Category: Fireworks

5/18/13 at the Oakland Coliseum- BallhawkFest: Bay Area: 2013!

Today was going to be a long, fun filled day!

Do you remember back in March when I mentioned BallhawkFest: West Coast? Well shortly after, it was approved by Alan Schuster, the Admin at MyGameBalls.com, and it was all set to go, on May 18th in Oakland, for the A’s to take on the Royals.

There was A LOT of planning involved on my part, finalizing details and other such things…

ANYWAY… My family left for Zachary’s Pizza in Oakland around noon, getting there around 12:40. Spencer Sanborn, Dave Edlund, and Kelly Byrnes and his wife Leah were already there.

We were soon seated and shortly after, Rick Gold showed up. Today was looking to be a good day!

We all finished up around 2:20, where we grabbed a quick group picture before heading out.

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Starting with me going clockwise: Me, Dave Edlund, My Mom (Anne), My Sister (Pascale), Leah Byrnes, Kelly Byrnes, Spencer Sanborn, and Rick Gold.

From there, we parted ways and headed off to the Coliseum. I was the first one there and arrived around 2:40, where it was near empty, but PERFECT weather. I was a little excited!

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This was the scene when I got to Gate MM. As you can see, only the flags were laid out and there was nobody else there!

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After walking around the stadium once, I headed out to the parking lot to meet up with Kelly Byrnes. He and I are both participating in the MyGameBalls.com Photo Scavenger Hunt this season, with one of the items on the checklist being “You swinging a bat at the BallhawkFest softball game.” Both of us were disappointed because nobody else wanted to play, so we decided to play a HR Derby-Style Wiffle Ball game in the EMPTY parking lot.

I was first up and the first to pitches I hit were both at one of the few cars in the parking lot…

I kept pulling the ball!!

We shifted our angle, and that’s where the fun began!

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I would say my farthest hit went 200 feet maybe. Then, it was his turn to bat.

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I felt bad because my pitches were not in the strike zone much.

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But when they were, he got ahold of them!

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Based solely on most hits, I won. If I had given him enough good pitches, he would have won in a landslide!

Once we finished up, he was very kind in giving me one of his blog’s shirts, we chatted for a bit, then parted ways.

I headed up back to Gate MM, where I saw Dave Edlund and his friend “Splash Hit” Steve Garrison in line at Gate LL, so I walked over there to talk with him.

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Soon after, Leiming Tang, or Tang, as he is better known, showed up!

We talked for 20 minutes or so, before I headed to get back in line at MM.

Dave and Steve tossed and bounced a ball around for a bit.

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They also played a bit of catch.

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But I was in line! Kelly and Leah joined my dad and I in line, where we were soon joined by Will, Ross, Santiago, and a few others.

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10 minutes before the gates opened, Ben and Vanessa showed up and Ben had an AMAZING hat for Will.

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You know how the Brewers had the Design the YOU-niform contest

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Around 4pm, I was all ready to go!
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BUT THEY WOUDNT LET US IN because it wasn’t 4:05…

When I did finally run inside, Seth Smith was hitting in the cages.

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So was Nate Freiman

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Dave headed to left field. He’s in the blue.

To his right is Ryan Dalton, one of the ballhawks that joined us for BallhawkFest!

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To his right is Rick Gold!

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Rick Gold, as I am sure most of you know, ballhawked at the Coliseum in the 1990’s. He actually competed with Ryan’s dad, who was also a ballhawk for balls during that time!

It’s a small world, huh?

I started out the day near my seat in Right Field, where two ball boys were patrolling the area, tossing back everything to the infield.
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Within 10 minutes of no baseballs, the Royals came onto the field.

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Then, a ball was hit off the wall, landing in the grass.

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Jerry Blevins walked off, picked it up, and tossed it to a random guy a few feet away from me.

The ball boys were throwing EVERYTHING back to the infield.

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Kelly had headed over to one of my usual spots, over down the RF line.

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My dad got a lot of cool pictures during BP.

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Once their stretching had concluded, the Royals players began to play catch and warm up.
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One of the players out there was Mr. Bacon Friday himself, Jeff Francouer!

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Around 15 minutes into BP, a ball was hit off the wall right above where my dad was standing. A player walked over, tossed it up, and…

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My dad snagged his 2nd lifetime ball!

I have to give major props to Dave and Steve for this game. They rarely go to games INSIDE the stadium, and both of them rarely go to the Oakland Colisuem, so as Spencer said, it’s like “They are fish out of water.”

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Rick had a successful BP himself.

IMG_4521A few minutes after my dad got his ball, a player on the A’s hit a ball off the wall that A.J. Griffin fielded, then tossed up to me.

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Once I got this ball, I headed over to the RF line, near where Kelly was.

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Shortly after I got over there, his wife Leah hot a ball tossed up to her. It was her first lifetime ball!

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She ended up giving it away to a kid nearby her.

I didn’t see it, but about halfway though batting practice, if I am not mistaken, a ball was hit Dave’s way. In the following picture, you can see the ball in his hands.

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My dad got a lot of great pictures from the bleachers, despite being crowded in.

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The pitchers did a lot of running durin BP.

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BP was pretty quiet in regards to hit balls, so I had a lot of time to stand around.

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It AMAZED me how many toss-ups there were. JC Gutierrez tossed up at least 10 balls to the RF Bleachers.

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Why was I not there? The area in which he was tossing them up was packed. Bruce Chen and Luis Mendoza also had their fair share of toss-ups.

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Can you spot the ball that Luis Mendoza is tossing up? Let me know in the comments!
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Royals coaches were getting in on the act.

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Bruce Chen tossed more balls into the stands…IMG_4894

Some time after that, Jeff Francouer lined a ball foul that if I remember correctly either was bobbled by some fans or hit a seat.

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Long story short, Kelly came up with it!
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Doy you see the kid in the black A’s hat and grey shirt, to the left of Kelly? Well, when I headed over to the RF foul pole, where  a ball had just been hit, the boys called out to the trainer, asking for a ball. He didn’t have one, telling them all he had was water. So, that boy and his friend asked for a bottle of water!

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Remember that kid and his friend, ok?

Around 5:50, Jeff Francouer hit a sharp ground ball just foul. It ended up landing here.

20130522-235940.jpgBruce Chen went over to pick it up, in the process accidentally kicking it towards the RF corner, as you can see it is in a different location in the next photo.

I called out to him.

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And he flipped it up!

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Can you spot the ball? Let me know in the comments!

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It’s easier to see in this photo.

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Since my dad and I usually don’t touch base much during Batting Practice, I thought it was cool that he got a series of photos like this.IMG_4720

Dave was easy to spot in LF, wearing his royal blue BallhawkFest shirt among a sea of green and gold.

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Shortly after I got that ball, once Chen had gotten back to his spot in the outfield, a ball was hit to him. The other of those two boys I mentioned earlier, asked if he could play catch with him.

STORY TIME!!! I had seen this video filmed by ballhawk Bobby Crosby, who films videos of himself snagging balls on the YouTube channel DodgerFilms. The video is of Dodgers pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu playing catch with a young fan during Dodgers BP, and since it was posted on May 13th, has over 2 Millions Views! 3 days later, the same boy was back at Dodger BP again and AGAIN played catch with Hyun-Jin Ryu. That is really where it started. Zack Hample has done it not one, two, or three, but four times on video. Mateo Fischer has played catch with Derek Lowe. The day after the first video of Hyrun-Jin Ryu came out, there was a video of Gio Gonzalez doing them same thing.

As soon as I saw this taking place, I pulled out my cell phone and recorded this video:

My dad took notice and also got a short video as well. I edited his video and my video together to make this:

Hands down, that was one of the highlights of the day for me!

As soon as I finished recording the video on my phone, I immediately went to upload it to YouTube. It finished around 7pm, and I then tweeted it to Alex Espinosa.

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He is the MLB.com Cut4 Real Time Correspondant for Oakland, and I’m sure most of you remember him from past entries.

Later that night, I found my video on Cut4, in this article:

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Then, I saw this tweet from the MLB Fan Cave:

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I replied to the Tweet, then they replied to my tweet!Screen Shot 2013-05-23 at 1.28.28 AM

There were multiple blog posts written about it at the MLB Fan Cave website. The MLB Fan Cave posted a quick entry with my video, Mateo’s video, the Hyun-Jin Ryu video, and the Gio Gonzalez video.Then, Cave Dweller April Whitzman did a post herself.

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On Monday, I walked into Mr. Hahn’s class and told him about the experience and video. He then told me he had read an article on Yahoo over the weekend about players playing catch with kids during BP. On Monday May 20th, it was the top headline at Yahoo sports! He showed me the article and lone behold…

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Wow! I did not expect all of this attention at all!

Here is a picture my dad snapped of him lying on the outfield grass

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I would say that in total, at least 30 balls were tossed up, if not closer to 40, mostly due to these two guys.

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Once BP came to a close, I had finished with two balls. All of the ballhawks met up in the concourse behind the bleachers for a group photo.

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Top Row: Spencer Sanborn (3 Balls), Ryan Dalton (3 Balls), Kelly Byrnes (2 Balls), Rick Gold (4 Balls)

Bottom Row: “McCovey Cove” Dave Edlund (1 Ball), Nick Badders (2 Balls + My Dad’s 1 Ball), “Splash Hit” Steve Garrison (1 Ball)

Not Pictured: Dan Badders (1 Ball held by Nick Badders), Leah Byrnes (2 Balls- Gave Both Away), Leiming Tang (3 Balls)

So, between the 9 of us, 22 balls were snagged! Even though that is only an average of 2.44 balls per person, it is still crazy for me to see that it all came together and was successful!

After we got that group picture, I also got a picture with Rick, who has snagged the most lifetime balls at the Oakland Coliseum. This picture gave me 2 points in the MyGameBalls Photo Scavenger Hunt.
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Kelly was in the picture, as he is also competing in the contest!

Between our two families, 5 balls had been snagged, so we both wanted to get a picture for the scavenger hunt. For 6 points… “You and another myGameBalls.com member standing in an empty row of seats in which each cupholder contains a baseball.”

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Mission accomplished!

We then parted our separate ways for a little while. My dad and I headed back to our seats.

After a little while with no action, Ervin Santana, the Royals starting pitcher for the day came out to warm up.

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I can’t identify the player stretching in this photo.
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The grounds crew watered the infield dirt.

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Then, I noticed this guy!
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Omar Gonzlez wore his graduation robe, as he has just finished his undergrad studies in college! Why don’t you all, as the readers of 7000 Coliseum Way, go over and give him some love on Twitter. Sound good? Cool!

Back to the warming up?

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It was “Star Trek Night,” so the A’s had all of these gimmicks going on, including Stomper’s “outfit.”

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This was the only A’s logo shown on the scoreboard that day…

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Yep!

Jeff Francoeur WAS getting the start in Right Field today!

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“Tommy Gun” Milone was on the mound for the A’s in this game, my dad got a few pictures of him in the bullpen before the game got underway.
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Ervin Santana warmed up in the Royals bullpen.

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The ceremonial first pitch was thrown!

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The national anthem was played!

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The people in the bullpen finished up their work.

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The meeting at home plate took place.

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And we were all ready to go!

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Chris Young was in Right Field for the A’s.

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Eric Sogard was in his usual second base position.

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It wasn’t too hard to spot Dave and Steve in LF. Can you?

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Coco Crisp lead off in the bottom of the 1st for Oakland.

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Yoenis Cespedes lined out to RF to end the inning.

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Tommy Milone took the mound in the second, down 1-0, after giving up a first inning run.

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I thought this was a randomly cool picture.

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Along with this one…

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And this one…

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Lorenzo Cain was called out on strikes to end the second inning.

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However, the 2nd inning didn’t come without a cost. *38* pitches in the 2nd inning for Tomaso, with 26 pitches in the top of the first inning, prompting Jesse Chavez to start to get hot.

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Early into the game, the A’s will show the Pepsi Sports highlight during an inning break. It’s always MLB Action or something random.

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Nobody ever wants to see MLB Action.

Like I mentioned earlier, Jeff Francoeur was in RF for KC.

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The ball boy down the RF line tossed a lot of foul balls into the stands.

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John Jaso was the 2nd out of the 2nd inning, striking out.

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Milone was back out for the 3rd inning, this time, with 12 pitches.
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My dad enjoyed using the extension on his monopod to get photos like this.

IMG_6245In the top of the 4th inning, Frenchy struck out swinging for the 2nd out.
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This day was Social Media night, which my mom and sister particpated in. They each bought a ticket to the “Tweetup,” where they also got a special ticket in a section with all of the other tweeters. I used the zoom on my dad’s camera to find them quickly.

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In the bottom of the 4th, Josh Donaldson took a mighty hack, but…

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Popped out to end the inning, with the score still at 1-0 Royals.

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Over the course of the day, we got lots of pictures of Section 149. I love Tony’s pose here.
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After his first few wild inning, Tommy Milone settled down A LOT!

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Chris Young was starting to get the hang of keeping track of outs with the RF Crew. He’s not 100% there yet, though.

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Alcides Escobar at the plate…

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Brandon Moss was at his usual first base spot in this game.

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I thought this was another really cool photo. (I took it! ;-))

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4 of the guys on my school’s Varsity baseball team: Ryan Flayler, Jordan Thrailkill, Justin Cash, and Dan Whitney, told me that they were going to be at this game, sitting fright behind the dugout. Guess who I found using my dad’s extreme zoom?

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In the 6th inning, Jed Lowrie hit a sac fly with no outs to bring in the game tying run.

WE LOVE YOU OAKLAND, WE DO! WE LOVE YOU OAKLAND, WE DO! WE LOVE YOU OAKLAND, OAKLAND WE LOVE YOU!

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Then, Brandon Moss tripled in Coco Crisp to put the A’s ahead 2-1.

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High fives all around!IMG_6549

It was around this time that I attempted to create my own panoramic shot. I took 4 pictures, Photoshopped them together, and BAM!

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In the 8th inning, my dad and mom headed up to where she and my sister had been sitting. Pascale stayed with me in RF, my dad took the camera and loved getting pictures from a different angle.

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This was their view.

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And no, they did not have any foul balls come close.

In the top of the 8th, Sean Doolittle came in to pitch.
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He pitched a 1-2-3 8th inning.IMG_6674

Coco Crisp was called out on strikes to lead off the A’s half of the 8th inning.

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Jed Lowrie flied out to center field.

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Like I mentioned earlier, my sister and I were sitting in RF. Kelly is to her right, to his right is his wife Leah.

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I thought it was awesome to see RF from this angle.

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Guess who pitched the 9th inning for the A’s? It was 2-1. They were winning…

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(In case you are wondering, yes, my parents came back to the bleachers at the start of the 9th, to join Pascale and I)
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Despite a leadoff walk, Balfour got none other than Jeff Francoeur to fly out…
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To end the game!

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And it was the A’s 2nd consecutive 2-1 win!

Immediately after the final out, these people came onto the field…

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And my family got in line along with Kelly and Leah to get onto the field to watch the fireworks.

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It was PACKED!!

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My sister and I were both happy to be there.

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The fireworks were spectacular, as always.

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My dad and I got a picture with our BP balls.

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I got one last picture. I’m sure you can notice how tired I am.

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BALLHAWKING STATS:

  • 10th Game this Year
  • 2 Balls at this Game
  • 10 balls in 8 MLB games this season = 1.25 Ball Per Game
  • 25 Balls in 10 Games this season = 2.5 Balls Per Game
  • 38 Lifetime MLB Baseballs
  • 68 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.

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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.

9/14/12 at the Oakland Coliseum

Star Wars Night? Fireworks night? Playing the Baltimore Orioles who are using commemorative balls? Sell out crowd? Challenge. Accepted.

My dad picked me up from school when I got out at 3:05 and we headed home to get ready. Everyone was ready to go around 3:45, so my family headed out to the Coliseum.

When we got to the Coliseum close to 4:20, and as I was about to jump in line at Gate C, my mom noticed Gate B was set up.

I headed over there, and found out I was the first one in line. Sweetness.

My mom headed up to Will Call to pick up our tickets, while my dad and sister waited in line and I walked around.

I walked in the direction of the BART ramp and noticed a camera on tripod with some people around it.

Kind of random.

But the lines at LL and MM were not very long at all, so I headed down towards Gates A and D, where there were a few people in line.

Over by Gate D, I saw a 95.7 The GAME tent set up, heard the live radio broadcast and wandered over. Brandon Tierney and Rich Bucher were broadcasting “The Drive” live. Pretty cool.

I stayed there for a little bit before heading up to Will Call to see if my mom had picked up the tickets yet.

She was still in line, and I let her know that I would probably go over to Gate D and listen to the live radio a little more before heading back. Then I noticed this

If I’m not mistaken, it was the people that dress up as the Star Wars characters and all of their equipment.

Wow. That’s pretty cool.

After spending a little time by Gate D again, there were about 30 minutes until the gates opened, so I headed back to Gate B and got in line with my family

While I was heading down, I bumped into a few of the 149 regulars, who set their stuff down next to us

When I was walking down from LL and MM, I saw this on the ground.

Yep…

I talked with some of them for a few minutes, and looked at my watch. The gates were supposed to open in 15 minutes. So it was 5:20.

The gates were about to open, when a women who was right behind us in line, called over the head of security. She told him that she had just had back surgery and had a 3 kids with Autism and that it was “Completely rude and unacceptable” for the 149 regulars to be in the front of the line, when she had gotten there first. They just wanted to make sure that they got their usual spots.

It was her belief that if the guys ran in front of her, it would upset her children and they would throw a massive fit, “screwing everything up.”

In the end, it was just one of the 149 regulars, Will, and myself who ran ahead.

When the gates were supposed to open around 5:35, there was no sign of gates opening any time soon. I asked the head of security and he told me that they were checking all of the other gates were ready first.

So, they start with gate C, then go to D, A, LL, MM, and open B last. I finally got in around 5:45, maybe a little later.

When I got inside the bleachers, I found that there were already people in the bleachers.

Once the rest of my family got there, I grabbed my stuff and headed down by the bullpen.

I grabbed a spot on the slanted railing and was ready to go. During the course of the time I was there during BP, I would say that 3 or so balls were hit into the bleachers.

Had the railing been lower, I would have been able to get many balls, and sit didn’t help at all that the Coliseum prohibits ball retrievers.

A group of 3-4 lefties walked to the cage, and they were pulling the ball, so I figured that there was a good chance that I would get a ball.

Like I said, there were a lot of balls hit in my direction, just out of my reach. I actually did almost get one; it didn’t quite get to me, the ball stopped right below where I was standing.

An Orioles player, I identified him as Wilson Betimiet, walked in my direction. (UPDATE- Since I posted the entry, Zack Hample has helped me identify him as Orioles first base coach Wayne Kirby.)

He grabbed the 3-4 balls below the RF wall and threw the, back to the infield. He then walked up to the ball below me and tossed it to me. Ball #1 on the day!

Then, I realized that I hadn’t seen any commemorative balls at all. I had been making sure to keep an eye out and hadn’t spotted any in the 15-20 minutes I had been in.

While I had been on the 1st base side, the 149 guys started passing out double sided signs, with one side that was green and gold and said Oakland on the top, Our Teams on the bottom, and in the middle, a white heart with A’s printed. The other side was a Raiders version of the sign.

Whenever a ball was hit in my direction, the same player went to grab it. I knew that since he had already tossed me a ball, there was a slim chance of me getting another from him. Since it was approaching 6:10, I figured BP would end soon, so I threw on my Orioles gear and headed over to their dugout.

It was crowded, but I managed to get a spot in the front row, in the ideal spot to call put for a ball.

I waited about 10 minutes, it was close to 6:20, and BP was not over yet. I think it was a good choice to move, because there were virtually no balls hit to the right side of the field during the time I was behind the dugout.

It was close to 6:30, and BP was coming to a close. I called out to the Orioles bench coach, who had been throwing BP, and he walked up to the edge of the roof and asked if I was the youngest or oldest there.

I noticed that there were commemorative balls in his hands, so I was eally hoping that I would be able to acquire one.

I told him that I was hoping to get one of the Camden Yards balls and he told me that he would think about it. Odd, but decided to roll with it. Then, someone about my age, maybe a little older yelled for a “ball now” and the coach tossed him one of the two in his hand.

The kid was decked out in Yankees gear and promptly threw it back onto the field. I think he was ejected. But then the coach just tossed a ball to somebody to my left, and walked inside the dugout.

I headed out to the bleachers, where I ran into Will, who I talked with for a few minutes, while the ushers checked everyone’s tickets. There were 15 or so people in front of us.

He just wanted to make sure that my family and I were not mad at him for running ahead. I told him that I ran in right away so that I could snag balls, and that it is very important that they have their seats. We then had a conversation about the angry mom at the gates and a few other things.

When I got to our seats, my dad got a quick picture of me with the one ball from batting practice.

My dad then got a very nice picture of the Right Field drummer, Andy

Around 6:30, Derek Norris started to get loose

As well as the Orioles players

The field was watered down

Ok. Now fast forward to 6:55. Because it was Star Wars Night, a bunch of the characters from Star Wars ran with Stomper around the warning track, followed by a first pitch from Chewbacca. I had a feeling that it was going to be a good night.

The National Anthem was sung

The outfielders warmed up

And we were ready to go!

Because I have an iPhone 4s, I was able to upgrade to iOS 6. With iOS 6, the camera can now take panoramic pictures. This was my view at the beginning of the game.

The sun slowly started to set as a jet plane shot across the sky

Around the 2nd inning, a very familiar face showed up in the right field bleachers.

That would be Benjamin Christensen, a former MLB Fan Cave Dweller. He was one of the starting 9 at the beginning of the season, but was sadly eliminated in May.

Sometime around the middle of the game, I checked Twitter on my phone, where I learned that if I went to the Ticket Services table, I would receive a gift if I mentioned TwitterGift. At the end of the inning, I headed over with my dad.

When we got there, the lady at the table talked with us about season tickets and playoff tickets. Once I mentioned Twitter, she gave me an A’s yearbook and her business card and we were on our way.

When we got back to our seats, I learned from my mom that Oakland’s mayor, Jean Quan had stopped by to take a picture of the We love our Oakland teams signs.

Are you serious? Hmmm… I guess I picked the wrong time.

Other than that, the game was awesome! The A’s won, and the sold-out Coliseum environment was insane!

Of course, I did the Bernie lean!

And when Grant Balfour came into the game in the top of the 9th, to close it out, it was time to RAGE!

As soon as the game was over, the security staff began to set up the boundaries for the fireworks. And Stormtroopers entered from center field

We eventually got in line, and it was HUGE

Soon enough, we got onto the field. It was ridiculously crowded, and not only that, but the stands were almost FULL!

I then shot a panoramic picture of the crowd on the field to give you a perspective on how crowded it was

And the fireworks were fantastic!

After the fireworks were over, my dad got a quick picture of Benjamin

And a picture of me, with two signs, and my one ball on the day

When I got home and rewatched the game on the DVR, I saw myself a couple of times.
1) The Bernie:
Closer look:

2) In the top of the 9th:
If you can’t see where I am, I’m above the sign that says “The Bash is Back”

It was an AWESOME night!

BALLHAWKING STATS:
• 1 ball at this game (Pictured to the right)
• 23 balls in 14 Major League games this season = 1.643 balls per game.
• 38 balls in 20 baseball games this season = 1.9 balls per game.
• 28 Lifetime Major League baseballs
• 43 total balls
• 8 consecutive games in Oakland with at least 1 ball
• 11 consecutive baseball 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.