Category: BART

7/29/13 at the Oakland Coliseum

This entry will have a total of *11* pictures, 0 of which include any game action from the 2-Hour, 38-Minute game between the Oakland Athletics and Toronto Blue Jays. Why? Good question.

This was a day of forgetfulness. This would be a game featuring myself, my mom, and my sister, so my dad wouldn’t be there. This meant that there would be fewer pictures to begin with. We were going to walk to the bus stop, take the bus to BART, and BART to the game.

We were not even a block from my house when I realized we had left our cooler of ice-cold water at home. I ran back to go get it, costing us about 10 minutes. As we got to the corner to cross the street to get to the bus stop across the street, the bus pulled away from the stop, meaning we had to wait 20 more minutes for another one. This would be we would miss the train we had been aiming for. Great start, huh? The bus was running late, so we had to sprint to buy our train tickets, then sprint to the platform.

My mom and sister sat down as the doors closed shut. Right before we got off the train, I asked my mom if she had the camera. Her answer was no. Cool… We got to the Coliseum about 30 minutes before the gates were going to open.

There were at most, 5 people in line. My sister and I played catch for 10 minutes, before I decided to take my usual lap around the stadium. One thing I noticed was that nobody was in line at Gate LL.   20130731-014027.jpg Nobody… Well the gates opened at 5:35, where I ran and grabbed my seat in RF. Once my mom and sister were there, I headed over to the LF Bleachers, since the Blue Jays have a lot of right handed power.In the 3 minutes I had been in RF, a few balls had already been hit to Left, so it made my decision easy.

Somebody lined a ball off the center field fence a few minutes after I got to Left Field, so I called out to Josh Johnson, who hooked me up with Ball #1 on the day. 20130731-014033.jpg There were a lot of balls hit into the bleachers, I saw at least 5 people get 3 hit balls apiece, it was crazy. I did a lot of running back and forth among the LF seats, trying to best position myself.

I found that it was best to just stay in one spot and go for Toss-ups and HRs in that area. My decision payed off. Jose Bautista had just hit 3 balls to the same kid, who had been standing in the same spot, so when he came up, I stood near where that kid had been, and Bautista lined a ball right at me, and I made a perfect catch on the fly! 20130731-014038.jpg BP started to quiet down right after this. There were 4 or 5 balls that fell just short of the railing that I probably could have gotten if I had an extra foot of reach. I was satisfied with two balls, but I was disappointed that I didn’t already have more, considering how many balls and flown into the stands.

After I caught the Bautista ball, I struck up a conversation with a gentleman that started asking me about ballhawking. He had all sorts of questions, including What do I do with all these balls?” I told him that I like to collect them, I have racks in my bedroom displaying them, and if I see a worthy kid, I try to give them a ball. I noticed that he had two kids with them, and I asked who was a bigger baseball fan. He told me stories about his son, so I decided that I would hook his son up with a ball once BP ended.

Over the course of the next 10 minutes, it was discovered by everyone in Left Field that this man’s daughter was at her first baseball game. Whenever a ball was hit near the wall, a bunch of people would scream and yell, demanding that the player or coach toss her a ball. Evidently, the screaming didn’t work.

On the last pitch of BP, Rajai David hit a towering ball (I’m not kidding) that hit off a seat just behind me, as I had misjudged it, not having time to move back. I ran over a picked it up for my 3rd ball on the day. 20130731-014043.jpg This *large* man then approached me, trying to act all tough, and he told me: “You see that little girl ova’ there? It’s ‘er first game. You’re gonna’ be givin’ ‘er that ball, ‘ight?” I had been planing on giving both of the kids balls anyway, so I was a little taken aback by the man. I pulled out the Josh Johnson ball and gave that to the girl, the boy the Davis ball. The father then thanked me, asking if he could get a picture with me and his kids. 20130731-014047.jpg   They both seemed pretty happy with their balls, and right as I was about to walk back to RF, he asked me how much it was going to cost for my troubles. He pulled out $40 and tried to hand it to me. It took him about 5 minutes to accept that I wasn’t going to take the money, and I headed back to the bleachers.

There, Cara Miller took this photo for me of my mom, sister, and I , all in our Oakland RF Bleacher shirts. (Yes, I did change shirts). 20130731-014058.jpg Great picture! Now, since I didn’t have the camera with me, I wouldn’t be able to get any pictures of game action with my iPhone, but I did get a few photos over the course of the game. This was my view for the game, in my regular first row spot in Section 148.

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Eric Sogard had been very hot coming into this game, so he was bumped up to 2nd in the batting order. When he came up to the plate, this graphic was shown on DiamondVision.

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I thought that was pretty neat! The whole NerdPower thing is a long story, so I don’t have time to explain it. However, there is an article over at ComcastSportsNet.com that you can check out, it has a pretty good explanation, so go check it out!

The game itself was pretty fun. Jose Bautista has a thing with the RF Bleacher people in Oakland. He hates them. This gives people like Tony and Anson even more reason to taunt and tease him. Last year, Cut 4 did an article, where it was explained: “Bautista hates us,’ Two Tone said. “He knows me and Anson by face. He’ll point at us before the first pitch and say, ‘You two, shut up! Shut up right now!’”

Tony was on fire. His material was brilliant, and it seemed like he had an endless supply of it. Awesome night!

I got this panoramic shot in the 7th inning…
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Then, in the 8th inning, Sean Doolittle came in, so it was time to get headbanging!

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HEADBANGING!!!

20130731-014155.jpgThe A’s won 9-4, so it was a good game! I had a lot of fun, and the 3 balls was nice as well! I was going to be back out at the Coliseum in 2 days for the finale of the series, for the 12:35 game that Wednesday!

BALLHAWKING STATS:

  • 21st Game this Year (15th MLB Game)
  • 3 Balls at this Game
  • 17 balls in 15 MLB games this season = 1.13 Balls Per Game
  • 45 Lifetime MLB Baseballs
  • 107 Lifetime Baseballs

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

2012 ALDS – Game 3

Postseason baseball in Oakland for the first time since 2006. Awesome!

My dad and I left the house just after 12:30, making a quick stop along the way to get lunch at Subway, and a sporting goods store to buy a cheap Tigers hat, then we are on our way.

We got there around 1:45, over 2 hours before the gates would open at 4:07.

I had been tweeting back and forth with ballhawks Wayne Peck and Spencer Sanborn for a while (you might remember them from this entry) and I knew that they were both going to be there, and was excited to meet Wayne for the 1st time.

This is what the line looked like when I got there

Yep. I was the only one in line at Gate B. And my dad had brought a camping chair to sit in in line. Yep. This was going to be a long day. I had a LOT of time to kill, so I walked around.

If you have read this blog for a while, then you know what the outside of the Coliseum looks like. First, I walked towards the BART ramp.

I got to the BART Plaza

I then headed towards A and D gate. Parking lot A was empty. It was ridiculous. I was expecting more people, but I guess not!

Gate A was empty as well.

Over by D Gate (Where there was nobody in line), the 95.7 The GAME booth was being set up

I stopped in at the D Gate team store, browsed around a little, and was on my way up towards the Arena plaza.

There were a lot of news vans parked outside. Let me see if I can list all of the stations. CSN Bay Area, CSN California, MLB Network, TBS, ESPN, KTVU Channel 2 News, NBC Bay Area News, KRON 4 News, CBS 5, ABC 7, and there were probably a few more.

I then noticed a very familiar face stepping out of a CSN California van. Do you have any clue as to who the guy is in the green shirt?

You probably don’t but I recognized him right away. That man is Brodie Brazil, who hosts A’s Pre and Post-game Live, and is the San Jose Sharks rink-side reporter, as well as a 95.7 insider. Huge Bay Area celebrity.

I was then stopped by a security guard, who asked to see my ticket, then did the Bernie.

I wandered around the Oracle Arena a little, found the player parking entrance, and just walked around. I then headed down to Gate C, where there was 1 person in line.

When I got back, my dad was happily relaxing in his chair, reading the paper. I was ready to go. But we still had just under 2 hours.

There was still nobody behind us in line. I was bored. So I talked with my dad. Time passed. More time passed. Then I walked around one the Coliseum more time to stretch my legs.

Ok, are you ready for a crazy story? So I was walking past Gate A, and after I had walked 50 or so feet past the gate, I heard a ball hit the pavement. I immediately turned around and ran back. Somebody scooped up the ball immediately. I headed over to take a look at the ball, and when I asked to take a quick look, I was shocked to see that it was a near perfect 2012 Postseason ball. WHAT? ARE YOU KIDDING ME???????

Where did this ball come from? Wha— uh??? I was at a loss for words.

I was headed back to Gate B when I noticed a familiar face. It was Wayne! Sorry, I didn’t get a picture of him right away. I chatted with him for a minute, before he headed to the team store to look around.

Sooner or later, a lady got in line behind us. We talked with her for a few minutes. I spend a lot of time on my phone, then decided to go put it in the car and walk around some more. The line at Gate D was getting decently long, and in the front of the line was Spencer Sanborn!

I got back to the line. It was just my dad and the other lady. There was 1 hour until the gates open. WTH???? There was almost NO ONE in line, and the gates would be opening soon.

A minute or two later, Wayne got in line with us. This is what he (and a lot of other people) thinks of the “O.co Coliseum”

That is definitely the best facial expression I have ever seen regarding a professional sports facility.

We talked for a long time about a variety of things. Ballhawking, the Coliseum, how much the Coliseum sucks, crazy ballhawking adventures. Wayne is a good guy. He wrote a great blog entry about this game that you can find here! He also went to the game the following day, which you can find here.

My dad got a picture of us before the gates opened.

Do you like my shirt?

Right before the gates opened at 4:07, (Nope, to 4pm or 4:05, but 4:07) the line was getting pretty long.

The gate was all set up and ready to go

And we were off!

Actually… we weren’t. They let us go get in line at the turnstiles at 4:00

Shorty, after 4:07, they let us in. My ticket scanned perfectly and I headed through the turnstile. But it wouldn’t budge. The arms were never unlocked. And the ticket taker couldn’t open it. So after a few minutes, I just walked around and received my bright yellow rally towel.

BP was underway and I was ready to go.

That’s a view from our seats in the bleachers. I headed there immediately, but quickly headed down to the RF line.

Do you see the guy in the Tigers had and shirt in the orange sleeves? That would be Spencer.

The A’s were taking BP, and the pitchers in Center Field were entertained by attempting to throw balls into the 2nd deck as well as the 3rd deck seats that are tarped off.

Adam Rosales took some hacks in the cage with Chris Carter watching on

The Coliseum wasn’t very full, but the energy was awesome, and everyone was pumped!

The A’s didn’t hit anything to the RF bleachers, or down the RF line, unfortunately. As they concluded BP and jogged off the field, they got a very solid round of applause from the crowd.

Tigers pitchers had been playing catch down the line, and despite my bright orange shirt and Tigers hat, I didn’t manage a ball.

Ask anyone that was there would agree that BP was a show. Miguel Cabrera was BOMBING ball after ball into the 2nd deck, and even a few balls onto the 2rd deck tarps.

One odd thing I noticed was the middle section of the 3 open 3rd deck sections.

I guess it would the overflow media and press area. Interesting.

Prince Fielder was launching some balls pretty far as well. But he wasn’t pulling the ball. He was hitting it 2nd deck in LF.

Those guys are STRONG.

Jhonny Peralta had some strong hacks as well

BP was frustrating. There were very few balls hit down the RF line, and those that were hit were fielded by the same guy who ignored fans.

There were a couple that spent a lot of time standing next to me that I guess are Tigers season ticket holders. The one ball that I came closest to during the 1st 45 minutes was a ball that was thrown to ME specifically, that they reached out in front of me and barehanded. Ok then…

During the regular season, the bleachers were General Admission, but since it was the PLAYOFFS, they had assigned seating. Because they didn’t have to worry about being the first ones in line, the RF Crew started to trickle in during the 1st hour of BP

For those of you who don’t know, that man is Will MacNeil, one of the Die-Hards in Section 149. He is an awesome guy and I have talked with/about him before in entires like this one and this one. He is the proud owner of a very cool item. A replica WWE wrestling belt. Josh Reddick sent it up there in the beginning of the season.

He is a great guy!

That’s Will on the right, and you can follow him on Twitter here. I am not 100% positive who the man on the left is.

All the guys out there are great. I strongly encourage you to sit out there some time. It’s awesome.

Back to BP…

Guys like Alex Avila

And Quintin Berry were not hitting anything to RF. It was frustrating

This guy had some awesome signs. That man would be Ian Sagerbaen, and was dubbed my MLB.com’s Cut4 as the Greatest Sign Maker in MLB History

It was frustrating be trapped behind A’s fan screaming for balls

And despite the fact that you can pick me out of a crowd of green and gold right away, I guess Tigers players couldn’t

I realized BP was ending soon, so I took off for the Tigers dugout.

Obviously, you can find me easily in this crowd

I got behind the dugout and was calling out to players for balls

The cages were taken in…

And I was shut out for BP…

Frustrating…

With this disappointing loss, I headed back to the bleachers, where I found this guy was handing out signs

I got two different ones that were both double-sided.

Here is the first

And the second

I then wandered around for a little bit. I walked around the concourse and the bleachers, when my dad noticed this thing being rolled onto the field.

They were set up all across the outfield.

As a helicopter flew overhead

Slowly, the Tigers began to come onto the field to warm up

I wasn’t able to get down close to the field on either the 1st or 3rd base side, so after multiple attempts, I headed back to our seats in time for Stomper and “The Herd” to come around the warning track.

The Color Gaurd marched onto the field.

It was time for the player introductions!

This was one of Ian’s signs that he gave to someone to hold up

When it came time for the A’s to be introduced, sparklers at the bottom of the firework carts were set off

Everyone with their yellow rally towels was pumped up!

Each time a player on the A’s was introduced, a firework shot off.

When all the players had been introduced, it was time for the National Anthem

More fireworks were shot off

Anibal Sanchez finished his bullpen tosses

Then, Bert “Campy” Campaneris, a longtime A’s legend came out onto the mound to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Once the ceremonial first pitch had been thrown, it was 4:59, one minute untill TBS went live to the Coliseum. Dick Callahan, the PA announcer, told the crowd to get crazy, as we would be live on national television soon. The place quickly ERUPTED!!!!

I took a panoramic picture shortly before the game started

Brett Anderson was dealing in this game

Austin Jackson struck out to lead off the game

Steven Drew walked in the bottom of the 1st, sending Coco Crisp to 2nd

Crisp later scored on a single off the back of Yoenis Cespdes

Awesome hair:

Seth Smith homered to right-center field, just past the RF bleacher seats

Grant Balfour began to warm up in the 8th inning, ready to come in for the save

While Balfour was warming up there were some drunk guys sitting in front of a Tigers fan with a young son and wife that started to boo the guy because he was a Tiger fan.

The little boy started to cry at which point everyone started boing the drunk guy. His response? “I didn’t see the kid, okay guys?”

In the top of the 9th, it was time for BALFOUR RAGE!!!!

Just to show you how packed and pumped up the crowd was, I got another panoramic picture

Throughout the game, there was a drunk A’s fan walking up and down the stairs of the sections cheering his head off. He was half drunk and half really excited. I have to admit, he did make the game a little more fun.

In the top of the 9th, he pulled me out of my seat to cheer. It was kind of awkward.

After an Omar Infante strikeout, Miguel Cabrera singled to right field. On a 1-2 fastball, Prince Fielder grounded into a double play to end the game.

Cue Kool and the Gang!

After a few minutes of celebration, something occured to me. I hadn’t snagged a ball. Then, I thought about the home run, and wandered over to see if the ball was somehow still beyond the wall. Nope. IT wasn’t. Oh well.

You know, it was disapointing to not snag a ball, but still, I would count the night as a success.

1) I got to meet finally meet Wayne Peck, who is a great guy.
2) I was the first one in line at a postseaon game.
3) I got a yellow rally towel.
4) I was at a POSTSEASON GAME!
5) I got some pretty cool posters.
6) I WAS AT A POSTSEASON GAME!
7) I had a ton of fun
8) Did I mention it was my first POSTSEASON GAME?

Even though I did’t snag a ball, It was a LOT of fun! I attended my first ever postseason game, and it was more than I could ask for.

I got a final picture with the signs and rally towel

And one with that guy I mentioned earlier

Wow. That was a lot of fun!

Yep. It was my last game of 2012. I had a great season. A lot of fun!

So. Regarding offseason entires, I have a bunch of ideas in mind. I’ll share more throughout the World Series and offseason, so check back frequently more more updates!

BALLHAWKING STATS:
• 0 ballS at this game 😦
• 23 balls in 15 Major League games this season = 1.53 balls per game.
• 38 balls in 21 baseball games this season = 1.81 balls per game.
• 28 Lifetime Major League baseballs
• 43 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.

9/2/12 at the Oakland Coliseum

First of all, I would like to apologize. This entry is long overdue and much shorter than usual with a lot less pictures.

We left the house at 8:45 to get my mom, sister, and I to BART around 9. We got to the Coliseum close to 10.

I wanted to get in line at gate MM, but my mom wanted us to get in line at C, where there was no line. I walked around the Coliseum once with my sister, and she took some pictures along the way.

When we got back, I played catch with my sister for 15 or so minutes, as there was still nobody in line. Once we both had made a few errant throws, I decided to walk around once more.

This is random, but as we were walking around, we saw a bunch of cones set up in the parking lot, along with a few cars.

Turns out if you test drove a car, you got 2 free A’s tickets or something like that.

When I got back, the line had grown to 50 or so people, and right next to my mom and sister was fellow Bay Area ballhawk Spencer Sanborn!

We talked about ballhawking and stuff for the most part, until the gates opened, and at that point, we went our separate ways.

Oh, I forgot to mention that my grandmother and uncle would be joining us for this game!

They arrived 15 or so minutes before the gates opened, and got in the handicapped line with my dad. My grandmother had just had surgery on her eye a few weeks ago, and my Uncle is in a wheelchair, so my dad wanted to make sure that they got into the Coliseum okay.

Well, I raced inside, and after grabbing my giveaway “Pink and white A’s baseball umbrella” to celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Day, I put on my Red Sox hat and shirt and headed over to the Sox bullpen, in hopes of snagging another commemorative ball.

Spencer got there a little bit before I did, and he started chatting up the ushers a little, before heading over to the right field line. I stayed behind the bullpen area, focusing on Clay Buchholz, who was woking on a bullpen session at the time. When he finished, I called out to him, and he tossed me ball #1 on the day.

The day was off to a good start. I had my eye on a few of the Red Sox pitchers playing catch, but was unable to come up with a ball.

Spencer broke out his giant glove and snagged his one and only ball on the day a few minutes after I got ball #1.

I wasn’t able to snag any balls before the Red Sox cleared the field, so I changed into my A’s gear and went over to where our seats were for the game to say hi to my family.

There were a lot of A’s players signing autographs when I got to our seats

but I was focused on Grant Balfour playing catch down the line.

He ended up throwing the ball to someone else, and at that point, it was roughly 12:15.

And of course, as always, while I was busy snagging balls, my dad was taking some amazing pictures by the A’s bullpen.

There were 45 minutes to game time, and I decided to go spend some quality time with my Grandmother and Uncle, who were sitting in the wheelchair accessible area.

I chatted with them for 10 or so minutes before heading off in search of some food.

I figured that I would go get a sandwich from the Deli, but found an $8 slice of “Gourmet” pizza. It was absolutely amazing. And of course, I failed to get a picture.

I grabbed a lemonade and headed back to our seats.

I talked with my mom for a few minutes before noticing Derek Norris warming up with Chip Hale in the outfield, rather than their regular spot buy the wall.

Shortly thereafter, Brett Anderson came out to warm up, rocking his Nike Elite socks

Because it was Breast Cancer Awareness day, there was a HUGE Parade on the field with breast cancer survivors. They walked out from center field

And they formed a ribbon shape on the field

Then, A’s wives released doves into the sky

While the whole ceremony was going on, players continued to come onto the field and warm up

Anderson finished his warm-up tosses shortly before the ceermony concluded, and the A’s relievers had their special handshake going

At 1:05, the A’s took the field. Yoenis Cespdes warmed up by playing catch with the ball boy

And tossed me the ball when he was done.

My 2nd ball on the day!

During the game, there were no foul balls that came close to me.

This was my view for the game

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Brett Anderson pitched very well

Despite a home run in the first inning

Seth Smith countered with a home run of his own

Josh Donaldson had a good game as well

Ryan Cook warmed up in the bullpen at some point during the game

Along with Sean Doolittle

While Brett Anderson continued his domination

Sometime around the 7th inning, I asked my dad if he would be willing to go and get my an ice cream helmet, because I had overheard someone mentioning that there were special ones for this game. Turns out, they had pink helmets in honor of BCA day!

The Kettle Corn man at the Coliseum is the BEST vendor in baseball. I don’t care what anyone else says, he is

Grant Balfour started to get loose in the bullpen around the 8th inning

When Balfour came in, 149 went into full ragefest

The Ausie came in, shutting down the Red Sox

And it was a win for the A’s!

Once the final out was recorded, I headed over to the bullpen to see if I could get any more balls. I then saw a ball wedged between the bullpen roof and phone for my 3rd and final ball on the day.

I had a great time with my family and getting a chance to share some great A’s baseball with my uncle and Grandmother!

BALLHAWKING STATS:
• 3 balls at this game
• 22 balls in 13 Major League games this season = 1.692 balls per game.
• 34 balls in 18 baseball games this season = 1.888 balls per game.
• 27 Lifetime Major League baseballs
• 39 total balls
• 7 consecutive games in Oakland with at least 1 ball
• 9 consecutive games with at least 1 ball
• 5 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.

8/5/12 at the Oakland Coliseum

This was my 2nd game in the past 6 days. Let’s go!

We left the house at 8:40 for my dad to drop my mom and I off at BART. My sister had like a sleepover or something the night before, and she was going to come later with my dad.

My mom and I got to BART at about 9:00 and the Coliseum at about 10:30.

Once we exited the BART ramp, we headed towards Gate C, where I figured I would get in line. There was nobody in this line, or the 2 up at the BART ramp. (B and A were closed) Then, my mom reminded me that we needed to get tickets to another game, so we headed over to gate D to buy the tickets. I then remembered that the cast of Nitro Circus 3D was going to be greeting people at Gate D, so I jumped in line while my mom went ahead and purchased tickets for Scott Hatteberg bobblehead day.

Now, let me say right now, it will be hell for ballhwaking. Not only is there a bobblehead (With a sound chip) giveaway, but before the game, there is an on-field reunion 30 minutes before the game starts of the 2002 team that won 20 consecutive games. Then, after the game, if you pay an extra $12, you get to go on the field and watch the movie Moneyball on a huge screen above the center field fence.

I don’t expect to snag many if any at balls, but for me, this is such a great opportunity, that I can’t pass it up.

I was the only one is line

I started talking with this security guard at the gate

He thought I was about the coolest person ever. I talked about baseball, my blog, and stuff like that. He was kind enough to show me the schedule for the day, as I had told him that I snag baseballs. On it, it said that the A’s and Jays were supposed to take BP. If this was true, I was pumped!

He was under the impression that I was an All-Star baseball player. (Not close) This may have had something to do wit the fact that I had an 2 baseball glove, one being a catchers mitt. I also told him I am a 2nd baseman and short stop. That may have led him on to believe I was a leadoff hitter that will be drafted in the first round after high school. I guess his cousin was drafted 6th overall in the last NBA draft, which I think started the whole discussion. If you ever get in line at Gate D and see him, tell him Nicholas Badders sent you.

He ended up walking away when kids starting filing out of the coliseum from some class that A’s players were giving.

This lady was walking around, saying that Chevy was giving away free sun glasses. All you had to do was sign up for a chance to win a car. I sent my mom to investigate, and she ended up getting me some green A’s sunglasses.

Right after she got back, this pulled into the parking lot.

Nitro Circus! This is who got out…

If anybody can identify them for me, that would be great!

One of the things on the myGameBalls.com photo scavenger hunt involved getting a picture of you that had a celebrity in the shot. I complied this picture to submit that I hoped would be worth 6 points.

Those pictures were taken my dad. He arrived with my sister and joined us in line 15 minutes before the gates opened.

When the gates finally opened, I grabbed the giveaway of a Jemile Weeks drawstring backpack and headed to check if there was BP. The cages were up and the Blue Jays were on the field stretching! I ran up to the concourse, threw on my Blue Jays hat, and took off my A’s jersey to reveal my MLB Fan Cave shirt. I was running all over the place.

I ran down towards the Toronto dugout, where there were some players stretching. I called out for a ball, but had no luck. BP got under way, and knowing that the Jays don’t have a lot of lefty power, headed down behind their bullpen. I quickly got a toss-up from their bullpen catcher Alex Andreopoulos.

I am very glad that I didn’t go into the bleachers. There were 2. Yes, 2, balls hit into the bleachers in all of BP. They were both off the bat of Rajai Davis, the speedster that isn’t known at all for his power and jump-started his career with the A’s. The first one bounced into the bleachers from the steps between the foul pole and seats in LF, and the other was hit into the 2nd deck, bounced out, and into the bleachers. The same guy got both. Jose Bautista didn’t hit, and guys like Edwin Encarnacion hit balls out, but ones that didn’t go into the seats.

In total, I guess about 6 balls were hit clear over the wall by the Blue Jays.

There were a decent amount of other people with me down the right field line, and almost none of them had gloves.

This probably was the most I had ever moved around in BP. I was running up and down between the Jays’ dubout and bullpen the entire time. There were no balls that were hit foul into the seats, so I mostly followed balls that were weakly hit. There was one where I leaned over the railing, and even though the usher was holding my legs, I was unable to get it.

It also didn’t help that there were about 50 kids in a roped off area that were getting balls rolled, thrown, and hit to them. About 3 had gloves. Oh well.

It turns out, before BP had started, my dad took a bunch of pictures of A’s pitchers warming up. He also got a cool picture of Casey Chavez, the A’s bullpen catcher rubbing mud on the bullpen baseballs.

Lets start off with Sean Doolitle

Pedro Figueroa:

Casey Chavez (Again)

Travis Blackley (And his awesome glove)

He got some great shots of Blue Jays hitters during BP

The security guard’s sheet was wrong, but that was no big deal. The A’s didn’t hit, but the Blue Jays did. They did end pretty quickly, though. I would guess they hit for 25 minutes. Considering the fact that they had started at 11:15 and ended at 11:40, I was somewhat disappointed. I was also excited that this gave me time to get some more things of the scavenger hunt checklist.

The first picture that I checked off after the one before the gates opened was this hopefully 10-pointer. Todd, Tim, and Kellan Cook took a picutre of Tim sitting in the Orange seat at Camden Yards, holding up Todd’s phone with a picture of Cal Ripken Jr.

I took a photo imitating it. But, I was sitting in the seat, where David Ortiz’s 400th HR had landed.

Then, my dad decided to get this picture.

After this, we headed up to the 3rd deck, as I wanted to try out a cool new iPhone app I had found call 360. It is a 360 degree panoramic picture app. It free, and cool. If you have an IOS device, you should get it. I went to the last row and took this.

I also got this picture on my phone’s regular camera

Then, we headed to get another picture off the checklist. For 2 points, you need to get a picture with a statue in/at the stadium. Right by the Westside Club, I complied this picture

3 statues. From left to right, the 2008 Statue of Liberty All-Star Game A’s statue, the A’s giant piggy bank statue, and the 2010 Mickey Mouse All-Star Game A’s statue.

Then, we headed into the Westside Club, which I believe I have never mentioned before on this blog. It is basically a restaurant/bar in the Coliseum. They even have a custum sandwhich place called Deli 215.

From the Westside Club, we headed back to our seats. I there realized that we didn’t have aisle seat. Other than catching a foul ball, my goal for the game was to find an aisle seat a few rows up.

Shortly after I got back, I went with my sister to get an ice cream helmet, which she thoroughly enjoyed.

When we got back, I grabbed my glove and headed over to where Derek Norris was playing catch with bench coach Chip Hale

When Norris was done, I called out to him for a ball, but it turns out Chip Hale had all of them, and he tossed all 3 of the balls that he had to deserving little kids with gloves.

At this point, Tommy Milone was just about done playing catch with Casey Chavez, and was headed to warm up in the bullpen.

halfway through his warm up tosses, Stomper in his “Smiling Chevron Car” and his “herd” ran around the warm-up track with all of their “goodies.” They had the usual bead necklaces and Ryan Sweeney jerseys that were giveaways in 2010 or something like that.

I got a yellow necklace and gave it to a kid who was sad because he hadn’t gotten anything.

As the A’s relievers started to walk in from the clubhouse, everyone (Minus Pat Neshek) was signing for fans down the line. I got my ticket signed by Pedro Figueroa and then Jerry Blevins.

My family always seems disappointed when I sit by myself at games and go for balls, so at this game, I made a point to make sure to sit with my sister, who utterly hates me ballhawking. This my view for the game.

As usual, my dad got some amazing pictures. Like, really good pictures. As usual, I am going to share them with you.

Anthony Gose bunting in the top of the first inning

Coco Crisp fouling off a pitch

Josh Reddick at bat in the bottom of the first inning

Tom Milone pitching

Derek Norris at this dish

Brandon Inge rounding the base on Norris’s double

Coco Crisp swinging

Yoenis Cespedes swinging

Somebody on the Blue Jays hitting

Evan Scribner in the bullpen

Tom Milone releasing a pitch

Coco Crisp at the plate

Birds on the tarps on the 3rd deck

Rajai Davis swinging

Sean Doolittle in the bullpen

Pedro Figueroa warming in the bullpen

So I bet you are all wondering about foul balls during the game. There were 2 into the seats within 10 yards of me. There were 5 or so that the ball boy could have handed to me, but didn’t. So the two that landed in the seats… 1 bounced on the field and into the second row in the section to my left.

The other I should have caught. I am hitting myself over this. The ball was hit right at me. I lost it in the sky, but I eventually found it. It bounced softly 2 rows behind me and iI ran back and stuck my glove on the ball, which was in a cup holder. I held it there for a few seconds, then pulled it off. I grabbed it with my hand, but some lady yanked it out of my hand. Good going lady. An usher came over and asked if everyone was ok, so I told him that I was emotionally wounded. He chuckled and asked why. I explained. The lady offered the ball to me, but I told here to find a little kid to give it to.

I tried to stay happy, but I was just frustrated about the ball. I should have been able to hold onto it, but it left my hand. There isn’t anything I can do about it at this point.

Tommy Milone just wasn’t on his game, and allowed 6 runs over the course of his 6 innings. Going into the bottom of the 9th, the A’s had RBI doubles from Derek Norris and Coco Crisp, and a 3-run home run from Josh Reddick.

Norris stepped to the plate in the 9th, hoping to extend the game.

Just foul! By just a few feet too! He fouled off 2-3 pitches barely foul, eventually striking out. The A’s would lose 6-5. No Pie. No Kool and the Gang. But overall, it was a fun day!

Before we left, there was one more thing I wanted to do. I had seen a ball under the advertisement board by the bullpen, and something came to my mind. One more thing on the photo scavenger hunt list was to retrieve a ball from the field using items strictly from concession stands. I found a cardboard tray, and after a little modifying, tried to retrieve the ball. This is the photo I submitted.

And on our way out, I saw this sign, which the A’s took down the next day. I miss Kurt Suzuki. I hope he does well in our nation’s capitol.

BALLHAWKING STATS:
• 1 ball at this game
• 9 balls in 9 Major League games this season = 1 ball per game.
• 18 balls in 12 baseball games this season = 1.5 balls per game.
• 14 Lifetime Major League baseballs
• 23 total balls
• 3 consecutive games in Oakland with at least 1 ball
• 4 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.

8/1/12 at the Oakland Coliseum

This game came out of nowhere. Literally. The day before, the A’s ticket services staff posted a question on Twitter, with the 1st person to answer correctly won 2 tickets to that night’s game. The question was “Last night the A’s clinched their best July record in team history (19-4). When was last time the A’s had a record that good in a one month?” I knew the answer was August of 2002, when the A’s had their 20 game win streak.

I tweeted them the answer, and then got a DM that I had won. After remembering it was my parent’s anniversary, I told them that I couldn’t make it. Then, they offered me 2 tickets to the A’s game the next day, a 12:35 game against the Rays. After telling them that my sister had to come, and offering to buy an extra ticket, they told me to pick up 4 tickets at the box office.

The A’s ticket services staff are the best in baseball!

On Wednesday, I left the house, along with my mom and sister around 8:20. We were going to walk to the bus stop, as my dad had to leave for work, from there take the bus to BART, and take BART to the Coliseum. We got to the bus stop at 9:00 and BART at 9:40.

Once we got on BART, we got to the Coliseum at 10ish, the same time Will Call opened, so that we could pick up the tickets.

Once we walked halfway around the stadium to Will Call, we picked up our tickets. The lady at Will Call thought it was cool that we had won and said they were really good.

Honestly, I was expecting 4 generic A’s tickets in the 2nd deck. But, no. These seats were between the Rays dugout and home plate. In the first seating level!

And to top it all, they were the commemorative tickets that only season ticket holders get. Awesome!

At That point, it was 10:30; we got in line at Gate C, where there were only 2 people in line. Gate B, where I had entered before, was closed.

My sister wanted to play catch with me, so once she was done playing a quick card game with my mom, we played catch in the parking lot for 15 minutes.

After that, I pretty much waited until the gates opened.

It was pretty boring. Once it was 10:05 and the security guard said we could go, I rushed through the bag check, got my ticket scanned, and went to see if there was BP. Nope. Not a huge surprise.

I took off my A’s jersey, to reveal my Ryan Cook American League All-Star Game shirt. I stuck my jersey in my bag, pulled out my catcher’s mitt, and headed over to where the Rays were throwing, as there were no fans there.

As soon as started to run down the steps, a security guard threw a ball up towards the 2nd deck that some pitchers had been using to warm up. It bounced off and came down and started trickling through the seats. I couldn’t find it anywhere, and a minute later, the same security guard found it on the field, I guess it had rolled all the way down, and tossed it to me. As soon as I put it in my bag, it trickled out back onto the field. I didn’t realize it at first, because there was a little girl, maybe 4 or 5 crying because she had thought the ball had been tossed to her. The security guard had tossed it pretty high, and I guess she had been right behind me.

The guard, who I have known for a long time now, asked me if I wanted it back, and I said I was going to give it to the girl who was crying. He told me that he thought it was a good idea, and handed it to me.

This was the first ball I had ever given away, so I deiced that I WILL count balls that I give away as ones that I snagged.

I wanted to try to get a ball from one of the 2 guys throwing bullpen sessions, in Jeremy Hellickson, and Wade Davis. The bullpen catcher missed a pitch from Davis, and the ball rolled over to where Sam Fuld and James Shields were throwing. I headed over there, calling out to James, asking for the ball. He said no. I asked if there was any possible way on the face of the planet that he would be able to toss me one baseball. He chuckled and said that he wasn’t allowed to. I said OK, and no problem and headed to where Fernando Rodney was throwing.

James Shields called me back, saying that he had been joking with me. I laughed and said ok, as he tossed me the ball. He then came over and I told him how teams like the Dodgers rarely throw balls up during BP, and how their pitchers specifically are not allowed to give balls away, which sucks, because the Dodgers use commemorative balls. He seemed really surprised at that, at which point he started to get yelled at by some coaches.

He asked me if I would be in Tampa this year, and he seemed somewhat disappointed when I said no. I knew this was the Rays’ only trip to Oakland this year, so I half-jokingly suggested that he collect some commemorative balls for me and give them to me, when the Rays are in Oakland in 2013. He actually liked the idea, and said next time the Rays were in Oakland, or if I was in Tampa, he would hook me up with a few balls.

Pretty Cool!

After that, I got no more balls before the game started. One thing that I noticed while the pitchers were throwing was that one guy was wearing a David Price #14 jersey that looked nothing like David Price. It turns out, it was Josh Lueke, who tossed me balls in Oakland, last September, when the Mariners were in town. He was called up on in the morning, and when he got to the clubhouse in the morning, he found out that he was short a BP jersey. He ended up borrowing a David Price jersey. I found an article on Cut4, which explains it. Had I known who it was, I think I would have gotten a ball.

Shorty after, I got Sam Fuld to sign one of my tickets, followed by James Shields. I came close to a ball a few times, when guys like David Price and Matt More missed throws and they bounced into the crow. They would just get a new ball, or toss the old ball into the stands. Most of the time before the game, I competed with Greg Barasch, a very accomplished New York ballhawk, who snagged 10 balls in this game, and after this game, had snagged 1,287 MLB balls. I didn’t know how much I would run into him throughout the game.

I was curious where our seats were, so I searched the seats a little, and found my sister 20 or so rows back playing on her phone.

Shortly before the Rays left the field, I got Matt Moore to sign my ticket as well, and James Shields talked to me for a moment longer, and told me that he would be waiting in Tampa for me. I promised to get

Once everybody had left the field, I headed to our seats and my mom took this picture of me with the one ball I had kept

Then, my sister got this picture

A few minutes later, I noticed Rays’ broadcaster/reporter Todd Kalas getting ready for the Rays Pre-game show, I believe. He was right in front of the Rays dugout, so I headed over there to see if I could watch a little and get some pictures.

A few minutes later, an usher told us all to leave, because batting practice was over. Uh? There was no BP. But I knew what she meant.

At this point, it was about 12:00. I saw Kurt Suzuki warming up down the left field line, so I threw on my A’s jersey and headed over there. I had to weave a little to avoid ushers, but I ended up where I had been in the last game, right next to the foul pole, where Zuk was playing catch with Chip Hale.

I looked around, and saw this guy to my left.

Yep, the tall guy in the A’s hat. That is Greg Barasch.

A few minutes later, an usher approached me, asking if I had a ticket to this section. I said that my ticket was right behind the dugout and that I was over here just to try to catch a ball, and as soon as they were done, I would head back to my seat. Nope. No can do. I had to head back. But first, I texted my mom to let here know. I saw Greg talking to the usher, who let him stay. I think I will have to start thinking of ways to talk ushers to going wherever I want.

I headed back to my seat where Josh Feinberg, from A’s ticket services stopped by our seats introduced himself, and asked what we thought of the tickets. We thanked him for them and after he asked if we were enjoying ourselves, I mentioned the 2 balls and conversation with Shields.

Soon enough, it was 12:20, which meant all of the pre game stuff. My sister and I stood in the cross aisle, hoping to get a shirt that was tossed into the crowd, and an usher told us to go down right behind the dugout. After we didn’t get anything, he told me that we could sit right behind the dugout in the empty seats, because there were very few people there, at the time, close to only 10,000.

This is where I sat for the first inning or so.

Then I moved down here for most of the game.

My mom got some really good pictures in the game, including this one of Jarrod Parker

And these of B.J. Upton, Kurt Suzuki, and the home plate umpire, Chris Conroy

During the game, I tried for the infield warm-up balls and 3rd-out balls from the Rays, and unfortunately I didn’t get one, and I don’t believe Greg did either. Now I feel very frustrated on a certain level because there were about 5 foul balls tat I probably should have gotten, which, trust me was very frustrating. But, hey, at this point, there is nothing I can do about it.

Greg, at least, got one of the foul balls. 2 of the balls I came close to were ones that landed in my section while I WAS USING THE BATHROOM. I really had to go. It’s not my fault. Ok, from now on, I will not leave the seating bowl during the game.

I also picked up a popcorn helmet, mostly because it was a different design than the green one that I already have. If you know me, you know I love souvenirs like that.

The A’s lost 4-1, and after the final out of the game, I tried to get a ball from the dugout, but nobody could hook me up. Then, I asked Joe Maddon for the lineup card, but he just ignored me. I asked Jeff Keppinger for a souvenir of some sort, and he tossed an open pack of sunflower seeds that spilled over the dugout roof, and some kid got them. Whatever.

Carlos Pena, who had hit a home run and had had an RBI single did an interview

I got a final picture with my one ball on the day, and the popcorn helmet on my head.

Overall, it was a pretty good game!

On our way out, I fooled around with the camera, taking a picture of the near-empty Coliseum.

And my mom and sister up the stairs, on the way to the concourse to head out

And a BART sign

I also took this picture of our BART train pulling into the station

And this sign at the East Dublin/Pleasanton BART Station

BALLHAWKING STATS:
• 2 balls at this game (1 pictured because I gave one away)
• 8 balls in 8 Major League games this season = 1 ball per game.
• 17 balls in 11 baseball games this season = 1.545 balls per game.
• 13 Lifetime Major League baseballs
• 22 total balls
• 3 consecutive games in Oakland 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.

7/21/12 at the Oakland Coliseum

I was pumped for this game beyond belief. The A’s had just walked off against the Yankees the night before, putting them 5 games over .500 for the first time in forever, and ready for the series win the next day.

This game was just going to be my mom and I, which I was really looking forward to. We got to BART around 2:00 and the Coliseum at about 2:30.

From the BART ramp, we headed to the C gate ticket office, where we planned on purchasing 2 bleacher seats. The C gate office was closed, so we walked around to the D gate ticket office, which is where I bought tickets at FanFest in January. There, we got our tickets, then we headed to the team store, where we got some good air conditioning, as it was almost 90 degrees, and I picked up an All Star game program with the A’s lone representative, Ryan Cook on the cover. We then proceeded to get in line at gate B. It was the first time I had ever gotten in line there, because it is usually closed, but sine it was all set up for people to enter at, in addition to the fact that it is closer to the RF bleachers, we figured it was the best option, despite the limited shade.

I sat and looked through my All Star game program for a few minutes, before I was approached by a family asking me what gate to get in for the RF bleachers. I suggested that they get in line at Gate B with me, because it is the closest to where they wanted to sit.

Anyone that has been to an A’s home game knows that the RF bleacher crew is awesome. They have the drums, cowbells, and the awesome signs. Over the course of the hour leading up to the gate opening, various season ticket holders that always sit in section 149 dropped off their various signs and flags with a guy that is there for almost every game. As soon as he got there, he gave the little girl that was with the family who had gotten in line with me a baseball that I guess he had gotten the night before, which I thought was great.

When the gates finally opened at 4:05, I ran through bag check, got my ticket scanned, and I ran right to the RF bleachers, where I was told to get a yellow wristband while I ran in. As soon as I got to the seats, I set my stuff down in section 148, right next to where the drummer sits. I quickly grabbed the first row aisle seat, and took my glove out and got ready. This was the sight when I looked up

I got ready, because I had a good feeling about snagging something, with the A’s recent power outburst. A minute or two after I got in, Derek Norris hit a ball to my right.

I sprinted in the direction that it was headed. I clanked in the seats above the wheelchair ramp on the leftmost side of the bleachers, and about 10 people scrambled over to go get it. They were all looking in the first two rows, and eventually gave up. After they all had left, I slowly and calmly walked over to where I had remembered it landing, while very one else scrambled to the section to the right. I walked up the steps, and sure enough, in the 5th row, the ball was just sitting there! My 10th lifetime MLB ball!

After this, I went over to hand it to my mom to put in my backpack. About 10 minutes later, Brandon Moss hit a ball in the section to my left. I went to catch the ball, but I realized it was going to land over my head. Nobody was paying attention, and the one or two that were didn’t have glove. It bounced 10 rows back, hit the 4th row, and I snagged it on its way down. My 20th lifetime baseball!

Soon enough, the A’s portion of BP was over, and I was pleased with 2 balls. It was the first time I had gotten to watch the A’s take BP, so I was happy.

After this, I got my wristband in time to get back and see the Yankees stretching before BP.

They stretched for about 5 minutes, before their portion of batting practice began. In that time, I took off my A’s jersey, hoping to have a better chance of getting a ball, to reveal my MLB Fan Cave shirt from my last game in Oakland. It felt very long, I think that is the best word to describe it. Left field was jam packed because of Alex Rodriguez, so I didn’t want to bother heading over there, so I just stayed in right field the entire time.

The Yankees hit many, many home runs to the RF bleachers. But there were so many people sitting down, it made it impossible to move around and have a chance at getting a ball. There was one kid tat I need to mention here. He was about 12 or so and came very close to getting a ball about 10 times, and whenever he didn’t get it, he cried his eyes out. And he wasn’t wearing a glove. Every time the ball was hit close to the wall, he would scream the player’s last name, in hopes of getting the ball.

Some guy did end up giving him the ball, which I think David Robertson tossed up. He then approached me, asking if I wanted to trade, my first home run ball for his toss up. Obviously, my answer was no, but I asked to see the ball, just to see if it had any special logo or anything. Nope. It was just a simple practice ball.

I decided to stand close to where I had gotten my first ball, in the aisle to the section over to the left. A lot of balls were hit just below us, and every time, Tony Pena, the Yankees bench coach would go and retrieve it. I asked him for it the first few times, and just gave up asking him after that. The only other ball I came relatively close to during the Yankee’s portion of BP, I probably should have had, but them again, someone else should have too. The ball was hit right at him. He had a beer in both hands. He set one down, to try to make a one handed grab, and of course, he dropped it. But as I went to grab it, he yelled “STOP HIM” and like 4 other people went to grab it, as he kicked it to his girlfriend, spilling about 1/4 of his beer on me. Another guy grabbed it, and gave it back, after the 20-something year old guy threw a fit about how it should be his and how he deserves it, and a bunch of other random crap. Overall, BP was very exciting.

Once the cages were pulled away, I went and got myself a soda, which I rarely have. Actually, I only ever drink soda at baseball games. But after I got my soda, I sat in my seat and talked with my mom for about 20 minutes, as there was ZERO action on the field.

Then, I saw Derek Norris warming up with Chip Hale, the A’s bench coach down by the A’s bullpen. I put my jersey back on, grabbed my catcher’s mitt and headed down there, hoping that I wouldn’t have to get my ticket checked, like the A’s ushers usually do half an hour before game time. I got down right next to the foul pole and BBQ Terrace, and there was no usher for the section at all! Sweet!

Norris and Hale were going over some catcher’s drills at the wall.

Once they were done, Derek started warming up with Jarrod Parker, the starting pitcher that evening. Once they were done playing long toss, Parker went to throw the ball to Casey Chavez, the brother of former A Eric Chavez, and the A’s bullpen catcher, when I called out to him. He threw the ball to me, and despite my jump, the ball sailed 10 feet over my head.

Believe it or not, he didn’t do that during the game at all! all of this, I pretty much headed back to my seat, with not much more to do.

This was my view when the game started

And this was the view to my left.

Yep, I’m crazy. Sitting right next to the drummer that you hear at very A’s game.

This was the sight whenever Josh Reddick came up to bat

So, If you don’t know, last year, a bunch of A’s fans gathered in RF for the first ever Bacon Tuesday. This game happened to be against the Royals, and Jeff Francoeur happened to be the right fielder. He wrapped $100 on a ball and tossed it to them. The money was for bacon. So this year, when the Royals came to the Coliseum in April, they held the 2nd annual Bacon Tuesday, and this time gave Fancoeur a Bacon Tuesday Shirt.

After hearing about Jeff Francoeur’s Bacon Tuesday at the Coliseum, Josh Reddick, a huge wrestling fan sent a replica WWE title belt to the fans in Oakland’s right-field bleachers and declared Thursdays Title Thursdays. Well whenever Josh Reddick comes to the plate, they have the wrestling belt in right field. Here is a quick article on Cut4.

This is what it looks like when Brandon Inge steps to the dish.

MORE BACKSTORY TIME!!! So, Brandon Inge’s walkup song is Moving Like Bernie. The video on MLB.com is not accessible, but that is what the RF bleacher crew do when Brandon Inge comes up to the song. A’s broadcasters quickly took notice, and the next day on the A’s pre game show, host Brodie Brazil and CSN Insider Casey Pratt were Movin’ Like Bernie. Later, after the A’s walked off AGIAN, Brodie did it agin, this time with his co-host Fernando Viña. Later that night, I found this video, which I think everyone needs to see.

And yes, I was Moving Like Bernie too.

The next story I would like to get to has to do with the song Call Me Maybe, by Carly Rae Jepsen. In May of this year, somebody posted a video to YouTube of the Harvard baseball team dancing to the song in a van.

They played Call Me Maybe sometime during the game, I think it was the 8th inning, and when it played, the ENTIRE A’s bullpen started doing the dance. All 3 1/2 minutes of the song. I guess they do it every time the song is played. They had tons and tons of footage of the bullpen doing it, and I was not able to get a picture of them in action, or on the board, but I did get tis picture, which is of Jordan Noberto laughing after finishing the routine at another game.

Quick break from story time. The only one ball that I came close to during the game was a home run in the 8th.

If you watched the video, then you know that the one guy who had a play on it botched it. I got out of my seat right away. But, because the bleachers were sold out, I had a hard time getting to the ball. Had the bleachers been less packed, I might have been able to get it. But after the ball bounced back on to the field, Dwayne Wise picked it up. I called out to him for it, and he faked a throw to me an rolled it into the bullpen.

Later in the 8th inning, I saw a lot of yellow security shirts all together in the Lf bleachers. I zoomed in and took a picture. My guess is, that somebody was benign ejected.

In the 9th inning, with closer Ryan Cook unavailable to close out the game, as he had worked the previous 3 games, Sean Doolittle, a first baseman the year prior, now a converted relief pitcher, came in to get the save. They played Grant Balfour’s entrance song, which I think is by Metalica. Whenever the song is played during a game, the right field bleacher people have a little routine that they like to perform. Here is a link to another article on Cut4.

Yep, I was doing it too.

Ok, last story. I promise. By this time, everyone knows how awesome the A’s are doing. At the end of the Yankees series, they were 14-2 in July. That is insane. Including the 4th game of the series, in which they walked off, 6 of the previous home games had been in walk-off fashion. It has been so much fun! One thing that Josh Reddick has been doing, is throwing a whipped cream pie in the face of the person who got the walk-off his, while they were doing an interview. Along with that, usually all of the tubs of water and Gatorade are dumped too. For the most recent walk-off win, Jonny Gomes added candy, gum, and sunflower seeds. I found a behind-the-scenes look of Reddick and Inge preparing to hit Coco Crisp with a pie, after the A’s 11th walk-off this year. Check it out, once again at Cut4.

That is about it for the game. It was a whole lot of fun and it was a great game too! I ended the day with 2 balls, which, is fine with me, considering how crowded it was!

BALLHAWKING STATS:
• 2 balls at this game
• 6 balls in 7 Major League games this season = 0.857 ball per game.
• 15 balls in 10 baseball games this season = 1.5 balls per game.
• 11 Lifetime Major League baseballs
• 20 total balls

And on my way home, this is how crowded the BART train was. But, it was more crowded for Root Beer Float day, which really says a lot!

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.