I got up Sunday morning expecting decent weather for the game, and didn’t even pack my umbrella or poncho in my drawstring bag. I left Chris and Amber’s place at 11:30 and was parked before 11:45. Once I got to Target Field I went and found two of the other statues that are located outside of the stadium. On the left is Harmon Killebrew (who played with the Senators/Twins from 1954-1974). The Twins were the Washington Nationals/Senators from 1901-1960, before they moved to Minneapolis. On the right is Kerby Pucket (a Twin his whole career from 1984-1995).
Closer to the stadium in the right field plaza they have a giant gold glove. The plaque on the lower left lists all the Twins who have won the Gold Glove award. It’s awarded annually to the best defender at each position, in each league. So every year there are 18 Gold Gloves awarded.
Before I entered the stadium I stood on one of the benches to get a picture of the view looking into Target Field from the right field plaza. It’s an area where people can congregate and meet up before they enter the stadium.
I entered Target Field at 12:15 and went up to the club level, where they show off the awards that Target Field has been honored with.
I then ventured to the upper deck to get game photo number 66. Normally I would get the picture from directly behind home plate in the uppermost deck. At Target Field that doesn’t give you a very good view of downtown, so I compromised and got it taken a little to the left of home plate. There was a group of Brewers fans sitting in the fourth row of the section I was in, so I told them what I was doing and the picture I wanted. When I mentioned I was going to all 162 games they said that they had heard about me and knew my first name, so that was pretty cool. I had Aaron take the picture because he was in the best spot. One of them saw my cardboard diploma envelope that I keep my game number sign in and he told me that they are all going to be sophomores at UW-Madison in the fall. ♫ “U-Rah-Rah! Wisconsin!” ♫
Over my right shoulder you can see that something was going on in the outfield. Here’s a closer look:
A game of mascot tee-ball broke out! I was going to wait until they were done before getting my game number picture taken, but an usher informed me that they would likely be out there until about 12:50 (for the 1:10 start). I didn’t want to risk the stands becoming too full to find a good spot to stand for the picture, so I just took it anyways. I’m not even sure who won, team Bernie had put 10 runs on the board in his team’s turn at bat, and looking at the game number photo, team TC scored at least 7. After thanking Aaron and his friends I went further down the left field line in the upper deck to get a more complete view of the Minneapolis skyline.
I got to my seat as the National Anthem was getting underway, and the game started on time at 1:10. The Brewers struck first and went up 1-0 on an Aramis Ramirez RBI single in the opening frame. As Greinke pitched in the bottom of the first I took a picture of the view from my seat in section 116.
The Twins tied it in the third on a single by Mauer, but the Brewers put three on the board in the fifth. The Brewers had runners on first and third with nobody out in the inning, but a pop out by Braun and a strikeout by Ramirez put the inning in jeopardy. Chart came through for the Crew with an opposite field three-run home run to give the Brewers a 4-1 lead. Whenever Chart gets to Ed Sedar on a home run trot they both do some sort of wiggle, where they put the non-high-five hand on their head and rotate the hips. I don’t know what it’s about and if I ever meet Corey (or Ed) I’ll be sure to ask them. Most players were wearing baby blue armbands because Sunday was Father’s Day, and you can see them on Hart’s and Sedar’s forearms below.
I don’t remember when it started, but it began raining at some point during the game. It was just a drizzle at first, but then got worse, and there was a mass exodus up the stairs into the concourse. Luckily for me my seat was under the second level overhang, and I was dry as can be. I took the picture below in the top of the fourth.
It was looking good for the Crew, and Greinke was pitching well. Here he is in the sixth throwing a slider to Josh Willingham. The pitch was strike three to Willingham, and through six he had given up just the one run.
After walking the leadoff batter in the bottom of the seventh, Greinke got the next two hitters out using a total of four pitches. The next four batters all singled, however, and the Twins tied it up with three two-out runs. Neither team scored in the eighth or ninth, and the game went to extras. In the bottom of the eleventh the Twins had a runner on third with two outs, and the rain really started falling. Kameron Loe got Denard Span to ground out to Rickie Weeks, and the game was going to the 12th. This is what took place over the next 42 minutes, going clockwise from top left:
1) Heavy rain and lightening in the area caused the grounds crew to roll the tarp over the infield as the game went to “weather delay” status.
2) The infield covered, as fans head back up into the concourse.
3) After the sky cleared the grounds crew was back at it.
4) The field after it was uncovered. The grounds crew was spreading a drying agent over parts of the infield (all of them) that had gotten wet before the tarp was rolled out.
The game went to the 15th inning, and in the bottom half the Twins had runners on first and second with only one out. Jamey Carroll singled to right, but Aoki has a good arm, and the runner rounding third was given a late stop sign by the third base coach. Trevor Plouffe got in a rundown between third and home and had made it back to third safely. The runner who had been at first, though, went to third because he was expecting Plouffe to be tagged in the rundown (which he should have been). I’m mad that I didn’t get a picture of it, but there were two Twins just lying there touching third base with outstretched arms, one on the home plate side of third, and one on the second base side. Plouffe was called out (since you can’t have multiple runners on the same base), and the Brewers dodged a bullet. Dillard had been pitching and was relieved by Juan Perez, to get the lefty-lefty matchup on Denard Span. Perez got ahead of Span 0-2, and it was looking like we were headed to the 16th inning. I’ll let the following four part picture explain what happened after the 0-2 pitch. Clockwise from top left:
1) Span singled to left, Dozier scored, and the Twins won. After getting to first Span realized he was going to get mobbed, so he kept running towards second.
2) Span then pulled a nifty juke move on Ben Revere, and escaped for a moment.
3) As he got to the outfield grass more teammates were upon him and stopped running.
4) The Twins celebrating their 15th inning victory.
Final Score: Twins 5 – Brewers 4. It was a tough one to swallow. What made it worse is that I didn’t leave Target Field until 6:45, compared to the 4:00 departure time I had been hoping for. I jumped in my car at 7:00 and made it to Victoria’s and my apartment at 11:04 pm. It’s almost 2:00 pm on Monday, and I need to go. I just realized that I should probably get an oil change before I put another 1,000 miles on my car in the next week and a half. I’ve already put on over 5,000 miles since my last oil change which was right before the season began. The Brewers play the Toronto tonight and I’m looking forward to seeing the Blue Jays in person. Brett Lawrie, who was the main piece in the Shaun Marcum trade, is the Jays’ starting third basemen. He’s got somewhat of a temper, so I might or might not be cheering for some questionable ball-strike calls from the home plate umpire when he’s at the plate.
I forgot to mention this, but during the seventh inning (I think), Dan, or maybe it was Dave (it was a long game), stopped by and gave me $60 to donate to Be the Match. He recognized me and said he reads the blog. THANK YOU!!! If you’re reading this, if you could leave a comment with your email address, I’d like to get in touch. When you leave a comment it doesn’t automatically post, and I’ll get a chance to not approve it once I get your contact info. This actually goes for anyone that wants to get ahold of me.
If you want to learn more about Be The Match and how you can help, CLICK HERE
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:
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.
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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.
If you want to learn more about Be The Match and how you can help, CLICK HERE
The first half of Thursday was uneventful, but the second half made up for it. I worked on the post for Wednesday until about 2:00 pm and then started getting ready for the day. I was going to be meeting Kris Miner, a Kansas Citian, who is in need of a bone marrow transplant and doesn’t have a match. Her family is promoting Be The Match and trying to find a match for Kris. I agreed to meet with Kris at Kauffman Stadium on Thursday to do a few TV spots for Fox Sports and a couple local news stations.
I left Tom and Danielle’s place at 3:18 and got to Kauffman Stadium just after 3:30. Apparently if you get there early enough parking is free. They have toll booths set up where you pay for parking, and all but one of them had a cone in front of the lane that you drive through. The farthest one to the right didn’t have a cone and I proceeded to park in the A lot. There was an attendant nearby, and after parking (there were a bunch of other cars parked as well) I asked if I just pay her. She said no, and that I got there early enough and didn’t have to pay. Uhhhhhh, OK!!! I put my pass from the previous day on the dash just for good measure and made my way to Gate C, where Erik Miner (Kris’ brother-in-law) told me to enter. They weren’t there yet and the guy manning the door didn’t know what I was talking about so I just waited for everyone else to arrive. In the meantime I took an artsy shot of the exterior of the home plate entrance, with some wheat-like vegetation in the foreground.
When team Kris Miner arrived we entered Gate C and congregated in the lobby while the details for the TV spots were worked out. Kris and I talked about our experiences while we waited for the interviews. She is getting an aggressive chemo regimen 24/7 to try and suppress the Lymphoma until she can find a match.
After about 15 minutes we entered the Diamond Club behind home plate and got situated. When the Royals were taking batting practice I took a picture from the restaurant.
Kris and I eventually got seated and Nate Bukaty (from FSN) sat between us. I had actually done a radio interview on Wednesday with Nate, as he also co-hosts the morning sports talk show on ESPN Radio’s Kansas City affiliate. I had a few hiccups, but overall I think it went well. The audio is a little tinny, but it will suffice. This aired during the Royals pre-game show.
Erik took pictures during the interview and here’s one that I picked out.
After the FSN spot we did a few other short interviews for a couple of the local news stations (thus the microphone clipped to my jersey in the photo above). Kris and I posed for Erik after we were done with the media.
It almost brings tears to my eyes thinking about the situation Kris and her family are in. I was in the same boat three years ago and was bailed out by a couple of matches in the umbilical cord blood database. The doctor’s gave Kris 7-9 weeks without a transplant. She is an amazing individual who understands that even if a match isn’t found for her, she is still helping out others. What we’re trying to do is prevent people from being in the situation where the clock is ticking and there isn’t a match. Check out bethematch.org and find out how easy it is to join the registry. I said it before, but there is a drive in Madison on June 21st, and another in Milwaukee on June 27th. You can also order a kit online to do the cheek swabbing at home.
We left the Diamond Club and went up to the .390 Bar & Grill on the second level of the stadium. George Brett hit .390 in 1980, thus the name of the restaurant.
They started taking orders around 5:30 and I had a co-worker of Erik order for me as Erik and I went to the upper deck to get game photo number 63. It took a bunch of tries to get a decent picture. It had nothing to do with Erik and everything to do with the sun and the problems it was causing. The sun was just showing throw the gap between the stands and the roof of the upper deck. We had to find a spot where the sun would illuminate me and the sign otherwise I would have just been a shadow.
On our way back to the .390 Bar & Grill I took a picture of one of the spiral ramps that is connected to Kauffman Stadium. It doesn’t make for a very pretty exterior, but they need ramps, and this was the style in use when the stadium was built. Arrowhead Stadium can be seen in the background, where the Kansas City Chiefs (NFL) play.
When we returned to the restaurant this was waiting for me. I ordered the build-your-own burger, and put on lettuce, tomato, onions, bacon, cheddar, and mushrooms. It was going to set me back $15 but Erik graciously offered to pay. He said it was for helping them out, but it was the least that I could do to raise awareness for something that is so important for Kris and many like her.
The view from the .390 Bar & Grill is pretty good, but the beams are a little distracting. If you’re in the seats right up against the glass they wouldn’t be a problem though.
We stayed in the restaurant until after the National Anthem, and then headed down to our seats. I thought we all were in 224, but I looked at my ticket and saw 234. Apparently the Royals only had 8 together in 224, and then the rest were in 234. I still just sat with Kris, Ken (Kris’ husband), Erik, and some other family members in section 224. Marcum was on the hill for the Brewers, and he pitched a great game. Here he is delivering a pitch early in the game.
The game was knotted at zero heading into the fourth, and that’s when Braun went deep to give the Brewers a 1-0 lead. Apparently he didn’t want his picture taken, as he shielded himself from my camera as he rounded second.
Ok, he actually was making sure his helmet was on tight, as he routinely does at least once during his home run trot, but it’s fun to imagine, isn’t it? In the bottom of the fourth the Brewers turned a 6-4-3 double play, and I captured Rickie as he was making the turn at second.
In the sixth inning the Royals took the lead on a two-run home run from Eric Hosmer. Hosmer is on my fantasy team, but I honestly don’t even know if I was playing him, as I haven’t checked my lineup in 10 days or so. Either way, I’d much rather see the Brewers succeed than my fantasy team, seeing that I have much more invested (emotionally and financially) in the Brewers than I do in fantasy ($25). Aramis Ramirez tied it at two with a solo blast in the seventh, and I captured him as he stepped on third. Alcides Escobar looks on, as 3rd base umpire Dale Scott makes sure Ram-Ram touches the bag.
In the top of the eighth the Brewers played some small ball and took the lead. Gomez singled, Maysonet sacrificed him to second, and Ransom drove him in to give the Brewers a 3-2 lead. Marcum pitched into the eighth and his final line was 7 and 2/3 innings pitched, 4 hits, 2 walks, 2 earned runs and 5 strikeouts. He was definitely deserving of the victory. K-Rod relieved him and got the last out of the eighth. Axford came on in the ninth to try his hand at save number 11 for the second consecutive night. He struck out the first batter (Maier) but his curveball was a 57 footer and got by Maldonado. With the tying run on base Axford induced a groundout and struck out Escobar for what should’ve been the final out of the inning. Jarrod Dyson then drew a walk and the winning run was now on base. Brayan Peña lined Axford’s 1-1 pitch to left field for a base hit, and Maier scored easily. Peña had started going to second and the cutoff throw went to Maysonet (the Brewers shortstop). Maysonet then tried to get Peña and threw low to Rickie Weeks at second. In the meantime Dyson had taken off for home, and Maysonet’s bad throw to Weeks led to him not being able to get the ball home in time. Final Score: Royals 4 – Brewers 3. It was a devastating loss and I was speechless. I honestly didn’t see the winning run because I had turned my back when I saw the tying run score. I was preparing myself for another walk-off in the upcoming at bat or another extra inning affair. I don’t know if I would’ve seen it anyways because I was standing in the concourse and everyone was on their feet with their arms in the air as the Royals finished the sweep.
I was planning on leaving Kansas City early Friday morning, but Thursday’s results made me reconsider. I was really down and figured I probably wouldn’t get much sleep anyways. I went back to Tom and Danielle’s, packed up, said goodbye, and left their place at 11:36. I pulled up to Victoria’s friends’ place in Minneapolis at 6:10 and made it in just over six and a half hours.
I’m leaving for Target Field in about an hour, and I need to get going. I’m doing an interview with a TV station at the park, and then meeting some Be The Match staff at an Irish Pub nearby.
I just want to thank Team Kris Miner for letting me help out with their cause. Stories like hers make me realize that I made the right decision in regards to quitting my job and stepping up to the plate. They were all very nice and I look forward to her finding a match and making a full recovery.
If you want to learn more about Be The Match and how you can help, CLICK HERE
Wednesday started off slow, and I was working on the blog post for Tuesday until about noon. I decided to hit up Arthur Bryant’s Barbecue, due to a recommendation from Trenni Kusneriek (and others). It’s on Brooklyn Ave and 18th Street southeast of downtown. There are two other locations but this location was the original (ok, not really the original, seeing as Arthur Bryant’s has been around since 1908, but it’s near where the original was). I got there around 2:15, and was not disappointed. The four-parter below, going clockwise from top left:
1) The exterior of the restaurant from across Brooklyn Avenue.
2) The interior of the restaurant. The wall had pictures of famous visitors, and articles that Arthur Bryant’s appeared in. Some notables visitors were President Jimmy Carter, Steven Spielberg, Danny Glover, John Lithgow, and John McCain and Sarah Palin (while campaigning for the 2008 election).
3) The menu, I ordered the chicken sandwich. The menu says “chicken-half”, and I thought that meant I’d get half a chicken’s worth of meat.
4) I was wrong, it’s literally half a chicken, bones and all. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to just eat the chicken off the bone, and then have two pieces of bread, or shred the chicken myself. I also got a side of potato salad.
I did some deconstruction and then some assembly, and this was the result:
My first bite had a bone in it; bad job on my part. On each subsequent bite I was more careful. That first bite was the only one that had a bone, so I wound up doing a decent job. It was a great sandwich, and the potato salad was spectaculous.
The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum was nearby, and I visited that as well. I spent about an hour and 45 minutes walking through the exhibits and reading about the history. It was cool and sad at the same time, and makes you wonder how many MLB records would be different if players of color would’ve been allowed to play in the majors sooner. You can’t take photographs when you’re inside the museum, so I’ll give you a photo of the exterior of the museum(s). The building also houses the American Jazz Museum. The sign reads “The Museum at 18th & Vine”. It was $8 to see one of the museums, and $10 for both. I do like Jazz, but I knew I wouldn’t have time to do both so I just went with the Negro Leagues Museum.
I was done at the museum just after 4:45, and left for Kauffman Stadium from there. I was meeting my friend Matt (it feels weird using first names), and he got to the parking lot shortly after I did. We went to middle school and high school together, and we both went to UW-Madison as well. We didn’t see each other much during college, but we’re still friends, and he’s in the fantasy baseball league that I’m the commissioner of. I was planning on getting the game number photo from behind home plate in the upper deck on Wednesday, and then from my seat on Thursday. Since we had plenty of time, I figured we should at least see if there was a good spot to capture the back of the scoreboard. It took some walking, but we found a good spot. I know I usually don’t get two pictures from outside the stadium, but I made an exception. Game photo number 62:
After getting the above picture we entered the left field gate and visited the Royals Hall of Fame. It’s located in the left field corner of the stadium and was added during the remodeling of Kauffman Stadium. They did a great job with it and I took a bunch of pictures. This first four-parter, going clockwise from top left:
1) The ceiling of the museum when you first enter. It might be a little confusing because the wall is at the bottom, which makes it kind of look like the floor.
2) Garth Brooks’ guitar and a note: “To all my friends in low places in KC. Love you Guys!! God bless you and yours.” They play Friends in Low Places (a Garth Brooks song) during the game and most people sing along.
3) The bobble heads that they have in the all-fan-giveaway display. I attended two Brewers-Royals games at Kauffman Stadium back in 2006, and they had a bobble head giveaway one of the days. I have the Frank White bobble head, with him holding his 8 gold gloves in his left hand and you can see it in the middle of the bottom row.
4) A letter from President Nixon to George Brett after the famous pine tar incident (George Brett was ruled out after a home run at Yankee Stadium when he was found to have too much pine tar on the bat he used). The letter reads: “Dear George, As one who roots for the home team I am a Yankees fan. As a long time George Brett fan I thought you got a lousy deal. I’ll wager they change the rule in the future. In the meantime keep slugging! With warm regards, Richard Nixon” In a word: cool.
The thing that I thought was coolest was the letter from a fan of the new franchise. The owners had asked people to suggest names for the new team, and this was the winner. I never would’ve guessed the reason for the Royals name. I probably would’ve thought it was just implying that they were royalty. You can click on it if you need a larger image (as is the case with all of the pictures).
A few more notable items from the Royals Hall of Fame. Again, going clockwise from top left:
1) The Royals’ Statue of Liberty, a gift from the Yankees when they hosted the 2008 All-Star Game.
2) One baseball for each base hit that George Brett had in his career: 3,142. It’s a really cool piece of artwork. Inside the glass display is the bat he used to get his 3,000 hit, and the ball that he hit.
3) The eight gold gloves won by Frank White (’77-’82, and ’86-’87). I think the player gets the original and then the team gets a replica.
4) The Royals World Series trophy from the 1985 Fall Classic when they beat the Cardinals. There was a terrible call in the 9th inning of game six, and it led to a Royals victory. They then won game seven and the rest is history. I was reading more about that game six just now and learned there was also a blown call that cost the Royals a runner at second base earlier in the game. So maybe it all evened out. The Cardinals now have 11 other World Series titles to soak up their tears so I can’t be too upset about the blown call.
In left-centerfield there is a statue of Ewing Kauffman and his wife Muriel. They were the founding owners, and brought baseball back to Kansas City. The Kansas City A’s (previously the Philadelphia A’s, and currently the Oakland A’s) were in KC from 1955 to 1967. The Royals’ first season in Kansas city was 1969 and they’ve been in Kauffman Stadium since 1973. It was known as Royals Stadium from 1973-1993. The park was renamed Kauffman Stadium just a month before he passed away in August of 1993.
Matt and I met up with a friend of Victoria’s, and he bought us a beer. His name is John, and he was a hotdogger in Victoria’s “class”. Oscar Mayer hires 12 recent college grads every year to drive the six wienermobiles around the country. John was never Victoria’s partner (they have a partner for the first six months and then a different one for the other six months). We talked about my mission and how it’s been going so far. He had the Midwest region for six months, and he said he misses Madison, as do I. Before we took off I had John take a picture of Matt and me. Thinking about it now, I should’ve had a stranger take a picture of the three of us.
We thanked John for the beer but then had to hustle over to the visitor’s dugout. I was going to be doing an on-air interview with Craig Coshun during the game. Since there isn’t a gate that allows access to the camera well from the stands I had to meet Craig before the game and pick this up:
We were sitting on the third base side somewhat near the camera well (on purpose), and this was the view from our seats in section 117, row P.
The game got underway and again the Royals jumped out to a 1-0 lead after a leadoff double and two groundouts. The Brewers got on the board in the third, and it was an inning that I will likely never see again. After Kottaras popped out to leadoff the inning, the next three Brewers all reached on infield singles. Maysonet reached on a swinging bunt, and then Aoki and Gomez both bunted for base hits. A Ryan Braun strikeout followed the hits, but then Aramis Ramirez hit a ground ball to short that was ruled a base hit as well. The shortstop tried forcing out Gomez at second, but his wheels allowed him to get there before the throw. Maysonet scored and the Brewers tied it at one. Four infield hits in one inning: very rare.
I had met Craig Coshun by the BATS Club entrance and we went under the seating bowl to reach the camera well. While walking down one of the tunnels Zack Greinke was coming up to get something out of the visitor’s clubhouse. I missed the Kottaras pop out because it takes so long to get to the well, but saw the infield hits and the run that scored in the top of the third. This was my view from Craig’s chair in the camera well. He graciously allowed me to sit in his folding chair while he stood next to/leaned on an electrical box.
We did the interview when FS-Wisconsin came back from commercial break at the start of the bottom of the fourth. Here is Craig pointing to the camera out in centerfield, and me waving to the camera guy who was waving at us. Thanks Matt for taking the pictures.
I was on for just a minute or two, but I got my message out. I haven’t gotten a chance to see the interview, but people said it went well. There were some hecklers that were giving me grief during the interview. I’m not used to such situations, and it actually got to me a bit. Not because what they were saying was hurtful, but just that I was trying to answer questions and my mind wanted to hear what they were saying as well. I can probably watch the interview and tell you when it happened, because I kind of lost my train of thought and stumbled briefly. I heard one of them say/yell: “answer the questions with your beard.” If you’re not aware; my initial goal was to not shave for the entire season. I’m having second thoughts. Here we are during the interview.
I missed eight pitches during the interview, three getting to the camera well, and three getting back, for a total of 14! By far the most of the season. The previous high was four and happened during my interview with Telly Hughes on May 1st in San Diego. I didn’t miss anything special, so I’m not too upset. The fact that someone tweeted me afterwards telling me that they had met me in the Miller Park parking lot and that the interview reminded them to order the do-it-yourself registration kit made it all worth it.
At one point during the game I looked up and saw something that Matt and I thought was pretty funny:
Ok, back to the game; in the seventh inning Ryan Braun drove in Edwin Maysonet on a single to center, and the Brewers took a 2-1 lead. They added to it in the ninth after a leadoff double by Aoki, a sacrifice bunt by Gomez, and an error on the play by the catcher led to Aoki scoring. The stage was set for Axford to pick up his 11th save. Axford retired two of the first four batters in the inning, but the other two reached on walks and Axford only threw one strike to the two of them combined. With two outs and two on Alcides Escobar lined a 2-1 pitch to left center, and wound up at third with a 2-run triple. Tie game. The Brewers had runners on the corners with two outs in the 10th, but failed to score. Kameron Loe came out to pitch the bottom of the 11th and the Royals wasted no time improving their on base percentage. They went single, walk, single, and Loe was taken out in favor of Jose Veras. Veras walked Moustakas on five pitches and the Royals had a walk-’em-in walk-off. Final Score: Royals 4 – Brewers 3.
It was one of the toughest losses of the season, and probably one of the most exciting for Royals fans. “One man’s pain is another man’s pleasure.”
I’ll be at Kauffman Stadium in two short hours, and I’ll be meeting with Kris Miner, a local whose Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma transformed into Stage 4B Large Cell Lymphoma. She needs a bone marrow transplant and there currently isn’t a match in the registry. Her husband and brother-in-law contacted me and asked if I’d be willing to help promote the registry and try to get people to join. I obviously agreed to do anything they need. She just recently got news that the chemo isn’t working to keep the disease at bay, and now the timetable is 7-9 weeks for her to find a match. If you haven’t joined the registry I encourage you to do so. She is of German and Dutch decent and those with similar backgrounds have a better chance of being a match. If you’re not of German or Dutch decent I would still encourage you to join because there are many other individuals in the same situation as Kris. You can join in person at a free drive by typing in your zip code to find an upcoming drive near you. You can also order a self registration kit online. If you have already joined or donated to the cause I can’t thank you enough.
If you want to learn more about Be The Match and how you can help, CLICK HERE
Before I forget; I taped the re-airing of the Brewers game from Sunday, and recorded with my iPhone the point in the game that I caught the foul ball. Victoria’s hand was a little sore after that jacked-up high five I gave her. The other guy I gave a high five to was the one who had said “you just took your glove out!” after I made the catch.
I had a few appointments in Madison on Monday, and I left for Kansas City when I was done at 2 pm. I arrived at Tom at Danielle’s place at 10:20 pm, and went to bed shortly thereafter. Tom & Danielle are engaged, and they met while in the dorms freshman year at UW-Madison. They too were Gilman House residents, along with myself, Victoria, Alex, Jess, Katie, and Allison. I stayed with Alex and Jess in Chicago, saw Katie at the game on April 9th at Wrigley, and Victoria and I stayed with Allison in San Francisco in May.
Tom and Danielle live in the Market Station Apartments in downtown Kansas City, and it’s a nice complex. The four parter gives a taste of what it’s like. Going clockwise from top left:
1) One of the hallways in the complex. I was surprised to see cement floors. It probably makes it easier to clean and it’s cheaper, since you don’t have to worry about replacing the carpeting.
2) The interior of their apartment, taken from the kitchen area. It’s a two bed / two bath so I got my own side of the apartment! I’m sleeping on an air mattress (not at this exact moment) and have had no complaints. Thanks guys!!!
3) The view out of their kitchen window(s), not too shabby.
4) The view of downtown Kansas City from the attached parking garage for the Market Station Apartments.
On Tuesday I ate breakfast, watched some Sportscenter, and then laid by the pool for a bit. At 2:30 I went to get lunch at Oklahoma Joe’s. I had asked Tom and Danielle on Monday night where I should go, and they said if I only go to one place it should be Okie Joe’s. The three part picture below, again going clockwise from top left:
1) The exterior of the building that Oklahoma Joe’s is in. Is that a gas station? It sure is.
2) The interior of the restaurant, behind me and to the left was the gas station side of the store. When I was buying a bottle of the BBQ sauce the lady behind the gas station counter was taking orders for Oklahoma Joe’s, so it seems there is a good relationship between the two establishments.
3) My lunch; the Jumbo Pulled Pork sandwich and a side of Spicy Slaw. The pulled pork had just the right amount of smoke, and it was amazalicious. For $2.39 I’d have to give the slaw a solid B. For that price I was expecting to be blown away.
After lunch I went back to Tom and Danielle’s place and started getting ready for the game. Danielle got home from work around 5:15, and Tom 5:55. Two of their friends (Ben & Kristen) picked us up at 6:00, and we were parked by 6:20. Kauffman Stadium and Arrowhead Stadium (where the Kansas City Chiefs play) are located right next to each other, and share parking lots. We parked in one that was right in front of Arrowhead.
Ben and Kristen had picked up some fried chicken along with some other items for the tailgate. I ate two pieces of chicken, had a beer, but then had to take off, to make sure I could get my ticket and exterior game number picture prior to the game. Before I left them I had a nearby Brewers fan take a picture of the five of us. Left to right it’s Tom, Danielle, myself, Kristin, and Ben.
I was a little disappointed to find out that the Royals don’t have exterior Kauffman Stadium signage. I think that should be a law. I explained to a stadium employee what I wanted and she told me I should go to the upper deck and get a picture with the field in the background. I explained that I was planning on doing that for one of the other games, but needed an exterior picture for the first game. I settled with the following for game photo number 61. I know it says “Royals” on the side of the stadium, but most places have the stadium name somewhere on the outside.
I got inside at 7:03 for a 7:10 start time, which is the closest call I’ve had this season. Outside and inside I took a few pics, but will do a better job of documenting the park at today’s game. Going clockwise from top left:
1) The addition to Kauffman Stadium when they did some remodeling from 2007-2009. I was here in 2006, so I hadn’t seen any of the upgrades.
2) Just after getting my ticket scanned I took a picture of the home plate entrance. I must admit that it’s not too inviting or exciting.
3) The addition on the left, with the original stadium architecture on the right. The addition holds offices, the team store, and other aspects of an MLB team.
4) A giant piggy bank that is sporting Royals colors.
The national anthem had been playing when I was getting my bags checked at the gate, and had to wait there before heading inside. I got to my seat at about 7:09, and the game started one minute later. This was the view from my seat in the last row of section 225.
The Brewers went down in order in the first, and the leadoff hitter for the Royals took Greinke deep to give them a 1-0 lead. The Royals starter (Luis Mendoza) carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning, before Ryan Braun singled on a ground ball to the third basemen. I have a four parter to show what happened, clockwise from top left:
1) Braun lining up Mendoza to lead off the seventh.
2) Braun sliding into second base after the third baseman’s throw got past the first basemen. This picture doesn’t show that the ball had gotten past Escobar who was covering second.
3) Braun arriving at third after the second error of the inning.
4) After an Aramis Ramirez walk Taylor Green lifted a short fly ball to left that was caught by the left fielder. Braun tried tagging up but was thrown out by quite a bit. It wasn’t even that good of a throw, but Gordon was so shallow once he caught the ball that there was a large margin for error.
After the double play the Brewers were left with the slow-footed Ramirez at second and Rickie Weeks at the plate. Rickie came through with a bloop single and Ramirez barely beat the throw home to tie the game at one. It remained tied until the bottom of the eighth, when the Royals got a leadoff double from Gordon. He was sacrificed to third by Getz and then Billy Butler drove him in with a single to center. The Brewers had runners on first and third with only one out in the top of the ninth but failed to get a run home. Kottaras struck out swinging and pinch hitter Brooks Conrad grounded into a game ending fielder’s choice. Final Score: Royals 2 – Brewers 1.
A few other things from the game. If you didn’t know, Kauffman is famous for the fountains that they have beyond the outfield walls. I took a picture of them during an inning when they’re off:
I also took a picture between innings, later in the game they turn on lights that make the fountains colorful, but I won’t include one of those pictures today. They also turn the fountains on when a Royal hits a home run. So on Tuesday it didn’t take long for that fact to be confirmed.
I’ll note that while trying to take the first picture (of the fountains while they were off) I missed the 2-1 pitch to Humberto Quintero in the bottom of the fifth inning. I was looking through my camera’s viewfinder and had it pointed at the fountains, and my internal clock wasn’t working properly. I can usually sense when to look back at the action. I failed to do so on Tuesday but luckily it didn’t end a really long streak or anything. If I showed you a picture of two beach balls almost hitting each other in the stands would you forgive me? No? Well here it is anyways. I hate beach balls at baseball games, and the distraction almost caused me to miss another pitch. Documenting such behavior might encourage more usage, so maybe I shouldn’t post it…
A friend from Fort Atkinson is joining me at today’s (Wednesday’s) game. He is currently living and working in Omaha, and is making the trip down to see the Brewers take on the Royals in game two of the series.
In other news: I will be on FS-Wisconsin’s telecast tonight during the fourth inning. Craig Coshun just contacted me and informed me of the on-air appearance. Tune in, check it out, laugh at my pathetic “beard”. If you haven’t joined the bone marrow donor registry yet (and are 18-60), you should seriously consider it. There will be a drive in Madison on Thursday, June 21st at the Central Wisconsin Center on Knutson street from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. There will also be a drive in Milwaukee on Wednesday, June 27th at Kaplan college on West Pleasant street from 9:00 am to 1:30 pm.
If you want to learn more about Be The Match and how you can help, CLICK HERE
I slept in until 10:00 on Sunday morning and it felt good to get over nine hours of sleep. Victoria and I had been staying at her Aunt and Uncle’s in Sussex, and left the house by 11:30. We were parked in the Braves 1 Lot by 12:09, and made our way inside. If you’re new to the blog I’m getting a picture taken when I’m at each game. When at home I’m getting it taken from a different section for each game (since there are so many). I’m slowly working my way around the loge level, and on Sunday I had it taken in section 224.
After getting the game photo taken care of, Victoria and I went and said hi to the Ice Man and then went up to section 425. My Uncle Mark and Aunt Deb were at the game with their two sons; Wade and Travis. Wade had gotten four tickets to a Brewers game for Christmas, and it just so happened that I was at the same game. That’s CRAZY!!! This was Wade and Travis’ first Brewers game, and Mark and Deb’s first since Miller Park opened. Below you have Deb, myself, Mark (my mom’s younger brother), Travis, and Wade. My mom is a Sykes, and has 11 siblings. In 2010 the family made a address and birthday handbook thing, and I referenced it to see how old Travis and Wade were. I was shocked when I saw that Travis just turned 10 and Wade 14. I know I’m only 25, but now I feel old.
Victoria and I went back down to the loge level, and decided to watch the majority of the game from the concourse above section 213. For some reason they decided not to close the two panels on the first base side, and it allowed for some good photo opportunities. Gallardo was on the mound for the Brewers, and he gave up a solo home run in the first and another run in the second on a ground out. This is Gallardo pitching in the first.
Aramis Ramirez led off the bottom of the second inning with a ground out to the shortstop. I snapped a picture just after the ball bounced off the infield dirt in front of home plate. You can see the dirt flying from the impact.
In the top of the third, Chase Headley of the Padres walked, and then attempted to steal second. I’m not sure he would’ve been out, but Weeks got charged with an error on the play, and Headley wound up at third. Here’s Headley sliding as the ball heads towards the outfield grass.
In the fourth, Cameron Maybin grounded to Rickie Weeks for the second out of the inning. I snapped a picture of Rickie as he was about to release the ball, to show how much of a sidearm delivery he has.
In the bottom of the fourth I swapped out my zoom lens for the standard 18-55 mm and zoomed out to show our view from the concourse. Anthony Bass had just let go of a pitch, with Taylor Green at the plate. The roof’s shadow is between the mound and the plate, and this is what the Brewers prevent from happening when they close the two roof panels on the first base side .
In the top of the sixth Cameron Maybin grounded out again, this time to shortstop. I got a picture shortly after Edwin Maysonet let go. The throw wound up high, but Corey Hart jumped for it and on his descent tagged Maybin on his way to first.
The score was still 2-0 going into the bottom of the sixth, and that’s when things got interesting. Aoki led off with a single, stole second, and then advanced to third on the throwing error by the Padres catcher. Braun singled in Aoki and the Brewers were on the board. Two outs followed Braun’s base hit, but then Rickie Weeks walked to bring up Martin Maldonado with two on and two out. On the first pitch Maldonado lifted one to deep center, and Cameron Maybin looked like he had a read on it. He leaped and it just missed his glove, clearing the fence by just a few inches. As Maldonado was rounding third I got a picture of the action. Ed Sedar is waiting with his hand out, Maldonado is preparing for the medium five, all while the crowd goes wild.
Maysonet followed Maldonado with a triple to center, but he was stranded at third. In the bottom of the seventh Aoki walked with one out and Braun followed with his 15th home run of the season. It gave the Brewers a four run cushion, and I was liking our chances.
In the bottom of the eighth Victoria and I went down to say hi to Bill (I joked that I had just gotten there, but then reassured him I had just been watching from the concourse). We stood for the bottom of the eighth but then sat down in section 221, but not in my ticketed seats. To get to my seats on the other aisle we would’ve had to either make a bunch of people stand up, or go up into the concourse and back down the staircase that our seats are on. We just sat in two aisle seats opposite mine, in the 9th row. As Axford started pitching in the top of the ninth, I realized that with a upper nineties pitcher on the mound, and with a lefty at the plate (Everth Cabrera), I should probably have my glove on. After the first 2-2 pitch I reached into my bag which was on the seat in front of my and not five seconds later Axford delivers and Cabrera fouls it back my way. I took one step into the aisle and made the catch.
I almost didn’t catch it because I was so excited that I had started to close my glove too soon, and it didn’t land in the webbing. I gave Victoria a really hard high five and was all smiles/laughs. I wonder if I would’ve caught it without my glove. It’s always more impressive when you can, but the embarrassment involved in dropping it always outweighs the potential haters who say you shouldn’t wear a glove. I actually heard a guy in my row talking to his friends saying that I should’ve been a “man” and not used a glove. I’m pretty sure the players have gloves on the field, but I’m not going to rant. The guy to my right said “and I saw you get your glove on right before that”. Someone tweeted a picture of me when FSN showed me on the broadcast. I’m recording the replay tonight to see if they actually showed the catch, or just me afterwards. I’m talking to the guy that I mentioned above.
The ninth inning almost gave me a heart attack. The Padres scored three runs, all charged to Axford, and then still had the bases loaded with two outs. Thankfully John Baker was called out on strikes on a 3-2 pitch from Jose Veras, and the Brewers narrowly escaped with the series win. Final Score: Brewers 6 – Padres 5.
When Victoria and I got back to Madison I took our Nyjer Morgan bobble heads completely out of the boxes to inspect. Apparently they didn’t put enough glue on, because his head wasn’t connected to the spring when I took it out of the plastic. It’s an easy fix though, so I’m not too upset.
I also took a close up of the foul ball that I caught. Cabrera just barely got a piece of it, and you can see the scuff mark and the smeared “lings” of the Rawlings logo. All around I would say it was a good day.
I have occupational and physical therapy appointments at 11:00 am and 1:15 pm, respectively, and then am heading for Kansas City. I’m hoping to get there by 10:00 pm. I don’t know if they’ll be a post about off day number seven, mainly because I don’t think listing things I see on my boring drive will be interesting.
If you want to learn more about Be The Match and how you can help, CLICK HERE
I got back to Madison at 11:59 pm on Friday night, wrote the blog post about the day, and was in bed by 2:30 am. I got up at 10:00 and Victoria and I were on the road at 11:56. We made it to the Money Lot at 1:34, and I walked around for 30 minutes informing people about my mission and Be The Match. It can be fun and frustrating at the same time. One tailgate will be excited about either the baseball or my story, and then the next will have someone almost laughing at another member in their group as I’m telling them about the donor process and how easy it is to join the registry. I have no idea how I would react if someone came up to a tailgate I was in and explain what they’re doing, but I don’t think I would be tempted to laugh.
I met Victoria inside Miller Park at 2:20, and we went to section 225 to take game photo number 59. Only 103 games left to go, and it’s going by pretty fast.
After getting the picture we decided we wanted food, and we went to the Plaza Pavilion which is the outdoor concession stand near section 110 (first base side of the field level). Victoria got the Milwaukee steak sandwich and I had the brisket smothered bacon dog. Mine consisted of a bacon wrapped hot dog covered in BBQ’d brisket, caramelized onions, diced onions, and cheddar cheese. It’s $8.25 but was worth every penny. It deserves its own category but I’ll be including it in the hot dog count of the stats at the end.
We ate in the cross aisle below the press box so we could stay out of the sun as long as possible. After finishing we went to our seats, and sat down when it was a 2-2 count on the Padres leadoff hitter in the top of the first. I didn’t miss the first four pitches, and I saw them all as we walked under the press box windows to our seats. The Brewers got off to another great start, and took a 1-0 lead on an RBI double by Rickie Weeks in the bottom of the first. When Weeks was on second I got a picture of the contraption that he wears on his left hand. As you can see, it resembles an oven mitt. It’s to protect his hand on head first slides, and I think his brother wears one now as well (Jemile Weeks plays for the Oakland A’s).
In the top of the third the Padres tied it on an RBI infield single. The Brewers regained the one run advantage in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI single by Maldonado. The Padres came back and scored a run in the fifth, two in the sixth, and another in the seventh. The Brewers failed to score after fourth, and they left a total of 11 on base. Final Score: Padres 5 – Brewers 2.
Victoria and I are staying at her Aunt and Uncle’s house in Sussex again, and we were planning on going to a movie but were exhausted after the game. We stopped and got a take and bake pizza from Papa Murphy’s and a six pack of 8 ounce Miller Lite’s. Victoria had wanted a beer with our Gourmet Vegetarian pizza, but the Pick ‘N Save doesn’t sell single beers, and she thought the 8 ounce cans were cute. I will admit that I felt like a giant when I was drinking one, which is just what I needed after the tough loss.
It’s supposed to be 90 degrees tomorrow, and in the sun the weather guy said it will feel like over 100. For 1:10 start times our seats don’t get shade until 3:00 or so. Long story short; Victoria and I aren’t going to the game tomorrow. Made you think for a second, didn’t I? HA. We might just watch from the concourse for an hour and then go to our seats so we don’t fry.
If you want to learn more about Be The Match and how you can help, CLICK HERE
Before the game on Friday was going to be the last time I’m at my parents’ house in Fort until after the June 18th game vs. the Blue Jays. For this reason I had some packing to do. I had to make sure I had the game number signs for the three games of the Padres series, the three vs. the Royals, three vs. the Twins, and then the sign for the first game of the Blue Jays series. I didn’t *just* need the game number signs, I needed to pack all the essentials as well.
Friday actually started with a 7:00 alarm to get ready for a 8:00 am dentist appointment. We’ve reached roughly the midpoint of my age 25 year, and I have yet to get a cavity. This might not seem like a big deal, but it’s one of my proudest achievements. I was planning on replacing my spark plugs on Friday as well, but an Advance Auto Parts worker didn’t understand what I wanted and after the mistake I didn’t have enough time. I won’t get into it but he sold me the wrong stuff when I clearly told him what I needed.
This is some foreshadowing but during the day I found a couple of these cups in my parents’ cupboard. I had forgotten all about them, and must have brought them home from a game back in 2003 or 2004. I can’t remember the last time I had a souvenir soda at Miller Park, so I’m not sure what year they are from. I tweeted the picture later in the day saying “Who would’ve thought that these two would grow up to be such good friends. Pretty good, no? If you’re not aware about my sausage preference; Polish is my favorite. Also, it’s a fake cookie if you weren’t sure.
I packed for the Padres series and the road trip and was on the road to Milwaukee at 3:40. After a major backup due to the 894 interchange I got to the Brewers 1 Lot at 4:54, and made my way to the general lot again. I’m trying to get back there more to hand out cards, and a former co-worker was also having a tailgate. After spending 30 minutes or so visiting with strangers I met up with Laura. Her office is actually right next to Pam’s, who joined me for Thursday’s game. Laura asked if I wanted to stop by and tell her friend about what I was doing. When I started he chimed in and said he had heard about it, but that someone else was on the quest with me. I disagreed but he was pretty sure. Finally he admitted that maybe it was a dream or something. I had Laura’s husband take a picture of the two of us before taking off. I’ll be going to the June 20th game with another former co-worker, Steve, and it’s nice to see some familiar faces. It’s also nice that they don’t hate me for quitting on them when the office was about to get hectic with a bunch of work.
I stopped by one more tailgate before making my way in, and I’m glad I did. I think they had about 10 people in their tailgate, and they were all in their early twenties. Like I said before I’m encouraging the younger population to join the registry and the older population to donate money, because Be The Match needs both. I do emphasize that both are equally important.
When I was nearing the bridge over Miller Park Way I came across these guys. I debated asking the Italian to stay out of the picture because I dislike Italian sausages, but decided against it. I also debated doing a thumbs down with my right hand and a thumbs up with my left, to show my disdain and appreciation for the respective sausages. Instead I went with the pistol for some reason (don’t ask why, I don’t even know).
I got inside Miller Park just before 6:15, and went right to section 226 to get game photo number 58 taken. A nearby fan helped me out, and took three or four pictures, with me instructing him of what I wanted between each one. He did a great job and I thanked him for his efforts.
I had listed my ticket on Twitter again, and a friend from high school met me at the game and agreed to donate $30 to Be The Match. His name is Jason as well, so that means the last three guys that have joined me at games are all named Jason. We actually spotted each other in the concourse before either of us told the other one that we were inside. We stopped by the Ice Man for a minute and Jason bought an MGD for himself and one for me. Thanks Jason! We made it to our seats with time to spare and talked baseball and fantasy baseball (we’re in the same league). I’m the commissioner and I really haven’t had time for my team this year but somehow I still have a 4-4 record (we do head-to-head).
The game got underway and it began with some fireworks for the Crew, literally. Corey Hart went deep leading off the bottom of the first which set off the fireworks as he rounded the bases. The Padres tied it in the fourth when Carlos Gomez dove for a ball in front of him, and it rolled to the wall. Cabrera had a (gift) inside-the-park home run and didn’t even need to slide into home. I still don’t know why that can’t be considered an error. It wasn’t an error because he didn’t catch it, but the fact that he let it get all the way to the wall should make it a single and a three base error. Marcum worked out of some trouble in the 4th, despite walking in a run. The bases were loaded with only one out, but the one that he walked in was the only run to score in the inning. In the bottom of the fourth, and right before the Maldonado at bat Jason said that he was going yard. Second pitch of the at bat: It’s a Bingo! That’s an Inglourious Basterds reference. It almost looks like Maldonado hit Sedar’s hand so hard that he dislocated his shoulder.
The Brewers added two more in the fifth, the first on Chart’s second homer of the game. He’s trails Ryan Braun by one for the team lead and he’s coming on strong. A Ramirez ground out scored Aoki, and the Brewers had a 6-2 lead. The Padres got one back in the sixth but in the seventh the Brewers put it out of reach with a three spot. A sacrifice fly by Weeks accounted for the first run and then Taylor Green pinch hit for Kameron Loe with a runner aboard. The result:
I like that you can see the fireworks, and a fan clapping in the foreground. It’s either that or she’s saying how big the fish was that she caught (I’m not impressed). Green is making his way past Sedar and Ramirez is nearing home plate. Earlier in the game I had tried to get Norichika Aoki doing his at bat routine, but the catcher was returning from the mound and ruined it all. Luckily for me (and you) he came back up in the bottom of the eighth. I’ve said that he looks like he’s doing a sumo routine or something, and that has nothing to do with the fact that he’s Japanese. It just looks like it, doesn’t it? You could also argue that there’s an ant hill next to the plate, and he’s debating on if he should let them live, I guess we’ll never know.
The Padres added two meaningless runs in the ninth inning, and the Brewers won. Final Score: Brewers 9 – Padres 5. During one of the half innings I had a fan behind me take a picture of me and Jason number three. She has a twenty game pack and I cannot for the life of me think of her name. She reads the blog so now she’ll know, but I’m not 100% sure that she’s ever told me. I had a great time with Jason and it was cool catching up. Now if only all of his fantasy baseball pitchers could start getting shelled 24/7, it would be a perfect world.
It’s 2:24 am as I finish up this post, and I’ll be leaving in about eight and a half hours for game number two of the series. I don’t know why Saturday’s game is at 3:10, but that’s the way it worked out.
If you want to learn more about Be The Match and how you can help, CLICK HERE
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.
If you want to learn more about Be The Match and how you can help, CLICK HERE