Results tagged ‘ baseball ’
Two days ago I toured Safeco Field. The weather was mildly miserable but I was totally excited to see inside the Safe once again. Here’s a picture of what Safeco Field looks like in January:
Yeah, it’s pretty miserable. Safeco Field is much better in the spring. And with baseball playing on the inside. Once I got my ticket, which by the way they never checked, I took a few pictures of the memorabilia they had on sale. Broken bats, used jerseys, pictures of former players, autographed baseballs, just to name a few. I took this picture of a Ryan Rowland-Smith autographed baseball for two reasons: he’s one of my favorite players and his signature is really awesome. Here, take a look for yourself…
…wouldn’t you agree? And I would’ve bought it but I don’t buy memorabilia. I’d rather get my own autographs. It’s a lot better experience to meet the players instead. Besides, in 2007 I was able to obtain a Ryan Rowland-Smith original outside the stadium when he played for the Mariners. unfortunately, I was still new to the autograph collecting world and I had him sign my baseball with a red sharpie. So here in about another ten years the ink will have soaked into the leather and the autograph will be nearly faded away. I made that fatal mistake with George Brett too. I feel awful about it but there may be another chance to get both of their autographs the right way in the future.
Anyway. Back to the tour. Once we left the memorabilia store the Safeco Field staff was hard at work trying to prep the field, wash the concourse and scrub the seats for an upcoming event at Safeco called Mariners Fan Fest. If you’re a Mariners fan or privy to the Major League Baseball events you’d probably already know it’s this weekend. And I’m going. And I’ll be blogging about it too. So be ready for that!
Here’s a picture of the field:
Safeco Field is one of the prettier stadiums I’ve been to. I thoroughly enjoy the layout which gives fans 100% access to the entire stadium during the game. From a ballhawking perspective that’s pretty awesome. Ted, our tour guide, led us all around the stadium. We walked through the suites and he explained the prices for specific suites. For one of the better suites during a premium game, say like when the Yankees come to town, a suite behind or near home plate can cost in the upwards of $9,000 dollars! The rule is that you must have at least 18 people with you to get these suites. So if you know 18 people with $600-700 dollars, you’re in! And let me tell you: these suites are awesome. Take a look…
…and I apologize for the crappy picture. This picture doesn’t do the suite any justice. It’s absolutely gorgeous on the inside. And every suite is named after a famous Hall of Famer. We were in the Mickey Mantle suite.
Outside of the suites the hallways are littered with Mariners memorabilia, newspaper clippings etc. It was quite a site to see, let me tell you. If I could ever afford a suite I would certainly splurge and watch a game from there.
We visited the press box and the Diamond club, fancy-smancy is all I have to say. The Diamond Club, of course, leads you directly behind home plate. And a person can generally find a ticket for that area for around $200 dollars. But you know me. I’d rather take that $200 dollars and fly to Anaheim to watch baseball. That’s just how I roll. One day I’d consider accessing the Diamond Club. It’s all you can eat and drink!
And now for the fun part. The locker rooms and field access! Once we got into the locker room, Ted explained how the lockers are set up and who sits where. And this was where I met Jose Mesa’s nephew, Miguel. Well, I had met him in the beginning of the tour and he told me who he was while we were touring the suites and since he’s a huge Yankee fan, guess what seat Ted had him sit in?
You guessed it! Alex Rodriguez. Ted wasn’t sure where Derek Jeter sat and that’s okay. I also had to sit in A-rods locker chair with my Chuck Knoblauch shirt hanging out! Ha!
Miguel and I talked a lot about the long-standing feud between Omar Vizquel and Jose Mesa. I learned about this feud a few days ago when I found out Vizquel signed a minor league contract with the Toronto Blue Jays. Vizquel wrote a book, which I have yet to buy and read, and said some things about Jose Mesa. In turn, Mesa vowed to hit Vizquel at every at bat when he faced him. Mesa was able to plunk him twice before he retired in 2007.
While Ted was explaining things along the tour, he led the group into the visiting team kitchen and shower. While he was doing that, look what I found:
Yes, the door was locked.
Anyway. On to the field!
Here I am holding down the Mariners dugout:
And here I am in the media room:
This picture was sort of blurry and it took Ted a few tries to get a decent one. He doesn’t have the most stable hands. But he did his best.
That’s the Safeco Field tour! I’ve toured one other stadium at that was Busch in St. Louis. unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures and I didn’t ever blog about it. That just means I’ll have to take a field trip back to St. Louis one of these days and tour the stadium so I can blog about it.
Ever since I found out about these Major League Baseball fantasy camps I’ve always wanted to attend one. Every camp is different and some are more expensive and some are shorter or longer depending on the camp. When I say expensive I truly mean that. Some can be as much as $4,500 dollars. To justify that cost you get to fly to the spring training camp of the team you’ve selected, you get uniforms, breakfast and lunch, you get to meet players, get autographs, pictures and of course you get to play baseball with and against former Major Leaguers. Not only that but you get a complete clubhouse experience. To me that’s a pretty awesome deal. The down side to all of this is most fantasy camps require campers to be 30 years old or older. Which is fine. But that meant I couldn’t attend any camps in my twenties. Which thoroughly bummed me out.
The other day I made a promise to myself. That promise was to attend one of these camps before I get too old to do it. Or end up working a job where I’d have absolutely no time to go to one. The time is now. The question is: which camp should I choose? I wanted to choose a fantasy camp of a Major League team with the most players that were my favorites growing up as a kid. Of course the Seattle Mariners camp popped into my mind. Over the years I have sort of put having a favorite team in the Major Leagues on hold. So I really wouldn’t call myself a die-hard Mariners fan anymore. And since the latest horrible trade by them I have sort of distanced myself even further from the Seattle team. Now I’m more of a die-hard baseball fan. You can read all about that here. Anyway.
The Mariners fantasy camp has a lot of Mariner alumni that I’d love to meet, get pictures with and get some autographs. But so do a lot of other teams. Three, besides the Mariners, that have also popped into my head were the Oakland Athletics, Baltimore Orioles and the Detroit Tigers. When I tweeted this out on my Twitter account…
…the Detroit Tigers were the first to respond. That wasn’t the initial reasons as to why I made my decision though. The decision was made over key players that the Tigers have hosted at their camp in the past. Namely, Cecil Fielder. Fielder was a childhood hero to me. Everyone wanted his baseball card and we all enjoyed watching him play. Especially when he’d smoke a long ball. Everyone loves the long ball. Everyone.
So I made my decision after a few minutes of direct messaging with Detroit Tigers on Twitter. They initially asked “what would sway me” to choose the Tigers camp and really, all I wanted was them to follow me on my Twitter account. Which they did. Although I did ask for any baseball bats lying around the clubhouse or maybe a bobble head from last year, which I was denied, but it wasn’t about all of that anyway. I just asked for general purpose.
So there you have it, folks! Yours truly will be attending the Detroit Tigers fantasy camp next year! I am super stoked about it and I will most definitely bring my camera, take lots of pictures and blog about every day that I’m there at the camp!
Wow. So I just got some amazing news from my fellow Ballhawk in Milwaukee, @BallHawkShawn. I mean, he didn’t like, personally call me or anything to tell me what’s up, I sorta found it on his Twitter feed. If you get a chance you should get yourself a Twitter account and follow him and me! @MLBwayneMLB.
Anyway. In my earlier post about my plans for the 2012 baseball season I mentioned I’d be flying out to Japan, Houston and possibly Los Angeles. I’d be going to Houston and Los Angeles because they’re celebrating their 50th anniversary in the bigs. Well, guess who else is celebrating?
Check this out:
Yeah. That’s a super sweet patch that the RedSox are using next season and THAT particular logo is going on their commemorative baseballs as well. I’m lucky because I live in Seattle and the RedSox will be coming to Safeco Field. Hopefully I can snag some of those baseballs. If not I’ll have to make friends in Boston.
Another team that is shelling out commemorative baseballs are the Baltimore Orioles. They too are coming to Seattle for six games so that will give me the opportunity to snag some of those baseballs as well. Here’s what they’re putting on their baseballs:
This is most doubtingly going to put a kink in my plans this season for sure. Because what I’d like to do is snag these baseballs at the stadium of the team that has them. Sooooo…instead of waiting for the O’s to come to Seattle, I’d like to travel to Baltimore and snag them there. But we will see what happens.
Here is the other team celebrating a milestone:
And of course Houston and Los Angeles, respectively.
So there you have it, folks! A little update on my plans for 2012! And now here’s the links at which you can follow along as I continue my journey to watch baseball in all 30 MLB stadiums!
I know it’s soooooo early but I wanted to get this information out in case anyone was planning on trying to catch up with me at some baseball games next year. So mark your calendars, people! I’m hoping to make it to a few new stadiums next season but I can’t promise anything! What I’m really excited about for the 2012 season is that the Seattle Mariners and the Oakland Athletics are going to hold their season openers in Japan! Yeah, that’s right! They’re going to play a couple of games at the Tokyo dome! What does that mean for me? I’m going to JAPAN!
I’ve never been to Japan so I have no idea what to expect. But I’m sure it will be an epic trip! This all happens on March 28th I believe. So mark those calendars! And yes, Snagging Baseballs for Puppies will be in full swing for these games!
My next stop is Minute Maid Park. I’d usually save this trip for some time in the distant future because I’m not really an Astros fan. But I am a fan of Ryan Rowland-Smith and Bud Norris. I love to see Norris pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals. He destroys that team and since I’m not a Cardinals fan I gain much joy from watching that. Minute Maid has something spectacular going on next season though, and I want to be apart of it. They’re celebrating their 50th Anniversary in 2012 and they’re using special 50th Anniversary commemorative baseballs. And this is the logo that’s going on all of the baseballs:
So with that being said, I am in dire need of one of these baseballs. I may have to travel to San Francisco a few times to watch the Giants play the Astros just to increase my chances of snagging one of these gems. And I’ll do it if it comes down to it. But I hope to snag one at Minute Maid.
Speaking of commemorative baseballs being used next season, the Los Angeles Dodgers are celebrating their 50th season as the Los Angeles Dodgers next season too! If you’ve figured out how obsessed I am about snagging these collectible baseballs then I shouldn’t have to tell you that Dodger stadium is in the works for a visit as well. Although, I’ve heard many nasty rumors about how unfriendly this ballpark is to fans, how ridiculous the rules are about ticketing and seating, and I’ve also hear the parking lot opens up to the park the same time the gates open. So I’m really not too excited to visit. This stadium will surely be visited towards the end of the season.
The stadium looks friendly enough. So I’ll give it a try. Other stadiums that I may try to make it out to next season will be AT&T Park, Oakland Coliseum, PETCO Park, and possibly Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. I’d also like to make it out to Miami Park next season, the new home for the Miami Marlins, but it may not happen. They too are using commemorative baseballs to celebrate the new baseball stadium and the new direction the Marlins are going to try to go next season.
So there you have it folks! Things are in the works for this Japan trip which I am totally stoked about! If you plan on being in the neighborhood at any one of these stadiums next year make sure you stop by and say hello. Or drop me an email sometime and let me know what dates you’re planning on going and I’ll try to meet up with you!
You can get the latest of what I’m doing and where I’m going on all my social media websites! I look forward to hearing from you and thanks for reading!
The last Seattle Mariners home game of the season. The last baseball game I’ll probably attend this season. Finally here. It was sort of depressing that the 2011 baseball season went by so fast. It felt like just the other week it was the middle of July and things were just getting started. But here we were. At Safeco Field one last time in 2011.
I seriously thought there would be way more people at the gates for this one. But I was wrong. While I waited for the gates to open I played a friendly game of catch with a kid that nearly shows up every afternoon just to play catch. He doesn’t go to the games at all. It’s rather strange if you ask me. Here I am playing catch with him…
…as you can see the kid has quite an arm…
…and as you can see I’m pretty much a stud. (Ahem) Anyway.
Once the gates opened this is what I saw:
That’s Tom Wilhelmsen way out in the distance. He was way too far out for me to call to him. So I just soaked in the empty stadium. As you can see there wasn’t going to be any batting practice. So snagging at least one baseball to keep my streak alive was going to be incredibly difficult. Especially since either team may or may not even come out to stretch. It was the last game of the season and both teams, the Mariners and the Athletics, were both way out of playoff contention.
Once the rest of the stadium opened up at 5:10pm, I walked around the entire stadium to look for an opportunity to snag at least one baseball. I wandered down to the third base area and noticed this kid…
…do you see what he’s wearing? He’s wearing a Mariners jersey and an Athletics hat. When I walked up on him he was just putting on his Athletics hat and shortly after I took this picture he took off his Mariners jersey. You’re probably saying, “so what?” Well, I’ll tell you so what. Baseball players tend to pay attention to small details like that. It’s actually no big deal to me. I just thought it was extremely bold to change baseball swag in front of the players.
After hanging around this area for about fifteen minutes I was able to snag a Rick Rodriguez overthrow. And sadly that was the only baseball I was able to snag. After I caught the overthrow the Athletics slowly packed up their gear and wandered off the field. Not another baseball player in sight until about ten minutes before the game started.
Here I am watching the game from the Athletics bullpen area:
It was a pretty sad sight to watch the 2011 baseball season go away. I would’ve cried but I decided to hold my tears in until the Mariners won the World Series.
This season has actually been a pretty awesome one. Not only did I get enough pledges and donations to raise over $200.00 bucks for my Snagging Baseball for Puppies charity for the Seattle Humane Society but I was able to meet quite a few awesome people. And on top of all of that? I snagged 135 baseballs in 53 games! Booyah!
This is Krista.
If you have a Twitter account give her a follow. Her Twitter handle is @MarinerMojo55. She’s probably one of the coolest Mariner fans I’ve ever met. This is what she has to say about baseball;
“I’ve been going to Mariners games for as long as I can remember. It started with the Kingdome and I continued to go once Safeco Field opened. Up until the 2009 season I only went to a couple of games a season. But now I go to as many games as possible.
I would have to say this past season (2011) would my favorite even though the M’s didn’t do so well. I met SO many people this year!! It is such great feeling to know you will always have a friend at the game. I’m sure my response will change when the Mariners win the WS in a few years!”
And this is Ryanna. Another awesome Mariners fan. She has a great sense of humor and also has a Twitter account. You can find her here. If you don’t have a Twitter account You are missing out, by the way.
And yes. That’s really her standing inside the Mariners bullpen. And yes that is John Wetteland standing beside her. This is what she has to say about baseball;
“I have only REALLY been a baseball fan for about the past 5 years. When the Sonics left, I decided to get in to baseball. I found a couple of cute Mariners pitchers and after 2 years of going to games “for the cute guys”, I actually started watching the game and really enjoying it. The guys became a bonus, not the main attraction. In 2009 I attended about half the games. I found myself watching games from the beer garden, and there I met miss Carla :) I decided in 2010 to become a season ticket holder and stood with Carla in #GirlsCorner every game. Same in 2011. #GirlsCorner grew and we have a blast every game!! I am in love with baseball.
In 2010 I went to US Cellular Field and sadly watched the Mariners get swept by the White Sox. This past season I attended the 1 exhibition game at Dodger Stadium and then later in the season went to Angels Stadium. Of those 3, I don’t really know what one would be my favorite. None of them are Safeco and I didn’t have my spot to stand, so it just wasn’t the same. The one stadium I would like to visit and am hoping possibly to get to in 2012 is Fenway!!!”
If you’ve been going to games at Safeco Field and are somewhat oblivious to the #Girlscorner, well I will explain. It’s this group of girls, and sometimes guys, that get together and meet in the beer garden near the Mariners bullpen. They have shirts and everything. It’s actually pretty awesome. So if you’re ever at a Mariners game feel free to go say hi to these lovely ladies.
And last but not least, this is Carla. I met her on opening day of this season but I really didn’t become friends with her until about after the All-start break. I was off doing my thing, you know, ignoring everyone and snagging baseballs, so I really didn’t get to know her until much later in the season. But she is one awesome woman. I kind of view her as the leader of the #GirlsCorner too. She’s very fun to talk with and knowns a ton about a baseball. Go. Say. Hi. Next. Season. Thank you.
During the ninth inning, and since the Mariners were losing, again, I decided to sneak down to the Athletics dugout to see if I could catch some baseball bats, baseballs, batting helmets etc. Here’s my view as I’m getting ready to pounce:
The Athletics were pretty selfish with the swag. When I figured that out I managed to make my way over to an over-crowded Mariners dugout. But they were tossing all kinds of stuff into the crowd. Baseballs, batting gloves, t-shirts, bats…it was insane! Check out the mob!
And in the chaos I managed to score a Dustin Ackley batting glove!
It landed right at my feet. I even surprised myself at how fast I could move to get it! And here’s a picture of my batting glove with the baseball I snagged before the game:
I’d have to say it was a pretty awesome night even though the Mariners lost.
Game; September 268h 2011 Oakland Athletics vs Seattle Mariners
Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $220.70 this season.
Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $50.50 this
With the 2011 baseball season coming to a close I made arrangements to be able to attend at least the last Mariner home game of the season. Which is on Wednesday. It will probably be a very emotional night for most. Today’s game would start at 7:10pm and of course I got to the stadium early enough to attend batting practice. A small crowd gathered at the gates on this gloomy, rainy day in Seattle.
When I ran inside I immediately checked the centerfield gap and the sod farm behind the centerfield wall. To my surprise there were a few baseballs lying around and one within grasp. I quickly assembled my glove-trick and went after one.
“You need to lower your rubber band and you can’t do that right now.” Said a voice over my shoulder. I could hear other security guards in the centerfield bleachers whistling at me and hollering for me to stop but I didn’t care. I wanted to get on the board with at least one baseball this game…whatever the cost. If I get yelled at, so be it.
“I need to do what?” I responded.
“You have to stop that.” said the security guard again.
And at the moment I was reeling the baseball up. It wasn’t a baseball from Felix Hernandez or anything but it was well worth the trouble and the harassment from security.
I hung around the party deck for a while mainly because the crowd was so thin I wasn’t worried about anyone beating me to the seating bowls to scavenge for any loose baseballs. Steve Delabar was snagging balls in centerfield and when he tossed one up to a couple of girls I knew I’d be glove-tricking my second baseball out of the gap. Not that they’re girls and they can’t catch, it’s just that they weren’t wearing gloves and it’s hard to catch baseballs without a glove. I retrieved the baseball for them and here is the result:
I wandered the bullpen area looking for more chances to use the glove-trick and I was stopped by one of the Safeco Field seating hosts, Bronson. He made a generous donation of $20 dollars towards Snagging Baseballs for Puppies and had me sign one of his baseballs that he got. I felt honored to be able to put my name on it and if you’ve ever signed a baseball it’s a lot harder than it looks.
Once the upper level opened up I raced down to the third base seating to look for any baseballs that were hit into the rows. I was able to find this one:
After I found the baseball in the above photo I walked over to the railing and called out to Tom Wilhelmsen.
“Hey, Tom. Do you want to play catch for a little bit? I found a baseball!” I said as I held it up and shrugged at him.
“Play catch? Okay, maybe a few throws, bud.” he replied back.
I tossed him the baseball I found, (usually I ask to play catch with the baseball player after they field a baseball to get them to throw it to me) and after I tossed it to him a baseball was hit near him. He sort of flinched a little and threw the baseball back to me and then told me this was probably not a good idea.
I told him I understood, I mean, I didn’t want him to get hit by a baseball. And I really didn’t think about that until after the fact. But nonetheless, I got to play catch with Tom Wilhelmsen for about a half a second and it was a really awesome half of a second too. Here’s a picture of Tom after we got done playing catch:
I walked the entire way around the stadium to the first base side of the stadium. And when I got there this is what I found:
Can you believe that? It was probably 5:20pm and this baseball in the above photo had been sitting there in plain view this whole time! Not only did I find this one but I found this one too…
…and just like that I had five baseballs on the evening! I would have had six but this baseball was incredibly hard to get plus security was standing right by me:
While I was staring down at this baseball and taking pictures the Mariners started to jog off the field. Batting practice for them had ended and I was way out in right field by the fair pole. I wanted to be at the dugout when BP ended so I literally had to sprint through the rows to get there in time. And when I did I got Jaime Navarro to toss me my sixth baseball of the evening. And by the way, this was my competition while I was messing around in the first base seating bowl:
I raced behind home plate, switched hats, took notes and moved down in the front row where the Oakland Athletics were already out stretching and warming up. I was sitting at six baseballs and I really wanted to break my single game record. All I had to do was snag one more baseball. After a few errant throws that nearly hit a couple of fans I met up with Todd Cook and his family. I got word from Twitter that he’d be visiting Safeco Field at the end of the month and it was really awesome to meet up with them. If you want to check out his blog you can by clicking here. Just as I ran over to them to shake Todd’s hand a baseball struck little Tim right in the arm as he was watching the Athletics. It looked like the baseball hit him square in the shoulder but later the medical staff at Safeco Field confirmed that he got hit in the hand and he was okay. Nothing was broke, thank goodness. While they rushed off to see the medics, Dave Valle came out on the upper deck and asked me what happened and where they were going. I made sure to fill him in on all the important details. After waiting around for about five minutes I decided to head up to Guest Services myself and make sure Tim was okay. Ballhawking could wait when their was a fellow ‘Hawker injured.
Fifteen minutes later we all walked out of Guest Services and headed down to the 3rd base seating bowl. Tim wanted to just hangout for a while, and I didn’t blame him. I had been hit by a baseball before and it really does hurt. I couldn’t imagine how much pain Tim was in.
I wandered back down to the bullpen area and just as I got there a couple of baseballs were hit near me. Here’s a picture of one:
I was watching security to make sure they weren’t standing by making sure I didn’t go after it and when they turned their back on me that’s when I made my move. I nearly had to talk my way into the spot in front of the ball because the lady that was blocking me assumed I was going to jump into the bullpen to get the baseball. I reassured her that’s what I wasn’t going to do and when I started to assemble my glove-trick she got the idea. First I had to knock the baseball closer by flinging my glove out passed the baseball and then by dragging my glove backwards over the ball it knocked it onto the concrete part of the ‘Pen. This was the result after I was able to reel it in:
The man in the above photo is Dino. I’m not sure if this was his first Mariners game or not but he’s from Australia. If you look closely at the underside of the baseball it has the Anaheim Angels 50th Anniversary logo on it. Dino was very appreciative of the baseball and I passed out my charity business card to him and the people he was with. We shared a few stories of rescued dogs, took a few more pictures, and parted ways.
When I returned to the party deck one of my friends, Ryanna, that I attend baseball games with pulled me aside.
“There is a baseball that’s stuck underneath the tarp in the back corner of the Mariners bullpen.” She told me.
I, of course, had to investigate. And sure enough there was a baseball sitting in the corner. It wasn’t just any baseball. It was another Anaheim Angels 50th Anniversary one. But I couldn’t get it with my glove-trick. I had to wait for a grounds crew member. And when one finally arrived I asked him if he’d toss me the baseball. I got the “I’ll lose my job” excuse but luckily he told me he’d tell the bullpen cop about it and hopefully he’d be able to help me. Fortunatly for me, I’ve been really friendly with the bullpen cops and I also know them by name. So it was pretty easy to get the baseball from him. And I gave that one away to another friend of mine, Krista, that attends nearly every Mariners home game. She’s been wanting one of the special Angels ball all season so I felt pretty good about getting it to her. That was my eighth ball of the evening.
After that I engaged in a quick photo-op with the Todd and Tim:
I ran over to the Mariners side of the stadium at around 6:45pm to try to snag one more baseball. But none of the Mariners that were out warming up bothered to bring any baseballs with them. Alex Liddi and Luis Rodriguez played a quick game of catch in front of the Mariners dugout but it was actually a little too crowded for my taste so I ended up leaving and walking back to the party deck in centerfield.
The game itself was very entertaining. Especially when Brandon League came in to pitch in the ninth to try to notch save number 37. Which he did. The Mariners were able to hang on for a 4-2 win and a huge three-run home run by Justin Smoak pretty much sealed it for them too! The last game of the season will be played on Wednesday which I will be attending.
Also, a huge thanks to another good friend of mine, Carla, for donating $25 dollars to my charity. You can click on the link below to get more details or donate yourself. Her donation pushed me over the edge of $200 dollars raised this year. I never thought I’d end up raising so much money, so a huge thanks goes out to her and everyone else that has donated, pledged or done both.
Game; September 26th 2011 Oakland Athletics vs Seattle Mariners
Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $219.65 this season.
Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $50.20 this
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.
Game; September 21st 2011 Texas Rangers vs Oakland Athletics
Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $189.20 this season.
Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $47.80 this
When I got to the stadium today this was waiting for me:
Yes, that is an authentic Major League baseball from Rawlings. The stamp on the sweet spot reads, “Catch n Win 2011” and the red “X” means that it’s already been turned in for a prize to Guest Services. What does this all mean? Absolutely nothing. Yesterday at Safeco Field the Mariners were holding a fan appreciation day and when I found out they would be using special baseballs during BP I literally freaked out. I started tweeting everyone I knew that would be going to the game asking if they’d snag me one of those baseballs. I even tweeted Mariners pitcher, Shawn Kelley if he’d snag me one and hold onto it until I could get to the stadium the next day. Thanks to my friend, Ryanna and Carla, I was able to get one. Shawn Kelley eventually responded to me with this;
For the record I did not want to attend this baseball game. Why? Because of Alex Rodriguez. I dislike that man like there is no tomorrow. And I’m sure I can speak for many, many Mariner fans. Even the fans that go to one baseball game a year at Safeco Field. I can even say with confidence that the fans that show up for a Mariners bobblehead, walk in the gates, grab a bobblehead, turn around and exit to their cars to go home don’t even like Alex Rodriguez. Seriously? It’s not about him using steroids. I’m over that and I also understand from an athletes point of view why they would consider using steroids. Or even growth hormones. Whatever you want to call it. That fact that he lied about his steroid use is what bothers me. And not only that? How he left Seattle. Which is also understandable but if you’re going to leave the team that put you in the spotlight at least go to another division. Or go to the National League. Or just go away. Anyway. I’m off my soap box now.
With all that said I found out that Alex Rodriguez was not going to be in the lineup. So I jumped in my vehicle and drove out to Safeco Field. Since the Yankees were in town I thought the stadium was going to be packed. But it wasn’t. Maybe 18,000 showed up. And that’s such a light crowd for a Yankees game. When I got to the stadium these fine gentlemen were working on some new posters outside:
Here’s a brand new poster of Miguel Olivo:
When I ran inside there wasn’t much competition and plenty of open spacing in the bullpen areas. I got my first baseball of the evening from Trayvon Robinson. You can see him in the picture below. He’s the Mariner player with the high socks.
Robinson ran down a fly ball that landed on the warning track but failed to bounce into the bullpen. I was standing right there when he appeared in front of the open bullpen door as he was walking towards the baseball. All I had to do was get his attention. I simply flapped my glove at him and he picked up the ball, brushed it off on his pants and went to throw it to me. He lost grip on the ball and he never got airborne. He picked it up again and this time launched it to me. The ball nearly came up short and I had to really stretch for it. But I made the catch.
I still wanted a baseball from Felix Hernandez really bad. When I noticed him out in centerfield I made a bee-line for the ‘Pen area. Or the party deck. Whatever it’s called. Everytime Felix fielded a baseball I screamed at him to throw it to me. But he paid me absolutely no attention at all. Thoroughly bummed I figured out a different plan of approach. I was destined to get a baseball from that man. When the rest of the stadium opened up I raced to the centerfield bleachers and lined up directly behind the King. But he never got another baseball. Steve Delabar and Jason Vargas were fielding everything and tossed a couple into the stands. I could have easily made some catches but I wanted a baseball from Felix. And then he walked off the field. It was then I noticed a huge fan gathering around the Yankees dugout. Guess what that meant? I’ll show you in the next couple of pictures.
Here is what the crowd looked like at the Yankees dugout:
I noticed the crowd from centerfield. I literally ran to the Mariners dugout because it was pretty much just me standing there. Check it out:
The Mariners were about to end their portion of batting practice and that meant only one thing. I had absolutely no one competing against me for a baseball. Lucky me I got Chone Figgins attention. He tossed me a baseball but I was three rows back from the front. The ball came up way short and it landed in the camera pit. At first I didn’t see it bounce around down there so I was concerned the camera lady wouldn’t be able to find it. Amazingly it landed inside her backpack!
She was totally oblivious to the whole thing and I didn’t want to just reach into her backpack and grab the baseball. I kindly asked her if she’d dig it out and she did. Instead of handing it to me she tossed it to me and I nearly lost it again. I made sure to thank Figgins as he walked into the dugout too. That was my second baseball of the evening.
On my way back out to the outfield I managed to scoop up a softly hit grounder that barely made it past first base and trickled into foul territory. Again, there was no one around but me to get it. So I hauled it in for my third baseball on the evening. After the Mariners jogged off the field and the Yankees came out I wandered the bullpen area for any loose baseballs that I could glove trick. I found one in the Yankees bullpen and I easily snagged it via glove-trick. Everyone, of course, was so amazed by what I did I actually got a “standing ovation”. I wasn’t really paying attention to it until one guy patted me on the back and told me “Good job.” So I humbly tipped my cap and moved on. It felt kind of good to get that kind of attention, I’m not going to lie. That was my fourth baseball of the evening. Here’s a picture of the baseball afterwards:
While I was in the bullpen area a batting practice home run was hit into the Mariners bullpen and it bounced into the back corner. No one was really around to witness it expect me. Like I said; everyone was at the Yankees dugout. Here’s a picture of the ball. See if you can find it…
…It’s tucked away in the back corner. While I was standing there Jason Phillips was walking into the bullpen. He picked up a baseball on the way to the bench and turned around to throw it up to section 151. Like I’ve said many times before; everyone was so fascinated by the Yankees being in the stadium that most people forgot that the Mariners were even here to play. No one responded to Jason Phillips request to throw them a baseball. He shrugged and put the baseball in his pocket. When he turned around to continue to the bench I was standing on the other side of the fence glove ready. All I had to do was flap my glove at him. It took him a moment to get the baseball to me but when he threw it, it was a high beautifully aimed arching throw that smacked right into my glove. It was such an awesome throw. And the results:
You can see Phillips in the background digging through the bag of baseballs. That was number five on the night and my third baseball from Jason Phillips this year. My first baseball and my 100th lifetime baseball from Phillips came on April 2nd 2011 at the Oakland Coliseum. And my second baseball from him came on July 30th 2011 at Safeco Field.
Remember the baseball that bounced into the corner of the Mariners bullpen? I had a few options I could try. I could ask Miguel Olivo when he came over to warm up to grab the baseball for me OR I could wait for someone less busy to enter the bullpen. I also knew that one of the grounds crew raises the protective scoreboard screen and uses a hand crank in that very corner where the ball was at. I rolled the dice and waited on the grounds crew. When he showed up I asked him how his day was going and then hit with the infamous, “Is there anyway you could grab that baseball for me and hand it up?” I thought about extending the truth and telling him I dropped it while trying to get an autograph. But how many times during the season do baseballs land there? He’s probably heard every trick in the book. So I held my breath and hoped that worked. He didn’t answer me right away but after he was done…
…another Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim commemorative baseball!! Not only was that my sixth baseball of the evening but that’s my fourth Angels commemorative baseball!! Not my fourth one of the game but my fourth one overall. I absolutely love these unique baseballs.
Once the game got started it was pretty much the Yankees dominating. The Mariners put up a really good fight and the final score was 3-2 Yankees. The most wonderful moment came, (even though I’m anti-Yankee) when Mariano Rivera notched his 600th career save. History. Here is a picture of him taking the mound before the historic moment:
The picture quality sucks because I forgot my SD card again and not only that I left my SD card in my camera that was sitting at home on my computer desk. So I was limited to my iPhone once again. Here’s a picture of Rivera after the save:
This game reminded me when I drove 800 miles from St. Louis to the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on 10-22-2010 to watch game six of the ALCS last year. I had goosebumps when Rivera recorded the milestone.
Game; September 13th 2011 New York Yankees vs Seattle Mariners
Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $185.00 this season.
Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $46.60 this
Yesterday at Safeco Field I had a blast. I wanted to continue that good vibe and collect even more baseballs. It was so easy because the fan base simply died off for this series. In all fairness, who wants to see two last place teams battle it out? Since I love baseball so much I couldn’t careless who played. I just wanted to see some baseball! I figured for a Friday evening in Seattle, with awesome weather, and the kids all in school now, the crowd should be next to nothing. I was pretty much correct in my assumption. Here is a picture of the party deck well past the time the gates had opened up:
Seriously. That was my competition. It was literally dead. So allow me to back up a little bit and start from the time I walked into the stadium.
Yesterday the Mariners didn’t have batting practice because they got into Seattle from Anaheim quite late. I’m not sure why but that’s what I was told. Today the Mariners were having batting practice but for the most part I was being ignored. I called out to Anthony Vasquez a few times, Trayvon Robinson a few times and even Dan Cortes. Nothing from any of them. It wasn’t until 5:10pm when the rest of the stadium opened up and I found this little gem just sitting in an empty row of seats:
Moments later I found this as well:
I gave away the first loose baseball I found to a nearby woman who had her son with her. And of course I kept the Angels 50th Anniversary commemorative baseball. After hanging around in the third base lower seating bowl for a few extra minutes I decided to try my luck at the “Safeco Field Lookout” . I waited for just the right moment and then called out to Alex Gordon. I had to call his name three times before he finally turned around and looked up at me. I flailed my arms rapidly and motioned for him to throw me a baseball. And when he did…
…I caught my third ball of the evening. You can see Gordon in the picture above walking slightly to his right. He’s the player with the number four on his back. Super nice guy. And not because he threw me a baseball. Well, yeah. That’s mainly why he’s a nice guy. While I was up there looking around I saw Bruce Chen doing the same thing he was doing yesterday; teasing the fans with a baseball. I didn’t know if perhaps he would remember me from yesterday but I had to give it a shot.
When I got down to the party deck there were plenty of fans wanting a baseball. But again. I had the edge. My Kansas City Royals hat. Chen wasn’t playing games with Jesse Chavez this time. He was playing games with Joakim Soria. So the payoff would be awesome. I lined up at the far corner and made sure Soria saw me wearing my Royals hat. Moments later he lobbed a high arching throw that I knew was going to land in the party deck. I took a step forward, outstretched my arm and made the catch. That was my fourth ball of the day. And from Joakim Soria too.
When batting practice started to come to an end I wandered the bullpen looking for any extra baseballs that I could glove-trick out of there. When I saw a baseball at the end of the Royals bullpen I ran over to try and pull it out. When I arrived, there was a younger baseball fan standing directly in line with the baseball. I asked him if he was trying to get the baseball and he told me he was. I explained to him that it would be a lucky shot if you actually ended up with the baseball because usually the groundskeepers come through and scoop all the baseballs up. I told him I’d glove-trick it out of the bullpen for him. Since I had possession of the baseball that counts towards my total which now put me at five on the day. I handed the baseball off to him, we shook hands and parted ways.
Before the game started I wanted to get something else accomplished. Today I brought the baseball that Jason Phillips threw me on 4-2-2011 at the Oakland Coliseum this year which turned out to be my 100th baseball. Since Phillips tossed it to me I wanted him to sign it. I’ve actually been trying to get him to sign it for the past few games I’ve attended but he was always busy and I don’t want to bother these guys when they have work to do. But the opportunity presented itself when Jason walked up to the bullpen cops and started talking to them. I quickly grabbed my baseball and my pen and walked over to him.
“Hey Jason, I was wondering if you had time for a quick autograph.” I asked him
“Sure, no problem.” He replied.
“But I was wondering if you could personalize the baseball for me. This is my 100th baseball ever caught in my life and you threw it to me in Oakland on April 2nd.” Jason smiled as I explained the significance of the baseball to him.
“Well, what do you want me to put on it?” He asked.
“I don’t know!” I said with a laugh. ” You’re the baseball player. You guys always have something witty to say.” He laughed too, I gave him my name and this was the result:
The Mariners game was absolutely amazing. Alex Liddi, who made his Safeco Field debut, ended up hitting a double on his second at-bat. The cool story about Liddi is his season ended while playing for the Tacoma Rainers and his parents had purchased airline tickets for him to go back to Italy and then he gets called up to the Mariners. How cool is that? The Root Sports guys and some freelance writers from MLB Network came down to film Steve Delabar as well. Liddi and Delabar were hot topics in Seattle and the ‘Pen area got quite popular.
Since I was standing there I asked all kinds of questions to the camera man and the people who accompanied him. I also passed him my business card with all my blog information, charity website information and my contact information. So hopefully I’ll hear from those guys one day. Maybe I’ll be famous too!
Jeff Francoeur made some fine plays in the outfield to rob Dustin Ackley of a home run and an extra base hit. After Francoeur robbed Ackley of the home run, Olivo blasted one off the fair-pole in left field. Olivo also hit a double and a triple. He came up short for the cycle but it was still awesome to see.
After the game ended I called out to Dan Cortes and got him to toss me my sixth baseball of the night. The Mariners came out winners with a 7-3 victory over the Royals.
Game; September 9th 2011 Kansas City Royals vs Seattle Mariners
Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $178.70 this season.
Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $44.80 this