Somehow, I knew this would be a good weekend when my dad and I walked into our hotel room and saw this:
We were in the hotel room (which was connected to the stadium) for about twenty minutes and then headed out for a tour of Rogers Centre. We had a very good tour guide who showed us this giant bat. It has all the names of the Jays who were part of the ’92/’93 World Series teams:
We also saw some turf and dirt from the older Skydome and the newer Rogers Centre (that I stood on. Ohhhh):
This was a (cheezy) panorama taken from those seats. It’s not great, but there are more panoramas later. Too bad these seats are exclusive. They’re foul ball heaven. I took a fancy-ish photo of the seats below:
From this section, I could see the workers:
The next stop on the tour was to the field level. Scroll up four pictures. See the area to the right of the dugout? That’s where we were when I got this photo:
I took this time to take some artsy-smartsy photos:
When we went up to the reporter’s room, I made another panorama:
…but I don’t feel like uploading them all. Let’s get to the game. First I’m going to let you see this:
While we waited, we chatted with the guy behind us in line. He seemed like a regular, and he seemed much like the guy we talked to on this game.
Oh and it was about 60 degrees. And I got a Diet Coke (which tastes great in cold weather for some reason).
And before I got into the stadium, I ran my plan a bunch of times- and I’ll say what happened right now so I get get some of the misery over with. Actions are in ( )
1. Search for balls in the seats in the lower deck. (Batting practice was underway, and the roof was open. No balls in the seats):
3. Stay in left field for the Blue Jays remaining 10 minutes of batting practice. (I should have stayed in the upper deck. Nothing was hit there except for some homers hit right next to the foul pole, but at least 90% of the toss-ups were up there. Seriously. The Blue Jays weren’t hitting to save their lives.) Here’s the seats getting crowded closer to the foul pole. I kind of had to stay in left-center. Less people, less competition. I was also the only person you could here calling the players. Nothing.
4. Go to right field/upper deck for Red Sox bp. WAIT! There was no Red Sox BP. The Jays took about 20 minutes more, too. Why was there no Red Sox BP? I have no idea. They had all of four hits the night before. Wow. Look- this is saddening:
(Love the pose of the guy looking up). This section was insanely crowded, but I felt lucky. I stayed a few rows back from the first row to make it look like I was one of the poor people who couldn’t get to the front. It didn’t pay off. The only real toss-up was 5 feet to my left, and there were some people in my way so I decided not to barrel them over. The other ball that went into the crowd was where I would have been standing if I was in the front row- a passed ball from Jonathan Papelbon. Arg.
A ball got by Papelpon later and rolled onto the warning track. I moved over to left-center (or centre here in Canada) and positioned myself right above it:
I stayed there for about 20 minutes. I knew there was no way I wasn’t going to get the ball. A grounds crew person ended up coming over and I asked him if there was any chance I could get that ball. There was a group of kids about a year or two older than my to my left, and the guy tossed it up between us. My glove and the kids touched, but he got the ball. Screw. This. Stadium (Those were the first words out of my mouth after I didn’t get it). I’m still (to put it nicely) ticked off about it today. (A week and a day after the game).
I ran over to the right field line where some Red Sox players where playing catch:
It was great to see Dustin Pedroia finally live. In the two other games I’ve seen the Red Sox in, I’ve never seen good ole’ Peedy. I ended up getting shot down by Big Papi David Ortiz and a ball from Nate Spears (sigh of relief on three everybody…1,2,3.) That was good. While I was down there, I completely botched the anthems. I forgot we were in Canada and so I put my hat back on after the American National Anthem. And because I love Canada so much, I have no idea why I forgot that O Canada was also to be sung. Anyways, here’s our actual seats:
And a nice spot to catch a foul ball. Was moving the right decision? Well, let me tell you- getting down to this section was a bit tricky. I sneaked passed an older, and stricter, security guard to get down to the seats I wanted. That older security guard was asking for people’s tickets. The section I wanted was guarded by a much younger guy who looked very loose. During the bottom of the third, I moved into the last row. After that half inning, I moved a couple more rows down to the seats i wanted. [in the picture]. I had room to run on both side of me.
Then it happened. Marco Scutaro was up in the top of the 5th and ripped a line drive down the third base side. The ball landed a row and about 8 seats to my right. Luckily, it wedged perfectly in the seat and I was able to grab onto it. Someone else also grabbed onto it, but I was clearly there first. All I said was “It’s mine. It’s mine. It’s mine. I had it first.” Then the guy (who looked about 30) let go and I could tell that he didn’t like being beat by a 13 year old. But he was cool with it too. YAY!!!!!
Claim to fame for me: I got featured on MyGameBalls.com for this. Please read it. I will love you forever (and if you’re reading this from MyGameBalls.com, I love you even more.
Here’s the ball. There’s a nice blue streak from when it hit the chair:
See the fan in the orange shirt? He was pretty much where the ball landed. That group of people sat down there two batters after the foul ball. (In case you’re wondering, I’ve snagged one other foul ball on my own- this game.)
And to make a sad story short, I didn’t get a ball from the home plate umpire. I did get a picture of Dustin Pedroia’s headshot, though:
I also scored this game. This was my first game scoring, and it had to go 11 and a half innings with NO SCORE!! Then finally in the bottom of the 11th, Brett Lawrie hit a walk-off homer to left-centre.
And on a side note, I am never seeing the Red Sox play again. It took my dad and I an hour and fifteen minutes just to get outside the city and onto the highway. Crazyness.
Goodbye ballhawking for 2011. I loved you. It was a great year, and I’ll see you in 2012.
Jon Madden: Ballhawk.
THERE WILL BE A GIANT STATS SECTION COMING IN ABOUT A WEEK.
This was a very sad day. It was my last Red Wings game of the 2011 season. It went by so fast. But that didn’t mean I couldn’t have a fun last game!!
I really didn’t know what to expect attendance-wise for this game. It was either going to be semi-empty or pretty full up. I was very happy, though when I went down to get ready for pre-game throwing (30 minutes before game time) when the stadium looked like this:
In case you hadn’t found it, the left-centre Jumo(ish)-Tron reads “Only 1 Home Games Left.” The Red Wings have been starting that countdown for a while, and that really proves that persons really need too got back two schools to brushes up on they’re grammar. Hehe.
While the players were throwing, some kids came down the steps behind me with gloves. They were obviously younger than me. Oh no… not this again. I’ve had too many instances this season where there are other kids trying to get balls when/where I am. This never happened to me before. BUT I did get a ball from Jeff Bailey. I hated to do this, but I had to. It was my 50th career ball (I’ve decided to get every 50th ball signed by the player who got the ball into my sweaty little hands)- the kids were talking about getting a ball from Bailey. It was kind of the only ball in use at that moment. So I had to say (while he was about done throwing) “Hey Jeff! Any chance that when you’re done I could have that ball?” He turned around, looked at the ball, and threw it to me. The one kid was like “Man! You are so lucky!” I told them “I do this all the time. All you have to do is ask them by their first name and say it loud enough so they can hear it” (Their voices were not nearly loud enough).
There was still a decent chunk of time left before the game was going to start, and there were some players still over in left field warming up. I decided that there was no I way that I was not going to get another ball during pre game warmups.
So I went down the steps and into the front. I had to squeeze by a smaller kid (7-8 years old) and I felt, again, a little bit guilty doing it- but it was my last game at Frontier Field for 2011. I was going all out. I had to ask his name at least 5 times (“Hey MATT!”) and on the 6th try (“Matt Antonelli!”) I got his attention. I asked him for the ball, and he kept looking back and forth. I seriously have no idea why. He was looking at me and the infield, but ended up giving the ball to me.
When I got that ball, there were STILL Red Wings players out. I went down to try to talk to Toby Gardenhire who was signing autographs. I asked him if there was any chance he could get me a ball. He said he didn’t know where to get one, and I was about to ask him about after the game if he could hook me up, but someone else stared talking to him. Ohh well. Thanks for the many balls you threw me this season.
As for the game, here were our seats:
Some people would say that these were good foul ball seats, but I beg to differ. I you draw a straight line from the right fielder through home plate and keep going, those sections are the right ones for a foul ball. Our seats were a little too low and a bit to much to the right, but not enough to the left. Basically, we were in a hole where foul balls don’t tend to land.
I ended up going to the Chief’s bullpen because I hadn’t been there for so long. I saw this:
…which I knew I had less of a chance to acquire, but still it was nice to know they were there. Why am I showing you ALL of these balls? Because I didn’t get any of them. I asked one of the players for one- well, I kind of did- here’s how the “conversation” went:
“Excuse me- is there any chance-”
Yeahhhh. That kind of ticked me off. I hate players like that. About an inning after that, I moved- but here’s the view from the bullpen:
So I went on a hunt for third out balls and foul balls. I stood here for righties (sometimes it was a little bit farther up):
(See what I meant about drawing a line from the right fielder to home to the seats?)
I came close to one, but I was slow getting started. My dad told me that I got to where it landed in a flash, though, so I still have no idea how I didn’t get it. OH WELL…
I went back to the bullpen. And when I left it, I got this:
I asked Jeff Frazier if there was any chance I could have one of the dirty balls (which were still there) he said “Sorry we can’t give ‘em out during the game.” Then some kids came around and started pestering him for one. He ended reaching into the bag and throwing them that squishy ball. The kid was like “Oh come on! Next time give me a hard ball!” Then I said, “I’ll take it if you don’t want it” and the kid gave it to me. Weird.
There was some rain that drove away a ton of people- but the paid attendance was 10,331 and I still had no luck with foul/third out balls. I also got a ball from the home plate umpire.
Good bye Frontier Field until next year. I LOVE YOU!!
PS- My final game of 2011 will be in Toronto on Monday- Boston vs Jays.
-Total balls at this game: 3
-Total lifetime balls (MLB and MiLB): 52
-Total 2011 balls (MLB and MiLB): 29
-Consecutive games with at least one ball (MiLB and MLB): 27/27
-Consecutive games with at least one ball (MiLB): 22/22
-Consecutive games with at least one ball (MLB): 5/5
-Consecutive games with at least two balls: 4/4
-Lifetime balls per game (MiLB): 1.88?
-Lifetime balls per game (MLB): 1.40
-Season balls per game (MiLB): 2.40?
-Season balls per game (MLB): 2.00
Here’s how I labeled my “ball”