Sunday, May 25, 2014

Diamondbacks @ Mets 5/24/14 at Citi Field

After going on Tuesday to see the Mets play the Dodgers, I was back at Citi Field again on Saturday to see the Mets play the Diamondbacks. I went with my friend, and we got to Citi Field at about 1:45 for the 4:10 game. There was a giveaway of a David Wright canvas print, and I wanted to make sure to show up early to try and get it.

I had gotten tickets at a good price for the section behind the visitors dugout. Once the gates opened at 2:10, I was given the canvas print and went directly down to the visitors dugout. Within two minutes of getting behind the dugout, someone in a Diamondbacks hat, I don't know who, started walking toward the dugout holding a ball in his hand. I asked if he could toss it up to me, and he responded by taking two steps into the dugout and tossing the ball to me. The ball was brand new as if it was fresh out of the box. The only mark on it was a small blue patch from where the ball hit the dugout roof when the person threw it to me. I wish I knew who grew it to me or took a picture of him, but I honestly don't have a clue. After the Mets finished batting practice, the Diamondbacks elected to take infield practice instead of batting practice. The photo on the right was my view for most of that practice.

After getting the ball from the Diamondbacks coach, I watched Brandon McCarthy have a catch with one of the Diamondbacks bullpen catchers down the line. After he finished playing catch, he signed for a few fans near the tarp down the line. When he got to the dugout, I asked if he could sign for me. He said sure, and I tossed him the ball I had just gotten. He quickly signed it and tossed it back to me. I figured I'd get the ball from the Diamondbacks coach signed by the Diamondbacks. His signature is on the right.

After McCarthy, I just missed Henry Blanco and a couple other Diamondbacks who I couldn't recognize. One of the other people to stop was utility player Cliff Pennington. He stood on the dugout steps and signed for me and about five other people before going to the clubhouse to get ready for the game.

Closer to game time, I noticed someone signing on the other end of the dugout. When I ran over there, I saw it was one of the best hitters in baseball, Paul Goldschmidt. He signed for some of the Diamondbacks fans that were in the Delta club near home plate, and he also stopped at the dugout to sign for a few people there. He signed my ball with someone else's pen. Someone tossed him one of the David Wright canvas prints to sign, and he said, "What do you want me to do with this? It's David Wright." When the person said he didn't have anything else, Goldschmidt signed it on the bottom corner and tossed it back to the guy. I got a short video of him signing, which you can see below. Goldschmidt and Pennington signed the same ball McCarthy signed earlier. Goldschmidt's signature is on the bottom of the photo on the right.

That was all the action I saw until the 5th inning. Since it was raining for most of the game, I was wearing my rain coat. With my glove on my left hand, I held my umbrella in my right for most of the game while the rain was coming down. Many people fled for cover, but my friend and I waited out the storm. There were no delays or stoppages in the game. After the fifth inning ended, the Pepsi Party Patrol started throwing and shooting t-shirts into the crowd with Mr. Met. I had run down the aisle to try and get a third out ball, but didn't get one. Once the t-shirts were being thrown into the crowd, I stayed and watched. As one the people with the t-shirt gun was launching them into the upper deck, and one of the girls was handing the shirts to him to shoot. Out of nowhere, the girl reached into the bag and threw one into the crowd as hard as she could. I held up my wide open glove, and to my surprise, I caught the shirt. There were people standing behind me who flinched as it came, but I snagged it perfectly in my glove and held it up. After walking back to my seat, I took the photo on the left. As you may notice, the shirt is tied up with a balloon, not rubber bands as I originally thought. That was the first time I had caught a t-shirt at a Mets game. When I got home, I took the photos of the shirt that you can see below. I'm not a big fan of the design, but a free shirt is better than no shirt.

Shortly after that, the game got interesting as the Mets tried and failed to get back into the game. Here are a few action shots I took of Eric Young Jr. on the base paths. He dove back on a pickoff throw on the photo on the left. Then he took off and stole second as you can see on the photo on the right.

As per usual, the Mets left many runners in scoring position, and ended up falling to the Diamondbacks 3-2 on a rainy day from Citi Field. You may remember I got a ball on Tuesday from umpire Larry Vanover. HERE is a video of that snag that I took. I figured I'd try and get another ball, this time from umpire Jim Reynolds. Take a look at what happened next, from the other side of the tunnel this time.

Yeah, I got another ball from the umpire. Reynolds gave away a bunch of baseballs, and actually gave a few to the people standing next to me, the Cooks. I said hi and made a quick introduction with them, but I had a train to catch, so I left soon after that, grabbing a canvas print someone had left on the floor on my way out. Here are the two balls I snagged at the game. I got one of them signed as I mentioned earlier. The ball from Jim Reynolds is on the right.
Sweet Spots
The baseballs I snagged

That's all I have from Citi Field. I hope to be back again soon. I should have another entry about some cool autographs I have gotten in the mail recently up soon. Thanks for reading. Follow me on twitter if you want to HERE.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Dodgers @ Mets 5/20/14 at Citi Field

It's good to be home. It was time for my first game of the year. I went to Citi Field on Tuesday night for the Mets game against the Dodgers. After purchasing a ticket on StubHub the day of the game, I was off to Flushing.

I arrived right on time for the gates to open, and saw Zack Hample waiting patiently for the gates to open as well. He was about 15 people ahead of me in line, and when the stadium opened, he went to left field as I went to my usual spot down the third base line. 

Within 10 minutes of going to my spot, a few balls got hit toward one of the Mets coaches that was hitting fungos back to the bucket. He tossed one to a gloveless fan near me. So, when the next ball was hit over to him, I asked if he could toss it up. He looked at me, and threw a perfect strike right to my glove. I thanked him, and he went back to fielding the balls and I went to a different spot down the line. I later found out that it was Tom Goodwin, the Mets first base coach. I took the photo of him on the right after he threw me the ball. 

One of the highlights of batting practice was watching Yasiel Puig hit. He was hitting bombs into the second deck in left field seemingly on every other pitch. He easily hit at least five up there, and the two or three people up there got many chances to catch some home runs. I moved down toward the dugout near the tarp to try and get some autographs. 

Many people signed, but I was in an unlucky spot. Puig, Clayton Kershaw, Scott Van Slyke, and Don Mattingly all signed for people at the dugout, which I wan't able to get to. Carl Crawford and Dee Gordon signed for people about 10 feet to my left. When getting autographs, 10 feet might as well be 10 miles because I was stuck in a mob of people and I couldn't move an inch. 

Both Crawford and Gordon were signing in the five minutes right before the national anthem. At about 7:05, after the anthem was played, Matt Kemp finished warming up in left field and walked over to the mob of people wanting his autograph. He signed for about three minutes, signing for as many people as he could. I walked over to where he was, and got my hand in with the mob of people within arm's reach of Kemp. He took my baseball and signed it on the sweet spot quickly before handing it back to me. I took two photos of him signing, then he ran back as the Mets took the field to start the game. You can see the ball he signed at the bottom of this entry. I am happy to say I emerged from the mob with all of my limbs intact.

That was all for before the game. The game itself was an interesting one. The nine inning game took over four hours. It was one of the longest, if not the longest nine inning game in Mets history. The Mets lost 9-4, and there were a lot of runs, pitching changes, and runners left on base to go around. Here are some pictures I took of Yasiel Puig and Brian Wilson. I think they are pretty good pictures.

For the whole game, I was about five rows behind the ball boy on the third base side. I didn't end up getting a ball from him, but I saw him give balls to a bunch of different people, mostly kids. As the four hour marathon game was winding to a close, I went toward the dugout where the umpires walk down the tunnel. I had gotten a few balls there like THIS game last year. At about 11:20 p.m. the game ended and home plate Larry Vanover walked toward the tunnel with the rest of his crew. See what happened next below.

Yeah, he gave me a ball. Good thing I was on the left side of the tunnel farther way from the dugout. That ball justified me staying for the entire game. I had considered leaving, but figured I would stick it out and see if I could get a ball after. After I got the ball, I ran as fast as I could to catch the LIRR back to Long Island, and made it home shortly after midnight.

Here are the two baseballs I got at the game. The Larry Vanover ball is the one on the right, and it is rubbed up with mud, ready for game use. If the last pitch of the game was a foul ball, he probably would have given the ball I got to the pitcher.

Here is the Matt Kemp signed ball. Not the greatest signature ever, but better than others that I have gotten throughout they years. This is all I have for now. I may be back at Citi Field again soon. Good luck graphing!