Hey everyone! I hope you enjoyed my April recap entry, now it is time to move on to May! May was an interesting month. I snagged 4 baseballs in 2 Minor League Games and 14 balls in 10 Major League Games, with 4 of those game being shutouts. Like last time I’m going to recap the games in chronological order, beginning with my two Stockton Ports games. Some of my games don’t have pictures, some will have a lot of pictures. For a few games, there isn’t much I have to say, while for others I have a ton to talk about! If you want to see my MyGameBalls.com entry from the game, just can click any of my ball totals that are in parentheses after the game date and location! Hope you guys enjoy!
5/1/15 at Banner Island Ballpark (1 ball)
This game was a spur-of-the-moment decision for me. After my High School’s game finished up, my buddies Dalton and Sean mentioned wanting to go to the Stockton Ports game that evening and I decided to tag along. We didn’t get to Banner Island until the 4th inning, but we still had the chance to watch plenty of baseball.
Upon our arrival at the stadium, we purchased tickets in my normal section, Section 107, where we met up with Will. The game was a lot of fun, I decided not to go for foul balls in the parking lot, I stayed inside and chatted with Will, Dalton and Sean.
The Ports ended up winning 6-1 and after the game, I headed over to the San Jose Giants dugout, where Giants outfielder Hunter Cole tossed me a ball, which I gave away. I was also able to acquire the Giants lineup card, my 2nd one of the season. I didn’t mention it in my last entry, I completely forgot until just now, but I was able to get the Ports lineup card on my birthday, April 17th, which was really neat for me!
While this game was a really good time, the game that was in store for the following day would be incredible!
5/2/15 at Banner Island Ballpark (3 balls)
If you can think all the way back to my last entry, you may remember the bleacher swarm that the Right and Left Field bleacher crews performed in Stockton. We all got together and filled up a section of Banner Island Ballpark for a Ports game and it was pretty epic.
I guess the hillside along the highway had caught on fire! There was a huge backup in traffic, but we were through it soon enough and back on our way to the ballpark!
I quickly made my way out to the dirt area behind the left field fence, in hopes of snagging a few home runs!
Batting practice in Stockton is fantastic, it’s a great opportunity to watch young talent take some hacks in a very relaxed environment!
While in the left field area behind the ballpark, I was able to snag two home runs. Unfortunately, I don’t know who hit them, as I was so far away from home plate and unfamiliar with the roster. After a bit of BP, I decide to hop in line, which ended up being a good idea because the line got long quickly!
When gates opened at 5:45, the San Jose Giants were nearing the end of BP.
At the end of San Jose’s batting practice, I was able to snag one more home run, bringing my total ball count on the day to three!
After BP, I stood near the bridge over the player entrance to the field and watched as Ports players like Nick Rickles and BJ Boyd signed autographs for the little leaguers waiting to take the field for the little league parade.
Here are those little leaguers parading the field with the Ports mascot, Splash.
Notice the green jersey Splash is wearing? It was A’s night in Stockton and all the players would be wearing them during the game. Throughout the game, the jerseys were auctioned off. Keep that in mind for later!
Not only was it A’s night, but the Ports were retiring Dallas Braden’s number. Dallas grew up in Stockton and spend time with the Ports while making his way up the ranks to eventually reach the Major League Level. Of course, Dallas was at the game and loved the bleacher folks being in attendance!
Here is the logo that was added to the outfield padding in honor of Dallas!
And here is the banner that was hung up below the press box. Cool stuff!
During the pre-game ceremony, he spoke to the crowd about his time playing in Stockton, which was very cool to watch and listen to.
He was joined on the field by the Oakland Coliseum PA Announcer, Dick Callahan!
Dick recalled being on the mic for Dallas Braden’s perfect game back in 2009 and shared some stories. Afterwards, he threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
And since his number was being retired, Dallas through out a ceremonial first pitch as well!
Here is Ports manager Rick Magnante in his green “A’s Day” jersey!
Of course, Will was at this game and he wore his green Ports hat with an older Ports Oakland-Style jersey.
It was very cool to see the Ports wearing green since the team usually dons red and blue.
I will say though, it was a bit awkward when it came to the batting helmets. Since the Ports only have blue and navy helmets, they had to do the best they could and wore the navy helmets with the green jerseys.
At one point in the game, Dick Callahan stopped by and visited with the bleacher folks that were at the game!
Throughout the night, my dad wandered around Banner Island Ballpark with his camera, which led to some really cool pictures!
Stockton has such a beautiful stadium, the Ports are very lucky to have Banner Island!
Remember how I mentioned that the green jerseys the Ports wore in this game were auctioned off? Well, with some help from my good buddy Ralliney, I ended up winning the auction for the jersey of the Ports manager, Rick Magnante!
The final score of the game was 8-7, a nail-biting win for the Ports!
At the top of the 9th inning, all of the jersey auction winners gathered in the concourse together so that after the game, we could go down onto the field to get our jerseys. While we were up there, in the concourse behind the third base dugout, a foul ball flew my way! Except I didn’t have my glove… So I missed it…
Well once the game was over, I made my way down onto the field with the rest of auction winners and met up with Ports manager Rick Magnante, who was an incredibly nice guy!
He noticed my right field bleacher shirt, so we talked about the bleachers for a bit, then he asked me how long I’ve been going to Ports games, if I have any other Ports jerseys, and just got to know me better. Rick Magnante is one of the nicest coaches I have ever met! Here we are with his jersey!
Several other bleacher folks won jerseys, including Will!
Afterwards, a bunch of us gathered down on the field for a selfie with Ports catcher Nick Rickles, who we came to know through social media and going to games, he is a wonderful guy!
Here is the selfie that Bryanne took!
After we got back up to the concourse, the group of us who had won jerseys, 9 of us in total, gathered for a photo.
Between BP, the game itself with the bleacher friends and the jersey auction, this game was a lot of fun!
5/11/15 at the Oakland Coliseum (0 balls)
The Red Sox were in town and I was pretty stoked for batting practice! However, their BP ended up being awful. I decided to skip batting practice for this game and just enjoy myself. And that I did, it was a fun day! On to the next game!
5/12/15 at the Oakland Coliseum (0 balls)
Again, I was excited for Red Sox BP, but quickly let down. It was the fleece blanket giveaway day, which meant lines were massive. The crowd during BP was awful, so it was tough to snag anything. I had an AP test the next morning too, so I ended up leaving partway through the game. Not very exciting, I’m sorry.
5/15/15 at the Oakland Coliseum (1 ball)
This Friday night game against the White Sox was a lot of fun. Pascale and I actually went to this game by ourselves, so it was really fun just to have some time as siblings. I snagged one ball during batting practice, an Adam Eaton home run in right field. Here’s a picture of me and Pascale after the game!
5/16/15 at the Oakland Coliseum (2 balls)
On this Saturday evening, I was lucky enough to snag two balls during batting practice. The first ball was thrown to me in right field by A’s lefty Drew Pomeranz. The second ball was a White Sox home run that I snagged in right field as well. Unfortunately, since it was a White Sox player, I’m not sure who hit it.
Here I am waving my flag as lineups were announced prior to first pitch.
On the mound for the A’s was the Mexican Mamba, Jesse Chavez!
It was nice to see my favorite player, Brett Lawrie, in the lineup!
Also- It was superhero fireworks night! After the game, there were fireworks with different superhero songs playing in the background. Of course, A’s Mascot Stomper had to look the part!
In case you’re wondering why there is a kid with a base in his hand, the A’s do this game on the field every Saturday were a kid is given 30 second to run to 3rd base from the left field flag pole, grab the base and bring it back to the left field corner. This kid was fast!
Here’s a cool picture my dad got from the second deck of us in Section 149.
And here’s an even cooler picture he got of the Coliseum while roaming the 200 level!
The fireworks after the game were pretty spectacular, we went down on the field for them. All around, it was a very fun day!
5/17/15 at the Oakland Coliseum (0 balls)
Little League Day means no batting practice, which means sad Nick.
While I could have gone for tossups from the pitchers that were playing catch, I knew they would likely give most of their balls to the little leaguers during the pre-game parade. Instead, I just sat back in my seat and relaxed. It was kinda nice. My dad did get a few cool photos during the parade. Some kid ran across the outfield grass instead of staying n the warning track like he was supposed to, so a security guard had to chase after him.
That was probably the highlight of the day for me in non-game action. Let’s move on to the next game!
5/25/15 at the Oakland Coliseum (1 ball)
Memorial Day! This was a day I was excited about for a really long time. Back in March, Kimberlee and I started brainstorming banner ideas for our favorite player, Brett Lawrie. After over 2 months of brainstorming and photoshopping and with the help of our good friend Ross, we had our final banner design, which we sent off to have made in time for this game!
Let’s break down the elements of our banner:
- Made in Canada: Brett was born in Canada
- Producing for Oakland: Well he plays for the Oakland Athletics
- Lawrie’s Inked Energy: Brett Lawrie has lots of tattoos (he is very inked) and is a player with a lot of energy
- Only 15 calories: He wore #15 for the A’s.
- The Stars on each side of the can: That star is one of the many tattoos Brett Lawrie has
So we essentially created a fake energy drink called “Lawrie’s Inked Energy” and turned it into a banner. It was an awesome process!
Right when gates opened, I ran down to the left field corner where A’s pitchers were playing catch, in hopes of snagging a ball. Unfortunately, I had no luck.
Soon after I went down there, the Tigers started taking batting practice, so I decided to move to left field.
While I was in left, Tigers reliever Joakim Soria tossed me my first and only ball of the day.
After BP concluded, I headed back to right field, where Kimberlee and I hung up our new banner, which was a very exciting moment!
Since it was Memorial Day, the A’s and Tigers were both wearing camo hats and jerseys and personally, I really liked the ones the A’s wore. Here is Josh Reddick saluting the fans in RF before the game got underway!
The A’s starter for this game was Jesse Hahn and he looked sharp all day long!
Remember how I mentioned we hung up our banner for the first time? Well my dad was kind enough to walk to the other side of the stadium to get a picture of it hanging up alongside the rest of the banners in right field. This was such a cool moment for us!
While my dad was walking around the stadium, he was able to get cool pictures of guys like Mark Canha
And Jesse Hahn, who looks very sharp in the camo and high socks!
Well Jesse pitched a really good game. A really good game. He threw a complete-game shutout for the A’s, allowing only 4 hits and striking out five.
While that was a fun game, the next few games after this were just as, if not more fun!
5/28/15 at the Oakland Coliseum (1 ball)
This was another giveaway game in Oakland and it was a pretty awesome giveaway at that! It was the Stephen Vogt referee bobblehead giveaway. Long story short, when Jonny Gomes was doing an interview on MLB Network’s Intentional Talk in 2014, he brought out Vogt, who did a fantastic and hilarious referee gimmick. Check that out HERE.
Yes, the bobblehead did have sound. As you can see in the picture above, it had 3 separate sound bytes. The first two were from his appearance on MLB Network, the 3rd one was an audio clip of the right field bleachers doing the “I Believe in Stephen Vogt” chant. So cool!!
Given that it was a Yankees game and the crowd was so big because of the giveaway, batting practice was tough. I was able to snag one ball though, a Yankees home run that I gave away to a nearby kid.
After BP, I just sat back and relaxed, enjoying the game. I spent some time visiting with my friend Taylor, who was sitting with her family in the left field corner of the 200 level.
After two games that were rough ballhawking-wise, I was looking forward to the next two in store!
5/29/15 at the Oakland Coliseum (4 balls)
Before gates opened, I was very excited about this game. The line was short and the gates opened 2 hours early. I was ready for a good day!
Things got off to a solid start during A’s BP, as I snagged two quick balls.
The first was a home run hit by Ike Davis, the second was a tossup from A’s bullpen coach Scott Emerson.
One of the cool connections I have with Emerson is that we use the same brand of glove, 44 Pro Gloves! It’s not a well-known brand, so when I flashed my glove his way, he hooked me up immediately, we had a good conversation about our gloves as well!
After A’s BP, I had two balls and for the short amount of time that BP lasted, I was very pleased!
After A’s BP, Kimberlee’s sister Amanda noticed this…
Here’s a close-up my dad got!
Yup! It was stuck in the gutter! Keep this in mind for my next game…
Well during Yankees BP, I snagged one more ball, a tossup from catcher John Ryan Murphy. After BP ended, I noticed this ball sitting on the out-of town scoreboard…
See the pen and glove? Someone apparently tried to use Zack Hample’s glove trick and kind of failed. Well after putting some duct tape on the end of my flag and taping it to another flag, I was able to lower my device down to grab the ball.
Boom! My 4th ball on the day. Here is a picture of me (and my 4 balls (one of them is cut out of the picture, but I promise it’s there) and Pascale with our friend Satoshi, who snagged 3 balls of his own during BP!
Sometime during batting practice, Will took this photo that I absolutely love!
Before the game got underway, I met up with Taylor, who you may remember me mentioning in the last game summary. She had just graduated from college, so I had to get a picture with her!
On the mound for Oakland was ace Sonny Gray!
Here’s a picture of my mom waving my flag while I was out getting food. I love my mom, she is so incredibly supportive of me, it’s awesome!
My dad, as always, got a ton of fantastic pictures over the course of the evening. First, here is a picture of Josh Reddick running.
And here is a 3-photo sequence showing first baseman Stephen Vogt picking a throw to first as Alex Rodriguez runs down the line. So cool!
My dad walked around the Coliseum like he normally does and as always, he got some incredible pictures from angles I don’t normally get to see during a game!
Isn’t the Coliseum beautiful?
Seriously? Unbelievable! If you haven’t noticed yet, my dad is a very good photographer.
Here’s a neat shot he got of me waving my flag, right above the new Brett Lawrie banner!
The last cool picture I will share from this game is this one of Mark Canha. Nothing special, but I just really like it!
Despite the Yankees tacking on a run in the 9th, the A’s held the lead and ended up winning 5-4!
After several rough games from a ballhawking standpoint, this was exactly what I needed to get my mojo going. On to Saturday!
5/30/15 at the Oakland Coliseum (5 balls)
Coming off a 4-ball day, I was excited for another day of BP!
The night before, I talked with a friend of mine named Ric who works for the A’s productions team and often runs the out-of-town scoreboard in right field. I told him about the ball in the gutter that Amanda had spotted and he told me to check back in with him the next day.
Right when I ran in, Ric called up to me and told me to look in the row behind me. And sure enough, there it was, laying in the second row! The ball that had been stuck in the gutter the day before! Thanks Ric!
Minutes later, Amanda came down to the bleachers and I showed her the ball, which I gave to her since she was the one that originally spotted it. I didn’t realize it at the time, but that was actually the 300th professional baseball I had snagged (adding my totals for the Majors and Minors). I was sad to not have it anymore, but the way that I acquired it was still very cool!
I didn’t snag anything during A’s BP, but while the Yankees were hitting, John Ryan Murphy hooked me up again with a tossup, my second ball on the day.
Eventually, I headed over to left field, where reliever David Carpenter hooked me up with a ball, my 3rd of the day.
After BP ended, I went back to right field, where I found not one, but TWO balls sitting on the out-of-town scoreboard. Of course, I got both of them with ease.
How did I get them so easily? Notice that attachment on the end of my flagpole in the two pictures above? Well that’s the head of a lightbulb changer. I taped it onto the end of my flag.
And that made it A LOT easier to grab balls off the scoreboard. They fit perfectly inside the attachment and made retrieving the two balls a very simple process.
So in total, I snagged FIVE balls at this game. I know that may not be a lot for most ballhawks, but for me, that was a pretty significant accomplishment, so Iw as pleased with myself.
As far as the game goes, the A’s lost 5-3. Thankfully though, I had one more game left in me for the month of May!
5/31/15 at the Oakland Coliseum (0 balls)
There isn’t a whole lot to say about this game. It was a Sunday afternoon game with no BP. As you can see above, I didn’t snag any balls. I also don’t have any pictures from this game. All in all, it was a good game. The A’s won 3-0 and it was my last game for over a month. At the start of June, I was headed off to work at a Boy Scout summer camp, which means my next entry will jump straight into July.
May was an incredibly fun month for me. This entry was nearly 4,000 words, so thank you all for sticking around for all of this. I apologize for this being shorter than my April entry, but there was just less for me to talk about in some aspects. My next post will be about the games I attended in June and July. I didn’t go to any baseball game sin June, but in July, I went to 4 A’s games and no minor league games, so my next entry will be much shorter than normal.
As always, thanks again for reading and stay awesome!
MAY BALLHAWKING STATS:
- 2 Minor League Games (4 total in April and May)
- 10 Major League Games (18 total in April and May)
- 4 Minor League Balls in 2 May Games = 2 Balls per game
- 14 Major League Balls in 10 May Games = 1.4 Balls per game
- 13 Balls in 4 Minor League Games in 2015 = 3.25 Balls per game
- 30 Balls in 18 Major League Games in 2015 = 1.67 Balls per game
- 43 Total Baseballs in April and May
Nick Badders is a blogger for MLB.com. He writes the blog, 7000 Coliseum Way, and you can follow him on Twitter or Instagram at @RFNick149. This blog entry was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.