8/8/11 at Citi Field

I attended this game with a friend named Amanda. Here we are outside the Jackie Robinson Rotunda:

In the photo above, the reason why I’m wearing a Padres hat (beyond the simple fact that the Mets were playing the Padres) is that Heath Bell gave it to me (and I love him). The reason why Amanda is decked out in blue and orange is that she loves the Mets. Take a look at her earrings…

…and check out her World Series socks:

I first met Amanda last year at my writing group. In addition to her various literary pursuits, she’s a singer/songwriter and has a YouTube channel, so you know, go watch some of her videos.

As for me…

I started the day with a season total of 699 baseballs. When the gates opened at 5:10pn, I headed to the right field seats and found a ball near the foul pole…

…but get this: I left it sitting there for a moment because the batter had just ripped a line drive into the right field corner, and Chris Capuano was on his way to retrieve it. As he walked toward me, I didn’t want him to see me bending down and picking up another ball, so I pretended that it wasn’t there. Thankfully, the seats remained empty for a minute, and my strategy paid off; I got Capuano to toss me the ball from the warning track, and as soon as he turned away, I grabbed the other. Here I am with my 700th ball of the season — the one that Capuano gave me:

In the photo above, that’s quite a dramatic beam of sunlight, huh? (I swear it’s not Photoshopped.) Also, that’s quite a stupid hat for me to wearing during the Mets’ portion of BP, wouldn’t you say? My intention was not to wear it inside the stadium until the Padres came out, but I obviously forgot to switch it up. DUH!!! Once I realized that I’d been wearing it, I appreciated Capuano’s generosity even more.

Here’s a closer look at Ball No. 700:. It’s a real beauty:

As I’ve mentioned many times before, I prefer snagging old/worn baseballs than pearls. Brand-new balls are boring. Yeah, they’re great for getting autographs, but they have no personality — no bumps or bruises or big league experience.

Amanda, meanwhile, was *thrilled* when she snagged a newish ball in left field. Here she is with it:

Dillon Gee had been shagging near us, so I told her to go down to the front row and shout his name and act all girly. It worked almost immediately. (Sometimes I really wish I were a girl. I suppose I could dress like one, but I probably wouldn’t get the desired results. Then again, my cross-dressing worked wonders in college for other reasons which I won’t get into here.)

When the Padres took the field, I got a ball thrown to me by Justin Hatcher, the bullpen catcher. I took the following photo 10 seconds later as he was walking away. You can see him next to the on-field security guard:

My next ball, a home run hit by one of the Padres’ many right-handed batters, was special for a specific reason. Never mind the fact that I caught it on the fly. It was special because it pushed my season total of money raised for charity passed the $5,000 mark.

I snagged three more home runs after that. The first landed in the seats in left-center. The second was a high fly ball that a tall fan in the front row was kind enough NOT to jump for. And the third was a line drive that *I* jumped for several rows back. I was in the zone. But then batting practice ended.

Shortly before game time, I got a warm-up ball from Jason Bartlett near the 3rd base dugout. That was my 8th and final ball of the day.

Then it was time for the national anthem and…just look:

Yeah.

Amanda and I spent most of the game in the “Excelsior” level behind home plate. On the way to our seats, we got a peek into the TV control room. Or maybe it’s just the jumbotron control room. But either way, it was still cool. See for yourself:

I think this is a new addition at Citi Field — not the room itself, but the fact that fans can now see into it. There’s a window built into the concourse wall, just to the right of home plate (if I’m remembering correctly), and you can stand there and stare for as long as you want. You might recall that I got a similar peek into a control room just last week on 8/4/11 at Sun Life Stadium.

This was our view for most of the game…

…and this was our view at the end:

The Padres took an 8-6 lead into the bottom of the 9th inning, but Heath Bell failed to hold it. The Mets rallied for three runs off him and won the game. This made me very sad.

It was still a fun day, though. Cheers to Amanda for putting up with my baseball shenanigans.

BALLHAWKING STATS:

• 8 baseballs at this game (five pictured here because I gave three away)

• 707 balls in 85 games this season = 8.32 balls per game.

• 746 consecutive games with at least one ball

• 271 consecutive games with at least two balls

• 5,369 total balls

CHARITY STATS:

(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.)

• 56 donors

• $7.12 pledged per ball (if you add up all the pledges)

• $56.96 raised at this game

• $5,033.84 raised this season

Finally, of the five balls that I kept, two have invisible ink stamps. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of those balls in regular light versus black light:

14 comments

  1. Ben

    The Mets had that window into the control room last year too. It’s how I managed to meet Mike Piazza- I saw him coming out.

  2. Zack Hample

    BIBBY-
    Congrats on your “first” status. What would you like as your prize?

    BEN-
    Oh. Cool. I must not’ve made it up to the Excelsior Level last year because I surely would’ve noticed. See you tomorrow!

    ALEX-
    Typical quote. Taken completely out of context. :-)

    MARTIN-
    Jona has met Amanda. No big deal.

    RICK-
    Don’t worry about it.

    EVERYONE-
    Some of the comments are getting out of hand, and I’ve had to delete them. Jona reads this blog *and* reads all the comments. Amanda will also read this blog entry (if she hasn’t already) along with all the comments. Therefore, don’t say anything here that you wouldn’t say directly to either one of them. Seriously, people. Come on!

  3. mlblogsjoshsmets

    You sat in the EXACT seat I sat at SunLife for foul balls and the picture of your seat in the Excelsior level shows the seat I sat in when I got the Ronny Paulino foul ball. (Second row, aisle seat, on the right side of that stair case)

  4. Zack Hample

    JOSHSMETS-
    Damn, really? During this game, the fan three rows in front of me caught a foul ball, so yeah, it’s a good spot.

    BEN WIDEMAN-
    Maybe someday. I also thought it’d be fun to do a whole dressed in a suit and tie, or maybe even a tuxedo.

  5. Nick Badders (@nickbatters on twitter)

    That cross-dressing pic is going to haunt you. I promise. On a happier note, that beam of light on ball photo is pretty legit.

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