8/21/11 at Angel Stadium

This was a special day.  It started three weeks earlier when I received a four-pack of tickets to this game from my sister-in-law, Crystal, as a birthday gift.  Fast-forward to August 21st and Michelle and I (along with Crystal and her boyfriend, Alex) were set to head to the game.  But that’s not all–they were Club Level tickets, ooh!  And, as a final surprise… Crystal said they would pick us up.  Here we are on the way to the game:

Oh, yeah–we got picked up by a limo!  WHAT?!?  That’s right, Crystal had arranged a limo to take us to and from the game through the company she works for.  So, thank you Crystal and thank you AMS Paving in Fontana!  Seriously, if anyone in Southern California needs anything paved… call these guys.

Well, we got to the stadium just a bit after the gates opened and, no surprise, there was no BP going on.  Michelle, Crystal, and Alex wandered around while I tried to snag a ball to keep my streak alive.  In case you’re wondering, the last time I went to a Major League Baseball game and didn’t snag at least one baseball was September 27th, 2008.  This would be my 90th game since then… and, sure enough, after hanging around the O’s dugout for a while, some unknown Oriole player (or coach–or assistant–or trainer) tossed up a ball.  I only saw him for a second and he had sunglasses on… so I have no idea who it was.  But my streak was safe–90 consecutive games with at least one baseball!

After that, there wasn’t much happening on the field.  Way out in right, Ronnie Deck (he’s the bullpen catcher for the O’s) was running and stretching.  He signed my ticket before heading off to the clubhouse.  Then–more nothing.

I looked up toward where I knew our seats were and saw a trio of people I recognized (circled in red–click on the photo on the right to enlarge it if you want).  Those are our seats… they saved the aisle for me.

Eventually some Angels came out to throw and after they finished they signed some autographs.

I was interested in getting Mike Trout’s but I have autographs from Mark Trumbo, Howie Kendrick, Peter Bourjos, Maicer Izturis, and Erick Aybar already, and Trout went further away from me… toward the outfield.  I didn’t get either of the baseballs tossed up by the Angels–and so I went over to see if the O’s would throw before the game.  They did–but J.J. Hardy kept the ball he had been using and so I headed upstairs to the Club Level.  I flashed my ticket to the usher guarding the section and took my seat.

And I was in great position to snag a foul ball.  As a matter of fact, during the game one was caught barehanded by a fan to my left and three rows behind me and another was bobbled by a group to my right and bounced down to the lower level seats.  Those were the two close calls–I figured I’d just get them out of the way in this entry right up front.  That was frustrating but the day was a blast!

I had intended to explore the Club Level but I had such a good view of the game that I seriously didn’t want to move–not even to go use the restroom–I just wanted to sit in my nicely-cushioned, perfectly-situated-in-the-shade, foul-ball-targeted seat.  I’m gonna have to get a seat up there in the 300 level again sometime.

This was my actual view from my ticketed seat:

Nice, right?

Any time a righty was up to bat I was ready…

That one shot straight back.  But I didn’t take many photos because, and this is amazing to me, I was so much more interested in the game from my vantage point than usual.  I’m sure I’ll be spoiled now having sat there for a game…

Ah, yes, the game… what happened?  Well, Jerome Williams (who?–he’s blocked in the photo on the right but he’s the guy in the middle) picked up his first win since 2005 by giving up only one run in seven innings.  Peter Bourjos homered for the third consecutive day, and Howie Kendrick hit his tenth dinger of the year.  The bottom third of the Oriole lineup went 0-for-10 with three strikeouts.  And it was a beautiful day in Orange County and I had a ton of fun–but halfway through the Halos’ 7-1 victory Crystal told me that she had one more surprise for me.  She was taking us to dinner, too!

We left the stadium after the game ended and I snapped the above shot before we got into the limo and headed to–

–Benihana!  Where dinner IS the show!

From left to right that’s Alex, Crystal, Michelle, and me.

And we got a private booth and the bill was totally taken care of for us!  WHAT?!?

What an awesome birthday celebration–man–I need more days like that.  Thanks again to my awesome sister-in-law!


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