June 16th, 2012

6-16-12 (@ Minnesota)

It was a quick turnaround between Friday night’s game and Saturday’s matinee. I got up at 9:00 and worked on the blog until we had to leave at 11:20. Victoria had driven up on Friday and hung out with Amber, who with her fiancé Chris is serving as our host for the weekend. Victoria joined me for Saturday’s game, and it was HOT. We were expecting some rain, but besides a few drops we remained dry. We pulled into a free parking spot that Chris told us about, and made our way towards Target Field. We walked over a bridge and beneath us were some train tracks and a nice bike trail.

Chris had told us that there’s a fenced in area that the Twins use to protect sod for replacing grass on the field. I had walked past it on Friday and wasn’t the wiser. You can see that they’ve already removed some, and they have a small warning track that goes around the grass.

Walking up the sidewalk to the right of the replacement grass leads you (obviously) to the stadium. They have some banners on the fence that you pass along the way.

Once we crossed the street we took a left and walked completely around Target Field. There was some cool stuff along the way, including TravelWisconsin.com hop scotch! Victoria tried it out and said that it indeed was hop scotch. I wonder how much Travel Wisconsin had to pay for these (there were a few). I DON’T think it’s some sort of reciprocity agreement because there isn’t anything like this at Miller Park, at least that I’m aware of.

The four-parter below shows some other things we saw as we walked around the stadium. Going clockwise from top left:

1) The home plate side of the stadium, there’s a factory on the other side of the fence on the left there. Because of how the park had to be situated to fit on the plot of land made it impossible to have a grandiose home plate entrance.

2) A Twins logo on a bike rack. They have lots of bike racks around Target Field, and it’s well done. I *wish* I could just ride my bike to Miller Park. I’m not complaining that Miller Park doesn’t have bike racks, because they do, I’m just saying I don’t live close enough to bike there.

3) The exterior of the third base side of the stadium, with a light rail car in the distance. The train stop is feet from Target Field, and they did a nice job with it.

4) A close-up of the wood panels that are incorporated into the design of the stadium.

After making our way around the stadium we stopped outside gate 29 for game photo number 65.

There are five statues of Twins legends outside of the stadium, and I saw two of them. Chris informed me that the other three are Oliva, Pucket, and Killebrew. Below you have Kent Hrbek on the left (with the Twins from 1981 to 1994), and Rod Carew on the right (1967-1978).

We entered Target Field just before 12:30, and walked around the stadium and took in the sights, smells, and sounds of Target Field. We stopped at one of the State Fair Classics concession stands for some lunch. We each got walleye on a stick and I also got a corn dog. Take a guess what the below cost:

You ready?

TWENTY SIX DOLLARS!!!

The Walleye on a stick sets you back $11 a piece, and the corn dog was $4. They charge you $1.50 for a corn dog at Chase Field in Phoenix. I’m guessing a walleye on a stick would be about the same at Miller Park, because most all stadiums have extremely high prices, but $11 seemed really high. I think if it came with fries or something then $11 would be an acceptable price tag (in a ballpark).

Our food was on a counter that faces the field when I took the photo. In the picture below you can see the people standing up against the counter. The thing on the other side of the counter is the batter’s eye.

We continued around the stadium and made it to our seats just a few minutes before first pitch. We were in the sun, as most people are for a 1:10 game at an outdoor stadium, and it was uncomfortable. This was the view from our $70 seats:

The Brewers struck first with two runs in the top of the second inning. A two out, two-run single by Aoki gave the Brewers the lead. In the top of the third Braun led off the frame with a great at bat against Hendriks. This is what ensued after the 9th pitch of the at bat. Going clockwise from top left:

1) Braun touching second base after his home run to right-centerfield.

2) Braun heading back to the dugout, you’ll probably have to click on the image to see it, but George Kottaras is yelling something as Braun approaches. My guess: “ATTA BOY!!!”

3) On the very next pitch, Aramis Ramirez took Hendriks deep to left-centerfield, and he also got to trot leisurely around the bases. My headline for the inning would be: “Ryan uses braun, Ram-Ram goes Bam-Bam, and the Brewers double their lead on the duos’ back-to-back jacks.”

4) Ramirez as he steps on home plate, giving the Brewers a 4-0 lead.

The Twins got one run back in the bottom of the third inning. The Brewers came back with solo runs in the fifth and sixth on home runs by Braun and Ransom, respectively. In the seventh, Braun came to the plate with a chance to give himself a second three homer day of the season. All he did was hit a measly double to left center, which gave him 10 total bases on the day. Here he is sliding into second.

The Twins put a meaningless run on the board in the eighth, and that concluded the scoring. Final Score: Brewers 6 – Twins 2. Fiers pitched great for the Brewers, and deserves a shout out and a picture. He hides the ball well (as you can see), and I think that is playing a role in his early success in the bigs. A 3.60 ERA isn’t the greatest, but he’s definitely held his own and is doing his part. He finished the day with 7 innings pitched, 1 run on 4 hits and 2 walks, and he struck out 5.

Victoria had recorded my interview with Craig Coshun from Wednesday’s game in Kansas City. I’ve included it below for your viewing (dis)pleasure. Check out the other camera guy photo bombing the first millisecond.

When we pulled up to Chris and Amber’s house after the game saw this:

That is Henry, Chris and Amber’s Puggle. He’s a very friendly one-year-old puppy, but he’s got some daggers for claws. When Chris and Amber got home from the Graduation party they were attending we grilled out for dinner, and I added another Bratwurst to the sausage tally. I’ll be leaving for the game at around 11:00 tomorrow, and I’m looking forward to seeing Greinke on the mound for the second time on the road trip. I know this means he won’t be pitching at home Monday through Wednesday, where he’s undefeated as a Brewer, but you can’t hold someone back because of home-away splits.

Personal Stats:

Daily:

Time inside Target Field: 3 hours 44 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 4 hours 10 minutes
Miles driven: 18.3
Sausages: 2 (Corndog, Bratwurst)
Pitches Missed: 1 (I got distracted by a mother cleaning up ice cream that her toddler spilled, darn babies!)
Consecutive pitch streak ended at: 919
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.67% (300/301)
Current streak of pitches seen: 124

Season:

Brewers current record: 30-35 (.462 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 276 hours 35 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 322 hours 57 minutes
Miles driven: 6,367.9
Miles riding in car but not driving: 1,702.1
Public Transit miles: 262.7
Flight Miles: 11,263
Total distance traveled: 19,595.7 miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 78.69% (19,595.7/24,901)
Sausages: 53 (21 Hot Dogs, 15 Polish, 7 Bratwurst, 5 Corndogs, 2 Italian, Cheddarwurst, Bison Dog, Chicken Apple Sausage)
Pitches missed: 57
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,469 (5/28 – 6/1)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.71% (19,608/19,665)

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

6-15-12 (@ Minnesota)

I got to Chris and Amber’s place in Minneapolis at 6:15 on Friday morning. Amber is Victoria’s friend from college, and Chris is her fiancé. I took a nap until 11:15 and then got up to write the post for Thursday. I’m glad I left Kansas City on Thursday night and not Friday morning. Yes, I was exhausted when I was done driving, but I felt better about getting to Minneapolis at 6:00 am on game day rather than 2:00 pm. I left for Target Field at 2:20 because I had an interview with KSTP TV (Minneapolis’ ABC affiliate) at 3:00. I picked up my credentials from gate 29 and then took an elevator down to the press level of the stadium.

There were a few Twins players taking some early BP, and I just watched from the camera well next to the Brewers dugout. It’s always cool to be in stadiums when there are so few people inside, something that I likely won’t get to experience after this season. The Brewers dugout was ready for the game (besides the missing bats):

A reporter and cameraman had come out onto the field and walked right past me. I figured they were there for me, but you can never be too sure. They were on the warning track near the Twins dugout and then the reporter makes a call. My phone starts ringing, and I answered (very unprofessionally) “I thought that was you guys.” I told her to look to her left and then waved. They came over and we did the short interview from inside the Brewers dugout. The cameraman got some B footage of me watching the Twins take BP. I don’t know how it’s going to look because by that time they were just working on bunting. It wasn’t too exciting and I probably just look like a statue since I didn’t have to move my head at all to see the ball.

They left right after the interview but I hung around for a bit, and Craig Coshun and Jerry Augustine appeared in the Brewers dugout. Rickie Weeks came out and Coshun interviewed him, and then Tim Dillard. I talked with Augie for a few minutes and then asked if he wouldn’t mind taking game photo number 64 for me. I know that I’ve always gotten the first picture of a new stadium from the exterior, but I’m not going to be on the field any of the other days, so I figured what the heck. Thanks Augie!

I had gotten a call and a voicemail from Tom Miller of the Janesville Gazette during my interview with KSTP. He wanted to do an interview for an article that would run in Sunday’s paper. I called him back and did the interview from a seat in section 111. I was done with the interview at 4:25 and I left the stadium to meet up with a few Be The Match employees. Nicole has been my main contact with Be The Match, and she asked if I had wanted to join her and two co-workers for Happy Hour at a local pub. I walked the two blocks to Kieran’s Irish Pub, and found them on the patio outside. It’s an enormous patio and it can probably fit 150 people out there. I had two beers and we talked about my mission, Be The Match, and cats. One of her co-workers, Kristin, is a transformed cat lover. We exchanged stories and pictures while Nicole and Jenna laughed to themselves. If they had a cat like Prince they would brag as well. Before we left the pub I had a nearby gentlemen take a picture of the four of us. Left to right you have Kristin, myself, Nicole, and Jenna. Kristin works in marketing for Be The Match and Nicole and Jenna both work for the Be The Match Foundation.

Nicole had tried to get tickets but then gave up, so we parted ways as we left Kieran’s. I walked to Target Field and was inside by 6:35. I had been told that Kramarczuks had a good polish sausage so I hit up one of the stands before heading to my seat. It looks amazing but I was underwhelmed. The casing was too hard, which causes you to use more force when taking a bite, which in turn causes all the contents to fall out of the bun. On top of that it was lacking in the flavor department, in my opinion. Today I’ll try the fried walleye on a stick, since I won’t be able to get that anywhere else this season.

The game moved along quickly through the first four innings, and remained scoreless. The Twins starter, Francisco Liriano, was dealing, and he had a no hitter through five innings. Here’s a an example of how things were going. Going clockwise from top left.

1) Rickie Weeks in the 2nd just barely getting a piece of a ball, but hitting it way down on the handle.

2) Maldonado swinging and missing at an ankle-high ball in the 2nd inning.

3) Cody Ransom swinging and missing in the 5th inning

4) Norichi Aoki barely fouling off a pitch.

Rickie wound up walking in his at bat in the second inning, and stole second base. I got a picture of him sliding in safely as Twins second basemen Alexi Casilla snags the one-hop throw from the catcher.

The Twins broke the 0-0 tie with a leadoff home run in the fifth, and then hit three straight singles to score another run. Gallardo loaded the bases with two outs, but then got out of it with no further damage. For that he gets a picture in the blog. I think Aramis Ramirez is enjoying himself a little too much.

In the top of the sixth Liriano still had the no-hitter intact after walking two of the first three batters he faced. He had an 0-2 count on Ryan Braun, but on the next pitch this happened:

Liriano hung a slider, and Braun didn’t miss, sending the two strike offering to over the centerfield wall. Going clockwise from top left:

1) Braun rounding third as the third base umpire Tony Randazzo looks on.

2) Ed Sedar and Braun going low for a high five.

3) Braun being congratulated at home by Edwin Maysonet and Carlos Gomez, who had drawn the walks before Braun’s homer.

4) Nyjer Morgan giving Braun an extremely low target for a high five as he enters the dugout.

The Brewers took a 3-2 lead on Braun’s home run, but the Twins got it right back with another solo home run from Trevor Plouffe. It remained a 3-3 game into the ninth when Corey Hart led off with a ground rule double down the right field line. I thought the lead-off double was going to be wasted after a Rickie Weeks pop-out and a Taylor Green strikeout. Maldonado delivered once again, however, and on a 2-2 offering from the Twins closer he sent one into the Brewers bullpen to give the Crew a 5-3 lead.

Axford came on in the ninth and tried again to notch his 11th save of the season. The Twins went down 1-2-3 and the Brewers snapped their three game losing streak. Here’s Axford and Maldonado embracing after the win.

It’s raining a bit as I’m writing this, but it’s supposed to clear up and give the teams a window to play in this afternoon. I’m leaving in about 30 minutes, so I need to get a move on.

Personal Stats:

Daily:

Time inside Target Field: 4 hours 54 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 5 hours 22 minutes
Miles driven: 18.1
Sausages: 1 (Polish)
Pitches Missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (305/305)
Current streak of pitches seen: 743

Season:

Brewers current record: 29-35 (.453 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 272 hours 51 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 318 hours 47 minutes
Miles driven: 6,349.6
Miles riding in car but not driving: 1,702.1
Public Transit miles: 262.7
Flight Miles: 11,263
Total distance traveled: 19,577.4 miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 78.62% (19,577.4/24,901)
Sausages: 51 (21 Hot Dogs, 15 Polish, 6 Bratwurst, 4 Corndogs, 2 Italian, Cheddarwurst, Bison Dog, Chicken Apple Sausage)
Pitches missed: 56
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,469 (5/28 – 6/1)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.71% (19,308/19,364)

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