7/31/13 at the Oakland Coliseum

I was hoping this was going to be a good day! It was the rubber game of the 3-game series between the A’s and Blue Jays. The night before, I sold my 2 bleacher seats on StubHub, then once my mom and I got to the Coliseum at around 10am, we headed and picked up 2 tickets in the 2nd deck. My mom got a ticket in Section 215, I got one in 220, so I could run back and forth to try and grab foul balls.

We got in line at 10:30 or so, where we were joined by Ryan Dalton and his mom, where we talked for the next half hour, until 11am.

Around 11, I noticed these people standing outside gate MM.

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Who are they? Good question.

So you know how the Little League World Series takes place in Williamsport, PA every August for 11-12 year olds? Well, there is a new division called the Intermediate Division, and after they had a test year last year, they decided to create a World Series for it. There are teams from Canada, Japan, Puerto Rico, and Ecuador, as well as California, Arizona, Texas, North Carolina, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

The team above is Team Canada.

You know ow there are lots of banners and flags out in the Right Field Bleachers of Oakland? Well, before the gates open every game, Will MacNeil gathers them all up, and runs them from the gate to the bleachers, then lays them over the first few rows of 149 to save seats for regulars that were showing up later. However, Will had to miss this game for work, so I volunteered to run everything up, since I would be running that way anyway.

Anyway, the gates opened at 11:07am, and I sprinted off towards the bleachers and laid everything down.

I then headed over to the LF corner, where the A’s pitchers were playing catch.

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My first ball of the day was form Sean Doolittle.

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Here’s how it went down. I called out to Sean, asking him to toss me the ball he and Jerry Blevins had used to play catch. Jerry nodded, so Sean tossed the ball to me. However, there was a 10 year old boy standing to my right. This kid reached *All The Way* across my body, sticking his glove in front of mine, so he caught the ball.

As this was all going down, I was wearing a World Baseball Classic Australia hat, Grant Balfour was watching it take place, so I knew he was going to hook me up with a ball if the kid kept it.

The kid kept trying to hand it to me, but knowing it wouldn’t count in my stats if he gave it to me, I kept saying no. Sean then walked up to the wall, telling the kid to give the ball to me, but when I said that I’ll just wait for another ball, he can have that one, Doolittle asked the kid to see the ball, then tossed it back towards the ball bag, then tossed me a different ball. Okay then…

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By this time, all the pitchers had finished throwing and began running.

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So I headed to the Blue Jays bullpen, where they were just beginning to throw.

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When Brett Cecil was done, he tossed me his ball, and I had 2 on the day.

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I then gave the ball to a little kid who was at his first game, accompanied by his grandfather.

Cecil was the first Blue Jay done, so I was hoping I could get a 3rd or 4th ball from somebody else.

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Meanwhile, former Athletic, Rajai Davis, spent some time talking with A’s bullpen catcher Casey Chavez.

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Also, the Canadian little league team was standing behind home plate.

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But the Blue Jays wrapped things up pretty quickly, however they didn’t leave the field.

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One of the coaches was playing a game with relief pitchers that looked like a combination of football and baseball. I was hoping that I would be able to get one of those balls, but it never happened. Darren Oliver then walked over to where I was standing. Turns out I was standing next to his family!

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That was it for the pre-game stuff.

My mom and I then headed up to the Bar and Grille, where we got some food, and talked in the air conditioned room, basically until game time.

Bartolo Colon was on the mound for the A’s.

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Josh Reddick had been in an outfield collision the day before, so he had today off, with Chris Young taking his spot in right field.

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This wasn’t the first time I had a different view of the bleachers this year, but it still did feel… Well… Different.

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Basically, for innings 1-6, I would run between 215 and 220, depending on who the batter was, as I was hoping to get a foul ball, but I had no luck at all.

This was the view from 220.

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In the 7th inning, the game was tied 2-2 and Ryan Cook came on to keep it that way.

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And he did just that, shutting down the Jays in the 7th, and getting the first out of the 8th.

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Sean Doolittle then came in to replace him, and it was time to HEADBANG!!

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At this point, I decided that I was just going to spend the rest of the game in 215 with my mom, since running back and forth wasn’t doing anything.

Meanwhile, Grant Balfour was warming up in the bullpen.

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Then, he came on to pitch the top of the 9th for Oakland.
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This meant it was time to get ready to rage!!

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And they were off!!

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Ryan was raging in 148.

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Adam and Wes were raging in 148 as well.
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Then, Wiggi began the “Aussie Aussie Aussie” chant.

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Balfour got Rajai Davis to strike out swining.

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Then Melky Cabrera was called out on strikes as well.

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One thing I noticed was the bat boy handing the authenticator each ball that he brought back to the dugout.

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But… with 2 outs, Brett Lawrie stepped to the plate. On an 0-2 pitch, he fouled a ball back my way.

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It clanked off a seat in 214, in my row, and I went over and picked it up!

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In hindsight, I should have caught it on the fly, but I had been replying to a tweet on my phone, and didn’t look up until my mom shouted “NICK!”

Lawrie then struck out as well, sending the game to the bottom of the 9th.

The A’s were unable to do anything in the 9th, sending the game to the 10th, which is where the game fell apart for Oakland.

Jesse Chavez came in and allowed a single to Jose Reyes lead off the inning, then Reyes advanced to 2nd on a passed ball. Jose Bautsia doubled in Reyes, then Jesse intentionally walked Edwin Encarnacion. He was then pulled for Jerry Blevins, who walked Mark DeRosa to load the bases, then allowed a single to Colby Rasmus, putting the Blue Jays ahead 5-2.

That was pretty much it. After the final out, my mom and I headed home, knowing that we would be back out at the yard on Friday, for early BP!

BALLHAWKING STATS:

  • 22nd Game this Year (16th MLB Game)
  • 3 Balls at this Game
  • 20 balls in 16 MLB games this season = 1.25 Balls Per Game
  • 67 Balls this season
  • 48 Lifetime MLB Baseballs
  • 110 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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One comment

  1. Pingback: 2013 in Review « 7000 Coliseum Way

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