I was graciously given a ticket to this game by Rocco, and I had a blast. Went in at 4:30, and got my first ball within 1 minute of getting into the seats. It was an easter egg in section 145, right under the stacks. With me getting on the board so quick, I was thinking I could break my single game record and get my first 5 ball game. Sadly for me, the Reds forgot how to hit homers to right. Gomes and Heisey smoke ball after ball to left, but Bruce and Votto rarely reach the seats in BP anymore. More on Votto in a minute.
Right after the Reds started getting warmed up enough to hit some homers in left, the three regular ballhawks noticed some suspicious activity going on over there. There was a concession worker just hanging out in the concourse and each time a ball reached the seats, he’d run down and pocket it. Then he got a buddy involved, and they made out with about 15 balls combined. I don’t run over there for the eggs, but that just ain’t fair for the ones that do. Rocco tried to walk around home plate and get over there, but they wouldn’t let him. While he was gone, Votto blasted one right in the section he was standing in a couple minutes ago. I was watching his bag and I made the catch on the fly a couple seats away from the bag. Felt good to finally catch one like that again.
Not long after that, and after Rocco got back, Mike Leake made a catch in center field. Rocco, Jim, and myself were all calling for it, and he looked towards Rocco and started to throw it. Next thing we know, Jay Bruce comes over from right yelling at Leake and pointing up towards me and Rocco. I’m not sure what exactly was said, but I’m pretty sure Bruce told Leake not to throw it to us, which isn’t surprising since he told Rocco that he gets enough balls since he’s there every game. Way to motivate us to renew our season tickets, buddy. Castellini would be proud. And maybe you’d be better suited in Miami, where you can play in front of 42 fans each game. Anyway, Leake ended up tossing that ball to Jim, and we all thanked him for at least throwing the ball up to a Reds fan that didn’t have two baseball magnets on their chest.
Before the Indians came out, Rocco avoided the shutout by somehow finding his way to left field before 5:10 and getting an egg. Good for him. He came back and I heard a security guard yelling that he was going to call the police on someone unless he go up before him, but I didn’t think anything of it. There were balls to be snagged! Anyway, as you can probably guess it was Rocco causing the trouble. How dare a 50 year old military and police vet try to get a baseball and not let kids get a head start in a foot race. The audacity of that man.
The Tribe had a bunch of lefties up so I positioned myself accordingly- deep in right. I came really close on a lot of balls that I would have caught easy had I been 100% healthy, but my ankle was still bothering me. I did end up catching one bomb from someone, but sadly for me another fan caught it first and I caught his glove. It wasn’t a wasted effort though, because Travis Hafner crushed one right at me. I knew it was going over my head and I managed to climb over one row but it wasn’t enough. It ended up bouncing directly on top of the thin plexiglass above the tunnel and went 20 feet in the air, and came right down to me. That was the longest few seconds in my ballhawking career.
There were a few close calls, but it got crowded so I spent the rest of BP talking to a young fan. It was nice seeing someone so interested in baseball, and after we got done talking I gave him a ball. He was born in 2000, so all he’s known from the Reds are losing teams. He asked me all about the 1999 team, and Pokey Reese and Mike Cameron and Aaron Boone and Sean Casey. It was cool for me. Now for the game itself…
We started out in right field next to the bullpen, hoping for a ball from Justin Masterson or Tim Belcher. No dice, but I got some nice pictures. They’ll be on facebook shortly. For now, here’s one showing the view.
After that we moved to the third base side since the lineups were lefty-heavy. We ended up getting bounced 4 times from there, but the usher was cool and told us where empty seats were in his section. I came close on a foul ball hit by Asdrubal Cabrera right before his homer, but it was a little too far away. Two rows down, one section to my right, and about 4 or 5 seats in. Such is life. Here’s a shot of Scott Rolen coming to the plate from my vantage point
The stadium filled up fast, and after 3 or 4 innings we had to leave there. Everywhere was packed, so we settled in center field in the standing room section, under the power stacks. It was prime home run territory, but nothing came close at all. We left in the top of the ninth to head down to the Indians dugout. I have to post a few pictures, because honestly, I think they’re amazing. Here we go, then I’ll get back to what happened.
We start off with Chad Durbin
Then we got Brandon Phillips on his home run swing
And on the home run trot
And Joey Votto and Scott Rolen
So, now that that’s over with… After the game was over I tried to get a ball from the home plate umpire, but he only tossed one up. The third base umpire threw a handful of gum onto the dugout roof , but I didn’t get to grab any. I noticed a ball sitting on the ground by the camera, but the camera guys wouldn’t toss it up. They were just kicking it around. An EMT lady came out from my left, and when she got closer I was going to ask her for it, but Rocco was closer and beat me to the punch. No luck from the ballboys either. We stuck around for the fireworks, and I’ll get those pictures on facebook after I look through ’em. Some basic stats…
- Indians 8, Mike 3, Reds 2
- 25 balls on the season for a 1.92 average.
- 46 lifetime balls for a .67 average.
Now some news here… I’m still in the process of moving, that’s why this is so late and the stats aren’t too in depth. I’m tired all the time from moving and work and I haven’t updated much of anything online. I’m going to 4 more games at Great American, then next month I’m going to Florida for a week and half. It was supposed to be an all baseball trip, but my mom and grandma decided to tag along so my 6-8 game trip turned into a 2 game trip and a vacation. Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, and possibly Disney. Then to Miami for the Reds and the Marlins. If anyone’s been to Florida or lives there and has a recommendation for me, leave a comment.