5/11/12 at the Oakland Coliseum

My family left for the 7:05 game, with the gates opening at 5:35 around 4: 30ish. My original goal was to be there at 4:30, but then 4:45. We arrived at the Coliseum around 5:00.

The night before, I sent a DM on Twitter to Rick Gold, the #5 ballhawk on the mygameballs.com lifetime leaderboard. I asked if I could take a picture with him before the game and get to talk to him for a little.

After we got there, we got in line and my sister and I played a little catch. Then, I walked over to the team store, and on the way back to my family, Rick called me over. I got to talking to him about everything from his job with mlb.com, to ballhawking and other things. He said that he had free tickets from mlb.com and he actually game an extra one to me! Thanks Rick! When it was 5:30, the line was all the way to the unopened right field gate and back to the 1B gate, which is where I wanted to enter the Coliseum. I headed back to get in line with my parents, and within 5 minutes, we were inside with our awesome Swingin’ A’s blankets. After talking to Rick, I knew that I should avoid the LF bleachers altogether and headed to the RF bleachers.

The first hitting group was made up of Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, and Delmon Young, who are the 3-5 hitters in the Tigers lineup.

The LF bleachers were packed, just like Rick said, because of Cabrera and Young. Fielder was the only lefty in the group and while I was there, he hit only 1 home run. I had no luck with the first group. Or the second group. In the 3rd group, Brennan Boesch hit 5 or so balls right below the out-of-town scoreboard, and some unknown Tigers player tossed me my first ball of the day.

Before BP ended, I wanted to check something off the mygameballs.com scavenger hunt list. Ballhawking in a Justin Bieber shirt. Well before I had left my house, I made a Justin Bieber shirt, so I wore it under my brand new Yoenis Cespedes jersey. My dad took this picture right after BP ended.

After getting a picture with my only ball from BP, we headed up to our seats in the 3rd deck. As I said in my previous entry, we were sitting in the Value Deck for the Comcast SportsNet California Authentic Fan Friday.

While in the 3rd deck, I checked off another item on the Scavenger Hunt list, take a picture with a blue tongue. (There are a lot of things that make your tounge blue)

We checked it out, and the view was just flat-out incredible. I went to the last view and took a picture.

To my left

To my right

Yes, there are only 3 sections open in the 3rd deck. The A’s closed it off around 2005 or something like that because the Coliseum was rarely half full with it all open, so they tarped it all off. A few years ago, they opened 3 sections back up, and it hands-down has the best view in the Coliseum.

After all of this, I headed down to section 222, with the ticket that Rick had kindly given me. I slipped into my seat just in time for the first pitch. I headed back to the upper deck in the bottom of the 3rd inning. I wasn’t thinking and left while Josh Reddick was up. On the very first pitch he saw while I was out of my seat, he hit it a section to my left… at least Rick got it!

But in this game, A’s starter Tommy Milone, who I got to meet at A’s FanFest, was on par. He only allowed 2 runs over 7 strong innings.

While in the 3rd deck, I got in line for this wheel thing, which has different prizes on it. Well I got there just in time, because at a certain point, they only had backpacks left, and just handed them out to the people in line. My sister and I were lucky enough to get one. Kara, the A’s in-game host also came up to do a half-inning game, with some kids.

I stayed up there until the end of the 5th or 6th inning, and then headed back down. That was when I found out that Rick was the one who had gotten the Reddick foul ball. No more balls came close to us for the rest of the game, so eventually; I headed back up to watch the rest of the game with my family. My sister was very upset about me not spending more time with her. Just like the last game. It was a great experience for all of us for sure. And best of all, the A’s won!

At the end of the game, my dad got a picture of me with Iall of the things that I got at this game. In clockwise order: The A’s trucker hat given away to all fans in the 3rd deck, the Swingin A’s fleece blanket, the CSN bag, and my one and only ball of the day.

Now, the picture of me in the Bieber shirt, the Blue Tongue, and the picture with Rick, this is how the mygameballs.com scavenger hunt standings looked the next day.

1st place baby!

My next scheduled MLB game is June 20th at the Coliseum. The A’s are taking on the Dodgers, and it is MUG Root Beer float day, so that should be a lot of fun! I will try to stick in some minor league action as well as some unexpected games until then. It will be hard to not go to any baseball games for over a month!


• 1 ball at this game
• 4 balls in 3 Major League games this season = 1.33 ball per game.
• 5 ball in 4 baseball games this season = 1.25 balls per game.
• 3 consecutive A’s home games with at least one ball
• 9 Lifetime Major League baseballs
• 10 total balls

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.


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