I got a late start… and picked up my buddy, Dennis. We hit traffic. We ended up getting to the stadium right at 5:00 and I ran (he walked) out to the pavilion.
I saw regulars Rob, TC, John, and Chris already running around. Today was a day of close calls.
After a few unsuccessful snagging minutes ticked by in the pavilion I headed down near the foul pole as the Mariners came out to throw:
I kept being just out of place. I recall four instances of being just a foot away from a baseball or a second too late… it was pretty frustrating. Dennis had brought his glove along but ending up sitting in the shade and talking on his phone for the majority of BP. Not his thing. I saw all my ballhawking colleagues snag at least one ball and after being in the stadium for over an hour I was still stuck at zero.
Thank goodness for Bruce Hines. With about ten minutes left of batting practice Mr. Hines fielded a ball in right field and looked to the crowd. He was going to toss it but he couldn’t decide who to give it to so he lofted it about thirty feet high. It was a bit to my right so I scurried down the row (about the eighth or ninth from the field) and camped under it. I happened to be about six inches taller than the guy next to me and he didn’t have a glove. I felt it hit the pocket of my glove and I yelled a big thank you out to Bruce. People nearby clapped… whatever… I’ll take the polite applause.
Shutout averted. As the Mariners headed to the dugout Chris and I raced over… I called out to Alan Cockrell (he’d thrown me a ball the day before), he saw Chris in his M’s gear right next to me and tossed him the ball he’d been holding. Chris thanked me (because he’d forgotten his roster and didn’t know the old coach’s name) and then we parted ways. I grabbed a drink and went to search for Dennis who’d gone to get food. We met up in some seats and watched the first three innings from just past first base.
Then we got booted by an usher when the actual seatholders showed up (an hour late). We wandered a bit, I ate some Rally Monkey Bread from the Katella Grill stand, and we ended up on the opposite side of the field in equally great seats. Our view:
And we got to stay there for the rest of the game. The Angels had a four-run first and didn’t score again until Juan Rivera’s two-run homer in the eighth. The Mariners scored two runs off Jered Weaver… and one off the Angels bullpen but the Halos hung on to win it 6-3. Weaver got his fifteenth win and Fuentes kept the ball at the end of the game… it was his fortieth save of the year.
Torii Hunter got interviewed by Jose Mota after the game… right in front of me:
And after that Dennis and I headed back to Irvine. A good game with a good friend… one baseball as a souvenir… not too shabby.