6/19/08 at Coors Field

Let me start with a big THANKS to everyone who took photographs of me yesterday. I really appreciate it…

Okay, so the Associated Press was done with me. They had followed me around for the past two days and felt they got everything they needed, so I was on my own. As a result, I decided to break out the big glove (which I had used only once before on 4/24/08 at Champion Stadium). I figured the Indians were sick of me and probably wouldn’t throw me any balls unless I had an edge–a really, really obnoxious edge.

As soon as I ran inside Coors for batting practice, two home runs clanged off the metal bleacher benches in left field, and I grabbed them both. Check out the gash on the first ball:

gash_on_ball_3471.jpg

Before the bleachers got crowded, I was able to race up the steps from the front row whenever a home run was sailing over my head:

zack_chasing_home_run_ball.jpg

Unfortunately I didn’t snag the ball in the photo above (or any of these balls for that matter), but I did get one tossed to me by Kip Wells:

zack_about_to_catch_ball_3473.jpg

It was still early so I kept the big glove in my backpack. There weren’t any kids behind me shouting for balls (yet) but I did have to compete with two Coors Field regulars: Jameson Sutton and Robert Harmon. Here we are…walking around in the front row:

zack_jameson_robert_batting_practice.jpg

Jameson (wearing the dark blue T-shirt), as many of you know, is the fan who snagged Barry Bonds’ final home run ball, and Robert (in the background with the gray beard) was right there with him on that fateful September night. It was strange to be snagging baseballs with these guys after having written a long article about them only a few months earlier. For the bulk of last winter, I had been trying to track down the mystery man who snagged that ball. I was talking to fans (starting with Robert) and members of the Rockies’ front office and people at the Hall of Fame and presidents of auction houses. It was the ultimate scavenger hunt…and then…poof! Jameson appeared. And it was a HUGE story in the sports world. And I flew to Denver for the press conference. And now…here we all were, just hanging out and chasing BP balls like it was nothing. And by the way, about half an hour later, I saw Jameson reach over the wall and make a nice one-handed catch on a home run. The point is…when I was first interviewing him on the phone, he had claimed that he dropped the Bonds homer because he was bumped from the side, and although the video replay backed him up, I still thought he was just some lucky klutz who’d let a life-changing ball deflect off the heel of his glove. But now that I’ve seen him in action, I can say with confidence that Jameson is very athletic and perfectly capable of catching any ball that comes his way.

It was time for the big glove:

zack_big_glove_coors1.jpg

Rockies pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez (who surrendered Bonds’ final home run) tossed me a ball just before the Rockies finished BP, but the Indians weren’t impressed. C.C. Sabathia smiled at me for about an eighth of a second and then tossed a ball to someone else:

zack_big_glove_coors2.jpg

Two minutes later, Ben Francisco showed no love for the big glove by tossing a ball right over my head. Could I blame him? Not at all. Check out my competition:

competition_during_batting_practice.jpg

I happened to be wearing the big glove a bit later in left-center field (because I was trying unsuccessfully to get Grad
y Sizemore’s attention) when one of the Indians batters hit a deep fly ball in my direction. Rafael Perez chased the ball but couldn’t catch it and it bounced right to me:

zack_big_glove_coors3.jpg

Did I catch it? No. The fan next to me reached out and deflected it and caused the ball to drop back onto the field.

I sensed an opportunity in straight-away left field and took off:

zack_big_glove_coors4.jpg

Yes! Francisco DID show me some glove-love after all:

zack_big_glove_coors5.jpg

As for Rafael Betancourt?

zack_big_glove_coors6.jpg

No love. And when BP ended soon after, I only had five balls. I was hoping for double digits, at least one on this trip, but it just wasn’t happening. At least Mr. Evil (arms folded in the photo above) got shut out for the second game in a row. He hasn’t gotten a single ball since he shoved me three days ago.

After BP, I signed a couple baseballs for two kids named Hunter and Mylee–the kids of a guy named Don (aka “Rock Pile Ranter” to those of you who read the comments) who’s wearing the floppy hat in the following photo:

zack_signing_autographs.jpg

I (jokingly) told the kids to hold onto the baseballs because they were worth a lot of money.

“Yeah,” said Jameson in front of the other ballhawks, “but my autograph is worth more than yours.”

We all laughed (even *I* had to laugh) and then posed for a photo:

zack_robert_dan_danny_jameson.jpg

The guy standing on the right is Danny Wood (who snagged Bonds’ 698th career homer), and the guy to HIS right is Dan Sauvageau (who’s caught 36 homers on a fly during games). I know I’ve mentioned these snagging accomplishments in previous entries, but I’m saying it again here in case you missed it or forgot. Between the five of us, we’ve probably snagged close to 10,000 balls.

I used the big glove to get Casey Blake to throw me a ball at the Indians’ dugout just before the first pitch, and guess what happened…the ball went right through! Apparently, one of the holes in the webbing is just a bit too big, but I got lucky and still ended up with the ball. It landed behind me in the empty second row and trickled out onto the staircase where several other fans were a bit too late in trying to snatch it.

The game was a disaster for me. I had a ticket for the front row in left-center field, and I decided to sit along the left field foul line instead:

zack_during_game_from_afar.jpg

I figured it’d be dead in the outfield and that I’d have a bunch of chances to scoop up foul grounders.

This was my view during the game…

coors_view_during_game.jpg

…and I *did* catch a foul grounder (my 200th ball of the season) off Francisco’s bat in the top of the third inning…

foul_grounder_200th_ball_of_2008.jpg

…but there were **TWO** home runs hit **EXACTLY** to my seat, and the same guy caught them both!!! Oh my God, I felt (and still feel) like the biggest A-Hole on the planet. First Manny in Baltimore…then Griffey in Miami…now this crap in Denver. This is seriously the worst month of my ball-snagging career. What good is it to average 7.7 balls per game if none of the balls mean anything?! Okay, great, I got a foul ball during the game, but in the grand scheme of things, WHO CARES?!?!

I was so upset that I had to distract myself by eating Dippin’ Dots and photographing the clouds…

clouds_by_zack.jpg

…but I couldn’t even do THAT right. Robert, the real photographer, was also taking pics of the clouds, and snapped one that was just a little bit better:

clouds_by_robert.jpg

In case you’re wondering, Robert’s photo is not Photoshopped. There was no trick photography involved, and I know this because:

1) The silhouette of the stadium isn’t blurry, which means he wasn’t moving the camera, and

2) He came back to my hotel room directly after the game, swapped memory cards with me, and I downloaded all his photos directly onto my laptop. This was one of them.

Here’s another…of me photographing the ball with the gash:

zack_photographing_his_pathetic_balls.jpg

Yes, I like bottled water. And I recycle.

Anyway, the Rockies swept the Indians. Blah blah. As if it matters. I’m so pissed off. And I’m acting like a baby. I know this. You don’t need to point it out. Hopefully I can end this trip with some better luck tonight against the Mets. Reminder: LOOK FOR ME ON TV. Tape the game if you can. If I do happen to catch a home run, I’d love to own the footage. I might not be sitting exactly in my seat all night, but I’m definitely not going to stray too far. Look for the Waldo shirt and if you’re up for it, keep a running tally of all the times you spot me. Game time is 9:05 p.m. ET. Don’t miss it.

STATS:

? 7 balls at this game

? 200 balls in 26 games this season = 7.7 balls per game.

? 522 consecutive games with at least one ball

? 125 consecutive games outside NYC with at least one ball

? 895 lifetime balls outside NYC

? 117 lifetime game balls (not counting game-used balls that get tossed into the crowd)

? 25 lifetime game balls outside NYC

? 5 consecutive seasons with at least 200 balls (Click here for my yearly breakdown.)

? 3,477 total balls

0 comments

  1. "D" The Rockpile Ranter

    All I can say Zack is welcome to Coors Field. As I mentioned before …7 ball average here is awesome..Dont be discouraged…D

  2. dodgerduder

    Zack!

    Long time no post, for some reason i couldn’t comment with my old computer, but I have a beautiful mac now, and it lets me.

    I watched the rockies highlights on MLB the last few nights to look for homers. I was going crazy when i realized that the same fan caught both balls last night.. bummer, but youll get em tonight!!

    congrats on 200! I caught my 100th career ball a couple weeks ago, and I think im going to go for autos now.

    Good luck tonight!!

    –Ethan

  3. braves04

    I’ll record the game on Extra Innings, maybe HD will help me spot the shirt lol. It’s after 5pm and I’m stuck waiting on others before we leave for Turner Field. I hate going in groups. Congrats on 200 and hopefully I can make it to NYC late next month.

  4. pujolsisahero5

    Hey zack you should put the hample jinx on the guy who shoved you. Also the Royals didnt give me one ball the teams that come to st.louis seem like they dont like to give balls away but i usally have aton of competition got to go bye

  5. The Trader

    Zack,
    Since I’m going to Coors Field on July 2 to see them play the Padres, I have a question about dugout access.
    Is there any way if you don’t have a ticket for the section behind the dugout, for you to get back there?
    Thanks,
    Trading Post

  6. aefeq

    Zack,

    Great job on the CO write ups. My son was absolutely hysterical laughing at your lablelling of the people in the one picture, you know 1?6 with 6 being ?pure evil?. Anyway, just got back from Camden Yards. Man, getting the season ticket holder seats is easy to get and it is the best for snagging. Lots of balls!!!!

    Also, I have been to 28 stadiums and was wondering what everything thinks is the best. My vote is for Camden Yards. Never been to Colorado. What is your favorite Zack?everyone?

    Brendan

  7. gregb123

    Brendan, how did you get season tickets? eBay? Were they cheap? That seems like such a huge advantage.

  8. puckcollector@optonline.net

    zack, i dont see anything that says you cant use ball retrieving devices in the online version of the A-Z guide. what letter is it under?

  9. Kylie

    WICKED gash in that ball! That’s awesome!
    Your picure of the clouds looks great. Don’t feel discouraged. About the pictures or the baseballs.
    I agree that you should put the Hample Jinx on the “pure evil” guy. Or maybe you already subconsciously did, since you said he hasn’t gotten anything since shoving you.
    Kylie

  10. canonmelky

    Saw you go after the delgado homer, did it go way over your head? cause it looked like you jumped for it but i could not tell.

  11. pabslovesrox@coloradorockies.net

    Hey Zach,
    I saw you at Coors Field on thursday. I was with my sister and saw you before the game at the gate and after the game in stands on the right field side.
    Just saying to see if my first comment works.
    Hope you had a good time in Denver-
    Pabs

  12. davidiswright@gmail.com

    Hey Zach,
    I am going to Turner Field on July 1st (Tuesday) where the Braves are taking on the Phillies. I went through all of the archives to find all I could about Turner Field. Is there anything else to do besides check between the outfield fence and the seats, and stay in LF for batting practice? Any tips would be greatly appreciated as I have never tried really hard to get baseballs before.

  13. .

    Zack,

    Congratulations on #200 before the break. It’s still pretty impressive to me that you snagged 200 baseballs ALREADY this season and we’re not even three full months in. Keep it up!!!

    I’m visiting Shea to see those horrific Mariners on Tuesday. WHO’S UP?!

    http://donnieanks.mlblogs.com/

  14. braves04

    Davidis(n’t)Wright-
    I’ll be at the Braves/Phillies on July 1st as well. Right field opens 30 minutes after the plaza gates, so there’s usually a chance at easter eggs and small competition for a few minutes. I recommend the aisle in 137 to snag home runs from lefties.

  15. The Deal Reporter

    Zach, do you find catching balls in your glove pure luck? Or luck that they stay and do not fall out like the one Casey Blake threw to you?
    The Deal Reporter

  16. aefeq

    Greg,

    I have gotten them on ebay from time to time but typically I contact Stage Front Tickets in Laurel Maryland. It seems a lot of season ticket holders sell tickets there. They are about 20 minutes away from the stadium.

    Anyway, I usually pay $25 to $35 for 1 season ticket. You have to make sure you tell them you want a season ticket, one with a picture on it.

    Hope this helps

    B-

  17. aefeq

    Greg,

    I have gotten them on ebay from time to time but typically I contact Stage Front Tickets in Laurel Maryland. It seems a lot of season ticket holders sell tickets there. They are about 20 minutes away from the stadium.

    Anyway, I usually pay $25 to $35 for 1 season ticket. You have to make sure you tell them you want a season ticket, one with a picture on it.

    Hope this helps

    B-

  18. gregb123

    Thanks a lot, Brendan. Next time I plan on going to Baltimore I’ll check that out.

  19. joshscards

    hey zack,

    just saw Robert Harmon (or one of the other guys in that pic) catch Garret Atkins’ homerun on the fly in the 5th inning…

  20. zackhample

    EVERYONE-
    I just got back from Denver. I’ll have to answer comments later, but for now I can tell you that I have a MONSTER blog entry coming up…with more pics than you’ll know what to do with.

  21. deleted

    Awesome Zack, I love the pics.

    I’m going to Sunday’s Cubs/Sox game. It’ll be interesting to see the snagging competition. It’s supposed to rain, so maybe that will keep some people away from bp?

    I’m also thinking of going to a Sox/Indians game in a week, since they have some deal where all of the seats are pretty cheap (comparatively). I’m thinking I’ll probably go, since I already have a Sox AND an Indians hat.

    Do you have any entries from US Cellular/Comiskey? I know you have a picture on your website, but it would be cool to get a scouting report on the stadium.

  22. braves04

    Last night at Turner Field, BP was packed and I thought about not even going. However, Ichiro blasted at least 15 home runs into the right field seats all around me. Finally, I was able to snag one of the last ones that came right to me. That and a great comeback win made it worth going. Major kudos to the Mariners for using mostly official balls.
    *Praying for BP this morning*

  23. meikd423

    i just got back from yankee stadium. i woke up EXTREMELY early, went to the game, was first on line and raced in to an empty yankee stadium thinking today was finally the day i was going to get the commemorative. well i was the first person in but i got not one single ball in ALL of batting practice. and my cuptrick string broke so now i have to reassemble it. i finally learned how to sneak down to the dugout and paul janish walked in. i asked him for it. i was the only kid in the front row with a reds hat and asking for the ball and as he made eyecontact with me and started to underhand toss it, i saw the ball go way over my head and to a kid 3 rows behind me. while it was in the air, i could see the commemorative logo spinning on it. NO. now, i cant go back for three weeks because im about to go on a 2 week vacation on friday. im so mad that im not even mad. im so mad that expressing how mad i am isnt even possible so now i just feel hopeless

  24. aefeq

    Greg,

    Sometimes when I go, I end up with 2 season tickets. I always give one away when I get there. Usually I know a couple of weeks in advance. If you want you can have one of them no problem. I?ll let you know when my next Camden trip is. See you at Shea soon.

    brendan

  25. zackhample

    ROCK PILE RANTER-
    Thanks, dude. Great hanging out with you this week. I love your blog entries about our collective adventures.

    ETHAN-
    Good to hear from you again, and congrats on your 100th ball. I’m so annoyed about the fact that that fan got both of those home run balls. Don’t remind me. :-)

    LSTHRASHER04-
    Thanks for recording it. Sorry I didn’t do anything worth recording. Don’t be hatin’ on future Hall of Famer David Wright!

    PUJOLSISAHERO5-
    I don’t need to a put the Jinx on someone when I can be there in person to make his life miserable.

    TRADING POST-
    It’s actually pretty easy to get to the dugouts at Coors Field. You can either go down there right after BP and just stay…or you can wait a few innings and most of the ushers will stop checking tickets.

    GREG-
    Ugh. Yeah. It would’ve been the easiest catch ever if it had just been a bit lower.

    BRENDAN-
    Thanks. Glad to hear your son is digging it. Congrats on all the balls at Camden. I really need to work on getting season tickets whenever I go down there. That’s one of my favorite ballparks. AT&T Park (minus the aggressive fans) is also pretty great, and obviously Nationals Park is great too. Oh…and let’s not forget Chase Field, Miller Park, and Turner Field. Those are my faves.

    PUCK COLLECTOR-
    I don’t know, but it’s in there somewhere. That’s what Dan and the ushers were all saying.

    KYLIE-
    Thanks…but I have to feel at least a LITTLE bit discouraged. I’ll get over it. I always do.

    SOXSUXYANKS-
    It was way too high for me to reach. I only jumped so I’d stand out a bit better on TV.

    PABS-
    Good to hear from you! Good to have met you as well. Crazy how we kept running into each other all day, huh? Keep in touch and keep me posted about your snagging at Coors and beyond.

    DAVIDISWRIGHT-
    Nice email address. I wish I could give you equally nice advice about Turner Field, but I haven’t been there for eight years, and I don’t remember THAT many details. During BP, it’s all about the gap and the left field seats. Not sure about foul balls or dugout access or anything. Sorry about that. I need to go back there in a BIG way.

    DONNIEANKS-
    There’s a chance I might be at Shea on Tuesday. Not sure. Depends on how busy I am this week and what the weather is looking like that day.

    THE DEAL REPORTER-
    I’m not sure what exactly you’re asking me. Are you talking specifically about the Big Glove? If so…there’s definitely some skill involved when it comes to using that thing because the ball can easily bounce out or even go right through.

    JOSH’S AUTOGRAPHED CARD COLLECTION-
    You have good eyes. It was Robert. He called me after he caught it. I would’ve called HIM, but my flight back to NYC was delayed (thanks, United) and I missed the game. But I did see a replay of that homer later on.

    CUBS BASEBALL-
    Was there BP today? I have the game on ESPN right now, and I see that it was delayed a bit. The stadium looks packed, as usual, now that the game is underway. I have no Chicago entries at all, unfortunately. That’s another city I need to revisit. Gimme a year or two. Two of my favorite people will probably be moving there.

    LEIGH-
    Thanks!

    GOISLANDERS4-
    That is simply awful. Just like you don’t know what to say to describe your frustration, I don’t know what to say to you now.

  26. zackhample

    Wrong. You’re talking about two different guys. Spilborghs’ dad is a true gentleman. I met him. I know.

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