July 2012

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)

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

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

7-16-12 (vs. St. Louis)

On Monday I actually got something done (besides going to a Brewers game). I had a tune-up before the season started at the Honda Service Center in Madison, and since my car was nearing 90,000 miles they said it was a good time to change my spark plugs. They wanted $60 just for the labor, so I passed. I bought the spark plugs myself and planned on doing it later. Seeing as my car is now over 95,000 miles I figured I shouldn’t wait any longer. I had replaced them on my ’93 Grand Am back in 2005, and the Accord is a lot different. For the car it involves using an socket extension that can reach down into the engine to access the spark plug. I watched a short tutorial online and didn’t have too many problems. I’ll let you guess which one got replaced…

After replacing the spark plugs I went to my friend Dustin’s parent’s house in Fort. Dustin was golfing with his parents, but they said it was alright if I chilled in the pool for a while until they were done. Every time I’m there I always reminisce about all the good times we had at the pool growing up. His parents keep it in tip-top shape; nicely done Luke and Penny.

Dustin got home from golfing and we hit up Jimmy Johns, and then Frostie Freeze. They’re right next to each other on Madison Avenue in Fort Atkinson, so it works out pretty well. I mentioned Frostie Freeze in a previous post, so you can refer to that for me details. It’s a nice ice cream place and I got an Oreo-Reese’s Pieces Candy Freeze. As always, it was superb.

We left Frostie Freeze just before 5:00 and we were parked in the Cooper lot by 6:05. We went right inside and headed to section 208, where Dustin took game photo number 89. Thanks Dustin!

After walking around for a bit we went to our seats and waited for the game to start. They had the Junior Diamond Dancers perform in the outfield with some of the actual Diamond Dancers. I know I wouldn’t be able to remember a routine, so this isn’t a jab at the little tikes. It’s cute to see some of them watch the Diamond Dancers to see what move is next then duplicate it to the best of their abilities, all while trying to catch up.

Jerry Kelly threw out one of the ceremonial first pitches, it was a little low but he got it over the plate. I’m sorry, I think I’m just assuming everyone knows who Jerry Kelly is. He is a Madison native who plays (and has won) on the PGA (golf) tour. Fore…

The game started and it was a pitcher’s duel from the get-go. Mike Fiers was on the hill for the Brewers, and he was on his game. He lasted seven innings, allowed zero runs, four hits, four walks, and struck out four. Since joining the Brewers on May 29th in Los Angeles he’s pitched 53 and 2/3 innings and given up 12 runs, for an ERA of 2.01. I don’t know if he can keep this pace up, but he’s definitely looking like a strong candidate to make the rotation out of camp next season. Here he is delivering the first pitch of the game (a strike) to Rafael Furcal.

The Brewers got on the board in the bottom of the seventh to break the scoreless tie. With one out Corey Hart lifted a deep drive to center field that hit off the bottom of the scoreboard, 1-0 Brewers. Here’s a blurry Corey Hart giving a high five to Ed Sedar on his way towards home plate. I’ve been trying to get someone in the process of clapping to frame a picture. Mission accomplished.

The Brewers added a run in the eighth when Ryan Braun doubled home Norichika Aoki.

Axford came on in the ninth to try and get the save:

Axford walked the leadoff batter in the ninth (always a no-no) but then got the next two hitters to fly out. Over the next three batters Axford had five two-strike counts, where all he needed was one strike to get out of the inning and deliver a win for the Crew. Instead the Cardinals singled, walked, and singled, and the game was tied at two. The next hitter, Allen Craig, also singled, this time on an 0-2 pitch, and the Cardinals took the lead. The Brewers didn’t score in the 9th and it was another excruciatingly painful loss. Final Score: Cardinals 3 – Brewers 2.

I’m going to the game tomorrow with a good friend whose wedding I stood up in last September, and I’m looking forward to it. Also, I mentioned on twitter that my two tickets are available for Tuesday’s game, and no one has claimed them yet. Jeff, who I went to the game with on May 22, gave me his two seats for the game, thus the reason I won’t be needing my two. I’m asking for a $60 donation, which will go to Be The Match. The money helps other people join the registry for free, and potentially save someone’s life. If you read the blog and want two tickets in section 221 for Tuesday’s game (7/17), leave a comment and I’ll get back to you. I can see the commenter’s email addresses, and this is how I would get ahold of you.

Personal Stats:

Daily Stats:

Time inside Miller Park: 4 hrs 19 mins
Time on stadium grounds: 4 hrs 36 mins
Miles driven: 124.8
Sausages: 0
Pitches missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (300/300)
Current streak of pitches seen: 367

Season Stats:

Brewers current record: 42-47 (.472 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 378 hours 51 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 443 hours 34 minutes
Miles driven: 9,476.8
Miles riding in car but not driving: 1,913.2
Public Transit miles: 316.3
Flight Miles: 13,989
Total distance traveled: 25,695.3 miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 103.19% (25,695.3/24,901)
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: 63
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,965 (6/30 – 7/6)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.77% (26,991/27,054)

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

7-15-12 (vs. Pittsburgh)

Saturday night Victoria and I had stayed at her aunt’s house in Sussex, which makes it a little easier with a day game after a night game. We left the house at 10:00, got some breakfast, and then headed to Miller Park. We were parked at 11:25 and went to the bus parking to meet up with some people from Fort. They had brought a bus from Fort Atkinson to celebrate a friend from high school’s birthday (Justin). I played a game of bags (which I won), had a few beers (which I drank), and then decided it was time to head inside. It was really hot (again) and Victoria and I agreed that we probably wouldn’t be watching much of the game from our seats.

We got inside at 12:30 and went to section 209 to get game photo number 88. As these numbers get bigger the number of days become fewer that I have until I’ll have to rejoin the workforce and figure out what I want to do with my life. I’m a procrastinator so I’m really hoping the season lasts longer than 162, for more reasons than one.

Victoria and I went down by section 111 and watched the first four innings from the concourse. On Sundays the Brewers usually make nine kids extremely happy with the Major League Moment. Lucky winners (you have to register at PNC banks) get to join the Brewers for the national anthem at their position on the field. This Sunday was family day, so there were more than just nine, and it was most all of the active players’ kids, as well as Craig Counsell’s kids. It was pretty cool, and Yovani Gallardo got to stand with his son (Yovani Jr.).

Here they are just before Yovani Jr. left the mound. You can tell that Yovani Jr. had been sliding on the infield before the game because his pants are pretty dirty. I suspect having a major leaguer as a parent has its drawbacks (not seeing much of them for 7 months of the year), but there are also times when it’s got to be pretty cool.

Speaking of Yovani Gallardo; he was spectacular on Sunday. He struck out two in the first inning and was on his way to an impressive stat line. Here he is throwing out the first pitch of the game:

Aoki was batting leadoff and the first pitch he saw in the bottom of the first was hit down the right field line for a double.

Nyjer Morgan was up next and he executed a perfect sacrifice bunt, getting Aoki to third base with less than two outs.

With that lead-up you’d think the Brewers scored at least one run in the inning. Spoiler alert; they did not. Braun went down looking at strike three and Aramis Ramirez struck out swinging to end the frame. In the top of the second Casey McGehee grounded one up the middle that was fielded by recent call up Jeff Bianchi (pronounced “BE – YANKEE”). He fielded it near the second base bag and threw on the run to retire the former Brewer. I like that he’s airborne, you can see his shadow and the shadow of the baseball.

It remained scoreless until the top of the fourth, when MVP-candidate Andrew McCutchen hit his third home run in as many games. He went three for four and has his batting average up to .371. He’s having a great season and he’s fun to watch. Now if only he could somehow find his way onto the Brewers roster I could speak even more highly of him. Here’s McCutchen (22) after touching home plate and giving the Pirates a 1-0 lead.

After the top of the fourth inning Victoria and I headed back up to the loge level. I went down and stood in front of the press box while Victoria went and got some nachos. We devoured them and agreed that they’re one of the best things to eat at Miller Park, if not THE best. I might still have to lean towards the Polish topped with caramelized onions, but it’s close. The nachos were messy and magnifilicious at the same time. The fact that we couldn’t see a single chip was a good indication the nachos were going to be messy.

We stayed in front of the press box for the next few innings and in the sixth Nyjer Morgan led off with a single up the middle. Braun followed with a single to right field:

Nyjer rounded second and headed for third but for some reason Pirates right fielder Garret Jones thought he could throw Morgan out. He missed the cutoff man and when Nyjer was pulling into third base Ed Sedar pointed towards home plate (and I’m guessing was yelling at T-Plush to “Go Home!!!”)

Braun was able to go all the way to third base due to the off-line throw from Jones. The Pirates brought the infield in to try and keep the Brewers from taking the lead. Aramis Ramirez, however, got the job done and hit one up the middle to score Braun.

After a Corey Hart strikeout Rickie Weeks and Martín Maldonado both doubled, increasing the lead to 4-1. Maldonado’s double resulted in a close play at second. Here he is sliding/belly-flopping into second base. You can see the ball on the right side of the photo. I know it’s not the clearest picture (I think my camera focused on the screen) but I thought it was still funny/cool.

Yovani Gallardo pitched through the seventh inning, and finished the day with this line: 7 innings pitched, 4 hits allowed, 0 walks, 1 run (earned) and FOURTEEN STRIKEOUTS!!! This puts him into a tie for second place in franchise history for most strikeouts in a single game. Justin, who’s birthday tailgate I visited, witnessed Ben Sheets striking out 18 Atlanta Braves back in 2004.

Victoria and I left our spot in front of the press box and went to our seats during the seventh inning. I watched the first pitch to McGehee from the bottom of the staircase behind section 221, then tried to climb all the stairs before the next pitch. I failed. I turned around just after the 0-1 pitch hit Maldonado’s glove. It was a foolish mistake and it cost me a chance at setting a new (personal) high mark in consecutive pitches seen.

K-Rod came on for the eighth and pitched a 1-2-3 inning, while striking out two. Axford retired three of the four he faced in the ninth inning, and the Brewers won the game and the series. Final Score: Brewers 4 – Pirates 1. Here’s the final pitch of the game. McGehee grounded out to Rickie Weeks to end it. If you look closely you can see the ball hiding behind McGehee’s bat and where the ball had hit the ground (just to the left of McGehee’s left leg).

It would’ve been nice to sweep the Pirates, seeing as the deficit would be 5 games rather than the 7 games it is after the 2-1 series win. A series win is still important, though, so I can’t complain.

One last picture. Early in the game Victoria and I had independently spotted a couple of fans dressed like they were on fire. I’m not sure if they made it on TV but it would’ve been a cool lead-in from commercial to let the viewers at home know how uncomfortable it was (at times).

Personal Stats:

Daily Stats:

Time inside Miller Park: 3 hrs 19 mins
Time on stadium grounds: 4 hrs 35 mins
Miles driven: 85.4
Sausages: 0
Pitches missed: 1
Consecutive pitch streak ended at: 1,535
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.57% (234/235)
Current streak of pitches seen: 67

Season Stats:

Brewers current record: 42-46 (.477 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 374 hours 32 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 438 hours 58 minutes
Miles driven: 9,352.0
Miles riding in car but not driving: 1,913.2
Public Transit miles: 316.3
Flight Miles: 13,989
Total distance traveled: 25,570.5 miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 102.69% (25,570.5/24,901)
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: 63
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,965 (6/30 – 7/6)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.76% (26,691/26,754)

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

7-14-12 (vs. Pittsburgh)

I went to Saturday’s game with Victoria and her parents. The three of them met me in Sussex, where I left my car, and then we made our way to Miller Park. We’re staying at Victoria’s aunt’s place in Sussex for the night, so it made sense to just drive one car to the game. We got to the parking lot at 3:05, and headed back to the Molitor Lot on the other side of the interstate. Right next to the interstate they have a Brewers M on one side of the road and a ball and glove logo on the other side. Here’s the Brewers M with the Miller Park Way exit above it.

We went to the Molitor Lot to meet Victoria’s friend Natalie and the enormous tailgate that her family puts on. This was the 9th Annual King of Brewer Events. Natalie lives in Phoenix and Dustin and I had lunch with her when the Brewers played out there in May. Victoria has been friends with Natalie since college, and we’re all grateful that they allowed non-family members to join in the festivities. When we arrived they had already fired up all three grills, and soon we had the first course, if you will. Below is grilled chicken and pineapple skewers. The pineapple had been brushed with cinnamon, and the chicken had been marinated. If this was all there was I would’ve been satisfied. There were also marinated grilled steak skewers, which are not pictured, but were also delicious.

After the chicken and steak were demolished they moved into sausages. I don’t know if they patented this next skewer, but they should. Here you have a “Sausage Race on a Stick”, well, a bunch of them. The far left skewer, for example, going nearest to farthest segments of: Bratwurst (racing sausage #1), Polish (#2), Italian (#3), Hot dog (#4), and Chorizo (#5).

They also had whole sausages, distinguishable by taste (or the convenient labels).

I had a Polish, a Sausage Race on a Stick, and potato salad. Miller Park awaits in the background:

There were three designated grill masters; Roger, Joe, and Tony (Natalie’s dad). Well done grill masters, well done.

Natalie’s second cousin, Cassie, made some cancer ribbon cookies to celebrate her mother’s (Renee) triumph over cancer, and to commemorate my mission as well. The sign on the right says celebrate survivors.

Victoria made a cheeseburger cake. Say WHAAAAAAAAT!?!?!

We did have a group picture taken that contains 50 or so people who attended the event. It wasn’t taken with my camera so I don’t have it yet. I can hopefully use it in Sunday’s post.

Around 5:30 we started packing up, and after dropping off our cooler at the car we made our way towards Miller Park. We stopped outside the home plate entrance and had a nearby fan take a picture of the four of us. Victoria’s parents (Terry and Deb) are on the left, and Victoria and I are on the right.

I wasn’t sure if the front row of any sections would be empty, let alone the one I needed (210). It worked out well and even though the game was set to start in 15 minutes there was a spot in the front of section 210 where I could stand. Game photo number 87:

I was in my seat five minutes before first pitch and Victoria and her parents arrived just before Marco Estrada delivered a strike to Drew Sutton.

The Brewers got on the board in the second inning. Aramis Ramirez led off with a double and Corey Hart followed with a triple.

Here’s Hart just before sliding safely into third base.

Rickie grounded out to the shortstop but drove in Hart in the process. The Brewers didn’t hold the 2-0 lead for long as the Pirates tied it in the top of the third. Andrew McCutchen hit a two run home run on an 0-2 pitch, and the score was knotted at two. The Brewers came right back in their half of the third and scored twice, giving them a 4-2 lead. Ramirez reached on an error and Aoki scored on the play then Hart hit a sacrifice fly to right field that scored Braun.

The Pirates scored once in the sixth, twice in the seventh, and once in the eighth. After the third the Brewers only mustered two hits and weren’t able to score. Final Score: Pirates 6 – Brewers 4. It was a frustrating game because they had the lead heading into the seventh, but couldn’t close the door. Brewers pitchers did amass 15 strikeouts, Estrada accounting for 11 of them in five and two thirds innings. He retired 17 batters in his outing, and ~ 65% went down via the K. Nicely done Marco. They keep tally of the strikeouts above the right field loge bleachers. 15 is the max that can fit, so who knows what happens when they go over (probably nothing). All the K’s used to be blue, but just recently they changed it so that every third K is orange. It makes them a lot easier to count.

Personal Stats:

Daily Stats:

Time inside Miller Park: 3 hrs 47 mins
Time on stadium grounds: 6 hrs 39 mins
Miles driven: 56.4
Miles riding in car but not driving: 26
Sausages: 2 (Polish sausage, Sausage Race on a Stick)
Pitches missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (320/320)
Current streak of pitches seen: 1,368

Season Stats:

Brewers current record: 41-46 (.471 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 371 hours 13 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 434 hours 23 minutes
Miles driven: 9,266.6
Miles riding in car but not driving: 1,913.2
Public Transit miles: 316.3
Flight Miles: 13,989
Total distance traveled: 25,485.1 miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 102.35% (25,485.1/24,901)
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: 62
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,965 (6/30 – 7/6)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.77% (26,457/26,519)

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

7-13-12 (vs. Pittsburgh)

Friday got off to slow start, and I was in bed until 11:00 am. It was my last day to try and catch up on some sleep, so I took advantage. I might sleep until 11:00 am other days as well, but that’s because I’m likely not going to bed until after 3:00 am. It’s 2:59 on Saturday morning as I proofread this post. Yikes.

I left my parents’ place around 3:30 on Friday afternoon and went into town to get a very late lunch at Ken & Betty’s. It’s a cheesesteak place that was founded by a couple of former Pennsylvania residents. I detailed the restaurant back on April 24th, so if you’re interested in learning more, you can check out that post.

I had a “Philly Works” and added hot peppers (it comes with onions, mushrooms and green peppers). For my friend Dustin I picked up a “South Philly”, which has cheese whiz in place of actual cheese. I always make fun of him for it, but he gets it every time.

After eating our late lunch we left for the game at 4:30. We pulled into the Braves 1 lot at 5:35, and I went around informing people about my mission and Be The Match. For those that are new to the blog; Be The Match is the bone marrow donor registry. It’s really easy to join the registry, and one day you could possibly help save someone’s life. If you want to know about the actual donor process you can read the About Me page, because I actually went through the donor process in 2008. It’s much easier than most people think.

I met Dustin in section 211 around 6:20, and we got game photo number 86 taken care of.

Surprise!!! I shaved my head and my face. I couldn’t take it anymore. The original plan was to go the entire season without cutting my hair or shaving, I failed. The fact that my facial hair was orange didn’t help its cause.

Dustin and I waited in a concession stand line for five minutes or so, before I realized what I was doing. When it was my turn to order I remembered that I had just had the cheesesteak two and a half hours earlier, so I walked away without ordering anything. I remember planning as I was driving that I would get something later in the game, so I have no idea know why I got in line in the first place.

The game got underway at 7:10 and I captured the first pitch of the ceremonious second half of the season.

The game got off to a great start; with the Brewers scoring three runs in the bottom of the first. After Aoki and Morgan were retired Braun came to the plate and gave the Crew an early lead with a solo home run to right field. Here’s Braun as he’s about to give a low-five to third base coach Ed Sedar.

Sometimes I purposely get the fans in the photos because it shows the emotion and energy that’s in the stadium. Ramirez walked to follow Braun, Corey Hart singled, and Weeks doubled to drive in a both of them. The hit took his batting average above .200 for the first time in a long while. If the Brewers can get him going (and keep Greinke) I think they’ll have a chance down the stretch. Rickie taking his lead after the first inning two-run double:

In the third the Brewers gave one of the runs back when Weeks botched an easy grounder that would have ended the inning. In the fourth inning the Pirates took the lead when they got a two out double from Sutton to drive in a one run, and then a three-run home run from Neil Walker. The four runs gave the Buccos (a nickname for the Pirates) a 5-3 advantage.

Braun drove in a run in the fourth with a single but the Pirates got it back in the top of the fifth with a solo home run from Pedro Alvarez. The Brewers answered in the bottom of the fifth with a run of their own. Pinch hitter Travis Ishikawa drove in Rickie Weeks and the Pirate’s lead was 6-5. In the bottom of the sixth inning Nyjer Morgan led off and was hit by pitch. It brought up Ryan Braun, who represented the go-ahead run. Then this happened:

Nyjer Morgan was thrown out trying to steal second base. I was extremely ticked off because with Braun at the plate a baserunner is already in scoring position when at first base. What’ya know, on the 3-1 offering Braun took reliever Brad Lincoln deep to right for his second homer of the game. Tie ball game.

Who knows if the same thing would’ve happened if Nyjer had stayed put at first, but it makes you wonder. Neither team scored in the seventh, and K-Rod did a good job of picking off a baserunner and getting out of the Pirate’s half of the inning without giving up a run. In the bottom of the eighth the Brewers loaded the bases with two outs. Braun and Ramirez had executed a double steal to put runners on second and third and the Pirates elected to intentionally walk Rickie Weeks. It set up a force at every plate, and I think Rickie hits lefties pretty well, but I’m sure Pirates fans are second guessing the move. In the four part picture below, going clockwise from top left, you have:

1) Ransom making contact on the 2-2 offering from Tony Watson. Salami!!! (For you non-baseball junkies, a Grand Slam is often referred to as a “Grand Salami” or simply a “Salami”)

2) In the foreground is Rickie Weeks and Ed Sedar about to give each other a forearm, and in the background is Cody Ransom after rounding second base.

3) Ransom getting some love from Ramirez and Weeks at home plate.

4) Ransom as he enters the Brewers dugout. He got a curtain call and came back out of the dugout to tip his cap, but I didn’t get a very good picture. Being a bat boy has it perks, as they get high fives from the players after huge moments in important games.

The Brewers took a 10-6 lead after the Grand Slam by Ransom. While Axford came on in the ninth and gave up a solo home run to Andrew McCutchen, he shut the door with a strikeout of Casey McGehee. Here’s the final pitch:

It was a close pitch and McGehee started walking down to first base because he thought it was ball four. The ump had a delayed strike call most of the night, and he rung up Casey to end the game. McGehee wasn’t too happy. Final Score: Brewers 10 – Pirates 7.

Earlier in the game I had a lady in front of us take a picture of me and Dustin. Dustin is on the left, I’m on the right. Dustin sometimes struggles to keep his eyes open during pictures. His eyes are open in this one but it appears he was not very happy to be there. He was happy to be there, however, and I’m glad I got to watch the game with a very good friend.

The sausage race took place in the middle of the sixth inning, as always, and I’ve got a few pictures to share. Here’s the lineup as they prepared for the race. It appeared to be an all-female race, and I chose the Chorizo (far right) because I felt she had the most muscular/fit legs. Dustin chose the Polish sausage (in the middle with the blue and red stripes).

Living in Colorado the last few years must be throwing off Dustin’s judgement. The picture below was the result of the race. Chorizo is crossing the finish line while the Polish is about 100 feet back. Prediction Score: Ben 1 – Dustin 0.

I’m going to Saturday’s game with my girlfriend Victoria and her parents. We’re meeting up with a friend of Victoria’s and attending her family’s annual tailgate party. I’m looking forward to another day at the Miller Park.

I have to give a shout out to MLB for mentioning me and my mission on their Facebook page on Thursday evening. They also had a blurb on the main MLB.com homepage on Friday that linked to my blog. It wasn’t up there long, but a lot of people clicked on it. On most days my blog will see about 300-500 views. Friday, you ask? How about 2,595. Wow! Hopefully I can keep some of them interested enough to return and perhaps make a donation to the Be The Match foundation or join the registry. Either way I’m grateful for Major League Baseball for putting those links up. Thank You!

I can see what country the people are clicking on the blog from, and the country count is up to 78! This amazes me. 47 of the countries have fewer than 10 views, but nonetheless; it’s pretty cool in my book.

Personal Stats:

Daily Stats:

Time inside Miller Park: 4 hrs 45 mins
Time on stadium grounds: 5 hrs 34 mins
Miles driven: 126.2
Sausages: 1 (Polish sausage)
Pitches missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (376/376)
Current streak of pitches seen: 1,048

Season Stats:

Brewers current record: 41-45 (.477 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 367 hours 26 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 427 hours 44 minutes
Miles driven: 9,210.2
Miles riding in car but not driving: 1,887.2
Public Transit miles: 316.3
Flight Miles: 13,989
Total distance traveled: 25,402.7 miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 102.01% (25,402.7/24,901)
Sausages: 69 (29 Hot Dogs, 21 Polish, 8 Bratwurst, 5 Corndogs, 2 Italian, Cheddarwurst, Bison Dog, Chicken Apple Sausage, Blueberry & Merlot Venison Sausage)
Pitches missed: 62
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,965 (6/30 – 7/6)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.76% (26,137/26,199)

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

All-Star Break

I thought I’d write a quick post regarding the All-Star break. I stayed Sunday night in Houston and took the bus to the airport Monday morning for my flight back. I left Houston at 10:30 am, connected in Atlanta, and arrived in Milwaukee at 3:30 pm. I drove right back to Madison and spent Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday relaxing. It was nice spending some time with Victoria and Prince. I swear he was clapping when Prince won the home run derby, and said “meow that was a bomb” after one of Fielder’s blasts.

On Monday night Victoria made roasted and shredded beef sandwiches with horseradish mayo. She’s made them before and they’re amazing every time. I’m one lucky fella.

On Tuesday I had a physical therapy appointment, and they did an Iontophoresis treatment. It involves using an electric charge to deliver medication, in this case a steroid to try and help with the pain in my knee. It’s nothing crazy, and it just feels like some pins are poking you when they have it running.

Tuesday night I watched the All-Star game, and it was nice to see Braun go 2-3 with a double and a triple. Atta Boy!!!

On Wednesday I went into my former workplace to say hi to some familiar faces. Pam and Steve, who came to two separate games in June, joined me at a Happy Hour at Legend’s Sports Bar & Grill. We had a beer and some nachos. Delicious.

On Thursday I had another physical therapy appointment and then headed back to Fort Atkinson. My friend Dustin, who came on the Phoenix – Los Angeles trip with me, was in town and we hung out. The Fort Generals (a home talent league baseball team) had a game at Jones Park. It’s arguably the best non-professional baseball park in the State. I might be biased in that but I believe Sports Illustrated did a piece on it a few years back. I’m not sure what year (it was probably the 1920’s) but the Green Bay Packers played an exhibition game at the park. Good stuff. $1 hot dogs and $1 beers are always on the menu, so if you’re ever in Fort Atkinson I suggest you make a visit. Jones Park is on Janesville Avenue, just south of downtown. This was the hot dog I got, and you can see my friend (number 12) in the background. His name is Josh and he plays shortstop and pitches for the Generals. He’s come to a few home games this year with me as well.

I just remembered that I took a picture of Josh making a sweet play back in 2010. It just might be the best picture I’ve ever taken. I happened to have my camera out when they were in the field, and someone popped one down the left field line and he made an amazing catch.

They have a large concession stand and upstairs is the announcers booth. Outside is a nice standing room spot; not bad at all. The field might not be in the best shape, due to the record temps and lack of rainfall, but it’s still a nice place to play/watch a game.

I’m about to leave for game number 86, and the start of the “second half”. The flight back from Houston put me over the once-around-the-world tracker, so that’s pretty cool. We’ll see how close I come to making two trips around.

Personal Stats:

4-day totals:

Transit miles: 10.7
Flight miles: 1,363
Miles driven: 203.1
Miles riding in car but not driving: 1.1
Sausages: 1 (hot dog)
Pitches missed at the Generals game: A bunch
Current streak of (Brewers game) pitches seen: 672

Season:

Brewers current record: 40-45 (.471 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 362 hours 41 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 422 hours 10 minutes
Miles driven: 9,084
Miles riding in car but not driving: 1,887.2
Public Transit miles: 316.3
Flight Miles: 13,989
Total distance traveled: 25,276.5 miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 101.51% (25,276.5/24,901) Woot Woot!
Sausages: 68 (29 Hot Dogs, 20 Polish, 8 Bratwurst, 5 Corndogs, 2 Italian, Cheddarwurst, Bison Dog, Chicken Apple Sausage, Blueberry & Merlot Venison Sausage)
Pitches missed: 62
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,965 (6/30 – 7/6)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.76% (25,761/25,823)

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

7-8-12 (@ Houston)

Sunday was a 1:05 start and I was up by 9:00. I ate breakfast and was hoping to watch some of the Men’s Wimbledon Final that featured Federer and Murray. For some reason my hotel room’s TV wasn’t getting ESPN. I had told them about it on Friday and Saturday but they never fixed it. I left at 11:45 and made the short walk to Minute Maid Park in the rain. I had my umbrella out but it’s a small collapsable one and the lower half of my shorts were soaked by the time I got to the Park.

After getting inside I went down to the Brewers dugout and had a nearby fan take game photo number 85.

I talked with the group of people that took the picture for a bit and then went to find my seat. Because Greinke was ejected after throwing only four pitches on Saturday he was able to start on Sunday as well. Here he is throwing the first pitch of the game.

It didn’t go much better for him early on, as the Astros scored a run on two hits before he got the first out. There was a close play at the plate and Roenicke came out to voice his opinion. Roenicke had gotten ejected on Saturday for arguing with the first base ump after he had ejected Greinke. Sam Holbrook is the ump who ejected both of them on Saturday, and he just to happened to be the home plate umpire on Sunday.

Greinke gave up two more runs, one of them on a bases loaded walk. Rickie Weeks got one of the runs back in the top of the second when he homered to right field. Here he his rounding third base.

Greinke only pitched three innings, but the three runs in the first were all he allowed. He actually struck out the side in the third inning and I thought he would’ve gotten a chance to pitch a few more innings. Estrada came in and pitched the next three innings and he only allowed one baserunner, so I don’t think Greinke could’ve done much better than that.

Braun doubled to lead off the sixth inning and Aramis Ramirez singled him home to cut the lead to 3-2. In the eighth inning Aoki led off with a walk, Morgan bunted him over and Braun drove him in, tying the game at three. Here’s Braun talking with first base coach Garth Iorg after driving in Aoki.

Braun stole second and then third and the Brewers were in a great position to score the go-ahead run. Ram-Ram struck out and so did Chart and the tying run was all the Brewers got.

In the ninth the Brewers had runners on first and second with only one out but failed to score again. After the Astros went scoreless in their half of the ninth the Brewers took control of the game. Nyjer led off the tenth with a walk and stole second on the first pitch to Braun. Here’s T-Plush sliding into second base. I like that Altuve is airborne when I took the picture, it almost looks like he’s balancing on the bottom of Nyjer’s right shoe.

Getting to second base was nice, but it resulted in the Astros intentionally walking Braun since first base was now open. The Astros were trying to induce a double play grounder from Ramirez but he battled after going down 0-2 in the count and drew a walk. The bases were now loaded with Brewers:

Chart stepped to the plate and delivered a base hit to second basemen José Altuve. The Astros had the infield in (see above) and by the time Altuve gloved the ball up the middle he had nowhere to go with it. Weeks followed Chart with a single that drove in Braun and the Crew had a two run advantage. The next three hitters all went down swinging but the Brewers went to the bottom of the tenth with the lead.

Axford came in for the save and in his first four pitches he gave up two singles. Schafer moved the runners over with a sacrifice bunt and the Astros had the tying run at second base with only one out. The Axman struck out Altuve looking and then got Scott Moore on a foul tip. Here’s the final pitch of the first “half” of the season. Half is in parentheses because between the 81st and 82nd game would’ve been the real halfway point, not between the 85th and 86th.

Final Score: Brewers 5 – Astros 3. The bullpen did a great job of shutting down the Astros for nine innings and it was an all-around team effort. This is the last I’ll see of the Crew until Friday evening. I’m looking forward to the four day break but I’m also looking forward to watching the Brewers try and make a move in the division in the second half.

After the game I went to dinner with Annie, her roommate (Haley) and her roommate’s boyfriend (Derek). We went to Pappasito’s Cantina which is just a few miles from downtown Houston. Clockwise from top left:

1) The interior of the Tex-Mex restaurant.

2) Our flaming “Queso Blanco” with chicken fajita. You can see the blue flame just above the jalapeño in the middle of the dish. We of course waited until it stopped flaming to dig in.

3) My meal; the “Taco Trio” which consisted of a shrimp brochette, a pulled pork carnita and a beef brisket taco, as well as rice and beans (on the left). It was good but I wasn’t blown away by anything. Thanks to Annie and Haley for splitting the bill! Such friendly folks down here in Texas. I did notice that a lot of “ya’lls” were being thrown around. Annie is even picking it up despite the fact that she grew up in California and Wisconsin and went to college at Notre Dame.

My flight leaves at 10:30 Monday morning from Houston Hobby Airport and I’m looking forward to getting back home. I wish I could’ve scheduled a flight that got back Sunday night but they were really expensive (an additional $400 expensive) so Monday will have to do. I’m not sure if I’ll be posting anything over the All-Star break. If I do I might just combine all the days together since there won’t be too much going on.

85 down, 77 to go!

Personal Stats:

Daily:

Time inside Minute Maid Park: 4 hours 27 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 4 hours 34 minutes
Miles riding in car but not driving: 9.9
Sausages: 0
Pitches Missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (330/330)
Current streak of pitches seen: 672

Season:

Brewers current record: 40-45 (.471 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 362 hours 41 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 422 hours 10 minutes
Miles driven: 8,879.7
Miles riding in car but not driving: 1,886.1
Public Transit miles: 305.6
Flight Miles: 12,626
Total distance traveled: 23,698.6 miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 95.17% (23,698.6/24,901) Almost there…..
Sausages: 67 (28 Hot Dogs, 20 Polish, 8 Bratwurst, 5 Corndogs, 2 Italian, Cheddarwurst, Bison Dog, Chicken Apple Sausage, Blueberry & Merlot Venison Sausage)
Pitches missed: 62
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,965 (6/30 – 7/6)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.76% (25,761/25,823)

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7-7-12 (@ Houston)

I was exhausted Saturday, and after getting breakfast at 9:15 I went back to bed. I got back up around 1:00 and started getting ready for the game. I hadn’t even bothered to look outside on Friday and on Saturday I realized I had a nice view of downtown Houston. When I was here in May my room was on the other side of the hotel and the view was nothing like this.

I left at 2:10 and was inside Minute Maid Park 15 minutes later. I headed right for section 258 in straightaway centerfield and used the ten second self timer to get game photo number 84. It took a few tries but I made it work. I know you can’t see much of the field, but being able to see the roof is cool because that’s one of the main features of the stadium. I just can’t seem to hold the number sign straight.

After taking the picture I went down to the field level and got a BBQ brisket sandwich from the Maverick Smokehouse stand. It was $11 for the brisket sandwich, chips, and a pickle. A little steep, but after eating it I’d say it was worth it.

Annie, who met up with me on Friday, joined me for the game and we sat in section 110. The Brewers stranded two in the first, and then the game took a crazy turn. Greinke gave up a “triple” on the first pitch he threw. I put triple in parentheses because Gomez dove for it and it got past him. If he just played it on a hop it would’ve been a single. Altuve was the next batter and on the fourth pitch of the game he grounded one that Hart had to range far to his right to get. Greinke was a little late covering the bag and Altuve was called safe. Greinke turned towards second base and spiked the baseball (away from the umpire). First base umpire Sam Holbrook ejected Greinke and he pleaded his case. Replays show him saying “I’m mad at myself”, which makes sense because he probably could’ve gotten there quicker. I didn’t have my camera out when he spiked the ball so I didn’t get a picture of that but I got some pictures of Roenicke arguing. Going clockwise from top left:

1) Roenicke giving Holbrook an earful, just after Holbrook had ejected him.

2) Roenicke really letting Holbrook have it, as Greinke walks towards the dugout in disbelief.

3) Roenicke talking to/yelling at home plate umpire Joe West.

4) Roenicke getting his last words in as Joe West responds in kind.

Four pitches; that’s all Greinke threw on Saturday, unbelievable. It’s one thing for an umpire to eject a guy for directing an F-bomb at them, but for spiking a ball? Batters spike their helmets, break their bats, and throw their protective gear after striking out on a bad pitch and they don’t get tossed. I’m guessing Holbrook thought Greinke was showing disgust in the call, but when he didn’t say anything to him how can he make that assumption?

The infield single resulted in the Astros getting a run, and Livan Hernandez came on to finish the inning. I told Annie that maybe Livan could pull an Ernie Shore. I remember from reading Babe Ruth’s autobiography that once when he was a pitcher he got ejected after walking the leadoff batter. Ernie Shore came on in relief and picked the runner off. He then retired the next 26 batters in order, and was apart of the combined no hitter. I really didn’t think Livan had a chance, but I still thought the Ernie Shore story was funny/topical.

The Astros got three more in the third, one in the fourth, and one in the fifth to take a six to nothing lead. The Brewers scored two in the sixth and one in the eighth, but that’s all they could muster. Final Score: Astros 6 – Brewers 3. The Crew had lots of scoring chances and stranded 10 on base as a team. In the sixth they had runners on second and third with two outs, but Izturis popped out. In the eighth they had first and second with nobody out, but only got the one run, it was that kind of day.

At one point the Chick-Fil-A mascot came down the aisle closest to us and was throwing out t-shirts. We were made aware of the cow’s visit beforehand because a cute little girl a few rows in front of us was facing the concourse, pointing, and saying “cow”.

I’m hoping the Crew can end the first half on a high note by taking game three and winning the series. That is all.

Personal Stats:

Daily:

Time inside Minute Maid Park: 4 hours 7 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 4 hours 11 minutes
Sausages: 0
Pitches Missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (287/287)
Current streak of pitches seen: 342

Season:

Brewers current record: 39-45 (.464 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 358 hours 14 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 417 hours 36 minutes
Miles driven: 8,880.9
Miles riding in car but not driving: 1,876.2
Public Transit miles: 305.6
Flight Miles: 12,626
Total distance traveled: 23,688.7 miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 95.13% (23,688.7/24,901) Almost there…..
Sausages: 67 (28 Hot Dogs, 20 Polish, 8 Bratwurst, 5 Corndogs, 2 Italian, Cheddarwurst, Bison Dog, Chicken Apple Sausage, Blueberry & Merlot Venison Sausage)
Pitches missed: 62
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,965 (6/30 – 7/6)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.76% (25,431/25,493)

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