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;
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
The last baseball game of August 2011. The Los Angeles Angels were in town for a four-game series and I was able to attend at least one of them. I bought tickets to sit out in the outfield but I ended up spending the entire game standing in the newly refurbished ‘Pen area. It was quite interesting to say the least. It wasn’t as crowded as a weekend game though so I really had a chance to catch a home run ball. Sadly, none were hit in my direction.
When I got into the stadium it seemed like the security guards were playing extra hard to moderate who got a baseball and who didn’t. These security guards had “Alcohol Enforcement” on the back of their shirts not “Baseball Enforcement”. In my opinion it really seemed quite ridiculous to be as active as they were when it came to who got a baseball and who didn’t. Of course, they made sure every little kid within sixteen square miles got a baseball and some of the older crowd started to complain directly to them. I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to let them know they were getting to me. At one point of the of the security guards out-snagged a fan to give a baseball to a kid. I thought that was pure 100% ridiculous.
Willy Mo Pena finally tossed up a baseball after minutes of yelling at him and the kid that the baseball was intended for dropped it into the centerfield gap. Like always. I stepped in before security could go down there and get it and glove tricked it out of there. I handed it off to his mother instead of the kid and told him that the next baseball he gets he needs to share. Now who’s the baseball moderator? HA!
When it was time to run up the stairs and wander the rest of the stadium I ran down to the third base seating bowl and watched an awesome show put on my Blake Beaven and Dan Cortes. If you asked Dan Cortes for a baseball he wasn’t going to toss it to you. He was going to rear back and fire some serious heat. And if you missed it? Serious injury would ensue or you wouldn’t come up with the baseball. It was really hilarious. Unfortunately, I didn’t get him to throw me one. But this guy got a couple thrown to him:
It was pretty funny. Dan really launched them at him and when the baseball hit the seats after a miss it would bounce all over the place. I thought about playing behind the guy but every time I got closer he would move farther away. So I just took the picture of him instead and let him have his fun.
The Mariners jogged off the field as the Angels came out and I decided the best place to get my second baseball of the day would be here:
Nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing came my way. Not even an overthrow, missthrow, underthrow, sideways throw or a foul ball. I knew that as soon as I left my spot something would happen. I left anyway and I didn’t bother to watch over there to be disappointed. I wandered the bullpen, and the ‘Pen area, the Party deck and back around to the bullpen looking for an opportunity to snag a baseball. I finally decided to stay on the party deck for the rest of the Angels portion of batting practice. A few home runs were hit out to my general area and as soon as I ran for one a player tossed a baseball up right where I was standing. Truly frustrating. Plus I had security to deal with. They seemed to be out-snagging everyone. Including the players on the field. I felt, not only me, but other fans were truly being ripped off by these two security guards. Here was my view while standing on the party deck:
During the last few moments of BP, I got Joel Pineiro’s attention and he launched a baseball my way. Of course I had three determining factors of why I didn’t catch the baseball. 1.) Pineiro’s throw was high, 2.) Some drunk dude next to me stuck his elbow into my ribcage and, 3.) The sun was directly in my field of view. The result? One of the nicer security guards got blasted in the collar-bone by the baseball. I heard the sickening sound of a Major League Baseball connecting with human flesh and bone, and when I looked back I saw the security guard leaning against the fence covering her entire face. I thought she got hit in the nose or something. But she didn’t. And when I looked back at Joel, he was motioning to me how close I came to catching it. I just shrugged at him and motioned back with my hands signaling I missed the catch by mere inches. Heres a Seattle Mariners Security Guard Fun Fact for you; that’s the second time that specific security guard has been hit by a Joel Pineiro throw.
Batting practice came to an end and I left the ‘Pen area to find my seats. Here’s a view:
I didn’t stay here that long though. Maybe a few innings. I watched the entire game from the ‘Pen. Or the Party Deck as some like to call it. I normally don’t stand out there because it’s so crowded and anytime a baseball lands on the party deck everyone spills their beers on each other as they try to catch the baseball. The awesome part of sitting out here is look at the running room to my right…
…and check out my running room to my left…
The only bad part of the picture above is the railing in my way. But other than that, what great seats.
Here’s a picture of the Kings Court:
If you’ve never been to a Mariners game before and don’t have any idea what the “Kings Court” is, well, simply put? It’s a section at Safeco Field where fans buy a ticket in, they get a yellow “King Felix” shirt, a huge “K” sign and they all sit together. Everytime Felix Hernandez strikes someone out everyone in that section goes nuts. It’s quite entertaining. Unfortunately the crowds at Safeco Field aren’t quite as large as they were towards the start of the season. So the Kings Court was kind of wimpy during the game.
Game; August 31st 2011 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim vs Seattle Mariners
Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $168.40 this season.
Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $41.80 this
Before I get into the Mariners game I wanted to share something else with my readers. Its been some time and I actually considered blogging about my experience but it wasn’t really worth it in my eyes. I attended my very first Minor League baseball game at Everett Memorial Stadium in Everett Washington on August 10th. That’s where the Everett AquaSox play if you aren’t familiar with MiLB. Anyway, I went with my Dad and when we arrived at the stadium this is the first thing I saw…
It was either a home run ball from last night or maybe a batting practice home run from earlier. Since I went into the stadium at 5:30pm I assumed it could have been a BP homer ball. I wasn’t sure if in the Minors the teams had BP or not…but later I found out from another fan that the AquaSox didn’t take BP before this particular game. So the baseball is undoubtably a home run baseball from the night prior. And yes of course I was able to get the baseball in the above picture.
If you’re wondering what an official MLB baseball is doing in an official MiLB baseball stadium it’s because the minor leaguers get hand-me-down baseballs when they’re too used for MLB standards. Not all of the baseballs they use are MLB baseballs though.
The picture above is me holding to my very first baseball ever snagged at a MiLB game. I really won’t go into the details of how the game went. The Aquasox got beat up pretty bad in the fifth allowing the Tri-City Dust Devils to score seven runs. My Dad and I left shortly after the seventh run was scored by the opposition and on my way out of the stadium I snagged two more baseballs; one of which I passed off to a kid with his mother as they too were exiting the stadium. The two baseballs I snagged were foul balls and both of them have the Official Ball Northwest League stamp on them.
When I got out onto the party deck in the ‘Pen at Safeco Field the area filled up pretty fast. Before I knew it I had some serious competition. There were lots of people my age, young, and athletic that had baseball gloves on. But that didn’t stop me from getting my first baseball on the day due to someone elses error. Jeff Gray was in the outfield playing pretty deep and he got a lot of baseballs hit to him. It was only a matter of time when he would throw one up and when he did I would be right there to catch the bobble or the overthrow.
In the above photo I took of the party porch the guy in the light blue jersey with the red arrow over his head,(he didn’t really have that arrow over his head at the game) continued to call out to Jeff Gray who can barely be visible on the right side of the photo. You can see his glove. Gray finally acknowledged the requests for a baseball and at that moment when he fielded the next baseball he turned around to throw it into the crowd. I ran up and stood behind everyone waiting for a bobble or an overthrow. And of course Gray overthrew the entire crowd and I ended up catching the baseball. The guy in the light blue jersey back peddled into me causing a small collision but I held onto the baseball.
Brandon League has to be about the most awesome baseball player I’ve ever watched play the game. He’s hooked me up with a baseball before on 5-18-2011 at Safeco Field but I wanted another one from him. If you want to look at my complete list of all the players that have thrown me baseballs just click here. I was on the third base side when I got my first ball from League and that was pretty easy to catch. This time I was way up here…
…overlooking the bullpens and left field to be specific. That’s Brandon League fielding the baseball and this is the results:
Brandon League is on the right.
I went out to centerfield, or more like right center, and when I got out there I saw a ton of baseballs down in the gap. Well, maybe not a ton, more like five or six. I quickly put together my glove trick but I was abruptly stopped by security. He gave me the worst attitude and told me, “There ain’t no none of that around hurr!” and literally shoo-ed me out of the section. He then proceeded to climb down the ladder, retrieve all the baseballs and gave them all to kids. He’s the security guard I’m always complaining about that isn’t adult-friendly.
Kids have their whole lives to get baseballs. Why can’t these security guards be more selective of who they give baseballs to? And I’m pretty sure they aren’t supposed to be giving them away anyway. Most security guards that I talk to have told me they aren’t supposed to touch them. Anyway. I’ve ranted about these security guards so much in my blogs. I’ve battled them day in and day out at the stadiums. It’s always going to be like this and no matter how much or how little fans complain about them nothing will change.
I was hoping to get at least one more baseball to make it to 100 on the season. But after that incident with the security guard nothing else really happened. When the Blue Jays came out to stretch and throw the baseball around I did try to glove trick a baseball off the warning track. Jesse Litsch turned around and threw a baseball at my glove which knocked the sharpie out of it so I couldn’t get the baseball. He told me to stop because that was his “throwing ball”. Some fans were on my side and yelling at Jesse to just let me get it. But I stuck up for Jesse because I knew what he was talking about. He didn’t want me to have that specific baseball because it was used enough where he was comfortable throwing it. Some of the newer balls they practice with aren’t quite broke in enough. That helped the fans around me understand and they backed off Jesse. I think he appreciated that because he tossed a couple baseballs into the crowd to other people and not me. He did give me my sharpie back though.
The stadium was full of Jays fans…
The Mariners started to get beat up on pretty bad and by the fourth inning it was 0-4 Blue Jays. So I left. I couldn’t stand to see the Mariners lose on such a beautiful day in Seattle.
I’ve started a new blog too. Its called A View From the Bullpen. It’s really fun stuff to read. I’ve always wanted to blog kind of sarcastically about things that happen around the Major Leagues. You know, kind of give my “expert” opinion on crap? You understand, I’m sure of it.
Game; August 17th 2011 Toronto Blue Jays vs Seattle Mariners
Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $160.00 this season.
Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $39.40 this
When I entered Safeco Field at 4:40pm Pacific Standard Time (PST) I immediatly made a bee-line for the bullpens. I never expected to see this when I got there…
…sitting on the ledge is a Rosin Bag and there was a baseball as well. But I was able to reach through on the left side of the fence and grab it. In the process I bruised my bicep muscle though because the baseball was sitting on the right side of the microphone cord. So I had to extend further than my arm would allow. Hence leaving a bruise. No worries. I just slapped some ice on their after the game and moved on. How cool though, right? And yes I did think about taking the rosin bag as well but with security standing right there and also not knowing if it was even allowed to take a rosin bag out of the bullpen…I just left it alone. But how cool would that be to take home a Major League rosin bag?
Batting practice was absolutely insanely boring. The Mariners didn’t hit one single BP home run. They tossed a few baseballs into the crowd on the party porch and through the bullpen. But other than that…nothing. So I took some pictures while I waited for the Padres to take the field.
What’s sad about todays game was the crowd was so small. I should have hauled out at least five baseballs during batting practice. And when the Padres came out to bat it was more of the same. Just lazy fly balls that didn’t go anywhere. The Padres tuned the fans out and just stood around on the field too.
My buddy Josh, (you can check out his impressive stats so far this year by clicking here) tried to get someone from the Mariners to hook him up with a baseball. But whoever it was drastically overthrew Josh and the ball sailed about a hundred feet over his head. It landed somewhere a few rows back and the dude in the white shirt got it.
Did I mention how boring batting practice was? Well, I didn’t stick around in the outfield for very long and I figured if I were going to get my second ball of the day it would have to be where all the baseballs were. By the dugout. So that’s where I headed.
Here’s a quick picture showing where I waited for a BP home run.
And on my way to the dugout, Padres closer Heath Bell stopped to sign for a fan that asked nicely. Heath Bell is another super-nice baseball player. He tries really hard to accomodate all the fans, and he plays really hard too.
Since it was 80’s turn back the clock night at Safeco Field, here is what the ballgirls were wearing…
And here is a picture of BP just about to end.
After being denied a baseball by multiple players I decided to leave Safeco Field and go get a hotdog down the street between some parking lots and Qwest Field with some friends. And if you’ve never been down this street to get a hotdog, you’re missing out. But it’s kind of a long walk. So we are all sitting there talking and Josh tells me that he tried to call me multiple times to tell me that a baseball was dropped behind the manual scoreboard. I asked him if it was still there and he said he didn’t know. I took off running back towards Safeco Field at that point. Re-checked my bag through security, ran up the stairs, through the concourse, and down the left field sections to the scoreboard. I dodged security, and assembled my glove trick to get the baseball. It was quite some distance out so I had to try to knock it closer. Once I got it close enough to pluck it out of there it was pretty easy. Then I returned to the hotdog stand to get my hotdog and relax.
Here was the view of where I sat during the game…
One foul ball came my way and it landed on top of some ladies head. I’ve always been against trying to catch a baseball with any other body part except your hands. Its just not a good idea. The lady obviously needed medical attention but of course refused it when they showed up. She just accepted their icepack and left it at that. The guy that caught the ball that bounced off her head gave it to her but she refused…and then took it anyway. All jokes aside, if you ever get hit in the head by a foul ball during a Major League baseball game or even a Minor League baseball game, make sure you go to the hospital and let a professional check you out. Even if you feel fine. For your own sake.
Game; July 1st 2011 San Diego Padres vs Seattle Mariners
Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $145.30 this season.
Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $35.80 this
I landed in Seattle at 12:42pm. Last week I had the impression that the Mariners game versus the Florida Marlins on Sunday was going to be starting at 1:10pm. I could at least get to the game before first pitch. Well, two days ago while I was checking upcoming games on my fancy iPhone, I noticed that the Mariners game had a start time of 7:05pm. So what did I do? I got my bags, jumped in a shuttle, arrived at my car, drove home, showered, ate, grabbed my baseball stuff and headed to Safeco Field. I was literally running on three hours of sleep. For some reason I couldn’t fall asleep on the airplane during the last leg towards Seattle. So I was exhausted. And I probably wouldn’t stay the entire game but I at least wanted to attend batting practice.
When I arrived at the stadium the Seattle Sounders soccer game had just let out. 35,000 people came pouring out of Qwest field.
Not a bad crowd for soccer in the Pacific Northwest. When the gates opened at 4:40pm I ran inside to finish this weekend off of baseball. Spending two days at PETCO Park, and now one day at Safeco Field. I really did miss Safeco Field. So it felt pretty good to be back inside. I waited around on the party porch for a few minutes and then I decided to stand in yet another line at the stairs. I have been standing in lines all weekend. I believe I have patience of steel by now. Since the Mariners were batting I didn’t really think anything would come my way. I think it was Justin Smoak that was launching home runs into the bullpen. But they weren’t close enough to reach with a glove trick and I didn’t want to risk getting caught. But I did notice one baseball that was within reach on further examination.
This is the picture I took after I glove tricked it out of the bullpen…
…but as you can see…there were more to get. Just way too far. Here’s how I snagged the one closest to me though. The security guard that was at the stairs was new. She told me this by me asking what time the stairs opened up, (of course I already knew this) and she told me she “thought” it was around 5:00pm. I also noticed that she would move the barricade every time someone came down the stairs and then turn her back to the bullpen to take her place back at her position. So I stood by the baseball in the bullpen and waited. Once someone came down the stairs, (I already had my glove trick ready) and she moved the barricade, then turned her back to me, that’s when I lowered my glove into the bullpen. It took me like, five seconds to snag the ball. I love those little games of cat and mouse with the security guards.
When the stairs opened up I had a little girl and her mother try to box me out. I thought that was cute since when we all got to the top of the stairs I was obviously much faster than a 12-year-old girl and her mother loaded down with bags full of stuff. Although since I was so tired I really didn’t make much effort to get down into the seats to look for baseballs. I just took up my favorite spot on the third base line and waited. I even sat down for most of batting practice. Before the Mariners ran off the field, Chone Figgins started to take some final cuts in the cage. And some of the Mariner standing in left field whistled to him to hit some baseballs their way. He hit one soft roller towards me and it was probably the easiest snag of my life. I lined up with it quickly, boxed anyone out that may be would-be ball snaggers and scooped it up quickly for my second baseball on the day.
The above picture shows the Marlins getting ready to come out onto the field, and Chone Figgins in the cage. I didn’t stick around on the third base line much longer. I wanted to snag four baseballs though and I figured my best luck would be in left field. Mike Stanton would certainly drive some Stanton Specials that way. So I made my way up to the left field seats. Lots of baseballs came my way but none with in immediate snagging range. Some even landed in the bullpen. Like this one…
Can you find it?
Too far for the glove trick and just out of view for a player toss-up. Usually the cops that patrol the bullpen scoop them up and toss them to any kid nearby anyway. So to get that baseball would be nearly impossible. Unless of course a Marlin player saw it and I asked for it. But since no Marlin players came into the bullpen during BP I couldn’t ask for it.
Towards the end of batting practice I made my way down to the visitors dugout. I stood there for probably ten to fifteen minutes waiting for the Marlins to walk off the field. I tried my hardest to get my third ball of the day but it didn’t happen. Too many kids, and just not enough energy on my part to make it happen. So I concluded the day with two baseballs and the weekend with four.
I am also very happy to announce that someone, although anonymous, donated $25.00 dollars to my charity for Snagging Baseballs for Puppies. So whoever you are, thank you from the bottom of my heart. That was very generous of you. And thank you to everyone else that has helped out so far. As you can see we have raised quite a bit of money this year. $133.85 for the Seattle Humane Society of Seattle-King Co. and $34.90 for the Red Cross. It’s all appreciated. I’m hoping to break 100 baseballs this season, and 200 lifetime.
Game; June 26th 2011 Florida Marlins vs Seattle Mariners
Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $133.85 this season.
Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $34.90 this
Today’s game marked my 100th game that I’ve ever been to. I wanted to make today’s game as special as possible and definitely one to remember. So let me rewind to a day or so ago. As you all know this past weekend was Memorial Day weekend. I traveled to Coors Field in Denver Colorado for the first time to see that awesome ball park. You can read all about it here and here. Needless to say I wish I picked a different stadium but I’m glad I went because Coors Field marked my ninth stadium I’ve snagged a baseball in. Anyway. Most of you that read my blogs know that I served in the United States Army for ten years. So I qualify for veteran status. I also have a Twitter account. (You can follow me @MLBwayneMLB) Well, Zach Britton of the Baltimore Orioles was giving his thanks to veterans via Twitter. Here’s the conversation we had.
5/30/11 7:24 AM
special thanks to all who have protected our freedom, past and
And of course here is my reply.
And to my surprise I got this reply within the hour.
|Zach Britton (@zbritton)
5/30/11 9:22 AM
@MLBwayneMLB Look for me out on the field before
The problem I faced was it was 9:30am in the morning. The game I was going to attend to play catch with Zach Britton wasn’t until the following day. Nearly 24 hours later. Would he even remember? I made sure to send him a couple more tweets in the early afternoon the day of the game to try and keep things fresh. I mean let’s face it. I had my doubts. He’s a big league ball player and has a ton of things on his mind. Although he wasn’t starting in the next couple of games so the pressure was off. But still.
When I got to the stadium it was all I could think about. How was I going to get his attention? Did he even remember? Should I have brought a sign with me that said something like, ” Im the dude that asked to play catch.” or, ” Army Veteran Tweeter.” Something. Anything to get his attention. But you know what? I didn’t have to do any of that. Because he did remember. Well, let me tell you how it all happened.
I ran inside the stadium when the gates opened and I immediatly lined up at the stairs and waited until 5:10pm. Once the horn blew I raced up the stairs, ran down into the seats and quickly searched for any loose baseballs. Nothing. (The ushers now place them in the cupholders to make it harder for myself, and my buddy Josh to get them) I ran over to the dugout to see if I could find Zach Britton (he wasn’t wearing a BP pullover) and I easily spotted him in the crowd. Here’s the picture I took and see if you can find him.
Do you need some help?
Once I found him I kind of just followed him along the third base line to make sure I would be able to line up behind him while he played catch on the field. My objective at this point was to allow him to get whatever he needed to get done without being too overly obnoxious. A lot of these pitchers have routines that they follow before every game, and then they go shag baseballs in the outfield. So I had to wait until he was all done.
After Zach Britton was done warming up, his catch partner wanted to throw some pitches. So Zach ended up being kind of the “baseball guard” for him. Any baseballs that were hit towards that area Zach would scoop up. Here is a picture of Zach on guard.
I knew at this point that I had limited time and I would have to get his attention somehow. Every once in a while Zach would look over his shoulder to look at the pitches and then he would watch the batter in the cage. I counted the seconds inbetween everytime he looked and then looked back to the batter in the batting cage. He only looked over his shoulder a few times but it was roughly about 8-10 seconds in between looks. So after the second time he looked over his shoulder I counted down from ten. When I reached one I held up my glove and sort of flapped it at him. At that very moment he looked over his shoulder and noticed me. He nodded his head in acklowledgment and fielded the next baseball that came his way. Since he was throwing all the other baseballs into the infield that he caught, I knew he had remembered when he hung onto the recent baseball he snagged. And before I knew it, Zach Britton was enroute towards me.
When he was walking over I turned my camera on and clicked it to video. I pressed “record” and asked this dude that was sitting next to where I was standing if he would please record our conversation. This is the video he recorded.
He recorded the dialogue but I guess he didn’t hear me right or understand what was going on or maybe it was the fact that he was already two beers deep and just sat there like a dope. I’m not sure what happened but he ended up just pointing the camera at his pants the whole time.
Basically some fan wanted to play catch with a baseball player and ended up getting hurt by the ball. Zach explained to me that since they’re filing a lawsuit against Major League Baseball, the players aren’t allowed to play catch anymore. But he did hook me up with a baseball and I thought that was pretty much the end of things.
I played the front row for any slow rollers or line drives and I came up with one more before batting practice ended. As the Baltimore Orioles were walking off the field I decided to try and get a picture with Zach Britton before he walked off the field. I waved him down and as he was walking my way he was telling Brian Matusz to come over and meet “someone”. (That someone being me) They both came over and this was the outcome.
I got to shake hands with Zach Britton (again) AND Brian Matusz. It was such an awesome experience. I had so much to say and so many questions to ask them both but I just couldn’t find the words. I mean, I didn’t just stand there like an idiot. It was just so overwhelming though. Zach stared at me like, “Hey, man. This is your time to ask us whatever you want.” But all I could come up with was, “Where can I send this picture to? The Baltimore fanclub?” I felt like such a dope. By that time fans were coming down to try and get autographs from them so that kind of diverted their attention away from my dopey-ness. It was so awesome to meet them.
I spent the rest of the game in the ‘Pen area and at the end of the game I was denied a baseball from the police officer that patrols the Orioles bullpen. A few baseballs were left behind and I was beat out by some old dude that asked for it first. The Mariners ended up winning due to a Justin Smoak home run that landed deep into the right field seats. Had I been sitting there? I probably would have ended up with the baseball. But security was being extra cautious due to five fans running out onto the field during the Mariners/Yankees series. So I wasn’t about to try and sit where I wasn’t supposed to. Not for a while anyway.
Game; May 31st 2011 Baltimore Orioles vs Seattle Mariners
Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $46.00 this season.
Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $25.00 this