Just 16 hours after I left the Big A on Tuesday night I was back–Wednesday afternoon–2:00pm. And the gates were set to open at 2:30 for the 4:05 game between the Angels and Indians. I was by myself for this one–almost everyone I knew had school or work and event though I had an extra ticket I ended up just keeping it in my backpack to maybe get an autograph on it.
Since the Home Plate Gate doesn’t open earlier than any other gate afternoon games and only a handful of people know that, I didn’t bother getting in line (at the right field entrance) until five minutes before the slated opening time. I hung out here for the first few minutes I was on site:
That’s the tunnel that leads into the stadium in right field. There’s one in left, too. The crucial part about my stop here was… well, here’s a closer look:
Batting practice was underway!. Awesome… sometimes even at 4 o’clock games teams won’t take BP. Granted, fans couldn’t even get into the stadium until the last 5-10 minutes of the home team’s BP session, but I was glad there would be at least a little bit of BP to work with. Also, upon further review… that’s Kendrys Morales taking grounders at first base. He’s still yet to play in a game this season. What’s takin’ so long? He’s always makes BP a bit more interesting!
I ran in at 2:30 along with a handful of other fans… I’d been first in line and I was the first one to the right field seats but the ushers, I’m sure, had already snatched up the Easter eggs, as there weren’t any to be found. And the Angels didn’t hit a single ball out to right.
Well, I stayed in the pavilion in right for all the Indians lefties and after about 15 minutes I lined up a homer from Luis Valbuena (right) and caught it on the fly in the third row of Section 238.
And, sadly, that would be the only ball I snagged during BP. Coaches and players ignored my requests for tossups, I didn’t get close to another homer, and I was late getting to the dugout… so I missed out on a chance there.
So, having gotten on the board but having also had a sub-par BP… and since there were no longer any players on the field… I grabbed a bottle of water, ate some snacks I’d brought with me, signed up for the designated driver program (doing so will get you a voucher for a free soda), and took pictures of the one baseball I’d caught since running inside the stadium. This is my favorite one:
Scuffs, scrapes, dirt and grass, fraying seams… lovely.
My next stop was the third base line for Angels throwing.
While over there I didn’t get a ball from Brandon Wood or Peter Bourjous… but I did get them to sign my 2010 Angels team ball… so it wasn’t a total waste of time.
I went to the Indians’ dugout after the national anthem in hopes that O. Cabrera and A. Cabrera’s pregame baseball they were throwing around would end up in my glove… but it didn’t. O. Cabrera decided one more throw was necessary, and then A. Cabrera decided one MORE throw was necessary, and they ended up taking the ball into the dugout with them.
Back to the Angels’ side I went–and I parked myself behind their dugout about six rows back. I snapped a photo of Ervin Santana, the day’s starter for the Halos and, later, I took a photo of Austin Kearns as he batted. Note the many empty seats. The lovely thing about a 4pm game.
Anyway, I missed out on the third out toss from the Angels after the top of the first and headed over to the visiting team’s side. The Angels went quietly in the bottom of the first and when Bobby Abreu grounded out to first baseman Matt LaPorta to end the frame I was waiting on the other side of the dugout. He tossed me the ball and, well, look:
Gah! It’s the infield warmup ball! Still has a commemorative logo though–which is great! But I was a little bummed that I didn’t get the gamer. Oh, well.
After that I tried to get a third out ball at the Angels dugout but inning after inning it just didn’t pan out for me. It was fine though, because I got to stay in my seat as Santana pitched a strong seven innings, allowing just three runs. I snapped a bunch of action shots:
Santana gave up an Adam Everett single leading off the eighth and that was it for him.
I really like that photo–though it makes it look like he’d just given up a home run or something–it was a solid start.
Scott Downs came in from the bullpen and gave up a hit to get Everett to third… then a fielder’s choice to get the out at home. One out and runners on second and first–then a wild pitch and then a groundout that allowed the tying run to score. That was it for Downs…
No one would score again until a sac fly by Jeff Mathis ended the game in the 12th inning. A Halo victory and I was on my way home.