Results tagged ‘ baseball ’
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
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, Chris, Krista, 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.
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
This was the view at Safeco Field just before the centerfield gates opened up:
And this was the view of outside the left field gates about 30 minutes before first pitch:
This is what happens at Safeco Field on their home opener. All the other games, besides when the Yankees or Redsox come to town or a bobblehead giveaway game, are roughly 10-15 thousand people. Before I get into the home opener though, I attended two games at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma, home of the Tacoma Rainiers for two reasons; Shawn Kelley and to see if I could catch a baseball at this particular minor league stadium. Well, I got to see Shawn Kelley pitch during Thursdays game…
…and before Wednesday’s game, I found this little gem on the party deck:
Mission accomplished. Not only did I find that lone baseball, but myself and a couple of fellow ballhawks that frequent Safeco Field, pretty much cleaned up in right field. We managed to snag roughly 12 foul balls, which we ended up giving none away because the attendance was so low that nearly ever kid in the stadium got a foul ball for himself/herself. It was quite amazing. Wednesday’s game was also the longest baseball game I’ve ever been to. Check out the scoreboard 3 hours into it:
Thursday’s game at Cheney stadium was less eventful, as I only snagged one baseball. The Rainiers don’t allow fans to sit inside the stadium during batting practice so I had to stand on the road outside the right field fence to shag anything. I had a few opportunities but I sort of felt like the low man on the totem pole when I arrived. There were other fans there and they seemed to be veteran ballhawks at this stadium; so I took the far end near the foul pole. Here’s a picture of the baseball I caught on the fly:
Okay, back to Safeco Field. When I arrived at the stadium with a couple of friends, Blake Beavan was being interviewed by KIRO 710AM Sports radio. After the interview I was able to shake his hand and get a picture with him:
Blake is a really cool guy, very friendly and excited to be a Mariner.
After the gates opened, I rushed inside expecting to see a swarm of people crashing into the ‘Pen area. The crowd was sort of on the lighter side, initially. But like any special game day, it would get uncomfortably packed later on. I knew I had to act fast to get on the board with at least one baseball. I tried for a few toss-ups in the ‘Pen and decided I’d have better luck with the Athletics. I raced upstairs to the upper level and found an empty spot near the left field foul pole. Within minutes, I had a foul ball screaming my way. I jogged to my right and reached across my body to make the catch but I came up a foot or two short. Luckily, the baseball hit into a seat and dropped down underneath it:
A gentleman and his wife were sitting a row or so close by and when the man asked to see the ball I asked him if he wanted to have the baseball. Since he saw me make an attempt to catch it and all, I figured he’d like to get his hands on an official Major League baseball. His response was, “hell yeah! Thanks, young man!”
When I walked up over the ‘Pen, I noticed someone down below. I actually had to stare, rub my eyes, blink a million times before I really knew who I was looking at. Here is a picture of how crowded the ‘Pen can get on games like these:
This is fairly mild for the ‘Pen on these kinds of games. Later on, it got so crowded, you couldn’t move without bumping into someone, stepping on toes or spilling someone’s beer. It was nuts and I didn’t particularly like it. Throughout the stadium, it got so packed that you couldn’t move. Anywhere you wanted to go would take you at least ten minutes to get there and when the cash registers decided to stop taking debit/credit cards, that’s when all hell broke loose at Safeco Field.
My first adventure was just trying to get food after I had snagged my first baseball and met Dave Henderson. Yes, that’s right, sports fans. I met Dave Henderson. In the flesh. You don’t believe me? Well, feast your eyes on this picture:
Yes, Dave Henderson was out walking around Safeco Field. Not a whole lot of people even knew but then again, nights like these, not a lot of baseball fans were actually at the game paying attention to anything but their beer. Anyway. Dave and I talked about Oakland baseball, made fun of Josh Reddick, Dave wore my Oakland hat, he flashed his World Series Ring, we shook hands and eventually parted ways. It was such an awesome experience for Dave and the Mariners to set that up. He’s really a cool guy and so fun to be around.
After that, I headed off to get myself a free coke at the guest services only to find out that the guest services table that issues out free soda moved to the center field gates. After ten minutes of fighting through people, dodging spilled drinks and trying not to knock over anyone, I got my free drink coupon. Now. Back to getting food. I had to fight through hoards of people to get in line that took nearly 15 minutes to be able to place an order only to be told the cash registers only took cash. Gah! I only had a few bucks on me so now I had to find an ATM. I cashed in my free drink and headed outside the stadium. It took nearly another 15 minutes to get outside and stand in yet another line that took roughly 20 minutes to finally get some cash. Cash in hand, I ventured back inside Safeco Field. Instead of pizza, I settled on the Flying Tortoise for some nachos. I stook in that line for about 10-15 minutes waiting to place an order. Once I told the cook what I wanted (which was a gi-normous plate of nachos) he told me I had to stand in a different line to order that. Oh.My.God.
I ended up ordering a wimpy little salsa and nachos dish for $3 bucks. Which wasn’t even worth photographing. It wasn’t even worth standing in line for. Or even worth paying $3 dollars for. I’d of rather been slapped in the face. By this time, it was the 3rd inning and I hadn’t seen any of the game. I’ve been able to watch bits and pieces of it on monitors around Safeco, but I wanted to actually see it live. And apparently, I wasn’t the only person having problems. Check out this blog entry written by a friend of some friends that I attend Mariners games with. I felt the same way on so many levels. And in fact, I did eventually leave Safeco just after the 3rd inning concluded.
So yeah. That was my home opener experience at Safeco Field. One highlight I’d like to point out is my friend Chris and myself got a little “LoMo-ing” in before the game outside the gates. Check us out:
Also, another highlight that needs mentioning, I was able to glove-trick a baseball out from behind the centerfield wall which I promptly gave to my friend Kelly’s husband. I’m not sure who threw it, but it was bobbled and eventually found its way down into the gap:
Today’s game snagging Highlights: Oakland Athletics vs. Seattle Mariners- attendance 46,026
Baseballs snagged: two (foul ball, glove-tricked)
Total baseballs snagged this season: 13
Total baseballs snagged last season: 135
Total dollars raised for Snagging Baseballs for Puppies this season: $24.57
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
Over the years I’ve seen and done a lot! I’ve been to many different countries and I’ve traveled around the United States quite extensively. When I do travel, it’s usually to places like Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas. Or PETCO Park in San Diego. Aside from all the baseball hoopla that I participate in each year, I’ve also ate at some amazing places and seen some awesome tourist-y landmarks. In this blog entry, although short, I will give you an insider’s view on where to go in each specific city or country that I’ve visited that I think it worth the extra time and money to see.
I call this blog entry, Places You’ll Want to Visit While Visiting MLB Stadiums!!
Naturally, since I’m from Seattle Washington, I absolutely love seafood. And I can never get enough. The Seattle area offers a wide range of seafood for any seafood lover. They have Ivars and Steamers and, of course, the amazing waterfront downtown. When I set my sights on PETCO Park last season, I was actually in for a surprise. Not to discredit Seattle for its awesome ability to create the most lavish, most tasteful seafood dishes in all the land, I’m sorry to say, San Diego has Seattle beat by a freaking mile. I went to this place called the Tin Fish. It’s located katy-corner from PETCO Park about 500 feet from the outfield gates and they serve the best seafood I’ve tasted in a long time. It’s a small bar/restaurant type place with outside seating (or indoor, if that’s what you prefer), and they have a variety of seafood dishes on their menu. I didn’t get too deep in the menu, as I wanted to keep it light for my baseball snagging experience at the stadium, so I settled with a “fish n’ chips” type dish. Check it out:
On the menu was fried cod-fish, cole slaw with tartar sauce and some waffle fries. I’m telling you; this place was delicious. My second day in San Diego I went back for more of the same. And around the restaurant, they had interesting pictures of Tony Gwynn:
Speaking of seafood, if you want fresh, right off the boat seafood, you should travel to Japan! Last March of this year, I traveled there to watch the Mariners and the Athletics slug it out in the 2012 MLB season opener at the Tokyo Dome. I was only in country for roughly four days, but it was probably the best four days of my life so far. Not only did I visit the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo, but I saw some Major league baseball being played overseas! At the fish market that I walked through, there were plenty of shops to buy fresh seafood at. Also, there were plenty of shops that you could sample fresh seafood at. I did just that and I ended up buying some fresh scallops. Here’s the shop I bought them from:
Aside from eating fresh seafood, I also had to turn to my American roots. When I arrived at the Tokyo Dome from walking around Tokyo all morning and afternoon, I had worked up quite an appetite! Luckily, for me, the Tokyo Dome had a few places to eat. The one restaurant that stuck out the most was this place…
…for some of this:
Two of the most juiciest hamburgers/cheeseburgers I have ever feasted my eyes on! These bad boys were so flavorful, it literally had me drooling with each savory bite! The whole meal cost me roughly 800 yen, which isn’t bad for two burgers.
Okay, enough about food. Now I’m hungry! This next place will literally blown your mind. I couldn’t believe the things I encountered when I walked inside. But I’ll assure you; it’s all very authentic! It’s called B’s Baseball Museum and it’s located up the street from the friendly confines of Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies. I kind of found this place by accident, and I’m glad I did! Inside you’ll find so much baseball memorabilia from stadium collector cups, to signed baseballs from ancient players, to the outfield ground drain that Mickey Mantle twisted his leg on during the 1951 World Series. Yes, it’s all there! Here is one item that I thought was pretty awesome. This is what the Detroit Tigers seating ushers used to wear during the games in the early 1900’s:
Pretty spectacular, right? You can find all the information about B’s Baseball Museum in the link provided and you can read all about my adventures in Denver right here as well! It’s such an awesome place and it only costs $5 bucks to get in the door. It’s so worth it if you’re ever in town to watch a Rockies game.
That’s all I got for right now! I’m sure over the course of the next couple of years while I continue my journey to visit all 30 Major League stadiums, I’ll run into a few new great places I’ll end up blogging about. If you have any places you feel would make the top ten list in your book, feel free to drop a comment below and tell me about it! I’d love to hear of some new places to eat or sight see while I’m trekking around the United States!
Recently, I visited the Tacoma Rainiers home, Cheney Stadium, in Tacoma Washington with a handful of my closest friends. Myself and two other ballhawks managed to snag about 12 foul balls from Wednesday’s game. So be on the look out for that blog entry as well. My experience at Cheney Stadium will be combined with the Seattle Mariners home opener this Friday so it will probably be a huge blog entry!
Hello, all! Wow, it’s like I was just blogging about something yesterday! Oh, wait! I was! If you missed it, here’s a short rundown of the important details and then we will move on. Yesterday, I posted an important blog entry for my charity. Over the years I have collected close to 75 autographed baseballs and I’ve pulled the best 20 out of the pile to auction them off for my charity. So far, it’s been a success. In less than 24 hours, I’ve been able to auction off four baseballs that brought in a total of $85 dollars so far! That is really awesome and for those that have purchased those baseballs, you don’t know how appreciative I am! If you’re interested in helping out, click here, and you’ll be off and running!
Okay. The last couple of years, I’ve been doing my best to get the word out about Snagging Baseballs for Puppies. There have been some trying times trying to connect the media to get the word out and there has also been some fantastic success! For those that have helped me promote my charity, I can’t thank you enough. Even if you don’t plan on donating or pledge any money towards the baseballs that I catch during games, spreading the word is the next best thing and I appreciate it and so does the Seattle Humane Society. I’d like to give credit where credit is due, and personally thank those that have helped, in this blog entry.
The first media credential that I hold is from the Millcreek View. The Millcreek View is a local newspaper in a small town near where I grew up as a kid. I sent the editor a friendly email and they finally called me after a few days for an interview last year. I also sent them some of my recent pictures of me at stadiums I’ve visited. Take a look at the screen shot:
I also blogged about this the day I got the newspaper, too. You can read about that here. If you squint, you can read the entire article and as you can see, I’ve made a lot of progress since this article has been written. I’ve been to 14 different stadiums and snagged nearly 250 baseballs. Last year, with my donors help, we raised $257 bucks!
Seattle Dog Spot is one of my favorite websites regarding dogs. As you can tell (with my charity and all) I’m a huge dog lover. So naturally I flock to these kinds of websites. I actually never contacted this website, initially, to have an article ran on me. I was innocently googling around on the internet one evening and when I googled “snagging baseballs for puppies” I came across this article:
That’s just a screen shot that I took from the website. You can read the entire article by clicking this link!
Have you ever wanted to get on the radio and talk about something important to you or something near and dear to your heart? Well, there is this radio show out in Boston called the Shady Lady Sports Show that I contacted, explained what I do for the Seattle Humane Society and was able to call in one Sunday morning. It was so much fun, I wish I could do it every day of my life! These guys are really easy to talk to, they’re knowledgeable in sports and they make a smooth transition with topics they talk about. The show airs every Sunday from noon to 1:30pm EST and they have an array of topics they talk about. Nothing is left out and I urge you to follow them on Twitter and like their Facebook page! Will you do that for me, please? If anything, tune into their show and listen. It’s really good stuff! And here’s the link where you can listen to me yap about my charity! Fast forward to about the 24:00 minute mark if you want to get right to it. But you should listen to the entire show.
This year I got another article written up on me from Seattle Dog Spot! Like I mentioned before, Seattle Dog Spot is one of my favorite websites I follow. They too are on Twitter! Give them a follow, if you have the time. And here’s a screen shot of my second article:
I have to give a shout out to Robert Pregulman for doing this twice! These are great articles and if you want to read the entire thing, just click this link!
A good friend of mine (whom I intend to meet one day) wrote up a great blog entry on his blog the other day and included a few charities that others like me are involved in. These charities are great to support and if you have the time, you should definitely look into making a pledge or donating some small amount of cash. After all, it’s for a good cause. Check out this write-up about the four major charities currently running to help out kids and animals! And here is the screen shot:
Lasty, while I was at the Oakland Coliseum on April 9th, I was spotted by Major League baseball and interviewed by Alex Espinoza. He’s works with the Athletics on a new project they started this year called Cut4. They capture crazy things fans and baseball players do and put them up on a website. My interview didn’t exactly make the headlines (or the website for that matter) but I was pleased to offer my time and get an interview done! Here’s the video if you want to take a look:
Well, that’s about all I got for you, folks! Like I said, I appreciate all the articles, air-time and everything else involved in everyone supporting my charity! I can’t do it without you all, so just know that I sincerely appreciate what you’re doing, your time spent and your thoughts and donations!
Opening day is finally here! Or it was yesterday or last month…the bottom line is, baseball is back, baby!
Well, I’m all done tinkering with all the baseballs I could identify. I have about 22 signed baseballs that I will put up for purchase, and all proceeds will go to my charity. You can check out the details here. The charity is called, Snagging Baseballs for Puppies. Some rules that you need to know: I will not accept cash. There is no exception to this rule, whatsoever. Also, all prices are negotiable but understand this; once you donate and receive the baseball, I will not accept the baseball back. It’s yours to do whatever you want with it. And in the event that you do not like what you’ve received, this is a tax-deductible charitable organization. So in other words, if you are unhappy with what you’ve essentially donated for, you can get your money back at the end of the year (most of it, anyway). Or whenever you do your taxes next. I’m not trying to be unreasonable, I just wanted to point some of these things to you so we are all on the same sheet of music.
So without further ado…
First row from left to right: Troy Glaus, Alex Gordon, Dave McKay, Gary Mathews Jr
Second row from left to right: Brian Moehler, Bruce Chen, Max Scherzer, Dusty Baker
Third row from left to right: Mario Soto, Jose Cruz, Jerry Lynch, Brian Moehler
Fourth row from left to right: Melky Cabrera, Torii Hunter, Kevin Seitzer, Edison Volquez
Fifth row from left to right: Rick Hacker, Bud Norris, Colby Rasmus, Brian Moehler
Last row from left to right: Jim Maloney, Ryan Hanigan
Here’s how this is going to work. I’m going to make things fairly simple to reduce any kinds of problems that may arise. All you have to do to get a hold of one of these prized possessions is leave a comment below claiming which baseball(s) you want (first come, first serve). Secondly, send me an email with your name and address and I’ll take care of the rest! Make sure you go to Crowdrise.com to make your donation! Don’t worry about shipping costs and all that jazz. I’m not really prepared to set up any kind of auction system if someone comes to me with more money for a baseball. It’s simple ,first come, first serve. So if you see a ball you want, jump on it.!I’m not sure how fast these baseballs will go. Also, the Dusty Baker ball and the Ryan Hanigan ball, the signatures are a little faded. And none of these baseballs are on authentic Major League balls.
Now for the best part. I have a 2009 Cincinnati Reds team ball up for purchase as well. And here’s the kicker; since I got Joey Votto on a separate baseball, I’m combining the two! Here, take a look:
The team ball with all those signatures that you see? That’s on an official Major League baseball. The Votto signature isn’t. The reason why I didn’t use authentic MLB balls is because they’re like $15-25 dollars a piece and these Rawlings balls, although, just as good for signatures, were quite a bit cheaper. So I could get more of my favorite players on many more baseballs. I just want you to be aware of what type of baseballs these signatures are on.
Anyway, to wrap this up, I’m listing the prices below:
Troy Glaus: $20.00 (No longer available)
Alex Gordon: $20.00 (No longer available)
Dave McKay: $10.00
Gary Mathews Jr: $10.00 (No longer available)
Brian Moehler: $10.00
Bruce Chen: $10.00
Max Scherzer: $10.00 (No longer available)
Dusty Baker: $15.00 (No longer available)
Mario Soto: $35.00
Jose Cruz: $35.00
Jerry Lynch: $10.00
Melky Cabrera: $15.00 (No longer available)
Torii Hunter: $35.00 (No longer Available)
Kevin Seitzer: $25.00
Edison Volquez: $15.00
Rick Hacker: $10.00
Bud Norris: $20.00 (No longer available)
Colby Rasmus: $15.00 (No longer available)
Jim Maloney: $10.00
Ryan Hanigan: $15.00
2009 Cincinnati Reds w/ Joey Votto: $75.00
There’s your prices, folks! Throw some bids my way in the comments section and we will see what we can work out! Remember, shipping is free, and this is a tax deductible charitable organization! All proceeds go to my charity and I thank you for looking!
Well, I’m officially back to the states and it’s back to the daily routine for me. I’ll hopefully be taking a trip next week to watch the Athletics battle the Kansas City Royals at the Oakland Coliseum on April 9th and 10th, so if you’re in the area, come on by and say hello! After that, providing the game isn’t sold out, I’ll be attending the Seattle Mariners home opener on April 13th and possibly the following two games after that. But we all know things can get hectic and plans can change. So I’ll just play things by ear for now.
I wanted to share some interesting photos I got from Zack Hample after I had returned to the United States. If you read my latest two blog entries, you’ll know that I attended two games at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo Japan for the 2012 Major League Baseball season opener on March 28th and on March 29th. I had such an awesome time that I wanted to get my blogs done about the games before I left for the US. I finally got the last entry done about the time I was ready to board my flight from Japan to the United States. So things were a little rushed in that entry and I didn’t really insert all the pictures I wanted. Plus, I still have a lot to talk about concerning the actual trip to Japan instead of just the baseball games. I covered quite a bit of detail on my adventure to and from the Tokyo Dome, but I still left some things out, and like I said, things were rushed.
Okay, enough talk. Time to look at some pictures!
Here’s me getting my picture taken by Zack after we first met since our last visit at Safeco Field on June 15th 2011. Zack wanted to get a bite to eat and since I had already eaten something earlier, I wasn’t all that hungry. But it prompted me to get a craving for a hamburger the following day at the Dome.
What’s interesting about the above picture is this; people who come to attend baseball games lay down sheets of newspaper and tape them to the ground as sort of place saver. It’s actually pretty ingenious surrounded by a little bit of primitive ideology, wouldn’t you agree? When I was sitting in line with Zack on March 28th, plenty of people kind of came and went while their sheet of newspaper held their spot. And here’s a close up of what a Japanese newspaper looks like:
Interesting stuff, yeah?
Here’s a picture of me hanging out in the outfield looking onto the field for an opportunity to snag a baseball:
As you can see, there is plenty of room to run when the seats aren’t filled. There are no cross bars blocking or any other obstructions in the way. There aren’t any seat backs and the stairs and fairly easy to negotiate. It was pretty fun to shag baseballs at this stadium, for sure!
After BP, of course, we worked up quite an appetite. And although the food was pretty expensive, it was full of taste and worth the amount of money I paid. I ordered chicken on a stick and it was covered in some kind of sweet and sour BBQ sauce sort of like the scallops I had on Thursday morning at the fish market.
The next picture I’m about to show you was the “restricted” staircase that Zack and I found. It took us to the very top of the Tokyo Dome and eventually security shut us down. But it was so much fun to explore! The way we got up there was just as interesting, too. We literally sweet talked the guard into letting us up! Being that there was a language barrier made it all that much easier. Here’s me peeking out of the door and taking a picture:
And here are a couple of pictures of Zack and I just hanging out after batting practice ended:
Check out this next picture…
…see the yellow strip down the middle of the sidewalk? Well, that’s for blind people. They can use that to navigate the city or wherever they’re headed. Pretty cool, huh? At every intersection there are yellow pads that are covered with little bumps to alert blind people that the end of the sidewalk is near. Those are also placed before staircases going up and down, too.
Some other interesting facts that I observed while being in Japan is that people are very quiet and they keep to themselves. It’s very rare that you’ll find a person walking down the street with a cellphone glued to their ear while they yap loudly to whomever is on the other end. Also, Tokyo (and even Ueno, where I stayed) have these little alley ways that people generally do their business in. Meaning, where they eat or count their money or talk on their cellphones. Not where they do their business, business. You get what I mean. It’s sort of like, being super private. They don’t want to air their phone conversations and they don’t want people seeing them stuff their face with a McDonalds Big Mac or something like that. So they go down these alley ways, turn their backs to the street, and handle their issue. Also, ATM’s are very private. There is a frosted piece of glass in front of the ATM and the ATM really isn’t out in the open in the store like it is in America.
Like I stated before in my previous entry, taxi cabs are for the birds. They are expensive for one, and anywhere you want to go, you should walk. You’ll see more and it’s healthier for you. I suppose this is sort of turning into a “how-to” guide about Japan, but really I’m just sharing some pointers in case you get the urge to go see Japan. Learn the trains and the subways. It’ll save you time and money. Or like I’ve said twice before, just walk!
Last mention and then I’ll wrap this up. Yes, it’s more information on my charity. If you’re wondering how to become a donor for Snagging Baseballs for Puppies, just leave a comment or email me at WaynePeck@yahoo.com! It’s that easy! Leave me your name, where you’re from and how much you want to pledge per baseball! Or if you want to just donate $10 bucks, you can do that too! $10 bucks is the minimum you can donate and that’s a Crowdrise.com thing. Next season I’ll be changing my donation webpage to the webpage that the Seattle Humane Society has set up. Since the season already started, and I already have four donors, I didn’t want to confuse things. Here’s the link to my charity page, by the way.
Anyway, I hope everyone has a fantastic 2012 baseball season!
Oh, man! Where do I begin!? I still can not believe I made a trip out to Tokyo Japan to watch the Mariners and the Athletics play the 2012 season opener! And while I’m typing this blog entry, I’m still in Japan! Okay, so I guess I should start at the beginning so you can read why I came out to Japan in the first place. Well, for obvious reasons I absolutely love baseball. And I will literally travel to the ends of the earth to watch a baseball game. I’ve been a Seattle Mariners fan since 1989 but I really don’t give a crap who plays. I just want to see some baseball and shag some balls in the bleachers. The reason why I want to shag baseballs is because I have a new charity I’ve managed to put together with the help of the Seattle Humane Society called Snagging Baseballs for Puppies. I’m not going to get into full detail of how my charity got started or why I do it because I have so much to blog about.
So there I am at the Sea-tac airport. I took a quick flight to Los Angeles which eventually I’d take a connecting flight to Narita International Airport outside of Tokyo about 80km. Tokyo has an airport (which would have made this trip way less stressful if I landed there) but its way more expensive and pretty hard to get a flight in. So I had to settle for Narita. Which was fine. Here comes the interesting part. While I was sitting in LAX minding my own business and chowing down on some outrageously overpriced cheese sticks, I realized I had left my baseball tickets to the game in Tokyo at home. I sat there for a moment in complete awe of how stupid I could be. I didn’t bother to search my bags because I knew where I had left them. I didn’t want to panic either because that never accomplished anything. I immediately sent a tweet out to the Mariners on Twitter and asked if anyone had an extra ticket lying around that they could leave at will call or something. I knew it would be a long shot and to be honest, I really wasn’t counting on them to come through like that. I jumped on the phone and called the Mariners ticketing office and explained the crisis. After being put on hold several times, the end result was unless I could come up with some kind of conformation number from whoever I bought the tickets through, there was little they could do. Still not in panic mode. I figured I’d buy a ticket from a someone on the street once I got there or I’d just sight see for several days. On the other hand, I really didn’t want to go to Tokyo Japan unless I was more or less guaranteed a ticket to the game. After sitting around and not really knowing what I was going to do, another person from the Mariners staff called me. She explained that there wasn’t much they could do and I nearly cut her off and told her I understand blah blah. But that little nagging voice in my head told me to let her finish.
It was probably a good thing too because we actually made some headway on the ticket crisis issue. I remembered taking a picture of my ticket and posting it on my blog under this blog entry many months ago when the actual ticket arrived in the mail. She requested that I send that picture to her via email and she’d correspond with me through email until the crisis was resolved. So I reluctantly boarded the plane to Japan and waited patiently for 14 hours to get some kind of confirmation from her. When I got to Japan, of course, my cellphone didn’t work and I had no way to check my email. I had made a couple of friends that I sat by on the plane over, and I piggy backed off of his wi-fi from his phone to my phone. I checked my email and to my surprise this is what the email said…
Thanks. Glad you had the photo. I’m just waiting for confirmation from my guy in Tokyo that he can leave you a ticket for Wednesday’s game. When I get that I’ll email you back. Happy travels. Hope the rest of the trip is uneventful, in a good way.
Wow. Just wow. It’s like the Mariners staff are into some kind of wizardry to get things done for their fans. And just on a side note, when I was going to Cardinals games at Busch Stadium, the staff there treated their fans like absolute crap. It is the complete opposite at Safeco Field. Yeah, sure. I get into the occasional run-in with security, but that’s because I’m having fun. And security doesn’t want anyone having fun.
I immediately email her back and told her how much I appreciate her help and how much I appreciate her handling this situation and then I get this email…
The ticket will be at will call (under Gate 22, near Vicky’s restaurant). Hope that makes sense when you get to the Tokyo Dome have fun.
Holy. Crap. It went from “there isn’t a whole lot we can do…” to THIS! I was literally jumping around my hotel room when I saw this email! Like, how do they do these kinds of things?! I’m thinking the Mariners staff are some kind of mafia. Like, all they had to do was pick up the phone, call some dude in Tokyo Japan and be like, “Hey. I got some guy that bought a ticket and left it at home. I don’t think I need to explain further.” and they’re all, “Oh, of course! Already taken care of!”
Oh, and by the way. Here are some things I learned very quickly about Japan. Well, at least in the area I’m staying in. It’s a town or a city or a province or a neighborhood or whatever they call it, called Ueno. It’s a 10 minute walk to the Tokyo Dome and a short 2-4 kilometers from every other major tourist attraction like the Tsukiji Market, the Sony Building, and the Ginza Brand Street. All worth seeing. Taxi drivers are almost useless. Very few actually can read a map and many have very limited english vocabulary. On top of that, they’re very expensive. Use as a last resort. Also, don’t rely on other Americans to help you out. They’re about as useful as a screen door on a submarine. At least the ones that I encountered. Some guy walked up to me while I had my face stuck in a map and asked me where I was trying to go. I told him the name of my hotel and this was after I had spent ten minutes trying to explain where I needed to go to about 14 different cab drivers. You could imagine how irritated I was at this point. He insisted that Japanese people can understand english. They just can’t speak english. Or they’d rather speak Japanese instead because they’re too embarrassed that their english sucks. Or something like that. Anyway. They guy was a complete jerk, he kept interrupting me when I was trying to explain that his logic was flawed…finally I just stared at him until he told me “good luck” and walked away.
When I got to my hotel room it was about 1am Tokyo time so it was immediately lights out for me. When I woke up the next day it would be about 13 hours before opening day and about nine hours before I’d be at the Tokyo Dome. I spent the good part of the morning dinking around in my hotel room, trying to figure things out like the air conditioner heater thingy in the corner of the room. I got it to turn on but it kept turning off and then back on. It was weird but whatever. Tv was extra yen and breakfast wasn’t free either. So I decided to grab an egg mcmuffin at McDonalds around the corner because there was literally nothing open until about 11am. Yeah, how American of me. Eating at McDonalds in a country that serves squid and octopus and clams and anything else you can think up. And I eat an egg Mcmuffin. After my breakfast, I ventured out in search of the Tokyo Dome. Side note; the Tokyo Dome will be my 14th stadium at which I snag a Major League baseball, providing I get inside in-time for BP and all that other junk. Here are some random pictures I took of Ueno and Tokyo as I walked towards the Dome:
Here is another random picture of some shrine I passed by…
…and then a random vending machine full of drinks:
These vending machines are everywhere, by the way. As I continued walking towards Tokyo I could start to see the amusement park rides peeking over the tops of some skyscrapers. The Tokyo Dome area is actually called, Tokyo Dome City and it really is a city inside of a city. I was supposed to meet up with Zack Hample at the dome closer to the late afternoon so I had plenty of time to explore the surrounding area. Here’s a picture of the Tokyo Dome City peeking out:
And here is the Tokyo Dome in full view:
This thing is gigantic, to say the least. They call it the “Big Egg” and for good reason. From the air it resembles a giant egg. Naturally, I couldn’t get a picture of it from the sky so you’ll just have to take my word for it. Remember how I said that the Tokyo Dome is like a little city? Well, here is further proof:
This is the shopping district. They have a Starbucks, a bunch of Japanese shops, great places to eat and this:
Yup! Even an Eddie Bauer! I didn’t bother to go inside because, well, I wasn’t too interested in it. What I was interested in was eating some food! I stopped at this place to try what they had on their menu:
I didn’t get anything really off the wall like a plate of squid or live octopus tentacles. I ordered a very delicious plate of chicken and penne pasta in tomato sauce with parmesan cheese. And it was awesome! Here, take a look…
…doesn’t that look fantastic? I’m telling you. It was so good I wanted to order another. It cost about 1,000 yen which is about, what, ten bucks in USD? It was so worth it, though. Also, another side note. Yen goes fast in Japan. Especially Tokyo. It’s very expensive to buy things in this city so it’s best to try to be frugal if you’re going to stay for a long period of time.
I did a little bit more window shopping and then I finally met up with Zack Hample. Zack is known for snagging over 5,000 baseballs over a span of like, twenty years. I expected him to have a good couple of days at the Tokyo Dome because from what I saw in pictures from the Mariners, the Tokyo Dome is virtually pretty much open to run around in. Other than the high walls in the outfield, it seems like a great stadium to ballhawk in. I could be wrong though. I haven’t ever been inside the stadium but my opportunity was right around the corner.
Zack and I did a little catching up inside a restaurant while he got something to eat and then soon after if was back to exploring and taking pictures. Here are a couple random pictures around the Tokyo Dome:
Here’s one more of a statue of the coach for the Tokyo Giants outside a sports memorabilia store that sold everything regarding Japanese players and Yu Darvish:
Like Ichiro, Yu Darvish is huge in Japan too. For obvious reasons. Alright, so back to the ticket crisis for a moment. When Zack and I parted ways to go get into our respective lines to enter the stadium, I was without a ticket, right? And in that email it said to go to will call which was located under gate 22. I wasn’t quite sure where “under gate 22” was located and with a huge disadvantage with the language barrier, it made things extra tough. I talked to multiple guards and asked them if they spoke english before I engaged in conversation to explain my dilemma. My major response? “Let me see your ticket!” I tried very hard to explain that the Tokyo Dome was in possession of my ticket. But to no avail…until a Japanese/American that spoke fluent english overheard my problem. He became my translator and my new best friend. After about five minutes of going back and forth with the security guard, I was instructed to go see a ticket booth located in the court-yard. When I went over there I had to explain my problem all over again to the ticket booth window girl who didn’t speak english either. Somehow she understood what I was telling and she literally walked me to the area underneath gate 22. It was all making sense now. And to make things even better, she brought me to a guard that spoke english as well. So I explained the whole situation and he explained that they’d have a ticket ready for me….at 6pm. GAH! The Gates opened at 4pm to the Tokyo Dome and I pleaded to the guard that I needed to get in sooner than 6pm. I needed to get inside at 4pm! I could not miss batting practice! The guard kind of just shrugged at me and told me to come back at 6pm. If I did come back at 6pm, would I have to explain the whole situation again to someone else that didn’t speak english? I mean, what was going to happen? Chances are I’d have to go see another ticket booth and explain the whole fiasco again and again, losing valuable time inside. I decided to wait it out.
I walked back to gate 11 where Zack was sitting and explained to him what had happened. Zack was a little more prepared that I was, apparently. He busted out an extra ticket and told me he wanted the ticket stub back in pristine condition. I happily obliged and thanked him. The reason why Zack had two tickets was because like a few stadiums in the United States like Dodger Stadium and Wrigley, you need a ticket to get into the lower seating bowl and the outfield. The Tokyo Dome may have worked the same way. We wouldn’t know anything until we got inside. My plan was this, though; I’d go inside with Zack’s ticket, pass it off to him once inside, attending batting practice, leave at 6pm, go seek out my will call ticket, re-enter, and watch the game. It seemed solid. But I was concerned about thing. What if I couldn’t get back inside? What if when I explained my situation to someone who didn’t speak english, I’d be forever locked outside? I wanted to see at least one baseball game in the Tokyo Dome. And why leave when I’m already inside? My mentality was I’d just cross that bridge when I had to. Not force myself to cross it prematurely. So I stayed inside. I also want to state that my deepest gratitude goes out to the Mariners staff that worked hard to get my ticket to will call. I will never forget this trip.
When the gates opened up, I had a ticket to gate 22. Zack’s ticket was to gate 11. And since we were at gate 11, I wasn’t sure if I’d even gain access to the stadium from this gate. They might make me walk all the way around to gate 22. Here’s two photos of the line. This is in front of us…
…and this is behind us…
…and when the gates opened, we had to have our bags checked and we had to have our persons searched with a metal detector. They required all keys, wallets, cellphones and lighters to be placed either in your personal bag or a clear plastic bag so they could view the contents. It was truly the security from hell. And when I showed the guard my ticket, he started explaining to me that I couldn’t enter here and blah blah and I continued to say things like “I’m sorry, I didn’t know.” and “I won’t do it again, I’ll go in and walk around.” and that seemed to have done the trick! He let me inside and Zack and I were off towards left field!
I wasn’t sure how security would react to two crazy America boys running amuck in the Tokyo Dome snagging baseballs, but I didn’t care! Here we were inside the Tokyo Dome snagging baseballs in Tokyo Japan! And my first baseball game from Johnny Gomes!
unfortunately, it wasn’t one of those fancy commemorative Japan baseballs I’ve been hoping to get and it wasn’t the first baseball of the 2012 season either. Zack had snagged a baseball moments prior to my Johnny Gomes toss-up. So props to Zack for snagging the first baseball of the 2012 Major League Baseball season! And props to me for snagging the second! Zack and I decided to stay out of each others way during BP, and I knew he’d put up strong numbers. My whole goal was to snag at least two baseballs a game and attend 50 games this season. I thought about trying to snag three a game which would give me a total of 150 on the season but I wanted to keep it simple this season. Last year, I snagged a total of 135 baseballs and the year before that I snagged a total of 87. So to snag 150 baseballs this season would be awesome, indeed. And it sure would help my charity. But it’s all good. I want to have fun and not really stress about numbers this year, anyway.
The thing about the Tokyo Dome is this; it’s really easy to catch baseballs here. I mean, really easy. And the security guards that roam the bleachers like this guy…
…has a whistle and every time a baseball comes within his vicinity of the bleachers, he starts blowing on that thing like no tomorrow. And then all his other security guard buddies start doing the same. So even if you don’t see the baseball initially off the bat of the player that hit it, you can bet one is coming your way when the security guard of your section starts blowing his whistle. The downside to all of this is, if you physically catch one of these baseballs that’s hit into the stands, that security guard that was blowing on his whistle will come down and take the baseball away from you and throw it back onto the field. But any player that throws a baseball to you, you get to keep. Make sense? And Zack had to find all of this out the hard way when he caught a baseball and the guard snatched it right from his grip! Zack put up quite a fight about it, too. And I just stood by laughing.
I got a chance to ask Jerry Blevins how spring training went for him and he kind of shook his hand in response at me. “It was alright, I guess. I feel pretty good.” he finally said. Jerry Blevins is one of my favorites just because he’s so nice to fans and so goofy on the field some times.
There were a few things I wanted to accomplish at the Tokyo Dome while I was there. The first thing was to get a toss-up from a player that I’ve never received a toss-up from before. Be it come from the Athletics or the Mariners, I didn’t really care. Another thing I wanted to accomplish was reach my two ball minimum snagging goal. Which at this point I was just one more ball away from accomplishing that. The third thing on my list was to get Felix Hernandez to toss me a baseball. But since he was starting tonight, that wasn’t going to happen. I also wanted to get Shawn Kelley to toss me a baseball as well. I had plenty of opportunity to snag some home run baseballs, but the reason why I really didn’t pursue them that hard was because I didn’t want it to turn out to be a commemorative baseball and then one of those pesky guards takes it away from me. I’d be pissed! So I left the majority of the home run baseballs alone. I figured Major League teams don’t come to Japan very often, and some of these other local fans would probably like to make a few catches. Have at it, I say!
When the Mariners finally came onto the field as the Athletics were finishing up their portion of batting practice, I made my way over to the foul line to watch:
I was pretty excited to see the Mariners for the first time this season. I’m not going to lie. Tom was there, Charlie, Brandon, Coach Navarro (even though he hates me) and Shawn were all lining up to play long toss and warm up. It was a sight to see!
I tried to get one of the Mariners attention to toss me a baseball, but I was out of range. I was too deep in the stands and the Tokyo Dome really isn’t like the US stadiums. The stairs don’t allow for maximum height to see over the row in front of you and there is pesky netting that covers most of foul ground to keep fans that aren’t paying any attention to batted baseballs, safe. I immediately took off and ran the concourse to set up in right center field. I saw Shawn Kelley and a few other players wander out that way, so I followed suit.
Here’s a quick picture I took of Charlie Furbush and Tom Wilhelmson:
I kept track of the time because I had about an hour to catch my second baseball. I wanted to get it done and finally sit down too. My feet were killing me from walking around Tokyo all day. When I finally found my spot out in right center, I called to Shawn and George every time they caught a baseball. At one point, I climbed down to about the third row, made eye contact with Shawn, flapped my glove at him, called his name, and asked politely for the baseball. I was shocked when he didn’t toss it my way. I mean, a white guy in a foreign land asking for a baseball from another white guy? I thought it was the perfect secret weapon. Apparently not. But I was cool with it because I had all season to get a baseball from Shawn Kelley. And eventually it would happen. Maybe not in Tokyo and maybe not even in Seattle.
Over the PA system in the Dome they announced that Mariners batting practice was going to end in about five minutes. I was still without my second baseball at this point. I noticed Zack had scored a baseball from Jesus Montero fairly easily. It was time to switch gears and go after the rookie. I climbed through the rows and found my opportunity. Montero had thrown about five or six baseballs into the crowd at this point, so I thought my chances were pretty slim. I called to Montero like nobodies business! “JEEESSSUUUUSSSS!!!” I yelled. He looked through the crowd and I was jumping up and down in the row waving my arms like a wild man! He gave me one of those quirky little smirks and then reared back his arm to launch the baseball. I wasn’t sure if he was going to air mail me or throw it right to me, so I took a step back in anticipation for a high throw. The ball sailed my way…
…and the ball landed snuggly into my baseball glove! Awesome! I just caught a toss-up from the newly acquired rookie of the Seattle Mariners! I guess that makes things a little bit better about the trade for Pineda to the Yankees.
And that pretty much concluded batting practice. I snagged my two baseballs, and I think Zack snagged like twelve or something like that. It was a pretty successful day here at the Tokyo Dome and now it was time to venture off and find food!
When I hit the concourse, it was so packed it was hard to move around. And Japanese people really don’t have one of those space bubble thingies that Americans have. They’ll get right up on you and have no problem with it. I really didn’t like it much but since I was probably the biggest and most tallest person inside the Tokyo Dome at the time, I really didn’t let it bother me. Plus, Japanese people are very honest people. I always worry about being pick pocketed in large crowds but I heard that crime in Japan is virtually non-existent. Well, whatever. I was hungry. Here are some photos of the food concession stands inside the Dome:
And here’s a picture of Zack trying to get some food:
We ended up ordering a chicken thingy on a stick. I think it was the only safe thing to really eat there. And of course, a cup of water. It came to about 500 yen which is pretty expensive. There were no water fountains inside the Dome so we had to buy water from the concession stands. That sorta sucked. After we ate, Zack and I started to wander the stadium. We found a stair case that we literally talked our way up since it was being blocked by a security guard. And when we got to the top, we continued to go up even though it looked like we weren’t supposed to be up there. And this was the end result:
It was a door that led out to the third deck of the stadium! Haha! Eventually, a security guard came running up to us and told us in hand gestures to come down and find a seat. We didn’t get scolded or yelled at or even ejected from the stadium. I was kind of relieved at the fact that nothing happened. The guard didn’t even ask for our tickets. And since I didn’t technically have one on my person, I could have been in some trouble, I suppose. But it was all in good fun. Here are a few pictures of the Tokyo Dome from that door before the security guard shut us down:
Pretty awesome, huh..? Yeah, I thought so too.
After that little adventure, the pre-game ceremony was about to start. I took a few pictures of the field as both the Japanese flag and the American flag were brought out onto the field by both respective countries color guard. It was pretty awesome, really.
And finally when the baseball game got under way, Zack and I sort of just wandered the stadium. We sat in various seats and the only time security really hassled us was when we stood for long periods of time. The security inside the Dome is very observant and quick reacting when someone is blocking someone elses view. Which I totally understand having to watch baseball games in America where no one really cares if they’re blocking each others view. It was kind of nice. Here are some more various photos from around the stadium:
And one more:
Felix Hernandez threw a pretty good game and so did Brandon McCarthy. Every time Ichiro came up to bat the flash bulbs would start flashing and everyone would go nuts. And since Ichiro went 5-4 on opening night, that was pretty special for Japan. Ichiro seemed to be back in true form which would make this season pretty awesome if he was able to gain over 200 hits again. Dustin Ackley put one in the seats in the fourth inning but the Athletics answered right back with a run of their own. The game eventually went to extra innings with the Mariners winning 3-1 with the help of another Dustin Ackley RBI and Ichiro bashing a single up the middle to score Ackley from second base. The game was exciting and after the game, no one wanted to leave. I guess it being opening day and all…but I wanted to get the hell out of there and get some sleep! I took one last photo and see if maybe you can recognize who they are. Ready?
And then, of course, this blog wouldn’t be complete without a few pictures me, right?
Here is a picture of me holding up my Gomes and Montero snags:
That pretty much concludes day one in Japan! Well, actually I’ve been in country for about a day and a half. At this point, maybe two days. It’s been really fun with times of frustration. But that’s only because of the language barrier and is definitely expected. Everything I want to see and do is pretty much within walking distance and the food is pretty awesome to try. Tomorrow I plan to wake up early and make it to the fish market. I’m pretty excited about that! So until then…
Today’s game snagging Highlights: Oakland Athletics Vs. Seattle Mariners- attendance 44,227 Baseballs snagged: two (toss-up from Johnny Gomes and Jesus Montero )
Total baseballs snagged this season: 2
Total baseballs snagged last season: 135
Total dollars raised for Snagging Baseballs for Puppies this season: $1.48
Total dollars raised for Snagging Baseballs for Puppies last season: $257.00
Total number of donors this season: 4
Total number of donors last season: 7
Brandon League is new to Twitter. We all know that. League was asked during Seattle Mariners Fan Fest, which I attended, if he’d get a Twitter account. I wasn’t there when the question was asked but I could imagine League’s response. Maybe a quirky smile and an “I’ll think about it” response was probably not out of the question. Anyway, to make a long story short, the Mariners put on a contest through Twitter asking fans around the United States, and more importantly, Brandon League fans, to help Brandon come up with a Twitter handle. Well, yours truly won that contest. I tweeted a few Twitter handles that Brandon would possibly choose and lo and behold, Brandon picked “@BrandonLeague43!” The Mariners ultimately followed me on Twitter, @MLBwayneMLB, and sent me a DM explaining that I had won the contest! How cool is THAT?!
Soooooo we exchanged information, I waited by my mailbox for three weeks and finally this arrived…
…how freaking cool is that?! Here’s a close up of what Brandon put on the baseball:
And here’s the final tweet telling the world that I won the contest! BAM!
So there you have it, folks! What a great experience and thank you so much, Brandon, for the baseball! And thank you, Mariners, for the card! It’s very heart warming! I’ll see you all at the Safe!
Whenever fan fest rolls around in January I get super-stoked about baseball. In nearly a month catchers and pitchers will be reporting to their respective spring training headquarters. The best part about baseball is it starts in the spring time. The grass is starting to get that freshly cut smell, the weather is warming up and best of all summer is right around the corner.
Just to give you a little background on myself and my fan fest experiences, well, I’ve been to many. I’ve attended a Kansas City Royals fan fest where I was able to get Kevin Sietzers autograph and Brett Saberhagen as well. The thing about the Royals fan fest is it’s not really set up to be fan friendly. It’s all about the autographs. When you walk in you have to immediately pick a line to stand in for four hours and hope and pray that one of your favorite players will be signing in the line you have chosen. It’s all about luck. I’ve also attended the Cincinnati Reds fan fest. That was a little different but again, it’s all about what line you pick and how fast you get there. Same with the St. Louis Cardinals winter warmup event. Pick and line. Stand there.
Well, my friends. This year I attended the Seattle Mariners Fan Fest of 2012. If you’ve ever dreamt about attending a fan fest, this is the fan fest you need to attend. I’m serious. Not only do you get to shag fly balls in the outfield like this…
…but you also get to face Felix Hernandez in the visitors batting cage underneath the stadium:
Yes, I’ve had better at-bats, but when you’re facing the King it’s kind of hard to get on base (even in the batting cages).
The best part about the Mariners Fan Fest was the interaction with the players. Down by the Mariners dugout the Mariners put together a little event called the “Dugout Dialogue”. Certain players that came to the fan fest get brought out onto the stage to take questions from Rick Rizzs, Mike Blowers and Dave Valle. And then they open it up to the fans to ask them questions. A lot of the questions ranged from “whats your favorite food” to “who’s your favorite player growing up”. But what do you expect from cute little nine year old baseball fans. And that’s the beauty of it. After the event ends fans are encouraged to get autographs from their favorite players. Myself, I was able to get Miguel Olivo on a baseball bat, Jason Vargas signed my 200th baseball he tossed me last season and I got Dan Wilson and Mike Blowers on my ticket stubs. I was able to chat with Mike Blowers a little bit and talk with him about how I watched him play in the Kingdome back in the 90’s with my father and that I’d be taking a trip out to see the Mariners and Athletics in Japan this March. It was a lot of fun.
Here’s a couple of pictures I was able to get with a few favorites…
…the voice of the Mariners, Rick Rizzs…
…and the man in charge of all the tasty food at Safeco Field, Chef Jeremy.
As you can see so far, I had an amazing time. In fact, a lot of the players walked freely around the stadium (with security of course) talking with fans, helping with pitching mechanics in the bullpen and free hitting tips and advice. Casper Wells was one of those guys that was just walking around. A few of my friends at Safeco are die-hard Casper fans and they were able to get his attention. He walked over to them and they talked for a while and then good ‘ol Casper Wells delivers some hot coco to these lovely ladies!
Its one thing for a professional baseball player to walk over and sign a bunch of autographs and stuff but to actually interact like this with the fans? It’s truly remarkable!
That’s what fan fests is all about. Not just standing in line waiting for an autograph you may or may not get. That’s just my opinion though. We all have our special ways we like to connect with players.
During fan fest on Saturday the Stache Mob was more or less born. These ladies pictured below…
…drew funny little mustaches on their fingers for Brendan Ryan when he came up on stage for his portion of the dugout dialogue. Before things got started, they asked Brendan if he’d pose with them for a picture. He happily obliged them and said he’d get it done after the dialogue event. We all waiting in anticipation and unfortunately, the dialogue kind of went over in the time allotted and Ryan was carted off the stage by the Mariner staff. But. The awesome thing about Brendan Ryan is that he yelled to the group of ladies he’d get the picture done on Sunday . It made everyone feel pretty special that he was going to make it happen. And when Sunday rolled around? Brendan Ryan did not forget:
You can read all about how this unfolded in more detail in my other blog that I’ve created called; A View From the Bullpen.
Here are a few pictures from the Seattle Mariners dugout dialogue sessions…
There was so much to do and so much to see. Mariners Fan Fest would’ve easily lasted a week and probably still had people coming at the end. It was amazing to be able to walk on the field and play catch in the outfield with friends. It was awesome to connect with the players and ask questions. You know, to understand where they’re coming from and their stand point on issues and the seasons to come. It was fantastic! Even though I love to travel and experience different stadiums and events held by Major League Baseball, I think I’m sold on coming back to the Mariners Fan fest for years to come!