Origionally, I was supposed to go to the A’s game this day. It was 1969 Turn-Back-The-Clock day, with a T-Shirt giveaway. The start time was 12:05 and I had just gotten back from vacation the night before, so I wasn’t really wanting to go to the game.
I was sitting on 93 balls combined between MLB and MiLB, so my 7th ball of the day would be a special one. Keep that in mind!
We sold our 2 seats on StubHub and used the money to buy tickets to that night’s Ports game! It was a Drew Granier jersey, the Ports new Friday Alternate one.
The funny thing is that Granier was promoted to AA in Mid-June. Still, cool!
This was going to be a popular game, but I was looking forward to it, as I was sitting on 93 lifetime balls between MLB and MiLB and was hoping to snag #100 today.
My goal was to be in Stockton by 4pm for BP, and my dad and I ended up arriving there at 3:58, so it was perfect timing!
The parking lot was not yet open, so my dad dropped me off, while he went to go wait for the lot to open. I found Vanessa at the front of the line, she had come to this game with Ryan Dalton, who was out behind LF looking for any random balls.
I talked with her for about 20 minutes, as BP got underway around 4:25. I had gotten an official conformation that the gates would be opening at 5:35, rather than 6pm, so I was excited for a potential half hour of BP inside the stadium!
When Ryan and I headed out back, the San Jose Giants were stretching down the LF line.
Meanwhile, the Ports were finishing their catch, having already completed their stretching.
My first ball of the day was curtsey of Addison Russell.
He lined a ball towards the Berm in Right-Center field, and since it was hit hard, it kept rolling past the berm, setting in the bush past the ballpark fence. I had a hunch, so I ran over there, dug through the bushes, and picked it up, coming back to show my dad and Ryan, as I was on the board!
Meanwhile, Ryan chased down a ball, for his first snag on the day.
The next guy in the cage was Bruce Maxwell.
From what I heard from Ryan and Vanessa, Bruce is a class act. Great guy! More on him later on…
Ryan and I were having a good time, as a moment later, he chased down another ball, that was hit towards the Marina, almost in the same spot as the other.
There were 3 rounds of 4 hitters each, and at this point, there was one group left in Ports BP, at this point, it was just past 5pm.
One of the hitters in the final group was Bobby Crocker. Here we go…
He BOMBED at ball down the Left Field line, and I broke off sprinting. Other than me and Ryan, there was one other ballhawk out there, a guy in a Giants hat and orange shirt. He was about 50 feet to my right, so he had a much better shot at the ball.
If you go back 2 pictures, you will see yellow caution tape and logs underneath it.
The ball was hit and we both took off running. It looked like the ball was going to hit the pavement, then roll fast, so he broke past the point of the caution tape. I took a direct line towards where the ball was headed, in hopes to cut it off from the other guy. The ball hit a tree, landing in the circle of dirt around the tree.
As he was much closer, he was almost guaranteed the ball. However, as he was running, he tripped on one of the logs. According to Ryan, as well as my dad, he just ATE IT. They both agreed if he hadn’t done so, I would have had no chance with the ball.
As soon as I picked up the ball, I heard Ryan yell “NICK THIS ONE’S YOU!” I looked up and the ball was coming straight for me. The other guy was still phased from his spill, so he hadn’t caught up with me. I took a few steps forward, in a perfect spot to catch it on the bounce. I got the ball on the bounce,
As soon as I caught the ball, the guy came running up from behind me and gave me a hard slap on the arm, in an attempt to knock the ball out of my glove.
I didn’t let go of either ball and came back to join my dad and Ryan.
That guy didn’t move from this spot for the rest of Ports BP. He was pissed that he had fallen and not gotten either ball.
How pissed was he? A ball landed 10 feet to his right and he didn’t move to go pick it up. Ryan was able to WALK over and grab it for his 3rd ball of the day!
I finished Ports BP with 3 balls, the same as Ryan.
Then came the Giants BP…
Quickly, I got a ball in Giants BP, when Ricky Oropesa lined a ball over the Ports bullpen.
It hit the base to the scoreboard and more or less stopped. Ryan figured there was no way to get it, but I reached under the fence and picked it up for my 4th ball on the day!
Neither of us got any balls up until the points at which the gates opened.
We headed back at 5:20, to join Vanessa, who had stayed in line, saving us all a spot. The gates opened at 5:35, and I headed right for the berm in right-center field.
Soon, a ball was hit back behind the inflatable kids slide in right field. I ran over and picked it up for ball #5.
I then ran over to the RF wall, where Edward Concepcion was picking up a ball. Without having to ask, he tossed it to me for ball #6. I needed 1 more to reach 100 combined balls.
Moments later, Brock Bond launched a ball high, right at me. I moved back to the edge of the berm and secured it in my glove. Ball 100!
I know most people don’t think this is a big deal, it’s “cheap to count them together. Think of it this way. Ichiro is almost at 4000 hit combined between Japan and MLB. That’s still a big deal, right?
About 5 minutes later, I was joined by Ryan, who hadn’t snagged any balls inside. He then walked over to the slide and picked up two balls that were just sitting there. HOW HAD I NOT SEEN THEM. I felt ridiculously stupid, however he had missed one, and I picked it up for #8 on the day!
BP then came to a close, at which point I ran down to the cage, in hopes of snagging a ball that was lying around. I spotted a ball sitting by the Ports dugout and called out to Chris Lofton who picked it up and tossed it to me. It turned out to be an MLB ball! I then put it in my backpack and took one out, giving it to the nearest kid.
At this point, I joined back up with Ryan and Vanessa, as we sat in our seats and talked for roughly half an hour.
We then noticed Bruce Maxwell, the Ports catcher (Whom I had mentioned earlier in the entry), signing autographs down the right field line.
Meanwhile, this guy was busy getting photos and cards signed.
Over on the 3rd base side, the Giants were doing the same.
One interesting thing I noticed was that the Giants had brought a bat boy with them, so there was no need for the usual guy in a Ports uniform to sit in the dugout. My guess is that he is the manger’s son.
As both teams were starting to play catch, I swung over to the Ports team store to get a new hat, as my current one was a size too small and about to cut off the circulation to the rest of my body.
I emerged from the team store, stuck on my *San Jose* Giants hat, and ran down to where they were finishing up with catch, where I failed to get a ball.
Ryan, Vanessa, and I once again reconvened behind the Giants dugout to talk for a little while longer, where we saw something quite amusing take place.. A 3 year-old boy was celebrating his birthday at the game, and the Ports let him throw out the first pitch. He was also going to say play ball before the game got underway, so after the first pitch, he hung out by the Ports dugout.
He made several attempts to run onto the field, being scooped up and carried back to the on-deck circle by people including his mother, Jeremy (The Ports In-Game host), as well as one of the umpires.
It’s the little things that make you smile.
And it was time to play some baseball!
Ryan and I headed out to the parking lot to chase foul balls, as the Ports allow unlimited re-entry privileges.
On the mound for the Ports was James Simmons
In the bottom of the first inning, Bobby Crocker stepped to the plate to lead off the Ports half of the first. He popped a pitch over the roof and the ball settled under a car. I ran over and picked it up! It was my 3rd straight MiLB game with a foul ball!
Meanwhile, on the mound for the Giants was Kelvin Marte
He struggled in the 2nd inning, but came back strong after that.
Will showed up in the first inning, as he was pulling a doubleheader. He went to the A’s game in Oakland, went to an Eric Sogard signing in Dublin, then came to the Ports game.
Anyway… He has a great relationship with Ports manager Webster Garrison, or “Webby.”
Every time Webby would jog over to the 3rd base coach’s box, he points to Will, as Will yells “Webby!”
One thing Vanessa had been mentioning throughout the game was how she loved Ryan Cavan’s mustache. I can understand why!
Oh, and also in the 2nd inning, Antonio Lamas and Dusty Robinson hit back to back home runs!
The Ports had the 3-1 lead after 2 innings, but starting in the 3rd inning, San Jose came charging and never looked back. They scored 1 run in 3rd inning, as well as the 4th inning, then added on 2 in the 5th, and 3 more in the 7th, making it 8-3 at the 7th inning stretch.
I spent the first 6 innings in the parking lot, chasing foul balls, as well as talking with a ballhawk named John, who had just moved from Omaha to Reno. Really cool guy! He’s been to over 40 Minor League stadiums and is going to be starting an MLBlog soon, so keep on the lookout!
I only had the 1 foul ball after the first 6 innings, so I decided to come back inside and go for 3rd out balls and actually enjoy a bit of the game.
Remember that bat boy I talked about earlier? I found it kind of funny that he was wearing a Stockton Ports helmet with the rest of his San Jose uniform.
Seriously though, Ryan Cavan has an amazing mustache!
In the top of the 7th, San Jose tacked on those 3 runs against one of the newer Ports relievers, Schaffer Hall.
He had started the season with the Trenton Thunder of the Eastern League, but after playing a game with the River Cats (And Getting the win, might I add), he was sent down to Stockton, where he started 7 of his first 8 games, and has been in the bullpen since.
Jeff Soptic came in to pitch the 7th inning for the Giants. Not only is his name cool, but he makes fantastic faces on the mound.
In that bottom of the 7th, the Ports scored 3 runs, shortening the Giants lead to 8-5.
In the top of the 8th, I hung out by the Ports dugout, in hopes of snagging a foul ball or 3rd out ball. Eric Sim struck out swinging on a pitch in the dirt to end the inning, and thankfully Bruce Maxwell kept the ball. I called out to him, he recognized me from pre-game, and tossed me the ball.
In the bottom of the 9th, I moved myself down close to the Giants dugout in hopes of getting their lineup card, or a broken bat, as there had been one earlier in the game.
However, there was a scare in the 9th inning. With 1 out, and runners on 1st and 2nd, Myrio Richard was hit in the head with a pitch from Derek Law.
It was scary. How scary? Ryan almost caught the ball. He was sitting in the first row, and the ball nearly landed in his glove, but he appropriately decided it would be inappropriate to make a real attempt for the ball, given what had just happened.
He ended up only being a bit shaken up, so he loaded the bases, brining the winning run to the plate with only 1 out, as Myrio representing the tying run.
After the game, I rushed down to the Giants dugout to try and get the lineup card. I asked the Giants manager, Andy Skeels for it, but he gave me a look like I was an alien, peeled the lineup card off, and put it in his binder. I then asked Lipso Nava, their hitting coach for the broken bat. He asked me why I would want a splintered bat, but before I could respond, he left the dugout.
At this point, I left for the Ports dugout, just hoping that there lineup card would still be there. I asked both Myrio and Bruce for the card, but neither of them was “allowed” to give it to me.
I ended up asking the bat boy, and he peeled it off and gave it to me!
Then, Ryan popped his head out from next to the dugout with what? THE BROKEN BAT!
How cool is that?!?
We then got a group picture, Ryan holding his bat, me holding the lineup card and 4 balls, and Vanessa holding the other 6 baseballs I snagged on the day.
My dad then got a picture of me with the lineup card (Which was typed) and all of my baseballs from the day in my MLB Network drawstring backpack.
Then, Ryan noticed what he thought was a stat sheet, so he called over Jeremy, the Ports in-game host. He peeled it off the wall, and it turned out to be from the last game Ports Ryan had been at, on July 19th!
At that point, we had noticed the Rosin bag sitting on the dugout bench, so Vanessa asked Jeremy if we could hold it.
I got a picture with it.
And so did Vanessa.
And no, I didn’t get to keep it. As much as I would have wanted to, there is a 50% chance it had been on Tim Hudson’s head at some point, and I don’t really want to run that risk. Not only that, but there is a good chance it will spontaneously combust.
But the best reason of all for not keeping it was given to me by Chris Kusiolek (@Oak_AllDay on Twitter)
I asked Jeremy if they really need it that bad, but he said they do, so there goes that….
Anyway… it was a REALLY fun day! I had a great tim ballhawking with Ryan (We snagged 19 balls combined) and it was a lot of fun to hang out with him and Vanessa for the day. Hopefully I’ll be back at Banner Island soon!
- 20th Game of the Year… 6th MiLB Game of the Year
- 11 balls at this game
- 47 MiLB Balls in 6 MiLB Games = 7.83 MiLB Balls Per Game
- 12 Consecutive MiLB Games with at least 1 Ball
- 6 Consecutive MiLB Games with at least 5 Balls
- 62 Lifetime Minor League baseballs
- 104 total balls
This was my last day of school! In the morning, my dad bought 2 tickets for us, and around 3:30, we left for the 7pm game!
We got to Modesto around 4:30pm, at which point the Nuts were starting to take BP. I got out of the car and headed over to the area behind the Center Field fence, and a ball flew over. I went and picked it up- ball 1 on the day. Moments later, another ball flew over the fence! On THE NEXT PITCH, whoever was hitting lined ANOTHER ball over the fence.
I had been there less than 90 seconds and I already had 3 balls on the day. I then decided to head over to the RF to try my luck, and as soon as I got there, ANOTHER ball flew over the fence. That was 4 balls in less than 5 minutes of being there. This was looking to be a GREAT way to start the summer! I stood out behind the Left-Center Field wall for a while, but nothing was coming over. Since I had no competition, I was not worried about having to run to get a ball, so I headed over to the Nuts bullpen, which is down the RF line. I stood behind the chain link fence behind the bullpen mound, where I could see the cage perfectly, whereas behind the outfield wall, you can’t see a thing, as it is pretty tall.
Up until the end of Modesto’s BP, nothing came close to clearing the fence.
As Nuts BP was winding down, a ball was lined off the foul ball. It *almost* cleared the wall, but it bounced right into the glove of Scott Oberg. Since I was standing close to him, wearing my Nuts hat, he tossed the ball over the fence for my 5th ball of the day.
Around this time, BP came to an end, at which point I decided to stick around, maybe to try and get another toss-up.
In order for Nuts players to get to the clubhouse, they have to walk past the bullpen. As they were leaving, something caught my eye.
Can you tell what it is? Here is a closer look…
I guess a bunch of the players had ganged up on one guy and tried to lock him in the bullpen. To make sure he didn’t get out on my end, they closed that door shut as well.
He really was trying hard to get out.
They just wouldn’t let him out!
And yes, he eventually did get out.
I headed back to the car to grab a bottle of water, because it was HOT out. I was exhausted, as I had been running all over the place!
The day before, I had emailed the Nuts, asking them if I could have a Media Pass for this game, and shortly before my dad and I left for Modesto, they said yes!
Once Modesto BP had ended, my dad and I went over to pick up the tickets and Media Passes. Once we did, we headed back out to area behind the outfield wall. Almost immediately, another ball was bombed over the fence. I ran over and scooped it up for ball 6 on the day!
About 15 minutes later, another ball was hit over the Center Field fence, making it 7 balls for me!
I had bent down to count the balls in my bag and when I looked up, my dad was doing this…
He had brought his monopod to this game and extended it as far as he could, then set a timer on the camer and raised it over the wall! He actually got a really good shot!
How cool is that!?
After I got that 7th ball, the Blaze BP was DEAD. Nothing came close to going over. Once Batting Practice was over, it was 5:30 or so, and with the gates opening in 35 minutes, my dad and I decided to head over to the gates and take advantage of our press passes.
We headed in, and I got this photo of the covered seating area down the LF line.
Very practical for a sunny game.
Not much was going on near the gates.
I snapped this picture of the stadium map.
And this one of the underbelly of the stands.
Here are all of the concession stands.
And the Nuts team store.
It was very quiet…
We started walking towards the west entrance, through this part of the concourse.
If you can tell from the last 3 pictures, there is a large open grassy area behind the stadium. That would be a golf course. It isn’t very good for foul balls.
Here is the West concession area.
They even had a bouncy slide!
And a Speed Pitch.
As well as a bounce house!
We also walked past the Kids play area.
I started to head over to check out the Nuts Bullpen when something caught my eye. Can you tell what it is?
I thought about picking it up and sticking it in my backpack, but there were ushers, security guards, other employees, and cameras all around, so I didn’t want to take a risk of losing my media pass over an easter egg baseball.
Just a couple minutes later, the ball ended up being thrown to the bullpen.
I thought it was cool that one of the bat boys was wearing the same shirt as me.
I snapped a picture of the scoreboard.
And the bullpen seating arrangement.
The batting cages are right next to it.
A few guys had been getting some work in.
I then decided to take a “tour” of the stands. I noticed this sign. No surprise.
And took note of this sign as well.
I still love this sign.
This was my view from where I was standing.
I then headed up the steps to get a couple of photos that I stitched together to make this:
Not my best work by any means, but I still think it is almost/sorta/kina cool.
Here is the Nuts dugout.
I then decided to head to the last row of seats behind home plate. Great view.
I took multiple pictures up here and photoshopped another panorama.
Then I took one with my iPhone.
Modesto is the only stadium that I have been to that has bucket-style seats in any place in the stadium.
I was pretty close to the press box here, and to the right of the press box was this area.
No clue what it is for, but it looks pretty cool.
I then decided to check out the area behind the press box.
Here’s the door.
But I didn’t go in…
I then headed down to the seat that I had purchased a ticket for.
I took a peek inside the visiting dugout.
And saw a couple of bases siting near the fence.
From here, I went into the team store and took a look at their wall of hats.
At this point, it was just after 6pm, probably around 6:10 or so, and it was still very warm, so I treated myself to a Slush Puppie. I sat behind home plate and enjoyed it.
My dad and I then headed down to our actual seats and I got a picture with my 7 BP balls.
I noticed some players making their way to the field, so I headed over here.
Nuts players were starting to stretch and warm up.
Really cool guy!
My other favorite Nuts player is Trevor Story, who hooked me up with a bat in my last game.
While all of this was going on, the Nuts mascot Al was doing flips.
And Ken Griffey Sr posed for a picture for my dad.
I tried to get a toss up from the players playing catch, but they all kept their balls.
A few guys did some lats-minute stretching.
And we were all ready for baseball in Modesto!
Ben Alsup was on the mound for the Nuts.
The Blaze scored 2 runs on 2 hits, 1 walk, and 1 error.
He retired the first 7 Nuts batters that he faced.
It seemed like he didn’t have his best stuff this night.
That being said, he has kind of struggled all year.
The Blaze were unable to push across any runs in the 2nd, despite a single, stolen base, walk, and hit by pitch.
The Nuts went down 1-2-3 in the 2nd inning, just like they had in the 1st.
The 3rd out of the inning was a Will Swanner pop out into foul territory to catcher Chris Berset. As he was jogging back into the dugout, he flipped be the ball for ball #8 on the day!
Harold Riggins got the Nuts first hit of the day, a 1-out single in the 3rd.
As Tyler Massey was batting, Riggins advanced to 2nd on a balk.
Much to the displeasure of Ken Griffey Sr.
The inning started off fine, with a groundout, but Juan Perez tripled, giving the Blaze a quick opportunity to tack on an insurance run.
He got Yorman Rodriguez to ground out, holding Perez at 3rd, but he then loaded the bases after 2 walks.
In the 5th inning, this guy showed up next to me.
Actually, it was both these guys.
With 2 outs in the bottom of the 5th inning, Niko Gallego stepped to the plate. I can’t remember what the count was, but he fouled a ball back right at me. It hit the warning track and bounced straight into my glove for ball 9 on the day!
This was my view for the next few innings.
Chris Berset struck out in the top of the 8th.
In the bottom of the 8th, the Nuts got things going with a 1-out single from Harold Riggins, which was followed by a Niko Gallego double. At this time, the Blaze decided to make a call to the bullpen.
After a Tyler Massey strike out, Brian Humphries singled, brining in both runers, to make it a 3-2 game.
Nick Schnaitmann came back out to the mound to continue his work, after pitching a flawless 8th inning.
He got the job done, brining the Nuts to their final 3 outs.
The Nuts, however were not going to make it easy for him.
Jared Simon led off with a single, however it was followed by back-to-back strikeouts. However, on a wild pitch, Simon did advance to 2nd base, putting the tying run in scoring position.
Trevor Story then stepped to the plate. While he was hitting, Walczak threw another wild pitch, putting Jared Simon at 3rd, just 90 feet away from sending the game into extra innings.
Everyone was on the edge of their seat.
With a 3-2 count, Trevor walked, which meant the potential winning run was now on base. This brought Harrold Riggins to the plate.
While Riggins was at the plate, Trevor Story stole 2nd base, putting the winning run in scoring position.
However, Harold struck out to finish off a win for the Blaze.
As soon as Harold Riggins struck out to end the game, I darted over to the dugout to try and get one of the 3 broken bats from the game, but the dugout was cleared pretty quickly.
There was a broken bat laying on the ground, so I asked the bat boy, but he explained how he isn’t allowed to give anything away.
I asked him for the lineup card as well, he said no to that- however, I wasn’t going to give up.
I had been standing there for a little while and was about to head out, when I was approached by Taylor Fernandez, a semi-regular in the right field bleachers.
I told her that the bat boy wouldn’t give me anything, but the lineup card was in reach, so I was tempted to just peel the lineup card off the wall myself. She encouraged me to do it, so I did.
We were the only ones left in the stadium, even the bat boys had left. Go follow Taylor on Twitter since she encouraged me to get my 3rd Nuts lineup card of the year, ok? Click here.
When I got home, I realized something pretty cool.
- In my first Nuts game of the season, I was able to get the lineup card after the game, a game pitched by Ben Alsup.
- In my second Nuts game of the season, I was able to not only get a bat, but the Nuts lineup card after the game. That also was a game pitched by Ben Alsup.
- Now this time… Who was the Nuts starting pitcher? Ben Alsup. Who got the Nuts lineup card? Me.
Every time I have gone to a Nuts game, I have not only gotten a lineup card, but Ben Alsup has been the Nuts starting pitcher on that lineup card. How cool is that?
On my way out, I stopped for a picture with the Nuts In-Game dude, Mike On the Mic.
And it was time to head home!
- 15th Game of the Year… 5th MiLB Game of the Year
- 9 balls at this game
- 36 MiLB Balls in 5 MiLB Games = 7.2 MiLB Balls Per Game
- 11 Consecutive MiLB Games with at least 1 Ball
- 5 Consecutive MiLB Games with at least 5 Balls
- 51 Lifetime Minor League baseballs
- 91 total balls
About a week before this game, my dad told me there was no way I would be going to this game. It was supposed to be over 100 Degrees, we all were probably going to be tired, and he didn’t really want to go. The Wednesday before (June 5th), the Ports had an insane game. How insane? Look at the box score:
What is special? 4 home runs for the Lancaster JetHawks. 7 home runs for the Ports. That is 11 HOME RUNS.
I started talking with Bess Frankoff (Wife of Ports Pitcher Seth Frankoff) about how I was positive I would have caught one of those home runs.
We then got to talking about this…
WOW! Thank You very much, Bess! PLEASE go follow her on Twitter right here. Then, PLEASE also go follow Seth Frankoff as well right here. They are both VERY awesome people, so as a faithful 7000 Coliseum Way reader, I would appreciate it if you could do that for me.
Saturday morning, I DM’d her, making sure I was all set to go with 4 tickets, and it was a go!
This game was also Miles Bobble Head Night. Miles Head was the top player on the Ports last year, before being promoted to AA. On May 27th, 2012, I went to a Ports game (It was Micheal Choice Bobblehead Night!) where Miles Head hit a walk-off home run.
The bobblehead was based off his postgame celebration at the plate.
(FYI, those last two pictures are curtsey of the Stockton Ports- Not my photos)
Quick Random Cool Fact… Look at the email I got that morning!
To make sure it was the real Yoenis Cespedes, I check the profile and sure enough it was!!
How cool is that???
On to the day in Stockton…
My goal was to leave around 3pm, to get there around 3:45, in time for Ports BP at 4:15. I was also going to meet up with ballhawk Ryan Dalton, who you may remember from BallhawkFest.
The day got off to an interesting start. Around 11:30, my parents left to run a few errands and get some things before we left.
At 12:30, I got a call from my mom that all of the coolant fluid had leaked out of our car. That meant our car was broken and they were stranded in the Costco parking lot while it was 108 degrees outside. My mom got a friend to bring her home around 1:15, but my dad was still there. A tow truck finally showed up at 2:30. My dad was at the car dealership by 3:15. Keep in mind I had wanted to leave at 3pm…
He eventually got home around 4pm with a rental car that was kind of small. Oh well. We left our house around 4:30. Ports BP had started at 4:15. Yay…
On our drive there, I sent out a tweet to Nuts SS Trevor Story, asking if he could hook me up with a game-used souvenir after the game. Keep that in mind…
Oh, did I mention it was hot? 109 degrees!
We finally got to Stockton around 5:15, at which point I ran out behind the LF fence. Nuts batting practice was well underway.
As soon as I set my backpack down, Niko Gallego (Son of A’s 3rd base coach Mike Gallego) bombed a pitch off the Stockton Arena that I ran over and grabbed. At this point, I saw Ryan Dalton and my dad snapped a quick picture of us.
Despite the heat, you can tell we were having a great time!
Then, while I was on the phone with my mom, asking her question, another pitch was bombed, this one Ryan Casteel. I didn’t even see it or hear it until Ryan yelled “This one’s all you, Nick!” I put my phone in my pocket and ran over and picked up the ball.
Around 5:35, Ryan got a call from his mom that they were about to open the gates, so we ran over and jumped in line.
At 5:40, the gates opened, just as BP was ending… I did get my bobblehead, though!
I ran in and headed down to the Ports dugout, where I saw a baseball sitting on the field a foot away from the fence. I scooped it up with my glove for ball #3 on the day!
Moments later, a groundskeeper cleaning up the batting cage tossed me a ball sitting on the ground for my 4th on the day!
I then headed over to the Nuts dugout, where I got this photo. Just kinda artsy.
Let me tell you, by this time, it was 6pm and it was still over 100 degrees. Ick…
They don’t let you bring water into the stadium, so I think everyone was burning up!
My sister and I decided to get Sno Cones, at which point we went and sat out on the RF Home Run hill for a little bit.
It was around this time that I got this tweet:
Awesome! I was looking forward to the end of the game!
Slowly, the Ports players started heading towards the dugout. I was hoping for one of the players to come over near me.
Why? This is why:
But the players didn’t really want to move, as it was HOT!
Dusty Robinson took some time to talk with Splash.
The Nuts started warming up as well.
I tried to get one of the warm-up balls there, but had no luck.
This was the view from the seats left by the Frankoffs. WOW!
This was going to be a good day of baseball!
In the top of the 1st, I went out to the parking lot with Ryan to try my luck at some foul balls. With 1 out and a runner on 1st, Taylor Featherston popped a ball out of the stadium, into the parking lot, and I ran and scooped it up!
My 3rd foul ball of the season!
James Simmons was on the mound for the Ports.
And he did a pretty good job in this game.
There was a decent crowd on hand for Miles Bobble Head day.
Ben Alsup was pitching for the Nuts.
I found this amusing because the last time I saw the Nuts play, which was in Stockton, he was the pitcher.
He was also wearing #22, which was the same number as James Simmons, the Ports starter.
The Ports went 1-2-3 in the first.
Tyler Massey walked to lead off the 2nd.
And he ended up scoring when Juan Crousset flew out to Dusty Robinson.
Niko Gallego flied out to end the inning.
With 2 outs and runners on 1st and 2nd, in the bottom of the 2nd inning, Dusty Robinson stepped to the plate.
And Dusty crushed it out for a 3-run home run, putting the Ports ahead 2-1.
I was in the open concourse area behind the Nuts dugout at the time, in hopes of a 3rd out ball, so when the ball was hit, I ran towards the seats behind the bullpen, hoping I would be able to get the ball.
Then, I saw a man outside the stadium sprinting towards the area where the ball was headed, and it bounced in the BBQ area and hopped over the fence, right into his hands.
With 2 outs in every half inning, I would run behind a dugout to try and snag a 3rd out ball, but I had no luck AT ALL in this game.
When there wasn’t 2 outs, Ryan, my sister, and I were in the parking lot positioning ourselves for righties and lefties, hoping to snag a foul ball. Ryan got a foul ball in the bottom of the first, but after that, neither of us got anything outside of the stadium.
The Ports scored a run in the 3rd inning, then the Nuts countered with 2 runs in the 5th, making it 4-3 after 6 innings.
About halfway through the game, I was walking to go refill empty water bottles at the water fountain, when I saw a foul ball headed my way. I started running, but it hit off of an advertisement, to be scooped up by… RYAN! He is *very* fast!
Around this time, my sister and I headed over to the cross asile behind the Ports dugout. The guy that had snagged the Dusty Robinson home run earlier in the day, a guy I had been competing with for foul balls approached us. He gave a ball to my sister, showing her that it was sign, and told her it was game used. She thanked her and I then got a picture of her holding it.
Stockton then tacked on another 3 runs in the 7th, making it 7-3. However, the score did not stay that way.
Ryan Casteel led off with a homer, cutting the lead to 7-4. After a groundout and a single, manager Webster Garrison called on my favorite player, SETH FRANKOFF!
Seth came in and got the next two guys out, to get the Ports out of the inning.
Stockton tacked on an insurance run in the 8th, making it 8-4.
Seth came on again in the 9th, in order to finish the game off for the Ports.
Modesto, however did not make it easy.
Jared Simon doubled to Myrio Richard to start the inning, which was followed by a Kyle Von Tungeln walk. Brian Humphries then grounded into a force out, with Von Tungeln out at 2nd. Taylor Featherston then bombed a pitch out to left field, for a 3-run home run, scoring Jared Simon and Brian Humphries.
At this point, Jonathan Joseph came in to replace Seth, ending his night.
Joseph got 1 quick out, getting Ryan Casteel to fly out.
With 2 outs, I was all ready to run down to the dugout. As soon as the final pitch was thrown, I jumped down into my normal spot.
The guy in the on deck circle at the time was Trevor Story, so I knew I had to catch him quick. I called out “Trevor! I was the guy who tweeted you.” He nodded and gathered all of his stuff together.
He then pulled one of his 3 bats out and handed it to me. How cool is that? I asked Ryan to hold it, at which point I tried to get the lineup card as well I asked the batboy, and he tore it off and handed it to me!
Ryan then went over to the Ports dugout to try and see if there was anything there. Sure enough, someone tossed him a ball AND game him the Ports lineup card. How cool is that????
We then headed over to get a picture together. You can see him holding one of his 12 balls on the day, along with his lineup card and I’m holding the bat, lineup card, and my 5 balls on the day.
Then, I had to get a separate picture with my bat and lineup card.
I was pretty freaking pumped!
At this point, Ryan and I went our separate ways. He left, while my family headed to the player’s parking lot. Why? Bess Frankoff had asked me to meet her there so we could chat for a bit, and she could introduce me to Seth.
I thought about taking pictures, but despite the lights, it was took dark for any pictures to come out well. I introduced my family to Beth and we talked for a few minutes, before we had to get out of the way for the Nuts team bus to leave the stadium.
Shortly thereafter, Dusty Robinson stopped by to talk for a little bit. He asked if I had anything for him to sign, so I pulled out a pen and one of my BP balls, and whadda know?
Then came one of the most enjoyable experiences of the night. There was a car parked partly in front of Dusty’s car. Most people would have to have someone move the other car, as it was at an angle that blocked his car to a point where it seemed impossible to get out. However, Dusty was up to the task. He hopped in, as my dad stood next to the passenger side to help him maneuver his car out. He was very *slow* and *careful* in pulling out (Thankfully he had backed into the spot, so he didn’t have to back out).
He did indeed get out of the lot without a single scratch. How close did he come to hitting the car blocking him or in the spot next to him? If he had been just a centimeter or two off, there would have been some scratches going on. It was quite a show to watch!
As he pulled out, Seth walked up. Bess introduced him to me as well as my family and we talked for 5-10 minutes. He asked if I had anything to sign, and I pulled out the ball I had found on the field, along with the sharpie, and he signed it right on the sweet spot.
We talked about various baseball things. He asked if I played baseball, how many games I’ve been to, MLB The Show, and how I got the bat. After talking for a bit, we parted ways, and they both let me know to give either of them a heads up if I ever want to go to a game. They are both incredibly AWESOME and nice people! Like I said earlier, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE follow Bess and Seth on Twitter and give them lots of love for being such awesome people. I can tell you in a instant who my favorite player on the Ports its!
THIS ENTRY IS NOT OVER!!!
So after we left the ballpark, we had to make a stop for a post-game snack at one of my favorite fast food places- Sonic. It is the closest one to my house, so every time I go to Stockton, I have to stop there! Well while we were in the drive through, I got a call from Ryan Dalton that there was a fire on the highway, so he wanted to warn our family and make sure we stayed safe.
Sure enough, as we were driving down the highway, we saw a HUGE grass fire. I would say it spread for 3-4 miles along the side of the high way and probably 1000 yards off the highway as well. This was not a full on blaze across the entire area, but this is what it looked like along the side of the highway.
It was scary! There were a lot of fire trucks there, so I believe it was all under control, but the smell of the smoke was awful!
That’s it, an exciting, interesting, fun-filled day!
Thanks for reading!
- 14th Game of the Year… 4th MiLB Game of the Year
- 5 balls at this game
- 27 MiLB Balls in 4 MiLB Games = 6.75 MiLB Balls Per Game
- 10 Consecutive MiLB Games with at least 1 Ball
- 4 Consecutive MiLB Games with at least 5 Balls
- 42 Lifetime Minor League baseballs
- 82 total balls
This game was going to be me, my dad, and Uncle Seth, who I have mentioned before.
We left our house around 10:50, so we got to Stockton around 11:45.
Throughout the course of the day, before the gates opened, I made another vlog, similar to what I did for this game.
As soon as we got there, we found that nobody was collecting money for parking. FREE PARKING!
I then immediately headed out back for BP.
As you can see from my tilted picture, there was little action, but the cages WERE set up.
The first batter to step into the cage for the Ports was Addison Russell.
About 5 minutes after I arrived, look what I had!
Only the Ports took BP, there were no Nuts players anywhere to be found.
And believe it or not, the Addison Russell ball was the ONLY one that cleared the bullpen area, despite strong swings.
Believe it or not, none of the bunts left the yard!
Around 12:20, right when batting practice was coming to a close, the song Milkshake came on over the PA in the stadium. Wade Kirkland was patrolling left field. You know the app called Vine? Well watch this. He was kind of bored. Dance moves were not to bad.
BP came to a close around 12:25 or so, so I decided to walk around the Marina area and ballpark exterior.
Seriously, how awesome is this?
Basically, I wandered along the waterfront as far as I could go, before I reached the fence of the parking lot.
At this point, I decided to turn back. On my way back, I saw this…
I decided to wander around over towards the Pro Shop area.
Those will both be giveaways later on this year!
I headed over to the Suite Holder gate to get a better view of inside, where I saw this.
That lady was writing in the lineups for both teams on the whiteboard in the concourse.
I then decided to head back and get in line.
I seriously couldn’t wait to get inside!
I decided to get a picture with my uncle and the ball I got during BP.
Then, I got a picture of myself with the ball
The gates opened at 1:07, and after getting my ticket scanned, I headed over to where a few Nuts players were playing catch and stretching.
Just out of the frame was the glove of William Rankin. As he finished running, he tossed me his ball.
After I got that ball, I headed over to section 117. Why? It was on-field player photo and autograph day! When I got there, I met up with Will and Ross. At 1:15, we were all led into a roped off area. Players then lined up along the rope, with pens in hand. Remember the logo ball I got in my last Stockton game? I was ready to get some signatures!
The first player I got an autograph from was infielder Max Muncy, who tossed me a ball and hit me a foul ball in my last Stockton game. My dad and uncle were wandering around the stadium, so I was left to use my phone’s camera to get a photo with him.
Next in line was outfielder Dusty Robinson.
After getting a picture and autograph from Dusty, I moved on to pitcher Seth Frankoff.
After Frankoff was pitcher Jose Macias.
After Macias, I moved on to get an autograph and picture with pitcher Jonathan Joseph.
Then, I got to talk with Blake Hassebrock.
After Hassebrock was outfielder Bobby Crocker
Then, came infielder B.A. Vollmuth (One of the coolest names EVER if you ask me).
The next guy I got a photo with was outfielder Josh Whitaker.
The 10th person I got a photo with was the starting pitcher that day, Deyvi Jimenez.
Then, my dad came down to get a few shots, including this one of me with SS Addison Russell.
I had an absoluste blast with all of this.
It was a small space with LOTS of people.
I couldn’t get pictures with or autographs from all of the guys, so I spent a few minutes talking with Will and Ross, who got lots of photos themselves.
I also go to talking with Eric and Bridget, who are A’s fans that I believe made the trip with Vanessa.
She, Will, and I then got a picture with Max Muncy and Ryan Delgado.
Do you see the phone in the picture above taking a picture of us? That is Vanessa’s, and here is the picture she later posted on Instagram.
About halfway through the event, I took this panorama of the event, which hopefully captures the chaos of it all.
Around 1:45, they started wrapping things up, at which point Will had a short conversation with Ports manager Webster Garrison.
He and Vanessa then got a quick picture with Webby.
Around 2, I headed over to watch the Ports starting pitcher for the day
Once he was done warming up, I got this panoramic shot from the LF foul pole.
Then I headed over to RF to get the same.
The Ports let a Little Leaguers run on the field with players in this game, for the National Anthem, and it was a very cool sight!
The National Anthem, as always, was great!
The Ports sent Deyvi Jimenez to the mound.
While the Nuts countered with Ben Alsup.
For the Top of the first, I headed over to behind the Ports dugout in hopes of getting a third out ball.
I was unsuccessful, and on my way back, I snapped this panoramic.
For most of the game, I sat down with Will, Ross, Vanessa, Bridget, and Eric, near the first row, chatting.
In the front row, you have Will, Ross, Eric, Vanessa, and Bridget.
I did, however, spend some time sitting up with my Uncle and Dad, where I was able to get shots of people like this one.
And of Will…
With 2 outs at every half inning, I would head behind the dugout of the team on the field and try to get a ball. I was unsuccessful ALL DAY.
As always, my dad got AMAZING pictures.
The Ports scored their first run in the bottom of the 2nd.
Every time Webster Garrison, the Ports manager, walks past the visitng dugout to go coach 3rd Base, Will and a few other fans stand up and yell “WEBBYYYYY!”
Here he is coaching third base.
The Nuts manager is Lenn Sakata.
As I mentioned earlier, I was very unsuccessful with 3rd out balls, so I enjoyed getting to relax and take lots of pictures!
I then took these two pictures…
When I got home, I went into Photoshop and created my first “real,” (And poorly done) panoramic photo.
One memorable play was when Dusty Robinson came to the plate…
Here is Josh Whitaker.
For me, it was awesome to just sit back, relax, and take pictures.
In the 8th inning, Bernie Lean came on…
Can YOU Bernie Lean?
Also in the 8th inning, Juan Crouset stepped to the plate for the Nuts.
He popped a ball foul a few rows behind me. I misjudged it, but immediately picked it up off the ground. Ball #4! It was my 5th lifetime foul ball, 4th at a MiLB game, and 2nd MiLB game in a row with a foul ball!
Right after I picked it up, I heard a young girl (7 years old maybe) quietly say “Dangit.” Without thinking, I handed the ball to her.
Yes, of course, I would have loved to have kept the ball, and I got PLENTY of backlash for it on Twitter, but it was all worth it to see her so happy with it.
When the Ports came to bat in the bottom of the 8th, Nelson Gonzalez went into his second inning of work out of the bullpen.
But, he blew the lead…
Ryan Ortiz had hit a go-ahead home run!
And it was high fives all around!
Jordan Ribera and Taylor Featherston watched as a new pitcher took his warm up tosses.
Modesto called upon Kenneth Roberts to get the final two outs of the inning.
Thankfully for the Nuts, he was able to escape the inning, but not before allowing another run!
In the top of the 9th inning, the Ports were ahead 4-2, so I headed over to my ticketed seat for the first time all game, located right next to the Nuts dugout. At that point, I was hoping to get the lineup card after the game, so I put on my Nuts hat. Will was VERY disappointed in me. He then took this picture of me.
That is my “I know I’m a Ports fan but I have to do this” face.
Jonathan Joseph came on for the Ports to lock down the save.
And the Ports had won!
… But I was sticking my head into the dugout to try and get the lineup card.
As soon as I got there, I asked the Nuts manager for the lineup card, but he ignored me and left. Then, Brian Humphries walked over, saw a pile of balls on top of the bat rack and tossed one to me without saying a word. He then tossed out 6 more to other kids that were crowding around the dugout.
Soon, I saw a clubhouse attendant in a rockies hat, shirt, and shorts (The Nuts are a Rockies affiliate) walk over. I asked him for the lineup card, and look!
I thanked him and headed up the stairs, where everyone else was standing. Vanessa snapped this picture of me on her phone of me with the lineup card.
Once we left, I headed to Ross’s car to pick up my 2013 RF Bleacher shirt (To debut in my next game entry) and then headed back to meet up with my dad and uncle.
Cool stuff. Great game.
Thanks for reading!
- 6th Game of the Year… 2nd MiLB Game of the Year
- 5 balls at this game
- 19 balls in 6 games this season = 3.16 Balls Per Game
- 15 MiLB Balls in 2 MiLB Games = 7.5 MiLB Balls Per Game
- 4 MiLB Foul Balls
- 5 Lifetime Foul Balls
- 5 Consecutive Games with at least 1 Ball
- 8 Consecutive MiLB Games with at least 1 Ball
- 5 Consecutive MiLB Games with at least 3 Balls
- 2 Consecutive MiLB Games with 1 Foul Bal
- 30 Lifetime Minor League baseballs
- 62 total balls