Results tagged ‘ los angeles angels of anaheim ’

8/3/10 at Camden Yards

This was one of the most fun/hectic days I’ve ever experienced at a major league stadium.

For starters, it was a Watch With Zack game; my client was a 23-year-old from Indiana named Justin. We were joined by Phil Taylor, a senior writer for Sports Illustrated, who’s working on a big story about ballhawking. And that’s not all. There was also a two-person film crew following my every move and getting footage for a separate documentary about collectors. (I blogged about the filmmakers two months ago when they first interviewed me.)

See what I mean?

Fun. And hectic.

Let me point out that Justin didn’t mind the media being there. In fact, he was looking forward to getting a behind-the-scenes look at how it would all go down. He had booked this game a month in advance, so when the media contacted me and asked if they could tag along with me at a game, I ran it by Justin first to make sure it was okay. If he had said no, then I would’ve picked a different game to do the interviews.

Anyway, let’s get to the first photo of the day. It shows some friends, acquaintances, and “key players” outside the gate:

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From left to right, you’re looking at:

1) Phil Taylor from Sports Illustrated.

2) Me!

3) Justin, my Watch With Zack client.

4) An aspiring ballhawk named Andrew. He and I have now run into each other three times since last season, all at different stadiums.

5) Avi Miller (check out those orange socks) who writes an outstanding Orioles blog.

6) Rick Gold, a fellow ballhawk, who began the day with 937 lifetime balls.

7) My good friend Ben Hill, who writes a blog about minor league baseball’s wackiest promotions. He lives in NYC and traveled to Baltimore with me for the day. He’s gone to several games with me in the past, including this one three years ago in Philly.

I saw some other familiar faces outside the gate and made a couple new friends during the hour that we were all standing around. By the time the stadium opened, there were a ton of people. Everyone was really friendly, we had a lot of laughs, and I remember thinking, “Phil picked a good day to join me.” I mean…most of the people I see/meet at games are friendly, but it just felt like love was in the air a bit more than usual. During the five hours that Phil spent with me, several fans asked for my autograph, one guy asked to have his six-year-old son’s picture taken with me, and two female ushers greeted me with hugs. Bottom line: ballhawking has gotten some bad press in recent seasons, so I’m hopeful that Phil got a positive impression of it based on our time together.

Five minutes before the stadium opened, the filmmakers showed up. I didn’t take a photo of them at that point because I was distracted. I was being interviewed by Phil, and I was giving Justin a few pointers, and I was focused on being the first one in so I could try to beat everyone else to the left field seats. Moments after I got there, I took the following photo:

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Justin, wearing the orange Orioles shirt that he’d received on the way in, was already in position 13 rows back. Rick, wearing the black shirt, was walking through my row.

BP was dead at the start. An usher had already combed through the seats to pick up the loose baseballs, and the Orioles weren’t hitting many home runs. It’s too bad there wasn’t more action because the media was officially on the scene:


That’s Paul with the big camera and Meredith with the smaller one (and of course that’s Phil from Sports Illustrated sitting between them).

After ten minutes or so, I raced one full section to my left and snagged a home run ball that landed in the seats, and on the very next pitch, I sprinted back to my original spot and caught a homer on the fly. That felt good. I was on the board. I’d even used a bit of athleticism. Phil had gotten a good view. Paul and Meredith had gotten good footage.

What about Justin, you ask?

Two days earlier, when I had spoken to him on the phone, he told me that he wanted ME to break double digits. He also told me that he didn’t want any of the balls that I caught, and that he mainly wanted to learn by watching me in action. But still, he wanted to snag some baseballs on his own, and I did my best to help him.

Unfortunately, the Orioles stopped hitting at 5:16pm — roughly 15 minutes ahead of schedule — so that took a major chunk of opportunities away from us. It did, however, give us a chance to wander into foul territory and focus on getting balls from the Angels.

Justin threw on a maroon Angels T-shirt and headed to the corner spot near the 3rd base camera well:

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When the Angels started throwing, Justin moved down the foul line into shallow left field, and as a result, I happened to get the next two balls. Mike Napoli tossed me one. The other was a random overthrow that skipped off the rubberized warning track and bounced into the empty front row.

Paul and Meredith followed me everywhere and kept the cameras rolling:

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I helped Justin pick the best possible spot along the foul line…

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…and played a role in getting Jered Weaver to toss him a ball. This was only the third ball that he’d ever snagged at a major league game, and it was the first one that had been given to him by a player.

Moments later, another errant throw bounced off the warning track and ended up in the seats, this time ten rows back, so I scampered up the steps and grabbed it.

The Angels had started hitting by that point, and I noticed that a ball had rolled onto the warning track in straight-away left field. I hurried over, used my glove trick to reel it in, and immediately handed the ball to the smallest kid with a glove.

That was my sixth ball of the day, and I got Scott Kazmir to throw me No. 7 in left-center. I was about eight rows back when I got his attention. He lobbed it perfectly, right over everyone and into my glove. (After batting practice, I gave that ball away, too.)

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That’s when things slowed way down. The stands got really crowded, and I ran into some bad luck. For example, I was standing in one spot for about ten minutes, and there was NO action there. Eventually, I ran down to the front row to chase a ball that ended up falling short, and while I was there, Howie Kendrick hit a home run that landed right where I’d been. But hey, that’s just how it goes. I realize that I’d gotten lucky earlier with the two overthrows that bounced near me in the seats.

Justin was in a good spot, or at least a spot that’s normally good, but the balls just weren’t flying our way, and the Angels abruptly stopped hitting at 6:08pm. The visiting team’s batting practice normally goes until 6:20-ish, so that sucked. On the plus side, though, the shortened session of BP gave us extra time to eat and talk to Phil. (Justin got interviewed, too.) Paul and Meredith suggested eating at one of the tables near the concession stand. That certainly would have been easier because they had to deal with their equipment in addition to their food and beverages, but I insisted on heading back to the seats — and it’s a good thing. Halfway through the meal/interview, I noticed that Orlando Mercado and Mike Napoli were getting close to finishing playing catch down the left field line.

“Run over there,” I told Justin with a mouthful of pepperoni pizza. “You’ll probably get that ball, but you have to hurry.”

He looked over in the direction where I was pointing, shrugged, and took another bite of his chicken strips.

“Fine,” I said, “I’ll go over there.”

I threw my pizza back in the box, wiped my hand on my shirt, grabbed my glove…and returned 90 seconds later with the ball. Mercado, thankfully, had been the one who ended up with it. I’m pretty sure that Napoli would’ve recognized me and thrown it to someone else.

Shortly before game time, I got Torii Hunter’s autograph on my ticket:

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(I tried to get him to use my blue Sharpie, but he was moving quickly with his own black marker.)

Justin and Phil and I spent most of the game in the standing-room-only section in right field:

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There were lots of lefties in the lineup, so it was a good spot, but of course there wasn’t any action. The closest we came was when Luke Scott blasted a home run to right-center field, which, according to Hit Tracker, traveled 447 feet. The ball cleared the seats and landed in the narrow walkway at the very back of the section. I ran in that direction from the standing room…

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…but got trapped behind a couple other fans approximately 15 feet from the spot where it landed.

Paul and Meredith had already taken off by that point, and Phil left soon after. He felt like he’d gotten enough info/material, and he told me he’d get in touch if he had any follow-up questions. His article, by the way, will either run this season as the pennant races are heating up or it’ll run next spring in the “baseball preview” issue. Phil told me that he had interviewed some other ballhawks (he wouldn’t say who) and that they all told him that he had to talk to me. (That was nice to hear.) I mentioned a lot of names to him, so there’s really no telling who else he’ll end up interviewing.

Anyway, late in the game, Justin and I went for foul balls. This was our view for several left-handed batters:

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Then, in the top of the ninth, I helped him sneak down to the umpires’ tunnel behind the plate. He took the right side of the tunnel, and I hung back a few rows on the left. In the following photo, the red arrow is pointing to him:

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After the final out, home plate ump Jerry Layne placed a ball in Justin’s glove…

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…and then he handed me a ball, too, just before he disappeared.

That was it. Justin doubled his lifetime total by snagging two baseballs, and I finished with nine — not terrible considering that the teams skipped half an hour’s worth of batting practice.

Final score: Orioles 6, Angels 3. (Nice debut for Buck Showalter as the Birds’ new skipper.)

In case you were wondering, my friend Ben Hill was nowhere near me during the game. He met up with his own friend, and they sat together behind the Orioles’ dugout. Ben has finally achieved full-time status at MLBAM (Major League Baseball Advanced Media), so he now has a pass that gets him into any non-sold-out major league game for free, and once he’s inside, he can sit wherever he wants. Pretty cool, huh? If only he had more free time to take advantage.

Ben took one final photo of me and Justin after the game:

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Justin and I then said our goodbyes. Ben and I then made the three-hour drive back to New York City.

SNAGGING STATS:

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• 9 balls at this game (7 pictured on the right because I gave two away)

• 211 balls in 23 games this season = 9.2 balls per game.

• 652 consecutive games with at least one ball

• 199 consecutive games outside of New York with at least one ball

• 24 consecutive Watch With Zack games with at least two balls (click here to see all the stats and records from my Watch With Zack games)

• 4,569 total balls

CHARITY STATS:

• 45 donors (click here to learn more)

• $6.49 pledged per ball (if you add up all the pledges)

• $58.41 raised at this game

• $1,369.39 raised this season for Pitch In For Baseball

4/15/10 at Yankee Stadium

Several months ago, I heard that the old Yankee Stadium was finally being demolished. People sent me videos and photos and articles, but I never looked at any of it. Even though I often complained about that stadium, it really was a special place for me, and I wasn’t ready to see proof that it was gone. Yesterday, however, I had no choice. It was my first time at the new stadium since September 28th, and this was one of the first things I saw after getting off the No. 4 train:

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<deep breath>

I’d actually left my apartment extra early so that I’d have time to wander and take pics. I figured that if I had to see it, I might as well see ALL of it. Here’s another look at what remains of the old Yankee Stadium:

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I wonder how Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Joe DiMaggio would feel if they could see this.

The bleacher concourse, way out in what used to be deep left field, was partially intact:

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So was the escalator structure at the old home plate entrance:

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I headed down to street level and began walking clockwise around the old stadium. The outer shell was still intact in some places. Here’s a look at it from underneath the elevated train tracks on River Avenue:

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I peeked through a construction gate behind the old right field corner…

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…and imagined that it was just a bad dream. Then I headed up to the roof of the nearby parking garage, and when I looked back down, I was surprised to see how much clutter there was:

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I guess the Yankees are planning to build more scaffolding and dismantle it slowly? I have no idea, and I don’t even care. I’m just glad/sad to have seen it firsthand.

Here’s a shot that shows the new stadium off in the distance:

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Here’s another shot of the new stadium, taken from a bit lower down:

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The garage was practically empty. It smelled like concrete dust and urine. Just about everything was abandoned or in ruins. It felt apocalyptic, like a deleted scene from “Terminator.”

Here’s a photo (taken from the Metro-North station) that shows the shadow of the big bat on the rubble….
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…and this is what it looked like as I made my way around the stadium:

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There was one more place to take photos: from the walkway that runs along the edge of the new Joe Yancey Track and Field. Check it out:

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Here’s one final photo of the old stadium:

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I’m still in shock.

Anyway, enough of that. I should probably mention that Jona was with me. Here we are in front of the new stadium…

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…and here’s the crowd (at just one of the four gates) that was waiting to get in:

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Last year, Yankee Stadium opened three hours before game time. This year? Two hours. Lame, lame, lame. That’s still better than some teams, but the Yankees aren’t just any team. I think they owe it to their fans to open at least two and a half hours early so that people can watch Jeter & Company take batting practice for more than 20 minutes. (Every stadium should open two and a half hours early; if I were the commissioner, I’d make it a league-wide rule.)

Jona offered to take photos of me during BP, so I handed her my camera and raced inside. In the following photo, the red arrow is pointing to me way off in the distance:

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If you click the photo above to make it bigger, you’ll see a fan wearing a red shirt four rows in front of me. That was a 14-year-old ballhawk named Connor, whom you might remember from 4/18/09 at Yankee Stadium. Yesterday, he and I often found ourselves in the same section, but we did a good job of staying out of each other’s way.

Halfway through the Yankees’ portion of BP, a left-handed batter (no idea who) hit a deep fly ball in my direction. The following four-part photo shows how it all played out:
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In case you can’t tell, the ball flew over my head and landed in the tunnel.

What happened next?

This:

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I’m always concerned that I’m gonna get shut out at Yankee Stadium, so it felt good to get that first ball out of the way. As it turned out, that was the only ball I snagged until the Angels took the field. Not good. But it wasn’t like I was dropping balls or misplaying them. There just weren’t many opportunities.

Now, let me just state for the record that I really do like the Angels. I worked as an unpaid intern for one of their minor league affiliates in 1995 — the Boise Hawks – and it was the best summer of my life. Among the many awesome things that happened, the Hawks ended up winning the Northwest League championship, and I was unexpectedly given a championship ring. It’s one of my most prized possessions, baseball or otherwise, so I’ve always rooted for the Angels as a result. That said, I’ve taken some heat from Yankee fans for wearing visiting teams’ gear in the Bronx, so I want to make it very clear that on this particular occasion, I did it for a personal reason. No disrespect intended.

Here I am with my second ball of the day:

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It was thrown by Angels catcher Bobby Wilson after he finished warming up along the left field foul line.

Ready for some more action shots?

When Jered Weaver finished warming up, I shouted his name and got him to throw me a ball from about 150 feet away. In the following photo, you can see me holding up my glove as he was just about to unleash it:

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Here’s a shot of the ball in midair (it’s just a teeny little speck)…
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…and here I am making a leaping catch:

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The foul line turned out to be a good spot while various players were finishing their warm-ups. Brian Stokes (who remembered me from his days with the Mets) tossed me another ball. The following photo shows me leaning out over the “moat” and making a two-handed catch
:
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I moved from the foul line to the seats in straight-away left field and snagged a home run hit by Brandon Wood. It landed several rows behind me and to the right, and I raced a couple other grown men for it. Then one of the Angels batters hit a deep line drive that short-hopped the outfield wall and bounced to Reggie Willits. I called out to him, and he tossed it my way. Here I am preparing for another two-handed catch. (Better safe than sorry.) The arrow is pointing to the ball, and you can see Connor in the background:

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Don’t feel bad for Connor. He ended up snagging a few baseballs of his own, and I’ll let him tell you about it himself in the comments.

The ball from Willits had a big dirt/scuff mark near the Rawlings logo, and the next ball I got — a home run that landed in the last row of seats — had a big grass stain in the same spot:

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BP ended shortly after that, so I raced through the seats and made it to 3rd base dugout just as the Angels were coming off the field. (I couldn’t get all the way down to the dugout. I had to stay half a dozen rows back.) First base coach Alfredo Griffin tossed a bunch of balls into the crowd. I got one of them. It was my eighth ball of the day, tying my personal new Yankee Stadium record.

Jona and I sat in straight-away left field during the game. This was the view:

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Nothing special, right? Well, for the first few innings, this is what it looked like to my left:

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There was SO much room to run, and on top of that, the left-handed Scott Kazmir was pitching for the Angels, so the Yankees’ lineup was stacked with righties. The good news is that there were four home runs (two by Robinson Cano, one by Hideki Matsui, and another by Derek Jeter). The bad news is that they all went to right field.

Between innings, I hung out near the Angels bullpen…

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…but didn’t get anything else. I did however, give away one of my baseballs to a little kid sitting directly behind me. He was so happy that he couldn’t stop playing with it. At one point, when the ball slipped out of his glove and nearly rolled under my seat, I joked, “Hey, look what I found!” and his parents laughed.

Time out for a moment. Do you notice the uniform number of the pitcher in the photo above? Did you notice the uniform number of the left fielder two photos before that? Yep, it was Jackie Robinson Day, so everyone was wearing No. 42 in his honor. My rosters were basically useless as a result, but I’m not complaining. Believe me. I’m just pointing out one silly/related detail. Okay, time in.

The game itself was interminable. Kazmir threw 87 pitches in four-plus innings, while Yankees starter Phil Hughes threw 108 in five-plus. Then the bullpens continued the trend of inefficiency. I wouldn’t have minded except it got really cold, and Jona’s allergies were killing her — but we stayed and watched Mariano Rivera bail out Joba Chamberlain with a one-out save. Final score: Yankees 6, Angels 2.


SNAGGING STATS:

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• 8 balls at this game (7 pictured on the right because I gave one away)

• 23 balls in 2 games this season = 11.5 balls per game.

• 631 consecutive games with at least one ball

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

• 137 consecutive Yankee games with at least one ball

• 4,381 total balls

CHARITY STATS:

• 17 donors (click here to learn more and support the cause)

• $1.61 pledged per ball (if you add up all the pledges)

• $12.88 raised at this game

• $37.03 raised this season for Pitch In For Baseball

8/30/08 at Angel Stadium

The last time I’d attended a game in Anaheim, the home team was known as the “California Angels” and the No. 1 song in America was “Waterfalls” by TLC.

Yeah, it was good to be back…

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I made the trip from San Diego with my friend Brandon and his friend Sean. We arrived half an hour before the parking lot opened, so they offered to deal with the car while I walked in and wandered around the stadium with my camera. In the four-part pic below, starting on the top left and going clockwise, you can see a) the entrance to the parking lot, b) what it looked like as I started walking toward the stadium, c) the home plate gate from afar, and d) the rich vegetation on the way to right field:

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Here’s another four-part pic which shows a) the right field gate, b) a peek through the gate, c) the Angels’ offices, and d) something random and weird that was connected to one side of the stadium.

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When I made it back to the home plate gate, Brandon (wearing the shades) and Sean were there…

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…and for the record, Brandon’s only an inch taller than me. It’s just the angle. But anyway, we were among the first fans to get on line (or “in line” as they preferred), and there was a pretty decent crowd by the time the stadium opened:

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Thankfully, most of the fans went to the Angels’ side (on the 3rd base side) while others hung out near the foul poles. I bolted to the seats in straight-away right field and got off to a good start. In the four-part pic below, I’m a) trying to avoid the guy wearing the white shirt because he clearly knew what he was doing, b) enjoying the fact that I still pretty much had the section to myself, c) holding up my first ball of the day–a home run by Mark Teixeira that landed in the seats–while wearing a ridiculous-and-yet-somehow-almost-cool pair of MySpace sunglasses that Brandon had given to me and d) about to catch my second ball, which was thrown by Joe Saunders. (Brandon, by the way, works as a videographer for both MySpace and the Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. Someday he’s gonna make a video of me snagging baseballs, but for now it’s all about the still photography.)

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Here are four more pics in which I’m a) changing into my Rangers costume, b) jumping and catching a ball thrown by Josh Hamilton, c) climbing over seats in an unsuccessful attempt to snag a tape-measure blast, and d) using two hands (because I thought I was about to get jostled by the fans behind me) in preparation for a home run that I ended up catching on the fly. I have no idea who hit it.

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That home run was actually my sixth ball of the day. My fourth was tossed by Kameron Loe (after a rude fan tried to prevent him from giving it to me by saying that I’d just been wearing an Angels hat), and the fifth was a home run that was dropped by a gloveless man and rolled down a couple steps right to me.

Brandon and Sean had both brought their gloves, but Sean didn’t snag a thing. Any guesses why?

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Brandon, meanwhile, managed to catch a home run that sailed 10 feet over my head, and he made quite a nice play on it. The ball was sinking fast as it approached him so he gracefully reached over a row of seats and made a knee-high, back-handed grab–all this while holding his fancy camera in his right hand. Here he is with the ball:

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My seventh ball of the day was thrown by Joaquin Benoit. It fell a bit short of the front row, and I nearly bobbled it back onto the field when several other fans (rightfully) tried to reach in front of me and snatch it.

This brings us to the dreaded eight-ball.

I was standing about a dozen rows back when a left-handed batter tattooed a ball over my head. It landed in an empty row and skipped up high in the air back toward me. At first I thought I was going to have an easy catch, but then as the ball continued its mini-arc in my direction, I realized it was drifting a little too far toward the field. I turned sideways so that my glove hand was closer to the field. (My back was now facing the RF foul pole.) The ball was sailing back over my head, but still appeared to be staying within my reach, so I braced myself and began leaning out for it. I reached farther…and farther…and the ball was coming closer…just a little bit farther…I knew I could reach it…and as I reached out an extra few inches at the last second and made the catch, I lost my balance and toppled over sideways onto the row of seats below.

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I held onto the ball–that’s the good news–but unfortunately I slammed the left side of my rib cage against an armrest. My whole left side was instantly throbbing after that, and as soon as I was helped up, a pair of ushers rushed down the steps and asked if I was okay.

“I’ll be okay,” I said, fully aware that I’d be feeling the pain for days, if not weeks.

“Do you want some ice?” one of them asked.

“I’d need a whole body suit of ice,” I said, and since there were still more balls to be snagged, I declined their offer to take me to the first-aid room.

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I was in serious pain, though. It hurt when I breathed. It hurt when I sat down. It hurt when I ran. And it killed when I laughed. It still hurts. A lot. Even right now, five days after the fact, as I’m sitting here writing this, it still hurts. Worse than ever. I feel it every time I take a breath. I feel it every time I move…or don’t move. It’s bad. I don’t know how to describe the pain other than saying it’s like I have the most intense cramp of my life. It sucks. And it was all my fault. But hey, maybe it was worth it because the ball, I later discovered, was the 1,000th I’d ever snagged outside of New York City.

As batting practice was coming to a close, I ran (ouch) to the the Rangers’ dugout and got a ball tossed to me by “special assignment coach” Johnny Narron. (Apparently transferring the BP balls from the basket to the bag is a special assignment.) Little did I know that Brandon had followed me and was taking photos from the concourse. Here I am getting the ball…

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…and here I am wincing in pain as I headed up the steps:

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In the photo above, the guy on my right wearing the black pants and blue shirt is an expert autograph collector named Sammy Wu (who you might remember from 8/6/08 at Shea Stadium). Check out the autograph he’d gotten earlier in the day:

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I also got an autograph, but it wasn’t THAT impressive. Milton Bradley signed my ticket. Here it is:

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I desperately wanted to reach double digits. I was one ball away, and I got my chance when Brandon Boggs and Chris Davis started playing catch in very shallow right field:

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Davis ended up with the ball, tucked it into his glove, and walked over to a small group of women in the front row about 50 feet toward the foul pole. I kept pace with him by walking through the seats, and we both arrived at the same time.

“Chris,” I said almost apologetically, “is there any chance that you could possible spare that ball? Please?”

He looked up and gave a subtle nod, so I stood and waited while he signed a few autographs and posed for a photograph with his female fans. He finished 30 seconds later, took a few steps away from the wall, and flipped me the ball. SWEET!!! Double digits for the third game in a row! I celebrated by giving away one of my BP balls to a nearby kid.

I knew I wasn’t going to snag too many more after that. This was my only game in Los Angeles of Anaheim, so I was prepared to sacrifice a few innings (and therefore a few potential balls) in order to wander all over the stadium and take photos. I wanted to be in the upper deck before it got dark. That was a must. But since the game started at 6:05pm (an hour earlier than usual), I had an inning to spare and spent it in the seats behind the Rangers’ dugout. Hank Blalock was playing first base. I’d always liked him. I was glad to have a chance to get to add him to my list, and it seemed like I was in the perfect spot to get a third-out ball from him as he came off the field. This was my view:

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Mark Teixeira ended the first inning by flying out to left fielder Marlon Byrd, who jogged in and tossed the ball one section to my right.

I called Brandon. He and Sean were sitting in their assigned seats (who DOES that?) along the right field foul line. Brandon wanted to wander with me. Sean wanted to sit and watch the game. I told Brandon I was going to stay behind the dugout for one more inning, and that no matter what happened I’d head over and find him after that.

Vladimir Guerrero led off the bottom of the second with a groundout to first base, and Torii Hunter followed with a single through the left side of the infield. Juan Rivera came up next and bounced into a 1-6-4-3 double play; pitcher Scott Feldman deflected the ball to shortstop Michael Young who flipped it to Ramon Vazquez who stepped on second and fired the ball to Blalock. Before Blalock even caught the ball, I was crouching at the bottom of the stairs. As he jogged off the field, I stood up and started shouting, and since it was still early in the game, I had no competition. Blalock had no choice but to throw the ball to me, and I reached out for the easy catch.

I met up with Brandon, took a few notes on a piece of scrap paper about how I snagged that ball, and then labeled the ball itself:

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Finally, the in-game wandering and photo-taking was underway.

In the four-part pic below, you can see a) an usher guarding the tunnel that leads from the lowest concourse to the field level seats, b) the upper deck concourse, c) the view from the corner of the upper deck in right field, and d) the right field seats and “Budweiser Patio.”

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Before we headed toward home plate, Brandon made me pose for a photo:

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Then he got a real action shot–of me hitting a beach ball:

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This was the view (thank you, Photoshop) from the last row of the upper deck behind home plate:angel_stadium_panorama.jpg

Brandon and I headed to the left field corner of the upper deck…

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…and the wandering continued. In the four-part pic below, you’re looking at a) the field from the corner of the upper deck, b) the view from the ramps as we headed down to the field level, c) the same view as the first pic except from the field level, and d) the horribly-positioned bullpens:

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The bullpens are horribly positioned in terms of snagging (because they waste home run real estate in straight-away left field) but they’re great in terms of spying on the players. There are a few rows of seats that wrap around the center-field end of the visitors’ bullpen. I went down there, and this is what I saw:

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See the player sitting on the right? That’s Frank Francisco. Can you tell what he was doing? He was entertaining himself (and annoying the fans) by flicking pumpkin seeds over the fence and into the stands. When he finally saw me taking pictures, he flicked a whole bunch at me (one at a time), including two which I ate after they made it through the fence. Soooo funny. I even got to chat with him a little bit.

Then, realizing it was the sixth inning and that the Angels were winning, 4-3, I made my way toward the seats behind their dugout. That’s when Brandon peeled off and caught up with Sean so I was on my own as I a) walked behind the rock form-A-tion in center field, b) passed through the bar in deep right-center, c) snuck a quick peek at the seats behind first base, and d) headed through a desolate concourse toward the first-aid room.

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I was in serious pain, so I got some ice and Ibuprofen and was, for the time being, back in business.

I met up with Sammy behind the dugout, and we watched as Francisco Rodriguez mowed down the Rangers for his 53rd save.

STATS:

• 11 balls at this game

• 396 balls in 53 games this season = 7.5 balls per game.

• 549 consecutive games with at least one ball

• 135 consecutive games outside NYC with at least one ball

• 88 lifetime games with at least 10 balls

• 33 lifetime games outside NYC with at least 10 balls

• 19 different stadiums with at least one game with 10 or more balls

• 5 lifetime trips to the First Aid room

• 3,673 total balls

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