The Blue Jays were in town for a three game series and I would be heading to two of ’em. Monday night’s game I’d be joined by my wife as soon as she finished up at work… as for me, I headed out to the park at about four o’clock and got in line. I met another BP regular, his name’s Eli, at the gates. At five I headed in and immediately ran to the pavilion. The first group of Angel hitters was up. The group consisted of Bobby Abreu, Torii Hunter, Hideki Matsui, and Mike Napoli (who’s been on a hot streak). All four of those bats yielding exactly zero home runs to the pavilion seats. I wanted to take a picture of the empty seats throughout the park… this was a seriously low amount of people at BP. And had that group hit a few homers my way I’m sure I could have nabbed one… or four! But, no, it wasn’t happening. And I realized that my camera was totally dead… bummer. I called Michelle and asked her to bring batteries when she came to meet me.
Since most of the other Angels after the first group would be hitting right-handed I jogged down to near the foul pole. It was there that I finally got on the board for the evening. Bobby Wilson was shagging baseballs in right and I was one of the few people that was 1) trying to catch a baseball, and 2) knew his name. As one round of BP ended and he moved closer to center field I asked him for the ball he’d just picked up. He started trotting to center… and when he was about 100 feet away from me he spun around and fired the ball–right to me! It was a perfect throw… like, I didn’t have to move an inch and it ended up in my glove, chest high. I yelled out, “Nice throw!” and Wilson gave me a thumbs up.
I figure that now would be a good time to mention that I’ve been giving a lot more baseballs away this season. Last season I gave away one or maybe two baseballs per game… but this year, due to a combination of not having a lot of space at my apartment and really just enjoying the thrill of getting the baseball, I’ve been giving away at least fifty percent of what I snag. Unless it’s commemorative or I snag a homer on the fly (or get a ball in a unique way) it’ll usually end up with a little kid at some point in the evening. On this particular day I’d brought two baseballs I’d previously snagged simply to give away.
Baseball #2 on the day would come from a Blue Jays pitcher. The Angels were still hitting but the Jays had come out to throw along the first base line. As they were finishing up a right-handed Blue Jay pitcher with shaggy brown hair who was not exceptionally tall and had facial hair threw me a ball. I’m going to go ahead and say it was Shawn Marcum… I’m not 100% sure… but I think it was him. I took a photo:
The guy who threw me the ball is the one in the center of the photo (near the guy with the high socks) with his back to the camera… this is from my camera phone because, as I mentioned… my fancy camera was still very much dead at this point. I now realize that my camera phone is pretty darn good!
Just a few minutes later, as the Angels were still hitting, a batter lifted a fly ball toward the corner in right field. I tracked it as I ran to my right. It had a shot to clear the short wall out there. Sure enough, the ball carried into the stands. A fan in the first row reached up, bare-handed, to try to catch it. As expected, the ball bounced off his hand and into the third row just as I arrived in the second row and picked it up of the ground before it stopped rolling. I got a nice gash on my right thumb as someone fell into me. Ouch… but I got the ball. I looked to see who hit it. I assumed a lefty… and the only lefty in the group would have been Michael Ryan… but I’m not sure… even less sure than I was about the Marcum ball.
Anyway, in the photo above (taken from where I started when the ball was hit) you’ll see the fan who DIDN’T catch the ball (circled), the spot where the ball hit the seats (a red X), and the place where I picked up the ball (the red box). Thanks, LG enV touch, for these good quality photos.
So, I was at three baseballs on the day and the Blue Jays hitters provided… zero baseballs for their portion of BP. Like, I wasn’t close to a single one. Chris was nearby and he and I were both sooooo bored as no players threw baseballs anywhere near us and no players hit baseballs anywhere near us except one grounder that Chris was able to scoop off the warning track. Like, I got sleepy… that’s how little action there was.
In the last round of Blue Jays BP a couple of lefties hit a few up to the pavilion but I wasn’t up there at that point. I ran down to the dugout hoping for a tossup from someone as they left the field… but it didn’t happen.
Michelle had called me and said she had arrived at the stadium so I met up with her and we grabbed some delicious BBQ goodness for dinner. The Jays didn’t throw before the game… and Michelle and I parked ourselves in the Terrace Level with this view of the action:
I tried for third out tosses from the Jays each inning but didn’t snag anything. About halfway through the game we moved down to the Field Level and watched with this view:
I was thinking that with all the righties there might be a foul ball coming our way. Nope.
One nice thing that happened at this game was that one of those irritating photographers that wants to take your picture randomly asked us just that… and it actually turned out to be a cute picture of the two of us:
Yeah, yeah… I snagged it from the web… hence the banner on there. They want fifteen bucks for a 5″x7″ print. Ugh. But look how cute we are!
I walked Michelle out to the gate when she had to leave at about 9:20. She headed home and I headed back in to the game. When I walked out with her it was 5-0 Blue Jays… when I sat down here:
… it was 6-0 Blue Jays. Ugh.
Just before I took this picture (from the second row) two girls in their twenties sat down in front of me. After they saw Vernon Wells toss his batting gloves to a little girl one section over (lucky!) they started harassing the players in the dugout to toss them a baseball. After a while one of the pitchers threw the girl who’s head you can see at the bottom of the above photo a baseball. It had a message on it written in blue ballpoint pen. I couldn’t read the whole thing but essentially the players had invited to the girls back to their hotel. The message read something like this: If you wanna have [a good time later] come to the [whatever hotel they were staying at] tonight or tomorrow [then three room numbers were listed]. I only know this because the guy in the blue sweater in the above photo asked them what the ball said. They showed it to him and I caught a glimpse of it. That’s the first time I’ve ever seen anyone propositioned via baseball. Weird… and sort of creepy.
Anyway, the game was not going the Angels’ way. 6-0 would be the final and the Halos managed just three hits off of the Blue Jays.
I tried for a tossup at the game’s conclusion at the far end of the Jays’ dugout. Nope… stuck at three for the day. But as I headed up the steps I saw a little boy and his family (a mom, dad, and sister) in Angels gear also exiting the seating bowl. I asked the dad, “Did your kids get a ball today?” He said no… I had seen them trying for tossups at the opposite end of the dugout from me earlier in the night.
As it turns out, the little boy had gotten a ball tossed near/toward/to him. I don’t know the details but his parents told me somebody had robbed the boy of a ball. I looked down at this kid, he was maybe seven years old. He had tears in his eyes… he’d been so close to a ball. I knelt down and pulled two of the baseballs I’d brought out of my bag, asking “And is this your sister, little dude?” He said it was, gesturing to his older sister (about nine or ten). I said, “Here, you pic either one you want,” showing him the two baseballs.
He picked one (that Kevin Jepsen had thrown me during the previous homestand) and I turned to his sister and offered her the other one.
“No, thank you. I was just trying to help him get one.” Wow. That’s, like, the best big sister EVER! I wished the family a good night and they all thanked me. I headed up the steps where I found another young boy… this one in Jays gear. I asked him if he’d gotten a ball that night and he hadn’t. I handed him the other baseball I’d tried to give to the previous family. He was thrilled.
I headed to my car. I was feeling pretty good despite the Angels loss.
I had another game… an afternoon game… coming up very soon.