July 30th, 2012
On Sunday Victoria and I left her aunt and uncle’s place at 11:15. It took us over 45 minutes to travel the 19 miles to Miller Park. Apparently an hour and ten minutes before the game is a popular time to get there. We went up to section 202 for game photo number 101. Only 37.7% of the season remains.
After getting the game number picture taken we went over to the Chef’s Table stand because we saw a fan with something that looked different than normal Miller Park fare. The Chef’s Table is located behind section 216 and has food that is popular in the visiting team’s city. For the Nationals series the special was DC TaKorean Food Truck style tacos (3 tangy chicken tacos). This was the description: chicken marinated in sweet chili sauce, ginger and soy served with lime crema, fresh cilantro and kimchi slaw served with wonton chips topped with a wasabi drizzle. They were mighty tasty:
We ate the tacos in front of the press box because they were quite mess, and I’m sure I would’ve gotten something on me if I had been sitting down. The game started and this was my view for the first pitch:
I like my seat location, but being on an aisle has its drawbacks. Every few minutes there’s a vendor walking down the aisle and standing at the bottom of the stairs. There are also people who just stand up and aren’t too concerned with the fact that they are blocking the view of somebody else (which happens in every seat location). I make it work though and I find a way to either lean from side to side or just stand up quickly as to not miss a pitch.
The Nationals got off to a good start and on the 5th pitch of the game Lombardozzi took Mark Rogers deep to give the Nats a 1-0 lead. It didn’t last long, however, and the Brewers answered in the bottom half. Lucroy drew a bases loaded walk and Cody Ransom drove in a run on a ground ball that glanced off the pitcher’s glove for an infield single. In the third inning Braun walked to lead off the frame. Corey Hart singled and Braun went to third. For some reason Hart had taken off for second and the Nationals third basemen threw over to get a Hart in a pickle. Braun eventually broke towards home and he scored easily while Hart was getting tagged out. Here’s Braun arriving at third as Zimmerman is about to make the throw.
In the sixth the Nationals cut the lead to 3-2 when Moore doubled home Zimmerman. Mark Rogers had gotten the start for the Brewers, and was removed after walking Bernadina. He pitched well and gave up only two earned runs in five and third innings, striking out 7 and issuing that lone walk. This was his last pitch of the game:
In the bottom of the sixth the bases were loaded with one out when Aoki stepped to the plate. The squeeze play was on and Lucroy scored easily:
You can see in the picture above that the Nationals’ pitcher (Gonzalez) was throwing to first to get Aoki. His throw was a little to the right and it forced Lombardozzi to stretch for it. Replays show that he clearly kept his foot on the bag but the umpire called Aoki safe. Moments after the safe call Ransom (who was on third) broke for home and scored what appeared to be another run. The umpire waved it off and said that time had been called, this is what ensued:
Ron Roenicke is in the lower right arguing with home plate umpire Mike Estabrook (I’m guessing about the time call), Nationals manager Davey Johnson is arguing with first base umpire Tim Welke to the left of first base (about the terrible call he just made), and Cody Ransom is walking towards the third base umpire Laz Diaz, and an argument followed. You usually don’t see three arguments with three different umpires all at the same time, so it was kind of cool. Gomez followed Aoki with a sacrifice fly, Ransom scored anyways and the Brewers led 5-2.
In the top of the seventh the Nationals got one back but it could’ve been a lot worse. The bases were loaded with nobody out but Livan Hernandez got Zimmerman to ground into a 5-3 double play and only the one run scored. In the bottom of the seventh Rickie Weeks smashed a long home run to centerfield with Hart aboard and the Crew increased their lead to 7-3.
A four run lead going into the 8th inning sounds pretty safe, right? Not with this year’s edition of the bullpen. K-Rod came on to start the 8th and walked the first man he faced. After a strikeout Roger Bernadina went yard and the lead was cut to 7-5. After giving up another single Roenicke brought in Axford, presumably to try and pick up the last 5 outs of the game. Axford gave up a double, and RBI groundout, threw a wild pitch, and the game was tied at seven.
The offense picked up the bullpen and in the bottom of the eighth Aoki and Gomez went back-to-back with one out to give the Crew a 9-7 lead. Aoki and Gomez, respectively, getting some dap from Sedar after rounding third.
Gomez’s low five might look a little funny, and that’s because he goes 100 MPH around the bases on his home runs. Tater Trot Tracker keeps track of how fast home run trots take, and Gomez has 3 of the top 5 in terms of fastest round-trippers. When Braun grounded out in the 8th I told Victoria that we needed Hart and Weeks to get aboard to potentially see Axford at the plate. He has never had a plate appearance so I thought it would be pretty cool to see. Hart doubled and Weeks walked and Axford came to the plate. It looks like he actually has his own batting helmet (see the # 59 on the back), I’m not sure about the bat though, because in the dugout I saw him motioning as if he needed one.
I was hoping he would swing the bat and somehow get a hit but he didn’t take the bat off his shoulders, and the game went to the top of the ninth.
Axford struck out Zimmerman to start the 9th but then walked the next batter. Morse stepped to the plate representing the tying run, and he did just that, barely putting one over the right field fence to tie the game at 9. This isn’t related to the tie game, but Morse does a quirky routine before stepping into the box. He does this slow swing with on leg raised, I thought it was pretty funny. It’s not too funny because he played hero on Sunday.
The Brewers failed to score in the 9th and neither team scored in the 10th. In the 11th Michael Morse came through again, lining a one out 2-run double down the left field line, giving the Nationals a 11-9 lead. In the bottom half Corey Hart led off with a solo home run and the deficit was now only one. Cody Ransom drew a two out walk but that’s the closest the Brewers could get. Final Score: Nationals 11 – Brewers 10.
A few more things from the game. It was Bob Uecker bobble head day, and it’s a pretty nice bobble of Uecker when he caught for the Milwaukee Braves in the early 1960’s.
On a few occasions during the game they spoke about Uecker between innings, and showed highlights of some of his most famous calls over the years. The crowd gave him a standing ovation and I just missed him standing and tipping his cap. Poor performance on my part. Here he is after he sat back down, I think he might even be on air when it’s happening.
Since the Crew wound up losing the highlight of the day might be a kid dancing in between innings. I think it was during the middle of the eighth, but the cameraman was in the aisle between 220 and 221, and this kid was in the aisle giving it his all. The camera stayed on him for probably 30 seconds, which does not happen very often. When he was done everyone in the sections around him gave him a standing ovation.
It was a 4 hour 24 minute game, and we were tired (of losing and in general). This was the linescore when it was all said and done. The first two innings are cut off, but you get the picture. Just look at the 6th through 8th innings, 12 runs between the two teams.
It was my 101st game and Victoria’s 25th. She’s a trooper and has been very supportive of my mission. When we got back to Madison we used the meat we didn’t take to Saturday’s tailgate for a summer salad. I don’t have many home-made meals, and it was certainly welcomed. It was a spinach salad with marinated chicken and steak, red onion, red peppers, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and italian dressing.
It’s 1:00 PM on Monday afternoon, and I’ll be leaving in a few hours for game number 102. I’m going with a good friend from high school, Jens. Hopefully the Brewers can turn things around. I think if I go in expecting them to lose I won’t feel so bad when it happens. I know that’s a defeatist way of thinking, but I’m trying to keep my sanity through it all.
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