April 15th, 2012

4-15-12 (@ Atlanta)

Annette and Dave didn’t want to take the MARTA to Sunday’s game, so the three of us and Bill drove down in Annette’s car for what I thought was a 1:05 game. It actually was a 1:35 game, and I have that in my calendar, so I don’t know what I was thinking. It’s a short trip by car (assuming no traffic), and it only took us 20 minutes or so to get to the stadium. The three of them were sitting in the outfield again, but I was using the ticket the Brewers provided, and had to pick it up at will call. We got to the media will call around 11:45 but the representative said they weren’t available. At 12:00 they were released and we headed inside. We went straight to the upper deck because I wanted to get this:

We had time to kill, and it was Bark in the Park day!!! Annette and Dave have two dogs, who I alluded to in the 4-13-12 post. Annette had badly wanted to bring them, but decided otherwise. One of their dogs is somewhat skittish, and the other gets car sick, so it was probably for the best. We spent a good 30 minutes in the area that is reserved for the dogs and their owners. The Braves have a special entrance and everything, and the dogs have to stay in that area for the whole game, so it’s not like there were dogs everywhere. I took a bunch of pictures and below is a four-parter that shows what all went down.

Going clockwise from top left you have:

1) Kiddie pools set up for the dogs, for when they inevitably get too hot in the Atlanta sun, along with a Black Lab on the right.

2) A Chihuahua mix (or so Annette says) on a scooter with its owner.

3) A Great Dane, and this picture does not do it justice. That girl was six feet tall… Ok, maybe she wasn’t six feet tall, but the dog was enormous. A cocker spaniel was going bananas and trying to get off its leash to attack him. I’m not quite sure who would’ve won the fight, but my money is on the Great Dane.

4) A Wiener Dog… dressed up as a hot dog… eating a hot dog. They showed it on the jumbotron at some point during the game and it was hilarious. The camera was zoomed in on the dog, and there was a hand (maybe the camera man’s) holding a foot long hot dog. They kind of played tug of war for a bit, but the wiener dog wound up eating the whole thing, good stuff.

During half innings they would show various dogs while playing Snoop Dogg songs from the nineties. The Braves did a great job of combining pets with old school west coast hip-hip. Nicely done!

After spending some time in the Bark in the Park zone, or whatever they were calling it, if anything, I still had some time to kill. I wandered and took some pictures, including one of the Atlanta skyline.

You can see more of the exterior of Atlanta Fulton County Stadium that I alluded to yesterday (the blue wall with red lettering). You can also see the commemorative Olympic torch on the right, with the Olympic emblem to the right of that.

There were other interesting things to photograph and here’s another four-parter. Again going clockwise from top left:

1) A massive Chick-fil-A cow, with the sign reading “Choppin Makes U Hungree 4 Chikin”. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten at a Chick-fil-A, so I should probably do that before my flight leaves tomorrow night.

2) A giant Coca-Cola bottle, the Coca-Cola part is actually a cylindrical LED board, and it does other stuff other than just display “Coca-Cola”. When the Braves play their iconic chopping music, an axe is shown chopping, which is also being shown on other LED boards throughout Turner Field.

3) Red Coke bottle chairs. I would say the bottles themselves are about six feet tall, so the chairs are rather large.

4) The back of the scoreboard in centerfield. I just like it because it had a enormous baseball on it.

I also took a picture of a staircase that leads from the field level all the way up to the upper deck. There are actually another 30 or so stairs that are not pictured, maybe more. I took the picture from the left field concourse in the upper deck, and there’s a walkway that looks over the staircase. I would run those every day if I could. I don’t really like running, but I’ve always liked going up stairs, and take them whenever I can.

On my way to my seat I came across a wall in the second level concourse that commemorated the three cities that the Braves franchise has played in; Boston, Milwaukee, and Atlanta. When they were in Boston they actually started as the Red Stockings in 1871, then the Red Caps, Beaneaters (my favorite), Doves, Rustlers, and finally the Braves (in 1941). I’m not sure what the giant pennants were made of, but I’m guessing wool or something similar.

I was in my seat by 12:55 for what I thought was the 1:05 first pitch, I was curious why they were doing some of the things they generally do 30 minutes before the game. I’m an idiot. Before the 1:35 first pitch they showed a video on the board commemorating Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier 65 years ago. I thought it would have been a longer video, but it was just some footage of players, with someone saying, before Kemp, before Aaron, before Mays, there was Jackie. They listed more players than just the three I mentioned, but that was the gist of it.

The view from my seats for today’s game, it looks like I was sitting closer than I actually was, I was in the fourth row of section 202, and I think the section between mine and the field had about 30 rows.

The game started and the Braves took an early 1-0 lead. The Brewers tied it with the help of a two base error on their left fielder, and it was even at a run a piece. My optimism was soon diminished with Chipper Jones’ three run home run in the bottom of the third. The Braves added one in the fourth and two in the eighth to build a 7-1 lead heading to the ninth. The Brewers pushed three across in the ninth, including a two run home run by Jonathan Lucroy. When he connected a guy two rows back said: “Yes!! Easy out”. It was clearly hit very well and landed about ten rows deep in left center. I turned as it was clearing the fence and said; “yeah, easy out of the park”. He chuckled a little, but then a guy a few seats next to him, who wasn’t with the guy, said “SCOREBOARD!”. I told him that I know the Braves were about to sweep us, I was just questioning the other guys’ ability to correctly judge a fly ball. I was really hoping the Brewers could have somehow won after that, but it wasn’t in the cards. If “Scoreboard” is all he has in his arsenal, I’m fearful that he’s not going to win many arguments. A sweep on the road is never fun, but I played it off like I wasn’t devastated, as to not draw attention, and more ridicule.

I missed three pitches at this game! I’m disappointed in myself. The first was the 1-0 pitch to Chipper Jones in the first inning, ending my streak at 611 consecutive pitches. A Brewers fan was taking pictures in the cross aisle in front of me and I was mad that he was just standing there, not aware that he was blocking other people’s view. He really wasn’t in my way, but he was in other peoples’ way and that’s one of my biggest pet peeves. That’s what the two and a half minutes between innings is for.

I also missed the first pitch to Pastornicky in the bottom of the fourth. Jason Heyward had just homered right before Pastornicky’s at bat, and I was still reading stuff on the scoreboard. I also missed the very last pitch of the game! I was getting my stuff gathered and looked up as the final pitch hit McCann’s glove, ending the game with a Kottaras strikeout. I wanted to get out of there quickly so I could meet Annette, Dave, and Bill at the car, and not get stuck in traffic. When I realized I missed it I was kind of shocked, because it all happened so fast, but it’s bound to happen.

I’m looking forward to the nine game home stand, hopefully the Crew can turn things around!

Personal Stats:

Daily:

Time inside Turner Field: 4 hours 35 minutes
Time on Turner Field grounds: 4 hours 57 minutes
Miles riding in car but not driving: 30.6
Sausages: 0
Pitches missed: 3 (unforgivable)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.03% (306/309)

Season:

Time inside stadiums: 39 hours 58 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 55 hours 15 minutes
Miles driven: 294.5
Miles riding in car but not driving: 233.2
Public Transit miles: 103.4
Flight Miles: 600
Sausages: 10 (2 Italian, Bratwurst, Cheddarwurst, Polish, 3 Hot Dogs, Bison Dog, Corndog)
Pitches missed: 9
Longest streak of pitches seen: ~ 1,050 (4/6 – 4/10)
Current streak of pitches seen: 0 (Say Whaaaaaaat!?)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.70% (2,979/2,988)
If you want to learn more about Be The Match and how you can help, CLICK HERE

4-14-12 (@ Atlanta)

I woke up at 8:30 on Saturday and started working on the blog for Friday’s game at 9:00. At 11:15 Dave came into the basement and said we were getting kicked out because Annette’s fraternity (it’s co-ed) was doing an initiation at the house. I quickly got ready and Dave and I drove to the Taco Mac nearest to his house. Dave and Bill love Taco Mac (see the 4-13 post if you don’t know who Dave and Bill are). Taco Mac sounds like it would be a Mexican place, with maybe a little bit of macaroni thrown in there. Nope, wings are their specialty. I read their website and the reason behind it makes sense. Long story short; two guys had opened up a wing shop back in the late seventies, and their first place was an old taco stand. The name stuck and they’ve opened up a bunch of locations since then. Below is a picture of the front of the menu on the left, a picture of Dave’s Brewniversity progress receipt, and the wings we ordered.

Brewniversity is something Taco Mac does to make customers keep coming back for more. They have literally over 100 beers on tap, and even more in bottles, we’re talking hundreds. It’s free to sign up, and you can keep a tally of all the different beers you’ve tried. When you reach certain milestones you get prizes. As you can see from above, Dave has gotten a lot of beer here, he’s up to 207 different beers after yesterday. He told me that him and Bill go there pretty much every Thursday, because Thursday is free glass night. One of Annette and Dave’s kitchen cabinets is almost entirely full of free pint glasses. We ordered 20 hot wings and ten 3-mile island wings (supposedly hotter). They were very good wings and some of the better ones I’ve had  in a while, besides the wings I make myself with Frank’s Red Hot sauce.

After lunch (which was also my breakfast), we headed back to their house to get ready for the game. I finished up the Friday post and we headed out with Dave, Annette, and Bill. Again we boarded the MARTA at the Chamblee station and took it downtown. We walked to Turner field again, even though there were shuttles waiting by the MARTA station this time. We were going to tailgate with some of Bill’s friends, and along the way there were a few photo opportunities. This first picture is of the State Archives and Records Building.

We had walked past this building on Friday but didn’t notice anything special. On Saturday Bill pointed out that it didn’t have windows and we were interested in what it was. Bill thought it was an archive building because sunlight ruins documents, and in fact it is. I thought it was interesting, just because I can’t recall seeing another building with no apparent windows. A little closer to Turner Field is this:

The Summer Olympics were held in Atlanta in 1996, and Turner Field actually served as Olympic Stadium, where it held the Opening Ceremony, the track and field events, and the Closing Ceremony. The stadium was obviously configured differently for the Olympics and had about 35,000 more seats. After the Olympics they reconstructed what was basically the outfield section and created a new one, while the seating bowl from foul pole to foul pole remained mostly the same. We had some time to kill and went to see the spot where Hank Aaron’s 715th home run landed.

Hank Aaron hit the home run at the now demolished Atlanta Fulton County Stadium, which was torn down in August of 1997, the first year that the Braves called Turner Field home. They also have bricks laid out to represent where the infield was amongst the asphalt parking lot.

The blue wall had “Atlanta Fulton County Stadium Home of the Braves 1966 – 1996” written on it. This was the exterior wall of the old stadium, and now it’s used to as a commemorative piece. The other side is elevated, and you have to take a staircase to get to down to the side shown above.

Dave’s friends arrived and we went over to meet them. There was actually a guy from Milwaukee there, and Annette and him went to schools that were in the same conference. They were one year apart so they knew some people  from each others’ schools. His name was Trent and I told him I would give him a shout out, mainly because he thought what I was doing was amazing, and that was cool to hear.

I left the tailgate a little earlier than Annette, Dave, and Bill, because I wanted to make it inside before first pitch. I was sitting with those three, and wasn’t using the ticket that the Brewers had offered. The seats were in the outfield and the first two innings or so were brutal because the sun was setting over the third base side:

I had my sunglasses, and they helped a little, but then they made it difficult to see the ball after it left the pitchers hand. I wound up not wearing them and just shielding my eyes with my hand, and eventually one of those free game day programs that teams give out.

As for the game, not too much to talk about. The Brewers had a hit in the first, but not another until the eighth, so there wasn’t much to cheer about between those innings. The Braves pushed two across in the second, with the help of a Brewers error. Marcum pitched really well though, and didn’t deserve the loss. He gave up three hits and the two runs over seven strong innings. The Brewers eventually got a run in the 8th, and loaded the bases with only one out in the 9th, but Kimbrell struck out Kottaras and Gamel to end the game.

I got my game number 9 picture taken in 6th or 7th, and some people asked what it was all about. I actually stood up during two separate half innings because the first time Dave took the picture he didn’t stand up, and a lady who was sitting right in front of him, dominated the shot. A guy who I was standing in front of said “What’s the nine for? Are you commemorating the ninth anniversary of when you lost your virginity?” Hilarious. During the second attempt to get a good picture he got serious and asked what it was really for, and I’m guessing he kind of felt stupid after I told him, because then he started asking questions. After the game he spotted me when he was entering the concourse and shook my hand again and wished me good luck. Back to the picture:

We took the shuttle back to the MARTA stop after the game, and were back to Annette and Dave’s by 11:15. As I write this it’s 10:15 on Sunday, and we’re leaving for the game in less than an hour. We’re already an eighteenth of the way through the season! Hopefully today’s game will wind up in the win column.

Personal Stats:

Daily:

Time inside Turner Field: 3 hours 13 minutes
Time on Turner Field grounds: 5 hours 15 minutes
Miles Driven: 2.2
Miles riding in car but not driving: 17.8
Public Transit Miles: 24.4
Sausages: 1 (Hot Dog)
Pitches missed: 0 (Back to back)
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (266/266)

Season:

Time inside stadiums: 35 hours 23 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 50 hours 18 minutes
Miles driven: 294.5
Miles riding in car but not driving: 202.6
Public Transit miles: 103.4
Flight Miles: 600
Sausages: 10 (2 Italian, Bratwurst, Cheddarwurst, Polish, 3 Hot Dogs, Bison Dog, Corndog)
Pitches missed: 6
Longest streak of pitches seen: ~ 1,050 (4/6 – 4/10)
Current streak of pitches seen: 593
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.78% (2,673/2,679)
If you want to learn more about Be The Match and how you can help, CLICK HERE