9/7/13 at AT&T Park

Why would I want to go to AT&T Park to ballhawk? Good question…

For starters, I found incredibly cheap tickets on StubHub. Why did I even look for tickets to this game? Well former Athletic Brandon McCarthy was pitching, plus the D-Back have former Athletics Eric Chavez, Cliff Pennington, Brad Ziegler, and Trevor Cahill, along with Heath Bell, who is super-cool!

It was a 6:05 game, so my goal was to get there around 3pm for the 4 o’clock gate opening. It didn’t help that it was “Giants Sombrero Day”

My dad and I left around 2:15 to San Fran and made it to the Bay Bridge by 2:50.

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What’s so special about it? Just a few days prior, a new span of it had opened up, so this was a relatively new bridge.

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It wasn’t all that special, but it was still cool overall to see.

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We got to AT&T Park around 3:15, where I immediately jumped in line. The line was forming FAST!

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And there were A LOT of people in front of me!

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Earlier in the day on Twitter, I had contacted Spencer Sanborn, who frequents AT&T Park, and he suggested that I go into the Marina Gate, which is always a No Giveaway gate. How amazing is that????

My dad wanted to stay in line, so I made my way over to the Marina Gate, but first I stopped and said hey to McCovey Cove Dave!

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Splash Hit Steve was hanging out on the Portwalk, so I spent about half an hour talking to them before heading on my way! I assume you remember them both from BallhawkFest?

It was cool to take a peak in at BP through the fence!

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When I got to the Marina Gate, I was shocked…

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THAT WAS THE LINE 15 MINUTES BEFORE THE GATES OPENED!!!

Huge thanks to Spencer for the suggestion! If you don’t already, go ahead and give him a follow on Twitter!

When the gates opened at 4:05, I got my bag checked and went to get my ticket scanned. But the scanner was BROKEN. And I couldn’t change lines. So I was stuck in line for 10 minutes waiting for them to get a new scanner. Way to go Giants.

When I got in, the Giants were in mid-BP.

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… So I threw on my San Jose Giants hat and headed to LF.

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There was a guy patrolling the Left-Center field area that was picking up every ball hit in the area.

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And he was giving them all to kids with gloves.

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After every kid had gotten a ball, I politely asked him for the ball that he had just picked up, and he said sure, but right before he went to toss me the ball, a little kid acme running up screaming BALL BALL BALL. So yeah. no ball for me…

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Giants BP winded down pretty quickly. Nothing much hit the seats, nobody was tossing anything up. The D-Backs pitchers came out to throw around 4:15.

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Where I noticed Trevor Cahill.

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I made my way over there, but had no luck despite my D-Backs hat.

I then moved back to LF to turn my attention to the D-Backs hitting.

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This guy was patrolling the RF area and he was tossing NOTHING up. I don’t know what it was, but I had no luck at all.

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Kirk Gibson was walking around the outfield for most of BP, chatting with the players.

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While this guy was pitching BP.

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I nabbed a front row spot early on in D-Backs BP and pretty much stayed there. Virtually no balls were clearing the fence. However, a lot of balls were landing on the warning track such as this one.

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Because AT&T Park allows any and all retrieval devices, just about any ball that lands on the warning track is scooped up by a retrieval device. Players don’t even bother trying to get balls within 10ft of the wall. So despite the fact I could identify all the players, it was pretty much useless. I saw at least 7 different cup tricks, along with 3 fishing nets and a lightbulb changer. See? EVERYTHING goes.

You see the ball in the picture above? Well it had been sitting there for quite a while, and before I knew it, the man known on Twitter as @CS_Darrow was at my side! I’ve mentioned him a few times before on this blog, as I’ve met him at games in Oakland before. He had his cup trick ready, which he lowered down onto the field to get the ball!

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He had to knock it quite a bit closer, but his cup trick works VERY well!

That happened around 5pm. So for the first hour of BP, I was shutout.

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It wasn’t exactly great… Then again, I had never snagged a ball at AT&T Park and since it is so hard to snag in, any number of balls should be considered a huge success!
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The first hitter in the last group for the D-Backs was Eric Chavez. The night before, Giants Pitcher Yusmeiro Petit came within 1 out of throwing a perfect game. Who broke it up? Former Oakland Athletic Eric Chavez! On this first pitch he saw in BP, he crushed the ball in my direction. It landed about 10 feel behind me, where I grabbed it! My first ever ball at AT&T Park!

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BP wrapped up within 10 minutes, where I headed to my seat in Section 148. Below, this was the scene.

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After a little while, former Athletic Brandon McCarthy came out to stretch and warm up!

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I was REALLY looking forward to seeing him pitch!

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Meanwhile, out on the Portwalk, I saw McCovey Covey Dave rocking a Giants sombrero!

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Inside, players were beginning to stretch.

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Meanwhile, B-Mac was warming up in the bullpen.

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Matt Cain was warming up in the Giants bullpen.

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So, yes. Matt Cain was the starting pitcher for the Giants.

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Hunter “The Definition of Awkward” Pence, was playing in right field.
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Eric Chavez was hitting cleanup in the Giants order, and when he came to bat in the first inning, he was met with a mammoth chorus of boos.

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While he was at the plate, Hector Sanchez threw out Paul Goldschmidt trying to steal.

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This brought the top of the 1st inning to a close.

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Brandon McCarthy headed out to the mound to pitch for Arizona.

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Who was the 2nd hitter in the Giants lineup? Former Athletic Marco Scuuuuuuuuuutaro!

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The Giants went down 1-2-3 in the first inning.

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Around the roofline of the stadium, the Giants have flags hanging to represent each MLB team. I had a pretty easy time finding the A’s one.

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The Giants emphasized all game long that you could Tweet or Instagram a picture with the hashtag #ATTPark for the chance for your photo to be show on the scoreboard. However, it appears that the Giants don’t know how to spell hashtag… #Hastag

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Gerardo Parra was playing right field for the Diamondbacks.

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Oh, and you know how I mentioned it was Sombrero Giveaway night? Well that’s because it was “Fiesta day” or something like that. Maybe Hispanic Heritage night? I don’t know… Bu the Giants were wearing their Gigantes jerseys, which was kinda cool.

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Guess who led off the top of the 3rd inning for Arizona? Brandon McCarthy!

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He grounded out…

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One thing I noticed about the Giants was that they didn’t have an in-game host like Oakland, Stockton, and Modesto do. They had the P.A. Announcer say everything.

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In the bottom of the 3rd inning, Marco Scutaro singled to drive in Brandon Crawford, making it 1-0.

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Arizona countered with a run of their own in the 4th, on a Gerado Parra RBI single.

Brandon McCarthy then stepped to the plate after the Giants intentionally walked Chris Owings.

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He made contact with the ball, hitting it between 1st base and the pitchers mound, breing thrown out by Matt Cain.

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Look at his bat in the photo above. Now check this out…

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That’s like the first time ever that I’ve seen a pitcher break his bat!

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When Hunter Pence lead off the 4th for the Giants, he fouled the 5th pitch of the at bat off, running it out, so catcher Will Nieves decided to have a little fun.

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And stand Pence’s bat straight up for him!

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Before Pablo Sandoval grounded into a double play, he took a pitch a bit inside…

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In the top of the 8th, I set out on a little trek to explore AT&T Park a little bit. I first checked on Dave in McCovey Cove.

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He seemed pretty happy!

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Meanwhile, Heath Bell was protecting the bullpen from any foul balls hit their way.

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Oh, and they announced it was a “sellout”

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I highly doubt that. I know that that is the “paid attendance” but I seriously doubt that every ticket was sold!

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In Right-Center field, they have this Ghirardelli Chocolate cable car.

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I also took notice of these signs.

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The distance of their spring training stadium and old stadium from this very spot.

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As well as Seals stadium and Polo Grounds.

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Among a few others. Cool stuff!

I took a quick peak down by the gate where I entered and decided to go down on my way back.

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In center field, they have a lot of seafood stands.

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In left field, they have this sing. Because as you know, bats will be flying at you in left field.
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Which, FYI is 501 feet from home plate.IMG_1261

In Left-Center field, they have a “Social Media Cafe”

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Where they conviently have a charging station where you can charge your cell phone while watching the game.

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They have chargers for every phone!

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There is also this large video display.

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Here is the control center:

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This is that big screen in the middle.

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Here is a few from under the Coke bottle…

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Here is the giant glove.

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And here is the view of the field from just in front of the giant glove.

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Remember those stairs I talked about earlier? Here is what is at the bottom… Speed pitch and batting cages!

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On my way back to my seat, I spotted Dave again.

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When I got back into my seat, I saw that former Athletic BRAD ZIEGLER was warming up in the D-Backs pen!

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Meanwhile, a guy named Heath Hembree pitched the 9th inning for the Giants…IMG_1310

I thought his name was pretty cool.

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Isn’t it?

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Here’s a random picture of the 3 Giants outfielders talking about who-knows-what.

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Then, Brad Ziegler came in to pitch the 9th for Arizona!

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Like most sidewinders, I love taking pictures of him!

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His unique delivery makes for some interesting shots!

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Every sidearmer and submariner is different, which makes him so cool!

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In front of us was a short roof that overhangs Levi’s Landing. You can tell that a lot of ball have hit it.
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DENTS!!!

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AND MORE DENTS

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One of the Giants hitters to face Ziggy in the 9th was Hector Sanchez. Look what was displayed on the scoreboard when he stepped to the plate…

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I found that pretty funny!

Well Ziegler was able to close it out, sealing a 2-1 win for the D-Backs! My dad and I gathered our stuff and headed out.

What a great day in San Francisco! As much as I don’t like the Giants, this game was a lot of fun!

BALLHAWKING STATS:

  • 34th Game this Year (21st MLB Game)
  • 1 Ball at this Game
  • 34 balls in 21 MLB games this season = 1.62 Balls Per Game
  • 114 Baseballs this season
  • 62 Lifetime MLB Baseballs
  • 157 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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