June 2012

6-6-12 (vs. Chicago Cubs)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Personal Stats:

Daily:

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

Season:

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

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

6-5-12 (vs. Chicago Cubs)

Monday was the sixth off day of the year, and I took it easy most of the day. I had physical therapy and occupational therapy appointments in the morning for my knee and elbow, respectively. The physical therapist didn’t think it was an MCL tear because he bent my leg certain ways and there wasn’t pain. Whatever it is, I don’t like it, and personally I think rest is the only thing that will make it go away. So hopefully in November it will feel better, but the way it’s going right now I’m thinking October (if you catch my drift). He gave me some exercises to increase the flexibility of my quads and hamstrings, because he thinks the tightness in those muscles could be adding stress to the knee and hip. We’ll see how it goes.

Ok, back to M162 (shorthand for Brewers Mission 162, if you must know). I met Victoria for lunch at Noodles in Madison at 12:30, then went back to the apartment to get stuff packed up for the week ahead. I left Madison around 3:30, and pulled into the Brewers 1 Lot at 5:15. Again I walked around and told people about my mission and Be The Match. When I asked a group if they had heard about the guy going to all 162, a girl said; “yeah, I made the jersey for him!” I said thank you, introduced myself, and went on with my spiel. She said she was confused when asked to put three numbers on a jersey, and never really got an explanation as to why.

I had offered my extra ticket on twitter in exchange for a $25 donation to Be The Match, and @Phoebe0221 was the winner. She wound up donating $30, and I’m very grateful for the contribution (and so is Be The Match). I met Phoebe outside of the home plate entrance around 6:00 pm, and we proceeded inside. We went to section 230, and got game number photo 55 taken care of shortly thereafter. It only took two tries, and Phoebe did a great job. She did everything that I asked and it would’ve only taken one take but I was holding the number in such a way that it was almost unreadable due to the reflection. The perfect conditions and absence of the sun in the background definitely helped our cause.

After getting the game number photo we had about 50 minutes before the game was set to start. We walked around the press box in the loge level so we could go down the staircase that Bill (the friendly usher) mans. As we were descending the steps I noticed a familiar face on the platform that holds the loge level camera. This is the (FREE) Game Day magazine that the Brewers have available throughout the ballpark. The stories are different for each home stand, and the covers change for each series. My story will have been visible for nine games when the home stand is over, so that’s pretty cool.

The game got underway and with how many strikeouts Yovani Gallardo was racking up, you’d think it was a good game for the Brewers. That was not the case. Four of the first five batters for the Cubs reached base, and they jumped out to a 3-0 lead thanks to a three run home run off the bat of Alfonso Soriano. The Cubs Ryan Depster was dealing, and he retired the first 15 batters he faced. For that he deserves a photo in the blog. If you’ve seen Dempster pitch, you may notice that he does a weird glove shaking routine as he’s preparing to pull the ball from his glove and deliver a pitch. He throws a split fingered fastball, which requires you to really dig into the glove (while getting your index and middle finger wedged around the ball). He does the glove wiggle on every pitch so the batters can’t tell if he’s wedging his fingers around the ball to throw the splitter, or throwing a pitch with a normal grip.

The 16th plate appearance for the Crew resulted in a base hit, and the Crew didn’t have to worry about a perfect game or no hitter any longer. I had tweeted “Cough-perfect-game-jinx-jinx-jinx!-Cough” so I’ll take the credit for the non no-no. Phoebe is kind of a Cubs fan (don’t ask) but was wearing a Brewers shirt and (kind of) cheering for the home team. She did admit that it would’ve been cool to see a perfecto or a no hitter. I’ve already witnessed a no-no, when Justin Verlander no-hit the Brewers at Comerica Park in Detroit back in 2007. Since I had already seen the Brewers get no-hit once, I was in no mood to see another. It was weird glancing up and seeing this after Ransom’s at bat. I had almost forgotten what it was like to have a guy on base.

By the sixth (when Ransom reached) the Cubs had already tacked on two more runs, one of which came via another Cubs home run. The Cubs added three more runs in the eighth inning, and two in ninth. The Brewers best chance came in the eighth inning, when they had runners on second and third and nobody out. The next three batters were all set down, and the Brewers failed to score in the ninth as well. Final Score: Cubs 10 – Brewers 0. It marks the fifth time that the Brewers have been shut out this season. After the final out I had a (Cubs) fan take a picture of Phoebe and me. The lady’s hat was blocking the flash from opening, so this was the best picture we could get. I could’ve asked her to take another one (for the second time) but I wanted to get home and rest.

After every game I go to ESPN.com to see the total number of pitches thrown in the game. Their box scores sum up the total number of pitches seen by each batter, and then sums them up for the teams. It always seems like the Brewers throw more pitches than the opposition, and I went to MLB.com and checked out the sortable team stats. Spoiler alert: I was right on the money. The Brewers have thrown 8,557 pitches, while the Brewers hitters have seen 8,140 pitches. It actually isn’t as big of a disparity as I would have expected. However, the Brewers pitching staff has thrown the most pitches in the MLB. They’ve thrown almost 1,000 more pitches than the most efficient team, the Minnesota Twins. The Twins have an even worse record than the Brewers, so I can’t really say that throwing fewer pitches means anything, but I find it alarming. The more pitches a team throws the quicker they’ll wear down, or at least that’s my opinion. Having Greinke and Gallardo on a staff (strikeout pitchers) is one reason for the excess pitches, but it’s not the only reason.

Enough rambling, it’s time for bed.

Personal Stats:

Daily:

Time inside Miller Park: 3 hours 59 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 4 hours 55 minutes
Miles driven: 156.2
Sausages: 0
Pitches Missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (300/300)
Current streak of pitches seen: 897

Season:

Time inside stadiums: 233 hours 36 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 271 hours 57 minutes
Miles driven: 4,662.0
Miles riding in car but not driving: 1,685.1
Public Transit miles: 262.7
Flight Miles: 11,263
Total distance traveled: 17,872.8 miles
NEW – Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 71.78% (17,872.8/24,901)
Sausages: 45 (19 Hot Dogs, 12 Polish, 5 Bratwurst, 4 Corndogs, 2 Italian, Cheddarwurst, Bison Dog, Chicken Apple Sausage)
Pitches missed: 39
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,469 (5/28 – 6/1)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.77% (16,658/16,697)

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

6-3-12 (vs. Pittsburgh)

Before I start, I have to include a picture I left out of Saturday’s post. Towards the end of Saturday’s game, the moon emerged from behind the scoreboard. I don’t know if I would’ve noticed, but Victoria mentioned it and the people in front of me were also taking pictures with their cell phones and cameras. It took some time to figure out the correct settings for the shot, but I think I got the best picture I could.

Ok, back to Sunday. We got up at Victoria’s Aunt’s house at 8:25, and I worked on Saturday’s post until 10:00. We left her Aunt and Uncle’s place in Sussex at 10:45, stopped at Jimmy John’s on Bluemound, and got to the Cooper Lot by 11:25. I walked around and talked to more people about the mission and Be The Match, and made my way inside just after 12:15. I got the game number picture taken in section 232, and it took forever to get my camera’s settings just right. I set it to manual, thinking I could change all the settings the way I wanted to, but that wasn’t the case. I wanted a fast shutter speed (since it was really sunny behind me), but I also wanted to have the flash on (because I wanted to be able to see my face). I didn’t get what I wanted, because my camera doesn’t allow for the flash to be on with a shutter speed of 1/1000. I settled for the following, and as you can see the sky is completely white as a result. The sky was actually blue, and I wanted to capture that, I guess you can’t have it all.

After spending 10-15 minutes trying to get the picture I wanted, we went down to the team store to meet up with Nathan. He works with Jill Aronoff, the director of merchandising. We talked about the iPhone case I had gotten back in May, and I pointed out a few t-shirts that I thought would like. I’ll probably get them at some point during the home stand. We got to our seats just before the anthem, and settled in for the game. On Sundays the Brewers have the PNC Major League Moment promotion. Kids 6-13 (well, their parents) can enter at participating PNC Banks to make an on-field appearance with a Brewers player during the national anthem. I got a picture of Taylor Green standing by third base with his new friend.

If you would’ve watched the game on opening day, fell asleep for 52 games, and then saw the starting lineup from Sunday, you wouldn’t have known what was going on. It featured three familiar names and six that most people (even baseball fans) haven’t heard of. Weeks, Chart and Morgan were the familiar faces, and the other six were either Brewers reserve players, from the minor league system, or started the season on another team’s roster.

The Brewers wasted no time getting a lead, and scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning. With two outs Green doubled to score Morgan, and then Weeks singled to score Green. The Pirates scored a run in the second, then three in the fifth and one in the sixth. Three home runs accounted for those last four runs, and the Pirates had a 5-2 lead going to the bottom of the sixth. Nyjer Morgan homered in the sixth for his second home run in three days, and Martin Maldonado hit his first career home run in the seventh. As he neared third base coach Ed Sedar I took a picture to celebrate.

The Pirates clung to the one run lead heading into the bottom of the eighth. With two on and two out the Brewers called on a familiar face for some heroics. Braun didn’t start because he was nursing a strained Achilles, but he was available to pinch hit.

On the first pitch he saw, Braun drove one to right that fell about five feet short of the right field wall. It would’ve given the Brewers a two run lead going into the top of the ninth, with a real good chance of winning the series. It wasn’t meant to be, though, and Axford came in to try and keep it a one run game. Clint Barmes lead off the ninth with a solo home run, and the lead grew to two runs. It wasn’t looking good going into the bottom of the ninth, with the Pirates having a good closer in Joel Hanrahan. Brooks Conrad, however, deposited the second pitch of the half inning into the Pirates bullpen in right, pulling the Brewers to within one. It was the seventh home run of the game and all of them were under 400 feet, with only one eclipsing 390 feet.

George Kottaras pinch hit in the pitcher’s spot after a Maldonado fly out. When the count went to 3-0 I told Victoria that if Georgie gets on Roenicke will likely pinch run with a starting pitcher. I knew that Kottaras still wasn’t 100%, or he probably would’ve caught a game besides the Wolf start. Sure enough, after he walked on five pitches, none other than Randy Wolf came in to pinch run. The Brewers had already used up their bench in other pinch hit spots, so they really didn’t have any other options.

Norichika Aoki came to the plate representing the winning run, but on the fourth pitch of the at bat he grounded into a 4-6-3 double play. The Pirates took the game and the series. Final Score: Pirates 6 – Brewers 5. One last thing: every Sunday the sausage race deviates from the norm, and it involves some little sausages. It’s a relay race, and I got a picture of the little guys (and gals) as they wait their corresponding costume wearing encased meat. The full size sausages pace it so the race can be decided by the little sausages. Little Chorizo must not have gotten the rule book, because he took off before big Chorizo got there, and he wound up with the victory. I had chosen the Bratwurst because he was the tallest, but a full second head start is hard to overcome (Bratwurst came in a close second).

It’s almost midnight, so I’m going to bed. I have a physical therapy appointment and an occupational therapy appointment in the morning. I’m hoping the physical therapist can do something about my knee, because it’s starting to get worse and I’m not sure what I should do. I don’t know if I’ll be posting about off day number six, but I’ll be back at it following Tuesday night’s game vs. the Cubs.

Personal Stats:

Daily:

Time inside Miller Park: 3 hours 59 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 4 hours 57 minutes
Miles driven: 107.8
Sausages: 0
Pitches Missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (294/294)
Current streak of pitches seen: 597

Season:

Time inside stadiums: 229 hours 37 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 267 hours 2 minutes
Miles driven: 4,446.3
Miles riding in car but not driving: 1,685.1
Public Transit miles: 262.7
Flight Miles: 11,263
Total distance traveled: 17,657.1 miles
NEW – Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 70.91% (17,657.1/24,901)
Sausages: 45 (19 Hot Dogs, 12 Polish, 5 Bratwurst, 4 Corndogs, 2 Italian, Cheddarwurst, Bison Dog, Chicken Apple Sausage)
Pitches missed: 39
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,469 (5/28 – 6/1)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.76% (16,358/16,397)

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

6-2-12 (vs. Pittsburgh)

Saturday was a good day, and it started off on the right foot. I woke up in my own bed at mine and Victoria’s place in Madison. I hadn’t been to our apartment since May 11th, and it was nice being home for a change. We met up with Alex and Jess for lunch. They were my hosts in Chicago when the Brewers played the Cubs in April. They will be my hosts again later this month when the Crew take on the White Sox, and again at the end of August for the last Brewers-Cubs series of the season. We ate at the Great Dane at the Hilldale Mall, and I kind of surprised Alex and Jess because they didn’t know that I was going to be joining Victoria. I had the Buffalo chicken sandwich, and it may have been a little too spicy for me. I like spicy food, but when it starts taking over all the other flavors, it becomes a bit much.

The menu says it’s a “five-ounce breaded chicken breast crisp-fried and tossed in our 3-alarm wing sauce. Served on a Jalapeño roll with lettuce, tomato, Bermuda onions.” It also said it came with Gorgonzola on the side, but I asked for ranch. I don’t know why they give you a whole mini cup full of ranch, I probably used 1/30th of what they gave me. Unless you drink it I don’t know how you would use all of it on your sandwich.

We met for lunch at 1:00, were there for an hour and 45 minutes, then Victoria and I left for Milwaukee. We were parked by around 4:25 pm, and I spent the next 45 minutes informing tailgaters what I’m doing this year and why. There were a couple of groups of people in their twenties that were somewhat stationary, which makes it easier to tell them all at once. I don’t even bother with groups that are playing bags, because they’d have to stop their game and come together, and I don’t want to be an annoyance to people. If a group is sitting around and just talking then I don’t see a problem with starting conversation.

I got inside around 5:10, and I met Victoria behind home plate. We headed to the left field corner of the loge level for game photo number 53. Victoria probably took 10 or so pictures before I deemed one of them suitable. I’m not as particular when a stranger is taking a picture, but if it’s someone I know I won’t hesitate for a do-over. I like the new system I have in place for the home game pictures, and I’m upset that it took me almost 20 games to figure it out. At least the entire loge level bowl view progression will be uniform.

After the picture was out of the way Victoria and I went and saw the Ice Man (who I got a picture with yesterday), and then down to say hi to Bill. We got to our seats with plenty of time to spare. Since it was Cerveceros (spanish for Brewers) day at the ballpark there was a mariachi band down on the field. Check out the Jalapeño there on the right, or at least I think it’s supposed to be a Jalapeño.

In an earlier post I had mentioned that the most junior member of a bullpen typically brings out their sunflower seeds, gum, and other goodies in an embarrassing backpack or suitcase. I was able to get a better picture of Tim Dillard rolling the purple/pink suitcase out towards the bullpen before first pitch. Dillard has pitched more MLB innings than Juan Perez, but he’s five years younger, so I’m guessing that’s why Dillard gets the job.

My sister Becca and her fiancé Lee joined us at the game, and I had bought the two seats next to mine earlier in the week. Becca and Lee didn’t come down to the seats until the top of the second, and they didn’t miss anything. In the bottom of the second the Brewers got on the board, when Brooks Conrad hit a sacrifice fly to left. The bases had been loaded with nobody out, so the Pirates limiting the Brewers to only one run was somewhat of a disappointment. The Pirates tied the game at one with a solo (monster) home run off the bat of Garrett Jones in the top of the fourth. The outfielders didn’t even budge because they knew it was long gone, it went an estimated 451 feet. The Brewers came right back and took the lead for good with four runs in their half of the fourth. A two run single from Ransom and a two run home run from Brooks Conrad wrapped up the scoring. It was Brooks Conrad’s first hit as a Brewer, and it came in his 28th at bat with the Crew. He had been raking in the minors, so it was nice to see him finally get a hit (I’m sure he was relieved as well). Final Score: Brewers 5 – Pirates 1.

Rickie Weeks had a great game, going two for two with two walks, two stolen bases, and a run scored. He wasn’t retired in the game, and if he can get it going the Brewers should be at least able to tread water until Lucroy returns. Two pictures of Weeks are below, one while he’s at the plate, the other while at second after a steal. Notice the gold jerseys, and Cerveceros on the front. The Brewers have worn Cerveceros jerseys since the first Cerveceros day back in 2006, but just last year they started wearing the gold jerseys.

Late in the game I had a fan a couple rows in front of us take a picture with the field in the background. Left to right it’s Victoria, myself, Becca (my sister), and Lee (Becca’s fiancé).

Becca and Lee are getting married in Las Vegas on October 4th, and Becca is quietly rooting against the Brewers to not make the playoffs. October 4th is the day after the last day of the regular season. If there is a rainout and a game has to get made up (even if it’s for another team’s playoff chances, the game would be played October 4th). We’ll see how everything goes, the fact that the season ends with 39 games in 41 days isn’t doing me any favors.

I’m writing this from Victoria’s Aunt and Uncle’s kitchen table in Sussex, and we’ll be leaving for Sunday’s game in a little over an hour. The rubber match with the Pirates is today. Hopefully Mike Fiers can duplicate his performance from five days ago, when he limited the Dodgers to one run over seven innings.

Personal Stats:

Daily:

Time inside Miller Park: 4 hours 9 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 5 hours 6 minutes
Driving miles: 77.5
Miles riding in car but not driving: 25.7
Sausages: 1 (A delicious Polish with ketchup, Koop’s mustard, sauerkraut, and onions)
Pitches Missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (291/291)
Current streak of pitches seen: 303

Season:

Time inside stadiums: 225 hours 38 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 262 hours 5 minutes
Miles driven: 4,338.5
Miles riding in car but not driving: 1,685.1
Public Transit miles: 262.7
Flight Miles: 11,263
Total distance traveled: 17,549.3 miles
NEW – Distance traveled as % of Earth’s circumference: 70.48% (17,549.3 / 24,901)
Sausages: 45 (19 Hot Dogs, 12 Polish, 5 Bratwurst, 4 Corndogs, 2 Italian, Cheddarwurst, Bison Dog, Chicken Apple Sausage)
Pitches missed: 39
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,469 (5/28 – 6/1)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.76% (16,064/16,103)

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

6-1-12 (vs. Pittsburgh)

Friday started exactly how Thursday ended; waiting for my flight to depart at LAX (Los Angeles International Airport). They started boarding passengers at 12:05 am, and we took off at 12:49. The flight arrived in Minneapolis just before 6:00 am, and I had just 40 minutes before I was on a plane to Milwaukee. I took the Super Saver shuttle back to the remote lot, and drove back to Fort for some rest. I did a bunch of unpacking and repacking for the weekend, and I wound up with only two hours of sleep. I got up at 1:45 pm to write the post for Thursday, and then left for Milwaukee at 4:20. I had listed my ticket on Twitter as available for Friday’s game (for a $25 Be The Match donation), and a friend from elementary school (Jason) said he’d be up for the game. We met in Johnson Creek, and got to Miller Park just before 5:45.

I spent 20 minutes or so in the parking lot, informing tailgaters of what I was doing and handing out cards. It’s nice when people have heard about what I’m doing, but it’s also cool when they haven’t, which makes me feel better about going (car) door-to-door. Of the 25 or so people that I talked to yesterday, I don’t think any of them had heard about it. A few sounded genuinely interested, and amazed at my fanaticism. I met Jason inside at 6:15 and we waited for batting practice to end before getting game number 52 taken. I made sure to include the foul pole in this one, so you can see that I’m not getting the picture taken from the same spot every time.

As always, I walked around the press box behind home plate (in the concourse), to see the Ice Man before heading to my seat. I figured it was time to get a picture with the best beer vendor in Miller Park. We exchanged “YOHHHHHHHs!!!”, “OOOOOOs!”, and “AHHHHHHs!” and then I asked him for a picture. Afterwards he yelled “BEN’S BACK FROM LA!!!” He’s a great guy, and is usually roaming between sections 201 and 215 (along the first base side in the loge level). Stop by and say hi if you’re in Miller Park, even if you’re not buying a beer, he’s as friendly as they come.

We then walked down the stairs leading to section 216, to say hi to Bill (the friendliest usher in Miller Park), and he shook my hand and said “nice article”. I had kind of forgotten about the Game Day interview I had done with Jim Cryns a few weeks ago, and apparently it was in this home stand’s Game Day magazine. The Game Day magazine is a small (playbill-sized) magazine that they hand out for free at Miller Park. There’s mention of me on the cover of the current edition, and then the article starting on page nine. I was a little disappointed with the picture that they chose to accompany the article. Victoria is even more disappointed. We both look like we’re upset, or annoyed, or… something, but not happy. The photographer had told us to just act normal when he was there, and I think we were just clapping about something simple, like a groundout by the opposing team. I think it kind of looks like I’m whistling, which I don’t really do at games, but Victoria just looks unhappy to be there, which wasn’t the case. If this was the best picture he got, then I’m afraid to see the other ones. Notice the slightly curled middle and index fingers on my right hand? That provides the perfect curvature of the hand, and maximizes the audible volume of the clap. Trust me, it’s science.

The game got underway and the Crew jumped out to an early lead on Nyjer Morgan’s solo home run in the bottom of the first. This was news for multiple reasons, it was his first home run of the year (which isn’t too noteworthy since he doesn’t hit many dingers), but mainly because it was his first RBI of the season. He set an MLB record in plate appearances to start a season without an RBI (138). So in the 130 plus years of Major League Baseball, no one has opened a season on a longer RBI drought. Impressive and unimpressive at the same time. He had 28 hits coming into the game, so it’s likely that there was rarely, if ever, a runner at second base for any of those hits. Needless to say some bad luck was also involved in the forgettable streak.

The Pirates took a lead that they wouldn’t relinquish, however, when they posted six runs on six “hits”. I put the hits in parenthesis because one of them should’ve been an error, but since the outfielder didn’t touch it, it’s ruled a hit. With two outs and the bases loaded Jose Tabata lined one to Nyjer Morgan in center. He came in on the ball at first, realized it was going to go over his head, stopped, and jumped for it. It just narrowly missed the tip of his glove, and went all the way to the centerfield wall. In the box score it looks like a clean bases clearing two-bagger, but it was a misjudged liner, and Wolf takes the ERA hit. Corey Hart hit a solo homer in the sixth, and the Pirates added two in the eighth. Final Score: Pirates 8 – Brewers 2.

Without the mishap in center it would have only been a 3-1 game after the third inning, so who knows if the five run deficit played a role in the mindset of the Brewers batters. It’s only the fifth win for the Pirates at Miller Park in their last 43 appearances. You read that correctly, the Brewers were 38 – 4 in their previous 42 home games vs. the Pirates dating back to 2007.

I did miss one pitch during Friday’s game, and it came with only three outs remaining in the game. I was putting my glove in my bag and making sure I had everything packed up, and I looked up to see a 1-0 count on Carlos Gomez. A new consecutive pitch streak was set though, eclipsing the old mark by over 100 pitches. I’ve also added a new stat in the season stats: distance traveled as a percentage of the Earth’s circumference. By the end of the year I should have traveled roughly 1.6 times around the Earth (in theory).

I’m going to today’s (Saturday) game with Victoria, my sister Becca, and her fiancé Lee. Lee was born and raised in Wisconsin and yet is a Pirates fan. It should be a grand ol’ time. Hopefully the Crew can turn it around and get back to their winning ways versus the Buccos.

Personal Stats:

Daily:

Time inside Miller Park: 4 hours 18 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 4 hours 50 minutes
Flight Miles: 1,831
Driving miles: 141.6
Miles riding in car but not driving: 88.4
Sausages: 0
Pitches Missed: 1
Consecutive pitch streak ended at: 1,469 (A new PR!)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.69% (322/323)
Current streak of pitches seen: 12

Season:

Time inside stadiums: 221 hours 29 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 256 hours 59 minutes
Miles driven: 4,261.0
Miles riding in car but not driving: 1,659.4
Public Transit miles: 262.7
Flight Miles: 11,263
Total distance traveled: 17,446.1 miles
NEW – Distance traveled as % of Earth’s circumference: 70.06% (17,446.1/24,901)
Sausages: 44 (19 Hot Dogs, 11 Polish, 5 Bratwurst, 4 Corndogs, 2 Italian, Cheddarwurst, Bison Dog, Chicken Apple Sausage)
Pitches missed: 39
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,469 (5/28 – 6/1)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.75% (15,773/15,812)

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5-31-12 (@ Los Angeles Dodgers)

Thursday was supposed be the warmest day of the four days we were in LA. Dustin and I had decided earlier in the week that we would head to the beach to take advantage of the nice weather. All four days were nice, so I’m really just splitting hairs here. We got most everything ready for when we had to leave for the game, so we could just come back, shower, and leave for the game. We left Simon’s at 11:05, and it took us 59 minutes to travel 27 miles. I know LA traffic is bad, but I wasn’t expecting it to be so bad at 11 am on a Thursday. We went to the Santa Monica State Beach Park, and we chilled by the Pacific for two and a half hours, and then decided it was time to head back. Dustin hadn’t seen the Pacific since we were there in 2004, so it was something he had wanted to do. I was somewhat indifferent because I was just on the beach in San Diego just four weeks prior, but I’m glad we went, because it was quite relaxing.

We got back to Simon’s place at 3:45, and started getting ready for the game. We hadn’t gotten lunch yet, and were planning on stopping somewhere on our way to the game. At 4:34 I got a call from a number I didn’t recognize, and it said “Northern Los Angeles Area” below the number. I didn’t feel my phone vibrating until the last second, so I missed the call but called back right away, and I’m glad I did. Joe Braun, Ryan’s dad, was on the phone and asking if Dustin and I needed tickets for the game. He said they were second row, right behind home plate, and were in one of the Dugout Club sections. I don’t know if he could sense it in my voice, but I was ecstatic. I think I used the word amazing a few times in our brief conversation. I graciously accepted and agreed to meet outside the Club level entrance, where Dustin and I had caught up with him the day before.

We were both really pumped, and couldn’t wait to get to the stadium. We left after my conversation with Joe, and we were parked by 5:13. We met up with Joe and Diane (Ryan’s mom), shortly thereafter and Joe gave us our tickets (I wonder if it’s real gold, haha).

We headed inside and I told them that I had to get my game number picture taken in the upper deck, and we parted ways as they went down to the field level. Dustin and I spent about 15 minutes in the upper (top) deck, and got a good game number 51 photo.

We walked around a little bit up there and took some photos. This first one is of the top deck concourse, with various country’s flag waiving.

The second one is the view from the concourse, looking over the waist-high wall towards downtown Los Angeles.

The last one is a view of the field, as seen from the edge of the top deck. The top deck doesn’t go all the way to the foul poles, and you can see the roof of the reserve level taking up the lower right side of the picture.

After taking some photos we took the two elevators required to get down to the field level. Behind home plate there’s a glass-enclosed stairwell that leads you down to the Dugout Club. The four-part picture below illustrates (to some degree) what it’s like down there.

1) The stairwell wall after entering the Dugout Club on the field level.

2) After going down the stairs you have entrances to both the visiting and home clubhouses. Pictured is the Dodger’s Clubhouse entrance. The entrances are literally 40 feet from each other, and Prince Fielder famously tried to get at a Dodger’s reliever (cough-Guillermo Mota-cough) after Mota beaned him back in 2009. Having the two entrances so close may not have been the best idea.

3) After going down another set of stairs you have the dining area. This picture doesn’t do it justice, and it was taken in a hurry with my iPhone when I was hustling back from the bathroom during the game.

4) An example of the food they have down there. I would compare the food to the NYCE Stadium Club at Miller Park. This is just a small part of the desserts section, they also had cakes, pies, and soft serve ice cream. I had a helping of some steak, A Louisiana Hot Link (which I’ll classify as a Polish), a chicken breast marinated in teriyaki sauce, and pasta with tomatoes, pine nuts and pesto sauce.

This was the view from the seats we were in. You really can’t get much better than that. The screen was a little bit of a distraction, and when it was still light out I lost some foul balls as they went skyward, but overall the seats were amazing.

At one point I had a gentlemen in the first row take a picture of the four of us. From left to right you have Diane, Joe, myself, and Dustin. I can’t tell you how sweet it was to spend a game with Braun’s parents. They’re both extremely nice and personable, and Dustin and I enjoyed talking baseball with both of them throughout the game. Now the only reason we got the opportunity is because Braun was out of the lineup. They were offered the tickets by Braun’s agency, and since he wasn’t playing, friends and family weren’t as interested to go to the game. Luckily Joe thought of me, and also that he wanted to go to the game anyways to cheer on the Crew without Ryan on the field that night. I can’t thank them enough for extending the invite our way.

The game got started and Brewers got on the board early once again with two runs in the top of the second. A Weeks single accounted for the first, and a fielder’s choice RBI groundout by Ramirez the other. The Dodgers tallied a run in the second, but then the Brewers added two more in the top of the third, thanks to a two-run home run by Aramis Ramirez. The MLB.com game recap headline for Monday’s game was “Ram-Ram goes Bam-Bam to back Marcum”, so from now on whenever aRAMis RAMirez goes deep, I’ll be quoting that.

I’ve wanted to get a good picture of Aoki doing his batter’s box routine, but missed my opportunity, he did it his first few at bats, but then not his last. It almost looks like a sumo wrestler routine with how he squats down as he’s getting ready for the at bat. This picture of Nyjer’s routine will have to suffice. He does this at least once an at bat.

Greinke was the starter for Thursday’s game, and I got a picture of him as he was getting ready to deliver a pitch later in the game.

The Brewers scored two more runs in the top of the ninth when Carlos Gomez took Todd Coffey (former Brewer) deep, with two outs in the frame. The Dodgers concluded the scoring with a run in the bottom of the ninth. Final Score: Brewers 6 – Dodgers 2. After talking with Dillard on the field on Wednesday, I had to get a picture of him in action, right? He throws sidearm, so that is why this picture might look a little strange to the untrained eye.

Dillard recorded two outs in the ninth thanks to a double play ball. The Brewers turned three in the game, and eight in the series. When you get outhit in every game but one, and still complete a four game sweep, something had to be going right. Before saying goodbye to Diane and Joe, I captured the Brewers as they gave each other the traditional post-win high fives. It’s the first time the Brewers have EVER swept the Dodgers, home or away, in a two, three, or four game series. Good stuff all around.

Dustin took me to LAX and I was through security within ten minutes of arriving. I’ll detail Friday’s happenings after tonight’s game. I’m leaving in 10 minutes, so I’ve got to get a move on.

Personal Stats:

Daily:

Time inside Dodger Stadium: 5 hours 17 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 5 hours 30 minutes
Driving miles: 0
Miles riding in car but not driving: 84.0
Sausages: 1 (Louisiana Hot Link)
Pitches Missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (308/308)
Current streak of pitches seen: 1,159

Season:

Time inside stadiums: 217 hours 11 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 252 hours 9 minutes
Miles driven: 4,119.4
Miles riding in car but not driving: 1,571.0
Public Transit miles: 262.7
Flight Miles: 9,432
Total distance traveled: 15,385.1 miles
Sausages: 44 (19 Hot Dogs, 11 Polish, 5 Bratwurst, 4 Corndogs, 2 Italian, Cheddarwurst, Bison Dog, Chicken Apple Sausage)
Pitches missed: 38
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,317 (5/9 – 5/14)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.75% (15,451/15,489)
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