4/11/12 Potomac Nationals at Myrtle Beach Pelicans: TicketReturn.com Field

The day of this game, I found out that the everyone on the team except for those who wanted to go to dinner with parents would be going to the Pelicans game. After arranging for the bus driver (we had been using a Greyhound to get around Myrtle Beach) to take me to the stadium early, I was at the game. It was only sort of early, though. We did aim to get to the stadium the full hour prior to first pitch to be there when the gates open, but got there only about 45 minutes prior since we got lost a couple of times and it isn’t easy to back up a full-length bus.

Long story short, I missed all of bp if there was any. However, there were a couple of players on the field signing, so I got both of them to sign one of my baseballs from the Ripken Experience. If you thought I meant that they were along the warning track signing when I said “on the field”, you are that’s a bit off. When I said “on the field”, I meant literally ON the field. Let me see if this picture will clear things up:

You see? They were actually set up on the field signing for anyone who came up to them, table and all. I have no clue who either are, and it didn’t help that I completely goofed on taking the second player’s picture. Let me explain the circumstances of it before I show the picture. I was taking the picture with my iPhone, and I usually like to keep the brightness on my phone down to save the battery, so I was just pointing the camera at the player and taking the picture. In addition to having a conventional camera, the iPhone also has a camera on the front for self-pictures and video chat. The button that switches between these two cameras is on the touch screen of the phone (you know, the one I couldn’t see). Okay, so I think I’ve explained it enough, here is the picture of the second player:

“Look, Ma, I made it to the minors!”

After that I just wandered around. I had exchanged a few tweets as well as a few comments on this blog with Quinn Imiola, a fellow blogger on the nybisons blog, about possibly meeting up this game. Since I had no idea what he looked like and he knew what I looked like more or less, I just tried to walk  around the cross-aisle and make myself visible. Sometimes I got a little bored and went up to talk with the other person that had left on the bus early, a Jesuit Priest from my school by the name of Fr. Sullivan.

When I saw the Pelicans warming up down the right field line, I went over to try to get a ball from them:

While I was down there, though, I had my eye on the ball bag in the bullpen:

Simply because the pitcher that was warming up was taking forever. Finally, after waiting for him to end his throwing session, I went over to the Nationals side of the field, because I figured it would be easier to get a ball from the opposing team due to my fitting attire (I had Nationals gear ready in my backpack).

There I encountered this group of pitchers:

I also saw my competition to my right. A kid was there also decked out in Nationals gear. As I was trying to look through my roster to make sure I knew the players’ names, I saw the player in his red warm-up shirt talking to another in Spanish. He then started walking towards me with a ball in his hands, so I called out to him in Spanish, asking for him to throw me the ball.

He flicked his glove hand up, which if you don’t know is the sign for a fastball. However, he threw it a little low, and since the railing was high at that specific point, I had to reach over so much that I was trying to “snow cone” the ball and it bounced off the tip of my glove and into the bullpen. One of the other bullpen pitchers tossed the ball back to this pitcher after he requested it and I had another shot. This time I moved over to where the railing was about 4-6 inches lower and bent down pretending like I was a catcher. He signaled fastball again and fired a strike right to my glove. Here is the picture of the ball with the pitcher in the background, looking at the camera and starting to give me a thumbs up (you can’t really see that he is giving me a thumbs up, but trust me, he gave me a thumbs up right after I took the picture. It was so soon after that I thought I had it on film):

Any MiLB people read this blog? I have absolutely no idea who it is. He never took off his warm-up the whole game.

Soon after (or before?) I got the ball, my “competition”, aka the kid to my right who was also in Nationals gear, looked at me and said, “Mateo?”. It was Quinn, the person who I referenced at the beginning of the entry! You can read his account of the night here. We spent pretty much the whole game together since we were both in pursuit of foul balls. Here is a picture Quinn’s dad took of us in the during the game:

For those wondering, I don’t have a Rangers shirt, so I tired to at least color coordinate by wearing a blue shirt, so I turned my Cubs shirt inside out as to not show that it was indeed a Cubs shirt.

The game experience itself was mostly categorized under setting up people for them to have their own successes. Before I go into detail on what happened for everyone else during the game, here is the extent of my snagging for the day:

A guy (underneath the red arrow in the picture) just came through the cross-asile with a bucket full of candy and started throwing it into the stands. There were two foul balls hit anywhere near where my spots for standing during at-bats were. The first was a ball that went to my right. I raced after it, but could tell it was going short. It bounced and I can tell you that it was headed right towards my glove, but unfortunately another fan’s pillow blocked the ball and it trickled away where some other fans picked it up. Seriously? Who brings a pillow to a Baseball game?! The next ball was hit and looped perfectly onto the ramp I stood next to all day when righties were up (the ball was hit by a righty). Where was I? Left Field, of course. Since it was the last inning, myself and Quinn decided to go out there and try for a HR ball. I am 95% sure I would have caught that ball on the fly. Like I said, I had been standing within 10 feet of where the ball landed all day.

I would also like to share with you where my ticketed seat was. Here is a picture of my ticket, and I’ll let you guess where it is:

Any guesses where it is? The following picture will show you:

Of course, I didn’t sit there at any point during the game and must have offered the ticket to five people, but they all chose not to take it for one reason or another.

Now that I’ve gone through all that, here is all the other “stuff” that happened during the game:

1. Quinn managed to snag three balls throughout the course of the game. The first, as he told me, came from the same guy that threw me my ball, but it missed Quinn so the catcher tossed him the ball. The next two came from going down to the dugout for third-out balls. I could have competed with him for those, but I was pretty much interested in foul balls, so I let him do his thing down by the dugouts – for those who don’t know, third-out balls are when a team makes the third out, the defensive team usually brings the ball back to the dugout and tosses it to the fans above the dugout. Here is the first of his two dugout balls:

2. I was asked by a Pelicans personnel member to be in a dance-off, but I instead refered them to a Fordham Prep Baseball Player, Alex Porco, and although he didn’t win, he looked like he had fun and the rest of the team that was present certainly had fun with it.

3. I was also asked if I wanted to participate in “Ball Launch”, but refered the people to yet another Fordham Prep player, Michael Goldstock. He enjoyed that, and I believe he got a mini soccer ball from it.

4+5.  At the end of the game, I tried to get a ball from the bullpen, so as a result, my some other players stayed back with me as they wanted to see if I’d get a ball. I didn’t. However, two of the players, Paul Pache and Patrick O’Shea, said that they saw the Nationals’ left fielder, and wanted to try to get a ball from him since Patrick had been begging him all day in LF. All the other players, myself included in the bunch, were leaving as this happened, though. We all thought that we were REALLY late for the bus, and were trying to make sure the bus didn’t leave without us. The left fielder came through on giving Pat a ball:

The day, however, was definitely won by Paul as… well, I’ll let the picture speak for itself:

Not only did he get a shirt from the left fielder, but he also managed to get A BAT from him. I don’t care if it was broken, that’s pretty cool. [Just a little note, I thought it was funny that Paul got the bat and Pat got the ball. You know, since Paul rhymes with ball and Pat rhymes with bat]

So even though I myself didn’t do that well snagging wise, it was a good day since so many people were able to come away from the game happy and satisfied. Paul, Pat, and Michael are all my roommates, so I was able to get a picture of all the items collected throughout the day after a really good game (except for the candy. That I ate.):

  1. Ball that I didn’t mention in the entry that has Splash, the Pelicans’ mascot,’s signature on a ball
  2. The mini Soccer ball Michael Goldstock acquired.
  3. The ball I got with the two players’ signatures.
  4. The awesome bat Paul managed to get.
  5. A ticket stub that I wanted to use to “complete” the picture.
  6. The T-Shirt Paul got.
  7. The ball Pat got from the Nationals’ left fielder.
  8. The ball I got.

Everyone else who was at the game said it was freezing, but I guess I was too busy having fun to feel the cold. Thus concludes the best Minor League game I have been to so far.

22 Comments

Thank you, this is a topic which is near to my heart.
Is there any way I can talk with you? My name’s Boris Lundy and I’d love to discuss this more.

Boris- If you could elaborate just on what the topic is I could maybe tell you if I’m the right person to talk to about it.

I hear ya. I like the comments on my blog, too, so I know people are sticking around long enough to read. Look forward to reading about your next adventure!

Malcolm- It will in all likelihood be up before 3:00, but if it isn’t, it will be up around 8:00. This entry, however, has Ryan Howard playing in the game.

Ah, I didn’t know about the netting, so thanks for clearing that up. I hear you about hits showing you that people are reading. I just love getting them, regardless of who’s visiting!

Malcolm- I guess I do too, but it just is to a certain extent. I guess I’d just rather have you as one of the hits than say “Joe Yankee fan”.

The beach element definitely seems unique to me. I can see it being a cool place to hang out with some food and a drink. Looks like long foul balls might come that way, too. I enjoy reading your blog and appreciate that you read and comment on mine — thanks a lot! I’m sure that you, like me, love the blog hits!

Malcolm- I think it would actually be a near perfect section for foul balls *if* there were no netting between it and the bullpen. Then balls wouldn’t have to loop over it and could just shoot that way. I do like hits, in that they show me that people are reading and appreciating my work, but I’m also not making money off of it, so I would much prefer 50 people I actually know reading it than 100 or 150 people I don’t know.

Well, I’m glad you did take and upload all those ballpark photos. It looks really nice — the beach-like area in the right field corner is especially cool. Gotcha about school baseball, MLB and MiLB. Thanks for explaining. I wish I lived in a city with an MLB team! I also love MLB games but love experiencing new ballparks at the MiLB level. Look forward to reading about more of your travels as the season progresses.
Malcolm

Hmm… what happened to the comment I posted here earlier? Anyway, I’ll include a lite version here:

Malcolm- I didn’t like the beach at first, but then I realized, “How many ballparks actually have a beach? Who cares where it is situated?” I wish I could reciprocate your kindness in reading my blog, but I often don’t have enough time to read as many blogs as I would like to. That said, I usually read the blogs of the people who comment on my blog before the blogs of all others, so you are defitnitely towards the top of the list.

Cool stuff, Mateo. I’ve heard this ballpark is nice, so it was cool to see the pictures of it in this post and the previous one. Are you on your school’s baseball team?
– Malcolm

http://theballparkguide.mlblogs.com/

Malcolm- Thanks. I especially made sure to document all that I could in the previous day’s entry for anyone like you that wanted to see the whole stadium. I’m glad that someone actually has a use for the pictures. To answer your question sort of indirectly, but at the same time giving you more information, my school’s JV and Varsity teams took a trip down to Myrtle Beach’s Ripken Experience for the Easter Break, and that is actually why I was able to got to this game. I usually don’t go to minor league games unless I’m in a situation like that. I think it’s as a result of going to so many High School games as a part of the team for four years. It’s something like “If I’m going to PAY to go to a game, it might as well be the top level.”Also, in New York it is far more convenient to go to the MLB Stadiums than it is to go to the MiLB ones.

Looks like you guys had a great time!! I saw Quinn’s post, so had to check yours out, too. Great pics, and I’m glad you were able to enjoy the minor league experience. It’s definatley something special!
–Mike

http://burrilltalksbaseball.mlblogs.com

Mike- Yeah, it was fun to run (walk mostly) around and chase the few balls that there were leaving the playing area. Thanks for the pictures complement. I thought that they looked sub-par, but it’s nice to know that people like them even if I don’t. I have been to Minor league games before, but this was really the first time I took in the whole experience and it definitely *was* fun and special.

That was fun reading about your best Minor league game experience. I got a third out ball in San Diego for the 3rd game of the 4 game series. I hardly get baseballs so I was so excited to get that. -Emma

Emma- Thanks, it’s been fiun writing about it. I don’t usually go to minor league stadiums, but as a hint to you and all othe comment readers; it might not be the last time this season.

My last comment that I made wasn’t really a good one because I was in school and my study hall period was ending, so I did I posted it really fast.. Yes, you did spell my last name right. One more thing: There was a 95% that me or you would have had that last foul ball. Sorry if it was my fault for wanting to try and get a HR ball and if I didn’t we would have had it..sorry
-Quinn from nybisons
http://www.nybisons.mlblogs.com

Oh it definitely wasn’t your fault. Although you were the one that brought us out to LF, remember that I was the one that suggested to stay and try to catch a HR. At least I think so. Either way, I was leaning that way and it wouldn’t have taken much convincing to get me to stay in LF.

Okay, that’s what I thought. But you got mad when we missed the foul bal, so I just wanted to say sorry if it was my fault, but I guess not.
-Quinn from nybisons
http://www.nybisons.mlblogs.com

Yeah, no worries.

It was awesome meeting you there. I porbably should have showed you a picture of myself before the game…. I didn’t drop that baseball though. The player had a really bad throw.. That bat was pretty cool.
-Quinn

It was great meeting you too. Did I spell your last name right? I only remember seeing it once or twice and I kept doubting whether there was a second “I” in it.

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