Category Archives: fan experiences

Fan Stories: 10 Questions for Baseball Washington Nationals Uber-Fan Bruno Caretti (a.k.a. The Rally Mullet)

For the next few weeks, FoulBallz.com will include a series of short interviews with ballhawks and uber-fans of baseball. These fans all agreed to answer 10 simple questions, no pressure, and very little editing. It’s been a wonderful experience for me to get to know these individuals in some capacity through Twitter. I hope you enjoy reading the answers as much as I have.

Next up is Bruno Caretti. He’s best known at “The Rally Mullet-super fan of Anthony Rendon of the Washington Nationals.” You can follow him on Twitter at @TheRallyMullet or visit his blog at therallymulletblog.wordpress.com.

  1. When did you snag your first ball?

I have gotten a couple batting practice balls but that’s wasn’t my goal. getting a live ball during a game by a batter was my goal. and it was June 18, 2014. Nats vs Astros. I was sitting first row 3rd base line, and low and behold Anthony Rendon was up. He hit a ground ball down the 3rd base foul territory line at Nats Park and I scooped it up off the ground with my glove. It felt he did it on purpose.

  1. What do you think about the extended netting issue?

As much as I think this happens way to often [fans getting hit by foul balls] because fans aren’t paying attention, I do think having extra netting in the ball park is a good idea. Honestly though, if you aren’t paying attention and a ball hits you square in the face then I don’t know what to tell you. Don’t go to games I guess?

 

READ THE REST AT FoulBallz.com

 

Ed Comber (VP Of The BBBA/Owner – foulballz.com)  

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Fan Stories: 10 Questions for Baseball Uber-Fan Mike Dies (President, West Akron Baseball & Softball League)

For the next few weeks, FoulBallz.com will include a series of short interviews with ballhawks and uber-fans of baseball. These fans all agreed to answer 10 simple questions, no pressure, and very little editing. It’s been a wonderful experience for me to get to know these individuals in some capacity through Twitter. I hope you enjoy reading the answers as much as I have.

First up is Mike Dies, President, West Akron Baseball & Softball League (www.wabl.org and www.facebook.com/westakronbaseball).

1) When did you snag your first ball? 

After going to many games at an empty Cleveland Municipal Stadium as a kid, and lots of games at Jacobs Field when the Old Stadium closed, my first foul ball came in 1997 at Canal Park in Akron. I was walking in the concourse and caught it on one bounce.

2) What do you think about the extended netting issue?

I am all for it. I would like to see the netting extended to the end of each dugout. I would like MLB to be proactive in protecting the fans before someone is killed by a foul ball at a game. I understand that paying attention is 99.9% of it for the fans but it is not realistic to think that fans will sit and watch baseball for 3+ hours and not let their eyes wander from the action … especially with all of the distractions that the MLB clubs have created in the stadium. Attending baseball games today is nothing like attending games 10-15 years ago.

READ THE REST AT FoulBallz.com

Ed Comber (VP Of The BBBA/Owner – foulballz.com)  

From Royals to Monarchs: Kansas City and Baseball Majestry

Last season I visited Kauffman in Kansas City while at a “real life” work event. During that trip, there were a number of issues I ran into with fans and the park itself. I also revisited the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum for the third or fourth time.

Kauffman and the Royal (Pain) Fans 2015 to Now

20160617_191523 - CopyIn 2015, Royals fans were horribly rude to me. Arrogant, in fact. I assumed this arrogance was due to the team doing so well. But that doesn’t excuse rudeness.

I sat in the right field seats near the foul pole. The section numbering can be a bit confusing, and I ended up in the wrong seats. The last time that happened to me, the people were very nice, and laughed saying it wasn’t any big deal.

But last season in KC I was literally told I was an idiot as they pointed out my seat—which wasn’t as good as the “View from the Seats” feature led me to believe.

I had enjoyed the Royals HoF museum that season, but that’s about all I enjoyed.

This season, being back in the city again for work, I went to another game. I figured I owed the stadium another look.

This time, I enjoyed it again, getting to see the World Series trophy. The museum was crowded and very warm, but the air of excitement and awe was nice to feel.

At the June 2016 game I bought my Royals tickets and sat in the middle decks. I was under an overhang and in the middle of a row. And I had a great view of the diamond. And the horrible extended netting obstruction.

 

READ MORE AT FoulBallz.com

 

Ed Comber (VP Of The BBBA/Owner – foulballz.com)  

Seeing the Seawolves: About Jerry Uht Park and Meeting Eric Brookhouser

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We started our family vacation in early July by going to the Erie Seawolves game on July 2. The game, against the Akron Rubberducks, was a night game with fireworks.

I was excited to see the Seawolves. As a devout and lifelong Detroit Tigers fan, my goal in life is to see every team in the Tigers system at least once, and at their home park. Erie was on our way to Toronto for the July 7 game with the Tigers, so we popped in to Jerry Uht Park.

I’d mentioned on Twitter that I’d been attending and I discovered how absolutely phenomenal the Seawolves’ social media machine is. The person managing the team’s Twitter account “liked” and “retweeted” tweets within a few hours.

It was an amazing act that few Major League Baseball teams do. It set the tenor for what would turn out to be one of my best experiences at a Minor League or Major League baseball game.

The park is simple. It’s what one expects from a AA affiliate. No frills and every seat is a great one. But what I did notice was how prominent their signage is regarding the dangers of foul balls. Good for them!

As I usually do, I sit my family in the outfield box seats, some of the safest and closest seats to the field. Those who follow me on Twitter and read my work here are all very much aware of my 20160702_183656feelings regarding these “hero” parents who sit with their kids in the most dangerous areas and snag a foul ball while holding their kid. I practice what I preach.
I’d bought first row seats a bit closer than usual, but still in an area we could easily manage any fouls that came our way.

Once the game started, I began coaching my 9-year-old daughter on the probable locations of foul balls. One can never be too young to understand the dangers of these souvenirs. It is especially fitting since dad runs the only site dedicated to studying and discussing them.

 

Meeting Seawolves Superfan Eric Brookhouser

 

READ MORE AT FOULBALLZ.COM

Ed Comber (VP Of The BBBA/Owner – foulballz.com)  

Toronto Blue Jays: Fans Like No Other

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Toronto is a beautiful large city, and their team, the Toronto Blue Jays play in a great park. The city has its fair share of pollution, a haze hovering over the city, but it’s an eclectic mix of pretty much everything and every type of person.

There are unique neighborhoods and great shopping—like along “The Path” in downtown Toronto.

20160707_175918It’s also home, as every Major League Baseball fan knows, to the Blue Jays who play in Rogers Centre.

I love visiting new parks. It gives me a nice idea of the true layout of the park and how likely foul balls are to go into certain sections. A seating chart only shows you where sections are. It doesn’t give you a clear indication of how much foul territory there is or distance from home the dugouts are (the areas to which most foul balls fly).

This trip offered me a first-hand understanding of where fouls go the most, at least in this one game.

Parking and Entering

If you go to Rogers Centre, note there is no central parking of any kind. You’ll need to locate a municipal parking area near the park. There are plenty. The one we parked in was $25 CAN (roughly $20 USD based on current exchange rates) and was about half a block from Wayne Gretzky’s restaurant and Walburgers. It was about a three block walk.

 

READ MORE AT FOULBALLZ.COM

Ed Comber (VP Of The BBBA/Owner – foulballz.com)  

MLB Foul Ball Week in Review (September 12 – September 18): Glove Theft, Umpire Concussion & a Tooth Lost by a Toss Up

The MLB foul ball week in review shows that Major League Baseball ended the week of September 11 – September 18, 2016 with about 162 Foul Ball Facials in 162 days of games. These are only those fans hit in the head area at Major League Baseball games as self-reported on Twitter. That equates to one fan per day of play. It seems like a lot, and it is, but it could be fewer because just over 40% of these tweets indicate the fan wasn’t paying attention. To put that into perspective, it means roughly 45 fans (conservative estimate) would have avoided foul balls to the face had they not been buried in their phones.

But that’s not the only thing going on with foul balls this week. Here’s the rundown of the best and worst foul ball and fan-related actions from the past week:

BOTCHED BOBBLE

This has to be one of the worst feelings in the world of baseball from a fan’s perspective. It was there. It was right there. But this poor Boston Red Sox fan was denied his foul ball

“HOW THE?” IS RIGHT

Washington Nationals’ Ryan Zimmerman managed something I’ve never seen before. He managed to hit himself in the back with his own foul ball. This should count as more proof of the dangers of netting. The foul ball nailed him in the back of the head after it bounced off netting behind home plate in the top of the 8th inning:

 

READ MORE AT FOULBALLZ.COM

Ed Comber (VP Of The BBBA/Owner – foulballz.com)  

MLB Foul Ball Week in Review (September 5 – September 11): Jim Joyce Wild Pitch Foul Ball,

The MLB foul ball week in review shows that Major League Baseball ended the week of September 5 – September 11, 2016 with about 156 Foul Ball Facials (#FoulBallFacials) in 155 days of games. These are only those fans hit in the head area at Major League Baseball games as self-reported on Twitter. That equates to one fan per day of play. It seems like a lot, and it is, but it could be fewer since nearly 50% of these tweets indicate the fan wasn’t paying attention. To put that into perspective, it means roughly 65 fans (conservative estimate) would have avoided foul balls to the face had they not been buried in their phones.

But that’s not the only thing going on with foul balls this week. Here’s the rundown of the best and worst foul ball and fan-related actions from the past week:

EMPLOYEE OF THE WEEK

How’s this for a day at work as a non-player? I wonder if they got the Atlanta Braves foul ball certificate. Maybe that doesn’t apply to employees who snag foul balls.

THE JIM JOYCE WILD PITCH

I am not at all a fan of Major League Baseball umpires. I especially dislike Jim Joyce and would love to see him leave the game (I’m a lifelong Tigers fan and the image of him blowing a call that cost Tigers starter Armando Galarraga his perfect game is still very fresh in my memory). Last week, I fell for a “foul ball” call by Joyce. Joyce, behind the dish during the Astros – Cleveland Indians game was brutally maligned on Twitter for a wild pitch call on a Chisenhall at-bat. People, including well-respected reporters all jumped on the “Bash Joyce” bandwagon. I am embarrassed to admit my own distaste for the man colored my response too…until I went to the official Major League Baseball rule book. Then I changed my mind. This is the play that awaken the disdain:

As you can see in the replay, the ball hit the dirt nearly a foot before the plate. How any baseball fan doesn’t see that as a wild pitch is bewildering. Actually, it’s a great deal more complicated than that though. Read on.

 

READ THE REST AT FOULBALLZ.COM.

Ed Comber (VP Of The BBBA/Owner – foulballz.com)  

MLB Foul Ball Week in Review (August 29-September 4): Wicked Spin, Stay Home, a Ballboy Epic Fail and More

Foul Ball DiagramMajor League Baseball ended the week of August 29-September 4, 2016 with over nearly 150 Foul Ball Facials (#FoulBallFacials) in 148 days of games in this MLB Foul Ball Week in Review. These are only those fans hit in the head area at Major League Baseball games as self-reported on Twitter. That equates to one fan per day of play. It seems like a lot, and it is, but it could be fewer since nearly 50% of these tweets indicate the fan wasn’t paying attention. To put that into perspective, it means roughly 65 fans (conservative estimate) would have avoided foul balls to the face had they not been buried in their phones.

But that’s not the only thing going on with foul balls this week. Here’s the rundown of the best and worst foul ball and fan-related actions from the past week:

TWO YEARS to SUE

It took this woman two years to decide to file a lawsuit. TWO YEARS. Notice the sign in the article? Why did it take 2 years?

WICKED BACKSPIN

The El Paso Chihuahuas may be home to the craziest, most bizarre foul ball turned fair ball in modern ball. It’s beyond explanation and description:

 

READ THE REST AT FOULBALLZ.COM

Ed Comber (VP Of The BBBA/Owner – foulballz.com)  

Foul Reporting on MLB Fan Safety and Foul Balls: Real Problems and Inaccuracies in HBO Real Sports Foul Ball Episode, PART II

20160702_183656Part II of my report exposing the inaccuracies of Bryant Gumbel’s “Real Sports” episode 229 covers the later data found in this episode. As noted in Part I, Gumbel’s report sensationalized foul ball related injuries to the point of being preposterous. The historical research, to be blunt, was appallingly non-existent, and the piece misrepresented reality, and even showed clips which contradicted the words coming from Gumbel’s mouth.

The second part of the episode was no better.

At about 8:15 Gumbel asserts that over 15 months, three fans were seriously injured. While nobody ever wants to see any other fan injured, that comes to one fan every five months. To put this into perspective: The season is about 6.5 months long. I’ll be generous and rouns up to seven. That means, based on Gumbel’s argument, 1.5 fans get seriously injured each season. Let me reiterate that: 1.5 fans are seriously injured each season. Considering each team has millions of fans over the course of each season, this is hardly an argument worth having. But Gumbel is stating this is for the entire league. Forbes and others note the 2015 Major League Baseball season had nearly 74 million fans in attendance. Again, I’ll be conservative and simply say 73, given the number reported is 73.8. If I understand my calculator shorthand correctly that comes out to be .00000000233% (my calculator reads 2,328767123287671e-8) of fans in attendance are “seriously injured” by a foul ball per season.

 

READ MORE AT FoulBallz.com

Ed Comber (VP Of The BBBA/Owner – foulballz.com)  

Foul Reporting on MLB Fan Safety and Foul Balls: Real Problems and Inaccuracies in HBO Real Sports Foul Ball Episode, PART I

20160702_183656It took a while for me to finally see episode 229 of Bryant Gumbel’s Real Sports on HBO. I finally had to buy HBONow in order to see what all the hype was. What I discovered is a report filled with misunderstandings, misinformation and incorrect assumptions. It was and is one of the most misleading pieces I’ve seen about foul balls.

This rebuttal and correction of the blatant errors in the Real Sports episode will end up in two parts because of the sheep enormity of the misinformation and misrepresentation.

Gumbel starts his report by quoting an article FoulBallz.com was a part of. I had the honor of discussing foul ball injuries with David Glovin, the author of “Baseball Caught Looking as Fouls Injure 1,750 Fans a Year.” Something Gumbel misrepresents and fails to clarify at about 3:20 into the report is that those injuries are mostly, about 98%, due to the spectators themselves. Fans jump over each other, over seats, dive, get in scrums with others. All of these count toward Glovin’s figure. Gumbel’s report failed to mention that little fact. Instead, he reported fans are hurt by them….

 

READ MORE AT FoulBallz.com

 

Ed Comber (VP Of The BBBA/Owner – foulballz.com)  

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