So, now that I was settled in Cincinnati, I was actually able to make it to the game early for batting batting practice. The Reds museum offers a ticket to what they call a “BP tour.” Basically, they charge you $15 so you can get into the stadium at 4:30pm for batting practice, as opposed to 5:15pm for season ticket holders, or 5:40pm for everyone else. Is it worth it, you ask? Well, let’s see…
The first day I did this, when we entered into the stadium, there was no one on the field. The cages were set up, but no one was taking batting practice. And it wasn’t until about 4:50pm that players started to come onto the field to begin batting practice. The Reds weren’t hitting many balls into the stands, but finally when Jay Bruce was hitting with the second group of hitters, he lifted one just over my head, which I ran up the stairs to retrieve from a seat. But that was it.
I ran to RF when the rest of the stadium opened at 5:40pm, and found a ball in foul territory in LF down the line. Then, I decided to hang out in the LF bleachers, where I caught a HR on the fly from an unidentified Mets player, who was hitting in the 3rd and final group. At the conclusion of batting practice, as I was walking up the stairs, an older man, who was at the game with his grandson pulled me aside and asked me if I’d sell him the ball I caught, and how much I wanted for him. I told him that I wouldn’t be able to sell it to him, but instead, I gave it to his grandson. He was overwhelmingly grateful and shook my hand twice, and really couldn’t thank me enough.
I always love to give away balls, especially when it means so much more to other people, and they truly appreciate the kind gesture.
For the game itself, I decided to splurge on a ticket. I spent $60, which is the most I’ve ever spent on a ticket to a regular season game. I’ve gone to a few Yankees vs. Red Sox games in Fenway, and spent $50, but that was years before the age of stubhub. Nowadays, I rarely even spend $20 on a ticket. This is how close I was:
In the picture above, you can see I’m sitting on the railing, directly above Jose Reyes. In the picture below, you can see that I’m directly behind the camera crew, on the 3B side of home plate.
Well, the purchase of this seat paid dividends! In the top of the 4th, Justin Turner fouled a ball back, and in was retrieved by Carlos Beltran in the on-deck circle. He then tossed it right to me!! That was it for balls from the game, but my day wasn’t done yet.
In the picture above, you can see Terry Collins sitting on the top step. Well, I had a post game request for him. When the game ended, with the Mets victorious, I waited to see him come out of the dugout to step onto the field to shake hands with everyone. When he emerged from the dugout I shouted his name, and he looked at me. I asked for the lineup card. He looked at me confused, and sorta shrugged his shoulders. When he returned to the dugout, I was unsure what the result was going to be, but about 7 seconds later, he sought me out, and this was the result: