYER-
I have to say…that photo even made ME laugh. As for the Bobblehead…crap! Thanks for letting me know, but at this point, since the whole trip is mapped out already, it might be hard to switch dates/cities. Hmm.

ERIC W-
Thanks for letting me know. I hope you enjoy it. And as for U.S. Cellular Field, I’m looking at September 9th, although it’s not confirmed yet. Check back with me closer to the date, and I’ll let you know.

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