7/18/11 Citi Field, Mets vs. Marlins

So today is my first blog entry, So far this season I have snagged 13 balls in 6 games in both New York Stadiums. I’m not gonna go back and write about the previous 6 games cause frankly I can’t remember all of them. So I think this game is a great start. My trip to the ballpark started at 3 o’clock when I left my house to pick up my cousin steve. He lives in Wayne, NJ which is about 15-20 minutes from my house, we left his house at about 3:30, we got to Citi field at about 5:00, roughly 10 minutes before the gates opened. I was hoping to see fellow ballhawk Zack Hample at the game because I had commented on his blog not too long ago and we chatted on the comments there for a little. Zack is the guy who inspired me to start ballhawking, I started to read his blog and was very interested and that’s when I got his book The Baseball. Very good book and I recommend it to any baseball fan. As I entered the stadium I made my way out to left field and when I got there the first thing I noticed was Zack standing on the stairs in between sections 135 and 136. I positioned myself on the stairs in between sections 134 and 135. As I learned from Zack, the best place to be is in a cross aisle so you can move in all directions, so I stood on the stairs between the railing in row 3. Within minutes of getting out there a ball was hit to the wall directly below the stairs where I was standing, I ran down to the railing at the end of the stairs and saw Dillon Gee walking over to get the ball. I proceeded to politely ask him for it and sure enough he threw it up to me but a kid next to me was trying to bump me out of the way so he could grab it, but I pushed back and got the ball. That was my first ball of the day and the third ball Dillon Gee has thrown to me this year. The Mets wrapped up their portion of BP a few minutes later and then it was time for me to change, I took my Mets jersey off and had on a University of Miami shirt on underneath and then switched my Mets hat for a Marlins hat. I got my second ball a few minutes in to the Marlins BP. A ball was hit out to the same spot where the first ball I got had been hit and I again went down to the railing. A young Pitcher named Steve Cishek was standing there and I again politely asked him for it and he threw it up to me and again that same kid who tried to push me out of the way was there doing it again, but once again I prevailed and got the ball. Moments later Mike Stanton came up and hit a blast into section 134 which was directly to my right. Being the outfielder I am, I ran up the stairs to row 5 and sprinted about half way down the row and was in great position. There was a man in the row in front of me trying to catch it bare handed but I reached my glove over him and the ball hit the palm of my glove, before I could close my glove the ball bounced out and fell 2 rows ahead of me where Zack had ran to, but unfortunately it took a bounce away from him and another guy got it. I could see his frustration but I was furious. The ball had hit directly in my glove and I couldn’t keep it in. I was so mad at myself and I honestly couldn’t believe it. I don’t think I’ve dropped a fly ball since little league. My cousin was laughing and making fun of me for dropping it, but I was so furious. A few minutes later, John Buck, the Marlins catcher, hit a towering shot into section 134. I knew it was going long and I was praying it wasn’t gonna hit the second deck. I turned and started running up the stairs while keeping my eye on the ball. As I got about 10 rows up I knew it was gonna land under the second deck but I knew it would land in the middle of a row and I wouldn’t be able to catch it on the fly. I slowed up going up the stairs and watched it hit a seat and die in a row. I gunned it up about 3 more rows and sprinted down the row to pick it up. That was my 3rd and final ball of the day. But a few minutes later as I was back standing in the cross aisle, Zack started walking down a row right toward me, when he got close enough he said “Hey man”. Zack had recognized me at a few games this season, so when I commented on his blog he knew who I was. I quickly turned and extended my hand and said “Hey Zack, it’s great to finally meet you”. We exchanged words for a minute or two while a lefty was batting and he asked how many balls I got and I told him, before I could ask how many he had gotten to that point, a righty came up so it was back into ballhawking mode, so its okay. during our short conversation he had said he would be at Citi field all week and I had told him I would be back on Wednesday for the Cardinals game. After batting practice me and my cousin went to our seats in row one of section 134. Since we were in the middle of the row and there were people all around us I decided after the first inning to move over to row 2 of section 135 where there were a bunch of seats open from the aisle in. We sat there for the whole game. I was praying for someone to hit a homer right to me so I could get my first game home run ball, but that didn’t happen. The Mets struggled to hit all game and gave up 4 runs thru 9 innings, it wasn’t till the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded and 1 out, that they got their first and only run of the game. The Mets fell 4-1 in a game where they were playing without their four best players (Reyes, Beltran, Wright, Davis) but it was a win for me because I had come away with 3 balls (should haveĀ been 4). Wednesday I’ll be bringing my camera to the game so there will be pictures with my next blog and hopefully ill get a picture with Zack to put on here. But to end this entry ill show a picture of 15 of the 16 balls ive collected this season so far (Only 15 because I gave 1 to my friend who attended a Mets Pirates game with me).