June 2011

6-3-2011 Safeco Field

Tonight at Safeco Field was “Go Green Train Night”. I heard from the grapevine that these trains were a huge hit and very sought after. I knew I’d have to arrive at the stadium with my game face on and most importantly, I would have to be early. I even changed up my game plan a little and entered the stadium via rightfield. Here is what the giveaway looks like in case you have no idea what “Train Night” was all about.

Like I said. They’re absolutely loved and people came out to get one. Since there are actually eleven others this would make twelve. But I’m not sure if that completes the set. Probably not.

As soon as I entered the stadium security told us to walk. So everything went kind of in slow motion. Since I like to abide by the rules and not give security any reason to target me, I “walked”. Which cost me like, four baseballs. It was kind of frustrating at first but I still had an entire hour and a half left. I ran all the way to the other side of the stadium and posted up at my usual spot. Well, not my usual spot. But a spot that’s been working for me. I’d play the outfield more but it seems there are an equal amount of overthrows from players as there are home run balls hit into the stands. I’m just playing the odds or at least what’s been working.

The Tampa Bay Rays started to filter out onto the field and I figured if I didn’t get something hit to me I could always count on Jeremy Hellickson to toss me one. The last time I got a toss up from Hellickson was on my birthday at Kauffman Stadium last year. It took him two tries but eventually he got it to me. During BP Hellickson tossed up quite a few baseballs. He’s a great guy (not just for that). So anyway. As the Rays were coming out onto the field (I’m not sure who hit it) a sharply hit line drive was hit right at me. It took a few bounces on the grass, and another off the dirt and I was able to lean over the short padded wall and scoop it up. I could hear a couple players yelling “heads up!” like they always do and I also heard Jeremy Hellickson kind of give out a surprised “Whoa” when I scooped the ball up. The baseball hit me square in the palm of my glove. Not quite in the pocket and it literally jarred my shoulder back a little bit. I was a little surprised at 1.) I got my glove down in time and 2.) to have come up with the ball. Usually those sharply hit grounders would eat up a Major Leaguer let alone a guy like me reaching over the wall for it. There was no applauding like there was yesterday when I snagged that liner. But it was still fun. If you want you can read about the memorable snag here.

After that nothing else came my way. I tracked a few baseballs that were hit over my head into the seats but they were quickly scooped up my eager fans. I did get a few pictures of the Tampa Bay Rays as they came out onto the field. Take a look.

And then this guy walked out onto the field. He is my hero forever. And you will know why in a minute.

That’s Bobby Ramos. He is probably the most friendliest coach I’ve ever met. Not to go off on a tangent but one time at Busch Stadium I asked Coach Price, the pitching coach for the Cincinnati Reds, for a baseball while he was setting up the bullpen after BP. There were a few baseballs lying around from batting practice and when I asked he abruptly told me no. It was a very unpleasant experience. But Bobby Ramos? He gives high fives, fist pumps, and handshakes to anyone and everyone that asks. He is very friendly and sociable. So if you’re ever at a Rays game and he walks by feel free to engage in some friendly back and forth. I told him he had a nice hat on and then pointed to my own Rays hat. He is also very loyal to Rays fans. The rest of the team was a little more reserved today and I think that had a lot to do with the loss yesterday.

Before the game started Mike McCreedy from Pearl Jam played the National Anthem. It was very good and earlier when I was outside waiting to come inside the stadium he was doing a sound check. It sounded just like Slash when he did the National Anthem last year at Dodger Stadium. Of course I couldn’t get close enough to take some quality pictures because security does what they can to keep me out of the sections I don’t have a ticket for. So I had to get creative. Here’s what you get.


It must be awesome to be a rockstar. Seriously.

I spent nearly the entire game down in the bullpen area. I stood behind the Rays bullpen because I figured if I was going to get a baseball from someone it would have to be from the Rays. Right? Well, not only was I hoping to get another baseball but I was also hoping I’d get a home run baseball. I think it was during the fifth inning when Miguel Olivo hit a deep drive that landed right into the Rays bullpen. I was hoping that the baseball would bounce off the facade that hung over the players on the bullpen bench but no such luck. If that would have happened, (which I’ve seen many times during BP) the baseball would have shot back into the bullpen area where all the fans stood like a bullet and it would have been every man for himself. But the ball did not do any of that. It landed on the grass and died. No bounce. No nothing. It just stopped. And the one man I was praying wouldn’t pick it up….picked it up. Mr. Juan Cruz. He’s a relief pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays and it seems he has a very negative attiude.

Now I dont want to pass any judgement but I was at a Royals game one time during the summer when the Tampa Bay Rays where playing at Kauffman Stadium, Juan had graciously tossed a baseball up to some fans. Well, an adult ended up with the baseball and I think Juan was trying to get it to a kid. The kid he was trying to throw it to already had six baseballs. The guy that caught the baseball was trying to communicate that to Juan but Juan wasn’t having any of it. He insisted that the guy hand the baseball over to the kid. He was a real jerk about it and that was my lasting memory of Juan Cruz. Fast forward to now. Cruz holding the ball and taunting the Seattle fans with it. It was pretty funny and I knew Juan wasn’t going to throw it to anyone. In fact he just tossed it down the stairs that led out to the outfield from the bullpen. It made my stomach turn that the home run ball was that close yet so far away. Finally the police officer that patrolled the bullpen picked the ball off the stairs and handed it to a kid.

Around the eight inning Bobby Ramos was coming back into the bullpen after playing catch with Sam Fuld. He placed his glove on the stair railing and walked towards the fans with the two baseballs. I knew he was going to throw them to us but to who? And where? I had to be ready. He tossed one to my way right which was way out of reach. And then he tossed one high and to my left. I reached way out and snagged it on my tippy toes. It was awesome. Bobby Ramos hooking up the fans during the game. Quick game note; he also hooked up my buddy Josh that goes to every game I go to. If you want, you can check out his www.mygameballs.com stats here. He has a really awesome picture of him with Zach Britton. You know, the guy I tweeted with a few games ago? Yeah, that guy. Anyway. So This guy turns to Josh and apparently asked if he could have the baseball that I caught. The guy inquired if Josh and I were friends and Josh told him yes. The guy was pretty persistant and made a big stink about Josh and I ganging up on the bullpen to snag two baseballs and we should show the love. Josh just pointed out that he should bring a glove next time.

Game; June 3rd 2011 Tampa BayRays vs Seattle Mariners
Rockies

Gameballs; Two

Attendance; 24,492

Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $62.25 this season.

Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $26.25 this
season

6-2-2011 Safeco Field

As soon as I walked into Safeco Field there was a deep drive hit by one of the Mariners that was headed towards the Mariner’s bullpen. The ball actually cleared the bullpen and landed inside the ‘Pen area. It took a nasty bounce off the walkway, ricocheted off the back wall near the team store and then started rolling towards the stairwell that led up to the rest of the stadium. Since the ball was rolling away from me I really didn’t have a chance. My buddy Josh, who also has an account on www.Mygameballs.com , was trying to run it down. I watched the entire thing play out and it looked like some stadium employee was going to beat him out. I was kind of shocked to see a stadium employee trying to chase a baseball while a fan was trying to get it. But in the end, Josh got the ball. So it all ended well.

When I was premitted to enter the rest of the stadium I was racing down the sections towards the front row and a sharply hit line drive nearly took my head off. It bounced into the seats and bounced right back to me. I made the easy catch. It kind of reminded me when I was at AT&T Park and a ball smacked off the seats right back to me. If you want to read about that you can here. I’m really enjoying those lucky bounces.

This the view of where I stood to play foul balls. It was a really good spot and there were hardly anyone else at the stadium during BP. So I pretty much had the whole front row to myself.

See that security guard standing there? He’s a new guy. And he totally sucks at being the new guy. More on him later though. Here is a closer look at him.

Within the next twenty-minutes a bullet was hit right at me. It took one bounce on the dirt and I was able to snag it off the bounce. It came in so fast and smacked right into my glove. The small crowd behind me started to clap and I gave them a quick curtain call. It was kind of cool. I figured after that catch people would start to filter down beside me. But no one really came over. Then Jeremy Hellickson missed a throw from his throwing partner and the ball sailed into the seats. Some guy with his son picked it up and then Jeremy started yelling into the infield for someone to throw him another baseball. The guy offered the baseball to Hellickson but I didn’t see him throw it to him. So I offered my baseball as well that I had caught earlier. Hellickson told me he would throw it right back to me. So as I was pulling the ball from my bag, Jeremy tossed me one. I bare-hand caught it because I took my glove off to get a baseball from my bag. After I caught the ball I thanked him but I didn’t realize it belonged to the guy next to me. He started to put up a fuss and I asked him if it was his. I immediatly gave it back to him and he extended his hand for a handshake. I was a little embarrased for him because of how he overreacted and I explained to this adult that I wasn’t trying to take his baseball away from him. As the conversation took place a baseball was hit towards us and it bounced off the screen into the first row. I was able to bobble it enough to keep it in front of me and scoop it up. I wanted to give the ball to his son but because of the nasty attitude at first I decided to hold on to it. David Price came out of the dugout and tossed him one anyway. And then later during BP they got another one tossed to them by Jeremy Hellickson.

Josh and I decided to stand near the dugout towards the end of batting practice. Josh got J.P Howell’s attention and even got him to toss a baseball towards us. I thought Josh was going to go for it, and Josh thought I was going to go for it. It kind of reminded me when an outfielder and an infielder are both chasing after a towering pop-up and with all the crowd noise, and running towards it, both calling for it, and then at the last moment we both hit the brakes and it plunks down in front of us. That’s kind of what happened. The ball bounced off the padded wall and rolled back onto the field. And wouldn’t you know. Remember that security guard I showed a picture of earlier? He came over, picked up the ball, gave us the evil eye, and tossed it to some autograph hound. I.Couldn’t.Believe.It. J.P Howel was cool enough to toss us another one and I made sure Josh got it this time.

I wanted to get a couple pictures with some Tampa Bay Rays. I was really surprised when David Price stopped to sign autographs. So I took that opportunity to meet him and get a picture with him. He was really cool about it while laughing and joking with the crowd. Here’s the pictures that I got with David Price. (Courtesy of Josh)

Here are a couple pictures of David Price signing autographs with me trying to get into position for a picture. It was hard because there were like a million people trying to get his autograph. So I had to just be assertive otherwise it wouldn’t of happened.

Here’s one more.

Those are kind of some “behind the scenes” pictures for your viewing pleasure. After BP Josh and I headed out of the stadium to get some gormet hotdogs. If you ever come to Safeco Field make sure you get one. We got the Edgar Dog but they also have Buhner Dogs, Griffey dogs, and Felix dogs. They’re so tastey. The hotdog stand is located out in front of Qwest Field. And those tastey numbers look like this.

That’s just the basics the hotdog comes with. They have a whole table full of things you can put on your hotdog. From hot sauce, to spicey mustard, to ketchup, relish, and pickles. The list goes on and on. There is no extra charge for the goodies either and the hotdog is about $4bucks. While we were eating Josh showed me the baseball that he caught after it took a nasty bounce off one of the seats. Here’s the result of that.

Yeah. That’s a small hole that somehow the seat put into the baseball. I don’t know where the ball hit on the seat but that is pretty amazing.

The Mariners went deep four different times. Jack Cust went deep, Justin Smoak went deep and rookie Carlos Peguero went deep twice! With all those home runs not one came even close to me. The Mariners dished out 8 runs and Felix Hernandez struck out 11 to beat the Rays 8-2. It was a pretty awesome game.

When I got home I made sure to thank David Price via Twitter for the autograph. Here is his response.

David Price (@DAVIDprice14)
6/2/11 11:17 PM
No problem! 1.2.3. Cheeeese RT @MLBwayneMLB: @DAVIDprice14 Thanks for the picture today at #SafecoField
I sincerely appreciate it.

Game; June 2nd 2011 Tampa BayRays vs Seattle Mariners
Rockies

Gameballs; Three

Attendance; 16,376

Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $50.95 this season.

Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $25.75 this
season

 

5-31-2011 Safeco Field

Today’s game marked my 100th game that I’ve ever been to. I wanted to make today’s game as special as possible and definitely one to remember. So let me rewind to a day or so ago. As you all know this past weekend was Memorial Day weekend. I traveled to Coors Field in Denver Colorado for the first time to see that awesome ball park. You can read all about it here and here. Needless to say I wish I picked a different stadium but I’m glad I went because Coors Field marked my ninth stadium I’ve snagged a baseball in. Anyway. Most of you that read my blogs know that I served in the United States Army for ten years. So I qualify for veteran status. I also have a Twitter account. (You can follow me @MLBwayneMLB) Well, Zach Britton of the Baltimore Orioles was giving his thanks to veterans via Twitter. Here’s the conversation we had.

Zach
Britton (@zbritton)

5/30/11 7:24 AM
A
special thanks to all who have protected our freedom, past and
present!

And of course here is my reply.

Wayne
Peck (@MLBwayneMLB)

5/30/11 8:23 AM
@zbritton You’re welcome. I will see you guys at
the Safe tomorrow. #LoveMyO‘s

Wayne
Peck (@MLBwayneMLB)

5/30/11 8:25 AM
@zbritton oh, special request to you Zach. Would
you like to play catch with a vet at the stadium tomorrow? I’ll look for you. :)

And to my surprise I got this reply within the hour.

Zach Britton (@zbritton)
5/30/11 9:22 AM
@MLBwayneMLB Look for me out on the field before
the game.

The problem I faced was it was 9:30am in the morning. The game I was going to attend to play catch with Zach Britton wasn’t until the following day. Nearly 24 hours later. Would he even remember? I made sure to send him a couple more tweets in the early afternoon the day of the game to try and keep things fresh. I mean let’s face it. I had my doubts. He’s a big league ball player and has a ton of things on his mind. Although he wasn’t starting in the next couple of games so the pressure was off. But still.

When I got to the stadium it was all I could think about. How was I going to get his attention? Did he even remember? Should I have brought a sign with me that said something like, ” Im the dude that asked to play catch.” or, ” Army Veteran Tweeter.” Something. Anything to get his attention. But you know what? I didn’t have to do any of that. Because he did remember. Well, let me tell you how it all happened.

I ran inside the stadium when the gates opened and I immediatly lined up at the stairs and waited until 5:10pm. Once the horn blew I raced up the stairs, ran down into the seats and quickly searched for any loose baseballs. Nothing. (The ushers now place them in the cupholders to make it harder for myself, and my buddy Josh to get them) I ran over to the dugout to see if I could find Zach Britton (he wasn’t wearing a BP pullover) and I easily spotted him in the crowd. Here’s the picture I took and see if you can find him.

Do you need some help?

Once I found him I kind of just followed him along the third base line to make sure I would be able to line up behind him while he played catch on the field. My objective at this point was to allow him to get whatever he needed to get done without being too overly obnoxious. A lot of these pitchers have routines that they follow before every game, and then they go shag baseballs in the outfield. So I had to wait until he was all done.

After Zach Britton was done warming up, his catch partner wanted to throw some pitches. So Zach ended up being kind of the “baseball guard” for him. Any baseballs that were hit towards that area Zach would scoop up. Here is a picture of Zach on guard.

I knew at this point that I had limited time and I would have to get his attention somehow. Every once in a while Zach would look over his shoulder to look at the pitches and then he would watch the batter in the cage. I counted the seconds inbetween everytime he looked and then looked back to the batter in the batting cage. He only looked over his shoulder a few times but it was roughly about 8-10 seconds in between looks. So after the second time he looked over his shoulder I counted down from ten. When I reached one I held up my glove and sort of flapped it at him. At that very moment he looked over his shoulder and noticed me. He nodded his head in acklowledgment and fielded the next baseball that came his way. Since he was throwing all the other baseballs into the infield that he caught, I knew he had remembered when he hung onto the recent baseball he snagged. And before I knew it, Zach Britton was enroute towards me.

When he was walking over I turned my camera on and clicked it to video. I pressed “record” and asked this dude that was sitting next to where I was standing if he would please record our conversation. This is the video he recorded.

He recorded the dialogue but I guess he didn’t hear me right or understand what was going on or maybe it was the fact that he was already two beers deep and just sat there like a dope. I’m not sure what happened but he ended up just pointing the camera at his pants the whole time.

Basically some fan wanted to play catch with a baseball player and ended up getting hurt by the ball. Zach explained to me that since they’re filing a lawsuit against Major League Baseball, the players aren’t allowed to play catch anymore. But he did hook me up with a baseball and I thought that was pretty much the end of things.

I played the front row for any slow rollers or line drives and I came up with one more before batting practice ended. As the Baltimore Orioles were walking off the field I decided to try and get a picture with Zach Britton before he walked off the field. I waved him down and as he was walking my way he was telling Brian Matusz to come over and meet “someone”. (That someone being me) They both came over and this was the outcome.

I got to shake hands with Zach Britton (again) AND Brian Matusz. It was such an awesome experience. I had so much to say and so many questions to ask them both but I just couldn’t find the words. I mean, I didn’t just stand there like an idiot. It was just so overwhelming though. Zach stared at me like, “Hey, man. This is your time to ask us whatever you want.” But all I could come up with was, “Where can I send this picture to? The Baltimore fanclub?” I felt like such a dope. By that time fans were coming down to try and get autographs from them so that kind of diverted their attention away from my dopey-ness. It was so awesome to meet them.

I spent the rest of the game in the ‘Pen area and at the end of the game I was denied a baseball from the police officer that patrols the Orioles bullpen. A few baseballs were left behind and I was beat out by some old dude that asked for it first. The Mariners ended up winning due to a Justin Smoak home run that landed deep into the right field seats. Had I been sitting there? I probably would have ended up with the baseball. But security was being extra cautious due to five fans running out onto the field during the Mariners/Yankees series. So I wasn’t about to try and sit where I wasn’t supposed to. Not for a while anyway.

 

Game; May 31st 2011 Baltimore Orioles vs Seattle Mariners
Rockies

Gameballs; Two

Attendance; 11,692

Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $46.00 this season.

Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $25.00 this
season

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