May 2012

5-9-12 (vs. Cincinnati)

Sleeping until 11:00 am on Tuesday may not have been the best idea. I didn’t fall asleep until after 3:30 am on Wednesday morning, with the day game just nine hours away. I got up at 9:20, and was on the road by 10:10. I pulled into the Cooper lot at 11:15, and made my way into Miller Park. I went up to section 432 and got game photo number 31 out of the way. A couple was sitting nearby and I had the woman take the picture. After saying what I was doing the guy said that he had heard about it, and took a picture as she was taking the picture of me; good stuff.

I got to my seat and was anticipating a pitchers’ duel, with Greinke on the mound for the Crew, and Cueto for the Reds. The two pitchers did not disappoint, and it was scoreless entering the ninth inning. The Brewers had a great scoring opportunity in the third, when they loaded the bases with two outs. Ramirez, however, ended the rally with a groundout to short. Greinke gave up a single and double in eight innings of work, while striking out 11 and walking none. Cueto gave up five hits over seven innings, while  striking out five and walking one. Axford came in for the ninth inning, and retired the first two batters via the strikeout. Stubbs then reached on a broken bat single to center, and Votto followed with an RBI double. I don’t know what the cutoff guys were doing, because they weren’t lined up to throw the runner out at home, I think the third base coach saw this and sent Stubbs home. The relay was in line to go to second, and not home. Stubbs scored easily without a throw and the Reds had the first run of the game. Brandon Phillips followed with an RBI bloop single, and the Reds took a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the ninth.

The Brewers didn’t go quietly, and Braun led off with a solo home run that just cleared the left-centerfield fence. Braun as he nears home plate after his home run trot.

Ramirez followed Braun with a strikeout, then Hart flew out to deep centerfield. He hit it 396 feet and it was caught right in front of the 400 foot sign, ugh. If he hit it to almost anywhere else in the ballpark it would’ve been gone. Lucroy and Aoki each recorded two-out singles, and after a pitching change Kottaras took a five pitch walk. That set the stage for Travis Ishikawa, where a single would’ve likely won the game, but he flew out to left field to end the game. Final Score: Reds 2 – Brewers 1.

A couple of things got to be during the game, one bad, one good. The first occurred when third base coach Ed Sedar gave Aramis Ramirez the stop sign at 3rd on Lucroy’s single in the third inning. Stubbs, the Red’s center fielder, had the ball in his glove before Ramirez even touched third base. The ten fans seated two rows in front of me were all yelling and complaining that he didn’t wave him home. It got worse when Taylor Green grounded into an inning ending double play, and they were yelling at Sedar for “costing the Brewers a run”. When an outfielder (playing at normal depth) has the ball before the runner touches third, he’s going to be out more often than not, especially when said runner is slow-footed Aramis Ramirez. Yes, I want runs just as much as the next guy, but when a coach makes the right call percentage-wise, I’m never going second guess it, even with the luxory of hindsight.

Now the funny story. In the top of the sixth inning a beer vendor was walking up my aisle, asking if people needed beer. The same people two rows in front of me ordered six Miller Lites. After paying and giving the Beer vendor a four dollar tip, the guy who paid for them (jokingly) said: “you should be tipping me!”. The beer vendor said that he would be back in the seventh inning for last call so they wouldn’t be without a beer, and that was his tip. The customer asked the vendor if it was a slow day. The Vendor replied without something along the lines of: “yes, when you ordered six it was like an orgasm for me.” Everyone was pretty surprised by that comment, and it’s definitely the first time I’ve heard that from a vendor. I hope there weren’t any children nearby asking what he was talking about, because that may have been a little awkward.

During the discussion between the fans and the vendor I mentioned above, I think I missed a pitch. Since it was taking place right in front of me, and I had to keep shifting to see the field (because the vendor was in the way), I had to have missed at least one. It may have been more than one pitch, but it also could have been zero. I’ll (reluctantly) record it as the first pitch to Cozart, for streak purposes.

I’m sitting on Victoria’s couch at our place in Madison as I type this, and this off day came at the right time. I don’t know if I’ll post about today, because I’m not really going to do anything. I’m not sure doing laundry is blog worthy, so I’ll be posting about Friday’s game early Saturday morning.

Personal Stats:

Daily:

Time inside Miller Park: 3 hours 41 minutes
Time on Miller Park grounds: 3 hours 52 minutes
Driving miles: 171.4
Sausages: 0
Pitches Missed: 1
Consecutive pitch streak ended at: 457
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.66% (296/297)

Season:

Time inside stadiums: 123 hours 11 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 150 hours 28 minutes
Miles driven: 2,379.0
Miles riding in car but not driving: 674.7
Public Transit miles: 182
Flight Miles: 5,359
Total distance traveled: 8,359 miles
Sausages: 20 (6 Polish, 5 Hot Dogs, 3 Bratwurst, 2 Italian, Cheddarwurst, Bison Dog, Corndog, Chicken Apple Sausage)
Pitches missed: 24
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,116 (4/22 – 4/25)
Current streak of pitches seen: 145
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.73% (9,017/9,041)
If you want to learn more about Be The Match and how you can help, CLICK HERE

5-8-12 (vs. Cincinnati)

Tuesday allowed me to rest for a bit. I slept until about 11:00, and it felt great. After getting up I ate breakfast, wrote the blog post for Monday’s game, finalized the business card and placed my order. I was hoping to have them in time for the trip to New York on Monday, but I found out it wasn’t doable anymore. I shouldn’t have waited as long as I did, so I have no one to blame but myself.

I went to the game with Crandall, whom I went to the game with on April 24th. I picked him up at 4:25 from his place in Fort, and made it to Miller Park by 5:38. We went to section 430 in the upper deck, for game photo number 30.

After looking at this picture, I don’t know if I can make it the full season without shaving. That was the original plan, but seeing this picture makes me doubt that I can put up with looking like this (and it will get worse) for another five months.

Crandall and I walked down to section 115, because I was going to be meeting up with a few people. We didn’t see them, and as we were walking in the cross aisle we crossed paths with Jill Aronoff, the Brewers director of merchandising. I’ve mentioned her before, and she has helped pass along the licensed merchandise that the Brewers are providing. She showed me her phone and said the Brewers now have an etching machine to engrave cell phone cases. She asked if I wanted one and I was really skeptical, since I’m completely satisfied with my iPhone 4 “bumper”. Since we didn’t see the guys I was meeting up with, I agreed to head to the team store with her and Daniel, who works for Coveroo, the company that makes the engraving machine/software. It’s not just for iPhones, and there are many phone models that are available, I chose the ball and glove logo, and had Go Brewers! engraved in the bottom part. This picture below shows the machine in action.

You can’t see it, but it’s using a laser to burn off the top layer, which exposes the silver layer underneath. You can see the little bit of smoke on the far right of the case, as the laser works its way down. It takes about three minutes, and the finished product is pretty sweet. So if you’re interested in getting a custom made cell phone case, stop by the team store by Friday’s front row, and take a look for yourself. They cost $30, and after seeing the quality of the engraving and the case itself, I think it’s worth it.

After thanking Jill and Daniel, Crandall and I went back to section 115, to see if the guys were there yet. I was meeting with Eric, Eric, and Larry. Eric McLean is also a leukemia survivor, and is battling for the seventh time now, after countless relapses. He was originally diagnosed at 18 with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia, and has received three stem cell transplants. If you want to read about his story, you can CLICK HERE. He’s one hell of a fighter, and he’ll be in my thoughts for the remainder of the season. I chatted with him and Larry Hisle, who played for the Brewers over parts of five seasons. Injuries prevented him from finishing his career the way he would have liked, and he only played in 79 games over his final four seasons in the majors. He’s got two World Series rings, as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays coaching staff, when they won in 1992 and 1993.

The five of us got a picture together, and from left to right you have Crandall, myself, Larry Hisle, Eric, and Eric Mclean. Crandall isn’t the most photogenic, but after showing him the picture he said he was just glad that his eyes were open.

Larry and the two Erics had seats in 115, and after we said our goodbyes Crandall and I headed up to section 221, and got situated for the game. The Brewers got off to a great start when Lucroy laced a two run single to center in the first inning. They added one in the second, when Braun hit a ground rule double to left. There had been runners on first and second, and Weeks would’ve scored easily from first since he was on the move with two outs. Aramis followed with a pop out, but made up for it when he tripled in the fourth and drove in three runs. I think Uecker once said that the bases clearing triple is the most exciting play in baseball, and it’s hard to argue. You’ve got four guys sprinting around the bags, and a fielder racing to try and limit the damage, good stuff all around.

The Brewers added a run in the fifth, the Reds two in the sixth, and the Brewers got one back in the seventh on a César Izturis home run. Earlier in the game when he came to the plate I had jokingly said to Crandall; “here comes a power threat.” We wondered how many career home runs he had, Crandall guessed 14, me 9. After a quick search on the web I learned that he had 15 at the time (in 4,083 at bats!). That’s one in every 272 at bats. I’m guessing that he had heard our discussion (from 200 feet away), and in the seventh inning he wanted to make us eat our words. The Reds added a meaningless run in the 8th and the Brewers won going away. Final Score: Brewers 8 – Reds 3.

I’ll be at Miller park in ten hours for the 12:10 rubber match. I’m hoping that Greinke and the Brewers can get a win tomorrow to secure a series win, something they’ve only done 3 out of 9 times thus far.

Personal Stats:

Daily:

Time inside Miller Park: 4 hours 31 minutes
Time on Miller Park grounds: 4 hours 44 minutes
Driving miles: 126.2
Sausages: 1 (Polish)
Pitches Missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (305/305)

Season:

Time inside stadiums: 123 hours 11 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 146 hours 36 minutes
Miles driven: 2,207.6
Miles riding in car but not driving: 674.7
Public Transit miles: 182
Flight Miles: 5,123
Total distance traveled: 8,187 miles
Sausages: 20 (6 Polish, 5 Hot Dogs, 3 Bratwurst, 2 Italian, Cheddarwurst, Bison Dog, Corndog, Chicken Apple Sausage)
Pitches missed: 23
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,116 (4/22 – 4/25)
Current streak of pitches seen: 306
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.74% (8,721/8,744)
If you want to learn more about Be The Match and how you can help, CLICK HERE

5-7-12 (vs. Cincinnati)

Monday was another long day, and it definitely didn’t go as planned. On Sunday night we arrived at the San Francisco Airport around 10:00 pm for a scheduled departure time of 11:45. The flight was headed to Chicago’s O’hare Airport, where we would have a fifty minute layover. We were then supposed to take the 6:35 am flight to St. Louis, where we left Victoria’s car after the Cardinals series. In hindsight, I should’ve planned the trip differently. I should have scheduled the original flight to San Francisco out of Milwaukee and not St. Louis. Instead of staying that Sunday night in St. Louis, we would have driven back to Wisconsin, and caught a morning flight from MKE to SFO on Monday, April 30th. It would have made it more tiring on the front end, but much easier on the backend.

After waiting at our gate for about an hour, the guy who works at the gate said that because of the weather in Chicago, our crew hadn’t arrived yet. They were flying in from Chicago, and that flight had gotten delayed. American Airlines changed the departure time to 12:30 am, and even that would’ve caused us to miss the 6:35 am connecting flight to STL because of the four hour flight, and the two hour time difference. I changed our flight to the 9:00 am flight out of O’hare, and then started debating my options. If that flight was on time, we would probably would have left St. Louis around 11:00 am. My aunt still had to pick us up from the airport, and take us back to the car, which as at her house in St. Charles. Our flight leaving San Francisco didn’t take off until 1:30 am local time, and I continued to weigh my options. As we were nearing Chicago, this was the view from my window.

When we got into Chicago, I decided that I didn’t want to risk missing the game in Milwaukee. Victoria and I had talked about this months before, and knew that this was possible. She didn’t prefer it, but she agreed to fly solo to St. Louis to get her car, and drive back to Wisconsin. I took a bus to Janesville, where my mom picked me up from the Van Galder bus stop. I was home by 11:18, and went to sleep shortly thereafter. It turned out that I could’ve made it work if I had gone with Victoria to get the car. She drove through Janesville on I-39/90 around 4:30, even though her flight to St. Louis was delayed 30 minutes as well. She’s a trooper and I’m extremely appreciative of how she handled everything.

If I had gone with her to St. Louis, I’m not sure how it would have turned out for me at the game, or driving home from the game. While Victoria was able to get some sleep on the flight from San Francisco, I was working on the blog for Sunday, and still doing so on the bus ride to Janesville. Without the nap that I got in Fort, it would’ve been rough going to and from the game. I didn’t set an alarm when I took the nap, and when I woke up I had absolutely no idea what time it was. I was terrified that I was going to look at the time and 6:30 pm was going to be glaring back at me. Thankfully it was only 4:04, and I got ready for the game in a hurry. I stopped at Jimmy John’s in Fort for a sub, which I ate once I pulled into the Braves 1 parking lot at 5:55.

After finishing my sub, I went inside (at 6:14) and returned to the upper deck. I asked the nearest fan to take game photo number 29, and he got it done with one take. Besides the opening day photo, I think this was the first one that only required one attempt, so kudos to you, unnamed Brewers fan.

I exchanged the designated-driver-parking-pass-tear-off  for a soda voucher, then killed some time in the loge level concourse. Early in the year when I went down the staircase to the right of section 216, I had asked the usher to remember my face. I said that I would be there for all of the home games, and I didn’t want to take my ticket out every time. That last sentence may have come off as arrogant, but I said it in a friendly/joking manner. I also told him about my initiative, and he seemed intrigued. Now every time I go down that staircase, he always shakes my hand and asks me how I’m doing.

I was in my seat with 30 minutes to spare, and I was ready for the Crew to start a winning streak. It looked good early as Braun hit a solo home run to center in the first inning. Marco Estrada got the start, as Yovani Gallardo was a late scratch. He retired the first nine men that came to the plate, but then it got ugly. The first five at bats for the Reds in fourth inning went as follows; leadoff home run, double, RBI double, single, 3-run MONSTER home run (estimated at 442 feet). Just like that, in a span of six or seven minutes, the Reds had a 5-1 lead. The Reds added a run in the ninth, and that was it. Final Score: Reds 6 – Brewers 1.

There was a funny fan moment at this game, and it occurred during Joey Votto’s at bat in the fifth inning. A fan three rows behind me was yelling stuff towards Votto (even though he probably didn’t hear it), and one of the lines was “VOTTO: YOU’RE OVERPAID!!!” One of the guy’s friends was laughing at his antics, and added (not nearly as loud): “and you smell like poopy!” Even though it was shortly after the Brewers gave up five runs in an inning, I couldn’t help but to laugh.

The five run inning was impressive by the Reds, but I pulled off an equally impressive feat of my own. I was able to get a soda from a concession stand, go to the bathroom (and wash my hands), all while being out of my seat for just one pitch. I asked the two guys in front of me if they would watch my stuff, because I was going to try and go to the bathroom. I told them my mission, and that I didn’t want to miss any pitches, so I’d be going up to the concourse with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. They agreed and I dashed up the steps after Izturis was called out on strikes. I then watched Kottaras single on the first pitch of his at bat from above section 223 (my seat is in 221). No one was in the concession stand line at the time, so I  walked over and gave them my voucher, said “Diet Pepsi” and “I’ll be right back”. I went back to the standing room above section 223 so I could see the field, and saw that the Reds were making a pitching change; beautiful! I went back to the stand, got the soda, went to the bathroom, washed my hands, and was back in my seat before the first pitch from Ondrusek to Aoki. Whew!

After all that work to not miss a pitch, I still managed to mess up a “perfect game” at the last second. To sum it up, I’m pretty mad at myself. I saw the first 282 pitches of the game but then got caught looking at my phone and missed the second-to-last pitch of the game. I was texting a few friends to see who wanted to join me for Tuesday night’s game, and got distracted. I looked up as the ump was signaling a strikeout of the Brewers’ Brooks Conrad in the bottom of the ninth. I really wanted to not report it since I saw the umpire make the call, but I can’t.

That’s all for now, it’s 1:45 pm, and I’ll be leaving in about three hours for game number two of the series.

Personal Stats:

Daily:

Time inside Miller Park: 3 hours 46 minutes
Time on Miller Park grounds: 4 hours 13 minutes
Flight miles: 1,840
Driving miles: 124.0
Miles in car but not driving: 111.8 (I included the Van Galder bus in here, because it’s not really public transit, and I don’t want to create another category, since this will likely be my only bus ride like this during the season)
Sausages: 0
Pitches Missed: 1 (I should just turn my phone off during games)
Consecutive pitch streak ended at: 881
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.65% (283/284)

Season:

Time inside stadiums: 118 hours 40 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 141 hours 52 minutes
Miles driven: 2,081.4
Miles riding in car but not driving: 674.7
Public Transit miles: 182
Flight Miles: 5,123
Total distance traveled: 8,061 miles
Sausages: 19 (5 Hot Dogs, 5 Polish, 3 Bratwurst, 2 Italian, Cheddarwurst, Bison Dog, Corndog, Chicken Apple Sausage)
Pitches missed: 23
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,116 (4/22 – 4/25)
Current streak of pitches seen: 1
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.73% (8,416/8,439)
If you want to learn more about Be The Match and how you can help, CLICK HERE

5-6-12 (@ San Francisco)

Sunday started off early, as Allison was going to take me and Victoria to Pixar for a quick tour. Allison has a zip car, where she pays a $20 yearly fee, and then can use one of four cars for $8 an hour. As we were driving towards Emeryville, where Pixar Studios are located, I was asking about how insurance works, and paying for gas, and all that good stuff. When we were halfway over the Bay Bridge, cars in front of us flashed their brake lights, and we saw a loose tire just flopping in one of the lanes. Allison wound up slamming on the brakes and we were able to stop a few feet from the car in front of us. The car behind us wasn’t so lucky, and we got rear ended. The bridge was busy as usual and we took the Treasure Island exit, which is about the halfway point of the bridge. Allison pulled over and the culprits were mormon missionaries from Idaho who were in town to bless a baby. Everyone was OK, I had a little bit of a headache, and Victoria said her neck hurt a little, but overall we think we’re fine. The damage to the car wasn’t too bad, but it’s probably a hassle for the zip car company, because it takes a car out of their fleet for a little while.

Where we pulled off presented me the opportunity to get a picture of the Bay Bridge and the San Francisco skyline (I’m always looking for the positives).

We got to Pixar at around 10:15, and I was pretty excited. Going clockwise from top left, the four part picture below contains stuff that can be found outside the buildings at their campus.

1) The entrance to Pixar Animation Studios. There is an attendant at the booth below the R in the picture.

2) Victoria and I had to show the attendant identification and we were given visitor labels. “A stranger from the outside!” is printed at the bottom. This picture is now black because Pixar was having problems with counterfeit badge issues and I was asked to remove the image. Hopefully I didn’t cause any problems.

3) The Cars 2 logo on the driveway as you get past the security checkpoint.

4) The Pixar lamp as well as the “Luxo Ball”, which has appeared in many Pixar films, including Toy Story, Monsters, Inc., The Incredibles, and Finding Nemo.

 

Behind where I took the picture of the Pixar lamp and Luxo Ball is the entrance to the main building on the campus, and it houses most of the offices. Clockwise from top left:

1) The cafeteria and a place for informal gatherings.

2) The game room.

3) The Ben Rouse Toy Story 3 action figure (doing a bad Heisman Trophy impression)

4) Pixar’s trophy case, it’s right inside the front door. There is a bunch of Oscar’s in there, and I think it contains just the best picture awards, but I’m not 100% on that.

There’s a bunch of other cool stuff, but some of it I couldn’t photograph as per Pixar policy. I didn’t want to get my gracious host fired, so I reluctantly followed the rules. Again, going clockwise from top left.

1) Sulley and Mike Wazowski, the two main monster characters in Monsters, Inc.

2) Buzz Lightyear and Woody, from the Toy Story movies.

3) Two of the cars from the Cars movies.

4) A giant piece of wall art for their upcoming movie; Brave. Upstairs they had renderings and clay sculptures of the animals and characters, but I couldn’t take pictures of those.

Allison showed us some other things around the campus, including one of the screen rooms, the swimming pool, basketball court, soccer field, and the on-site fitness center. It’s about what I expected from a company that has come out with amazing animated movies over the past decade, but it was still cool to see. I’m a big Apple fan, and the Steve Jobs – Pixar connection is evident at their Animation Studios, seeing that he helped design the campus.

Allison drove us to AT&T Park after we were done at Pixar, and we got there with plenty of time to spare. I left the two tickets that I had originally purchased at will call for Adam’s sister, because my sister’s friend Kathleen got us better seats. After doing so we circled the stadium and I took some pictures.

There are three statues outside of AT&T Park. There’s actually a fourth, Willie McCovey, but it’s on the other side of the cove, and I forgot to get a picture of it. From left to right you’ve got Orlando Cepeda, who played for the Giants from 1958-1966, Juan Marichal (1960-1973), and Willie Mays (’51, ’52, 1954-1972).

Victoria and I walked out onto the pier that is beyond centerfield, sat out there for a bit and took in the scenery, and the great weather. When towards the end of the pier, we couldn’t help but notice some of the names of the boats that were docked. I thought these three were kind of funny.

I took more pictures, and four of them are below, going clockwise from top left:

1) The view of AT&T Park from beyond centerfield, out on the pier.

2) You may have noticed the blimp in the top right corner of picture #1. This is a close up. I’ve seen Goodyear blimps, a Snoopy blimp, and a Conan blimp, but never one that advertised Vodka. I thought it was interesting, but they did they’re job, as I had never heard of that brand before.

3) A close up of the giant Coca-Cola bottle and baseball glove from outside of the stadium.

4) One of the decorative handles for the ballpark gates.

We were inside the park by 12:06, and had an hour before the game started. We walked around in search of something that sounded good for lunch. I figured that I should have something more healthy than a half pound polish again, and I settled on the Chicken Apple Sausage. Bad decision. It may look good below, but I just wasn’t feeling it. I don’t know if it was all the toppings combined with the unique taste that made it taste bad, but I considered not eating the rest of it. Since it had cost me $6.50, I finished it, but I wasn’t happy. Victoria had a pretzel, which is also shown below, but they put on WAY too much salt, so she brushed off a lot of it before eating.

We had seen someone with lemonade, and tracked down the stand that offered it. Nearby there was a cool piece of artwork that was made to honor Willie Mays and “the catch”. Willie Mays made a great over the head/shoulder catch in game one of the 1954 World Series, at the Polo Grounds in New York. Since there is video footage of the catch, it will always be available to reassure anyone who’s skeptical about how good the “Say Hey Kid” was.

It also happened to be Willie Mays’ 81st birthday, and they celebrated by having everyone sing Happy Birthday to him. He was presented a cake in the press box, alongside Jon Miller, and they showed him on the jumbotron. It was a special moment.

It was kind of weird how we got to our seats. We went down one of the aisles, and then when we got down far enough someone checked our tickets, and we went up a tunnel. In the lower level concourse, we saw the people that were going to be doing something on the field. It just didn’t seem like we were supposed to be down there. They also built this into the stadium, it’s the visiting team’s batting cages, I’m not sure if they have the same thing on the third base side for the Giants. I know the picture quality is kind of bad, despite how bright the lights look, it was kind of dim, and the windows were very reflective. Brooks Conrad was taking some hacks off of a tee. Rickie Weeks was in there as well, but I don’t think he’s visible in the  below picture.

After the game, we had to come back into the concourse, and I crossed paths with the Brewers General Manager Doug Melvin. We were walking in opposite directions and I patted him on the back (gently) as I walked past, and said “Hey Doug”. He quickly said Hi back and smiled. I wonder if he’s heard about my story yet, my guess is no. We also saw Bill Schroeder in the concourse right after the game, there must be a direct elevator from the press box down to that level, because he got there pretty quick.

Back to the game. It got off to a good start for the Brewers, and they took a 1-0 lead after the first half inning. The Giants answered quickly and scored two in the bottom half. It was a little disheartening because I was pumped that we got a run off Matt Cain (a Cy Young candidate) so early, but then had a let down when we gave two runs right back. The Giants extended the lead to 3-1 in the fourth on a single by Ryan Theriot. The Crew was able to cut the deficit back to one after Aramis Ramirez hit a fly ball just deep enough to score Weeks. If the throw would’ve been somewhat decent, I think Weeks would have been toast at the plate.

It was looking bleak for the Brewers as they entered the top of the ninth trailing 3-2. Hart reached on an error to lead off the frame, Lucroy subsequently struck out swinging, and Taylor green followed with a pop out to shortstop. Travis Ishikawa pinch hit for Cesar Izturis, and he delivered a game tying RBI double, that I thought was going to be caught. The game stayed 3-3 heading into the bottom of the 11th, that’s when the Giants got busy. Leadoff single, sacrifice bunt, intentional walk, an unintentional walk, and the Giants were in a great spot to win the game, which they did on Hector Sanchez’s RBI single. Final Score: Giants 4 – Brewers 3.

This is what bugs me about baseball; basing how you use your players on a created statistic; the save. The Brewers had Tim Dillard pitching, and John Axford in the bullpen, waiting for a “save situation” (up by three runs or less in the ninth inning or later). Clearly, the bases loaded jam is more important, because if the Giants score in the 11th, there will be no 12th inning or save situation to speak of. I would’ve been in favor of bringing Axford in to try and get out of the jam, but he was left in the bullpen until the (in this case; nonexistent) save situation presented itself.

That’s enough ranting. As I’m typing this, it’s 5:58 am central time, I haven’t slept in 20 hours, I’m on a plane that is somewhere between San Francisco and Chicago, and I need some sleep.

One last thing, when K-Rod struck out Nate Schierholtz to end the bottom of the ninth, Lucroy tossed me the ball as he was entering the dugout. As you can see from the picture, I had first row seats, right behind the Brewers dugout! Thanks again Kathleen!!! A Brewers fan she works with, Grant, had bought four tickets off of StubHub, and then sold two of them at a reduced price, so both get props for the hookup.

I also have to give a shout out to Adam and Sam, whom I met up with on Friday before the game. After we got back to Allison’s place after the game, we packed up, and took a bus over to Adam’s place, which is only a mile or so. Sam cooked us dinner (bell peppers stuffed with ground turkey, rice, and corn). They were delicious. Thanks Guys! Adam gave us a rid to the BART station, and we got to the airport at 10:00 pm, with a scheduled departure of 11:45pm. Even though I (obviously) know what happens next, I’ll leave it as a surprise for the next post.

Hopefully some home cooking is just what the doctor ordered for the Brewers. They’ve got to get on a winning streak at some point if we they want to get anywhere this season.

Oops, I posted this without the game number 28 picture. Here it is:

Personal Stats:

Daily:

Time inside AT&T Park:  4 hours 43  minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 5  hours 36 minutes
Public Transit Miles: 16.7
Miles in car but not driving: 22.3
Sausages: 1 (Ranks even below the italian)
Pitches Missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (331/331)

Season:

Time inside stadiums: 114 hours 54 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 137 hours 39 minutes
Miles driven: 1,957.4
Miles riding in car but not driving: 562.9
Public Transit miles: 182
Flight Miles: 3,283
Total distance traveled: 5,985 miles
Sausages: 19 (5 Hot Dogs, 5 Polish, 3 Bratwurst, 2 Italian, Cheddarwurst, Bison Dog, Corndog, Chicken Apple Sausage)
Pitches missed: 22
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,116 (4/22 – 4/25)
Current streak of pitches seen: 599
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.73% (8,133/8,155)
If you want to learn more about Be The Match and how you can help, CLICK HERE

5-5-12 (@ San Francisco)

This is actually a quick note about Friday, because I forgot to mention it. As Victoria and I were walking to the Bubble Lounge after the game, she spotted someone try to hail a cab, but it was three lanes away. She laughed a little and knew the cab couldn’t have gotten over because it was busy. Then she says, “Wait, isn’t that Nyjer, oh, and Telly?” I think Telly kind of heard her, and I said his name again. Telly said; “Hey Nyjer, come here, this was the guy I was telling you about.” I shook both their hands and Nyjer said “So you’re really doing it”. I said “yes, all 162, we’re 26 in now”. He wished me luck and they kept trying to catch a cab back to the hotel. I would’ve thought there would’ve been a team bus, but maybe they just missed it, who knows. Nonetheless, it was pretty cool.

Back to today; with the day game on Saturday, and the fact that I didn’t get home until midnight, I got up early and wrote the blog post for Friday. I finished just in time to leave for the game. Allison, Victoria and I jumped on the 12 bus and headed towards AT&T Park. We got to the park by 12:15, and headed to the upper deck to get game photo number 27.

We are now one sixth of the way through the season, and the Brewers are on pace for a 72 – 90 record. I’m really hoping for a turnaround, but as of right now I’m not the most optimistic person. I know it’s early still (kind of), but as you’ll read later, the injury bug has taken a pretty big bite out of our lineup.

We had some time before the game, so we got some lunch. As we were out in the concourse, Victoria pointed out a stand that had a half pound polish kielbasa. Yes, you read that correctly, a HALF POUND! I ordered it with everything on it, which is grilled peppers and onions, and sauerkraut. I added ketchup and some spicy brown mustard, and the whole thing had to be approaching a full pound.

I’m not sure that picture does it justice. As a frame of reference, I have slightly larger hands than the average male.

It was Sergio Romo bobble head day, but only for the first 20,000 fans. We all got one, but we think Victoria left it next to a seat when she was taking the game number picture. So you’re welcome, random fan. I’ll probably try to sell mine tomorrow, because there will be less fans that have it than if I tried selling it today. I would consider keeping it, but since it was a seven day trip, and I don’t check bags, my suitcase is completely maxed out.

As for the game; the Brewers got on the board early with an RBI single by Gonzalez in the second. Gonzalez stole second when Kottaras was batting, but slid awkwardly into second, and was injured. I haven’t gotten a chance to see a replay, but it sounds like he’ll be on the disabled list for quite a while. Gamel, Gomez, and now Gonzalez are all going to be on the DL, and Gamel and Gonzalez could miss the rest of the season. I know every team has injuries, but this stretch of four games has been rough.

Where we were sitting provided a great view of the entire field, and I took some pictures of the action. This is Wolf pitching during the fifth inning. I think this pitch wound up as a double, so maybe I should stop taking pictures.

The Brewers clung to the 1-0 lead, and squandered a bunch of great opportunities to tack on runs. In the fifth the Giants tied it up on Bumgarner’s RBI double. The Giants added three more in the sixth and took a 4-1 lead. The Brewers got one back in the eighth on Braun’s solo home run, but the Giants got it right back in the bottom half, and that was the game. Final score: Giants 5 – Brewers 2. With Matt Cain on the hill tomorrow, it’s going to be tough to win the series. I’m holding out hope that Marcum can match him pitch for pitch, and the Brewers can squeak one out.

After the game the three of us walked halfway back to Allison’s, and then took a cab the rest of the way. The second half was all up hill, and Allison picked up the bill because she hates walking up hills. After resting for a bit we went out for some mexican food since it was Cinco de Mayo. Allison said there was a place called Nick’s Crispy Tacos, and we walked the few blocks to get there. Clockwise from top left:

1) The ceiling decorations for Cinco de Mayo. The place also doubles as a dance club at night, called “Rouge”, thus the chandeliers.

2) Pescado, Nick’s fish tacos. Only one of them was mine, the other was Victoria’s.

3) A carne asado taco and a pollo asado taco. I had the steak, and Victoria the chicken. We didn’t order it “Nick’s Way”, which is when they add guacamole, cheese, and make one of the corn tortilla shells crispy. They messed up the order, and instead of having them make new tacos we just accepted the free guacamole.

Allison has three full size couches in her flat, Victoria and I are sleeping on two of them. This was where I slept last night, and yes, that is Winnie the Pooh.

I had brought up having “business” cards made so I could hand something out when I talk to people on the road and at home. I sent this to Be The Match for approval and they thought it looked good. I just have to place the order online somewhere. If you see me at some point during the season, stop and say hi. I’ll hook you up with a momento, and something to show your friends to help spread the word. I’m still debating on if I should put something on the back. I was thinking of using the quote: “Never regret growing older, it is a privilege denied to many.” I know it’s not the most professional, but I put some thought into it and am pretty happy with how it turned out.

Personal Stats:

Daily:

Time inside AT&T Park: 3 hours 58 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 4 hours 3 minutes
Public Transit Miles: 2.2
Miles in car but not driving: 1
Sausages: 1 (I think it should count as at least 2.5 though)
Pitches Missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (261/261)

Season:

Time inside stadiums: 110 hours 11 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 132 hours 3 minutes
Miles driven: 1,957.4
Miles riding in car but not driving: 540.6
Public Transit miles: 165.3
Flight Miles: 3,283
Total distance traveled: 5,946 miles
Sausages: 18 (5 Hot Dogs, 5 Polish, 3 Bratwurst, 2 Italian, Cheddarwurst, Bison Dog, Corndog)
Pitches missed: 22
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,116 (4/22 – 4/25)
Current streak of pitches seen: 268
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.72% (7,802/7,824)
If you want to learn more about Be The Match and how you can help, CLICK HERE

5-4-12 (@ San Francisco)

Friday did not go as we originally planned, but I think it all worked out in the end. Victoria and I were planning on meeting our friend Allison at Pixar around 11:30, and she was going to give us a tour, and then we’d have lunch there. At 8:47 Allison texted me saying that we should “Stay tuned about Pixar, they’re evacuating because of a chemical leak across the street right now.” Awesome. At about 9:30 she let us know that she was coming home from work because no one was allowed to be there. I think we’re going to try and go on Sunday morning before the game, so I’m hoping we can make that happen.

When Allison got back the three of us decided to head down to Fisherman’s Wharf, even though it’s what typical tourists do. We started by hitting up Lombard street, which is just a few blocks from Allison’s place .

We then walked down towards Fisherman’s Wharf, but stopped at Ghirardelli Square. Ghirardelli was founded in 1852 in San Francisco, and they’re the second oldest chocolate company in the U.S. They don’t actually produce any chocolate at Ghirardelli square, but they still make their presence known. Going clockwise from top left, the photos below are:

1) Ghirardelli square

2) Chocolate

3) More chocolate (We wound up buying 5 bars, not sure how long they’ll last)

4) Part of the display that shows how they make their chocolate. I wonder how often they change out the liquids.

They also have an ice cream parlor where they sell expensive ice cream and shakes. Victoria and I had a Mint Quake Shake. Not sure if it was worth the $6.95, but it came close. We walked around the square for a little bit, then went down to Fisherman’s Wharf. We spotted a cable car that wasn’t in service at the time, and took advantage. It’s corny and cute at the same time.

We walked by some of the boats, and one of them was giving an hour long “cruise” under the Golden Gate Bridge and around Alcatraz. For $15 a person, we figured it was worth it. They were almost full so the three of us didn’t really have seats, and we stood for most of the ride. We chose the front of the vessel, and subsequently got splashed pretty good on our way towards the bridge because we were going against the waves. Since the bridge is so long, you can only get the whole thing when you’re pretty far away.

As we got closer I could get some better pictures, but it was tough. We were bouncing on the water pretty good, and it was difficult to stay steady enough to take a picture. Once we turned around and went with the current, it was a much smoother ride.

One of the tour guides was walking around offering to take pictures for people, and we obliged. If your new to the blog, that’s myself on the left, Victoria in the middle, and our friend Allison on the right.

When they said that we would go under the Golden Gate Bridge, and then turn around, they weren’t lying. This is as far as we got, I like the picture because it captures the Bridge’s span. It’s a little overexposed, but I still like it.

After turning around, we headed towards Alcatraz. Going clockwise from top left:

1) Alcatraz from the west, as we were approaching

2) Some resting sea lions on a buoy

3) Alcatraz from the north. The building missing the roof held a two lane bowling alley on the first level and a dance floor on the second floor, for the prison guards and their families. The 70 or so prison guards and their families lived in the building on the far left side of the picture. The kids would take a ferry to the mainland in the morning, and then return in the afternoon.

4) The warning sign on the southeast side of the island. Marcus Hanel, the Brewers catcher, told me on Wednesday that some of the Brewers were taking a tour of the island on Thursday, and it’s something I probably would’ve enjoyed. Our tour guide said that you have to book way in advance, and during the summer they might be booked a month to two months in advance.

By the time we got off the boat, it was 1:30, and we were ready for lunch. I was up for some crab cakes, and we wound up at Pier Market Seafood Restaurant on Pier 39. At the last second I backed out on the crab cakes and went for the Crab Melt. I think I made the right call.

As we were leaving the restaurant there were a bunch of sea lions resting on a dock. It must get tiring chasing fish all day.

We walked back to Allison’s flat, and got ready for the game. Victoria and I took the bus down to AT&T park, arrived at 5:15, and met up with a friend of mine from High School. We’ve been friends since about 3rd grade. I can’t help but show a picture of him from elementary school. It’s either kindergarten or first grade, and it’s awesome. My friend Dustin, who lives in Denver now, had this at his house a few years ago, and I snapped a picture of Adam, not knowing if I’d ever use it. The time has come. I’ll be embarrassing myself at a later date with pictures from my childhood, but I don’t have any with me, so they’ll have to wait. Adam is in the “Holman’s American Karate” shirt, this picture dates to 1993 or 1994, I believe.

A nearby Brewers fan took a picture of the four of us. From left to right is Adam’s girlfriend Sam, Adam, myself, and Victoria.

I had my game number picture taken from the same spot.

We went inside with about 25 minutes before first pitch, and walked around. Victoria and I were sitting in the upper deck, and I chose to do so on purpose. I knew that it would give me the best vantage point of the bay and the ballpark. Below is the Bay Bridge on the left, the large Coca-Cola bottle (with a kid’s slide inside) and an extra large baseball glove.

Looking to the right of the scoreboard you get a great view of San Francisco Bay:

Despite my seat location, I was able to get a good picture of Greinke pitching in the first inning.

The Brewers got off to a great start with three runs in the first, mainly because the Giants’ starting pitcher, Tim Lincecum, was quite wild. A big single by Lucroy drove in two runs, and the Brewers held the 3-0 into the fifth, when the Giants put one on the board. The Brewers got it right back in the sixth on ANOTHER suicide squeeze, but the Giants answered and tied it up with three in the bottom half of the sixth. The Brewers came right back with two runs in the seventh, both coming home on an Aramis Ramirez single. Veras, K-Rod, and Axford retired 9 of the 10 batters they faced in the 7th, 8th, and 9th, and the Crew was victorious. Final Score: Brewers 6 – Giants 4.

I missed two pitches during the game. The first was really bad. Victoria and I both had to go to the bathroom, and there were Brewers fans behind us. Instead of just telling them what they needed to know, I elaborated. I explained how I didn’t want to miss pitches, and was going to head down with two outs to watch from the bottom of the stairs, so I could get to the bathroom and back quickly. We wanted them to watch our stuff, thus the explanation. As I was doing that I missed the 2-0 pitch to Gomez in the bottom of the second. I’m an idiot.

I also missed the first pitch to Hector Sanchez in the 9th. Before the bottom of the inning they showed a highlight from Cheers, and Woody Harrelson was in it. I was trying to think of what movies I would’ve seen him in, but couldn’t remember. Victoria was looking it up on her phone and I spaced out. It’s a pretty lame excuse, I know.

After the game I had to meet up with a friend of my sister who had graciously gotten me two tickets for Sunday’s game. We were planning on taking one of the buses to meet her, but it never showed. Long story short; we walked two miles to meet her at a bar that we were way underdressed for, and then walked the mile back to Allison’s place. Overall, I think I walked about seven miles yesterday, probably not the best thing to do with a bad knee, hopefully walking on it doesn’t worsen the prognosis.

One last photo. During the game there was one canoe in the bay to our right (where 50 or so would’ve been when Bonds was playing). There was also a pimped out boat. The silver circular thing towards the front of the boat that’s blocking one of the windows? It’s a grill. One of the guys would occasionally head up there and flip what I assume were sausages and burgers.

That’s all for now, I’m leaving for game two of the series in about 30 minutes. Gotta Go!!!

Personal Stats:

Daily:

Time inside AT&T Park: 3 hours 47 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 4 hours 6 minutes
Public Transit Miles: 2.5
Sausages: 1 (Murphy’s Chili Dog, I had to use a fork to eat most of the chili, before I even tried to eat the dog. I would’ve spilled Chili everywhere if I had just tried to eat it like a normal hot dog)
Pitches Missed: 2 (yuck)
Consecutive pitch streak ended at: 439
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.30% (282/284)

Season:

Time inside stadiums: 106 hours 13 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 128 hours 0 minutes
Miles driven: 1,957.4
Miles riding in car but not driving: 539.6
Public Transit miles: 163.1
Flight Miles: 3,283
Total distance traveled: 5,943 miles
Sausages: 17 (5 Hot Dogs, 4 Polish, 3 Bratwurst, 2 Italian, Cheddarwurst, Bison Dog, Corndog)
Pitches missed: 22
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,116 (4/22 – 4/25)
Current streak of pitches seen: 7
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.71% (7,541/7,563)
If you want to learn more about Be The Match and how you can help, CLICK HERE

5-3-12 (Off Day # 3)

Thursday was the best day weather-wise, and I’m glad we waited to go to the beach. We took the bus, and left for Ocean Beach around noon, and made it to South Beach Bar & Grille around 12:45 for lunch. My sister had introduced me to South Beach and the wonderful world of fish tacos back in 2009, and I’ve gone back on each subsequent visit. Going clockwise from top left, the four parter below contains:

1) The inconspicuous exterior of the restaurant, word of mouth is all this place needs though.

2) The view from our table, which was just inside the entrance.

3) Unused taps above the bar.

4) My lunch. From left to right (like you can tell a difference), I had grilled Mahi, the Baja (which was fried Cod), and grilled Shrimp. They were all amazing, and extremely messy.

After lunch we took it the beach, and laid out for a while. I put on sunscreen, but my back wound up burnt because I fell asleep while on my stomach. This might be surprising to some, but the swim trunks that I’m wearing in the picture below… are from the 8th grade. Yes, I’ve kept, and am able to wear, the same trunks that I did in the year 2000. It’s probably my proudest achievement, or not.

It was a (somewhat) nice day, according to Victoria anyways. It was a little windy on the beach, so at times it was a little chilly. We walked down to the water to get our feet wet, and going all the way in never crossed our minds after feeling how cold it was.

On our way back to the bus stop, I noticed some artwork on the boardwalk, just off the beach. This would be my artsy photo of the day.

This next photo is looking down Newport Avenue, which has a lot of shops and restaurants, including South Beach Bar & Grille. Picturesque, to say the least.

We got on the bus at 4:50 and headed back downtown. We stopped at Jamba Juice (thanks Pam!), and made our way back to the hotel. The four parter below contains pictures of our last few hours in San Diego (besides the airport). Going clockwise from top left, you have:

1) The Gas Lamp Signage, looking north on 5th Avenue towards downtown.

2) Victoria and the hotel dog; Buckeye. As a Badger through and through, I disagree with the name, but he was cute, so I’ll let it pass. It may look like he’s vicious, and we laughed when we saw the picture, but he’s not. He had just licked Victoria’s face, so I think I just caught him awkwardly.

3) A few of the dogs (and humans), partaking in Canine Cocktail Hour. Hotel Indigo puts this on once a month, and it’s pretty sweet. It takes place on the ninth floor balcony, and when I was out there, I saw about 30 dogs. I think all were friendly and having a good time save for one that I think wasn’t very social. Anyone can bring their dogs, and it’s free. You can buy drinks, and there are small business owners there selling dog collars and other canine items.

4) The view of PETCO park from the 9th floor balcony. With some binoculars you could see a good amount of the action.

I’m typing this up from Allison’s couch, a college friend of mine and Victoria’s. Just like Alex and Katie, who I mentioned in this post, she was also was a part of our close-knit dorm freshman year. She works at Pixar, and we’re heading over there in about two hours for a tour.

Personal Stats:

Daily:

Miles riding in car but not driving: 15
Public Transit Miles: 18.4
Flight Miles: 447
Sausages: 0

Season:

Time inside stadiums: 102 hours 26 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 123 hours 54 minutes
Miles driven: 1,957.4
Miles riding in car but not driving: 539.6
Public Transit miles: 160.6
Flight Miles: 3,283
Total distance traveled: 5,941 miles
Sausages: 16 (4 Polish, 4 Hot Dogs, 3 Bratwurst, 2 Italian, Cheddarwurst, Bison Dog, Corndog)
Pitches missed: 20
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,116 (4/22 – 4/25)
Current streak of pitches seen: 391
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.73% (7,259/7,279)
If you want to learn more about Be The Match and how you can help, CLICK HERE

5-2-12 (@ San Diego)

Because of the afternoon game on Wednesday, we really didn’t do much before the game. I was awake by 8:00 but didn’t really get up until 11:00, and we headed to a restaurant that is not even a block from our hotel. Knotty Barrel is what they call the joint, and it was pretty good. The four parter below, going clockwise from top left, you have:

1) The outside of the Knotty Barrel, on 9th street.

2) Our appetizer, which were fried pickled jalapeños and artichoke hearts, as well as my beer sampler. We both checked in on foursquare, so the sampler was half off, making it $4 for four 4 oz glasses.

3) My lunch; the “Knotty Burger”, it came with lettuce, tomato, onion, and english cheddar, I added a fried egg for good measure. As our waitress was walking away with our order, I clarified by saying broken (regarding the egg). When I got it the egg was sunny side up, she offered to send it back and have them cook it over-hard, but I said no. I just wiped the yolk off, which saved me some cholesterol! I really only like the egg whites anyways, so it all worked out.

4) A cool sign they have in the back of the bar/restaurant. Beer bottle labels make up their name, which I thought it was noteworthy. They did also have a shuffleboard table, and with more time I would’ve loved to play, as I’ve been known to enjoy a good game of shuffleboard.

We left the the restaurant at 1:50 and headed towards PETCO. Even though the previous two days had worked with me picking up the Brewers-provided-ticket, and then buying one for Victoria, we wanted seats that were a little closer. Tickets that were in the third row behind the Brewers dugout were still available an hour and a half before the game, nice. After getting the tickets we went inside, walked around, and I took pictures. Since we entered at one of the outfield entrances, I took some pictures in that area. Below, going clockwise from top left:

1) A statue of Mr. Padre himself, Tony Gwynn. His son, Tony Gwynn Jr., played for the Brewers from 2006 to 2008.

2) The view from the Park at the Park area (way) beyond the right centerfield fence. The Padres sell tickets for out there, and they cost between $5 and $8.50, depending on the game. You might need your binoculars, but you’re still technically a paying a customer, they have a video board on the back of the batter’s eye, and you can see it on the right side of the picture.

3) The bleacher seats leading down to “The Beach”.

4) The front row of The Beach, these seats cost around $30, but you’re still 400 feet from home plate. With a ticket to the bleachers, which runs about $11, you can stand or sit on The Beach, but you can’t sit in the chairs I’ve shown here unless you have The Beach tickets.

I talked about the Western Metal Supply Company building in my previous posts, but I took some more pictures today. I think it’s so cool that they worked the building into the design of the park. Another four parter is below, going clockwise from top left (I know that’s getting old, but for new readers I’ll keep putting it in there).

1) This has nothing to do with the Western Metal Supply Co. building, but it’s still cool. This is right inside the left field entrance, looking back up over the exterior wall of the ballpark. Well done, Padres, well done.

2) The Western Metal Supply Co. building in the background, with flowers in the foreground. I was out in centerfield when I took this, and those flowers are beyond the Padres bullpen.

3) The basement of the Western Metal Supply Co. building. The basement houses the Padres team store, and it’s a nice layout. When I was there in 2009 I remember being able to walk out onto the field level, as you can see the two individuals doing in the lower left. This was all part of the store back then, but now they added a field level section, and now you need a ticket to go out there.

4) We ventured to the upper deck, and I took a picture alongside the building, with the field in the background. Since you need a special ticket to get into the suites that the building houses, this was the best I could do.

While in the upper deck, we got game number 25 taken care of. I think this is one of my favorites up to this point. I have to give a shout out to Victoria for taking about ten pictures until I was satisfied with the result.

We still had some time to kill, so we wandered some more and I took more pictures. I went up to the very last row right behind home plate, and got a picture of the home plate entrance from above. It’s one beautiful site, you’ve got palm trees as you enter the park, the walking bridge over Harbor Drive, and the San Diego – Coronado Bridge in the background, going over San Diego Bay. I got my game number 23 picture taken on the other side of those cars that are lined up in the median.

We started walking down the first base side in the upper deck, and we came across this organ. I talked to a employee nearby, and he said they use the organ for all day games, and they play it during the game from this location. The Brewers have a full time organist, Dean Rosko, and he plays for every game. I’m not sure why the Padres don’t have somebody manning it every game, but I won’t judge them for it.

My artsy picture of the day has to be this next one. While I was walking towards the right field corner in the upper deck, I noticed this on some of the seats. I figured they would have them on the aisle seats up near the corner, and they did.

Victoria and I made it down to our seats as the national anthem was being played (by the organist). The third row seats offered a great view of the field, and I couldn’t complain about the $76 price tag.

After taking a few pictures of Gallardo while he was pitching in the first inning, I noticed that where I was taking the pictures from caused a strange vantage point. I assure you I did no photoshopping on the photo below (even though it even looks like it to me, and I took it). It appears that he needs medical attention, and fast.

In the picture above you can see the head of a golf driver in the upper right, I had noticed that the day before but didn’t really think anything of it. Today I noticed the rest of it. I don’t know how I missed it during the other two games, but Victoria didn’t notice it either, so I don’t feel as stupid. I think where I was sitting the previous two games contributed to my lack of awareness.

How did the game go? My answer can be summed up with four letters: B-L-A-H. Another shutout at the hands of the Padres. I don’t know if it’s me and PETCO park, but my record there is not good. I’ve been to PETCO for seven games now, one in 2009, three in 2010, and three this year. Of the seven games, five have been shutouts. In 2010 I went to three out of the four games the Brewers played there. The three games I went to the Brewers didn’t score a run, the one game I didn’t go to? The Brewers won 2-1, terrible on my part. I was hoping the Brewers would have put a whooping on Jeff Suppan for “stealing” $42 million dollars from the Brewers organization from 2007 to 2010. You could rely on him to go out there every fifth day, but that was about it. He had a 5.08 earned run average as a Brewer, which was right in line with his career ERA. I wonder if he hadn’t had the great postseason in 2006, if the Brewers would have still made a run at him during the offseason. He shut the Brewers down for five innings Wednesday, allowing just four hits and two walks, while picking up the win. Final Score: Padres 5 – Brewers 0.

A cousin from my mom’s side had contacted me on Sunday, and said she and her husband would be out in San Diego, and were planning on going to the Wednesday game. They had to pick up a late arriving friend from the airport on Wednesday, and made it to the game as the game was starting. In the seventh inning Annie and Chase stopped by and sat next to Victoria and I for the remainder of the game. Annie is one of my 19 cousins on my mom’s side (my mom is one of 12). Annie and Chase live in La Crosse and I hadn’t seen them since Christmas time, so it was nice to catch up. We had another fan take a picture of us after the game. From left to right it’s Chase, Annie, Victoria, and myself.

Victoria and I went back to the hotel for a bit, and then left for dinner around 7:30. My sister, Eliza, lived in San Diego for almost two years, and we got Sushi a few times from a place that she swears by. It’s 3/4 of a mile from the hotel and we got there at 7:45. The four parter below, going clockwise from top left, contains:

1) The outside of Sushi Deli 2, which is located on Broadway, between 1st Avenue and Broadway Circle. As you can see a gathering of people has formed.

2) The sign on the window, it’s apparent that they have people who are willing to wait for extended periods of time. It took us about 35 minutes to get seated, at 8pm, on a Wednesday.

3) The back room at the restaurant, from our table.

4) Our meal feast. On the top left is the Valentine Roll, consisting of shrimp tempura, cucumber, avocado, topped with raw tuna, and crab surimi. Top middle: Shaun Roll, consisting of sweet potato tempura, cream cheese, and avocado. Top right: Tropicana Roll, which had smoked salmon, mango, cream cheese, topped with avocado, and mango with mango sauce. The smokiness was almost too much, and at times I thought I was eating a cigarette. The bottom plate has a San Diego Roll, which contained a lobster mix and cream cheese which is battered and cooked tempura style, then topped with spicy tuna, crab surimi, “crunchies”, spicy mayo, spicy sauce, and sweet sauce. We ate everything except for the last piece of the Tropicana Roll, too much smoke for the both of us.

I wish I was more excited about the baseball aspect right now, but I can’t say that. Getting shut out in back to back games on the road is no fun. Luckily I’ve got other stuff to look forward to, tomorrow it’s the beach and fish tacos at an amazing place up in Ocean Beach. Our flight leaves at 9:25 tomorrow, and gets into San Fran at 10:55.

Personal Stats:

Daily:

First day of I haven’t used any form of transportation this season, besides my two legs. I did use the elevator at PETCO twice, and the escalators, but no planes, trains, or automobiles.
Time inside PETCO Park: 4 hours 18 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 4 hours 26 minutes
Sausages: 0
Pitches Missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (258/258)

Season:

Time inside stadiums: 102 hours 26 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 123 hours 54 minutes
Miles driven: 1,957.4
Miles riding in car but not driving: 524.6
Public Transit miles: 142.2
Flight Miles: 2,836
Total distance traveled: 5,460 miles
Sausages: 16 (4 Polish, 4 Hot Dogs, 3 Bratwurst, 2 Italian, Cheddarwurst, Bison Dog, Corndog)
Pitches missed: 20
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,116 (4/22 – 4/25)
Current streak of pitches seen: 391
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.73% (7,259/7,279)
If you want to learn more about Be The Match and how you can help, CLICK HERE

5-1-12 (@ San Diego)

Victoria and I had wanted to go to the beach one of the days we were in town, but the somewhat gloomy weather has prevented us from doing so thus far. Today we decided on hitting up the San Diego Zoo, and we weren’t disappointed. It was a little surprising to see the $42 ticket price, but we both agree that it was well worth it. I had been to San Diego four times prior to this visit, and hadn’t gone to the zoo yet, so I figured I should go. I hope you like pictures of animals.

We took the bus up to the zoo, and we arrived around 10:30. I took over 400 pictures, and I’ll be showing some of my favorites. I made sure to record in my phone what everything was, because there were many species that could be easily confused, or just plain forgotten.

I’ll start with my favorite: big cats. I have a cat, named Prince, but I don’t think he could hold his own agains these guys. For all of the four part photos, I’ll list what everything is going clockwise from top left.

1) Malayan Tigers. I don’t know what it is about them, but they are awesome.

2) A Jaguar.

3) A Fishing Cat.

4) A North Chinese Leopard, who was just finishing up a meal, and I caught him at a great time.

I think my favorite picture of the cats had to be of the lions. The male happened to be looking right at me, then seconds later rolled over and took a nap.

There were also plenty of monkeys, the first one, as you can see, is not a monkey.

1) A Crested Screamer, and scream he/she did, wow.

2) Wolf’s Guenon, just munching away.

3) Allen’s Swamp Monkey.

4) Gorillas, I like how he’s just leaning back, passing the time.

Bears were quite populous at the zoo, and below you’ll find three of them, in addition to a non-bear.

1) Koala Bear, there was another one nearby that had a cub, but she had it so close to her body, and up against a tree, that you couldn’t even tell she was holding one.

2) Male Polar Bear, this guy was chasing the female around, and Victoria and I think he was in the mood. He was foaming at the mouth and drooling all over the place. The female was having none of it though, and I think he gave up as we left the exhibit.

3) A Red Panda, I don’t think I even knew these existed.

4) A Southwest African Meerkat, who looks just like Timon from The Lion King.

I saved the best for last; a PANDA!!! He was walking around and came towards the front of his enclosure, nestled up against a log, and started eating, it was pretty exciting.

On our way out, I had another zoo-goer take a picture of Victoria and myself, in front of a lion statue they have near the entrance.

I have no idea how much we walked yesterday, but it was a lot. I don’t know if walking is going to make the knee problem any worse, but it was hard to pass up going to the zoo. We left the zoo at 3:30, and took a taxi downtown, to pick up some dinner from Ralph’s, the closest grocery store to our hotel. We were both exhausted from our five hours at the zoo, and we rested a little before leaving for the game.

We made our way towards PETCO around 6:10. The picture below is of the back of the scoreboard, and you can make out the last bit of “Western Metal Supply Co.” on the right. That building was incorporated into the design of the ballpark (mainly because it was an historical landmark, and couldn’t be torn down. Apparently that only pertains to the exterior, because it now houses the team store in the lower level, and contains three levels of seating that are used for group parties.

We did the same thing as we did for Monday’s game; I picked up my ticket that the Brewers provided, and then we got Victoria a nearby seat. It worked well again and we sat together for the whole game. Once inside we tried to find a good spot for game photo number 24. I’ll be getting the photo from the upper deck before Wednesday’s game, so we just decided on something that was (somewhat) near our seats.

Telly Hughes, the Fox Sports Wisconsin in-game personality, called me earlier in the day and said they’d like to do an in-game interview with me. I had discussed this with the Brewers before the season started, but this was the first one we were doing, save the pre-game interview on the field at Wrigley on April 10th. I went down at the end of the third, and talked with Telly during the top of the fourth. Once the FS Wisconsin broadcast came back from commercial break we talked briefly about what Brewers Mission 162 means, and what I’m raising awareness for; The Be The Match Registry!!! I think it went well, and my phone was blowing up for the next few innings with well wishes from friends and strangers alike. Victoria snapped a picture when I was on air, it’s a little blurry, but with the low light up in our seats, it’s to be expected. My eyes may be closed in the picture below, but I assure you they weren’t closed for the entire time I was on air.

The camera that was getting the footage was in center field, and I was standing to Telly’s right in the camera well, so I was facing towards centerfield. It pained me to do so because I could hear pitches hitting the mitt and I wasn’t paying attention. It worked out that I “only” missed four pitches, but I’ll say it was worth it if a single person was moved to make a donation or consider joining the registry. Four missed pitches in a single game is a new high for me, and I’ll try to make up for it with a couple of perfectos.

The game itself was a pitcher’s duel, with both starters lasting seven innings, while giving up just three hits a piece. There wasn’t too much to get excited about for either team until the eighth inning. K-Rod entered for the Brewers, got a quick out, gave up a single, and then gave up the deciding two run home run to Mark Kotsay (a Brewer last season). It was dissapointing, but I can’t be too mad at K-Rod, even though it was his third loss of the season. We’re not going to win ANY games if we score zero runs, I will bet my  life on that. Final Score: Padres 2 – Brewers 0. The Brewers are actually lucky to have split the first two games. They have a grand total of ten hits over the two games. If you take away Braun’s performance on Monday night, and you’re looking at a combined total of six hits, two runs, and two losses. I found out today that Braun became only the sixth player in MLB history to record three home runs and a triple in the same game. That club is even more exclusive than the four-home-runs-in-a-game club.

On our way back to the hotel I took a picture of PETCO from K Street. I’ll try and get some better ballpark pictures at the game tomorrow.

My cousin Annie and her husband Chase are in town, and we might be meeting up before or after the game on Wednesday. Looking forward to that and hopefully a Brewers win to take the series.

Personal Stats:

Daily:

Time inside PETCO Park: 3 hours 13 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 3 hours 26 minutes
Miles riding in car but not driving: 2.5
Public Transit miles: 2.0
Sausages: 0
Pitches Missed: 4 (Thanks Telly. I kid, I kid)
Consecutive Pitch streak ended at: 316
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.40% (246/250)

Season:

Time inside stadiums: 98 hours 8 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 119 hours 28 minutes
Miles driven: 1,957.4
Miles riding in car but not driving: 524.6
Public Transit miles: 142.2
Flight Miles: 2,836
Total distance traveled: 5,460 miles
Sausages: 16 (4 Polish, 4 Hot Dogs, 3 Bratwurst, 2 Italian, Cheddarwurst, Bison Dog, Corndog)
Pitches missed: 20
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,116 (4/22 – 4/25)
Current streak of pitches seen: 133
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.72% (7,001/7,021)
If you want to learn more about Be The Match and how you can help, CLICK HERE

4-30-12 (@ San Diego)

Monday started with a 3:20 alarm. Victoria and I didn’t talk about what time we were planning on getting up, and we independently set the alarm on our phones for the same time. How cute is that? HA. My uncle Mike works for Boeing and he said that his job allows him to set his own hours to a degree. We left for the airport at 4:00, and we are both very thankful that he got up extra early just for us.

Our Southwest flight departed at six, and we had a two hour layover in Las Vegas. The flight out of Vegas was airborne by 9:35 and it landed in San Diego at 10:22 (I’m keeping track of all this stuff as well, thus the exact times). I think I’m displaying enough stats as is, but at the end of the season I’ll include a more thorough breakdown of the time I spent traveling and whatnot. While in the air I took a few pictures, flying into San Diego is always fun because you come so close to the buildings, and get a decent view of PETCO Park as you’re approaching. The picture isn’t the best, and the gloomy weather/the two window panes to take the picture through are to blame. You can see the blue seats of PETCO Park in the middle of the photo below.

Victoria and I took the bus to our hotel (Hotel Indigo), which is located roughly 900 feet from PETCO. I paid a little extra to get a room on the executive level, which provides a nice view. However, because of the design of the building, not many rooms have a view of the stadium, ours included. The four part picture below, going clockwise from top left:

1) Part of the lobby right when you walk in. I’m not sure how visible it is, but there is a water feature which takes up the left side of the picture. There are individual streams of water coming down, spaced a couple inches apart.

2) The bar for the in house restaurant: Table 509. The prices are steep, and we probably won’t eat here, but it doesn’t hurt to have the option.

3) The artwork on one of the walls in our room. The room is great and I’m glad I splurged a little and paid $165 a night. There were some (slightly cheaper) alternatives nearby, but with the proximity to the ballpark, I thought it was a fair price.

4) The view out of our window. If I stand up against the far right side of the window and look all the way to the right, I can see the light towers from PETCO.

We decided on The Kebab Shop for lunch, which features “The Original Döner Kebab!” I had the Lamb Döner Kebab, and Victoria the Falafel Döner Kebab. I wasn’t exactly sure how to pronounce “Döner”, so when I ordered I quickly passed over the word, and Victoria just said “I’ll have the Falafel one of those.” I’ve had Gyros before, but it had been awhile. This was basically a Gyro burrito, and it was delicious. To be honest, when I saw the name of the shop, I was expecting your typical shish kebab. After some research (and straight from Wikipedia); “In the Middle East, however, kebab includes grilled, roasted, and stewed dishes of large or small cuts of meat, or even ground meat; it may be served on plates, in sandwiches, or in bowls.” I learned something new today! Below is my Lamb Döner Kebab, which consisted of spiced lamb, a mix of fresh veggies, and a creamy garlic yogurt sauce. I also put some of the hot sauce on for an extra kick.

We returned to the hotel, and I took a quick nap while Victoria went to the nearby mall. She brought back cupcakes. She got me a Thin Mint cupcake, and it was amazing. No picture is shown because I ate it too fast. The Thin Mint is my favorite manufactured cookie, thus the excitement. It was topped with mint frosting and half a thin mint; awesome.

Now the bad news. The MRI results came back, and my doctor gave me a call this afternoon. He said that the MRI showed a bone infarction (INFARCTION, not infection). This is when the blood supply to a bone is blocked, causing the bone tissue to die. The fact that the x-ray hadn’t shown any visible damage is a good sign, and this is something that was caught early. I’m not going to go into too much detail until I talk to the orthopedic doctor. My oncologist said that he wanted me to see them Wednesday, but since I won’t be back until next Monday, it’ll have to wait. I’m trying to take it easy and take as many escalators as possible, so hopefully we can figure out the best course of action when I see them next week.

Despite the news, I was still up for some baseball, and Victoria and I left for the park at 5:30. On the corner of our hotel this was the view. As you can see, it is right down the street from where we’re staying.

We walked down the first base side of the stadium and around towards the ticket windows. They have the player will call set up inside of one of the gates, and once they got the Brewers’ tickets, I found out that they didn’t have one for me. After 15 minutes or so everything was sorted out, and I had my ticket. We were then able to go to the ticket windows and get Victoria a ticket. I knew that the game wouldn’t be anywhere near sold out, so I thought it was safe to have her buy a nearby seat, and then I’d sit with her. It worked to perfection and we didn’t have a problem the whole game, the low draw of 16,000 definitely helped. While we were waiting for the Brewers tickets to arrive, we got game photo number 23 taken care of.

We entered the home plate entrance, which is right behind where I’m standing above. There’s a cool water wall that’s located just to the left of my right shoulder. Below is a close up of said water wall. It’s sad that the Padres don’t draw more than they do, because the park is beautiful.

We went up the steps, well, I went up one step, stepped back down, and then took the escalator. On the main concourse there are lots of food choices, and I decided on the BBQ pulled pork. The menu said it came with cole slaw and a pickle spear. There wasn’t much cole slaw, and I swear the pickle spear had been sitting out for days by the way it looked, but nonetheless. With the amount of pork they put on the sandwich, I’d say it was worth the $10.50 that I paid, especially given ballpark prices. It was good, albeit messy.

The game started as I was finishing my sandwich, and I was looking forward to some redemption. In 2010 I went to three of four games at PETCO, the three I went to the Brewers lost, the one I didn’t go to? They won. The Padres got on the board in the second with a walk, stolen base, and a single, and held the 1-0 lead into the fourth.

As a preface; early on Victoria asked if Braun’s father, Joe, was sitting a few rows behind us (FSN has shown him during broadcasts and she’s observant). I concurred, and in the 2nd inning I went back there, told him how much of a Braun fan I was, and told him my story. He’s a really great guy, and even offered to help out if he could. I gave him web address for the blog, and he asked for my phone number, so I obliged.

Back to the game. With one out in the fourth Braun hit an opposite field home run into “The Beach” section in right center. I really didn’t think it was gone when it left the bat just because it’s so deep in that part of the park, but Braun proved me wrong. The Brewers added two more runs in the fourth on an Alex Gonzalez double. Braun batted again in the fifth, this time with one on, and duplicated his result from the fourth. This was a monster shot to the seats in the Western Metal Supply building down the left field line. My uncle said that Uecker claimed it was the hardest Braun had ever hit a baseball. I’m not too sure about that, but it was a missile. Hit Tracker Online claims that the first home run was 419 feet, and the second was 416. I think the first estimate is accurate, but the second? Not so much. The third deck of the building is a good 90 feet above the playing field, and down the line it’s 350 or so. We’ll never know, but I would say 440. I’m not going to argue too much with their estimates, because I’m pretty sure they know what they’re doing most of the time.

Braun stepped to the dish in the seventh and on the first pitch delivered another home run, this run a wall scraper that just barely made it over the left-centerfield fence. A home run is a home run, and Braun now had three. After the third home run I went up to give Braun’s dad a high five, which I did. He then gave me a hug and said I brought good luck, that felt pretty cool to say the least.

I started looking at the outs remaining, and realized the Brewers only needed two base runners to reach (and not get out on the base paths) for Braun to get a chance to tie the MLB record. Fifteen players have hit four home runs in a game, the most recent was Carlos Delgado for the Blue Jays back in 2003. Shawn Green did it against the Brewers at Miller Park back in 2002, and also had a single and a double, going 6-6 with 19 total bases!

The Brewers went in order in the eighth, and they needed two runners two reach in the ninth for Braun to have a chance. Gomez reached after getting hit by a pitch with one out, and I started getting excited. Inexplicably Gomez tried stealing and left on first move, the lefty threw to first, who threw down to second to nab Gomez. I was livid. I joked that Braun was giving him the business in the dugout after that one. The Brewers led 6-3 at the time, so I don’t know what he was doing. Luckily for Gomez (and Brewers fans everywhere) both Rickie Weeks and Nyjer Morgan walked, and the stage was set for Braun. After getting down 0-2 in the count, it wasn’t looking good for Braun. After fouling off a pitch he sent a drive to right on the second 0-2 offering. It fell just short of the warning track and Braun wound up at third with a two-run triple. I got a picture just after he slid into third.

Not quite a four homer game, but three home runs, a triple (for 15 total bases), and 6 RBIs is nothing to shake your head at. Unbelievable.

Dilard came in and retired three of the four batters he faced for an easy ninth inning (compared to yesterday), and the Brewers won. Final Score: Brewers 8 – Padres 3. While walking up the steps I stopped by Joe again and told him to tell Braun “Good Game”. He said thanks and that we’d be in touch. I couldn’t have asked for a better start to the west coast swing, knee problems aside.

One last picture. As we were leaving the park, we saw that the bridge going over Harbor Drive and the trolley tracks was illuminated. You can see that it looks much better after dark (the clouds before the game didn’t do it any favors though):

I did miss one pitch during the game. When the Padres were intentionally walking George Kottaras in the fourth, old habits kicked in. Normally, when I see the first pitch is an intentional ball, and the pitcher is walking a guy on purpose, I let my eyes wander and don’t really pay attention until the next batter is announced. Victoria had the bread bowl left over from her New England Clam Chowder (which was delicious and only $7.50). I was picking off some bread pieces and missed the 1-0 pitch. It’s not *really* important, but I cannot tell a lie.

Ok, I’ve been up for almost 24 hours now, I think it’s time for bed.

Personal Stats:

Daily:

Time inside PETCO Park: 3 hours 29 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 4 hours 31 minutes
Miles riding in car but not driving: 17.3
Flight Miles: 1,636
Public Transit miles: 4.0
Sausages: 0
Pitches Missed: 1
Consecutive Pitch streak ended at: 445
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.68% (314/315)

Season:

Time inside stadiums: 94 hours 55 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 116 hours 2 minutes
Miles driven: 1,957.4
Miles riding in car but not driving: 522.1
Public Transit miles: 140.2
Flight Miles: 2,836
Total distance traveled: 5,456 miles
Sausages: 16 (4 Polish, 4 Hot Dogs, 3 Bratwurst, 2 Italian, Cheddarwurst, Bison Dog, Corndog)
Pitches missed: 16
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,116 (4/22 – 4/25)
Current streak of pitches seen: 203
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.76% (6,755/6,771)
If you want to learn more about Be The Match and how you can help, CLICK HERE