Category: 2013

7/27/13 at Banner Island Ballpark

Origionally, I was supposed to go to the A’s game this day. It was 1969 Turn-Back-The-Clock day, with a T-Shirt giveaway. The start time was 12:05 and I had just gotten back from vacation the night before, so I wasn’t really wanting to go to the game.

I was sitting on 93 balls combined between MLB and MiLB, so my 7th ball of the day would be a special one. Keep that in mind!

We sold our 2 seats on StubHub and used the money to buy tickets to that night’s Ports game! It was a Drew Granier jersey, the Ports new Friday Alternate one.

The funny thing is that Granier was promoted to AA in Mid-June. Still, cool!

This was going to be a popular game, but I was looking forward to it, as I was sitting on 93 lifetime balls between MLB and MiLB and was hoping to snag #100 today.

My goal was to be in Stockton by 4pm for BP, and my dad and I ended up arriving there at 3:58, so it was perfect timing!

The parking lot was not yet open, so my dad dropped me off, while he went to go wait for the lot to open. I found Vanessa at the front of the line, she had come to this game with Ryan Dalton, who was out behind LF looking for any random balls.

I talked with her for about 20 minutes, as BP got underway around 4:25. I had gotten an official conformation that the gates would be opening at 5:35, rather than 6pm, so I was excited for a potential half hour of BP inside the stadium!

When Ryan and I headed out back, the San Jose Giants were stretching down the LF line.

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Meanwhile, the Ports were finishing their catch, having already completed their stretching.

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My first ball of the day was curtsey of Addison Russell.

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He lined a ball towards the Berm in Right-Center field, and since it was hit hard, it kept rolling past the berm, setting in the bush past the ballpark fence. I had a hunch, so I ran over there, dug through the bushes, and picked it up, coming back to show my dad and Ryan, as I was on the board!

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Meanwhile, Ryan chased down a ball, for his first snag on the day.

The next guy in the cage was Bruce Maxwell.

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From what I heard from Ryan and Vanessa, Bruce is a class act. Great guy! More on him later on…

Ryan and I were having a good time, as a moment later, he chased down another ball, that was hit towards the Marina, almost in the same spot as the other.

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There were 3 rounds of 4 hitters each, and at this point, there was one group left in Ports BP, at this point, it was just past 5pm.

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One of the hitters in the final group was Bobby Crocker. Here we go…

He BOMBED at ball down the Left Field line, and I broke off sprinting. Other than me and Ryan, there was one other ballhawk out there, a guy in a Giants hat and orange shirt. He was about 50 feet to my right, so he had a much better shot at the ball.

If you go back 2 pictures, you will see yellow caution tape and logs underneath it.

The ball was hit and we both took off running. It looked like the ball was going to hit the pavement, then roll fast, so he broke past the point of the caution tape. I took a direct line towards where the ball was headed, in hopes to cut it off from the other guy. The ball hit a tree, landing in the circle of dirt around the tree.

As he was much closer, he was almost guaranteed the ball. However, as he was running, he tripped on one of the logs. According to Ryan, as well as my dad, he just ATE IT. They both agreed if he hadn’t done so, I would have had no chance with the ball.

As soon as I picked up the ball, I heard Ryan yell “NICK THIS ONE’S YOU!” I looked up and the ball was coming straight for me. The other guy was still phased from his spill, so he hadn’t caught up with me. I took a few steps forward, in a perfect spot to catch it on the bounce. I got the ball on the bounce,

As soon as I caught the ball, the guy came running up from behind me and gave me a hard slap on the arm, in an attempt to knock the ball out of my glove.

I didn’t let go of either ball and came back to join my dad and Ryan.

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That guy didn’t move from this spot for the rest of Ports BP. He was pissed that he had fallen and not gotten either ball.

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How pissed was he? A ball landed 10 feet to his right and he didn’t move to go pick it up. Ryan was able to WALK over and grab it for his 3rd ball of the day!

I finished Ports BP with 3 balls, the same as Ryan.

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Then came the Giants BP…

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Quickly, I got a ball in Giants BP, when Ricky Oropesa lined a ball over the Ports bullpen.

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It hit the base to the scoreboard and more or less stopped. Ryan figured there was no way to get it, but I reached under the fence and picked it up for my 4th ball on the day!

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Neither of us got any balls up until the points at which the gates opened.

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We headed back at 5:20, to join Vanessa, who had stayed in line, saving us all a spot. The gates opened at 5:35, and I headed right for the berm in right-center field.

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Soon, a ball was hit back behind the inflatable kids slide in right field. I ran over and picked it up for ball #5.

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I then ran over to the RF wall, where Edward Concepcion was picking up a ball. Without having to ask, he tossed it to me for ball #6. I needed 1 more to reach 100 combined balls.

Moments later, Brock Bond launched a ball high, right at me. I moved back to the edge of the berm and secured it in my glove. Ball 100!

I know most people don’t think this is a big deal, it’s “cheap to count them together. Think of it this way. Ichiro is almost at 4000 hit combined between Japan and MLB. That’s still a big deal, right?

About 5 minutes later, I was joined by Ryan, who hadn’t snagged any balls inside. He then walked over to the slide and picked up two balls that were just sitting there. HOW HAD I NOT SEEN THEM. I felt ridiculously stupid, however he had missed one, and I picked it up for #8 on the day!

BP then came to a close, at which point I ran down to the cage, in hopes of snagging a ball that was lying around. I spotted a ball sitting by the Ports dugout and called out to Chris Lofton who picked it up and tossed it to me. It turned out to be an MLB ball! I then put it in my backpack and took one out, giving it to the nearest kid.

At this point, I joined back up with Ryan and Vanessa, as we sat in our seats and talked for roughly half an hour.

We then noticed Bruce Maxwell, the Ports catcher (Whom I had mentioned earlier in the entry), signing autographs down the right field line.

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Ryan, Vanessa, and I headed over there, where Ryan and I both got him to sign a ball for us. Bruce is a class act!
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Meanwhile, this guy was busy getting photos and cards signed.

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We headed back to our seats and talked for another 10 or so minutes, as the Ports began to warm up.
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Over on the 3rd base side, the Giants were doing the same.

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One interesting thing I noticed was that the Giants had brought a bat boy with them, so there was no need for the usual guy in a Ports uniform to sit in the dugout. My guess is that he is the manger’s son.
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As both teams were starting to play catch, I swung over to the Ports team store to get a new hat, as my current one was a size too small and about to cut off the circulation to the rest of my body.

I emerged from the team store, stuck on my *San Jose* Giants hat, and ran down to where they were finishing up with catch, where I failed to get a ball.

Ryan, Vanessa, and I once again reconvened behind the Giants dugout to talk for a little while longer, where we saw something quite amusing take place.. A 3 year-old boy was celebrating his birthday at the game, and the Ports let him throw out the first pitch. He was also going to say play ball before the game got underway, so after the first pitch, he hung out by the Ports dugout.

He made several attempts to run onto the field, being scooped up and carried back to the on-deck circle by people including his mother, Jeremy (The Ports In-Game host), as well as one of the umpires.

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It’s the little things that make you smile.

Around 7:10, the national anthem was sung.
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And it was time to play some baseball!

Ryan and I headed out to the parking lot to chase foul balls, as the Ports allow unlimited re-entry privileges.

On the mound for the Ports was James Simmons

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In the bottom of the first inning, Bobby Crocker stepped to the plate to lead off the Ports half of the first. He popped a pitch over the roof and the ball settled under a car. I ran over and picked it up! It was my 3rd straight MiLB game with a foul ball!

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Meanwhile, on the mound for the Giants was Kelvin Marte

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He struggled in the 2nd inning, but came back strong after that.

Will showed up in the first inning, as he was pulling a doubleheader. He went to the A’s game in Oakland, went to an Eric Sogard signing in Dublin, then came to the Ports game.

Anyway… He has a great relationship with Ports manager Webster Garrison, or “Webby.”

Every time Webby would jog over to the 3rd base coach’s box, he points to Will, as Will yells “Webby!”

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He’s a really cool dude!
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One thing Vanessa had been mentioning throughout the game was how she loved Ryan Cavan’s mustache. I can understand why!

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Oh, and also in the 2nd inning, Antonio Lamas and Dusty Robinson hit back to back home runs!

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The Ports had the 3-1 lead after 2 innings, but starting in the 3rd inning, San Jose came charging and never looked back. They scored 1 run in 3rd inning, as well as the 4th inning, then added on 2 in the 5th, and 3 more in the 7th, making it 8-3 at the 7th inning stretch.

I spent the first 6 innings in the parking lot, chasing foul balls, as well as talking with a ballhawk named John, who had just moved from Omaha to Reno. Really cool guy! He’s been to over 40 Minor League stadiums and is going to be starting an MLBlog soon, so keep on the lookout!

I only had the 1 foul ball after the first 6 innings, so I decided to come back inside and go for 3rd out balls and actually enjoy a bit of the game.

Remember that bat boy I talked about earlier? I found it kind of funny that he was wearing a Stockton Ports helmet with the rest of his San Jose uniform.

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Seriously though, Ryan Cavan has an amazing mustache!

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In the top of the 7th, San Jose tacked on those 3 runs against one of the newer Ports relievers, Schaffer Hall.

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He had started the season with the Trenton Thunder of the Eastern League, but after playing a game with the River Cats (And Getting the win, might I add), he was sent down to Stockton, where he started 7 of his first 8 games, and has been in the bullpen since.

Jeff Soptic came in to pitch the 7th inning for the Giants. Not only is his name cool, but he makes fantastic faces on the mound.

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In that bottom of the 7th, the Ports scored 3 runs, shortening the Giants lead to 8-5.

In the top of the 8th, I hung out by the Ports dugout, in hopes of snagging a foul ball or 3rd out ball. Eric Sim struck out swinging on a pitch in the dirt to end the inning, and thankfully Bruce Maxwell kept the ball. I called out to him, he recognized me from pre-game, and tossed me the ball.

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It was my 11th ball on the day, a new all-time record for me! Since Bruce is one of Vanessa and Ryan’s favorite players, they thought the ball was pretty cool!
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In the bottom of the 9th, I moved myself down close to the Giants dugout in hopes of getting their lineup card, or a broken bat, as there had been one earlier in the game.

However, there was a scare in the 9th inning. With 1 out, and runners on 1st and 2nd, Myrio Richard was hit in the head with a pitch from Derek Law.

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It was scary. How scary? Ryan almost caught the ball. He was sitting in the first row, and the ball nearly landed in his glove, but he appropriately decided it would be inappropriate to make a real attempt for the ball, given what had just happened.

He ended up only being a bit shaken up, so he loaded the bases, brining the winning run to the plate with only 1 out, as Myrio representing the tying run.

Josh Whitaker and B.A. Vollmuth both struck out, sealing the 8-5 W for San Jose.
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After the game, I rushed down to the Giants dugout to try and get the lineup card. I asked the Giants manager, Andy Skeels for it, but he gave me a look like I was an alien, peeled the lineup card off, and put it in his binder. I then asked Lipso Nava, their hitting coach for the broken bat. He asked me why I would want a splintered bat, but before I could respond, he left the dugout.

At this point, I left for the Ports dugout, just hoping that there lineup card would still be there. I asked both Myrio and Bruce for the card, but neither of them was “allowed” to give it to me.

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I ended up asking the bat boy, and he peeled it off and gave it to me!

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Then, Ryan popped his head out from next to the dugout with what? THE BROKEN BAT!

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How cool is that?!?

We then got a group picture, Ryan holding his bat, me holding the lineup card and 4 balls, and Vanessa holding the other 6 baseballs I snagged on the day.

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My dad then got a picture of me with the lineup card (Which was typed) and all of my baseballs from the day in my MLB Network drawstring backpack.

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Then, Ryan noticed what he thought was a stat sheet, so he called over Jeremy, the Ports in-game host. He peeled it off the wall, and it turned out to be from the last game Ports Ryan had been at, on July 19th!

At that point, we had noticed the Rosin bag sitting on the dugout bench, so Vanessa asked Jeremy if we could hold it.

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I got a picture with it.

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And so did Vanessa.

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COOL STUFF!

And no, I didn’t get to keep it. As much as I would have wanted to, there is a 50% chance it had been on Tim Hudson’s head at some point, and I don’t really want to run that risk. Not only that, but there is a good chance it will spontaneously combust.

But the best reason of all for not keeping it was given to me by Chris Kusiolek (@Oak_AllDay on Twitter)

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I asked Jeremy if they really need it that bad, but he said they do, so there goes that….

Anyway… it was a REALLY fun day! I had a great tim ballhawking with Ryan (We snagged 19 balls combined) and it was a lot of fun to hang out with him and Vanessa for the day. Hopefully I’ll be back at Banner Island soon!

BALLHAWKING STATS:

  • 20th Game of the Year… 6th MiLB Game of the Year
  • 11 balls at this game
  • 47 MiLB Balls in 6 MiLB Games = 7.83 MiLB Balls Per Game
  • 12 Consecutive MiLB Games with at least 1 Ball
  • 6 Consecutive MiLB Games with at least 5 Balls
  • 62 Lifetime Minor League baseballs
  • 104 total balls

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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.

6/26/13 at the Oakland Coliseum

Today was root beer float day! My mom, sister, and I attended Root Beer Float day last year, and we were at it again this year!

We decided to get to the Coliseum around 8:30am. The gates were to open at 10:35 am, with a 12:35 pm start time.

We caught the 8am BART train, getting to the Coliseum just before 8:30. We were the first ones in line. For the next hour, there was not much going on. We saw the root beer being delivered to the Eastside Club, just like last year.

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We were in line at MM, however we were not going to be sitting in the RF Bleachers. We would be in Section 127 for this game.

Everyone had all of their stuff in a pile before the gates opened.

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The bag check was all ready to go.

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And the Root Beer Float mug stand was set up.

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Last year, I rushed through Root Beer float day, because I wanted to get out and ballhawk, so this time, I was planning on soaking up Root Beer Float day, then ballhawking if time allowed.

As soon the gates opened, I ran in and purchased my mug, then walked into the Eastside club.

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There were LOADS of tables and booths set up, with celebrities from all over the Bay Area serving root beer floats.

The A’s players’ wives and girlfriends had their own table.

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It got packed quickly!

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My first stop was the Comcast SportsNet table. There, I got to talk with Casey Pratt and Kate Longworth, from CSN. As I enjoyed my float, I headed over to the table, where this sign was located.

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I got a Yoga Mat last year at this event, I have no need for a kids club kid, and I was at the game that the Scott Hatteberg bobblehead was given away. I picked up a Jason Giambi bobblehead, along with 2 Roy Steele bobbleheads. Roy Steele was the A’s PA announcer for over 30 years.

Within half an hour, the area was PACKED!

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Remember how I had mentioned a table with the A’s players and wives? My next float was served by Angie Balfour, wife of Grant Balfour. EXTREMELY nice lady!

It all just got more and more crowded.
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At this point, I decided to try and get a panoramic picture from the Plaza Reserved seats. As soon as I took a look, I saw that the cage was set up. Not only that, but the Reds were on the field stretching!

I let my mom know where I was going, and I headed off to the RF foul line.
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Curtis Partch was just wrapping up playing catch when I got there. I called out to him, and I had ball #1 on the day!

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The Reds started to hit, and they were hitting A LOT of balls down the RF line. Curtis Partch was fielding them all and throwing EVERY SINGLE ONE into the crowd. I would say at least 20 balls were hit to him. Every single ball hit to him, he would toss up. However, we recognized me, so I wasn’t able to get another toss-up from him.

About 10 minutes before BP ended, he jogged in. Aroldis Chapman started patrolling the RF corner, where he didn’t throw a single ball into the crowd.

Then, 5 minutes later, he jogged in as well. The last group of hitter was pulling a lot of balls down the RF line, with nobody to get them. As BP wrapped up, 5 or so balls were sitting on the warning track, in front of the foul pole. Mark, the security guard by the visiting bullpen, walked over. He picked up all of the balls, tossing each into the crowd. I was lucky enough to come up with one of them.

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I then handed it to a kid next to me who hadn’t been lucky enough to get one.

I wandered around a bit before heading back to my seat, joining my sister and mom.

Players slowly began to come out onto the field to stretch.

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A.J. Griffin finished up his warm-up tosses in the bullpen.

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And we were ready to go! The ballboy down the LF line always warms up the A’s left fielder, which I think would be an awesome job.

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Like I mentioned, A.J. Griffin was the A’s starter in this game.

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This was the view from my seat.

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It was weird, as it always has been this year, to see the RF bleachers from a different perspective.

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Yoenis Cespedes made a few adjustments to his cup throughout the game.

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Before the gates had opened, I had been tweeting back with Ryan Dalton, who you might remember from a few of my entries. He said he would be out in LF for the game, and sure enough, there he was.
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I’m not sure about the guy behind him in the picture. No clue…

After 6 1/2 innings, the A’s were leading the Reds 4-0, with the Reds only having 2 hits off of A.J. Griffin. Tony Cingrani came in to relieve Homer Bailey in the bottom of the 7th.

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In case you are wondering… the A’s 4 runs came on a Brandon Moss double and Josh Donaldson home run in the 4th inning.

I spent a lot of time taking random photos like these…

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Cingrani struggled a bit, allowing a double to Eric Sogard, then a pinch-hit double to Nate Freiman.

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The A’s took the field in the 8th with a 5-0 lead.

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Grant Balfour was warming up Yoenis this inning.

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Everyone was going nuts every time Cespedes threw the warmup ball into the crowd.

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In the 8th inning, Griffin was only at 90 pitches after 1 out.

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He finished the day with a complete-game, two-hit shutout, on 108 pitches.

Great day! Root Beer Float Day was great as usual! I was surprised with Reds BP. I snagged 2 balls. The A’s won. You Can NOT complain! I was going to be back out at the yard just a few days later for Coco Lean bobblehead day!

BALLHAWKING STATS:

  • 17th Game this Year (12th MLB Game)
  • 2 Balls at this Game
  • 14 balls in 12 MLB games this season = 1.16 Balls Per Game
  • 42 Lifetime MLB Baseballs
  • 93 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.

 

 

6/25/13 at the Oakland Coliseum

This was the first of a two-game series between the A’s and Reds. It would also be my first of 3 games in 5 days.

It was a 7:05 game, with the gates opening at 5:35. My dad and I arrived around 4:15 where we got in line at gate MM. At the time, were the only fans in line.

It was pretty boring for the next hour. It was pretty cold and it was raining off and on. Nobody was in line behind us for about 45 minutes. 30 minutes before the gates opened, Will MacNeil got in line with us.

5 minutes before the gates opened, the line looked like this…

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Yeah. I could tell it would feel pretty empty for the game. The gates opened at 5:35, where my dad and I grabbed two front row seats in Section 149, on the aisle.  It was pretty empty.

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 Things were looking up, as the Reds have a lot of power in their lineup. With few fans, lots of balls being hit into the outfield, I was confident that BP would be a lot of fun!

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Boy oh boy was I wrong…  It felt like the Reds hitters were trained to hit the ball to opposite field during BP. When the first few groups were up, I was going to RF for lefties, then LF for righties. Once I realized what was going on, I adjusted, going to RF for righties, LF for lefties.  Nobody was hitting anything near where I was positioning myself.

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There were a lot of people in the outfield. LOTS of pitchers were standing in the right-centerfield area, but none of them were tossing anything up. It was awful.

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Johnny Cueto was manning the Right Field warning track.

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He wasn’t tossing anything up either.

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Things were turning from bad to worse.  I had no clue what to expect from here on out.

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Over by the A’s dugout, Kate Longworth was getting ready for the A’s pregame show.

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Cueto was signing autographs by the Reds bullpen.

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And for the most part, the Reds hitters were making great contact with the ball. They just were not hitting it anywhere near me.

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I was positioning myself wherever I thought I had the best chance of snagging a ball. The Reds just kept hitting it where I least expected it. I tried to adjust, but things just didn’t work out.

IMG_7206 To add to my frustration, none of the pitchers were tossing anything up. It was one of those situations where I wished I was a little kid or young female.

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And before I knew it, Batting Practice was over. Just like that. Wow.

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I was in utter shock. Everything went wrong. I got there early, the stadium was very empty, things looked great. All of a sudden, things turned for the worst. Nobody was tossing anything up,  plus the Reds hitters were not hitting balls into either bleachers section. I would say at most, 5 balls landed in the bleachers over the course of BP.

I really don’t know exactly how to put it all into words…

This was the last game all season I expected to get shutout at.  It was all hard to swallow. At least there was a great game ahead!

 Batting Practice ended around 6:20, so I had time to go grab food. As I was walking through the concourse, I bumped into Vanessa Demske and Wes Mills, among a few other people (If you have read almost any of my Coliseum posts, you know who they are). We all grabbed some food and headed back to the bleachers. Stephen Vogt was already well into warming up for his A’s debut.

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 Tommy Milone, the A’s starter was also warming up.

IMG_7516 Bronson Arroyo, the Reds starting pitcher came out to warm up as well.

IMG_7561 He started to play long toss with Ryan Hanigan.

IMG_7545 Tommy Milone was playing catch as well with Stephen Vogt.

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The grounds crew was putting the final touches on the field.

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Most Reds players went into their last stretches.

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 Same with the A’s.

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Right before the first pitch, the A’s had a ceremony honoring a few people. I can’t remember exactly what they were being honored for…

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To the game…

Pat Neshek is hands down my favorite player to take photos of, due to his funky delivery. Coming in a close second is Bronson Arroyo. The leg kick says it all.

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In the bottom of the 2nd, after a Brandon Moss double and Josh Donaldson single, Josh Reddick laced a line drive to center field that was fielded by Shin-Soo Choo.

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Reddick stood at 2n with a double, starting the scoring off to make it 2-0.

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Everyone was excited!

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Stephen Vogt then followed up with a Sac fly, driving in Donaldson, advancing Reddick to 3rd.

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Everyone in Right Field was into the game, as expected!
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In the A’s half of the 3rd, Yoenis Cespedes started the scoring off in the inning by driving in Coco Crisp, advancing Jed Lowrie to 3rd base.

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Brandon Moss brought in Lowrie with a Sac Fly, making the score 4-0 A’s.

Josh Donaldson then stepped to the plate and on the first pitch of the at bat, made contact with the ball.

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He BOMBED it out to left field!

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This made the score 6-0 A’s after 3 innings.

Joey Votto led off the 4th with a homer, brining Todd Frazier to the plate.

He singled to left field, but got greedy, trying to stretch it into a double. Yoenis threw the ball into Eric Sogard at 2nd Base, who threw it to Brandon Moss at 1st, to Jed Lowrie, who was covering 2nd, to make it a 7-4-3-6 putout.IMG_8359

Jerry Blevins came on in the 6th inning, relieving Tommy Milone

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He loaded the bases after hitting Shin-Soo Choo, but managed to get out of the 6th inning unharmed.

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In the top of the 8th, Sean Doolittle came on to replace Ryan Cook, who had pitched a 1-2-3 7th inning. What did that mean? It was time for some Doolittle headbanging!

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I looked over to 148, where Wes and Vanessa were headbanging it out!

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In the bottom of the 8th inning, Vanessa came over from 148 to join my dad and I in 149. She had something pretty cool to show us…

 This was the box she handed me.

IMG_8818 That would be a Coco Lean bobblehead! It was the giveaway for the game 4 days later! From what I understand, Vanessa won an essay contest for the blog Big League Stew, where the prize was that bobblehead! She was taking it on “tour,” where her goal was to get as many people to take a picture with it as possible. My reaction pretty much sums it up.

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I admired the leaning bobblehead a bit.

IMG_8829 Actually, bobble-torso, or bobble-waist would be more appropriate.

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Anyway…

Jay Bruce was at the plate with 2 outs in the top of the 9th, with the A’s ahead 7-3.

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Dan Ortero was on the mound to finish the game off.

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And it was an A’s win! The stadium cleared out rather quickly.

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But the bleachers were not emptying yet. There was a group of Irish soccer fans who were visiting the US and had decided to visit an A’s game. They were sitting and cheering their heads off in Section 148. It was awesome to see! Well they got a group picture, along with Wes, who is pretty much one of the Kings of 148.

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Everyone was happy about the A’s victory!

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Vanessa got this picture with Yuichiro, holding up “Sogard Specs”

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And we all celebrated in the concourse, as the lights and ushers kicked us out of the bleachers, because apparently, they want to get home or something like that.

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 It was a good game!

Sure I didn’t snag a ball, but it was a great day. I was ready to be back out at the yard the next day, for the last game of the two game series between the A’s and Reds.

BALLHAWKING STATS:

  • 16th Game this Year (11th MLB Game)
  • 0 Balls at this Game
  • 12 balls in 11 MLB games this season = 1.09 Balls Per Game
  • 40 Lifetime MLB Baseballs
  • 91 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.

6/8/13 at Banner Island Ballpark

About a week before this game, my dad told me there was no way I would be going to this game. It was supposed to be over 100 Degrees, we all were probably going to be tired, and he didn’t really want to go. The Wednesday before (June 5th), the Ports had an insane game. How insane? Look at the box score:

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What is special? 4 home runs for the Lancaster JetHawks. 7 home runs for the Ports. That is 11 HOME RUNS.

I started talking with Bess Frankoff (Wife of Ports Pitcher Seth Frankoff) about how I was positive I would have caught one of those home runs.

We then got to talking about this…

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A few minute later, I got this DM from her, which I replied to.
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WOW! Thank You very much, Bess! PLEASE go follow her on Twitter right here. Then, PLEASE also go follow Seth Frankoff as well right here. They are both VERY awesome people, so as a faithful 7000 Coliseum Way reader, I would appreciate it if you could do that for me.

Saturday morning, I DM’d her, making sure I was all set to go with 4 tickets, and it was a go!

This game was also Miles Bobble Head Night. Miles Head was the top player on the Ports last year, before being promoted to AA. On May 27th, 2012, I went to a Ports game (It was Micheal Choice Bobblehead Night!) where Miles Head hit a walk-off home run.

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The bobblehead was based off his postgame celebration at the plate.

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(FYI, those last two pictures are curtsey of the Stockton Ports- Not my photos)

Quick Random Cool Fact… Look at the email I got that morning!

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To make sure it was the real Yoenis Cespedes, I check the profile and sure enough it was!!

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How cool is that???

On to the day in Stockton…

My goal was to leave around 3pm, to get there around 3:45, in time for Ports BP at 4:15. I was also going to meet up with ballhawk Ryan Dalton, who you may remember from BallhawkFest.

The day got off to an interesting start. Around 11:30, my parents left to run a few errands and get some things before we left.

At 12:30, I got a call from my mom that all of the coolant fluid had leaked out of our car. That meant our car was broken and they were stranded in the Costco parking lot while it was 108 degrees outside. My mom got a friend to bring her home around 1:15, but my dad was still there. A tow truck finally showed up at 2:30. My dad was at the car dealership by 3:15. Keep in mind I had wanted to leave at 3pm…

He eventually got home around 4pm with a rental car that was kind of small. Oh well. We left our house around 4:30. Ports BP had started at 4:15. Yay…

On our drive there, I sent out a tweet to Nuts SS Trevor Story, asking if he could hook me up with a game-used souvenir after the game. Keep that in mind…

Oh, did I mention it was hot? 109 degrees!

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We finally got to Stockton around 5:15, at which point I ran out behind the LF fence. Nuts batting practice was well underway.

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As soon as I set my backpack down, Niko Gallego (Son of A’s 3rd base coach Mike Gallego) bombed a pitch off the Stockton Arena that I ran over and grabbed. At this point, I saw Ryan Dalton and my dad snapped a quick picture of us.

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Despite the heat, you can tell we were having a great time!

Then, while I was on the phone with my mom, asking her question, another pitch was bombed, this one Ryan Casteel. I didn’t even see it or hear it until Ryan yelled “This one’s all you, Nick!” I put my phone in my pocket and ran over and picked up the ball.

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Thank, Ryan!

Around 5:35, Ryan got a call from his mom that they were about to open the gates, so we ran over and jumped in line.

At 5:40, the gates opened, just as BP was ending… I did get my bobblehead, though!

I ran in and headed down to the Ports dugout, where I saw a baseball sitting on the field a foot away from the fence. I scooped it up with my glove for ball #3 on the day!

Moments later, a groundskeeper cleaning up the batting cage tossed me a ball sitting on the ground for my 4th on the day!

I then headed over to the Nuts dugout, where I got this photo. Just kinda artsy.

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Let me tell you, by this time, it was 6pm and it was still over 100 degrees. Ick…

They don’t let you bring water into the stadium, so I think everyone was burning up!

My sister and I decided to get Sno Cones, at which point we went and sat out on the RF Home Run hill for a little bit.

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It was around this time that I got this tweet:

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Awesome! I was looking forward to the end of the game!

Slowly, the Ports players started heading towards the dugout. I was hoping for one of the players to come over near me.

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Why? This is why:

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But the players didn’t really want to move, as it was HOT!

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Dusty Robinson took some time to talk with Splash.

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The Nuts started warming up as well.

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I tried to get one of the warm-up balls there, but had no luck.

This was the view from the seats left by the Frankoffs. WOW!

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This was going to be a good day of baseball!

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In the top of the 1st, I went out to the parking lot with Ryan to try my luck at some foul balls. With 1 out and a runner on 1st, Taylor Featherston popped a ball out of the stadium, into the parking lot, and I ran and scooped it up!

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My 3rd foul ball of the season!

James Simmons was on the mound for the Ports.

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And he did a pretty good job in this game.

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There was a decent crowd on hand for Miles Bobble Head day.

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Ben Alsup was pitching for the Nuts.

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I found this amusing because the last time I saw the Nuts play, which was in Stockton, he was the pitcher.

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He was also wearing #22, which was the same number as James Simmons, the Ports starter.

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The Ports went 1-2-3 in the first.

Tyler Massey walked to lead off the 2nd.

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And he ended up scoring when Juan Crousset flew out to Dusty Robinson.

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Niko Gallego flied out to end the inning.

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With 2 outs and runners on 1st and 2nd, in the bottom of the 2nd inning, Dusty Robinson stepped to the plate.

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Alsup delivered…

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And Dusty crushed it out for a 3-run home run, putting the Ports ahead 2-1.

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I was in the open concourse area behind the Nuts dugout at the time, in hopes of a 3rd out ball, so when the ball was hit, I ran towards the seats behind the bullpen, hoping I would be able to get the ball.

Then, I saw a man outside the stadium sprinting towards the area where the ball was headed, and it bounced in the BBQ area and hopped over the fence, right into his hands.

With 2 outs in every half inning, I would run behind a dugout to try and snag a 3rd out ball, but I had no luck AT ALL in this game.

When there wasn’t 2 outs, Ryan, my sister, and I were in the parking lot positioning ourselves for righties and lefties, hoping to snag a foul ball. Ryan got a foul ball in the bottom of the first, but after that, neither of us got anything outside of the stadium.

The Ports scored a run in the 3rd inning, then the Nuts countered with 2 runs in the 5th, making it 4-3 after 6 innings.

About halfway through the game, I was walking to go refill empty water bottles at the water fountain, when I saw a foul ball headed my way. I started running, but it hit off of an advertisement, to be scooped up by… RYAN! He is *very* fast!

Around this time, my sister and I headed over to the cross asile behind the Ports dugout. The guy that had snagged the Dusty Robinson home run earlier in the day, a guy I had been competing with for foul balls approached us. He gave a ball to my sister, showing her that it was sign, and told her it was game used. She thanked her and I then got a picture of her holding it.

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Stockton then tacked on another 3 runs in the 7th, making it 7-3. However, the score did not stay that way.

Ryan Casteel led off with a homer, cutting the lead to 7-4. After a groundout and a single, manager Webster Garrison called on my favorite player, SETH FRANKOFF!

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Seth came in and got the next two guys out, to get the Ports out of the inning.

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Stockton tacked on an insurance run in the 8th, making it 8-4.

Seth came on again in the 9th, in order to finish the game off for the Ports.

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Modesto, however did not make it easy.

Jared Simon doubled to Myrio Richard to start the inning, which was followed by a Kyle Von Tungeln walk. Brian Humphries then grounded into a force out, with Von Tungeln out at 2nd. Taylor Featherston then bombed a pitch out to left field, for a 3-run home run, scoring Jared Simon and Brian Humphries.

At this point, Jonathan Joseph came in to replace Seth, ending his night.

Joseph got 1 quick out, getting Ryan Casteel to fly out.

With 2 outs, I was all ready to run down to the dugout. As soon as the final pitch was thrown, I jumped down into my normal spot.

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The guy in the on deck circle at the time was Trevor Story, so I knew I had to catch him quick. I called out “Trevor! I was the guy who tweeted you.” He nodded and gathered all of his stuff together.

He then pulled one of his 3 bats out and handed it to me. How cool is that? I asked Ryan to hold it, at which point I tried to get the lineup card as well I asked the batboy, and he tore it off and handed it to me!

A lineup card AND a bat! How awesome is that???
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Ryan then went over to the Ports dugout to try and see if there was anything there. Sure enough, someone tossed him a ball AND game him the Ports lineup card. How cool is that????

We then headed over to get a picture together. You can see him holding one of his 12 balls on the day, along with his lineup card and I’m holding the bat, lineup card, and my 5 balls on the day.

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Then, I had to get a separate picture with my bat and lineup card.

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I was pretty freaking pumped!

Notice my shirt? That is the shirt of the 9 Inning Know it All MLBlog. That shirt was given to me by Kelly Byrnes at BallhawkFest. Go ahead and give him a follow on Twitter.

At this point, Ryan and I went our separate ways. He left, while my family headed to the player’s parking lot. Why? Bess Frankoff had asked me to meet her there so we could chat for a bit, and she could introduce me to Seth.

I thought about taking pictures, but despite the lights, it was took dark for any pictures to come out well. I introduced my family to Beth and we talked for a few minutes, before we had to get out of the way for the Nuts team bus to leave the stadium.

Shortly thereafter, Dusty Robinson stopped by to talk for a little bit. He asked if I had anything for him to sign, so I pulled out a pen and one of my BP balls, and whadda know?

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Then came one of the most enjoyable experiences of the night. There was a car parked partly in front of Dusty’s car. Most people would have to have someone move the other car, as it was at an angle that blocked his car to a point where it seemed impossible to get out. However, Dusty was up to the task. He hopped in, as my dad stood next to the passenger side to help him maneuver his car out. He was very *slow* and *careful* in pulling out (Thankfully he had backed into the spot, so he didn’t have to back out).

He did indeed get out of the lot without a single scratch. How close did he come to hitting the car blocking him or in the spot next to him? If he had been just a centimeter or two off, there would have been some scratches going on. It was quite a show to watch!

As he pulled out, Seth walked up. Bess introduced him to me as well as my family and we talked for 5-10 minutes. He asked if I had anything to sign, and I pulled out the ball I had found on the field, along with the sharpie, and he signed it right on the sweet spot.

Beauty.

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We talked about various baseball things. He asked if I played baseball, how many games I’ve been to, MLB The Show, and how I got the bat. After talking for a bit, we parted ways, and they both let me know to give either of them a heads up if I ever want to go to a game. They are both incredibly AWESOME and nice people! Like I said earlier, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE follow Bess and Seth on Twitter and give them lots of love for being such awesome people. I can tell you in a instant who my favorite player on the Ports its!

THIS ENTRY IS NOT OVER!!!

So after we left the ballpark, we had to make a stop for a post-game snack at one of my favorite fast food places- Sonic. It is the closest one to my house, so every time I go to Stockton, I have to stop there! Well while we were in the drive through, I got a call from Ryan Dalton that there was a fire on the highway, so he wanted to warn our family and make sure we stayed safe.

Sure enough, as we were driving down the highway, we saw a HUGE grass fire. I would say it spread for 3-4 miles along the side of the high way and probably 1000 yards off the highway as well. This was not a full on blaze across the entire area, but this is what it looked like along the side of the highway.

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It was scary! There were a lot of fire trucks there, so I believe it was all under control, but the smell of the smoke was awful!

That’s it, an exciting, interesting, fun-filled day!

Thanks for reading!

BALLHAWKING STATS:

  • 14th Game of the Year… 4th MiLB Game of the Year
  • 5 balls at this game
  • 27 MiLB Balls in 4 MiLB Games = 6.75 MiLB Balls Per Game
  • 10 Consecutive MiLB Games with at least 1 Ball
  • 4 Consecutive MiLB Games with at least 5 Balls
  • 42 Lifetime Minor League baseballs
  • 82 total balls

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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.

5/17/13 at the Oakland Coliseum- BACON FRIDAY!

This was a much different day than I’ve had in the past few years ballhawking-wise. It would be the first game since I went to Nationals Park in 2011 that I didn’t try to ballhawk at!

NICK!!!! HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND????

Yes.

No, but in all seriousness, I knew from the start I wouldn’t be able to ballhawk this game. My high school’s baseball team (Remember this game?) was 22-1 going into today, with a 4pm game against our cross-town rivals, so I couldn’t miss it!

I considered leaving around 5:30 to “beat” the traffic and get there at the end of BP, but it didn’t come close to happening. As much as I wanted to go to the A’s game, I really wanted to stay for this game!

I left around 6:30pm for the 7pm A’s game. Traffic was horrible! My dad and I listened to the pregame show on the radio on the drive up and pulled into the Coliseum parking lot just after the first pitch.

I ran in Gate MM and headed up to the 3rd deck? Why? I had purchased a Value Deck seat. Every Friday in the Value Deck in Oakland, they have a giveaway of some sort, this time it was a T-Shirt. Look for me to be wearing it in my next entry!

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I ran up, grabbed my shirt, and slid into my seat just in time in the bottom of the 1st inning. Everyone was wearing their Bacon Friday T-shirts!

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Wait? What is Bacon Friday, you might ask?

Watch this video…

Or this video…

That was just 2011. That was the first annual Bacon Tuesday.

In 2012, they brought it back for the 2nd Annual Bacon Tuesday. Read this article at Cut4 and this article at the Royals website.

It was back in 2013 and bigger and better than ever! How big? Jeff Francoeur AND Josh Reddick stopped by before the gates opened to tailgate with them!

I have to give MAJOR props to my mom! In the days leading up to Bacon Friday, she baked DOZENS upon DOZENS of Bacon Chocolate Chip cookies. I don’t know exactly how many she made, but they were AMAZING!!!!

Even the people running the scoreboard knew it was Bacon Friday!

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They even showed some action of Sizzlin’ Bacon! Everyone in RF chanted “Go Bacon Go! Go Bacon Go!

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They knew of the awesomeness that is Bacon Friday.

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When I slipped into my seat, Yoenis Cespedes was at the plate…

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But Brandon Moss grounded out to end the first, stranding Jed Lowrie at first.

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Jarrod Parker was on the mound for the A’s

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Daric Barton was playing first.

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FYI, I am a member of the Daric Barton Fan Club. WE GOT YOUR BACK BRO!

While Lorenzo Cain was batting in the 2nd inning, Eric Hosmer was picked off.

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After a short pickle, he was out at first.

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IMG_3532You could tell everyone on the field was happy about it!

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Cain ende up grounding out to first base to end the top of the 2nd.IMG_3536

Like I had mentioned earlier, everyone was wearing their Bacon Friday shirts.

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And yes, I did get one!

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I was 7 rows back or so, but I still had a great view!
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Will was not wearing a jersey like he usually does, but his Bacon Friday shirt!

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In the bottom of the 2nd, with 1 out and Josh Donaldson on first, Derek Norris walked.

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Then, Daric Barton stepped up to the plate.

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He ende up grounding into a fielder’s choice, Derek Norris was thrown out at 2nd base.

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With a runner on 2nd in the top of the 3rd and 1 out, Elliot Johnson was called out on strikes.

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Then, Parker allowed the first run of the game.

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David Lough doubled to Center, bringing in Salvatore Perez.

In the 3rd inning, I headed over to LF to go hang out with Rick Gold for an inning or so. He was in town for the homestand and planning on attending BallhawkFest the next day, so I thought I would stop by and chat for a little bit.

Right after I left, this happened…

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Yep. Omar, Anson, and a few other people did a live interview on the Royals TV broadcast.

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Everyone got pictures with him.

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This is a close-up shot of the back of the T-Shirt.

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Jarrod Parker pitched a scoreless 4th, despite a single and walk.

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I came back in the 4th inning, around the time that my mom and sister showed up!

Why were they so late? My sister had soccer tryouts that ended around 7. She went home, changed into her A’s gear, and she and my mom immediately took BART out to Oakland so they could catch at least part of the game.

FYI, here is Rick. He’s in the new BP hat with the green jacket- right in the middle of the picture.

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James Shields, who tossed me a ball last year when the Rays were in town, was on the mound for the Royals.

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On the 4th pitch of the bottom of the 4th, Brandon Moss singled to right field.

But he tried to stretch it into a double…

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Out or safe?

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He was called out trying to stretch his single into a double for the first out of the inning.IMG_3707

Everyone was pumped about the game!
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Throughout the game, they showed bacon facts on the scoreboard.

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Omar Gutierez’s son, known as The Champ took lots of pictures during the game!

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He’s one awesome kid!

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And he had BACON MINTS!!!

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The other Omar G, Omar Gonzalez was very excited!

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Coco Crispy Bacon!!!

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Jorge was getting into the action, despite his sleepiness.

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Daniel and Keith were chilling in the front row on the other side of the section.

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Ross was taking lots of pictures.

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As was everyone else.

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Can anyone guess what year bacon was invented?
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If you guessed 1500 BC, you are correct!

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The scoreboard routinely showed this for the entire game.

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Through the top of the 6th, the A’s had allowed only that 3rd inning run.

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Jorge was having a good day!IMG_3812

Ready for more bacon trivia? What percentage of men ranked bacon as their favorite smell?

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23%!

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More bacon facts and trivia. BACON CURES HANGOVERS!!!

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Omar had these three signs at this game.

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Everyone was getting into the spirit of Bacon Friday!

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Daric Barton stepped to the plate for the A’s in the 7th, but he was called out on strikes…

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But it wasn’t before Josh Donaldson hit a game-tying home run to left field!

Bob Melvin really wanted to score a few more runs.

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Sean Doolittle came in to pitch the 8th inning for Oakland.IMG_3900

Did you know there is a world record for bacon-eating?

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Doolittle pitched a scoreless 8th

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Adam Rosales stepped to the plate to lead off the A’s half of the 8th.

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On a 1-1 pitch, he hammered a ball to left field to put the A’s ahead 2-1!

Rosie did his usual sprint around the bases.

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RUN ROSIE RUN!

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This meant it was time for Grant Balfour to get loose in the bullpen.

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No more runs were scored in the 8th inning.IMG_3974

I don’t know what it is, but security hates sections 148 and 149 this year. They had a huge problem with a lot of people on Friday.

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Everyone was excited that the A’s had taken the lead!

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In the top of the 9th, it was time for Grant Balfour to come in to close the game out…

This meant it was time to RAGE!!!

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After getting 2 quick outs, Eric Hosmer stepped to the plate!

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And struck him out swinging! Everyone was happy!

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Slowly, we all filed out.

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We all met up in the concourse after the game, I handed out some more cookies, and Ralliney had someone take this picture of us.

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Wow! It was nice to to have any pressures of ballhawking, and for those like me who don’t care about streaks or such, I would highly recommend that you go to a game and purposely not ballhawk. Very relaxing!

Thanks for reading!

BALLHAWKING STATS:

  • 9th Game this Year
  • 0 Balls at this Game
  • 8 balls in 7 MLB games this season = 1.14 Ball Per Game
  • 23 Balls in 9 Games this season = 2.55 Balls Per Game
  • 36 Lifetime MLB Baseballs
  • 66 Total Balls

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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.baco

4/29/13 at the Oakland Coliseum

Boy oh boy! Today was a long day!

First off, today was Josh Hamilton Appreciation night. Basically, Wes, out in RF (@RFWes on Twitter) came up with the idea of holding Josh Hamilton Appreciation night, in honor of Hamilton dropping the ball in game 162 to allow the A’s to pull ahead, winning the game and AL West division. Over the course of the next day, there were a lot of articles about the event. The Dallas Morning News, Sports Illustrated’s Swingin’ A’s blog, Fox 4 in Dallas, Fox Sports Southwest, NESN, ESPN Dallas, NBC’s Hardball Talk, the MLB Fan Cave, MLB.com’s Cut4, and NBC Dallas all covered the event! WOW!

When I got home from Reggie Jackson bobblehead day, Adam Olson, who designed this blog’s logo and is famous for his A’s Shirts, posted on Facebook that he couldn’t make it to Monday’s game, and he was offering his tickets for free to the first person that messaged him.  I took advantage, and he was more than willing to give me his 2 seats in Section 124 for the game.

Over the course of the day, I captured some pretty cool moments on video, which you can check out here:

Conveniently, on Monday, I had a doctor’s appointment nearby his place, so after school got out at 3:05, my entire family headed out to pick up the tickets. Once we had picked up the tickets at around 3:45, we made the quick drive to my doctor’s office, for the 4pm appointment.

It took a little longer than expected, as I was hoping to catch the 4:35 BART Train to Oakland, but the appointment ended around 3:35, so my dad dropped my mom and I off at 4:45, just in time to catch the 4:50 train to Oakland.

After getting off and transferring to a different station, we made it to the Coliseum BART station at 5:25, just 10 minutes before the gates opened. I ran from the station to the Coliseum, to find a VERY short line. Here is a bad shot of the line in front of me.

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I’d say that by 5:35, maybe 10 people were behind me.

There was only one person checking bags, and one person scanning tickets, but once I got inside, even though my ticket was not for the bleachers, I sprinted out to RF. It appeared as Pujols, Trumbo, Trout, and Hamilton had all finished taking their hacks, as I didn’t see any of them during Batting Practice.

I was on the board quickly. After getting to the bleacher around 5:40, I got my first ball almost immediately  As soon as I ran into the bleachers, I saw a ball hit the wall in Right-Center.  I ran over there, Michael Kohn walked over, picked the ball up, and tossed it up to me after I called out for it.

Ball #2 was the next pitch hit by the same batter, fielded by former Atheltic Joe Blanton. I called out to him, and I had two balls within 30 seconds, less than 6 minutes within the gates opening.

My 3rd ball of the day came 3 minutes later, it was hit to dead center field, Jerome Williams fielded it, and after noticing and identifying his pink glove thanks to my memory of Mateo Fischer’s blog entry, I called out to him, and he tossed it up!

3 balls within 10 minutes of the gates opening, all within 5 minutes of each other!

By this time, most of the players in RF and CF had seen me call out for balls, and considering nobody was hitting it to LF, BP was “dead.”

I focused my attention on this man:
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That would be Mr. Josh “Butterfingers” Hamilton!

Why? I noticed that he had struck up a conversation with the RF bleacher folks!

IMG_9717They tossed some Butterfinger candies onto the field for him.
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Which he enjoyed! He had a very long conversation with the 20-or-so folks out in RF;

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And they all loved it!

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I think he loved the fact that they were doing this!

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And they loved the fact he was so willing to participate!

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At this point, a majority of the balls being hit were hit down the RF line, so I headed to the RF corner, in the BBQ Terrace.
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This was the scene to the right.

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CJ Wilson (Right) and Ernesto Freiri (49) were patrolling the RF area.

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This camera was right below me.
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Then, I noticed this guy in RF.

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That would be Alex Espinosa, of MLB.com’s Cut4. Go ahead and follow him on Twitter here.

He was busy taking pictures and filming.
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Here is the video from the night that he got:

Hamilton was enjoying the Butterfingers.

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And he posed for photos.

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Alex got busy taking notes on what was happening.

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I got a chance to talk with him, along with Wes (Right) and Ralliney (Middle)

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I saw this coach on the Angels toss this ball up to a young fan in the first row.

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As you can see, Left Field was PACKED!

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Welp. There was nothing hit out there. Very few toss-ups.

While I was wandering around the BBQ Terrace in Right Field, I looked down to the stairs behind the Right Field wall.
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I ran back and forth between the Terrace and Bleachers A LOT.

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But the cages broke down…
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And I got a picture of Wes and “Dreamkiller” (Left) with their butterfingers.

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Ralliney got this shot of me with my 3 balls and my AMAZING shirt.

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As well of this photo of me taking pictures:

946653_10152790703280788_1018542732_nRoss was out in the Bleachers, as always, with a pretty awesome shirt!
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Everyone was having a great time!

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WITH THEIR BUTTERFINGERS!!!
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There were lots of All Star Ballots in the Bleachers. REMEMBER. VOTE GREEN AND GOLD IN 2013!!!

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Then, I decided to head off to my ticketed seat, where my mom got this photo of me with my 3 BP balls.

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This was my view. Not too bad!

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To  my right…

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And my left…

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Around 6:40, I headed back to the bleachers.

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Everyone was shuffling in.

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And Ross held his #ReddickRallyHair.

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Confused? Watch this video…

Now watch this video…

Now you are all caught up to speed!

Everyone was posing with their Butterfingers!!

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You know how I was wearing my “He Dropped It” shirt, designed by Adam Olson? Well… He updated the design, and many people in the bleachers were wearing it!

Alex got this photo of the two of us. Alex actually writes a blog as well called BayMode, and he has an entry up about this game, including lots of pictures from the bleachers! You can check out his blog here and his entry about this game here.

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Vanessa got it from this angle:

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In the words of Will MacNeil, “CURSE YOU PAPARAZZI!!!”

Arlene got this photo of Vanessa and I

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Don’t ask me about my eyes. I don’t know.

Anson (one of the RF Die-hards that I haven’t mentioned much on this blog) showed up shortly after I did.
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This may be the best prop I saw all night.

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Seriously. How amazing is that?

Satoshi and Keita were wearing these awesome hats.

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I had to pose wearing one as well.

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The ceremonial first pitch was quite entertaining.

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And Tony started distributing bags of the #ReddickRallyHair

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Remember that video of Alex Interviewing Tony? Here he is doing so. Cool camera, huh?

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Here is Tony explaining everything

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Remember… You can watch the video here.

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The umpires met at home plate…

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And we were ready to go!!

Right before the first pitch, my camera battery died. Of course, the second battery was in my backpack on the COMPLETE opposite side of the stadium… So I *SPRINTED* to my seat, grabbed the battery along with another spare, and sprinted back. I got to the bleachers just in time to see Josh Hamilton’s first plate appearance.

Alex LOVED it!

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When Josh came out in the bottom of the first, you could tell he did too!

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Tracey was flashing here sign and glove!

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You could tell Hamilton loved it all.

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After the first inning, I went over and spent the 2nd inning with my mom by the dugout before heading out to the bleachers again. I grabbed a seat on the left side of section 149, right behind Omar Gonzalez and his daughter Rhema.

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He has a lot of pretty awesome signs!

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Meanwhile, Tommy Hanson was on the mound for the Halos.

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Okay, okay. I know you all just want pictures of everyone in right field.

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Shin was just in front of me.

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Ready for a story?

Every night, the sun sets in Oakland. Every night game, the sun sets right behind the 3rd base dugout. Eventually, it is directly behind one of the staircases int he 3rd deck.

And the Sun Hole was born.

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I still can’t get over how amazing Tracey’s glove was!

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Like I went back and forth during BP between the Terrace and Bleachers, I went back and forth between 124 and the Bleachers during the game.
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While I was sitting with my mom, she got a lot of awesome pictures!

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It was weird to be on the other end of the stadium, watching the bleachers.
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But like I said, my mom got some AWESOME shots.

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Early into the game, there was a fielder’s interference of some sort… It was quite frustrating to the Angels…

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The Umpire was clapping…

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ERIC SOGARD NERD POWER!!!

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Strikeout machine Dan Straily was on the mound for the A’s.

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Jed Lowrie also got hit by not just one pitch….

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But two. Can you find the ball? FYI, I took this picture 🙂

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While I was sitting over there, you know what I was thinking? It must be awesome to be the A’s bat boy down the LF line. You get to warm up Yoenis Cespedes every inning.

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Soon enough, I was back out in Right Field.

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Sam was holding up this AMAZING sign.

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Like… Amazing!
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Omar was enjoying the game with his daughter Rhema.

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When Hamilton came out to Right Field, he tossed up a ball. Everyone was taking pictures of it…
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The ball had been tossed to Wiggi…

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And she seemed pretty excited about it!

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Here’s a slightly closer look…

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There was something written on the ball!

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More than just something!

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Every side of the ball had something written on it!

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Will seemed to be having a good day!

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Same with Tony!

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After spending another inning or so in the bleachers, I headed back to my mom so that I could take some more pictures.

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Of Eric Sogard…

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Then I handed the camera to my mom so that she could take some pictures of Pat Neshek.

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Seriously, it is fun to take pictures of him!

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Brandon Moss was at first base

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Josh Reddick in Right Field

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Coco Crisp in center.

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Yoenis Cespedes in left field.

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Jed Lowrie at shortstop

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Mike Gallego is the A’s third base coach.

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Mike Trout making a catch at the wall.

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Third Base…

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Josh Donaldson stepped to the plate.

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Derek Norris was due up after him.

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At this point, I headed out to right field again.

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Grant Balfour was beginning to get loose in the bullpen.

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Along with Sean Doolittle.

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In the top of the 9th, Sean Doolittle came into pitch. At this point, my mom joined me in right field, as I was hoping to catch a walk-off home run.

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The A’s had a 4-run 8th inning, so they were down by one run coming into the bottom of the 9th.

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With two outs, Yoenis Cespedes singled to center field, bringing in Coco Crisp to tie it all up at 7!

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You could tell Omar was pretty excited!
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The 9th inning ended in a tie, and we were ready to go into extra innings!

Grant Balfour came in to pitch the 10th inning.

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Time to RAGE!!!

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Balfour shut the Angels down in the 10th.

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At this point, I was amazed that Omar and his wife had stuck along with Rhema.

Vanessa enjoyed playing with her!

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She was pretty excited about free baseball!

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Picture-taking-ception!
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Nobody had any clue what was so special about this game.

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Rhema was getting very tired!
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Grant Balfour pitched the 11th inning as well.

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Moss was still at first base.

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Everyone was enjoying the free baseball!

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I took a lot fo random pictures like this one…
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As you can see, the crowd was starting to thin out.

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Omar was rocking the Coco sign.
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In the 12th, Ryan Cook came in to pitch.

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Then, in the middle of the 12th, they played Call Me Maybe

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Nobody likes that song in Oakland.

Around 11pm, this message was shown on the scoreboard.
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My mom and I had taken BART…. CRAP!!!!

In the bottom of the 12th, this message was shown on the scoreboard. A starter was in the bullpen!
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This was about the time my phone’s battery died…

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Everyone in the right field bleachers was still here.
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Will was moving around with his flag.

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Brandon Moss moved to right field in the 14th inning.

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Around this time, it was about midnight. At 11:50, my mom told me it was time to go, but I did not want to leave!

We called my dad and he offered to come pick us up! WE WERE STAYING TILL THE END!!
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Omar was pretty excited to be there!

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This is what the back of Wes’s head looks like…

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I spent a lot of the extra innings talking with him and Vanessa.

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Omar was having some fun with his drum.

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Around the 14th or 15th inning, my dad showed up!

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Anson was getting his moves on.
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Around this time, it was the 17TH INNING!!!IMG_0957

It was the 17th inning. I was pretty happy!

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Thanks to Arlene, we can all see our RALLY FACES!!!!

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It was EMPTY
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We were having FUN FUN FUN in Right Field.

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I got to try some of this delicious green and gold Lemon Bar

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In the top of the 18th, Brett Anderson left the game with an injury.

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The infielders chatted during the pitching change.

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IT WAS RIDICULOUSLY EMPTY!!

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The person that runs the out-of-town scoreboard in right field was watching the game.

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Everyone was having a great time!

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It was 1:14. MIND BLOWN.

IMG_1001Earlier in the game, the A’s starting DH for the game, Seth Smith had to move to Left Field, after Coco Crisp Cape out, Chris Young replaced him and subsequently was injured, so Yoenis Cespedes had to move from LF to CF, and with Brandon Moss already having replaced Josh Reddick in RF, Smith had to leave the DM spot, meaning a pitcher would have to be in the lineup.

Jerry Blevins stepped to the plate. This gave me 3 points in the MyGameBalls.com Photo Scavenger Hunt!
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He actually made contact. FOUL BALL!!!!

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The stadium was almost empty at this point.IMG_1008

Vanessa got this picture of Her, me, and Wes. We were DELERIOUS!!

321470_10102455181762880_1085466090_nThe A’s couldn’t come up with anything in the 18th inning.
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Right field was loud, as usual.
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Blevins pitched the 19th inning as well.

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We were all having lots of fun! It got to the point where I think most of us just wanted the game to be over.
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We were all chanting the names of the broadcasters, from what I hear, they enjoyed very much!

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Basically, just like “Ray Fosse!” *Clap Clap ClapClapClap* “Glen Kuiper!” *Clap Clap ClapClapClap* “Ken Korach!” *Clap Clap ClapClapClap* “Vince Catroneo!” *Clap Clap ClapClapClap*

Remember how I mentioned that my phone’s battery had died? Never to fear! My dad has a smart phone too!

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(Arlene took that photo)

Here is the Tweet I sent out on his phone…

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Then… after a Seth Smith walk, Jed Lowrie grounded into a fielder’s choice, with Seth Smith out at 2nd base.

After that, Yoenis Cespedes struck out swinging, bringing Brandon Moss to the plate with 2 outs.

Following a first pitch strike, this happened.

After 6 Hours and 32 minutes, we were finally going home!

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EVERYONE was happy!

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After we had all been mulling around, someone suggested that we get a group picture of everyone in Right Field that had stayed all 19 innings. Given the fact that my dad was the only one there who hadn’t been at all 19 innings, plus he had his camera, he took the picture.

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Later that night, I tweeted the picture out, posted it on Instagram and Facebook, and over the course of the next 24 hours, it received 80 retweets and 55 favorites on Twitter;  268 Facebook likes, 33 Instagram likes, AND it was featured on Intentional Talk!

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Thanks to Alex Espinosa for tweeting that to me! I probably wouldn’t have seen it without your help!

Then, I got a photo of me with the 3 balls and an empty stadium.

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And it was SO LONG from the Coliseum.

KEEP READING!

Around 10:30am on Monday, I got this Tweet.

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Then, later that evening, I went on with 89.3 KPCC in Southern California to talk about the game. It was my first radio interview! I talked about what it was like to be at the game, how I managed to be there for the entire time, and some of my memories from the day. Go check out their website here. Thank You very much to Rob for inviting me on!

Finally, you know how Adam Olson hooked me up with the tickets to this game? (Thank You again very much Adam!) Well later Tuesday afternoon, he tweeted out this picture…

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He is going to make those shirts available, and YES, I did purchase one! Remember to check out his A’s shirt store here , his Around the League store here, and website here.

There is one more topic that I would like to address  I thought about it long and hard. With so few people left in the stadium, I probably could have snagged A LOT of foul balls, third out balls, and infield warm-up balls. Why did I not?

1) I wanted to enjoy the 19-inning game, rather than run around and be dissapointed every time I didn’t snag a ball.

2) The idea of catching a walk-off home run or a late-inning home run was just too much. I would trade in 10 3rd out balls for a walk-off homer in the 19th inning any day.

Lastly, there was a lot of coverage of the 19-Inning Game, Josh Hamilton Appreciation Night, and a few other RF Bleacher-related things on MLB Network’s Intentional Talk. I compiled it all into this video…

That is all for this entry. WOW! What an incredible day!

BALLHAWKING STATS:

  • 8th Game this Year
  • 3 Balls at this Game
  • 8 balls in 6 MLB games this season = 1.33 Ball Per Game
  • 23 Balls in 8 Games this season = 2.875 Balls Per Game
  • 7 Consecutive Games with at least 1 Ball
  • 5 Consecutive MLB Games with at least 1 Ball
  • 36 Lifetime MLB Baseballs
  • 66 Total Balls

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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.

4/27/13 at the Oakland Coliseum

On this particular day, I got out of bed late. I had set my alarm for 6am, with the hopes of being in Oakland around 8 or 8:30, but I woke up around 8am. For me, this reminded me of this game last year.

We left at 8:25, and arrived at the Coliseum around 9am. This was going to be my first Orioles game since Last September, and I was hoping that they would still be using commemorative balls.

Like my last game, I made a video with behind-the-scenes and vlogs, so check it out!

Once we had pulled into the parking lot, I headed to get in line at Gate MM.

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The line was LONG!

But, believe it or not, this was the shortest line!

I walked around the Coliseum a bit to check out the scene, but I decided to get in line at 9:15.

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Around 9:30, I decided to walk around the BART Plaza area and take some pictures.

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The line at Gate LL was getting pretty long!

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But I was in line at MM.

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The A’s have these ticket kiosks everywhere around the Coliseum.

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And of course, this banner! 4x > 2x (Just saying Giants fans)

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Lines were just getting LONGER and LONGER.
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I was chatting with a bunch of the bleacher folks, like Will.

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When Will runs in to the bleachers, he carries these flags and banners.

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I noticed these boxes… BOBBLEHEADS!

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Around 10:30, Arlene invited Pascale and I to jump in line with the bleacher folks. Thank You!

Once I joined them, I noticed Ross’s shirt, which I absolutely LOVED!

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Oaklandish is an Oakland-based clothing company. You can check out their website here.

Daniel, one of the bleacher guys had this little speaker.

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Great sound quality for a device that small!

Guess what it was playing…
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BERNIE LEAN!

At 11:07, the gates opened, and my sister and I sprinted inside, grabbing our bobbleheads along the way.

I was one of the first people in the bleachers, after of course, Will.

The run is actually somewhat tough, but it is MUCH harder for him, as he is carrying everyone’s flags and banners.

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I headed over to the A’s bullpen, where the most action was taking place.

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The players were all getting loose.

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Stretching and such. (S/O to my sister for taking those last two pictures)

IMG_7132I was over there because Jarrod Parker was throwing a bullpen session.
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Eventually, I decided to head over to the Orioles bullpen area, since the pitchers were arriving and the nearby stands were almost empty.

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They started off stretching.

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As the A’s players began to throw.

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Pictured below are Grant Balfour (Upper Left) and Jesse Chavez (Lower Right)

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Even though they were playing catch, it was getting a bit crowded.
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And the Orioles began to toss.

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I was all ready in my Orioles gear.

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A’s pitchers that were running interacted with Orioles players when they were in that area.

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Soon enough, it was 11:45 and there were only two guys playing catch, so I headed over there.

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My parents were soaking up the sun in the RF Bleachers.

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As the last two guys finished playing catch, I called out to Darren O’Day “Hit me here Darren!”

With that, he submarined me the ball!

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If you want to know why I am smirking, I have NO clue at all.

Here I am with my Reggie Jackson bobblehead.

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BTW, remember when I mentioned the RF bleacher shirt in my last game entry? That’s the one I’m wearing! Do you like it?

After grabbing a quick pizza lunch, I got back to notice Rollie Fingers in the bullpen. Oh yeah!

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There were lots of players from the 1973 A’s gathered around the dugout.

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Each current player or coach walked out with the player or coach that held the same position in 1973. Curt Young, the A’s pitching coach walked out with the pitching coach of the 1973 A’s.

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Nate Freiman,the A’s first baseman is HUGE! 6 foot 8 inches.

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Brandon Moss and the 1973 first baseman.

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I seriously got chills watching it all.

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Brett Andersosn
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John Jaso was out in the bullpen, warming up with AJ Griffin.

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Ray Fosse was on the field with Derek Norris.

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The 1973 team started to line up.

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Soon, Norris walked out with Ray Fosse and the Coliseum exploded!

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I could tell all of the current and past players were enjoying it!

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Eric Sogard walked out with Dick Green.

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Vida Blue and Blue Moon Odom were standing out by the pitching crown.

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Josh Donaldson walked out with then-3rd Baseman Sal Bando, along with manager Bob Melvin, who wears the number 6 in honor of Captain Sal.

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Jed Lowrie was going to walk out with Bert “Campy” Campaneris.

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Chris Young was out in LF with Joe Rudi.

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Coco Crisp was out in CF with Billy North.

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Do you recognize that name or face? Check out this photo. I got my picture with him, Sal Bando, and the 4 A’s World Series trophies at 2013 A’s FanFest.

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As this all was taking place, AJ Griffin and his golden locks of hair were warming up in the bullpen.

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There was a large group of photographers gathered on the field.
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Almost all of the players were on the field.

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Except for 1. Mr. October, Reggie Jackson, as presented by Josh Reddick.

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It gave me chills. I could yell Josh was soaking it all in.

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The field was now full with the 1973 World Series Champion Oakland A’s!
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Everyone was taking pictures.

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The coaches were gathered up behind home plate.

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It was crazy to see such a talented team on the field.
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There was a presentation of a check of some sort on the mound area.

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As this was all taking place, players were warming up and mingling.

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There was a group photo on the mound.

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Then, the National Anthem was performed.

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The people holding signs representing players that are no longer with us walked in the CF tunnel.

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They gathered for one last group picture.

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And then I took my focus to the players warming up.

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As usual, the LF Bleachers were rocking. (Not like Right Field, but still cool!)IMG_8058At 1:05, they all took the field!

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The home plate meeting look place.

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And we were ready to go!

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AJ Griffin was on the hill for Oakland.

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Adam Jones got to the plate in the top of the 1st.

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And flied out to right field.

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Coco Crisp led off for the A’s.

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And popped out to the catcher…

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John Jaso was due