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:
Wow. 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 the
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:
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):
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. 🙂
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?)
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.
-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