The Season Is Back!

Well, you know it’s baseball season again when you get your season tickets in the mail! Not to mention you start baseball practice at school…. I feel bad about not blogging during the offseason, but my life revolves around basketball and school in the winter and I feel like people don’t really care…. If people do care, this was the cumulative result of everything I have been concetrating on since pretty much the beginning of last summer but more specifically this winter. Yes. Winning a league championship for my school. Despite the fact that I saw minimal playing time all year it’s still an honor to be on the first Friends Schools League Championship team for my school in 26 years. We also came in 2nd in the state, beaten by a team we had beaten twice already in the season =/. Wish we could won a 3rd. I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to getting a title in Baseball, but there’s a difference between having a high level basketball team with several sure fire Division 1 players, and having a baseball team who beyond their starting nine can barely even throw the ball around the infield (granted our starting 9 sometimes even has trouble with that) It’s not out of the question though, with the right pieces of the puzzle meshing, it could be an attainable goal. Our first game is Saturday and we still have quite a lot of work to get done this week before it. It is not a league game however, so it can somewhat be treated as a scrimmage although all I want to do is win. If people are interested, I can post game recaps, but again I feel as though people read these blogs more for ballhawking purposes. On a Ballhawking note, I hope to get my friend Max into it because he would be a worthy partner in crime if my parents felt more comfortable sending me to games with a partner. I have shown him Zack Hample’s Blog and hopefully that will get him hooked as it did for me. I look forward to taking another year to try and achieve my goal of getting to a stadium before the gates have openned. I don’t understand why that seems like such a strange idea to people, but relying on others for transportation means adapting to their schedule. I will do my best to keep the blog updated, even if it’s just random posts just to say things to anyone who might be listening.

Trying to get Hat/Shirt of every team

I was wondering whether there was any way to get help getting a hat and shirt/Jersey from every MLB team.
Here’s the list of everyteam. An Item with an X next to it I already have. Let me know if anyone knows of a website that sells SUPER cheap. I’m also interested in buying new/used from people if they can sell cheap. Comment or contact me on twitter to let me know if you have any helpful information!

Arizona Diamondbacks
Hat
Tshirt/Jersey X

Atlanta Braves
Hat
Tshirt/Jersey

Baltimore Orioles
Hat X
Tshirt/Jersey X

Boston Red Sox
Hat
Tshirt/Jersey

Chicago White Sox
Hat
Tshirt/Jersey X

Chicago Cubs
Hat X
Tshirt/Jersey

Cincinnati Reds
Hat
Tshirt/Jersey X

Cleveland Indians
Hat
Tshirt/Jersey

Colorado Rockies
Hat
Tshirt/Jersey

Detroit Tigers
Hat
Tshirt/Jersey X

Florida Marlins
Hat
Tshirt/Jersey X

Houston Astros
Hat
Tshirt/Jersey

Kansas City Royals
Hat
Tshirt/Jersey X

Los Angeles Angels
Hat
Tshirt/Jersey

Los Angeles Dodgers
Hat
Tshirt/Jersey

Milwaukee Brewers
Hat
Tshirt/Jersey X

Minnesota Twins
Hat
Tshirt/Jersey X

New York Mets
Hat
Tshirt/Jersey

New York Yankees
Hat
Tshirt/Jersey

Oakland Athletics
Hat
Tshirt/Jersey

Philadelphia Phillies
Hat X
Tshirt/Jersey X

Pittsburgh Pirates
Hat
Tshirt/Jersey

San Diego Padres
Hat
Tshirt/Jersey

San Francisco Giants
Hat
Tshirt/Jersey

Seattle Mariners
Hat
Tshirt/Jersey

St. Louis Cardinals
Hat
Tshirt/Jersey

Tampa Bay Rays
Hat
Tshirt/Jersey

Texas Rangers
Hat
Tshirt/Jersey

Toronto Blue Jays
Hat
Tshirt/Jersey

Washington National
Hat
Tshirt/Jersey X

Thanks, Hope to hear from people soon!
Jeremy Evans

Follow me on twitter?

Twitter is a good way to connect with any others in the hobby, so follow me @Jboevans7 and I’ll follow back. Tweets take a lot less time then blog posts so therefore there will be more of them =P. I dunno if ill get to another game before summer ends, since I’m gone 10th – 21st, have Phillies tickets for the 26th, and school starts like the 6th of September? At that point there’s no telling how often I’ll be able to blog let alone go to games. Follow on twitter, and I’ll actually find reason to tweet!

Thanks,

Jeremy

 

Phillies vs Pirates July 29th 2011

Two games in a row! A day off of catching my first 3 (!!!!) Batting Practice balls I was pumped. My friend Max was taking me and so I encouraged them that we should go early, which fortunate for me was something his dad always tried to do. Yet, common folk see early as 530 or 6, not the desired 430, but not complaints here! We got there at 5:35 and so all the Gates were convieniently oppened, I ran in with Max and began to coach him. A fly ball launched a section over and a few rows up, I had told Max he probably didn’t want to be standing near me and yet he was =P so he blocked me from getting through the row haha. I think at that point he understood that I was actually serious about getting a ball, and choose a position a section over. A fly ball came and sailed right over his head, and I immediately had NO idea why he hadn’t caught it. The one viable reason, the sun. The sun was unfortunately in our eyes (I continue to learn things of importance I.E. bring sunglasses, camera) So I understood why he missed it, from a section away not looking at the sun but at him, it looked like he let the ball just hit the section behind him…. not characteristic of a Varsity baseball player (lol).

 So we continued on, and there was another BOMB and as I mentioned in my previous post, I have learned not to give up on a ball, so knowing the tendencies of CBP I figured there was a good shot at a deflection off the upper deck, I ran over to Max’s section tried to look back up to find the ball but the sun was blazing and so I turned my back to the sun and tried my chances just watching the Upper deck but after a couple seconds there was a smack on a seat behind me and somehow I had missed the ball deflecting and it landed in my row. I picked it up and was on the board… lucky. BP ended 10 minutes later at about 6:10. So, 40 minutes of BP and one ball….ehh, I guess I’m  still learning.

We then checked out the Bullpens but were surprised to only see one ball. We both thought we had seen several land there but they must have already been thrown up. The ball was sitting on the visitors mound and so we positioned ourselves on the overhang on Ashburn Alley and hoped that a security guard DIDN’T toss it up. With a security guard, we had no shot of being the clear cut choices to throw it too, the attendant was asked by many people to retrieve it and throw it to them but to our relief he wasn’t permitted to. So we were able to wait for the Pirates Bullpen Catcher to start gearing up to warm up the starter. After putting on his shin guards he came out from under the eav and as he leaned over to pick up the ball I took my chance. “Heberto! Any chance I could get that ball please?” He slowly turned around to peer up, you’ve got to figure he was wondering “who in the world knows my name? Oh my gosh even more perplexing, it’s a PHILLIES fan?????” and so he kindly chatted up “Hey, how’s it going?” I hadn’t been ready for any kindof small talk and so I kindof stutered “uhh, good, nothin much happenin.” No exactly a sharp response but he tossed up the ball and I will forever remember him as being my first pre game toss up. And that confused face as he turned around to peer at a fan who knew his name (thank you roster sheets =D).

I gave one of the balls to Max and we proceeded to go down and get Pirates autographs. I got Brandon Wood but Max decided to keep his ball clean (well, besides my # that I had written). The Phillies won, and we went home happy after another display of fireworks. I love baseball.

Phillies vs. Giants July 28th 2011

Well, first things first, I am ecstatic to report that I have finally attended my first “full” (missed first 10 minutes, but I’ll let it slide) Batting Practice. I felt I took advantage of it and will now be well prepared as I try to expand my collection to more then just 3rd out and in game infield warmup toss ups. I ran into the left field gates at about 4:40 (they open 430 for 7:00 games) and was thrilled that it was not as packed as I had feared it would be. I guess the fans that arrive early at CBP are more interested in eating on Ashburn Alley then ballhawking, which is just fine by me =D. (My next task in becoming more thourough in documentation, will be to bring a camera to visually document my adventures).

I was able to stake out a good spot in the middle of left field about 7 rows up and it payed off immediately. The first ball that I got was a low flying dart by Ben Francisco. I literally jogged through my row to the next aisle dropped down 2 rows and over another 3 feet and caught it with only one other person with a competing glove. My first batting practice ball?!?!?!?!?!?! VICTORY! Was it really that easy? Like shagging balls in the outfield in my highschool BP? I realized after the Ballhawkfest last week that the reason I missed out on the 3 flys that came near me is because when I realized I had miss judged a ball I just stood there and watched, even when I could’ve had a good chance if I had just taken the effort to step down a row.

My second ball was a towering shot by John Mayberry Jr. it was a bomb in the sense that it was launched upwards, but it only landed in the 3rd row so it wasnt long at all. I had assumed position in the same row in the middle of left field after the Francisco ball, and so for this I went a section to the right, down 4 rows and in a couple steps and caught it over a man leaning back from the front row. At that point people started being the “woah, that’s two balls you got!” and knowing Phillies fans I was wondering what would happen if they saw me get a third. Would it turn to anger?

I never got a third ball among those same people. Until 5:35 (when the rest of the stadium opens) no more balls landed remotely near to me. With the Phillies Lefty stacked lineup they were crushing balls to right field that ushers were out shagging….boo. So I proceeded to run around trying to get a ball from players, I got acknowledgment from Antonio Bastardo but he just continued to say “be patient” and yet I never got one from him, oh well. I then went to center field and got Michael Stutes’s attention, I kinda felt wierd standing on a chair asking him a ball over all the other people that had been standing in the front row for a while. They all turned their heads and I kinda felt guilty, is that normal? What mindset is there to not thinking that you’re doing something wrong? Anyway, Stutes turned as he was picking up a ball and I flapped my glove, not really wanting to yell to him anymore since I was feeling self concious, and unfortunately he did a kinda sarcastic, “oh hey” with a wave as if I had been waving to him…. I guess I let one get away there.

I then ran to right when the Giants started to hit and caught yet another ball on the fly! This one I ran straight through my row for 3 sections (I’m still suprised it hung in the air) and made the catch in stride behind a guys outstretched hand. The guy said it had deflected off his hand, which I hadn’t been aware of (probably nicked his pinky). I was feeling great, I got to show my mom that it pays off to come to BP. For the record I applaud her for getting me to  any game regardless of what time. So having 3 balls, feeling accomplished, I felt that it was my duty to sit with her and not think about snagging for the game so that she could spend a game with her son (only the second game she’s taken me to, usually my dad).

We spent the game behind 4 Giants fans, quite the entertaining group. They were nothing but respectfully cheering for the Giants, but yet the Phillies fans were trashing them. I’m guessing that they were a mother, father, and 2 sons, or a son and a friend. Regardless, one son had a Brian Wilson immitation beard, and the other a Brian Wilson themed Mo Hawk. All I can say is, Cool Dudes.

Phillies lost. So the fans were even more brutal, but good game, Lincecum pitched well….=/. A ball that was lieing in the Bullpen after BP was STILL THERE after the game, and yet the security guys pushed us out due to the fact that the concourse needed to be clear for the fireworks. Fireworks were great, got home late, but I was thrilled with the result. Many more games to come I hope. (went to Friday vs Pirates too. Post coming soon)

Orioles vs Angels Saturday July 23rd

Ahhh, the months had finally passed, a “Ballhawk fest” had been organized by Alan Schuster, founder of mygameballs.com, as a gathering of ballhawks from near and far. The weekly reminders to my dad had also passed:

“Hey dad, we’re still free July 23rd right?”

“Why?”

“Orioles game? Sound familiar? Ballhawk fest? No?”

“Oh yeah, not sure if we can swing that, but we’ll see”

 and now it was the test to see if my persistance had payed off.

The plan was almost blown up by the timing of getting my sister back to her job as a camp counselor but I was able to be dropped of at the park a at about 5:10, took me till about 5:20 to actually get to the park and get in from where I got dropped. Unfortunately I didn’t have a season ticket that could get me to left field so I stuck to center field for 10 minutes, in that time only 1 ball even reached the seats and there were only probably 3 toss ups to little kids in the front rows.

I was constantly checking my phone for the time and I got to the left field seats right when 5:30 came around. I was too focused on trying to get my first ever batting practice ball (all my balls have been infield warmup/3rd out balls) to introduce myself to the rest of the group, and I figured they were focused enough to not want to be disturbed anyway. I only had only 2 shots at batted balls the whole time, one I over judged by one row and a guy sneaked in a row in front of me and grabbed it cuz he had a better angle, another i under judged and it landed 4 rows behind me despite my best leaping attempt.

So as batting practice wrapped up I had nothing to show for it =/ dissapointing. I then introduced myself to Alan and got my event shirt. He then took me to meet Zack Hample, whom I had never met but have read his blog for two years or so and who had influenced me to take a try at ballhawking. We talked a bit at the seats next to the Orioles Bullpen where there had been 8 or so BP balls scattered, an attendent then came by and gathered them in a pile on the bullpen bench. The starting pitcher and catcher then came out to warm up and with them came the Pitching and Bullpen coach. The bullpen coach took a seat on the bullpen bench and Zack tried to get his attention, he tried telling him about the balls being put on the bench and that they were from BP but you could tell the coach couldn’t hear him very well and wasn’t processing the request. A few minutes later the coach finally looked to his right, and spotted the balls on the bench, it then clicked in his mind what Zack had been trying to convey to him and he then proceeded to toss all of the balls over the screen to all of us standing on the other side. I was able to grab one of those and it ended up being my only ball of the day =/. Imagine that, all game waiting for a third out ball, as an Adam Jones HR landed literally in my assigned seat (http://baltimore.orioles.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=17200171&topic_id=8879002&c_id=bal, our seats were section 78, row 4 seats 3-4 A.k.a the ball was picked up probably at seat 4) fml, and Derek Lee tossed ball after ball to the side of the dugout rather then over the top. I guess I dont know Lee’s tendencies as well as I know Ryan Howard’s.

Despite only snagging one ball I had a great time meeting all the guys, learning the ballpark, and getting Zack to sign my copy of his book. I’ll be making trips to the Phillies Games on Thursday and Friday, and hopefully others. Let me know if you’re going to any Phillies games, I’ll try to keep this updated. I am still looking forward to the day that I get to a ballpark before the gates have oppened and I get to be there for the entirety of BP.

Thanks for reading,

Jeremy (aka PhillyOs)

A New Perspective on Baseball’s Mental Game

I was going to avoid bringing my personal athletic endeavors into this blog, since it’s most likely not something very interesting for others, but it seemed important that I write about my new found take on the depth of baseball.

For me, saying that I have found another part of baseball that is intriguing to me is groundbreaking because ever since I was 5 and watching orioles games after kindergarten baseball was undoubtedly going to be a LARGE portion of my large. As for how this and my personal athletics ties together, I have just begun to catch for the first time in my life. After a solid 6+ year career at First Base/Pitcher, I came to baseball tryouts as a freshman willing to play anywhere if it meant I got playing time. This was about a month ago and somewhere in that first week of practice the Head Varsity coach decided it couldnt hurt to try me at Catcher. I was a complete stranger to the position, but after catching my first “bullpen” the coaches told me I looked like I knew what I was doing, and that I could simply be a natural. Maybe it’s because of all the baseball I have watched that I just knew the motions/responsibilities of a catcher, but all of a sudden I was about to compete for the Varsity starting catching position.

After all that background I can get to the real point of this. Today at 2 the Varsity team had the first game, and I started. I was about to play my first official inning as a catcher after only about a month of exposure to the position. Rightfully so I had quite a few butterflys, I was supposed to lead the team as a freshman? Of course since it was a nonleague game it was really being treated as more of a scrimmage then a serious game, but regardless, you always want to win!

In the end I caught 4 innings before moving to 1st, we lost 5-1 but the team showed great promise for the future (we started 4 freshman and there’s one senior on the whole team). After the game I was relieved to be able to reflect on my new experience, I loved catching! There were ups and downs as there always will be, I was 1/4 or maybe 5 at throwing runners out on dropped balls or straight steals so there are no doubt things to work on. I dropped quite a few throws, but now as a catcher I can watch every SECOND of every game on tv and work on sharpening my mental abilities, physical mistakes will happen regardless. They happen to everyone but mental mistakes can always be avoided. From things as small as forgeting to pinch in my right leg to cover the pitch call from the visitors 1st base coach, or making sure to clutch extra tight on a third strike or do all you can to block that 3rd strike pitch and keep it in front of you, to getting the ball straight back to the pitcher and not overthrowing him. So many things MLB catchers do automatically without fail, RARELY do you see a pro catcher overthrow the pitcher as he throws back to the mound.

Learning things as important as calling the right play on a 1st and 3rd situation, or calling out where to relay the ball to from the outfield. I can learn a lot now that I can watch games and understand everything that goes into every pitch.

Basically the bottom line is that for all the people that call baseball a “***** sport” should try and catch just an inning and train yourself to leta curveball that bites a foot and a half down at 70mph hit you anywhere, even in unpadded areas, as long as it doesnt get past you. I’m tired of people saying “well yeah that happens only in the major leagues, only they throw that hard cuz those guys are good” well ive got news for them, I had to try to block that kind of a curveball today in a highschool game. When one of the doubters trys that, they will realize its not just a walk in the park, and just simply catching the ball and throwing it back like they think.

So I strongly encourage people to try out catcher to get a new feel for the game. It gives you a new take on the game and allows you to think more deeply in the game if/when you want to. However, not everyone wants to have to think hard in baseball at times, me included =)   

Phab Phive??? Should there be concern?

What happened? The Phillies starting five has been FAR from fabulous, with the exception of Sir Roy Halladay. The Phillies “Greatest of All-Time” Rotation has been somewhat mediocre. Maybe it’s just a case of pitchers not throwing regular season pitch cycles, so that they can work on fine tuning particular pitches, as they are merely practice games. Barring injury, that is the only excuse they have for their poor performance.

To give some perspective on the kind of questionable stats I’m talking about, how do you explain how the 4 others of the presumed 5 man rotation are all in the bottom 5 in ERA of the 15 Phillies pitchers that have thrown at least 7 innings.

11. Joe Blanton* (4.09)

12. Kyle Kendrick (4.15)

13. Roy Oswalt* (4.61)

14. Cliff Lee* (4.74)

15. Cole Hamels* (6.75)

*indicates assumed 2011 Starting Rotation (as of 3/24/11)

 To put it simply, what all Phillies fans can hope for, and all opponents fans hope against, is that in the week after Roy Halladay toes the rubber for the Phillies on April 1st, that whatever pitcher they put out there performs to their expectations or above.

 

 

Joined “mygameballs.com”

Just joined “mygameballs.com” in hopes that
it will allow me to keep track of my collection better. It’ll
allow me to enter who I got each and every ball from, so that
I don’t have to keep written records. It’ll also help me
track when and where I got autographs from here on out. I
strongly suggest anyone who has any interest in Ballhawking
join too!

Reviving the Blog

Well, I don’t know why I originally stopped blogging. But I have been encouraged by many to start a blog to be able to track/document my sports crazy life. I have been told it would be a useful tool in developing myself as a sports journalist, since that is what I aspire to be whether it be broacasting or writing. So I guess there is nothing left to do but right about my first love, Philadelphia Sports. As I anticipate the  arrival of our Phillies Partial Season Tickets some time soon I remembered that now as a 9th grader I will have more conflicts when it comes to getting to games, assuming that I play for the Varsity team! In these blogs I will write about the progression of Philadelphia Sports team’s seasons, primarily the Phillies but including the Sixers possibly some Flyers and Eagles whenever the next season for them may be.

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