5/18/12 at John Thurman Field

This game was strung together at the last minute. After I got home from school around 3, I called my dad, asked him if we could go to a baseball game. The A’s game in San Fransisco was out of the question, so we agreed to go to Modesto to see the Ports play the Nuts.

My dad got home around 5 and we left around 5:20 and got to Modesto at 6:30. After buying $12 tickets next to the Ports dugout, we headed inside. First, we headed to our seats, which were amazing! After the usher checked our tickets, she told us that we had waitress service!

After looking over the menu for a brief moment, I went over to the dugout, where I saw a ball lying on the ground.

Chad Oberacker walked in the dugout, I called him over, and asked him for the ball. He looked puzzled, but he reached down and tossed it to me! Notice that it says Official Minor League Baseball, not Official Ball California League, like the ball at my last Ports game.

Once getting the ball, I handed it to my dad to hold onto and went over to where most of the Ports players were warming up.

There was some other guy there, maybe a year older than me with 3 game-used bats to his side. He was also was holding a lineup card from the previous game and it was signed by at least 30 different players.

He was chatting up all the players and added a few more signatures to his lineup card. As the players finished playing catch, I asked multiple players for a ball, including Max Stassi, Miles Head, and A.J. Kirby-Jones. Despite calling their first names and shouting, none of them tossed a ball to me. As they were leaving, the kid next to me said “It helps if you call out their first names. They are more likely to respond.”

What a concept!

I promptly headed back to the dugout and tried my luck a little more there before the first pitch.

In the bottom of the 1st, I ordered a slice of cheese pizza and a fruit cup, which showed up a little later. The food was ok, but the whole experience was phenomenal! I didn’t focus on really getting balls, I just enjoyed the game.

The Nuts scored 6 runs in the bottom off the 1st off of A.J. Cole, who the A’s received in the Gio Gonzalez trade and I started to understand why the Ports had only won 2 games in May. (And lost 16 in a row)

Now look at his left eye in that picture. Do you see a pupil? I don’t. And that isn’t just the lighting. He really does pitch like that. See?

Miles Head was the one that tossed me my 1st ever Minor League ball at this game.. He did very well on the night, with a double and a triple.

Chad Oberacker didn’t do very well in this game

Sometime halfway through the game, I wandered around the concourse and found a shaved ice stand that sold mammoth shaved ice. (Yes, I do know how goofy I look in this picture.)

In the 7th inning, my dad and I went to sit on the other side of the dugout, which would give me a better chance for third out balls.

I didn’t get any, but i did get a picture of this sign warning fans of balls and bats.

While sitting here, I looked into the dugout and saw the lineup card in the Ports dugout.

My plan was to go over to that end of the dugout for the 9th inning, and as soon as the final out was recorded, ask for it. Little did I know that there would be competition. On my right is the kid that I had been talking about earlier. On my left is some girl that pushed past me to get to the dugout. It wasn’t a big deal; she got a ball, so it was all good.

But when I got to the dugout, I asked A.J. Kirby-Jones for it, and he said he wasn’t allowed to. Then I asked Craig Lefferts, the Ports Pitching coach, and Webster Garrison, the Manager, both who said the same thing as A.J. Once everyone had cleared the dugout, I asked a clubhouse manager, Vic Zapien, who was cleaning up the dugout, for the line-up card. He said yes, then took it off and right before he handed it to me, said he remembered he had promised it to someone else. Oh well. Then he handed a ball to that girl I talked about earlier.

My dad and I were headed out to go look for any home runs that hadn’t been found, when all the lights turned off and a fireworks show started. We stayed for that and headed out. Then, he wanted to head onto some soccer field, where the fireworks had been launched. He convinced me to, but the city fire chief started yelling at us and telling us that home runs were never hit there, although we knew that 2 or 3 had been. Oh well.

Overall, I got a cool ball, waitress service, fireworks, and a huge shaved ice. Hard to complain about that!

• 1 ball at this game
• 2 balls in 2 Minor League games this season = 1 ball per game
• 6 ball in 5 baseball games this season =1.2 balls per game
• 2 consecutive Ports games with at least one ball
• 4 consecutive baseball games with at least one ball
• 11 total baseballs
• 2 total Minor League baseballs

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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