This was my first game with my wife by my side in almost a month. Michelle and I had last attended a baseball game together back on 8/31/09 down in San Diego. She had been working a lot but had some time off to catch some baseball with me. We headed in at five o’clock (I ran, she walked) and I was the first one into the pavilion in right field. BP was, let’s just say, slow. Since the Angels had cliched the division the night before they were resting a lot of their main guys (including K-Mo, who’s usually the only Angel that can really hit ’em to the seats in right) and a total of one baseball was hit up there during the Angels portion of BP and I didn’t catch it. Lucky for me, Matt Palmer’s a really nice guy, always good for a quick chat, and pretty generous about throwing baseballs to fans.
He headed toward the wall to field a ball in right-center. As he went to pick it up I asked him, “Hey, Matt, could you hook me up with that ball, please?
He asked me, “How many balls you get already today?”
“Today? I have zero.”
He reared back and threw the ball. He was kind of sneaky about it though. He looked toward the bucket, then turned and launched the ball to me pretty quickly. Not only did it come at me fast, but I think he intended to juke me… like, throw it off the top of the wall. As a matter of fact the ball cleared the wall but would have hit the metal pipe running horizontally across the top of it. I reached out quickly and caught the 70 mph throw right before it clanged off the pipe. Palmer looked surprised… I was, too. I thanked him and he gave a nod of approval.
I was on the board… but, like I said, batting practice was pretty mellow. Once the Rangers came out and started hitting I was down near the foul pole. I saw this totally awesome sign that I simply needed to photograph:
Ha ha… and then Taylor Teagarden started signing:
And I got him on a ticket stub… then I went up to the pavilion again. A note about the photo to the right: I took this about a minute after the bucket had been knocked over. C.J. Wilson was fielding in right and told the guy (who’s pretty small) with him that he could nail the bucket from where he was standing. Sure enough, on his first try he threw a one-hopper that knocked it down. It was pretty funny. And a while later he fielded one that he intended to throw to a fan. There were some people along the first row and I was about six rows back. I jumped up and down a couple of times and held up my glove. C.J. threw me a shot over the crowd. Nice–Ball #2 on the day.
After that nothing else got hit anywhere nearby and I got shutout at the dugout after BP. But I found Michelle sitting nearby, reading, and we went to get some food (Rally Monkey Bread–oh, yeah!) and then we headed to our seats. It was the first time either of us had ever sat in the pavilion for the a game. I was hoping for a home run… maybe I could catch my first game home run ever. That wasn’t to be but it was still a fun place to catch the game from. Here’s the view:
As the national anthem is sung at Angel Stadium and they get to the “rockets red glare” the Angels production folks shoot off red fireworks. I got the photo to the right. Then I ran down to the dugout to see if I could snag a warmup ball from the Rangers infielders. Ian Kinsler ended up with thte ball but took it with him into the dugout… bummer. After that I walked back up to our seats were Michelle was waiting. Shortly thereafter the game was underway. The Angels got out to a 4-1 lead and would hold it. Sean O’Sullivan started for the Halos and went five strong innings, giving up just two runs… the only two that the A’s would score in the game. Oh, the A’s, we sure thought they’d have been a heck of a lot better this year.
I was able to get a few good action shots of the game, even from way out in the outfield. I love my camera. Here, Brandon Wood bats against Rangers starter, Scott Feldman:
We stayed in our seats for the whole game, except for the part when we went to the team store to get a sweatshirt and some socks… Michelle was cold. We spent time in between innings taking silly photos together:
About halfway through the game the Angels brought out all their Salt Lake Bees… only one run was scored in the last half of the game. The lineup at one point contained Wood, Bobby Wilson, Reggie Willits, Chris Pettit, Freddie Sandoval, and Terry Evans. What?!? Who?
And the A’s still lost. Jose Arredondo, Rafael Rodriguez, and Brian Fuentes combined to pitch four innings of shutout baseball against those poor A’s, and Fuentes got his MLB-leading forty-sixth save of the season. The Halos had clinched the division the night before, and by beating the Rangers again the Angels were able to knock them out of playoff contention entirely. The Angels will face the Red Sox… again.
So, this year’s A’s can’t really even beat the mostly minor league Angels. Sucks for them. Great for the Angels! Michelle took that photo of me during the seventh inning stretch. There was only one home run hit near where we were sitting and I never had a chance at it… it was a section over. But had there been one near me I’m sure I would have had it. I had an aisle to my right and tons of open seats around me… nobody but me had a glove. Oh, well.
As the crowds began to file out at the end of the game, which went by really quickly, we found a friendly usher who we asked to take a photo of the two of us:
Matt: 2, Angels: 5, A’s: 2 — and we would get to come back the next night.