Lets Play Catch: July 7, 2015: Miami Marlins vs Red Sox @ Fenway Park

IMG_4892Summer baseball on a beautiful Tuesday in July. My day started out working and after I was headed to Fenway; it doesn’t get better than that. My dad dropped me off at the intersection of Brookline Ave and Lansdowne St and I walked down to Gate C. I was the first in line and the garage door wasn’t even open yet. Around 4:15pm, Red Sox nation workers came out and stamped our hands. The security guards put out sandwich boards telling the fans what to take out of their pockets. One of the guys behind me was very confused with the process because he thought they were just like the airport security check ins. He was all prepared to take off his shoes and his belts. When I showed him the signs he was relieved that he didn’t have to take off his belt because his pants would fall down without it. I also noticed on the IMG_4896_2board that the picture over shoes and jackets had a New Balance logo-ed shoe. It is the only one that had a logo on it. Red Sox are sponsored by New Balance and it brings you to wonder if they are promoting New Balance or not. At 4:40pm, my Dad and I went into the
ballpark. The Red Sox have been doing this thing where they pull the starting pitchers and relievers in after the first group of hitters finish their batting practice. Everything in that time phrase was either hit to left field or right field. Normally the coaches do not throw baseballs into the stands so getting a ball would have to come from the bat of one of the players. The second group came up and Mike Napoli was in the cage. I had my phone on video and in the video you can hear the fans react to the ball being caught.

I turned off the camera and before I knew it another ball was coming into the stands. I ran over and caught that one as well for my 2nd of the day. When Hanley came up in the cage the first one was coming at us to our right. It was high and I knew it was going to bounce off of the wall behind us. I turned around and watched it bounced off the wall. I didn’t have to move as the ball bounced off the wall and then right into my glove.

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Hanley wasn’t done with his show of power during batting practice. He hit another shot to centerfield. This time it was in the first row seats. I reached up and grabbed it. I was on my way to give a kid a ball when the ball was hit. I then gave the kid one of the balls I caught. Turns out it was the first ball that I caught. The second ball I got from Hanley had two star marks. One on the sweet spot and one near the Official MLB scripting. The ball was 4th of the day.

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Miami Marlins came out to do batting practice. Frank Menechino was giving Jordany Valdespin fielding off the monster and centerfield wall. A few were coming close to the wall so I moved into a good position to see if he would hit one over the wall by accident.  He hit one that looked like it was going to clear the wall, I moved to my left to make sure it was going over the wall. As it came in I reached up and caught it for my 5th of the day.

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Sam Dyson was in centerfield for BP and he came around near me a couple of times. People were talking to him from the monster and all around me. A ball had come right near where I was. The ball was too far over from the right and I ran out of room but I reached for it and missed it only by a little. Dyson told me I should of had that one and I told him I ran out of room to get it and then he told me to reach farther and I told him to get that one I would have needed a longer arm. A couple minutes went by and he came near me again but this time he had a ball in his hand instead of asking him, I asked him if he would like to make a bet. And he probably thought I was joking at first but he was down for it. So I ask him if I catch a ball of the bat of a player, can we play catch? Can we make that deal? And he said if you catch a ball of the bat it will be a deal. At this point I had been lucky with catching balls of the bat and happened to be in the right place at the right time. Of course my heart was going about 100x of the normal amount. I just made a bet with a baseball player. I’ve always wanted to toss with a professional player also and was on my Bucket List for this year’s season. After around five minutes of looking out at the batter I saw one ball start flying my way. As it was coming towards me I thought this is it this is it!! When the ball hit my glove, the excitement I felt was like no other. I looked down at Dyson and he knew I caught it and he was watching. The first thing he said to me was wow I didn’t think you were actually going to get the chance to catch one. I told him to be honest I didn’t think so either but it was worth the try. I gave my dad my phone so he could tape what was happening:

I was slightly nervous. I didn’t want to throw the ball away. That would have been awful. It was also weird throwing down from the centerfield wall. I got comfortable throwing by the end of it. The last 30s of the video is the best because I had gotten used to throwing by then. Mat Latos also came over and was talking to Dyson and I am still wondering what they were saying to each other. It was a great experience. At this point it was my sixth ball of the day. It was near the end of batting practice so when we were done tossing the ball around I went over to the #GiftOfTheSox machine. I won a phone cardholder and then I went to the dugout where I usually go.

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After batting practice, a batboy had a ball in his hand and I asked him nicely for the ball. He then tossed me the ball for my 7th of the day. The ball looked like it was rolled in mud.

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After batting practice Jose Fernandez was signing autographs after he went and talked to fans near home plate.

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Mo’ne Davis who was an American Little League Baseball pitcher from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania threw out the first pitch while her teammates watched around her. She was the first girl African-American girl to play in the Little League World Series and the first to earn a win and to pitch a shutout in Little League World Series history. She is also the first Little League baseball player to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated as a Little League player. Even after almost a year since she played in the Little League World Series, Davis is still having an impact in baseball. After the first pitch, Dustin Pedroia greeted her with the baseball.

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Before the game started Sam Dyson came over to me asking if I was looking for anyone. I had told him that the ball we played catch with was in my bag and if he could sign after the game. I told him I would be at the end of the dugout and to look for me. I then told him some of the players I was looking for and he tried to see if some of them would come over but no one did. The game was going to start soon so many player were already in game mode. During the game, Wade Miley was starting for the Red Sox and Dan Haren was starting for the Marlins.

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In the bottom of the second inning, Shane Victorino and Travis Shaw singled. With Victorino at third and Shaw at first, Ryan Hanigan singled, which allowed Victorino to score the first run of the ball game.

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Mookie Betts came up to bat and grounded into the inning ending double play. Michael Morse who was playing first base came over to the dugout with the ball and then tossed it to me, for my 8th ball of the day.

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In the top of the 3rd inning, the Marlins got a run of their own when Christian Yelich hit a single to center that allowed Cole Gillespie to score from second. Yelich advanced to third on the wild throw but was stranded on 3rd when Adeiny Hechavarria struck out to end the inning.

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In the top of the 7th inning, the Marlins took the lead when J.T. Realmuto doubled to centerfield and scored when Gillespie singled to right. The Marlins were not done scoring because Yelich doubled to center field, which allowed Gillespie to score giving the Marlins a 3-1 lead Screen Shot 2015-08-15 at 5.16.13 PM

Junichi Tazawa replaced Miley and finished the inning

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The lead didn’t last long because the Red Sox would respond in the bottom of the 7th inning. Steven Cishek replaced Dan Haren on the mound. Cishek allowed a hit and walked another batter and Miguel Rojas had an error that gave the Red Sox the bases loaded for Brock Holt.

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Mike Dunn relieved Cishek and struck out Holt.

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Dunn then was relieved by Carter Capps who gave up a single to Xander Bogaerts, which allowed everyone to come home giving the Sox a 4-3 lead.

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The Sox never lost the lead as Koji Uehara pitched the 9th inning and got the save.

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At the end of the game Umpire Mike Everitt was handing out baseballs and I got one for my 9th baseball of the day. Sam Dyson also came from the bullpen and saw me and came over to me. I gave him the ball and pen and he signed it. I also wished him luck for the rest of the season.

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To check out the rest of the photos from this game on Facebook: July 7th Album

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