5/26/10 at Angel Stadium

Another one of these wacky Wednesday 4:05 games… it was a bright,, sunny afternoon in Anaheim and the Blue Jays were still around.  I had a ticket (that I’d gotten for free) to see Brandon Morrow face off against Joel Piniero.

I ran in through the Right Field Gate and up to the pavilion.  As soon as I got there I said, “Hi,” to Dino Ebel who was fielding in center.  He picked up a few baseballs off the track and asked him to toss one up.  He asked me, “How many do you already have today?”  I said none.

Just then a family with a little kid came down the steps nearby and the little boy with them stood near me.  Dino asked who the kid was, like he was my little brother or something.  I just shrugged and said, “I don’t know.”

Dino tossed me the ball and I decided to hand it to the kid.  Then I told him to show it to Dino and say thank you.  The kid did so–and Dino gave me a thumbs up.  He knew I didn’t have to give the ball away.

And… man, I wish more home runs would have been hit… look at how much space there was to run.  This is seven minutes after the gates had opened:
open for 7 minutes.JPGJoe Saunders was near center field, too… and since the founder of myGameBalls.com had told me something that might get Joe’s attention I was able to snag my second baseball on the day.  Basically, Alan Schuster, who runs that site (that I write for on occasion) knows Joe from high school.  He’d passed along an inside joke from 1998 and when I yelled it down to it to him he looked up and laughed, giving me a thumbs up.  The next time a ball came to him he just tossed it right to me.  I didn’t even ask–nice.  Thanks, Mr. Saunders.
bright bp.JPGAt about this time the Mariners came out and their pitchers started throwing.  I’d already snagged two balls up in the pavilion and the Angels’ last round wouldn’t hit any homers up there so I headed down near the foul pole in right field.  I was just in front of the pole and I saw Reggie Willits hit a ball that had a good shot to roll into the corner.  So I ran from where this picture was taken:
5.26 where i ran.JPGTo the gap in between the two fans with gloves in the above photo.  I was just to the left of the 330 sign.  I reacted so quickly that I got there and was out and over the wall trying for the scoop before either of them moved a step toward the ball… sure enough, it rolled right to my new position and just like that I had baseball number three.  Three baseballs from the Angels during a full BP is good—three from them during ten minutes is fantastic.  Sadly, my hot streak would fizzle out after that.

The Angels finished and the Blue Jays started hitting.
blue jays started hitting.JPGMy next baseball wouldn’t come until about a half hour later.  What?  It was still so empty in the stadium!  There just weren’t any baseballs hit near me… finally Casey Janssen, as he and some other pitchers were running, fielded a ball barehanded and I called out for it.  He tossed it right to me.  BP wrapped up after that.

I decided that since there still weren’t many fans in the stadium once the Angels started warming up that I’d head over that way.  Usually the third base side of Angel Stadium (where the home dugout is) gets super crowded.  Even for day games–because that’s the shady side.  But since people were still at school/work there was quite a bit of room to maneuver.  Kendry Morales came out to play catch with the Angels’ strength coach, T.J. and I snapped this picture:morales playing catch with tj.JPGIt’s an important picture because that ball Morales is throwing (he was “pitching” to T.J. at that point) ended up in my possession.  As he jogged off the field I shouted, “Kendry!” and held up my glove…everyone in the first few rows wanted autographs.  He threw it over their heads and right to me.  Cool!

A little while later I made a pretty spectacular catch of one of those Nerf-like baseballs that get shot into the crowd.  I gave that one away to a kid nearby… and his dad complimented my catch: over the shoulder, leaning over a row of seats.  Woo.

Before the anthem I saw Bobby Abreu head toward the wall to sign some autographs:
abreu signing.JPGAnd I managed to be the last person he signed for before, “Oh, say can you see…”  I got him on a baseball I’d been carrying around simply for a good autograph.  Then I snapped these shots during the anthem:
5.26 angels anthem.JPG5.26 torii anthem.JPGThe game would be starting at about four and I had to leave at about five so I decided to be proactive in trying to snag third out baseballs… I ran from dugout to dugout for three innings.  I got
some great photos… like:
izturis warmup.JPGreed batting.JPGAnd:
torii bunt.JPGmorrow ready.JPGBut no more baseballs… it was fine… I was happy with five… and I left at about five to head home for dinner. 

On my way out I sat in the bleachers for an at bat… just in case Erick Aybar wanted to blast a home run in my direction…
home run view.JPGNo luck.

The Angels would win on a walk-off single by Bobby Abreu.  See?  Good things happen when you sign an autograph for me!

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