I had decided to avoid the Angels/Dodgers series midweek due to the crowds and instead bought a discounted ticket for me (and one for Michelle) for the Saturday night game against the Colorado Rockies. We left home together at 4:00 and got to the stadium at 4:21. There was no traffic–I’m used to traffic. Since we were earlier than expected we walked across the parking lot to the nearby Grove theatre. Why? Well, as of a couple weeks ago there are thirty-six Mickey Mouse statues around Southern California. They’re part of the All-Star festivities and there’s one statue for each MLB team, one for the American League, one for the National League, and four All-Star statues. I’d seen a few of them around town but wanted to get a good look at the one at the Grove because I didn’t recognize the paint job on it… I’d driven past it a few times. We got closer and I realized it was All-Star themed. Michelle took a photo of me with the more-than seven-foot-tall rodent.
I read later that each statue weighs close to 1,000 pounds… and that the Red Sox one in nearby Santa Ana got whacked… or beat up… by someone.
After that we made our way to the Home Plate Gate and waited for the gates to open. When they did (at 5:00) I made sure Michelle got in all right and then took off toward the pavilion seats. I played the two left-handed hitters in straightaway right field, like where I was standing as I took this photo:
And for Torii Hunter, who’s a righty, I moved closer to center. It’s my usual strategy for the first group of Angels and today it paid off. Hunter launched one to right-center and I lined myself up and made an easy catch in the third row of Section 240. It was great to get on the board with my first homer caught on the fly since (I had to look this up) mid-April. Wow–that’s almost embarrassing. Anyway, I was excited to snag it–and it was a pearl… except for the Practice logo the ball had on it.
Baseball #2 on the day would come after the first round of Angels BP. Erick Aybar slice a ball to right field and I was hanging out near the foul pole.
I was standing at the wall and saw the ball would hit about ten feet to the left of where I was, and where I’d taken the above photo, so I ran over there, jumped up and over and scooped up the ball in one precise move. It was near the guy in the red shirt and hat in the panorama… on the left of the frame. It, too, had a Practice logo… it seemed that the Angels had recently switched to those–in the past their BP balls had been stamped on the sweet spot in black ink with the word PRACTICE… now they’d switched to the official Practice ROMLB. Interesting.
About ten minutes later the pitchers were done throwing and I had returned to the pavilion for some of the powerful lefties on the Rockies. A ball had rolled to the wall and Jimenez had been jogging nearby. As he came to a stop I asked him if I could have the ball–he walked over, recognized me from earlier, and he tossed it right up to me. Many thanks to Ubaldo–and I’m glad the Angels didn’t have to face you in this series.
Ball #4 would come toward the end of Rockies BP and it was a tossup from Matt Belisle back near the foul pole in right. Nothin’ too special about it… I would end up giving it away to a young fan later in the evening. More on that later.
I ended BP with four baseballs and I was okay with that… Michelle and I grabbed food and took up some seats in the Terrace Level seats just past third base.
When the Rockies came out to throw before the game started I decided I’d try to snag another ball… I went down to the front row, just behind the Diamond Field Box on the first base line. Jonathan Herrera was throwing with another player (I forget who it was) but Herrera’s the important one here–he tossed me his baseball as he finished. The fan to my left was really happy for me.
A minute later I was on the other side of the same section, near the camera well, because I’d seen that Melvin Mora had finished throwing and was taking some practice swings on the foul line. The ball was still in his glove so I waited… and waited… and as he picked up his glove (and the ball) I yelled out, “Hey, Melvin, over here!” I held up my glove–he threw a strike right to me. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the same fan from a moment earlier mumbling something and glaring at me. I saw a nearby kid and asked him, “Hey, did you get a ball today, little g
uy?” intending to give it away. He showed me the ball he’d gotten already.
I saw what appeared to be his brother near him. “Did you get one yet?” He held up his baseball and said, “Yeah–we were just trying to get autographs.”
Can’t say I didn’t try. So, I was at six baseballs on the night and at that point I was REALLY okay with just hanging out and enjoying the game with Michelle.
The Angels got on the board quickly. In the first inning they loaded the bases and Hideki Matsui unloaded them with a grand slam.! It was his 150th MLB home run and I snapped a photo of the high fives in the dugout afterward:
At that point I told Michelle that if anyone else hit a home run she should try to get a picture of me as the batter was jogging between 2nd and 3rd base. Well, those four runs were all the Angels would get and the Rockies started a comeback in the third inning when Clint Barmes hit a solo shot.
I jumped up and Michelle grabbed my camera… the angle we were at made it difficult to get the shot I wanted for the myGameBalls.com photo scavenger hunt but here was the result:
I think it should count. Barmes is just touching third in that pic… so his left leg is still between 2nd and 3rd, right? It was a fun, goofy kind of night.
The Rockies got another run in the fourth and that was all they could
muster against starter Joe Saunders.
I took a few action shots:
Seth Smith hitting a fly ball on the left.
Clint Barmes about to foul one off on the right.
Jonathan Herrera pulling the bunt attempt back.
Hideki Matsui avoiding a pitch up and in.
Saunders went seven innings… Fernando Rodney and Brian Fuentes each pitched a scoreless inning and the final was 4-2.
It was a quick game! Even after hanging out for a minute at the Rockies dugout after the game we were still heading out of the gates at 9:30… so we decided to take a photo with our second Mickey Mouse of the day! This one’s an Angels Mickey and is located outside the stadium’s main gates:
And one last thing… I had decide to score a few more points in the scavenger hunt as I gave away two baseballs to a pair of young sisters. The older sister would be celebrating her birthday the next day, I found out. As families were leaving the stadium I was looking for a little kid with a glove.
I found one and asked her if she’d caught a ball at the game. She hadn’t and I said I’d caught one at batting practice and asked if she’d like it. She was thrilled–her parents were thrilled. They told me her birthday was the next day. Her dad was speechless and then I saw her little sister–I pulled another ball out of my bag and gave it to the littler girl. The dad went to shake my hand and he also was holding out a twenty dollar bill to me. I took the handshake and told him to keep the money–then I told him about the photo scavenger hunt and gave him one of my business cards for the myGameBalls site. Here’s the picture Michelle took as I gave a ball (two, really) to a fan (two fans) under the age of ten:
Their dad is standing behind me in the white shirt.
Man, my farmer’s tan is in full swing–yikes!
The whole family went off totally excited, the Angels had won, I’d gotten some great photos. It was an awesome night.
Michelle and I celebrated with frozen yogurt. Delicious.
Thanks for reading!