July 3rd, 2012

7-3-12 (vs. Miami)

Tuesday was another hot one, but I survived. I think the game itself had more adverse effects on my well being than the near 100 degree temperatures. I left my parents’ place at 12:10 and was parked an hour and three minutes later. I walked around for about an hour and told people my story and encouraged them to join the registry. I also got a free Spotted Cow (it’s a beer) and water from two different groups. Freebies are always nice, thanks guys!

I headed inside at 2:15 and went right to section 214 to get the game number photo taken. If you’re not familiar with what I’m doing; I am slowly working my way around the loge level, getting a game number picture in most sections along the way. Today was the 80th game of the year, thus the sign with the number 80 on it.

I then went up into the concourse and stood under the giant fans that they have in the loge level. After a few minutes I decided it was time for another Polish sausage with caramelized onions. One word: magnifilicious. If you haven’t had a Polish sausage with caramelized onions yet… Arnold voice: “WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR!?!?”

I met up with Zach before the game started, and we chilled under the press box for the first inning or so. Zach is a twitter follower who replied to my announcement Monday night that my ticket for Tuesday was up for grabs. He made a $40 donation to Be The Match in exchange, and he’s a swell fella. He had a nasty ankle injury back in May, so both of us were sporting ASO ankle braces.

The Marlins started things with a bang, and took a 2-0 lead on a Logan Morrison home run in the first. Estrada pitched well for the Brewers, and he deserves a mention. He only gave up the two runs in the first, and he deserved the win. Here he is after letting go of a pitch in the second inning. It resulted in a strikeout on a foul bunt by the Marlins pitcher.

In the third the Brewers got one back on an Aoki RBI single. After a Braun single Aramis Ramirez stepped to the plate looking to give the Brewers the lead. Going clockwise from top left:

1) Ramirez as he’s sending a drive deep to center field. The ball wound up going off the wall, but Aoki got deked by the Marlins center fielder, and thought it might be caught. Braun saw past the fake and was almost to second before Aoki took off from the same base.

2) Braun right on Aoki’s heals as they race past third. You can see in the upper right hand corner that the second baseman has the ball and is gathering himself to make the throw home. The shortstop is ducking so he’s not beheaded.

3) Aoki about to touch home with the tying run, the catcher grabbing the off-target throw, and Braun about to go into his slide. Whew.

4) Braun barely beating the tag. Brewers lead 3-2.

It stayed 3-2 heading into the bottom of the sixth, and that’s when things got interesting. To lead off the inning Corey Hart hit the first pitch he saw into the Brewers bullpen to up the lead to 4-2. Here’s Corey getting some love from third base coach Ed Sedar.

Weeks followed Hart with a double, Ransom walked, Maldonado laid down a sacrifice bunt, and the Marlins intentionally walked pinch hitting Travis Ishikawa. Gomez then grounded one to second baseman Omar Infante, who threw to Jose Reyes covering second. Reyes missed the catch and all hands were safe. I think he was trying to hurry because he knew it would be tough to turn a double play with the speedy Gomez running to first. Aoki followed with a sacrifice fly to right and Braun came to the plate with two outs. I told Zach that I was looking for an exclamation point from Braun and two pitches later he did just that. Clockwise from top left:

1) Braun making contact. He hit a bomb to centerfield, his 23rd home run of the season. “Must be all those steroids.” HA!!!

2) Braun rounding second base.

3) Ed Sedar giving Braun a low five as they cross paths.

4) Brauny touching home plate, preparing to get a high five from Ishikawa. Braun’s 3-run home run capped a six-run sixth, and gave the Brewers a 9-2 lead.

The Marlins chipped away and got three runs in the top of the seventh. The Brewers answered with two runs of their own in the bottom half. Weeks’ single drove in Hart, who slid home for the Brewers 10th run of the game.

Maldonado followed Rickie with an RBI single of his own, and the Brewers had a six run lead heading to the eighth inning (11-5). I was feeling pretty confident with the six run lead, but that all changed rather quickly. This is how the Marlins’ eighth inning went: double, double, single, groundout, home run, home run, double, walk, sacrifice fly, fly out. That’s a six-run eighth inning and it was all square at eleven apiece. And on top of that it could’ve been worse. Carlos Gomez made what could be the catch of the year for the Crew when he crashed into the wall as he caught Morrison’s fly out to end the inning. Another run would’ve scored but Go-Go said no-no to Lo-Mo. Ha! Lo-Mo is actually Logan Morrison’s nickname. I’m so witty…

The Brewers failed to score in the eighth, and neither team scored in the ninth, setting the stage for bonus baseball. Livan Hernandez came in to pitch the tenth for the Brewers, and he gave up a two-out solo home run to Jose Reyes. It gave the Marlins a one run lead going into the bottom of the tenth. Carlos Gomez led off the inning with a walk, Aoki flew out and Braun struck out. Ramirez came to the plate representing the winning run and on the 0-1 pitch he swung away.

I’ll let the pictures do the talking…

This is why you don’t leave a baseball game early. Yes, you might get thoroughly disappointed in the teams’ performance, but when anything is possible, why risk missing out? Final Score: Brewers 13 – Marlins 12. I meant to take a picture of the scoreboard to help illustrate how crazy the game was. I’ll give you the linescore from ESPN.com. What. A. Game.

Before the dreadful eighth inning I had a lady a few rows in front of us take a picture of me and Zach. I’m on the left, Zach is on the right. Zach is a cool guy, and I’m glad he came down from Sheboygan to watch the 4 hour 28 minute game with yours truly. At times I wanted to pull my hair out because the Crew almost blew out, but it all worked out in the end. If you’re wondering; I don’t always wear hats, but when I do it’s because the hair underneath is such a sweaty mess that it needs to be hidden. If I could’ve been wearing a beard hat I would have done that as well.

I got back to my car after the game, only to find this on my bumper:

I believe that is the “gay symbol” (two male gender symbols intertwined). Now, I have nothing wrong with same sex couples, but I also absolutely HATE bumper stickers. It’s on there pretty good, so I’ll have to find the right substance to get it off of there. Whoever stuck that on there needs to check themselves. If they are homosexual, I hope that they wouldn’t go around putting stickers on everything. If it was some stupid teenager that thinks this type of stuff is funny, someone needs to lay the smack down. Luckily the Brewers won, because otherwise I would’ve been über-pissed.

One more thing. At some point in the game Zach pointed out that a guy in front of us changed his Hardy (7) jersey into a Hart (1) jersey. That’s how you do it!!! It’s too bad that you can clearly see that it was once a Hardy jersey, but it’s still cool/funny.

Tomorrow is our Nation’s birthday, and in the spirit of Independence Day I will celebrate by watching glorious baseball, and perhaps consuming four or five $1 hot dogs.

Personal Stats:

Daily:

Time inside Miller Park: 5 hours 29 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 6 hours 36 minutes
Miles driven: 123.6
Sausages: 1 (Polish)
Pitches Missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (376/376)
Current streak of pitches seen: 1,118

Season:

Brewers current record: 38-42 (.475 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 341 hours 39 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 399 hours 16 minutes
Miles driven: 8,643.8
Miles riding in car but not driving: 1,791.5
Public Transit miles: 294.9
Flight Miles: 11,263
Total distance traveled: 21,993.2 miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 88.32% (21,993.2/24,901)
Sausages: 64 (26 Hot Dogs, 19 Polish, 8 Bratwurst, 5 Corndogs, 2 Italian, Cheddarwurst, Bison Dog, Chicken Apple Sausage, Blueberry & Merlot Venison Sausage)
Pitches missed: 61
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,566 (6/20 – 6/26)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.75% (24,242/24,303)

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

7-2-12 (vs. Miami)

Monday was the lone night game of the series. Tuesday and Wednesday are at 3:10, and Thursday is at 1:10. Even with the 7:10 start time it was really hot and it was humid enough to drink the air (I might be exaggerating). I left my parents’ house at 2:45 and made a pit stop at Wedl’s in Jefferson. The name has changed over the year, but they’ve been serving hamburgers from this location since 1918. They are pretty legit, and the burgers are called sliders. Going clockwise from top left:

1) The exterior of the two structures. The little red shack is where they do the cooking.

2) The inside of the shack, the griddle where they cook the sliders is to the left, just inside the door, and the deep fryer is across the “room” (it’s really small).

3) The interior of the larger building, where they have more seating and ice cream. One of the pictures on the wall is a signed picture of Will Ferrell, and he wrote “Sorry about the flood” on the photo. Jefferson suffered a major flood back in 2008, as did many other towns in southern Wisconsin.

4) My lunch; two single cheeseburgers with sautéed onions and a small fry. I think it came to $6.53. All in all it was a good start to the day.

I left Jefferson at 3:40 and pulled into the Brewers 1 parking lot just before 4:30. I spent the next hour walking around telling people about my mission and Be The Match. I went inside at 5:45 to get out of the sun. I met up with my friend Jason, and his mom introduced me to Jason’s Grandpa and great Aunt and Uncle, who were visiting from Florida. They were sitting in section 216, which is the section I needed game photo number 79 taken from, so it worked out well. I had Jason’s mom take the picture for me. Almost halfway there…

I glanced over to my seats in 221 and noticed that Eric had arrived. Eric is a twitter follower who replied to a tweet of mine. I had asked if anyone wanted to join me at the game in exchange for a donation to Be The Match. Eric donated $40 and I’m very grateful for his contribution. Thanks Eric! When some players were on the field getting loose before the game I spotted Carlos Gomez, Hanley Ramirez, and Jose Reyes fraternizing in centerfield. Gomez was in the Mets system, and likely played with Reyes at some point. I think Go-Go is pointing towards the infield, asking Reyes if he saw his awesome walk-off base running feats from the game before. If you haven’t seen my pictures yet, scroll down to Sunday’s post, because I document the heck out of it (in a good way).

When the members of the Brewers bullpen walked out to the ‘pen Kameron Loe was carrying some flowers. Jeff Adcock, a member of the grounds crew family, tragically collapsed during Sunday’s game while in the bullpen. He passed away on Sunday and there was a moment of silence for the man who helped get the field ready for play, among other things. When they got to the bullpen they placed it right in the middle, a fitting tribute to a guy who spent many games out there with the relief pitchers. Very sad.

It’s hard to talk about a game after what happened, but I will continue. I’m not sure why the Brewers did the Major League Moment promotion on a Monday, but they did. Usually it is a Sunday thing. You can register your kids to be randomly selected to join a Brewer on the field during the national anthem. These two were at home plate waiting for Maldonado. The players greet the kids, and then sign the baseball as part of the promotion, good stuff.

The game did not start out the way I had envisioned. The Marlins loaded the bases in the top of the first with two singles and a walk, and Greinke was in trouble. He struck out Morrison for the first out, and then induced a ground ball that may have gotten the Brewers out of the inning. It took a bad hop on Ramirez and went into left field for a two-run single. In the bottom of the first Gomez and Morgan both grounded out, but then Carlos Zambrano hit Ryan Braun with the 0-1 offering. Here’s Braun turning his back to protect his arms/hands/face as he’s about to get hit. (The ball is hidden behind Braun’s frame, so he may have actually already gotten hit)

Carlos Zambrano then proceeded to walk the next three batters, the last one to Rickie Weeks drove in the first Brewers run of the game. A Maldonado fielder’s choice groundout got Zambrano out of the jam without any further damage. In the top of the Greinke got Zambrano to ground out to Weeks for the second out, here’s Greinke after releasing the pitch.

In the bottom of the second the Brewers tied it up at two with a leadoff triple from Izturis and a sacrifice fly from Greinke. The angle makes it look like Greinke doesn’t have arms, but somehow still managed to swing a bat and drive in a run.

In the third the Marlins put up three runs; one on an RBI double from Morrison and two from a home run by Ruggiano. A solo home run from Carlos Gomez in the fifth cut the lead to two runs (5-3). No pictures here as I was eating some popcorn. The Brewers tied it in the sixth when the pinch-hitting Travis Ishikawa drove in Weeks and Maldonado with a single to center. No pictures here either because I was up in the concourse, waiting for the inning to end to exchange my designated driver voucher for a Sierra Mist. I didn’t miss any pitches, so keep your pants on. I go up to the concourse with two outs in an inning, watch from there and then make my move after the final out is recorded. “Sixty percent of the time it works every time.”

Between the seventh and eighth inning I had the very kind lady behind us take a picture of me and Eric. I’m on the left, Eric is on the right. Eric’s a cool guy, and recently moved from Appleton to the east side of Madison. He has a ten game pack and also frequented Timber Rattlers games as he lived less than a half mile from the stadium.

In the bottom of the eighth the Brewers got a leadoff double from Weeks, and a single to right from Maldonado moved Rickie to third base. Roenicke went to his bench, and called on Norichika Aoki to get the job done. Aoki bunted on the very first pitch from the Marlins reliever and it worked to perfection. Just after Aoki made contact I snapped a pic.

It was a safety squeeze, so Rickie waited until he saw it was going to fall before taking off for home. The first basemen tried his best to barehand the ball and throw home but Weeks raced past the catcher just before he could tag him. The picture quality is poor, but you get the picture. Get it… HA! I like that you can still see the first basemen in the picture, just laying there, taking a nap. I think the dark objects in the middle bottom are a fan’s hands who rejoiced as Weeks crossed home plate with the go-ahead run.

Axford came on in the ninth, and pitched a perfect 1-2-3 inning, which is good to see. He induced a game ending ground ball, and Rickie threw out Hanley Ramirez to end the game. Final Score: Brewers 6 – Marlins 5.

I’m not looking forward to the heat tomorrow, it’s going to feel like 97 degrees when the first pitch is thrown at 3:10. Luckily the shade comes around 3:30, so I won’t have to be in the sun for long. Only six more games until the four day break. However, if the Brewers keep winning I won’t be ready for the All-Star break just yet.

Personal Stats:

Daily:

Time inside Miller Park: 4 hours 30 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 5 hours 51 minutes
Miles driven: 124.5
Sausages: 0
Pitches Missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (274/274)
Current streak of pitches seen: 742

Season:

Brewers current record: 37-42 (.468 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 336 hours 10 minutes (OVER TWO FULL WEEKS!!!)
Time on stadium grounds: 392 hours 40 minutes
Miles driven: 8,520.2
Miles riding in car but not driving: 1,791.5
Public Transit miles: 294.9
Flight Miles: 11,263
Total distance traveled: 21,869.6 miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 87.83% (21,869.6/24,901)
Sausages: 63 (26 Hot Dogs, 18 Polish, 8 Bratwurst, 5 Corndogs, 2 Italian, Cheddarwurst, Bison Dog, Chicken Apple Sausage, Blueberry & Merlot Venison Sausage)
Pitches missed: 61
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,566 (6/20 – 6/26)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.75% (23,866/23,927)

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