Tagged: Happy Youngster

8/15/09 @ Miller Park

We had a family get-together planned, so, I decided I would attend BP and then leave to go to the party.  I rarely ever *just* attend BP, but it made sense on this day.
That’s exactly what I did.

The gates at Miller Park open 2 hrs. prior to gametime on Saturday and Sunday games that fall between Memorial Day and Labor Day.  So, at 4:05 pm, the gates opened their arms to the waiting guests.

After watching 15 minutes of bunts and singles, my favorite Brewers player, Ryan Braun, launched one high into the air.  I could tell it was a bomb, so, I turned my back to the ball and started to sprint up one of the staircases located in the left field loge bleachers.  When I reached around the 12th row, I turned around to find the ball.  A second or two later, it landed a couple rows deeper.  That’s where I gloved it on a bounce for my 1st ball on the day.
Yay for Braun…he’s the real deal.

When the Astros came out to hit, ‘Stros’ bullpen catcher Strech Suba was trying to get into the visitor’s bullpen.  For whatever reason, the gate to the bullpen was locked from the inside…with nobody around!  He struggled with the door for about 1 minute or so when I spoke up. 

I said, “Hey Strech, it’s locked from the inside.”

He said, “Is anyone in there?”

I responded, “Nobody.”

After about 10 more minutes, two (2) groundskeepers came walking through the bleacher seats behind me.  They walked up to the front row and then jumped down into the bullpen to unlock the bullpen door.  First time I had ever seen that.

Strech thanked them and entered the bullpen.  By that time, the Astros had hit 4 or 5 baseballs into the bullpen (oddly enough, there were only about 8 home runs hit during the entire Astros BP – 4 or 5 of which landed in the right field bullpen).
BTW, I absolutely hate the Miller Park bullpens…but, that topic needs an entry of its own. 

Strech started to pick them up when I said, “At least we know the bullpen is secure.”

Laughing, he responded, “Yeah, no kidding.”

When he picked up a baseball that was lying nearby, I asked him if there was any chance to get it from him.  Without hesitation, he tossed it up to me.  About 3 seconds later, another guy about my age asked for a ball.  Strech told him he was too old. 
Ha!  Pays to kissass be nice.

Lance Berkman and Carlos Lee were hitting in the same group.  I had a decision to make.  Should I stay in right field with less competition or move to left and compete against everyone and their mother??  I decided to bank with Berkman and less competition.

It did not pay off. 

Baby-face Berkman did not hit a single home run to the 2nd deck! 
Carlos Lee, you ask? 
He launched about 6 shots to deep left-center field.  Ahhh!!
lance berkmanclown.JPG

For that, Lance gets the clown treatment.

BP was winding down, the Astros were sucking and I only had 2 baseballs.

bud norris.jpg

Quickly, I spotted this young pitcher shagging in left-center field…

…BUD NORRIS.

When he fielded one nearby, I politely asked for it to be tossed up.  He turned around and lobbed it right to me for #3.  He was totally cool about it and even gave me a wave and a grin.

I’ll be rooting for him.

My 4th and final ball on the day came via the glove-trick out of the Brewers bullpen.  There was only one and I was able to knock it closer (something I rarely waste my time doing because of strict rules) and reel it up.

Four (4) balls and BP was over.  Time to head back to the party.

8_15_09 Astros vs Brewers @ Miller Park 006.jpg
8_15_09 Astros vs Brewers @ Miller Park 005.jpg2009 BALLHAWKING STATS

  • 4 total balls 8/15/09

1 batted baseball

2 tossup baseballs

1 device baseball

ATTENDANCE:  42,952


The infamous Houston Astros “H” can be seen in full-force above.

How lame is that?






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
5/22/09 = 3   baseballs
5/23/09 = 2   baseballs
5/26/09 = 3   baseballs
5/29/09 = 6   baseballs
5/30/09 = 5   baseballs
6/01/09 = 1   baseball
6/02/09 = 9   baseballs
6/09/09 = 4   baseballs
6/10/09 = 0   baseballs
6/11/09 = 2   baseballs
6/12/09 = 9   baseballs
6/23/09 = 6   baseballs
6/24/09 = 9   baseballs
6/26/09 = 9   baseballs
6/27/09 = 4   baseballs
6/29/09 = 3   baseballs
6/30/09 = 5   baseballs
7/07/09 = 6   baseballs
7/10/09 = 3   baseballs
7/20/09 = 7   baseballs
7/24/09 = 6   baseballs
7/27/09 = 8   baseballs
7/29/09 = 3   baseballs
8/04/09 = 4   baseballs
8/11/09 = 7   baseballs
8/12/09 = 6   baseballs
8/15/09 = 4   baseballs
___________________

279 baseballs (46 games)
6.07 average per game

PLEASE ALLOW ME TO RANT:

Take a look at the following photos…when I saw this, I wanted to throw up.  Luckily, the “prized” possessions were tucked safely behind display glass.

MAT GAMEL GAME USED BAT:  $1200
8_15_09 Astros vs Brewers @ Miller Park 001.jpg


BILL HALL GAME USED HELMET:  $800

8_15_09 Astros vs Brewers @ Miller Park 004.jpg


AUTHENTIC MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL:  $25
Thumbnail image for 8_15_09 Astros vs Brewers @ Miller Park 002.jpg

Are you kidding me??

Mat Gamel was just sent down to the minors and Billy Hall was just released!!
What are the Brewers trying to pull??  Who are they trying to fool??

I know the team needs money for starting pitching and all, but this is ridiculous.

Let’s review:
I catch a home run ball that I cherish and ask for two (2) bats in trade.  Team says no.
Team charges out the wazoo for game used items of scrubs.  I say no and so should everyone.  Craziness…absolute craziness.

Does anyone else hear the rift between teams and fans widening?? 
I sure as hell do.

Insane…whaddya think?

7/24/09 @ Miller Park

I had two (2) objectives:

  1. Snag as many baseballs as possible (like always)
    AND
  2. Give them all away.

I’ve always given away baseballs to deserving kids, but I’ve never given a whole day’s snagging away.  It seems I’ve always returned home with one.

I wanted to mix things up a bit.
Let the snagging tales begin…

4:30 pm – Arrived at Miller Park.

4:40 pm – Grabbed a bullpen patio table at Friday’s Front Row Bar & Grill.

5:10 pm – Spotted this…

7_24_09 Braves vs Brewers @ Miller Park.jpg

…nestled tightly against the rolled-up tarp.  Hmm.

5:10-5:22 pm – Plotted how I would snag said ball.

5:25 – Relocated to barricaded area down the left field concourse.

5:30 pm – Stadium seating bowl open.

5:30 pm – Sprinted like hell to tarp.

5:31 pm – hand-picked BALL #1 off field!  Yay!

5:47 pm – glove-tricked BALL #2 out of Brewers bullpen.

5:48 pm – glove-tricked BALL #3 out of Brewers bullpen (while I had been reeling up ball #2, ball #3 bounced into the pen in nearly the same spot).

5:55 pm – Snagged a MATT DIAZ BP homer off the railing (it ricocheted off the front railing and spun straight toward me in the 3rd row at a million miles per hour…landing safely in my glove without touching the ground).

6:05 pm – Snagged GARRETT ANDERSON BP homer on fly.

6:06-6:22 pm – twiddled my thumbs while hoping for homers as BP came to a bitter end.

6:30 pm – glove-tricked BALL #6 out of visitor’s bullpen.
Immediately handed it to a nearby youngster.

6:45-7:02 pm – gave the remaining five (5) baseballs away to deserving youngsters.

7:07 pm – 1st pitch.

8:25 pm – left the stadium (missed my wife and kids…needed some family time).

 

 

2009 BALLHAWKING STATS

  • 6 total balls 7/24/09

3 batted baseballs

3 device

ATTENDANCE:  41,941

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
5/22/09 = 3   baseballs
5/23/09 = 2   baseballs
5/26/09 = 3   baseballs
5/29/09 = 6   baseballs
5/30/09 = 5   baseballs
6/01/09 = 1   baseball
6/02/09 = 9   baseballs
6/09/09 = 4   baseballs
6/10/09 = 0   baseballs
6/11/09 = 2   baseballs
6/12/09 = 9   baseballs
6/23/09 = 6   baseballs
6/24/09 = 9   baseballs
6/26/09 = 9   baseballs
6/27/09 = 4   baseballs
6/29/09 = 3   baseballs
6/30/09 = 5   baseballs
7/07/09 = 6   baseballs
7/10/09 = 3   baseballs
7/20/09 = 7   baseballs
7/24/09 = 6   baseballs
___________________

247 baseballs (40 games)
6.18 average per game

 

 


Meeting “American Idol” David Cook

I must admit:  I like to meet famous people.

It doesn’t matter what they’re “famous” for, I just enjoy talking with people who have carved an identity for the masses.

I don’t get awe-struck.  I don’t go ga-ga. 
(Meeting Brett Favre one-on-one August of 2005 still remains the exception)

I just enjoy the interaction.

I mentioned in my previous entry that my wife and I would have the chance to meet David and his bandmates.

Here we are…
7_23_09 Meeting David Cook & Band 014.jpg

…out near his trailer.

From left to right:  Neal, Joey, my lovely wife-April, David, myself, Kyle and Andy.

Notice a few things:

1).  I’m wearing a KC Royals hat.
2).  Neal is holding a baseball.
3).  April is holding two (2) photos.
4).  Sunglasses are hip.
5).  I have a special pass affixed to my left thigh.
6).  David looks the part.

  • I’m wearing the Royals hat because David Cook was raised in Missouri and remains an avid KC Royals fan.
  • Neal is holding the baseball because I had everyone in the band sign it. 
  • April, the kind and generous soul that she is, picked two young girls out of the crowd who were standing behind a barricade trying to get an autograph with their Mother (made impossible by security). 
    Hence, the two signed photos in her hand.  Yay for April!!!  Boy, do I love her.
  • Sunglasses?  Everyone’s wearing ’em.
  • The backstage pass allowed us past the big, beefy security guards. 
    Why are you covering yours up, April??
  • His look says it all.

After exchanging some baseball chatter and some handshakes, we parted ways.
(I told David if he sees the yellow shirted home run catcher snag Jose Guillen’s 200th career homer on ESPN-it’s me.

A few pics of the show…
7_23_09 Meeting David Cook & Band 015.jpg
7_23_09 Meeting David Cook & Band 045.jpg

7_23_09 Meeting David Cook & Band 052.jpg
7_23_09 Meeting David Cook & Band 053.jpg

The band put on a great show.  If you like a little new age rock, I would highly recommend seeing them perform.

The walk out during the encore…
7_23_09 Meeting David Cook & Band 067.jpg

A random shot of pollution…
7_23_09 Meeting David Cook & Band 010.jpg

The baseball I had signed…
7_23_09 Meeting David Cook & Band 068.jpg

7_23_09 Meeting David Cook & Band 069.jpg
7_23_09 Meeting David Cook & Band 070.jpg
7_23_09 Meeting David Cook & Band 071.jpg
…ahhhh, baseballs.  What else is there to get signed??

7/20/09 @ US Cellular Field

Let’s get the 2nd half rolling, shall we…??

 

I had spotted this date on the calendar a few months ago.  The defending A.L. champion Tampa Bay Rays were going to be in Chicago to play the south-siders on a Monday night.

I circled the date.

A good friend of mine, Jamil, was taking the trek with me.

We jumped on a train headed to downtown Chicago and before we knew it, we were in “The Windy City.”

This would be my 4th trip to “the Cell” this season. 
My 2009 U.S. Cellular Field stats:

  • 5/19 = 8 baseballs
  • 6/1   = 1 baseball (rain)
  • 6/2   = 9 baseballs

For all you math majors, that’s a 6 ball average…right on par with my current season average.

 

When we arrived at the ballpark, we immediately went to the ticket windows to purchase our seats (as you may or may not know, select tickets are 1/2 price every Monday night).

“Two 1/2 price bleacher seats, please,” I said confidently.

“All we have are upper reserved,” the ticket rep responded.

Huh?? 

Turns out it was Italian night or something.  All tickets were 1/2 price! 

Great.  Just great.  There goes my batting practice. 

For those planning a trip to see the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field:  you must have a lower level ticket to be able to access the bleachers for Batting Practice.

So, we sat by the home plate entrance and waited for a few ticket sellers/scalpers to show up.
They never came.

5:15 pm rolled around and we had to make a decision.  Either buy upper reserved and HOPE we could access the bleachers
OR
get back on the train, drink some beer and go home.

I decided we would take a chance and buy the upper reserved (total nosebleed).
After the tickets were purchased (for $9.50 each), we jumped in line.

When the gates opened, we went up the ramp and approached the security guard that was checking tickets/granting access to the lower level.

As luck would have it, he recognized me from ESPN and granted me access.
Are you kidding me?!?!

Shortly after the gates opened, the left field bleachers were crowded.
Take a look…

7_20_09 Rays vs White Sox @ US Cellular Field 001.jpg

…it got much worse.

There was another challenge…

7_20_09 Rays vs White Sox @ US Cellular Field 002.jpg

…the sun is brutal at “the Cell.”
See all the people shielding their eyes??

No worries.  I had a secret weapon to beat the crowds and the sun…the glove trick.

I was about to have a glove-trick party. 

The 1st thing I did when I ran into the left field bleachers was to scan the moat that’s positioned between the 1st row of seats and the left field wall.

What did I see??  A lonely baseball lying down there yet to be claimed.

But, wait…there’s more!

I quickly lowered the glove trick and had my 1st ball on the day.

Check this **** out…

7_20_09 Rays vs White Sox @ US Cellular Field 011.jpg

…sweet Mother of God!
An absolute perfect World Baseball Classic ball.

The White Sox are using WBC balls??  Holy hell!!

I was not finished.

A quick peek into the Sox bullpen in left field…

7_20_09 Rays vs White Sox @ US Cellular Field 004.jpg

…oh yeah!

BALL #2 and BALL #3 were waiting for me. 

What was even better?? 
#2 was another WBC ball!

What was even better than that??
#3 was given away to a nearby kid standing with his Dad.

A closer look at the two (2) WBC balls snagged…

7_20_09 Rays vs White Sox @ US Cellular Field 039.jpg

…as you can see, they were perfectly white.  Only marred by the ridiculous “PRACTICE” stamp. 

I hate that stamp.

By the time I had reeled in those three, the Rays had already begun to hit.  I found a spot in the 2nd row where I could stand and actually have enough room to itch my asssss. 
That is where I would make my biggest error on the season.

With Jamil as my witness, I had a Longoria BP homer ricochet off the end of my glove. 
It was a combination of three things I tell you:

  • sun
  • bad footwork
    and
  • white men can’t jump

    ****!!  That sucked.

It was a good thing I still had the secret weapon. 

Before BP was over, I managed to glove-trick three more balls out of the Sox bullpen, bringing my total on the day up to six (6).

BALL #6 was given to an adult.  Yeah, you read that right.  An adult. 
Earlier, the guy had that very same ball bounce off his bare hands only to have it drop into the pen.
At first, I asked him if he had any kids.  He was slow to respond which meant, “no.”

It didn’t matter.  I gave it to him, anyway. 
He had been overly cool about letting me into the aisle above where the baseballs had been lying.  Besides, he and his wife said I was awesome.  What more do you need? 

Toward the end of Batting Practice, I noticed Rays reliever Randy Choate limp-wristed one toward the front row.  It fell short and fell into the moat…
7_20_09 Rays vs White Sox @ US Cellular Field 003.jpg
…oh, darn.

After BP, I went over to the spot where I could recall the ball had landed…
7_20_09 Rays vs White Sox @ US Cellular Field 009.jpg
…there it was.
 
(The above picture was taken by leaning way over the fence and aiming my camera underneath me and the fence.  That ball could not be seen by simply looking st
raight down)

To get it, I would have to swing the glove underneath the platform and knock it back out so it would be directly below me.

Surprisingly efficient, it took me two swings to get it into position.  Another 5 seconds and BALL #7 was mine.

7 balls snagged…all via the glove trick.  Sweet.

Hey Zack…if you’re reading this, what’s your single-game record for glove-tricks??
Just curious.

Jamil posing with 2 of the 5 remaining baseballs7_20_09 Rays vs White Sox @ US Cellular Field 010.jpg
…we were having a good time.

We took a stroll, ending up over at the Rays pen. 
Just in time to see this young stud take his warm-up pitches…
Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 7_20_09 Rays vs White Sox @ US Cellular Field 020.jpgThumbnail image for 7_20_09 Rays vs White Sox @ US Cellular Field 019.jpg
7_20_09 Rays vs White Sox @ US Cellular Field 021.jpg7_20_09 Rays vs White Sox @ US Cellular Field 023.jpg

7_20_09 Rays vs White Sox @ US Cellular Field 025.jpg

…David freakin’ Price.

That guy is a stud.

The stadium was packed, so, we wandered around.
After consuming over $50 in concessions (between the two of us), we ended up behind the plate by the 9th inning.

I was going to try to make it 8 balls on the day.

For those who plan on visiting “The Cell,” the ump entrance/exit is located below…

7_20_09 Rays vs White Sox @ US Cellular Field 032.jpg

…through the gate and up that tunnel.

Home Plate umpire Mike Reilly wanted to keep his balls, though. 

No problem. 

Our night was over.

The five baseballs I took home…

7_20_09 Rays vs White Sox @ US Cellular Field 038.jpg

…which reminds me-I have to set a couple aside for Jamil’s two boys.

One final picture taken on the train-ride home…

7_20_09 Rays vs White Sox @ US Cellular Field 034.jpg

…apparently, we were not the only ones who had a fun day.


2009 BALLHAWKING STATS

  • 7 total balls 7/20/09

7 device


ATTENDANCE:  39,024

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
5/22/09 = 3   baseballs
5/23/09 = 2   baseballs
5/26/09 = 3   baseballs
5/29/09 = 6   baseballs
5/30/09 = 5   baseballs
6/01/09 = 1   baseball
6/02/09 = 9   baseballs
6/09/09 = 4   baseballs
6/10/09 = 0   baseballs
6/11/09 = 2   baseballs
6/12/09 = 9   baseballs
6/23/09 = 6   baseballs
6/24/09 = 9   baseballs
6/26/09 = 9   baseballs
6/27/09 = 4   baseballs
6/29/09 = 3   baseballs
6/30/09 = 5   baseballs
7/07/09 = 6   baseballs
7/10/09 = 3   baseballs
7/20/09 = 7   baseballs
___________________

241 baseballs (39 games)
6.18 average per game

ONE LAST NOTE:  Through a connection of mine, I’m now off to meet a celebrity who happens to be a big baseball fan.  He got a few backstage passes for my wife and I.

Here’s a few hints…

  • he’s an “IDOL”ized musician 
  • he was raised in Missouri
  • now lives in Tulsa, OK
  • performed at the 2009 Home Run Derby
  • is an avid baseball fan who cheers for the K.C. Royals. 

Any guesses or did I give it away????

 

Wall Street Journal article

A few months back, David Biderman from the Wall Street Journal e-mailed me about doing a ballhawk-related article.

Here it is…

Wall Street Journal 7_7_09.jpg
wall_street_journal2d.jpg

I thought it was a bit sneaky to quote Chris Coghlan, “he told me he goes around a lot and catches these balls and holds them for ransom” only to leave out the last (and most important) part of that original quote.  “While he didn’t say that he does, it seems that way.”

The piece made all ballhawks look like greedy bloodsuckers.  Not true.
But, I have to admit:  being in the WSJ is still pretty cool.

Zack Hample (in red shade) and a few other ballhawks got mentions as well.

Photos courtesy of Zack Hample

5/26/09 @ Miller Park

This was my 1st game back at Miller Park since the Chris Coghlan fiasco back on May 13th.
I
was a bit apprehensive.  I didn’t know what the reaction would be. 
Brewers fans had torn me apart (I’ve heard all the arguments) on the radio and
on the internet for a whole week.  This was their 1st chance to do it
in person. 

Yet, they never did.  I’m not getting my hopes up…it was only 1 game. 

BP was extremely slow.  I felt reserved about asking for baseballs
from the Brewers.  I needed time to ease back into it.  So, I made no
verbal requests for balls during the Brewers portion of BP.

My favorite player, RYAN BRAUN, did manage to sock one out to
left-center where I was waiting to haul it in.  Clean catch…BALL #1.

That was it for the Brewers BP…weak.

The Cardinals began to wander out to left field for their warmup.  I
spotted Cards reliever CHRIS PEREZ standing down the left field line.

chris perez.jpg

When he finished throwing, I yelled down, asking him for the ball. 
When he looked up and saw the Cardinals hat, he gave me a nod of
approval and tossed up BALL #2.  A fan standing directly to my left
then asked for a ball.  Perez looked up, noticed he had on all Brewers
clothes and shook his head (while signaling thumbs down).  Funny
stuff.  Gotta do what you gotta do.

The Perez tossup…

5_26_09 Cardinals vs Brewers @ Miller Park 011.jpg…with “PRACTICE” stamped on the side instead of the sweetspot.

I had heard from fans that attended the Memorial Day game that
Pujols and Ludwick were putting on a home run derby Monday afternoon. 
So, when those two came up in the same group Tuesday, I was camped out
in deep left-center.
Do you think they hit anything?  Of course not.  BP ended without further incident.

When the game began, I had two very special guests with me…

5_26_09 Cardinals vs Brewers @ Miller Park 003.jpg

…my Uncle Gary
and Aunt Sandy.

They took the drive down from Northeast Wisconsin and sat
with me.  I’ve always been close to those two.  It was awesome to have
them at the game with me. 

Gary has been a lifelong Cardinals fan.  Born and raised in
Wisconsin, Gary was in his adolescent years when the hometown team, the
Milwaukee Braves, left town.  Like many kids during this time, their
allegiances went elsewhere.  Can’t blame them for that.

 

Since the game was to be nationally televised on ESPN, I accurately
predicted the Brewers would lay a stinker.  Why do the Brewers always
play like crap on national TV??  The nation must think we’re the worst
team in baseball.  That is, if they don’t read the box scores or check
the standings.

In the top of the 4th inning, with 0 on and 0 out, Cardinals CF
COLBY RASMUS launched a deep shot to center off Jeff Suppan.  The ball
left the yard, striking the ivy-covered hitter’s eye.  The ball then
caromed back onto the field, coming to a rest in centerfield.  Brewers
RF Corey Hart picked up the ball and turned toward me.  We made eye
contact, I held up my glove and he lobbed the game home run ball right
to me for BALL #3 on the day.

GAME HOME RUN BALL #50 of my career was in the books.  It wasn’t a
flashy way to snag #50 but I’ll take it.  I’ve never had second
thoughts about counting home run ball tossups. 
If you are the 1st fan to obtain possession of it, why should it not count toward career totals?

A closer look at Career HR Ball #50…

5_26_09 Cardinals vs Brewers @ Miller Park 010.jpg

…you can see the green stain over “Selig” where the ball struck the ivy.

I
was thrilled to get a game home run ball from one of baseball’s future
stars.  But at the same time, I was bummed it put the Brewers down even
further.

The Cardinals continued to spank the Brewers until both teams had had enough. 
Cardinals 8 Brewers 1
Boohoo.

As he walked off the field, Home Plate Umpire Paul Nauert gave a
game ball from his pouch to everyone who was standing near the ump
exit…except me.

Oh well.  He must be a Chris Coghlan fan.

Finals…

5_26_09 Cardinals vs Brewers @ Miller Park 009.jpg

…including the Rasmus game home run ball.

 

2009 BALLHAWKING STATS

  • total balls 5/26/09

 

2 batted balls (1 caught on fly)
(1 game home run-COLBY RASMUS)

1 toss-up ball




ATTENDANCE:  37,404

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
5/22/09 = 3   baseballs
5/23/09 = 2   baseballs
5/26/09 = 3   baseballs
___________________

153 baseballs (22 games)
6.95 average per game

5/19/09 @ U.S. Cellular Field

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 passed through the tunnel, I was pleased to see this…
5_19_09 Twins vs White Sox @ U.S. Cellular Field 001.jpg…my little dog stand was still going strong.

After I ate my pre-game meal consisting of a Polish sausage and fries, I walked back to the stadium for a little sightseeing.

My view walking back toward the Cell…
5_19_09 Twins vs White Sox @ U.S. Cellular Field 002.jpg…just like I remembered it.

As I got closer…
5_19_09 Twins vs White Sox @ U.S. Cellular Field 005.jpg…that’s the home plate main entrance.

I continued walking a bit further.  Just moseying around-wasting time.  I was walking around to the right field corner when I heard a voice.
“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…
5_19_09 Twins vs White Sox @ U.S. Cellular Field 008.jpg…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.

When I ran into the left field bleachers, I spotted this…
5_19_09 Twins vs White Sox @ U.S. Cellular Field 009.jpg…what a lovely little easter egg.  BALL #1!  Yeahbaby.

kevin slowey.jpg
Twins pitcher KEVIN SLOWEY was shagging balls in left field.  When he
fielded a ball, I asked for it.  He turned and lobbed me BALL #2.

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.

Here’s Adam and I…
5_19_09 Twins vs White Sox @ U.S. Cellular Field 011.jpg…by the White Sox bullpen.

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.

Thumbnail image for joe nathan.jpg
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.

Both the Yankees and Twins commemorative baseballs…
5_19_09 Twins vs White Sox @ U.S. Cellular Field 018.jpg…both firsts for me.  The Yankees commemorative ball was gorgeous.  The Twins commemorative was a bit stained.

BP concluded.

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.

Here was my view of the game…
5_19_09 Twins vs White Sox @ U.S. Cellular Field 012.jpg…in Section 103/Row 1.

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.

Finals…
5_19_09 Twins vs White Sox @ U.S. Cellular Field 017.jpg 

2009 BALLHAWKING STATS

  • 8 total balls 5/19/09

4 batted balls (1 caught on fly)

3 toss-up balls

1 device

ATTENDANCE:  26,696

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