Tagged: Athletics

Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum 10-10-2012 (ALDS Game 4)

Back at the Coliseum for another round of Athletics baseball! On Tuesday, I was only able to snag one baseball. I was hoping for a little magic during BP today, but alas, that really didn’t happen. I only snagged one baseball again, and here’s how it played out.

As soon as I ran inside the Coliseum, I saw this:

I thought for sure I’d get a toss-up. I knew the majority of the Tigers pitching staff, so I quickly switched out my hats to my Detroit one and ran down to the railing. I pulled my camera back and out and snapped this photo…

…do you see the Tigers player directly in line with me? Okay, look just beyond him to his throwing partner. See how he’s in motion to throw the ball? Well, as soon as I pocketed my camera, the ball came wheeling right for me. At the time, I didn’t even have my glove on to make a clean catch. But what made it worse was, the player directly in front of me made sort of a half-attempt to catch the ball. When he did, the ball glanced off his glove which gave me even less time to react, so all I could do was turn my shoulder and I took a hit nearly right between my shoulder blades. The only thing on my mind was to locate that ball. I heard it clang around in the seats and then I heard it rolling away. Possibly down some steps. But it went absolutely no where. The ball stayed in the aisle I was standing in and rolled just behind my feet:

Tada! No, the ball didn’t roll into my glove…I placed it there so I could gather myself up. It’s pretty scary to be hit with a baseball or have one coming directly at you and not have any time to react to it. And this wasn’t the first time I was hit with a baseball. Last year, at Safeco Field, I took a Cj Wilson fast ball to the inside of my thigh. Luckily, it didn’t hit me an inch farther in or I’d probably be missing a certain part of me, if you catch my drift.

The rest of batting practice was pretty much a bust and so was the game. I had standing room only tickets like last nights outing so I knew I’d be really limited to where I could go. I tried to stay down in the lower seating bowl the whole time, you know, walking around, talking with random people, but eventually the security guards sniffed me out and started asking me for my ticket when they saw me. I saved them the trouble and told them I had SRO tickets and I was on my way up the concourse to the upper seating area. And that was pretty much it. I had to watch the game from places like this…

…and again, it absolutely sucked. I guess I shouldn’t really be complaining though. I only paid like, $45 bucks for one ticket. So whatever. I did however sneak down after the game to the A’s dugout to see this happen:

No, that’s not a picture I took. The crowd was so crazy down by the dugout, people were shoving, and laughing, and jumping all around, and hugging each other, I couldn’t get my camera still enough to catch a good picture of what was happening. At one point in time, some random dude took my A’s hat off, kissed it, and slapped it back on my head! I was so awesome to be in the mix with people who genuinely loved their team! Even though I’ve been to a handful of A’s games with crowds as low as 9,000, this place had 36,000 of the best fans in baseball. And Section 149 was just going nuts!

Anyway, I left soon after and headed back to my hotel room. On the way back, all I heard was “LET’S GO OAK-LAND” chants all the way through downtown. It still gives me goosebumps just thinking of my trip to Oakland.

Today’s game snagging Highlights: Detroit Tigers Vs Oakland Athletics- Attendance 36,907

Baseballs snagged: one (over-throw from Tigers player)

Total baseballs snagged this season: 52

Total baseballs snagged last season: 135

Total dollars raised at this game: $2.04

Total dollars raised for Snagging Baseballs for Puppies this season: $100.78

Total dollars raised for Snagging Baseballs for Puppies last season: $257.00

Total number of donors this season: 9

Total number of donors last season: 7

If you’d like to join my official Snagging Baseballs for Puppies Facebook page, just click here! And if you want to like Collection of Baseball on Facebook, click here! Interested in following me on Twitter? Click here!

Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum 10-9-2012 (ALDS Game 3)

The last time I attended a playoff game was two years ago. I visited Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas and watched the Rangers/Yankees series. I really didn’t put up solid baseball snagging numbers due to the fact of the large capacity crowd and the players were a little stingy with toss-ups and not many home runs were being hit out during BP. The same thing sort of played out here at the Coliseum.

In fact, it wasn’t until the very end of batting practice when I was able to snag one baseball.  I really didn’t think it was going to happen, either. Here’s a picture right before I got the baseball…

…all I did was asked if I could take a picture of him, and he happily obliged in a laughing manner. My real intent was to build some quick repoire and ask for a baseball. I’m pretty sure he saw right through me because before I could really ask, he underhanded me one with a wink. If anyone can identify him, I’d greatly appreciate it. I’d like to add him to my list on MyGameBalls.com.

So let me back up some..I’d like to explain how this trip actually came to be. Over the course of the summer, I was very limited to how many games I could actually attend because I was busy working two jobs. And a little more expansion on that; when I got out of the service two years ago, I got a job and started school. Well, school sort of didn’t work out for me, and my current job started cutting back hours. So I was sort of forced into getting a second job. Over the course of this summer, I worked nearly 70 hours a week. Which wasn’t fun or worth it. I had no life.

Anyway, so now that I’m only working one job now (and thinking about school again) I’m back to going to baseball games. Unfortunately, baseball season is just about over but fortunately, I was able to catch the ALDS in Oakland. In a nutshell, I was sitting at home watching the last game of the regular season, you know, the game the Rangers should’ve won? The one where the Athletics stole the AL West crown? Yeah, that one. When the A’s won the AL West, that changed everything for me. It would mean I’d be taking a trip to Oakland real soon. When I realized the A’s would be facing the Tigers on the 9th and the 10th of October, I immediately checked my work schedule.

I come to the Oakland Coliseum a lot. Mainly because it’s a fun place to catch baseballs. The stadium alone has a ton of history and it’s fun to be inside a place where my favorite baseball players as a kid used to play. Like Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire, Rickey Henderson, Dave Henderson, Dennis Eckersely, Rick Honeycutt and Tony La Russa. One thing I will not do is call this place the O-Dot Coliseum or the OCo-whatever stadium. In fact, do you want to see how I really feel about it?

Nick Badder’s father took that photo of me. Nick is a fellow ballhawk that routinely attends Athletics games at the Coliseum, himself. I finally met him today and he also runs a blog on MLB.com, too. It’s called 7000 Coliseum Way. Here we are hanging out prior to the gates opening:

Once the gates cracked open at 4:07, Nick and I parted ways and it was time to start snagging baseballs again for my charity; Snagging Baseballs for Puppies. I didn’t have high expectations for this game because a) it was a playoff game so I knew the players were going to be holding back on toss-ups and b) the Coliseum would be abnormally packed with fans.

The fun part of watching the ALDS against the Tigers, was watching Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder smack a couple of home runs during batting practice. The most unfortunate thing during BP was, the ushers didn’t allow anyone into the upper deck (mainly section 149 where I wanted to go) without a ticket for that section. It was kind of a heartbreaker because I’ve been trying to get into section 149 since the last time I visited the Coliseum.

I was hoping for a big win from the Athletics tonight because when I planned this trip, I bought tickets for a probable game four. If the Athletics won that game, too, it was fine., Even though I’d love to stick around and watch the A’s take the series. But deep down, since I’m such a big Tigers fan as well, I wanted Detroit to win and I expected them to.

In any case, it felt really good to be back inside a Major League baseball stadium with some of the best fans in baseball. And when I say “best fans in baseball” I truly mean that about the fans in the Coliseum. During some games there are as little as 6,000 fans watching the Athletics play. But those 6,000 fans are those most dedicated fans I’ve ever met in my life.

By the time batting practice had ended, I got some food and drinks, I got a couple of pictures of me clowning around the Coliseum, and settled in to watch the game. Here are a few pictures I was able to get before the game started:

Me with the my only ball snagged during BP…

…and the next couple of photos are with some signs the Athletics fan crew were handing out.

Oh, and I can’t forget to show off my “rally towel”:

Here’s me with my Reddick sign:

And of course, my Cespedes sign:

The game was electrifying, to say the least. The Athletics were playing an elimination game and were doing everything in their power to force a game four. I had horrible seats, though. Standing room only. Which, in the Coliseum, there isn’t much “standing room only” places to stand only. Everywhere I went, I was asked to show my ticket. And once I ended up on the main concourse, that was it. I wasn’t allowed to get back down on the first level to walk the concourse around the lower seating bowl unless I showed my ticket, which said “SRO” on it, so the security wouldn’t allow me to pass. It was very frustrating.

I pretty much had to watch the game from places like this:

It totally sucked. My tickets for game four were the same thing, SRO. Regardless, I had a blast. I absolutely love the Coliseum!

Brett Anderson outgunned Anibal Sanchez in a 2-0 win with Coco Crisp robbing Prince Fielder of a home run during the game. Yoenis Cespedes hit an RBI single in the first inning and Seth Smith homered later. That was plenty on a night Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera, Fielder and the Tigers’ high-priced offense were shut down by the low-budget A’s.

Game four would be played tomorrow and I’d be there!

I’m snagging baseballs for puppies again this season for the Seattle Humane Society! If you want to check out my charity information, just click here!

Last season, with the help of all of you, we were able to raise over $250 dollars! This year I’d like to break $300!

Today’s game snagging Highlights: Detroit Tigers Vs Oakland Athletics- Attendance 36,907

Baseballs snagged: one (toss-up from Tigers coach)

Total baseballs snagged this season: 51

Total baseballs snagged last season: 135

Total dollars raised at this game: $2.04

Total dollars raised for Snagging Baseballs for Puppies this season: $98.74

Total dollars raised for Snagging Baseballs for Puppies last season: $257.00

Total number of donors this season: 9

Total number of donors last season: 7

If you’d like to join my official Snagging Baseballs for Puppies Facebook page, just click here! And if you want to like Collection of Baseball on Facebook, click here! Interested in following me on Twitter? Click here!

4-15-2012 Safeco Field

Sunday games are always a challenge to get a baseball; but I’ve been continuously successful. Since there isn’t any batting practice, it’s more of being at the right place at the right time with the right player. A lot can go wrong but a lot can go right. If you’re ever attending Sunday games that batting practice isn’t in full swing, my advice to you, is be a little more aggressive when trying to catch a ball. They can come from anywhere. Usually the home team has infield warm-up drills so there’s a huge chance for an errant throw to end up in the seats.

My first and only baseball came from Kevin Millwood. The Mariners were out warming up down the first base line and when Millwood got done playing catch with his throwing partner, we made eye contact, I flapped my glove at him and he absolutely air mailed me the baseball. I jumped at the last possible moment to make the catch but it was a few feet over my head. I quickly turned, remembered the gravity rule and casually waited for the baseball to come to me rather than frantically searching for it. I could hear foot steps of other fans closing in on me, but I paid it no attention:

When I wandered back over to the Mariners bullpen out in center field, there was a lady trying to get Jason Phillips autograph. She didn’t really know who he was and she kept asking him if he was a pitcher. I told her that Phillips is the Mariners bullpen catcher and he’s a really cool guy. She didn’t have anything to get his autograph on, so I offered her an extra baseball that I had in my back pack. She also wanted to get his autograph with a sharpie marker; which is a huge mistake. I hooked her up with a ball point pen and this was the result:

It’s hard to see Jason Phillips autograph, and it turns out this young lady is part of the special olympics. She’s a huge Mariner fan and was pretty appreciative to get Phillip’s autograph.

As the Mariners filtered off the field, the Athletics started to come out. I wanted to get a few pictures with some players and maybe an autograph or two. When I walked over to the 3rd base area, the Athletics started to warmup. I wandered down to the dugout area and waited. It wouldn’t be long and the team would start to come over my way.

I eventually got Grant Balfour’s autograph and a close-up picture of him…

…and here’s the autograph I got from him…

…pretty sweet, huh? And when one of my most favorite Athletics player came around, I was able to snap up a picture with him:

After that, it was time for some much-needed pizza at the Pizzeria in the ‘Pen. I was dying for a slice since I wasn’t able to get any on the home opener and I forgot about it yesterday.

Once I had some pizza in my belly, I watched Miguel Olivo warm-up, traded jokes between friends about Adam Moore getting hurt all the time and Olivo leading the entire Major Leagues in pass balls…this was what it was all about, though. Friends and baseball! Life couldn’t be sweeter. Well, it could. It was actually Jackie Robinson day at the ballpark and all players wore number 42 to celebrate this special day:

 

Once the game got underway, I settled down in my usual spot when the ‘Pen wasn’t crowded; near the Mariners bullpen.

Brendan Ryan and Justin Smoak both went deep for the Mariners and Eric Sogard of the Athletics easily tied it up with a 3-run shot in the 5th inning. Ichiro came back and delivered a two-run double to right and the Mariners put it in cruise control after that. Brandon League came in and slammed the door with his tenth save on the year, and that was the ball game, kids!

Yesterday, I said I’d update my mini-baseball streak stats, so here you go:

30 hours at three different stadiums, watching 48 innings of baseball, eating five nacho plates, one hotdog, one chicken meal, having drank five cokes, ate three pizza slices, traveled 1,280 miles, getting 46 hours of sleep!

I’m snagging baseballs for puppies again this season for the Seattle Humane Society! If you want to check out my charity information, just click here!

Last season, with the help of all of you, we were able to raise over $250 dollars! This year I’d like to break $300!

Today’s game snagging Highlights: Oakland Athletics vs. Seattle Mariners- attendance 19,065

Baseballs snagged: two (toss-up from Kevin Millwood)

Total baseballs snagged this season: 15

Total baseballs snagged last season: 135

Total dollars raised for Snagging Baseballs for Puppies this season: $28.35

Total dollars raised for Snagging Baseballs for Puppies last season: $257.00

Total number of donors this season: 8

Total number of donors last season: 7

If you’d like to join my official Snagging Baseballs for Puppies Facebook page, just click here! And if you want to like Collection of Baseball on Facebook, click here!

 

4-14-2012 Safeco Field

When I arrived in Seattle around mid-afternoon, I knew there was going to be a parking disaster because the Seattle Sounders soccer team were playing a game at 1pm. I wanted to visit the Pike Place Market but found myself debating whether to go visit the marketplace or get my usual parking spot. And since parking was filling up fast because of the soccer game, I decided to hold off on my visit to one of the more popular tourist places in Seattle. When I arrived at the stadium this was what I was up against:

I had so much time to kill before the game, I decided to stop in to the Blazing Bagel to get some breakfast/lunch. This place makes the best bagel sandwiches in the entire world!

See what I mean?

Tonight’s game would be a little less crowded than yesterdays game at the Safe, though. When I ran inside, I instantly made a bee-line for the ‘Pen and tried to get Ichiro’s attention. He was out in right field shagging baseballs like he always does. My goal this year was to get a baseball from a few key players. Ichiro was one of them. I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but Ichiro is the only player I know that’s currently playing, that wears his first name on the back of his jersey.

While I was shouting for Ichiro to throw a baseball my way, Jason Vargas decided he’d like to try his cannon from right field. He was deep in right field and when he threw a baseball towards the party deck, I didn’t think it would make it. The ball died right around the warning track. Ichiro continued to shag a few more fly balls and then ran over to get the baseball that Vargas threw:

The streak lives another day with an Ichiro toss-up! If you have no idea what “streak” I’m talking about, well, I’ll tell you. With that baseball I just caught from Ichiro, that’s my 103rd consecutive baseball game catching at least one baseball. Or finding one. Or glove-tricking one. Whatever. The point is, getting at least one baseball at a game. Also, another streak I have going is since last Monday, I’ve been to a baseball game every day this week so far. Tomorrow will be my seventh game on the week and sadly, the Mariners have an off-day on Monday and I have no future plans to go anywhere. I’d go to a minor league game, but I haven’t really checked the schedules and I’m not an avid minor league baseball fan, anyway. So my little mini-streak of going to baseball games will probably come to an end on Monday. Interesting enough, I created some extra statistics during that mini-streak that you may or may not be interested in.

After today’s contest between the Seattle Mariners and the Oakland Athletics, I’ll have spent 26 hours in three different stadiums, watching 39 innings of baseball, consuming three dishes of nachos, one hotdog, and one chicken meal, having drank four cokes, ate two pizzas slices, traveled 1,205 miles and slept 40 hours. After Sunday’s game I will definitely update these stats for you because I know you care that much.

After getting a baseball from Ichiro, I wandered out into centerfield to strike up a conversation with Tom Wilhelmsen.

“Hey, Tom! How was spring training?” I asked.

“It was awesome!” he turned, replying back.

“Good to hear, man! How was Japan?” I said to him.

“Oh, man! What a great experience! I had a blast!” he shouted excitedly.

“Yeah? I traveled out there too, to watch the series and I absolutely loved Japan.” I hollered back.

“You traveled out there for the games?” he asked me.

“Heck yeah! I wouldn’t have missed that for the world!” I replied.

We talked a moment or two longer about how peaceful Japan was and blah blah. It was really awesome to talk with Tom about the trip I had. If you’d like to read all about my awesome experience in Japan, click here and here.

Soon after, I made my way down to the Athletics dugout where I engaged in more conversation about my trip to Japan. Most of the Athletics fans that were down there would’ve loved to have gone and I was asked multiple times if I worked at Microsoft. Listen, my trip was extremely affordable. For those of you who are curious how people can afford to travel, I just put myself on a budget, saved, saved, and saved and went. The plane ticket was the most expensive part of the trip. Anyway. Enough about all that crap, right?

When Grant Balfour walked off the field after batting practice, I wasn’t able to get a baseball from him. Later on, I took this picture of what he threw to me:

Authentic Grant Balfour sunflower seeds!  And here’s a shot of the two super-stars on the Athletics team signing autographs for fans:

I’m not really a Yoenis Cepedes fan. I think he’s a tad overrated and a little too aggressive at the plate. He reminds me of Mariners Carlos Peguero. Cepedes started the season out very strong. He hit a home run off Shawn Kelley in the Tokyo Dome and two more in the Coliseum. But since then? He hasn’t done much. He’s been striking out more often than not, and he’s made at least one error in the outfield that I know of. He doesn’t excite me when he plays because I know he’s going to strikeout. I predict that Cespedes will be back in the minor leagues before you know it.

Before the game started, I wanted to return to the Flying Tortoise Cantina to get me a huge plate of nachos. And this time, because the ‘Pen wasn’t wall to wall with drunks and party-goers, I was able to accomplish that:

What an amazing plate of food. Safeco Field has probably the best tasting food in any stadium I’ve ever been to. I’ve only been to 14 stadiums, but still. Safeco, so far, ranks number one.

Once the game got underway, I ventured out into the outfield seating to look for a public icon at Safeco Field. Her name is Amy Franz and she’s in charge of recording all of Ichiro’s hits during the season. If you know nothing about her, well, I’m about to tell you a little bit about what’s happening at Safeco. When Ichiro had his amazing run for the all-time hit record in Major League baseball, Amy and her husband Joe, were there to record all of his hits. When hit number 262 came around, this sign ended up in Cooperstown:

I had a chance to meet Amy and Joe and I got my picture taken with them:

As you can see, Ichiro is already at hit number 11. It’s pretty awesome to see this sort of stuff at Safeco Field and Amy and Joe actually traveled to Japan to watch the Mariners play the Athletics as well. They even brought their Ichi-meter!

I tweeted Amy and Joe while I was in Japan, but I never was able to meet up with them there. I finally was able to cross paths with them at Safeco Field and they are super nice people. If you ever want to meet them and get a picture with them like me, just head on down to the Ichi-meter sign and holler at them!

I spent the majority of the game wandering around the stadium for the first time since last season. It felt really great to be back in Safeco Field amongst friends and Mariners baseball!

In the above photo, these are my baseball friends. The majority of this group come to just about every single Mariners home game and some, like me, even travel around the United States watching the Mariners play in different stadiums.

From left to right;  Ryanna, Emma, Carla, ChrisKrista, Vanessa, Jacob and Jacob’s girlfriend (who I really havent met yet). They’re an awesome bunch and they’re always down in the ‘Pen near the Mariners bullpen. The group is called the GirlsCorner because we all post ourselves up in the ‘Pen in the corner near the bullpen. The guys in the group are GirlsCornerSecurity. It’s pretty awesome.

I’m snagging baseballs for puppies again this season for the Seattle Humane Society! If you want to check out my charity information, just click here!

Last season, with the help of all of you, we were able to raise over $250 dollars! This year I’d like to break $300!

Today’s game snagging Highlights: Oakland Athletics vs. Seattle Mariners- attendance 21,071

Baseballs snagged: two (toss-up from Ichiro Suzuki)

Total baseballs snagged this season: 14

Total baseballs snagged last season: 135

Total dollars raised for Snagging Baseballs for Puppies this season: $26.46

Total dollars raised for Snagging Baseballs for Puppies last season: $257.00

Total number of donors this season: 8

Total number of donors last season: 7

If you’d like to join my official Snagging Baseballs for Puppies Facebook page, just click here! And if you want to like Collection of Baseball on Facebook, click here!

 

 

4-10-2012 Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum

Today would prove to be another awesome day at the Coliseum. Although, rainy, wet and soggy, I had a great time! The rain started as soon as I crawled out of bed around 8am and it never let up. I knew batting practice wasn’t going to happen today but I decided to go to the game anyway. I’ve been to a lot of games where batting practice wasn’t in session and I still walked away with at least one baseball. In fact, if you’re interested in statistics, March 29th 2012 at the Tokyo Dome was my 100th consecutive game snagging at least one baseball.

I took the hotel shuttle to the Coliseum about an hour before the gates opened. This was the line when I got there:

The line didn’t change much, either. While I was standing there, I had sort of a brain fart. I purchased tickets to the same section that I sat in last nights game (which I should’ve kept). I started to think that since there would be such a low attendance tonight, I could sit behind the Royals dugout and shag third out baseballs! I grabbed my back pack and hauled ass over to the ticket window to upgrade my ticket. I now had in my possession a ticket one row behind the Royals dugout on the aisle! This seat was ideal for catching the third out baseballs that the players throw into the bleachers. I was also sitting in foul territory with a very little competition factor.

Once inside, I knew I’d be seeing something similar to this:

I absolutely knew this was what today was going to be like. But I wasn’t in panic mode because I had seats behind the dugout that pretty much guaranteed me a baseball. I walked the entire concourse of the stadium and when I looked towards the visitors bullpen, I spotted a little white speck underneath the bench. I blinked a few times, rubbed my eyes and started heading that way. Yes, a baseball was on the field, underneath the bench of the bullpen and I was going to get it one way or another. Unfortunately, the only way to get it would be one of three ways: glove trick it (which is outlawed at the Coliseum), wait for a player to come by and ask for it, or ask security for it. All three options were a long shot but I had to try anyway.

Here’s an overhead view of the visitors bullpen with a red arrow pointing to where the baseball was:

When I went down there to get the baseball, I asked one of the Coliseum ushers if he thought the security guard would be nice enough to toss me the baseball. He quickly told me he didn’t want any part of that and sort of walked away. I thought to myself, “well, there went that.” But he actually came back and told me to ask the security guard to see if it would happen or not. When the guard got a free moment, I walked over to him and asked him if he’d be able to toss me the baseball. He immediately put his hands up and told me the baseball was not his to give away. Fair enough.

I’ve been going to enough baseball games to know the rules when it comes to security guards and baseballs. When I would go to games at Busch Stadium there was a security guard that would actually go into the dugouts and get pockets full of baseballs and hand them out to certain fans. Cute kids, babies, young boys dressed up in baseball swag usually got the majority. It was rare for a security guard to hook up an older fan like myself with a ball. They always give people the run-around. That’s what bothers me the most. I wish some of these guards would just be upfront and honest. But hey, whatever. Moments later, while I was engaged in conversation with the two Coliseum ushers, the guard flipped me the baseball:

I took the picture away from the field and without the security guard in view because I didn’t want to put the guy on the spot. He really didn’t want to throw me the ball in the first place, but he did, which I’m grateful for, but I didn’t want to make a big deal about it. I talked with the two Coliseum ushers for a while longer, we chatted about baseball (of course) and I shared my charity information with them, too. One of them offered me seats right behind the Royals bullpen, which I would have taken, but I had awesome seats behind the dugout.

I stood around for roughly an hour taking various pictures of the Coliseum since there was no batting practice. It was very boring, and for the majority of the time I stood on the corner near the field staring into the Royals dugout. Here are a few pictures:

Eventually Jeff Francoeur came out and signed a few autographs, shook some hands, etc. That was probably the highlight of the evening. The Athletics announced that there would be a rain delay but it didn’t last long and soon the Royals were on the field warming up. Prime baseball snagging time!

The second ball of the evening came from another unidentifiable player just like at last nights game. Although, a friendly fellow ballhawk left a comment claiming yesterdays toss-up came from Kelvin Herrera. I updated my stats on MyGameball.com accordingly but I still couldn’t identify this guy. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a better picture and in the above photo, I couldn’t even tell you where he is. All I know is after two Royals finished up playing catch, I flapped my glove at the baseball holder and he threw me a bullet that smacked right into my glove:

I waited around for an additional few minutes to see if I could get another toss-up but that was pretty much the end of it. I stuck around for the National Anthem, of course, and then moved on to find my seats. Check out empty my section was:

The above photo was the seats to my right…

 

…and in the picture that you just looked at, that is farther down the first base side. As you can see, there weren’t a whole lot of people attending tonight’s contest. And since I upgraded my tickets to sit behind the dugout, I thought I’d have a fair amount of opportunity for a third out ball and foul baseballs.  Foul balls? Not so much. Guess where they all went? Yup! In section 217, 218 and 219. Section 219 was where I originally decided to sit before I came up with the bright idea to move. But not all was lost. Not only did I get to sit next to Danny Duffy’s mother…

…and not only did I get to sit through 8 innings of constant rain…

…and not only did I sit through two rain delays…

…and not only did I catch a third out baseball from Chris Getz, but the Oakland Athletics have announced that anyone that attended tonight’s game would get a complimentary game on the house for gutting out the rain delays! How awesome is that?! I’d say that’s just another excuse for me to fly back to the Oakland Coliseum and watch more baseball in that old run down piece of crap of a stadium! Wouldn’t you agree?

The actual game, though, was pretty one-sided. Duffy held the Athletics to just one in six innings pitched and Mitch Maier had the only home run of the game. There were a few foul balls that came within snagging distance of me, but the majority, like I said, went up to the upper levels. I’ll be seeing you soon, Oakland. Very soon…

 

I’m snagging baseballs for puppies again this season for the Seattle Humane Society! If you want to check out my charity information, just click here!

Last season, with the help of all of you, we were able to raise over $250 dollars! This year I’d like to break $300!

Today’s game snagging Highlights: Kansas City Royals vs. Oakland Athletics- attendance 10,067

Baseballs snagged: three (security guard toss-up , toss-up by unidentified Royals player and snagged third out ball from Chris Getz)

Total baseballs snagged this season: 11

Total baseballs snagged last season: 135

Total dollars raised for Snagging Baseballs for Puppies this season: $11.74

Total dollars raised for Snagging Baseballs for Puppies last season: $257.00

Total number of donors this season: 6

Total number of donors last season: 7

If you’d like to join my official Snagging Baseballs for Puppies Facebook page, just click here! And if you want to like Collection of Baseball on Facebook, click here!

4-9-2012 Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum

Like I’ve stated many times before, I refuse to call this place the “O.Co Coliseum.” It’s a horrible name for such a great stadium with such unique, awesome fans. So when you read these entries regarding my visits to the Oakland Coliseum, you will always, always read “Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.” Period.

When I arrived at the coliseum, I met up with a long time friend, Deirdre. She drove up from southern California to attend this game with me and we had a blast! I never knew the Oakland Coliseum could be so much fun and I urge anyone that’s in the area when the Athletics are playing at home, to attend at least one game. Tickets are dirt cheap and there are plenty of seats available!

We hit up the ticket window to get our seats for the day, and this was the line:

After we got our tickets (which I may add right now, these seats will play a pivotal role in my success later on…) we got a lady to get our picture before she hurried off…

…after that, we visited the team store to try on some Athletics swag…

…and as you can tell, like in Japan, I’m wearing my “Chuck Knoblauch Follows Me” shirt, again! Why? Because it’s become one of my most favorite baseball shirts, kind of like this one that I wore at Safeco Field last year, and because Chuck Knoblauch was, and still is, one of my favorite baseball players to this date. I even wrote a special blog entry called “An Ode to Chuck Knoblauch“. Check it out if you have the time.

After clowning around in the Athletics team store, Deirdre and I did a lap around the Coliseum just so she could see this old relic. Deirdre told me she hadn’t been to the Coliseum since she’d attended high school. That was roughly ten years ago. Not much has changed. I was a little shocked to see the lack of fans tailgating in the parking lot as we walked around the stadium and I was a little shocked at the lack of fans in general. I still can’t get over the fact that hardly anyone comes to these games. The stadium isn’t that bad on the inside, and even though I’ve called the stadium a “dump” and a “relic” it’s actually very beautiful in a sense that so much baseball history has happened here. I’d seriously hate to see the Athletics go anywhere else, and rumor has it, by the year 2015, they won’t be in Oakland anymore.

One thing that caught my eye while we were walking around is this:

The Athletics put this entry together a week or so ago to allow season ticket holders a special entrance into the Coliseum. Although, there aren’t any special perks to entering the Coliseum through this way, it just allows people with season ticket credentials to enter without having to deal with the other 25 people entering at D gate.

Deirdre and I sat down at D gate for the remainder of our time while we waited for the Coliseum to open at 5:35pm. The gates open roughly 90 minutes before game time, just for your information. While we were waiting in line, I told Deirdre that this was my third visit to the Oakland Coliseum. I visited the Coliseum last season on opening day and on April 2nd 2011. I also made a last-minute trip to Oakland on September 21st 2011 as well.  So this would be my fourth game at the Coliseum, and as I explained all of this, Deirdre said, “Wow, Wayne. You’ve been to more games at the Coliseum than regular Athletic fans that actually live in Oakland!” There might be some truth to that.

Right before the gates opened, the line looked like this:

And when the gates “opened”, everyone scampered (including me) to the security tables to get their bags checked and to gain entrance inside. Three young boys in front of me got their bags checked and were allowed all the way to the second security gate seen here…

…but were instantly recalled. I’m not sure why, I guess someone jumped the gun in the management department. So more waiting. Another five minutes passed and I was able to see inside to view which team was on the field for batting practice. I saw one player wearing a blue jersey…so that meant the Athletics were already off the field and the Royals were out taking BP.

Once all 30 fans were allowed to enter the stadium, I ran inside and made a bee-line for foul territory that eventually would lead me up to the right field seats near the foul pole. I’ve always had great success in this spot, so I didn’t want to go elsewhere. Besides, when I initially ran in, I found this:

And within the next five minutes I was able to get a toss-up from an unidentified player in the right field (I think it’s Eric Hosmer). Here’s a picture of him:

I’ll admit; it’s a crappy picture, and you really can’t see his face. I looked through my MLB At Bat app on my iPhone trying to find this guy, but the only person I came close to was Joakim Soria. But he’s out for Tommy John surgery. If anyone can help me identify this player, shoot me a comment. Much appreciated.

Here’s me chillin` out in my spot in right field:

It wouldn’t be long until I snagged my third baseball on the night. And this would be a good one, too! Remember when I bought my ticket? I specifically asked for section 218 and asked for an aisle seat that was as close to the field as possible. Well, this is where I ended up sitting with my friend, Deirdre:

Can you believe that?! Four rows from the field behind home plate! Foul ball heaven, right? Oh, you are so right, my friend! Three foul balls came relatively close to where I was seated and one man to my right decked out in Giants swag was able to nab one of them and the other floated to my left where it banged off the railing. If perhaps the two fans that were in pursuit would have pursued a lot faster, I’m sure someone would have come up with it. The foul ball that I caught came off the bat of Coco Crisp in the bottom of the first inning. Well, I can’t say I really caught it. It was more of a high arching foul that drifted about two rows behind me. I made an attempt to my left for it but I was blocked by fans. So I turned to my right, took about two steps up and watched a fan holding a beer take the ball off his chest. The ball landed in the row right in front of me and I was able to snatch it up pretty quickly:

In all the 132 games I’ve attended, this was my first foul ball during the game. Well, except for a foul ball that was tossed to me by an umpire at Kauffman Stadium years ago. In 2010, I caught a lot of third out baseballs from players at Busch Stadium. But those weren’t foul balls. They were actual baseballs used in live games, though. So that’s pretty special.

During the fifth inning, Deirdre treated the both of us to this:

I’m telling you; this was a massive bowl of nachos. It was more food for any one man to defeat but I accomplished that feat. I can now say I’ve officially conquered a nachos bowl at the Oakland Coliseum. It was so awesome-ly good, I considered eating what Deirdre couldn’t finish. But I was so overly worried about another foul ball coming my way, I decided to pass on the second nacho bowl (even though I think I can eat two). And just for the record, it took me an entire Major League baseball regulation inning to finish this bad boy.

Around the 6th inning or so, as I was sitting there kind of staring off into la la land, someone approached me.

Are you Wayne?” the guy said.

Huh? Me?” I responded sort of half dazed and surprised that someone out of no where knew my name.

Yeah. Is your name Wayne?” he said again and extended his hand for a handshake.

My initial thought? I was in some sort of trouble or something. But there was no trouble. No trouble at all. It was an employee from Major League Baseball here to interview me regarding my charity work for the Seattle Humane Society. Earlier in the day, I had sent out a bunch of tweets on Twitter that I’d be attending the Athletics game in Oakland. I’m not sure if that’s where they got my information, or even who got my information or even how they found me in the Oakland Coliseum! But they found me! Anyway. I was able to speak about my charity and talk about my trip to Japan and all that, and I was told that the interview would be posted on MLB.com/Cutfour. It’s a new website that Major League baseball has came up with to involve fans in the game. It’s a pretty cool sight and all the teams have one. Here’s the tweet after the game:

The Athletics actually played some very good baseball. Josh Reddick was able to throw out Kansas City Royals baserunner, Jason Bourgeois, from right field to third base in the first inning on an amazing throw off his back leg. Donaldson, at third, made a great tag on Bourgeois and essentially blocked him from even getting in to touch the base. Athletics rookie, Tom Milone pitched eight shutout innings, gave up three hits and walked three. Pretty impressive. I can’t say the same for Royals rookie pitcher, Mendoza as he picks up the loss. And history also visted the Oakland Coliseum tonight. Kurt Suzuki played in his 600th game as an Athletics catcher! I was surprised when he got absolutely no recognition other than the tweet I sent to @TheAsGame on Twitter!

I’m snagging baseballs for puppies again this season for the Seattle Humane Society! If you want to check out my charity information, just click here!

Last season, with the help of all of you, we were able to raise over $250 dollars! This year I’d like to break $300!

Today’s game snagging Highlights: Kansas City Royals vs. Oakland Athletics- Attendance- 10,054

Baseballs snagged: three (found , toss-up by Eric Hosmer and snagged Coco Crisp foul ball)

Total baseballs snagged this season: 8

Total baseballs snagged last season: 135

Total dollars raised for Snagging Baseballs for Puppies this season: $7.72

Total dollars raised for Snagging Baseballs for Puppies last season: $257.00

Total number of donors this season: 6

Total number of donors last season: 7

If you’d like to join my official Snagging Baseballs for Puppies Facebook page, just click here! And if you want to like Collection of Baseball on Facebook, click here!

Extra stuff from my trip to Japan!

Well, I’m officially back to the states and it’s back to the daily routine for me. I’ll hopefully be taking a trip next week to watch the Athletics battle the Kansas City Royals at the Oakland Coliseum on April 9th and 10th, so if you’re in the area, come on by and say hello! After that, providing the game isn’t sold out, I’ll be attending the Seattle Mariners home opener on April 13th and possibly the following two games after that. But we all know things can get hectic and plans can change. So I’ll just play things by ear for now.

I wanted to share some interesting photos I got from Zack Hample after I had returned to the United States. If you read my latest two blog entries, you’ll know that I attended two games at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo Japan for the 2012 Major League Baseball season opener on March 28th and on March 29th. I had such an awesome time that I wanted to get my blogs done about the games before I left for the US. I finally got the last entry done about the time I was ready to board my flight from Japan to the United States. So things were a little rushed in that entry and I didn’t really insert all the pictures I wanted. Plus, I still have a lot to talk about concerning the actual trip to Japan instead of just the baseball games. I covered quite a bit of detail on my adventure to and from the Tokyo Dome, but I still left some things out, and like I said, things were rushed.

Okay, enough talk. Time to look at some pictures!

Here’s me getting my picture taken by Zack after we first met since our last visit at Safeco Field on June 15th 2011. Zack wanted to get a bite to eat and since I had already eaten something earlier, I wasn’t all that hungry. But it prompted me to get a craving for a hamburger the following day at the Dome.

What’s interesting about the above picture is this; people who come to attend baseball games lay down sheets of newspaper and tape them to the ground as sort of place saver. It’s actually pretty ingenious surrounded by a little bit of primitive ideology, wouldn’t you agree? When I was sitting in line with Zack on March 28th, plenty of people kind of came and went while their sheet of newspaper held their spot. And here’s a close up of what a Japanese newspaper looks like:

Interesting stuff, yeah?

Here’s a picture of me hanging out in the outfield looking onto the field for an opportunity to snag a baseball:

As you can see, there is plenty of room to run when the seats aren’t filled. There are no cross bars blocking or any other obstructions in the way. There aren’t any seat backs and the stairs and fairly easy to negotiate. It was pretty fun to shag baseballs at this stadium, for sure!

After BP, of course, we worked up quite an appetite. And although the food was pretty expensive, it was full of taste and worth the amount of money I paid. I ordered chicken on a stick and it was covered in some kind of sweet and sour BBQ sauce sort of like the scallops I had on Thursday morning at the fish market.

The next picture I’m about to show you was the “restricted” staircase that Zack and I found. It took us to the very top of the Tokyo Dome and eventually security shut us down. But it was so much fun to explore! The way we got up there was just as interesting, too. We literally sweet talked the guard into letting us up! Being that there was a language barrier made it all that much easier. Here’s me peeking out of the door and taking a picture:

And here are a couple of pictures of Zack and I just hanging out after batting practice ended:

 

 

Check out this next picture…

…see the yellow strip down the middle of the sidewalk? Well, that’s for blind people. They can use that to navigate the city or wherever they’re headed. Pretty cool, huh? At every intersection there are yellow pads that are covered with little bumps to alert blind people that the end of the sidewalk is near. Those are also placed before staircases going up and down, too.

Some other interesting facts that I observed while being in Japan is that people are very quiet and they keep to themselves. It’s very rare that you’ll find a person walking down the street with a cellphone glued to their ear while they yap loudly to whomever is on the other end. Also, Tokyo (and even Ueno, where I stayed) have these little alley ways that people generally do their business in. Meaning, where they eat or count their money or talk on their cellphones. Not where they do their business, business. You get what I mean. It’s sort of like, being super private. They don’t want to air their phone conversations and they don’t want people seeing them stuff their face with a McDonalds Big Mac or something like that. So they go down these alley ways, turn their backs to the street, and handle their issue. Also, ATM’s are very private. There is a frosted piece of glass in front of the ATM and the ATM really isn’t out in the open in the store like it is in America.

Like I stated before in my previous entry, taxi cabs are for the birds. They are expensive for one, and anywhere you want to go, you should walk. You’ll see more and it’s healthier for you. I suppose this is sort of turning into a “how-to” guide about Japan, but really I’m just sharing some pointers in case you get the urge to go see Japan. Learn the trains and the subways. It’ll save you time and money. Or like I’ve said twice before, just walk!

Last mention and then I’ll wrap this up. Yes, it’s more information on my charity. If you’re wondering how to become a donor for Snagging Baseballs for Puppies, just leave a comment or email me at WaynePeck@yahoo.com! It’s that easy! Leave me your name, where you’re from and how much you want to pledge per baseball! Or if you want to just donate $10 bucks, you can do that too! $10 bucks is the minimum you can donate and that’s a Crowdrise.com thing. Next season I’ll be changing my donation webpage to the webpage that the Seattle Humane Society has set up. Since the season already started, and I already have four donors, I didn’t want to confuse things. Here’s the link to my charity page, by the way.

Anyway, I hope everyone has a fantastic 2012 baseball season!