6/27/11 at Angel Stadium

This was a Monday game and my first of three consecutive Angels/Nationals tilts at my home ballpark.  I expected smaller crowds than usual… except for the Tuesday bobblehead game.  What I got was no real change in the usual attendance figures… I realize now–it’s summertime.  School’s out and the Angels had just returned home from quite a long road trip.  Here’s how day 1 shaped up:

I went by myself to the Monday game.  When the Home Plate Gate opened I sprinted toward right field and was the first one to the seats.  I scanned the rows for Easter eggs (which is usually a useless process in Anaheim) and found a ball under a seat in the first row of Section 240 (seen in the photo to the right), which is the section closest to center field.  I also  noticed that, while the Angels were hitting, the Nats’ pitchers were already out on the field, chatting and stretching.

The found ball was a training ball so my initial thought was that it came from the Nationals… which meant that some players must have been doing some early rounds of BP.  I watched as the Angels were underwhelming in their rounds of batting practice.  The one other ball I snagged while they were on the field was a standard Selig ball that I got from Hisanori Takahashi in the corner spot of Section 240 by asking him in Japanese.  This was the first time I had gotten a ball from him since he’d become an Angel (though I did get one from him in New York via the same tecnique at my sole game at Citi Field back in April of 2010.  Takahashi gave me a thumbs up after I caught the ball and yelled out, “Arigato!”  Here’s my view from the corner spot:

After that I moved into straightaway right field for the Nationals.  Part of the pitchers’ ending warmup was that they threw football-style passes to each other.  And when they finished that I simply took note of the fact that they threw their leftover baseballs into the seats.  The next ball I snagged was from fan-friendly Livan Hernandez over in the RF corner spot.  I asked him for a ball in Spanish and the next one he fielded got tossed up to me.  Pretty simple.  That one was a training ball, too.  The Nats’ hitters were blasting quite a few home runs during BP but most of them were going to center field.  I left the pavilion and went down to the short wall in the right field corner.  A few Nats tossed balls to kids but I was coming up empty until I moved closer to the infield and Jason Marquis threw me my fourth ball on the day.  His throw was a bit short and the ball tipped off the end of my glove as I reached down over the wall… but luckily it settled right underneath me on the warning track and I was able to lean out and over the wall to pluck it off the warning track.  I gave that ball (also a training ball) to a little boy to my right just a moment later.

I didn’t get anything at the visiting team’s dugout after BP and I spent the next twenty minutes watching as the presidents accompanied the Strike Force around the stadium as they threw T-shirts into the stands:

The presidents would be running their typical race during each game of the series.  The Halos came out to warm up and I was close by.  But Mark Trumbo kept the baseball he’d been using and Maicer Izturis tossed his a section to my right.

I tried to get a ball from the Nationals when they warm-up in front of their dugout but nobody threw… they just stretched and ran.  I headed over to the Angel dugout before the game got underway, hoping for a third out toss.

Here was my view for the first pitch of the game:

Ervin Santana had a good start… and Laynce Nix grounded out to Trumbo at first base to end the top of the first.  By the time Trumbo stepped on the bag I was already at the base of the stairs.  As soon as Trumbo crossed the foul line I called out to him and he tossed me the game-used ball, a 50th Anniversary commemorative.  And his throw was just high enough that I had to hop a little to get it… unaware that there was a hot dog vendor behind me, kneeling down while he was preparing a ballpark frank for a fan.  I caught the ball and went to take a step back to regain my balance and almost tripped over the poor vendor.  Luckily, I didn’t fall over him and he didn’t drop the freshly prepared dog.  With that I ran over to the Nats’ dugout for the bottom of the first.  And here was my view:

First baseman Michael Morse bounced the ball off the warning track and into the hands of a coach in the dugout.  Weird… so I didn’t get a ball there.  And since I already got a ball from Trumbo, I decided I’d spend my last inning at the game trying for a foul ball with this view:

Yes, I planned to leave after the second inning–and did so.  But on my way out I gave away another baseball to a young fan.  Then, before I climbed into my car I got this photo of me with the gamer I’d snagged:

Here’s a picture of the three baseballs I kept:

That would be the one from Takahashi, the one from Hernandez, and the one from Trumbo.  Three different types of ball.

I watched the game from the comfort of my couch as the Angels beat the Nats 4-3 in ten innings via a walk-off single by Maicer Izturis.

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One comment

  1. Pingback: 6/28/11 at Angel Stadium « Blogging 'Bout Baseball

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