This was probably going to be one of my favorite baseball games ever.
There was a Scott Hatteberg bobblehead giveaway. And after the game, for extra $10 or something like that, we got to go on the field after the game and watch Moneyball. Awesome!
I invited my friend Sal to this game, because I knew he would want to come and I hadn’t been to a game with him in a few years. I went to 1 with him in ’09 and 2 in 2010.
I expected the lines to be very, very long.
My plan was to pick him up at 1:15 and catch the 1:40 BART train with him and my mom to the Coliseum, getting there a little after 2.
The line at Gate LL was long, so I headed to Gate C, because I assumed B would be closed. They were expected long lines, because they had caution tape set up for the line to double back 3-4 times. When we got to Gate C, there were maybe 20 people in line, so I jumped in there.
At this point, it was 2:30ish. Sal and I played Monopoly on our phones for a bit, before I decided that I wanted to get up and walk around.
Sal had talked about wanting a new A’s hat, so after seeing that the C Gate team store was closed, we kept walking. The season ticket holder line was getting long, and when we got to D Gate, the line had already doubled back once and was getting very long quickly. We headed into the team store there, which happened to be open, where Sal got a new A’s hat.
Line MM was long too, and when we got back C Gate, the line hadn’t changed much. We took some pictures and just talked and waited until about 45 minutes before the gates opened, before I declared that I wanted to walk around 1 more time. Keep in mind that there were only 50 or so people in line. We first stopped in at the C Gate Team store, where I got this picture of the boxes of bobbleheads beyond the ticket scanners.
Once we had walked to the end of the line, where it started to double back, at Gate A, which along with Gate B wasn’t being used, I notice that the stairs up to gate AA, which are usually closed were opened. Sal and I headed up to see what we could see.
By this time, after spending a few minutes here, I realized we had already been gone for 20 minutes, so after 4 failed attempts to call my mother, we headed to get back in line. Gate LL and MM had tripled as well since we had last been there, and at this point, I guessed there were at least 5,000 people already in line.
When we got to the end of the LL line, I saw the line at Gate C and it had gotten larger by at least 5x. It was crazy. And like 30 new people were in front of us. Whatever. I got this picture of a lady holding a sign to show where the end of the line was.
My sister joined us a few minutes before the Gates opened, and my dad decided it wouldn’t be appropriate for him to join us, so he got in the end of the line.
I was pumped and ready to go, so at 4:05, I ran to get in the shortest bag check line, and after getting my ticket scanned and grabbing my bobblehead, I sprinted for the bleachers. I was hoping for a particular 1st row seat, but it was occupied. I adjusted by setting my stuff down in aisle seats of rows 2 and 3 to reserve them for my group.
I saw a ball a few rows back, and picked it up for ball #1 on the day.
Some guy started heckling the Indians closer Chris Perez to the point where he got security to kick the guy out of the Coliseum. No joke. The guy was cussing Perez out and using words that I will refrain from repeating, but I think you get the point.
Chris had told the guy to meet him over by the bullpen, and that is exactly what happened, I found this video on YouTube of the confirmation. CAUTION- CONTINUAL USE OF FOUL LANGUAGE
BP was very frustrating. The Indians were not hitting the ball out and players were tossing a lot up. But they ignored me. There was an unknown player who threw a ball over everyone’s heads, so I ran after it, but someone pushed me into the side of the wall and ended up with the ball. Nice going.
That was the closest I came to a ball in the bleachers after my 1st ball.
After that, I decided that it was time to move somewhere else, as the bleachers were getting overcrowded and I was getting agitated.
My dad caught some good shots during BP like these
Sal and I headed down to the RF line, where I had been for this game in hopes of me getting a ball. A screaming line drive was hit in my direction, but 10 rows behind me, and knowing nobody would catch it, I ran to try to get the ball trickling down. I was pushed OVER A ROW OF SEATS trying to get the ball and had to do some fancy parkour to stay on my feat. I got a glove on the ball, but someone pushed it off and ended up throwing the ball onto the field and getting kicked out.
So that makes 2 people kicked out and 2 rag doll Nicks on the day.
I expected only a few more minutes of BP, and there were a several balls hit near me during that period. The first few were grounders down the line that I asked Indians players for and ended up being ignored. There were also 2 that ended up under the Indians’ bullpen bench.
The one other ball caused quite a commotion. A line drive was hit, just like the previous one, and as the ball trickled down the steps, I grabbed it with my glove, and a 300+ pound man pushed me over, rolled on TOP of me, and grabbed the ball. At this point, I was laying on the stairs on my side with a 30 year old man that weighed over 300 pounds on top of me. His knee was bleeding and my entire left hand was hurting (he had sharp elbows and knees) and people were trying to help him off.
I decided to head back, in hopes of asking Mark, the awesome security guard by the visitor bullpen for one of the balls that I hoped was under the bullpen bench still.
I was only my way over when Sal approached me and said Mark had a ball for me. I guess there had been a family that had seen the whole incident and asked him to give me a ball. I told him he didn’t need to give me a ball, but he insisted. In the hindsight, he raised my spirits and showed his awesomeness. I then chatted up the family and told them about my blog, ballhawking, and offered them the ball, which they refused.
After this, I dropped my stuff off in the bleachers with my dad and sister and headed with my mom and Sal to Deli 215, which is the Sandwich bar in the Westside Club, which I mentioned in my last entry.
When we got there, it was just after 5:00, so I was a little concerned about getting back to our seats in time for the pre-game ceremony. We purchased 4 sandwiches plus fruit cups for my sister and me. It was 5:20 when we headed back to our seats. When we got there, I snapped this picture of my sister’s bobblehead.
When the ceremony got underway, they had people walk out boards with the number of each game of the win streak, first 3 at a time, then 2 and eventually 1. After every set of boards, members of the 2002 team would be introduced by the legendary former voice of the Athletics, Roy Steele, back at the Coliseum again. It was amazing to hear his voice. It gave me goosebumps.
One thing, that I think was great on the A’s part was to get videos of a few players from the team apologizing that they couldn’t make it; guys like Eric Chavez, Barry Zito, and David Justice.
There was also a fantastic tribute to the late, great Cory Lidle, a part of the 2002 team who tragically died in a plane crash in 2006. The A’s raised $10,000 for the Cory Lidle foundation over the course of the weekend.
• 2 balls at this game
• 11 balls in 10 Major League games this season = 1.1 ball per game.
• 20 balls in 14 baseball games this season = 1.429 balls per game.
• 16 Lifetime Major League baseballs
• 25 total balls
• 4 consecutive games in Oakland with at least 1 ball
• 5 consecutive games with at least 1 ball
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.