Category: autographs

7/27/13 at Banner Island Ballpark

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The next guy in the cage was Bruce Maxwell.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Then came the Giants BP…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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It’s the little things that make you smile.

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

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

On the mound for the Ports was James Simmons

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

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Meanwhile, on the mound for the Giants was Kelvin Marte

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Seriously though, Ryan Cavan has an amazing mustache!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How cool is that?!?

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

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

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

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

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I got a picture with it.

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And so did Vanessa.

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COOL STUFF!

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

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

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

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

BALLHAWKING STATS:

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

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

1/27/13 at A’s FanFest

Wow. This was a truly incredible day!

Last year, A’s FanFest was the same weekend, on Sunday, January 29th. It was a lot fo fun and you can read about it here!

It started off at 6am, when I woke up and slowly got ready, with the rest of my family out of bed by 6:45. We were out of the house and on our way to Oakland at 7:20, getting there around 7:50, where I found about 6 lines, each with 20-50 people. I got in the shortest line, which was to the far right. My dad and sister shortly arrived from the parking lot, with folding camping chairs and blankets, as we had a 1.5 hour wait in front of us.

Like I mentioned in this entry, the event was taking place mainly at the Oracle Arena.
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My sister and I decided to wander around a little, so we headed towards the Coliseum, where people were waiting anxiously in line for single-game tickets, like I did last year.
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We then headed past Gate A and up the ramp towards the BART Plaza.
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Along our way, I got a couple of photos of signs like these.
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When we got to the BART Plaza, I saw an electronic sign that was flashing “FAN FEST SOLD OUT. SINGLE GAME TICKETS ON SALE AT 9AM.”
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When we got over by B and C gate, I took note of the parking lot.
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The day before, there had been a supercross event at the Coliseum, so they have been unable to hold FanFest there. All of the semi-trucks were still parked in the lot.

We eventually made our way back, at which point I decided to sit in one of the chairs and relax.
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My dad got a couple more good photos of me.
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The lines behind us grew much longer.
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And this guy’s hat attracted more and more attention!
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Around 8:45, this was the scene.
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At this point, my dad and I left the line, bringing the chairs and stuff back to the car, as we headed to go pick up our media credentials for BlogFest!

On our way pack to the car, the line had gotten pretty long!
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At 9am, we picked up our passes. This is what my press pass looked like. How cool is that?
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We made our way back towards the Arena, where we still had 25 minutes to wait in line.
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At 9:30am, the lines started to move, and people were brought in. I would say there were 20 or so people in front of me in line.

It felt like a mad dash to get to the bleachers! I ran inside the barricaded area between the Coliseum and Arena, and ran inside, up an escalator, and got in a very short line for the Authenticated Memorabilia stand, which quickly grew VERY long. I’m sure you are wondering what the big deal was.

This was the scene before I was let in.
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As soon as you walked in, to the right, there was a table, with game-worn batting helmets and hats, each was $40.
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In the center, there was another table with the $40 helmets.
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In the right of this picture, you see people crowding around the coveted jerseys table. BP/Spring Training jerseys were $30 each, Bob Melvin/Josh Reddick/Brandon McCarthy jerseys were $200 each, and all other jerseys were $100 each. In the center, you should see a table with plastic bags, that inside contained dugout jackets that were each $100!
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There was also this table, with game-used bats for $100.
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And to it’s left, there were champagne bottle from the Playoff clinching and AL West clinching clubhouse celebrations for $30 each.
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Along with these items, there were signed aprons from MUG Root Beer float day for $20, DVDs commemorating the 2002 20-game win streak for $20, and bases for $100.

Game-used pants were $10 each, and I would say they had about 7 different styles, mostly from throwback games.

There were also 2 tubs of game-used baseballs, which I thought nothing of. I later saw people with lots of different commemorative balls, which I think would have been cool to have!

I grabbed this program that was sitting by the bin of balls
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In the end, I purchased a #31 nameless batting practice jersey ($30), which I knew must have been worn my Kirk Sarloos, because he was #31 when the A’s wore this style of jersey.20130127-201208.jpg20130127-201213.jpg

I also got a game-used batting helmet ($40)20130127-201202.jpg

Pair of game-used throwback pants ($10)20130127-201222.jpg20130127-201227.jpg

This Root Beer float day apron, signed by David Justice ($20)20130127-201235.jpg

And these COOL knee savers, with the #8 on them, so I will assume that they were Kurt Suzuki’s ($10)20130127-201242.jpg

I got those 5 items, spending $110. How cool is that??

From there, my family and I walked around the upper concourse area, where my dad peeked in on the court area and snapped a few really cool pictures!
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We quickly stopped at the Kids Club table, where my sister purchased a kids club kit and got an autograph voucher.
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From there, we headed down to the lower concourse, where I was looking for anything free.

I grabbed these 5 soft balls at a Sport Clips table
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Along with a few other freebies
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At the Sport Clips table, they were giving free hair cuts, which I thought was kind of cool! IMG_1070

We stopped at the Stockton Ports table, where I got a bunch of free stuff!

4 of these Baseball cards
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And 4 of these bookmarks:
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4 of these team photos
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And these two items as well!
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After that, we stopped at the Athletics Magazine table, where I signed up for a 2013 subscription, and was given this free magazine from 2012!
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From here, we headed outside.IMG_1072

We decided to get in line for the clubhouse tours! We entered at the Employee Entrance
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And were ready to head down this long ramp
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The only reason they couldn’t hold it in the Coliseum was because of the Motercross event the day before. There were a bunch of dirt mounds on the field.
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We walked through the concourse a little, then down a few more ramos, before we got to this signIMG_1111

We then walked down this tunnel
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We eventually got to what seemed like the area near the clubhouse.

We walked past the Umpire’s room
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And saw this sign
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There were a few more signs like that along the hallway like these
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We then walked past the weight room
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And took a look inside
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We kept going, walking past theses signs
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Finally, we were right accross the way from the clubhouse, in the hallway with lots of cool memorabilia
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We walked past Steve Vucinich’s office. “Vuch” is the A’s equipment manager
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We finally got inside, and I took another pictures of this sign
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This is how the clubhouse was laid out
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Ariel Prieto, Yoenis Cespedes’ interpretor, as a locker right next to Cespedes
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Jim Miller, Travis Blackley, and Dallas Braden all have lockers next to each other
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Last year, Mike Gallego, Eric Sogard, and Tommy Milone greeted people in the clubhouse. This year, it was new bullpen coach Darren Bush. Here is the thing… NOBODY recognized him! Except for me, that is!

I immediately approached him, and he was very excited to see that someone had recognized him. I felt bad for him! Darren is a great guy, and I have a feeling I will be getting a few balls from him in 2013! IMG_1164

We left the clubhouse at headed out get autographs, since the autograph coupons we had received upon entry were for session #1, which was supposed to end soon. There were 3 autograph stations outside, in the area between the Coliseum and Arena. There were signs above each station with the people signing at each table.
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The line for Cespedes and Taylor was way too long, so we got in line for Josh Donaldson and Ray Fosse. We got in line and stood there for about 5 minutes, before we were next in line.
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I got both Josh Donaldson and Ray Fosse to sign both sides of the bill of a souvineer french fry helmet that I got at a game in 2012
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This was the scene behind the autograph lines
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Cespedes and Taylor were both busy signing
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My dad was accidentally given 2 autograph coupons for session 1, so he gave his second one to me, so that I could get two more autographs!

I got in line to get Tommy Milone and Pat Neshek to sign the souvenir helmet as well
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After we got autographs, we headed to the under level of the Arena. I saw a line where you could take a picture with Sal Bando and Billy North, along with the *4* A’s World Series trophies.IMG_1214

I was just standing next to the line watching the “action” when it got to a point that nobody was moving forward. Apparently Ray Fosse was scheduled next for the photos and *Everyone* in line was waiting for him. The volunteer that was controlling the line yelled out that anyone that wanted a photo with Billy North and Sal Bando, along with the trophies, could go to the front of the line.

I put everything with my parents, since they didn’t want a picture, and I jumped right to the front of the line. Oh Yeah!EPSON MFP image

We then headed to the main level, where we got some food and checked out the Sacramento River Cats table.
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I picked up this wristband at the stand

After we got our food and sat down, I realized that it was time for my dad and I to head off to BlogFest.

We left my mom and sister at the Q&A session and headed off to drop off some stuff at our car before heading to meet up.

If you don’t remember what BlogFest is, just click here to read what I wrote a few weeks ago about it!

I got to the meeting spot at about 12:40.
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There were lots of other bloggers there as well, including people from A’s Farm, BeanBall, Athletics Nation, newballpark.org, A’s Fan Radio, and many more!
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We walked into the Oracle Arena, down some stairs, through a few tunnels, into the underbellies of the Oracle Arena, and we arrived here!
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When we got into the room, I set up in the back corner of the room with my phone and laptop IMG_1246

This was the setup in the room20130206-213717.jpg

This was the sight from the side of the room
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The back
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We had about 15 minutes to prep before Adam, who coordinated this event, brought in 2012 AL Manager of the year Bob Melvin!IMG_1255IMG_1264

After Melvin, PR Director Bob Rose came in and talked to us for a little bit, while Adam went to get Assistant GM David Forst.
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Adam soon showed up with David Forst!
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Once we finished up with David Forst, Adam went to get Mike Gallego, the A’s 3rd base coach, who had some great stories to tell!
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I’m sure you are wondering what those 3 guys said…

Here is the deal. I have an audio recording of all 3 interviews. Right now, I am working to transcribe all 45 minutes of interviews, and publish IT ALL in a separate blog entry, with analysis of what they said.

It is taking a long time to get everything together, so hopefully, I will get everything up within the next week!

We left the press conference room with everyone else and headed back up to meet up with my mom and sister.

My dad had to leave to go pick up my grandmother and uncle, as we would be driving them out of town after FanFest, so I was alone with my mom and sister.

If you remember from this entry, then you know that in the mail, my family was invited to a special season ticket holder photo meet-and-greet session. The line was getting long, so my mom got in line, while my sister and I decided to wander around.

We headed upstairs to the Memorabilia sale that I had visited earlier, and prices had drastically decreased!

Jackets, baseballs, bats, helmets, and Spring Training jerseys had sold out, however game-worn jerseys were $40, Game-worn hats and pants were $5 each, champagne bottles from the 2012 clubhouse celebrations were $15 each, DVDs from the 2002 season were $5 each and aprons from MUG Root Beer float day were $5 each.

I first grabbed a 2002 DVD for $520130206-213818.jpg

Then this pair of pants for $5, so that I would have matching home and road pairs.20130206-213828.jpg20130206-213837.jpg

I then went over to take a look at the hats. $5 for a hat is a great price alone, but these are 59fifty hats that are usually $40 with tax. Then consider the fact that they are game-worn!

They only had road and 2012 BP hats left, and since I already have a 2012 BP hat, I searched through all the road hats, and found 2 in my size (7 3/8).

I got this one20130206-213731.jpg

That had Tye Waller’s #46 written on the inside20130206-213740.jpg

This hat is special for me because Tye Waller tossed me my first ever baseball.

The second hat I picked up was this one20130206-213749.jpg

It had a #37 written on the inside, with a MLB Authentication sticker20130206-213758.jpg

I looked it up through MLB’s authentication program, and check it out!
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Ron Romanick, the A’s pitching coach in 2011!

Can you guess what I did?20130206-220228.jpg

Yay!! “Official” Certificate printed out from the MLB.com website!

After making this $20 purchase (No, my sister did not ask for anything), we headed back down to wait in line with my mom. The line was moving VERY quickly!IMG_1372

We got to the front of the line, to find YOENIS CESPEDES was taking pictures with group #4 of season ticket holders!IMG_1373

I really wish my dad could have been there with us. It was very, very awesome!

After this, we headed back upstairs, since my sister and I both had received special autograph coupons that allowed us each to get another autograph.

I handed mine and the souvenir helmet that I had previously gotten signed to my mom and she and my sister got in line for Eric Sogard’s autograph.

I headed back to the memorabilia sale to look around. All they had left were jerseys, DVDs, pants, and a few hats. They were desperate to get rid of everything! Hats were still $5, and those were swooped up quickly. DVDs were still $5, and there were A LOT of those left over.

However, they had A LOT of pants left, and there was a lady walking around yelling “PANTS ARE $1 EACH!”

WHAAAAA? I immediately ran over and picked up 3 more pairs of throwback pants- the 3 pairs that they had laying out that I hadn’t already picked up.20130206-213903.jpg20130206-213913.jpg20130206-213920.jpg20130206-213928.jpg20130206-213937.jpg20130206-213945.jpg

Then, I took a look at the game-used jerseys that they had lying out. They were…. *$20* each!

I looked at each jersey, and since there was only one in my size, I immediately grabbed it!20130206-220212.jpg20130206-220221.jpg

A #63 Danny Farquhar green jersey! How cool is that?

Who is Danny Farquhar you might ask?

“He was traded to the Oakland Athletics from the Toronto Blue Jays along with Trystan Magnuson for outfielder Rajai Davis after the 2010 season.
On April 18, 2011, Farquhar was traded to the Blue Jays in exchange for reliever David Purcey.
Farquhar made his major league debut on September 13, 2011, against the Boston Red Sox. He pitched 0.2 innings and allowed three earned runs on three hits, while walking two with no strikeouts. Farquhar was later optioned back to New Hampshire. On June 2, 2012, the Blue Jays designated Farquhar for assignment after claiming Chris Schwinden off waivers from the New York Mets.
On June 9, 2012 the Oakland Athletics claimed Faquhar off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays. After making five appearances in the minor leagues for the Sacramento River Cats, the Athletics waived him to select the contract of A. J. Griffin.”

So…
*He never played a game for Oakland, just the AAA River Cats
*He was in the A’s organization twice
*He was waived for a guy that I saw make his MLB debut.

AWESOME!

Here was my final haul of stuff that I picked up at the memorabilia sale. Great deals, neat stuff, AWESOME!20130206-213955.jpg

I talked with a few people, and before I knew it, my mom and sister came back.

Here is the helmet that I got signed
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PRETTY COOL!

At this point, we headed out and met up with my dad, grandma, and uncle and headed out of Oakland.

This was an amazing day, and I had some once-in-a-lifetime opportunities! I met great people, got great deals, and had a great time!

This event put me just one step closer to Opening Day!

For me, I am looking forward to an exciting season as an A’s fan and season ticket holder!

Later that night, I went on BlogTalkRadio with RF Bleacher regular Will MacNeil to talk about the RF Bleachers and our experiences at FanFest. You can listen to that broadcast here.

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.300x50_mlblogs_top100

Pre- 2013 A’s FanFest!

Tomorrow, for those of you who don’t know, is A’s FanFest!

I’ve been very busy recently, so I clearly haven’t been posting much, however I do have more to post!

Like I said, today is A’s FanFest and I am very excited for this busy day!600x400_fanfest_info_71ke8o4j_txqtjcx7

FanFest starts at 10:30am, however the doors open at 9:30.

I’m sure you are wondering what A’s FanFest is like. Do you remember this entry about it last year?

Here is a map of the event. Click on it to go to the PDF version, where you can take a closer look!
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Tickets were $10 to the general public and the week before tickets for FanFest went on sale, there was a special season ticket holder presale, where tickets were only $5 with a coupon code for season ticket holders only. That is when I got my tickets.

Tickets went on sale Friday, January 11th. There were 10,000 available including the ones that were from the STH presale. Do you want to know when FanFest SOLD OUT? Tuesday, January 15th! That is 5 days for tickets to be on sale. 12 if you count the STH presale.

Ok. Tickets are sold out, which sucks for people who couldn’t get them.

After tickets sold out, they were selling on StubHub for OVER $100 A PIECE!!! How crazy is that?

However, you can visit the oaklandathletics.com homepage or visit oaklandathletics.com/fanfest on Sunday to watch the Q&A sessions in a live stream.

Again, this FanFest is taking place at the Oracle Arena, which is right next door to the Oakland Coliseum.

Before the doors open, 2013 individual game tickets go on sale at 9 a.m. PT at oaklandathletics.com, by phone at (877) 493-2255, and at the O.co Coliseum D Gate Box Office.
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Along with that, you have:
Highlight video and team introductions!600x400_fanfest_trophies_c2satwe4_po2hasrj
Starting at 10:30 a.m.
Q & A Sessions
Question and Answer session with A’s players and coaches
Autograph Sessions
Get autographs from A’s players and coaches. Coupons will be provided with specified autograph session upon entrance into FanFest.600x400_fanfest_autographs_avofabgu_bgcwhaxp
Player Photos
Get your photo taken with A’s players and coaches by a professional!
Meet & Greet Photos
Take photos with A’s players with your own phone or camera! Volunteers will be on hand to take these photos.
World Series Trophy Photos
Take photos with the A’s four World Series trophies and former players from the World Champion teams.
Comcast SportsNet SportsCaster Experience
Read an A’s highlight on camera while hosting SportsNet Central600x400_fanfest_clubhouse_g69tt9mv_0qrse8rs
Kids Club Sales
Be the first to purchase the new 2013 Kids Club Kit. Each kit purchased receives a coupon for an exclusive autograph session.
Memorabilia Sale
Purchase game used items. Proceeds benefit the A’s Community Fund.
Coach’s Corner
Ask coaches and players questions regarding baseball topics
Clubhouse Tours
Take a tour of the A’s clubhouse

Hopefully, that gives you a clue as to what exactly will be at A’s FanFest. Among that, there are also MANY players scheudled to attend. Who, you might ask?
“A whole bunch of them! Yoenis Céspedes, Ryan Cook, Coco Crisp, Josh Donaldson, Sean Doolittle, Grant Green, A.J. Griffin, Tommy Milone, Hiroyuki Nakajima, Pat Neshek, Derek Norris, Jarrod Parker, Josh Reddick, Adam Rosales, Evan Scribner, Seth Smith, Scott Sizemore, Eric Sogard, Dan Straily, Michael Taylor, Chris Young, Bob Melvin, Darren Bush, Chili Davis, Mike Gallego, Chip Hale, Tye Waller, Curt Young, Sal Bando, Ray Fosse, and Bill North will be in attendance. Appearances are subject to change.”600x400_OAK_FanFest_s06jleth_tzx7yxbp

That is 31 people attending, with 3 of them being former A’s players (Curt Young is a former Athletic as well, but he is currently the pitching coach), all 7 coaches, and 21 players!

The Autograph Sessions will work different than last year, which I didn’t even participate in.
“A’s players, coaches and former players will be signing autographs throughout FanFest at three stations on the plaza, in between Oracle Arena and O.co Coliseum. Autograph coupons will be distributed upon entrance to FanFest, while supplies last. Autograph Sessions are limited to those with designated coupons. For example, if you receive a coupon for Autograph Session 1 from 11:15 – 12:00pm, you must attend that session. Fans may choose a specific autograph table during their designated session, until the line reaches capacity. Once a line is full, fans must choose a different table. There will be a choice of three tables each session and you will be guaranteed placement at one of the tables during the designated time on your coupon. Players will be announced 15 minutes before each session.”

If you also want to, you can also get Text Alerts throughout the day:
“If you are attending A’s FanFest, text FANFEST to 60946 to receive A’s FanFest updates on your phone during the event. Msg&Data Rates May Apply. Text Stop to 60946 to Quit. Text Help to 60946 for Help.”

So, for a quick recap:
• 2013 individual game tickets go on sale at 9 a.m. PT at oaklandathletics.com, by phone at (877) 493-2255, and at the O.co Coliseum D Gate Box Office.
• Entry to FanFest begins at 9:30 a.m. PT
• Highlight video and team introductions at 10:30 a.m. PT
• FREE Autograph Sessions, Player Photos, Meet & Greet Photos, Memorabilia Sale, and more FREE interactions throughout the day
• FREE Parking at A’s FanFest.

If you want to see basically everything I just said, but on the A’s Website, click here.

Now, I’m going to dive into something else that will be happening at FanFest.

A few weeks ago, I saw something on the A’s website called A’s BlogFest. It was about how they were having a contest for bloggers! I went ahead and entered all my information, left a link to my blog, and wrote a few paragraphs about it, and I was told that I would find out this past week if I was chosen.

If already follow me on Twitter, then you would know that I was sick last week.

On Wednesday, you might have read this Tweet:

Now I can tell you! On Wednesday, I got this email:
Screen Shot 2013-01-26 at 11.41.23 AM

How awesome is that?!?

So the following day, I got an email with A LOT of information.

Here is what I will share with you for now:
BlogFest will begin at 12:45 p.m. At that time, you will have media workspace available to you in the Blog Room (full details below).

The schedule for our event, which will feature three press conference-style sessions, will be as follows. A’s players and staff are subject to change.

1:00-1:15 p.m. Manager Bob Melvin
1:15-1:30 p.m. Assistant GM David Forst
1:30-1:45 p.m. Starting pitcher Jarrod Parker & third base coach Mike Gallego

This is something I am very looking forward to!

I will have a separate entry about BlogFest up by the end of January, with an entry about FanFest coming up in a week or two.

Here is what I want to ask of you, readers. Do you have any questions for any of those four guys? If so, let me know in the comments down below, or on Facebook or Twitter, and I will do my best and try to ask of all your questions!

Then, if you remember, from my last mail entry, I also got a coupon for a special season ticket holder meet-and-greet. Hopefully, my whole family will be able to do this, as it is pretty cool!

Later that night, once I have gotten home from FanFest, at 8:30pm PST, I’ll be going on BlogTalkRadio, LIVE, with RF Bleacher 149 Die-Hard, Will MacNeil! I’ll talk with him a little about bleacher life, then we will be talking about the awesomeness that was A’s FanFest!

You can click right here to tune in a listen LIVE!

I still don’t know my plans for FanFest, but I hope this entry gives you an idea as to what will be going on!

Thanks for reading and stay tuned!

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.

Mail Time! #10

On Monday, I got a special envelope in the mail
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That would be one of the self-adressed envelopes that I sent out. This one was from the Harrisburg Senators.

I have a backstory to the contents of this envelope.

2 weeks ago, I got a response from my email to the Senators. Their GM, Randy Whitaker was the one who actually responded. Here is the email that he sent me.
20121211-161059.jpg20121211-161104.jpg

Note the PS in that email. For those of you that don’t know, Max often comments on my entries, and has been sending emails to teams too. He also writes a blog that you can find here. Clearly, the GM had taken note of this, so decided to mention it.

I sent this reply email to him:
20121211-162100.jpg20121211-161114.jpg

Later that night, I got a reply:
20121211-161119.jpg

The next morning, I sent out my envelope. Inside, I added a letter, thanking him.

When I opened up the envelope, I first pulled out 4 player cards
20121211-073734.jpg20121211-073740.jpg20121211-073745.jpg20121211-073750.jpg

On the back of each card, there was a 2013 schedule
20121211-073755.jpg

I then pulled out 2 pocket schedules. Here is the first one
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The second pocket schedule that I pulled out was special
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That is the autograph of GM, Randy Whitaker!

How cool is that?

That is all that I have for today’s entry! I will have another entry up tomorrow or Thursday with more Fan Packs!

Thanks!

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.