It was getting pretty hot in the kitchen…I had to go to this game.
I took the train down to Chicago. When I finally made it to the park, I walked down 35th St. to see if my hot dog stand was still there. It had been almost 10 years since I made it to a game on the Southside.
After I ate my pre-game meal consisting of a Polish sausage and fries, I walked back to the stadium for a little sightseeing.
“Are you ‘The Happy Youngster’?”
Now, I must admit, I was a little reluctant to answer at first. Until I peered over and read the look on the gentleman’s face.
(You know when you can tell someone is about to argue/fight/be an ***-even before they say anything?) The same is true when someone is about to agree/get along/be cool.
It was obvious-this kind fellow was making a friendly contact. So, I told him I was him and we began to talk about everything baseball.
He told me his name is Richard, he’s from La Palma, California and he was in town on business. He said he loves reading my blog and that he’s a Dodgers fan.
Here’s a picture of Richard and I outside U.S. Cellular Field…
…Richard told me he enjoys casual ballhawking coupled with a bit of autograph collecting. Two great hobbies. Richard: it was a pleasure to meet you. Good luck hawking!
The gates were about to open and Richard was kind enough to invite me to join him at the front of the line.
I then told him I thought his blog was cool. Laughingly, and a bit embarrassed, he said, “thanks.”
BALL #3 was hit by an unknown player. When I opened my mitt to inspect the ball, I found it to be brand spankin’ new. Not one mark, not one scuff, not one blemish whatsoever. One pitch, one swing, one catch-bingo!
I will use that ball for an autograph at some point down the road.
At this point, I heard my first name being called. Again, I was a bit reluctant to answer. I didn’t know if it was going to be some crazy fan that hated my guts out to get me. So, I looped around the person saying my name, sized him up and said, “who wants to know?” It turned out to be a fellow ballhawk named Adam. I had met Adam on April 21st when I was down at Wrigley Field. Adam’s a cool guy with a similar passion for ballhawking.
I told Adam I would catch up with him after BP was over. I wished him luck and resumed snagging.
BALL #4 was snagged on the bounce hit by an unknown player. The sun makes snagging in left field at this park difficult. It also makes player identification pretty hard, too.
I glove tricked a ball out of the White Sox bullpen for BALL #5.
BALL #6 was retrieved on the bounce hit by JOE CREDE.
I felt left field was becoming a bit “used up,” so, I headed over to right
field. When I arrived, I noticed stud closer JOE NATHAN was shagging some
BP. Joe fielded one in my vicinity. The ball looked like it had an
extra-large logo on one of the side panels. Taking a shot in the dark,
I yelled to Joe Nathan, “hey Joe, can I get that commemorative ball you
got there?” He looked down at it, turned without hesitation and
fired it into my glove for BALL #7.
When Scott Baker came out to the pen to start his warmup, I joined in watching him from above the visitor’s bullpen.
After Baker was finishing throwing, Twins pitching coach RICK ANDERSON flipped me BALL #8.
The only ball hit close was a long fly by Justin Morneau that was caught on the warning track.
White Sox 6 Twins 2.
I was shut out after the game down by the Twins dugout.
2009 BALLHAWKING STATS
- 8 total balls 5/19/09
4 batted balls (1 caught on fly)
3 toss-up balls
2009 TOTAL BASEBALLS
4/7/09 = 5 baseballs
4/8/09 = 10 baseballs
4/9/09 = 10 baseballs
4/10/09 = 3 baseballs
4/11/09 = 5 baseballs
4/12/09 = 5 baseballs
4/13/09 = 11 baseballs
4/14/09 = 6 baseballs
4/21/09 = 5 baseballs
4/27/09 = 15 baseballs
4/28/09 = 9 baseballs
4/30/09 = 4 baseballs
5/01/09 = 7 baseballs
5/02/09 = 4 baseballs
5/08/09 = 11 baseballs
5/09/09 = 1 lousy ball
5/12/09 = 14 baseballs
5/13/09 = 12 baseballs
5/19/09 = 8 baseballs
145 baseballs (19 games)
7.63 average per game