5/25/14 at John Thurman Field

I got free tickets to this game by filling out a survey on the Nuts website. Why would I not go? It ended up being just me and my dad, but the day didn’t get off to a great start. I woke up at 11:45 in the morning. It was a 1:05 PM game. Wonderful! My dad and I headed out as soon as we could, arriving in Modesto shortly before first pitch.

The Ports were wearing their Friday blue uniforms, which surprised me a bit!

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However, I liked it a lot!

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On the mound for Modesto was Ryan Carpenter.

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The Ports called upon Hunter Adkins to make the start for them.

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Both pitchers did okay, as each of them allowed 3 runs in their outing.

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My first foul ball on the day was in the second inning, off the bat of Ryon Healy. Healy popped a ball just over the net and I caught it on the bounce after it hit the ground on the concourse for a moment. My second foul ball was hit in the bottom of the 3rd by Nuts left fielder Francisco Sosa. That one I had to go out onto the golf course to get.

The next foul ball I got was off the golf course as well. In the 4th inning, Nuts catcher Will Swanner fouled a pitch back into the grass that I ran to grab.

It was really hot at this game. I think it touched 100° at a few points during the game, but it was consistently in the high 90’s all afternoon long. The following picture shows how sparse the crowd was due to the heat. It was like this all the way around the stadium.

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Here’s another shot that shows how empty it was for most of the game. The crowd was larger at first pitch, but a lot of people (with their young children) left because of the heat.

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I spent the 5th and 6th innings of the game inside the stadium with my dad. He spent a large part of the game under this overhang area down the third base line. It was cool(er) there and it provided a nice place to watch the ballgame!

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In the seventh inning, Dean Espy fouled a pitch out of the stadium and into the parking lot. I ran under a car to pick it up.

The 8th inning was a bit frustrating in terms of foul balls. I will preface this by saying that I did get a ball off the bat of Patrick Valaika. Patrick rattled off 4 or 5 foul balls that all left the stadium. I sprinted out after the first, but was only able to find one.  A couple of other boys ran out there at the same time as me. They had much better eyes than I did, so the 2 of them got the other 3 or 4 balls that were hit out there. I gave this ball to a young boy with a glove back inside the stadium.

I decided to spend the 9th inning inside the stadium. I joined up with my dad down the 3rd base line in the shade that I mentioned above.

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At this point, Brandon Erbe was on to pitch for Modesto.

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The Ports were unable to increase their 4-3 lead, so the game headed to the bottom of the 9th, with Modesto getting their final at-bats of the night.

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After 2 quick outs, the game came to sudden and surprising end. Jordan Ribera struck out and Dean Espy flied out, thenMatt Wessinger singled to left field, bringing up Francisco Sosa. Sosa doubled on a fly ball to right fielder Dusty Robinson. Dusty then fired the ball to catcher Ryan Lipkin to get Matt Wessinger out at home, ending the game. This was the first time that I had ever in-person seen a play like that end a game. It was a great throw!

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After the final out was recorded, I headed down to the Ports dugout to try and get a broken bat or lineup card. I wasn’t able to get anything, so I met up with my dad, who was able to find me an extra copy of the giveaway for this game, which neither of us had gotten. It was a Trevor Story poster! For those of you who don’t know, Trevor was the one who gave me a bat last June.

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We then went to a table down the RF line where Trevor was signing his posters. Both my dad and I were able to get posters signed. Thanks Trevor!

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Despite the heat and the fact that we showed up “late,” this game was a blast for me! 5 foul balls is the most I have ever gotten at a professional baseball game!

Thanks for reading! Remember, I’m publishing a new blog entry every day!  Check out the list to find out what my next game entry will be!

BALLHAWKING STATS:

  • 10th Game of the Year… 4th MiLB Game of the Year
  • 5 balls at this game
  • 20 MiLB Balls in 4 MiLB Games = 5 MiLB Balls Per Game
  • 24 Baseballs this Season
  • 115 Lifetime Minor League baseballs
  • 187 total balls

Nick Badders is a blogger for MLB.com. He writes the blogs Beyond the Outfield Fence and 7000 Coliseum WayYou can follow him on Twitter @RFNick149 and like him on Facebook. This blog entry was not subject to the approval of Minor League Baseball or its clubs.

4/26/14 at Banner Island Ballpark

With my first game of the season in Stockton having gotten off to a rather slow start, I was excited to be back at Banner Island Ballpark with hopes of bouncing back.

This game featured me, my dad and my sister Pascale. We arrived at the Stockton Ballpark around 4:45, so batting practice had already gotten underway. Per usual, I headed out back beyond left field in hopes of snagging a few hard-hit BP balls. Moments after our arrival, Ports infielder Chad Pinder pulled a ball down the line  that just managed to make it over the bullpens, bouncing on the BBQ area and landing smack in my glove. Moments later, Ports infield Daniel Robertson crushed a ball towards straight-away left field. The ball cleared the BBQ area, smacking against the dirt beyond the ballpark fences. I chased after this ball, picking it up for my second ball of the day.

After this ball, the rest of Ports BP was dead. Nothing was hit that came close to clearing the ballpark, so it was rather boring from a ballhawking perspective.

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The Ports wrapped up BP around 5:10. After a 5-10 minute lull in the cages, the High Desert Mavericks began taking their swings on the field. They failed to make any noise offensively, which became rather frustrating as I looked onwards from 400 feet away.

Then, out of nowhere, I saw a fan run past me inside. I looked down at my watch and saw that it was 5:30. The gates were not due to open for another half hour. However, fans were tricking inside from the third base gate. This prompted me to grab my backpack and sprint to the gate, where I was quickly able to jump inside. At this point, Pascale and I headed to the right-center field berm, as there was a group of lefties in the cage.

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Despite the fact that High Desert was at the time (and always is) one of the most powerful and top offensive teams in the California league, BP was absolutely dead. Nobody was hitting anything out and the pitchers were being stingy with tossups (of course, this is rather understandable at the lower levels of the minor leagues).

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To add to my frustration, it was a fairly warm day and the ballpark was rather empty. On a day where the stadium was pretty empty and the ball would have been flying very well during BP, the Mavericks were bringing me much disappointment.

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During the half hour or so of BP that I saw inside, I believe 3 or so balls cleared fence. All of these balls landed in private seating areas, so there was not much I could do. On the bright side, it was a very beautiful day.

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One of my favourite things about the California league is the frequency of infield practice that I get to witness. In the past, I’ve chilled by the dugout of whichever team is taking infield in order to give me the best chance of snagging a ball. After only snagged two balls during Stockton’s BP and being shut out for the entirety of High Desert’s batting practice, I decided to do the same, as I claimed a spot in the front row of section 107, between the visitor’s dugout and the net behind home plate.

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However, I was shut out there as well and my ball total for the day stood at two. After the players had headed to the clubhouse and the field had been cleaned up, some martial artists made their way onto the field for a demonstration of some sort.

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After they left the field, a Little League parade took place, as little leaguers from 4 or 5 different leagues took the field and paraded around the warning track. Pascale and I decided to grab some ice cream (or shaved ice or Dippin Dots or something like that) and we headed out and sat down on the berm in right field.

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As the parade came to a finish, the players for both teams began making their way onto the field.IMG_8897

As a logo and uniform geek, I was immediately caught off-guard by the hats that the Ports were wearing. Typically, they wear the blue and red hats on the road with their grey jersey. However, for this game (for reasons unknown), they paired the bi-colour road hat with their home whites. And I actually really like the look.

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I like it when teams switch things up with their uniforms during the season, even if it’s a small thing like pairing the road hat with the home jersey.

I was unable to snag a ball in pre-game warm-ups, so I decided to head to my seat in section 107 (where I had been earlier during infield practice). Given that I would be spending most of the game outside in the parking lot, I wanted to spend as much time as possible inside before first pitch.

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On the mound for the Ports was Manny Correa.

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However, I did not see much of him because I spent the early parts of the game running around in the parking lot. The first three High Desert hitters grounded out 1-2-3 for a painless start to the ballgame for the Ports.

On the mound for the Mavericks was Tyler Pike.

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I didn’t see much of him either, as he pitched less than four innings in the ballgame. After leadoff hitter Daniel Robertson flied out to start the Ports half of the inning, 2013 first round draft pick Billy McKinney stepped to the plate. On one of the first pitches of the at-bat, Billy sliced a ball towards the third base side of the field, clearing the stadium and shooting into the parking lot.

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The ball was hit pretty hard, so I had a little extra running to do, but sure enough, I came up with the ball! Ball #3, foul ball #1 on the day!

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McKinney later singled to right field for the first hit of the game.

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It was a truly beautiful night for baseball and even though my ball total wasn’t necessarily where I wanted it, it was still fun to be at the ballpark.

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The Ports 3 and 4 hitters ended up recording outs, sending the game to the second inning.

With 1 out and runners on second and third in the second inning, High Desert catcher Tyler Marlette popped a ball just over the net, bouncing off the roof and directly into my glove! This was my 4th ball on the day and my second foul ball.

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It was shortly before I snagged this ball that I ran into a father-son ballhawking duo. I had seen Chris and his son Nicholas around Banner Island Ballpark (during BP and in the parking lots), but this was the first time I had struck up a conversation with the two of them. They are both incredibly nice guys, it was fun to talk with them for a bit.

After snagging the Marlette foul ball, things pretty much went dead. And that’s how it is in the middle innings of baseball games. The second time through the order, hitters are quicker to pick up on the tendencies and such of the pitcher, which results in many fewer foul balls.

So, I decided to come inside for a little why and play the dugouts, in hopes of snagging a third out ball or two. That didn’t happen, but I did get to watch some very exciting baseball.

While the Mavericks took a 2-0 lead in the top of the 3rd, the Ports answered back in the 4th inning in a major way. Stockton sent 12 hitters to the plate, scoring 8 times!

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It was quite the offensive showing! Despite the high volume of hitters coming through the batter’s box, the Ports did not foul a single pitch out of the stadium.

The Ports tacked on an additional run in the 5th inning, bringing the score to 9-2. The Mavericks then bounced back scoring three runs in the 6th and 7th innings to come within one run of the Ports, giving Stockton a 9-8 advantage. I should note that due to the high score, the game was taking a considerable amount of time. The first three innings of the game took 3 hours, so it was 10pm when the 7th inning got underway. Given my lack of luck inside the stadium with 3rd out balls, I decided to shift my attention back outside to the parking lot for the 7th inning.

When a lefty is up, I stand on the 3rd base side of the parking lot. When I’m over there, this is my view looking in. Obviously, I don’t stand that close to the stadium, I usually am usually 20 feet deep in the parking lot. However, I will occasionally jump up to the fence in order to fully stay engaged with the game.

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When a right-handed hitter is up, I’ll move to the 1st-base side parking lot, where this is usually my view.

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It was here where I snagged my next two foul balls. 8 and 9 hitters Jabari Henry and Tim Lopes fouled balls back in nearly identical locations over the roof. For some reason, I only managed to photograph one of the two balls. Here it is:

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After High Desert brought it to a one-run game in the top of the 7th, the Ports quickly regained the lead, thanks to a pair of singles and an error. I spent the rest of the game inside, from my seat in the first row of 107.

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Stockton then added one more run in the 8th inning on a Chad Pinder home run. Down 12-8, High Desert aimed to make a comeback in the top of the 9th. They sent 7 hitters to the plate in the inning, scoring 2 more runs and bringing the score to 12-10. However, that was all that the Maverick offense could muster as Tucker Healy came in with 2 outs for the Ports, striking out High Desert left fielder Dario Pizzano for the final out of the game.

As soon as the final out was recorded, I jumped right next to the dugout, where I asked for the lineup card. I can’t recall who responded to my request, but when they pealed off the lineup card, there was a SECOND lineup card behind it, still taped to the wall from the NIGHT BEFORE. So, the person (it was probably a coach or someone like that) pealed the second one off the wall and handed them BOTH to me. WOW!

6 balls. 2 lineup cards. One great day. Thanks for reading!

BALLHAWKING STATS:

  • 5th Game of the Year… 2nd MiLB Game of the Year
  • 6 balls at this game
  • 10 MiLB Balls in 2 MiLB Games = 5 MiLB Balls Per Game
  • 11 Baseballs this Season
  • 105 Lifetime Minor League baseballs
  • 174 total balls

Nick Badders is a blogger for MLB.com. He writes the blogs Beyond the Outfield Fence and 7000 Coliseum WayYou can follow him on Twitter @RFNick149 and like him on Facebook. This blog entry was not subject to the approval of Minor League Baseball or its clubs.

4/12/14 at Banner Island Ballpark

Here we go, guys… My first game entry at BTOF.

It felt really good to be back in the BEAUTIFUL 209!

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Unfortunately, my dad and I got out of the house incredibly late. We didn’t get to Stockton until 4:50. BP started for the Ports around 4.

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Meanwhile, most of the players on the Visalia Rawhide were stretching on the field.

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The Ports were finishing up BP as I got there.

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Even though I didn’t get a ball during the Ports portion of BP, it was fun to watch the new players hit. This year’s squad is  incredibly talented!

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It was a fireworks night, so there was a group of people unloading some things out of a truck that I assume were related to fireworks.

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A bit after 5, Visalia began to take BP

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And it was DEAD! Only 2 balls came remotely close to leaving the stadium, and those both were insanely close.

On the bright side, the gates opened at 5:45, so I was able to catch the end of BP from inside.

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Gil Heredia is the Visalia pitching coach, and he was throwing BP when I got inside.

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I did get a ball during BP, though. While I was on the berm in center field, Rawhide pitcher Kieth Hessler tossed me a ball. BP was not particularly exciting for the Rawhide. A few balls cleared the fence, and I didn’t come close to either of them.

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Eventually, they pulled the cages in and I was stuck at one ball.

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However, the Rawhide still needed to take infield and outfield practice!

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I hung out by the Visalia dugout in hopes of getting someone to toss me a ball.

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And I did get one! Gil Heredia ended up tossing me a ball by the dugout.

The Ports new on-field emcee, Matt was rocking the Jackie Robinson jerseys that the Ports would be wearing.

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Because this was a fairly new team, I had a hard time recognizing any of players. It didn’t help that they all had the same # on!

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On the mound for the Ports was Seth Streich. Streich is pronounced “strike,” which is a great name for a pitcher!

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I don’t know who on the Rawhide this in, but I thought that the picture was really cool!

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Wasn’t it a great night for baseball?

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On the mound for Visalia was Jesse Darrah, who has a very cool last name.

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I spent most of this game in the parking lot chasing after foul balls. My first foul ball was in the second inning, hit by this man!

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Dusty Robinson!

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My second foul ball was hit in the 3rd inning, off the bat of Kevin Medrano, Visalia’s shortstop. After the 6th inning, I still only had two foul balls, so I came inside to watch a bit of the game. At this point, the score was 5-3 in favor of the Rawhide. The Ports had scored 2 runs in the first.

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As well as one in the 6th, however they were unable to regain their lead from early in the game.

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Streich did not pitch particularly well in this game, lasting only 5 innings and allowing 7 hits and three runs.

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When I came inside, I headed straight for the jersey table down the left field line, by the Ports team store. Right before the final out of the 7th was recorded, I threw down a bid for Jeremy Barfield’s #42 jersey. And I won it!

After the game, I was able to get the Visalia lineup card.

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Then I headed over to the other side of the field, where the Ports players were handing out their jerseys.

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They were all signing them as well.

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I wasn’t able to get a picture was Jeremy, but I was able to show him my 44 Pro Glove. That is the same brand of glove that he uses, which is part of the reason that I ordered it. He liked it a lot!

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After he left, I tried on the jersey. When I won it, the sheet said that it was a size 46, which fits me okay, but the jersey was a size FIFTY (50)!  In the end, I was able to trade it in for a jersey that hadn’t been worn by anyone, so it wasn’t signed. That was okay by me. I still loved the jersey. I apologize for the short entry. Given that I am writing this nearly two months after the actual game, it is hard to remember some of the details that I usually include.

Thanks for reading! Remember, I’m publishing a new blog entry every day!  Check out the list to find out what my next game entry will be!

  • Sunday, June 15th: 4/22/14 and 5/5/14 at the Oakland Coliseum (7000 Coliseum Way)
  • Monday, June 16th: 4/26/14 at Banner Island Ballpark
  • Tuesday, June 17th: 5/4/14 at Banner Island Ballpark
  • Wednesday, June 18th: 5/10/14 at the Oakland Coliseum(7000 Coliseum Way)
  • Thursday, June 19th: 5/11/14 at the Oakland Coliseum (7000 Coliseum Way)
  • Friday, June 20th: 5/25/14 at John Thurman Field
  • Saturday, June 21st: 5/30/14 at the Oakland Coliseum (7000 Coliseum Way)
  • Sunday, June 22nd: 6/13/14 at the Oakland Coliseum (7000 Coliseum Way)

BALLHAWKING STATS:

  • 3rd Game of the Year… 1st MiLB Game of the Year
  • 4 balls at this game
  • 4 MiLB Balls in 1 MiLB Game = 4 MiLB Balls Per Game
  • 3 Consecutive MiLB Games with at least 1 Ball
  • 5 Baseballs this Season
  • 99 Lifetime Minor League baseballs
  • 168 total balls

Nick Badders is a blogger for MLB.com. He writes the blogs Beyond the Outfield Fence and 7000 Coliseum WayYou can follow him on Twitter @RFNick149 and like him on Facebook. This blog entry was not subject to the approval of Minor League Baseball or its clubs.

Sacramento River Cats 2014 Preseason Party

About a week prior, I saw something on the River Cats website about their 2014 Preseason Party. After showing it to the rest of my family, they agreed that it looked like a fun time and good reason to get out of the house, so we decided to go!

That morning, my mom wasn’t feeling particularly well, so she decided to stay home. The three of us ended up getting out of the house a bit late, but we ended up arriving in Sacramento (Which is about an hour and 45 minutes minutes from our house) at 12:45.

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Given that it was a free event, I was looking forward to it, but given that I had never gone to their Preseason Party before, I wasn’t sure what exactly to expect. I wasn’t sure if it would be like a FanFest or just a little event, but either way, I was excited. When we got in, I immediately headed out to take a look at the field.

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See the batting cage set up on the field? I was pretty excited about that. No, not because there were any players taking BP (Everyone was at Spring Training!). Click on this link to check out why the cage was there.

Essentially, for a $20 minimum donation, fans have the opportunity to take a five-swing batting practice on the field. This benefits the recently vandalized River Cats Independence Field. The great thing about it was that the River Cats Foundation was willing to match every dollar raised. On the first weekend in March, River Cats Independence Field was vandalized , with nearly $25,000 in lost equipment. The equipment lost included  bats and balls, specialty wheelchairs, and beeping bases for the blind. The field is resurfaced with a custom rubberized turf, like that used for the track and field surfaces in the Paralympics.

My sister and I were both planning on partaking in this charity event. More on that in a bit.

Shortly after we got inside, we ran into Ben Christensen and his girlfriend AngieVanessa Demske, Eric Nelson, Jessica Franco, and Gustav Davilla. We talked for a while, then decide to set off on the River Cats tour, or savenger hunt of sorts. We were each given a map when we got in and decided to take off on it! Here is the field setup with the cages.

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We planned on starting with the clubhouse tour, so we made our way to center field.

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Then, we had to follow some signs and ropes…

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… and we were in the River Cats clubhouse!

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Some of the lockers were set up with jerseys or other items from past River Cats players.

Xo

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While we were in the clubhouse, I got a picture of this sheet that I saw on the wall… BP Times!

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We then left the clubhouse and headed off on the rest of our self-guided tour!

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We got to walk behind the outfield fence, which I thought was pretty cool.

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Soon, we were back out on the right field berm again.

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And look who was hitting in the cage at the time! That Adam (@RFWavekiller on Twitter), who sits in Section 148.

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He put some good swings on the ball!

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On the scavenger hunt list, we had to to go 8 different places and get a stamp at each. One of the locations on the list was this seating area.

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Nice view of the field!

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This painting was especially neat.

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When it was time to head downstairs, we passed this really cool elevator.

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Then, it was time to check out the wall of fame.

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How cool is this ceiling??

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There were TONS of jerseys hanging on the wall of former River Cats players.

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Shortly thereafter, we ended up ON THE FIELD.

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There, there was information about a special seating area right behind home plate. No, the seating area is not on the field.

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Before we left, my dad took a picture of the group of us who had stuck together for the tour.. From left to right: Eric, Gustav, Jessica, Vanessa, MEEEEE, Pascale, Angie, and Ben.

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Here is a panorama I got while we were on the field…

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Then, we decided to sign up for BP. We were unable to at first, but in the end, my sister and I were able to be the last two people to sign up!

There, I finally got to meet the AMAZING person behind the River Cats twitter account. Without a doubt, the River Cats have the best Twitter account in all of Minor League Baseball. If you don’t follow them, you are doing something wrong.

There, he took a picture of us for the River Cats twitter account…

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Soon, it was on the scoreboard!

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The tweets from that account are AMAZING. You may remember the argument that the River Cats had with the Reno Aces during the offseason. Those are the kind of Tweets you can expect on your timeline on a regular basis if you give them a follow.

Soon, my sister and I headed into the dugout for BP on the field.

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You may notice that I’m wearing a different hat in the picture above than I was at the start of the entry! Before we signed up for BP, we made a stop by the team store, where I picked up the River Cats new Diamond Era hat. While we were in a team store, I took the opportunity to take a picture of the infamous right handed Barry Zito bobblehead. It looks just like him!

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While in the dugout, we explored, sat in some different places, and had a really good time!

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First up in the cage was Pascale.

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Here is the picture of her that the River Cats posted on their Facebook page.

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I love it!

Here is the picture of me…

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I’m not a huge fan of that picture, but I’m sharing it with you guys anyway because I love you.

They were using a pitching machine, and I’ll be honest. The pitches were horrible.

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See what I’m talking about?

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I was going Adrian Beltre on those pitches!

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In the end, I made solid contact on all 5 pitches. And that’s what matters, right? Pascale and I both had a great time, and the money went to a good cause. That’s a win-win!

After BP ended, Vanessa took a picture of me, Pascale, and my dad.

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It was a great day! Thanks to the River Cats for putting on such a great event! I will be back next year for sure!

Nick Badders is a blogger for MLB.com. He writes the blogs Beyond the Outfield Fence and 7000 Coliseum Way. You can follow him on Twitter @RFNick149 and like him on Facebook. This blog entry was not subject to the approval of Minor League Baseball or its clubs.

Stockton Ports Promotional Schedule

I’m looking forward to going to many more Stockton Ports and Modesto Nuts games this year, along with hopefully a few River Cats and San Jose Giants games.

In the past few years that I have been going to games, the Ports have done a great job with their promotional schedule! I know promotions and giveaways are not exactly fun for a ballhawk, but at the Minor League level, I have found that they still can be!

A little while back, the Ports released their promotional schedule,  however they did it in a special way. They released the 2014 Promotional Calendar in 6 waves, over the course of two weeks, much like they did last year.

According to their website, the Ports were “recently listed in the Veritix Sports Marketing “Best of 2013″ Newsletter for the unique release of last season’s promotional calendar.”

Each wave of the promotional calendar was a different type of promotion. They included Fireworks dates, Celebrity Appearances, Giveaway Items, Theme Nights, Player Interaction Days and Day of Week. Here was the schedule they used for the promotional calendar release dates, each time at 10am. The schedule ran from January 27th to February 7th.

  • Monday, January 27th- Fireworks Dates
  • Wednesday, January 29th- Celebrity Appearances
  • Friday, January 31st- Giveaway Items
  • Monday, February 3rd- Theme Nights
  • Wednesday, February 5th- Player Interaction Days
  • Friday, February 7th – Day of Week Promotions

In this blog entry, I will walk through the Ports promotional schedule with you, release day by release day.

On January 27th, in the first of six official waves of the 2014 promo calendar, the Ports announced 14 Fireworks shows for the 2014 season. This is an increase of two shows from 2013.

Here is a list of Ports fireworks shows for the 2014 season:

  • Thursday, April 10 (Opening Night)
  • Saturday, April 1
  • Saturday, April 26
  • Saturday, May 3
  • Saturday, May 17
  • Saturday, May 31
  • Saturday, June 7
  • Saturday, June 21
  • Thursday, July 3
  • Saturday, July 12
  • Friday, July 25
  • Friday, August 8
  • Friday, August 15
  • Saturday, August 16

Personally, I am not a huge fan of firework shows, but the Ports always do a great job with theirs!

On January 29th, in the second of six official waves of the 2014 promo calendar, the Ports announced three different celebrities to visit Banner Island Ballpark for games.

  • The first celebrity appearance will be Dennis Haskins, on Friday, April 25th. He played Bayside High School’s Principal, Mr. Belding, in the sitcom Saved by the Bell. This is also 90’s Night.
  • The second celebrity appearance will be on Friday, June 20th, with Kevin Mitchell. He was the 1989 National League MVP who is known best for his playing career with the San Francisco Giants , however his final professional season was with Oakland in 1998. He’ll be there to sign autographs for fans and for for a pre-game ceremony.
  • The third and final celebrity appearance will be on Saturday, June 21st. James Garner will be in Stockton with his Tribute to Johnny cash. This is his second Banner Island Ballpark, as he performed in 2012 as well.

Which celebrity appearance do you think is the coolest? Which should Ports fans be looking forward to the most?

On January 31st, in the third of six official waves of the 2014 promo calendar, the Ports announced their 2014 Giveaway calendar.

This year, the Ports will have 21 different giveaway days, usually the first 1000 fans. They range from hats, to bobbleheads, to pennants, and even sunglasses.

Like they did in 2013, the Ports will have hat giveaways for almost all Thursday home games, for the first 500 fans. This year, they have 5 different hat giveaway dates: April 24th, May 29th, June 19th, July 10th, and August 28th.

Outside of hats, the ports have 16 other giveaway dates. Here is a list of the giveaways, sorted by date, including the sponsor and a number for the giveaway if it is different than 1000 items.

Date Giveaway Sponsor
Thursday, April 10th Magnetic Schedule (2,500 fans)

Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort

Friday, April 11th Running Gus Logo Baseball

Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort

Sunday, April 27th Ports Sunglasses (500 fans)
Friday, May 2nd

Oakland A’s 2013 AL West Division Champions Pennant

Friday, May 16th Fleece Blanket ScholarShare
Saturday, May 17th

45th Anniversary of the California League Champions 1969 Team Photo

Friday, May 30th Josh Donaldson Bobblehead
Sunday, June 1st Prostate Cancer Awareness Wristband Sutter Health Medical Center
Friday, June 6th Addison Russell Mesh Jersey EZ Networks
Friday, July 11th Splash Cereal Bowl Delk Pest Control
Saturday, July 26th Sean Doolittle Bobblehead BloodSource
Sunday, July 27th Team Card Set (500 fans)
Saturday, August 9th Welcome Mat Realty World
Sunday, August 10th 2014 Team Photo (500 fans)
Sunday, August 17th A.J. Griffin T-Shirt Jersey
Wednesday, August 27th Season Recap Poster

So. Which giveaway is your favorite? Which one would you want the most? Which one do you like the most?

Then, on February 3rd, in the fourth of six official waves of the 2014 promo calendar, the Ports announced their theme nights that will be taking place at Banner Island Ballpark in 2014.

Here is a complete list of the theme nights and the date for each theme night.

Date Theme
Saturday, April 12th Jackie Robinson Night (Includes Jersey Auction)
Friday, April 25th 90’s Night
Saturday/Sunday, April 26th/27th Anchor Fund Weekend
Friday, May 2nd West Coast Conference Night
Sunday, May 4th Star Wars: May the Fourth Be With You
Thursday, May 15th Education Day
Saturday, May 17th Alumni Night
Sunday, May 18th Bark in the Ballpark
Monday, May 19th Education Day
Sunday, June 1st Sutter Health Medical Center Prostate Cancer Awareness Day (Includes Jersey Auction)
Sunday, June 8th Root Beer Float Day
Thursday, July 3rd Independence Day Celebration (Includes Hat Auction)
Saturday, July 12th Princess Night
Friday, July 25th Scout Night
Sunday, July 27th Kids Run the Park
Friday, August 8th Pink Night (Includes Jersey Auction)
Sunday, August 10th Splash’s Birthday
Saturday, August 16th Faith Night
Sunday, August 17th Fan Appreciation Day

Last year, I attended Splash’s Birthday and Pink Night.

Which is your favorite Ports theme night for 2014? Chose your 3 favorites.

On February 5th, in the fifth of six official waves of the 2014 promo calendar, the Ports announced their player interaction dates for the 2014 season.

Here is how that list looks:

  • Sunday, April 13th: Fan Photo Day I attended this day last year. Fans get to take photos on the field with Stockton Ports players prior to the game, which is really fun.
  • Saturday-Sunday April 26th-27th: Anchor Fund Weekend This date will feature pre-game player autograph booths as well as a community raffle. All of the proceeds over the weekend benefit the Stockton Ports Anchor Fund, which is the Stockton Ports community fund.
  • Wednesday, May 28th: SCAN Silver Slugger Meet and Greet (Members Only) The SCAN Silver Sluggers Club is the Ports club for fans aged 55 and older. On this day, members get to participate in a special Meet and Greet with Ports players before the game.
  • Sunday, July 13th: Subway Kids’ Club Meet and Greet (Members Only) The Subway Kids Club is the Ports kids club, like the name implies! All members have the opportunity to meet players and get autographs before the game.
  • Wednesday, August 27th: Fan Appreciation Day This is pretty self-explanatory. At this game, the Ports will be hosting autograph sessions and giveaway raffles to thank their fans for the dedication all season long.

Which player interaction day do you like the most?

Finally, on February 7th, in the last of six official waves of the 2014 promomotion calendar, the Ports announced their Day of the Week promotions for the 2014 season.

Here is a complete list of their 2014 Day of the Week Promotions:

Day of the Week Promotion
Monday 2 Buck Mondays – $2.00 tickets, hot dogs, and sodas
Tuesday ScholarShare Tuesday Family Pack
4 tacos, 4 tickets, and 4 sodas for $40.00
Wednesday SCAN Silver Sluggers and
Baseball Bingo sponsored by Food 4 Less
Thursday Thirsty Thursdays – $2.00 beers or sodas until 8:00pm
*Excludes Opening Night and July 3rd Game
Sunday Subway Kids’ Club and MetroPCS Sundays

Metro PCS Sundays are where fans can visit various MetroPCS locations to pick up a Home Run Hill $1 ticket voucher.

Which DOW promotion do you like the most?

Well, there you have it! The Stockton Ports 2014 Promotional Schedule! Let me know what you think in the comments below. Do you like the way they released it? What is your favorite promotion? Remember to vote in all of the polls. And most importantly… Thanks for reading!

Nick Badders is a blogger for MLB.com. He writes the blogs Beyond the Outfield Fence and 7000 Coliseum Way. You can follow him on Twitter @RFNick149 and like him on Facebook. This blog entry was not subject to the approval of Minor League Baseball or its clubs.

Welcome to BTOF!

Hey everyone!

Welcome to Beyond the Outfield Fence, my new Minor League Baseball Blog. From now on, I will be writing about all of my Minor League games, as well as any Minor League news or posts I would like to share with you.

In my opinion, Minor and Major league games are so different, I want to share them both with you, but not in the same place. From now on, all MLB-related posts will be over at 7000 Coliseum Way. All of my MiLB-related posts will be here, at Beyond the Outfield Fence, which I will often refer to as BTOF.

How did I come up with the name for BTOF? When coming up with a name for my Minor League blog, I wanted something that represents MiLB ballhawking and baseball. The Minor Leagues are unique because many stadiums have fantastic opportunities to snag baseballs outside of the stadium during batting practice. In Stockton for BP, I stand behind a chain link  fence on a dirt field. This field is just beyond the outfield fence. In Modesto, I stand in a grass field, beyond the outfield fence.

For me, the name encapsulates Minor League ballhawking, as well as the Minor League Baseball experience, the two main things I plan on sharing at this blog.

So, from now on, all MiLB-related posts will be here and all MLB-related posts will be at 7000 Coliseum Way. Does that make sense?

Like I mentioned, I plan on writing about all of my MiLB games, as well as any MiLB events or news I have to share with you.

Now, I have a question for everyone. What should I do with the Minor League entries at 7000 Coliseum Way? There are 3 options…

  1. I can keep all past Minor League blog entries at 7000 Coliseum Way.
  2. I can move all past Minor League blog entries to Beyond the Outfield Fence. That would mean all of my MiLB posts from 2012 and 2013 would only be here, no longer at 7000 Coliseum Way.
  3. I can have my past MiLB entries at both blogs. MiLB entries are a part of 7000 Coliseum Way’s history. However, they are Minor League posts, so I could have them here as well as there.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE vote down below. My next post here will be an announcement as to what I have decided to do.

That is all for this entry. Don’t forget to vote and keep checking back often both here and at 7000 Coliseum Way for new updates.

Nick Badders is a blogger for MLB.com. He writes the blogs Beyond the Outfield Fence and 7000 Coliseum Way. You can follow him on Twitter @RFNick149 and like him on Facebook. This blog entry was not subject to the approval of Minor League Baseball or its clubs.

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