The trade deadline was good to me this year. The Mets sent Xavier Nady to the Pirates for Roberto Hernandez and Oliver Perez. Hernandez throws lots of balls into the crowd. Nady doesn’t. As for Perez, I’m hoping I can get a ball from him so I can add his name him to the mini-collection of Perezes on my list: Carlos, Eddie, Melido, Timo, and Yorkis. Right now, “Jones” and “Johnson” are leading “Perez” and a few other names by a slim margin of 6-5. Forget the AL Central; if Oliver comes through for me in the next few weeks, THIS will be the three-way race that has everyone talking–about what a geek I am…speaking of which…that was the insult thrown my way in a recent article on Boston.com by some goofball who couldn’t even manage to spell my name right. People, It’s Z-A-C-K. See that last letter? It’s a kay, not an aitch. Why is this so difficult? It says “Zack” right at the top of this blog, and on my web site, and in my email address. I’m amazed at the number of people who write “Dear Zach…” to me at ZackSnags@aol.com. Enough about that. I’m happy with the Yankees’ trade, too, because it’ll give me a chance to get a ball from Bobby Abreu today. Yes, today. I’d been thinking about going to Baltimore, but that trip fell through, so I’m going to Yankee Stadium instead. I know there are gonna be 50,000 people, and I know I’ll have to sit through TWO national anthems, and I know I said I was done with that place for the year, and I know I’ll be putting my streak (442 consecutive games with at least one ball) in jeopardy, but I suddenly got the urge to go, for two reasons. First, I decided that I want to catch my 2,900th ball in San Diego. It’s not a major milestone, but it’d still be cool to reach it at a new stadium…and since there aren’t too many games left before my trip (August 12-18), I kind of need to take advantage of tonight’s game and pad my total. Let’s do a little math, shall we? Currently, I’m 33 balls away from 2,900. I’m planning to go to three games at Petco, which seems like a pretty good place to snag, but it IS the summer, and the Padres ARE in first place, and Barry Bonds WILL be there, so the stadium could be packed. Therefore, I can’t assume that I’ll get an obscene amount of balls. Let’s say I walk away with 20 in three games. That still leaves me 13 short. The only other games between now and then that I’d even consider attending (other than tonight’s) are the only two night games next week at Shea. Will I even go to both of those games? I don’t know. Shea is awful when there are more than 30,000 people, and lately, the crowds have all been around 45,000. I’d feel lucky to get even five balls per game there. Hopefully I can get at least three tonight in the Bronx and then average five per game next week at Shea and then average almost seven per game in San Diego. Sounds reasonable, no? My other reason for wanting to go to Yankee Stadium is that I want to take dozens–if not hundreds–of photos of the place. (Don’t forget, the new Yankee Stadium is only a few years away.) Back in high school, I devoted part of a game to roaming and photographing, and I ended up with a bunch of artsy shots…but I’ve never roamed there with my digital camera, or when I’ve had the backdrop of a full stadium. And anyway, there are some places in Yankee Stadium where I’ve NEVER been, like way up in the corners of the upper deck beyond the foul poles. I want to see what that view looks like. To hell with chasing foul balls. All the good seats will be taken anyway. I just want to wander and not worry about the game and inspect the place from all angles. I’m going to photograph the ramps, concourses, concession stands, water fountains…everything…maybe even a bathroom or two, if no one’s around. The bathrooms there are awful. Totally cramped.