Category: A.J. Griffin

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.

 

 

5/18/13 at the Oakland Coliseum- BallhawkFest: Bay Area: 2013!

Today was going to be a long, fun filled day!

Do you remember back in March when I mentioned BallhawkFest: West Coast? Well shortly after, it was approved by Alan Schuster, the Admin at MyGameBalls.com, and it was all set to go, on May 18th in Oakland, for the A’s to take on the Royals.

There was A LOT of planning involved on my part, finalizing details and other such things…

ANYWAY… My family left for Zachary’s Pizza in Oakland around noon, getting there around 12:40. Spencer Sanborn, Dave Edlund, and Kelly Byrnes and his wife Leah were already there.

We were soon seated and shortly after, Rick Gold showed up. Today was looking to be a good day!

We all finished up around 2:20, where we grabbed a quick group picture before heading out.

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Starting with me going clockwise: Me, Dave Edlund, My Mom (Anne), My Sister (Pascale), Leah Byrnes, Kelly Byrnes, Spencer Sanborn, and Rick Gold.

From there, we parted ways and headed off to the Coliseum. I was the first one there and arrived around 2:40, where it was near empty, but PERFECT weather. I was a little excited!

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This was the scene when I got to Gate MM. As you can see, only the flags were laid out and there was nobody else there!

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After walking around the stadium once, I headed out to the parking lot to meet up with Kelly Byrnes. He and I are both participating in the MyGameBalls.com Photo Scavenger Hunt this season, with one of the items on the checklist being “You swinging a bat at the BallhawkFest softball game.” Both of us were disappointed because nobody else wanted to play, so we decided to play a HR Derby-Style Wiffle Ball game in the EMPTY parking lot.

I was first up and the first to pitches I hit were both at one of the few cars in the parking lot…

I kept pulling the ball!!

We shifted our angle, and that’s where the fun began!

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I would say my farthest hit went 200 feet maybe. Then, it was his turn to bat.

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I felt bad because my pitches were not in the strike zone much.

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But when they were, he got ahold of them!

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Based solely on most hits, I won. If I had given him enough good pitches, he would have won in a landslide!

Once we finished up, he was very kind in giving me one of his blog’s shirts, we chatted for a bit, then parted ways.

I headed up back to Gate MM, where I saw Dave Edlund and his friend “Splash Hit” Steve Garrison in line at Gate LL, so I walked over there to talk with him.

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Soon after, Leiming Tang, or Tang, as he is better known, showed up!

We talked for 20 minutes or so, before I headed to get back in line at MM.

Dave and Steve tossed and bounced a ball around for a bit.

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They also played a bit of catch.

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But I was in line! Kelly and Leah joined my dad and I in line, where we were soon joined by Will, Ross, Santiago, and a few others.

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10 minutes before the gates opened, Ben and Vanessa showed up and Ben had an AMAZING hat for Will.

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You know how the Brewers had the Design the YOU-niform contest

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Around 4pm, I was all ready to go!
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BUT THEY WOUDNT LET US IN because it wasn’t 4:05…

When I did finally run inside, Seth Smith was hitting in the cages.

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So was Nate Freiman

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Dave headed to left field. He’s in the blue.

To his right is Ryan Dalton, one of the ballhawks that joined us for BallhawkFest!

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To his right is Rick Gold!

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Rick Gold, as I am sure most of you know, ballhawked at the Coliseum in the 1990’s. He actually competed with Ryan’s dad, who was also a ballhawk for balls during that time!

It’s a small world, huh?

I started out the day near my seat in Right Field, where two ball boys were patrolling the area, tossing back everything to the infield.
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Within 10 minutes of no baseballs, the Royals came onto the field.

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Then, a ball was hit off the wall, landing in the grass.

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Jerry Blevins walked off, picked it up, and tossed it to a random guy a few feet away from me.

The ball boys were throwing EVERYTHING back to the infield.

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Kelly had headed over to one of my usual spots, over down the RF line.

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My dad got a lot of cool pictures during BP.

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Once their stretching had concluded, the Royals players began to play catch and warm up.
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One of the players out there was Mr. Bacon Friday himself, Jeff Francouer!

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Around 15 minutes into BP, a ball was hit off the wall right above where my dad was standing. A player walked over, tossed it up, and…

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My dad snagged his 2nd lifetime ball!

I have to give major props to Dave and Steve for this game. They rarely go to games INSIDE the stadium, and both of them rarely go to the Oakland Colisuem, so as Spencer said, it’s like “They are fish out of water.”

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Rick had a successful BP himself.

IMG_4521A few minutes after my dad got his ball, a player on the A’s hit a ball off the wall that A.J. Griffin fielded, then tossed up to me.

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Once I got this ball, I headed over to the RF line, near where Kelly was.

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Shortly after I got over there, his wife Leah hot a ball tossed up to her. It was her first lifetime ball!

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She ended up giving it away to a kid nearby her.

I didn’t see it, but about halfway though batting practice, if I am not mistaken, a ball was hit Dave’s way. In the following picture, you can see the ball in his hands.

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My dad got a lot of great pictures from the bleachers, despite being crowded in.

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The pitchers did a lot of running durin BP.

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BP was pretty quiet in regards to hit balls, so I had a lot of time to stand around.

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It AMAZED me how many toss-ups there were. JC Gutierrez tossed up at least 10 balls to the RF Bleachers.

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Why was I not there? The area in which he was tossing them up was packed. Bruce Chen and Luis Mendoza also had their fair share of toss-ups.

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Can you spot the ball that Luis Mendoza is tossing up? Let me know in the comments!
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Royals coaches were getting in on the act.

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Bruce Chen tossed more balls into the stands…IMG_4894

Some time after that, Jeff Francouer lined a ball foul that if I remember correctly either was bobbled by some fans or hit a seat.

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Long story short, Kelly came up with it!
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Doy you see the kid in the black A’s hat and grey shirt, to the left of Kelly? Well, when I headed over to the RF foul pole, where  a ball had just been hit, the boys called out to the trainer, asking for a ball. He didn’t have one, telling them all he had was water. So, that boy and his friend asked for a bottle of water!

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Remember that kid and his friend, ok?

Around 5:50, Jeff Francouer hit a sharp ground ball just foul. It ended up landing here.

20130522-235940.jpgBruce Chen went over to pick it up, in the process accidentally kicking it towards the RF corner, as you can see it is in a different location in the next photo.

I called out to him.

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And he flipped it up!

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Can you spot the ball? Let me know in the comments!

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It’s easier to see in this photo.

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Since my dad and I usually don’t touch base much during Batting Practice, I thought it was cool that he got a series of photos like this.IMG_4720

Dave was easy to spot in LF, wearing his royal blue BallhawkFest shirt among a sea of green and gold.

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Shortly after I got that ball, once Chen had gotten back to his spot in the outfield, a ball was hit to him. The other of those two boys I mentioned earlier, asked if he could play catch with him.

STORY TIME!!! I had seen this video filmed by ballhawk Bobby Crosby, who films videos of himself snagging balls on the YouTube channel DodgerFilms. The video is of Dodgers pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu playing catch with a young fan during Dodgers BP, and since it was posted on May 13th, has over 2 Millions Views! 3 days later, the same boy was back at Dodger BP again and AGAIN played catch with Hyun-Jin Ryu. That is really where it started. Zack Hample has done it not one, two, or three, but four times on video. Mateo Fischer has played catch with Derek Lowe. The day after the first video of Hyrun-Jin Ryu came out, there was a video of Gio Gonzalez doing them same thing.

As soon as I saw this taking place, I pulled out my cell phone and recorded this video:

My dad took notice and also got a short video as well. I edited his video and my video together to make this:

Hands down, that was one of the highlights of the day for me!

As soon as I finished recording the video on my phone, I immediately went to upload it to YouTube. It finished around 7pm, and I then tweeted it to Alex Espinosa.

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He is the MLB.com Cut4 Real Time Correspondant for Oakland, and I’m sure most of you remember him from past entries.

Later that night, I found my video on Cut4, in this article:

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Then, I saw this tweet from the MLB Fan Cave:

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I replied to the Tweet, then they replied to my tweet!Screen Shot 2013-05-23 at 1.28.28 AM

There were multiple blog posts written about it at the MLB Fan Cave website. The MLB Fan Cave posted a quick entry with my video, Mateo’s video, the Hyun-Jin Ryu video, and the Gio Gonzalez video.Then, Cave Dweller April Whitzman did a post herself.

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On Monday, I walked into Mr. Hahn’s class and told him about the experience and video. He then told me he had read an article on Yahoo over the weekend about players playing catch with kids during BP. On Monday May 20th, it was the top headline at Yahoo sports! He showed me the article and lone behold…

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Wow! I did not expect all of this attention at all!

Here is a picture my dad snapped of him lying on the outfield grass

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I would say that in total, at least 30 balls were tossed up, if not closer to 40, mostly due to these two guys.

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Once BP came to a close, I had finished with two balls. All of the ballhawks met up in the concourse behind the bleachers for a group photo.

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Top Row: Spencer Sanborn (3 Balls), Ryan Dalton (3 Balls), Kelly Byrnes (2 Balls), Rick Gold (4 Balls)

Bottom Row: “McCovey Cove” Dave Edlund (1 Ball), Nick Badders (2 Balls + My Dad’s 1 Ball), “Splash Hit” Steve Garrison (1 Ball)

Not Pictured: Dan Badders (1 Ball held by Nick Badders), Leah Byrnes (2 Balls- Gave Both Away), Leiming Tang (3 Balls)

So, between the 9 of us, 22 balls were snagged! Even though that is only an average of 2.44 balls per person, it is still crazy for me to see that it all came together and was successful!

After we got that group picture, I also got a picture with Rick, who has snagged the most lifetime balls at the Oakland Coliseum. This picture gave me 2 points in the MyGameBalls Photo Scavenger Hunt.
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Kelly was in the picture, as he is also competing in the contest!

Between our two families, 5 balls had been snagged, so we both wanted to get a picture for the scavenger hunt. For 6 points… “You and another myGameBalls.com member standing in an empty row of seats in which each cupholder contains a baseball.”

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Mission accomplished!

We then parted our separate ways for a little while. My dad and I headed back to our seats.

After a little while with no action, Ervin Santana, the Royals starting pitcher for the day came out to warm up.

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I can’t identify the player stretching in this photo.
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The grounds crew watered the infield dirt.

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Then, I noticed this guy!
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Omar Gonzlez wore his graduation robe, as he has just finished his undergrad studies in college! Why don’t you all, as the readers of 7000 Coliseum Way, go over and give him some love on Twitter. Sound good? Cool!

Back to the warming up?

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It was “Star Trek Night,” so the A’s had all of these gimmicks going on, including Stomper’s “outfit.”

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This was the only A’s logo shown on the scoreboard that day…

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Yep!

Jeff Francoeur WAS getting the start in Right Field today!

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“Tommy Gun” Milone was on the mound for the A’s in this game, my dad got a few pictures of him in the bullpen before the game got underway.
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Ervin Santana warmed up in the Royals bullpen.

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The ceremonial first pitch was thrown!

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The national anthem was played!

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The people in the bullpen finished up their work.

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The meeting at home plate took place.

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And we were all ready to go!

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Chris Young was in Right Field for the A’s.

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Eric Sogard was in his usual second base position.

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It wasn’t too hard to spot Dave and Steve in LF. Can you?

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Coco Crisp lead off in the bottom of the 1st for Oakland.

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Yoenis Cespedes lined out to RF to end the inning.

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Tommy Milone took the mound in the second, down 1-0, after giving up a first inning run.

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I thought this was a randomly cool picture.

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Along with this one…

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And this one…

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Lorenzo Cain was called out on strikes to end the second inning.

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However, the 2nd inning didn’t come without a cost. *38* pitches in the 2nd inning for Tomaso, with 26 pitches in the top of the first inning, prompting Jesse Chavez to start to get hot.

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Early into the game, the A’s will show the Pepsi Sports highlight during an inning break. It’s always MLB Action or something random.

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Nobody ever wants to see MLB Action.

Like I mentioned earlier, Jeff Francoeur was in RF for KC.

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The ball boy down the RF line tossed a lot of foul balls into the stands.

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John Jaso was the 2nd out of the 2nd inning, striking out.

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Milone was back out for the 3rd inning, this time, with 12 pitches.
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My dad enjoyed using the extension on his monopod to get photos like this.

IMG_6245In the top of the 4th inning, Frenchy struck out swinging for the 2nd out.
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This day was Social Media night, which my mom and sister particpated in. They each bought a ticket to the “Tweetup,” where they also got a special ticket in a section with all of the other tweeters. I used the zoom on my dad’s camera to find them quickly.

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In the bottom of the 4th, Josh Donaldson took a mighty hack, but…

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Popped out to end the inning, with the score still at 1-0 Royals.

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Over the course of the day, we got lots of pictures of Section 149. I love Tony’s pose here.
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After his first few wild inning, Tommy Milone settled down A LOT!

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Chris Young was starting to get the hang of keeping track of outs with the RF Crew. He’s not 100% there yet, though.

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Alcides Escobar at the plate…

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Brandon Moss was at his usual first base spot in this game.

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I thought this was another really cool photo. (I took it! ;-))

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4 of the guys on my school’s Varsity baseball team: Ryan Flayler, Jordan Thrailkill, Justin Cash, and Dan Whitney, told me that they were going to be at this game, sitting fright behind the dugout. Guess who I found using my dad’s extreme zoom?

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In the 6th inning, Jed Lowrie hit a sac fly with no outs to bring in the game tying run.

WE LOVE YOU OAKLAND, WE DO! WE LOVE YOU OAKLAND, WE DO! WE LOVE YOU OAKLAND, OAKLAND WE LOVE YOU!

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Then, Brandon Moss tripled in Coco Crisp to put the A’s ahead 2-1.

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High fives all around!IMG_6549

It was around this time that I attempted to create my own panoramic shot. I took 4 pictures, Photoshopped them together, and BAM!

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In the 8th inning, my dad and mom headed up to where she and my sister had been sitting. Pascale stayed with me in RF, my dad took the camera and loved getting pictures from a different angle.

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This was their view.

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And no, they did not have any foul balls come close.

In the top of the 8th, Sean Doolittle came in to pitch.
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He pitched a 1-2-3 8th inning.IMG_6674

Coco Crisp was called out on strikes to lead off the A’s half of the 8th inning.

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Jed Lowrie flied out to center field.

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Like I mentioned earlier, my sister and I were sitting in RF. Kelly is to her right, to his right is his wife Leah.

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I thought it was awesome to see RF from this angle.

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Guess who pitched the 9th inning for the A’s? It was 2-1. They were winning…

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(In case you are wondering, yes, my parents came back to the bleachers at the start of the 9th, to join Pascale and I)
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Despite a leadoff walk, Balfour got none other than Jeff Francoeur to fly out…
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To end the game!

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And it was the A’s 2nd consecutive 2-1 win!

Immediately after the final out, these people came onto the field…

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And my family got in line along with Kelly and Leah to get onto the field to watch the fireworks.

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It was PACKED!!

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My sister and I were both happy to be there.

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The fireworks were spectacular, as always.

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My dad and I got a picture with our BP balls.

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I got one last picture. I’m sure you can notice how tired I am.

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BALLHAWKING STATS:

  • 10th Game this Year
  • 2 Balls at this Game
  • 10 balls in 8 MLB games this season = 1.25 Ball Per Game
  • 25 Balls in 10 Games this season = 2.5 Balls Per Game
  • 38 Lifetime MLB Baseballs
  • 68 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 up after Coco…

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And singled to right field.

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Seth Smith was hitting in the 3-hole for the Green and Gold.

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With a runner on first, the bleachers were getting pumped up.

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After Jaso advanced to 2nd base on an error, Agent Smith flied out, bringing Jed Lowrie to the plate.
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I can’t tell who this hitter is, but I LOVE his face!

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This person had a ticket from the 1973 WS in Oakland.

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In the bottom of the 2nd, Josh Donaldson doubled in Brandon Moss, giving the A’s a 1-0 lead.

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Josh Reddick walked in his at bat in the 2nd inning.

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Everyone was feeling good!

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Coco Crisp then grounded out to end the inning.

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Griffin took the mound in the top of the 3rd and he was dealing!

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The bullpen was enjoying the game.

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Around the time, my dad gave me the camera, and I had some fun taking pictures.

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Here is the ball smacking into Brandon Moss’s glove on a foul popup.

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Donaldson had another RBI hit, bringing the score to 2-0, before Reddick popped out to end the inning.

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In the 4th inning, Chris Young doubled. But, it wasn’t before the Orioles scored 4 runs in the top of the inning.

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Like I mentioned earlier, I had a blast taking pictures.

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Jed Lowrie flied out in the 5th inning.

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Josh Donaldson singled in the 6th for his 3rd hit of the game.

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Even though the A’s were down, everyone was still confident.

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This row of fans did a mid-inning trivia contest, where everyone got shirts.

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Ross was drumming it out.

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In the 7th inning, Ryan Flaherty grounded out first baseman Brandon Moss to pitcher AJ Griffin.

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Sean Doolittle started to get loose in the bullpen. Note the balls above and below the bullpen phone on the left side of the picture.

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Brian Matusz came into the game for the Orioles in the bottom of the 7th.

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Josh Donaldson and Chris Young were sitting at the top step of the dugout.
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Throughout the day, both the A’s TV and Radio booths brought in players and coaches from the 1973 A’s team to talk.

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For those of you who don’t know… Josh Reddick makes a LARGE mess of seeds in RF. This photo doesn’t do it justice.

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Jerry Blevins came on to pitch in the top of the 8th.

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This is where things got interesting…

If you didn’t click the link, Nate McClouth hit a home run to Right Field. Shin, one of the bleacher folks caught the ball. He then tossed it to Jorge.
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Guess what he did? He threw it back!

Believe it or not, that did not go over well with security. He got up on his seat and the ENTIRE stadium started chanting “LET HIM STAY! LET HIM STAY!”

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He was getting everyone riled up, everyone was on his side.

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Except for security…
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Ross (Left) and Anson (Green Shirt) were pleading their case to security to let Jorge stay.

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Then the cops showed up and more or less led him out of the bleachers.

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He DID NOT want to leave.
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But this guy meant business.

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You could tell everyone was pretty pissed about the whole situation.

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Like I said, the police officer “led” Jorge out of the bleachers.

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Everyone was entranced.

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I could tell the players were kind of confused.

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Oh… And there was a game going on. The solo home run made the score 5-2. Then, a Chris Davis sac fly made it 6-2.

Jed Lowrie came up in the bottom of the 8th.

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Then guess what happened?

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Jorge was led back!

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That made everyone pretty happy!

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I think he was pretty happy.

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Spencer got a picture with him.

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You have to give the man props though.

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Oh, and it was a ROCKET throw! He threw it from 3 rows back in the RF bleachers, in the middle of the row, to 2nd BASE! It was like I was watching the movie Rookie of the Year!

Everyone was cheering for him.

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In the 8th, Josh Donaldson doubled for his 4th hit of the game.

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Josh Reddick stepped to the plate.

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He then flied out center field, but Brandon Moss came in to score, making it 6-3.
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Not many people were paying attention to the game though.
IMG_9136Then Chris Young stepped to the dish.
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Where he struck out…

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Jorge was getting into it. Everyone had a good feeling about the game!

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Omar Gonzalez was spending quality time with his young daughter Rhema.

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Chris Resop took the mound for the A’s in the 9th.

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Rodrigo was enjoying the game.

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So was Anson!

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The Orioles scored another run in the 9th, brining the score to 7-3.

Adam Rosales stepped into the box to lead off the 9th for Oakland.

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And on the 6th pitch of the at bat, the pitch was thrown inside.

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Hitting him in the head, causing him to dive to the ground.

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Wow. Look at the reactions of the people sitting right behind home plate, on the right side of the picture!

The training staff and Bob Melvin came out to check on him.

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He was walked to first base.
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But… He stayed in the game!

This brought Coco Crisp to the plate, where…

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Pedro Strop threw a wild pitch juuuuuust a bit inside.
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Coco Crisp showed off his sweet dance moves.
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Adam Rosales advanced to 2nd on the pitch.
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Then, Coco walked.

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This put runners on first and second, with no outs, putting the tying run in the on deck circle. The stadium went nuts!

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The Orioles brought in closer Jim Johnson as John Jason stepped to the plate.
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After 5 pitches, he slapped the 6th pitch of the at bat to left field to load the bases.
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Rosales was on 3rd, Crisp on 2nd.

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Seth “Agent” Smith stepped to the plate with no outs and the bases loaded.

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Where he flied out to right.

With one out, Jed Lowrie came up, representing the tying run.
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He found a pitch he liked…

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Made contact with it…

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Ran the ball out…IMG_9613

But he grounded into a game ending double play.

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And that was the ballgame. 7-3 L to Baltimore.

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Ah frustrations…
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I got a picture with the 1 ball and my bobblehead.

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And then Spencer photobombed me!!’

W

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We gathered everything up.

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And everyone started to file out.IMG_9662

Drew, one of the right field bleacher guys has an AWESOME mustache. Appropriate facial hair and shirt for the day.

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After gathering our stuff, everyone filed out of the bleachers and gathered out in the concourse.
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I was planning on attending the A’s game on Friday, May 17th, which is the 3rd Annual BACON FRIDAY, and I was planning on ordering a shirt, so I needed to give Omar Gonzalez, one of the RF Bleacher folks, my money for the shirt.

While I was talking with him, Rhema was being awfully cute!

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I got one last picture of the field before we left the stadium.
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We exited the stadium.IMG_9709

And we headed back to our car.

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Overall, it was a great day!

BALLHAWKING STATS:

  • 7th Game this Year
  • 1 Ball at this Game
  • 5 balls in 5 MLB games this season = 1 Ball Per Game
  • 20 Balls in 7 Games this season = 2.86 Balls Per Game
  • 6 Consecutive Games with at least 1 Ball
  • 4 Consecutive MLB Games with at least 1 Ball
  • 33 Lifetime MLB Baseballs
  • 63 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.

4/13/13 at the Oakland Coliseum

It was 2012 AL West Champs fleece blanket day. Oh Yeah!

My dad and I left our house around 8:30, I picked up my new glasses, and we headed off to Oakland.

I would say it took about 25 minutes to get there. Quickest it has ever taken either of us to get to Oakland. We arrived around 9:15 am or so.

Anyway, once we had parked, we started walking towards gate MM, when I realized that I had left my rosters in the car. My dad headed back to the car to grab them for me, and I headed to get in line at MM. I was SHOCKED to see that there were over 50 people in line an hour and 45 minutes before the gates were supposed to open.

Who was at the front of the line? Will is on the left, Ross is on the middle, and Daniel is on the right.

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Why were they doing the Bernie? The guy on the right had one of those mini portable speakers and it was playing Bernie Lean.

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Once my dad got back, he got in line and I decided to walk around a little bit, as I always do.

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As you can see, they had the lines set up to double back and forth, like they did for Scott Hatteberg bobblehead day.

The lines were pretty long…

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I had to walk around a lot. Since we were up against the wall, they were attempting to squeeze us in pretty tight!

At this game, my school’s Jazz Band was going to be playing the national anthem! As I was walking around, I saw them getting their tickets.

I stopped by and talked with some of them up until 10:30 or so, at which point they headed inside for a sound check, and I headed back to get in line…
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Yeah… it was PACKED! I didn’t get in line right away, I just walked around in the BART Plaza, as I didn’t want to stand in that line for 30 minutes.

I decided to just get in line 15 minutes before the gates opened. Right after I got in  line with my dad, Will popped over and asked me which seats I wanted him to save me. I asked him if he would be able to save my regular seats for my dad and I, and he was happy to do so! How awesome is he!?!?

I got out of line again, as this was the scene at 11 am…

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I was just wandering around near the front of line, when Will asked if I wanted to jump in line with him. OF COURSE! Thank You very much Will!

At 11:07, the gates opened and I ran in, grabbed my blanket and was off! A lot of people don’t know how to get to the bleachers from MM, but I have it down. You run straight, turn right, and run down these stairs.
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Make a turn into that tunnel, and you’ll be at the entrance to the bleachers!

Obviously, I was already there as my dad was heading down.
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The A’s were stretching when we got inside.

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Doug Fister was throwing a bullpen.

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And Tigers players were playing catch.

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Like I said, the A’s were stretching.

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Without looking at the next picture, can you tell me wh- HEY! I SAID DON’T LOOK AT THE PICTURE.

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Awesome. You looked at the picture. But, yes, I headed over to where the Tigers were playing catch.

As the A’s continued to stretch.
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AJ Griffin and his luscious hair were jogging along the warning track.

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I would have headed over to the A’s bullpen area, but as I mentioned, they were just stretching.

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I was trying to get a ball from one of the Tigers players. There was one sitting barely out of my reach on the field, and I was determined to get it.

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The seats were pretty empty.

IMG_8760Miguel Cabrera was showing lots of love for the RF Bleacher crew.

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One of the Tigers players that was playing catch overthrew the ball and pitching coach Jeff Jones walked over and tossed me up the ball!

Right as he picked the ball up, my phone started to ring. It turned out, it was my dad!

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Here I am talking with him. Yes, he did take this picture.

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Once I got that ball, I decided to take the rest of the day off from ballhawking and relax. I headed back to the bleachers just to chat with people, even though the A’s were playing catch.

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Sean Doolittle used to be a power-hitting first baseman, Now he is a pitcher.

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Here is Tommy Milone.

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Jerry Blevins.

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Running drills…

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Sidewinder Pat Neshek and pitching coach Curt Young.

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Neshek running.

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Evan Scribner running

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Blevins, Scribner, and Chris Resop running

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A’s bullpen catcher Casey Chavez

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Hiro Nakajima is still rehabbing, he played a bit of catch with a team assistant.

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Here was my view for the game.

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This is the 1 ball I snagged during pregame.

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The field cleared VERY quickly, so I had a lot of time to relax and such.

As he was coming from the indoor cages to the clubhouse, Miggy and the Tigers gave the RF bleachers some love.

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Octavio Dotel was one of the few players left on the field.

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He was playing catch with this guy.

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I have no clue what is going on here.

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Players were still walking in from the indoor cages.

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Eventually, uniformed players and coaches started coming out to stretch and get loose.
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Derek Norris usually does some drills near the bullpen.

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Justin Verlander was taking the bump for the Tigers.

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Brett Anderson was going to counter him for the Green and Gold.
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The grounds crew worked on Watering the field.

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This guy was catching for the Tigers.

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Then, these people walked onto the field.

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My school’s Jazz band was playing the national anthem for the game!

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Here they all are!

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It was pretty cool to see!

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My dad got a video of the performance.

How awesome is that?

The Tigers bullpen catcher, Scott Pickens, warmed up Verlander.

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Derek Norris warmed up Anderson.

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How cool is this photo?

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Jeff Kunkel is the Tigers 2nd bullpen catcher.

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While my dad was out and about wandering around, I got this really cool picture of Verlander.

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Chris Young was rocking the stirrups.

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Most of the position players began to filter onto the field.

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Verlander took the bullpen to get warm.IMG_9325

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Here are 3rd Base Coach Mike Gallego, middle infielder Jed Lowrie, Manager Bob Melvin, and 1st Baseman Brandon Moss sitting in the dugout.
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Anderson took to the bullpen mound to warm up.
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Tigers position players got loose on the field.

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Chris Young seemed pretty entertained by it all.

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Verlander finished up in the bullpen.

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The A’s took the field.

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And Brett Anderson took the hill.

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Brandon Moss was starting at first base.

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I know this isn’t anything new, but my dad took AMAZING pictures.
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The BIG MAN, Prince Fielder.
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V-Mar looking at a pitch.

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Swinging…

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And making contact!

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Popped up…
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Torii Hunter was in RF for the Tigers. More on that soon.

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John Jaso, the A’s catcher was LEADING OFF.
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As expected, Verlander was dealing.

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Jaso rounding first base.

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Chris Young running with the bat in his hand.

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Now he is running down the line.

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Josh Reddick stepping to the plate.

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Looking at a few pitches…

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Just a bit outside.

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Foul Ball

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On top of his head!

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Matt Tuiasosopo at the plate.

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Sogard and Reddick running into the dugout.
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The Tigers bullpen.

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The A’s bullpen and a unicorn.

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Back to Torii. Remember this last year when he was on the Angels? He delivered Popeye’s Chicken to the RF Bleachers. As one might expect, he now has a great relationship with them.

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All day, the umpire was making TERRIBLE calls behind the plate. See anything special here?

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Look again.

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HIS EYES WERE CLOSED! I’ll have more proof, don’t worry.

Torii was enjoying chatting it up with RF.

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Seth Smith swinging…

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And running.

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On 1st base, Verlander tried to pick him off a few times.

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Josh Donaldson made GREAT contact with the ball today.

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Well the umpire had his eyes closed more when Eric Sogard came up.

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See?

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I know the ball has already made contact, but STILL.

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As always, Right Field was lively.

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Of course the umpire ALWAYS had his eyes open when the Tigers were up to bat.

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I take that back…

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Everyone was just chilling in the A’s dugout.

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And Torii was all smiles!

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Chris Young had some great swingsIMG_0080

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And of course we have Josh Reddick…

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Here we had Josh Donaldson (#20) and Andy Parino (#12)
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As I was out of my seat using the restroom, Prince Fielder stepped to the plate.

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Guess what da BIG MAN did?
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Yep, He hit a homer. Dead center.

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Curt Young paid Anderson a visit to the mound.

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The A’s were hitting the ball hard and making great contact.

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As displayed by Derek Norris.

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I got this cool photo of Josh Reddick (and his beard) warming up in right field.

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Derek Norris was performing his usual magic tricks behind home plate.

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Then, Pat Neshek came on the mound. Boy oh BOY did I have fun taking pictures of him! Back to that soon…

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The A’s bullpen was thoroughly entertained. So was the unicorn.

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Back to Neshek. It continually amazes me with how accurate submariners and sidearmers are.

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It also sometimes looks painful.

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It is, however, AMAZING to watch.

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All of these pictures were taken by me, and it was A LOT of fun!

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It was a beautiful, sold out day at the Coliseum!

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But, seriously! HOW DOES HE DO THIS?

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I honestly don’t know.

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Away from Neshek for a bit, here is Eric Sogard. #NerdPower

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The Bill King broadcast booth was looking lively as always.

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Rick Porcello began to warm up in the Tigers bullpen.

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Along with Phil Coke.

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The bleachers were rockin!

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As Phil Coke took the mound for Detroit.

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I swear, this is my last picture of Pat Neshek.

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Josh Reddick was very nonchalant about his warmup tosses with Coco Crisp in the outfield.

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In the middle of the 8th, as always, the A’s played Call me Maybe. Will was not impressed.

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Oh, and Bob Melvin was ejected.

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Why? Andy Fletcher had his head up his a** all game long.

Here is a very short video my dad got of the incident.

Joaquin Benoit took the mound for the Tigers in the late innings.

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Eric Sogard was taking some mighty swings.

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Like I mentioned, you CANNOT umpire a game with your eyes closed. It is UNACCEPTABLE.

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Believe you me, I have about 50 more pictures where Andy Fletcher has his eyes closed. But I have chosen not to not bore you to death.

Evan Scribner took the hill for the A’s at the end of the game.

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A majority of the crowd was still on hand, despite the score that had  the A’s behind.

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HIS EYES ARE CLOSED AGAIN

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That’s all. The A’s lost. Here I am with my 1 ball and the fleece blanket. The end.IMG_1365

Thanks for reading!

BALLHAWKING STATS:

  • 5th Game of the Year
  • 1 ball at this game
  • 4 balls in 4 MLB games this season = 1 Ball Per Game
  • 14 Balls in 5 Games this season = 2.8 Balls Per Game
  • 4 Consecutive Games with at least 1 Ball
  • 3 Consecutive MLB Games/Games in Oakland with at least 1 Ball
  • 32 Lifetime Major League baseballs
  • 57 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.

9/1/12 at the Oakland Coliseum

Wow. That’s all I can say. I completely lost track of time. It was a 6:05 game with the gates opening at 4. I wanted to be there at 3, do that would mean leaving at 2.

Around 2:40, I honestly thought it was 1:40. I told my dad that I wanted I catch the 2:20 BART train to get my mom and I to the Coliseum around 3.

My dad told me it was almost 3 and I will be completely honest with you, I flipped out. The gates were going to open in just over and hour and I was still at home.

We jumped in the car and just missed the 3:00 train by about 4 minutes.

The train left around 3:20 and we arrived at the Coliseum around 3:50.

This was not going to be a good day.

I almost considered turning around multiple times, but I knew that I needed to just deal with it and go with the flow.

I ran from the train to the BART ramp and down to check gate B. It wasn’t open, so I ran up to gate MM and jumped in line there.

15 people? And it was 10 minutes until the gates opened? Hell. Yes. My mom showed up a minute later, and quickly purchased 2 bleacher seats.

She joined me in line, along with the 149 guys. I had a better feeling about this game!

When we got inside, I ran straight for the RF bleachers. I had to run through the concourse and down 3 flights of stairs, but I got there fairly quickly.

I set my stuff down in the 1st row of section 148. I pulled out my glove and saw that the A’s were taking BP.

The only ball that came close to me during A’s BP was hit 3 rows behind me and I should have had it. It was hit DIRECTLY at me, and I figured it would be right behind me. It bounced 3 rows behind me and I reached my glove to try and get it when it bounced back, but It just cleared my glove and a guy with a baby under his arm barehanded it.

The A’s portion of BP ended 5 minutes later.

I took off my A’s jersey, and headed over to where the Red Sox were playing catch.

2 players that stood out to me were Andrew Bailey and Craig Breslow, both former Athletics.

The Sox started hitting 5 minutes after I got to the RF line.

There was one ball that I had my eye on

I knew for sure it was a Fenway Park 100th anniversary commemorative ball, and I really was hoping to snag one, but when a Red Sox coach went to grab it, and when I called out for it, he ignored me.

When Andrew Bailey and Craig Breslow were done throwing, I asked Andrew Bailey for my first ball of the day.

Not commemorative. But I was still positive. I still had seen a lot of Fenway Park balls being used

The Sox were hitting ball all over the field that were not being fielded. If I had a retrieval device, I would have had at least 10 balls. But I didn’t, so I didn’t.

Then, I saw another commemorative ball in the outfield

After I got the ball from Bailey, I crouched down to take off my A’s hat and put on my Red Sox hat.

There was a guy who yelled at me for doing it, and I just ignored him.

A few minutes later, I noticed Craig Breslow coming over to pick up a ball on the warning track. I called put to him and he tossed me the ball.

I had seen him turn the ball over in his hand before tossing it to me. At first, I thought nothing of it, assuming he was making sure it wasn’t commemorative. I went to put it in my backpack, before checking the ball to see if it had the Fenway Park logo.

YES! My day was complete! I snagged a Fenway Park ball.

Like, literally, I could go home now if I wanted to. I wanted to snag just one commemorative ball, and from what I had heard, they didn’t have them in the bullpen, so I knew I would have to get a ball that had been hit.

So, do you remember the guy who had yelled at me earlier? When I called out for the ball, he yelled “NO! THAT GUY ALREADY HAS ONE!” Like before, I just ignored him. I showed him the logo, so that he knew why I wanted to try to get a ball. He seemed really pissed at me.

I tried to stay away from him, because I seemed to be getting on his nerves.

Batting practice ended just before 5, close to an hour after after the gates had opened.

I was somewhat disappointed with 2 balls, and there was one more ball I came relatively close to.

I was close to the dugout, because I knew BP would be over soon, and there was a ball hit to my right. I knew I would get it, so I ran through the rows, and it bounced softly in the section to my right. I ran to grab it, but so did that other guy.

He got his glove on the *Commemorative* ball, and at the same time my hand landed on his glove. He yelled at me to get my hands off him and that the ball was for him.

I started to walk away, but I stopped when I heard him yelling profanities at me. I just went to go tell the ushers, when he told me that he never wanted to see me chasing balls again. Apparently, I was a grown man who was stealing balls from little kids.

Huh? I was more confused than I had been in a long time. 1) I’m 14. 2) The ball was hit, not thrown. 3) If I’m a “Grown Man” and not allowed to catch balls, then why do you have 5?

It turns out that he had been catching balls for his kids, because they didn’t bring their gloves, and I’m fine with him trying to catch balls, but I wish he had been a little more mellow or something like that.

I guess I don’t have the right to try to get balls from myself? I was getting more and more confused.

Over the course of BP, he had gotten 5 balls for his kids. BTW, for future reference, all three of them were decked out from head to toe in Giants gear.

I explained to the guy that I write a blog, where I talk about my adventures at stadiums, and attempting to snag balls. I gave him my contact card, with my blog’s address on it, and walked away. I did not want to deal with him any more.

I don’t need to get into any situations like this.

I headed over to the Red Sox dugout, hoping to get a ball from someone.

I wasn’t able to get anything, so I headed over to the A’s bullpen, where I saw a few ball lying around.

I figured my best option would be to ask the ball boy for a ball. I got there, and when I did, he headed into the stands to talk to someone. She had an A’s jersey on that had a 1 on the back and said BATBOY KEVIN. I would assume that it was his girlfriend.

When he went back onto the field, I asked him for the ball, but he had already promised it to someone else.

At this point in the evening, it was 5:20, so I headed back to the bleachers, so that my mom could do out and get herself something to eat.

Soon enough, players came out onto the field to start warming up.

I would have gone over to the Red Sox bullpen, but the ushers never let me stay there longer than 3 minutes.

There was a special promotion going on for this game, called Weekend at Bernie’s. I hope you all know the back-story behind the promotion…

No? Ok. I would hope you know about the whole Bernie-ing thing, so I won’t go over that, comment down below if you would like me to explain it, and I shall add it in.

In 1989, a movie came out called Weekend at Bernie’s, staring Terry Kiser as Bernie. The Bernie became popular in Oakland, and not only did Brandon Inge put Moving like Bernie as his walk-up song, but so Coco Crisp now uses the song Bernie Lean as his walkup song.

So I hope this gives you a sense of the promotion. The first 2,000 fans to enter the stadium were given these “Bernie Masks”

And Terry Kiser threw out the first pitch. And of course, he did some dancing on the mound.

Once he had thrown the pitch, he jumped into the arms of Coco Crisp and Josh Reddick, as Brandon Inge watched on.

Time to play ball!

Josh Reddick took his place in right field