July 23rd, 2012
Sunday was the dreaded day game after a night game, with a 10 hour drive to boot. I got up around 10:30, ate breakfast, got packed and left by 11:30. I parked in one of the $10 parking lots, picked up my Brewers-provided ticket (Thanks Kathy & Tyler) and headed inside. It was just past noon and I walked around a bit and found the misting fan that is located in the left field corner on the field level. I could have watched the entire game from that spot but figured it would get very crowded (which it did).
I went up to section 406 in the Kroger-sponsored bleachers to get game photo number 94. I had a fan in the last row take the picture for me, and after a few tweaks to the settings I got one I liked.
I walked around some more and got a hot dog before heading to my seat in section 112. I sat in section 112 for all three games. It’s a good section to be in but like almost every section during day games it’s in the sun for the entire game. Johnny Cueto was on the hill for the Reds and he delivered the first pitch to Aoki to start the game. The ball is just about to enter the catcher’s mitt.
The Brewers loaded the bases in the top of the first with two outs. Cueto struck out Rickie Weeks swinging and the Brewers were kept off the board. Mike Fiers got the start for the Crew and he has been spectacular since being called up. I’m not sure if I mentioned this before, but his delivery reminds me of Tim Lincecum’s with the way he drops his hand and then brings it over the top. Lincecum had/has more velocity but Fiers is having the better season to date (albeit with a smaller sample size). Here he is throwing his first pitch of the afternoon.
In the top of the third Norichicka Aoki led off with a double down the left field line. Cueto struck out Morgan and Braun and it looked as if the Brewers would squander another great scoring opportunity. Aramis Ramirez proved me wrong and on a 1-2 pitch singled to right to drive in Aoki, who scored without a throw. The Brewers went ahead 1-0 on the play, their first lead of the series.
After the top of the third I got out of the sun. It wasn’t that uncomfortable, but seeing that I had a long drive ahead of me I figured I should preserve as much energy as I could. Being in the sun for another two hours probably would have gotten to me in hour seven or eight of my drive, so I think I made the right decision. I went over towards the misting fan but saw that it was extremely crowded. I stopped a section short and watched from the concourse behind section 107. Shortly after I got there this guy stopped by for a visit:
In the bottom of the third inning the Reds scored twice and took a one run lead. Apparently some people find baseball boring and would rather play Angry Birds. I’ve been known to get distracted during a game and tweet something or send a text, but he wasn’t even trying to still pay attention. As Keyshawn would say: “Come on, man!”
If you look closely you can still see the dragonfly on the cup holder in the upper left. I forgot how long he stayed there but it was quite a while. He eventually took off but unfortunately for him he landed by some kids on the nearby staircase. They were curious [read: murderous] and the dragonfly was no more. I don’t know if they thought it was a wasp or something but he was just minding his business.
Before I left my standing room spot in the eighth inning I got a picture of two guys that were sitting in section 107. With the Reds still holding the one run advantage it wasn’t looking good for the Crew. For you non baseball people; a sweep is when one team wins all of the games in a series. When a team is just one win away from a sweep some fans bring brooms to the last game of the series to show that they’ve been paying attention. Either that or to perhaps rub it in or to get on TV.
I went over to “Gapper’s Alley” behind section 119 to watch the bottom of the eighth. During a pitching change I walked over to section 129 so I was near to the exit that was closest to my car. In the top of the ninth Carlos Gomez drew a walk with two outs. Aroldis Chapman was pitching for the Reds and he can throw some heat. Supposedly he hit 106 MPH on a radar gun last year during a game but it’s unknown if the gun was “hot”. He still hits 101 on occasion but he might be holding back a little bit to be more accurate. Ryan Braun was at the plate and Gomez was able to steal second despite the fact that Chapman threw over to first on the play. Braun went down 0-2 in the count and after fouling off the first 0-2 pitch he struck out swinging.
After the last pitch I took off for my car, yet still managed to get caught in traffic. I’m guessing it was a traffic control cop that was keeping a light red, but it took forever. I was the second car at one traffic light, but we couldn’t go anywhere because the next light was red for about 7 minutes. In all I moved 5o yards in 12 minutes. It got better and once I got on I-71 I was Philadelphia bound. The 580 mile drive took me nine hours and forty minutes which includes two stops totaling 27 minutes. Including the stops I averaged exactly 60 miles per hour. Not bad considering that a decent portion of the drive had posted speed limits of 60. I try to drive six to seven miles per hour over the speed limit. I’m a cautious and safe driver and I feel that if a cop wants to pull me over for going seven over, then so be it.
My sister Eliza used to live in San Diego, and once when I was visiting one of her friends was in town for a conference. I remembered that she lived in Philadelphia and back in September I sent her a Facebook message explaining what I was doing and asked if I could stay with her in July when the Brewers were in town. She said yes but there was no guarantee she’d still be in Philly. She was going to the University of Pennsylvania Law School and would be graduating before my visit and might find a job. I went to send her a message a month before the Brewers-Phillies series but noticed on Facebook that she got a job at Yale. I was bummed but asked if she knew anybody in Philly that might be cool with me staying with them for a few nights. She got back to me and I’m staying with a married couple that she thought would be perfect. Their names are Mike and Meg. I didn’t get here until 2:20 AM but Mike got up and told me what I needed to know. I haven’t met Meg yet, but I’m sure she’s just as nice as Mike. They live in a townhouse north of downtown and I basically have the third floor to myself. This picture is hanging in the bathroom. If you can’t read what’s underneath the picture it says: “GOALS: It’s best to avoid standing directly between a competitive jerk and his goals.”
Mike is a great guy and is the vice-chair for Philadelphia’s chapter of The Dude Hates Cancer, a charitable bowling event that raises money and awareness for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. This year’s tournament is on September 15th, check it out if you’re in the Philadelphia area and like bowling, or like supporting great causes.
I’m leaving in about three hours to go to game one of the three game set. Hopefully the City of Brotherly Love shows the Crew some and we’re able to stop the losing streak. I try not to use *we* when describing the team because although I might be superstitious at times, I realize that me wearing a certain pair of socks is probably not going to help them break out of a slump.
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