April 2012

4-29-12 (@ St. Louis)

The first thing I did when I woke up was look at the weather. The hourly forecast listed a 60% chance of rain for most of the morning and afternoon. I took a screen shot of the radar, because I thought it was “funny” that there was a general lack of rain clouds in the U.S., except for right where we were.

Victoria and I brought our ponchos, and we left my Aunt and Uncle’s house at 11:15. We were parked by 11:50 and made our way into the stadium. Today’s giveaway was a replica World Series Trophy, which Victoria and I did not want, at all. We were able to sell each trophy for $20 a piece, I found out later I could’ve gotten way more, but I’m fine with a free $20. I also was able to sell one of the hats we got on Saturday for $15.

Twenty dollars of the proceeds went toward lunch. There’s a Food Network hot dog stand where they have different ingredients you can add to a quarter pound hot dog. I added baked beans, corn chips (fritos), and shredded cheddar. I had also asked for the pickled jalapeño relish, but they were all out. The hot dog included chips and cost $11. They could’ve kept the chips and I would’ve paid $9 for the hot dog itself, and it was mighty tasty.

As you can see from the above photo, I had good seats for this game. With taxes and fees they set me back $138.50 a seat. If it wasn’t for the extended protective screen, I would’ve said they were worth it. I hate having to look through a screen, and it prevented me from getting some action shots of the batters. My camera isn’t that great and it has trouble deciding if it should focus on the subject I want it to, or the screen. I can use manual focus, but that is tricky at times as well. I was able to get some decent pictures of things not occurring at the plate. Such as…

Braun getting ready to bat in the first, this was taken when he was in the hole, thus him not being near the on deck circle.

Weeks sliding safely into second base in the first inning on his steal attempt:

Greinke pitching, not sure what inning this was in, because I took pictures of him in multiple innings.

Part of Braun’s bat after a single in the fourth inning. This half helicoptered after he made contact, and embedded itself in the infield grass.

The game was very close, and the Cardinals held a 1-0 lead heading into the top of the sixth. Gomez singled to lead off the frame, then Braun grounded out, with Go Go advancing to second. Ramirez singled to right and Gomez came racing home to tie the game.

Corey Hart singled, Alex Gonzalez grounded out, but with two outs Lucroy came through with a clutch two run double to put the Brewers ahead 3-1. Veras and Loe kept the Cardinals off the board in the seventh, but K-Rod gave up a run in the eighth. I was looking forward to a shut ‘em down type of 9th inning from Axford, but with the way the series had gone, I was a little nervous.

Axford walked the leadoff hitter, definitely a no-no for a closer (and for all pitchers, really), and then gave up a single to Beltran. Just like that the Cards had the tying run at third, the go-ahead run at first, and nobody out. I looked at a run expectancy matrix, and at fan graphs after the game, and in retrospect, the situation was looking bleak. With runners on first and third and nobody out the team will score at least one run 86.8% of the time. That is using MLB statistics from 1993 – 2010. From Fan Graphs; in that situation the team batting has a 65.5% chance of winning. I was thinking best case scenario the Crew gives up the tying run but sends the game to extras. I’ll let this picture explain what happened.

Gotch’ya! Axford struck out Freese with a 98 mile per hour fastball, then struck Yadier Molina on a 98 mile per hour fastball. For some reason Beltran had taken off from first, Lucroy threw down to Alex Gonzalez, who started running him back to first. In the meantime Tyler Greene took off for home. Gonzalez ran at Greene, then threw to Lucroy who made the tag to end the game. WHEW!!! That’s what Axford is doing above. Getting out of that jam was awesome, and it helps to have a 98 mph heater in your back pocket if you need it. Final Score: Brewers 3 – Cardinals 2.

Lucroy was the offensive star of the game, and Axford and him were interviewed on the field after the game.

Victoria and I held off on getting the game number picture, because we were going to wait until after the game, when everyone left. I should’ve known, but the Cardinals also do the kids run the bases thing on Sundays, so there were people all over the place. Oh well, I’ll have plenty more chances to get a better, less populated picture.

We had our minds made up that we were going to eat at Pappy’s smokehouse, and we drove the three miles to the restaurant. When we started getting close we could smell the delicious smells that come from a smoker. We got there at about five o’clock, to learn that they close at four on Sundays. Four in the afternoon on a Sunday? Say WHAAAAAAT!?!? It was very disappointing, and I had Victoria drive away as quick as possible, to prevent drool from pooling on the floor of her car.

Victoria had eaten at a nearby pizza place in 2010, and we agreed that it was a (somewhat) suitable alternative. The place is called Pi (as in 3.14), and the pizza was scrumtrulescent. The best part was that it cost us $5. We placed our order, and after 20 minutes our waitress came over and asked what we had ordered, and confirmed that she put in the wrong order. We told her we would still like what we had originally asked for, and it wound up being free. We still gave her a $5 tip, which seemed weird, since she was the one who messed up, but it would’ve felt strange to not pay anything. Our “East Loop” pizza had mozzarella, pesto, hormone free roasted chicken, mushrooms and onions. Perhaps a little too much olive oil, but overall it was amazing.

Our flight is scheduled to take off at 6am, and after a layover in Las Vegas we’re scheduled to land in San Diego at 10:35am. I’m hoping both flights are on time, California here we come!

Personal Stats:

Daily:

Time inside Busch Stadium: 4 hours 27 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 4 hours 29 minutes
Miles riding in car but not driving: 56.1
Sausages: 1 (Hot Dog, which probably weighed 3/4 of a pound)
Pitches Missed: 0 ( with how close I was to the plate I would’ve beaten myself up for missing pitches)
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (265/265)

Season:

Time inside stadiums: 91 hours 26 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 111 hours 31 minutes
Miles driven: 1,819.5
Miles riding in car but not driving: 504.8
Public Transit miles: 136.2
Flight Miles: 1,200
Total distance traveled: 3,798 miles
Sausages: 16 (4 Polish, 4 Hot Dogs, 3 Bratwurst, 2 Italian, Cheddarwurst, Bison Dog, Corndog)
Pitches missed: 15
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,116 (4/22 – 4/25)
Current streak of pitches seen: 334
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.77% (6,441/6,456)
If you want to learn more about Be The Match and how you can help, CLICK HERE

4-28-12 (@ St. Louis)

I was a little rushed Saturday morning. The game was at 12:05, I didn’t get up until after nine, and I still had to finish up my blog post for Friday’s game. I don’t know what’s going to happen when I have to drive back from a road series. My  goal is to get every post up before the next game, because things are more fresh in my memory, and it’s less likely that I’ll get things mixed up as to which game was which.

I didn’t know this when I decided to stay with my aunt and uncle, but they don’t have wifi. I was a little thrown off by the curveball, but I managed. Since I paid the extra money up front for the Verizon iPad (as opposed to just the one with wifi), I was able to get one gigabyte of data for $20. It’s for a month, but there are no contracts, so I’ll likely just cancel before the next period, because most everywhere I go will have wireless internet.

Victoria and I left for the game at 10:40 and made the 30 minute drive to Busch Stadium. We found $5 parking on Friday (which is the cheapest you’ll find), and went with the same place today. When we were coming down I-70, and just getting to the city, we got a great view of the arch.

It’s a short ten minute walk to the stadium from where we parked, and we made it inside by 11:25. Before heading upstairs, I snapped a picture of the home plate entrance from the inside. I love Miller Park, but open air stadiums are hard to beat. I will never be mad that Miller Park has a roof, because I’m most interested in the games, and a guaranteed game rules supreme. You can see stadium staff handing out a promotional item below, which was a World Series Champions Hat, ugh. Tomorrow is a miniature World Series Trophy. I’m planning on selling them all to Cardinals fans when I’m there tomorrow, we’ll see how it goes. I tried selling the hat to a few people today, and they all just wanted it for free. The fact that I won’t wear it no matter what doesn’t give me much bargaining power.

We took the stairs behind home plate all the way to the upper deck, where we sat for today’s game. In the stairwell they have the different Cardinals logos going back to the ’30s. They really haven’t changed much, but I took a picture of each one because I thought it was cool to see the (slight) variations. They don’t need descriptions, and I’m sure you can figure it out. I’m not sure what happened between ’32 and ’37, or why the ’49-’65 one doesn’t have ’51-’55 removed, but it’s still cool to see how the artwork has changed.

We were sitting in section 449 for the game (and paid $56 a ticket after fees!), but I had the game number picture taken from 450, because that one is directly behind home plate. It’s crazy to think that the season is 13% over! The cloud cover kind of washed out the sky, but it’ll have to do.

I’m not sure if they have the arch design in the grass for every game, but I’ve been to Busch stadium five times, and I think it’s been like that for all of them. I must admit that Busch Stadium provides for a real nice ballpark experience. We had some time to kill before the game started, and I took some pictures to pass the time. The four part picture below, going clockwise from top left:

1) Interstate 64 in the background, and the Busch Stadium sign in the upper right hand corner. I took it just to show how close the interstate comes to the stadium.

2) A close up of the two scoreboards that the Cardinals use. The stadium was just built in 2006, but things get outdated quickly. Their replay board (left) isn’t very impressive, and I can see the Cardinals replacing it with a much larger hi-def board like the Brewers installed at Miller Park prior to the 2011 season.

3) You can see their banners in the 2nd photo, but I took a close up of the flags that represent the World Series that they’ve won. If we can get just one at Miller Park before I’m gone, I will be happy. I know nothing is guaranteed, and when you’ve got teams like the Yankees at Red Sox with bottomless pockets, it does seem unlikely. In saying that, Attanasio has done a tremendous job in his first seven years, and I’m looking forward to being a Brewers fan until the day I expire.

4) The Cardinals scoreboard from the 2nd iteration of Busch Stadium, which stood from 1966-2005. The first Busch Stadium was more commonly referred to as Sportsman’s Park, because that was it’s name for most of its existence.

The game was more entertaining today than it was yesterday, not falling behind 10-1 after three innings definitely helps. The Cards had a 2-0 lead after three innings, but after solo runs in the 4th, 5th, and 6th innings, the Brewers tied it up at three all heading into the bottom of the sixth. The Cardinals scored two in the sixth and two in the eighth, and that was that. Final Score: Cardinals 7 – Brewers 3. The last three games the Brewers have been outscored by a total of 18 runs (27-9). They won’t be winning too many games if they give up an average of nine a game. Greinke is on the mound tomorrow, so I’m hoping he can right the ship. That is, of course, *IF* there is a game tomorrow. Right now the forecast has between a 40 and 60% chance of rain predicted between 9 am and 8 pm. I might be in for a long day at the park tomorrow. We picked up ponchos on Friday, so at least I should be able to stay dry.

I will leave you with this picture from my seat in the upper deck. It’s of Rickie Weeks, just after making contact, he wound up beating the throw for an infield single. It was all for naught, however, as Gomez followed him with an inning ending double play.

Personal Stats:

Daily:

Time inside Busch Stadium: 3 hours 35 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 3 hours 38 minutes
Miles riding in car but not driving: 76.4
Sausages: 1 (Polish, they didn’t have onions or Kraut at the condiment stand I went to though, BOOOOOO)
Pitches Missed: 1 (I was tweeting, I’m a disgrace)
Consecutive Pitch streak ended at 477
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.57% (233/234)

Season:

Time inside stadiums: 86 hours 59 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 107 hours 2 minutes
Miles driven: 1,819.5
Miles riding in car but not driving: 448.7
Public Transit miles: 136.2
Flight Miles: 1,200
Total distance traveled: 3,742 miles
Sausages: 15 (4 Polish, 3 Hot Dogs, 3 Bratwurst, 2 Italian, Cheddarwurst, Bison Dog, Corndog)
Pitches missed: 15
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,116 (4/22 – 4/25)
Current streak of pitches seen: 69
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.76% (6,176/6,191)
If you want to learn more about Be The Match and how you can help, CLICK HERE

4-27-12 (@ St. Louis)

Friday started off with a trip to the Gateway Arch, or more technically speaking, the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. As I said in my post from yesterday, Victoria’s mom and her friend were stopping in St. Louis on their way back to Wisconsin. I had been up in the Arch years ago, and I don’t really remember any of it. There is a lot of waiting involved, that’s for sure. We got there around 11:30, and we didn’t get to take the four minute ride to the top until 1:30.

There is a lot to look at, and I kept myself occupied. The Museum of Westward Expansion was interesting, which included an exhibit detailing the Lewis and Clark expedition. I learned that William Clark was a robot!

I asked one of the Park Rangers (since it’s a National Park), and she said they had been doing repairs, and hadn’t put his clothes back on yet. Victoria tried convincing me that he was “naked” because they wanted to show people what was under the clothes, as there are a few other animatronic people for other exhibits. The Lewis and Clark exhibit walked you through their journey. There was excerpts of their journals alongside pictures of the types of things they would have seen on their journey. Going clockwise from top left, the four pictures below are:

1) A map that details the route they took to the Pacific Ocean, which began in St. Louis (obviously).

2) The instructions they received from President Jefferson in 1803.

3) They had these excerpts next to the murals, and I’m pretty sure they are the actual words that Meriwether Lewis had written in his journal. They didn’t correct the spelling or grammar, and I’m glad they didn’t. I think it adds to the authenticity, and makes you appreciate your education. I like this one because of the last sentence regarding him and bears.

4) Getting to the Pacific Ocean was the goal of the expedition, and [Spoiler Alert!] they made it. I thought this was a funny picture because of the wet floor sign. It was a really beautiful photograph, and it was extremely realistic. Who knows, maybe water splashes out of it from time to time, either that or some of the staff wanted to give people like me something to chuckle about.

There was also an American Indian Peace Medal exhibit, which was cool, and sad at the same time. I love America just as much as the next guy, but how we went about getting all of the land was a little unfortunate. The three parter below is as follows, starting from the top left and going clockwise:

1) The wall of the exhibit, complete with pictures of American Indians wearing the peace medals.

2) The first presidential peace medal (picturing George Washington, and a Native American). The custom of giving out peace medals was adopted from England. The earlier ones, like this one, were all hand engraved, so each one is unique.

3) The peace medal while Lincoln was president. As you can see, using a press creates much more legible and consistent medals.

Our ticket was for the 12:55 trip to the top, but that just meant you had the honor of waiting in line for another 30 minutes. We finally got to board the tram, I definitely forgot how small they were. With five adults in one capsule, it gets a little crowded. Luckily it’s only four minutes up and three minutes down. The observation windows at the top are a little small, and make it a difficult to get a good view/picture. I guess it makes sense though, as you can’t make them large enough for people to fit out. If they were large enough, people would find a way to open/break them, and possibly plummet to their death (either purposefully or not).

Getting right up to the window gets you a much better view of the city. I must admit it’s pretty cool. With a decent pair of binoculars I could probably enjoy a game from up there.

After taking the tram down, we wanted lunch, but before we left I had Victoria take a picture of me showing off my incredible strength. Don’t ask me how I do it, practice and good form are a good start though.

Victoria and her mom had both been to a nearby Oyster Bar, and suggested we go there for lunch. The place doesn’t wow you from the outside, but it makes up for it with the food. The four parter below is as follows, from top left going clockwise:

1) The exterior of the building.

2) The stage where bands play. Victoria told me that in high school she went down to St. Louis for show choir, and parents went with. The bus driver went to the Oyster Bar, and so did Victoria’s mom, as well as another student’s mom. Apparently the two moms wound up on stage with the band (after maybe too much to drink). The bus driver informed the kids as they got back on the bus, which of course was rather embarrassing.

3) An “encouraging” sign. Notice the writing on the railing in the lower left

4) My lunch; fried shrimp Po’ Boys and spicy cole slaw. Victoria got the Jambalaya, and I wasn’t too impressed.

After lunch Victoria and I took a quick walk up to Busch Stadium to get the game number photo out of the way, since we weren’t sure about the weather.

We still had plenty of time before the game, so we decided to go on the Budweiser Tour. Victoria had been on it back in 2010 when she was driving the Wienermobile, but was fine with going again. The tour was free, and we saw/learned some pretty cool stuff.

The six part picture below shows some of the stuff we saw. Again, starting top left and going clockwise you have.

1) Bruuuuuuuuce! One of the Clydesdales that they have on site.

2) Victoria and myself (I’m on the left), in front of the Budweiser wagon. I wanted to climb up and sit in the coach seat, but that probably would’ve been frowned upon.

3) The lager tanks, our tour guide said they have 375 on site. Combined, they can hold 20 million gallons.

4) The Brew House, with a born on date of 1892.

5) Two eagles perched outside the Brew House.

6) The bottling plant, the tour guide said the plant, operating at full capacity, can bottle 16.5 million 12 ounce servings in a 24 hour period.

As for the game itself; the good news was that the Brewers held a 1-0 lead after the first inning. The bad news is that they gave up ten runs over the next two innings, and lost 13-1. It wasn’t pretty, and today’s game cannot start soon enough, for more than one reason. I’d like to get the shellacking out of my memory as soon as possible, and because there’s rain in the forecast starting at 4pm. The game starts at noon, so hopefully there aren’t any issues. Sunday is looking worse, with a 60% chance of rain.

Personal Stats:

Daily:

Time inside Busch Stadium: 3 hours 36 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 3 hours 47 minutes
Miles riding in car but not driving: 59.8
Sausages: 0
Pitches Missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (283/283)

Season:

Time inside stadiums: 83 hours 24 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 103 hours 24 minutes
Miles driven: 1,819.5
Miles riding in car but not driving: 372.3
Public Transit miles: 136.2
Flight Miles: 1,200
Total distance traveled: 3,666 miles
Sausages: 14 (3 Hot Dogs, 3 Polish, 3 Bratwurst, 2 Italian, Cheddarwurst, Bison Dog, Corndog)
Pitches missed: 14
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,116 (4/22 – 4/25)
Current streak of pitches seen: 313
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.76% (5,943/5,957)
If you want to learn more about Be The Match and how you can help, CLICK HERE

4-26-12 (Off Day # 2)

Yesterday was supposed to be spent in St. Louis, a doctor-ordered MRI prevented that. Victoria and I were planning on leaving Wisconsin in the morning, and spending the day in St. Louis, and of course the weather was perfect. My doctor was a little concerned that my knee wasn’t feeling better, and had ordered an MRI on Wednesday. I had blood work done beforehand, and I still had a bruise from the last blood draw which was 8 days ago. I’ve had plenty of MRIs before, but I was still alarmed at how loud those things are. I had the headphones on, and asked them to put on some classical music, because I wanted to try and sleep a bit. I was startled when they started, and the noise was so loud I thought it was coming from the headphones, it was not. I couldn’t hear the music for the duration of the MRI, but was still able to fall asleep a few times. Luckily my legs didn’t twitch (which is known to happen when I’m dozing off) and force them to start over.

Victoria and I left just before five from my parents’ place in Fort. We stopped for a quick bite at Arby’s around 7:30, then finished the drive to my Aunt Anne and Uncle Mike’s house, which is in Saint Charles (a suburb of St. Louis). We arrived just before 11, and were shown the ropes. To sum up my aunt Anne, you need one picture, and it’s what I woke up to this morning:

Long story short, Anne is a [NOT crazy] cat lady. She has six cats, four of them are pictured below. Going clockwise from top left you have:

1) Dempsey, named after Tom Dempsey, because he has somewhat of a club foot (paw). Tom Dempsey is best known for kicking a 63 yard field goal back in 1970. I didn’t know that he was born in Milwaukee, so maybe this will provide some sort of luck. When Victoria and I were getting ready for bed he jumped right up, and wound up sleeping between us for most of the night.

2) Marvin, the second of the “Tuxedo Brothers”, which is what Anne and Mike dubbed him and Dempsey.

3) Speck, who is 20 years old, deaf, and diabetic. Anne has a little heating pad on the chair, and said that Speck will stay there most of the day.

4) Buster, who, as you can see, is rather large.

They have cat trinkets around the house, and this four part picture exemplifies my aunt quite well.

Again, going clockwise from top left:

1) Their entry way, and you can see right away that they like cats, and the U.S.

2) A cabinet full of cat figurines.

3) University of Kansas stuff. My Grandpa Wally, who I went and saw last Saturday, went to Kansas and played football, and played in an Orange Bowl! Anne also went to Kansas, and played Basketball during the 1975 and 1976 seasons.

4) Anne’s medals, which are mostly from the last 16 years, when they moved to Saint Charles. She does 5k races, and these aren’t just participant medals, a lot are 1st and 2nd place medals (for her age group).

Victoria and I are leaving shortly to go to the Gateway Arch. I went up it years ago, but it’s been at least 15 years, (it makes me feel old saying that). Her mom was stopping in town with a friend, on their way back from Texas. We’re going to have lunch with them, and then Victoria and I are planning on hitting up the Budweiser tour before the 7:15 game. The chance of rain for tonight has gone from the predicted 70% from a few days ago, to 30% at game time. Tomorrow should be nice, but Sunday calls for some thunderstorms. If all three games are played between now and Sunday night, I’ll consider this part of the trip a success. Winning will definitely magnify that sentiment.

Personal Stats:

Daily:

Miles Driven: 433.4
Sausages: 0

Season:

Time inside stadiums: 79 hours 48 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 99 hours 37 minutes
Miles driven: 1,819.5
Miles riding in car but not driving: 312.5
Public Transit miles: 136.2
Flight Miles: 1,200
Total distance traveled: 3,606 miles
Sausages: 14 (3 Hot Dogs, 3 Polish, 3 Bratwurst, 2 Italian, Cheddarwurst, Bison Dog, Corndog)
Pitches missed: 14
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,116 (4/22 – 4/25)
Current streak of pitches seen: 31
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.75% (5,660/5,674)
If you want to learn more about Be The Match and how you can help, CLICK HERE

4-25-12 (vs. Houston)

Today was another grinder. I got about six hours of sleep, and probably stayed in bed a little too long. My alarm went off at 8:15, but I didn’t get up until 8:28. I had a 9:15 doctor’s appointment, and wound up being rushed while getting ready. I was planning on leaving right from the doctor’s office, so I also had to bring everything with me for the game.

My doctor is still a little concerned with my knee, and ordered an MRI. I was planning on leaving for St. Louis tomorrow morning, but I figure I should probably have this done before I go. Tomorrow I’ll be driving to Madison for the MRI and a bunch of blood work, to rule out any possible infections. If everything goes as planned Victoria and I should be leaving for St. Louis tomorrow evening. The MRI is scheduled for 2:30, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that everything goes smoothly.

While talking with one of the receptionists after my appointment, and trying to figure out how everything would work, she asked how I was doing with all the travel and whatnot. I started to answer “Well, there’s only been 18 games……” and then realized I hadn’t changed out the game number sign from last night. I know it’s not a huge deal but I beat myself up a bit. Since I was only in Fort, and my parents live 7 miles away, I decided to go back and get it, then head to Milwaukee. I had originally told Ryan Kartje, a writer for FoxSportsWisconsin.com, that I would meet him at eleven, but I wasn’t quite able to make that happen. I still made it into Miller Park by 11:20, and we went right to the upper deck.

It took some coaching to get the shot that I wanted, but I applaud Ryan for sticking with it. He asked if he did the worst job to date, but I wouldn’t show my hand. He would’ve stood there all day until I was pleased with the shot, so kudos to him.

We made it to my seats 30 minutes before game time, and we talked about my story from then until he left after the fourth inning. He’s got a spot in the press box, and work to do, so I don’t blame him. He’ll be writing an article for the website, and it will probably run early next week. He didn’t want to jinx it, but he said if Fox Sports Net likes it enough, they’ll put it on FoxSports.com, and if MSN (who owns Fox Sports Net) likes it enough, they’ll put it on their site. I told him “you better not mess this up!” I was joking of course… maybe. I had a fan a few rows in front of us take our picture before he took off. Ryan is on the left, I’m on the right.

Most all the excitement took place in the first three innings, and it was tied 4-4 after the third. Marcum struggled a bit, but only giving up four runs with the number of guys he put on base was impressive. It could’ve been much worse than just four runs. He stranded the bases loaded in the first, and again in the fourth. It was still knotted at four going into the seventh, but the Astros scored a solo run, and added two more in the eighth, to take a 7-4 lead. The Brewers got one back in the 8th on a home run by Hart, and they were able to bring the tying run to the plate in the ninth. After a Gomez triple Braun stepped to the plate, and everyone in the building was hoping for his second 2-run homer of the game. That would have tied it, but he grounded out to third and the game was over. Final Score: Astros 7 – Brewers 5.

I did miss one pitch, a 1-2 offering from McClendon to Johnson in the top of the ninth. McClenden doesn’t mess around, and once he agrees on a particular pitch he gets rid of it quickly. I think I was tweeting something when I looked up just after the ball smacked the mitt. I did manage to better my previous streak, which you can see in my stats below.

I was also able to pull off another successful bathroom break without missing anything. In the top of the ninth, once the second out was recorded I went up to the concourse and watched the final out from there. I went to the bathroom and then watched the bottom of the ninth from the concourse. With a pronounced limp now, I figured I should try and get a head start on getting to my car. I was hoping the Crew would either tie it, and send it to extras, or win it, and send everyone home happy. It didn’t work out this time, but having Braun at the plate representing the tying run is never a bad thing.

The views from the concourses at Miller Park are great. The only downside is that most times you aren’t able to see the scoreboard, but that can be a good thing. If you’re focused on the game and not interested in distractions, then it’s a perfect. This is the view from where I watched the bottom of the ninth, not too shabby.

That’s all for now, I may have a post for tomorrow’s off day, but I’m not sure. I won’t be getting into St. Louis until late tomorrow night. If anything it will come on Friday morning. Right now the forecast for the weekend is as follows. Friday; 60 degrees and a 70% chance of rain, Saturday; 76 and a 30% chance of rain, and Sunday; 63 and a 20% chance of rain. This could be a doubleheader situation if that Friday forecast proves to be accurate. I will never get to see a doubleheader at Miller Park because of the roof (which I love). I would like to experience one in my lifetime though, because it lets you experience something that was commonplace back in the day, when they were built into the schedule from the start.

Baseball aside, I just want to thank you all for being supportive of this mission. A bunch of people have either joined the registry or are planning on it due to my story, and I couldn’t be happier. Be The Match let me know that my microsite has raised $860, but a high school classmate of mine let me know she donated $100 separately, and her employer matches donations, so we’ve raised over $1,000! I didn’t really come in with a goal in mind, but everything helps, and that $1,000 pays for 10 more people to join the registry. Let’s keep it going!

Personal Stats:

Daily:

Time inside Miller Park: 4 hours 16 minutes
Time on Miller Park grounds: 4 hours 32 minutes
Miles Driven: 138.2
Sausages: 0
Pitches missed: 1
Consecutive pitch streak ended at: 1,116
Percentage of pitches seen:  99.71% (339/340)

Season:

Time inside stadiums: 79 hours 48 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 99 hours 37 minutes
Miles driven: 1,524
Miles riding in car but not driving: 312.5
Public Transit miles: 136.2
Flight Miles: 1,200
Total distance traveled: 3,173 miles
Sausages: 14 (3 Hot Dogs, 3 Polish, 3 Bratwurst, 2 Italian, Cheddarwurst, Bison Dog, Corndog)
Pitches missed: 14
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,116 (4/22 – 4/25)
Current streak of pitches seen: 31
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.75% (5,660/5,674)
If you want to learn more about Be The Match and how you can help, CLICK HERE

4-24-12 (vs. Houston)

I got up around ten on Tuesday, and checked my phone as usual. I had gotten a text from my friend Josh, and he was a little disappointed in the number of sausages I was consuming. He joked that I should have a couple before going to the game. Unbeknownst to him, I already had breakfast in mind, and it wound up looking like this:

You’re looking at my interpretation of a scrambler, which is inspired by Mickies Dairy Bar in Madison. Mine isn’t exactly the same, as I cook everything in a pan on the stove, and the ingredients are slightly different. This one included a potato that I sliced “shoe-string style” if you will, yellow onion, one whole egg, two egg whites, sharp cheddar cheese, a polish sausage, and some Frank’s Red Hot. Not a bad way to start your day, your heart might disagree with that statement though. I ate the whole thing, despite it being cold by the time I took the last bite.

I spent most of my time before the game trying to get my internet browser to function properly. I was on the phone with Apple tech support for an hour and fifteen minutes, and he tried a number of things, to no avail. He recommended I call my internet service provider, which I did. I talked to the guy at Charter for 30 minutes, and he had no idea. I’m hoping the problem will just solve itself, because I’m going to be using this internet for the next five months when the Brewers are home.

I went to the game with Josh, it feels weird calling him that because we typically go by last names, so from now on I’ll call him Crandall. He graduated one year after me, and we’ve been friends since high school.

Crandall and I were planning on meeting another Fort Atkinson grad in the general parking lots at five. We got to the preferred lot right on time at 4:45, leaving us fifteen minutes to get the general lot. The tailgate hosts, however, were running late, so we just drank some High Lifes to pass the time. Miller Beer and Miller Park, hard to beat this dynamic duo.

Across from us there was something that needed documentation. I’ll be honest, it does look somewhat comfortable, and none of them had chairs, so I guess it makes sense.

The tailgate hosts finally arrived and Crandall and I stopped by for a brat, a scotcharoo, and a picture. Below, from left to right, is myself, Katie, Crandall, and Jacob. We all graduated from Fort, Katie and Crandall a year behind me, and Jacob three behind them (I think). Despite their tardiness, the Brat they grilled was delicious, and I thank them for letting us stop by. Katie will be in St. Louis for a few games of the upcoming series, so we may cross paths again.

Crandall and I spent about 25 minutes with them, and then headed into Miller Park. We made it inside at 6:35, which is cutting it a little close, since we had to go back to the upper deck for game photo number 18. I hope you guys believe me that I’m going to the games, and not just changing my clothes and moving over a few sections. I promise all the pictures are from separate games (up to this point at least).

The game was a blast, it could have been the four home runs hit by the Brewers, or the guy behind us. At first he was annoying most everyone with his random outbursts, but they were so ridiculous that Crandall and I couldn’t get enough. I’ll give you a few examples.

1) He would randomly yell “YEEEE-HAAWWW!!!”, for no apparent reason.

2) When Norichika Aoki came up, who is Japanese, the guy was hitting chopsticks together like drumsticks. I will admit that I thought that may have been in poor taste. But then he yelled “I LOVE YOU!” and then “OKKKKIIII!!”

3) Just when I thought he had exhausted all avenues of insanity, Braun came to the plate in the 8th and the guy said loudly “Room service, baby, room service!”

It was entertaining and annoying at the same time, if that makes sense. I also don’t think he had been drinking, but I wasn’t paying too close attention because I was busy not missing pitches.

Another interesting anecdote. In the 6th inning Travis Ishikawa fouled a ball off that struck the LED ribbon board that goes around Miller Park. It covers the facade of the club level, or the 3rd seating level for those of you not familiar with Miller Park. This was the result, and I could’ve sworn I saw something fly off after the ball hit.

The dark blue strip was never the same for the remainder of the game. Right after it happened, that strip blinked and flashed and then just stayed a different color from what was being shown at the time. I was jokingly upset at Ishikawa and yelled “TRAVIS!!! YOU BETTER PAY FOR THAT, THOSE THINGS ARE EXPENSIVE!!!” I got a chuckle from the rest of the section, so that was fun. I hope I didn’t scare Ishikawa, because that at bat ended in a strikeout, as well as his next at bat in the 7th.

In the 8th inning Manny Parra was summoned from the bullpen, to try and get Kameron Loe out of a jam. Right when he got to the mound he called the home plate ump over and this is what ensued, from top left, and going clockwise you have:

1) Parra discussing what is wrong with the mound.

2) A grounds crew member inspecting the dirt around the rubber, while Parra points out what he wants fixed.

3) The grounds crew member returning with tools.

4) Two grounds crew members adding “dirt” and tamping it down.

The whole thing took at least five minutes. It took a good minute or so just to get the grounds crew guy out on the field. I have no idea where they usually are during the game, so I won’t judge. It was a little frustrating because the combination of this and other factors caused the game to last much longer than I would’ve liked. Because the next game was only 14 hours away at the time, I had been hoping for a quick two and a half hour game, but it never seems to work out that way.

I’ll take the win though, and the Brewers offense appears to be waking from its slumber. Ishikawa, Weeks, Hart, and Gomez all homered, and the crew had 13 hits overall. Hopefully this trend can continue. Final Score: Brewers 9 Astros 6.

Personal Stats:

Daily:

Time inside Miller Park: 3 hours 52 minutes
Time on Miller Park grounds: 5 hours 44 minutes
Miles Driven: 126.3
Sausages: 2 (Polish, Bratwurst)
Pitches missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen:  100% (308/308)

Season:

Time inside stadiums: 75 hours 32 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 95 hours 5 minutes
Miles driven: 1,385.8
Miles riding in car but not driving: 312.5
Public Transit miles: 136.2
Flight Miles: 1,200
Total distance traveled: 3,034 miles
Sausages: 14 (3 Hot Dogs, 3 Polish, 3 Bratwurst, 2 Italian, Cheddarwurst, Bison Dog, Corndog)
Pitches missed: 13
Longest streak of pitches seen: ~ 1,050 (4/6 – 4/10)
Current streak of pitches seen: 808 (almost there)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.76% (5,321/5,334)
If you want to learn more about Be The Match and how you can help, CLICK HERE

4-23-12 (vs. Houston)

I know I’m living the dream, and I’m losing track of which day is which, but when I woke up yesterday morning I could sense it was Monday. Part of me just wanted to stay in bed all day, but there was baseball to be seen! I wound up getting up around ten, and got some stuff taken care of for upcoming trips. I hadn’t purchased the tickets for the Cardinals series yet, so I checked that off the list. I wound up spending $593.50 on a total of six tickets, two for each of the three games. Since Victoria will be joining me on the trip, I won’t be using the Brewers’ provided tickets and am in charge of getting my own. I got pretty good seats for two of the games, but one of the games I’ll be in the upper deck, where I paid $56.25 a ticket after all of the processing fees! And that’s right from the Cardinals website, the demand based pricing did play a role in that.

I left the house around 3:15, and went to Ken and Betty’s Philly Steaks & Hoagies for lunch/dinner. My eating schedule is all out of whack, case in point I made a chicken salad sandwich at 12:20 am, before I went to bed. Ken and Betty are from Philadelphia, and moved to Wisconsin in 1987. It was shortly after opening up a restaurant that they realized there wasn’t authentic cheesesteaks anywhere to be found. They eventually opened up the aforementioned restaurant in 1996, and haven’t looked back. Their son pretty much runs the place now, and I stop by every few months or so, because it is delicious. I haven’t had a cheesesteak in Philadelphia, but I will be hitting up a few places when I’m there in July. It will be hard to beat what they serve in my hometown though, however far it may be from Philadelphia.

The four part picture below, from the top left going clockwise, is as follows:

1) The exterior of the building, which is on Sherman Avenue, just off Main Street in Fort Atkinson. As you can see, they support their Philadelphia sports teams.

2) The dining area, with World Rally and Touchdown fever arcade games to boot!

3) One of the interior walls, containing various Philadelphia items.

4) A map of Pennsylvania, with pins representing where visitors call home. Nothing is stopping me from putting a pin in there, but I think most people, like myself, are honest.

I ordered the usual, which for me is the Philly Works. It’s is an original cheesesteak, blended with diced green peppers, onions and mushrooms. I add banana peppers for a little spice (I like things that are spicy). I’m displaying a full size picture of my lunch, because I think it is deserving. Long story short, if you’re ever near Fort Atkinson, and are craving authentic cheesesteaks, hoagies, or grinders, Ken and Betty’s is the way to go.

I left Fort at 4:15 and made it to Miller Park by 5:25. I met Larry Granillo, who contributes to Baseball Prospectus, outside of Miller Park, and went inside right after the gates opened. Larry is going to be writing something for the website, and I agreed to go to a game with him and let him pick my brain about my mission. We went to the upper deck, to get what should be the middle picture of all the upper deck game number photos.

I’ll probably wind up revisiting the spot right behind home plate, because I don’t like how this one turned out. The sun coming through the windows didn’t do us any favors, and it made it difficult to get a good picture. Hopefully later in the year with the roof open I can get a better one.

We had plenty of time to spare, and we wandered Miller Park for the next 30 minutes. I met up with someone I grew up with (we rode the same bus for seven years or so). She goes to UW-Whitewater and was at Miller Park for a career fair that the Brewers host. She paid $30 for it, and it included a game ticket (in the loge outfield), and $10 worth of concessions. Without the career fair that’s a bargain, so well done Brewers.

We got to our seats with 30 minutes before game time, and talked about baseball, my mission, and how I’m going to make it all work. Larry actually made me a little nervous about possible rainouts and make up games. I already knew that this was possible, but hearing someone else talk about it makes me a little uneasy. We were looking at the Brewers pocket schedule and discussing how I was going to make each trip happen. We noticed that the Brewers end the season with 39 games in 41 days! And that’s without any possible makeup games on either of those off days. “It’ll all work out, it’ll all work out” is what I keep telling myself.

The game got underway and the Astros struck early with a run in the first. That was the EIGHTH time that the Brewers have given up a run in the first inning! That’s a crazy stat, and I’m hoping that trend doesn’t continue. The Brewers got three in the first, and never looked back… Sort of. The Brewers had a 6-2 lead heading into the seventh, when Jose Veras entered and made things a little nerve racking. Five of the first six that came to the plate reached base, which included three singles and a triple. This was even more frustrating for me, because I was preparing to try another middle of the inning bathroom break. Veras got out of it after giving up three runs, but not the lead, and I was able to make it back to my seat without missing a pitch. K-Rod got the job done in the eighth, Axford the ninth, and the Brewers were victorious once again. Final Score: Brewers 6 Astros 5.

I tend to pick the Polish in the sausage race, because it is my favorite sausage to consume. I do however, usually look at the height of the sausages (based on how much leg is showing), to determine who is going to win. If it looks like the Polish doesn’t stand a chance due to the makeup of the other contestants, I’ll usually pick the most promising candidate. I did not do that for Monday’s game, and just went with the Polish. You tell me if that was the right decision:

This wound up being a four sausage race, and as you can see below, the Polish was not one of the four. After looking at the height of the runner, I should’ve known better. You can barely see the Chorizo on the far right, and the race wasn’t even half over yet!

That may have been more sausage race analysis than you’re used to, but that’s who I am. I can overanalyze with the best of them. It’s 1:45 am, I’m tired, and there’s a game in 15.5 hours, so that is all.

Personal Stats:

Daily:

Time inside Miller Park: 4 hours 45 minutes
Time on Miller Park grounds: 5 hours 21 minutes
Miles Driven: 123.4
Sausages: 0
Pitches missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen:  100% (318/318)

Season:

Time inside stadiums: 71 hours 40 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 89 hours 21 minutes
Miles driven: 1,259.5
Miles riding in car but not driving: 312.5
Public Transit miles: 136.2
Flight Miles: 1,200
Total distance traveled: 2,908 miles
Sausages: 12 (3 Hot Dogs, 2 Polish, 2 Italian, 2 Bratwurst, Cheddarwurst, Bison Dog, Corndog)
Pitches missed: 13
Longest streak of pitches seen: ~ 1,050 (4/6 – 4/10)
Current streak of pitches seen: 500 (two more perfect games and I’ll have a new PR)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.74% (5,013/5,026)
If you want to learn more about Be The Match and how you can help, CLICK HERE

4-22-12 (vs. Colorado)

Sunday morning started with a text from a friend who said they were tailgating in the general lot, and asked if Victoria and I would like to join. It was already 9:50 by this time, and I wished they would’ve given us a little bit more notice. We were going to try and stop by for a little bit, but once we hit traffic after 894, we took an exit and hit up Jimmy John’s instead. I got my usual Big John, which consists of delicious roast beef. We took Bluemound to the preferred lot instead of jumping back on I-94, and it went rather smoothly.

We got to Miller Park at 11:45, and went right to the upper deck. I’ll be glad when I’m done getting the picture taken up there. My knee really hasn’t gotten any better, so coming back down the stairs is the reason for the angst. It’ll be more crowded on the other levels though, so it’s really a gift and a curse.

I think tomorrow’s will be from behind home plate, I was hoping the roof might be open for it, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.

We got to our seats and ate lunch, and waited for the game to start. I still snicker a little when they water the infield, because they need five guys to use a hose. I know they don’t want to mess up the infield, so it makes sense, but it still seems a little strange.

For those not too familiar with the upkeep and care for a baseball diamond, they water the “dirt” to keep it soft and not as dusty. I put dirt in quotes because it’s not really dirt, it’s a combination of sand, silt, and clay. Watering the infield wasn’t done very often, if at all, at the little league diamonds of my youth. As a result, sliding into a base could be a very painful experience. The ground underneath the top layer of sand dries out if it doesn’t rain very often, and it becomes pseudo-cement rather quickly.

The Rockies broadcast does their pregame show from the field, and I saw the same two guys prior to the first two games of the series. Today I decided to take a picture:

I just thought it looked silly, I know it’s the Rockies and there are “Cowboys” in Colorado, but nonetheless, it gave me a chuckle. “This is baseball, it ain’t no rodeo” is something that I could see some fans taunting him with. But if that’s his personality, then more power to him. If Rockies fans didn’t like it, I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t be wearing it during the pregame show.

Braun was being presented with his 2011 awards, and the game was pushed back 15 minutes to accommodate this. I don’t know why it was delayed 15 minutes, as his presentation lasted about five. They may have wanted to give more people a chance to get inside, since there are many tailgaters who come in late. I went down to the field level, and found a good spot in the concourse to take some pictures. They didn’t turn out the best, but they’ll  suffice. The four images below, going clockwise from top left are as follows:

1) A poster/sign someone made and brought to a game last year. The Brewers played a short video montage which highlighted some moments from his MVP season.

2) Braun tipping his cap to the crowd, after coming out of the dugout.

3) Braun, with Mark and Debbie Attanasio. Mark is the Chairman Principal owner of the Milwaukee Brewers, and he presented Braun with his fourth consecutive Silver Slugger award.

4) Robin Yount and Ryan Braun posing with the MVP plaque, Robin won AL MVP as a Brewer in 1982 and 1989. Robin presented Braun with the MVP award. It was a pretty special moment.

It was also a special day for Jonathan Lucroy, because it was his bobble head day! I don’t think you can call yourself a Brewer until your likeness is formed into a small ceramic sculpture with a head that is too big for the body. I am being honest, who doesn’t love a good bobble head?

This one appears to be of higher quality than in past years, and the face looks just like Lucroy, something that can’t be said about a lot of bobbles. I think they may have started paying the workers more, because the paint job appeared better than previous bobble heads. I took out my Zack Greinke bobble from last year, and Lucroy’s did seem a little better. The duration of head bobble favored Greinke though, and it wasn’t even close. I don’t know if they started using more rigid springs this year, but I timed how long it took for the bobbling to come to a complete stop, after giving each head an equal twist. Final score: Greinke 50 seconds, Lucroy 5 seconds. I was blown away. It could just be that Greinke likes shaking off signs, and Lucroy doesn’t like saying no.

The game itself was close, and was tied at one a piece heading into the 8th. The Brewers would have the top of the order leading off the bottom half, so I was hoping for a quick half inning from K-Rod, and then see what happens. As is often the case with K-Rod, he made the eighth somewhat difficult to watch. He gave up an infield single, walked Giambi on 5 pitches, and then gave up a two run double to Cuddyer, and that was that. The Brewers got their first two batters on base in the bottom half, but then Braun popped out to first (below), Aramis Ramirez flew out, and Corey Hart struck out looking, ugh.

Willy Peralta, who was just called up, made his major league debut in the top of the ninth, and I captured his first pitch as a big leaguer. He is pinned as a potential future ace, and I’m hoping he can live up to the hype. If so, I can see him anchoring the Brewers staff for years to come.

He gave up back to back singles but then struck out the third batter of the inning. Lucroy had thrown him the ball back, but the Brewers dugout was calling for it. A major league pitcher’s first strikeout ball is something that is typically kept as a momento. Peralta tossed it towards the dugout, and after a few bounces it started rolling. One of the Brewers’ bat boys didn’t know what was going on, and he quickly got up and tried to make a save with his foot. I’m almost positive that he thought it was just a scuffed ball that he would usually have given to a kid. Luckily it bounced off his foot and into the dugout. I thought it was pretty funny, but I don’t think anyone around me saw what had happened.

The Brewers went down quietly in the ninth, even though Gamel hit a another ball hard, that resulted in an out. He’s hitting a “hard” .278 in my book. He has to be leading the team in hard hit balls that haven’t fallen for base hits. The law of averages will eventually play out, and I see his batting average going up in the near future.

I missed a pitch at the game, and I’m not too happy about it. The “Ice Man” is a beer vendor at Miller Park, and he’s the man. He’s really friendly, and uses some very famous lines. “Who needs a shiver?” and “Be careful, you might get frostbite!” are the two most noteworthy. After someone buys a beer he’ll also yell “YOOOOOO!  OOOO” followed by “AAAHHH”. Whenever I see him I give him a YOOOOOOOOO! and we exchange OOOOOOs and AAAAHHHHs. I saw him in the third inning on the opposite aisle of my section, and shouted “YOOO!” He had just started talking with someone else, and didn’t hear it. Victoria was a little embarrassed because a bunch of people looked at me like I was crazy for yelling that, especially since the Ice Man didn’t reciprocate. I became distracted and was waiting for him to turn around, to redeem myself, and missed the 1-0 pitch to Nyjer in the bottom of the third. I’m better than that, I promise.

I’m going to the game tomorrow with Larry Granillo, who writes the Wezen Ball and Tater Trot Tracker blogs for Baseball Prospectus. Hopefully the Crew can get some hitting and pitching on the same night, because it seems like we get one or the other, but not both.

Personal Stats:

Daily:

Time inside Miller Park: 4 hours 29 minutes
Time on Miller Park grounds: 4 hours 51 minutes
Miles Driven: 60
Miles riding in car but not driving: 22.4
Sausages: 0
Pitches missed: 1 (Ice Man!!!)
Pitch streak ended at: 554
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.65% (281/282)

Season:

Time inside stadiums: 66 hours 55 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 84 hours 0 minutes
Miles driven: 1,136.1
Miles riding in car but not driving: 312.5
Public Transit miles: 136.2
Flight Miles: 1,200
(NEW) Total distance traveled: 2,785 miles
Sausages: 12 (3 Hot Dogs, 2 Polish, 2 Italian, 2 Bratwurst, Cheddarwurst, Bison Dog, Corndog)
Pitches missed: 13
Longest streak of pitches seen: ~ 1,050 (4/6 – 4/10) (I’m starting to question the legitimacy of this streak)
Current streak of pitches seen: 182
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.72% (4,695/4,708)
If you want to learn more about Be The Match and how you can help, CLICK HERE

4-21-12 (vs. Colorado)

Saturday was an all around great day. Victoria met me at my parents’ place in Fort around noon, and we left for my Grandpa’s around 12:45. His name is Wallace (we call him Wally), he’s 85, and lives in Delavan, Wisconsin, with his second wife (of over 35 years). He’s a great guy and I feel like he’s my link to the Rouse side of the family. My dad passed away when I was nine, so my Grandpa has been the one to tell me about the Rouse  family and its history.

I’m not sure how long this was hanging in their entryway, but recently I’ve noticed it and have asked about it each time, because I forget where the pictured Rouse lies on our family tree. This first picture is the Marriage Certificate of my Great Great Grandfather, Wallace Thurman Rouse, who my Grandpa was named after.

I think it’s cool partly because it’s so old, and because it’s an ancestor of mine. It’s dated April 16th, 1882, so it’s just over 130 years old! Also, some of the sayings that are on it might be viewed as a little strange by today’s standards. The one in the top left reads “It is not good that the man should be alone.” And then the one going down the right side reads “Wives submit yourselves unto your own husbands.” I don’t think this sort of stuff appears on today’s marriage certificate. I do like old documents and pictures, as I think it provides a window into the past.

My Grandma brought out this piece as well, she said it had been printed in newspaper back in the day, without that color picture in the middle of course. It’s somewhat of his life story. Clicking on it will enlarge the image, but it still might be hard to read. One of the pedals says that he witnessed a famous bank robbery at one point. Kansas in the late 1800s was a place for outlaws apparently.

Victoria and I ate lunch with Wally, Rosalie, and my Uncle Scott. After lunch the guys played cribbage (I went 1-1), while Victoria and Rosalie talked and ran an errand. I got a picture with Wally before we headed out. Wally’s mother lived to be 98, so I’m hoping that Grandpa can try to match, if not best, that longevity.

Victoria and I made the hour drive from Delavan to Milwaukee, and as we were pulling into the preferred parking lot I noticed a great photo opportunity. I like it because it’s a welcome sign, with the glorious destination waiting in the background.

New to the main entrance staircases this year are some pretty cool advertisements for Southwest. I noticed them on opening day, but never bothered to take a picture. As you can see, each riser has a segment of a picture of Miller Park, then above it an airplane and some text for Southwest.

Also new this year is the starting lineup, that the Brewers adjust for each day’s game. This is also sponsored by Southwest.

Victoria and I went to the upper deck to get game photo number 15. When we got up there it took a few minutes for me to figure out from which section I had gotten the picture taken the day before, and then  move over a few sections.

After getting the picture we went to get some food. I went with the BBQ Brisket Grilled Cheese. It’s $6.75 and I was a little disappointed with the amount of Brisket. Don’t get me wrong, it was delicious, but there were five or six bites that contained nothing but bread and cheese. We got to our seats with plenty of time to spare, and I was ready for the game.

Marco Estrada got the start, because Narveson injured his shoulder and could be done for the year. Estrada, despite only pitching 5 innings, deserved the win. He gave up two hits, one run, and struck out NINE, while walking none. He actually was in line for the win after the Brewers scored two runs in the bottom of the fifth, but Manny Para gave up two in the sixth, and Estrada got a no decision. The Brewers tied it up in the sixth, and then put a six spot on the board in the seventh to open up a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. The Rockies cut it to five with a run in the ninth, but that was it. Final score: Brewers 9 Rockies 4.

Fifteen times during the game this happened:

FIFTEEN pickoff attempts at first base, I’m not one of the people that boo when the opposing pitchers does it, because it’s part of the game, but it does get old. The Brewers did it a bunch too, so it wasn’t all one sided. When Braun was on third at one point, Ed Sedar, the third base coach, leaned in and whispered: “Ryan, to get to home plate, you follow this white line, it’s straight ahead, you can’t miss it.” I guess I can’t say this for sure, but he was pointing, so it must be.

Victoria and I stayed at her Aunt and Uncle place, in Sussex. We stayed at Jan and Ron’s to cut out some travel time. Her aunt and Uncle have a few interesting things to note. The four parter below is as follows, going clockwise from top left:

1) Their Jack Russell Terrier, Balkee George, who would play tug-of-war with a rag bone all day if you were up for it. Within five minutes us of getting there at 10:30 pm, he was sitting in front of me just waiting for me to give in.

2) Iscus, one of their three Sphynx cats. Iscus is short for meniscus, because when Jan was taking his father home (she used to breed Sphynxes), she tore her meniscus. She kept one of the offspring for herself, and the rest is history.

3) Princess Yoda, another Sphynx . I’ll have to admit, it was a little creepy when one of them was under the covers, with just its tail exposed. It honestly looked like there was an opossum in the bed.

4) Their Harley Davidson themed bed. The top blanket is a leather material and the sheet set is Harley orange. They have a Harley, so I guess it makes sense.

The game is in three hours, so I need to get a move on.

Personal Stats:

Daily:

Time inside Miller Park: 4 hours 41 minutes
Time on Miller Park grounds: 5 hours 16 minutes
Miles Driven: 48
Miles riding in car but not driving: 54.7
Sausages: 0
Pitches missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (298/298)

Season:

Time inside stadiums: 62 hours 26 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 79 hours 9 minutes
Miles driven: 1076.1
Miles riding in car but not driving: 290.1
Public Transit miles: 136.2
Flight Miles: 1,200
Sausages: 12 (3 Hot Dogs, 2 Polish, 2 Italian, 2 Bratwurst, Cheddarwurst, Bison Dog, Corndog)
Pitches missed: 12
Longest streak of pitches seen: ~ 1,050 (4/6 – 4/10) (I’m starting to question this streak, I had to have missed one in there somewhere)
Current streak of pitches seen: 455
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.73% (4,414/4,426)
If you want to learn more about Be The Match and how you can help, CLICK HERE

4-20-12 (vs. Colorado)

Friday was another lazy day leading up to the game. I got up around 11:45, given, I didn’t go to bed until two or so. I got some stuff done around the house, mainly replying to emails and cleaning my room up, so I can at least find stuff, maybe. I had called my former high school Calculus teacher, Mr. Johnson, on Thursday, and asked if he wanted to join me for Friday’s game. We’ve been friends since I graduated back in 2005, and I see him about twice a year. He’s a really great guy, and was a laid back teacher in a topic that is anything but laid back. I was somewhat of the class clown (while still getting A’s), and there are a bunch of lines I can recite from that class that are hilarious, but I’ll choose one. One day Mr. Johnson (AKA “Dr. J”) was drawing some functions on the dry erase board, and the equation came out to be “KY = “. He then asked the class, “What does KY equal?” I tentatively raised my hand and answered quite confidently “Jelly.” It garnered quite a bit of laughter, and Mr. Johnson thought it was funny as well. He told me that when he gets to that lesson each school year he thinks of me. Goal of being remembered? Accomplished.

This is a picture of my Calculus class, back in 2005. I’ll let you figure which one is me (it should be easy), I’m not too happy with the picture, but I am comfortable with making fun of myself.

I picked up Dr. J at his house in Fort around 4:15 and we headed to Milwaukee. We hit some Friday rush hour traffic and weren’t parked until 5:50 (it’s normally an hour drive). We got inside and went to the upper deck, again, for game photo number 14.

We talked in the upper deck for a while, then went to the concession stand to get brats and beer. I still don’t know why they only serve Miller Genuine Draft on tap at a few select concession stands. It has the word DRAFT in it’s name. I went with High Life instead, which is alright, but I prefer MGD. We made it to our seats right after the national anthem. I quickly devoured my brat (with all the trimmings), and was ready for the game. The cute moment of the game occurred when the play ball kid was put on the jumbotron. As the camera cut to him, you could hear him ask quietly “Say it now?” The answer must’ve been yes, because he quickly said “PLAY BALL”, good stuff.

I was a little nervous after hearing Marcum’s warmup music as the Brewers took the field. The song was ‘Till I Collapse, by Eminem, featuring the late Nate Dogg. I don’t know if he used this song all of last year, but I know he had it played as his warmup music for game six of the NLCS. He got shelled in that game, giving up four in the first and getting pulled after the inning. I think it’s a great song for warmup music because it gets you pumped, but it brought back some bad memories. It didn’t help that the Rockies grabbed an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first (maybe it helps get the batters pumped, instead of Marcum himself).

Between the top and bottom of the first the Brewers try to get everyone excited for the first at bats for the home team. At the end of a short video montage they shoot off fireworks over the scoreboard in center. When the roof is open they fire them more skyward, but it’s still fun when it’s closed. In addition to the ones you can see below, they also fire off some sort of apparatus that sounds like canon being fired. If you’re sitting in the right field bleachers and you don’t see the fireworks going off, it can sometimes be quite startling to hear the booms of the fireworks that don’t produce any visuals. I’ve jumped a few times when sitting over there.

The Rockies held the 1-0 lead into the fourth, when they tacked on another solo run. The Brewers however, with the help of a risky dive by the Rockies left fielder, scored a run in the bottom half. Aoki lifted a sinking liner to left, where Carlos Gonzalez dove for it, and just barely missed. The ball went to the wall and Aoki wound up with an inside-the-park home run. I think it’s the first I’ve seen in person, but I’m not 100% sure. The Rockies added another run in the sixth, but the Crew tied it in the bottom half with two runs of their own. It stayed tied into the ninth, when the Rockies got to Axford for a run. The Brewers had a runner on second with only one out in the bottom half, but couldn’t get the tying run home.

The picture above is of Carlos Gomez (left), and Rockies second basemen Marco Scutaro (right). Gamel had doubled with one out in the ninth and Gomez pinch ran for him. He’s taking his lead as the pitcher was getting ready to go to the plate. I like the picture because you can see Scutaro in the process of slapping his glove, something infielders do to *try* and keep runners close. It’s done to make it seem like the fielder is close to the bag, and acts as somewhat of a distraction to the runner as well. The pitcher did try picking off Gomez twice at second, and was close on both attempts. Gomez stole third with two outs, but was stranded when Lucroy struck out to end the game. Final score: Rockies 4 Brewers 3. The Crew need to get the bats going, so this is my advice: “Hit ‘em where they ain’t!” That’s a quote from Willie Keeler, who played in the Majors from 1892 to 1910.

I had a great time catching up with Mr. Johnson, and I’ll likely go to a few more games this year. I had a fan that was sitting behind us take a picture of Dr. J and myself at some point during the game. Let me assure you that the field wasn’t that dark, I guess that’s how my camera decided to treat the background.

I did miss one pitch, I think, during the game. In the bottom of the fifth, with Gamel batting and a 1-0 count, a beer vendor was coming up the steps. He set down his bin just across the aisle from me as he talked to the fan who signaled for him. I looked inside his bin and saw mostly Miller Lites. I know they sell more Lites than MGDs, but I started wondering how many more. I’m a curious person and love statistics, so I started pondering. I probably still would’ve seen the 1-0 pitch, but as the beer distraction was ending, a four-year-old tripped and fell on the step right behind me. He didn’t cry, got up, and continued down the stairs with his dad behind him. I looked back to the field and the 2-0 pitch was being thrown. I’m not sure if at some point I caught the 1-0 pitch, but I’m not certain, I doubt it though. I wish I could lie about it and say every game was a perfect game, but I’m too honest for that.

I pulled off my first successful bathroom break in the middle of the seventh inning. Yes, I had gone 13.72 games without going to the bathroom during a game. With two outs in the top of the inning I decided I was going to try. I raced up the steps and watched as Veras walked a batter, before finally getting the third out. There weren’t many people watching from the concourse, so I was able to stand a good 8-10 feet from the last row and still see the game, right across from the Men’s room. I got to the bathroom, there was no line, thank goodness, and made it back to my seat in time for the start of the Brewer’s half of the seventh. And yes, I washed my hands.

Victoria will be joining me for Saturday and Sunday’s games. We’ll be staying with her Aunt and Uncle, who live in Sussex, allowing for some more sleep between the two games. I almost forgot; the column stemming from the interview I did with Matt Lindner on April 9th at Tribune Tower in Chicago is/was on the front page of ESPN.com!!! I took a screen shot because I wasn’t sure how long it would be there (it’s in the bottom right of the image below. As of 2:03 am on Saturday morning, it was still there. You can get to the article by CLICKING HERE. It’s just crazy seeing MY NAME on the front page of the website, next to talk of Brian Wilson needing a second Tommy John surgery.

That’s all for now, time for bed.

Personal Stats:

Daily:

Time inside Miller Park: 4 hours 29 minutes
Time on Miller Park grounds: 4 hours 40 minutes
Miles Driven: 135.3
Sausages: 1 (Bratwurst)
Pitches missed: 1 (Ugh)
Consecutive pitch streak ended at: 336
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.65% (283/284)

Season:

Time inside stadiums: 57 hours 45 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 73 hours 53 minutes
Miles driven: 1028.1
Miles riding in car but not driving: 235.4
Public Transit miles: 136.2
Flight Miles: 1,200
Sausages: 12 (3 Hot Dogs, 2 Polish, 2 Italian, 2 Bratwurst, Cheddarwurst, Bison Dog, Corndog)
Pitches missed: 12
Longest streak of pitches seen: ~ 1,050 (4/6 – 4/10) (I’m starting to question this streak, I had to have missed one in there somewhere)
Current streak of pitches seen: 157
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.71% (4,116/4,128)
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