8/3/11 at Angel Stadium

I was back at the Big A for a mid-week game against the Twins.  I always love to watch the Angels play the Twins because they’re very similar teams year in and year out.  I arrived at about 4:30 and waited for the gates to open at 5:00.  Michelle would be meeting me when she got out of work so I spent the time talking with a few of the BP regulars (like Chris and Rob).  It was a fairly good crowd once we all ran inside and I headed up to the pavilion, as both teams would be taking a lot of hacks from the left side of the plate since two righties, Joel Piniero and Scott Baker, would be facing off.

The seats filled up pretty quickly and almost every row had one or two people blocking paths to get from one section to another.  I managed to snag a Mark Trumbo opposite field shot that bounced in the fourth row after about twenty minutes.  I ran to my left and the ball ended up going over my head–so I climbed a row of seats and snagged it off the cement.  And here it is:

That photo was taken in the concourse shortly after batting practice ended.  Ball #337.  And the first one of the day.  Later, one of the last Angel home runs during batting practice was a shot by Russell Branyan and I sprinted a full section to my left and mid-stride was able to jump up, fully reach out and above me and snag the ball on the fly at the spot shown here:

That’s Rob in the white, sleeveless shirt on the right of the above photo.  I felt good about that jumping catch (and later a couple of people commented on what a good catch it was).  But one guy didn’t like it–he claimed that ball was hit right to him and that it was hishe was going to catch it and, not only that, he was going to give it to his son for his ninth birthday.  Whoa.  One–he didn’t have a glove.  Two–he had been sitting down.  Three–he had a beer in his hand at the time.  Really… he was so prepared to catch a 400 ft. shot going 80 mph.

If he had presented his concern/plan in a calm and polite way I would have probably given him (or his son) a baseball.  Instead, he was belligerent and said things like, “Yeah, you better walk away,” as I went to put the ball in my backpack.  A minute later, now that I was another full section away from him, he approached me (in a pretty aggressive manner) and started cursing and berating me.  Not a good example to set for your birthday boy, sir.

The other regulars (and the ushers in that area of the stadium) all know me and know I play by the rules.  If I’d thought I had done anything wrong (or they had suggested that I had truly not made a wise decision in making such a great catch that happened to be in front of that guy) I would have given the ball right over.  But, barring that–there was no way I was going to reward his crass behavior… what a lesson for his son, huh?  If you cuss and yell at people, that’s how you get things you want!

Here’s the ball, BTW:

After the Angels hit, the Twins started their BP session and the seats filled up a bit more at that point.  Here was the view to my left:

That’s Chris in the white hat and shirt.  And here was the view to my right:

I went on with my day and snagged my third baseball off the bat of a Twins lefty (I don’t know who).  I caught it on the fly in the third row of Section 237.  Here’s the spot of the catch:

And that kid in the blue shirt looking at the camera is Chris’ girlfriend’s little brother, Brandon.  He’s on his way to catching a ton of baseballs himself–I’m pretty sure he caught at least two at this game.  I ended up with three baseballs–all hit–two of ’em caught on the fly.  And one was a 50th Anniversary commemorative baseball.  Not a bad batting practice session.

I ran to the Twins’ dugout after BP but didn’t get anything there… nor did I get a ball from either team during their warmups before the first pitch, try as I might.

I was tired–and sweaty.  It had been really hot–but it cooled down to about seventy-seven degrees at game time.  Tired and sweaty was a beautiful combination for when my wife arrived at the stadium.  She was glad to see me anyway and we decided to get some food and sit down with this view:

Michelle and I watched the game from out there and, though I tried for a third out toss at the Angels dugout a couple of times, I was content to just hang out with her and enjoy the summer evening.

Then, as I was coming back from getting a soda in the third inning I watched Peter Bourjos smack a deep drive into the left field corner.  I saw a guy move into the aisle–he was wearing a white shirt–and reach up and make a great catch about eight rows deep in the stands.  Then he did a fist pump and turned a bit and I recognized this guy:

Rob!  Nice snag on the fly, dude!

After that, I continued to watch the game with Michelle as the Twins pounded out five homers against the struggling Joel Piniero.  It wasn’t pretty.  The Angels were down 9-4 when Michelle decided to head home in the seventh inning.  I walked her to the gate and we got this photo together before she left:

Then, I went and found a seat here:

And then here:

No third out baseballs came my way…

And then the Angels, down 11-4 in the ninth, tried to mount a comeback while I sat here:

It didn’t happen and the game went final.  The Twins tossed a couple baseballs up after the game but nothing came my way.  Still–a fun night at the stadium.

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