9/16/05 at Shea Stadium

It was a simple day. But it was a good day.

It drizzled briefly before the stadium opened, but there WAS batting practice. Mad props to the courageous grounds crew.

I headed to the right field foul line and got shut out for the first 20 minutes. Then, with several Mets playing catch in front of the dugout, there was an overthrow. The ball trickled all the way out to me along the warning track. I darted into the off-limits blue seats and leaned over and grabbed the ball and raced back to the orange seats before anyone (with any authority) saw me.

The Field Level started filling up a bit, so I headed up to the Loge. Miguel Cairo threw me a ball, but he missed, and it bounced back down on the field. He didn’t get it. He didn’t even throw me the next one. Or the one after that. Or the one after THAT. Or the one after THAT. Or the one after THAT. He made me wait 15 minutes before finally giving me another shot. Thankfully, his second attempt was right on the money. Moments later, Victor Diaz tossed me my 3rd ball of the day.

Once again, I was the only fan in the Loge, and once again, there wasn’t a single ball hit up there…until I left for the 1st base dugout. Then two balls landed there within five minutes. Funny how that works.

FrancomanuelseoJust before the Mets finished BP, Julio Franco walked by the dugout and tossed me a ball that I pointed out. It had been sitting in foul territory, and he was about to walk right past it. One minute later, Mets 1st base/outfield coach Jerry Manuel tossed me a ball, and 30 seconds after that, I got one from Jae Seo.

Three balls in 90 seconds. Not bad. That gave me six on the day–and it made me realize why exactly Yankee Stadium is so tough. Not only are there 50,000 (hostile) fans in attendance every day, but there’s NO access to the seats behind the dugouts…not even during BP. If this game had been in the Bronx, I wouldn’t have gotten those three balls.

The Braves took the field and I headed to the LF foul line. Brian McCann tossed a ball to some guys who couldn’t reach it. The ball took a series of lucky bounces, and I ended up with it after a four-on-one scramble. That was number seven.

A little while later, Tim Hudson decided to take fungos at shortstop. When an extra ball rolled his way, I got him to throw it to me. I was 10 rows back. He chucked it about 60mph from at least 100 feet away. Major tailing action. Must’ve been a two-seamer. Full extension on the catch.

I ran all over the left side of the stadium for the rest of BP but didn’t get anything else–and it was all my fault. At one point, there was a ball sliced into the seats about 40 feet away. I had no chance of getting there (thanks to all the railings), so I watched a pack of little kids chase it…and chase it…and chase it as it trickled down one step after another. BANG!!! A ball came out of nowhere and smacked a seat right next to me and bounced away. Some lady got it. I wanted to die. It wasn’t even my first brainfart of the day. Early in BP, on the right field side, I misplayed a bounce off the warning track and screamed a four-letter word as the ball sailed inches over my outstretched glove.

9balls91605.jpg

So yeah, BP ended and I had eight balls. If not for my stupidity, I would’ve had 10. And when Braves 1st base coach Glenn Hubbard tossed one to me at the 3rd base dugout after BP, I not only would’ve had 11, but I would’ve reached #2,700. Instead, I had nine, with a grand total of 2,698.

I didn’t get another ball all night, but I saw a GREAT game. Pedro pitched his 17th career shutout and racked up 10 strikeouts, including his 200th of the season. The game was done in two hours and four minutes.

Pedrocelebratesshutout

The end.

21 comments

  1. jessliese@gmail.com

    So jealous! Jae Seo is my favorite! If I were going to try and get a ball, I’d want one from him. (It’s part of girlfriendly duty to watch games with one’s Mets-fan boyfriend and pretend to be interested. So I actually follow a team now. Oh yeah, I’m living the stereotype of the woman who only watches sports because her boyfriend does. :)))

  2. doppychico89@yahoo.com

    How many balls do you have this year Zack? You gotta be coming close to three hundred right? If you haven’t already hit that…

  3. wolfe2@gmail.com

    I love reading your articles. Do you have a schedule of what game you’re going to attend, or is it not planned?

    Also, what do you use to carry the balls around during the game?

  4. Zack

    JESS-
    Go to Shea Stadium. Show up early for batting practice. Go to the right field corner. (You’ll probably be the only chick out there, and I guarantee you’ll be the only tall sexy blonde.) Yell at Jae Seo. You WILL get a ball. If your boyfriend won’t take you…you know my number. It’s good to hear from you.

    DOPPY-

    267 balls this year. My record is 300. Might need to write an entry about the chase…

    GROCERY MAN-

    I know.

    WOLFE-

    Thank you. I try to make it to as many weeknight games at Shea as possible. But other than that? No schedule. I do look ahead and pick out games as possibilities, but things change. Earlier in the week, I was trying to find a way to make it to last night’s game at Fenway. Right now, I’m considering going to Philly on the 26th. Might do Yankee Stadium on Monday…but I never make DEFINITE plans because of the risk of wet weather. The balls go in my backpack. Simple as that.

  5. thegroceryman1@yahoo.com

    May I ask why?

    And alsoooo…dont you keep your baseballs in another small bag inside your backpack?

  6. Zack

    No real reason. Just wanted to be brief and change things up a bit.

    My backpack has several pouches. I just keep the balls in one of them.

  7. dodgerssteven91@yahoo.com

    It’s always good to know that you’ve had a good day at the ballpark. As I comment about your ballgivers, Julio Franco has to be one of the meanest players at Dodger Stadium. There was one instance where I saw an autograph collector throw him a card and he threw it back unsigned. It was 40 minutes till game time and he was just standing around! I’ve never gotten Julio because he’s always ignored my pleas of “Mr. Franco”. Since I’m Korean, Jae Seo has been nice to me every time I saw him at Dodger Stadium. Over the years, he finds it important to be extra kind to his fellow Koreans. He’s very friendly and I’m sure you’ve probably asked him for a ball in Korean. Well, good luck rest of the season.

  8. loveg30@aol.com

    ZACK-
    Please don’t ever mention Miguel Cairo anymore. He is officially the worst Met player of 2005. If he ever gave me a ball, I would seriously toss it back onto the field. He is so disgusting to watch and hopefully he will have a hard time finding his way back to the big leagues forever. One thing is for sure, the Mets can’t possibly consider him for the 2B job in 2006.

    DODGERS-

    Wow, it is so shocking that Julio is that mean out in LA. As a matter of fact I got his autograph after the game yesterday, 9/17. I guess talking to him in spanish always helps, but he was signing for several people and for quite a while. Then again, someone in the comments in a previous blog mentioned that Kenny Lofton is nice to fans and I can honestly say I have not seen that ever here in NY. Lofton equals jerk, Franco, super nice guy. But hey, every situation is different, not an exact science, go figure, right?

    George

  9. Zack

    DODGERS-
    I’m surprised to hear that about Franco. As you may recall, I got him earlier this season inside Shea, and he was pretty funny about it…and nice in general to all the fans. Like George said, every situation is different. I have indeed asked Seo in Korean, and he’s always amused. Apparently, he’s nice to dorky white guys in addition to his fellow Koreans.

    GEORGE-

    I think Braden Loser is worse than Cairo. Think about it. Which one has cost the Mets more games? What if the Nationals wanted to trade Christian “Mister Triples” Guzman for Cairo? Would you do it?

  10. dodgerssteven91@yahoo.com

    GEORGE and ZACK-
    Kenny Lofton was really nice to me when he was with the Yankees. During a Friday night game against the Dodgers, he signed for over 40 minutes for all the fans. He was sort of snappy and said “no baseball cards, no sweet spot on the baseball”, he still signed for all of the fans. The other game I went to against the Phil’s, he threw one of his broken bats to a kid in the front row. I asked the kid, what did you ask for, and he said that Kenny pointed to his “Arizona” cap, (he graduated from University of Arizona.) So, that’s pretty weird how our experiences from Los Angeles and New York are so different.

  11. thegroceryman1@yahoo.com

    Braden Looper in no way, shape, or form comes close to the horror of Miguel Cairo.

    Thinking about it would lead to inaccurate perceptions, as when Looper “costs” the Mets a game, it’s blowing a save. It’s dramatic. It’s crushing. You hear about it. Miguel Cairo is a much more ruthless, silent killer, stifling their offense night after night by batting 2nd while getting on base 29% of the time.

    What I find so funny about Mr. Cairo is that a VERY large amount of Met fans were begging for him to recieve playing time early on.

    BUT…he IS a nice guy and has given me multiple baseballs. So I have no problems with him, he’s just not too good.

  12. Zack

    DODGERS-
    Thumbs down to Lofton (and all guys) who have a “no sweet spot” rule, even if they sign all night. Who are they signing for? Themselves? No. The fans. At least, that’s how it should be. So what if dealers make money off them? They make plenty of money off the fans.

    GROCERY MAN-

    It’s hard to argue with you. You have a good point, and you made it well. But wasn’t Cairo batting around .300 at the All-Star break? Believe it or not, this was the first time I ever got a ball from him.

  13. loveg30@aol.com

    EVERYONE-
    Cairo is absolutely far worse than Looper. Yes, Looper gets rattled often, but guess who is the cause of it? Cairo of course. It has happened, believe me. Grocery Man, you are hilarious, he is indeed a ruthless and silent killer. Hopefully both Cairo and Looper will be gone for 2006 and who cares if they give out a universe of balls, we want winning baseball games at Shea. As for Lofton, the guy is 110% loserville. No cards? No sweet spots? What is that dung? Mr. Lofton, you get paid for being on cards and you get paid to hit and catch those very baseballs. So shut up and be a real man. What a jerk. All he did was complain during his short stay in the Bronx. Even though I am a true Yankee hater, he really should show the game and the fans a heck of a lot more respect. Thanks for sharing and reading.

    George

  14. thegroceryman1@yahoo.com

    Cairo’s line at the break was .258/.295/.333. I’m glad we can all agree on this one.

    Kenny Lofton is a weird dude. In his most recent trip to New York, he was saying he’s ONLY doing cards…because they’re “something you cant sell”. I just wish that mindset that so many players have regarding selling would stop, it’s quite off base. Anyway I did get him a couple weeks ago, twice.

  15. dodgerssteven91@yahoo.com

    EVERYONE-
    You have to admit that even though the jerks like Lofton have rules like “no cards, no sweet spot”, they still are signing autographs. Guys like Andruw Jones and Barry Bonds have not even touched a sharpie in like the last 10 years. I don’t think that Alex Rodriguez knows how to write his name.

    One question to all the folks in New York:

    I just want to know which Dodger players are nice/and which are not nice to the fans at Shea and the Bronx. I have somehow gotten every single living Dodger legend (except Hershiser) and every single member on the current team (except for Drew).

  16. thegroceryman1@yahoo.com

    I havent seen the Dodgers recently, however Andruw Jones has signed in New York this year.

  17. dodgerssteven91@yahoo.com

    You mean Anduw Jones?!? I’ve never even seen a picture of his autograph or him signing autographs…How are the Dodgers in previous years? Just curious about how the team is treating the folks in the Big Apple…Thanks.

  18. Zack

    Allow me to say it one more time: A-Rod signed three times for me in one day inside Yankee Stadium in 1995. Mwahahaha!!!

    As for the Dodgers…

    Odalis Perez = rude

    Paul Bako = nice

    Darren Dreifort = nice

    Jason Phillips = superduper nice

    That’s all I got. Sorry for the delayed reply. I’ve been spending all my time at Shea lately.

  19. dodgerssteven91@yahoo.com

    Thanks, I sort of got worried after you didn’t reply for a while…I have to agree with you there, except for Odalis Perez. On many of his off days, he sits on the corner of the Dodger Stadium dugout and signs autographs for a long long time. I personally thought that the rudest players/coaches (this season) were
    1. J.D. Drew

    2. Eric Gagne

    3. Derek Lowe

    4. Duaner Sanchez

    5. Jayson Werth

    The nicest players/coaches I encountered (this season only), were

    1. John Shelby

    2. Glenn Hoffman

    3. Jim Lett

    4. Hee Seop Choi

    5. A tie between Brad Penny and Kelly Wunsch

  20. Zack

    Worry not. I just didn’t see your comment for a few days. Anyway, thanks for another interesting list.

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