7/24/06 at Shea Stadium


Oh my god, what a frustrating day. Not only was there an ENORMOUS pregame crowd, but one of the people waiting to get in was a fellow ball collector known as “Chuckster.” He told me he was going for the corner spot in the right field Loge, which is basically THE spot for batting practice at Shea. When Gate C opened at 4:40pm, I could’ve outrun him and gotten there first, but I decided to be charitable and let him have it. He ended up getting more balls there in the first 45 minutes than I got all day.
My day, however, was not a complete loss.

After getting completely shut out during the Mets’ portion of BP, I was able to get two balls from the Cubs down the left field line–and I owe it all to my friend Naturi, who joined me for her first game ever. (Actually, she’d been to a game once with her grandfather, but she can’t remember what sport it was.) While I was running all around the left field seats, Naturi held the one decent spot for me down the line; when the entire front row was packed half an hour later, I was able to slip back into that spot and get the two balls.


The first came from Scott Eyre. While he was playing catch, I asked him politely if he could toss it to me when he was done.

“Probably,” he said.

Several minutes later, he hooked me up…and then signed my ticket stub.

The second ball was tossed by Angel Pagan (pronounced “ON-hell P’gone”) after he made a running catch that took him in my direction. I should’ve had a third ball, but it tipped off my bare hand after some fans next to me unexpectedly bobbled the easiest lob of all time.


And that was IT.
Nothing after BP.
Nothing during the game.
Nothing after the game.
Truly pathetic.

At least we’d been able to find some good seats. The Cubs won, 8-7. Greg Maddux picked up his 326th career win despite allowing all seven runs on 10 hits in six innings.


Competition Factor = 91,262.

• 109 balls in 14 games this season = 7.8 balls per game.

• 441 consecutive games with at least one ball

• 67 consecutive games with at least two balls

• 2,861 total balls


Hi, guys. Just a few thoughts on my day at Shea with Zack. Bear with me since I’m no sports writer or sports reader or, well…fan. The cool things about the day were:

• How close the game was–the Mets bringing it up three points to make it 8-7 in the 7th inning. I brought a book, but didn’t even make it through a whole chapter.
• All the cheesy crowd pleasers between innings–the T-shirt tosses, the players on the JumboTron quoting lines from movies, the Kiss Cam. Good times.
• It was fun seeing Zack in action: catching a ball, dropping a ball, talking to all the fans and vendors he knows. One of the vendors even gave me a free beer. Nice to have a friend with connections.

Now for the bad part. A lot of security guys seem to have it in for Zack, especially this one who told him he’d have to give up the next ball he got after he’d only caught one. Was it because he’d be too scared to ask a player for a ball? Was he jealous of Zack’s record? Maybe it was because this guard had a butt like a girl. I hear that could make security personnel bitter.

All in all, it was a good day. Just seeing a homerun fly through the air, I can see why you all are so into this baseball thing.


  1. ramones18@cox.net

    dont sweat it zack, everyone has their off days. just do your thing and get em next time. Peace

  2. Zack

    Good point. I appreciate it. I’m planing to go back to Shea later today, so hopefully I’ll redeem myself.

  3. yanksfan61293@aol.com

    hey all…

    the video game is coming along well. What would be some good ballparks to add. Keep in mind it’s hard to find good panoramas of the ballpark–Zack, if you go to Shea or any stadium within the next 1 and 2 days or so, it would help if you could take like a wide pic of the ballpark and post it. I am still working on finishing RFK and Yankee stadium right now.

  4. Nick

    Sounds like one of my days…

    better luck today, right?

    my next game wont be until August 5th at the Great American Ballpark. A whole bunch of my family is going (like aunts and cousins too), and it is a saturday day game. ulgh. oh well, i should make up for it when i go to all six Twins games at Camden this year…

  5. thechuckster8@aol.com

    Are you positive you’re going back to Shea today? I’m going to be there. Last night was one of my better days ever, 5 balls sets my Shea Stadium record, and I got 2 Jose Reyes autographs.

  6. gregorybarasch@yahoo.com

    Holy ****. I actually got more balls than Zack at a game he went to?!?! Wow, I never thought that was possible! I got 3 at Shea on Monday. I’m just kidding Zack, good luck at tonight’s game. I hope you get 20.

  7. Zack

    Never been on the Kiss Cam. If I ever do get on it (and if I’m sitting next to someone I’m dating), the result will not be one of those lame smooches that everyone seems to give each other.


    I think Camden Yards or Jacobs Field would be fun because they both have standing room only sections. Also, Camden is good for the glove trick. AT&T Park is fun because you can get balls on the promenade before the stadium opens. Just a few thoughts. I’ll look for some panorama pics.


    Yeah, I noticed that you’ve had a few rough games. Your trip to Great American sounds like it might be another, but you should be able to clean up at Camden.


    Positive. (Congrats on your day.)


    I’ve given up on the “Cost Per Ball” stat, but it would’ve been $8. Not good.


    You had me. I doubt I’ll get 20. Given how bad Shea has become, I’ll be happy to get four or five.

  8. gregorybarasch@yahoo.com

    Yea, you’re right Zack, Shea is a hellhole for baseballs now.

    Big crowds + no ground level seats in fair territory + overall crapiness = horrible ball situation

  9. yanksfan61293@aol.com

    Video Game Update:

    I have begun to work on the first level, which is almost done. You will be in a minor league stadium and will have to snag 1 ball. You have 10 seconds to do it.

  10. Zack

    Perhaps, but Chuckster knows a few things I don’t…like where to go for a Jose Reyes autograph.


    Thank you for feeling my pain.


    Only 10 seconds?! Unless there’s a ball already lying in the seeats, I don’t really see how that’s possible.

  11. Nick

    Ooh words can’t describe how much I am looking forward to six Twins games at Camden.

    1. I don’t need to use rosters.

    2. I know things other people might not know about the Twins players that will help me get balls.

    3. It’s Camden.

    4. I’m hoping Pat Neshek can hook up me up (thanks to whoever gave that link for his website, I can’t remember who it was).

    5. Four of the six games are night/weekday games and there is a 4:05 game (do they have BP at 4:05 games, Zack?)

    The only thing that might hurt me would be the Twins players recognizing me by the third game of each series, we’ll have to see.

  12. joneli24@yahoo.com

    That really ***** alot…these days at shea are dwindling and in 2009 your never gonna get near the place…but very frustrating, thats how it was on sunday without BP and i still managed to get a ball (one of 4 the astros gave out before the game)

    but good luck tonight.

    my prediction is 7.

    first ball from: chad bradford

    last ball from: neifi perez

  13. trueplaya_202@hotmail.com

    yeah 10 seconds to get a ball? what do you have to do? hwo do you a snag a ball?

  14. jessliese@gmail.com

    I have to wonder if the kiss cam has ever made a huge error that resulted in sick comedy, like two siblings were at the park together and the kiss cam forced them to kiss or something.

    Kip just can’t seem to get his **** together to go to a game with me one of these days. I should just go with you sometime – and if we get on the Kiss Cam, he never has to know. Heh heh heh.

  15. gregorybarasch@yahoo.com

    I have a funny story about Kiss Cam. When I was in Cincinnati last week, Tom Hanks and Rob Reiner were at the game as part of their baseball tour. Well between innings, whoever runs the Jumbotron decided to have some fun and put the two of them on Kiss Cam. The whole crowd erupted in laughter when they saw Hanks with a goofy (and I would assume, very reluctant) look on his face. He was looking for a way out, and finally he found some girl in the row behind him and they started making out on Kiss Cam. It was great.

  16. yanksfan61293@aol.com

    It is only 10 seconds to get a ball on the first level because it brings you directly to where you need to stand to get the ball. The computer throws ball right next to you, so you only have to move about a centimeter. It’s easy…so easy. After it’s thrown, all you have to do is run into the ball to “snag” it.

  17. Nick

    Tom Hanks is living my dream at the moment. I’ve always said it was my ultimate wish to go on a tour of every major league stadium. If only I had been casted for Cast Away then I could be touring America (and Canada).

  18. gregorybarasch@yahoo.com

    Yeah, Nick, I agree. I’ve been to 11 ballparks, which I’ve always thought is a pretty good total for a teenager, but Tom Hanks has made me feel like a disadvantaged youth by comparison! I wish I could stow away on his bus or something. Wouldn’t that be great?

  19. logangaudet_10@hotmail.com

    Hey Zack I’ve recently came across your website which is amazingly wicked and I visit it every single time I’m on my computer just wish I lived in the states but I only live in Canada and it is so rotten cause I am no wheres near a major league baseball team… since there only is one in Canada.I wish I was to move where there was some but I just wanted to get into this posting stuff so hey.

  20. jimmyjoejoejrchabadu@hotmail.com

    I hate it too since theres only 1 park near me I wish they bring back the expos or something or hopefully a Mississauga team or some thing like dat.

  21. logangaudet_10@hotmail.com

    I live in P.E.I so I got nothing and no one famous to see or do around here so.. boring.

  22. andy5353@aol.com

    Hey Zack-nice entry.I may be back to bash Tavarez if he blows this game i have a feeling he will pitch as he has not for 3 days!

  23. andy5353@aol.com

    WOW!JIMMY!Toronto is actually
    winning for a change!Roy Halladay must be on the mound?!GO JAYS!Win one!


  24. jimmyjoejoejrchabadu@hotmail.com

    Halladay with a 1 hitter going into the 5th… Can u say CY YOUNG! I sure can.

  25. thenetsguy@gmail.com

    Hey Zach Im going to the game tomoro quick question any advice about sneaking down to the field level? gl later im abig fan i bought your book like 5 years ago and read everynight before i go to a mets game prety pathetic? lol tty

  26. Zack

    I just got home from Shea a little while ago. I’m going to write the entry about it and then come back here and answer all your comments. It’s going to be a number of hours (as usual)…

  27. bergin42@msn.com

    well..it has been about a month since i posted due to some security setting screw up on my computer anyway..today i went to the pirates brewer game and right when the gates open i booked to the dugout and got the corner spot…i was able to get joe randa on two cards, jeremy burnitz on a card, jack wilson on a card, and matt capps on a rookie card…after that me and my friend went out to the bullpen and the bullpen catcher just walked in and there were about 7 homerun balls from bp laying in the pen he threw one to me and some to other kids..not to my buddy though…he goes to about as many games as i do and hes never gotten a ball i always seem to beat him out i have 9 career balls now..then i went by the tarps and got sean casey on a card..the game was good until bush blew the game..the crew lost 1-6..but 6 graphed cards and 1 ball..next game august 20th brewers vs. astros

  28. bergin42@msn.com

    also i was going to ask..because of the graffinino to the brewers aquistion..does anyone know if he signs or anything? also my friend is going to a whitesox yankee game? who usually signs from them?

  29. dodgerdude511@aol.com

    It’s all good Zack!!! Two balls in one game is more than others have… lifetime total!

    hehe. I think you should come up with SOME kind of gameday rating. Just a way to incorporate your experience during the game, like how good of a game it was, how intense, stuff like that. Although i know you do go to games and leave before the game begins.

    This videogame seems fun!

  30. Zack

    I’m not sure about the BP situation for 4pm games, but if I had to guess, I’d say that they’ll do it. I think you’re right about the Twins players recognizing you. Watch out for that. Get a Groucho mask.


    True. The new Shea will be a TOUGH ticket for the first season, and possibly the first decade. But that’s fine. I’m willing to suffer because things can’t get any worse than they are now. Your seven-ball prediction turned out to be pretty close. No Neifi in sight.


    I like how you think. I’m going to email you…


    That IS a good story. Must be nice to be a movie star. Among other privileges, you get to kiss anyone, anytime.


    That makes sense. Thanks for explaining it. I’m going to email you some panorama pics. Hope it’s not too late.


    Hi. I’m sorry you live in the middle of nowhere, but I’m glad that your boredom forces you to read my blog. :-)

    Welcome aboard, and thanks. Don’t be a stranger.


    Who are the Expos?


    Like I said, feel free to keep bashing him.


    Pathetic? No! It’s great! The best way to get into the Field Level at Shea is to wait until people start leaving around the seventh inning and then ask them for their ticket stubs on the way out. But if you need to get in earlier, you can just try the oldest trick in the book, which actually works wonders at that place. Wait for a family (or group) to approach the security checkpoint, and just slip onto the end of their line and walk close behind the last person and act like you’re with them. If the usher says anything, tell him that your dad has your ticket. Meanwhile, your “dad” will already be through the gate, and no one will bother to track him down. Normally, I wouldn’t (publicly) encourage people to break rules, but when the rule is as stupid as this, I have to side with the fans. Sorry, Mets management. Be nicer when you open the new ballpark, and then you won’t have people sneaking around.


    Sounds like a great day. Congrats, and thanks for telling everyone about it. I don’t know about Graffanino or the ChiSox/Yankees. Hopefully someone else will come through with some info. (George, where are you?! Grocery Man? Anyone?)


    A gameday rating? Hmm. I’m not sure how exactly that’d work, other than by taking the time to come up with a whole bunch of new statistical categories, but that’s a cool thought. (If anyone else has some ideas, let me know.)

  31. allmarsh@aol.com

    What’s the deal with the free beer and the vendor!!! And did you give him a tremendous tip ! Like all fans should!!

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