2007 Home Run Derby


The day started at 10:15am when Brad picked me up near my hotel and took me to FanFest (sponsored by DHL) at the Moscone Center. It was a 10-minute walk, and we stopped along the way at the St. Francis. Brad thought there might be some players in the lobby, so we wandered inside to take a peek. Jerry Rice was standing nearby. So was Brian McRae. And Harold Reynolds and Tony Gwynn. Ho-hum. Just another day in San Francisco.

I watched Gwynn for several minutes. He wasn’t signing for anyone, so I approached him politely with something else in mind.

“Excuse me, Mister Gwynn, can I–”

“No,” he said and turned away.

“–shake your hand?”

“Oh…yeah,” he said with a faint smile as he turned back and extended his right arm.

It was nice to feel the grip of a lifetime .338 hitter–not as nice as it would’ve been to get his autograph or go to a batting cage with him, but I was still excited.


After taking a few more pics, I headed back out to the street with Brad who assured me that we’d be able to check out FanFest (sponsored by DHL) and still get to AT&T Park with plenty of time to spare.

I wasn’t so sure.

The Home Run Derby was scheduled to begin at 5pm. The ballpark was going to open at 2pm. We wanted to get on line at least an hour early, and it was going to take a little while to get there. FanFest (sponsored by DHL) was a six-day event that I’d never attended. Clearly, there was a lot to see and do, and I didn’t want to have to cram it all into a 90-minute visit.

Brad, of course, was right. He’d been there a couple days earlier and knew exactly what to expect: long lines, interactive games, overpriced food ($1.25 for a banana), autograph signings, historical exhibits, and LOTS of merchandise. Everywhere we looked, there was something for sale–cards, jerseys, balls, bobbleheads–and everywhere we walked, someone tried to hand us a flier or coupon. That didn’t offend me. I’d realized when I first got there that FanFest (sponsored by DHL) was basically Disney World for baseball fans.


Brad and I kept wandering. We saw MLB.TV doing a live show and watched/listened to Dan Patrick on ESPN Radio…


There was a mini-home run derby, a Ripken fielding clinic, a SingStar Pop video game for 12-year-old girls, and a Dreamseat lounge…


FanFest (sponsored by DHL) was gimmicky to say the least, but it was pretty cool overall and I’d recommend going at least once. Just know what you’re getting into.


By the time Brad and I got to the ballpark, there were already dozens of kayaks in McCovey Cove, and by the time batting practice started at 2:30pm, my section was already full. The gates had opened an extra 20 minutes early to make up for the delay that would be caused by heightened security, so the hundreds of fans tunnel_to_144_143.jpgbehind me had 50 minutes to get inside. I can’t describe how frustrating it was to run in and have an empty stadium go to waste.

At least I had time to properly introduce myself to Sarah and Jake, the mother and 12-year-old son, who were there, in effect, as my “Watch With Zack” clients. I gave them two copies of my new book (which Brad had bought), a 2007 All-Star Game ball (also from Brad), and two Futures Game balls which I’d snagged the day before.

The week before, when Sarah and I had been discussing our snagging strategies for the Home Run Derby, she said, “Just promise me after you get your load of balls, you’ll give one to my son if we haven’t gotten any.”

“Absolutely,” I said. “Consider me your insurance policy against going home empty-handed.”

I had all the confidence in the world at that point, but by the time the National League started hitting, I wasn’t sure how well I’d do. The section was packed, and the competition was going to be fierce; not only were the two ballhawk bullies of section 144 lurking nearby, but rumor had it that the Home Run Derby balls were going to be used during BP. In addition, security informed all the fans that cup tricks and other ball-retrieving devices were not allowed, and on top of THAT, the evil usher told me that he wasn’t going to allow people to run for balls.

“I’ll give you half a section,” he had said when I first got there, pointing to an arbitrary spot in the aisle that I wasn’t supposed to cross.


As it turned out, he didn’t get to enforce his idiotic rule because the aisle was too crowded for anyone to move. I knew there wouldn’t be many home runs hit into my section, and I knew that the odds of catching one were nearly impossible, so I held my spot behind the wall and prayed that the little kids in the outfield were allowed to throw balls into the crowd.

After five minutes of begging, I got one of them to toss a ball my way, and it had the Derby logo! home_run_derby_ball.jpgYessssss!!! The kids ended up chucking almost every ball into the crowd, and after 10 more minutes, I got Billy Wagner’s kid to throw me another by putting on my Mets cap and yelling, “Look at my hat!”

I had five caps with me, including one with a generic MLB logo. I’d picked the others based on which teams had the most outfielders and pitchers on the All-Star rosters. I figured those would be the players shagging in the outfield, so in addition to the Mets, I also had caps of the Padres, Angels, and Red Sox.


I got a third Derby ball tossed to me on a bounce by an unidentifiable kid, and I got a fourth from one of Trevor Hoffman’s sons. Thankfully, the bullies hadn’t been a factor during BP. One of them spent most of his time chasing homers in the left field seats, while the other kept his distance and focused on the kids.

I squeezed away from the wall when the National League finished, knowing I could get back in with my front row ticket, and I checked in with Sarah and Jake in the next section. They hadn’t gotten anything except several shoves from a 6-foot-5 monster who was reaching in front of everyone.

“Don’t worry,” I told them. “I got you covered.”


The American League’s batting practice was a disaster. Not only had stingy adolescent ballboys replaced the generous little kids, but the balls didn’t have the Derby logo. Regular balls were being used instead, and I didn’t realize it until I got Magglio Ordonez to throw me one from 100 feet away. GAH!!! I’d never been so disappointed after getting a ball.

Two minutes after regular BP ended, there was a brief bonus round for the eight guys who were about to participate in the Derby. Most fans didn’t realize it and the_pit.jpgheaded back to their seats, so when one of the balls landed in the gap (aka “The Pit”) behind the center field wall, there wasn’t much competition and I got a groundskeeper to throw it to me. Damn those regular balls. I felt cheated.

I’d started the day with 3,093 lifetime balls and ended up snagging six during BP. My next ball was going to be No. 3,100, and the mere thought of getting it during the Derby made me giddy. I figured I’d have a decent chance because the evil usher vowed to keep people in their seats. He probably meant it as a threat, but it turned out to be a favor since my seat was actually IN the aisle.

I caught up with Sarah and Jake, hoping that they’d done better during the second half of BP, but things just hadn’t gone their way so I pulled out my Derby balls and let them choose which one they wanted to keep. Meanwhile, my obnoxious shirt was already proving its effectiveness, drawing weird looks and sarah_jake_zack.jpgwise cracks and “Waldo!” chants from the crowd. (Three days earlier, in case you missed it, I’d posted an entry telling everyone where I’d be sitting and what I’d be wearing so they could look for me on TV.)

Shortly after 5pm, Justin Morneau stepped up to the plate and kicked off the Derby with three quick outs. My biggest concern at that moment was the sun. It was right in my eyes, and I knew it was going to get worse with every passing minute. Brad had warned me weeks earlier about the sun, and I’d bought a cheap pair of sunglasses the night before, but they only made it tougher to see. The entire infield was in the shade and got impossibly dark when I put on the glasses. Luckily, I’d experimented with them at the end of BP so I knew not to wear them at the start of the Derby.

Another concern was that the bullies were surrounding me. One of them (who got preferential treatment from ALL the ushers) was hanging out in the tunnel on my right, and the other was standing behind his front-row seat, just a few feet to my left. I knew they’d have a head start if a ball were hit on either side, and if one happened to be hit right to me, they’d have plenty of time to run over and interfere.

By the time I’d convinced myself that I wasn’t going to catch anything, Morneau launched a deep line drive to my left. I had no idea if it had the distance, but that was beyond my control. All I could do was MOVE and hope to get in line with it before it landed, so I darted through the narrow aisle, looking down for a moment to dodge the people and plastic chairs, and when I looked back up, all I saw was the sun. It was such a helpless feeling to know I’d be close to the ball and not be able to see it, but I kept running to the spot where I thought it was going to land, and at the last second, I saw a dark speck shoot out of the brightness. The ball was approaching fast. I lunged and jumped as high as I could and zack_celebrates.jpgfelt something hit my glove amidst the mob of fans reaching skyward. Was it another glove that hit mine? No! IT WAS THE BALL!!! Ohmygod, I’d caught the first home run of the Derby, and I could not be-LIEVE it. I threw my arms up and jumped up and down–click here to watch the footage (.MPG = 6.7MB)–and got high-fives from everyone in the section…except the bullies who’d gotten there a second too late. The guy in the tunnel had started too far away to get there in time, and the guy on my left never saw it. He lost it in the sun. Ha-haaa!! He never even saw the bat hit the ball, so he was still standing behind his seat when I wiggled past his spot.

A reporter from the Oakland Tribune approached me for a quick interview. I spelled my name, said I was from New York City, showed him a tattered copy of my first book, and told him that this was my 3,100th ball. The crowd started chanting, “Waldo!!! Waldo!!! Waldo!!! Waldo!!!” My phone started ringing like crazy, and I let the calls go to my voice-mail. The messages ranged from, “Hey, Zack, it’s John. Nice catch. Saw you on TV,” to “Zack, it’s Ryan out in Tacoma, Washington. Hey, uh, nice work. First ball of the Home Run Derby? You know, we uh…me and my buddy here were reading your page right before the Home Run Derby started. He didn’t think you had a f*ckin’ chance to catch a ball and the very first ball, we’re like, ‘Oh sh*t there he i–ohhhhhhhhhhh!!!’ So congratulations, uh, but right now you’re probably hard at work because there’s still a lot of Derby left. Alright man, bye.”

The rest of the Derby was AWFUL. All three lefties–Morneau, Prince Fielder, and Ryan Howard–failed to reach the second round so I ended up being stuck in right-center field, 415 feet from home plate, as a garlic_fries.jpgbunch of pull-happy righties took aim at the giant Coke bottle. Alex Rios did hit a ball to the section on my right, and there were a couple other semi-close calls, but things were so slow that I had to entertain myself with a giant order of garlic fries (and chicken strips). I didn’t bother limiting my eating to the interminable commercial breaks. I just kept stuffing my face through the Derby itself. My day-of-a-lifetime had prematurely turned into a complete waste, and I had to eat my sorrows away. I also felt bad for Brad who was trapped on the right field arcade and even worse for the kayakers. Only two balls had reached people_shading_eyes.jpgthe cove during the Derby and both of them had passed the wrong side of the foul pole.

Things weren’t much better in my section as the second round came to a close. The sun was brutal, hovering just above of the top of the upper deck and making it impossible to track any fly ball. It’s just as well that the lefties had been eliminated because I wouldn’t have been able to catch anything. Of course, most of the other fans were also struggling to shield their eyes from the intense glare, and as if that weren’t bad enough, we had to deal with the nearby water canons which blasted a million shimmering droplets after every home run.


The sun dipped out of sight during the final round, and I felt energized. I got up and stood behind my chair and assumed a slight crouch so I wouldn’t block anyone’s view. I didn’t think anything of it. Fans had been standing on and off throughout the day. Bully #1 had even gotten away with camping out in the runway, yet for some reason the evil usher marched over and pulled me aside.

“Can I see your ticket?” he asked.

Um, no. Actually you can’t. You’ve already seen it. You’re a power-hungry jerk who needs to get laid, and if I hand you my precious ticket, you’re gonna tear off a corner or mark it up as you sick security people tend to do whenever a fan causes a quote-unquote problem.


“Is there a problem?” I asked.

“Actually, yeah, there is,” he snapped. “You can’t be crouching like that in the aisle. You’re not the center fielder. I can’t have you playing center field in my section.”

“I’m really sorry,” I said, “but I was only crouching so I wouldn’t block the view of the people sitting behi–”

“What did I tell you about running for balls?!” he demanded.

I tried to explain myself again, and I offered a second apology, but it was no use. The man was determined to argue. He said he was issuing an “official warning” to me and that he was going to let his supervisor know in case he wasn’t there the next day.

“If she has a problem with you tomorrow,” he said, “you will be removed from the game.”

Way to go, Giants management.

And way to go, Vladimir Guerrero, for winning the Derby. A total of 74 home runs were hit, so I guess I shouldn’t feel too bad about only catching one of them.


• 139 balls in 19 games this season = 7.3 balls per game.

• 474 consecutive games with at least one ball

• 21 consecutive games with at least four balls

• 96 consecutive games outside of New York with at least one ball

• 641 lifetime balls outside of New York

• 3,100 total balls

NOTE: I’m counting the Home Run Derby as a “game,” just as I’ve counted numerous rainouts over the years as “games,” but I can’t decide whether to count the Morneau homer as a “game ball.” What does everyone think I should do? I feel strongly that the balls should count toward my grand total since they were used by major league players inside a major league stadium, but I’m struggling to make decisions beyond that.


  1. johnjamahoney@hotmail.com

    Nice job at the derby…, 51,000 people at Shea :no autographs or balls for me… The sooner that place is torn down the better, I mean it has to be the single worst stadium in the Majors. David Wright threw a ball right at me but this loud obnoxious guy without a glove jumped in front of me and just knocked it down into the dugout and I got into an argument with that annoying old usher on the left side of the field level when he told me that only people with field level tickets were allowed into field level during B.P., even though there had just been an announcement saying that fans could enjoy B.P. from field level.

  2. gregorybarasch@yahoo.com

    (Answering your comment from the last entry.)

    That’s an interesting point about the minor leaguers who’ve had a brief MLB stint. I still wouldn’t count it to be fair to the “integrity of my stats”. I just realized that one of the ST balls was from someone who has never played in the major leagues and I still counted that ball. So to even things out, I can’t count cup-of-coffee-ball suppliers. (But I wouldn’t have counted those balls anyway. It seems cheap to me to count any Futures Game balls.)

    When was the last time (before the Futures Game) that you saw full infield practice at a Major League game?

    The Ultimate Baseball Collector thing is stupid, but the link is: http://ultimatebaseballcollector.mlblogs.com/the_ultimate_baseball_col/2007/07/7707_at_rogers_.html

  3. gregorybarasch@yahoo.com

    John – That’s what you get for going to Shea on Endy Chavez bobblehead night. Just kidding, but seriously, what’s with your decision-making? Shea becomes completely intolerable when 50,000 people are there (especially when a “limited-number” promotion encourages people to come early). You should have stayed away, but I do feel your pain, because I hate Shea when the circumstances aren’t normal.

  4. gregorybarasch@yahoo.com

    Oh, and Zack, it only makes sense to count the Morneau ball as a game ball (at least to me), becuase you’re counting the Derby as a “game” and the Derby itself is the main event of the day. And more importantly, when was the last time you had this much competition for a game ball? But do whatever feels right to you. What are your initial feelings about the issue?

  5. redsox342445@yahoo.com

    i agree with gregory on two things. 1. the whole ultimate baseball collector thing was stupid and not really worth checking out, and secondly, i definitly think that you should count it as a game ball because it was snagged with the same or close to the same ammount of people that would attend a sold out game and also, it essentially was the game because they had bp leading up to as if it were a game

  6. cubs0110@aol.com

    I don’t think you should count it… it wasn’t really a “game”.

    more of an event.

  7. ramones18@cox.net

    Great catch Zack, it was nice to watch you snag it. and i feel you should count it because it was regonized as part of the all-star game weekend

  8. puckcollector@optonline.net

    greg, thanks for the link. i remember stubling across that a while ago, and i was wondering if the kid knew zack.

    zack, you should make the baseball collector a registered trademark, so kids cant rip it off.

    the HR ball shoulg count aas a game ball.

    my friends thought that you caught the secong Homer, and that a guy in a black shirt punched you?

    was he the bully?

  9. puckcollector@optonline.net

    okay, greg and redsox
    i think that the ultimate baseball collector thing is interesting becuase hes a kid who probably my age **** is able to share his experiences.

    its like charlies blog, althought he hasnt commented here in a while.

    you guys did get dissed but he just trying to express himself.

  10. trueplaya_202@hotmail.com

    Zack if you gave that mother and son a ball wouldnt you only have 5 balls? So one less ball? How are you considering that, are you just goign to say that you got 6 but gave one away but are counting it as 6?

    Good job though, Im looking forward to the ASG entry now

  11. puckcollector@optonline.net

    oh, and you needed to tell that usher about your cousins in Brooklyn! LOL!

  12. John

    Zack –

    Official “Ballhawk” Ruling on the Morneau Ball …….

    Obviously you should count it as a ball in the collection. If you count it as a game ball though you might have to put an *asterrik next to it.

    It is definitely a special ball to catch no matter what anyone says!!

    So I say count it as a ball in the collection and call it 1 Home Run Derby Gamer!




  13. kerryrhodes@aol.com

    The Ultimate Baseball Collector is cheap because he counts balls that friends gave to him in his collection

  14. puckcollector@optonline.net

    kerry; good point.
    thats not snagging baseballs.

    its recieving baseballs

  15. gregorybarasch@yahoo.com

    Does anybody know where the umpires leave the field at Fenway Park after games?

  16. quickedge16@yahoo.com


    Awesome blog. I posted a comment a long time ago, to which you responded (I forget what it was about). Just wanted to say I’ve been following your blog for a few months now and I definitely enjoy each “Game day” entry. Your stories about the all star game experience made my day. It’s extremely interesting to hear about your trip because it’s something I probably won’t ever do.

    Congrats on the home run ball- I was shocked to hear about this, crazy luck. Although collecting MLB baseballs is not for me, it is still a pleasure to read about it from your perspective. Keep up the good work.

    Also, how was the trip for the mother/son? You were sitting with them the whole time right? I hope they had a thrilling vacation. If my father and I ever got a chance to do this, it would have been amazing.


  17. Zack

    Wow, that’s awful about Shea, but I still don’t think it’s the worst ballpark. Maybe the second worst. RFK is about as bad as it gets.


    What you said makes sense about Spring Training and the Futures. I can’t remember the last time I saw infield/outfield at a major league game. It’s been many years. Crazy stuff over there on the Ultimate Collector blog. I’m surprised you got into it with him. As for the game ball issue, I’m leaning toward counting the Morneau homer. After all, the Derby is a “game.” It’s a big game in which which people try to hit the most home runs, as opposed to the 162 games that teams play every year in which they try to score the most runs.


    …and I agree with YOU on both of your points. Thanks.


    Fair enough, and you’re right. It IS an event. Man, I could argue either way about this.


    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I’m still sorting mine out.


    I’m not concerned about people ripping off the words “baseball collector.” I don’t even make any money from this blog. I just do it for fun, so it’s all good. Nobody punched me, although I did come close to a few other balls. The two guys wearing black shirts who ran right over to me after the catch are the bullies. Cousins in Brooklyn. Right. I keep forgetting.


    I now count all the balls I catch, even when I end up giving them away. “Balls caught” is a more important statistic than “balls owned,” in my opinion.


    Thanks for the official ruling. Interesting…


    He counts those balls? Hmm.


    Thanks so much. (Your email address does look familiar.) I really appreciate hearing that this blog can appeal to someone who doesn’t even collect balls. I think the luckiest part about my trip was getting those seats (and having met Brad in the first place). The catch itself doesn’t seem that lucky in comparison. I actually feel unlucky that more balls didn’t come my way. The mother and son had a GREAT time. I’m still in touch with them, and I hope I always will be. They were awesome, and I wish I’d gotten to hang out with them more. Unfortunately, they had two seats in section 143, and I had a single seat in 144, so no, we weren’t together during the Derby itself.

  18. ceetar@gmail.com

    Mmm, Garlic Fries. I’ll have you know that even 30 hours after I ate them last year, My girlfriend still complained I was sweating garlic. very potent.

  19. quickedge16@yahoo.com

    Catching that home run ball Was very lucky. I consider myself very athletic overall and I love playing catch and I have a good arm but seriously, if there is a screaming foul ball headed my way during a game, I dive for cover. My hand-eye coordination either isn’t that good or it’s just that I haven’t caught balls hit off the bat since little league.

    My hats off to you for bringing a glove and snagging home runs/fouls during games. One question- how did the ball feel going into your glove? I’m pretty sure Justin Morneau is rumored to have some kinda freakish “farm boy” type strength (or maybe I’m thinking of Dunn…). Did the ball land heavily or did the energy behind it die out mostly by the time it came to you?

    Glad to hear that about the mother/son. And you’re right about getting those seats. That opportunity blows catching that home run out of the water.

  20. sammywu17@hotmail.com


    The ball must be one of the most difficult ball you have caught: sun glare, crazy fans, fierce competition, evil ushers. Definitely count that ball into your collection. If ppl in your blog are to take a vote. There will be way more ppl vote yes on counting the ball.

    Talking about Tony Gwynn, I am really surprised that he said “no.” I have seen him once at my school this spring. He is the coach for San Diego State Univ that came to my school, Univ of Southern California (famous alumni include Randy Johnson, Mark McGwire, Tom Seaver,and Barry Zito) on a Fri nite game. Despite his team got beaten by us. Gwynn was still nice enough to sign autograph after the game until everyone left.(He just got into HOF not long ago) He is a very funny guy in person, btw.

    I also have a “hand-shake” story. In 2004, Eric Gagne published a children book about his life. He was signing book at a local bookstore. I got his auto afterward reached out my right hand. I just had a hand-shake with a Cy Young award winner’s pitching hand! (He won CY in 03) That is the most expensive hand I have ever shaken.

  21. padreleigh@hotmail.com


    Haven’t written in a while, but first and foremost CONGRATULATIONS on the All Star HR Derby catch. First homer, plus you did it against all that competition. Great job. As you know, I’m a San Diego guy and I can’t wait until we finally get the All Star game and its festivities at PETCO Park. I didn’t live here when they had the last two. I’m hoping for 2010 or 2011, but I think MLB is going to diss us because we had the World Baseball Classic finals in 2006. Got three WBC balls. Nice gold lettering. Anyway, it’s been dream to catch a HR Derby ball. Can’t wait to get the chance here. My season seats are perfect for the derby when it comes. Can’t wait.

    Ok, second thing. I saw the picture of your “clients” at the derby. I hope you got every last stinking dime out of them because they are freaking Dodgers fans. Uhhhh!! Can’t stand them. Love beating them more than any other team. Most of their fans I get to deal with at PETCO can’t speak English and still wear Fernando Valenzuela shirts. If the Border Patrol would show up to PETCO on a Saturday night Dodgers/Padres home game our nation’s illegal immigration problem would be solved!! Ha ha.

    Third thing. Tony Gwynn has had everybody fooled for YEARS. He is a complete **** when it comes to autographs at the park. Now, if the TV camera is there he is Mr. Nice Guy and will sign. During an everyday, regular game. FORGET IT. I have personally seen it both on the road and at home when he was playing. I’ve even sent items way in the past to the stadium hoping to get an autograph only to receive a letter from AG Sports saying that if I wish my item to be signed, please send $25.00 etc. I don’t think so. Never saw my item again either. Tony gives everyone the “Heisman” at SDSU home games too. No autographs. Don’t be fooled by Tony Gwynn. Now that he’s a bona fide Hall of Famer it will only be worse.

    Last thing. Earlier this year on May 26th against the Brewers I caught Ryan Braun’s FIRST Major League homer. That was my 5th “game HR” catch all time and I was stoked to catch it and get some cool stuff in trade. It’s been a good year. Here’s the sad story though. The week before the All Star break we played the Braves. During Friday’s game I went to get some fries and a coke at the concession stand and wouldn’t you know it, Andruw Jones hit career homer 357. THE BALL HIT MY FREAKING EMPTY SEAT!! I was so ticked. My friend that sits with me had my glove, but she totally choked and wasn’t ready. Oh well. It was so sad. I had to share it with you all. Maybe there will be more my way this year, but I was sad to let that opportunity escape me.

    The second half isn’t going so well for the Padres so far, but there is a lot of baseball left. I’ve been to Tropicana Field already this year and have a first time trip to Coors Field planned for September. Can’t wait.If anyone out there needs any info on PETCO Park trips let me know. I’ll be glad to help anyone out. Once again, GREAT JOB ZACK!!


  22. padreleigh@hotmail.com

    Sorry for the long previous post. One last thought. I’ve been to ATT Park a few times in the past and batting practice has always been interesting with the “bullies” they have there. It’s such a great feeling to go out there and catch one in the midst of them. They get so mad it’s funny. The only thing worse than a Dodger fan is a Giant’s fan.


  23. gregorybarasch@yahoo.com

    Yeah, it was stupid to involve myself in the Ultimate Collector thing. It was dumb, I regret it, and now it’s over.

    By the way, I loved your “Wait. I want to keep arguing about it” comment. That brightened my day. So thank you.

  24. dodgerdude511@aol.com

    Awesome. you should absolutely count it as a gamer. If you are considering this a “game”, than you should count it.

  25. puckcollector@optonline.net

    you are wrong.

    new yorkers are worse than giants fans(or equal)

    so the only thing worse than illegal immigrants (AKA dodgers fans) are new yorkers.

    but i am not a rude one :)

  26. Zack

    Thirty hours?*****. Good thing I didn’t save those fries for my last night.


    I’m disappointed to hear that you dive out of the way for hard-hit balls…but then again, it gives people like me a better chance to catch them. The Morneau homer didn’t feel heavy at all. (Good question.) In fact, most homers don’t. According to HitTracker, the longest home runs leave the bat at around 120mph, and I’ve heard that most homers (at least the ones that aren’t line drives) lose roughly half their speed by the time the ball lands. So when I caught the homer during the Derby, it was probably only traveling about 50 to 60mph, which isn’t really much at all.


    It’s interesting how your experience with Gwynn is completely different from padreleigh’s (who left the comment right below yours). I like the idea of an “expensive hand.”


    Thanks very much. It’s good to hear from you again, and no need to apologize for leave long comments. I didn’t get any money from the clients. I got a free trip, and the guy who had those seats got to keep all the money. It was a great deal. Everyone was thrilled. Too bad about Gwynn. I didn’t realize he was so difficult. That’s sooooo frustrating that the ball went right to your seat. Man, if that happened to me, I’d need to seek professional help. I think it’s pretty funny that all the NL West fans hate each other. Well, I guess I shouldn’t say all. I can’t picture Rockies fans or D’Backs fans really getting into it with anyone.


    Dare I ask why your day needed brightening?


    Good point about counting the HR as a game ball. As for Cincinnati, you won’t have any problem moving from section to section. The ushers often check tickets at the top of the each staircase, but it’s easy to find cracks in the system and slip through. You’ll see that your section is separated from the seats in foul territory by a little plexi-glass wall. Don’t climb over it. You’ll get yelled at. Just go up the steps to the concourse and then head whichever way you want. You probably won’t be able to get into the seats right behind the plate. Those are guarded strictly, but you should be able to get down behind the dugouts.


    I have no problem with Giants fans, as a whole. It was just a small group of them who were obnoxious and aggressive. Thus, my vote goes to Yankee fans as the worst in baseball.

  27. soxsuxyanks@yahoo.com

    nice job at the all star festivitys , going to shea or yankee stadium anytime soon ? f.y.i next saturday (july 21st) the night game of the yankees vs d-rays double header , the tickets are 5 bucks

  28. Zack

    Hey, thanks. I probably won’t be back at Yankee Stadium until A-Rod is on the verge of hitting his 500th homer, and even then, I’ll probably only go if it’s a weeknight game against a ***** team. As for Shea, I’m planning to be there on July 25, but with my luck, it’ll probably rain. Five-dollar night is the worst. Last time I went to it, all the cheap seats had sold out before the stadium even opened and I had to pay over $40 to get in.

  29. gregorybarasch@yahoo.com

    Oh, I didn’t mean it like that. I didn’t need a day-brightening, it just gave me a me laugh.

  30. Zack



    What? I meant “paid.” The evil usher probably wouldn’t be so grumpy if he just got paid.

  31. quickedge16@yahoo.com

    Thanks for responding to the Morneau HR question. Weird how home runs just don’t feel energized at the end of it’s flight.

    I’m going on vacation monday with the family- Planning to go to RFK stadium and Camden Yards (been there before) on the way to North Carolina. I’ll let you know how it goes when I get back. I’m not really a ball collector kind of guy but I do like to try and get autographs when possible. I don’t really care about value so I buy some cheap baseballs from walmart or whatever (Official league balls which aren’t that official) and use those. That’s pretty much my baseball thing. That and eating a hot dog at the park. Good luck with your trip to Shea on the 25th, hope you keep your streak intact. It’s not like it’ll be the end of the world if you do have a game without getting a single ball. If anything, I think it’ll lessen your burden.

  32. sammywu17@hotmail.com


    At the day Gwynn came to my school, it was actually a bad day for SDSU, not only they lose, one player seriously injured while running bases. (hate to see that) However, Gwynn was extremely friendly to fans, even to ones who wore USC caps. He didn’t just sign stuffs without talking to fans. In fact, he was cracking jokes during his signing. One kid got him signed a ball and walked away. Gwynn jokingly said,” you just leave me after you using me?” All fans’ requests to take picture with him were granted. I got him signed a bat. There are fans who congrated him getting into HOF. Gwynn would humbly responsed by “thank you,” “appreciate that.” Some fans even ask him batting tips. I will go to another game next spring.

    Another thing, I just quitted my summer job in order to take baseball trips. I am going to San Francisco, Oakland, Arlington, Houston, and Arizona in next 7 weeks. I have some ballpark questions. For AT&T Park , if I am to buy a outfield seat, would I be able to go to to infield seats area before game started?


  33. padreleigh@hotmail.com

    Puck collector…..

    New Yorkers can’t be THAT bad. I just don’t believe it. New York teams win, their fans are way smarter baseball fans than Dodgers and Giants fans. I’ll take the people of the Big Apple anyday over the Dodgers/Giants ha ha. Diamondbacks fans are pretty good and I think the Rockies fans are just glad to be going to a game in their town.

    SAMMY WU…….

    Glad you caught Gwynn on the best day of his life. Try and talk to him again at an MLB park and let me know what happens. He really is a mean guy. I’ve never seen him nice and I’ve seen him alot.


    Mets are in town today. David Wells vs someone named Sosa. Wells tends to give up a few homers so I think I might have a shot at a “gamer” tonight. I’ll get back to you on BP snagging details from this series.


  34. puckcollector@optonline.net

    wcimons: p and l are vert close to each other.

    padre :when they get drunk(which happens often) you dont want to deal with tghem. even the moms are mean(in BP at least)

  35. padreleigh@hotmail.com

    One other thing Zack. In your picture of Gwynn at the top, Harold Reynolds is in the background. I know he go fired from ESPN for sexual harrassment, but is he looking at the girl on the left and sexually harrassing her or what? Ha ha.


  36. Charlie

    I think your right Leigh.
    anyway,zack, I think u should count the ball as a game ball because you had to go through a ton of fans like regular games, except a lot more fans.

  37. cubs0110@aol.com

    zack, going to the cubs/giants game today…

    no chance at a bonds record ball, so I think I’ll be in left field, with a overall better chance at a home run

  38. Zack

    Yeah, I think you’re right about the burden. There was a player who had a long hitting streak a number of years back (mighta been Molitor), and when it ended, he said something like, “Thank God the monkey is finally off my back.” Good luck on your trip. Check in and let us all know how it’s going, if you get a chance.


    Now I’m not sure what to think about Gwynn. You’re saying he’s great. Padre Leigh is saying he’s a jerk. Does anyone else here have a Gwynn story? Congrats on quitting your job. I think that’s an EXCELLENT decision, especially if there’s baseball involved. Get outfield seats at AT&T. You’ll be able to move around, but you won’t be allowed to get right behind the dugouts.


    I’m interested to hear how it goes for you with the Mets in town, so definitely check in with some details from the series. I’ll be watching all the games from the headquarters of minorleaguebaseall.com. Harold Reynolds DOES look a little suspicious in that pic. Uh oh.


    Thanks for weighing in. I’m still thinking it over.


    Oh man. Barroids isn’t even in the starting lineup. But at least you have a good pitcher’s duel going…1-1 in the sixth between two young studs. I got that game on here as well on one of the many TVs.

  39. surfnusa@ij.net

    Zack, you have got to be one of the luckiest guys alive. Great catch! I’ve only been to 7 stadiums but Chase Field had the best fans evah!

  40. cubs0110@aol.com

    The only ball I got was a charity ball..

    It was coming right towards me, I had it!

    But the Giants fan that I had been talking with earlier was 2 steps behind me and therefore higher up, so he just stuck his mitt out and caught it.

    Once he knew it was me, he just gave it to me.

    I don’t think I will count it in my AMAZING total of 8.

    BUT the Cubs won, so I’m happy :)

  41. cubs0110@aol.com

    and I don’t feel bad really about taking it… it ended up being the only thing I got all day..

    and hey, a free baseball is a free baseball!!

  42. Zack

    Thanks! But I have to quote Branch Rickey:

    “Luck is the residue of design.”


    “Amazing total of 8.” Funny. You’re right, though. A ball IS a ball.

  43. markshark22@yahoo.com

    dude, my first major league baseball i got was at a royals game. ok, so after the game i ran down to the royals dugout and the bullpen coach was coming towards the dugout so i was like “50!,(that was his #) then i said “ball” he nodded and tossed it. some other kids jumped up, but i got there first. then i ran off to show my parents.

  44. Zack


    Consider yourself lucky because players and coaches usually don’t respond too nicely when fans don’t know their names.

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