Boston Strong on Jackie Robinson’s Day: April 15, 2015: Washington Nationals vs Red Sox @ Fenway Park
Having no classes on Wednesdays came in handy on a day game during the week. I was planning on going to this game for a while. When I was buying my tickets, I originally thought it was a night game and when I found out that it was a day game I was concerned that it would interfere with my classes at school. So, I didn’t buy the ticket and bought a ticket for the night game the day before. I wanted to go to a Nationals game to see if I could get Bryce Harper’s autograph. When I picked my classes and got everything figured out with school, I didn’t have class on Wednesday. The first thing I did was buy a ticket to this game. Not only was the game vs. the Nationals but it was also a special day throughout MLB. It was Jackie Robinson’s day. Jackie Robinson Day has been in the MLB since 2004, honoring the day Robinson made his major league debut in 1947. On April 15th every year, each player, coach, manager, and umpires wear the #42 honoring Robinson’s accomplishments. Also, this game was important to the city of Boston. It was also the two-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon Bombings. The game was very special and it was one of those games you wouldn’t want to miss. For the game I wore my Boston Strong shirt. After going to the game the night before, I stayed home and left my house around 9:00 am to drive into Boston. I hit some traffic going in and got to the ballpark around 10:00 am. I walked over to Gate C and there were tons of people walking in so I got in line. I didn’t know at the time but I wasn’t supposed to go into the ballpark. When I got into the ballpark I walked up to outfield seats to see if there was batting practice. On a day game, there isn’t batting practice but I wanted to check just in case. There was no batting practice but there were tons of people in the grandstands. Apparently, the kids were on a field trip from school. Dave Mellor, the head groundskeeper, was talking to the kids about the field and answers any questions they had. The kids were learning about the weather and were learning about how the field works.
As Mellor was talking to the kids some Red Sox players were coming out to warm up. Clay Buchholz and Porcello were warming up in the outfield with Pitching Coach Juan Nieves. After Buchholz and Porcello were done playing catch, they walked over to the Red Sox bullpen. I went over to the bullpen to go watch them. Buchholz went up first.
He pitched as Nieves watched. Buchholz threw a pitch in the dirt and gave it to Nieves. He then looked at it and then looked at me and showed me the ball to get my attention. He then tossed me the baseball. Porcello had come over near me during Buchholz’s session.
I congratulated him on his new contract signing. He was very nice and thanked me. I also asked him if after he would sign. He said he would after he threw. After Buchholz was done with his bullpen session, Porcello started his session.
During Porcello’s bullpen session he didn’t like 3 of the baseballs. Nieves threw me two not even 5 seconds apart from each other. Then he also threw me one later on in the bullpen session.
When he was done he went into the bullpen and sat down with Buchholz and Nieves. The gates for Red Sox nation opened around 11:05AM after I was already in the ballpark for an hour. Mike Davison had entered the ballpark and went over to the bullpen where I was. He took out his ball retriever and grabbed two baseballs in the bullpen. As Buchholz and Porcello got up to leave the dugout Porcello came over and signed.
He signed for a lot of people who were over near the dugout. After they left the rest of the Red Sox pitchers were tossing over near Pesky’s Pole. When the security guards allowed the fans to get to the rest of the ballpark, I went straight to Pesky’s Pole. I saw Joe Kelly and Justin Masterson playing catch. When I got near them they were just finishing up. I called out to Kelly. He then tossed me the ball he had for my 5th of the day. I asked if he was going to sign autographs today. He said he could sign before he worked out and walked over to me. As he was signing I asked him since he was a fan of selfies if we could take one. He said we could and we took one.
After the selfie, I started walking to the Nationals dugout. I saw Brock Holt taking grounders near third and I stopped walking towards the Nationals dugout and turned around and headed back to the Sox’s dugout. I waited at the dugout as Holt came in. He started heading right next to the dugout with a bunch of kids around. I went over and got in line. Holt then signed a baseball I gave him. After I left the area, Holt continued signing autographs.
I headed to my normal spot near the dugout and waited around an hour before anyone came out. Around 12:50PM, the Boston Marathon survivors walked past the National’s dugout. Carlos Arredondo, the man in the Cowboy Hat who was seen helping Jeff Bauman off the ground into a wheel chair and then to the ambulance during the Marathon Bombings, was walking toward us to go near home plate. Carlos and his wife both saw my shirt and said “nice shirt.”
15 minutes later Washington National’s players were coming out and warming up. Bryce Harper of the Nationals came over and signed. For me this was great because the day before I was so close to getting his autograph. My thought process was I couldn’t get turned down again. As soon as he grabbed my pen, I was so relieved. He signed the ball I gave him and he continued down the line.
Jeff Bauman, who lost both of his legs during the bombing, and Patrick Downes, who lost his left leg during the bombing, threw the first pitches. Then the survivors and first responders yelled “Play Ball.” Ryan Zimmerman was tossing with Ian Desmond and Bryce Harper was throwing with Danny Espinosa. After they were done Ryan Zimmerman tossed me up a ball for my 6th of the day.
Carlos Arredondo and his wife carried a Boston Strong Flag off the field and Washington National’s players talked to Jeff Bauman as he walked by.
The starters of the Game were Gio Gonzalez for Washington and Wade Miley for Boston. Miley struggled in the first inning when a walk and two hits led to two runs. In the bottom of the 2nd inning the Sox responded when they scored 2 runs on 2 hits and an error by the National’s third baseman Yunel Escobar. In the top of the 3rd, Miley’s struggles continued as Ian Desmond homered to left giving the Nationals a 3-2 lead. The Nationals were not done as the next 3 batters got on with 2 walks and 1 hit. With the based loaded Ramos doubled that cleared the bases. After the hit, Miley’s day was done and Varvaro came in to pitch with the score 6-2. With two outs in the inning 3rd inning still, Uggla doubled, which scored Ramos and the run was charged to Miley, giving him 7 earned runs on the day. Michael Taylor also doubled in the inning that led Uggla to score making the score 8-2, National’s leading. During the Top of the 4th inning, around 2:47-2:48, the announcer said, “Ladies and Gentleman, our game will now pause for a moment, and we ask you to please rise. All of us know of the events that took place in our town 2 years ago on this date at this time. All of us know of friends whose lives were altered. All of us know of families who hearts were shattered. Our mayor the honorable Martian J. Walsh has asked us to stand together, feel together, and remember together those whom we lost on April 15, 2013 at 2:49pm. As we do we remember Krystle Campbell of Medford, Massachusetts, Lu Lingzi, a Boston University Graduate student from China, and 8-year-old Martin Richard of Dorchester. We of course also remember officer Sean Collier, killed 3 days later. Let us remember them now.”
A 50 second moment of silence occurred leaving Fenway silent. The announcer then continued, “Ladies and Gentleman we are One Boston. Ladies and Gentleman we are Boston Strong. Ladies and Gentleman this is our city. Lets play ball.” It was a great moment to be apart of. It was a great moment to see Fenway so quite for a change and it was amazing to witness. In the bottom of the 5th inning, the Sox finally got back in the game when Hanley Ramirez hit a home run over the Green Monster that also scored Pedroia. After the inning the score was 8-4 with the Nationals still in the lead. The Sox were not done offensively because in the bottom of the 6th inning, Brock Holt hit a ground rule double that scored Mike Napoli from second. Then in the top of the 7th inning the Nationals responded when Moore hit a two run shot that scored Ramos. The game would end with the same score with the Nationals beating the Red Sox 10-5 giving Gio Gonzalez the win and Wade Miley the loss.
The best feeling in the world is leaving your class to go to the Sox game. I have been waiting for 2 weeks after Opening Day to go to my first game of the 2015 season. Since the last time I went in September, the roster has changed. Our pitching rotation was completely different with two Red Sox starters returning from last years team. We signed the lefty Wade Miley and we welcomed Justin Masterson back to Boston. The Sox had an outfield overload and decided to trade Yoenis Cespedes to the Tigers in exchange for Rick Porcello. The lineup looked different as well. We signed Pablo Sandoval to play third base and welcomed Hanley Ramirez back to Boston to play left field. The signings will hopefully allow our lineup to have more power offensively. This season is going to be fun to watch and hopefully is less stressful then last season. Going into Boston for a 6:10pm was slightly weird. I left my school around 1:00pm and stopped by my house for my bag packed with my game day essentials. I always bring pens, 4 baseballs, Red Sox hat, visiting hat, and a Red Sox jersey. I also brought a cheat sheet of the visiting team that has everyone on the team’s picture, position, and which way they threw. Also on this sheet, are my autograph targets of the day. Since the Sox where facing the Nationals, I had a great amount of targets circled. I wanted to make sure I left my house at 2:00pm. I got to Fenway around 2:30pm, and headed to my favorite line at Fenway. One person was there before me. His name was Mike Davison. Some people might recognize that name. Mike helped out with Zack Hample’s helicopter stunt. We talked about all types of different things and it was great to talk to him in line. He’s a great guy! When Red Sox nation came around to stamp our hands, we didn’t have to show our Red Sox Nation cards. I guess I go enough now for them to recognize me. I was questioning if they were going to bring back the wristbands or keep it going with the stamps. They are using stamps again this year. I got a new stamp with two bats crossed. Waiting in line got interesting when the fast food workers on strike walked down Lansdowne Street. At first we didn’t know what was happening. They walked all the way down the street with signs that said “BU students stand with the fight for $15″ I am not familiar with the strikes but it was entertaining to walk a bunch of people striking for the first time.
One thing I did notice as I was looking into the ballpark was there are new security measures for this year. Instead of having a security guard with hand-held medal detectors, they have walk-through magnetometers.
Personally, I like the walk-through magnetometers because you can keep on walking instead of waiting for someone to come around with the hand-held medal detectors. The one thing that stinks is you have to take your phone and cameras out of the pockets and put them in a bin. You walk through the walk-through magnetometers and then they give your phone and cameras back. Going into the ballpark is always the best feeling in the world. I walked up the outfield bleachers entrance and the first thing I noticed was the cameras were gone. From the picture where Mike (in the Pedroia jersey) is standing you can see the different color in the walkway. My first reaction was there is a lot more room now. In the past years, batting practice homerun balls would easily bounce off the camera area and go back into the field. The cameras were moved upwards on a catwalk. Seats were also added to the area and it has a nice view that would be great to watch a game from. Taking away the cameras is going to give any one an advantage to catch a ball from that area now.
I have set many goals for myself for this year:
- Catch a ball from each starting pitcher
- Catch a batting practice homerun ball on the GoPro
- Catch 10 or more baseballs during a game
These are just a few but are my main goals for the year. With the cameras gone, I moved closer to the Green Monster. With-in five minutes of being in the ballpark, my first ball of the year was caught. Wade Miley was shagging baseballs around left/centerfield. Because the cameras were not there I was able to move closer to him. He was near the American League scoreboard. Mike may have gotten his attention but he threw the ball to me. There it was number one of the year.The ball was a Robert D. Manfred Jr. ball. Robert D. Manfred is the new Commissioner of baseball. Commissioner Allan “Bud” H. Selig had retired after being commissioner since 1992. Since I have been alive Bud Selig has been the commissioner. Each baseball has had a Bud Selig signature on each baseball under the Official Major League Baseball stamp. My thought process during the day was wondering if teams would still have Selig balls still around. After 20 minutes of hoping for a homerun ball to come my way, a ball was hit into centerfield. Junichi Tazawa caught the ball and then turned around and tossed me the ball for my second of the day. Just like the ball before, it was a Robert D. Manfred Jr. ball.
This was also stamped with a red box with a check mark right on the sweet spot. I wondered if this ball was from other team because the Red Sox normally do not mark their practice balls. The National’s pitchers were warming up but in the weirdest way. They had a Nerf football and were running routes. I was watching them for a while. Then out of the corner of my eye, I saw a ball coming our way. I ran over and it was above my head, I jumped but missed it. Thankfully, the ball bounced off a seat and right into my glove for my third of the day. I then went right over to a little girl and gave her the ball. Her and her mom were very thankful that I gave them the ball. The ball was another Robert D. Manfred Jr. ball. The little girl and her mom were thanking me for the rest of batting practice.
I had three baseballs through Red Sox batting practice and it was time to take off the Red Sox hat and put on a National’s hat on. I had to take the GoPro off and have it in my hand, which brought some weird angles. I was moving back and forth throughout the outfield sections. Homeruns were coming more often but were scattering all around. As I was moving around a ball was tossed up and missed. It landed if front of me and I picked it up. This ball was an Allan H. Selig baseball. The nationals must have been using a lot of old baseballs. I gave the ball to a little girl whose birthday was today. Happy Birthday to her!
I then kept an eye out for more home runs. A National’s player hit a shot into the area would the cameras would be. It landed in the seats and I beat out Mike for the ball. Sorry Mike! Mike and I were going back and forth with balls all practice and it was nice to have some competition. I believe he ended up with 7 during batting practice. The batting practice homerun would be my 5th of the day and also at 249 lifetime. I was one away from 250! I didn’t realize this for a while. It randomly occurred to me when I was thinking of the fact that I had 5 on the day. I honestly didn’t think about 250 going into the game. Michael Taylor was in centerfield shagging baseballs. He caught one baseball and then ran for another one. He looked at me and threw one of the baseballs. BALL 250 lifetime and also my 6th of the day! I could knock off another milestone of 250. Next one is 300! Since Taylor had two baseballs in his hand, Mike tried to get the other one. Taylor threw it to him but the throw was low.
A little later I positioned myself right at the end of the wall next to the monster. Fans were heckling Max Scherzer, Gio Gonzalez, and some other National’s players. They were funny but also may have crossed some lines. They were saying how Gio was on their fantasy team and this was also how they were trying to get a ball from him. They then started saying that their friend traded him away. When Max threw a ball back in to the bucket area, they were yelling “Hey! Wrong way.” They then started asking at Gio if he had a car seat or if he could get into the rides at the carnival. They finally got the attention of the players. Gio and Scherzer then started laughing at them. Then they told Scherzer to grow a Mohawk (like the kid had) and then Scherzer came back and say “Why? I don’t want to look like you.” They also went as far as asking Scherzer which eye he was looking at them with, the blue or the brown one. It went over the line but at least the players were laughing about it. Scherzer ended up tossing me a ball in-between the other fans heckling for my 7th of the day, which was also an Allan H. Selig ball. The nationals must have had only Bud Selig balls because that is the only baseballs I got from them. They where probably trying to get rid of them all.
After the Scherzer ball I decided to leave the outfield and head towards the dugout. As I was heading toward the dugout I went passed the Good Sport table. At the table you pledge not to drink and be responsible at the ballpark. When you sign up you get a free soda and enter to win a Red Sox pullover. After, I headed to the dugout. When I got there, batting practice was just ending. Tanner Roark was signing autographs. He went down the whole dugout and signed for everyone.
I got his autograph and moved to my autograph spot in between where the ball girl stands and the security guard are. When players started coming out a few of them came over and signed. Ian Desmond came over and signed autographs. I already had him so I was hoping others would come over as well. National’s outfielder Clint Robinson came around and signed as well. He signed one of the baseballs I had.
Also, Bryce Harper came over and was signing autographs. I was very close to getting his autograph as he skipped over me. I then saw Scherzer signing autographs as well. I walked over to him with the ball he gave me and asked if he could sign it for me. He did and signed it right on the sweet spot.
After he autographed the ball, it was time for the National Anthem. The starters of the Game were Stephen Strasburg for Washington and Justin Masterson for Boston. In the top of the second inning, Michael Taylor singled off of Masterson, which allowed Danny Espinosa to score. In the bottom of the inning, the Sox responded when Mookie Betts doubled off Strasburg allowing Mike Napoli and Brock Holt to score. In the bottom of the 3rd, the Sox responded by scoring twice making the score 4-1. In the bottom of the 4th, Pedroia hit a homerun into the Monstahhh. In the top of the 5th the Nationals responded by scoring 6 runs with 4 hits in the inning. After 5 innings, the score was 7-5 with the Nationals in the lead. In between the top and the bottom of 6th inning, first base coach, Tony Tarasco, collected the warm up ball that was thrown in from Ryan Zimmerman. He then tossed me the ball for my 8th of the day.
In the bottom of the 7th inning, 3 errors helped out the Sox as they scored 3 in the inning without any hits. After the inning was over, the score was 8-7 with the Red Sox in the lead. In the bottom of the 9th, the first replay of the year at Fenway happened. Ryan Zimmerman hit a long foul ball near the left field foul pole. National’s manager went out and wanted the umpires in New York to look at the hit again.
The play was confirmed as a foul ball and Zimmerman ended up lining out to left during his at-bat. The game ended with the Sox winning after Uehara came in for the save. After the game, when the pitchers and coaches from the bullpens came back to the dugout. The Bullpen coach, Matthew LeCroy came around and tossed a couple baseballs to fans. He threw one right to me for my 9th of the day tying my personal best.
Over the summer I was in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I was interning at University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. While I was there, I would have to go to some baseball games at Miller Park. On a cloudy, Friday afternoon my aunts and I headed to the ballpark. Miller Park is viewable from the highway and is quite the tease. It looks so close but yet so far. As soon as we arrived I noticed people tail gaiting. Now being from the Boston area, you do not see people tail gaiting at Red Sox games. It just doesn’t happen and there is not enough room for that anywhere. But, at Miller Park there was. The parking lot was built for it. Plus the parking lots were all attached to Miller Park. You didn’t have to worry about driving around the area for a parking spot that may have cost less or more somewhere else. So I went into the gates. We were a tad late so when I got there I had to hurry and get in line and go in. They were also giving out t-shirts. I took one and went on my way. I had not been to the park for two years. So I was a little rusty finding my way around. When I entered the ballpark I was behind home plate. I then took the long way to the left field seats. When I got there it paid off. I had my GoPro on my head and I was ready for anything that came my way. The Cardinals were doing their batting practice. All of a sudden a ball was hit and it look like it was coming right at me. I quickly pressed record on the GoPro and the ball came in fast. I put my glove up and was in perfect position to grab the ball. There were 3 gloves going for the ball. I happened to be in the middle of the three. I stuck out my glove in front of the other two and caught the ball. One of my goals for the season was to catch a homerun ball during batting practice and get it on camera. I could check that one off the list. Here is the YouTube link for the video:
After batting practice was over, I went over to the bullpen area to watch Joe Kelly warm up:
He was the starting pitcher and I liked his style of pitching. I then headed up to Toyota Territory where Ballhawk Shawn was. He is a great guy and it was nice to meet him. I stayed there to see if I could possibly catch a homerun ball. I do not get many chances to be in the outfield since I stay around the dugouts. Joe Kelly was pitching for St. Louis and Yovani Gallardo was pitching for the Brewers. In between the first inning and the second inning, Ballhawk Shawn and I took a picture for the 2014 Photo Scavenger Hunt for myGameBalls.com:
The two challenges for the picture were.
-You posing for a picture with a MGB member with more 1,000 baseballs where each of you are holding a baseball — 5 points
-Bonus #2 — a photo with an official myGameBalls.com Verifier — 2 points each
Thank you Shawn for taking the picture!
I was going for another challenge and I was planning this one out strategically: While standing in the front row immediately behind the dugout and facing the crowd, you holding a sign over your head that says in large print “Braun Was Framed!” or “ARod Was Framed!” — 9 points (10 Bonus points if the shot shows Braun batting in the background) I went to the dugout around the top of the second inning. I was planning on getting this in his second at bat. At this point the score was already 5-0 in favor of the Brewers. Braun popped on the on-deck circle and I knew it was about to happen. I asked a man sitting behind me if he could take a picture of the photo. I explained to him what it was for and he laughed and said all right:
The photo is me holding a “Braun Was Framed!” sign while Braun was batting in the background. I got the 10 bonus points as well as the 9 for the photo. It was a solid 19 points for one photo. Braun ended up getting a triple during the at bat and also drove in a run to make the score 6-0, Brewers, in the bottom of the 2nd inning. During the 3rd inning, I went to go get cheese curds:
While I was in Wisconsin, everywhere I went I got cheese curds. I was rating them on how they were everywhere I went. The cheese curds were great but for the price and how much they gave you it wasn’t worth it. They ended up overall in the bottom 3 of the cheese curds I had. The thing I did like about them is the ranch they gave you. Cheese curds and ranch is a great combo and I recommend trying them. I then went to my actual seats for the first time in a while. My aunts were sitting with the Commissioners Public Relations guy. He gave me a Major League Baseball pin. I put the pin in my backpack and it will stay there hopefully for good luck.
In the 4th inning the Cardinals scored twice, ending the inning with a 6-2 lead for the Brewers. I headed back to the dugout innings later. In the 6th inning the Cardinals came back scoring 4 more runs tying the game at 6. The “Diamond Dancers” were dancing on top of the dugout for the 7th inning stretch:
In the top of the 8th inning, Peter Bourjos grounded out to the pitcher, Brandon Kintzler. Kintzler then threw the ball to the first baseman, Mark Reynolds. He threw me the ball, for my second of the day.
I have been a fan of Reynolds so it was extra special for me. I have been a fan of his since I got him in a trade in fantasy baseball back when he was on the Diamondbacks. I even got his t-shirt while he was there. We have the same last name; you got to root for the guy. In the top of the 9th inning Matt Holliday homered to left giving the Cardinals a one run lead. The Brewers ended up getting a hit in the bottom of the 9th but left the man at first. The game ended with a score of 7-6. After the game was over I waited around the St. Louis Cardinals dugout and waited for the pitchers and catchers from the bullpen to come in. One of them threw me a ball for my 3rd and final ball of the day:
Jeter’s career was going into the final stretch. Jeter had just come off his last game at Yankee Stadium, which was an emotional night for all. He delivered when he ended his final home game with a walk-off single. Only Jeter would hit a walk off in his last at-bat in the pinstriped uniforms. After quite a night, he announced that he will not play shortstop during his last series at Fenway and his career but he would be the designated hitter for the Yankees. I was going alone to the game, again. Going alone has been come a norm for this year. I don’t mind it, less to worry about. As I was walking around Fenway before I got to Gate C, I saw “JETER’S Last Call Shots” $2 ALL WEEK!!!. Not sure if that is a good discount or not but thought the idea was great. I got to the gate and I was first in line. Red Sox Nation workers came around and stamped our hands. I got a new stamp that I haven’t seen yet. When we went in to the gate, I went up into my spot. The new outfielder Rusney Castillo was taking fly balls. After he got his last one, he threw the baseball to me for the first one of the day. Later on in the batting practice, when most of the players were off the field, Coach Arnie Beyeler tossed up another baseball to me for my second on the day. The Red Sox were still batting and a Red Sox player, who I couldn’t tell who they were, hit a shot over my head. I quickly got to it in the stands 5 rows up from where I was. No one was around me so it was a quick easy snag for my third ball of the day. I then headed over to the Red Sox dugout because the yankees were not doing batting practice. Words were going around that Derek Jeter was not going to be playing today. Of course, I was slightly disappointed but I don’t blame him, he had a long emotional night the day before. At the dugout Brock Holt was signing autographs, unfortunately I didn’t get one.
I then headed over to my normal autograph spot. First sign of Jeter happened not to long after. Closer to game time Brett Gardner was in the dugout. He then signed a baseball I gave him.
Not much later it was time for the National Anthem.
Steven Wright would be pitching for the Red Sox and ex-Red Sox pitcher, Chris Capuano would be pitching for the Yankees. In the first inning, Yoenis Cespedes tried stretching a single into a double. He was called safe but the Yankees wanted to use instant replay to get the call right. After review, the call was overturned and he was out to end the inning.
In the bottom of the 2nd inning, the Red Sox struck first. Allen Craig singled and went to second on a throwing error. On a Byrce Brentz single, Craig scored giving the Red Sox a 1-0 lead. In the top of the third the Yankees responded. Eury Perez struck out but reached first and then to second on both passed balls by Dan Butler. Fransico Cervelli then knocked Perez in with a single to left, tying the game at 1 a piece. Later on in the inning, John Ryan Murphy grounded into fielder’s choice to shortstop and Cervelli scored on throwing error by second baseman, Mookie Betts who was trying to get the double play. The score on the error gave the Yankees a 2-1 lead. Before the 4th inning, one lucky fan got an autograph from Jeter. Jeter went into the dugout and grabbed a ball and signed it. He then tossed it up to a fan.
In the top of the 6th inning, Zelous Wheeler hit sacrifice fly to right that scored Murphy giving the Yankees a 3-1 lead. In the bottom of the 7th, Shawn Kelley relieved Capuano and then next batter Rusney Castillo hit home run over the monster to allow the score to be 3-2 in the Yankees favor. The Red Sox had a chance to tie the game in the bottom of the night but finished the game with a runner in scoring position. Yankees won the game 3-2 in a night we saw Jeter sit on the bench.
The last game of 2014 season for the Red Sox was at Fenway Park. This year it was slightly different. NO PLAYOFFS… for either team. Both the Yankees and Red Sox did not make the playoffs for the first time since 1993. The game may have been worth nothing in a normal season. This season was different. Back in February, one of the Yankees players said his career will be over after the 2014 season through a Facebook post. A year of #RE2PECT and #FarewellCaptain all leading up to his last game vs. his rivalry team of almost 20 years. Derek Jeter’s last game playing in a Yankees uniform and I was there. For the 20 years I have been alive, the number 2, in a Yankees jersey, was always worn by Derek Jeter. I had seen him play before when I was little but seeing a future Hall of Famer’s last game is what makes a no meaning game to a game worth every penny spent. There was no way I was missing this game. Sunday games are not my favorite. They normally do not have batting practice so I didn’t expect it but I still went in as early as I could. I set my alarm for 7:30 in the morning for a 1:35 game. Gates were going to open around 11:05 for Red Sox Nation. I left my house around 8:00. The parking lot and areas around Fenway were empty. Maybe it was too early in the morning for Red Sox Nation at 8:45. I was the first in line. No one was showing up for another 30-40 mins. I decide to walk around at 9. I saw Yankees shirts being sold in Red Sox team stores and had to check it out. Thats right, Yankees merchandize in a Red Sox store. This seems so strange and it was. But, it was a hit with many fans getting their chance at a once in a life time souvenir. Of course I gave in to buying some merchandize. How was I not going to buy something? I also made a sign for the day. I got creative with it. Yes I am wearing a Derek Jeter shirt. This is the second time I have worn the shirt. The other time was for a bet I lost in High School to my 9th grade, Yankees loving, Math teacher. Our bet was she had to wear a Red Sox shirt to school if the Phillies won the World Series in 2009. If the Yankees won the World Series, I would have to wear a Yankees shirt to school. Well, the Yankees won the World Series in 2009 so I spent the day at school wearing a Yankees Derek Jeter T-shirt. Although, this time there was no bet. I did it on my own. In respect for Jeter, I wore the T-shirt. Waiting in line, I was getting nervous about no Red Sox Nation. They did not have Red Sox Nation during Opening Day so I was convinced that there wasn’t going to be any today as well. I was waiting for so long and forgot I got there early. Red Sox Nation came around and handed us Red Sox Nation glasses but also the people next to me were asking about VIP Red Sox Nation. It was a father and son. I had been talking to them all morning. As they were getting their wristbands, the son also asked to put a band on me and the Red Sox Nation employee did. When the gates opened, I got my bag checked and then headed into my normal spot to see what was going on. I brought my camera from my photography class and decided to capture certain moments of the day. The first photo of the day was this:
Red Sox pitchers were warming up but also, there was nets set up. The Red Sox didn’t look like they were going to hit but the Yankees were going to. I decided since I had my camera, I wouldn’t stay in the outfield for batting practice but get up close photos of Jeter in and around the cage. I went to the backstop and took a lot of pictures from there: Jeter’s Last Game Photos Here. I got some great photos. It was worth going there instead of watching batting practice from the outfield. I had set up half way mark between the dugout and the cage. I snuck my way to the first row, right on the black ropes. All eyes were on Jeter and he was all smiles. He would occasionally look over at all of the people. Spike Lee was decked out in his Jeter attire. Past Red Sox, Jacoby Ellsbury and Steven Drew made appearances. There was a good amount of signs all in favor of Jeter. I was expecting the amount of signs but some were a lot more clever than I thought they would be. Through out the day I saw a lot of cool things fans did for Jeter. There was socks with the #2 and there was kid with Jater’s number shaved into his head. When the Yankees slowly started to leave the field, I quickly moved to the dugout and got close enough that I would get a couple good shots of Ellsbury coming off the field. I then headed to left field where Ichiro was warming up with a trainer. I watched him doing running drills until Tanka came out and started throwing. I turned my attention to him. The grounds crew started to get the field ready shortly after Tanka was done throwing. When the grounds crew were finishing up Red Sox players started coming out and warming up. Then some Yankees players started to come out. Michael Pineda, the starting pitcher for the Yankees, started heading to the bullpen to warm up. Meanwhile the ball girls were putting buckets of baseballs near the bases and in the outfield.
After the video board started playing the song, “We Didn’t Start The Fire” by Billy Joel. Then video to the song started to play, as it featured the history of the Red Sox and Yankees rivalry with key moments in history including key games, fights, and everything in between. They showed Ted Williams, the DiMaggio brothers, Mickey Mantle, Fred Lynn, Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens, and Pedro Martinez highlights. They showed many pitching duels that led to close calls of batters getting hit. Then, they showed Aaron Boones walkoff home run and Yankees fans were cheering. Next they showed Jason Varitek shoving his glove into Alex Rodriguez’s face. Of course, Red Sox fans cheered with excitement. Then the video showed the 2004 ALDS series by “The Steal” in Game 4 to keep them in the playoffs and and David Ortiz’s home run in Game 7. They continued the video to show the Red Sox winning the 2004 World Series and then to celebrating the win. They showed signs of “Who’s Your Daddy and “Cowboy Up.” Then the media board went black and showed the green monster scoreboard. They slowly removed the September 28th, 2014 from the score board and replaced them with “WITH RESPECT 2 DEREK JETER.” When the letters where all on the board, the crowd chanted “Derek Jeter.”
They announced: “Good Afternoon, once again ladies and gentlemen and welcome to Fenway Park. All of us know that todays Red Sox, Yankees game marks not only the end of the season but the end of an era in this great rivalry between these two teams. For today, we acknowledge and celebrate the Hall of Fame career of a competitor on the field and a gentleman off the field. He has enhanced our game with his manner, he has elevated our game with his character and he has reminded us of what we seek and what we admire in our sports heroes. Ladies and gentlemen, won’t you please welcome the man to whom we wish to express our admiration, our gratitude, and our respect, number 2, Derek Jeter.” As they announced “Derek Jeter,” he came out of the dugout. As he was walking out, he tipped his cap to the fans. He came out to the outfield right behind second base. The announcement continued: “Derek, several of the greatest Red Sox ever, including our 3 living captains wanted to be here today to personally thank you for what you’ve done for the game we love.” First past-red sox captain that came out was #8 Carl Yastrzemski, Next was #6 Rico Petrocelli, then #14 Captain Jim Rice,#19 Fred Lynn, #23 Luis Tiant, #49 Tim Wakefield, and lastly #33 Captain Jason Varitek. The announcement continued: “Derek, while these Red Sox Legends have come from near and far to thank you, your impact extends beyond baseball. Here in Boston where passion runs high for our sports heroes and just as high against our sports rivals, 3 of Boston’s greatest and grittiest heroes from the 3 other major league sports have also gone out of their way to be here, to congratulate you for all you have accomplished and to express their admiration for how you have done so. Please welcome, from the Boston Bruins, the legendary, Bobby Orr. From the New England Patriots, former captain, the great, Troy Brown. And a former captain of the Boston Celtics, back today just for you, welcome back Paul Pierce. Derek, not only do the stars of Red Sox past congratulate you, and not only do the stars of New England sports thank you, but all of those currently wearing red sox uniforms seek to salute you, but one man has memories unlike any other because he was your teacher. No doubt, you remember 35 straight two-a-days under the hot sun of the Florida Instructional League back in 1993 at the beginning of your minor league career. How proud he is of the player you became and how proud he is of the gentleman you have always been. Welcome the outstanding teacher of baseball, now the Red Sox third base coach, bringing you custom boots from L.L. Bean made in his home state of Maine, your teacher and friend, Brian Butterfield. And now just as little leaguers shake hands and say good game, and just as parents look to baseball to teach good sportsmanship, our 2014 Red Sox want to come out even though we have 9 more innings to go, to acknowledge your nearly 20 years of good games and good sportsmanship.” First one out was David Ortiz, then Joe Kelly who took a selfie with the Captain. The rest of the Red Sox came over and shook Jeter’s hand until they got to Pedroia, who was last. The announcement continued: “Now Derek, in this ballpark, second base belongs to Dustin Pedroia, but he would love to give this base to you, to commemorate the 153 games you will have played in Boston. May it hold only fond memories of your days and nights at Fenway Park. And Derek, all of us admire your heart felt commitment to the children of your Turn 2 foundation which successfully inspires youth to turn away from dangerous temptations and instead Turn 2 a healthy lifestyle. To support your efforts the Red Sox would like to make a contribution to support your foundation. Congratulations to you and to your sister for these great efforts. And Derek, beyond your own philanthropy, you have touched some lives in Boston very deeply. In fact, this past summer one small gesture on your part was, shall we say, very cool. Lets look at the video board” On the video board, they showed Derek Jeter in the locker room in a chair with teammates behind him with a Gatorade tub. Jeter was doing the ice bucket challenge (Jeter’s Ice Bucket Challenge). The announcement continued: “Derek, just before you were doused, you recognized your legendary predecessor Lou Gehrig, who first made us aware of the disease 75 years ago. And you recognized the captain of the Boston College Baseball team, who heighten our awareness so much this summer. How happy we are that this hero in the fight against ALS can be with us today to thank you directly and personally. Please welcome a brand new father and a father of the ice bucket challenge phenomenon, Boston’s own freight train, Peter Frates”
After Derek met with Pete half way to behind second base, the announcement continued: “Derek, we have tempted to convey our admiration and our gratitude. We now have one more sentiment to convey and it is the most important one. To illustrate it, we have one last gift, one more piece of the park. It is a heavy metal placard that hangs in the green monster and it is signed by our 2014 Red Sox, presented to you by David Ortiz and our young shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who as a child in Aruba looked up to you, emulated you, and now wears number 2 because of you. This inscribed sign has the one word with the unique spelling that symbolizes what we all feel for you, what we all have for you, and what we now give to you. It is the sign of our respect.”
After, Massachusetts native and Voice contestant, Michelle Brooks Thompson came out and sung “Respect” to Derek Jeter and even put in its own twist saying “Hey Jeter,” ” its all about you #2,” and “from Boston, Derek Jeter, we respect you.” The announcement continued: “And to you Derek Jeter, the Boston Red Sox organization and the fans of Red Sox Nation thank you for a career and in which you gained our admiration, inspired our gratitude, and earned our deepest respect.” Jeter than shook hands with the Boston Red Sox and New England greats. Then lined up on the third base side for the last time. The National Anthem was sung by Michelle Brooks Thompson. Red Sox and New England greats, plus Peter Frates stayed out near second base for the National Anthem. They were walked off the field after. When the National Anthem was over Jeter crouched down one more time, took off his cap, held back tears then headed out to warm up:
One last time the legend will warm up before a game. Clay Buchholz would start the game for the Sox. In the top of the first Derek Jeter would have his second-to-last at bat:
He lined out to the shortstop. In the 3rd inning, the Yankees started scoring. Francisco Cervelli walked to start off the inning and Jose Pirela singled. Ichiro Suzuki then tripled which scored Cervelli and Pirela. Derek Jeter came up. Everyone stood and clapped and chanted “Derek Jeter.” Everyone had their phones out knowing that this could be the last at bat of Jeter’s career:
The ball bounced high to third and Red Sox third basemen Gavin Cecchini jumped to get the ball:
The ball just barely bounced off his throwing hand. As Jeter ran to first everyone knew this was it. Once the baseball was sent in the dugout the Derek Jeter era was ending. Brian McCann came in to run for Jeter: He then headed out but first he tipped his helmet to the Sox dugout, then shook hands with Buchholz and went off the field. He was greeted by third base coach Rob Thomson:
Hugs went around as he countined down to the dugout to Mark Texiera and Brett Gardner. He went down the line to each of his teammates giving them a hug and smiling. Jeter tipped his helmet a couple more times and then went into the dugout:
That was the end of the Jeter era. After Jeter exited his pinch runner, McCann, ended up a third when Gardner doubled. Teixeira hit a sacrifice fly to center that brought McCann home making the score 4-0, Yankees in the lead:
During the top of the 7th, Craig Breslow relived Buchholz:
In the inning, Pirela doubled to center which caused Cervelli and Young to score. Murphy then singled to center and Pirela scored. Romine doubled to center, and Perez scored. Headley singled to right, scoring Murphy to take a 9-0 lead. During the middle of the 7th inning, Take Me Out To The Ballgame was special. The Red Sox brought in former New York Yankees outfielder to sing Take Me Out To The Ballgame. Bernie Williams came to Fenway and played his guitar while singing. He put his on twist to Take Me Out To The Ballgame. Only during this game, would a former Yankees player sing and play guitar for the seventh inning tradition. In the bottom of the 7th inning Rogers relieved Pineda. Butler doubled to right which scored Craig and Cecchini. Castillo then scored on error by right fielder Perez. Mookie Betts doubled to center, which scored Butler and Weeks bringing the score to 9-5. The game ended with the same score. During the 8th inning I went over to the dugout for my normal “9th inning seats.” I waited until the game was over and tried to sneak in to get a Jeter autograph but had no luck. I stuck around a little bit and a saw a trainer walking around. I asked him if I could get a baseball please. He went back into the dugout and grab a ball and tossed it to me. I didn’t go out empty handed and the ball streak continued! Good Luck to Derek Jet in his retirement!
Another day another baseball game but this time, my brother, Joe and I went to the game. The game was between the Red Sox and the Cleveland Indians. I was prepared: We drove into Boston and made our way to gate C. We got in line and waited. We then got our Red Sox Nation stamps:During the line, I bought some Red Sox raffle tickets to win WS rings. I got to then try them on. Here are the rings up close:As the rings were going around, the gates started opening up. We quickly went through security and found ourselves in straight away center field:Not much later Koji Uehara tossed up a ball:I then roamed around a bit so my brother and I weren’t in the same place. I moved to left field. Over to my right, I saw my brother in center. Felix Doubront tossed him a ball and he was on the board:
At the end of Red Sox BP, David Ortiz tossed up baseballs and tried hitting them to us. My brother ended up getting one. He was officially ahead of me but not for long. When the Indians came out, Michael Bourn was shagging in centerfield. I quickly recognized this and called out for him when he got a ball. He then saw me and then tossed up the ball. Here it is:
Also, in centerfield was Justin Masterson. He was talking to one of the vendors in the “triangle” and then signed for a couple fans. Since Masterson was on the Red Sox at one point, he was on my autograph hit list. I could now cross him off my list:I then moved back into centerfield. My brother then got a ball from a little kid with “Cabrera” on the back of his jersey. He now had 3 baseballs and I had 2, taking the lead, again:Wasn’t much longer before we were tied again, when Josh Outman tossed me a ball:After the gates opened, I headed over to the dugout to get ready for the players to come off. Two different coaches gave me a ball:It was worth going over there for 2 baseballs. There were not a lot of people around. There were a lot of older men looking for autographs, so it was easier to get a 2, since I didn’t try for the second one. I then met up with my brother on the third base side, pass the media, where Justin Masterson was signing and taking pictures with fans. Here is my brother getting the autograph and his picture with Masterson:And here is mine:Here is me with the 5 baseballs I had gotten so far:I also tried to get artsy and take a picture of just them:Here is my brother with his 3:The game started off with a moment of silence for Don Zimmer who had passed away:After the National Anthem, Jason Kipnis and Mike Aviles were playing catch. As soon as they were done, Mike Aviles tossed me a ball for my 6th of the day:During the game, Jon Lester was pitching for Boston:In the bottom of the 2nd, Grady Sizemore hit a ground rule double that scored Mike Napoli:In the bottom of the 5th, David Ortiz hit a 2-run home run to center field, making the score 3-0.In the top of the 6th, the Indians responded when Jason Kipnis singled to right allowing Bourn and Brantley to score. The Red Sox were still in the lead 3-2.Me and my brother were in different place during most of the game. Can you find him?In the bottom of the 6th, someone I was talking to for most of the game recognized me from 4 years back. She goes to one game a year and we happened to go to the same game again. She remembered me because she never sees any other girls with the opposite jersey or hat. She then also said she remembered me because 4 years ago she bought me a hot dog. I instantly remembered her. Not to often does another fan buy you a hot dog at a game. Well, we may have started a tradition because she bought me another hot dog:In the same inning, the Red Sox responded with two more runs from a Brock Holt double when Jonathan Herrera and Jackie Bradley Jr. scored. Maybe the hotdog gave us some luck giving the Sox, a 5-2 lead. After the 8th inning I found my brother and we moved sections. We headed over to the umpire tunnel area and watched the rest of the game from there. In the bottom of the 9th, Koji Uehara came on for the save: He pitched a 1-2-3 inning to help the Red Sox win 5-2.
I then grabbed the ball for my 7th of the day. Then the players from the bullpen came over. I then received my 8th of the day from one of the bullpen catchers.Here is me with my season high, 8 baseballs that I got during the game:
8 Balls in this game
47 Balls in 8 game this season = 5.88 Average on the season
Baseballs #202 – #209 lifetime
19 consecutive games with at least 2 baseballs
15 consecutive games with at least 3 baseballs
15 consecutive games with at least 4 baseballs
14 consecutive games with at least 2 baseball at Fenway
11 consecutive games with at least 3 baseball at Fenway
11 consecutive games with at least 4 baseball at Fenway
Special Baseballs this game: 0
Autographs this game: Justin Masterson (Indians)
Special Baseball on the Season: Opening Day Baseball (1), Rockies 20th Anniversary (1)
Autographs season: Grant Balfour (Rays), David DeJesus on batting gloves (Rays),R.A Dickey (Blue Jays), Edwin Encarnacion (Blue Jays), Todd Frazier (Reds), Brandon Gomes (Rays), Billy Hamilton (Reds), Brett Lawrie (Blue Jays), Jon Lester (Red Sox), Justin Masterson (Indians), Wil Myers (Rays), Jake Peavy (Red Sox), Brandon Phillips (Reds), Neftali Soto (Reds), Brandon Workman (Red Sox).
The Red Sox started the year with a 25 roster with 12 pitchers, 2 catchers, 6 infielders and 5 outfielders. That roster included new pick ups for the season. They signed Catcher, A.J. Pierzynski and outfielder, Grady Sizemore to a one-year deal.
With Shane Victorino and Will Middlebrooks both going to the DL in the month, Drake Britton, Brock Holt, Ryan Lavarnway, Daniel Nava, Alex Wilson, and Brandon Workman began to flip flop between the Red Sox and the Paw Sox.
In May, shortstop, Stephen Drew was offered a one-year deal to join the team to help out on the left side of the infield.
We then started seeing other minor league players make there MLB Debuts including Garin Cecchini and Alex Hassan. They both had their debuts on the same day and both got their first career hit! Not to much later, they were sent back down to the minor leagues.
The MLB draft was exciting with two first round draft picks. The Red Sox selected Michael Chavis, a shortstop out of Sprayberry High School in Marietta, Georgia. With their second pick in the first round, they selected Michael Kopech, a right handed pitcher out of Mount Pleasant High School in Texas.
Also in June, the lefty, Chris Capuano, was designated for assignment. He was then picked up by the Yankees days later. We then watched Mookie Betts have his shot a the big time. He was brought up to be seen in the outfield. He was then sent back down to Pawtucket 21 days later.
On July 31, 2014, the last day of the trading deadline, the Sox made some moves. They traded Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes to Oakland but in return we got outfielder, Yoenis Cespedes, He is a key piece in the deal because the Sox needed a power hitter and a great arm in either left or right field.
The Sox still weren’t done trading away pitchers. They then traded away the left-handed pitcher, Andrew Miller to Baltimore for Eduardo Rodriguez. Rodriguez is a left-handed pitcher and was said to be in the Orioles top 3 prospects.
The Red Sox have 6/12 pitchers, 1/2 catchers, 5/6 infielders, and 3/5 outfielders that were on the Opening Day roster. Out of the 25 on the roster, 9 have been traded or released and one is on the DL. Thank You to all the players who are leaving us and welcome to the guys joining the club! #GoSox!
This game was my last game in Atlanta and also for the Series of Red Sox vs. Braves at Turner Field. I was 6 balls away from #200. I felt like I had a shot at it in this game. My goal for the game was to get at least 6. My dad and I headed over to the gates, where we were let in not much later. I got situated in the left field bleachers. I quickly noticed a baseball in between the seats:
I then grabbed the ball and sure enough it was a MLB baseball. I was on the board:
I then moved over to where players were standing. Braves Pitcher David Carpenter was getting called out a lot but they did not use the correct name. They were calling him Matt Carpenter who was pitching for a completely different team. I quickly noticed this and called out to him when he got a ball. He noticed that I knew his first name and he tossed me the ball:
I then moved to Center field. Many pitchers were in front of me including Ervin Santana and Luis Avilan. Santana had a ball in his hand. He then tossed it to Craig Kimbel who was running out to the field. I quickly noticed who was coming out, and I called out to him. He then tossed me the baseball. I had to reach over the raining because of the low throw:
Here is the ball:
I then headed over to right field. There was a lot of baseballs chilling around the foul pole. Bullpen Coach, Eddie Perez came over with his bat and was hitting them back to the bucket in center. He only threw one up out of the 6 or 7 that were there. The Braves players started heading in and the Sox players started coming out. I stayed in right field for a while but nothing. The person shagging was one of the translators and he didn’t toss up a single ball. I went to center field where Peavy and his kids where shagging. A ball came over and Peavy grabbed the ball. Started walking away and noticed me. He stopped and threw me the ball:
I then headed over to left field. Bunch of Sox players where standing there including Burke Badenhop, Craig Breslow, Chris Capuano, and Brandon Workman. None of them tossed up anything. Didn’t matter how close the baseballs were. They tried to ignore everyone yelling at them. I then headed over the dugout and got a good spot. Before the game, the Long Haul Bombers put on a show. They are guys who are hitting softballs out of MLB stadium fences. They showed tremendous power by even going upper decks with some of the home runs:
Shortly after the players started coming out. Turner Field has an Oblivious Cam before the game. They put someone on the screen that is not paying attention and see how long they can go with out realizing that they are on the big screen. It took this guy 1 minute and 55 seconds to realize it:
The players were mostly out of the dugout warming up and stretching. Brock Holt and Bogaerts where tossing the ball to each other and Holt ended up with the ball. He then tossed the ball to me right before the national anthem:
Ball 199! I just needed one more for 200. At this point, I was very confident that I was going to get 200 during this game. The game started and the Sox started out well when we scored first in the top of the 1st. Brock Holt scored on Dustin Pedroia’s sac fly to left:
The Braves then fired back in the bottom of the inning when Jason Heyward hit a shot to center off of Jon Lester:
During the game I made friends with a little boy, Dalton and a little girl, Addison. They were Sox fans from Alabama and were at yesterday’s game too. Dalton sat with me for the game while Addison flipped flopped with sitting with her parents and us. There was again a fan with an interesting sign:
Since the Boston Braves were a team way back when, I wonder whom he was rooting for. In the bottom of the 3rd, the Braves took the lead when Chris Johnson hit a sac fly to center that resulted in B.J. Upton scoring:
The call stood and Grady was safe at third:
David Ross singled allowing Sizemore to score tying the game:
In between the top and bottom of the inning, the Sox were warming up. I kept my eyes on the ball that Ortiz was using. He then threw the ball to first base coach, Arnie Beyeler. He then looked at me and tossed me the ball: There it was #200! Most of the section behind me and to my right knew that it was my 200th ball. Everyone clapped for me. I was talking to a group of people before the game that I was going for 200 and word spread around. I found out that some of the fans around me where from the same town from me. They actually lived a couple streets over from me.
The Braves would respond in the Bottom of the 5th, when Johnson hit a sac fly that scored Freddie Freeman:
In between the top and the bottom of the 6th inning, I noticed that Jonathan Herrera had a ball in his hand. I asked him for it and he gave me the ball. I then gave the ball to Addison who was sitting next to me. She ran up to her parents and showed them the ball:
In the top of the top of the 7th, David Ortiz hit a single that scored Bogaerts:
Then, Grady Sizemore grounded out but in the process Pedroia scored from third. The Sox took the lead, 4-3! Later in the inning, Jackie Bradley Jr. singled to left that scored Ortiz and Gomes, making the score 6-3:
In the bottom of the 9th, Koji Uehara came in for the safe. Koji pitched a 1-2-3 9th inning to end the game, with the Red Sox winning 6-3:
Ballhawking Stats for the Season:
7 Balls in this game
39 Balls in 7 game this season = 5.33 Average on the season
Baseballs #195 – #201 lifetime
18 consecutive games with at least 2 baseballs
14 consecutive games with at least 3 baseballs
14 consecutive games with at least 4 baseballs
5 consecutive games with at least 2 baseballs outside of home stadium
4 consecutive games with at least 3 baseballs outside of home stadium
4 consecutive games with at least 4 baseballs outside of home stadium
Special Baseballs this game: 0
Autographs this game: 0
Special Baseball on the Season: Opening Day Baseball (1), Rockies 20th Anniversary (1)
Autographs season: Grant Balfour (Rays), David DeJesus on batting gloves (Rays),R.A Dickey (Blue Jays), Edwin Encarnacion (Blue Jays), Todd Frazier (Reds), Brandon Gomes (Rays), Billy Hamilton (Reds), Brett Lawrie (Blue Jays), Jon Lester (Red Sox), Wil Myers (Rays), Jake Peavy (Red Sox), Brandon Phillips (Reds), Neftali Soto (Reds), Brandon Workman (Red Sox).
Memorial Day. A holiday where the United States remember the men and women who died while serving in the armed forces. Major League Baseball makes it special. Each MLB team would wear special Memorial Day hats and jerseys. My dad and I were once again finding our way to the ballpark to attend a game for the second day in a row. We headed to the outfield gates of Turner Field:
We headed to a gate where there was a lot of people already standing out side:
When the gates opened, the security in the gates were visible. If you had a bag, you had to take everything out so they could see the bottom of the bag. You also had to take everything out of your pockets to go through the security gates. Gates opened up two and a half hours before game time. As we went in, nothing was happening:
We headed into the team store to get some souvenirs for my trip:
I got my keychain that I am collecting from every ballpark and a foam tomahawk. I then headed over to the first base side but stop when I saw this:
I then noticed that on the white board behind the stand where prizes. Every time you filled one out you could get a prize. So I got 250 of them to get all the prizes:
After filling about 30 of them, my hand was tried from writing my information, so I looked back out in the field. The Red Sox were throwing so I quit doing the ballets. Jon Lester and John Lackey were playing catch, and I snuck down into the front row. When Lackey was done, he went to one of the trainers. He was talking to him and started looking around. I quickly noticed this and called out for him. He then underhand tossed the baseball to me:
I was on the board. I didn’t try for another ball while I was over there. I tried to get into a good position for autographs. I do not go for Red Sox autographs at Fenway, and this was a perfect opportunity to get some. I headed down to the middle of the 3rd base line. It was a good thing I did. Jon Lester knew the people who where right next to me. He then came over to them and talked to the people he knew. They were talking about fishing. He then started signing for fans. He signed for his friends kids first. Then he signed my baseball:
After Lester signed, Chris Capuano came over near us. He then signed for a while. I had him on a baseball card, so I didn’t need to get him. He also didn’t get to where I was but got pretty close:
He made my decision easier because I was debating on having him sign a ball or not. The next Red Sox player to come over was Brandon Workmen. He then signed for me:
After Workman signed, I went over to where Peavy was signing. He told us he had to go in and he would be right back. So, I went and got a nice spot closer to the dugout. Sure enough, he came out. He started signing and did his best not to miss anyone. He then got to where I was and signed for me. He also took a photo with me:
I then chilled out near the dugout area and in the process got kicked out multiple times. Then the starting pitcher Clay Buchholz started heading out to the bullpen:
Brock Holt was one of the first to come out of the Dugout to stretch:
Different military members took the field around the diamond. In between each person was a Red Sox or Braves player:
Here is a panorama view of the field from my perspective:
The national anthem was perform from Corporal Pashun Cannon who was stationed in Camp Leatherneck- Afghanistan and was displayed on the big scoreboard:
Then they had a 4 jet fly over:
After the fly over Xander Boagarts and Brock Holt were warming up, playing catch. Then Xander saw me and tossed me the ball:
I then headed over to the same section I was in yesterday. The usher didn’t check my ticket as I sneaked by. Ervin Santana was pitching for the Braves and pitched a 1-2-3 first inning:
Clay Buchholz was pitching for the Red Sox and David Ortiz was playing first because in order for him to play in the game he needed to be in the field, due to the national league not having DHs:
Before the inning, Buchholz did not like the ball he was given by the umpire and threw it right to John Farrell and then he tossed it up to me:
In the top of the third, the Sox scored the first run. Grady Sizemore tripled to start out the inning:
Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a sacrifice fly to send him home.
Next batter up was Buchholz. He had to bat because pitchers have to bat in the National League. He ended up getting a single:
Who said pictures can’t bat? In the bottom of the inning, the Braves respond, scoring 3 runs in the inning, as Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman scored:
During the inning, I got this message on my phone:
During my iPhone cooling, Gerald Laird hit an infield single that scored Simmons. In the top of the 4th, Papi hit a ball off his foot and rolled all the way to 3rd base coach Brian Butterfield:
Guess who got that ball:
In the bottom of the 4th, the Upton boys both delivered with RBI doubles of their own making the score 5-1, Braves. Buchholz was then relieved by Badenhop:
Simmons also had a RBI single in the inning to make the score 6-1, Braves. It wasn’t looking good for the Sox. In the top of the 5th, Red Sox made a comeback all with 2 outs in the inning. Pedroia had a two-run RBI single that scored Nava, and Holt which also moved Bogaerts to second.
Ortiz came up and hit a blast to deep center, a 3-run shot that tied the game up. Ortiz Home Run Video.
In the middle of the 6th inning they had a rain delay:
I stood outside for most of it. Puddles in the stands made ushers come to kick us out telling us to go into the concourse:
Inside, there was one fan with an interesting sign:
Everyone was taking picture of him and the sign. The back said, “Just for today I’m a Red Sox fan.” I guess we will allow it just for today. I sat down in the gates way. Looked down at my knee and saw I got a tad sun burned:
I also ended up cracking my phone. I didn’t drop it. I was texting my mom and heard a pop noise. Moved my thumb and boom a crack. I was not too happy about my phone but the rain was stopping so it was slightly okay. The field workers were starting to clear off the water from the tarp:
They pulled off the tarp and as the grounds crew fixed the field the Red Sox retook the field:
The Red Sox took the field and Edward Mujica pitched the inning. In the top of the 7th, Ryan Lavarnway pitched hit for the pitchers spot but he grounded out. Next batter, Holt had a infield single and then Bogaerts walked. Ian Thomas, who was pitching for the Braves, threw a wild pitched that moved the runners to 3rd and 2nd. Ortiz hit a sac fly to right that scored Holt and allowed Bogaerts to go to third:
A.J. Pierzynski then had a broken bat single up the middle, allowing Bogaerts to score, giving the Sox a 8-6 lead at the end of the inning. A.J. Pierzynski Broken Bat RBI Single.
The lead stuck into the bottom of the 9th. Koji came in for the save. A double play to end the game with the Red Sox beating the Braves 8-6, ending the 10 game losing streak:
After the game, David Ortiz had a post game interview with Tim Kurkjian:
After he went into the dugout and tossed up around 5 baseballs. I got one:
The baseballs and autographs from the game:
Ballhawking Stats for the Season:
5 Balls in this game
32 Balls in 6 game this season = 5.33 Average on the season
Baseballs #190 – #194 lifetime
17 consecutive games with at least 2 baseballs
13 consecutive games with at least 3 baseballs
13 consecutive games with at least 4 baseballs
4 consecutive games with at least 2 baseball outside of home stadium
3 consecutive games with at least 3 baseball outside of home stadium
3 consecutive games with at least 4 baseball outside of home stadium
Special Baseballs this game: 0
Autographs this game: Jon Lester (Red Sox), Jake Peavy (Red Sox), Brandon Workman (Red Sox).
Special Baseball on the Season: Opening Day Baseball (1), Rockies 20th Anniversary (1)
Autographs season: Grant Balfour (Rays), David DeJesus on batting gloves (Rays),R.A Dickey (Blue Jays), Edwin Encarnacion (Blue Jays), Todd Frazier (Reds), Brandon Gomes (Rays), Billy Hamilton (Reds), Brett Lawrie (Blue Jays), Jon Lester (Red Sox), Wil Myers (Rays), Jake Peavy (Red Sox), Brandon Phillips (Reds), Neftali Soto (Reds), Brandon Workman (Red Sox).
Finally it was here. The day I would get to enjoy my birthday present from months ago. My dad and I were traveling to Atlanta for a trip to see 3 baseballs games at Turner Field. I started out the day getting up at 4 in the morning. We went into Boston to catch a 6:15am flight to Atlanta:
Off to Atlanta we went:
The plane was practically empty:
A lot of empty seats, and most people moved around for more space. During the flight they gave us water:
I thought it was quite strange that it was in a can because I’ve never seen canned water before. After about an hour and 45 mins you could start to see the big city of Atlanta off in the distance from the plane:
Our plane landed and we finally made it. We took a cab to the hotel and it took 10 minutes until we saw our exit:
When we got to the hotel we could see the stadium:
We then went to check in, but we couldn’t at the time. So we chilled out in the lobby until a room was ready. When the room was ready we put our things into the room and headed over to the Bullpen Rib House, which was right next to the hotel:
I got pulled pork, fries, and mac and cheese:
The mac and cheese was alright, it could have been more cheesier. The fries were excellent and the pulled pork was good until you got to the bottom. There was an overly amount of sauce at the bottom and was too much to handle. Besides that it was a good first meal in Atlanta. When we got back to the hotel, I made my hit lists:
The ones on the right, with the bigger pictures are the autograph targets. The other ones are pictures of the players to indicate who is who for toss ups. I went down stairs and printed them out and we headed to the ballpark. Entering the ballpark for the first time was a great experience. I was not sure how it would look or the easiest way around. It wasn’t hard from the gate I went to. When I got there the gate was already open. I guess we should have calculated the opening gates better. We probably arrived around 5 minutes later than the gates opened up. My guess is they let them in earlier because no one was in line at the gate when we got there. I quickly went in finding my way to the left field stands. There was one Braves player to my right, Ian Thomas:
Not even 5 minutes of me standing there, Thomas got a ball and then tossed it to me. I thought I got this one on the GoPro but I forgot to put the Sim Card in. Not a good start with the GoPro but I did get a picture of the ball. This is my first ball at Turner Field:
The gap between the walls is exciting place to get a ball with a ball retriever. Here is verified My Game Balls member DeeDubs24 using a ball retriever to grab a ball:
The gap is pretty big and a big drop. Here is the gap with the outfield wall to the left and the stadium-seating wall to the right. Notice the green shelf on the right after the gray concrete:
It is a shelf for fans to put their drinks and things on instead of the wall or floor. The shelf was knee high on me and anyone can easily bump into it with his or her legs. Most of Braves batting practice was trying to figure out where the best place to get baseballs were. After grabbing the ball that Thomas gave me, I moved more into Left/Center Field. I was hoping Braves Pitchers David Hale and Cory Gearrin didn’t notice I already got one. I then moved to the Centerfield bleachers where Outfielder Jordan Schafer, Pitchers Ervin Santana and Luis Avilan, were shagging fly balls. I then saw another group of kids with ball retrievers:
I left that area when the Braves started heading in. I then started heading over to the Left Field Bleacher so I could try for a ball with the Rockies Pitchers but first I had to get there. I stopped in the middle because of the entertainment going on in the common area near the entry gates. A group was performing using different kinds of drums and symbols:
I finally made it to left field and stood right next to the foul pole. Here is the foul pole looking straight up:
A bunch of Rockies players were throwing. One of the Rockies pitchers, Nick Masset, stopped throwing. I called out his name and he looked at me. Then he threw the ball right to me:
Here is the ball:
It was a Colorado Rockies 20th Anniversary Commemorative Ball. This was a great snag. I wondered if they were using these balls during batting practice but I would find out later. I decided to try out a photo challenge
- You posing with any number of baseballs while in the background a player in the outfield is wearing a jersey with the same number — 5 points
But after looking at the actual challenge I realized that it was no good after thinking it was for most of the game. I thought the challenge was just a picture of balls and the player. I was not in the picture just my hand was as you can see Player 0 and my hand without any baseballs:
Thought I had it, better luck next time. I went and looked at the Bullpen and took some cool angles of photos:
There were a lot of fans with ball retrievers. Here are two fans with them fighting over the same ball. The purple cup with duck tape got to it first but the fast food cup, on string, picked up the ball:
I then headed over to right field. As I went over there was now different entertainment. There was a Band playing music and the Braves Girls were throwing T-Shirts:
I finally entered the right field bleacher, pictured through one of the entrances:
Wasn’t too long before I got a Ball. Tommy Kahnle picked up a couple of balls and then tossed one to me:
Here is the ball:
I then headed to centerfield where Rockies catcher, Jordan Pacheco was standing with a Rockies Pitcher:
If you look closely you can see he has a ball in his back right pocket. He was teasing the fans with the ball, faking throwing it to us and at the ball boy near the net. Eventually, he threw it. The kids he threw it to, dropped the ball and it landed down in between the walls. Here is Pacheco’s reaction to the drop ball:
DeeDubs24 was over near us and he grabbed the ball with his retriever and gave it to one of the boys:
After bating practice I asked DeeDubs24 if we could do a photo for a photo challenge:
- Bonus #2 — a photo with an official myGameBalls.com Verifier — 2 points each
Here is the photo:
Thanks to the fan for taking the photo for me and thank you to DeeDubs24 for being in the photo with me. I then headed out to my seats near the dugout. I stopped at the bullpen. The bullpen area is viewable from the concourse level:
I then headed out to the dugout area:
They kicked people out of their seats an hour before game start. This is right as batting practice is ending. The guy that was supervising the area was very nice and down to earth. I talked to him for a while and also talked to some fans. I talked to one fan the most and he was very nice. He was trying to get baseball cards signed. I took a photo of the 3 batting practice balls:
The fan I was talking to then took this photo for me:
Thank you for taking the photo for me! The first Rockies player to come out was Justin Morneau:
I then did another photo challenge:
- You posing for a photo while in the background a t-shirt is being launched/shot into the crowd — 2 points
Here is the photo:
More Rockies players started coming out. Most of them started coming out as the National Anthem starting playing:
The Kidz Praise Children’s Choir Calvary Baptist Church sang the National Anthem. This probably made every kid filled with Joy.
The Rockies pitchers started coming out to go to the bullpen. You can spot the rookie really easy with the pink backpack:
Here is first pitch from Braves staring picture Julio Teheran to Charlie Blackmon:
As the game started, I wasn’t sure who I was going to root for. I had my Troy Tulowitzki jersey on so I went with the Rockies. I also was sitting right near the Rockies dugout so all signs did point to root for them. In the second inning, I went up to the concourse and got a Dip and Dots in a hat for food and a souvenir all in one:
Also in the top half of the inning, starting pitcher Franklin Morales had to bat. In the Nation League there is no such thing as a DH (designated hitter). Morales proceed to get a bunt down to move the runners:
In the bottom of the second, Evan Gattis hit his 9th home run of the year, making the score 1-0, Braves:
My dad had came back with a souvenir soda:
Unlike at Fenway where souvenir sodas have unlimited refills, Turner Field’s souvenir soda have one refill. They put a sticker on the cup to symbolize the refill. They also do not come with a Lid which I found rather interesting. Later in the inning, Andrelton Simmons flied out to center fielder Charlie Blackmon, to end the inning. Blackmon then tossed me the ball for my fourth of the day:
In the bottom of the 4th inning, Evan Gattis hit his 2nd home run of the day. Justin Upton scored on the home run as well, making the score 3-0, Braves:
After the home run you can see fans do the “Tomahawk Chop.” Fans use their arm and make a chop to the beat of the music. Some also use foam Tomahawks, that you can buy at the Team Store for $6. I bought one as a souvenir later in the week. Here is fans using their hands and tomahawks:
Before the 5th inning, there was the Tool Race. The tool race is where 4 tools run in a race to just a little past centerfield. In this race the Paint Brush beat out the Drill, the Home Depot Bucket, and the Hammer:
In the bottom of the 5th inning it was Home Run inning. If any Braves player Hit a home run in the inning, all fans would have the opportunity to get $5 off at the RaceTrac. In the inning Justin Upton hit a 2-run home run, making the score 5-0, Braves:
Fans cheered because not only did the Braves hit a home run but it was during the Home Run Inning and the Score Board gave out the good news:
After the home run, Morales was done for the day:
Rockies pitcher Tommy Kahnle, who tossed me a ball during bp, came into the game to pitch:
In the Top of the 7th, Anthony Varvaro replaced Julio Teheran after pitching 6 scoreless innings. With the pitchers spot coming up to bat, the Rockies put in Brandon Barnes to pitch hit for the pitcher, Tommy Kahnle. In the bottom of the inning, Rex Brothers came into pitch for Brandon Barnes after he pitched hit for Tommy Kahnle. In the bottom of the 8th inning, Troy Tulowitzki appeared to walk off the field with an injury after the mid-inning warm up:
Josh Rutledge replaced him as a result. Also, Nick Masset replaced Rex Brothers on the mound. Chris Johnson then hit a two-run shot on a line drive to left center field, making the score 7-0, Braves:
In the top of the ninth, Luis Avilan came in, relieving Anthony Varvaro after 2 innings of scoreless work. Avilan put them down in order to end the game with a score of Rockies 0, Braves 7. At the end of the game, pitching coach Jim Wright had a ball in his hand. I quickly noticed this and asked him for the ball. He then tossed me the baseball:
There was a little boy sitting next to me along with his mom. I told his mom innings before that I would do my best to get her son a ball. So the ball that Wright gave me, I gave away to the little boy. His mom then told me I had to sign it so they would remember who gave them a ball. I laughed a little then signed it. Normally I get people to sign my baseball but I signed one for a change. Here is my writing on the ball along with the signature:
If you are reading this, Thanks for enjoying the game with me and I hope that ball is in a safe place now! His mom then took a photo of us with her camera and then with mine. Here we are with the ball:
Ballhawking Stats for the Season:
- 5 Balls in this game
- 27 Balls in 5 game this season = 5.40 Average on the season
- Baseballs #185 – #189 lifetime
- 16 consecutive games with at least 2 baseballs
- 12 consecutive games with at least 3 baseballs
- 12 consecutive games with at least 4 baseballs
- 3 consecutive games with at least 2 baseball outside of home stadium
- 2 consecutive games with at least 3 baseball outside of home stadium
- 2 consecutive games with at least 4 baseball outside of home stadium
- Special Baseballs this game: Rockies 20th Anniversary (1)
- Autographs this game: 0
- Special Baseball on the Season: Opening Day Baseball (1), Rockies 20th Anniversary (1)
- Autographs season: Grant Balfour (Rays), David DeJesus on batting gloves (Rays),R.A Dickey (Blue Jays), Edwin Encarnacion (Blue Jays), Todd Frazier (Reds), Brandon Gomes (Rays), Billy Hamilton (Reds), Brett Lawrie (Blue Jays), Wil Myers (Rays), Brandon Phillips (Reds), Neftali Soto (Reds).