Results tagged ‘ Safeco Field ’

4/20/2015 Safeco Field

 

If you haven’t heard the Bryan Price rant, I suggest you click this link and have a listen. Although, entertaining, it’s really off-track and kind of appalling that he’d take a stance on this kind of issue with the media. Price has been coaching for about 15 years and started his coaching stint with the Seattle Mariners in 2000 so it’s hard to understand just where he’s coming from. He issued an apology for the excessive profanity but says he stands by “the message”. What message is he standing by, exactly? The media has a job to do and their job is to report things. Not only did Price drop 77 f-bombs but he continuously said “I don’t get it” as well as “you don’t have to be a fan of the Reds”. Yet, he asked the media on hand many times how does reporting certain things benefit the Reds? It’s not their job to be fans of the Cincinnati Reds, Mr. Price. And you said so yourself that they don’t have to be.

Honestly, it seemed like Price was trying to play the ignorant card. He’s been around long enough that he should understand all aspects of the media. He should understand  if someone within the Reds organization leaks some information to the media concerning the whereabouts of players, their condition or if they are going to play or not, the media will report it. It’s their job to report things like that. If Price wants to keep things hush hush then maybe he ought to try doing his job better.

Remember this from a couple of days ago when I came to Safeco Field?

I ran into him again and this time I introduced myself and got a picture with Mr. Divish:

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I’m not entirely sure he was too thrilled to get a picture taken with me but it was fun nonetheless.

The Astros were in Seattle for a three game set and I’d get to attend the first game of the series. I’ve been hoping for an opportunity to catch some home run baseballs and I figured since the Astros have a track record of sucking so much no one would attend this game. I was right. The attendance was roughly 15, 100 people. The last few games I’ve been sitting in the outfield and nothing has came remotely close to me. So when I got a text message from one of my buddies that he was coming out and wanted to shag BP home runs with me, I was stoked! The unfortunate part about it was he had prime real-estate seating down the first base side. Foul ball heaven. I figured, hey, nothing has been coming to me as of late, why not.

I bought a cheap bleacher seat for $14 then I upgraded to the lower seating bowl so I could sit with him. Batting practice was a blast. I caught an over-throw while standing in the ‘Pen from a toss-up that glanced off a glove. The ball bounced around and finally rolled to my feet where I easily scooped it up. My second ball came from a deep fly that I easily caught near the Mariners bullpen. Once the entire stadium opened up, I ran down to the lower third base seating bowl and picked up my third baseball that was sitting between the seats.

Jose Altuve lofted a soft fly ball into the third base seats and I made an easy catch and handed the ball to my buddy:

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Before that Luis Valbuena pointed at us several times while taking some infield practice grounders. I was thinking he was going to hook us up with a baseball and when I turned my head to look out into the outfield, all I saw was a baseball trickle passed me along the wall. I scooped it up thinking it had been hit our way. But Valbuena had thrown it to the couple that was standing next (who had missed it) to us so we passed it down to them.

Here’s a picture of us all sitting in our awesome seats:

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The kids seen in the picture above were extremely annoying. Later, after the game started, four more kids showed up and all six of them literally yelled and screamed and squirmed around in their seats. They did everything BUT pay attention to the game. I eventually moved down a row to an open seat next to my friends and watched the game in peace.

Luis Valbuena literally led off the game with a towering home run into the right field seats. Coincidently, the seats I was planning on buying before I ended up getting a cheap ticket. Then in the 8th inning, he hit another one nearly in the same spot. I felt really good about being able to catch both IF I had been out there. Take a look at these monster shots:

The one game I decide not to sit in the outfield…

The Astros went on to win it 7-5. Coldby Rasmus went deep too but it was hit into the center field family section.

We had a few foul balls hit our way but they were hit a few sections over so I didn’t have much of a chance.

While on the way home from the game, I tuned into the post-game show with Shannon Drayer (@ShannonDrayer) and she mentioned Evan Gattis had a very unique story about him. I decided to look it up and read about it.

You can read the Evan Gattis story here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4/19/2015 Safeco Field

Sunday games at Safeco Field (or any ballpark for that matter) are always a challenge when it comes to attempting to snag baseballs. There’s no batting practice for one, and it’s usually family day so that means lots and lots of kids are coming out.

If it’s one thing I’ve learned over the years of “ballhawking” at Major League stadiums, 1) players like to throw baseballs to kids and 2) without batting practice, it makes things extremely tough. On the plus side, the Mariners were doing a little infield practice and I already saw an opportunity to snag a few baseballs.

When I ran over to the first base side I found a ball sitting in between the seats which was probably an over throw from one of the players while fielding fungos from one of the coaches. It wasn’t long before I scored another over throw:

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After that, I ran over to where Fernando Rodney was throwing and when he was done throwing, I was able to get his autograph on my ticket stub:

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On the other side of the stadium, the Rangers were slowly trickling out of the dugout to warm up down the third base side. It wasn’t long before I scored a third over throw that hit the padding of the wall. I quickly scooped it up and tossed it back onto the field.

See the guy with his leg up in this panoramic picture I took?

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That’s one of the translators for one of the players and he was missing a lot of baseballs while playing long toss with Tanner Scheppers. And yup, you guessed it. Yet another over throw right into my glove. Of course I had to give it back because they only came out with one ball to play catch with.

My haul after all the players went inside:

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(two pictured here because I gave two back)

And now the infamous ‘Pen dog that I’ve been waiting all year to eat…

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…cream cheese smeared on the bun, a 100% all beef frank with caramelized onions and peppers…yum.

 

The Mariners quickly got two runs on the board with an Austin Jackson home run and a Nelson Cruz home run (Jason Phillips caught it in his hat. It was quite impressive and you should watch the replay).

The Rangers answered back in the 3rd with a single from Prince Fielder that scored Martin and moved Andrus to 2nd. And then the wheels literally fell off. Paxton was chased from the mound after giving up seven runs in the 3rd inning.

The Mariners continued their offensive battle with another Nelson Cruz 3-run home run into the Rangers bullpen. 7-5 Texas.

The Rangers made the score 10-5 in their top half of the sixth and the Mariners quickly rallied back in the bottom of the seventh and the eighth scoring three runs.

In the bottom of the ninth, it was time to put on the rally caps! The M’s came screaming back scoring one run to tie after Jackson ripped one to right field scoring Brad Miller. Seth Smith moved over to third base and all it took was a Nelson Cruz base walk-off base hit! He was mobbed at first base and the Mariners won in walk-off fashion!

Nelson Cruz went 3-6 with two home runs and five RBI’s! Wow! It feels really good to have such a power hitter in the line up. It’s been a long time since Seattle has had one.

 

 

 

4/18/2015 Safeco Field

Thanks to my lovely girlfriend for showing me how to do panoramic pictures using just my iPhone, I took this picture of outside Safeco Field on Felix Hernandez bobble head night:

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From where I was standing was the start of the line to get into the ‘Pen and the line, as you can see, literally went along the stadium, underneath the overpass and back around the adjacent building and down the street. We showed up about an hour and forty minutes before the gates opened and there were about 15 people ahead of us in line. This is the latest I’ve ever showed up to a game for a bobble head and this was the end result…

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…score!! King Felix Bobble heads! The crowd was enormous and there wasn’t many opportunities to snag so I headed out to the ‘Pen and hoped for something. It wasn’t long before I was able to squeeze into the front row and catch a ground rule double that bounced into the crowd and was bobbled by about four people before I finally got my glove on it. The next one came in on my right (I ended up giving up my spot) and again was bobbled by about five people before I ended up with it. Not sure who hit both. Honestly, I couldn’t wait for the game to get started so I could sit down. Waiting in line for hours on end takes a tremendous toll on me and quite frankly I’m sick of it. There’s a good chance I’m done collecting these bobble heads.

My seat was up in section 187 which sucked because I’m trying to catch a home run baseball this season. Safeco Field is huge and has lots of good areas to snag one but it’s tricky. Paying close attention to the line ups and who’s pitching generally gives good insight on where to sit. The bullpen area takes up a lot of home run territory and getting an opportunity to catch one out of there is next to impossible. A broad stroke of luck is definitely in order. The right field seating is probably the best place and obviously odds increase with low attendance. With Nelson Cruz hitting so many bombs, it was hard pressed not to just stay in the ‘Pen for the game.

I made my way over to the dugouts and took another panoramic picture:

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Prince Fielder and Adrian Beltre had to put on a show by mashing a barrage of home runs into the right field seats. It was quite impressive and reminded me of the games I went to at Coors Field where I watched Matt Holiday and Albert Pujols do the same thing.

With Felix Hernandez on the mound for the game, it would more than likely end in a Mariners victory.

Quick game recap: Robinson Cano scores on a sac fly from Seth Smith in the fourth. The Rangers get one back in their top half of the fifth on a ground out to Brad Miller. Mike Zunino crushed one to center field (upper deck, mind you) in the bottom of the fifth to answer back and then in the sixth inning, Miller triples in Kyle Seager and King Felix goes 8 innings, strikeouts 12 and Fernando Rodney comes in and slams the door in the Rangers faces. Boom. The game lasted three hours on the nose.

So how’s that new shot clock to speed the game up working out for everyone? The games are still going three hours plus. I asked a bunch of people on Twitter what their opinions were on the whole issue and this is what I received:

Lots and lots of good opinions that I truly respect and understand. If people have “other things to do” then maybe seeing a baseball game in the evening time isn’t going to work out. The game of baseball is a mental battle that generally takes place between the pitcher and the batter. It’s not supposed to be action packed. This isn’t football or soccer. It’s a game of wits. It takes time. Furthermore, if people have “things to do” then why do I see a vast majority of fans double fisting beer cups and getting sloppy drunk at game? I pay anywhere from $18-40 dollars for a ticket to see a game of baseball. With the rising cost of tickets, food and other concessions, I don’t want the game to be cut short because people have “things to do” or they’re bored or there isn’t enough action to entertain their feeble minds. The game will be played the way it’s played and people like Robert Manfred who try to shorten the game and change things around are a disgrace to baseball. If you don’t want to sit in a stadium for three hours watching baseball then don’t. Leave in the seventh inning or leave in the sixth. Fans who love the game shouldn’t be cheated out of their experience because bandwagon fans who show up only when the team is successful want a faster-paced game.

This movement created by pseudo-fans will soon die out when they realize they can’t speed up perfection.

4/17/2015 Safeco Field

The Mariners returned home after being swept out of Los Angeles by the Dodgers. It was frustrating and difficult to have any hope for this team. BUT. That’s kind of how it is as a Seattle Mariners fan. A lot of people were upset with Fernando Rodney because he blew two save opportunities; one game in which he should’ve won.

Anyway. The good ol’ Texas Rangers were in town for a three game series and tonight was College night on top of Bearded Hat night. The stadium would be a close sell-out. Because of those two reasons, I decided to come out to the ballpark a few hours earlier than normal. When I got to the stadium, Kyle Seager was being interviewed in Edgar’s Cantina on the Danny, Dave, and Moore show. Once he finished, I suppose that would’ve been a great opportunity to grab an autograph or a picture with the Gold Glove awardee but we just waved at each other and he was then carted off and out of my life:

 

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Before all of that, I stood near Ryan Divish (A beat writer for the Seattle Times) out in front of Safeco Field:

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He’s the one in front with the black back pack on. I tweeted at him and this is what he tweeted back:

Next time we shall, Ryan. Next time we shall.

Once inside the stadium, I hustled to the ‘Pen as usual and immediately got a toss-up from Willie Bloomquist. He’s one of my all-time favorite players. I gave that ball away to a friend of mine who has never really attempted to catch baseballs during BP before. During the process of getting the ball from Bloomquist, he asked me if I wanted a Selig ball or a Manfred ball. I told him it really didn’t matter; I wasn’t the picky type when getting anything from a player but good ol’ Willie B. insisted that he throw me a Manfred in decent condition.

Ackley stepped into the cage and absolutely raked home runs. Two moonshots were sent directly to me; one in which I caught on a nasty bounce near the Root Sports area and the second one I caught on an extremely lucky bounce off the garage door near the batters eye:

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About half way up the door is where the ball hit and then bounced directly to me. Luckiest. Bounce. Ever.

After being allowed to roam the rest of the stadium, I went over to the third base seating bowl where I found one baseball, caught a foul ball on a bounce and got Shawn Tolleson to hook me up with my sixth ball of the day. My main objective was to get an autograph or a picture with a Rangers player. I’m trying to get a picture with one player from each team. So far I have pictures with the Marlins, Reds, Orioles, Rays, Angels, Mariners, Athletics, Indians, Tigers, Astros and Royals.

Adam Rosales ignored me, Prince Fielder and Adrian Beltre signed at the dugout, Carlos Peguero said no and Roman Mendez ran right passed me. Blah.

Here’s my haul for the day, though:

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And here’s a glorious picture of my $7 dollar wiener:

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I sat in right field in section 106 about three rows up from the field in hopes to catch a home run ball. That’s where I’ll be sitting the majority of the games I attend just for that reason. I’ve caught so many BP baseballs and one foul ball during a game plus a handful of “3rd out” baseballs from various players. I think it would be awesome to catch a home run gamer and get that little 10 seconds of fame.

The game was ridiculous. I actually anticipated a blow out with J.A. Happ on the mound. He reminds me so much of “Safeco” Joe Saunders. The Rangers posted the first run of the game on a sharply hit double down the left field line that Ackley had trouble cutting off. Leonys Martin turned on the gas and scored easily from first base. Then in the fifth inning, Happ gave up a solo shot to deep centerfield to Robinson Chirinos. The ball bounced off a few hands and ended up down in the gap behind the center field wall and some fan jumped down there to get it. I was kind of jealous because I think at this point (and as packed as the stadium was) I would’ve risked jumping down there too for a home run ball. I’m not sure if security ever caught up with him or what. It’s totally worth the ejection if ever caught, though.

The Mariners grounded into three double play balls that literally killed their momentum to score each time. It was brutal to watch. They did finally tack on a run in the bottom of the eight off of a Seth Smith sac fly that scored Miller from third base but the Rangers came back and extended the lead again with an Adam Rosales single. The ball literally hit the third base bag which allowed Chirinos to score.

Final score: Rangers 3 Mariners 1.

Tomorrow is Felix Hernandez bobble head day.

Australia 2014

Oh, man! in 29 days I’ll be in Australia watching the DiamondBacks and the Dodgers play some baseball! If you remember a year or so ago, I watched baseball in Japan with Zack Hample! It was so awesome!

I really don’t plan to ballhawk much this year. I’m leaving that up to my good pals throughout the country. So my blog might become a little obsolete throughout the year. I’ve started a new blog if you’re interested in reading that. It’s called From the Depths of Safeco Field– and it’s basically all about the Seattle Mariners because, let’s face it; I’m a huge M’s fan. Maybe I haven’t proven my loyalty to them as much as it has looked…but trust me. Since 1989 I’ve been going to Mariners games.

 

See you all at the Safe and some of you at other ballparks!

 

Go Mariners!

 

 

4/26/2013 Safeco Field

When I think back on my childhood and all the Mariners games I attended with my Dad, all that comes to mind is Randy Johnson striking out like, a billion baseball players. Randy Johnson was one of the most fearless, intimidating, gritty, nasty baseball players of all time. If only the Mariners had a pitcher like that today…

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…the guy who comes the closest to the Big Unit is Tom Wilhelmsen. Yeah, he’s the Mariners closer, but look at him. I know he’s not seven feet tall like Randy is, but he comes awfully close. Plus, he’s gotten so good on the mound this last season, its getting the to point where we might have ourselves a solid closer. During BP, and after the Mariners portion had ended, I flagged Tom down and congratulated him on his new closer role. When he shook my hand, it felt like he had enough power to crush mine! It was incredible! The man was born to throw strikes! Here we are hanging out after BP:

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After hanging out with Tom for a few moments, I wandered the stadium aimlessly. Since I’m not chasing down baseballs during BP anymore, things aren’t as thrilling. And the point of not chasing baseballs anymore is to get away from medicore blog writing. The same thing every day at the same stadium? It could get a little boring.

I sat in the bleachers and watched Albert Pujols for a while. The man is so…broken. And old. I feel so bad for him. He took a few cuts in the batting cage and then he decided to run the bases while the other, more younger, better players took some hacks. He didn’t even finish his rounding the bases. It’s like he gave up at second base and decided to call it a day…

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…if you can tell, I’m not a Pujols fan at all. And it’s got everything to do with him uprooting and leaving St. Louis. I understand he has to do what’s best for his family and blah blah blah, and in all fairness to the Cardinals fans, that city poured their heart and soul into him. They even built him a statue. He wouldn’t even sign the World Series team ball.

I pulled up a spot to admire the ‘Pen from above. And this is what I noticed:

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Hopefully these guys have a plan to get home, right? Besides any of them driving.

The game was actually very entertaining. The Mariners had the bases loaded twice and could not capitalize on either chance to score. And like one of last weeks games, third base coach Jeff Datz managed to send Justin Smoak into score where he was thrown out by a mile! I’m not sure what Datz sees in Smoak. He’s one of the slower Mariners and Datz keeps sending him home in tight scoring situations! Anyway.

The Mariners lost to the Angels 6-3 in nine innings of play. Nothing spectacular.

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Bud Norris’ Charity; CandleLighters- 3 W and 16 strikeouts have raised $10 this season.

Seattle Mariners/Seattle Humane Society Charity; 9 wins have raised $9 this season.

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Century Link Field 12-30-12

Wow! My very first Seahawks game at the new Century Link Field in downtown Seattle! This is actually my third NFL game I’ve seen in my lifetime. And I’m proud to say that each game I’ve seen has been the Seattle Seahawks. My first game I saw was against the New York Giants when the Hawks played football in the Kingdome. I think I may have been like, 13 or 14 years old. I went with my Dad and the neighbors. It was pretty awesome, as far as I can remember. My second game was in St. Louis at the Edward Jones Dome. I watched the St. Louis Rams play but that wasn’t as exciting because both teams were looking at losing records and the attendance was really low.

Today would be extra special because not only was I about to see an awesome game with awesome fans in Century Link, I was also going to visit the ‘Pen at Safeco Field. I hadn’t been inside Safeco Field since May and I was dying to be there. And since Safeco was getting sort of a face-lift, I was extra excited to see how things were shaping up. After all, this is my home stadium where I ballhawk in and I wanted to get a sneak peek of how things were changing. As soon as I entered Safeco, I immediately started looking around and taking pictures. I probably took over 50 pictures of the construction going on. But I’m only going to post the important ones for you to see because…well, that’s about all you need to see!

I wandered up to the second level and started looking around. Here’s what I saw:

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The above picture shows some construction in front of the visitors bullpen. I’m not exactly sure what they’re doing other than moving the fences in around the entire outfield. So I guess this is apart of it. Also, (which I will show soon enough) they’re turning the left field bleachers into an open air restaurant called “Edgar’s Cantina” which is named after our beloved DH, Edgar Martinez. It should be interesting but it takes a little bit away from my chances of scooping up baseballs. So, understandably, I have mixed feelings about it. Here’s the construction in the LF area…

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…the seats have been removed, as you can tell, and they’re getting ready to open that area up. It’s kind of sad to see those seats go because the few times I did sit there, I really enjoyed that spot.

Here’s the right field portion of the construction:

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You can kind of tell where the fences are going to be at from where they’ve layed down that grey looking dirt stuff. Also, take note of the scoreboard that’s being built. Pretty sweet, huh?! It’ll be exciting to see Safeco after all this mess is done. Meanwhile, I had a Seahawks game to attend! I didn’t stay in the ‘Pen very long and off I went towards the Clink!

When I got across the street, I was slightly confused as to where to go. Being that this was my first Hawks game, I didn’t have my routine down like I do at Safeco for Mariners games. I got in some line that seemed like the right place to be to enter Century Link but (another cool thing for sports fans) I accidentally got in line for the Century Link Field House. The Field House is basically a place where Hawks fans can tailgate indoors prior to kick-off. If the people behind me weren’t talking about it, I probably would’ve been really lost. I snapped this picture right before stepping out of line:

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I’d like to take this moment to thank the Safeco Field staff for not putting Mariners fans through the same routine the Seahawks staff put the Hawks fans through. Metal detectors? Strict bag searches? If Safeco went to that, consider my time watching live baseball games at the stadiums over. This was a real pain in the ass. And let me tell you why; when you get up to the security guy, you have to empty all your pockets. Just like you would at a TSA checkpoint in the airport. I was surprised they didn’t make me take off my shoes! If they touch on anything that makes the detector beep, they question you like you’re a criminal. It was such a hassle. The plus side (and I’m pretty sure this is why they do what they do) is you can bring whatever you want into the stadium. So I’ve heard.

I had a ticket in section 126 which was right behind the end zone so I had no problems getting through the security guards that were standing guard in that area. Friendly? No, sir. Of course, with my winter beard, my heavy-duty leather coat and my black beanie on my head, I sort of looked like a trouble maker:
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Really, I just wanted to get as close to the field as possible to take some awesome pictures. And since I was there so early, I had a lot of time to kill. And I got some awesome pictures!

Here’s a picture of the field:

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And that was pretty much my view during the game. It was actually a very nice seat for what I paid ($130). I was shocked when I got to my seat and thought back on how much I paid for the ticket. I guess the people who had those seats couldn’t go at the last moment and just wanted to get something back. Usually those seats run around $150, I think. The game was sold out so I had to resort to Stubhub to get the ticket, which I’m not a huge fan of because I like to get authentic ticket stubs from games I attend.

Anyway. I didn’t run around the stadium and explore like I would at a MLB stadium. I don’t know why. I was super-excited to be at the game, amongst the Seahawk fans, and to just be in the playoff atmosphere. Everyone was excited. Everyone was pumped and ready for football. It was such an awesome experience! The thing I noticed about Seahawk fans as opposed to Mariner fans, Seahawk fans seem a little more blue-collared. They seem a little bit more gritty and the backbone of Seattle. The working class. It was incredible. Mariners fans seem a little bit more family oriented.

While I was standing at my seat, a Seahawks fan who I assume attends every home game, placed a St. Louis Rams door mat in the walk way and then encouraged everyone to wipe their feet! I thought that was so unique and awesome! Well, until drunk guys decided to spit on the mat and pretend to poop on it and wipe their butts. Like, okay, guy. You made your point, move along. The kids stomping on the mat was priceless, though:

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Seattle attracts such interesting characters. If I took pictures of all of them, this blog would be one giant entry of how awesome Hawks fans really are! Nevermind how loud this freaking stadium got during the game, just people watching and seeing how unique we really are out here really made my day:

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Before the game, the Seahawks are really amazing at recognizing the “12th man” who is kind of a tribute to the fans. And here’s a pre-game ritual involving the 12th man…

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…how cool is that?! A gigantic 12th Man jersey unravels down in the Hawks Nest over the fans! I really wanted to sit in the Hawks Nest for this game but there were no tickets available. My seat was amazing, anyway, but next season I’ll sure be sitting in the Hawks Nest!

As far as the game went, it seemed like an utter disaster. Russell Wilson was sacked five times in the first half. I figured since this was my first Seahawks game in the Clink, of course the game would go like this. The Seahawks were held scoreless in the 1st quarter and it seemed like the Rams were just running all over them. It wasn’t looking good. Miraculously, the Seattle Seahawks were able to pull a win out of what seemed to be heading towards a devastating loss! Century Link was so loud I could barely hear myself yelling over the noise! And my throat is so sore now…but it was so worth the experience! Next year, I’d like to travel to Candlestick and watch a 49er’s game and then watch a Raiders game in the Coliseum just to compare. The Seahawks are heading to Washington D.C to face the Redskins in a first round playoff which makes me sort of sad because I wanted to watch a playoff game in Century Link.

Maybe next year, right?

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5-22-2012 Safeco Field

When I attended yesterday’s game at Safeco Field, I had left my sim card to my camera at home. Not only did that prevent me from taking quality pictures, but it prevented me from taking a lot of quality pictures. I like to document my games and tell a unique story every time I attend a Major League game and with my crappy iPhone at my side, it was nearly impossible to get some good shots to add to my blog. With that being said, more camera woes continued today. No, I didn’t forget my sim card this time- I forgot to charge my camera battery. So when I took this photo after being stranded on the downtown city bus (more on that later) the little battery icon immediately started flashing orange. Or red. Or whatever color it was that indicated that my camera was about to die…

….Safeco Field is huge and when I took this picture, I was roughly a half of a mile out. When I initially set out for Safeco, I took the city bus towards Seattle. When I got about 1.4 miles from the stadium itself, the wheelchair access door/thingy on the bus started to act up. I figured the bus driver had everything under control but after twenty minutes went by and no results and the bus wasn’t moving, I knew I had to make a decision. I hopped off the bus and boarded a second which got me within a half of a mile of the stadium (where I took the above photo) and walked the rest of the way in. I was a little shocked that the mass transit system didn’t have a better back up plan other than to just make the passengers exit and fend for themselves. Luckily for me, I served ten years in the Army. Otherwise, it’s possible you would’ve found me curled up in a little ball outside a building crying for my mother.

When I entered Safeco Field at 4:40pm, I got my first baseball from Ichiro. I had a few people jockeying for a position to catch his throw but with my height, I made the easy one-handed catch:

You can see Ichiro in the above picture way out in right-field. And yes, he threw it about that far, too.

I hung out in the ‘Pen for an addition few moments before I wandered off towards the bullpens. When I saw this…

…it was glove-trick time. And an easy snag for my second ball on the night. I would’ve gone after the second baseball in the above picture but 1) it was too far out and 2) security was right behind me. Two on the day is still pretty good considering I have a streak to uphold. This game would mark my 114th consecutive game with at least one baseball.  And according to MyGameballs.com, this was my 43rd ball snagged on the season. Could I really finish the month of May out with 50 baseballs under my belt? The chances of that happening were very high considering the Angels are coming to town for a four-game series.

When I went out into the outfield to try to snag another Josh Hamilton home run, I got Robbie Ross’s attention instead. Sort of by accident. I was the only one wearing Texas Rangers swag and when someone whistled to him for a baseball after he had fielded one, he turned to me and lobbed one my way. The only problem? He overthrew me. By a lot. I had to jump as high as I could and take a back-handed stab at the baseball only for it to bounce of the tip of my glove, roll around in the seats behind me and eventually some dude in Tampa Bay Rays gear scooped it up.

When BP was coming to a close, I wandered down to foul territory to see if I could get any autographs or maybe an extra toss-up from someone. The only problem was, Yu Darvish was signing autographs. Which gave all the other players enough time to scamper off the field while everyone was distracted with Darvish. Here’s a couple of pictures of the swarm:

It was a frenzy. People were trampling, cutting in line, getting multiple items signed by him, elbowing and pushing each other out-of-the-way. I, myself, didn’t try to really get his autograph. He came within a few feet of me and I figured I’d attempt to get a picture with him if the opportunity presented itself, but I wasn’t going to go out of my way to get it. Here’s another picture of the swarm:

It was absolutely nuts. All in good fun, though, right?

With these two baseballs that I snagged- and the five that I snagged yesterday, so far that’s helped raise $14 bucks for my friend, Holly. If you are just now reading my blogs, here’s the skinny on who Holly is and what happened to her. Click here for the Help Holly campaign.

The game started soon after all of that and I had great seats in centerfield. Clear aisles to my left and with Hamilton’s hot streak, I figured I’d have a decent shot at catching something. Unfortunately, nothing was really hit my way. But I did get to watch Hamilton make some fine catches in the outfield. I even got on tv!

Look at the top right corner. I’m in the black coat behind the girl with the glove.
The Texas Rangers took the game by a score of 3-1 with Mariners starter, Hector Noesi taking the loss. His record falls to 2-5 on the season whereas Matt Harrison’s record improves to 5-3 as he takes the win for the Rangers.

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: Texas Rangers vs. Seattle Mariners- attendance 15,971

Baseballs snagged: two (Ichiro toss-up, glove-tricked one of the vistors bullpen)

Total baseballs snagged this season: 43

Total baseballs snagged last season: 135

Total dollars raised at this game: $2.08

Total dollars raised for Snagging Baseballs for Puppies this season: $82.42

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

Total number of donors this season: 9

Total number of donors last season: 7

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

4-13-2012 Safeco Field

This was the view at Safeco Field just before the centerfield gates opened up:

 

And this was the view of outside the left field gates about 30 minutes before first pitch:

This is what happens at Safeco Field on their home opener. All the other games, besides when the Yankees or Redsox come to town or a bobblehead giveaway game, are roughly 10-15 thousand people. Before I get into the home opener though, I attended two games at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma, home of the Tacoma Rainiers for two reasons; Shawn Kelley and to see if I could catch a baseball at this particular minor league stadium. Well, I got to see Shawn Kelley pitch during Thursdays game…

…and before Wednesday’s game, I found this little gem on the party deck:

Mission accomplished. Not only did I find that lone baseball, but myself and a couple of fellow ballhawks that frequent Safeco Field, pretty much cleaned up in right field. We managed to snag roughly 12 foul balls, which we ended up giving none away because the attendance was so low that nearly ever kid in the stadium got a foul ball for himself/herself. It was quite amazing. Wednesday’s game was also the longest baseball game I’ve ever been to. Check out the scoreboard 3 hours into it:

 

Thursday’s game at Cheney stadium was less eventful, as I only snagged one baseball. The Rainiers don’t allow fans to sit inside the stadium during batting practice so I had to stand on the road outside the right field fence to shag anything. I had a few opportunities but I sort of felt like the low man on the totem pole when I arrived. There were other fans there and they seemed to be veteran ballhawks at this stadium; so I took the far end near the foul pole. Here’s a picture of the baseball I caught on the fly:

 

Okay, back to Safeco Field. When I arrived at the stadium with a couple of friends, Blake Beavan was being interviewed by KIRO 710AM Sports radio. After the interview I was able to shake his hand and get a picture with him:

Blake is a really cool guy, very friendly and excited to be a Mariner.

After the gates opened, I rushed inside expecting to see a swarm of people crashing into the ‘Pen area. The crowd was sort of on the lighter side, initially. But like any special game day, it would get uncomfortably packed later on. I knew I had to act fast to get on the board with at least one baseball. I tried for a few toss-ups in the ‘Pen and decided I’d have better luck with the Athletics. I raced upstairs to the upper level and found an empty spot near the left field foul pole. Within minutes, I had a foul ball screaming my way. I jogged to my right and reached across my body to make the catch but I came up a foot or two short. Luckily, the baseball hit into a seat and dropped down underneath it:

A gentleman and his wife were sitting a row or so close by and when the man asked to see the ball I asked him if he wanted to have the baseball. Since he saw me make an attempt to catch it and all, I figured he’d like to get his hands on an official Major League baseball. His response was, “hell yeah! Thanks, young man!”

When I walked up over the ‘Pen, I noticed someone down below. I actually had to stare, rub my eyes, blink a million times before I really knew who I was looking at. Here is a picture of how crowded the ‘Pen can get on games like these:

This is fairly mild for the ‘Pen on these kinds of games. Later on, it got so crowded, you couldn’t move without bumping into someone, stepping on toes or spilling someone’s beer. It was nuts and I didn’t particularly like it. Throughout the stadium, it got so packed that you couldn’t move. Anywhere you wanted to go would take you at least ten minutes to get there and when the cash registers decided to stop taking debit/credit cards, that’s when all hell broke loose at Safeco Field.

My first adventure was just trying to get food after I had snagged my first baseball and met Dave Henderson. Yes, that’s right, sports fans. I met Dave Henderson. In the flesh. You don’t believe me? Well, feast your eyes on this picture:

Yes, Dave Henderson was out walking around Safeco Field. Not a whole lot of people even knew but then again, nights like these, not a lot of baseball fans were actually at the game paying attention to anything but their beer. Anyway. Dave and I talked about Oakland baseball, made fun of Josh Reddick, Dave wore my Oakland hat, he flashed his World Series Ring, we shook hands and eventually parted ways. It was such an awesome experience for Dave and the Mariners to set that up. He’s really a cool guy and so fun to be around.

After that, I headed off to get myself a free coke at the guest services only to find out that the guest services table that issues out free soda moved to the center field gates. After ten minutes of fighting through people, dodging spilled drinks and trying not to knock over anyone, I got my free drink coupon. Now. Back to getting food. I had to fight through hoards of people to get in line that took nearly 15 minutes to be able to place an order only to be told the cash registers only took cash. Gah! I only had a few bucks on me so now I had to find an ATM. I cashed in my free drink and headed outside the stadium. It took nearly another 15 minutes to get outside and stand in yet another line that took roughly 20 minutes to finally get some cash. Cash in hand, I ventured back inside Safeco Field. Instead of pizza, I settled on the Flying Tortoise for some nachos. I stook in that line for about 10-15 minutes waiting to place an order. Once I told the cook what I wanted (which was a gi-normous plate of nachos) he told me I had to stand in a different line to order that. Oh.My.God.

I ended up ordering a wimpy little salsa and nachos dish for $3 bucks. Which wasn’t even worth photographing. It wasn’t even worth standing in line for. Or even worth paying $3 dollars for. I’d of rather been slapped in the face. By this time, it was the 3rd inning and I hadn’t seen any of the game. I’ve been able to watch bits and pieces of it on monitors around Safeco, but I wanted to actually see it live. And apparently, I wasn’t the only person having problems. Check out this blog entry written by a friend of some friends that I attend Mariners games with. I felt the same way on so many levels. And in fact, I did eventually leave Safeco just after the 3rd inning concluded.

So yeah. That was my home opener experience at Safeco Field. One highlight I’d like to point out is my friend Chris and myself got a little “LoMo-ing” in before the game outside the gates. Check us out:

Also, another highlight that needs mentioning, I was able to glove-trick a baseball out from behind the centerfield wall which I promptly gave to my friend Kelly’s husband. I’m not sure who threw it, but it was bobbled and eventually found its way down into the gap:

 

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 46,026

Baseballs snagged: two (foul ball, glove-tricked)

Total baseballs snagged this season: 13

Total baseballs snagged last season: 135

Total dollars raised for Snagging Baseballs for Puppies this season: $24.57

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

Total number of donors this season: 8

Total number of donors last season: 7

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!

Seattle Mariners Fan Fest 2012

Whenever fan fest rolls around in January I get super-stoked about baseball. In nearly a month catchers and pitchers will be reporting to their respective spring training headquarters. The best part about baseball is it starts in the spring time. The grass is starting to get that freshly cut smell, the weather is warming up and best of all summer is right around the corner.

Just to give you a little background on myself and my fan fest experiences, well, I’ve been to many. I’ve attended a Kansas City Royals fan fest where I was able to get Kevin Sietzers autograph and Brett Saberhagen as well. The thing about the Royals fan fest is it’s not really set up to be fan friendly. It’s all about the autographs. When you walk in you have to immediately pick a line to stand in for four hours and hope and pray that one of your favorite players will be signing in the line you have chosen. It’s all about luck. I’ve also attended the Cincinnati Reds fan fest. That was a little different but again, it’s all about what line you pick and how fast you get there. Same with the St. Louis Cardinals winter warmup event. Pick and line. Stand there.

Well, my friends. This year I attended the Seattle Mariners Fan Fest of 2012. If you’ve ever dreamt about attending a fan fest, this is the fan fest you need to attend. I’m serious. Not only do you get to shag fly balls in the outfield like this…

…but you also get to face Felix Hernandez in the visitors batting cage underneath the stadium:

Yes, I’ve had better at-bats, but when you’re facing the King it’s kind of hard to get on base (even in the batting cages).

The best part about the Mariners Fan Fest was the interaction with the players. Down by the Mariners dugout the Mariners put together a little event called the “Dugout Dialogue”. Certain players that came to the fan fest get brought out onto the stage to take questions from Rick Rizzs, Mike Blowers and Dave Valle. And then they open it up to the fans to ask them questions. A lot of the questions ranged from “whats your favorite food” to “who’s your favorite player growing up”. But what do you expect from cute little nine year old baseball fans. And that’s the beauty of it. After the event ends fans are encouraged to get autographs from their favorite players. Myself, I was able to get Miguel Olivo on a baseball bat, Jason Vargas signed my 200th baseball he tossed me last season and I got Dan Wilson and Mike Blowers on my ticket stubs. I was able to chat with Mike Blowers a little bit and talk with him about how I watched him play in the Kingdome back in the 90’s with my father and  that I’d be taking a trip out to see the Mariners and Athletics in Japan this March. It was a lot of fun.

Here’s a couple of pictures I was able to get with a few favorites…

…Miguel Olivo…

…the voice of the Mariners, Rick Rizzs…

…and the man in charge of all the tasty food at Safeco Field, Chef Jeremy.

As you can see so far, I had an amazing time. In fact, a lot of the players walked freely around the stadium (with security of course) talking with fans, helping with pitching mechanics in the bullpen and free hitting tips and advice. Casper Wells was one of those guys that was just walking around. A few of my friends at Safeco are die-hard Casper fans and they were able to get his attention. He walked over to them and they talked for a while and then good ‘ol Casper Wells delivers some hot coco to these lovely ladies!

Its one thing for a professional baseball player to walk over and sign a bunch of autographs and stuff but to actually interact like this with the fans? It’s truly remarkable!

That’s what fan fests is all about. Not just standing in line waiting for an autograph you may or may not get. That’s just my opinion though. We all have our special ways we like to connect with players.

During fan fest on Saturday the Stache Mob was more or less born. These ladies pictured below…

…drew funny little mustaches on their fingers for Brendan Ryan when he came up on stage for his portion of the dugout dialogue. Before things got started, they asked Brendan if he’d pose with them for a picture. He happily obliged them and said he’d get it done after the dialogue event. We all waiting in anticipation and unfortunately, the dialogue kind of went over in the time allotted and Ryan was carted off the stage by the Mariner staff. But. The awesome thing about Brendan Ryan is that he yelled to the group of ladies he’d get the picture done on Sunday . It made everyone feel pretty special that he was going to make it happen. And when Sunday rolled around? Brendan Ryan did not forget:

You can read all about how this unfolded in more detail in my other blog that I’ve created called; A View From the Bullpen.

Here are a few pictures from the Seattle Mariners dugout dialogue sessions…

There was so much to do and so much to see. Mariners Fan Fest would’ve easily lasted a week and probably still had people coming at the end. It was amazing to be able to walk on the field and play catch in the outfield with friends. It was awesome to connect with the players and ask questions. You know, to understand where they’re coming from and their stand point on issues and the seasons to come. It was fantastic! Even though I love to travel and experience different stadiums and events held by Major League Baseball, I think I’m sold on coming back to the Mariners Fan fest for years to come!

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