The Angels were back home after a road trip and I was psyched to be back at the stadium. I met up with Chris and a buddy of his before the gates opened at we headed in at 5:00pm.
I was not a Gold Glove-caliber fan for this game, lemme tell you that much. Before we get into details, check this out:
See that baseball out there? It was a homer hit by an Angels player that bounced on the batter’s eye and settled right there on the rocks. I kept thinking of a way to nab it… but came up with zero good ideas (read, ideas that wouldn’t get me kicked out). I’d imagine a cameraman probably ended up with it.
On to my BP blunders. Most notably, Kendry Morales knocked a homer out to me… like, to me. I was lined up perfectly and no one was near me. I had it in my sights, reached my glove up to catch it about a foot above my head… and it tipped off the end of my glove. Ugh. Luckily, it didn’t take a weird bounce and I ended up with the ball anyway. But, man, I was down on myself–I shoulda caught it on the fly.
That was it for Angels BP… the Mariners were out and I know where Ichiro hits ’em so I headed down near the foul pole in right field. I came close on a few of them but actually didn’t snag anything else until the last round of M’s batting practice. My second ball of the day was a grounder that cut along the wall and ricocheted off the corner. I leaned out and picked it off the warning track before it stopped rolling. A few minutes later Jason Vargas tossed a ball to where I was standing about ten rows back. It wasn’t specifically to me, or anyone… I jogged to my right after a fan tried to catch it barehanded and failed. I picked it up off the ground (and later gave that one away to an girl in an Angels jersey). Three baseballs… not bad but I had expected more from myself as BP ended. I ran down toward the dugout as the Mariners came off the field.
As everyone headed in a coach (who I later identified as Alan Cockrell) spotted me and tossed a ball over the crowd in the first row–to me in the fourth row. Error #2 for me on the day. I took my eye off the ball for a split second and I misplayed it. It hit off my glove and bounced down toward the dugout… but I was quick to recover, lunging for it and snagging it before anyone else even knew I missed it. But I knew. Argh…
I felt how an infielder must feel after botching a play (like a grounder went right through his legs) but that run doesn’t end up scoring. It’s like, “Well, things turned out all right. But I should have done better.”
It was Japan Day at the ballpark and so there was a pretty cool pregame display or taiko drumming and martial arts:
Anywho, I sat down to watch the game after I couldn’t get a warmup ball from any of the M’s… here:
And I moved every now and then between that view and a couple others but stayed pretty much in the same area, trying for foul balls and 3rd out balls… no dice.
I was stuck at four baseballs on the day and that was fine. It was a great pitcher’s duel. Scott Kazmir (in his Angels home debut) faced Felix Hernandez for the second time in a week-long period. Kaz gave up a solo home run to Franklin Gutierrez and that was it for the scoring…. until Brian Fuentes blew the save.
King Felix had allowed two runs (one earned) and the Halos were up 2-1 in the ninth. I was behind their dugout, ready for the win. But Mike Sweeney blasted Fuentes’ second pitch of the night out to center and–tie game. The Angels loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth but couldn’t get the run home.
To the tenth… Matt Palmer kept the Mariners scoreless in the inning and Erick Aybar delivered a walkoff hit to score Bobby Abreu! Angels win! And I only saw two baseball get tossed into the crowd… oh well.