There was some serious competition at this game:
In the photo above, from left to right, you’re looking at:
1) Garrett Meyer (a friend/ballhawk from Kansas City with 956 lifetime baseballs)
2) Rick Gold (1,667 lifetime balls including 47 game home runs)
3) Greg Barasch (1,694 lifetime balls including an average of nearly 8 per game this season)
Batting practice got off to a BAD start. Although I did end up grabbing it in the seats, I’m embarrassed to admit that I flat-out dropped an easy John Buck homer, and then to make matters worse, Greg robbed me on the next one when I failed to reach all the way forward.
This was my view when the Braves took the field:
See the group of three players? Luis Avilan, standing on the right, threw me a ball and then asked, “How’s your eye?” (You may recall that I got a black eye on 7/31/13 at Turner Field and was recognized by just about everyone on the Braves several days later in Philadelphia.) That was pretty cool.
My third ball was a Freddie Freeman homer that landed on the party deck in left-center and took a shockingly lucky ricochet up to me. My fourth ball was a Jason Heyward homer that I caught on the fly, reaching down over the plexiglass wall beside the green-shirted guard. I handed that ball and the one after — a Joey Terdoslavich homer that I caught on the fly — to the nearest kids. My sixth and final ball was a B.J. Upton homer that I caught on the fly while standing on a seat . . . so at least I somewhat redeemed myself athletically.
After BP, I gave away another ball and met up with Greg, who showed me this:
That’s how it was when he caught it — weird, no?
Greg and Garrett sat behind the 3rd-base dugout during the game. Rick and I sat in left field, and I *nearly* caught a Marlon Byrd homer in the 6th inning. Take a look at the following photo, and then I’ll explain:
That photo shows the view to my right. See the man in the blue shirt in the middle of the row in front of my row? The home run ball went right to him, and by the time he reached up for it with his bare hands, I was standing directly behind him and reaching too. Based on the video highlight, it seems that at least one other person was making an attempt to catch it, and you know what happens when there are several hands and gloves in one spot. That’s right: no one catches it! We collectively bobbled the ball five feet to the right, and some little kid snatched it off the ground. Good for him. Bad for me. And by the way, the guy in the blue shirt was pissed. He actually yelled at me, but later calmed down and apologized and acknowledged the fact that I hadn’t done anything wrong.
Final score: Mets 5, Braves 3.
• 6 baseballs at this game (three pictured here because I gave three away)
• 495 balls in 67 games this season = 7.39 balls per game.
• 649 balls at 85 lifetime games at Citi Field = 7.64 balls per game.
• 939 consecutive games with at least one ball
• 464 consecutive games with at least two balls
• 29 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, Nationals Park, Marlins Park, Tropicana Field, Turner Field, Citizens Bank Park, Dodger Stadium, Chase Field, and the Oakland Coliseum
• 6,954 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, and if you donate money, you’ll be eligible to win one of these prizes.)
• 38 donors for my fundraiser
• $3.43 pledged per ball (if you add up all the pledges)
• $20.58 raised at this game
• $1,697.85 raised this season through my fundraiser
• $14,500 from BIGS Sunflower Seeds for my game-used baseballs
• $37,603.85 raised since I started my fundraiser in 2009
Finally, of the three ball I kept from this game, one has a snazzy invisible ink stamp. Here’s a side-by-side comparison in regular light versus black light: