This was my last day of school! In the morning, my dad bought 2 tickets for us, and around 3:30, we left for the 7pm game!
We got to Modesto around 4:30pm, at which point the Nuts were starting to take BP. I got out of the car and headed over to the area behind the Center Field fence, and a ball flew over. I went and picked it up- ball 1 on the day. Moments later, another ball flew over the fence! On THE NEXT PITCH, whoever was hitting lined ANOTHER ball over the fence.
I had been there less than 90 seconds and I already had 3 balls on the day. I then decided to head over to the RF to try my luck, and as soon as I got there, ANOTHER ball flew over the fence. That was 4 balls in less than 5 minutes of being there. This was looking to be a GREAT way to start the summer! I stood out behind the Left-Center Field wall for a while, but nothing was coming over. Since I had no competition, I was not worried about having to run to get a ball, so I headed over to the Nuts bullpen, which is down the RF line. I stood behind the chain link fence behind the bullpen mound, where I could see the cage perfectly, whereas behind the outfield wall, you can’t see a thing, as it is pretty tall.
Up until the end of Modesto’s BP, nothing came close to clearing the fence.
As Nuts BP was winding down, a ball was lined off the foul ball. It *almost* cleared the wall, but it bounced right into the glove of Scott Oberg. Since I was standing close to him, wearing my Nuts hat, he tossed the ball over the fence for my 5th ball of the day.
Around this time, BP came to an end, at which point I decided to stick around, maybe to try and get another toss-up.
In order for Nuts players to get to the clubhouse, they have to walk past the bullpen. As they were leaving, something caught my eye.
Can you tell what it is? Here is a closer look…
I guess a bunch of the players had ganged up on one guy and tried to lock him in the bullpen. To make sure he didn’t get out on my end, they closed that door shut as well.
He really was trying hard to get out.
They just wouldn’t let him out!
And yes, he eventually did get out.
I headed back to the car to grab a bottle of water, because it was HOT out. I was exhausted, as I had been running all over the place!
The day before, I had emailed the Nuts, asking them if I could have a Media Pass for this game, and shortly before my dad and I left for Modesto, they said yes!
Once Modesto BP had ended, my dad and I went over to pick up the tickets and Media Passes. Once we did, we headed back out to area behind the outfield wall. Almost immediately, another ball was bombed over the fence. I ran over and scooped it up for ball 6 on the day!
About 15 minutes later, another ball was hit over the Center Field fence, making it 7 balls for me!
I had bent down to count the balls in my bag and when I looked up, my dad was doing this…
He had brought his monopod to this game and extended it as far as he could, then set a timer on the camer and raised it over the wall! He actually got a really good shot!
How cool is that!?
After I got that 7th ball, the Blaze BP was DEAD. Nothing came close to going over. Once Batting Practice was over, it was 5:30 or so, and with the gates opening in 35 minutes, my dad and I decided to head over to the gates and take advantage of our press passes.
We headed in, and I got this photo of the covered seating area down the LF line.
Very practical for a sunny game.
Not much was going on near the gates.
I snapped this picture of the stadium map.
And this one of the underbelly of the stands.
Here are all of the concession stands.
And the Nuts team store.
It was very quiet…
We started walking towards the west entrance, through this part of the concourse.
If you can tell from the last 3 pictures, there is a large open grassy area behind the stadium. That would be a golf course. It isn’t very good for foul balls.
Here is the West concession area.
They even had a bouncy slide!
And a Speed Pitch.
As well as a bounce house!
We also walked past the Kids play area.
I started to head over to check out the Nuts Bullpen when something caught my eye. Can you tell what it is?
I thought about picking it up and sticking it in my backpack, but there were ushers, security guards, other employees, and cameras all around, so I didn’t want to take a risk of losing my media pass over an easter egg baseball.
Just a couple minutes later, the ball ended up being thrown to the bullpen.
I thought it was cool that one of the bat boys was wearing the same shirt as me.
I snapped a picture of the scoreboard.
And the bullpen seating arrangement.
The batting cages are right next to it.
A few guys had been getting some work in.
I then decided to take a “tour” of the stands. I noticed this sign. No surprise.
And took note of this sign as well.
I still love this sign.
This was my view from where I was standing.
I then headed up the steps to get a couple of photos that I stitched together to make this:
Not my best work by any means, but I still think it is almost/sorta/kina cool.
Here is the Nuts dugout.
I then decided to head to the last row of seats behind home plate. Great view.
I took multiple pictures up here and photoshopped another panorama.
Then I took one with my iPhone.
Modesto is the only stadium that I have been to that has bucket-style seats in any place in the stadium.
I was pretty close to the press box here, and to the right of the press box was this area.
No clue what it is for, but it looks pretty cool.
I then decided to check out the area behind the press box.
Here’s the door.
But I didn’t go in…
I then headed down to the seat that I had purchased a ticket for.
I took a peek inside the visiting dugout.
And saw a couple of bases siting near the fence.
From here, I went into the team store and took a look at their wall of hats.
At this point, it was just after 6pm, probably around 6:10 or so, and it was still very warm, so I treated myself to a Slush Puppie. I sat behind home plate and enjoyed it.
My dad and I then headed down to our actual seats and I got a picture with my 7 BP balls.
I noticed some players making their way to the field, so I headed over here.
Nuts players were starting to stretch and warm up.
Really cool guy!
My other favorite Nuts player is Trevor Story, who hooked me up with a bat in my last game.
While all of this was going on, the Nuts mascot Al was doing flips.
And Ken Griffey Sr posed for a picture for my dad.
I tried to get a toss up from the players playing catch, but they all kept their balls.
A few guys did some lats-minute stretching.
And we were all ready for baseball in Modesto!
Ben Alsup was on the mound for the Nuts.
The Blaze scored 2 runs on 2 hits, 1 walk, and 1 error.
He retired the first 7 Nuts batters that he faced.
It seemed like he didn’t have his best stuff this night.
That being said, he has kind of struggled all year.
The Blaze were unable to push across any runs in the 2nd, despite a single, stolen base, walk, and hit by pitch.
The Nuts went down 1-2-3 in the 2nd inning, just like they had in the 1st.
The 3rd out of the inning was a Will Swanner pop out into foul territory to catcher Chris Berset. As he was jogging back into the dugout, he flipped be the ball for ball #8 on the day!
Harold Riggins got the Nuts first hit of the day, a 1-out single in the 3rd.
As Tyler Massey was batting, Riggins advanced to 2nd on a balk.
Much to the displeasure of Ken Griffey Sr.
The inning started off fine, with a groundout, but Juan Perez tripled, giving the Blaze a quick opportunity to tack on an insurance run.
He got Yorman Rodriguez to ground out, holding Perez at 3rd, but he then loaded the bases after 2 walks.
In the 5th inning, this guy showed up next to me.
Actually, it was both these guys.
With 2 outs in the bottom of the 5th inning, Niko Gallego stepped to the plate. I can’t remember what the count was, but he fouled a ball back right at me. It hit the warning track and bounced straight into my glove for ball 9 on the day!
This was my view for the next few innings.
Chris Berset struck out in the top of the 8th.
In the bottom of the 8th, the Nuts got things going with a 1-out single from Harold Riggins, which was followed by a Niko Gallego double. At this time, the Blaze decided to make a call to the bullpen.
After a Tyler Massey strike out, Brian Humphries singled, brining in both runers, to make it a 3-2 game.
Nick Schnaitmann came back out to the mound to continue his work, after pitching a flawless 8th inning.
He got the job done, brining the Nuts to their final 3 outs.
The Nuts, however were not going to make it easy for him.
Jared Simon led off with a single, however it was followed by back-to-back strikeouts. However, on a wild pitch, Simon did advance to 2nd base, putting the tying run in scoring position.
Trevor Story then stepped to the plate. While he was hitting, Walczak threw another wild pitch, putting Jared Simon at 3rd, just 90 feet away from sending the game into extra innings.
Everyone was on the edge of their seat.
With a 3-2 count, Trevor walked, which meant the potential winning run was now on base. This brought Harrold Riggins to the plate.
While Riggins was at the plate, Trevor Story stole 2nd base, putting the winning run in scoring position.
However, Harold struck out to finish off a win for the Blaze.
As soon as Harold Riggins struck out to end the game, I darted over to the dugout to try and get one of the 3 broken bats from the game, but the dugout was cleared pretty quickly.
There was a broken bat laying on the ground, so I asked the bat boy, but he explained how he isn’t allowed to give anything away.
I asked him for the lineup card as well, he said no to that- however, I wasn’t going to give up.
I had been standing there for a little while and was about to head out, when I was approached by Taylor Fernandez, a semi-regular in the right field bleachers.
I told her that the bat boy wouldn’t give me anything, but the lineup card was in reach, so I was tempted to just peel the lineup card off the wall myself. She encouraged me to do it, so I did.
We were the only ones left in the stadium, even the bat boys had left. Go follow Taylor on Twitter since she encouraged me to get my 3rd Nuts lineup card of the year, ok? Click here.
When I got home, I realized something pretty cool.
- In my first Nuts game of the season, I was able to get the lineup card after the game, a game pitched by Ben Alsup.
- In my second Nuts game of the season, I was able to not only get a bat, but the Nuts lineup card after the game. That also was a game pitched by Ben Alsup.
- Now this time… Who was the Nuts starting pitcher? Ben Alsup. Who got the Nuts lineup card? Me.
Every time I have gone to a Nuts game, I have not only gotten a lineup card, but Ben Alsup has been the Nuts starting pitcher on that lineup card. How cool is that?
On my way out, I stopped for a picture with the Nuts In-Game dude, Mike On the Mic.
And it was time to head home!
- 15th Game of the Year… 5th MiLB Game of the Year
- 9 balls at this game
- 36 MiLB Balls in 5 MiLB Games = 7.2 MiLB Balls Per Game
- 11 Consecutive MiLB Games with at least 1 Ball
- 5 Consecutive MiLB Games with at least 5 Balls
- 51 Lifetime Minor League baseballs
- 91 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.