5-9-2012 Safeco Field

This game was the last day the Tigers were going to be in town so I had to make things count. I wanted to get a few autographs, which I thoroughly succeeded at that:

That’s an authentic Brandon League autograph that I got on my ticket stub before yesterday’s baseball game.  If you notice, Hisashi Iwakuma is signing autographs in the background. After batting practice had ended today, I was able to get his autograph on my ticket stub as well:

Rewind to where I came into the ballpark. This was what I found on initial entry:

Already in the books! Today, I was attempting to beat my official time that it took me to snag my first baseball. But I realized that there is no way to beat that anymore because last year when the Anaheim Angels came to town, I snagged a baseball three hours before the gates were even scheduled to open! I’m pretty sure Mark Trumbo hit it,too. If you want to read all about that, you can by clicking this link.

After waiting around in the ‘Pen for a few moments later, I decided to scout out the bullpens to see if I could try out my new glove-tricking rig. Yup, I fixed that puppy and got ‘her up and running again. I stood near some youngsters decked out in Tigers swag and watched patiently. Finally, Shawn Kelley turned around and started tossing baseballs towards the kids. I held back and played the bounce in case the kids missed the balls (which they did) but the ball hit off the tip of my glove and rolled to another kid standing by. I think Shawn saw that and tried to hook up another kid with a baseball but that one fell short and ended up in the bullpen out of reach of my glove trick. The cool thing about Shawn is that he didn’t give up. He actually walked into the bullpen shown here…

…and started hooking up fans with the remaining few baseballs in the bullpen. Since I was standing there I decided to accept the offer from Shawn. I mean, I really didn’t have a choice. And I try really hard not to ask players for baseballs but it felt really good to finally be able to add Shawn Kelley to the long list of baseball players that have thrown me a ball. If you’d like to take a gander at that list, click here. Yeah, that’s a lot of players, I know. And as I continue my quest to 1,000 baseballs and beyond, I can only assume the list will continue to grow.

Here’s the baseball that Kelley tossed me:

It was pretty beat up and that’s what made it unique. It had character. It had some Major League miles on it. Grass stains and plastic smudges from where i has hit off plastic seats in the bleachers…very cool.

From there, I wandered out into the centerfield stands and waited on home run balls. Barely anything made it out to me and the ones that were remotely close, Tom Wilhelmsen and Charlie Furbush were out shagging. I was hoping for a ground-rule double at some point and then a deep fly ball was lofted in my direction. I thought it had a chance to at least make it to the warning track. I lined up perfectly behind it and waited on the bounce and then out of no where Wilhelmsen came racing in to try to make the catch! The ball barely tipped off his glove but that gave it enough lift to force the ball up and over the fence and into the seats! I couldn’t believe it! The ball clanked off a few seat backs and eventually rolled to my feet!

Theres a sweet little blue smudge on this one. Not sure how it got there but it’s still pretty awesome.

After the Mariners trotted off the field, I stayed in the ‘Pen for the remainder of batting practice. Not one baseball was tossed to the fans and nothing came close enough to catch. I thought Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder would send a few to center field or even into the bullpens but I guess they were saving their energy for the game.

Remember the pictures of the signs from yesterday’s game? Well, another friend of mine, Joanna, made a sign for today’s game. Here, take a look:

In addition to the awesome signs made up for this game, I snuck over to the Tigers side of the stadium and snagged a quick picture with Phil Coke:

If it looks like I’m taller than him, I’m really not. Coke was standing on the field and I had the security guard take the picture. How awesome is that, though? Another goal I’m striving for is to get a picture with one player per every team in the Major Leagues. I think this picture puts me at 13 or 14. I still have a long ways to go because it’s not easy to get pictures with baseball players all the time. Sometimes when I’m chasing pictures with players, I have to make a decision on whether to get the picture, snag an autograph or go for a baseball. Decisions, decisions.

 

I’m snagging baseballs for puppies again this season for the Seattle Humane Society! If you want to check out my charity information, just click here!

Last season, with the help of all of you, we were able to raise over $250 dollars! This year I’d like to break $300!

Today’s game snagging Highlights: Detroit Tigers vs. Seattle Mariners- attendance 16,655

Baseballs snagged: three (found one, Shawn Kelley toss-up, BP HR)

Total baseballs snagged this season: 36

Total baseballs snagged last season: 135

Total dollars raised at this game: $6.12

Total dollars raised for Snagging Baseballs for Puppies this season: $70.14

Total dollars raised for Snagging Baseballs for Puppies last season: $257.00

Total number of donors this season: 9

Total number of donors last season: 7

If you’d like to join my official Snagging Baseballs for Puppies Facebook page, just click here! And if you want to like Collection of Baseball on Facebook, click here!

5-8-2012 Safeco Field

Yesterday’s Mariners game at Safeco Field was a lot of fun. Not only did the Mariners win in walk-off fashion, but some of my friends brought some extremely creative signs for their favorite Mariner players:

The posters were so awesome that, as you can see, the Root Sports guy had to come down and put them on tv for the opening part of the baseball game. And Kyle Seager has been an absolute beast for the Mariners thus far.

The Mariners winning last night, John Jaso and Jesus Montero coming up big for the Mariners, my evening started out like this:

Yes, that is my baseball glove in the visitors bullpen. How did it get there? Well, I’ll tell you. See the baseball laying next to it? I was attempting to glove-trick that specific baseball and impress the many onlookers that watched. Instead, as I was lowering down my glove, the material I used to tie onto my glove, broke. I felt like a total jack-ass. The good thing is, this doesn’t look like anything. And all I had to say to the bullpen cop (who I thanked sincerely) was my glove fell down into the bullpen. If anyone asked, well, I was trying to get an autograph, right? That’s what it looked like, anyway. The other good thing was, I was able to get the baseball but my glove-trick was a complete train-wreck:

I attempted a quick repair, but it was useless to repair this mess. I tossed the string and moved on.

My second and final baseball came from Doug Fister. Here’s how it happened: I was standing in the ‘Pen after my glove-trick had busted where I thought I’d rely on a few toss-ups from the Tigers pitchers. When Doug Fister came screaming in to centerfield to snag a BP line drive, everyone started calling out to him. As little as I’ve seen Doug Fister interact with the crowd, it hasn’t been much. He usually just tosses baseballs into the crowd without really looking. Knowing this, I set up in the back of the group of people who Fister was in line with and waited. As soon as I saw the baseball come flying over the fence, I waited for the initial bobble and then pounced on the baseball as it headed back my way. I reached across my body to make a back-handed snag but the ball ricocheted off the tip of my glove, bounced off the short wall near the back of the ‘Pen, caromed off the garbage can and rolled to my feet. I scooped it up and tossed it to the nearest fan that I thought had initially touched it after Fister threw it in.

Again, like last night, the Mariners were trailing going into the bottom of the ninth. Another barn burner? Yes please! This time, Jose Valverde was on the hill and I absolutely love watching this dude pitch! Things started out in the Mariners favor; Carp walked, Saunders walked and then Ackley struck out swinging. With Figgins pinch-running at second for Mike Carp, I thought for sure Seattle would tack on a run or two here. But Brendan Ryan grounded into a force play at 2nd and narrowly beat the throw to first. Still, with hope and Figgins at 3rd, I thought good things were going to happen. A gutsy call from Wedge to send Ryan down to second with a stolen base lined everything up for the Mariners. Ichiro got intentionally walked which would bring up Jesus Montero…

 

…but then this happened:

Game over.

I’m snagging baseballs for puppies again this season for the Seattle Humane Society! If you want to check out my charity information, just click here!

Last season, with the help of all of you, we were able to raise over $250 dollars! This year I’d like to break $300!

Today’s game snagging Highlights: Detroit Tigers vs. Seattle Mariners- attendance 13,455

Baseballs snagged: three (glove-tricked on, Doug Fister toss-up)

Total baseballs snagged this season: 33

Total baseballs snagged last season: 135

Total dollars raised at this game: $4.08

Total dollars raised for Snagging Baseballs for Puppies this season: $64.02

Total dollars raised for Snagging Baseballs for Puppies last season: $257.00

Total number of donors this season: 9

Total number of donors last season: 7

If you’d like to join my official Snagging Baseballs for Puppies Facebook page, just click here! And if you want to like Collection of Baseball on Facebook, click here!

 

5-7-2012 Safeco Field

Oh, yeah, baby! DEEEEEEE-TROIT in the HOUSE! Okay, that was lame. But, whatever! The Tigers started a three game series at Safeco Field today and I was absolutely stoked about it! I love the Tigers ever since my childhood in the early 90’s. Cecil Fielder and Alan Trammel were my all-time favorite players, and on top of that, look who was at Safeco!

Yup! Prince Fielder! Cecil Fielders 28-year-old son! It was going to be so much fun watching Prince take some hacks in the BP cage and when he did, everyone was thoroughly impressed. He hit the baseball so fricken` far. I’ve seen a few players hit baseballs really far. Like, Pujols and Holliday when I visited Coors field last year on May 27th and May 29th, but Prince really sent them deep!

Okay, so as soon as I hit the gates, I ran into the ‘Pen area and glove-tricked my first baseball on the evening out from the centerfield gap:

Still no Opening Series Japan commemorative baseball. But it was nice to snag this one because that meannt it kept my consecutive games with at least one baseball streak alive. Surprisingly, batting practice was a tad boring. I stood around in the ‘Pen area for nearly all of BP and I was able to get a Hector Noesi toss-up that a few fans bobbled before I ended up with it. Well, actually, Noesi simply over-threw everyone and I reached across my body to make the back-handed catch. I instantly handed it off to the nearest kid.

My third baseball came from the one and only, Prince Fielder. And no, I was not in the right field bleachers when I snagged this puppy; I was way out in centerfield. On the party deck. Yes, the deepest part of Safeco Field. And good ‘ol Prince had no problem reaching me. Here’s how it played out: as I was standing in the ‘Pen, I watched Prince Fielder loft a high arching ball towards the warning track about two feet to my right. I scooted over as close to the railing as possible to be able to reach out and catch it in case it did clear the fence. Well, it did make it over and landed into the centerfield gap just out of reach. With extensive concentration, I played the bounce as it headed back over the fence and made a sweeping basket-catch. Feeeww!!

 

That man can sure hit a baseball! As far as the game goes, I left around the 8th inning, which I solely regretted. The Mariners were down 3-0 going into the bottom of the ninth. The Mariners were held scoreless by Tigers ace, Doug Fister (who you may remember from the Mariners pitching staff last year), but it really didn’t matter. As soon as Fister left the mound and Detroit turned it over to their bullpen, all chaos broke loose! Octavio Dotel replaced Phil Coke and ended up walking both Brendan Ryan and Ichiro. The very next pitch was a wild one which moved the runners to 2nd and 3rd. Then a pass ball by Alex Avila which scored Brendan Ryan and the nJesus Montero doublesdin Ichiro which tied the game!

The Tigers then switch out Dotel and put in Duane Below and the Mariners pinch-ran Kawasaki for Montero. What a ball game so far, right? Hang in there. It get’s better! Kyle Seager bunts Kawasaki to third and then John Jaso sac flies the winning run in to win it in wal-off fashion! Holy crap!

I’m snagging baseballs for puppies again this season for the Seattle Humane Society! If you want to check out my charity information, just click here!

Last season, with the help of all of you, we were able to raise over $250 dollars! This year I’d like to break $300!

Today’s game snagging Highlights: Detroit Tigers vs. Seattle Mariners- attendance 14,462

Baseballs snagged: three (glove-tricked one, Hector Noesi toss-up, caught BP home run)

Total baseballs snagged this season: 31

Total baseballs snagged last season: 135

Total dollars raised at this game: $6.12

Total dollars raised for Snagging Baseballs for Puppies this season: $59.94

Total dollars raised for Snagging Baseballs for Puppies last season: $257.00

Total number of donors this season: 9

Total number of donors last season: 7

If you’d like to join my official Snagging Baseballs for Puppies Facebook page, just click here! And if you want to like Collection of Baseball on Facebook, click here!

 

 

“In Defense of a Ballhawk”

There is a lot of controversy surrounding ones that claim to be a “ballhawk.” If you are unfamiliar of what a Ballhawk actually is, you may need to attend a few more Major league baseball games in your life. I don’t mean that in a negative fashion, either. I’m just saying. If you’ve ever encountered a Ballhawk roaming the confines of any Major league stadium, you may have received a baseball from one, hopefully. I, myself, have snagged nearly 270 baseballs since 2005 when I received my first official baseball from an usher at Kauffman stadium during my mid-tour leave from combat. I also make sure to be very careful how I go about snagging baseballs and not to get too greedy. Although, I’ll jump on just about any opportunity to snag one, I give a fair share of baseballs away to fellow baseball fans both young and old.

A few years ago, a young man named Nick Yohanek attended a baseball game and caught Chris Coglan’s first career home run. Yohanek, at the time, seemed to be an icon in Milwaukee’s old stadium before Miller Park was created. He’d attend many baseball games and put up strong numbers by snagging game home run baseballs. It’s quite impressive, actually. But to some, Yohanek and others that share similar interest in snagging gamers, are annoying and just get in the way of the game. Well, I’ve never hindered anyone from catching a baseball. Or have gotten in the way of someone trying to enjoy the game. For Yohanek, it’s been a different story. And not to dig up old stories, but rumor has it, or had it, that Yohanek asked for a laundry list of items from Coglan after snagging his first career dinger. From there, it spiraled out of control.

Zack Hample is another that snags quite a few game home runs and has snagged many first career home runs as well. After catching the ball, security instantly comes down and tries to pry the baseball from your hands and if you don’t have a good grip or are an easy push over, you’ll lose your change to get something in return for that prized possession. For me? Just meeting the player is enough. For others, they’ll ask for money, bats, balls, batting gloves, you name it. If it isn’t nailed down, fans want it.

Anyway. Enough of all that. Here’s a great write-up from a person that wanted to shed some positive light on the ballhawking world. It’s a little long, but worth the read.

http://www.dontfeedtheanimals.net/2012/05/in-defense-of-ballhawk.html

 

 

 

5-4-2012 Safeco Field

When I showed up at Safeco, things were a little more busy than I had expected. Even the ‘Pen was a little packed for Safeco standards and the Moose man even made an appearance:

And as soon as he showed up, the Coors light girls showed up too:

My first baseball came from Hector Noesi. As he was shagging baseballs out in centerfield, every time he caught one and looked towards the ‘Pen, I’d flap my glove to him. I’m not much for yelling at players from 500 feet away, so I use hand and arm signals. The next baseball that flew towards Noesi went way over his head, bounced off the warning track and back behind the batters eye. I thought all was lost, but Noesi actually went through the opened centerfield gate to retrieve the baseball. Once he did that, I flapped my glove at him again and he lobbed me a soft, high arching throw that never really reached me. The ball took a lucky bounce off the railing and landed back to his (Noesi) feet. Again, I flapped my glove at him and he hit his mark. Check out the pattern on the baseball after it had hit the batters eye:

Once the rest of the stadium opened up at 5:10pm, I was able to glove trick a ball out from behind the manual scoreboard:

The Twins hustled onto the field roughly ten minutes after my last snag so I changed from my Mariners hat to my Twins hat. But I really didn’t need to because I had already snagged a couple baseballs and I wasn’t trying to rely on toss-ups from players unless I really had to. So I wandered around in foul ground waiting on another opportunity. It wasn’t long, (not sure who hit it) but a screaming line drive came down the third base line, bounced off the warning track, flew over about ten rows and right smack into my glove. I got a small standing ovation from the surrounding fans that attempted to catch it, or ducked out-of-the-way, and I was on my way towards the Twins dugout for any photo opportunities and/or autographs. Here’s a picture of the foul BP ball I had snagged moments prior:

That’s Ryanna sticking her “rabbit ears” up behind the baseball. Cute, yes?  I waited around at the dugout until batting practice ended and unfortunately I didn’t get one picture or autograph. But. The fun wasn’t over just yet. As I walked back to the ‘Pen, I noticed a white orb sitting in the visitors bullpen as I came down the staircase. Easy snag! I gave it away to the nearest fan as soon as I reeled it in and since the Mariners were using special opening series Japan baseballs during BP, one of my friends, Krista, was able to snag one of those during BP!

I have yet to snag one of these puppies, and sadly, they may all be gone. The added bonus to this season though, the Orioles, Dodgers, Mets and Marlins are all using special baseballs this year. So I still have plenty of opportunities to snag some commemoratives like the one in the above picture that Krista is holding.

As far as the game goes, I really couldn’t stay the entire length of it. Work calls, and I had to bail to catch the bus back to my home station before the third inning got under way. That’s what it’s going to be like all season long, too. But I’m grateful I get to at least attend batting practice and see the first few innings of the game. On my days off and early game starts, I’ll be able to stay for the games entirety. Such is life, right?

And for your viewing pleasure, below is the current, updated stats on how my charity is doing so far this season. I can’t thank the long list of donors this year, enough. Just know that you are greatly appreciated and remember sports fans; the top donor receives an official Snagging Baseballs for Puppies coffee mug after the 2012 season! (Please allow 3-6 weeks for delivery)

I’m snagging baseballs for puppies again this season for the Seattle Humane Society! If you want to check out my charity information, just click here!

Last season, with the help of all of you, we were able to raise over $250 dollars! This year I’d like to break $300!

Today’s game snagging Highlights: Minnesota Twins vs. Seattle Mariners- attendance 22,492

Baseballs snagged: four (Hector Noesi toss-up, glove-tricked two, caught BP foulball)

Total baseballs snagged this season: 28

Total baseballs snagged last season: 135

Total dollars raised at this game: $8.46

Total dollars raised for Snagging Baseballs for Puppies this season: $53.82

Total dollars raised for Snagging Baseballs for Puppies last season: $257.00

Total number of donors this season: 9

Total number of donors last season: 7

If you’d like to join my official Snagging Baseballs for Puppies Facebook page, just click here! And if you want to like Collection of Baseball on Facebook, click here!

 

4-19-2012 Safeco Field

When I visited the Oakland Coliseum on April 9th and 10th, not only did I catch a Coco Crisp foul ball off the chest of some guy holding a beer, but I was able to get interviewed by Major League baseball. MLB.com is doing a new thing for fans to help promote more fan interaction and actually get it on the website. I was one of the lucky fans to get interview, but sadly, my video never made it on their website. I wanted to share it anyway, though. Check it out!

It was a lot of fun and many thanks goes out to Alex Espinoza for taking the time to hunt me down and interview me. I thought it was a pretty good interview and was a little shocked it didn’t make it on the website. No matter. There would be plenty more opportunities in the upcoming months, I’m sure.

When I arrived to Safeco Field and made it inside, I initially spotted this:

If you look very carefully, you can see a white speck beyond the fence strategically placed up the third-base line to help save the lives of spectators that don’t really spectate. That little white speck is an official Major League baseball.

Results?

Boo-yah!

When I turned and ran up into the left field bleachers, I looked over to gaze into the visitor’s bullpen and, wow:

I could snag at least one of those! I ran down the stairs, arrived at the bullpen and flung my glove out to knock the closest baseball closer. Easy snag. And just as I was reeling the baseball up, another baseball was hit deep my way. The ball landed in the bullpen, took a nasty bounce on the concrete near the stairs and ricocheted over my head into the APizza stand. I quickly turned, flapped my glove at the cashier and snagged number three on the night! Two out of the ‘Pen:

I returned to the ‘Pen to switch hats to my Cleveland swag just as the Mariners portion of BP had ended and I found this guy asking for an autograph:

That’s the shortest man I’ve ever seen in my life! Totally blog-worthy, by the way. After I snagged my Indians hat, I ran back over to the 3rd base line and snapped up a picture with Aaron Cunningham…

…and snagged a Nick Hagadone autograph:

Once I returned to the ‘Pen, since I’m a huge Miguel Olivo fan, I found an equal riding on the shoulders of his father. I instantly hooked the little 5-year-old up with a baseball and slapped a high-five when he said Olivo had the best quick release to second base in the league. The downside of the night was Jesus Montero’s attitude when kids were asking for his autograph at the bullpen. I debated on whether or not to really make mention of it in my blog for you to read, but hey, I think it should be said. I actually witnessed Montero wave his hand to Lucas Luetge like, “I’m too good to sign autographs for kids” when Luetge pointed out that kids were asking for him. Reluctantly, Montero came over, with an attitude, and signed a few autographs. It was pretty poor sportsmanship, if you ask me.

I’m snagging baseballs for puppies again this season for the Seattle Humane Society! If you want to check out my charity information, just click here!

Last season, with the help of all of you, we were able to raise over $250 dollars! This year I’d like to break $300!

Today’s game snagging Highlights: Cleveland Indians vs. Seattle Mariners- attendance 12,343

Baseballs snagged: three (found one, glove-tricked another and ran down a third one that landed in the ‘Pen)

Total baseballs snagged this season: 24

Total baseballs snagged last season: 135

Total dollars raised for Snagging Baseballs for Puppies this season: $45.36

Total dollars raised for Snagging Baseballs for Puppies last season: $257.00

Total number of donors this season: 8

Total number of donors last season: 7

If you’d like to join my official Snagging Baseballs for Puppies Facebook page, just click here! And if you want to like Collection of Baseball on Facebook, click here!

4-18-2012 Safeco Field

The Indians weren’t very interactive with the fans during batting practice which made my time at Safeco Field extremely boring tonight. I didn’t bother to ask any Mariner players on the field for a toss-up. Instead, I banked on finding a couple loose baseballs in the seats after the rest of the stadium opened up. When I ran over that way at 5:10pm, I found absolutely nothing. About ten minutes later, a slicing foul ball came down the line, I turned, raced up the stairs near the wall, anticipated the bounce and caught the ball as it traveled into the bleachers:

More boring-ness ensued so I chased over to the Mariners dugout right before the Mariners portion of batting practice ended and got Jaime Navarro to throw me a baseball as he walked off the field:

I really didn’t bother to snag anymore baseballs other than opportunities that came easy. Which the Indians were so unresponsive on the field, I just stood on the party deck and engaged in small talk with Kim, the Bullpen Mom and another friend of mine, Ryanna.

The only other action I saw was an Ubaldo Jimenez autograph and about the first three innings of baseball at the stadium before I had to run out and catch my bus home…

…and this year one of my goals is to catch Ichiro’s 100th career home run. I think he’s sitting on 95. In the first inning of play, Chone Figgins went deep and then Ichiro followed with his 96th home run one batter later. It was getting close to having to buy tickets for the outfield, which will be extremely expensive due to the Mariners (and all the other teams) going to this lame-ass “dynamic” ticket pricing. If you haven’t heard about it, well, you’re one of the lucky ones that your team hasn’t gone to it yet. Basically, its price gouging. And it sucks.

 

 

I’m snagging baseballs for puppies again this season for the Seattle Humane Society! If you want to check out my charity information, just click here!

Last season, with the help of all of you, we were able to raise over $250 dollars! This year I’d like to break $300!

Today’s game snagging Highlights: Cleveland Indians vs. Seattle Mariners- attendance 11,343

Baseballs snagged: four (caught BP foul-ball, Jaime Navarro toss-up)

Total baseballs snagged this season: 21

Total baseballs snagged last season: 135

Total dollars raised for Snagging Baseballs for Puppies this season: $39.69

Total dollars raised for Snagging Baseballs for Puppies last season: $257.00

Total number of donors this season: 8

Total number of donors last season: 7

If you’d like to join my official Snagging Baseballs for Puppies Facebook page, just click here! And if you want to like Collection of Baseball on Facebook, click here!

4-17-2012 Safeco Field

I totally didn’t realize it but that last baseball I snagged from Kevin Millwood last Sunday was  my 250th lifetime baseball! I mean, I guess it’s not all that exciting considering there are people out there that have snagged over 1,000 baseballs.

Tonight’s game at Safeco Field was against the Cleveland Indians who I know probably three players on that team. Ubaldo Jimenez, Shin Soo-Choo, Shelley Duncan and Chris Perez. Okay, so four. I knew asking any Cleveland player for a baseball would be out of the question because like I said; I had no knowledge of who was on the active roster. It would be BP home runs, foul balls and glove tricking whatever I could.

When I ran into the stadium, one of the Mariner fans started yelling at Felix Hernandez to toss a baseball his way. Once he did, and the fan bobbled the ball, I was all over it with my glove trick. Since the baseball landed down in the center field gap, I had plenty of time to get it and security really didn’t harass me about it:

You can see Hernandez throwing a baseball into the infield in the above picture. I’ve been wanting a baseball from the King for a while now and since I glove tricked that baseball out of the gap, it doesn’t actually count as a baseball from Felix. Sucks, I know. But that’s how the game goes.

Miguel Olivo, who I got a baseball from last year on April 1st at the Oakland Coliseum, was very generous when it came to requests for baseballs from fans. Here’s Joanna and Carla’s gems they caught from Olivo:

Joanna, the one closest in the picture, actually made an awesome grab for the baseball. Another fan behind her (not pictured) was doing most of the leg work to get Olivo to toss a baseball up. When he (Olivo) finally did, Joanna pretty much robbed the guy with a bare handed grab! Quite impressive!

I waited down in the ‘Pen for another 10-15 minutes and then I wandered off to line up at the stairs that led to the lower seating bowl. When a BP home run landed in the visitors bullpen, I slowly started to get my glove trick ready again, I waited for the stairs to open up at 5:10pm, and while the security guards were busy ushering people around, I ran over to the bullpen and glove tricked my second baseball on the night:

I wandered up to the 3rd base side of the stadium and this was the crowd during BP within the first 15-20 minutes:

Batting practice was actually pretty boring. There weren’t a whole lot of fans, not really any foul balls or very many BP home run balls. I couldn’t recognize any Cleveland players, like I mentioned before, so it made it pretty uneventful. About the only excitement that happened was how I snagged my third and fourth baseball of the evening.

When I walked up to the left field bleachers, I saw a baseball down behind the scoreboard. That’s probably the easiest place to glove trick a baseball out of, too. The security guards actually encourage it, sort of. Well, I haven’t had any problems with them while glove tricking baseballs out from behind the scoreboard. They only get mad (not all of them) when people glove trick balls from the bullpens and the sod farm behind the batters eye. I thought this would be an easy grab and I’d be on my way. As I was stretching the rubber band over my glove, it broke on me! Gah!

Luckily, I had a spare rubber band. But it wasn’t as good as the one I had been previously using. When I’d capture the baseball and start to reel it up, the ball would slip out and drop back down behind the scoreboard. Reel it up, drop back down. Reel it up, drop back down. I didn’t think I’d ever get the baseball, but eventually I did:

What a frustrating 2 minutes, I swear! After that, I headed back over to the ‘Pen just as the Indians were clearing the field. While I was standing there talking to our Bullpen Mom, a baseball landed at my feet! I had no idea where it came from, at first, but I snagged it anyway. Turns out, one of the bullpen cops was trying to throw a young lady a baseball and she bobbled it. Since I’ve received baseballs from bullpen cops before, I decided to count it. Hell, I snagged it, didn’t I? Does it really matter who it came from? I categorize bullpen cops the same way as I categorize grounds keepers, security guards and other employees around the stadiums. And I’ve caught baseballs from many of those types of people before.

I handed the baseball to the girl who bobbled it and snapped a quick photo:

 

Soon after, the Mariner relief pitchers made their way to the bullpen and I was able to get Tom Wilhelmsen’s autograph on my ticket stub:

I watched the majority of the game from the ‘Pen with a quick stop into the Flying Tortoise Cantina for some more nachos.

John Jaso got the Mariners on the board with a 2-run blast in the 3rd inning. In the fourth, Brendan Ryan drew a bases loaded walk and the very next batter, Jaso, was plunked in the leg that scored another run for the Mariners. By that time, it was 5-1 Mariners and in the sixth inning, Indians catcher, Carlos Santana sent a 3-run moon shot into the right field seats which ended up to be a six run 5th inning for the Indians.

By the ninth inning, the Indians pulled a head 9-8 and Chris Perez got the job to slam the door on the M’s. Seattle loaded up the bases in the bottom of the ninth and Perez got John Jaso to pop up to end the game. What a heart breaker.

 

I’m snagging baseballs for puppies again this season for the Seattle Humane Society! If you want to check out my charity information, just click here!

Last season, with the help of all of you, we were able to raise over $250 dollars! This year I’d like to break $300!

Today’s game snagging Highlights: Cleveland Indians vs. Seattle Mariners- attendance 12,065

Baseballs snagged: four (glove-tricked three, found one)

Total baseballs snagged this season: 19

Total baseballs snagged last season: 135

Total dollars raised for Snagging Baseballs for Puppies this season: $35.91

Total dollars raised for Snagging Baseballs for Puppies last season: $257.00

Total number of donors this season: 8

Total number of donors last season: 7

If you’d like to join my official Snagging Baseballs for Puppies Facebook page, just click here! And if you want to like Collection of Baseball on Facebook, click here!

4-15-2012 Safeco Field

Sunday games are always a challenge to get a baseball; but I’ve been continuously successful. Since there isn’t any batting practice, it’s more of being at the right place at the right time with the right player. A lot can go wrong but a lot can go right. If you’re ever attending Sunday games that batting practice isn’t in full swing, my advice to you, is be a little more aggressive when trying to catch a ball. They can come from anywhere. Usually the home team has infield warm-up drills so there’s a huge chance for an errant throw to end up in the seats.

My first and only baseball came from Kevin Millwood. The Mariners were out warming up down the first base line and when Millwood got done playing catch with his throwing partner, we made eye contact, I flapped my glove at him and he absolutely air mailed me the baseball. I jumped at the last possible moment to make the catch but it was a few feet over my head. I quickly turned, remembered the gravity rule and casually waited for the baseball to come to me rather than frantically searching for it. I could hear foot steps of other fans closing in on me, but I paid it no attention:

When I wandered back over to the Mariners bullpen out in center field, there was a lady trying to get Jason Phillips autograph. She didn’t really know who he was and she kept asking him if he was a pitcher. I told her that Phillips is the Mariners bullpen catcher and he’s a really cool guy. She didn’t have anything to get his autograph on, so I offered her an extra baseball that I had in my back pack. She also wanted to get his autograph with a sharpie marker; which is a huge mistake. I hooked her up with a ball point pen and this was the result:

It’s hard to see Jason Phillips autograph, and it turns out this young lady is part of the special olympics. She’s a huge Mariner fan and was pretty appreciative to get Phillip’s autograph.

As the Mariners filtered off the field, the Athletics started to come out. I wanted to get a few pictures with some players and maybe an autograph or two. When I walked over to the 3rd base area, the Athletics started to warmup. I wandered down to the dugout area and waited. It wouldn’t be long and the team would start to come over my way.

I eventually got Grant Balfour’s autograph and a close-up picture of him…

…and here’s the autograph I got from him…

…pretty sweet, huh? And when one of my most favorite Athletics player came around, I was able to snap up a picture with him:

After that, it was time for some much-needed pizza at the Pizzeria in the ‘Pen. I was dying for a slice since I wasn’t able to get any on the home opener and I forgot about it yesterday.

Once I had some pizza in my belly, I watched Miguel Olivo warm-up, traded jokes between friends about Adam Moore getting hurt all the time and Olivo leading the entire Major Leagues in pass balls…this was what it was all about, though. Friends and baseball! Life couldn’t be sweeter. Well, it could. It was actually Jackie Robinson day at the ballpark and all players wore number 42 to celebrate this special day:

 

Once the game got underway, I settled down in my usual spot when the ‘Pen wasn’t crowded; near the Mariners bullpen.

Brendan Ryan and Justin Smoak both went deep for the Mariners and Eric Sogard of the Athletics easily tied it up with a 3-run shot in the 5th inning. Ichiro came back and delivered a two-run double to right and the Mariners put it in cruise control after that. Brandon League came in and slammed the door with his tenth save on the year, and that was the ball game, kids!

Yesterday, I said I’d update my mini-baseball streak stats, so here you go:

30 hours at three different stadiums, watching 48 innings of baseball, eating five nacho plates, one hotdog, one chicken meal, having drank five cokes, ate three pizza slices, traveled 1,280 miles, getting 46 hours of sleep!

I’m snagging baseballs for puppies again this season for the Seattle Humane Society! If you want to check out my charity information, just click here!

Last season, with the help of all of you, we were able to raise over $250 dollars! This year I’d like to break $300!

Today’s game snagging Highlights: Oakland Athletics vs. Seattle Mariners- attendance 19,065

Baseballs snagged: two (toss-up from Kevin Millwood)

Total baseballs snagged this season: 15

Total baseballs snagged last season: 135

Total dollars raised for Snagging Baseballs for Puppies this season: $28.35

Total dollars raised for Snagging Baseballs for Puppies last season: $257.00

Total number of donors this season: 8

Total number of donors last season: 7

If you’d like to join my official Snagging Baseballs for Puppies Facebook page, just click here! And if you want to like Collection of Baseball on Facebook, click here!

 

4-14-2012 Safeco Field

When I arrived in Seattle around mid-afternoon, I knew there was going to be a parking disaster because the Seattle Sounders soccer team were playing a game at 1pm. I wanted to visit the Pike Place Market but found myself debating whether to go visit the marketplace or get my usual parking spot. And since parking was filling up fast because of the soccer game, I decided to hold off on my visit to one of the more popular tourist places in Seattle. When I arrived at the stadium this was what I was up against:

I had so much time to kill before the game, I decided to stop in to the Blazing Bagel to get some breakfast/lunch. This place makes the best bagel sandwiches in the entire world!

See what I mean?

Tonight’s game would be a little less crowded than yesterdays game at the Safe, though. When I ran inside, I instantly made a bee-line for the ‘Pen and tried to get Ichiro’s attention. He was out in right field shagging baseballs like he always does. My goal this year was to get a baseball from a few key players. Ichiro was one of them. I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but Ichiro is the only player I know that’s currently playing, that wears his first name on the back of his jersey.

While I was shouting for Ichiro to throw a baseball my way, Jason Vargas decided he’d like to try his cannon from right field. He was deep in right field and when he threw a baseball towards the party deck, I didn’t think it would make it. The ball died right around the warning track. Ichiro continued to shag a few more fly balls and then ran over to get the baseball that Vargas threw:

The streak lives another day with an Ichiro toss-up! If you have no idea what “streak” I’m talking about, well, I’ll tell you. With that baseball I just caught from Ichiro, that’s my 103rd consecutive baseball game catching at least one baseball. Or finding one. Or glove-tricking one. Whatever. The point is, getting at least one baseball at a game. Also, another streak I have going is since last Monday, I’ve been to a baseball game every day this week so far. Tomorrow will be my seventh game on the week and sadly, the Mariners have an off-day on Monday and I have no future plans to go anywhere. I’d go to a minor league game, but I haven’t really checked the schedules and I’m not an avid minor league baseball fan, anyway. So my little mini-streak of going to baseball games will probably come to an end on Monday. Interesting enough, I created some extra statistics during that mini-streak that you may or may not be interested in.

After today’s contest between the Seattle Mariners and the Oakland Athletics, I’ll have spent 26 hours in three different stadiums, watching 39 innings of baseball, consuming three dishes of nachos, one hotdog, and one chicken meal, having drank four cokes, ate two pizzas slices, traveled 1,205 miles and slept 40 hours. After Sunday’s game I will definitely update these stats for you because I know you care that much.

After getting a baseball from Ichiro, I wandered out into centerfield to strike up a conversation with Tom Wilhelmsen.

“Hey, Tom! How was spring training?” I asked.

“It was awesome!” he turned, replying back.

“Good to hear, man! How was Japan?” I said to him.

“Oh, man! What a great experience! I had a blast!” he shouted excitedly.

“Yeah? I traveled out there too, to watch the series and I absolutely loved Japan.” I hollered back.

“You traveled out there for the games?” he asked me.

“Heck yeah! I wouldn’t have missed that for the world!” I replied.

We talked a moment or two longer about how peaceful Japan was and blah blah. It was really awesome to talk with Tom about the trip I had. If you’d like to read all about my awesome experience in Japan, click here and here.

Soon after, I made my way down to the Athletics dugout where I engaged in more conversation about my trip to Japan. Most of the Athletics fans that were down there would’ve loved to have gone and I was asked multiple times if I worked at Microsoft. Listen, my trip was extremely affordable. For those of you who are curious how people can afford to travel, I just put myself on a budget, saved, saved, and saved and went. The plane ticket was the most expensive part of the trip. Anyway. Enough about all that crap, right?

When Grant Balfour walked off the field after batting practice, I wasn’t able to get a baseball from him. Later on, I took this picture of what he threw to me:

Authentic Grant Balfour sunflower seeds!  And here’s a shot of the two super-stars on the Athletics team signing autographs for fans:

I’m not really a Yoenis Cepedes fan. I think he’s a tad overrated and a little too aggressive at the plate. He reminds me of Mariners Carlos Peguero. Cepedes started the season out very strong. He hit a home run off Shawn Kelley in the Tokyo Dome and two more in the Coliseum. But since then? He hasn’t done much. He’s been striking out more often than not, and he’s made at least one error in the outfield that I know of. He doesn’t excite me when he plays because I know he’s going to strikeout. I predict that Cespedes will be back in the minor leagues before you know it.

Before the game started, I wanted to return to the Flying Tortoise Cantina to get me a huge plate of nachos. And this time, because the ‘Pen wasn’t wall to wall with drunks and party-goers, I was able to accomplish that:

What an amazing plate of food. Safeco Field has probably the best tasting food in any stadium I’ve ever been to. I’ve only been to 14 stadiums, but still. Safeco, so far, ranks number one.

Once the game got underway, I ventured out into the outfield seating to look for a public icon at Safeco Field. Her name is Amy Franz and she’s in charge of recording all of Ichiro’s hits during the season. If you know nothing about her, well, I’m about to tell you a little bit about what’s happening at Safeco. When Ichiro had his amazing run for the all-time hit record in Major League baseball, Amy and her husband Joe, were there to record all of his hits. When hit number 262 came around, this sign ended up in Cooperstown:

I had a chance to meet Amy and Joe and I got my picture taken with them:

As you can see, Ichiro is already at hit number 11. It’s pretty awesome to see this sort of stuff at Safeco Field and Amy and Joe actually traveled to Japan to watch the Mariners play the Athletics as well. They even brought their Ichi-meter!

I tweeted Amy and Joe while I was in Japan, but I never was able to meet up with them there. I finally was able to cross paths with them at Safeco Field and they are super nice people. If you ever want to meet them and get a picture with them like me, just head on down to the Ichi-meter sign and holler at them!

I spent the majority of the game wandering around the stadium for the first time since last season. It felt really great to be back in Safeco Field amongst friends and Mariners baseball!

In the above photo, these are my baseball friends. The majority of this group come to just about every single Mariners home game and some, like me, even travel around the United States watching the Mariners play in different stadiums.

From left to right;  Ryanna, Emma, Carla, ChrisKrista, Vanessa, Jacob and Jacob’s girlfriend (who I really havent met yet). They’re an awesome bunch and they’re always down in the ‘Pen near the Mariners bullpen. The group is called the GirlsCorner because we all post ourselves up in the ‘Pen in the corner near the bullpen. The guys in the group are GirlsCornerSecurity. It’s pretty awesome.

I’m snagging baseballs for puppies again this season for the Seattle Humane Society! If you want to check out my charity information, just click here!

Last season, with the help of all of you, we were able to raise over $250 dollars! This year I’d like to break $300!

Today’s game snagging Highlights: Oakland Athletics vs. Seattle Mariners- attendance 21,071

Baseballs snagged: two (toss-up from Ichiro Suzuki)

Total baseballs snagged this season: 14

Total baseballs snagged last season: 135

Total dollars raised for Snagging Baseballs for Puppies this season: $26.46

Total dollars raised for Snagging Baseballs for Puppies last season: $257.00

Total number of donors this season: 8

Total number of donors last season: 7

If you’d like to join my official Snagging Baseballs for Puppies Facebook page, just click here! And if you want to like Collection of Baseball on Facebook, click here!

 

 

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