December 2012

New glove

Just got my new glove in the mail. Check it out:

new_glove2

Here’s what the pocket looks like:

new_glove1

You may recall that I lost my old glove on 8/22/12 at Citi Field. That one was a “Gold Glove Series” infielder’s glove; the new one is a custom “Pro Preferred” outfielder’s glove, and I love the fact that my name is on it. This glove measures 12.75 inches, which is the largest size allowed in Major League Baseball. I’ll always be a shortstop at heart, but since the bulk of my catching now occurs on home run balls in the stands, getting a bigger glove made sense. (No, not THIS big. C’mon.)

As for the color, I thought about getting a black glove with white lacing — a snazzy look for sure — but ultimately chose to go the non-gimmicky route. As for the ball pictured above, I decided that the very first ball to touch my glove should be my favorite ball that I’ve ever caught. No disrespect to Mike Trout, but the final Mets home run from Shea Stadium is still at the top of my list. (Here’s my blog entry about the final day at Shea — definitely worth a read, especially if you’re looking for some baseball entertainment this offseason.)

Does anyone have advice for breaking in a new glove? I have my few standard techniques (including the application of shaving cream), but I’m open to new/zany suggestions.

Moving my balls

If you’ve been to my apartment (or seen this blog entry about it), you know that I don’t have any baseball stuff on display. I just don’t feel the need. (And I hate clutter. And the kind of women that I like never seem to like baseball. But that’s another story for my next book, which no one wants me to write.)

Each spring and summer, I accumulate lots of baseballs at my place, and at some point each winter, I haul them over to my mom’s place. (Her apartment is bigger, and she has a storage unit in the basement.) Last night was the night, and my friend Ben Weil was kind enough to help me.

Here’s a photo of all the balls ready to go:

1_2012_balls_packed_up

I snagged 640 baseballs this past season, but there are far fewer in the photo above. That’s because I used 75 of them (which I’m still planning to donate to Pitch In For Baseball) for the helicopter stunt, and I gave away another 200 or so to kids.

Anyway, Ben helped me take the balls downstairs to the lobby. Then, while he went and got his car, this happened:

2_carlos_the_doorman

That’s my doorman Carlos. He’s the best.

Here’s Ben with his car. As you can see, the trunk is full of baseballs:

3_ben_weil_balls_in_car

After that, we drove to my mom’s place and brought the balls downstairs to the basement. It’s kind of creepy down there, but hey, in Manhattan, you have to take advantage of whatever space you can find. Here I am (wearing a D’backs shirt in honor of Heath Bell):

4_zack_balls_in_basement

To thank Ben for his help, I brought him back to my place and gave him a bunch of old ticket stubs that he’s been looking for. Here he is combing through them:

5_ben_looking_at_tickets

More specifically, he’s trying to collect at least one ticket from every game in which Mike Piazza hit a home run. (Ben, wanna post your list in the comments? Maybe someone out there will see it and come through.)

Charity prize winners

So, here’s what happened . . . sort of.

My friend Ben Levkov came over and filmed me picking names of the prize winners. My intention was to upload the video to YouTube and post it here for all of you to see. Pretty simple, right? Yeah, well, we ran into a few problems:

1) I have a new camera, and the video was filmed in HD, which means the files are huge.

2) The battery died just after I picked the 7th name, so we had to wait a bit and then continue filming.

3) The two clips need to be edited together. I used to be good at this until Apple overhauled iMovie and made everything impossible.

4) Certain portions of the video need to be blurred out because (as you already know if you’ve seen this blog entry) there are lots of “adult” images on my walls. And I stupidly neglected to cover them up before we started filming. Evidently, it’s easy to blur an image in Photoshop, but it take a lot of work to blur video. In fact, I don’t even know how.

Ben has taken the footage back to his place. He’s very good at this kinda stuff, and he’s going to try to do it for me. He might finish this evening. He might finish in a day or a week. I have no idea. So I’m leaving it up to you . . .

Be advised that the voting ends whenever I feel like it.

***UPDATE!!!***

It’s been less than 24 hours, and there are already 130 votes. Unfortunately, there are more people who think I’m a dweeb (46) than there are who want the raffle results now (43). But I’m not offended. No sir, not me. You see, there are lots of folks (41) who are interested in the video, so if we combine all the people who are interested in the raffle, they outnumber the name-callers, 84 to 46. Ha-HAAAA! Guess I’m not such a dweeb after all! (Who am I kidding? Of course I am.) Anyway, I was just getting ready to list the prize winners when Ben sent me the edited video, so here you go:

Quick disclaimer about the video: Ben is the one who decided to use the cover of my book to obscure the naughty parts. Part of me thinks it’s cute. The other part of me is cringing at the “Me! Me” Me!”-ness of it, so don’t hold it against me. Okay? Thanks.

Now, for those of you who’ve won prizes, send me your selections ASAP (along with your mailing addresses). If you’re the 2nd-place winner, send me two choices (starting with the prize you want most). If you’re the 7th-place winner, send me your top seven choices. And so on. That way, when it’s your turn to pick, I can just mail you your top remaining choice.

Thank you all for being a part of this, even if you’re quietly watching from foul territory.

Washing my windows

zack_windows

Ready to win some prizes?

Remember when I posted this entry about giving prizes to people who donated money to my charity fundraiser? Remember when I said that the cut-off would probably be December 1st? Well, I’ve decided to extend it an extra week, and in the meantime, look what I’ve done:

2012_raffle

That’s a collection of all the names/people who will be eligible to win prizes. (If you’ve donated money and *don’t * see your name there, let me know. It’s possible that (a) your name is obscured or (b) I haven’t yet been notified that your donation was received.) As I’ve mentioned before, the more you donate, the more times your name will be entered into the prize drawing. One person donated enough money to have his name there 82 times, but thankfully, for the rest of you who are hoping to win something, he told me he didn’t need to be included. As it stands, the “Burton Family” (from Australia) is the current favorite with 35 entries, followed by Cathy Gary (22) and Mike Davison (15). For every $6.40 cents that a person donates, he/she is entered once into the prize drawing. Why? Because I snagged 640 baseballs this year, so that amount of money represents one cent per ball. It’s not too late to donate. Just click here and scroll to the bottom of the page. Then type your donation into the box marked “other” and click the “continue” button. All of this money ($21,323 since I started doing this in 2009) goes directly to Pitch In For Baseball; the only thing I “get” is the satisfaction of supporting a good cause. As soon as you pay, I’ll get a notification and add your name to the others.

Let’s make the cut-off 12:00pm ET on Sunday, December 9, 2012. I have big plans next weekend on both Friday and Saturday nights, so whenever I wake up on Sunday, I’ll check one final time for additional donations, and then I’ll start drawing names — no, not directly from the table. I’m gonna put all those slips of paper in a hat or a bag and pick ‘em without looking. I plan to have several witnesses present so that I don’t get accused of picking names that I know. There’s been some talk of streaming it live on the web, but I’d need some help getting that set up. I have a few friends who know how to do that, so it’s just a matter of whether or not they’re available — and if I actually want to do it. What do you think? Any interest? Or should I just shut up and quietly pick the names and announce the winners and be done with it?

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