Sunday games at Safeco Field (or any ballpark for that matter) are always a challenge when it comes to attempting to snag baseballs. There’s no batting practice for one, and it’s usually family day so that means lots and lots of kids are coming out.
If it’s one thing I’ve learned over the years of “ballhawking” at Major League stadiums, 1) players like to throw baseballs to kids and 2) without batting practice, it makes things extremely tough. On the plus side, the Mariners were doing a little infield practice and I already saw an opportunity to snag a few baseballs.
When I ran over to the first base side I found a ball sitting in between the seats which was probably an over throw from one of the players while fielding fungos from one of the coaches. It wasn’t long before I scored another over throw:
After that, I ran over to where Fernando Rodney was throwing and when he was done throwing, I was able to get his autograph on my ticket stub:
On the other side of the stadium, the Rangers were slowly trickling out of the dugout to warm up down the third base side. It wasn’t long before I scored a third over throw that hit the padding of the wall. I quickly scooped it up and tossed it back onto the field.
See the guy with his leg up in this panoramic picture I took?
That’s one of the translators for one of the players and he was missing a lot of baseballs while playing long toss with Tanner Scheppers. And yup, you guessed it. Yet another over throw right into my glove. Of course I had to give it back because they only came out with one ball to play catch with.
My haul after all the players went inside:
(two pictured here because I gave two back)
And now the infamous ‘Pen dog that I’ve been waiting all year to eat…
…cream cheese smeared on the bun, a 100% all beef frank with caramelized onions and peppers…yum.
The Mariners quickly got two runs on the board with an Austin Jackson home run and a Nelson Cruz home run (Jason Phillips caught it in his hat. It was quite impressive and you should watch the replay).
The Rangers answered back in the 3rd with a single from Prince Fielder that scored Martin and moved Andrus to 2nd. And then the wheels literally fell off. Paxton was chased from the mound after giving up seven runs in the 3rd inning.
The Mariners continued their offensive battle with another Nelson Cruz 3-run home run into the Rangers bullpen. 7-5 Texas.
The Rangers made the score 10-5 in their top half of the sixth and the Mariners quickly rallied back in the bottom of the seventh and the eighth scoring three runs.
In the bottom of the ninth, it was time to put on the rally caps! The M’s came screaming back scoring one run to tie after Jackson ripped one to right field scoring Brad Miller. Seth Smith moved over to third base and all it took was a Nelson Cruz base walk-off base hit! He was mobbed at first base and the Mariners won in walk-off fashion!
Nelson Cruz went 3-6 with two home runs and five RBI’s! Wow! It feels really good to have such a power hitter in the line up. It’s been a long time since Seattle has had one.
Today started out kind of bad. I left my sim card to my camera at home so I had to use my iPhone to take pictures. I’m pretty sure the pictures are going to suck in the blog entry and that’s a shame because Yu Davish and Felix Hernandez were dueling tonight at the Safe.
From the time span of 4:40pm to 5:10pm, I didn’t snag a single baseball. And that was sort of disappointing because I’m doing a lot more this week than just snagging baseballs for my current charity, Snagging Baseballs for Puppies. I’m also snagging baseballs for what I’m calling my “Help Holly Campaign.” Here’s the run down of why I’m doing this and who exactly Holly is: Holly is a dog owned by a family who recently got hit by a car. The driver of that car decided that Holly is “just a dog” and fled the scene. Well, we have laws in this country that make it illegal to just bail from a scene after running over an animal. Sooooo the driver was eventually apprehended by authorities, I’m assuming, but the driver is still refusing to pay any medical costs. The family has a lawyer from what I read but needs help with the financial aspect of everything. This week at Safeco Field, the Mariners are hosting the Rangers and the Angels. I pledged one dollar per every baseball that I snag to help Holly out. My Dad also jumped on board and matched my dollar which means every baseball I catch is worth two bucks. Today was game one of my Help Holly campaign.
Here’s how things started:
At approximately 5:12pm, that’s how many baseballs I had snagged already. It gets better. While I was standing near the left field fair pole, I caught a glimpse of another white little orb sitting against the seat back in an aisle. I would’ve taken a picture, but with all the people filing into the lower seating bowl, I didn’t want to lose my chance on snagging it. I quickly ran over and put my foot on the ball so I could get my iPhone ready for the photo…
…I told you these photos were going to miserable. Third ball snagged and then I dug into a nice spot near the left field fair pole. As soon as I did, Ichiro sliced one directly my way. I initially moved to my right thinking I’d have to come out of the short row to drop down one or two but then I realized the ball had no depth at all. It was just a high arching, lazy fly ball that was sinking fast. I held my ground, leaned into it and made the one-handed catch:
OHHH, WHAAAATT!! You know the funny thing about this baseball? As soon as I caught it, I turned around to the cute couple behind me and tried to hand it off. Luckily for me, the girlfriend declined and I left it at that. When I was toying with it in my glove, I noticed a large blue marking which turned out to the be the 50th Dodger anniversary stamp! Whoooaa! I nearly gave away a Dodger ball and probably wouldn’t have realized it! And yes, I’m still going to Dodger Stadium this year if time and money permits. Even though I don’t want to. I’ve heard so many crazy rules and stories about that place, I’m actually kind of nervous to visit.
After snagging my fourth baseball on the day, I figured I’d try to break my season record of five this game. I headed out to centerfield when the Rangers came out for batting practice. I had one thing on my mind and that was to catch a Josh Hamilton BP home run ball. When I got there, this was my view to my left:
I pretty much had the place to myself. Centerfield filled up pretty fast after Hamilton started crushing long balls into the seats, though. Before he left for the cage, he signed a few autographs and I just had to heckle him a little bit.
“Hey, Josh! What the heck are the feeding you in that Ranger clubhouse, man?!” I yelled after him.
He caught another fly ball off the fungo bat and then looked back at me with a smirk. If that’s the only reaction I could get out of Hamilton, I’ll take it!
When Hamilton got into the cage, it wasn’t long before he started dropping bombs. Two or three came my way, but it was starting to get a little crowded, I couldn’t make a decent play on any of them. Eventually, he lofted a high fly ball directly at me and my only competition was a young ten-year old to my right. The ball carried just enough where he’d probably had missed it so I ended up making the catch. When I offered the baseball to him, he shrugged at me and told me he had already snagged three others. I smiled and thanked him for his honesty and turned around to find another deserving fan. I asked the next youngster if he had any baseballs and he shook his head at me.
“There you go, kid!” I said as I flipped him the ball. Yup, I had just gave away my Josh Hamilton ball. So what? I was totally fine with it and was going to anyway.
As batting practice came to a close, I sat down in the ‘Pen area and wolfed down a slice of pizza and a Mariner dog from the burger joint and then found my seat out in left field for the game.
With Yu Darvish and Felix on the mound, I figured this would be one of those games where it’s nearly impossible to stay awake but mixed with a few dazzling plays at short stop or a diving catch from the center fielder. None of that really happened. Instead, Darvish was literally blown out by the 4th inning. He had thrown 86 pitches to Felix’s 40-some and it was 5-0 by the start of the 5th inning! Mark Lowe eventually took over for Darvish in the Mariners 5th and Seattle was able to tack on another run in the 7th and hang on for the win after Mitch Moreland smacked a bomb to right, centerfield.
6-1 was your final score! Mariners win!
I’m snagging baseballs for puppies again this season for the Seattle Humane Society! If you want to check out my charity information, just click here!
Last season, with the help of all of you, we were able to raise over $250 dollars! This year I’d like to break $300!
Today’s game snagging Highlights: Texas Rangers vs. Seattle Mariners- attendance 18,672
Baseballs snagged: five (found three, caught one Ichiro foul-ball, caught one Hamilton BP HR)
Total baseballs snagged this season: 41
Total baseballs snagged last season: 135
Total dollars raised at this game: $10.20
Total dollars raised for Snagging Baseballs for Puppies this season: $80.34
Total dollars raised for Snagging Baseballs for Puppies last season: $257.00
Total number of donors this season: 9
Total number of donors last season: 7
Well, its Monday. Sometime today Cliff Lee is supposed to make his historical contract decision. Not really historical because C.C Sabathia was offered $161 million to come to the Yankees, and Cliff Lee wasnt offered quite that much. Whoever he signs with, whether it be with the Yankees or the Ranger,s Mr. Lee is going to be a very rich man and his wife should be pleased.
What else is going on in the Majors? Utility man Brendan Ryan found a new home today. Seattle will be his next stop. He will start opening day at second base for the Mariners, and that will move Chone Figgins to third base where he says he is more comfortable. The Mariners also picked up Designated Hitter Jack Cust from the Athletics over the weekend which will add some power to the Mariners lineup. Also seasoned veteran Miguel Olivo came over to Seattle from the Colorado Rockies to serve as the Mariners backstop. From what Ive seen on the Mariners Facebook comments page a lot of the Mariners fans are quite upset over all of these deals, and last season they were once praising John A. “Jack” Zduriencik are now holding little faith that he is making the right moves. The Mariners were slotted to win the AL West Division after much speculation that their lineup was solid for the 2010 season, and ended up being dead last at the finish. Fans are skeptical, and as they should be.
Minnesota shipped its shortstop, J.J. Hardy, and utility infielder Brendan Harris to the Baltimore Orioles for two hard-throwing but unproven relievers, Brett Jacobson and Jim Hoey.
In other Cardinal news, besides La Russa shipping Brendan Ryan off to Seattle claiming his offensive deficiencies and unpredictable decision-making wore on his nerves, Yadier Molina might be seeing his older brother at Busch more frequently. The Cardinals have sparked interest in signing Bengie Molina as a backup to Yadier Molina who is good for about 135 games out of the season. Bengie has stated he doesnt mind serving as a backup, and Im sure Yadier would rather have him looking over his shoulder than some of the current umpires that have served behind him this last season.
A lot of people would call me crazy if I told them the time I drove nine hours from St Louis, Missouri to Arlington, Texas to watch a baseball game, spend seven hours in a hotel room, and then drive nine hours back. Well, I guess Im crazy. I was excited as ever to go to this baseball stadium. Its been said that the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington is among the top stadiums that is fan friendly. The security is so relaxed it nearly makes me want to move to Arlington just so I can attend Rangers games all season long. The only real problem I had was with another fan. I was wearing my infamous “A-Roids” shirt, and somebody that was sitting in the left field seats commented on it.
“A-Rod? Wow, buddy. You really shouldnt be wearing that shirt here.” The woman explained to me. At first I didnt know if she was being hostile or joking.
“Excuse me? Well, it doesnt say “A-Rod”. It says “A-ROIDS”.” I said.
“Oh, well. It looks like A-Rod. Your backpack strap was blocking it.” She said back to me.
“I apologize for my backpack strap blocking that.” I sarcastically replied.
“Well, maybe you shouldnt be wearing that shirt because it looks like “A-Rod”.” She said.
“Well, I hope people can read!” I laughed.
“Wow, how rude. Calling someone you dont know illiterate.” She looked up at me scoffing.
“I didnt call-you know what, nevermind.” And I found a new place to ballhawk.
The great thing about this stadium is there is little to no restrictions. There arent any fancy gates to keep fans out from behind home plate, there arent any red taped areas or walls or any other type of obstruction to keep fans from walking anywhere they want to. So I did just that. I walked around the entire stadium. The Rangers side of the stadium was filling fast, and the thing is I wasnt really worried about getting a baseball. The gates had opened up at 4pm, and the game started at 7pm. I just wanted to be here. I just wanted to be apart of this. This would be history if the Rangers won it tonight.
Also worth mentioning in the picture below look who was at the ballpark as well? I wasnt surprised though…
Yup! Peter Gammons was there as well! He is a baseball GOD! I wonder when that man is going to retire? Hopefully never! It was great to see him! Aside from that, that was all that was really popping on the Rangers side of the house. I couldnt say the same for the Yankees side though. I guess Arlington was just too far from New York for anyone to come out and support their team.
Thats what was popping on the Yankees side. Nothing. So I wandered the stadium some more. I played the outfield a little bit, and the Rangers were putting a lot of baseballs in the seats. Along with plenty of toss ups. But I just couldnt get a good position for any opportunity. I thought about playing the Batters eye, but I just wasnt aggressive enough. Those baseballs would come in hot, and the general age range of fans running out there was anywhere from five years old to about nineteen. But it seemed dangerous. A lot of slipping, and sliding, and running into each other. I watched for about ten minutes though, and witnessed the smaller kids just get TRAMPLED, and shoved around! I mean, it was nasty out there. The security guards would come out after the ball was secured by a fan, and usher everyone back over the railings. But it was pretty awesome that they let fans run out there. Of all the stadiums that Ive been to that have the grassy Batters eye, they wont let you go out there. In fact, if you do, they try to take the baseball back, and send you packing.
This was the view from where the Batters Eye is at. Notice the near empty seats around the infield? This was about twenty minutes AFTER the gates had let everyone in. Really, I had about a good 35 minutes of free roaming the stadium before hoards of people started to come in. It was simply amazing. I figured the stadium would be packed by now.
I continued to wander the stadium. I continued to wander the outfield looking to pounce on my first baseball of the ALCS. To no avail it just never happened during the Rangers BP. The Yankees started to trickle onto the field, stretching, and tossing baseballs around. I walked over to the third base side, and waited for a unique opportunity to grab a baseball. I lined up behind Chad Guadin, and A.J Burnett. A.J threw the baseball high, and Chad deflected the baseball into the seats. I reached for it but it was too high. He pulled a second ball from his back pocket, and continued to play catch. A.J continued to overthrow, and miss his targets but nothing else came my way. I thought about asking for baseballs but I didnt want to beg. Especially to the Yankees while wearing Ranger gear. ( I didnt bring my Yankees hat )
It was nearing the end of BP, and I still didnt have a baseball. I really wasnt all that concerned though. I really just wanted to find my seat, sit down, and read the ALCS program. My feet hurt, I was tired from the drive, and my shins, and knees had taken a beating from knocking into the old plastic seats in the stadium. I was just tired, and wanted BP to end. For the first time in my life I wanted BP to end. When it did I was thoroughly relieved, and scampered to concessions for some much needed water.
My seat was awesome. I was in the front row in the left field seats. I had a great angle on the Yankees bullpen, and if any ball that was hit well enough for a home run I would most certainly have caught it. So once Phil Hughes, and Jorge Posada came out of the bullpen to warmup, it started to pour. I mean, it was raining so hard I thought that they would cover the field, stop the color guard, and put the game on hold. Not one fan moved from their seat. The color guard continued to march out onto the field. The Marine Corps continued to hold the Texas state flag steady in the Batters Eye. The National Anthem singer started the song, and it continued to rain. The rain tapered off just as the grounds crew started to unroll the tarp. The National Anthem ended, and the color guard marched off the field. Rangers fans held steady. The Marine Corps started to roll the Texas state flag up, and the rain stopped. This game was going to start. Rain or no rain. I was EXCITED! As the Yankees piled into the bullpen, I hollered down to the pitching coach to throw me a baseball, and he graciously meet my demands despite my Rangers gear. I got my first baseball of the night, and sadly it was the only one I got. But I didnt care.
With Josh Hamilton to my left, and David Murphy to my right, and one hell of an awesome group of fans behind me this was probably the most exciting game I have been to in a long, long time. I loved every minute of it. I shouted, and screamed, and cheered, and whistled, and trash talked Alex Rodriguez, and I just had one hell of a time in Texas! It was so great I even got on Tv!
Yeah, I know. You can barely see me. But that was me!! They were awesome seats. Im not going to pretend that nobody reading this blog entry doesnt know that the Rangers won it, and earned a much deserved trip to the World Series. They did win 6-1 if you had been living in a cave for the last few weeks. It was an awesome game. After Vladimir Guerrero broke the game wide open with a two run double, and then Nelson Cruz hit a two run home run, I knew it was as good as gold. The Rangers were going to the World Series. The fans knew it, the players knew it, the whole world knew it! The stadium was so explosive! The fans were cheering, and yelling, and screaming, and ….it was literally…the energy…the emotions..people were crying, and laughing, and hugging….even Josh Hamilton had a hard time containing himself. He would look back at the fans every so often, and smile. He knew. They all did. How could they NOT??
The defining moments. What made it so sweet?
Alex Rodriguez striking out to end it all. Thats what made it so sweet. Alex Rodriguez is so hated around the league its unbelievable. Seattle hates him, Boston hates him, Kansas City hates him, Texas hates him…. and for him to strikeout to send the Rangers to the World Series on a pitch that he probably wouldve liked back…made it OH SO SWEET!!!
Dog pile on the hill ensues….
The Yankees take a walk home…
American League Champions…
HELLO WORLD SERIES!!!!
Congratulatory celebrations, awards presentations, and Nolan Ryan speaks to the fans.
It was a great night to be a Rangers fan at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas.
Game; New York Yankees vs Texas Rangers October 22nd 2010 Game 6 of the ALCS
Game Balls; One