August 2012

8-30-12 (@ Chicago Cubs)

Thursday was the finale of the series and I left Alex and Jess’ place at 11:15. I got off the red line at noon and made my way down N Sheffield. I stopped at one rooftop establishment and asked them if I could get my game number picture taken in their seating area on the roof. They said it wasn’t possible. I don’t know about that but I understood that they were just following their policies. I tried 3643 N Sheffield and Tim (who was handing out the passes) said yes almost immediately. One of the security guys, Bueno, took me up to the rooftop and took game photo number 130 for me. Thanks guys!

If you’re interested in ever taking in a game from up here I recommend it. Some of the outfield is not visible, but all you can eat and all you can drink makes up for it. Their website is Wrigleyville Rooftops and they own two other rooftops in addition to the one at 3643. This was the view of the back of the scoreboard.

There is also a seating area and a bar on the third floor of the building. I probably wouldn’t try watching a game from here but it’s a great spot to get your eat on before heading upstairs.

I went downstairs, thanked Tim and Bueno for letting me in and went across the street to Wrigley. On my way around the stadium I stopped to get pictures of the statues that are located in the right field corner. The first is of Ron Santo, who played for the Cubs from 1960-1973, was a nine-time All-Star and won the Gold Glove five times. His number 10 is retired by the Cubs.

Nearby is a statue of Billy Williams who played for the Cubs from 1959 to 1974. He was a six-time All-Star and also has his number retired by the club. I included the guys with the instruments because I’ve seen them at Wrigley before and I’m hoping somebody will fill me in on their significance. I’m assuming it’s some sort of tradition but I’m not sure when it started or why.

I picked up my ticket from player will call, thanks to the Brewers, and was inside by 12:30. I went to my seat in aisle 220 and realized I wasn’t going to be able to make it all game without getting something to eat. I got a Chicago style hot dog and despite the hot dog itself being a little burnt, it hit the spot.

The game started at 1:20 when Brooks Raley threw a called strike to Aoki.

The Cubs scored three runs in the first two innings but the Brewers answered in the 3rd. After an Aoki groundout the next three batters reached base, giving Lucroy the chance to drive in a few runs. I’ll let the next five pictures do the talking.

Lucroy had hit the 1-1 pitch out onto Waveland and with the Grand Slam the Brewers took a 4-3 lead. Cody Ransom added an RBI single in the 3rd and the Crew had a two-run advantage. In the top of the 4th Ryan Braun hit “an absolute bomb” off of the centerfield camera hut, a 460-foot blast according to hit tracker online. 7-3 Brewers.

With two outs in the top of the 6th Lucroy singled home two more runs, giving him 6 RBI on the afternoon. I like that Braun is airborne out there at second base.

The 9-3 lead didn’t last long as the Cubs scored six runs in their half of the 6th. Ugh. The pitching staff walked four batters in the inning and three of them scored. A Cody Ransom home run in the 7th and another RBI single from Lucroy in the 8th gave the Brewers an 11-9 lead going into the 9th. K-Rod came in for the save and struck out Joe Mather to start the frame. This is how the rest of the inning played out: double, walk, RBI single, RBI double, walk-off RBI single, game over. Final Score: Cubs 12 – Brewers 11. You’d think ELEVEN runs would be enough, but it wasn’t. Honestly; all I could do was smile and laugh as I hurried out of Wrigley and onto the train. I’m past the point of being upset over late inning collapses, I’ve almost become numb to it. It’s sad but it’s better than getting super upset about it.

The thing that I miss most about being on the road all the time, besides Victoria (that’s a no brainer), is home cooked meals. Alex did me a solid and made some Chicky Chicky Parm Parm for dinner. That’s a reference to the amazing mockumentary Parks and Recreation (on NBC). One of the characters (Tom) informs the audience what he calls certain items, Chicky Chicky Parm Parm is what he calls Chicken Parmeson. Long story short the meal was delicious. I can’t thank Alex and Jess enough for letting me stay at their place 12 nights this season. You guys are awesome!

I got in my car at 8:15 and drove back to my parents’ place for the night. It’s past noon on Friday and game one of the Brewers-Pirates series starts in seven hours.

Oh, I almost forgot. In Wednesday’s post I said that Adam McCalvy, the Brewers beat writer, had mentioned my story to Bob Brenly and Len Kasper (the Cubs TV announcers). He said I might be hearing from somebody on Thursday regarding an interview. When I got to my seat on Thursday afternoon I tweeted at Len Kasper: “Hey. Did you guys possibly want to do an interview with me during the broadcast? I’m in 220, row 13, seat 14.” Someone responded to my tweet during the 3rd inning: “@Lenkasper just made fun of you on air for asking about an interview. Clearly must not know about your cause.”

I thought that was in poor taste and responded “@LenKasper made fun of me on air for asking for an interview? I’m the guy McCalvy talked to you about. Raising $/awareness for @BeTheMatch”

It was all a big misunderstanding and apparently McCalvy had never mentioned my name. So when Kasper just saw a tweet from a random fan he thought he’d make a joke about it on air. Here’s how it transpired on TV. There were mentions of me at three times, so the video is spliced, otherwise there would be over an hour of footage. Thanks to Len for promoting Be The Match!

Personal Stats:

Daily Stats:

Time inside Wrigley Field: 5 hours 2 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 5 hours 11 minutes
Transit miles: 8.8
Miles driven: 120.1
Sausages: 1 (Chicago style hot dog)
Pitches missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (363/363)
Current streak of pitches seen: 1,040

Season Stats:

Brewers current record: 62-68 (.477 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 547 hours 26 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 640 hours 41 minutes
Miles driven: 15,768.9
Miles riding in car but not driving: 2,138.1
Public transit miles: 450.6
Flight miles: 17,637
Total distance traveled: 35,994.5miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 144.55% (35,994.5/24,901)
Sausages: 88 (35 Hot Dogs, 30 Polish, 8 Bratwurst, 5 Corndogs, 2 Italian, 2 Cheddarwurst, 2 Bison Dogs, Chicken Apple Sausage, Blueberry & Merlot Venison Sausage, Sausage Race on a Stick, Elk Jalapeño Cheddar Sausage)
Pitches missed: 93
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,965 (6/30 – 7/6)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.76% (38,681/38,774)

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

8-29-12 (@ Chicago Cubs)

Alex was joining me for Wednesday’s game and I got off the L at 5:45 PM. This is was my view as I exited the train, before leaving the platform:

I met Alex at O’Malley’s and we had a beer before heading across the street and into Wrigley. Our tickets were in the upper deck and the conditions seemed right to get game photo number 129 from behind home plate.

We walked around and went out on the patio behind home plate in the upper deck. This was taken looking down Clark street towards the loop.

The deep dish pizza looked good so we each got a slice of sausage pizza and an Old Style. We went to our seats and ate while waiting for the game to start. The pizza was very good, and I can’t remember the last time I had deep dish pizza (before Wednesday).

Jeff Samardzija got the game started by throwing a called strike to Aoki. This was the view from our seats in section 524:

Aoki doubled on the 2-2 pitch and did his finger-mustache thing once he was safely at second. It looks like the umpire is saying: “Now wait just a minute! What does that mean!?!?” (Aoki had called time, thus the hands in the air)

Two batters later Braun singled and Aoki moved to third base. Aramis Ramirez grounded into a force out and just beat out the double play attempt, allowing Aoki to score the first run of the game.

The Cubs tied it in the bottom of the 2nd when Barney drove in LaHair with a groundout of his own. The game remained tied as it entered the 7th inning. Nyjer Morgan bunted for a base hit with one out and went to second on a throwing error by Samardzija. Segura singled home Morgan to give the Brewers a 2-1 lead.

With Aoki batting Segura tried stealing second base. The throw down to second was in the dirt and got by the shortstop and into shallow centerfield. Segura took off for third even though the second baseman had been backing up the play and had a great shot to get Segura at third. The third baseman, however, missed the catch from the second baseman and Segura was able to make it safely AND head home to give the Crew a 2-run cushion. Here he is as he starts his slide home. There must have been some Brewers fans in the upper deck (hands in the air) or some upset Cubs fans saying “hogwash!” at the two-error play.

In the middle of the 8th we left the upper deck and started making our way towards an exit. We watched the bottom of the 8th from the walkway behind the 200 level seating and then the top and bottom of the 9th from section 236 (I think). Axford came on for the save but walked the first batter he faced. Here he is about to pitch to Castro:

Axford struck out Castro and induced a Soriano ground ball that should’ve been a double play to end the game. Segura flipped to Weeks who made the turn at second base.

The throw was a little off target but Hart didn’t have to stretch too far to try and reel it in. It bounced off of Hart’s glove and Soriano was able to advance all the way to third base. Thankfully LaHair grounded out to Segura to end the game and the missed catch error didn’t come back to haunt them. Final Score: Brewers 3 – Cubs 1. Fiers pitched well once again, going 7 and 1/3 innings, giving up 4 hits, 1 walk, and 1 run while striking out 6. The streak of games with the pitching staff striking out at least 10 batters came to an end, after the 7 K performance on Wednesday. Apparently I shouldn’t have mentioned it during Tuesday’s post. It’s all my fault… (right).

Thursday’s game is a 1:20 start and I’ll be leaving in about 11 hours. Adam McCalvy (the Brewers beat writer) told me that he talked to Bob Brenly and Len Kasper, the Cubs TV announcers. He said I might get an interview during the game tomorrow, we shall see. Either way: thank you Adam for pitching my mission to them, it’s greatly appreciated!

Personal Stats:

Daily Stats:

Time inside Wrigley Field: 3 hours 40 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 3 hours 41 minutes
Transit miles: 8.8
Sausages: 0
Pitches missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (240/240)
Current streak of pitches seen: 677

Season Stats:

Brewers current record: 62-67 (.481 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 542 hours 24 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 635 hours 30 minutes
Miles driven: 15,648.8
Miles riding in car but not driving: 2,138.1
Public transit miles: 441.8
Flight miles: 17,637
Total distance traveled: 35,865.6miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 144.03% (35,865.6/24,901)
Sausages: 87 (34 Hot Dogs, 30 Polish, 8 Bratwurst, 5 Corndogs, 2 Italian, 2 Cheddarwurst, 2 Bison Dogs, Chicken Apple Sausage, Blueberry & Merlot Venison Sausage, Sausage Race on a Stick, Elk Jalapeño Cheddar Sausage)
Pitches missed: 93
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,965 (6/30 – 7/6)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.76% (38,318/38,411)

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

8-28-12 (@ Chicago Cubs)

On Tuesday I slept in a little and then worked on Monday’s blog post. I left Alex and Jess’ apartment at 12:30 for downtown Chicago. I was spending the day with my sister, Eliza, and I took the blue line from California to Clark/Lake. I walked across the bridge on N La Salle, not a bad view looking east on the Chicago River:

 

My sister is currently looking for work in the U.S. and is staying with friends/acquaintances in Chicago for the time being. She was with some friends and someone offered his place while he was in Cabo. It’s a really nice high-rise at 345 N La Salle. This is the view out of his bedroom window. The John Hancock building is the one in the center with the two large antennas.

His apartment is on the 18th floor and the pool and tennis courts are on the roof (14th floor) of a connected building. We spent some time by the pool, and I swam a few laps.

The two tennis courts were to the left of the pool, not too shabby.

We went to a late lunch at Protein Bar, who’s mission is to “provide active, on-the-go people with healthy, flavorful choices while having a positive impact on everyone we meet and in everything we do.” I have to admit that they’re doing a pretty good job from what I could see (and taste). I ordered the Buffalo Bar-rito and the Wrigley Peeled blended drink. The Bar-rito consisted of all-natural chicken, organic quinoa, blue cheese, house-made vegan buffalo sauce and the Super 6 Salad Mix (romaine, spinach, broccoli, carrots, kale, purple cabbage). Not pictured is my beverage which had chocolate protein, 2% milk, all-natural peanut butter, banana, and organic agave nectar. My total was $14.04 but I could see myself eating here a couple times a week if I lived in Chicago. Good and good for you, hard to put a price tag on that.

We hung out and watched an episode of Newsroom (an HBO series that I hadn’t heard of). We jumped on the red line at 5:10 and were outside of Wrigley 15 minutes later. I bought two tickets from a scalper because at this time they’re cheaper than the box office prices (what happens when teams aren’t playing very well). We went to the centerfield entrance and I asked if there was any way I could get a picture taken from the bleachers despite not having a bleacher seat. The answer was no because you need a bleacher ticket to get into those seats. I understand the policy but was still a little bummed out. I try to get one game number picture looking in from the outfield towards home plate. Oh well.

We entered Wrigley at 5:43 and went to the upper deck to get game photo number 128. N Sheffield Avenue is beneath my left hand and this is looking North from the very top row of the upper deck in the right field corner.

Looking south you get a nice view of downtown Chicago. Alex and I are sitting in the upper deck today (Wednesday) and it’s a great spot to take in a game at Wrigley. It’s the best on hot summer days because you’re in the shade and there’s always a breeze (or at least some air movement) in the last row (row 9).

We had plenty of time to kill and Eliza wanted a hot dog, I passed (see sausage count). I opted for a soft pretzel because I couldn’t even remember the year in which I last had one. 2006? I have no idea. Our seats were towards the back of section 222 but for $20 a piece they were hard to pass up. The game got underway at 7:05 and Travis Wood delivered a called strike to Norichika Aoki. It looks like we were farther away than we actually were. Human sight is about the equivalent of 50 mm on a camera lens (not including peripheral vision). This picture was taken at 29 mm, meaning that it was zoomed out, increasing the viewing area (but making things seem smaller/farther away).

In the second inning Jeff Bianchi came to the plate with two on and two out, looking to give the Brewers the lead. He got the green light on the 3-0 count and sent one into the left field bleachers for his first major league home run. Brewers lead 3-0.

A Cubs fan had gotten the ball and of course threw it back, making it easy for Bianchi to hold onto his keepsake. I’m not a big fan of people throwing home runs back. In this case I’m glad they did because the Brewers didn’t have to negotiate with the fan to get it back. Cubs fans started the tradition but now a lot of other home team fans throw visiting players’ home run balls back. You have a piece of history, why throw that back? In 20 years you can look at that player’s statistics and say (while holding the baseball); “this ball contributed to his home runs, his batting average, his hits, his on base percentage, his slugging percentage and his total bases.” Personally I think that would be pretty cool, but to each his own.

The Cubs cut the deficit to two runs when Travis Wood took Yovani Gallardo deep in the 3rd inning. It was only the second home run that Gallardo had given up to a pitcher in his career. Between the 3rd and 4th innings I had a fan behind us take a picture of me and Eliza.

Eliza had never been to Wrigley Field before and she said she likes it. I’m not a Wrigley Field basher as some people are and agree with her conclusion. It’s almost 100 years old, I’m not sure what people want from it. Yes, it’s lacking in some amenities and some views are obstructed from support beams, but that’s part of what makes it unique. I do wonder what’s going to happen 20 years from now when it might not pass an inspector’s test with regards to safety and structural integrity. It’s going to be a National Historic Landmark in two years, meaning you can’t tear it down. Do they build a new stadium elsewhere? Do they try and vote on possibly demolishing it out of necessity (don’t know if that’s possible), building a new stadium on the same grounds while playing a season or two at U.S. Cellular Field? It’s going to be interesting to say the least.

In the 8th inning the Brewers added an insurance run when Rickie Weeks got in a rundown on a pickoff attempt, but stayed in the pickle long enough to allow Aoki to score from 3rd base on the play. K-Rod and Axford pitched perfect innings in the 8th and 9th, respectively, and the Brewers held on for the victory. Final Score: Brewers 4 – Cubs 1. When Axford struck out Soriano for the second out in the 9th it gave the pitching staff 10 strikeouts for the game. No big deal, right? Wrong. It marked the 8th consecutive game that the Brewers pitching staff struck out at least 10 batters. This marks the longest streak in the majors since 1900. Yes, 1900, 112 years ago. That’s pretty neat.

You may have noticed that there haven’t been many pictures of game action the last two posts. The lighting is weaker at Wrigley Field and the shutter speed on my zoom lens maxes out at about 1/80 of a second. With that shutter speed you can’t freeze action very well, so most pictures will be quite blurry or at least fuzzy. Thursday’s day game should provide me with a decent photo shooting environment.

Someone posted on twitter that the Brewers playoff chances have increased from .1% to .3% over the past two nights. So you’re saying there’s a chance…

Go Brewers!

Personal Stats:

Daily Stats:

Time inside Wrigley Field: 3 hours 59 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 4 hours 7 minutes
Transit miles: 13.4
Sausages: 0
Pitches missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (250/250)
Current streak of pitches seen: 437

Season Stats:

Brewers current record: 61-67 (.477 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 538 hours 44 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 631 hours 49 minutes
Miles driven: 15,648.8
Miles riding in car but not driving: 2,138.1
Public transit miles: 433.0
Flight miles: 17,637
Total distance traveled: 35,856.9 miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 144% (35,856.9/24,901)
Sausages: 87 (34 Hot Dogs, 30 Polish, 8 Bratwurst, 5 Corndogs, 2 Italian, 2 Cheddarwurst, 2 Bison Dogs, Chicken Apple Sausage, Blueberry & Merlot Venison Sausage, Sausage Race on a Stick, Elk Jalapeño Cheddar Sausage)
Pitches missed: 93
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,965 (6/30 – 7/6)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.76% (38,078/38,171)

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

8-27-12 (@ Chicago Cubs)

On Monday I *only* slept until 8:30 and then worked on the blog post for Sunday. I walked down to Longman and Eagle for lunch on a recommendation from Alex. Clockwise from top left:

1) Longman & Eagle is on the left there, I actually walked right past it because there was no signage on the exterior. I think they’re working on putting up a new sign but I’m not sure.

2) The interior of the bar/restaurant.

3) The left side of the bar, which contains nothing but whiskey (it’s a whiskey bar).

4) My lunch, I had the Wild Boar Sloppy Joe, including crisp sage and onion, and a pickled jalapeño. I didn’t eat the jalapeño whole but I did slice it up to add some spice to the sandwich. I had Three Floyds’ Pride & Joy beer, which is an American “Mild” Ale. In all it was a great lunch.

I went back to Alex’s apartment and chilled for a bit before leaving for the game. I took the 74 bus at 4:35 and then jumped on the red line at Fullerton and Sheffield. Five minutes later I was at the Addison stop and outside of Wrigley Field shortly thereafter. Alex was meeting me outside of the home plate entrance and arrived 10 minutes after I got there. Monday was my 13th Brewers-Cubs game at Wrigley Field but the first time I noticed that the visiting team’s flags are hung to the right of the marquee. A Brewers flag is on the left, a city of Milwaukee flag on the right and the Wisconsin flag up top. Pretty cool. I feel stupid for not noticing this before but hey, better late than never.

Jamie, who works in the marketing department, had reached out and invited me to be a guest on the field during batting practice. I chose Monday because I knew Alex would be with me and he would enjoy it as well. Thanks Jamie! At some point Brian Anderson (the Brewers play-by-play guy for their TV broadcasts) was on the field and I introduced myself. He asked how things were going and we talked briefly. Brian is a great broadcaster and a great guy, hopefully he’ll be the announcer for years to come.

Even though I had game photo number 5 taken on the field back in April when I was there, I figured I should do it again. We took an insurance picture when the batting cage was still on the field in case we were asked to leave before they were done in the cage. We were allowed to stay on the field for a few minutes after the field was cleared though and Alex took another one for good measure.

Alex and I went up and we each got a Bison dog for dinner and then found our seats in section 33. The game started and this was my view as the first pitch was thrown:

It was that kind of night. I had bought tickets on the wrong side of the aisle and there were constantly vendors going up and down (it’s their job, I understand that). It seemed like there were more of them than usual though. This isn’t an exaggeration; one beer vendor would be at the bottom of the steps, and less than 60 seconds later there’d be a different beer vendor slicing through an empty row to patrol the same aisle. I must’ve looked like a maniac with all the bobbing and weaving as to not miss any of the action.

In the 1st inning the Brewers jumped out to a 1-0 lead when former Cub Aramis Ramirez drove in Braun with a double. Braun slid home safely as the catcher lunged for the off-line throw:

In the 3rd the Cubs picked up three runs on back-to-back-to-back RBI base hits from Rizzo, Soriano and Castro. In the top of the 5th the Brewers recaptured the lead after Braun doubled home Weeks and Ramirez hit a 2-run home run to give the Crew a 4-3 edge. Braun and Ramirez did their customary low-five after Ram-Ram touched home:

Right after taking that picture I showed Alex and then started to put my camera away. He asked if he could take some pictures and I obliged. I handed it to him and he asked if it was on. I looked over at the on-off switch and in the meantime missed the 1-0 pitch to Corey Hart. Thanks Alex! Haha, it’s not a big deal. This was the picture he said should make the blog. It’s a little blurry but he thought the LED ribbon board message was funny; “Happy Birthday Dave Kluge keep on praying for the Cubs!”

In the top of the 6th the Brewers added to their lead when Norichika Aoki drove in Gomez with a single to right. I know Aoki has been doing the finger-mustache as a sort of celebratory “beast-mode” thing with his teammates, but I’m not sure of it’s significance (or its origins).

They’ve probably talked about it on the TV broadcasts but being at every game I miss out on the inside scoop sometimes (not complaining). I will say that I am looking forward to watching games on TV next season. I’ve loved (most) every minute of the season but I do enjoy watching games on TV as well. Mainly getting the view from behind the pitcher’s mound so you can see the break of pitches and especially the instant replays of controversial calls on the base paths.

The Cubs got one back in the 6th and it was a 5-4 Brewers lead until Carlos Gomez hit a solo home run in the top of the 8th. Between the top and bottom of the 8th I had the gentleman in front of us take a picture of me and Alex.

Even though Alex is a Cubs fan he was kind of hoping the game didn’t go to extras because he had an early doctor’s appointment and it was looking like we wouldn’t get back to his place until after 11:30. The Brewers half of the 9th may have prevented extra innings but it did him no favors in terms of shortening the game. Aoki walked to lead off the top of the 9th and Weeks singled. After the 1-0 pitch to Braun three of the next ten pitched resulted in home runs for the Brewers. Braun, Ramirez and Hart went back-to-back-to-back and the Brewers took an 11-4 lead.

After Braun’s home run I got a bunch of tweets from people joking about it being “an absolute bomb” and a good time was had by all. I looked this morning and hit tracker online lists it as a 404 foot home run. I couldn’t see where it landed since it went out onto Waveland Avenue but I thought it was hit farther than that.

After Hart’s home run Sveum brought in somebody new from the pen. They didn’t fare much better and gave up a walk and two singles before getting the first out of the inning. Only one run would’ve scored on the second single but a throwing error allowed the second baserunner to score as well. 13-4 Brewers. After an Aoki walk and a Weeks strike out Braun singled to drive in Segura. 14-4 Brewers. Another pitching change took place and Sveum opted for utility man Joe Mather. In blowouts teams will sometimes use position players to pitch in order to save the bullpen from more work. Mather had pitched once before in 2010 as a Cardinal. It wasn’t his debut on the mound but it was still cool to see.

Mather gave up an RBI single to Bianchi but then got Maldonado to ground into a force out and the marathon half-inning was over. 14 batters, 54 pitches, and roughly 35 minutes later the 9-run half inning came to a close. The Cubs went down 1-2-3 in their half of the 9th and the Brewers picked up the W. Final Score: Brewers 15 – Cubs 4.

I raced down to the dugout after the game because I wanted to try and get the lineup card. A kid must’ve asked for it ahead of time because even before the coaches returned to the dugout after the post-game handshakes he had it in his hands. Darn. I think getting a lineup card would be sweet, but you have to be at the dugout right after the game and it’s not always easy to get there in a timely manner.

It’s almost noon on Tuesday and I’ll be leaving for downtown shortly. Eliza, my sister, is staying in Chicago for the time being and I’m meeting up with her for lunch. We’re hanging out for a bit and then she’s joining me for tonight’s game. It’s her first game at Wrigley and it should be a good time.

Personal Stats:

Daily Stats:

Time inside Wrigley Field: 5 hours 34 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 5 hours 52 minutes
Miles driven: .3 (moved my car from down the block to right in front of Alex’s place)
Miles riding: 2.9 (cab ride back from the Fullerton L stop)
Transit miles: 5.9
Sausages: 1 (Bison dog)
Pitches missed: 1
Consecutive pitch streak ended at: 316
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.71% (346/347)
Current streak of pitches seen: 187

Season Stats:

Brewers current record: 60-67 (.472 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 534 hours 45 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 627 hours 42 minutes
Miles driven: 15,648.8
Miles riding in car but not driving: 2,138.1
Public transit miles: 419.7
Flight miles: 17,637
Total distance traveled: 35,843.5 miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 143.94% (35,843.5/24,901)
Sausages: 87 (34 Hot Dogs, 30 Polish, 8 Bratwurst, 5 Corndogs, 2 Italian, 2 Cheddarwurst, 2 Bison Dogs, Chicken Apple Sausage, Blueberry & Merlot Venison Sausage, Sausage Race on a Stick, Elk Jalapeño Cheddar Sausage)
Pitches missed: 93
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,965 (6/30 – 7/6)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.75% (37,828/37,921)

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

8-26-12 (@ Pittsburgh)

Sunday’s game was a 1:35 start and I got up at 10:20, had breakfast at the nearby bagel joint for the third straight day, and left Mark’s place at 11:40. I was parked by 12:15 and outside PNC Park shortly thereafter. They close the Roberto Clemente Bridge to traffic and the section of Federal Street that runs along PNC park just north of the bridge. A giant Pirate Parrot bouncy house was on Federal Street. I wanted to give it a try but I figured that would be looked down upon.

I picked up my ticket from will call and headed to the upper deck once I entered the park. Game photo number 126 speaks for itself as to why PNC Park is one of my favorites. You can’t beat that view. Thanks to Brian who listened to my adjustment suggestions and took a great picture!

I took a couple of pictures of the home plate entrance from the upper deck. The first one is looking down towards the field level and the second shows the proximity of PNC park to Heinz field, where the Steelers play.

I walked around to the right field corner and got an aerial view of the Bill Mazeroski statue that I discussed in Saturday’s post.

I went down to the field level, got an iced tea and a hot dog and went to my seat. I had the exact same seat for all three games; section 108, row GG, seat 1. I’m really glad I wasn’t on the other side of the aisle and in section 107. Since the sections are so deep at PNC Park there are always people going up and down the aisles. The usher tried to keep people from going down during at-bats but he could only do so much. The first pitch was thrown to Aoki and the game got underway. Since I was in the shade I thought it was an absolute perfect day to be at a ballgame.

In the bottom of the 1st inning Dan Potash of Root Sports Pittsburgh stopped by to do an interview for the Pirates broadcast. Someone had tweeted at Root Sports and told them they should interview me. I also stopped by a camera guy on Friday and reiterated that sentiment. I haven’t seen the interview yet but I think it went well. I was reluctant to let my 1,500+ pitch streak end but I think it was worth it. I got instant feedback on Twitter from Pirates fans wishing me luck and thanking me for raising awareness for Be The Match. I should be able to get the video in the next couple of days. Thank you Ryan for tweeting at Root Sports, and thank you Root Sports for doing the interview!

The game was scoreless as the Brewers got their turn at bat in the top of the 4th inning. Braun and Ramirez went down quickly and the Pirates starter only needed four pitches total to retire both of them. Hart and Lucroy singled and Carlos Gomez stepped in to try and give the Brewers the lead.

Bang! The first pitch he saw was deposited into the bleachers in left field. Brewers lead 3-0.

In the top of the 5th Rickie Weeks drove in starting pitcher Mark Rogers and then Aramis Ramirez sent one to centerfield:

Now this is when my day got a little interesting. I looked at my twitter timeline as I do at various points throughout the game. Well, I’ll just include the back and forth between Tom Haudricourt, the writer for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal, and myself. Some background; there’s an ongoing joke between the announcers and sportswriters that the PNC press box is so high that they need oxygen up there.

I’m not disputing that a 411 foot home run (as hit tracker online measured it as) is well hit. But an absolute bomb? I think that description should be reserved for ABSOLUTE BOMBS. For example; Prince Fielders’ 472 foot home run that bounced into the Allegheny in 2006, or the countless other 440 foot home runs that are hit every season. Here’s a screen shot of McCutchen going up the wall, because he almost had a chance to rob it. The ball is below the “S” in “Pirates” that was sculpted into the bushes.

You can be the judge but there have been 1,226 home runs hit in the majors this year that were longer than that one. And since that fence is about 398 feet from home plate, the 411 foot estimate might be a little generous. I rest my case. I found out later that Haudricourt blocked me on twitter, meaning I can’t see his tweets anymore. (It’s something you can do if you get really annoyed with someone and don’t want them responding to your tweets)

Full disclosure: A tweet of mine isn’t included in that timeline stream above. Someone chimed in and said they agreed with Tom and he replied saying “Thank you, sir! I don’t get it, either. Some people like to argue just to argue.” I replied with “Not arguing to argue. Wow. I had said it jokingly, your ignorance escalated it. I won’t question anything of yours again.” That’s likely what pushed him over the edge. I probably should’ve have used a different word than ignorance, but I didn’t. Other people have backed me and said that they’ve unfollowed him because of how he reacted to me simply disagreeing with his wording. That’s not what I was after but their support is appreciated. I thought the back and forth was funny. My friends will tell you that I’m opinionated, and I’m guessing Haudricourt is the same way, to the point that he doesn’t want anyone to disagree with him. I honestly didn’t think he would even respond to my tweet, because he had never responded to any of my other tweets towards him (but they also didn’t question his wording). I apologize if I offended Tom or any of his supporters, I think the whole thing got a little out of hand.

I included this argument because the second half of the game was spent responding to people on twitter (and not much happened in the game). One person told me to “Grow up. Get a life/job. It was a bomb.” I didn’t like that very much. Arguing about a home run is one thing but telling me to get a life/job is ridiculous. I informed them that I’m fulfilling a dream and that I’m also raising money and awareness for something that saved my life: Be The Match.

Rant: over.

The Brewers tacked on a run in the 6th when Aoki drove in Jean Segura with a sacrifice fly. Ben Christensen, who I met at the MLB Fan cave back on May 15th was at the game on Sunday, and he stopped by after the interview to say hi. After people left the game in the 7th he came over and we took in the last two innings together. Between innings I had the usher take a picture of the two Bens.

Ben was in the MLB Fan cave until he was eliminated early on (why? I don’t know). He’s a great/funny/cool guy and he has spent the summer traveling around to different ballparks, occasionally catching his team (the Oakland A’s) in action. Ben is the one with the tattoos of every MLB team on his torso. Here’s that two part picture I took back at the Fan Cave.

Despite committing three errors in the game the Brewers were able to complete the shutout. Final Score: Brewers 7 – Pirates 0. It was the first road series that the Brewers have won in the second half, taking two out of three vs. the Buccos. After the game I jumped in my car, drove 307 miles, got gas, ate a snickers, and drove the remaining 175 miles to my friend Alex’s place in Chicago. I traversed the 482 miles in 7 hours and 13 minutes, averaging 66.8 MPH (including the stop). The Brewers start a four game series with the Cubs and as of right now there is a 0% chance of rain for the duration of the series. I likely just jinxed myself with that proclamation but I’ll risk it. Go Brewers!

Personal Stats:

Daily Stats:

Time inside PNC Park: 4 hours 25 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 4 hours 30 minutes
Miles driven: 486.9
Sausages: 1 (hot dog)
Pitches missed: 5 (four pitches during the interview and one in the fourth while looking at tweets of support from Pirates fans)
Consecutive pitch streak ended at: 1,598
Percentage of pitches seen: 98.33% (295/300)
Current streak of pitches seen: 157

Season Stats:

Brewers current record: 59-67 (.468 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 529 hours 11 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 621 hours 50 minutes
Miles driven: 15,648.5
Miles riding in car but not driving: 2,135.2
Public transit miles: 413.8
Flight miles: 17,637
Total distance traveled: 35,834.4 miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 143.91% (35,834.4/24,901)
Sausages: 86 (34 Hot Dogs, 30 Polish, 8 Bratwurst, 5 Corndogs, 2 Italian, 2 Cheddarwurst, Bison Dog, Chicken Apple Sausage, Blueberry & Merlot Venison Sausage, Sausage Race on a Stick, Elk Jalapeño Cheddar Sausage)
Pitches missed: 92
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,965 (6/30 – 7/6)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.76% (37,482/37,574)

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

8-25-12 (@ Pittsburgh)

Saturday morning I went to the same bagel place I went to on Friday, this time opting for the everything bagel and not the wild berry. I did almost nothing until I left Mark’s place at 3:45 PM. I went to Primanti Bros. for dinner and I was not disappointed. I went to the original restaurant that can be found on 18th street. I parked on Smallman Street and they charge $5 to park there, no matter if it’s 30 minutes or 12 hours, same price. This is looking southwest on Smallman Street.

The four parter below details Primanti Bros. and it goes clockwise from top left.

1) The exterior of Primanti Bros. It’s in the “strip district” but I saw zero strippers (which is a good thing).

2) The interior of the restaurant right when you walk in. This location is open 24 hours as the sign in the upper left says.

3) The bar and seating area if you turn left when you walk in.

4) My dinner: A “Pitts-burgher cheese steak” sandwich. All sandwiches come topped with with french fries, cole slaw and tomatoes. I forgot to ask for onions and it even says that they’re optional on the menu right next to where they detail what the sandwiches are topped with. I knew that the sandwiches came with french fries, but they pack a lot more on there than I was expecting. Nicely done.

After eating I drove the mile and a quarter to the parking garage on 6th street and started walking towards PNC park. I usually only get one game number photo from outside of a stadium but I made an exception on Saturday for game photo number 125.

I walked across the Roberto Clemente Bridge and picked up my ticket from will call. On the way back towards the river I took a picture of the Willie Stargell statue they have along the third base side of the park. Stargell played for the Pirates from 1962-1982, helped them win two World Series and was a 7-time All-Star.

In the left field corner they have a Roberto Clemente statue, which is fitting since the Roberto Clemente Bridge is just beyond it. Clemente also played for the Pirates his entire career, from 1955-1972. He finished his career with exactly 3,000 hits. He would’ve amassed more but following the 1972 season he died in a tragic plane crash while trying to deliver relief packages to the survivors of an earthquake in Nicaragua.

I went down the stairs to the river walk and and came upon this:

I forgot how much it was but you could rent kayaks for a given amount of time. Pretty cool. I made my way towards the right field corner and when I came up the stairs I was greeted by this statue of Bill Mazeroski.

Mazeroski hit the only walk-off home run in the deciding 7th game of a World Series. He did so in 1960 to beat the Yankees and a nearby plaque details the statue and the momentous home run.

I went inside at 6:00 and took this picture of the back of PNC Park. The right field foul pole is barely visible beneath that Pirates Charities sign.

I got my designated driver voucher and beverage (iced tea) then went to my seat in section 108. Jeff Karstens delivered the game’s first pitch, a called strike to Norichika Aoki:

Shaun Marcum was making his first start since being activated from the disabled list. Here he is about to deliver the first pitch of his outing in the bottom of the 1st inning.

The game was scoreless going into the bottom of the 5th and that’s when a Brewers error broke the game open. Gomez dropped a fly ball (he did have to come racing in to get it) that he should’ve caught. All four runs that were scored in the inning were unearned. The Brewers had some chances to score but didn’t come through. In the 5th Aramis Ramirez had led off the inning with a double but was stranded at 2nd. It was that kind of night. On the bright side Jeff Bianchi recorded his first major league hit, a single in the top of the 8th:

I watched the top of the 9th from here (because it was very close to an exit):

The Brewers loaded the bases with two outs in the 9th but Nyjer Morgan struck out swinging to end the game. Final Score: Pirates 4 – Brewers 0. It was fireworks night at the ballpark so the Roberto Clemente Bridge was closed until after the fireworks were over. I walked down a block and started walking across the Andy Warhol Bridge (7th street bridge). This was the scene as I started walking:

The fireworks started shortly thereafter. When I got to the other side of the bridge I put my camera on a ledge and started taking pictures of the fireworks. I must have moved it for one of the pictures, because this was the result:

For these shots the shutter was open for about two seconds, thus the need to set it on something. This one is a little better.

In hindsight I wish I would’ve stayed inside PNC Park and went to the upper deck to get the city in the background. I would’ve gotten home much later and that was the main argument against staying for the show. It’s past 1:45 AM and first pitch is in less than 12 hours. Right after the game I’m driving 8 hours to Chicago in advance of the Monday opener of a 4 game set with the Cubs. Good night.

Personal Stats:

Daily Stats:

Time inside PNC Park: 3 hours 52 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 4 hours 9 minutes
Miles driven: 11.7
Sausages: 0
Pitches missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (255/255)
Current streak of pitches seen: 1,552

Season Stats:

Brewers current record: 58-67 (.464 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 524 hours 46 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 617 hours 20 minutes
Miles driven: 15,161.6
Miles riding in car but not driving: 2,135.2
Public transit miles: 413.8
Flight miles: 17,637
Total distance traveled: 35,347.5 miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 141.95% (35,347.5/24,901)
Sausages: 85 (33 Hot Dogs, 30 Polish, 8 Bratwurst, 5 Corndogs, 2 Italian, 2 Cheddarwurst, Bison Dog, Chicken Apple Sausage, Blueberry & Merlot Venison Sausage, Sausage Race on a Stick, Elk Jalapeño Cheddar Sausage)
Pitches missed: 87
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,965 (6/30 – 7/6)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.77% (37,187/37,274)

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

8-24-12 (@ Pittsburgh)

I drove to Pittsburgh on Thursday and I made pretty good time. I left at 10:00 AM sharp and was parked at my hosts place nine hours and 57 minutes later. I stopped twice for gas which accounts for 37 minutes of that time (I got dinner at Panera the second time). I’m staying with a friend of a friend of a friend. My friend Dustin was roommates in Denver with a guy who is from Pittsburgh. I asked Dustin if he could ask his friend if he had anybody in Pittsburgh that would be willing to host me. I’ll be staying with one of the friends this trip and the other one in September. My host this weekend is Mark. He’s going to medical school and he is smart, suspiciously smart… (Victoria hates it when I use suspiciously where it shouldn’t be used).

On Friday I went to a nearby bagel joint and then decided to visit Mount Washington and take in the accompanying views. I parked on Sweetbriar street and came upon this statue on the well named street that is Grandview.

Nearby there is a plaque that explains what the statue is of (George Washington and Seneca leader Guyasuta). It’s a depiction of a 1770 meeting between the two. If you’re interested you can click the image below so you can zoom in and read the plaque.

You can see PNC Park (where the Pirates play) off in the distance on the left side of the river. Heinz Field (where the Pittsburgh Steelers play) is also right across the river but it’s out of the frame in the pictures above.

I walked southeast on Grandview for a bit and came to the Duquesne Incline.

To the left of the building and closer to the sidewalk is a monument dedicated “To All Who Served”.

They have a platform beyond the monument above and it gives you a great view of the Pittsburgh skyline. I waited until one of the cable cars was returning before taking a picture. Hard to beat this view:

The River coming from the upper left is the Allegheny and the river coming from the right is the Monongahela. They come together in the lower left and at that point the body of water becomes the Ohio River.

I took an artsy-fartsy shot and I’ve included it below. I opened the aperture to its widest setting and focused on the fence, providing a nice bokeh effect for the city in the background.

I decided that although it probably wasn’t worth the $5 roundtrip I would take the cable car to the bottom of the incline and back up. After I paid for my trip at the bottom I took a picture of the car with the incline it had just descended; pretty cool.

When I got back to the top I got in my car and drove to Fat Head’s Saloon. The four part picture below goes clockwise from top left:

1) The exterior of the bar/restaurant on East Carson Street.

2) The bar with the beers on tap listed above it.

3) Five “Fat Heads Original” chicken wings. They were some of the best wings I’ve had, very spicy but not overwhelmingly spicy, for me anyways. The beer I had was Helltown’s Idle Hands Double IPA (8% ABV). After lunch I tried Fat Head’s own “Güdenhoppy”.

4) My lunch: The Southside Slopes, which consists of Kielbasa topped with fried pierogies, American cheese, grilled onions and horseradish sauce. There were more chips than just the three, but they’re hiding behind the monstrosity of the “Slopes”. If you want to check out the menu, click here, you won’t be disappointed. Kielbasa is just like a Polish sausage, so I’m actually going to count this in the sausage count. If you don’t agree with that…. too bad. I was stuffed after lunch and about 10 hours later I’m still stuffed.

I rolled myself back to my car and left for the game at about 4:30. How long do you think it took me to drive 2.7 miles? How about 30 minutes… Yay! I was stuck on the Smithfield St Bridge for a bit so I took a picture of it.

I parked in a $5 parking garage on Fort Duquesne Blvd and 6th street and walked across the Roberto Clemente Bridge to get to PNC Park. On game days they close the Roberto Clemente bridge to traffic. I’m not sure how long before the game but it’s at least 2 hours prior. You can see the top of the stadium and the light towers on the left.

They have a nice river walk that goes along the river on the outside of the stadium. Occasionally a left handed hitter will *really* get a hold of one, hit it over the stands in right field, and the ball will bounce off the path and into the Allegheny. I was at a game in 2006 when Prince Fielder hit a 472-foot mammoth shot that did just that.

I walked around to the home plate entrance to get game photo number 124. I had been to 8 Brewers-Pirates games at PNC in previous years, and I didn’t know what to make of all the people. I’m not complaining, it was just a different PNC experience. I had various people take a picture for me as they walked past. I kept asking because every shot wound up with someone inadvertently photo bombing it due to the busy intersection right behind me. I had plenty of time and I eventually got one that I was satisfied with. Thank you random fans!

I picked up my ticket from will call and was inside by 5:55. I walked around to the camera guys in left center and talked to the Root Sports cameraman for a minute or two. I told him what I was doing and if he would talk to the producer about maybe having me on their broadcast for an interview. After talking with someone he said that they were aware of my story and would be doing something over the weekend. Score! Got to give a shout out to Ryan, a twitter follower, who tweeted at Root Sports Pittsburgh and told them what I was doing.

The left field corner gives a decent view of the Clemente Bridge and business district:

I went and got my designated driver voucher and my drink and then went to my seat in section 108. A different twitter follower, Cooper, had tweeted at me the day before and said he wanted to meet up. He stopped by right before the national anthem and after talking for a bit gave me $20 to donate to Be The Match. Thanks Cooper! He’s a Brewers fan from Wisconsin who came out to see them play. I should’ve asked if he was named after Cecil Cooper.

The game got started and Wandy Rodriguez delivered a called strike to Norichika Aoki. This was the view from my seat:

I’m not being mean, but it was weird being at PNC and having the stands full. It may look a little scattered above but it was the first pitch and it eventually filled up. It wound up being a sellout, nice work Pirates fans.

Mike Fiers got the start for the Brewers and he retired the first 9 batters he faced. Here he is rearing back to let go of the first pitch of his outing:

In the top of the 2nd inning the Brewers’ bats came alive and they got three straight hits to open the frame. The second and third of which drove in runs. Corey Hart’s double drove in Aramis Ramirez:

And Jonathan Lucroy’s single drove in Hart:

The Brewers had an early 2-0 lead but it wouldn’t last long. In the bottom of the 4th the Pirates got the first two batters aboard and Andrew McCutchen drove them in with a single to left; tie game. The Pirates have a Pierogi race after the 5th inning and it’s run on the outfield warning track as opposed to the infield warning track (like the sausage race). It’s not terrible (better than the animated races that some parks have) but it ain’t no sausage race. The sausage race started it all, is the gold standard for in-game mascot races, and is not fixed (I think).

It remained tied at two going into the 7th inning. Fiers stepped to the plate with one out, still looking for his first major league hit. Up to that point he had been 0-22 with 12 strikeouts. He figured he should try to lay a bunt down since the swinging thing wasn’t working:

It was a beauty and it rolled on the grass towards the third baseman but looked like it might roll foul. By the time the third baseman got to it he realized that he had no shot at throwing out Fiers at first so he didn’t touch it, hoping it would roll foul. Thankfully it didn’t and it came to a stop just inches from the foul line. When Fiers was walking back to first he put his hands in the air as he glanced at the Brewers dugout. I’m not sure what was being said but they were likely giving him a hard time. Gomez (far right) is laughing about something:

Aoki grounded into a fielder’s choice and then Rickie Weeks was hit by a pitch. Braun walked on four pitches and Aramis Ramirez stepped in with the bases loaded and two outs. The 0-1 offering was sent deep to right center and I thought McCutchen had a bead on it. If you’re curious: the ball is just below the Pirates dugout fence, on the right side of the picture.

McCutchen narrowly missed making a great catch and all three base runners came home. Lots of high fives to go around:

McCutchen slid into the wall and received some attention from the trainer. Clint Hurdle, the Pirates manager, eventually came out to see his MVP candidate. “Cutch”, as they call him, stayed in the game and it appears that he’ll be fine.

Corey Hart followed Ramirez with an RBI single and the Brewers had a 4-run lead. A solo home run by Rod Barajas cut the lead to 6-3 in the bottom of the 7th and it remained that way going to the bottom of the 9th. Axford came on for the save and walked the first two men he faced (not good). The third batter singled and the Pirates had the tying run at first base with nobody out. Axford then got two big strikeouts and it looked like he had found his rhythm. Michael McKenry battled for 7 pitches and on the 8th hit one up the middle to pull the Pirates within one. Roenicke opted to bring in Kameron Loe and it payed off. Loe struck out Gaby Sanchez and the Brewers hung on. Final Score: Brewers 6 – Pirates 5.

On the way back to my car I took a picture of PNC park, as seen from the other side of the Roberto Clemente Bridge.

Game two is tonight at 7:05, game three tomorrow at 1:35 and then it’s on to Chicago.

Personal Stats:

Daily Stats:

Time inside PNC Park: 4 hours 26 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 4 hours 43 minutes
Miles driven: 623.6 (604.1 on Thursday’s drive from Fort Atkinson to Pittsburgh)
Sausages: 1 (Polish kielbasa as part of the Southside Slopes “headwich”)
Pitches missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (299/299)
Current streak of pitches seen: 1,297

Season Stats:

Brewers current record: 58-66 (.468 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 520 hours 54 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 613 hours 11 minutes
Miles driven: 15,149.9
Miles riding in car but not driving: 2,135.2
Public transit miles: 413.8
Flight miles: 17,637
Total distance traveled: 35,335.8 miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 141.91% (35,335.8/24,901)
Sausages: 85 (33 Hot Dogs, 30 Polish, 8 Bratwurst, 5 Corndogs, 2 Italian, 2 Cheddarwurst, Bison Dog, Chicken Apple Sausage, Blueberry & Merlot Venison Sausage, Sausage Race on a Stick, Elk Jalapeño Cheddar Sausage)
Pitches missed: 87
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,965 (6/30 – 7/6)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.76% (36,932/37,019)

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

8-22-12 (vs. Chicago Cubs)

I finished up Tuesday’s post before going to bed so I was able to sleep in on Wednesday morning. I got up at 10:20 and left about an hour later. I pulled into the Cooper lot at 12:20 and headed inside. A little backstory on who joined me for Wednesday’s game. Back in June I was searching for an interview that I had done for a Cincinnati news station. While searching I came across an article titled “Ben Rouse, The Apology Letter.” I found out that the guy had originally called me a dillweed because he thought I was trying to get people to donate money to ME and not Be The Match. I sent an email to the “contact us” email address and found out it was Joel who was the guilty party. He said he would like to join me at a game, make a donation, and write an article about me for the website he contributes to: losersbracket.com.

Wednesday was the day and I left my extra ticket at will call. I went inside and got the game number picture taken in section 115.

If you’re new to the blog I’m doing a slow progression around the field level seating bowl. I did the same in the terrace level and the loge level. I’m taking suggestions for where to take the final game number photo. The second to last game of the year, October 2nd, I’m throwing out a ceremonial first pitch, and will be getting game photo number 161 from the pitcher’s mound. What can top that for game photo number 162?

I went up to the loge level, said hi to the Ice Man, and learned that Bill (the friendly usher behind section 216) has a home in Maryland and left a day early. His replacement said that Bill will be back for the next home stand. I got to my seat and Joel joined me shortly thereafter. I still had my 18-55 mm lens on my camera so I couldn’t zoom in very much for the following photo. Dylan Postl (AKA Hornswoggle) is a WWE wrestler and threw out the first pitch. Hornswoggle is four feet four inches tall. Here he is walking next to Joe Crawford, who has become the designated ceremonial-first-pitch catcher.

Yovani Gallardo got Wednesday’s game started by delivering a called strike to David DeJesus.

What a perfect time to show a picture I took of Gallardo back on Memorial Day in 2009 (thus the red hat). I used GIMP, a free photo editing program for the effects. I had an 8×10 printed and I’m hoping to get it signed someday. Wait, I WILL get it signed, and it WILL be on this road trip, mark my words….

Ok, back to Wednesday. DeJesus sent the fifth pitch of that opening at bat into the right field loge bleachers and the Cubs took an early 1-0 lead. In the bottom of the 1st Aoki led off with a double and two batters later Braun followed suit:

After a Ramirez pop-out Corey Hart hit the third double of the inning for the Brewers, driving in Braun and giving the Brewers a 2-1 lead. Here’s Hart at second giving a long distance high five to Ed Sedar.

In the middle of the 4th inning I had a woman next to Joel take a picture of the two of us. Her name is Vivianna, she’s from Los Angeles, and she wants to get to the all the MLB stadiums as well (another goal of mine). She said her and her mom take a vacation every year and hit up a few parks. Thanks Vivianna! And thank you Joel, who made a $100 donation to Be The Match.

In the bottom of the 5th inning Aoki fouled a pitch back that was heading almost right towards me. I had my glove on, stepped into the aisle and reached forward a bit to make the catch. The guy across the aisle from me thought he would try and catch it as well, bumping my glove in the process. Instead of the ball smacking the webbing of my glove it hit the heel. Bouncing down the steps it went where it was picked up by another fan. If I would have been a spectator of the event I would have given me a hard time. I may have booed because if you bring a glove to a game you HAVE to make the catch, otherwise you’re subject to ridicule. I probably still should have made the catch despite the contact from the other fan, so I will take full responsibility for the error. If I hadn’t already caught two foul balls this year I would be a little upset, but I have, so I’m over Wednesday’s shortcomings.

The middle of the sixth is when the sausage race takes place, and for some reason they did a relay race on a Wednesday. I thought they only had the little weenies race on Sundays. I like that Braun is just minding his own business, getting ready for his at bat.

Braun deposited the 1-1 pitch into the Toyota Territory in right centerfield, increasing the Brewers’ lead to 3-1.

In the top of the 7th the Cubs got that run right back when Bryan LaHair took Gallardo deep on the first pitch of the inning. Henderson pitched a scoreless 8th and Axford the 9th, striking out the side to pick up his 20th save. Here’s the final pitch of the game, which resulted in a swinging strike from Brett Jackson.

SWEEEEEP! The Brewers wrapped up a 5-2 home stand after taking all three from the Cubs. Final Score: Brewers 3 – Cubs 2. I leave for Pittsburgh tomorrow morning and should be pulling into the Steel City at around 9:00 PM Eastern Time. Google Maps tells me it’s going to take 10 hours and 38 minutes to traverse the 594 miles. Ha, I think not. I’m shooting for less than 9.5 hours. My mouth is already starting to water thinking about Fat Heads and their “Southside Slopes” Headwich, which has kielbasa topped with fried pierogies, American cheese, grilled onions,
and horseradish sauce. Oohhhhh baby. There will be pictures, so check back in on Saturday for Friday’s post.

Personal Stats:

Daily Stats:

Time inside Miller Park: 3 hours 21 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 3 hours 41 minutes
Miles driven: 123.3
Sausages: 0
Pitches missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (266/266)
Current streak of pitches seen: 998

Season Stats:

Brewers current record: 57-66 (.463 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 516 hours 28 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 608 hours 28 minutes
Miles driven: 14,526.3
Miles riding in car but not driving: 2,135.2
Public transit miles: 413.8
Flight miles: 17,637
Total distance traveled: 34,712.2miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 139.40% (34,712.2/24,901)
Sausages: 84 (33 Hot Dogs, 29 Polish, 8 Bratwurst, 5 Corndogs, 2 Italian, 2 Cheddarwurst, Bison Dog, Chicken Apple Sausage, Blueberry & Merlot Venison Sausage, Sausage Race on a Stick, Elk Jalapeño Cheddar Sausage)
Pitches missed: 87
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,965 (6/30 – 7/6)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.76% (36,633/36,720)

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

8-21-12 (vs. Chicago Cubs)

I left the house at 3:30 PM on Tuesday and was parked in the Brewers 1 parking lot 64 minutes later. After about 45 minutes I started to get nervous, but I was able to sell my two seats for $80. I had front row Amy’s ticket for the game, and a friend had backed out on using my two tickets, so I had to scalp them. There are always 10-15 scalpers in front of the stadium and I was sure one of them was going to swoop in and steal the sale from me. A grown-up brother and sister bought the two tickets from me and I thanked them for their donation and gave them one of my cards. I also stopped by the seats about an hour later and thanked them again.

After selling my tickets I walked around for about an hour and handed out my cards and talked about Be The Match. On my way inside at 6:15 I stopped and got a picture of the 620 WTMJ tailgater that I had done my interview in the day before. I meant to get a picture of it on Monday but I forgot.

I went to section 114 for game photo number 122. A nearby fan, Derrick, did the honors and it only took him two tries. His first attempt was very good, so I didn’t feel bad asking him to pan up just a little. Thanks Derrick!

Even though I was sitting in section 117 for the game I went up to the loge level to get a Polish sausage. I wanted to say hi to the Ice Man and Bill, and assure the latter that I was at the game. I didn’t stop by on Sunday and on Monday he asked if I was there the day before. After eating I went back down to the field level and got ready for the game. As the national anthem was sung I could hear their voices before the sound came through the speakers, that’s how close I was. Thanks again Amy!

Soon thereafter the bench coaches came out to exchange the lineup cards. I didn’t plan on getting the Harley Davidson in the shot but that’s what went down. Someone riding a Harley Davidson delivers the game ball from one of the outfield corners, and it’s (at the very least) used by the starter as a warm up ball.

Marco Estrada threw a called strike to David DeJesus to get the game underway. The ball is between the shortstop and the batter in the picture below.

I knew that I would be on TV throughout the game and I took advantage of the opportunity. I have to thank my wonderful girlfriend (of 2 years on Tuesday) for taking the picture and sending it to me. Thanks Victoria!

The Cubs starter, Chris Rusin, was making his major league debut and he retired the first nine batters he faced. Norichika Aoki came to the plate in the bottom of the 4th and did his sumo-style stretch as he stepped in the box.

Aoki was hit by the 1-1 pitch and let out an “AYE!!!” that made me and most everyone around me chuckle. It was OK to laugh because Aoki was fine. I would not have been laughing if there was a chance that he was seriously injured. Weeks struck out, Braun was walked, and Aramis Ramirez was also hit by a pitch. Corey Hart had a chance to break the scoreless tie and he didn’t disappoint. Hart lined one off of Rusin (he too was fine) for an infield single and the Brewers had a 1-0 lead.

In the middle of the 6th I got to see the sausage race from a different perspective; Sausage stampede!!!

In the bottom of the 6th three walks loaded the bases with only one out. Lucroy was at the plate and quickly went down 0-2 in the count. I considered telling the lady on my left that I would take a past ball at this point. The very next pitch got past the catcher and Rickie raced home. The catcher had retrieved the ball and it’s on its way back to the plate (albeit a little late) in the picture below.

On the very next pitch Lucroy sent one to left for a two-run double and the Brewers had a 4-0 lead.

In the bottom of the 8th I took a panned out picture from my seat in section 117. It’s a great seat to take in a game as long as you can block out the screen that’s right in front of your face. I know it’s a necessity and there would be concussions and knocked out teeth at every game without it, but it just takes some getting used to.

Carlos Gomez singled in a run during the bottom of the 8th and the Brewers had a 5-0 lead going to the 9th. Manny Parra gave up a double and a walk and was pulled in favor of Jim Henderson. He allowed both inherited runners to score via a single and an RBI groundout and was pulled as well. Axford entered and threw a 1-2 pitch to Welington Castillo:

If you can’t tell I had moved up into the concourse for the final half inning. The pitch resulted in a groundout and the Brewers clinched the series. Final Score: Brewers 5 – Cubs 2. Here’s the final linescore as it appeared on the scoreboard:

The Brewers were able to score 5 runs despite only mustering 3 hits. 6 walks and 3 hit batsmen might be to blame… Thanks Cubs! It’s almost 1:00 AM now and the first pitch of the finale is in about 12 hours. Goodnight.

Personal Stats:

Daily Stats:

Time inside Miller Park: 4 hours 4 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 5 hours 51 minutes
Miles driven: 123.7
Sausages: 1 (Polish)
Pitches missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (274/274)
Current streak of pitches seen: 732

Season Stats:

Brewers current record: 56-66 (.459 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 513 hours 7 minutes (Over three whole weeks inside stadiums!)
Time on stadium grounds: 604 hours 47 minutes
Miles driven: 14,403.0
Miles riding in car but not driving: 2,135.2
Public transit miles: 413.8
Flight miles: 17,637
Total distance traveled: 34,588.9 miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 138.91% (34,588.9/24,901)
Sausages: 84 (33 Hot Dogs, 29 Polish, 8 Bratwurst, 5 Corndogs, 2 Italian, 2 Cheddarwurst, Bison Dog, Chicken Apple Sausage, Blueberry & Merlot Venison Sausage, Sausage Race on a Stick, Elk Jalapeño Cheddar Sausage)
Pitches missed: 87
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,965 (6/30 – 7/6)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.76% (36,367/36,454)

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

8-20-12 (vs. Chicago Cubs)

I slept in until 10:45 AM on Monday and I felt like going back to bed after eating breakfast. I still had the cold and I still felt like crap. I worked on the post, got my stuff together, and left Victoria’s and my apartment in Madison at 3:15. I stopped in Lake Mills to pick up a sub from Jimmy Johns and then continued on to Milwaukee. I was parked at 4:50 and I spent the next hour walking around the parking lots and telling people about Be The Match and why it’s important to grow the registry.

At 5:55 I headed to the 620 WTMJ tailgater that’s located near the home plate entrance. Trenni Kusnierek had invited me on the show, and I joined her and Greg Matzek on air around 6:20. They asked questions and I answered them, talking about my journey thus far as well as Be The Match. Before parting ways Greg took a picture of Trenni and me.

After talking with Trenni for a few minutes I dropped my twitter follower’s ticket off at will call and went inside. Section 113 was the spot for game photo number 121. I had a nearby fan take the picture for me and I found out later her name is Brandy, or Brandi, or however she spells it. She was on the jumbotron answering a trivia question early in the game, and they said her name. Thanks Brandy!

My twitter follower, Adam, joined me shortly before the game started and the Cubs took a 1-0 lead in the 1st. A sacrifice fly in the top of the 2nd doubled their lead. Lucroy cut the lead in half when he hit a solo home run in the bottom of the 2nd.

In the 5th inning the Cubs increased their lead back to two runs. The Brewers had an answer in the bottom of the 5th, eight answers to be exact. Eleven batters came to the plate in the 5th. Technically 9 different batters as two of them batted twice. Gomez led off with a single and scored on a one-out Travis Ishikawa base hit. Aoki drove in Ishikawa with a sacrifice fly and there were now two outs and no one on base. Weeks and Braun both singled and Ramirez walked, loading the bases for Corey Hart.

It wasn’t a grand slam like Thursday, but it was a 2-run single and the Brewers had a 5-3 lead. The Cubs’ starter, Justin Germano, got the hook, and while the pitching change went down I had a fan a few rows in front of us take a picture of me and Adam. He donated $50 to Be The Match for his ticket which brings us close to $3,500 raised so far. Thanks Adam! And thank you everyone for your donations and your support.

Germano’s replacement, Jeff Beliveau, didn’t fare much better. The first batter he faced was Jonathan Lucroy, who duplicated his 2nd inning performance with another home run, this time a 3-run shot.

Gomez wanted in on the action and followed Lucroy with a blast of his own. I’m not sure which was faster, the ball getting out of the park or Go-Go racing around the bases.

The roof was closed and the fireworks guy was busy:

In the bottom of the 6th the Cubs brought in Lendy Castillo and the Cubs lineup looked like this. The classic Castillo-Castillo battery, and they sported consecutive jersey numbers, awwww…..

In the 7th the Cubs got a solo run on an RBI-groundout and in the 9th a wild pitch by Livan Hernandez allowed another run to score. The 8-run inning proved the difference and the Brewers won going away. Final Score: Brewers 9 – Cubs 5. I took this picture before the wild pitch and the 5th run for the Cubs, but you get the picture. That snowman in the 5th sure looks nice. I believe it’s the most runs the Brewers have put up in a single inning this year. Since I’ve been to every game you’d think I would know that, but I’ve witnessed a lot of baseball and games start running together and details get forgotten.

It’s 1:40 on Tuesday afternoon and I’ll be leaving in an hour and a half for the second game of the series. I’m sitting in Front Row Amy’s seat tonight, so look for me behind the plate. I’ll be holding up the game number sign at various times, only when the Brewers are batting though. I don’t want to be a distraction for Marco Estrada or the guys in the field. I couldn’t find anybody to buy my tickets in section 221 yet, so I’ll be trying to scalp them for a donation to Be The Match before the game tonight. Last time I tried doing that the other scalpers swooped in when I had a potential buyer. I’m hoping there’s none of that funny business today.

Personal Stats:

Daily Stats:

Time inside Miller Park: 3 hours 57 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 5 hours 44 minutes
Miles driven: 151.0
Sausages: 0
Pitches missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (306/306)
Current streak of pitches seen: 458

Season Stats:

Brewers current record: 55-66 (.455 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 509 hours 3 minutes (Over three whole weeks inside stadiums!)
Time on stadium grounds: 598 hours 56 minutes
Miles driven: 14,279.3
Miles riding in car but not driving: 2,135.2
Public transit miles: 413.8
Flight miles: 17,637
Total distance traveled: 34,465.2 miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 138.41% (34,465.2/24,901)
Sausages: 83 (33 Hot Dogs, 28 Polish, 8 Bratwurst, 5 Corndogs, 2 Italian, 2 Cheddarwurst, Bison Dog, Chicken Apple Sausage, Blueberry & Merlot Venison Sausage, Sausage Race on a Stick, Elk Jalapeño Cheddar Sausage)
Pitches missed: 87
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,965 (6/30 – 7/6)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.76% (36,093/36,180)

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

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