6/19/12 at Yankee Stadium

In my previous entry, do you remember the screen shot of the woman who freaked out after snagging Mark Teixiera’s home run? Do you remember the photograph of the reporter who interviewed her? And do you remember when the reporter later told me that he wanted to do a story about me the following day? Well . . . fast-forward 20 hours. Here I am with him (along with three of my fellow ballhawks) outside Gate 6:

In the photo above, from left to right, you’re looking at . . .

1) Mateo Fischer. In case you’re wondering, the last word on his shirt is “forgotten.”
2) Greg Barasch, who began the day with a lifetime total of 1,174 baseballs.
3) Me.
4) The reporter, whose name is Matt Latimer.
5) Ross (aka “The Boss“) Finkelstein.

Matt works for Major League Baseball as a social media correspondent. His job is to wander all over Yankee Stadium and film/photograph stuff for Facebook, Twitter, and MLB.com. (Not a bad gig, huh?) Yesterday his “assignment” was to get footage of me during BP and write a story about it for a blog on MLB.com called Cut4.

I started out in right field . . .

. . . and got nothing during the first group of hitters.

Matt followed me to left field . . .

. . . and watched me get completely shut out during the rest of the Yankees’ portion of BP.

NOT GOOD.

In the photo above, did you notice the microphone-lookin’ thing in Matt’s left hand? Here’s a closer look at it:

It’s actually a miniature video camera; the big, black foam piece is a wind guard for the built-in microphone. It was a snazzy device, and I’m happy to say that when the Braves took the field, Matt had a chance to use it. Tommy Hanson threw me my first ball of the day along the left field foul line, and five minutes later, I got another from Jack Wilson. Here’s a photo of Wilson before he chucked it my way:

My third ball was tossed from the left field bullpen by Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell.

During the final group of BP, all but one of the Braves hitters were left-handed, so I headed back to right field. Big mistake. Total waste of time. Look how crowded it was:

I didn’t snag any more balls during BP. Three lousy toss-ups. That’s all I got. It was very very very very VERY very frustrating.

After BP, I signed three baseballs for fans — one for a fellow ballhawk named Paul and two for these guys:

At that point, there were several balls sitting in the left field bullpen — BP homers that hadn’t yet been retrieved. I didn’t know it at the time, but when I wandered over to the side fence to take a peek, I was being watched from afar. (Ooooh, creepy!) The red arrow in the following photo is pointing at me:

Two minutes later, I happened to get one of the balls tossed to me, and as soon as I caught it, my cell phone rang.

“Nice catch,” said the caller.

“What?! You saw that? You’re HERE?”

“I’ve been spying on you for a few minutes.”

“Seriously? Well, get your ass over here.”

Look who it was:

That’s my girlfriend Robin, and in case you missed it, take a closer look at Greg in the background:

That’s a clown face, bro.

Matt asked me to pose with my four baseballs:

The photo above was taken by a ballhawk named Mark McConville, whom I’ve somehow neglected to mention or show on my blog . . . ’til now. Here we are:

Mark had missed the first hour of BP and therefore had zero baseballs. That’s why he was holding up his hand like that, but he did end up snagging one later.

Robin and I sat in straight-away right field during the game. This was our view, and I’m intentionally including the beer vendor because he’s such a character:

This guy has been working at the stadium for decades and loves to joke about the fact that the only way for his seniority rank to improve is if someone ahead of him dies. Every time he enters the section, he shouts, “Who’s ready for Cousin Brewski?!” and last night I heard him use a new line. After several people bought beers, he shouted, “Thanks for catching a buzz from the cuzz!” but here’s the funniest part: Whenever people buy beer at Yankee Stadium, the vendor is required to look at their ID. It doesn’t matter if the customer is hunched over and has wispy white hair and looks like a 149-year-old raisin. Every fan has to show ID. (I happen to think that the drinking age should be lowered to 18, if not eliminated outright, but that’s another discussion for another time.) Anyway, in the photo above, the vendor is asking a fan who was 20 feet away for his ID, but all he said was, “Just hold it up!”

Here’s a photo of the fan doing what he was told:

The fan then passed his money down the row, and the vendor sent some beers his way — and that was the end of it. I don’t know if the vendor was being lazy or if the fan really did, in fact, merely have to show his ID. All I can say is that some rules are really stupid.

Matt joined me for a few innings during the game so that he could ask a bunch of questions for his story. Here we are schmoozing it up:

In case it’s not already clear how insane the rules are at Yankee Stadium, listen to this: Matt had to jump through a bunch of hoops just to be able to enter the right field seats and sit with me. I’m talking about getting clearance from security supervisors and all that nonsense. Matt in an employee of Major League Baseball and has media credentials that allow him to enter the Yankees’ clubhouse, yet he was stopped from walking into a crappy section of seats 375 feet from home plate. It’s unbelievable. And that wasn’t even the first time that he’d gotten hassled. During batting practice, the security guards actually made him stop filming and leave the section until they verified that he was allowed to be there. Yankee Stadium is nuts, I tell you. NUTS!!!

Matt’s story/video is now up on MLB.com. Click here to check it out.

BALLHAWKING STATS:

• 4 balls at this game (three pictured here because I gave one away)

• 212 balls in 29 games this season = 7.31 balls per game.

• 821 consecutive games with at least one ball

• 346 consecutive games with at least two balls

• 6,031 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.)

• 34 donors

• $1.89 pledged per ball (if you add up all the pledges)

• $7.56 raised at this game

• $400.68 raised this season

• $19,557.68 raised since I started my fundraiser in 2009

18 Comments

Hey Zack, i go to a lot of Yankee games and this past Monday I nearly got killed by one guy as I was reaching for a ball on the floor (didn’t get it) and I got a ball ripped out of my glove as I trapped it. I also realized I missed out on 2 “Easter Eggs” in my section. I’ve only gotten 4 balls in my lifetime so It would be best to ask questions to an expert =), so I’m wondering if you knew anything about if security gets balls during BP at the Stadium (i’m thinking of checking around the Field Level & main level before heading for the bleachers)

Thanks for your time,

Jeff

I didn’t recognize the vendor at first–then when you said “Cousin Brewski” it all came back to me. I remember him from probably 1991. Funny that he’s still using the “get a buzz from the cuz” line. Do you know if any of these wacky vendors across the league has a blog?

As a person who grew up playing baseball, I’m ashamed to admit how long it took me to figure out why that MLB blog is called “Cut4.” Cutoff man, home plate…I know I know… Maybe if it had been rendered “Cut four!” it would have been easier to recognize….

I can’t believe I timed that face right! I was mid-air in that instant and only made the face for like a tenth of a second. BOOM, perfect photobomb.

Haha i didnt even realize that when i was taking the picture, thats really funny, perfect photobomb, and yea eddie perez hooked me up with a ball while hudson was warming up, 10 minutes before that i asked him for a ball and he said no so i was suprised he threw me that one. Also it was pretty funny that Lat was interviewing you, he lives in my town and he was on my softball team last summer. I didnt know he worked for mlb.com, now i do haha

JEFF-
Sorry to hear that, but to answer your question, Easter eggs are VERY rare in New York. It’s not worth your time to go out of your way looking for any.

JERE80-
Several things:
1) I figured it wasn’t the very first time that the vendor used that line, but it was the first time that I’d heard it.
2) Don’t know of any vendor blogs.
3) I hadn’t realized the meaning of “Cut4″ ’til you mentioned it here. Good call!

GBARASCH-
Mid-air? Wow, I had no idea. Nicely done. By the way, I saw you get the ball (in the first inning?) from Freddie Freeman and called you, but got no answer. Frowny face.

MARK MCCONVILLE-
That *is* quite a coincidence about Matt. Also . . . when you got the ball from the bullpen, I couldn’t believe how many times it had to be tossed before it made it over the fence. It was hilarious to see and, I’d imagine, kind of maddening for you.

EVERYONE-
I’m way behind on my emails, so if you’re waiting for a reply, hang tight until the weekend. I probably won’t get to any of them ’til then.

CITI FIELD-
I’m heading your way in 45 minutes. Prepare your balls!

In Soviet Russia, Greg Barasch photobombs his own pictures. You know, if there were Observing Baseball in Soviet Russia.
-Mateo
http://mateofischer.mlblogs.com

So, the reporter was out there yesterday for the other lady, but you hit him up while he is there and make it about YOU. You are the KING of self promotion. You amaze me Zack Hample. Keep up the great work.

MATEO-
Whaaa?

LEIGH-
The way I see it, I did him a service by giving him something else to write about. We writers have to look out for each other.

Hilarious levitational photobomb. Adorable girlfriend. Very cool lilttle videocam.

yea it took him like six tries to get over the netting, at first i thought he was messing with me and not actually trying to give it to me, i would have been real mad if that was the case, good thing it wasn’t haha

LIZ MERRY-
Adorable comment.

MARK MCCONVILLE-
I thought he was messing with you too. (Six?! Damn.)

Mark looks genuinely happy even though he had snagged zero up to that point. Teach me this skill.

Zack, if Robin’s your girlfriend, what happened to Jona? Or does girlfriend mean that she’s your friend, and a girl? I must’ve somehow let a blog entry slip through my RSS feed.

Haha dont let me fool you Chris, i wasn’t too happy with the way my day was goin

CHRIS H-
You’ve gotten your answer.

JACOB DANOVITCH-
Jona and I are no longer together. I never blogged about it . . . just because. But if you go back and look at my entry from 4/15/12, you’ll see Robin.

MARK-
I knew it.

Hey Zack, I just wanted to know, have you ever been robbed of a home run? At the Yankees-Mets game last night, on the Andruw Jones home run, it was literally right in my direction. I went down one step and put my glove up, and felt the ball slap into my glove, and before I could even close my glove, the man next to me had his hand in my glove, and about half a second after the ball came into my glove, it was gone? It’s really difficult to cope with something like this. What should I do?

HIGHLIGHT:
http://newyork.yankees.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2012_06_22_nyamlb_nynmlb_1&highlight_content_id=22490619&c_id=nyy

I’m the one in the blue.

JOHN-
I noticed that you posted this comment on my newest entry, so I answered you there.

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