Results tagged ‘ Seattle Mariners ’

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.

4-22-2011 Safeco Field

     Game two of the four game set between the Oakland Athletics and the Seattle Mariners. Thursday night the Mariners barely hung onto a vitcory with a 1-0 win. That was with Felix Hernandez on the mound. Tonights match up would be between Tyson Ross and Michael Pineda. Pineda seems like a strong starter for the Mariners so I expected a huge crowd tonight. But really, it was about average. So I wasnt too concerned. I figured batting practice would be a little heavy as far as competition but it really wasnt too bad.

     Once inside I searched around for easter eggs but none were found. The Mariners jogged off the field about as soon as I got inside too. And the Athletics were somewhat late to start BP. So I quickly switched hats and ran over to the other side. Like I said. Not a whole lot of competition.

 
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     That was the crowd for about the next thirty minutes. Unfortunatly, niether the Mariners OR the Athletics managed to park any baseballs in any of the seats in the entire stadium. I was kind of surprised that the Athletics didnt hit more home runs during BP. They have Matsui, Pennington, Kouzmanoff, Willingham, and Crisp. All of those players have plenty of power. I guess they were working more on the mechanics of their swing than anything else. Coco Crisp put a few deep but nothing further than the warning track. He did slice one into the seats that took a ridiculous bounce off the stairs and pegged a would-be baseball chaser right in the face. I think it hit him in between the eyes. In the picture below you can see him sitting by the security guard filling out his personal information.

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     The next turn of events was so awesome. I moved down to the front row of the seats and really all I was waiting for was an overthrow from Bobby Cramer who was playing catch with Kevin Kouzmanoff. When they got done throwing the baseball back and forth I called out to Kevin to throw the ball to me. He was kind of standing there watching the infielders taking some fungos from Mike Gallego so I thought why not? He turned towards me and tossed the baseball to me. I made a clean catch and I quickly thanked him. Kevin started flapping his glove at me like he wanted me to throw the baseball back to him. I thought for a moment that he wanted to give me a different baseball or something. So I lobbed the baseball back to him. Then he pointed at me with his glove. So I got ready and he hurled the baseball back to me. Wow! Playing catch with Kevin Kouzmanoff?! I totally felt like I was 12 years old again playing catch with my ol` man. It was really cool! Some of the fans around me turned green with envy and started making remarks like; ” Wow, this dude is playing catch with Kevin Kouzmanoff.” And then I had an older couple behind me saying I better catch the ball everytime. I held back a smile. I wanted to play it Johnny Cool.

     Kevin then zig-zagged the baseball back and forth in his hand at me which meant he wanted to throw some knuckleballs. I havent ever caught a knuckleball before and from what some catchers in the Major Leagues have said about catching them, well, theyve claimed its sometimes very difficult to catch them. He started throwing and if you have ever caught a knuckleball before, yes. They do dance around and flutter just like a butterfly. I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me at first. My throws were a little off the mark partly because I was nervous and partly because I had my hoodie on with my backpack still on my back. But I think I threw some pretty sharp curveballs to him. After about five or six minutes of playing catch, he pointed at me with his index finger after he threw the baseball back to indicate that the ball was now mine and we were done playing catch. I thanked him again and I just watched him walk to the infield. Awesome.

     I wandered around the stadium to the other side to watch the Athletics finish up their portion of batting practice.

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     Usually Mike Gallego stands on this side to hit fungos to the infielders. But he wasnt over here today for some reason. When the Athletics jogged off the field I quickly switched hats back to my Mariners and patiently waited for Adam Kennedy, Chone Figgins, and Luis Rodriguez to come out to stretch and toss the ball around. Chone Figgins has this routine he does. Let me break it down for you.

Assuming the start time is 7:10. ( Which it normally is except Saturday games. Saturday games are seemingly trending to 6:10 start times. )

6:30pm- Opposing teams batting practice ends.

6:35-6:40pm- Chone Figgins and Luis Rodriguez come out of the dugout heading towards the first base foul line.

6:40pm- Hoards of Mariner fans flood the front row seeking autographs from Figgins and Rodriguez.

6:40-6:45pm- Figgins and Rodriguez play a quick game of catch to loosen up.

6:45pm- Figgins motions to the autograph seeking fans an “In a minute” finger sign. ( No, he doesnt flip them off. )

6:50pm- Adam Kennedy comes running out of the dugout as Figgins is stretching. Rodriguez jogs back to the dugout.

6:50pm-6:55pm- Figgins starts signing autographs.

6:55pm- Adam Kennedy starts signing autographs and then quickly runs off the field with baseball inside glove. ( Good time to ask for it. )

6:55pm- Figgins runs off the field after Kennedy and tosses baseball into the crowd ( Figgins is very selective of who he tosses the ball to. )

     Immediatly after Figgins tosses the baseball into the crowd I switched hats and darted over to the Athletics side of the stadium. Mark Ellis, Chad Pennington, and Daric Barton would soon emerge from their dugout to play a friendly game of catch right out in front of it. If you stand in just the right spot ( Like I did ) and as soon as they are done playing catch you can almost always count on Mark Ellis to toss the baseball to you. ( Which he did ) Ellis isnt selective or bias like Figgins is with who gets the baseball. Its more of a first come first serve basis. Which I like. So here is the picture breakdown.

 

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      Rodriguez and Figgins playing catch…

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     Then Luis Rodriguez comes over to sign some autographs…

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       Security moves in to protect Rodriguez from aggressive autograph collectors, and dangerous small children…

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     Adam Kennedy comes out of the dugout to start his stretch routine…

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     I forgot to mention that the Mariner Moose sometimes comes down this way too. So if you like socializing with mascots…

     After the Mariner Moose runs by thats when all the action unfolds. Rodriguez is the first to run off the field, quickly followed by Kennedy, and then Figgins. So if you play it right you can probably come away with two baseballs down here. After that I took off towards the Athletics side where I switched hats and waited on Mark Ellis.

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     Here is Mark Ellis playing catch. He only throws anywhere from 5-7 throws and then he quickly returns to the dugout. So unless youre like, right there ( Like me ) you wont be able to get his attention. And security isnt that strict at Safeco like people say. You just have to avoid them and dont stand by them or anything. And if they ask if you have a ticket to be down in the area I just tell them Im taking pictures and Ill be gone before the game starts. Heres a fun fact; Mark Ellis is now tied for leading toss ups by players with Jonny Gomes and Todd Helton with three. Here is my full list. 

     The game was pretty awesome. Pineda put in some work and held the Athletics from scoring any runs. So did the Mariners bullpen. And Brandon League even collected his fifth save of the season. Thats quite impressive.

 

Game; April 22nd 2011 Oakland Athletics vs. Seattle Mariners

Gameballs; Two

Attendance; 17,798

Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $8.40 this season.

Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $5.25 this season.

 

 

 

4-21-2011 Safeco Field

     The Oakland Athletics were in town for a four gate set. I was pretty excited to see them. David DeJesus is one of my favorite players and I got to watch him a lot when he played for Kansas City. Now that he is an Athletic I will probably get to see him more. Also worth mentioning is Coco Crisp. Hes a very unique player with a very unique name ( His real name is Corvelli Crisp ) and last week he had a very unique hair style. Kind of reminds me of Oscar Gamble…

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     Unfortunatly for the Seattle crowd he had his hair braided. So no one got to see the big hair during the game. Maybe he will unbraid his hair again sometime during the season.

     More big news. My charity project Snagging Baseballs for Puppies was featured on the Seattle Humane Society Facebook page! Check it out! I think that is really neat. I really do appreciate that and Id like to thank the staff that was behind making that happen. Its a good feeling to be able to help out. Since I love baseball and dogs so much, and I really dont have the time to own a dog myself I figured Id do the next best thing. So a special thank you goes out to the Seattle Humane Society and all those working hard to help out our furry friends. And a BIG thank you to those that have pledged towards my charity projects so far. It means a lot.

     Once inside there werent any easter eggs to be scavenged. I guess the security guards are working extra hard to make sure any baseballs hit into the seats are thrown back onto the field. My competition was light but I continued to search for them anyway. You never know where one might be hiding. Ive found them tucked away under seats or in a seat…and sometimes a baseball will take a lucky bounce and end up in a cup holder. As I was looking around, Im not sure who hit it, but whoever did really mashed the ball about 15 rows up from the foul pole in foul territory. Maybe even deeper. I sprinted towards the area where it was hit and I had one other guy looking for it. All I heard was ” Its rolling down.” ” Its rolling down.” ” Its rolling down”. So I stopped hurdling seats and started to carefully walk down the aisle until I found it.

     When the Mariners jogged off the field I started my way over to the third base side of the stadium. Thats generally where the opposing team starts to warm up. At least the pitchers do. There wasnt much going on except Dallas Braden missing a throw that nearly took out a blonde lady sitting in the first row. She was of course rewarded a baseball for her bravery.

     Heres a picture of Brad Ziegler and Jerry Blevins who I lined up behind and hoped for an overthrow.

 

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     Jerry Blevins is the player closest to me. I didnt want to call out to him for a toss up this early because the Athletics were going to be in town for four games. So I had to keep an ace up my sleeve. Usually the players take the same spots on the field for pre-game warmups. So it would be pretty easy to get a toss up from Blevins. I got a toss up from him on Opening Day at the Coliseum. As batting practice continued I took the next picture to show how much competition was really there. As you can see in the below photo…not very much.

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     Down at the front of the row you can see a hulking man with long hair. He got two on the day and if you look further down the row you can see the blonde lady sitting down that nearly got pegged by Dallas Bradens throwing partner. As soon as I took this picture, ( I think Coco Crisp hit it ) there was a deep drive into foul territory. I turned to make a mad dash for it but some tall, lanky guy was standing right in my path. I was pretty much boxed in the row. The guy turned and I really expected him to give chase too. But he just stood there with his hands in his pockets in utter shock of how far the ball traveled. I felt kind of helpless.

     As batting practice came to a close Gio Gonzalez was up the baseline from me signing autographs. I took this quick picture before he started running towards me.

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     What you dont see in this picture is by the screen that protects fans from hot line drives out of the cage were two baseballs sitting on the grass. Kind of like how I asked Tom Wilhelmsen for a baseball as he jogged off the field. Well, I used the same tactic with Gio Gonzalez. I asked really nicely and told him I appreciated it. He gathered up the baseballs and tossed me one and then another one to fan down the line. See? Without me asking for a baseball they would have just sat there for the grounds crew to scoop up and toss them in a bucket on their Gator as they picked up the batting practice equipment. So besides me getting a baseball another lucky fan got one too. It was a win win.

     After batting practice came to a close I got some quick dinner and then contemplated my next move. Chone Figgins and Carlos Peguero came out to warm up, and Chone Figgins started playing catch with Adam Kennedy. I didnt even think to put on my Mariners hat ( I had switched to my A’s hat after the Mariners portion of batting practice had ended ) but If I did I would probably be talking about how I got my third baseball at this point. I stood around on the Mariners side of the stadium waiting on Chone Figgins and Adam Kennedy to get done playing catch.

   

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     That little black speck on the base line is Figgins glove. It also had a baseball inside of it. As Adam Kennedy ran off the field he looked right at me and I held up my glove. But he denied me. It probably had something to do with wearing my Athletics hat while asking. Chone Figgins also walked off the field and flipped the ball to a Mariners fan in the front row. Well, lesson learned.

     After the National Anthem played I wandered back over to the Athletics side of the stadium and I tried to get Mark Ellis to throw me one but it seemed like he already had a fan picked out. The good thing is security didnt harass me at all. I think I was asked once If I had a ticket to be seated down in the lower box but I said I wasnt going to sit down here. I was only down here for pictures. Which was the truth anyway. Another good thing about Safeco is the crowd is so thin that you can literally walk through the rows from one side to the other. Instead of having to exit the seating area, walk up through the main concourse, and back down. Then you have to face security and all that jazz. So I just wandered carefully through the rows to get from first base side to third base side and vice versa.

     Adam Kennedys home run was the only run of the game. The ball was hit about 10 feet to my lower left. Meanwhile, I was busy trying to check in to the game using my MLB At Bat 2011 application on my iphone. Had I been paying attention? I would have came up with that baseball. It would have been no question. Heres the video in case you want to look.  Im in the white jacket walking down the aisle. I was trying to find the ball and then as I turned down the row I finally saw it. But it was too late. You can see me walking away in defeat. It was pretty sad.

     After the home run by Kennedy I wandered around the stadium and finally went down into the ‘Pen. The security guards were right. Its just one big drunken party down there. Here are a few pictures I managed to take.

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     I think security had to tell two different guys to stop trash talking the players in the brief five minutes I was down there. Im sure security has their hands full in that area.

     After that I went up to the home plate area. Since the Mariners had the lead and the A’s had one last shot at either tying the game up or scoring ahead, the game would end after the top half of the ninth if niether of those things happened. So I waited patiently for the first out to be recorded in the top of the ninth. Once the ball was in play and the second out was recorded I scooted passed security and started to make my way towards the umpire tunnel. Mark Ellis popped up to Miguel Olivo to end the game. As soon as Ellis made contact and I saw that it was a pop up I ran down to get a good position on the tunnel. About five other people started jumping seats into the Diamond Club to get closer to the umpires as they walked off the field, and security was right there to kick them out. Even AFTER the game you cant sit in the Diamond Club seating.

      Ed Hickox started his decent into the tunnel and he handed one fan a baseball. I held my glove up for him to hit me but he disappeared under the tarp covering the tunnel. I stood there for an additional moment and it was like magic. All of a sudden a baseball appeared on the tarp. I quickly grabbed it with a bare hand. I really couldnt believe it. Some guy behind me said something along the lines of “Yeah, lets get four more baseballs.” Im not sure if thats what he said or if he did say it, Im not sure who he was directing it at. But anyway. Alls well that ends well.

 

Game; April 21st 2011 Oakland Athletics vs Seattle Mariners

Gameballs; Three

Attendance; 12,770

Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $7.60 this season.

Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $4.75 this season.

 

 

4-18-2011 Safeco Field

     More good news on my charity projects. I finally heard back from the Red Cross. Theyre going to work with me to help promote my charity project for the relief in Japan. How cool is that? So I was especially excited to come out to Safeco Field after the Mariners got home from their four day road trip to Kansas City. They were nearly swept too. But our rookie sensation, Michael Pineda, saved the day.

     When I got to the stadium the weather was fair. There was plenty of sun but it was supposed to get very cold. So again I would be freezing my butt off during the game. But I was determined to snag a home run ball this year. Ill eventually learn to dress warmer. It really isnt that bad but its tough to take a nine whole innings of bitter coldness. When they close the roof it seems to warm up a tad. But not by much.

    

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     It wasnt until around 4:30pm when my competition showed up. Three older gentlemen. One was a veteran Ballhawk ( I suppose ) and the other two seemed like tag alongs. Of course I had to hear the “Safeco basics” from them and I just played stupid. I thought that was the best way to handle things. As soon as the gates opened I slinked in and waited at the turnstile for the music to play. When the horn blew I took long strides towards section 115. Let me back up for a second. While I was standing in line against the gates a security guard came over and asked me if I collected baseballs. I informed him I did sometimes…( Not sure what he wanted so I just kept it simple ) and he told me there were about three baseballs about ten rows up in section 115. There were still 30 minutes before the gates opened and I truely believed that by the time I got there the baseballs would be gone.

     I arrived at section 115 and ran down towards the tenth row. The other guys right on my heels. No three baseballs in row ten. Or anywhere for that matter. I guess the security guards had tossed them all back onto the field. Blah. I wandered around for a few moments, and even called out to Michael Pineda to toss me a baseball but he ended up tossing it to a woman in the front row with some kind of media credentials. I scouted around for a decent place to set up shop and then I noticed three baseballs on the base line. As the Mariners were starting to jog off the field I noticed that Tom Wilhemsen was talking to family members or close friends, relatives, whatever, over in foul territory. I anticipated that he would run right passed those three baseballs. So I ran over and lined myself up with them and waited patiently. As Wilhemsen ran towards me I pointed to the baseballs and asked if he would toss a few up. He did just that. I thanked him and told him I appreciated it. He nodded to me and tossed another lucky fan a ball.

     The Mariners were totally off the field and no sign of the Detroit Tigers. Were they not taking batting practice today? The batting practice equipment was still up. Surely they would.

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     I stopped to take this picture as I continued around the stadium.

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     Finally the Tigers started to come out of the dugout. Still no one in the cage though. I guess Jim Leyland had a meeting with the team that went over scheduled time. That or the Tigers were busy in the clubhouse watching a movie or something.

 

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     Once I got down to the base line I lined up behind the Tigers pitchers for any overthrows that may occur. Unfortunatly, nothing came my way. The Tigers were sound during their warmups. Which is expected. I have high respects for the Detroit Tigers. Two of my favorite players are on this team. Miguel Cabrera and Magglio Ordonez.

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     Still. No. Batting. Practice. Where were the position players? Napping? C`mon already!

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     As the Tigers pitching staff ended their warmup the position players FINALLY started to come out and hit. I moved up into the left field bleacher seats ( Which let me tell you. Limited space.) It wasnt long and the rows started to fill up. For me to catch a baseball one would have to be hit exactly to me. The chances of that happening? Probably one out of 100. Those seem like decent odds but when you figure in the competition factor ( People around me trying to catch a baseball too ) the odds steadily increase as more people fill the rows. I did have a couple hit out to the area I was standing in. I think Brandon Inge was the one batting but he sailed one deep and I ran to my left to try and make a last minute snag but it was way over my head. The guy behind me got it.

 

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     I took a couple pictures of Magglio Ordonez while I was up there. Batting practice for the Tigers didnt last much longer than about 30 minutes. For some reason they cut it short by 15 minutes.

     Here is another picture of Magglio warming up.

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When I got down to the dugout Victor Martinez was being interviews pre-game. And of course all the autographers were after him. Heres a picture of Victor being interviewed.

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     Before the game started I tried to get the warmup baseball from one of the Tigers position players. I just casually walked down the aisle acting like I was going to take pictures of the Tigers. It was about 7:00pm. Five minutes until first pitch. The security guards really didnt hassle with me too much. The guard that was working that aisle kind of took a look at me and then waved me off as some Tigers fan trying to get pictures. He just assumed I wouldnt stay down there the entire game. I guess I could have. The first row was pretty much empty the entire game by the dugout. Anyway. I took a few pictures but what I really wanted was the baseball Brandon Inge and Brennan Boesch were tossing around. About three minutes before first pitch, Inge and Boesch both started to head towards the dugout. They continued to flip the baseball back and forth to each other and finally Inge tossed it behind his back and Boesch missed it. They both continued towards the dugout where they left the personal trainer to deal with the baseball. He tossed it to a family of Tiger fans.

     Here is a picture of Magglio Ordonez right before first pitch. On the far left is the personal trainer that ended up with the baseball.

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     I made my way out to the right field bleachers where I sat for the majority of the game. In the first inning Ryan Raburn popped a towering foul ball that no one ended up catching because it hit off the rafters of the roof. Can you believe that? If you ever get to Safeco Field or already have and remember how far up the roof rafters are…well that is just amazing. Ryan Raburn is the first baseball player to have done that at Safeco Field.

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     The text under Ryan Raburns name says ” Foul ball in the first inning was the first to ever hit the Safeco Field roof. “

 

     Here is a picture of the view from my seat. The outfield was pretty cold but when they finally closed the roof it started to warm up a bit. But not by much. I think Ive already said that.

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     Another notable highlight of the game was that Mike McCready was there. How cool is that? Its pretty awesome if youre a Seattle Native. If you dont know who Mike McCready is I suggest you open up your musical avenues. Mike McCready is this guy.

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     Still having a hard time figuring out who Mike McCready is? Maybe you already know…

     Heres another picture.

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     Give up? Mike McCready is the lead guitarist for the Seattle formed band Pearl Jam.

     Anyway. The Mariners played like absolute crap. Well, not their defense. Well, sorta. Miguel Olivo allowed two pass balls that counted for two of the eight runs that Detroit scored. Not to mention a base clearing triple by Jhonny Peralta and before that the Tigers managed to get the bases loaded and the Mariners walked a run in. By the seventh inning nearly the entire stadium was clearing out. Justin Smoak did manage to get one run back by parking one in the Mariners bullpen. Milton Bradley also put one in the seats but that was in the 3rd inning.

     One of my Ballhawk aquaintances, John Schulstad, was at the game as well. He was able to snag a Milton Bradley foul ball in the first inning. You can read his blog here, and you can also read about his Milton Bradley foul ball snag here. It was actually quite an eventful night at the Safe. After the final out was recorded I chased down to the umpire tunnel and called out to Larry Vanover. He immediatly hooked me up with my 2nd and final ball of the night.

     If youre curious about my charity, which by the way, I think is totally awesome and worth it, you can read all about it here. I encourage you to just take a peek if you havent done so already. I have a few other projects going on as well. Im not only snagging baseballs for puppies for the Seattle-King Co. Humanes Society but I am also snagging baseballs for the Red Cross. That charity project is called; Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan. If you feel like pledging you can send me an email to Stock350i@yahoo.com. Id love to hear from you.

 

Game; April 18th 2011 Detroit Tigers vs Seattle Mariners

Gameballs; Two

Attendance; 12,774

Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $6.40 this season.

Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $4.00 this season.

 

 

 

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