Results tagged ‘ foul ball ’
You know, I’m a real sucker when it comes to off-the-wall baseball stories and this one is no exception.
I’ve attached an article that was posted on the Big League Stew section of Yahoo’s MLB section of their website.
This is an article about a Houston Astros fan that leaves his girlfriend hanging.
You can read the article here and be sure to watch the video that is included, that’s the best part.
This would turn out to be a very enjoyable day at the ballpark for me. Aside from the fact that my daughter Sarah was not with me (that would have made the day perfect), it was just a great day all around.
My friend Dirk and I headed to the ballpark at around 2-2:30ish in anticipation of a large crowd and we wanted to be close to the front of the line to get in with the other season ticket holders. When we arrived at the gate, which would eventually open at 3:30, there were around 15-20 people in line. Not too bad. When we get in we head straight to left field and most others head to right field.
When we finally got in and made our way to the left field seats this was the scene for the first 30 minutes….
Including myself and Dirk (who is at the far end of these left field seats in the red shirt and tan shorts) there were only five (5) of us! For the first full 30 minutes!
It was amazing, but honestly I don’t know why I didn’t come away with 10 or more balls.
I stayed toward the left field foul pole like I have been doing a lot lately (to no avail), and after about 2-3 minutes Rangers’ rightie Michael Young hit one my way that I was slow to react to and eneded up picking it up off of the ground for ball #1.
Yes, that felt good! I had grown really tired of my current dry spell and was very relieved to have it end.
Not too long after my first snag, Josh Hamilton’s group had come up to hit and Josh was apparently working on his opposite field power, because he hit one about 5 rows deep two sections to my left that hit a seat and bounced into the gap in left field. It actually landed just to the right of where the guy in the red shirt and blue hat is in the previous photo. I headed over there with my retriever (in case you’re new to this blog or you forgot, I can’t use the glove trick anymore according to stadium security) and reeled it up within a minute for ball #2. Which I’m sad to add ties my personal record that I have achieved on two other occasions, here and here.
By this time I was feeling really good, and we still had about 10-15 minutes before the gates opened to everyone else! I was already thinking of at least three balls. I didn’t want to get greedy, I just wanted to break my personal one game record.
By the way, I showed you the view to my left earlier, well here’s the view to my right….
Just before the gates were about to open up to the rest of the fans, a ball was hit my way. It was coming right down the line, and all I had to do was go up one row (I was already on the aisle) and move in about 4 seats. The problem was I got there about a second after the ball did. It hit off the back of a seat and flew back on the field. Man!
Just in case you’re wondering, by this time my last report from Dirk was he had 5 balls. That’s the upside to where he was, he could snag them out of the visitors’ bullpen to his left, as well as the gap in front of him. It also helped that he was able to catch two on the fly (something I have never done).
Anyways, once the gates opened I didn’t spend much more time over by the foul pole. I made my way over to where Dirk was so I could be in a better spot once the stands started to fill up. Which didn’t take long either. Here’s a photo just 10 minutes after the stadium opened to the public….
It only got worse from there. This was my closest competition….
That was directly in front of me. There were five more just like these to my left. That’s okay though, I’m not complaining. Kids deserve to snag balls just as much as I do. It’s just that I saw my chance at breaking my record eventually vanish into thin air.
At this point, I was stuck on two balls, and Dirk had snagged seven (7). I think I will work my way a little closer to him next game. He would’ve had 8, but the guy standing right next to him decided to put his hand inside the pocket of Dirk’s glove just as he was about to make a basket home run catch. I hope it stung. Oh well, that stuff happens.
When batting practice was wrapped up we made our way out to the concourse to get some drinks. We had stopped at Taco Bell on the way to the park, so our food was already taken care of. Gotta love those value menus!
Our seats were in the third level behind home plate, so we decided to head that way to eat and escape the sun. This is what it looked like from up there….
Not too bad if I say so myself.
As the first pitch drew near I wanted to try and get a photo of Derek Holland delivering that pitch. My camera is not the best for long distance shots so this is the best I could do….
When we got to our seats we knew there would probably be no chance for us to move down to the lower level like we try to do most games, so we settled in with the intention of staying there the whole game.
After a few innings I started to talk to the gentleman to my left. He was in his mid to late 50s I would say, and he was there with his father who was most likely in his 70s. The son was in town from Philadelphia and had taken his father to this game. With my dad living in Arizona and me wanting so badly to go to a game with him I thought this was pretty cool. I asked the man about Philly, if he’s a Phillies fan, if he goes to a lot games. He told me that Citizens Bank Park either has or had a 63 consecutive game sellout streak. Wow. God bless the Ballpark in Arlington!
At one point the man got up to go to the concession stand and his father leaned over the empty seat, got my attention, and proceded to thank me for keeping his son company. What do you say to that? I simply told him the pleasure was all mine, and he started to tell me about how he grew up in upstate New York, and that all of his boyhood memories were of watching Ruth, then Gehrig, and all of the greats play live. I could’ve listened to him for hours, though it was only around five to ten minutes. Shame on me, but I never got either of their names. I would really like to thank both of them for making my night at the ballpark even much more enjoyable.
What a great evening! But it gets better.
I can’t remember the exact details, but to the best of my recollection in around the second inning, a foul ball was hit to the second level, first base side just past the media boxes behind home plate. Nothing special right? Foul balls are caught by someone every game.
A few innings later, a foul ball was hit to the exact same spot as the one I just mentioned, and the same guy caught it.
…. under the big red arrow. That is a zoomed in look of my view of his seat.
When he caught the second foul ball I knew I had to take this picture, and I wanted to mention it in this entry. As time progressed I decided that I wanted to get down there and talk to the guy, so when Dirk and I were ready to move down to the lower level we stopped on the way to find him. Oddly enough as we were about to go in the tunnel toward his section he came out of the nearest bathroom. Perfect. Now I didn’t have to look like an idiot in front him and everyone else, I could just look like an idiot to him!
I started off by asking his name (which is Chase Eriksen) and just some basic questions about how he felt. You know the drill, what did you think, what was your reaction, those vanilla questions. I then told him that I wanted to get some pictures of/with him to potentially use in an article on the mygameballs.com website. After a short explanation of what exactly that site was, we got to the picture taking.
Here’s Chase with his snags….
…. and just because this is my blog, here’s the two of us with his snags….
He was a real good sport. I know it must have been weird having a complete stranger come up to you and want to take pictures with you, asking your name.
Oh, I forgot to mention that he was in the emergency room just that morning with a kidney stone. At the time I was talking to him he had still not passed it, but was all hyped up on pain medication and almost didn’t even go to the game. I’m sure he was glad he decided to go.
Chase, I hope you’re “passed” the worst of it now. If you’re interested, you can read the article that Alan Schuster wrote about this event here.
See, I told you it was a great evening. What else could you want?
Oh yeah, there was a game on the field. It was a good game, a close game throughout the whole thing. Other than the fact it sounded like there were more Cubs fans than Rangers fans, and also that the Rangers ended up losing, it was a very exciting game. The Rangers hit two home runs (one by Nelson Cruz and one by Vladimir Guerrero). The game was tied 3-3 after the 4th and stayed that way into the 10th. The Cubs then began to pinch hit three straight left handed batters against Darren O’Day who gave up two runs. The Rangers got one back in the bottom of the inning but that’s all they could muster.
Rangers lose 5-4. Dirk and I’s record at the ballpark this year fell to 8-1.
The Rangers lost and Sarah wasn’t with me, but today was still a very memorable day at the ballpark for me.
Here’s a couple looks at the two balls I snagged today….
Time of game: 3hrs. 8mins.
Attendance: 46,180 (yuck!!)
Next game: Fri. 6/4 vs. Tampa Bay
Well, I actually missed a game entry. I went to the 5/12 game against the A’s, took a few pictures, saw some good baseball, didn’t snag any balls, but had a fun time at the ballpark.
There. That’s got to be the shortest game summary on mlblogs.
I also went to the Thursday 5/20 game against the Orioles. I left work at 5:30 so batting practice wasn’t going to happen, but my friend Dirk and I figured that seeing as there was no promotional giveaway this game, and they were playing the Orioles, the odds were pretty good that the crowd would be pretty small. It was.
Tonight was all about the foul ball.
Even with leaving work much later than I normally do on game day, we still walked through the gate at around 6:15. It was a 7:05 start so we had some time to kill.
We went back into the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame like we did at this game and thankfully there was more stuff to look at this time. They had the second floor open so we went up there to check it out and I took some photos with my phone looking out toward the field….
This next photo is actually an old pic that I wanted to use as an example to show where the above photos were taken from….
If you click on the last photo you’ll have a better look at the two red arrows in right field numbered 1 and 2. The location of the #1 arrow is where I took the first two pictures above. The location of the #2 arrow is where I took the photo looking out to the sports park behind centerfield. It actually looks to be tied into the centerfield offices (the white part of the stadium from left center to right center), but you get to that point through the second level of the hall of fame which I never knew before. After figuring that last part out when we went back out to the field level, Dirk and I started in with the “so this where the “other half” watches the game from” jokes. What can I say, we are easily amused.
Our seats for this game were in the third row of the bleachers in left centerfield, which we only stayed in for an inning or two. They were in this vicinity….
Click the photo and you’ll notice the red arrow just to the left of Green’s Hill, that’s the best visual I can give of where our seats were.
By the end of the second inning we had already moved around to the third base side to go for foul balls. Usually, we will wait until the end of the third at the absolute earliest, but there were just so many empty seats that we had to give it a shot. Thankfully it worked.
We were treated to 35 total hits, 20 by Texas and 15 by Baltimore. The Rangers hit three home runs (1 each by Nelson Cruz, Vladimir Guerrero, and Matt Treanor) on their way to a 13-7 victory. It was a welcome change from the 3-2 and 4-3 games that we have become accustomed to so far this season.
As for the foul balls, they would elude us once again. The closest we came at this game was one that was caught about 10-12 rows in front of us. Oh well, we’ll get one eventually.
That’s about it for this game, nothing else to report. The Cubs are coming in this weekend for a three game set and we are trying to make the Saturday tilt. It’s a 6:05 start with a post-game concert so there’s no telling how crowded it will be. I’ve heard on local talk radio that the ballpark is anticipating 110,000 people over this three game weekend. That comes out to around 37,000 a game. I hope they’re wrong, I really don’t want to fight all that madness.
Time of game: 3hrs. 34mins.
Attendance: 17,304 (That I can handle!)
Next game: Possibly, Sat. 5/22 vs. the Cubs
This game wasn’t decided upon until the day before (Saturday), when Dirk wasn’t able to go to Saturday’s game with his wife. We got some cheap bleacher tickets and we were off.
It was going to be a 2:05 start, the weather was great. It had the makings of a really good day.
Except for this….
Yeah, it was cap day.
This cap giveaway was to commemorate Ian Kinsler’s 30/30 season last year.
I have to admit, most cap giveaways I’ve been to, the caps haven’t been that great, but these were pretty cool. You can see Kinsler’s embroidered signature on the bill, and it also has his #5 on the right side which you can barely see.
Not bad for a freebie.
Although, as is the case with most promotions, it brought a lot people to the ballpark. Besides the weather of course.
For Saturday and Sunday games the gates open 1-1/2 hours early, unlike the usual 2 hours for weekday games. Which means the gates would open at 12:35 today for the general public, for Dirk and I it was 12:05. Heehee.
We made it through the bag check, got our ticket scanned, and grabbed our free cap and hurried out to the left field seats and noticed there wasn’t many people out there. Cool!
We also noticed this….
That was a good sign, but we weren’t sure if the Rangers had already hit or not.
As we killed the next few minutes checking the gaps and bullpens I snapped this photo to show the competition for the first 30 minutes….
My thoughts were along this line, “Oh man, please start hitting soon!”
But, it never happened.
For either team.
We soon found out that the main reason for no batting practice was the Girl Scouts were going to parade around the warning track during pregame. I fought to keep all of the selfish remarks in my head, and had to admit what a cool experience it would be for them.
So, now that we had even more time to kill, we wandered. I took these next two at the visitors’ bullpen….
This was as close as I would get to snagging any balls today….
It’s like they were taunting us.
We made our way around behind homeplate in the concourse area and got some food and drinks, and then went to our seats in left-center to just take it easy for once. It was nice, but I have to admit that I would’ve rather been snagging.
Here’s a photo I took of the right field area from our seats….
….which we only stayed in for the first two innings thanks to the two drunk, wannabe announcers behind us.
So, in the top of the 3rd we went over to the third base side to try for foul balls like we usually do, and this was our view….
It seems like every time the Mariners are in town I find myself taking pictures of the guy in the above photo. Future Hall of Famer….
As for the game itself, it was good. The Rangers finally got some offense going, and displayed some really good defense also. They came away with the win 9-2, and also took the series two games to three.
I didn’t take many more pictures except for in the top of the ninth inning when we had moved around behind homeplate. I really wanted to try and get some photos of Griffey at the plate. You never know when your last chance to see someone of his caliber at bat will be. This is the best I could do….
I’d like to say that the last photo culminated in a homer, but it didn’t. I can’t really remember now, but he either hit a flyout or he struck out. Oh well, at least I got to see that sweet swing.
Hopefully I get to see him in person again this season, if this turns out to be his last year.
Time of game: 3hrs. 3mins.
Next Game: Sunday, 4/25 vs. Detroit
Well, this was going to be the last regular season home game for the Rangers. It was also Fan Appreciation Day, which means every half inning the video board would show a section, row, or specific seat that would win anything from autographed memorabilia to discounts at the gift shops. It’s always fun to wait and see if you win something. This will be my third consecutive year to go on this day, and I have yet to win anything (today included).
I attended this game with my daughter Sarah, my friend Dirk, and his daughter Kaitlyn and son Connor. I had purchased these tickets last weekend at the Angels game, and bought upper deck seats knowing we would be bringing the kids and expecting to be in the shade.
This is what it looked like from our seats….
Looks like I made the right choice!
Here’s our view of the action….
Yes they’re tiny, but we knew what was going on.
I was really hoping to add to our ice cream helmet collection today, being the last game of the season and everything, but today the Rangers decided to do away with using all the MLB teams as they have done recently and use only red Rangers helmets.
We already have some of those, but I noticed something different about these. Here’s a picture that I took later to show what I mean….
I have never seen an ice cream helmet with the MLB logo on it. I thought it was pretty cool, and worthy to be included in this entry.
The game was good. The Rangers jumped out to a 5-0 lead and held it most of the game.
Here’s some more shots from the upper deck….
I love that last one.
And here’s one of the kiddos….
At the end of the 7th inning we moved down to the third base side to try one last time for a foul ball, but got nothing. This was our view though….
The Rangers lead 5-0 until the top of the 8th when the Rays cut that lead down to 5-3. Marlon Byrd added a solo homer in the bottom of the inning, which brought out Frank Francisco to save the game in top of the 9th. Sounds easy enough right?
He allowed the tying run to score before Ron Washington pulled him with the bases still loaded and only one out. Rookie Neftali Feliz came in a got a ground-out, but the go ahead run scored on the play. The Rangers would go 3 up, 3 down in the bottom of the 9th and lose 7-6.
That one hurt.
It should have been a sweep, but instead they fell another game behind the Angels in the west.
Here’s a picture of a helmet I found after the game that I have absolutely no idea what it was used for, but I thought it was cool so I kept it….
Time of game: 3 hrs. 3 mins.
Next game: Playoffs? Or April 5, 2010. Opening Day vs. the Blue Jays
This game, just like the one I went to on Saturday, was attended strictly from a game watching standpoint only.
The weather was better this day, but not good enough to offer any batting practice. That makes at least three games in a row that I have been to that have not had BP.
Oh well, at least there was baseball!
Now that you know that, this entry is going to be shorter than normal. I took some photos at this game, but not of the stadium. This game I decided to take some photos of some of the players.
But first, a look at the field from our seats….
…. and the centerfield message board just prior to gametime….
“It’s baseball time in Texas!” Quoting the great Ballpark in Arlington announcer, Chuck Morgan.
The next one is of Rangers left fielder David Murphy….
Is it me, or does he look like he was just caught relieving himself on the grass? Probably just me.
Those are the only pictures I took from those seats. Our seats were pretty good, by the way, straight away left, first row. Not bad, but we moved after the third inning to our new favorite foul ball spot on the third base side.
Here’s Marlon Byrd at the plate….
I mainly took this one, because I was wearing his t-shirt at this game.
This next guy should not need any introduction….
…. but just in case you still don’t know who this is, it’s perennial gold-glover Omar Vizquel.
That guy is amazing in the field. I’ve personally seen him play three different infield positions this season and do superb at all of them. He’s awesome.
Speaking of awesome, what about this guy….
….come on, don’t tell me you don’t know who Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez is!?
10-time gold glove winning catcher. World Series winner. Definate first ballot hall of famer.
The pictures of Pudge were mainly so I could have proof that I watched him play in person.
By now you should be able to tell the camera angle has changed. We moved behind homeplate at the end of the eighth inning.
Here’s another that I like, it shows David Murphy at the plate with Nelson Cruz on deck….
We didn’t have any close calls in our original foul ball spot, and for the first couple batters, we didn’t have any behind homeplate either.
Until the top of the ninth.
Oakland A’s catcher Kurt Suzuki stepped into the batter’s box, batting right handed, and proceded to foul off the very first pitch. I was one seat over from the aisle seat and this foul ball came screaming back over the screen, and I had just enough time to jump out of my seat and reach across my body with my glove while jumping as high as I could (which isn’t very high I might add) only to miss the ball by mere inches. It didn’t touch my glove, but it came as close as it could without hitting it.
I turned around to see where the ball went, and it hit something; a step, wall edge, I’m not sure, all I know is that I had my back to the field and the ball hit whatever it hit and ricocheted over two sections to my right.
So close, so very close.
That was it for this game, Rangers lose 8-0. Two shutouts in a row.
Time of game; 2 hrs. 45 mins.
Next game: Fri. 9/18 vs. the Angels
BTW — There was ice cream to be had this game, and here are the helmets I came away with….
I only had one, the other two I found. I promise!
My friend, Dirk, and I didn’t have anything going on this evening, our wives were both out of the house, so we had an idea. We were toying with the idea of going to the Fort Worth Cats game, and just staying in the parking lot and going for foul balls.
We already had tickets for the next night’s game, but we just wanted to try something different. And it’s a good thing we did, because we didn’t end up going the next night. I ended up getting an upper respiratory infection the next day, so needless to say, I was in no condition to go to a game.
We got to the ballpark, paid to park, and ended up buying two $4 left field berm tickets anyway. We walked around to the LF Berm and watched the first inning and a half or so, then got a couple dollar hotdogs, and made our way to the parking lot to find a foul ball spot.
Remember, this whole time we were still thinking we would be there the next night, so there’s no pictures. I was going to take some reference photos the next day, but that never happened.
We were in the parking lot close to a big tree for about 20-30 minutes or so, when we had our first shot. A ball came out of the stadium, and bounced in the parking lot about 30 yards in front of Dirk. He got up and ran to the ball and snagged it on the 2nd bounce. Turns out he didn’t even need to stand up, since it would’ve come all the way to where he was sitting.
That was our first experience with getting a foul ball that way. To be honest, it’s kind of weird to stare at a stadium and wait for a ball to come flying out to you. Weird, in a good way.
Dirk had already found a ball before the game started that was lying near some dumpsters behind the RF bleachers, so this was his 2nd of the night so far, and I was really wanting one of my own.
Since we went out there so early in the game, there weren’t any kids in the parking lot yet. I stress “yet” because it only takes a couple of fouls to get a group of kids out there, so we knew if we were going to get some, it would have to be early.
A couple different times we heard something that sounded like a ball hitting the pavement, but we weren’t really sure, only to see a kid that we had not yet noticed chase the ball down. It’s okay, it makes us look like we were sharing, even if it was unintentional!
Well it didn’t take long for a little “crowd” to develop about 100 feet to our left. If we were going to have a shot at anymore, they would almost have to come straight to us.
We got that chance. A ball came over the roof of the seats and took one bounce off the pavement and 3 kids ran after it……only to lose sight of it.
The ball had hit the pavement and landed on the roof of an SUV with a luggage rack on top. The luggage rack had kept the ball in place long enough for me to walk over and grab it, and then see the kids keep looking for a couple more minutes until I let them off the hook.
No, I didn’t give the ball to them, because I was taking all the balls I got home to my daughter Sarah. Call me what you want, but my daughter thought it was cool.
After getting my 1st ball of the evening, we decided to go back in and get another $1 hotdog and watch an inning or two of the game. By this time it was the 6th inning or so, and we weren’t planning on staying for the whole game because we were going the next day. So, we started to make our way to the truck and we saw a batter foul a ball off to the opposite side of the stadium from where we were before.
Neither of us thought anything of it, until we walked out and didn’t see anybody running around, so we were just going to walk to the general area and see if it was still there.
The ball had come to rest in a grassy area in the parking lot. So I walked about 100 feet or so and grabbed it.
A few minutes later, we got into Dirk’s truck and went home, listening to the game on the radio the whole way.
This game wasn’t decided upon until Saturday afternoon (8/1), when my friend Dirk and I were talking, and we realized that this was the last home game for the Rangers for a while, so we got our two daughters and we were off.
The recent weather for the area was on and off rain with cool temperatures. Not today. The rain was nowhere to be found, and the sun was out in full force.
Figures. Thursday, when we went by ourselves, it was cool and the sun was in and out of the clouds. Today, we take our daughters and we’re roasting, just like we were on this day.
When we got inside the stadium and went to the LF stands, the Rangers were hitting.
Woohoo! I haven’t seen them hit in a while, but it was short lived.
I barely made it to the first row in LF and I saw a ball land in the gap, but by the time I was able to get my stuff out, someone was already down there tossing it up to someone else. Blah.
Then, a couple Rangers righties (Marlon Byrd and Andruw Jones I think) started jacking the ball to the back of the LF seats. There’s a wide cross-aisle and a wall with a scoreboard at the back of that aisle, and they were hitting the wall! I was too low and too far to the left to even think about going for those.
After about 10 minutes, they were finished. Time to check the gaps and get ready for the Mariners.
Nothing in the gaps. And by 5:45, when the M’s should be about 10 minutes into batting practice, this was the scene on the field….
What?! No way, they HAD to come out and hit, right?
Well, we killed about 5 more minutes and went to RF to check the Rangers’ bullpen and the gap over there, and this was the scene then….
(Insert prolonged exhale here)
What you can’t tell from the previous photo, is that there’s two Mariners players in RF playing catch. Yippee.
So, the next plan of action was to find food, drinks, and A/C in whatever order we could get it, and we started with cooling off in the centerfield gift shop. We then made our way behind home plate for our usual “designated driver” free drink coupons and headed toward the concession stands for nachos, cheese fries, and two Dr. Peppers.
We bought cheap, upper deck tickets for this game, so we went up there to eat and watch the first few innings of the game. This was the view when we sat down….
I love the shade!
You can see that the cage from batting practice is still on the field. Soon thereafter it was removed and the grounds crew started chalking the batter’s boxes….
And finally, the finished product….
I must have seen that done a hundred times, and it still intrigues me to this day.
A little while later, the Mariners bullpen guys made their way to the visitors’ bullpen (notice the pink backpacks!)….
The game went pretty smooth through the first few innings, so it wasn’t long before we made our way to centerfield for the kids’ sportspark. The girls did the slingshot game….
….and, they hit some balls off of a tee….
We sought some much needed refuge under the misting fans also….
Sarah’s proud of her $1 Drumstick!
Once the game playing concluded, we were on a new mission: Foul ball spot.
Section 14, lower level toward the back of the section. About row 21-23, I can’t remember for sure. Here’s another view….
You know the cool part about the photo above of Michael Young at the plate? It culminated in this….
It was a solo shot in the bottom of the 6th that tied the game at 2-2. The very next inning, in the bottom of the 7th, Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a 2-run homer that put the Rangers in front to stay at 4-2.
No foul balls…..again.
At least the Rangers won, that’s more important.
On the way out of the stadium, the girls were able to get their picture taken with Josh Hamilton! Check it out….
He just stood there and smiled, what a great guy!
By the way, did you notice the stack of cups in Sarah’s hand (on the left)? She actually had twice that many, but I gave some to Dirk. She got a little carried away.
Here’s a photo of the extra tickets I found after the game….
Time of game: 2 hrs. 14 mins.
Next game: Mon. 8/17 vs. the Twins (long road trip for the Rangers)
Since the last two games that I attended were minor league games, I was WAY overdo for some Major League Baseball.
We arrived at the gate at around 4:40 or so, and waited as patiently as we could for 5:00 to get here. When it finally did, we raced to the LF stands just in time to see this….
The Mariners were just coming out to stretch.
So, that gave Dirk and I time to check the gaps and stands for balls, which we found none. The Rangers must not have come out for BP today. Oh well, they’ve done that before.
Once the Mariners started hitting, we weren’t sure how it was going to go for us. We had been to a BP earlier in the year where the M’s hardly hit anything into the LF seats. Griffey and Ichiro have no problem supplying the people in the RF seats with balls, but we were skeptical of the righties on the team. After the first 10 minutes or so, that skepticism would soon fade away.
Dirk and I positioned ourselves on the railing, one section over from the visitors’ bullpen. Like I mentioned, there wasn’t much action for the first 10-15 minutes, but after that we had some shots at balls. At one point we were as close as 2-3 feet apart, and at that point some high school-aged kid thought that would be a perfect place for him to stand.
“Do you REALLY think you have ANY shot at a ball, standing between two adults with gloves?” That’s what I thought, not said.
I usually let a lot of things go, mainly to avoid any potential confrontations, but this kid was making it especially difficult for me to keep my mouth shut. All that came out of his mouth was negative. Some examples:
“Hey how ’bout a ball?” And when they would throw the ball in to the bucket, “Oh nice, real good. Way to appreciate the fans.”
Or when a player would go to retrieve a ball on the warning track, “I got jipped out of a ball earlier.”
Not to mention, he was responsible for Dirk and I both dropping a homerun ball. He bumped into Dirk and the ball fell in the gap, but Dirk was able to get it anyway. He bumped into me, and the ball skipped off the end of my glove and into the glove of a guy behind me.
First, don’t force your way into a space you shouldn’t be in, and then act like a (insert your own word here) while you’re there.
Second, no one gets jipped out of a ball. You either snag it, or you don’t. Plain and simple. Yes, I hold him responsible for missing a HR ball, but I blame myself also. I could’ve been more assertive, but that’s not who I am. I also don’t think that “entitles” me to whine to the players on the field like they owe me a ball.
Sorry for that rant, that guy just really got on my nerves.
Back to batting practice….
As I mentioned earlier, the skepticism in the M’s righties was short-lived. There were a lot more balls hit into the LF seats than we expected. Of course, there was a fairly decent crowd on hand, I guess because of it being cap night. So, our range was limited, leaving us to helplessly watch numerous balls fall into the gloves/hands of others.
At one point, a ball fell in the gap and Dirk gave me the heads up to go and get it. We take turns with gap balls, it’s kind of a routine between the two of us. So without any hesitation, I was on it.
I got to the spot where I figured the ball would be, looked down and scanned the area, and noticed the ball was in an odd spot. Here’s a photo I took a little while later to show the ball’s position….
This angle is actually looking down and to my left. The point of the arrow is in the exact spot that the ball was in.
The first plan of action was to get the ball out of that spot and into a position more directly underneath me. To do that, I had to lower my device (I decided to lower the device instead of my glove because it’s smaller, and I thought it would fit in that small space better) and swing it left to right approximately 6 feet. It was a little awkward at first, so it took me a few tries, and on the third or fourth swing I was interrupted by this guy….
Seattle pitcher David Aardsma.
He walked over and picked the ball up, and my first thought was “Cool, this guy’s gonna save me the trouble and just toss it to me!”
Turns out I was wrong.
Mr. Aardsma proceded to walk back up the stairs that lead into the visitors’ bullpen and throw the ball as hard as he could back toward the bucket.
There were so many thoughts going through my head at that point, that I didn’t say a word. What could I say? He didn’t have to give it to me. I had no legal right to that ball. To say I was mad though would be an understatement.
Partly for the fact that I was wearing a Mariners hat!
Oh well, there’s nothing left for me to say, except….
You have now been given a Zack Hample-esque “Powell Jinx”.
Consider this your official notification.
As numb as I was by this point, and as disinterested in BP as I became, I still managed to get 1 ball out of the gap. It helped, but there was still some pent up bitterness inside.
This ball turned out to be my 6th of the season, and 10th lifetime.
Batting practice ended with no more balls and no more incidents to report. It honestly couldn’t end fast enough.
We went and got our free drink vouchers after signing up to be designated drivers, cashed them in, and then got food. I had my usual cheese fries and Dr. Pepper, and felt much better!
We got to our seats with our food just in time for starting lineups and the national anthem. This was the awesome view I had from my seat….
I really can’t complain since Dirk bought my ticket, but still, how about a little “obstructed view” notice or something? Come on, Rangers!
The view of the game wasn’t really that bad, especially since the Rangers hit two homers on either side of us while we were out there.
We stayed in those seats until the top of the 5th, when we decided to go for ice cream.
A little back-story….
The last time I was at a Rangers game, I made my own ice cream helmet sundae in a roundabout way, and I fully intended to do the same thing this time, until we walked up to the ice cream booth and saw an amazing sight. They were using these….
I had no idea that a little piece of plastic could change my whole attitude!
After getting our ice cream, the next mission was to find a spot to eat it. Well, we found one. Section 15, on the lower level third base side, just past the infield. Here’s the view…
One odd thing that happened while we there….
A foul ball was hit about one section over to our left, and a guy in an aisle seat stood up and put his glove up, and let the ball bounce right off of his palm. Nothing special, right? It happens all of the time. Well, just keep reading….
A little while later, with a different pitcher on the mound and a different batter at the plate, another foul ball found its way to the exact same guy, and once again he muffed it! It hit off of his palm just like the first one did, and someone else got it just like the first one.
How weird is that? I heard about a guy in Oakland that had a similar experience in 2006, but he had a better turnout.
I thought that was worth sharing.
As the game wound down, instead of going behind homeplate like we usually do, I wanted to go over by the visitors’ bullpen to try and get a ball from the bullpen catcher. When we got over there, we saw this….
See the two pink backpacks? One is on the left end of the bench, and the other one is on the ground behind the white chair. That is “Seattle Mariner Rookie Initiation” at its finest.
I also saw this….
You see the ledge next to Phillips #62? Just in front of him, to the right? Knight helmets. I have no idea what those are for. More initiations? Maybe Mr. Todd Cook will leave a comment on this. He’s the biggest M’s fan that I know of. I’m curious to know what’s up with those.
The game was exciting from a Rangers fan point of view. Derek Holland pitched a perfect game into the 5th inning when he gave up the only Mariner hit until the top of the 9th.
Michael Young hit two homeruns, and Hank Blalock, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Marlon Byrd each hit one out to give the Rangers a 7-0 lead.
Holland retired the first two batters in the top of the 9th, then walked one and gave up his second hit of the game. Rangers manager Ron Washington made a pitching change with 2 outs in the 9th.
Warner Madrigal came in, walked one to load the bases, gave up an RBI single, then finally got the 3rd out.
Holland struckout 10 batters on the night. Rangers win 7-1.
Here’s a photo of the ball I got, and also one of some tickets I found after the game….
Next game: Mon. 8/17 vs. the Twins
And for the record – I didn’t get a ball from the Mariners’ bullpen catcher like I had hoped.
One parting shot of the Mariners’ bullpen guys walking off the field. Sorry for the blur, but I zoomed in as far as I could….
After my last trip to a Cats game, I knew it would only be a matter of time until my next one. Well, this was it, and this time I was accompanied by Dirk and his son, Connor, and my daughter, Sarah.
We arrived at the stadium at around 5:40 and this was the view as we walked from the truck to the ticket window….
Dirk and I each bought 2 general admission tickets for $6 each, and then waited for the gates to open at 6:00. Here’s a couple shots of us by the gate….
When the gates finally opened we split up, Dirk and Connor went to the RF bleachers, and Sarah and I went to the LF berm. Our mission: Easter Eggs. After failing to find any in either spot, we realized that BP did not happen today. Oh, well, that explains it.
It had been raining off and on the past two days, and although it wasn’t raining at that time, there still wasn’t BP.
With that checked off of the to-do list, the next mission: Food.
All of the concession stands at LaGrave are cash only, and guess who only had a debit card? Yep, me.
So, the next 15 minutes or so were spent locating, and trying to use, the only ATM in the place. The only problem was the weather screwed it up. Alternative: Cats Cash. I had to go to the ticket window and purchase $25 worth of fake money in order to buy food for Sarah and I. Oh well, lesson learned. Bring cash to LaGrave Field!
Our pregame meal consisted of a cheeseburger and fries for Sarah, BBQ brisket nachos for me (they weren’t as good as they sound), and 2 Dr. Peppers for $16.50. Is that a lot of money for a minor league stadium?
RE/MAX of Texas realtors was a sponsor of this night’s game, and one of the planned events was to have 4 RE/MAX skydivers fly onto the field prior to the national anthem and deliver the game ball. Here’s a photo of the final jumper with the American flag….
We didn’t have “seats” for this game since we had GA tickets, so we had a few spots to choose from, and we decided on the first base side even with the right fielder.
That spot is cool from a foul ball standpoint and a game watching perspective, although there would be no foul balls hit our way in the 2-1/2 innings we sat there. We were able to witness some awesome defensive plays though.
Both sides of the field have a “party deck” that overlook the baselines. We decided to go up to the deck on the 1B side (since all of the Cats hitters are righties) and this was the view of homeplate….
And here’s one I took of the Fort Worth skyline….
In the bottom of the 3rd inning a ball was fouled off and heading our direction, so I took off after it with Dirk behind me to my left. The ball was tailing out of my reach, but Dirk made a sweet grab on the fly about 5 feet from me!
Here’s Dirk with his freshly snagged gamer….
And here’s a close-up shot I took of the ball a little while later….
Just before I took the photo of Dirk with the ball, the very next pitch after his foul, was another foul ball hit in our direction! The only problem was I was too busy looking at Dirk’s ball (no jokes please!), that I didn’t see it until it was over my head, bouncing off of the concrete deck, and down into the parking lot. NO!!!!
Oh well, that’s what I get for not paying attention.
This was a VERY slow moving game. First pitch was at 7:05 and by 9:30 they were only into the 6th inning. Thankfully, there is a lot of room for the kids to run around on the party deck, so they kept themselves entertained.
Here’s a couple of photos of us from up there….
The rain was a factor for most of the game, but since this was Independent League baseball, and not MLB, there was never an actual “delay”. On a couple occasions, the rain was strong enough to force most of the fans to take shelter in the concourse behind homeplate.
During one of those “gatherings”, a woman with an umbrella covering herself and her son came and stood near me. I didn’t think anything of it at first, until I heard the woman laughing and the son carrying on about something. I turned to look and saw this….
That would be a baby-sized bird on top of the woman’s umbrella. I have to admit, that’s a first for me. It was acutally on there for a minute or so before I asked to take this picture, and even after I took it, the lady left it there to fly off on it’s own, which it did after a few minutes.
You never know what you are going to see at the ballpark!
It had been a while since we ate, so I went and got Sarah a rainbow Snoball (a snow cone in a bowl), and myself some ice cream (no, they don’t use helmets, but plastic cups. Boo!). That would tide us over for the rest of the night.
By the top of the 9th inning the Cats were leading the Grand Prairie Airhogs 9-4 and the rain was not letting up this time, so we started to make our way to the truck. We walked around behind homeplate to go down the stairs and exit there, but I decided to have Dirk stay with the kids there, and I went out into the parking lot to go for foul balls.
During the course of the game, there were approximately 6-8 kids out there, and around 16-18 fouls hit out there. Yeah, we were counting.
When I was out there, all the kids were gone, and there were only 2 batters that came up to hit in the 9th. The first flew out to the outfield, and the second swung through strike three, but he thought he tipped it (he was wrong), and proceded to “steal” first base and throw it into the stands on the third base side!
Gotta love minor league baseball!
The next batter came up as the rain came down harder, and on the second pitch, he swung and his bat flew clear into centerfield. The umps called the game after that.
Of course I had to hear all of this from Dirk after the fact, since I was out in the parking lot and didn’t get to see it firsthand. Oh well, if a ball had come into the parking lot, I would have been the only one out there to get it!
Time of game: 3hrs. 1 min. (Game called 1 out early due to rain)
By the way — I don’t know if this is the same everywhere else, but LaGrave Field has a pretty cool list of former players that have either played for or against the Cats. You can see that list here. (Scroll to the bottom of the page for the list)