Sunday, August 25, 2013

8/21/13 at Citi Field AND Yankee Stadium

This was one of the longest days of baseball that I have ever had. First, the Braves played the Mets at Citi Field. Then, the Blue Jays played the Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Two games in one day for my father and I, it would be something that we've never done before.

The day started off when we got to Citi Field about two hours before the game was going to start. We had gotten tickets in the exclusive Delta Club four rows behind home plate. After going in through the Hodges VIP gate, we went right toward where our seats were. Unfortunately, this was the scene when we got into the stadium. Not surprisingly, there was no batting practice, probably because it was a day game after a night game.

Since there was no BP, I went down the first base line near where the Mets pitchers would be warming up. Before any of the pitchers came out, bullpen coach Ricky Bones came out of the dugout. Someone asked him to come over and sign, and he walked right over to everyone and signed for everyone that wanted. I got him to sign the side panel of a brand new official MLB ball that I had bought earlier. I had planned on getting plenty of Mets to sign one ball, and that was a good start to the day.

While Bones was signing, many of the relievers were getting warmed up for the game. The first player to come over and sign was reliever and spot starter Carlos Torres. He signed my ball right under Bones' signature. He signed for everyone that wanted, then went into the dugout to finish getting ready for the game. I was able to take a video of him signing for a little while, you can see it HERE. Carlos was very personable and talkative, as there was not much else to do other than warm up and sign.

As Torres finished up signing near the dugout, recently called up Greg Burke started signing. I got him to sign the baseball everyone else was signing under the MLB logo. I also got to take a picture with him. He was signing for a long time. My dad was further down the line, and he took a few pictures also. HERE is a video of him signing that I took right in front of him. Burke later got sent down after giving up THIS home run to lose the game against the Braves.

While Burke was signing by me, David Aardsma was signing for the people further down the line. When he finished signing down there, he came towards me. I had Aardsma's rookie card from 2004, and he signed that for me. That card is on the right. I tried to get Aardsma to sign the ball that everyone else was signing, but he was only doing one per person.

I had brought my glove with me, like I bring to every baseball game. While many other pitchers were signing, Dillon Gee was having a catch with one of the Mets bullpen catchers. When he was done, I put on my glove and asked him to toss the ball up. He responded by lobbing the ball underhand in my direction. I reached up and made the easy one handed catch. I've now gotten a ball at every game I've been to at Citi Field this season. Gee came over to sign shortly after tossing me the ball. He was kind enough to sign the ball he threw to me, as well as the team ball I was getting signed by everyone. HERE is a video I took of him signing.

As Gee was making his way down the line, All Star Game starter Matt Harvey had just finished signing for people down the line and was walking right towards us. Everyone was calling for him to come over, and he obliged. I had brought the umpire ball I got on May 20 to get signed by someone on the sweet spot. I took the ball out, gave it to Harvey, and he signed it beautifully on the sweet spot. He signed for a few more minutes, and I was lucky enough to get some of it on tape.

If you would like to see Harvey's autograph or any of the other autographs I got throughout the day, you can see them at the bottom of this entry. Harvey's would be the last autograph I got down the line.

Following Harvey, many of the pitchers went back into the dugout and got ready for the game. I went behind home plate toward my seats. After I had put my drink down in a cup holder, my father told me that there was a player signing in the corner near the Mets dugout.

I quickly noticed that it was none other than the recently called up Travis d'Arnaud. I ruffled through my bag, grabbed my team ball, and ran over there as fast as I could. Once I got there, d'Arnaud was still there signing for people that came over and asked. He signed my ball, then I took a picture with him as he wasn't going anywhere. My dad also captured me talking to Travis, and you can see that image HERE. Before he left, I shook his hand and wished him luck. He ended up drawing a walk in his first MLB pinch hitting appearance later that day.

Mets manager Terry Collins was sitting near the dugout steps, less than 10 feet from where I was standing. We yelled out to Terry to come and sign. He responded that he was working, and eventually came out. He walked right over to us, signed five or six autographs and left. I was lucky enough to get him to sign my ball on the sweet spot. My father got the image you see on the left while Terry was signing for the small group that assembled.

The national anthem was played right after Terry finished signing. Just when I thought about leaving, third base coach Tim Teufel walked right over to us and started signing very quickly. Teufel was on the 1986 Mets that won the World Series. He signed my ball on one of the side panels. I got a picture with him, and also shook his hand. Thanks to my dad for taking the video that I took this screenshot off of. 

That would be everything I got for the Mets game. I returned to my seat, got shake shack delivered to my seat by a waiter, and had about a dozen waters to combat the 90 degree heat.

In the 9th inning of the game, the Mets loaded the bases for Juan Lagares with two outs. Instead of being a hero and getting a walk off hit, he grounded out, forcing extra innings. At that point, my dad and I left the game and headed to the Bronx for game two of our doubleheader. 

We got to Yankee Stadium and were in line about 20 minutes before the gates were set to open. After going into the stadium, I tried to get a ball from the Blue Jays along the third base side. I was unsuccessful at getting a ball, as about five baseballs were within a few feet of me. A cop who picked up a ball told me he was going to give it to a kid. Luck just wasn't on my side at Yankee Stadium. 

I went right next to the Blue Jays bullpen after batting practice ended to watch RA Dickey warm up for his start. Unfortunately, at Yankee Stadium, there are nets near the bullpen. I had to stick my camera through them to take this picture of Dickey and a coach walking toward the mound. When Dickey saw a ball he didn't like, he gave it to the coach. The coach tried to toss it up to me, but it hit off of the net and bounced back. When he tried again, he threw it over the net, as well as over my head into the lap of an unsuspecting fan. It was that kind of day. 

In the bottom of the first inning, Ichiro came up to bat with a career total of 3,999 hits. Those hits include all of his hits in the MLB, as well as his hits from the Japanese professional league. See my video of the moment below. 

I was sitting in my seat in left field when Alfonso Soriano came up in the eighth inning. The game was tied at two. Soriano hit a long drive in my direction. The ball landed about 15 feet to my right. It was bobbled by the people there, and came rolling toward me. I went through a row of seats, only to get beat out by a woman who kicked her beer over while picking the ball off the ground. You can see me in the blue circle in the screenshot I got off of THIS video. That two run homer gave the Yankees a 4-2 lead going into the ninth inning.

As he always does, Mariano Rivera came in to pitch the final frame. Surprisingly, he gave up a double to Rajai Davis. Before he threw a pitch to the next batter, he did something he has only done five other times in his career. He picked off a runner. Rivera turned around, and threw a bullet to Robinson Cano, who tagged out Davis at second base. It was at that moment that I questioned why Rivera is retiring. He closed out the Blue Jays for his 645th career save.

After the game, I went back over to the Blue Jays bullpen. I didn't get a ball, but I did get something. Check it out below.

The relievers had left the bullpen, and left the lineup card taped to the wall. There was a groundskeeper raking the mound. I asked him if he could get the lineup card and pass it to me. He walked over to the wall, ripped it off the wall, and passed it to me under the net. I took off the two pieces of tape that were attached to the lineup card when I got it.

Check out the lineup card right here, and click on it for a full size view.

Here are all of the autographs I got at the game.

Greg Burke
Dillon Gee
Ricky Bones
Carlos Torres
Tim Teufel

Terry Collins
Matt Harvey
Travis d'Arnaud

Dillon Gee. He threw me this ball.

Thanks for reading! Best of luck graphing! 

No comments:

Post a Comment