Wednesday, September 12, 2007

My fielding percentage is .000

Angels beat up on the Orioles tonight in my home, Baltimore. I was at the game in Angels red for the second night in a row. Angels scored 18 runs, far more than needed, and did it not just by hitting the ball, but by being very patient against a pitching staff that can't throw strikes. The Angels took 13 walks tonight. All Angel fans who wanted to see Mickey Hacker fired, you are going to have to shove it for a while because this team can hit, and they have had great approaches at the plate for much of the year. Hit it hard when its there, take a walk when its not.

In the bottom of the 5th inning, Escobar gave up a solo homerun to Nick Markakis. The ball was hit directly to my seat. If you have the game on DVR or you have a MLB.com subscription, check it out. I'm the guy who drops it. The ball then rolled around on top of the wall above the area where the grounsckeepers hang out, a few other fans reached for it to no avail, then it fell into the groundskeeper's area.

I have never caught a homerun or foul ball in my life. I've never been particularly close either. Its not something I was expecting to happen, even in the first row. As the ball was hit it seemed to be in slow motion. As it got closer I started thinking this really might be heading to me. Well, there really isn't much time for thinking, you just react. Then it was right in my hands. It really didn't hurt at all, which surprised me since I'm there without a glove and it was hit pretty hard. But I couldn't close my hands around it, and it bounced away. At that point I really noticed the rush of adrenaline, but there was no outlet for it, I just sat back in my seat and took the abuse of the Oriole idiot fans around me. (Most O's fans are great, I'm an O's fan myself when they aren't playing the Angels, but in our section there were some real jackasses. They were eventually forced to leave by security when they got out of hand and start very offensive and foulmouthed heckling of their own right fielder a few innings later).

It was almost like an out of body experience. Just weird. My girlfriend said Figgins gave me a look after the play, I didn't even notice at the time. The ball was well out of the playing field, there was no chance the I had interfered with a ball in play, and from the replays I didn't even lean over until after the drop when I made one last try to grab it on a bounce. So I'm guessing Figgins' look was one of shame that someone wearing an Angel hat dropped the ball.

All in all, I'm very disappointed that I dropped it, and it was somewhat embarrassing. But would I trade that experience for any of the other games where nothing is hit in my direction? No freakin way. Just to briefly get your hands on the ball and fail is many times better than being safely away from the action.

Then in the 9th, the Angels put the Salt Lake City lineup in. Brandon Wood cracks his first major league homer, and it was a no-doubter. Ever read scouts talking about certain players having a special sound when they hit one? I know the late great Buck O'Neal liked to talk about it. Let me tell you, the ball Brandon hit, it just sounded different. The best way I can describe the sound is simply this: Bigger. I'm proud to have been in attendance for Brandon's first major league homerun, and I hope there are many more to follow.

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