Category: jemile weeks

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.

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8/20/12 at the Oakland Coliseum

My mom surprised me taking me to another game just 2 days after the bobblehead / movie night. My sister was at a friend’s house and I was days from starting high school. Considering that nobody at all wants to see the Twins play at night in Oakland, she decided that it would be the perfect game for us!

Friday night, I searched around on StubHub a little and found 2 amazing pairs of tickets that I had a very hard time choosing from. Before I tell you about them, I just want you to keep in mind that were you to purchase these from the A’s website, they would be $44. And in total, there are about $5-$10 extra fees for purchasing tickets on StubHub.

The fist pair of tickets that I found was in section 120, the rightmost section behind the A’s dugout. It was listed as row 13, which considering the fact that the first row of this section is row 5 means that theses seats are row 8. I always narrow my searches down, so it only shows aisle seats and these were aisle seats. Row 8 aisle seat behind the A’s dugout. $35 each. $44-$35 = $9 difference! This also was the same section I sat in at the very end of this game.

The other tickets we considered were in section 111. That is the section to the right of the visitors dugout. The seats were row 7, also aisle seats. They were $25 each. Mind. Blown.

I had a very hard time choosing. There was a $10 difference and many ballhawking opportunities.

I made a list of cases for both sides.

Section 120:
• Tye Waller rolls the infield warm-up ball up the dugout roof every time
• There is a very good chance for a 3rd out ball
• If there is a little foul pop up in the stands, I could have a good chance at getting it
• I could probably ask for a line up card or ball as soon as the game is over

Section 111:
• If a weak foul grounder is hit, I might be able to scoop it up
• If I am wearing my Twins hat, I might have a good chance at getting 3rd out and infield warm-up balls
• The seats are right next to the dugout, closer to the action
• They are cheaper

I couldn’t decide, so I let my mom choose, and she told me she always prefers the 3rd base side over the 1st base side, so we went with Section 120.

I wasn’t expecting this to be a very popular game, so I figured we could get there 45 or so minutes before the gates opened, and we would be in good shape.

So, for a 7:05 start time and 5:35 gate opening time, I would want to get to the Coliseum sometime between 4:30 and 4:45, which meant getting to BART around 4:00ish. I was looking forward to this nice, calm, relaxing game.

My mom and I left our house around 2:45. We walked to the bus stop from our house and got there around 3:20, getting to BART around 3:50.

We got to the Coliseum around 4:20.

My mom wanted us to walk around the stadium a little, so I started off by taking this picture of her

There was nobody in line at Gate LL or MM. We headed towards gates A and D, and I was hoping to show my mom the staircase Sal and I had gone up on Saturday, but it was closed, along with gate A. There was one person in line at Gate D, and he looked pretty bored.

We made a quick stop in the D Gate team store to browse, the continued on to our destination of Gate C. I got a few pictures along the way of things like the ramp up to Will Call

The Season Ticket Holder entrance

And the Employee Entrance (Gate EE)

This is what I saw when we headed down the hill towards Gate C

There were only a couple people in line. Sweet! We got in line and set out stuff down right next to them in the front. I was ready to get in.

Literally as soon as we set our stuff down, a kid was walking into line from the parking lot and because he had his glove on at the time, an employee tossed him a ball.

I headed to the C Gate store just to waste some time and ended up watching some soccer on the TV in there with about 10 other guys. I came out and had about 30 minutes before the gates opened at 5:35. So it was about 5.

More or less, I waited until the gates opened. Once we were allowed to go in, I ran through bag check, got my ticket scanned, and sprinted to the bleachers. I got there, and set my stuff down. The Twins were taking BP. I was ready! I spent a quick moment, talking to Will, one of the 149 guys, who had just asked a Twins player for a toss up. I guess he makes sure to get a ball every game to give one to a kid in line every day.

The only guy on the field with a uniform number in his back was Glen Perkins, who is number 15. I checked my roster. As soon as I looked up, a ball was hit to Perkins, so I called out to him for ball #1 on the day.

My 2nd ball of the day was meant to be thrown to the guy in the white shirt pictured below

I reached out for the ball and caught it. After realizing he had been trying to catch it, I asked if he wanted it, and gave it to him. A minute later, he caught another ball, and offered it to me. I told him to keep it, because he had caught it.

There were a few balls I probably could have asked for, ones that went over the fence and people went to get. But I didn’t ask for them. It was 10 minutes in and I had 2 balls. I decided to take off my A’s jersey, hoping I would have a better chance at a ball.

5 or so minutes later, a ball was crushed into the tunnel between sections 149 and 148. I was about 4 sections over.

Unfortunately the Coliseum doesn’t have cross-aisles in the bleachers, just wheelchair seating areas that block potential cross-aisle.

So back to that ball. Ross, one of the guys from 149 took off for the ball. I did as well. I was running through the rows, and since I was running much faster than him, I caught up with him. The ball rolled through the concourse and into the woman’s restroom. An usher got the ball, and Ross told her to give the ball to a kid. She handed it to me, and as soon as she gave it to me, I put it in the glove of a little boy, smiled, and headed back to the bleachers. BP was ending as I got back in.

I grabbed my sharpie and headed over to the Twins bullpen, where I saw somebody signing. He was talking with his family, but I was still able to get him to sign my hat, which I was excited about.

I decided to head to my ticketed seat to check out the view and talk to my mom. She was surprised and pleased with my 3 balls in BP and the signature on my hat.

I then headed over to the A’s bullpen, in hopes of getting my 4th ball on the day. I saw a ball lying on the ground, and hoped that someone would be able to toss it to me. I waited for about 10 minutes, and right when I was about to head back, the security guard down the LF line came over. I asked him for the ball, and he told me that he isn’t allowed to.

I headed back to my seat, where my mom and I headed up to the Deli in the West Side club. There was no line, so my mom and quickly ordered sandwiches and fruit and headed back to our seats. There, I ate my fruit and talked with my mom.

I then noticed Kate Longworth, from ComcastSportsNet talking to Chip Hale, the A’s bench coach while he signed autographs. I had found a ticket on the ground, so I was hoping he would sign it, but he had to do an interview with Kate, so he headed back.

I then headed back to the bullpen. Derek Norris came out to warm-up shortly thereafter. I got him to sign the random ticket. I was hoping to get a ball from Chip Hale when he concluded warming up.

I looked over into the dugout, and saw Chip interviewing and demonstrating something. I hoped that he would be over soon, so that I could have a chance at a ball.

Once Norris was done prepping himself, Chip Hale came out of the dugout and grabbed a few balls from the ball bag.

He then went over all of the drills with Derek Norris, that I have seen him do before.

Derek missed one of the balls, and when he did, I moved over in that direction. As soon as they were done, I asked Chip Hale for the ball on the ground. As soon as I had said “Chip”, he tossed me the ball in his hand.

It was a pearl! Perfect ball, the one he hadn’t used. Beautiful.

I then ran over to where the Twins’ starting pitcher for the day was throwing. I took off my A’s jersey and threw on my Twins hat, where an usher approached me, to tell me that if I wanted to catch a ball, I have to have a ticket for that section. Even thought my ticket was right behind the dugout, I couldn’t get there. I headed back to the A’s dugout, where I saw a few guys stretching.

My mom got some great pictures

Note the ball bag right there. That is where Chip Hale had gotten the balls from earlier, and I was hoping to get one when the guys finished throwing.

I noticed Brandon McCarthy throwing with Casey Chavez, so I went over to the bullpen.

After I left for the bullpen, he finished his warm-up tosses, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to get down there, so I focused on getting a ball from the A’s infielders playing catch. Adam Rosales was the lone one working on his swing.

Jemile Weeks all of a sudden ran out of the dugout, in his warm-up fleece. Just a little late I guess…

Once McCarthy was done throwing in the bullpen with Derek Norris, he tossed the ball he used to a kid in the front row and players started to come into the dugout.

I got Jonny Gomes to sign my ticket, quickly followed by Coco Crisp and Tommy Milone.

It was very weird to look out into the RF bleachers and see almost nobody there, except for the 149 regulars.

My mom got a picture of the guys in the broadcast booth. It almost seems like Glen Kuiper is looking right at the Camera.

The meeting at home plate took place

This was our view for most of the game

To the left

And the right

We were all ready to go! I was looking forward to Brandon McCarthy’s start, as I had never seen him pitch in person before.

He looked pretty goo overall

But I do have to say, it wasn’t his best start. He allowed 2 runs in the first inning, on 27 pitches.

I swear Adam Rosales adjusted his socks at least 5 times in the first 3 minutes.

I have to say my mom took some amazing pictures.

Josh Reddick and Jemile Weeks

Yoenis Cespedes

But like I said, Brandon McCarthy really struggled, which I found very disappointing

It not a good thing when the pitching coach has to come to the mound with 2 outs in the 1st inning

A bright spot in the top of the 1st was this picture that I got of section 149

Stomper, the A’s elephant mascot spent the 1st inning in our section, trying to buy food from vendors, who seemed to be very amused. My mom got this fantastic picture of me with Stomp in the background.

Josh Reddick popped up to end the A’s half of the first

Here I am with 2 of my first 4 balls on my day.

So in the bottom of the 2nd, I walked up to look at the price of the sweatshirt, and as I was walking back to the seat, I saw the boy who I had given the home run ball to earlier in BP. He had the biggest smile on his face and looked so happy, clutching the ball close to his chest.

I went over to say hi to him, and his mother told me that he hadn’t let go of the ball since I had given it to him. I gave him a high five and headed back to my seat.

1 out into the 3rd inning, Brandon had allowed 10 hits and 5 runs. Travis Blackley, the A’s long man came in. And wow! he did a great job! He allowed 1 run and 5 hits over the final 5 and 2/3 of the game.

At the top of every inning, the A’s first baseman (This game featured Chris Carter) tosses the ball to Tye Waller, the A’s 1st base coach, who will roll the ball up the dugout roof to a kid or elderly season ticket holder. A’s players always toe 3rd out balls into the stands. 2 different ball chances x 9 innings = 18 chances for balls + foul balls.

I didn’t get a ball for the first 5 innings. The closest I came was a warm-up ball, were when Tye Waller rolled the ball up, the usher for the section PUSHED fans out of the way to ensure a gloveless kid got the ball.

I got the infield warm-up ball in the top of the 6th, my 5th on the day.

After I got back to my seat with that ball, the usher approached me, telling me to stay in my seat for the rest of the game. He told me not to get any more balls and just to watch the game.

I grabbed my dad’s camera, and headed down to row 3, where I got some pictures. This was my view for the rest of the game.

I didn’t really try for any more balls, so that I wouldn’t get kicked out for pissing the usher off or anything like that.

I kind of just sat in my seat, and when someone went to toss a ball into the stands, I would just kind of hold up my glove in hopes of a ball coming near me. There was one time where I tried for a 3rd out ball from Chris Carter and the usher pointed to the 3rd row seat, telling me to go back.

Due to the fact that the A’s bullpen is not connected to the clubhouse, a lot of times, the relievers are walking back and forth from the dugout and the bullpen.

It was a lot of fun actually not to go for balls, because I got to take some pictures, and a few of them actually turned out ok!

Whenever I watch A’s game at home, one thing I notice is how tense Jonny Gomes looks at the plate

But like I said, it was so much fun just to relax in the 3rd row, taking pictures and enjoying the game.

To give you a perspective of how close the first row is, I snapped this picture of Chris Carter emerging from the dugout. I barely zoomed in at all.

Josh Reddick stepped to the plate in the bottom of the 8th, hoping to lower the Twins lead to 4 runs, but he was unable to, as he struck out on a foul tip.

After Reddick stuck out, Yoenis Cespedes stepped to the plate.

And on the 8th pitch of the at-bat, Cespedes took a huge hack at a slider and…

Flied out to left fielder and former Athletic Josh Willingham.

And just to let you know, this is the usher for the section in case you ever sit in section 121 or 120.

The A’s were unable to do anything in the bottom of the 9th, and the final score was 7-2. As Tye Waller walked in from the 1st base coach’s box, and as he started to walk down into the dugout, I called out to him, asking for the line up card, but he shook his head no.

I had already broken my record for most balls at an MLB game with 5, and was hoping to tie my record for most balls at a game of 6, which I set on July 14th at a San Jose Giants game.

I saw the A’s relievers coming in from the bullpen, and quickly scanned their hands, in hopes of getting my 6th ball on the day. I spotted a ball in Grant Balfour’s hand, and after making eye contact with him, I pounded my glove, holding it up, and had my 6th and final ball of the day.

Wow. It was a great day. I had a great time spending time with my wonderful mom and it was awesome getting 6 balls and having great seats while doing it.

The announced attendance was just under 10,000, and I decided that I need to make it to more game like that. Great day!

BALLHAWKING STATS:
• 6 balls at this game (4 pictured because I gave 2 away)
• 17 balls in 11 Major League games this season = 1.55 ball per game.
• 26 balls in 15 baseball games this season = 1.733 balls per game.
• 22 Lifetime Major League baseballs
• 31 total balls
• 5 consecutive games in Oakland with at least 1 ball
• 6 consecutive games with at least 1 ball

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

8/18/12 at the Oakland Coliseum

This was probably going to be one of my favorite baseball games ever.

There was a Scott Hatteberg bobblehead giveaway. And after the game, for extra $10 or something like that, we got to go on the field after the game and watch Moneyball. Awesome!

I invited my friend Sal to this game, because I knew he would want to come and I hadn’t been to a game with him in a few years. I went to 1 with him in ’09 and 2 in 2010.

I expected the lines to be very, very long.

My plan was to pick him up at 1:15 and catch the 1:40 BART train with him and my mom to the Coliseum, getting there a little after 2.

We picked up Sal at 1:15 and after being stuck in traffic, we got to BART at 1:35. My dad dropped the 3 of us off and we caught the 1:40 BART train, getting to the Coliseum a little after 2.

The line at Gate LL was long, so I headed to Gate C, because I assumed B would be closed. They were expected long lines, because they had caution tape set up for the line to double back 3-4 times. When we got to Gate C, there were maybe 20 people in line, so I jumped in there.

At this point, it was 2:30ish. Sal and I played Monopoly on our phones for a bit, before I decided that I wanted to get up and walk around.

Sal had talked about wanting a new A’s hat, so after seeing that the C Gate team store was closed, we kept walking. The season ticket holder line was getting long, and when we got to D Gate, the line had already doubled back once and was getting very long quickly. We headed into the team store there, which happened to be open, where Sal got a new A’s hat.

Line MM was long too, and when we got back C Gate, the line hadn’t changed much. We took some pictures and just talked and waited until about 45 minutes before the gates opened, before I declared that I wanted to walk around 1 more time. Keep in mind that there were only 50 or so people in line. We first stopped in at the C Gate Team store, where I got this picture of the boxes of bobbleheads beyond the ticket scanners.

After spending 5 or so minutes in there, we kept walking, and outside D Gate, which had tripled since were were last there, saw the 95.7 The GAME booth set up, where they were broadcasting live.

As we walked along the line that was very, very long, I noticed the daily RF Bleacher Section 149 tailgate

Once we had walked to the end of the line, where it started to double back, at Gate A, which along with Gate B wasn’t being used, I notice that the stairs up to gate AA, which are usually closed were opened. Sal and I headed up to see what we could see.

I looked inside and the cages were all set up, which was a very good thing. I also saw some Indians pitchers warming up.

By this time, after spending a few minutes here, I realized we had already been gone for 20 minutes, so after 4 failed attempts to call my mother, we headed to get back in line. Gate LL and MM had tripled as well since we had last been there, and at this point, I guessed there were at least 5,000 people already in line.

When we got to the end of the LL line, I saw the line at Gate C and it had gotten larger by at least 5x. It was crazy. And like 30 new people were in front of us. Whatever. I got this picture of a lady holding a sign to show where the end of the line was.

And then my mom snapped a quick photo of Sal and I that neither of us wanted.

My sister joined us a few minutes before the Gates opened, and my dad decided it wouldn’t be appropriate for him to join us, so he got in the end of the line.

I was pumped and ready to go, so at 4:05, I ran to get in the shortest bag check line, and after getting my ticket scanned and grabbing my bobblehead, I sprinted for the bleachers. I was hoping for a particular 1st row seat, but it was occupied. I adjusted by setting my stuff down in aisle seats of rows 2 and 3 to reserve them for my group.

Indians BP was in full swing and I figured I should start looking for easter eggs.

I saw a ball a few rows back, and picked it up for ball #1 on the day.

Some guy started heckling the Indians closer Chris Perez to the point where he got security to kick the guy out of the Coliseum. No joke. The guy was cussing Perez out and using words that I will refrain from repeating, but I think you get the point.

Chris had told the guy to meet him over by the bullpen, and that is exactly what happened, I found this video on YouTube of the confirmation. CAUTION- CONTINUAL USE OF FOUL LANGUAGE

BP was very frustrating. The Indians were not hitting the ball out and players were tossing a lot up. But they ignored me. There was an unknown player who threw a ball over everyone’s heads, so I ran after it, but someone pushed me into the side of the wall and ended up with the ball. Nice going.

That was the closest I came to a ball in the bleachers after my 1st ball.

After that, I decided that it was time to move somewhere else, as the bleachers were getting overcrowded and I was getting agitated.

My dad caught some good shots during BP like these

Sal and I headed down to the RF line, where I had been for this game in hopes of me getting a ball. A screaming line drive was hit in my direction, but 10 rows behind me, and knowing nobody would catch it, I ran to try to get the ball trickling down. I was pushed OVER A ROW OF SEATS trying to get the ball and had to do some fancy parkour to stay on my feat. I got a glove on the ball, but someone pushed it off and ended up throwing the ball onto the field and getting kicked out.

So that makes 2 people kicked out and 2 rag doll Nicks on the day.

I expected only a few more minutes of BP, and there were a several balls hit near me during that period. The first few were grounders down the line that I asked Indians players for and ended up being ignored. There were also 2 that ended up under the Indians’ bullpen bench.

The one other ball caused quite a commotion. A line drive was hit, just like the previous one, and as the ball trickled down the steps, I grabbed it with my glove, and a 300+ pound man pushed me over, rolled on TOP of me, and grabbed the ball. At this point, I was laying on the stairs on my side with a 30 year old man that weighed over 300 pounds on top of me. His knee was bleeding and my entire left hand was hurting (he had sharp elbows and knees) and people were trying to help him off.

At this point, BP was coming to an end. I literally rolled out from under him, and sprinted off towards the dugout, leaving Sal behind.

I was yelled at my 5 ushers to slow down, and after slowing down, I got to the dugout, where I called out for a ball, to be met with odd stares.

I decided to head back, in hopes of asking Mark, the awesome security guard by the visitor bullpen for one of the balls that I hoped was under the bullpen bench still.

I was only my way over when Sal approached me and said Mark had a ball for me. I guess there had been a family that had seen the whole incident and asked him to give me a ball. I told him he didn’t need to give me a ball, but he insisted. In the hindsight, he raised my spirits and showed his awesomeness. I then chatted up the family and told them about my blog, ballhawking, and offered them the ball, which they refused.

After this, I dropped my stuff off in the bleachers with my dad and sister and headed with my mom and Sal to Deli 215, which is the Sandwich bar in the Westside Club, which I mentioned in my last entry.

When we got there, it was just after 5:00, so I was a little concerned about getting back to our seats in time for the pre-game ceremony. We purchased 4 sandwiches plus fruit cups for my sister and me. It was 5:20 when we headed back to our seats. When we got there, I snapped this picture of my sister’s bobblehead.

A few minutes prior to the ceremony, they adjusted the red carpet a little

And extended it to the infield

I then randomly noticed many birds flying over the field

This is what was on the horizontal scoreboards up until the ceremony got underway

When the ceremony got underway, they had people walk out boards with the number of each game of the win streak, first 3 at a time, then 2 and eventually 1. After every set of boards, members of the 2002 team would be introduced by the legendary former voice of the Athletics, Roy Steele, back at the Coliseum again. It was amazing to hear his voice. It gave me goosebumps.

I think one of the 3 loudest rounds of applause went to then-bench coach and former manager Ken Macha

The whole ceremony lasted about 20 minutes, and I got video of 18 of those minutes.

Chants of T-LONG! echoed throughout the Coliseum as Terrance Long walked down the red carpet

The 2nd loudest round-of-applause of the night went to manager Art Howe, who considered not participating because of the uncomplimentary portrayal of him in the movie Moneyball.

But the loudest the Coliseum got was when Scott Hatteberg walked onto the field.

Here are all of the boards lined up along the infield with all of the members of the ’02 squad that attended in the middle of the infield

There were many, many video tributes throughout the ceremony, including one for each game of the streak

In all, there were 10 members of the 2002 team that participated in the pre-game festivities

Sal and I watched it all from the first row, in the aisle.

One thing, that I think was great on the A’s part was to get videos of a few players from the team apologizing that they couldn’t make it; guys like Eric Chavez, Barry Zito, and David Justice.

There was also a fantastic tribute to the late, great Cory Lidle, a part of the 2002 team who tragically died in a plane crash in 2006. The A’s raised $10,000 for the Cory Lidle foundation over the course of the weekend.

All of the people with the number signs exited via the red carpet as the ceremony ended.

My dad, once again took some fantastic pictures throughout the game of guys like Brandon Moss

And Yoenis Cespedes

He also got photos of the 149 RF bleacher crew

And the RF Drummer

Here is Yoenis Cespedes scoring on his home run in the 3rd

Along with Josh Reddick

Coco Crisp is starting his handshake with Yoesnis

Overall, I think we all really enjoyed the game

Evan Scribner and Jerry Blevins combined to allow 4 runs in the 9th

After Blevins allowed another hit, Melvin came out and brought in Grant Balfour

Balfour into game means 3 words: Metalica and RAGEFEST!

Once Balfour nailed down the save, it was an A’s win!

Now it was time to watch Moneyball!

We left our seats, and went and got in line, and we were about in the middle of it. This is what was in front of us.

And behind us.

We walked down the steps and settled down on the field

I got out my A’s sluggie (A giveaway at an A’s game I went to with Sal in 2010)

I think my entire family was excited

They pulled down a screen in centerfield for the movie

And before it started, Hatteberg answered a few questions and introduced the movie

There were less people than I expected at the movie

Overall, the movie was a lot of fun

And when it was all over, the sprinklers turned on

Right before the movie ended, I took another 360 degree panoramic picture

It was pretty cool to see the entire Coliseum empty

It was a great day. 2 balls, 1 bobblehead, and an amazing experience!

BALLHAWKING STATS:
• 2 balls at this game
• 11 balls in 10 Major League games this season = 1.1 ball per game.
• 20 balls in 14 baseball games this season = 1.429 balls per game.
• 16 Lifetime Major League baseballs
• 25 total balls
• 4 consecutive games in Oakland with at least 1 ball
• 5 consecutive games with at least 1 ball

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

8/5/12 at the Oakland Coliseum

This was my 2nd game in the past 6 days. Let’s go!

We left the house at 8:40 for my dad to drop my mom and I off at BART. My sister had like a sleepover or something the night before, and she was going to come later with my dad.

My mom and I got to BART at about 9:00 and the Coliseum at about 10:30.

Once we exited the BART ramp, we headed towards Gate C, where I figured I would get in line. There was nobody in this line, or the 2 up at the BART ramp. (B and A were closed) Then, my mom reminded me that we needed to get tickets to another game, so we headed over to gate D to buy the tickets. I then remembered that the cast of Nitro Circus 3D was going to be greeting people at Gate D, so I jumped in line while my mom went ahead and purchased tickets for Scott Hatteberg bobblehead day.

Now, let me say right now, it will be hell for ballhwaking. Not only is there a bobblehead (With a sound chip) giveaway, but before the game, there is an on-field reunion 30 minutes before the game starts of the 2002 team that won 20 consecutive games. Then, after the game, if you pay an extra $12, you get to go on the field and watch the movie Moneyball on a huge screen above the center field fence.

I don’t expect to snag many if any at balls, but for me, this is such a great opportunity, that I can’t pass it up.

I was the only one is line

I started talking with this security guard at the gate

He thought I was about the coolest person ever. I talked about baseball, my blog, and stuff like that. He was kind enough to show me the schedule for the day, as I had told him that I snag baseballs. On it, it said that the A’s and Jays were supposed to take BP. If this was true, I was pumped!

He was under the impression that I was an All-Star baseball player. (Not close) This may have had something to do wit the fact that I had an 2 baseball glove, one being a catchers mitt. I also told him I am a 2nd baseman and short stop. That may have led him on to believe I was a leadoff hitter that will be drafted in the first round after high school. I guess his cousin was drafted 6th overall in the last NBA draft, which I think started the whole discussion. If you ever get in line at Gate D and see him, tell him Nicholas Badders sent you.

He ended up walking away when kids starting filing out of the coliseum from some class that A’s players were giving.

This lady was walking around, saying that Chevy was giving away free sun glasses. All you had to do was sign up for a chance to win a car. I sent my mom to investigate, and she ended up getting me some green A’s sunglasses.

Right after she got back, this pulled into the parking lot.

Nitro Circus! This is who got out…

If anybody can identify them for me, that would be great!

One of the things on the myGameBalls.com photo scavenger hunt involved getting a picture of you that had a celebrity in the shot. I complied this picture to submit that I hoped would be worth 6 points.

Those pictures were taken my dad. He arrived with my sister and joined us in line 15 minutes before the gates opened.

When the gates finally opened, I grabbed the giveaway of a Jemile Weeks drawstring backpack and headed to check if there was BP. The cages were up and the Blue Jays were on the field stretching! I ran up to the concourse, threw on my Blue Jays hat, and took off my A’s jersey to reveal my MLB Fan Cave shirt. I was running all over the place.

I ran down towards the Toronto dugout, where there were some players stretching. I called out for a ball, but had no luck. BP got under way, and knowing that the Jays don’t have a lot of lefty power, headed down behind their bullpen. I quickly got a toss-up from their bullpen catcher Alex Andreopoulos.

I am very glad that I didn’t go into the bleachers. There were 2. Yes, 2, balls hit into the bleachers in all of BP. They were both off the bat of Rajai Davis, the speedster that isn’t known at all for his power and jump-started his career with the A’s. The first one bounced into the bleachers from the steps between the foul pole and seats in LF, and the other was hit into the 2nd deck, bounced out, and into the bleachers. The same guy got both. Jose Bautista didn’t hit, and guys like Edwin Encarnacion hit balls out, but ones that didn’t go into the seats.

In total, I guess about 6 balls were hit clear over the wall by the Blue Jays.

There were a decent amount of other people with me down the right field line, and almost none of them had gloves.

This probably was the most I had ever moved around in BP. I was running up and down between the Jays’ dubout and bullpen the entire time. There were no balls that were hit foul into the seats, so I mostly followed balls that were weakly hit. There was one where I leaned over the railing, and even though the usher was holding my legs, I was unable to get it.

It also didn’t help that there were about 50 kids in a roped off area that were getting balls rolled, thrown, and hit to them. About 3 had gloves. Oh well.

It turns out, before BP had started, my dad took a bunch of pictures of A’s pitchers warming up. He also got a cool picture of Casey Chavez, the A’s bullpen catcher rubbing mud on the bullpen baseballs.

Lets start off with Sean Doolitle

Pedro Figueroa:

Casey Chavez (Again)

Travis Blackley (And his awesome glove)

He got some great shots of Blue Jays hitters during BP

The security guard’s sheet was wrong, but that was no big deal. The A’s didn’t hit, but the Blue Jays did. They did end pretty quickly, though. I would guess they hit for 25 minutes. Considering the fact that they had started at 11:15 and ended at 11:40, I was somewhat disappointed. I was also excited that this gave me time to get some more things of the scavenger hunt checklist.

The first picture that I checked off after the one before the gates opened was this hopefully 10-pointer. Todd, Tim, and Kellan Cook took a picutre of Tim sitting in the Orange seat at Camden Yards, holding up Todd’s phone with a picture of Cal Ripken Jr.

I took a photo imitating it. But, I was sitting in the seat, where David Ortiz’s 400th HR had landed.

Then, my dad decided to get this picture.

After this, we headed up to the 3rd deck, as I wanted to try out a cool new iPhone app I had found call 360. It is a 360 degree panoramic picture app. It free, and cool. If you have an IOS device, you should get it. I went to the last row and took this.

I also got this picture on my phone’s regular camera

Then, we headed to get another picture off the checklist. For 2 points, you need to get a picture with a statue in/at the stadium. Right by the Westside Club, I complied this picture

3 statues. From left to right, the 2008 Statue of Liberty All-Star Game A’s statue, the A’s giant piggy bank statue, and the 2010 Mickey Mouse All-Star Game A’s statue.

Then, we headed into the Westside Club, which I believe I have never mentioned before on this blog. It is basically a restaurant/bar in the Coliseum. They even have a custum sandwhich place called Deli 215.

From the Westside Club, we headed back to our seats. I there realized that we didn’t have aisle seat. Other than catching a foul ball, my goal for the game was to find an aisle seat a few rows up.

Shortly after I got back, I went with my sister to get an ice cream helmet, which she thoroughly enjoyed.

When we got back, I grabbed my glove and headed over to where Derek Norris was playing catch with bench coach Chip Hale

When Norris was done, I called out to him for a ball, but it turns out Chip Hale had all of them, and he tossed all 3 of the balls that he had to deserving little kids with gloves.

At this point, Tommy Milone was just about done playing catch with Casey Chavez, and was headed to warm up in the bullpen.

halfway through his warm up tosses, Stomper in his “Smiling Chevron Car” and his “herd” ran around the warm-up track with all of their “goodies.” They had the usual bead necklaces and Ryan Sweeney jerseys that were giveaways in 2010 or something like that.

I got a yellow necklace and gave it to a kid who was sad because he hadn’t gotten anything.

As the A’s relievers started to walk in from the clubhouse, everyone (Minus Pat Neshek) was signing for fans down the line. I got my ticket signed by Pedro Figueroa and then Jerry Blevins.

My family always seems disappointed when I sit by myself at games and go for balls, so at this game, I made a point to make sure to sit with my sister, who utterly hates me ballhawking. This my view for the game.

As usual, my dad got some amazing pictures. Like, really good pictures. As usual, I am going to share them with you.

Anthony Gose bunting in the top of the first inning

Coco Crisp fouling off a pitch

Josh Reddick at bat in the bottom of the first inning

Tom Milone pitching

Derek Norris at this dish

Brandon Inge rounding the base on Norris’s double

Coco Crisp swinging

Yoenis Cespedes swinging

Somebody on the Blue Jays hitting

Evan Scribner in the bullpen

Tom Milone releasing a pitch

Coco Crisp at the plate

Birds on the tarps on the 3rd deck

Rajai Davis swinging

Sean Doolittle in the bullpen

Pedro Figueroa warming in the bullpen

So I bet you are all wondering about foul balls during the game. There were 2 into the seats within 10 yards of me. There were 5 or so that the ball boy could have handed to me, but didn’t. So the two that landed in the seats… 1 bounced on the field and into the second row in the section to my left.

The other I should have caught. I am hitting myself over this. The ball was hit right at me. I lost it in the sky, but I eventually found it. It bounced softly 2 rows behind me and iI ran back and stuck my glove on the ball, which was in a cup holder. I held it there for a few seconds, then pulled it off. I grabbed it with my hand, but some lady yanked it out of my hand. Good going lady. An usher came over and asked if everyone was ok, so I told him that I was emotionally wounded. He chuckled and asked why. I explained. The lady offered the ball to me, but I told here to find a little kid to give it to.

I tried to stay happy, but I was just frustrated about the ball. I should have been able to hold onto it, but it left my hand. There isn’t anything I can do about it at this point.

Tommy Milone just wasn’t on his game, and allowed 6 runs over the course of his 6 innings. Going into the bottom of the 9th, the A’s had RBI doubles from Derek Norris and Coco Crisp, and a 3-run home run from Josh Reddick.

Norris stepped to the plate in the 9th, hoping to extend the game.

Just foul! By just a few feet too! He fouled off 2-3 pitches barely foul, eventually striking out. The A’s would lose 6-5. No Pie. No Kool and the Gang. But overall, it was a fun day!

Before we left, there was one more thing I wanted to do. I had seen a ball under the advertisement board by the bullpen, and something came to my mind. One more thing on the photo scavenger hunt list was to retrieve a ball from the field using items strictly from concession stands. I found a cardboard tray, and after a little modifying, tried to retrieve the ball. This is the photo I submitted.

And on our way out, I saw this sign, which the A’s took down the next day. I miss Kurt Suzuki. I hope he does well in our nation’s capitol.

BALLHAWKING STATS:
• 1 ball at this game
• 9 balls in 9 Major League games this season = 1 ball per game.
• 18 balls in 12 baseball games this season = 1.5 balls per game.
• 14 Lifetime Major League baseballs
• 23 total balls
• 3 consecutive games in Oakland with at least 1 ball
• 4 consecutive games with at least 1 ball

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

1/29/12 at A’s FanFest

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

and Eric Sogard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then, we went down some stairs.

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

We also passed the A’s weight room.

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

It looked like he had a nice office…

That you aren’t allowed to snivel in

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

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

There were a lot of issue of Sports Illustrated


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

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

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

After all of the cool stuff, we entered the clubhouse

This is what it looks like

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

Brett Anderson

Andrew Carigan and Dallas Braden

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then I saw this sign that caught my eye.

After zooming in, this is what the sign says.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A’s Sweep Twins!

Sweet! Or should I say, sweep! I’m back again interweb, and I will do my best to write something every day for all of your minds to enjoy.

Yes, the A’s just completed their 4th sweep this year. All of last year, the A’s had 3 sweeps. Pretty awesome. And to add to the sweep, they had 9 home runs!

On Friday, A.J. Griffin notched his first career win, in a 6-3 victory at Target Field. I am very pleased that he finally got that first win, although he should have gotten it when I was at the Giants game! In every game Griffin has pitched in 2012, he has allowed 8 or less hits, allowed less than 4 earned runs, pitched 6 innings, and only had 1 or two walks each game, with at least 3 strikeouts.

In this game, the big offensive boost for the A’s was a grand slam off the bat of Jonny Gomes.

In the 4th inning, Gomes clubbed his 9th home run of the year, and also had an RBI single in the 9th, allowing All-Star Ryan Cook to close the game out in the 9th for a 6-3 victory in game 1 of the 3 game series, putting the A’s 1 game above .500 for the first time since May.

In game two of the 3 game set, the A’s looked to continue their hot streak. They exploded for a 4-run first inning with an RBI double from Yoenis Cespedes, and a 3-run homer from Chris Carter, his 4th home run in 8 games with the Athletics this season.

In the 3rd, Cespedes hit a 2-run opposite-field shot to make the score 6-0.

Seth Smith hit a solo shot in the 5th and an RBI triple in the 9th, along with Brandon Moss’s 11th home run of the year, a solo home run in the 6th inning.

Smith’s 9th home run on the year and his late-inning three-bagger allowed the A’s to take game two an ensure a series win, pushing them 2 games above .500 and giving southpaw Tommy Milone his club-leading 9th win in 2012.

In the series finale, the A’s looked to start the 2nd half off on a high note with a sweep. Before the game, Jonny Gomes said in an interview that because he was batting 2nd, when Josh Reddick came up as the 3rd batter of the game, the score would be 2-0. Keep that in mind. Yoenis Cespedes singled in Jemile Weeks in the 1st to make it a 1-0 A’s lead, followed by a bases loaded walk from Derek Norris. In the 2nd inning, Jemile Weeks singled as the 2nd batter of the inning, which was followed by a 2-run shot off the bat of Jonny Gomes. 1 inning too late! Gomes became the 4th player on the A’s in 2011 to have at least 10 home runs. Last year, there were 5 in the entire season!

After Josh Reddick grounded out, Yoenis Cespedes stepped up to the plate, and hit the 2nd home run of the inning, this one his 11th on the 2012 campaign to center field.

4 pitches later, Chris Carter hit the third home run in the inning- an opposite field solo shot to make the score 6-1.

Fast forward to the 6th inning. Seth Smith leads off the inning with his 10th home run of the year, and the club’s 4th home run of the game. That is 2 consecutive days with 4 home runs, both times, Smith, Carter, and Cespedes contributing to the cause.

Later in the inning, Yoenis Cespedes singles in Jemile Weeks and Jonny Gomes scores on a wild pitch. Make the final score A’s 9 Twins 4, giving Jarrod Parker his 6th win this year.

This was arguably the A’s best series in the 2012 season. As a team, they hit 9 home runs, 2 from each Gomes, Carter, Smith, and Cespedes, with Brandon Moss adding one as well. The A’s also had multiple players reach double-digit home runs this series, bringing their season total to 5. Last year, the A’s had 5 in the ENTIRE season. With the likes of Brandon Inge and Chris Carter on the team, expect a few more before the season ends. In the last game the A’s hit 3 home runs over the course of 4 batters, cominded to see 16 pitches. Insane. The A’s have really sparked the offensive output over the past few games, and if they continue to drive in runs and have stellar pitching, I expect them to be contending all the way through the end. Keep in mind that they are only 8 games out in the West and HALF A GAME out in the wild card chase!

And to top all of this, Yoenis Cespedes was named the AL player of the week for the week after the All-Star break! He is the second A’s player to be named a player of the week, as Brandon Moss received the award on June 18th.

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.