Category: aisle seat

4/3/13 at the Oakland Coliseum

More Baseball! This was my 2nd A’s game in 3 days, and this was going to be just me and my mom! If you can remember, the last time it was just the two of us, I snagged a Fenway Park 100th Anniversary Commemorative Ball. The time before that, I snagged 6 balls. This was looking to be a very positive day!

Fromt the time that we left our house to the time we got to the Coliseum, to my lap around the ballpark, I filmed nonstop. I also filmed us getting out of the Coliseum. It was an ADVENTURE! I compiled it all into an 11 and 1/2 minute video for you to enjoy! After watching it, you can continue with your regularly scheduled blog entry.

My dad took my mom and I to the BART Station, and we left the house at 3:40, getting there at 3:54, catching the 3:58 train to Oakland.

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Once we got to the Coliseum at around 4:25, we set our stuff down at gate MM, which is the quickest route to the bleachers.
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Towards the BART Plaza, this was the scene.

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It was very quiet, calm, and peaceful. I LOVED it!

At this point, I took the camera and documented my fifteen-minute trip around the Coliseum. Again, just watch the video to check it all out!

About 10 minutes before the gates were supposed to open at 5:35, the line wasn’t very long.

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Beyond what you see, that was it!

Around 5:33, they checked our bags, which made the process SOOOO much easier. This gave me time to zip up my backpack and put it pack on. Otherwise, I would have to do this in a rush between running and scanning my ticket.

Usually, Will MacNeil (click his name to follow him on Twitter) will run in with all of the bleacher crew’s flags and banners. I actually sprinted ahead of him, but then let him lead the way, as this was my first time going this way.

Once in the bleachers (Where I WAS NOT wrist banded, which made everything so much simpler), I set my stuff down, put on my glove, and was ready to go. Less than 10 minutes into BP, a ball was hit to Mariner reliever Tom Wilhelmsen. He turned around and just tossed it to me. I didn’t even ask. Cool!

10 or so minutes later, a ball was hit off the wall that Mariner pitcher Stephen Pryor fielded and tossed up to me after I ask him for it.

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After that, BP was more or less dead. Wilhelmsen and Pryor were fielding almost every ball hit to RF, so I didn’t bother asking either of them again, knowing that it was very unlikely I would get another toss-up from either of them.

Why did I not go to Left Field might you ask? Not a single ball was hit into the left field seats during BP. NOT EVEN WHEN MICHAEL MORSE WAS HITTING. There were not toss-ups into the LF bleachers either.

Around 6:10 or so, there still had not been a single ball hit into the outfield stands, however there had been many hit over the fence.

At 6:15, BP picked up, when Kendrys Morales stepped to the cage. The second pitch he saw was a bomb to RF, but I was on the opposite side, as he had almost just hit it out. As I was on my way in that direction, Morales hit another bomb in the same area, caught by the SAME guy. However, it was this guy.

Then, while I was over there, expecting him to hit another, on the LAST pitch of BP, he hit it around where I had just been standing. AWESOME…

I ended BP with 2 balls.

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After BP came to a close, I went off in search of food and decided on a sandwich from the Westside Club.

When I got back to my seat, it was around 6:30, and players had started to take the field to warm up.

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I looked into the dugout and saw Yoenis Cespedes with his hat backwards just walking around in the dugout.

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Tommy Milone was tossing in the bullpen. I considered going down there to try and get a ball, but considering the fact that there were at least 5 ushers within 50 feet of him, I decided against it.

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There was this group of people behind home plate, who looked like they would be singing the national anthem.

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Scott Sizemore would be playing in his first game since 2011. If you remember, on the FIRST day of spring training in 2012 he tore his ACL.

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The Mariners would have offseason acquisition Joe Saunders on the mound.

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Newly acquired first baseman Nate Freiman was making his major league debut in this game.

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About 10 minutes before the A’s took the field, Yoenis Cespedes had a nice, long conversation with Kendrys Morales, in the middle of the outfield. My guess is that they were debating who can hit the ball farther. My money would be on Yoenis.

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The bleachers were quite crowded for this game, more than I had expected.

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Tommy Milone finished up his warm up tosses…

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… Josh Donaldson did some last-minute stretching …

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… Stomper rode around the warning track in the Smiling Chevron Car…

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… And we were all ready to go!

Offseason acquisition Chris Young was in the lineup, playing center field, making his debut in the green and gold!
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Right before the first pitch, I went to the last row of the bleachers and took this picture
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Then I took a panoramic shot on my phone. GORGEOUS.20130403-225021.jpg

As they announced the A’s line up, the right field guys all wave their flags.

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I just thought those were two cool pictures.

Well you know how the bleachers were crowded? Guess what wasn’t?
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Yep! How nuts is that? I would have tried to go down there, but the ushers in that area specifically have always been very strict about checking tickets.

Chris Young was playing center in his Oakland debut

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With Josh Reddick playing right field

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And Tommy Milone on the bump for the A’s.

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Since both pitchers were lefties, both lineups were packed with righty hitters, which meant fewer balls to right field. Since I knew there was a slimmer chance of snagging a home run, I focused on taking some pictures, as did my mom. Pictures like this one.

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And this one of Nate Freiman making his MLB Debut at first base.

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Yoenis Cespedes was the A’s starting left fielder.

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Jed Lowrie was in the game at shortstop

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And Josh Donaldson was playing third

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Tye Waller, who has tossed me two balls before, is the A’s first base coach.

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Coco Crisp had been hitting the ball far so far, and he showed that, with a deep fly to center that unfortunately stayed in the yard.

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Nate Freiman was hitting 8th in his MLB Debut

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And on the 5th pitch of the at bat from Joe Saunders,

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He singled into center for not only his first MLB hit, but his first MLB run batted in as well!

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Since Josh Reddick was playing closest to me, and the lighting was just right, I tried taking some “artsy photos” like these.

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I liked this shot of the Oakland sky at night.

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During the inning break, I took a look up to the CSN booth to see that Scott Hatteberg was in the booth instead of Ray Fosse. I love Scott as a player and person, but he is not cut out for TV…

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Mike Morse, the Mariners RF, was heckled plenty throughout the game.

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Jed Lowrie had a BIG day at the plate.

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Coco Crisp doubled in the 3rd inning.

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Then after Jed Lowrie and Chris Young walks, Yoenis Cespedes flied out, however Coco Crisp came home to score, giving Yoenis a sac fly.

IMG_6725Like I just mentioned, Jed Lowrie was on second…

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But Derek Norris struck out to end the inning…

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I was enjoying taking pictures, so I got a few like this one of Josh Reddick
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Or this one of Yoenis Cespedes.

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Ot this one of Chris Young.IMG_6748

Around the 4th inning or so, I decided to try my luck with foul balls and headed up to sections 223 and 222. No foul balls for Nick.

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I then headed over to 224, where I got this amazing panoramic shot!20130403-225028.jpgI decided to head back to the bleachers in the 5th or 6th inning, as I was having no luck whatsoever with foul balls.

Tommy Milone was pitching a great game!
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I enjoyed taking pictures like this one.

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And this one…IMG_6784

Jorge, one of the members of the bleacher crew had brought balloons to the game. Here he is with one of them…

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Everyone was having fun with them, including Tom Bentley, who put one in his King Felix foam crown.IMG_6793

The 7th inning was a very interesting inning for me personally. Here is Josh Reddick jogging off the field after the top of the 7th.IMG_6800

LOOK AT THAT HAIR!!!

Ready for the exciting story? Here it is… I was sitting on the end of  the row, on the asile, giving me more mobility in the event of a home run. Well in this case, sitting ont the asile hurt me. In the bottom of the 7th, on the 3rd pitch of the At Bat, Jed Lowrie smashed the ball to right field. At first, I didn’t think it would end up in the bleachers. I was expecting it to clank off the bleacher railing or the tip of the out-of-town scoreboard and get back onto the field. I would then politely call out to Michael Morse for the ball. Click HERE to watch the home run.

So I first figured that nobody in my row had a glove, so it would make it harder for them to catch the home run. Keep in mind that my row was completely full, no room for me to move. Take a look at this screenshot that I drew on…

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As you can see, I was on the end of the row, on the asile, while the guy that caught the ball (With His Glove, might I add) was smack dab in the middle of the row. He also reached over the railing a good 2 feet to make the catch.

Oh the frustrations. I couldn’t really beat myself up about this, as I am NOT about to push past a row of people, including my own mother to make the catch. It’s just one of those things that frustrates you…

Here is A’s bullpen coach Darren Bush answering the bullpen phone.IMG_6801

If you remember, I was the ONLY person that recognized him in the clubhouse at A’s FanFest.

In the middle of the 8th inning las year, the A’s played Call Me Maybe. Everyone hated it. Guess what song they played this year? I will give you four hints…

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Yep. Call Me Maybe. And don’t worry, Ross is not the only one who hates it. Everyone to his left was doing the same thing, but I couldn’t get a good picture of any of them.

Oh, hey look who was back! It was @Shakabrodie! AKA, Benjamin Christensen.

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In the 8th inning, Josh Reddick was hit by a pitch.

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But the A’s didn’t score. Then, in the top of the 9th, Chris Resop came in and had a 1-2-3 inning to seal the win for the Green and Gold!

I got another picture with my 2 BP balls.

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And we said goodbye to the Coliseum.

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Like I’ve said before, I made a video that showed not only what it was like to get from BART to the Coliseum and to walk around the Coliseum, but in that video, I showed what it was like to get from our seats to BART. Check it out here and skip ahead to the 7:37 mark and that will put you right where you need to be!

In a day or two, I should have up an entry about the Stockton Ports game I attended a few days ago at Banner Island Ballpark. In the mean time, Check out my entries about the World Baseball Classic game I attended, the High School Game Baseball game I attended at Banner Island Ballpark, or you can read the entry I wrote up about Opening Day in Oakland. Enjoy!

Thanks everyone for reading!

BALLHAWKING STATS:

  • 3rd Game of the Year
  • 2 Balls at this Game
  • 3 balls in 3 Games this season = 1 Ball Per Game
  • 2 Consecutive Games with at least 1 Ball
  • 31 Lifetime Major League baseballs
  • 46 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.

9/7/12 at John Thurman Field

Minor League playoff baseball? I think so.

Yep, I’m back in Modesto! This game was going to be slightly different. Here is the story…

So the night before, I was listening to the Nuts/Giants game on the radio, and once the Nuts won the, the broadcaster said that the final game on the 3-game mini-series would be in Modesto at 7pm on Friday.

I then went to the Nuts website to try and purchase tickets, where I found a link where if I took a survey about my experiences at Nuts home games this year, then I would win 2 free playoff tickets.

Survey completed. Tickets won.

I somehow convinced my dad to take me (still trying to figure that one out) and he ended up surprising me by purchasing us 2 new seats right behind the Nuts dugout, where I had never sat before. I was excited.

I then told him that I was hoping to leave right after I got out of school at 3:05. It turned out that he had a meeting that was supposed to end at 5pm, so I was kind of disappointed. but still, my dad is taking me to ANOTHER game and it is hard to complain about that!

I got home from school around 3:30 (I walk home) and he showed up around 5:15.

We got to the stadium close to 6:30, and as soon as we got in, I ran to the right field corner

There were some Nuts players starting to get loose

My dad made his way to our seats

There were players walking past the bullpen, and I was able to get one to autograph my ticket

When the infielders starting throwing, I got ball #1 tossed to me.

I then headed back to my seat

Just in time for the line up cards to be exchanged

The sun began to set as the umpires concluded their meeting

The National Anthem was sung

And we were ready for some playoff baseball!

This was the view for the most of the game

The game would feature the Modesto Nuts and San Jose Giants, battling to advance to the next round of the California League playoffs.

My dad had a lot of fun wandering around the stadium, getting some fantastic pictures from different places like the 1st base side, where we had never sat at in Modesto before

He also got some great pictures down the right field line

My dad also went down the left field line to get some cool shots as well

When the Giants finished their ups in the top of the 2nd inning, I called out to Joey Wong for the 3rd out ball, and he tossed it to me for my 2nd of the day.

At the bottom of each inning, I would head over to the Giants dugout to try and get a 3rd out ball, and stood in the walkways between the aisle and concourse, chasing foul balls.

My dad was fantastic about letting me run around, chasing balls and all. Most of the balls that were hit into the stand flew out of the stadium, to be retrieved by fans outside.

When the Giants finished hitting in the top of the 4th, I got a Nuts player to toss me the 3rd out ball for my 3rd ball on the day.

When I caught the ball, a guy who had seen me catch the other ball started yelling at me because it the 2nd ball that he had seen me catch. I gave him my card and mentioned my blog, and he was pretty cool for the rest of the night.

After that incident, I decided that it would be in my best interests to not try really hard for thrown balls, just kind of chase foul balls and have some fun.

There were a few cool things that I noticed that I hadn’t seen before
1) This sign. I guess if a player hits a home run through it, some random fan wins $10,000

2) Oh Mike on the Mic…

Even though I didn’t have much luck, it was really fun just to run around chasing balls, and having a good time.

There was one foul ball that I came close to during the game, and that ball I should have had. It was popped up right behind our seats. I just simply misplayed it. Stupid me.

I Knew that this was an elimination game, and going into the 9th inning, the Nuts were winning, so I grabbed a seat right behind the Giants dugout.

As I was walking to the 3rd base side, I noticed a guy with a radar gun.

Cool stuff.

Of course, the Nuts won, advancing to the next round of the playoffs.

As soon as the game ended, I got down right next to the dugout

And before I had a chance to ask for the line up card, it was peeled off the wall and the manager walked away.

Then, I called out to the bat boy for a ball, which he handed to a player, who walked away.

Then, I noticed the Giants’ catcher with a few bat in his hand and asked him for one. HE then handed it to a kid next to me, who my dad overheard had gotten a bat in the previous 2 games. Wow.

That was it for the night. I wandered around the empty ballpark with my dad for a few minutes

It was fun to be at a playoff game, experience the great atmosphere, and just have fun. It really is amazing how calm everything was, and just a great experience.

After this entry , I have one more entry to get up before I am all up to date, which I will hope to get up in the coming days.

Now there are a few more pictures that my dad took and I have to show. They are pretty awesome!

BALLHAWKING STATS:
• 3 balls at this game
• 15 balls in 6 Minor League games this season = 2.5 balls per game.
• 37 balls in 19 baseball games this season = 1.947 balls per game.
• 15 Lifetime Minor League baseballs
• 42 total balls
• 6 consecutive minor league games with at least 1 ball
• 10 consecutive games with at least 1 ball
• 6 consecutive games with at least 2 balls

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.

8/26/12 at John Thurman Field

This was looking to be a very fun game! I had told my dad that I wanted to go to this game, and he was a little unsure of whether or not he wanted to go.

My sister really wanted to go an spend some time with me, so she convinced him into taking us to this game.

My dad is awesome! He was feeling a little under the weather, but was willing to take us anyway!

On our way to the game, I sent a tweet Theo Bowe, on the Blaze, telling him I would be sitting behind the dugout, asking if he could hook me up with a souvenir of some sort. 30 seconds later, he retweeted it, and 5 minutes later, a guy in the Royals Organization (random) replied, telling me that the player would be able to give me a bat and batting gloves after the game.

Pretty cool! I doubted he actually would, but hey, you never know!

Here is a cool green car I saw on the way there

We arrived in Modesto around 4

The gates were supposed to open at 5 and the game started at 6.

This is what the line looked like

I headed over to look inside

This is what it looked like inside

We picked up our tickets at the box office, and I wanted to just wander around and take some pictures.

First, my sister and I wandered around the outside of the stadium, then she headed back to hang out with my dad by the line.

I started off by going to the right of the box office and getting a picture of the banner outside of the box office

It turned out that I couldn’t go very far in that direction. I stood at the fence that cut me off and got a few quick shots

My dad and sister were sitting down near the gates, just talking and stuff.

I decided to head back in the opposite direction and looked through the fence again

I was on my way back to the outfield, and turned around to get another picture

And saw this gate

And saw this

Catch… the first thought that went through my mind was whether or not I could get a ball. But decided against staying there, and kept on my way. I then noticed an open gate…

I walked closer, and had noticed a ball to the right, maybe 10 feet, but I didn’t want to get in trouble, so I didn’t go in.

At this point, this is where I was

As I headed to the field beyond the wall, I noticed the batting cage in a encaged area

As well as a panel of the outfield wall open

I headed on, and saw the picnic area, I guess it is behind the wall

I wasn’t able to find any balls.

Then, randomly, I saw an airplane

It was time to head to the field.

You walk past that chain link fence, and it is ballhawking heaven

The wall is about 10 feet high, and the scoreboard is just over the LF wall

I stood about 100 feet from the wall, 1/3 of the way across the field, and took a picture behind myself

Freaking glory. So awesome. Just an empty field for lots of balls to fly into

I kept walking, and finally realized that the field was a recreational soccer field, and the main hint was the metal bleachers

My sister and I had already been here, and one thing she noticed was a hole in the bleachers. Dangerous much?

I then had to slip past the little gap between the outfield fence and chain link fence

And there was still nobody out there at all. If there was going to be any BP, which at this point, I highly doubted, it was for sure going to be epic.

I then decided to take an artsy picture of a light pole in right field, right behind the wall

And this one of the right field foul pole and a sign in the shape of a baseball that commemorates a player whose number they retired

I saw a gap in the fence, and looked inside

And I guess the visiting batting cage is right next to the home bullpen, and the Blaze were taking some cuts in the enclosed cage

I walked to the fence, as far as I could go, and this is basically what I saw

And then I noticed a kids play area over by the cage and bullpen

It is more or less an elementary school playground

At this point, it was 4:30, so I wasn’t expecting BP, and that somewhat disappointed me.

I was hoping that the players would stop stretching and play catch, so that I could potentially get a ball thrown over the wall

Christian Bergman walked out to the bullpen with someone who I assume is their bullpen catcher, and the team’s pitching coach, Darryl Scott. I talked with Scott for a few minutes, and then let him get back to focusing on the pitching

Finally, the Nuts pitcher grabbed their glove and started to toss the ball back and forth

This is what I was paying attention to:

While I was paying attention to the bullpen, a loose ball rolled to the wall to my right. I heard a player said “Here buddy” I looked and he tossed a ball up to me over the wall for my 1st ball of the day.

I decided that the player was Nick Schnaitmann, mostly because I heard someone call him Nick.

I just stayed there for the most part, hoping for another snagging opportunity. I waited for about another 15 minutes or so.

Pascale then called me on my phone, telling me that the line was getting long, and that I needed to get there soon. I looked at my watch, and realizing the gates opened in 5 minutes, I ran back to get in line with them. The line was pretty long for a minor league game with no giveaway.

A few minutes after I got there, the gates opened.

I got my ticket scanned, and received my game program and headed towards the field, where it was announced that we could play catch on the field for half and hour.

Knowing this, my sister had brought a ball with her, but I decided that Pascale and I would use the ball I had snagged earlier.

We were positioned on the field by the Nuts mascots, and we played catch for 20 minutes or so.

My dad got a lot of tremendous shots of Pascale and I playing catch.

So once we got onto the field, we were spaced out, right next to the infield, i left field

One thing that really stuck out in my mind was the ugly outfield grass. I thought it was impossible to get worse than the Coliseum in September, but I guess I was wrong

As we were playing catch, there was a groundskeeper watering the infield, and as we were right next to the infield, I got a little wet

After about 20 minutes of catch on the field, I noticed some Blaze players heading to the dugout. I decided that it was time to end catch and head over to the dugout.

Now the reason that I did this was because the last time I was at John Thurmond Field, I got my only ball of the day when I saw a ball on the ground as some players walked into the dugout, and got one of them to toss it to me.

There was some concert thing going on over by the Nuts bullpen or something like that, I wasn’t really paying attention

The players were all just sitting in the dugout, so I decided to go buy myself a Nuts hat and spend a little time with my dad and sister.

After purchasing my hat, I noticed players exiting the dugout, so I headed over to the bullpen area, where I was able to get an autograph from Kurtis Muller on the Blaze.

I was unable to get a ball from the players throwing, so I headed back to my seat in time for the first pitch. I them remembered about the shaved ice stand, so I go a shaved ice, sliding right into my seat in time for the exchanging of the line up cards

Do you recognize the Blaze manager? Here is a closer look at him

That is Ken Griffey Sr. The father of Ken Griffey Jr. Pretty awesome!

Time to play ball!

The seats we had purchased were row 2 aisle seats behind the visitor’s dugout, so I brought my Reds hat, as the Blaze are the High-A affiliate of the Reds.

This was our view for the start of the game

From our seats, my dad was able to get some amazing pictures, like he always does

Theo Bowe, the player I had tweeted, led off for the Blaze

I already had 1 ball, and my goal on the day was to get a foul ball and a few 3rd out balls or infield warm-up balls, as well as the line up cards after the game.

In the middle of the second inning, my dad accompanied my sister in her pursuit of cotton candy.

In the bottom of the 2nd, Juan Crousset stepped to the plate. I was sitting in the 1st row aisle seat, ready to jump out and chase a foul ball. He blooped a little foul pop up over my head. It knew it would land right behind me, but because I didn’t have time to get out of my seat to make a clean catch, I pushed my feet of the dugout wall, kind of jumping, and caught the ball right before it bounced off the table behind the 2nd row.

I got a nice round of applause from the 2,000+ people that were there, a few high-fives from people around me. Then, I snapped a quick photo of the ball.

When my dad and sister came back, with a shaved ice of her own (The cotton candy machine was broken), I showed them the foul ball, and they were pretty impressed. My dad then got a picture of me with the ball.

My sister loved her shaved ice

While I had been trying to get a ball when the Blaze were throwing, I heard a player talking to his mom. I got 2 things in their conversation. 1) All of the pitchers want their pitching coach fired. 2) Because they had won the 1st half in their division, they had a 1st round bye in the playoffs, so they were being lazing and not trying in the 2nd half. I wonder if that is why their pitcher didn’t pitch well.

In the bottom of the 4th, a Nuts player grounded out, and I got the first baseman, Dominic D’Anna to flip me the 3rd out ball.

One thing that I hadn’t noticed last time I was in Modesto was the Nuts bullpen. It is a raised bench in the concourse area.

I chased foul balls and 3rd out balls during the game, but was unable to come up with another ball during the game. One reason was because their was a girl who got most of the 3rd out balls, and got a head start on a lot of foul balls over me. Oh well. It was still a lot of fun!

In the top of the 9th, I got a seat right next to the dugout, so that right when the final out was recorded, I could try to get a ball, bat , or the line up card.

When the Nuts got the final out of the game, this was the scene.

I asked for a ball, but had no luck. Then, I asked the bat boy for the line up cards. He was peeling them off for me, when he told me there was a player who wanted it because of the night before or something like that. I then noticed a broken bat on the dugout floor, and asked the bat boy for that. He told me that he wanted to, but wasn’t allowed to give away broken bats because I could injure myself.

It was a great game! I got the opportunity to play catch with my sister on the field, a lot of fantastic pictures, I got 3 balls (I forgot to grab my 1st ball for the picture below), a Nuts hat, and I got a chance to wear my new A’s sweatshirt!

BALLHAWKING STATS:
• 3 balls at this game
• 12 balls in 5 Minor League games this season = 2.4 balls per game.
• 29 balls in 16 baseball games this season = 1.8125 balls per game.
• 12 Lifetime Minor League baseballs
• 34 total balls
• 5 consecutive Minor League Games with at least 1 ball
• 8 consecutive games with at least 1 ball
• 3 consecutive games with at least 2 balls

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.

8/20/12 at the Oakland Coliseum

My mom surprised me taking me to another game just 2 days after the bobblehead / movie night. My sister was at a friend’s house and I was days from starting high school. Considering that nobody at all wants to see the Twins play at night in Oakland, she decided that it would be the perfect game for us!

Friday night, I searched around on StubHub a little and found 2 amazing pairs of tickets that I had a very hard time choosing from. Before I tell you about them, I just want you to keep in mind that were you to purchase these from the A’s website, they would be $44. And in total, there are about $5-$10 extra fees for purchasing tickets on StubHub.

The fist pair of tickets that I found was in section 120, the rightmost section behind the A’s dugout. It was listed as row 13, which considering the fact that the first row of this section is row 5 means that theses seats are row 8. I always narrow my searches down, so it only shows aisle seats and these were aisle seats. Row 8 aisle seat behind the A’s dugout. $35 each. $44-$35 = $9 difference! This also was the same section I sat in at the very end of this game.

The other tickets we considered were in section 111. That is the section to the right of the visitors dugout. The seats were row 7, also aisle seats. They were $25 each. Mind. Blown.

I had a very hard time choosing. There was a $10 difference and many ballhawking opportunities.

I made a list of cases for both sides.

Section 120:
• Tye Waller rolls the infield warm-up ball up the dugout roof every time
• There is a very good chance for a 3rd out ball
• If there is a little foul pop up in the stands, I could have a good chance at getting it
• I could probably ask for a line up card or ball as soon as the game is over

Section 111:
• If a weak foul grounder is hit, I might be able to scoop it up
• If I am wearing my Twins hat, I might have a good chance at getting 3rd out and infield warm-up balls
• The seats are right next to the dugout, closer to the action
• They are cheaper

I couldn’t decide, so I let my mom choose, and she told me she always prefers the 3rd base side over the 1st base side, so we went with Section 120.

I wasn’t expecting this to be a very popular game, so I figured we could get there 45 or so minutes before the gates opened, and we would be in good shape.

So, for a 7:05 start time and 5:35 gate opening time, I would want to get to the Coliseum sometime between 4:30 and 4:45, which meant getting to BART around 4:00ish. I was looking forward to this nice, calm, relaxing game.

My mom and I left our house around 2:45. We walked to the bus stop from our house and got there around 3:20, getting to BART around 3:50.

We got to the Coliseum around 4:20.

My mom wanted us to walk around the stadium a little, so I started off by taking this picture of her

There was nobody in line at Gate LL or MM. We headed towards gates A and D, and I was hoping to show my mom the staircase Sal and I had gone up on Saturday, but it was closed, along with gate A. There was one person in line at Gate D, and he looked pretty bored.

We made a quick stop in the D Gate team store to browse, the continued on to our destination of Gate C. I got a few pictures along the way of things like the ramp up to Will Call

The Season Ticket Holder entrance

And the Employee Entrance (Gate EE)

This is what I saw when we headed down the hill towards Gate C

There were only a couple people in line. Sweet! We got in line and set out stuff down right next to them in the front. I was ready to get in.

Literally as soon as we set our stuff down, a kid was walking into line from the parking lot and because he had his glove on at the time, an employee tossed him a ball.

I headed to the C Gate store just to waste some time and ended up watching some soccer on the TV in there with about 10 other guys. I came out and had about 30 minutes before the gates opened at 5:35. So it was about 5.

More or less, I waited until the gates opened. Once we were allowed to go in, I ran through bag check, got my ticket scanned, and sprinted to the bleachers. I got there, and set my stuff down. The Twins were taking BP. I was ready! I spent a quick moment, talking to Will, one of the 149 guys, who had just asked a Twins player for a toss up. I guess he makes sure to get a ball every game to give one to a kid in line every day.

The only guy on the field with a uniform number in his back was Glen Perkins, who is number 15. I checked my roster. As soon as I looked up, a ball was hit to Perkins, so I called out to him for ball #1 on the day.

My 2nd ball of the day was meant to be thrown to the guy in the white shirt pictured below

I reached out for the ball and caught it. After realizing he had been trying to catch it, I asked if he wanted it, and gave it to him. A minute later, he caught another ball, and offered it to me. I told him to keep it, because he had caught it.

There were a few balls I probably could have asked for, ones that went over the fence and people went to get. But I didn’t ask for them. It was 10 minutes in and I had 2 balls. I decided to take off my A’s jersey, hoping I would have a better chance at a ball.

5 or so minutes later, a ball was crushed into the tunnel between sections 149 and 148. I was about 4 sections over.

Unfortunately the Coliseum doesn’t have cross-aisles in the bleachers, just wheelchair seating areas that block potential cross-aisle.

So back to that ball. Ross, one of the guys from 149 took off for the ball. I did as well. I was running through the rows, and since I was running much faster than him, I caught up with him. The ball rolled through the concourse and into the woman’s restroom. An usher got the ball, and Ross told her to give the ball to a kid. She handed it to me, and as soon as she gave it to me, I put it in the glove of a little boy, smiled, and headed back to the bleachers. BP was ending as I got back in.

I grabbed my sharpie and headed over to the Twins bullpen, where I saw somebody signing. He was talking with his family, but I was still able to get him to sign my hat, which I was excited about.

I decided to head to my ticketed seat to check out the view and talk to my mom. She was surprised and pleased with my 3 balls in BP and the signature on my hat.

I then headed over to the A’s bullpen, in hopes of getting my 4th ball on the day. I saw a ball lying on the ground, and hoped that someone would be able to toss it to me. I waited for about 10 minutes, and right when I was about to head back, the security guard down the LF line came over. I asked him for the ball, and he told me that he isn’t allowed to.

I headed back to my seat, where my mom and I headed up to the Deli in the West Side club. There was no line, so my mom and quickly ordered sandwiches and fruit and headed back to our seats. There, I ate my fruit and talked with my mom.

I then noticed Kate Longworth, from ComcastSportsNet talking to Chip Hale, the A’s bench coach while he signed autographs. I had found a ticket on the ground, so I was hoping he would sign it, but he had to do an interview with Kate, so he headed back.

I then headed back to the bullpen. Derek Norris came out to warm-up shortly thereafter. I got him to sign the random ticket. I was hoping to get a ball from Chip Hale when he concluded warming up.

I looked over into the dugout, and saw Chip interviewing and demonstrating something. I hoped that he would be over soon, so that I could have a chance at a ball.

Once Norris was done prepping himself, Chip Hale came out of the dugout and grabbed a few balls from the ball bag.

He then went over all of the drills with Derek Norris, that I have seen him do before.

Derek missed one of the balls, and when he did, I moved over in that direction. As soon as they were done, I asked Chip Hale for the ball on the ground. As soon as I had said “Chip”, he tossed me the ball in his hand.

It was a pearl! Perfect ball, the one he hadn’t used. Beautiful.

I then ran over to where the Twins’ starting pitcher for the day was throwing. I took off my A’s jersey and threw on my Twins hat, where an usher approached me, to tell me that if I wanted to catch a ball, I have to have a ticket for that section. Even thought my ticket was right behind the dugout, I couldn’t get there. I headed back to the A’s dugout, where I saw a few guys stretching.

My mom got some great pictures

Note the ball bag right there. That is where Chip Hale had gotten the balls from earlier, and I was hoping to get one when the guys finished throwing.

I noticed Brandon McCarthy throwing with Casey Chavez, so I went over to the bullpen.

After I left for the bullpen, he finished his warm-up tosses, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to get down there, so I focused on getting a ball from the A’s infielders playing catch. Adam Rosales was the lone one working on his swing.

Jemile Weeks all of a sudden ran out of the dugout, in his warm-up fleece. Just a little late I guess…

Once McCarthy was done throwing in the bullpen with Derek Norris, he tossed the ball he used to a kid in the front row and players started to come into the dugout.

I got Jonny Gomes to sign my ticket, quickly followed by Coco Crisp and Tommy Milone.

It was very weird to look out into the RF bleachers and see almost nobody there, except for the 149 regulars.

My mom got a picture of the guys in the broadcast booth. It almost seems like Glen Kuiper is looking right at the Camera.

The meeting at home plate took place

This was our view for most of the game

To the left

And the right

We were all ready to go! I was looking forward to Brandon McCarthy’s start, as I had never seen him pitch in person before.

He looked pretty goo overall

But I do have to say, it wasn’t his best start. He allowed 2 runs in the first inning, on 27 pitches.

I swear Adam Rosales adjusted his socks at least 5 times in the first 3 minutes.

I have to say my mom took some amazing pictures.

Josh Reddick and Jemile Weeks

Yoenis Cespedes

But like I said, Brandon McCarthy really struggled, which I found very disappointing

It not a good thing when the pitching coach has to come to the mound with 2 outs in the 1st inning

A bright spot in the top of the 1st was this picture that I got of section 149

Stomper, the A’s elephant mascot spent the 1st inning in our section, trying to buy food from vendors, who seemed to be very amused. My mom got this fantastic picture of me with Stomp in the background.

Josh Reddick popped up to end the A’s half of the first

Here I am with 2 of my first 4 balls on my day.

So in the bottom of the 2nd, I walked up to look at the price of the sweatshirt, and as I was walking back to the seat, I saw the boy who I had given the home run ball to earlier in BP. He had the biggest smile on his face and looked so happy, clutching the ball close to his chest.

I went over to say hi to him, and his mother told me that he hadn’t let go of the ball since I had given it to him. I gave him a high five and headed back to my seat.

1 out into the 3rd inning, Brandon had allowed 10 hits and 5 runs. Travis Blackley, the A’s long man came in. And wow! he did a great job! He allowed 1 run and 5 hits over the final 5 and 2/3 of the game.

At the top of every inning, the A’s first baseman (This game featured Chris Carter) tosses the ball to Tye Waller, the A’s 1st base coach, who will roll the ball up the dugout roof to a kid or elderly season ticket holder. A’s players always toe 3rd out balls into the stands. 2 different ball chances x 9 innings = 18 chances for balls + foul balls.

I didn’t get a ball for the first 5 innings. The closest I came was a warm-up ball, were when Tye Waller rolled the ball up, the usher for the section PUSHED fans out of the way to ensure a gloveless kid got the ball.

I got the infield warm-up ball in the top of the 6th, my 5th on the day.

After I got back to my seat with that ball, the usher approached me, telling me to stay in my seat for the rest of the game. He told me not to get any more balls and just to watch the game.

I grabbed my dad’s camera, and headed down to row 3, where I got some pictures. This was my view for the rest of the game.

I didn’t really try for any more balls, so that I wouldn’t get kicked out for pissing the usher off or anything like that.

I kind of just sat in my seat, and when someone went to toss a ball into the stands, I would just kind of hold up my glove in hopes of a ball coming near me. There was one time where I tried for a 3rd out ball from Chris Carter and the usher pointed to the 3rd row seat, telling me to go back.

Due to the fact that the A’s bullpen is not connected to the clubhouse, a lot of times, the relievers are walking back and forth from the dugout and the bullpen.

It was a lot of fun actually not to go for balls, because I got to take some pictures, and a few of them actually turned out ok!

Whenever I watch A’s game at home, one thing I notice is how tense Jonny Gomes looks at the plate

But like I said, it was so much fun just to relax in the 3rd row, taking pictures and enjoying the game.

To give you a perspective of how close the first row is, I snapped this picture of Chris Carter emerging from the dugout. I barely zoomed in at all.

Josh Reddick stepped to the plate in the bottom of the 8th, hoping to lower the Twins lead to 4 runs, but he was unable to, as he struck out on a foul tip.

After Reddick stuck out, Yoenis Cespedes stepped to the plate.

And on the 8th pitch of the at-bat, Cespedes took a huge hack at a slider and…

Flied out to left fielder and former Athletic Josh Willingham.

And just to let you know, this is the usher for the section in case you ever sit in section 121 or 120.

The A’s were unable to do anything in the bottom of the 9th, and the final score was 7-2. As Tye Waller walked in from the 1st base coach’s box, and as he started to walk down into the dugout, I called out to him, asking for the line up card, but he shook his head no.

I had already broken my record for most balls at an MLB game with 5, and was hoping to tie my record for most balls at a game of 6, which I set on July 14th at a San Jose Giants game.

I saw the A’s relievers coming in from the bullpen, and quickly scanned their hands, in hopes of getting my 6th ball on the day. I spotted a ball in Grant Balfour’s hand, and after making eye contact with him, I pounded my glove, holding it up, and had my 6th and final ball of the day.

Wow. It was a great day. I had a great time spending time with my wonderful mom and it was awesome getting 6 balls and having great seats while doing it.

The announced attendance was just under 10,000, and I decided that I need to make it to more game like that. Great day!

BALLHAWKING STATS:
• 6 balls at this game (4 pictured because I gave 2 away)
• 17 balls in 11 Major League games this season = 1.55 ball per game.
• 26 balls in 15 baseball games this season = 1.733 balls per game.
• 22 Lifetime Major League baseballs
• 31 total balls
• 5 consecutive games in Oakland with at least 1 ball
• 6 consecutive games with at least 1 ball

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.

8/18/12 at the Oakland Coliseum

This was probably going to be one of my favorite baseball games ever.

There was a Scott Hatteberg bobblehead giveaway. And after the game, for extra $10 or something like that, we got to go on the field after the game and watch Moneyball. Awesome!

I invited my friend Sal to this game, because I knew he would want to come and I hadn’t been to a game with him in a few years. I went to 1 with him in ’09 and 2 in 2010.

I expected the lines to be very, very long.

My plan was to pick him up at 1:15 and catch the 1:40 BART train with him and my mom to the Coliseum, getting there a little after 2.

We picked up Sal at 1:15 and after being stuck in traffic, we got to BART at 1:35. My dad dropped the 3 of us off and we caught the 1:40 BART train, getting to the Coliseum a little after 2.

The line at Gate LL was long, so I headed to Gate C, because I assumed B would be closed. They were expected long lines, because they had caution tape set up for the line to double back 3-4 times. When we got to Gate C, there were maybe 20 people in line, so I jumped in there.

At this point, it was 2:30ish. Sal and I played Monopoly on our phones for a bit, before I decided that I wanted to get up and walk around.

Sal had talked about wanting a new A’s hat, so after seeing that the C Gate team store was closed, we kept walking. The season ticket holder line was getting long, and when we got to D Gate, the line had already doubled back once and was getting very long quickly. We headed into the team store there, which happened to be open, where Sal got a new A’s hat.

Line MM was long too, and when we got back C Gate, the line hadn’t changed much. We took some pictures and just talked and waited until about 45 minutes before the gates opened, before I declared that I wanted to walk around 1 more time. Keep in mind that there were only 50 or so people in line. We first stopped in at the C Gate Team store, where I got this picture of the boxes of bobbleheads beyond the ticket scanners.

After spending 5 or so minutes in there, we kept walking, and outside D Gate, which had tripled since were were last there, saw the 95.7 The GAME booth set up, where they were broadcasting live.

As we walked along the line that was very, very long, I noticed the daily RF Bleacher Section 149 tailgate

Once we had walked to the end of the line, where it started to double back, at Gate A, which along with Gate B wasn’t being used, I notice that the stairs up to gate AA, which are usually closed were opened. Sal and I headed up to see what we could see.

I looked inside and the cages were all set up, which was a very good thing. I also saw some Indians pitchers warming up.

By this time, after spending a few minutes here, I realized we had already been gone for 20 minutes, so after 4 failed attempts to call my mother, we headed to get back in line. Gate LL and MM had tripled as well since we had last been there, and at this point, I guessed there were at least 5,000 people already in line.

When we got to the end of the LL line, I saw the line at Gate C and it had gotten larger by at least 5x. It was crazy. And like 30 new people were in front of us. Whatever. I got this picture of a lady holding a sign to show where the end of the line was.

And then my mom snapped a quick photo of Sal and I that neither of us wanted.

My sister joined us a few minutes before the Gates opened, and my dad decided it wouldn’t be appropriate for him to join us, so he got in the end of the line.

I was pumped and ready to go, so at 4:05, I ran to get in the shortest bag check line, and after getting my ticket scanned and grabbing my bobblehead, I sprinted for the bleachers. I was hoping for a particular 1st row seat, but it was occupied. I adjusted by setting my stuff down in aisle seats of rows 2 and 3 to reserve them for my group.

Indians BP was in full swing and I figured I should start looking for easter eggs.

I saw a ball a few rows back, and picked it up for ball #1 on the day.

Some guy started heckling the Indians closer Chris Perez to the point where he got security to kick the guy out of the Coliseum. No joke. The guy was cussing Perez out and using words that I will refrain from repeating, but I think you get the point.

Chris had told the guy to meet him over by the bullpen, and that is exactly what happened, I found this video on YouTube of the confirmation. CAUTION- CONTINUAL USE OF FOUL LANGUAGE

BP was very frustrating. The Indians were not hitting the ball out and players were tossing a lot up. But they ignored me. There was an unknown player who threw a ball over everyone’s heads, so I ran after it, but someone pushed me into the side of the wall and ended up with the ball. Nice going.

That was the closest I came to a ball in the bleachers after my 1st ball.

After that, I decided that it was time to move somewhere else, as the bleachers were getting overcrowded and I was getting agitated.

My dad caught some good shots during BP like these

Sal and I headed down to the RF line, where I had been for this game in hopes of me getting a ball. A screaming line drive was hit in my direction, but 10 rows behind me, and knowing nobody would catch it, I ran to try to get the ball trickling down. I was pushed OVER A ROW OF SEATS trying to get the ball and had to do some fancy parkour to stay on my feat. I got a glove on the ball, but someone pushed it off and ended up throwing the ball onto the field and getting kicked out.

So that makes 2 people kicked out and 2 rag doll Nicks on the day.

I expected only a few more minutes of BP, and there were a several balls hit near me during that period. The first few were grounders down the line that I asked Indians players for and ended up being ignored. There were also 2 that ended up under the Indians’ bullpen bench.

The one other ball caused quite a commotion. A line drive was hit, just like the previous one, and as the ball trickled down the steps, I grabbed it with my glove, and a 300+ pound man pushed me over, rolled on TOP of me, and grabbed the ball. At this point, I was laying on the stairs on my side with a 30 year old man that weighed over 300 pounds on top of me. His knee was bleeding and my entire left hand was hurting (he had sharp elbows and knees) and people were trying to help him off.

At this point, BP was coming to an end. I literally rolled out from under him, and sprinted off towards the dugout, leaving Sal behind.

I was yelled at my 5 ushers to slow down, and after slowing down, I got to the dugout, where I called out for a ball, to be met with odd stares.

I decided to head back, in hopes of asking Mark, the awesome security guard by the visitor bullpen for one of the balls that I hoped was under the bullpen bench still.

I was only my way over when Sal approached me and said Mark had a ball for me. I guess there had been a family that had seen the whole incident and asked him to give me a ball. I told him he didn’t need to give me a ball, but he insisted. In the hindsight, he raised my spirits and showed his awesomeness. I then chatted up the family and told them about my blog, ballhawking, and offered them the ball, which they refused.

After this, I dropped my stuff off in the bleachers with my dad and sister and headed with my mom and Sal to Deli 215, which is the Sandwich bar in the Westside Club, which I mentioned in my last entry.

When we got there, it was just after 5:00, so I was a little concerned about getting back to our seats in time for the pre-game ceremony. We purchased 4 sandwiches plus fruit cups for my sister and me. It was 5:20 when we headed back to our seats. When we got there, I snapped this picture of my sister’s bobblehead.

A few minutes prior to the ceremony, they adjusted the red carpet a little

And extended it to the infield

I then randomly noticed many birds flying over the field

This is what was on the horizontal scoreboards up until the ceremony got underway

When the ceremony got underway, they had people walk out boards with the number of each game of the win streak, first 3 at a time, then 2 and eventually 1. After every set of boards, members of the 2002 team would be introduced by the legendary former voice of the Athletics, Roy Steele, back at the Coliseum again. It was amazing to hear his voice. It gave me goosebumps.

I think one of the 3 loudest rounds of applause went to then-bench coach and former manager Ken Macha

The whole ceremony lasted about 20 minutes, and I got video of 18 of those minutes.

Chants of T-LONG! echoed throughout the Coliseum as Terrance Long walked down the red carpet

The 2nd loudest round-of-applause of the night went to manager Art Howe, who considered not participating because of the uncomplimentary portrayal of him in the movie Moneyball.

But the loudest the Coliseum got was when Scott Hatteberg walked onto the field.

Here are all of the boards lined up along the infield with all of the members of the ’02 squad that attended in the middle of the infield

There were many, many video tributes throughout the ceremony, including one for each game of the streak

In all, there were 10 members of the 2002 team that participated in the pre-game festivities

Sal and I watched it all from the first row, in the aisle.

One thing, that I think was great on the A’s part was to get videos of a few players from the team apologizing that they couldn’t make it; guys like Eric Chavez, Barry Zito, and David Justice.

There was also a fantastic tribute to the late, great Cory Lidle, a part of the 2002 team who tragically died in a plane crash in 2006. The A’s raised $10,000 for the Cory Lidle foundation over the course of the weekend.

All of the people with the number signs exited via the red carpet as the ceremony ended.

My dad, once again took some fantastic pictures throughout the game of guys like Brandon Moss

And Yoenis Cespedes

He also got photos of the 149 RF bleacher crew

And the RF Drummer

Here is Yoenis Cespedes scoring on his home run in the 3rd

Along with Josh Reddick

Coco Crisp is starting his handshake with Yoesnis

Overall, I think we all really enjoyed the game

Evan Scribner and Jerry Blevins combined to allow 4 runs in the 9th

After Blevins allowed another hit, Melvin came out and brought in Grant Balfour

Balfour into game means 3 words: Metalica and RAGEFEST!

Once Balfour nailed down the save, it was an A’s win!

Now it was time to watch Moneyball!

We left our seats, and went and got in line, and we were about in the middle of it. This is what was in front of us.

And behind us.

We walked down the steps and settled down on the field

I got out my A’s sluggie (A giveaway at an A’s game I went to with Sal in 2010)

I think my entire family was excited

They pulled down a screen in centerfield for the movie

And before it started, Hatteberg answered a few questions and introduced the movie

There were less people than I expected at the movie

Overall, the movie was a lot of fun

And when it was all over, the sprinklers turned on

Right before the movie ended, I took another 360 degree panoramic picture

It was pretty cool to see the entire Coliseum empty

It was a great day. 2 balls, 1 bobblehead, and an amazing experience!

BALLHAWKING STATS:
• 2 balls at this game
• 11 balls in 10 Major League games this season = 1.1 ball per game.
• 20 balls in 14 baseball games this season = 1.429 balls per game.
• 16 Lifetime Major League baseballs
• 25 total balls
• 4 consecutive games in Oakland with at least 1 ball
• 5 consecutive games with at least 1 ball

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.

6/24/12 at Oakland Coliseum

Time for another game! This game would feature the Oakland Athletics and San Francisco Giants. Great, you would think, right? Yes and no. If you are a ballhawk, it is miserable. The Coliseum is already bad enough for ballhawking and then you give it a sold out crowd. Yeah. But overall, I was looking forward to it. I had never been to an A’s/Giants game and I figured it would be a fun challenge. Let’s do this.

Originally, I wanted to get to the Coliseum around 9am for the 11am gate opening and 1:05 start time. Well my dad didn’t exactly enjoy getting there an hour early on Thursday and my mom and sister didn’t enjoy a waiting in line for an hour and a half on Wednesday. So my mom proposed that she and I take BART to the Coliseum to get there at the time I wanted. Then he and my sister would show up around noon. That was fine with me.

So my mom and I got to BART around 9:50 and the Coliseum at 10:30.

We got in line at gate C and were the first ones in line. Again. It was awesome.

I didn’t think there’d be batting practice. The game the day before had been at 4:15, so I was overjoyed when I ran into the stadium and saw this

The cages were up and I was excited! I was feeling so good. I figured since there was nobody on the field only the Giants would be hitting. They took the field at 11:30ish and I was excited to say the least.

Wow. BP was boring. Very boring. Only ONE ball was hit to the right field bleachers and that was in the very front corner of the bleachers. I talked with multiple ballhawks, including one that I met on Wednesday. I talked with a Giants fan that makes it out to this game every year. He is the guy in the Orange afro in this picture…

The only toss-up that I saw during batting practice was from Sergio Romo to some lady that had screamed at the top of her lungs. Sigh. It was very frustrating. I put on my catcher’s mitt, with no hope of catching a home run, and focused on toss-ups. I had no luck.

And before I knew it, BP was over, and I was without a single ball. I am starting to wonder if the RF line would be a better for BP than the bleachers.

I went straight to our seats between the Giants bullpen and foul pole to meet up with my family. I stayed there until the game started.

After Matt Cain finished warming up with bullpen catcher Bill Hayes, I asked Bill for the ball. He flat out said no and tossed it to someone to the dugout side of the bullpen. That was the last chance I had for a ball before the game started, because ushers start to check tickets right after batting practice is over, and it is almost impossible to get into another section.

Now for those of you that have ever been to an A’s game on a Sunday, you know that before the first pitch, Stomper will drive around the warning track in the “Smiling Chevron Car,” followed by some girls and a guy that have bags filled with things like bead necklaces and logo baseballs. For this game, I ended up with this

I guess this time, they had necklaces, Bay Bridge Series baseballs, and t-shirts, when I opened it up, this is what I saw..

MLB Fan Cave! I was surprised that they had t-shirts, and I was figuring it would just be a Chevron shirt or something like that. Cool!

A.J. Griffin had been called up from AAA Sacramento to make the start, in place of Brandon McCarthy, who was placed on the DL. This game would be Griffin’s debut. In the last game I went to, I saw Derek Norris make his MLB debut, and he would do the catching in this game. A.J. struck out the first batter of the game on 3 pitches, which was really great to see.

I only came close to two foul balls during the game. The first one was hit right to the other end of my row, but because it was so crowded, even though I tried my hardest to get to it, I was unable to get the ball. The second time came in the bottom of the 3rd inning, when Cliff Pennington fouled a ball in my direction. I had a hard time tracking the ball, but when I realized it was going to go a little over the rail, I reached over to position myself. I heard an usher yell “No!” very loudly, so I backed away as he ran down the steps. Gregor Blanco caught it and came crashing against the wall right in front of me. When I was watching the game over on my TV, you can see me behind the Comcast SportsNet logo.

There were some very obnoxious Giants Fans sitting right in front of us

There was only one other ball in the entire game that I cam relatively close to, I wouldn’t have had any chance of getting it, but it was very controversial. In the bottom of the 6th inning, Seth Smith came up with runners on first and second. He drew the count full and he fouled a ball down the line. It hit the line and rolled into the corner. Gregor Blanco pointed to foul territory, as if to say the ball was foul. And guess what? Todd Tichenor, the first base umpire, called it foul. Josh Reddick, the runner on second had already scored, and the hit would have given the A’s a 3-2 lead. But no. He called the ball foul and the count remained full.

In the replay, you can clearly see chalk fly up, so the ball is fair. But I guess the umpires didn’t see it that way.

They zoomed in on me looking down the line to see Bob Melvin arguing with first base umpire Todd Tichenor

Here, you can see Blanco running after the ball. I circled my mom and I in red.

In this shot, you can see me about to ask Gregor Blanco for the ball

Here, there are two things you can see, and I have labeled them for your convince
1) Nicholas Badders (Meeeee!)
2) The ball bouncing off of the line and chalk flying up

So I asked Gregor Blanco for the ball, and he said “Yeah, sure.” I was relieved not to get shut out for the third game in a row! Right when he went to toss it to me, I heard a loud “NO!” from the Giants bullpen, so he rolled the ball to Sergio Romo. Great. I had a feeling that they were worried that there was paint that you could see on the ball, and they didn’t want me to have it.

A.J. Griffin did allow 2 runs in the first on a home run by Buster Posey, but at the end of the inning, when he came in the dugout, he said he wasn’t going to allow any more runs for the rest of the game. Fro the next 5 innings, he matched Matt Cain pitch for pitch. Bob Melvin put in Sean Doolittle to pitch after A.J. walked Buster Posey to open up the 7th.

Doolittle, a former first baseman, pitched a solid 7th and got the first two out of the 8th.

Jim Miller got the last out of the 8th and pitched a 1-2-3 top of the 9th.

I forget when in the game it was, but Jeremy Affeldt came right in front of my seat and on his way back to the bullpen, I gave him a fist bump. It was pretty cool.

Going into the bottom of the 9th, Yoenis Cespedes, Seth Smith, and Brandon Inge were due up. Cespedes singled to left and Jonny Gomes came on to pinch run for him.

Seth Smith struck out swinging and Brandon Inge singled and there were runners on first and second with Brandon Moss, one of the A’s hottest hitters at the plate. He struck out.

Now due up was rookie Derek Norris. Keep in mind that he was without an extra-base hit, home run, walk-off hit, or walk-off home run in his career.

He brought the count full. There were runners on first

And second.

With 2 outs, the runners would be going. And the pitch…

A’s Win!

Here are some pictures from the home run and celebration

The Swing…

Watching the ball…

Jonny Gomes jumping on his way to the plate…

Players running in from the dugout…

Derek Norris running home…

Look how high Derek Norris is jumping…

Derek is somewhere in there…

They did end up ripping his shirt off…

This is his post-game interview with Comcast SportsNet California. I felt bad for him because he got a shaving cream pie to the face along with tubs of Gatorade and water dumped on him. I think he may have had contacts on too

Josh Reddick came to his rescue with some towels

That he promptly used

And his interview with MLB Network

After all of the celebration had died down, I began to wander the stadium for any loose balls while the kids run the bases thing was set up

So if you guys don’t already know, on Monday, July 2nd, Zack Hample is going to be doing something pretty cool. He is going to attempt to set a world record. And it has nothing to do with video games. He is going to attempt to catch a baseball dropped from a helicopter 1000 feet in the air. This is the entry he wrote on his blog about it. This is an entry on his blog about practicing for it. Ballpark Digest wrote an article about what Zack is doing. And finally, the Lowell Spinners wrote an article about it, because their ballpark is where the whole event is taking place.

This brings me to the fact that I will be off next week because I will be at Boy Scout camp. I get back July 7th, and am hoping to go to the A’s game July 8th. I guess we will have to wait and see because I have no games written in stone for the month of July.

BALLHAWKING STATS:
• 0 balls at this game
• 4 balls in 6 Major League games this season = 0.667 ball per game.
• 7 balls in 9 baseball games this season = 0.778 ball per game.
• 9 Lifetime Major League baseballs
• 12 total balls

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.

6/20/12 at the Oakland Coliseum

I had been looking forward to this game for a long time. It was an interleague game, Root Beer (Or Orange Crush) Float Day and the Dodgers were using commemorative balls. And because of root beer float day, the gates would open 2 hours early, instead of the usual weekday 1 1/2 hours. early. My plan was to leave for the BART Station around 1 and get to the Coliseum sometime between 1:30 and 2pm. I would ask around to find the best gate to enter and head to that gate.

I had tweeted the A’s earlier and they recommended LL or MM. After entering, I would head straight to the Eastside Club to get my Orange Crush Float in a autographed Cliff Pennington mug and head out to the bleachers and ballhawk.

Well the only one problem was that my sister had nature camp that lasted until 4. The game started at 7. The gates opened at 5. I wanted to get there between 1:30 and 2. Problem achieved. My parents picked her up around 2, because that was all that was the only time the camp would let us get her. They came home, my sister put on her A’s gear and we headed out to BART. This game was only going to be me, my mom, and sister, so my dad just dropped us off at the BART station and we were off.

The ride on BART lasted half an hour, like it always does. I killed some time my studying up on the Dodgers roster.

We got to the Coliseum ar 3:30 and from there, we got in line at gate LL.

I walked around the stadium a few times and noticed some interesting things. As I walked past C and D gates, the 2 that are open for entrance every game had moveable fences around them. But nobody was in line. NOBODY at all!

I also 2 the CBS 5 news trucks by Oracle Arena.

When I got back to line, I still had time to kill before 5:05. I saw the, loading the root beer inside.

And the set up in process.

I also ate lunch and talked with some lady that was nice. When it was time to go in, I had my bag checked and ticket scanned, and I ran to the table straight ahead, where the special mugs could be purchased. My sister and I both purchased a Cliff Pennington autographed mug, and it was actually hand-autographed, not just stamped or printed on.

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(That picture along with the next 3 were taken on my phone at home)

As I entered the East Side club, I got my bearings and considered my options. Should I get my float from somebody right away and risk a great opportunity, or go farther and see what else there was? I decided to go all the way to the end, and on a certain level, it payed off. There was a table that said “Everything $5” I looked closer and there were past giveaways there. All ones that I had wanted. I ended up getting a Justin Duchscherer bobblehead…
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a Ryan Sweeney Jersey…
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and an Athletics yoga mat…
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Pretty legit. I decided to get a float from Stomper, the A’s mascot, and Splash, the Ports mascot.

Yes, I would have rathered gotten a float served from the Warrior Girls, Raiderettes, Mrs. McCarthy (You may recognize her from ESPN) or Jonny Gomes, but I decided to get my float quick and get to ballhawking. Right when I got to the RF bleachers, the A’s were just ending BP… I waited a few minutes, and right after my mom and sister arrived, the Dodgers started hitting.

I have no words to describe the frustrations. There was a ball hit a little ways over my head, and as I chased to get it, it bounced around and I couldn’t get to it in time. It was a commemorative ball. Great. And of course, on the next pitch, before I could get back to the front, a ball was hit right where I had been standing. And the guy tried to barehand it and it landed on the out-of-town scoreboard. Commemorative ball. Great. There were many other stories like this, including one where some guy pushed me out of the way to get a ball, and he didn’t even catch it. And it was commemorative too… WHAT THE HECK??? There was a ball that rolled up onto the warning track and Todd Coffey went to go get it. I yelled out “Hey Todd! Is there any chance that you could please throw me that ball?” That prompted everyone to start yelling things like “Todd!” “Coffey” “T-Cod!” “Ball!” and “Throw it here!” He then asked “Who said please?” Everyone in the section pointed to me, and I told him that I had, but some guy yelled out “I DID!” and Todd threw it to him. Ugh! It was commemorative too! He was the only Dodger who threw a ball up during ALL OF BP! They were being very, very stingy about balls. Just like in San Diego. At 6:20, when batting practice was over, I had 0 balls. Yay!

I headed out of the bleachers and down to the Dodgers dugout to try and get a ball. Boy was it crowded! Wow! I put on my Dodgers hat and took off my Jersey and tried my luck, but within a few minutes, the usher kicked us all out. Cool. I then headed to the Dodgers bullpen, where I was for 20 minutes before the ushers started checking tickets. I stayed off to the side, until an usher headed my way, where I went to the section behind the cross aisle, where tickets were not being checked. I was hoping to get a ball from a player warming up, but I couldn’t get close enough… stupid ushers…

I changed back into my A’s gear and headed for my seat, where I told my sister of my frustrations. My only hope at this point was a Home Run ball, or a 3rd out toss up. In the top of the 8th, Josh Reddick missed a throw from Coco Crisp while warming up, so he grabbed the ball, I called out to him; he pointed to me, and threw the ball. Some old guy reached in front of me at the *very* last minute and got the ball. This was just not my night. But it would get worse. Josh Reddick caught the 3rd out of the inning, and he once against pointed to me. But this time, he chucked it 10 feet above my head. I sprinted back in hopes of getting it on a rebound, but right has I went to grab it, a 300 pound man pushed me/tackled me, and ended up with the ball. This was horrible!

In the bottom of the 8th inning, Brandon Moss stepped up to the plate and CRUSHED the ball to the RF bleachers, a section to my left. But because the bleachers were so packed and are hard to navigate, I wasn’t able to get there in time, and the ball bobbled around a little bit, before somebody grabbed it.

That was the closest I came again, and as a result, I got shut out again. Wonderful.

I got a great picture with my awesome sister.

And a picture with all of my loot, I guess you could say.

In clockwise order from the top, you have my french fry helmet, my Root Beer float mug, my bobblehead, my Jersey, and yoga mat.

Keep scrolling after the stats for a few more pictures…
BALLHAWKING STATS:
• 0 balls at this game
• 4 balls in 4 Major League games this season = 1 ball per game.
• 7 balls in 7 baseball games this season = 1 ball per game.
• 9 Lifetime Major League baseballs
• 12 total balls

This is what it looks like from the BART train approaching the Coliseum

I took this picture of the sign that is Oakland’s equivalent of the Yankee Stadium subway sign thing

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.