8/20/09 Tigers vs. Mariners

 

Comerica Park1

            No batting practice here is worse than no batting practice at Yankee Stadium. Shocking right? At Comerica Park you have 90 minutes of time before the game starts, not so strict security, and dugout and bullpen areas accessible. At New Yankee Stadium you have 3 hours of time before the game starts, semi-to-strict security, and the dugouts aren’t accessible, but the bullpens are. At Yankee Stadium the extra 90 minutes gives much more times to get baseballs and the strict security keeps out the not-so-skilled people. At Comerica Park it’s only 90 minutes and security lets people move freely. So there are much more crowds and much less opportunities at Comerica.

            Because of the way Comerica is run I only got two balls before the game, and it took a while to get both of them.

            My 1st baseball started off soon after the gates opened. After the gates opened I ran inside and saw that the tarp was on the field, but I also saw that two Tigers were running along the foul line. Not good. The people (Armando Gallaraga and a trainer) hadn’t thrown yet because they needed to get loose first (running) so by the time they would start throwing a crowd would have formed.

People Running

            That was exactly what happened. They started throwing a while later, during which some more players came out to throw also in front of a large crowd with many kids.

Players Walking Out1

           Those players were Ryan Perry and a Translator for Tainwanese pitcher Fu-Te Ni, who was throwing with Zach Miner. A loose ball ended up getting away from the Translator, and it rolled to the wall, but somebody scooped the ball from over the wall. And then they finished first and tossed the ball to somebody else. Fu-Te Ni and Zach Miner finished soon after, and since I positioned myself right behind them, they tossed me the ball before they went in (1st ball).

Zach Miner Baseball

             I went over to the Mariners side where some pitchers were throwing, but I picked the wrong place every time. Although after David Aardsma threw I got his autograph for my 1st autograph.

David Aardsma Signing1

Then when King Felix Hernandez (who suddenly became nice this season) started signing a bit further down the foul line a bit later I got him to sign my 2nd autograph.
Felix Hernandez Signing1

            There was only one pair left throwing over by the Mariners, but the Tigers had a couple, so I went over there. But before I got to where the people were throwing lets get to some players signing. From the other side of the stadium I could see that Fu-Te Ni, Ryan Perry and Zach Miner were signing on the foul line for an incredibly long time. But by the time that I got over there Zach Miner was no longer signing and Ryan and Fu-Te were in close proximity. I tried getting Fu-Te, but it seemed as though he was only signing for people who had a spot on the wall, so I got Ryan Perry first for my 3rd autograph.

Ryan Perry Signing

            Then I moved about 15 feet to the right of Fu-Te and grabbed a spot on the wall. I was right and he signed for me, my 4th autograph.

Fu-Te Ni Signing1

Then I moved down to where the pitchers were throwing, but no baseballs were to be had, only an autograph, Fernando Rodney. I don’t get why ALL the kids were calling him “Rodney”. Not “Fernando”, not “Mr. Rodney”, just “Rodney”. Well anyway I got “Fernando Rodney” for my 5th autograph after waiting for a bit.
Fernando Rodney Signing1

            It was getting right before game time and I only had one ball. It was one of the worst beginnings I’ve had. I had to recuperate and snag a few more baseballs, so when I looked at the crowds on each side I picked the visiting team’s side. It was a good choice; I would’ve had no chance over by the Tigers side, but by the Mariners side? I was the only person there, so I was the only Mariners fan. It was too easy, so when Michael Saunders and Jack Hannahan started throwing where the players stretch the ball was as good as mine. Michael ended up with it, saw my Mariners stuff, and flung me the ball as I ran forward and made the back-handed grab for my 2nd ball.

Off-Center Ball # 233

There were no more pre-game throwing except at the dugout, where Jose Lopez threw with someone I couldn’t remember. But he didn’t give the ball out. So I was trying to think of how to salvage my day. Should I try for third out balls first before the competition gets too intense? What about pre-inning warm-up balls? Should I go for foul balls? I looked at the area behind home plate and noticed that there were no second, third, fourth, etc. deck seats where foul balls would land, so they would bounce down to field level (or land in little openings). And also there was also a cross-aisle running right through the seats all through the seats. It seemed perfect so I had to go for it. It was a good decision. This was my view for lefties:
View for Lefties1

And my view for Righties:

View for Righties1

And my view to my left:

View to Left2

It was in the Top of the 1st Inning, the third batter of the inning. Jose Lopez was batting against Jarrod Washburn, who isn’t exactly a flame thrower. Jarrod Washburn was pitching. He loaded the count with a sinker down in the zone and then two back-to-back change-ups in basically the same spot. Apparently Jose wasn’t given the red light because he swung at the next pitch, a sinker on the outside part of the plate and fouled it off, but not back. But on the next pitch, a fastball up and in, a ball, he did. He basically fouled it straight back. It was going in a high arc to my left, so I ran over there. It landed in the second row of the Tigers’ Den (look at the first photo above) right next to a guy sitting down in a red shirt. But luckily it rolled down in the first row. It came into view underneath a seat and it started rolling towards me, so I stuck my arm through some metal bars and tried grabbing the ball. I pulled my arm out and in it was my 3rd baseball of the day and 2nd lifetime game ball! I didn’t know what to do, so I just held up the ball for a second and then went back to work. I scrapped my arm a bit from the metal bars, and the ball was a little scrapped from hitting the concrete, but I had the ball. Like I said it was scrapped a bit from the concrete underneath the MLB Player Silhouette and the Rawlings text had a bat mark on it, smudging it.
2nd Lifetime Game Ball1
2nd Lifetime Game Ball2

Even though I got that foul ball 3 baseballs wasn’t enough, but I wanted another foul ball. So I would go for foul balls for the first two outs, and when the second out was made I would head to the dugout of the team that would be coming off the field. I didn’t get any baseballs until the game was official. I ran down to the front row when the out was made for the bottom of the 5th. Russell Branyan of the Mariners started jogging in with the ball he used to make the out and looked into the crowd. He looked into the crowd, flipped a ball up in the air, caught it back in his hand, and then tossed it to me, my 4th ball.

Russell Brayan Baseball

            There was a light drizzle about a inning later, but soon that light drizzle turned into rain. Rain hard enough to stop the rain and make me wet, but I realized that there would be a baseball that I could get from the Home Plate Umpire coming off the field. The baseballs would be ruined from the game, so he would want to get rid of them, right? But instead of going in through the umpire’s tunnel he went through the home dugout. But he must’ve not been allowed there because he, and another ump, soon came out and headed for the tunnel. I was at the top of the steps at that point, so I ran back down into the seats. He looked up and saw me coming down the steps, pulled a ball out of his pocket and flipped me my 5th baseball and then went in the tunnel.

Dan Iassonga Baseball

The Home Plate Umpire turned out to be Dan Iassonga.

Dan Iassonga.jpg

            Even though I had used up the dugouts I still got higher than my average. You see there are these things called bullpens that usually use up a lot of baseballs during the game. In the 8th Inning I went to one of them, the Tigers’ bullpen. Bobby Seay and Fernando Rodney were warming up in the bullpen.
Bobby Seay and Fernando Rodney Throwing

             Bobby was the one to go into the game, but instead of immediately giving the baseball out he put it on the pitchers mound where it laid untouched until I asked bullpen coach Jeff Jones for the ball. He walked over, picked up the ball and tossed it to me, my 6th ball.

Ball No. 237

            And then I moved over to the bullpen to my left, the Mariners’ bullpen. David Aardsma was warming up there. When they were done I asked the bullpen catcher, Jason Philips,

Jason Philips1

For the ball, but he said hold on a second and gave the ball to John Wetteland, and then he grabbed a ball from the bag and flipped it to me, my 7th ball, the last one of the day.
Thumbnail image for David Aardsma Warming Up

Long story short, never, EVER go to Comerica Park if there is the slightest chance of no batting practice. It’s horrible, not worth you time. New Yankee Stadium is starting to look very good to me.
2nd Lifetime Game Ball3

Stats:

  • 7 MLB Balls Today
  • 5 MLB Autographs Today
  • 163 MLB Autographs in this Season
  • 202 Total Autographs in this Season
  • 238 MLB Balls in this Season
  • 259 Total Balls in this Season
  • 6 Thrown, 1 Hit
  • 1 BP, 1 Pre-Game, 5 During
  • Attendance: 31,167 People
  • Competition Factor: 218,169
  • 6.26 Balls / 1 Game
  • 38 Consecutive Games with at least 3 MLB Baseballs
  • 28 Consecutive Games with at least 1 MLB Autograph
  • 23 Consecutive Games with at least 4 MLB Baseballs

 

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