5/10/12 at Yankee Stadium

QUESTION: What do you call five minutes of action followed by five hours of frustrating nothingness?

ANSWER: This day at Yankee Stadium.

When the gates opened at 5pm, I bolted out to the short porch and immediately snagged a ball that bounced off the warning track and landed in the totally empty seats. (I have no idea who hit it.) Then I raced to the left field side, convinced Cody Eppley to toss me a ball, and snagged two A-Rod homers that landed in the seats. It was only 5:07pm, and as it turned out, my day of snagging was done.

This was my view while waiting for the second group of hitters to begin taking their cuts:

Two minutes later, I headed back to right field . . .

. . . and it was dead out there.

In the photo above, that’s Greg Barasch looking at me. Nice guy. Awesome ballhawk. He didn’t have any baseballs at that point, but ended up with seven.

Eventually I headed back to left field . . .

. . . and it was dead there too, at least for me. Everyone else was snagging baseballs. I was getting all the bad breaks. It happens.

Shortly before game time, my friend Andrew showed up. I took a photo of him . . .

. . . and then he took a photo of me:

I photographed the upper deck facade . . .

. . . and then I photographed Andrew’s fancy shoes:

It was that kinda night.

I should mention that Andrew’s shoes are so fancy (and have caused such a stir amongst our circle of friends) that he recently wrote an entire blog entry about them. (Andrew also recently wrote a blog entry about me called “In Defense of a Ballhawk.” It’s really good, so if you haven’t yet seen it, check it out. Here’s the link.)

The highlight of the game was witnessing a major milestone in the 6th inning that probably went unnoticed by 99.9 percent of the fans in attendance: Derek Jeter’s 10,000th career at-bat. This was my view for it:

Jeter grounded out to third — part of an o-for-4 performance that lowered his season batting average to .376 — but it was still cool. He’s just the 25th player in baseball history to amass 10,000 at-bats, and nearly everyone ahead of him on the list is a Hall of Famer. Look at the names he’ll pass this season: Frank Robinson (10,006), Rabbit Maranville (10,078), Al Kaline (10,116), Tris Speaker (10,195), Luis Aparicio (10,230), George Brett (10,349), Honus Wagner (10,430), and so on. Not too shabby. I don’t know why I love numbers so much. I just do, okay?

The Yankees won the game, 5-3. CC Sabathia allowed two runs — none earned — in eight innings to improve to 5-0, and get this: his season ERA and career ERA are identical at 3.51. I love stuff like that, temporary as it may be.

BALLHAWKING STATS:

• 4 balls at this game (two pictured here because I gave two away — one after BP and another in the 5th inning)

• 92 balls in 14 games this season = 6.57 balls per game.

• 806 consecutive games with at least one ball

• 553 consecutive games in New York with at least one ball

• 164 consecutive Yankees home games with at least one ball

• 5,911 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 about my fundraiser, and click here to see the prizes that I’ll be giving away to donors.)

• 28 donors

• $1.66 pledged per ball (if you add up all the pledges)

• $6.64 raised at this game

• $152.72 raised this season

• $19,309.72 raised since I started my fundraiser in 2009

13 Comments

9 minute reaction time… but anyway, I don’t know if you saw, but Brandon Inge on the A’s just hit his 2nd grand slam in 3 games… he now has more Grand Slams than Albert Pujols has home runs this year… just sayin.

I ended up with three balls at the end of the night, got that ball from luke scott that i caught in front of you, still don’t know if he was meaning to throw it to me or you, got my 2nd in the bleachers from the rays coach Jim Hickey, and then in the third inning the rays bullpen coach was throwing balls into the stands and their bullpen catcher saw me and got up walked down the steps from the raised bench in the bullpen, reached into the ball bag, walked back up and threw it to me. It was actually a personal best at Yankee Stadium for me, the most I have ever gotten in one game there before tonight was one, so i was pretty happy.

I’ve got a buddy who swears by Aldens. I’ve never seen what the fuss is about, but of course I wear converse and flip flops almost exclusively. On the flip side, he has no idea why I have a multitude of baseball gloves that cost from $200 to $400 each while he swears by his “expensive” $50 Wal*Mart special.

NICHOLAS BADDERS-
You’re good. And that’s nuts about Inge and Pujols.

MARK MCCONVILLE-
Nicely done! And don’t worry about the Luke Scott ball. If he wanted me to have it, then he should’ve aimed better. :-)

DONNY IN HOUSTON-
Ha! I love it. We all have our THINGS.

Do you ever miss the old days of Shea and the “old” Yankee Stadium?

All the time.

Hey Zack – Nice meeting up and chatting for a few minutes. Sorry about the bad night – You probably don’t want to hear it, but right before the first inning, Andruw Jones was tossing with Curtis Granderson and nobody was paying attention, so I strolled down, yelled Andruw!, flapped my glove, and just like that I had my first mud rubbed game ball (is there anything more pretty?). Later on, in the 9th, I was over by the Rays bullpen and there was a “Rays” fan yelling Spanish obscenities at Fernando Rodney trying to get him to throw him a ball so Rodney spitefully sailed it onto the field. 3 outs later, I calmly called out to bullpen coach Stan Boroski, showed him my Rays shirt, he dug around his bag, and tossed me another gamer. I doubled my record! Must be because of the Hample-Luck you gave me pregame. So I can finally say that at least I tied the almighty Zack Hample for one game!. (until you blow me out next time, of course.) Double digits tonight?

Good job during batting practice with snagging the two A-rod homers.
Last wednesday was the first game i have gone to this year. The angles were playing the twins at target. I followed your advice and bought a hat for a few other teams and i printed an angels roster. I ended up getting 5 balls – thats the most ive gotten in one game. Just wanted to say thanks for the advice in your books and on your blogs

It sounds like I should be glad that I didn’t go to the game… even if my alternative was staying home and coughing my brains out.
-Mateo

http://mateofischer.mlblogs.com

CHRIS H-
Nice talking to you as well, and congrats on tying me for a day. Now . . . what’s this about double digits? ;-)

PAAOOL123-
Dude! Awesome. That’s an impressive total for Target Field. That place is pretty rough for ballhawking.

MATEO FISCHER-
Oof. Sorry to hear that.

Hah, I was just being optimistic for Friday night for you

You know why fans didn’t know it was Jeter’s 10,000th at-bat? Because they’re wimpy Yankees fans. Whups autocorrect capitalized Yankees.

I’m a Yankee fan – I knew it was the 10,000th.

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