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
As soon as I ran into the stadium I quickly searched the vacant rows of seating for any easter eggs like I always do. After coming up empty a small glimmer of white caught my eye. You cant see it in the picture because I hastly retrieved ball number one of the day but I will gladly point out in the picture where I found the baseball. The baseball was neatly tucked away against the black railing horizontally along the green wall with “336” on it. I just happened to look up there while I was putting my bag down, and I saw it. So I raced over to pick it up. I knew today was going to be a great day.
I played back in the rows for foul balls. I counted at least four that could have been mine if I got a good bounce. But as we all know when you want a good bounce you wont ever get one. Youll only get a good bounce when you least expect it. As the Mariners pitching staff got loose on the field David Aardsma quickly got to work throwing baseballs to kids. He ignored just about every adult to include Mariners fans ( like me ) that were calling to him. I guess he is just one of those players that thinks the kids should get everything. Ryan Rowland-Smith started to approach the wall to talk with some of his friends, and low and behold there was a baseball directly in his path. I lined up with him, and when he got close enough I very nicely asked for the baseball. He smiled, and tossed me my second of the day. What a gentleman.
Here is Ryan chatting with some of his buddies. So as I stood there to listen in on the conversation between Ryan, and his friends I noticed that john Wetteland had a small gathering of children that were respectfully listening to what he had to say. I could barely hear him so I started to move closer. He was explaining the doppler effect. As he finished explaining some kid raised his hand, and John awarded him with a baseball for whatever he had said. Then John said ” I have two baseballs left.” He stood in silence for about 30 seconds so I wandered over there to get a better listen.
John started to ask his question, and I soon realized that he was talking about everything he talked about on Monday! But this time he was handing out baseballs for the right answers! My third baseball was mine. No doubt about it! Johns question was this;
” What rare element was left on earth after the asteroid hit that wiped out all the dinosaurs?”
My hand shot up in an instant! John stared at me for a moment, and then called on me. Did he remember me from Monday? If he did, and I got the answer right would he still toss me a baseball? John was a fair man. He would do the right thing.
” Iridium.” I answered. FOR THE WIN!!
Ball number three was mine! Batting practice was FAR from over. I was on a roll! I thanked John, and resumed my precious spot in the rows of seats in foul territory.
Unfortunatly, I could only snag three during BP. So I headed over to the dugout ( Visitor side ) and waited on the Mariners to come out to warmup.
The National Athem came, and went. The security guards were ushering people that didnt belong out of their sections. Ill have to say this though. Busch Stadium is quite relaxed when it comes to allowing people to wander the stadium. Great American Ballpark wont allow you down behind the dugouts unless you have an actual ticket for that section. Which is really lame. Anyway. Oh, and U.S Cellular has the same stupid rules.
So the Mariners came out to warm up. I locked on to Josh Wilson. Him, and Jose Lopez threw around the ball for about 30 seconds, and then I started to move around in the row. I walked into his line of sight again, and waved my arms to him. He sent a rocket right to my glove. I think the baseball players have fun throwing to fans that arent right up in the front rows. If they arent having fun with it I sure am. I love to catch long distance throws. Was that my fourth baseball on the night? Yes, it sure was! I had all game long to break out, and get my fifth. So I carefully, and patiently waited for the right moment. I knew I had a for sure deal with the umpires. Well, not for sure…but I pretty good chance.
Since this was like my 30th game this season at Busch Stadium I have officially befriended two security guards in the sections that I roam. So it was no porblem to get hooked up with awesome seats for this game. My tactic? I whined a little bit about the ticket I purchased off of Stubhub.com. The first security guard I approached I simply asked if this was an aisle seat. He wasnt quite sure because the seat was actually against the railing. Which technically it WAS an aisle seat. But it wasnt an aisle seat I was happy with. So I told him what I was all about, and I also told him I knew one of the security guards in the section. So they ended up sticking me in wheel chair seating. Which let me tell you. Those seats are the best in the house. Theyre right up on the concourse, and it allows a person such as myself to gain extra advantage on anyone going after a baseball, and it allows me to get a great jump on a ball.
Yeah. Right behind everyone! No one to worry about if I had to jump for a baseball.
Sorry about the picture quality. I was just snapping pictures. Anyway, to my left is the steel railing. One step back, and I can dash down the concourse. Oh I prayed for a foul ball! I prayed for one of those t-shirt thingies to get launched my way! I prayed for rain drops! Something so I could run that concourse to catch something! But alas…nothing came my way. So I went to plan B. Plan B was simply this; run down to the end of the aisle on the third out, and snag a third out baseball from the Mariners coming off the field. Well, it was the seventh inning. I had to act fast.
The third out ball was a pop fly to the short stop. I made my move. I dashed down to the end of the aisle, and I came up empty. I was nearly crushed. But I kept my head up. I moved from where I had been sitting to a new seat. I sat as close to the dugout as possible.
So there I sat. As close as I could. I waited out the top of the eighth. Finally the bottom of the eighth came. The Cardinals grounded out to second base to end the inning so Ryan Langerhans ended up with the baseball. See the kid on the right of the picture? He was my only competition. Ryan Langerhans hooked me up immediatly.
AND THAT CONCLUDED MY FIVE BASEBALL NIGHT BECAUSE I WAS SO EXCITED I FORGOT TO GET NUMBER SIX FROM THE UMPIRE!
Game: Seattle Mariners Vs St Louis Cardinals 6-16-2010 7:15pm
Game Balls: Five
So Fridays game, right? It was very frusterating. But Busch stadium looked very elegant on a warm sunny day. Check out this cool picture I took.
Thats more or less the view you get from the freeway that runs right by Busch Stadium. Its actually kind of cool how close the stadium is to the freeway. Theyre doing a lot of work on the bridge right now because its said to be the most unsafe bridge in Saint Louis right now.
Here is a picture of the players entrance. Most of the opposing team players get carted in from the hotel, and they use this entrance. Ive never seen any player actually stop while on the cart to sign autographs. So if you are able to get one to stop email me or leave a comment on how you got the players to stop, and sign. The usually ride right on through.
Here is a picture of the walkway towards the third base gates from the home plate gates. The gates I usually enter are the third base gates. Its the easiest, and the fasted Ive found to the field level. Most people use the left field gates or the home plate gates.
So once I was inside I felt like I should have played dead center field bleachers for Prince Fielder. After all that guy has been hitting home runs in major league stadiums since he was 13 years old. I decided to stay put on the third base side. I did play back a few rows to catch any direct line drives. I felt pretty confident but when those baseballs come in fast theyre already on the curve. So when they bounce they fly way right. I missed two by mis-judging them. But that was okay.
Trevor Hoffman was pretty friendly as he chilled in the shade in deep left field. He tossed about eight baseballs into the stands. I called to him on multiple occasions but he didnt pay me any attention. I stood my ground on the third base side, and eventually my luck struck. I wasnt sure who hit that, and by mistake I ended up asking a Cubs fan who was at bat all the while wearing a Brewers hat. I could only laugh at myself.
The ball somehow was able to make its way passed four peoples attempts to get it, and I held my glove down, and it slapped me right in the pocket. I felt lucky. I dont have much luck at Busch Stadium. In fact I hate shagging baseballs at this stadium. The competition is high, and I never really have a breakout game. I usually come away with two if Im lucky. The players dont come out with baseballs anymore to warm up before the game anymore. I dont know why. The Reds didnt do it, and the Brewers didnt do it Fridays game either. The Cardinals did on the other side though.
As the game progressed I played the first base side for foul balls. I should have stayed over there the entire game. I would have caught at least two. One from Holliday, and the other from Pujols. They both fouled one baseball each over to the entrance way to the first base side. But I was busy waiting on a third out toss up from Prince Fielder, and during Pujols foul ball I was setting up for the umpire ball.
I also learned that these white seats you see at the bottom of the picture are wheel chair seating area. Anyone is allowed to buy tickets for this area. It isnt a requirement that you have someone with you in a wheel chair, or you be in one too. Also, from where I took this picture there is a yellow outline where you can stand. They actually sell standing room only tickets. The security guard asked me if I had a standing room only ticket, and I quickly said I did to avoid any arguement. If she asked for my ticket I would have told her my wife had it. Always one step ahead of these guards. She didnt ask though.
After the game I set up for the umpire baseball. I scooted passed some fans that were sitting in the front row. Actually the only two fans that were sitting there, and when the umpire came I asked him a ball. He overthrew me like crazy! The ball actually sailed over my right shoulder, and since Im left handed with the glove I tried to basket catch the ball but it was too late. Some lady caught it. And she said this;
” Wow! I caught a ball! I didnt know the umpires threw baseballs into the crowd!”
Ugh. Yeah. They do.
So I tried to make it to the dugout for the bullpen guys. I was blocked in by 42,000 fans. It was Fireworks Friday, and where I stood was the closest Id get to the dugout unless I pardoned myself about 50,000 times. It wasnt worth it. The front row of the dugout was blocked anyway. One ball.
Game: Milwaukee Brewers Vs St Louis Cardinals June 4th 2010
Game Balls: One
Autographs: Matt Holliday