Category: 3rd Out Ball

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.

IMG_3636

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

IMG_3638

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

IMG_3672

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!

IMG_3694

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

The next guy in the cage was Bruce Maxwell.

IMG_3698

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.

IMG_3708

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.

IMG_3713

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.

IMG_3736

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.

IMG_3744

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.

IMG_3766

Then came the Giants BP…

IMG_3802

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

IMG_3832

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!

IMG_3834

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

IMG_3850

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.

IMG_3880

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

IMG_3883

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.

IMG_3888

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!
IMG_3895

Meanwhile, this guy was busy getting photos and cards signed.

IMG_3916

We headed back to our seats and talked for another 10 or so minutes, as the Ports began to warm up.
IMG_3952

Over on the 3rd base side, the Giants were doing the same.

IMG_3960

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.
IMG_4020

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.

IMG_4038

It’s the little things that make you smile.

Around 7:10, the national anthem was sung.
IMG_4060

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

IMG_4068

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!

20130729-072926.jpg

Meanwhile, on the mound for the Giants was Kelvin Marte

IMG_4268

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!”

IMG_4346

He’s a really cool dude!
IMG_4350

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

IMG_4433

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

IMG_4443

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.

IMG_4472

Seriously though, Ryan Cavan has an amazing mustache!

IMG_4521

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

IMG_4545

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.

IMG_4566

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.

20130729-072933.jpg

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!
IMG_4583

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.

IMG_4597

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.
IMG_4615

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.

IMG_4619

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

IMG_4621

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

IMG_4622

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.

Screen Shot 2013-07-29 at 7.06.04 AM

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.

IMG_4624

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.

IMG_4626

I got a picture with it.

Screen Shot 2013-07-29 at 7.07.18 AM

And so did Vanessa.

BQPsGItCAAAL9nI (1)

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)

Screen Shot 2013-07-29 at 7.09.13 AM

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

300x50_mlblogs_top100

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:

Screen Shot 2013-06-08 at 12.22.31 AM Screen Shot 2013-06-08 at 12.22.39 AM Screen Shot 2013-06-08 at 12.22.45 AM Screen Shot 2013-06-08 at 12.22.55 AM

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…

Screen Shot 2013-06-07 at 11.57.54 PM

A few minute later, I got this DM from her, which I replied to.
Screen Shot 2013-06-07 at 11.58.15 PM

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.

anGF5MMd

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

936882_10151470112871662_1229966584_n

(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!

Screen Shot 2013-06-08 at 9.46.09 AM

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

Screen Shot 2013-06-08 at 10.02.08 AM

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!

20130609-123605.jpg

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

IMG_4802

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.

IMG_4805

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.

IMG_4868

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.

20130609-123612.jpg

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.

20130609-123618.jpg

It was around this time that I got this tweet:

Screen Shot 2013-06-09 at 12.33.47 PM

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.

IMG_4878

Why? This is why:

20130609-123625.jpg

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

IMG_4898

Dusty Robinson took some time to talk with Splash.

IMG_4909

The Nuts started warming up as well.

IMG_4922

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!

IMG_4926

This was going to be a good day of baseball!

IMG_4927

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!

20130609-123634.jpg

My 3rd foul ball of the season!

James Simmons was on the mound for the Ports.

IMG_4934

And he did a pretty good job in this game.

IMG_4944

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

IMG_5000

Ben Alsup was pitching for the Nuts.

IMG_5027

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

IMG_5028

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

IMG_5024

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

Tyler Massey walked to lead off the 2nd.

IMG_5034

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

IMG_5040

Niko Gallego flied out to end the inning.

IMG_5083

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

IMG_5114

Alsup delivered…

IMG_5125

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

IMG_5134

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.

20130609-123641.jpg

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!

IMG_5239

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

IMG_5246

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.

IMG_5247

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.

IMG_5278

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???
IMG_5284

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.

IMG_5299

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

IMG_5304

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?

20130625-000230.jpg

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.

20130625-000236.jpg

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.

20130625-000646.jpg

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

300x50_mlblogs_top100

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.

4/21/13 at Banner Island Ballpark

This game was going to be me, my dad, and Uncle Seth, who I have mentioned before.

We left our house around 10:50, so we got to Stockton around 11:45.

Throughout the course of the day, before the gates opened, I made another vlog, similar to what I did for this game.

As soon as we got there, we found that nobody was collecting money for parking. FREE PARKING!

I then immediately headed out back for BP.

20130423-021449.jpg

As you can see from my tilted picture, there was little action, but the cages WERE set up.

The first batter to step into the cage for the Ports was Addison Russell.

IMG_3213

About 5 minutes after I arrived, look what I had!

20130423-021506.jpg

Yeah!

Only the Ports took BP, there were no Nuts players anywhere to be found.

IMG_3215

And believe it or not, the Addison Russell ball was the ONLY one that cleared the bullpen area, despite strong swings.

IMG_3216

Believe it or not, none of the bunts left the yard!

IMG_3235

BP was VERY boring all-told.
IMG_3231

Around 12:20, right when batting practice was coming to a close, the song Milkshake came on over the PA in the stadium. Wade Kirkland was patrolling left field. You know the app called Vine? Well watch this. He was kind of bored. Dance moves were not to bad.

BP came to a close around 12:25 or so, so I decided to walk around the Marina area and ballpark exterior.

IMG_3256

Seriously, how awesome is this?

IMG_3253

As I’m sure most of you know by now, the Stockton Arena sits right next door.
IMG_3249

Basically, I wandered along the waterfront as far as I could go, before I reached the fence of the parking lot.

IMG_3244

At this point, I decided to turn back. On my way back, I saw this…

20130423-021458.jpg

I decided to wander around over towards the Pro Shop area.

IMG_3293

In the windows, they have every Ports giveaway since 2005. I noticed these two bobbleheads…IMG_3278

Those will both be giveaways later on this year!

I headed over to the Suite Holder gate to get a better view of inside, where I saw this.

20130423-021518.jpg

That lady was writing in the lineups for both teams on the whiteboard in the concourse.

I then decided to head back and get in line.

IMG_3294

I seriously couldn’t wait to get inside!

IMG_3272

There was a table being set up that had a turtle in a cage next to it…IMG_3271

I decided to get a picture with my uncle and the ball I got during BP.

IMG_3266

Then, I got a picture of myself with the ball

IMG_3265

The gates opened at 1:07, and after getting my ticket scanned, I headed over to where a few Nuts players were playing catch and stretching.

20130423-021525.jpg

Just out of the frame was the glove of William Rankin. As he finished running, he tossed me his ball.

After I got that ball, I headed over to section 117. Why? It was on-field player photo and autograph day! When I got there, I met up with Will and Ross. At 1:15, we were all led into a roped off area. Players then lined up along the rope, with pens in hand. Remember the logo ball I got in my last Stockton game? I was ready to get some signatures!

The first player I got an autograph from was infielder Max Muncy, who tossed me a ball and hit me a foul ball in my last Stockton game. My dad and uncle were wandering around the stadium, so I was left to use my phone’s camera to get a photo with him.

20130423-021548.jpg

Next in line was outfielder Dusty Robinson.

20130423-021554.jpg

After getting a picture and autograph from Dusty, I moved on to pitcher Seth Frankoff.

20130423-021559.jpg

After Frankoff was pitcher Jose Macias.

20130423-021604.jpg

After Macias, I moved on to get an autograph and picture with pitcher Jonathan Joseph.

20130423-023459.jpg

Then, I got to talk with Blake Hassebrock.

20130423-021623.jpg

After Hassebrock was outfielder Bobby Crocker

20130423-021629.jpg

Then, came infielder B.A. Vollmuth (One of the coolest names EVER if you ask me).

20130423-021633.jpg

The next guy I got a photo with was outfielder Josh Whitaker.

20130423-021638.jpg

The 10th person I got a photo with was the starting pitcher that day, Deyvi Jimenez.

20130423-021643.jpg

Then, my dad came down to get a few shots, including this one of me with SS Addison Russell.

IMG_3344

I had an absoluste blast with all of this.

IMG_3334

It was a small space with LOTS of people.

IMG_3332

IMG_3321

I couldn’t get pictures with or autographs from all of the guys, so I spent a few minutes talking with Will and Ross, who got lots of photos themselves.

IMG_3365

I also go to talking with Eric and Bridget, who are A’s fans that I believe made the trip with Vanessa.

As you can see in the picture above, Vanessa joined us on the field. Remember her from my last game in Stockton?

She, Will, and I then got a picture with Max Muncy and Ryan Delgado.

IMG_3375

Do you see the phone in the picture above taking a picture of us? That is Vanessa’s, and here is the picture she later posted on Instagram.

Screen Shot 2013-04-23 at 2.52.12 AM

About halfway through the event, I took this panorama of the event, which hopefully captures the chaos of it all.

20130423-021651.jpg

Around 1:45, they started wrapping things up, at which point Will had a short conversation with Ports manager Webster Garrison.

IMG_3411

He and Vanessa then got a quick picture with Webby.

20130423-021702.jpg

Around 2, I headed over to watch the Ports starting pitcher for the day

20130423-021711.jpg

Once he was done warming up, I got this panoramic shot from the LF foul pole.

20130423-021717.jpg

Then I headed over to RF to get the same.

20130423-021722.jpg

The Ports let a Little Leaguers run on the field with players in this game, for the National Anthem, and it was a very cool sight!

IMG_3443

The National Anthem, as always, was great!

IMG_3466

IMG_3473

IMG_3474

The Ports sent Deyvi Jimenez to the mound.

IMG_3479

IMG_3522

While the Nuts countered with Ben Alsup.

IMG_3536

IMG_3547

IMG_3590

IMG_3620

For the Top of the first, I headed over to behind the Ports dugout in hopes of getting a third out ball.

20130423-021730.jpg

I was unsuccessful, and on my way back, I snapped this panoramic.

20130423-021735.jpg

For most of the game, I sat down with Will, Ross, Vanessa, Bridget, and Eric, near the first row, chatting.

IMG_3920

In the front row, you have Will, Ross, Eric, Vanessa, and Bridget.

I did, however, spend some time sitting up with my Uncle and Dad, where I was able to get shots of people like this one.

IMG_3784

And of Will…

IMG_3777

With 2 outs at every half inning, I would head behind the dugout of the team on the field and try to get a ball. I was unsuccessful ALL DAY.

20130423-021755.jpg

As always, my dad got AMAZING pictures.

IMG_3703

IMG_3719

IMG_3737

The Ports scored their first run in the bottom of the 2nd.

IMG_3633

Every time Webster Garrison, the Ports manager, walks past the visitng dugout to go coach 3rd Base, Will and a few other fans stand up and yell “WEBBYYYYY!”

IMG_3577

Here he is coaching third base.

IMG_3773

The Nuts manager is Lenn Sakata.

IMG_3771

 As I mentioned earlier, I was very unsuccessful with 3rd out balls, so I enjoyed getting to relax and take lots of pictures!

IMG_3792

IMG_3793

IMG_3800

I then took these two pictures…

IMG_3804

IMG_3803

When I got home, I went into Photoshop and created my first “real,” (And poorly done) panoramic photo.

panorma

One memorable play was when Dusty Robinson came to the plate…

IMG_3805

And there was an interesting play at first…
IMG_3806

Here is Josh Whitaker.

IMG_3818

IMG_3823

For me, it was awesome to just sit back, relax, and take pictures.

IMG_3832

IMG_3862

IMG_3882

IMG_3827

IMG_3825

In the 8th inning, Bernie Lean came on…

20130423-021747.jpg

Can YOU Bernie Lean?

Also in the 8th inning, Juan Crouset stepped to the plate for the Nuts.

IMG_3729

He popped a ball foul a few rows behind me. I misjudged it, but immediately picked it up off the ground. Ball #4! It was my 5th lifetime foul ball, 4th at a MiLB game, and 2nd MiLB game in a row with a foul ball!

Right after I picked it up, I heard a young girl (7 years old maybe) quietly say “Dangit.” Without thinking, I handed the ball to her.

Yes, of course, I would have loved to have kept the ball, and I got PLENTY of backlash for it on Twitter, but it was all worth it to see her so happy with it.

When the Ports came to bat in the bottom of the 8th, Nelson Gonzalez went into his second inning of work out of the bullpen.

IMG_3935

IMG_3944

IMG_3951

But, he blew the lead…

IMG_3992

Ryan Ortiz had hit a go-ahead home run!

IMG_3962

IMG_3975

And it was high fives all around!

IMG_3983

Jordan Ribera and Taylor Featherston watched as a new pitcher took his warm up tosses.

IMG_4010

IMG_3997

Modesto called upon Kenneth Roberts to get the final two outs of the inning.

IMG_4030

IMG_4070

IMG_4081

IMG_4090

IMG_4118

IMG_4127

Thankfully for the Nuts, he was able to escape the inning, but not before allowing another run!

IMG_4200

In the top of the 9th inning, the Ports were ahead 4-2, so I headed over to my ticketed seat for the first time all game, located right next to the Nuts dugout. At that point, I was hoping to get the lineup card after the game, so I put on my Nuts hat. Will was VERY disappointed in me. He then took this picture of me.

61900_10200731133708011_706680960_n

That is my “I know I’m a Ports fan but I have to do this” face.

Jonathan Joseph came on for the Ports to lock down the save.

IMG_4155

IMG_4175

IMG_4205

IMG_4218

IMG_4219

And the Ports had won!

IMG_4233

IMG_4235

Some people were getting pictures…
IMG_4264

… But I was sticking my head into the dugout to try and get the lineup card.

IMG_4265

As soon as I got there, I asked the Nuts manager for the lineup card, but he ignored me and left. Then, Brian Humphries walked over, saw a pile of balls on top of the bat rack and tossed one to me without saying a word. He then tossed out 6 more to other kids that were crowding around the dugout.

Soon, I saw a clubhouse attendant in a rockies hat, shirt, and shorts (The Nuts are a Rockies affiliate) walk over. I asked him for the lineup card, and look!

IMG_4294

I thanked him and headed up the stairs, where everyone else was standing. Vanessa snapped this picture of me on her phone of me with the lineup card.BIbR5i_CQAA-tAO

We then got a group picture. From left to right… Bridgett, Will, Vanessa, MEEEEE, Ross, Eric, and my Uncle Seth.IMG_4270

As we were heading out, I noticed it was “Kids Run the Bases” day.IMG_4273

Once we left, I headed to Ross’s car to pick up my 2013 RF Bleacher shirt (To debut in my next game entry) and then headed back to meet up with my dad and uncle.

Cool stuff. Great game.

Thanks for reading!

BALLHAWKING STATS:
IMG_4295

  • 6th Game of the Year… 2nd MiLB Game of the Year
  • 5 balls at this game
  • 19 balls in 6 games this season = 3.16 Balls Per Game
  • 15 MiLB Balls in 2 MiLB Games = 7.5 MiLB Balls Per Game
  • 4 MiLB Foul Balls
  • 5 Lifetime Foul Balls
  • 5 Consecutive Games with at least 1 Ball
  • 8 Consecutive MiLB Games with at least 1 Ball
  • 5 Consecutive MiLB Games with at least 3 Balls
  • 2 Consecutive MiLB Games with 1 Foul Bal
  • 30 Lifetime Minor League baseballs
  • 62 total balls

300x50_mlblogs_top100

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.

4/5/13 at Banner Island Ballpark

On April 2nd, I wrote a short email to the Ports, asking for a Press Pass for the game on Friday, April 5th, and I got a quick reply back saying yes! I emailed them back, asking for one for my dad, since he would be accompanying me to the game, and they agreed to that as well! Thank You very much to the Ports organization for giving me this opportunity!

After the game, on the drive home, I got a quick photo of the pass.

20130419-205743.jpg

This was going to me my first MiLB game of the 2013 season, and my first one since last September in Modesto. It was my first Ports game since May 2012.

We arrived at Banner Island Ballpark around 4:45, just under and hour and a half before the gates were supposed to open.

IMG_7148

As soon as we parked, I ran out to the area behind left field. On my way, I peeked in to make sure there was BP, a what do you know? The Ports were taking batting practice!

IMG_7150

I immediately sprinted out to the area behind left field. Here is an ariel view of Banner Island Ballpark. I’ll let you guess where I headed.

Screen Shot 2013-04-07 at 12.22.10 PM

LOOK at that area behind LF.

As I was running, I heard someone yell “GO! NOW!” I looked up to see a ball heading towards me. I tracked it into my glove, and I already had my first ball on the day.

20130407-121441.jpg

Ports BP was pretty boring…

IMG_7152

I mean, as a fan, it was lots of fun to watch!

IMG_7157

If you go back up a few pictures, do you see that kid holding on to the fence? Well he was there with his dad and 3 brothers and I felt bad for him and his brothers. Every time a ball was even hit remotely close, the dad would yell “Go! Now!” and his kids would groan and take off running.

I could tell none of them wanted to be there, or for that matter enjoyed baseball. They not only retrieved hit balls for their dad, but after being told what to say and who the player was, would call out to players on the field for toss-ups…

Yep…

The Blaze players were beginning to stretch and warm up along the LF line.

IMG_7166

As I continued ballhawking, my dad began to walk around the stadium to get some pictures.

IMG_7187

The Stockton Marina was looking gorgeous

IMG_7188

Absolutely amazing.

IMG_7189

Ryan Delgado and Sean Murphy were talking it up in the outfield

IMG_7191

Everyone gives Stockton a bad rep, but it is an amazing city.

IMG_7194

This is the walkway between the ballpark and water.

IMG_7196

There is this outdoor seating area right behind the stadium.IMG_7208There was this ball just sitting under the table…

IMG_7214See?

IMG_7213

Once the Ports BP had ended, I only had one ball, but an employee walked by and tossed me that ball for ball #2 on the day.

20130407-121446.jpg

Yep! It was a Major League Baseball!

Once Ports BP came to a close, that dad and son that I had mentioned earlier ended up walking away, giving me Blaze BP all to myself!

On their way out, I noticed this ball in the employee parking lot for the Stockton Arena.

20130407-121451.jpg

I never found a way to get that ball…

In between the next few pictures, I will explain how I got the rest of my BP balls, during Blaze BP.

IMG_7216

Ball #3 was a sharp line drive that hit the concrete and slowly rolled out of the stadium, right into my glove.

20130407-121504.jpg

IMG_7232

This guy hit a ball that cleared the bullpen, bounced in the seats behind the bullpen, and out of the stadium, right into my glove for ball #4 on the day!

IMG_7268

20130407-121458.jpg

One of these guys, I can’t remember who, tossed me my 5th ball on the day.

IMG_7311

If I am not mistaken, it was Sean Buckley, a first baseman on the Blaze who I tweeted earlier in the day!

Screen Shot 2013-04-17 at 9.37.57 PM

He just turned around, asked me if I wanted a ball, and tossed it to me!

20130407-121509.jpg

Pretty awesome that he actually kept up on his word! Go check him out on Twitter @seanbuckley08!

The Blaze had a lot of lefty power, so they were pulling a lot of pitches out to RF, where it is almost impossible to get a ball outside of the stadium.

IMG_7321

At 6, BP was still going strong, despite the gates opening at any moment.

IMG_7368

Since the gates were going to be opening at any moment, I ran over to get in line with my dad. He had already gotten in line, so there were not to many people in front of us. That gave me 5 balls in Batting Practice alone. My previous MLB and MiLB high for a single game was 6, which I did in July 2012 in San Jose and August 2012 in Oakland!.

IMG_7374

I looked inside to see the cages all the way down and the Blaze taking infield.

IMG_7385

The giveaway for the game was a ball with the Ports new alternate logo on it.
IMG_7387

At 6:09, when the gate finally opened, this was the scene behind us.

IMG_7390

I immediately sprinted down to our seats, where I ran down to check out our seats.

IMG_7392

Do you see the person walking towards the dugout, from home plate? He had a few balls in his glove and tossed me one for ball 6 of the day, which I failed to photograph.

I then decided to do a little ballpark exploring…

IMG_7394

I started out in the LF corner…
IMG_7395

And moved on to Left Field

IMG_7396

Where I walked past the bullpens and seating area.

IMG_7397

I walked around the rest of the outfield before making it to the RF corner.

In the right field corner, there is a small set of stairs that go up and then over and down this utility tunnel that is where the cages, etc.. are kept.

IMG_7409

This is the RF corner

IMG_7410

And then I made it to the Ports dugout, on the first base side.

IMG_7412

My dad got this really cool picture of a member of the grounds crew adding extra dirt to the base lines.

IMG_7413

They were also raking the lines.

IMG_7414

Up behind the Ports dugout is the indoor batting cage. The Ports were all suited up in their new Friday alternate unis, never before worn!

20130407-121517.jpg

In order to decide the hitting order, some guys were playing rock, paper, scissors.

20130407-121522.jpg

On my way back to my seat, I saw this little baseball-card dispenser, that I thought was really cool! I WILL be bringing quarters to my next Ports game!

20130407-121528.jpg

Once we got back to our seats, I posed with my 6 balls so far, right next to our seats.

IMG_7423

Yep. That’s how short the fence is. You can see I was standing right next to the dugout. Our seats were in the first row, the one that my glove was sitting next to, and the seat next to it. Isn’t that awesome!

Here is a quick peak into the dugout.

20130407-121533.jpg

Here is a panoramic shot from our seats

20130407-121539.jpg

Here was my ticket from the day.
IMG_7428

Soon enough, after a bit of relaxing, both teams started to take the field to warm up.

IMG_7443

IMG_7449

I immediately headed over to where the Ports were warming up, with one goal in mind: Get Addison Russell‘s autograph!

20130407-121545.jpg

SUCCESS! I got him to sign my ticket! (Which I forgot to photograph)

*Note that the Ports wear WHITE belts with these uniforms*

Once I was finished up there, I put on my Reds hat and Blaze shirt and headed over to where the Blaze were warming up.

IMG_7463

IMG_7471

My dad headed over to where the Ports were beginning to play catch.
IMG_7475

Even when I was on the opposite side of the stadium, I had an eye on 19-year-old Addison Russell.

IMG_7506

IMG_7527

IMG_7541

There was lots of autograph signing taking place.

IMG_7547

IMG_7577

Then my dad headed over to where the Blaze were playing catch.

IMG_7601

I didn’t get any balls during warm-ups. That’s all.

IMG_7618

Look who was sitting just to our right…

IMG_7626

It’s Will! For those of you who don’t know (WHY DON’T YOU KNOW HIM BY NOW?), that is bleacher regular Will MacNeil, the man behind the Balfour Rage!

Around the bottom of the 1st inning, Benjamin Christensen (Who I saw on Opening Day and April 3rd in Oakland and was one of the 9 MLB Fan Cave Dwellers in 2012) and Vanessa Demske (Who was a Top-30 MLB Fan Cave contestant in 2013) arrived!

I probably spent 2/3 of the game sitting and talking with the 3 of them. Great people!

Since we were sitting so close to the field, my dad was able to get some really cool close-ups of players, like this one..

IMG_7645

And this one…

IMG_7648

And this one…

IMG_7666

And this one…

IMG_7667

The game was just about to get underway…

IMG_7663

The National Anthem was performed…

IMG_7668

IMG_7674

IMG_7675

IMG_7676

IMG_7677

And we were ready to go!

Blake Hassebrock was on the mound for Stockton.

IMG_7702

IMG_7786

And he escaped the first inning relatively unharmed.

IMG_7769

With two outs in the top of the first, I jogged over to the Ports dugout, where I was tossed the 3rd out ball by Maxwell Muncy. It was my 7th on the day.

I had officially broken my record for not only most balls snagged at a MiLB game, but most balls ever snagged at a baseball game.

Addison Russel lead off for the Ports

IMG_7831

There was a pitch thrown high and tight to him…

IMG_7838

I liked this picture a lot.

IMG_7842

Carlos Contreras was on the bump for the Blaze.

IMG_7895

IMG_7966

Josh Whitaker was batting in the three hole for Stockton.

IMG_7960

This is Maxwell Muncy, who tossed me the ball in the top of the 1st.

IMG_7976

The bottom of the 1st ended with a strikeout, and catcher Chris Berset tossed the ball to me on his walk in to the dugout. Ball 8 on the day!

This is the umpire…

IMG_7979

Here are the infielders standing around in the infield during a pitching change…IMG_8010

In the top of the 7th, I headed back over to the Ports dugout once again to try and snag a third out ball. 2nd Baseman Wade Kirkland had recorded the final out of the inning, and tossed me a ball that I had to jump pretty high for, but caught it. (There was nobody near me) Ball 9 on the day!

Then, in the bottom of the 7th, Wade Kirkland fouled off a ball that skipped over the railing right next to the dugout, straight into my glove for ball 10 on the day!

Once the game came to a close, I rushed over to the Blaze dugout in attempts to get the lineup card, but I was shoved out of my way by a 30-year old man who yelled out “Ken! Can I get dat lineup card pleazz?” Griffey Sr. smiled, pulled the tape off the card, and walked towards the clubhouse, lineup card in hand.

From there, I headed over to where Ben, Will, and Vanessa were, where I snapped a picture of the three of them.

IMG_8052

Then, I got a picture with them, each of them holding two of the balls I snagged.

IMG_8055

It was a great game! If you remember from my Opening Day entry, Ben has a blog of his own, called Hats and Tats: A Lifestyle.

You can click on the name of Will, Ben, and Vanessa to follow them each on Twitter.

Thanks for reading!

BALLHAWKING STATS:IMG_8057

  • 4th Game of the Year… 1st MiLB Game of the Year
  • 3 MiLB Foul Balls
  • 10 balls at this game
  • 13 balls in 4 games this season = 3.25 Balls Per Game
  • 10 MiLB Balls in 1 MiLB Game = 10 MiLB Balls Per Game
  • 3 Consecutive Games with at least 1 Ball
  • 7 Consecutive MiLB Games with at least 1 Ball
  • 4 Consecutive MiLB Games with at least 3 Balls
  • 25 Lifetime Minor League baseballs
  • 56 total balls

300x50_mlblogs_top100

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.

5/26/12 at Banner Island Ballpark

I had been looking forward to this game for a while even though I had gotten the tickets the night before. It was Michael Choice bobble head night.

My family and I left around 4:30 and got to Stockton around 4:20. The line was much longer than I had expected. We got in line, and then I walked around to try and take some pictures.

Then, I headed behind the stadium, where I had never been before. It turned out that the Rawhide were taking BP. I got my glove on and got ready for some action. Then, I saw some little kid walk by with AT LEAST TEN BASEBALLS IN HIS GLOVE. I guess there were a lot of balls hit out there.

Shortly before BP, a man approached me, and came up to me, asked me if I was Nick Badders, and shook my hand. He told me we had met at this game, where I met Zack Hample. I guess his daughter and I had gotten a picture with Zack. Bam! I remembered him.

Now I apologize because I never got his name, so if you are reading this, please let me know in the comments what your name is. Thanks!

I got to talking with him about ballhawking and stuff, and before I knew it, BP was over. No balls were hit out of the stadium while I was out there. Oh well.

At this point, I started walking towards the RF side of the stadium, where I took a picture with my phone of the Downtown Stockton Marina, where fans can dock their boats for the Ports game.
image

I then walked around the stadium to join my parents in line, with about 15 minutes before the gates opened at 6:05. Here, I formulated a plan with my dad to exit the stadium as soon as we got in and get back in line to get 2 more bobble heads with the two extra tickets I bought. One of those tickets was on the right side of the Ports dugout; the other was down the LF line.

Soon enough, the gates opened, at which point my dad and I gave my mom our bobble heads and programs and we looked for an exit, which we couldn’t find. After wandering around for a while, and past the cages where some Ports players were getting a little last-minute BP in, we exited out the Season Ticket Holder gate, and got back in the then very short line. We got our bobble heads, and we went to our seats, where my mom and sister were basking in the awesomeness, as they were not with us last month in Stockton.

I then headed over to the Ports team store to get myself a Ports hat, which I did not have yet, and came out with a Ports home cap.

I then headed over to where players were coming onto the field and where Ian Krol, the Ports starter was staring to warm up. I got one of my tickets autographed by some Rawhide player who I was unable to identify.

After Ian had finished warming up with Max Stassi, I called out to both of them for the ball, but I guess they had to use it in the bullpen, because that’s what Craig Lefferts, the pitching coach said.

I then tried for a ball from Nino Leyja, who was finishing up with catch, but it was a no. I went back to my seat, just in time for the line ups and first pitch. The closet I came to a foul ball was when Yordy Cabrera shot a line drive right over my head. Had I jumped straight up, I would have gotten it for sure. But considering how fast off the bat it was coming, I didn’t have enough reaction time to get it.

When there were 2 outs at the top of each inning, I would go behind the dugout in the section to my right, because that was where Ports players were entering my dugout. For the most part, I had no luck.

In the bottom of the 8th, I sprinted out of my seat and got right in the cross aisle, where I called out to Tony Thompson, the first baseman, and he tossed it just a little to my right. The guy I had been talking to before the gates opened jumped up, and it tipped off his glove, and bounced off the rail, onto the ground, where I fumbled it and picked it up. Finally!

In the top of the 9th, I stayed in my seat and when Zach Thornton got a strike out to end the inning, Max Stassi headed over to my side if the dugout. I shouted out his name, pointed to him, punched the pocket of my glove and held it up. He pointed back to me and tossed it to some guy next to the dugout. This prompted the man sitting in the section to my left to ask me if 1 wasn’t enough and how “kids these days are so selfish” and a bunch of other stuff. I could have explained my blog, but I didn’t bother.

The game went into the bottom of the 9th, tied 2-2, with Miles Head due up to lead off. Miles was the one that tossed me a ball in my game last month in Stockton. He fouled off a lot of pitches and then bombed it out to center field. Cue Celebration!

I ran over to the dugout, where there were a lot of other people, as Miles started a post-game interview with “Hot Rod”, the Ports in-game entertainer guy. I asked Webster Garrison, the Ports manager for the lineup card, he was like “yeah, sure, hold on’” and handed it to some guy closer to the front of the dugout.

After that, everyone started to clear away from the dugout and I spotted a ball on the floor of the dugout. I called out to multiple people for the ball, but no one answered.

I stayed around for a while, hoping to ask someone else, but I left at 10:00. It was a good game. I mean, 3 bobble heads, new hat, and a ball, it’s hard to complain! my next scheduled game is June 20th at the Coliseum, but I figure to go to another game before then.

BALLHAWKING STATS:
• 1 ball at this game
• 3 balls in 3 Minor League games this season = 1 ball per game
• 7 balls in 6 baseball games this season = 1.16 balls per game
• 3 consecutive Minor League games with at least one ball
• 5 consecutive baseball games with at least one ball
• 12 total baseballs
• 3 total Minor League baseballs

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. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.