September 19th, 2011
When I got to the stadium today this was waiting for me:
Yes, that is an authentic Major League baseball from Rawlings. The stamp on the sweet spot reads, “Catch n Win 2011″ and the red “X” means that it’s already been turned in for a prize to Guest Services. What does this all mean? Absolutely nothing. Yesterday at Safeco Field the Mariners were holding a fan appreciation day and when I found out they would be using special baseballs during BP I literally freaked out. I started tweeting everyone I knew that would be going to the game asking if they’d snag me one of those baseballs. I even tweeted Mariners pitcher, Shawn Kelley if he’d snag me one and hold onto it until I could get to the stadium the next day. Thanks to my friend, Ryanna and Carla, I was able to get one. Shawn Kelley eventually responded to me with this;
For the record I did not want to attend this baseball game. Why? Because of Alex Rodriguez. I dislike that man like there is no tomorrow. And I’m sure I can speak for many, many Mariner fans. Even the fans that go to one baseball game a year at Safeco Field. I can even say with confidence that the fans that show up for a Mariners bobblehead, walk in the gates, grab a bobblehead, turn around and exit to their cars to go home don’t even like Alex Rodriguez. Seriously? It’s not about him using steroids. I’m over that and I also understand from an athletes point of view why they would consider using steroids. Or even growth hormones. Whatever you want to call it. That fact that he lied about his steroid use is what bothers me. And not only that? How he left Seattle. Which is also understandable but if you’re going to leave the team that put you in the spotlight at least go to another division. Or go to the National League. Or just go away. Anyway. I’m off my soap box now.
With all that said I found out that Alex Rodriguez was not going to be in the lineup. So I jumped in my vehicle and drove out to Safeco Field. Since the Yankees were in town I thought the stadium was going to be packed. But it wasn’t. Maybe 18,000 showed up. And that’s such a light crowd for a Yankees game. When I got to the stadium these fine gentlemen were working on some new posters outside:
Here’s a brand new poster of Miguel Olivo:
When I ran inside there wasn’t much competition and plenty of open spacing in the bullpen areas. I got my first baseball of the evening from Trayvon Robinson. You can see him in the picture below. He’s the Mariner player with the high socks.
Robinson ran down a fly ball that landed on the warning track but failed to bounce into the bullpen. I was standing right there when he appeared in front of the open bullpen door as he was walking towards the baseball. All I had to do was get his attention. I simply flapped my glove at him and he picked up the ball, brushed it off on his pants and went to throw it to me. He lost grip on the ball and he never got airborne. He picked it up again and this time launched it to me. The ball nearly came up short and I had to really stretch for it. But I made the catch.
I still wanted a baseball from Felix Hernandez really bad. When I noticed him out in centerfield I made a bee-line for the ‘Pen area. Or the party deck. Whatever it’s called. Everytime Felix fielded a baseball I screamed at him to throw it to me. But he paid me absolutely no attention at all. Thoroughly bummed I figured out a different plan of approach. I was destined to get a baseball from that man. When the rest of the stadium opened up I raced to the centerfield bleachers and lined up directly behind the King. But he never got another baseball. Steve Delabar and Jason Vargas were fielding everything and tossed a couple into the stands. I could have easily made some catches but I wanted a baseball from Felix. And then he walked off the field. It was then I noticed a huge fan gathering around the Yankees dugout. Guess what that meant? I’ll show you in the next couple of pictures.
Here is what the crowd looked like at the Yankees dugout:
I noticed the crowd from centerfield. I literally ran to the Mariners dugout because it was pretty much just me standing there. Check it out:
The Mariners were about to end their portion of batting practice and that meant only one thing. I had absolutely no one competing against me for a baseball. Lucky me I got Chone Figgins attention. He tossed me a baseball but I was three rows back from the front. The ball came up way short and it landed in the camera pit. At first I didn’t see it bounce around down there so I was concerned the camera lady wouldn’t be able to find it. Amazingly it landed inside her backpack!
She was totally oblivious to the whole thing and I didn’t want to just reach into her backpack and grab the baseball. I kindly asked her if she’d dig it out and she did. Instead of handing it to me she tossed it to me and I nearly lost it again. I made sure to thank Figgins as he walked into the dugout too. That was my second baseball of the evening.
On my way back out to the outfield I managed to scoop up a softly hit grounder that barely made it past first base and trickled into foul territory. Again, there was no one around but me to get it. So I hauled it in for my third baseball on the evening. After the Mariners jogged off the field and the Yankees came out I wandered the bullpen area for any loose baseballs that I could glove trick. I found one in the Yankees bullpen and I easily snagged it via glove-trick. Everyone, of course, was so amazed by what I did I actually got a “standing ovation”. I wasn’t really paying attention to it until one guy patted me on the back and told me “Good job.” So I humbly tipped my cap and moved on. It felt kind of good to get that kind of attention, I’m not going to lie. That was my fourth baseball of the evening. Here’s a picture of the baseball afterwards:
While I was in the bullpen area a batting practice home run was hit into the Mariners bullpen and it bounced into the back corner. No one was really around to witness it expect me. Like I said; everyone was at the Yankees dugout. Here’s a picture of the ball. See if you can find it…
…It’s tucked away in the back corner. While I was standing there Jason Phillips was walking into the bullpen. He picked up a baseball on the way to the bench and turned around to throw it up to section 151. Like I’ve said many times before; everyone was so fascinated by the Yankees being in the stadium that most people forgot that the Mariners were even here to play. No one responded to Jason Phillips request to throw them a baseball. He shrugged and put the baseball in his pocket. When he turned around to continue to the bench I was standing on the other side of the fence glove ready. All I had to do was flap my glove at him. It took him a moment to get the baseball to me but when he threw it, it was a high beautifully aimed arching throw that smacked right into my glove. It was such an awesome throw. And the results:
You can see Phillips in the background digging through the bag of baseballs. That was number five on the night and my third baseball from Jason Phillips this year. My first baseball and my 100th lifetime baseball from Phillips came on April 2nd 2011 at the Oakland Coliseum. And my second baseball from him came on July 30th 2011 at Safeco Field.
Remember the baseball that bounced into the corner of the Mariners bullpen? I had a few options I could try. I could ask Miguel Olivo when he came over to warm up to grab the baseball for me OR I could wait for someone less busy to enter the bullpen. I also knew that one of the grounds crew raises the protective scoreboard screen and uses a hand crank in that very corner where the ball was at. I rolled the dice and waited on the grounds crew. When he showed up I asked him how his day was going and then hit with the infamous, “Is there anyway you could grab that baseball for me and hand it up?” I thought about extending the truth and telling him I dropped it while trying to get an autograph. But how many times during the season do baseballs land there? He’s probably heard every trick in the book. So I held my breath and hoped that worked. He didn’t answer me right away but after he was done…
…another Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim commemorative baseball!! Not only was that my sixth baseball of the evening but that’s my fourth Angels commemorative baseball!! Not my fourth one of the game but my fourth one overall. I absolutely love these unique baseballs.
Once the game got started it was pretty much the Yankees dominating. The Mariners put up a really good fight and the final score was 3-2 Yankees. The most wonderful moment came, (even though I’m anti-Yankee) when Mariano Rivera notched his 600th career save. History. Here is a picture of him taking the mound before the historic moment:
The picture quality sucks because I forgot my SD card again and not only that I left my SD card in my camera that was sitting at home on my computer desk. So I was limited to my iPhone once again. Here’s a picture of Rivera after the save:
This game reminded me when I drove 800 miles from St. Louis to the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on 10-22-2010 to watch game six of the ALCS last year. I had goosebumps when Rivera recorded the milestone.
Game; September 13th 2011 New York Yankees vs Seattle Mariners
Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $185.00 this season.
Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $46.60 this