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  #1  
Old 10-30-2018, 11:23 PM
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Gary Dunaier Gary Dunaier is offline
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Default An awesome find (warning: no vintage content)

I’ve always thought it would be cool if I could get my hands on the actual home run baseball Todd Frazier hit at Citi Field that transformed me from a regular guy into Thumbs Down Guy, beloved internet meme and Yankee fans’ favorite Mets fan. I’m into memorabilia, so I know I had a better chance of being the sole winner of the recent $1.6 billion Mega Millions jackpot.



Yeah, that one. As I’m sure you know, one person did win it all, just one person, but it wasn’t me, so thumbs down on that.

Uh... anyway... the “thumbs-down” ball. We’d have to find the fan who caught the ball, hope he’d be willing to sell it, and since it went into the stands, it was never authenticated by Major League Baseball, so we’d also need to make sure it was the real deal. Then we’d have to hope the owner doesn’t realize it’s Thumbs Down Guy who wants it, because if he does he might jack up the price.

Hmmm... maybe I should have kept my mouth shut about wanting the ball.

Anyway, here’s a picture of me holding a very special game-used baseball I recently acquired.



I occasionally do a search for Todd Frazier stuff when I’m browsing on eBay. Not looking for anything particular; I do it just for the heck of it, in case anything interesting comes up. That’s how I learned Topps used a photo of Frazier doing thumbs-down on the back of one of last year’s “Topps Now” cards (#739).

A recent search revealed a listing enigmatically titled “Tampa Bay Rays vs New York Yankees (Frazier/Odorizzi) @ Citi Field 9/11/17.” Something specifically related to the game? Obviously, I had to check it out.

The writeup wasn’t very helpful - all it said was “Tampa Bay Rays vs New York Yankees (Frazier/Odorizzi) at Citi Field - September 11, 2017Todd Frazier vs Jake Odorizzi” [sic] - but the pictures told the story. I was in stunned disbelief when I realized what was being offered - a baseball that was actually used, not only in that game, but in the very same at-bat!

In that at-bat, Tampa pitcher Jake Odorizzi used three baseballs to throw seven pitches to Frazier. The first ball was used for pitches 1-3; the second, for pitches 4-6. On pitch No. 6, the ball was fouled, taken out of play, and replaced with a new ball. It was on the next pitch that Frazier hit his three-run home run.

The ball the seller was offering was the second ball, used for pitches 4-6. The closest thing to having the “thumbs-down” ball without actually having it. Thankfully, it wasn’t expensive - the seller had set a starting bid of $59.99 but accepted my “best offer” of $50.00.

We all know how important authentication is when it comes to memorabilia. When it comes to the vintage stuff, it all boils down to trust and provenance, and there are items on which even the most trusted experts can only say “I’m reasonably sure it’s real, but I don’t feel comfortable making a 100% guarantee.” Fortunately, for the modern stuff, we have the Major League Baseball Authentication Program. I'm certainly glad it exists, because if it wasn’t for that, there would be no way to identify the ball as being from that game, let alone that at-bat.

Some of my friends have suggested I get Todd Frazier and Jake Odorizzi to sign the ball. I’m not going to do that. I love autographs as much as the next fan, but to me, a signature would destroy the “integrity” of its status as a game-used baseball. It wasn't signed when it was put into play, so it shouldn’t be signed now.

And there you have it - the story of how I came to acquire... what can I call it... the “pre-thumbs down ball?” That works. Thumbs up to me for coming up with a cool name for it.



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- comment by one of the YES Network broadcasters as the camera caught me making a thumbs-down expression in response to Todd Frazier's three-run home run, Citi Field, September 11, 2017
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Old 10-31-2018, 12:04 AM
RelicSports RelicSports is offline
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Cool story and acquisition Gary!
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Old 10-31-2018, 12:21 AM
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Two thumbs up from me Gary! Great write-up.
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Old 10-31-2018, 09:23 AM
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Very cool. Thanks for posting that.
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Old 10-31-2018, 10:49 AM
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Awesome. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 10-31-2018, 08:17 PM
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Why were the Rays and Yankees playing at the Mets’ field?
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Last edited by ooo-ribay; 10-31-2018 at 08:55 PM.
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Old 10-31-2018, 08:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ooo-ribay View Post
Why were the Rays and Yankess playing at the Mets’ field?


Wasn’t that after the hurricane and there was damage to the Rays stadium and ended up playing at a neutral field????


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Old 10-31-2018, 10:19 PM
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Congratulations! Some items are just meant to belong to certain collectors. That is one of them. Thanks for sharing such a cool post.
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  #9  
Old 10-31-2018, 11:40 PM
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Gary Dunaier Gary Dunaier is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ooo-ribay View Post
Why were the Rays and Yankees playing at the Mets’ field?
Quote:
Originally Posted by gregr2 View Post
Wasn’t that after the hurricane and there was damage to the Rays stadium and ended up playing at a neutral field????
That's exactly what happened. The games were supposed to be played in Tampa, but the series had to be relocated due to Hurricane Irma. Technically these were Rays home games.


(Photo taken September 11, 2017. © Gary Dunaier. Link to upload on Flickr.com: here.)
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What's THAT guy doing?
- comment by one of the YES Network broadcasters as the camera caught me making a thumbs-down expression in response to Todd Frazier's three-run home run, Citi Field, September 11, 2017
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  #10  
Old 10-31-2018, 11:53 PM
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I wish that Tampa ballpark had been leveled.

Thank God my Giants didn’t end up there.
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