Category: Niko Gallego

6/13/13 at John Thurman Field

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.

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Can you tell what it is? Here is a closer look…

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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.

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He really was trying hard to get out.

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They just wouldn’t let him out!

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And yes, he eventually did get out.

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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!

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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…

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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!

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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.

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We headed in, and I got this photo of the covered seating area down the LF line.

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Very practical for a sunny game.

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Not much was going on near the gates.

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I snapped this picture of the stadium map.

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And this one of the underbelly of the stands.

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Here are all of the concession stands.

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And the Nuts team store.

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It was very quiet…

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We started walking towards the west entrance, through this part of the concourse.

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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.

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They even had a bouncy slide!

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And a Speed Pitch.

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As well as a bounce house!

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We also walked past the Kids play area.

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I started to head over to check out the Nuts Bullpen when something caught my eye. Can you tell what it is?

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Here:

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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.

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I snapped a picture of the scoreboard.

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And the bullpen seating arrangement.

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The batting cages are right next to it.

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A few guys had been getting some work in.

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I then decided to take a “tour” of the stands. I noticed this sign. No surprise.

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And took note of this sign as well.

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I still love this sign.

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This was my view from where I was standing.

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I then headed up the steps to get a couple of photos that I stitched together to make this:

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Not my best work by any means, but I still think it is almost/sorta/kina cool.

Here is the Nuts dugout.

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I then decided to head to the last row of seats behind home plate. Great view.

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I took multiple pictures up here and photoshopped another panorama.

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Then I took one with my iPhone.

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Gorgeous.

Modesto is the only stadium that I have been to that has bucket-style seats in any place in the stadium.

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I was pretty close to the press box here, and to the right of the press box was this area.

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No clue what it is for, but it looks pretty cool.

I then decided to check out the area behind the press box.

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Here’s the door.

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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.

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And saw a couple of bases siting near the fence.

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From here, I went into the team store and took a look at their wall of hats.

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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.

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My dad and I then headed down to our actual seats and I got a picture with my 7 BP balls.

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I noticed some players making their way to the field, so I headed over here.

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Nuts players were starting to stretch and warm up.

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One of my favorite Nuts players is Niko Gallego, the son of A’s 3rd base coach Mike Gallego.
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Really cool guy!

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My other favorite Nuts player is Trevor Story, who hooked me up with a bat in my last game.

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While all of this was going on, the Nuts mascot Al was doing flips.

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And Ken Griffey Sr posed for a picture for my dad.

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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.

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And it was time for the National Anthem!
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And we were all ready for baseball in Modesto!

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Ben Alsup was on the mound for the Nuts.

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The Blaze scored 2 runs on 2 hits, 1 walk, and 1 error.

Brian Humphries was unable to get anything started in the top of the 1st.
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Shayne Dyer was on the mound for Bakersfield.
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He retired the first 7 Nuts batters that he faced.

Ben Alsup made quite a few pickoff attempts over the first few innings.
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It seemed like he didn’t have his best stuff this night.

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That being said, he has kind of struggled all year.

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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.

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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!

Alsup settled down in the 3rd, getting Kyle Waldrop to strike out swinging.
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One of my favorite things about the Nuts are all of their silly mid-inning games, which in my mind, are better than the Ports ones.
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Very entertaining!

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Harold Riggins got the Nuts first hit of the day, a 1-out single in the 3rd.

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As Tyler Massey was batting, Riggins advanced to 2nd on a balk.

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Much to the displeasure of Ken Griffey Sr.

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As Alsup went out to the mound in the 4th inning, he continued to struggle.
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The inning started off fine, with a groundout, but Juan Perez tripled, giving the Blaze a quick opportunity to tack on an insurance run.

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He got Yorman Rodriguez to ground out, holding Perez at 3rd, but he then loaded the bases after 2 walks.

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With the bases loaded, Steve Selesky was then hit by a pitch, brining in Modesto’s 3rd run of the game.

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In the 5th inning, this guy showed up next to me.

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Actually, it was both these guys.

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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!

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This was my view for the next few innings.

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Chris Berset struck out in the top of the 8th.

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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.

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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.

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He got the job done, brining the Nuts to their final 3 outs.

Jamie Walczak was on to close the game out.
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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And it was time to head home!

BALLHAWKING STATS:

  • 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

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

6/8/13 at Banner Island Ballpark

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:

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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…

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A few minute later, I got this DM from her, which I replied to.
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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.

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The bobblehead was based off his postgame celebration at the plate.

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(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!

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To make sure it was the real Yoenis Cespedes, I check the profile and sure enough it was!!

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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!

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We finally got to Stockton around 5:15, at which point I ran out behind the LF fence. Nuts batting practice was well underway.

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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.

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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.

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Thank, Ryan!

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.

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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.

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It was around this time that I got this tweet:

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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.

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Why? This is why:

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But the players didn’t really want to move, as it was HOT!

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Dusty Robinson took some time to talk with Splash.

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The Nuts started warming up as well.

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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!

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This was going to be a good day of baseball!

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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!

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My 3rd foul ball of the season!

James Simmons was on the mound for the Ports.

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And he did a pretty good job in this game.

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There was a decent crowd on hand for Miles Bobble Head day.

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Ben Alsup was pitching for the Nuts.

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I found this amusing because the last time I saw the Nuts play, which was in Stockton, he was the pitcher.

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He was also wearing #22, which was the same number as James Simmons, the Ports starter.

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The Ports went 1-2-3 in the first.

Tyler Massey walked to lead off the 2nd.

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And he ended up scoring when Juan Crousset flew out to Dusty Robinson.

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Niko Gallego flied out to end the inning.

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With 2 outs and runners on 1st and 2nd, in the bottom of the 2nd inning, Dusty Robinson stepped to the plate.

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Alsup delivered…

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And Dusty crushed it out for a 3-run home run, putting the Ports ahead 2-1.

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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.

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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!

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Seth came in and got the next two guys out, to get the Ports out of the inning.

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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.

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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.

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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!

A lineup card AND a bat! How awesome is that???
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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.

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Then, I had to get a separate picture with my bat and lineup card.

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I was pretty freaking pumped!

Notice my shirt? That is the shirt of the 9 Inning Know it All MLBlog. That shirt was given to me by Kelly Byrnes at BallhawkFest. Go ahead and give him a follow on Twitter.

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?

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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.

Beauty.

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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.

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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!

BALLHAWKING STATS:

  • 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

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