Today’s game was a Stockton Ports game, the A’s Class-A advanced team. Well right after I got home from school, I called my dad asking when he was going to leave work for the 7:05 game. Well he was having a hard time getting out, so all I could do was wait.
My goal had been to leave at 4 for the estimated hour long drive to Stockton and get there around 5, in time to pick up our tickets and my Facebook contest prize and get in line before the gates open at 6. So I checked the estimated drive time on Google maps… 2.5 hours!!! There had been a huge head-on collision or something and debris had flown everywhere and it was crazy backed up.
My dad came home around 4 and I got ready, and we left at about 4:20. We took some backroads and at 4:45, we were supposed to get there around 5:30. Around 5:15, it started to rain… oh boy… the rain let up quickly enough and we arrived at Banner Island Ballpark in Stockton at about 5:30ish.
Before the game, there was a parade for a nearby little league and it was really great to see them enjoying everything so much.
Ports players were starting to warm up down the right field line, so I headed down there to try my luck. No luck. I knew who everyone was, but no luck with a ball. I headed back to my seat, and tried to get a ball there, but no luck there. (Fast forward to the game.) A.J. Cole was pitching for the Ports.
He actually turned 20 and the beginning of January, so it was really great to see someone so young pitching. This was my view for most of the game. We had the whole 3 rows of the section to our self for the entire game, and for most of it, actually, I stood in the cross aisle behind the section and chased foul balls. I came close to three in the first inning. The first two were hit to the right of me, so I sprinted that way and arrived a split second too late, but I almost got them on a bounce, but a little kid got them both times, so I was glad. The third one was hit to my right, and I sprinted off that way, but it bounced too high when I got there and OUT of the stadium.
So when it comes to foul balls in Stockton, long story short: stand in the parking lot. Had i done that, I probably would have caught 3-5 foul balls.
In the top of the second, A.J. Cole got a strike out for the second out of the game, and the catcher, whose first name was Petey threw the ball down to third to catch a runner stealing for the third out. Most people thought it was the second out, some people thought it was the third out, and there was a lot of confusion. The third baseman, Miles head tossed the ball to me and I had my first Minor League ball, and my 6th lifetime ball.
For the rest of the game, I was at the dugout after infield warm ups, and at the end of each half inning, but other than that, I stood in the cross aisle for a foul ball.
And for the record, there is a wall in front of the seats, and it is about a foot and a half tall. I would have more pictures, but my dad’s camera kind of died, so I don’t really have any pictures left to show you.
I didn’t get any more balls, but honestly, I am fine with one. It was a great game and I had a great time!
• 1 balls in 1 Minor League Game games this season = 1 ball per game.
• 1 ball in 2 baseball games this season = 0.5 balls per game.
• 1 ball at this game
• 6 Lifetime baseballs
• 1 Lifetime Minor League baseball
Nick Badders is a unofficial reporter for MLB.com. He writes the blog, 7000 Coliseum Way, and you can follow him on Twitter @nickbatters or his blog @7000ColiseumWay. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.