April 6th, 2012

Opening Day!

Opening day for me started at 3:45 AM. Went to bed at 9:30 last night but probably only got 4 hours of sleep. I left my parents’ house (where I’ll be staying while the Brewers are in Milwaukee) at 4:44 and made it to Miller Park right on time at 5:45. My parents live on “Lake” Koshkonong. I put lake in quotes because it’s a man made lake that is 10 feet deep at its deepest, it is south of Fort Atkinson if you’re not familiar with the area.

I got to park in the VIP lot, thanks Tyler (Barnes, the VP of Communications), and entered Miller Park through the south dock, where media members and the players enter. Upon entering I ran into the guy who was handing out credentials. I told him my name and of course there wasn’t anything for me. I wound up just pulling up an email I had received from Tyler a few days earlier detailing where I should go, showed it to him, and was on my way. 50 yards away was my first glimpse of the field on the day that I think should be a state holiday.

A few steps further and I was enjoying the view a little more:

I walked along the warning track and met with Tyler before my first interview that was scheduled for 6:15. Jill, the senior director of merchandise branding, supplied me with the first round of apparel that I’ll be getting from the Brewers, as part of our agreement. I was freezing and threw on an extra fleece that they had included. I had asked for mediums when I met with Jill a few weeks ago, but apparently the manufacturers idea of a medium is different than mine. I’ll have to see if I’ll be able to do some exchanging. This on the other hand, will not need any exchanging:

Pretty sweet. I actually tried a few months ago to design this exact same jersey, but online you can only choose two digit numbers, which makes sense, why would anyone need three digits? So this one is custom-custom made, if you will. I’m still debating if wearing it before October 3rd will jinx anything.
The interviews with the four big news stations went pretty well. I guess you can be the judge. I will admit that I was somewhat nervous going in. I think this one was taped second to last, and I honestly haven’t even seen the other 3, and don’t know if I want to. I think it got me prepared for the more in depth interview that will happen on the field at Wrigley on Tuesday. I think that one will be taped and they will play it that night on FS Wisconsin during the game.
I was able to spend some time in the dugout between interviews, and I used the same bathroom that the players use during the games, it’s just a few feet up the tunnel from the dugout. It’s actually nothing special, otherwise I would’ve taken a picture. There wasn’t a restroom attendant, a bidet, or anything special. If I was blindfolded and led in there I would have thought it was your typical ballpark one person bathroom. I assume the bathroom in the clubhouse is a little bit nicer.
If only I could’ve stayed here during the game:
After the last interview I headed back to my car around 8:30. My friends were driving from Fort and leaving at 10:45 so it didn’t make much sense to drive back to Fort, only to leave in about an hour, so I just sat in my car and perused the internet. I was planning on taking a nap but I was too excited for the game by that point. One of the friends from Fort was planning on having two of his friends meet us in the parking lot. I found out that while they were on their way, and on schedule, his friends called and said they needed a ride. Long story short, instead of getting to the park at noon, they got there around 1:40. I had moved my car to the media lot and was just wandering since about 11:30. I wasn’t the happiest of campers when I finally got what I thought was going to be a bratwurst in my stomach. He actually had purchased Italian sausages, and let’s just say I’m not the biggest fan. I don’t care too much for fennel seeds. I joked with him that his tailgating privileges had been revoked. I usually do all the coordinating for tailgates, and I see why I do that now.
My friends’ tardiness did allow me to carefully select the most appropriate person to take my Game #1 pic. Just minutes into my search a few guys carrying multiple DSLRs walked past; JACKPOT!! Not everyone knows how to take a good picture, and I assumed if they are carrying around thousands of dollars worth of cameras, they know what they’re doing. The result:
I’ll be getting one taken at every game with the game number on a piece of paper. I’m bound to forget one, or lose it, or have it ruined by rain. If that happens I’ll just have to play it by ear and make my own on the day of the game. I know 80 more will be taken at Miller Park, but I’ve got something up my sleeve to make it (somewhat) different for each game. The goal is to make a short stop-motion-type movie at the end of the year, or just a glorified slideshow.
As for the game itself? Not the greatest. The 2-0 lead at the end of the first was nice, but it went downhill fast. Four home runs given up by Yovani is not a good way to start the season, but he has just gotten owned by the Cardinals in his career. You know it hadn’t been a good game when they play the “Impact Play of the Game” up on the video board, and it’s the first pitch strike from Gallardo to Furcal to start off the game. I guess they didn’t have much to choose from at that point though. The shot by Kottaras in the 9th was nice to see, I don’t think it got higher than 35 feet in the air. I always liked Georgie even though he doesn’t get much playing time. I’m not sure if anyone else calls him Georgie, but I do.
Game tomorrow at 3:05 on big FOX, leaving in less than 12 hours, so I’m going to get some sleep. I’ll leave you with one artsy-fartsy shot I took while I was killing time waiting for my friends to arrive.
Personal Stats:
Time inside Miller Park: 6 hours 10 minutes (including interviews)
Time on Miller Park grounds: 12 hours 51 minutes
Miles driven: 125.2
Sausages: 1 (Italian)
Pitches missed: 1 (looking at my camera)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.69% (320/321)
** My goal is to miss less than 324 pitches the whole season, which would average out to two per game. I would’ve missed many more today, but upon getting to the bathroom right after an inning and waiting for a minute or two, I left without going because I didn’t want to miss any of the game. I wound up finding a window between people in the concourse in time to see the back to back jacks by the Cards in the 3rd, ugh.
I want to thank everyone for the support they have shown so far, hopefully the next 161 go better than the first.
If you want to help with Be The Match; click here.