Round Rock-Triple-A- 20-18, 3 GB
Frisco- Double-A- 20-18, 2.5 GB
Myrtle Beach- High-A- 24-13, 0 GB
Hickory- Low-A- 19-17, 3 GB
Spokane- SS- 28-48, 9.0 GB
AZL Rangers- Rookie- 34-22, 0 GB
Not a bad season so far, eh?
Great day. I was dropped off at the Administrative Entrance at the corner of Hicks & Diamond Drive at Dr. Pepper Ballpark in Frisco, Texas. I walked in and told the sweet lady at the desk my name and she in return produced a media credential. I was told to sit in the lobby and wait for somebody to come get me. Ten or so minutes later, team photographer Grant Nelson was leading me towards the box. When we got up there, we were greeted by none other than the man who made this all possible: Alex Vispoli, the team’s radio broadcaster. He leads me into the main box and after introducing me to the guys, gives me a spot on an elevated platform that had a good view of the field.
Yes I did move over for the game. While I was waiting for the game to start, I took pictures of the Northwest Arkansas Naturals players and the Frisco players.
About twenty-five minutes before the game, the guys in the box went to get something to eat, leaving me and one other guy in the press box, Tepid Participation. (If you haven’t read his stuff, I highly recommend it. Here’s a link: http://tepidparticipation.com/) He invited to come watch Frisco starter Carlos Pimentel warm-up. I obliged and we took the elevator back to field level and walked to the Frisco bullpen. He told me Pimentel has great stuff, but has command issues.
His pitches were moving pretty well and he was hitting his spots very well. It was getting close to game time, so Tepid and I went back up to the box and talked for a few minutes while we waited. The team had the Masters on a TV in the box and we watched Andy Scott drive one onto the fairway. The national anthem was then upon us. Pimentel did well in the first inning allowing only 1 hit. J.C. Sulubran was starting for the Naturals and he allowed a walked, but no hits. Nothing happened until Roughriders’ outfielder Ryan Strausborger hit a 3-run home run in he bottom of the second. In the top of the third, Northwest Arkansas got a run back with a double by infielder Matt Fields. But Frisco struck again in the bottom half of the inning, with Alex Bucholz hitting a 3-run homer. In the bottom of the 4th Frisco infielder Brett Nichols hit a single to left field to drive in a run. In the bottom of the sixth, he hit a 2-run home run The bottom of the seventh inning was the first 1-2-3 inning of the game. Jake Brigham was in for Frisco for the final three innings and he was credited with the save after getting Northwest Arkansas outfielder Brett Eibner to fly-out to right field to end it. Frisco won by a score of 9-2. Pimentel got the win and Sulubran got the loss, with Brigham getting the save. Attendance for the game was9,259. Pimentel actually had his stuff working and was hitting his spots very well. After the game it was kids run the bases. Sadly I didn’t go do that.
I had a fantastic time and would again like to thank Alex Vispoli, Scott Arnold, Grant Nelson and all the guys in the box. Hopefully I’ll be back soon.
Toronto Blue Jays-Total team payroll: $115 million-Highest paid player: Jose Reyes, $17.7 million per year
St. Louis Cardinals-Total team payroll: $115 million-Highest paid player: Matt Holliday, $17 million per year
Chicago White Sox-Total team payroll: $117 million-Highest paid player: Jake Peavy, $17.3 million per year
Texas Rangers-Total team payroll: $120 million-Highest paid player: Adrian Beltre, $16 million per year
San Francisco Giants-Total team payroll: $137 million-Highest paid player: Matt Cain, $21.25 million per year
Detroit Tigers-Total team payroll: $150 million-Highest paid player: Prince Fielder: $23.8 million per year
Boston Red Sox-Total team payroll: $150 million-Highest paid player: John Lackey, $16.5 million per year
Los Angeles Angels-Total team payroll: $152 million-Highest paid player: Josh Hamilton, $25 million per year
Philadelphia Phillies-Total team payroll: $158 million-Highest paid player: Ryan Howard, $25 million per year
New York Yankees-Total team payroll: $210 million-Highest paid player: Alex Rodriguez, $27.5 million per year
Los Angeles Dodgers-Total team payroll: $213 million-Highest paid player: Zack Greinke, $24.5 million per year
1.What is ballhawking to you?
ZH:It’s a way to make baseball games much more fun and interactive. Also, it’s great exercise and beats going to the gym
2.How did you get into this?
ZH:I was about four years old when I first started watching baseball on TV, and I remember seeing balls fly into the crowd and how excited people would get when they caught ‘em. That’s what sparked my initial interest, although I didn’t snag my first ball until I was twelve.
3.Have you ever been injured as a result of ball hawking?
ZH:It hurts to even think about it. My worst injury occurred in 2011 at Citi Field when I sprained the absolute crap out of my ankle while running down some stairs during BP. I had to wear a boot and use crutches for three weeks after that. Three years earlier, I cracked a rib in Anaheim when I fell over a row of seats and landed on the corner of a metal armrest. Not fun. But hey, at least I got that ball.
4.Who is another ballhawk you respect the most?
ZH:There are a bunch, but I’m gonna go with a New Yorker named Artie Laurain, who’s now 70 years old. When I was first getting into it in the early 1990s, he was a regular at Yankee Stadium. He was kind and always encouraged me, and he was very talented as a ballhawk. He now has more than 4,000 baseballs including several dozen game home runs. He doesn’t have an email address, but we still keep in touch on the phone. I really miss seeing him at games. He still goes on weekends, but that’s my least favorite time to be at any stadium, so we don’t cross paths in person too often.
5.Are your stats world records?
ZH:I don’t have an *official* world record for “most baseballs snagged as a fan at major league games,” but yes, I’ve gotten more than anyone, which is hard to believe. I haven’t even been doing it that long — just a couple of decades, really.
6.When did you get your first ball?
ZH:During BP at Shea Stadium on June 20, 1990. It was thrown by a Mets player, and unfortunately I’ve forgotten who.
7.What is your favorite ballpark to snag at?
ZH:During games? Kauffman Stadium. For the whole package, I’ll take Camden Yards.
8.What is your least favorite ballpark to snag at?
ZH:Citi Field and Yankee Stadium. Given the fact that I live in New York City, isn’t that sad?
9.Who are the nicest players in the MLB?
ZH:Heath Bell is the best. Jeremy Guthrie is also amazing. They’ve both gotten to know me and have done me several favors over the years.
10.Where do you stand during BP and a game?
ZH:Pretty much in straight-away left or right field, sometimes shaded toward center. Then I pick whatever specific spot has (a) the most empty space and (b) a high probability of of a ball landing there. Without room to run, it’s really hard to catch baseballs.
11.When people ask you how they can catch a ball, what do you say to them?
ZH:Show up early for batting practice, bring a glove, and head toward the outfield. Beyond that, I tell people to read my blog and books, which provide tons of advice.
12.What is your streak up to?
ZH:I’ve snagged at least one ball at 872 consecutive games — a streak dating back to September 10, 1993. And yes, that does include BP, but c’mon, that’s still pretty solid.
13.Have you ever caught a significant ball?
ZH:The first really important ball that I caught was Barry Bonds’ 724th career home run in 2006. Two years later, I caught the last Mets home run at Shea Stadium. In 2011, I caught Mike Trout’s first major league homer — I gave it back to him without asking for anything in return — and in 2012, I caught Derek Jeter’s 3,262nd career hit. That was a homer in the bottom of the 9th inning at Yankee Stadium.
14.What would you say to all young kids out there wanting to snag a ball?
ZH:You’re the perfect age. Players would rather give baseballs to you than a big dummy like me, so get out there and take advantage.
15.How long do you plan on doing this?
ZH:Probably as long as I’m alive, although I’m sure there’ll be stretches when I won’t attend nearly as many games. I do have other interests, after all.
*All stats 2012
**Couldn’t find errors
***Just line-up-no bench or utility guys
SP-Yu Darvish,RHP,16-9,3.90 ERA
SP-Matt Harrison,LHP,18-11,3.29 ERA
SP-Derek Holland,LHP,12-7,4.67 ERA
SP-Alexi Ogando,RHP,2-0,3.27 ERA-Reliever
SP-Robbie Ross,LHP,6-0,2.22 ERA-Reliever
RP-Jason Frasor,RHP,1-1,4.12 ERA with Toronto-50 appearences
RP-Tanner Scheppers,RHP,1-1,4.45 ERA-39 appearences
RP-Yoshinori Tateyama,RHP,1-0,9.00 ERA-14 appearences
RP-Michael Kirkman,LHP,1-2,3.82 ERA-28 appearences
RP-Josh Lindblom,RHP,3-5,3.55 ERA with PHI-74 appearences
SU-Joakim Soria,RHP,Tommy John surgery,Missed season
CP-Joe Nathan,RHP,3-5,37 Saves,2.80 ERA Games-66 at P
C-A.J. Pierzynski,Bats:Left Throws:Right,BA:.278 HR:27 RBIs:77 Errors:6-Games-126 at C with CWS
C-Geovany Soto,Bats:Right Throws:Right,BA:.198 HR:11 RBIs:39 Errors:**-Games-99 at C with Cubs and Rangers
1B-Mitch Moreland,Bats:Left Throws:Left,BA:.275 HR:15 RBIs:50 Errors:3-Games-95 at 1B-6 in OF
2B-Ian Kinsler,Bats:Right Throws:Right,BA:.256 HR:19 RBIs:72 Errors:18-Games-144 at 2B-1 at 3B
SS-Elvis Andrus,Bats:Right Throws:Right,BA:.286 HR:3 RBIs:62 Errors:16-Games-153
3B-Adrian Beltre,Bats:Right Throws:Right,BA:.321 HR:36 RBIs:102 Errors:8-Games-129
CF-Craig Gentry,Bats:Right Throws:Right,BA:.304 HR:1 RBIs:26 Games-114 in CF-3 in RF-1 at P
LF-David Murphy,Bats:Left Throws:Left,BA:.304 HR:15 RBIs:61 Games-147 in OF
RF-Nelson Cruz,Bats:Right Throws:Right,BA:.260 HR:24 RBIs:90
I have news. I was permitted by the Frisco RoughRiders to cover their game on April 14th against the Northwest Arkansas Naturals from the press box with a media credential. Exciting stuff. Big thanks to Alex Vispoli and Scott Arnold.
Adam Greenberg signed a minor-league deal with the Baltimore Orioles. The deal does not include a invite to spring training. Greenberg was hit in the head on a pitch from Valerio de los Santos, the first pitch he ever saw in the bigs back in 2005. He finally got another MLB at-bat last year with the Miami Marlins against Mets’ pitcher R.A. Dickey, the eventual NL Cy Young Award winner, who struck him out on three knuckleballs. Good luck Adam. Blog later.
I recently purchased and read Wherever I Wind Up by R.A. Dickey. I have to say it was truly a really good book. I didn’t even know he pitched for my Rangers until I grabbed this book. In this amazing novel R.A. Dickey describes his troubled childhood. There was stuff in this book that I did not even believe but it was all true, like Mets’ starting pitcher Jon Niese kicking field goals during Spring Training in St. Port Lucie, Florida to him and his wife Anne losing their first child three months into her pregnanacy. I shed a few tears over this book it was that good. R.A. Dickey throws an incredible knuckleball that makes major league hitters look foolish and writes an incredible book. Now is it up there with Dirk Hayhurst? No. But it was a dang good book and I really encourage it. Here’s a link to the book on Amazon:
Today is September 13, 2012 and the MLB regular season is just about over. As of right now, 8:54 P.M. Central time the Texas Rangers are 85-57 and hold a 3.5 game lead on the Oakland A’s who hold the top spot in the wild card. Yes the A’s. Anyways the Rangers are poised to win their third consecutive division title. A lot of people are saying that the way the team is playing now,it ooks like we might finally win our first ever World Series title. The big money L.A. Angels are 8.0 games out of the division lead and 3.0 games out of a wild card spot. In the AL Central, it is looking like the White Sox will clinch that division. The AL East is still pretty tight, but the Orioles possess a 0.5 game lead on the New York Yankees. In the NL East, the Washington Nationals hold an 8.5 game lead over the second place Atlanta Braves, who own the nuber one wild card spot. Yes two teams that just straight up sucked last year(Orioles and Nats) have divison leads and look like they are heading to October. We will have to wait and see who can pull it out. Blog later.
This post is just about blogs I like to read:
Todd, Tim, and Kellan Cook: http://cookandsonbats.mlblogs.com/
Mateo Fischer’s: http://mateofischer.mlblogs.com/
Erik Jabs: http://countingbaseballs.mlblogs.com/
I know there is more, but I can’t think of them. If I remember, I’ll put it on here.