9/2/11 at O.co Coliseum (And meeting Zack Hample!)

Well, first, of course, as always, I need to thank my dad, because at 3:30, I persuaded him to take me to the A’s game. Well, the main reason that I wanted to go was because Zack Hample was planning on being here. That is pretty cool.

Well, we took BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) to the game and I played a little Brick Breaker on the ride:

Then, we got to Oakland at about 5:20ish and bought 2 bleacher seats and then got in line at the C gate only to see this:

That arrow is pointing to Zack Hample.

Then, the gate opened and he dashed inside. As soon, as my dad and I got inside, we ran to the RF bleachers and found this guy:

Yep, it’s Zack again. He was doing his ballhawking thing. And then my dad got this picture of Zack that I couldn’t help but share:

And yeah, as soon as I got in, I got Josh Lueke to toss me up a ball. Pretty cool. Yeah, one ball! Whooo-hooo!

Did I mention my dad snagged a ball. Yeah, I was talking to a few Matsuiland dudes and some other A’s fans, and then I noticed a ball coming straight for my dad. Thankfully, he saw it. He moved out of the way, and the ball landed right where he had been standing, then it bounced and he caught it. Just barehanded it. That was the first ball he had ever snagged. In his life. Not just this year. But, first ball EVER! Pretty Cool!

Then, Zack and my dad started talking, which led to finding out that my dad’s son Nick(me) was a fan of Zack’s. Zack realized that I was the one and only (drum roll please) NICK! Anyway, that led to this:

and then this:

And of the record, yes the sun was horrible, I had a hard time seeing. Like, a really, really hard time seeing anything. It is a miracle tat I actually ended the day with 2 balls.

We talked it up for a little, I told Zack about my first snag. We talked about his blog and other ballhawking stuff, and he asked me if I had any of his books. Yes, I have Watching Baseball Smarter, and The Baseball (Both of which I highly recommend). And then, we agreed to meet down by the Mariners dugout after the game, where he would sign both the books.

Then, I saw a ball land just beyond the CF wall. That was the 4th one back there. I told him, he went to look, and of course, he had no glove trick stuff, except for his glove of course. No problem, anyways. But, he figured batting practice would be over soon, so he headed over to the Mariners dugout. Right after he left, Josh Lueke threw me my second ball of the day. Well, he threw it 10 feet above my head. I had to chase it, but got my second of the day.

And for the record, Mariners pitchers really love each other

But, after that, I went to go get some food, or something like that. I also tried to get down to the A’s dugout, no luck. But, when I was jogging back, I ran into Zack again, and we talked for a minute. I told him how I got another ball, and he parted ways. I got back just in time for the start of the game, in time to see Michael Taylor make his MLB debut. And make an error on the first play of the game. At least he made a clean throw.

And there were some Japanese ladies sitting the section over and started a “Cute Butt Ichiro” chant. Man, Ichiro was heckled a lot. A lot. A L-O-T: LOT.

But Ichiro and his cute butt can withstand anything.

But first, can someone teach Jemile Weeks how to slide feet first?

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Yes, Jemile Weeks over slid the bad FEET first. Yeah. It sucks. A lot.

And that was about it. I mean for the game. Except for one tiny thing. Just a tiny tiny thing. Watch video of Cliff Pennington’s’ home run, you will see. Everything is clear. If so, stop reading, If not, continue reading this blog. Well, you should keep reading cause I will explain. He made contact, really really good contact. And the ball was coming right for me. I stood up and tried to get out of my seat, but the USHER was standing in the way. And this is where it hurts. The ball landed on the steps ***2*** feet behind me. It sucked. Then, it got worse. The ball bounced up and onto the cross section walkway thing and was grabbed by some stupid hot chocolate vendor and he ran off with it. Literally. he grabbed it and ran away. Last time I checked, stadium employees are not allowed to keep balls, so yeah. Hot chocolate man, If you are out there I hate you. Same with the evil usher that ruined my chances of catching my first HR and game ball. Screw you. You have been cursed. Goodbye.

And if it is not clear in the video, I am look just like I do in the pic. Except for the fact that I don’t want to beat someone up.

And I still am mad to this second. Ugh. But, more importantly, after 8 innings, My dad and I went down to the Mariners dugout, where we watched this

Then, Zack showed up, a minute after the game was over to take a picture with me and a few other people, and sign our copies of his books.

I told him the Cliff Pennington HR story and yeah.

Then his friend Brandon took a few pictures:

That is Brandon with the camera, a girl who had one of Zack’s book on the Left. Zack is in the middle, I am on the right, and another guy that we met at batting practice.

Then, the ushers told us to leave the seats, so we went up to the concourse so that he could sign more books. He signed both of my books and then we talked for a little bit.

(Sorry for the poor pci quality, the lighting sucked)

He said he was going to Oakland Saturday afternoon, San Fran Saturday night, and Oakland again on Sunday. I explained Breast Cancer awareness day and how batting practice might be cut short on Sunday.

Anyway, I thanked him and my dad and I headed to the BART station.

MY BALLHAWKING STATS:

• 5 balls in 8 games this season = 0.62 balls per game.

• 2 balls at this game (both pictured below)

• 5 total balls

MY DAD’S BALLHAWKING STATS:

• 1 ball at this game for my dad ( Pictured below) (And how cool is that smudge?)

• 1 ball in 7 games this season = 0.14 balls per game.

• 1 Lifetime ball

OTHER AWESOME STUFF

• I got to meet Zack Hample and he signed my copies of two of his books:

Watching Baseball Smarter :

The Baseball:

Pretty Cool.

BASEBALLS IN BLACK LIGHT

Finally, Zack has been photographing baseballs in black light to show the invisible ink stamps? Well, one of my two balls had an invisible ink stamp on it:

Can you guess which one?

It is the one on the right:

And as far as my Dad’s ball goes:

Nothing Special, right? Wrong!

There is part of a stamp on the underside. Pretty cool, Huh?

Comment Down there. Yeah. Ther Right down there.

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6 comments

  1. Zack Hample

    Nick! Awesome entry. Sorry for not commenting until now, but I *did* read it a week or two ago. Very nicely done. It was great meeting you, but man, that’s a terrible photo of me in the bleachers. I don’t know what the hell I was doing. Biting the inside of my lip? Yikes! Anyway, hope to run into you again soon…maybe next year?

    Like

    • Nick Badders

      ZACK HAMPLE-
      Thank you very much for all the kind words. An don’t worry about not commenting until now, and I do apologize if I seemed pushy. Anyway, conserning that pic in the bleachers of you, I honestly don’t know how to explain it. Like really. I think my dad was just taking some pictures and yeah… I was confused too when I saw it. But, it was great getting a chance to meet you. As I write this reply, I am trying to get a screen shot of the HR that I almost caught at the game. It is really, unbelievebly close. Here is a link to the video: http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=18753755. Stupid usher blocking my way. But yeah, it would be great to meet up with you again sometime. The A’s 2012 schedule looks pretty legit, I mean they go to Japan an all. It would be great if you could come out to Oakland again next year. Thanks!

      Like

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