Category: Will MacNeil

7/27/13 at Banner Island Ballpark

Origionally, I was supposed to go to the A’s game this day. It was 1969 Turn-Back-The-Clock day, with a T-Shirt giveaway. The start time was 12:05 and I had just gotten back from vacation the night before, so I wasn’t really wanting to go to the game.

I was sitting on 93 balls combined between MLB and MiLB, so my 7th ball of the day would be a special one. Keep that in mind!

We sold our 2 seats on StubHub and used the money to buy tickets to that night’s Ports game! It was a Drew Granier jersey, the Ports new Friday Alternate one.

The funny thing is that Granier was promoted to AA in Mid-June. Still, cool!

This was going to be a popular game, but I was looking forward to it, as I was sitting on 93 lifetime balls between MLB and MiLB and was hoping to snag #100 today.

My goal was to be in Stockton by 4pm for BP, and my dad and I ended up arriving there at 3:58, so it was perfect timing!

The parking lot was not yet open, so my dad dropped me off, while he went to go wait for the lot to open. I found Vanessa at the front of the line, she had come to this game with Ryan Dalton, who was out behind LF looking for any random balls.

I talked with her for about 20 minutes, as BP got underway around 4:25. I had gotten an official conformation that the gates would be opening at 5:35, rather than 6pm, so I was excited for a potential half hour of BP inside the stadium!

When Ryan and I headed out back, the San Jose Giants were stretching down the LF line.

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Meanwhile, the Ports were finishing their catch, having already completed their stretching.

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My first ball of the day was curtsey of Addison Russell.

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He lined a ball towards the Berm in Right-Center field, and since it was hit hard, it kept rolling past the berm, setting in the bush past the ballpark fence. I had a hunch, so I ran over there, dug through the bushes, and picked it up, coming back to show my dad and Ryan, as I was on the board!

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Meanwhile, Ryan chased down a ball, for his first snag on the day.

The next guy in the cage was Bruce Maxwell.

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From what I heard from Ryan and Vanessa, Bruce is a class act. Great guy! More on him later on…

Ryan and I were having a good time, as a moment later, he chased down another ball, that was hit towards the Marina, almost in the same spot as the other.

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There were 3 rounds of 4 hitters each, and at this point, there was one group left in Ports BP, at this point, it was just past 5pm.

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One of the hitters in the final group was Bobby Crocker. Here we go…

He BOMBED at ball down the Left Field line, and I broke off sprinting. Other than me and Ryan, there was one other ballhawk out there, a guy in a Giants hat and orange shirt. He was about 50 feet to my right, so he had a much better shot at the ball.

If you go back 2 pictures, you will see yellow caution tape and logs underneath it.

The ball was hit and we both took off running. It looked like the ball was going to hit the pavement, then roll fast, so he broke past the point of the caution tape. I took a direct line towards where the ball was headed, in hopes to cut it off from the other guy. The ball hit a tree, landing in the circle of dirt around the tree.

As he was much closer, he was almost guaranteed the ball. However, as he was running, he tripped on one of the logs. According to Ryan, as well as my dad, he just ATE IT. They both agreed if he hadn’t done so, I would have had no chance with the ball.

As soon as I picked up the ball, I heard Ryan yell “NICK THIS ONE’S YOU!” I looked up and the ball was coming straight for me. The other guy was still phased from his spill, so he hadn’t caught up with me. I took a few steps forward, in a perfect spot to catch it on the bounce. I got the ball on the bounce,

As soon as I caught the ball, the guy came running up from behind me and gave me a hard slap on the arm, in an attempt to knock the ball out of my glove.

I didn’t let go of either ball and came back to join my dad and Ryan.

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That guy didn’t move from this spot for the rest of Ports BP. He was pissed that he had fallen and not gotten either ball.

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How pissed was he? A ball landed 10 feet to his right and he didn’t move to go pick it up. Ryan was able to WALK over and grab it for his 3rd ball of the day!

I finished Ports BP with 3 balls, the same as Ryan.

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Then came the Giants BP…

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Quickly, I got a ball in Giants BP, when Ricky Oropesa lined a ball over the Ports bullpen.

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It hit the base to the scoreboard and more or less stopped. Ryan figured there was no way to get it, but I reached under the fence and picked it up for my 4th ball on the day!

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Neither of us got any balls up until the points at which the gates opened.

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We headed back at 5:20, to join Vanessa, who had stayed in line, saving us all a spot. The gates opened at 5:35, and I headed right for the berm in right-center field.

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Soon, a ball was hit back behind the inflatable kids slide in right field. I ran over and picked it up for ball #5.

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I then ran over to the RF wall, where Edward Concepcion was picking up a ball. Without having to ask, he tossed it to me for ball #6. I needed 1 more to reach 100 combined balls.

Moments later, Brock Bond launched a ball high, right at me. I moved back to the edge of the berm and secured it in my glove. Ball 100!

I know most people don’t think this is a big deal, it’s “cheap to count them together. Think of it this way. Ichiro is almost at 4000 hit combined between Japan and MLB. That’s still a big deal, right?

About 5 minutes later, I was joined by Ryan, who hadn’t snagged any balls inside. He then walked over to the slide and picked up two balls that were just sitting there. HOW HAD I NOT SEEN THEM. I felt ridiculously stupid, however he had missed one, and I picked it up for #8 on the day!

BP then came to a close, at which point I ran down to the cage, in hopes of snagging a ball that was lying around. I spotted a ball sitting by the Ports dugout and called out to Chris Lofton who picked it up and tossed it to me. It turned out to be an MLB ball! I then put it in my backpack and took one out, giving it to the nearest kid.

At this point, I joined back up with Ryan and Vanessa, as we sat in our seats and talked for roughly half an hour.

We then noticed Bruce Maxwell, the Ports catcher (Whom I had mentioned earlier in the entry), signing autographs down the right field line.

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Ryan, Vanessa, and I headed over there, where Ryan and I both got him to sign a ball for us. Bruce is a class act!
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Meanwhile, this guy was busy getting photos and cards signed.

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We headed back to our seats and talked for another 10 or so minutes, as the Ports began to warm up.
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Over on the 3rd base side, the Giants were doing the same.

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One interesting thing I noticed was that the Giants had brought a bat boy with them, so there was no need for the usual guy in a Ports uniform to sit in the dugout. My guess is that he is the manger’s son.
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As both teams were starting to play catch, I swung over to the Ports team store to get a new hat, as my current one was a size too small and about to cut off the circulation to the rest of my body.

I emerged from the team store, stuck on my *San Jose* Giants hat, and ran down to where they were finishing up with catch, where I failed to get a ball.

Ryan, Vanessa, and I once again reconvened behind the Giants dugout to talk for a little while longer, where we saw something quite amusing take place.. A 3 year-old boy was celebrating his birthday at the game, and the Ports let him throw out the first pitch. He was also going to say play ball before the game got underway, so after the first pitch, he hung out by the Ports dugout.

He made several attempts to run onto the field, being scooped up and carried back to the on-deck circle by people including his mother, Jeremy (The Ports In-Game host), as well as one of the umpires.

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It’s the little things that make you smile.

Around 7:10, the national anthem was sung.
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And it was time to play some baseball!

Ryan and I headed out to the parking lot to chase foul balls, as the Ports allow unlimited re-entry privileges.

On the mound for the Ports was James Simmons

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In the bottom of the first inning, Bobby Crocker stepped to the plate to lead off the Ports half of the first. He popped a pitch over the roof and the ball settled under a car. I ran over and picked it up! It was my 3rd straight MiLB game with a foul ball!

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Meanwhile, on the mound for the Giants was Kelvin Marte

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He struggled in the 2nd inning, but came back strong after that.

Will showed up in the first inning, as he was pulling a doubleheader. He went to the A’s game in Oakland, went to an Eric Sogard signing in Dublin, then came to the Ports game.

Anyway… He has a great relationship with Ports manager Webster Garrison, or “Webby.”

Every time Webby would jog over to the 3rd base coach’s box, he points to Will, as Will yells “Webby!”

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He’s a really cool dude!
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One thing Vanessa had been mentioning throughout the game was how she loved Ryan Cavan’s mustache. I can understand why!

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Oh, and also in the 2nd inning, Antonio Lamas and Dusty Robinson hit back to back home runs!

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The Ports had the 3-1 lead after 2 innings, but starting in the 3rd inning, San Jose came charging and never looked back. They scored 1 run in 3rd inning, as well as the 4th inning, then added on 2 in the 5th, and 3 more in the 7th, making it 8-3 at the 7th inning stretch.

I spent the first 6 innings in the parking lot, chasing foul balls, as well as talking with a ballhawk named John, who had just moved from Omaha to Reno. Really cool guy! He’s been to over 40 Minor League stadiums and is going to be starting an MLBlog soon, so keep on the lookout!

I only had the 1 foul ball after the first 6 innings, so I decided to come back inside and go for 3rd out balls and actually enjoy a bit of the game.

Remember that bat boy I talked about earlier? I found it kind of funny that he was wearing a Stockton Ports helmet with the rest of his San Jose uniform.

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Seriously though, Ryan Cavan has an amazing mustache!

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In the top of the 7th, San Jose tacked on those 3 runs against one of the newer Ports relievers, Schaffer Hall.

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He had started the season with the Trenton Thunder of the Eastern League, but after playing a game with the River Cats (And Getting the win, might I add), he was sent down to Stockton, where he started 7 of his first 8 games, and has been in the bullpen since.

Jeff Soptic came in to pitch the 7th inning for the Giants. Not only is his name cool, but he makes fantastic faces on the mound.

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In that bottom of the 7th, the Ports scored 3 runs, shortening the Giants lead to 8-5.

In the top of the 8th, I hung out by the Ports dugout, in hopes of snagging a foul ball or 3rd out ball. Eric Sim struck out swinging on a pitch in the dirt to end the inning, and thankfully Bruce Maxwell kept the ball. I called out to him, he recognized me from pre-game, and tossed me the ball.

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It was my 11th ball on the day, a new all-time record for me! Since Bruce is one of Vanessa and Ryan’s favorite players, they thought the ball was pretty cool!
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In the bottom of the 9th, I moved myself down close to the Giants dugout in hopes of getting their lineup card, or a broken bat, as there had been one earlier in the game.

However, there was a scare in the 9th inning. With 1 out, and runners on 1st and 2nd, Myrio Richard was hit in the head with a pitch from Derek Law.

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It was scary. How scary? Ryan almost caught the ball. He was sitting in the first row, and the ball nearly landed in his glove, but he appropriately decided it would be inappropriate to make a real attempt for the ball, given what had just happened.

He ended up only being a bit shaken up, so he loaded the bases, brining the winning run to the plate with only 1 out, as Myrio representing the tying run.

Josh Whitaker and B.A. Vollmuth both struck out, sealing the 8-5 W for San Jose.
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After the game, I rushed down to the Giants dugout to try and get the lineup card. I asked the Giants manager, Andy Skeels for it, but he gave me a look like I was an alien, peeled the lineup card off, and put it in his binder. I then asked Lipso Nava, their hitting coach for the broken bat. He asked me why I would want a splintered bat, but before I could respond, he left the dugout.

At this point, I left for the Ports dugout, just hoping that there lineup card would still be there. I asked both Myrio and Bruce for the card, but neither of them was “allowed” to give it to me.

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I ended up asking the bat boy, and he peeled it off and gave it to me!

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Then, Ryan popped his head out from next to the dugout with what? THE BROKEN BAT!

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How cool is that?!?

We then got a group picture, Ryan holding his bat, me holding the lineup card and 4 balls, and Vanessa holding the other 6 baseballs I snagged on the day.

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My dad then got a picture of me with the lineup card (Which was typed) and all of my baseballs from the day in my MLB Network drawstring backpack.

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Then, Ryan noticed what he thought was a stat sheet, so he called over Jeremy, the Ports in-game host. He peeled it off the wall, and it turned out to be from the last game Ports Ryan had been at, on July 19th!

At that point, we had noticed the Rosin bag sitting on the dugout bench, so Vanessa asked Jeremy if we could hold it.

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I got a picture with it.

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And so did Vanessa.

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COOL STUFF!

And no, I didn’t get to keep it. As much as I would have wanted to, there is a 50% chance it had been on Tim Hudson’s head at some point, and I don’t really want to run that risk. Not only that, but there is a good chance it will spontaneously combust.

But the best reason of all for not keeping it was given to me by Chris Kusiolek (@Oak_AllDay on Twitter)

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I asked Jeremy if they really need it that bad, but he said they do, so there goes that….

Anyway… it was a REALLY fun day! I had a great tim ballhawking with Ryan (We snagged 19 balls combined) and it was a lot of fun to hang out with him and Vanessa for the day. Hopefully I’ll be back at Banner Island soon!

BALLHAWKING STATS:

  • 20th Game of the Year… 6th MiLB Game of the Year
  • 11 balls at this game
  • 47 MiLB Balls in 6 MiLB Games = 7.83 MiLB Balls Per Game
  • 12 Consecutive MiLB Games with at least 1 Ball
  • 6 Consecutive MiLB Games with at least 5 Balls
  • 62 Lifetime Minor League baseballs
  • 104 total balls

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

6/29/13 at the Oakland Coliseum

Coco Lean bobblehead day! I knew it was going to be crowded. For this reason, I chose to not put much effort into ballhawking at this game, so that I wouldn’t be disappointed if I didn’t snag a ball.

This would be a game featuring myself, my mom, and my sister, Pascale.

The game was a 1:05 start time. The gates opened at 11:05. What time did I get there? 7:45 of course! The BART Ramp gate was set to open up at 8. A few minutes after we got in that line, this was the scene behind us.

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You think that’s crazy? Check this out:
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Yeah… It was over 5 hours before game time and there were that many people in line to get into the Coliseum grounds!

Guess who was near the front of the line?

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That’s Ross and Wiggi!

I went over there and joined them, hoping to be able to get to the front of the line at MM.

The BART Ramp gate opened at 8:15. As soon as it opened, everyone started running towards LL and D, to the right side. Since I was near the front, I broke off towards MM. I jumped over the short fences keeping the line in place, and was first in line. All of the right field bleacher people started throwing their backpacks at me! A few people threw flags and such, but more importantly, we were first in this line.

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Around 8:30, Will joined in on the party.

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When I say party, I truly mean it. The line just kept growing.

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Pascale and I took off around 8:40 to take a lap around the stadium and scope out the other lines. Here is the Gate C line.

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As we walked past the gate, I saw something that caught my eye.

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It was WIDE OPEN. Yeah…

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I considered for a split second going inside, but decided against it for obvious reasons.

We kept walking, up towards the season ticket holder entrance, where there was already a decent line.

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The A’s were preparing very well. They had the line set up to snake towards the Oracle Arena.

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And do this…

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Yeah… WOW!

As we were walking towards Gate D, we took a quick peak at the player parking lot. Nothing fancy.

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The line at Gate D was HUGE!

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When I say huge, I mean HUGE! That picture does not do justice.

We ended up getting back in line around 9:15 or 9:20. Around 10:15, the bobbleheads started coming in.

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Here is a quick peak at the line at this time.
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Everyone was having a “great” time at the front of the line. It was very hot and there were a lot of us. Pascale spent some time playing with Cara Miller’s son Ian.

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I was clearly very excited.

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We were all “enjoying ourselves.”
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At 10:40, just 25 minutes before the gates were supposed to open, I got this picture of Will.

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That picture pretty much sums it all up.

This was the scene. Pure CHAOS!

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This was the line from MM. I was standing in the parking lot when I took this picture.

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The line extended INTO the parking lot.

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I’m  not even at the back of the line here.

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The sea of cars amazed me.

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It was nuts.

Sure enough, at 11:05, the gates opened, and I dashed inside.

Nothing was going on for the first 15 or so minutes.

Slowly, a few A’s began to stretch.

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They eventually started throwing, but by the time they were done, the Cardinals had all left the field. I had many many attempts for a tossup from an A’s player, but failed. I left the LF corner to head elsewhere.

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This all happened in a span of 25 minutes at most, so I was all but positive that I was going to be shutout.

I went over to the A’s Kids Club table with my sister, then headed back to the bleachers. At this point, I met up with Taylor Fernandez and her brother. We talked for a while, then walked around the concourse. I got back to the bleachers about 20 minutes before first pitch.

Matt Holiday, former Athletic was in the starting lineup.
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He was among the Cardinals players stretching along the RF line.

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Jarrod Parker, meanwhile, was warming up in the A’s bullpen.

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He was being caught by Derek Norris.

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As the players were finishing up warming up, IMD and ATM, the guys behind the song Bernie Lean had a short performance on the field, ending it with Bernie Lean. I videoed the performance, but now I can’t find the video. Sorry! I’ll update this entry if I do find it.

This was my view just before the national anthem.

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Right as the national anthem began, this began to fly over.

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On the bright side, it is providing arial coverage!

Again, like I mentioned, Jarrod Parker was on the mound for the green and gold.

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Oh, and one thing that the A’s have been doing for the past few weeks  is displaying fans’ tweets on DiamondVision. If you remember, my tweet was displayed back on Tuesday. Look what I came across this Saturday afternoon.

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Yay! I think I got a couple of new followers.

In the 4th inning, there was a scare on the mound.

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Jarrod Parker threw a 1-0 pitch to Allen Craig with 2 outs. Craig doubled on the 1-0 pitch to centerfield. However, on the pitch, Parker fell to the ground.

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He ended up laying on the ground for a little while, trying to stretch out. It was later determined to be a hamstring injury.

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He was then replaced with Jesse Chavez.

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At the time, it was a scoreless game.

The infielders gathered in front of 2nd base and talked with Jim Joyce while Chavez warmed up.

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The outfielders talked as well.

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I got this really cool picture of Yoenis Cespedes spitting.

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After a number of pitches, Jesse Chavez was ready.

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I then noticed that ATM and IMD were in 149.

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Meanwhile… Adam Wainright was dominating the A’s.

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Dan Ortero came in with 2 outs in the top of the 8th, when the Cardinals were ahead 7-0, with 4 of those runs being charged to Jesse Chavez, 2 of them charged to Jerry Blevins, 1 to Pat Neshek.

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I really like this picture of Brandon Moss. Not sure why- I just like it!

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Josh Reddick feeding himself sunflower seeds.

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Oh… and he was wearing these awesome stirrups!

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Nate Freiman stepped up to lead off the bottom of the 9th, with a 7-1 Cardinal lead.

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He grounded out, then Yoenis lined out, for the 2nd out of the inning.

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We were all hoping for some 2-out magic!

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Adam Wainwright walked Brandon Moss, then looked to finish off the CG when Adam Rosales stepped to the plate.

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Rosales popped out to 2nd Baseman Matt Carpenter to end the game, and that was it!

Sure the A’s lost, but it was certainly a fun day! Waiting in line, roasting in the sun, you can’t complain!

After the final out, ATM and IMD were posing for pictures with people in the concourse. Here they are with Will.

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This was my last game for 2 weeks, as my next game was going to be July 14th against the Red Sox.

BALLHAWKING STATS:

  • 18th Game this Year (13th MLB Game)
  • 0 Balls at this Game
  • 14 balls in 13 MLB games this season = 1.08 Balls Per Game
  • 42 Lifetime MLB Baseballs
  • 93 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.

6/1/13 at the Oakland Coliseum

JERSEY DAY!!!!!!

We left the house just before 8am and got there around 8:25. This was the scene when we arrived…

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The PARKING LOT hadn’t even opened yet. I was almost positive I would be one of the first in line at this rate.

That ended up not being the case. There were already 30 or so people in line when we got there, so we jumped in line right away. It was Yoenis Cespedes Jersey day. That’s why I was there so early.

Given the fact that the gates didn’t open for 2.5 hours, my sister and I decided to wander a bit. On the way towards Gate D, we passed Will, who was heading up towards MM.
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When we stopped at the D Gate team store, my sister could not resist purchasing this:

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It was pretty boring before the gates opened. My sister and I played catch in the parking lot. I picked up a new t-shirt (I ended up wearing it at this game- You’ll see it soon). That was about it.

When we stopped in the C-Gate team store, we saw this:

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Jersey boxes were being opened!

Shortly before the gates opened- I spotted a familiar face. It was the man that goes by @CS_Darrow on Twitter. We had met up during the World Baseball Classic, and when he saw me this time around, he pulled out two things.

1) A ticket stub from a Rangers/White Sox game in Arlington.

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2) A Dodgers 2012 50th Anniversary ball!
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How cool is that? He thanked me for “spreading the ‘ballhawking’ word” and explained how he and I appreciate your efforts. Thank you again, very much!

The gates opened at 11:05, and I got in fairly quickly. I grabbed a jersey and ran down to my usual seat, but someone was sitting there, so I decided to go sit over where I had been sitting for most of the 19-inning game.

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When I first entered the seating bowl, 1 things shocked me. THE CAGES WERE UP!!!

It was a DAY GAME AFTER A NIGHT GAME and the Sox were going to take BP. SWEEEEEET!

The A’s pitchers were the only players on the field at the time, so I headed over there.

Grant Balfour was playing catch with Pat Neshek. Something caused Grant to yell out “F**K!” At this point, this came to my mind…

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What did I do? I yelled out “That’s 50 cents to the Aussie Swear Jar, Grant!”

He hear this, turned around, started laughing, and tossed me the ball!

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The A’s players started leaving the field. White Sox players came on.

I put on my White Sox gear and headed down near the bullpen, as the bleachers were crowding up FAST.

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Adam Dunn put on a hell of a show in BP, he was hitting the ball HARD and HIGH!

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The Coliseum was filling up fast.

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The bleachers were packed with Yoenis Cespedes gold replica jerseys.

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Omar and his adorable daughter Rhema were there.

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Oh, right. BP. BORING. Dunn and Alex Rios were the only ones that had any power- they hit every ball to CF. Nothing to the LF or RF bleachers as far as I can remember. My 2nd ball of the day was a toss-up. I had been standing a few rows behind a few little kids for most of BP.

There were a lot of balls hit down the line that stayed on the field. Every time, Matt Lindstrom would jog over and throw it in. There was a ball hit right to the wall that one of the kids called for, Lindstrom tossed it up, but it went right to me. I hadn’t even asked for it. I immediately handed it to the 7-8 year old boy that the ball could have been meant for. After all, he was in White Sox gear.

That was it for BP. It was BORING. And long. It was around 55-60 minutes, which was INSANE.

BP ended around 12:20. Yeah..

The grounds crew began prepping the field.

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Darren Bush and Derrek Norris headed out to the bullpen to get ready.

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They played some 2-ball to get loose.

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The day’s starting pitcher, Dan Straily, began to get loose.

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While this was all happening, I noticed this sign. Why is it important? That picture is from THIS blog entry!
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Thursday night, Ian Sagabaen, the guy holding up the sign, and the MLB-proclaimed Greatest Sign-Maker in MLB History contacted me, asking if he could use the picture. Of course I said yes!

Dan Straily began to warm up with D-No, as Darren Bush watched on.
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Jose Quintana, the White Sox starting pitcher began to get loose with Hector Gimenez, the starting catcher that day.

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Several A’s players began to stretch and such.IMG_0411

ROSIE!!!

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The National Anthem was performed.

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The meeting took place at home plate.

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And we were ready to go!

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Dan Straily was on the mound for the A’s. Last year, he was a strikeout MACHINE in the minors.

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This was my view for the game. Actually, I was sitting 2 sections over to the left. This was my dad’s view.

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The White Sox were unable to score in the 1st inning.

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The A’s scored a run in the first.

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The bleachers were lively. (Not that that is a surprise to anyone)

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Oh, and that run was doubled in my Yoenis Cespedes.

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And scored by Jed Lowrie.

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Josh Donaldson struck out.

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Josh Reddick grounded out to end the first inning. 1-0 A’s.

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The White Sox were unable to score any runs in the 2nd either.
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The A’s scored a run in the 2nd inning as well. It started with a Derek Norris double.

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Adam Rosales grounded out.

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Chris Young singled, brining in the run.

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That run was Derek Norris.

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It’s 2-0 A’s!

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Banjo Man showed up… Ew…

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The broadcasters seemed to be doing well.

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The White Sox scored a run in the 3rd on an Adam Dunn single.

The A’s went 1-2-3 in the 3rd.

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The White Sox were the same in the top of the 4th.

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Adam Rosales singled in the 4th inning.

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But the A’s were unable to capitalize, sending the game to the 5th…

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The White Sox went 1-2-3 again, in the 5th  inning.

Then, the A’s came up in the bottom half.

Josh Donaldson singled…

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The the BIG BOY Nate Freiman tripled.
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JD scored.

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Everyone was happy!

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But it was a pain to watch him run! Watch for yourself. Oof.

The A’s were unable to do anything more in the 5th.

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This made it 3-1 A’s after 5 innings in the books.

The White Sox were unable to do anything in the 6th.

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Josh Reddick tossed up the 3rd out ball…

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But I was cooling off in the concourse. Wiggi was the lucky recipient of the ball!

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The A’s went quietly in their half of the 6th, despite a double from Jed Lowrie.

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Sean Doolittle came on to pitch the 7th. Dan Straily went 6 innings with 8 strikeouts and 1 run allowed.

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This is when things began to unravel.

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The White Sox scored 2 runs on a single off the bat of Alejandro De Aza. This prompted a mound visit.

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Sean Doolittle then quickly got out of the jam.

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The A’s were unable to put anything together in their half of the 7th.

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Ryan Cook got loose in the A’s bullpen.

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As he was going to pitch the 8th inning, with the score knotted up at 3-3.

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Oh, and check out Josh Reddick’s AWESOME socks.

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Cookie set all 3 White Sox batters down in the 8th.

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Jesse Crain, who was a very stingy pitcher during BP pitched the bottom of the 8th.

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The A’s were not able to piece much together.

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There were several pickoff attempts in this inning.
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Daniel was visibly frustrated by them.

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Despite a Jed Lowrie Single and Chris Young double, the A’s were unable to score, as Yoenis Cespedes struck out to end the inning.
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Grant Balfour came in to pitch the 9th inning. Time to RAAAAAAAAGE!

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He concluded his warm-up tosses.

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And he proceeded to pitch a stellar 9th inning.

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The White Sox were set down in order.
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In fact, Balfour only needed 12 pitches to do so.

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It was time for the A’s up’s in the bottom of the 9th!

Josh Donaldson led off with a single.

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Then, the White Sox changed pitchers.

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Josh Reddick then laid down a textbook bunt with 0 outs and runners on 1st and 2nd.

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And he was SAFE at first. Bases loaded, no outs!

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Everyone was on their feet, ready for some walk-off pie!

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But Derek Norris grounded into a 6-2-3 double play, getting the outs at home and 1st.

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Coco was intentionally walked.
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Eric Sogard struck out with the bases loaded to send us to extras…

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Pat Neshek came in…

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And got two quick outs, at which point Jerry Blevins came in.

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Adam Dunn promptly flied out to right field to end the inning.

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Mostly everyone had stayed and was still into the game!

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Jed Lowrie lined out to Alex Rios to start the bottom of the 10th.

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Chris Young then doubled for his 3rd hit of the game and Yoenis Cespedes was intentionally walked.

This prompted another Sox pitching change.

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Josh Donaldson then walked as well, loading the bases AGAIN with 1 out.

Brandon Moss then lined out for the 2nd out.

This brought in Josh Reddick.

He took 5 straight pitches, only the first one being a strike.

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You know what this means?

WALK OFF VICTORY!!!

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Everyone was excited!!!

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And yes, Coco delivered the PIE!!

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After the game, I got a picture with Ian and the sign!
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Look closely in the bottom righthand corner.

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It was my Twitter handle!!!

Free jersey, 2 balls, my Twitter handle on a sign, and walk-off pie. You CANNOT complain about that!

My next game was going to be the next afternoon. Oh boy!

BALLHAWKING STATS:

  • 12th Game this Year (9th MLB Game)
  • 2 Balls at this Game
  • 12 balls in 9 MLB games this season = 1.33 Ball Per Game
  • 34 Balls in 12 Games this season = 2.5 Balls Per Game
  • 40 Lifetime MLB Baseballs
  • 77 Total Balls

300x50_mlblogs_top100

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

5/27/13 at Banner Island Ballpark

Time for some more Minor League Baseball in sunny California!

Originally, I had tickets for the 1:05 A’s/Giants game in Oakland. Knowing how slim my chances of snagging a ball were, and based on my previous Giants game in Oakland, along with the fact that I don’t have the patience to deal with the stupidity of drunk Giants fans (Beer in cheaper in Oakland than San Francisco), I decided to sell our two tickets for the game on StubHub.

Since they were part of my season ticket plan, when I sell tickets on StubHub, I can choose to have my profit go towards my A’s account. That means that I won’t have to pay as much for my season tickets next year. I also sold my tickets to the A’s/Giants exhibition game in Oakland back in March, so between these two games, I’ve made $130. That’s $130 that we won’t have to pay towards season tickets next year!

All of a sudden, I realized that I wouldn’t be going to a game on Memorial Day. I headed over to the Ports website to look at tickets for a game in June, when I saw this…

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I had been thinking about this game already, but now, my mind was made up!

I didn’t have school on Friday, so I had a 4-day weekend, and my parents told me that I had to finish my homework before they would buy the tickets. I finished it, showed them this, and it was a done deal!

My mom decided she didn’t want to go, but my sister did, so my dad went ahead and bought 5 tickets. Why 5? We got 3 seats where my dad and I have say for our last two Ports games, right next to the visitor dugout, so that 3 the of us could sit there, but my sister and I each individually purchased a ticket behind the Ports dugout, which would allow me to go for 3rd out balls over there as well.

My dad had to leave for his 3rd business trip of the month on Tuesday morning, so he wanted to get back before it was too late on Monday night. His goal was to be home by 9pm after the 6pm game, which would mean leaving around 8pm. If you know me, you know that that was the last thing I wanted. After all, I was hoping to grab the lineup card!

My hope was that given the fact Reddick was rehabbing, I wanted to get all of both Batting Practices. My though was that if the gates opened at 5pm, I would want to get there around 2pm, which would mean we would need to leave the house around 1pm. We were in for a LONG day!

Fast-Forward to Monday afternoon.

We left our house shortly after 1pm. Around 1:40pm, I decided to check the weather in Stockton, as it was raining when we left my house. What did the weather forecast say?

Rain until 4pm. WHAT THE HECK???

I was beyond pissed! We considered stopping at an outlet mall, but decided to tough it out and keep heading on to Stockton with hopes of BP.

We arrived in Stockton just after 2pm. I ran over to check to see if the cages just magically happened to be set up.

I didn’t get a picture, but THEY WERE!!! AND PLAYERS WERE HITTING!!!

My sister and I sprinted out behind LF just in time for the last hitter to finish up. Super…

We decided to just walk around by the marina and out behind RF to see if there were magically any balls. Nope.

It was starting to rain, so we headed back to the car. From there, we took a short drive down the street to a thrift shop. We spent 15 minutes there, before we all got bored. We decided to head back, as there was NOTHING else to do.

It was around 2:45 at this point. Pascale and I decided to go back out to the LF area, this time to play some catch.

Around this time, players started taking the field. Pitchers like Seth Frankoff began playing catch.

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The position players were just arriving in the dugout.

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Remember how I said Josh Reddick was playing? He was all suited up for BP!

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The pitchers were playing catch in center field.

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And the position players were stretching.

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And they began to throw and play catch.

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I only showed 2 pictures, but in all, it took about 30 minutes before they started hitting. I was getting anxious!!

The first guy to step into the cage was Wade Kirkland.

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And I was on the board quickly!

He lined a ball over the bullpens, where it rolled under the fence and into my glove!

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There was a mark on the ball, most likely from the bat.

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The next guy to step into the cage was catcher Philip Pohl.

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He then hit a ball in the same spot Kirkland had, and I had ball #2!

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Next in the cage was Ryan Delgado.

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He BOMBED one out of the stadium that hit off the Stockton Arena. I ran over and picked it up for ball #3 on the day.

After that, it was pretty quiet.

Rashun Dixon had some good hacks.

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Then, came the real show of BP. Josh Reddick.

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Between me, my sister, and my dad, there were lots of pictures taken!

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He was BOMBING them out!

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Then, he hit one that I saw roll hard through the grass of the CF berm. I ran over to check.

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Sure enough, it was sitting right next to the fence. I grabbed it for ball #4 on the day! And it was a Josh Reddick BP homer!

That was honestly it for Ports BP. Nothing much exciting happened.

66ers BP was worse.

There were a few pitchers throwing bullpen sessions.
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You know it’s bad when they don’t hit a single ball over the outfield wall.

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I was pretty fet up.

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Around 4:20, it got to the point where I knew that they wouldn’t hit anything out, so I headed to go get in line.

The gates were supposed to open at 5pm for the 6pm start, so I figured I would be close to the front.

I got there, and ushers were opening the gates… WHA???

I got my ticket scanned, and I was in at 4:30!!

I headed for a place down the LF line where I had seen a few balls land. No luck. I decided I wanted to try some ballhawking on the berms, so I decided to head out there.

Then, I looked up and a ball hit by Matthew Scioscia (the son of Angels manager Mike Scioscia) was flying my way. I looked up and after it bounced in the seats, I scooped it up for ball #5 on the day!

Then, I headed out to the metroPCS Home Run Hill.
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Back where my dad was, this was the scene near the gates. It was 4:35. Un.be.lievable.

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My sister was chilling out on the berm with me as well.

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Then, someone on the 66ers hit a ball that bounced off the roof of a private seating area between the RF and CF berms. I was on the CF one, so as soon as I saw it off the bat, I took off running. I sprinted over to where it was rolling, but some guy that was walking by scooped it up.

There were a lot of balls that were just a few feet away from the wall. If only I had a retrieval device!

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You can see it in his hand in the picture below.

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The 66ers were hitting like crap…

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But I was enjoying running around!

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Eventually, BP came to a close, just before 5pm.

That’s when I saw these people show up!

In the #3 jersey is Will MacNeil, then the guy in the A’s hoodie is “famous” Jorge. Over Jorge’s right shoulder is Anson.
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Why were they here? For Reddick’s rehab of course!

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Once the 66ers finished BP, they took infield practice.

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When they were done with that, Zach Wright tossed me one of the balls they had used. It was my 6th ball of the day.

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After that, my sister and I walked around the concourse a bit. We got some food, sat in our seats, talked, and were REALLY bored!

As the 66ers started walking towards the dugout, I caught a few of them and was able to get my ticket signed.
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At this point, I headed over to the walkway, where players were coming out, hoping to catch Josh Reddick at some point.

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This is the tunnel that the players walk out of.

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As you can see, there is a special walkway just for them.

Everyone was crowded, waiting for the players to come down.

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See those costumes in the corner?

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Stockton is the asparagus capital of the world, so those would be the asparagus heads for the “Asparagus Race.” Like the Brewers sausage race. Except not sausages…

It was around this time, that I spotted Omar Gutierrez, with his kids known as “The Champ” and “Super J.” They were able to get Addison Russell’s autograph.

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This ball is for sure a keeper!
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They got a few other players to sign their program.

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Then, Super J got Splash to sign his mask!

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And yes, of course, Josh Reddick did come onto the field.

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But he didn’t stop to sign autographs.

After most of the players had taken the field, everyone began to stretch and warm up.

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Then, they all started playing catch.

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It was funny. The entire time, Josh Reddick was doing something different than the rest of the team. He was off in his own little world!

Since it was Memorial Day, there were special people there to present the colors.
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A veteran threw out the first pitch.

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And we were ready to go! The umpires took the field!

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And the lineup cards were exchanged.

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And the players took the field.

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The National Anthem was played.

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And it was time to go!

Does this face have any significance to you?

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His name is Mike Huss. Why is he special? Well a week before, Will MacNeil had been at the Ports game, which had gone into 17 innings. In the 15th inning, he yelled something out ‘Terrible strike zone, midget!’ to Mike Huss, who was the home plate umpire. Obviously, it was nothing inappropriate or vulgar, but the umpire took it the wrong way. What did he do? He EJECTED Will from the game!

Now, keeping that in mind, read this article. How funny is that?!?! Also check out this article on MiLB.com about the incident  Quite amusing! I seriously recommend reading both articles, they will be well worth your time!

Josh Bowman was on the mound for Stockton.
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The first inning was a bit rough for him.

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Zach Borenstein singled  to left field, scoring Eric Stamets.

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This made it a 1-0 game.

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Josh Reddick was hitting 2nd in the lineup for the Ports.

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In the top of the 1st, he grounded out for the 2nd out.

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Then, Max Muncy flied out to LF to end the inning.

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I still find it amusing that Mike Huss was umpiring!
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The 2nd inning was the killer inning for Stockton.

After a walk, hit by pitch, Sac bunt, and strikeout, the 66ers had runners on 2nd and 3rd with 3 outs.Then, they strung together 2 singles,a home run, and a double, bringing the score to 6-0.

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Brandon Efferson was pitching for Inland Empire in this game.

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For those of you who don’t know, Webster Garrison is the Ports manager, and he is very good friends with Will and Ross.

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The Ports have this 2012 A’s AL West Champs banner in the stadium, listing all of the former Ports on the team.

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In the Ports half of the 2nd inning, they had 2 1-out hits, one of them from Antonio Lamas.

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But they were unable to capitalize on the 2 hits.

Remember this game when my high school played at Banner Island Ballpark? Well this is the dugout that we had been in.

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In the top of each inning, I sat behind the Ports dugout, hoping for a 3rd out ball.  There was a lot of competition.

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The 66ers catcher in this game was Abel Baker.

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In the 3rd inning, with 1 out, Dusty Robinson stepped to the plate.

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He lined out to the 3rd baseman.

Addison Russell ended up grounding out to end the inning.

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The 4th inning was quiet for Inland Empire.

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Josh Bowman had settled down, retiring them in the 4th, despite a 1-out single.

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In the middle of the 4th inning, the Ports do this thing where they pick 10 or so kids to chase Splash around the field.

Yeah…

BUT… Super J was lucky enough to be one of the kids that gets to do it!!

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Cool stuff!

In the bottom of the 4th, Josh Reddick led off.

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He fouled off a lot of pitches…

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And had a tough at bat…

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But he ended up popping out to the SS.

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This was the inning where Brandon Efferson was shaken up a bit.

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While the Ports were hitting, someone (Either Max Muncy, Tony Thompson, Antonio Lamas,  Bobby Crocker, or Dusty Robinson) lined a foul ball down the RF line.

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Guess who came up with it?

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It was Wiggi! She leaned over the railing, making a nice snag on the hard-hit foul ball.

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After having already scored 2 runs, Dusty Robinson decided to drive in another.
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He singled in Antonio Lamas.

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The 66ers tried to pick him off a few times at first base.

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But it was pretty easy to read the pitcher’s move.

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After the single, Efferson settled down, getting Philip Pohl to ground out to end the inning.

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Josh Reddick took his spot in RF.

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At this point, my sister and I headed over to the RF berm. Given the fact I hadn’t had any luck with foul balls or 3rd out balls, I decided to go for home runs for an inning or two.

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In the top of the 5th, the 66ers continued to tack on runs, scoring 2 more on a triple off the bat of Andy Workman.

That was it for Josh Bowman. 8 runs allowed, with a runner on 3rd base he is responsible for.

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The infield gathered on the mound as T.J. Walz came in to pitch.

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The runner on 3rd scored on a single, then after another single, he got 3 quick outs to end the inning.
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In the middle of the 5th, the Ports had a game where 3 members of the Ports “Promo Squad” used a slingshot to shoot 3 playground balls in the air. The contestant on the field has to catch them in this net.

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Always entertaining.

In the 5th, B.A. Vollmuth was called out on strikes, bringing Addison Russell to the plate.

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He ended up grounding out, bringing Josh Reddick to the plate.

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Josh singled on a ground ball to right field.

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This put him on first base.

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Max Muncy then struck out to end the 5th inning.

Reddick was back out in right field.

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And T.J. Walz was back on the mound. Can you say awesome mustache?
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He retired the 66ers 1-2-3.

In the bottom of the 6th, Inland Empire pitcher R.J. Alvarez struck out the side, with 1 walk.

After the strikeout of Dusty Robinson to end the inning, I called out to catcher Abel Baker to toss me the ball, which he did!
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Ball 7 on the day!

After I got this ball, Vanessa Demske called out to me, I turned around to see she was sitting just a few rows behind me! I moved back to talk to her, as well as Twitter friend Jamey Van Dyke.

At this point, it was well after 8pm. My dad had wanted to leave at 8pm. He was letting us stick around for the final out!

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My dad is awesome, isn’t he!?!?

In the 7th, the 66ers went down 1-2-3 again, but Myrio Richard came into the game in right field for Josh Reddick, as he was only slated to play the first 6 innings.

With 2 outs in the 7th, Max Muncy doubled to center field, scoring 2 more runs to make it 10-5.

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Between the 7th and 8th innings, they held the asparagus race.

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The green one lost it’s head…

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Yep…

The 7th inning, as well as the first 2 outs of the 8th inning were pitched by 240-pound Tony Pena.

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Around this time, Will, Vanessa, and Jamey wandered off, but I found them quickly, talking to this woman.

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Wiggi, Ross, and Drew were still over down the RF line.
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Back to the other group. In the top of the 8th inning, my sister and I had been headed over to the Ports dugout, when Will and Vanessa stopped me and introduced me to Bess Frankoff, the wife of Ports pitcher Seth Frankoff, who at the time was on the DL. Bess is the one in the teal.
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I guess they had all been interacting on Twitter for a while and had gotten to know each other.

I spent the next inning talking with the group.

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We also were able to get Bess to take this group shot of us.

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In the bottom of the 9th, I temporarily parted ways with everyone, as I was hoping to get a broken bat. Earlier in the game, someone on the Ports (I CAN’T FIGURE OUT WHO!!!) broke his bat someone (I DON’T REMEMBER HOW) and the Ports bat boy brought one of the halves to the 66ers dugout.

The Ports went 1-2-3, sealing a 10-7 win for Inland Empire.

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I tucked my head into the dugout.

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A player walked by, and I simply asked him for the broken bat, and he told me yes, as long as I was careful with it!

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I handed it to my sister, in hopes of getting the lineup card.

IMG_9448It had already been handed out… BUT STILL!

My dad wanted to leave, but I had to say a quick goodbye to everyone first.

Everyone loved the broken bat! In my last Ports game, I got a lineup card. This time I got a broken bat. COOL STUFF!

QUICK NOTE: I think out of everyone, Vanessa thought the lineup card and bat were the coolest. This past week, she took it into her own hands to end up with a souvenir, and after Monday and Tuesday’s Ports games this past week, look what she ended up with! (This is not my picture)

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We all parted ways, at which point I got this picture with the bat.

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It was a great game! 7 balls, 1 broken bat, and lots of new friends!

BALLHAWKING STATS:

  • 11th Game of the Year… 3rd MiLB Game of the Year
  • 7 balls at this game
  • 19 balls in 6 games this season = 3.16 Balls Per Game
  • 22 MiLB Balls in 3 MiLB Games = 7.33 MiLB Balls Per Game
  • 9 Consecutive MiLB Games with at least 1 Ball
  • 6 Consecutive MiLB Games with at least 3 Balls
  • 37 Lifetime Minor League baseballs
  • 75 total balls

300x50_mlblogs_top100

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

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.

4/27/13 at the Oakland Coliseum

On this particular day, I got out of bed late. I had set my alarm for 6am, with the hopes of being in Oakland around 8 or 8:30, but I woke up around 8am. For me, this reminded me of this game last year.

We left at 8:25, and arrived at the Coliseum around 9am. This was going to be my first Orioles game since Last September, and I was hoping that they would still be using commemorative balls.

Like my last game, I made a video with behind-the-scenes and vlogs, so check it out!

Once we had pulled into the parking lot, I headed to get in line at Gate MM.

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The line was LONG!

But, believe it or not, this was the shortest line!

I walked around the Coliseum a bit to check out the scene, but I decided to get in line at 9:15.

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Around 9:30, I decided to walk around the BART Plaza area and take some pictures.

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The line at Gate LL was getting pretty long!

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But I was in line at MM.

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The A’s have these ticket kiosks everywhere around the Coliseum.

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And of course, this banner! 4x > 2x (Just saying Giants fans)

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Lines were just getting LONGER and LONGER.
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I was chatting with a bunch of the bleacher folks, like Will.

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When Will runs in to the bleachers, he carries these flags and banners.

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I noticed these boxes… BOBBLEHEADS!

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Around 10:30, Arlene invited Pascale and I to jump in line with the bleacher folks. Thank You!

Once I joined them, I noticed Ross’s shirt, which I absolutely LOVED!

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Oaklandish is an Oakland-based clothing company. You can check out their website here.

Daniel, one of the bleacher guys had this little speaker.

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Great sound quality for a device that small!

Guess what it was playing…
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BERNIE LEAN!

At 11:07, the gates opened, and my sister and I sprinted inside, grabbing our bobbleheads along the way.

I was one of the first people in the bleachers, after of course, Will.

The run is actually somewhat tough, but it is MUCH harder for him, as he is carrying everyone’s flags and banners.

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I headed over to the A’s bullpen, where the most action was taking place.

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The players were all getting loose.

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Stretching and such. (S/O to my sister for taking those last two pictures)

IMG_7132I was over there because Jarrod Parker was throwing a bullpen session.
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Eventually, I decided to head over to the Orioles bullpen area, since the pitchers were arriving and the nearby stands were almost empty.

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They started off stretching.

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As the A’s players began to throw.

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Pictured below are Grant Balfour (Upper Left) and Jesse Chavez (Lower Right)

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Even though they were playing catch, it was getting a bit crowded.
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And the Orioles began to toss.

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I was all ready in my Orioles gear.

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A’s pitchers that were running interacted with Orioles players when they were in that area.

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Soon enough, it was 11:45 and there were only two guys playing catch, so I headed over there.

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My parents were soaking up the sun in the RF Bleachers.

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As the last two guys finished playing catch, I called out to Darren O’Day “Hit me here Darren!”

With that, he submarined me the ball!

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If you want to know why I am smirking, I have NO clue at all.

Here I am with my Reggie Jackson bobblehead.

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BTW, remember when I mentioned the RF bleacher shirt in my last game entry? That’s the one I’m wearing! Do you like it?

After grabbing a quick pizza lunch, I got back to notice Rollie Fingers in the bullpen. Oh yeah!

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There were lots of players from the 1973 A’s gathered around the dugout.

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Each current player or coach walked out with the player or coach that held the same position in 1973. Curt Young, the A’s pitching coach walked out with the pitching coach of the 1973 A’s.

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Nate Freiman,the A’s first baseman is HUGE! 6 foot 8 inches.

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Brandon Moss and the 1973 first baseman.

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I seriously got chills watching it all.

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Brett Andersosn
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John Jaso was out in the bullpen, warming up with AJ Griffin.

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Ray Fosse was on the field with Derek Norris.

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The 1973 team started to line up.

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Soon, Norris walked out with Ray Fosse and the Coliseum exploded!

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I could tell all of the current and past players were enjoying it!

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Eric Sogard walked out with Dick Green.

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Vida Blue and Blue Moon Odom were standing out by the pitching crown.

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Josh Donaldson walked out with then-3rd Baseman Sal Bando, along with manager Bob Melvin, who wears the number 6 in honor of Captain Sal.

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Jed Lowrie was going to walk out with Bert “Campy” Campaneris.

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Chris Young was out in LF with Joe Rudi.