I’m an idiot.

I decided to skip yesterday’s Mets game because I figured there’d be 50,000 people there. Was I crazy? Here’s what I was thinking:


–Saturday night
–Beautiful weather
–NL East rival Atlanta Braves
–Tim Hudson’s return from the DL
–“Take HER out to the Ballgame” promotion

So much for my prediction. The attendance was only 36,078, which is still a lot for Shea, but that makes me an idiot. I passed up a perfectly good game so I could stay home and catch up on e-mails.

Whatever. Three games in three days would’ve been a lot. Back in high school, I used to go to EVERY game, day after day, week after week, but I can’t do that anymore. I have too much other stuff going on, and even if I didn’t, I’d still attend just two or three games per week. My obsession isn’t what it used to be. Twelve years ago, I got so upset whenever I missed a game at Shea or Yankee that I couldn’t bear to watch it on TV. Now, I enjoy staying home and watching. In fact, I recently rearranged my furniture so I can watch AND answer e-mails at the same time.

AlarmclockRight now, it’s 6:16am. I’d like to go to sleep, but I’m not really that tired. Regardless of when I get into bed, I’m setting my alarm for 1:09pm so I have a minute to yawn and wipe the crust out of my eyes before Pedro throws his first pitch. Twelve years ago, I would’ve been there for it. Day game after a night game? Why not. No batting practice? No problem. I would’ve found a way to get a couple of balls, and that would’ve been fine. Nowadays, I won’t settle for anything less than four–and even that isn’t great. I choose my games wisely. No weekends. No afternoons. No subway series. No Red Sox-Yankees. No Cap Night. No oldtimers day.

This, in part, is why I’m averaging 6.7 balls per game.


  1. thegroceryman1@yahoo.com

    Who cares. It’s not worth the stress. You made the right decision.

  2. loveg30@aol.com

    Oh Zack, don’t tempt me with that headline. I am so very close to agreeing with it. LOL!!!! Keep up the great work.

  3. Zack

    Yeah, yeah. You’re right, groceryman. But it still hurts a little bit.
    Anyway, I’m watching Hampton get rocked right now. I love it.


    You should be nice to me today. I’m actually rooting FOR the Mets. Viva Pedro!

  4. loveg30@aol.com

    You should ALWAYS be rooting for the Mets. Their very existence is what helps your collection grow on a regular basis. I don’t believe in being nice. LOL!!!!

  5. doppychico89@yahoo.com

    Ok Zack, I’m all set for tomorrow’s game… I got the glove trick ready to go, I got both rosters printed out and I’m planning on buying a Rockies hat outside RFK if they have them. Thanks for everything, wish me luck.

    George – I emailed you some pictures of the Derrek Lee ball… Hopefully the autograph is legible.

    Thanks to you too.


  6. doppychico89@yahoo.com

    Zack I forgot in the last comment:

    How do you ask for a ball in Spanish? How about Korean (Byung-Hyun Kim is starting)?

    I also noticed it was Rockies pitcher Jason Jennings birthday today, maybe if I wish him a happy birthday, he’ll give me a ball.

  7. thegroceryman1@yahoo.com

    “Dame la bola, por favor”

    Tisk tisk though, I believe he’s covered that before in a post.

  8. david_e_davison@hotmail.com

    After further review you have been moved down 6 spots to 82nd place on the snagging/hit list. With Moe , Andy , Kenny , Rich , John , and myself in the 3000 club youve got some catching up to do. So I dont want to read any more of this ” Im not going to the game because there will be too many fans” nonsense. Do you think Pete Rose or Ty Cobb ever said “im not gunna play today becasue that pitcher is too good. ” I didnt think so……. Id rather get 3 balls in a packed stadium than 10 in one thats half empty….but thats me :) Peace

  9. Zack

    Oh, groceryman, give the guy a break. People have a right to forget…or (gasp!) not read every word I write. But anyway, yes, you’re right about how to ask for a ball in Spanish. Phoenetically, it would sound something like this: “DAH-may la BO-la pour fa-VOR.” The CAPS indicate where you put the emphasis. In Korean, it sounds something like this: “kawng j’SAY-ow.” That’s a tough one, Nick, but I wouldn’t worry about it. If Kim is starting, you probably won’t have a chance to get a ball from him. He won’t be shagging during BP, and when he warms up before the game, he’ll take the ball with him into the RF bullpen. There’s a team store outside the ballpark in a cheap little white house. I forget if they sell caps of other teams. Too bad you’ve waited ’til the last second to get a Rockies cap…you might be out of luck. But hey, good job spotting Jennings’s birthday. Rather than saying, “Happy birthday! Can you please throw me a ball?” I would try something a little cuter and simpler like, “Hey, Jason, how ’bout a birthday ball?” Good luck with Jennings. Good luck finding a hat. Good luck with the glove trick and the rosters and the Spanish. Sounds like you’re well prepared. Let us know how you do.

    Let’s go Padres!

  10. Zack

    Hey, Dave-

    I didn’t see your comment until after I posted my last one. I didn’t realize that there are SIX of you in the 3,000 club. Man, I’ve got some work to do. But you guys count spring training and minor league balls, right? I wonder what the major league record is. I’m not saying I have it…just that it would be cool to know. Too bad Guinness isn’t interested in this. What other stats/records can you share about your collection?

    (For anyone who’s interested in the ball-collecting that takes place at Wrigley Field, check out http://www.ballhawk.com.)

  11. david_e_davison@hotmail.com

    Well , what you said in an earlier post is true . Every collection is unique with there own “rules” and records . So im sure you do have the record ….i would think ….for having the most balls thrown to you. Or picked up with a ball – catcher grabber thing . I do have my own ( cup-o-string model 5150 ) but i dont count em I just would rather see them in my bag then the security guards or someone elses pocket . In recent news I only caught 6 balls this weekend , but with a trip to Comiskey on Monday/Tuesday , and AAA Iowa Wed. I hope to edge closer to 4000. ……PS Just thought of an oddball record (meaningless stat) catching a game homer for the cycle.(betcha never heard of that one) It happened in 99 , Rockford,Chatanogga,Toledo ,Chicago. (a,aa,aaa,majors ) within a weeks time. They were all solo shots. (meaningless stat OF a meaningless stat )

  12. Zack

    You’re right. I’ve never heard of the game HR cycle. That’s incredible. Not meaningless at all. There might only be 10 or 20 or 100 or 1,000 people in the world who care, but that’s **** cool. Did you catch them all on a fly?

    Most balls thrown to me. Yeah. I suppose I might have the record on this one, considering all you Chicago guys only go for balls that are hit…and treat all other balls with disdain. :-)

    Do you know any ball collectors in the Bay Area? The competition out there is INTENSE, and I’m wondering if any of them are in the 2,000 to 4,000 range…or beyond.

    Why only six balls for you this weekend? Were you out on Waveland the whole time? Wind blowing in? Too many other people in the street? I wouldn’t want to spend a whole weekend going for balls only to come away with six. Like I said in my recent entry, I can’t go to every game, day after day. It’s too stressful and I’m too busy with work and writing and other things. I know what you mean, though. Part of the fun is beating the competition. Obviously, it’s more of a thrill to catch a ball in a full house than an empty one, but it’s the NUMBER of balls that I’m pursuing, not strictly the thrill of the chase.

  13. loveg30@aol.com

    Nick, You welcome, not too difficult figuring out that it was Lee. It just takes a little detective work and it can be fun. Happy Collecting.

  14. loveg30@aol.com

    Zack, Let’s Go Padres???? Well, I ought to. Never mind, wait until I see you in the very near future. You better have your running shoes on or else no more baseballs for you. LOL!!!!

  15. Zack

    Whoa, you were able to confirm that it was Lee? How’d you do it?

    Let’s go Padres? Bah, I just said that to see if you were paying attention. I do love Trevor Hoffman—that’s been the case for a decade—so I can’t root against the team when he’s in the game. Other than him? Whatever. I like Peavy and Greene and Giles, too, I suppose, but not to the point where I could never wish misfortune upon them.

    Actually, I’m rooting againt the Padres in general because they’re one of three teams whose home ballparks I have not yet attended. (The Reds and Astros are the others.) I need losing records to chase all the fans away.

  16. loveg30@aol.com

    Oops, the least I can do is answer your question since you politely asked. I was able to locate an autograph of Lee from a friend of mine obtained in 1995 which was a year before Nick got his. The letter D hasn’t changed all that much and I was also able to determine that through the years he has left off several letters from his name to sign quicker. Yes, I know, his name isn’t all that long, but I guess what it boils down to is signing quickly and moving on. Glad I was able to help and share the knowledge.

  17. Zack

    Very cool. Thanks for explaining the process. I love experts.

    Now I’m going to shut up.

  18. Zack

    You know, groceryman, there’s no need to prove that you can outsmart the dirty word filter. This is a “family blog.”

  19. thegroceryman1@yahoo.com

    Sorry, I’m just a dirty person. But psh, you curse more then me.

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