My first ball of the day was thrown by Vic Black in left field. My second ball was a BP homer that I caught on the fly in the front row. My third ball was a line-drive homer that I caught on the fly, barely edging out my friend Rick Gold in the process, and when I saw the logo on it, I was pleasantly surprised. Check it out:
The Mets used those “50th anniversary” balls during every home game last season, and evidently they still have some extras.
Here’s a photo of the next two balls that I caught:
As I mentioned in my previous entry, that’s how the Brewers mark their baseballs.
Both of those marked balls were home runs, and I have no idea who hit them. I made a clean catch on the first one despite getting tangled up on a railing, and I caught the second ball on the fly . . . sort of. It was a towering fly ball that came right to me and would’ve been easy to catch had a nearby fan not lunged helplessly for it at the last second and bumped into me. As a result, the ball went in and out of my glove, but I was able to grab it with my bare hand before it fell to the ground. (That counts as being caught “on the fly,” right?)
My sixth ball was thrown by Marco Estrada, and as soon as I caught it, I handed it to the nearest kid.
A little while later, this was the view on my right:
In the photo above, do you see the gray-haired man with the baseball glove? He’s wearing a light gray long-sleeved shirt and standing in the third row. Well, toward the end of BP, one of the Brewers hit a home run *right* to him, but he happened to be bending over at that moment. I don’t know if he was tying his shoes or getting something out of his bag or what, but the timing was perfect. It enabled me to reach right over him and catch the ball several inches above his back. If he’d been paying attention (and assuming he had even a tiny bit of athletic ability), he would’ve had an easy chest-high catch. Even after *I* caught it, he still had no idea what happened.
Before the game, I headed to right-center field . . .
. . . and ended up getting two more baseballs. The first was tossed by coach Lee Tunnell after doing a catching drill in the bullpen with Martin Maldonado.
Here’s a photo of the other ball . . .
. . . which ended up getting tossed by bullpen catcher Marcus Hanel. I handed that one to the nearest kid and eventually made my way to left field. This was my view during the game:
In the photo above, did you notice the two kids standing in the front row? The kid on the left was adorable but annoying. He kept running up and down the stairs, so eventually I gave him a ball, hoping that it would get him to sit down.
It didn’t. (What was I thinking? Duh!) The ball made him even more hyper. He kept running all over the place with it . . .
. . . and to make matters worse, I never got a “thank you” from him or his father, who was sitting two rows behind me. The kid was obviously glad to have the ball, but the whole thing bothered me, perhaps more than it should’ve.
Maybe I was just in a pissy mood because I misplayed a Maldonado homer in the 7th inning. Basically, the ball was hit in my direction, and I knew that it was going to sail well over my head, so I backed up a few rows. That seemed like a good/logical maneuver until the ball clipped the facade of the 2nd deck and bounced down into the front row, where it was promptly snatched by a middle-aged man without a glove. GAH!!!
If there was one good thing about the game, it’s that the Mets lost, 4-2. After the final out, I gave away another ball and lingered in the stadium for about 15 minutes. I would’ve stayed longer because I was killing time before meeting a friend, but a guard finally approached me and told me to leave. Here’s the final photo I took on my way out:
• 687 balls in 89 games this season = 7.72 balls per game.
• 754 balls in 96 lifetime games at Citi Field = 7.85 balls per game.
• 961 consecutive games with at least one ball
• 30 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, the Oakland Coliseum, and Coors Field.
• 7,146 total balls
(For every stadium this season at which I’ve snagged 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.)
• 39 donors for my fundraiser
• $3.48 pledged per ball (if you add up all the pledges)
• $31.32 raised at this game
• $2,390.76 raised this season through my fundraiser
• $15,000 from BIGS Sunflower Seeds for my game-used baseballs
• $38,896.76 raised since I started my fundraiser in 2009