I woke up in Boston with four hours of sleep, took a four-hour bus ride to New York City, took a cab to my apartment, dropped off all my stuff, and took the subway out to Citi Field — all on crutches.
By the time I entered the stadium for BP, I was truly exhausted and kinda wished I weren’t there.
Here’s what it looked like from right-center field:
Just after I took that photo, a kid recognized me and asked me to sign a baseball. His name is Kyle. He is with it:
Soon after I signed it, Kyle got one of the players to toss him a ball. And then I got one from this guy:
I didn’t know who he was at the time, so I looked him up when I got home. He’s a former minor leaguer named Eric Langill, and he just started working for the Mets as a bullpen catcher. (Dave Racaniello, the Mets’ longtime bullpen catcher, still has his job, and that’s a good thing because he’s super-friendly.)
When Oakland took the field, Kyle and his father changed into their eye-catching A’s gear:
“We got that from you,” said his father.
Soon after, I headed to straight-away right field and got a ball from the guy wearing yellow sleeves in the following photo:
Then I cautiously used my glove trick to snag a ball off the warning track, and I immediately handed it to the nearest kid. I hadn’t used the trick all season in New York and wasn’t sure what (if anything) the Mets’ response would be. Surprise, surprise — two minutes later, a pair of security guards walked down the stairs and approached me.
“You can’t do that here, Zack,” said one of them.
“Are you serious?” I asked rhetorically.
“I’m serious,” he said. “They already called it in and told us to come find you. They don’t want anything going down onto the field.”
Grant Balfour tossed me my 4th ball soon after, and then I headed to left field. It was dead out there as usual, but hey, I got a cool photo looking out/along the railing:
Before BP ended, I got one more ball tossed my way by…someone. I think it was Joey Devine, but for all I know, it could’ve been Graham Godfrey. Living on the east coast and following the Mets much more closely than the Yankees, the American League West feels like an alien division. You know what I mean? I rarely get to see those teams play, even on TV, and I don’t recognize many of the players.
After BP, I was so tired and my left foot was feeling so weak that when I saw this…
…I decided to go home. The game lasted 13 innings, and I didn’t watch any of it. I just needed to get away from the baseball world for a few hours.
• 459 balls in 56 games this season = 8.2 balls per game.
• 717 consecutive games with at least one ball
• 243 consecutive games with at least two balls
• 5,121 total balls
(I’m raising money again this season for Pitch In For Baseball, a non-profit charity that provides baseball equipment to underprivileged kids all over the world. Click here to learn more.)
• 52 donors
• $6.94 pledged per ball (if you add up all the pledges)
• $34.70 raised at this game
• $3,185.46 raised this season
Finally, all four baseballs have traces of invisible ink on them. Three actually appear to be stamped, and the fourth has a random blotch. Check it out:
As for my next game, don’t ask. I was planning to take my mom to Camden Yards this weekend, but I still can’t walk without crutches, so there’s no point in being there. Along those lines, I might skip the entire Rockies series at Yankee Stadium because, to put it kindly, that place is tough enough under normal circumstances. The good news — no wait, the really awesomely GREAT news — is that I might be getting a free trip to the Home Run Derby in a few weeks. I can’t say anything else about it yet, but will hopefully have an update soon.