8/13/11 at Yankee Stadium

It was a VERY busy day, and I’m going to tell the story quickly, so get ready…

You know about the Korean documentary that I’m being filmed for? Well, the filmmaker (whose name is James) showed up at my apartment at 9am and got footage of just about everything. Here he is filming me while I brushed my teeth:

(This is going to be a very exciting documentary.)

Two hours later, we went to my mom’s place. Here she is being interviewed about me:

James got lots of footage there. It’s where I store most of my baseballs.

The Yankees had a 4:10pm game against the Rays, so James and I left for the stadium at 12:30pm. Weeks earlier, he had requested permission to film at Yankee Stadium — and he kind of got it. But not in writing. So he didn’t bring his big camera. Instead, we stopped at a camera store along the way, where he spent $800 for a small HD video camera. The plan was to secretly get some footage of me during BP and then wait to use it until the Yankees gave full/official permission in writing. Here’s James outside the stadium with his new camera:

I had bought my ticket several days earlier on StubHub for $30. James, unfortunately, never received a media credential from the Yankees, so he had to buy a ticket in person. When we asked for “the cheapest ticket in the stadium,” we were told that it would cost $100. James forked over the money and ended up with a ticket in straight-away left field on the lower level. More on this in a bit.

As for batting practice, here’s all you need to know:

The place was PACKED!!!
And I was glad to avoid getting shut out.

My first ball of the day was thrown by Nick Swisher in right field. My second ball was an Eduardo Nunez homer that I caught on the fly in left field (after running to my left and climbing down over a row of seats). My third ball was tossed from the left field bullpen by Jake McGee. And that was it for BP. James missed all of it because he was being hassled about his camera and was told that he wasn’t allowed to film. Look how small his camera was — and look how crowded it was during the game:

I forgot to mention that I got two more balls tossed to me from the left field bullpen. The first came from Rays bullpen catcher Scott Cursi at around 3:45pm. The second came from Jeremy Hellickson, the starting pitcher, after he used it to warm up.

As for the “cheapest ticket” issue, here’s a photo that I took during the game:

It shows a whole bunch of empty seats at the very back of the upper deck in deep right field. Obviously those seats were unsold, so why didn’t the Yankees sell one to James when we asked for THE CHEAPEST TICKET IN THE STADIUM?! Nice scam. Way to go, Yankees.

James and I left after a couple innings because there was some place else that we needed to be. More on that after the stats…

BALLHAWKING STATS:

• 5 baseballs at this game (four pictured here because I gave one away)

• 744 balls in 90 games this season = 8.27 balls per game.

• 751 consecutive games with at least one ball

• 5,406 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)

• $28.48 raised at this game

• $5,297.28 raised this season

Okay, so, what was so important that I left Yankee Stadium early? Three words: my writing group. I had to be at my friend Sunita’s apartment by 6:45pm, and James came along with his big camera. Here he is in the subway:

Over the course of the day, this was the third time that we were in the subway. We also took two cabs and rode the bus once.

Sunita lives in a big/fancy building with a 40th-floor roof deck. At the start of the meeting, a few of us went upstairs to have a look. Here’s James filming in the distance:

We were all going to hang out up there, but it started drizzling so we held the meeting in Sunita’s apartment (on the 20th floor). Here’s a photo that I took during the writing hour:

In the photo above, you can only see half the people who actually attended the meeting. The group has been around for nine years. There are more than 400 folks on the email list. We get fairly big crowds.

That was pretty much it. James and I left at around midnight, so I was basically filmed on and off for 15 hours. He got shots of me riding the subway, eating pizza, talking on the phone, packing up my stuff for the game, walking down the street, hugging my mom, etc. I’m surprised he didn’t come to the bathroom with me every time I needed to take a leak — not that I’m offering.

14 comments

  1. Brad

    So he bought a $800 camera just to be told that he couldn’t film? How lame! ALL of New York is a scam, by the way.

  2. Ben

    My guess is the Yankees do something that I KNOW the Mets do, which is withhold upper level tickets until after the gates open. THEN they sell those tickets. But yeah, I almost agree with Brad- MOST of New York is a scam haha

  3. TigerJames

    Good evening Zack. Been reading your blog for a few months now, for not being a blog reader yours have always been interesting reads, maybe cause of the pictures

    This is the 2nd or 3rd time I’ve read a ripoff on you or anybody at Yankee Stadium, which (almost) makes me not want to go there for a visit but still may, someday. Now, I’m not saying anybody’s wrong, but it could be possible, doubting this, that every single of those upper deckers were already bought but none of those people came (my own doubt). Doesn’t seem to get to you much though still going there, so kudos for that!

    Keep up the great hawking! I continue to look forward to more blogs!

    -James

  4. Carl

    Hi Zack,

    Thank you for signing my books! BTW What make and Model HD camera did James pick up?

  5. mlblogsfishfry55

    Jake-
    I just realized that. He’s hit 11 homers all year, including the two tonight, so I thought it would be a few more games before he got to 600, but I guess not. Sorry Zack.

  6. Spencer

    hey Zack .. is J.Guthrie usually a real jerk .. was at the Oakland vs Balt game in Oakland and the guy was a jerk from minute # 1 in the stadium .. and not just to me when asking for a ball .. but to letting kids asking for autographs

  7. Zack Hample

    COOK AND SON-
    Nah, I’m pretty sure that teams put their own tickets on StubHub.

    JAKE-
    Well, it *was* supposed to come out in September, but because these teams are being so reluctant, it’s going to be delayed. Maybe October? No idea. But anyway, nice catch on that home run! Looks like you were in the middle of a row, huh? Very cool!

    MATT-
    It was an important moment.

    JAMES-
    Impossible. When there are *that* many empty seats together, the only explanation is that they’re unsold. Anyway, thanks for reading my blog.

    STEVE-
    Oops, too late. I will say, though, that I didn’t know that Thome had hit No. 599 until I saw your comment.

    CARL-
    You’re welcome. Not sure about the camera, but James left the box at my apartment, so when I get back to NYC, I’ll check for you.

    SPENCER-
    Guthrie is very friendly and accessible, but the way that he interacts with people sometimes revolves around being a sarcastic smart-ass. Perhaps he thinks it’s okay to be snarky because he IS at least interacting with the fans. Not sure what to make of your experience with him in Oakland, but it doesn’t sound cool.

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