Today marked the day of a new age. A new baseball season and a new way of life. Baseball is slowly turning into a glamorous shot of reality of shot clocks, smaller strike zones and over-priced foods that barely cater to our taste buds. My favorite players were slowly fading out while the new, young rookies quickly filled their void.
I watched Albert Pujols for about 25 minutes while sitting in the lower first base seating bowl after the Mariners had taken their hacks in the batting cage. He looked tired and ready to retire, to be honest. There he stood, barely following the routine stretches that the trainer was directing. Like he had been in the Major Leagues so long that he was above all of the stretching and running and conditioning. It was for the rookies, his face said.
Eventually he picked up a baseball and played catch with Erik Aybar for about five whole minutes…
…then he stood behind the batting cage and talked to Jay Buhner for nearly the rest of batting practice. He did get into the cage, though. Pujols took about six total swings never once putting one into the bleachers. He never interacted with any fans, signed any autographs or even acknowledged our fan-existence.
I reminisced with a friend of mine about the time when Pujols was playing with the St. Louis Cardinals. Him and Matt Holiday would crush during BP. It was when I visited Coors Field for the first time some time ago and I thought it was quite impressive. The two All-Stars on the Cardinals were really putting on a show.
Now the stark reality of old age and being a veteran icon sets in. No real need to show the youngsters that you can crush BP home runs. Mostly, no one is interested in you anymore. It’s all about the Mike Trouts and the Mike Moustakas, and the Clayton Kershaws. Take a seat, Pujols.
After shagging six baseballs from around the stadium, I found myself out in centerfield. Mariners games are always a lot of fun for me, and for many years I was always happy about the food. Recently, with the rising prices of everything within in the confines of the stadium, the flavor has diminished. Maybe the flavor had been removed to pay for the new shot clock out in centerfield.
I tried a slice of pizza like always. Satisfying; killed the hunger pains immediately. Then I tried what’s called a “Baconburg”. I asked the guy what exactly a baconburg was and he replied with, “It’s a hamburger with bacon…” Ohhhhh, okay. Thanks for clarifying, smartguy. The bun was stale, the mayo seemed old and the whole thing kind of fell apart in my hands. I was not impressed to say the least.
The game itself blew by. David Freese blasted a two-run home run to centerfield to a fan who couldn’t hold on for the catch but was rewarded with the baseball anyway. Two sections over from where I was sitting. McClendon talks a big game but it feels like the Mariners are picking up right where they left off from last season. Barely any run support for their ace on the mound…and the defense is trying.
Safeco is in a unique location in Seattle…
…because we always get awesome sunsets.
Brandon League is new to Twitter. We all know that. League was asked during Seattle Mariners Fan Fest, which I attended, if he’d get a Twitter account. I wasn’t there when the question was asked but I could imagine League’s response. Maybe a quirky smile and an “I’ll think about it” response was probably not out of the question. Anyway, to make a long story short, the Mariners put on a contest through Twitter asking fans around the United States, and more importantly, Brandon League fans, to help Brandon come up with a Twitter handle. Well, yours truly won that contest. I tweeted a few Twitter handles that Brandon would possibly choose and lo and behold, Brandon picked “@BrandonLeague43!” The Mariners ultimately followed me on Twitter, @MLBwayneMLB, and sent me a DM explaining that I had won the contest! How cool is THAT?!
Soooooo we exchanged information, I waited by my mailbox for three weeks and finally this arrived…
…how freaking cool is that?! Here’s a close up of what Brandon put on the baseball:
And here’s the final tweet telling the world that I won the contest! BAM!
So there you have it, folks! What a great experience and thank you so much, Brandon, for the baseball! And thank you, Mariners, for the card! It’s very heart warming! I’ll see you all at the Safe!
Ever since I found out about these Major League Baseball fantasy camps I’ve always wanted to attend one. Every camp is different and some are more expensive and some are shorter or longer depending on the camp. When I say expensive I truly mean that. Some can be as much as $4,500 dollars. To justify that cost you get to fly to the spring training camp of the team you’ve selected, you get uniforms, breakfast and lunch, you get to meet players, get autographs, pictures and of course you get to play baseball with and against former Major Leaguers. Not only that but you get a complete clubhouse experience. To me that’s a pretty awesome deal. The down side to all of this is most fantasy camps require campers to be 30 years old or older. Which is fine. But that meant I couldn’t attend any camps in my twenties. Which thoroughly bummed me out.
The other day I made a promise to myself. That promise was to attend one of these camps before I get too old to do it. Or end up working a job where I’d have absolutely no time to go to one. The time is now. The question is: which camp should I choose? I wanted to choose a fantasy camp of a Major League team with the most players that were my favorites growing up as a kid. Of course the Seattle Mariners camp popped into my mind. Over the years I have sort of put having a favorite team in the Major Leagues on hold. So I really wouldn’t call myself a die-hard Mariners fan anymore. And since the latest horrible trade by them I have sort of distanced myself even further from the Seattle team. Now I’m more of a die-hard baseball fan. You can read all about that here. Anyway.
The Mariners fantasy camp has a lot of Mariner alumni that I’d love to meet, get pictures with and get some autographs. But so do a lot of other teams. Three, besides the Mariners, that have also popped into my head were the Oakland Athletics, Baltimore Orioles and the Detroit Tigers. When I tweeted this out on my Twitter account…
…the Detroit Tigers were the first to respond. That wasn’t the initial reasons as to why I made my decision though. The decision was made over key players that the Tigers have hosted at their camp in the past. Namely, Cecil Fielder. Fielder was a childhood hero to me. Everyone wanted his baseball card and we all enjoyed watching him play. Especially when he’d smoke a long ball. Everyone loves the long ball. Everyone.
So I made my decision after a few minutes of direct messaging with Detroit Tigers on Twitter. They initially asked “what would sway me” to choose the Tigers camp and really, all I wanted was them to follow me on my Twitter account. Which they did. Although I did ask for any baseball bats lying around the clubhouse or maybe a bobble head from last year, which I was denied, but it wasn’t about all of that anyway. I just asked for general purpose.
So there you have it, folks! Yours truly will be attending the Detroit Tigers fantasy camp next year! I am super stoked about it and I will most definitely bring my camera, take lots of pictures and blog about every day that I’m there at the camp!
My last day at Angels Stadium of Anaheim. After almost catching two home runs yesterday in the left field seats I thought I’d try my luck in the right field seats tonight. Jim Thome wasn’t in the lineup last night so I was really hoping he’d be playing tonight.
I have two major complaints about Angels Stadium of Anaheim. My number one complaint is not being allowed behind the dugouts during batting practice unless I had a ticket for that section. That is the worst rule I’ve ever heard of. Some other stadiums like Great American Ballpark impose the same kinds of rules but its only for the first three rows. So it’s not as bad. I think US Cellular does the same thing. My second complaint is where they place the security tables. And they literally block the way into the stadium, and check bags at the last-minute. Its horrible. It cost me a ton of time and I was seriously frustrated with the whole thing. In the picture below check out where the tables are as opposed to where the entrance to the stadium is:
Pretty ridiculous, right? Yeah. Anyway. After the stadium allowed us entrance, and they moved the garbage cans so fans could enter the stadium, and I got my ticket scanned I immediately made a bee line for the outfield. I wasn’t going to fool around with this foul ball catching nonsense. I was after a home run ball today.
As soon as I got out there I didn’t have to wait long. Peter Bourjos and Mark Trumbo were taking some cuts and dropping some serious bombs in the outfield. Like yesterday most were landing in the bullpen and into the centerfield area. It would take a lucky bounce for one to reach me. Mark Trumbo stepped into the cage and sliced a liner into foul territory and I knew the next few were going to come my way. I had the entire front row in front of the bullpen to myself. I waited patiently and then as soon as he launched one my way I ran to my right. I lined up with the ball and I assumed it was going to take a bounce into the bullpen. All the baseball had to do as this point was bounce up to me. And sure enough…
I was so happy and so relieved at the same time that I caught that gem. Again all I wanted was one baseball per game here at Angels Stadium of Anaheim. I didn’t want to get greedy. But I was closing in on 200 lifetime baseballs. I just needed six more. More importantly I wanted to snag that milestone at Safeco Field. Which reminds me; I still need to get my 100th baseball signed by Jason Phillips. He threw it to me in the 8th inning at the Oakland Coliseum on 4-2-2011. That would be awesome if I could get him to throw me my 200th. I’d actually like my 200th to come from Felix Hernandez and my next game will be on August 17th. So maybe it will happen. I’ve also planned a trip to Sun Life stadium on the 23rd-25th. If everything goes my way that is.
After catching the Mark Trumbo home run ball I switched into my Twins gear and raced over to the first base side when the Twins started to emerge from the dugout to stretch and whatnot. I wanted to see if I could at least get some quality pictures of Jim Thome or maybe an autograph. When he came out I was able to get some decent pictures but like yesterday he totally ignored everyone on his way back to the dugout or the batting cage. Wherever he was headed.
For the last two days Jim Thome would come out, not look at the crowd as he walked by, stretched out in right field for a few minutes, and would run back towards the dugout. I think he seriously likes the attention. People pleaded with him for his autograph. They begged. Some ran with him in the stands as he ran along the warning track. The energy was amazing. Even Angels fans cheered for him. And I called out to him for the second time in as many days that I would be the guy that would catch his 600th career home run. I knew it wouldn’t happen though. And I’m pretty sure he didn’t hear me. Or maybe he did.
I waited around for some overthrows and came close to catching one when Glen Perkins nearly missed a throw from his throwing partner. Later he gave it to a fan that had asked moments before he got done playing catch. It was pretty slow on this side so I took some more pictures and headed back out to the outfield.
That’s how crowded the front row was.
The security guards at Angels Stadium of Anaheim did a good job of keeping baseball fans out of certain sections of the stadium. And for your information both my tickets cost nearly $40 bucks a piece. Paying that much to get into a stadium I feel I have an obligation to wander wherever I want to in a safe and professional manner. I wasn’t up to no-good or trying to harass other fans..I just wanted to see my favorite baseball players, catch some baseballs and maybe get an autograph or two. But I felt like a lower class citizen at this stadium because I didn’t spend a trillion dollars on a ticket behind the dugouts. I felt like asking for supervisor names and climbing the chain until I got some answers but what would that accomplish? Probably nothing. Maybe a whole lot. I never bothered to pursue it.
That’s the view of the area behind home plate. And see the security guard staring at me while I took the picture? Yeah, he asked for my ticket. I told him I already had it put away and I wasn’t going to show him. He told me I couldn’t have access to the area behind home plate-which I rudely cut him off and told him I wasn’t going down there anyway. I wonder sometimes where these security guards get their people skills.
When I got out to the outfield I decided to continue taking pictures.
When I went back to the bullpen to check out if I could snag any baseballs using the glove trick I saw this…
Do you think I got any of those baseballs? I sure didn’t. I waited around as long as I could but no one showed up to gather the baseballs up. I would’ve waited longer but I wasn’t sure if the Angels would use this bullpen or the Twins. I didn’t pay that close attention to who used which one yesterday. And since I still had my Twins hat on I didn’t want to ask an Angel baseball player for a baseball or vice versa. I pretty much gave up on them and walked out to right field to find my seat.
The game was awesome. Jim Thome was in the lineup and he did hit a home run to centerfield. One of the security guards got the baseball and promptly handed it off to a kid. So I had no shot at getting it. I thought about trying to trade for it with my Mark Trumbo home run baseball but I lost sight of the kid that had the baseball when I left the right field seats.
The Angels got a little payback despite the Thome home run. They won 7-1 with a Mark Trumbo bomb. It was a moonshot.
Goodbye Angels Stadium of Anaheim.
Game; August 4th 2011 Minnesota Twins vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $157.90 this season.
Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $38.80 this