The day got off to a dreadfully slow start and never really picked up. The Yankees finished BP at 5:15pm. Then the Blue Jays came out and stood around doing nothing:
I didn’t snag my first ball of the day until 5:30pm — a toss-up on the 3rd base side from Jays coach Torey Lovullo.
When the Jays started hitting, I moved to straight-away left field. This was the view:
There was a decent amount of action, but for the most part, things didn’t go my way. There was a line-drive homer that I jumped for and missed by a foot. There was another homer that bounced off my glove when a teenage fan reached for it. There were balls that landed near me that I simply couldn’t move for because the seats were packed. The Blue Jays pitchers who were shagging in left field completely ignored me. And so on. It was just a BAD day of ballhawking. Halfway through BP, I caught two homers on the fly, but the whole experience was unsatisfying.
I do have a couple of cool photos for you, which were taken and then Photoshopped by a friend named Andrew Bingham. The first one shows me posing with one of the home run balls . . .
. . . and the second, taken from behind, shows me watching a kerfuffle down in front:
During the final group of BP, when several lefties started taking their cuts, I headed to the 2nd deck in right field. This was the crappy view . . .
. . . and whaddaya know, I didn’t snag any baseballs up there. Why was I in the second deck and not in the 100 level in straight-away right field? Because my ticket was in left field, and AT YANKEE STADIUM, THE SECURITY GUARDS CHECK TICKETS HALFWAY THROUGH BATTING PRACTICE AND KICK PEOPLE OUT OF THE FIELD-LEVEL SECTIONS WHO DON’T BELONG THERE. Sometimes I’m able to get around this screw-the-fans-we’re-the-Yankees rule, but other times I’m left with no place to go. It sucks. I hate it. It really sucks. I hate it. I hate it. It sucks. I hate it.
You know what else I hate? When my view of the first pitch of the game looks like this:
One of the few good rules at Yankee Stadium is that fans are not allowed to enter the seating areas while an at-bat is in progress. Of course this rule rarely gets enforced. (Fans should also be prevented from leaving the seating areas during at-bats. Getting up from one’s seat should be counted like strikes; do it three times over the course of the game and you’re out. Bye-bye. Automatic ejection from the stadium. Who’s with me?)
I’m not a hateful person. I’m actually quite happy and loving. Let me prove it by showing something/someone that I absolutely adore:
I truly love that man. I’m not IN love with him, mind you. I just . . . love him. There IS a difference.
Ichiro, for those of you who haven’t been fortunate enough to sit behind him during a game, is fun to watch because he never stops fidgeting. In the nine-part photo above, his movements are as follows:
1) saluting the Bleacher Creatures during role call
2) imagining what it’s like to be a catcher
3) stretching his hamstrings
4) wiping the remnants of his pre-game meal on his sleeve
6) stretching his triceps
7) keeping his ankles loose
8) stretching his calves
9) my personal favorite — The Suzuki Sumo
Did I mention that I love him? Anyway, this was my view when Adeiny Hechavarria stepped to the plate in the top of the 3rd inning:
Exactly! He’d recently been called up from the minor leagues, and sure enough, when I looked him up, I discovered that he hadn’t yet hit ANY major league home runs.
The good news is that he homered in the 5th inning. The bad news is that the homer landed in right field. I wouldn’t have caught it even if I’d been sitting in my regular spot out there, but it still sucked. Later on, I heard that during one of the inning breaks, Blue Jays right fielder Moises Sierra brought a ball out to the field with him and traded it with the fan for the home run ball.
The highlight of my day was getting a lineup card after the game:
It had been taped to the wall in the bullpen. After the final out of the Yankees’ 2-1 victory, I got a groundskeeper to hand it to me. Pretty simple. And pretty rad. I’ve collected dozens of lineup cards over the years, and it never gets old.
The photo above was taken by my buddy Chris Hernandez — so here’s a photo of me WITH Chris:
Here’s a closeup of the lineup card:
I love the fact that there’s not enough space for the longer names; Edwin Encarnacion had to be shortened to “ENCARNACN,” and Curtis Granderson was turned into “GRANDRSN.” What would Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s name look like? “SLTLMCCH” Or maybe just “SALTY”?
• 484 balls in 61 games this season = 7.93 balls per game.
• 853 consecutive games with at least one ball
• 6,303 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.)
• 43 donors
• $2.36 pledged per ball (if you add up all the pledges)
• $7.08 raised at this game
• $1,142.24 raised this season
• $20,299.24 raised since I started my fundraiser in 2009
Finally, of the two baseballs that I kept, one has an invisible ink stamp. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of it in regular light versus black light:
Next game for me?
Friday at Yankee Stadium.
Who else is going?