Category: Tom Milone

6/25/13 at the Oakland Coliseum

This was the first of a two-game series between the A’s and Reds. It would also be my first of 3 games in 5 days.

It was a 7:05 game, with the gates opening at 5:35. My dad and I arrived around 4:15 where we got in line at gate MM. At the time, were the only fans in line.

It was pretty boring for the next hour. It was pretty cold and it was raining off and on. Nobody was in line behind us for about 45 minutes. 30 minutes before the gates opened, Will MacNeil got in line with us.

5 minutes before the gates opened, the line looked like this…

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Yeah. I could tell it would feel pretty empty for the game. The gates opened at 5:35, where my dad and I grabbed two front row seats in Section 149, on the aisle.  It was pretty empty.

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 Things were looking up, as the Reds have a lot of power in their lineup. With few fans, lots of balls being hit into the outfield, I was confident that BP would be a lot of fun!

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Boy oh boy was I wrong…  It felt like the Reds hitters were trained to hit the ball to opposite field during BP. When the first few groups were up, I was going to RF for lefties, then LF for righties. Once I realized what was going on, I adjusted, going to RF for righties, LF for lefties.  Nobody was hitting anything near where I was positioning myself.

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There were a lot of people in the outfield. LOTS of pitchers were standing in the right-centerfield area, but none of them were tossing anything up. It was awful.

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Johnny Cueto was manning the Right Field warning track.

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He wasn’t tossing anything up either.

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Things were turning from bad to worse.  I had no clue what to expect from here on out.

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Over by the A’s dugout, Kate Longworth was getting ready for the A’s pregame show.

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Cueto was signing autographs by the Reds bullpen.

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And for the most part, the Reds hitters were making great contact with the ball. They just were not hitting it anywhere near me.

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I was positioning myself wherever I thought I had the best chance of snagging a ball. The Reds just kept hitting it where I least expected it. I tried to adjust, but things just didn’t work out.

IMG_7206 To add to my frustration, none of the pitchers were tossing anything up. It was one of those situations where I wished I was a little kid or young female.

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And before I knew it, Batting Practice was over. Just like that. Wow.

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I was in utter shock. Everything went wrong. I got there early, the stadium was very empty, things looked great. All of a sudden, things turned for the worst. Nobody was tossing anything up,  plus the Reds hitters were not hitting balls into either bleachers section. I would say at most, 5 balls landed in the bleachers over the course of BP.

I really don’t know exactly how to put it all into words…

This was the last game all season I expected to get shutout at.  It was all hard to swallow. At least there was a great game ahead!

 Batting Practice ended around 6:20, so I had time to go grab food. As I was walking through the concourse, I bumped into Vanessa Demske and Wes Mills, among a few other people (If you have read almost any of my Coliseum posts, you know who they are). We all grabbed some food and headed back to the bleachers. Stephen Vogt was already well into warming up for his A’s debut.

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 Tommy Milone, the A’s starter was also warming up.

IMG_7516 Bronson Arroyo, the Reds starting pitcher came out to warm up as well.

IMG_7561 He started to play long toss with Ryan Hanigan.

IMG_7545 Tommy Milone was playing catch as well with Stephen Vogt.

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The grounds crew was putting the final touches on the field.

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Most Reds players went into their last stretches.

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 Same with the A’s.

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Right before the first pitch, the A’s had a ceremony honoring a few people. I can’t remember exactly what they were being honored for…

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To the game…

Pat Neshek is hands down my favorite player to take photos of, due to his funky delivery. Coming in a close second is Bronson Arroyo. The leg kick says it all.

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In the bottom of the 2nd, after a Brandon Moss double and Josh Donaldson single, Josh Reddick laced a line drive to center field that was fielded by Shin-Soo Choo.

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Reddick stood at 2n with a double, starting the scoring off to make it 2-0.

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Everyone was excited!

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Stephen Vogt then followed up with a Sac fly, driving in Donaldson, advancing Reddick to 3rd.

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Everyone in Right Field was into the game, as expected!
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In the A’s half of the 3rd, Yoenis Cespedes started the scoring off in the inning by driving in Coco Crisp, advancing Jed Lowrie to 3rd base.

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Brandon Moss brought in Lowrie with a Sac Fly, making the score 4-0 A’s.

Josh Donaldson then stepped to the plate and on the first pitch of the at bat, made contact with the ball.

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He BOMBED it out to left field!

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This made the score 6-0 A’s after 3 innings.

Joey Votto led off the 4th with a homer, brining Todd Frazier to the plate.

He singled to left field, but got greedy, trying to stretch it into a double. Yoenis threw the ball into Eric Sogard at 2nd Base, who threw it to Brandon Moss at 1st, to Jed Lowrie, who was covering 2nd, to make it a 7-4-3-6 putout.IMG_8359

Jerry Blevins came on in the 6th inning, relieving Tommy Milone

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He loaded the bases after hitting Shin-Soo Choo, but managed to get out of the 6th inning unharmed.

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In the top of the 8th, Sean Doolittle came on to replace Ryan Cook, who had pitched a 1-2-3 7th inning. What did that mean? It was time for some Doolittle headbanging!

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I looked over to 148, where Wes and Vanessa were headbanging it out!

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In the bottom of the 8th inning, Vanessa came over from 148 to join my dad and I in 149. She had something pretty cool to show us…

 This was the box she handed me.

IMG_8818 That would be a Coco Lean bobblehead! It was the giveaway for the game 4 days later! From what I understand, Vanessa won an essay contest for the blog Big League Stew, where the prize was that bobblehead! She was taking it on “tour,” where her goal was to get as many people to take a picture with it as possible. My reaction pretty much sums it up.

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I admired the leaning bobblehead a bit.

IMG_8829 Actually, bobble-torso, or bobble-waist would be more appropriate.

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Anyway…

Jay Bruce was at the plate with 2 outs in the top of the 9th, with the A’s ahead 7-3.

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Dan Ortero was on the mound to finish the game off.

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And it was an A’s win! The stadium cleared out rather quickly.

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But the bleachers were not emptying yet. There was a group of Irish soccer fans who were visiting the US and had decided to visit an A’s game. They were sitting and cheering their heads off in Section 148. It was awesome to see! Well they got a group picture, along with Wes, who is pretty much one of the Kings of 148.

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Everyone was happy about the A’s victory!

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Vanessa got this picture with Yuichiro, holding up “Sogard Specs”

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And we all celebrated in the concourse, as the lights and ushers kicked us out of the bleachers, because apparently, they want to get home or something like that.

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 It was a good game!

Sure I didn’t snag a ball, but it was a great day. I was ready to be back out at the yard the next day, for the last game of the two game series between the A’s and Reds.

BALLHAWKING STATS:

  • 16th Game this Year (11th MLB Game)
  • 0 Balls at this Game
  • 12 balls in 11 MLB games this season = 1.09 Balls Per Game
  • 40 Lifetime MLB Baseballs
  • 91 Lifetime Baseballs

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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.

5/18/13 at the Oakland Coliseum- BallhawkFest: Bay Area: 2013!

Today was going to be a long, fun filled day!

Do you remember back in March when I mentioned BallhawkFest: West Coast? Well shortly after, it was approved by Alan Schuster, the Admin at MyGameBalls.com, and it was all set to go, on May 18th in Oakland, for the A’s to take on the Royals.

There was A LOT of planning involved on my part, finalizing details and other such things…

ANYWAY… My family left for Zachary’s Pizza in Oakland around noon, getting there around 12:40. Spencer Sanborn, Dave Edlund, and Kelly Byrnes and his wife Leah were already there.

We were soon seated and shortly after, Rick Gold showed up. Today was looking to be a good day!

We all finished up around 2:20, where we grabbed a quick group picture before heading out.

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Starting with me going clockwise: Me, Dave Edlund, My Mom (Anne), My Sister (Pascale), Leah Byrnes, Kelly Byrnes, Spencer Sanborn, and Rick Gold.

From there, we parted ways and headed off to the Coliseum. I was the first one there and arrived around 2:40, where it was near empty, but PERFECT weather. I was a little excited!

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This was the scene when I got to Gate MM. As you can see, only the flags were laid out and there was nobody else there!

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After walking around the stadium once, I headed out to the parking lot to meet up with Kelly Byrnes. He and I are both participating in the MyGameBalls.com Photo Scavenger Hunt this season, with one of the items on the checklist being “You swinging a bat at the BallhawkFest softball game.” Both of us were disappointed because nobody else wanted to play, so we decided to play a HR Derby-Style Wiffle Ball game in the EMPTY parking lot.

I was first up and the first to pitches I hit were both at one of the few cars in the parking lot…

I kept pulling the ball!!

We shifted our angle, and that’s where the fun began!

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I would say my farthest hit went 200 feet maybe. Then, it was his turn to bat.

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I felt bad because my pitches were not in the strike zone much.

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But when they were, he got ahold of them!

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Based solely on most hits, I won. If I had given him enough good pitches, he would have won in a landslide!

Once we finished up, he was very kind in giving me one of his blog’s shirts, we chatted for a bit, then parted ways.

I headed up back to Gate MM, where I saw Dave Edlund and his friend “Splash Hit” Steve Garrison in line at Gate LL, so I walked over there to talk with him.

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Soon after, Leiming Tang, or Tang, as he is better known, showed up!

We talked for 20 minutes or so, before I headed to get back in line at MM.

Dave and Steve tossed and bounced a ball around for a bit.

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They also played a bit of catch.

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But I was in line! Kelly and Leah joined my dad and I in line, where we were soon joined by Will, Ross, Santiago, and a few others.

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10 minutes before the gates opened, Ben and Vanessa showed up and Ben had an AMAZING hat for Will.

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You know how the Brewers had the Design the YOU-niform contest

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Around 4pm, I was all ready to go!
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BUT THEY WOUDNT LET US IN because it wasn’t 4:05…

When I did finally run inside, Seth Smith was hitting in the cages.

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So was Nate Freiman

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Dave headed to left field. He’s in the blue.

To his right is Ryan Dalton, one of the ballhawks that joined us for BallhawkFest!

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To his right is Rick Gold!

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Rick Gold, as I am sure most of you know, ballhawked at the Coliseum in the 1990’s. He actually competed with Ryan’s dad, who was also a ballhawk for balls during that time!

It’s a small world, huh?

I started out the day near my seat in Right Field, where two ball boys were patrolling the area, tossing back everything to the infield.
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Within 10 minutes of no baseballs, the Royals came onto the field.

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Then, a ball was hit off the wall, landing in the grass.

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Jerry Blevins walked off, picked it up, and tossed it to a random guy a few feet away from me.

The ball boys were throwing EVERYTHING back to the infield.

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Kelly had headed over to one of my usual spots, over down the RF line.

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My dad got a lot of cool pictures during BP.

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Once their stretching had concluded, the Royals players began to play catch and warm up.
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One of the players out there was Mr. Bacon Friday himself, Jeff Francouer!

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Around 15 minutes into BP, a ball was hit off the wall right above where my dad was standing. A player walked over, tossed it up, and…

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My dad snagged his 2nd lifetime ball!

I have to give major props to Dave and Steve for this game. They rarely go to games INSIDE the stadium, and both of them rarely go to the Oakland Colisuem, so as Spencer said, it’s like “They are fish out of water.”

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Rick had a successful BP himself.

IMG_4521A few minutes after my dad got his ball, a player on the A’s hit a ball off the wall that A.J. Griffin fielded, then tossed up to me.

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Once I got this ball, I headed over to the RF line, near where Kelly was.

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Shortly after I got over there, his wife Leah hot a ball tossed up to her. It was her first lifetime ball!

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She ended up giving it away to a kid nearby her.

I didn’t see it, but about halfway though batting practice, if I am not mistaken, a ball was hit Dave’s way. In the following picture, you can see the ball in his hands.

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My dad got a lot of great pictures from the bleachers, despite being crowded in.

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The pitchers did a lot of running durin BP.

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BP was pretty quiet in regards to hit balls, so I had a lot of time to stand around.

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It AMAZED me how many toss-ups there were. JC Gutierrez tossed up at least 10 balls to the RF Bleachers.

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Why was I not there? The area in which he was tossing them up was packed. Bruce Chen and Luis Mendoza also had their fair share of toss-ups.

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Can you spot the ball that Luis Mendoza is tossing up? Let me know in the comments!
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Royals coaches were getting in on the act.

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Bruce Chen tossed more balls into the stands…IMG_4894

Some time after that, Jeff Francouer lined a ball foul that if I remember correctly either was bobbled by some fans or hit a seat.

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Long story short, Kelly came up with it!
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Doy you see the kid in the black A’s hat and grey shirt, to the left of Kelly? Well, when I headed over to the RF foul pole, where  a ball had just been hit, the boys called out to the trainer, asking for a ball. He didn’t have one, telling them all he had was water. So, that boy and his friend asked for a bottle of water!

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Remember that kid and his friend, ok?

Around 5:50, Jeff Francouer hit a sharp ground ball just foul. It ended up landing here.

20130522-235940.jpgBruce Chen went over to pick it up, in the process accidentally kicking it towards the RF corner, as you can see it is in a different location in the next photo.

I called out to him.

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And he flipped it up!

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Can you spot the ball? Let me know in the comments!

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It’s easier to see in this photo.

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Since my dad and I usually don’t touch base much during Batting Practice, I thought it was cool that he got a series of photos like this.IMG_4720

Dave was easy to spot in LF, wearing his royal blue BallhawkFest shirt among a sea of green and gold.

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Shortly after I got that ball, once Chen had gotten back to his spot in the outfield, a ball was hit to him. The other of those two boys I mentioned earlier, asked if he could play catch with him.

STORY TIME!!! I had seen this video filmed by ballhawk Bobby Crosby, who films videos of himself snagging balls on the YouTube channel DodgerFilms. The video is of Dodgers pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu playing catch with a young fan during Dodgers BP, and since it was posted on May 13th, has over 2 Millions Views! 3 days later, the same boy was back at Dodger BP again and AGAIN played catch with Hyun-Jin Ryu. That is really where it started. Zack Hample has done it not one, two, or three, but four times on video. Mateo Fischer has played catch with Derek Lowe. The day after the first video of Hyrun-Jin Ryu came out, there was a video of Gio Gonzalez doing them same thing.

As soon as I saw this taking place, I pulled out my cell phone and recorded this video:

My dad took notice and also got a short video as well. I edited his video and my video together to make this:

Hands down, that was one of the highlights of the day for me!

As soon as I finished recording the video on my phone, I immediately went to upload it to YouTube. It finished around 7pm, and I then tweeted it to Alex Espinosa.

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He is the MLB.com Cut4 Real Time Correspondant for Oakland, and I’m sure most of you remember him from past entries.

Later that night, I found my video on Cut4, in this article:

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Then, I saw this tweet from the MLB Fan Cave:

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I replied to the Tweet, then they replied to my tweet!Screen Shot 2013-05-23 at 1.28.28 AM

There were multiple blog posts written about it at the MLB Fan Cave website. The MLB Fan Cave posted a quick entry with my video, Mateo’s video, the Hyun-Jin Ryu video, and the Gio Gonzalez video.Then, Cave Dweller April Whitzman did a post herself.

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On Monday, I walked into Mr. Hahn’s class and told him about the experience and video. He then told me he had read an article on Yahoo over the weekend about players playing catch with kids during BP. On Monday May 20th, it was the top headline at Yahoo sports! He showed me the article and lone behold…

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Wow! I did not expect all of this attention at all!

Here is a picture my dad snapped of him lying on the outfield grass

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I would say that in total, at least 30 balls were tossed up, if not closer to 40, mostly due to these two guys.

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Once BP came to a close, I had finished with two balls. All of the ballhawks met up in the concourse behind the bleachers for a group photo.

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Top Row: Spencer Sanborn (3 Balls), Ryan Dalton (3 Balls), Kelly Byrnes (2 Balls), Rick Gold (4 Balls)

Bottom Row: “McCovey Cove” Dave Edlund (1 Ball), Nick Badders (2 Balls + My Dad’s 1 Ball), “Splash Hit” Steve Garrison (1 Ball)

Not Pictured: Dan Badders (1 Ball held by Nick Badders), Leah Byrnes (2 Balls- Gave Both Away), Leiming Tang (3 Balls)

So, between the 9 of us, 22 balls were snagged! Even though that is only an average of 2.44 balls per person, it is still crazy for me to see that it all came together and was successful!

After we got that group picture, I also got a picture with Rick, who has snagged the most lifetime balls at the Oakland Coliseum. This picture gave me 2 points in the MyGameBalls Photo Scavenger Hunt.
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Kelly was in the picture, as he is also competing in the contest!

Between our two families, 5 balls had been snagged, so we both wanted to get a picture for the scavenger hunt. For 6 points… “You and another myGameBalls.com member standing in an empty row of seats in which each cupholder contains a baseball.”

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Mission accomplished!

We then parted our separate ways for a little while. My dad and I headed back to our seats.

After a little while with no action, Ervin Santana, the Royals starting pitcher for the day came out to warm up.

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I can’t identify the player stretching in this photo.
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The grounds crew watered the infield dirt.

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Then, I noticed this guy!
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Omar Gonzlez wore his graduation robe, as he has just finished his undergrad studies in college! Why don’t you all, as the readers of 7000 Coliseum Way, go over and give him some love on Twitter. Sound good? Cool!

Back to the warming up?

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It was “Star Trek Night,” so the A’s had all of these gimmicks going on, including Stomper’s “outfit.”

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This was the only A’s logo shown on the scoreboard that day…

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Yep!

Jeff Francoeur WAS getting the start in Right Field today!

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“Tommy Gun” Milone was on the mound for the A’s in this game, my dad got a few pictures of him in the bullpen before the game got underway.
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Ervin Santana warmed up in the Royals bullpen.

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The ceremonial first pitch was thrown!

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The national anthem was played!

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The people in the bullpen finished up their work.

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The meeting at home plate took place.

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And we were all ready to go!

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Chris Young was in Right Field for the A’s.

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Eric Sogard was in his usual second base position.

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It wasn’t too hard to spot Dave and Steve in LF. Can you?

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Coco Crisp lead off in the bottom of the 1st for Oakland.

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Yoenis Cespedes lined out to RF to end the inning.

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Tommy Milone took the mound in the second, down 1-0, after giving up a first inning run.

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I thought this was a randomly cool picture.

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Along with this one…

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And this one…

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Lorenzo Cain was called out on strikes to end the second inning.

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However, the 2nd inning didn’t come without a cost. *38* pitches in the 2nd inning for Tomaso, with 26 pitches in the top of the first inning, prompting Jesse Chavez to start to get hot.

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Early into the game, the A’s will show the Pepsi Sports highlight during an inning break. It’s always MLB Action or something random.

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Nobody ever wants to see MLB Action.

Like I mentioned earlier, Jeff Francoeur was in RF for KC.

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The ball boy down the RF line tossed a lot of foul balls into the stands.

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John Jaso was the 2nd out of the 2nd inning, striking out.

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Milone was back out for the 3rd inning, this time, with 12 pitches.
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My dad enjoyed using the extension on his monopod to get photos like this.

IMG_6245In the top of the 4th inning, Frenchy struck out swinging for the 2nd out.
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This day was Social Media night, which my mom and sister particpated in. They each bought a ticket to the “Tweetup,” where they also got a special ticket in a section with all of the other tweeters. I used the zoom on my dad’s camera to find them quickly.

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In the bottom of the 4th, Josh Donaldson took a mighty hack, but…

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Popped out to end the inning, with the score still at 1-0 Royals.

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Over the course of the day, we got lots of pictures of Section 149. I love Tony’s pose here.
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After his first few wild inning, Tommy Milone settled down A LOT!

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Chris Young was starting to get the hang of keeping track of outs with the RF Crew. He’s not 100% there yet, though.

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Alcides Escobar at the plate…

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Brandon Moss was at his usual first base spot in this game.

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I thought this was another really cool photo. (I took it! ;-))

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4 of the guys on my school’s Varsity baseball team: Ryan Flayler, Jordan Thrailkill, Justin Cash, and Dan Whitney, told me that they were going to be at this game, sitting fright behind the dugout. Guess who I found using my dad’s extreme zoom?

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In the 6th inning, Jed Lowrie hit a sac fly with no outs to bring in the game tying run.

WE LOVE YOU OAKLAND, WE DO! WE LOVE YOU OAKLAND, WE DO! WE LOVE YOU OAKLAND, OAKLAND WE LOVE YOU!

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Then, Brandon Moss tripled in Coco Crisp to put the A’s ahead 2-1.

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High fives all around!IMG_6549

It was around this time that I attempted to create my own panoramic shot. I took 4 pictures, Photoshopped them together, and BAM!

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In the 8th inning, my dad and mom headed up to where she and my sister had been sitting. Pascale stayed with me in RF, my dad took the camera and loved getting pictures from a different angle.

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This was their view.

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And no, they did not have any foul balls come close.

In the top of the 8th, Sean Doolittle came in to pitch.
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He pitched a 1-2-3 8th inning.IMG_6674

Coco Crisp was called out on strikes to lead off the A’s half of the 8th inning.

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Jed Lowrie flied out to center field.

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Like I mentioned earlier, my sister and I were sitting in RF. Kelly is to her right, to his right is his wife Leah.

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I thought it was awesome to see RF from this angle.

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Guess who pitched the 9th inning for the A’s? It was 2-1. They were winning…

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(In case you are wondering, yes, my parents came back to the bleachers at the start of the 9th, to join Pascale and I)
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Despite a leadoff walk, Balfour got none other than Jeff Francoeur to fly out…
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To end the game!

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And it was the A’s 2nd consecutive 2-1 win!

Immediately after the final out, these people came onto the field…

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And my family got in line along with Kelly and Leah to get onto the field to watch the fireworks.

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It was PACKED!!

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My sister and I were both happy to be there.

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The fireworks were spectacular, as always.

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My dad and I got a picture with our BP balls.

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I got one last picture. I’m sure you can notice how tired I am.

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BALLHAWKING STATS:

  • 10th Game this Year
  • 2 Balls at this Game
  • 10 balls in 8 MLB games this season = 1.25 Ball Per Game
  • 25 Balls in 10 Games this season = 2.5 Balls Per Game
  • 38 Lifetime MLB Baseballs
  • 68 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.

1/27/13 at A’s FanFest

Wow. This was a truly incredible day!

Last year, A’s FanFest was the same weekend, on Sunday, January 29th. It was a lot fo fun and you can read about it here!

It started off at 6am, when I woke up and slowly got ready, with the rest of my family out of bed by 6:45. We were out of the house and on our way to Oakland at 7:20, getting there around 7:50, where I found about 6 lines, each with 20-50 people. I got in the shortest line, which was to the far right. My dad and sister shortly arrived from the parking lot, with folding camping chairs and blankets, as we had a 1.5 hour wait in front of us.

Like I mentioned in this entry, the event was taking place mainly at the Oracle Arena.
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My sister and I decided to wander around a little, so we headed towards the Coliseum, where people were waiting anxiously in line for single-game tickets, like I did last year.
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We then headed past Gate A and up the ramp towards the BART Plaza.
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Along our way, I got a couple of photos of signs like these.
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When we got to the BART Plaza, I saw an electronic sign that was flashing “FAN FEST SOLD OUT. SINGLE GAME TICKETS ON SALE AT 9AM.”
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When we got over by B and C gate, I took note of the parking lot.
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The day before, there had been a supercross event at the Coliseum, so they have been unable to hold FanFest there. All of the semi-trucks were still parked in the lot.

We eventually made our way back, at which point I decided to sit in one of the chairs and relax.
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My dad got a couple more good photos of me.
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The lines behind us grew much longer.
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And this guy’s hat attracted more and more attention!
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Around 8:45, this was the scene.
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At this point, my dad and I left the line, bringing the chairs and stuff back to the car, as we headed to go pick up our media credentials for BlogFest!

On our way pack to the car, the line had gotten pretty long!
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At 9am, we picked up our passes. This is what my press pass looked like. How cool is that?
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We made our way back towards the Arena, where we still had 25 minutes to wait in line.
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At 9:30am, the lines started to move, and people were brought in. I would say there were 20 or so people in front of me in line.

It felt like a mad dash to get to the bleachers! I ran inside the barricaded area between the Coliseum and Arena, and ran inside, up an escalator, and got in a very short line for the Authenticated Memorabilia stand, which quickly grew VERY long. I’m sure you are wondering what the big deal was.

This was the scene before I was let in.
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As soon as you walked in, to the right, there was a table, with game-worn batting helmets and hats, each was $40.
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In the center, there was another table with the $40 helmets.
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In the right of this picture, you see people crowding around the coveted jerseys table. BP/Spring Training jerseys were $30 each, Bob Melvin/Josh Reddick/Brandon McCarthy jerseys were $200 each, and all other jerseys were $100 each. In the center, you should see a table with plastic bags, that inside contained dugout jackets that were each $100!
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There was also this table, with game-used bats for $100.
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And to it’s left, there were champagne bottle from the Playoff clinching and AL West clinching clubhouse celebrations for $30 each.
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Along with these items, there were signed aprons from MUG Root Beer float day for $20, DVDs commemorating the 2002 20-game win streak for $20, and bases for $100.

Game-used pants were $10 each, and I would say they had about 7 different styles, mostly from throwback games.

There were also 2 tubs of game-used baseballs, which I thought nothing of. I later saw people with lots of different commemorative balls, which I think would have been cool to have!

I grabbed this program that was sitting by the bin of balls
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In the end, I purchased a #31 nameless batting practice jersey ($30), which I knew must have been worn my Kirk Sarloos, because he was #31 when the A’s wore this style of jersey.20130127-201208.jpg20130127-201213.jpg

I also got a game-used batting helmet ($40)20130127-201202.jpg

Pair of game-used throwback pants ($10)20130127-201222.jpg20130127-201227.jpg

This Root Beer float day apron, signed by David Justice ($20)20130127-201235.jpg

And these COOL knee savers, with the #8 on them, so I will assume that they were Kurt Suzuki’s ($10)20130127-201242.jpg

I got those 5 items, spending $110. How cool is that??

From there, my family and I walked around the upper concourse area, where my dad peeked in on the court area and snapped a few really cool pictures!
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We quickly stopped at the Kids Club table, where my sister purchased a kids club kit and got an autograph voucher.
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From there, we headed down to the lower concourse, where I was looking for anything free.

I grabbed these 5 soft balls at a Sport Clips table
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Along with a few other freebies
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At the Sport Clips table, they were giving free hair cuts, which I thought was kind of cool! IMG_1070

We stopped at the Stockton Ports table, where I got a bunch of free stuff!

4 of these Baseball cards
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And 4 of these bookmarks:
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4 of these team photos
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And these two items as well!
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After that, we stopped at the Athletics Magazine table, where I signed up for a 2013 subscription, and was given this free magazine from 2012!
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From here, we headed outside.IMG_1072

We decided to get in line for the clubhouse tours! We entered at the Employee Entrance
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And were ready to head down this long ramp
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The only reason they couldn’t hold it in the Coliseum was because of the Motercross event the day before. There were a bunch of dirt mounds on the field.
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We walked through the concourse a little, then down a few more ramos, before we got to this signIMG_1111

We then walked down this tunnel
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We eventually got to what seemed like the area near the clubhouse.

We walked past the Umpire’s room
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And saw this sign
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There were a few more signs like that along the hallway like these
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We then walked past the weight room
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And took a look inside
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We kept going, walking past theses signs
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Finally, we were right accross the way from the clubhouse, in the hallway with lots of cool memorabilia
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We walked past Steve Vucinich’s office. “Vuch” is the A’s equipment manager
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We finally got inside, and I took another pictures of this sign
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This is how the clubhouse was laid out
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Ariel Prieto, Yoenis Cespedes’ interpretor, as a locker right next to Cespedes
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Jim Miller, Travis Blackley, and Dallas Braden all have lockers next to each other
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Last year, Mike Gallego, Eric Sogard, and Tommy Milone greeted people in the clubhouse. This year, it was new bullpen coach Darren Bush. Here is the thing… NOBODY recognized him! Except for me, that is!

I immediately approached him, and he was very excited to see that someone had recognized him. I felt bad for him! Darren is a great guy, and I have a feeling I will be getting a few balls from him in 2013! IMG_1164

We left the clubhouse at headed out get autographs, since the autograph coupons we had received upon entry were for session #1, which was supposed to end soon. There were 3 autograph stations outside, in the area between the Coliseum and Arena. There were signs above each station with the people signing at each table.
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The line for Cespedes and Taylor was way too long, so we got in line for Josh Donaldson and Ray Fosse. We got in line and stood there for about 5 minutes, before we were next in line.
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I got both Josh Donaldson and Ray Fosse to sign both sides of the bill of a souvineer french fry helmet that I got at a game in 2012
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This was the scene behind the autograph lines
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Cespedes and Taylor were both busy signing
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My dad was accidentally given 2 autograph coupons for session 1, so he gave his second one to me, so that I could get two more autographs!

I got in line to get Tommy Milone and Pat Neshek to sign the souvenir helmet as well
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After we got autographs, we headed to the under level of the Arena. I saw a line where you could take a picture with Sal Bando and Billy North, along with the *4* A’s World Series trophies.IMG_1214

I was just standing next to the line watching the “action” when it got to a point that nobody was moving forward. Apparently Ray Fosse was scheduled next for the photos and *Everyone* in line was waiting for him. The volunteer that was controlling the line yelled out that anyone that wanted a photo with Billy North and Sal Bando, along with the trophies, could go to the front of the line.

I put everything with my parents, since they didn’t want a picture, and I jumped right to the front of the line. Oh Yeah!EPSON MFP image

We then headed to the main level, where we got some food and checked out the Sacramento River Cats table.
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I picked up this wristband at the stand

After we got our food and sat down, I realized that it was time for my dad and I to head off to BlogFest.

We left my mom and sister at the Q&A session and headed off to drop off some stuff at our car before heading to meet up.

If you don’t remember what BlogFest is, just click here to read what I wrote a few weeks ago about it!

I got to the meeting spot at about 12:40.
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There were lots of other bloggers there as well, including people from A’s Farm, BeanBall, Athletics Nation, newballpark.org, A’s Fan Radio, and many more!
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We walked into the Oracle Arena, down some stairs, through a few tunnels, into the underbellies of the Oracle Arena, and we arrived here!
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When we got into the room, I set up in the back corner of the room with my phone and laptop IMG_1246

This was the setup in the room20130206-213717.jpg

This was the sight from the side of the room
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The back
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We had about 15 minutes to prep before Adam, who coordinated this event, brought in 2012 AL Manager of the year Bob Melvin!IMG_1255IMG_1264

After Melvin, PR Director Bob Rose came in and talked to us for a little bit, while Adam went to get Assistant GM David Forst.
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Adam soon showed up with David Forst!
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Once we finished up with David Forst, Adam went to get Mike Gallego, the A’s 3rd base coach, who had some great stories to tell!
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I’m sure you are wondering what those 3 guys said…

Here is the deal. I have an audio recording of all 3 interviews. Right now, I am working to transcribe all 45 minutes of interviews, and publish IT ALL in a separate blog entry, with analysis of what they said.

It is taking a long time to get everything together, so hopefully, I will get everything up within the next week!

We left the press conference room with everyone else and headed back up to meet up with my mom and sister.

My dad had to leave to go pick up my grandmother and uncle, as we would be driving them out of town after FanFest, so I was alone with my mom and sister.

If you remember from this entry, then you know that in the mail, my family was invited to a special season ticket holder photo meet-and-greet session. The line was getting long, so my mom got in line, while my sister and I decided to wander around.

We headed upstairs to the Memorabilia sale that I had visited earlier, and prices had drastically decreased!

Jackets, baseballs, bats, helmets, and Spring Training jerseys had sold out, however game-worn jerseys were $40, Game-worn hats and pants were $5 each, champagne bottles from the 2012 clubhouse celebrations were $15 each, DVDs from the 2002 season were $5 each and aprons from MUG Root Beer float day were $5 each.

I first grabbed a 2002 DVD for $520130206-213818.jpg

Then this pair of pants for $5, so that I would have matching home and road pairs.20130206-213828.jpg20130206-213837.jpg

I then went over to take a look at the hats. $5 for a hat is a great price alone, but these are 59fifty hats that are usually $40 with tax. Then consider the fact that they are game-worn!

They only had road and 2012 BP hats left, and since I already have a 2012 BP hat, I searched through all the road hats, and found 2 in my size (7 3/8).

I got this one20130206-213731.jpg

That had Tye Waller’s #46 written on the inside20130206-213740.jpg

This hat is special for me because Tye Waller tossed me my first ever baseball.

The second hat I picked up was this one20130206-213749.jpg

It had a #37 written on the inside, with a MLB Authentication sticker20130206-213758.jpg

I looked it up through MLB’s authentication program, and check it out!
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Ron Romanick, the A’s pitching coach in 2011!

Can you guess what I did?20130206-220228.jpg

Yay!! “Official” Certificate printed out from the MLB.com website!

After making this $20 purchase (No, my sister did not ask for anything), we headed back down to wait in line with my mom. The line was moving VERY quickly!IMG_1372

We got to the front of the line, to find YOENIS CESPEDES was taking pictures with group #4 of season ticket holders!IMG_1373

I really wish my dad could have been there with us. It was very, very awesome!

After this, we headed back upstairs, since my sister and I both had received special autograph coupons that allowed us each to get another autograph.

I handed mine and the souvenir helmet that I had previously gotten signed to my mom and she and my sister got in line for Eric Sogard’s autograph.

I headed back to the memorabilia sale to look around. All they had left were jerseys, DVDs, pants, and a few hats. They were desperate to get rid of everything! Hats were still $5, and those were swooped up quickly. DVDs were still $5, and there were A LOT of those left over.

However, they had A LOT of pants left, and there was a lady walking around yelling “PANTS ARE $1 EACH!”

WHAAAAA? I immediately ran over and picked up 3 more pairs of throwback pants- the 3 pairs that they had laying out that I hadn’t already picked up.20130206-213903.jpg20130206-213913.jpg20130206-213920.jpg20130206-213928.jpg20130206-213937.jpg20130206-213945.jpg

Then, I took a look at the game-used jerseys that they had lying out. They were…. *$20* each!

I looked at each jersey, and since there was only one in my size, I immediately grabbed it!20130206-220212.jpg20130206-220221.jpg

A #63 Danny Farquhar green jersey! How cool is that?

Who is Danny Farquhar you might ask?

“He was traded to the Oakland Athletics from the Toronto Blue Jays along with Trystan Magnuson for outfielder Rajai Davis after the 2010 season.
On April 18, 2011, Farquhar was traded to the Blue Jays in exchange for reliever David Purcey.
Farquhar made his major league debut on September 13, 2011, against the Boston Red Sox. He pitched 0.2 innings and allowed three earned runs on three hits, while walking two with no strikeouts. Farquhar was later optioned back to New Hampshire. On June 2, 2012, the Blue Jays designated Farquhar for assignment after claiming Chris Schwinden off waivers from the New York Mets.
On June 9, 2012 the Oakland Athletics claimed Faquhar off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays. After making five appearances in the minor leagues for the Sacramento River Cats, the Athletics waived him to select the contract of A. J. Griffin.”

So…
*He never played a game for Oakland, just the AAA River Cats
*He was in the A’s organization twice
*He was waived for a guy that I saw make his MLB debut.

AWESOME!

Here was my final haul of stuff that I picked up at the memorabilia sale. Great deals, neat stuff, AWESOME!20130206-213955.jpg

I talked with a few people, and before I knew it, my mom and sister came back.

Here is the helmet that I got signed
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PRETTY COOL!

At this point, we headed out and met up with my dad, grandma, and uncle and headed out of Oakland.

This was an amazing day, and I had some once-in-a-lifetime opportunities! I met great people, got great deals, and had a great time!

This event put me just one step closer to Opening Day!

For me, I am looking forward to an exciting season as an A’s fan and season ticket holder!

Later that night, I went on BlogTalkRadio with RF Bleacher regular Will MacNeil to talk about the RF Bleachers and our experiences at FanFest. You can listen to that broadcast here.

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.300x50_mlblogs_top100

Best Pictures of 2012- FanFest, April, and May

Wow. What a crazy season. My dad took a majority of the pictures featured on this blog, and all of them were excellent. I wanted to take some time to comprise a few entires with of all of the best photos that were taken at the 21 games I went to in 2012. At the end of each month and game, I will have a poll for you to choose your favorite picture of that month.

This entry features the 6 games I attended in April and May, as well as FanFest in January

***If you would ever like permission to use any of the photos on this blog for any reason, please send an email to nickbatters@gmail.com***

1/29/12 at FanFest

In line at for tickets early in the morning before FanFest

Posing with Eric Sogard

Posing with Tom Milone

Inside the A’s clubhouse

A sign showing times for BP according to game time


April:
4/5/12 at PETCO Park

Padres catcher Nick Hundley warming up before the Padres took on the Dodgers on opening day.

Padres catcher Members of the U.S. Navy holing the American flag on Opening Day at PETCO Park for the National Anthem.

Griffin Benedict, one of the Padres bullpen catchers in the bullpen.

Watching the game, sitting right next to the bullpen


4/13/12 at Banner Island Ballpark

Me at Banner Island Ballpark with the Ports Prize Pack that I won on Facebook

Having the water wiped off of our seats as we showed up with a rainbow in the background

A pre-game view of the home plate area from our seats

A.J. Cole throwing his last warm-up pitch in the top of the 1st inning

The tarp being put on the field during the rain delay

Sitting right next to the dugout for the final few outs of the game


4/22/12 at the Oakland Coliseum

MyGameBalls.com Scavenger Hunt Picture: Sitting in the seat I determined to be te farthest away from home plate

Tyson Ross pitching on his birthday. He tossed me a ball before the game.

Jordan Norberto tossing sunflower seeds to fans behind the bullpen

MyGameBalls Scavenger Hunt Picture: Bonus Photo- Posing with my 3 balls at the game in front of the O.co Coliseum sign


May:
5/11/12 at the Oakland Coliseum

A view of the Coliseum from the last row of the 3rd Deck

Tom Milone pitching. Photo taken from the 3rd deck.

Everything that I got at this game. Ball, Drawstring bag, Blanket, Hat


5/18/12 at John Thurman Field

Chad Oberkacker at the plate. He threw me a ball before the game.

Miles Head, who threw me my first ever Minor League Ball in Stockton in April

A.J. Cole Pitching. Look at his eyes.

A.J. Cole again. His eyes…

These signs are all over John Thurman Field


5/26/12 at Banner Island Ballpark

Batting Practice at Banner Island Ballpark

The Marina behind Banner Island Ballpark

Yordy Cabera at the Plate

A Ports pitcher pitching in the Top of the 9th


Ok. That’s it for this entry. I’ll try to have the entry for June and July up in 1 week. Make sure to vote in each poll, as I’ll be compiling an entry of the best pictures from 2012!

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

8/20/12 at the Oakland Coliseum

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

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

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

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

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

I made a list of cases for both sides.

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

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

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

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

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

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

We got to the Coliseum around 4:20.

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

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

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

The Season Ticket Holder entrance

And the Employee Entrance (Gate EE)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My mom got some great pictures

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The meeting at home plate took place

This was our view for most of the game

To the left

And the right

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

He looked pretty goo overall

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

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

I have to say my mom took some amazing pictures.

Josh Reddick and Jemile Weeks

Yoenis Cespedes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Flied out to left fielder and former Athletic Josh Willingham.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8/5/12 at the Oakland Coliseum

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

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

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

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

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

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

I was the only one is line

I started talking with this security guard at the gate

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

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

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

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

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

Nitro Circus! This is who got out…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lets start off with Sean Doolitle

Pedro Figueroa:

Casey Chavez (Again)

Travis Blackley (And his awesome glove)

He got some great shots of Blue Jays hitters during BP

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

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

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

Then, my dad decided to get this picture.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anthony Gose bunting in the top of the first inning

Coco Crisp fouling off a pitch

Josh Reddick at bat in the bottom of the first inning

Tom Milone pitching

Derek Norris at this dish

Brandon Inge rounding the base on Norris’s double

Coco Crisp swinging

Yoenis Cespedes swinging

Somebody on the Blue Jays hitting

Evan Scribner in the bullpen

Tom Milone releasing a pitch

Coco Crisp at the plate

Birds on the tarps on the 3rd deck

Rajai Davis swinging

Sean Doolittle in the bullpen

Pedro Figueroa warming in the bullpen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1/29/12 at A’s FanFest

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

and Eric Sogard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then, we went down some stairs.

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

We also passed the A’s weight room.

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

It looked like he had a nice office…

That you aren’t allowed to snivel in

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

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

There were a lot of issue of Sports Illustrated


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

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

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

After all of the cool stuff, we entered the clubhouse

This is what it looks like

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

Brett Anderson

Andrew Carigan and Dallas Braden

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then I saw this sign that caught my eye.

After zooming in, this is what the sign says.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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