Category: Giants

7/27/13 at Banner Island Ballpark

Origionally, I was supposed to go to the A’s game this day. It was 1969 Turn-Back-The-Clock day, with a T-Shirt giveaway. The start time was 12:05 and I had just gotten back from vacation the night before, so I wasn’t really wanting to go to the game.

I was sitting on 93 balls combined between MLB and MiLB, so my 7th ball of the day would be a special one. Keep that in mind!

We sold our 2 seats on StubHub and used the money to buy tickets to that night’s Ports game! It was a Drew Granier jersey, the Ports new Friday Alternate one.

The funny thing is that Granier was promoted to AA in Mid-June. Still, cool!

This was going to be a popular game, but I was looking forward to it, as I was sitting on 93 lifetime balls between MLB and MiLB and was hoping to snag #100 today.

My goal was to be in Stockton by 4pm for BP, and my dad and I ended up arriving there at 3:58, so it was perfect timing!

The parking lot was not yet open, so my dad dropped me off, while he went to go wait for the lot to open. I found Vanessa at the front of the line, she had come to this game with Ryan Dalton, who was out behind LF looking for any random balls.

I talked with her for about 20 minutes, as BP got underway around 4:25. I had gotten an official conformation that the gates would be opening at 5:35, rather than 6pm, so I was excited for a potential half hour of BP inside the stadium!

When Ryan and I headed out back, the San Jose Giants were stretching down the LF line.

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Meanwhile, the Ports were finishing their catch, having already completed their stretching.

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My first ball of the day was curtsey of Addison Russell.

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He lined a ball towards the Berm in Right-Center field, and since it was hit hard, it kept rolling past the berm, setting in the bush past the ballpark fence. I had a hunch, so I ran over there, dug through the bushes, and picked it up, coming back to show my dad and Ryan, as I was on the board!

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Meanwhile, Ryan chased down a ball, for his first snag on the day.

The next guy in the cage was Bruce Maxwell.

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From what I heard from Ryan and Vanessa, Bruce is a class act. Great guy! More on him later on…

Ryan and I were having a good time, as a moment later, he chased down another ball, that was hit towards the Marina, almost in the same spot as the other.

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There were 3 rounds of 4 hitters each, and at this point, there was one group left in Ports BP, at this point, it was just past 5pm.

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One of the hitters in the final group was Bobby Crocker. Here we go…

He BOMBED at ball down the Left Field line, and I broke off sprinting. Other than me and Ryan, there was one other ballhawk out there, a guy in a Giants hat and orange shirt. He was about 50 feet to my right, so he had a much better shot at the ball.

If you go back 2 pictures, you will see yellow caution tape and logs underneath it.

The ball was hit and we both took off running. It looked like the ball was going to hit the pavement, then roll fast, so he broke past the point of the caution tape. I took a direct line towards where the ball was headed, in hopes to cut it off from the other guy. The ball hit a tree, landing in the circle of dirt around the tree.

As he was much closer, he was almost guaranteed the ball. However, as he was running, he tripped on one of the logs. According to Ryan, as well as my dad, he just ATE IT. They both agreed if he hadn’t done so, I would have had no chance with the ball.

As soon as I picked up the ball, I heard Ryan yell “NICK THIS ONE’S YOU!” I looked up and the ball was coming straight for me. The other guy was still phased from his spill, so he hadn’t caught up with me. I took a few steps forward, in a perfect spot to catch it on the bounce. I got the ball on the bounce,

As soon as I caught the ball, the guy came running up from behind me and gave me a hard slap on the arm, in an attempt to knock the ball out of my glove.

I didn’t let go of either ball and came back to join my dad and Ryan.

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That guy didn’t move from this spot for the rest of Ports BP. He was pissed that he had fallen and not gotten either ball.

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How pissed was he? A ball landed 10 feet to his right and he didn’t move to go pick it up. Ryan was able to WALK over and grab it for his 3rd ball of the day!

I finished Ports BP with 3 balls, the same as Ryan.

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Then came the Giants BP…

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Quickly, I got a ball in Giants BP, when Ricky Oropesa lined a ball over the Ports bullpen.

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It hit the base to the scoreboard and more or less stopped. Ryan figured there was no way to get it, but I reached under the fence and picked it up for my 4th ball on the day!

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Neither of us got any balls up until the points at which the gates opened.

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We headed back at 5:20, to join Vanessa, who had stayed in line, saving us all a spot. The gates opened at 5:35, and I headed right for the berm in right-center field.

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Soon, a ball was hit back behind the inflatable kids slide in right field. I ran over and picked it up for ball #5.

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I then ran over to the RF wall, where Edward Concepcion was picking up a ball. Without having to ask, he tossed it to me for ball #6. I needed 1 more to reach 100 combined balls.

Moments later, Brock Bond launched a ball high, right at me. I moved back to the edge of the berm and secured it in my glove. Ball 100!

I know most people don’t think this is a big deal, it’s “cheap to count them together. Think of it this way. Ichiro is almost at 4000 hit combined between Japan and MLB. That’s still a big deal, right?

About 5 minutes later, I was joined by Ryan, who hadn’t snagged any balls inside. He then walked over to the slide and picked up two balls that were just sitting there. HOW HAD I NOT SEEN THEM. I felt ridiculously stupid, however he had missed one, and I picked it up for #8 on the day!

BP then came to a close, at which point I ran down to the cage, in hopes of snagging a ball that was lying around. I spotted a ball sitting by the Ports dugout and called out to Chris Lofton who picked it up and tossed it to me. It turned out to be an MLB ball! I then put it in my backpack and took one out, giving it to the nearest kid.

At this point, I joined back up with Ryan and Vanessa, as we sat in our seats and talked for roughly half an hour.

We then noticed Bruce Maxwell, the Ports catcher (Whom I had mentioned earlier in the entry), signing autographs down the right field line.

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Ryan, Vanessa, and I headed over there, where Ryan and I both got him to sign a ball for us. Bruce is a class act!
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Meanwhile, this guy was busy getting photos and cards signed.

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We headed back to our seats and talked for another 10 or so minutes, as the Ports began to warm up.
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Over on the 3rd base side, the Giants were doing the same.

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One interesting thing I noticed was that the Giants had brought a bat boy with them, so there was no need for the usual guy in a Ports uniform to sit in the dugout. My guess is that he is the manger’s son.
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As both teams were starting to play catch, I swung over to the Ports team store to get a new hat, as my current one was a size too small and about to cut off the circulation to the rest of my body.

I emerged from the team store, stuck on my *San Jose* Giants hat, and ran down to where they were finishing up with catch, where I failed to get a ball.

Ryan, Vanessa, and I once again reconvened behind the Giants dugout to talk for a little while longer, where we saw something quite amusing take place.. A 3 year-old boy was celebrating his birthday at the game, and the Ports let him throw out the first pitch. He was also going to say play ball before the game got underway, so after the first pitch, he hung out by the Ports dugout.

He made several attempts to run onto the field, being scooped up and carried back to the on-deck circle by people including his mother, Jeremy (The Ports In-Game host), as well as one of the umpires.

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It’s the little things that make you smile.

Around 7:10, the national anthem was sung.
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And it was time to play some baseball!

Ryan and I headed out to the parking lot to chase foul balls, as the Ports allow unlimited re-entry privileges.

On the mound for the Ports was James Simmons

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In the bottom of the first inning, Bobby Crocker stepped to the plate to lead off the Ports half of the first. He popped a pitch over the roof and the ball settled under a car. I ran over and picked it up! It was my 3rd straight MiLB game with a foul ball!

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Meanwhile, on the mound for the Giants was Kelvin Marte

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He struggled in the 2nd inning, but came back strong after that.

Will showed up in the first inning, as he was pulling a doubleheader. He went to the A’s game in Oakland, went to an Eric Sogard signing in Dublin, then came to the Ports game.

Anyway… He has a great relationship with Ports manager Webster Garrison, or “Webby.”

Every time Webby would jog over to the 3rd base coach’s box, he points to Will, as Will yells “Webby!”

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He’s a really cool dude!
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One thing Vanessa had been mentioning throughout the game was how she loved Ryan Cavan’s mustache. I can understand why!

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Oh, and also in the 2nd inning, Antonio Lamas and Dusty Robinson hit back to back home runs!

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The Ports had the 3-1 lead after 2 innings, but starting in the 3rd inning, San Jose came charging and never looked back. They scored 1 run in 3rd inning, as well as the 4th inning, then added on 2 in the 5th, and 3 more in the 7th, making it 8-3 at the 7th inning stretch.

I spent the first 6 innings in the parking lot, chasing foul balls, as well as talking with a ballhawk named John, who had just moved from Omaha to Reno. Really cool guy! He’s been to over 40 Minor League stadiums and is going to be starting an MLBlog soon, so keep on the lookout!

I only had the 1 foul ball after the first 6 innings, so I decided to come back inside and go for 3rd out balls and actually enjoy a bit of the game.

Remember that bat boy I talked about earlier? I found it kind of funny that he was wearing a Stockton Ports helmet with the rest of his San Jose uniform.

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Seriously though, Ryan Cavan has an amazing mustache!

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In the top of the 7th, San Jose tacked on those 3 runs against one of the newer Ports relievers, Schaffer Hall.

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He had started the season with the Trenton Thunder of the Eastern League, but after playing a game with the River Cats (And Getting the win, might I add), he was sent down to Stockton, where he started 7 of his first 8 games, and has been in the bullpen since.

Jeff Soptic came in to pitch the 7th inning for the Giants. Not only is his name cool, but he makes fantastic faces on the mound.

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In that bottom of the 7th, the Ports scored 3 runs, shortening the Giants lead to 8-5.

In the top of the 8th, I hung out by the Ports dugout, in hopes of snagging a foul ball or 3rd out ball. Eric Sim struck out swinging on a pitch in the dirt to end the inning, and thankfully Bruce Maxwell kept the ball. I called out to him, he recognized me from pre-game, and tossed me the ball.

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It was my 11th ball on the day, a new all-time record for me! Since Bruce is one of Vanessa and Ryan’s favorite players, they thought the ball was pretty cool!
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In the bottom of the 9th, I moved myself down close to the Giants dugout in hopes of getting their lineup card, or a broken bat, as there had been one earlier in the game.

However, there was a scare in the 9th inning. With 1 out, and runners on 1st and 2nd, Myrio Richard was hit in the head with a pitch from Derek Law.

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It was scary. How scary? Ryan almost caught the ball. He was sitting in the first row, and the ball nearly landed in his glove, but he appropriately decided it would be inappropriate to make a real attempt for the ball, given what had just happened.

He ended up only being a bit shaken up, so he loaded the bases, brining the winning run to the plate with only 1 out, as Myrio representing the tying run.

Josh Whitaker and B.A. Vollmuth both struck out, sealing the 8-5 W for San Jose.
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After the game, I rushed down to the Giants dugout to try and get the lineup card. I asked the Giants manager, Andy Skeels for it, but he gave me a look like I was an alien, peeled the lineup card off, and put it in his binder. I then asked Lipso Nava, their hitting coach for the broken bat. He asked me why I would want a splintered bat, but before I could respond, he left the dugout.

At this point, I left for the Ports dugout, just hoping that there lineup card would still be there. I asked both Myrio and Bruce for the card, but neither of them was “allowed” to give it to me.

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I ended up asking the bat boy, and he peeled it off and gave it to me!

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Then, Ryan popped his head out from next to the dugout with what? THE BROKEN BAT!

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How cool is that?!?

We then got a group picture, Ryan holding his bat, me holding the lineup card and 4 balls, and Vanessa holding the other 6 baseballs I snagged on the day.

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My dad then got a picture of me with the lineup card (Which was typed) and all of my baseballs from the day in my MLB Network drawstring backpack.

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Then, Ryan noticed what he thought was a stat sheet, so he called over Jeremy, the Ports in-game host. He peeled it off the wall, and it turned out to be from the last game Ports Ryan had been at, on July 19th!

At that point, we had noticed the Rosin bag sitting on the dugout bench, so Vanessa asked Jeremy if we could hold it.

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I got a picture with it.

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And so did Vanessa.

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COOL STUFF!

And no, I didn’t get to keep it. As much as I would have wanted to, there is a 50% chance it had been on Tim Hudson’s head at some point, and I don’t really want to run that risk. Not only that, but there is a good chance it will spontaneously combust.

But the best reason of all for not keeping it was given to me by Chris Kusiolek (@Oak_AllDay on Twitter)

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I asked Jeremy if they really need it that bad, but he said they do, so there goes that….

Anyway… it was a REALLY fun day! I had a great tim ballhawking with Ryan (We snagged 19 balls combined) and it was a lot of fun to hang out with him and Vanessa for the day. Hopefully I’ll be back at Banner Island soon!

BALLHAWKING STATS:

  • 20th Game of the Year… 6th MiLB Game of the Year
  • 11 balls at this game
  • 47 MiLB Balls in 6 MiLB Games = 7.83 MiLB Balls Per Game
  • 12 Consecutive MiLB Games with at least 1 Ball
  • 6 Consecutive MiLB Games with at least 5 Balls
  • 62 Lifetime Minor League baseballs
  • 104 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 in Review

Wow. 2012 was an crazy year for me, with so many fun experiences!

I want to thank everyone for taking the time to read my blog, and for all of the support that everyone has given me.

I would like to start of by saying that this is my 100th post at 7000 Coliseum Way!!!! Expect many more to come in 2013!

This entry will be complied of many things. IT IS VERY LONG: 3,659 Words to be exact.

I first want to present to you the 7000 Coliseum Way 2012 Annual report, as created by WordPress.com:

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 8,300 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 14 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Thank you to my top 5 commenters in 2012!
1) Max- Max commented 64 times this year! He was very supportive with Fan Packs, giving me tips, and always was ready to comment! You can follow him on Twitter here. Thanks Max!

2) Connor- He commented 32 times! Like Max, Connor always commented on the Fan Pack entries, giving me tips, and too has been very supportive all year! Thanks Connor!

3) Quinn Quinn was the first person to subscribe to this blog, and he always was commenting, supporting my ballhawking, as well as giving me tips for fan packs. You can follow him on Twitter here. Thanks Quinn!

4) Chris Chris is a fellow ballhawk, living in New York. He commented 27 times in 2012, and was very supporite with my ballhawking, as well as my Mail Time! posts, giving me tips for fan packs. You can follow him on Twitter here. Thanks Chris!

5) SpencerS- Spencer is a fellow Bay Area ballhawk. He commented 7 times in 2012! I’ve gotten the chance to meet him, and he is a great guy! He, too has given me lots of support with ballhawking in 2012. You can follow him on Twitter here. Thank You Spencer!

If you read this blog, then chance are, you know who Mateo Fischer is. He writes the MLBlog called Observing Baseball, and even thought he was not one of the top commementers, he was one of my greatest supporters in 2012 with the growing popularity of this blog. He wrote a review entry as well, and you can check it out by clicking here. You can click here to follow him on Twitter or here to LIKE Observing Baseball.

I would also like to thank Zack Hample, Zachary Weiss, Wayne Peck, Todd Cook, Shawn Bosman, Rick Gold, Malcolm MacMillan, Paul K, and McCovey Cove Dave for all of their support this year. Click on any of their names above to give them a follow on Twitter.

*Zack was the one that first got me into ballhawking, which I have to thank him for.

*Zachary Weiss has also been one of the most supportive people, giving me advice and support with ballhawking as well as blogging.

*Wayne writes the MLBlogs Collection of Baseball and A View From the Bullpen, and I was fortunate enough to meet him this past October. He has encouraged me trough my ballhawking and been a great friend to me this past year.

*Todd Cook writes a fantastic blog, called Cook and Sons Baseball Adventures. He gave me constant competition with the myGameBalls.com Photo Scavenger Hunt, which I appreciate. He also wrote a book called the Baseball Log, which I own. I highly recommend that you go give it a look!

*Shawn Bosman was my first co-host on The Nick Badders Show, and I thank him for doing that with me, as well as giving me the encouragement to continue my ballhawking.

*Rick Gold is a ballhawk who is also an editor for MLB.com. I met him in May, and he too, as given me an encouragement in my ballhawking. As a teen, he ballhawked at the Coliseum, which is a great connection!

*Malcolm, too has given me great advice and encouragement with my blog, as well as ballhawking, and given me some ideas for things to do at Minor League Stadiums.

*I haven’t know Paul for very long, but in the time I have known him, he has helped me tremendously. He was the first person to ever call in to The Nick Badders Show, which gave me extreme confidence. He has been one of the main supporters with my radio gig, which I am thankful for. He listens to every broadcast, and is always ready to give me feedback. He writes the MLBLog called A Piece of The Game, and wrote an entry reviewing his 2012 season as well. Click here to check it out.

*McCovey Cove Dave has also supported me in my ballhawking and been a great friend to me on Twitter. I’ll be trying my best to spend a game out in McCovey Cove sometime in 2013.

Most imporatntly, I need to thank my Dad (Dan), my Mom (Anne), and my Sister (Pascale). Without these three people, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do today. They are the ones who give me the support to continue my work at home. They are the ones that take me to the games, go to games with me, and allow me to ballhawk, even though I am not spending time with them. They are the reason that I am able to succeed, I cannot thank them enough.

From here, I will go over my entire year at 7000 Coliseum Way. I’ll share my month-by-month memories from blogging, to ballhawking, and mail!

I’ve gone back and read each post, and it amazes me how far my writing has come. In December of 2011, 1,000 words was a lot for me for one entry! Reaching July and August, some of my entries managed 3000 words!

In the month of January, I have a feeling a lot of you were not reading this blog. I had 75 views total in the month of January, that is an average of about 2 views each day.

On January 17th, I posted an entry about SOPA. I’ll be honest, I don’t know what I was thinking when I was writing that entry. If you want to check it out, you can right here.sopa12_hp

Shortly after that, on January 19th, I posted an entry with pictures of me, one at each of the 5 stadiums I had been to in my life. If you want to take a brief glance over that entry, it is here.pict2764

About a week later, on January 25th, I published an entry with LOTS of pictures that I had found from baseball games from 2005-2010, which you can read right here.
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On January 27th, I published an entry about my expectations for the games I would go to in 2012, along with some information about A’s FanFest, an entry you can read here.649_hdr_fanfest

The following day, On January 28th, I posted a quick poll asking what A’s gear I should wear to FanFest, an entry that can be found here.

The very next day, on January 29th, my family and I were off to FanFest! We purchased some tickets, and had a complete blast! Check out that exciting entry here.
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1 Month. 75 views. 5 posts.

Moving on to February. I had 45 views, which is about 1 view a day.

I had only 1 post in February, on February 13th, I posted an entry with my projected A’s roster, which you can read here.

2 Months. 120 views. 6 Posts.

In March, I had 36 views for the month, which is barely an average of 1 view a day.

My first entry of the month was on March 25th. That is 40 days without an entry! I wrote a short bit on a few random things, an entry you can find here.413811_355468544497094_166699563373994_1020769_609678918_o

The very next day, on the 26th of the Month, I had another entry up, this one, I called “Pictures of the Day.” I simply shared a few pictures that I had found and enjoyed that were baseball-related. Check them out here.429283_349335911777024_166699563373994_1004959_1334377103_n

Then for my 3rd post in a row, and of the month, I shared some baseball videos that I had found and liked, titling it “Videos of the Day.” Check them out here.l

3 Months. 156 Views. 9 Posts.

Coming into April, we were already a quarter of the way through the year. In April, I had 227 views, which is about 8 views a day.

On April 5th, I attended Opening Day at PETCO Park in San Diego with my dad and unfortunately did not snag any balls. You can read all about that experience here.untitled-3

On April 6th, I posted an entry about the first 3 days of my Spring break, which I spent in Southern California with my leadership class from school. I was attending a conference about leadership in Costa Mesa, and it was a LOT of fun. You can read about it all here.wpid-2012-03-30_11-58-45_4622

Then, on April 13th, I went to Stockton to see the Ports take on the Modesto Nuts. There, I snagged my first ever MILB ball, and you can read the entry here.img_3089

On April 18th, I found a funny video that I wrote a QUICK entry about. You can see it here.

Finally, on April 22nd, I went to my first A’s game of the season, a game in which I snagged 3 balls, including my first lifetime foul ball. You can read all about that day here.img_1115

4 Months. 383 Views. 14 Posts.

In May, the views dipped a little, with 146 views, or about 5 views per day.

My first post of the month was on May 10th. I shared a quick meme that I made, then talked about my next game. You can find it here.575577_155853527874454_100003494239722_198277_947k452416_n

On May 11th, I saw the Tigers come in to Oakland, on Fleece blanket night. I snagged one ball and got the chance to meet Rick Gold. You can follow him on Twitter here and check out the entry about the game here. img_29321

Then, a week later, on May 18th, I attended my first game at John Thurman Field in Modesto. There, I got my 2nd lifetime Minor League ball. You can read about it all here. img_3833

Finally, 8 Days after that game, my family joined me for Michael Choice bobblehead night, for my second game of the year in Stockton, where I snagged my 3rd lifetime Minor League ball. You can read about it here.img_41501

5 Months. 529 Views. 18 Posts.

In June, the views picked up again with 286. That averages about 10 views a day.

My first post of the month was on June 13th, where I talked a little about Matt Cain’s perfect game. I think more of me was just writing it because the A’s had just played one of the best games of their season, plus R.A. Dickey one-hit the Rays, and MLB Network was focusing on the Giants. Don’t get me wrong, a perfect game is amazing, I just wish that other stories had been covered that night as well. Check it out here.595x416_mattcain_nohitter_9apjsvx5_a07rcbnj

Then, on June 20th, I went to MUG Root Beer Float Day at the Coliseum with my mom and sister. The A’s were playing the Dodgers, who I wanted to see, as they were using commemorative balls. However, I was unable to snag a ball that night. That being said, it was still an awesome day. Read about it here.img_0049

The very next day, on June 21st, I set out with my dad and friend Ryan for another A’s and Dodgers game, with hopes of getting a commemorative ball. Derek Norris was making his MLB Debut in this game. Even though I was shut out for the second day in a row, the game ended with a bang! Check it out here.img_0194

Finally, 3 days later, on June 24th, I was back at the Coliseum again, for more interleague baseball, this time between the A’s and Giants. I got shut out for the 3rd game in a row, however I did snag something cool, and the game once again ended with a bang! Read it all again here.img_0217

6 Months. 815 Views. 22 Posts.

July was when things started to take off for me. This blog had 667 in the month, which is 22 views a day.

After a week of Boy Scout Camp to start off the month, my first post was on July 12th, titled “How was Josh Reddick not an All Star?” In it, I talked about Reddick, the 2012 All Star Game, Kurt Suzuki, as well as BallhawkFest 2012, which I didn’t end up going to. If you want to check it out, click here.reddick

Then, on July 14th, my dad and I headed out to Municipal Stadium in San Jose to see the San Jose Giants take on the Visalia Rawhide. It was our first game in San Jose, and I snagged 6 balls at this game, which is the most I’ve ever snagged at a minor league game! Read all about that exciting day here.img_0516

On July 16th, I posted about the A’s recent success, with their magnificent sweep of the Twins. Read it here.20120716-131355

On July 20th, the A’s were 12-2 in July. I wrote a post about their incredible month, along with all of their Walk-Offs. Remember, there is an A in wAlk off! Check out that entry right here.563532_498776816802392_1320022965_n

The very next day, on July 21st, my mom and I were off to Oakland again, this time to see the A’s take on the Yankees. I got two balls in this game, and it was a lot of fun to sit in Section 149 for the first time! Read about that game here.20120721-222344

7 Months. 1,482 Views. 28 Posts.

August was a special month. There were 868 views, which is an average of 28 per day.

In the month of August, 7000 Coliseum Way was the 42nd most viewed MLBlogs Fan Blog! I wrote an entry all about it here.

On August 1st, my mom, sister and I headed out to the Coliseum for some weekday baseball between the A’s and Rays. I had won tickets on Twitter two days prior, so we got the tickets for free! I snagged 2 balls at this game, giving away one. If you want to read about that game, click here.
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Then, 4 days later, on August 5th, my whole family went to see the Blue Jays take on the A’s, with a Jemile Weeks drawstring backpack giveaway. I snagged one ball at this game, and you can click here to read about it.
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About 2 weeks later, on August 18th, my family joined my friend Sal and I for Scott Hatteberg bobblehead and Moneyball Movie night. It was a whole lot of fun, and I snagged 2 balls. Click here to read about it.
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2 days later, on August 20th, my mom and I got seats right behind the A’s dugout to see them take on the Twins. There were barely 10,000 people there, and I snagged 6 balls, giving away 2 of them. It was a lot of fun and I recommend that you click here to read all about it.
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Then, on August 26th, my dad, sister, and I were in Modesto for some more California League action. I snagged 3 balls, including my 3rd foul ball for the year, and got to play catch with my sister on the field! Read all about it right hereimg_6420
8 Months. 2,350 Views. 33 Posts.

The views just kept increasing. In September, 7000 Coliseum Way was viewed 1,124 times, averaging to 37 views each day.

On September 1st, my mom and I headed out to the Coliseum to see the Red Sox in town. I snagged 2 balls, one of them being a Fenway Park 100th anniversary ball! That entry can be read here.img_6690

I was getting a little behind on entries, so I published a quick post with a list of upcoming posts. If you want to, click here to read it.

The next day, on September 2nd, my Grandma and Uncle accompanied the rest of my family to the Coliseum for Breast Cancer Awareness Day against the Red Sox. I snagged 3 balls, including a toss-up from Yoenis Cespedes! Read about that day right here.img_7539

Later that week, on September 7th, my dad and I took a final trip to Modesto to see the San Jose Giants battle it out with the Nuts to move onto the next round of the California League playoffs. I snagged 3 balls in this game, it was a lot of fun, and you can click here to read it! img_8235

Then, a week later, on September 14th, my family was out to Oakland again, this time for sold out Star Wars fireworks night against the Orioles, where I snagged one ball. Click here to read it.img_0402

9 Months. 3,474 Views. 39 Posts.

Then, come October, the views shot up once again, with a total of 1,581 for the month. That is an average of 51 per day!

In the month of September, with 1,124 views, this blog was the 31st ranked blog, on the Latest Leaders list for the second month in a row! At the beginning of October, I wrote about that and a few other things. Check out that entry here.
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On October 1st, the A’s clinched a spot in the playoffs, and I wrote a quick entry about it here.246568_10151257433126873_1856080895_n

On October 10th, I was fortunate enough to attend the 3rd game of the ALDS, in Oakland, where I met Wayne Peck. You can check out his blog here and read the entry about the day here or check out his post on it here. Unfortuantely, I didn’t snag a ball, thought I had a great time!img_5630

On October 30th, I put together a post with all of my ballhawking stats for the 2012 season. Check all that out here.
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Finally, on October 31st, I published a quick entry about Josh Reddick winning the AL Gold Glove for RF and the pumpkin that my mom carved with the A’s AL West Champs logo. Check out that entry here.
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10 Months. 5,055 Views. 45 Posts.

November was more or less the same, with 1,528 views, I once again averaged 51 views each day, however I started to post more frequently.

My first post of the month was on November 7th. I gave my favorite pictures from FanFest as well as April and May. Check it all out here.
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I then took a poll on November 14th as to what kind of entries you guys were interested in me writing. Feel free to look at it here.

I then started receiving Fan Packs from teams. On November 16th and 17, I got Fan Packs from the Indians and White Sox, as well as the Diamondbacks and Rangers.
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I then left for a 5 day trip with my family, from November 19th-November 23rd to visit family in Omaha. You can read about days 1, 2, 3 ,4, or 5. I got the chance to catch up with family, visit Werner Park and TD Ameritrade Park, and hold my baby cousin for the first time!img_0234

When I got back, I continued to receive mail. I got packages from the Reds, Red Sox, and Astros.
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I also received packs from the Minnesota Timberwolves, Portland Trail Blazers, Baltimore Orioles, and Philadelphia 76ers. 20121129-191421

11 Months. 6,583 Views. 58 Posts.

In December, this blog 1,833 views, a new record, with an average of 59 views per day!

On December 1st, I got a fan pack from the Buffalo Bills and Frederick Keys.20121201-152608

Then, on Decmeber 4th, the MLBLogs Latest Leaders came out for October and November, and I was still in the top 50! 4 months in a row! You can check out my entry about it all here.20121204-131723

Over the next week, I got fan packs from the El Paso Diablos, Detroit Tigers, and Detroit Pistons.
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On the 8th of December, I posted an entry about my bobblehead collection, which you can check out here.20121208-122000

The next day, on December 9th, I blogged about my new radio show, The Nick Badders Show, on BlogTalkRadio, an entry you can find here.blogtalkradio_02

On December 11th, I wrote about the very cool envelope that I got from the Harrisburg Senators.20121211-073719

The next day, December 12th, I talked about the packages I received from the Vermont Lake Monsters and Atlanta Falcons.20121212-150822

On December 14th, I wrote about the packages I got from the Houston Rockets, Round Rock Express, and New York Yankees.20121214-020526

December 18th was the day I wrote about my best ever mail day! I received 5 envelopes, from the Benoit Snappers, Milwaukee Brewers, Kansas City Chiefs, Indianapolis Colts, and Richmond Flying Squirrels.20121217-191134

December 22nd was the date of my last Mail Time! post in 2012. I got an envelope from the Minnesota Twins and talked about my BlogTalkRadio shows, an entry that you can find here.20121222-194004

Finally, on December 29th, I went to a Stockton Thunder ECHL hockey game with my dad and had a blast! You can read all about that fun day here.
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That brings us to this entry. Entry #100 at 7000 Coliseum Way. It’s crazy to think how far I’ve come this year, with my blogging and ballhawking skills. In January, I never would have expected to be where I am today. I never would have thought I would have 27 envelopes stacked up in my bedroom from sports teams.

I NEVER in a million years would have expected to have the following that I do now. 43 Facebook Likes. 103 Twitter followers. 195 more Twitter followers. I want to again thank you all for your support with this blog, I could never do it without you.

AGAIN, Most imporatntly, I need to thank my Dad (Dan), my Mom (Anne), and my Sister (Pascale). Without these three people, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do today. They are the ones who give me the support to continue my work at home. They are the ones that take me to the games, go to games with me, and allow me to ballhawk, even though I am not spending time with them. They are the reason that I am able to succeed, I cannot thank them enough.

I think I have covered everything. If you think I have left something out, let me know in the comment section down below.

Thank You for having the patience to read this LONG entry, and stay tuned for many more entries in the new year.

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12 Months. 8,416 Views. 72 Posts.

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.

9/7/12 at John Thurman Field

Minor League playoff baseball? I think so.

Yep, I’m back in Modesto! This game was going to be slightly different. Here is the story…

So the night before, I was listening to the Nuts/Giants game on the radio, and once the Nuts won the, the broadcaster said that the final game on the 3-game mini-series would be in Modesto at 7pm on Friday.

I then went to the Nuts website to try and purchase tickets, where I found a link where if I took a survey about my experiences at Nuts home games this year, then I would win 2 free playoff tickets.

Survey completed. Tickets won.

I somehow convinced my dad to take me (still trying to figure that one out) and he ended up surprising me by purchasing us 2 new seats right behind the Nuts dugout, where I had never sat before. I was excited.

I then told him that I was hoping to leave right after I got out of school at 3:05. It turned out that he had a meeting that was supposed to end at 5pm, so I was kind of disappointed. but still, my dad is taking me to ANOTHER game and it is hard to complain about that!

I got home from school around 3:30 (I walk home) and he showed up around 5:15.

We got to the stadium close to 6:30, and as soon as we got in, I ran to the right field corner

There were some Nuts players starting to get loose

My dad made his way to our seats

There were players walking past the bullpen, and I was able to get one to autograph my ticket

When the infielders starting throwing, I got ball #1 tossed to me.

I then headed back to my seat

Just in time for the line up cards to be exchanged

The sun began to set as the umpires concluded their meeting

The National Anthem was sung

And we were ready for some playoff baseball!

This was the view for the most of the game

The game would feature the Modesto Nuts and San Jose Giants, battling to advance to the next round of the California League playoffs.

My dad had a lot of fun wandering around the stadium, getting some fantastic pictures from different places like the 1st base side, where we had never sat at in Modesto before

He also got some great pictures down the right field line

My dad also went down the left field line to get some cool shots as well

When the Giants finished their ups in the top of the 2nd inning, I called out to Joey Wong for the 3rd out ball, and he tossed it to me for my 2nd of the day.

At the bottom of each inning, I would head over to the Giants dugout to try and get a 3rd out ball, and stood in the walkways between the aisle and concourse, chasing foul balls.

My dad was fantastic about letting me run around, chasing balls and all. Most of the balls that were hit into the stand flew out of the stadium, to be retrieved by fans outside.

When the Giants finished hitting in the top of the 4th, I got a Nuts player to toss me the 3rd out ball for my 3rd ball on the day.

When I caught the ball, a guy who had seen me catch the other ball started yelling at me because it the 2nd ball that he had seen me catch. I gave him my card and mentioned my blog, and he was pretty cool for the rest of the night.

After that incident, I decided that it would be in my best interests to not try really hard for thrown balls, just kind of chase foul balls and have some fun.

There were a few cool things that I noticed that I hadn’t seen before
1) This sign. I guess if a player hits a home run through it, some random fan wins $10,000

2) Oh Mike on the Mic…

Even though I didn’t have much luck, it was really fun just to run around chasing balls, and having a good time.

There was one foul ball that I came close to during the game, and that ball I should have had. It was popped up right behind our seats. I just simply misplayed it. Stupid me.

I Knew that this was an elimination game, and going into the 9th inning, the Nuts were winning, so I grabbed a seat right behind the Giants dugout.

As I was walking to the 3rd base side, I noticed a guy with a radar gun.

Cool stuff.

Of course, the Nuts won, advancing to the next round of the playoffs.

As soon as the game ended, I got down right next to the dugout

And before I had a chance to ask for the line up card, it was peeled off the wall and the manager walked away.

Then, I called out to the bat boy for a ball, which he handed to a player, who walked away.

Then, I noticed the Giants’ catcher with a few bat in his hand and asked him for one. HE then handed it to a kid next to me, who my dad overheard had gotten a bat in the previous 2 games. Wow.

That was it for the night. I wandered around the empty ballpark with my dad for a few minutes

It was fun to be at a playoff game, experience the great atmosphere, and just have fun. It really is amazing how calm everything was, and just a great experience.

After this entry , I have one more entry to get up before I am all up to date, which I will hope to get up in the coming days.

Now there are a few more pictures that my dad took and I have to show. They are pretty awesome!

BALLHAWKING STATS:
• 3 balls at this game
• 15 balls in 6 Minor League games this season = 2.5 balls per game.
• 37 balls in 19 baseball games this season = 1.947 balls per game.
• 15 Lifetime Minor League baseballs
• 42 total balls
• 6 consecutive minor league games with at least 1 ball
• 10 consecutive games with at least 1 ball
• 6 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.

7/14/12 at Municipal Stadium

Time for some more baseball! San Jose here we come! This game was at Municipal Stadium, in San Jose, home of the San Jose Giants, the San Francisco Giants California league team. They would be hosting the Visalia Rawhide, who I saw play in this game in Stockton.

Every week this summer, I plan on making a spreadsheet of every Ports, Nuts, SJ Giants, River Cats, A’s, and SF Giants game during each week and planning out which games I would like to go to. This weekend, the Giants, San Jose Giants, and River Cats were in town. Out of those three, the San Jose Giants were the cheapest and closest so I figured that I might as well make the 45 minute drive to San Jose.

In the previous days, I did some research on Municipal Stadium, and I planned for this game. I was excited to find out that the gates opened 1 1/2 hours before the game, not 1 hour, like at most minor league stadiums. In the A-Z guide on their website, under batting practice, it says: “Gates open one and a half hours before game time allowing guests to view infield practice for the San Jose Giants and their opponent. Be sure to arrive as soon as the gates open and catch all the pre-game action. Unfortunately, San Jose Giants batting practice occurs over three hours before the game, well before our gates open.”

Ok. I got a few things out of this. First off, you cannot make it inside the stadium in time to see batting practice. Secondly, if I get there early enough, I can probably catch Visalia’s batting practice. Last, if I got to the stadium really early, I could see all of both batting practices outside. So I figured that since this stadium was new to me, I should get there sometime between 2 and 2:30 for the 3:30 gate opening and the 5:00 start time. It was also “Recycle bag giveaway day” or something like that.

This game was just my dad and I. As much as I love going with my entire family, I love sharing the excitement with them, when it is just the 2 of us, it makes ballhawking a lot easier.

We left our house at 2:00 and got to San Jose and parked around 2:40. On the same lot as the stadium, here is a San Jose Sharks ice rink that had a cool mural on the side.

When we got to the stadium, I saw a small gap in the 2nd outfield wall, the one that prevents fans from watching the game for free. This is what I saw

The cages were up! I was pumped to get in!

From there, we went to the ticket office to buy 2 tickets behind the Rawhide dugout. We got 2 seats row 6 seats 5 and 6, which we were told were aisle seats.

After purchasing our tickets, we walked around the stadium, taking more pictures along the way. We first headed in the direction away from the parking lot. At the end of the lot, there was this schedule poster my dad wanted me to get a picture with.

From there, we headed back towards the parking lot. There was still nobody in line, so we had time to kill before we really needed to get in line. My dad took a picture of the stadium inside, and I noticed something interesting.

It looked to me as if that that was the original front of the stadium, due to the purchase tickets here sign. When we got inside, this was proven, because there was a curb opposite the field concourse.

From here, we continued to the parking lot. I realized that the player’s parking lot was right next to the parking lot.

I wanted to go check back on BP, so we headed back to the gap in the wall, but first, I pointed out that the 2013 All Star Game between the California and Carolina leagues would be at Municipal STadium. And yes, it has already been decided that we will be there.

When we got back to the wall, this is what I saw

The Rawhide were taking BP! Assuming that they were still hitting in about half an hour, I was feeling really good. We watched a little before I decided that since there was a net above the wall, it was kind of pointless to stand behind the outfield fence. My dad suggested that we get in line, and that is exactly what we did. For about 15 minutes, we were the only ones in line.

While we were in line, I saw a sign that listed the gate opening times corresponding to the game times. I looked at the row for a 5:00 start time. It said that Turkey Mike’s BBQ opened at 3:30 and the concourse opened at 4:00. Um… I thought the stadium opened at 3:30. I asked somebody in an orange STAFF jersey that told me that from 3:30-4:00, you could only access the bleachers down the LF line. That made sense.

When the gates opened at 3:30, I took my free reusable bag, figuring I might use it at some point in the day. I headed for the bleachers that they had been talking about, and right when I got there, I heard a loud thunk as a ball hit the bleachers. I ran to the bleachers, and discovered that the ball was under the bleachers, 3 rows back. Time to put the giveaway bag to use.

My 1st ball of the day! Now if you look closely, then you can see that it isn’t a Major League ball. It is a Babe Ruth league ball. Uh… that’s a little odd. A professional Minor League team using a ball from a youth league. Interesting. But it still counts.

Then, I took a minute to look around at the stadium and my surroundings, and there was one thing that disappointed me. Usually, most stadiums have a backstop screen from one end of the dugout to the end of the other dugout, just covering the home plate area. Here, the screen covered the top of both dugouts as well as the backstop. This would make getting 3rd out balls nearly impossible. At least foul balls were still going to be a chance.

About a minute later, another ball was lined, this time a section over. I ran in that direction, but it bounced in one of the top rows of the seats. I didn’t go after it, figuring that it was at an unreachable area in the bleachers. Well I headed over that way anyway and next to the Porta Potties and this is what I came up with.

It had been on the ground next to the toilet on the far left. Cool! This one was marked in sharpie with the Giants SJ logo on back of the ball.

I overheard an usher that had a ball in his hand talking about how he found a ball under the bleachers, and because he isn’t allowed to keep it, he was going to give it to the first person who asked. My dad wanted me to ask for it, but I wanted him to give it to a well-deserving little kid, which I found out later that he did.

After this, I went back to where I had been before, by the patio. Before I knew it, 15 minutes after I had entered the stadium, BP was over. At that point, #21 on the Rawhide came over to pick up somebody’s glove. I turned around, looked at my Visalia roster, and I saw #21 was Jeremy Erben.

I turned around and asked him for the ball. Ball #3. I had 3 balls within my first 20 minutes.

I had a very good feeling about it. But then I remembered about the screen. I was hoping to get a few more balls before the first pitch. I had about 10 or so minutes to kill before the concourse opened, so I wandered around the open concourse a little. Once it got to 4:00, I figured that we would head for our seats, and on the way, we saw the umpires entering the stadium.

Once I got to my seat, I got a picture of me with my first 3 balls.

I have no clue what I am looking at.

After this, My dad got a picture from the very top of the section.

I then decided to get a slushy and sit in my seat a little, because there was no action on the field.
around 4:30, I notice the Giants catcher warming up downy the right field line, so I headed over there. As soon as I got there, I got the catchers, Andrew Susac to sign my ticket. Then, the Giants starting pitcher that day, Shawn Sanford started to stretch. 5 or so minutes later, they started throwing.

I noticed most of the team was out on the field at this point, and I saw Aubrey Huff was still rehabbing from his injury in June. How did he injure himself, you might ask? After the final out of Matt Cain’s perfect game, he tried to jump over the railing and hurt his leg. Good going, Aubrey. One thing I noticed while he was warming up was the color of his pants. The Giants home uniform consists of a white jersey and pants, while the SF Giants home uniform features an off-white scheme. Aubrey was wearing the white 25th anniversary jersey, like everyone else, but with the tan/beige/off-white pants. Uh…

I then heard some Giants players talking about the Ports so I joined in the conversation, talking about the beasts on Stockton who hit home runs and stuff like that.

Before long, Shawn and Andrew headed to the bullpen so they could both fully warm up. My dad did get some good pictures of Shawn Sanford pitching in the bullpen

When they were done, Shawn just pointed at me, and tossed me the ball. #4 on the day!

There were some kids there, who didn’t have gloves on that were surprised that I got a ball. I gave them some tips on how to snag a ball and my dad and I headed back to our seats, in time for the first pitch.

In the top of the 2nd, Yazy Arbello, who I think has the most amazing name ever, fouled a ball off in my direction. It landed 2 rows behind me, and rolled down, landing on my bag, which I always put under my seat. Somebody yelled out “There’s the ball!” but my dad said “No, that’s my son’s ball.” Then everyone started looking for the foul ball. I told my dad that it wasn’t my ball, but now it was and smiled. I stuck it in my bag without saying anything. People were looking for that ball, all game.

So at this point, I had 5 balls and was hungry for more. After this, there were no balls that were hit in my direction. In the 6th inning, I saw somebody warming up in the Giants bullpen, so I headed over there. I asked him for the ball when he was called in to pitch, but he told me to come back at the end of true game, and I would get a ball.

When I got back to my seat, I asked my dad if he was willing to go get me some food. He decided to go to Turkey Mike’s Barbecue, which online had great reviews. He came back with pulled pork sandwiches, which I am willing to put up against any ballpark food as the best food that you can get at a Minor League stadium. It was some of the best pulled pork that I have ever had. Amazing ballpark food.

The Giants mascot, Gigante, spent a lot of time in our section, and he posed a lot and took pictures with kids all game.

In the 8th inning, he played with a little kid sitting behind me and tried to get a picture with him, but the kid didn’t really want a picture.

Ok, so in the bottom of the 9th inning, I headed over to the Giants bullpen, as suggested with hopes of getting my 6th ball. I got there, and there were no balls to be seen in the bullpen, except a wiffle ball under a tarp. While I was there, I talked to the kids from before th game, and it had turned out, they had all snagged a foul ball and toss up. There were only 2 guys sitting on the bullpen benches next tot he right field foul pole, and it looked like neither of them had balls, so I headed back to my seat.

The Giants scored 2 runs in the 9th, but due to Visalia’s 5-run 6th inning, the Rawhide won 8-3. As soon as the final out was recorded, They started setting up for a tennis ball toss, where you throw tennis balls onto the field, trying to get them into hoola hoops on the field. While they were cleaning up, a random Rawhide player came out from under in the dugout and asked if anyone wanted a ball. I asked him for it, and before I knew it, I had 6 balls.

I later realized that this was the player who tossed me the ball.

At this point, I was ready to head out. For me, it was a very good day. Before this game in 2012, I had 7 balls, combined major and minor league. I got 6 balls in this game. Last year, I got 5 balls in the entire season. I got 6 balls in this game. It was a lot of fun!

That’s all for now.

BALLHAWKING STATS:
• 6 balls at this game
• 9 balls in4 Minor League games this season = 2.25 balls per game
• 13 balls in 10 baseball games this season = 1.3 balls per game
• 4 consecutive Minor League games with at least one ball
• 18 total baseballs
• 9 total Minor League baseballs

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.