Results tagged ‘ Athletics ’

9-21-2011 Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum

I had the day off from work today so guess what I did? I booked a flight to Oakland California and attended an Oakland Athletics baseball game at the Oakland Coliseum. The Coliseum is now re-named to the O.co Coliseum or some stupid name like that. I refuse to call it anything but the Oakland Coliseum. It’s been named that for a million years and I’m not going to call it the “Oh Co Coliseum”! Ridiculous! Here’s a crappy picture of the Coliseum as I rode past it in the shuttle van from my hotel room.

The good thing about this trip is I stayed in a hotel within walking distance to the Coliseum. But I didn’t have to walk. The hotel room also had a shuttle service to and from the Coliseum. So I took advantage of that. I got dropped off at the Coliseum, well the BART station, at around 3:30pm. Had I went to the stadium at noon I would have got to meet Josh Hamilton, and Nomar Garciaparra. I found out from the Ranger fans that were already at the stadium that they got to meet both of those guys, plus get their autographs, AND got pictures with them both!

This is the gate I entered in. I came to this stadium because of the low attendance and I really wanted to break out and have a monster day collecting baseballs. I didn’t expect $2 dollar ticket day. More people showed up for that than I expected. But there were only a handful of people with baseball gloves. Nearly everyone else headed to the dugouts to seek autographs. Something I’m not entirely into anymore. I wasn’t quite used to the stadium because I have only been to two games there. One on April 1st and another one on Apri 2nd where I collected my 100th baseball from Jason Phillips. When I ran into the stadium I immediately headed out to the outfield to find any loose baseballs rolling around in the rows. I took a wrong turn and ended up in the 200th level. I turned around and headed back to the first base seating bowl and found this:

 

Moments later Josh Hamilton drilled one deep to right field. I ran out onto the main concourse while tracking the ball and made the catch just in front of the railing. Had I not made the catch? The baseball would have ended up down here with this one:

There was no possible way I was going to retrieve that baseball. The Coliseum has strict rules on baseball retrieval devices. The security guard that I asked told me that I could be arrested if I were to use one. I didn’t believe they would go that far but I didn’t want to try anything. Home was 800 miles away. And when Josh Hamilton smacked another baseball into home run land I was so tempted to go after it when the kid that was trying to catch it failed to come up with the ball. The ball landed on the staircase out in right field. Here’s a picture of the staircase:

 

And here’s a picture of where the baseball landed:

When baseballs are that close and someone tells me I can’t try to get it, it makes me want to try to get it even more. But with that lingering thought of being arrested over a Major League baseball still fresh in my mind I decided to leave it be. Even though I could have probably snagged it and got away with it…I just didn’t want to risk it. I could have claimed that I was an out of towner and didn’t know the rules, (which is true, sort of) or I could have just gone for it and not worried about anything. I decided to use my better judgement and just leave it alone. That baseball would have been my third baseball.

I didn’t bother with any toss-ups from any Rangers players even though I was wearing my Rangers hat and I could have probably gotten at least two more. While I was watching the Rangers field baseballs in the outfield another line drive home run was hit my way. unfortunately I was standing on the second tier seating area and I wasn’t able to move down fast enough. The baseball smacked off the picnic table and some kid ended up getting the ball. This was my view as batting practice came to an end:

My problem with the Oakland Coliseum is this; the gates opened up at 5:35pm, which meant I wouldn’t get to see the Athletics portion of batting practice. The Rangers ended their portion of batting practice at 6:15pm. Batting practice was over and done with so fast! It felt like as soon as I ran into the stadium batting practice was coming to an end. For me I felt fortunate enough to find a baseball and catch another. The good news is I had awesome seats for the game. I was sitting right behind home plate. What does that mean? Foul balls.

Here’s a picture of the two gems I snagged:

The concourse was absolutely crowded but I was able to grab a hotdog and a free soda for signing up for the drunk driver program thing they had at the Coliseum. I was only allowed to get a small drink and when they meant small they really meant small. They gave me a 4 oz dixie cup jammed full of ice and some soda. I felt ripped off but hey, it was free. The hotdog was like, $5 bucks though.

Here’s a view from my seat:

When I got these tickets I researched the best possible spot that I thought would be ideal for a foul ball. I figured directly behind home plate would be the best spot and when I bought the tickets, which were $26 dollars, I asked for an aisle seat as close to the field as possible. I was put in row seven, seat one. The rows around me were empty.

Every foul ball that would have come my way it would have been an easy snag. But for that to happen foul balls would need to come my way. During THIS particular game when I was sitting in foul ball territory with no one around me not one foul ball came even close enough for me to snag. I was shocked.

As the game went on I pretty much gave up on catching a foul ball while I sat in the perfect seats in the Coliseum. I thoroughly enjoyed the game though. It was well-played and I got to see Josh Hamilton and Ian Kinsler blast some home runs. The Rangers ended up winning the game 3-2 and I went home with only two baseballs.

 

 

O.co. Coliseum…blah.

 

Game; September 21st 2011 Texas Rangers vs Oakland Athletics

Gameballs; Two

Attendance; 19,589

Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $189.20 this season.

Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $47.80 this
season

 

 

 

 

5-21-2011 AT&T Park

AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants, would be my eighth stadium I’ve visited in my lifetime. But it’s always a little nerve-racking to visit a new stadium because I know very little about the architecture of the stadium, and I’m absolutely clueless of how the inside of the park is set up. So when I got to the park on Saturday morning I planned to get there early enough to allow me some time to explore the entire ballpark and try to get the upper hand on some knowledge before I enter. Todays game was set to start at 4:10pm which meant the gates should open around 2:10pm. To my surprise they opened at 1:55pm. An extra 15 minutes of BP never hurt anyone…

On my way in from my hotel I stopped at Candlestick Park. That’s where the Giants used to play baseball. Now the stadium just belongs to the San Francisco 49ers. Here are some pictures I took of Candlestick Park:

It was kind of awesome to be around that stadium because of all the history that has taken place there. Baseball and football. But the Giants now played in AT&T Park and that’s where I was headed.

It took forever to get to the stadium, by the way. If it weren’t for the road signs that directed my every turn I would have been lost. My GPS crapped out on me about the time I exited the freeway. I’ll have to say; of all the stadiums I’ve been to AT&T Park was the hardest to find. Yeah, its huge and its a stadium. But it’s well hidden. When I arrived I expected to see thousands of people already at the gates. But it was like a ghost town for the most part. So I wandered around looking at the park and surrounding areas. I even visited the team store. The Giants team store is by far the largest I’ve ever seen and they had so much Giants gear it was incredible!

The team store even had three showcase windows full of autographed baseballs. Mainly from Tim Lincecum, Willie Mays, Brian Wilson, and Will Clark. And all of them were over $100 dollars. And all of them were signed in black ink. If you’re an autograph collector you’d know better than to have baseballs signed with black ink. Blue ink is ideal and after you get the baseball signed you spray a light coat of hairspray on the ball to “set” the autograph. The reason why you don’t use black ink to sign on a baseball is because black ink fades. And never, ever use a sharpie to get a baseball signed. The ink just soaks into the cowhide and within a year your autograph will fade way. It doesn’t matter if you place the signed baseball in one of those UV protected ball cubes and store it in your closet. Anyway. Enough of autographs 101.

I took some more pictures of around the stadium. Check `em out.

The last picture is of McCovey Cove. Now you get a history lesson on baseball. Why did they name that area McCovey Cove? McCovey Cove is the unofficial name of a section of San Francisco Bay beyond the right field wall of AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants, coined after famed Giants first baseman Willie McCovey. The proper name for the cove is China Basin, which is the mouth of Mission Creek as it meets the bay. The cove is bounded along the north by AT&T Park, with a ferry landing and a breakwater at the northeast end. The southern shore is lined by China Basin Park and McCovey Point. To the east, it opens up to San Francisco Bay , while the west end of the cove is bounded by the Lefty O’Doul Drawbridge. And that brings us to this picture.

This is the O’Doul gate. This is also the gate where I entered the ballpark. As you can see it’s not a gate where you can walk in and go right to the field. It has about a million stairs to climb before you reach the field. And now for a second history lesson in baseball. Why did they name this gate the O’doul gate? Because Francis Joseph “Lefty” O’Doul was a minor league player that played with the San Francisco Seals, and also played professional ball for many teams including the New York Yankees and the New York Giants. He also managed the San Francisco Seals where he was the skipper of the infamous Hall of Famer Joe Dimaggio. O’Doul was a career .349 hitter and left the game with 113 home runs and 542 RBIs. Not only did he get one of the gates at AT&T Park named after him but he also got the drawbridge that people cross over McCovey Cove named after him too.

Today was also 2010 World Series champion hat giveaway day. The first 20,000 fans would receive a hat. I had no interest in getting a hat but I figured I’d snag one on the way in and then give it to a kid that didn’t get one later on in the day. I took this picture to show you just how many stairs I had to climb to get to field level. Take a look.

Since there were 20,000 people trying to get a hat security actually organized the onslaught of people quite well. They made it very clear which turnstiles would be open and they checked bags prior to the gates being opened to save on time. I appreciated that. And at 1:55pm they scanned our tickets, and allowed us to enter AT&T Park. I scampered through the turnstile, grabbed my World Series champion hat, and raced up the stairs. One I got to the top there was an open section that I darted through and I was on field level. BP was in full swing so I immediately started to scavenge for stray baseballs in the rows. I had the entire first base side to myself for about three minutes and I easily found two baseballs in the sections. The rows are slightly tighter here then they are at any other baseball stadium I have been to. So the baseballs were tucked away quite well. Here’s my view once I settled on a spot against the padded wall on the first base side.

AT&T Park kind of has that old school look with the bullpen out in foul territory. Just like at the Oakland Coliseum. (I refuse to call it Overstock.com Coliseum) Here is another pictures with the Giants on the field.

One thing I took notice of is that when the Giants fans calls out to the players for them to throw a baseball into the crowd they’re a little more demanding and they seem to forget to say “thank you” afterwards. I also noticed that people who drive in the San Francisco area are the worst drivers I’ve seen so far. I’ve been to many states and many cities too. But that didn’t stop the Giants from tossing baseballs into the crowd. I think they threw a total of three baseballs. I moved around quite a bit but I stayed close to the first base side. That was the side the Oakland Athletics used so after about 15 minutes of standing around I decided to put on my Athletics hat and I wandered back down to the front row. Just as I did a sharp line drive came right at me. It landed a few rows up and took a bounce right off the seats as I was giving chase, and bounced right to me. I was actually that guy that got the lucky bounce. I thought that was extra awesome even though I got heckled by some Giants fan in the front row. He kept asking for the baseball. I laughed a few times but he kept asking. So I quit laughing and ignored him.

When the Athletics came out to stretch, throw the ball around, and do their thing I noticed a section out in the outfield that was barricaded off and people were standing there. Like, a lot of people. Check out the picture below and look on the right side of the picture where my red arrow is. Eventually, as batting practice continued, that section filled up quite a bit. I’m not sure of the details of how to get there or if it’s just for season ticket holders or what. Even if I knew about that spot I probably wouldn’t have taken the opportunity to stand in there just because it’s such a small spot and not a lot of room to move.

Besides. Lining up behind Jerry Blevins (who just got designated for assignment) and Brad Ziegler was way cooler than standing out in a barricaded area on the field with a bunch of Giants fans. (no offense) Not to mention while I was standing there, texting my Mother, a frozen rope line drive was hit right to me. All I heard was “heads up!” and in that split second that I looked up I stuck my glove up and snagged it. Then I went back to texting. It kind of reminded me of that Evan Longoria commercial where he bare hands that baseball that nearly took out the reporter. If you haven’t seen it you can view it on Youtube.com or something. It’s pretty funny. But fake. But my catch wasn’t fake at all. All this happened within the first 30 minutes of BP. Four baseballs in 30 minutes at AT&T Park. A stadium that I had no idea about, never been to before, and made me really want to come back! I just kept thinking of how run-down the Oakland Coliseum was and couldn’t help to appreciate AT&T Park. I couldn’t imagine being a baseball player and being forced to play in a dump like the Coliseum. It would drive me mad. I bet those guys are always looking forward to road trips to Safeco Field, Target Field or even U.S Cellular Field.

Anyway. Here is a picture from behind home plate.

I took this picture to show just how crowded BP would be in the beginning. AT&T Park has sold out in 18 consecutive games but that doesn’t mean BP would be so crowded that there wouldn’t be a snow balls chance in hell in getting a baseball. That’s what worried me the most. The 40,000 plus people showing up for BP.

I stayed inside the stadium for the first couple of innings and then decided to wander McCovey Cove. There weren’t a whole lot of kayakers in the water and no sign of the Bond’s Navy. But there were some interesting characters to say the least.

And this area is for people who want to stand for nine innings and not pay for a ticket. AT&T Park actually lets people watch baseball for free! I think that is really awesome that MLB allows that. Especially since AT&T Park runs on a “by demand” system for tickets. The cheapest you can get into the park is $12 dollars. But those tickets sell out so fast that most people end up paying $100 dollars for a Standing Room Only ticket. Which that’s absolute crap. And security is a stickler on standing outside the yellow “SRO” area.

In the above picture that’s the “free” area. And in the below picture that’s the view of the “free” area.

It’s actually a very good view. Its better than a lot of “SRO” areas and some seats inside the park. So if you like free baseball and if you like the Giants and if you’re in San Francisco when the Giants are playing and if you really don’t care if you get inside or not… well, this is the place to hangout. It’s right by McCovey Cove. You can’t miss it.

But I like being inside the stadium. Can’t you tell?

I had to get my tickets on Stubhub.com because on the Giants website all that were available were $164.00 tickets. So I bought some $30 dollar “cheap” tickets and ended up at the 300 level. They were actually pretty awesome seats with a more than awesome view.

I finally got to watch Tim Lincecum pitch. He pitched the entire game and shutout the Athletics 3-0. That was his fifth shutout of the season and his 9th career complete game. He pitched around 130 pitches I think. The guy truly is a freak.

I’m also snagging baseballs for charity this year. I have two ongoing projects and down below you can see how much money I’ve raised so far this year. So I wanted to give a shout out and thanks to all that have participated and donated this year. It’s very helpful and I appreciate it. If you want to donate or at least get some addition information, by all means. You can either leave a question/comment on this blog entry or go to this website. http://www.crowdrise.com/SnaggingBaseballsforPuppies/fundraiser/WaynePeck

 

Game; May 21st 2011 Oakland Athletics vs San Francisco Giants

Gameballs; Four

Attendance; 42,152

Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $32.40 this season.

Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $14.00 this season

The Baseball

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     I’m probably the last guy on planet earth to have given my two-cents on this book. I mean I read it from front to back within seven hours after it was delivered to my house. Personally I wasn’t as interested in the history of the baseball as I thought I would be. I like Zack Hamples second book Watching Baseball Smarter better. That book is my favorite because it gave you an insight about the game. It gave you answers to all of those zany quirks and all of those ” Why does he do that?” questions.

     The book goes well in-depth of how the baseball was created. Zack even draws out a timeline of the first baseball used in a game. It’s very interesting stuff. The last two-hundred pages or so pretty much tell you how to snag a baseball from a game. If you’ve ever read his first book How to Snag a Baseball at a Major League Stadium then you’ll probably end up skimming through this section like I did. Although there are key tips in this new book that weren’t in his first book. So if you’re a Ballhawk thats just starting out or all you want is just one baseball at a game then I would advise reading this section thoroughly. If you’ve already snagged over 100 baseballs or even 50 then I would say you’re on the right track and you can probably just pick through what you want and leave the rest.

     I’m glad I bought the book. I love reading about baseball in general. Zack has an interesting way with words and his sense of humor isnt over the top. Its a great read and worth every penny.

 

Fans vs Fans    

     Well, another season is about to kick off. Im sure every baseball fan is getting ready for opening day. As I have stated many times I will be in Oakland at their Home Opener against my beloved Seattle Mariners. I really can’t wait and this week is killing me in anticipation. It’s hard to sleep at night knowing that in nearly 72 hours I’ll be at the Oakland-Coliseum trying to snag my 100th baseball. After I read The Baseball by Zack Hample I of course looked through his blog to try to find a blog entry of him at the Coliseum so I could get a leg up on the competition. You know, to find those tips and secrets that not everyone knows.

     Well, to my surprise I found a lot of other blogs bashing Ballhawks. Do I consider myself a Ballhawk? Yes. I do. Its kind of bothersome to read these blogs that are floating out there though. I’ve never seen a physical altercation in the bleachers over a baseball and I’ve never witnessed any fights break out during games because a fan wasn’t sitting in their assigned seats. But one blog really stood out. http://mccarpie.mlblogs.com/archives/2009/10/ugh_ballhawks.html

     Now I know she blogged this in 2009 and I even left a comment. But it’s just irritating that people draw these conclusions about Ballhawks. I have never seen anyone run over a kid. I have never seen anyone push the elderly out of the way. And I have been to plenty of baseball games. But thats not what bothers me the most. Its these self-righteous, holier-than-thou attitudes these people have and claim that every baseball hit into the stands should be given to the nearest five-year old. The Major Leagues has a huge job. They have to please everyone from the ages of 1-99. Thats a huge job. People that go to these game want to be apart of it. Hangout with the players. Walk around the field. Catch a baseball. Some people just want to sit in the cheap seats, eat a hotdog, and drink a beer. Tailgaters want to sit outside, drink beer, eat food until just before game time. Some people show up hours early to attend batting practice and shag home run baseballs. The bottom line is; ITS ALL APART OF THE GAME. 

     Another blog that was pretty explicit was this one  http://www.millerparkdrunk.com/ Im not going to post any of the blogs about him bashing Ballhawks. If you want to read them you can pick through the blog and find them. But anyway. The point I am trying to make about this particular blog is this guy is a tailgater at Miller Park. His thing is to come to baseball games, drink beer, and eat food. Yet he complains and takes shots at guys like The Happy Youngster and Zack Hample for doing their thing at a game. Whats with all this hate? Cant a person just come to the baseball stadium and enjoy their time there?  

     Well, I’m not going to sit here and beat a dead horse. Its just nonsense and I guess that’s apart of life. I’ve had a few situations with fans resulting in name calling and crying kids. Like the time in Kauffman Stadium when I caught three baseballs in one game from Todd Helton. I was heckled by three college students that were obviously intoxicated. And the other time at Busch Stadium when Randy Wolf managed to drill some three year old in the face with a baseball when he air mailed it to me. Baseball will be around a long, long time. Any five year old kid today that doesn’t get a baseball will probably get one ten years from now when he goes to baseball games on his own. Like me.

 

Until next time… 

Busch Stadium 6-19-2010

     Another glorious day at the ballpark! Busch Stadium always has something interesting going on here. Yesterday ( if youve been following along ) I was able to snag a baseball out of the garden using my glove on a string trick. Those who are ballhawking pros knows that, that trick came from Zack Hample. So I want to give credit where credit is due. I dont want to steal another mans trick and claim all the glory. So there you have it.

     Today wasnt as exciting as yesterday though. It was really hot outside and I kind of just wanted to chill out. I did find some fans that had McGwire and Canseco jerseys at the stadium though. That kind of brings back memories of the 80′s and 90′s. The Bash Brothers.

     As laid back as things were today I really didnt do a whole lot. I kind of chilled out in the bleachers and then I spent a lot of my time in the concourse trying to stay cool. You laugh. Im serious. As batting practice came to a close I casually strolled into the lower third base seating area like I had done this a hundred and one times. It was nothing to me anymore. I waited for the National Anthem to end and then I fixed my A’s hat back on my head. I straffed some rows and got into position. Mark Ellis again was playing his usual pre-game warm up game of catch with another player I couldnt regonize. It looked like Dallas Braden though. But I wasnt for sure. Usually pitchers dont warm up like that. But whatever.

     I wasnt sure if Mark Ellis had remembered yesterday but it was still worth a shot. I made sure security wasnt going to rain on my parade and I raised my glove as Mark Ellis was finishing up. He saw me and arched a beautiful toss my way and I nabbed it. It was a lot of fun catching those baseballs.

     After the catch I placed the baseball in my backpack and I headed towards my seat out in the bleachers. I watched the entire game just relaxing. It kind of felt good to just chill out and enjoy the game instead of racing around the stadium like a madman trying to catch baseballs. Dont get me wrong. Thats why I loved coming to the games but today I just wanted to rest.

     Matt Holliday again put a bomb into the seats and I really started pondering if I should start sitting out there for a Holliday home run ball. Chances are if I start sitting out there he will either quit hitting home runs all together or he will start hitting them into the right field seats. Anyway. The Cardinals wont he game 4-3 after Jason Motte having to come in to rescue Ryan Franklin.

     All in all I had a pretty decent time.

Game; June 19th 2010 Oakland Atheltics Vs St Louis Cardinals

Game Balls; One

Autographs; None

Attendance; 43,682

 

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