So as I talked about on the blog for Friday’s game, I was hoping that on Saturday I would be able to meet up with J.P. Arencibia to return his first career grand slam ball to him, and *hopefully* get something in return.
Well, here goes.
I tweeted at Arencibia when I got home from the game, and got an e-mail the following morning:
Followed by a direct message:
So there it was.
At batting practice that day, I snagged one ground rule double during Orioles BP, and as soon as the Jays started hitting, I jolted over to the Jays dugout.
Arencibia was in the first group, so as I waited for him to finish, Zevi (welcome home from Israel!) took this photo of me with the ball:
When we saw J.P. finish hitting and walking to the dugout, I shouted to him that I had the ball. Right then, the usher let me down into the area by the dugout, I handed the ball of to J.P.:
And as he took it and I said congrats, he said “hold on, I want to go get you a bat.” Um, okay!
So he went off:
And came back with a gorgeous new bat. Black, shiny, and brand spankin’ new. I had a silver sharpie on me (thank you Tim for randomly having bought them that day and lending it to me!), so he signed it beautifully by the engraved name:
And I got a picture with him (at an awkward angle sorta):
I thanked him a ton and congratulated him again, Then he went off to do catcher stuff.
I got a few more pics with the bat:
And one of Zevi with it, thanking him for taking all the photos while this happened:
Then, with all the ushers eyeing me, I had to go to fan assistance to turn the bat in. They make you do that, then pick it up at the end of the game. The whole “it could be used as a weapon” thing.
Since it was Zevi’s first game back, and we both had gotten a baseball (and hell, a bat!), we decided to go chill down the 3B line and talk to Tom the security guy and just hang out.
So… I randomly got my picture taken with Luis Perez:
And Frank Francisco (laughing. He was being hilarious right before the picture, making some funny poses):
Plus, it was getting pretty crowded in LF anyways:
When Arencibia came out to warm up, I thanked and congratulated him again:
And then chilled in left field during the game. I just remember wanting the game to end so I could go get my bat asap.
And I did.
Here it is:
When I got back to my apartment and took those photos, I couldn’t help but sit there and hold it for a while. It is a glorious object.
Then Sunday came. I went to the game late. I knew it was Little League Day so there’d be no BP and I’d probably get shut out since the last two days, no Jays players threw pre-game.
But whaddya know. Corey Patterson (high socks-less) and Rajai Davis were throwing:
And I got Rajai to toss me the ball afterward.
Chilled on club level with Zevi, Segev (and his brother), Matt, Matt G (and friends). In the shade. It was nice. And not in foul ball area, mainly because both lineups were all righties and we were on the 3B side, but we didn’t care. Was a relaxing day.
And I dropped my spoon eating ice cream, so instead, ate it with a soft pretzel:
That was the excitement of the day.
That, and the nuns Tim and I spotted pre-game:
Along with this guy in an Orioles Laird shirt (LOL):
Oh, and Tim sat out in CF (LF was packed) and got screwed by both Adam Lind HRs that were right near him but in clumps of people that he couldn’t get into. Almost got shut out, but I was happy to hear he did get an ump ball after the game.
Oh, and the Orioles lost. So they only got Saturday’s win in the series. Woo. We won’t talk about the Mark Reynolds grand slam I should have had on Saturday. Now THAT would have been a news story.
The beginning to this day was quite uneventful. While that did turn around quickly by mid-game, here’s the rundown.
BP. 0 during Orioles portion. Went over to the Blue Jays pitchers warming up and whoever was playing catch with Octavio Dotel (I don’t remember who, but here’s Octavio):
overthrew a ball into the seats. I got it off a bounce, Octavio asked for it back and said he’d give it to me when they were done. Either way, that counted towards my statline, so I was satisfied that I wouldn’t be shut out. Then, a Blue Jays hitter shot a ball down the foul line, which Dotel picked up, tossed to me, then muttered “now I don’t owe you.”
What did this mean for me? Ball number two. See, had he not done that and in the end just chucked me his warmup ball, it would have counted as one considering it was the same ball. BUT, being a loophole of sorts, since the ball he tossed me was unrelated to the other one, it could count as ball number two on the day.
I went back to LF for most of Jays BP. Jose Bautista launched a bunch, but I got none of them. I did, however, snag 2 on the fly, both impressively. One was a jump right behind Ben and Matt, the other was a snag on the move. I don’t know either hitter.
Here are some shots of Jays BP:
That last one, of Correeeeeyyyyy Patterson, shows him standing around. Why is this interesting? For one, I love Corey. For two (for two???), he wasn’t wearing high socks. I shouted to him asking where they were, he turned and said something back while also signaling an odd revolution of his hands or something. No idea what he said. Maybe that he’d put them on tomorrow, or before the game, or that he built a time machine. I have no idea.
Fast forward to pre-game stretching. Mike McCoy and Eric Thames came over to talk to some people they knew:
And I got McCoy on my ticket (pictured later) and Thames on a ball (and also a ticket):
Turns out Thames was sent back to the minor leagues after the game. He was a rookie I found out, so figured I’d get him to sign a ball, and if he ever pans out, maybe it’ll be cool to have. Who knows.
Kyle Drabek quickly came out to talk to someone, so I snagged his autograph as well, specially requesting that he write his number with it (something he generally wasn’t doing while signing). Why? He’s #4, the only single digit pitcher in baseball. Read more here.
And here’s a picture of the ticket, with the 3 guys:
My 3 baseballs on the day (#3 of 4 was the one I gave back but still count on stats):
And then the game started. They did Oh Canada with the Star Spangled Banner:
I wasted two innings randomly around the Jays dugout:
And finally wandered out to left field to chillax with my peeps. Peeps being Matt Gardner (and yes, I will always refer to him with his last name since whenever I just say Matt, it refers to the older Matt, who you can read about here), his friend Josh Hamilton (of the Texas Rangers), and Todd.
Let’s just say this. The Orioles may have lost this game 8-4, but Avi didn’t lose completely.
When J.P. Arencibia, Blue Jays rookie catcher, stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and two out in the 5th inning, I turned to Matt G and said how I would wanna catch a rookie grand slam. Jokingly, people! I love the Orioles, okay?!
But what happened next?
That’s right. Arencibia smacked a shot to my section, just a chunk of seats down from me. Funny thing is, and if you watch the video you’ll see how it is I react, but I didn’t see it coming until its flight down (was probably preoccupied talking or something), so I jumped up and ran over, avoiding two dudes. I got to the spot, it bobbled off of two other people and right into my glove. I closed it, held with two hands, and got out of the mess of drunk people. That’s how I remember it. But yeah, watch the clip to see.
Here are some screenshots:
Me moving into action:
Me realizing I had the ball:
Me coming out of the pile with the ball in glove:
The people labeled there, for fun, are 1) Todd 2) Matt G’s friend 3) Matt G 4) Tim 5) Matt Arrow) Me.
Me coming away with it:
Then Tim came over a few rows down and tossed me a ball to throw back, mainly to shut up all the shouting fans taunting me. So I threw it back. Let’s just say the ball had some obnoxious stuff drawn on it, and when Adam Jones picked it up in CF, he cracked up and gave us a thumbs up, and kept laughing as he threw it in. We also got later word from a friend that he saw guys in the Jays dugout laughing at a baseball. Funny.
I got a tweet last night from a guy named Kyle (give him a follow on Twitter: @kyle_mace) who I met twice before at games, and he had pictures of me throwing the ball back. Let’s see those!
Me stretching back to throw:
Right after the throw. Can you spot the ball?
No? Here’s a close-up:
And all the drunk people around me celebrating even though they saw the ball switch:
Here’s the ball in all its glory:
Turns out Arencibia wants the ball (Matt talked to him postgame by the dugout, where I stupidly was NOT). So I’m hoping tomorrow to meet up with him and get it to him. Will I get something in return? I may ask, may not. Not worried about it. I think it’ll be cool to just do that, get the ball back to him, and hopefully get a picture with him. I’d be satisfied even with that.
After the game, though, Matt G was kind enough to take a picture of me with the ball (Akron soccer represent!):
And then I chilled by the players lot with Donna and peeps and headed back to mi casa (or however you say my apartment in Spanish). Now, as I’m writing this, I’m about to head out to the next game of this series. Will update when I get back as to how the whole ball to Arencibia thing went. I have been in contact with him this morning, so we shall see!
In the mean time, here’s random stuff about the grand slam that I thought I’d share:
It’s my 4th career game home run snag and 1st grand slam.
Here are some tweets about it:
And links to stuff:
J.P. Arencibia’s postgame interview here.
I don’t know what else I had in mind to put in this section when I wrote that, so for now, it’s just that link.
This is WAY overdue, and may not be too in-detail, but hell, here it is.
Wednesday, May 25th
4 BP baseballs.
Some autographs from the Royals:
A tribute to Royals old announcer Paul Splittorff:
Sitting behind the opposing dugout again:
Then the outfield a few innings in.
And that was it. I don’t remember much more, but undoubtedly more happened.
Thursday, May 26th
Weather Day/Field Trip Day at a 12:35 game = hell:
So Donna, myself, and her friend were the only non-Field Trip people there:
I managed 5 baseballs still somehow.
Tossup from Sean O’Sullivan when he warmed up down the line, followed by one from the trainer nearby out of a big pile (I was the only one there asking).
Jeff Francoeur overthrew a ball while warming up and said I could keep it:
Then, Mike Aviles came over to talk to people he knew. Not only did he sign my ticket:
But I asked for his warmup ball when he finished. He said sure. Tom (security guy) heard this, so he knew I was owed a ball.
Well, Wilson Betemit finished throwing, and threw his ball towards my area of people. It was bobbled by some, and landed on the field. Tom assumed it was the one promised to me, so he picked it up and handed it over. I told him how it wasn’t (we laughed) and I handed it off to a girl waving a Royals sign. Then, Aviles (as promised) put his warmup ball in my glove as he jogged by.
More autographs on back of season ticket (including Joakim Soria, Robinson Tejeda (DFA’d next day), and someone else):
Mission accomplished (I think?).
Spent the game in the left field seats getting fried by the sun with Matt Gardner. He’s the man to watch baseball with.
Gorgeous day, but it was like 40 bajillion degrees with like 80 bajillion percent humidity.
So of course, when we went up to club level for an inning to get some A/C, Nolan Reimold smacked a HR (his 2nd of the day) literally 2 seats above where I was sitting in an empty area. God damn. Click here to see that video and see where it landed. If you see a kid racing over from a section across then have the ball bounce over his head (white shirt, orange bucket hat), that’s Tim/Ben’s friend Sean. He was oh so close.
There was a ground rule double later in the game I would have had a chance at, but not thinking it would bounce 15 rows up, I didn’t make the 3 section run to grab it. It landed in a seat straight away 3 sections over in my row. Nobody in my way. Could’ve had it. Oh well. Some lady grabbed it.
Now off to the beginning of a 9 game home stand. Woot. And yes, I *will* have the Shutdown Sauce poster, so look out for it.
Oh yeah, and go to MLB.com and vote Adam Jones to the All Star Game. Do it. Remember two days ago? Yeah. SO worth it.
As Nick Markakis made his 1st career start today at first base, Adam Jones made this catch in center field.
WOW. Not to mention he went 3-4 on the day with the go ahead HR in the 8th. That man likes beating up on the Mariners, and it’s quite amusing. He is the definition of a boss. End of story.
And if you’re not already (for some odd reason), follow Adam on Twitter. @SimplyAJ10.
The Orioles managed to scrape the win today, going 1-5 on the road trip, but they come home for some games now that I’ll be at. So that’s a positive. Oh yeah, and they might win some of them, too. Let’s hope for that.
Off day tomorrow. That is when I will finally post about the final 2 Royals games from last week. Since I may not remember much, it may just be some notes and pictures. But hey, pictures are still nice.
Oh yeah, and who wants to buy this hat (photo cred: @OnlyChrisjr29)?