June 7th, 2012

6-7-12 (vs. Chicago Cubs)

It was a quick turnaround between Wednesday’s and Thursday’s games, and I met Pam in Johnson Creek at just before 11:00 am. Pam works at Tetra Tech in Madison. We were co-workers for the 14 months that I was employed before beginning my 162 game adventure. She reads the blog, so she probably won’t like hearing this, but she was sort of a motherly figure while at work. She’s really cool though and I promised that I would take her to a game at some point during the season. I might just have to take her to another game seeing because of how well the day went. If you read the blog on a regular basis you may remember me mentioning Pam before. She was the one who (famously) said “that’s f****** awesome!” when she saw me for the first time after hearing about what I was planning on doing.

We pulled into the Cooper 1 Lot at 11:49, and made our way inside. We went to section 227, and Pam took game photo number 57. I gave her instructions and she got the job done. Thanks Pam!

During Wednesday’s game Adam DeCock stopped by for an interview. We had walked back to the cross aisle in front of the press box and my back was facing the wall directly under the press box. Adam then stood in front of me and I realized his voice recorder was also a video recorder. I was surprised and stepped aside and at first was like “Whoa whoa whoa, what’s going on?” I told him that I was expecting just a audio interview, and that I don’t really miss pitches, so we’d have to figure something else out. I wasn’t mean or anything, and it wouldn’t have been a great interview anyways with all the background noise from the game and whatnot. We agreed to do the interview on Thursday, and we wound up going to the service level of the stadium and doing the interview in one of the media rooms where they film player interviews sometimes. Adam is a MLB correspondent for the Milwaukee Brewers and was doing the interview for Cut4, which is a fan website than MLB created where people like Adam upload videos and other noteworthy articles. I don’t know when it will go up, but it should be within the next week or so.

After the interview Pam and I went to hi to the Ice Man. With the way he was saying “she must be proud of you” I realized he thought she was my mom. I told him that Pam wasn’t my mom, but that she did look somewhat similar to my mom, so I gave him a pass. We then stopped at a concession stand for beers and bratwurst. Well, Pam got a Brat, I got a Polish. I’ve had four or five Polish sausages at Miller Park this year and I kept forgetting to ask for sautéed onions, which are free of charge. I didn’t forget on Thursday and it added to the Polish’s deliciousness. We said hi to Bill, and then ate our respective encased meats below the press box in the cross aisle (out of the sun). Since I knew we’d be in the sun for almost two hours before the roof provided some shade I figured we should minimize our time in the sun. We got to our seats with a few minutes to spare and got situated for the game.

The first nine Brewers that came to the plate went down in order, but through three innings the Cubs had no runs to show for their three hits, so it was knotted at zero. Norichika Aoki broke the tie with his first over the wall home run of the year. He had an inside the park home run on April 20th, in just his 12th major league at bat. His home run in the fourth barely cleared the right field fence, but I’ll take the cheapie. Here’s Aoki getting a high five from Braun after his homer.

Randy Wolf was the starter for the Brewers, and he definitely deserved the win. He pitched six and two thirds, giving up one run on four hits and two walks, while striking out six. Greinke and him must have a bet going as to who can throw the slowest pitch. I think Greinke had hit 55 mph earlier in the year, but Zack outdid himself on Wednesday with a 53 mph curveball (a “slowball” at that speed). Wolf tried to match it but he couldn’t, bottoming out at 56 mph on Thursday.

The Brewers scored a run in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI single from Kottaras and held the 2-0 lead going into the seventh. An RBI double by Koyie Hill got the Cubs on the board and cut the lead to 2-1. In the top of the eighth inning K-Rod retired the first two batters then gave up a single to Soriano. Bryan LaHair pinch hit for the Cubs, and I was telling Pam that he’s probably their best power threat, and what’ya know; he went deep to give the Cubs a 3-2 lead. In the bottom of the eighth the Brewers answered when Chart hit a two-out RBI double to tie the game at three.

Neither team scored in the ninth and the game went to extras, the sixth time that I’ve gotten to see free baseball this season. Well, this year a bunch of the games are free, so I should probably re-phrase that, but you know what I meant. Axford pitched both the ninth and tenth, and it was six up, six down for the Ax Man. Leading off the bottom of the tenth was Norichika Aoki, who had hit his first “real” home run of the year earlier in the game. This is what ensued after the 2-0 pitch to Aoki (clockwise from top left):

1) His Brewers teammates preparing to mob him at the plate. I cropped it a little but made sure to leave the Cubs catcher in the frame. It’s a walk off, so it wouldn’t be right to show it without somebody on the losing team walking off the field.

2) Aoki just after he ceremoniously flipped his batting helmet.

3) Aoki going airborne (while his helmet floats mysteriously above the dirt).

4) Party time! If you click the image you can get a better look, but Aoki’s right foot is just about to touch home plate. The home plate umpire is watching closely, to make sure Aoki touches home.

Final Score: Brewers 4 – Cubs 3. It was a great ending to a hard fought game. When K-Rod gave up the two runs in the eighth I told Pam that before Thursday’s game the Crew had never lost a game that they had led going into the eighth since K-Rod joined the team. I thought for sure it would’ve been the end of that streak, but Chart and Aoki came through and got the job done.

Before the eighth inning started I had a fan a few rows in front of us take a picture of me and Pam. You can just barely make out Pam’s eyes due to her hat, but I promise it’s her. I rarely wear hats, but since I knew we were going to be in the sun for two hours I brought my hat along. We were in the shade by 3:00, but once I wear a hat and get a little sweaty, I can’t go back to no hat. If I took it off it would’ve looked like a combination of two or three Alfafas from the Little Rascals, and a matted down lawn.

I almost forgot the funny fan moment of the game. In the top of the ninth when Campana came to the plate a Cubs fan (in his 60s) said: “Use your wheels, chop one to short[stop].” On the very next pitch Campana did just that, and was subsequently thrown out by Edwin Maysonet. I looked back at the guy and heard/saw him tell his friends: “Well…. he’s fast.” Good stuff.

Friday is the opener of the Padres series, and the first game of the last series of the home stand. This is the last nine game home stand, so the remainder of the season will consist of the three, six, or seven game variety.

Personal Stats:

Daily:

Time inside Miller Park: 4 hours 38 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 4 hours 53 minutes
Miles driven: 124.4
Sausages: 1 (Polish)
Pitches Missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (316/316)
Current streak of pitches seen: 402

Season:

NEW – Brewers current record: 26-31 (.456 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 242 hours 5 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 282 hours 23 minutes
Miles driven: 4,924.8
Miles riding in car but not driving: 1,685.1
Public Transit miles: 262.7
Flight Miles: 11,263
Total distance traveled: 18,135.6 miles
NEW – Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 72.83% (18,135.6/24,901)
Sausages: 46 (19 Hot Dogs, 13 Polish, 5 Bratwurst, 4 Corndogs, 2 Italian, Cheddarwurst, Bison Dog, Chicken Apple Sausage)
Pitches missed: 40
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,469 (5/28 – 6/1)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.77% (17,268/17,308)

If you want to learn more about Be The Match and how you can help, CLICK HERE

6-6-12 (vs. Chicago Cubs)

I had an oncologist appointment on Wednesday morning, and I had kind of forgotten about it. It was a 12:15 appointment and I was in bed until 11:00 am. I didn’t go to bed until 2:30 am and didn’t fall asleep until after 3:30, so before I get dubbed lazy, consider the circumstances. The appointment was just to see how I was doing, but there really wasn’t a point for it. I’ll be getting a blood test in July that tells us if it’s still in remission (in the blood stream at least). Then in October I’ll have my yearly bone marrow biopsy (which will tell the more thorough story regarding my remission status).

After the appointment I went back to my parent’s and tried to get stuff organized for the week ahead. I’ll have more time after the day game tomorrow, errr, today (it’s 12:05 as I type this). Day games after night games are always tiresome, but the break between the day game and the next night game makes it worth it. I can sleep when I’m dead is what I keep telling myself. I left for the game around 3:30, and pulled into the Brewers 1 Lot just after 4:30. I got there extra early yesterday because I wanted to make the trek to the general parking lot and hit up people back there. I think (and this is just speculation), that there are more young people in the general lot, because I hadn’t been back there yet to promote what I’m doing. It’s the younger people that I’m encouraging to join the registry since they’ll have more years of being a potential donor. I also talk to older people and encourage monetary donations. It doesn’t make much sense for people in their late 50s to join the registry if they’re only going to be in there for a few years. Be The Match needs both monetary donations, and also people willing to be a donor if they’re called upon so it’s kind of a balancing act on their part.

I went back to my car just before six to grab my stuff, and was inside by 6:05. I had been tweeting that my second ticket was available again, and at the last second @JasonLatus said that he’d join me at the game. After talking to him at the game he said that he had seen my tweets from earlier in the day, but once crunch time came he stepped up to the plate and delivered with a $40 donation to Be The Match. I was already inside with the ticket when I saw his tweet, but I was able to leave it at the ticket window inside Miller Park, and they took it to the will call window.

Once inside I went to section 228 and got game photo number 56 taken by a nearby fan. He took three pictures and they were all pretty good. The third one was the best, but when I went to scale the image size down just now I noticed that the jumbotron had two girls in the stands on there when the picture was taken. You may not have noticed it, but it’s going to bug me. I still like it better than the other two, so I’ll have to live with it. I tried to blur them out even more than they already were, but it’s still somewhat of a distraction.

I met with Nathan in the team store by Friday’s, and he handed off the new gear that the Brewers are providing. Kathy and Tyler: I know you read the posts so I can’t say thank you enough for the merchandise and everything else you guys have done for me. Jill (the merchandising director) gets a nod as well because she worked with Kathy and Tyler to figure out how it would all work. Below are the three shirts Nathan picked out for me, and the hat that the Brewers will wear on July 4th (The fill inside the M is camouflage). I think they wore it on Memorial Day also, but I’m not certain. I was in the Upper Deck at Dodger Stadium that day, so I didn’t get any close looks at the players.

I talked with Bill (the usher) again and then while walking to my seats Jason caught up with me. We got situated for the game and with Greinke on the mound I was feeling pretty good about the Brewers chances.

The game was scoreless early but in the fourth inning the Brewers got on the board in a big way, with four runs on five hits. Three of them scored with two outs so that was nice to see. Braun’s double scored Aoki, Ransom’s double scored Braun, and Conrad’s single scored Hart and Ransom. I got a picture as Ransom slid home safely, and again I wish I had a faster lens. The shutter speed for the below photo was 1/125 of a second, and I probably needed a 1/400 picture to achieve decent clarity. I’m starting to seriously consider purchasing a nicer lens. The $1,000 price tag is (obviously) the only thing holding me back. So I can either man up and lay down the cash, or start asking players to do things more slowly so I can capture their actions better. I would prefer the latter but I’ll probably wind up doing the former.

In the top of the fifth Greinke had a chance to strike out four in an inning because a wild pitch on strike three allowed Ian Stewart to reach. The next at bat ended with a strike-em-out-throw-em-out double play and it’s apparent that Maldonado has an amazing arm behind the plate. Lucroy is a great defensive catcher, and has a decent arm. If he had the arm Maldonado has he’d be right up there with Yadier Molina of the Cardinals (he’s close as it is, in my opinion). Greinke settled for three strikeouts in the inning, and had 12 in the game, while giving up just two hits and two walks. The Brewers tacked on a run in the fifth, and then blew it open in the eighth. Taylor Green hit his first Major League home run, a three run shot to right, and I knew it was coming. Ok, maybe not “knew”, but was hopeful. Every time he had come to the plate this year I would say “He’s still looking for his first major league home run.” My hard work finally paid off and the Brewers celebrated with fireworks after Green rounded third.

This linescore is more of what I was looking for when the Cubs came to town. Final Score: Brewers 8 – Cubs 0.

Some advice: never second guess yourself while picking a sausage race winner, it backfires. I went with the Bratwurst originally, and then right before they took off I changed it to the Italian. I hate Italian sausages, what was I thinking? Of course Bratwurst had a come-from-behind victory, cementing my original estimation that the tallest contestant would win (always look at the legs). My uncle hates the sausage race, and I never understood why. Look at the all the heads in the Brewers dugout, where are they looking? You guessed it, at the sausages! I know it’s ridiculous and all, but it’s a heckuva lot better than the tool race, or whatever it is that they do in Atlanta (and other parks), it’s a joke. In Atlanta they have a paint brush, hammer, hand saw, and power drill, and they wear these little boots. Maybe I’m a little biased, but the sausage race was the first of it’s kind, and it can’t be topped.

After the bottom of the eighth inning I had a fan take a picture of Jason and I. He told me that he wasn’t very photogenic, so I hope he’s not mad about me posting the pic. He might look like he wasn’t happy, but he can confirm that we had a good time at the game. We talked about baseball, my journey, and also how cool he thinks it is. The 25-31 record has been the hardest part of the season so far, but hearing people like Jason tell me that what I’m doing is awesome and to not regret it reassures me that I made the right decision.

That’s all for now. I’m going to the game today (Thursday), with a former co-worker. Her name is Pam and we’re meeting in Johnson Creek at 11:00 am. A good time should be had by all.

Personal Stats:

Daily:

Time inside Miller Park: 3 hours 51 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 5 hours 33 minutes
Miles driven: 138.4
Sausages: 0
Pitches Missed: 1 (Those dang intentional walks)
Consecutive pitch streak ended at: 1,105
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.66% (294/295)
Current streak of pitches seen: 86

Season:

Time inside stadiums: 237 hours 27 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 277 hours 30 minutes
Miles driven: 4,800.4
Miles riding in car but not driving: 1,685.1
Public Transit miles: 262.7
Flight Miles: 11,263
Total distance traveled: 18,011.2 miles
NEW – Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 72.33% (18,011.2/24,901)
Sausages: 45 (19 Hot Dogs, 12 Polish, 5 Bratwurst, 4 Corndogs, 2 Italian, Cheddarwurst, Bison Dog, Chicken Apple Sausage)
Pitches missed: 40
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,469 (5/28 – 6/1)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.76% (16,952/16,992)

If you want to learn more about Be The Match and how you can help, CLICK HERE