Results tagged ‘ Seattle ’

Jumbo MLBlogs

I’m finally doing it. I’m finally submitting my blog to Major League Baseball to be in the front page of their website for fans. And what A great time to do it. Right before my trip to Japan! If you’re new to reading my blog, I’ve mentioned this trip last year. And I’ve talked about it a little bit in the previous months. I’m really excited and I’ll be boarding the plane at roughly 9am Monday morning. I’ll be returning Friday and I should be able to have my blog entries up about the trip shortly after attending the games. Zack Hample is also going to Japan and he leaves tomorrow. If you don’t know who Zack Hample is, check out his website here. He’s published a few books on baseball that I highly recommend you read.

Anyway. Back to this Jumbo MLB thingy. I think the most important reason why my blog should be a headliner on MLB.com is because I have a really super-awesome charity going on right now. And I’ve upped my efforts by contacting Major League Baseball players that have charities as well and doing a sort of one-for-one exchange on donations. So far I’ve only gotten Bud Norris to respond to me on Twitter. I made sure to hold up my end of the bargain by donating $5 dollars to his charity called Candlelighters CCFA. It’s a noble cause and I fully support these baseball players. My own charity is called Snagging Baseballs for Puppies in which I have teamed up with the Seattle Humane Society to help raise money for the dogs and cats at the local shelters in my area. Last year I raised $257 dollars with seven different pledges. This is basically how my charity works: you make a pledge of say, $0.01 cent a baseball. I head down to a Major League Stadium. I snag as many baseballs per game that I possibly can. At the end of the season I tally up said baseballs snagged, send you an email that you have provided me, and you donate said amount as pledged. Sounds pretty easy, right? Well, that’s because it is.

The second reason why I think my blog should headline MLB.com is because I am a combat veteran of the United States Army. It would be super cool to get a former soldier up there doing his thing. Major League Baseball recognizes the troops and I think that is absolutely awesome. There are two baseball players that I know that I have come into personal contact with last season that also support the soldiers, among many more. Brad Ziegler is one, and he has a charity called Pasttime for Patriots  and Zach Britton. Britton helps out with the Wounded Warrior Foundation. And here’s a short video of Britton talking about his involvement in the Wounded Warrior Foundation:

I’d like to personally thank Zach Britton for his involvement in this. It means a lot to me and I know it means a lot to many soldiers that have been injured due to combat. Thank you very much, Zach, and I look forward to watching you play some baseball this season!

Alright, folks! That’s all I got for now! My next blog entry will more than likely be coming from Japan, so be on the look out for that! If you haven’t followed my blog yet, now would be a good time! I’m going to get with AT&T either tonight or tomorrow and see if I can’t get some kind of international plan so I can at least tweet some stuff to everyone. If you want to follow me on twitter, just click here! Annnnd one other minor detail. My next two blog entries will hopefully be about all the media I’ve been involved in and an exclusive interview with the king of snagging baseballs himself, Mr. Zack Hample.

 

 

Safeco Field Tour

Two days ago I toured Safeco Field. The weather was mildly miserable but I was totally excited to see inside the Safe once again. Here’s a picture of what Safeco Field looks like in January:

Yeah, it’s pretty miserable. Safeco Field is much better in the spring. And with baseball playing on the inside. Once I got my ticket, which by the way they never checked, I took a few pictures of the memorabilia they had on sale. Broken bats, used jerseys, pictures of former players, autographed baseballs, just to name a few. I took this picture of a Ryan Rowland-Smith autographed baseball for two reasons: he’s one of my favorite players and his signature is really awesome. Here, take a look for yourself…

…wouldn’t you agree? And I would’ve bought it but I don’t buy memorabilia. I’d rather get my own autographs. It’s a lot better experience to meet the players instead. Besides, in 2007 I was able to obtain a Ryan Rowland-Smith original outside the stadium when he played for the Mariners. unfortunately, I was still new to the autograph collecting world and I had him sign my baseball with a red sharpie. So here in about another ten years the ink will have soaked into the leather and the autograph will be nearly faded away. I made that fatal mistake with George Brett too. I feel awful about it but there may be another chance to get both of their autographs the right way in the future.

Anyway. Back to the tour. Once we left the memorabilia store the Safeco Field staff was hard at work trying to prep the field, wash the concourse and scrub the seats for an upcoming event at Safeco called Mariners Fan Fest. If you’re a Mariners fan or privy to the Major League Baseball events you’d probably already know it’s this weekend. And I’m going. And I’ll be blogging about it too. So be ready for that!

Here’s a picture of the field:

Safeco Field is one of the prettier stadiums I’ve been to. I thoroughly enjoy the layout which gives fans 100% access to the entire stadium during the game. From a ballhawking perspective that’s pretty awesome. Ted, our tour guide, led us all around the stadium. We walked through the suites and he explained the prices for specific suites. For one of the better suites during a premium game, say like when the Yankees come to town, a suite behind or near home plate can cost in the upwards of $9,000 dollars! The rule is that you must have at least 18 people with you to get these suites. So if you know 18 people with $600-700 dollars, you’re in! And let me tell you: these suites are awesome. Take a look…

…and I apologize for the crappy picture. This picture doesn’t do the suite any justice. It’s absolutely gorgeous on the inside. And every suite is named after a famous Hall of Famer. We were in the Mickey Mantle suite.

Outside of the suites the hallways are littered with Mariners memorabilia, newspaper clippings etc. It was quite a site to see, let me tell you. If I could ever afford a suite I would certainly splurge and watch a game from there.

We visited the press box and the Diamond club, fancy-smancy is all I have to say. The Diamond Club, of course, leads you directly behind home plate. And a person can generally find a ticket for that area for around $200 dollars. But you know me. I’d rather take that $200 dollars and fly to Anaheim to watch baseball. That’s just how I roll. One day I’d consider accessing the Diamond Club. It’s all you can eat and drink!

And now for the fun part. The locker rooms and field access! Once we got into the locker room, Ted explained how the lockers are set up and who sits where. And this was where I met Jose Mesa’s nephew, Miguel. Well, I had met him in the beginning of the tour and he told me who he was while we were touring the suites and since he’s a huge Yankee fan, guess what seat Ted had him sit in?

You guessed it! Alex Rodriguez. Ted wasn’t sure where Derek Jeter sat and that’s okay. I also had to sit in A-rods locker chair with my Chuck Knoblauch shirt hanging out! Ha!

Miguel and I talked a lot about the long-standing feud between Omar Vizquel and Jose Mesa. I learned about this feud a few days ago when I found out Vizquel signed a minor league contract with the Toronto Blue Jays. Vizquel wrote a book, which I have yet to buy and read, and said some things about Jose Mesa. In turn, Mesa vowed to hit Vizquel at every at bat when he faced him. Mesa was able to plunk him twice before he retired in 2007.

While Ted was explaining things along the tour, he led the group into the visiting team kitchen and shower. While he was doing that, look what I found:

Yes, the door was locked.

Anyway. On to the field!

Here I am holding down the Mariners dugout:

And here I am in the media room:

This picture was sort of blurry and it took Ted a few tries to get a decent one. He doesn’t have the most stable hands. But he did his best.

That’s the Safeco Field tour! I’ve toured one other stadium at that was Busch in St. Louis. unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures and I didn’t ever blog about it. That just means I’ll have to take a field trip back to St. Louis one of these days and tour the stadium so I can blog about it.

 

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A Moment of Silence for Greg Halman

Although I did not know Greg Halman personally, I’m sure a lot of fans, baseball players, friends and family did. It’s a tragic ending to such a great start for Greg. I watched him play most of his 44 games at Safeco Field and I can tell you first hand that he would have made a great addition to the Seattle Mariners baseball organization.

I don’t know why this happened but I’m sure eventually the facts will come to light. Until then, let’s take a moment of silence for Greg Halman…

And if you’re interested in reading the full story of MLB.com, you can read it here.

9-9-2011 Safeco Field

Yesterday at Safeco Field I had a blast. I wanted to continue that good vibe and collect even more baseballs. It was so easy because the fan base simply died off for this series. In all fairness, who wants to see two last place teams battle it out? Since I love baseball so much I couldn’t careless who played. I just wanted to see some baseball! I figured for a Friday evening in Seattle, with awesome weather, and the kids all in school now, the crowd should be next to nothing. I was pretty much correct in my assumption. Here is a picture of the party deck well past the time the gates had opened up:

Seriously. That was my competition. It was literally dead. So allow me to back up a little bit and start from the time I walked into the stadium.

Yesterday the Mariners didn’t have batting practice because they got into Seattle from Anaheim quite late. I’m not sure why but that’s what I was told. Today the Mariners were having batting practice but for the most part I was being ignored. I called out to Anthony Vasquez a few times, Trayvon Robinson a few times and even Dan Cortes. Nothing from any of them. It wasn’t until 5:10pm when the rest of the stadium opened up and I found this little gem just sitting in an empty row of seats:

Moments later I found this as well:

I gave away the first loose baseball I found to a nearby woman who had her son with her. And of course I kept the Angels 50th Anniversary commemorative baseball. After hanging around in the third base lower seating bowl for a few extra minutes I decided to try my luck at the “Safeco Field Lookout” . I waited for just the right moment and then called out to Alex Gordon. I had to call his name three times before he finally turned around and looked up at me. I flailed my arms rapidly and motioned for him to throw me a baseball. And when he did…

…I caught my third ball of the evening. You can see Gordon in the picture above walking slightly to his right. He’s the player with the number four on his back. Super nice guy. And not because he threw me a baseball. Well, yeah. That’s mainly why he’s a nice guy. While I was up there looking around I saw Bruce Chen doing the same thing he was doing yesterday; teasing the fans with a baseball. I didn’t know if perhaps he would remember me from yesterday but I had to give it a shot.

When I got down to the party deck there were plenty of fans wanting a baseball. But again. I had the edge. My Kansas City Royals hat. Chen wasn’t playing games with Jesse Chavez this time. He was playing games with Joakim Soria. So the payoff would be awesome. I lined up at the far corner and made sure Soria saw me wearing my Royals hat. Moments later he lobbed a high arching throw that I knew was going to land in the party deck. I took a step forward, outstretched my arm and made the catch. That was my fourth ball of the day. And from Joakim Soria too.

When batting practice started to come to an end I wandered the bullpen looking for any extra baseballs that I could glove-trick out of there. When I saw a baseball at the end of the Royals bullpen I ran over  to try and pull it out. When I arrived, there was a younger baseball fan standing directly in line with the baseball. I asked him if he was trying to get the baseball and he told me he was. I explained to him that it would be a lucky shot if you actually ended up with the baseball because usually the groundskeepers come through and scoop all the baseballs up. I told him I’d glove-trick it out of the bullpen for him. Since I had possession of the baseball that counts towards my total which now put me at five on the day. I handed the baseball off to him, we shook hands and parted ways.

Before the game started I wanted to get something else accomplished. Today I brought the baseball that Jason Phillips threw me on 4-2-2011 at the Oakland Coliseum this year which turned out to be my 100th baseball. Since Phillips tossed it to me I wanted him to sign it. I’ve actually been trying to get him to sign it for the past few games I’ve attended but he was always busy and I don’t want to bother these guys when they have work to do. But the opportunity presented itself when Jason walked up to the bullpen cops and started talking to them. I quickly grabbed my baseball and my pen and walked over to him.

“Hey Jason, I was wondering if you had time for a quick autograph.” I asked him

“Sure, no problem.” He replied.

“But I was wondering if you could personalize the baseball for me. This is my 100th baseball ever caught in my life and you threw it to me in Oakland on April 2nd.” Jason smiled as I explained the significance of the baseball to him.

“Well, what do you want me to put on it?” He asked.

“I don’t know!” I said with a laugh. ” You’re the baseball player. You guys always have something witty to say.” He laughed too, I gave him my name and this was the result:

 

The Mariners game was absolutely amazing. Alex Liddi, who made his Safeco Field debut, ended up hitting a double on his second at-bat. The cool story about Liddi is his season ended while playing for the Tacoma Rainers and his parents had purchased airline tickets for him to go back to Italy and then he gets called up to the Mariners. How cool is that? The Root Sports guys and some freelance writers from MLB Network came down to film Steve Delabar as well. Liddi and Delabar were hot topics in Seattle and the ‘Pen area got quite popular.

Since I was standing there I asked all kinds of questions to the camera man and the people who accompanied him. I also passed him my business card with all my blog information, charity website information and my contact information. So hopefully I’ll hear from those guys one day. Maybe I’ll be famous too!

Jeff Francoeur made some fine plays in the outfield to rob Dustin Ackley of a home run and an extra base hit. After Francoeur robbed Ackley of the home run, Olivo blasted one off the fair-pole in left field. Olivo also hit a double and a triple. He came up short for the cycle but it was still awesome to see.

After the game ended I called out to Dan Cortes and got him to toss me my sixth baseball of the night. The Mariners came out winners with a 7-3 victory over the Royals.

 

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Game; September 9th 2011 Kansas City Royals vs Seattle Mariners

Gameballs; Six

Attendance; 14,805

Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $178.70 this season.

Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $44.80 this
season

 

 

 

 

8-28-2011 Safeco Field

If you’ve ever been to Safeco Field, or Seattle for that matter, this was what I walked up to on a Sunday morning in August. The high would reach nearly 85 degrees probably around 2pm but when I took this picture it felt like a cool 55. Of course, Safeco Field is near the water front so this kind of weather made sense. It was also kids t-shirt day so getting to the ballpark early enough to beat the crowds was essential.

My Dad was attending this game with me so there will be a whole lot of pictures of me roaming the stadium looking for baseballs. It was kind of fun and the only thing I would change is to attend a game with him when there was batting practice. This being a Sunday game I wasn’t quite sure if they’d have batting practice or not and my chances of getting at least one baseball was on the line again. Before this game I was currently sitting at 89 consecutive baseball games attended and getting at least one baseball. Since I snagged my 100th baseball on the season, my 200th lifetime baseball and I’m also getting close to snagging my 100th baseball AT Safeco Field, it should would be awesome to snag a baseball in 100 consecutive games this season. I’d need to attend at least 10 more games for that to happen. Its pretty do-able. unfortunately, there are about 14 home games here at Safeco Field left…and I’m still trying to go see Sun Life Stadium in Florida this year.

Here’s me trying to act like the Mariner Moose:

When I got into the stadium at 10:40am there was very little going on. A couple of Mariners were playing long toss on the other side of the field and some Chicago Whitesox players were doing the same on their side of the stadium. Other than that…it was dead.  Here’s a picture of the action:

Like I said. Totally dead. The batting practice equipment was not set up so batting practice would not happen. But the crowd was relatively light so I could safely assume I’d leave the ballpark with my consecutive game streak still in tact.

Here’s a picture of me looking through the Mariners bullpen courtesy of my Father:

He has this really cool camera so the pictures came out really good. If you want to check out more of his pictures just click here. He’s got some really awesome stuff.

Once the rest of the stadium opened up at ten after eleven I ran up the stairs that I talked about on 8-26-2011 here at Safeco Field, and made my way down into the lower seating bowl. I was greeted by security and was told there wouldn’t be any batting practice. Duh. First of all it was a Sunday. And really, it being a Sunday has very little to do with it. It’s actually the scheduled game time of 1:10pm that has everything to do with it. Especially if a game carries into extra innings or lasts like six hours they normally don’t have batting practice the following day. Only because the players want to sleep in. But like I’ve said before. I’ve been to Sunday, or rather, 1:10pm games before and batting practice was in full swing.

When I got down to the lower seating bowl Will Ohman of the Chicago Whitesox was out onto the field warming up. I had to say hi.

And then I tried to get the baseball from him:

With that stance, it was so ridiculous that I got Will Ohman to laugh. Not that he doesn’t ever laugh but it was just so silly of me. He ended up giving the baseball to two younger Mariner fans after he got them to ask for the baseball using the word “please”. I thought that was the right thing to do anyway.

After Will walked off the field that was it for a while. I walked to the opposite side of the stadium and waited on Chone Figgins to walk towards the dugout but then I saw that more Mariners were making their way out onto the field. If this was the time to get a baseball then this would be the time. Every Mariner pitcher was out on the grass tossing baseballs around. I could take my chances on an errant throw or I could just go for the old fashion toss-up. I weighted my options and tried for a toss-up from Jamey Wright and Brandon League.

As you can see Safeco Field was still quite a sight with that fog rolling in from the water front. It really made for good pictures. Like this one:

After Brandon League and Jamey Wright finished playing catch, Brandon League tossed the baseball into the right field bleachers. I was still looking for a toss-up from a Mariner pitcher but then I figured while I was looking for a toss-up I might as well play for an errant throw too. I tried to squeeze in on the first base wall but there were so many people waiting for autographs. I had to hang back for a while. But I had some time to kill.

I’m standing by the little kid in the Mariners jersey. I’m wearing the green shirt. I knew that since Tom Wilhelmsen and Dan Cortes were on the field things were going to happen for me. They’re two of the nicest guys I’ve ever met. But when Chance Ruffin finished up throwing and came over to sign autographs right in front of me I knew I had to make the ultimate decision; leave this spot or stay here and hope for an overthrow or a toss-up. The problem with staying put? I’d be fighting a HUGE crowd. So I carried on a short conversation with Chance, got his autograph and bailed.

The moment I started walking away, Tom Wilhelmsen finished up his game of catch. He came over to the end spot near the Mariners dugout and started signing autographs. He also had a baseball in his glove. He handed his glove off to the security guard so he could free up his hands to sign autographs and I patiently waited. I also took this photo:

I’m not sure if he just climbed over the railing and took up a spot on the dugout to sign or it was some kind of special signing day. Either way it was pretty awesome. I didn’t hear anything from the Mariners about Jamey Wright signing autographs but Jamey is a pretty awesome guy. I’m pretty sure he just jumped up there and started signing. Meanwhile, Tom finished up signing autographs, grabbed his glove,(and baseball) from the security guard and started walking towards the dugout. I had to call his name twice and when he looked at me I flapped my glove at him. He lobbed the baseball to me and I had to knock it down with my non-glove hand into my mitt to make that catch. He apologized but I reassured him that I’d of made the catch anyway and it was no problem. With that snag that is my 90th consecutive game with at least one baseball.

This was my view during the game:

While I was sitting there I narrowly missed a home run ball from Dayan Viciedo. It landed in the front row and the guy sitting there didn’t even have to move. He just stuck his glove out and made the catch. Had I been really paying attention? The second row behind him was clear, and all I had to do was manuever down there and stand behind him at the last-minute to make the catch. It ate me up at first but there was no sense in staying mad about it.

Here are a few pictures my Dad got while sitting behind me.

Yes, Guti was safe. In case you were wondering.

Yes, Guti caught the baseball. In case you were wondering that as well.

No, Trayvon Robinson did not catch this baseball. But it still made for an amazing picture.

And of course no blog entry would be complete without a picture of Mariners bullpen catcher, Jason Phillips, chillin` on the outfield wall.

Here’s a screenshot of myself and my Dad during the Dayan Viciedo home run:

The dude that caught the home run baseball is the fourth guy from the left. It actually was a pretty impressive snag for not having to move at all.

 

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Game; August 28th 2011 Chicago WhiteSox vs Seattle Mariners

Gameballs; One

Attendance; 25,630

Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $166.30 this season.

Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $41.20 this
season

 

8-26-2011 Safeco Field

I arrived at Safeco Field sitting on 198 lifetime baseballs. Well, not literally sitting on them but I have about 198 baseballs at home. Give or take a few from giving some away every once in a while. This is what I initially saw when I ran out to the party deck after receiving a very cool and stylish Seattle Mariners fleece blanket:

That’s Jason Vargas and Felix Hernandez. Vargas is on the right. I called out to both of them quite a few times and I finally got Jason Vargas to throw a baseball towards me. unfortunately, he either lost his grip on the baseball or just under/over estimated the distance and this was the result:

Can you see the baseball? It’s in the corner on the left side by the garage door lookin` thing. The ball actually bounced on the railing before it landed over there. The good news is Jason Vargas saw the whole thing go down, and he flapped his glove at me to let me know he would try again. The more good news is that the security guard on the other side of the fence also saw the whole thing and came over to get some other baseballs that were on the grass behind the centerfield wall.

I was very shocked when the security guard hooked up myself and another adult instead of every kid in the stadium. I was also shocked when five seconds later Jason Vargas whistled at me and tossed me another one. The ball in the picture above is actually my 100th baseball on the season, and the one Jason Vargas tossed me is my 200th lifetime baseball. In the Ballhawking world that’s quite a milestone. Eventually I’d like to make it to 1,000 baseballs. Since I already snagged two baseballs in under five minutes I figured I’d go chase down some loose baseballs in the seats. I headed over to the staircase and waited twenty minutes before the rest of the stadium opened up. All these people…

…were waiting in line to go up these stairs…

…and I, of course, was leading the way. Once the they allowed us entry it was a race to the top. And when I got to the top and scurried down some rows I found this:

How awesome is that? My 201st lifetime baseball. And my third of the day. And since I was already up here behind the manual scoreboard in left field I decided to play the corner. It’s always a pretty good spot mostly for toss-ups but the occasional home run ball also lands here.

Brandon League and Jeff Gray were both talking to a few WhiteSox players and Brandon League actually had a baseball in his glove but he was way too far away to call for it. I would’ve ran down there and asked Brandon for it but I had a better plan. Dan Cortes. He was also down there talking to some WhiteSox players and he also had a baseball in his glove. And the best part about it was him and I weren’t a million miles away like Brandon and I were. I knew I only had one shot at this and I had to time it just right.

As soon as Dan started to walk away I called to him. Of course he didn’t hear me right away so I called to him again. When he turned around I flapped my glove at me and he rifled a laser right to me. The ball hit off the tip of my glove, bounced once on the railing, bounced over my head, bounced twice on the seat arm rest behind me, some dude swiped at it, then it trickled down in-between the seat back and the actual seat into my glove waiting underneath. Feeeww! Talk about a close call! Or close calls! How many lucky bounces was that? Like, seven? Holy crap! I just stood there frozen as the ball bounced all over the place. I did have my glove trick ready to go, as always, so if the ball landed down into the manual scoreboard it wasn’t like I wouldn’t have been able to get it back. I was just worried that another fan would’ve grabbed it on one of those weird bounces. But no one ever got it and it never really went anywhere. I couldn’t believe it.

Do you want to read about another crazy bouncing baseball? You might as well continue reading. You’ve read this far. Okay, so after capturing my fourth ball of the day I went down to the third base side to maybe catch a grounder. This was my view:

The first baseball that came my way ended up here…

…and my competition was very little. Anything that can within my wing span would be gobbled up for sure. Ready for another crazy bouncing baseball story? The next baseball that came near me hit the fence that you can see in the above photo and then went up in the air, landed on the baseball that you can see in the above photo and ended up bouncing right to me. Can you believe THAT? The ball ricocheted off the fence, landed on the baseball sitting on the grass and ended up bouncing right to me!

Since batting practice at this point was drawing to a close I wanted to give away at least one baseball to the cutest kid I could find. I ran back down to the ‘Pen area and searched for the first cute kid I saw. unfortunately, I didn’t get a good picture of the cuteness but you could imagine how cute this little kid is. And the way he said “thank you” was even more cute.

The kid in the “Ichiro” jersey is the one I have the ball to. Lots of cuteness. Oh, and here is a picture of my 200th baseball.

Amazing. Simply amazing. I wandered around the stadium for a little while longer until all the players were off the field. I got this final picture of Juan Pierre getting his picture taken with a cute baby. See! More cuteness!

Safeco Field was full of cute babies today.

As for the Mariners game? Not so cute. The Mariners were beaten by a score of 4-2. Olivo went deep for the Mariners but Brent Lillibridge hit a monster two-run dinger to seal the deal for a WhiteSox win.

 

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Game; August 26th 2011 Chicago WhiteSox vs Seattle Mariners

Gameballs; Five

Attendance; 28,621

Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $165.25 this season.

Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $40.90 this
season

 

8-17-2011 Safeco Field

Before I get into the Mariners game I wanted to share something else with my readers. Its been some time and I actually considered blogging about my experience but it wasn’t really worth it in my eyes. I attended my very first Minor League baseball game at Everett Memorial Stadium in Everett Washington on August 10th. That’s where the Everett AquaSox play if you aren’t familiar with MiLB. Anyway, I went with my Dad and when we arrived at the stadium this is the first thing I saw…

It was either a home run ball from last night or maybe a batting practice home run from earlier. Since I went into the stadium at 5:30pm I assumed it could have been a BP homer ball. I wasn’t sure if in the Minors the teams had BP or not…but later I found out from another fan that the AquaSox didn’t take BP before this particular game. So the baseball is undoubtably a home run baseball from the night prior. And yes of course I was able to get the baseball in the above picture.

If you’re wondering what an official MLB baseball is doing in an official MiLB baseball stadium it’s because the minor leaguers get hand-me-down baseballs when they’re too used for MLB standards. Not all of the baseballs they use are MLB baseballs though.

The picture above is me holding to my very first baseball ever snagged at a MiLB game. I really won’t go into the details of how the game went. The Aquasox got beat up pretty bad in the fifth allowing the Tri-City Dust Devils to score seven runs. My Dad and I left shortly after the seventh run was scored by the opposition and on my way out of the stadium I snagged two more baseballs; one of which I passed off to a kid with his mother as they too were exiting the stadium. The two baseballs I snagged were foul balls and both of them have the Official Ball Northwest League stamp on them.

When I got out onto the party deck in the ‘Pen at Safeco Field the area filled up pretty fast. Before I knew it I had some serious competition. There were lots of people my age, young, and athletic that had baseball gloves on. But that didn’t stop me from getting my first baseball on the day due to someone elses error. Jeff Gray was in the outfield playing pretty deep and he got a lot of baseballs hit to him. It was only a matter of time when he would throw one up and when he did I would be right there to catch the bobble or the overthrow.

In the above photo I took of the party porch the guy in the light blue jersey with the red arrow over his head,(he didn’t really have that arrow over his head at the game) continued to call out to Jeff Gray who can barely be visible on the right side of the photo. You can see his glove. Gray finally acknowledged the requests for a baseball and at that moment when he fielded the next baseball he turned around to throw it into the crowd. I ran up and stood behind everyone waiting for a bobble or an overthrow. And of course Gray overthrew the entire crowd and I ended up catching the baseball. The guy in the light blue jersey back peddled into me causing a small collision but I held onto the baseball.

Brandon League has to be about the most awesome baseball player I’ve ever watched play the game. He’s hooked me up with a baseball before on 5-18-2011 at Safeco Field but I wanted another one from him. If you want to look at my complete list of all the players that have thrown me baseballs just click here. I was on the third base side when I got my first ball from League and that was pretty easy to catch. This time I was way up here…

…overlooking the bullpens and left field to be specific. That’s Brandon League fielding the baseball and this is the results:

Brandon League is on the right.

I went out to centerfield, or more like right center, and when I got out there I saw a ton of baseballs down in the gap. Well, maybe not a ton, more like five or six. I quickly put together my glove trick but I was abruptly stopped by security. He gave me the worst attitude and told me, “There ain’t no none of that around hurr!” and literally shoo-ed me out of the section. He then proceeded to climb down the ladder, retrieve all the baseballs and gave them all to kids. He’s the security guard I’m always complaining about that isn’t adult-friendly.

Kids have their whole lives to get baseballs. Why can’t these security guards be more selective of who they give baseballs to? And I’m pretty sure they aren’t supposed to be giving them away anyway. Most security guards that I talk to have told me they aren’t supposed to touch them. Anyway. I’ve ranted about these security guards so much in my blogs. I’ve battled them day in and day out at the stadiums. It’s always going to be like this and no matter how much or how little fans complain about them nothing will change.

I was hoping to get at least one more baseball to make it to 100 on the season. But after that incident with the security guard nothing else really happened. When the Blue Jays came out to stretch and throw the baseball around I did try to glove trick a baseball off the warning track. Jesse Litsch turned around and threw a baseball at my glove which knocked the sharpie out of it so I couldn’t get the baseball. He told me to stop because that was his “throwing ball”. Some fans were on my side and yelling at Jesse to just let me get it. But I stuck up for Jesse because I knew what he was talking about. He didn’t want me to have that specific baseball because it was used enough where he was comfortable throwing it. Some of the newer balls they practice with aren’t quite broke in enough. That helped the fans around me understand and they backed off Jesse. I think he appreciated that because he tossed a couple baseballs into the crowd to other people and not me. He did give me my sharpie back though.

The stadium was full of Jays fans…

The Mariners started to get beat up on pretty bad and by the fourth inning it was 0-4 Blue Jays. So I left. I couldn’t stand to see the Mariners lose on such a beautiful day in Seattle.

I’ve started a new blog too. Its called A View From the Bullpen. It’s really fun stuff to read. I’ve always wanted to blog kind of sarcastically about things that happen around the Major Leagues. You know, kind of give my “expert” opinion on crap? You understand, I’m sure of it.

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

Game; August 17th 2011 Toronto Blue Jays vs Seattle Mariners

Gameballs; two

Attendance; 26,574

Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $160.00 this season.

Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $39.40 this
season

7-30-2011 Safeco Field

A lot has happened in the last few days. I’ve received a ton of questions about that Ichiro look-alike guy that I blogged about on 7-29-2011 at Safeco Field. Apparently he interfered with a fair ball down the first base line a couple of games ago, got the baseball, gave it to a fan and then got ejected for doing so. You can probably find the video of it on the Mariners website under highlights. Anyway. I don’t know the specifics of what his intentions are or why he does what he does. He’s probably just another huge Ichiro fan. In Seattle we get a lot of street shows so I just lumped him in with the rest. Also in my blog entry on 7-29-2011 at Safeco Field I mentioned that I had met Seth McClungs mother. Well, Seth McClung contacted me and informed me that was not his mother. Here’s how I assumed it was. The woman started rambling on about how she had a son in the Major leagues and that he played for the Milwaukee Brewers. Or was drafted by them and was in single A baseball. So I googled all and any former and current draftees by the Brewers and Seth McClungs’ name came up in all my search results. So naturally I just assumed. Not the case. I do apologize for that mistake.

Here is the Ichiro look-alike grabbing the fair ball hit by Dustin Ackley…

…and then finding out it was a fair ball…

…and then being ejected…

…even Ichiro Doppelgangers don’t stand a chance against Safeco security.

Today’s game started promptly at 1:05pm. For that reason alone I wasn’t going to attend the game because I’m on a mission to snag 200 lifetime baseballs. I only need like seven more. Plus I have a streak of 85 consecutive games of catching at least one baseball at a game. Since there is a possibly that BP wouldn’t happen it makes snagging baseballs that much harder. But I went anyway. When I ran into the stadium at 10:40am I saw this…

Holy. Crap. That’s Jack Wilson, by the way, pitching to his son. Look at all those baseballs! Sure I’d get at least one, right? His son was even hitting them over the centerfield wall. And when he did so I asked the security guard if he could possibly throw one up to me. His answer? “I can’t give them away.” Whatever, dude. I hate it when those security guards lie like that. I’d rather be ignored then lied to.

By then the centerfield party porch started to fill up and Jack Wilsons kid wasn’t able to hit anything remotely close to us. But he did have some good pop. But I did see this…

I also noticed that the batting cage equipment wasn’t behind the centerfield wall like it normally would be on a 1:05pm game. Now don’t get me wrong. I’ve attended afternoon games with batting practice before. But it’s not a normal thing. So when I noticed that the batting cage equipment was gone I quickly lined up at the stairs to be the first one down on the third base side. But then at the last-minute I noticed all the Mariner players lining up on the first base side. They all had gloves and baseballs too. You know what that meant? Long toss! I jumped out of line and ran to the other side of the ‘Pen and lined up at the other staircase. As soon as they let us go I raced down to the first base side and got behind Josh Bard and his throwing partner. As a result I nearly caught TWO overthrows simultaneously. One of them nearly bounced over the tarp and into the seats but it ended up being scooped up by a grounds crew member. He rubbed the dirt off of it and in mid-toss to me Josh Bard stopped him and took the ball back. Bummer.

But as soon as Josh Bard was done playing catch with the baseball he started to walk away and underhanded it to me. I had to jump for it a little though.

After that I ran over to line up behind Felix Hernandez and Jason Phillips.

I still really wanted a baseball from Felix and I was thinking this is as close as it’s probably going to get this season. As soon as I walked up behind them Felix lost control of his throw and the baseball sailed into the seats. I yelled “Heads up!” as loud as I could and then chased down the baseball. Of course Phillips needed the baseball back and I happily tossed it to him. He then told me to “stick around” because he was going to toss me the baseball once he and the King were done with it. Awesome! That’s what I did. I “stuck around”. Sure enough after fifteen minutes of “sticking around” Phillips tossed me the baseball. Speaking of sticking around…the ball that Felix and Phillips were playing with was so rubbed up with pine tar my fingers actually stuck to the baseball.

I waited around for more overthrows that might have occurred for maybe another ten minutes and then I walked over to the third base side of the stadium to see if I could get one of the Tampa Bay Rays players to throw one to me.

Now. Pay very close attention here. Do you see the player standing way out in center field by the “Dave” sign? That’s Dan Cortez. He just got called back up to Seattle from Triple-A Tacoma. While I was standing around waiting for some more Rays players to come out and start throwing I noticed that Dan Cortez had tried to hook up a fan with a baseball. And guess what happened? Yup! The fan bobbled it and it dropped down behind the center field wall gap. I was all over that. I ran up the stairs, sprinted around the concourse, down the stairs into the ‘Pen area and arrived at the party porch in center field. I assembled my glove for the glove trick, lowered it down, scooped up the baseball and handed it off to the nearest fan. That was number three on the day. I even welcomed Dan back to Seattle and he gave me the “rock and roll” hand signal.

When James “Big game” Shields came out to toss the baseball around I switched back to my Rays hat and wandered down to the left field corner of Safeco. Of course the game would be starting soon and I was ready to be kicked out of the section at any moment. I was surprised when it didn’t ever happen.

After James was finished playing long toss he came over and started signing autographs…

…and then he signed some more…

…and then he took a break and caught some highlights on the jumbo-tron…

…and then he signed my ticket stub…

…and then we took a picture together…

…and then the Seattle Mariners went on to win the baseball game by a score of 3-2. And they only allowed one hit!

Game; July 30th  2011 Tampa Bay Rays vs Seattle Mariners

Gameballs; three

Attendance; 24,985

Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $155.80 this season.

Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $38.20 this
season

7-29-2011 Safeco Field

The month of July has been a slow month for baseball mainly because of the All-star game. The Mariners have been on road trips since then. They came home for a four game set against the Texas Rangers but I missed out on all four games. I was able to get some time for the Tampa Bay Rays/Mariners series so this was my first game at Safeco Field in like a month.

When I got to the stadium I ran into this guy…

 

…and Ichiro Suzuki look-alike. He did the whole batting stance that Ichiro does and everything. It was quite impressive. When I got to the gates I had about twenty minutes to spare and there was already a small crowd. It was Seattle Super-Sonics appreciation night at Safeco so there were a lot of Sonics fans at the gates already. I think a lot of people had the impression they’d get autographs from their favorite Sonics. I had no intentions of participating in the Sonics thing. Even though I admired Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp growing up as a kid. There was a lot of negativity still fresh in my mind about Shawn Kemp and I was a little surprised he didn’t get boo-ed when he came out during the Sonics introductions. But it was a happy time. No need for boo-ing.

When I got inside the stadium I walked down into the center field “pen” area and got Felix Hernandez attention and got him to throw me the next baseball he scooped up. Unfortunately, he threw me a knuckleball and it died as soon as it reached its apex and fell short by about three feet. I’m not sure he did it on purpose or what. He didn’t even watch to see if I caught it or not. Which I didn’t. Luckily for me a nearby security guard saw the whole thing.

In the picture above you can see Felix standing with Jason Vargas. That’s how far he threw it. A knuckleball. Can you believe that? I was slightly upset because I have been trying to get a baseball from Felix all season and this was my second opportunity. My first came in the beginning of the year when he threw one up but another fan was able to swat it away and get it. I assume I’ll have another opportunity in the next month or so.

When the security guard came walking over I started to explain to him what had happened, (keeping in mind that he saw the whole thing) I politely asked if he could toss the baseball up to me. Just as I was explaining a young Mariners fan came running up with his hands out. I knew I wouldn’t get the ball and when the security guard handed the baseball to the kid the mother apologized to me. I laughed and told her it was no big deal.

You can see the two security guards in the teal t-shirts in the center field bleachers in the above photo. The one closest to the field is the one that denied me the Felix ball. There was another baseball sitting nearby as well and I asked for that one too but he ignored me. Whatever. As soon as I turned to seek other baseball snagging opportunities, Doug Fister scooped up a baseball and lobbed it into the crowd. Of course the baseball bounced off of three different hands and landed down into the center field gap. Time for the glove trick! And my first baseball of the day! YEAA-AH! Thank you, Dougie!

Once I reeled in my first baseball of the day I wandered the bullpen “pen” area. It was unusually packed…

I always make sure to check the bullpen for any loose baseballs when I come over here to stand in line. And when I looked I found one in the Tampa Bay Rays bullpen very close to the wall and well within reach. So I started to assemble my glove for the glove trick. While I was doing so this mother/son combo was watching me and started asking questions like, “What is all that for?” and “You’re going to try to get that baseball?” It turns out that she is the mother of Seth McClung. If you don’t know who Seth McClung is, click here. Her son really wanted a baseball too. I promised him that the next baseball I got I would hook him up with it. I told her my baseball snagging stats on the year and I also gave her one of my business cards for my Charity I have. She was very impressed and told me I was a “great guy”. I thought that was very nice of her. After I snagged my second baseball on the day out of the bullpen I stood in line at the stairs for about ten minutes and then raced down to the third base area. I was beat out by some older guy that was in a hurry to scoop up all the loose baseballs. I had to make a few comments to make him stop because there were like twelve baseballs lying around and he was getting every single one of them. He ended up tossing me one in the end, and I found another. I’m all for gathering as many up as a person could possibly hold…but there were other fans coming down as well. That’s why I told him to chill out.

While I was standing around waiting for Jeremy Hellickson to get done playing catch, I noticed a young fan trying to accomplish the same thing. The difference between him and me is that I don’t stand around holding these in plain view…

…I’m pretty sure the Rays players saw that and decided to throw the baseballs into the infield. Just as I was deciding on going back to hook up the young fan I promised a baseball I heard my name being called. It turns out that the fan I promised a baseball  got his very own! I thought that was pretty awesome. It seems like every time I want to give a baseball to someone they end up getting one on their own. So I quit doing that. I used to give them to adults too but after I’ve been lied to so many times I decided the only people I’m going to give baseballs out to anymore are younger fans with a glove after the eight inning.  I keep saying this though.

When BP ended I walked back down to the bullpen area to wait on a baseball I saw land their earlier. And when I got there this is what I saw…

…someone from the top deck of the stadium was lowering THEIR baseball grabbing device into the bullpen to snag this puppy. I decided that if security stopped him I’d go for it. But until then I’d let him have his fun. It would have been an easy snag for me too.

Attempt #13.

And finally! After #22 attempts, (yes I counted) he got the baseball. That was some serious height to be dealing with too. I was quite impressed.

I took a walk around the stadium and found the Seattle Mariners Hall of Fame. The Mariners vendor staff recently lost Rick “peanut man” Kaminksi. The Mariners had put a brand new Hall of Fame memorial in there to remember Rick. I had to pay my respects. Rick had been slinging peanuts since I was a youngster going to games in the Kingdome with my Dad. So it meant a lot to visit that memorial.

It was a very sad day for sure. I never got any peanuts from Rick but I remember the commercial of him and Alvin Davis talking about drunk drivers in 1989. That was so long ago but I remember it like it was yesterday. You will be missed, Rick.

And of course I had to see the rest of the Hall of Fame while I was there.

Edgar Martinez.

Alvin Davis.

And Jay Buhner.

After a walk-through of the M’s Hall of Fame I decided to try to sit out in the outfield for a home run ball. Dustin Ackley seems to be swinging the bat pretty well so I wanted to set myself up to snag one of his home runs. Here is my view from where I was able to sit…

Yes, I know. I played very deep but I had a clear aisle to my left which enabled me to run down both flights of stairs to reach the front row. This seemed like a very popular place for home runs to land anyway. Justin Smoak has hit the majority of his home runs in the sections to my left and right. Here’s my clear aisle to my left…

See the dude in the Ackley jersey? I took this picture just as he came into view and he sat down in that row too. And that got the security guards attention. I knew I was busted as she started asking for tickets so I saved her the time and left on my own instead of having to be asked to leave. What a racket. I had the perfect seat for a home run ball and that dopey fan ruined it for me. I spent the remainder of the game looking for a decent chair to sit in and I finally pulled up a spot in the Flying Cantina near the bullpen and watched the game from underneath the manual scoreboard. It was a horrible view, no chance to get a baseball, and the drunks were ruining my baseball experience. I held out until about the seventh inning and then went and stood behind home plate to finish watching the game from there. Of course with the Rays scoring eight runs in the second inning and running Erik Bedard out after that, the Mariners didn’t post one run in the game.

That was the crowd around the eighth inning. And you can also see some dopey fan getting tackled by security in shallow center field.

Game; July 29th  2011 Tampa Bay Rays vs Seattle Mariners

Gameballs; Four

Attendance; 26,570

Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $152.65 this season.

Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $37.30 this
season

 

7-2-2011 Safeco Field

This blog entry is way over due. I know. And in the month of July alone I’ve only attended three games. That’s pretty sad. But what’s really cool is my blog is still pretty popular and I’m still averaging like, 50 views a day. And something that’s even cooler? This is my 100th blog entry.

So let’s recap my baseball snagging day and get off with life, shall we?

The San Diego Padres were in town for this game. So that meant a potential autograph from Ryan Ludwick or Heath Bell. Two players I admire a lot. It was also “Singles Night” so the beer garden was going to be packed. As soon as the gates opened I ran inside and started looking for any potential baseballs that needed to be plucked out from the center field gap or out of the bullpens. I saw one in the Mariners bullpen so I quickly got to work. I assembled my glove and lowered it down to knock the ball closer. I had to kind of nudge my way closer to these very attractive women that were standing there drinking beer and when they saw what I was doing that started to heckle me. John Shulstad, another Safeco Field regular Ballhawk got on Tv while using his glovetrick. So half of America got to see it. If you want to read an article about it, click here. One lady made a comment, “So you saw that on Tv and figured you’d give it a try?” It wasn’t the heckling that was frustrating me. It was the fact that I didn’t realize the rubber band had moved on me preventing me from capturing the baseball. Plus I was worried that security would come over and shut me down.

I finally got the baseball. And then I found another one after the rest of the stadium opened up. And then I found myself back down in the “Singles Night” area.

 

THAT was “Singles Night”. Its a special area barricaded off, and its like, an additional ten bucks to get in there to drink overpriced, watered down beer, and mingle with strangers at a Mariners game. There was a live band though. Two dudes playing pianos and singing popular songs. So I guess it was fun. I went further down and caught a conversation between a fan and one of the Padres players. She was trying to pay him a dollar for a baseball. She even crumpled up a dollar bill and threw it at him. Of course, he crumpled it up and threw it right back. She never got a baseball either.

As you can see she has a glove. She has on baseball gear. But she’s talking to a Padres baseball player. Not a Mariners player. Sometimes its difficult to get a baseball from players of the opposing team when you aren’t flying their colors. Know what I mean?

After watching “Singles Night” and being glad I didn’t pay an addition ten dollars to participate, I wandered back over to the third base side. Once I got there a batted ball came my way but instantly died when it reached about five rows in front of me. I thought It would carry the rest of the way…

…the guy in the black shirt got it. I took the picture just as the ball landed in the seats and as you can tell people were still scrambling for it even after the dude caught it. See the guy in the blue shirt row hopping? After that happened Ryan Ludwick started to head towards the dugout and I scrambled towards where I thought he would stop and start signing autographs. Now I’m not the crazy, obsessed autograph hound that knocks over babies and mashes peoples’ popcorn to get a players autograph. But I did want add Ryan Ludwick to my collection. But I didn’t knock over any babies in my pursuit.

Here is a picture of Ryan Ludwick walking towards the dugout…

…and here is a picture of him signing autographs. He kept saying, “I can’t sign for very long, guys. I have to go hit.” and everytime he said that, someone would say, “Just one more, Ryan. Just one more!” and then Ryan would say, “I gotta go hit, man. Sorry.” as he kept signing. I was so amused by the back and forth that I literally forgot to get in there and get him to sign my ticket stub. I was thoroughly enjoying the interaction of him with the fans.

While I was down there watching the Padres take some cuts in the cage I noticed one of the Padres try to hook a fan up out in center field. The fan, of course, bobbled the ball and it dropped down into the center field gap. Glove trick time! I ran the whole way there too. And when I got to the beer garden is so packed I literally had to shove my way through to get to the baseball. Luckily there was a father/son combo standing in front of it discussing ways to get the baseball. And when I started to lower my glove down into the gap the crowd started to laugh, and cheer and cat call and all sorts of stuff. One guy said, “I will give you a million dollars if you can get that baseball.” And I said back, “Dude, I wish you HAD a million dollars.” As I reeled up the baseball. Of course the baseball was quickly handed over to the kid that was standing with his father. His father shook my hand and told his son to thank me.

After that BP came to a close and I perched up at the Padres bullpen to watch the game.

Here are a couple of pictures of Mariners pitching coach Jaime Navarro signing an autograph.

..and the second picture.

Okay so…no Mariner game recap for this blog entry…mainly because I don’t remember who won and I’m not going to dig through the MLB archives to find out the score of a game that happened like, a month ago. But you can enjoy some of my charity stats instead.

 

Game; July 2nd 2011 San Diego Padres vs Seattle Mariners

Gameballs; three

Attendance; 23,616

Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $148.45 this season.

Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $36.10 this
season

 

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