The one-inning game

You might get sick of hearing me talk about the weather, but I can’t help it. That’s what’s on my mind at 3:24am because the city is still a bit damp, and I’m planning to head to Shea in 12 hours.

Rain can actually be a good thing, even though it cancels batting practice. The crowds are smaller, stadium security loosens up a bit, and the players become more fan-friendly. They’re more likely to come over and talk to you or sign an autograph or reward you with a baseball—especially a wet baseball—for standing out in the rain like a putz.

If it rains in the next 12 hours, I’m not going. It turns out that I have to be at work at 9pm, so if I go to the game, I’ll have to leave after the 1st inning. That might sound crazy, but it doesn’t really bother me, as long as the weather’s nice and I get my hour and a half of BP. That’s when I catch most of my balls anyway.

I’d never leave a game early if I didn’t have to, but when I’m stuck with other evening plans, I’d rather show up for BP and get a few balls and leave early than not show up at all. TonywomackI only do this at Shea. Yankee Stadium? Forget it. It’s too expensive, too crowded, and opens too late (two hours before gametime) to make a BP-only outing worthwhile. Plus, the Yankees are more fun to watch. Seems like everyone in the starting lineup is a future Hall of Famer (except Womack, but he and I both went to Guilford College, so I love the guy). It would be too frustrating to walk out of that place.

But later today at Shea? Horacio Ramirez and Aaron Heilman? Whatever. I’m hoping I can make it back tomorrow and stick around for the whole game. Smoltz vs. Pedro, baby. Those guys can bring it. It’s gonna be foul tip heaven.



    So is there a group of people that you know and compete with tracking down your souvenirs?

    What about at other parks, gotta deal with the home gang?

    It is always amazing that so many fans, including me, feel lucky if they even get one ball in a lifetime.

    Mine was a Tom Glavine pitch lined foul to the right side by Marlon Anderson. Saved a pretty womans face…

  2. Zack

    There are regulars at every ballpark. At Shea, we try to stay out of each other’s way, but it’s tough because there just aren’t too many good places to go for balls. The home gangs at Wrigley and SBC were the toughest I’ve encountered. I’ll write a whole entry about this at some point. Thanks for the idea. And congrats on the Anderson liner. Not only did you do a good deed, but you have one ball more than most people.

  3. Heather

    I’m in the middle of my first night off in a while and I’m spending it reading your blog from the beginning. Hope it’s not creepy, but I LOVE baseball and like your writing style.

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