9/28/11 at Angel Stadium

Well, now that the 2012 season is upon us I guess I can finally put up my final blog entry from the 2011 season.  I know… it makes perfect sense.

Angels and Rangers on the final day of the 2011 regular season.  Truthfully, neither side had anything to prove.  At the time of this 4:05pm game, the Rangers were in and the Angels were not.  The Rangers had clearly been the better team all season… much to my chagrin.  Nevertheless, I was back at the stadium promptly as the gates were preparing to open.  After another round of catch with Greg (while his dad held our spot in line), we were off to the races again.  I headed for right field where this was my view:Image

Since the gates only opened 90 minutes prior to the first pitch, we didn’t get to see the Angels hitting–but as the Rangers took their hacks I got my first ball of the day, a commemorative Angels ball, from reliever Mike Adams.Image

After about ten more minutes I got another ball tossed to me by Scott Feldman a bit deeper in center field.  This one was commemorative, too, but the logo was smudged in a weird/cool way.  Take a look:Image

I ran to the dugout but didn’t snag anything else there.  During the lull between the end of BP and the start of pre-game throwing I got some water and rested.  Then, I chatted with some other ballhawks and took a few photos.  Around 3:30, the players finally emerged for their warmups.  I stood in the fourth row on the aisle and ended up getting a ball thrown to me by Mike Trout for the second consecutive day!Image

Trout’s in the center with the ball in his hand in the photo above.  Then, I ran to the Ranger dugout and just missed getting the ball Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler used during their pregame throwing.Image

With three baseballs snagged, I found a seat behind the Angel dugout to watch the game.Image

While the Rangers started all of their regulars, the Angels lineup featured several backups (Mike Trout, Bobby Wilson) and some minor league callups (Gil Velazquez, Efren Navarro, Jeremy Moore).

Garrett Richards started for the Halos and did a great job.  He gave up only two hits but one of them happened to be a second inning solo homer by Mike Napoli (who continued to hurt the Angels each time he faced them throughout 2011).  The Angels came back to tie it in the 5th on a sac fly from Velazquez.  The Angels’ bullpen kept the game tied while I switched from dugout to dugout trying for third out baseballs.  And I kept snapping photos throughout… like Peter Bourjos bunting:Image

And Vernon Wells taking a hack:Image

Despite my efforts, I was stuck on three throughout the game and I would end the 2011 season with 385 total baseballs.

I got a couple cool shots of Trout on deck:Image

And then sliding into third base:Image

It got to the ninth–tied 1-1.  Bobby Cassevah and Hisanori Takahashi had combined to give up one hit and zero runs in three innings of work.  Jordan Walden came in, had a man on first with two outs–Image

–and then Napoli crushed a home run into the stands.Image

Ugh.  The stadium deflated…Image

And the Angels couldn’t score in the ninth.  They were swept in three games by the Rangers on their own turf.

Now–recovering from the Angels loss was easy–securing a post-game freebie from their dugout wasn’t.  Even though several baseballs, batting gloves, and even a couple bats came up over the dugout roof, I couldn’t get my hands on anything.  Later, I found out Greg’s dad had secured an Erick Aybar bat–which I would later mail back to New York for them.

I hung out in the quickly-emptying seating bowl, knowing I wouldn’t be back for several months.

It had been a fun three games.  I was sad to see the 2011 season go, but by the time you read this we’ll already be into the 2012 season.  How ’bout that?

My first game of ’12 will be on April 16th–right back at Angel Stadium.

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