QUESTION: What do you call five minutes of action followed by five hours of frustrating nothingness?
ANSWER: This day at Yankee Stadium.
When the gates opened at 5pm, I bolted out to the short porch and immediately snagged a ball that bounced off the warning track and landed in the totally empty seats. (I have no idea who hit it.) Then I raced to the left field side, convinced Cody Eppley to toss me a ball, and snagged two A-Rod homers that landed in the seats. It was only 5:07pm, and as it turned out, my day of snagging was done.
This was my view while waiting for the second group of hitters to begin taking their cuts:
Two minutes later, I headed back to right field . . .
. . . and it was dead out there.
In the photo above, that’s Greg Barasch looking at me. Nice guy. Awesome ballhawk. He didn’t have any baseballs at that point, but ended up with seven.
Eventually I headed back to left field . . .
. . . and it was dead there too, at least for me. Everyone else was snagging baseballs. I was getting all the bad breaks. It happens.
Shortly before game time, my friend Andrew showed up. I took a photo of him . . .
. . . and then he took a photo of me:
I photographed the upper deck facade . . .
. . . and then I photographed Andrew’s fancy shoes:
It was that kinda night.
I should mention that Andrew’s shoes are so fancy (and have caused such a stir amongst our circle of friends) that he recently wrote an entire blog entry about them. (Andrew also recently wrote a blog entry about me called “In Defense of a Ballhawk.” It’s really good, so if you haven’t yet seen it, check it out. Here’s the link.)
The highlight of the game was witnessing a major milestone in the 6th inning that probably went unnoticed by 99.9 percent of the fans in attendance: Derek Jeter’s 10,000th career at-bat. This was my view for it:
Jeter grounded out to third — part of an o-for-4 performance that lowered his season batting average to .376 — but it was still cool. He’s just the 25th player in baseball history to amass 10,000 at-bats, and nearly everyone ahead of him on the list is a Hall of Famer. Look at the names he’ll pass this season: Frank Robinson (10,006), Rabbit Maranville (10,078), Al Kaline (10,116), Tris Speaker (10,195), Luis Aparicio (10,230), George Brett (10,349), Honus Wagner (10,430), and so on. Not too shabby. I don’t know why I love numbers so much. I just do, okay?
The Yankees won the game, 5-3. CC Sabathia allowed two runs — none earned — in eight innings to improve to 5-0, and get this: his season ERA and career ERA are identical at 3.51. I love stuff like that, temporary as it may be.
• 92 balls in 14 games this season = 6.57 balls per game.
• 806 consecutive games with at least one ball
• 553 consecutive games in New York with at least one ball
• 164 consecutive Yankees home games with at least one ball
• 5,911 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 about my fundraiser, and click here to see the prizes that I’ll be giving away to donors.)
• 28 donors
• $1.66 pledged per ball (if you add up all the pledges)
• $6.64 raised at this game
• $152.72 raised this season
• $19,309.72 raised since I started my fundraiser in 2009