Houston Astros 7 – Oakland Athletics 2
O.co Coliseum – Oakland, CA
April 14, 2017
My thoughts on O.co Coliseum?
The fact that I had to use a movie that is set on the other side of the Bay tells you where my thoughts and heart was truly at…
But a new stadium is a new stadium and seeing Trevor Plouffe for the first time in 2017 – and first time as a non-Twin – were the selling points that kept me going. And before I keep dumping on O.co, I will give it a bit of a positive selling point… at least it isn’t the Metrodome. If not for sentimental reasons, it would be obvious for anyone (including Twins fans) to agree that the Metrodome was the worst. The Coliseum is at least home to outdoor baseball, and for that, it has infinitely more “stadium points” than the Dome.
With totals on this trip of 7 and 7, I was hoping for… you guessed it, SEVEN! But I also knew that this stadium was tough. There are very few areas in fair territory to snag any BP bombs, and I was at a disadvantage because I knew NOTHING about this stadium. I had done absolutely NO homework outside of “where are the best and closest seats to see Plouffe?”
So I knew that once again I’d be dependent on toss-ups. This method is kind of my specialty, but not exactly a sexy way of getting balls. In fact, I don’t really have the most fun just playing for BP toss-ups. I’d rather catch them, run around, and if I get a toss-up, I’d want it to be a 3rd out toss-up during a game. That isn’t to say I hate ballhawking via toss-ups, it’s still way better and keeps me attentive and having fun, but it’s not nearly as great as making sweet catches.
The reason why I don;t do as much running around during BP, though, is twofold:
- In “foreign stadiums” I don’t want to do anything that will hurt me. Plus, I don’t know the stadium, so I could easily play things terribly, leading to a hurt ego or worse.
- Most of the time there are other (younger) fans going for those balls, and I’d rather see them get those souvenirs. I go ahead and try for balls that wouldn’t otherwise reach the seats; it is there that I feel like I am doing my best to not “take balls away from kids”.
But let’s back up now and cover the baseballs and experience itself. My luck from San Francisco carried over, so this tale of “ballhawking in Oakland” doesn’t start in the stadium…
When I arrived at the park, I arrived early. Like 3 pm, “there before a lot of workers” early. As I locked up my bike and walked over towards the gates I noticed something peculiar, a ball lying in the street. No one else was around and the only vehicle that had passed was a golf-cart type of vehicle (like the ones that the grounds crew uses). So I walked up to the ball and noticed that it was not only an OMLB, but a Bud Selig ball. How it got there is beyond me, only speculation could ever give this ball a backstory.
Once inside I got three more toss-ups in varying sections/scenarios, followed by another weird/phantom ball. I was waiting behind the Astros’ dugout, hoping for a toss-up when I felt something hit the back of my shoe. I thought it might be a ball, but I was confused why that would be the case, so I looked down. Sure enough, it was a mud-rubbed, beautiful ball. There were only a handful of people behind me and they were many rows above me. None of them seemed to notice or care – none of them signaled a lost ball, either. So I kept looking around and waited, but no one claimed it.
Where did these two weird balls come from?! My first and fifth of the night were strange. I had never experienced ANYTHING like this before. Is Oakland haunted? Whatever the case, my luck would soon turn.
During warm-ups, Trevor Plouffe came running in with a ball and tossed it towards me. I was not expecting it, as I was talking to the couple from Montreal who were sitting next to me. My glove wasn’t ready and I only put it together a split-second before he tossed it. The throw was slightly off and so it ended up with someone else. Damn. Unable to get a ball from my favorite player, and that was probably my best chance.
I waited throughout the night for a 3rd out toss-up, but apparently the first row was a bad choice. I was also at the end of the dugout that was technically above the grounds crew and not the Athletics, so my angle was not the best either. But after the 7th inning, I finally got a gamer. Thanks, Ryon! My streak of 4+ balls and streak of gamers was still alive after enduring the Bay Area.
In the bottom of the 9th, Trevor Plouffe (who had a rough night until then) hit his first HR as an Athletic. I was so happy that I was there to witness it. Unfortunately that solo shot was not enough to complete the comeback and for the 3rd straight game I was in attendance for on this road trip, the home team had lost.
Even though Trevor was probably bummed about the outcome and about the 8.5 innings he played before that dong, he was still kind enough to come out and say a quick hello after the game. The fact that he also gave me a couple pairs of batting gloves was icing on the cake. This was a great send off for me on this road trip, and one that had me feeling like I was way luckier than I should be.
Ball 1 – Easter egg
Ball 2 – Unknown Athletic
Ball 3 – A’s coach
Ball 4 – Unknown Astro
Ball 5 – Unknown Astro
Ball 6 – Ryon Healy
MVP Thank Yous:
- Trevor Plouffe – for the batting gloves and more importantly… still being a nice dude
As you may have been able to tell, I am running low on storage space via WordPress. I have resorted to posting one collage per post, but I miss having extra pix, especially showcasing some panos from new stadiums. If you have a good work around or would like to see them posted somewhere else, let me know. If interest is high enough, I could be swayed to additional platforms.