This was a day game that followed a night game, and it was drizzling when the stadium opened, so you can imagine how shocked I was when I ran in (with my girlfriend Jona) and saw the Mets taking batting practice.
I raced out to the seats along the right field foul line and quickly got my first snagging opportunity. There was a slicing line drive hit by a right-handed batter, and as the ball was curving toward me, I could tell that it wasn’t going to curve enough for me to reach it, so I climbed over one of the many orange railings and darted five feet to my right and reached far out of the seats at the last second and made a back-handed catch. It felt good at the time (especially when all the Mets who were standing in right field applauded) and it felt even better later on when I saw the great photos that Jona had taken from the Loge Level.
Here’s one that shows me starting to lean out for the ball. I’m wearing a white long-sleeved shirt, and if you look closely at the photo you can see the ball itself:
Here’s another photo that Jona took just after the ball entered my glove. Notice the full extension:
Here’s a closer look:
I didn’t realize just how far I’d reached until I saw the photos. Go me.
Jona headed back down to the Field Level and took a few more photos of me before we headed out to the bleachers (which you can see in front of Citi Field below):
There wasn’t much action out there:
In fact, it was so dead that I only snagged one more ball for the rest of the day. It was a BP homer by Nick Evans. I caught it on a fly, and Jona once again caught me in action:
Both of my baseballs were commemorative:
Jona and I never left the bleachers. After BP ended, we staked out a great spot for potential home-run catching, but as it turned out, nothing left the yard. It was all about the pitching. Johan Santana, working on three days’ rest and fighting to keep the Mets’ playoff hopes alive, went the distance and blanked the Marlins, 2-0. He allowed three hits and three walks while striking out nine…truly brilliant. The crowd of 54,920 was as revved up as ever, and I took a bunch of photos during the final few pitches of the game.
This was my view of the field:
This was the view to my left…
…and this is proof that just about EVERYONE in the stadium was standing:
The Mets had entered the day one game behind the Brewers in the Wild Card race. The Brewers lost their game to the Cubs, which meant it was all gonna come down to the Final Day…
? 2 balls at this game
? 533 balls in 71 games this season = 7.5 balls per game.
? 567 consecutive games with at least one ball
? 337 consecutive games at Shea Stadium with at least one ball
? 3,810 total balls