Results tagged ‘ Oakland ’

Interview

On April 1st 2011 while I was visiting the Oakland Coliseum, I met this guy:

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His name is Benson. And he’s from Southeast Asia. Really a cool guy. When we first met, the Coliseum was his 17th baseball stadium he has seen. That year, he was on his way to see Busch Stadium and Kauffman Stadium as well. This year, I played a little catch-up with him via email and he stated he had only three more stadiums left to see. In 2013, he plans on seeing Skydome, Target Field and I think Tropicana. I hope to catch up with him at Target Field (since I’ve plans to go there anyway in ’13) and get some more pictures with him. He collects autographs and the occasional baseball. It’s really awesome meeting people abroad that share the same interests as myself.

Specifically for this blog entry (and with his permission) I asked him a few questions regarding baseball. Some of the things I found out were his favorite baseball stadiums and favorite players. You know, the cool stuff we all like to talk about.

Me: “So when we first met, you were visiting your 17th Major League stadium, right? How many stadiums have you seen now?”

Benson: “I’ve seen 27 total.”

Me: “Wow! You know, I’ve lived in the United States for 32 years and I’ve only seen like, 14 stadiums! Plus the Tokyo Dome in Japan, but. Anyway, what’s been your favorite stadium so far?”

Benson: “PNC Park and Safeco Field!”

Me: “Awesome! Seattle gets a little shout out there, that’s pretty cool. I practically live in Safeco Field during the baseball season, so for me, it gets kind of boring at times. But it’s always an adventure there. Its a great stadium. Plus, we have a roof that retracts! So we always get baseball! Do you have a favorite baseball player?”

Benson: “Josh Hamilton and CJ Wilson.”

Me: “Josh Hamilton may not return to Texas. That would be a bummer, huh. Any favorite teams?”

Benson: “Rangers and Angels.”

Me: “Ahh! Division rivals! How does that work when both teams play each other? Oh, forget I asked. That’s like when the Mariners play the Athletics. I’m just a confused baseball fan when that happens! So wrapping this up, my friend, what are your plans for the 2013 season?”

Benson: “Visit Toronto, New York and Minnesota!”

Me: “Good choices! Maybe catch you at the All-star game in New York next year! If not, see you in Minnesota!”

 

 

 

Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum 10-10-2012 (ALDS Game 4)

Back at the Coliseum for another round of Athletics baseball! On Tuesday, I was only able to snag one baseball. I was hoping for a little magic during BP today, but alas, that really didn’t happen. I only snagged one baseball again, and here’s how it played out.

As soon as I ran inside the Coliseum, I saw this:

I thought for sure I’d get a toss-up. I knew the majority of the Tigers pitching staff, so I quickly switched out my hats to my Detroit one and ran down to the railing. I pulled my camera back and out and snapped this photo…

…do you see the Tigers player directly in line with me? Okay, look just beyond him to his throwing partner. See how he’s in motion to throw the ball? Well, as soon as I pocketed my camera, the ball came wheeling right for me. At the time, I didn’t even have my glove on to make a clean catch. But what made it worse was, the player directly in front of me made sort of a half-attempt to catch the ball. When he did, the ball glanced off his glove which gave me even less time to react, so all I could do was turn my shoulder and I took a hit nearly right between my shoulder blades. The only thing on my mind was to locate that ball. I heard it clang around in the seats and then I heard it rolling away. Possibly down some steps. But it went absolutely no where. The ball stayed in the aisle I was standing in and rolled just behind my feet:

Tada! No, the ball didn’t roll into my glove…I placed it there so I could gather myself up. It’s pretty scary to be hit with a baseball or have one coming directly at you and not have any time to react to it. And this wasn’t the first time I was hit with a baseball. Last year, at Safeco Field, I took a Cj Wilson fast ball to the inside of my thigh. Luckily, it didn’t hit me an inch farther in or I’d probably be missing a certain part of me, if you catch my drift.

The rest of batting practice was pretty much a bust and so was the game. I had standing room only tickets like last nights outing so I knew I’d be really limited to where I could go. I tried to stay down in the lower seating bowl the whole time, you know, walking around, talking with random people, but eventually the security guards sniffed me out and started asking me for my ticket when they saw me. I saved them the trouble and told them I had SRO tickets and I was on my way up the concourse to the upper seating area. And that was pretty much it. I had to watch the game from places like this…

…and again, it absolutely sucked. I guess I shouldn’t really be complaining though. I only paid like, $45 bucks for one ticket. So whatever. I did however sneak down after the game to the A’s dugout to see this happen:

No, that’s not a picture I took. The crowd was so crazy down by the dugout, people were shoving, and laughing, and jumping all around, and hugging each other, I couldn’t get my camera still enough to catch a good picture of what was happening. At one point in time, some random dude took my A’s hat off, kissed it, and slapped it back on my head! I was so awesome to be in the mix with people who genuinely loved their team! Even though I’ve been to a handful of A’s games with crowds as low as 9,000, this place had 36,000 of the best fans in baseball. And Section 149 was just going nuts!

Anyway, I left soon after and headed back to my hotel room. On the way back, all I heard was “LET’S GO OAK-LAND” chants all the way through downtown. It still gives me goosebumps just thinking of my trip to Oakland.

Today’s game snagging Highlights: Detroit Tigers Vs Oakland Athletics- Attendance 36,907

Baseballs snagged: one (over-throw from Tigers player)

Total baseballs snagged this season: 52

Total baseballs snagged last season: 135

Total dollars raised at this game: $2.04

Total dollars raised for Snagging Baseballs for Puppies this season: $100.78

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

Total number of donors this season: 9

Total number of donors last season: 7

If you’d like to join my official Snagging Baseballs for Puppies Facebook page, just click here! And if you want to like Collection of Baseball on Facebook, click here! Interested in following me on Twitter? Click here!

Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum 10-9-2012 (ALDS Game 3)

The last time I attended a playoff game was two years ago. I visited Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas and watched the Rangers/Yankees series. I really didn’t put up solid baseball snagging numbers due to the fact of the large capacity crowd and the players were a little stingy with toss-ups and not many home runs were being hit out during BP. The same thing sort of played out here at the Coliseum.

In fact, it wasn’t until the very end of batting practice when I was able to snag one baseball.  I really didn’t think it was going to happen, either. Here’s a picture right before I got the baseball…

…all I did was asked if I could take a picture of him, and he happily obliged in a laughing manner. My real intent was to build some quick repoire and ask for a baseball. I’m pretty sure he saw right through me because before I could really ask, he underhanded me one with a wink. If anyone can identify him, I’d greatly appreciate it. I’d like to add him to my list on MyGameBalls.com.

So let me back up some..I’d like to explain how this trip actually came to be. Over the course of the summer, I was very limited to how many games I could actually attend because I was busy working two jobs. And a little more expansion on that; when I got out of the service two years ago, I got a job and started school. Well, school sort of didn’t work out for me, and my current job started cutting back hours. So I was sort of forced into getting a second job. Over the course of this summer, I worked nearly 70 hours a week. Which wasn’t fun or worth it. I had no life.

Anyway, so now that I’m only working one job now (and thinking about school again) I’m back to going to baseball games. Unfortunately, baseball season is just about over but fortunately, I was able to catch the ALDS in Oakland. In a nutshell, I was sitting at home watching the last game of the regular season, you know, the game the Rangers should’ve won? The one where the Athletics stole the AL West crown? Yeah, that one. When the A’s won the AL West, that changed everything for me. It would mean I’d be taking a trip to Oakland real soon. When I realized the A’s would be facing the Tigers on the 9th and the 10th of October, I immediately checked my work schedule.

I come to the Oakland Coliseum a lot. Mainly because it’s a fun place to catch baseballs. The stadium alone has a ton of history and it’s fun to be inside a place where my favorite baseball players as a kid used to play. Like Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire, Rickey Henderson, Dave Henderson, Dennis Eckersely, Rick Honeycutt and Tony La Russa. One thing I will not do is call this place the O-Dot Coliseum or the OCo-whatever stadium. In fact, do you want to see how I really feel about it?

Nick Badder’s father took that photo of me. Nick is a fellow ballhawk that routinely attends Athletics games at the Coliseum, himself. I finally met him today and he also runs a blog on MLB.com, too. It’s called 7000 Coliseum Way. Here we are hanging out prior to the gates opening:

Once the gates cracked open at 4:07, Nick and I parted ways and it was time to start snagging baseballs again for my charity; Snagging Baseballs for Puppies. I didn’t have high expectations for this game because a) it was a playoff game so I knew the players were going to be holding back on toss-ups and b) the Coliseum would be abnormally packed with fans.

The fun part of watching the ALDS against the Tigers, was watching Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder smack a couple of home runs during batting practice. The most unfortunate thing during BP was, the ushers didn’t allow anyone into the upper deck (mainly section 149 where I wanted to go) without a ticket for that section. It was kind of a heartbreaker because I’ve been trying to get into section 149 since the last time I visited the Coliseum.

I was hoping for a big win from the Athletics tonight because when I planned this trip, I bought tickets for a probable game four. If the Athletics won that game, too, it was fine., Even though I’d love to stick around and watch the A’s take the series. But deep down, since I’m such a big Tigers fan as well, I wanted Detroit to win and I expected them to.

In any case, it felt really good to be back inside a Major League baseball stadium with some of the best fans in baseball. And when I say “best fans in baseball” I truly mean that about the fans in the Coliseum. During some games there are as little as 6,000 fans watching the Athletics play. But those 6,000 fans are those most dedicated fans I’ve ever met in my life.

By the time batting practice had ended, I got some food and drinks, I got a couple of pictures of me clowning around the Coliseum, and settled in to watch the game. Here are a few pictures I was able to get before the game started:

Me with the my only ball snagged during BP…

…and the next couple of photos are with some signs the Athletics fan crew were handing out.

Oh, and I can’t forget to show off my “rally towel”:

Here’s me with my Reddick sign:

And of course, my Cespedes sign:

The game was electrifying, to say the least. The Athletics were playing an elimination game and were doing everything in their power to force a game four. I had horrible seats, though. Standing room only. Which, in the Coliseum, there isn’t much “standing room only” places to stand only. Everywhere I went, I was asked to show my ticket. And once I ended up on the main concourse, that was it. I wasn’t allowed to get back down on the first level to walk the concourse around the lower seating bowl unless I showed my ticket, which said “SRO” on it, so the security wouldn’t allow me to pass. It was very frustrating.

I pretty much had to watch the game from places like this:

It totally sucked. My tickets for game four were the same thing, SRO. Regardless, I had a blast. I absolutely love the Coliseum!

Brett Anderson outgunned Anibal Sanchez in a 2-0 win with Coco Crisp robbing Prince Fielder of a home run during the game. Yoenis Cespedes hit an RBI single in the first inning and Seth Smith homered later. That was plenty on a night Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera, Fielder and the Tigers’ high-priced offense were shut down by the low-budget A’s.

Game four would be played tomorrow and I’d be there!

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

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

Today’s game snagging Highlights: Detroit Tigers Vs Oakland Athletics- Attendance 36,907

Baseballs snagged: one (toss-up from Tigers coach)

Total baseballs snagged this season: 51

Total baseballs snagged last season: 135

Total dollars raised at this game: $2.04

Total dollars raised for Snagging Baseballs for Puppies this season: $98.74

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

Total number of donors this season: 9

Total number of donors last season: 7

If you’d like to join my official Snagging Baseballs for Puppies Facebook page, just click here! And if you want to like Collection of Baseball on Facebook, click here! Interested in following me on Twitter? Click here!

4-15-2012 Safeco Field

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Total baseballs snagged this season: 15

Total baseballs snagged last season: 135

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

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

Total number of donors this season: 8

Total number of donors last season: 7

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

 

4-14-2012 Safeco Field

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

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

See what I mean?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Total baseballs snagged this season: 14

Total baseballs snagged last season: 135

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

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

Total number of donors this season: 8

Total number of donors last season: 7

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

 

 

4-9-2012 Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum

Like I’ve stated many times before, I refuse to call this place the “O.Co Coliseum.” It’s a horrible name for such a great stadium with such unique, awesome fans. So when you read these entries regarding my visits to the Oakland Coliseum, you will always, always read “Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.” Period.

When I arrived at the coliseum, I met up with a long time friend, Deirdre. She drove up from southern California to attend this game with me and we had a blast! I never knew the Oakland Coliseum could be so much fun and I urge anyone that’s in the area when the Athletics are playing at home, to attend at least one game. Tickets are dirt cheap and there are plenty of seats available!

We hit up the ticket window to get our seats for the day, and this was the line:

After we got our tickets (which I may add right now, these seats will play a pivotal role in my success later on…) we got a lady to get our picture before she hurried off…

…after that, we visited the team store to try on some Athletics swag…

…and as you can tell, like in Japan, I’m wearing my “Chuck Knoblauch Follows Me” shirt, again! Why? Because it’s become one of my most favorite baseball shirts, kind of like this one that I wore at Safeco Field last year, and because Chuck Knoblauch was, and still is, one of my favorite baseball players to this date. I even wrote a special blog entry called “An Ode to Chuck Knoblauch“. Check it out if you have the time.

After clowning around in the Athletics team store, Deirdre and I did a lap around the Coliseum just so she could see this old relic. Deirdre told me she hadn’t been to the Coliseum since she’d attended high school. That was roughly ten years ago. Not much has changed. I was a little shocked to see the lack of fans tailgating in the parking lot as we walked around the stadium and I was a little shocked at the lack of fans in general. I still can’t get over the fact that hardly anyone comes to these games. The stadium isn’t that bad on the inside, and even though I’ve called the stadium a “dump” and a “relic” it’s actually very beautiful in a sense that so much baseball history has happened here. I’d seriously hate to see the Athletics go anywhere else, and rumor has it, by the year 2015, they won’t be in Oakland anymore.

One thing that caught my eye while we were walking around is this:

The Athletics put this entry together a week or so ago to allow season ticket holders a special entrance into the Coliseum. Although, there aren’t any special perks to entering the Coliseum through this way, it just allows people with season ticket credentials to enter without having to deal with the other 25 people entering at D gate.

Deirdre and I sat down at D gate for the remainder of our time while we waited for the Coliseum to open at 5:35pm. The gates open roughly 90 minutes before game time, just for your information. While we were waiting in line, I told Deirdre that this was my third visit to the Oakland Coliseum. I visited the Coliseum last season on opening day and on April 2nd 2011. I also made a last-minute trip to Oakland on September 21st 2011 as well.  So this would be my fourth game at the Coliseum, and as I explained all of this, Deirdre said, “Wow, Wayne. You’ve been to more games at the Coliseum than regular Athletic fans that actually live in Oakland!” There might be some truth to that.

Right before the gates opened, the line looked like this:

And when the gates “opened”, everyone scampered (including me) to the security tables to get their bags checked and to gain entrance inside. Three young boys in front of me got their bags checked and were allowed all the way to the second security gate seen here…

…but were instantly recalled. I’m not sure why, I guess someone jumped the gun in the management department. So more waiting. Another five minutes passed and I was able to see inside to view which team was on the field for batting practice. I saw one player wearing a blue jersey…so that meant the Athletics were already off the field and the Royals were out taking BP.

Once all 30 fans were allowed to enter the stadium, I ran inside and made a bee-line for foul territory that eventually would lead me up to the right field seats near the foul pole. I’ve always had great success in this spot, so I didn’t want to go elsewhere. Besides, when I initially ran in, I found this:

And within the next five minutes I was able to get a toss-up from an unidentified player in the right field (I think it’s Eric Hosmer). Here’s a picture of him:

I’ll admit; it’s a crappy picture, and you really can’t see his face. I looked through my MLB At Bat app on my iPhone trying to find this guy, but the only person I came close to was Joakim Soria. But he’s out for Tommy John surgery. If anyone can help me identify this player, shoot me a comment. Much appreciated.

Here’s me chillin` out in my spot in right field:

It wouldn’t be long until I snagged my third baseball on the night. And this would be a good one, too! Remember when I bought my ticket? I specifically asked for section 218 and asked for an aisle seat that was as close to the field as possible. Well, this is where I ended up sitting with my friend, Deirdre:

Can you believe that?! Four rows from the field behind home plate! Foul ball heaven, right? Oh, you are so right, my friend! Three foul balls came relatively close to where I was seated and one man to my right decked out in Giants swag was able to nab one of them and the other floated to my left where it banged off the railing. If perhaps the two fans that were in pursuit would have pursued a lot faster, I’m sure someone would have come up with it. The foul ball that I caught came off the bat of Coco Crisp in the bottom of the first inning. Well, I can’t say I really caught it. It was more of a high arching foul that drifted about two rows behind me. I made an attempt to my left for it but I was blocked by fans. So I turned to my right, took about two steps up and watched a fan holding a beer take the ball off his chest. The ball landed in the row right in front of me and I was able to snatch it up pretty quickly:

In all the 132 games I’ve attended, this was my first foul ball during the game. Well, except for a foul ball that was tossed to me by an umpire at Kauffman Stadium years ago. In 2010, I caught a lot of third out baseballs from players at Busch Stadium. But those weren’t foul balls. They were actual baseballs used in live games, though. So that’s pretty special.

During the fifth inning, Deirdre treated the both of us to this:

I’m telling you; this was a massive bowl of nachos. It was more food for any one man to defeat but I accomplished that feat. I can now say I’ve officially conquered a nachos bowl at the Oakland Coliseum. It was so awesome-ly good, I considered eating what Deirdre couldn’t finish. But I was so overly worried about another foul ball coming my way, I decided to pass on the second nacho bowl (even though I think I can eat two). And just for the record, it took me an entire Major League baseball regulation inning to finish this bad boy.

Around the 6th inning or so, as I was sitting there kind of staring off into la la land, someone approached me.

Are you Wayne?” the guy said.

Huh? Me?” I responded sort of half dazed and surprised that someone out of no where knew my name.

Yeah. Is your name Wayne?” he said again and extended his hand for a handshake.

My initial thought? I was in some sort of trouble or something. But there was no trouble. No trouble at all. It was an employee from Major League Baseball here to interview me regarding my charity work for the Seattle Humane Society. Earlier in the day, I had sent out a bunch of tweets on Twitter that I’d be attending the Athletics game in Oakland. I’m not sure if that’s where they got my information, or even who got my information or even how they found me in the Oakland Coliseum! But they found me! Anyway. I was able to speak about my charity and talk about my trip to Japan and all that, and I was told that the interview would be posted on MLB.com/Cutfour. It’s a new website that Major League baseball has came up with to involve fans in the game. It’s a pretty cool sight and all the teams have one. Here’s the tweet after the game:

The Athletics actually played some very good baseball. Josh Reddick was able to throw out Kansas City Royals baserunner, Jason Bourgeois, from right field to third base in the first inning on an amazing throw off his back leg. Donaldson, at third, made a great tag on Bourgeois and essentially blocked him from even getting in to touch the base. Athletics rookie, Tom Milone pitched eight shutout innings, gave up three hits and walked three. Pretty impressive. I can’t say the same for Royals rookie pitcher, Mendoza as he picks up the loss. And history also visted the Oakland Coliseum tonight. Kurt Suzuki played in his 600th game as an Athletics catcher! I was surprised when he got absolutely no recognition other than the tweet I sent to @TheAsGame on Twitter!

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: Kansas City Royals vs. Oakland Athletics- Attendance- 10,054

Baseballs snagged: three (found , toss-up by Eric Hosmer and snagged Coco Crisp foul ball)

Total baseballs snagged this season: 8

Total baseballs snagged last season: 135

Total dollars raised for Snagging Baseballs for Puppies this season: $7.72

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

Total number of donors this season: 6

Total number of donors last season: 7

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

Extra stuff from my trip to Japan!

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!

 

9-26-2011 Safeco Field

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.

Follow me on Facebook!  Follow me on Twitter!  Check out my Charity!

Game; September 26th 2011 Oakland Athletics vs Seattle Mariners

Gameballs; Eight

Attendance; 17,057

Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $219.65 this season.

Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $50.20 this
season

9-21-2011 Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s a view from my seat:

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

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

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

 

 

O.co. Coliseum…blah.

 

Game; September 21st 2011 Texas Rangers vs Oakland Athletics

Gameballs; Two

Attendance; 19,589

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

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

 

 

 

 

4-23-2011 Safeco Field

     I totally forgot about the start time of 6:10pm. Which meant I got a late start leaving for the stadium. Which meant Id be stuck in Saturday afternoon Seattle traffic. Which meant I probably wouldnt be the first one at the gates. Which would probably cost me a baseball or two. So that sucked.

     When I got to the stadium no one was there at the right field gates. It was about 35 minutes until the gates opened and I was shocked. Usually there is a small crowd by now but not today. It was in fact Easter weekend. Maybe people had better things to do than attend Mariners batting practice.

     When I ran inside Jaime Navarro and Michael Pineda were in right field shagging baseballs. They usually stick the rookies in right field during batting practice because the more experienced players or the players with more seniority dont have to deal with the fans as much. Thats something you probably didnt know. Anyway. As batting practice continued there were a few baseballs hit into right field but nothing close. And since Jaime Navarro was with Michael Pineda I knew it was going to be nearly impossible to get a baseball from those two. Im pretty sure Jaime Navarro hates me. Ive spoken to him quite a few times and I usually get the cold shoulder. Mainly because Ive been saying his name wrong. I really didnt think about that until I started poking through a Mariners program left on a seat in the outfield. Ive been calling him “Jamie” and his name is pronounced ” Hy-may”. ( spelled Jaime ) Maybe he will forget my face and let by-gones be by-gones.

     So as the front row slowly started to fill up with would-be ball snaggers, I dont know who hit it, but the ball was sliced gently over to the front row but didnt quite have the distance or the momentum to make it to me. I reached for it and of course the security guard had to give his two cents.

     ” I can’t give it to you, man. Ill get in trouble.” He said.

     ” Yeah, I know.” I said back. But what I wanted to say was this; ” Yeah, I know. You cant touch or pick up any baseballs because youll get in trouble or get fired. But as soon as a five year old kid comes running down here youre free to do whatever you want with the baseball. Ive heard it all before, bud. You dont have to give me a line. You can just say ” I cant give baseballs to adults.”

     Of course when JAIME Navarro came walking over towards it and I asked him for a little help and he graciously waved at the security guard to just give me the baseball. HA! But you could tell in his face that he didnt want to give me the baseball. He was actually cringing at the thought. I politely thanked him anyway and wandered out of the aisle to let the others have a go.

     When I got to the other side of the stadium ( It felt like hours had passed going from one end to the other ) the Athletics were coming out onto the field to start warming up. I wanted to line up behind Jerry Blevins and Brad Ziegler to try and snag an overthrow. The crowd was light so I actually had many options of who to stand behind.

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     The problem, as you can see, was the dorky, red-headed, security guard standing there. ( No offense to Red-heads ) He’d probably get plunked first before I caught any overthrows from Blevins. Not only that, anything down the line he would surely stick his weak little foot out to stop it from going any further. Most of those security guards have good intentions..if they’d just stay home.

Once the pitchers completed their warmup tosses for the evening I headed up the line some more to get a better angle on Hideki Matsui. Here’s a picture of him before I got closer.

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     After I got down there it wasnt long before Kevin Kouzmanoff walked over and started signing autographs. I easily got him to sign my ticket stub for the game and I thanked him for the awesome game of catch the day prior. He happily obliged and we parted ways. Moments later Brad Ziegler came walking by towards the dugout so I chased him down for a quick picture as he signed autographs for fans.

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     I climbed over a few rows of seats to get around in front of the dugout. Brad Ziegler has a great charity foundation called Pasttime for Patriots and since Im a military veteran myself I thought it would be awesome to thank him for his foundation. So I did just that and he smiled warmly at me. I also had two Army wristbands that I got while in the service that I wanted to give to him but I knew he was kind of in a hurry to get into the clubhouse to get ready for the game. So I held off on giving them to him. I figured tomorrow would be a better day since its a Sunday game and the baseball players really dont do a whole lot before the game.

     After I could get in all the social activities with the Athletics I could around the infield I headed out to the outfield for some action. Unfortunatly I seriously picked the wrong spot. I was literally surrounded by little kids. Even though I had on my Athletics hat I knew that any time one of the players tossed me a baseball I would have the ever nagging urge to want to make a kids day. I didnt have a problem with giving baseballs away to kids but I also wanted to get my numbers up for my charities. I also got a picture of one of my favorite players, David DeJesus, hanging out in right field.

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     Everytime a baseball was hit to David this little girl would scream at the top of her lungs that she needed a baseball and that this was her first baseball game and that she’s never, ever, ever, ever gotten a baseball before and that she absolutely needs a baseball. Of course her parent(s) were no where in sight. She was just a lone renegade on a mission to get a baseball. Well, David DeJesus FINALLY threw one up to us. Luckily for me I caught it and I pointed at him in thanks. He pointed back at me and then kind of waggled his finger as an instruction to give the baseball to one of the kids standing around me. I made the mistake of pointing to the little girl beside me. David nodded and waved his glove at me. So I handed the baseball to the little girl. It did shut her up for about five minutes..but no one received a thank you. The little girl ran back to her Mother or Aunt or whoever was watching her at the time and happily exclaimed that she got a baseball. ” Did you say thank you?” The parental figure asked. ” Yes!” The little girl stated.

     Now enter little girls brother. Literally crying tears and leaning on the railing claiming he will never get a baseball while the parental figure tries to calm him down made me cringe. If I got another baseball It would be my duty to hook this little kid up with it. But I refused to give a child their way because theyre throwing a temper tantrum or crying or whatever. When I was growing up I never got what I wanted by doing such. So I wasnt going to condone that type of behavior and reward it by giving up the next baseball. And Jerry Blevins came over to help DeJesus out. So I knew he would be throwing a few baseballs up into the crowd.

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     Now everytime a baseball came out to right field I got to hear ” My brother needs a baseball!” “Give that one to my brother! He really needs a baseball!” ” No, dont throw it in this time! Give it to my brother! This is his first game he has ever been to! He needs that baseball!”

     I wanted to tear my ears off. Seriously. Her high ear piercing shrieks were giving me a headache. But there was a really good chance I could get a ball from Blevins. And the opportunity finally came. Blevins fielded a slow roller near the wall and I called out to him.

     ” Jerry! Would you toss that one up please!” I called out to him. Jerry looked at me and gave me one of those Johnny Cool upnods and then turned to fire it at me. He feigned the throw and then turned to fire it towards the batting practice ball bucket that was at the top of the diamond. Then without hesitation he turned laughing and pointed at me.

     “Here you go!” He yelled as he fired me a strike. The ball slapped into my glove and I quickly pocketed the baseball into my pullover pockets. Yeah, I felt bad about the kid that was still crying. But the thing is…he didnt have any baseball gear on, no glove, no Mariners hat, nothing. He just sat there with his head down crying. He was making absolutely no effort to get a baseball. So I did the next best thing. I told him where and how to get a baseball. I explained Chone Figgins little pre-game routine, and I told him that just because Mark McGwire cried doesnt mean you can cry. There is no crying in baseball.  

     Finally batting practice came to an end. I was utterly relieved. My head was still pounding from all of those kids screaming. Since it was military appreciate day at Safeco I wandered down to the Mariners dugout to snap some pictures. It was so busy with photographers, and fans alike in that area the security guards didnt even bother to run fans out.

Here are some pictures.

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     After the ceremony and the National Anthem were completed, Chone Figgins started to head off the field and I quickly jumped all over that opportunity. Since there were a ton of people down in front of me and I didnt have a whole lot of room to run to get his attention I just started jumping up and down in the row I was in. He threw the baseball high and way to the right of me. So I had to reach way across my body, and stretch way out over the row of seats to catch it. I dont know if he intended to throw it to me or someone behind me but I ended up with it anyway. All I heard was ” Catch it! Here it comes! Get it! Get it!” and then when I caught it all I heard was groans of disappointment.

     I sat in the outfield and ate a small personal pan pizza from one of the pizza places in the outfield. Gross. I think it made me sick to my stomach. And to make things worse here was my view for the first 30 minutes of the game.

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     The view was pretty bad. The sun was right in my face and I thought to myself that this would be the time when I home run ball was hit right to me. The time when I couldnt see. Aside from that, some annoying Athletics fan would say swing everytime a Mariner player was at bat and a pitch was thrown from the Athletics. It was truly annoying. The Athletics won 9-1 anyway. So after about a few innings of trash talking between the swing guy and some other Mariner fans, the Mariner fans were forced to end their trash talk when the Athletics started raking hits off Jason Vargas.

 

Game; April 23rd 2011 Oakland Athletics vs Seattle Mariners

Gameballs; Three

Attendance; 25.355

Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $9.60 this season.

Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $6.00 this season.

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