Originally I was going to attend this game with Michelle but one of her girlfriends was in town, so I sold the extra ticket on craigslist and headed out by myself…
Traffic was rough so I didn’t arrive at the Home Plate Gate until 4:50pm (only ten minutes before opening). There was quite a crowd due to it being a giveaway day: Rally Doodle Dandy – a beanie baby, patriotic, rally monkey. I know, exciting, right?
Normally, I’d have been pretty bummed to have to stand at the back of that line. Lucky for me, I spotted BP regular, Terry, at the front of the line and he welcomed me alongside him. YES!
I ran in, received my monkey, and was off for right field. Another BP regular, Rob, was out there as I arrived in the pavilion, already looking for Easter eggs. We both searched, found nothing, I lost a BP homer to a girl nearby… then an usher said, “Did you guys find that one that bounced around up here?” WHA–??? How could we have missed it?
Rob took off and came back a minute later; he’d snagged it. Boy, it was one of those days of BP. The Angels were hitting a few to seats. Rob got another one, that same girl got another one… I was still stuck at zero. I hassled Matt Palmer about his recent shave-job and had a brief back and forth with him. After a while an Angel righty, who I am fairly certain was Jeff Mathis, he was Caucasian, wore hi-sox, and smashed the ball toward right center… good opposite field pop (maybe Napoli, though he played in normal sock in the game), that headed toward me. I took a step down and over to my left, I was camped under it. Yes! But at the last second I see a glove rise up next to mine–the gloves touch, the ball deflects away and we both lunge for it. I get the favorable bounce and snag it as it’s falling through a seat. I look up and there’s Rob–that guy is everywhere! He ended up with, I think, four by the time BP was over. I was just excited to be on the board! And then… nothing during the O’s portion of BP… I couldn’t get Mark Hendrickson or coach Alan Dunn to toss anything to me. Some homers were hit but I couldn’t quite get to any of them. Boy, Baltimore’s got some pop in their bats… and a lot of strong lefties! I just kept missin’ by just a few rows…
I could’ve had a BP homer on the fly but I opted not to lunge across a few small kids like some middle-aged guy in the front row… I think he hit his head on a cupholder though… karma.
As BP ended at 6:30pm I still had just the one ball but I was thrilled because my streak was still alive. I’ve now attended 12 games and gotten at least one baseball at each of them. Last season my streak went up to 8… but was snapped at this game last September.
I waited to see who’d be playing catch… three pairs of Orioles played catch and I didn’t get any of those baseballs. It just wasn’t my day for snagging! I did take quite a few photos from my prime seat as the game got going:
Note: Chone Figgins – 5′ 8″, Aubrey Huff – 6′ 4″ It just made me laugh to see the two of them standing together:
I also took this pic of me with my new primate friend:
Thrilling. I was two rows behind the dugout and I figured I would just move whenever the real seatholders came along. They never did! There were four seats on the aisle in Row D that never were occupied–except by me. Any inning that ended with a strikeout, I thought, I would be sure to get a ball from rookie catcher, Matt Wieters (pronounced WEE-ters), but he kept rollin’ ’em back to the mound. BAH! But, I couldn’t complain… I’d purchased a ticket for $7.00 and I was in the best seats in the stadium, close enough to get a peek at manager Dave Trembley’s lineup cards:
The Angels got on the board first, in the bottom of the 4th with a solo blast by Bobby Abreu:
Then, the O’s tied in in the top of the 5th but my Halos came back with four runs in the bottom of the 5th, three coming from Abreu’s second homer of the night!
The Angels led 5-1, then the O’s got one back when Luke Scott homered in the 7th…
WHOA–I got so excited about Abreu’s two dingers I almost forgot to mention my second snag of the day. Kendry Morales flied out to left to end the 4th. Nolan Reimold caught it and the team started jogging in. I stood up, decked out in orange and put my glove up. I figured I had a chance even though I was a bit far from where the players were leaving the field (I was closer to home plate than first base). When he crossed the foul line Reimold looked toward me and tossed a perfect gamer right to me! Check it out:
No smudges or marks at all, really… NICE!
My snagging was officially done at that point. I’d stay at two for the rest of the game. I soaked up the game, though, and the great pitching, the homers, and the good defense by the Angels. Here’s a picture I snapped once I was able to get down into the first row:
I set my camera on the dugout, set the 10-second timer and ended up watching a play unfold as the shutter clicked.
Wow… I really look like an Orioles fan… I swear that’s actually an orange Angels T-shirt! It’s from the ’07 All-Star Game… the one where Vlad won the Home Run Derby.
Lackey pitched a strong eight innings… the Angels were up by three runs, so…
I moved to the Angels dugout for the 9th. Brian Fuentes only needed eight pitches to retire the side and record his MLB-leading 23rd save of the season! I saw a girl next to me get a bat… about five baseballs came up over the dugout–and I walked away empty-handed. No dugout luck, post-game, for me… again.