Category: Sold out

4/13/13 at the Oakland Coliseum

It was 2012 AL West Champs fleece blanket day. Oh Yeah!

My dad and I left our house around 8:30, I picked up my new glasses, and we headed off to Oakland.

I would say it took about 25 minutes to get there. Quickest it has ever taken either of us to get to Oakland. We arrived around 9:15 am or so.

Anyway, once we had parked, we started walking towards gate MM, when I realized that I had left my rosters in the car. My dad headed back to the car to grab them for me, and I headed to get in line at MM. I was SHOCKED to see that there were over 50 people in line an hour and 45 minutes before the gates were supposed to open.

Who was at the front of the line? Will is on the left, Ross is on the middle, and Daniel is on the right.

IMG_8597

Why were they doing the Bernie? The guy on the right had one of those mini portable speakers and it was playing Bernie Lean.

IMG_8598

Once my dad got back, he got in line and I decided to walk around a little bit, as I always do.

IMG_8621

As you can see, they had the lines set up to double back and forth, like they did for Scott Hatteberg bobblehead day.

The lines were pretty long…

IMG_8630

I had to walk around a lot. Since we were up against the wall, they were attempting to squeeze us in pretty tight!

At this game, my school’s Jazz Band was going to be playing the national anthem! As I was walking around, I saw them getting their tickets.

I stopped by and talked with some of them up until 10:30 or so, at which point they headed inside for a sound check, and I headed back to get in line…
IMG_8637

Yeah… it was PACKED! I didn’t get in line right away, I just walked around in the BART Plaza, as I didn’t want to stand in that line for 30 minutes.

I decided to just get in line 15 minutes before the gates opened. Right after I got in  line with my dad, Will popped over and asked me which seats I wanted him to save me. I asked him if he would be able to save my regular seats for my dad and I, and he was happy to do so! How awesome is he!?!?

I got out of line again, as this was the scene at 11 am…

IMG_8638

I was just wandering around near the front of line, when Will asked if I wanted to jump in line with him. OF COURSE! Thank You very much Will!

At 11:07, the gates opened and I ran in, grabbed my blanket and was off! A lot of people don’t know how to get to the bleachers from MM, but I have it down. You run straight, turn right, and run down these stairs.
IMG_8639

Make a turn into that tunnel, and you’ll be at the entrance to the bleachers!

Obviously, I was already there as my dad was heading down.
IMG_8642

The A’s were stretching when we got inside.

IMG_8643

Doug Fister was throwing a bullpen.

IMG_8646

IMG_8648

IMG_8653

And Tigers players were playing catch.

IMG_8659

IMG_8669

Like I said, the A’s were stretching.

IMG_8680

Without looking at the next picture, can you tell me wh- HEY! I SAID DON’T LOOK AT THE PICTURE.

IMG_8695

Awesome. You looked at the picture. But, yes, I headed over to where the Tigers were playing catch.

As the A’s continued to stretch.
IMG_8717

AJ Griffin and his luscious hair were jogging along the warning track.

IMG_8721

I would have headed over to the A’s bullpen area, but as I mentioned, they were just stretching.

IMG_8743

IMG_8752

I was trying to get a ball from one of the Tigers players. There was one sitting barely out of my reach on the field, and I was determined to get it.

IMG_8753

The seats were pretty empty.

IMG_8760Miguel Cabrera was showing lots of love for the RF Bleacher crew.

IMG_8792

One of the Tigers players that was playing catch overthrew the ball and pitching coach Jeff Jones walked over and tossed me up the ball!

Right as he picked the ball up, my phone started to ring. It turned out, it was my dad!

IMG_8799

Here I am talking with him. Yes, he did take this picture.

IMG_8801

Once I got that ball, I decided to take the rest of the day off from ballhawking and relax. I headed back to the bleachers just to chat with people, even though the A’s were playing catch.

IMG_8823

Sean Doolittle used to be a power-hitting first baseman, Now he is a pitcher.

IMG_8830

Here is Tommy Milone.

IMG_8844

Jerry Blevins.

IMG_8860

Running drills…

IMG_8873

Sidewinder Pat Neshek and pitching coach Curt Young.

IMG_8884

Neshek running.

IMG_8927

Evan Scribner running

IMG_8943

Blevins, Scribner, and Chris Resop running

IMG_8967

A’s bullpen catcher Casey Chavez

IMG_8982

Hiro Nakajima is still rehabbing, he played a bit of catch with a team assistant.

IMG_9023

IMG_9026

Here was my view for the game.

IMG_9033

This is the 1 ball I snagged during pregame.

IMG_9050

The field cleared VERY quickly, so I had a lot of time to relax and such.

As he was coming from the indoor cages to the clubhouse, Miggy and the Tigers gave the RF bleachers some love.

IMG_9061

IMG_9062

Octavio Dotel was one of the few players left on the field.

IMG_9068

He was playing catch with this guy.

IMG_9099

I have no clue what is going on here.

IMG_9118

Players were still walking in from the indoor cages.

IMG_9143

Eventually, uniformed players and coaches started coming out to stretch and get loose.
IMG_9161

Derek Norris usually does some drills near the bullpen.

IMG_9167

Justin Verlander was taking the bump for the Tigers.

IMG_9177

IMG_9187

Brett Anderson was going to counter him for the Green and Gold.
IMG_9203

The grounds crew worked on Watering the field.

IMG_9207

This guy was catching for the Tigers.

IMG_9210

Then, these people walked onto the field.

IMG_9214

My school’s Jazz band was playing the national anthem for the game!

IMG_9234

Here they all are!

IMG_9238

It was pretty cool to see!

IMG_9240

My dad got a video of the performance.

How awesome is that?

The Tigers bullpen catcher, Scott Pickens, warmed up Verlander.

IMG_9249

IMG_9250

Derek Norris warmed up Anderson.

IMG_9272

How cool is this photo?

IMG_9278

Jeff Kunkel is the Tigers 2nd bullpen catcher.

IMG_9284

While my dad was out and about wandering around, I got this really cool picture of Verlander.

IMG_9295

Chris Young was rocking the stirrups.

IMG_9297

Most of the position players began to filter onto the field.

IMG_9308

Verlander took the bullpen to get warm.IMG_9325

IMG_9326

Here are 3rd Base Coach Mike Gallego, middle infielder Jed Lowrie, Manager Bob Melvin, and 1st Baseman Brandon Moss sitting in the dugout.
IMG_9341

Anderson took to the bullpen mound to warm up.
IMG_9370

IMG_9371

Tigers position players got loose on the field.

IMG_9392

Chris Young seemed pretty entertained by it all.

IMG_9396

Verlander finished up in the bullpen.

IMG_9410

The A’s took the field.

IMG_9414

And Brett Anderson took the hill.

IMG_9422

Brandon Moss was starting at first base.

IMG_9440

I know this isn’t anything new, but my dad took AMAZING pictures.
IMG_9466

IMG_9479

The BIG MAN, Prince Fielder.
IMG_9526

V-Mar looking at a pitch.

IMG_9532

Swinging…

IMG_9569

And making contact!

IMG_9571

Popped up…
IMG_9576

Torii Hunter was in RF for the Tigers. More on that soon.

IMG_9589

John Jaso, the A’s catcher was LEADING OFF.
IMG_9600

As expected, Verlander was dealing.

IMG_9610

IMG_9611

IMG_9615

Jaso rounding first base.

IMG_9618

Chris Young running with the bat in his hand.

IMG_9650

Now he is running down the line.

IMG_9657

Josh Reddick stepping to the plate.

IMG_9661

Looking at a few pitches…

IMG_9666

Just a bit outside.

IMG_9670

Foul Ball

IMG_9686

On top of his head!

IMG_9689

Matt Tuiasosopo at the plate.

IMG_9704

Sogard and Reddick running into the dugout.
IMG_9724

The Tigers bullpen.

IMG_9731

The A’s bullpen and a unicorn.

IMG_9734

Back to Torii. Remember this last year when he was on the Angels? He delivered Popeye’s Chicken to the RF Bleachers. As one might expect, he now has a great relationship with them.

IMG_9745

All day, the umpire was making TERRIBLE calls behind the plate. See anything special here?

IMG_9750

Look again.

Screen Shot 2013-04-28 at 2.18.05 PM

HIS EYES WERE CLOSED! I’ll have more proof, don’t worry.

Torii was enjoying chatting it up with RF.

IMG_9767

Seth Smith swinging…

IMG_9775

IMG_9782

And running.

IMG_9797

On 1st base, Verlander tried to pick him off a few times.

IMG_9814

IMG_9824

Josh Donaldson made GREAT contact with the ball today.

IMG_9840

Well the umpire had his eyes closed more when Eric Sogard came up.

IMG_9858

See?

Screen Shot 2013-04-28 at 2.22.39 PM

I know the ball has already made contact, but STILL.

IMG_9865

As always, Right Field was lively.

IMG_9897

Of course the umpire ALWAYS had his eyes open when the Tigers were up to bat.

IMG_9945

I take that back…

IMG_0003

Everyone was just chilling in the A’s dugout.

IMG_0025

And Torii was all smiles!

IMG_0037

Chris Young had some great swingsIMG_0080

IMG_0089

And of course we have Josh Reddick…

IMG_0103

Here we had Josh Donaldson (#20) and Andy Parino (#12)
IMG_0152

As I was out of my seat using the restroom, Prince Fielder stepped to the plate.

IMG_0161

Guess what da BIG MAN did?
IMG_0166

Yep, He hit a homer. Dead center.

IMG_0171

Curt Young paid Anderson a visit to the mound.

IMG_0249

The A’s were hitting the ball hard and making great contact.

IMG_0321

As displayed by Derek Norris.

IMG_0388

I got this cool photo of Josh Reddick (and his beard) warming up in right field.

IMG_0424

Derek Norris was performing his usual magic tricks behind home plate.

IMG_0443

Then, Pat Neshek came on the mound. Boy oh BOY did I have fun taking pictures of him! Back to that soon…

IMG_0529

The A’s bullpen was thoroughly entertained. So was the unicorn.

IMG_0582

Back to Neshek. It continually amazes me with how accurate submariners and sidearmers are.

IMG_0630

It also sometimes looks painful.

IMG_0631

It is, however, AMAZING to watch.

IMG_0643

All of these pictures were taken by me, and it was A LOT of fun!

IMG_0661

It was a beautiful, sold out day at the Coliseum!

IMG_0662

But, seriously! HOW DOES HE DO THIS?

IMG_0665

I honestly don’t know.

IMG_0676

Away from Neshek for a bit, here is Eric Sogard. #NerdPower

IMG_0683

The Bill King broadcast booth was looking lively as always.

IMG_0721

Rick Porcello began to warm up in the Tigers bullpen.

IMG_0753

Along with Phil Coke.

IMG_0765

The bleachers were rockin!

IMG_0807

As Phil Coke took the mound for Detroit.

IMG_0868

I swear, this is my last picture of Pat Neshek.

IMG_0903

Josh Reddick was very nonchalant about his warmup tosses with Coco Crisp in the outfield.

IMG_0913

In the middle of the 8th, as always, the A’s played Call me Maybe. Will was not impressed.

IMG_0940

Oh, and Bob Melvin was ejected.

IMG_0984

IMG_0988

Why? Andy Fletcher had his head up his a** all game long.

Here is a very short video my dad got of the incident.

Joaquin Benoit took the mound for the Tigers in the late innings.

IMG_1065

Eric Sogard was taking some mighty swings.

IMG_1110

Like I mentioned, you CANNOT umpire a game with your eyes closed. It is UNACCEPTABLE.

Screen Shot 2013-04-28 at 6.14.53 PM

Believe you me, I have about 50 more pictures where Andy Fletcher has his eyes closed. But I have chosen not to not bore you to death.

Evan Scribner took the hill for the A’s at the end of the game.

IMG_1194

A majority of the crowd was still on hand, despite the score that had  the A’s behind.

IMG_1301

HIS EYES ARE CLOSED AGAIN

IMG_1337

That’s all. The A’s lost. Here I am with my 1 ball and the fleece blanket. The end.IMG_1365

Thanks for reading!

BALLHAWKING STATS:

  • 5th Game of the Year
  • 1 ball at this game
  • 4 balls in 4 MLB games this season = 1 Ball Per Game
  • 14 Balls in 5 Games this season = 2.8 Balls Per Game
  • 4 Consecutive Games with at least 1 Ball
  • 3 Consecutive MLB Games/Games in Oakland with at least 1 Ball
  • 32 Lifetime Major League baseballs
  • 57 total balls

300x50_mlblogs_top100

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.

2012 ALDS – Game 3

Postseason baseball in Oakland for the first time since 2006. Awesome!

My dad and I left the house just after 12:30, making a quick stop along the way to get lunch at Subway, and a sporting goods store to buy a cheap Tigers hat, then we are on our way.

We got there around 1:45, over 2 hours before the gates would open at 4:07.

I had been tweeting back and forth with ballhawks Wayne Peck and Spencer Sanborn for a while (you might remember them from this entry) and I knew that they were both going to be there, and was excited to meet Wayne for the 1st time.

This is what the line looked like when I got there

Yep. I was the only one in line at Gate B. And my dad had brought a camping chair to sit in in line. Yep. This was going to be a long day. I had a LOT of time to kill, so I walked around.

If you have read this blog for a while, then you know what the outside of the Coliseum looks like. First, I walked towards the BART ramp.

I got to the BART Plaza

I then headed towards A and D gate. Parking lot A was empty. It was ridiculous. I was expecting more people, but I guess not!

Gate A was empty as well.

Over by D Gate (Where there was nobody in line), the 95.7 The GAME booth was being set up

I stopped in at the D Gate team store, browsed around a little, and was on my way up towards the Arena plaza.

There were a lot of news vans parked outside. Let me see if I can list all of the stations. CSN Bay Area, CSN California, MLB Network, TBS, ESPN, KTVU Channel 2 News, NBC Bay Area News, KRON 4 News, CBS 5, ABC 7, and there were probably a few more.

I then noticed a very familiar face stepping out of a CSN California van. Do you have any clue as to who the guy is in the green shirt?

You probably don’t but I recognized him right away. That man is Brodie Brazil, who hosts A’s Pre and Post-game Live, and is the San Jose Sharks rink-side reporter, as well as a 95.7 insider. Huge Bay Area celebrity.

I was then stopped by a security guard, who asked to see my ticket, then did the Bernie.

I wandered around the Oracle Arena a little, found the player parking entrance, and just walked around. I then headed down to Gate C, where there was 1 person in line.

When I got back, my dad was happily relaxing in his chair, reading the paper. I was ready to go. But we still had just under 2 hours.

There was still nobody behind us in line. I was bored. So I talked with my dad. Time passed. More time passed. Then I walked around one the Coliseum more time to stretch my legs.

Ok, are you ready for a crazy story? So I was walking past Gate A, and after I had walked 50 or so feet past the gate, I heard a ball hit the pavement. I immediately turned around and ran back. Somebody scooped up the ball immediately. I headed over to take a look at the ball, and when I asked to take a quick look, I was shocked to see that it was a near perfect 2012 Postseason ball. WHAT? ARE YOU KIDDING ME???????

Where did this ball come from? Wha— uh??? I was at a loss for words.

I was headed back to Gate B when I noticed a familiar face. It was Wayne! Sorry, I didn’t get a picture of him right away. I chatted with him for a minute, before he headed to the team store to look around.

Sooner or later, a lady got in line behind us. We talked with her for a few minutes. I spend a lot of time on my phone, then decided to go put it in the car and walk around some more. The line at Gate D was getting decently long, and in the front of the line was Spencer Sanborn!

I got back to the line. It was just my dad and the other lady. There was 1 hour until the gates open. WTH???? There was almost NO ONE in line, and the gates would be opening soon.

A minute or two later, Wayne got in line with us. This is what he (and a lot of other people) thinks of the “O.co Coliseum”

That is definitely the best facial expression I have ever seen regarding a professional sports facility.

We talked for a long time about a variety of things. Ballhawking, the Coliseum, how much the Coliseum sucks, crazy ballhawking adventures. Wayne is a good guy. He wrote a great blog entry about this game that you can find here! He also went to the game the following day, which you can find here.

My dad got a picture of us before the gates opened.

Do you like my shirt?

Right before the gates opened at 4:07, (Nope, to 4pm or 4:05, but 4:07) the line was getting pretty long.

The gate was all set up and ready to go

And we were off!

Actually… we weren’t. They let us go get in line at the turnstiles at 4:00

Shorty, after 4:07, they let us in. My ticket scanned perfectly and I headed through the turnstile. But it wouldn’t budge. The arms were never unlocked. And the ticket taker couldn’t open it. So after a few minutes, I just walked around and received my bright yellow rally towel.

BP was underway and I was ready to go.

That’s a view from our seats in the bleachers. I headed there immediately, but quickly headed down to the RF line.

Do you see the guy in the Tigers had and shirt in the orange sleeves? That would be Spencer.

The A’s were taking BP, and the pitchers in Center Field were entertained by attempting to throw balls into the 2nd deck as well as the 3rd deck seats that are tarped off.

Adam Rosales took some hacks in the cage with Chris Carter watching on

The Coliseum wasn’t very full, but the energy was awesome, and everyone was pumped!

The A’s didn’t hit anything to the RF bleachers, or down the RF line, unfortunately. As they concluded BP and jogged off the field, they got a very solid round of applause from the crowd.

Tigers pitchers had been playing catch down the line, and despite my bright orange shirt and Tigers hat, I didn’t manage a ball.

Ask anyone that was there would agree that BP was a show. Miguel Cabrera was BOMBING ball after ball into the 2nd deck, and even a few balls onto the 2rd deck tarps.

One odd thing I noticed was the middle section of the 3 open 3rd deck sections.

I guess it would the overflow media and press area. Interesting.

Prince Fielder was launching some balls pretty far as well. But he wasn’t pulling the ball. He was hitting it 2nd deck in LF.

Those guys are STRONG.

Jhonny Peralta had some strong hacks as well

BP was frustrating. There were very few balls hit down the RF line, and those that were hit were fielded by the same guy who ignored fans.

There were a couple that spent a lot of time standing next to me that I guess are Tigers season ticket holders. The one ball that I came closest to during the 1st 45 minutes was a ball that was thrown to ME specifically, that they reached out in front of me and barehanded. Ok then…

During the regular season, the bleachers were General Admission, but since it was the PLAYOFFS, they had assigned seating. Because they didn’t have to worry about being the first ones in line, the RF Crew started to trickle in during the 1st hour of BP

For those of you who don’t know, that man is Will MacNeil, one of the Die-Hards in Section 149. He is an awesome guy and I have talked with/about him before in entires like this one and this one. He is the proud owner of a very cool item. A replica WWE wrestling belt. Josh Reddick sent it up there in the beginning of the season.

He is a great guy!

That’s Will on the right, and you can follow him on Twitter here. I am not 100% positive who the man on the left is.

All the guys out there are great. I strongly encourage you to sit out there some time. It’s awesome.

Back to BP…

Guys like Alex Avila

And Quintin Berry were not hitting anything to RF. It was frustrating

This guy had some awesome signs. That man would be Ian Sagerbaen, and was dubbed my MLB.com’s Cut4 as the Greatest Sign Maker in MLB History

It was frustrating be trapped behind A’s fan screaming for balls

And despite the fact that you can pick me out of a crowd of green and gold right away, I guess Tigers players couldn’t

I realized BP was ending soon, so I took off for the Tigers dugout.

Obviously, you can find me easily in this crowd

I got behind the dugout and was calling out to players for balls

The cages were taken in…

And I was shut out for BP…

Frustrating…

With this disappointing loss, I headed back to the bleachers, where I found this guy was handing out signs

I got two different ones that were both double-sided.

Here is the first

And the second

I then wandered around for a little bit. I walked around the concourse and the bleachers, when my dad noticed this thing being rolled onto the field.

They were set up all across the outfield.

As a helicopter flew overhead

Slowly, the Tigers began to come onto the field to warm up

I wasn’t able to get down close to the field on either the 1st or 3rd base side, so after multiple attempts, I headed back to our seats in time for Stomper and “The Herd” to come around the warning track.

The Color Gaurd marched onto the field.

It was time for the player introductions!

This was one of Ian’s signs that he gave to someone to hold up

When it came time for the A’s to be introduced, sparklers at the bottom of the firework carts were set off

Everyone with their yellow rally towels was pumped up!

Each time a player on the A’s was introduced, a firework shot off.

When all the players had been introduced, it was time for the National Anthem

More fireworks were shot off

Anibal Sanchez finished his bullpen tosses

Then, Bert “Campy” Campaneris, a longtime A’s legend came out onto the mound to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Once the ceremonial first pitch had been thrown, it was 4:59, one minute untill TBS went live to the Coliseum. Dick Callahan, the PA announcer, told the crowd to get crazy, as we would be live on national television soon. The place quickly ERUPTED!!!!

I took a panoramic picture shortly before the game started

Brett Anderson was dealing in this game

Austin Jackson struck out to lead off the game

Steven Drew walked in the bottom of the 1st, sending Coco Crisp to 2nd

Crisp later scored on a single off the back of Yoenis Cespdes

Awesome hair:

Seth Smith homered to right-center field, just past the RF bleacher seats

Grant Balfour began to warm up in the 8th inning, ready to come in for the save

While Balfour was warming up there were some drunk guys sitting in front of a Tigers fan with a young son and wife that started to boo the guy because he was a Tiger fan.

The little boy started to cry at which point everyone started boing the drunk guy. His response? “I didn’t see the kid, okay guys?”

In the top of the 9th, it was time for BALFOUR RAGE!!!!

Just to show you how packed and pumped up the crowd was, I got another panoramic picture

Throughout the game, there was a drunk A’s fan walking up and down the stairs of the sections cheering his head off. He was half drunk and half really excited. I have to admit, he did make the game a little more fun.

In the top of the 9th, he pulled me out of my seat to cheer. It was kind of awkward.

After an Omar Infante strikeout, Miguel Cabrera singled to right field. On a 1-2 fastball, Prince Fielder grounded into a double play to end the game.

Cue Kool and the Gang!

After a few minutes of celebration, something occured to me. I hadn’t snagged a ball. Then, I thought about the home run, and wandered over to see if the ball was somehow still beyond the wall. Nope. IT wasn’t. Oh well.

You know, it was disapointing to not snag a ball, but still, I would count the night as a success.

1) I got to meet finally meet Wayne Peck, who is a great guy.
2) I was the first one in line at a postseaon game.
3) I got a yellow rally towel.
4) I was at a POSTSEASON GAME!
5) I got some pretty cool posters.
6) I WAS AT A POSTSEASON GAME!
7) I had a ton of fun
8) Did I mention it was my first POSTSEASON GAME?

Even though I did’t snag a ball, It was a LOT of fun! I attended my first ever postseason game, and it was more than I could ask for.

I got a final picture with the signs and rally towel

And one with that guy I mentioned earlier

Wow. That was a lot of fun!

Yep. It was my last game of 2012. I had a great season. A lot of fun!

So. Regarding offseason entires, I have a bunch of ideas in mind. I’ll share more throughout the World Series and offseason, so check back frequently more more updates!

BALLHAWKING STATS:
• 0 ballS at this game 😦
• 23 balls in 15 Major League games this season = 1.53 balls per game.
• 38 balls in 21 baseball games this season = 1.81 balls per game.
• 28 Lifetime Major League baseballs
• 43 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.

9/14/12 at the Oakland Coliseum

Star Wars Night? Fireworks night? Playing the Baltimore Orioles who are using commemorative balls? Sell out crowd? Challenge. Accepted.

My dad picked me up from school when I got out at 3:05 and we headed home to get ready. Everyone was ready to go around 3:45, so my family headed out to the Coliseum.

When we got to the Coliseum close to 4:20, and as I was about to jump in line at Gate C, my mom noticed Gate B was set up.

I headed over there, and found out I was the first one in line. Sweetness.

My mom headed up to Will Call to pick up our tickets, while my dad and sister waited in line and I walked around.

I walked in the direction of the BART ramp and noticed a camera on tripod with some people around it.

Kind of random.

But the lines at LL and MM were not very long at all, so I headed down towards Gates A and D, where there were a few people in line.

Over by Gate D, I saw a 95.7 The GAME tent set up, heard the live radio broadcast and wandered over. Brandon Tierney and Rich Bucher were broadcasting “The Drive” live. Pretty cool.

I stayed there for a little bit before heading up to Will Call to see if my mom had picked up the tickets yet.

She was still in line, and I let her know that I would probably go over to Gate D and listen to the live radio a little more before heading back. Then I noticed this

If I’m not mistaken, it was the people that dress up as the Star Wars characters and all of their equipment.

Wow. That’s pretty cool.

After spending a little time by Gate D again, there were about 30 minutes until the gates opened, so I headed back to Gate B and got in line with my family

While I was heading down, I bumped into a few of the 149 regulars, who set their stuff down next to us

When I was walking down from LL and MM, I saw this on the ground.

Yep…

I talked with some of them for a few minutes, and looked at my watch. The gates were supposed to open in 15 minutes. So it was 5:20.

The gates were about to open, when a women who was right behind us in line, called over the head of security. She told him that she had just had back surgery and had a 3 kids with Autism and that it was “Completely rude and unacceptable” for the 149 regulars to be in the front of the line, when she had gotten there first. They just wanted to make sure that they got their usual spots.

It was her belief that if the guys ran in front of her, it would upset her children and they would throw a massive fit, “screwing everything up.”

In the end, it was just one of the 149 regulars, Will, and myself who ran ahead.

When the gates were supposed to open around 5:35, there was no sign of gates opening any time soon. I asked the head of security and he told me that they were checking all of the other gates were ready first.

So, they start with gate C, then go to D, A, LL, MM, and open B last. I finally got in around 5:45, maybe a little later.

When I got inside the bleachers, I found that there were already people in the bleachers.

Once the rest of my family got there, I grabbed my stuff and headed down by the bullpen.

I grabbed a spot on the slanted railing and was ready to go. During the course of the time I was there during BP, I would say that 3 or so balls were hit into the bleachers.

Had the railing been lower, I would have been able to get many balls, and sit didn’t help at all that the Coliseum prohibits ball retrievers.

A group of 3-4 lefties walked to the cage, and they were pulling the ball, so I figured that there was a good chance that I would get a ball.

Like I said, there were a lot of balls hit in my direction, just out of my reach. I actually did almost get one; it didn’t quite get to me, the ball stopped right below where I was standing.

An Orioles player, I identified him as Wilson Betimiet, walked in my direction. (UPDATE- Since I posted the entry, Zack Hample has helped me identify him as Orioles first base coach Wayne Kirby.)

He grabbed the 3-4 balls below the RF wall and threw the, back to the infield. He then walked up to the ball below me and tossed it to me. Ball #1 on the day!

Then, I realized that I hadn’t seen any commemorative balls at all. I had been making sure to keep an eye out and hadn’t spotted any in the 15-20 minutes I had been in.

While I had been on the 1st base side, the 149 guys started passing out double sided signs, with one side that was green and gold and said Oakland on the top, Our Teams on the bottom, and in the middle, a white heart with A’s printed. The other side was a Raiders version of the sign.

Whenever a ball was hit in my direction, the same player went to grab it. I knew that since he had already tossed me a ball, there was a slim chance of me getting another from him. Since it was approaching 6:10, I figured BP would end soon, so I threw on my Orioles gear and headed over to their dugout.

It was crowded, but I managed to get a spot in the front row, in the ideal spot to call put for a ball.

I waited about 10 minutes, it was close to 6:20, and BP was not over yet. I think it was a good choice to move, because there were virtually no balls hit to the right side of the field during the time I was behind the dugout.

It was close to 6:30, and BP was coming to a close. I called out to the Orioles bench coach, who had been throwing BP, and he walked up to the edge of the roof and asked if I was the youngest or oldest there.

I noticed that there were commemorative balls in his hands, so I was eally hoping that I would be able to acquire one.

I told him that I was hoping to get one of the Camden Yards balls and he told me that he would think about it. Odd, but decided to roll with it. Then, someone about my age, maybe a little older yelled for a “ball now” and the coach tossed him one of the two in his hand.

The kid was decked out in Yankees gear and promptly threw it back onto the field. I think he was ejected. But then the coach just tossed a ball to somebody to my left, and walked inside the dugout.

I headed out to the bleachers, where I ran into Will, who I talked with for a few minutes, while the ushers checked everyone’s tickets. There were 15 or so people in front of us.

He just wanted to make sure that my family and I were not mad at him for running ahead. I told him that I ran in right away so that I could snag balls, and that it is very important that they have their seats. We then had a conversation about the angry mom at the gates and a few other things.

When I got to our seats, my dad got a quick picture of me with the one ball from batting practice.

My dad then got a very nice picture of the Right Field drummer, Andy

Around 6:30, Derek Norris started to get loose

As well as the Orioles players

The field was watered down

Ok. Now fast forward to 6:55. Because it was Star Wars Night, a bunch of the characters from Star Wars ran with Stomper around the warning track, followed by a first pitch from Chewbacca. I had a feeling that it was going to be a good night.

The National Anthem was sung

The outfielders warmed up

And we were ready to go!

Because I have an iPhone 4s, I was able to upgrade to iOS 6. With iOS 6, the camera can now take panoramic pictures. This was my view at the beginning of the game.

The sun slowly started to set as a jet plane shot across the sky

Around the 2nd inning, a very familiar face showed up in the right field bleachers.

That would be Benjamin Christensen, a former MLB Fan Cave Dweller. He was one of the starting 9 at the beginning of the season, but was sadly eliminated in May.

Sometime around the middle of the game, I checked Twitter on my phone, where I learned that if I went to the Ticket Services table, I would receive a gift if I mentioned TwitterGift. At the end of the inning, I headed over with my dad.

When we got there, the lady at the table talked with us about season tickets and playoff tickets. Once I mentioned Twitter, she gave me an A’s yearbook and her business card and we were on our way.

When we got back to our seats, I learned from my mom that Oakland’s mayor, Jean Quan had stopped by to take a picture of the We love our Oakland teams signs.

Are you serious? Hmmm… I guess I picked the wrong time.

Other than that, the game was awesome! The A’s won, and the sold-out Coliseum environment was insane!

Of course, I did the Bernie lean!

And when Grant Balfour came into the game in the top of the 9th, to close it out, it was time to RAGE!

As soon as the game was over, the security staff began to set up the boundaries for the fireworks. And Stormtroopers entered from center field

We eventually got in line, and it was HUGE

Soon enough, we got onto the field. It was ridiculously crowded, and not only that, but the stands were almost FULL!

I then shot a panoramic picture of the crowd on the field to give you a perspective on how crowded it was

And the fireworks were fantastic!

After the fireworks were over, my dad got a quick picture of Benjamin

And a picture of me, with two signs, and my one ball on the day

When I got home and rewatched the game on the DVR, I saw myself a couple of times.
1) The Bernie:
Closer look:

2) In the top of the 9th:
If you can’t see where I am, I’m above the sign that says “The Bash is Back”

It was an AWESOME night!

BALLHAWKING STATS:
• 1 ball at this game (Pictured to the right)
• 23 balls in 14 Major League games this season = 1.643 balls per game.
• 38 balls in 20 baseball games this season = 1.9 balls per game.
• 28 Lifetime Major League baseballs
• 43 total balls
• 8 consecutive games in Oakland with at least 1 ball
• 11 consecutive baseball 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.