9/22/13 at the Oakland Coliseum

Before I start off this entry, do you remember that two games ago, Scott Ostler, from the San Francisco Chronicle, came to interview some people from the Right Field Bleachers? Well his article just came out, so check it out!

A’s magic number at 1. Home game 81. This is going to be a lot of fun!

I wanted to make sure to be the first one in line, so my mom, sister, and I were there just after 9am.

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There weren’t many other people in line.

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Nothing much happened between the time we got there and 11:05 when the gates opened. I got in, grabbed my seat and wandered over to the A’s bullpen.

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Only a few guys were on the field when I got there.

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And there were a couple of balls just lying on the outfield grass.

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Soon, the players came out to play catch.

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Here’s a cool panoramic shot that I got.

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Long story short- I didn’t get anything. I didn’t really expect to get anything. It was insanely crowded along the LF line, as well as around the bullpen. I didn’t come close to snagging any balls. I didn’t expect much, but I was still a little disappointed.

Ryan Dalton was at this game, but not in the bleachers! Instead, he was in the 2nd deck, ready to chase foul balls!

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Sonny Gray was on the mound for Oakland.

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Between the 1st and 2nd inning, I took a look at the Out-of-town scoreboard in left field. The Royals were tied with the Rangers, 0-0 in the 9th inning! A Rangers loss would clinch the west for Oakland! A Royals loss would mean that the A’s would have to do it on their own.

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The Twins scored a run in the first, but In the 2nd, the A’s countered, scoring *6* times. After back-to-back pop outs, Josh Reddick and Darris Barton both walked. This was followed by catcher Stephen Vogt walking, loading the bases!

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This prompted the Twins to get someone up in the bullpen.

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Eric Sogard proceeded to single in Barton and Reddick, advancing to 2nd on the throw. Coco Crisp then homered, scoring Vogt and Sogard, making it 5-1 Oakland. After a Jed Lowrie single, Josh Donaldson roped a double to center field, scoring Lowrie, bringing the score to 6-1! Brandon Moss then struck out to end the inning, his *2nd* out of the inning, as he had led off!

Let me tell you right now. After the Royals and Rangers went into extra innings, EVERYONE had their phone out following the game. I was listening to it on MLB at Bat, while some were watching on MLB.TV and others were following the game on ESPN ScoreCenter.

While the Twins were hitting in the top of the 3rd, the Royals were hitting in the bottom of the 11th. They loaded the bases for Justin Maxwell. He proceeded to BOMB a home run to left field, winning the game for the Royals! More importantly, it secured the AL West crown for the A’s!

However, the scoreboard operator refused to make the game final, keeping it at 0-0 in the 11th. Meanwhile, the Twins scored 3 runs on 2 singles, a walk, and home run.

Finally, when Darin Mastroianni struck out swinging, the clip was brought up on DiamondVision.

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They “officially” changed the score.

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And the stadium ERUPTED!

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Everyone was on their feet!

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The A’s had just clinched the AL West!

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It was around this time that my mom and I took off for the team store. Why? Because we wanted to be some of the first to purchase the AL West Champs shirts! A lot of other people in the bleachers had the same idea!

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My mom and I were within the first 20 people in line to get shirts. However, the team store filled up FAST!

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The line was all the way out of the store, and a LONG ways down the concourse!

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We got a shirt for everyone in in my family (minus my dad) and a hat for my sister, and we headed back to our seats.

How awesome is this sign that Tyler made? He actually has an online clothing store, with lots of Bay Area designs. So, go check it out, will you?
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Meanwhile, Sonny Gray was dominating.

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After allowing 3 runs in the 3rd, he didn’t allow any more runs for the rest of his start, pitching a scoreless 4th and 5th.

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While we were out buying the shirts, Daric Barton homered in the 3rd and Jed Lowrie homered in the 4th, giving the A’s an 8-4 lead. Yes, we were gone for that long.IMG_7155

It’s still weird for me to see Brett Anderson in the bullpen, since he was our Opening Day starter.IMG_7165

Around the 6th or 7th inning or so, Stomper made a stop by the bleachers!

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He LOVED the AL West Champs shirt!

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And the WWE Title Belt that Josh Reddick gave the bleachers!

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Everyone was having a great time!

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And not surprisingly, Rickey won the Legends race!

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In the bottom of the 8th inning, most of us were expecting to see Grant Balfour get loose in the ‘pen. However, that was not the case. Instead, Evan Scribner was!

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And yes, he came on to pitch the 9th!

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But the first two batters in the inning both reached base with hits, prompting Grant Balfour to get loose.

IMG_7245However, he was not needed.

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Trevor Plouffe struck out for the first out.

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Oswaldo Arcia then singled, scoring Alex Presley and Brian Dozier. However, he was thrown out at 2nd by Josh Reddick, trying to stretch it into a double. This was the 2nd out of the inning.

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It was a GREAT throw!
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This brought the game to 2 outs. 1 more out and the game is over.

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Everyone was excited!
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This brought the count to 0-2. Evan Scribner delivered a fastball to Josmil Pinto…

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And that was the ballgame!

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Time to celebrate!!

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Everybody was going nuts!

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The Oakland Athletics are your 2013 AL West Champions!

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And the part was JUST getting started!
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They began giving all the players their “official” shirts and hats.
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Jorge was pretty pumped!

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So was the injured Samuel!

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It was an insane atmosphere!

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Everyone was crowded around the mound area.

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I couldn’t take enough pictures!

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Everyone was excited!
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There were camera everywhere!

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At this point, most of the players ran inside to start the champagne and beed party, as shown on DiamondVision.

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Josh Donaldson was all ready, with his ski mask.Screen Shot 2013-09-22 at 8.38.07 PM

You should have seen the scene!

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Meanwhile, Brett Anderson, Sonny Gray, Ryan Cook, and Coco Crisp began a victory lap!
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They were spraying champagne 10 rows deep into the crowd!

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Meanwhile, Sonny and Brett continued on their lap around the field.
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They both acknowledged the right field bleachers.

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And then continued on around the field.

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It was still surreal for me.

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After I had to miss Game 162 last year because of school, this was awesome for me!

When Coco ran by, Omar had his CoFro sign out and ready!
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Coco made sure to high five every fan he could!

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Then, most of the players came out to run a lap around the warning track, starting with Yoenis Cespedes.

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He was followed by Josh Reddick, who was wearing a Georgia University football helmet.

Actually, he threw it off when he approached the bleachers.

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He cracked open a couple bottles of champagne…

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And let loose!

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As he ran away, he led the bleachers in a Daniel Bryan Style WWE Yes! Yes! Yes! chant!

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The rest of the team began to empty out of the clubhouse and onto the field.

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Here is A.J. Griffin on the right and someone I can’t identify on the left.

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A bunch of the A’s relievers were wearing Zubaz pants.Screen Shot 2013-09-22 at 8.50.46 PM

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The A’s in-game host Kara had been interviewing players since the game had ended, and after she interviewed Grant Balfour, since he hadn’t gotten to pitch in the game, they played Metalica’s One and everyone in the bleachers began to Rage!

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Good times. Good times.

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Then, all of the Right Field regulars gathered together for a group photo.

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Everyone was pretty happy!

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And when I say pretty happy, I mean REALLY happy!

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REALLY, REALLY Happy!

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Then, we got a group photo of everyone doing Ben Christensen’s signature “Shark”, since he was in Florida at the time.

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After the group photos ended, we all began to slowly file out of the bleachers.
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Vanessa was kind excited.

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So was James.

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However, the fun wasn’t over yet! KTVU Channel 2 News came over to the bleachers and began talking to some fans. First, The Champ!

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He pointed out his yellow A’s socks.

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Then, they came over to talk to Omar.
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As well as James.

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He high fived Omar.

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And we all broke out in a “Let’s Go Oakland!” chant.Screen Shot 2013-09-22 at 8.53.50 PMWe then all filed out of the bleachers. Most people headed to the parking lot to continue the partying, but my family headed home, since I still had homework to do!

What a great day. After the A’s finished throwing, it didn’t even cross my mind that I had been shut out. It was still an awesome day. I got to see my favorite team clinch the division IN PERSON. I got a “We Own The West” shirt before the players did. And I got to spend the day with my family and some of my closest friends!

BALLHAWKING STATS:

  • 37th Game this Year (24th MLB Game)
  • 0 Balls at this Game
  • 38 balls in 24 MLB games this season = 1.58 Balls Per Game
  • 118 Baseballs this season
  • 66 Lifetime MLB Baseballs
  • 161 Lifetime Baseballs

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Nick Badders is a blogger for MLB.com. He writes the blog, 7000 Coliseum Way, and you can follow him on Twitter @nickbatters. You can also LIKE his blog on Facebook. This blog entry was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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