We woke up in the La Quinta Inn’s “Oakland Airport Coliseum” hotel on the morning of Thursday, June 10, 2010 ready for a Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip first: our second game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, which would mark the first time we have attended two games at the same stadium during a roadtrip. Once again, we would be seeing the California Angels of Anaheim, Orange County taking on the Oakland Athletics.
We grabbed some free breakfast in the hotel lobby area, showered up, Tim built a very rudimentary fort…
…and we were off to the Coliseum. Once again the La Quinta shuttle (van) dropped us off at the BART stop. Tim loved driving in the van and made sure to tell numerous people that “we drove here in a van!”
The day before, the outside security person hardly glanced into my big green backpack. Today, the guy must have been a former-TSA agent. He poked, prodded, made me remove 70% of the contents, and then decided the backpack was too big to go into the stadium. I’ve take this same backpack everywhere (probably to 20 different stadiums), including THIS same stadium. I told the guy I had brought this same backpack into the Coliseum not 12 hours ago and I crammed it into the little measurement box. Finally, the authority figure relented, “I’ll let you take it in…this time.”
So we were in…
We headed to RF where my dad had noticed a baseball in the gap the night before. I’d brought a rubber band, string, and sharpie with the thought of trying my first ever attempt at the glove trick. The ball was still there. But, I never even rigged up my glove. It would have taken too much effort, I think.
Instead, Tim and I stood in the RF corner right next to the foul pole and watched Jered Weaver play catch with former Mariner Joel Piniero. Weaver was standing right in front of us and, interestingly, he was using two baseballs to play catch. He’d hold one ball in his glove and throw the other. After the throw, he’d transfer the second ball to this throwing hand so he could catch the first ball after Piniero threw it back to him.
Once they finished up their throwing, Weaver tossed one ball into the seats behind him and then turned and tossed the second ball to us.
After Weaver tossed us the ball, Piniero walked over to the foul line. I called out to Joel and he gave us a wave. I asked if he would take a picture with Tim. He said yes, but first he had to do some running in the OF.
A few minutes later, we got Weaver to autograph the baseball he’d tossed us and pose for a picture with Tim (look for Joel in the background):
I think this is the second time this season that we have gotten a baseball, picture and autograph all from the same player at a game, the first being Billy Wagner, and I think it is really cool. Thinking back, we did this once last season with C&S Hall of Famer Ryan Rowland-Smith. (We also got all three from Jason Phillips last season, but the picture and autograph were at different games).
We moved around the corner to the RF foul seats to get that picture with Weaver. I should mention that this was a 12:35 p.m. day game following a night game. We didn’t think there would be any BP, but we were wrong. The A’s took BP (the Angels did not).
Standing right in front of us in RF was an Oakland Athletic. I had no clue who he is. I don’t bring a roster to games (and if I review a roster before a game it is generally just to see if any former Mariners are on the team). But I have a secret weapon — a Canon PowerShot SX200IS with 12 x optical zoom and (48 x total zoom) — and that often times is all that it takes…
No one else around seemed to know that it was Ziegler. No one had said his name when he’d shagged balls nearby. Once I figured out who it was and he shagged another baseball (about 40-50 feet from the foul line), I called how, “Hey, Brad Zeigler! Zeeeeegs!” That tipped everyone off in the section and when Ziegler looked over EVERYONE (well, not me, Tim or my Dad) started yelling his name. Ziegler looked discouraged by the yelling and started to turn back toward “the bucket.” Just then, Tim called out:
Ziegler quickly swiveled back toward the stands: “Who said “ball please!?” And he started walking toward the seats with the baseball. I pointed at Tim. Then, a kid about 4-5 rows further out in the outfield yelled, “I did!” Ziegler veered to his left and started heading to that little liar kid.
“He did!” I said, as I pointed at Tim. Then some random other guy pointed at Tim and shouted out, “THIS LITTLE KID DID!”
Ziegler changed course again. He approached Tim.
ZIEGLER: “You said ‘ball please’?”
Ziegler gives the ball to Tim.
Thanks, Brad! (And thanks to the “random other guy” for the assist).
It was a great lesson for Tim. I told him (and have told him numerous times since then) that he got that baseball because he said “please” and it has had a very powerful impact on Tim. He’s saying please a lot all of a sudden!
Soon, Joel Piniero headed over our way. Do you know about the photo scavenger hunt on mygameballs.com? If not, click here. We’re having fun trying to collect some of the scavenger hunt photos and Joel was kind enough to help us out with a 5-pointer — Tim fist bumping a player:
Anyway, it was awesome to see Joel. I really liked him as Mariner and was sad to see him go. He was also kind enough to sign the Brad Ziegler “ball please” ball for Tim…and another baseball for my Dad (but not the one he’d just thrown my Dad the day before).
Ahh…a couple things I forgot to mention:
First, between our Weaver picture and getting the Ziegler baseball, someone hit a high foul pop fly down the 1B line. I ran over a couple seats away from the field and positioned myself for a big bounce over everyone in the first two rows. And I would have got the ball too had it not bounced directly into a 30-year old’ish guy’s nose. The guy was going for the ball and it cleaned his clock. His nose opened up like a faucet. It wasn’t pretty.
Third, also while we were waiting for Piniero, some fan decked out in Angels gear came down to the bullpen and (with Joel Piniero standing about 30 feet to his right) asked the guys in the bullpen, “Do you know when Joel Piniero is going to be out here?” Everyone said no. Then numerous Angels started asking their teammates really loudly, “Do you know when Joel Piniero is going to be out here?” Everyone said no. Then one of them yells to Joel, “Hey, do you know when Joel Piniero is going to be out here?” Joel looks all around…nope, he had no clue either when Joel Piniero would be out there. This never stopped while we were out there and the guy never figured out that Joel was standing right there.
Okay, after the picture with Joel, we decided to go check out our seats…
…I got us some excellent seats in the first row (well, third row because of the on field seats) in Section 125 by third base. They were looking really nice, except that the fence gave them very little leg room.
Side note, on the way over to our seats, we walked through the rows of empty seats all the way from the RF corner. That’s pretty standard during BP, right? Well, as we circled around home plate we were in about the third row above the dugout when an usher stopped us. After yesterday’s “you gotta eat in your own seats 40 minutes before the game” incident, I was ready for anything. She didn’t dissappoint. She told me we couldn’t walk through the rows. If we wanted to get from Section 120 Row 3 to Section 125 Row 1, we would have to walk up to the cross aisle behind row 20 and walk behind the 99% empty seating sections and then walk down the aisle at section 125. Okay.
Next, we decided to head over to left field. Oddly, there was no one there. Literally, other than an usher, there was no one else in foul territory down the line (which was very odd because there were a bunch of people in RF foul territory). There were a bunch of people in LF homerun territory and this guy…
…was taking care of everybody. Right as we walked up to the wall in LF foul territory, this guy got a baseball and threw it to someone in homerun territory. Immediately, another ball came, and after spotting Tim he threw it to us. Three more balls came to LF within the next 3 minutes and this guy was all over the field shagging everything and he gave every one of those five baseballs to people in the seats. Very cool.
I had no clue who he was. So I did my zoom trick. No name on the glove. But he did have a number: 48 (click on the picture to the right to make it larger if you can’t see the 48 stitched on the glove). According to the A’s website this generous guy’s name is Michael Wuertz.
Soon, BP came to an end.
I wanted to do some more exploring, and so did Tim and my Dad. On our way out of the field level, I took the following picture of the A’s bullpen…
We were off to the upper deck. The true upper deck. The 300 level, which is only open in three sections right behind home plate. First, we had to figure out how to get up there.
It was pretty empty in the concourse as we made our way to the 300 level seats…
(Hopefully you can tell that is three pictures put together. The bottom picture is the real picture. The middle is a zoomed in version of the bottom picture, and the top picture is zoomed in even further).
But we weren’t up here just to look over the wall. We were here to check out the view of the ballpark from the 300 level. Here is the view from the last row in Section 318 of the Coliseum:
Finally, the game was about to start. We went to the fan assistance booth on our way to our seats to ask where we could find ice cream helmets. The jumbo helmet last night was cool, but we wanted individual sized A’s ice cream helmets today. We were told to go to Section 130. But when we arrived one of the guys at the ice cream place informed us that they were OUT OF ICE CREAM HEMLETS! Instead, he offered us little styrofoam bowls that looked like they’d hold about 2 table spoons of ice cream.
Frustrated by this development, we suffered through our still delicious ice cream cones:
Finally, the A’s took the field…
…and this was our view from Section 125, Row 1, seats 3-5:
As usual, the guys in the bleachers had their A’s flags moving in a slow downward waving motion:
There was no scoring in the first three innings, so I took some random shots of Tim and my Dad:
Finally, the A’s got the scoring started in the bottom of the 4th inning when Ryan Sweeney hit an RBI double and then scored on a single by Gabe Gross (not in that at bat shown above).
It seemed like A’s relievers were walking back-and-forth in front of us all day…
…maybe they were visiting in the little boys’ room. Their bullpen, of course, does not have its own little boys’ room. Hey, did you notice who was in that back-and-forth picture? No, not 2009 Rookie of the Year, Andrew Bailey, I mean my “ball please” Brad Ziegler.
Tim amused himself by making me take a series of funny face shots and extreme-funny-face close ups…
So would this…
The Angels finally got on the board in the fifth inning when Juan Rivera hit this double to deep LCF…
The sun was beating down hot (but humidity free) and was tiring out Tim…
Not comfortable with a one-run lead, the A’s tacked on three more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning on singles by Daric Barton, Kurt Suzuki and Kevin Kooooooooouzmanoff.
Torii Hunter grounded out harmlessly in the sixth…
In the ninth, Cahill turned the ball over to Andrew Bailey…
This was a fun game in some great seats. We had an usher take out picture before heading out:
The day was still early and our next game was just over 24-hours and about 400 miles away. Instead of starting a long drive in the evening, we drove only about 40 miles south to San Jose where we dined at In-N-Out Burger…
All around, it was an excellent day. And we were looking forward to another one the next day at Dodger Stadium, which would be Tim’s 20th MLB stadium.
2010 Fan Stats:
12 Teams (Mariners, Orioles, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Angels and Athletics; Phillies, Pirates, Braves, Mets, Brewers and Nationals)
25 Baseballs (2 Mariners, 3 Brewers, 3 Nationals, 2 Blue Jays, 4 Umpires, 1 Phillies, 1 Mets, 4 Braves, 1 Orioles, 3 Athletics, 1 Angels)
6 Stadiums (Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, Oakland-Alameda County Stadium)
9 Player Photos (Ryan Rowland-Smith, Mike Cameron, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto, Billy Wagner, Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jered Weaver and Scott Olsen)
6 Autographs (Daisuke Matsuzaka, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto (2), Billy Wagner (2), Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jered Weaver and Scott Olsen)
4 Kids Run The Bases (Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park)