Quick question: What’s better than free tickets to a ball game? Is it …
A) Going with your family
B) Getting a nice haul of balls
C) Seeing a team that doesn’t suck
or D) All of the above
Spoiler alert: It’s D, and at this game I had 2 of 3. Sadly, the Reds still suck. I got 4 free tickets from Meijer so my mom, grandma, and my cousin Rick came along. It was only his second game and he wanted the full experience so we both got there at about 3:15 and checked out the Hall of Fame since the early admission ticket gets you access to it. At about 4, I headed back out to get in line while he wandered around and met up with Jim, Rocco, and Jill. The ticket scanner was actually there early, so we got in at 4:25 instead of the usual 4:40 and saw the Reds pitchers taking BP. My next ball was going to be moderately special – my 50th lifetime. It’s not much compared to Zack, Jabs, Avi, or Ben, but still, it’s a nice little milestone for me.
I went in with a goal of 4 balls and to get a Todd Helton ball. Let’s just say I accomplished 50% of those goals, and I’ll leave it to you to think about that until it inevitably gets revealed before the end of this post. I was just walking in, no rush right? Well, as soon as we turned the corner down the steps, this one ballhawk starts sprinting towards the seats to look for eggs. Rocco and Jim followed suit but me? Screw that. My ankle hasn’t healed enough for me to sprint for a freakin’ egg. Anyways, I went into the first section and found my first ball one section over. It was bittersweet since it was number 50, but also kinda sucked since I was hoping I could glove trick it, or catch in on the fly, or even let my Rockies gear get me that first ball of the day, not that I’m complaining. I love easter egg hunts.
It’s a beauty, ain’t it? If that was #49 or #51, I woulda handed it to Rick. He’s 44 and has never gotten a ball. But number 50, along with the first one I caught from a player, my first homer I caught on the fly, and my Jonny Gomes warmup ball that Rocco got signed for me at Redsfest, is going in a cube and getting set out somewhere special.
While waiting for some action and talkin’ to Rick, Rocco, and Jim, I noticed something… peculiar about a cup holder. Now, those who check out the scoreboard on mygameballs.com and read the box score already know what this was. Here’s a hint: It’s red, white, and blue and has a book devoted to it. I wish I woulda taken a picture of it but instincts took over and I ran down to it. There was a man around 45-50 in the same row but on the other end of the aisle, so I walked over to him and asked if he set it there but maybe forgot about it and left. He said no, so there was my second ball of the day. As soon as I picked it up I took it up to Rick and hand delivered him his first official Major League Baseball.
After that Rick asked me how I managed to average around 2 balls a game. My answer was pretty simple and it’s what I always tell to the non-ballhawk world – Positioning. It’s all about being in the right place at the right time, and being in position helps that. No sooner as I said that and got in position for righties, Dave Sappelt hit a liner that I knew would bounce over unless Bill Bray caught it. Bray got under it and looked like he was gonna snatch it, but for some reason he let it drop. I wasn’t really expecting that so I let up in my chase and when it bounced, I had to make a lunge for it. Another ballhawk, (who is a jackass, he’s the stereotype that we all hate. Running over people, overly aggressive, all that), was also going for it. He was in the row below me, so I reached in front of him with both hand and glove and trapped it. Ball number 3 acquired.
I got beat out for a Joey Votto homer that went over section 145 and just below the Tundra sign between the power stacks by Rocco. I got a head start on it but he was closer to start with, so he ended up with it. Fred Lewis hit a blast that went into the middle of the stands, right next to a tunnel. I came close, but Jim beat me out and then out of nowhere the jackass ballhawk comes diving on top of Jim’s legs to get it. Jim’s lucky that his ligaments and tendons are in tact. Nothing else really came close for the Reds BP. I didn’t bother asking anyone for a ball. I figured I’d save it for when I’m in Miami and need some help getting a ball.
Not long after Rockies BP started up, Mark Ellis hit a smash that was just to my left and a couple rows down. It would have been an easy catch but the previously mentioned ballhawk’s wife, or girlfriend, or mom – I’m not sure – was in the way. Anyway, back to the ball. I was holding an open bottle of Mountain Dew when it got hit, and as soon as it was hit I went after it. As it was rattling around between the seats, I got my glove over it and spilling Dew everywhere.
After that I headed towards the bullpen since Seth Smith and Todd Helton were due up. Someone stopped me and congratulated me on the Ellis snag, but more importantly that the other guy didn’t get it. Seth Smith crushed one that was just out of my reach, and it tipped right off my glove. I tried to get the rebound but it ended up going back towards the field and a girl grabbed it. It should have been an easy catch, I’m still not sure why I didn’t catch it . Slow reaction I guess.
When BP ended me and Rocco headed to the Rockies’ bullpen. One of their coaches – we still can’t figure out who – saw us and shouted out to us how nice it was to see Rockies fans there. While we waited for a chance I took a picture of Jason Hammel warming up
And then one of coaches Jim Wright and Bob Apodaca
The unidentified coach ended up tossing Rocco a ball and when I asked Jim Wright for one, he just nodded at me. I stuck around until the game started, but he never gave me a second glance. We headed back around and decided to sit on the third base side since a section or two was totally empty. I was up in the concourse talking to my mom and everyone else while Rocco went down. The usher checked his ticket and told him it was fine if we sat there. Why can’t more ushers be like that? But as I was walking down and when he was talking to the usher, a foul ball off CarGo’s bat came right towards us. It landed in the second or third row here
The guy in the red on the left ended up with it. That got me ready for the rest of the game, and this was my view for it
Not long after I took that picture, Seth Smith stepped in the box. He sliced one my way and I knew I had a shot at it. I could tell about where it was going to land so I got up, spun around, and went back three rows. I bumped into Rocco and if I hadn’t done that I woulda caught it, but it ended up going a couple inches past my glove. And then…
The stadium thinned out after that. I went and got a calzone and ate with my mom, who took this picture
TULO! And then, after the tarp got pulled, we headed back down. Only to head back up 25 minutes later as the tarp went right back on. Around the 6th inning, I took this picture to show how much room I had
Too bad for me, nothing else came close. In the bottom of the ninth we headed to the visiting team’s dugout to try for anything we could get. Rocco got a ball from home plate umpire Fieldin Culbreth. I got pictures of Huston Street and a baseball that I couldn’t get anyone to toss to me.
- Rockies 10, Reds 7, Mike 4
- 32 balls on the season for a 2.00 average
- 53 lifetime balls for a .74 average
- 49 balls since 2009 for a 1.17 average
- 4 game streak of at least 1 ball
- 2 game streak of more than 1 ball
- 1 for 2 on OTF chances for a percentage of .500%
- 11 for 22 on the season in OTF chances, .500%
- 17 for 34 lifetime OTF chances, .500%
- 53 balls=Bobby Kielty and Franklin Gutierrez on the home run list
- .500 OTF%=Tris Speaker, Ryan Klesko, David Justice, Jeff Kent, and Ernie Banks on the SLG% list.