6/11/11 at Coors Field

I started the day with a season total of 399 balls. My first snag, therefore, a toss-up from Rockies pitcher Juan Nicasio, was somewhat of a milestone. Here I am with it in the left field seats:

Yes, eight days after spraining my ankle, I was still on crutches.

My second ball was tossed by a random guy who looked like a strength/conditioning coach. In the following photo, the red arrow is pointing at him:

The brief story behind that ball is that lots of fans had been calling out to him, and he’d ignored everyone. At one point, when he jogged near me to retrieve one from the warning track, I asked, “Is there any chance that you could toss that ball to me, please? Are you even allowed?” As soon as he heard the word “allowed,” he turned and flung it to me.

Ball No. 3 was tossed by Dodgers outfielder Trent Oeltjen. Nothing fancy about it. It rolled to the wall. He jogged over. I asked him for it. He saw me standing there with crutches and hooked me up. Soon after, I gave that ball to kid who hadn’t yet snagged one.

Do you remember the photo of me with Marc Stout from my previous entry? Marc, you might recall, is a reporter with Root Sports, and we’d planned to do a brief interview during BP. Understandably, he didn’t want me wearing Dodgers gear on camera, so when he found me in the left field seats, I quickly threw on my Rockies cap — and BAM, the interview quickly got underway. Here’s a photo that was taken (by Nettie Wood) in the middle of it:

Did you notice what Marc was holding in his left hand? Here’s a hint.

Among the many topics that we discussed rapid-fire, we covered my baseball collection and my books and my trip to the Rawlings baseball factory. I must admit that I was a bit distracted during the interview because we were right there in Home Run Land; I had to keep one eye on the field so that we wouldn’t get drilled by a baseball. Once we finished, Marc told me that the interview was going to air the following day during the Rockies’ pre-game show. (Did anyone happen to see it?)

After Marc took off, I got a visit from this guy:

Does he look familiar? His name is Pat Graham, and he writes for the Associated Press. He and I spent a good chunk of time together on 6/17/08 and 6/18/08 at Coors Field, after which he wrote this huge article about me. He’s super-nice, and it was great catching up with him.

Batting practice was still in progress, and I snagged two more balls. The first was tossed by Chad Billingsley and had a huge gash in it…

…and the second was a Juan Uribe homer that I caught on the fly. I had to hop about five feet to my left in order to get in line with it. Once I was there, the catch itself was easy.

After BP, I caught up with a guy named Mike who’d brought his copy of The Baseball. Here we are with it just after I signed it for him:

Mike (who snagged three balls during BP and skinned his knee) might also look familiar. Check out the first photo in my entry from 8/11/10 at Citi Field.

The game got underway at 6:10pm.

Here’s a random photo of the scoreboard that I took in the top of the 3rd inning:

Here’s a photo of Danny and Nettie Wood:

(Nice seats, huh?)

These are the folks that I’m staying with here in Denver. Not only are they great friends, but they’ve effectively become my host-parents — and on this particular trip (with my particularly screwed up ankle), they’ve taken extra-special care of me.

After the final out of the Dodgers’ 11-7 win, I went here:

My goal was to get a ball thrown to me by one of the Dodgers’ relievers as they exited the bullpen, and that’s exactly what happened — sort of. Mike MacDougal finally looked up after I shouted his name half a dozen times…and he threw a ball to me…but it sailed five feet over my head…and was caught by another fan…who then offered it to me. I declined. And I was pissed. But that’s just how it goes.

BALLHAWKING STATS:

• 5 baseballs at this game (four pictured here because I gave one away)

• 404 balls in 49 games this season = 8.24 balls per game.

• 710 consecutive games with at least one ball

• 236 consecutive games with at least two balls

• 5,066 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.)

• 52 donors

• $6.94 pledged per ball (if you add up all the pledges)

• $34.70 raised at this game

• $2,803.76 raised this season

All four baseballs have invisible ink stamps, or at least traces of invisible ink. Check out the following comparison in regular light versus black light:

Now check out what I did after photographing those baseballs:

What fun.

19 Comments

Man your “injury” isn’t even that bad, stop being a drama queen and using it to get balls. No one wants to see pictures of your feet anyway and if they do their idiots.

Hey there Zack, I can’t believe people keep complaining zbout the ankle injury, it’s kinda ridiculous that they accuse you of “using it”

I’ve been reading your blog since April 25th to be exact haha, and now I check it more than my email >.<
I just really enjoy it.
Keep it up and good luck on your quest to 1,000 on the season.

I’m loling at everybody acusing Zack of using his injury to get balls. He doesn’t need crutches to do that, lol.

As I began to read the comment posted by “the boss” AKA “the jealous idiot”, I was waiting for a “Haha. Just joking.” But alas, it never came. I can’t believe people would think you would hop around and use crutches just to get baseballs. Being injured actually hurts your chances of getting baseballs, not increases them. If you were able to run around like normal you’d be putting up just as big numbers, if not bigger, than you are now from using the sympathy card. UN-BE-LIEVABLE. (Get well soon from your “fake” injury.)
-Matt

I got a baseball from that same dude that you got one from. The bald black dude. I couldnt regonize hime and I spent an hour after the game trying to figure out who he was. Anyway, I was the first one in and a ball had rolled to the fence. I gave him an upnod and asked him for the baseball. He kind of nodded to me and then shook his hand at me as if saying, “get your glove ready” and then he tossed it to me.

Awesome stuff. See you tomorrow!

-Wayne

could be worse zack… id kill to go to a 4 game series @ Coors Field.. lol. ive only tacked off 5 of the 30 stadiums so far

You need to purchase a heating pad, leave it on over night at an elevated position. Severally sprained my ankle 8 years ago playing soccer.

And for the people calling him a pussy, remember sprains are often much worse feeling than breaks.

I beg to differ my bro matt huddleston. I’m not a “jealous idiot” as some guy suggested, but you people are just mean (and stupid). At least read a blog about actual baseball instead of some guy catching baseballs.

Props to Danny for his sweet Trap-Eze. Excellent!

BOSS-
Nice.

GB-
Thanks very much.

BLUE JAYS FAN-
You nailed it. Awesome comment.

MATT-
Okay, fine, I’ll stop faking my injury. In fact, I’m gonna do a backflip as I enter Safeco Field tomorrow.

WAYNE-
Cool to know that he hooked us both up. See you very soon. Looking forward…

CHRIS H-
Yeah, I know. Good luck hitting up more stadiums soon.

SCOTT O’DONOVAN-
Thanks for defending me and for the advice. Not sure how soon I’ll be able to find a heating pad on this trip, so for now I’ll keep icing and elevating and trying to stay off it as much as possible.

TODD-
Ha, good call.

LEFT ANKLE-
You suck.

I hate nagging injuries, the year I ballhawked was filled with them. Who cares whether or not some people think you are milking it? If they read the blog with any consistency, they would see that being injured does nothing for you except harm your stats.

Any plans on getting to Miller Park this year? I go in a couple of weeks on my annual trip to see the Twins play there and spend a little drinking time with Happy.

I haven’t been on a plane in 10 years but I am thinking about trying it again. I spent $140 in gas on my last KC trip and there are plenty of $98 flights there on Priceline. Flying would save time and money.

True that. And as for MIller Park, hell yeah. Probably in September. I love that stadium so much. My god, there are so many people out there who bitch about their home stadiums, and they have no idea how good they have it. All these people should come to New York and spend a week at Citi Field and Yankee Stadium. They might not pity me for my (fake) ankle injury, but they’d truly feel sorry for me (as fellow baseball fans) for having to put up with those places on a consistent basis. Anyway, take a flight. Go for it. You’ll be fine. Don’t be a baby (like I’m being about my fake injury, evidently).

Congrats on number 400. That is all I can think about saying.-The Ranger Fan

biggestrangerfan.mlblogs.com

Hack Zample

Hey big glove bob, why the hell would I read the blog with consistency. I hate to break it to ya but reading about some guy catching baseballs isnt too interesting. This guy needs a job.

its so hard to catch that many balls lol sorry about yer foot zach i would love to go to alot of games like you do but i have to relie on the pirates to get base balls which there isnt alot of room any advice would be good form any one an zach you should come to pittsburg on the 24th of this month the redsoxs are in town

The Boss, how many books have you written? Last time I checked being an author is a job.

Boss the only one being stupid or mean (according to your own words) is you. Name calling, really? All your proving to the rest of us is how childish you are. I guess the real reason you don’t have an email associated with your name is that you know that you would get eaten alive.

Hey Z,
Nice meeting you at the game. Always a good time at Coors Field, just wish the team would start winning. Will have to get your book and have Dan sign it next time I see him…..and you next time you’re in The Mile High City :)

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