I was asked to be the guest speaker at the Fort Atkinson Fall Athletic Banquet. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do it just because I’ve never spoken in front of that many people (live) before. I decided I should do it, if for no other reason than to maybe get a few more people into the Be The Match Registry. I’m pretty happy with how it went. I had my mom use my iPad to record it. It was in Fort High’s auditorium, and there were 400-500 people there. In other news, I miss baseball already, and I’m counting down the days until Opening Day, T-minus 153 days!
Now that I’m back from Las Vegas I figured I should write a post to wrap up the 2012 season. This is probably the best picture I took in Vegas (besides the ones of my sister and her now-husband).
Ok, I lied, here’s a second one:
Back to Mission 162!
First off: I would like to thank everyone who has supported me throughout the season and made this goal of mine more attainable. I’d like to thank the Brewers as an organization for helping out and making this mission much easier on the pocketbook. While I was prepared to pay for everything on my own their assistance made it a heck of a lot easier to not fret about paying $1.33 for one banana at an airport. With their backing I was also able to reach a lot more people to help promote Be The Match. Kathy Schwab and Tyler Barnes deserve a lot of credit for convincing other people in the organization to jump aboard the Mission 162 bandwagon. Thanks to Jill and Nathan within the merchandising department. They helped get me the licensed apparel that the Brewers were providing. Thanks to my season ticket representative, Chris, who worked with other staff members to get my season tickets sorted out and helped me throughout the season.
I’d also like to thank Be The Match for allowing me to be a spokesperson for the Be The Match Registry (You can join the registry here). I feel like I could have done more earlier in the year, so personally I feel a little guilty. I might do a couple of speaking engagements so that should help make up for it.
To the twitter followers that joined me at games and donated to Be The Match: THANK YOU! I went with 31 twitter followers who donated between $20 and $100 for their ticket. There were also people who just handed me cash or check donations. In all I raised over $3,700 from the sale of my extra ticket or people just handing me donations. Another $2,000 or so was raised through my donation site.
To everyone who let me stay at your place at some point this season: THANK YOU! I only stayed in hotels 12 nights this year (and 2 of those were comped by the Hilton in downtown St. Louis). I couldn’t have done it without your help.
Alex and Jess in Chicago – 12 nights on their couch. They always had Honey Nut Cheerios for me and were amazing hosts. You guys are awesome!
Annette and Dave in Atlanta – 3 nights on their couch. I hadn’t seen (or talked to) Annette in over 3 years and she let me crash at her and Dave’s house. Dave is a huge Brewers fan, and we hit it off (I saw that Pawnee book in the basement; awesome sauce). Thank you Annette and Dave!
Jan and Ron in Sussex – 10 nights in a spare bedroom. Victoria’s aunt and uncle allowed us to stay at their house whenever we wanted. It was a great help and we would stay there mostly on Saturday nights to save at least an hour of driving time before the day game the next day. Thank you!
Mike and Anne in St. Charles, MO – 8 nights across 3 stays. Anne is my aunt on my father’s side and Mike is her husband. They have six cats but since I love animals I had no problem whatsoever. They treated me and Victoria to dinner in April and were great hosts. They get up extremely early and yet got up to welcome me when I arrived very late after my flight from Miami in September. Thank you!
Allison in San Francisco – 3 nights on her couch. She is a friend of mine and Victoria from the dorms freshman year at UW-Madison. She took us on a tour of her workplace (PIXAR!!!) and joined us for a game. Thanks Allison!
Luke in Brooklyn – 1 night on the couch (I was there for part of another night but slept for only 1 hour and left at 4 AM to catch a flight to Houston). Luke graduated from Fort but we never knew each other. He writes for Sports Illustrated and is a big Brewers fan as well. Thanks Luke!
Dustin in Denver – 4 nights on his air mattress. Dustin is a true friend and he drove back to Denver (by himself) after joining me in Phoenix and Los Angeles. He also came to all three games with me when the Brewers made their August trip to Denver. Thanks Dustin!
Danielle and Tommy in Kansas City – 3 nights on an air mattress in their spare bedroom. Both of them were in the same dorm as I was freshman year. They came to the three games in KC, I didn’t sit with them but did tailgate with them and a few friends before one of the games though. Thanks Danielle and Tommy!
Chris and Amber in Minneapolis – 3 nights in their spare bedroom. Amber is friends with Victoria and I had met her and Chris once before. Chris is a big Twins fan and we had some arguments regarding team supremacy but it’s all good. I’ll be seeing them in December for their wedding. Congrats and thank you!
Prince in Cincinnati – 6 nights on his couch. Prince was a hotdogger three years before Victoria and I met him a few times before. We went to the premier of The Dark Knight Rises in July and I’m very grateful for his willingness to let me stay. Both times I stayed he got me Honey Nut Cheerios and some bananas (breakfast essentials). Thanks Prince!
Mike and Meg in Philadelphia – 3 nights on their futon in the spare bedroom. A friend of my sister’s friend and we started as complete strangers but they opened their home and were great hosts. Mike joined me at a game and does charity work for The Dude Hates Cancer. Thanks Mike and Meg!
Annie in Houston – 4 nights on her couch. Annie graduated from Fort a year after I did and I didn’t even realize she lived in Houston. I stayed at the Holiday Inn the first two times but after she joined me at a game in July she offered her place during the Brewers’ next visit in August. Thanks Annie!
Mark in Pittsburgh – 3 nights in a spare bedroom. Mark is the friend of a friend (Chad) of a friend (Dustin). Mark is in med school and we didn’t see much of eachother but he’s a great guy and I can’t thank him enough for helping me out. Thanks Chad and Mark!
Claire and Bond in Miami – 3 nights in their condo. Claire is the cousin of a friend of my sister. We were complete strangers but I enjoyed my time in MIA. Bond owns a few Asian restaurants and he treated me to an amazing lunch including the best Pad Thai I’ve ever had. Thank you Claire, Bond (& Bas)!
Mike (and Eirwen) in Pittsburgh – 3 nights in a vacant bedroom. Mike’s girlfriend, Eirwen, moved in with him and her apartment was vacant so I had my “own” apartment for three nights. It worked out great and I didn’t feel like I was stepping on any toes when I got in late after the games. Thank you both!
John and Candy in Ellicot City, MD for the Nationals series – 4 nights in their spare bedrooom. John is my late father’s brother. What can I say, I’ve been to DC three times to see the Brewers and they’ve let me stay each time. This time John brought home some tasty crab cakes from Baltimore: delicious. Thank you John & Candy!
Mary Kate in Cincinnati – 3 nights on her couch. Another hotdogger friend of Victoria’s. I didn’t see much of her because when she was at work I was at her apartment and when she was home I was at the games. A great host and a very nice person overall (despite the fact she’s a Pirates and Penn State fan). Thanks MK!
Brandon (and parents Gary and Ginny) – 1 night in the basement. Brandon (a twitter follower) joined me at a few games. He’s currently going to UW-Madison and his current place and my former apartment on West Washington for three years share a backyard; small world. He came home (Germantown) for the last weekend series and I stayed at his parents’ house Saturday night. Thanks guys!
I made some pie charts for various things I kept track of during the season.
The pie chart below details where I stayed throughout the season. The number after each description is the number of times I stayed there. The percentage is pretty self explanatory, it’s out of 180 nights. Four nights out of the 180 I didn’t get enough sleep to qualify. I either didn’t get any at all or got less than an hour or two. The nights without sleep gets it’s own slice. You’re probably going to have to click on the first chart in order to read it.
I created some charts that detail my travel during Mission 162.
I also kept track of time spent traveling. And yes, it was just as tedious as it sounds. Every time I got in my car or stepped in an airport I was keeping track in my notes app on my phone.
In kind I kept track of time spent on air travel. I broke it down into three categories, and it’s a little alarming how much time was spent just sitting on the ground in airplanes (and I didn’t experience a single tarmac delay).
I kept detailed notes on the money I spent throughout the season. The Brewers did provide a per diem, so the amount displayed below does NOT take that into consideration. So for you technical folk, the below includes my expenses but not my income. You may be wondering how I spent $1,280 on “tickets for others.” I had paid in full for a 20 game pack with the left over money from the unused World Series tickets. The Brewers upgraded me to a full season package so in effect I paid for a 20 game pack but got a season’s worth of games. That accounts for $640 of each tickets for me and tickets for others. Since I couldn’t sell my tickets for profit I sold them for donations to Be The Match. The Brewers were fine with this. The other $600 comes mostly from the first St. Louis series, where I splurged and bought nice seats for me and Victoria. Miscellaneous expenses include money spent on 50/50 raffle tickets ($158 for one ticket every home game, save 2).
I kept track throughout the season of pitches seen. I considered seeing a pitch as actually seeing the pitcher throw the ball to the plate. One exception is if I miss the pitch but the ball is put in play and I see the resulting action of that play. This only happened a few times because most of the time I missed pitches that were balls or strikes and nothing else happened. Someone called me out one time and said that they didn’t believe my pitches seen percentage. I will admit that it is not 100% accurate. There were likely times where I was looking at my phone and looked back in time to see the pitch, not realizing that I had missed one in between. If you joined me at games you saw my dedication to not missing pitches. I pulled off countless bathroom breaks and concession stand visits without missing a pitch, and for that I thank myself for being so efficient (and other people for not being sneaky [like me] by going to the concourse with two outs and watching the rest of the inning from there). This is probably my favorite pie chart. I was in the park for every pitch of every single game, if that counts for anything. I should also note that the total of 48,444 is the most pitches a team was involved in this year. The Indians were second with 48,320.
I finished the season having consumed 100 sausages. Some were very good (polish with sautéed onions at Miller Park), some were not (chicken apple sausage in San Francisco).
I would also like to thank my parents (Sue and Robert) for allowing me to move back in for the summer. Staying in Fort instead of Madison saved me an hour of travel time about 55 times this season (that’s over 2 days!). Love ya!
Victoria was skeptical about my crazy idea and was unsure if our relationship would last the season. We both agree that it has brought us closer. I suggested that if I do it in 2013 it will bring us even *closer* together; she disagrees. Victoria joined me at 34 of the 162 games which is a feat in its own right. She was very supportive throughout the season and I can’t thank her enough for sticking with me (and paying my half of the rent while I was gone). I love you and I’m looking forward to our future.
I want to thank all of my followers who read my posts. While I know a lot of my following came from friends and family (love you guys!), there were also a lot of strangers who were intrigued by my insanity to follow through with this.
It’s been one heck of a journey, and taking all those game number pictures paid off. Here’s the final slideshow of the season. The last 30 seconds is a quick overview of my travels from day one. I exported the movie as 1920×1080 (HD quality). I think wordpress compressed it because watching the preview it appears to be of lower quality. Either way I still think it’s pretty cool. I chose the three songs I did because they’re the ones that you’re guaranteed to hear at a Brewers home game.
I apologize if I forgot to mention someone. I was introduced to more people this year than at any other point in my life. I know that’s not saying a lot since I’m only 25, but it was still a little overwhelming. Believe it or not I’m somewhat antisocial at times and I like to mind my own business, so this season had some added challenges. I knew I’d have to become more outgoing if I was going to make a difference for Be The Match and I think I did to some degree. I’m going to be speaking in front of a couple hundred people at Fort Atkinson’s High School Athletic Banquet in two weeks so I should probably get working on some talking points as to not embarrass myself.
I almost forgot to mention that I made the most recent edition of Sports Illustrated (along with Braun). My Grandpa called me on Wednesday morning to let me know (I get the digital edition on my iPad but I hadn’t seen it yet). He’s been a subscriber since 1954 so he was very excited. Before the season he was probably the most skeptical about me quitting my job to go to baseball games, but he’s come around. He said that he’s had to make a lot of donations at his Rotary Club meetings because he brags so much. Love you, Wally!
If anyone has any employment leads for a 25 year old with an economics degree, let me know (back to the grind I go). Thanks again for the support and if you’d like to get ahold of me my email address is email@example.com.
On Wednesday I got up around 8:30 and worked on Tuesday’s post, arguably one of the most enjoyable days of the year for me. Bill Glauber of the Milwuakee Journal Sentinel called at 9:45 and I talked with him for about 30 minutes. At 12:30 I did an interview on 1250 WSSN and then talked with Josh Smith from my hometown newspaper, The Daily Jefferson County Union.
Victoria’s aunt made us lunch and then we got ready for the game. We left at 3:50 for Miller Park and were outside of the home plate entrance at 4:35. This isn’t the game number photo, but I thought it would be a good picture to have.
In the right field corner are the executive offices and we met with Brittany from Marketing and Frank from Brewers Enterprises. Also along for the trek up to Bernie’s dugout was Bill Glauber and his photographer, Mark Hoffman. Frank took us down to the service level where we walked past Bob Uecker’s SUV, the only person allowed to park in the stadium. We briefly went out on the field and if you’ve been following along since day one this picture will look very similar to the one I took on opening day.
Along the service tunnel we went, passing the Brewers Clubhouse on the way. Since the Brewers were in there we couldn’t have a look around, but it was all good. I had gotten a tour from Larry Hisle in 2009 and got to see the clubhouse briefly. I remember Trevor Hoffman being the only one in there, just chilling on a couch watching TV.
The “Media Interview Room” was next and I did my best Jim Mora “PLAYOFFS!?!?!” impersonation before smiling for the camera.
After walking to the left field corner we took the elevator up to the club level and then passed through the NYCE Stadium Club and headed out to Bernie’s dugout. The stairs are very steep.
When we got up there look who we found!
I’m a little upset that I didn’t use my iPhone’s video capabilities to record my trip(s) down the slide. Some stills will have to do. Persons not named Bernie have to sit on a piece of burlap so you don’t get slide burns. Haha, slide burns.
Victoria took an action shot of me on the slide and you can tell that I’m moving fairly well.
After going down the first time I walked back up to get game photo number 162. I also took a couple standing but I think this one is the best.
The Padres were taking batting practice and while I was sitting in the slide someone on the team, I’m assuming Cameron Maybin or Carlos Quintin, hit a home run off the slide not too far from where I was. It didn’t hit the inside of the slide but nonetheless, it was a little startling. Victoria informed me that she had been standing on the edge of the slide to take my picture and when the ball hit the slide it made a loud noise and she stepped off, thinking it may be collapsing. Not cool. I stood up and yelled to whoever would listen; “HEY! I’M IN HERE!!!”
I went down the slide again and then called it quits. We could’ve gone down more times if we had liked, but I felt bad with everyone just bumming around while I had all the fun. During this whole time Bill was asking questions and Mark was taking pictures. I’m not sure when the story will run in the paper but it’ll be sometime soon I’m sure. Frank led us down to the field level and Victoria and I went to Friday’s Front Row to have a beer. Thanks to the Brewers for allowing me to go down Bernie’s slide, which any fan can do now (not for free though). Thanks Brittany for meeting with us and Frank for showing us around.
We were in Friday’s for almost an hour and we got to see the Oakland A’s clinch the AL West with a victory over the Texas Rangers. The A’s trailed the Rangers by 13 games at one point and came into the final 3 game series down by 2 games. They needed a sweep and that’s just what they got. Congrats to the A’s, what they’ve done with the 2nd smallest payroll is amazing. It was also cool to watch because they showed people in the stands at the Colleseum and Victoria and I spotted Ben Christensen, former MLB Fan-caver who’s from Oregon and claims the A’s as his team.
We hadn’t gotten our tickets scanned since we entered through the executive offices so Victoria and I exited the left field corner and walked towards the home plate entrance. The Miller clock tower and skies were ripe for a picture.
I think it was the 3rd or 4th home game of the year, but one of the bag checkers recognized me from the previous 2 or 3 games and she said “Back again?” I laughed and told her what I was doing and I’ve made a point to enter through that entrance to say hi to her and her husband, who also works as a bag checker. Below is a picture of Brian, myself, and Jessica. You guys are awesome and I’ll see you next April.
We went up to the loge level and talked to the Ice Man for 5 minutes or so, and learned some stuff that I didn’t know. He runs a basketball camp and said there are a few of his camp-goers that are now in the NBA, including Steve Novak. He pushed going to Spring Training pretty hard, and within the next couple of years (I hope) I’ll be down there taking it all in.
I got my 100th sausage of the season from the concession stand across from section 213. After saying hi to Bill (the extremely) friendly usher by section 216 I stopped in front of the press box to take the picture of the “century sausage.”
If you watched the FSN interview from Tuesday you’ll remember that Brian Anderson said I was “hiding under my seat” when Victoria got that foul ball that rolled her way in the 3rd inning. I couldn’t let him get away with it so I got in line with the FS Wisconsin booth and yelled “BRIAN!” followed by “BA!!” He and Bill Schroeder eventually looked out to see what was going on and I told him that he lied and that I wasn’t “hiding under my seat yesterday.” He and Bill laughed and Brian said that I was. I don’t have a photo but they were both wearing bowties, which Victoria and I thought was pretty silly.
I was in my seat in time for the first pitch but wasn’t prepared to take the final first pitch picture. I don’t feel bad because I didn’t start doing it until later in the year, so it’s not like this is the first time it happened. Stinson started in place of Yovani Gallardo, which greatly decreased the likelihood of seeing the necessary nine strikeouts to set the MLB team record for Ks. Here is Stinson pitching in the 1st inning.
The Brewers put solo runs on the board in the 1st and 2nd inning and then erupted for a 4-spot in the 3rd. Aramis Ramirez was pulled from the game in the top of the 3rd to protect his .300 batting average that he had achieved in the bottom of the 1st on his RBI single. I wonder if he told Roenicke before the game that he’d like to be removed if he got to .300? Ishikawa did the major damage in the 3rd, driving in three runs on his two out double, immediately after the Padres intentionally walked Gomez to get to him.
The Padres slowly chipped away, scoring their first run in the 4th and then adding two more in each of the 5th and 6th innings. In the middle of the 6th the final sausage race of 2012 was run. I incorrectly chose Polish, even though I had wanted to select hot dog but Victoria beat me to it.
In the top of the 7th the Padres scored two more times and I didn’t like the score.
If you recall the Brewers lost all three games in Philadelphia by the same 7-6 score, and they all involved early leads that were squandered. The Brewers put the tying run on base in the 9th (Segura) but Aoki struck out to end the game. Here’s the last of the 48,444 pitches that were thrown during Brewers games this year:
I sat in my seat for a few minutes and took it all in. I’ll be completely honest my eyes may have gotten a little glossy (just for a second!). One hundred and eighty one days ago I began a mission to attend all 162 Brewers games. As I write this today on October 4th, 2012, I can proudly say “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.”
It’s like they were speaking to me, except they forgot the “crazy, never-say-never, determined” between the you and fans.
We exited Miller Park at 10:30 PM after saying goodbye to Brian and Jessica. Opening Day is in 179 days…. Round two, anyone?
The Brewers fell just two strikeouts short of tying the 2004 Cubs for the most strikeouts as a team. The Brewers finished the game with 6 strikeouts, which was impressive because they had zero through five innings. Darn.
I’m in Vegas as we speak, and my sister is getting married in four hours. There will be a summary post coming within the next week, so look out for that. There will be many thanks in said post but this will have to do for now:
Thank you all!
If you want to learn more about Be The Match and how you can help, CLICK HERE
Tuesday was the second-to-last game of the year, and it was a special one. Victoria and I left Madison at 3:30 and made it to Miller Park about 90 minutes later. I met up with a friend, Josh, to play catch for a few minutes before heading inside for my first pitch. He was with a group from Fort Atkinson, and they surprised me with a $550 check for Be The Match. Thanks guys!! I probably made about 30-40 throws with Josh (bouncing one). They were kind of all over the place so I wasn’t feeling too confident about my ceremonial first pitch.
Outside of Miller Park I met with Jason Newton and his cameraman, Hank. Jason is a reporter for WISN Channel 12 out of Milwaukee and he had asked to do a feature on me. Hank mic’d me up and I answered a few questions once I got inside the home plate entrance. Victoria and I met up with Kathy Schwab, and she led us down to the field. Game photo number 161:
At 6:50 Drew, who handles the pre-game on-field activities, told me that I’d be up in 10 minutes. Last week sometime I thought it would be cool if Braun could be my catcher. On Thursday I had sent a text to Ryan’s dad, Joe, asking him if Ryan would be interested in catching for me. He said he’d ask him and on Monday he got back to me Ryan would do the honors. I thought he might forget or something might come up but on Tuesday I saw Braun on the top step of the dugout with his glove in hand. Awesome. As we both left the on deck area he said he wouldn’t have missed this. Double awesome. I made my way to the mound and made sure to smile this time.
Sara Stathas took the following photos and Kathy forwarded them to me after the game. Thanks Sara & Kathy!
I may have smiled going to the mound but I was all business as I let go of the pitch.
You’ll have to watch the videos below to see how it went, but I think my smile gives it away.
Ryan and I talked briefly as we were coming off the field. He mentioned that his mom (Diane) told him about my run-in with a guard rail on the way to D.C. It was all a blur but I think I mentioned that I can see why he’s such a stand up guy after meeting both his parents and getting to know them a bit. I meant to ask if him and Larisa would want to go on a double date with Victoria and me at some point, but I forgot. If nothing else it would’ve been a good joke.
Here’s the story that aired on WISN Channel 12 at 10:00 PM on Tuesday:
After getting the ball signed by Braun I went up to the cross aisle on the field level and did a short interview with Adam DeCock who interviewed me earlier in the year for a Cut4 piece. I saw the first pitch from there (a called strike from Thornburg to Cabrera):
Victoria and I went up to our seats in section 221 after the top of the 1st. In the bottom of the 2nd Travis Ishikawa fouled the 1-1 pitch back in our general direction. It ricocheted off the wire that supports the protective screen and then bounced off a few empty seats and rolled in our row towards Victoria. She was the quickest of the bunch and scooped it up. For future reference I just sat there and watched it unfold.
In the bottom of the 3rd inning Aoki singled with one out and then Braun and Ishikawa walked with two down. Maldonado stepped in with the bases loaded. Victoria said he was due for a home run…
Awwwwww yeeeeaaaaaahhh! Grand Salami. 4-0 Brewers.
After the 3rd inning Kathy (who was sitting across the aisle) and Victoria and I walked down to “the point” out in left centerfield. It was there that I did my last interview on FS Wisconsin with Telly Hughes. Brian Anderson dishes out a joking low blow at the end, but it’s all good.
After the interview we returned to our seats, stopping to get a Polish sausage along the way, my 99th sausage since Opening Day. The Padres scored a run in the top of the 4th, added another in the 6th inning and still had the bases loaded with only one out. Kameron Loe came in to try and escape the jam and allowed only one inherited runner to touch home plate. Whew! Axford got the save opportunity in the 9th and struck out the first two batters he faced. The next two singled and the Padres had runners on the corners with two outs. Axford got the job done and induced a game ending groundout to Jean Segura at short and the Brewers held on. Final score: Brewers 4 – Padres 3.
The Brewers struck out 10 batters on Tuesday which means they need 9 as a team to break the MLB record for strikeouts in a season. It’s currently held by the 2004 Cubs with 1,404. One per inning is all they need, let’s do it!
I didn’t like how far away I was in the game number picture so Victoria and I stuck around for a bit and I had her take one of me in my seat in section 221. Hmmmmm; decisions, decisions.
I did an interview with Bill Glauber of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal and he’ll be meeting with me at Miller Park as well. At 12:30 I’ll be on air with Sports Radio 1250, which is in 15 minutes. Gotta go!
If you want to learn more about Be The Match and how you can help, CLICK HERE
On Monday I went and got an oil change at the Honda Service Center and also got my license plate reattached to my now scuffed up bumper. I also stopped by Tetra Tech (my former employer) to say hi to some familiar faces and see the remodel job that was done since I last visited in July. I finished up the blog post and then Victoria and I left our apartment at 3:35. Someone that Victoria works with gave her four tickets to the game on Monday and we were joined by a friend of Victoria’s (Ciara) and her fiancé (Andy). Even though our respective apartments are only a few miles apart in Madison we drove separately because they said they might have to leave early.
We had agreed to meet at Friday’s Front Row Sports Grill and when Victoria and I entered Miller Park at 5:15 I almost stepped on this guy (or girl). I am fascinated with insects but I’m not an Entomologist. After doing a quick google search I’m confident that it is some sort of giant moth. I tried nudging it after getting the picture but it just moved its antennae a little and didn’t fly away.
We had gotten to the park about 25 minutes before Ciara and Andy so I went out on the patio of Friday’s to get game photo number 160.
For dinner I went with the Jack Daniel’s Burger and it was very good (which probably didn’t need to be said since bacon is clearly visible).
I left Friday’s at 6:30 to meet up with the brother (Tim) of a Twitter follower (Jen) who had bought my two tickets in section 221. I had left the tickets at will call but met up with Tim to chat for a few minutes and to get the $80 donation check for Be The Match. Thanks Jen and Tim!
Victoria, Ciara and Andy met me in our seats in 117 and we got a picture taken before the game started. Left to right you have Andy, Ciara, Victoria and myself.
Shortly thereafter Shaun Marcum threw a called strike to Everth Cabrera to get the game underway.
In the bottom of the 1st Braun doubled and Aramis Ramirez drove him in with a single. In the top of the 3rd inning Padres starter Clayton Richard hit his first major league home run. On consecutive days a Brewers starter gave up a first career home run to the opposing starter. It’s probably been done before but I’m guessing it’s not a very common occurrence. Carlos Gomez gave the lead back to the Brewers with a solo home run in the bottom of the 4th. The umpire in the background is picking something up and I’m assuming it was something that fell off of Gomez, maybe part of his elbow guard? Either that or a horse was on the field and left a gift for one of the umpires (horses don’t like bad calls).
The 2-1 lead didn’t last long because 17 minutes later Rickie Weeks made contact on a full count offering from Richard.
Bang!!! The Brewers announced it as 453 feet and hit tracker online lists it as 441 feet. Either way it was an absolute bomb. Weeks’ home run was the 200th of the season for the Brewers as a team. The friendly dimensions of Miller Park has something to do with that but they also have some very good power hitters.
The Padres pulled to within 2 runs with a solo run in the 6th. The bottom of the 6th saw the Brewers hit a home run for the 3rd consecutive inning. Lucroy put one out to left centerfield that cleared the Brewers bullpen.
The Padres added a run in the 7th but that concluded the scoring. Final score: Brewers 5 – Padres 3. With the win the Brewers secured a winning season. While that’s not much of a consolation if you had asked me 6 weeks ago if I’d take a winning record when the Crew were 12 games under .500 on August 19th I would have jumped on that offer. If the Brewers pitching staff can get 19 strikeouts over the final two games they’ll break the record of strikeouts as a team which is held by the 2004 Chicago Cubs. Let’s get it!!!
It’s past noon on Tuesday and I’ll be leaving in a few hours for the second to last game of the year. I’m throwing out a ceremonial first pitch tonight and after being up close yesterday I may or may not be getting a little nervous. “Don’t bounce it, don’t bounce it” is being repeated in my head as 7:00 approaches. I’ll be doing an interview on FSN during the 3rd inning and I’m not sure if they’ll show the pitch. Part of me is kind of hoping they don’t in case I embarrass myself. Either way it should be an enjoyable day at the ballpark.
If you want to learn more about Be The Match and how you can help, CLICK HERE
On Saturday I stayed at Brandon’s parents’ place in Germantown. I left on Sunday at 10:05 and was parked before 10:30. Brandon had jumped on the free tickets that Ryan Braun and John Axford bought, and he had an extra. I wasn’t able to find someone on twitter to sit with me on Sunday so I decided to try and sell both of mine outside of Miller Park. It took me about 30 minutes but I was able to find a couple who paid $60 for my two tickets. It’s $20 less than face value, but seeing that I was hoping to get a $40 donation for one of the seats it actually worked out better.
I walked around for 45 minutes and told people about Be The Match and my journey thus far. I met up with Brandon and his parents (Gary and Ginny) in the Miller 2 parking lot. I had a few beers and a delicious steak sandwich with some onions and peppers.
Brandon and I went inside at 12:45 to get game photo number 159 in section 131.
Our seats were in section 128 so it was rather convenient. The only inconvenience was that we were on the left side of the aisle. Fiers delivered the first pitch of the ballgame (a strike) to Tyler Greene.
If the guys head in the picture above is any indication: the game for me consisted of a lot of bobbing and weaving to try and see every pitch. I think if I had just sat there and not moved I likely would’ve missed 20-25 pitches. In the bottom of the third I was looking at my phone and there was also a group of people coming down the aisle. I missed the first pitch of Segura’s at bat, and then while trying to record what pitch I missed I also missed the second pitch of the at bat (Doh!). I think it may have been the first set of consecutive pitches that I’ve missed (while not doing an interview).
The Brewers pitching staff needed 51 strikeouts entering Friday’s game to break the MLB record (held by the 2004 Cubs). They struck out 11 on Friday and Fiers was doing his part on Saturday.
The only problem was that he was also giving up solo home runs, four of them to be exact. The first run he allowed was an RBI double but the remaining four runs he surrendered were all via the long ball. One of them was to the pitcher, and it wasn’t a cheapie.
In the 8th inning I had a fan two rows due north take a picture of us. Left to right is Gary, Ginny, Brandon and myself. I’m very grateful for Brandon and his parents allowing me to crash for a night to save me some travel time, and for letting me join them at the game. Thanks guys!
The Astros added two runs in the 8th and starter Jordan Lyles came out for the 9th inning to try and get the complete game shutout.
He got the job done and only needed 103 pitches to shutout the Crew. The Astros won 8 (EIGHT!!!) games against the Brewers this season. They have only won 45 other games so far. Only 10.7% of their games were against the Brewers and yet 15.1% of their victories came vs. the Crew. A better (worse) way of looking at it is that against everyone else their winning percentage is .317, vs. the Brewers: .471. Ugh.
Brandon is attending UW-Madison and my old place on West Washington and his current place on Mifflin basically share a backyard. Small world. He had come home for the weekend so in exchange for letting me stay at his parents’ place I took him back to Madison. I got to Victoria’s and my place on the west side of Madison in time to see the 4th quarter of the Packer game which helped cheer me up a bit.
It’s almost 1:00 on Monday afternoon and I’ll be leaving in a few hours or so for the last series opener of the season. ♫ It’s the final countdown!!! ♫
If you want to learn more about Be The Match and how you can help, CLICK HERE
On Saturday I packed up all my stuff and left my parents’ place for the last time this season. It feels like yesterday that I woke up at 3:45 AM to do my interviews at Miller Park on Opening Day. Time flies when you’re having fun. I got to Miller Park at 3:35 on Saturday and after dropping my extra ticket off at will call I went back to the general lot. I handed out 75-100 business cards and it looks like I won’t have many left after all. There are a bunch of registry drives coming up in the Milwaukee area.
I met Brandon, who joined me at the June 18th game vs. the Blue Jays, outside of the home plate entrance at 5:30. We headed inside and went to section 129 for game photo number 158. Thanks to Brandon for being patient with me. As we get further down the line the angle makes it a little more challenging.
Up to the loge level we went and I got another Polish to bring my season total to 33 Polish sausages (98 sausages overall). The game got underway and Marco Estrada threw a ball to Jose Altuve. I know it’s a little blurry, he’s just so fast…
In the bottom of the 2nd inning Aramis Ramirez and Corey Hart went back-to-back to give the Crew a 2-0 lead.
If you can’t tell they gave out rally towels again. I’m not complaining by any means and I actually really like the second picture with Corey framed by the towels. A two-run single by Aoki later in the inning doubled the Brewers lead to 4-0.
In the bottom of the 3rd Corey Hart got his second at bat in as many innings and he didn’t disappoint. His three-run home run in the 3rd gave him two home runs and 4 RBI in a span of 26 minutes; very impressive. Second time didn’t work out so well with the towels:
The Brewers led 7-0 after the 3rd and between innings the scoreboard displayed a Happy Birthday message to Brewers owner Mark Attanasio. His seats are right next to the Brewers dugout and he got some face time. He showed off a 2011 sport coat last year during the playoffs last year. In a word: Awesome.
The Brewers added solo runs in the 4th and the 8th. In the top of the 9th I took a picture of the scoreboard after there were two outs hoping it would represent the final linescore. Note the zero runs for the Astros:
Livan Hernandez was pitching and Martinez quickly changed that zero in the linescore.
I thought for sure that this would be the final linescore, that was until Castro singled and Bogusevic took Livan deep.
When the count went to 2-1 on the next hitter (Tyler Greene) I leaned over and told Brandon “one more homer and…..” [Livan will be gone]. Bang!!!
I was right:
Jose Veras came in and threw four pitches to finally shut the door. Final score: Brewers 9 – Astros 5. At some point I had Kathy, who sits behind me on Saturdays, take a picture of me and Brandon.
I think it was in the 8th or 9th inning when a foul ball came back into section 221 and deflected off some hands and hit a guy in the face. Police and medics came by and he was holding his nose for the rest of the game. I looked back at the 620 WTMJ booth and saw Uecker and someone else pointing out towards the injured fan. It looks like they were laughing but I’m not going to judge (they could’ve been talking about something else). It just so happens that Adam McCalvy made the picture (far left) and so did Bill Schroeder (far right). Yay!
I’m staying at Brandon’s parents’ place in Germantown and then heading to the game tomorrow before going back to Madison. Only four games left, where did the season go?
If you want to learn more about Be The Match and how you can help, CLICK HERE
I got up at around 10:00 AM on Friday, ate breakfast and worked on the post for Thursday’s series finale in Cincinnati. After pounding out the dents in my license plate I found out I’ll need to get a few parts if I want to reattach it to my car; darn. I unpacked from the road trip and left for Milwaukee at 3:30. I was parked about 60 minutes later and then dropped off my twitter follower’s ticket at will call. I headed back to the general parking lot to hand out my business cards and tell people about Be The Match. I actually ran across a gentlemen who was a donor back in 1990. It was cool to hear from someone who has gone through the donor process. He said that he and the patient (somewhat secretly) communicated through the medical institutions that handled the transplant.
I went inside at 6:20 and received the two freebies that stadium staff was handing out. There’s not a sponsor on the rally towel which is somewhat rare. That’s a replica of Bernie’s mustache on the right if you didn’t put Brew and Crew together… Get it? Hahaha (it’s past my bedtime).
I made my way to section 128 for game photo number 157. I asked a man that was standing nearby if he could help me out. After I started explaining what I was looking for he (politely) suggested his wife take the picture. After taking the picture I told them all about what I was doing and why and they seemed genuinely happy for me. Thank you Mike and Karen!
I went up to the loge level and got a Polish sausage, which brings my sausage count to (some would say an unimpressive total) 97. I’ll likely finish right at the century mark, that’s a lot of encased meat!
Carla was in her seat waiting for me and right after the national anthem the Brewers awarded Ryan Braun with the We Energies High Energy Player of the Year Award. I’m not sure who else would’ve won it but fans do the voting so who knows what could’ve went down. Nice job Ryan, well deserved.
The game got started and I completely forgot about the first pitch picture until it was too late. The third pitch Yovani Gallardo threw will have to do:
An RBI single in the top of the 2nd gave the Astros an early 1-0 lead. For the second time in less than 32 hours Carlos Gomez led off the Brewers half of the 3rd inning with a solo home run. Towel waving ensued:
The game didn’t stay tied for long and in the 4th the Astros put a 2-spot on the board and duplicated the effort in the 5th. The latter coming on back-to-back home runs from Brett Wallace and Jason Castro. In the bottom of the 6th Braun doubled home Ishikawa and Weeks, and the deficit was now two at 5-3. I tried to capture all of the towel waving after Braun’s double but it’s kind of hard to see.
Braun stole third base for his 30th steal of the season. It’s back-to-back 30/30 seasons for Braun (30 HR / 30 steals) and only the 11th 40/30 season in MLB history. Very impressive, especially considering the scrutiny he has been greeted with this entire season. Not the best picture of Braun below, but nonetheless.
After the 7th inning I had a fan a few rows in front of us take a picture of Carla and me. Carla lives in Appleton and goes to about 10 games a year. She has a 10 game pack and her seats are near the aisle in 216, which is basically the mirror image of my seats in 221. She has similar opinions regarding interleague play, the designated hitter, and instant replay, so we had a good time talking baseball and taking in the game. She made a $40 donation to Be The Match for her ticket. Thanks Carla!
The two clubs traded runs in the 8th, the Brewers’ run coming on an Aramis Ramirez triple to right field… Say whaaaaaaaaa!?! It was his 3rd triple of the year, which is the same number that he hit in 2009, 2010, and 2011… combined. He’s not the quickest player on the field, thus the infrequency of triples. It’s also partially due to the fact that Wrigley Field isn’t the best triples park (where he played his home games from 2004 to 2011). I think he’s pondering “what happened out there that allowed me to get to third without even having to slide?”
The answer to his question is that the right fielder had made a sliding attempt to catch the ball and it got by him and to the wall. The Astros hit another solo home run in the top of the 9th (their 4th solo blast of the game) to take a 7-4 lead. In the bottom of the 9th Schafer singled to lead off the frame and then Segura doubled with one out to drive him in. Lucroy was up next and he hit one to 3rd that was booted so bad Segura was able to score from second.
Eric Farris pinch ran for Lucroy and I was discussing with Carla if he was going to try and steal 2nd base. Staying out of the double play and getting into scoring position would’ve been huge, but you CAN’T get thrown out while representing the tying run. Aoki was at the plate and was leading the majors in extra base hits in September, and a double would have likely tied it. Instead Aoki grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the game. Painful. Final score: Astros 7 – Brewers 6. It’s sad but every time I see a 7-6 score I’m going to have flashbacks to that dreadful series in Philadelphia where each game ended with the Brewers on the wrong end of that score. [Shivers].
It’s past 2:00 AM on Saturday and I’ll be leaving in about 12 hours for game two of the Astros series. I’m staying in Milwaukee Saturday night and then heading to Madison on Sunday after the game. I’ll go to Monday’s game with Victoria and then return to Madison on Monday night. On Tuesday we’ll drive to the game and then stay at her Aunt’s place in Sussex. On Wednesday we’ll do the same but then we’ll be catching a 6:00 AM flight to Vegas on Thursday for my sister’s wedding. Long story short I’m going to be quite busy over the next 7 days. There will be a ceremonial first pitch thrown in there (10/2) and a trip down Bernie’s slide as well (10/3).
Goodnight (well… good morning).
If you want to learn more about Be The Match and how you can help, CLICK HERE
Thursday was getaway day and the Reds had scheduled a 12:35 finale. It reduces the time between games but it also gives me a 30 minute head start back to Wisconsin. I left Mary Kate’s apartment at 11:30 and was parked in one of the $10 lots 15 minutes later. I picked up my ticket from will call and was inside Great American Ballpark by noon. I had already taken 8 game number pictures from inside and outside of the park so I had some trouble deciding where I wanted it taken. I ended up going to the top row of seats beyond the right field wall. There was no one within 15 rows of me and I tried propping my camera up like I had in Pittsburgh but it didn’t work too well. Shortly before the national anthem I gave up, walked down the steps to the nearest fan (Mike), and asked him politely if he could help me out. He’s a season seat holder and was very interested in my mission and was nice as could be. Thanks Mike!
The Brewers relievers had just made their way out to the bullpen so I went over to the edge of the stands to get a few pictures of their handshakes. Most of them have specific handshakes with each other, and it’s fun to watch. I remember seeing them do a handshake routine with some Miller Park staffers last season. It involved a handshake and then a sweeping [the floor] gesture while whistling. Oh the bullpen.
My seat was in section 112 but after seeing how empty the left field seats were I decided to sit there for a while. I couldn’t get there in time for the first pitch and stopped just to the left of the batter’s eye. Mat Latos delivered a called strike to Norichika Aoki to get things started.
I made my way over to the left field seats by the time the Brewers took the field for the bottom of the 1st. Ryan Braun warmed up with the ball boy that sits along the left field line to scoop up foul balls.
Wily Peralta started for the Crew and he bounced back nicely from his previous start. Here he is about to unleash a pitch in the 1st inning.
In the bottom of the 2nd Carlos Gomez made a great catch on a Jay Bruce fly ball to deep centerfield. It wouldn’t have been a home run but it was mighty close. Go-Go led off the top of the 3rd and I was thinking to myself that it would be cool if he hit a home run immediately after taking an extra base hit away in the previous half inning.
Bang! Wish granted. Gomez sent the 1-1 pitch over the wall in right field to give the Brewers a 1-0 lead. In the bottom of the 6th Wily Peralta struck out Reds starter Mat Latos. When the Brewers threw the ball around the horn after the strikeout Aramis Ramirez hung onto the ball and called out the trainer. Apparently Ramirez had pointed something out to Roenicke earlier in the game about Peralta and they had kept an eye on him. Roenicke and the trainer came out of the dugout in the 6th and Peralta was pulled from the game. It’s said to be a biceps issue but it doesn’t appear to be too serious.
The Brewers held the 1-0 lead and I slowly made my way around the concourse towards the right field corner. I had a hot dog along the way and the concession stand worker took my money with her gloves on. She then proceeded to pick up the bun and serve me the hot dog. Interesting… I considered saying something to her but I didn’t. I did stop by guest relations to let them know about the infraction. The lady at guest relations said that I should’ve said something. So I’m supposed to be a fan at the game and serve as the disciplinarian for the concession workers. Right……..
I got to the right field corner for the final half inning. I was hoping this would’ve been the final linescore:
Axford came on and struck out the first two batters he faced. One more out and the Brewers had the series. Ax started Todd Frazier off with a fastball that caught a lot of the plate and Frazier didn’t miss, sending one over the centerfield fence for a game-tying home run. The next pitch was singled to left and the Reds now had the winning run at first base. A nine pitch battle between Axford and Dioner Navarro followed. Two of the pitches were hit foul down the right field line that would have been home runs had they been 20-30 feet to the left. The 9th pitch of the at bat was hit to right center and deep. I thought Aoki could’ve had it but he played it on a bounce and the Reds were walk-off winners. It was a heartbreaking loss that sums up the season; so close yet so far. Final score: Reds 2 – Brewers 1. If the Brewers would’ve held on for the 1-0 win it would’ve been their second 1-0 win of the season, the other coming on June 22nd vs. the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field (I was at that game too!!!).
I got back to my car and was on the road at 3:33 eastern time. I stopped for gas at 7:30 and took a picture of the sunset.
It took me 7 hours and 15 minutes to traverse the 468 miles (which includes my 25 minute stop for gas and dinner). Not bad at all. It’s noon on Friday and I’ll be leaving in a few hours for the first game of the 6-game home stand. I’m going to try and walk the parking lots to hand out cards and “informationalize” people about Be The Match. Knee pain be damned! Let’s get it!
If you want to learn more about Be The Match and how you can help, CLICK HERE
Wednesday was a lazy day for me. I ate breakfast around 10:30 and then worked on the blog post for Tuesday. At 2:00 PM I decided to get some Skyline Chili for lunch and there’s a restaurant within a mile of my host’s place. I’m staying with a friend of Victoria’s (Mary Kate). The two of them were in the same hotdogger class (22). “Hotdoggers” are those who drive around in the wienermobile for a year after college. They weren’t partners but they are pretty close friends. Thanks MK for letting me crash for a few nights!
I left for the game just before 5:00 PM and was parked at Paul Brown Stadium by 5:15. I met Barry and we walked over to the ballpark where Barry took game photo number 155. I had already gotten one taken from outside the stadium (game #73 on 6/25) but that was from outside the home plate entrance. This was taken from outside of the right field corner and from across E Mehring Way.
After getting the picture taken we walked up Joe Nuxhall Way to the Holy Grail Tavern & Grille. It’s across the street from Great American Ballpark and it gets very crowded before home games. We had two beers and met up with a friend of Barry’s (Will). I met Will before and he’s a (somewhat) serious Reds fan. Barry gives him a hard time because he doesn’t always get there in time for first pitch but overall Will is a nice guy who supports his team.
At 6:40 we walked across the street and into the stadium. In the right field corner of the field level they have a restaurant called Mr. Red’s Smokehouse. I mentioned it in the post on July 21st and it’s similar to the Chef’s Table at Miller Park in that they have food that is popular in the visiting team’s city. They had a beer brat when the Brewers were in town but I opted for a turkey leg, and boy was it massive.
I’m not sure if you can tell but it’s almost as long as the bridge!!! I wish I could’ve seen the whole turkey. We got to our seats in section 128 with a few minutes to spare before Bronson Arroyo delivered a ball to Aoki.
The Reds scored a solo run in the bottom of the 1st but Marcum pitched better after that frame. In the 3rd Aoki homered with two outs and it was a laser that appeared to not get higher than 30 feet in the air (we’ll see what the apex is listed at when hittrackeronline updates their database). I looked this morning and they say it reached 56 feet at it’s apex, hmmmmmm. I took the picture just before Aoki did the finger mustache gesture, but you can see third base coach Ed Sedar doing it.
Weeks followed Aoki with a single and Braun doubled to put runners on 2nd and 3rd. Ramirez stepped in looking to give himself 100 RBI on the season. On the 0-1 pitch Ramirez lined one up the middle that shortstop Zack Cozart couldn’t coral, giving Ram-Ram his seventh 100 RBI season and first since 2008. I’ll be the first to admit that I was skeptical about the signing but he has performed better than even I was hoping for. I’m not afraid to say I was very, very wrong. Nice work, Aramis, my apologies.
Hart added an RBI single and the Brewers had a 3-1 lead in the 3rd. In the 6th Jeff Bianchi added some insurance with a sacrifice fly and then Braun sent some people home early with a 2-run home run in the 7th.
Aoki, who had himself a day, doubled home Bianchi in the 8th and Lucroy wrapped up the scoring with a solo shot in the 9th. Brewers win! Brewers win! Final score: Brewers 8 – Reds 1. With the Cardinals losing the Brewers pulled to within 3.5 games, and it’s now going to take the Brewers going 7-0 over their last 7 and the Cards going 3-3. Never say never.
Two things I thought were kind of cool that the Reds had on the scoreboard:
1) A mustache that was fixed on the screen and then the camera guy(s) would pan the stands and put it on people. This individual was curling his imaginary mustache.
2) “Walks will haunt!” The Reds put this on the scoreboard after a visiting team walks one of the Reds batters. It’s true, but after doing some brief research I’ve noticed there are some conflicting numbers. One website says a leadoff walk scores 38% of the time while another says 80% of the time. Interesting…… I had thought it was in the 70% range but I’ll keep digging. Either way, walks are bad so the scoreboard message is accurate (just ask the Brewers’ bullpen about the first 4.5 months of the season).
It’s 10:40 on Thursday morning and I’ll be leaving shortly for the finale of the three game set. Barring a miraculous finish and the Brewers making the playoffs today will be my last away game of the season. Wow, time flies when you’re having fun. There’s a 40-60% chance of rain from 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM so I’m hoping the game gets played. A 161 game season would mean that I’d just have to try it again next year.
If you want to learn more about Be The Match and how you can help, CLICK HERE