It had been 9 days since my last baseball game. Let’s go!
About a week prior, I found out about this thing called “Pink Night” at the Ports game on August 23rd. Basically, it is their version of Breast Cancer awareness night. I saw that there would be a “home run derby” along with special auctions and stuff, so my dad and I decided to go!
I got out of school at 3, where my dad picked me up and we headed to Stockton! Traffic was awful. Usually, it takes us 40-50 minutes to get to Stockton. This time? 90 minutes. We got there at 4:30 for the special gate opening time of 5pm for a 7 o’clock game!
Nothing much was really going on inside, as neither team had taken BP.
Or outside for that matter.
Seriously. The gates opened in 30 minutes and there was NOBODY there.
Then, I saw this bus roll in…
It headed into the player’s lot.
Where I spotted hitting coach Haas Pratt rocking the Pink Night jersey.
These jerseys were going to be auctioned off during a silent auction throughout the game. Every player’s, including the coaches, and other random people.
Oh, and I never actually saw anyone get out of the bus.
Eventually, the gates did open at 5:05. There were 20 or so people in line at the time.
By the Ports dugout, Haas Pratt was spending time with his wife and newborn baby.
As soon as I got inside, I started taking a lap around the stadium
Oh… one odd thing that I noticed was these trucks. I guess a pipe burst inside the stadium, and this is how they get water to water the field now…
They had a hose that you can see above was connected to the truck, and snaked down onto the field.
It was great to see all of the guys just relaxing in the dugout.
I decided to walk around the outfield and see if I could find any balls, maybe if they took BP really early or something.
On my way, I stopped by the jersey auction table to find out more. When I got there, I saw that some lady had already bid on EVERY JERSEY. Yeah…
I walked all around the outfield fence, then I got to the LF corner and something caught my eye…
Click the picture to enlarge it if you have too.
There were baseballs lying in the grass! Then, I noticed a player walking towards them… It was Seth Frankoff! He began hitting the balls back towards the dugout.
I decided not to ask him for a ball, figuring they were going to be used for something else. It was still fun to see a pitcher “hitting.”
Meanwhile, they were putting poles in the outfield grass…
The players were helping out as well.
I was a little confused at first. Then I realized that it might be the fence for the HR derby. This made me even more confused.
Then, my suspicions were confirmed. The “participants” took the field.
Local celebrities… GREAT
Like I mentioned before, all of the players were incredibly relaxed.
Take Addison Russell, for example…
I don’t know.
It was just a really loose atmosphere, which I loved!
Tony Thompson was getting some good practice in juggling a few baseballs.
I think this picture shows how relaxed the setting was.
Everyone was enjoying it and having a good time!
The first few hitter were local radio DJs.
Then, it was just a bunch of random people…
The clubhouse manager was the one pitching them…
Notice how they are SOFTBALLS…
There were kids shagging the balls in the outfield.
It really was a bunch of random people…
The OLD radio voice of the Stockton Thunder participated.
Back to pictures of players relaxing? Here’s Dusty Robinson.
Rashun Dixon just chillin on the grass.
After all of the “celebrities” hit, Ports manager Webster Garrison stepped to the plate.
Of the 10 pitches he was given, 8 of them cleared the “fence.”
He did hit one off the top of the *actual* wall in Left Field. Had it been a few feet higher, it would have landed in my glove on the fly.
This was where I had been standing for it all.
He did actually hit a ball over the fence, however it bounced onto the warning track and into the bullpen.
While I was back there, the fireworks for the night were being set up.
As the derby was winding down, I caught up with Bess and Will.
Haas Pratt also got his 10 swings in the cage.
He finished with 7 home runs, which was still 2nd to Webby.
Pitching coach Jimmy Escalante also hit in the derby.
Here is Dusty Robinson with a little girl on the field. Not sure who she is, but I think they must know each other pretty well.
Addison Russell was just sitting in the seats, watching the events. Of course, nobody “dared” to sit near him.
On the very last pitch, this guy pulled a ball foul.
It clanked into the seats, and I scrambled over and picked it up.
Since it was a softball hit by a firefighter than I was going to have to return, I wan’t going to count it.
As soon as I got the ball, somebody asked him he could throw it onto the field, so I handed the ball to him.
Then, everything wrapped up and came to a close.
They took a group photo.
I spent some time talking with Bess and Will, before I headed off to check out the booth that the Stockton Thunder had set up.
Here it is. They had their trophy, along with Season Ticket information.
Here’s a cool shot of the fence that was set up for the derby.
And here is one that shows the hose coming onto the field that they used to water the field.
As I was hanging out by the Ports dugout, this caught my eye.
It was the handle of a broken bat. I didn’t see any way to get it, there were no players around, so I didn’t make an attempt.
Eventually, players came out onto the field to stretch.
And as this was going on, there was a ZUMBA class taking place on the field…
None of the players paid any attention to it.
I thought this was a pretty funny picture…
As each Ports player took the field, he would have a special handshake or routine with Splash.
Then, it was time for the National Anthem.
There were fireworks periodically shot off.
Then a lot of pink balloons were released into the sky.
These logos were painted onto the field.
And he struggled in the first 2 innings.
Webby wasn’t too pleased…
In the 2nd inning, the Rawhide had 2 1-out singles before Evan Marzilli stepped to the plate.
And he yanked it OUT, to make the score 4-0.
After this, Tanner Peters settled down, allowing 4 hits over the next 4 innings, without allowing another run.
This was my view for the game.
I went out into the parking lot for 5 minutes at the beginning of the game, and spent some time behind the Ports dugout, but I really didn’t put much effort into ballhawking. I liked being able to just sit, relax, and enjoy the game.
Once the 7th inning came to a close, I guess Splash started mocking the field umpire. I was checking the jersey table at the time, so I didn’t see this go down. Splash started mocking the umpire, then the umpire started chasing Splash.
And from what I understand, proceeded to tackle splash to the ground.
Trey Barham then pitched the 7th inning for Stockton, only allowing a walk.
As soon as the top of the 7th ended, I headed over to the jersey table. My plan was to stand by the sheet for the player I wanted, then write my bid in with two outs.
As soon as the 2nd out was recorded in the bottom of the 7th, I grabbed a pen and got ready.
I knew I had to get a jersey that was a 44 or 46, because anything else would look gigantic on me. I saw a few jerseys that would actually fit me that were reasonably priced at this point. Those were the Bullpen Catcher’s and Jeremy the on-field emcee’s.
As soon as Dusty Robinson hit the ball to third base, a bunch of people jumped for those two. I noticed that Will had been outbid by two people for Seth Frankoff’s jersey, so I went ahead and wrote my name down and won it!
I went over to let my dad know, and we went over to the team store to pay. I had been saving up money for a little while, so this purchase was all me. I had been given a sheet that basically said “Congratulations for winning #20 Seth Frankoff’s jersey.” We brought that to the team store and they stapled it to the reciept and a pink paper that explained in the top of the 9th, we needed to go section 117, where we would be allowed to go onto the field.
However, I had tweeted Evan Marzilli on the Rawhide, asking him for a Game-Used item of some sort.
So this meant I wouldn’t be able to go to 117 at the top of the 9th. My dad and I decided that he would go, then wait for me after the game.
Anyway, Kaleb Fleck came on to pitch the 8th for Visalia, as the Ports were loosing 4-2 at this point.
For the top of the 9th, I grabbed a seat right next to the dugout, so I could go over and say hello to Evan.
As soon as the final out was recorded of Visalia’s 4-2 victory over Stockton, I walked over to the Rawhide dugout and asked Manager Bill Plummer for the lineup card. He said no, because it was a special pink one that they had to give back to the Ports. He then handed me the lineup card that they had been planing on using for the game. It just had the Visalia lineup, bench, and bullpen, nothing for the Ports. I then called out to Evan on his way in to the dugout, letting him know who I was. He walked over to the bench, picked up a pair of batting gloves, and handed them to me. I then thanked him, and headed over to the Ports dugout, where the on-field access was.
There, my dad was waiting for me with Bess and Seth Frankoff.
Here is a picture Bess got, of him signing it for me.
Then, I got a picture with Seth and the jersey.
Here is the picture Bess got of the two of us.
I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I was! Seriously! My first Ports jersey was a game-worn jersey by my favorite player!
Then, my dad took a picture of me with the jersey, lineup card, and batting gloves
It then sunk in that I had gotten shut out. I can tell you it wasn’t a great feeling. Then, I realized how little effort I had given to ballhawk, as I had really just tried to enjoy the game.
Considering how the night ended, I’m not worried AT ALL about getting shut out. Big deal. At least I got to go to the game!
- 30th Game of the Year… 11th MiLB Game of the Year
- 0 balls at this game
- 70 MiLB Balls in 11 MiLB Games = 6.36 Balls Per MiLB Game
- 85 Lifetime Minor League baseballs
- 95 Baseballs this Season
- 138 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.