July 21st, 2012

7-21-12 (@ Cincinnati)

Since it’s after midnight, there’s a game in 12.5 hours, and afterwards I’m driving the 10 hours to Philadelphia; this is going to be a short post. On Saturday I finished the post for Friday, watched the British Open, and did some leg exercises to help with my knee. I went to the game with Barry again and he picked me up 4:30. We were parked at Paul Brown Stadium at 4:45 and we walked over to Great American Ballpark and tried to find a place to eat before the game. The wait was long at every place, so we just had a beer at Holy Grail Bar & Grille and then went across the street to the ballpark. While Barry was waiting in line to get the tickets I got a picture of a man on stilts and the human statue, who were outside of the stadium. I don’t know what the occasion was but there was also a guy inside the stadium that was doing magic tricks. I know that what he was really doing was slight of hand but neither Barry nor I could pick up on it. Well played magic man, well played.

Once we got our tickets and got inside we headed for the upper deck. I got game photo number 93 while standing on a seat in section 537. The closest bridge is the Central Bridge, and the one in the distance is the Dan C Beard Bridge.

After getting the picture taken we went down to the field level and got some food from Mr. Red’s Smokehouse. They offer specials from each visiting team’s city (when they’re in town). When the Brewers are in town they have a smoked beer braised brat. You can click on the image to get a closer look (if you’re interested in seeing what they offer when various teams are in town).

I didn’t get a brat because I can get that anytime. Instead I got the smoked pulled pork sandwich with cole slaw and mac & cheese as sides. It was delicious.

Something funny happened before I ate my dinner. Barry and I were eating at a circular bar table with no chairs or stools. There was a married couple probably in their upper 40’s eating at the same table. I pulled out my hand sanitizer and “washed” my hands before I dug in. I set the small flip-top bottle on the table and the woman quietly commented; “that’s nice that they have those.” I didn’t really think anything of it but then she reached over, picked it up and proceeded to use some of it on her hands. Barry and I kind of looked at each other as she reached back over and set it down where I had left it. Eventually she realized that it was actually mine and she started apologizing profusely. Her husband laughed and said to her; “here’s a fork, do you want some of his pulled pork too?” We had a good laugh and she apologized a few more times before they left. I obviously was not upset and thought the whole thing was pretty funny.

Barry and I went to our seats and met up with one of Barry’s friends (Mike) and Mike’s wife (Erica). They were sitting with us and we were all situated for the first pitch of the game. The seats were in the same section as Friday (112) but on Saturday we were 19 rows closer. Here’s the view as Bronson Arroyo delivered the first pitch of the game to Norichika Aoki:

The Brewers went down in order in the first but the Reds did not follow suit in the bottom half. Gallardo was on the hill for the Brewers, coming off his last start where he struck out a career high 14 batters. Here he is delivering his first pitch to Drew Stubbs:

Stubbs popped out and Rickie Weeks made a really nice play to catch the fly ball down the right field line. The next five at bats for the Reds went as follows: single, single, RBI single, sacrifice fly, two-run home run. Just like that the Reds had a 4-0 lead. Not cool.

In the fourth inning Travis Ishikawa doubled and Corey Hart singled to drive him in. Here’s Hart chatting with Todd Frazier at first base after his single.

When a Reds pitcher strikes out a batter they shoot flames from the Power Stacks in right center field. I made sure to capture this because while it is wasteful it’s also kind of cool.

In the sixth inning Ishikawa doubled again and Braun followed with a single, putting runners on the corners with nobody out. I told Barry that I was hoping Braun would steal second to stay out of the double play. On the first pitch Ramirez did just what I was fearing. Ishikawa scored from third but the chances of a big inning were drastically reduced now that the bases were empty with two outs.

In the bottom of the seventh the Reds tacked on two insurance runs when Brandon Phillips took Jose Veras deep. The Brewers went in order in the 8th and 9th, and that was all she wrote. Final Score: Reds 6 – Brewers 2.

I’m really hoping that the Crew can avoid the sweep and at least give me something good to think about on my 10 hour drive to Philadelphia after the game tomorrow.

Personal Stats:

Daily Stats:

Time inside Great American Ballpark: 4 hrs 31 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 4 hrs 47 minutes
Miles driven:  0
Miles riding in car but not driving: 12.8
Sausages: 0
Pitches missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (282/282)
Current streak of pitches seen: 999

Season Stats:

Brewers current record: 44-49 (.473 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 394 hours 39 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 462 hours 26 minutes
Miles driven: 10,175
Miles riding in car but not driving: 1,944.5
Public Transit miles: 316.3
Flight Miles: 13,989
Total distance traveled: 26,424.8 miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 106.12% (26,424.8/24,901)
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% (28,103/28,170)

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7-20-12 (@ Cincinnati)

I left my parents’ house in Fort Atkinson on Thursday at 12:15. Six hours and 42 minutes later I was parked at my host’s apartment in Cincinnati. I hit just a little bit of traffic, but I don’t think my car ever came to a complete stop. I had filled up Wednesday night so I didn’t even need to stop for gas. My host is Prince, who drove the Wienermobile three years before Victoria, and they’re friends. He asked me if I wanted to go to the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises. Since Friday’s game wasn’t until 7:10 I figured that I would have plenty of time to sleep before the game.

I saw Manny Parra and Kameron Loe (Brewers’ relief pitchers) in the lobby of the theater, and said hello. I didn’t get a response or even a look in my direction. Marcus Hanel (the Brewers’ bullpen catcher) said Manny likely didn’t hear me. Who knows, they probably didn’t think they’d be getting recognized at a theater in Cincinnati at midnight. The movie was good and on the way out a reporter was interviewing a lady dressed as cat woman for the news.

The movie was good but after hearing about the shooting at the Movie theater outside of Denver my enthusiasm subsided. I just don’t know what is wrong with some people. I don’t know the guy’s motive, but I don’t care what anyone has ever done to you. Bringing guns to a theater to kill a bunch of innocent civilians? What is that going to prove/solve? My friend Dustin lives in Denver, and so does Victoria’s friend’s sister (who frequents that theater). Thankfully neither of them went to the midnight showing in Aurora.

It’s hard to talk about my meaningless day when people lost their lives for no reason. I will continue because that’s all I can do.

On Friday I was exhausted and took it easy until I left for lunch/dinner at 3:45. I went to the Skyline Chili on the far east side of Cincinnati and ordered the 5-way extreme once again. The habanero cheese on top makes it “extreme.”

I left Skyline at 4:35 and made it to Paul Brown Stadium at 5:15. Barry, who had reached out to me before the first Reds series, is a Wisconsin native and works for the Bengals at the stadium. He took me out on the field and it was cool/weird being there when it was completely empty.

We didn’t stay long and we headed over to Holy Grail Tavern & Grille, which is right across the street from Great American Ballpark. We had a Miller Lite and Barry introduced me to a few of his coworkers. At 6:15 we went across the street, picked up the tickets from will call, and went inside. Including Friday I was going to need six more game number pictures at Great American Ballpark, so I tried to think of where I wanted them taken. I decided on pretty much straight away centerfield for game photo number 92. It took Barry a few tries but eventually he got what I had wanted.

We made our way towards our seats, and walked past the Highlight Zone.Barry said that they show all the other in-progress MLB games on the screens. Last year he was at a game in September and was there for much of the night watching the Brewers game. There were no games in progress at this point, and they were showing the Reds pre-game show, as well as golf, the MLB network, and something else.

Our seats were in 112 and we were there with plenty of time to spare. The national anthem was performed by the Handbell Musicians of America. I took a picture because I’m pretty sure it’s the first time I’ve been at a game where the anthem was was performed by handbell musicians. I’m not sure if Mr. Red was actually playing the bell he was holding or if it was just for show.

At 7:10 Homer Bailey delivered the first pitch of the game to Norichika Aoki:

Aoki struck out looking, Gomez singled, stole second and went to third on a Ryan Braun single. The ball is on the left side of the picture and it’s covering the face of one of the Reds sitting in the dugout.

The Brewers had runners on first and third with only one out. 65% of the time that teams have that scenario they score at least one run. Aramis Ramirez struck out on four pitches, Corey Hart six, and the Brewers got nothing. Not a good start for the offense. Marco Estrada was on the hill for the Brewers, and retired the first 10 batters he faced. Here he is pitching in the first inning:

The 11th batter Estrada faced was Zack Cozart, and on the 7th pitch he saw he lined one just over the left field wall to give the Reds a 1-0 lead. In the seventh inning Jay Bruce led off the inning. Marco Estrada started him off with two consecutive balls and at that point Barry said something along the lines of “it was about this point in the game that he lost it last time.” He was referring to the June 26th game in Cincinnati when Estrada pitched scoreless ball into the 6th, when Jay Bruce hit a 3-run home run. Well, the 2-0 pitch from Estrada to Bruce on Friday resulted in a solo home run, and two batters later Scott Rolen hit a solo home run and the Reds led 3-0. I blamed the 7th on Barry but I was (somewhat) joking.

Between the seventh and the eighth inning I had a fan a few rows back take a picture of Barry, myself, Barry’s friend Will, and Will’s girlfriend Laura. Will is a Reds fan, and Barry and him have heated arguments over which team is better. It’s hard to talk trash when the Brewers are eight and a half games back though. Thanks for the ticket Barry!

In the top of the eighth Maldonado singled to lead off the inning. Ransom struck out and Ishikawa flied out. Aoki stepped to the plate and flew one to left that was just out of reach of left fielder Ryan Ludwick. Maldonado was moving on contact and was able to score from first:

That’s all the Brewers could manage, and they went quietly in the ninth. Chapman struck out Braun and Ramirez using seven fastballs, two of them hitting 100 MPH on the radar gun. Corey Hart grounded out to second to end the game and the Reds took game one of the three game series. Final Score: Reds 3 – Brewers 1.

I had seen on Tuesday and on Thursday that Ryan Braun had 998 career hits. I was planning on getting a picture of him connecting on hit number 1,000, but I completely forgot. That single in the first (that I got a picture of) was his 999th career hit, and in the fourth he singled again for his 1,000th. After Barry saw the ball get thrown into the Brewers’ dugout he reminded me. Darn. Congratulations to Ryan Braun on the milestone. I saw on Baseball Tonight later that he got to 1,000 hits in fewer games than Pete Rose. That’s pretty neat.

On my drive back to Prince’s place the Reds started their scheduled Fireworks Friday. As I was waiting at a stop light on second street the first few fireworks were set off.

I’m going to Saturday’s game with Barry again, and I’ll be leaving in a few hours. I’m hoping Gallardo can pitch like he has been as of late. I’m also hoping that Bronson Arroyo doesn’t carry a no hitter into the eighth inning like he did last time the Brewers faced him here in Cincinnati.

Personal Stats:

Daily Stats:

Time inside Great American Ballpark: 3 hrs 23 mins
Time on stadium grounds: 3 hrs 31 mins
Miles driven:  450.2 (432.3 from Thursday’s drive to Cincinnati)
Miles riding in car but not driving: 18.5
Sausages: 0
Pitches missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (257/257)
Current streak of pitches seen: 717

Season Stats:

Brewers current record: 44-48 (.478 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 390 hours 8 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 457 hours 35 minutes
Miles driven: 10,175
Miles riding in car but not driving: 1,931.7
Public Transit miles: 316.3
Flight Miles: 13,989
Total distance traveled: 26,412 miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 106.07% (26,412/24,901)
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% (27,821/27,888)

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