Category: James Shields

5/17/13 at the Oakland Coliseum- BACON FRIDAY!

This was a much different day than I’ve had in the past few years ballhawking-wise. It would be the first game since I went to Nationals Park in 2011 that I didn’t try to ballhawk at!

NICK!!!! HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND????

Yes.

No, but in all seriousness, I knew from the start I wouldn’t be able to ballhawk this game. My high school’s baseball team (Remember this game?) was 22-1 going into today, with a 4pm game against our cross-town rivals, so I couldn’t miss it!

I considered leaving around 5:30 to “beat” the traffic and get there at the end of BP, but it didn’t come close to happening. As much as I wanted to go to the A’s game, I really wanted to stay for this game!

I left around 6:30pm for the 7pm A’s game. Traffic was horrible! My dad and I listened to the pregame show on the radio on the drive up and pulled into the Coliseum parking lot just after the first pitch.

I ran in Gate MM and headed up to the 3rd deck? Why? I had purchased a Value Deck seat. Every Friday in the Value Deck in Oakland, they have a giveaway of some sort, this time it was a T-Shirt. Look for me to be wearing it in my next entry!

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I ran up, grabbed my shirt, and slid into my seat just in time in the bottom of the 1st inning. Everyone was wearing their Bacon Friday T-shirts!

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Wait? What is Bacon Friday, you might ask?

Watch this video…

Or this video…

That was just 2011. That was the first annual Bacon Tuesday.

In 2012, they brought it back for the 2nd Annual Bacon Tuesday. Read this article at Cut4 and this article at the Royals website.

It was back in 2013 and bigger and better than ever! How big? Jeff Francoeur AND Josh Reddick stopped by before the gates opened to tailgate with them!

I have to give MAJOR props to my mom! In the days leading up to Bacon Friday, she baked DOZENS upon DOZENS of Bacon Chocolate Chip cookies. I don’t know exactly how many she made, but they were AMAZING!!!!

Even the people running the scoreboard knew it was Bacon Friday!

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They even showed some action of Sizzlin’ Bacon! Everyone in RF chanted “Go Bacon Go! Go Bacon Go!

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They knew of the awesomeness that is Bacon Friday.

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When I slipped into my seat, Yoenis Cespedes was at the plate…

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But Brandon Moss grounded out to end the first, stranding Jed Lowrie at first.

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Jarrod Parker was on the mound for the A’s

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Daric Barton was playing first.

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FYI, I am a member of the Daric Barton Fan Club. WE GOT YOUR BACK BRO!

While Lorenzo Cain was batting in the 2nd inning, Eric Hosmer was picked off.

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After a short pickle, he was out at first.

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IMG_3532You could tell everyone on the field was happy about it!

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Cain ende up grounding out to first base to end the top of the 2nd.IMG_3536

Like I had mentioned earlier, everyone was wearing their Bacon Friday shirts.

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And yes, I did get one!

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I was 7 rows back or so, but I still had a great view!
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Will was not wearing a jersey like he usually does, but his Bacon Friday shirt!

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In the bottom of the 2nd, with 1 out and Josh Donaldson on first, Derek Norris walked.

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Then, Daric Barton stepped up to the plate.

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He ende up grounding into a fielder’s choice, Derek Norris was thrown out at 2nd base.

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With a runner on 2nd in the top of the 3rd and 1 out, Elliot Johnson was called out on strikes.

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Then, Parker allowed the first run of the game.

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David Lough doubled to Center, bringing in Salvatore Perez.

In the 3rd inning, I headed over to LF to go hang out with Rick Gold for an inning or so. He was in town for the homestand and planning on attending BallhawkFest the next day, so I thought I would stop by and chat for a little bit.

Right after I left, this happened…

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Yep. Omar, Anson, and a few other people did a live interview on the Royals TV broadcast.

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Everyone got pictures with him.

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This is a close-up shot of the back of the T-Shirt.

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Jarrod Parker pitched a scoreless 4th, despite a single and walk.

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I came back in the 4th inning, around the time that my mom and sister showed up!

Why were they so late? My sister had soccer tryouts that ended around 7. She went home, changed into her A’s gear, and she and my mom immediately took BART out to Oakland so they could catch at least part of the game.

FYI, here is Rick. He’s in the new BP hat with the green jacket- right in the middle of the picture.

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James Shields, who tossed me a ball last year when the Rays were in town, was on the mound for the Royals.

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On the 4th pitch of the bottom of the 4th, Brandon Moss singled to right field.

But he tried to stretch it into a double…

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Out or safe?

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He was called out trying to stretch his single into a double for the first out of the inning.IMG_3707

Everyone was pumped about the game!
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Throughout the game, they showed bacon facts on the scoreboard.

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Omar Gutierez’s son, known as The Champ took lots of pictures during the game!

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He’s one awesome kid!

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And he had BACON MINTS!!!

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The other Omar G, Omar Gonzalez was very excited!

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Coco Crispy Bacon!!!

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Jorge was getting into the action, despite his sleepiness.

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Daniel and Keith were chilling in the front row on the other side of the section.

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Ross was taking lots of pictures.

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As was everyone else.

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Can anyone guess what year bacon was invented?
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If you guessed 1500 BC, you are correct!

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The scoreboard routinely showed this for the entire game.

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Through the top of the 6th, the A’s had allowed only that 3rd inning run.

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Jorge was having a good day!IMG_3812

Ready for more bacon trivia? What percentage of men ranked bacon as their favorite smell?

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23%!

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More bacon facts and trivia. BACON CURES HANGOVERS!!!

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Omar had these three signs at this game.

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Everyone was getting into the spirit of Bacon Friday!

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Daric Barton stepped to the plate for the A’s in the 7th, but he was called out on strikes…

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But it wasn’t before Josh Donaldson hit a game-tying home run to left field!

Bob Melvin really wanted to score a few more runs.

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Sean Doolittle came in to pitch the 8th inning for Oakland.IMG_3900

Did you know there is a world record for bacon-eating?

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Doolittle pitched a scoreless 8th

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Adam Rosales stepped to the plate to lead off the A’s half of the 8th.

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On a 1-1 pitch, he hammered a ball to left field to put the A’s ahead 2-1!

Rosie did his usual sprint around the bases.

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RUN ROSIE RUN!

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This meant it was time for Grant Balfour to get loose in the bullpen.

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No more runs were scored in the 8th inning.IMG_3974

I don’t know what it is, but security hates sections 148 and 149 this year. They had a huge problem with a lot of people on Friday.

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Everyone was excited that the A’s had taken the lead!

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In the top of the 9th, it was time for Grant Balfour to come in to close the game out…

This meant it was time to RAGE!!!

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After getting 2 quick outs, Eric Hosmer stepped to the plate!

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And struck him out swinging! Everyone was happy!

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Slowly, we all filed out.

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We all met up in the concourse after the game, I handed out some more cookies, and Ralliney had someone take this picture of us.

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Wow! It was nice to to have any pressures of ballhawking, and for those like me who don’t care about streaks or such, I would highly recommend that you go to a game and purposely not ballhawk. Very relaxing!

Thanks for reading!

BALLHAWKING STATS:

  • 9th Game this Year
  • 0 Balls at this Game
  • 8 balls in 7 MLB games this season = 1.14 Ball Per Game
  • 23 Balls in 9 Games this season = 2.55 Balls Per Game
  • 36 Lifetime MLB Baseballs
  • 66 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.baco

8/1/12 at the Oakland Coliseum

This game came out of nowhere. Literally. The day before, the A’s ticket services staff posted a question on Twitter, with the 1st person to answer correctly won 2 tickets to that night’s game. The question was “Last night the A’s clinched their best July record in team history (19-4). When was last time the A’s had a record that good in a one month?” I knew the answer was August of 2002, when the A’s had their 20 game win streak.

I tweeted them the answer, and then got a DM that I had won. After remembering it was my parent’s anniversary, I told them that I couldn’t make it. Then, they offered me 2 tickets to the A’s game the next day, a 12:35 game against the Rays. After telling them that my sister had to come, and offering to buy an extra ticket, they told me to pick up 4 tickets at the box office.

The A’s ticket services staff are the best in baseball!

On Wednesday, I left the house, along with my mom and sister around 8:20. We were going to walk to the bus stop, as my dad had to leave for work, from there take the bus to BART, and take BART to the Coliseum. We got to the bus stop at 9:00 and BART at 9:40.

Once we got on BART, we got to the Coliseum at 10ish, the same time Will Call opened, so that we could pick up the tickets.

Once we walked halfway around the stadium to Will Call, we picked up our tickets. The lady at Will Call thought it was cool that we had won and said they were really good.

Honestly, I was expecting 4 generic A’s tickets in the 2nd deck. But, no. These seats were between the Rays dugout and home plate. In the first seating level!

And to top it all, they were the commemorative tickets that only season ticket holders get. Awesome!

At That point, it was 10:30; we got in line at Gate C, where there were only 2 people in line. Gate B, where I had entered before, was closed.

My sister wanted to play catch with me, so once she was done playing a quick card game with my mom, we played catch in the parking lot for 15 minutes.

After that, I pretty much waited until the gates opened.

It was pretty boring. Once it was 10:05 and the security guard said we could go, I rushed through the bag check, got my ticket scanned, and went to see if there was BP. Nope. Not a huge surprise.

I took off my A’s jersey, to reveal my Ryan Cook American League All-Star Game shirt. I stuck my jersey in my bag, pulled out my catcher’s mitt, and headed over to where the Rays were throwing, as there were no fans there.

As soon as started to run down the steps, a security guard threw a ball up towards the 2nd deck that some pitchers had been using to warm up. It bounced off and came down and started trickling through the seats. I couldn’t find it anywhere, and a minute later, the same security guard found it on the field, I guess it had rolled all the way down, and tossed it to me. As soon as I put it in my bag, it trickled out back onto the field. I didn’t realize it at first, because there was a little girl, maybe 4 or 5 crying because she had thought the ball had been tossed to her. The security guard had tossed it pretty high, and I guess she had been right behind me.

The guard, who I have known for a long time now, asked me if I wanted it back, and I said I was going to give it to the girl who was crying. He told me that he thought it was a good idea, and handed it to me.

This was the first ball I had ever given away, so I deiced that I WILL count balls that I give away as ones that I snagged.

I wanted to try to get a ball from one of the 2 guys throwing bullpen sessions, in Jeremy Hellickson, and Wade Davis. The bullpen catcher missed a pitch from Davis, and the ball rolled over to where Sam Fuld and James Shields were throwing. I headed over there, calling out to James, asking for the ball. He said no. I asked if there was any possible way on the face of the planet that he would be able to toss me one baseball. He chuckled and said that he wasn’t allowed to. I said OK, and no problem and headed to where Fernando Rodney was throwing.

James Shields called me back, saying that he had been joking with me. I laughed and said ok, as he tossed me the ball. He then came over and I told him how teams like the Dodgers rarely throw balls up during BP, and how their pitchers specifically are not allowed to give balls away, which sucks, because the Dodgers use commemorative balls. He seemed really surprised at that, at which point he started to get yelled at by some coaches.

He asked me if I would be in Tampa this year, and he seemed somewhat disappointed when I said no. I knew this was the Rays’ only trip to Oakland this year, so I half-jokingly suggested that he collect some commemorative balls for me and give them to me, when the Rays are in Oakland in 2013. He actually liked the idea, and said next time the Rays were in Oakland, or if I was in Tampa, he would hook me up with a few balls.

Pretty Cool!

After that, I got no more balls before the game started. One thing that I noticed while the pitchers were throwing was that one guy was wearing a David Price #14 jersey that looked nothing like David Price. It turns out, it was Josh Lueke, who tossed me balls in Oakland, last September, when the Mariners were in town. He was called up on in the morning, and when he got to the clubhouse in the morning, he found out that he was short a BP jersey. He ended up borrowing a David Price jersey. I found an article on Cut4, which explains it. Had I known who it was, I think I would have gotten a ball.

Shorty after, I got Sam Fuld to sign one of my tickets, followed by James Shields. I came close to a ball a few times, when guys like David Price and Matt More missed throws and they bounced into the crow. They would just get a new ball, or toss the old ball into the stands. Most of the time before the game, I competed with Greg Barasch, a very accomplished New York ballhawk, who snagged 10 balls in this game, and after this game, had snagged 1,287 MLB balls. I didn’t know how much I would run into him throughout the game.

I was curious where our seats were, so I searched the seats a little, and found my sister 20 or so rows back playing on her phone.

Shortly before the Rays left the field, I got Matt Moore to sign my ticket as well, and James Shields talked to me for a moment longer, and told me that he would be waiting in Tampa for me. I promised to get

Once everybody had left the field, I headed to our seats and my mom took this picture of me with the one ball I had kept

Then, my sister got this picture

A few minutes later, I noticed Rays’ broadcaster/reporter Todd Kalas getting ready for the Rays Pre-game show, I believe. He was right in front of the Rays dugout, so I headed over there to see if I could watch a little and get some pictures.

A few minutes later, an usher told us all to leave, because batting practice was over. Uh? There was no BP. But I knew what she meant.

At this point, it was about 12:00. I saw Kurt Suzuki warming up down the left field line, so I threw on my A’s jersey and headed over there. I had to weave a little to avoid ushers, but I ended up where I had been in the last game, right next to the foul pole, where Zuk was playing catch with Chip Hale.

I looked around, and saw this guy to my left.

Yep, the tall guy in the A’s hat. That is Greg Barasch.

A few minutes later, an usher approached me, asking if I had a ticket to this section. I said that my ticket was right behind the dugout and that I was over here just to try to catch a ball, and as soon as they were done, I would head back to my seat. Nope. No can do. I had to head back. But first, I texted my mom to let here know. I saw Greg talking to the usher, who let him stay. I think I will have to start thinking of ways to talk ushers to going wherever I want.

I headed back to my seat where Josh Feinberg, from A’s ticket services stopped by our seats introduced himself, and asked what we thought of the tickets. We thanked him for them and after he asked if we were enjoying ourselves, I mentioned the 2 balls and conversation with Shields.

Soon enough, it was 12:20, which meant all of the pre game stuff. My sister and I stood in the cross aisle, hoping to get a shirt that was tossed into the crowd, and an usher told us to go down right behind the dugout. After we didn’t get anything, he told me that we could sit right behind the dugout in the empty seats, because there were very few people there, at the time, close to only 10,000.

This is where I sat for the first inning or so.

Then I moved down here for most of the game.

My mom got some really good pictures in the game, including this one of Jarrod Parker

And these of B.J. Upton, Kurt Suzuki, and the home plate umpire, Chris Conroy

During the game, I tried for the infield warm-up balls and 3rd-out balls from the Rays, and unfortunately I didn’t get one, and I don’t believe Greg did either. Now I feel very frustrated on a certain level because there were about 5 foul balls tat I probably should have gotten, which, trust me was very frustrating. But, hey, at this point, there is nothing I can do about it.

Greg, at least, got one of the foul balls. 2 of the balls I came close to were ones that landed in my section while I WAS USING THE BATHROOM. I really had to go. It’s not my fault. Ok, from now on, I will not leave the seating bowl during the game.

I also picked up a popcorn helmet, mostly because it was a different design than the green one that I already have. If you know me, you know I love souvenirs like that.

The A’s lost 4-1, and after the final out of the game, I tried to get a ball from the dugout, but nobody could hook me up. Then, I asked Joe Maddon for the lineup card, but he just ignored me. I asked Jeff Keppinger for a souvenir of some sort, and he tossed an open pack of sunflower seeds that spilled over the dugout roof, and some kid got them. Whatever.

Carlos Pena, who had hit a home run and had had an RBI single did an interview

I got a final picture with my one ball on the day, and the popcorn helmet on my head.

Overall, it was a pretty good game!

On our way out, I fooled around with the camera, taking a picture of the near-empty Coliseum.

And my mom and sister up the stairs, on the way to the concourse to head out

And a BART sign

I also took this picture of our BART train pulling into the station

And this sign at the East Dublin/Pleasanton BART Station

BALLHAWKING STATS:
• 2 balls at this game (1 pictured because I gave one away)
• 8 balls in 8 Major League games this season = 1 ball per game.
• 17 balls in 11 baseball games this season = 1.545 balls per game.
• 13 Lifetime Major League baseballs
• 22 total balls
• 3 consecutive games in Oakland with at least 2 balls

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