7/29/12 at Yankee Stadium

This was a weekend game against the Red Sox.
I knew it was going to be insanely crowded.
Why did I torture myself by even showing up?
Because I love baseball too much to stay away.

Ninety minutes before the stadium opened, it rained like hell. One minute after the stadium opened, I got a ball tossed to me in right field by Clay Rapada, and one minute after that, I found a ball hiding in a little hollowed-out nook in the front row:

Yes, there was batting practice — the sun had come out just in time — but it didn’t do me much good. Look how crowded it was when the Red Sox started hitting:

Here’s a closeup from the photo above:

Sorry for the poor quality, but anyway, that’s my friend Ben Weil giving a thumbs-down. The seats were so packed that I didn’t bother going out there. Instead, I stayed in foul territory and watched Alfredo Aceves play pepper for more than 20 minutes:

When he finished, I got him to throw me my 3rd ball of the day.

That was it for BP.

During the game, I sat in straight-away left field and got Andruw Jones’s warm-up ball before the 2nd inning.

This was my view later on:

In the bottom of the 10th, with the Red Sox clinging to a 3-2 lead, I moved closer to the bullpen. Here’s what it looked like:

In the photo above, the player on the bottom left is Franklin Morales. After the final out, he tossed me my 5th and final ball of the day. I then gave a different ball to the kid in the red shirt because the one from Morales was commemorative:

That was nice.

After the Red Sox cleared the bullpen, there were still two baseballs sitting around. Can you spot them in the following photo?

One of the balls was tossed to a woman. The other was tossed to Ben. I miss PETCO Park. The end.


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

• 347 balls in 43 games this season = 8.07 balls per game.

• 835 consecutive games with at least one ball

• 360 consecutive games with at least two balls

• 174 consecutive Yankee home games with at least one ball

• 6,166 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.)

• 38 donors

• $2.10 pledged per ball (if you add up all the pledges)

• $10.50 raised at this game

• $728.70 raised this season

• $19,885.70 raised since I started my fundraiser in 2009


  1. odog

    thx 4 the sd shout out,petco is friday for me vs the METS.any tips?tonite TC join to AZ AT LA..justin uptown sitting on 99 hr s,like ichiro still….can you do suspended balls in midair when you take ball pics in your hand.

  2. Zack Hample


    Even though I got a bunch of those balls at Fenway last month, I was still glad to get another.

    Tips for the Mets? Yeah. Don’t waste your time trying to catch home runs. They all suck. Except David Wright. He’s pretty good. And he has 199 career home runs. Left-center or right-center. The Beach wouldn’t be a bad spot for him. But the 2nd deck in straight-away left would also be okay. He might just crank one up there.

  3. John Hughes

    Zach- just a little note of thanks- I used one of the simplest (yet I hadn’t thought of it until I saw your blog) ways to get a ball. I had to semi plead with a grounds-crew dude…but nonetheless got my first (ever!) major league baseball, and at Yankee Stadium! I nearly had a 2nd- but an usher sold the ball for 50 bucks. Anyway, thanks- I’m actually in one of those pictures- I don’t know how I missed you. 1 down- 6000 plus to go…

  4. Zack Hample

    You’re welcome! Very glad to hear that, but damn, I wish you’d seen me and waved me down.

    Ha, thanks. If not for Ibanez, I’d be a nobody.

    Wanna trade? I’ll give you Citi Field *and* Yankee Stadium for Fenway.

    I admit it: I mailed it in. But there wasn’t much to say in the first place.

    Thanks! Nice job working the bullpen. :-)

  5. Mike

    I don’t know. I’d like. To get to citi field, but Yankee stadium seems to be as much as a pain in the ass as Fenway. But you do find Easter eggs there. I found exactly one Easter egg at Fenway, and I was with you. As much as I like Fenway ( and yes ,the relationship can be somewhat much at times) I’d like it if there wasn’t 38000 of my closest friends at every game.

  6. Skim

    Brace yourself for a ton of questions: Is getting down to the dugouts easy at Citizens Bank Park? How about Nationals Park? I’m planning to play the dugouts at both of those stadiums and going for foul balls at Camden Yards, but is it easy to get to the dugouts at Camden Yards? Which gates open 2 and a half hours early at Citizens Bank Park and Nationals Park? Is it true that they sell single game season tickets at the box office at Camden Yards? Any tips for Citizens Bank Park? Are retrieval devices allowed at all 3 stadiums? Do you think there might be batting practice at a 1:35 game in D.C. the day after a 7:05 game? What is the best staircase to play behind the dugouts in Philly and D.C.? At Camden Yards, which gate do I go in to get to the leftfield seats 2 hours early with a season ticket? How many minutes before the gates open should I get to each of the 3 stadiums? Does batting practice end at 6:25 at 7:05 games? Are there usually seats behind the visitors dugout at all 3 stadiums? Hopefully you will answer all of the questions because I will be attending all 3 stadiums for the first time. August 3rd I’m going to Citizens Bank Park, August 4th and 5th I’m going to Nationals Park, and August 6th I’m going to Oriole Park at Camden Yards. And then I might be going to Citi Field the 7th and 8th. For the record, I am currently reading all of the entries from each stadium and these are questions that I either couldn’t answer or wasn’t positive about.

  7. Mateo Fischer

    Skim- I’ll answer all of these questions except the CBP ones not pertaining to the gates. I’ve got some free time, so I’ll let Zack take a rest on this one. You have my e-mail, right? If you don’t still, it’s: observingbaseball@gmail.com

  8. Zack Hample

    In case it helps you feel any better, remember that the ushers at Fenway never check tickets in any section, ever, no matter what; guards at Yankee Stadium and Citi Field block EVERY single staircase, and you can’t ever go anywhere without a ticket for that specific section. In conclusion, I’ll take Fenway any day over the stadiums here in New York City. Fenway is also beautiful. The stadiums here are ill-conceived and bland. You can also get into Fenway 2.5 hours early every day. In New York . . . nope. I know Fenway is tough as hell, but it could actually be much worse.

    It seems that Mateo is helping you out, so let me know if you still have any questions, and I’ll do my best.

    You have to make it yourself. Get the team’s roster on ESPN. There are good head shots there. And just photoshop them all together, or use whatever program makes it easy. Just copy and paste them into Microsoft Word. That also works, I think.

    There’ll probably be BP, but the stadium might open an hour later than usual. Lots of places do that for single-asmission doubleheaders.

    I love you.

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