6/13/14 at the Oakland Coliseum

School got out the day before. I was officially on summer vacation. And I was leaving for Boy Scout camp two days later. How else do I celebrate the start of summer other than going to a baseball game?

My dad got home from work a bit late, so he, Pascale, and myself didn’t get out of the house until 3:45 for the 4:30 gate openings. Eventually, we did get to the Coliseum. We got there at 4:23. My dad dropped my sister and I off at the entrance to the parking lot and the two of us ran over to Gate B, where we somehow managed to be first in line. How? There were 6 lines open, but only 2 of them had people in them. Win for us!

Once we got inside, I took note of the players in right field. The group of four consisted of Kyle Blanks, Stephen Vogt, Drew Pomeranz (below), and Craig Gentry.

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The group that was hitting when we got inside did hit two balls out, but both were to the same guy, who was on the opposite side of the RF bleachers from where I was standing

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The second group had quite a bit of power, including Yoenis Cespedes…

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… and Brandon Moss.
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Thank goodness for Brandon Moss. A couple of weeks ago, I snagged 2 Brandon Moss home runs during A’s BP. Those were 2 of the 3 balls for me on the day. In his last round of hitting, Moss drilled another home run that I sprinted over a couple of sections and snagged. Ball #1 on the day.

About halfway though A’s BP, Derek Jeter ran across the field (presumably to go to the indoor cages beyond the center field wall) and the crowd erupted. When I say “crowd” I mean the mass of 150 people behind the Yankees dugout.

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A little bit later, a security guard came down and handed out these buttons to all the RF bleacher people, modeled below by Will.
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If you can’t tell, the button is part of the #BringerOfVotes campagin to get Josh Donaldson into the All Star Game.

This is a picture of a baseball that either my dad or Pascale took. I like it a lot. It’s simple and well-framed.

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On to Yankees BP. There were A LOT of Yankees fans around. And of course, they all wanted balls from the players in right field that they were unable to identify. In the picture below, you will see two balls on the out-of-town scoreboard. One of them was dropped by a Yankees fan when it was tossed to him. The other was an Eric Sogard home run.

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The guy that dropped it made an extreme effort to get the ball, but was unable to. These two Yankees players gave him A BUNCH of crap for it.

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Ichiro was also patrolling right field alongside the two players above. He was making some pretty neat plays, showing off for the fans.

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Halfway through Yankees BP, I decided to go to left field. Right field was just too crowded and things weren’t working out. I was still sitting on one ball on the day, so I figured that left field couldn’t be much worse. I was right!

Minutes after I got in, a ball was hit to Yankees pitcher Preston Claiborne. There were Yankees fans all around me screaming for the ball. I politely called out “Preston can I please have that ball.” He shot around, I asked again, he pointed at me and tossed the ball right at me. I just had to reach straight up a bit, but the ball was mine!

All the Yankees fans around me were complaining that the ball wasn’t intended for me, but I was the only one that asked politely.

After BP came to an end, I headed back to right field, where I met up with Tyler Burton, who usually sits near me in the front row with his flag. I was hoping to get one of the two balls on top of the scoreboard, so we taped our flags together and put some tape on the end of his. He lowered our flags down.

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And it worked! He got the first ball (pictured above) and I got the second ball (pictured below).

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Here it is.

This was the ball that the Yankees fan had dropped. I really didn’t want to give it to him, but since he had asked politely and had made a decent attempt to retrieve the ball, I figured that I would hook him up.

After BP ended, I kind of just chilled until first pitch. Pascale and I walked around the stadium a bit, then we slid into our seats around 6:45.

Coco was out on the field doing some stretches (or whatever you call this).

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It was Super Mario Brothers day at the Coliseum (with fireworks to follow). Stomper was dressed up as Mario and ran around the waring track collecting coins (as you can see below).

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After this, there was a short video on DiamondVision that honored the late Bob Welch, who passed away just a few days prior.

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Sonny Gray was on the mound for the A’s in this game. He has had a very good series, so I had high hopes for him. More on that in a bit.

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With Josh Reddick on the Disabled List, Brandon Moss was playing right field for this game.

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Now lets get to the game… Sonny Gray got off to a rough start. The inning started off with 3 straight singles, the second of which was off the bat of Derek Jeter. The third hit resulted in the first run of the game.
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Sonny was able to get out of the first inning with minimal damage, only having allowed 2 runs. The second run came on a Mark Teixeira sacrifice fly.

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After the A’s went down 1-2-3 in the bottom half of the first, Sonny continued to struggle. He allowed 3 more hits and walked a batter, which thankfully only resulted in one additional run being scored.

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With Alberto Callaspo being placed on paternity leave prior to the game, the A’s called up Andy Parrino to fill his roster spot. Like a majority of the A’s lineup, Parrino went 0-3.

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The A’s only had 2 hits all day. With 1 out in the 5th inning, Derek Norris singled to break up the no-hitter. In the 7th, Led Lowrie doubled. That was it for the A’s offense.

Not only did the A’s struggle, but so did Dennis Eckersley in the Hall of Fame Race. He got out to a commanding lead, but was passed up by Rickey in the final 20 yards. Moments later, Rollie came sprinting up behind him and once again, Eck finished dead last.

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After his tough first two innings, Sonny Gray settled down, allowing just one hit over his final four innings of work. Fernando Abad came on to pitch the 7th and was able to get 3 quick outs for the A’s.

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Then came the 8th… Jeff Francis was called upon to pitch the 8th inning for the A’s and that is when things fell apart. In one inning of work, Francis allowed five hits and four runs. The third and 4th runs on the game came on a missed catch by Derek Norris. Brandon Moss fired the ball to home plate, and as you can see, the ball just flew out of Norris’ mitt.

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Towards the end of the game, I noticed this guy preparing the outfield wall to be taken down for the on-field fireworks after the game.

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The 8th inning ended in a weird way, and I have pictures to prove it! On a 3-2 pitch, Dellin Betances threw a pitch at Coco Crisp’s feet. Coco had to lunge/jump/dive to get out of the way of the pitch.

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In the process, he fell down.

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The umpire ruled it a swinging strike, saying that the ball had been blocked and the inning was over. Everyone in the A’s dugout was visibly frustrated.

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In the ninth inning, Jorge attempted to rally the troops by standing in the aisle (partially on the fence) and holding a flag high. It made for quite a majestic picture.
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One of the reasons we decided to go to this game because the post-game fireworks were going to be to Super Mario Bros music. I thought that sounded cool (and new), but about halfway though the game, we decided that it wasn’t worth it. I figured that I would rather just get home early and avoid all of the traffic. We changed our minds as we were leaving the stadium, so we got in line here.

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After 20 minutes, we were eventually let onto the field, which was PACKED!

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After the fireworks, I figured that I would take a photo in front of the outfield wall. I like how it came out!

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Thanks for reading! Unfortunately, this will be my last post for a while. I will be working at a Boy Scout camp through the end of July, which means I won’t get to go to many (if any) baseball games) until August. I am shooting for 1 game in July, but I don’t know when that will be. I’ll keep everyone updated though, don’t worry!

BALLHAWKING STATS:

  • 12th game this year (8th MLB Game)
  • 3 balls at this game
  • 10 balls in 8 MLB games this season = 1.25 Balls Per Game
  • 30 baseballs this season
  • 78 Lifetime MLB Baseballs
  • 193 Lifetime Baseballs

2013top100Nick Badders is a blogger for MLB.com. He writes the blog, 7000 Coliseum Way, and you can follow him on Twitter @RFNick149. You can also LIKE his blog on Facebook. This blog entry was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

5/30/14 at the Oakland Coliseum

The night before, I expressed interest in attending this game with one of my parents. Neither of them were up for it, however my mom told me that I could go on my own if I wanted to. AWESOME!

This was the first time that I had ever gone to a game by myself and I was excited!

My dad picked me up from school at 3:05 and after grabbing some food and changing clothes at home, he dropped me off at BART, which got me to the Coliseum just after 4:10, 20 minutes before the scheduled gate opening time.

Eventually, they did open the gates, and they opened them 5 MINUTES EARLY, at 4:25. Shortly after getting into the right field bleachers, I called out to newly acquired first baseman Kyle Blanks for a ball, however he tossed it to Adam.

After the first group finished, I had no balls, however lefties Josh Reddick and power hitting Brandon Moss were in the next group. On one of Moss’ first pitches, he drove a ball deep into the right field seats. I didn’t think it would land in the seats at first, so I got there a bit late, but when I did, I grabbed the ball perfectly off the carom for ball #1 on the day. It did come at an expense, though, as I slipped a little bit when I caught the ball, scraping up both knees.

When Brandon stepped into the cage the next time around, he drilled a ball right at me that rather than catching on the fly, I let drop in the seat right in front of me, where I picked it up for ball #2. Not sure what I was thinking there.
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Moments later, Josh Reddick drilled a ball right at me, but I misjudged it and it flew 2 feet over my outstretched glove and bounced back onto the field, which was a bit frustrating. Now here comes the story as to how I got ball #3…

I was wearing my Casey Chavez jersey at this game. For those that don’t know, Casey is the brother of former Athletic Eric Chavez and the A’s bullpen catcher. I purchased the jersey at FanFest this past year and wore it on Opening Day. He jogged out to right field at around 5:00, so BP was just over halfway done. I turned around my jersey and called out to him, and he pointed up to me and nodded.

About 10 minutes later, I called out to Dan Ortero for a ball. He saw my jersey and called Casey over. Dan then proceeded to toss me the ball. I don’t quite know what happened next. The ball was falling a bit short, so I had to lean over a bit more than normal to try and make the catch. I am not sure if the ball hit off the palm, heel, or tip of my glove, but to put it simply, I dropped the ball. It was in an awkward position to catch from the beginning, but it was a ball that I should have caught, and I will make no excuses about it.

The look Dan Ortero had on his face was that of sheer disappointment. He and Casey both started yelling at me, then Casey told me to give him 10 good pushups. I was confused at this point and I thought he was joking, but it turned out he was dead serious. His reasoning? When he drops or misses a ball, he has to do 10 pushups, and I was wearing his jersey, so why shouldn’t I have to, since I was technically him.

I caved in and did 10 quick pushups and he tossed me the ball, but first, he made me promise to never drop a ball again. Well it certainly made a good story for this blog, right?

Here are the three balls I got during A’s BP…

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The A’s took a bit of extended batting practice this time, finishing up around 5:30. I spent about 15 minutes in right field before moving to left field. Nothing was being into into the right field seats and all of the Angels players and coaches that were in the outfield did not toss anything up.

I went to left field because Albert Pujols had hit a couple of balls out there, but as soon as I got to left field, things went dead. Nobody considered tossing anything up and nobody hit anything out. Angels BP ended around 6:20 and I headed back to right field with the three balls pictured above.

I really enjoyed being by myself for a change. It felt nice to not have to worry about anyone except for yourself at a game and to be able to focus on doing my own thing.

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There was a giveaway for this game! A Josh Donaldson head-on-a-stick… I had to take a selfie with it.

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Since I don’t have any photos of the game, I’ll spare you the details of the game, however I’ll show you this picture I took at the start of the game.

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When Sean Doolittle came into the game in the 9th inning, it was time to do the Doo! Metalica’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls” came on and everyone started headbanging! Satoshi brought this mask with him and wore it while he was headbanging. He was kind enough to let me take a photo with it on!

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For the ninth inning, I stuck my hat on the mask and propped it up with three flags, in a tripod sort of method. I had to take anther selfie… I know, I know!20140601-002846-1726873.jpg

The A’s won 9-5… It was a good game and I had a good time. Thanks for reading!

Remember, I’m publishing a new blog entry every day!  If you click on the game title, it will take you to a link that WILL NOT GO LIVE UNTIL THE ENTRY IS PUBLISHED. If you click on the game title before it is published, you will be given a page that says “The page you were looking for was not found.” You’ll be able to check out the game entry once it is published. Check out the list to find out when my next game entry will be!

  • Sunday, June 22nd: 6/13/14 at the Oakland Coliseum

BALLHAWKING STATS:

  • 11th game this year (7th MLB Game)
  • 3 balls at this game
  • 7 balls in 7 MLB games this season = 1 Ball Per Game
  • 27 baseball this season
  • 75 Lifetime MLB Baseballs
  • 190 Lifetime Baseballs

Note that I have 190 MLB Balls… My goal was to get 10 at the next game I went to to have an even 200. Stay tuned to find how how that went!

2013top100

Nick Badders is a blogger for MLB.com. He writes the blog, 7000 Coliseum Way, and you can follow him on Twitter @RFNick149. You can also LIKE his blog on Facebook. This blog entry was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

5/11/14 at the Oakland Coliseum

Would you like to know what makes my mom better than any other mother out there? She ASKED to spend Mother’s Day at the Coliseum! She, Pascale and I arrived at the Coliseum around 9:30 or 10, with my grandmother, uncle, and dad planning on showing up closer to game time.

Everyone was in a good mood when we got to Gate MM! Will showed off his “Bess Bow” shirt, which you can purchase from Perfect Game Gear if you are interested. If you want to know the back story behind the design, ask Bess Frankoff or Jamey Van Dyke on Twitter!

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Bryanne was in a great mood!

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Daniel was rocking his new jersey, which is customized with his Twitter handle on the back (give him a follow!).

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And of course, Will LOVED my big glove.

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Yes. The big glove was making an appearance at this game. And yes, I fully intended to use it.

I headed straight to the Nationals bullpen down the right field line as soon as they started warming up.
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Unfortunately, the Nationals pitchers were not using the pink-laced Mother’s Day balls. They were using regular MLB balls.
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I know the lacing looks pink, but you’ll have to take my word that it is red.

About 45 minutes after the gates opened, I still had no balls to show for it, despite my Nationals hat, so I decided to break out the big glove. And what do you know? Ross Detwiler hooked me up when he saw it!

After all of the pitchers had left, a few others came out, including Drew Storen, who tossed me a ball once he was done. I promptly handed it to a young boy next to me that was at his first ever baseball game. He was able to get it signed, too!

The Nats then did something amazing. THEY TOOK INFIELD!!!!!!!

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And this guy kind of just chilled on the ground.

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After Nationals infield practice, I had my sister take this picture of me for the Scavenger Hunt.

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Because it was Mother’s Day, this game was also Breast Cancer Awareness Day.

And that meant that the ice cream stand had pink ice cream helmets!

Gio Gonzalez was on the mound for Washington.

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His opponent this afternoon was Scott Kazmir, who has had a very good season for Oakland.

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Kazmir had a very good game, but I’ll get to that later on.IMG_7706

As he usually is, Josh Reddick was in right field.

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In the first inning, Josh Donaldson drew a 2-out walk.

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Yoenis Cespeedes then singled to center field.

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And Derek Norris stepped to the plate.

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He hit a 3-run home run! Aftre an Alberto Callaspo single, Brandon Moss singled as well!

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Nick Punto then singled in Callaspo to give the A’s an early 4-0 lead.

Even though he struck out to end the inning, Josh Reddick was feeling good.

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And Kazmir was still dueling.

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Craig Gentry singled to lead off the bottom of the second.

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Two outs later, Yoenis Cespedes walked and Derek Norris smashed ANOTHER 3-run home run, this time putting the A’s ahead 7-0!

I thought this was a cool picture of Josh Donaldson.

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Remember how I said the Kazmir was dealing? In 7 innings, he allowed 4 hits and no runs, while striking out 4 Nats hitters.

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And before the 7th inning, Dennis Eckersley ONCE AGAIN lost the Hall of Fame Race…

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Like the night before, Jerry Blevins once again warmed up for the Nationals.

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And he actaully came in! However, he allowed 2 runs on 2 hits.

Nick Punto doubled in Alberto Callaspo and Brandon Moss to make it 9-0 A’s.
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Good times! All 9 runs we scored were off of former A’s players.IMG_8603

Newly acquired reliever Joe Savery pitched a scoreless 8th, only allowing 1 hit.

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With the game at 9-0, Jim Johnson came into the game.

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He allowed one run on two hits with a strikeout.

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And the A’s won 9-1. Yay! I got two balls and a pink ice cream helmet. Good times. Thanks for reading, everyone.

Remember, I’m publishing a new blog entry every day!  If you click on the game title, it will take you to a link that WILL NOT GO LIVE UNTIL THE ENTRY IS PUBLISHED. If you click on the game title before it is published, you will be given a page that says “The page you were looking for was not found.” You’ll be able to check out the game entry once it is published. Check out the list to find out when my next game entry will be!

  • Friday, June 20th: 5/25/14 at John Thurman Field (Beyond the Outfield Fence)
  • Saturday, June 21st: 5/30/14 at the Oakland Coliseum
  • Sunday, June 22nd: 6/13/14 at the Oakland Coliseum

BALLHAWKING STATS:

  • 9th game this year (6th MLB Game)
  • 2 balls at this game
  • 4 ball in 6 MLB games this season = 0.67 Balls Per Game
  • 19 baseball this season
  • 72 Lifetime MLB Baseballs
  • 182 Lifetime Baseballs

2013top100

Nick Badders is a blogger for MLB.com. He writes the blog, 7000 Coliseum Way, and you can follow him on Twitter @RFNick149. You can also LIKE his blog on Facebook. This blog entry was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

5/10/14 at the Oakland Coliseum

After a horrible month of April and start to May, I was hoping to get on track ballhawking on this beautiful Saturday evening in Oakland.

This game was once again myself and my dad and the NATIONALS were in town. Yeah! A’s BP was taking place when the gates opened. Thankfully, it was a Saturday game, so the A’s were still taking BP when gates open.

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Daric Barton didn’t hit any out.

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But Brandon Moss DID. And he crushed them!

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He hit a ball more or less directly at me. However, I misjudged it and it flew over my head. Thankfully, someone deserving got it. You might have heard of him… It was none other than Rick Gold! He was in town for his one Oakland homestand of the season.

After 15 or 20 minutes, the A’s left and the Nationals started BP. Guess who is with the Nats? Former Atheltic Jerry Blevins!

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Left Field wasn’t too crowded when Washington BP got underway. 
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Nobody on the Nationals really hit it out. It was kind of lame.IMG_4876

However, I did get one ball and it was from Craig Stammen.
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He kind of just tossed a ball up, not really intending it for anyone and I grabbed it after it bounced into an empty seat.

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Like I mentioned, BP was nothing special. Rick ended up catching a ball off the bat of Ian Desmond and a few others landed in the seats, but it was nothing special.
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These were the four main guys that patrolled left field during Nats BP. Note that former Athletic Gio Gonzalez was with them. It was great to see Gio back at the Coliseum!

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Not many guys tossed balls up either, I was very lucky to have gotten one. Most of BP was just this…

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… and this.

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One thing tat my dad caught during BP, but I saw later in the game was this make-shift sun shade that the right field camera operator made for himself.
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Eventually, everyone jogged off the field.

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And the cage was pulled off the field.

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I had talked with Rick on and off throughout BP, but after batting practice, Rick and I spent about 20 minutes catching up and talking ballhawking and baseball and such.

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And then I got a photo with Rick for the MyGameBalls.com Photo Scavenger Hunt.

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It was nice to visit left field for a while!
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On the mound for Oakland was Sonny Gray.
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Tanner Roark was on the bump for the Nationals.

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This game was “Journey Night.” The post-game fireworks were to the music of the band Journey. A few members played the national anthem and one threw out the first pitch.
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Both starting pitchers were very good in this game. Roark pitched 7 2/3 innings, allowing just 2 hits.

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Sonny Gray pitched 7 innings and allowed 6 hits.IMG_5905
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Now it is time for me to share with you some of my favorite photos from the game…
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Why is a giant Dennis Eckersley standing behind the left field wall? Because of the Hall of Fame Mascot race!
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Despite taking an early lead, Eck did not do well…

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He finished last…

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By a lot…

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What a disappointment!

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Like I mentioned, Tanner Roark pitched a great game for the Nationals! The only run he allowed was a John Jaso home run in the 3rd inning.

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At one point in the game, Jerry Blevins got loose in the bullpen, but he never came into this game.

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Josh Reddick led of the 8th with a single for Oakland, but he was unable to score and the game was 3-1 in favor of the Nationals going into the 9th inning.

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Sean Doolittle came on to pitch for Oakland, which meant it was time to headbang!

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Doolittle pitched a 1-2-3 9th to send the game to the bottom half of the inning to give the A’s the chance to push some runs across the plate.

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After John Jaso singled, Jed Lowrie ripped a double to left field to score Jaso and bring the A’s within 1.

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Josh Donaldson then singled to center field to score Lowrie and tie the game at 3-3 with NO OUTS.
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Despite the fact that there was a runner on base with no outs, Brandon Moss, Yoenis Cespedes, and Josh Reddick were all unable to push across JD, sending the game into extras.

Doolittle came back on for the 10th inning, once again getting Washington in order 1-2-3.

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Alberto Callaspso singled to lead off the bottom of the 10th for Oakland.

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After Eric Sogard failed to lay a bunt down, Daric Barton flied out…

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This brought John Jaso to the plate…

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On the first pitch of his at-bat, Jaso ripped a double to right-center that ALMOST was a home run.
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Pinch runner Nick Punto came around to score.

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And it was an Athletics victory!

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And of course Jaso was pied!IMG_7000

This game was huge for me. After several rough games ballhawking-wise, it felt good to get back into the swing of things and snag a ball. Thanks for reading!

Remember, I’m publishing a new blog entry every day!  If you click on the game title, it will take you to a link that WILL NOT GO LIVE UNTIL THE ENTRY IS PUBLISHED. If you click on the game title before it is published, you will be given a page that says “The page you were looking for was not found.” You’ll be able to check out the game entry once it is published. Check out the list to find out when my next game entry will be!

  • Thursday, June 19th: 5/11/14 at the Oakland Coliseum
  • Friday, June 20th: 5/25/14 at John Thurman Field (Beyond the Outfield Fence)
  • Saturday, June 21st: 5/30/14 at the Oakland Coliseum
  • Sunday, June 22nd: 6/13/14 at the Oakland Coliseum

BALLHAWKING STATS:

  • 8th game this year (5th MLB Game)
  • 1 ball at this game
  • 2 ball in 5 MLB games this season = 0.4 Balls Per Game
  • 17 baseball this season
  • 70 Lifetime MLB Baseballs
  • 180 Lifetime Baseballs

2013top100

Nick Badders is a blogger for MLB.com. He writes the blog, 7000 Coliseum Way, and you can follow him on Twitter @RFNick149. You can also LIKE his blog on Facebook. This blog entry was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

4/22/14 and 5/5/14 at the Oakland Coliseum

I have two days to share with you in this blog entry. Both are days of of very frustrating batting practice.

Since there is not much to tell about either game and I don’t have many pictures from either game, I figured I would combine them into one small entry, since I don’t want to bore you with all of the details. I had originally chosen these two games because I thought they would be great games to ballhawk at. When I chose my 24 games back in December, I wanted to only get games that would be good for ballhawking, so I made sure to include them in my list. Ready? They both sucked in terms of ballhawking. It was horrible. Simply put, I was shut out both times.

Let’s start off with the Tuesday, April 22nd game. I had been planning on going to the game the day before as well, but my high school team had a game the day before, so my mom and sister went to the A’s game in my place.

My mom and I got to the Coliseum about 45 minutes before the gates opened. And to top it all off, gates did not open until 5:42, 7 minutes after the scheduled 5:35 opening.

Once the gates FINALLY opened, I ran out to the right field bleachers and threw on my Rangers stuff. Over the course of BP, I saw one (1) ball go over the fence in the 15 minutes of BP that took place after the stadium opened. That one ball just got over the wall in right-center, flying way under the right field bleachers.

Even though I had my Rangers stuff on, it did not do any good. The idea of wearing the visiting team’s gear is to catch their attention when they are scanning the crowd to toss a ball up. On this day, the Rangers players did not once think about tossing a ball up at any point during BP anywhere in the stadium. And trust me, I was keeping an eye out, because the second I saw one player toss a ball up, I was running over there to get him to toss me a ball.

Anyway, BP ended just before 6pm, 15 minutes earlier than it usually does for visitors in Oakland. After BP came to a close, I picked up a new scarf for myself. Here is one side, that says BLEACHER DIE HARDS, with RF on one side and LF on the other.

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This is the other side. Why does it say STAY? Because the A’s need to stAy in Oakland!

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You may wonder whose #55 jersey I am wearing. In fact, Will was wearing the same jersey on this fine Tuesday. It’s Rich Thompson, who pitched in one game for Oakland back in 2012.

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I won’t share a lot of pictures from this game with you, simply because there are not a lot. Here is one, featuring starter Tommy Milone.

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In 6 innings, he allowed 5 hits and 3 runs, while walking 4 batters and striking out 1.IMG_8590

I don’t know why, but I kind of liked this picture of A’s second baseman Eric Sogard.

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Ryan Cook came into the game in the 7th for the Athletics. His entrance song is A Warrior’s Call by Volbeat. So of course, Ben Christensen had to let his hair down for a bit.

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As did Wiggi!

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Despite the loss and blown save in the 9th by Luke Gregerson, it was a fun night!

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Now on to May 5th… I don’t have the pictures that my dad took on his camera, but I do have a few shots from my phone, so I wanted to make sure to share them with you.

Originally, I was going to go to this game with my mom. However, she was feeling under the weather, so I went with my dad. We got free tickets to this game as a bonus for locking in our season tickets back in December a couple of sections to the right of the Mariners dugout. I didn’t come close to anything during BP except for this ball.

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It was a BP home run hit by the Mariners that I was hoping someone would grab and toss me. When a groundskeeper walked by, I politely called out to him, asking for the ball but he told me that he couldn’t throw it that high, despite the fact that I saw HIM throw someone in LF a ball just minuets earlier. So… I got shut out for BP.

I then joined up with my dad and we got some dinner. Then, we went to our seats, where we enjoyed the first two innings. I then used the MLB At the Ballpark App to upgrade our seats at a cheap price to the 4th row behind the Mariners dugout.

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That was our view for the last 7 innings. You’d think it would be the perfect spot to get a 3rd out ball, right? Well after every inning, the Mariners player who recorded the 3rd out would toss the ball to Robinson Cano and he would find the smallest kid to give the ball to. I guess I’m not a small kid anymore.

So I had a hard time getting a 3rd out ball. In the 9th, I turned my attention to getting an umpire view and avoiding the shutout.
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It almost worked. However, the umpire gave a ball to someone else. I then went back behind the dugout to get this picture,

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I then saw a random stadium employee with a ball in his hand. I asked him for the ball and we made eye contact and he nodded at me. He then scanned the dugout and flipped the ball to someone 50 feet to my right. Dang…

What a frustrating start to the ballhawking year, huh?

Remember, I’m publishing a new blog entry every day! Check out the list to find out when my next game entry will be!

  • Monday, June 16th: 4/26/14 at Banner Island Ballpark (Beyond the Outfield Fence)
  • Tuesday, June 17th: 5/4/14 at Banner Island Ballpark (Beyond the Outfield Fence)
  • Wednesday, June 18th: 5/10/14 at the Oakland Coliseum
  • Thursday, June 19th: 5/11/14 at the Oakland Coliseum
  • Friday, June 20th: 5/25/14 at John Thurman Field (Beyond the Outfield Fence)
  • Saturday, June 21st: 5/30/14 at the Oakland Coliseum
  • Sunday, June 22nd: 6/13/14 at the Oakland Coliseum
  • 4th and 7th games this year (3rd and 4th MLB Games)
  • 0 balls at this game
  • 1 ball in 4 MLB games this season = 0.25 Balls Per Game
  • 1 baseball this season
  • 69 Lifetime MLB Baseballs
  • 179 Lifetime Baseballs

2013top100

Nick Badders is a blogger for MLB.com. He writes the blog, 7000 Coliseum Way, and you can follow him on Twitter @RFNick149. You can also LIKE his blog on Facebook. This blog entry was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

4/4/14 and 4/6/14 at the Oakland Coliseum

Wow… This is my first entry in a LONG time. I apologize for not publishing any entries in May. I’ve been focusing on school for the past month and a half, so I have not had time to publish, much less write any blog entries. However, I’ll have a new blog entry every day for the next 9 days after today, either here or over at Beyond the Outfield Fence.  Here is what the schedule looks like for the upcoming week.

  • Friday, June 13th (today): 4/4/14 and 4/6/14 at the Oakland Coliseum
  • Saturday, June 14th: 4/12/14 at Banner Island Ballpark (Beyond the Outfield Fence)
  • Sunday, June 15th: 4/22/14 and 5/5/14 at the Oakland Coliseum
  • Monday, June 16th: 4/26/14 at Banner Island Ballpark (Beyond the Outfield Fence)
  • Tuesday, June 17th: 5/4/14 at Banner Island Ballpark (Beyond the Outfield Fence)
  • Wednesday, June 18th: 5/10/14 at the Oakland Coliseum
  • Thursday, June 19th: 5/11/14 at the Oakland Coliseum
  • Friday, June 20th: 5/25/14 at John Thurman Field (Beyond the Outfield Fence)
  • Saturday, June 21st: 5/30/14 at the Oakland Coliseum
  • Sunday, June 22nd: 6/13/14 at the Oakland Coliseum

However, I will be out of town from Sunday the 15th to Saturday the 21st. I won’t be active online during that time period, whether it be replying to comments here or staying busy on social media… I’ll get all caught up on the 22nd, don’t worry! STILL… PLEASE comment on the entries and let me know what you think. I’ll be having them automatically post at 12pm PST (noon) each day, so make sure to check back every day for a new entry!

Let’s get to the games now, shall we? This entry does not feature any games that will go into my ballhawking stats. I wanted to share two games with you that I did not ballhawk at that will show you more stadium life than anything else.

First off, I want to share the exasperating experience that is April 4th. It was the first Friday home game of the year, and the A’s were once again opening gates at 4:30 on Fridays to let fans in for A’s BP.

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However, it started POURING rain just before 4:30 and not only did they cancel BP, but they pushed back gate openings until 5pm. So, we got to stand in the rain for 1/2 an hour. When we got inside, this was the scene.

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It had finally stopped raining, however it was still a little wet, and as you can see above, it was very windy.

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There was nothing much to do until the A’s pitchers started playing catch down the LF line.

I didn’t get any balls there, but I did get a few pitchers to sign my flag, including Sonny Gray.IMG_3101

I then spotted the Mariners warming up down the RF line, so I made a beeline for the right field corner, where I met up with Danny Farquhar. I’ve told this story many times before here, but I’ll do it again as a refresher. At FanFest 2013, I bought a Green Danny Farquhar jersey. He never actaully played with the A’s.

I held up the jersey after he finished throwing and he LOVED it!

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He even signed it!IMG_3109
I loved how excited he was over personally, my favorite jersey. He genuinely seemed surprised, but happy. We talked for about 5 minutes, mostly about jerseys.

I then headed back to the bleachers where I relaxed with my mom and sister for a while. Around 6:30, the tarp was still on the field, which confused me, because it had stopped raining right before 5. Then, around 7pm, it was announced that the game time was going to be postponed due to field conditions. Around 7:30, they announced that the game was officially postponed.

The night before, the A’s had consulted with a “weather expert” or something like that who told them that it wasn’t supposed to rain overnight, so they could leave the tarp off and dry out the field. Well it rained a lot overnight and I guess it was too soggy to play.

Given that I didn’t snag a ball and there was technically no game played, I am not counting April 4th in my ballhawking stats.

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Now, I want to share with you the game I attended on April 6th.

When my family renewed our season tickets back in December, we were given some early bird perks. One of them included a DEEPLY discounted luxury suite. Given that my birthday is in mid-April and my 16th birthday was coming up, my parents decided to splurge and get the suite for me and some friends. THANK YOU MOM AND DAD!

I chose this game because the A’s had an off day on my actual birthday and the weekend games closest to my birthday would be a mess due to giveaways and such. Well the group met up at BART and we took the train to the Coliseum.

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It felt weird being at the stadium so “late,” as we were getting there at a normal time (around 12:20 for the 1:05 game)

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This was the food setup. Hotdogs, nachos, drinks, popcorn, salad, peanuts; the basics.

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We were lucky enough to get the suite in dead-center, where there are no bleacher seats.

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See? This was the view to the left and right.

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It was neat to see the stadium from a different perspective.

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Sonny Gray was on the mound for Oakland in the Sunday afternoon game against the Mariners.

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I won’t share many details from the game, mostly because it was so long ago, however I will share some pictures with you, like these ones of Josh Donaldson.

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And this one of reliever Luke Gregerson…

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I was debating bringing my flag with me, to wave out the front window, but I decided with this instead.

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Yes, that is a very big glove. It’s the same one that Zack Hample, Rick Sporcic, and Spencer Sanborn have. No, I don’t know where it was ordered from. It was a Christmas gift from my parents. Aren’t they the best?

I really like this picture of me… I discovered it as I was writing this entry and thought it was really cool.

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Jim Johnson pitched the ninth for Oakland and he actaully did fairly well.

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The A’s won!

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Our group stayed to watch the little kids run the bases, which was a lot of fun!

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Then we took BART home. It was a good day!

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Thanks for reading, everyone! Remember, check back here to find out when my next entry will be posted. Remember… noon every day for the next week. Go A’s!

2013top100

Nick Badders is a blogger for MLB.com. He writes the blog, 7000 Coliseum Way, and you can follow him on Twitter @RFNick149. You can also LIKE his blog on Facebook. This blog entry was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

4/2/14 at the Oakland Coliseum

Well… I promised a new entry for the past few days. I’ve been really busy and haven’t had time to post. Sorry!

Rain, rain GO AWAY! We had tickets to the A’s game on April 1st. But it rained. A lot. My mom, sister and I got to the stadium around 5pm on Tuesday. They postponed the game right before the gates opened. It was moved to 6pm the next day.

There was a game scheduled for 12:35 on Wednesday as well, so it was technically a day-night doubleheader! My mom and I decided to go to just the second game. A few hours before the game started, I found a great deal on StubHub for some AMAZING seats. so, I bought them and my mom and I went to the game!

We got to the Coliseum around 4:20. Eventually, the two of us headed to the Season Ticket Holder gate, where we entered the stadium. Because of the previosu game, gates did not open until 5pm, but it was still a good time! Here is the view from our seats…

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We were RIGHT above the Diamond Level seats. Pretty cool! From there, my mom and I decided to wander around the stadium a bit. The Coliseum changed food providers over the offseason, so the two of us wanted to check out what else there was. We more or less just walked around for a while.

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On our way to the right field bleachers, I decided to stop at the Authentic Memorabilia Stand, where they had locker name plates for $5 each. This one caught my eye, so I bought it!

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If you remember, I bought his jersey back in February at FanFest, so it’s cool that I have Mike Ekstrom’s jersey and locker nameplate!

It was already 5:45 at this point, so my mom and I headed back to our seats. We walked around some more, talked with some people, and got food

An A’s fan threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

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Dan Straily caught it and took a picture with her.

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Because we were so close to the field, I had fun taking photos like this.

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It was weird to see the bleachers from across the stadium.

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It looked like everyone was having a good time.IMG_2540

Here are the umpires and coaches meeting at home plate.
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On the mound for Oakland was Josh Lindblom, who we got in the trade with Craig Gentry for Michael Choice.

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Because the doubleheader was scheduled so suddenly, both teams were allowed to carry 26 players for this game. The A’s called up Lindblom so that the starting pitchers’ schedules would not be messed up.

Here are a couple of pictures I took of Josh Donaldson as he was standing on deck.

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I loved the chance to get up-close photos like this.

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The batter pictured above, Sam Fuld tripled to lead off the game.

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Donaldson fouled a ball back that shook the umpire up quite a bit.

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He ended up being fine.IMG_2597
Jed Lowrie was starting at shortstop.
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And John Jaso was once again behind the plate.

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After every half inning, this guy would walk onto the field and hold up a red, yellow, blue, and green card, in that order. My guess is that it has something to do with the replay system.
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Josh Lindblom pitched fairly well, throwing 4 2/3 innings, allowing 5 hits and 2 runs, while striking out 2 Indians batters.

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Drew Pomeranz relieved him, finishing off the 5th inning and getting the first two outs of the 6th.

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Like I mentioned, I loved being able to get photos this close up!


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My mom commented on the fact that given that we sit in right field, we rarely get to see the front of Josh Reddick. For those of you wondering what he looks like, here you go!

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My mom also had a fun time taking pictures; she got some really good ones! I laughed at this one, especially.

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It looked like everyone in right field was having a great time!

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For my second straight game, the Indians challenged a call in the sixth inning. This time, it was on a tag play at second base.

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And this time the call was overturned in the Indians favor.

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After Drew Pomeranz struck out a batter, Luke Gregerson came in to pitch the rest of the inning.IMG_2829He got Ryan Raburn to fly out to Yoenis Cespedes on two pitches.
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He also pitched the 7th inning, where he walked a batter, allowed a single, and a run. This tied the game up at 3.

Like I mentioned earlier, my mom and I really enjoyed being able to take pictures much more up-close than we would from RF.

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I liked this picture a lot, for some reason.

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The A’s scored a run in the bottom of the 7th, so Sean Doolittle came on in the 8th to pitch for the A’s.

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He pitched a 1-2-3 inning, sending the game to the bottom of the 8th. The A’s were unable to score a run, sending the game to the 9th.

Who did the A’s call upon to close out the game? Their closer, of course! Jim Johnson entered the game for the ninth inning, hoping to earn his first save of the season. You may remember what happened last time he pitched. It was Opening Day. You can check out that blog entry here.

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Once again, he blew it. He allowed three runs and the A’s lost 6-4. Dang…

I had been chasing foul balls all game, but only came close to one. But, I didn’t get it. In the bottom of the 9th, I headed over to the umpire tunnel once again in hopes of avoiding the shutout. But, I had no luck. For the first time this season, I snagged no balls. It sucked, but the situation was out of my control. Oh well!

BALLHAWKING STATS:

  • 2nd game this year (2nd MLB Game)
  • 0 balls at this game
  • 1 ball in 2 MLB games this season = 0.5 Balls Per Game
  • 1 baseball this season
  • 69 Lifetime MLB Baseballs
  • 164 Lifetime Baseballs

2013top100

Nick Badders is a blogger for MLB.com. He writes the blog, 7000 Coliseum Way, and you can follow him on Twitter @RFNick149. You can also LIKE his blog on Facebook. This blog entry was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

3/31/14 at the Oakland Coliseum

Sorry Guys… I’ve been so busy, I haven’t gotten around to writing any blog entries. The next few blog entries will be REALLY short. Once I get back into the swing of things, I’ll start having longer entries. I’ll have a new blog entry every day for the rest of April, okay?

Opening Day… Is supposed to be a beautiful, sunny, perfect day, correct? WRONG!

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Well it rained. A lot (For Bay Area standards). However, that didn’t stop us, or for that matter a lot of A’s fans for coming out!

My mom, sister and I got to the Coliseum shortly after 3pm, when we got in line at Gate B with a few other people. Nothing exciting happened. The rain stopped for a bit, then picked up right when it was time for the gates to open…

Even though they were supposed to open at 5:05, it was closer to 5:10 when I finally got inside. I ran straight for the bleachers and set my stuff down with everyone else.
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The first picture of the entry was taken shortly after we got in. After 10 minutes, I saw the A’s pitchers playing catch down the left field line, so I decided to go take a look.

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Meanwhile, the grounds crew was sweeping water off the tarp and preparing the field for the game.

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After pitchers had finished warming up, they all did some running.

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I’m sure you are wondering if I snagged a ball while the pitchers were throwing. I did! After all of them had finished playing catch, I tried to get a ball, but had no luck. I decided to head over to the bullpen to try my luck with one of the pitchers when they were done throwing there. No luck.

After they all left, I saw bullpen coach Darren Bush walking towards me. I saw that he had a couple of balls in his hand with the 2014 OPENING DAY LOGO on them. I knew I had to get one. But, when I asked him for one, he said he had to save them and couldn’t give them away. I asked him if he could keep an eye out for one of the special logo balls, and he said he would try.

Anyway… I then spotted bullpen catcher Casey Chavez with a few balls in his hand. Given that it appeared that all of the pitchers had been using these balls, I hoped he had a few. If you remember, at A’s FanFest, I purchased a Casey Chavez gold jersey. I was wearing it at this game. So, I called out to him, telling him that he would like my jersey. He turned to me and I pointed to my back. He smiled and flipped me a ball. Here I am with it…


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Let’s take a closer look at that logo…

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SUCCESS! Even though the logo is worn out a bit, a commemorative ball is still a commemorative ball. I was VERY happy!

Eventually, players started coming out onto the field. John Jaso was back in the catchers gear after missing a large part of last season due to a concussion.
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Josh Reddick was starting in right field today.
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Daric Barton was at first.

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Josh Donaldson (4th-place MVP finisher) was at 3rd base.

IMG_1955Former Oakland Athletic Nick Swisher was batting second and playing first base.
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He was getting a lot of boos, but given that he was my first ever favorite player, I couldn’t do so.

On the mound for the A’s was Sonny Gray.
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In the top of the 6th inning, we got to see some “history.” Terry Francona asked for the umpires to use a challenge on a play at the plate. First time a call like that had been challenged in an MLB game. EVER.

IMG_2148The call stood and the runner was out.

It felt good to be back out at the yard taking pictures like this.
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Or this, for example, when Sean Doolittle came into the game in the 8th. Sonny Gray pitched the first 6, Luke Gregerson pitched the 7th, and he pitched the 8th.
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At the time Doolittle entered, the score was tied 0-0, so it had been a tight game all night long.

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I thought this was a particularly cool picture that my dad took.

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The A’s made some noise in the bottom of the 8th. Daric Barton singled to lead off, then advanced to second on a wild pitch.
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Coco Crisp then walked, and the A’s had runners on first and second with one out.

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Josh Donaldson then singled to load the bases.
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However, Cody Allen was SOMEHOW able to get out of a one-out, bases loaded jam.

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Jed Lowrie struck out swinging and Brandon Moss grounded out to Swisher at first.

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8 innings. No runs scored. The A’s called upon newly acquired closer Jim Johnson to keep the game scoreless.

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He did the opposite of that.
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The first three batters of the inning all got on base, thanks to a walk, single, and hit batsman. With the bases loaded, Fernando Abad started to get hot in the bullpen.

IMG_2445Johnson ended up allowing two runs. Abad came in after those two runs were allowed and did not pitch a bad (HAHA GET IT?) 2/3 of an inning. He retired both batters he faced.

After this, I headed down behind home plate in hopes of getting an Opening Day commemorative umpire ball as soon as the game was over.

Long story short- it didn’t happen. The A’s lost on Opening Day for the zillionth time in a row. This time, it was a 2-0 shutout. Hey… At least I’d be back out at the game the next day? Or would I…

The next day, I was skimming through the game archive on MLB.tv and I saw this.

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Hey! That’s my flag! For those of you who didn’t already know, during the offseason, I purchased a custom flag to wave in the right field bleachers. And… on the first game of the season, I got some TV time! Cool stuff!

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BALLHAWKING STATS:

  • 1st game this year (1st MLB Game)
  • 1 ball at this game
  • 1 ball in 1 MLB games this season = 1 Ball Per Game
  • 1 baseball this season
  • 69 Lifetime MLB Baseballs
  • 164 Lifetime Baseballs

2013top100

Nick Badders is a blogger for MLB.com. He writes the blog, 7000 Coliseum Way, and you can follow him on Twitter @RFNick149. You can also LIKE his blog on Facebook. This blog entry was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Oakland Athletics FanFest 2014

Well… This was an adventurous day. Where should I start? My family left our house around 6:25. We got to the Coliseum just before 7am.  We knew that the parking lot wasn’t supposed to open until 7:30, but we drove around for about 10 minutes hoping to find an entrance in early, as I had heard from a few people that had already managed to work their way inside. We ended up finding an open gate and we drove on inside. Good start so far.

Oh. Did I mention it was POURING rain? Not quite as hard as the Twins game last year, but it was still BAD. Weather.com said that there was a 100% chance of rain from 6am-6pm. Great.

As soon as we parked, my sister and I got out and headed over to get in line. Like I mentioned in my pre-FanFest entry, Season Ticket Holders were allowed in at 8:30 and the general public was allowed in at 9am. Keep that in mind for later.

They had a couple special season ticket holder lines under the white tents that were set up on both side of the Arena/Coliseum Plaza.

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Shortly after we got in line, my sister and I were joined by Satoshi and Ralliney. Ralliney soon suggested that we head over to the C-Gate team store to see if we could look inside and get a sneak peek at the Memorabilia Sale. So, we headed over there, and…

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There are a fews things I would like you to note.

  1. In the first picture, there is a #20 MARK MULDER jersey at the bottom. He last pitched for the A’s in 2004.
  2. Also in the first picture, on the back wall, you can see bags. They were $100 at 2013 FanFest and if they were at all lower in cost, I wanted one!
  3. In the 3rd picture, note the grey flannel jersey with an A. Also note in all three pictures, the gray flannel hats.
  4. Lastly, in the third picture, take notice of the yellow and BLACK (?!) pants.

Getting this glimpse made me incredibly anxious to get inside!

After this, my sister and I met up with my mom back in line. She held our spot in line, while my sister and I went to the other parking lot to pick up a shirt I had ordered from Section 148 Clothing. My sister and I then ran into many people along the way and eventually got back to line. By this time, it was 8:15.

Are you ready for the fun stories? Here we go…

When the gates opened at 8:30, they announced that they were letting everyone in. Season ticket holder and the general public, as they didn’t want everyone waiting in the rain. As soon as we got in, I ran to an information booth to find out where to go to get in line for the memorabilia sale. I was told four different things by 5 different people. Eventually, we all figured out where to go and got in line there.

At this point, I was feeling sick to my stomach. I won’t go into detail, but I was on the edge of throwing up. Eventually, my stomach settled down and my mom and I met up with Ryan Dalton. Then, my mom and I had to go pick up our media credentials for BlogFest, so we headed off to do that and let Ryan tag along. We exited at the Entrance/Re-Exit point, telling the security guard that we had to go grab something and that we would be right back. While picking up our credentials, we ran into Steven Luke, who was also there for BlogFest. We also saw A’s first base coach Tye Waller walk right past us.

After picking up our credentials, the four of us headed back to go n through the re-entry point. But we couldn’t get in. Why? The security guard THAT WE HAD JUST TALKED TO THREE MINUTES PRIOR told us that there was no re-entry, even though we had credentials. Mind you, Ryan didn’t, so we were all agitated at this point. We argued with him for a solid  five minutes before giving up and finding someone else. They told us the same thing. We then went over to the second FanFest entry point, the one that my family had not entered from. There, we found out that they hadn’t let the general public in yet. Wow… Ryan then flagged down a security guard and my mom talked him into letting us back in. At this point, it was just before 9.

We finally got back in and joined up with my dad, sister, Ralliney, and a few others who were in line to get inside the Coliseum. This is what the line looked like. Crazy!

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It just looked like a gloomy day.
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When general ticket holders got in, the line was even longer. We stood in this line until 10:15, at which point they let us inside the Coliseum. This picture was taken around 10am, 15 minutes before we were allowed in.
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A bunch of us raced down and ran toward the team store. In fact, I was one of the first ones in. As soon as I went in, I went to grab the Mark Mulder jersey. Gone. I then ran to grab a bag that I had seen and wanted. Gone. However, I immediately grabbed the bag that I determined was in the best condition.

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The line to get in was long. On the right side of the picture, do you see a man in a wheelchair? Just beyond him, there was a ramp. People were lined up there, too.

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Here is a rundown of the pricing for things at the start of the Memorabilia Sale.

  • Game-used hats: $20
  • Game-used helmets (There were 5): $50
  • Game-worn pants: $20
  • Game-worn jackets: $75
  • Team-issued jerseys: $120
  • Blank BP Jerseys: $50
  • Game-worn jerseys from the 70’s and 80’s: $150
  • Bags: $20
  • Bats: $100
  • Grab bag autographed baseball: $10
  • Game-worn cleats: $20

As you can tell, there was a lot of stuff. I apologize, I had been hoping to get pictures of everything inside, but that didn’t end up working out.

Everyone there knew what each other wanted. I had a few jerseys in mind that I wanted, but neither of them were there. However, Ralliney found a gold Casey Chavez #99 jersey for me, with a 2013 postseason patch. For those of you who don’t know, Casey Chavez is the A’s bullpen catcher. I also grabbed myself a Casper Wells #53 home jersey. Casper played for 3 teams in 2013. One of those teams was the A’s. For a total of 3 games. In 3 games, he had 5 plate appearances. No hits. One strikeout. I was pumped to have this jersey!

With the two jerseys and bag, I decided to stop, given that I didn’t want to spend too much money. I thought about getting a jacket, a pair of yellow pants, a pair of cleats, or another bag, but I decided to wait, as I was hoping most of the stuff would lower in cost at some point. Plus, they had rule that you could only have 5 items per transaction.

Once out of the team store, I threw on the gold jersey and decided to wander for a bit. It was cool to once again see the third deck un-tarped.

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The field was a mess…

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Supercross had been a few weeks before and they hadn’t yet gotten around to getting the field ready for baseball season.

Even though the Coliseum had opened, there was still plenty going on in the Arena. Player introductions had completed, but they were in the process of interviewing A’s super-fans. They talked to Ben Christensen, former MLB Fan Cave dweller.
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As well as The Champ and Super J!

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At this point, I started to feel a little sick again. Our family walked around together for a little bit. We stopped by the Oaklandish booth, where they were running a contest.

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Then, we parted ways and my sister and I wandered around by ourselves for a bit. We checked out the A’s Magazine booth, where I got to be on the cover of an issue!

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We pretty much checked out everything in FanFest to get an idea as to what was going on. The two of us stopped by the team store to check out the A’s new jersey and hat. I decided to hold off on buying them for the time being.

At this point, I started to feel even sicker than I had before, so we decided to find seats in the last row of the second deck, where it wasn’t raining. For about 30 or 45 minutes, we just sat and talked.

Eventually, around 11:30, my mom and I met back up and headed out to the car to grab the stuff I would need for BlogFest. When we were by the car, I thew up. But it was all good. I felt better after that. I am pretty sure it had something to do with the food I had for breakfast.

Anyway… We then raced over to the meeting point, where I was able to get set up. Last year, we were in the Warriors press room. This year, we were located in a suite in the outfield.

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The interviews started just before noon and ended around 1pm. Given that I have already posted about BlogFest three times, I won’t talk about it here. If you haven’t already read them (or if you want to check them out again), you can read the interview with Assistant GM David Forst or Manager Bob Melvin by clicking on the links. I was unable to get up the interview with Sonny Gray and Jim Johnson, so if you would like to find out what they had to say, head over to A’s Farm or eDraftrv!

After BlogFest, I met back up with my dad and sister. Pascale and I then got to work on the video tour I was planning.

Meanwhile, my parents decided to head over to the Oracle Arena to watch the Q&A session.

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What did we do for the video tour? Well… we walked around just about every part of FanFest and talked about it. However, we had issues with the video when we got home. Something went wrong. I won’t bore you all with all of that fun stuff, but a lot did go wrong. Here is the one picture I got while filming the video…

There was a Baseball 101 Session in the Bar and Grill.

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After we finished up with recording the tour, Pascale and I met back up with my parents, where we toured the press box.

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The entrance point was in the 3rd deck concourse, where we then had to go down a flight of stairs.

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Those stairs led us to here:

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This is the area where reporters and writers in general sit.

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Not a bad view at all!

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Like I mentioned, beat writers and columnists sit here.

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There were many boxes for various papers and such that they could need.
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So you know how they say the A’s need a new stadium? Things like this could be part of it. The press box is held together with duct tape.

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It really was a great view.

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Next, we checked out the visiting team’s radio booth.IMG_1530

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They have a nice view as well.

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There were some doors missing to the cabinets…

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The windows were open in every small room.

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Oh, and there was a soda fountain.

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Next, we checked out the Comcast SportsNet California booth. There were a lot of wires.

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Apparently, there is a risk of falling.

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There was a lot of tape on the ground, presumably to direct people where to stand or sit.

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Here is the desk where Glen Kuiper and Ray Fosse sit for A’s home games.

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You can see the tape I mentioned earlier in the picture above. Here are my sister and I in the booth with the field behind us.

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Here we are sitting at the desk itself.

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It was a lot of fun!

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The desk even had markings as to where Glen and Ray should be.

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From there, we headed to the Bill King Broadcast Booth, where 95.7 The Game broadcasts ever A’s game on the radio.
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There are memories of the late Bill King on the walls of the booth.

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There is also a state-of-the-art television.

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Great view!
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We then checked out the visiting team’s radio booth.

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MORE WIRES!

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The seating arrangement kind of made me chuckle. That stool looks dangerously close to the edge, if you ask me.

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We then went to the room with these signs in it.

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Pretty cool!

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Our family then checked out the Spanish radio booth.
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They have a flat screen TV! Nicest television I saw in any of the booths.

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Next was a room with this sign at the entrance.

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Notice the books on the desk?

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Here is a closer look.

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How about an even closer look?

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It looks like there were a few things left over from a Raiders game? I’m not quite sure.

We then saw the visiting team GM’s box.

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And of course, Billy Beane’s booth!IMG_1574This was the TV he has. Yikes…

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Nice view, at least!

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The last room we visited  had this screen inside it.

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That is what was playing on the scoreboard, so I have to imagine it is the DiamondVision control room. I feel like they probably shouldn’t have left that remote lying around.

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Once we concluded the press box tour, the four of us headed back down to the memorabilia sale, where I was hoping prices had lowered enough to allow me to pick up a couple more things.

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Prices had lowered on the items that were remaining. Here is a rundown of what they had left:

  • Blank BP jerseys: $20
  • Team-issued jerseys: $60
  • Jackets: $50
  • Bats: $30

All of the helmets, cleats, bags, pants, and baseballs were gone. The old jerseys and hats had not lowered in price at all.

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It was quite packed in the team store!

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As you can tell, there was a very small amount of bats left, nothing that was worth getting in my opinion.

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I found three jerseys that I had my eyes on and left before they closed up at 3pm. Here are the 5 jerseys I ended up with (excuse my feet and the papers in the photo).

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The green #55 Jersey is that of Rich Thompson. He was claimed off waivers by the A’s on April 20th, 2012. Shortly thereafter, on April 25th, they designated Rich for assignment. A couple of days later, on April 27th, Oakland outrighted Thompson to the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats. He pitched one game in Oakland, pitching 2/3 of an inning, allowing one hit. He pitched in 46 games with the River Cats, posting a 4-2 record, with 62 innings pitched. He had a 3.34 ERA, with 58 strikeouts and a WHIP of 1.113.

The grey #21 jersey is Mike Ekstrom’s. On October 29, 2012 he signed a minor league deal with the A’s with an invitation to spring training. He pitched in 10 games during Spring Training 2013, posting a 1.20 ERA and a 0.87 WHIP, in 15 innings pitched. However, he started off the 2013 season with Sacramento, pitching in 21 games, with a 5.10 ERA, before he ended up with the Angels organization, who eventually released him.

The #35 jersey is Luke Hughes’. He was claimed off of waivers by the A’s on April 22nd, 2012. 8 days later, he was designated for assignment when Oakland signed Brandon Inge. He played in 4 games with the Athletics, going 1-13 and while striking out 6 times. Eventually, the team released him on July 17th. The Blue Jays signed him a little while later.

The gold #99 jersey, like I mentioned earlier in this entry, is Casey Chavez’s. He has been the A’s bullpen catcher since the 2007 season. The jersey has a 2013 postseason patch on it, so I have to assume it was worn by Casey for games 2 and 5 of the ALDS.

The #53 jersey may be my favorite. Like I mentioned, that is Casper Wells’. On April 22, 2013, he was traded to Oakland for cash, from the Mariners. When Scott Sizemore re-tore his ACL, Casper was added to the 40-man and 25-man rosters. A few days later, on April 28th, he was  designated for assignment when Yoenis Céspedes came back from the DL. He started two games for the A’s, one in left field and one as the designated hitter. He went 0-5 with 1 strikeout.

Lastly, here is the bag that I mentioned earlier.

20140216-014839.jpgWhen extended completely, it is approximately 13 inches tall by 13 inches wide by 31 inches long. Pretty cool if you ask me.

Like I mentioned, we left the Coliseum just around 4 o’lock in the afternoon. By the way, it stopped raining around 11:45 or so. It was very surprising. However, it was a nice surprise. I would have preferred the rain to end earlier or for that matter, not have been there at all. In the end, I still had a good time, despite all the ups and downs.

I hope you all enjoyed this entry, as well as the video. Thanks for reading!

2013top100

Nick Badders is a blogger for MLB.com. He writes the blog, 7000 Coliseum Way, and you can follow him on Twitter @RFNick149. You can also LIKE his blog on Facebook. This blog entry was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

2014 A’s BlogFest: Q&A with Manager Bob Melvin

On Wednesday, I gave you the BlogFest press-conference style interview with A’s Assistant General Manager, David Forst. In the second of three interviews at BlogFest, we got to talk to A’s manager Bob Melvin.

He discussed Stephen Vogt‘s role, coming on his five playoff starts, and how he plans to have John Jaso catching this year, despite a season-ending concussion last year. Bob also expanded on how he plans to spread out playing time between the guys that are coming back and the new additions. Here is my transcript of the 10-minute interview session with him.

Stephen Vogt’s role this season and  his plans for John Jaso…

Well, obviously very comfortable, and you know the role that he had last year. Started every game of the playoffs based on the match ups and got one of the game-winning hits and a guy that fit in very quickly. So, we have a lot of confidence with him. The plan with Jaso, from the beginning will be to catch. So we’ll see how that goes for him. We do like to rotate the DH spot. Whether it’s a day off for Coco (Crisp), whether it’s a day off for Yoenis (Cespedes), certainly Jaso in an option, everybody’s an option there. We don’t like to get locked into saying this is our DH, but I think a combination of things, with the workload that a catcher gets, there is a day potentially where potentially, he DHs too, but more than anything, I think we have to see how he comes through Spring Training. He’s been cleared to catch in Spring Training and we’ll see if he’s over all those issues and obviously we’ll monitor him very closely in spring.

The idea of carrying three catchers…

There were times last year though when I did have our DH catching, and we were in a position at times which is hard, but you know, where I have my second catcher in a game, and you’re always on pins and needles, and hopefully something doesn’t happen. We do have the luxury of having Josh Donaldson, who has caught before. I don’t want him behind the plate, but that’s one of the reasons we would be able to do it potentially.

The depth of the 2104 Athletics, compared tho the 2012 and 2013 teams…

Well, I think we increased the depth. We add a couple more switch hitters. (Alberto) Callapso was here for a portion of the season. So therefore, we feel like our depth is even a little better.  Obviously, (Nick) Punto was the other guy I was talking about. We’ll look at maybe Callapso some at first base against left handed pitching potentially. The versatility and the depth gets more so each and every year and I think it’s better than it was in 12 and better than it was in 13. That doesn’t mean things play out exactly the way you plan it, but the division has gotten better as well, so you always feel like you have to get better and address the deficiencies that you think your team had the year before.

Winning the division and living up to expectations, despite other teams in the west bulking up…

It’s more important how we feel about ourselves and what our expectations are. We don’t care what the other expectations are, we have expectations as a group, and that’s the most important thing. It was a little different last year, after winning in 12, that it felt like there was a little more of a target on our back, and then when you win two in a row, it’s going to be accentuated that much more. Again, that’s not something we try and think about too much. We also still relish that we still could be an underdog, and I think we have played very well in that role before. But, it’s more about what our beliefs are in our team, rather than what people think about us.

Craig Gentry and Sam Fuld‘s roles in 2014…

Both great pickups for us. Both of them increase our speed, matchups on either side, even though Sam’s kind of a reverse split guy. Sam does a little bit better against lefties, at least recently. Gentry’s a guy we’ve had our eye on for a while. Number one, just getting him in our uniform means he’s not beating us. He’s been a guy that’s been tough on us. He can play all three of the outfield spots. He’s got a great track record against left-handed pitching, even though he’s hit righties pretty well. For a guy like him, I’m not sure as far as how many starts he’ll get, but my redirect to him will be just because you don’t start a game doesn’t mean you won’t be the biggest impact player of the game. He has the ability to change a game, whether you’re ahead, it’s defensively,  whether it’s pinch running, whether it’s pinch hitting, he’s one of the premier guys in the league in being able to handle a role like that. He’s going to get his share of at-bat’s, that’s for sure.

Pinch hitting…

So, if we have a 3, 4, 5 run lead, I’m a little less apt to do some things. You know, the lineup could turn back around, you’re dependent on the other team’s bullpen. It’s more in the leverage situations when we’re either one run up, even, or behind, that you’re trying to maximize that potential situation for somebody who is on the bench. You know a lot of it goes into it, you look at our pinch hit numbers last year,  I think us and Tampa were at the top of our league and do things kind of similarly. It’s more about how leverage that particular opportunity is.

What he’s taken from the last two years…

You know, any team that makes it into the playoffs has to be considered having a good year, especially our marketplace and so forth and winning the division a couple of times. A couple of giants within our division to be able to compete and come out on top… You always try to take the confidence that you had and what you’ve accomplished in years past and we’ve accomplished some good things the last couple of years. You also find some motivation in getting beaten in a certain fashion a couple of years in a row, so we wouldn’t be scared of that situation again. We would relish it if we got it again, but I think more than anything you try to find what’s best for your team that motivates you the best, and I think for us, I think it’s bringing our confidence with us  and getting past what was a sour taste for us the last couple years.

Nick Punto’s role with the team in 2014…

It’s to be determined. He’s another guy that his actually his versatility probably plays against him, as far as some of the starts. We have some in-game guys that can really impact the game, whether it’s defensively, baserunning, or offensively. As the game goes along, he is certainly one of those guys that we’ve identified to do that. He will get his share of starts, because you have to keep a guy current and getting the x-amount of bats to stay ready for the opportunities, but I don’t think at this point in time, there’s any specific amount of at-bats that I’m looking at for him.

The difference between managing the A’s and other teams…

Well I like managing the A’s a little better. I grew up here in the Bay Area and there’s some specific consequence for me in pride factor, growing up in the area. We’ve had as good a group of guys come through here over the last three years and we continue to bring in great people that accentuate our team. Just getting along with the front office, the ownership in the fashion, and the fans are a big, big, key for me here for that added pride of being an Oakland A.

How he will rotate players…

I think we find that out in Spring Training and then we try to play our best matchups on a particular day, that’s just the way we do things and the guys know it. You know, if we have some history with a potential role-player, against a certain pitcher, and they’ve done well, we’ll look to identify that start for him, we try to put our guys in the best possible position to succeed and that’s a day-to-day and an ongoing thing.

With closer Jim Johnson in the room, on Sean Doolittle and Jim Johnson sharing the closing role…

No, we like having a closer, and that’s why we got Jim Johnson, and it keeps Doolittle in the role that he has and (Ryan) Cook and (Luke) Gregerson, and (Dan) Ortero, it just goes on and on, we signed (Eric) O’Flaherty, (Evan) Scribner has done a good job. Our bullpen depth is our strength, and we do like to find roles, and that’s what it’s going to be, coming out of spring… And that wasn’t just for him [Nods to Jim Johnson].

[Laughter in room]

Well. There you have it! The BlogFest session with A’s manager Bob Melvin. Check back on Friday or Saturday to read the interviews with pitchers Jim Johnson and Sonny Gray. Thanks for reading!

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Nick Badders is a blogger for MLB.com. He writes the blog, 7000 Coliseum Way, and you can follow him on Twitter @RFNick149. You can also LIKE his blog on Facebook. This blog entry was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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