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
More big news in the Major Leagues. The Blue Jays make headlines again for the second time in a week with sending Vernon Wells, their all-star centerfielder to the Angels of Anaheim. Faced with doubters, nay-sayers, and critics of his $126 million dollar contract taken over by the Angels, Wells is pretty confident that he will make a positive impact on the baseball team, and hopes to help get them to the playoffs.
The Tampa Bay Rays have picked up two veteran players. Johnny Damon, and veteran slugger Manny Ramirez. Damon, 37, signed for $5.25 million. He replaces Carl Crawford, the longtime Rays left fielder who in December signed a seven-year, $142 million contract with the AL East-rival Boston Red Sox. Ramirez, who will be 39 years old in May and is 45 home runs from 600 for his career, was guaranteed $2 million to become the Rays’ designated hitter.
The Kansas City Royals hung onto their slugger, Billy Butler. Butler says he thinks a 25-year playoff drought is nearing an end for the Kansas City Royals. Butler is full of hope, boosted by the Royals’ highly regarded minor league system. He’s part of the future, too, after getting a four-year, $30 million contract. When asked to comment on the recent departure of Zack Greinke, Butler stated ” He just didnt want to be here.”
The Cincinnati Reds re-signed many of the players that won the division last season. Mainly Johnny Cueto. The righty went 12-7 with a 3.65 ERA in 31 starts with Cincinnati last season.
And that is all folks! See you next time.
The first ball of the evening came from Greg Holland of the Kansas City Royals. Some kid was harassing him to the point where the baseball players decided to harass back. Everytime the kid called for a baseball from Holland, the other players would call for a baseball from Holland as well. It was so funny I nearly had to sit down in the seats. Eventually, Holland just tossed me a baseball. I dont know if it was because I wasnt the harasser or because I was totally amused by the whole thing. But for my politeness I received a baseball, and of course I thanked him for it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCC6wDei2cQ <— Link to the Youtube video of the kid.
I didnt record the best parts of the kid interacting with Holland, but youll get the idea of how annoying this kid was just by watching this short 15 second video of him asking for a baseball.
Towards the end of batting practice I circled my way around the entire stadium, and I ended up on the first base side. I figured If I was going to get my second baseball it would probably come from this side. David Price, and Matt Garza were tossing a few into the crowd. So I waited around patiently for the opportunity to strike. It wasnt long before a security guard waved me over to him. Great. I thought I was going to be asked to leave or get my ticket checked. But nope. He simply started to talk my ear off about the best way to get a baseball. I quickly shut him down by explaining of the box full of baseballs I have at home, who my greatest toss ups came from, and all my past injuries Ive sustained while doing this. This was like my second job. Coming to the ballpark, and seeing how many baseballs I could get. That shut him up. As I wandered back down the steps a sharp liner came ripping into the seats. I took a step back, and watched the ball take its first sharp bounce. Straight up! I had a shot! I raced two rows over, hurdled one row down, and the ball managed to bounce off two more seats before rolling down the aisle the other way. I was running down the aisle after it, and scooped it up with my glove. Too easy. I heard the disappointed groans from potential competition behind me as I casually walked away with the trophy. Two baseballs on the day was pretty good. The third baseball came from one of the Tampa Bay Rays pitchers that was running off the field. I simply followed him towards his dugout and raised my glove in the air. He airmailed me one and I had to dodge a row quickly to make the catch. I didnt regonize who it was though. Maybe next time.
All in all it was a pretty decent evening at Kauffman. Three on the evening and one last night. I was on track to break 100 at this point. But Id have to have a huge game tomorrow to do it.
Game; October 1st 2010 Tampa Bay Rays VS Kansas City Royals
So after taking a two and a half month hiatus from baseball ( mainly because it was so hot, and I just couldnt stand the heat this year ) I managed to catch three more games before the season ended.
It was a blissful day at Kauffman Stadium. The air was cool, and it had been months since I had been chasing down baseballs. I felt a little rusty, but at the same time I felt confident. I was nervous. I actually found out a secret today at Kauffman. They have the early bird tours that allows fans to enter the stadium an hour early than the regular time. Of course you have to put up with a little political stadium nonsense like a stadium tour, and some dugout experience that you sit in a mock dugout, and watch the history of the Royals. Its about fifteen minutes long. After that they allow the fans to watch batting practice. But the catch is you have to stay between the dugout, and the foul pole. So any baseballs that go out into outfield bleachers will be retrieved by stadium staff. Total bummer. But thank goodness the Tampa bay Rays were in town. Not one baseball went into the outfield bleachers that I saw.
I snagged seven baseballs overall in three games. Which raised my total lifetime to 96, and my season stats to 86. My first baseball came from Dan Wheeler. I was decked out in my Tampa Bay Ray gear, and he noticed me right away. After he was done warming up he fired a baseball my way with a high arch to it. I was excited that I would get my first baseball of the day after a long hiatus this quickly. I was so excited I closed my glove too soon, and even thanked him before the ball struck my glove. The ball took a high bounce up, and I soon realized I didnt make the catch. I saw the white orb drop before my view, and I threw my arms out to get a visual so I could re-adjust, and catch it if I could. The ball clanged off the railing, and it made a sickening bounce down towards the field. I had a split second to react, and before I could the ball bounced off the top of the padded wall, and shot down to the grassy field. My stomach turned. I wouldnt get that back I though. Dan Wheeler had jogged out to the outfield to shag fly balls, and there was only one player near the ball. Luckily, it rolled into his view, and he picked it up. I quickly laughed it off and explained I had dropped it. He quickly lobbed it back up to me. Wow. What a relief! I joked with a nearby fan that, that was the first baseball I had dropped all year, and it was hard to get them back once dropped.
Batting practice ended and I took my assigned seat to watch the contest in full. It was a great game because it seemed like the Rays were just letting the Royals beat up on them. The Rays at a sure spot in the playoffs anyway so I think they were saving what they had left in the tank for the playoffs.
A unique experience to say the least.
Game; September 30th 2010 Tampa Bay Rays Vs Kansas City Royals
So I decided to try my luck at Kauffman Stadium for the weekend. The Colorado Rockies were in town for a three game series. For the most part the Rockies ignored me during batting practice. Interesting enough the Royals werent even on the field at all. I caught up with some fellow Ballhawks that generally chase foul balls, and one of them has over 800 to his name. But he told me that he gives a lot of them away to the kids. So being that it was a Friday night the gates were supposed to open two hours before game time. So why were the gates opening up at 5:30pm then? Well, rumor has it that the Royals have put a complaint in to the upper management about the fans being inside the stadium while they take batting practice. I dont know why the Royals would complain about the fans being at the stadium. Wouldnt they want more of a fan base? Anyway. So for the rest of the season the gates are going to open up an hour and a half early to include weekends. Also, I was told that the batting cage was moved up to less foul balls reached the stands. Whether thats true or not I dont know. Its all about perspective I guess. But these two Ballhawks were pros. So I took their word for it. They also told me that David Glass ( owner of the Royals ) was looking for a way out of his contract, and to either move the team or sell it. In any case it was a real drag to take in all this news.
About the batting cage. If it was moved up intentionally to keep foul balls from reaching the seats they did a pretty good job. Because only three baseballs reached the seats in foul territory during batting practice. Batting practice was scheduled to end at 6:30pm. It was 6:27pm when I relocated from the outfield bleachers to the first base side where Jeff Francis was shagging many baseballs in the right field corner. I still didnt have a ball, and I was going into panic mode. I had two games left at Kauffman, and I was wondering if I should just cancel the rest of the games after this, and head home. At 6:29pm Jeff Francis shagged three ground balls in a matter of seconds, and didnt have any time to throw any of them in to the infield. He threw two in, and turned to the fans. I was shouting his name, and waving my Rockies hat wildly to get his attention so he would at least throw the ball NEAR me. I had kids lined to my right, and to my left. If it was high enough I would be able to snag it. Jeff reared back, and tossed a perfect throw three feet to my left. I would have to stretch out for this one though. I planted my right foot, and carefully eased over to my left towards the ball. I will be completely honest at this point. I do not know how this happened, but as I made the catch some chunky little 12 year old girl slammed right into my left hip. I dont know if she though she had a better angle on the ball than me, or she just came out of no where to try, and make the catch but she ended up chasing her baseball that she caught earlier down the aisle. I guess when she ran into me it jarred her ball loose. Anyway, she got her ball, and looked back at me with those sad eyes. I told her I was sorry for her running into me, and I hoped she was okay. Enough said.
Here is a picture of Kauffman from the 400 level.
You see Todd Helton on the Crown Vision? Well, I didnt mean to take the picture with him on the there but if you keep reading the blogs from the series youll be reading A LOT about him on Sundays Blog. I didnt stay up here long because I wanted to get a baseball from another Rockies player before game time. ( This picture was actually taken after I got my second ball. Oops) So back down to field level I went.
The Rockies position players were warming up, and Jason Giambi finally came out. The guy is massive. His arms are as big as my thighs, and he has these huge viens that are very visable on his arms. I dont know if he actually took steroids, but every time he was up to bat people behind the dugout gave him crap about steroids. So who knows. Ill have to check the Mitchell Report to see if his name was brought up. So as Im standing against the railing the ushers come down in their pretty little green shirts, and sun hats, and start ushering kids, and teenagers, and adults off the railing. Troy Tulowitski was busy signing autographs, and the ushers denied plenty of fans the opportunity to get an autograph from him. I didnt want to speak up, and defend anyone because I had two more games here, and I didnt want to be in the spotlight. So I ducked out of view, and sat down in the fourth row back. Once the ushers started back up the stairs I took position back on the railing. Three minutes to game time, and Ian Stewart turned around glove in hand to head back to the dugout. I called out to him, and he underhanded me the ball. I got a few praises from some Rockies fans, and I headed off to take a look around the stadium.
Odd. Why dont they move these sort of things more out in plain view? Its probably a conversation that goes something like this..
” Hey, lets get a statue of liberty, paint it up with Royals stuff, and just put it somewhere in the corner. Any corner will do.”
Whatever. So I continued around the stadium to take more pictures. Nothing great. But Kauffman is a beautiful stadium. Probably the most elegant, and down to earth that I have ever been to.
The water fountains. They are located in the outfield, and the Pepsi Party Patio is just below that. During the summer months when its a blistering 90+ degrees standing directly under the fountains is very refreshing if the wind is blowing the water around. The only downfall to this is the sun is constantly beating down on you during day games. So its kind a a lose/win or win/lose depending on how you look at things.
The game was decent. The Royals won. Which I guess is great. I didnt care much for the game. I was still more interesting in learning why the gate times were moved back. I still couldnt believe all that I heard.
Game: Colorado Rockies Vs Kansas City Royals May 21st 2010 7:10pm.
Game Balls: Two