2011 World Series — Game 4

This was my 131st and final game of the season — my last dance at the Big Dance – so I had to make it count. My main goal was to catch a home run during the actual game, but if nothing else, I simply wanted my last ball to be special. No matter how I ended up snagging it, it would be the exclamation point on a truly epic season, one in which I visited all 30 major league stadiums and attended the Home Run Derby, All-Star Game, and all three rounds of the post-season. Of course, I had also set a record by snagging more than a thousand baseballs; my final ball, therefore, would establish the new record and represent a *very* important number.

When I first ran inside the stadium, the Rangers weren’t yet taking batting practice. That’s how it had been the day before, and I’d spent the first 13 minutes eating pepperoni pizza and wandering in the outfield. This time, however, I made a beeline for the 1st base side and got three balls thrown to me with minimal effort. The first came from Rangers coach Johnny Narron near the home-plate end of the dugout. Then I moved past 1st base…

…and got balls from Yorvit Torrealba and Esteban German. It was crowded near the field, so I had stayed 10 rows back and gotten both guys to throw the balls over everyone (and everything) in front of me. It was laughably easy — and that’s the World Series for you. Yeah, it’s crowded as hell, but most people are just there for the game, and most of the regular ballhawks are priced out of the stadium.

Here’s some evidence of the crowdedness — a photo of the left field seats at the very start of BP:

I only managed to snag one baseball during the entire Rangers’ portion of BP  – an Adrian Beltre homer to straight-away left field that landed on the steps and bounced all the way up to the second deck. The ball glanced off the facade roughly 30 feet above me, and for some reason, when it began to descend toward the row behind me, everyone else gave up on it. I kept my eyes on it the whole time, and at the last second, I lunged/dove over the seats and caught it bare-handed. A bunch of people cheered, and the guy standing next to me helped me up.

Several Cardinals eventually made their way into the left field bullpen:

In the photo above, Jaime Garcia is standing on the mound, bullpen coach Derek Lilliquist is holding onto the fence with both arms over his head, and bullpen catcher Jeff Murphy is wearing the solid red shirt. Murphy ended up tossing me my 5th ball of the day, and less than a minute later, I got another from Garcia, who obviously hadn’t noticed.

I didn’t know where to go or what to do after that. It was absolutely packed on both sides of the center field berm…

…and the left field seats were pretty damn crowded as well:

My friend Ben Weil (the guy who owns a gazillion jerseys) caught a Matt Holliday homer on the fly. I wasn’t as lucky, and as the minutes ticked by, I began to worry that the ball I’d gotten from Garcia would end up being my last ball of the season. That wouldn’t have been a disaster, but I was hoping to do better.

Enter Albert Pujols.

Pujols batted in the group after Holliday, and when he first stepped into the cage, I told Ben that I really wanted to snag one of his homers. Ten minutes later, I got my opportunity, albeit somewhat indirectly. One of Pujols’ final longballs fell short of the stands and dropped down into the gap behind the left field wall. I hurried over and pulled out my camera and took a really quick photo that turned out to be blurry:

If I’d taken a few extra seconds, I would’ve gotten a nice crisp photo, but I didn’t feel like I had ANY time to spare. I was concerned that an employee was going to appear below and snatch the ball, or that other fans were going to swoop in with their own ball-retrieving devices, so I did everything as quickly as possible. Luckily, no one interfered as I lowered my glove trick down into the gap, and I ended up snagging the ball. That made me very very very very very happy.

Toward the end of BP, Ben posed with the ball he’d caught…

…and when BP ended, I posed with the Albert Pujols home run:

It was my 1,157th ball of the season, and I had a feeling that it would be my last.

During the lull between BP and the game, I gave a (different) ball to a kid who was sitting nearby with his family. The following three-part photo shows how it played out:

I know it looks kinda staged, and I’ll admit that I did ask Ben to take photos, but the fact is…I would’ve given the ball away even if Ben hadn’t been there to document it. And I still would’ve given the kid a high-five. And his mother still would’ve asked me to pose with him. And I still would’ve shown the kid how to hold the ball so that the logo faced the camera. And I still would’ve told him to try to catch another ball during the game. And he still would’ve given me a hug after it was all said and done. Yes, that actually happened. The kid reached out and put his arms around me as I began heading up the steps. That had never happened before. It was pretty damn sweet.

Shortly before game time, I headed out to my seat beside the berm. This was the scene:

I’ve taken a bit of heat for pulling out my camera during the national anthem, so let me say this: the photo above and the photo below were both taken just before the anthem…

…and this one was taken immediately after:

This was my view during the game…

…and this is what it looked like behind me:

As I mentioned two entries ago, my ticket for Games 3 and 4 was not on the end of the row. I had the 3rd seat in, so I had to do some wheeling and dealing in order to get people to slide over. At Game 3, it took $80 to get someone to move. At Game 4, it took a similar amount *plus* a batting practice ball AND a signed copy of The Baseball, which I’d brought strictly as a bargaining tool.

Ready to see something random/awesome? After the 2nd inning, there was an announcement about Twitter — or so I’m told. I completely missed it, and from where I was sitting, I couldn’t see most of the JumboTron, so this story (and photo) comes from Ben. Evidently, fans were encouraged to post tweets about their favorite Ranger to @theRangersGame, and the best ones would be displayed for everyone in the stadium to see. That said, look who made it onto the JumboTron half an inning later:

It’s Benny_Bang_Bang! Those of you who follow me on Twitter might recall the tweet I’d posted earlier in the day from his phone. (Imagine the damage I’d do if I had my own smart phone. I’d probably own every team in the NL east by now, but eh, I can’t be bothered with silly people who want to text me all day long. Maybe someday. In the meantime, who the hell is de_frog? Someone needs to inform her that she made it onto my blog — Any volunteers? — which, let’s face it, is much cooler than making it onto the JumboTron.)

You know who else made it onto my blog? THIS GUY, sitting two seats to my left, who caught the 3rd-out ball that Cardinals center fielder Jon Jay tossed into the crowd after the 3rd inning:

AARRGHH!!!

When the ball was first hit, I drifted down the steps from my seat in the 6th row (and held up my arms to be more visible on TV). My plan was to get as close to the field as possible so that Jay would be able to see me and hear me. Unfortunately I was dressed neutrally, so when he turned to face the crowd, he spotted the guy in Cardinals gear and lobbed the ball to him — directly over my head. I bolted back up the steps while it was still in mid-air, hoping that it’d get bobbled in my direction, but no, the fan made a clean catch despite holding a can of Coors Light in his left hand. Incredible. And get this: the guy who caught the ball was sitting EXACTLY one seat behind my ticketed seat. My actual seat was Section 50, Row 5, Seat 28. He was sitting in Section 50, Row 6, Seat 28, so if (for some reason) I had accepted being trapped in the middle of the row and actually sat where I was supposed to sit, I would’ve easily been able to reach up and catch the ball. How lovely.

Based on the handful of tweets that came my way, I must’ve been visible when Jay first turned to throw the ball into the crowd. Check it out:

Late that night, I tweeted a response:

Coincidentally, my friend Frank was sitting right behind me when Jay tossed the ball into the crowd. (The guy who *had* been sitting behind me for the first two innings had gone to get beer, so Frank snuck into the section and wandered down to say hey.) (You might remember Frank from this photo on 4/27/11 at Rangers Ballpark.) He must not’ve been paying attention because he’s 6-foot-5 and would’ve easily been able to reach across two people, but he wasn’t that upset, and you know what? Neither was I. I mean, it sucked, but I didn’t feel like my life was over. I’d gotten World Series balls in the past (like this and this and this and this), but never caught a World Series home run. THAT was what I wanted; anything else seemed irrelevant, but still, I was pretty stunned to have barely missed the 3rd-out ball. I didn’t realize it at the time, but in between innings, I was staring longingly at the guy who’d snagged it, and Frank took a photo of me:

As for what I’m wearing in the photo above, the shirt is from an event called “BallhawkFest,” which took place on 7/23/11 at Camden Yards and was organized by Alan Schuster, the founder of MyGameBalls.com. And the hat? I simply decided to go with a slightly different look, and I also wanted to be dressed neutrally. That way, if I happened to catch an Albert Pujols homer, it wouldn’t look stupid if I celebrated. It’s important to think about these things ahead of time, and man, let me tell you, I was SO prepared with a hilarious celebration if I caught a Rangers homer.

In the top of the 4th, Frank took a photo of me sitting next to the railing…

…and in the bottom of the inning, I nearly had a chance to celebrate. With one out, Nelson Cruz connected on an 0-1 pitch from Edwin Jackson…

…and sent a deep fly ball toward dead center. From the very start, I was almost certain that the ball wasn’t going to leave the yard, so I paused for a split-second, considering whether or not to even bother running out onto the hill, but then I figured, “Why NOT run out there, dumb-ass?! You’re allowed to do it, so DO IT!! It’s free exercise, and you’ll get on TV, and if the ball carries a little farther than you expected, you’ll have an easy opportunity to make a very special catch.” (I thought about all of this within half a second. What can I say? My mind works fast in these situations. Not so much in others.) So I climbed over the railing and jumped down onto the grass:

As the ball reached its apex, I knew with total certainty that it wasn’t going to be a home run, so I slowed down and flung up my arms at the last second:

It was a calculated gesture, meant to convey my frustration. It might look like I was waving, but that wasn’t the case. I was flat-out pissed that I had the opportunity of a lifetime, but because it was only 68 degrees at game time (as opposed to the 108 degrees that it normally is during the summer), the ball fell about 15 feet short of me. Had it sailed over the fence for a home run, I would’ve caught it easily. I know I was ten feet to the side of where it landed, but like I said, I slowed way down, and of course I hadn’t even gotten a great jump in the first place. I kinda ran out there as a formality, in part to show the world that I was ready, but also for the practice. I wanted to see how much ground I could cover, and the answer was “lots.”

It just so happened that Jon Jay’s catch was photographed by every major news service, and the picture ended up in several places. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch‘s website was one such place…

…and the sports section of USA Today was another:

Big THANKS to my friend Garrett Meyer for scanning that article and sending it to me. Slightly smaller thanks to everyone who tweeted at me and mentioned that they saw me on TV:

As it turned out, I wasn’t the only one who came close to catching a World Series homer. Ben spent the whole game in the standing room area (at the back of the wide cross-aisle) deep down the left field line and came within five feet of Mike Napoli’s three-run bomb in the 6th inning. Here’s a photo that he took of the guy who ended up snagging it:

The story of the night, though, wasn’t home runs. It was Derek Holland’s masterful pitching (and frightening mustache). Holland pitched 8 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing just two hits while walking a pair and striking out seven. The crowd was SO disappointed when Ron Washington took him out in the 9th inning, but nowadays that’s how it goes. Holland had thrown 116 pitches and just walked Rafael Furcal on a full count. The Rangers were leading, 4-0, at the time, and Wash didn’t want to let the game slip away, so he brought in Neftali Feliz. Naturally, Feliz ended up walking the first batter he faced, and not just any batter. He walked Allen Craig, who was hitting 2nd in the lineup ahead of Albert Pujols (who had hit three home runs the night before). Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman were due to bat after Pujols, so even though the Rangers had a four-run lead, things got pretty tense. Pujols ended up flying out to center (if only he’d hit the ball 150 feet farther!) and Holliday went down swinging. Game over. Final score: Rangers 4, Cardinals 0. The World Series was tied at two games apiece, and I had to fly back to New York City the following morning.

After the final out, I got a group photo with some of the fans who’d been sitting near me:

See the guy with the unbuttoned Cardinals jersey? His name is Brian. He’s the one who moved over and let me sit next to him (for a serious chunk of change and some goodies). The other guy wearing Cardinals gear is his brother Tim. He’s the one who caught the Jon Jay 3rd-out ball. See the guy in front grabbing his belt? I never did catch his name, but he was hilarious. Throughout the game, he was talking trash (in a funny/friendly/drunk way) and saying that he was gonna tackle me and beat me out onto the grass for a home run ball. “Let’s go!” I said every time. “Competition makes it fun!” We then gave each other a fist-bump and laughed, and oh-by-the-way, he was sitting three seats from the end. He would’ve had to climb over the two people on his right before he would’ve gotten the chance to tackle me, by which point I would’ve been halfway across the berm, making 52,000 people laugh with my celebratory antics. Maybe next year if the Rangers make it back to the Series?

Before leaving the section, a gentleman named Greg (who leaves comments on this blog as “txrangersfan”) asked me to sign his copy of Watching Baseball Smarter. Here we are with it:

Two things about the photo above:

1) Greg is 6-foot-4. If he’d threatened to tackle me, I wouldn’t have been smiling.
2) I’m holding the Albert Pujols BP homer — my 1,157th and final ball of the season.

Here’s a closer look at The Ball…

…and here’s an even closer look at it:

Funny how a seemingly ordinary batting practice ball can be so valuable.

BALLHAWKING STATS:

• 7 balls at this game (five pictured here because I gave two away)

• 1,157 balls in 131 games this season = 8.83 balls per game. (Interesting bonus stat: when there was batting practice, I averaged 9.67 balls per game; when there wasn’t, I averaged 5.13.)

• 47 balls in 6 post-season games this season = 7.83 balls per game.

• 792 consecutive games with at least one ball

• 317 consecutive games with at least two balls

• 19 consecutive post-season games with at least one ball

• 7 consecutive World Series games with at least one ball

• 5,819 total balls

CHARITY STATS:

(I raised money this season for Pitch In For Baseball, a non-profit charity that provides baseball equipment to underprivileged kids all over the world. If you made a pledge, sit tight until the World Series is done. I’m planning to email everyone with instructions on how to actually make the donation.)

• 61 donors

• $7.47 pledged per ball (if you add up all the pledges)

• $52.29 raised at this game

• $8,642.79 raised this season

59 Comments

Posted on her wall… I felt obligated to help out :-) Lol

Way to go Z,.u know Napoli wanted that homerun back.any security come for it?Rain rain go away ,game suspended. JoshHamilton is due .hope he hits one.good luck Rangers.

Oh well. Hopefully you will catch a World Series ball in batting practice next year, and hopefully I can catch one too if they use them at Citi Field. I’ve only caught one commemorative ball (Shea Stadium final year).

I thought that was you out on the berm! I’m glad I made the right guess during the game. Congrats on a great season – and thanks for sharing it all with us.

PHILIP JOENS-
Ha. Very nice.

TC-
I didn’t hear anything else about the Napoli homer, so hopefully Ben can chime in with some additional details…

SKIM-
I haven’t seen any random World Series balls floating around in BP since 2002.

BEN WIDEMAN-
Good call, and you’re welcome for sharing. Thanks for coming along for the ride.

I legitimately laughed my touchas off at that USA today picture. You looked like Waldo, without the Waldo shirt haha. And TC- security never came for the (M)Napoli homer. I stood about 10 feet from that kid until the end of the 8th. His name was Jeremy and he’s from Canada and goes to Midland College on a baseball scholarship. Go figure.

Oh, and of course, Zack- great final entry of the season! Thanks for posting my tweet :-)

Damn, that was quick, and hey, nice “Napoli” reference. Inside joke! Haha! No one else gets it. We’re so cool and hilaaaaaaaarious.

What a year, eh?

On your blog can you show your 2012 schedule as soon as you now

MATEO FISCHER-
Yessir.

BENNY-
All I know is that I’ll be in Japan in March for the opening series between the A’s and Mariners and that I’ll be in Miami within the first month or two of the season. Beyond that, I have nooooooo idea, and I don’t plan to think about it until the spring.

http://www.reddit.com/r/pics/comments/lq2cw/so_i_was_watching_the_world_series_and_saw_mitch/

Just a little something from Reddit about the World Series.

Also, on your response to Skim’s comment above: the Mets definitely used World Series balls in BP during the ’09 regular season. (Remember how great those random Mets commemoratives were back in the day? Good times.) But yeah, aside from that I can’t remember ever seeing WS balls floating around for no reason.

Dammit, here’s the link I meant to use: http://imgur.com/Uv0fO but that one works too.

Wow. That’s pretty rad. I saw that homer land *right* into the cross-aisle up there in the second deck. That same blast might’ve landed in the cross-aisle in St. Louis, just behind the bullpen. It’d be interesting to see Greg Rybarczyk from ESPN Home Run Tracker do a little comparison. As for the Mets, I guess you’re right. Now I vaguely recall snagging an ’08 World Series ball from the Mets during BP at Dodger Stadium in ’09. Fingers crossed that the ’11 balls will make an appearance next season.

We ARE cool and hilarious haha! I needed to make that reference! And I think by NOT going to StL tomorrow, I can save for Japan!

Japan is starting to turn into BallhawkFest, Part Deux. Beware…

Pretty darn amazing, sir. Great season. And way to get MyGameBalls.com into USA Today, etc…even if it was a tiny dot on your shirt in the photos.
-Todd

Thanks! And yeah, Alan Schuster owes me bigtime now.

Talk about laughing so you don’t cry. I drove down to KC last night and arrived at the Holiday Inn across from Kauffman at 7am. Garrett Meyer joined me at around noon and we headed to St. Louis to see his first postseason game ever and my first World Series game ever.
We had both gotten tickets we were happy with from Stubhub and paid far less than expected.
We were excited as can be as we drove along in Garrett’s immaculately clean car. We played “Slug Bug” and told stories. I even busted into a light game of charades while Garrett was doing “car yoga”. It was the best of times!….

Alas, about 40 minutes outside of St. Louis it became the worst of times. Garrett got a text that game 6 had been canceled. I broke into a wailing sob while Garret veered the wheel towards a tree and trounce on the gas. Thankfully I wrestled the wheel from him before we hit anything.

We stopped at a McDonalds to lick our wounds. What to do? STL was booked and would be expensive to stay in. All my stuff was back in KC, including some medications that I need to take daily and I was due to check out the next day. Do we get a room in a suburb? Do we drive 3 hours dejectedly back to KC?

I made a call to work and was able to get the next day off. We ended up going back to KC. 400 miles of driving for nothing. We got Garrett a room at the Holiday Inn to save him another hour or so of driving. In keeping with our day, when Garrett got to his room, bright yellow urine was marinating in the toilet and the beds were unmade. It literally looked like the people staying in it had just stepped out for a minute.

Big Glove Bob charged to the desk and started in on a profane rant that would have made Earl Weaver blush. They apologized and after a little prompting gave us two free breakfasts each and switched Garrett into a clean room.

Now I sit here in the lobby of the hotel writing this at 4:18am on a computer that requires me to bribe a hampster running on a wheel to provide power to this thing. I could literally send smoke signals easier than using this POS.

We will head out again today and hope for good ballhawking weather. It is funny..but only a little looking back on it at this time. As I told Garrett, in my 39 years I have had some bad things happen to me and this ain’t one of em. We will conquer Busch!

Big Glove Bob

Such an amazing season. THat’s all i can say

Great season Zack. There will be more World Series in your future, so that Home run ball is still out there with your name on it.

Congrats on a ridonkulous season, Zack! You gotta come to TO next season!

You might want to learn a little more Japanese before you go to Japan in March. “Throw me a ball please?”, may not cut it when you need to find how to get somewhere. Haha. But anyway, congrats on the MONSTER season. It’s truly remarkable what you were able to accomplish. Nicely done.
-Matt

In the newspaper write up does that say Shag? instead of snag? Where I come from shag means something very different!

Congrats Zack on an amazing season!

BIG GLOVE BOB-
Ouch, ouch, and furthermore, ouch. Really sorry to hear about that. I find, though, that when things are really bad and you have good company, they’re sometimes less bad and can turn into bizarrely awesome memories down the road. Hope that’s the case here. Where are you guys gonna be sitting/standing during the game, and what will you be wearing? Are you going to bring the big glove, and if so, will you be waving it around during the actual game?

JON MADDEN-
Thank you. That is all *I* can say.

MIKE-
I hope you’re right. (I know I owe you an email. Things have been nuts, and I’m gonna catch up on all my emails soon, now that I’m done going to games.)

JACOB DANOVITCH-
Thanks! I hope I can make it back there.

MATT-
Good point, but Japanese is so complicated and different from English that I don’t know if it’s even worth trying to learn any over the next five months.

STUART JON-
Haha, I know what you mean. Here in the States, “shag” is often used for baseball purposes. During batting practice, players “shag fly balls.” It amuses me, but that’s just how it goes.

I will be in section 133B row 20 with the big glove in full effect. I will be in a bright red shirt or sweatshirt. Garrett is going to play the role of a nomad and try to score better seats and opportunities to snag baseballs.

Big Glove Bob

Zack congrats on the big game. Saw you on TV. Thanks for the interview again!

wow, so just like that the season is over…. Well at least I have something to do – catch up with everything on this blog :D.
Cheers from Poland by the way – Even here you have at least one fan :).
I never got close to snagging a ball but I only went to one game in my life. Pirates vs Cubs in Wrigley field in 2003… All that I have is a almost too small glove and some random Wilson baseball meh…
Thanks for everything you write here – its really nice reading it :)
cheers
Peter

Congrats on the season Zack! Can’t wait untill next year.

This is the poem that I remembered to bring home today:
Watching the field
the beautiful green field
watching the batter
it’s a gorgeous day
screaming for baseballs
running for homers
out of breath
but going for more

Two players start throwing
along the leftfield line
I wait for an error
or for them to finish
screaming for baseballs
running for homers
out of breath
but going for more

Enjoying the game
with a fabulous view
front row leftfield
right on the aisle
screaming for baseballs
running for homers
out of breath
but going for more

A ball is hit
i’m out of my seat
I give it a look
it’s off the wall
screaming for baseballs
running for homers
out of breath
but going for more

The outfielders warm up
16 feet below me
I pray that they’ll hear me
but sadly they don’t
screaming for baseballs
running for homers
out of breath
but going for more

At the end of the game
i’m down by the dugout
watching the players
eyeing their gloves
screaming for baseballs
running for homers
out of breath
but going for more.

Zack, email when you can. You deserve a break after the epic year. I left my work and cell numbers in one of the emails so we can talk out your next adventure.

Wow, I didn’t even recognize you when you got on TV. From the camera’s viewpoint I was sure it wouldn’t be a homer, I actually told my buddy that some over-eager wannabe ballhawk ran onto the berm for a 390 foot out. Oops!

Haha you running on that berm was hilarious. You looked like a mugger. I once fell onto Safeco Field when I reached over the wall for a foul grounder.

BIG GLOVE BOB-
I didn’t see you guys. How did it go?

GARRETT B.-
Cool. Thanks.

PIOTR-
I really appreciate that. Thanks so much for the comment. I hope you enjoy my old blog entries, and best of luck snagging a ball…someday.

TEEN REDS FAN-
I can wait. But thanks. :-)

SKIM-
Outstanding! Thank you for sharing that.

MIKE-
Sounds good. I’ll call you soon, and we’ll discuss everything…

MICHAEL-
Haha, awesome.

BRENDAN ADAMS-
A mugger?! I haven’t heard that one yet. I’ve mostly gotten “skater.”

Wow last night’s game was probably the best game I’ve ever seen! I stayed up until 1 am just to watch it and only got 5 hours of sleep before a math test today. I usually get at least 7 and a half hours of sleep.

Baseball is much more important than anything you will ever learn in school, especially at your age, especially if it’s math, especially during the World Series.

68 degrees and you are wearing a stocking cap?

I wasn’t wearing it for warmth, though my dome *does* get cold easily.

Zack, Game 6 was epic. I can’t imagine seeing a more entertaining ballgame that my Twins were not a part of. We left KC (for the second time) a bit before noon and got a St. Louis a little after 3pm. The downtown area wasn’t really all that busy yet and we were able to find relatively cheap parking close to Busch. We were hungry and hit up a TGI Fridays not too far from the stadium. The place was full of fans, mostly from Texas. I will say that the Texas fans were in abundance down there.
After taking some pictures of the arch and a public plaza that had a fountain shooting red water in the air, we decided to wade through the dirty hippies in the park for the STL version of occupy Wall Street.

We made our way over to Busch and the atmosphere was great. The Clydesdale horses were getting ready for their duties and there was live music and lots of excited fans We met some crazy old ladies in line that helped pass the time. The gates opened a little late and we went into the seating bowl. I will save most of Garrett’s part of the story for him to tell, but I went and got a spot along the right field line where Texas pitching coach Mike Maddux and Darren Oliver were shagging balls. It was a bad spot. Neither were generous at all. I didn’t really want to go running around and although I would have liked to get a ball, I wasn’t crushed that I didn’t.

My seat was pretty darn good for the price of $195. It was in a slightly raised section in the foul territory along the RF line. I was in the first row of that section next to some great fans. The game was interesting enough albeit sloppy with errors and such. The beer was being consumed liberally by fans of both sides. I don’t drink at ballgames and I was in the minority. Busch is a great stadium. Lots to see and do.

After the end of the 8th inning I snuck down to the 3rd row and stood on the stairwell behind the Rangers dugout to be in a position to beg for an ump ball after the game. The ushers saw me I believe but didn’t shag me out of the aisle. The first improbable STL comeback happened so I went back up to the top of the section to continue watching the game. When Josh Hamilton hit his homer, it looked like it was over for the Cards again. When the Cards came up in the bottom of the 10th, I again snuck down to be right in the thick of things. I was aiming to be in a perfect spot right behind the dugout for the postgame celebration. I envisioned batting gloves, bats, and other miscellaneous swag being tossed into the crowd and I wanted to also be in position for an ump ball again. I also had visions of the Rangers returning to the field after their champagne celebration to spray down the Rangers faithful and hoist the trophy. Well, that didn’t work since the Cards tied it up yet again!

I went back up to the top of the section to await more baseball. I then got a text from Garrett who informed me of some open seats by where the umps leave. I went down there and that is where I watched the walk off in the 11th. I tried in vain to get a ump ball from Gary Cedarstrom. It was bedlam as the Cards fans went insane. The Rangers fans were stunned at their reversal of fortune. It was near midnight but nobody cared. The streets outside the stadium were electric and music and the smell of the dirty hipsters in the park filled the air.

It was totally worth all the hassle from the day before. Lots of driving for Big Glove Bob in a short window of time. I hope to pull a Rip Van Winkle when I get home from work.

Big Glove Bob

Last night, I was watching game 7 on my TV downstairs, and I was kind of tired, so I layed down on the couch, and before I knew it, my cable box said it was 3:30 am! I had fallen asleep (which is a disgrace to baseball and I know it, but it was mostly the commercials) and so I don’t get ESPN or any sports channel so I had to check my computer to see who won.

I didn’t know fans were allowed to run onto the berm at St. Louis, I always see it at Arlington, but never in St. Louis. Are the Rangers more lenient about it?
I’m glad to see you season had a great ending. I just found an invisible ink stamp for the first time, and I wouldn’t have even known they existed if it wasn’t for your blog and books, haha.
Great year,
Steve
http://fishfry55.mlblogs.com

Since I am a random person, I will ask a random question: where did you get the big glove? Where did Big Glove Bob get his big glove? BIg Glove Bob, if you are reading this, please let me know so I can look into getting one.

I got it the same place I get my condoms. Actually, they are online and kinda expensive. I stole the idea from Zack to aid in my ballhawking exploits when I ballhawked. It actually hampers ballhawking though for most people. They are heavy and tough to break in. I am able to catch some balls with it, but not many. It is hard to carry and gets you too much attention while trying to ballwawk. The players tend to take note of the big glove and that hurts you in getting toss ups since once you get one and they see it, they don’t toss you any others. I have heard
“you already got tossed a ball earlier” a million times from players.

I don’t really go to Target Field anymore, but the big glove was my trademark at the Metrodome. I have heard that at least a couple of people stole my thunder and bring big gloves to Target Field. The thing is that what make the big glove special is the rarity factor. It is why people turn their heads when they see a Rolls Royce or a Ferrari. They just aren’t something you see every day. Now that more and more people are getting them, they are becoming less and less of a big deal. I know I am being a hypocrite since I stole the idea from Zack, but if they stopped selling big gloves tomorrow, I would be thrilled. Pretty soon, they won’t be anything special.
Big Glove Bob

Thank you. Actually, reading what you wrote, I would probably get less toss ups with the big glove because they will remember. I already get my share of toss ups each game. Thanks again.

Nice season– that’s all I can say.

Is it just me or is the Rawlings stamp on the Pujols ball out of place?

Hey Zack, have you ever been to Bergino Baseball Clubhouse?

http://www.wnyc.org/blogs/wnyc-news-blog/2011/nov/02/niche-market-baseball/

EVERYONE-
Sorry for pulling a disappearing act, but that’s what tends to happen when the off-season rolls in.

BIG GLOVE BOB-
Thanks for providing all those details about your World Series experience. Also, great answer about the big glove. You nailed it.

SKIM-
That IS a desgrace to baseball. :-)

STEVE-
It’s actually not allowed in St. Louis, but given how huge that moment was, I guess the Cardinals didn’t feel the need to crack down on the few fans who spilled out there.

CONNOR-
Thanks so much.

DYLAN-
It’s not just you. It does appear to be a bit crooked. Good call.

GEORGE-
Not only have I been there, but I had a book talk/signing there when “The Baseball” came out in March. It’s a very cool place.

I am still shocked that this happened, but it did. I went to my first NHL game ever. It was the Capitals vs. Islanders at the Coliseum, and I’d never really watched hockey or appreciated it. I wanted to show up 30 minutes early to catch a puck (like that was gonna happen) but as it turned out, a security guard picked up 3 pucks from the ice, and was walking off the ice and I was already down there so I asked for a puck and he handed it to me! It doesn’t have the logo on it, but it’s still pretty neat. During the game I tried to catch a gamer but the best I could do was get a shirt from the T-shirt launch. Puckcollector- How many pucks do you have? Of those, how many are from games/have the logo?

I have 155 pucks, and 30 of them are game used. The pucks used during warmups used to have the NHL shield on them and they said “Official Practice Puck” but now, either the NHL got rid of this, or the Islanders are being cheap and are just buying blank pucks.

I would go with the Islanders being cheap. Hockey pucks are now my alternative sports collection during the off-season.

Damn it, Zack, you’re REALLY starting to piss me off how easily you can catch these damn things, but I do all the stuff you say to do, and NOTHING! ZIP! ZILCH! NADA! HOW THE HELL CAN YOU DO IT??? We’re both 34, both growing up in the 80′s with our gloves at games, hoping to get a foul ball (or better home run!), coming up empty! I was at the world series game 2, did all the stuff you mention, got NOTHING!!! I’m from St Louis, so you can imagine with this insane baseball town how hard it is competeting with all these other rabid fans for a ball. Hopefully now that we won it all the team will flop, attendance will be slightly down (yeah instead of 3.2 million they’d draw 3.1 million!), and I’d have a slightly higher chance at getting a ball in batting practice (instead of a 0.00001%, I’d have a 0.00002%), oh, I HATE THIS NOT GETTING ONE CRAP!!!!!!!

안녕하세요
한국에서 당신다큐를 봤습니다
가장 궁금한점은 수익이 어디서나서
그렇게 메이져리그경기를 관람 할 수 있는가 입니다..
궁금합니다.
그럼 감사합니다.

SKIM-
Pretty cool.

PUCK COLLECTOR-
Those are some impressive stats.

JIM-
You crack me up, but to give you a serious answer, I’m not sure what you’re doing wrong. If I could see you in action, I could give you a bunch of pointers. Also, I hate to say it, but attendance is definitely going up next year in St. Louis. That always happens after teams win the World Series.

KIMCHULSU-
안녕하세요. 당신이 나한테 물어 보는 건지 잘 모르겠어요. 당신이 다큐멘터리를보고 싶다면 그렇게 할 수있는, 나도 몰라. 내가 아직은 영화 제작자의 사본을받을 기다리고 있어요.

Glad I could make you laugh. The “glove trick” got me kicked out of the area by those “security” people during batting practice, because they said I was “throwing an item onto the field” even if it was tied to a string, and all I was allowed to do is catch them with my glove when they cleared the wall. I even tried the “please” to the player, and even wore THEIR jerseys in my homeball park! NOTHING! This is getting SOOOOO frustrating. I’ve tried for so many years to get a ball, even during McGwire’s batting practice (he was literally the ONLY player hitting them WAAAAY out). Those were jokes too, because he hit them so freakishly far, you coulnd’t predict where they’d go. What’s worse is going to try to get one next year on the first game I go to. I’m going on April 14 (their scheduled ring ceremony), and it’s against the Cubs! GREAT! The place is REALLY going to be packed!!

Maybe when I go I can bring a camera, and film how I do so you can get an idea what I’m doing wrong, becuase it can’t be THIS hard- you’ve already got a zillion of them (yes, I know 5000, but it’s a zillion compared to my negative 3- three times I was just a hair from getting them by either someone picking it up or just missing by inches).

If your goal is to snag baseballs, then I don’t recommend attending the ring ceremony because the stadium is going to be PACKED. As for filming yourself, I suspect that would only make it harder to catch baseballs because you’d be dealing with a camera in addition to everything else. My advice: read my Busch Stadium blog entries from September and try to use the same strategies that I was using.

hey Zack how u doin this is your old Shea Groundskeeper Shawn contact me i came across a article u posted i was shocked to c the pic of me lol email me facebook just hit me up smcphail74@aol.com

Oh. My. God. I just emailed you. Wow. So awesome to hear from you.

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