About a week before this game, my dad told me there was no way I would be going to this game. It was supposed to be over 100 Degrees, we all were probably going to be tired, and he didn’t really want to go. The Wednesday before (June 5th), the Ports had an insane game. How insane? Look at the box score:
What is special? 4 home runs for the Lancaster JetHawks. 7 home runs for the Ports. That is 11 HOME RUNS.
I started talking with Bess Frankoff (Wife of Ports Pitcher Seth Frankoff) about how I was positive I would have caught one of those home runs.
We then got to talking about this…
WOW! Thank You very much, Bess! PLEASE go follow her on Twitter right here. Then, PLEASE also go follow Seth Frankoff as well right here. They are both VERY awesome people, so as a faithful 7000 Coliseum Way reader, I would appreciate it if you could do that for me.
Saturday morning, I DM’d her, making sure I was all set to go with 4 tickets, and it was a go!
This game was also Miles Bobble Head Night. Miles Head was the top player on the Ports last year, before being promoted to AA. On May 27th, 2012, I went to a Ports game (It was Micheal Choice Bobblehead Night!) where Miles Head hit a walk-off home run.
The bobblehead was based off his postgame celebration at the plate.
(FYI, those last two pictures are curtsey of the Stockton Ports- Not my photos)
Quick Random Cool Fact… Look at the email I got that morning!
To make sure it was the real Yoenis Cespedes, I check the profile and sure enough it was!!
How cool is that???
On to the day in Stockton…
My goal was to leave around 3pm, to get there around 3:45, in time for Ports BP at 4:15. I was also going to meet up with ballhawk Ryan Dalton, who you may remember from BallhawkFest.
The day got off to an interesting start. Around 11:30, my parents left to run a few errands and get some things before we left.
At 12:30, I got a call from my mom that all of the coolant fluid had leaked out of our car. That meant our car was broken and they were stranded in the Costco parking lot while it was 108 degrees outside. My mom got a friend to bring her home around 1:15, but my dad was still there. A tow truck finally showed up at 2:30. My dad was at the car dealership by 3:15. Keep in mind I had wanted to leave at 3pm…
He eventually got home around 4pm with a rental car that was kind of small. Oh well. We left our house around 4:30. Ports BP had started at 4:15. Yay…
On our drive there, I sent out a tweet to Nuts SS Trevor Story, asking if he could hook me up with a game-used souvenir after the game. Keep that in mind…
Oh, did I mention it was hot? 109 degrees!
We finally got to Stockton around 5:15, at which point I ran out behind the LF fence. Nuts batting practice was well underway.
As soon as I set my backpack down, Niko Gallego (Son of A’s 3rd base coach Mike Gallego) bombed a pitch off the Stockton Arena that I ran over and grabbed. At this point, I saw Ryan Dalton and my dad snapped a quick picture of us.
Despite the heat, you can tell we were having a great time!
Then, while I was on the phone with my mom, asking her question, another pitch was bombed, this one Ryan Casteel. I didn’t even see it or hear it until Ryan yelled “This one’s all you, Nick!” I put my phone in my pocket and ran over and picked up the ball.
Around 5:35, Ryan got a call from his mom that they were about to open the gates, so we ran over and jumped in line.
At 5:40, the gates opened, just as BP was ending… I did get my bobblehead, though!
I ran in and headed down to the Ports dugout, where I saw a baseball sitting on the field a foot away from the fence. I scooped it up with my glove for ball #3 on the day!
Moments later, a groundskeeper cleaning up the batting cage tossed me a ball sitting on the ground for my 4th on the day!
I then headed over to the Nuts dugout, where I got this photo. Just kinda artsy.
Let me tell you, by this time, it was 6pm and it was still over 100 degrees. Ick…
They don’t let you bring water into the stadium, so I think everyone was burning up!
My sister and I decided to get Sno Cones, at which point we went and sat out on the RF Home Run hill for a little bit.
It was around this time that I got this tweet:
Awesome! I was looking forward to the end of the game!
Slowly, the Ports players started heading towards the dugout. I was hoping for one of the players to come over near me.
Why? This is why:
But the players didn’t really want to move, as it was HOT!
Dusty Robinson took some time to talk with Splash.
The Nuts started warming up as well.
I tried to get one of the warm-up balls there, but had no luck.
This was the view from the seats left by the Frankoffs. WOW!
This was going to be a good day of baseball!
In the top of the 1st, I went out to the parking lot with Ryan to try my luck at some foul balls. With 1 out and a runner on 1st, Taylor Featherston popped a ball out of the stadium, into the parking lot, and I ran and scooped it up!
My 3rd foul ball of the season!
James Simmons was on the mound for the Ports.
And he did a pretty good job in this game.
There was a decent crowd on hand for Miles Bobble Head day.
Ben Alsup was pitching for the Nuts.
I found this amusing because the last time I saw the Nuts play, which was in Stockton, he was the pitcher.
He was also wearing #22, which was the same number as James Simmons, the Ports starter.
The Ports went 1-2-3 in the first.
Tyler Massey walked to lead off the 2nd.
And he ended up scoring when Juan Crousset flew out to Dusty Robinson.
Niko Gallego flied out to end the inning.
With 2 outs and runners on 1st and 2nd, in the bottom of the 2nd inning, Dusty Robinson stepped to the plate.
And Dusty crushed it out for a 3-run home run, putting the Ports ahead 2-1.
I was in the open concourse area behind the Nuts dugout at the time, in hopes of a 3rd out ball, so when the ball was hit, I ran towards the seats behind the bullpen, hoping I would be able to get the ball.
Then, I saw a man outside the stadium sprinting towards the area where the ball was headed, and it bounced in the BBQ area and hopped over the fence, right into his hands.
With 2 outs in every half inning, I would run behind a dugout to try and snag a 3rd out ball, but I had no luck AT ALL in this game.
When there wasn’t 2 outs, Ryan, my sister, and I were in the parking lot positioning ourselves for righties and lefties, hoping to snag a foul ball. Ryan got a foul ball in the bottom of the first, but after that, neither of us got anything outside of the stadium.
The Ports scored a run in the 3rd inning, then the Nuts countered with 2 runs in the 5th, making it 4-3 after 6 innings.
About halfway through the game, I was walking to go refill empty water bottles at the water fountain, when I saw a foul ball headed my way. I started running, but it hit off of an advertisement, to be scooped up by… RYAN! He is *very* fast!
Around this time, my sister and I headed over to the cross asile behind the Ports dugout. The guy that had snagged the Dusty Robinson home run earlier in the day, a guy I had been competing with for foul balls approached us. He gave a ball to my sister, showing her that it was sign, and told her it was game used. She thanked her and I then got a picture of her holding it.
Stockton then tacked on another 3 runs in the 7th, making it 7-3. However, the score did not stay that way.
Ryan Casteel led off with a homer, cutting the lead to 7-4. After a groundout and a single, manager Webster Garrison called on my favorite player, SETH FRANKOFF!
Seth came in and got the next two guys out, to get the Ports out of the inning.
Stockton tacked on an insurance run in the 8th, making it 8-4.
Seth came on again in the 9th, in order to finish the game off for the Ports.
Modesto, however did not make it easy.
Jared Simon doubled to Myrio Richard to start the inning, which was followed by a Kyle Von Tungeln walk. Brian Humphries then grounded into a force out, with Von Tungeln out at 2nd. Taylor Featherston then bombed a pitch out to left field, for a 3-run home run, scoring Jared Simon and Brian Humphries.
At this point, Jonathan Joseph came in to replace Seth, ending his night.
Joseph got 1 quick out, getting Ryan Casteel to fly out.
With 2 outs, I was all ready to run down to the dugout. As soon as the final pitch was thrown, I jumped down into my normal spot.
The guy in the on deck circle at the time was Trevor Story, so I knew I had to catch him quick. I called out “Trevor! I was the guy who tweeted you.” He nodded and gathered all of his stuff together.
He then pulled one of his 3 bats out and handed it to me. How cool is that? I asked Ryan to hold it, at which point I tried to get the lineup card as well I asked the batboy, and he tore it off and handed it to me!
Ryan then went over to the Ports dugout to try and see if there was anything there. Sure enough, someone tossed him a ball AND game him the Ports lineup card. How cool is that????
We then headed over to get a picture together. You can see him holding one of his 12 balls on the day, along with his lineup card and I’m holding the bat, lineup card, and my 5 balls on the day.
Then, I had to get a separate picture with my bat and lineup card.
I was pretty freaking pumped!
At this point, Ryan and I went our separate ways. He left, while my family headed to the player’s parking lot. Why? Bess Frankoff had asked me to meet her there so we could chat for a bit, and she could introduce me to Seth.
I thought about taking pictures, but despite the lights, it was took dark for any pictures to come out well. I introduced my family to Beth and we talked for a few minutes, before we had to get out of the way for the Nuts team bus to leave the stadium.
Shortly thereafter, Dusty Robinson stopped by to talk for a little bit. He asked if I had anything for him to sign, so I pulled out a pen and one of my BP balls, and whadda know?
Then came one of the most enjoyable experiences of the night. There was a car parked partly in front of Dusty’s car. Most people would have to have someone move the other car, as it was at an angle that blocked his car to a point where it seemed impossible to get out. However, Dusty was up to the task. He hopped in, as my dad stood next to the passenger side to help him maneuver his car out. He was very *slow* and *careful* in pulling out (Thankfully he had backed into the spot, so he didn’t have to back out).
He did indeed get out of the lot without a single scratch. How close did he come to hitting the car blocking him or in the spot next to him? If he had been just a centimeter or two off, there would have been some scratches going on. It was quite a show to watch!
As he pulled out, Seth walked up. Bess introduced him to me as well as my family and we talked for 5-10 minutes. He asked if I had anything to sign, and I pulled out the ball I had found on the field, along with the sharpie, and he signed it right on the sweet spot.
We talked about various baseball things. He asked if I played baseball, how many games I’ve been to, MLB The Show, and how I got the bat. After talking for a bit, we parted ways, and they both let me know to give either of them a heads up if I ever want to go to a game. They are both incredibly AWESOME and nice people! Like I said earlier, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE follow Bess and Seth on Twitter and give them lots of love for being such awesome people. I can tell you in a instant who my favorite player on the Ports its!
THIS ENTRY IS NOT OVER!!!
So after we left the ballpark, we had to make a stop for a post-game snack at one of my favorite fast food places- Sonic. It is the closest one to my house, so every time I go to Stockton, I have to stop there! Well while we were in the drive through, I got a call from Ryan Dalton that there was a fire on the highway, so he wanted to warn our family and make sure we stayed safe.
Sure enough, as we were driving down the highway, we saw a HUGE grass fire. I would say it spread for 3-4 miles along the side of the high way and probably 1000 yards off the highway as well. This was not a full on blaze across the entire area, but this is what it looked like along the side of the highway.
It was scary! There were a lot of fire trucks there, so I believe it was all under control, but the smell of the smoke was awful!
That’s it, an exciting, interesting, fun-filled day!
Thanks for reading!
- 14th Game of the Year… 4th MiLB Game of the Year
- 5 balls at this game
- 27 MiLB Balls in 4 MiLB Games = 6.75 MiLB Balls Per Game
- 10 Consecutive MiLB Games with at least 1 Ball
- 4 Consecutive MiLB Games with at least 5 Balls
- 42 Lifetime Minor League baseballs
- 82 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.