Results tagged ‘ Seattle Mariners ’

6-26-2011 Safeco Field

I landed in Seattle at 12:42pm. Last week I had the impression that the Mariners game versus the Florida Marlins on Sunday was going to be starting at 1:10pm. I could at least get to the game before first pitch. Well, two days ago while I was checking upcoming games on my fancy iPhone, I noticed that the Mariners game had a start time of 7:05pm. So what did I do? I got my bags, jumped in a shuttle, arrived at my car, drove home, showered, ate, grabbed my baseball stuff and headed to Safeco Field. I was literally running on three hours of sleep. For some reason I couldn’t fall asleep on the airplane during the last leg towards Seattle. So I was exhausted. And I probably wouldn’t stay the entire game but I at least wanted to attend batting practice.

When I arrived at the stadium the Seattle Sounders soccer game had just let out. 35,000 people came pouring out of Qwest field.

 

Not a bad crowd for soccer in the Pacific Northwest. When the gates opened at 4:40pm I ran inside to finish this weekend off of baseball. Spending two days at PETCO Park, and now one day at Safeco Field. I really did miss Safeco Field. So it felt pretty good to be back inside. I waited around on the party porch for a few minutes and then I decided to stand in yet another line at the stairs. I have been standing in lines all weekend. I believe I have patience of steel by now. Since the Mariners were batting I didn’t really think anything would come my way. I think it was Justin Smoak that was launching home runs into the bullpen. But they weren’t close enough to reach with a glove trick and I didn’t want to risk getting caught. But I did notice one baseball that was within reach on further examination.

This is the picture I took after I glove tricked it out of the bullpen…

…but as you can see…there were more to get. Just way too far. Here’s how I snagged the one closest to me though. The security guard that was at the stairs was new. She told me this by me asking what time the stairs opened up, (of course I already knew this) and she told me she “thought” it was around 5:00pm. I also noticed that she would move the barricade every time someone came down the stairs and then turn her back to the bullpen to take her place back at her position. So I stood by the baseball in the bullpen and waited. Once someone came down the stairs, (I already had my glove trick ready) and she moved the barricade, then turned her back to me, that’s when I lowered my glove into the bullpen. It took me like, five seconds to snag the ball. I love those little games of cat and mouse with the security guards.

When the stairs opened up I had a little girl and her mother try to box me out. I thought that was cute since when we all got to the top of the stairs I was obviously much faster than a 12-year-old girl and her mother loaded down with bags full of stuff. Although since I was so tired I really didn’t make much effort to get down into the seats to look for baseballs. I just took up my favorite spot on the third base line and waited. I even sat down for most of batting practice. Before the Mariners ran off the field, Chone Figgins started to take some final cuts in the cage. And some of the Mariner standing in left field whistled to him to hit some baseballs their way. He hit one soft roller towards me and it was probably the easiest snag of my life. I lined up with it quickly, boxed anyone out that may be would-be ball snaggers and scooped it up quickly for my second baseball on the day.

The above picture shows the Marlins getting ready to come out onto the field, and Chone Figgins in the cage. I didn’t stick around on the third base line much longer. I wanted to snag four baseballs though and I figured my best luck would be in left field. Mike Stanton would certainly drive some Stanton Specials that way. So I made my way up to the left field seats. Lots of baseballs came my way but none with in immediate snagging range. Some even landed in the bullpen. Like this one…

Can you find it?

 

Too far for the glove trick and just out of view for a player toss-up. Usually the cops that patrol the bullpen scoop them up and toss them to any kid nearby anyway. So to get that baseball would be nearly impossible. Unless of course a Marlin player saw it and I asked for it. But since no Marlin players came into the bullpen during BP I couldn’t ask for it.

Towards the end of batting practice I made my way down to the visitors dugout. I stood there for probably ten to fifteen minutes waiting for the Marlins to walk off the field. I tried my hardest to get my third ball of the day but it didn’t happen. Too many kids, and just not enough energy on my part to make it happen. So I concluded the day with two baseballs and the weekend with four.

Nice haul.

I am also very happy to announce that someone, although anonymous, donated $25.00 dollars to my charity for Snagging Baseballs for Puppies. So whoever you are, thank you from the bottom of my heart. That was very generous of you. And thank you to everyone else that has helped out so far. As you can see we have raised quite a bit of money this year. $133.85 for the Seattle Humane Society of Seattle-King Co. and $34.90 for the Red Cross. It’s all appreciated. I’m hoping to break 100 baseballs this season, and 200 lifetime.

Game; June 26th 2011 Florida Marlins vs Seattle Mariners

Gameballs; two

Attendance; 10,925

Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $133.85 this season.

Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $34.90 this
season

5-31-2011 Safeco Field

Today’s game marked my 100th game that I’ve ever been to. I wanted to make today’s game as special as possible and definitely one to remember. So let me rewind to a day or so ago. As you all know this past weekend was Memorial Day weekend. I traveled to Coors Field in Denver Colorado for the first time to see that awesome ball park. You can read all about it here and here. Needless to say I wish I picked a different stadium but I’m glad I went because Coors Field marked my ninth stadium I’ve snagged a baseball in. Anyway. Most of you that read my blogs know that I served in the United States Army for ten years. So I qualify for veteran status. I also have a Twitter account. (You can follow me @MLBwayneMLB) Well, Zach Britton of the Baltimore Orioles was giving his thanks to veterans via Twitter. Here’s the conversation we had.

Zach
Britton (@zbritton)

5/30/11 7:24 AM
A
special thanks to all who have protected our freedom, past and
present!

And of course here is my reply.

Wayne
Peck (@MLBwayneMLB)

5/30/11 8:23 AM
@zbritton You’re welcome. I will see you guys at
the Safe tomorrow. #LoveMyO‘s

Wayne
Peck (@MLBwayneMLB)

5/30/11 8:25 AM
@zbritton oh, special request to you Zach. Would
you like to play catch with a vet at the stadium tomorrow? I’ll look for you. :)

And to my surprise I got this reply within the hour.

Zach Britton (@zbritton)
5/30/11 9:22 AM
@MLBwayneMLB Look for me out on the field before
the game.

The problem I faced was it was 9:30am in the morning. The game I was going to attend to play catch with Zach Britton wasn’t until the following day. Nearly 24 hours later. Would he even remember? I made sure to send him a couple more tweets in the early afternoon the day of the game to try and keep things fresh. I mean let’s face it. I had my doubts. He’s a big league ball player and has a ton of things on his mind. Although he wasn’t starting in the next couple of games so the pressure was off. But still.

When I got to the stadium it was all I could think about. How was I going to get his attention? Did he even remember? Should I have brought a sign with me that said something like, ” Im the dude that asked to play catch.” or, ” Army Veteran Tweeter.” Something. Anything to get his attention. But you know what? I didn’t have to do any of that. Because he did remember. Well, let me tell you how it all happened.

I ran inside the stadium when the gates opened and I immediatly lined up at the stairs and waited until 5:10pm. Once the horn blew I raced up the stairs, ran down into the seats and quickly searched for any loose baseballs. Nothing. (The ushers now place them in the cupholders to make it harder for myself, and my buddy Josh to get them) I ran over to the dugout to see if I could find Zach Britton (he wasn’t wearing a BP pullover) and I easily spotted him in the crowd. Here’s the picture I took and see if you can find him.

Do you need some help?

Once I found him I kind of just followed him along the third base line to make sure I would be able to line up behind him while he played catch on the field. My objective at this point was to allow him to get whatever he needed to get done without being too overly obnoxious. A lot of these pitchers have routines that they follow before every game, and then they go shag baseballs in the outfield. So I had to wait until he was all done.

After Zach Britton was done warming up, his catch partner wanted to throw some pitches. So Zach ended up being kind of the “baseball guard” for him. Any baseballs that were hit towards that area Zach would scoop up. Here is a picture of Zach on guard.

I knew at this point that I had limited time and I would have to get his attention somehow. Every once in a while Zach would look over his shoulder to look at the pitches and then he would watch the batter in the cage. I counted the seconds inbetween everytime he looked and then looked back to the batter in the batting cage. He only looked over his shoulder a few times but it was roughly about 8-10 seconds in between looks. So after the second time he looked over his shoulder I counted down from ten. When I reached one I held up my glove and sort of flapped it at him. At that very moment he looked over his shoulder and noticed me. He nodded his head in acklowledgment and fielded the next baseball that came his way. Since he was throwing all the other baseballs into the infield that he caught, I knew he had remembered when he hung onto the recent baseball he snagged. And before I knew it, Zach Britton was enroute towards me.

When he was walking over I turned my camera on and clicked it to video. I pressed “record” and asked this dude that was sitting next to where I was standing if he would please record our conversation. This is the video he recorded.

He recorded the dialogue but I guess he didn’t hear me right or understand what was going on or maybe it was the fact that he was already two beers deep and just sat there like a dope. I’m not sure what happened but he ended up just pointing the camera at his pants the whole time.

Basically some fan wanted to play catch with a baseball player and ended up getting hurt by the ball. Zach explained to me that since they’re filing a lawsuit against Major League Baseball, the players aren’t allowed to play catch anymore. But he did hook me up with a baseball and I thought that was pretty much the end of things.

I played the front row for any slow rollers or line drives and I came up with one more before batting practice ended. As the Baltimore Orioles were walking off the field I decided to try and get a picture with Zach Britton before he walked off the field. I waved him down and as he was walking my way he was telling Brian Matusz to come over and meet “someone”. (That someone being me) They both came over and this was the outcome.

I got to shake hands with Zach Britton (again) AND Brian Matusz. It was such an awesome experience. I had so much to say and so many questions to ask them both but I just couldn’t find the words. I mean, I didn’t just stand there like an idiot. It was just so overwhelming though. Zach stared at me like, “Hey, man. This is your time to ask us whatever you want.” But all I could come up with was, “Where can I send this picture to? The Baltimore fanclub?” I felt like such a dope. By that time fans were coming down to try and get autographs from them so that kind of diverted their attention away from my dopey-ness. It was so awesome to meet them.

I spent the rest of the game in the ‘Pen area and at the end of the game I was denied a baseball from the police officer that patrols the Orioles bullpen. A few baseballs were left behind and I was beat out by some old dude that asked for it first. The Mariners ended up winning due to a Justin Smoak home run that landed deep into the right field seats. Had I been sitting there? I probably would have ended up with the baseball. But security was being extra cautious due to five fans running out onto the field during the Mariners/Yankees series. So I wasn’t about to try and sit where I wasn’t supposed to. Not for a while anyway.

 

Game; May 31st 2011 Baltimore Orioles vs Seattle Mariners
Rockies

Gameballs; Two

Attendance; 11,692

Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $46.00 this season.

Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $25.00 this
season

5-19-2011 Safeco Field

When I was walking down the sidewalk towards the stadium I noticed a huge crowd outside the third base gates. I was hoping they were just lining up to buy tickets. (It was Franklin Gutierrez fly-swatter day) But as I got closer the large crowd was getting their bags checked, their tickets scanned, and they were all receiving a fly-swatter. I sprinted down to the right field gates to make sure people weren’t entering the stadium there (They weren’t) and then I sprinted back to the third base gates, got my bag checked, ticket scanned, and got my fly-swatter. You’re probably saying “So what?” But not “So what.” It was 9:30am in the morning! The gates weren’t supposed to open for another 40 minutes! And here I am…inside already! I didn’t bother to ask around or hassle security with a “What’s going on” question. I just followed the crowd.

It turns out that the large crowd was a high school field trip from the surrounding Seattle high schools. The sixth annual Deca-Day at Safeco Field.

I figured that this crowd alone would drastically cut down my chances of getting a baseball. Since there obviously wasn’t going to be any batting practice (12:40pm start time) because of the early game and now a heaping load of high schoolers were my competition… It would be tough for sure.

Deca-Day promptly started at 9:45am and lasted right up intil 10:40am. And since it took place at Safeco Field you can probably guess what the speakers talked about. Yes. Getting a job at Safeco Field and what positions were available. Basically you get to start out as a “fielder”. Thats a fancy name for grounds crew member. Its a minimum wage job that is aimed at high school and college aged people and normally the application process begins in February. People used to be able to contact the Mariners and request applications to get onboard but in the last few years they have changed that. Now you have to contact an advisor in your school, then they will contact someone on the Mariners hiring staff and send your advisor a recruiting packet. You will it out, (Include cover letter and a resume) send it all back in and then you might get a phone call. After that comes the interview process and all the other hoopla. There was quite a large turnout for this as well.

And then this happened.

While the guest speakers were going on about what they do for the Mariners some Los Angeles Angels came out to start throwing the ball around. I had three guards around me so I didn’t want to get up and walk down to the front row. (Even though I should have done that from the start) It was about 15 minutes before the center field ‘Pen gates were set to open so I still had some time to burn. I quietly excused myself and headed to the bathroom. I figured I could run the clock out there, switch to my Angels hat and no one would be to the wiser. My plan actually worked. After 15 minutes of course. I came out of the bathroom and as the high schoolers were being excused one section at a time I simply strolled down to the front row. The center field gates were now open.

All 1 million high school kids seemed to have disappeared. I pretty much had the entire third base line to myself. And any high schoolers that did come down immediatly talked each other into going to the Mariners side of the stadium. So things weren’t as bad as I had once predicted.

Fernando Rodney, Scott Downs, Ervin Santana, and Tyler Chatwood all came out to stretch and toss the ball around. My buddy Josh (who I mentioned about in my last entry ) lined up behind Rodney, and Santana. I lined up behind Scott Downs but I had the most obnoxious fan standing beside me constantly calling out for a baseball and beating his glove with his fist. I could tell that Scott Downs wasn’t playing into his little game and declined just about everyone in the front row a baseball as he finished up playing catch. He had about four baseballs in his possession and when I realized he wasn’t going to throw one to me I quickly climbed a few rows of seats and headed towards the dugout. I stripped off my backpack, pulled off my jacket and tucked it down into a nearby seat and waited. Scott Downs was busy talking to a security guard that was on the field and as soon as he got done talking to him he started towards me. I knew this was my one and only chance to get that last baseball from Downs. Below is a picture of the annoying fan that caused me to work so hard for this baseball. He’s the short guy with the long, black hair.

Scott Downs slowly approached the dugout and I was the only one (with Angels gear on) standing there with my glove held high. I nodded to him and he tossed me the ball. At first it seemed like he was throwing it to someone behind me. But later I confirmed with my buddy Josh that there wasn’t anyone around me within twenty feet. The ball was all mine. I felt pretty good about that and I also felt pretty good at getting Scott Downs to throw me the ball. He isn’t the most personable guy in the Major Leagues.

Later I scooped up Fernando Rodney’s autograph on my ticket stub and talked with Ervin Santana. Some fans were asking him if he was going to make the All-Star team this year and he just laughed. I think that’s why I enjoy these games that are early in the afternoon so much. There isn’t the chaotic-ness of batting practice and millions of people trying to catch a baseball. I can sort of sit back, relax, and soak up the atmosphere at the stadium and usually get one on one with some of the more outgoing players.

After all that went down it was rather difficult to get another baseball let alone stay down in the lower box level. Security turned on their nazi-mode and started checking tickets. I was told to take some “quick pictures” and return to my seat by one guard. I blew him off though and kept taking pictures. It’s interesting to see just how far I can push these guys before they start getting tough. Normally they just ask a second time and 9 times out of 10 people comply.

One thing that was pretty awesome at the game was that some old dude brought a bag full of Hank Conger bobbleheads from when he was in the minor leagues. He gave the entire bag to Hank and he took them into the dugout to sign them I guess.

Above is a picture of Hank Conger sticking his head up while fans requested his autograph. He was very polite and pretty much obliged everyones’ request. I thought that was pretty awesome of him.

The Mariners won in walk-off fashion too. Carlos Peguero hit a deep fly ball to outfielder Torii Hunter in the bottom of the ninth inning with runners on, and Hunter ended up losing the battle with the sun, lost the ball, and didn’t catch it. It was sort of ironic because I was talking to Josh about how I love extra inning games and the Mariners have had only one extra inning game this year.

Game; May 19th 2011 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim vs Seattle Mariners

Gameballs; One

Attendance; 18,374

Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $30.80 this season.

Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $13.00 this season

5-18-2011 Safeco Field

Game one of the the two game series versus the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim started today. I was pretty excited because I really like to watch Bobby Abreu play ball. He is such a diverse player. Its pretty unbelievable. And going into this game Abreu only needs two doubles to catch Lou Gehrig. The Iron Horse is 32nd all-time on the doubles list and Abreu is behind Todd Helton, and Ivan Rodriguez among active players on that list. To watch Abreu catch Gehrig at Safeco Field would be awesome.

Today wasn’t as disappointing as Monday’s game. When I ran inside I noticed I had forgotten to insert my USB card in my camera again. This would be the second time that has happened in the five years I’ve been running down baseballs. I think I should create my own list. How many times I can forget my USB card for my camera. I’m so far the only one I know. So I’m leading that list of all-time. Congratulations to me. What that means for you? This blog entry will have no pictures for you to look at and admire. And let me tell you; this was a good game to take lots of pictures.

My first baseball came after about ten minutes of waiting around for a home run ball to reach the centerfield bleachers. I started to walk through the bullpen area and some old dudes were calling out to Jack Wilson for a baseball. I kind of hap-hazardly posted up inbetween them thinking I had a chance if Jack Wilson could see me with my glove raised. He was also pre-occupied talking to some teammates and pump faked a throw a few times before he finally let loose. It was probably the easiest catch I have ever made. After that I lined up at the stairs and waited for the infamous horn to sound. When it did the race was on.

I was able to seek out one easter egg. Thats pretty decent since there were probably three total laying in the rows. My buddy Josh got the other two. You can check out his stats on www.mygameballs.com . Anyway. I played the hot corner for a little while but nothing really came my way. Torii Hunter sent a bullet towards Josh and I and I don’t think either one of us were in the right position to field in properly because it took a wicked bounce and deflected off both of our gloves. Somehow it ended up in left field and there was no helpful baseball player within reach to give us a little help. And of course you can’t rely on security guards to help out. They just stand there like mindless drones daydreaming of their dream shot of the day some unruley fan launches out onto the field so they can beat the ever living snot out of them. What a job, I tell you.

Inbetween batters I took the time to score Dan Haren’s autograph on my ticket stub. He has a very elegant signature and he even added his number too. I thought that was pretty awesome. After that I got Brandon League to toss me one, and I also caught a Brandon League overthrow that some kid missed. I do count that because no one had any possession of the baseball after the throw until I picked it up. I did, however, give it to the kid that missed it and he thanked me. I made sure to tell him I appreciated him saying thank you too. But if it were an adult that missed that throw I would have kept the ball. No doubt.

After BP ended I grabbed a quick bite to eat and headed out to the outfield. I made the mistake of moving one section too far towards centerfield and I was promptly booted. The guard wasnt a jerk about it. He made a comment about upper management really beating down their backs about people sitting in sections they don’t have a ticket for. He told me I could come back around the 5th inning. So I met up with Josh and we sat more towards the foul pole in the right field seats. We had a good time watching other people get the boot closer to the foul pole. The guard over there acted like she enjoyed kicking people out. And she kicked A LOT of people out.

The Mariners beat the Angels 3-0 behind a Jason Vargas strong outing. He struck out nine batters in 7 innings and Brandon League recorded another save. ( 10 ) I hung around the bullpen area looking for an opportunity to either get another baseball or possibly a lineup card or something. But neither happened.

Hey, if you’re bored you should follow me on Twitter. My handle is @MLBwayneMLB. I tweet a lot about baseball and other stuff too. Plus, I’m on Facebook. Check me out here; https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Wayne-Peck/111399878936587.

Also to get involved in my charity project make sure you visit my charity page at Crowdrise.com. Just search for Snagging Baseballs for Puppies. It will link you right to it. Thanks!

Game; May 18th 2011 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim vs Seattle Mariners

Gameballs; Four

Attendance; 16,992

Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $30.40 this season.

Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $12.75 this season

5-16-2011 Safeco Field

I figured today would be an awesome day at the stadium. But everything that could go wrong did go wrong. The only thing that I did right was getting to the stadium early enough to be the first one inside. After that I missed a baseball sitting underneath some tables and then when I went to line up at the stairs there were like 5,000 old dudes in front of me all with enourmous bags full of stuff they wanted to get autographed from the Twins. So as I slowly climbed the stairs behind all these people I could literally feel all the opportunities slipping away.

Then when I was finally free I sprinted, and I mean I sprinted, towards the third base sections only to be beat out by ONE guy! He gobbled up all the easter eggs and I tried to put up a fuss about him taking all of them and not leaving one behind for anyone else hoping that he would toss me one but it didn’t work. He gave me an evil grin and continued towards the dugout. And then as I made my way back towards the concourse to continue looking some kid held one up in victory. It was nearly towards the end of batting practice that I was able to snag one. I dont know who hit it but it was a shot right to me. I had to lean over some seats to catch it and of course I banged up my knee doing so. It was a very disappointing night at Safeco Field that’s for sure.

I took some pictures of batting practice. Im not really going to go indepth of the entire BP time of me misplaying baseballs and basically looking like a dope running around the stadium trying to capitalize on catching one. So here are some pictures for your viewing pleasure instead.

 

Also take note that MLB just converted their blogging site over to WordPress. It’s supposed to be better and so far it’s pretty awesome. But I’m still trying to get the hang of inserting pictures and whatnot so consider this a trial run blog. The next ones should be better. Anyway. More pictures.

Here is a close up of Justin Morneau. He came wandering over to meet up with some family members. So I took a quick picture of him.

The Mariners played really well and won the game 5-2. Adam Kennedy went yard and then Carlos Peguero hit one out. It barely made it too. And Im pretty sure it was a foul ball but the Twins skipper didnt contest it. It stood as a home run.

Game; May 16th 2011 Minnesota Twins vs Seattle Mariners

Gameballs; One

Attendance; 14,859

Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $28.80 this season.

Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $11.75 this season

5-8-2011 Safeco Field

Today was mother’s day. It was also another Little League day at Safeco Field. But I didn’t know it was another Little League day at Safeco Field. I assumed that was just a one day deal. But it wasn’t. To my initial shock I saw this when I ran inside…

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Batting practice was nearly unheard of, of happening on a Sunday. Mainly because a Sunday game follows a night game so I was pretty excited when I saw the BP cage up. There were a few Mariners throwing in shallow rightfield and some Whitesox throwing the ball around in front of their dugout. But no real signs that batting practice was going to happen. Before they allowed us entry to the entire stadium the BP cage was carted off the field by the grounds crew. So much for my excitement. The first chance I got I ran all the way around the stadium to see if I couldn’t catch an overthrow from Tom Wilhelmsen. 

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Just as soon as I ran past the Mariners dugout to snap this picture I heard the ever-familiar sound of a baseball smacking into the seats. My feet stopped and I turned around to give chase even before my brain could register that a ball made it into the seats. I was even turned around before I could locate the baseball. I had a little help from a nearby security guard that was trying to point out which section the baseball was in. I knew it was on its way down to the front row. So I patiently walked towards the field looking in each row until I found it. Since it was Sunday and there was no sign of BP to happen plus it was Little League Day, getting that baseball took a huge weight off my shoulders.

I approached Tom Wilhelmsen as he continued playing catch and we exchanged friendly greetings. I was going to ask him for a baseball but I figured he saw me pick up the one near the M’s dugout so I saved asking him for another game in the future. When the Whitesox came out to throw the baseball around it was extremely tough to get their attention. Mainly due to this…

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As soon as hordes of people starting walking around the stadium I knew that every single baseball on the field would go directly to a youngster. So I scouted for any opportunity to grab an autograph. And a picture.

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That’s Angie Mentink. She is the Root Sports sportscaster for every Mariner home game and Seattle Seahawk games as well. She was really fun to talk to. We talked about her short stint with the Colorado Silver Bullets and I also got to share with her my charity for the Seattle-King Co. Humane Society. 

I decided to head down into the ‘Pen area and get something to eat. Since it was Sunday I figured I’d try something new. I’ve never had a crepe before so I figured that would be a good option. Here is where I ate…

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I bought the roast beef crepe and it wasn’t that good. Maybe it was just me but it lacked flavor. It was messy, and too juicy, and it wasn’t very filling. Plus I don’t like mushrooms and it came with mushrooms. The cheese wasn’t that flavorful either. If I had to rate this place I would probably rate it a three. (ten being the best and one being the worst) The price was average but I didn’t buy a soda there so that helped keep the price down. Instead I bought a soda at the Blazing Bagel and it was much needed to wash this nastiness down. Blegh!

I sat here for about five innings and then I moved down into the ‘Pen area…

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When I stood by the Mariners bullpen I saw Jason Phillips (the Mariners bullpen catcher) doing this…

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Jason Phillips is the Mariner standing in the middle of the three in the picture. He is also rubbing mud on baseballs. Yes that is genuine New Jersey Mud that he was coating on several baseballs. I watched him for about fifteen minutes rub mud on about eight baseballs. It was pretty awesome. I assumed a grounds keeper did that job or maybe the ball boys. But I never thought the bullpen catcher would be doing it. Maybe he was bored. But it was still awesome to see. Phillips also spit on his hands to get the mud wet prior to rubbing the balls down. So if you’ve ever handled a Major League baseball make sure you wash your hands afer handling one. Go here to watch the story about the special mud.

Aside from all that cool stuff, the Mariners were beat again. This time in extra innings. Brandon League took the loss after he gave up a couple base hits and Paul Konerko went 5-5. How cool is that. I thought about going after the lineup card just for that reason alone but I wanted to try to get one more baseball before the game ended. I didnt go to the umpire tunnel like I usually do because lately I’ve been getting shut down from the home plate umpire. So I figured I’d try something else. But I was denied by both bullpens too. How ironic.

When I got home from the game this was waiting for me on the counter…

 

 

100_0423.JPGI contacted the MillCreek View newspaper in my community and asked them to run a story about me and my snagging abilities for charity this year. They happily obliged and that was the outcome.

 

 

Game; May 8th 2011 Chicago Whitesox vs Seattle Mariners

Gameballs; One

Attendance; 26,074

Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $28.40 this season.

Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $11.50 this season

 

 

 

 

5-7-2011 Safeco Field

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You will not regret getting a bagel from this place. Its right between the Mariners team store and the leftfield gates. I tried the cheddar, chive, and garlic hot dog bagel and it was amazing. Also if you want to get a soft drink but you don’t want to pay the ridiculously high price of one inside the stadium, I would suggest buying one from here. They cost $1.97 and you can buy them inside the stadium. Right inside the leftfield gates just hang a hard right and you can use the walk up window.

Once I got inside I saw this.

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And I saw this.

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I asked a nearby security guard why the Chicago Whitesox were already on the field taking BP. They had no idea. One nearby fan explained to me that it was little league day and batting practice would be ending in twenty minutes. Twenty minutes??!! So I had about fifteen minutes to get on the board or my chances were pretty slim. With that being said I noticed a baseball in behind the centerfield fence down in the batters eye area. Unfortunatly there wasn’t a security guard that would go get it. Fortunatly a deep drive was hit towards centerfield and both the Whitesox athletic trainer and one of the players were in hot persuit. They even ran through the open fence to get the ball. I quickly held up my glove and called out to the athletic trainer that ended up with the ball. He nodded to me and lobbed a high arching throw that missed my glove and bounced over to some fans that had no idea what was going on. Plus I had some guy right on my hip pocket yapping in my ear and encouraging me to jump the fence and go get the baseball in the batters eye area.

To make matters worse? Here came security. One of the security guards started telling me not to jump down there because I could get ejected. I explained I wasn’t going to and that I knew the ground rules of the stadium. She insisted to explain to me the importance of not jumping down there. And I continued to insist that I wasn’t going to do such a thing. Finally a security guard came out of no where and lobbed me the baseball. It somehow ended up squirting out of my glove and dropping back down. So I had to hear another earfull from the security guard of how important it was not to jump down there to get the baseball. In the end I got the baseball. So I suppose it was worth it.

When we were allowed to explore the entire stadium I wandered over to the first base side. When I arrived it wasn’t much longer when a foul ball came my way. It went over my head and landed in the middle of two sections. I was the only one within twenty feet of the baseball so I had an easy grab. Plus the ball didn’t bounce around. I was pretty surprised it stayed where it did. After that batting practice came to an end. Since it was little league day this was how it went until the game started.

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Hundreds of people walked the entire field. About the only cool thing that happened was Paul Konerko came out to talk with some close friends or family members. I approached him for an autograph but he said he wasn’t signing right now. So I just took some pictures instead.

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When he jogged off the field I told him I was going to catch his 400th career home run. He kind of laughed and shrugged his shoulders. “I hope!” he said. I told him to not worry about it because it was going to happen. After he went into the dugout Edwin Jackson poked his head out and I got him to sign my ticket stub.

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He was a little stand-offish at first but eventually with enough beggging I got him to sign an autograph. It was the ultimate experience.

The Mariners on the other hand simply got rocked. By the fifth inning it was already 3-0 and the Whitesox never looked back. Chicago won 6-0. I sat most of the game behind the rightfield foul pole. Those seats aren’t as heavily guarded as the other ones so I really didn’t get harassed by security. I might make those seats my normal seats during large crowds. The outfield gets too packed which makes it hard to catch any home run baseballs.

Game; May 7th 2011 Chicago Whitesox vs Seattle Mariners

Gameballs; Three

Attendance; 26,288

Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $28.00 this season.

Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $11.25 this season

5-6-2011 Safeco Field

The Mariners were hosting the Chicago Whitesox tonight plus it was Ichiro Suzuki hit counter bobblehead night. So I figured Safeco would be packed. But batting practice wasn’t too bad. The lines weren’t as bad as I thought but I did have to show up an extra hour early to secure my spot in line. I didn’t attempt to enter the stadium at the centerfield gates this time because all of the gates were opening at 4:40pm. So I entered the stadium at the rightfield gates. As soon as I ran in I was quickly on the board with two easer eggs that I found in the rows. And as I was exiting the section there was a sharply hit foul ball that landed a few rows to my left. There was another fan chasing it down by trying to jump over the rows to get to it. But I let gravity work on my side and let the ball come to me. I gave it to the guy just for his hard effort at trying to chase it down. I thought he was going to seriously injure himself.

After the Mariners exited the field I ran over to the Chicago Whitesox dugout area. Omar Vizquel was playing catch with his son and just about everyone and their mother was trying to get his autograph. Vizquel isn’t known for being the friendliest guy either. So the fans that got his autograph should consider themselves very lucky.

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Here is a picture of Omar and his kid.

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After chasing Omar Vizquel’s autograph for about ten minutes I decided to go play foul territory for some baseballs. Here was my view.

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And then after standing in that area for about 30 minutes I decided to go back down to the Whitesox dugout in hopes that the pitching coach might hook me up with a baseball after batting practice ended.

See how packed the rightfield bleachers were? Its tough to get a home run ball when its that tight.

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About the only really cool thing that happened at tonight’s game (besides getting an Ichiro bobblehead) was that Rob Dyrdek showed up to throw out the first pitch. He came over to sign some autographs and I snapped a few pictures of him.

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He was really cool about hooking people up with autographs before the game. I was in line for a few minutes to see if I could get his autograph on my ticket stub but so many older teenagers just shoved their way to the front of the line. One of the security guards tried to get things organized as best as he could but it was pretty much a loss cause. I even had adults shoving their way past me to get his autograph. But Rob was cool about it. He signed as many as he could until he had to go.

I made my way back to the Chicago side of the stadium and waited on the warmup ball from the Whitesox. I was quickly ran out by security but it really didnt matter. The Whitesox never came out to warmup in front of the dugout anyway. After that I made my way out to the outfield to sit and watch the game. It was another exciting Mariner win. They won with a Brendan Ryan single in walk-off fashion. The stadium exploded with cheers as the Mariners ran out onto the field to smother Ryan with rabbit punches, and a standing dogpile.

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Game; May 6th 2011 Chicago Whitesox vs Seattle Mariners

Gameballs; Three

Attendance; 31,912

Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $27.20 this season.

Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $10.75 this season.

5-4-2011 Safeco Field

     Since yesterday was so successful I considered entering the stadium from the centerfield gates again. With no one even at the gates one hour prior to them opening I decided to pounce on the opportunity. Once inside I let the fans get Erik Bedard’s attention and I held up my glove when he looked our way. He threw the ball very low and it actually came close to hitting the top of the wall. So I had to lean way out and make a quick scoop for the catch. The Mariners were being pretty generous to us in the ‘Pen. They tossed up about eight baseballs in that thirty minute time span.

     Right after I had caught the Bedard toss up the Mariners started to yell “Heads up!” And I saw Erik Bedard pointing skyward. The ball clanged against the railing and ended up falling down into the gap behind the wall. It wouldnt be as easy as assembling my glove for the glove trick to get the ball this time. The ball actually landed in the corner way out of reach. 

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     In the picture above the ball used to be sitting in the corner. But I swung my glove out to knock it down and it ended up scooting behind the fence. You can barely see it but its there. So I wandered over to the nearest, most friendly security guard I could find and told them that a baseball was down in the gap behind the fence. Of course she didnt take my word for it and had to investigate herself. “Sure enough! There is a ball there!” She said. Yeah. I asked her how she would go about getting it and she told me she had to wait for the keys to unlock the gate near the Mariners bullpen. She then would climb down a latter and get it. As I was asking how that particular procedure went down there was a high drive deep to centerfield. The ball cleared the wall and landed in the grassy area behind the batters eye. I quickly ran over to the railing and waved my glove at the security guard. He hooked me up and I thanked him.  

     Once the security guard climbed down the stairs and got the bseball she asked if I had already gotten one. I told her I had and she gave it to the nearest kid. At about that time it was nearly 5:05pm. Time to line up at the stairs. As soon as the horn blew I was off! I sprinted up the stairs and ran down into foul territory searching for any easter eggs left behind by security. I found one by the wall and then I found another one tucked away underneath a seat.

     As the Mariners left the field and as the Texas Rangers started to come out onto the field I quickly switched caps and found a nice cozy spot on the third base foul line. Taylor Teagarden and Zachary Phillips ended up playing catch in front of me. It wasn’t long before Teagarden missed the throw from Phillips and I was able to snag it before it broke my face. Teagarden waved for me to keep it since they were done anyway. I nodded to him in thanks and moved in behind Ryan Tucker and Colby Lewis. It wasnt but three throws later I got pegged in the left thigh by an overthrow. It didnt hurt at first so I just laughed it off. I figured they would at least reward me with a baseball for taking a Colby Lewis fastball to the leg. But no such luck. ( No, that’s not why I stood there ) At least now I can say I was hit by Colby Lewis.

     As batting practice continued I could really start to feel the pain from the overthrow. I figured I’d have a huge bruise by the end of the game. My leg just throbbed all night and I even considered seeking out some genuine Safeco Field medical treatment. Im sure all they would give me would be an ice-pack and maybe some tylenol. As I was standing there some guy was on the phone and thanked me for protecting him while he was talking to his wife. It turns out that guy used to play in the Major Leagues. He was drafted in 1986 by the Atlanta Braves and played in the Minor Leagues for the Phillies for quite some time. I was never able to find any official MLB stats on him but his name is Ken Sirak. He lives in Beaverton Oregon now and Im pretty sure he runs a business. He mentioned a few times that he had clients that bailed on him so he had to come to the game alone. Anyway. I got a couple pictures snapped with me sitting next to him.

 

 

 

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     Here is another one…

 

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     It was really cool to talk to him about baseball. He knew so much about the sport ( obviously because he played for many years ) but we also talked about the steroid era. He played college ball with Lenny Dykstra and Jeff Kent and he told me those guys used steroids all the time. In fact it was just part of the game back then. Dykstra was an obvious user anyway.

 

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     The Mariners played decent baseball. Unfortunatly they lost with Pineda on the mound. But he struck out nine batters and FINALLY gave up a home run. Or two.

 

Game; May 4rd 2011 Texas Rangers vs Seattle Mariners

Gameballs; Five

Attendance; 13,429

Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $24.80 this season.

Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $9.25 this season.

 

5-3-2011 Safeco Field

 

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       I think I can pretty much say that I regret not entering Safeco Field from the centerfield gates from the start. After all its an additional 30 minutes of batting practice. There is a potential to get at least one baseball before the rest of the stadium opens. Not only that but it basically gives me a birds eye view of foul territory. I can watch which security guards pick up what baseballs and who throws what back. Its an excellent advantage in any case.

     The Texas Rangers were in town for a three game series. Josh Hamiliton was still injured but he was supposed to be taking some cuts in the cage during BP before the second game. Plus the Rangers had Mike Napoli, Ian Kinsler, Mitch Moreland, and Adrian Beltre. All with great power. So I was predicting plenty of home run balls this series. Outside the gates before they opened I got to brag about my ball snagging stats for a little while to a father/daughter duo. The daughter claimed it was her first game and she really wanted a baseball. Isnt that special.

     Once I ran inside I was restricted to just the ‘Pen area. But it was still pretty awesome to see these guys warming up in the bullpen. It wasnt long before I got Tom Wilhelmsens attention and requested a baseball from him. He threw it way to my right, and I had to reach across my body to make the catch. Unfortunatly, I didnt catch it and the guy next to me bobbled it and it went down into the gap behind the wall. Glove trick time! I quickly scanned for security to make sure they werent on the way to get it. I assembled the rubberband around the outside of my glove, opened my glove up with the sharpie pen, and quickly lowered it down towards the ball. I immediatly started to get “Ohhhs” and “Awwws” from the crowd. After realizing the rubber band wasnt on right I pulled my glove up and re-adjusted. Back down. And pulled my glove up with ball in tow.

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     In the picture above you can see Tom Wilhelmsen way out in the distance. You can also see the gap between the wall in the lower left part of the picture. Its quite a large gap and it usually does a great job of swallowing up home runs or dropped catches. Wilhelmsen did not see me pull up the ball out of the gap so on the next ball that HE caught he lobbed it my way. And I gave it to the girl that I met outside the gate. She politely thanked me. So that was a plus. And since that was a catch made by me I will count it in my collection.

     At about 5:05pm I left the outfield area and went to line up at the staircase that led up to the rest of the stadium. At 5:10pm the horn blew to allow the rest of the fans to enter the stadium. I raced up the stairs and headed down towards foul territory on the third base side. I had watched a few foul balls land out there but I wasnt sure if the security guards were going to pick them up or leave them alone. On the first base side most of the baseballs get scooped up by security and later handed out to kids or thrown back onto the field. Well, on the third base side niether of that happened. Today anyway. When I ran over there I managed to find two easter eggs.

  Then I lined up behind Pedro Strop and Darrin Oliver to catch any overthrows.

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     And it happened. It started to rain and Oliver and Strop seemed to be very sloppy in their game of catch. The ball took a sharp bounce and came at me. It dropped at the last moment and got stuck under the wall padding. I grabbed it and quickly offered it back to Strop. But he pulled out a second ball from his back pocket. On about the third throw, Strop overthrew Oliver. Oliver pointed at me and then Strop asked if they could use the baseball I had snagged from their first overthrow. I tossed it to them and then within three seconds a foul ball came crashing down in the section to my left. I dug it out of the seats and took my place back behind Strop and Oliver. Once they were done they tossed me the baseball. That would be my sixth baseball in less than an hour.

     Some lady wandered over to me and asked how many baseballs I got and since Im not a good liar I told her I had four. ( I really had lost count when she asked ) She also asked if she could have the baseball I had in my glove. She went on about being my best friend and would do anything for it and blah blah blah. So like a sucker I gave it to her. Then she asked if she could have one more for her adopted Japanese family. She went on again about being my best friend and all this crap. I told her I would work on trying to get another baseball for her.

     I went and stood in the outfield for about fifteen minutes and while I was out there I witnessed the lady I almost gave two baseballs to get one on her own. And to make matters worse when I was over on the first base side trying to get a Chone Figgins toss up she was over there with BOTH baseballs getting them signed by the Mariner ball girls. Ball girls? Are you serious? Or maybe they were grounds crew members. Im not really sure. So what do you call those types of people that Ballhawk from Ballhawks?

     I tried to get a warmup ball from the Rangers out in front of their dugout before the game started but they ended up entering the dugout on the opposite side to where I was standing.

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     The game was actually very exciting too. Not only did Fransico Liriano throw a no-hitter for the Minnesota Twins but Erik Bedard was flirting with one through nearly five innings.

 

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     I hung out in the outfield seats for about three innings before I moved down into the ‘Pen area. It was less crowded and there werent as many drunks as I predicted there would be at todays game. I pretty much had the entire Texas Ranger bullpen standing area to myself. So if a home run ball did reach the ‘Pen it would have been all mine. Unfortunatly, no home run balls reached either bullpen. But todays game went really well.

     I also got an article on MyGameBalls.com about snagging my 100th baseball. If youve been following my blog youll know I snagged that puppy at pretty much the end of the game at the Oakland Coliseum. I seriously didnt think it was going to happen. Heres the article in case you want to read it.

 

     Can you identify this guy? He was at the game. Ill give you a hint; he plays rock and roll.

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     Death Cab for Cutie; Ben Gibbard maybe? Awesome.

 

Game; May 3rd 2011 Texas Rangers vs Seattle Mariners

Gameballs; Six

Attendance; 12,759

Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $22.40 this season.

Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $7.75 this season.

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