Archive for Hunter Pence

I’ve always wanted to … 

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , on August 12, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

  
I go to a fair amount of baseball games.  Not a lot by any stretch of the imagination, but I go to four or five a year.  Over my 30 years of baseball fandom I have always wanted a game-used ball.

  
I’ve never caught a home run ball, not a foul ball, not a ball tossed to me by a player between innings. None.

In recent years MLB stadiums have begun selling game-uses items and I’ve always dreamed of buying something.  The items always seemed too expensive or I simply hesitated.

Well, Tuesday night, all of that changed.

My wife and I got free tickets to the Giants-Astros game in San Francisco.  They were 10 rows from the field, a gift from my sister, who has gotten them from a co-worker season ticket holder who couldn’t make it.  As it happened, Giants stud Madison Bungarner was on the mound.  Tickets for his starts are always at a premium.

What we got was an absolute gem from Bumgarner, who hurled a 5-hit, 12-strikeout complete came to earn his 13th win of the year; his 80th career victory.

It was probably the second most dominating pitching performance I had seen in person. It rivaled a game in 1999 in which Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez struck out 12 Oakland Athletics.  And it slightly edges out a Curt Schilling performance about a half decade ago in which he nearly no-hit the A’s. Schilling lost the biggest-hitter with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.

I digress. After the game I went to check out the game-used merchandise and there were four used balls from the game left for sale.  Two were thrown by Astros pitcher Scott Kazmir and two were thrown by Bumgarner.  One was a foul tip that Jed Lowrie got a piece of in the second inning ($40) and the other was the ball that Houston outfielder Carlos Gomez singled to right on the ninth pitch of the game.  The Gomez-Bumgarner ball was originally $150, but had been marked down to $69.

  
I took the Gomez-Bumgarner ball. True it was more expensive. Yes, it was a hit and not a strike. But I liked that it was a star versus star and ultimately I could pinpoint exactly which play the ball game from.

As it turned out, it’s a pretty neat piece of “history.” Tuesday marked the first day in Major League history in which ALL 15 home teams won their games. The FIRST TIME EVER. 

After the game I caught the replay on TV and archives the video showing the entire at-bat, and the specific pitch in which this ball was thrown.  That was kind of fun.

Some other facts about the ball and game:

*This was Carlos Gomez’s 883rd career base hit.

*The ball was used for one play, handed from umpire Dana Demuth to catcher Buster Posey then tossed to Bumgarner who threw the pitch. Gomez then hit it to right and it skipped to Hunter Pence who then threw it to all-star shortstop Brandon Crawford, who then threw the ball out of play.  It was later authenticated by MLB — customary practice for game-used items being sold at stadiums.

*The ball was thrown during Bumgarner’s 80th career victory.

*Bumgarner struck out seven batters in a row, tying the Giants record.

*The picture below is a screen shot of Gomez on third base later in the first inning after the single.  My wife and I are in the shot. 🙂