2012 ALDS – Game 3

Postseason baseball in Oakland for the first time since 2006. Awesome!

My dad and I left the house just after 12:30, making a quick stop along the way to get lunch at Subway, and a sporting goods store to buy a cheap Tigers hat, then we are on our way.

We got there around 1:45, over 2 hours before the gates would open at 4:07.

I had been tweeting back and forth with ballhawks Wayne Peck and Spencer Sanborn for a while (you might remember them from this entry) and I knew that they were both going to be there, and was excited to meet Wayne for the 1st time.

This is what the line looked like when I got there

Yep. I was the only one in line at Gate B. And my dad had brought a camping chair to sit in in line. Yep. This was going to be a long day. I had a LOT of time to kill, so I walked around.

If you have read this blog for a while, then you know what the outside of the Coliseum looks like. First, I walked towards the BART ramp.

I got to the BART Plaza

I then headed towards A and D gate. Parking lot A was empty. It was ridiculous. I was expecting more people, but I guess not!

Gate A was empty as well.

Over by D Gate (Where there was nobody in line), the 95.7 The GAME booth was being set up

I stopped in at the D Gate team store, browsed around a little, and was on my way up towards the Arena plaza.

There were a lot of news vans parked outside. Let me see if I can list all of the stations. CSN Bay Area, CSN California, MLB Network, TBS, ESPN, KTVU Channel 2 News, NBC Bay Area News, KRON 4 News, CBS 5, ABC 7, and there were probably a few more.

I then noticed a very familiar face stepping out of a CSN California van. Do you have any clue as to who the guy is in the green shirt?

You probably don’t but I recognized him right away. That man is Brodie Brazil, who hosts A’s Pre and Post-game Live, and is the San Jose Sharks rink-side reporter, as well as a 95.7 insider. Huge Bay Area celebrity.

I was then stopped by a security guard, who asked to see my ticket, then did the Bernie.

I wandered around the Oracle Arena a little, found the player parking entrance, and just walked around. I then headed down to Gate C, where there was 1 person in line.

When I got back, my dad was happily relaxing in his chair, reading the paper. I was ready to go. But we still had just under 2 hours.

There was still nobody behind us in line. I was bored. So I talked with my dad. Time passed. More time passed. Then I walked around one the Coliseum more time to stretch my legs.

Ok, are you ready for a crazy story? So I was walking past Gate A, and after I had walked 50 or so feet past the gate, I heard a ball hit the pavement. I immediately turned around and ran back. Somebody scooped up the ball immediately. I headed over to take a look at the ball, and when I asked to take a quick look, I was shocked to see that it was a near perfect 2012 Postseason ball. WHAT? ARE YOU KIDDING ME???????

Where did this ball come from? Wha— uh??? I was at a loss for words.

I was headed back to Gate B when I noticed a familiar face. It was Wayne! Sorry, I didn’t get a picture of him right away. I chatted with him for a minute, before he headed to the team store to look around.

Sooner or later, a lady got in line behind us. We talked with her for a few minutes. I spend a lot of time on my phone, then decided to go put it in the car and walk around some more. The line at Gate D was getting decently long, and in the front of the line was Spencer Sanborn!

I got back to the line. It was just my dad and the other lady. There was 1 hour until the gates open. WTH???? There was almost NO ONE in line, and the gates would be opening soon.

A minute or two later, Wayne got in line with us. This is what he (and a lot of other people) thinks of the “O.co Coliseum”

That is definitely the best facial expression I have ever seen regarding a professional sports facility.

We talked for a long time about a variety of things. Ballhawking, the Coliseum, how much the Coliseum sucks, crazy ballhawking adventures. Wayne is a good guy. He wrote a great blog entry about this game that you can find here! He also went to the game the following day, which you can find here.

My dad got a picture of us before the gates opened.

Do you like my shirt?

Right before the gates opened at 4:07, (Nope, to 4pm or 4:05, but 4:07) the line was getting pretty long.

The gate was all set up and ready to go

And we were off!

Actually… we weren’t. They let us go get in line at the turnstiles at 4:00

Shorty, after 4:07, they let us in. My ticket scanned perfectly and I headed through the turnstile. But it wouldn’t budge. The arms were never unlocked. And the ticket taker couldn’t open it. So after a few minutes, I just walked around and received my bright yellow rally towel.

BP was underway and I was ready to go.

That’s a view from our seats in the bleachers. I headed there immediately, but quickly headed down to the RF line.

Do you see the guy in the Tigers had and shirt in the orange sleeves? That would be Spencer.

The A’s were taking BP, and the pitchers in Center Field were entertained by attempting to throw balls into the 2nd deck as well as the 3rd deck seats that are tarped off.

Adam Rosales took some hacks in the cage with Chris Carter watching on

The Coliseum wasn’t very full, but the energy was awesome, and everyone was pumped!

The A’s didn’t hit anything to the RF bleachers, or down the RF line, unfortunately. As they concluded BP and jogged off the field, they got a very solid round of applause from the crowd.

Tigers pitchers had been playing catch down the line, and despite my bright orange shirt and Tigers hat, I didn’t manage a ball.

Ask anyone that was there would agree that BP was a show. Miguel Cabrera was BOMBING ball after ball into the 2nd deck, and even a few balls onto the 2rd deck tarps.

One odd thing I noticed was the middle section of the 3 open 3rd deck sections.

I guess it would the overflow media and press area. Interesting.

Prince Fielder was launching some balls pretty far as well. But he wasn’t pulling the ball. He was hitting it 2nd deck in LF.

Those guys are STRONG.

Jhonny Peralta had some strong hacks as well

BP was frustrating. There were very few balls hit down the RF line, and those that were hit were fielded by the same guy who ignored fans.

There were a couple that spent a lot of time standing next to me that I guess are Tigers season ticket holders. The one ball that I came closest to during the 1st 45 minutes was a ball that was thrown to ME specifically, that they reached out in front of me and barehanded. Ok then…

During the regular season, the bleachers were General Admission, but since it was the PLAYOFFS, they had assigned seating. Because they didn’t have to worry about being the first ones in line, the RF Crew started to trickle in during the 1st hour of BP

For those of you who don’t know, that man is Will MacNeil, one of the Die-Hards in Section 149. He is an awesome guy and I have talked with/about him before in entires like this one and this one. He is the proud owner of a very cool item. A replica WWE wrestling belt. Josh Reddick sent it up there in the beginning of the season.

He is a great guy!

That’s Will on the right, and you can follow him on Twitter here. I am not 100% positive who the man on the left is.

All the guys out there are great. I strongly encourage you to sit out there some time. It’s awesome.

Back to BP…

Guys like Alex Avila

And Quintin Berry were not hitting anything to RF. It was frustrating

This guy had some awesome signs. That man would be Ian Sagerbaen, and was dubbed my MLB.com’s Cut4 as the Greatest Sign Maker in MLB History

It was frustrating be trapped behind A’s fan screaming for balls

And despite the fact that you can pick me out of a crowd of green and gold right away, I guess Tigers players couldn’t

I realized BP was ending soon, so I took off for the Tigers dugout.

Obviously, you can find me easily in this crowd

I got behind the dugout and was calling out to players for balls

The cages were taken in…

And I was shut out for BP…

Frustrating…

With this disappointing loss, I headed back to the bleachers, where I found this guy was handing out signs

I got two different ones that were both double-sided.

Here is the first

And the second

I then wandered around for a little bit. I walked around the concourse and the bleachers, when my dad noticed this thing being rolled onto the field.

They were set up all across the outfield.

As a helicopter flew overhead

Slowly, the Tigers began to come onto the field to warm up

I wasn’t able to get down close to the field on either the 1st or 3rd base side, so after multiple attempts, I headed back to our seats in time for Stomper and “The Herd” to come around the warning track.

The Color Gaurd marched onto the field.

It was time for the player introductions!

This was one of Ian’s signs that he gave to someone to hold up

When it came time for the A’s to be introduced, sparklers at the bottom of the firework carts were set off

Everyone with their yellow rally towels was pumped up!

Each time a player on the A’s was introduced, a firework shot off.

When all the players had been introduced, it was time for the National Anthem

More fireworks were shot off

Anibal Sanchez finished his bullpen tosses

Then, Bert “Campy” Campaneris, a longtime A’s legend came out onto the mound to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Once the ceremonial first pitch had been thrown, it was 4:59, one minute untill TBS went live to the Coliseum. Dick Callahan, the PA announcer, told the crowd to get crazy, as we would be live on national television soon. The place quickly ERUPTED!!!!

I took a panoramic picture shortly before the game started

Brett Anderson was dealing in this game

Austin Jackson struck out to lead off the game

Steven Drew walked in the bottom of the 1st, sending Coco Crisp to 2nd

Crisp later scored on a single off the back of Yoenis Cespdes

Awesome hair:

Seth Smith homered to right-center field, just past the RF bleacher seats

Grant Balfour began to warm up in the 8th inning, ready to come in for the save

While Balfour was warming up there were some drunk guys sitting in front of a Tigers fan with a young son and wife that started to boo the guy because he was a Tiger fan.

The little boy started to cry at which point everyone started boing the drunk guy. His response? “I didn’t see the kid, okay guys?”

In the top of the 9th, it was time for BALFOUR RAGE!!!!

Just to show you how packed and pumped up the crowd was, I got another panoramic picture

Throughout the game, there was a drunk A’s fan walking up and down the stairs of the sections cheering his head off. He was half drunk and half really excited. I have to admit, he did make the game a little more fun.

In the top of the 9th, he pulled me out of my seat to cheer. It was kind of awkward.

After an Omar Infante strikeout, Miguel Cabrera singled to right field. On a 1-2 fastball, Prince Fielder grounded into a double play to end the game.

Cue Kool and the Gang!

After a few minutes of celebration, something occured to me. I hadn’t snagged a ball. Then, I thought about the home run, and wandered over to see if the ball was somehow still beyond the wall. Nope. IT wasn’t. Oh well.

You know, it was disapointing to not snag a ball, but still, I would count the night as a success.

1) I got to meet finally meet Wayne Peck, who is a great guy.
2) I was the first one in line at a postseaon game.
3) I got a yellow rally towel.
4) I was at a POSTSEASON GAME!
5) I got some pretty cool posters.
6) I WAS AT A POSTSEASON GAME!
7) I had a ton of fun
8) Did I mention it was my first POSTSEASON GAME?

Even though I did’t snag a ball, It was a LOT of fun! I attended my first ever postseason game, and it was more than I could ask for.

I got a final picture with the signs and rally towel

And one with that guy I mentioned earlier

Wow. That was a lot of fun!

Yep. It was my last game of 2012. I had a great season. A lot of fun!

So. Regarding offseason entires, I have a bunch of ideas in mind. I’ll share more throughout the World Series and offseason, so check back frequently more more updates!

BALLHAWKING STATS:
• 0 ballS at this game 😦
• 23 balls in 15 Major League games this season = 1.53 balls per game.
• 38 balls in 21 baseball games this season = 1.81 balls per game.
• 28 Lifetime Major League baseballs
• 43 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.

5 comments

  1. Mateo Fischer

    Yeah, you’d think the lines would be a lot longer for the playoffs, right? I was really surprised about this when I went to my first batting practice at a postseason game. I could have shown up less than half-an-hour before the gates opened. I think it’s a semi-post-game concert effect in that it makes the tickets themselves are more expensive, but it doesn’t have a direct correlation to the amount of people who show up right as the gates open. Also, I’m glad you enjoyed your first playoff experience. Mine consisted of being rained on in the Old Yankee Stadium bleachers in game 3 of the ALDS, going in the bleacher’s concourse, getting thrown-up on by a drunk guy, and having to come back a day later just to see a rookie by the name of Justin Verlander shut down the Yankees, only giving up an upper-deck shot to Johnny Damon.
    -Mateo
    http://mateofischer.mlblogs.com

    Like

    • Nick Badders

      Mateo-
      You should have seen the looks people were giving my dad and I as they walked by us in line. I think at least 15 people asked him either “Is this gate even going to open?”, “How early did you get here this morning?”, or “ARE YOU CRAZY?” Considering the fact it was the first playoff game in Oakland in a long time, I figured the lines would be at least a little longer. Of the 2.5 hours we were in line, I think the first 1.5, it was just me, my dad, the random lady and Wayne. But yeah, it was a lot of fun. Regarding your first postseason game… Wow. That’s certainly a story to tell.

      Like

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