This year, I went to my first ever Home Run Derby and All-Star game. It
certainly was an adventure! I’d been to one other All-Star Sunday- 2001 in
Seattle- but I was 16 back then and didn’t know jack. But after being a part of
the All-Star festivities this year, I now want to go every year!
I arrived in Phoenix on Sunday around 11am. I went straight to the stadium, and
got myself some balls (4) and some autographs (Ozzie Smith and Bryce Harper).
Not a bad day, if you ask me. I did, unfortunately miss out on the ONLY reason I
went- Mike Piazza. No autograph from him (though he did sign) and no
acknowledgment whatsoever. I don’t blame him, as there was a massive crowd
surrounding him, it was just a disappointment.
Monday, brought a new day of craziness. First, I went to FanFest, and got to
meet and take a picture with Mandy Moore (Thank you Zack Hample, even if you
don’t know who she is)! Then, I went to the Home Run Derby, and despite having
hats for 22 different teams, and 12 different jerseys/t-shirts, I consider
myself lucky to have gotten a ball. I had to leap for a ball James Shields
tossed in my direction, even though I was decked out in Rays gear. For whatever
reason, ushers demanded you stay in your ticketed seat in batting practice. I
was trapped a few rows back from the front, and there were even fans who harassed me for trying
to move closer.
Now Tuesday, the All-Star game itself, was a whole different monster. Despite
the fact you were allowed to go wherever you wanted for BP, the place was
Game 4 of the 2009 World Series between the Yankees and Phillies in Philadelphia
was the most hostile game I’ve ever been to. The first game at Shea Stadium
after 9/11 is the most emotional game I’ve ever been to. The final game at old
Yankee stadium was the most sentimental game I’ve ever been to. Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS
between the Mets and Cardinals at Shea was the most intense, and ultimately disappointing game I’ve ever been
to. The 2009 one-game playoff between the Tigers and Twins at the Metrodome is
the loudest game I’ve ever been to.
This game, sadly, felt like, it was the fakest game I’ve ever been to. Fans were
excited to be there, but no one seemed to give a damn who won. The majority of people
appeared to be Diamondbacks fans, and they were loudly booing Prince Fielder when
he came up to bat. When he hit his 3-run homer, they were the same people
immediately cheering him. So to say the least, it was an experience.
Now, I had decided that for this game, since I got a ball in BP from Kevin
Correia (Thank you Kevin!!! Go Pirates!!!), that I would sit in my seat in
Section 204, and simply enjoy the game. Sure enough, when Adrian Beltre came to bat in the top of the second, he fouled a ball off in my direction. I was watching the flight of this ball, thinking, wow, that’s gonna be close to here…ohmygod, it’s coming right to me………WHERE’S MY GLOVE?!?!?!!?!
Well, much like a foul ball I had caught earlier this year, I was sitting 2 seats away from where the ball landed. In that situation, I was wearing my glove, and made an easy one-handed catch. This time, with no glove on, I really had no chance to reach out and attempt to catch it. Instead, the man sitting on the aisle, reached out, barehanded, and deflected the ball into the lap of a woman sitting in the seat directly behind me.
Talk about devastating.
For about the next 4 innings, I was just simply in a haze. I took a walk to try and snap out of it, but all I could think about was the foul ball I should’ve caught at the all-star game. I couldn’t believe that I cost myself the ball, all because I didn’t take my glove out. I didn’t even need to be wearing it, it just should have been available to me.
Well, fortunately I was sitting with some wonderful friends, Jesse, Ian and Ian’s dad Jeff, who made forget about it. It really was a great game, and enjoyable to watch with them. (It didn’t hurt that 6 rows back of us in a luxury box, were Ozzie Smith, Lou Brock, Ernie Banks and Larry Fitzgerald).
Now I needed to focus on my next task, and that was to get to the NL dugout as quickly as possible when the game ended. They had a 5-1 lead going into the 9th, so I felt it was a safe bet to predict they’d win. I made my way down to the field level, and got as close as possible before the final out. I of course ran into Zack as I got down there. We hung out for a minute, and once the final out was made, proceeded down to the dugout, since we each had an agenda.
At the dugout, players were tossing things into the crowd, such as batting gloves, hat, balls, and even a bat! I failed to get any of these things, despite my immense wardrobe with which I could please any team’s players.
All the players had now cleared the field, except Prince Fielder. He was the MVP, and therefore was being interviewed. He hit a 3-run homer in the 4th that gave the NL the lead for good. Zack had left at this point, and told me to come out to left field, where a bunch of us were meeting to take pictures together. Well, just as I was getting ready to leave, it occurred to me, that not only did I have a Brewers hat, but I also had a Brewers shirt. Better yet, a Prince Fielder shirt!!! So, once I put that on, I was not going to leave until he headed into the dugout. In fact, I put the shirt on backwards so he would see his name on my shirt. I had planted myself right at the entrance of the dugout, so I was assured that Prince would see me.
Well, his interviews went on for about 15 minutes, and between Zack, and Greg Barasch, I must’ve received 10 phone calls/texts to get out to left field. But I knew I was NOT leaving until Prince left the field.
Finally, after kissing his wife and kids, Prince headed for the dugout. Now, leading up to this, there were 3 things I noticed. A. I was the only Prince Fielder fan in the crowd. B. I was the only Milwaukee Brewers fan (by appearance) AT ALL, in the crowd. And C. Prince Fielder had batting gloves in his back pocket. (Look closely at his back pocket!)
As he approached the dugout, he IMMEDIATELY noticed me, and pointed at me and gave a head nod. I shouted his name back, but there were a lot of people shouting, so I didn’t know if he could hear me. Once he entered into the dugout however, and got as close as he was gonna be, I quickly yelled “Prince, can I have your batting gloves?” I wasn’t sure whether or not he heard me, but two seconds later, I notice a cameraman point at me. He then looked back into the dugout, and Prince reappeared and tossed his batting gloves right to me!!! His beautiful, #28, All-Star batting gloves. His batting gloves which he used to hit a 3-run homer and ultimately win MVP.
OH HOW SWEET IT IS!!!!
I finally ran out to left field, and as I arrived I couldn’t hold back my excitement. I immediately apologized saying “Sorry for making you wait guys, but I was busy getting PRINCE FIELDER’S BATTING GLOVES!!!!” Everyone was enamored by them, and what a great snag it was.
My trip was memorable, but those, will forever be unforgettable.
Well, anyone that knows me, and sees me on any sort of a regular basis, knows I have not been anywhere in sight lately, as I’ve spent most of my time out of New York. I spent the weekend of May 15th-18th in Chicago, for a friend’s birthday and a Cubs game, then flew to Kansas City, getting to the airport 21 minutes before my flight was scheduled to leave thanks to the CTA (Chicago Transit Authority). DO NOT trust Chicago Public Transit system. It SUCKS! Wrigley Field, is wonderful though. It was May 16th, the Cubs had a 4-0 lead going into the top of the 9th on this beautiful Saturday. Kevin Gregg comes in to blow it. 4 run lead in the 9th. He gave it away. He got some help from….wait for it….Aaron Heilman! SHOCKING! The Cubs are good though, so they did ultimately win in the Bottom of the 9th.
Then, I went to Kansas City, and just walked into Kauffman Stadium (my 2nd to last MLB stadium, though I don’t actually count this game), in the Bottom of the 8th in a game vs. the Orioles on Saturday night. 2 stadiums in one day or 5 hours. Impressive, eh? Beautiful stadium. They did $250 million worth of renovations this past offseason. What a great ballpark. And the city of Kansas City was very nice as well. They have a downtown called the power and light district. It’s apparently a new area designed in KC. VERY nice, lots of fun. I was impressed by how much I really enjoyed Kansas City. If it wasn’t in the middle of nowhere, I could live there.
Next day, Sunday, I was scheduled to fly home, after the Royals 1pm game. Got to the ballpark early for batting practice, around 10:40am. It was a lot of fun hanging out on the Pepsi Porch, that is in left field in Kansas City. I wandered around the park, trying to chase down a ball, quite unsuccessfully. Ultimately, at the end of BP, just as two Orioles pitchers were finishing warming up, I screamed to them to ask for the ball, and they tossed it to me. The seats I got for the game were pretty damn sick. 1st row on the field, just to the outfield side of the 3rd base dugout. Around 3:20pm, I get an email and a phone call from delta telling me my flight was canceled and the next available flight was 6:55am TUESDAY!!!! WTF!?!?! So I of course make some calls, FLIP OUT,pagination:widow-orphan;
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I’m on the phone screaming, telling the guy to tell me every
available flight out of Kansas City. He’s both confused by what I’m saying, and
refusing. He says I need a destination
and I basically start naming every city in America
that comes to my head where I know someone.
Los Angeles, Atlanta,
etc. No joke. I named like 15 different cities before I
just got so frustrated I hung up without saying anything more. Apparently there was not a single available
delta flight leaving Kansas City
before Tuesday. UGH!! Ultimately, I made the most of my
Monday. I took a tour of the ballpark
and drove to Nebraska, just to go
The following weekend was a trip upstate for Jared and Sonia’s
engagement party, which included a detour to Cleveland
for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Orlando Magic and the
Cleveland Cavaliers. For those who don’t
remember, this was the game in which LeBron hit a 3 to win the game at the buzzer. Cleveland
fans SUCK! Being surrounded by 20,000+
******** sucks. I hate Cleveland
fans. Browns fans I’ve always called the
worst fans in sports, but Cavs fans prove it is all Cleveland
fans. It must suck not having won
anything since 1964, and only appearing in 4 championship games since then.
The following weekend, May 29th, began my journey
to upstate New York, and California,
which was ultimately altered. It began
with a weekend in the poconos. Monday,
was a Coldplay concert at Darien Lake
(Buffalo area), and Tuesday, I flew
to San Diego. I was finally going to go to every single
Major League Baseball stadium. And on June 2nd, 2009, I completed
one of my first life’s goals.
is a gorgeous stadium. Very nice, yet
very simple. I really enjoyed it. I also attended the game on June 3rd,
with a whole group of people. Got a ball
in the 5th inning. The 3rd
out baseball, from LF Will Venable.
June 4th was a trip up to Los
Angeles for the Dodgers. Got a ball at this game from J.C. Romero
during batting practice. This also
happened to be Game 1 of the NBA Finals, between the Orlando Magic and the Los
Angeles Lakers. Now, I had planned my
trip to southern California in
April, and it never even crossed my mind that my favorite team, the Orlando
Magic, could be playing in the NBA Finals, and against the L.A. Lakers, giving
me the opportunity to go to a game! Unfortunately I could not obtain tickets to
Game 1, although the Magic lost by 25, so I guess it was for the better.
June 5th and 6th were spent in
Vegas. LOVE Vegas. June 7th was Game 2 of the NBA
Finals, and this game I went to. The
Magic lost, of course, because Courtney Lee missed a layup at the end of
regulation. June 9th was
another trip to Dodger Stadium, though I spent most of this game watching Game
3 of the NBA Finals on a tv in the stadium, surrounded by Lakers fans. The Magic won.
It was glorious. The only reason
I went to this game was because I got free tickets. And I did attend batting practice and got 2
balls. 1 from a random Dodgers coach and
1 from Padres closer Heath Bell , who I found, sitting on the left field wall
with the fans. He greeted me warmly with
a handshake, as I was wearing a Padres jersey.
He is one helluva great
athlete. Really loves and enjoys the
game. He hung out with the fans for a
good 15-20 minutes, until batting practice ended.
After some flight rearranging, I flew to Orlando
the next day, so I could go to game 4 of the Finals on June 11th. The Magic lost again in heartbreaking
fashion. I can’t go watch this team
play. 3 games, 3 heartbreaking
losses. UGH! June 12th, I made a trip to Tampa
Bay to see the Tampa Bay Rays play the Washington Nationals. It’s a nicer stadium than I first thought
when I made my only other trip to Tampa
last September. I really liked it. Got 2 balls at this game – 1 from Grant
Balfour, and a 3rd out ball, which basically fell in my lap and was
pure luck from Nationals catcher Josh Bard. I stopped at the hard rock casino
on the way home. Bad decision.
I returned to Tropicana Field the next day for a Ludacris
concert. VERY disappointing. He sang
everything, without cursing!!! It’s Ludacris, how is he not gonna
curse?!?!? He basically just said random
words without rhythm for 50 minutes.
This is the second piss poor ludacris concert I have seen now. The 2 worst concerts of my life, after the
first time I saw him was one of the best.
I will never ever pay to see him again.
I returned to upstate NY on Sunday, and went to Cleveland
on Monday, June 15th, for a
Cleveland Indians vs. Milwaukee Brewers game. It was Rick Vaughn bobblehead night!!!! I missed BP for the game unfortunately, as I
got to the stadium around 6:40pm. But I did get my Rick Vaughn bobble!!! For
those who don’t know, Rick “the wild thing” Vaughn is from the 1989 movie Major
League. One of the best movies ever, not
just baseball movies.
Well that is the quick summary of my past month, in the
sports world. I’ll be updating again
soon, maybe with an interesting story, maybe with something more in detail, who
knows what. I was just trying to get my
life caught up.
And for anyone that’s keeping track, basically me, I’ve been to 9 MLB stadiums so far this season: New York Mets (Citi Field), New York Yankees (Yankee Stadium), Boston Red Sox (Fenway Park), Chicago Cubs (Wrigley Field), Kansas City Royals (Kauffman Stadium), San Diego Padres (Petco Park), Los Angeles Dodgers (Dodger Stadium), Tampa Bay Rays (Tropicana Field), and Cleveland Indians (Progressive Field)