Two days ago I toured Safeco Field. The weather was mildly miserable but I was totally excited to see inside the Safe once again. Here’s a picture of what Safeco Field looks like in January:
Yeah, it’s pretty miserable. Safeco Field is much better in the spring. And with baseball playing on the inside. Once I got my ticket, which by the way they never checked, I took a few pictures of the memorabilia they had on sale. Broken bats, used jerseys, pictures of former players, autographed baseballs, just to name a few. I took this picture of a Ryan Rowland-Smith autographed baseball for two reasons: he’s one of my favorite players and his signature is really awesome. Here, take a look for yourself…
…wouldn’t you agree? And I would’ve bought it but I don’t buy memorabilia. I’d rather get my own autographs. It’s a lot better experience to meet the players instead. Besides, in 2007 I was able to obtain a Ryan Rowland-Smith original outside the stadium when he played for the Mariners. unfortunately, I was still new to the autograph collecting world and I had him sign my baseball with a red sharpie. So here in about another ten years the ink will have soaked into the leather and the autograph will be nearly faded away. I made that fatal mistake with George Brett too. I feel awful about it but there may be another chance to get both of their autographs the right way in the future.
Anyway. Back to the tour. Once we left the memorabilia store the Safeco Field staff was hard at work trying to prep the field, wash the concourse and scrub the seats for an upcoming event at Safeco called Mariners Fan Fest. If you’re a Mariners fan or privy to the Major League Baseball events you’d probably already know it’s this weekend. And I’m going. And I’ll be blogging about it too. So be ready for that!
Here’s a picture of the field:
Safeco Field is one of the prettier stadiums I’ve been to. I thoroughly enjoy the layout which gives fans 100% access to the entire stadium during the game. From a ballhawking perspective that’s pretty awesome. Ted, our tour guide, led us all around the stadium. We walked through the suites and he explained the prices for specific suites. For one of the better suites during a premium game, say like when the Yankees come to town, a suite behind or near home plate can cost in the upwards of $9,000 dollars! The rule is that you must have at least 18 people with you to get these suites. So if you know 18 people with $600-700 dollars, you’re in! And let me tell you: these suites are awesome. Take a look…
…and I apologize for the crappy picture. This picture doesn’t do the suite any justice. It’s absolutely gorgeous on the inside. And every suite is named after a famous Hall of Famer. We were in the Mickey Mantle suite.
Outside of the suites the hallways are littered with Mariners memorabilia, newspaper clippings etc. It was quite a site to see, let me tell you. If I could ever afford a suite I would certainly splurge and watch a game from there.
We visited the press box and the Diamond club, fancy-smancy is all I have to say. The Diamond Club, of course, leads you directly behind home plate. And a person can generally find a ticket for that area for around $200 dollars. But you know me. I’d rather take that $200 dollars and fly to Anaheim to watch baseball. That’s just how I roll. One day I’d consider accessing the Diamond Club. It’s all you can eat and drink!
And now for the fun part. The locker rooms and field access! Once we got into the locker room, Ted explained how the lockers are set up and who sits where. And this was where I met Jose Mesa’s nephew, Miguel. Well, I had met him in the beginning of the tour and he told me who he was while we were touring the suites and since he’s a huge Yankee fan, guess what seat Ted had him sit in?
You guessed it! Alex Rodriguez. Ted wasn’t sure where Derek Jeter sat and that’s okay. I also had to sit in A-rods locker chair with my Chuck Knoblauch shirt hanging out! Ha!
Miguel and I talked a lot about the long-standing feud between Omar Vizquel and Jose Mesa. I learned about this feud a few days ago when I found out Vizquel signed a minor league contract with the Toronto Blue Jays. Vizquel wrote a book, which I have yet to buy and read, and said some things about Jose Mesa. In turn, Mesa vowed to hit Vizquel at every at bat when he faced him. Mesa was able to plunk him twice before he retired in 2007.
While Ted was explaining things along the tour, he led the group into the visiting team kitchen and shower. While he was doing that, look what I found:
Yes, the door was locked.
Anyway. On to the field!
Here I am holding down the Mariners dugout:
And here I am in the media room:
This picture was sort of blurry and it took Ted a few tries to get a decent one. He doesn’t have the most stable hands. But he did his best.
That’s the Safeco Field tour! I’ve toured one other stadium at that was Busch in St. Louis. unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures and I didn’t ever blog about it. That just means I’ll have to take a field trip back to St. Louis one of these days and tour the stadium so I can blog about it.
The World Series is happening right now. And yes I’m very excited for both teams. Since I won’t be attending any World Series games due to lack of free schedule this fall my baseball season as concluded. But on a rather high note, I must say. I started this baseball season with the intent to attend nearly one hundred baseball games. Well, that didn’t happen. I attended roughly 53 games. But I did travel to a few new baseball stadiums like, PETCO PARK, AT&T Park, The Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, Angels Stadium and Coors Field. I never did make it to Sun Life Stadium or Tropicana Field like I had hoped this year. Sadly, Sun Life Stadium won’t be used as a baseball stadium next year. But the Marlins are getting a new stadium called Miami Ballpark and it should be epic.
I did, however, turn my baseball hobby into a charitable lifestyle. Last year I attended 37 games and snagged 87 baseballs. Mainly at Busch Stadium. And I did travel to Kauffman Stadium a bunch of times, I visited U.S Cellular in Chicago a couple of times, I even traveled to Cincinnati to see Great American Ballpark. And let’s not forget my trip to Texas where I watched game six of the ALCS. That was so awesome that I’d like to return to the Texas Rangers Ballpark in Arlington at least one more time. This year was one of the best seasons I’ve ever had. Mainly because I met so many awesome people who I’ll probably be friends for life with now. And, like I mentioned before, I started a charity project.
If you’re new to my Facebook page or new to reading my Tweets on Twitter then this blog entry that you’re reading now will do you some good. It will explain in detail how my charity works, how you can help and what I’m exactly doing traveling to different stadiums in the U.S like a mad man. And I’ll even hit on some future projects I’d like to start.
First and foremost this season was awesome. I attended 53 games and snagged a “career high” of 135 baseballs. You can check out my baseball snagging statistics here if you want. (I haven’t entered in the last game I attended yet) Anyway. That website that you just looked at breaks down my individual stats along with many other Ballhawks that chase baseballs during the season. As you can see I have an important streak going for myself. I’ve attended 98 games consecutively where I’ve snagged at least one baseball. To me that’s pretty impressive. Well, sorta. It’s actually very easy to catch a baseball at a Major League baseball game. Just ask Zack Hample. This dude is amazing and a very nice guy. He came to Safeco Field on his quest to attend all 30 Major League stadiums and snag at least 1,000 baseballs during the season.
So with all that information you’ve just took in I sat down one morning and asked myself how I could make snagging baseballs at stadiums more exciting and at the same time how could it help the community of Seattle. Since my home stadium is now Safeco Field I thought to myself, what am I most passionate about. Dogs and baseball. (Sorry, ladies.) And since I am so addicted to baseball and have an undying love for dogs…Snagging Baseballs for Puppies was born! I contacted the Seattle Humane Society via email and presented my idea. immediately they loved the idea, I was emailed some paperwork, and then the season started! The problem was that in order for this all to work I had to rely on neighbors, friends and family to pledge an amount per baseball that I’d snag at games. Here’s how it works;
I go to games and snag as many baseballs as I can. (my game high is like, eight) I blog about every game so people can read how I snagged them and picture evidence is also provided in the blog entry, and you as the readers email me and tell me how much you want to pledge per baseball that I catch. Now some Ballhawks have certain rules that they follow on catching baseballs. Me personally? If I catch it and it’s an Official Major League baseball AT an Official Major League Stadium, it counts. Plain and simple. It doesn’t matter of it bounces off some kids face into my glove or if it bounces between two fans and lands in my cup of soda…it counts. I used to count only the baseballs that I went home with. But what about the ones I give away to kids? Or military veterans? Those count. I even caught a baseball OUTSIDE Safeco Field this season! Peter Bourjos hit a BP home run into the party deck and it bounced all the way to the gates where I was standing. That happened I think on 6-13-2011.
When you make a pledge it’s also very simple. Unless you’re rich you want to keep your pledges in the cent range. Like, .10 cents a ball or .25 cents a ball. Because at the end of the season when I rack up my total and I’ve snagged 135 baseballs and if you’ve pledged $3.00 a ball..well…that’s $405.00 big ones. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with that. I’m just saying try to keep your pledges realistic. Because who knows. I could go to a game and snag twenty baseballs and if you’ve pledged a dollar amount that you won’t be able to cover at the end of the season that looks pretty bad on your part. And if you don’t want to make a pledge you can just make a flat rate donation of $10.00. That’s the minimum that Crowdrise.com will allow. I have nothing to do with that. And yes I think that’s rather high. But I also understand that you can pay with a debit/credit card and I think the banks charge them a certain amount per transaction. I don’t know how it all works.
I think I’ve pretty much covered everything. So in conclusion I’d like to thank all that have pledged. Dorothey, Jennifer, Zack, Bronson, Kathy and Robert, thank you all so much for your pledges. It means a lot to me and it means a lot to those animals that the money went to, to try to help enrich their lives that much more.
And for those that just dropped a donation that is very much appreciated too. I couldn’t thank you all enough. Carla, Charlie, Ryan, #GirlsCorner, and a couple anonymous donations. I hope I got everyone. Together we raised over $200 dollars! And that is just amazing! This is the email I received from the people at the Seattle Humane Society.
Great job on your fundraising efforts! Thank you for your support of the animals at Seattle Humane! We’d be honored to be part of your project again next year. I will let you know when we receive the donations.
So there you have it, people. I’ll be at it again next year and hopefully, as a group, we will be able to raise more than $200 dollars again! That’s the goal, anyway!
The last Seattle Mariners home game of the season. The last baseball game I’ll probably attend this season. Finally here. It was sort of depressing that the 2011 baseball season went by so fast. It felt like just the other week it was the middle of July and things were just getting started. But here we were. At Safeco Field one last time in 2011.
I seriously thought there would be way more people at the gates for this one. But I was wrong. While I waited for the gates to open I played a friendly game of catch with a kid that nearly shows up every afternoon just to play catch. He doesn’t go to the games at all. It’s rather strange if you ask me. Here I am playing catch with him…
…as you can see the kid has quite an arm…
…and as you can see I’m pretty much a stud. (Ahem) Anyway.
Once the gates opened this is what I saw:
That’s Tom Wilhelmsen way out in the distance. He was way too far out for me to call to him. So I just soaked in the empty stadium. As you can see there wasn’t going to be any batting practice. So snagging at least one baseball to keep my streak alive was going to be incredibly difficult. Especially since either team may or may not even come out to stretch. It was the last game of the season and both teams, the Mariners and the Athletics, were both way out of playoff contention.
Once the rest of the stadium opened up at 5:10pm, I walked around the entire stadium to look for an opportunity to snag at least one baseball. I wandered down to the third base area and noticed this kid…
…do you see what he’s wearing? He’s wearing a Mariners jersey and an Athletics hat. When I walked up on him he was just putting on his Athletics hat and shortly after I took this picture he took off his Mariners jersey. You’re probably saying, “so what?” Well, I’ll tell you so what. Baseball players tend to pay attention to small details like that. It’s actually no big deal to me. I just thought it was extremely bold to change baseball swag in front of the players.
After hanging around this area for about fifteen minutes I was able to snag a Rick Rodriguez overthrow. And sadly that was the only baseball I was able to snag. After I caught the overthrow the Athletics slowly packed up their gear and wandered off the field. Not another baseball player in sight until about ten minutes before the game started.
Here I am watching the game from the Athletics bullpen area:
It was a pretty sad sight to watch the 2011 baseball season go away. I would’ve cried but I decided to hold my tears in until the Mariners won the World Series.
This season has actually been a pretty awesome one. Not only did I get enough pledges and donations to raise over $200.00 bucks for my Snagging Baseball for Puppies charity for the Seattle Humane Society but I was able to meet quite a few awesome people. And on top of all of that? I snagged 135 baseballs in 53 games! Booyah!
This is Krista.
If you have a Twitter account give her a follow. Her Twitter handle is @MarinerMojo55. She’s probably one of the coolest Mariner fans I’ve ever met. This is what she has to say about baseball;
“I’ve been going to Mariners games for as long as I can remember. It started with the Kingdome and I continued to go once Safeco Field opened. Up until the 2009 season I only went to a couple of games a season. But now I go to as many games as possible.
I would have to say this past season (2011) would my favorite even though the M’s didn’t do so well. I met SO many people this year!! It is such great feeling to know you will always have a friend at the game. I’m sure my response will change when the Mariners win the WS in a few years!”
And this is Ryanna. Another awesome Mariners fan. She has a great sense of humor and also has a Twitter account. You can find her here. If you don’t have a Twitter account You are missing out, by the way.
And yes. That’s really her standing inside the Mariners bullpen. And yes that is John Wetteland standing beside her. This is what she has to say about baseball;
“I have only REALLY been a baseball fan for about the past 5 years. When the Sonics left, I decided to get in to baseball. I found a couple of cute Mariners pitchers and after 2 years of going to games “for the cute guys”, I actually started watching the game and really enjoying it. The guys became a bonus, not the main attraction. In 2009 I attended about half the games. I found myself watching games from the beer garden, and there I met miss Carla 🙂 I decided in 2010 to become a season ticket holder and stood with Carla in #GirlsCorner every game. Same in 2011. #GirlsCorner grew and we have a blast every game!! I am in love with baseball.
In 2010 I went to US Cellular Field and sadly watched the Mariners get swept by the White Sox. This past season I attended the 1 exhibition game at Dodger Stadium and then later in the season went to Angels Stadium. Of those 3, I don’t really know what one would be my favorite. None of them are Safeco and I didn’t have my spot to stand, so it just wasn’t the same. The one stadium I would like to visit and am hoping possibly to get to in 2012 is Fenway!!!”
If you’ve been going to games at Safeco Field and are somewhat oblivious to the #Girlscorner, well I will explain. It’s this group of girls, and sometimes guys, that get together and meet in the beer garden near the Mariners bullpen. They have shirts and everything. It’s actually pretty awesome. So if you’re ever at a Mariners game feel free to go say hi to these lovely ladies.
And last but not least, this is Carla. I met her on opening day of this season but I really didn’t become friends with her until about after the All-start break. I was off doing my thing, you know, ignoring everyone and snagging baseballs, so I really didn’t get to know her until much later in the season. But she is one awesome woman. I kind of view her as the leader of the #GirlsCorner too. She’s very fun to talk with and knowns a ton about a baseball. Go. Say. Hi. Next. Season. Thank you.
During the ninth inning, and since the Mariners were losing, again, I decided to sneak down to the Athletics dugout to see if I could catch some baseball bats, baseballs, batting helmets etc. Here’s my view as I’m getting ready to pounce:
The Athletics were pretty selfish with the swag. When I figured that out I managed to make my way over to an over-crowded Mariners dugout. But they were tossing all kinds of stuff into the crowd. Baseballs, batting gloves, t-shirts, bats…it was insane! Check out the mob!
And in the chaos I managed to score a Dustin Ackley batting glove!
It landed right at my feet. I even surprised myself at how fast I could move to get it! And here’s a picture of my batting glove with the baseball I snagged before the game:
I’d have to say it was a pretty awesome night even though the Mariners lost.
Game; September 268h 2011 Oakland Athletics vs Seattle Mariners
Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $220.70 this season.
Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $50.50 this
With the 2011 baseball season coming to a close I made arrangements to be able to attend at least the last Mariner home game of the season. Which is on Wednesday. It will probably be a very emotional night for most. Today’s game would start at 7:10pm and of course I got to the stadium early enough to attend batting practice. A small crowd gathered at the gates on this gloomy, rainy day in Seattle.
When I ran inside I immediately checked the centerfield gap and the sod farm behind the centerfield wall. To my surprise there were a few baseballs lying around and one within grasp. I quickly assembled my glove-trick and went after one.
“You need to lower your rubber band and you can’t do that right now.” Said a voice over my shoulder. I could hear other security guards in the centerfield bleachers whistling at me and hollering for me to stop but I didn’t care. I wanted to get on the board with at least one baseball this game…whatever the cost. If I get yelled at, so be it.
“I need to do what?” I responded.
“You have to stop that.” said the security guard again.
And at the moment I was reeling the baseball up. It wasn’t a baseball from Felix Hernandez or anything but it was well worth the trouble and the harassment from security.
I hung around the party deck for a while mainly because the crowd was so thin I wasn’t worried about anyone beating me to the seating bowls to scavenge for any loose baseballs. Steve Delabar was snagging balls in centerfield and when he tossed one up to a couple of girls I knew I’d be glove-tricking my second baseball out of the gap. Not that they’re girls and they can’t catch, it’s just that they weren’t wearing gloves and it’s hard to catch baseballs without a glove. I retrieved the baseball for them and here is the result:
I wandered the bullpen area looking for more chances to use the glove-trick and I was stopped by one of the Safeco Field seating hosts, Bronson. He made a generous donation of $20 dollars towards Snagging Baseballs for Puppies and had me sign one of his baseballs that he got. I felt honored to be able to put my name on it and if you’ve ever signed a baseball it’s a lot harder than it looks.
Once the upper level opened up I raced down to the third base seating to look for any baseballs that were hit into the rows. I was able to find this one:
After I found the baseball in the above photo I walked over to the railing and called out to Tom Wilhelmsen.
“Hey, Tom. Do you want to play catch for a little bit? I found a baseball!” I said as I held it up and shrugged at him.
“Play catch? Okay, maybe a few throws, bud.” he replied back.
I tossed him the baseball I found, (usually I ask to play catch with the baseball player after they field a baseball to get them to throw it to me) and after I tossed it to him a baseball was hit near him. He sort of flinched a little and threw the baseball back to me and then told me this was probably not a good idea.
I told him I understood, I mean, I didn’t want him to get hit by a baseball. And I really didn’t think about that until after the fact. But nonetheless, I got to play catch with Tom Wilhelmsen for about a half a second and it was a really awesome half of a second too. Here’s a picture of Tom after we got done playing catch:
I walked the entire way around the stadium to the first base side of the stadium. And when I got there this is what I found:
Can you believe that? It was probably 5:20pm and this baseball in the above photo had been sitting there in plain view this whole time! Not only did I find this one but I found this one too…
…and just like that I had five baseballs on the evening! I would have had six but this baseball was incredibly hard to get plus security was standing right by me:
While I was staring down at this baseball and taking pictures the Mariners started to jog off the field. Batting practice for them had ended and I was way out in right field by the fair pole. I wanted to be at the dugout when BP ended so I literally had to sprint through the rows to get there in time. And when I did I got Jaime Navarro to toss me my sixth baseball of the evening. And by the way, this was my competition while I was messing around in the first base seating bowl:
I raced behind home plate, switched hats, took notes and moved down in the front row where the Oakland Athletics were already out stretching and warming up. I was sitting at six baseballs and I really wanted to break my single game record. All I had to do was snag one more baseball. After a few errant throws that nearly hit a couple of fans I met up with Todd Cook and his family. I got word from Twitter that he’d be visiting Safeco Field at the end of the month and it was really awesome to meet up with them. If you want to check out his blog you can by clicking here. Just as I ran over to them to shake Todd’s hand a baseball struck little Tim right in the arm as he was watching the Athletics. It looked like the baseball hit him square in the shoulder but later the medical staff at Safeco Field confirmed that he got hit in the hand and he was okay. Nothing was broke, thank goodness. While they rushed off to see the medics, Dave Valle came out on the upper deck and asked me what happened and where they were going. I made sure to fill him in on all the important details. After waiting around for about five minutes I decided to head up to Guest Services myself and make sure Tim was okay. Ballhawking could wait when their was a fellow ‘Hawker injured.
Fifteen minutes later we all walked out of Guest Services and headed down to the 3rd base seating bowl. Tim wanted to just hangout for a while, and I didn’t blame him. I had been hit by a baseball before and it really does hurt. I couldn’t imagine how much pain Tim was in.
I wandered back down to the bullpen area and just as I got there a couple of baseballs were hit near me. Here’s a picture of one:
I was watching security to make sure they weren’t standing by making sure I didn’t go after it and when they turned their back on me that’s when I made my move. I nearly had to talk my way into the spot in front of the ball because the lady that was blocking me assumed I was going to jump into the bullpen to get the baseball. I reassured her that’s what I wasn’t going to do and when I started to assemble my glove-trick she got the idea. First I had to knock the baseball closer by flinging my glove out passed the baseball and then by dragging my glove backwards over the ball it knocked it onto the concrete part of the ‘Pen. This was the result after I was able to reel it in:
The man in the above photo is Dino. I’m not sure if this was his first Mariners game or not but he’s from Australia. If you look closely at the underside of the baseball it has the Anaheim Angels 50th Anniversary logo on it. Dino was very appreciative of the baseball and I passed out my charity business card to him and the people he was with. We shared a few stories of rescued dogs, took a few more pictures, and parted ways.
When I returned to the party deck one of my friends, Ryanna, that I attend baseball games with pulled me aside.
“There is a baseball that’s stuck underneath the tarp in the back corner of the Mariners bullpen.” She told me.
I, of course, had to investigate. And sure enough there was a baseball sitting in the corner. It wasn’t just any baseball. It was another Anaheim Angels 50th Anniversary one. But I couldn’t get it with my glove-trick. I had to wait for a grounds crew member. And when one finally arrived I asked him if he’d toss me the baseball. I got the “I’ll lose my job” excuse but luckily he told me he’d tell the bullpen cop about it and hopefully he’d be able to help me. Fortunatly for me, I’ve been really friendly with the bullpen cops and I also know them by name. So it was pretty easy to get the baseball from him. And I gave that one away to another friend of mine, Krista, that attends nearly every Mariners home game. She’s been wanting one of the special Angels ball all season so I felt pretty good about getting it to her. That was my eighth ball of the evening.
After that I engaged in a quick photo-op with the Todd and Tim:
I ran over to the Mariners side of the stadium at around 6:45pm to try to snag one more baseball. But none of the Mariners that were out warming up bothered to bring any baseballs with them. Alex Liddi and Luis Rodriguez played a quick game of catch in front of the Mariners dugout but it was actually a little too crowded for my taste so I ended up leaving and walking back to the party deck in centerfield.
The game itself was very entertaining. Especially when Brandon League came in to pitch in the ninth to try to notch save number 37. Which he did. The Mariners were able to hang on for a 4-2 win and a huge three-run home run by Justin Smoak pretty much sealed it for them too! The last game of the season will be played on Wednesday which I will be attending.
Also, a huge thanks to another good friend of mine, Carla, for donating $25 dollars to my charity. You can click on the link below to get more details or donate yourself. Her donation pushed me over the edge of $200 dollars raised this year. I never thought I’d end up raising so much money, so a huge thanks goes out to her and everyone else that has donated, pledged or done both.
Game; September 26th 2011 Oakland Athletics vs Seattle Mariners
Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $219.65 this season.
Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $50.20 this
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;
For the record I did not want to attend this baseball game. Why? Because of Alex Rodriguez. I dislike that man like there is no tomorrow. And I’m sure I can speak for many, many Mariner fans. Even the fans that go to one baseball game a year at Safeco Field. I can even say with confidence that the fans that show up for a Mariners bobblehead, walk in the gates, grab a bobblehead, turn around and exit to their cars to go home don’t even like Alex Rodriguez. Seriously? It’s not about him using steroids. I’m over that and I also understand from an athletes point of view why they would consider using steroids. Or even growth hormones. Whatever you want to call it. That fact that he lied about his steroid use is what bothers me. And not only that? How he left Seattle. Which is also understandable but if you’re going to leave the team that put you in the spotlight at least go to another division. Or go to the National League. Or just go away. Anyway. I’m off my soap box now.
With all that said I found out that Alex Rodriguez was not going to be in the lineup. So I jumped in my vehicle and drove out to Safeco Field. Since the Yankees were in town I thought the stadium was going to be packed. But it wasn’t. Maybe 18,000 showed up. And that’s such a light crowd for a Yankees game. When I got to the stadium these fine gentlemen were working on some new posters outside:
Here’s a brand new poster of Miguel Olivo:
When I ran inside there wasn’t much competition and plenty of open spacing in the bullpen areas. I got my first baseball of the evening from Trayvon Robinson. You can see him in the picture below. He’s the Mariner player with the high socks.
Robinson ran down a fly ball that landed on the warning track but failed to bounce into the bullpen. I was standing right there when he appeared in front of the open bullpen door as he was walking towards the baseball. All I had to do was get his attention. I simply flapped my glove at him and he picked up the ball, brushed it off on his pants and went to throw it to me. He lost grip on the ball and he never got airborne. He picked it up again and this time launched it to me. The ball nearly came up short and I had to really stretch for it. But I made the catch.
I still wanted a baseball from Felix Hernandez really bad. When I noticed him out in centerfield I made a bee-line for the ‘Pen area. Or the party deck. Whatever it’s called. Everytime Felix fielded a baseball I screamed at him to throw it to me. But he paid me absolutely no attention at all. Thoroughly bummed I figured out a different plan of approach. I was destined to get a baseball from that man. When the rest of the stadium opened up I raced to the centerfield bleachers and lined up directly behind the King. But he never got another baseball. Steve Delabar and Jason Vargas were fielding everything and tossed a couple into the stands. I could have easily made some catches but I wanted a baseball from Felix. And then he walked off the field. It was then I noticed a huge fan gathering around the Yankees dugout. Guess what that meant? I’ll show you in the next couple of pictures.
Here is what the crowd looked like at the Yankees dugout:
I noticed the crowd from centerfield. I literally ran to the Mariners dugout because it was pretty much just me standing there. Check it out:
The Mariners were about to end their portion of batting practice and that meant only one thing. I had absolutely no one competing against me for a baseball. Lucky me I got Chone Figgins attention. He tossed me a baseball but I was three rows back from the front. The ball came up way short and it landed in the camera pit. At first I didn’t see it bounce around down there so I was concerned the camera lady wouldn’t be able to find it. Amazingly it landed inside her backpack!
She was totally oblivious to the whole thing and I didn’t want to just reach into her backpack and grab the baseball. I kindly asked her if she’d dig it out and she did. Instead of handing it to me she tossed it to me and I nearly lost it again. I made sure to thank Figgins as he walked into the dugout too. That was my second baseball of the evening.
On my way back out to the outfield I managed to scoop up a softly hit grounder that barely made it past first base and trickled into foul territory. Again, there was no one around but me to get it. So I hauled it in for my third baseball on the evening. After the Mariners jogged off the field and the Yankees came out I wandered the bullpen area for any loose baseballs that I could glove trick. I found one in the Yankees bullpen and I easily snagged it via glove-trick. Everyone, of course, was so amazed by what I did I actually got a “standing ovation”. I wasn’t really paying attention to it until one guy patted me on the back and told me “Good job.” So I humbly tipped my cap and moved on. It felt kind of good to get that kind of attention, I’m not going to lie. That was my fourth baseball of the evening. Here’s a picture of the baseball afterwards:
While I was in the bullpen area a batting practice home run was hit into the Mariners bullpen and it bounced into the back corner. No one was really around to witness it expect me. Like I said; everyone was at the Yankees dugout. Here’s a picture of the ball. See if you can find it…
…It’s tucked away in the back corner. While I was standing there Jason Phillips was walking into the bullpen. He picked up a baseball on the way to the bench and turned around to throw it up to section 151. Like I’ve said many times before; everyone was so fascinated by the Yankees being in the stadium that most people forgot that the Mariners were even here to play. No one responded to Jason Phillips request to throw them a baseball. He shrugged and put the baseball in his pocket. When he turned around to continue to the bench I was standing on the other side of the fence glove ready. All I had to do was flap my glove at him. It took him a moment to get the baseball to me but when he threw it, it was a high beautifully aimed arching throw that smacked right into my glove. It was such an awesome throw. And the results:
You can see Phillips in the background digging through the bag of baseballs. That was number five on the night and my third baseball from Jason Phillips this year. My first baseball and my 100th lifetime baseball from Phillips came on April 2nd 2011 at the Oakland Coliseum. And my second baseball from him came on July 30th 2011 at Safeco Field.
Remember the baseball that bounced into the corner of the Mariners bullpen? I had a few options I could try. I could ask Miguel Olivo when he came over to warm up to grab the baseball for me OR I could wait for someone less busy to enter the bullpen. I also knew that one of the grounds crew raises the protective scoreboard screen and uses a hand crank in that very corner where the ball was at. I rolled the dice and waited on the grounds crew. When he showed up I asked him how his day was going and then hit with the infamous, “Is there anyway you could grab that baseball for me and hand it up?” I thought about extending the truth and telling him I dropped it while trying to get an autograph. But how many times during the season do baseballs land there? He’s probably heard every trick in the book. So I held my breath and hoped that worked. He didn’t answer me right away but after he was done…
…another Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim commemorative baseball!! Not only was that my sixth baseball of the evening but that’s my fourth Angels commemorative baseball!! Not my fourth one of the game but my fourth one overall. I absolutely love these unique baseballs.
Once the game got started it was pretty much the Yankees dominating. The Mariners put up a really good fight and the final score was 3-2 Yankees. The most wonderful moment came, (even though I’m anti-Yankee) when Mariano Rivera notched his 600th career save. History. Here is a picture of him taking the mound before the historic moment:
The picture quality sucks because I forgot my SD card again and not only that I left my SD card in my camera that was sitting at home on my computer desk. So I was limited to my iPhone once again. Here’s a picture of Rivera after the save:
This game reminded me when I drove 800 miles from St. Louis to the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on 10-22-2010 to watch game six of the ALCS last year. I had goosebumps when Rivera recorded the milestone.
Game; September 13th 2011 New York Yankees vs Seattle Mariners
Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $185.00 this season.
Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $46.60 this
Sick as a dog. I had all the flu symptoms and absolutely no energy. I didn’t want to come out to Safeco Field just for those reasons. But I mustered up what little energy I had and drove the short 20 miles to the stadium two hours before the gates opened, took a short 25 minute nap in my car, straightened myself up and walked to the baseball stadium. I arrived around 4pm which is pretty late for my standards. But the Kansas City Royals were in town for a four game stretch and that meant that the crowd would be minimal. Good for me but bad for the Mariners. They deserve a full house everyday. And Safeco Field is a wonderful stadium to visit.
When I got into the stadium the batting practice equipment was set up and ready to go but the field was a ghost town. The only person around was the Mariners bullpen catcher, Jason Phillips. He was quietly perched on the bullpen bench staring out into the open, empty field as I was. I said hello to Phillips and we engaged in small talk before some of the Mariners pitching staff arrived.
And just for your general knowledge, Jason Phillips is a really cool guy. Also for your general knowledge I forgot my SD card for my camera so I had to use my iPhone to take pictures. So if the pictures seem to be awkwardly long or the resolution isn’t as good, that’s why. I still have the first generation iPhone because I’m too cheap to buy a brand new one. Plus I like to spend my money traveling to other stadiums.
When the Mariner pitching staff arrived, Jason got into full catching gear and then he turned to me and said, ” We probably won’t be taking BP, but they will.” I wasn’t sure if he was talking to me or not at first and then I realized he was. I thought that was pretty awesome that Jason kind of had an idea of why I was there. Not only to watch the game, mind you. But to snag baseballs too. And for a good reason. If you are just now reading my blogs I’ve started a charity called, Snagging Baseball for Puppies. Since I snag so many baseballs throughout the seasons I wanted to put it to a good cause. I contacted the Seattle Humane Society at the beginning of this season and asked if they’d like to support something like that. They said yes and so far I’ve raised $166 dollars. I’ve even had some employees at Safeco Field drop in a pledge. And if you’re also wondering what I do with all the baseballs I catch, some times I give them away to kids, some I keep and now I’m starting to give some away to military veterans. Since I’m a military veteran myself I figured that would be a good way to show my military support. If you want to check out my baseball snagging stats just click here.
When the rest of the stadium opened up I snuck around through the outfield and ran down to the first base seating bowl to try to snag a toss-up from one of the Mariners pitching staff. But it was slim pickins’. I did, however, get this fabulous picture of Billy Butler and Jamey Wright talking. They were teammates twice before, (I think) so they were doing a little catching up.
Jamey Wright was playing catch with Brandon League and when they got done tossing the baseball around, Brandon tossed the ball into the left field bleachers. When that happened I left the seating bowl and ran to the centerfield seats. And it literally paid off the moment I walked down to the front row. I don’t know who hit it but the ball ended up bouncing off the warning track and right into my glove…
That’s Aaron Crow in the backfield. I called out to him as I was walking down the stairs to the front row to get the baseball he had. He tossed it in and watched me make the grab. I anticipated the high bounce and jumped just as the baseball hit the warning track but it died so much that I had to hurry up and land to make the catch before the ball disappeared into no man’s land. (The centerfield wall gap) Moments later I caught another baseball on the fly. I had to climb over one row of seats to make the catch but I did it.
After that I ran down to the ‘Pen area because Bruce Chen of the Kansas City Royals was in centerfield fielding a lot of baseballs. Since I had on my Royals hat I knew it would be a sure thing from him. When I got down there him and Jesse Chavez were teasing the fans with a baseball. Chen would throw the ball just out of reach and then toss it to Chavez. Chavez would then throw the baseball high enough over the wall but low enough that Chen could jump up and rob the fans from any catch that would be made. I didn’t bother to take part in the reindeer games because I knew I had one simple advantage. My Kansas City Royals hat. And when Bruce Chen was done having his fun, he started to look for someone to throw the baseball to. And guess who got it? Here’s a picture of Bruce Chen after hooking me up with my third ball of the day:
I continued to move around the entire stadium looking for another opportunity to snag a baseball. I stopped here at the “Safeco Field Lookout” and snapped a quick photo and noticed Jeff Francis in left field all by himself. You won’t see him in the next photo but take a look anyway.
When I arrived down into the third base seating bowl there was a fan mixing it up with Francis and pleading for a baseball. Again, since I had on my Royals hat I had the upper hand over all these fans. Jeff eventually tossed him a baseball and then walked over to a small pile of them and started lobbing baseballs into the crowd. I called out to him a few times and got his attention. This was the result:
In the picture above you can see Jeff Francis throwing a baseball into the infield just over my glove. I’ve received a baseball from Francis before on 5-21-2010 at Kauffman Stadium when he was playing for the Colorado Rockies. So it was good to see him again and sort of re-unite with him on that level. That was my fourth baseball of the day and I was quite pleased at that point.
After batting practice had ended I made my way back down into the ‘Pen area to get something to eat. Dave Valle, a former Seattle Mariner catcher, started throwing out t-shirts and I got to be the lucky fan standing there when one came my way. It was drifting a little to my right and this guy behind me jumped up to try to rob me of it. I wasn’t trying all that hard to try to catch the t-shirt but it would have been cool to get one anyway. Well, the dude behind me had a cup of beer in his hand. You can probably guess what happened next. It’s a simple rule of physics. When you jump up in the air with something in your hand, like a cup of beer, most likely when you return to earth the beer in your cup is going to go everywhere and land on everyone. I happened to be standing in close proximity of this and yup! I got beer spilled on me. The guy didn’t even apologize and that’s why I don’t like competing for thrown baseballs, t-shirts or free hotdogs in the beer garden. Because people aren’t conscious of their drinks and they end up spilling them on everyone like a dope when something is thrown their way.
Even though I had beer spilt on me before the game, I ended up watching the some of the game from the party deck. Being that is was a Thursday night game it wasn’t all that crowded and it felt awesome to stand right by the Mariners bullpen. The other half of the game I actually sat in my assigned seat for once. Here was my view during the game:
While I was getting settled on the party deck by the Mariners bullpen I saw something very odd in my backpack. On one of the baseballs I saw what looked like to be a logo of some kind. So I pulled the baseball out of my bag and this is what I saw:
It’s hard to say where exactly this baseball came from. Expect the obvious; New Yankee Stadium. But I mean, where I got it at Safeco Field. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the ground rule double I caught because that baseball has defining markings from bouncing off the warning track. It could have been tossed up by Bruce Chen or Jeff Francis. But really? It didn’t really matter where it came from. I had it in my possession and I was thrilled to have caught a New Yankee Stadium baseball. I love these commemorative balls and there will be two new ones to snag next season when the Marlins get their new stadium and when the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate their 50th year in L.A. Next year I’m definitely going to Los Angeles for a few games.
Ichiro Suzuki led off the game with a first pitch, first inning home run. I actually thought about buying seats for that section before buying a ticket in the left field seats. But that’s how it goes. When I decide to sit elsewhere the baseballs go where I’m not. Story of my life.
Game; September 8th 2011 Kansas City Royals vs Seattle Mariners
Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $172.40 this season.
Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $43.00 this