6/25/13 at the Oakland Coliseum

This was the first of a two-game series between the A’s and Reds. It would also be my first of 3 games in 5 days.

It was a 7:05 game, with the gates opening at 5:35. My dad and I arrived around 4:15 where we got in line at gate MM. At the time, were the only fans in line.

It was pretty boring for the next hour. It was pretty cold and it was raining off and on. Nobody was in line behind us for about 45 minutes. 30 minutes before the gates opened, Will MacNeil got in line with us.

5 minutes before the gates opened, the line looked like this…

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Yeah. I could tell it would feel pretty empty for the game. The gates opened at 5:35, where my dad and I grabbed two front row seats in Section 149, on the aisle.  It was pretty empty.

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 Things were looking up, as the Reds have a lot of power in their lineup. With few fans, lots of balls being hit into the outfield, I was confident that BP would be a lot of fun!

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Boy oh boy was I wrong…  It felt like the Reds hitters were trained to hit the ball to opposite field during BP. When the first few groups were up, I was going to RF for lefties, then LF for righties. Once I realized what was going on, I adjusted, going to RF for righties, LF for lefties.  Nobody was hitting anything near where I was positioning myself.

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There were a lot of people in the outfield. LOTS of pitchers were standing in the right-centerfield area, but none of them were tossing anything up. It was awful.

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Johnny Cueto was manning the Right Field warning track.

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He wasn’t tossing anything up either.

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Things were turning from bad to worse.  I had no clue what to expect from here on out.

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Over by the A’s dugout, Kate Longworth was getting ready for the A’s pregame show.

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Cueto was signing autographs by the Reds bullpen.

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And for the most part, the Reds hitters were making great contact with the ball. They just were not hitting it anywhere near me.

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I was positioning myself wherever I thought I had the best chance of snagging a ball. The Reds just kept hitting it where I least expected it. I tried to adjust, but things just didn’t work out.

IMG_7206 To add to my frustration, none of the pitchers were tossing anything up. It was one of those situations where I wished I was a little kid or young female.

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And before I knew it, Batting Practice was over. Just like that. Wow.

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I was in utter shock. Everything went wrong. I got there early, the stadium was very empty, things looked great. All of a sudden, things turned for the worst. Nobody was tossing anything up,  plus the Reds hitters were not hitting balls into either bleachers section. I would say at most, 5 balls landed in the bleachers over the course of BP.

I really don’t know exactly how to put it all into words…

This was the last game all season I expected to get shutout at.  It was all hard to swallow. At least there was a great game ahead!

 Batting Practice ended around 6:20, so I had time to go grab food. As I was walking through the concourse, I bumped into Vanessa Demske and Wes Mills, among a few other people (If you have read almost any of my Coliseum posts, you know who they are). We all grabbed some food and headed back to the bleachers. Stephen Vogt was already well into warming up for his A’s debut.

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 Tommy Milone, the A’s starter was also warming up.

IMG_7516 Bronson Arroyo, the Reds starting pitcher came out to warm up as well.

IMG_7561 He started to play long toss with Ryan Hanigan.

IMG_7545 Tommy Milone was playing catch as well with Stephen Vogt.

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The grounds crew was putting the final touches on the field.

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Most Reds players went into their last stretches.

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 Same with the A’s.

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Right before the first pitch, the A’s had a ceremony honoring a few people. I can’t remember exactly what they were being honored for…

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To the game…

Pat Neshek is hands down my favorite player to take photos of, due to his funky delivery. Coming in a close second is Bronson Arroyo. The leg kick says it all.

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In the bottom of the 2nd, after a Brandon Moss double and Josh Donaldson single, Josh Reddick laced a line drive to center field that was fielded by Shin-Soo Choo.

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Reddick stood at 2n with a double, starting the scoring off to make it 2-0.

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Everyone was excited!

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Stephen Vogt then followed up with a Sac fly, driving in Donaldson, advancing Reddick to 3rd.

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Everyone in Right Field was into the game, as expected!
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In the A’s half of the 3rd, Yoenis Cespedes started the scoring off in the inning by driving in Coco Crisp, advancing Jed Lowrie to 3rd base.

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Brandon Moss brought in Lowrie with a Sac Fly, making the score 4-0 A’s.

Josh Donaldson then stepped to the plate and on the first pitch of the at bat, made contact with the ball.

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He BOMBED it out to left field!

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This made the score 6-0 A’s after 3 innings.

Joey Votto led off the 4th with a homer, brining Todd Frazier to the plate.

He singled to left field, but got greedy, trying to stretch it into a double. Yoenis threw the ball into Eric Sogard at 2nd Base, who threw it to Brandon Moss at 1st, to Jed Lowrie, who was covering 2nd, to make it a 7-4-3-6 putout.IMG_8359

Jerry Blevins came on in the 6th inning, relieving Tommy Milone

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He loaded the bases after hitting Shin-Soo Choo, but managed to get out of the 6th inning unharmed.

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In the top of the 8th, Sean Doolittle came on to replace Ryan Cook, who had pitched a 1-2-3 7th inning. What did that mean? It was time for some Doolittle headbanging!

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I looked over to 148, where Wes and Vanessa were headbanging it out!

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In the bottom of the 8th inning, Vanessa came over from 148 to join my dad and I in 149. She had something pretty cool to show us…

 This was the box she handed me.

IMG_8818 That would be a Coco Lean bobblehead! It was the giveaway for the game 4 days later! From what I understand, Vanessa won an essay contest for the blog Big League Stew, where the prize was that bobblehead! She was taking it on “tour,” where her goal was to get as many people to take a picture with it as possible. My reaction pretty much sums it up.

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I admired the leaning bobblehead a bit.

IMG_8829 Actually, bobble-torso, or bobble-waist would be more appropriate.

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Anyway…

Jay Bruce was at the plate with 2 outs in the top of the 9th, with the A’s ahead 7-3.

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Dan Ortero was on the mound to finish the game off.

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And it was an A’s win! The stadium cleared out rather quickly.

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But the bleachers were not emptying yet. There was a group of Irish soccer fans who were visiting the US and had decided to visit an A’s game. They were sitting and cheering their heads off in Section 148. It was awesome to see! Well they got a group picture, along with Wes, who is pretty much one of the Kings of 148.

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Everyone was happy about the A’s victory!

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Vanessa got this picture with Yuichiro, holding up “Sogard Specs”

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And we all celebrated in the concourse, as the lights and ushers kicked us out of the bleachers, because apparently, they want to get home or something like that.

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 It was a good game!

Sure I didn’t snag a ball, but it was a great day. I was ready to be back out at the yard the next day, for the last game of the two game series between the A’s and Reds.

BALLHAWKING STATS:

  • 16th Game this Year (11th MLB Game)
  • 0 Balls at this Game
  • 12 balls in 11 MLB games this season = 1.09 Balls Per Game
  • 40 Lifetime MLB Baseballs
  • 91 Lifetime Baseballs

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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.

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