Category: Chip Hale

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.

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1/29/12 at A’s FanFest

Wow. I was looking through my post library and noticed I never uploaded this. I got all the way through and just forgot to publish it. Wow. I apologize. I still think you all would enjoy reading it, so here it is!

Boy oh boy oh boy. Where do I begin?
So my family left our house around 7:45ish and arrived at the Coliseum at 8:20ish. From there, my dad and I went to go stand in line for single-game tickets. The tickets went on sale at 9. When we got there, I figured that the line wasn’t too bad.

Well we stood in line at D-Gate Box office for a while. A long while.

I waited, rocking my A’s DownFlap hat like a boss.

I had figured that the line would move pretty fast, but wow was I wrong. We waited in line for a while. FanFest started at 10am and right before Oracle Arena opened, I was about here in line.

Yeah… the line was moving slowly. Very slowly. I spent most of the time in line on my phone, tweeting, and playing Angry Birds. (No, not Temple Run because I don’t have an iPhone.) We reached the front of the lne at about 10:30. My dad and I decided on tickets to two games. Like I said an entry or two ago, we were planning on buying tickets to a Giants and Dodgers game. For the Giants game, we got seats right behind the Giants bullpen, like row 6. For the Dodgers game, we got like row 5 tickets, behind the A’s bullpen. I swear there was one guy who was the first person in line for tickets, and he was still there buying tickets when we left. Dang.

After we bought those tickets, we headed to the car to get our stuff then headed to the Arena. Time for FanFest! We went from the car to the Arena, were we stood in line for a minute or two to get in. Once in, we got programs, and took it all in. There was a huge crowd at the entrance, because there were players mingling with fans. Chris Carter, Tom Milone, and Eric Sogard were there, taking pictures and interacting with fans. Some guy mistook Chris Carter for Brandon Allen. It was so funny. But anyways, I got a picture with Tom Milone (Now one of my favorite A’s pitchers)

and Eric Sogard

Eric is a great guy and I am glad he is getting such a great opportunity with the A’s.

After all the players were rushed away, I decided that the best option would be to walk around once and see what all was going on. We headed to the left, and the first thing we saw was a booth where you could take a picture with 2 current or former A’s players. There was a schedule for players or something, and as we walked by, Scott Hatteberg and David Justice from the A’s historic 2002 team were the ones taking pictures. As we walked farther around the concourse, we realized how huge the line really was. There must have been a 30 minute wait at least.

Shorty after we got to the point where the line wrapped around, we noticed another new line. I looked at my program and I saw it was the line for autographs. There were 4 of them around the stadium and all equally long. I quickly peeked in and saw Dallas Braden signing.

Then, we passed the 95.7 The GAME and KFOX radio station booths. 95.7 The Game is the A’s radio station, and KFOX is their sister station. There were also a few food stands and an A’s merchandise stand behind the two booths.

As I kept walking, I saw another line and after taking a quick look inside, I saw Tyson Ross, Vida Blue, and Joey Devine.

As we kept walking, we passed the Fantasy Camp booth, which was followed by the Mathletics booth. Mathletics is basically an A’s math program, for those of you who don’t know.

My mom picked up a few Mathletics books for my sister and I, because once you complete them, you send it in and get 2 free A’s tickets. I completed it as soon as we got home and sent it in the mail the next day.

Then, we passed a memorabilia sale, with game-used items and the A’s Kids Club Sign-up booth. The Stockton Ports also had a booth a little ways down, and they had hundreds and hundreds of Ports silly bands and stuff tat all of the little kids throughout the day were wearing.

Once we passed the Ports booth, I saw the 3rd autograph line, and we just kept walking, until we got to the 4th autograph line, and the place where there was supposed ti be a player meet and greet, which had since been abandoned. I guess that was what they had been doing at the entrance.

At this point it was about 11:00, and my dad and I went into the seating area to watch the Q&A session on the court. They had just finished up with Bob Melvin, David Forst, Jarrod Parker, and Josh Reddick. We waited in our seats for about 15 minutes, as my mom and sister explored a little more. They found us just in time for the 2nd session to start.

Dick Callahan, the A’s P.A. announcer at the Coliseum and Kara, the A’s in-game host introduced the next set of A’s players.

This panel featured new bench coach Chip Hale, catcher Kurt Suzuki, and infielders Cliff Pennington, Jemile Weeks, and Adam Rosales.

Right before the panel started, I got a text from my friend Michael, who was also at FanFest, saying he was going to ask the first question. He, like me is a 2nd baseman, and he asked Jemile Weeks a question about how to get better at playing 2nd base.

The who thing was very interesting, and I really enjoyed it.

Once it was noon, the panel was over, so I decided to find some lunch. I ended up getting an overpriced slice of pizza, and eating it in my seat, waiting for the next session to start.

The next Question & Answer featured Ray Fosse, Vida Blue, Joe Rudi, and Gene Tennace from the A’s 70’s dynasty teams.

As well as Scott Hatteberg, who talked about hitting the walk-off grand slam, the 2002 season, and his time with the A’s.

The 6th person in the group was David Justice, who answered questions about being given a chance to play in 2002, and talked about the 20 game win streak, and stuff like that.

It was great to hear from all 6 of those guys, and it was especially interesting to hear from all of the guys who played in the 70’s and their stories.

Once this panel was over, I realized that there was only 1 hour left, and still a lot of stuff that I wanted to do. I was still hoping to get a photo with the 4 World Series trophies, do the Comcast SportsNet SportsCaster Experience, and tour the clubhouse, all of which are located in the same general area.

I deiced that we should go ahead and do the clubhouse tour, and see what we have time for after that, considering how long the lines would be for the other 2 things.

My dad did get a picture of the World Series trophies, however.

The line was pretty long, but I figured that in the end, it would all be worth it, as the other two lines looked long enough that I wouldn’t get to do anything else.

On the way to the Coliseum, we walked past the Warriors’ player entrance

There were also some signs about how you shouldn’t impersonate people in the NBA and stuff like that

After we passed this, we to into the open air, and walked a little ways to the Coliseum. Then, we entered a green and gold and grey and black striped tunnel, which I assumed led to the clubhouse.

Then, we went down some stairs.

After more walking, I saw this sign, which I figured meant we were heading in the right direction.

We also passed the A’s weight room.

Then, we turned a corner, and I saw the A’s clubhouse. Before we got into the clubhouse, we had to walk a little ways. We passed the office of A’s equipment manager, Steve Vucinich.

It looked like he had a nice office…

That you aren’t allowed to snivel in

Once you pass his office, the wall on the left his covered with every issue of Sports Illustrated every printed with the A’s on the cover

On the right wall, there is a huge case of A’s memorabilia. Stuff like hats and jerseys.

There were a lot of issue of Sports Illustrated


And some of the A’s memorabilia was really cool! There was a bobblehead that was the only one of its kind made.

There was also a long line of A’s game-used hats and helmets

Hands down, my favorite hat is the Turn-Ahead-the-Clock hat, which they wore in the 90’s for Turn-Ahead-the-Clock day in MLB, which is the one on the top left

After all of the cool stuff, we entered the clubhouse

This is what it looks like

I looked at all of the lockers thoughout the clubhouse. Some of them had nameplates, some of them didn’t. Some had things in them, some didn’t. Here are Michael Taylor and Brandon McCarthy’s lockers.

Brett Anderson

Andrew Carigan and Dallas Braden

I had noticed that there were players shaking hands with people and the first person I saw was Brandon Allen

The first guy in the line of players was Eric Sogard, who recognized me immediately, and seemed very happy about it, too.

Then, there was Tommy Milone, who also recognized me.

Then Mike Gallego. Everyone is my family was amazed at how short he is. At BaseballReference.com, he is listed at 5’8″. Then, you take away 3 inches, and that is how tall Mike Gallego is.

Then, there was Brandon allen. Overall, it was a really, really, cool experience.

On our way out of the clubhouse, we passed the kitchen, which I immediately recognized from the Moneyball scene featuring Scott Hatteberg and David Justice talking.

Then I saw this sign that caught my eye.

After zooming in, this is what the sign says.

For me, or any ballhawk, I find this sign huge. It lists the times that the A’s are supposed to finish hitting for each game time, as well as the infield times.

We exited back though the way we came, and after a family discussion, decided it was time to go.

I wanted to take one last peek into the arena to see what was going on and this is what I saw.

Dallas Braden and Brett Anderson were signing autographs. My dad told me that I could head down there, and try to get my copy of Sports Illustrated with Dallas Braden on the cover signed.

I didn’t get any autographs, as they had to leave, but it was still cool!

Wow! It was a crazy insane day. I waited in line for a long time, got tickets for games far in advance, and had an amazing time at FanFest!

Now, I apologize for taking so long to get this up. I thought I had uploaded it, but I guess I had not. I hope you enjoy it! Comment, letting me know what you think, and have a great day!

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.