8/26/12 at John Thurman Field

This was looking to be a very fun game! I had told my dad that I wanted to go to this game, and he was a little unsure of whether or not he wanted to go.

My sister really wanted to go an spend some time with me, so she convinced him into taking us to this game.

My dad is awesome! He was feeling a little under the weather, but was willing to take us anyway!

On our way to the game, I sent a tweet Theo Bowe, on the Blaze, telling him I would be sitting behind the dugout, asking if he could hook me up with a souvenir of some sort. 30 seconds later, he retweeted it, and 5 minutes later, a guy in the Royals Organization (random) replied, telling me that the player would be able to give me a bat and batting gloves after the game.

Pretty cool! I doubted he actually would, but hey, you never know!

Here is a cool green car I saw on the way there

We arrived in Modesto around 4

The gates were supposed to open at 5 and the game started at 6.

This is what the line looked like

I headed over to look inside

This is what it looked like inside

We picked up our tickets at the box office, and I wanted to just wander around and take some pictures.

First, my sister and I wandered around the outside of the stadium, then she headed back to hang out with my dad by the line.

I started off by going to the right of the box office and getting a picture of the banner outside of the box office

It turned out that I couldn’t go very far in that direction. I stood at the fence that cut me off and got a few quick shots

My dad and sister were sitting down near the gates, just talking and stuff.

I decided to head back in the opposite direction and looked through the fence again

I was on my way back to the outfield, and turned around to get another picture

And saw this gate

And saw this

Catch… the first thought that went through my mind was whether or not I could get a ball. But decided against staying there, and kept on my way. I then noticed an open gate…

I walked closer, and had noticed a ball to the right, maybe 10 feet, but I didn’t want to get in trouble, so I didn’t go in.

At this point, this is where I was

As I headed to the field beyond the wall, I noticed the batting cage in a encaged area

As well as a panel of the outfield wall open

I headed on, and saw the picnic area, I guess it is behind the wall

I wasn’t able to find any balls.

Then, randomly, I saw an airplane

It was time to head to the field.

You walk past that chain link fence, and it is ballhawking heaven

The wall is about 10 feet high, and the scoreboard is just over the LF wall

I stood about 100 feet from the wall, 1/3 of the way across the field, and took a picture behind myself

Freaking glory. So awesome. Just an empty field for lots of balls to fly into

I kept walking, and finally realized that the field was a recreational soccer field, and the main hint was the metal bleachers

My sister and I had already been here, and one thing she noticed was a hole in the bleachers. Dangerous much?

I then had to slip past the little gap between the outfield fence and chain link fence

And there was still nobody out there at all. If there was going to be any BP, which at this point, I highly doubted, it was for sure going to be epic.

I then decided to take an artsy picture of a light pole in right field, right behind the wall

And this one of the right field foul pole and a sign in the shape of a baseball that commemorates a player whose number they retired

I saw a gap in the fence, and looked inside

And I guess the visiting batting cage is right next to the home bullpen, and the Blaze were taking some cuts in the enclosed cage

I walked to the fence, as far as I could go, and this is basically what I saw

And then I noticed a kids play area over by the cage and bullpen

It is more or less an elementary school playground

At this point, it was 4:30, so I wasn’t expecting BP, and that somewhat disappointed me.

I was hoping that the players would stop stretching and play catch, so that I could potentially get a ball thrown over the wall

Christian Bergman walked out to the bullpen with someone who I assume is their bullpen catcher, and the team’s pitching coach, Darryl Scott. I talked with Scott for a few minutes, and then let him get back to focusing on the pitching

Finally, the Nuts pitcher grabbed their glove and started to toss the ball back and forth

This is what I was paying attention to:

While I was paying attention to the bullpen, a loose ball rolled to the wall to my right. I heard a player said “Here buddy” I looked and he tossed a ball up to me over the wall for my 1st ball of the day.

I decided that the player was Nick Schnaitmann, mostly because I heard someone call him Nick.

I just stayed there for the most part, hoping for another snagging opportunity. I waited for about another 15 minutes or so.

Pascale then called me on my phone, telling me that the line was getting long, and that I needed to get there soon. I looked at my watch, and realizing the gates opened in 5 minutes, I ran back to get in line with them. The line was pretty long for a minor league game with no giveaway.

A few minutes after I got there, the gates opened.

I got my ticket scanned, and received my game program and headed towards the field, where it was announced that we could play catch on the field for half and hour.

Knowing this, my sister had brought a ball with her, but I decided that Pascale and I would use the ball I had snagged earlier.

We were positioned on the field by the Nuts mascots, and we played catch for 20 minutes or so.

My dad got a lot of tremendous shots of Pascale and I playing catch.

So once we got onto the field, we were spaced out, right next to the infield, i left field

One thing that really stuck out in my mind was the ugly outfield grass. I thought it was impossible to get worse than the Coliseum in September, but I guess I was wrong

As we were playing catch, there was a groundskeeper watering the infield, and as we were right next to the infield, I got a little wet

After about 20 minutes of catch on the field, I noticed some Blaze players heading to the dugout. I decided that it was time to end catch and head over to the dugout.

Now the reason that I did this was because the last time I was at John Thurmond Field, I got my only ball of the day when I saw a ball on the ground as some players walked into the dugout, and got one of them to toss it to me.

There was some concert thing going on over by the Nuts bullpen or something like that, I wasn’t really paying attention

The players were all just sitting in the dugout, so I decided to go buy myself a Nuts hat and spend a little time with my dad and sister.

After purchasing my hat, I noticed players exiting the dugout, so I headed over to the bullpen area, where I was able to get an autograph from Kurtis Muller on the Blaze.

I was unable to get a ball from the players throwing, so I headed back to my seat in time for the first pitch. I them remembered about the shaved ice stand, so I go a shaved ice, sliding right into my seat in time for the exchanging of the line up cards

Do you recognize the Blaze manager? Here is a closer look at him

That is Ken Griffey Sr. The father of Ken Griffey Jr. Pretty awesome!

Time to play ball!

The seats we had purchased were row 2 aisle seats behind the visitor’s dugout, so I brought my Reds hat, as the Blaze are the High-A affiliate of the Reds.

This was our view for the start of the game

From our seats, my dad was able to get some amazing pictures, like he always does

Theo Bowe, the player I had tweeted, led off for the Blaze

I already had 1 ball, and my goal on the day was to get a foul ball and a few 3rd out balls or infield warm-up balls, as well as the line up cards after the game.

In the middle of the second inning, my dad accompanied my sister in her pursuit of cotton candy.

In the bottom of the 2nd, Juan Crousset stepped to the plate. I was sitting in the 1st row aisle seat, ready to jump out and chase a foul ball. He blooped a little foul pop up over my head. It knew it would land right behind me, but because I didn’t have time to get out of my seat to make a clean catch, I pushed my feet of the dugout wall, kind of jumping, and caught the ball right before it bounced off the table behind the 2nd row.

I got a nice round of applause from the 2,000+ people that were there, a few high-fives from people around me. Then, I snapped a quick photo of the ball.

When my dad and sister came back, with a shaved ice of her own (The cotton candy machine was broken), I showed them the foul ball, and they were pretty impressed. My dad then got a picture of me with the ball.

My sister loved her shaved ice

While I had been trying to get a ball when the Blaze were throwing, I heard a player talking to his mom. I got 2 things in their conversation. 1) All of the pitchers want their pitching coach fired. 2) Because they had won the 1st half in their division, they had a 1st round bye in the playoffs, so they were being lazing and not trying in the 2nd half. I wonder if that is why their pitcher didn’t pitch well.

In the bottom of the 4th, a Nuts player grounded out, and I got the first baseman, Dominic D’Anna to flip me the 3rd out ball.

One thing that I hadn’t noticed last time I was in Modesto was the Nuts bullpen. It is a raised bench in the concourse area.

I chased foul balls and 3rd out balls during the game, but was unable to come up with another ball during the game. One reason was because their was a girl who got most of the 3rd out balls, and got a head start on a lot of foul balls over me. Oh well. It was still a lot of fun!

In the top of the 9th, I got a seat right next to the dugout, so that right when the final out was recorded, I could try to get a ball, bat , or the line up card.

When the Nuts got the final out of the game, this was the scene.

I asked for a ball, but had no luck. Then, I asked the bat boy for the line up cards. He was peeling them off for me, when he told me there was a player who wanted it because of the night before or something like that. I then noticed a broken bat on the dugout floor, and asked the bat boy for that. He told me that he wanted to, but wasn’t allowed to give away broken bats because I could injure myself.

It was a great game! I got the opportunity to play catch with my sister on the field, a lot of fantastic pictures, I got 3 balls (I forgot to grab my 1st ball for the picture below), a Nuts hat, and I got a chance to wear my new A’s sweatshirt!

BALLHAWKING STATS:
• 3 balls at this game
• 12 balls in 5 Minor League games this season = 2.4 balls per game.
• 29 balls in 16 baseball games this season = 1.8125 balls per game.
• 12 Lifetime Minor League baseballs
• 34 total balls
• 5 consecutive Minor League Games with at least 1 ball
• 8 consecutive games with at least 1 ball
• 3 consecutive games with at least 2 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.

21 comments

    • Nick Badders

      PHILADELPHIA45-
      Yeah, I was pretty disappointed. I was expecting him to give me the bat, but I guess he doesn’t want to be liable if I walk out of the stadium, tripping, and stabbing myself, because the bat was in my hand. I could’ve probably just asked someone else, but the ushers were telling us to leave, so oh well.

      Like

    • Nick Badders

      CHRIS-
      I would agree! If I had a minor league team closer than 1 hour from my house or easily accessible, I would be a season ticket holder for sure! I love the fact that a lot of minor league stadiums have empty fields in the outfield like in Modesto and Stockton.

      Like

      • Nick Badders

        CHRIS-
        I wish I one that close, even if there is no access to the outfield. I have 3 California league stadiums within 1 hour of me. 2 of them have outfield and foul ball running room, the other has none. I have 2 more California League teams as well as a PCL team 3 hours away from me, and the Sacramento River Cats about 2 hours away. It is great that I have so many options for stadiums! Then, of course, I have the Coliseum and AT&T Park both 45 minutes away.

        Like

      • ch1088

        Yea. For me I have the Yanks, Mets, the stadium by my house, 2 in brooklyn/staten island, one in albany, and some in NJ that are a little further. the options are there but the seasons over now. although the team by me made the playoffs, game 1 saturday =)

        Like

      • Nick Badders

        CHRIS-
        2 of the 3 California league teams near me made the playoffs, the Sacramento River Cats did as well, and I’ll expect to see Oakland and the Giants in the mix as well. And of course, I can always drive 7 hours to see a game in SoCal!

        Like

      • Nick Badders

        CHRIS-
        I’ve been to PETCO, which was awesome, and believe it or not, if the Dodgers or Angels host the Wild Card game or game 1 of the DS, I’ll probably be down there!

        Like

      • Nick Badders

        CHRIS-
        I think I have like 5 days off from school at the beginning of October, so my mom wants to take my family down to Los Angeles for a mini-vacation, I guess, and assuming we go, I will be at a baseball game for sure! And if we don’t go down, you know I’ll be at the Coliseum!

        Like

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