6/9/08 at Dolphin Stadium

The story of the day was Ken Griffey Jr.’s 600th career home run. He hit it. I didn’t catch it. I was five feet away from it. It hurts. A lot.

After missing out on SUCH an important ball, I literally didn’t know what to do with myself. It felt pointless to go back to chasing foul balls, and right now I’d rather not be spending any mental energy writing about it, but life goes on and I suppose the story ought to be told so I guess I’ll start from the beginning…

dolphin_stadium_from_hotel.jpg

I arrived at Gate H at 4:40pm, nearly an hour before Dolphin Stadium was scheduled to open, and I wasn’t the first person there. There was one other guy, and it turned out to be someone andy_zack.jpgwho reads this blog. His name is Andy (aka “munkittr” for those of you who read the comments). He lives in Tampa, has season tickets at Tropicana Field, and when he found out I was going to be at this game, he hopped in his car and made the four-hour drive. (Perhaps the fact that Griffey was still at 599 had something to do with his decision to come.)

This was the first time we’d met in person, and we talked nonstop for the next 50 minutes. At one point when Andy was discussing all the games he attends, another man who had joined our conversation said, “I bet you’re single.”

“Actually I’m married,” said Andy. “Very happily married.”

I was happy to see The Stereotype shot down once again–and even happier when I ran inside the stadium and saw that batting practice was already in progress. I headed to the tarp_security_guard.jpgfurthest section in right-center field where the orange seats meet the blue tarp. The security guard who was stationed there had seen me snag eight balls over the previous three days, but that didn’t stop him from tossing me another.

“You weren’t saving this for a little kid?” I asked.

“You were the first one here,” he said.

Do balls from security guards count in my collection? Absolutely. Over the years, countless guards at Shea and Yankee Stadium have gone out of their way to prevent me from getting balls. I’ve been ejected from games for breaking rules that security supervisors made up on the spot, just for me, just because I was “catching too many balls,” so on the rare occasions that a guard actually shows me some love…yeah, you bet it counts. As for this guard at Dolphin Stadium, several other balls landed on the tarp and he gave them to whoever was smart (or lucky) enough to be standing nearby. Simple as that. Sometimes it was a kid. Sometimes it was an adult. There was no favoritism or attitude, and I appreciated it.

My second ball of the day was tossed by Marlins pitcher Logan Kensing. He had thrown one to me the day before and I thought for sure that he’d recognize me and give this one to someone else. Luckily, though, when it had rolled to the wall, I was the first one to ask him for it and he flipped it up without hesitating.

Ten minutes later, the Reds replaced the Marlins and I caught a Jay Bruce home run. Totally easy. I was on the stairs and had empty seats on both sides. Bruce lifted a deep drive to my left, and I drifted through the seats and reached up for an uncontested one-handed catch.

Ball No. 4 was a ground-rule double that was hit by a righty. It might’ve been Brandon Phillips. I’m not sure, and it doesn’t matter. The ball bounced off the rubberized warning track, barely cleared the outfield wall, skimmed over half a dozen empty rows, and nestled into my waiting glove.

Ball No. 5 was tossed by pitcher Gary Majewski toward a couple little kids, but his aim was off and the ball sailed three inches over their helplessly outstretched gloves. The ball rolled right to me through the empty second row, and I immediately handed it over to one of the kids (whose father thanked me profusely).

Ball No. 6 was thrown by outfielder Corey Patterson, and then with about 10 minutes remaining in BP, I ran around the stadium to the left field side. Look how empty it was:

batting_practice_left_field_empty_wow.jpg

Of course I didn’t get a ball out there because every Reds player ignored me, and then when I ran to the dugout at the very end of BP, Billy Hatcher tossed me a ball and missed.

Andy and I met up five minutes later (he snagged a few balls in straight-away right field and I’ll let him share the details) and headed to the right field foul line. After we failed to get Mike Rabelo to throw us his warm-up ball, we decided to get someone to take our picture, and THAT, my friends, is when my camera died. I’m not talking about a dead battery. I’m talking about a message on the LCD screen that said, “Lens error, restart camera.” I knew the camera wasn’t going to last much longer. It was missing a few teeny screws, and the whole frame was a bit loose. The screen had a tiny crack in it. The “zoom” lever was slightly jammed…and the fact that I wasn’t allowed to bring my backpack into the stadium didn’t help. crappy_marlins_drawstring_backpack.jpgIt meant I had to keep my camera in that flimsy (and overpriced) drawstring bag that I was forced to buy on the first day. It meant that the camera was in the same pouch as all my baseballs, my markers, pens, cell phone, wallet, glove, and hats. It got smacked around much more than it should’ve, and it died as a result. No doubt about it.

“Watch what’s gonna happen,” I told Andy. “I’m gonna catch Griffey’s 600th homer and get to meet him in the clubhouse after the game, and I won’t be able to have my picture taken.”

I just KNEW something big was going to happen. I felt it. I was sure of it. That’s my luck. That’s my life.

Andy and I parted ways. He headed to the right field seats to get in position for Griffey, and I went to the Marlins’ dugout. Hanley Ramirez finished his pre-game throwing by flipping the ball to a little kid in the front row. One minute later, Dan Uggla finished playing catch with Cody Ross and tossed the ball toward two gloveless, middle-aged men who were sitting 10 feet to my left in the row behind me. They both stood up and reached for it and bobbled it–no wait…that’s too kind…they butchered it–and it dropped into the row in front of them…MY row, which just so happened to be empty. Before they had a chance to lean over their fancy seats, I darted through the row and gloved the ball.

It was 7:08pm. The game was going to be starting in two minutes, so I raced up the steps and sprinted through the concourse (apologies to the beer vendor I nearly took out) and made it to the right field seats with less than a minute to spare. I’d purchased a ticket in (what I felt was) the perfect spot–the same spot I’d picked for each of the previous three days, and on each of those days, there’d been at least one security guard checking tickets in every tunnel. But on THIS day? No security in sight. I can’t explain it, but perhaps if the penny-pinching Marlins had hired a little extra security, they wouldn’t be facing this mess. Meanwhile, the seats were still pretty empty, but I was concerned that there might be a few extra opportunists in my way.

Jerry Hairston led off the game with an infield single.

Most of the fans in the section were crammed into the first 10 or 12 rows. The half dozen rows behind them were partially empty, but I need more than “partial” room to maneuver. I picked a seat in the 21st row–kind of far back, yes, but still within range (as I showed in my previous entry with diagrams from Hit Tracker).

A few fans moved into the row on my left, so I moved down two rows as Jay Bruce stepped into the box. I needed a whole row to myself. The odds that The Ball would be hit with the proper distance were far greater than the odds that it would be hit in the perfect direction. In other words, I was on the end of my row so I could run up or (more likely) down the steps, but that option was soon ruined when two fat men with gloves stood up and moved RIGHT into the middle of the steps five feet in front of me.

Jay Bruce took a called strike three, and Griffey walked toward the plate.

That’s when I noticed that a tallish man with a glove had moved into the far end of the row on my left. All the seats between us were empty, and I remember thinking, “If the ball is hit to my left, that guy is gonna get in my way.”

Mark Hendrickson, the Marlins’ starter, quickly fell behind Griffey 3-0. Everyone in the section was booing. No one wanted to see Griffey walk again, and I was more relieved than anyone when he swung and missed at the next pitch.

The count was 3-1, and I was thinking that he was going to get a great pitch to hit, and that THIS might be it…and then…WHOOSH!!! Griffey unleashed a beautiful, effortless swing and sent the ball flying EXACTLY in my direction. At least that’s how it appeared at the instant it left the bat. But line drives tend to hook, and this was certainly more of a line drive than a fly ball. I paused for a split second, half-expecting that this was going to happen, but  also half-disbelieving it. COULD IT REALLY BE THIS EASY?!?! I drifted through the empty row and never took my eye off the ball. I moved with it, just I had moved with hundreds of BP home runs in the past, and as the ball began its final descent, I realized that I was blocked by a couple fans who had somehow slipped into my row. NOOOOO!!!!! I knew I was boxed out as the ball kept hooking, and at the last second, when it was about 30 feet above the seats, it barely nicked the bottom of a support cable, causing its trajectory to fall off slightly. I was too stunned to react, and like I said, I somehow got boxed out and beat to the spot, and the ball disappeared into a pile of people at my feet…or so it seemed. I heard one guy at the bottom of the pile screaming, “I GOT IT!!! I GOT IT!!! I GOT IT!!!” and security surrounded us. Then another guy–THE guy with the glove who’d been standing at the end of my row–said calmly, “I have the ball. I have it…I have the ball,” and a whole new group of security guards surrounded HIM. He was clutching his glove against his chest. I assumed he had The Ball tucked inside, but I never saw it. He was also saying that his bag had gotten caught on a seat and was buried at the bottom of the pile. Security told him to stay put, and while several of the guards stayed with him, a few others worked slowly to get people off of each other, at which point, I just wanted to get the hell out of there, so I climbed over the middle of the rows and got myself out of the section as quickly as possible. I was still stunned and at this point too devastated to even think, and for most of the next hour, I didn’t know how I could even go on living. I’m telling you, it was THAT bad.

Andy had been sitting a couple sections over and caught up with me in the concourse. He bought me a chocolate ice cream cone and walked me toward the seats behind home plate before he headed back to the outfield. I ate the cone and made some phone calls and didn’t bother putting on my glove. I was a mess (and for the record, no, I wasn’t crying). I just wanted to go back to New York City, but my flight wasn’t until the following afternoon. There really wasn’t anything else to do but sit there and sulk. It was better, I figured, to sulk at a major league baseball game than to sulk in my hotel room. So I sat there. And finished the ice cream. And cursed way too loud when Griffey came up again and hit a foul ball RIGHT to the spot where I’d been standing for lefties the day before. They say luck has a way of evening things out, but it didn’t work like that yesterday. It felt like the universe was against me.

I suppose I could feel proud to have picked the spot where the home run would land, and to have been so close to it, but I don’t feel that way. That just makes it hurt even more. I wish Griffey had just hit the damn thing to right-center field instead (or better yet onto the tarp where security could’ve retrieved it and given it back to him). If it had landed four sections away, I wouldn’t have anything to be upset about. All I could say would be, “Oh well, there was nothing I could do. At least I was in the building and got to witness it.” But as things stand, I keep replaying the scene in my mind and thinking about what I could’ve done differently. What if I raced to the spot where the ball was going to land as SOON as it left the bat? Would I have been able to box out the other fans? I just didn’t react with enough urgency. I drifted with the ball too slowly. Or did I? Maybe I really did move fast, and it only feels slow because I didn’t get it, or because I’m a perfectionist and always feel like I could do better. I don’t know. I felt awful, and I still feel awful, and I will always feel awful. That’s just how it is. Unless you’re from the future and know for certain that I’m going to catch A-Rod’s 800th homer, there’s nothing anyone can say to make me feel better. I have to live with this for the rest of my life. It could be worse, though. It’s not like I let the ball clang off the heel of my glove. THAT would be awful. But still, I don’t feel like I took full advantage of the situation. I wonder what would happen if I could relive that moment dozens of times, like Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day,” and take different routes to the ball. I guess that’d be too easy, but I can’t help thinking like that.

<sigh>

jay_bruce_foul_ball.jpgWell, I finally started going for foul balls again around the third inning, and it paid off (big whoop) because I got one that Bruce hit in the top of the fifth. It was a high pop-up that the fans in the first row of the club level dropped into my tunnel. Another guy standing next to me was closer to the ball when it fell, but somehow he failed to snatch it and he kicked it around, and the second it rolled toward me, I grabbed it. Why couldn’t that have happened with No. 600? Why couldn’t Griffey have swung a tenth of a second later? There are 600 ‘why’s, and they’re all eating at me right now.

Paul Bako hit two homers and knocked in five runs. Brandon Phillips also went deep for the Reds who cruised to a 9-4 victory. Oh, and I got an autograph during the game. There was a former player sitting in my section, and he signed a day-old ticket for me on his way out. That’s your only clue. Take a look and try to guess who it is:

mystery_autograph2.jpg

The first person who leaves a comment (not an email) with the correct answer will get a prize: a ticket from the “Griffey 600” game.

After the final out, I made it down to the front row behind the Reds’ dugout and got two balls tossed to me within 30 seconds. The first came from Mark Berry, the third base coach, as a direct result of my wearing a Reds cap (he said so) and the second came from Hatcher after I told him that he’d missed me before. Then, as I walked up the steps to head to the concourse, a friendly security guard who’d seen me chasing foul balls throughout the series (and apparently hadn’t seen me get the one from Bruce) pulled a “practice” ball out of his pocket and handed it to me. Does it count in my collection? I guess so. Is it cheap? Definitely. But whatever. I was entitled to a little charity after what I’d just gone through.

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STATS:

• 11 balls at this game

• 172 balls in 22 games this season = 7.8 balls per game.

• 82 lifetime games with 10 or more balls

• 27 lifetime games outside NYC with 10 or more balls

• 17 different stadiums with at least one game with 10 or more balls

• 518 consecutive games with at least one ball

• 121 consecutive games outside NYC with at least one ball

• 867 lifetime balls outside NYC

tickets2a.jpg• 116 lifetime game balls (not counting game-used balls that get tossed into the crowd)

• 24 lifetime game balls outside NYC

• 3,449 total balls

• 32 ticket stubs collected at this game (one of which will be mailed to the winner of the Mystery Autograph Contest)

107 comments

  1. Stuart Jon

    I really don’t know who the autograph is, I don’t know enough players yet, but another great read well done, sorry that you are not snagging those milestone balls, maybe fate has it that you will catch A Rod’s 600th, but again at least you were present at these amazing games to see milestones reached. I just missed out last year on A Rod’s 500th last season (not catching it, fat chance there, but being at the game).

    The ticket stub collecting, is this a new thing or have you always been collecting them? I have kept all of mine, mainly so I remembered which ones I have attended, but are tickets stubs worth anything? Sadly my Red Sox Yankees ticket was an email which is just not the same, as you can print off as many as you want.

  2. acsport79@yahoo.com

    Saw you on ESPN, i know that feeling of just missing what you want, it sucks
    AC

  3. zackhample

    EVERYONE-
    It’s not Barry Larkin or any of the other people that have been named. Keep guessing. And by the way, I’m officially NOT going to Shea tonight. I have way too much stuff to do, and anyway it’s just not that fun to be there…at least not during BP which of course is the most important part of the day.

    SOXSUXYANKS-
    Wow, you must’ve gotten beat to the top by mere seconds.

    STUART JON-
    I’ve always saved my stubs, and on many occasions (as I did at this game), I’ve tried to collect as many extras as possible. The “Griffey 600” stubs are probably worth 10 or 20 bucks apiece, or maybe more. I don’t know. Check eBay. I’m sure there are already a few for sale. Look for “Manny 500” stubs or “Bonds 756” stubs. There is definitely money to be made, but that’s not why I collect them. I just like tickets, plain-n-simple. I’ve collected dozens from individual games where nothing historic happened.

  4. tracycollinsbecky@yahoo.com

    hey z ,i caught a hr from this player one of my first in 1989when he was on astros,,BillyHatcher?reds coach..send a grif stub to my pob,any other teams stubs too if anybody wants to send 1,i collect .ill return something coolthanx if right guess.pob151265 san diego ca 92175 Padreleigh where you at?

  5. tracycollinsbecky@yahoo.com

    oh sittin in your sect..not coach..how aboutBoJackson or BrianJohnson

  6. finfan4eva

    lol this is pretty fun
    bob james?

    man if only i knew the first letter of the last name i could probably easily get it

  7. finfan4eva

    hey zack the griffey 600 are going for over 60 dolalrs and more. bonds are like 30 and manny is like 20 and more so thats intresting

  8. finfan4eva

    zack i was wondering what you use to put magazines on ur wall as wall paper? i wanna do the same only with different things and i wanted to know if you use tape or glue or stpales or whatever thanks

  9. zackhample

    EVERYONE-
    Still no correct guesses. Remember, this is a FORMER player, and also keep in mind that it’s generally hard for someone who’s dead to sign an autograph.

    TRACYCOLLINSBECKY-
    Don’t get cocky.

    MISTER.CHAD-
    Wow, they’re selling for THAT much? Sheesh. I just used tape to put up the magazine pages (and by the way, that’s now my ex-apartment…the new apartment has no magazine pages taped to the walls…it’s very minimalist, except for the bathroom, which I might show everyone in a future entry).

  10. beach71389

    I’m gonna guess these four players: Bill Fahey, Bob Feller (doubtful), Brook Fordyce, Bill Freehan

  11. yankaknick@aol.com

    How about Benard Gilkey? For some reason that came to mind right away?

    You have a great blog, Zack, and I really respect your passion for your hobby and your love for the game. I have both your books and looking forward to the next one!

    I’m sorry you couldn’t catch Griffey’s ball, but at least coming so close and having an idea where he might hit it and just being there is better than most people can say.

  12. pujolsisahero5

    Im going to try to catch Albert Pujols 300th hr he is 2 away but right now he is on the DL and if I don’t catch 300 im going for his 30th of the year he always asks for his 30th hr back becuase he has hit at least 30 hrs every year he has played im guessing the reason you looked up when the ball landed was to see what made it move the other direction hey dont forget you caught barry bonds 724th hr and you caught the first hr of the 2007 hr derby but its still not as cool as griffeys 600th Ps its Darron from stl

  13. zackhample

    EVERYONE-
    Still no correct guesses. I’ll give a hint tomorrow unless someone gets it first. I’m thinking “joneli24” has the best chance since he’s one of the biggest autograph collectors who reads this blog. He’s at Shea tonight, I think, so you all still have at least a few hours.

    YANKAKNICK-
    Thanks so much. I really appreciate that.

    DARRON-
    Good luck with Pujols. I didn’t know that about his 30th homer of each season. Depending on where he’s playing when he approaches that number, I might have to go for it.

  14. pujolsisahero5

    He usally hits it in St.louis i have already put his hit tracker on my psp so i can just turn it on and its there. last year when he hit it i almost got it becuase it went into the bullpen and i asked for it but he tossed it to a guy who was wearing marlins stuff pujols gave him an autographed ball used earlier in the game it ended up on ebay about a week later.so yea im trying to catch it he is out at least three weeks and is at 16 hrs 14 away from 30 and 2 from 300

  15. gregb123

    Maybe it’s Pat Kelly? (He was a Reds coach briefly last year when Pete Mackanin was the manager, during which time he tossedme a ball.)

  16. zackhample

    DING! DING! DING!
    We have a winner.
    The autograph is indeed Benito Santiago.
    How’d you figure it out?
    Send me an email.
    Tell me your address.
    Tell me which of the tickets you want (box office or season ticket).
    And I’ll drop one in the mail.

  17. meikd423

    noooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!! if i can stump everyone on here with a trivia question, than can i have a 600 ticket?????

  18. thomasb.

    I am from the future! You are going to get A-Rod’s 800th home run!
    Hope this helped with the pain. Whenever I get mad at baseball or something to do with baseball, I just remember it is a game. Some people might think other wise, and I am a huge baseball fan. But you have to keep looking at it like that. I am sure you will get over this ball in a few games. Hang in there!

  19. braves04

    Wow, I thought of Benito when looking up various players, but just didn’t comment lol. Congrats, Utah!
    Zack,
    There’s a small chance I’ll be in NYC next month for the first time. Any suggestions on where to stay? Affordable and easy access to one of the stadiums is a big plus.

  20. Evan.bizzz@gmail.com

    Hey Zack,
    Although you didn’t catch it I give you soooooo much credit for being in the right spot. There is obviously luck involved, but you did the best you could to catch it. Reminds me of when I was on the quest for 756, I was always doubting myself that I was in the right spot to catch it. Anyways, great job at DOLPHIN Stadium.

    Evan

  21. nycautographcollector

    haha thanks for the praise there…but i had no idea…i believe he is a scout in the marlins organization…but im not 100% sure

    i was at shea tonight and the hotel beforehand…nothing special…so im not gonna do a long write up…1 ball from Doug Slaten

    48 autos:
    BRANDON WEBB x1…even on the day he pitched!!
    Doug Davis x18…yep eighteen times…18…1…8
    Connor Jackson x1
    Micah Owings x3
    Mark Reynolds x2
    MARK GRACE
    Tony Pena x7
    Chris Snyder x1
    Miguel Montero x1
    Edgar Gonzalez x4
    Alex Romero x1
    Jeff Salazar x3

    Joe Smith x2
    Duaner Sanchez x2

  22. padreleigh

    Hi Zack….

    Good times at Dolphin Stadium! You win some and you lose some. At least you were in the mix. Props to the guy who did catch the ball, “Joe”. I hope he prospers from his good catch. I read the article you had a link to and I think that Marlins outfielder Cody Ross if full of crap. He was all playing the “people are money hungry card”. Who is he to say that when he makes God knows what for playing a game and “Joe” most likely makes less than $50K a year. “Joe” paid his money for a ticket to be at the game. He caught the ball and if the market is there, he deserves to prosper from his catch if he wants. Ken Griffey Jr. doesn’t need that ball as much as “Joe” does. Congrats to Joe!! I saw you made it up to the bar to take a picture.

    Leigh

  23. zackhample

    GOISLANDERS4-
    Sorry, dude, it was just a one-ticket opportunity.

    DB3PAR-
    It helps a little. Thanks.

    LSTHRASHER04-
    It’s funny…everyone always asks me where to stay in NYC, and I have no idea. Because I live here, I’ve never had to look into hotels, you know. Getting to the stadiums is easy. It costs $2 on the subway which (contrary to popular belief among out-of-towners) is amazingly fast and safe. Maybe Leigh (aka Mr. Hotel) knows some places?

    DHBBALL18-
    Not sure. I’m considering going to Shea tomorrow, and if I don’t, my next game will be Monday in Denver.

    ALE_ASH-
    Yes it is, but if you look at the other comments up above yours, you’ll see that someone else guessed it first.

    EVAN-
    Thanks.

    JONELI24-
    You are a *beast* with the autographs. I can’t believe you got one guy 18 times!

    LEIGH-
    I totally agree. What an obnoxious thing for a major league baseball player to say. If Griffey wants the ball so much, he should spend some of the $100 million (or whatever) he’s earned over the course of his career.

  24. braves04

    Yea, I fully intend to utilize the subway if I go. Renting a car is just as expensive and difficult in downtown areas. Using public transit in Chicago and Philadelphia was easy enough, so I have no problem learning a new system. Can you name any neighborhoods I should avoid?

  25. .

    Zack –

    I don’t feel like making you feel even worse so I won’t ramble for too long about the touchy subject of Griffey’s 600th but I had extremely high hopes for you and the two that slipped into the row destroyed it. Anyway, there are a ton of milestones that are going to happen this year so don’t sweat it. You have a collection that not a lot of people can compare to and even though you can say you caught that ball, there’s a whole life of snagging ahead of you my friend. Keep it up!

    I went to Fenway on June 10, 2008 and just finished writing my blog about it. Check it out: http://donnieanks.mlblogs.com/

  26. padreleigh

    Lsthrasher04…

    What I have found is that most of the hotels just across the river in New Jersey are the safest and cheapest. You can take a bus or train into Manhattan, then transfer to their subway system and you’re off!! You just need to leave a little earlier. Do be careful on the subway though. I don’t care what Zack says. Every time I watch a movie and there is a New York subway involved something bad happens. Keep your guard up!! If it’s in a movie it must be true!! Good luck in NYC.

    Leigh

  27. .

    Lsthrasher04 – like Leigh said, if you decide to stay in NJ, there are hotels around the Seacaucus area with a train station (Seacaucus Junction) three stops from New York Penn Station where you can then get to Shea in 20 minutes on the Long Island Railroad (LIRR). Tickets usually go for $10.25 each roundtrip, Shea is the second stop.

  28. nycautographcollector

    the subway isnt horrible if your smart about it…its fine during the day and at night sit in the front car close to the conductor so if anything happens your right there…just avoid the “A” down in the far rockaways…thats where the subway can get bad…i think its something like 80% of all crimes come in the far rockaways

    anyway, zack, thanks i have had a beastly year…32, 34, 53, 30, 19, 37, 48…and still 2 and a half months left…wooh!

  29. finfan4eva

    hey zack itd be awesome if u had more contests like for manny 500 stubs or anything. i really liked this past one for griffey’s 600th its said that once he pases sosa it can be worth over 1 thousand dollars and imagine if he passed bonds? thats alot of money. im gonna try and get one while its cheap! anyways hope u listen to my suggeston, a manny 500 stub, another griffey stub, or anything whould be AWESOME!

    headin off to chase field here in the next couple weeks.

    happy snaggin,
    chad

  30. puckcollector@optonline.net

    Avoid the south bronx(although that may be tough if you want to see the Yanks :0, and harlem at night. in the day its not bad, but at like 10 not where you want to be.

  31. puckcollector@optonline.net

    whoops, leigh answered me on the last entry. but still is anyone else comin?

  32. finfan4eva

    hey zack i got a couple questions for you, first of all what seats do you usually buy if u could chose anyone you want? because do you buy cheap seats because you dont sit there or expensive seats so you can? and my final question is when are you coming down to arizona again?

    thanks,
    chad

  33. pujolsisahero5

    hey zack i think this may be the most comments on a single blog entry by you ever is it let us know

  34. zackhample

    MISTER.CHAD-
    Bummer. You should’ve guessed. It was free to guess. I didn’t get as many Manny stubs, so I’m gonna hang onto those, but okay, yes, I’ll try to have other contests in the future. I just don’t want to turn this blog into a sweepstakes, you know? If I have too many contests, then it’ll become cheap, and people will only read it to get free stuff. But I’ll do it from time to time. As for buying tickets, usually I just get the cheapest available and then sneak around, but if I’m in a stadium where I don’t have to pay too much to sit where I know I want to be…and if I know that I can only get there if I *do* have a ticket for that section, then I’ll pay extra and buy what I need. Not sure about Arizona. It might be a couple years at least because there are so many other places I need to visit that I haven’t been to for SUCH a long time.

    DHBBALL18-
    Yes. All set for Denver…

    LSTHRASHER04-
    Don’t let all these scaredy-cats worry you. Just hang out in Manhattan except when you’re going to games, and you’ll be fine. There are SO many people who take the subway back to Manhattan after games. It’s totally safe, even at 10 or 11pm. If it were me, I’d pay a little extra for a hotel in Manhattan (the most happening borough, although Brooklyn IS pretty cool) and save the hassle of having to take extra trains, but I guess that all depends on your budget and what’s available.

    DONNIEANKS-
    Thanks, I appreciate it. Cool entry about Fenway. I left you a comment.

    LEIGH-
    You need to stop with the subway paranoia before you single-handedly ruin tourism for all of New York City.

    JONELI24-
    Conductor-schmunductor. I’ve been on the subway about 5,000 times. I hardly ever sit in the front, and I’ve never had a problem. To say that the “subway isn’t horrible” suggests that the subway isn’t great. It IS great. It’s not a five-star hotel, and there ARE some sketchy dudes here and there, and it smells like urine in some places, but welcome to New York. Are you gonna tell people to avoid walking through Times Square? It’s the same thing. Just be smart. That logic should apply anywhere, whether you’re in New York or New Mexico.

    PUCK COLLECTOR-
    South Bronx…blah blah. There’d be no reason to go there aside from seeing Yankee Stadium (and even THAT isn’t a very good reason).

    JBERG08-
    Heh…as “Mister Chad” pointed out, I think you meant 3,500. But yes, I’ll be there very soon, possibly before the All-Star break.

    DARRON-
    Most comments by ME? Hmm, maybe you’re right. I don’t keep stats on that, however.

    EVERYONE-
    My next game will be Monday in Denver. At some point this weekend, I’m going to post an entry that shows exactly where I’ll be sitting…

  35. tracycollinsbecky@yahoo.com

    chipper got 400 this week damn im going to braves angels booby cocky manager /cox/ did billy wagner make it home on subway?Warriors…..

  36. tracycollinsbecky@yahoo.com

    just missed out on tory hunters 200th too..padreleigh told you Edgart gonzalez hittin 1st,you didnt much BP horrible Dodgers,

  37. braves04

    Zack, I trust your judgment on the subway. I also realize that it’s probably the safest after a game because so many people are getting on. I take MARTA to Philips Arena for every Thrashers game, but there are still people who won’t go near it just because of a few shady people. I just try not to look like a tourist when out of town lol. Good luck in Denver!

  38. tracycollinsbecky@yahoo.com

    you in denver all week mets are there?braves comin after anaheim, be sure to expect fly balls to go 20 feet further at coors go and try the buffalo balls ,rocky mountain oysters..throw 1 at holliday for me he was out last year in game163

  39. thomasb.

    Last time I was on a subway in NYC, a guy tried to get some money from people because he had just gotten out of jail and had some kind of back surgery. Another guy in a very very tight suit was listening to his ipod a little too loudly and wasn’t the best at dancing so that was a little bit of entertainment on the ride to Yankee Stadium. As for the rest of the trip on the subway, it was fine. I always see something new on the metro in D.C. Two ladies (they did NOT look like sisters at all) were sitting too close to be “just friends”. They were also sitting in some kind of position. I’d rather not describe it on here and nor do people really find this interesting I bet haha.
    I’ve been on the NYC subway twice and both times it wasn’t bad at all.

  40. Stuart Jon

    The subway is totally safe IMO, I have been using it for over a year and I feel more than safe riding the Subway than I did traveling on the London Underground. I have been to 15 Yankee games all by Subway and I live down in SoHo Manhattan, but if you have seen my blog (http://stuartjon.mlblogs.com/) you will have all seen the games I have attended. (Sorry Zack for plugging my Blog on yours, only it looks a little sad with the one comment – yours!)

    However with all that said, like any City you have to be aware of your surroundings and you will be fine.

  41. puckcollector@optonline.net

    last time i rode the subway at night, two drunk guys were arguing and cursing cuz one guy got them both kicked out of the Yankee game, and when the lady next to me told them to stop cursing cuz there are kids on the train (me) one of the guys called me whitey. but other than that the subway is gr8!

  42. gjk2212

    ill be at shea tomorrow…any good rangers throwers?

    also, what does everyone think about instant replay being implemented on august 1?

  43. gregb123

    I was back at Shea tonight. I snagged seven balls (one of which Pedro Martinez threw me left-handed).

  44. padreleigh

    Speaking of the subway. Funny subway/trolley story. The San Diego Trolley has two lines. Blue and Orange. Both directions of the Orange lines will lead to Petco Park from the station I get on at. Also, one direction of the Blue line will get you to Petco from my station. The other direction takes you far, far away from the stadium. Well, I must look like the Shell Answer Man or something because people ALWAYS ask me for directions on how to get to PETCO Park from the station. It’s very annoying after a while. There are signs and maps EVERYWHERE telling you how to get to PETCO. So, if I’m really in a foul mood and someone with the visiting teams’ gear on asks me for directions, I usually put them on the trolley line that goes far, far away from the stadium. It’s really fun to do to Dodgers fans. Sometimes I’ll give people the directions, but only if they give me a dollar. This also includes free directions on how to use the Trolley ticket machine which no one seems to be able to do. At my work, we have to give tourists all this info EVERY DAY. It gets so old, but at least we get paid at work. That’s why I hate being tourist director when I’m off. Do any of you New Yorkers get asked for this subway info all the time or is it just my luck?

    Leigh

  45. li7039@yahoo.com

    Leigh, the worst is when people ask me how to get to the garden from penn station. The garden is right up stairs from the station.

  46. pujolsisahero5

    no most commets by everybody im going to busch stadium today phillies vs st.louis we got creamed last night 20 -2

  47. gjk2212

    haha 101

    i went to shea tonight…rainout

    it didnt look like that was gonna happen when i checked online, so i went. got no balls. it doesnt count as the end of my streak since there wasnt a game. i waited in a line so long at gate c that i got in line at the press gate. ridiculously far back. i didnt get in the field level and couldnt sneak it. i went for a ball with my cup but it was wet and didnt stick to the tape. i got totally soaked. i saw goislanders4, and that guy who got the ball in the loge, was it a yankee stadium commemorative? lemme know goislanders4…

  48. meikd423

    njmetfan, yeah it was a yankee ball. it sucks cause ive been trying so hard to get one and this guy just effortlessly gets it in front of my face………….damn

  49. zackhample

    TRACYCOLLINSBECKY-
    Wow, I didn’t even know Hunter was approaching 200. I’ll only be in Denver for the first Mets game, and NO THANKS to the buffalo balls. That’s all you.

    LSTHRASHER-
    Makes sense, and thanks for the “good luck” wishes.

    DB3PAR-
    Funny.

    STUART JON-
    Nice to hear that the NYC subway is safer than London’s.

    PUCK COLLECTOR-
    I’m guessing he wasn’t talking about Whitey Ford. (Or Herzog.)

    LI7039-
    Nice

    NJMETFAN-
    I’m fine with instant replay. Baseball (like all things) has been changing over time, and this is just one more example. If it doesn’t work, I’m sure MLB will scrap it. It DOES mean that I’ll have to update my book again. Sorry the game got rained out for you.

    GREG-
    Seven balls…and to think…those could’ve been mine. But you’re right…we wouldn’t them falling into the wrong hands, so I’m glad YOU got them.

    LEIGH-
    You’re mean. But I understand your frustration.

    DARRON-
    Hope you enjoyed the game. Thanks for helping me reach the century mark.

    GOISLANDERS4-
    Ouch. Believe me, I feel your pain.

  50. gregb123

    njmetfan/goislanders — At Shea on Friday, I saw some guy get a Yankee Stadium commemorative ball from one of the Rangers pitchers during BP. It was beautiful too. I mean pristine, and not even rubbed up. Interesting that that wasn’t just a fluke.

  51. tracycollinsbecky@yahoo.com

    set up a camera in lf find a camera woman..craigslist?Denver Dates Women 4men,,The denver airport subway system is nothing

  52. zackhample

    GREENPUPPY3-
    I’m not sure which guy you’re talking about, but I do get interviewed from time to time.

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