Category: Cliff Pennington

A’s Split Series with Rangers!

The A’s are for real.

On Monday, I was asked by many people if the A’s are for real. Now, the answer is yes!

They started the series on Tuesday, with a matchup of Bartolo Colon and Roy Oswalt. Both pitchers threw 2 scoreless innings to start the game. In the 3rd, Elvis Andrus had an RBI Single to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead. Adrian Beltre led off the 4th with a solo shot, followed by a 1-out RBI single from Mike Napoli. Craig Gentry followed with a run-scoring bunt, giving Texas a 4-0 lead.

In the bottom of the 7th, Josh Reddick led off, blasting his 21st home run of the year, a solo home run to right field. That would end up being the only run the A’s scored in this game.

The Rangers scored 2 more runs, when Josh Hamilton homered in the 8th inning, and when he hit a sac fly in the 9th to make the final score 6-1.

The A’s looked for a series split in game two, with Travis Blackley on the mound, opposing former Athletic Colby Lewis.

The first four innings of the game were scoreless, but Craig Gentry doubled in Brandon Snyder ti make the score 1-0. It wouldn’t stay like that for long, as Brandon Inge led off the A’s half of the 5th with a line-drive home run to center field.

The whole game then started to fall apart for the A’s in the top of the 6th. Elvis Andrus singled to open up the 6th. He then advanced to 2nd base on a bad balk, called on Travis Blackley by the first base umpire, Paul Nauert. Blackley has used the same move all year. Sigh. Micheal Young then singled to left, making the score 2-1 A’s. Blackley was then pulled for Grant Balfour, who allowed a Nelson Cruz single to make the score 3-1.

In the bottom of the 7th, Brandon Inge doubled to lead off, followed by a Chris Carter pinch-hit walk, who was then pinch-run for with Brandon Hicks. After 2 quick outs, Josh Reddick stepped to the plate. He launched a deep, deep drive to right field, which I was positive would leave the yard. It bounced off the top of the wall, about a foot above Nelson Cruz’s glove to tie the game at 3.

In the top of the 9th, Ryan Cook came in to pitch, and got out of a jam. Brandon Hicks lead off the bottom of the 9th inning. Right when Hicks was called up in June, he almost had a walk-off grand slam against the Giants, but the ball bounced over the wall. He has had multiple hits that have almost gone out, and was still without a major league home run.

He launched a solo home run to the deep part of right-center, his first career home run to win the game for the A’s 4-3!

So, the A’s have lost 2 games in July. They are 10-2 in July, and have 4 walk-off wins in their last 7 games and 9 walk-off wins this year!

Now, the Bronx Bombers come to town, for a four-game series. I hope of be at the game on Saturday. Now, the Yankees are 5-1 in their last 6 games, but so are the A’s. The A’s have a 10-2 record in July. The Yankees are 10-4. I expect this series to be evenly matched, power for power, strikeout for strikeout, and win for win. I expect them to split the 4 game series.

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

6/24/12 at Oakland Coliseum

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He brought the count full. There were runners on first

And second.

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

A’s Win!

Here are some pictures from the home run and celebration

The Swing…

Watching the ball…

Jonny Gomes jumping on his way to the plate…

Players running in from the dugout…

Derek Norris running home…

Look how high Derek Norris is jumping…

Derek is somewhere in there…

They did end up ripping his shirt off…

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

Josh Reddick came to his rescue with some towels

That he promptly used

And his interview with MLB Network

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

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

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

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

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

6/21/12 at the Oakland Coliseum

For this game, my friend Ryan would be joining my dad and I. You might remember Ryan from this game. Or this game. I picked Ryan up from his house around 9:20 and from there, we headed to the Coliseum.

Today was a throwback Thursday, so every fan got a fee bag of peanuts and a scorecard. The A’s are amazing! (Sarcasm maybe?) We got to the Coliseum at got in line at gate C. My dad stayed in line while Ryan and I walked over to gate D to see how long the line was there. There was nobody there! We got in line and waited for my dad.

The gates opened at 11:05 and Ryan and I ran for the Dodgers bullpen, where the some players were warming up. I changed into my Dodgers gear and headed down. I had many interesting experiences there. I was told by 4 Dodgers pitchers that they are not allowed to give out balls from the bullpen, and all 4 of them tossed someone else a ball within 5 minutes of me asking.

It started with Aaron Harang, who was signing autographs. I got him to sign my ticket and after, I asked him if he would be able to toss me one of the cool commemorative balls. He said he would love to, but the bullpen balls have to stay in the bullpen. I got to talking to him about commemorative balls while everyone was screaming for his autograph.

Then he eventually walked away and said he would try to get one from the dugout from me. Then Tony Gwynn Jr. came over and I asked him for a Dodgers 50th anniversary ball, which I saw under the bullpen roof. I figured that since he was a position player, he wouldn’t know. But he said he wasn’t allowed to “hand them out.” I didn’t even get his autograph.

Then Chris Capuano came along and I asked him for a ball and with a laugh said “What is thrown in the bullpen stays in the bullpen.” So I asked him for the softball in his hand. I guess not.

My last hope was their catching coach Steve Yeager. He had the same answer as everyone else. Great.

With almost no chance of getting a commemorative ball, we headed over to our seats behind the A’s bullpen. While we had been gone, my dad had taken some great pictures of A’s players warming up.

Jerry Blevins:

Ryan Cook:

Brian Fuentes:

And when we got back, some more great pictures

Derek Norris:

Travis Blackley:

I was unable to get a ball from any player warming up, so I settled in my seat to see Derek Norris making his MLB debut. He joins Andrew Carigan, Bret Anderson, and Aaron Cunningham as the only players I have seen make their MLB debut in person.

Travis Blackley was dealing in this game, only allowing one run and three hits over eight innings- arguably the best start of his Major League career.

The A’s scored their first run when Jonny Gomes scored on a sac fly from Brandon Inge in the 2nd inning. The Dodgers scored their lone run in the 5th on a single from Juan Rivera. In the 6th inning, I went and got an ice cream helmet, which I finished in ten minutes.

We had a great view of Ryan Cook warming up in the 8th inning to go in the game in the 9th

In the bottom of the ninth inning, Coco Crisp walked and advanced to second on a passed ball. Jemile Weeks went to bunt Coco to third, but got to first on a miscommunication by Juan Uribe and Josh Lindblom.

Kurt Suzuki and Casey Chavez watched on from the bullpen

Now there were runners on first

And third

And Yoenis Cespedes came to the plate

He was still without a walk off hit in his career and before the start of his at bat, I predicted a walk-off home run down the LF line. Hmmmm…

Boom!

Had I been standing in the cross aisle and sprinted to my left on the crack of the bat, I would have had it. Whatever. Celebration! I was happy!

I saw a ball in the bullpen and I was trying to find someone to toss it to me, but the usher lady kicked us out. I was shutout.

As I walked up the steps, I turned around to see the security guard on the field pick up the ball and toss it into the seats. I raced down to grab the ball, but someone grabbed it before me. Dangit! The A’s still won!

Keep scrolling for pictures of Cespedes’ Walk-off celebration
BALLHAWKING STATS:
• 0 balls at this game
• 4 balls in 5 Major League games this season = 0.8 ball per game.
• 7 balls in 8 baseball games this season = 0.875 ball per game.
• 9 Lifetime Major League baseballs
• 12 total balls

Home Run Trot:

Celebration at home plate:

On way to Dugout:

My next game is tomorrow (Sunday) at the Coliseum against the Giants… wish me luck!

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.

Videos of the Day

So yesterday I did pictures of the day. Today, videos of the day…
Let’s start off with the Miami Marlins song…

Now this next video I love. it is this kid who totally ca calls a Josh Willingham Home Run.

So the next two videos come from fellow MLBlogger and ballhawk Erik Jabs. He writes the MLBlog Counting Baseballs. Go check it out. But anyways, for the past 10 weeks or so he has been giving away MLB shirts and 2 weeks ago, I came very close to winning. Here is the intital video:

Then, if you watched that video (which I hope you did) this video follows…

Now this last video is of me ALMOST catching a home run at the A’s game on 9/2/11 if you rememberm where I got to meet Zack Hample. If you read the post, you know how frustrated I got because the usher would NOT let me get out of my seat. It pissed me off. I almost caught it, it landed abotu 5 feet behind me. And the hot chocoalte vendor ran off with the ball… Unfortunatly, I guess I cannot embed the video in because “Your browser does not support iframes.” Click here to see the video…

Thats all for now. I won’t have a new post up tommorrow because I have a baseball game and nothing up Thursday-Saturday because I am attending a state Leadership confrence in Costa Mesa with my Leadership class. After that, my family may either stay in LA or fly back down to LA for Spring Break. And yeah, go to some baseball games. I might got to a Dodgers-Angels exhibition game and potentally the Padres Opening Day. So we will se how this goes for now! Oh, and yeah, I will get up early tommorrow and Thursday to listen to the A’s games. They will also be rebroadcast on MLB Network sometime during the day. So stay tuned!

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

2012 Baseball Season

Ok… so I have started to plan out my 2012 baseball schedule and this is what I have at this point.


I am really looking forward to this event, here is what it says at the A’s website:

Date: Sunday, January 29
Time: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Location: Oracle Arena next to the Coliseum
A’s FanFest features:
-Free autographs
-Free question-and-answer sessions
-Free photos with the four World Series Trophies
-Free clubhouse tours
-Memorabilia sale to benefit the A’s Community Fund
-Free parking

-Current Players, Coaches, and Former Players Expected to Attend:
-Brandon Allen
-Brett Anderson
-Daric Barton
-Jerry Blevins
-Vida Blue
-Dallas Braden
-Adrian Cardenas
-Chris Carter
-Coco Crisp
-Chili Davis
-Joey Devine
-Mike Gallego
-Chip Hale
-Scott Hatteberg
-David Justice
-Brandon McCarthy
-Bob Melvin
-Tom Milone
-Jermaine Mitchell
-Jarrod Parker
-Brad Peacock
-Cliff Pennington
-Anthony Recker
-Josh Reddick
-Rick Rodriguez
-Adam Rosales
-Tyson Ross
-Joe Rudi
-Scott Sizemore
-Seth Smith
-Eric Sogard
-Kurt Suzuki
-Michael Taylor
-Gene Tenace
-Neil Wagner
-Tye Waller
-Jemile Weeks
-Curt Young

Additional players to be announced and added. Appearances are subject to change.

Oh. Yes. This is looking like it is going to be pretty awesome. I will be tweeting live from the event, so follow @7000ColiseumWay or @nickbatters. I will try to tweet from both as much as possible. As you do that, if you have a Facebook, go ahead and LIKE us. All the likes and follows are much appreciated, it proves to my parents that this isnt a complete waste of time and it builds by self esteem up a lot.

And I just found out, but if you go here, there is a map, which will help a lot.

Single-Game Tickets go on sale at 9am and yes, I will be standing in line @ 9am ready to buy some tickets.

Here is how I plan to have the day go, pending my parents’ approval.

I want to leave our house for the Coliseum sometime between 7 and 8 am to get in line for tickets. Once we get there, I plan on us immediately getting in line at the Coliseum Box Office for Tickets. We will probably have to wait in line for a while, but we will be buying tickets to at least one game (I’ll get to that in a sec). Once we have purchased our tickets, we will get in line for FanFest at Oracle Area. Once we enter the Area at 10am, I am going to figure out how things work and try to get as many player autographs and pictures as possible. I also would love to be able to get some family and/or personal photos with the 4 World Series trophies at some point. There are also going to be clubhouse tours that I am looking forward to. I am probably most looking forward to getting to meet all the players we received in trades and free-agent signings this offseason. This looks like it’s going to be some fun.


Now… when it comes to tickets…
Two words… Oh. Boy.

I have had a big conversation with my family about tickets and we have argued a lot. So at this moment, as I am typing this, this is what we have planned…


Sunday, June 24th, 1:05 vs SF Giants
This is one of the only reasons we are showing up early for tickets. My mom really wants to go to a Giants game at the Coliseum, and even though its not ideal in the sense of ballhawking, it still would be lots of fun to go to this game. Given that we are showing up early and the small amount of A’s season ticket holders, I am counting on getting really good seats if we show up early enough.
The reason I want to sit here, If you go to the link is because there is nothing in front of the railing, potentially giving me room to lean over and scoop up a foul ball. Note that the bullpen is to the left, good place for toss ups. In my ideal world, we would get aisle seats in the first row next to the bullpen, on the left side of the section. I am keeping my fingers crossed! It would also be cool to sit anywhere near either dugout, preferably the A’s or next to the umpire tunnel on the 1B side, but either works. Now because the A’s are playing the Giants, tickets are extra, so seats around the dugout are $55. For those of you who don’t go to A’s games, those are the 3rd most expensive seats at the Coliseum. My parents are used to cheap tickets at the Coliseum, so $55 seems like a fortune to them. I’ll be working on that. It also doesn’t help that I am trying to get them to buy me a MacBook for my b-day (April 17th) so I have some work to do.
And for this game, I want to sit in section 127…
Please click here to see the panoramic view of section 127


Wednesday, June 20th, 7:05 vs LA Dodgers
Yeah. I know, I went backwards in time. Wait, you didn’t know I am a magical warlock that can bend time? Whoops, I guess I forgot to mention that…
Anyways, this day happens to be a BART $2 Wednesday. If you don’t know, tickets in the Plaza Reserved and Plaza Outfield for every Wednesday home game are $2. Yesh. But it is also MUG Root Beer Float Day (Sponsored by PEPSI) and this is a fun event every year that the A’s have. They are also playing the Dodgers, and if you remember, I went to a game in July, so I would love to see them play in Oakland too. And I might invite my friend Ryan to this game. He was the one that invited me to the Dodgers game, and I also went ot this game with him.

Now… at this point, it looks like we are only going to buy tickets to those 2 games on Sunday. As you would guess, I would love more, but im not going to complain, because i am very fortunate to even get tickets to one game or to go to FanFest at all.

My family has also committed to going to another game that we can’t buy tickets for on Sunday…


Sunday, April 22th, 1:05 vs Cleveland Indians
For this game, my entire school district is having a fundraiser and we will all get discount tickets, have a tailgate, sit together, and get a special T-Shirt… its also Little League Day, so that to.

I think that’s about it, believe it or not. Remember to follow this blog, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or comment in the comment section below…

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. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Old Baseball Game Pictures

So I was surfing through pictures that my ad took at A’s games is the past few years, and decided to share some.

Starting of with ’05

From left to right: Me, my sister, my mom

Me and my dad

THE UPPER DECK IS FRIGGIN OPEN!!!!

Now 2006

Milton Bradley

Bobby Kielty

Danny Haren

Frank Thomas

Bobby Crosby

Jay Payton

Legoo with 2007?

Mark Kotsay (#21) and Adam Melhuse (#17)

Dan Johnson

Colby Lewis (#47) and Jay Marshall (#52)

Shannon Stewart (#24)

Lets look at 2008:

Rob Bowen (#18)

Gio Gonzalez

Josh Outman

Jack Hanahan

Dana Eveland

Chris Denorfia

Andrew Brown

Now a look at 2009, where I have a few more pictures:

Mark Ellis (#14) Nomar Garciapara (#1) and Orlando Cabrera

Bob Geren

Home Opener- OPD Ceremony

Brett Anderson (MLB Debut)

Brett Tomko

Jeff Gray

Landon Powell

Casey Chavez

Vin Mazarro

Andrew Bailey

Jack Cust

Ziggy

Craig Breslow

Russ Springer

Andrew Bailey

Now 2010:

Rajai Davis

Cliff Pennington

Chad Gaudin

Brad Kilby

Daric Barton and Mike Gallego

Ryan Sweeny


Trevor Cahill

Daric Barton (Left) Coco Crisp (Right)

Coco Crsip

Joe Rudi

Booby Crosby (#2) Daric Barton (#10)

Kurt Suzuki

Koooooooooooooouuuuuz!

Jerry Blevins (Left) Cedrick Bowers (Right)

Connor Jackson

I have no clue who this is... if you can identify him, coment below.

So yeah… thats it… if you want to see 2011 pics, you can read the blog entries. Comment in the comment section below or on Facebook or Twittr and tell me what you think…


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. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

9/2/11 at O.co Coliseum (And meeting Zack Hample!)

Well, first, of course, as always, I need to thank my dad, because at 3:30, I persuaded him to take me to the A’s game. Well, the main reason that I wanted to go was because Zack Hample was planning on being here. That is pretty cool.

Well, we took BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) to the game and I played a little Brick Breaker on the ride:

Then, we got to Oakland at about 5:20ish and bought 2 bleacher seats and then got in line at the C gate only to see this:

That arrow is pointing to Zack Hample.

Then, the gate opened and he dashed inside. As soon, as my dad and I got inside, we ran to the RF bleachers and found this guy:

Yep, it’s Zack again. He was doing his ballhawking thing. And then my dad got this picture of Zack that I couldn’t help but share:

And yeah, as soon as I got in, I got Josh Lueke to toss me up a ball. Pretty cool. Yeah, one ball! Whooo-hooo!

Did I mention my dad snagged a ball. Yeah, I was talking to a few Matsuiland dudes and some other A’s fans, and then I noticed a ball coming straight for my dad. Thankfully, he saw it. He moved out of the way, and the ball landed right where he had been standing, then it bounced and he caught it. Just barehanded it. That was the first ball he had ever snagged. In his life. Not just this year. But, first ball EVER! Pretty Cool!

Then, Zack and my dad started talking, which led to finding out that my dad’s son Nick(me) was a fan of Zack’s. Zack realized that I was the one and only (drum roll please) NICK! Anyway, that led to this:

and then this:

And of the record, yes the sun was horrible, I had a hard time seeing. Like, a really, really hard time seeing anything. It is a miracle tat I actually ended the day with 2 balls.

We talked it up for a little, I told Zack about my first snag. We talked about his blog and other ballhawking stuff, and he asked me if I had any of his books. Yes, I have Watching Baseball Smarter, and The Baseball (Both of which I highly recommend). And then, we agreed to meet down by the Mariners dugout after the game, where he would sign both the books.

Then, I saw a ball land just beyond the CF wall. That was the 4th one back there. I told him, he went to look, and of course, he had no glove trick stuff, except for his glove of course. No problem, anyways. But, he figured batting practice would be over soon, so he headed over to the Mariners dugout. Right after he left, Josh Lueke threw me my second ball of the day. Well, he threw it 10 feet above my head. I had to chase it, but got my second of the day.

And for the record, Mariners pitchers really love each other

But, after that, I went to go get some food, or something like that. I also tried to get down to the A’s dugout, no luck. But, when I was jogging back, I ran into Zack again, and we talked for a minute. I told him how I got another ball, and he parted ways. I got back just in time for the start of the game, in time to see Michael Taylor make his MLB debut. And make an error on the first play of the game. At least he made a clean throw.

And there were some Japanese ladies sitting the section over and started a “Cute Butt Ichiro” chant. Man, Ichiro was heckled a lot. A lot. A L-O-T: LOT.

But Ichiro and his cute butt can withstand anything.

But first, can someone teach Jemile Weeks how to slide feet first?

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Yes, Jemile Weeks over slid the bad FEET first. Yeah. It sucks. A lot.

And that was about it. I mean for the game. Except for one tiny thing. Just a tiny tiny thing. Watch video of Cliff Pennington’s’ home run, you will see. Everything is clear. If so, stop reading, If not, continue reading this blog. Well, you should keep reading cause I will explain. He made contact, really really good contact. And the ball was coming right for me. I stood up and tried to get out of my seat, but the USHER was standing in the way. And this is where it hurts. The ball landed on the steps ***2*** feet behind me. It sucked. Then, it got worse. The ball bounced up and onto the cross section walkway thing and was grabbed by some stupid hot chocolate vendor and he ran off with it. Literally. he grabbed it and ran away. Last time I checked, stadium employees are not allowed to keep balls, so yeah. Hot chocolate man, If you are out there I hate you. Same with the evil usher that ruined my chances of catching my first HR and game ball. Screw you. You have been cursed. Goodbye.

And if it is not clear in the video, I am look just like I do in the pic. Except for the fact that I don’t want to beat someone up.

And I still am mad to this second. Ugh. But, more importantly, after 8 innings, My dad and I went down to the Mariners dugout, where we watched this

Then, Zack showed up, a minute after the game was over to take a picture with me and a few other people, and sign our copies of his books.

I told him the Cliff Pennington HR story and yeah.

Then his friend Brandon took a few pictures:

That is Brandon with the camera, a girl who had one of Zack’s book on the Left. Zack is in the middle, I am on the right, and another guy that we met at batting practice.

Then, the ushers told us to leave the seats, so we went up to the concourse so that he could sign more books. He signed both of my books and then we talked for a little bit.

(Sorry for the poor pci quality, the lighting sucked)

He said he was going to Oakland Saturday afternoon, San Fran Saturday night, and Oakland again on Sunday. I explained Breast Cancer awareness day and how batting practice might be cut short on Sunday.

Anyway, I thanked him and my dad and I headed to the BART station.

MY BALLHAWKING STATS:

• 5 balls in 8 games this season = 0.62 balls per game.

• 2 balls at this game (both pictured below)

• 5 total balls

MY DAD’S BALLHAWKING STATS:

• 1 ball at this game for my dad ( Pictured below) (And how cool is that smudge?)

• 1 ball in 7 games this season = 0.14 balls per game.

• 1 Lifetime ball

OTHER AWESOME STUFF

• I got to meet Zack Hample and he signed my copies of two of his books:

Watching Baseball Smarter :

The Baseball:

Pretty Cool.

BASEBALLS IN BLACK LIGHT

Finally, Zack has been photographing baseballs in black light to show the invisible ink stamps? Well, one of my two balls had an invisible ink stamp on it:

Can you guess which one?

It is the one on the right:

And as far as my Dad’s ball goes:

Nothing Special, right? Wrong!

There is part of a stamp on the underside. Pretty cool, Huh?

Comment Down there. Yeah. Ther Right down there.