8/25/11 at Nationals Park
If I’d stayed in New York, I would’ve seen the Yankees hit three grand slams. But no. I allowed SOMEone (who shall remain nameless) to talk me into driving down to Washington, D.C.
When we got there, it started raining.
No batting practice.
Thankfully, it was only drizzling when the stadium opened, so there was a bit of action in the Diamondbacks’ bullpen:
I have no idea who the catcher is in the photo above; all I can tell you is that when the bullpen session concluded, he tossed me the ball.
That was it for the next TWO hours.
It rained a lot.
My feet got clammy.
The folks in charge of stadium operations didn’t bother turning on the lights:
I spent the whole day wishing I weren’t there — not exactly how I envisioned my 100th game of the season.
Eventually the lights came on, and the players started warming up. Here I am waiting for a toss-up along the left field foul line:
I didn’t end up getting that ball, but Aaron Hill hooked up me five minutes later. The ball he tossed me was the 5,500th of my collection, so that was pretty cool. Here’s a photo of it:
Just before the game started, I headed out to left field and got a ball from pitching coach Charles Nagy, who was in the Diamondbacks’ bullpen.
I sat in left field during the game with my unnamed companion. This was our view:
In the bottom of the 3rd inning, the sky was red and crazy:
In the top of the 6th inning, Chris Young hit a home run that sailed *directly* over my head and landed several rows behind me.
In the middle of the 8th inning, the outfield warm-up ball got tossed to a little girl in the front row. Unfortunately for her, the ball fell short and disappeared in the flowers. Her father took a quick look for it and gave up, so I wandered down the steps, peered over the railing, pushed the flowers aside, immediately spotted the ball, and handed it to her. Here she is with it moments later:
In the middle of the 9th inning, I stood up and waved like hell at Diamondbacks left fielder Gerardo Parra:
I was hoping that he’d throw me the outfield warm-up ball — and he did. Here it is sailing toward me…
…and here I am pointing at him to say thanks:
Funny how two of the guys in the photo above were pointing at me. I wonder if anyone was pointing at them. We could’ve had a whole chain going.
With the Diamondbacks leading, 8-1, Micah Owings came in to pitch the bottom of the 9th. He retired the side in order and struck out Michael Morse to end the game. Owings tossed me the ball on his way in.
Before I left the section, I gave two baseballs to kids.
Then I made the four-hour drive back to New York.
• 842 balls in 100 games this season = 8.42 balls per game.
• 761 consecutive games with at least one ball
• 263 consecutive games outside of New York with at least one ball
• 5,504 total balls
(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.)
• 56 donors
• $7.12 pledged per ball (if you add up all the pledges)
• $42.70 raised at this game
• $5,995.04 raised this season