April 26, 2011 7:05pm start time
New Yankee Stadium
Chicago White Sox vs. New York Yankees
Alright, haven’t wrote a blog in a reeeeeeeeally long time and the only reason i am for this game is because of the incident that occurred this evening. Let’s get right to it shall we?
Tonight i was going to the game with my buddy Sean whom i hadn’t seen in a while so it was really nice for him to tag along so we could catch up with each other and watch the ball game like gentleman. We left from Farmingdale, Long Island around 3:40pm. So if all went well with traffic and parking we would get to the Stadium around 4:45ish, just in time for the gates to open at 5pm.
Sure enough it was smooth sailing until we were about 2 miles away from the BQE when we hit a ton of traffic while on the Grand Central Parkway. So we’re sitting in traffic for about 20 minutes and we’re chatting about some sweet movies ideas that we were coming up with. With our two fantastic minds, i’m thinking Hollywood in a couple years if we put the petal to the metal with the gold we were thinking of. Anyway, it turns out all the traffic was because of a fender bender -_-
So we cross over the Triboro Bridge (i refuse to call it the RFK bridge, makes no sense) and we find quick parking on the Grand Concourse. So we grab all of our stuff and made our way the Stadium but before we went in we stopped to grab some burgers at the BK Lounge.
We get inside and make a beeline for right field and i knew just from a couple of the usual suspects that today wouldn’t be a cakewalk for catching hr’s on the fly. No matter, last time Sean and I went to a game together, we racked up 8 balls between the 2 of us so i was pretty confident that we could get a solid amount tonight. Well, considering that i was in a tough spot in the rf seats i had a couple of shots at some hr’s but i was just out of position. I did however end up catching a (Eric Chavez or Tex) homerun on the fly before the Yanks stopped hitting so i got ended Yanks bp with 1 lousy ball. Sean= 0.
So when the White Sox came up we headed over to Right Field and found little luck over there as well. I did however wound up catching another hr on the fly and towards the end of bp i caught my first career ground rule double to round out my bp night.
Tony= 3 Sean= 0 damn kid still hadn’t caught anything but should of had one if it didn’t POP OUT OF HIS GLOVE…. (foreshadowing). No matter, i told his “listen since you didn’t make any plays during bp, you just gotta catch a homerun during the game now”. And judging from what i saw the night before as far as seat emptiness, it shouldn’t be too difficult to move around if a ball were hit in our general area.
During bp i met up with fellow NY ballhawk, Ben Weil. We chatted for a couple of minutes during bp discussing some tips and tricks and some missed opportunity’s that we had today. More with Ben a little later, let’s fast forward alllllll the way to the 8th inning when things got just a bit interesting.
We had prime time seats for our section and the place was empty, it was fantastic. There were empty seats all over the place, entire rows open with plenty of room to run through. Paradise. Benny had just stopped by us after sitting about 2 sections over towards the left field foul pole hoping for a hr ball in that direction but the night was dead. 2 homeruns WERE hit so far but to rightfield so no bueno for us stuck in lf. We joked around as he went by saying that he had that side of the section and that i had this section covered. So as we were all spread out we waited patiently for any type of action in our area.
Rafael Soriano comes into pitch in the 8th inning and right off the bat i had a bad feeling about it. I’ve been saying this all year that this guy just worries me. I’m thinking to myself “if anyone is going to hit a hr this game, now is the time. Let’s see if my intuition was right.
before Paul Konerko stepped up to the plate, i had took out one of my balls from bp and placed it in the cupholder in front of me. I explained to Sean that if we were to catch a homerun ball hit by the Sox, we would pocket the real hr ball and than chuck the bp ball onto the field so everyone would be happy if that were to happen…and whatyda know… it happened…. well sort of
Konerko sends a 1-1 fastball into the sky towards left field. At first i didn’t think it was going to have the distance but as soon as i got up out of my seat, i KNEW it was going out. I shifted out of my seat, went down one row below me and scooted over to the left. I realized that i ran a little bit too far to the left and i saw that the ball was beginning to descend. I shuffled about 5 feet to my right and i was in perfect position. Now i’m looking up into the sky and watching the ball come down and for the first time ever i thought to myself “I’m finally going to catch a game homerun ball!”. I played it perfectly, had a clear view, and there was no interference from other fans… or so i thought.
Right as the ball was about to land square in my glove, i felt something…. it was another glove. And it wasn’t just any glove… it was Sean’s glove. He stayed in the row that i was originally in and simply moved over to his left and he positioned himself right under the ball. And then… it happened.
I leaped up for the grab and I felt something hit my glove, had no idea if it was the ball or Sean’s glove but whatever it was did not stay put. My hat flew off my head as I landed on my feet and saw the ball in midair right in front of me! It lands in the row below me and in between the seat directly in front of me. I was in a panic to get the ball and as i went to grab it, some clown who just sat in his seats about 2 innings ago grabbed it. He walks over to his haggard girlfriend and everyone starts yelling “THROW IT BACK!”. So like the idiot that he is… he throws it back.
So that was it… the homerun was hit, the catch was muffed, the Yankees lost the lead, and eventually lost the game… terrible. They did put up a good fight in the 9th inning but fell a little short due to two incredible catches from Brent Lillibridge. So we packed up our stuff and headed towards the Stadium.
We did however take a picture of where the ball had landed and stuck a pose to show our disappointment. It was a bittersweet moment because Sean felt awful that he got in the way since he knew how bad i wanted to catch a gamer but until we looked at the replay, we didn’t know how close one of us really were.
Now after the homerun was hit and the commotion subsided, I did get a chance to formally introduce myself to Benny and his buddy Rudy and we talked for almost an entire inning. We went over the homerun and what happened, what went wrong, how close i’ve been before in the past to catching a game hr (which is starting to become a fairly large number). It was nice to sit down and talk baseball with someone who enjoyed the game and loved catching baseballs. I’d call him a stranger but i knew who he was due to the site that all ballhawks use today, http://www.mygameballs.com/home, so i knew who he was just from checking out his profile and the games he’s been to. It’s always cool to meet people from the site because not only do we all share the passion of catching baseballs at games but our common passion for going to games.
We all walked out of the Stadium together and chatted until we got to our cars and went our seperate ways. Again, it was really cool to meet Benny talk about some of the games we’ve been to and how we basically stared collecting around the same time.
Sean and I got to my car (thankfully it was still there in one piece) and made our way back to long island. We did watch a replay of the hr on my phone but it was difficult to see what exactly happened so we had to wait until we got home and watched on tv or the computer. We made the most of the ride home talking about our future endeavors and like i said earlier becoming “Hollywood bound” in a few years if we really go through with all of this.
I dropped Sean off at his car, said our goodbyes, and i made my way back home. Despite what happened tonight, i still had an awesome time. I hung out with an old friend, met a new one, and spent my evening at new Yankee Stadium… thats’s good enough in my books. Catching a homerun ball during a game would be amazing and i know one day it WILL happen to me but tonight it just wasn’t meant to be. It’s not the end of the world, it’s not the last game i would ever attend, and it ‘s not the last homerun i would ever see. No big deal and like i said i had a great night.
When i got home i did watch the replay on the White Sox official site and what i saw actually made me a little but more depressed. From what i could tell from the video, the ball actually lands in Sean’s glove and POPS OUT! ugghhhhh, thats a killer. I mean even if i didn’t catch the ball and Sean did i still would of been fired up and excited for him. At least if one of us would of caught it, it would of made it alright but the fact that he had it, popped out, and some random dude picked it up got me kinda down.
I watched the Yesnetwork replay of the homerun and they had a couple of different angles but each one showed the same end result….
I know the picture quality is garbage bit it clearly shows the unfortunate fail from the both of us. Sean has about 8 inches on me in height so that certainly played a huge factor in me not getting the ball but the fact that he had it makes me mad. I would of been so happy that he caught a homerun ball because he and I always have fun during bp and it just would of been cool to see him come home with at least one ball. It almost looks like if he had reached out in front of my glove and went for the catch but it was tough to tell and even tougher to recall. just like he said after it had happened ” if i were to back off, you would of caught it and vice versa” but i told him that it’s a spur of the moment kind of thing. Once you see that ball coming towards you, it’s pretty much fair game, every man for himself. So by no means do i blame Sean for what he did, in fact i’m glad that he got up and made an effort to get it… it just sucks that neither one of us got it.
Oh well, another game, another loss, another homerun opportunity missed. Got plenty more games ahead of me this year and i know that one of them is bound to to give me something that i’ve bee wanting for a very long time now. It’ll happen, i know it will.
Keep ya head up Sean, you’re still my star pupil haha
Catch ya lata