Dustin and I were planning on visiting the Hollyhock House on Wednesday, but in the morning I checked the website and since they are doing some construction, tours are only available Friday through Sunday. Instead we bummed around until lunchtime, and then we met up with Simon at Warner Bros. at 1:00 pm. We had some lunch in the dining area, but didn’t see any celebrities, which was to be expected because everyone had the week off. I ordered the grilled steak tostadas, and was a little surprised when this came:
I’m pretty sure I’ve ordered tostadas before and they were something like tacos, not a giant tortilla bowl filled with taco ingredients. I used a fork, broke off pieces of the bowl, and basically ate it like nachos. After lunch Simon gave us a tour of the Warner Bros. grounds, and it was fun to see where various things were filmed. The four parter shows a few of the things we saw, going clockwise from top left:
1) The theatre in the distance with the domed top was used in Spider Man.
2) This little patch of grass was portrayed (somehow) as Central Park in Friends, whenever an episode called for something to be shot there.
3) The Warner Bros. museum. Unfortunately you can’t take pictures inside, because there was some really cool stuff. There were a lot of costumes from a bunch of Warner Bros. movies. There was Batman’s suit worn by Christian Bale in The Dark Knight, along with Heath Ledger’s Joker attire, as well as the nurse outfit he wore towards the end of the film. There was also outfits worn in The Matrix, The Departed, The Town, Where the Wild Things Are, Training Day, 300, and many others. The whole second story was devoted to Harry Potter, but Dustin and I didn’t really have any desire to go up there. Simon had already gone back to work and we weren’t supposed to be there without him, so that was another reason to head out.
4) The Warner Bros. iconic water tower.
After leaving Warner Bros. we went back to Simon’s place and got ready for the game. Adam McCalvy had told us to meet him at Dodger Stadium at around 5:30, and that was our original plan. Dustin and I got to the Dodger Stadium parking lot entrance around 4:55, but they don’t open the parking lots until 5:10 for 7:10 games. We were one of the first cars parked, and while doing so we saw some people in Braun shirts/jerseys. I swore one of them was Joe Braun, who I met on April 30th in San Diego. Dustin and I hustled and got our stuff and caught up with them as they went up the staircase outside of the left field corner. I said Joe’s name and he turned around (and luckily) remembered me and introduced me to who he was with. He had told them about me prior to Wednesday, and said that he still had my phone number, so that was cool. Braun’s mom Diane was there as well, and I think she was more excited to meet me than I, her. She got a picture taken with me and sent it to a friend with “I MET THE BLOGGER” as the text. I told Joe that we were going to meet up with Adam McCalvy, and Joe asked if we wanted to just go in with them. Dustin and I couldn’t turn that down, and we went in on the Club Level, and proceeded around towards home plate. They have some old memorabilia in the club level, but we were trying to keep up with everyone so I just got a few pictures. This was the former bullpen car, which the Dodgers would use to bring in a reliever (they had it so easy back then…).
A Dodger Stadium employee was talking with the group as he led them (us) down to the field level, and he asked Joe if he needed an extra four tickets. Joe didn’t but he asked me if I did. I said that I was planning on using the Brewers provided ticket but then would have to sit apart from Dustin, and said I’d take them if no one needed them. We used those tickets and they were great seats. I thanked him and Joe, and we parted ways as we entered the seating bowl on the field level. I texted Adam and told him we were already inside, he was by the Brewers dugout and had us come down onto the field. We got field level passes, and apparently Dustin must be a big deal, because both of the passes had his name on them at one point:
We went on the field, and it was awesome just being out there during batting practice. The Dodgers were just finishing up their BP session, so I was able to chat for a bit with Tim Dillard. He’s a reliever for the Brewers, and I mentioned him in the first post in Phoenix when I shouted a Harry Caray impersonation his way. Adam reads the blog and had told Dillard about the guy who yelled that at him, so he was already familiar with what I was doing. He told me that people (obviously) yell stuff at him all the time, so in Phoenix when when I yelled he was a little reluctant to look up. Once he saw it was a Brewers fan, though, he was cool with it. He’s a really nice guy, and we talked for five minutes or so before he had to take off and shag fly balls during the Brewers portion of BP. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get a picture taken with him, and he graciously agreed.
When the Brewers started taking batting practice, Dustin and I just took it all in and we talked with Adam (and others) about baseball. Gomez and Braun were laughing about something outside of the cage, and it was exciting being so close.
Jon Gries, who played Uncle Rico in Napoleon Dynomite, is friends/neighbors with Randy Wolf, and he was out on the field during BP. We talked with him for a bit and told him about what I was doing. He is also a really cool guy, and I found out that he appeared in a few Seinfeld episodes, a show that I’ve seen every episode multiple times and own the box set. I failed to get a picture with him and I’m kicking myself now because he probably wouldn’t have had a problem with it. Since we were out there, I figured I should get the game number picture taken on the field, and while the Brewers were still hitting I had Dustin take game photo number 50. I can’t believe we’re 30.8 percent of the way through the season!
I got the above picture taken at about 5:55 pm, and we were still on the field 40 minutes later. Mark Attanasio was down on the field and Adam introduced me and Dustin to the Brewers owner. Tom Haudricort (a sports writer for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal) and Adam kind of started an impromptu interview with Attanasio as Dustin and I stood there. It was fun/weird to hear the questions, see them write down the responses, and then see them in quotes in Adam’s article later that night. The National Anthem was about to start, so we parted ways with Adam, he to the press box, us to some free seats down the first base line. This was the view as the game was about to start, and I realized it would be a tough to not miss a pitch. The seats aren’t angled towards home plate, so it takes discipline to stay swiveled around in your seat (or straining your neck to watch the action in the infield). It also didn’t help to have all the other fans on the same plane. Nonetheless we were just feet from the field, and it was great being there.
Adding to the difficulty of a perfect game was the first basemen’s positioning before the pitch. The picture below was taken in the bottom of the eighth inning and shows what I’m talking about. I WAS able to pull off a perfect no-pitches-missed game despite all of that (I’m patting myself on the back while typing).
As for the game, it held up to how great the day had gone up to that point. The Dodgers scored a solo run in the first, but it could’ve been a lot worse, as they stranded the bases loaded. The Brewers tallied twice in the fourth inning, with both runs scoring on a single by Carlos Gomez. The Brewers added three in the sixth inning and took a 5-1 lead. A safety squeeze by Maldonado scored Weeks then Gallardo just narrowly missed a home run but still drove in a run. The hit wound up as a booming single because it ricocheted off the wall so fast. An infield single by Aoki drove in the final run of the half inning. The Dodgers loaded the bases on Gallardo in the bottom of the seventh, and was subsequently relieved by Manny Parra. The first pitch Parra threw resulted in a two run single. He got out of the jam without surrendering the lead, however, after striking out Loney and inducing an inning ending double play. A botched double play attempt by the Dodgers in the top of the eighth resulted in another run, and that concluded the scoring. Final Score: Brewers 6 – Dodgers 3. Taking the first three games against the Dodgers is huge, seeing that coming into the series they were far and away the best team in the N.L. up to that point, and they still own the best record in all of baseball despite losing three straight. It’s their first three game losing streak of the season, and I’m proud that it came at the hands of the Brewers, especially since it came at Dodger Stadium.
Dustin and I watched the bottom of the ninth from the left field corner, so we could get to the car as quickly as possible. It’s easy to get stuck in post game parking lot traffic, and we wanted to see how well the plan worked. Tomorrow night we’ll be doing the same thing because I could be cutting it close with my red eye flight back to Milwaukee. As you can see from the picture below, most everyone had left (in a measly 3-run game) so we likely didn’t need to be so strategic.
I have to give a shout out to Adam McCalvy for extending the invite to take in batting practice from the field. Another, perhaps bigger shout out, goes to Mike Vassallo, the Brewers Media Relations Director who helped get me and Dustin the field passes. You guys are great, and I appreciate the support in my mission, and making it even better than expected.
We’re leaving for the beach shortly, then returning to Simon’s to gather our stuff and get ready for the game. Dustin is taking me right to LAX after the game to catch my 12:40 am flight and he’s driving through the night to set up camp at Zion National Park in Utah. I’m not sure when I’ll post about Thursday, but I’m thinking I’ll have some time at the airport or when I get back home to the great State of Wisconsin.
Thanks again for those who have donated, and those that have joined the registry. It’s awesome to see that what I’m doing is making a difference, and it wouldn’t be possible without you.
I didn’t go to bed until after 1:30 am on Tuesday morning, so I slept in until 10:30. Dustin and I didn’t really have any plans, and by the time we decided to go to the beach, we realized it was too late. Simon had mentioned that we could see Rock of Ages, since they were holding a screening at Warner Brothers (where he works). He lives just a few miles from work and we headed down there around 1:30 for the 2:00 screening. Rock of Ages is somewhat of a musical, so I went in thinking it wasn’t going to be my cup of tea. I was a little surprised and overall thought it was pretty good. I like ’70s and ’80s rock music, and there are also some laughs thrown in there, which is always good.
The screening was over by 4:15, and we went to In-N-Out Burger afterwards. With that name you’d think it would be quick, but I was a little disappointed. We went inside to order, but got it to go, because we were in a hurry. There wasn’t a line when we got there, and it took 13 minutes from the time we ordered to when we left. I’m an impatient person to begin with, so maybe I’m a little biased, but that just seems slow. They had at least nine (I counted them) people working behind the counter so I was expecting a pretty quick turnaround, but no dice. The burger was good, and so was the strawberry shake I got, but Dustin and I agreed the fries left something to be desired. I saw the fries go right from the potato, through the slicer, and into the frier, so I was expecting something amazing. The fact that they were just luke warm by the time we ate them back at Simon’s might be to blame as well.
I was planning on meeting Adam McCalvy, the Brewers beat writer, before the game on Tuesday. Due to LA rush hour traffic Dustin and I weren’t parked until 6:13, and didn’t get inside Dodger Stadium until 6:30. I texted Adam and he said not to worry, and that he got us batting practice field passes for Wednesday’s game. Sweet!
I’ll likely get the upper deck game number photo on Thursday, so we got the closest we could to the visitor’s dugout for Tuesday’s picture. I’m surprised they don’t have a moat and a drawbridge that separates us mortals from the elites that can afford the $350 to $650 seats. I’m kind of joking, but I do think it’s silly to have that divider there. Game photo number 49:
It was “The Infield” bobble head day, and it was almost a full house. The announced paid attendance was 51,137, but there were a lot of people who got their bobbleheads and just left. There are Brewers fans who do this as well, and I don’t understand it. The only reason the bobble head means something to you is because of the game of baseball, so you must enjoy it at least a little, right? The bobble head commemorates the Dodger’s infield of Ron Cey, Bill Russell, Davey Lopes (former Brewers manager), and Steve Garvey, who played together for 8-plus seasons, with their first appearance together in June of 1973. I’m debating keeping the bobble head just because I think it’s cool, but I’m not sure I can fit it in my suitcase.
After getting the game number picture taken we went to our seats, which were located right next to the Brewers bullpen in right field. We got to see Mike Fiers warming up for his first major league start. He pitched in two games last September, but those were out of the bullpen, in mop up duty. As Fiers was warming up I really didn’t know what to expect for the game. To be completely honest, I expected the Dodgers to win 10-2, or something along those lines. It seemed like a perfect storm; Lucroy going to the DL, a rookie catcher making his first start, catching a rookie pitcher making HIS first start, and the Dodgers getting Matt Kemp (their MVP) back from the DL. Here’s Fiers warming up:
Luckily the upper deck roof was about to hide the sun, otherwise this would’ve gotten pretty annoying. Monday’s game was at 5:10, so the people in these seats had to deal with the sun for the first two hours, no thank you.
The game started and the Brewers got on the board early. Braun hit a two run opposite field home run in the top of the first, which only intensified the boos. Mike Fiers pitched well, and gave up one run on five hits, no walks, while striking out three over seven innings of work. It was awesome and a nice surprise. The Brewers carried the one run advantage into the 8th inning, and K-Rod delivered another scoreless frame, setting up Axford in the ninth. Axford as he’s leaving the bullpen:
Axford had to face the meat of the order, and he had a nine pitch battle with Matt Kemp to lead off the bottom of the ninth. Kemp won and ripped a double to left center, and the Dodger’s win expectancy jumped from 17.4% to 41.7% (I looked at fangraphs.com). The very next pitch Axford hit Andre Ethier in the back with a 97 mile-per-hour fastball, and just like that the Dodgers had the winning run on base. Jerry Hairston was next and after a ball and two failed bunt attempts he grounded into a 4-3 double play. Kemp moved to third on the play and the tying run was only 90 feet away. James Loney then grounded out to short, and the Brewers escaped with the win. Final Score: Brewers 2 – Dodgers 1. I don’t know how they did it, but the Brewers have now won two consecutive games while recording a combined total of 9 hits. Yes, NINE hits over two games, and two wins to show for it. That is some impressive pitching and defense. Nicely done.
Simon is going to give us a tour of Warner Brothers tomorrow, and then we’re going to hit up the Hollyhock house, which was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and built in 1919-1921. Dustin likes Frank Lloyd Wright and architecture, and so do I to some degree, so it should be fun.
Since it was Memorial Day and he had the day off, Simon took us to Hollywood and we all played tourists for the first half of the day. We first went to the Hollywood Bowl Overlook, where you can see downtown Los Angeles, and also the Hollywood sign (separately). Downtown LA is off in the distance here, and you can just see the Hollywood Bowl on the lower right.
Since I held up the Gateway Arch on April 27th, I figured I should try to make the Hollywood sign float above my hand. Mission accomplished. Simon took two pictures, one with me in focus, and one with the sign focused. The one with me in focus made the sign unreadable, so I went with the latter.
We then went down to Hollywood Boulevard, and walked around for a bit. There were thousands of tourists, and it was pretty crowded. We didn’t stay very long, but we did walk past the Chinese Theatre, and saw some of the Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Including the one below. I didn’t know that the Dodgers had their own star, I thought they were reserved for movie stars and singers.
After our short visit to Hollywood, we went back to Simon’s place in Burbank, and relaxed by/in the pool. The picture below is of the view from just outside his and Kate’s apartment door. Not too shabby. Simon had planned ahead, and bought Bratwurst for the occasion. He boiled them in some Miller Lite, and then used the communal grill to finish them off. It was a beautiful afternoon and it was a relaxing way to spend Memorial Day afternoon.
Simon decided to join me and Dustin at Monday’s game, and we left his place around 3:30. Dodger Stadium is about 10 miles away, and at that time of day it only took us about 12 minutes to get there. We bought our tickets and went to find the best spot for game photo number 48. The first day at a new stadium I’ve been getting it taken from in front of the home plate entrance. Arizona didn’t have a home plate entrance, and Dodger Stadium’s “home plate” entrance leads into the uppermost deck, because it’s built into the side of a hill. This is what the home plate entrance had to offer. It would’ve made for one boring picture.
The view facing outward from the upper deck entrance is nice, and gives you a closer look at downtown LA than from the Hollywood Bowl Overlook.
We went back down the hillside until we reached this spot, which I agreed was the best it was going to get in terms of exterior signage.
We then went back up to the reserve level (where our seats were), and made our way inside. It was $1 Dodger Dog day, and we each bought two before the game started. Simon was right, they are way overrated. I had eaten one when I visited Dodger Stadium back in 2004 for my only non-Brewers MLB game. My parents, Dustin and I went to LA and San Diego during spring break my junior year of high school, and we hit up a Dodgers – Padres game. The hot dog is longer than bun length, but that’s about the only thing to note. They normally run $5, so we had to take advantage, but I didn’t even feel like finishing the second one (I did anyways).
The game got underway at 5:10, and the sun was to our left (torching my face) for the first hour and fifteen minutes of the game. I balanced my glove on the side of my head to shield the sunlight. The second the upper deck roof provided some shade it felt 100 times better. Even though we were in the reserve level, I was able to get some decent shots during the game. This is Shaun Marcum pitching early in the game:
The game itself was slow, and low-scoring, so it seemed to drag on, but since I didn’t have anything until 7:00 pm the next day, I could’ve cared less. The Dodgers took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning on a RBI double by Andre Ethier. It remained 1-0 until the fourth inning, when Aramis Ramirez tied it with his fourth home run of the season. Ramirez was all smiles when he gave Rickie Weeks a high five on his way back to the dugout.
The Brewers added two runs in the sixth inning after a controversial call at first base. Aoki reached first after the Dodger’s pitcher, Aaron Harang, threw to first and it pulled the first basemen off the bag. Or at least that’s what the umpire said. I really thought that Loney had his foot on the bag when he caught the throw, but I haven’t seen a replay yet. Aoki wound up scoring on a single by Ramirez, and then a sacrifice fly by Weeks scored Braun. If it weren’t for the “error” Aoki never would’ve been on base, and the fly out would’ve ended the inning, so both runs were unearned. The Dodgers got one back in the bottom of the 8th, but K-Rod got out of the inning without giving up the lead, and Axford got the save in the ninth. Final Score: Brewers 3 – Dodgers 2.
Before the eighth inning I had a lady behind us take a picture of Dustin, myself, and Simon. Simon is actually an A’s fan, but he has a few Dodgers hats since he lives in LA now, so he was kind of rooting for the Dodgers on Monday. It was mainly because he had picked them to win in ESPN’s streak for the cash game, where you try to get a streak going of successful sports picks.
I missed a pitch today, and it marks the fourth straight non-perfect game for me (a new high). When Ethier was at the plate in the first inning, a graphic on the scoreboard said Ethier led the National League in RBI and was second in the Majors with 41. He drove in a run that at bat, and they changed the graphic before switching to Jerry Hairston’s graphic, and I was asking Simon if he had 41 or 42 RBI before the at bat. It was at this time that I missed the first pitch to Hairston in the bottom of the first inning. I’m trying to stay focused, but it’s more challenging than I thought it would be. It makes me wonder how many pitches I missed in previous years.
I think Dustin and I are going to the beach today, and then it’s back to to Dodger Stadium for game two of the series.
Sunday started off with an enormous breakfast at the Holiday Inn we were staying at. I had scrambled eggs, ham, a sausage link, an everything bagel with cream cheese, two glasses of orange juice, and two of the little boxes of frosted mini wheats. Long story short I didn’t need to eat a real lunch (just a snack).
Dustin and I took our stuff to the car, and then jumped on the metro light rail at 11:38, and got to Chase Field by 11:50. We got inside and quickly sold Dustin’s bobble head from the day before. I held it way up in the air (the classic move to signify something is for sale), and someone asked “how much?” within 30 seconds. Dustin said $20 and that was that. Selling mine wasn’t so easy, and we decided to get the game number photo taken first, and then resume trying to sell mine. I figured this was a good spot for game photo number 47.
We then returned to the concourse and quickly found out that the instant sale of Dustin’s was an aberration. I had a lot of people offer me $5 (or $0, or $2.50), and then laugh at me when I said we just sold Dustin’s for $20. Other people asked if I was just giving it away. If I was giving it away I would have just set it on the ground and walked away, or not even taken one in the first place. Eventually someone offered me $15, and after trying briefly to get $20 out of him I figured enough was enough.
While I was trying to sell it in the concourse we saw Daron Sutton doing a promo or something, because there was a guy with a video camera. He was finishing up and I stopped him, and he started with “Oh, we got some Brewers fans”. I was quick and to the point: “Daron, I have two questions for you. First, is it pronounced J.J. Puts? Or is it Putz?” (like it’s spelled). Dustin claimed it was “Putz” (and willing to bet $10, while I was sure it was “puts”. Daron said it was Puts (yay, me), and said “like, he puts the 6-pack into the refrigerator”. I also asked if he heard of the Brewers fan going to all 162 (he hadn’t), and then told him what I was up to. He was intrigued, and after giving him one of my cards, he said they might try to do something when the D-Backs are in Milwaukee at the end of June. I realize that some of you may not know who he is; Sutton is the current Diamondbacks play-by-play announcer for their TV broadcasts. He had the same role with the Brewers from 2002 to 2006, and is the son of former Brewers pitcher (and Hall of Famer) Don Sutton.
We got to our seats with plenty of time to spare, but I could tell it was going to be a trying afternoon. We were on the wrong side of an aisle up from first base in the first level, and people constantly pass in front of you (seemingly unaware that there is a baseball game going on). If I wasn’t constantly shifting, standing, ducking, bending, and leaning, I probably would’ve missed 20-25 pitches during the game. I wound up missing just one, and it was due to a lack of focus on my part, and nothing to do with people passing by.
A few scoreboard related things that I thought were interesting. First, I think on Sundays the Diamondbacks select winning coloring book entries to show for each player when they bat. Below is an example of what I’m talking about. I chose to take a picture of this one because it shows great creativity. A green face with a blue beard? Why not?
Another thing (that wasn’t unique to Sunday) was that the Diamondbacks show entire careers worth of stats on the scoreboard during at bats. I don’t think they show these for the D-Backs, but they did show every Brewer’s career stats on the scoreboard at some point. I think if a player has been in the league for long enough, they’ll just cut it off and display the past 8 or so seasons. It is a lot to take in, but I like stats, so I think it’s pretty cool. I honestly didn’t know that Nyjer batted .307 in 2009, with 42 stolen bases. I wouldn’t be opposed to the Brewers adopting this practice.
The game moved along quickly, and there weren’t any runs until the D-Backs’ Paul Goldschmidt hit a solo home run in the 4th inning. The Brewers put two on the board in the 5th, on RBI singles by Ransom and Hart. The Brewers then took a 3-1 lead in the 6th when Taylor green singled to right and drove in Kottaras. The Brewers should’ve been able to tack on a few more, but a bases loaded inning ending double play ball off the bat of Nyjer Morgan put on end to the rally. The D-Backs answered in the bottom of the sixth, and pushed three runs across, all on RBI singles. An error by Taylor Green proved costly (even though I think it was a tough luck error), and only two of the four runs the D-Backs scored were earned. There were no runs after the 6th, and the Diamondbacks took the game and the series. Final Score: Diamondbacks 4 – Brewers 1.
After the game Dustin and I took the light rail back to the car, and were on the road by 4:58. About halfway to Los Angeles I took a picture of the setting sun. It was annoying and pretty at the same time. I believe those are the Little San Bernardino Mountains that the sun is just about to set behind.
We pulled up to Simon’s place at around 10:40, and it was nice seeing a middle school friend that I don’t think I had seen in over seven years. He’ll be joining Dustin and me at the game tomorrow, errr, today. It’s late, I’m going to bed.
I spent Saturday morning writing the blog post for Friday, and didn’t even stop for breakfast. A friend of Victoria’s lives near our hotel, and she had asked if we wanted to get together for lunch while I was here. Saturday was the only day that worked, and we decided on a small taco place nearby. The place is called America’s Taco Shop, and it’s not what you think. You’d think America’s Taco Shop would be some generic place and have crappy food. It’s actually named after one of the owners (America), and the food is amazing. The four parter below, going clockwise from top left:
1) The exterior of the shop, it was really small inside and could probably only seat 20 people. We utilized the outdoor seating, which had misting tubes circling the area.
2) The sign out front, including “Home of the valley’s best Carne Asada.”
3) The “Al Pastor” taco, consisting of a corn tortilla, pork, guacamole, pineapple, tomato salsa, cilantro and cabbage. It had a little kick and it was spectacular.
4) The Carne Asado taco, which was a corn tortilla with steak, guacamole, lettuce, and caramelized onions. America’s Taco Shop is the only place I’ve been to in the valley, but they have my vote for the valley’s best Carne Asada. The taco was wonderlicious.
After returning to the hotel, Dustin and I spent most of our time before the game here:
It was a perfect day and we relaxed by the hotel pool. 80 degrees with a slight breeze, it’s hard to beat that. Four o’clock came rather quickly, and we started getting ready for the game. We took the Metro light rail to the ballpark again, and were in front of Chase Field by 5:15. I was using the Brewers provided ticket for Saturday’s game, and we had to wait 20 minutes before they had the tickets at the will call window. They guarantee that they’ll have them an hour before first pitch, so it’s a bonus when I can get them before that. We made it inside shortly after 5:30, and got our J.J. Putz bobble head. He’s the Diamondback’s closer and I’m thinking that I’ll sell it tomorrow at the game.
After watching some of the Brewers batting practice from the left field bleachers, Dustin and I went to the upper deck to get game photo number 46 taken care of. For some reason the roof was only half open, the sun was low, and over the third base side, so it had nothing to do with the sun. They did open it 20 minutes after getting the picture, but it took at least ten minutes to do so when it normally takes five, so I’m guessing something was wrong with it.
We walked around to the right field corner after getting the picture, and then I returned to my ticketed seat in the upper deck, and Dustin to his. The four parter below shows some things of interest at Chase Field. Again going clockwise from top left.
1) The pool that they have beyond the right-centerfield wall. Dustin’s seat for the game is actually pictured here, it’s the vacant aisle seat in front of the two guys with hats in the lower right.
2) The “windows” that can open along the back wall of the stadium.
3) The old school out of town scoreboards that they have. Ok, not *that* old school, because real old school involves manual labor, like Wrigley or Fenway.
4) Chase Field’s Friday’s Front Row Sports Grill, situated above the left field bleachers. Miller Park also has a Friday’s in left field. It takes some muscle to get a home run up there, but I’ve seen highlights of games at Chase Field, and it has been done.
The game got off to a good start for the Crew, and they took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first on an RBI single by Lucroy. He is on fire right now (batting .388 in May), and I’m hoping he can keep it up. The D-Backs answered with four consecutive singles to start the bottom of the first, and they took a 2-1 lead. After a scoreless second inning for both teams, the third inning saw plenty of runs (unfortunately it was for both teams). The Brewers put four on the board in the third, with 3 hits, 1 walk, and an error contributing to the runs. Seven of the first eight Arizona batters reached base to lead off the bottom of the third, and the Diamondbacks wound up with five runs. Four hits, three walks, and a hit by pitch were the culprits for the outburst, and Greinke was pulled after retiring just 7 of the 19 batters he faced. The D-Backs added a run in the seventh, and that was it. Final Score: Diamondbacks 8 – Brewers 5.
I missed one pitch on Saturday, but there’s a decent excuse. There was a lemonade vendor that would appear from the tunnel, face the crowd, and yell “LEMONADE! LEMONADE! JUST LIKE GRANDMA MADE!!!” The guys next to me loved it, and would laugh and clap a little when he returned. On the third visit the guy seated next to me took out his iPhone and went to the voice recorder app, because he wanted to get the vendor saying it again. I was distracted not by the vendor but by what the guy was going to do with his phone, and missed the 1-2 pitch to McDonald in the bottom of the seventh. Shame on me.
That’s all for today, it’s a 1:10 game tomorrow, and I’m hoping we can be on the road to Los Angeles by five. It’s 380 miles, and it should take us about six hours. I’ll likely post about Sunday on Monday morning from Simon’s place (a friend from middle school).
Dustin and I left his house in Denver at 10:07 pm on Thursday night, and we made it to Phoenix by 10:18 am on Friday morning (we gained an hour so it took just over 13 hours). Dustin drove the first leg, I the second, and Dustin the last 148 miles. In all I drove 434 miles and Dustin 396, so we divvied it up pretty evenly. We took I-70 West into Utah, then 191 south into Arizona, where we jumped on 160 and eventually I-17. When we got to Moab, Utah, we hit some gusty winds and I was almost blown over when we stopped for gas at one point. By almost I mean I was standing and had to take a step, so maybe blown over was an exaggeration.
When we were getting into Phoenix I called the Holiday Inn we’re staying at and asked if we could check in early, and the receptionist said we couldn’t. It all worked out because Dustin and I went to iHop for some breakfast. At 11:20 we got to the hotel and by that time we were able to check into our room. We were both exhausted and we napped until 3:00 pm. This picture is of the exterior of our hotel, I thought the balcony things looked like cheese, so it made me feel at home.
We jumped on the Metro rail at 3:45, and we were in front of Chase Field in less than 15 minutes. Chase Field doesn’t really have a welcoming home plate entrance, and the Chase Field sign is located out past centerfield. I guess this will have to do for game photo number 45.
We had some time before the park opened, so we wandered around the exterior and I took some pictures. We went to my right in the picture above, and after turning the corner of the stadium there were gates and fences that prevented us from going around the stadium in it’s entirety. We walked back around the centerfield portion and made our way down the third base side of Chase Field. Going clockwise from top left, the four parter below is:
1) The Diamondback’s Mission Statement plaque, and statue in the background. The plaque reads: “The Arizona Diamondbacks’ mission is to establish a winning tradition that embodies the genuine spirit of baseball; an organization to which all Arizonans will point with pride, which conducts its business with integrity and community responsibility; so that Arizona’s children will grow up knowing the rich tradition that has made baseball America’s national pastime.” I think the statue is of a few fans getting an autograph from a player (the back of his jersey is just Arizona – 98), so it’s no one in particular.
2) Three giant bats standing on the handles near the left field corner of Chase Field.
3) Awnings that span from the left field corner down to the first base entrance. There are fans hanging from the structure as well, and the shade provides a nice respite when it inevitably gets hot under the Arizona sun.
4) The “home plate entrance” I put it in quotes because I don’t think it’s a true home plate entrance since it’s really around first base. There is no traditional home plate entrance (behind home plate), otherwise I would’ve gotten my picture outside of it.
Do you see the structure on the lower right side of picture number 4 above (on the lower left)? That’s some sort of contraption, and Dustin and I don’t know what purpose it serves. Whatever it is, it is encased in glass, and it has lots of moving parts. I took a picture of what is inside (below). There were lots of baseball sized balls going every which way, and you can see a few of them being lifted on the left side of the photo.
The exterior of the stadium isn’t all that exciting, but neither is Miller Park’s, so I can’t bash it too much. Four more pictures, going clockwise from top left.
1) The southwest corner of Chase Field, as seen from a skywalk the leads to a parking garage, you can see the other skywalk on the right side of the picture.
2) The view from the skywalk I took the first picture from, this one looking south, the parking garage is on the left.
3) Just inside the gates of the stadium they showcase their Micky Mouse statue, from when the Angels hosted the All-Star game, and the mini Statue of Liberty from when the Yankees did. The cactus is from last year’s All-Star game, when the Diamondbacks hosted. In the middle is their World Series trophy, from when the won it all back in 2001.
4) This is looking up from where picture three was taken, on the walls of the mini atrium are murals depicting Arizona’s landscape.
Once inside the stadium we walked around and then took in the Brewers portion of batting practice. We sat/stood in left-center field, and it’s a great spot to take in a game. You can see Tim Dillard in the lower left hand corner of the picture below. When batting practice was getting started he made his way to the outfield to shag balls and throw them back in, something all relievers do to some degree. Tim Dillard can do a good Harry Caray impersonation, and I can do a decent one. I yelled “TIM!” until he turned to look at me, and then I shouted in my best Caray voice “HEY, IF YOU WERE A HOT DOG, WOULD YOU EAT YOURSELF? BECAUSE I WOULD, I’D PUT MUSTARD ON ME!” That comes from a Saturday Night Live skit when Will Ferrell does a Harry Caray parody. Dillard acknowledged my impersonation and made the face that goes with his Caray impersonation (something that I cannot do). It was funny and cool at the same time.
After batting practice we walked the third base side to see what they had on the menu. Another four parter below, clockwise from top left:
1) A sign that we saw, I had to do a double take, $4 beer!?!?! They sell $4 fourteen ounce drafts of select beers. That’s the cheapest beer you’ll find at a game anywhere in a MLB stadium. They also have value menu items at certain concession stands. $1.50 hot dogs, $1.50 corn dogs, and a few other bargain-priced items. I wound up having a hot dog, a corn dog, and a beer, which came to a whopping $7. Dustin returned to the concession stands later in the game and I had another corn dog and another beer. So in all I had a hot dog, two corn dogs, and two 14 ounce beers, for $11.50! Well played, D-Backs, well played.
2) We were sitting in the left field bleachers for Friday’s game. While waiting for first pitch a few D-Back employees came out and started vacuuming the field. I’ve seen it before, I think, but it’s still funny (to me anyways). I think they’re mainly getting sunflower seed shells, but I’m sure they remove any foreign object.
3) A fan below us waving a Diamondback’s flag. Apparently large flags are allowed, because we saw a few other fans with decent sized flagpoles and flags.
4) A fan in the upper deck, waving some sort of ribbon, which reminds me of Will Ferrell in Old School, when he does the ribbon routine towards the end of the movie. As you can see, to the ladies’ right are even more flags and ribbons (I’m assuming she’s a regular). They showed her on the jumbotron a few times, and she was trying to get the crowd excited.
The game got underway at the scheduled time of 6:40, and the Brewers got on the board early, on a solo home run by Rickie Weeks in the second inning. The Crew added three more in the fourth, two via a Braun home run, the other on a single from Izturis. Izturis later left the game with an injured quad, and is now on the disabled list. At this rate the Brewers will be fielding a AAA infield by the All-Star break. The D-Backs got one back in the fourth on a it’s-my-birthday-I’m-gonna-hit-a-home-run-to-celebrate dinger from Jason Kubel. The Brewers tacked on two in the eighth and one in the ninth, and that concluded the scoring. Final Score: Brewers 7 – Diamondbacks 1.
A few more things from the game, again going clockwise from top left.
1) Just before the game was set to start they began opening the roof. It was still 91 degrees when the game started, but it didn’t feel that hot. With a nice breeze it was probably the most comfortable I’ve been at a game this year.
2) The roof after it was opened all the way.
3) After home runs they turn on some fountains in the pool area. Yes, there’s a pool in Chase Field. I’ll get a better picture of the pool today, because you can’t really see it in this picture.
4) It’s no sausage race, but their retired player race is pretty good, albeit staged. The running gag is that Mark Grace (in purple) never wins. In this race he got out to a big lead, started skipping and celebrating then was passed by Randy Johnson. Grace wound up tripping and falling down (on purpose), while Randy Johnson got the win.
It was fireworks night at the ballpark, and after the game Dustin and I went to the upper deck. It was a short show, but it was still cool to see some fireworks in a different setting. The picture isn’t that great, but I’m sure you all know what fireworks look like.
I missed two pitches at this game, and I’m disappointed in myself. The first was the fourth pitch to Ryan Braun in the 5th inning. Another intentional walk mental lapse on my part. After I saw the third pitch was an intentional ball, I started reading the scoreboard, and missed the 3-0 pitch. I also missed the first 0-2 pitch to Aaron Hill in the bottom of the eighth. I was reading and then returning a text, and looked up after he hit the foul ball. Walsh had wanted to see a new record streak, but I’ll have to be more disciplined if it’s going to happen on the road trip.
Thursday was the fifth off day of the season, and I spent it in and around Denver with my friend Dustin. Dustin and I have been friends since elementary school, and he moved out here a few years ago. I asked if he wanted to join me on this part of the trip, and he was more than willing. We’re leaving in a bit to drive through the night to Phoenix, where the Brewers play next. Then it’s on to Los Angeles, where after the final game I’ll fly back to Milwaukee, and he will drive back to Denver.
We started Thursday off by going to Coors Field, which is just a mile or so from Dustin’s house. The Rockies also had the day off, so the tour that they offer is more inclusive, and you get to see the visiting clubhouse. We got there about ten minutes late, but luckily all that they had done was go to the upper deck, something that I’ll be doing anyways in August when the Brewers visit. We went to the club level and continued the tour, the first thing we came across is this Statue of Liberty. The Yankees gave each National League team one of these to commemorate the 2008 MLB All-Star game. I’m not sure where the Brewers have theirs, but I don’t think I’ve seen it, or maybe I’ve seen it so many times I just pass by it and don’t pay attention to it.
We continued along in the club level, and there was lots to see. There are going to be many four part pictures in this post, and they all go clockwise, starting from the top left.
1) The suites are all named after Colorado’s Fourteeners (mountains that are at least 14,000 feet). The ones in this picture are named after Mt. Bierstadt.
2) They had these inscribed in the tiles in the club level, and I thought it was photo-worthy.
3) One of the conference areas. The tour guide told us that after the 2007 season (when the Rockies made the World Series) there were requests for areas for people to hold conferences. They removed nine of the suites and put in a conference room.
4) This is the area across the hall from the conference room, where you can actually see the field. They rent out the conference room individually, so if you wanted to hold a conference/meeting, and go to a game, you would have to book both of them separately.
On the Club level there is also a nice restaurant; Mountain Ranch Bar & Grille.
1) The exterior of the restaurant.
2) Some bats in the restaurant, and the field in the distance
3) The view from one of the tables that overlooks the field.
4) A candid (I think) photo of Troy Tulowitski, the Rockies All-Star shortstop. I like the picture because it shows a nice reflection of the field.
The press box was the next stop on the tour, and it is quite large. I haven’t been in the press box at Miller Park, but the Rockies press box seems larger.
1) The interior of the press box, I wasn’t even all the way to the right, so there were about 30 more seats behind me.
2) The view of the field, those windows can swing inwards, and there are carabiners on the ceiling to keep them in place.
3) Jorge De La Rosa getting some work in. He’s a former Brewer and is recovering from Tommy John surgery, so he’s rehabbing and trying to get back in June sometime (at least that’s what the tour guide told us).
4) One of the dents in the drywall from a foul ball. Someone in the press box (presumably closest to the dent) writes who hit the ball and the date of the game on the wall itself. After the season they’ll make the repairs, but for the remainder of the season they’ll know who the culprit was.
The tour then took us to the depths of Coors field, and we got the tour of the visiting clubhouse.
1) The visiting team’s coaches office. In less than three months, Ron Roenicke is going to be in there planning for the Brewers-Rockies series.
2) The visiting clubhouse.
3) Staff rubbing down baseballs for the Rockies’ upcoming home stand. When each team gets their baseballs from Rawlings, they rub them with Lena Blackburne Rubbing Mud. Every team uses the same stuff, and the location of where they get the mud is a secret, but it’s known to be somewhere on the New Jersey side of the Delaware River.
4) Part of the visiting clubhouse’s bathroom. Apparently it doesn’t matter if you forget your shaving cream, because it looks like everything is provided.
Out onto the field we went, and I did my best to imitate a manager giving signals to players during a game.
We also had the tour guide take a picture of us on the field.
That pretty much concluded the tour, and we left Coors Field and went back to Dustin’s place. We weren’t there long and we headed to Golden Colorado for the Coors Brewers tour. We parked and then found out you take a shuttle bus to the Brewery itself.
1) One of the arches that welcomes you to downtown Golden, you can see one of the shuttles under the G in Golden. We wanted to ride the Coors Light themed bus to the Brewery, but got stuck with the Killian’s Irish Red bus.
2) The exterior of the building where the tour begins. The copper kettle pictured is from the 1880’s.
3) The interior, where you get your wristband for your free samples, and your self guided tour audio device. I’m not a big fan of self-guided tours, but it was alright. You can go at your own pace and skip stuff if you want to, so I guess it makes sense. Dustin and I listened to pretty much everything though. The tour, by the way, is free of charge.
4) The first part of the tour, which explains a little bit about how Coors got started and notable events in its history.
More from the tour:
1) A few of the many brew kettles that they have on site.
2) The control room, which oversees the brewing process.
3) The quality control laboratory. No one was in there, but our “guide” said there are usually people with white coats in there doing QC.
4) Some cases of Coors Light after they have been packaged. The weren’t going as fast as they look, it’s just that the light was dim enough to require a slow shutter speed. The 30 packs on the bottom were actually for the Bay Area (I assume), because they had a promotion on them for the San Francisco Giants.
We only got two of the three samples they offer, hit up the gift shop, and then it was time for lunch. On our way to the shuttle pick-up we had someone get a picture of Dustin and me. You might notice that faint “M” above Dustin’s left shoulder, up towards the peak. If you click the picture you can get a bigger image. The M is for the nearby Colorado School of Mines. The water behind us is a cooling pond, and it also provides Coors with a little bit of electricity.
We had lunch at Old Capital Grill in Golden, and it was delicious. I had the BBQ Pork Stampede, which consisted of tangy strips of pulled pork with grilled onions and Texas toothpicks piled high on a soft bun. I didn’t know what Texas toothpicks were but I learned they are jalapeños and onions that are lightly breaded and then deep fried. I thought it would be spicier than it was, but it was still worth the $8.95. The sandwiches come with french fries and, get this, a small red delicious apple. We were both a little confused when our waiter brought us our meal. I like the idea though, and was not disappointed by finishing off a meal with a crisp apple.
We’re leaving shortly, and should be arriving in Phoenix between 11:00 am and noon. After a nap at the hotel, it’ll be off to Chase Field for game number 45 of the season.
I was up until 2:00 am writing the post for Tuesday, and I didn’t get to bed until 2:45. I got up at 8:20 and was on the road by 9:28. I’m usually a last minute packer, but I got most of it done when I got home from Tuesday’s game. I really need to start making a checklist so I don’t forget anything, because I always seem to do just that. I was in the parking lot by 10:35, and started going around and telling some people about my mission. A few people vaguely remember hearing something about a guy going to all 162, but the lack of knowledge regarding what I’m doing just confirms (for me anyways) that I should be going tailgate to tailgate before games to spread the word.
I was inside Miller Park by 11:05, and I headed straight for section 234, where I got my game number photo taken. It took a little bit to find a setting where we could override the automatic flash. The field was bright but I wasn’t in the sun, so for the first few pictures I was basically just a shadow.
I had lots of time to kill before the game, and spent a lot of it searching for a condiment stand that didn’t have one problem or another. I got two more $1 hot dogs, bringing my total to 8 for the three games of Spring Madness. The first stand I was able to get everything but mustard, because the dispenser was not working. The next closest stand also had a broken mustard dispenser. At another stand I was waiting for the guy before me to finish up putting onions on his hot dog, but he then proceeded to drop the tongs on the ground. He picked them up, wiped them off with a napkin, and then put them back in the onions. I know this stuff probably happens all the time, but when I see it happen I’m not going to eat anything that touches those tongs.
I spent the last few minutes before the game standing (just in the shade), in front of the press box. I knew that I would be in the sun for at least on hour and a half, so I wanted at least a little bit of time in the shade. As I was getting to my seat Charles Woodson was being introduced to throw out a first pitch. I didn’t have my zoom lens on my camera yet, so this will have to do.
The game got underway and the Brewers had a great first inning. Marco Estrada retired the first three Giants in order, and only needed 10 pitches to do so. The Brewers then got on the board quickly with six runs in the bottom of the inning. Two Giants errors helped the Crew out, and only two of the runs in the first were earned. Estrada hit a double to plate the final two runs of the inning but pulled up with a hip flexor strain. He actually injured himself as he was getting to first, but still made his way to second base. The Brewers were forced to go to the bullpen for eight innings, and luckily the off day on Thursday will give the pen some rest. In the second inning the Brewers added two runs on a Jonathan Lucroy home run to left. Here’s Lucroy coming out of the roof’s shadow and into the light. He is raking right now and I hope it continues. I recommend voting for him for the All-Star Game, he is very deserving (as is Braun).
With the injury to Estrada and all the runs that were scored in the first two innings, the game was dragging along, which made me nervous. It was a 12:10 start time, and my flight to Denver was scheduled to depart at 6:20. It doesn’t sound like a problem but if the game went to extras or if it just took forever I could have been cutting it close. The Giants made it interesting after scoring three in the third and two in the fourth, and the lead was just three. The game quickened as it got later (which is usually the opposite of how it goes). Jose Veras retired all six batters he faced, and only needed 22 pitches to get through the sixth and seventh. When a starter doesn’t qualify for a win (by not pitching at least five innings) the official scorekeeper can basically decide who deserved the win, and he awarded it to Veras. Axford came on in the ninth, and retired the side with just 11 pitches, including two via the strikeout. My last picture of the day is of Axford delivering a pitch in the ninth with his hair flailing behind him.
I left Miller Park at 3:40, and returned to an unlocked car. Earlier in the game I started to wonder if I had left my car unlocked, and my inkling was confirmed. I got really lucky that no one was going around checking for stuff. Nothing was visible in the cabin, but I did have my laptop and iPad in the trunk (in my suitcase). A let out a huge sigh of relief when I opened my suitcase to find my stuff. I would not have forgiven myself for that one. Normally I hit the lock button on the driver side door as I’m getting out, but today I went to the porta potty before walking the parking lot. I went to the bathroom and then came back for my camera and drawstring bag, so I just went to the passenger side. This is what happens when you break traditions.
I made it to the airport in plenty of time, and everything went as planned. As I write this I’m sitting on my good friend Dustin’s couch in downtown Denver. We’re taking a Coors Field tour tomorrow, then lunch, and then a Coors Brewery tour. We’ll be driving through the night tomorrow, and should be to our hotel in Phoenix by noon on Friday.
Since I got home so late, errrr, early, on Tuesday after Monday’s marathon, I was in bed until 11:00 am, then got up and wrote the blog post for Monday’s game. I made breakfast/lunch and it was amazing. I’ve been making it for a while now, but it’s just as good the 50th time as it was the first. I take a polish sausage and slice it into sections, so they’ll lay nicely on bread, then fry on egg, sauté some onions (and sometimes mushrooms), and throw the polish pieces on the skillet as well. When all that goodness is about done I toast some Brownberry whole wheat bread, put a little bit of mayo on both sides, and add some Frank’s Red hot on top. After the egg has been flipped and I know it will be done soon, I put a slice of cheese on the egg, turn off the stove, and cover the pan, which melts the cheese to perfection. Clockwise from top left is how it starts, top right is nearing completion, and the bottom picture is right before consumption. The sandwich is a little blurry, and I think I was in such a hurry to eat it that I forgot to hold still.
I started getting ready for the game and packing for the upcoming road trip after I finished my breakfast-lunch. I left the house at 4:00 pm and pulled into the Brewers 1 parking lot at 5:13. I then spent 30-40 minutes traversing the parking lots handing out my business cards, and telling people about Be The Match. I worked my way inside at 6:00 and headed for the loge level. I went to section 236 for game photo number 43, and a nearby fan (who I learned is in the registry, yay!) took the picture for me.
I had left the other ticket at will call for the Twitter auction winner, Jeff. Mark “The Doorman” had graciously given me his two tickets for Tuesday’s game, and I auctioned one of them off on Twitter. Jeff was the high bidder with an $85 offer, and I’ll be donating the money to Be The Match. I had also sold my two tickets for $40 to Tuesday’s game, so that and the $20 from last Friday means I’ll be making a $145 donation on behalf of those people who purchased the tickets. Thanks Guys!!!
Jeff was already keeping the Doorman’s seat warm for me, and I made my way to the seats around 6:50. I got a fan behind us to take a picture of me and Jeff. Jeff lives in Northern Illinois, but has been a Brewers fan his whole life. He told me that when he was a kid, it was easier to come up to County Stadium than it was to go to Wrigley or Comiskey, so the Brewers became his team. He’s a great guy and I’m glad I got to spend a game with him in some awesome seats.
The game got underway and it was another rough start for the Crew. A ground rule double and a sacrifice fly each drove in a run for the Giants, and the Brewers were in a 2-0 hole after the top of the first. Bernie Brewer always goes down his slide when the Brewers are coming to bat in the first inning, and this time I got him mid-slide.
Aoki led off the bottom of the first inning with a triple, which gave the Brewers an 85.3% chance of scoring at least one run in the inning. Nyjer Morgan lifted one to left, but Cabrera gunned down Aoki at the plate. I know Aoki is blurry, but I still like the picture because the ump and Posey are frozen pretty good, and Aoki is the only one moving (or so it seems).
In the fourth inning I took a picture of the view of home plate from the Doorman’s seat, not too shabby I must say. Unfortunately me taking the picture must have been bad luck, because later in the at bat the guy at the plate (Joaquin Arias) hit his first major league home run. It was a two-run homer and the Giants took a commanding 4-0 lead with their Ace on the mound.
In the bottom of the fourth the Brewers answered when Weeks lined a scorching double to center that drove in two. The Giants got both of the runs back in the sixth when Buster Posey (below) hit a two run home run. This is Posey making sure his helmet is on right prior to his sixth inning at bat.
Between the top and bottom of the sixth inning the sausage race takes place, and Tuesday was no different. The four parter below explains what all went down. Going clockwise from top left:
1) The sausages getting love from the fans (while silently posturing that they’re going to be victorious)
2) The Polish sausage taking an early lead on the other encased meats.
3)Polish still in the lead, as Chorizo wonders how other sausages could be winning since he has the most kick.
4) The sausages after they’ve crossed the finish line (Italian had a comeback win), while Chorizo struggles to make it off the field.
The sausage race didn’t immediately spark a rally, but one inning later the Brewers put two on the board and cut the deficit to just two runs. Unfortunately that would be as close as they could get and the Giants hung on for the win. Final Score: Giants 6 – Brewers 4. The Brewers tagged Matt Cain with four runs on eleven hits, but couldn’t get the W. Talk about frustrating. What makes it worse is that the Giants only had five hits, you read that right, FIVE, and scored SIX runs. The Giants only walked three times, but two of those runners scored, and that’s the difference in the ball game.
One last picture, I had posted a nice picture of Lucroy from Saturday’s game, and he tore it up on Sunday with two home runs and seven RBIs. I don’t think he needs it, but I’ll include this one of at the dish in the sixth inning, just for good measure.
It’s past 2:00 am, and I need to get some sleep. First pitch is in about 10 hours, and then it’s off to MKE to catch a 6:20 flight to Denver. I’ll be spending tomorrow (Thursday) with my friend Dustin, and then we’re driving from Denver to Phoenix for the weekend series. It’ll then be off to Los Angeles for the four game set with the Dodgers.
Night games after day games are nice, and typically provide a good 27 hours between pitches. Don’t get me wrong, I’m loving every minute of this being my “job”, but it’s nice to get a little bit of a break.
Monday’s game I went with Dong Hoon Lee, and his girlfriend Chrismare (pronounced Chris-Marie). Dong was an exchange student from South Korea when I was a senior, and his host parents’ son was a good friend of mine. Dong became a good friend throughout my senior year, despite the fact that he was two years younger. After he spent a year in Fort Atkinson, he attended a school in California for his junior and senior years, and graduated in 2007. He returned to Wisconsin and attended UW-Whitewater, where one of his original host parents (Brian Borland) serves as the defensive coordinator for the currently two time defending National Champions in Division III Football. After a year at UWW, he returned to South Korea to serve the mandatory two years in military, and is now back at UWW working towards his degree. The video below was recorded in either late 2004 or early 2005. I had a class that required me to interview somebody, and one of the options was non-verbal messages. The second part was not part of the interview (we had found out that Dong was quite ticklish). We weren’t hazing or making fun of him, and I did use the video for the project, just not the extracurricular activities. At the 2:31 mark Dong gets back at Josh (Choshee), with his teeth. You might remember Josh from joining me at a few other games this year, and he’s pictured here, second from the right.
Back to today. I met Dong and Chrismare (who is from South Africa) at the Pine Cone in Johnson Creek. We drove to Milwaukee and caught up on what’s been going on and how the trip has been going. Dong and Chrismare are actually going to embark on a quest of their own starting on Sunday. They’re taking part in the 4K for cancer, the 4k doesn’t stand for four kilometers, but FOUR THOUSAND MILES! The event has been held annually since 2002 and the trip takes them from Baltimore to San Francisco over the course of about 70 days. Straight from 4kforcancer.org: “The 90 plus college students who cycle with us each summer embark on more than just a cross country bike ride; they also support our host communities by visiting cancer patients, taking part in community dinners, and giving cancer awareness presentations.” It’s a great cause and Dong was able to raise $4,550 for the ride, with most of that going to 4K For Cancer and their charities.
We pulled into the Brewers 1 lot at 5:22, and I spent some time handing out business cards and trying to get people involved. I also did a live on-air interview with The Big 1070, which is one of Madison’s Sports Radio stations. I talked about what I’m doing and why, how it’s going so far, and that I was trying to auction off a great seat to Tuesday’s game. They repeated my twitter handle twice on air, but I’m guessing their audience is either not on twitter, or they just didn’t care about it, because I gained one follower after I was on the air (and zero bids). I was hoping to get more for the ticket than the $82.11 that I got, but anything is better than nothing. I’m grateful for Mark The Doorman who donated the tickets, and for Jeff, who had the winning bid.
We got into Miller Park just after 6:00 pm, and went over to the left field corner of the loge level to get game photo number 42. Luckily the sun was hiding behind the closed roof panels, otherwise it would have been almost impossible to get a decent picture. Next month at the same time (6:10 pm) the sun will be blinding for people trying to track balls during batting practice, and it can be quite dangerous.
We had a lot of time to kill before first pitch, so we walked around the concourse on the loge level. I bought one $1 hot dog near section 225, and we continued around to the right field corner, where we each purchased two $1 hot dogs. Monday-Wednesday is Spring Madness at Miller Park; $38 and cheaper seats are half price, and small hot dogs and kids sodas are $1 a piece. One of them posed nicely for a picture as we sat down to eat in the loge bleachers in right field. I put everything on my dogs; there’s ketchup, Koops brown mustard, onions, relish, and sauerkraut.
The three of us made it to our seats and relaxed as we waited for the game to start. Chrismare had only been to baseball games in South Korea while visiting Dong, so this was her first MLB experience. She said she enjoyed herself, despite it being a somewhat boring game (on some people’s scorecards). As great as Sunday’s game had started for the Brewers, it was equally as bad on Tuesday. Randy Wolf walked two batters in the first inning, then gave up a 3-run home run to the Giant’s Buster Posey. The game remained 3-0 until the bottom of the sixth, when an RBI double by Aramaris Ramirez cut the lead to two runs. It was still 3-1 going into the bottom of the eighth, and Maysonet and Hart were out on strikes with a total of seven pitches between them. That’s when Norichika Aoki reached first on a fielding error by the Giant’s shortstop. The Giants manager left the starter (a lefty) in to face Braun, and Ryan made him pay. On a 1-2 pitch Braun cranked a massive game tying two run home run to left center, and it was a game again. The Brewers reported on the jumbotron that the ball traveled 459 feet, but I go to Hit Tracker Online for what I believe to be more accurate estimates (they claimed 437 feet for the home run). As Braun was halfway between third and home on his trot I pulled out my camera and got a picture, as the fireworks were still being fired, good stuff.
After the eighth inning fireworks there wasn’t too much to get excited about. The game wound up going to the 14th inning, but the Brewers never really got themselves in a position to win the game. I believe only once did a baserunner reach 2nd base after Braun’s Home Run. The second pitch of the top of the 14th result in a solo home run off the bat of Hector Sanchez, and that concluded the scoring. Final Score: Giants 4 – Brewers 3. The two teams combined to strike out 30 times, and record only 14 hits (and 14 walks). Overall the two teams batted .144 (14/97), over the game’s fourteen innings. Lack of offense on both sides, I don’t mind it because it’s part of the game, but a lot of people left as the game went to extras and by the time the game was over there had to be about 5,000 people left of the announced crowd of 31,000.
During the game I had a lady behind me take a picture of the three of us. From left to right it’s myself, Chrismare, and Dong.
Now some unfortunate news; I’m almost positive my knee pain has been stemming from an MCL tear. At some point in the game, probably extras, I quickly got up to chase what I thought would be a nearby foul ball. An immediate sharp pain on the medial side of my left knew stopped me in my tracks. It was painful, but didn’t realize how painful until I tried to race up the steps to get another hot dog later in the game. I got about two steps before I realized I wasn’t going anywhere, and had to rely heavily on the railing to get bak to my seat. I read up on MCL injuries when I got home and they usually start with a small bruise on the medial part of the knee (what I had when it first started hurting). I’m thinking it was a grade one injury, but then all the miles that I’ve put on it and the quick movement yesterday made it more severe. Rest is the only real solution, so I’m not sure what’s going to happen. If you see me gimping around Miller Park trying to not bend my knee, you’ll know why. Don’t worry though, Dong went up and got us each another hot dog, making it four for each of us, and two for Chrismare.
I’m leaving for the game in about three hours, and it should be another low scoring affair. Matt Cain (2.67 ERA) is pitching for the Giants and Shaun Marcum (3.31 ERA) for the Brewers.