30 stadiums in 2011

As many of you already know, I’m planning to visit all 30 major league stadiums this season — and while I’m at it, I’m gonna try to snag 1,000 baseballs. Just for fun. And, you know, for charity.

I’ve already been to 11 stadiums this season (Yankee Stadium, Camden Yards, Citi Field, Citizens Bank Park, Rangers Ballpark, Minute Maid Park, Nationals Park, Rogers Centre, Coors Field, Safeco Field, and Fenway Park). That leaves 19 more, and here’s my itinerary:

Chase Field — July 11-12 (HR Derby [courtesy of State Farm] and the All-Star Game)
Tropicana Field — August 2-3 (I might be filmed during BP for a local news station)
Sun Life Stadium — August 4-5 (Jona will join me at both Florida stadiums.)
Progressive Field — August 22 (“Watch With Zack” game with a family from Seattle)
PNC Park — August 23-24 (another “Watch With Zack” game with them on the 23rd)
Dodger Stadium — August 29 (big road trip starts here with my friend Brandon)
Chase Field — August 30-31 (yes, Chase Field again ’cause Brandon really wants to go)
O.co Coliseum — September 2 (this is the new name of the Oakland Coliseum…yeesh)
AT&T Park — September 3 (wish I could spend one month in SF instead of one day)
Angel Stadium — September 5 (I’ll try not to crack a rib this time, as I did on 8/30/08)
PETCO Park — September 6 (Heath Bell for President! But will he still be a Padre then?)
U.S. Cellular Field — September 8 (hoping Alex Rios will finally sign my 5,000th ball)
Miller Park — September 9 (hoping the Happy Youngster will take me back to Kopp’s)
Comerica Park – September 10 (Brandon wants to see Blink 182 on September 11th)
Great American Ball Park – September 12 (nice place overall; tough for ballhawking)
Turner Field – September 13-14 (my birthday is on the 14th so it better not rain)
Wrigley Field – September 16 (tempted to spend the game out on Waveland Avenue)
Target Field – September 17-18 (I wonder if any Target Field balls will still be in use)
Kauffman Stadium – September 20 (UPDATE: Gates now open 90 minutes early.)
Busch Stadium – September 21 (final game of the road trip with Brandon…phew!)

The road trip was initially going to start earlier and last longer and cover even more stadiums, so if I emailed you any dates earlier in the season, please note that they might have changed. That said, if you live near any of these stadiums, please come and find me and introduce yourself (if we haven’t met) and bring your copies of my books so I can sign them for you. Since people often ask, the best times to meet are (a) outside the stadium before the gates open, (b) behind the visiting team’s dugout right after batting practice, and (c) after the game at one of the dugouts, probably that of the visiting team. Although I’m happy to meet anyone at anytime and say a quick hello, I generally prefer to wander and focus and do my own thing during BP and the game itself. I hope that’s okay. If you’re wondering how I plan to get tickets, that’s easy: with just a few exceptions, I’m going to buy cheap seats on the day of the game. And if you’re wondering how the hell I can afford to do all of this in the first place, that’s also easy (but maybe not quite as easy): I have some money saved up and travel very cheaply, often crashing with friends so I can avoid hotels. Anyway, hope to see/meet lots of you in the coming months…

***UPDATE***
I got screwed by Hurricane Irene and can’t make it to Los Angeles until late at night on Tuesday, August 30th. As a result, I’m going to attend the 12:10pm game at Dodger Stadium on August 31st and skip Chase Field. <frowny face> Everything else will hopefully proceed as originally planned.

49 Comments

Sounds like a fun, time Zack. Will you have to like touch a wall at Wrigley to count it as a stadium? Please don’t crack a rib because an it’ll be two injuries. And Gustavo is still in the minors and has not pitched in the MLB since October 3, 2010. Working on going to the Ranger game 7/22.

How did you manage the HR Derby and All Star Game?
Just a reccomendation for Oakland, the Plaza Reserved is the cheapest section and it does have its own entrance and despite the fact they are only $9 ($9!), once you enter the section, you can’t go to any other place in the stadium. Bad for ballhawking. I personally would sugest $13 bleacher seats. They are general admission so you can sit anywhere in the bleachers. Hope this somewhat helps.

Zack, I can’t remember, do you consider the HR Derby a game?

Zack when you go to Great American there are two ways you can get in before the gates open. 1. If you find someone who has season tickets then you can get into Right field thirty minutes before anyone else. 2. There is I think its called a BP tour and if you pay i think $15 you can get in at 4:30 right at the beginning of batting practice. I hope this helps you.

Hi Zack – Just got back from St L & KC (lifetime stadiums 21 & 22). StL wasn’t happy w/ball retriever, but let me keep it & the ball as long as I convinced him I’d give it to a kid w/a glove. In KC, I got the ‘Early Bird’ Tour for $10, got in at 4:45pm for a 7pm game, took a tour of the KC HOF, then got to go behind the KC dugout until 6pm (60 min of game time & we were the ONLY people in the park), but our guide was awesome & if we saw a ball go into the stands, we could chase it down as long as we came back to the dugout. I got 3 during this time (two toss ups as we walked) & there were even two other guys there.

You may be in luck when you come to Kansas City because I heard that early bird tour is mostly offered on Tuesdays. I’ve heard mixed results about how many extra balls it gets you but I’d say it is definitely worth the $10. If anything, you just get to be in the stadium for longer! Plus the tour takes you to the Royals Hall of Fame in left field, which is pretty cool. They have a small exhibit on the evolution of the baseball. I look forward to seeing you!

Garrett

Cool, Zack! I hope to see you while you’re out here in SoCal.

Sounds like a great trip! I hope that I can see you in either Los Angeles or Anaheim. I also thought that you might want a heads up on Dodgers Stadium this season. After the Bryan Stow incident there has been a lot more security, in fact, there has been a guard with a loaded gun in almost every single aisle at different points throughout the game. They are even more strict than before (this is saying a lot, as they were already really strict). I wouldn’t plan on a big day at Chavez Ravine, but hopefully you can suprise the world.
Good Luck,
Sam

Good advice from the Alex about Great American. Also: Depending if you wanna go in right field or left field for batting practice, switching between one another can be difficult. Since you plan on going to a Cubs night game, it could get packed. But based on how they’re playing, it might not be.

Hey Zack,
I used to comment on here as “JoshsCards”. I collect signed cards but also snag a little bit. My home stadium is SunLife (live about 45min away) and I go there 12-15 times a year. They DO allow drawstring backpacks. I dont know about real ones. I’d love to meet you (I have twice before) and get my copy of your book signed. I’ll give you more tips as it gets closer.
All the best

Interesting to see the names of all of the MLB complexes listed. There are 11 that are named “Park”, 10 named “Field”, 6 with the name “Stadium”, and 1 each for “Yards”, “Centre”, and “Coliseum”.

Rogers Centre and O.co Coliseum are both just different places – multi-purpose sport complexes. Camden Yards is likely your favorite regular MLB place to ballhawk – no?

On average, which would you rate as the top group of MLB locations to ballhawk – the group with the name Park, Field, or Stadium?

forget Kopp’s get him to take you to Leon’s

Zack,
GOOD luck getting Alex Rios autograph. In five years of Blue Jays Spring Training. I never got him, he pretty much walked right through me when I approached him on his way to a back field in Dunedin, you might want to get a VIP pass or something to get close to him

Good Luck,

Evan

i live about an hour and a half away from Tropicana field. You’re not allowed to stand in the front row,unless you have a ticket for the front row. I hoped i saved you some trouble. Best of luck!

Wow – lots of baseball and fun on the horizon for you. Sounds like an amazing trip.

Zack,

Love your blog. Gonna try and catch you at one of your two Chicago stops. Both are bad days for me but Sept 8th is best bet.

~Russel

Hey r u gonna b at yankee stadium tomoro (6/26/11)

Zack,
Hey I’m definetly trying to go to the San Francisco date maybe even the Oakland game, but I do hate the stadium. While you are there in the Bay Area, you have to go to a restaurant located in Walnut Creek. Its maybe 45 minutes from Oakland. The restaurant is named after one of the greatest San Francisco Giants ever. It’s called McCovey’s. They have a ton of baseball memorabilia there. Every table is named after a baseball player and the restaurant is designed like AT&T Park. It even has the Bricks in Right Field. Whenever you buy tickets to that game, give me a heads up as to what section you are in. Maybe we cross paths during BP.
Take Care,
Kyle Briggs

Zack,

I have two free tickets for you for the September 8th White Sox game if you need them…

Dennis

I would have to disagree with Sam about Dodger Stadium. I was there last month and there certainly is a noticeable increase in security, but they aren’t there to control ballhawks. I doubt they will interfere with your game.

Garrett (KC)

also with tropicana field Mon-Thursday gates open 2 hours before first pitch, but they keep you confined to the concourse where the restraunts and gift shops are for the first 30-40 minutes that your in there. You can’t even see the field or players, all you have is is about a 8 foot opening behind the outfield wall in left center field but ive never seen a ball hit or bounce over it when I go. Its one of the stupidest things they do, also like the comment above said your not allowed in the front row of the outfield during batting practice unless you have a ticket for it, and there pretty strict about it too. Also be careful behind the visitors dugout if you try to sit there duing the game and dont have a ticket, i know of a short white haired who checks every ticket right before the game starts and even during it she will come down and ask for your ticket, ive been kicked out by her before a good amount including a few times this year, so id try to avoid her if possible, the other ushers are pretty good though.

Hope this helps you a little,

Mike from Orlando

Hey Zack….

That’s quite a schedule. Very envious. Cheap tickets and crashing at friend’s pads are always the way to go. The dollar menu too. Airline tickets are the killer. They never seem to be cheap. I’m guessing your latest book must be selling pretty well? Any news on it’s ranking? I’d like to see a blog entry sometime on the media aspect of your travels. Like, how you go about setting up interviews and how you set up being filmed at the different stadiums, etc. That stuff has always fascinated me. Maybe give a “behind the scenes look”? Do you personally call them? Does your publisher? Does your publicist? I think alot of people would get a kick out of that. What do you think?

Hey its Darron from STL will see you September 21st in STL. Even though I gave up on the ball hawking late last year ending my ballhawking with 6 balls in one game. I will look and see if I can find some of the fan appreciation tickets which is a free ticket way at the top. Not that hard to roam around though at Busch Stadium becuase there is a lot of standing room only spots all the way around the park.

MLBLOGSBIGGESTRANGERFAN-
No touching necessary. Just snagging, and yes, I’ll try extra hard to stay safe and injury-free. Thanks for the Gustavo update.

NICHOLAS-
The Home Run Derby isn’t a done deal yet. Someone might be sending me there on an “all-expenses paid” trip, and I’m still working out the details. It could be finalized as early as tomorrow. Thanks for the tips on Oakland.

AUTOCOLLECTOR-
Yeah, I do, so my consecutive games streak will be on the line. (Of course, if I get shut out, I could still say that I’ve snagged baseballs at X-number of consecutive “regular-season” games. Hopefully I won’t have to GO there.)

ALEX-
It’s very helpful. Thanks!

TODD A-
Whoa, I didn’t know about the tour in KC. Thanks for letting me know. I’m totally gonna do that.

GARRETT-
Sweet! And you’re coming to BallhawkFest at Camden Yards on July 23rd? Looking forward to seeing you a few times this summer.

MATT JACKSON-
Same here. Let’s make it happen.

SAM-
Yikes. Thanks for the heads-up. That sounds awful.

REDSFAN16-
I always try to avoid seeing the Cubs, Red Sox, and Yankees on the road, but sometimes they’re impossible to avoid.

SOFLAMETSFAN-
Oh, hey! I remember your old handle on here. I know that drawstring backpacks are allowed, but that’s still lame. I’m talking about real ones. See what you can find out about that, okay? I’d love to know ahead of time what kind of bag I’ll need to bring on that trip. Definitely bring the book. I’ll bring a blue ball-point pen. :-)

FRED S-
Hmm, interesting. It’s hard to say, but I think “Fields” and “Parks” are better than the “Stadiums.” Progressive Field, Turner Field…Rangers Ballpark, AT&T Park. I don’t know. Camden is one of my favorites, but Rangers Ballpark is rather incredible. If I had to choose one of the two as my permanent stadium, I’d go for Rangers Ballpark. There’s much more snagging variety there, and it opens an extra half-hour early. (But it does lack cross-aisles.)

VERBYN-
What? You have to say more than that. Don’t leave me hanging/wondering…

EVAN-
I’m actually talking to someone with the White Sox about *possibly* setting up a meeting/signing with Rios. I’d say it’s a major long shot at this point, but I did get an encouraging email back from this person, so we’ll see…

WHITESOXFAN-
Thanks for letting me know. I heard about that rule once before, and it sounds awful.

TODD-
Amen, brotha.

RUSSEL-
Thanks. Hope you can make it to one of those games.

YOSSI-
Today is “Old Timers Day” in the Bronx…so no. There aren’t many days/games that I’d rather avoid.

KYLE BRIGGS-
McCovey’s, huh? I’ll see if I have time to hit it up. Sounds amazing. As for tickets, it’d be good if you can ask me several days beforehand — in case I forget. Since that stadium is packed every day, I plan to get tickets on StubHub in advance.

DENNIS-
Wow, thanks. I don’t suppose they’re 100-Level tickets, are they? That’s one of the few stadiums where I’ll actually need to get “good” tickets because of the super-strict policy for BP.

MIKE-
Man, that stadium sounds awful. I’ve only been there for one game back in 2000, and I remember being completely annoyed the whole time. Seems like things haven’t changed.

LEIGH-
I just checked. As of this moment, it’s the 5,402nd bestselling book on Amazon, which is actually very good. (Think how many books there are in the world.) And it’s the 21st bestselling baseball book — also good. As for all the media stuff, I’m not so sure I’d want to do a whole entry on that. Sometimes I’ll just call up the team and tell them who I am. Sometimes a media person will randomly find me and tell me that they want to interview me. (This happens a lot.) Sometimes my publisher will play a role somehow. It really all depends.

DARRON-
Cool. Hope to see you then/there. Can’t believe you gave up on ballhawking, though, but hey, that’ll be less competition for me. :-)

Zack, I got your Trent comment from Fenway. I saw a few homers hit to center a few days ago and I didn’t see him. Hopefully he’ll be there when I go so me, him, and Clyde can battle. Also at The Ballpark the corner spot in right field is open to anyone all throughout BP. I know you ain’t going back this year but I just felt I needed to tell you. Can’t wait for 2012 to come so you can come back. Also(sorry I keep talking)some innings Neftali Feliz goes out to warm up the rightfielder and he always throws the ball into the stands. Just call out his nickname-”Nefty”-and he’ll flip it up to you.

Also, what are you gonna do between Chase and The Trop? Are you gonna go to Citi and Yankee or random stadiums?

At Angel Stadium, how will you get down whims the dugouts with cheap seat tix?

Thanks to your blog and books I was able to catch my first game ball earlier this season in Anaheim! My advice for there would be to try to get a seat in the diamond level behind the plate (I paid $70 on stubhub) and wait on the concourse by the restaurant tables (tons of room to run around and the ushers don’t mind!). I had about half a dozen great chances at the game I went to, and ended up getting a ball in the top of the 9th.

I’m going to try to meet up with you at Dodger Stadium on 8/29. Don’t buy seats in the outfield, I don’t think they let fans into other parts of the stadium if you sit out there.

I hope this trip leads to a new book with tips for snagging balls at each stadium. I know I’d buy it!

Just got back from Miller Park. That place is actually pretty tough to ballhawk in. I did get to have a few drinks and some great conversation with Happy and made my first visit to Kopps. Those burgers were insane. I had a hot fudge custard malt that I am still tasting.

Let me know if you need me to pick you up at the airport again this time in Minnesota.

Big Glove Bob

While you’re in Miami, have you considered stopping by and taking some photos of the new Marlins ballpark?

What is the deal with BallhawkFest? I’ve heard about it but I don’t know what it’s about. I like your reply to Fred S.’s comment. Rangers Ballpark is awesome. But then again, I’m a Ranger fan and love the place.

Are you planning on going to the Futures Game/Celebrity Softball Game on July 10th as well as the HRD on the 11th? I only ask because I may have an extra ticket.

if you’re worried about the front row of outfield at the trop let me know. I got a friend who has season tickets for the front row and knows about you already (he’s also a ballhawk). I’m an autograph collector so I’ll make sure to give heads up to the regulars behind visiting dugout to help you out. Just let me know what you’ll need in St. Pete

BIGGEST RANGER FAN-
Cool, good to know about Feliz and the corner spot. Hope you get to see Trent and Clyde. If you do, tell them I say “w’sup.” As for the second half of July, I’ll be going to plenty of games, but they’ll all be on the east coast and within driving distance. As for BallhawkFest, it’s basically a huge gathering of ballhawks from all over the country that’s going to take place at Camden Yards on July 23rd. Alan Schuster, the guy who runs MyGameBalls.com, is organizing the whole thing, and it’s shaping up to be an incredible event.

JAMES-
I don’t know. I just will. It wasn’t hard for me when I was there on 8/30/08. Stadium security in New York City is in-SANE, so when I go anywhere else, it seems rather lax and easy to move around.

DAVE-
Thanks for the tip. I’m gonna look into those seats behind home plate in Anaheim. As for August 29th, I’m not yet sure where I’m gonna be, but hopefully I’ll see you out there.

BIG GLOVE BOB-
Glad you got to see Nick. He’s a cool dude. And as for Kopp’s…excellent. Wish I could’ve been there with you. Thanks for the offer to pick me up in Minnesota, but I’ll be with Brandon, and we’ll be driving in his rental car, so I think I’m all set. I’ll let you know if that changes.

GEORGE-
Great idea! No, I actually hadn’t thought of that. Is the new ballpark close to the current one?

ANDREW-
I won’t make it to Phoenix in time for the Futures Game, but that’s fine. My ankle still won’t be 100% by then, and I don’t count balls from that event anyway. Thanks, though. I appreciate the offer.

BEN-
It’d be awesome if you can somehow get me access to that front row. Thanks so much. Just let me know what I’ll need to do or who to look for.

No worries – guess I’ll see you in August then at Chase Field!

Zack,

I see you already got the skinny on how to get in earlier to the K. Also, Gates A & E in the Outfield Experience will open 1.5 hours prior to game time Mon – Thurs. if the Early Bird tour doesn’t work. The giveaway isn’t a t-shirt so you shouldn’t have much competition at batting practice. Although, it might be full at game time as season ticket holders might be cashing in unused tickets for that game.

Would you like some food while you’re in KC? If so I’ll tailgate and bring some in for you. (Or grab some sandwiches, burritos, whatever) Just let me know who will be with you so I can feed your group and if you have any specific tasty things you’d like.
-Brenda

Is anyone going to BallhawkFest?

Just got to a motel in ann arbor after tigers mets game. both teams are incredibly stingy. not a single toss up! i only got 2 balls. lots of hits. final score 13-4. came close to jason bay grand slam. Chicago at 7, cant wait for wrigley!!!

ANDREW MEEUSEN-
Sounds good.

BRENDA-
Thanks so much for the info as well as the food offer. I’ll be with my friend Brandon, and that young man loves to eat. Hell, I do too, so if you’re up for cooking/bringing stuff, that’d be great. Maybe we can catch up after BP?

BIGGEST RANGER FAN-
I am! (And so are lots of other people.)

DANNY-
That would’ve been amazing if you caught the granny. Hope Wrigley was good to you.

I’ve been a bigfan of yours for awhile and hope to make it down to GABP in September to meet you. It is tough going there no doubt. NOt sure what the snagged record is for a game but I did manage to get 18 in game in September 2010 against the D’Backs there. Good luck.

BearBryan

BEARBRYAN-
Damn, eighteen?! That’s gotta be the record. Looking forward to meeting you.

Hey Zach whens the Next time your going to Be In Philly. Ill be there July 25th, Aug 12,23 and 24?

Not sure. That stadium is so crowded that I now try to avoid it. But I’ll be in Philly on the evening of July 26th for a book event at the Free Library. You should come.
-Zack (with a k)

hi i was just wondering where do u think the best place is to stand during batting practice at yankee stadium?? is the bleachers good?

@mike when i went behind the visitors dugout at the trop, i went like 45 minutes before the first pitch by cutting through the rows. the usher never asked me for a ticket. it depends on the sections probably

and by the way zack, when you go to the trop, do you think you can give me tips to get baseballs during bp thanks!

JARED-
The bleachers are a bit too far away. The lower deck is better.

SUJAN-
Sure. I mean…the best way for you to get tips on that place will be to read my blog entries afterward. I plan to post lots of photos and explain all my strategies and locations.

Hi, Zack. I just got my tickets to the game in Anaheim on Sept. 5th… see you there!
~Matt

Excellent. Looking forward to seeing you…

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