8/30/13 at the Oakland Coliseum

Friday games mean extra BP. And you know I love it!

On Tuesday, the Twitter page @myBART had a giveaway of tickets to each game of the A’s homestand, and my mom decided to enter:

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Sure enough, a couple days later, myBART sent out this tweet!Screen Shot 2013-08-31 at 2.09.39 PM

Not only had my mom won tickets to the Friday game, but Bryanne, a 148 regular, also won tickets!

I got out of school at 3:00, where my family (uncle included) picked me up and we headed off to Oakland!

We got there around 3:45 or so, where Ryan was the only one in line and the BART Plaza was pretty much empty.

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The gates opened at 4:35, and I ran inside to see A’s BP underway.

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In the photo above, you can see former (and current) Athletic Kurt Suzuki! In Mid-August last year, the A’s traded him to the Nationals for a few prospects. Then, on August 22nd, the Nationals traded him back to Oakland.

I immediately headed to left field, since most of the hitters in the cage were righties.  Bartolo Colon was there, fielding balls right and left.

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As soon as I got in, I came close to multiple balls. It was all kind of a blur. I should have had 3 or 4 balls in the first 5-10 minutes, but I didn’t get any. Oh well. Stuff happens. Life moves on.

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20 minutes after the gate opened, I got Jesse Chavez to toss me a ball in left field, and  had ball #1 on the day! It was around this time that the lefties started to hit, so I moved to right field, where I was quickly able to get A.J. Griffin to toss me ball #2.

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Will also got a ball tossed up to him!

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Meanwhile, there was no sign of the Rays on the field, but a few guys down by the bullpen.

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The A’s pitchers always run while the 2nd group is hitting.

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Coco Crisp was chilling with Jerry Blevins in center field.

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Grant Balfour tossed a lot of balls to the people along the LF line.
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However the A’s ball boys didn’t toss up a single ball.

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My 3rd ball of the day came from Dan Ortero. He went to pick up 2 or 3 balls, so I called out to him as he was walking over. I pounded my glove and he flipped it to me. It started to fall a bit short, so I had to reach quite a ways over the railing to make the catch. He even complimented me on it as he walked away!

Nothing was hit into the seats for the next 10-15 minutes, so after A’s BP wrapped up, I  took off my A’s jersey and hat and headed over to the Rays bullpen where the pitchers were throwing.
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It was around this time that Rays BP got underway.

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I stayed there for the first 10 minutes, before moving to RF again, where Chris Archer tossed me my 4th ball on the day, in the Right-Center field corner. I called out to him, and he asked me how old I am. I told him that I’m 15, and he asked me if I can catch a 95 MPH fastball. I told him that “There’s only one way to find out!” and he lobbed the ball to me for ball 4 on the day!

My 5th ball was tossed to me by Jose Molina. I called out to him for a ball and he told me he would toss it to me, only if I gave it to the young girl standing next to me. I did so, and I had 5 balls on the day!

It wasn’t until I got home that I realized this was my 100th on the season, combined between MiLB and MLB.

My 6th ball of the day was tossed to me by Jamey Wright.

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6 balls is the most I had ever gotten in a MLB game before, which I also did back on August 20th, 2012.

When it comes to the Rays hitting, it was less than impressive. Very few balls actually went into the stands.
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Ethan Kassel and Ryan Dalton (Who I have mentioned many times on this blog before) were also at this game. Over the course of BP, Ryan got 6 tossups, while Ethan got 1 (But he should have had two).

Since I had already gotten a ball from Jose Molina, I pointed out Molina to Ethan, so he called out for the ball in Molina’s hand, at which point Jose pointed at me, standing 10 rows behind Ethan, and tossed me the ball. It was my 7th on the day, setting a new MLB record for me!

After this, I headed to LF, where I called out to Brandon Gomes for a ball, which he tossed to me and I promptly gave to a kid near me. This was my 8th ball of the day, the 2nd I had given away!

Shortly after this, BP came to a close, where I headed back to RF to meet up with Ryan and Ethan.

First, I got a picture with the 6 remaining of my 8 balls on the day.

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Here is Ethan with his A.J. Griffin toss-up.

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And here is Ryan with all 6 of his BP balls.

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Here are the 3 of us, who combined for 15 balls in BP! Two are obviously not pictured, because I gave them away.
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After this, I met back up with my sister, and we headed to the 3rd deck to pick up our T-Shirt, as we had both purchased a Value Deck ticket, which includes a free gift every Friday.

As we were walking back, this was the scene in the parking lot. Great view, is it not?

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After we picked up these awesome shirts…

… We headed to the Kids Club table, where she got her booklet stamped. Each time you get your “passport book” stamped, you get a spin on the prize wheel. After 5 games, you get a mystery prize, 10 is an autographed player photo, and 15 is an on field BP visit and 2 tickets! She got her 15th stamp this time around! However, the BP visits were all filled up for the year, so they gave us the option of just taking the tickets, or asking for the On-Field visit next year. I think my mom has emailed the rep yet. Obviously, we will wait until next season!

When we got to our seats, the grounds crew was prepping the field for the game.

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Like I mentioned earlier, this was Kurt Suzuki’s first game back in Oakland since he was traded, and he was all smiles!
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During BP, 2 balls had been hit onto the RF out-of-town scoreboard and stayed there. Tyler (@RF_BLCHRS_No34 on Twitter) decided to put his flag and some duct tape to use!

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Yes, he did end up getting the ball!

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However, security became quite frustrated and decided that nobody was allowed to go for this one, right between 149 and 148.

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Jarrod Parker began warming up in the bullpen.

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He was warming up with Kurt Suzuki.
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Then, the lineup cards were exchanged.
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And it was time to get things started!

This was my view for the game.

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I had plenty of running room to my left.
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As well as my right.

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My plan was to go for any foul balls hit near me, as well as the A’s 3rd out balls.

Like I mentioned, Jarrod Parker as pitching for the A’s today.IMG_4734

He pitched very well, too!

My mom and I were sitting in 123, while my sister was sitting with Ryan and his mom. My dad and uncle were sitting here.
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That is pretty much the exact view I had for the ALDS last year.

The Rays scored in the 2nd inning to open the scoring at 1-0.

The A’s scored in the 5th inning, when Kurt Suzuki launched a 3-run shot to LF to give the A’s a 3-1 lead. The Coliseum EXPLODED when he made contact. Everyone was going nuts!

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Remember on August 2nd, the A’s had the inaugural Hall of Fame race? Well, it was back again tonight!

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It appeared that Rollie had edged out his 1st victory of the year!

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However, in the middle of the 8th inning, replay showed that Eck had actually won, tying him with Rickey with 3 wins apiece.

In the top of the 8th, I snuck down here, hoping to get a 3rd out ball of some sort.

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But, in the 8th inning, I had no luck and didn’t come close to a single ball. However, my mom almost caught a foul ball! It was hit a few seats to her left, but she couldn’t find it right away and somebody picked it up moments before she reached for it. Oh well!

The Rays tacked on 2 more runs in the 8th, to tie the game at 3, but in the bottom of the inning, Jed Lowrie doubled in Coco Crisp, to give the A’s a 4-3 lead.

So, Grant Balfour came in to close things down in the 9th inning, and it was time to Rage.

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This was my view when Balfour came in.

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He came in, getting the first guy out, then walking Jose Molina.

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After the walk, I moved here, in hopes of getting a ball from the home plate umpire.

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Grant got the next 2 guys to ground out, ending the game and sealing a 4-3 victory for the A’s!

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I ran down to the tunnel where the visiting team and umpires exit out of, in hopes of getting a ball.

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Brian Gorman ignored my request for a ball, but it was still cool to see the players this close up.

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I headed back out to the concourse behind the bleachers, where I chatted with some people before heading out with the rest of my family.

It was a GREAT day!IMG_5358

BALLHAWKING STATS:

  • 31st Game this Year (20th MLB Game)
  • 8 Balls at this Game (New Single-Game MLB Best for me!)
  • 35 balls in 20 MLB games this season = 1.32 Balls Per Game
  • 103 Balls this season
  • 61 Lifetime MLB Baseballs
  • 146 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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