July 2012

7-6-12 (@ Houston)

I woke up Friday morning at 1:00 am, and couldn’t fall back asleep. My alarm was set for 2:40 and I was pretty upset with myself. I don’t know if I was just afraid I wasn’t going to wake up when my alarm did go off, but I just wasn’t tired anymore. Thursday evening I had parked my car underneath an outdoor light at my parents’ house and I left my windows cracked a little. This was a bad idea. My parents live on Lake Koshkonong, and the lake fly problem is horrendous, especially when it’s hot and humid. When I went out to my car Friday morning there were probably thousands of lake flies covering my car. Since I’m an idiot and left my windows open there were many inside my car as well. Some were alive, some were dead, all were annoying. On my one hour 10 minute drive to the airport I constantly had lake flies flying into my face. When I get back I’ll have to vacuum my car which by now is full of lake fly carcasses.

I parked in the Super Saver Lot and took the shuttle to the airport and was inside by 4:30 am. There was a little confusion as to what the x-ray screener was seeing in my suitcase. They had to pretty much look through my entire suitcase and it turned out that my computer charger and electric toothbrush charger were throwing them off. They probably were profiling me because of my ginger beard, because no sane person would let it grow as long as I have.

I connected in Atlanta, and got to Houston right on time at 11:30 am. I took the 88 bus up to the Chenevert stop, and walked to the Holiday Inn that I’m staying at. I don’t think they do much upkeep on the sidewalks on the route I took. I wound up crossing the street because I didn’t think my wheeled suitcase would have worked well, and I likely would’ve sprained my ankle.

I was able to check in early again and I answered some emails and took an hour long nap before getting ready for the game. I got to Minute Maid Park at 5:45 but had to wait until six to get my ticket. Sometimes the Brewers’ provided tickets are available more than an hour before, and sometimes they’re not. An hour before the game is plenty of time, though, and I got inside at 6:05. I said hi to Tim Dillard as he ran in from shagging balls during batting practice, then went to get game photo number 83 taken. I decided on the Crawford Boxes as the backdrop and had a nearby fan with his own DSLR take the picture with my camera.

After getting the picture taken I handed out a few cards to people nearby. Most everyone nearby sees the number when I’m getting the pictures taken, and I’ll tell them about what I’m doing and why. A girl that I gave one of the cards to tweeted at me a few minutes later asking if I could get a picture taken with her. I said yes and came back to see her. She told me she’s a senior in high school and does stuff with raising awareness for causes. She’s going to make a presentation about what I’m doing and let her classmates know that it’s important to join the registry. Thanks Alexandria!

I thought this was interesting; this was what the let field wall looked like when I was here in May. Specifically the two light tower supports and the CITGO sign.

Here’s what it looks like now:

They added horizontal supports for those four pictures, and it looks like they might be adding more (which would hide the train even more). I guess I’ll find out what the end result is (hopefully), since the Brewers are back in Houston next month.

The game got off to a great start due to back-to-back home runs from Aoki and Braun in the top of the first. The Astros got one back in the bottom half of the first when Scott Moore hit a long home run to right field.

Sidebar time. Annie, a girl that I went to high school with, now lives in Houston (which I didn’t know before yesterday) and we met up in the 5th inning. We saw someone in front of us get some chicken nachos and even though I had already had a Nacho supreme earlier in the game I agreed that if Annie got some I would share. They were quite delicious but the raw jalepeños were a little much. I had slices with a few bites but it was too hot, even for me.

Back to the game: It stayed a 2-1 ballgame until the sixth, when Rickie Weeks padded the lead with a 2-run home run. Here he is getting his traditional forearm from third base coach Ed Sedar.

In the top of the seventh the Brewers tacked on three more, with Gomez, Aoki and Ramirez getting the RBIs. Annie took off before the conclusion of the game because she had come with some friends. Before she left I had a neighboring Brewers fan take a picture of the two of us.

Annie actually lives pretty close to the ballpark, and when the Brewers play the Astros in August I might be staying with her. Her roommate is going to be on vacation so I would have my own room. I haven’t booked a hotel or anything for that trip yet, so it should work out well.

Livan Hernandez pitched the 8th and the 9th and didn’t give up a run. Final Score: Brewers 7 – Astros 1. The final batter grounded out to Rickie Weeks, so Corey Hart had the final-out ball. He flipped it to Hernandez as Rickie and Ram-Ram hugged it out.

In the fourth inning Chart had doubled, and I got a picture of him when José Altuve was nearby. Altuve is the Astros’ second baseman, and he’s having a great season. I took the picture because Corey Hart is about six foot six, and Altuve is listed as five foot five. Not too exciting, but I thought it was cool/interesting.

The Astros were lighting off fireworks after the game, and on my walk back to the hotel you could see them over the stadium from a distance.

I’m glad they announced that the game was at 3:05 on Saturday because the original start time was 6:05, and that’s all I knew. Needless to say I would’ve felt extremely foolish if I somehow wouldn’t have found out and wound up missing most or all of a game while staying less than a mile from the stadium. Whew.

I’m not 100% positive that I missed a pitch, but I’m pretty sure I missed the 0-2 to Maldonado in the 8th. I was talking with Annie and I think I missed it. If I didn’t, so be it, I may have missed one earlier and didn’t even realize it.

Personal Stats:

Daily:

Time inside Minute Maid Park: 4 hours 5 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 4 hours 25 minutes
Miles driven: 71.2
Miles riding in car but not driving: 1.1
Flight miles: 1,363 (670 MKE-ATL, 693 ATL-HOU)
Public transit miles: 10.7
Sausages: 0
Pitches Missed: 1
Consecutive pitch streak ended at: 1,965
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.67% (300/301)
Current streak of pitches seen: 55

Season:

Brewers current record: 39-44 (.470 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 354 hours 7 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 413 hours 25 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: 99.75% (25,144/25,206)

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

7-5-12 (vs. Miami)

Thursday was a record high, and boy was it hot. I met Theresa (another former coworker) in Johnson Creek at 11:10 and she drove us to the game in her BMW. After riding in her vehicle I’m thinking about getting my car’s AC checked, because it’s not nearly as cold. We pulled into the Cooper lot at 11:50 and headed right inside. We went to section 212 and got game photo number 82 taken care of. If you scroll down and compare 81 and 82 you’ll notice a huge difference in the sweatiness of my hair and face. The difference came from the fact that on Wednesday I spent 60 minutes out in the sun promoting Be The Match, while Thursday I went right inside.

After getting the picture taken we headed down to the team store to pick up a few more shirts and then got a beer and polish sausage. Theresa hadn’t had one before, and like Steve on June 20th she’s a believer now as well. We ate and drank underneath the press box behind section 218 and waited for the game to start. My seats are in the sun until about 3:30 and since it was a 1:10 start we didn’t want to brave the elements.

The Marlins scored a solo run in the 4th inning, and that’s all they really needed. They scored one in the eighth and two more in the ninth but since the Brewers put up a goose egg, the bonus runs were just insurance. I know this isn’t much of a game recap, but I’m sure you can find out the details if you’re interested. Braun grounded into three double plays, if that gives you an indication of how the game went. It was just one of those days, it’s baseball. Final Score: Marlins 4 – Brewers 0.

Theresa and I were up behind 218 for most of the game. They do the cap shuffle in the sixth I believe, and the Diamond Dancers are involved. They have the camera and the contestant in front of the press box, and the Diamond Dancers hold the three numbered signs. It wasn’t my idea (honestly) but Theresa went over and told them what I was doing and asked if I could get a picture with them. I told Theresa that there was a game going on and I didn’t want to miss any pitches. I gave in and quickly got a picture taken between pitches (and didn’t miss a single one).

After the seventh inning we went down to our seats but they were still in the sun. We could see that they were still in the sun but we went down anyways. I swear my head just turned into a faucet and I started sweating profusely. I honestly don’t know how people sat in the sun for the entire game. I’m not sure what you’d call it. Courageous? Impressive? Suicidal? I’ll say not-for-me. During a pitching change I had a lady in front of us take a picture of me and Theresa. I’ll let you guess who’s who.

After about 5 minutes in the sun we scooted down the row (it was empty) and sat in the shade. I almost had another chance at a foul ball when one shot straight back, bounced off the wall in front of the press box and ricocheted back towards us. The guy two rows behind us got it, and that was that. Towards the end of the game I noticed the guy in front of us had a cool hat on that I hadn’t seen before. Good stuff.

It was a short post, I know, but there’s a good reason for the brevity. My flight out of Milwaukee leaves at 6:00 am tomorrow morning so I’ll be on the road by 3:15. I connect in Atlanta, and get into Houston at 11:45. It’ll give me plenty of time to take the bus to the hotel, check in, and relax for a few hours. See you in Texas!

Personal Stats:

Daily:

Time inside Miller Park: 4 hours 0 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 4 hours 15 minutes
Miles driven: 40.4
Miles riding in car but not driving: 83.6
Sausages: 1 (Polish)
Pitches Missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (259/259)
Current streak of pitches seen: 1,720

Season:

Brewers current record: 38-44 (.463 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 350 hours 2 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 409 hours 0 minutes
Miles driven: 8,809.7
Miles riding in car but not driving: 1,875.1
Public Transit miles: 294.9
Flight Miles: 11,263
Total distance traveled: 22,242.7 miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 89.32% (22,242.7/24,901)
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: 61
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,720 (6/30 – present)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.76% (24,844/24,905)

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

7-4-12 (vs. Miami)

Wednesday was July 4th (U-S-A! U-S-A!) and it was another 3:10 game. I usually like 3:10 start times because you’re home at a decent hour (I’m old). It was a different story on Wednesday though, because it was going to feel like 100 degrees at times, and it did. I left Fort at 12:20 and picked up Victoria (my girlfriend for you newbies) in Johnson Creek at 12:45. We got to the Cooooooooper Lot at 1:25 and I walked around telling people about Be The Match, and Victoria headed inside. We agreed in the past that it would be awkward if she joined me when I went around because I’d be the one doing all the talking and she’d just be standing there. I was only in the parking lot for an hour but I was dripping with sweat. I went inside at 2:25 and met Victoria in section 213 to get game photo number 81. I can’t believe the season is half over! As you can see; I look miserable, or at least my hair does. Even though I had just dried my face off it’s already sweaty again.

After getting the game number photo we went back up into the concourse and got some food. I know I had said I would have four or five $1 hot dogs but I did not. I only had two, and we’ll leave it at that. We walked down by section 216, said hi to Bill, then set up shop under the press box for the first two innings. They had retired and active military members throw out first pitches together which I thought was pretty cool.

The Marlins took an early lead when Brett Hayes drove in a run on his second-inning single. The Brewers again put up a crooked number, this time a 5-spot in the bottom of the second. The Brewers sent 10 batters to the plate in the second and got four singles, three walks, and two groundouts that drove in runs. Five runs without an extra base hit; not the most exciting, but it got the job done. Here’s Braun as he hits one to the first baseman, driving in Randy Wolf in the process.

Randy Wolf pitched well early on, and here he is in the third inning, about to let go of a pitch that struck out Jose Reyes.

Between the top and bottom of the fifth inning they have the muscle cam at Miller Park, where they show people flexing their guns on the jumbotron. This little guy was up there for 10 seconds or so, and we thought he was really cute. I’m referring to the one in the blue shirt, standing on his mom’s lap.

In the same half inning the Brewers show three lucky fans on the scoreboard. Whoever gets the loudest cheers is chosen as the Briggs and Stratton Power Fan of the Game and awarded a personalized bat in the next half inning. Wednesday they showed two “normal fans” and then showed a marine in uniform. I wonder who won? The other two fans didn’t stand a chance. I mean, who’s going to cheer for anyone else when this guy is serving his country and risking his life? I want to thank all military personnel, past and present, who have served this great Nation.

Wolf pitched into the seventh, and maybe it was a little too long. I’m not going to second guess Roenicke like many people around me did. “What an idiot!” was something I heard from a guy behind me. It kind of ticked me off and I actually turned around and said; “Did you see the bullpen yesterday, what do you want him to do?” I don’t know if he responded. Wolf gave up a leadoff home run which cut the lead to 5-2 then with two outs he gave up a three-run home run that tied the game. In the bottom half Aramis Ramirez came through with an RBI single after the Marlins had walked Braun to get to him. Here’s Ram-Ram shooting one to center to drive in Aoki.

The Brewers took the one run lead into the top of the ninth, and Axford seemed like his old self. He got a groundout and a strikeout to start off the inning, then had a 1-2 count on Gaby Sanchez. He delivered a 98 MPH fastball…

And Sanchez gave it a ride to right field for the game-tying home run. Ugh. I don’t know why he didn’t try a curveball on a 1-2 count, and looking at the pitch sequences from the inning he threw 15 fastballs and just one curveball. Maybe he wasn’t feeling it, who knows.

The Brewers had two on with two outs in the bottom of the ninth and Ramirez at the plate, who was trying to be the hero once again. He flied out to shallow right and the game went to extras. Parra came in and gave up a run in the tenth and the Brewers needed one to tie in the bottom half. Weeks got a hustle double, Maldonado struck out, and Taylor Green stepped to the plate. Heath Bell delivered the 2-2 pitch to Green and he grounded out to end the game.

Final Score: Marlins 7 – Brewers 6. The game had started out great and it looked like my wishful writing after Friday’s loss may have helped. I had said that if the Brewers won their last nine games before the break they’d be one game over .500. They were on their way, winning four in a row after I said that, but it wasn’t meant to be.

Thursday is going to be another scorcher. I’m going to the game with Theresa, a former co-worker from Tetra Tech who is a big sports fan. Besides the 100 degree temperatures I’m sure we’ll have a great time.

Personal Stats:

Daily:

Time inside Miller Park: 4 hours 23 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 5 hours 29 minutes
Miles driven: 125.5
Sausages: 2 (Hot dogs)
Pitches Missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (343/343)
Current streak of pitches seen: 1,461

Season:

Brewers current record: 38-43 (.469 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 346 hours 2 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 404 hours 45 minutes
Miles driven: 8,769.3
Miles riding in car but not driving: 1,791.5
Public Transit miles: 294.9
Flight Miles: 11,263
Total distance traveled: 22,118.7 miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 88.83% (22,118.7/24,901)
Sausages: 66 (28 Hot Dogs, 19 Polish, 8 Bratwurst, 5 Corndogs, 2 Italian, Cheddarwurst, Bison Dog, Chicken Apple Sausage, Blueberry & Merlot Venison Sausage)
Pitches missed: 61
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,566 (6/20 – 6/26)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.75% (24,585/24,646)

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

7-3-12 (vs. Miami)

Tuesday was another hot one, but I survived. I think the game itself had more adverse effects on my well being than the near 100 degree temperatures. I left my parents’ place at 12:10 and was parked an hour and three minutes later. I walked around for about an hour and told people my story and encouraged them to join the registry. I also got a free Spotted Cow (it’s a beer) and water from two different groups. Freebies are always nice, thanks guys!

I headed inside at 2:15 and went right to section 214 to get the game number photo taken. If you’re not familiar with what I’m doing; I am slowly working my way around the loge level, getting a game number picture in most sections along the way. Today was the 80th game of the year, thus the sign with the number 80 on it.

I then went up into the concourse and stood under the giant fans that they have in the loge level. After a few minutes I decided it was time for another Polish sausage with caramelized onions. One word: magnifilicious. If you haven’t had a Polish sausage with caramelized onions yet… Arnold voice: “WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR!?!?”

I met up with Zach before the game started, and we chilled under the press box for the first inning or so. Zach is a twitter follower who replied to my announcement Monday night that my ticket for Tuesday was up for grabs. He made a $40 donation to Be The Match in exchange, and he’s a swell fella. He had a nasty ankle injury back in May, so both of us were sporting ASO ankle braces.

The Marlins started things with a bang, and took a 2-0 lead on a Logan Morrison home run in the first. Estrada pitched well for the Brewers, and he deserves a mention. He only gave up the two runs in the first, and he deserved the win. Here he is after letting go of a pitch in the second inning. It resulted in a strikeout on a foul bunt by the Marlins pitcher.

In the third the Brewers got one back on an Aoki RBI single. After a Braun single Aramis Ramirez stepped to the plate looking to give the Brewers the lead. Going clockwise from top left:

1) Ramirez as he’s sending a drive deep to center field. The ball wound up going off the wall, but Aoki got deked by the Marlins center fielder, and thought it might be caught. Braun saw past the fake and was almost to second before Aoki took off from the same base.

2) Braun right on Aoki’s heals as they race past third. You can see in the upper right hand corner that the second baseman has the ball and is gathering himself to make the throw home. The shortstop is ducking so he’s not beheaded.

3) Aoki about to touch home with the tying run, the catcher grabbing the off-target throw, and Braun about to go into his slide. Whew.

4) Braun barely beating the tag. Brewers lead 3-2.

It stayed 3-2 heading into the bottom of the sixth, and that’s when things got interesting. To lead off the inning Corey Hart hit the first pitch he saw into the Brewers bullpen to up the lead to 4-2. Here’s Corey getting some love from third base coach Ed Sedar.

Weeks followed Hart with a double, Ransom walked, Maldonado laid down a sacrifice bunt, and the Marlins intentionally walked pinch hitting Travis Ishikawa. Gomez then grounded one to second baseman Omar Infante, who threw to Jose Reyes covering second. Reyes missed the catch and all hands were safe. I think he was trying to hurry because he knew it would be tough to turn a double play with the speedy Gomez running to first. Aoki followed with a sacrifice fly to right and Braun came to the plate with two outs. I told Zach that I was looking for an exclamation point from Braun and two pitches later he did just that. Clockwise from top left:

1) Braun making contact. He hit a bomb to centerfield, his 23rd home run of the season. “Must be all those steroids.” HA!!!

2) Braun rounding second base.

3) Ed Sedar giving Braun a low five as they cross paths.

4) Brauny touching home plate, preparing to get a high five from Ishikawa. Braun’s 3-run home run capped a six-run sixth, and gave the Brewers a 9-2 lead.

The Marlins chipped away and got three runs in the top of the seventh. The Brewers answered with two runs of their own in the bottom half. Weeks’ single drove in Hart, who slid home for the Brewers 10th run of the game.

Maldonado followed Rickie with an RBI single of his own, and the Brewers had a six run lead heading to the eighth inning (11-5). I was feeling pretty confident with the six run lead, but that all changed rather quickly. This is how the Marlins’ eighth inning went: double, double, single, groundout, home run, home run, double, walk, sacrifice fly, fly out. That’s a six-run eighth inning and it was all square at eleven apiece. And on top of that it could’ve been worse. Carlos Gomez made what could be the catch of the year for the Crew when he crashed into the wall as he caught Morrison’s fly out to end the inning. Another run would’ve scored but Go-Go said no-no to Lo-Mo. Ha! Lo-Mo is actually Logan Morrison’s nickname. I’m so witty…

The Brewers failed to score in the eighth, and neither team scored in the ninth, setting the stage for bonus baseball. Livan Hernandez came in to pitch the tenth for the Brewers, and he gave up a two-out solo home run to Jose Reyes. It gave the Marlins a one run lead going into the bottom of the tenth. Carlos Gomez led off the inning with a walk, Aoki flew out and Braun struck out. Ramirez came to the plate representing the winning run and on the 0-1 pitch he swung away.

I’ll let the pictures do the talking…

This is why you don’t leave a baseball game early. Yes, you might get thoroughly disappointed in the teams’ performance, but when anything is possible, why risk missing out? Final Score: Brewers 13 – Marlins 12. I meant to take a picture of the scoreboard to help illustrate how crazy the game was. I’ll give you the linescore from ESPN.com. What. A. Game.

Before the dreadful eighth inning I had a lady a few rows in front of us take a picture of me and Zach. I’m on the left, Zach is on the right. Zach is a cool guy, and I’m glad he came down from Sheboygan to watch the 4 hour 28 minute game with yours truly. At times I wanted to pull my hair out because the Crew almost blew out, but it all worked out in the end. If you’re wondering; I don’t always wear hats, but when I do it’s because the hair underneath is such a sweaty mess that it needs to be hidden. If I could’ve been wearing a beard hat I would have done that as well.

I got back to my car after the game, only to find this on my bumper:

I believe that is the “gay symbol” (two male gender symbols intertwined). Now, I have nothing wrong with same sex couples, but I also absolutely HATE bumper stickers. It’s on there pretty good, so I’ll have to find the right substance to get it off of there. Whoever stuck that on there needs to check themselves. If they are homosexual, I hope that they wouldn’t go around putting stickers on everything. If it was some stupid teenager that thinks this type of stuff is funny, someone needs to lay the smack down. Luckily the Brewers won, because otherwise I would’ve been über-pissed.

One more thing. At some point in the game Zach pointed out that a guy in front of us changed his Hardy (7) jersey into a Hart (1) jersey. That’s how you do it!!! It’s too bad that you can clearly see that it was once a Hardy jersey, but it’s still cool/funny.

Tomorrow is our Nation’s birthday, and in the spirit of Independence Day I will celebrate by watching glorious baseball, and perhaps consuming four or five $1 hot dogs.

Personal Stats:

Daily:

Time inside Miller Park: 5 hours 29 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 6 hours 36 minutes
Miles driven: 123.6
Sausages: 1 (Polish)
Pitches Missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (376/376)
Current streak of pitches seen: 1,118

Season:

Brewers current record: 38-42 (.475 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 341 hours 39 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 399 hours 16 minutes
Miles driven: 8,643.8
Miles riding in car but not driving: 1,791.5
Public Transit miles: 294.9
Flight Miles: 11,263
Total distance traveled: 21,993.2 miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 88.32% (21,993.2/24,901)
Sausages: 64 (26 Hot Dogs, 19 Polish, 8 Bratwurst, 5 Corndogs, 2 Italian, Cheddarwurst, Bison Dog, Chicken Apple Sausage, Blueberry & Merlot Venison Sausage)
Pitches missed: 61
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,566 (6/20 – 6/26)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.75% (24,242/24,303)

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

7-2-12 (vs. Miami)

Monday was the lone night game of the series. Tuesday and Wednesday are at 3:10, and Thursday is at 1:10. Even with the 7:10 start time it was really hot and it was humid enough to drink the air (I might be exaggerating). I left my parents’ house at 2:45 and made a pit stop at Wedl’s in Jefferson. The name has changed over the year, but they’ve been serving hamburgers from this location since 1918. They are pretty legit, and the burgers are called sliders. Going clockwise from top left:

1) The exterior of the two structures. The little red shack is where they do the cooking.

2) The inside of the shack, the griddle where they cook the sliders is to the left, just inside the door, and the deep fryer is across the “room” (it’s really small).

3) The interior of the larger building, where they have more seating and ice cream. One of the pictures on the wall is a signed picture of Will Ferrell, and he wrote “Sorry about the flood” on the photo. Jefferson suffered a major flood back in 2008, as did many other towns in southern Wisconsin.

4) My lunch; two single cheeseburgers with sautéed onions and a small fry. I think it came to $6.53. All in all it was a good start to the day.

I left Jefferson at 3:40 and pulled into the Brewers 1 parking lot just before 4:30. I spent the next hour walking around telling people about my mission and Be The Match. I went inside at 5:45 to get out of the sun. I met up with my friend Jason, and his mom introduced me to Jason’s Grandpa and great Aunt and Uncle, who were visiting from Florida. They were sitting in section 216, which is the section I needed game photo number 79 taken from, so it worked out well. I had Jason’s mom take the picture for me. Almost halfway there…

I glanced over to my seats in 221 and noticed that Eric had arrived. Eric is a twitter follower who replied to a tweet of mine. I had asked if anyone wanted to join me at the game in exchange for a donation to Be The Match. Eric donated $40 and I’m very grateful for his contribution. Thanks Eric! When some players were on the field getting loose before the game I spotted Carlos Gomez, Hanley Ramirez, and Jose Reyes fraternizing in centerfield. Gomez was in the Mets system, and likely played with Reyes at some point. I think Go-Go is pointing towards the infield, asking Reyes if he saw his awesome walk-off base running feats from the game before. If you haven’t seen my pictures yet, scroll down to Sunday’s post, because I document the heck out of it (in a good way).

When the members of the Brewers bullpen walked out to the ‘pen Kameron Loe was carrying some flowers. Jeff Adcock, a member of the grounds crew family, tragically collapsed during Sunday’s game while in the bullpen. He passed away on Sunday and there was a moment of silence for the man who helped get the field ready for play, among other things. When they got to the bullpen they placed it right in the middle, a fitting tribute to a guy who spent many games out there with the relief pitchers. Very sad.

It’s hard to talk about a game after what happened, but I will continue. I’m not sure why the Brewers did the Major League Moment promotion on a Monday, but they did. Usually it is a Sunday thing. You can register your kids to be randomly selected to join a Brewer on the field during the national anthem. These two were at home plate waiting for Maldonado. The players greet the kids, and then sign the baseball as part of the promotion, good stuff.

The game did not start out the way I had envisioned. The Marlins loaded the bases in the top of the first with two singles and a walk, and Greinke was in trouble. He struck out Morrison for the first out, and then induced a ground ball that may have gotten the Brewers out of the inning. It took a bad hop on Ramirez and went into left field for a two-run single. In the bottom of the first Gomez and Morgan both grounded out, but then Carlos Zambrano hit Ryan Braun with the 0-1 offering. Here’s Braun turning his back to protect his arms/hands/face as he’s about to get hit. (The ball is hidden behind Braun’s frame, so he may have actually already gotten hit)

Carlos Zambrano then proceeded to walk the next three batters, the last one to Rickie Weeks drove in the first Brewers run of the game. A Maldonado fielder’s choice groundout got Zambrano out of the jam without any further damage. In the top of the Greinke got Zambrano to ground out to Weeks for the second out, here’s Greinke after releasing the pitch.

In the bottom of the second the Brewers tied it up at two with a leadoff triple from Izturis and a sacrifice fly from Greinke. The angle makes it look like Greinke doesn’t have arms, but somehow still managed to swing a bat and drive in a run.

In the third the Marlins put up three runs; one on an RBI double from Morrison and two from a home run by Ruggiano. A solo home run from Carlos Gomez in the fifth cut the lead to two runs (5-3). No pictures here as I was eating some popcorn. The Brewers tied it in the sixth when the pinch-hitting Travis Ishikawa drove in Weeks and Maldonado with a single to center. No pictures here either because I was up in the concourse, waiting for the inning to end to exchange my designated driver voucher for a Sierra Mist. I didn’t miss any pitches, so keep your pants on. I go up to the concourse with two outs in an inning, watch from there and then make my move after the final out is recorded. “Sixty percent of the time it works every time.”

Between the seventh and eighth inning I had the very kind lady behind us take a picture of me and Eric. I’m on the left, Eric is on the right. Eric’s a cool guy, and recently moved from Appleton to the east side of Madison. He has a ten game pack and also frequented Timber Rattlers games as he lived less than a half mile from the stadium.

In the bottom of the eighth the Brewers got a leadoff double from Weeks, and a single to right from Maldonado moved Rickie to third base. Roenicke went to his bench, and called on Norichika Aoki to get the job done. Aoki bunted on the very first pitch from the Marlins reliever and it worked to perfection. Just after Aoki made contact I snapped a pic.

It was a safety squeeze, so Rickie waited until he saw it was going to fall before taking off for home. The first basemen tried his best to barehand the ball and throw home but Weeks raced past the catcher just before he could tag him. The picture quality is poor, but you get the picture. Get it… HA! I like that you can still see the first basemen in the picture, just laying there, taking a nap. I think the dark objects in the middle bottom are a fan’s hands who rejoiced as Weeks crossed home plate with the go-ahead run.

Axford came on in the ninth, and pitched a perfect 1-2-3 inning, which is good to see. He induced a game ending ground ball, and Rickie threw out Hanley Ramirez to end the game. Final Score: Brewers 6 – Marlins 5.

I’m not looking forward to the heat tomorrow, it’s going to feel like 97 degrees when the first pitch is thrown at 3:10. Luckily the shade comes around 3:30, so I won’t have to be in the sun for long. Only six more games until the four day break. However, if the Brewers keep winning I won’t be ready for the All-Star break just yet.

Personal Stats:

Daily:

Time inside Miller Park: 4 hours 30 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 5 hours 51 minutes
Miles driven: 124.5
Sausages: 0
Pitches Missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (274/274)
Current streak of pitches seen: 742

Season:

Brewers current record: 37-42 (.468 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 336 hours 10 minutes (OVER TWO FULL WEEKS!!!)
Time on stadium grounds: 392 hours 40 minutes
Miles driven: 8,520.2
Miles riding in car but not driving: 1,791.5
Public Transit miles: 294.9
Flight Miles: 11,263
Total distance traveled: 21,869.6 miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 87.83% (21,869.6/24,901)
Sausages: 63 (26 Hot Dogs, 18 Polish, 8 Bratwurst, 5 Corndogs, 2 Italian, Cheddarwurst, Bison Dog, Chicken Apple Sausage, Blueberry & Merlot Venison Sausage)
Pitches missed: 61
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,566 (6/20 – 6/26)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.75% (23,866/23,927)

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7-1-12 (vs. Arizona)

My friend Luke joined me for Sunday’s game. His government name is Luke but he’s been called Ozzy since he was 15. He doesn’t mumble as much as he did in his younger days, but that was the reason for the nickname. Sunday was Italian Heritage Day at Miller Park, and it was also Italian sausage bobble head day. His shirt says Birrai, which is Italian for Brewers.

Ozzy met me at my parent’s house, and we left at 11:00 am for the 1:10 pm game. We got to the Braves 2 parking lot at 12:10, and were inside by 12:20. We headed right for section 217, and Ozzy took game photo number 78 for me. It took a little coaching, but the last one he took was perfect. Thanks Oz!

Since my seats in section 221 are in the sun for almost the entire game, we decided to watch from the concourse for a few innings. After getting Polish sausages from the concession stand (sorry Italian) we headed down to section 111, and watched the game from there. This is the view from the concourse. It’s not a bad spot, besides not being able to see much the scoreboard, but hey; less distractions.

The first six batters of the game were retired, and the Brewers came out for the top of the second. They stopped warming up and I noticed that there was a medical cart by the Brewers’ bullpen. From where we were standing we couldn’t see much but I found out via Twitter that it was a non-uniformed employee they were tending to. Apparently they were performing CPR well before the cart arrived. As you can see, all the Brewers walked out to the outfield, but they probably couldn’t see anything either. I was a little shocked and even more so when the music being played was really upbeat. They were showing the Madagascar clip where the animated characters are dancing to the “I like to move it, move it” song. I know they also have to look out for kids getting bored and stuff, but I thought they shouldn’t have played anything. The Brewers website doesn’t give any details on the condition of the employee but my thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.

After the delay the game started up again. Gallardo got the first two batters out in the top of the second but then Aaron Hill singled on a ground ball up the middle. Rickie Weeks made a great play to even make it close, and I got a picture of him just after he let go of the ball. Hill was safe at first by about a half a step.

Gallardo then walked Lyle Overbay (former Brewer) to put two on with two out. Gallardo bared down and struck out Gerardo Parra looking on a 95 MPH fastball. Here’s Gallardo about to release the 2-2 pitch that struck him out. I didn’t mention it before, but the Brewers were wearing green “Birrai” jerseys for Italian Heritage Day as well.

In the bottom of the fourth inning Norichika Aoki doubled to lead off, and advanced to third on a wild pitch. On the 1-1 pitch Nyjer Morgan grounded out to first, and Aoki raced home to give the Brewers a 1-0 lead. Here’s Aoki as he touches home plate:

In the top of the fifth the Diamondbacks got a one-out single from Parra, but Gallardo worked around it. Maldonado threw to first to get the D-Backs pitcher when he (Collmenter) bunted Parra to second. Gallardo then got Bloomquist to ground out to third, and the side was retired. I took a picture just after Aramis Ramirez let go. Good stuff.

Between the fifth and sixth innings we headed back upstairs to sit in our seats, and caught the tail end of the sausage race. Since it’s a relay race on Sundays and the kids get the second leg of the race, it was unlikely to be fixed for the Italian sausage. I chose Polish because the kid looked fast. He did me proud and pulled away down the home stretch to get the W. Before the seventh inning I had a nearby fan take a picture of me and Ozzy. I’m on the left, he’s on the right. I have to give a shout out to the Brewers, specifically to Nathan, who works in the merchandising department. He notified me on Friday that I had a Birrai shirt waiting for me in the team store (I picked it up on Saturday). I’ll mention Kathy Schwab as well, who helped get the Brewers on board to support my mission, and it led to me getting free tickets and merchandise.

The game remained 1-0 until the top of the eighth. Francisco Rodriquez came on to try and preserve the lead but the first pitch of the inning was deposited into the Brewers’ bullpen by Jason Kubel. The Brewers failed to score in the eighth and Axford pitched the ninth and it remained a 1-1 game. In the bottom of the ninth Aramis Ramirez led off, and Corbin walked him on five pitches. Carlos Gomez came pinch ran for Ramirez, putting the fastest Brewer on first base with nobody out. Gomez taking his lead:

Corey Hart was up next and during his at bat Corbin threw over to first base EIGHT TIMES to try and keep Gomez close. Hart wound up flying out to center and Gomez couldn’t advance. Weeks came to the plate and Corbin threw over to first base again before delivering the first pitch of the at bat. Gomez took off on said first pitch which was a little low and outside. That made the D-Backs catcher have to throw from his knees. Gomez as he slides headfirst into second:

The ball had bounced right before it got to Aaron Hill and it skipped past him into the outfield. Gomez got up and bolted for third:

Gerardo Parra (playing centerfield) scooped up the ball and tried to throw out Gomez at third. This is Gomez utilizing another headfirst slide. You can see the ball in the upper left, and it’s obvious that Parra should’ve just held the ball because there was no chance he was going to get the speedy Gomez.

The ball wound up ricocheting off Gomez (maybe his helmet?) and it bounced up and over the Diamondbacks dugout. If a ball is thrown out of play, every base runner get to advance one base, meaning that Gomez could walk home. As he neared home plate his teammates were waiting for him. I like that the umpire is pointing at home plate like Gomez doesn’t know where it is.

This is Gomez just after he ceremoniously threw his helmet into the air. I like Nyjer screaming there on the right.

Gomez gave an emphatic foot stomp for the deciding run in the walk-off win.

After touching home you could tell that some shenanigans were about to ensue. I like that Rickie finally let go of his bat, and the picture was taken as it was just inches above the dirt, like it’s just floating there.

Go-Go then got mobbed by his teammates:

They finally decided that he had gotten enough body shots and noogies, and they called it quits. Two things I like about this one. The first is Gomez’s facial expression. He’s looking at Ransom whose hand was on Gomez’s head in the previous picture (above). I also like Randy Wolf just chilling on the right there. I don’t think he wanted any part of the fiasco, and he just waited on the periphery for it to die down a bit before getting a high five from Gomez.

It was a great ending and it shows why Corbin was trying to prevent Gomez from stealing second base. It did take two errors for him to score, but it was his speed that influenced the quick throws and bad decisions. Final Score: Brewers 2 – Diamondbacks 1. I know I usually just do four part pictures for things like walk-offs, but I thought I’d give you a more detailed account of what went down. If for some reason you don’t like pictures; I apologize, you can leave me a nasty comment if you want. I’m just glad they turned out. I was frantically snapping pictures as the above events occurred, and I’m pretty happy with the results.

I’ve got about 18 hours before I have to leave for the game. I’m looking forward to the 3/4 of a day break but I’m also looking forward to heading back to Milwaukee to see game one of the Brewers-Marlins series.

Personal Stats:

Daily:

Time inside Miller Park: 4 hours 8 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 4 hours 26 minutes
Miles driven: 123.2
Sausages: 1 (Polish)
Pitches Missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (298/298)
Current streak of pitches seen: 468

Season:

Brewers current record: 36-42 (.462 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 331 hours 40 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 386 hours 49 minutes
Miles driven: 8,395.7
Miles riding in car but not driving: 1,791.5
Public Transit miles: 294.9
Flight Miles: 11,263
Total distance traveled: 21,745.1 miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 87.33% (21,745.1/24,901)
Sausages: 63 (26 Hot Dogs, 18 Polish, 8 Bratwurst, 5 Corndogs, 2 Italian, Cheddarwurst, Bison Dog, Chicken Apple Sausage, Blueberry & Merlot Venison Sausage)
Pitches missed: 61
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,566 (6/20 – 6/26)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.74% (23,592/23,653)

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

6-30-12 (vs. Arizona)

I went to Saturday’s game with Crandall, who joined me at the games on April 24th and May 8th. We got to Miller Park at 3:45, and waited for some people who we were going to meet up with. A friend who I went to preschool with is getting married in August, and he and his fiancé were having a wedding-party tailgate at the game. Crandall had tickets of his own, and we sold those to donate to Be The Match. We found out that Tim (our friend who’s getting married) had two extra tickets for the suite they were in, so I wound up selling my two tickets as well. All in all a good day for Be The Match (an $80 donation from selling tickets). We tailgated with Tim for an hour or so, and before heading in we had a passerby take a picture for us. I won’t give everyone’s name, because that would be tedious. Tim and Rachel are the ones getting married, and they’re directly behind the “Tying The Knot” sign.

I made it inside at 6:03 for the 6:15 first pitch, and was up in suite 69 with a few minutes to spare. This was the view from the outdoor seating area.

Mike Fiers was on the hill for the Brewers, and he’s been great since he got called up from the minors. Here is Fiers pitching in the top of the third inning.

The Brewers took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second, and in the third Braun doubled the lead with a home run to centerfield. Going clockwise from top left:

1) Braun about to make contact with the 1-2 pitch from Wade Miley.

2) Braun as he is about to touch second base.

3) Ed Sedar giving Braun a low target for a congratulatory high five.

4) Braun as he touches home plate, giving the Brewers a 2-0 lead.

In the fourth inning the Brewers erupted for six runs. Ransom drove in three (including himself) with a home run to left field. Going clockwise from top left:

1) Ransom following through on his home run swing.

2) A zoomed out look at the field of play, with Hart passing Ed Sedar, Rickie heading towards third base, and Ransom approaching second.

3) Ransom getting a more traditional handshake from Ed Sedar.

4) Ransom getting some love from Weeks and Hart after touching home plate to give the Crew a 5-0 lead.

Maldonado followed Ransom with a single to right field. Fiers sacrificed him to second and Aoki flew out to centerfield. The first pitch Gomez saw was lined to right field, and he wound up at third base with a triple. He had an awesome dive/slide into third base, and I just missed him when he was airborne. The best I could do was capturing him just before he reached third base.

Braun followed Gomez’s triple with another home run, his 22nd of the year, which puts him in first place in the National League. Clockwise from top left.

1) Braun crushing the 1-2 pitch from Miley to left field.

2) Braun making his way towards second base.

3) Rounding third…

4) Braun getting a low five from Aramis Ramirez after he gave the Brewers an 8-0 lead.

In the fifth inning Ransom singled home Weeks, and in the sixth Gomez hit a 442 foot home run to increase the Brewers’ lead to 10-0. In the eighth inning the Diamondbacks spoiled the shutout with an RBI fielder’s choice. In the ninth Miguel Montero cut the deficit to eight runs with a solo home run, but that’s all they got. Final score: Brewers 10 – Diamondbacks 2.

After the game Crandall and I went down to section 218 to get game photo number 77. Since we didn’t get inside early enough to do it before the game we figured after the game was just as good.

I missed two pitches at the game, and they were both due to me looking at my camera and getting distracted. I was hoping to get on a roll, and I still have 8 games left to do so before the All-Star break. In other news; I’m leaving in less than 10 hours for the rubber match of the series, so I need to get some sleep. Go Brewers!

Personal Stats:

Daily:

Time inside Miller Park: 3 hours 46 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 6 hours 20 minutes
Miles driven: 127.7
Sausages: 1 (Hot dog)
Pitches Missed: 2 (not cool)
Consecutive pitch streak ended at: 693
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.36% (312/314)
Current streak of pitches seen: 170

Season:

Brewers current record: 35-42 (.455 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 327 hours 32 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 382 hours 23 minutes
Miles driven: 8,272.5
Miles riding in car but not driving: 1,791.5
Public Transit miles: 294.9
Flight Miles: 11,263
Total distance traveled: 21,621.9 miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 86.83% (21,621.9/24,901)
Sausages: 62 (26 Hot Dogs, 17 Polish, 8 Bratwurst, 5 Corndogs, 2 Italian, Cheddarwurst, Bison Dog, Chicken Apple Sausage, Blueberry & Merlot Venison Sausage)
Pitches missed: 61
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,566 (6/20 – 6/26)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.74% (23,294/23,355)

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