Tagged: indians

5/6/11 at Angel Stadium

OK… here we go… my first post now that MLBlogs has converted everything to WordPress… I apologize for all the weird formatting things throughout my older blog posts… and for not getting this one posted sooner.  It was a great day at the Big A.

Once I was inside the stadium I committed an error.  I was in the right field seats and was the first one there–I saw a ball get hit to where near an Angel was shagging balls in the outfield.  I thought it was Jordan Walden and yelled, “Hey, Jordan!  Could you toss that one up, please?”  The guy looked at me for a moment, then tossed the ball back toward the bucket.  In that moment of brief face to face time I recognized him as backup catcher Bobby Wilson… not fireballing closer Jordan Walden.  Oops… stupid coverups.

That’s Bobby Wilson in the center of the above photo… and the real Jordan Walden is on the right.  A few minutes later Wilson fielded a ball closer to center field and, this time, I got his name right when I asked politely for the ball from the first row and he yelled up, “You ready?”  I backed up a few feet (in case his throw was going to be short–so it didn’t fall back on the field) and then yelled back, “Sure.  Gimme your best shot!”  Wilson wound up and delivered a loopy knuckle ball.  I almost misplayed it but once it was securely in the pocket of my glove I yelled out, “Nice knuckler!”  He gave me a thumbs up, I thanked him… then he headed to a different part of the outfield.  Here’s where I caught the ball, on the staircase between Sections 239 and 240:

The ball had a black PRACTICE stamp on the sweet spot.

I’ve decided, after fruitless attempts to catch home runs during the home team’s BP in right field, that I’m going to start snagging in the left field seats from now on… there is just no lefty power in the Angels’ lineup.  I spent most of their BP watching balls just miss being home runs.  Ugh.  So, in the Halos’ last round of batting practice I headed down the first base line and asked a couple of pitchers for toss-ups.  Reliever Francisco Rodriguez ended up getting a ball to me in a way I’d never gotten one before.  A blooper died on the grass in front of him and he walked toward it.  Rodriguez was about ten to fifteen feet from the wall and I was in the third row.  As he neared the ball, he flipped it up a few inches with his foot and bounced it to his other foot, then kicked a tailing pop up to me, soccer-style.  I moved to my right a little bit and snagged my second ball on the day.  It was a standard Selig ball and I ended up giving it away to a kid (the kid in the below photo, actually) a little while later.

That was it for the home team’s BP session and the Indians pitchers had come out to run, stretch, and throw.  When Chris Perez arrived near the foul line in front of me without a throwing partner he looked back toward the dugout in a way that I would call ‘longingly.’  I took the opportunity to ask him, “Hey, Chris!  You need someone to play catch with?”  Then I held up my glove.  I’d never actually played catch with a Major League Baseball player before but I’d asked a few–usually they chuckled or just ignored me but Perez responded, “Yeah.”  I gestured to my awaiting glove and flapped it open then closed.  He asked me, “You’ll throw it back?”  I told him I would.

And he reached back and threw the ball to me.  Whoa!  And then I threw it back to him–and as I released the ball I thought, Man, I hope I don’t embarrass myself.  The throw got to Perez all right–I’d have liked it to have been a bit higher but–whatever.  This continued for a few more seconds before some guy (perhaps the bullpen catcher) jogged out and on my last throw Chris gave me a wave and then started playing catch with whoever the guy on the field was.  Still… pretty cool, right?  Then, I thought–I’d better stick around, I bet he’ll end up letting me keep that ball.  So, I snapped this picture as Perez and the other dude continued throwing:

Then they finished their throws, chatted for a moment… and wouldn’t you know it?

Perez threw me the ball.  I thanked him and then I labeled it with a ‘294’ (as it was the two hundred ninety-fourth ball I’d ever snagged) and tucked it into my backpack.  My first baseball that I’d actually thrown back and forth with a Major Leaguer!  Sweet!

I’d missed out on a few chances up in the pavilion while I was waiting for Perez to finish throwing so I bolted up the stairs and through the concourse to the right field seats again to catch the last half of a group of lefties.  Shin-Soo Choo drilled a ball high into the air and pretty deep.  I moved down a few steps to the fourth row and ranged to my left.  I was in Section 237 and got to a spot where I anticipated the ball would land, drifted a bit further to my left while tracking the ball, saw the gloves of other fans come darting in from all sides, reached high up and ::SMACK::–I felt the ball hit the pocket of my glove.  Whew… it’s always a great feeling to catch a ball on the fly during BP–it’s something I don’t get a lot of chances to do in Anaheim.

That would be the last ball I managed to snag during BP and the Indians jogged off the field unexpectedly at about 6:20pm.  Usually the visitors are out there until at least 6:25… so I was a bit late getting to their dugout and didn’t get a toss-up there.  I did, however, get Vinnie Pestano’s autograph on my ticket stub.

Now that all the players had cleared the field I drank some water, had a snack, and sat down for a minute in the Field Level down the third base line.  I mentioned the coverups the Angels were wearing before–well, the first player to come out of the Halo dugout was catcher Hank Conger and here’s what they were covering up:

I’d forgotten that this game was a Flashback Friday game!  The Angels had their 1980s uniforms on for this game.  I took a few more photos as the rest of the players came out:

And then I watched as two sets of Angels played catch before the game.

Maicer Izturis ended up with the ball after he and Alexi Amarista finished throwing and he tossed it right to me–almost a brand new ball–just two grey smudges on one side.  And a moment later I got my second autograph of the day: Rich Thompson (over at the dugout).

I should take time now to mention that all of my five baseballs snagged at this game so far were standard baseballs–none of them had the Angels 50th Anniversary commemorative logo.  I knew I had a good shot of snagging a ball during the game though–so I was counting on getting at least one commemorative before the night was over.

I went over to the Indians’ dugout as the national anthem was sung and snagged a ball during their pregame throwing.  Asdrubal Cabrera tossed it to me after he finished throwing with Orlando Cabrera.  Here he is in the dugout a bit later:

I was behind the Angel dugout for the top of the first and had a great view… but I failed to get the third out toss.  So, I ran over to the Indian dugout as Erick Aybar batted to lead off the bottom of the first:

And when Torii Hunter stepped up to bat with two outs I was ready.

Torii grounded out to the pitcher, Justin Masterson, who threw to first for the third out of the inning.  Matt LaPorta was playing first base and I got his attention as he entered the dugout and he tossed me my sixth ball of the night.  I couldn’t help but notice that it was a standard ball with dirt and grass stains all over it–the switch!  Some first basemen switch the infield warmup ball with the one that’s game used when they come in from the field.  LaPorta did this the last time I saw the Angels play the Indians and he was still doing it.  I described the situation to a nearby Indians fan and jotted down the following note about ball #298: Hunter grnd out to pitcher Masterson to end 1st – toss – stns grn and brwn – switch game ball – not comm – LaPorta.

After a deep sigh I ran back over to the Angel dugout and the seat I’d previously occupied there was still available–so I sat in it thinking I’d get bumped fairly soon.  I didn’t.  This was my view (taken later in the evening):

Nice!  At one point I did spend a half inning in the left field seats hoping for a home run:

But nothing came remotely close and I really wanted to snag a commemorative before the night was over so I headed back to ‘my’ seat in the second row behind the dugout.  While I was there I experienced a Kendrys Morales sighting:

And I found out about a week later that he’d decided to have a second surgery on his ankle–so he’s out for the season–again.  Bummer.  Anyway, I took a ton of photos and had a great vantage point for the game but I was striking out when it came to third out tosses.  More and more kids caught on to the game within a game and they’d crouch by the dugout every time there were two outs.  I had to simply try to get myself noticed… something much easier to do if you’re little or a girl.  Kids and girls kept getting the toss-ups as the Angels would leave the field.

I wasn’t about to box ’em out or jump in front of anyone… I just waited, inning after inning, and finally, after Alberto Callaspo caught a popout that ended the top of the ninth inning (with the game still tied 1-1, FYI)… I stood up near the dugout, waved my arms, shouted out, “Alberto!  Over here!  Hey, Alberto–right here, please!”

BAM!

Beautiful.  It was at that moment–my goal for the night accomplished–that I realized I had a shot to break my single game record.  I had snagged eight baseballs–something I’d only done once before.  And with the game still tied I had a shot for another ball.  Also… I was now sitting on 299 baseballs snagged in my lifetime.  I could accomplish 300 and set a new personal best for one game.

I figured my best shot would be at the Indians’ dugout… less competition.  I went over there for the bottom of the ninth–the Angels didn’t score.  No one scored in the tenth… I couldn’t snag the third out ball nor did any fouls come my way.  I was hoping that, win or lose, the Indians would toss a ball or two up.

The eleventh inning rolled around and I watched as the Indians were shut out by Fernando Rodney–then the Angels came up to bat.  Each inning the view I had was as follows:

Note the security guard and usher at the bottom of the staircase.  They were there to keep people from rushing the dugout and not allowing those in the front rows to be able to leave.  Also note that the Angels have two men on… yep… Aybar singled leading off the inning, then Bobby Abreu singled, and Izturis would single to load the bases for Torii with  no outs.  Well… Torii smashed a pitch into the left field corner to bring home Aybar and the Angels won it!  Great for them… but would the Indians feel generous after the loss?

One ball was tossed up from the dugout.  And it wasn’t to me.  And one reliever had a ball in his jacket pocket–but it didn’t go to me.  So, milestones would have to wait for another day–maybe if so many fans hadn’t decided to stick around for the fireworks it would have been a different story.

While most of the remaining fans watched the fireworks show I took a photo of my prizes from the night.

A great game, a great haul, a great time at the ballpark yet again.  Thanks for reading.

4/13/11 at Angel Stadium

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:
4.13 tunnel wide.JPGThat’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:
4.13 tunnel close.JPGBatting 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.

valbuena batting bp 4.13.JPGWell, 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.
spot of catch valbuena 4.13.JPG
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:
valbuena ball 4.13.JPGScuffs, scrapes, dirt and grass, fraying seams… lovely.

My next stop was the third base line for Angels throwing.
angels warmups 4.13.jpgWhile 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.

a. cabrera 4.13.JPGI 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.
santana 4.13.JPGkearns at bat 4.13.JPGAnyway, 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:
laporta switch ball 4.13.JPGGah!  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:
hafner swing 4.13.JPGwells foul ball 4.13.JPGSantana gave up an Adam Everett single leading off the eighth and that was it for him.
santana done 4.13.JPGI 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.
downs in to pitch 4.13.JPGScott 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…

Fernando Rodney came in to the 3-3 tie…
rodney gets the ball 4.13.JPG… and struck out Carlos Santana to end the inning.

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.

4/12/11 at Angel Stadium

The commemorative baseballs were out in full force at the ‘Big A’ so I was back just three days after my first regular season game.  Michelle and I each took off a bit early from work so we could make it to the stadium for BP.  Here I am at the front of the Home Plate Gate line before they opened at 5:00:
matt at front of line 4.12.JPGI was the second one to the right field seats so I didn’t bother looking for Easter eggs very thoroughly and instead went up to the wall overlooking the players shagging baseballs in the outfield.

One of the players out there was Hank Conger and as he fielded a ground ball I asked him, “Hey, Hank, could you throw that ball up here, please?”

He did–a nice, easy toss to me in the front row–and just like that I was on the board for the day.  The ball was a standard baseball and I decided I’d make sure to find a young fan to give it away to before I left that night.

About five minutes later I had a home run lined up and it ended up falling just a few feet short and bouncing toward a player in center field.  As it turns out, that player was Francisco Rodriguez and when he retrieved it I asked him in Spanish if he could throw it back up.

He looked up, gestured, and I took a couple steps back just in case his throw was short… it wasn’t… and I had baseball number two on the day.

Here’s the spot where I snagged it:
spot of rodriguez toss 4.12.JPGI moved a few sections to my left, closer to straight away right field, and ended up getting Ball #3 from rookie pitcher Tyler Chatwood.  He tossed it up to me in Section 238 after he fielded a ball and turned around and saw me waving.  I yelled out, “Right here, Tyler!” and that was all it took.

I turned the ball over in my palm to reveal a 50th Anniversary logo!  Nice!  Shortly after that the Indians came out to stretch, throw, and hit and I thought, “Wow!  Three balls from the Angels and the Indians can really hit… plus I’m one of, like, eight guys in an Indians hat in the whole stadium!  This is gonna be great.”

cabrera warmup 4.12.JPGAnd wouldn’t you know it?  I didn’t snag another ball for the rest of BP.  No toss ups from Indians pitchers, no mores caught in the seats from the many, many Indians lefties, no toss up at the end of BP at the dugout… and even though I was near Orlando Cabrera as he finished up his pregame throwing I didn’t get that ball, either.

I sat back down with Michelle as the game started up thinking of what could have been… but I looked at the commemorative ball I’d snagged from Chatwood and decided to change my mind.  I had some excellent souvenirs and I was at a ball game with my wife–no need for frustration, right?

I gave the Conger ball to a kid before the game started and the Rodriguez ball to a little guy on our way out of the stadium.  That made me feel even better… but on to the game!

Our friends, Beth and Randy, who we’d gone to Indians/Angels games with on 7/27/09 and 4/26/10 (and Randy came to a A’s/Angels game with me alone on 4/8/09), would be at this tilt, too… and when they arrived we met them at their seats with this view in front of us:
4.12.11 left field panorama.jpgNot too shabby, just barely in home run range.  I joked with the people around us when Michelle and I left to go to our seats that they’d have to fend for themselves without my glove around to protect them…

And after we grabbed some ice cream and made it to our seats here:
4.12.11 upper view panorama.jpgNot so great… but I was still having fun!  Anyway, after we got to those seats Mark Trumbo hit his first home run about a section away from where Beth and Randy’s seats were… and after talking with Beth at the end of the game I determined I wouldn’t have been able to snag it over/through the row full of fans.  Still, it was Trumbo’s first career jack–and some security folks came to get the ball… they traded something to the guy who caught it–Randy and Beth made it sound like they just traded a ball for a ball…

Talk about a missed opportunity.  After that, my uncle (who was also at this game), texted me to say that we should come sit with him in Section 126.  So, we did… here’s a photo from Section 126:
haren pitch 4.12.JPGAnd did I mention that Dan Haren was throwing a shutout?

And it would end up being a one-hit shutout!  And the game was over in two hours and fifteen minutes.  The Angels won it, 2-0.

We met up with Randy and Beth after the game to chat for a bit and then headed out to the car–it turned out to be a great night.  And… I had tickets to the next day’s game!

4/26/10 at Angel Stadium

The Indians were in town for a few days and, since my friend Randy (who I’ve mentioned in blogs before) is always down for the Tribe, I was heading to the game and Michelle, Randy, and his girlfriend, Beth, would meet me there a little after 7:00.

I got an early start, didn’t hit any traffic, and parked with plenty of time to get into line so I took a few pictures.  Here’s a photo of the Big A:
the big a 4.26.JPGAnd a panorama of the stadium taken from the parking lot.
parking lot big a b.jpg
I still think that Angel Stadium is one of the best stadiums to visit.  It’s clean, the employees are friendly, and it’s affordable.  Plus, the Angels are a great team!

I headed past the Left Field Gate:
lf gate 4.26.JPG
Down the promenade toward the Home Plate Gate:
promenade.JPGUntil I got to where the lines had been set up:
home plate gate 4.26.JPGI was the first one in my line.  A few minutes later BP regulars John, Chris, and Rob showed up.  John and I played catch for a few minutes and we all talked strategy for the day.  My plan was to head straight in to left field since the Angels would be facing a lefty.  All their switch hitters would be batting from the right side… I was the only one of the four of us that wanted to head that way.  Cool, no competition.

5:00 came and we headed inside.  I was the first one to reach the seats and this was my view:
lf corner bp.JPGThe pavilion in left field is separated from the playing area by both teams’ bullpens so not a lot of homers (even in BP) go up there.
lf pav.JPGWell, the first Angels group consisted of Bobby Abreu, Torii Hunter, and Hideki Matsui.  Torii took a big cut at a pitch and launched it into left field.  It went just to the center field side of the bullpens, hitting some seats and then settling in one of the rows.  I had a decision to make–there was no one in that section… yet.  There wasn’t anyone in the pavilion area at all.  But it wasn’t as easy as just making a beeline for the ball.  To get from the lower left field seats to the pavilion you have to run up the steps and around–let me show you:
path i took.JPGThe photo above (taken in the ninth inning) shows the route I ran after the ball.  Feel free to click on it for a larger view.  I left my backpack near where I’d been (the white circle) and sprinted to the circle with the X.  I got there moments before Terry, another regular who’d walked to the section, arrived.  I snagged the ball and he looked at me strangely.  “How’d you know it was there?”

“I saw it get hit when I was way over there,” I said, gesturing.  A second later another home run landed in the seats above us and bounced right to Terry.  My backpack!  I ran back to the lower seats, deposited the ball, the 167th in my life, and went back to my hobby–snaggin’ baseballs.

Some Angels pitchers were nearby and after a little while Scott Kazmir fielded one and hung onto it.  He still had it a few minutes later so I yelled out, “Hey, Scott, could you thrown one over here, please?”  I stepped back away from the wall… he held the ball up and fired it from forty feet away–over the heads of the folks in front of me–and I had my second baseball of the day.

I’d previously missed out on a screamer down the line because the guy near me saw my reaction and jumped up, hung over the wall, and snagged it first.  But after I’d labeled the Kazmir ball another one came dribbling out to the track.  It was moving pretty slowly and was an easy grab for Ball #3.  That was it for the Angels portion of BP, though Rob had come over to left field by that point as well and I watched a ground rule double go a few feet over my head and Rob ran, leaped, and snagged it for a cool catch of his own.

We both headed to right field when the Indians started hitting–they’ve got some lefties that can really smash the ball!
rf pav 2.JPGI called out to a few players for toss ups but got ignored by Jake Westbrook and Kerry Wood.  After a while, some lefty, either Grady Sizemore or Shin Soo Choo, drilled a ball deep into the stands.  I couldn’t make the catch on the fly but the ball went over my head, hit some seats, and bounced nicely into the fold of a chair one row above me.  I climbed over and snagged it for my fourth ball on the afternoon.  The next snag would be a BP homer as well, this one off the bat of Asdrubal Cabrera.  He hit it high and deep, to the center field area of the pavilion and up about ten rows.  I tracked it well, headed
up the stairs and–just missed making the catch.  I was still able to grab the ball as it rolled across the concrete nearby.  Five!

But despite quite a few more homers, I couldn’t get close to any of them and at 6:15 I ran down to the first base line and waited for BP to end.  It did and both Chris and I ran toward the dugout.  I was near the home plate end of the dugout as the Indians trotted in and someone threw me number six on the day.  I never saw the player or coach’s face.  Just the arm after I pointed to my Indians cap as he headed into the dugout.

Michelle, Beth, and Randy still hadn’t arrived so I made myself comfortable in the seats near the dugout.  Eventually the Indians came out to warm up.
DSCF3025.JPGhafner sizemore.JPGMaybe a few of them would play catch.  After the national anthem Choo came out and threw with someone–but they didn’t throw their ball into the crowd.  But Andy Marte played catch with Luis Valbuena and when they finished I stood up and yelled out, “Andy!  Right here!” from the fourth row.  He looked up and tossed me the ball.  The lady in front of my screamed because she saw it at the last second and reached up, mostly out of fear, I think.  And then smiled and sighed when she saw my glove over her head.  The guy sitting to my right was amazed.  He asked me, “Did he just throw you that ball?”  I replied in the affirmative and he asked, “How’d you get him to do that?”

Well, I knew his name, was in Indians gear, stood up, made myself noticeable, called out to him–

“I guess he saw my hat.”

After that I moved back a few rows and the game was under way.  I took some great action shots.  Like Jered Weaver throwing the second pitch of the night:
weaver 2nd pitch.JPGAnd Erick Aybar running between second and third after he hit his first homer of the year:
aybar home run trot.JPGAnd a couple others:
cabrera takes.JPGmatsui swings.JPGIn the bottom of the first Michelle called me to say they’d arrived.  I waited until the inning ended, tried for a third out toss from Russell Brayan, I let the kid in front of me get it even though I’m prety sure it was meant for me… but I didn’t want to fall on the little dude… and then I met them at our seats on the 500 level.

michelle with baseballs.JPGI was happy to see all of them.  They asked me if I’d caught a ball…

I showed them.  Can you tell my wife was impressed?  Michelle and I have both been working a lot and it would be so great to have some relaxing time at the ball game.  So, for a while at least, I put catching baseballs out of my mind so we could just enjoy the game.  But first, food.  They were all hungry so Randy and I bought refreshments–hot dogs, sausages, Chinese food, drinks–oh, yeah!  It took a while but it was all delicious and we all hung out in Section 524 for most of the game.  It was a light crowd (not surprising–a Monday against the Indians) which, at Angel Stadium, means 35,000 or so.  The seats I gotten were through eBay for six bucks each and I sure couldn’t complain.  I love eBay.

Here was the view:
view from section 524 b.jpgI decided to take a panorama from the highest point of the stadium (like I did last year):
2010 angel stadium panorama1b.jpgAnd we watched the Angels, who were up 3-1 after the second inning, take on Randy’s Tribe.  The last time we all watched a game together was back in July of ’09.  In that game the Indians came back to beat the Halos in a thriller–for Randy.  This time would they do it again?  Bobby Abreu hit a two-run bomb in the sixth inning to make it 5-1.  In the eighth we left our upper level seats.and found seats with this view:
back down to the field.JPGIt was 5-2 at this point because Austin Kearns had homered as we walked down the ramps… I was a little nervous.  Fernando Rodney got the last two outs of the eighth… the scored stayed 5-2 going into the ninth.  Brian
“Makes Me Nervous” Fuentes was called in to close it out.

Fuentes struck out Choo leading off the inning, then Travis Hafner reached first on a throwing error by Brandon Wood.  Fuentes struck out Branyan, then walked Kearns… yikes.  Finally, Fuentes struck out Jhonny Peralta to end it.  Whew.  Not pretty–but he struck out the side.

Predictably, the Indians didn’t toss anything up at their dugout and we all made our way out to the parking lot.  Michelle and I parted ways with Beth and Randy but first we all posed for a picture.
parking lot group.JPGIt was a great game, a fun time, and the Angels won!  So I was ecstatic.

The prizes of the day…
seven baseballs 4.26.JPGThanks for reading.

7/27/09 at Angel Stadium

How long’s it been since I’ve blogged?  AAGH

OK, so back in April I went to a game in Anaheim with my buddy, Randy.  During that trip I found out he was a big Indians fan and we determined that we’d go to a game (and take our significant others with us) when Cleaveland was in town in July.  July 27th was the day we’d chosen.  Since Randy and his girlfriend, Beth, were at work they agreed to meeting us after batting practice.  Michelle and I went to BP and, upon our arrival, I was allowed the first spot in line thanks to BP regular, Terry.  He told me he wanted me to get inside first and “beat Rob” out to the pavilion.  Rob and I are the two guys who always race out to right field and rarely find any Easter eggs…

Today, however, I was the first one out there… and I went immediately to the front row of the right field pavilion and saw the first Easter egg of my ballhawking career!  It had a nifty “scab” on it from where it must have hit the seats.  The top layer of the ball had been peeled back and stained dark green from the seats of Angel Stadium.  Pretty cool… if I remember later I’ll put a picture up.

Shortly thereafter I ran a section to my left, searched up and down the rows and then found Ball #2 on the day sitting on the ground under a seat.  The second Easter egg I’d found–EVER!  As soon as Michelle walked up to the pavilion, with Terry, I showed her the ball and gave it to her.

Then–after a fantastic start–I snagged no other baseballs all evening!  WHAT?!?

Two in two minutes and NOTHING for the rest of the day… not just the rest of BP… the rest of the day.  Yep, I was in the stadium for four more hours and couldn’t get another baseball anywhere!  BP was pretty lightly attended:
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And yet, very few homers were hit… and I couldn’t get anyone to toss me a ball except Tony Sipp.  He fielded one near the wall and I called out for it.  I was the only one who knew his name.  He looked up, made eye contact with me, and fired it–

–it went five feet to my right… into the glove of a thirty-something dude.  I couldn’t reach far enough over.  ::sigh::

I went down to the foul pole for the latter part of BP.
DSCF3008.JPGI watched the pitchers warm up and got Winston Abreu to autograph my ticket stub.

BP ended and Michelle and I met up with Beth and Randy when they arrived.  We got some delicious grub from Beach Pit BBQ and headed up to our seats.

Almost every time I go to a game I get to see SOMETHING that I’ve never seen before.  Tonight was pretty significant.  After falling behind early, the Angels hit back to back to back home runs!  Three in a row–it was totally cool and I was glad to be there for that.

Here we have Erick Aybar diving back into first base:
DSCF3013.JPGThe Angels took a 6-4 lead into the ninth inning and turned the ball over to Brian Fuentes.  He promptly gave up four runs on four hits. and the Angels couldn’t come back against Kerry Wood in the bottom of the ninth.  Man, that was frustrating but Randy was super-thrilled!  His hometown boys won a game on the road for him so I had to be at least partially happy.

We all had a lot of fun (though I didn’t take many photos) and my baseball collection would be at eighty-three when I headed off to St. Louis…

Goodbye to Yankee Stadium

Tonight it became official.  There will never be another baseball game played at Yankee Stadium.  I have never been a Yankees fan but I feel like something great is disappearing.  It seemed inevitable that the Yankees wouldn’t make the postseason due to the lineup-and-pitching-staff-altering injuries they suffered throughout the year, but as the Red Sox defeated the Indians tonight at Fenway, it actually happened.  For the first time in the 14-year career of Derek Jeter, his Yankees, New York’s Yankees, will not be playing baseball in October.  Certainly, many people wanted the Yanks to make it… to extend their legacy… but it wasn’t in the cards.  Luckliy, there was a tremendous spectacle made of their final regular season game.  It took place against the Baltimore Orioles on the twenty-first of September this year.  The Yankees won, 7-3.  It was a great way to go out… but it wasn’t what they wanted.  They wanted a World Series… well, too bad.  Their money and their new stadium will get ’em one of those someday.  For now, my Angels are heading to October!

Speaking of the Angels… I had the privilege to attend a game at Yankee Stadium once–the Angels played the Yankees.  I am pleased to say that I got to visit that grand stage in July of 2005 while on vacation with Michelle.  It was a special trip for many reasons, but Yankee Stadium surely was one of them.  Michelle and I had less-than-stellar seats, and I didn’t get to wear any Angels gear for fear of being shanked.  But it was a great baseball atmosphere and I am glad I got be a small part of the history of that cathedral.

A look back…
New York 093.jpgThe first thing we did when we arrived was find our seats. Above, there’s the view from ’em… not too shabby, but not great.  Michelle and I were simply thrilled to be there.

The Angels were taking batting practice so I wanted to get close to the field and maybe snag a ball.  Mind you, this was before I knew any tips and/or tricks… so I came up empty-handed.  Still, I got to get close enough to some of the players to hear them talking about that night’s game.  And I got a great perspective… look at the stadium.  It’ll be gone by next season.  Kind of makes ya sad, huh?

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After batting practice we headed back up to our nosebleed seats to enjoy the game… we looked around, of course, but I was there to see baseball.  It was a great game and we had a lot of fun.

Here you can see the scoreboard and the classic facade that was a defining piece of art within Yankee Stadium.

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The Angels up to bat against the Yanks… complete with foul pole:
New York 108.jpg Michelle and the stadium:                                           Michelle and I enjoying the game:

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The Angels beat the Yankees 4-1 that night!  It was the only game of that series they won and Michelle and I were glad to get to see them win on the road.
New York 118.jpgIt is, and will always be a part of baseball history.  Yankee Stadium.  It was great to experience a day there and truly added something to special to an already fantastic vacation.
New York 120.jpgGoodbye, Yankee Stadium.