Do you remember the guy named Andy that I mentioned in my recent entry about the two-stadium doubleheader? He took a bunch of photos of me that day, and this time he was at it again, so let’s get right to it. Here’s a shot of me during BP in the second deck in right field:
If I’d given Andy a heads-up that I was heading there, he would’ve gotten some action shots of the four Ichiro Suzuki homers that I snagged. I caught the first one on the fly and followed that by snagging a Joba Chamberlain toss-up that barely sailed over a girl’s head in the front row. I gave her that ball and then caught two more Ichiro bombs on the fly — one after running 30 feet to my left and another after drifting down to the front row and leaning gently over the railing. My final Ichiro homer landed on a staircase one section to my right and thankfully didn’t bounce too far away. That was the only group of Yankee BP that I got to see, and I snagged five balls — not too shabby.
When the White Sox started hitting, I told Andy that I was heading down to the 100 Level in straight-away left field, and sure enough, he got some great shots. Here I am just after catching a home run (by a righty that I couldn’t identify) on the fly:
In the photo above, do you see the fan in the white shirt two rows behind me? He’s a good dude and a talented ballhawk. His name is Eddie, and he probably would’ve caught that ball if I hadn’t been there. Unfortunately, that’s just how it goes at Yankee Stadium. There are only 10 rows of seats in straight-away left and right field, so there’s not much room to spread out.
Anyway, moments after I got that ball, I caught another that was hit by the same batter . . .
. . . and soon after that, I caught an Adam Dunn shot that tailed right to me. Here I am handing that ball (directly from my glove) to a kid in the front row:
Halfway through BP, I gave away another ball to a little kid, who ended up getting two more. That’s why I prefer to give balls away after BP, but sometimes I can’t resist.
Here’s a photo that shows me *not* catching a home run:
That one ended up falling a bit short, but in the final group of BP, I caught one on the fly after running nearly a full section to my left. That was my ninth ball of the day, and I got one more tossed to me by Andre Rienzo, a left-handed/rookie/Brazilian pitcher. BTW, Andy has a blog with lots of photos from Yankee Stadium. I’ve mentioned it before, and I’ll mention it again: It’s called The Cooperstown Kid. Check it out.
After BP, I caught up with a young fan named Josh who’s been reading this blog for a few months.
Eventually I watched Chris Sale warm up . . .
. . . and man, let me tell you, his stuff is nasty. His slider (or is it a curve?) had so much movement that I was practically laughing every time he threw it. I was standing there with Matt Latimer, and we were both in awe.
As it turned out, Sale was nearly unhittable. Through seven innings, he allowed three hits and an unearned run. The White Sox were winning, 4-1, at that point, and I pretty much assumed that the game was over.
So much for that. The Yankee scored five runs in the bottom of the 8th to take a 6-4 lead. You know what that means, right? Yeah, NOW the game was over. Look who came in to pitch:
Are those stats insane or what?
Mariano ended up pitching a one-two-three inning for his 40th save. That gave him nine seasons with 40 or more saves, tying Trevor Hoffman’s record. And oh, by the way, Derek Jeter hit two singles to pass Hall of Famer Eddie Collins for ninth place on the all-time hits list. Ho-hum . . . just another night at Yankee Stadium.
• 561 balls in 74 games this season = 7.58 balls per game.
• 494 balls in 76 lifetime games at the new Yankee Stadium = 6.5 balls per game.
• 946 consecutive games with at least one ball
• 233 lifetime games with ten or more 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
• 7,020 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)
• $34.30 raised at this game
• $1,924.23 raised this season through my fundraiser
• $14,500 from BIGS Sunflower Seeds for my game-used baseballs
• $37,830.23 raised since I started my fundraiser in 2009
Are you still with me? Good because it’s time for some black light action. Of the seven baseballs that I kept, two have nice invisible ink stamps. Here’s one . . .
. . . and here’s the other: