8/5/16 at Yankee Stadium

Let me start with three panorama photos. First, here’s what it looked like on the 3rd base side before the Indians started taking batting practice:

1_panorama_from_3rd_base_dugout

This was my view from the 2nd deck in right field during BP:

2_panorama_from_2nd_deck

Here’s what BP looked like from the 100 Level seats:

3_panorama_from_right_field

Pretty cool, huh?

Anyway, my first ball of the day was a homer by a left-handed batter on the Yankees. Not sure who. My second ball was a homer by Starlin Castro that I caught on the fly, and my third was thrown by Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer after we briefly played catch. That was it! Tough day. It was crowded, and there just weren’t many opportunities.

I did, however, get to see R2-D2 rolling past on the warning track before the game:

4_star_wars_night_r2d2

There were also a bunch of Stormtroopers lined up on the 3rd base side:

5_star_wars_night_stormtroopers

Yup, it was Star Wars Night at Yankee Stadium. I had received an R2-D2 hat on the way in, and I decided to give it away in a Twitter contest along with one of my BP balls:

6_ball_and_hat_giveaway_for_twitter

Fast-forward to the bottom of the 3rd inning. Josh Tomlin was pitching, Starlin Castro was hitting, the bases were loaded, and BAM!!! Watch this video and then take a look at these screen shots.

7_starlin_castro_connecting

Castro sent a deep fly ball heading toward me out in right field. I knew right away that it was going to be a home run. I just wasn’t sure if it would have enough distance to reach my spot several rows back.

As it turned out, the ball did reach me . . . sort of. If the row in front of me had been empty, I would’ve been able to make an easy chest-high catch, but as you can see in the screen shot below, it was fairly crowded:

8_grand_slam_in_the_air_above_me

The fans in front of me reached up for the ball, and as I reached for it too, someone deflected it while simultaneously bumping my glove. Somehow this caused the ball to be bobbled straight up into the air above me. Here’s a blurry closeup from the previous screen shot — note the ball circled in red:

9_grand_slam_in_the_air_above_me_closeup

That’s me in the red shirt with the white circle on my chest — more on that shirt in a bit, but for now, look what happened next:

10_securing_the_ball

I know it’s hard to tell what was happening, so here’s another blurry closeup:

11_securing_the_ball_closeup

As you can see, the other red-shirted fan tried to snatch the ball away from me, but I don’t blame him. He only went for the ball until he realized that I had secured possession of it, at which point I twisted away from him and he backed off. (This all happened very fast.) Also, I should mention that I did briefly juggle the ball at first, in part because I was holding a mini-bag of Cracker Jacks in my right hand. Duh!

It should be clear to anyone with half a brain that this was a clean play all around, especially on my part. Therefore it *really* pissed me off to see negative garbage like this.

Anyway, here’s Starlin Castro being greeted at home plate by his teammates:

12_starlin_castro_about_to_step_on_home_plate

Remember that red shit I was wearing? I proudly “popped” it for the cameras:

13_zack_shirt_pop

Here’s a better look at it:

14_zack_with_starlin_castro_grand_slam

BARSTOOL SPORTS, BABY!!! They’ve been great to me over the past two seasons, so this was my way of paying them back. I had recently bought that shirt and decided to wear it semi-regularly until I caught a home run.

Here’s a closer look at the ball:

15_ball9166_starlin_castro_grand_slam

Here’s Castro on the jumbotron later in the game:

16_starlin_castro_grand_slam_on_jumbotron

This was his first career grand slam, so I figured he might want the ball back . . . but nope! No one from the Yankees approached me about it, and I’m glad. This was the third lifetime grand slam that I had snagged, and I still had the other two baseballs at home, so my “granny collection,” if you will, would remain complete.

Here are two of my newer friends photographing/admiring the ball:

17_martin_and_chris_admiring_the_ball

In the photo above, that’s Chris holding it. The young man with his mouth agape is named Martin.

After the game (which the Yankees won, 13-7), several other fans took photos of/with the ball, including the guy who had nearly snagged it himself:

18_fan_posing_with_grand_slam_ball

Here are my three gland slam baseballs, by the way:

three_grand_slams_cano_beltran_castro

The ball on the left was hit by Robinson Cano on 9/28/09 at Yankee Stadium. The ball in the middle was hit by Carlos Beltran on 8/8/14 at Yankee Stadium. Someday I will catch a grand slam somewhere else. Mark my words.

BALLHAWKING STATS:

 4 baseballs at this game

 533 balls in 69 games this season = 7.72 balls per game.

 1,235 consecutive games with at least one ball

 45 lifetime game home runs; click here for the complete list

 9,166 total balls

CHARITY STATS:

My fundraiser for Pitch In For Baseball is now in its eighth season. Once again, people are pledging money for every home run ball that I snag during games. Here’s some info about the fundraiser, and if you donate, you’ll be eligible to win one of these prizes.

• 15 donors for my fundraiser

• $133.77 pledged per game home run ball (if you add up all the pledges)

• $936.39 raised this season

• $191,440.05 raised since I started my fundraiser in 2009

13 comments

  1. Mark_0139

    And I am the kid who got the Wrigley Field commemorative baseball from the Marlins at great American Ballpark

  2. Brenden Nichols

    I have only known about you for a little over a day now, and I must say, what you do is truly astounding. I watched some of your YouTube videos. Your baseball-collecting statistics are impressive, and your knowledge of this sport is also phenomenal. Hopefully I will have the opportunity to meet you one day.

  3. Aaron

    Hi zack I really want to meet one day at a yankees game next season and I am a big fan of you. I watch all your You tube videos I can’t believe you catch so many balls and I would be so exited to hang out. So please let me know any time it is very easy for me to come to new york city because I live in westchester county I also love baseball.

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