I got back from New York on Friday–and on Saturday I convinced Michelle that we should head to an Angels game. I was psyched and ready for a real game at the stadium this time (I’d already been to an exhibition nine days earlier). We didn’t have tickets in advance but we got to the ticket window near the gates at 4:40, bought two tickets, and got in line. Shortly after Michelle and I arrive I saw Chris and chatted with him about his offseason and a little while later we saw Rob and Terry. I’ve written about all these guys before, remember?
The gates opened at 5:00pm and I was off–running to the pavilion in right field. Rob was right in front of me heading up the escalator and I zoomed by him and made it out to the seats first. I ran down the staircase, checking each row of seats. As I got to the second row I saw a ball rolling… down into the first row. What? There are NEVER any Easter eggs in Anaheim!!! It probably had just been hit out to the seats just before I got there. As I scooped up Ball #1 on the day (and the 161st of my life) I thought back and this was only the 2nd game at Angel Stadium in which I’d found a ball. The last time it happened was 7/27/09 and I’d found two of them!
I’d forgotten my camera on this abrupt trip to the ballpark but Michelle had hers and she agreed to snap a few pictures during BP. She typically sits and reads in the shade out of the way of flying baseballs so the pictures are a little far away (or blurry) but she got some good ones.
Here I am tracking a home run (well, I thought it would be a home run):
A minute later Bobby Abreu was batting and I had been talking to Rob about Abreu hitting anything out in BP. He said, “I’m still waiting for him to hit one out up here.” And then he did–the ball went screaming into the pavilion behind us and to our right. It landed in the 10th row, took a high bounce as we were approaching it and in the picture below you can see me grabbing it just before Rob got there:
Hey, that’s my backpack in the seat just below Rob’s right arm…
I had to wait until almost the end of the Angels’ portion of BP.to get my next ball–but it was a great moment. I’d been hanging out on a staircase in right center. Mike Napoli was swinging and I knew he had good opposite field power. He smacked one that had a chance to make it up to the pavilion. I ran a full section to my left, down the staircase to the first row and reach out over the wall just to my left. The ball hit the pocket of my glove just in front of the wall… I kind of hit the wall, too. But it was worth the bruise on my leg to make that catch. It was my first ball caught on the fly in the 2010 season. I can still catch, go figure.
Since I knew that not many A’s had home run power to right field I decided to play down the line near the foul pole. I got a good spot… and at some point Michelle took a photo of me in my A’s garb:
Shortly after he finished his warmup throws, Andrew Bailey threw me Ball #4 on the day. There were a few slicers and foul balls that whizzed by but I couldn’t get a glove on any of them.
I moved down to the closest section to the dugout that I could. At Angel Stadium you’re not allowed to go close to either dugout until BP is over unless you have a ticket to that section… which is weird. That’s the opposite policy that most other stadiums have. Usually you get kicked out of dugout seats at the end of BP. Anyway, for the last few minutes of batting practice I was here:
And then as the A’s trotted in I sprinted to their dugout and Brad Ziegler tossed my my fifth baseball. Sweet!
I found Michelle sitting in the outfield and she took a photo of me with the baseballs I’d snagged:
The only other thing I got (other than stomach pain from the gross buffalo boneless wings I ate) was one of those soft baseballs the Strike Force shoots out of an air cannon. I tried for warmup tosses before the game and then tried for a third out toss in the bottom of the first… and then Michelle and I decided to find some seats in the upper level to watch the game.
Before we went upstairs we went to check something out… I had heard that the Rally Monkey would be making an appearance at this game. And that you could have your picture taken with said monkey. Now, I’d never seen the Rally Monkey before and I didn’t know if it would be an actual monkey or someone in a monkey suit.
Here’s a photo from where we decided to park ourselves:
It was a great game! It could have been better but, still, we had a lot of fun.
Ben Sheets pitched against Jered Weaver and Weaver gave up one run in six innings against Sheets’ three runs given up in six innings. But Weaver didn’t get the win. Erick Aybar and Jeff Mathis made base-running mistakes and Kevin Jepsen and Scot Shields each gave up a run so we went into the ninth inning tied at 3-3.
Bobby Abreu doubled with one out in the ninth… and then Torii Hunter was intentionally walked by Craig Breslow to get the lefty-lefty matchup against Hideki Matsui. Well, Matsui laced a double just fair down the right field line to score Abreu and the place went nuts!
4-3 Angels. It was a good time–and we headed out to the parking lot with smiles on our faces. On the way out I gave away two of the baseballs I’d snagged (and I had already given one away to my favorite usher during the game). I’m basically giving away most of the balls I snag this season unless their special/commemorative… I’ll run out of storage space eventually anyway. So, I’m making tons of kids (and parents) happy. Heck, I’ve snagged twelve baseballs and given away more than half of them to ushers and kids already.
Ah… it’s nice to have baseball back again!