May 19th, 2012
Saturday was originally going to be just Victoria and myself but a mutual friend, Megan, called and said she had gotten tickets. Megan was another Gilman House resident during the ’05-’06 school year at UW-Madison. Victoria and Megan stayed in the dorms during their sophomore year and became roommates for the ’06-’07 school year. Megan just graduated from UW’s pharmacy school, and she’s going to be working at the VA hospital in Madison as a pharmacist. Megan is a twin, and it just so happens that her boyfriend is also a twin. Her boyfriend Alex, however, is a Twins fan (he’s from Minnesota). He lives in Madison and is working towards his doctorate degree in engineering. I will give him credit though; he pays for the MLB.TV service so he can stream the Twins games. Even though they’re the enemy six games a year, I can respect his fan-hood.
Megan and Alex met Victoria in Madison, I met them in Johnson Creek, and we rode to Milwaukee together. Alex’s brother Mike, who was in town for Megan’s graduation, was driving separately since he was flying back to California on Sunday. Alex and Mike wound up in the general parking lot because they thought that’s what we had, so they had to walk over and meet us in the Braves Lot. We had a few beers and before heading in we had a passerby take a picture for us. Going left to right it’s Megan, myself, Victoria, Alex, and Mike.
We went to the upper deck together since that was where the three of them were sitting, but parted ways as we headed over to section 440 for the last picture from the terrace level. It’s going to get a lot more tricky to get a good picture from the loge level. Mainly because 20 minutes before the game there will be many more people in the front row of the loge level than there are in the terrace.
Victoria and I then made our way down to section 221 and got situated for the game. We did make sure to stop by and say hi to the Ice Man (the beer vendor), and Bill (the friendly usher above section 216).
The game got underway and it started out nicely, as Yovani Gallardo retired the first three Twins in order, and only needed nine pitches to do so. There wasn’t any scoring until the fourth inning, when the Twins pushed one across via the sacrifice fly. The Brewers answered in the bottom half after Nyjer Morgan singled, stole second, then eventually scored on a Lucroy single. The Twins scored a solo run in the sixth on another sacrifice fly. The Brewers answered again with a run in the bottom of the sixth on a Ryan Braun RBI single.
Solo runs by the Twins in the seventh and eighth inning gave them a 4-2 lead, and things were looking bleak. Aramis Ramiriz came through in the clutch with a two out, two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth. The game went to extras after both teams failed to score in the ninth, but the Twins got a home run in the top of the eleventh, and the Brewers went quietly in the bottom of the inning. It was exciting towards the end, and nice to see that the Crew fought back, but a loss is a loss, and the losing streak has reached four games now. Final Score: Twins 5 – Brewers 4.
Greinke is on the hill tomorrow and I’m hoping he can be the stopper once again. This last picture was taken when Lucroy was coming to the plate in the bottom of the sixth. The sun was coming through the windows on the first base side in the upper deck, and created some nice long shadows on the field.
I missed two pitches during the game, and although it’s upsetting, it makes sense. The same thing had happened earlier in the year, and old habits are hard to break. In the past, when I would see the first pitch of an intentional walk, I would let my eyes wander until after he reached base, because I knew what was happening, and didn’t need to watch it. I did that twice at this game, starting with the 1-0 pitch to Morneau in the top of the sixth. Apparently I didn’t learn my lesson because I did the same thing in the bottom half, when Lucroy was intentionally walked to get to the struggling Rickie Weeks.
That’s all for now. Tomorrow is a new day and I’m holding out hope that the boys can turn it around.
I got up in Houston at 7:30 am, spent two hours in St. Louis, and went to bed in Fort Atkinson at 1:15 am this morning. It was a long day, but surprisingly I wasn’t that tired when I got in bed. It could just be fear of a possibly disastrous season ahead for the Crew, or that I’m worried about the upcoming trip to Phoenix and Los Angeles.
Back to Houston: I made it to the bus stop (located just three blocks from my hotel) seven minutes before I thought the bus was to arrive. My iPhone (google maps) told me that it would depart for the airport at 8:41 am, and I was there by 8:34. A few buses appeared in the distance and I got my hopes up. I needed the 88 bus and the three that passed in the time I was waiting were not said bus. I started getting nervous as my watch ticked past 8:40, and 8:45. I always think that when a bus is late it was just really early, and I already missed it. Finally at 8:50 the bus showed up. I’m starting to think that Google maps just doesn’t have updated schedules, because on the weekends the route says it picks up from that spot at 8:50, so I’m guessing it is now the same for weekdays as well.
My flight to St. Louis touched down at 12:55, and I had plenty of time to spare before my 3:20 flight to Milwaukee. I was nervous when the plane didn’t show up at the gate until 2:45, but we departed on time and made it to Milwaukee by 4:20. That was the latest arrival time I had scheduled for any of the return flights, and I’m glad it’s over. The whole morning (and afternoon) I was expecting something to go wrong, and was pleasantly surprised when nothing did.
Once in Milwaukee I took I-43 North to I-94 West, and I shouldn’t have. It took 48 minutes to traverse 10 miles. I don’t think there was any construction westbound, and it was just rush hour traffic. I pulled into the Braves parking lot at 5:37, and was inside Miller Park and in the upper deck shortly thereafter. There were no fans to be found way up near Bernie’s terrace, so I had a nearby usher take game photo number 39. Only one more to go in the upper deck!
I didn’t have someone to go with for Friday’s game, so I had tweeted earlier that my extra ticket was available for 20 dollars (which I would donate to Be The Match). I received a few inquiries and “awarded” Erica G with the ticket. I sent her my phone number and she called so we could discuss the details. I left it at one of the will call / drop off windows, and she got to the park around 6:20. She lives a few miles away and was able to jump on a Miller Park bound bus right after I confirmed that the ticket was hers. She works at the Meta House, which “helps women struggling with drug and alcohol addiction reclaim their lives and rebuild their families.” I took that right from the website as to not mess something up. Unfortunately Erica went to the University of Minnesota and as a graduate of UW-Madison and a loyal Badger, I had to give her a little grief. We talked about sports and other topics, and when I talked about possibly getting a ball and glove logo tattoo, she mentioned that she heard of a guy who had all the mascots of every MLB team tattooed on his body. I laughed and said “well you must not read the blog, because I just met that guy three days ago in New York.” I showed her the pictures I took of him (here they are again if you hadn’t seen them). She was a little embarrassed and said she hadn’t been reading, but I think she will now.
The game, you ask? I’ll let this do all the talking:
Yikes. It was not the Brewers’ day. As you can see, the Twins scored in five of the nine innings, and put up crooked numbers in four of them. The FOUR ERRORS contributed to two unearned runs, but even without them it would’ve been a 9-3 game. The Brewers made it a little (stress on the word little) exciting in the ninth inning, when they loaded the bases with one out. However, a strikeout and a groundout put an end to the rally and the game. The Brewers’ highpoint of the game was probably in the top of the first inning. After a leadoff double by the Twins, Norichika Aoki made a back-to-home-plate-over-the-shoulder-Willie-Mays-esque catch on a ball hit to straight-away centerfield. Gomez probably would’ve been camped out under it with how well he plays centerfield, but it was an amazing catch and effort by the Brewers’ Japanese import.
I’m leaving in a little bit to meet Victoria in Johnson Creek, then it’s on to Milwaukee for game two of the series. I’m really hoping it goes better than it did yesterday, because that was tough to watch. Thousands of fans left early, but Erica and I stuck it out until the bitter end. I don’t know what would’ve happened if I wasn’t tracking my pitches seen (and missed), but I still think I would’ve stayed. Even though the product on the field isn’t what I hoped it would be, I’m not going to jump ship. Someone tweeted at me and said after the game I should consider abandoning the mission. I responded that I made my bed, and now I have to sleep in it. Plus, I just received the 2,500 business cards in the mail, so there will be no aborting mission from this guy.
For all of you that have donated to Be The Match, I thank you. I received an update from my Be The Match contact, and we’re up to roughly $1,300 raised. It’s hard to track how many people have joined the registry because of my story, but I know at least a few people have joined. It’s only May, which means I’ve still got four plus months to spread the word, and I’m hoping that’s not the only thing I have to look forward to. But if that’s the case I’ll still feel good about my decision to quit my job and raise awareness and funds for something that means a lot to me.