Ahhhhhh the first game of the season. The winter months are over, bring on the baseball. This is something I looked foward to for all of winter. We just wanted to be prepared and not worry, so we got 9 tickets. I wanted to be there early so I can be there right when the gates open, so we arrive there at about 10:10. Citi Field has changed in just a couple of months, and the area around it. People who don’t want to see what Shea used to look like (after a tornado), don’t look at the following photos.
Anyway, at the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, we see Zack Hample and some other people from his blog. The gates opened at about 10:50 and I ran inside to see the field.
It was cool seeing this ballpark for the first time, even with the tarp on. This was my 3rd game ballhawking so I wanted to see how well I could do. I saw two players warming up, one of them was Danny Benedetti. I learned from someone that he was one of the good players on the team that I should look for. He tossed one ball into the crowd, but then he oddly started throwing again. So I positioned myself near him, called out for a ball when he was done, and he gave it to me. My first ball of the year, and 2nd one thrown to a fan inside Citi Field, nice.
How did I know him? I used a cheet sheet, which I used later to get a ball from #15 Scott Ferrara. He threw it to me, about 6 feet over my head, and I had to scramble up a couple of rows to get it. It has a nice little gash.
And players are still throwing so I try to get some more, like Bruce Kern who gave me my 3rd ball. So far all the balls have been from St. Johns, where is Georgetown, why aren’t the soaking up all the Citi Rain? Still St. Johns players are throwing, so since Georgetown isn’t out, oh why not a fourth? I look at my sheet, see Matt Wessinger, and ask him for a ball, which he gives me. And he walks over and talks to people, so I figure why not get a college baseball autograph, so I get my first College Baseball Autograph ever, and that is my 2,302 autograph overall, and yes it is 2,302 and I’m not lying. In some later entries I’ll post photos of my collection, but now this is a game.
Now all the St. Johns players have gone, and Georgetown is out, so I walk over to see the new team. I just sit, relax, and watch them run and stretch. This is relaxed, unlike on 4/13 where they are going to need the S.W.A.T. team. St. Johns is back out so I decide to walk over there, where I get my 5th ball from Jason Chesterman, which breaks my high from Game 4 of the 2008 World Series, and my 6th ball from Kevin Kilpatrick, whose dad was right next to me when I caught it. That is it for Batting Practice, so then I decided to take a tour of Citi Field with my camera. Here are some photos.
The Junkyard outside of Citi (look at the roofs)
A row of seating, with a cane.
Highest row in the Upper Deck, all the way to the side.
And finally the stunning Jackie Robinson Rotunda.
In about the 7th inning I went to the bullpen to try to see if I could get something, and I felt sorry for the players because they were being called by their numbers (although they are college), they were being cursed by rival colleges, and one statement that was annoying was a kid yelling “NUMBER 44 YOU ARE MY FAVORITE PLAYER ON GEORGETOWN!!” I left at about the 8th 1/2 inning and went back to the dugout to see if I could get anything after the game. After the game (which Georgetown won) I was able to get my 7th(!) ball from Dan Capeless, and a pair of batting gloves (signed) from Erick Fernandez, both from Georgetown. It was a good day meeting other ballhawks, getting some baseballs and memorabilia, and seeing the first game in the history of Citi Field. 7 balls, 2 autographs, and 1 pair of batting gloves, bring on the Ballhawk League.
7 College Baseballs (6 Big East Logo)
- 2 Autographs
- 1 Pair of Batting Gloves