4/19/14 Auburn Tigers Spring Football Game

Now I know that its not football season, and baseball is in full swing but, I just have to take one post to show my passion for something I love just as much as baseball and thats Auburn Football. I usually attend anywhere from 3-4 Auburn football games a year. Last year I went to 3 home games in Auburn, AL and 1 away game in Baton Rouge, LA. I also was present at the SEC championship game in Atlanta, GA to see Auburn beat The University of Missouri and take home their 3rd SEC Championship and secure their spot in the 2014 BCS National Championship.

I got to Auburn on Friday afternoon expecting it to not be raining so that I could attend the Auburn baseball game vs South Carolina but to my surprise it was pouring when I got there. I decided to salvage the day by taking a free tour of the Auburn Football locker room.

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There was a long line of fans outside the stadium waiting in the rain for the tour but I knew that it was going to be well worth it! Heres a photo of the outside of the stadium.

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You can see in the photo some banners of former Auburn greats such as Cam Newton, Carlos Rodgers, Nick Fairley and in my opinion the greatest athlete that ever lived, Bo Jackson! When I finally got inside the brick fence just outside the locker room there were some bricks that had Auburn alumni and former Auburn players names engraved into them. As I was looking at them I found this one!

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The one in the middle that reads “Tim Cook Class of 1982″ is in honor of Auburn alum and CEO of Apple – Tim Cook! Sorry the photos a little blurry. I took it while walking! Not long after snapping that photo I entered the locker room and by the door was this Beauty.

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Thats the 2010 BCS National Championship Trophy!!! How shiny!

The next few photos are just some I took in the locker room

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Cam Newton’s game worn jersey and Heisman Trophy

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Bo Jackson’s jersey and Heisman Trophy

After going through the locker room you get to walk out the tunnel that the players use to enter the field. Here was the view in front of me.

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And my view behind me.

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Then it was on to the field!

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Heres the view from the field into the stands.

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After scoping out the field for a little bit and taking it all in I went back into the locker room for the end of the tour. On my way out there were some posters with quotes on them. I liked this one so I took a photo of it.

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After the tour I headed to where I was staying for the night to get some sleep and prepare for the A-day game the next day. For those of you who don’t know what the A-day game is its where the Auburn Football team plays each other in a practice game to get ready for the season. Most of all the big time college football programs do it.

The next morning I woke up and found out the the baseball team was playing a double header against South Carolina to make up for the game that was rained out the previous day. The first game would start 2 hours before the A-day game so I decided to burn some time and take in as much of the baseball game as I could before before the A-day game. I went in the Auburn baseball stadium (Plainsman Park) which is literally located less the 200 yards away from the Football stadium and found some empty seats in the student section here was my view.

Plainsman Park Auburn

The Auburn baseball field even has a mini green monster!

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I stayed till the end of the 5th inning and was impressed with how Auburn was hanging  with the 2010 and 2011 College World Series champs! I left the baseball stadium and headed across the street to Jordan-Hare Stadium. I got there about an hour and half before the game started to get a good seat. I sat next to the tunnel to get a better experience and to see what its like because usually the students sit there during regular season games. Not much happened for the first hour except the kickers came out and practiced field goal kicks. I caught two of there kicks but of course had to give the balls back. About 30 min before game time the whole team came out to stretch heres a few photos I took of them entering the field.

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Pretty sick view! After they ran through there pre game drills on the field the team entered the locker room one more time before taking the field. I didn’t take any photos of them entering the field with smoke but heres one I found that will give you the idea of how hype it is.

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Once the game started there wasn’t much that happened that was to exciting except Sammy Coates had an amazing one handed catch in the end zone!! Here was my view of the game

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At half time I took some more photos of the team entering the locker room.

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The second half of the game was played with a running clock so it only lasted about 30 minutes. After the game fans were allowed on the field to get autographs from the players and even Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn! The line for Coach Malzan was soooo long that I didn’t bother getting in it. Instead I went around to players trying to get towels,  gloves and sweatbands.  I got TONS of game used stuff! keep reading to see, but first heres some photos I took on the field.

Auburn Shrubs After Iron Bowl

The shrubs are still trampled form fans rushing the field after the Iron Bowl Win!

Justin Garrett AuburnJustin Garrett signing for fans.

Melvin Ray Signing AutographsFormer Los Angles Dodgers Minor League Baseball player Melvin Ray signing for some fans.

Auburn Football Field

 

Tommy Tuberville

Former Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville signing for some fans.

Now for the Game used memorabilia I got at this game. The following is all of the game used/worn memorabilia I obtained from the A-Day game along with a picture, Enjoy!

Justin Garrett Glove & towel

Trovon Reed Sweatband & Towel

D’haquille Williams Glove

Melvin Ray Small Sweatband

Kamryn Melton Headband

Derrick Moncrief Towel

Auburn Tigers Football Game Used

Melvin Ray Auburn Game used Sweatband

Melvin Ray’s game worn sweatband

Trovon Reed Auburn Game Used Sweatband

Trovon Reed game used sweatband

Derrick Moncrief Auburn Game used Towel

Derrick Moncrief game used towel

Justin Garrett and D'Haquille Williams Game used Auburn Gloves

 

Justin Garrett and D'Haquille Williams Game used Auburn Gloves

The one that reads “AUBURN” on the palm is the model glove Auburn will wear during the 2014 season and was worn by Junior LB, Justin Garrett. The other one that has “WAR EAGLE” on the palm was worn by Junior WR, D’Haquille Williams.

All together I can honestly say this was one of the best sports experiences I have ever had and I’ll never forget it! It may not be centered on baseball but, I thought it was something interesting to blog about for all you sports fanatics and memorabilia collectors out there. Thanks for reading and my next post will defiantly be a baseball post!!

WAR EAGLE!!!

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Montgomery Biscuits VS Tampa Bay Rays 3/29/14 “Rays at Riverwalk”

This was a very unique game to start my 2014 season. The Tampa Bay Rays came all the way from Port Charlotte Florida to Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery Alabama to take on there AA team the Montgomery Biscuits. I got to the park at 12 for batting practice. Just as I was running down the stairwell of the parking garage to head inside a train slowly rolled by just beyond the left field fence. Heres a photo.

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In case you didn’t know Riverwalk stadium is built right next to a set of train tracks and trains can be seen and heard screeching by durning the game. The 1st base pavilion once served as a train terminal and has been renovated into suites. If it wasn’t for the tall stadium lights outside you would never guess it was a ballpark. Once I went inside I stopped to take this photo that kind of summarizes the stadium and how it was renovated.

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After that, I raced over to the Rays dugout on the 1st base line to try and get some autographs as they took BP. I was obviously not the only one wanting to get something signed, Take a look at this crowd!!

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After standing there for about 5 Minutes I realized no one was going to sign until BP was done so I decided to head to the grass hill beyond the right field fence. Here was my view from where I stood as the Rays hit.

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They were hitting bombs and a lot of them looked like they were headed right to me but the wind was howling and made the ball carry much more than normal causing me to miss read them. I ran back and forth chasing balls for what seemed like an eternity just missing most of them by a foot or two until one of the Rays players connected on one crushing the ball to deep right center. This time I read the ball just right and saw it soaring at me as about 15 people were closing in on me trying to get there hands on it too. I felt the ball smack the palm of my glove and I knew I had it! Heres a photo of the beautiful pearl.

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It was the first ball I have EVER caught! I had never caught a ball off the bat until now I couldn’t believe it and to make it better it was my first ball of 2014! I couldn’t celebrate to long because I had to try and get more! I realized the hill was getting to crowded and had to many screaming kid to get a toss up from one of the player so I went to the party pavilion in center where there wasn’t many people. I stood there for the rest of BP and got one more ball that hit a railing before I picked it up. Heres a photo.

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After BP was over I decided I would go fight the crowd and get autographs. I waited for 30 minutes when a few players came out to stretch but the only players that signed for me were Desmond Jennings and 2013 AL rookie of the year Wil Myers. Desmond signed a card for me that smeared very bad because it was lightly raining and Wil signed a card and a ball for me that I brought to the game. Here is a photo of the ball and Wil signing for other fans in the background.

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Wil was nice enough to sign for was seemed like all of the fans. After the rain stopped the pre game ceremonies started. They went down the line and called out each player and all the managers from the Rays and Biscuits then showed a highlight video from the 2013 season. Here is a photo of the Rays lined up down the 1st base line.

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After that I finally headed to my seats on the 3rd base side as the game started. Chris Archer was the starting pitcher for Tampa Bay. When the Rays took the field I snapped this cool photo of Evan Longoria.

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It wasn’t long after the 3rd inning that I left my seat to run around and try to get a ball. I first went to the left field walkway to try my chance at a homer. Here was my view down the 3rd base line.

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Here was my view of the train tracks behind me.

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I thought it was very cool that only about 30 feet separated the actual playing field and train tracks, a very unique design! After wandering around for a while, I headed over to the 1st base side above the Rays dugout to try to find any empty seats that I could sit in to try and get a 3rd out ball. I spotted one and took advantage of it, Here was the view!

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I sat there for a few innings and took some awesome pictures, here are a few!

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Wil Myers coming to bat!

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Evan Longoria walking back to first a after a pitching change.

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Evan smiling at the fans. This has to be my favorite shot of the game!

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Check out Chris Archer and his sweet socks! Chris had a great start throwing 4 scoreless innings. After sitting there till about the 6th inning and coming up short on every ball tossed into the stands I worked up an appetite and was dying to try the Montgomery Biscuits signature burger, The Aloha Burger! Here is a snapshot of the beauty before I devoured it!

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When I first got the burger (being the huge cheese lover I am) my first thought was “Whats wrong with these people, no cheese?” but after the first bite I realized they knew exactly what they were doing and I had no right to question them!! It was an explosion of flavor that I had never had before and it was very filling! I would highly recommend it to anyone that visits Riverwalk Stadium. After the first few bites I took the burger back to my seat to watch the rest of the game. As I finished my burger a train slowly rolled by beyond the outfield fence making a very loud rumbling noise that echoed throughout the whole stadium. It was awesome!!

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I stayed in my actual seat for the rest of the game and watched as the Biscuits rallied back from a five run deficit to win the game 6-5. Thats right you read that correctly the Montgomery Biscuits which are a AA Minor League team beat there parent affiliate the Tampa Bay Rays. It didn’t shock me though because the Rays took out all of their starters by the 5th inning so it was pretty much a minor league game from the fifth inning on. After the game I waited outside for autographs. There were about 50 people waiting to get things signed. I got cards signed by Ben Zobrist, Sean Rodriguez, Matt Joyce and Yunel Escobar. Evan Longoria came out but didn’t sign much and got on the bus. Below is my haul for the game along with season and career stats.

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Venue: Riverwalk Stadium

Attendance 7,409

2 balls at this game

Number of balls this season 2

133 career balls

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for much more posts from the 2014 season!

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2014 season preview

This season is definitely going to be a fun one for all of us! I my self am planning to attend 7 different MILB parks and possibly 1 MLB park this year. Most games I will be attending will be at Hank Aaron Stadium in Mobile, AL, home of the Mobile BayBears. Prior to the season I purchased an 11 game ticket package for the BayBears so they are the team I will be attending the most. The following are the other ballparks I plan on attending…

Riverwalk Stadium (Montgomery Biscuits)

Pensacola Bayfront Stadium (Pensacola Blue Wahoos)

Smokies Stadium (Tennessee Smokies)

Mccormick Field (Asheville Tourist)

Regions Field (Birmingham Barons)

Zephyr Field (New Orleans Zephyrs)

All of these are Southern League Parks with an exception of the New Orleans Zephyrs (AAA Pacific Coast League) and the Asheville Tourist (A South Atlantic League). I have no exact dates of any games I’m attending so far. Im mainly waiting for promotional schedules to be released and also see where some prospects will end up to start the season.

If all goes well I plan to attend a game at Tropicana Field to see my favorite team the Tampa Bay Rays! On march 29 I we be going to Montgomery, AL  to see the Rays play there last spring training game of 2014 against their AA team the Montgomery Biscuits. Im so excited because this will be the first time I have seen the Rays play in person since the early 2000’s and I’m pumped that I have a chance to meet Rays manager Joe Maddon and my favorite player Evan Longoria!

Thanks for reading and say tuned for this seasons adventures!

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9/12/13 Southern League Championship Game 2 Birmingham Barons vs Mobile Baybears

Ok, here we go my first post! This was the last home game of the year for the BayBears (Arizona Diamondbacks AA) as they took on the Birmingham Barons (Chicago White Sox AA)  in the southern league championship at Hank Aaron Stadium in Mobile AL. It was game 2 of the series with Birmingham having won 8-3 the previous night. They looked to steal their second win of the series and head back to birmingham 2-0 to play the rest of the series in there amazing brand new stadium. When I arrived at the stadium there were not many people at all. The ticket line was maybe 10 fans deep and there was next to no one inside the stadium. Hey, thats a better chance for me to get more balls! I waited in the ticket line and bought 2 tickets (one for me and one for my mom, yes my mom) for front row field level on the 3rd base line right next to the Barons dugout. I thought these would be good seats because not only would I be able to sit down and wait for pre game autographs but I would also have a great chance at catching a 3rd out ball! Prior to the game I got some autographs from White Sox prospects Second Baseman Micah Johnson, Catcher Michael Blanke and Third baseman Cody Puckett, heres a picture.

IMG_1808After that I sat back to enjoy would should be a good game, on the hill for the Baybears was there #1 prospect right handed pitcher Archie Bradley. Archie got off a slow start giving up a 2 run homer to Cody Puckett with no outs to put the Barons ahead 2-0, He settled into a little groove after that going 2 innings without allowing a score. My Chance at catching a ball came early in the game as cody Puckett’s home run at bat he fouled a ball straight at me but I reacted slowly causing the ball to tip off my hand and land in the row behind me where another fan got it. I was so upset!  At the top of the 2nd inning I decide to leave my seat and go sit on the large grass mound behind the left field fence and try my shot at a home run ball. Here was my first view as Barons LF Brandon Jacobs looks up at me.

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I waved a him and he nodded back at me, kinda cool! As I walked through the tall grass on the hill I looked down and found this!

IMG_0263It must have been hit there during batting practice! I wouldn’t know for sure because they don’t let fans watch batting practice, nonetheless I got my first ball of the night! I sat on the hill for an inning and a half and then after the Barons scored again to make it 3-0 I decided to take my talents back to my seat. When I got back to it an employee of the Baybears that I have come to know was waiting there to see me. He came over and sat down and asked me “How would you like to sit in the Hall Of Fame Suite tonight?” I looked at him shocked and said “Are you kidding me?” he handed me 2 tickets and then took off. Now you might ask what is so special about the HOF suite. Let me just say that the one Baybears game that Hank Aaron ever attended he viewed if form that very suite! Yeah its that nice, Nice enough for the king himself! Sadly I did not take any pictures of the suite but, I did take this snapshot of the barons dugout as I was leaving my seats to head to the suite.

IMG_0265I think its funny to sit close to the dugout sometimes and just listen to what the players talk about. I sat behind the Montgomery Biscuits Bullpen earlier that season and listened to them talk about all the different ways you can eat okra for about 15 min! After I moved to the suite not much happened until the sixth when the Barons tacked on 3 more runs to make it 6-0. At this point I had lost all faith in us but my spirit was held up by the group of hecklers in the suite next to me. During the middle of the ninth I decided to head over to the Baybears dugout to see if I could get a few autographs after the game. When I got there I stood and waited for the game to finish. The Baybears started a 3 run rally in the bottom of the 9th to make it a 3-8 game. As I waited my same friend that works for the team that gave me the Suite tickets walked up and handed me this!

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A game day program signed by top prospect Archie Bradley! I didn’t bother asking how he got it but instead said to him that I couldn’t thank him enough because I didn’t get anything signed by Bradley all year! After the game I stuck around and got a few autographs on cards of Dimondbacks prospect Keon Braxton and got the ball I found on the hill signed by my favorite Baybear Justin Greene, heres a photo of it!

IMG_1813Final Score Barons 8 Baybears 3. A slow night ballhawking but its never a bad night at a ball game! Heres the nights haul along with the game stats.

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Venue: Hank Aaron Stadium

Attendance 2,676

Ball number 9 of the season

130 career balls

Thanks for reading check back with me this season to see my other adventures, I have some great ones planned!

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