July 18th, 2012

7-18-12 (vs. St. Louis)

I’ll start off with the Fox Sports Wisconsin interview that I did during their broadcast of the Brewers game on Tuesday night. Let me say that when he comes back to me right before Weeks’ home run I say: “I do have a girlfriend, I want to put that in there…” It might be hard to hear but I did say that, you’ll see why.

It was a day game after a night game on Wednesday, and I didn’t get much sleep. I was up until 1:45 AM working on the post and I didn’t fall asleep until 2:30. For some reason my internal alarm sometimes goes off when I would normally get up for my job (that I left over three months ago) at 7:45. Either that or my body only needs five hours of sleep; I’m thinking the former. I left my parents’ house at 10:20 and was parked 65 minutes later.

I walked the parking lots for about 45 minutes and handed out a bunch of business cards. I gauge the group I talk to and decide whether I should give them the short spiel or the long spiel. I could tell that this one group of guys (probably all in their early thirties) should be given the short spiel because they looked disinterested from the get-go. I quickly stated what I was doing and why (Leukemia survivor, bone marrow transplant, etc.) and that I quit my job before the season started to follow through with my mission. One guy just kept saying “bad idea, you need a job” and “you should get a job”. I tried interjecting but he wasn’t having any of it. I was finally able to get a word in and state (louder) that I had leukemia, got a bone marrow transplant, and was raising awareness for Be The Match. His friends were embarrassed for him and one of them called him a jackass, so that was pretty funny. One guy in their group asked if I took donations and gave me $20 to donate to Be The Match. Thank you!

I think my microsite has raised about $1,700, but me selling tickets and others donating money directly to me has gotten Be The Match another $770 so far. That $2,500 will pay for 25 people to join the registry for free. 25 doesn’t seem like a lot but it only takes one to save a life like Kris Miner’s, who is still looking for a match.

When I was getting ready to head inside I came across this (only in Wisconsin):

I got inside at 12:20 and went up to section 206 for game photo number 91. It required a few tries from a nearby fan, but she got the job done.

After getting the game number picture taken I went down to the team store to purchase a new hat. Most of my shirts contain the ball and glove logo. I figured I should match so I picked up the same hat that the players sport when they wear the throwbacks. I looked at the coupons that I got for being a season ticket holder, and whaddya know, July’s coupon was for 15% off any headwear. Nice! (Ok, it’s only $6 off, but still).

I went back up to the loge level and after saying Hi to the Ice Man I went to the concession stand behind section 214. I exchanged my designated driver voucher for a free soda (I got lemonade) and also got a Polish sausage with caramelized onions. I’ve had 22 Polishes since April 6th and I don’t think I’m getting sick of them.

I greeted Bill (the friendly usher behind section 216) and we exchanged our routine pleasantries. We had to go with a fist bump today instead of the traditional handshake due to my hands being full. I set up shop underneath the press box and I messaged the twitter follower who was joining me for the game. Nicole was in our seats and I asked if she’d prefer to have a seat in the sun or stand in the shade. She went for the shade and we watched almost the entire game from behind section 218 in front of the press box. She made a $30 donation to Be The Match for her ticket. Thanks Nicole! She also told me that she joined the registry in 2008; double thank you!

The Brewers got off to a quick start in the bottom of the first. Aoki led off and reached on an error by the shortstop Rafael Furcal. Nyjer Morgan then singled and Aramis Ramirez was hit by a pitch. It was an 0-2 pitch with runners on 1st and 2nd and nobody out. These facts make me 99.99% certain that it wasn’t retaliation for Randy Wolf hitting Matt Holliday the day before. The trainer came out to evaluate his arm and Roenicke joined them a few moments later. Ram-Ram stayed in the game and everything appeared to be fine (albeit painful).

The bases were loaded with nobody out, and Corey Hart cashed in. Chart singled up the middle and Aoki and Morgan scored easily. Aoki had just touched the plate in the picture below, Nyjer Morgan is on the far left, and Ramirez is between second and third (where he would slide into safely moments later).

Weeks grounded out and Maldonado lined out, which brought up Carlos Gomez. Go-Go hit one on the ground:

The ball went to Furcal at short who fielded cleanly but threw a little wide of first base. Berkman caught it and tried swipe-tagging Gomez but Go-Go snuck by him. Ramirez scored easily but Berkman’s motion sent him spinning and the ball popped out after he hit the ground. Berkman’s shenanigans allowed Chart to score and the Brewers had a 4-0 lead. Here’s Hart sliding home safely before Wainwright, the pitcher, could scoop up Berkman’s fumble and throw home.

Tyler Thornburg, making his second big league start, pitched OK, but gave up two solo home runs. This season he has allowed 7 home runs in just 12 innings of work. On Wednesday one came in the second and one in the third. There wasn’t any more scoring through the 8th inning, and K-Rod came in to try and notch another save. It turned out that he needed the two run lead because he gave up a double and three walks, meaning he walked one in and the tying run was now at third base. There were two outs but it was still nerve-racking. I heard somewhere that when he was pitching for the Mets someone in New York dubbed his outings “20 minutes of hell” because his appearances were often strenuous. K-Rod had Berkman down in the count and delivered an 0-2 changeup:

Thankfully this was the result:

It was a long fly ball, but Nyjer gloved it just as he stepped onto the warning track. Whew! K-Rod is definitely living up to that slogan so far. He’s getting the job done so I can’t be too upset, but it’s still worrisome at times. Final Score: Brewers 4 – Cardinals 3. Rodriguez gave Maldonado a pat on the back of his helmet as they prepared to give the rest of the guys high fives. That camera guy gets out there quickly!

Back-to-back series wins is nice, and I’m hoping the trend continues in Cincinnati and Philadelphia. My parents picked up chinese food on their way home and I had a fortune cookie after eating my cashew chicken. As I was opening the package I had a feeling that the fortune would somehow be relateable to my Mission.

I know they’re all really generic, so anyone can make a connection, but this fits perfectly. I just got done with the first half of the season and I’m looking forward to an even better second half. Well played fortune cookie, well played. I’m leaving for Cincy tomorrow midday and should be arriving around 7 or 8 PM. I need to get packing.

Personal Stats:

Daily Stats:

Time inside Miller Park: 3 hrs 49 mins
Time on stadium grounds: 4 hrs 54 mins
Miles driven: 123.7
Sausages: 0
Pitches missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (304/304)
Current streak of pitches seen: 460

Season Stats:

Brewers current record: 44-47 (.484 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 386 hours 45 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 454 hours 4 minutes
Miles driven: 9,724.8
Miles riding in car but not driving: 1,913.2
Public Transit miles: 316.3
Flight Miles: 13,989
Total distance traveled: 25,943.3 miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 104.19% (25,943.3/24,901)
Sausages: 72 (29 Hot Dogs, 22 Polish, 8 Bratwurst, 5 Corndogs, 2 Italian, Cheddarwurst, Bison Dog, Chicken Apple Sausage, Blueberry & Merlot Venison Sausage, Sausage Race on a Stick)
Pitches missed: 67
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,965 (6/30 – 7/6)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.76% (27,564/27,631)

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

7-17-12 (vs. St. Louis)

I was pretty lazy the first half of Tuesday. I did do the exercises that the physical therapist gave me to help with my knee, so it wasn’t completely wasted. I left for the game at 3:45 and was parked in the Brewers 2 parking lot an hour later. I went up to the will call window and dropped off the tickets that some twitter followers would be picking up. My friend wound up not being able to join me but I was able to find someone to sit with me in section 109, and someone willing to donate $60 for my two season tickets.

I walked back to the general lots to hand out cards and spread my message, and it was well received by everyone I talked to. Some are more friendly than others, but I don’t know how I would react if a stranger came up to my tailgate and started talking my ear off about something I wasn’t familiar with. It got really windy around six o’clock and I figured that was a good sign to head inside. I had to make a pit stop at my car to pick my stuff up but I was inside and in section 207 by 6:20. I had a nearby Brewers fan (Chris) take game photo number 90 for me. It took Chris one try to get a picture I was cool with. Thanks Chris! Only 72 games left; the season is flying by.

When I got inside Miller Park I got a text from an unfamiliar number, saying it was Drew from FS-Wisconsin, and that they wanted me to do an interview during the game. I said yes (of course), and agreed to meet in the first base side camera well after the third inning. To kill some time before the game started I sat in a barstool above the right field loge bleachers, next to the sliding panels that were open. There was a nice breeze blowing in and it’s a great spot to get some fresh air if you’re ever in need of some at Miller Park (and the panels are open).

I went to my season seat location and said Hi to Scott and his girlfriend. Scott joined me for the game on June 29th, and he agreed to pay $60 in a Be The Match donation for my two seats since I was sitting elsewhere. Thanks Scott! After chatting for a bit I headed down to my seats for Tuesday’s which were in section 109. Jeff, who sat with me in the Doorman’s seats on May 22nd, gave me his two tickets for this game. I didn’t have someone to go with, but Matt, a twitter follower, agreed to make a donation and sit with me for a game. Thanks Matt! And thanks Jeff for donating your tickets!

The game got underway and Randy Wolf delivered a called strike to start the second game of the series. Wolf worked around a one-out single and a hit batsmen and got out of the frame by inducing an inning-ending double play. Here’s Wolf about to release the first pitch of the game:

In the bottom of the first the Brewers put two guys on with no outs, but Braun struck out and Ramirez grounded into a fielder’s choice. Corey Hart bailed his teammates out with a single to left field and the Brewers took a 1-0 lead.

In the top of the third the Cardinals scored twice but the Brewers answered in the bottom of the third. Aoki walked and was replaced at first when Gomez grounded into a fielder’s choice. Braun grounded out, but during his at bat Gomez was able to move to second on a failed pickoff attempt by the Cardinal’s pitcher. Ramirez got the job done with a single to center, and the game was tied.

I went down to the camera well after the inning and met with Drew Olson, who was filling in for Telly Hughes. I thought the interview was going to be in the top of the fourth, but it turned out to be the bottom of the fourth. This was the view from the camera well during the top of the fourth inning:

When FS-Wisconsin came back from commercial for the bottom of the fourth the camera on the left turned around and was used for the interview. Drew asked about the journey so far and we mentioned the Be The Match aspect. I don’t have the video yet but I should be able to include it in the post for Wednesday’s game.

As my interview was ending Rickie Weeks hit a bomb to left centerfield and it gave the Brewers a 3-2 lead. I mentioned my twitter handle during the interview and when I got off air my phone was buzzing non-stop for the next 15 minutes. I can’t find where to turn off notifications every time you get a follower on the echofon twitter app. My followers jumped from 830 before the interview to 975 within 20 minutes or so. As I type this at 1:08 AM I’m currently at 1,060 followers. A lot of tweets came my way with people voicing their support and I greatly appreciate it. Moments like that keep me going and reassure me that I made the right decision in taking on this challenge.

Between the 5th and 6th innings I had a fan two rows behind us take a picture of Matt and me. Matt is on the left, I’m on the right. Matt lived in Ohio until the late 90’s so he’s a a Buckeyes fan. I saw this on his twitter page and STILL allowed him to join me at the game. I graduated from UW-Madison so for me it’s the Badgers all the way.

In the sixth I took a zoomed out picture of what it looked like from our seats in section 109, row 7. It was somewhat challenging to not get distracted because right in front of you was the outfield, and not the infield. From my seats in 221 I have the luxury of just looking straight ahead and seeing the action. I missed four pitches during the interview but didn’t miss any in my seat; yay.

In the seventh inning pinch-hitter Lance Berkman struck out swinging with runners on first and second. He wasn’t too happy with the two called strikes during his at bat and during the middle of the seventh he came back out to have a word with home plate umpire Brian Gorman. Berkman was ejected but it didn’t have any consequences since he was used as a pinch hitter and wouldn’t have been able to re-enter the game anyways. The photo isn’t the best, but you get the *picture. Ha!

Manny Parra pitched a scoreless 8th inning and newly designated closer Francisco Rodriguez (K-Rod) came on in the ninth for the save. He gave up back-to-back hits to open the inning and I’m pretty sure everyone in the building was thinking the same thing: “here we go again.” The balls weren’t hit that hard, so I can’t get too upset. He didn’t allow the base runners via the walk so that’s a good sign. With the infield in K-Rod induced a groundout, struck out the next batter, and then got Daniel Descalso to pop out to the shortstop. The Brewers win, the Brewers win! Whew! Final Score: Brewers 3 – Cardinals 2. I just referenced a run expectancy matrix, and with runners on first and third with nobody out teams scored at least one run 86.8% of the time (using stats from 1993-2010), and the run expectancy of that situation was 1.853 runs. Double Whew!

On Saturday I joined the King of Brewer Events tailgate with Victoria (my girlfriend) and her parents. It’s put on by the family of one of Victoria’s friends, some of them have the last name of King, thus the title. You should check out the post because there was some delicious food including a “Sausage Race on a Stick.” Someone took a self timed group photo and I didn’t have it in time for that post. I count 56 people and I know there are at least two who aren’t pictured. It was a great time. Thanks again for inviting us.

Personal Stats:

Daily Stats:

Time inside Miller Park: 4 hrs 5 mins
Time on stadium grounds: 5 hrs 36 mins
Miles driven: 124.3
Sausages: 0
Pitches missed: 4
Consecutive pitch streak ended at: 480
Percentage of pitches seen: 98.53% (269/273)
Current streak of pitches seen: 156

Season Stats:

Brewers current record: 43-47 (.478 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 382 hours 56 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 449 hours 10 minutes
Miles driven: 9,601.1
Miles riding in car but not driving: 1,913.2
Public Transit miles: 316.3
Flight Miles: 13,989
Total distance traveled: 25,819.6 miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 103.69% (25,819.6/24,901)
Sausages: 71 (29 Hot Dogs, 21 Polish, 8 Bratwurst, 5 Corndogs, 2 Italian, Cheddarwurst, Bison Dog, Chicken Apple Sausage, Blueberry & Merlot Venison Sausage, Sausage Race on a Stick)
Pitches missed: 67
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,965 (6/30 – 7/6)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.75% (27,260/27,327)

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