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! 

1 comment:

  1. Hi Aaron, if I were to show up early, can I get near the dugout to get autographs with any ticket?