You know it’s going to be a bad day when you’re waiting outside a stadium and there’s a middle-aged man wearing a cut-off T-shirt:
See what I mean? Bad day. It went from bright-n-sunny at 4:30pm to dark-n-cloudy by the time the gates were set to open half an hour later:
And sure enough, once again, I got screwed out of batting practice. This is what I saw when I ran inside the stadium:
At least the Mariners came out and played catch in shallow left field:
(Did you notice the psychotic sky in the photo above?)
Here I am in the front row:
I basically had the place to myself, but then of course it started drizzling, and then there was thunder and lightning, so the ushers kicked me (and the few other fans) out of the seating bowl. Somehow, apparently, it was perfectly safe for the players to stay on the field, but it was a life-and-death situation for everyone else.
Anyway, the ushers were nice enough to let me stand in the cross-aisle just underneath the overhang of the second deck. This was the view (from right behind my crinkly, circa-1995 Mariners cap):
A couple players finished throwing and launched a ball over my head to the fans sitting above the aisle. In the photo below, you can see me turning and looking at it:
Who was taking all these photos, you ask?
Another pair of players finished throwing and chucked their ball right to me. Sweeeet! The only problem was that I couldn’t figure out who threw it–mighta been Brandon Morrow–but that’s because I got THREE more balls within the next 60 seconds. It was nuts. There’d been a huge bolt of lightning right near the stadium and then it started pouring half a minute later, so all the players abandoned the field within a very small time frame. Felix Hernandez threw me my second ball of the day, and I have no idea who threw me the third. Here’s an action shot of that snag:
I ended up giving that ball away to a kid, and I’m glad to report that the fourth ball came from David Aardsma. I’d been hoping to get one from him because of his last name, which is first alphabetically in the history of major league baseball. You know that long list I have of all the players and coaches who’ve thrown me balls? Now it really starts with a bang. (No offense to Jim Abbott.)
My friend Mike (the one who hooked me up with free parking on 6/3/09 at Nationals Park) showed up soon after, and we hung out for a bit and got pizza. Look how awesome the pizza is at Camden Yards:
(The ball is there for perspective. Without it, you might’ve thought that each slice was only three inches wide.)
This is the best food deal I’ve ever found in any stadium. You get ALL that pizza for $6.25, and yes, that’d be a ripoff in the real world, but as far as MLB concession stands are concerned, it’s great. (You can find this pizza stand behind third base on the field level concourse. Go there, eat some, and think of me.)
The highlight of the game was seeing a two-run homer overturned because of fan interference. Mariners left fielder Endy Chavez tried to make a leaping catch at the wall, and as soon as the ball skipped off his glove and landed in the front row, he protested. The umps huddled and then walked off the field and were gone for like 5 or 10 minutes (during which time, I would argue, the replay should have been shown on the Jumbotron), and when they returned, they called the batter out. Naturally the fans were pissed, but they got what they deserved.
The rest of the night was uneventful. I camped out in the standing-room-only section for lefties, ran around to left field whenever the switch-hitting Matt Wieters was batting right-handed, and played all other righies along the right field foul line. I didn’t get any more balls, but I did get a cool picture of the sky:
Boring, boring, boring.
Ken Griffey Jr. was worthless.
Final score: Zack 4, Orioles 3, Mariners 1.
I haven’t been to a game with batting practice in TWENTY days.
That’s a ninth of the season!
• 4 balls at this game
• 197 balls in 26 games this season = 7.58 balls per game.
• 595 consecutive games with at least one ball
• 161 consecutive games outside of New York with at least one ball
• 4,017 total balls
• 107 donors (click here for more info and to make a pledge)
• $24.00 pledged per ball
• $96.00 raised at this game
• $4,728 raised this season for Pitch In For Baseball