Sunday, June 07, 2009

Today's Spheres

Since you probably don't want to hear any more about today's crappy game, I'll just tell you about the scores I made in batting practice.

Got to the RSN Monster line about the time you're "supposed" to start lining up (after my normal driving route was cut off by an AIDS walk, which I ended up walking in for a few feet to get across it). And unlike the times I'd gone in April and May, the line was incredibly long at that point. I knew the Red Sox wouldn't be hitting, so it was okay that it took about 15 minutes to get up there. There was nothing going on, except Lugo taking much needed grounders. The half-hour ended, and I was able to stay up there by showing my Monster SRO ticket (I had three other people coming later).

New people started filing in as the Rangers were setting up to hit. So I'd have some competition. The dream is to have BP going on, and be the only fan up there in that minute between RSN time and gates opening. Anyway, I put myself in the righties' power alley, front row, at the bottom of an aisle so I could go left, right, or up. A Ranger who I later figured out was Michael Young hit one high and deep and to my right. If it landed in the front row to my right and stayed, I was gold. If it was the second row, I'd find out when I got up there. I had to wait till it landed--and it hit in the second row and stayed there. I bolted up the couple of steps, barely beating someone else to the spot, and turned left. Nobody there, except a woman coming from the other side, but I knew she was farther from the ball than I was. Ball number one secured.

I felt bad for her, apologized, and said how I never get balls up there. She was cool about it. A Fan Foto guy took my picture of me and the ball. Click here to see the pic. (And get it on a mousepad or whatever.)

A few minutes later, I'm back at my spot. Two dudes to my left a few seats down, but they're sitting down. Behind me, a couple of kids. Space to the right. Marlon Byrd launches one right at me. I learned from Vernon Wells not to try and one-hand a line drive. But this one was a little loftier and right to me, so I made the decision as I watched the ball fall toward me that I had to try and catch it. I went for it with two hands, and it caught me in the meaty part of my right hand, below the palm, under the pinky. It bounced straight down but out of sight. I was really hoping it didn't go off to the side, and I looked around manically before seeing the ball sitting patiently on the seat I was next to. I grabbed it quickly--and it seemed like the kid nearby knew to let me pick it up anyway since I was the only one who tried for it. Ball number two secured.

I heard a man say "you should play the lottery." He must've seen me get the first ball. Also notice this ball has a "practice" stamp on it. It's about time I got some variety.

At this point I'm feeling guilty, because I told myself if I got another ball, I'd give it to that woman I barely beat out for the first one. But this one I really sacrificed my body for--it's not like it just rolled to me. Then I thought about giving her the first ball. I kept thinking about this, while now telling myself that if I got a third ball, I'd definitely give it to her. Byrd hit another one to my right, that slammed the top of The Wall in front of two guys who reached very nonchalantly for it, just for show. Darren O'Day, who I knew to be #56 for some reason, was at the base of The Wall and got the carom. The Rangers hadn't been throwing any balls up to us, but I got the feeling he would this time since it was so close to a home run anyway. As soon as I saw him turn up to us, I raised my arms. He threw, but he air-mailed me, and it went off to the right, where the two guys closest to the original hit fought for it, and it fell to the ground between me and one of them. I dove for it, saying, "this is for someone else!" and grabbing it just before the guy did. I turned and started going to the woman, who was looking right at me almost as if she'd been rooting for me, knowing I'd give it to her. So she got ball number three, but it does count in my official records as a ball I caught, hit by Marlon Byrd, thrown by Darren O'Day.

My previous record for one day had been one. I'm now up to 10 lifetime. (Ten spheres wrapped in animal skin--MLB, start using something else, it's 2009.) More pics from today in the full gallery later. There were some fun moments despite our reaction to Dice being this:

Hey, you're not just a very entertaining fellow, you're pretty thoughtful, too! Nice going.
I'm starting to feel the same way about Matsuzaka that you feel about Drew. For all the money the Sox laid out for him, a 7.33 era and only 5 innings per start doesn't come close to cutting it. And it's tough enough watching him pitch when he's actually getting outs, never mind when he's getting shelled like yesterday. Nibble nibble nibble nibble nibble......
pweezil, thanks.

ajm, yeah I thought Dice would be a superstar by now. I still think though with Beckett and Lester dominatrixing, and Wake having an All-Star year, too, and the bullpen being incredible, he should help us more than he hurts us. I do still think there's a chance he becomes what we hoped he would.
Yeah, nice job giving the woman the ball. I've only caught one foul ball, in the Kingdome back in '95 or '96, and I gave it to the kid next to me.

I don't think Wake's having an All-Star year with a 4.50 era, but he has been effective and very useful once again providing innings at the back of the rotation. What frustrates me about Dice is that we have two guys, Smoltz and Buchholz, who clearly are ready to be inserted in the rotation and who would both likely represent an upgrade over the way he's pitching this year, but it's not gonna happen unless they DL him again. So they'll trade Penny to make room for Smoltz, and Buchholz will likely waste most of the year at Pawtucket.

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Location: Rhode Island, United States