Results tagged ‘ Snagging baseballs for puppies ’
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.
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.
Here is another one…
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.
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
Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $24.80 this season.
Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $9.25 this season.
I totally forgot about the start time of 6:10pm. Which meant I got a late start leaving for the stadium. Which meant Id be stuck in Saturday afternoon Seattle traffic. Which meant I probably wouldnt be the first one at the gates. Which would probably cost me a baseball or two. So that sucked.
When I got to the stadium no one was there at the right field gates. It was about 35 minutes until the gates opened and I was shocked. Usually there is a small crowd by now but not today. It was in fact Easter weekend. Maybe people had better things to do than attend Mariners batting practice.
When I ran inside Jaime Navarro and Michael Pineda were in right field shagging baseballs. They usually stick the rookies in right field during batting practice because the more experienced players or the players with more seniority dont have to deal with the fans as much. Thats something you probably didnt know. Anyway. As batting practice continued there were a few baseballs hit into right field but nothing close. And since Jaime Navarro was with Michael Pineda I knew it was going to be nearly impossible to get a baseball from those two. Im pretty sure Jaime Navarro hates me. Ive spoken to him quite a few times and I usually get the cold shoulder. Mainly because Ive been saying his name wrong. I really didnt think about that until I started poking through a Mariners program left on a seat in the outfield. Ive been calling him “Jamie” and his name is pronounced ” Hy-may”. ( spelled Jaime ) Maybe he will forget my face and let by-gones be by-gones.
So as the front row slowly started to fill up with would-be ball snaggers, I dont know who hit it, but the ball was sliced gently over to the front row but didnt quite have the distance or the momentum to make it to me. I reached for it and of course the security guard had to give his two cents.
” I can’t give it to you, man. Ill get in trouble.” He said.
” Yeah, I know.” I said back. But what I wanted to say was this; ” Yeah, I know. You cant touch or pick up any baseballs because youll get in trouble or get fired. But as soon as a five year old kid comes running down here youre free to do whatever you want with the baseball. Ive heard it all before, bud. You dont have to give me a line. You can just say ” I cant give baseballs to adults.”
Of course when JAIME Navarro came walking over towards it and I asked him for a little help and he graciously waved at the security guard to just give me the baseball. HA! But you could tell in his face that he didnt want to give me the baseball. He was actually cringing at the thought. I politely thanked him anyway and wandered out of the aisle to let the others have a go.
When I got to the other side of the stadium ( It felt like hours had passed going from one end to the other ) the Athletics were coming out onto the field to start warming up. I wanted to line up behind Jerry Blevins and Brad Ziegler to try and snag an overthrow. The crowd was light so I actually had many options of who to stand behind.
The problem, as you can see, was the dorky, red-headed, security guard standing there. ( No offense to Red-heads ) He’d probably get plunked first before I caught any overthrows from Blevins. Not only that, anything down the line he would surely stick his weak little foot out to stop it from going any further. Most of those security guards have good intentions..if they’d just stay home.
Once the pitchers completed their warmup tosses for the evening I headed up the line some more to get a better angle on Hideki Matsui. Here’s a picture of him before I got closer.
After I got down there it wasnt long before Kevin Kouzmanoff walked over and started signing autographs. I easily got him to sign my ticket stub for the game and I thanked him for the awesome game of catch the day prior. He happily obliged and we parted ways. Moments later Brad Ziegler came walking by towards the dugout so I chased him down for a quick picture as he signed autographs for fans.
I climbed over a few rows of seats to get around in front of the dugout. Brad Ziegler has a great charity foundation called Pasttime for Patriots and since Im a military veteran myself I thought it would be awesome to thank him for his foundation. So I did just that and he smiled warmly at me. I also had two Army wristbands that I got while in the service that I wanted to give to him but I knew he was kind of in a hurry to get into the clubhouse to get ready for the game. So I held off on giving them to him. I figured tomorrow would be a better day since its a Sunday game and the baseball players really dont do a whole lot before the game.
After I could get in all the social activities with the Athletics I could around the infield I headed out to the outfield for some action. Unfortunatly I seriously picked the wrong spot. I was literally surrounded by little kids. Even though I had on my Athletics hat I knew that any time one of the players tossed me a baseball I would have the ever nagging urge to want to make a kids day. I didnt have a problem with giving baseballs away to kids but I also wanted to get my numbers up for my charities. I also got a picture of one of my favorite players, David DeJesus, hanging out in right field.
Everytime a baseball was hit to David this little girl would scream at the top of her lungs that she needed a baseball and that this was her first baseball game and that she’s never, ever, ever, ever gotten a baseball before and that she absolutely needs a baseball. Of course her parent(s) were no where in sight. She was just a lone renegade on a mission to get a baseball. Well, David DeJesus FINALLY threw one up to us. Luckily for me I caught it and I pointed at him in thanks. He pointed back at me and then kind of waggled his finger as an instruction to give the baseball to one of the kids standing around me. I made the mistake of pointing to the little girl beside me. David nodded and waved his glove at me. So I handed the baseball to the little girl. It did shut her up for about five minutes..but no one received a thank you. The little girl ran back to her Mother or Aunt or whoever was watching her at the time and happily exclaimed that she got a baseball. ” Did you say thank you?” The parental figure asked. ” Yes!” The little girl stated.
Now enter little girls brother. Literally crying tears and leaning on the railing claiming he will never get a baseball while the parental figure tries to calm him down made me cringe. If I got another baseball It would be my duty to hook this little kid up with it. But I refused to give a child their way because theyre throwing a temper tantrum or crying or whatever. When I was growing up I never got what I wanted by doing such. So I wasnt going to condone that type of behavior and reward it by giving up the next baseball. And Jerry Blevins came over to help DeJesus out. So I knew he would be throwing a few baseballs up into the crowd.
Now everytime a baseball came out to right field I got to hear ” My brother needs a baseball!” “Give that one to my brother! He really needs a baseball!” ” No, dont throw it in this time! Give it to my brother! This is his first game he has ever been to! He needs that baseball!”
I wanted to tear my ears off. Seriously. Her high ear piercing shrieks were giving me a headache. But there was a really good chance I could get a ball from Blevins. And the opportunity finally came. Blevins fielded a slow roller near the wall and I called out to him.
” Jerry! Would you toss that one up please!” I called out to him. Jerry looked at me and gave me one of those Johnny Cool upnods and then turned to fire it at me. He feigned the throw and then turned to fire it towards the batting practice ball bucket that was at the top of the diamond. Then without hesitation he turned laughing and pointed at me.
“Here you go!” He yelled as he fired me a strike. The ball slapped into my glove and I quickly pocketed the baseball into my pullover pockets. Yeah, I felt bad about the kid that was still crying. But the thing is…he didnt have any baseball gear on, no glove, no Mariners hat, nothing. He just sat there with his head down crying. He was making absolutely no effort to get a baseball. So I did the next best thing. I told him where and how to get a baseball. I explained Chone Figgins little pre-game routine, and I told him that just because Mark McGwire cried doesnt mean you can cry. There is no crying in baseball.
Finally batting practice came to an end. I was utterly relieved. My head was still pounding from all of those kids screaming. Since it was military appreciate day at Safeco I wandered down to the Mariners dugout to snap some pictures. It was so busy with photographers, and fans alike in that area the security guards didnt even bother to run fans out.
Here are some pictures.
After the ceremony and the National Anthem were completed, Chone Figgins started to head off the field and I quickly jumped all over that opportunity. Since there were a ton of people down in front of me and I didnt have a whole lot of room to run to get his attention I just started jumping up and down in the row I was in. He threw the baseball high and way to the right of me. So I had to reach way across my body, and stretch way out over the row of seats to catch it. I dont know if he intended to throw it to me or someone behind me but I ended up with it anyway. All I heard was ” Catch it! Here it comes! Get it! Get it!” and then when I caught it all I heard was groans of disappointment.
I sat in the outfield and ate a small personal pan pizza from one of the pizza places in the outfield. Gross. I think it made me sick to my stomach. And to make things worse here was my view for the first 30 minutes of the game.
The view was pretty bad. The sun was right in my face and I thought to myself that this would be the time when I home run ball was hit right to me. The time when I couldnt see. Aside from that, some annoying Athletics fan would say swing everytime a Mariner player was at bat and a pitch was thrown from the Athletics. It was truly annoying. The Athletics won 9-1 anyway. So after about a few innings of trash talking between the swing guy and some other Mariner fans, the Mariner fans were forced to end their trash talk when the Athletics started raking hits off Jason Vargas.
Game; April 23rd 2011 Oakland Athletics vs Seattle Mariners
Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $9.60 this season.
Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $6.00 this season.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Rodriguez and Figgins playing catch…
Then Luis Rodriguez comes over to sign some autographs…
Security moves in to protect Rodriguez from aggressive autograph collectors, and dangerous small children…
Adam Kennedy comes out of the dugout to start his stretch routine…
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.
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
Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $8.40 this season.
Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $5.25 this season.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $7.60 this season.
Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $4.75 this season.
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.
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.
I stopped to take this picture as I continued around the stadium.
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.
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.
Still. No. Batting. Practice. Where were the position players? Napping? C`mon already!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Still having a hard time figuring out who Mike McCready is? Maybe you already know…
Heres another picture.
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
Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $6.40 this season.
Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $4.00 this season.
I wasnt planning on staying the entire game let alone batting practice today. So I wanted to get on the board as fast as possible. About fifteen minutes before the gates were about to open up a flood of about 15 people joined me at the gates. I pretty much stood there from the time I arrived at the stadium until the time the gates opened, alone. I seriously thought I would have the entire stadium to myself. I practically did. Once the horn blew the race was on.
I thought I was going to be beat out by a bunch of kids. But somehow their parents kept them at a speed walk. My long strides got me down the first base side and into foul territory much faster and it wasnt long before I snagged my first easter egg. Right as I picked up the baseball one of the security guards told me to take cover. I looked up for a split second to try and get a read on the ball but I couldnt see it. So I covered my head with my glove and braced for impact. As soon as the baseball smashed into the seats I was all over it.
I hung around in foul territory for a few more minutes and then I quickly made a giant loop around the stadium. Its pretty good cardio and I was hoping to pick up a stray easter egg. No such luck. I finally stopped out in the right field bleachers to snag a few home run balls. I guess I looked approachable or friendly or something. But for the next 15 minutes some random guy chewed my ear off about his kids being active in sports. It was driving me nuts because his breath smelled like rotten beer. I remained friendly in any case. When the guy finally left me alone I wandered down to the front row and I tried to get Juan Riveras attention but he thoroughly ignored me. There were a few baseballs on the warning track that I considered. He was closest to them.
That pretty much concluded batting practice for me. I apologize for no pictures in this entry. I took some but I left my memory card at home for my camera and I cant find the USB cord to upload them. So no pictures. The Mariners did record their second win at home though, and Michael Pineda got his first Major League win. So congratulations to him.
If youre interested in learning more about my charity project I started for the Seattle-King Co. Humanes Society you can go to this website to get the full run down. I also have two more charity projects. You can check them out here and here. I have yet to here any offical word on the Japan relief project or the Breast Cancer Awareness Foundation but I am confident that something good will come this week or the following. I also wanted to give a shout out to an aquaintance of mine concerning this charity project. The actual idea to snag baseballs at Major League stadiums wasnt a self-created idea. Zack Hample is the one that actually created the idea. I did contact him through email and he sort of got me started on the whole charity project thing. If you get a chance check out his charity organization here.
Game; April 12th 2011
Money raised for Seattle Humanes Society so far; $4.20
Money raised for Red Cross Japan Relief so far; $3.50
I showed up to todays game fairly early. And like always I was the first one in line. About an hour later another fan showed up decked out in Mariners gear. He had a large tote bag with him so I assumed he was just here for autographs. He played with his cellphone most of the time so we really didnt talk much. He seemed harmless. Five minutes before the gates open the line grew to about eight people. Mostly couples with children. But right at the last moment the dude that showed up after me pulled his glove out and got ready to run in when the horn blew. I knew there was something up with him. But he was older and not in very good shape. So I had him beat anyway.
Once inside batting practice was very slow. I searched the seats for any easter eggs but there was about 50 people already inside looking around and taking up their positions in the bleachers. I guess they opened the ‘Pen area up early. Im not sure how these people got into the stadium that early. But I didnt worry about it. The Toronto Blue Jays were in town and they were already stretching to head out to warmup. So I quickly switched to my Blue Jays hat.
I made it to the third base side of the stadium and the hot corner was already filling up. The hot corner is the part of the foul territory in the seats where baseballs seem to be attracted to. I took a picture during the game from where I sat and I also pointed out where the hot corner is so youll get some kind of an idea of what Im talking about.
During batting practice its an ideal place to stand. But lots of people crowd that area. Usually a handful of baseballs are hit when the batter is either trying to work on pulling the ball ( Righties ) or when the batter is trying to slice the ball down the line. ( Lefties ) So depending on who is pitching that night the lineup will probably be stacked either way. Something to keep in mind. Also a lot of overthrows happen there too. So like I said. Its a pretty good place to stand.
When Carlos Villanueva came out to warmup he was complaining to the trainer about his shoulder. The trainer told him to just work on distance throwing. So I figured Id stand behind him and catch any overthrows that might happen. Usually there is always a couple. It didnt take long and Carlos Villanuevas partner launched a deep, high arching throw and I lined up with it to catch it. I tried to back hand catch it but I guess I didnt reach far enough. It hit right off the tip of my glove and bounced right to the security guard. I knew I wouldnt get it back after that. Carlos waved it off to the security guard to do whatever with it and I held up my glove for one last ditch effort. Shockingly the guard tossed it to me.
After I got the ball tossed to me I asked Carlos if he wanted it back. He shook his head at me and I thanked him. Players always appreciate it if you ask them if they need the ball back. After all they are trying to practice with them. So without a baseball they cant get anything done. I secured the baseball in my pocket and kind of hung around a little longer to maybe catch a foul ball or something. After I few moments I took the ball out to put it in my backpack and I was literally floored when I saw the emblem. 50th Anniversary of the Angels of Anaheim commemorative baseball. Im not sure how many are made but the Angels are using them for the season. It was pretty awesome to get one. That would be my fifth commemorative baseball Ive gotten since 2008. My first one was the Washington Nationals inaugural season. I got that one at Busch Stadium. Then I got a CitiField inaugural commemorative baseball last year at Busch Stadium as well. I also snagged two Target Field inaugural commemorative baseballs at Kauffman Stadium from the Tampa Bay Rays batting practice.
Im sure youre curious how these special baseballs end up with other teams that are essencially caught by fans at different stadiums. Well, Im not entirely sure how a lot of baseballs with special logos ends up with other teams. One can only assume they somehow get mixed up during batting practice. So in this case the Toronto Blue Jays played the Angels April 8th through the 10th. In those three games the Blue Jays picked up quite a few special baseballs from the Angels. Whether it was during batting practice or during the game. But you can safely assume that any team that has played the Angels thus far or going to play them will end up with some of these baseballs. So if youre interested in snagging one…be on the look out.
After that snag I played the outfield for the remaining time. A lot of baseballs were being hit to my left but I stayed put. I had little competition for anything hit to my right and I liked it that way. But as soon as I climbed a row back to try and get in on some of the action to my left a deep fly ball was hit to my right. I had no chance. The dude that was playing that same row quickly went after it. He didnt make a clean catch up he got a lucky bounce. The ball smacked the stairs and went directly into his glove. I complimented his snagging abilities. I even asked if the baseball had the Angels logo on it and he quickly said no. So I had an inkling he was into Ball Hawking. Most people I asked after they caught a ball or had one tossed to them if it had the Angels logo on it looked at me like I was crazy. I had to explain that the Angels were using commemorative baseballs this year to celebrate their 50th year in the Major Leagues. People still looked at me like I was crazy.
During the game I actually thought Id get to use my ball retrieving tactic. A foul ball was hit into the camera pod ( the red circled area ).
But I didnt realize that there was a camera man up there. Once I got my string attached and picked out a route to get over there the ball was being handed up to a fan. Its the thought that counts.
During the game I almost caught my first home run ball too. Milton Bradley smoked one into the Right field bleachers. If you go onto Mariners.com and check out the Milton Bradley home run you will see me chasing it down. I wouldve had it too but the ball hit the back of a seat and shot straight up to this dude that was just standing there. Heres a picture of me running after the ball.
And this is who got it.
Yeah. That dude got a lucky bounce. Anyway. The Mariners played such smart baseball to win the game. The Toronto Blue Jays pitching just fell apart and the Mariners loaded the bases. With four walked runs in Seattle was on the verge of winning this one or going extra innings. I was pretty tired so I was hoping that it didnt go longer than nine innings. The bottom of the ninth came where Seattle put two on with two out. Luis Rodriguez fouled off a bunch of pitches to stay alive and then finally put one into the gap to score Brenden Ryan and Ichiro. The diehard 2,000 fans that stuck around ( including me ) cheered like it was a playoff victory. It was so amazing. The Mariners celebrated at the mound while I chased down the home plate umpire, Scott Barry, for the final baseball of the night. Which I was immediatly denied. The umpires I think were fairly tired and just wanted to get to the hotel. Tomorrow was a 12:40pm game so that probably had a lot to do with it.
In another news I am finally hearing back from the Humanes Society of King Co. I have been exchanging emails back and forth with them for about a week now and its looking like my charity project is going to take off. Im really excited. So far I have two pledges. Brad, from Crowdrise.com, pledged .25 cents a baseball. And my dear ol` mother pledged .05 cents a baseball. Bless her heart. So if you are interested in pledging please drop me a line. You can either email me at Stock350i@yahoo.com or leave a comment here.
So far I have raised $4.20. So thank you to all that have pledged.
Game; April 11th 2011 Toronto Blue Jays vs Seattle Mariners
Sundays game went off without a hitch. I thought there wasnt going to be any batting practice because it was a day game following a night game. But when I ran inside the cage was set up and the Indians were getting ready to start swinging. It was pretty rainy and cold out so I had to dress accordingly. I still dont think I dressed well enough. Its pretty miserable in the centerfield bleachers. Since its nearly impossible to sneak down into the lower box area to claim a seat I figured Id try elsewhere.
Once I got inside I thoroughly checked the lower first base side. Nothing. So I moved over to the third base area. I didnt bother checking the outfield bleachers for baseballs since the stadium was filling up rather quickly. Once I got to the third base side Chris Perez was doing some warmups. I thought about asking him for a baseball but I figured Id shower him with compliments first to butter him up. He did have a pretty good save the night before and I let him know that. He nodded to me and said thanks.
Here is a picture of him inbetween running the warning track.
Soon after his warmup he came over to sign some autographs. Here is another picture of him signing some baseballs for some kids.
Chris was a class act when he was with St Louis. Nothing has changed. Ive always admired him. Hes friendly and does what he can for the fans.
Now the next turn of events was quite humorous in my humble opinion but I guess it wasnt that funny to the other people. Kelvin De La Cruz and Tony Sipp started to play catch. As they were warming up, De La Cruz kind of overthrew Sipp. Well, the baseball rolled close by so I made an attempt at it. It got passed me and another fan ended up with it. Since it was their only baseball, Sipp requested it back. So the fan reluctantly gave it up. De La Cruz kind of suggested that he would get the fan another baseball. And when one was hit to him he tossed it to the fan that orginally had the baseball from the overthrow. Now in the Ball Hawking world there are plenty of unwritten rules. One rule is when a player specifically throws a baseball to a fan you do not rob that fan of the ball. Especially kids. Now. There are exceptions to the rules like always. If an adult, like in this case, drops the baseball and it lands back onto the field its pretty much up for grabs. Well, I watched this entire thing play out. De La Cruz tossed the ball, between three adults, they all seemed to bobble it and it scooted away back out onto the field just out of reach. So each of them made a sorry attempt at getting it back. What concerned me was security was on the way over to steal it. So I lunged for the ball and secured it in my glove. I started laughing but the three adults were clearly not happy. Anyway. Kelvin De La Cruz tossed them a second ball and they didnt drop it this time. I even hung back to give them room after a few smart-mouthed comments.
I left soon after to go play the outfield for the remaining portion of batting practice. I easily snagged my second baseball from the Indians bullpen catcher. I think thats who tossed it to me. Hes a short, chubby hispanic guy with a catchers glove. Ive seen him before and Im certain its not Carlos Santana. Anyway. He tried to shag a flyout and I just raised my glove for it after he missed it. He hooked me up immediatly.
After batting practice I went to grab some food. Safeco actually has some pretty awesome food and Im going to try and hit new places to eat around the stadium every Sunday. So be on the look out for some reviews of places to chow down. This Sunday I went here.
My review for this place would be five out of five. The cheeseburger I bought was exceptionally awesome. It had great taste, it was somewhat filling, and it wasnt a messy, sloppy jumble of puke-burgerness that most places sell. It has tomato, shredded lettuce, mayo, ketchup, pickle, and onion. Plus a 1/3 pound beef patty cooked to perfection. The price is a little steep though. It cost me $11.25 for the burger and a small coke. The burger alone is $7.25. Well worth it though.
The game was pretty entertaining. It was a decent pitchers duel but in the end the Mariners ended up getting swept by the division leading Indians. The final score was 2-1. Michael Saunders did put one in the seats but not anywhere I was sitting. I did get on the instant replay. Ive circled myself in red.
Im also starting a charity for the Seattle-King Co. Humanes Society. Its called Snagging Baseballs for Puppies. Its to help raise money for the Humanes Society shelter in the Seattle-King Co. area. So if you wan to help me you can make a pledge. Heres how it works; you make a pledge of a dollar amount. It could be any amount. But keep this in mind. I go to a lot of baseball games and I usually snag quite a few baseballs per game. So youll want to keep your pledge at a comfortable level. For every baseball I snag during the regular season, to include the playoffs and World Series, you will pledge a certain amount per ball. By the end of the season I will tally up all my baseballs and you will multiply your dollar amount per baseball and donate that much. For example. If you donate ten cents per baseball and I snag 100 baseballs, thats $10.00. Got it? Awesome. You can check out my snagging stats on this website.
And you can check out the actual charity project page at this website.
So far I have a couple people pledging. One guy on Crowdrise.com, Brad, has pledged .25 cents a baseball! So that is really awesome!
Game; April 10th 2011 Cleveland Indians vs Seattle Mariners