Boo. Ya. I’m in Toronto.
I love Canada. I have no idea why. Maybe it’s because Rogers Centre is one of the lowest attended stadiums? I don’t know, but I sure love the stadium. But it’s horrible from a ball snagging view. Keep that in mind.
I got to the stadium a little after the gates opened (thanks a lot, customs). This is what I saw:
Yeah, so the BP stuff was out, but there was nobody using it. I also had time to get a (blurry) picture of the empty seats:
After awhile, thankfully, the White Sox started taking their cuts. I knew Zack Hample was going to be at this game, so I wandered over to right field while some lefties were hitting and started looking for Him. I should have remembered that in the first round of batting practice, the hitters try to hit to the opposite field. I found Hample along the right field line (you can see what he was doing there on His blog). I ran back over to left field.
One good thing about Rogers Centre (formerly known as “SkyDome”) is that the main concourse runs around the entire stadium, so you didn’t have to run behind home plate to get to left field from right, and vise versa.
One bad thing about Rogers Centre is that 1/3 of BP homers land in the netted bullpens, 1/3 land in the 100 level, and 1/3 land in the 200 level. So wherever you go, you’re section will get 1/3 of the homers- but how many will YOU get?
I finally met up with Zack in left field, and I asked Him how close he was to 5,000 lifetime balls. “4,999” was His answer. He really wanted His 5,00th to be a homer, so He didn’t try to get players to toss Him balls. I on the other hand got a White Sox player to toss me a ball. He was the only player to toss more than one ball into the crowd that day. Wow.
Then I witnessed Zack Hample getting his 5,000 lifetime baseball! The picture above was taken shortly after he caught the ball. It was a homer off of Alex Rios. Here’s the video:
BTW, I’m the kid with the striped shirt and the red hat. I high fived Him, then went to chase a homer that landed in the seats. Unfortunately, as you can see in the video, that fat guy reached over the railing and stole it.
Ok, he didn’t steal it. But really- I’m a kid. You don’t steal candy from a baby now do you? (Ok bad reference). And I didn’t run as fast as I could. I have no idea why.
I also came close to a homer that hit the center field (or in Canada maybe it’s the centre field) cameraman’s little post and ricocheted into the concourse where there was a mad scramble for it. I didn’t join in- there were LITERALLY people sliding around for the ball.
The White Sox weren’t hitting for their lives, and they weren’t throwing any balls into the crowd either. DARGGGG!!!!
During the game, I sat in my seat (left field home run section) until the 6th inning when I started to look for Zack. I found him in the concourse where we then moved to the right field seats to attempt to catch Thame’s 1st career home run. Thames went 0-5 on the night.
In the 7th, Zack and I sneaked into the premium PREMIUM level (4 rows back from the first base dugout) and we went for third out balls. Zack got a ball from Paul Konerko, and I just let him do his thing. He’s REALLY into what he does, and it’s pretty awesome.
Then we moved to an awesome foul ball place, but came up empty. The game went 14 innings. When Corey Patterson connected on his walk-off home run, Zack was off to the dugout. I decided to follow him, and we both ended up with a umpire ball from Rob Drake.
I cannot thank Zack enough for letting me tag along with him 🙂
Keep scrolling down.
Jon Madden: Ballhawk.
•2 balls at this game
• 14 consecutive games with at least one ball
• 3 consecutive games with at least two balls
• 31 total balls (Major and Minor league)
•7 Major League balls
•24 Minor League balls
Here’s some video of Rogers Centre and of me and Zack.