This will be brief. Just because. Yankee Stadium is a tough place to watch a ballgame. Let’s leave it at that . . .
My 1st ball of the day was thrown to me by Ichiro Suzuki after I asked him for it in Japanese. Here’s a photo of that ball with The Man in the background:
After the first group of hitters, I headed over to left field and stayed there for the rest of BP — not because I wanted to, but because I had to. That’s how it is at Yankee Stadium; you go where your ticket tells you to go, even during BP.
My 2nd ball of the day was a home run that I caught on the fly. I think it was hit by Ben Francisco, but I’m not sure.
This was my fabulous view when the Mariners took the field:
My 3rd ball was a home run that landed near me in the seats. (I should’ve caught it on the fly, but that was the ONE pitch I didn’t see all day, so of course the batter hit it right near me.)
My 4th ball was thrown by Hector Noesi. (Right after I caught it, I realized it had been intended for my friend Ben Weil, who was positioned three rows behind me.)
My 5th ball was a Jesus Montero homer that smacked off the back wall. (It took a fantastically lucky ricochet off a seat and bounced in my direction.)
My 6th ball was another toss-up from Noesi. (Once again, he was aiming for Ben, but this time, rather than throwing it too short, he airmailed him. The ball hit the back wall and bounced off a seat *away* from Ben and deflected right to me as he came charging through an empty row. He was ready to kill me, but you know what? He’d already gotten four balls, including one or two that I certainly would’ve snagged had he not been there.) (The outfield sections at Yankee Stadium only have ten rows; there’s very little room to work with, so inevitably we end up getting in each other’s way.)
After BP, I gave a baseball to a little girl sitting near the bullpen, and during the game, I gave two more to the kids pictured below at the bottom of the stairs:
They’d been sitting right in front me, and I noticed that before each inning got underway, they went down there in the hope of getting a toss-up from Yankees left fielder Curtis Granderson. The most they got from him was a smile and a subtle head-nod (which is more than most players would’ve offered), so I waited until the 6th inning and hooked them up. Half an hour later, one of the boys’ fathers scolded him for playing with the ball. I didn’t say anything, but it really pissed me off. The kid wasn’t tossing it in the air or distracting anyone. He was simply pounding the ball into his glove and practicing different grips, and oops! He happened to drop it at one point, forcing the folks in front of them to retrieve it from under their seats. Big deal. The kid was having fun, and I wanted to hand his father a “Parenting 101” book for thwarting it.
Anyway, that’s where I sat for the entire game. I hate staying in one spot, but that’s just how it is at Yankee Stadium. The Mariners (behind Felix Hernandez) blew a 3-0 lead, and the Yankees (behind CC Sabathia) ended up winning, 4-3. There was one home run. It landed in right field. Bleh.
• 188 balls in 24 games this season = 7.83 balls per game.
• 896 consecutive games with at least one ball
• 14 stadiums this season with a game-used ball: Citi Field, Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium, Angel Stadium, PETCO Park, AT&T Park, Safeco Field, Kauffman Stadium, Rangers Ballpark, Minute Maid Park, Great American Ball Park, Progressive Field, PNC Park, and Camden Yards
• 6,647 total balls
(For every stadium this season at which I snag a game-used ball, BIGS Sunflower Seeds will donate $500 to Pitch In For Baseball, a non-profit charity that provides baseball equipment to underprivileged kids all over the world. In addition to that, I’m doing my own fundraiser again this season for Pitch In For Baseball.)
• 26 donors for my fundraiser
• $1.63 pledged per ball (if you add up all the pledges)
• $9.78 raised at this game
• $305.44 raised this season through my fundraiser
• $7,000 from BIGS Sunflower Seeds for my game-used baseballs
• $28,711.44 raised since I started my fundraiser in 2009