5/27/11 @ Citi Field

Before I begin this entry, I would like to apologize because the images in this entry are a little smaller than I would like them to be, but I can’t really control this because MLBlogs has shifted to a new format. Ok, now let’s get to the game.

If you have read this blog for a while, you may remember this game in 2009 when I had unbelievable seats. Well, yesterday night at Citi Field My father and I had those seats again.

We got to Citi Field about 10 minutes before the gates opened, and went straight to the Hodges VIP Gate on the first base side and were in the stadium in no time. I set up shop in the corner near the Mets dugout where they would walk by on their way to the dugout. Before I could get completely set up, I had an autograph. Justin Turner, a rookie who is on fire lately, started signing for people at the dugout, and I got his attention and got him  to sign a ball even though I under-threw my pen, as you can see in the video below. Thanks Justin!

As the Mets were slowly making their way off the field, I asked all of them to sign, but most of them just ignored me. There were a few people that responded to me though.

Former Met enemy Willie Harris stopped and signed a ball for me. The only way I knew it was him was because he is one of the rare players today that wears an ear flap on both sides of his batting helmet. Thanks Willie! 

Shortly after that, something unexpected happened. As Josh Thole was walking to the dugout I simply shouted, “Josh” and he responded by tossing me a ball. I wasn’t really expecting it and I didn’t even have my glove on me at the time, but I made the easy bare handed catch with my right hand. Thanks Josh!

Within literally 30 seconds of Thole throwing me a ball, another Mets rookie, outfielder Jason Pridie, came over and signed for me. I also was fortunate enough to take a picture with him because there wasn’t too much else going on at the time. Thanks Jason!

You can see all the autographs I got at the bottom of this entry.

That would be it for Mets BP, 3 autographs and a baseball. Not great, not awful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I went over to the Phillies side for their BP, but didn’t get anything until the very end. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t have access to the field like so many others did. But thanks to a great security guard who told me to be very quick, I was able to go on the field and get an autograph from Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. You probably can’t see me in that photo, but trust me, I’m there. Thanks Charlie! Thanks Security Guard! 

 

 

 

 

 

After thanking the security guard a million times, I realized a guy in a full uniform talking to people that he knew. I figured that he was a coach, and it turns out that it was 3rd base coach and former All-Star, Juan Samuel. He signed the ball that Charlie Manuel just signed.Thanks Juan! 

 

 

 

I got another autograph from former NFL Quarterback Tim Hasselbeck, who was at the game with his wife and kids. I took a video of him signing with 2 cameras, you can see both of them HERE.

Well, the game was about to start and I was in these fancy expensive seats. I had access to the Delta 360 Sky Club which had unlimited free food and drinks, which you can see below. Man, that was the best food I’ve had at a baseball game. You can’t see this in the pictures below, but there were also soft chocolate chip cookies and popcorn. Yummy Food.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On my way to get the food, I passed this:

If you can get these seats at Citi Field, you can see what you probably won’t see most of the time.

 

 

 

 

 

The game was so awful that I won’t mention it. Here is a picture of the field behind me while standing in front of my seat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s baseball:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And now, my autographs from today.

 

Charlie Manuel

Justin Turner

Willie Harris and Jason Pridie

 

 

 

Sorry I can’t figure out how the new MLBlogs system works.

 

Thanks for Reading-Howie

Juan Samuel

Never Seen That Before

As I have mentioned in some of my previous entries, I collect baseball cards. 

In my basement, there are boxes upon boxes of cards. I would have to make the over/under for the number of individual cards that I have 15,000. Occasionally I go through some of them. The oldest cards date back to the early 1970s. But recently when I got a few packs of cards at my local card store. I got a new brand, 2011 Topps Gypsy Queen. In a pack, I saw a thick card, and when I got to it, I saw something that I have never seen before. Have a look below. 
(No picture here because MLBlogs is not letting me upload pictures. So HERE is a link that I posted the picture on.)
If anyone has any information on what this is or how rare it is, I would greatly appreciate it. 
Thanks for Reading- Howie

4/22/11 @ Citi Field

First off, I would like to apologize for not writing frequently during the offseason. It was the offseason, and baseball was not in the front of my mind. But now, on to this game. 

WIth spring break winding down, I decided to head out to Citi Field with my friend Richard after buying cheap tickets on StubHub. Too bad we didn’t sit in those seats once, but I’ll get to that later. After waiting on line for a good 15 minutes and watching many others walk into the stadium ahead of us, Richard and I got a good spot down the left field foul line in foul territory. 
After about 10 minutes, a guy wearing a Diamondbacks hoodie and thick gloves just leaned up against the railing a foot from Richard and I. We thought he was just a trainer/coach, so we thought nothing of it. Eventually a small child approached him and said, “Mister, can you sign my ball?” After reading his signature, we realized the man standing right next to us was none other than Armando “Mr. Imperfect” Galarraga. After scrambling through my bag to get something for him to sign, Armando signed a ball and a page in my autograph book for me and a ball for Richard. You can see what I got signed at the bottom of this entry. Then right before he left, he took a photo with me. Thanks Armando!!

As you can see, everyone around me was oblivious as to what was happening. 
Shortly after that, a foul ball flew over my head, hit a chair pretty hard, and was snatched up by the guy standing right next to me. That’s my luck with BP balls recently. I can’t catch a break. 
Then I got another autograph, this time from pitcher Barry Enright. Here is a short clip I took of him signing for some people. Thanks Barry!  

Then, shortly before the game, I got another autograph from former Yankee pitcher, Ian Kennedy. Thanks Ian! Here is a clip of what NOT to get signed at the dugout. 

I’m going to pause with this entry for a second to talk about something that is my pet peeve. 
When a player is signing autographs at the dugout. Make sure you have something that you can throw easily. Ian did sign this guy’s card, but he could have easily thrown it out and left. Just bring a ball/hat/glove or something like that. And make sure you have a pen. 

That was all the stuff I got before the game. However, I did manage to run into published author and possibly the greatest ballhawk ever, Zack Hample. Richard and I talked to him for a few minutes while he signed my copy of his most recent book, The Baseball. I HIGHLY recommend it. It provides a new perspective on the baseball itself with new information that you probably don’t know. Zack managed to snag 3 balls on the day, and you can read his account of the day on his blog by clicking HERE. Then we took a picture together. Thank You Zack!!!

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The game itself was very entertaining. Mike Pelfrey pitched 7 great innings on a sick stomach. I won’t go into details, because I don’t want you to do what Mike almost did on the mound. Joe Saunders also pitched great, leaving without allowing a run through 6+ innings. Then Ike Davis came to the plate and smacked one off the deep center field wall. It was originally called a double, but I noticed that it never hit below the orange line on the wall in center field. As soon as the umpires ruled it a double, I was in the aisle screaming home run and giving the homer signal. The umpires agreed with me and changed the call to a homer. Watch Ike’s blast HERE
You can see me in the blue circle below when Ike came home. 
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Fast Forward to the bottom of inning number 8. As you can see by the above photo, I ended up sitting in great seats (Not the ones we bought.) So when Daniel Murphy hit a Juan Gutierrez foul and Mets third base coach Chip Hale ended up with it, I was down the stairs in the front ball waiting for Hale to throw it to someone. He lobbed it straight in my direction, and about ten different hands all went up for the ball, and since I was the only one with a glove, I had the upper hand. All of a sudden, BAM, the ball went right into the webbing of my glove, and after pushing a guy off my mitt, the ball was mine. My first ball during a game this season. It is a beauty, rubbed up in mud with visible marks of dirt and grass on it, as you can see at the bottom of this entry.  
That was it for the game as the Mets held on to win it 4-1.
After the game I bumped into Zack, who didn’t get a ball at the Diamondbacks dugout, and we took another photo together, and I am the one who is holding a ball. (It was cold, that is why I am wearing gloves in many pictures) 
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A very successful day at the ballpark for everyone. 

Today’s Autographs: 
                                                                                       
Barry Enright                                                                         Ian Kennedy
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Armando Galarraga                            I got a ball I snagged at a game last season signed. 
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The one baseball I snagged today: 
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Thanks For Reading- Howie
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Meeting Ike Davis

First off I would like to apologize, it is the off season, so I am taking most of the winter off. But about a month ago, I had a fortunate experience and I was able to meet Mets first baseman Ike Davis. It was on December 18, 2010. 

The signing was scheduled to be at a Citibank from 1:00-2:30 PM. I got there  just before 11, and after taking care of other business, I got on line at 11:30 AM. There were about 20 people ahead of me. After entertaining myself for about an hour, my father, who has relations with Citi, told me to come with him to, “See something in the bank.” Reluctantly, I followed him and left my spot on line. I then entered a small room filled with couches, tables, and good food. Then I realized that I was in the VIP room. At about 1 on the dot, everyone was asked to form a line. I got on line second. Then, one by one, each family was called into a room for a special meet and greet with Ike Davis. This next picture describes what happened next. 
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It was very personal and Ike is a very friendly man. Ike signed a few things for me, and here is a video of Ike signing for some people. Ike signed, and signed, and signed. The pubic must have been getting antsy when this happened. 

Here is a hat that I got Ike to sign. 
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Overall, a very successful day. 
I will have more entries up as the season approaches
Thanks for Reading-Hoiwe

October 1, 2010 @ Citi Field

In terms of quality, this was an o.k. day at best. In terms of quantity, this was a great day. 
My birthday was last week, so my dad got tickets for my friends and I and we went to Citi Field right after school last Friday. I wasn’t optimistic that there would be BP, and I ended up being right. Originally, my friends and I went down near the Mets dugout to try to get autographs. However, I quickly went over to the the Nationals side when their pitchers started warming up. Soon after that, John Lannan, from Long Island, to sign a ball for me. He kept on moving around and I literally had to run in circles to finally get him. 
After they were done warming up, Craig Stammen and Tyler Clippard to sign the same baseball. Below is Stammen, who is wearing his glove on his head, and Clippard is on the right. 
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Then, closer to the dugout, a player that my friends and I could not recognize was signing near the dugout so I got him to sign the baseball and I also got a picture with him. 
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Later, I found out it was rookie closer Drew Storen. I took a short video of him signing. You can check it out HERE. The first baseball he signs is mine. Shortly after that, another pitcher stopped and signed for the small group of fans. It was Joe Bisenius, a reliever who has only had a cup of coffee in the big leagues. He also signed my baseball. Here is a video of him signing.

After that, the last two players on the field, veterans Miguel Batista and Joel Peralta walked in, and both signed my baseball. I had to throw and catch the ball while holding the camera at the same time, which was difficult. These would be the final Nationals autographs on the day. 

Finally, after getting 7 Nationals autographs before the game, I went back over to the Mets side and got Manny Acosta to sign a different ball for me in a big scrum.IMG_7795.JPG

That was all for pre-game. 8 autographs and no baseballs. Right before the game, Jose Reyes signed and I was so close from him, yet I didn’t get him. I got a video, however, check it out HERE
Finally, after 2 years of going to games at Citi Field, I finally ate shake shack. Single shack burger, fries, and a chocolate shake. Very filling, especially for a ballpark meal. After that, my friends and I settled in our seats in right field and saw an unlikely pitchers duel between Pat Misch and Jordan Zimmerman. Pat Misch struck out 10 over 8 innings and Zimmerman went 6 innings and allowed one run. 
Then came the bottom of the 10th, the game had gone by quickly, and rookie catcher Josh Thole stepped in. He got the count to 3-1, and I said, “Put on the green light, risk everything.” I guess Thole heard me because he sent the next pitch in my direction. I jumped out of my seat, however I could do nothing but watch the ball sail straight over my head. You can check out the footage HERE. I am circled in the screen shot below. I was wearing my Nationals hat, and I didn’t even realize it until I took it off until I got home. 
That gave the Mets their 78th win of the year, and a good one. That makes 3 different catchers that have hit walk-off homers for the Mets. Rod Barajas, Henry Blanco, and now, Josh Thole. 
Unless I somehow get Yankees playoff tickets, it looks like my 2010 season is over. 
Here are my final autographs. 
Manny Acosta                                                                 Miguel Batista & Joel Peralta 

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Drew Storen & Joe Bisenius                             John Lannan, Tyler Clippard, Craig Stammen
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That’s all for now. I’ll make a full season recap soon. 
 Thanks for Reading- Howie

Who’s on First?

While in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown last week, one of the exhibits was a TV screen playing an old skit from a play called, “Who’s on First?” After watching it for the first time I was throughly confused and found it hilarious, even though I had no clue what it was. I’ll let you watch it now before I continue on. Here is, “Who’s on First?” by Abbott and Costello.

 

If you are throughly confused after watching this, click HERE, and now you should be less confused. That’s all for now. I just felt like I should share this tidbit of baseball culture with everybody.
Thanks for Reading- Howie

Cooperstown!

This past week, my family and I took a vacation, and one of the stops was in Cooperstown. After a long drive, we parked on main street. Then, after a short walk down the block, I was in front of this building. 

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(Does anyone else think it is odd that the U in the word museum looks like a v?)
My family bought tickets that were good for 2 days. We entered, and spent a good chunk of time in the plaque gallery. If you are unfamiliar with the hall of fame, the plaque gallery is where all of the plaques of people that have been inducted into the hall are held and displayed. The first class inducted into the hall of fame was in 1936, and their plaques are displayed right in the middle of the room. If you want to see a close up, click on the picture below and zoom in. 
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After the plaque gallery, I spent some time exploring the 2 floors of exhibits and artifacts. There was the extremely old…
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…to the more recent…
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Also, there were many other different interesting and unique artifacts. 
One of my favorite ones was a wall that had the game balls from every no hitter and perfect game thrown since 1940. 
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A hat from each of the Ryan Express’ 7 no hitters. 
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Everything except the ball from Bobby Thomson’s shot heard round the world.
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If you are curious about what happened to the ball, check out this book. I found it very interesting, and it explains what people have been wondering. What happened to the ball?
This artifact is definitely the only one of it’s kind in the world. 
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There were thousands of different baseball cards on display from many different years. 
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There were also many exhibits honoring Hank Aaron, one of which is his uniform, and right next to it was an autographed ball from his final career home run.
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After leaving the hall of fame, I went down main street looking at all the memorabilia stores. There were quite a few things to choose from.
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The only thing I bought was a Ryan Zimmerman signed card for $20. Not a bad deal in my opinion.
I capped off the day by taking some swings at the Doubleday Batting Range. I’m not exactly the greatest hitter, but I got good contact on some of the pitches. 
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I had a great time in Cooperstown, and any baseball fan, no matter what age, must go to the Hall of Fame at least once in their lifetime. It is one heck of an experience. 
Thanks for Reading-
Howie