I was pumped for this game beyond belief. The A’s had just walked off against the Yankees the night before, putting them 5 games over .500 for the first time in forever, and ready for the series win the next day.
From the BART ramp, we headed to the C gate ticket office, where we planned on purchasing 2 bleacher seats. The C gate office was closed, so we walked around to the D gate ticket office, which is where I bought tickets at FanFest in January. There, we got our tickets, then we headed to the team store, where we got some good air conditioning, as it was almost 90 degrees, and I picked up an All Star game program with the A’s lone representative, Ryan Cook on the cover. We then proceeded to get in line at gate B. It was the first time I had ever gotten in line there, because it is usually closed, but sine it was all set up for people to enter at, in addition to the fact that it is closer to the RF bleachers, we figured it was the best option, despite the limited shade.
I sat and looked through my All Star game program for a few minutes, before I was approached by a family asking me what gate to get in for the RF bleachers. I suggested that they get in line at Gate B with me, because it is the closest to where they wanted to sit.
Anyone that has been to an A’s home game knows that the RF bleacher crew is awesome. They have the drums, cowbells, and the awesome signs. Over the course of the hour leading up to the gate opening, various season ticket holders that always sit in section 149 dropped off their various signs and flags with a guy that is there for almost every game. As soon as he got there, he gave the little girl that was with the family who had gotten in line with me a baseball that I guess he had gotten the night before, which I thought was great.
When the gates finally opened at 4:05, I ran through bag check, got my ticket scanned, and I ran right to the RF bleachers, where I was told to get a yellow wristband while I ran in. As soon as I got to the seats, I set my stuff down in section 148, right next to where the drummer sits. I quickly grabbed the first row aisle seat, and took my glove out and got ready. This was the sight when I looked up
I got ready, because I had a good feeling about snagging something, with the A’s recent power outburst. A minute or two after I got in, Derek Norris hit a ball to my right.
I sprinted in the direction that it was headed. I clanked in the seats above the wheelchair ramp on the leftmost side of the bleachers, and about 10 people scrambled over to go get it. They were all looking in the first two rows, and eventually gave up. After they all had left, I slowly and calmly walked over to where I had remembered it landing, while very one else scrambled to the section to the right. I walked up the steps, and sure enough, in the 5th row, the ball was just sitting there! My 10th lifetime MLB ball!
After this, I went over to hand it to my mom to put in my backpack. About 10 minutes later, Brandon Moss hit a ball in the section to my left. I went to catch the ball, but I realized it was going to land over my head. Nobody was paying attention, and the one or two that were didn’t have glove. It bounced 10 rows back, hit the 4th row, and I snagged it on its way down. My 20th lifetime baseball!
They stretched for about 5 minutes, before their portion of batting practice began. In that time, I took off my A’s jersey, hoping to have a better chance of getting a ball, to reveal my MLB Fan Cave shirt from my last game in Oakland. It felt very long, I think that is the best word to describe it. Left field was jam packed because of Alex Rodriguez, so I didn’t want to bother heading over there, so I just stayed in right field the entire time.
The Yankees hit many, many home runs to the RF bleachers. But there were so many people sitting down, it made it impossible to move around and have a chance at getting a ball. There was one kid tat I need to mention here. He was about 12 or so and came very close to getting a ball about 10 times, and whenever he didn’t get it, he cried his eyes out. And he wasn’t wearing a glove. Every time the ball was hit close to the wall, he would scream the player’s last name, in hopes of getting the ball.
Some guy did end up giving him the ball, which I think David Robertson tossed up. He then approached me, asking if I wanted to trade, my first home run ball for his toss up. Obviously, my answer was no, but I asked to see the ball, just to see if it had any special logo or anything. Nope. It was just a simple practice ball.
I decided to stand close to where I had gotten my first ball, in the aisle to the section over to the left. A lot of balls were hit just below us, and every time, Tony Pena, the Yankees bench coach would go and retrieve it. I asked him for it the first few times, and just gave up asking him after that. The only other ball I came relatively close to during the Yankee’s portion of BP, I probably should have had, but them again, someone else should have too. The ball was hit right at him. He had a beer in both hands. He set one down, to try to make a one handed grab, and of course, he dropped it. But as I went to grab it, he yelled “STOP HIM” and like 4 other people went to grab it, as he kicked it to his girlfriend, spilling about 1/4 of his beer on me. Another guy grabbed it, and gave it back, after the 20-something year old guy threw a fit about how it should be his and how he deserves it, and a bunch of other random crap. Overall, BP was very exciting.
Once the cages were pulled away, I went and got myself a soda, which I rarely have. Actually, I only ever drink soda at baseball games. But after I got my soda, I sat in my seat and talked with my mom for about 20 minutes, as there was ZERO action on the field.
Then, I saw Derek Norris warming up with Chip Hale, the A’s bench coach down by the A’s bullpen. I put my jersey back on, grabbed my catcher’s mitt and headed down there, hoping that I wouldn’t have to get my ticket checked, like the A’s ushers usually do half an hour before game time. I got down right next to the foul pole and BBQ Terrace, and there was no usher for the section at all! Sweet!
Once they were done, Derek started warming up with Jarrod Parker, the starting pitcher that evening. Once they were done playing long toss, Parker went to throw the ball to Casey Chavez, the brother of former A Eric Chavez, and the A’s bullpen catcher, when I called out to him. He threw the ball to me, and despite my jump, the ball sailed 10 feet over my head.
Believe it or not, he didn’t do that during the game at all! all of this, I pretty much headed back to my seat, with not much more to do.
Yep, I’m crazy. Sitting right next to the drummer that you hear at very A’s game.
So, If you don’t know, last year, a bunch of A’s fans gathered in RF for the first ever Bacon Tuesday. This game happened to be against the Royals, and Jeff Francoeur happened to be the right fielder. He wrapped $100 on a ball and tossed it to them. The money was for bacon. So this year, when the Royals came to the Coliseum in April, they held the 2nd annual Bacon Tuesday, and this time gave Fancoeur a Bacon Tuesday Shirt.
After hearing about Jeff Francoeur’s Bacon Tuesday at the Coliseum, Josh Reddick, a huge wrestling fan sent a replica WWE title belt to the fans in Oakland’s right-field bleachers and declared Thursdays Title Thursdays. Well whenever Josh Reddick comes to the plate, they have the wrestling belt in right field. Here is a quick article on Cut4.
MORE BACKSTORY TIME!!! So, Brandon Inge’s walkup song is Moving Like Bernie. The video on MLB.com is not accessible, but that is what the RF bleacher crew do when Brandon Inge comes up to the song. A’s broadcasters quickly took notice, and the next day on the A’s pre game show, host Brodie Brazil and CSN Insider Casey Pratt were Movin’ Like Bernie. Later, after the A’s walked off AGIAN, Brodie did it agin, this time with his co-host Fernando Viña. Later that night, I found this video, which I think everyone needs to see.
And yes, I was Moving Like Bernie too.
The next story I would like to get to has to do with the song Call Me Maybe, by Carly Rae Jepsen. In May of this year, somebody posted a video to YouTube of the Harvard baseball team dancing to the song in a van.
They played Call Me Maybe sometime during the game, I think it was the 8th inning, and when it played, the ENTIRE A’s bullpen started doing the dance. All 3 1/2 minutes of the song. I guess they do it every time the song is played. They had tons and tons of footage of the bullpen doing it, and I was not able to get a picture of them in action, or on the board, but I did get tis picture, which is of Jordan Noberto laughing after finishing the routine at another game.
Quick break from story time. The only one ball that I came close to during the game was a home run in the 8th.
If you watched the video, then you know that the one guy who had a play on it botched it. I got out of my seat right away. But, because the bleachers were sold out, I had a hard time getting to the ball. Had the bleachers been less packed, I might have been able to get it. But after the ball bounced back on to the field, Dwayne Wise picked it up. I called out to him for it, and he faked a throw to me an rolled it into the bullpen.
In the 9th inning, with closer Ryan Cook unavailable to close out the game, as he had worked the previous 3 games, Sean Doolittle, a first baseman the year prior, now a converted relief pitcher, came in to get the save. They played Grant Balfour’s entrance song, which I think is by Metalica. Whenever the song is played during a game, the right field bleacher people have a little routine that they like to perform. Here is a link to another article on Cut4.
Yep, I was doing it too.
Ok, last story. I promise. By this time, everyone knows how awesome the A’s are doing. At the end of the Yankees series, they were 14-2 in July. That is insane. Including the 4th game of the series, in which they walked off, 6 of the previous home games had been in walk-off fashion. It has been so much fun! One thing that Josh Reddick has been doing, is throwing a whipped cream pie in the face of the person who got the walk-off his, while they were doing an interview. Along with that, usually all of the tubs of water and Gatorade are dumped too. For the most recent walk-off win, Jonny Gomes added candy, gum, and sunflower seeds. I found a behind-the-scenes look of Reddick and Inge preparing to hit Coco Crisp with a pie, after the A’s 11th walk-off this year. Check it out, once again at Cut4.
• 2 balls at this game
• 6 balls in 7 Major League games this season = 0.857 ball per game.
• 15 balls in 10 baseball games this season = 1.5 balls per game.
• 11 Lifetime Major League baseballs
• 20 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.