Rough day in the Bronx.
I found a ball in the RF aisle as soon as I ran inside, but that was all I got for the next hour.
Did you hear me?
I said HOUR.
At Yankee Stadium, an hour is three-quarters of batting practice.
Hey, I have an idea. How about if I list all the balls I didn’t get:
#1 — Hideki Matsui hit a home run 20 feet over my head into a totally empty section, but it ricocheted 50 feet away, completely out of the grandstand and into the gap next to the bleachers.
#2 — I was standing 10 rows back–foolishly out of position–when the light-hitting Tony Womack connected for a home run that barely cleared the right field wall.
#3 — I got Paul Quantrill to throw me a ball, but it fell short, and the kid in front of me got it.
#4 — I got Brian Meadows to throw me a ball, and that one fell short too–by inches.
#5 — I was so mad about the Meadows ball that I briefly lost my focus, just long enough not to notice that a line drive was heading right toward me. Had I been paying attention, I could have easily run down the half dozen steps and made the catch. Instead, I looked up at the last second (when everyone started shouting) and watched some other guy come out of nowhere and snag it.
#6 — I was about to get a ball with my glove trick when the Pirates’ strength & conditioning coach jogged over and grabbed it, seconds before I would have had it. Jerk. If he were a player, I’d put one of my crippling Hample jinxes on him. (If you don’t know what the glove trick is, check out my entry about April 25th.)
#7 — Another ball landed in the gap between the grandstand and the bleachers. I was preparing my glove trick when this sweaty rent-a-cop came over and took the ball away.
#8 — As I was passing through the main aisle, Ryan Doumit tossed a ball into the crowd, RIGHT where I’d been walking five seconds earlier.
Get the point?
It was one of those days.
There were even more balls that I could have caught, but I need to stop thinking about them. It’s making me mad all over again.
Thankfully, the strength coach took his shoddy fielding to center, leaving the RF warning track unguarded for the last ten minutes of BP, during which time I got three balls with my glove trick. Doumit gave me a thumbs-up after the second one. (Here’s a picture of the trick in action. Thank you, Paige, for your excellent camera work.)
That was it. Like batting practice, the game was filled with frustration, mainly because the ballpark was so crowded (44,541 people) for the “Whitey Ford Bronze Statuette” giveaway that there wasn’t room to breathe. I might have to move to Kansas City.
Anyway, yeah, I ended up with four pathetic balls, but at least I kept a couple of streaks alive, both of which are personal records:
1) At least one ball in 394 consecutive games, dating back to September 10, 1993.
2) At least four balls in 22 consecutive games, dating back to August 25, 2004.
The total count (or the “Snag-O-Meter” as an interviewer once called it) is up to 2,512.
I have 81 balls in 12 games this year for an average of 6.75.
From the oh-by-the-way department, Mike Mussina pitched a 9-0 shutout.
I’m going back to Yankee Stadium later today, this time with my very good friend Lia. (Lia, are you going to try to get a ball? If so, you probably shouldn’t stand next to me.) My goal for the day? Four balls…and less frustration.