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.