This. Day. Was. Awesome.
But it didn’t start out as awesome as I wanted it to.
When I got to the stadium, there was a huge crowd waiting to get in, and why? Because it was a beautiful summer day on a Saturday when the Red Wings were playing the oh-so-popular Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees. So to sum it up, the stadium was more crowded than usual- but I’m used to that now. Including this game (with a total attendance of 11,463), the past four games I’ve attended there have been over 10,00 fans in attendance (with the exception of 7/8/11 at Frontier Field which held 9,991. Close enough). After reading this entry, you’ll see why it might be possible for me to get 2,000,000 balls at the next game at Frontier Field that has 4,00 fans.
Enough with the attendance talk. Let’s get down to business.
I got in the stadium just as the gates opened and went to my (awesome) seats:
I stayed there for a while simply because if I went over to my usual spot for pre-game balls, I’d be wasting my time just standing around doing nothing. Maybe I stayed there longer than I thought I should have. I saw some kids (one with a glove) on the first base line where I usually go. I started to make my way down there and got in the first row of the premium seats and walked slowly towards them. It turned out that I was worrying for nothing. They were just getting autographs from the Red Wings’s mascots, Spikes and Mitsy. Whew. But the (possible) competition wasn’t over yet. Another kid was making his way to the corner spot in the premium section at the same time I did. I got there right before he did. I wanted to get a picture of him somehow, but I didn’t want him to know I was photographing him. So…
…I took a picture of his shadow. Smart thinking if I do say so myself, and I do.
And it turned out he was only there for autographs. (Mainly for Denard Span I think. I heard what might of been his father saying “Tell him you came all the way from Minneapolis for his autograph).
Anyways, pre-game throwing started about a million hours later, and you know what? My competition was still not over. Some (small) kids (with gloves) came over wanting a ball (uh-oh). To my advantage, I realized the only player they recognized was Dustin Martin. That was fine with me because I was looking for getting a ball from Toby Gardenhire, Aaron Bates, or Chase Lambin.
As the throwing continued, a good amount of Red Wings players came over to people on my left to sign autographs. I decided that these chances were too good to pass up (seeing as 1) there were so many players, and 2) I’d be kicking myself if I hadn’t tried for some signatures), so I went over to get some John Hancocks while keeping an eye on the throwers.
No one (as in Toby Gardenhire, Aaron Bates, or Chase Lambin) had a ball at the end, but I did get autographs from Kyle Waldrop, Brandon Roberts, Toby Gardenhire, and I think Jeff Bailey. While trying unsuccessfully to get Denard Span’s signature, I did get a ball from…someone. On the Red Wings. Who was a player. I thought their number was 53, but that was Carlos Gutierez, who is a pitcher. It was either that or number 13, Rene Rivera. I don’t know. Their last digit was a 3. But a ball is a ball no matter who gives it to you. This also gave me 19 consecutive games where I’ve tried to snag a baseball (games that I don’t try are not counted as “games” unless I somehow snag a ball without trying). There could’ve been a chance to get another ball during PG throwing, but I decided not to ask for a ball while my ticket was being signed:
Our seats were so good that I decided to stay there for a full inning. Wow. That’s a long time! (For me). I also tried for a third out ball from the Yanks, but I came up empty. So then I moved to the left field grass. It was pretty crowded:
Once again, there was nothing even close to me. So how was this day so awesome? Well, it started when I decided to go check out the bullpens mainly because I couldn’t see any players or a bench (turns out they just moved the bench back for some reason).
I was making my way to the bullpens, but stopped walking next to the foul pole to watch the Famous Chicken do a cute little act with some little kids who were messing with the catcher and umpire. Good thing I stopped. Wanna know why?
The next thing I hear is, “Hey, kid- do you play baseball?” I turned around to see if someone was talking to me.
“Yeah I play baseball”
“Can you catch?”
“Well here you go,” the food vendor guy says as he flips a baseball to me. Ohhh yeah.
I was really surprised he had a baseball because I didn’t see a single foul ball go over to the left field gate/foul pole/eating area. It must’ve been from a previous game. And I think he flipped it to me because I had a glove. Life lessoned learned kids. Even if you don’t try to catch a baseball at a game, bring a glove. It makes you look like you want one. 🙂
More awesomeness? Some (awesome) fried dough for $4.25:
Mmmm… food and baseball go together so well.
After I finished the (awesome) fried dough, I made my way over to the left field bullpens again. I have no idea why. Nobody ever gets a ball there during the game (unless you’re the little kid who has a glove and doesn’t ask for a ball when three other 10-year-olds are every half second. True story.)
I found one of my friends over there and we were talking for a little. Then I suddenly realized something. I asked him what inning it was, and he said the 8th or 9th. When I was looking for the inning on the scoreboard, I was thinking “Oh Lord, please let it be the 8th. And if it is the 9th, let there be one out or less. Amen”
Turned out it was the top of the 9th with the Red Wings (home team) up 6-1 with no outs. I walked quickly over to the umpires tunnel and waited. It didn’t take along time for the game to end. Kyle Waldrop let up a homer to make the game 6-2 with one out. The next pitch was a double. Then the next batter flew to right and the runner on second got caught off guard and was thrown out at second due to not getting back to the base in time. Good thing I was over there when I was. I did get a ball from the home plate umpire Art Thigpen.
That ball got me up to three, and I for some reason, I had the itching urge to go for four.
With the thought in mind , I made my way to the Red Wings’ dugout. Right before I got down there, I saw a little kid get a ball. I saw the ball girl talking to people who might have been her family, and then I asked (in these exact words): “Excuse me, is there any chance you could spare just one ball?” She asked an older, more experienced ball boy something, then gave me a ball. YES! Four in one game!!! New record baby! Woo!!!!
-Total balls at this game: 4
-Total lifetime balls (MLB and MiLB): 42
-Total 2011 balls (MLB and MiLB): 19
-Consecutive games with at least one ball (MiLB and MLB): 24/24
-Consecutive games with at least one ball (MiLB): 19/19
-Consecutive games with at least one ball (MLB): 5/5
-Consecutive games with at least two balls: 1/3
-Lifetime balls per game (MLB and MiLB): 1.58
-Lifetime balls per game (MiLB): 1.63
-Lifetime balls per game (MLB): 1.40
-Season balls per game (MLB and MiLB): 2.11
-Season balls per game (MiLB): 2.12
-Season balls per game (MLB): 2.00