My Angels were finally back home after a miserable road trip where they went 2-8. Ugh. But I was glad to see them and glad to head to my sixth game of the year…
I would be meeting up with Michelle when she finished work so I headed into the stadium at 5:00 by myself and ran straight out to the pavilion in right field. There weren’t any baseballs to be found so I just hung out and waited for the home runs to come. They didn’t.
Well, more accurately, Hideki Matsui hit a home run one section to my left. I ran for it but Rob was positioned better than I was and he caught it on the fly. That was the only homer hit near me–luckily I recognized Kevin Jepsen and asked him if he could throw me a ball. He did and I was on the board for the day.
The Angels portion of BP was boring and I was thrilled when the Rays came out to start their practice.
I figured they would be peppering the seats but apparently the coaches on Tampa Bay’s roster have been instructing them to not pull anything… so they weren’t hitting for much power. Strangely, despite the lack of batting practice I didn’t have the presence of mind to take any other pictures than the one above… so… sorry.
Lance Cormier was shagging baseballs in right field and I asked him to thorw one up when he got one. Eventually he did. He fielded the ball, turned to me, fired, and launched it about five feet over my head. Despite my full extension and my well-timed leap I couldn’t get my glove on it and the ball hit two rows behind me and ricocheted to the feet of a fan ten feet to my right. I looked and Lance and shrugged. He looked right back at me and tapped his hand on his chest a couple times. I knew what he was telling me: “Sorry. That one’s on me.” I’d made my best effort… he just overshot me. When he moved over to center field a little bit later I saw him again and said, “Lance, you gotta give me one more try, please!” He nodded but he didn’t field another ball.
At about 6:15 I headed down to the field level seats near the foul pole in preparation to run to the dugout at the end of BP. I was about five rows back from the wall… and BP was wrapping up. Cormier ran toward right field from right-center and caught a ball. As he was slowing down I yelled out to him and held up my glove. He made up for his error a half hour earlier by throwing me a perfect strike over the heads of the fans hugging the wall. Thanks, Lance.
Later on in the evening I took a photo of where the overthrow happened (the white circle), where the catch was made (the red circle) and where Cormier was for each throw (the red X).
As BP ended I headed for the dugout and hung back in about the third row. As the Rays came off the field I saw coach Bobby Ramos with a few baseballs. He had tossed one to me a moment before I actually was looking at him though and my late reaction caused the ball to tip off my glove and roll to the left to another fan. Ramos stopped on his way into the dugout and shook his head at me, smiling. I made a big production of adjusting my hat and glove, assumed a ready position, then gestured to him to say, “Come on, one more and I’ve got it.”
Ramos laughed and pretended to wind up and throw another ball. Then lobbed an easy one to me which I, of course, caught with no difficulty. I thanked him and headed back toward the outfield.
Michelle hadn’t arrived yet and the Angels were about to start launching T-shirts and Softee balls into the stands so I kind of followed along with them from the right field pole to the visiting team’s dugout. Along the way I caught three of the soft, Nerf-style baseballs. A new record… sort of. Previously I’d caught two in one game. One got launched over my head and I made a nice basket catch on it with my back to the field. I gave that one away to an older lady nearby and I gave another one away to a little boy.
Michelle arrived at about that time and we were both STARVING so we got dinner and sat in the Terrace level to eat and chat about our days. I’d been at school all day and she had been at work. It was nice to hang out together (as it always is) and catch up with the happenings of our lives. We sat in section 227 and here’s a panorama:
At the conclusion of each inning I tried to get tossups from the Rays at their dugout but I failed each time.
In the above photo a guy one row in front of me stuck his hand up and deflected the ball thrown to me by Carlos Pena back into the dugout. Also, a boy in the front row got two tossups in consecutive innings. It was just bad luck, is all…
And I was less than happy as I headed back to my seat.
But we watched the Angels get out to a 4-0 lead through seven innings. At about 9:15 Michelle decided to leave to head home and get ready for bed. She gets up at 6:30 for work. I walked her out to the gate and said goodbye before heading back in to the stands. I found a seat on the field level right behind the Rays’ dugout. Can you spot the baseballs?
I hung out there and watched Blown Save Fuentes live up to his namesake. Aargh…
The Angels couldn’t score in the bottom of the ninth and the tenth went scoreless, too. In the bottom of the eleventh inning, Kendry Morales hit a single to left field (against the shift). Reggie Willits, who had come into the game to pinch run for Matsui, sacrifice bunted Morales to second and Juan Rivera came to bat. Grant Balfour (ball four?) threw a wild pitch which got Morales to third base. Then, Joe Maddon pulled out the old five infielders trick. Take a look:
I love it! The last time I’d seen this technique used in a game was on 9/14/08. There were only two outfielders since Ben Zobrist came in to play the infield (he even grabbed a different glove from the dugout). Look at how the coaches are positioning everyone… Carl Crawford and Gabe Kapler were playing shallow left and right field, respectively, and Rivera lifted one to right center. Kapler got to it, made the catch, but it was deep enough to score Morales! Boo-ya!
I was thrilled to see the Angels win a game–they’d had such a horrible road trip. The club really needed a win and I was worried when Fuentes blew it in the ninth. But the night turned out well and I made my way to my car and headed home.