4/13/12 at Banner Island Ballpark

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.

Once we go there, we headed to the front office to pick up the “Ports Prize Pack” that I won on the Ports Facebook page. I came out with this.

But apparently we aren’t allowed to bring bags into the stadium, so we brought everything, including my A’s backpack into our car and headed to line.

Very short. Very nice. Once we got inside and received our rally flag and magnetic schedule, we headed to our seats behind the dugout, where some nice usher cleaned off the wet seats.

Our view was fantastic!

So I wandered around and looked down onto the field and saw this.

If you can’t see, this is what I saw…

While I was wondering how I would get it (For the record, nobody ever goes down there, so I din’t get the ball), a bunch of players walked down the aisle past me and onto the field.

I walked the opposite direction and looked into the dugout. Pretty cool.

Before the game, there was a parade for a nearby little league and it was really great to see them enjoying everything so much.

After that, I saw a ball boy with a ball in his hand and asked him for it, but he just ignored me, as he handed it to some season ticket holder.

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.

Now to most people, this may not seem like a big deal, but to me, he was a key piece in the Gio Gonzalez trade, so it had a lot of meaning to me.

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.

I didn’t actually get a picture of the ball on my dad’s camera, but I did get a picture of the Petey right before the play.

However, I *DID* get a picture on my phone

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.

In the third inning, it started to rain very hard, so they brought out the tarp and there was a twenty minute delay.

In that time, I went to get some food and wander around. I then went and stood here, but the usher said I had to move…

For the rest of the game. I sat here. (I am the one in the green in the first row)

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.


    • Nick Badders

      There was a sign in front of the gate that said that no bags or backpacks of any kind were allowed. It said purses were occasionally allowed, and the lady in front of me had a small purse-like thing that wouldn’t even fit a baseball glove and she wasn’t allowed in with it. Very odd.


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