This was a strange day of ballhawking. I didn’t snag any home runs, and I only got one toss-up, yet I still finished with seven baseballs. Let me explain . . .
When I first ran inside the stadium at 5pm, there were half a dozen balls (aka “Easter eggs”) scattered in the right field seats. I grabbed three of them, including this one . . .
. . . and would’ve picked up two more, but a security guard beat me to them. Thankfully, because I was the only fan in the seats at that point (and because that guard is friendly), he gave them both to me. I know that’s a cheap way to pad one’s totals, but my personal rule has always been to count balls that are given to me by anyone who’s getting paid to be there.
As for the final Easter egg, it was grabbed by another fan.
Within a minute of entering the stadium, I had more baseballs than I could hold with one hand:
The final group of Yankee batters was useless — guys like Austin Romine, Luis Cruz, and Alberto Gonzalez.
When the Royals took the field, I got Alcides Escobar to throw me a ball along the left field foul line. That was my sixth of the day.
Then I headed up to the second deck in right field. I figured that Eric Hosmer would put on a show, but no, he only hit one home run up there, which landed near me and took a wild ricochet to the only other fans in the section. I did, however, spot another Easter egg over here:
I had already grabbed it by the time I took that photo. Looking back on it, I could’ve taken the photo and *then* snagged the ball, but I didn’t want to take any chances.
I was hoping to catch up with Jeremy Guthrie, so I headed downstairs for the next group of BP, but this was as close as I got to him:
In the photo above, he’s standing on the right.
The highlight of BP was seeing Alex Gordon hit a ball here:
The lowlight was seeing all the Royals jog off the field at 5:50pm — approximately half an hour early.
I passed the time by taking selfies in the bathroom mirror . . .
. . . and in case you’re wondering what the bathroom itself looks like, here you go:
As far as stadium bathrooms go, it’s a nice one.
(It’s not illegal to photograph an empty public bathroom, right? If it is . . . oops.)
This was my view during the game:
At one point in the middle innings, I scanned the crowd to see if there were any kids who looked like they deserved a baseball. This little guy sitting two rows in front of me . . .
. . . was NOT worthy. Bringing a toy to a baseball game? Gimme a break.
I found two other kids and gave them baseballs, including one little boy with thick glasses. He didn’t have a glove, but he was really into the game — I could tell — and when I handed him the ball, he practically freaked out. Imagine how you’d feel if someone handed you a briefcase with $100,000. It was like that.
The Yankees won the game, 8-1. Robinson Cano crushed a three-run homer to center field, and Lyle Overbay hit an opposite-field grand slam to left. The crowd, meanwhile, was one of the smallest/quietest I’ve ever seen at the new stadium — not a big surprise for a weeknight game against Kansas City, but it was quite noticeable.
Here are the five balls I kept:
Here’s the ball (pictured in regular light and black light) with the best invisible ink stamp . . .
. . . and here’s a random/cool mark on one of the Easter eggs that I’d grabbed at the start of BP:
I’m happy to report that I’ll (probably) only be at Yankee Stadium once in the next six weeks. Weather permitting, I’ll be busy this weekend with the helicopter stunt in Lowell, Massachusetts. Then it’s the All-Star Break. Then the Yankees are gone, and at the end of the month, I’ll be hitting the road. BIGS Sunflower Seeds is sending me to Miami on July 29th, Tampa on July 30th, and Atlanta on July 31st and August 1st. Although it’s not yet booked, I’m hoping/planning to be at Dodger Stadium from August 9-11, Chase Field on August 12-13, and the Oakland Coliseum on August 14-15. Hope to see lots of you guys along the way . . .
• 7 balls at this game
• 360 balls in 48 games this season = 7.5 balls per game.
• 480 balls in 74 lifetime games at Yankee Stadium = 6.49 balls per game.
• 920 consecutive games with at least one ball
• 445 consecutive games with at least two balls
• 203 consecutive Yankee home games with at least one ball
• 22 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, Rogers Centre, Miller Park, Busch Stadium, Wrigley Field, Target Field, and Nationals Park
• 6,819 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.)
• 30 donors for my fundraiser
• $1.88 pledged per ball (if you add up all the pledges)
• $13.16 raised at this game
• $676.80 raised this season through my fundraiser
• $11,000 from BIGS Sunflower Seeds for my game-used baseballs
• $33,082.80 raised since I started my fundraiser in 2009