You’re probably thinking “What are you doing at Kauffman Stadium?” My family and I are on vacation in Missouri so my dad and I thought it would be fun to go to a game at Kauffman Stadium.
Kauffman Stadium offers a unique tour called The Early Bird Tour, which gets you inside the stadium before gates open to the public.
The tour started at 4:30 so we arrived at 3:45 to pick up our tour tickets from will call. Here I am walking up to the stadium with my dad:
As we got closer to the stadium my dad and I saw this:
It was a crime scene. This explained why we had seen so many emergency vehicles about a half hour earlier while we were eating at Denny’s. Apparently a man shot a parking lot employee that was believed to have been his girlfriend, before getting into his car and committing suicide. Click here to read the news article about it.
The police took a very long time to respond to the call because of a bomb scare in downtown! What was happening in Kansas City!?! Everything bad was happening the 1 day that we were here! Here is the news story for that.
Anyways… back to baseball. While we were waiting for the tour to start I saw Torii Hunter, Bobby Wilson, and Aaron Cook enter the stadium at Gate C. I took pictures of them, but made sure not to bother them.
When 4:30 rolled around we were let into the Hall of Fame:
Soon the tour group was led near the Angels dugout:
This was where I got my first ball of the day. Do you see the ball sitting right by 3rd base? Coach Wathan threw it to me as he was walking into the outfield. Here he is shortly after:
I decided to move behind the Royals dugout because a ball was nearby. Within 15 minutes it was mine. So what happened? Eric Hosmer threw it to me as he was jogging off the field. In the next picture Hosmer is standing to the right of the ball:
Also, just a few minutes after this happened, my dad got a ball thrown to him by Aaron Crow. Have you heard the saying “The early bird gets the worm”? Well, that was definitely true today.
When the stadium opened to the public, I was free to roam wherever I pleased. I decided to play home runs from the left/center field seats. By the time I reached my destination Albert Pujols’ group had started hitting, and there were bombs being hit 10 feet over my head into the fountains.
Ball #3 came when Torii Hunter hit a ball 1 section to my right. I had no trouble getting in line with the ball, but it was going to be short by two rows. This was a problem because of how steep the section was, and I was worried that it would bounce back onto the field before I could get to it. Luckily the ball landed under a seat, and I had no problem hopping over two rows to pick it up. The next picture helps visualize it. I was standing in the rectangle and the ball landed in the oval:
Soon I chased a ball to the same spot, but it kept carrying and it landed in the fountains. The next pitch was hit to the EXACT spot that I had JUST been standing before I chased the previous ball. It hit the concrete where I WOULD’VE and SHOULD’VE caught the ball for one of the easiest catches in my life. I watched helplessly as it bounced back onto the field.
I decided to move to sections 107-109 (the left field seats between the foul pole and bullpen) for the last group of BP. Soon Jerome Williams threw a ball to me to me. There was a man in front of me that must have really wanted the ball, because he did his best to make sure I didn’t get it. For the sake of not getting confused, I will call him Man #1 (keep in mind that Man #1 looked like he was in his late 20’s or early 30’s). Man #1 got very close to me until his glove was right in front of mine, and then he didn’t even catch the ball. The ball tipped off of his glove and ricocheted about a foot to my right. I tried my best to adjust to the new path of the ball, but everything happened so quickly that it also tipped off of my glove. The ball rolled to the feet of a father who picked up the ball and gave it to his son, who looked like he was 10 years old (this part was alright, because Man #1 didn’t get the ball)
A few minutes later, Jerome Williams flipped a different ball to me because he had seen I hadn’t gotten the first ball that was intended for me. Then Man #1’s mom started complaining about how I got 2 balls from the same player! I politely explained how her son had tipped the first ball, which resulted in the Father and son getting it. Then I turned to the father and son and said, “Congrats on getting the ball, it worked out for both of us!”
At the time I didn’t know who the player was, but Kristen (you can check out her blog here) informed me via Twitter that his name is Jerome Williams. Kristen also told me that he wears a pink glove in memory of his mother. Thank you Kristen!
When batting practice ended I was sitting at 4 balls.
At 6:50 I sat next to the Angels bullpen to try to get a ball when C.J. Wilson finished warming up.
Do you see the ball in midair in the previous picture? C.J. Wilson threw a bad pitch and the ball got away from Chris Ianneta. Ianneta picked up the ball and tossed it to the left side of the bullpen.
After a few minutes the usher came to make people go to their seats.
Usher: “You have to go to your seat now.”
Me: “Is it alright if I wait here for just 5 more minutes?
Usher: “I don’t think so, you should go.”
Me: “I’m waiting because the coach promised me a ball (This was true, but I was sort of bending the truth…. Coach Butcher had promised me a ball, but that was a while ago. I just needed a reason so I could stay at the bullpen.)
Usher: “Well you should know that it is very unlikely that you will give you a ball.”
Me: “Once the game starts I’ll leave, it’s just 5 minutes and I’ll be out of your hair”
Usher: “Alright, but stay out of the aisle for now”
Roughly 2 minutes later, Coach Steve Soliz walked to the side of the bullpen and threw the ball to me (the same ball that got away from Chris Ianneta.)
The usher had been standing at the bottom of the aisle this whole time. Once he saw the coach throw me the ball he looked embarrassed for being wrong, and laughed a little bit.
Usher: “Looks like you were right!”
We started to talk a little more, and after that he let me sit in his section whenever I wanted to. He was a nice guy with lots of humor.
Fast forward to the game…
In the next picture do you see the red marks? The square in section 142 is where our seats were.
The other shape represents this:
This is where I stood to play the foul balls during the first 2 innings, and it was a good spot. Mike Trout led off the game and sent a few balls my direction. The first was a little blooper which landed 3 sections to my right. The next ball came right towards me! I played it safe by moving slightly towards the field because I was expecting it to bounce off of the scoreboard facing on the second deck. I was correct, but then it ricocheted into the Dugout Concourse. I sprinted after the ball, but it kept rolling and rolling! Suddenly an old lady came out of nowhere and stepped right in front of me. I jumped to the side to avoid running into her, and then she realized that I was chasing the ball, and she picked it up. I wasn’t mad at her or anything, in fact I congratulated her. I just felt like I was having a day of missed opportunities.
In the second inning I was going to head to the last row of section 142 to try to play some foul balls, but as I was half way there an usher stopped me and made me sit down until the Howie Kendrick finished his at bat. Sure enough, Howie Kendrick sliced two foul balls to the EXACT spot that I was heading for. Two more missed opportunities.
After the inning ended I sat with my dad. Our seats were on the aisle of row ten of section 142. Halfway through the game we moved ten rows back and this was our view:
Billy Butler hit his 100th career homer in the second inning. I have now seen 2 historic home runs in person… the other was Mark Teixeira’s 300th homerun on June 30th 2011 at Yankee Stadium.
Fast Forward to the end of the game…
Here are the play-by-play scoring plays from the game:
- In the bottom of the 2nd inning Brett Butler homered to left field. (His 100th career homerun!)
- In the bottom of the 2nd inning Mike Moustakas homered to right field to make the score 2-0.
- In the bottom of the 3rd inning J Bourgeois singled to center, Giavotella scored on the play.
- In the top of the 4th inning Howie Kendrick doubled to deep left, E Aybar and Torii Hunter scored to tie the game.
- Later in the 4th inning A Callaspo singled to right to drive in Howie Kendrick and Vernon Wells.
- In the bottom of the 6th inning Mike Moustakas hit a sacrifice fly to left, Alex Gordon scored on the play.
- In the top of the 7th inning E Aybar doubled to right. Chris Iannetta and Mike Trout scored on the play to make it a 5-6 game (Royals leading)
- In the bottom of the 7th inning A Escobar singled to left center field. J Bourgeois scored on the play.
- In the 8th inning Kendrys Morales hit a two run homer to left field.
- Later in the 8th inning Torii Hunter walked with the bases loaded. Mike Trout scored to give the Angels an 8-7 lead.
- In the top of the 9th inning K Calhoun grounded into a fielder’s choice to second base. Vernon Wells scored on the play.
Angels 9, Royals 7
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
LAA 0 0 0 4 0 0 1 3 1 9 12 1
KC 0 2 1 0 0 3 1 0 0 7 8 1
It was fireworks night:
The Royals organization really puts on a great fireworks show. It was an awesome display.
When my dad and I left I took some cool pictures:
Kauffman Stadium is a very beautiful Stadium, and a great place to ballhawk. There is a cross Aisle that goes around the whole stadium which is helpful for getting around the stadium easily (It also comes in handy when ballhawking). The fountains in the outfield add a lot of character to the Stadium. Now I see why so many people speak so highly of Kauffman Stadium.
A Piece of The Game MVP:
Jerome Williams, because he threw a ball to me, but when he saw I wasn’t able to catch it he threw a different ball to me. He was also very friendly and at numerous times stood by the wall to talk with fans.
Jerome Williams did not make an appearance during the game so there are no stats to show.
Player of The Game:
Kendrys Morales,because he hit a 2 run homer in the 8th inning. Technically it was a game winning homerun, because otherwise the Angels and Royals would be tied through 9 innings.
LA Angels AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
Morales, K, PH 1 1 1 2 0 0 0 .279
I took this photo the next day before leaving the hotel. I thought it was kind of artsy:
The Royals were the 10th team to give me at least 1 ball.
- 5 balls at this game
- 36 balls in 9 games this season = Avg. 4.0 balls per game
- 9 consecutive games with at least 1 ball
- 9 consecutive games with at least 2 balls
- 3 consecutive games with at least 3 balls
- 2 consecutive games with at least 4 balls
- 2 consecutive games with at least 5 balls
- Gotten at least 1 ball from 11 different teams
- 39 total balls