June 17th, 2010
As soon as I ran into the stadium I quickly searched the vacant rows of seating for any easter eggs like I always do. After coming up empty a small glimmer of white caught my eye. You cant see it in the picture because I hastly retrieved ball number one of the day but I will gladly point out in the picture where I found the baseball. The baseball was neatly tucked away against the black railing horizontally along the green wall with “336” on it. I just happened to look up there while I was putting my bag down, and I saw it. So I raced over to pick it up. I knew today was going to be a great day.
I played back in the rows for foul balls. I counted at least four that could have been mine if I got a good bounce. But as we all know when you want a good bounce you wont ever get one. Youll only get a good bounce when you least expect it. As the Mariners pitching staff got loose on the field David Aardsma quickly got to work throwing baseballs to kids. He ignored just about every adult to include Mariners fans ( like me ) that were calling to him. I guess he is just one of those players that thinks the kids should get everything. Ryan Rowland-Smith started to approach the wall to talk with some of his friends, and low and behold there was a baseball directly in his path. I lined up with him, and when he got close enough I very nicely asked for the baseball. He smiled, and tossed me my second of the day. What a gentleman.
Here is Ryan chatting with some of his buddies. So as I stood there to listen in on the conversation between Ryan, and his friends I noticed that john Wetteland had a small gathering of children that were respectfully listening to what he had to say. I could barely hear him so I started to move closer. He was explaining the doppler effect. As he finished explaining some kid raised his hand, and John awarded him with a baseball for whatever he had said. Then John said ” I have two baseballs left.” He stood in silence for about 30 seconds so I wandered over there to get a better listen.
John started to ask his question, and I soon realized that he was talking about everything he talked about on Monday! But this time he was handing out baseballs for the right answers! My third baseball was mine. No doubt about it! Johns question was this;
” What rare element was left on earth after the asteroid hit that wiped out all the dinosaurs?”
My hand shot up in an instant! John stared at me for a moment, and then called on me. Did he remember me from Monday? If he did, and I got the answer right would he still toss me a baseball? John was a fair man. He would do the right thing.
” Iridium.” I answered. FOR THE WIN!!
Ball number three was mine! Batting practice was FAR from over. I was on a roll! I thanked John, and resumed my precious spot in the rows of seats in foul territory.
Unfortunatly, I could only snag three during BP. So I headed over to the dugout ( Visitor side ) and waited on the Mariners to come out to warmup.
The National Athem came, and went. The security guards were ushering people that didnt belong out of their sections. Ill have to say this though. Busch Stadium is quite relaxed when it comes to allowing people to wander the stadium. Great American Ballpark wont allow you down behind the dugouts unless you have an actual ticket for that section. Which is really lame. Anyway. Oh, and U.S Cellular has the same stupid rules.
So the Mariners came out to warm up. I locked on to Josh Wilson. Him, and Jose Lopez threw around the ball for about 30 seconds, and then I started to move around in the row. I walked into his line of sight again, and waved my arms to him. He sent a rocket right to my glove. I think the baseball players have fun throwing to fans that arent right up in the front rows. If they arent having fun with it I sure am. I love to catch long distance throws. Was that my fourth baseball on the night? Yes, it sure was! I had all game long to break out, and get my fifth. So I carefully, and patiently waited for the right moment. I knew I had a for sure deal with the umpires. Well, not for sure…but I pretty good chance.
Since this was like my 30th game this season at Busch Stadium I have officially befriended two security guards in the sections that I roam. So it was no porblem to get hooked up with awesome seats for this game. My tactic? I whined a little bit about the ticket I purchased off of Stubhub.com. The first security guard I approached I simply asked if this was an aisle seat. He wasnt quite sure because the seat was actually against the railing. Which technically it WAS an aisle seat. But it wasnt an aisle seat I was happy with. So I told him what I was all about, and I also told him I knew one of the security guards in the section. So they ended up sticking me in wheel chair seating. Which let me tell you. Those seats are the best in the house. Theyre right up on the concourse, and it allows a person such as myself to gain extra advantage on anyone going after a baseball, and it allows me to get a great jump on a ball.
Yeah. Right behind everyone! No one to worry about if I had to jump for a baseball.
Sorry about the picture quality. I was just snapping pictures. Anyway, to my left is the steel railing. One step back, and I can dash down the concourse. Oh I prayed for a foul ball! I prayed for one of those t-shirt thingies to get launched my way! I prayed for rain drops! Something so I could run that concourse to catch something! But alas…nothing came my way. So I went to plan B. Plan B was simply this; run down to the end of the aisle on the third out, and snag a third out baseball from the Mariners coming off the field. Well, it was the seventh inning. I had to act fast.
The third out ball was a pop fly to the short stop. I made my move. I dashed down to the end of the aisle, and I came up empty. I was nearly crushed. But I kept my head up. I moved from where I had been sitting to a new seat. I sat as close to the dugout as possible.
So there I sat. As close as I could. I waited out the top of the eighth. Finally the bottom of the eighth came. The Cardinals grounded out to second base to end the inning so Ryan Langerhans ended up with the baseball. See the kid on the right of the picture? He was my only competition. Ryan Langerhans hooked me up immediatly.
AND THAT CONCLUDED MY FIVE BASEBALL NIGHT BECAUSE I WAS SO EXCITED I FORGOT TO GET NUMBER SIX FROM THE UMPIRE!
Game: Seattle Mariners Vs St Louis Cardinals 6-16-2010 7:15pm
Game Balls: Five
Game two of the three game series between the Mariners, and the Cardinals. The Mariners lost last night 9-3 despite some pretty good offense by them. But Colby Rasmus, and Ryan Ludwick were on fire! I can not believe how many home runs those guys have already this season. They’re nearly tied with Albert Pujols!
Well, the evening started out kind of hairy. I usually buy my tickets from Stubhub.com. Ive always had success with that website. I get my tickets really cheap. I can pick where I want to sit depending on my mood or what my mission is for the game, I.E if Im chasing a milestone home run I can get seats in the outfield, aisle seat in just about any row, or if Im looking to spend the extra money I can usually find a decent aisle seat behind the dugout or out in foul territory. Well, when I bought my ticket for todays game it didnt really print right. But I didnt think much of it. So when I got to the gate to have my ticket scanned it didnt scan at all! I was freaking out! The security guard told me to go to window 16, and have them re-print it. They did, and it still printed wrong! I probably was at that window for a good ten minutes. Ten minutes of precious ballhawk time being wasted! Finally the lady came back to the window with a standing room only ticket to get me into the game, and my stubhub ticket that had my seat number on it. So I was good to go.
I hurried inside. I mean I sprinted inside. Security guards left, and right were telling me to walk. But I ignored their direction. To my surprise once I got inside there were still great spots to ballhawk at. So I really didnt lose all that much time. Once I got calmed down, and got situated, got my glove out, and found a spot the fun began. More John Wetteland anyone? I didnt record anything but he was at it again. He came over, and started talking about more geography questions, and just about everything else he could think of. Besides entertaining the fans he does help his pitchers out though.
I really have to give the Mariners credit. Despite their losing season this year, and their inhability to stay consistant or even get their pitching on track theyre probably the most cheerful, upbeat, relaxed team I have ever been around. David Aardsma, and Ryan Rowland-Smith came over to the wall to chat with fans, and sign autographs. Even Don Wakamatsu got in on the action. Really a great group of guys.
There were a couple of fans that were standing next to me that were demanding baseballs from the Mariners as they were warming up. One thing that I have learned is that just because youre in the stands, and the baseball players are busy warming up, and there is music playing, people talking, baseballs being hit, fans screaming- if youre right against the wall the baseball players can hear just about everything you say. So Ive learned to really watch my tongue when it comes to getting in coversations with other fans about specific baseball players. I keep my comments positive or I dont say anything at all.
Anyway. So this fan is standing there harassing the players, and at this time I moved a row or two down so I wasnt caught up or accidentally accused of being associated with them. Josh Wilson finally had enough, and turned around to confront the unruley fans.
” Who are you talking to? A pack of dogs?” Wilson abruptly said.
” What?” Said the surprised fan.
” Who are you talking to? What the hell do you want?” Wilson added.
” A ball. Cant I have one?” Asked the fan.
” You cant say please or may I? You have to stand there, and act like you dont have any manners?” Wilson continued.
” I just want a ball.” Said the fan.
” No. You arent getting one. So go find somewhere else to stand.” Wilson errupted, and finally turned back around to continue playing catch.
I couldnt help but to smirk a little. Josh Wilson was right on with what he said. I hate those kinds of fans that think baseball players are supposed to give them everything. Or fans that think theyre entitled to something at the stadium. Granted baseball players have more than any average fan does but that doesnt exclude them from being treated with respect. So props to you, Josh Wilson.
I had a couple foul balls hit my way but I wasnt able to get a good position on them as they clanged off the plastic seats. I try to play back on them a little, and wait on a good bounce. I dont know if thats a good idea or a bad idea. Most of the time I get a good bounce or they drop down in the seats, and I can easily run over, and grab it. In fact my first baseball of the day was sharply hit, sliced into the seats, bounced down into the concourse, and then bounced back up into a row of seats. I played it on the hop, and I thought it was going to stay in the concourse aisle area. Well, it didnt. As I mentioned that it bounced back up into a row of seats, I actually had to jump over the steel gate that seperated the seats from the concourse aisle, and reach down and get the ball before it rolled down another row. The ball nearly hit one of the female security guards so after I got the ball I made sure she was okay.
Batting practice had been ending 15 minutes early this entire series, and last series against the Reds. Today was no exception. The grounds crew started rolling up the mats around home plate which indicated another 5-10 minutes of batting practice was left. Nothing else came my way so I was left with just one baseball during batting practice. David Aardsma threw a lot of baseballs up into the seats. Mainly to fans in the left field bleachers, and to kids. I even asked him for a couple, and yes I said please! But no dice.
Thats how much room I had to run during batting practice. Im getting a little better about negotiating the seats, but my main concern is little kids getting under my feet while Im chasing down a ball. Even if its an accident, I really dont want to be that guy that stepped on a kid trying to get a baseball. So I make sure nobody is in the rows while Im watching. If someone steps into the row I usually find another empty row to stand in, and Im constantly looking around to have an idea of who is around me. The kids are generally down in the first few rows so I feel pretty confident but it really can take a second for some toddler to come creeping up behind me while Im not watching. I hate to think about it.
I wandered around the dugout until the begining of the game. I would have had another ball thrown to me by Josh Wilson but the throw from Jose Lopez was dropped, and the baseball rolled to the dirt. Some fan was standing ten feet away, and he asked for it. Wilson delivered. Figgins, and Kotcheman were out stretching, and playing catch but neither one of them tossed the ball into the stands before the game. I only stayed until the third inning this game…as college home work was calling my name.
Game: Seattle Mariners Vs St Louis Cardinals June 15th 2010 7:15pm.
Game Balls: One