Saturday, June 13, 2015

Giants @ Mets 6/9/15 at Citi Field

For the first time in many months, I was able to get to a baseball game in time for batting practice. You probably know what happened in this game already, but I'm obligated to share my tale anyway.

I found a good ticket deal online for the Tuesday game between the Mets and Giants, and my friend an I decided to go and meet at the game. I got to Citi Field at about 4:40 and was first in line at the Jackie Robinson Rotunda when the gates were going to open. My friend arrived a few minutes later, and we were in a good spot when the gates opened.

Now, I didn't have a regular ticket stub for this game, nor did I have a print at home ticket. I had an e-ticket, which I accessed from Passbook on my iPhone. As I got to the gate, I showed the ticket taker my ticket and a small type of ticket-type paper was printed out of a machine and handed to me. It says on the paper that it's not a ticket, but it's used as a ticket because people figured out that e-tickets can be altered to show many possible seats. I'll call it a receipt. On the right is what I got when I entered the stadium. If you notice the time, it says 5:10:17 PM, which is just seconds after the gates opened.

After fumbling to put the receipt in my pocket and grab my glove, I raced toward the third base side of the field in foul territory. I was one of the first ones to get there while the Mets were still taking BP, and as I was grabbing something from my bag, I heard the crack of Anthony Recker's bat. He sent a line drive foul ball into the empty seats a section behind me. I raced up the stairs and saw the ball rolling down from row to row in the middle of the row of seats. After picking the right row, the ball rolled right into my waiting glove a moment before another guy stuck his hand out to try and make the snag. On the left is a photo I took of the ball from the approximate spot I snagged it.

The rest of batting practice was pretty boring. The Mets left the field soon after that and during the Giants portion, Joaquin Arias threw a ball toward me, but it sailed a couple feet over my glove. That was pretty much it. I was getting ready to head back toward my seats on the first base side when I noticed a person in a Giants uniform standing in the tunnel near the Giants dugout. The same tunnel where I got baseballs from umpires last season.

Once I walked over to the tunnel, I was told that it was former big leaguer Shawon Dunston. He played 17 years in the major leagues for six different teams. He was an All-Star twice and was a pretty good shortstop. He briefly played for the Mets and finished his playing career with the Giants in a 2002 World Series loss. I went over to him and asked him to sign a blank Giants history card I had on me, and he was happy to sign it. He works in the Giants front office, and he was letting fans try on his World Series ring from last year. I didn't get to try it. Here is a video I took of him signing autographs.

After taking that video, I went toward where my seat was on the first base side and met up with my friend. We wanted to meet Curtis Granderson once again. I met him a couple times last season, and I think my argument is justified when I say he is the nicest player in the league. He usually signs right after the national anthem, so I headed over toward the spot he usually signs from. After the national anthem, he high-fived all the pitchers going to the bullpen, then walked over and signed. My friend and I were at a good place in line and I'll let the video below describe everything else.

My friend Larry was very happy to see the video. As you can see, Granderson signed two cards for me then shook my hand. Nice guy. If you're keeping track, Grandreson has now signed six cards for me over the last year. I have no more cars for him to sign, so if I want to meet him again I may need to get something creative for him to sign. Here are the cards:

After that, we ate food and went back to our seats and watched the game. In the top of the first inning, Giants leadoff hitter Nori Aoki bounced an infield single to open the game against Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard. A that time, I said something to my friend that I wouldn't say again the rest of the night.

"Well, there goes the no-hitter," I told him jokingly.

Giants rookie Chris Heston was mowing down the Mets one after the other. On a team that includes Madison Bumgarner, Tim Hudson, and Tim Lincecum, Chris Heston was the last person I expected to do anything noteworthy. In fact, I'd never even heard of him before I looked up who the starting pitchers for the game were. If you're wondering, here is the view from my seat. It was down the right field line in foul territory.

In the fourth inning, the Giants loaded the bases with two outs and gave Heston a chance to help himself, which he did. 

So the game went on and as the game went on, the tension grew. The Giants were able to build a lead and in about the fifth inning, people started to figure out what could be going on. Heston was mowing down the Mets and would have been in position for a perfect game if not for a couple pitches that hit Mets batters in the fourth inning.

In about the sixth inning, I can honestly say I started rooting for Heston. I was at Shea Stadium in 2007 when John Maine had his no-hit bid broken up by a Paul Hoover infield single. I wanted to see history, even if it was at the expense of the Mets.

Throughout the game, I was wearing my glove like I always do. Right fielders Curtis Granderson and Justin Maxwell were always warming up in from of me, and I tried unsuccessfully for the first few innings to try and get a ball from them. However, once the Mets made a pitching change in the seventh inning, I got my opportunity.

Granderson was having a catch with bullpen catcher Dave Racaniello as the new relief pitcher warmed up. I went down to the front row to try and get Granderson's attention. When they were done playing catch, Granderson saw me in the crowd. He ran over and lobbed an underhanded toss in my direction. I reached my glove out and made the easy one handed catch without anybody else really knowing what's going on. Here's a photo I took of the ball with Granderson in the background.

After getting the ball from Granderson, the game only got more intense. People were rooting for the Mets to get a hit, and others were rooting for history. The Mets kept hitting weak ground outs and couldn't do anything. When Heston came to bat in the top of the ninth inning, he got a standing ovation. In the bottom of the ninth inning, most of everybody at Citi Field came to their feet.

Finally, it was time to do or die for Heston. With all the built up tension, Heston's first pitch in the bottom of the ninth inning nailed Anthony Recker, the third batter Heston hit on the night. The next batter, Danny Muno, struck out looking. Granderson followed Muno by striking out looking as well. That left Ruben Tejada as the last out between Heston and history. In the middle of that at bat, I took the photo below of the scoreboard. It is off-center and missing part of the board, but it captures the essence of what was happening.

Tejada worked the count to 2-2, and the videos below will show the moment when Chris Heston marked his name in baseball's history book. The video below is my view and call of the last out. 

Below is the call of both sets of radio and TV announcers.

Heston's no hitter was the fourth no-hitter for the Giants in as many seasons. They have now had no hitters in each of the last four seasons. The no-hitter was the 288th in Major League Baseball history. That amounts to about 1-2 per season. With 2,430 games played during the regular season, the odds of seeing a no-hitter are about 0.0008 percent. That is an 8 in 10,000 percent. Going to a no-hitter is on everyone's baseball bucket list, and I can now cross that off mine.

When I checked online for pictures the next day, I saw myself in the background. I'd like to call myself a freckle in the face of history. I circled myself in the photos below. Thank you, yellow shirt. You may need to click on them and zoom in to get a better shot of me.
USA Today

That is all for this entry. It will be hard to top this game. Thank you for reading!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Hey, does Wilmer sign much at Citi Field during warmups? I'm going August 2nd and bring a photo of him to get signed. Please let me know.

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