Friday, April 22, 2016



After spending the last two summers crisscrossing America attending baseball games, we are going to spend this summer in my home town.  It always feel good when I have the chance to return home. Since we are staying in one spot all summer I wanted to live out another dream of mine as a season ticket holder of a baseball team. Besides, Hiromi will need "her time" and "my time" will be spent at the ballpark. Only a half hour away from our campground is the city of Akron and the Akron Rubberducks. The Rubberducks are the AA affiliate of the the Cleveland Indians. Their roster this year is stacked with first round draft picks and prospects. Located 30 minutes (or so) from Cleveland, major leaguers on rehab assignment will head to Akron, perfect chance to get Major Leaguers autographs. As a season ticket holder I get to enter the gates two hours before first pitch where I can see batting practice and players before the gates open to non season ticket holders (the stadium all to myself for batting practice balls... look out!), my name on the back of my seat, head of line at concision stands and I get to throw out first pitch before a home game. Akron will host the AA All Star game with the Home Run Derby, both tickets are covered in the package. If the team makes the playoffs those ticket are free too. With their roster it looks to be a fun and wild season. 

Throughout the season I will highlight the week at the ballpark with games attended, baseball caught, autographs, stadium-give-away and promotion items. I know there are going to be games I will not be able to attend, but as a season ticket holder I can hold that ticket and use it to bring someone with me to another game. No ticket goes wasted. More than likely it will be Hiromi for firework nights and/or bobblehead give-a-way games (can't save the tickets for All Star week or playoffs).

(Picture from 2015 season)

Week 1

Akron started the 2016 season on the road and don't return for their home opener until week 2 of the season.

Weekend series are Thursday or Friday - Sunday, to keep the games series in one post my stats for the week will run Monday - Sunday.

Week's total: 0 games, 0 balls (0 give-a-way), 0 autographs, 0 bats
Games: 0 day  0 night  0 doubleheader   Home record: 0-0

Akron's total: 0 games, 0 balls (0 give-a-way), 0 autographs, 0 bats
Games: 0 day  0 night  0 doubleheader   Home record: 0-0

2016 baseball season total: 14 games, 40 balls (6 give-a-way), 76 autographs, 7 bats

14-17 Apr
Week 2

All winter since I got the season tickets I was thinking that the first week or so there will be a lot of season ticket holder arriving early for BP.... I was wrong, I was the only one there.

 It will take a few games to see where the best place to stand to get balls. Is it in the right field bleachers for BP homeruns, along the first or third base foul line to get toss ups and BP foul balls or will it be around the dugouts? Do I get autographs at BP or after the gates open? Trail and error until I find out what will work best for me.

My seat for the next 71 home games.

For the 2016 season home opener the Rubberducks hosted the 2015 defending AA Champions Bowie Baysox (Orioles) for a four games weekend series.

Last week these two teams faced off to open the season in Bowie and Akron sweep the 3 game series (one game postponed due to weather).

Game one had Michael Brantley on rehab assignment, but did not sign for many fan. With the Home Opener celebrations not many players signed either. I did get two autographs, but I still have 70 more games to get more autographs. During the Bowie BP I got 8 balls. Stadium give-a-way (SGA) was 2016 poster schedule. RubberDucks won 3-2.

Game two had Lonnie Chisenhall on rehab assignment, this major leaguer made time before the game to sign for fans. I got 8 baseball during Bowie BP and gave 3 of them away to kids as they entered the gates. I got five RubberDuck autographs. I found a hot dog wrapper on the ground and inside the wrapper was a stadium instance winner slip of $2. I took the slip to customer service and they gave me a two dollar bill. Rubberducks won 8-5.

Game three I arrived two hours early and the game was already started.. did they change the start time? No, there was a high school game so I got to see the last three inning before the minor league game started. Because of the high school game there was no BP. so I did not get any baseball. I got 9 autographs, but just like in spring training in Arizona Brantley passed me and did not sign for me ( I have video on my GoPro to prove it now). Today's SGA was RubberDuck soccer scarf. Brantley and Chisenhall where both in the starting lineup. Even though the RubberDucks had two MLB players in the lineup and the defense causing six errors the Rubberducks lost 14-5. No more high school game before a home game... got to have BP and fielding practice it showed today how important practice is.

Game four and final of the series. There was no traffic so I arrived half hour before I could even get in. Instead of make a line and waiting, I walk along the canal outside the stadium in left field. There was 7 balls just sitting along the fence line. I then went into the park for Bowie BP and got 10 more baseball. My NEW one game total 17 baseball in one game (shattering my old record of 8 in 2015 in Mobile, AL and 2016 in Akron the first two games of this year).

New single game record ... 17 baseballs

I gave 5 of them away to kids as they entered the stadium. I got 3 RubberDucks autographs before the game started. With the RubberDucks pitching giving up 9 walks a three hit batters while the starter only going 2/3 innings and giving up four run not many teams could come back from that, but they sure tried losing 9-5.

The RubberDucks split the series 2-2 with an overall record of 7-3. They remain in first place in their division with a 2.5 game lead.

Here is this weeks haul

Week's total: 4 games, 33 balls (8 give-a-way), 19 autographs, 2 SGA Give-a-way $ ($2.00)
Games: 2 day  2 night  0 doubleheader   Home record: 2-2

Akron's total: 4 games, 33 balls (8 give-a-way), 19 autographs, 2 SGA Give-a-way $ ($2.00)
Games: 2 day  2 night  0 doubleheader   Home record: 2-2

2016 baseball season total: 18 games, 73 balls (14 give-a-way), 95 autographs, 7 bats

Next Week
Binghamton Mets come in for a three game series.

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