Category: Dailies

Frontier Field (4/22/11)

ROCHESTER, NY:


A baseball game on Good Friday on a week when kids are out off school. How’s the attendance going to be? Crowded, right? Wrong.
Ballhawking paradise- a little crazy though. I’ll get to that in a minuet. Seriously, this is how crowded the seats were 20 minuets before game time:
frontierfield_low_attendanceWow. Just wow. I have to admit, it was a little depressing. Not for me- for the team. How would you feel if this was how many people showed up every other game?

I got into the stadium just as the gates opened (1 hr before game time) and had a lot of down time. I got some lunch ($9 worth of cheeseburger+coke) and waited for the players to start throwing catch. When they started, I moved down to the front row and waited. and waited. and waited.

So for some reason I missed all the rest of the players who had balls (or they were too far away from me) except Ben Revere (one of the first and only people to hit a home run off of Steven Strasburg). I said “Ben! Throw me a ball?” he looked at me and then theย 

ben-revere-11-mlb.jpeg

ball and said “Sorry I gotta keep this one!” (too clean). He ended up moving over toward me to sign autographs for some other kids, so I got him to sign my ticket. “Sorry about the ball, man.”
“Nah it’s ok” i said. “An autograph is just as good.” He’s really a nice guy. It’s a bit surprising actually how nice he is.

Our seats were the same as Opening Day- a little bit to the right and lower of where the photo above was. As I said in the last game, these seats aren’t as good as they seem for foul balls, so I felt like moving around. But where? I could go in ANY section I wanted to! There were so many choices it was crazy. I almost got a stress stomach ulcer from trying to decide where to go for the game. Use the seating chart for the next paragraph:


frontierfield_seating_chart
1. Our seats were in the second row of section 206.
2. I moved to 218. Almost every game there’s a lot of foul balls here and in the section opposite of it (215). There were only a couple more lefties than righties, so it really didn’t matter where I sat.
3. So I scooted over to 226/227. Usually there are a lot of foul balls that land over there, but today just wasn’t my day…
Then I moved to the grass area (I didn’t take this photo- gotta love Google Images):
frontierfield_grass_area
No, I didn’t move onto the field. Did you really think when I said “grass area” I meant the outfield? See that little patch of grass next to the seats? There it is- ohhh- it was a little hard to see the grass because there were so many people covering it up for once. I understand. ๐Ÿ™‚
ANYways,
Because there weren’t a ton of people, hardly anyone was in the grass. There was an adult with his kid, and a teenager with a glove (uh-oh). The Pawtucket Red Sox were batting and Daniel Nava was up. I was pretty excited to see him because 1) I had seen him play in the Majors and 2) In his first major league at-bat on his first pitch he got a grand slam. Awesome sauce, right?
But He was up and I thought it’d be really cool to get a ball from Him; and that wish came true.
I was just sitting there in the grass and next thing I knew Nava had hit a foul ball coming right for me! I kind of froze for a millionth of a second wondering what to do. Was it really happening? Was a foul ball actually coming my way? Is there anyone else around me? Is the ball going to fall short of me? Am I going to have to run backwards? Oh yeah I have to go get it now. (A lot of stuff goes through your mind in a millionth of a second, right?)
daniel-nava1.jpeg
I judged it PERFECTLY (if I do say so myself and I do), and I made a Minor League worthy sliding catch. As soon as I caught it (ON THE FLY) the entire stadium full of a measly 3,100 people all roared in a cheer. It felt great. First foul ball that I’ve gotten on the fly. I really wanted to get Nava’s autograph later, but that never happened. I was going to get His signature after the game, but the dugout was too crowded.
A little later a [possibly drunk] teenager (21 years old at least) said “Hey let me see the ball”
I told him, ”Sorry, but I’d kind of like to hold onto it- I don’t trust anyone with it.” I know it was cheezy, but it did something.
“Here’s my wallet” (and he threw his wallet over to me)
“Sorry but I don’t want to give it to you”
So I tossed- no I forcefully tossed his wallet over back to him- the best part- it almost landed in his beer. (He got owned by a kid 10 years younger than him).
Nothing happened later so I decided to go for dugout and/or home run balls. I ended up getting a dirtyish ball from a PawSox player I couldn’t identify.
Red Wings played a solid game but lost 1-3.
STATS:

-2011 total balls: 3
-2011 total balls in Rochester: 3
-Total lifetime balls: 26 (24 ahead of Zack Hample- btw check out his blogs. Seriously he’s awesome)
Jon Madden: Ballhawk

Frontier Field (4/9/11)

ROCHESTER, NY:

Let me just say that this was one of the MOST EXCITING days of my life.
It didn’t start off too well, though.
I got to Frontier Field pretty late- I was got into the stadium when the first pitch was thrown. So that meant no pre-game balls. Uh-oh. BIG uh-oh. If you’ve read my other blog entries, you can see that pre-game is one of the most important times of the game. Easiest to get balls then. 
Our seats were ok. Not great. It was in the “upper deck” of the stadium- really there is no upper deck. It’s just the seats that aren’t premium. Another problem was that they were perpendicular from the batter. It’s pretty hard to hit a foul ball that way. I stayed there for the first four innings or so. A lot of foul balls came close to our section, but because it was Opening Day, I wasn’t able to move around to different sections very easily. 
But around the second inning, the announcer said that people who were standing could move into the grass area where there was more space. I wasn’t really sure what he was talking about because the berms were PACKED. (I was going to move there, but like i said, it was really crowded). So I started looking around, and i saw people standing/sitting in the grassy home run zone. I never knew that people were actually allowed there. So me and my friend went over to the right field fences and moved into right-center field. It’s pretty cool- kind of like the one in Coca-Cola Field (Buffalo).
There were a ton of home runs that day- unfortunately I didn’t catch any of them. One landed in the Red Wings bullpen, and I looked to see if it was tossed anywhere. It was, and after a while I looked around to see if I could get next to the pen so I could try to get a ball. There was a TINY little nook that i stood in for a while. Some smaller kids (9 or 10) were also over there. They asked me if they could have my spot so I (politely) told them that I would like to stay in my spot.
I asked Phil Dumatrait for a ball when he was done. He responded jokingly “I’m probably going to throw it to the little kids!”
So I said “Well what happens if I say please?”
Then he smiled and walked away. And ended up never throwing a ball to either me or the other kids.
So then it was about the 7th inning and I moved to the other end of the bullpen- where it was more open and i could talk to the players more easily.
During the rest of the game, i stood there. At about the 8th inning I just asked to the bullpen if at the end of the game i could have a ball. I was a little worried I wouldn’t get one. A player had already given a ball to a girl and a little kid. So ANOTHER group of little kids got up on the railing. NOOOOOO!!! DARN LITTLE KIDS RUIN MY CHANCES OF GETTING A BALL!! Or do they?
Lucky for me, they were pestering those players like crazy. “Throw me a ball! Throw me a ball! Can i have a ball? Can I have a ball??!!!” Jeez kids. So I just kept my mouth shut- except for cheering the Wings on.
Ok so bottom of the 9th- Wings are down 6-5. Then Trevor Plouffe is up. Guess what? SOLO SHOT BABY! HECK YEAH!! EXTRA INNINGS!!! 
11th inning: No score. Kids still pestering. And one player kept looking over at me sometimes (maybe to make sure that i was still there to give me a ball?)
12th: No score for Scranton Yankees. Red Wings? Hm… nothing but a WALK-OFF HOME RUN!!!!!!! 7-6!!! 12 INNINGS!! JEFF BAILEY ALL THE WAY! 
But what about getting a ball? 
WELL the catcher left with the outfield warm-up balls. Oh no. If i don’t get a ball, my 7 ish game streak of at least one ball per game will be killed!!
So that player that kept looking over at me grabs the bag of balls. And looks around for one- then looks up at me, my friend, and all the little kids. And guess what? Points at me- and that ball is mine!! MWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!! Best game of my life! I think that player was Kyle Waldrop. Not really sure, though.
STATS:

1 Ball at this game
1 Ball in 2011 season
24 Lifetime balls

2011 Season Rough Draft

SO.

Hello everyone. And i really don’t think there’s anyone reading this. Anyways, here’s my plans for the 2011 season ballhawk style.
FIRST GAME:
4/9/11: Rochester Red WIngs (HOME) vs Scranton Willkes-Barre
Goal: Get at least one ball.
MLB GAMES:
-August 27: Phillies (HOME) vs Marlins?
I’m hoping to go to Camden maybe as well.
MINOR LEAGUE:
-Red Wings as much as possible
-Buffalo
-Syracuse (Maybe)
-Other NY AA/AAA teams
OVERALL GOALS:
-1 ball every game
-2 game balls in one game (3rd outs, fouls, home runs)
-3 foul balls (in the entire season)
-4 balls in one game
-5 Autographs
-6 or more games!!
I’ll come back to this list at the end of the season ๐Ÿ™‚
GOOD LUCK TO EVERYONE!
-Jon Madden, Ballhawk

Hellloooooo Rangers!

I’m sorry that i haven’t been blogging for a month or two now. Life’s been busy.

But hey- I’m not here to talk about that. I’m here to talk about Game 6 of the ALCS. And the whole ALCS in that matter
As alot of you know, i’m a BIG Red Sox fan, so i had to go for Texas- and it worked! The Yankees were hitless to the 5th or 6th inning in I’d say a majority of their games against Texas. In game six, it was A-Roid who broke it up in the 5 inning. I was surprised that Texas won this. Ok, so maybe every other sports caster/writer was expecting this, but it still was a surprise to me. I mean a 28 World Series team against a 0 World Series team? I let you do the math. And props to the Lone-Stars- they were obviously the best team on the field!
I wasn’t annoyed in the 5th inning when there was a runner on second for Texas, and they intentionally walked Josh Hamilton. I was expecting that. But then Vladimir Guerrerro (i know I spelled that wrong) hit a grounder to the pitcher, and they got the out at 1st. So runners on 1st and 1nd with one out. Guess what? Intentional walk. Come on Yanks- did you really think that was going to work? It didn’t! Next batter i think there was a sac fly! SAC FLY IN YO FACE! Stupid Yankees…
Anyways, congrats to the Rangers on winning there first World Series appearance. I’ll see you guys later!
Jon Madden: Ballhawk

Good Bye, 2010 :-( . HELLO 2011!! :D

Well, the 2010 season of ballhawking for me has ended. It was a great season. I got my goal of getting more than 1 ball at an MLB stadium (Camden Yards 9/2/2010).

STATS:
– 23 Lifetime balls
-12 2010 Balls
There’s lots of other stats, but I don’t feel like going into that stuff.

Camden Yards (9/2/2010)

FINALLY! A NORMAL GAME!

Yes, my first (and only) game of the season where I can see batting practice.
Ahh… ya gotta love Camden Yards. Me and my family all think that Frontier Field (my hometown AAA team) was made to feel and look like Oriole Park. It’s great, though.
I got to the Eutaw Street gates somewhere between 4:15 and 4:25. There was one other guy

Eutaw Street Gates

standing in front of us, and other people at the other gate. The guy ended up being a regular season ticket holder. He told us this was like his 25th home game of the season. Impressive.
Speaking of season tickets, the one downside to Camden Yards is the fact that the whole left part of the park is closed off to everyone except season tickets for the first half-hour. My advice if you aren’t a season ticket holder: right after the Orioles start heading off the field, make a bee-line to the LF gates.
Anyways, lets get to batting practice. Home runs in RF were pretty much useless. There was one home run that another guy got, one ground rule double (that I told the fielders to let it bounce), but every thing else was going to the other sections, and there were lots of righties. Just an FYI real quickly, this might be the only picture I have from BP, because it’s really hard to pay attention to the field and get good pics at the same time.
BP RF Camden Yards
So after all the frustration, finally a ball came my way. I knew it was falling short of a home run, and the fielders were letting it bounce. I thought it was going to bounce right to me, but it didn’t. And so I asked the fielder (who was wearing a jacket, so I didn’t know who it was) for the ball. He tossed it to me. I think that the fielder was Koji Uehara

It ended up that that was the only ball thrown into the stands in right field for the first half hour. The other Japanese fielder wasn’t throwing any balls, so I apparently was really lucky!

Then at 5:30 as the Orioles left the field, I almost sprinted to the gates that let you into the left side of the park. So then again I sprinted to left field.

Nothing.

For most of BP.

There was a guy who kept getting in my way. He was a nice guy, but he and I knew too much on where to stand for each player. Anyways, he kept catching homers that if he wasn’t there I would have gotten.

Some right-hander on the BoSox hit a deep home run over my head. I watched to see if it would bounce to me- but it didn’t. So I just looked back at the field. I then saw a bunch of fans scrambling towards me- and I realized the ball had been rolling down the stairs. So I grabbed it. LUCKY!!!! 


Thumbnail image for Seat for Camden Yards

Our seats during the game were great for foul balls- but no luck. 

Why does that happen to me?

Perfect seats, and nothing! And to make things worse, there were no 3rd out balls hit to left field!!!!!!!!



O well. Camden Yards is a great place anyways…





So here’s the last picture of the season for games:



Camden Yards @ NIght                                                                         Ah. Beautiful.


BALL TOTALS:

2 Balls at this game (MLB Record)
23 Balls total

Frontier Field (8-29-2010)

We got to the stadium kind of late, so I wasn’t able to get a pre-game throwing ball.

 The game was between the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Red Wings. As you know, I love the Red Sox, and this was my first game seeing the AAA afiliates to the Sox. I had seen two previous MLB Sox games.
Right after the National Anthem, the PawSox were heading into the dugout except for Lars Anderson. He had a ball and looked like he was pointing to 

Lars Anderson

 someone else behind me, but I realized he was pointing at 
ME! So when I made eye contact and held up my glove, he tossed it to me. WWWWeeeeiiirrrrddd.
This was probably one of the wierdest balls I’ve gotten.
Anyways, the game itself was actually one of the most boring games I’ve ever seen. The final score was 6-3 PawSox. I can see why people think baseball is boring but someone once said “Baseball is dull only to dull minds” someone also said “Baseball is like church; many attend but few understand.” Someone also said “It’d probably be a good idea to stop with all the quotes.”

There were a bunch of lefties in both team’s lineup, so I went into foul ball prone territory for a couple innings, but nothing. I was debating to either go to where the umps exit for a ball, or go to the dugout for a lineup card. I decided to go for a lineup card- and on my way there in the top of the 9th, a security person looked at my shirt (which was dark blue) And asked what my name was. I told him and he just kept walking. I thought about what that could be about, so I decided to stand on the asle that goes across the stadium than go sit by the dugout just so that if the security people knew who I was and wouldn’t kick me out of the section.
At the end of the game, no luck at the dugout.
BALL TOTALS:

-1 ball at this game

-21 total
PS- Possibly my last game of 2010 is on Thursday!