Category: Cespedes

6/26/13 at the Oakland Coliseum

Today was root beer float day! My mom, sister, and I attended Root Beer Float day last year, and we were at it again this year!

We decided to get to the Coliseum around 8:30am. The gates were to open at 10:35 am, with a 12:35 pm start time.

We caught the 8am BART train, getting to the Coliseum just before 8:30. We were the first ones in line. For the next hour, there was not much going on. We saw the root beer being delivered to the Eastside Club, just like last year.

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We were in line at MM, however we were not going to be sitting in the RF Bleachers. We would be in Section 127 for this game.

Everyone had all of their stuff in a pile before the gates opened.

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The bag check was all ready to go.

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And the Root Beer Float mug stand was set up.

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Last year, I rushed through Root Beer float day, because I wanted to get out and ballhawk, so this time, I was planning on soaking up Root Beer Float day, then ballhawking if time allowed.

As soon the gates opened, I ran in and purchased my mug, then walked into the Eastside club.

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There were LOADS of tables and booths set up, with celebrities from all over the Bay Area serving root beer floats.

The A’s players’ wives and girlfriends had their own table.

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It got packed quickly!

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My first stop was the Comcast SportsNet table. There, I got to talk with Casey Pratt and Kate Longworth, from CSN. As I enjoyed my float, I headed over to the table, where this sign was located.

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I got a Yoga Mat last year at this event, I have no need for a kids club kid, and I was at the game that the Scott Hatteberg bobblehead was given away. I picked up a Jason Giambi bobblehead, along with 2 Roy Steele bobbleheads. Roy Steele was the A’s PA announcer for over 30 years.

Within half an hour, the area was PACKED!

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Remember how I had mentioned a table with the A’s players and wives? My next float was served by Angie Balfour, wife of Grant Balfour. EXTREMELY nice lady!

It all just got more and more crowded.
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At this point, I decided to try and get a panoramic picture from the Plaza Reserved seats. As soon as I took a look, I saw that the cage was set up. Not only that, but the Reds were on the field stretching!

I let my mom know where I was going, and I headed off to the RF foul line.
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Curtis Partch was just wrapping up playing catch when I got there. I called out to him, and I had ball #1 on the day!

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The Reds started to hit, and they were hitting A LOT of balls down the RF line. Curtis Partch was fielding them all and throwing EVERY SINGLE ONE into the crowd. I would say at least 20 balls were hit to him. Every single ball hit to him, he would toss up. However, we recognized me, so I wasn’t able to get another toss-up from him.

About 10 minutes before BP ended, he jogged in. Aroldis Chapman started patrolling the RF corner, where he didn’t throw a single ball into the crowd.

Then, 5 minutes later, he jogged in as well. The last group of hitter was pulling a lot of balls down the RF line, with nobody to get them. As BP wrapped up, 5 or so balls were sitting on the warning track, in front of the foul pole. Mark, the security guard by the visiting bullpen, walked over. He picked up all of the balls, tossing each into the crowd. I was lucky enough to come up with one of them.

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I then handed it to a kid next to me who hadn’t been lucky enough to get one.

I wandered around a bit before heading back to my seat, joining my sister and mom.

Players slowly began to come out onto the field to stretch.

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A.J. Griffin finished up his warm-up tosses in the bullpen.

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And we were ready to go! The ballboy down the LF line always warms up the A’s left fielder, which I think would be an awesome job.

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Like I mentioned, A.J. Griffin was the A’s starter in this game.

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This was the view from my seat.

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It was weird, as it always has been this year, to see the RF bleachers from a different perspective.

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Yoenis Cespedes made a few adjustments to his cup throughout the game.

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Before the gates had opened, I had been tweeting back with Ryan Dalton, who you might remember from a few of my entries. He said he would be out in LF for the game, and sure enough, there he was.
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I’m not sure about the guy behind him in the picture. No clue…

After 6 1/2 innings, the A’s were leading the Reds 4-0, with the Reds only having 2 hits off of A.J. Griffin. Tony Cingrani came in to relieve Homer Bailey in the bottom of the 7th.

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In case you are wondering… the A’s 4 runs came on a Brandon Moss double and Josh Donaldson home run in the 4th inning.

I spent a lot of time taking random photos like these…

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Cingrani struggled a bit, allowing a double to Eric Sogard, then a pinch-hit double to Nate Freiman.

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The A’s took the field in the 8th with a 5-0 lead.

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Grant Balfour was warming up Yoenis this inning.

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Everyone was going nuts every time Cespedes threw the warmup ball into the crowd.

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In the 8th inning, Griffin was only at 90 pitches after 1 out.

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He finished the day with a complete-game, two-hit shutout, on 108 pitches.

Great day! Root Beer Float Day was great as usual! I was surprised with Reds BP. I snagged 2 balls. The A’s won. You Can NOT complain! I was going to be back out at the yard just a few days later for Coco Lean bobblehead day!

BALLHAWKING STATS:

  • 17th Game this Year (12th MLB Game)
  • 2 Balls at this Game
  • 14 balls in 12 MLB games this season = 1.16 Balls Per Game
  • 42 Lifetime MLB Baseballs
  • 93 Lifetime Baseballs

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

 

 

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6/1/13 at the Oakland Coliseum

JERSEY DAY!!!!!!

We left the house just before 8am and got there around 8:25. This was the scene when we arrived…

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The PARKING LOT hadn’t even opened yet. I was almost positive I would be one of the first in line at this rate.

That ended up not being the case. There were already 30 or so people in line when we got there, so we jumped in line right away. It was Yoenis Cespedes Jersey day. That’s why I was there so early.

Given the fact that the gates didn’t open for 2.5 hours, my sister and I decided to wander a bit. On the way towards Gate D, we passed Will, who was heading up towards MM.
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When we stopped at the D Gate team store, my sister could not resist purchasing this:

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It was pretty boring before the gates opened. My sister and I played catch in the parking lot. I picked up a new t-shirt (I ended up wearing it at this game- You’ll see it soon). That was about it.

When we stopped in the C-Gate team store, we saw this:

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Jersey boxes were being opened!

Shortly before the gates opened- I spotted a familiar face. It was the man that goes by @CS_Darrow on Twitter. We had met up during the World Baseball Classic, and when he saw me this time around, he pulled out two things.

1) A ticket stub from a Rangers/White Sox game in Arlington.

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2) A Dodgers 2012 50th Anniversary ball!
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How cool is that? He thanked me for “spreading the ‘ballhawking’ word” and explained how he and I appreciate your efforts. Thank you again, very much!

The gates opened at 11:05, and I got in fairly quickly. I grabbed a jersey and ran down to my usual seat, but someone was sitting there, so I decided to go sit over where I had been sitting for most of the 19-inning game.

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When I first entered the seating bowl, 1 things shocked me. THE CAGES WERE UP!!!

It was a DAY GAME AFTER A NIGHT GAME and the Sox were going to take BP. SWEEEEEET!

The A’s pitchers were the only players on the field at the time, so I headed over there.

Grant Balfour was playing catch with Pat Neshek. Something caused Grant to yell out “F**K!” At this point, this came to my mind…

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What did I do? I yelled out “That’s 50 cents to the Aussie Swear Jar, Grant!”

He hear this, turned around, started laughing, and tossed me the ball!

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The A’s players started leaving the field. White Sox players came on.

I put on my White Sox gear and headed down near the bullpen, as the bleachers were crowding up FAST.

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Adam Dunn put on a hell of a show in BP, he was hitting the ball HARD and HIGH!

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The Coliseum was filling up fast.

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The bleachers were packed with Yoenis Cespedes gold replica jerseys.

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Omar and his adorable daughter Rhema were there.

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Oh, right. BP. BORING. Dunn and Alex Rios were the only ones that had any power- they hit every ball to CF. Nothing to the LF or RF bleachers as far as I can remember. My 2nd ball of the day was a toss-up. I had been standing a few rows behind a few little kids for most of BP.

There were a lot of balls hit down the line that stayed on the field. Every time, Matt Lindstrom would jog over and throw it in. There was a ball hit right to the wall that one of the kids called for, Lindstrom tossed it up, but it went right to me. I hadn’t even asked for it. I immediately handed it to the 7-8 year old boy that the ball could have been meant for. After all, he was in White Sox gear.

That was it for BP. It was BORING. And long. It was around 55-60 minutes, which was INSANE.

BP ended around 12:20. Yeah..

The grounds crew began prepping the field.

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Darren Bush and Derrek Norris headed out to the bullpen to get ready.

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They played some 2-ball to get loose.

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The day’s starting pitcher, Dan Straily, began to get loose.

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While this was all happening, I noticed this sign. Why is it important? That picture is from THIS blog entry!
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Thursday night, Ian Sagabaen, the guy holding up the sign, and the MLB-proclaimed Greatest Sign-Maker in MLB History contacted me, asking if he could use the picture. Of course I said yes!

Dan Straily began to warm up with D-No, as Darren Bush watched on.
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Jose Quintana, the White Sox starting pitcher began to get loose with Hector Gimenez, the starting catcher that day.

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Several A’s players began to stretch and such.IMG_0411

ROSIE!!!

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The National Anthem was performed.

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The meeting took place at home plate.

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And we were ready to go!

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Dan Straily was on the mound for the A’s. Last year, he was a strikeout MACHINE in the minors.

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This was my view for the game. Actually, I was sitting 2 sections over to the left. This was my dad’s view.

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The White Sox were unable to score in the 1st inning.

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The A’s scored a run in the first.

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The bleachers were lively. (Not that that is a surprise to anyone)

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Oh, and that run was doubled in my Yoenis Cespedes.

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And scored by Jed Lowrie.

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Josh Donaldson struck out.

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Josh Reddick grounded out to end the first inning. 1-0 A’s.

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The White Sox were unable to score any runs in the 2nd either.
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The A’s scored a run in the 2nd inning as well. It started with a Derek Norris double.

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Adam Rosales grounded out.

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Chris Young singled, brining in the run.

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That run was Derek Norris.

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It’s 2-0 A’s!

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Banjo Man showed up… Ew…

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The broadcasters seemed to be doing well.

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The White Sox scored a run in the 3rd on an Adam Dunn single.

The A’s went 1-2-3 in the 3rd.

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The White Sox were the same in the top of the 4th.

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Adam Rosales singled in the 4th inning.

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But the A’s were unable to capitalize, sending the game to the 5th…

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The White Sox went 1-2-3 again, in the 5th  inning.

Then, the A’s came up in the bottom half.

Josh Donaldson singled…

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The the BIG BOY Nate Freiman tripled.
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JD scored.

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Everyone was happy!

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But it was a pain to watch him run! Watch for yourself. Oof.

The A’s were unable to do anything more in the 5th.

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This made it 3-1 A’s after 5 innings in the books.

The White Sox were unable to do anything in the 6th.

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Josh Reddick tossed up the 3rd out ball…

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But I was cooling off in the concourse. Wiggi was the lucky recipient of the ball!

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The A’s went quietly in their half of the 6th, despite a double from Jed Lowrie.

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Sean Doolittle came on to pitch the 7th. Dan Straily went 6 innings with 8 strikeouts and 1 run allowed.

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This is when things began to unravel.

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The White Sox scored 2 runs on a single off the bat of Alejandro De Aza. This prompted a mound visit.

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Sean Doolittle then quickly got out of the jam.

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The A’s were unable to put anything together in their half of the 7th.

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Ryan Cook got loose in the A’s bullpen.

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As he was going to pitch the 8th inning, with the score knotted up at 3-3.

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Oh, and check out Josh Reddick’s AWESOME socks.

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Cookie set all 3 White Sox batters down in the 8th.

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Jesse Crain, who was a very stingy pitcher during BP pitched the bottom of the 8th.

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The A’s were not able to piece much together.

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There were several pickoff attempts in this inning.
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Daniel was visibly frustrated by them.

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Despite a Jed Lowrie Single and Chris Young double, the A’s were unable to score, as Yoenis Cespedes struck out to end the inning.
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Grant Balfour came in to pitch the 9th inning. Time to RAAAAAAAAGE!

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He concluded his warm-up tosses.

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And he proceeded to pitch a stellar 9th inning.

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The White Sox were set down in order.
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In fact, Balfour only needed 12 pitches to do so.

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It was time for the A’s up’s in the bottom of the 9th!

Josh Donaldson led off with a single.

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Then, the White Sox changed pitchers.

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Josh Reddick then laid down a textbook bunt with 0 outs and runners on 1st and 2nd.

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And he was SAFE at first. Bases loaded, no outs!

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Everyone was on their feet, ready for some walk-off pie!

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But Derek Norris grounded into a 6-2-3 double play, getting the outs at home and 1st.

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Coco was intentionally walked.
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Eric Sogard struck out with the bases loaded to send us to extras…

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Pat Neshek came in…

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And got two quick outs, at which point Jerry Blevins came in.

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Adam Dunn promptly flied out to right field to end the inning.

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Mostly everyone had stayed and was still into the game!

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Jed Lowrie lined out to Alex Rios to start the bottom of the 10th.

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Chris Young then doubled for his 3rd hit of the game and Yoenis Cespedes was intentionally walked.

This prompted another Sox pitching change.

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Josh Donaldson then walked as well, loading the bases AGAIN with 1 out.

Brandon Moss then lined out for the 2nd out.

This brought in Josh Reddick.

He took 5 straight pitches, only the first one being a strike.

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You know what this means?

WALK OFF VICTORY!!!

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Everyone was excited!!!

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And yes, Coco delivered the PIE!!

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After the game, I got a picture with Ian and the sign!
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Look closely in the bottom righthand corner.

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It was my Twitter handle!!!

Free jersey, 2 balls, my Twitter handle on a sign, and walk-off pie. You CANNOT complain about that!

My next game was going to be the next afternoon. Oh boy!

BALLHAWKING STATS:

  • 12th Game this Year (9th MLB Game)
  • 2 Balls at this Game
  • 12 balls in 9 MLB games this season = 1.33 Ball Per Game
  • 34 Balls in 12 Games this season = 2.5 Balls Per Game
  • 40 Lifetime MLB Baseballs
  • 77 Total Balls

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

4/3/13 at the Oakland Coliseum

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Beyond what you see, that was it!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I ended BP with 2 balls.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tommy Milone finished up his warm up tosses…

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… Josh Donaldson did some last-minute stretching …

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

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… And we were all ready to go!

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

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

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I just thought those were two cool pictures.

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

Chris Young was playing center in his Oakland debut

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With Josh Reddick playing right field

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

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

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

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Yoenis Cespedes was the A’s starting left fielder.

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Jed Lowrie was in the game at shortstop

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And Josh Donaldson was playing third

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

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

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Nate Freiman was hitting 8th in his MLB Debut

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

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

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

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I liked this shot of the Oakland sky at night.

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

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

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Jed Lowrie had a BIG day at the plate.

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Coco Crisp doubled in the 3rd inning.

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

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But Derek Norris struck out to end the inning…

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

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Ot this one of Chris Young.IMG_6748

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

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

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

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And this one…IMG_6784

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

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

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

LOOK AT THAT HAIR!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I got another picture with my 2 BP balls.

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And we said goodbye to the Coliseum.

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

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

Thanks everyone for reading!

BALLHAWKING STATS:

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

300x50_mlblogs_top100 Nick Badders is a unofficial reporter for MLB.com. He writes the blog, 7000 Coliseum Way, and you can follow him on Twitter @nickbatters or his blog @7000ColiseumWay. You can also LIKE his blog on Facebook or follow him @nickbatters or his blog @7000ColiseumWay on Instagram. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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

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

20120929-192155.jpg
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.