Well Scott, who is a teacher, takes a trip every summer to see several baseball games at different ballparks across the country. He would tell me stories of snagging balls during batting practice. He made it sound like so much fun. In all of the games I had been to (over200 games) I had only caught two foul balls, and none in batting practice. So I went with him to a game at Dodger Stadium and I managed to win a scramble for a ball during batting practice. Latter we went down to San Diego and I caught my first batting practice home run (hit by Olmedo Saenz).
When the 2008 season arrived I was so excited to get back to batting practice, I went to a preseason game at Dodger Stadium March 28th. Scott and I went together and sat in the all you can eat pavilion. People get so excited about the free food that they don’t try to get baseballs right away. Within 5 minutes a Red Sox player threw a ball up into the stands. I was one of the only ones standing there so he threw it to me. A couple of weeks later I caught a ball on the warning track. The Dodgers opened up the warning track during batting practice during the 2008 season.
Two games - two balls, I thought I was doing pretty good. I started thinking that other people must be into this batting practice thing as well. So I googled “batting practice” and after following a few links I stumbled across Zack Hample’s website zackhample.com. Zack has amassed over 4000 balls in his lifetime including more than 500 in 2008. I suddenly started thinking that I wasn’t doing that great after all. So I started reading his website and his blog http://snaggingbaseballs.mlblogs.com/ trying to learn some things that would help me get more balls.
So that is basically the start of my batting practice obsession. Alina and Tommy have enjoyed it and I am enjoying watching them. I try to get them to stand in the front row, look cute and raise their gloves. Even Casey has got into the act, but no one has thrown Casey a ball yet. Here he is at Wrigley Field.
So after getting balls at Dodger Stadium, Wrigley Field, Turner Field, and Busch Stadium, Alina Tommy and I were going to make one last trip to Dodger Stadium. It was going to be on Labor Day. Scott informed me that Zack was going to be at that game. I hadn't seen that on Zack's blog yet. So we were able to see Zack in action. We didn't get any balls that game. It was the first batting practice that I took the kids to that none of us got any baseballs. But we did get our picture on Zack's blog http://snaggingbaseballs.mlblogs.com/archives/2008/09/9108_at_dodger_stadium.html (the forth picture on his post that day) and we got a picture with Zack after batting practice.
We later went to a game at Angel Stadium, which was detailed on my previous post.