4/1/10 at Angel Stadium

Well, Spring Training had been a fun and relaxing precursor to the season but I decided that I wanted a real warmup before I took on Citi Field as my first official game of 2010.  So, I got a ticket for the exhibition between the Padres and Angels for the first of April and was off to the ballpark for batting practice.  I had decided I certainly wouldn’t stay for the whole game–I had packing to do.  But I didn’t know how long I’d stay there.  Would I leave right after BP?  Stay a few innings?  I didn’t know as I left my place around 4:15… and then I hit AWFU traffic on the 55 and 5 freeways and I ended up parking as the Home Plate Gate opened and I made it into the stadium at about 5:05pm… and I was rushing… which is why there aren’t any photos in the first part of this entry.

So, no Easter eggs for me.  Today was about acclimating myself to the stadium experience I’d become so used to in the ’09 season.  The lawns of Spring Training were fun to run around on but batting practice in rows of seats and huge concourses to run through are a different experience.  Anyone who has cuts and bruises on their thighs, knees, shins, and ankles can attest to that–trying to catch a baseball on steps with seats all around you is tough.

My first interaction with some of the Anaheim crew occurred today, too, when I saw Warren and then Rob during BP.  Also, I should mention that I lost my notes from my snagging of the day.  I had great notes!  And that’s why I really shouldn’t put off blogging for two weeks–stupid school getting in the way.

Anyway, I headed up to the pavilion and that’s where I snagged my first ball of the day–it was during Angels BP and it was a homer hit to the seats that bounced once or twice before I snagged it… that’s all I know.  That was it for the Angels’ portion of batting practice.  I had planned to stay up in the pavilion for Adrian Gonzalez but he didn’t hit!  I didn’t see him anywhere around the cage and since he’s the only lefty on the Padres that could possibly hit ’em to RF a long way I decided to play for slicers and tosses down the RF line near the foul pole.
sunny bp.JPGThe Padres pitchers started throwing nearby as the sun blocked much of my view of the hitter.  I focused on the pitchers and eventually got a baseball from an unknown Padres pitcher–right-handed.  It was one of these guys… but I don’t know who.
padres pitchers warmup.JPGIt wasn’t Jon Garland… that I know for sure because I got his autograph later and I would’ve had him sign the baseball he’d given me.
garland in group.JPGHe’s the tall one.  But he didn’t give me a baseball so I got him to sign my ticket stub.

I focused my attention on the hitters again once the sun went down a bit more so that I could actually see.  Note the difference between this picture and the similar one above:
less sunny bp.JPGNothing much was happening… it was a pretty boring BP session.  I knew I wasn’t going to count the baseballs I collected at this game just like I didn’t count the Spring Training ones… but I wanted to have a decent showing at my warmup game, you know?  The pavilion was sooo not crowded at this point (with good reason–there was one Padre homer hit up there in their entire BP section):
empty pavilion.JPGAs BP ended I ran to the Padres dugout and got my third baseball of the day from a player heading into the dugout.  Again, I have no idea who threw it because my notes are gone.  ::sigh::  I debated even putting this entry up since the details would be quite lacking.

Near where players sometimes sign autographs just past first base I ran into Warren again and talked to him for a minute before deciding that I was still good at catching baseballs and running around Angel Stadium.  I figured I’d just go home, see my wife, and pack for out trip while watching the game on TV.  I took this panoramic photo before I left:
angels exhibition panorama b.jpgThree baseballs: one that was hit, two that were thrown.  One autograph.  A quick night at the ballpark.  The Angels ended up losing, Kyle Blanks hit a three-run homer, and I had a good time watching from my comfy sofa.


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