Remember when I went to a sports bar called Throwbacks earlier in the week? Well, Michelle and I ended up with raffle tickets which ended up being exchanged for free tickets to this game! What’s better than going to a baseball game? Going to a baseball game for free.
And this: And this:
And it kept going. There must have been a thousand people there… it was ridiculous. Sadly, I was sure that many of those people toward the end of the line wouldn’t get Figgy’s autograph because the signing would end at 1:00. I grabbed a free pouch of juice and went to my backup plan. I’m a stage manager by trade, I always have a backup plan. Today it was heading to an AT&T store in Seal Beach to a Howie Kendrick signing. That event worked out better for me.
I got to the parking lot and headed up toward the store at about 11:30 (when the event was to start). As I headed toward the back of the line I passed by Anaheim regular, Chris (aka cjpyankee), and said hello. I continued to the back of the line. When I got there I heard, “Matt!” and looked up. Chris waved me over to him and led me up to his spot in line which his girlfriend had been holding. I thanked them and wished them both a happy belated birthday. Then we went inside and I snapped a photo of Howie before having him sign a ticket stub for me.
After we got out of the store Chris and Ariana (sp?) left and I decided to jump back into line. It took about thirty-five minutes to get through the twisting (mostly in the shade) line and back up to the front of the store. When I was about to get inside for the second time I saw AM830’s Jorge “Pollo” Sevilla, the station’s Promotions Manager. I knew from my previous experiences at Angels events that he was THE MAN to talk to about tickets. When I saw him I introduced myself and casually asked, “Hey, Pollo, you guys givin’ away any tickets today?”
He grinned and said, “Man, I don’t have very many.” He then proceeded to pull a stack of them out of his pocket and hand me two tickets to a game in September against the Mariners. Yes!! I thanked him and headed inside to get Howie’s autograph again.
Then I headed home, straightened up the apartment with Michelle, and got ready for the game. After some confusion with some friends over who might be joining us at that evening we set out to pick up our friend Amanda before grabbing food. We ate, talked, and I dropped Michelle and Amanda off across the street at a Starbucks while I parked and got in line. Who should I see again in line? Chris and Ariana. Chris has become a pretty good ballhawk this year and you can check out his blog here. We chatted a bit about his trip to New Yankee Stadium and my trip to Kauffman Stadium and at 5:00 the gates opened and we flooded in. I was sprinting out to right field and as soon as I got up the escalator and could see the field I stopped dead in my tracks.
Yep… the cage was up but no one was hitting. Gwah?!? Oh, yes, the Angels weren’t going to hit after they amassed an amazing THREE hits with ZERO runs the night before. Ugh.
I saw BP home run catcher extraordinaire, Rob, jogging about five seconds later so I figured I’d just finish my trek up to the pavilion, beat him there, check for Easter eggs, then regroup. Boy, I would have felt dumb if I’d let Rob passed me and there were three or four baseballs sitting up there. But there weren’t any… so I simply chalk that up to a round of cardio exercise that I could get in. Nice.
The only players on the field were a few Angels pitchers. I jogged alllllll the way around to the third base line thinking there was a small chance they’d throw me a ball. No luck. The Angels didn’t hit at all.
Eventually the A’s started stretching in front of their dugout so, in preparation for their hitting I headed past the bullpens, through the center field family section, past the pavilion (again) and over to the seats near the foul pole where I saw Chris. We chatted again for a few minutes, both of us were now in our A’s gear, and FINALLY some batters started hitting. Right about that time Michelle and Amanda showed up after having made a stop at the Team Store.
I was really excited because I was sitting on ninety-nine career snagged baseballs and the next one I got was going to put me in triple digits. A’s pitchers were throwing in front of me, batters were knocking baseballs all over the field… then I saw it.
A ball trickled foul and came to rest near the wall between the A’s dugout and the foul pole. It was about ten feet to my left and ten feet to Chris’ right. We both moved toward it and I squeezed into the front row excitedly saying to the female fan near the ball, “Excuse me, can I try to get it?” I knew I could get it. I just would’ve felt bad forcing someone to move out of the way. She obliged, I leaned out and over, and I
snagged my seventy-second ball of the season and the 100th baseball I’d snagged ever.
Now I felt conflicted… I was jazzed to have snagged the ball but I was confused because I had no idea where it came from. I asked the people nearby me, including Chris, where the ball came from. Apparently, it had been hit by an A’s batter. That’s all I knew… all I still know about it. Oh, well. Nothing’s perfect. I had the ball. I let out a contented sigh.
Chris congratulated me and we both went back to work. He headed up to the pavilion (and ended up snagging one up there that I saw… I think) and I hung out around the foul pole in right field. Five minutes later a ball rolled to the warning track near the wall where the outfield seats end and there’s a big gap where the wall opens up and leads to a tunnel used for trucks and storage. There were a couple of fans that couldn’t reach the ball as I jogged up and said, “Hey, guys, let me try to grab it.”
I did. Ball #2 on the day… again, I had no idea who hit it. I had two baseballs and both were hit by the A’s and I didn’t know who hit either of them.
A few more baseballs came over my way but I couldn’t quite get a glove on anything… I had a BP homer lined up but it hit the foul pole and I missed out on it. Dang… and Trevor Cahill ignored me for about twenty minutes straight.
BP ended at 6:15 and I followed the players in toward the dugout but didn’t snag anything there. I went over to chat with the girls for a while, chugged some water (it was HOT), then saw a player signing autographs. I just missed Mark Ellis and his lousy signature but I got Adam Kennedy to sign a ticket for me and I got to talk to him for a minute about how we both gre up in Riverside, CA. He’s a big inspiration to a lot of kids who play (or played) baseball growing up out there. After that I got Cliff Pennington to sign and Brad Ziegler as well.
I watched Adam Kennedy and Mark Ellis play catch and when they finished I asked Adam for the ball. Turns out that Mark Ellis had their actual warmup ball and Adam had just pulled one out of his pocket(just to throw to the crowd… what a guy). Ellis threw me the ball he had and I yelled, “Thanks!” Then I went to change out of my sweaty A’s shirt.
And each time the Angels had two outs I ran to the dugout to try for a third out ball… but both innings ended in a strikeout and the ball got rolled back to the mound. The three of us decided to head to the View Level since the stadium was getting crowded. We found seats above third base but got kicked out of them within ten minutes.
It was 11-7 after the A’s got a run in the ninth and Brian Fuentes came on to close out the game. With one out in the ninth I ran down to just behind the Angels dugout (and I mean ran) and I tried to get a ball or something from the Halos as they came off the field before then running back up to the View Level to watch the fireworks with the ladies from our primo, home plate seats.
I didn’t catch anything after the game but can you find me in this above photo?
Angel Stadium’s Big Bang Friday fireworks are pretty fun to see. I played with the fireworks setting on my camera:
And we took a few photos together before heading out for the evening… here are the girls:
And I made sure to get a picture with the three baseballs I snagged that day.
I was exhausted when we finally got home… it had been a loooong day.
Monday: PETCO Park – Padres vs. Nationals
Wednesday: Dodger Stadium – Dodgers vs. Diamondbacks
Thanks for reading!