It was a Friday night, the weather was perfect, and the Red Sox were in town. I knew it was gonna be crowded at Yankee Stadium, but I didn’t think it’d be THIS crowded. Check out the line at the left field gate:
That photo doesn’t show the whole line. It snaked waaaaay around the side of the stadium — and keep in mind that this was just one of four entrances.
Here’s what the inside of the stadium looked like from the outside:
As you can see, I had to run a long way (and then head up some stairs) just to reach the seats, and when I got there, this was waiting for me:
My first thought was, “Sweet! There’s a baseball just sitting there!”
My second thought was, “It’s really dirty — no way it’s an official ball.”
As it turned out, it *was* official, and when I picked it up, it marked the 200th consecutive Yankee home game at which I’d snagged one.
Moments later, a right-handed batter on the Yankees hit a home run that landed on the very top/concrete edge of the outfield wall and bounced all the way into the inaccessible bleachers. How’s THAT for bad luck? I was still the only fan in the seats, so if the ball had traveled four inches father and cleared the outfield wall, I would’ve been able to walk over and grab it. Thankfully, there was another homer that landed in the third row, and I snagged it without an issue. Here are the two baseballs that I’d gotten:
I didn’t snag another ball for 45 minutes. (FORTY-FIVE MINUTES!!) It was a homer by Dustin Pedroia that I caught on the fly after drifting 20 feet to my left and jumping as high as possible. I didn’t think I had any chance of reaching it, so it felt extra good when the ball smacked into the pocket of my glove.
Here’s what the stands looked like when I caught my next ball — a home run that pretty much came right to me:
I’m not sure who hit it, but if I had to guess, I’d say it was either Pedro Ciriaco or Jose Iglesias.
That was it for BP. Four balls. Meh. I could’ve snagged twice as many with slightly better luck and a bit less stupidity. I was half a second too slow on two toss-ups that landed in some empty seats, and I barely misjudged a pair of homers. What can I say? I just wasn’t on my game.
After BP, this young man asked me to sign a white piece of cardboard:
His name is Ben. I’ve seen him lots of times at Citi Field, but never at Yankee Stadium, and I don’t blame him. He’s an autograph collector, and this place is dreadful for getting signatures. Quite simply, there are far more places where you can’t go than places where you can.
After chatting briefly with Ben, I watched Jon Lester warm up:
In the photo above, do you see the two catchers sitting on the bench on the right side? The guy who was sitting farther away from me ended up tossing me a ball. Manny Martinez? Is that the dude’s name? Can any Red Sox fans out there let me know?
This was my view early in the game . . .
. . . and here’s what it looked like on my right:
The stadium was packed. The paid attendance was 45,141. There was absolutely *no* room to run for potential home run balls, and of course there was no way that I could move to another section, so I left. Screw it. I just wasn’t feeling it, so I went home and watched the rest of the game on TV.
Here are the balls I snagged:
Here’s the ball with the best invisible ink stamp:
I’m free today (Saturday, June 1st), and the weather is supposed to be nice again, and these two teams are playing at 7:15pm, but why bother? I think I’ll skip it and go have dinner with my girlfriend and/or mother.
• 5 balls at this game
• 259 balls in 34 games this season = 7.62 balls per game.
• 906 consecutive games with at least one ball
• 431 consecutive games with at least two balls
• 17 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, Camden Yards, U.S. Cellular Field, Comerica Park, and Rogers Centre
• 6,718 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.)
• 27 donors for my fundraiser
• $1.68 pledged per ball (if you add up all the pledges)
• $8.40 raised at this game
• $435.12 raised this season through my fundraiser
• $8,500 from BIGS Sunflower Seeds for my game-used baseballs
• $30,341.12 raised since I started my fundraiser in 2009