Finally! My first regular season game at good ol’ Angel Stadium… and there was a good crowd on hand as I waited (along with a few other ballhawks) for the gates to open at 4:00 for the 6:05 game.
But, the horror! 4:00 came and went and the gates didn’t open… 4:10… nothing… 4:15… finally, some movement at the gates and we were allowed to pass through security. When I got up there I encountered something I hadn’t seen at a ballpark since the late ’90s. They tore my ticket… tore the bottom of it right off along the perforated edge. Weird. I found out later they were having scanner issues… and after keeping us waiting for fifteen minutes they knew they just had to let us in. Thanks, Angels management, for not waiting until who-knows-when to let us in.
I ran in and the Angels were in the midst of BP. My first destination was the right field pavilion. And, wouldn’t you know it? In the twenty or so minutes the Angels were hitting only one baseball flew up to the pavilion… and BP regular Rob ended up with it. Mark Trumbo sure hit some bombs to left field and center field, too! Without Kendrys Morales in the lineup the pavilion loses a bit of luster in terms of catching baseballs… though Trumbo will occasionally get one up there, I hear.
When the Blue Jays pitchers came out to throw I made my way over to the first base line and snagged my first baseball from a Blue Jays righty pitcher… all I know is he was Caucasian and relatively short. I wish I knew who it was because here’s the ball he threw to me in the fourth row:
BAM! Commemorative baseball! Beautiful!
Jose Bautista was up in the first group of Jays hitters so I moved to left field.
I figured he could reach the seats past the bullpens–well, he made it to the bullpens with some of his shots and one or two of them bounced out… one went just a couple feet over my head! But he finished and the next group started and I was still stuck on one baseball. But, just look at the bullpen…
If only someone had been around toss one or two or three baseballs up to the fans. ::sigh::
I moved down to section 101, near the field next to the foul pole. That’s where I got the attention of a couple Blue Jays pitchers…
Well, the guy on the right (who I don’t recognize) threw me a ball while I was in the tenth row of the section. I ended up giving that one away to an usher and told her to find a kid to give it to for me. For that transaction I was back in right field for the few Blue Jays lefties–again the pavilion wasn’t kind to me. I’d end batting practice with just two baseballs.
I tried for a ball during the Angels warmups and then again on the Blue Jays side for theirs… no dice.
I took a seat here:
And stayed there as the game started… and when Jeff Mathis tried a snap throw to first base–he got Bautista! And that was the third out in the top of the first–and I was at the dugout as Trumbo ran in from the field–and check this out:
YES! A rubbed up game ball from the Angels–commemorative! From Mathis to Trumbo to me–I was thrilled and I didn’t care if I caught another ball all night.
OK, maybe that’s not true… I tried for a foul ball or two as they came near me. When my uncle arrived, who had ended up giving me a ticket to the game, I told him on the phone I wasn’t near our ticketed seats. He joined me near the dugout. Did I mention it was beanie night? I am definitely more excited about my beanie than he is about his.
My uncle, Ivar, is the one who first started taking me to Angels games and the one who took this photo that I wrote a whole blog entry about. I know a lot about the game based on my uncle taking me to a bunch of games as I grew up and I am thankful for that now.
He’s a season seat holder and has been for quite some time. It was fun to spend so
me time with him and chat about the game and baseball in general. One inning, as I tried for a third out ball again he snapped this photo (left) of me running back to “my” seat from the dugout. I didn’t get the ball but I had fun trying.
I knew I’d have to leave the game a bit early on this night because I had planned to pick Michelle up from work when she finished running a theatre event. So, as the night went on and Mike Scioscia argued a call at third…
… and a kid ran to steal third as part of a promotion…
… and batters swung at pitches and fouled them off and pitchers came into the game… I stayed right where I’d been with my uncle.
Snapping pictures the whole time:
We hung out a dozen rows back from the dugout for the whole game…
… except after the seventh inning stretch when I ran over to the Blue Jays’ dugout.
And I took some photos–but the main event over on that side was when Howie Kendrick grounded into a double play to end the seventh inning and Adam Lind tossed me the rubbed up gamer at the dugout.
It has a grass stain from the trek it took through the infield and a bit of wear over the 1961 on the logo… not quite as clear as the Trumbo ball… but I’ll take it! That was my fourth ball of the night–and the third commemorative one.
Jordan Walden came in to keep the score tied in the ninth and did his job–he looks sharp as the Angels’ new closer with Fernando Rodney setting him up.
And then my uncle and I had to leave–I know, I know, “You left a tied game in the ninth inning, Matt?!?!”
Yep–I did. Grown-up responsibilities and such. He took this picture (right)as we headed out of the stadium.
I would hear the game on the radio as I drove to pick up my wife, then I snapped a few photos of the day’s haul while I waited a few minutes for her to finish up at work:
We heard the end of the game on the radio on the way home, a 6-5 Angel victory after over five hours of play–in the 14th inning.
I’d be back for the Indians against the Halos a few days later…