Friday, October 31, 2008
My brother Scott and I went to the game. We like to get there early for batting practice, and for free parking. Usually if you get to Dodger Stadium early enough you can park on the street just outside the stadium parking lot. However the first difference I noticed for playoff baseball was that everyone arrived there early. By the time we got there the parking lots were opened already and it was more than two hours before game time. So we ended up parking inside the stadium parking lot.
It was about then that I realized that I did not bring the tickets. There was a moment of stress, but the people at the will call window were nice enough to print me new tickets. The Dodgers opened all levels of the stadium right away, but would not allow anyone into left field without a left field ticket. So we were relegated to the centerfield warning track area. Here was our view of the stadium when we entered.
It was nice that we had somewhere to go to try to get a ball, but the place was packed.
A few balls came close to my area, but it was hard to move around. Most people that hung around for a while were really nice. They were all dressed in Dodger Blue, and I had some pleasant conversations with several people while I was out there. There was only one guy that put a damper on things. Apparently I had bumped him while I was pursuing a ball in the area. He told me to take it easy. My thoughts were “Everyone here wants a ball, you have got to expect a some bumping when a ball comes nearby.” But although I told him I was sorry, I don’t think he forgave me, because the next time a ball came close to us I felt an elbow in my chest blocking me from moving to the ball. Sure enough it was the same guy. After the ball landed in the crowd I noticed that he didn’t have a glove, and he wasn’t even going after the ball. He just didn’t want me to get it. The guy is in the picture below. I won’t tell you who it is, but you might be able to figure it out on your own.
Near the end of BP I finally made my way up to the front row.
Unfortunately no balls came my way and I left batting practice empty handed. But that was okay; I really wanted to see the game. The Dodgers were up 2-0 on the Cubs and had a chance to close out the series. It was the first home game for the Dodgers, so it was cool to see all the hype before the game. They made introductions of all the players and brought out the huge American flag.
The game was great. The Dodgers scored two runs in the first inning, and Hiroki Kuroda shut down the Cubs for six plus innings. For some reason I decided to take score during the game. It might have been the first time I ever did that.
The stadium was packed.
Almost everyone I saw were Dodger fans. However, there was a lone Cub fan sitting in front of me. He tried to be obnoxious but it was hard to do since the Cubs only scored once.
Scott and I decided to watch from behind home plate as Jonathan Broxton finished out the game.
Then the celebration began. Someone from the top deck decided to throw beer around in celebration. A little bit got on to Scott and I. But the Dodgers made up for that by placing a picture of both Scott and me on the scoreboards! It was nice of them to commemorate our first playoff game that way.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
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.
Friday, October 17, 2008
To complete our Summer of Ballparks and batting practice I wanted to take Alina and Tommy to Angel Stadium. So September 26th I called to find out about tickets. The ticket office told me they only had scattered singles. The stadium was going to be the 4th, 5th and 6th stadium of the summer for Alina Tommy and me respectively. I felt it was worth the risk of driving down there and not being able to get tickets. I figured if we could just get in we would be able to find a place to sit together. So we headed down. When we got into the parking lot Alina and Tommy were immediately impressed with the big "A."
As we started looking for open ticket windows I was afraid that we would not find one open. However as we got to the front of the stadium we found one. The guy inside told me that we could get tickets for $3 and I said "I'll take 'em!" So with tickets in had we headed in for batting practice.
We found something to eat and watched the start of the game down near the left field foul pole. Here is a view from where we sat.
When we eventually got to our seats this was our view.
The Angels got killed in the game 12-1. We saw Lackey have his shortest outing of the season, and Josh Hamilton hit his 32nd and last home run of the season.
I found someone to take our picture before we left. This baseball season was really fun for me. Both Alina and Tommy had four balls thrown to them. They are both understanding the game more as well. This is the last park that we will visit together this year, but I look forward to many more seasons with my growing baseball fan family having a ball (or two or three) at the ballpark.
2 balls this game
22 balls in 13 batting practices this season (1.69 per game)
1 consecutive game with at least one ball