Another day, another game…
The Angels were back home to face the Blue Jays (before facing the Royals and Red Sox). It would be quite a week… I knew it… I’m going to one game against each opponent. I’d like to mention, also, that I was starting to feel that I was a bit of a bad luck charm for my Halos. They were 0-4 in games I’d been to at the Big A this year. Did that stop me? NO WAY!
Michelle joined me (and some friends from school would meet up with us later) and we arrived early, as usual, for batting practice.
There weren’t too many folks waiting as we arrived. Michelle checked out the ever-present memorial to Nick Adenhart while I waited in line. I didn’t really want to look at it close up again… it really is a tragedy. I took a photo of some of the fans paying their respects:
At 5:05 the gates opened and I ran inside, not forgetting to collect my 1980s retro Angels cap (cool giveaway!). I scanned to right field seats quickly… no Easter eggs. Up to the pavilion… no Easter eggs (but I was the third one to arrive up there). I then took up a spot in right center. The view to my right:
And the view to my left (and notice the guy closest to me in the front row):
Woo! And how many homers were hit up there during the Angels BP session?
And I didn’t snag it… grr.
I did, however, get a ball thrown to me by rookie pitcher, Matt Palmer. Here’s how our brief interaction went down:
KID NEAR ME: Hey, Shane Loux, can you throw a ball? Shane?!?
PALMER: I’m not Shane. Do you even know who I am?
PALMER: Can you read (I’ll assume he meant “Can you read the name on my glove I’m holding up?” and not “Are you smart enough to read, kiddo?”)?
ME: Matt! Matt Palmer, how about a ball for another Matt? Please?
A few seconds later he fielded a ball and looked up to me, gestured, and threw it. His throw was a bit off and the ball was just a bit to my right… and that guy I mentioned in the photo above reached out, barehanded, and tried to catch the ball. He reached, it hit his hands, he bobbled it, I yelled, “Come on, man!” And he backed away a step. I must have sounded fairly angry (I was… that ball was totally meant for me) but I would have let it go if he’d really wanted that ball. As soon as it was on the ground I scooped it up. Ball #1 on the day and #45 in my collection… not graceful, but still a snag. That was it for Angels BP.
I noticed that there wasn’t much of a crowd near the right field foul pole so I left the pavilion and switched to my Jays hat as I jogged down to the field level. Some Blue Jays pitchers were warming up.
After Scott Downs finished throwing (he’s in the background, with the long hair, in the above photo) I got his attention and he lobbed me my second baseball of the day. Then I hung out just fair of the pole and a lefty Blue Jays hitter knocked a ball down the line. It ricocheted toward me and I was able to snag it by hanging down over the wall. It was pretty impressive, if I do say so myself. The ball bounces off that curved wall fairly randomly and this one was still moving pretty wall when I snagged it. Not to mention I did it while most of me was on the field side of that green wall. My third of the day! I asked the Jays fan near me who’d hit it and he told me it was either Travis Snider or Lyle Overbay.
By the way, want to know how hard it is to snag during the afternoon BP sessions at Angel Stadium? Look at this pic:
Bring sunglasses and keep your cap brim low… you’re staring right below where that bright SoCal sun is… and as soon as a ball gets airborne you’ll lose it if you’re not careful.
My fourth ball of the day would also come via leaning out over the wall. A ball came to rest just foul of the pole and I ran over to it… two guys had tried to get over far enough (without falling down to the field)… they couldn’t reach it. I heard someone say, “Hey, son, bring me your glove.” I got to just above the ball, leaned out and over and Ball #4 on the day was in my glove. I ended up giving it to a boy who’d come over to answer his dad’s call for assistance. He hadn’t gotten a ball and he had his glove… and I handed him a souvenir. He stared at it in disbelief. His dad said to me, “That’s really great, man. Thanks.” Then the boy thanked me and we shook hands. It felt nice to make that father and son’s day a little brighter. Just think, they’ll go home and say, “Wow, that Jays fan was so nice!”
That was it for my snagging. No Blue Jays played catch by their dugout before the game and after the national anthem Michelle and I were hungry so we grabbed some grub and ate it while watching the first inning from the pavilion:
And we hadn’t heard from our friends yet… we cruised over to a virtually empty section in Lower View:
Section 412: a good foul ball section. Our friends, Garrett and Darcy, arrived just after we won Star Trek foam hands for being in the “lucky section.”
The Angels were in retro uniforms on retro 80s night… and Photoshopped pictures of all the players showed up on the Jumbotron instead of their normal player pics. Here is my favorite of the night (of Maicer Izturis):
I forget in which inning this happened, but a Blue Jays hitter knocked a foul ball up to near where I was sitting. I lunged to my right (over Garrett) and the two teenagers a few seats down from me reached out and over the edge of the level we were on, the ball smacked off one of their hands and fell to the Club Level below. They got a hearty round of booing from the fans around us. That was the closest a foul ball had ever come to me… probably within five feet. Had they not been there I’m sure I would have gotten that one. Maybe next time…
For the ninth inning we all headed down to the Field Level and I went behind the home dugout as Jered Weaver closed out the game. Three hits, one run, seven strikeouts, no walks. It was his first CG…. a bunch of baseballs, a bat, and some gloves came flying up from the dugout and I, somehow, didn’t get near any of them… more near misses. Still, I upped my average on the year and the Angels got a victory while I was there! Plus, I got a retro hat, four baseballs, a foam hand, and had a great time with my fiancee and our friends. Attendance: 41,007. A great night overall!