I had been looking forward to this game for a long time. It was an interleague game, Root Beer (Or Orange Crush) Float Day and the Dodgers were using commemorative balls. And because of root beer float day, the gates would open 2 hours early, instead of the usual weekday 1 1/2 hours. early. My plan was to leave for the BART Station around 1 and get to the Coliseum sometime between 1:30 and 2pm. I would ask around to find the best gate to enter and head to that gate.
I had tweeted the A’s earlier and they recommended LL or MM. After entering, I would head straight to the Eastside Club to get my Orange Crush Float in a autographed Cliff Pennington mug and head out to the bleachers and ballhawk.
Well the only one problem was that my sister had nature camp that lasted until 4. The game started at 7. The gates opened at 5. I wanted to get there between 1:30 and 2. Problem achieved. My parents picked her up around 2, because that was all that was the only time the camp would let us get her. They came home, my sister put on her A’s gear and we headed out to BART. This game was only going to be me, my mom, and sister, so my dad just dropped us off at the BART station and we were off.
I walked around the stadium a few times and noticed some interesting things. As I walked past C and D gates, the 2 that are open for entrance every game had moveable fences around them. But nobody was in line. NOBODY at all!
I also ate lunch and talked with some lady that was nice. When it was time to go in, I had my bag checked and ticket scanned, and I ran to the table straight ahead, where the special mugs could be purchased. My sister and I both purchased a Cliff Pennington autographed mug, and it was actually hand-autographed, not just stamped or printed on.
(That picture along with the next 3 were taken on my phone at home)
As I entered the East Side club, I got my bearings and considered my options. Should I get my float from somebody right away and risk a great opportunity, or go farther and see what else there was? I decided to go all the way to the end, and on a certain level, it payed off. There was a table that said “Everything $5” I looked closer and there were past giveaways there. All ones that I had wanted. I ended up getting a Justin Duchscherer bobblehead…
Yes, I would have rathered gotten a float served from the Warrior Girls, Raiderettes, Mrs. McCarthy (You may recognize her from ESPN) or Jonny Gomes, but I decided to get my float quick and get to ballhawking. Right when I got to the RF bleachers, the A’s were just ending BP… I waited a few minutes, and right after my mom and sister arrived, the Dodgers started hitting.
I have no words to describe the frustrations. There was a ball hit a little ways over my head, and as I chased to get it, it bounced around and I couldn’t get to it in time. It was a commemorative ball. Great. And of course, on the next pitch, before I could get back to the front, a ball was hit right where I had been standing. And the guy tried to barehand it and it landed on the out-of-town scoreboard. Commemorative ball. Great. There were many other stories like this, including one where some guy pushed me out of the way to get a ball, and he didn’t even catch it. And it was commemorative too… WHAT THE HECK??? There was a ball that rolled up onto the warning track and Todd Coffey went to go get it. I yelled out “Hey Todd! Is there any chance that you could please throw me that ball?” That prompted everyone to start yelling things like “Todd!” “Coffey” “T-Cod!” “Ball!” and “Throw it here!” He then asked “Who said please?” Everyone in the section pointed to me, and I told him that I had, but some guy yelled out “I DID!” and Todd threw it to him. Ugh! It was commemorative too! He was the only Dodger who threw a ball up during ALL OF BP! They were being very, very stingy about balls. Just like in San Diego. At 6:20, when batting practice was over, I had 0 balls. Yay!
I headed out of the bleachers and down to the Dodgers dugout to try and get a ball. Boy was it crowded! Wow! I put on my Dodgers hat and took off my Jersey and tried my luck, but within a few minutes, the usher kicked us all out. Cool. I then headed to the Dodgers bullpen, where I was for 20 minutes before the ushers started checking tickets. I stayed off to the side, until an usher headed my way, where I went to the section behind the cross aisle, where tickets were not being checked. I was hoping to get a ball from a player warming up, but I couldn’t get close enough… stupid ushers…
I changed back into my A’s gear and headed for my seat, where I told my sister of my frustrations. My only hope at this point was a Home Run ball, or a 3rd out toss up. In the top of the 8th, Josh Reddick missed a throw from Coco Crisp while warming up, so he grabbed the ball, I called out to him; he pointed to me, and threw the ball. Some old guy reached in front of me at the *very* last minute and got the ball. This was just not my night. But it would get worse. Josh Reddick caught the 3rd out of the inning, and he once against pointed to me. But this time, he chucked it 10 feet above my head. I sprinted back in hopes of getting it on a rebound, but right has I went to grab it, a 300 pound man pushed me/tackled me, and ended up with the ball. This was horrible!
In the bottom of the 8th inning, Brandon Moss stepped up to the plate and CRUSHED the ball to the RF bleachers, a section to my left. But because the bleachers were so packed and are hard to navigate, I wasn’t able to get there in time, and the ball bobbled around a little bit, before somebody grabbed it.
That was the closest I came again, and as a result, I got shut out again. Wonderful.
Keep scrolling after the stats for a few more pictures…
• 0 balls at this game
• 4 balls in 4 Major League games this season = 1 ball per game.
• 7 balls in 7 baseball games this season = 1 ball per game.
• 9 Lifetime Major League baseballs
• 12 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. You can also LIKE his blog on Facebook or follow him @nickbatters or his blog @7000ColiseumWay on Instagram. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.