When I got to the stadium today this was waiting for me:
Yes, that is an authentic Major League baseball from Rawlings. The stamp on the sweet spot reads, “Catch n Win 2011” and the red “X” means that it’s already been turned in for a prize to Guest Services. What does this all mean? Absolutely nothing. Yesterday at Safeco Field the Mariners were holding a fan appreciation day and when I found out they would be using special baseballs during BP I literally freaked out. I started tweeting everyone I knew that would be going to the game asking if they’d snag me one of those baseballs. I even tweeted Mariners pitcher, Shawn Kelley if he’d snag me one and hold onto it until I could get to the stadium the next day. Thanks to my friend, Ryanna and Carla, I was able to get one. Shawn Kelley eventually responded to me with this;
Saturday. Game start time was 1:10pm. Why? Because of a U2 concert set to kick of at Qwest Field at 7:00pm. Could you believe it? I knew this ahead of time and I decided to go to the game anyway. I knew there wasn’t going to be batting practice but the ushers told me that the Rays probably will. There was no way the Rays were going to have any batting practice. When I entered the stadium I saw this.
I told them so. But no one wants to believe me. Anyway. Whatever. I waited at the staircase until 11:10am when we were allowed to roam the rest of the stadium and I immediatly wandered down to the third base line. James Shields and some other Rays pitcher were out on the field warming up and all I needed was a simple overthrow to get on the board. And it happened. Shields threw something pretty low and away and the rookie pitcher couldn’t handle it. The ball trickled over within reach and I scooped it up. Of course I had to give it back because that was the only baseball they brought out to use. I assumed I would get the ball back after they were done but no such luck.
The above picture is before the overthrow happened. The picture below is the overthrow about to happen.
In the next series of pictures I will show you how to align yourself perfectly for an overthrow and how to catch it if it happens.
The first picture shows how one of the baseball players is in a “catchers” position. And you can also see how far away the other baseball player is when he throws. That really increases the risk of an overthrow. The player that’s catching has limited mobility because he is in a catchers position. Anything that falls short, bounces or goes far left or right will result in the ball getting by the player and rolling to the wall.
I have placed a red circle around the crouching player. In the next picture I will show you the path of the baseball which resulted in an overthrow.
The solid red line indicates the path of the baseball and since it came up short and had a lot of spin on it, it was able to squirt away from the baseball player. The dotted red line indicates the path of the baseball to me. Which I picked up, and graciously handed back to the baseball player. So if you’re determined to catch an overthrow from your favorite baseball player, (like me) you don’t want to stand directly behind the player. You want to stand a little bit off his side depending on which hand he uses to catch. So in this situation you’ll want to stand a little bit more to your left as you face the player. Understand? Sure you do. Look people. There is an art to this. It requires skill and…a sloppy game of catch from the players.
After that Adam Russell came out to throw, and he gave his baseball away to a kid in the front row. She had a cute little pink bow in her hair. And then J.P Howell came out to throw and he tossed his baseball to a group of youngsters in the front row, and then the pitching coach played catch with a young kid in the front row and of course that baseball went to that kid. I even captured the game of catch on video.
Apparently it’s okay to play catch with fans again or the Rays didn’t have any idea about the story circulating that Major League Baseball has told their players not to play catch with fans anymore due to an injury caused to a fan from a game of catch. I learned that from Zach Britton when I requested a game of catch via Twitter. If you want to read all about that you can. Just click here.
Before the game started I went and took my usual spot by the Rays bullpen. During the game I couldn’t believe how much trash talk some of the Mariner fans could dish out. And of course as the game progressed and people consumed more alcohol words seemed to flow more freely and the Seattle Police had to get involved. If you have never been to Safeco Field the bullpen area is now open to allow fans to get closer to the baseball players in the bullpens without a pesky fence inbetween them.
In the above picture, see how the fans are free to lean over into the bullpen? Well, during the game it’s a lot more crowded. This one guy in a Sonics jersey asked for a baseball throughout the entire game. He got a few players attention due to his Sonics jersey but no one threw him a ball because how obnoxious he was being. I’m sure he thought he was being cool and impressing all of his buddies. But the players probably thought different. When the eight inning came around I readied my glove because I knew Bobby Ramos was going to throw some baseballs into the crowd like he did yesterday. Since I was wearing my Tampa Bay Rays hat I knew I had a very good chance of getting one. Plus I was standing by a few Rays fans. So that increased the probability. Strength in numbers. Bobby Ramos tossed one to my right, which was out of reach, and then he tossed the other one high and to my left. I made the quick snag and that was it. The dude in the Sonics jersey threw a fit, tossed his beer cups into the bullpen, and got a few glares from the Rays pitching staff. Bobby Ramos you’re my hero.
Oh, one more thing. If you want to follow me on Twitter…
Game; June 4th 2011 Tampa BayRays vs Seattle Mariners
Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $63.55 this season.
Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $26.75 this
As soon as I walked into Safeco Field there was a deep drive hit by one of the Mariners that was headed towards the Mariner’s bullpen. The ball actually cleared the bullpen and landed inside the ‘Pen area. It took a nasty bounce off the walkway, ricocheted off the back wall near the team store and then started rolling towards the stairwell that led up to the rest of the stadium. Since the ball was rolling away from me I really didn’t have a chance. My buddy Josh, who also has an account on www.Mygameballs.com , was trying to run it down. I watched the entire thing play out and it looked like some stadium employee was going to beat him out. I was kind of shocked to see a stadium employee trying to chase a baseball while a fan was trying to get it. But in the end, Josh got the ball. So it all ended well.
When I was premitted to enter the rest of the stadium I was racing down the sections towards the front row and a sharply hit line drive nearly took my head off. It bounced into the seats and bounced right back to me. I made the easy catch. It kind of reminded me when I was at AT&T Park and a ball smacked off the seats right back to me. If you want to read about that you can here. I’m really enjoying those lucky bounces.
This the view of where I stood to play foul balls. It was a really good spot and there were hardly anyone else at the stadium during BP. So I pretty much had the whole front row to myself.
See that security guard standing there? He’s a new guy. And he totally sucks at being the new guy. More on him later though. Here is a closer look at him.
Within the next twenty-minutes a bullet was hit right at me. It took one bounce on the dirt and I was able to snag it off the bounce. It came in so fast and smacked right into my glove. The small crowd behind me started to clap and I gave them a quick curtain call. It was kind of cool. I figured after that catch people would start to filter down beside me. But no one really came over. Then Jeremy Hellickson missed a throw from his throwing partner and the ball sailed into the seats. Some guy with his son picked it up and then Jeremy started yelling into the infield for someone to throw him another baseball. The guy offered the baseball to Hellickson but I didn’t see him throw it to him. So I offered my baseball as well that I had caught earlier. Hellickson told me he would throw it right back to me. So as I was pulling the ball from my bag, Jeremy tossed me one. I bare-hand caught it because I took my glove off to get a baseball from my bag. After I caught the ball I thanked him but I didn’t realize it belonged to the guy next to me. He started to put up a fuss and I asked him if it was his. I immediatly gave it back to him and he extended his hand for a handshake. I was a little embarrased for him because of how he overreacted and I explained to this adult that I wasn’t trying to take his baseball away from him. As the conversation took place a baseball was hit towards us and it bounced off the screen into the first row. I was able to bobble it enough to keep it in front of me and scoop it up. I wanted to give the ball to his son but because of the nasty attitude at first I decided to hold on to it. David Price came out of the dugout and tossed him one anyway. And then later during BP they got another one tossed to them by Jeremy Hellickson.
Josh and I decided to stand near the dugout towards the end of batting practice. Josh got J.P Howell’s attention and even got him to toss a baseball towards us. I thought Josh was going to go for it, and Josh thought I was going to go for it. It kind of reminded me when an outfielder and an infielder are both chasing after a towering pop-up and with all the crowd noise, and running towards it, both calling for it, and then at the last moment we both hit the brakes and it plunks down in front of us. That’s kind of what happened. The ball bounced off the padded wall and rolled back onto the field. And wouldn’t you know. Remember that security guard I showed a picture of earlier? He came over, picked up the ball, gave us the evil eye, and tossed it to some autograph hound. I.Couldn’t.Believe.It. J.P Howel was cool enough to toss us another one and I made sure Josh got it this time.
I wanted to get a couple pictures with some Tampa Bay Rays. I was really surprised when David Price stopped to sign autographs. So I took that opportunity to meet him and get a picture with him. He was really cool about it while laughing and joking with the crowd. Here’s the pictures that I got with David Price. (Courtesy of Josh)
Here are a couple pictures of David Price signing autographs with me trying to get into position for a picture. It was hard because there were like a million people trying to get his autograph. So I had to just be assertive otherwise it wouldn’t of happened.
Here’s one more.
Those are kind of some “behind the scenes” pictures for your viewing pleasure. After BP Josh and I headed out of the stadium to get some gormet hotdogs. If you ever come to Safeco Field make sure you get one. We got the Edgar Dog but they also have Buhner Dogs, Griffey dogs, and Felix dogs. They’re so tastey. The hotdog stand is located out in front of Qwest Field. And those tastey numbers look like this.
That’s just the basics the hotdog comes with. They have a whole table full of things you can put on your hotdog. From hot sauce, to spicey mustard, to ketchup, relish, and pickles. The list goes on and on. There is no extra charge for the goodies either and the hotdog is about $4bucks. While we were eating Josh showed me the baseball that he caught after it took a nasty bounce off one of the seats. Here’s the result of that.
Yeah. That’s a small hole that somehow the seat put into the baseball. I don’t know where the ball hit on the seat but that is pretty amazing.
The Mariners went deep four different times. Jack Cust went deep, Justin Smoak went deep and rookie Carlos Peguero went deep twice! With all those home runs not one came even close to me. The Mariners dished out 8 runs and Felix Hernandez struck out 11 to beat the Rays 8-2. It was a pretty awesome game.
When I got home I made sure to thank David Price via Twitter for the autograph. Here is his response.
|David Price (@DAVIDprice14)
6/2/11 11:17 PM
No problem! 1.2.3. Cheeeese RT @MLBwayneMLB: @DAVIDprice14 Thanks for the picture today at #SafecoField
I sincerely appreciate it.
Game; June 2nd 2011 Tampa BayRays vs Seattle Mariners
Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $50.95 this season.
Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $25.75 this
I think I can pretty much say that I regret not entering Safeco Field from the centerfield gates from the start. After all its an additional 30 minutes of batting practice. There is a potential to get at least one baseball before the rest of the stadium opens. Not only that but it basically gives me a birds eye view of foul territory. I can watch which security guards pick up what baseballs and who throws what back. Its an excellent advantage in any case.
The Texas Rangers were in town for a three game series. Josh Hamiliton was still injured but he was supposed to be taking some cuts in the cage during BP before the second game. Plus the Rangers had Mike Napoli, Ian Kinsler, Mitch Moreland, and Adrian Beltre. All with great power. So I was predicting plenty of home run balls this series. Outside the gates before they opened I got to brag about my ball snagging stats for a little while to a father/daughter duo. The daughter claimed it was her first game and she really wanted a baseball. Isnt that special.
Once I ran inside I was restricted to just the ‘Pen area. But it was still pretty awesome to see these guys warming up in the bullpen. It wasnt long before I got Tom Wilhelmsens attention and requested a baseball from him. He threw it way to my right, and I had to reach across my body to make the catch. Unfortunatly, I didnt catch it and the guy next to me bobbled it and it went down into the gap behind the wall. Glove trick time! I quickly scanned for security to make sure they werent on the way to get it. I assembled the rubberband around the outside of my glove, opened my glove up with the sharpie pen, and quickly lowered it down towards the ball. I immediatly started to get “Ohhhs” and “Awwws” from the crowd. After realizing the rubber band wasnt on right I pulled my glove up and re-adjusted. Back down. And pulled my glove up with ball in tow.
In the picture above you can see Tom Wilhelmsen way out in the distance. You can also see the gap between the wall in the lower left part of the picture. Its quite a large gap and it usually does a great job of swallowing up home runs or dropped catches. Wilhelmsen did not see me pull up the ball out of the gap so on the next ball that HE caught he lobbed it my way. And I gave it to the girl that I met outside the gate. She politely thanked me. So that was a plus. And since that was a catch made by me I will count it in my collection.
At about 5:05pm I left the outfield area and went to line up at the staircase that led up to the rest of the stadium. At 5:10pm the horn blew to allow the rest of the fans to enter the stadium. I raced up the stairs and headed down towards foul territory on the third base side. I had watched a few foul balls land out there but I wasnt sure if the security guards were going to pick them up or leave them alone. On the first base side most of the baseballs get scooped up by security and later handed out to kids or thrown back onto the field. Well, on the third base side niether of that happened. Today anyway. When I ran over there I managed to find two easter eggs.
Then I lined up behind Pedro Strop and Darrin Oliver to catch any overthrows.
And it happened. It started to rain and Oliver and Strop seemed to be very sloppy in their game of catch. The ball took a sharp bounce and came at me. It dropped at the last moment and got stuck under the wall padding. I grabbed it and quickly offered it back to Strop. But he pulled out a second ball from his back pocket. On about the third throw, Strop overthrew Oliver. Oliver pointed at me and then Strop asked if they could use the baseball I had snagged from their first overthrow. I tossed it to them and then within three seconds a foul ball came crashing down in the section to my left. I dug it out of the seats and took my place back behind Strop and Oliver. Once they were done they tossed me the baseball. That would be my sixth baseball in less than an hour.
Some lady wandered over to me and asked how many baseballs I got and since Im not a good liar I told her I had four. ( I really had lost count when she asked ) She also asked if she could have the baseball I had in my glove. She went on about being my best friend and would do anything for it and blah blah blah. So like a sucker I gave it to her. Then she asked if she could have one more for her adopted Japanese family. She went on again about being my best friend and all this crap. I told her I would work on trying to get another baseball for her.
I went and stood in the outfield for about fifteen minutes and while I was out there I witnessed the lady I almost gave two baseballs to get one on her own. And to make matters worse when I was over on the first base side trying to get a Chone Figgins toss up she was over there with BOTH baseballs getting them signed by the Mariner ball girls. Ball girls? Are you serious? Or maybe they were grounds crew members. Im not really sure. So what do you call those types of people that Ballhawk from Ballhawks?
I tried to get a warmup ball from the Rangers out in front of their dugout before the game started but they ended up entering the dugout on the opposite side to where I was standing.
The game was actually very exciting too. Not only did Fransico Liriano throw a no-hitter for the Minnesota Twins but Erik Bedard was flirting with one through nearly five innings.
I hung out in the outfield seats for about three innings before I moved down into the ‘Pen area. It was less crowded and there werent as many drunks as I predicted there would be at todays game. I pretty much had the entire Texas Ranger bullpen standing area to myself. So if a home run ball did reach the ‘Pen it would have been all mine. Unfortunatly, no home run balls reached either bullpen. But todays game went really well.
I also got an article on MyGameBalls.com about snagging my 100th baseball. If youve been following my blog youll know I snagged that puppy at pretty much the end of the game at the Oakland Coliseum. I seriously didnt think it was going to happen. Heres the article in case you want to read it.
Can you identify this guy? He was at the game. Ill give you a hint; he plays rock and roll.
Death Cab for Cutie; Ben Gibbard maybe? Awesome.
Game; May 3rd 2011 Texas Rangers vs Seattle Mariners
Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $22.40 this season.
Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $7.75 this season.