My girlfriend and I ventured to the ballpark on April 16th 2011 to take in a White Sox vs Angels game. Took the red line train through the city. It was one of those 30-35 degree spring days in Chicago that the Midwest knows and loves. There was a chance of rain but my girlfriend was flying out the next day so we had to take the risk and hope the game happened. As we were walking up to the stadium the Stubhub promotional girls stopped us and asked if we would like to enter a contest.
I asked what the contest was and what the prize would be. It was a paper airplane throwing contest and the prize was you get a hat, shirt and get to sit in the stubhub sits in Right Field right above the bullpen bar and in the picnic area out there.
I couldn't find a great picture but essentially the seats were one flight of steps and 2 steps above this guy. So directly along the foul pole in home run territory and right before the regular seats.
I made a couple paper airplanes and was practicing my throws when the main promoter runs over and tells us the other people dropped out so we won! They just asked if we would throw a couple to get some footage. No problem! The only deal with the seats was you had to agree to be put on the Jumbotron in the 3rd inning. I couldn't say yes fast enough.
They gave us a hat and T shirts and then escorted us through the stadium the way the scouts get in. It was pretty cool to walk in that way, definitely something different. We went to the bar out there to wait for the game to start.. and then a lovely thunderstorm rolled in. It was a good one and created a 2.5 hour rain delay. No freaking way we were leaving considering we were going to get to sit in recliners during the game!
We waited out the delay and the game started without a hitch. The pitching matchup was Tyler Chatwood vs Gavin Floyd (still like him from his time with the Phillies). The stands weren't that filled considering the delay and cold but there was a nice smattering of people. In the 5th inning as we were warming our hands I told my girlfriend that if a home run is hit I bet I can get it seeing as we were the only one outside in the picnic area. In the 6th inning I hear a real loud crack of the bat, you know the sound, home run. I immediately put my hands up to my face, cause I don't want to get hit in the face. My girlfriend looks at me quizzically and then does the same just in case.
The ball landed on the 2nd tier of the picnic area, bounced to the 3rd (where we were) hit the brick wall in front of the seats and then bounced back down to the 2nd tier. I immediately leaped out of my seat and made a beeline towards the ball. I figured I could step the railing (I'm 5'10") but alas I could not because of the 2 steps down it was from the next level. I had no time to waste and being the smart person I am I dove head first onto concrete and rolled really whacking my ankle in the process. I grabbed the ball and held it up proud. MY FIRST HOME RUN BALL!
Seeing as the Angels Hank Conger hit it, I started to hear the people around me yell to throw it back. So I did what any good Phillies fan does I reared back threw my arm forward and stopped and put the ball in my pocket. I successfully heckled about 1000 people at once, also new for me! I was making some noise that I sprained my ankle for this ball and no way I was chucking it back. That prompted security to come over and make sure I was ok. I told them I was fine and they let me on my way.
About an inning after that we decided to leave but not without a great memory and in my opinion a great story. I did not take my shoe off until we got back to my apartment and my ankle promptly ballooned to 3 times the size. It was all worth it!
Here's the box score to the game courtesy of baseball reference:
Here is the ball in all its glory:
I picked up an auto of his just to displayed them together. This ball is worth 2 bucks to someone but to me there isn't a price on the sentimental value.
Thanks for reading my story!