Tagged: Boston Red Sox

5/14/18 – A’s Bring 50th Anniversary Celebration To Fenway

The Oakland Athletics are celebrating their 50th season in Oakland this year, and brought some of the celebration to Fenway Park for a series against the Boston Red Sox earlier this week.

Namely, the A’s are using commemorative baseballs in home games this season, but they also have been bringing some of them on the road as practice balls.

With a rare night off from Little League and other activities Monday night, I headed to Boston for the series opener. Unfortunately, it’s just too long a trip/late a night for Sean or Kate to join me on a school night, so I flew solo.

Gates opened at 4:40pm, and the Red Sox were hitting.

A's 6


There were enough ballhawks to make it competitive, but not so many to call it crowded.

The Red Sox were good about tossing balls up to fans.  I got David Price to throw me a ball that turned out to be a 2018 Florida Spring Training ball, the only one I saw.

I later chased down a BP homer from an unknown Red Sox player.  It was a ROMLB that I gave to a boy later on.

The real fun started around 5:20 when the A’s took over BP, providing a chance to score a commemorative ball.

And at least some of the BP balls used by the A’s were in fact commemoratives. Based on the small sample of balls I saw, I’d estimate about half were commemorative.

One ballhawk scored two pretty quickly.  He was super nice to trade for the FL ST ball David Price threw me, as he didn’t have one of those yet.  Later on, I also gave him an Atlantic League 20th anniversary ball that I had brought with me.

A's 5

Oakland 50th anniversary commemorative baseball

I got a toss-up from an Oakland pitcher shortly thereafter, but sadly, it was a ROMLB which I gave to a kid.

Even worse, that would be the last ball I would get.  The stadium started to get crowded.  I headed to the area behind the A’s dugout thinking I’d have a better chance at getting a ball or two, still hoping for another commem.

But the A’s were not very generous with toss-ups.  I saw one ball given to a boy, and that was it.

I ate dinner quickly, then headed out to the Oakland bullpen. One of the bullpen catchers was nice enough to have a brief conversation with me about the commems.  He said they did not have any in their bullpen bag, just ROMLBs.  He even took a quick look in the bag.  It’s possible he was just brushing me off, but the only ball I saw come from the bullpen was in fact a ROMLB.

I was able to snag a “today’s lineup” card from the Red Sox.  This is the second one of these we have gotten.

A's 2


The stadium was crowded, but I was able to jump around and watch the game from different spots.

A's 3


In a good pitching matchup between Oakland’s Sean Manaea (who no-hit Boston last month) and Boston’s Rick Porcello, the A’s used three home runs to come away with a 6-5 win.

I tried for a post-game toss-up, but nothing was thrown near me.

I was all but sure both teams had lineup cards in their respective bullpens.

A's 4_LI (2)

The red arrow points to what I am all but certain was Boston’s bullpen lineup card

I decided to take a shot at getting the A’s bullpen lineup card since 1) they won and might be more likely to give it away, and 2) we already have a couple Boston lineup cards, but not an Oakland card.  So I hustled to the Oakland bullpen.

Sure enough, the A’s left the lineup card in their bullpen.  I had to wait a few minutes, but eventually got a Red Sox security person to hand it to me.

It was well the effort and wait.



We have gotten 14 other bullpen lineup cards in the less-than five years we have been collecting them, but this was the first time we ever got an “official” MLB lineup card, the same as they use in the dugout that are almost always sold these days (we were given a dugout lineup card last year from a game we did not go to).

It is 11″ x 17″ and includes the Oakland 50th anniversary logo as one of three watermarks. This is easily the nicest lineup card we have ever gotten at a game.

2018: 7 lineup cards (5 dugout/bullpen; 1 “official batting order”; 1 “today’s lineup”)

Lifetime: 164 lineup cards (112 dugout/bullpen; 48 “official batting order”; 2 “relief pitcher usage”; and 2 “today’s lineup”)

Leagues: MLB: American League; National League; 2017 ALDS.  MiLB: International League (AAA); Pacific Coast League (AAA); Eastern League (AA); Southern League (AA); Carolina League (A); New York-Penn League (A), including 2017 NYPL ASG. Independent Leagues: Atlantic League; Can-Am League; American Association; Frontier League. Colleges: NCAA – America East Conference; NCAA – American Athletic Conference; NCAA – Ivy League; NCAA – Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference; NCAA – Northeast Conference; Cape Cod League; NJCAA – Region XXI; New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL); Futures Collegiate Baseball League (FCBL); Cal Ripken Summer Collegiate League. International: World Baseball Classic (qualifying round, 2016).


October Recap

This is the first time I’ve written an “October recap” which is good news because it means we saw some baseball in October, which isn’t normally the case for us here in New England.

The first game was my nephew’s game against an NCAA Division 3 team that I went to by myself.  I was happy to find one of these.



The last two games were with Sean.  We went to an ALDS playoff game, Game 3, between the Astros and Red Sox.  It was our first-ever playoff game, and walking away with this beaut from the Red Sox bullpen after the game (unframed, of course!) capped an awesome day.



Our final game was another one of my nephew’s fall scrimmages, where we found a couple of these.



To make the end of our baseball season just a little bit better, we were sent this MLB dugout card from a 2009 Mets-Nationals game.

MLB dugout lineup card framed


When does 2018 Spring Training start?!?



Major League Baseball (MLB) Lineup Card Collection

(in order of when we got the lineup cards, starting with most recent)

May 14, 2018 – A’s @ Red Sox (Tom)



May 14, 2018 – A’s @ Red Sox (Tom)

A's 2


April 11, 2018 – Braves @ Nationals (Tom & Sean)



April 10, 2018 – Blue Jays @ Orioles (Tom & Sean)



September 30, 2009 – Mets @Nationals


We did not attend the game.  This was given to us by someone associated with the Nationals.   It is our first and only MLB dugout lineup card, and the oldest lineup card in our collection.

October 8, 2017 – Astros @ Red Sox, ALDS, Game 3 (Sean & Tom)


This was our first-ever MLB playoff game.  


July 16, 2017 – Nationals @ Reds (Kate & Tom)

trip 5

Kate and my first trip to Great American Ballpark.  The “W” on the lineup card was presumably added by someone in the Nationals’ bullpen after the Nationals won the game.


June 19, 2017 – Indians @ Orioles (Tom)

os 7

Short on style, this came from Cleveland’s bullpen.


May 27, 2017 – Mariners @ Red Sox (Tom & Kate)

Ms - Red Sox (2) May 27, 2017

Our first-ever lineup card at Fenway Park, and the first lineup card we got before a game ended.  After the game…

Red Sox

…we got this from the Red Sox bullpen.


April 12, 2017 – Orioles @ Red Sox (Tom)

Os Red Sox (4.12.17)

Given to me by Orioles’ bullpen coach Alan Mills.


September 13, 2016 – Orioles @ Red Sox (Tom)

Red Sox-Orioles (Sept 13, 2016)

This was left in the Orioles bullpen after the game.


April 12, 2016 – Orioles @ Red Sox (Tom/Sean)


Our first Orioles lineup card.  David Ortiz hit career home run #506 in this game.


2015 Rays @ Red Sox (Tom)

Rays-Red Sox Sept 22, 2015 (compressed)

One of my favorite lineup cards given the notes kept on the card by Tampa bullpen coach Stan Boroski.


September 2015 – Marlins @ Nationals (Tom)

Marlins-Nats (Sept 17, 2015)

Marlins’ bullpen lineup card given by bullpen coach Reid Cornelius.


September 26, 2014 – Marlins @ Nationals (Tom)

Our first-ever lineup card of any sort, given by Marlins’ bullpen coach Reid Cornelius.

Marlins-Nats (Sept 26, 2014)








10/8/17 – Playoff Prize To End Our Season

Our luck started about 24 hours before the ALDS Game 3 between the Astros and Red Sox.

I had never been to an MLB playoff game, had nothing going on for Sunday, and had been watching ticket prices on re-seller websites for a few days.  The lowest prices were generally in the $80 – $90 range, and for standing room only tickets, rather than seats.

I patiently waited until Saturday, when prices started to fall a bit.  Early that afternoon, I saw a pair of tickets go up for sale on SeatGeek for $63/each.  And they were for actual seats, not standing room only.  So I quickly bought the tickets for Sean and me.

It rained steadily for the 2-hour drive to Boston on Sunday morning.  We got to Boston around 11:30 am, with gates scheduled to open shortly after Noon, and the game to start at 2:38pm.

We were early enough that we were able to park on the street about a 7-8 minute walk from Fenway.  The rain became more of a mist on the walk.

We were among the first hundred people into the stadium.  With the rain, there was no batting practice, a major bummer but expected given the weather.  Sean had one chance at a warm-up ball used by the Red Sox catchers in the bullpen, but it went to the only other boy in the area.  It was not a 2017 Playoff ball, so it was not a huge loss.

We killed time until first pitch by walking around the stadium, visiting the souvenir shop, getting something to eat and taking pictures.







Our seats were in Section 37, essentially under the scoreboard, one row from the top of the stadium.



You’d like to be a little closer to the action, but as small a stadium as Fenway is, the seats were fine.

In the picture above, do you notice the black image in the roof to the left of the home plate facade, almost directly below the “Optum” sign?  Here is a close-up:



It is a policeman/sniper.  There were four of them, at least that we could see, keeping an eye on nearby buildings.  I am sure this was in response to the recent Las Vegas shootings.

There was a nervous energy in the stadium to start before the air was taken out of the stadium with a 3-run Houston top of the first. It nearly became 6-0 in the second if not for Mookie Betts preventing a 3-run homer with a catch at the right field wall.

The Red Sox got one run in the second, and took the lead for good on a Rafael Devers 2-run blast in the third inning.  It brought the Red Sox crowd of 38,000 to back to life.

The Sox blew the game open with six runs in the 7th inning, turning the end of the game into a party.

We were enjoying the game, save for the four knuckleheads to our right.  In their early 20s, they were on there way to be drunk when they got to their seats just before the game, each double-fisted.

They talked and acted like most drink 20-year olds do, which was less than ideal.  If the game hadn’t been packed, I would’ve looked for two seats elsewhere.  But that was not really an option with a full house.

Shortly after they came back with two more beers each three innings later, the guy two seats from me passed out.  He stayed that way for about an inning, until two security guards came up and made him come to.  They told him that if he continued to appear to be passed out, he would be removed.  They then left.

So, his friends made him stand up so he wouldn’t get kicked out.  He was clearly incapable of standing , and sure enough, he threw up moments later.

Thankfully and somehow miraculously, he didn’t throw up on anyone.  But the stench was awful.

I immediately took Sean and headed down to the concession area to get away from the scene.  We stayed down there for an inning.   When we went back, the guy had been removed.  The vomit had been cleaned up, but we still couldn’t sit in our seats due to the residual stench.  We had to sit/stand on the top stair between sections 37 and 38 for the rest of the game.  It wasn’t ideal, but so it goes.

Before the game, we had scouted the Astros’ bullpen, but didn’t see a lineup card there.  We could see one in the Red Sox bullpen.

I had low expectations.  One, it was still packed at the end of the game.  Two, I didn’t think they would give away the bullpen lineup card, as MLB teams seem to sell anything that is worth something, and I’m sure the Red Sox could sell the bullpen lineup card from an ALDS victory for a few bucks.

But we gave it a shot, getting into a great spot behind the Red Sox bullpen immediately after the final out.  I loudly asked bullpen coach Dana LeVangie given the noise in the stadium, and I thought he nodded yes but I wasn’t sure.  Half-a-minute or so later, he emerged from the bullpen dugout and handed the lineup card to me.  Someone tried to grab it but luckily I got my hands on it first.



Thank you, Dana!  Having the Red Sox bullpen lineup card from our first-ever playoff game, and a Red Sox victory, will always be special.

What a way to wrap up the season!

2017: 35 lineup cards (20 dugout/bullpen; 15 “official batting order”; 1 “today’s lineup” card)

Lifetime: 157 lineup cards (107 dugout/bullpen; 47 “official batting order”; 2 “relief pitcher usage”; and 1 “today’s lineup”)

Leagues: MLB: American League; National League; 2017 ALDS.  MiLB: International League (AAA); Pacific Coast League (AAA); Eastern League (AA); Southern League (AA); Carolina League (A); New York-Penn League (A), including 2017 NYPL ASG. Independent Leagues: Atlantic League; Can-Am League; American Association; Frontier League. Colleges: NCAA – America East Conference; NCAA – American Athletic Conference; NCAA – Ivy League; NCAA – Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference; NCAA – Northeast Conference; Cape Cod League; NJCAA – Region XXI; New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL); Futures Collegiate Baseball League (FCBL); Cal Ripken Summer Collegiate League. International: World Baseball Classic (qualifying round, 2016).

May 2017 Recap

Considering we only made it to five games in May, we did very well to get eight lineup cards.

The highlight was the lineup card from the Boston Red Sox bullpen in a May 27 shutout victory over the Seattle Mariners.

Red Sox


In the four previous games at Fenway in which we had tried for a lineup card, we had always tried the visitors bullpen. The only reason we tried the Boston bullpen in this case was because Mariner bullpen coach Mike Hampton had told me before the game that he keeps his bullpen lineup card.

We also got this interesting “Today’s Lineup” card at the same game.

Ms - Red Sox (2) May 27, 2017


I was happy to add this Long Island Ducks lineup card with 2003 Cy Young Award winner Eric Gagne on it.



The biggest misses of the month? It would have been nice to get Seattle’s bullpen lineup card, but we probably would not have gotten Boston’s in that case, so it’s hard to get upset over that.  We had hoped to score a Mariners’ 40th anniversary ball during that game, but never saw any.

5/27/17 – What do you call this card?

I’ll start with the bad news first: Kate and I went to the Mariners at Red Sox game at Fenway yesterday hoping to score a Mariners’ 40th season commemorative baseball.  We didn’t get one.

There were reports just a few weeks ago that the Mariners used the commemoratives in BP at Toronto.  But earlier this week when Seattle played at the Nationals, none of the ballhawks who posted saw any during BP.

We hoped Seattle would at least have them in their pitchers’ bag.  But the half-dozen or so balls we saw come out of the Mariners’ bullpen bag were all ROMLBs, including the ball Kate got after “King Felix” Hernandez finished his bullpen session.  So it goes.

Kate Fenway (May 27, 2017)

Everything else went incredibly well.

One of the neat things about Fenway is that you’ll almost certainly find something you have never seen before if you look closely enough.

Yesterday was no different.  While walking through a concourse under the bleachers, I happened to notice a door on it with an 11 x 8.5 removable sign on it in a plastic case next to it.  I wish I had thought to take a picture of it, but the door itself said something about only being for authorized personnel such as employees and media.  The removable sign next to the door had the schedule for the day, as well as tomorrow’s game.  I couldn’t tell if the sign was paper or cardboard because it was inserted into a plastic case.

Long story short, shortly before the game started, we walked back over there and a Red Sox employee came out of the door.  I explained that it was Kate’s first Red Sox game at Fenway and if it was OK, we’ve love to have today’s schedule as a souvenir of sorts.

He initially said no, he couldn’t give it to me, so I asked him if there was anyone else I could ask.  He said he would check, and went back in the door.  After a couple minutes, he emerged with the same version of the schedule that was next to the door.

Here it is, with Fenway in the background:

Ms - Red Sox (2) May 27, 2017


Very cool, maybe not as cool as a lineup card, but still neat.  But what do you call it?

It’s not the first time I have seen one of these.  Another ballhawk/blogger has gotten a few at Twins games.  He refers to them as Batting Practice Lineup Cards.  The Cards he has gotten from the Twins includes the BP hitting groups, so that makes sense to me.  But the Red Sox card doesn’t go to that level of detail about BP (for the record, while I like both cards, I like the Twins card better), so I am inclined to call it “Today’s Lineup” card.  Whatever the case, it’s cool and we were happy to get one.

The Red Sox jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning and coasted to a 6-0 win.  The highlights included Mookie Betts robbing a Mariners player of a home run and Jackie Bradley crushing a two-run homer.

As the game neared it end, we had to decide what we’d try for.  Before the game, I had a chance to ask Mariners bullpen coach Mike Hampton for his lineup card after the game.  He said that he kept it.  So we knew that was out.  While we still wanted to try for a Mariners commemorative, we didn’t know if there were any in the bag, and losing the way they were, it was doubtful the Mariners bullpen would be giving away many baseballs.

We thought abut trying for an umpire ball and/or official lineup cards, but it was still so crowded around the dugout area, it was doubtful we could get where we would need to be, and even if we did, there’d likely be several kids with the same idea in mind.

The best option seemed to be to try the Red Sox bullpen for their lineup card.  But I have never tried for their card before, nor have I seen it in the bullpen dugout.

Still, it seemed the best bet, even if it might not be a good bet.  So we positioned ourselves as close to the Red Sox bullpen as possible for the top of the 9th.

When the game ended, I hustled to the railing behind the Red Sox bullpen dugout.  The Red Sox bullpen dugout doesn’t set up nearly as well for seeing into as the visitors bullpen.

I could just about see bullpen Coach Dana LeVangie taking something off the wall, a little ways from where I was, but there was a full line of people along the railing, so I stayed where I was and called out to him.  Sure enough, about 15 second later, he appeared out of the bullpen, started walking my way, and handed me his lineup card.

Ms - Red Sox May 27, 2017

Awesome! It was our first Red Sox lineup card, the fourth MLB team we have gotten one from (Orioles, Rays and Marlins are the others) and seventh overall.  We saw in one of the Red Sox souvenir stores that they were selling yesterday’s dugout card for $100.  Sure, the MLB dugout cards are much nicer, but I’ll take bullpen one for nothing any day.

2017: 13 lineup cards (5 dugout/bullpen; 7 “official batting order”; 1 “today’s lineup” card)

Lifetime: 134 lineup cards (92 dugout/bullpen; 39 “official batting order”; 2 “relief pitcher usage”; and 1 “today’s lineup”)

Leagues: MLB: American League; National League. MiLB: International League; Eastern League; Carolina League; New York-Penn League; Southern League. Independent Leagues: Atlantic League; Can-Am League; American Association. Colleges: NCAA – America East Conference; NCAA – American Athletic Conference; NCAA – Ivy League; NCAA – Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference; NCAA – Northeast Conference; Cape Cod League; NJCAA – Region XXI; New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL); Futures Collegiate Baseball League (FCBL); Cal Ripken Summer Collegiate League. International: World Baseball Classic (qualifying round, 2016).