Star Wars Night? Fireworks night? Playing the Baltimore Orioles who are using commemorative balls? Sell out crowd? Challenge. Accepted.
My dad picked me up from school when I got out at 3:05 and we headed home to get ready. Everyone was ready to go around 3:45, so my family headed out to the Coliseum.
When we got to the Coliseum close to 4:20, and as I was about to jump in line at Gate C, my mom noticed Gate B was set up.
I headed over there, and found out I was the first one in line. Sweetness.
My mom headed up to Will Call to pick up our tickets, while my dad and sister waited in line and I walked around.
Kind of random.
But the lines at LL and MM were not very long at all, so I headed down towards Gates A and D, where there were a few people in line.
I stayed there for a little bit before heading up to Will Call to see if my mom had picked up the tickets yet.
If I’m not mistaken, it was the people that dress up as the Star Wars characters and all of their equipment.
Wow. That’s pretty cool.
I talked with some of them for a few minutes, and looked at my watch. The gates were supposed to open in 15 minutes. So it was 5:20.
The gates were about to open, when a women who was right behind us in line, called over the head of security. She told him that she had just had back surgery and had a 3 kids with Autism and that it was “Completely rude and unacceptable” for the 149 regulars to be in the front of the line, when she had gotten there first. They just wanted to make sure that they got their usual spots.
It was her belief that if the guys ran in front of her, it would upset her children and they would throw a massive fit, “screwing everything up.”
In the end, it was just one of the 149 regulars, Will, and myself who ran ahead.
When the gates were supposed to open around 5:35, there was no sign of gates opening any time soon. I asked the head of security and he told me that they were checking all of the other gates were ready first.
So, they start with gate C, then go to D, A, LL, MM, and open B last. I finally got in around 5:45, maybe a little later.
Once the rest of my family got there, I grabbed my stuff and headed down by the bullpen.
I grabbed a spot on the slanted railing and was ready to go. During the course of the time I was there during BP, I would say that 3 or so balls were hit into the bleachers.
Had the railing been lower, I would have been able to get many balls, and sit didn’t help at all that the Coliseum prohibits ball retrievers.
A group of 3-4 lefties walked to the cage, and they were pulling the ball, so I figured that there was a good chance that I would get a ball.
Then, I realized that I hadn’t seen any commemorative balls at all. I had been making sure to keep an eye out and hadn’t spotted any in the 15-20 minutes I had been in.
While I had been on the 1st base side, the 149 guys started passing out double sided signs, with one side that was green and gold and said Oakland on the top, Our Teams on the bottom, and in the middle, a white heart with A’s printed. The other side was a Raiders version of the sign.
Whenever a ball was hit in my direction, the same player went to grab it. I knew that since he had already tossed me a ball, there was a slim chance of me getting another from him. Since it was approaching 6:10, I figured BP would end soon, so I threw on my Orioles gear and headed over to their dugout.
It was crowded, but I managed to get a spot in the front row, in the ideal spot to call put for a ball.
I waited about 10 minutes, it was close to 6:20, and BP was not over yet. I think it was a good choice to move, because there were virtually no balls hit to the right side of the field during the time I was behind the dugout.
It was close to 6:30, and BP was coming to a close. I called out to the Orioles bench coach, who had been throwing BP, and he walked up to the edge of the roof and asked if I was the youngest or oldest there.
I noticed that there were commemorative balls in his hands, so I was eally hoping that I would be able to acquire one.
I told him that I was hoping to get one of the Camden Yards balls and he told me that he would think about it. Odd, but decided to roll with it. Then, someone about my age, maybe a little older yelled for a “ball now” and the coach tossed him one of the two in his hand.
The kid was decked out in Yankees gear and promptly threw it back onto the field. I think he was ejected. But then the coach just tossed a ball to somebody to my left, and walked inside the dugout.
I headed out to the bleachers, where I ran into Will, who I talked with for a few minutes, while the ushers checked everyone’s tickets. There were 15 or so people in front of us.
He just wanted to make sure that my family and I were not mad at him for running ahead. I told him that I ran in right away so that I could snag balls, and that it is very important that they have their seats. We then had a conversation about the angry mom at the gates and a few other things.
Ok. Now fast forward to 6:55. Because it was Star Wars Night, a bunch of the characters from Star Wars ran with Stomper around the warning track, followed by a first pitch from Chewbacca. I had a feeling that it was going to be a good night.
That would be Benjamin Christensen, a former MLB Fan Cave Dweller. He was one of the starting 9 at the beginning of the season, but was sadly eliminated in May.
Sometime around the middle of the game, I checked Twitter on my phone, where I learned that if I went to the Ticket Services table, I would receive a gift if I mentioned TwitterGift. At the end of the inning, I headed over with my dad.
When we got there, the lady at the table talked with us about season tickets and playoff tickets. Once I mentioned Twitter, she gave me an A’s yearbook and her business card and we were on our way.
When we got back to our seats, I learned from my mom that Oakland’s mayor, Jean Quan had stopped by to take a picture of the We love our Oakland teams signs.
Are you serious? Hmmm… I guess I picked the wrong time.
It was an AWESOME night!
• 1 ball at this game (Pictured to the right)
• 23 balls in 14 Major League games this season = 1.643 balls per game.
• 38 balls in 20 baseball games this season = 1.9 balls per game.
• 28 Lifetime Major League baseballs
• 43 total balls
• 8 consecutive games in Oakland with at least 1 ball
• 11 consecutive baseball 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.