On Wednesday I drove my sister to Delavan where we visited with my Grandpa and Grandma. Eliza was catching a 5:30 PM train from Harvard down to Chicago and Wally and Rosalie were going to take her to the train stop. I visited for about an hour and left their house at 11:10. Before I left we used a a picnic table, an upside down bucket and a hose accessory to get a picture of the four of us.
I was parked in the Money 2 lot at 12:10 and walked towards the home plate entrance. I heard a band playing and when I got closer I saw that the band consisted of Marines in uniform. It was The Marine Corps Band New Orleans, and they were good. I initially took a picture but then remembered I could record video on my iPhone (I’m an idiot). They said “When the Saints Go Marching In” would be their last song and I began recording shortly after they started. The trumpet player towards the end is really good.
I went inside after they were done and headed to section 106 to get game photo number 110. I had a nearby Brewers fan take the photo for me. I didn’t get a name but if you’re reading; Thank You!
I met my twitter follower up in my seat and we talked baseball as we waited for the game to start. Scott W. joined me for the game on Wednesday and he went above and beyond by donating $50 when all I ask for is $40. Thank you Scott! I found out that the Marine Corps Band New Orleans was performing the National Anthem with the Navy Band Great Lakes and it was nice. I always like it when a band plays the national anthem. There was a singer as well but there’s something about a band playing it that takes you back (to what, I don’t know).
The game started and Randy Wolf delivered the opening pitch to Zack Cozart.
The game was scoreless going into the top of the third when the Reds took a 2-0 lead on a home run from Dioner Navarro. In the bottom of the 5th inning Jean Segura recorded his first hit in the major leagues, hopefully the first of many. Nice work, kid!!! I feel like I can say kid because I’m three years older than him, eeeeeesh. Makes me feel old. After saying that though I remember that I can average the age of my body with the age of my immune system, and since my immune system is that of a 34-month-old; I am just over 14 years of age.
Between the 5th and 6th innings these fans were shown on the jumbotron:
I like mashed potatoes as much as the next guy but putting that on your sign? I like that the sign on the right was misspelled originally and then corrected with a small “e”: good stuff.
In the bottom of the 6th the Brewers cut the lead to 2-1 when Go-Go sent one just over the centerfield wall. Here he is rounding third.
Between the 6th and 7th I had the lady behind us take a picture of me and Scott. Scott’s a cool guy, is a 20-game pack holder in the loge infield (same seating area as myself), and we shared a lot of opinions regarding baseball related topics.
In the bottom of the 8th inning Segura and Lucroy flew out and the Brewers were down to their final four outs. With two outs Aoki singled on a swinging bunt down the third base line. He stole second and moved to third on the throw down to second base. Gomez was at the dish and he sent one to left that just made it over the shortstop’s outstretched glove for a game-tying RBI single.
On the first pitch of Braun’s at bat Gomez stole second base. Scott and I discussed what we would do as the opposing manager with first base open, Braun at the plate, and Ramirez on deck. It was a quandary because Braun had been struggling lately (0 for his last 18) and Aramis was on fire (15 for his last 34). Decisions, decisions…
They pitched to Braun and he put one into the gap in shallow left centerfield. The left fielder dove because it was such a big play but he missed. Gomez raced home with the go-ahead run:
You might be wondering why the home plate umpire is looking so closely at Gomez about to score because there’s clearly not a play at the plate. Here’s why:
Braun took off for second base because the left fielder had dove but it was a very close play at second. The home plate umpire was actually looking at Gomez touching home plate as well as Braun sliding into second. If Braun was tagged out before Gomez touched home the run wouldn’t have counted, since the third out would have been recorded before the run scored.
Jim Henderson, who had saved Tuesday night’s game, was back on the mound Wednesday with another opportunity. He struck out the first two batters he faced but then walked Drew Stubbs. Stubbs is fast and he stole second base, putting the tying run in scoring position. Henderson delivered a 86 MPH slider to Chris Heisey for his 1-2 offering.
Heisey got under it and lifted a fly ball to right field. The ball is above Aoki’s glove and just below the yellow line that runs along the top of the wall. I like that Corey Hart (lower right) already has his fist in the air. Brewers win! Brewers win! Final Score: Brewers 3 – Reds 2. The win completed the sweep for the Crew. Apparently all they needed was some home cooking!
Henderson and Lucroy embraced and walked back towards the mound for the celebratory post-game high-five line.
It’s midnight on Thursday morning as I write this and I need to get some sleep. I’ve got an oil change at 9:15 in the morning, then it’s off to Milwaukee to catch my 1:40 PM flight to Tampa, where I connect. A 6:15 PM EST flight will take me to Houston and I should be there by 7:30 central time. The Brewers haven’t won an away game since the last time they were in Houston; July 8th. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the Crew can snap their current 9-game road losing streak.
I won’t be posting about the off day because nothing interesting should be happening. The post for Friday’s game will be up Saturday morning sometime, depending on how ambitious I am.
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Tuesday was similar to Monday but on Tuesday I stopped at the Qdoba (right next to the Noodles) in Delafield for lunch/dinner. I got to the Brewers 1 parking lot at 4:40 PM and went back to the general lots to hand out cards and tell people my story. There was a group of people playing bags and I wasn’t going to talk to them because I would be interrupting their game and they’d have to come together (and there’s plenty of other people to talk to). One of the guys playing said Ben!? and it was a “fan”, if you will, so that was pretty cool. He said he follows me on twitter and reads the blog. I also saw this in the general lot:
I walked around for about an hour and a half and then I headed inside. I went over to section 104 where I had a kid, probably 15 years old, take game photo number 109 for me. If the season were pregnant Tuesday would have marked the first day of the third trimester. This is what the ultrasound revealed….
It’s a Boy, and he likes baseball!!!
After thanking the kid and his family for taking the picture for me I went over to the team store to pick up some merchandise that the Brewers provided. It’s always tough getting the right size for me because sometimes I’m a medium, sometimes I’m a large, and sometimes I’m even an extra large. Manufacturers need to get their shizzy together and standardize things. It doesn’t help my cause that I have goony arms; I’m six feet tall but have a 6 foot 4 wingspan. I met up with Nathan and he handed over two shirts and and a zip up track jacket. I can’t thank the Brewers enough for helping me out and providing me licensed apparel to wear to the games.
I was up in my seat about 15 minutes before first pitch. My twitter follower, Lynda, was already there with her scorecard in hand. Mike Fiers was on the hill for the Crew and he got the game started (with a ball to Cozart).
He worked an 8-pitch first inning, and he has been nothing short of dominant in his 12 starts thus far. In the bottom of the first Braun grounded into what should’ve been an inning-ending double play, but Brandon Phillips’ throw to first pulled Frazier off the bag. It gave the hot-hitting Aramis Ramirez a chance to bat in the first inning. On the second pitch…
Ram-Ram went Bam-Bam once again. I like that Braun is almost completely airborne; just the tip of his left foot is touching the ground in the picture above. The 2-run home run from Ramirez gave the Brewers an early 2-0 lead.
Fiers had only thrown 33 pitches through 3 innings and I (somewhat) jokingly told Lynda that he was on pace for a 99-pitch perfect game. Well, he got 2/3 of the way there, retiring the first 18 batters he faced. As Cozart stepped to the plate to lead off the 7th inning I honestly had a feeling he was going to end the perfect game bid. What’ya know…
Cozart doubled to left center and after the play the crowd gave Fiers a standing ovation for his efforts. I don’t think this was a tip of the cap, just an adjustment or part of his routine, but we can call it that.
Cozart wound up scoring on a sacrifice fly, erasing Fiers’ chance of a shutout in the progress. In the bottom of the seventh Jean Segura got his first major league RBI, driving in Rickie Weeks on a groundout to third. Between the 7th and the 8th inning I had Russ, a fan two rows in front of us, take a picture of me and Lynda.
Fiers pitched into the 8th inning and the second batter of the frame, Xavier Paul, lined a 1-2 pitch foul that landed two sections to our right. It became apparent pretty quickly that everything wasn’t OK. People were standing up and waving down event staff. I saw the guy tilting his head back and applying pressure to his forehead. The ball had ricocheted off of someone else’s hands/arms and caught him above the eye. I didn’t take a picture of him, because that would be in bad taste, but I did take a picture of the paramedics that were on the scene, along with two cops. I missed the pitch right after the foul ball not because I was taking a picture but because I was curious to see if the guy was alright. Earlier in the game the same thing could’ve happened to me. Nyjer Morgan lined one back that was heading towards my shins (once I stood up and stepped into the aisle). I put my glove down but the guy three rows in front of me reached into the aisle to try and catch it. He tipped it and it flew very close to my head on its way back. The fan behind me wound up with the ball but it scares me to think what could’ve been. I trust myself to not take a ball in the face but if someone else gets a piece of a foul ball just feet from me anything can happen.
Paul singled in that at bat and moved to third when Hanigan singled two batters later. After the Hanigan single there were two on with two outs and Roenicke came to the mound to talk to Fiers. Roenicke left him in there and he struck out Ryan Ludwick swinging to get out of the jam. As Fiers walked off the field he got another standing ovation. I wasn’t planning on capturing Russ’ high five in front of me, but it worked out that way.
Henderson came on in the 9th and notched his first career save, pitching a perfect 1-2-3 inning. Thank you Jim! I was really hoping that the linescore would have had a 0 in the Reds’ hit column, but I’ll take the W.
I had a great time with Lynda at the game. Lynda has a 20 game pack in 217 and is as focused on the game as I am (I don’t think she missed a pitch). It’s nice to see other fans as passionate as I am about the Crew. She didn’t leave the seats once and joked that she charges when people walk in front of her on their way to their seats or to the aisle. Lynda donated $40 to Be The Match to sit with me at the game. Thanks Lynda! We talked to the guy on Lynda’s right for most of the game, and he showed some interest in my story. His name was R.G., he’s from Montana and was in town for business. I gave him a card and hopefully he’ll tell some people back home.
It’s 1:45 AM and I’m leaving the house in about 7 hours. I’m dropping my sister off at my grandparents’ house in Delavan, visiting for a bit and then heading to Milwaukee for the finale of the series. After the game I’m driving to Madison for the night and then leaving for Houston on Thursday afternoon.
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I got up at 11:00 on Monday and worked on the post for the finale in St. Louis. I left the house at 3:15 and when I was halfway to Milwaukee I realized I had forgotten my preferred parking pass at the home. My sister is home from seeing the world and had a giant backpack on a bench where I normally lay everything out the night before (including the next day’s parking pass). I’m not blaming her for me forgetting it I’m just explaining the situation.
I stopped at Noodles and Company in Delafield on my way to the game and had Pad Thai for lunch/dinner. I know it’s not authentic Thai food but I still like their rendition of the dish. While I was there I noticed a mother and her baby boy along with the mother’s mother. I was in my roaming-the-parking-lot mentality and I stopped by and told them about my mission and if they were aware of umbilical cord donation. She had no idea but sounded intrigued and said she would tell others about the registry. Nice!
I had called my season ticket representative, Chris, after realizing I forgot my parking pass. I had thought about trying to convince the parking attendants that I had forgotten mine at home, but thought better of it. Chris said he could get a replacement to me and that I should stop by the executive offices in the right field corner of Miller Park. I got there at 4:50 and waited in the lobby, where they have a nice Miller Park model in a glass case. Everything is pretty accurate besides the absence of Bernie’s slide.
Chris came down from his office and I thanked him for helping me out. Thanks Chris! I drove over to the preferred lot and was parked shortly after 5:00. I wasn’t meeting my twitter follower, Bob, until 6:20, so I had plenty of time to roam and spread the word. I probably wound up talking to 50 or so people, and it felt good. A lady that I talked to said she saw the Robin Roberts story and was going to join but forgot to. I reminded her and she said she would likely go to one of the upcoming drives in the Milwaukee area. In August there are drives in Milwaukee on Thursday the 9th, Friday the 17th, Friday the 24th, and Saturday the 25th. There is also one in Racine on Saturday the 18th. If you haven’t joined yet and you live in the Milwaukee area, check it out.
I met Bob outside of the home plate entrance at 6:20 and we went inside. Section 103 was the location for game photo number 108 and we got it done in three tries.
Game number 108 marks the 2/3 point of the season. It’s flying by and I can’t believe there are only 54 games left, including a minuscule FOUR road trips!
Bob has a ball and glove tattoo on his left tricep and it’s pretty cool. I’m planning on getting a Brewers tattoo at some point, but I haven’t decided what and where as of yet. I mentioned to Bob that I considered getting the Brewers logo progression across my upper back. He thought that would be cool and reminded me that they have a mural of just that inside the right field gate. I think I’ve entered there once this year but had forgotten all about it. The Brewers were the Seattle Pilots for one season before moving to Milwaukee in 1970 (thus the Pilots logo). If I got the progression as a tattoo I would leave out the Pilots logo.
Bob and I walked around and said hi to the Ice Man and then to Bill, the friendly usher above section 216. I’ve mentioned him many times but never got my picture taken with him, no more. I shake Bill’s hand before (almost) every home game. If I’m carrying stuff I’ll give him knuckles or maybe even a forearm exchange. You the man, Bill!
We sat in our seats and discussed baseball (and other topics) to pass the time before the game got underway. At 7:10 Yovani Gallardo delivered a called strike to Reds shortstop Zack Cozart. Technically he hasn’t “delivered” the pitch yet in the picture below, but now you know that he threw it to the catcher and not into the stands.
Cesar Izturis was claimed off of waivers and the Brewers called up Jean Segura from Double-A Huntsville. He was the main piece in the Zack Greinke trade and he started at shortstop on Monday. He only got three at bats with the Angels, and was hitless in those at bats, so he was still searching for his first major league hit. When he came up in the bottom of the third I moved down the third base line just a bit to get a better angle of his first Brewers at bat. The result?
He wound up going 0-4 with two strikeouts and I’m guessing he was a little overanxious and tried to impress everyone right away. Hopefully he can be the Brewers starting shortstop for years to come and I’m looking forward to seeing his first 54 games on the big league roster.
It was a scoreless game at halftime (the middle of the 5th inning) when Maldonado doubled to open the bottom half. Segura flew out to right and Maldonado advanced to third on the play. Gallardo stepped to the plate and helped out his own cause by ripping a base hit to left field to drive in Maldo.
Braun led off the bottom of the 6th with a fly out to right field. Over the next 12 pitches this happened:
Bingo, Bango, Bongo!!! Ramirez hit a solo home run and two pitches later Hart sent a moon shot into the Harley Davidson Deck in left-center field. Rickie Weeks followed Chart with a single and Martín Maldonado put one just over the fence down the line in left. Bam! Brewers take a 5-0 lead.
The Reds got a solo home run in the seventh and after the Brewers batted in the bottom half I had a lady behind us take a picture of me and Bob.
Did you expect to see someone older than 21? Even though I had seen his picture on Twitter I had kind of forgotten so when he came up to me in front of Miller Park it caught me off guard for a second. Call me a name profiler but most everyone would’ve thought the same thing. He said he’ll sometimes introduce himself as Bobby just because it doesn’t seem as strange. He said his grandfather had the same name and I dropped some knowledge on Bob. I told him that if he and his grandfather share the same middle name, then Bob would be a Jr. (II), or III if his grandfather had the same name as an older relative. I had recently done some reading on the topic because I was curious about Jr, Sr., the II, the III, etc. Victoria is NOT pregnant if you thought that was the reason for the research. Bob donated $40 to Be The Match to join me on Monday and I’m very grateful. He also donated two Coors Lights to my stomach. Thanks Bob!!!
Things got interesting in the 8th inning. The Brewers led 5-1 going in but Francisco Rodriguez loaded the bases with only one out. John Axford came in and gave up an RBI single and a sacrifice fly but escaped the inning with the Brewers leading 5-3. In the bottom half of the 8th the Brewers got one back and in the 9th Axford retired the side in order; Brewers win! Final Score: Brewers 6 – Reds 3.
It’s past noon and I’ll be leaving in three hours for game two of the series. I’ll be joined by another twitter follower today and I’m looking forward to spending three hours with another stranger. Go Brewers!!!
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I slept in on Sunday because I had stayed up late writing the post for Saturday’s game. I watched some of the Olympics and awaited a call from the reporter who asked for a number to reach me at. I really didn’t have any plans on Sunday but I kind of put off deciding on what I was going to do before the game because I wanted to be available to do an interview, whenever and wherever it may have been. Long story short no one ever called and the guy who I gave my number to never returned my subsequent messages or tweets as to why that was the case. Very frustrating.
Anne and Mike, my aunt and uncle who hosted me for the weekend, treated me to a late lunch at Patrick’s Restaurant and Sports Bar. It opened as a restaurant by the same name, then was changed to “Pujols 5” in 2006. Pujols agreed to a deal where he would a get a percentage of the sales in exchange for him making appearances and allowing them to use his name. They erected a statue of Pujols in November of 2011 outside of the restaurant, but we didn’t see it. When he left they changed the name to St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame Bar and Grill. That only lasted a few months and they returned to Patrick’s Restaurant and Sports Bar.
We drove separately since I was leaving right from there to go to the final game of the series. We arrived at 3:35 which on a non-NFL Sunday is a great time if you want a quiet sports bar. The six part picture below details the restaurant and it goes clockwise from top left:
1) The exterior of Patrick’s. I should have backed up a ways to get the fountain in the picture but I failed to do so.
2) One of the seating areas, there are quite a few TVs and most had the Olympics on when we were there. One was showing women’s volleyball and another was showing women’s beach volleyball. It was a good lunch. I think the sport is exciting, come on people.
3) Some of the sports memorabilia that they have in the “Hall of Fame” at the restaurant.
4) One of the pieces was a picture of the 1880s St. Louis Brown Stockings, who became the Cardinals in 1900. The picture had a caption that read “The first four-time champions” or something like that. I checked Wikipedia and the Brown Stockings won four consecutive American Association pennants (1885 – 1888). I took a picture of it because there are two dogs posing with the players. Oh the 1880s.
5) Our appetizer, which had a very long ingredient list on the menu: “Crispy Fried Tortilla Chips Layered with Chipotle Spiced Chicken, Green Onions, Jalapeños, Black Olives, Pico de Gallo, Cheddar and Jack Cheeses, and Roasted Corn Salsa, Served Over a Bed of Chorizo Black Beans with a Side of Sour Cream and Housemade Fire Roasted Tomato Salsa.” Whew. They were good.
6) My lunch was a bison burger with pepper jack cheese and a side of cole slaw. I asked for onions because it didn’t come with them and they supplied enough for three burgers. It was good but nothing to write home about (even though I’m doing just that, in a way).
One last picture, they have a mural to commemorate prominent athletes and announcers that played/worked in St. Louis over the years.
We left just after five and I headed to the game. I was parked at 5:35 and walked to Busch Stadium, but this time I took a route where I could make sure that the on ramp to the Interstate I’d be taking after the game was open. On Saturday Google Maps on my phone supplied a route that included an on ramp that was closed. I wasn’t going to allow that to happen again so I verified the on ramp to I-64 East on 6th street was open, it was.
After I was inside the stadium I went to the left field corner to get game photo number 107 taken. When I was looking for a good spot a Brewers fan stopped me and said “Hi Ben.” I felt bad because I had no idea who he was but luckily he said he reads the blog and I wouldn’t know who he was. I’m bad with names so it was very possible that I had met him before. His name is Matt and he lives in Milwaukee. His wife and kids were with him and they were visiting some friends in St. Louis over the weekend. Matt offered to take the picture for me and it worked out well. It’s always best when I can get a Brewers fan to take it because I feel like they’ll be less bothered when I ask for a (couple) retake(s).
I had plenty of time before the game so I went around to the ESPN camera guys, briefly told them what I was doing, and politely asked if they could talk to their producer about maybe getting me an interview. The first guy said he’d mention it but I’m not sure that ever happened. The second guy took the card but was very honest and said that ESPN has a strict game schedule and that there was nothing he could do. He could’ve at least asked, right? The third camera guy kind of laughed at me and then mouthed “talk to me after the game.” That’s not going to help. I had also tweeted at a bunch of ESPN baseball analysts hoping that one of them might reach out. Some of my followers retweeted my tweets and tweeted directly at them urging them to read my story and have me on. I’m sure they get requests to help out other causes all the time so they really can’t do stuff like that. I just thought that with the baseball connection it might make for an interesting storyline.
The game got underway at 7:05 and Cardinals starter Kyle Lohse delivered a strike to Norichika Aoki. The ball is crossing home plate (if you were looking for it).
The Cardinals were wearing their powder blue throwbacks from the 1982 season, the year they beat the Brewers in the World Series. They celebrated the anniversary all weekend long and while I wasn’t alive when it happened, it still wasn’t fun. Gomez doubled after Aoki lined out and he slid into 2nd base, popping up after arriving safely. I was actually trying to get a picture of him in his slide but my zoom lens isn’t focusing properly and it was very delayed. I’m pretty happy with the result though. The only problem with the slide is that if the throw had gotten there a little earlier Gomez would’ve been out because he was off the base.
The Brewers failed to score in the first despite the one-out double from Go-Go. Marco Estrada toed the slab for the Crew and pitched well, giving up one run in six innings of work. Here he is about to release the first pitch of his outing:
Estrada gave up the run in the second inning and the Cardinals tacked on solo runs in the 7th and 8th innings, and won in shutout fashion. Final Score: Cardinals 3 – Brewers 0. In the 8th inning I left my seat and went to a standing room location near an exit for the last 6 outs. A Cardinals fan stopped to chat (and admitted later he did so to give me a hard time). After he found out what I was doing he was blown away. His name is Nathan and he’s a really nice guy. I had said I was going to all 162 but I’m pretty sure he thought I meant I was going to all the stadiums. After he realized I meant all 162 Brewers games and that I’ve been following them around the entire season he dropped a few expletives and congratulated me. He insisted that there had to be a way to help me out personally, but I said there wasn’t. I told him that I had places to stay and was a little under budget so far. I told him to spread the word about Be The Match and encouraged him to make a donation to the cause or join the registry.
Back to baseball: the loss completed the first sweep of the Brewers at the hands of the Cardinals at the current Busch Stadium. The road losing streak has now reached nine games. They haven’t won a road game since July 8th, the final game in Houston before the All-Star break. Scoring a total of four runs in a three game series will not result in many wins unless you have an amazing pitching staff, and sadly that’s not the case. They were outscored 18-4 overall; ouch.
Ten minutes passed between the final pitch of the game and me being on I-64 East. Nice! I stopped in Janesville to get gas on my way back home but I still able to make the 335 mile drive in 4 hours and 57 minutes. I got in at 3:03 AM but for some reason wasn’t tired. I fell asleep at 5 and got up at 11. It’s 1:40 now and I’ll be leaving in a few hours for the first game of the three game series vs. the Reds at Miller Park.
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The game was at 6:15 on Saturday and I didn’t have much to do before then. After eating breakfast I worked on the post for Friday and then watched some of the Olympics. I had decided on Friday that I was going to visit Pappy’s Smokehouse on Saturday. I left Anne and Mike’s house at 3:05 and was parked outside Pappy’s at 3:35. It’s located about two miles west of Busch Stadium on Olive Street. Here’s the exterior of the place, smoker and all:
Around the corner started the line:
Having never been to Pappy’s Smokehouse before I thought that once I got inside I’d be able to place my order. Not the case. After entering the building the line continues halfway down a hallway where the line turns around and heads back. Then there’s a door where you enter the seating area. There was a worker at that door who would allow people to enter once there was enough room. In the dining area there was barbecue memorabilia and also autographed Pappy’s Smokehouse menus. I couldn’t make them all out but could tell a lot of them were athletes because they wrote their numbers next to their signature.
This was my view as I waited
patiently anxiously for some ribs:
I was getting a little nervous because at this point I had already been there for about an hour and the game was supposed to start in an hour and a half. Once I neared the door in the picture above I turned the corner:
You can see some trophies there in the lower left, and if you couldn’t figure it out from my description of the line; Pappy’s Smokehouse is very popular. I ordered a half slab of ribs with potato salad and green beans as my sides:
Everything was amazitacular. I ate up against the windows and got to see one of the workers use the smoker.
If you’re not a vegetarian and you like a good buildup before eating a delicious meal, Pappy’s should be on your list of places to eat the next time you’re in St. Louis. They also have t-shirts for sale. The worker above is wearing one that has a rendering of a pig as seen from the rear with “There’s no such thing as too much butt” going around the pig. Silly. I just looked at my receipt from Pappy’s and I ordered at 4:55, so my wait was roughly an hour and twenty minutes. I’m guessing weekdays might not be as busy, but I can guarantee you that I’m not the best person to make that declaration.
I left Pappy’s at 5:10 and was parked in one of the $5 lots a few minutes later. I walked to Busch Stadium, got my ticket from will call and went inside. I randomly selected a spot to get game photo number 106 taken and I think it turned out pretty well.
It was another hot one and I was sweating profusely despite not exerting myself whatsoever. I got to my seat in section 153 in time (somewhat unfortunately) for the 1982 World Series celebration. They had the trophy from that year’s Series at home plate and brought out the players and coaches in convertibles and beds of trucks. Whitey Herzog, the manager of the team in ’82, was first:
They brought out other players in between, but I didn’t take photos of all of them. I did get a picture of Keith Hernandez, mainly because I’m a big Seinfeld fan. After Hernandez played for the Cardinals he went on to play for the Mets. In 1992 Hernandez played himself for two episodes in which Kramer and Newman claimed Hernandez had spit on them years before.
I recognized Ozzie Smith and he sure was wearing some white pants. He was the last one introduced and shook his former teammates’ hands as he walked down the line:
They talked with a few of the players and at the same time were showing highlights of the ’82 Fall Classic on the scoreboard. I don’t know how many chances the Brewers will get to win a World Series and 1982 was definitely their best opportunity to do so.
After the field was cleared the game was set to start, albeit a little later than expected due to the pre-game ceremony. Here’s the first pitch from Adam Wainwright to Carlos Gomez:
Both teams were wearing 1982 throwbacks because of the 30 year anniversary celebration. It might be more apparent that the Brewers are wearing throwbacks because the Cardinals uniforms have not changed as much as the Brewers’ have. The second pitch of the game Go-Go doubled to center and Morgan’s groundout moved him to third with only one out. Braun came up and sent one deep to center. It wasn’t deep enough to leave the yard but was deep enough to drive in Gomez with a sacrifice fly. Brewers lead 1-0.
That sacrifice fly was the highlight of the game from a Brewers fan’s perspective. Wainwright pitched a complete game 5-hitter and the run in the first was the only run he surrendered. I wish I could say Mark Rogers matched him and the Brewers won 1-0. Sadly I cannot. The Cardinals tied it in the second inning with a solo home run from Carlos Beltran. They blew it open in the third with a 4-spot and added an insurance run in the 6th. Final Score: Cardinals 6 – Brewers 1.
The finale is a 7:05 night game Sunday evening, and I might be doing an interview beforehand. I tweeted a few news outlets and someone got back to me who works for NBC. I gave him my cell phone number and I should be hearing from somebody in the morning. It’s past midnight and since I’m driving back to Wisconsin after the game Sunday night I should probably get some sleep.
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I had driven down to St. Louis on Thursday afternoon and arrived at my Aunt and Uncle’s place at 7:50 PM. I wasn’t awere of the Megabus accident until Anne told me about it when I arrived. It happened on I-55 South (the route I took) but about five hours before I reached that point on the interstate. There was one fatality and it’s a very unfortunate accident.
On Friday I had breakfast and then watched the Olympics (something I haven’t been able to do much of) before heading out to lunch. Anne had taken me to Trailhead Brewing Co. back in 2009 and I remember it being very good. That’s where I went for lunch on Friday and the four parter below details the restaurant. Going clockwise from top left:
1) The exterior of Trailhead Brewing Co., located in St. Charles, MO.
2) The view from just inside the entrance. I sat up at the bar, beneath the canoe, and in front of the three TVs that all had different Olympic events on; jackpot. While I was there I watched some water polo, women’s soccer, table tennis, badminton, swimming, and rowing.
3) The seven person bike that was suspended from the ceiling across from the canoe.
4) My lunch; I had the St. Charles Club which consisted of Turkey, Ham, Bacon, Prime Rib, Swiss Cheese, Lettuce, Tomato, and Chipotle Mayo on Toasted Multi-Grain. I added red onion and chose the Cole Slaw as my side. Marvelectible!
I left Trailhead at 3:15 after about two hours of eating, drinking (2 beers), and spectating. I went back to Anne and Mike’s to get ready for the game. Mike had been given two tickets to Friday’s game so the three of us went together. Mike drove us to the North Hanley Metrolink stop and we took the train in. We got to Busch Stadium just before six, I picked up my ticket from will call, and we went inside. I went to the upper deck to get the game number picture while they went and got something to eat. The guy who I had take the picture (Kevin) was not wearing Brewers apparel but happened to be from Mount Horeb, WI. Mount Horeb is pretty close to Victoria’s and my apartment on the west side of Madison. Small world. He said they were Red Sox fans and I didn’t ask why.
After thanking Kevin and telling him about what I was doing and why I went down to the field level. I took an elevator and right next to it there were ice chests where they store the ice for vendors. I looked inside and they were empty but they were still on. I was tempted to climb inside and take a nap, it was that hot.
I got down to the field level and tried talking a cameraman into seeing if his producer wanted to interview me during the game. It worked in Philadelphia so I figured I should try it elsewhere as well. He said he’d mention it but unfortunately nothing ever came of it. I found out on Friday that the Sunday game is a 7:05 PM start and will be broadcast on ESPN. I had in my calendar that it was a 1:15 start. I’m not too happy about it because I probably could’ve been back home in Wisconsin by the time the 7:05 game is going to get over. It will give me a chance to talk to one of the ESPN cameramen and try to get an interview (even though it’s extremely unlikely).
I went to Anne and Mike’s section and had a nearby fan take a picture of the three of us. I know I didn’t sit with them at the game but they are my hosts and deserve some credit. Opening their home for 10 nights this season helped make Mission 162 possible and I am very grateful. Thank You!
I went and found my seat after talking for a bit and it was behind the screen near home plate. Section 151, row 10. That doesn’t mean anything for about 100% of you, so here’s a picture of the opening pitch, from Cardinals starter Joe Kelly to Brewers right fielder Norichika Aoki:
Something that I noticed right away when I looked at the scoreboard was the Brewers record:
With that record the Brewers would have *only* been 8 games back at the start of the game, as opposed to the 15.5 back that they actually were. A little bit later they changed the Brewers record to something that has a slightly worse winning percentage than the first, but it is three more wins!
Reality set in and the Cardinals scoreboard operator stopped teasing the Brewers fans:
In the top of the second the Brewers loaded the bases with only one out. Izturis grounded into a force out which brought up Randy Wolf to try and help his own cause. On a 2-1 pitch he lined a base hit to right field that drove in Maldonado and Ransom. As you can tell the pitch was high but Wolf got the job done.
Aoki followed Wolf with an RBI single to left field. Here he is just after he slapped it towards the hole.
Sadly that was all the runs the Brewers scored on Friday. In the fourth inning the Cardinals put up a 4-spot, added two in the sixth and three in the 8th. A potential inning ending double play was thwarted in the 8th when Maldonado’s (somewhat) errant throw got past Corey Hart at first. One run scored on the play and another eventually did. Roenicke came out to argue that the batter had been running too far inside the baseline, preventing Corey Hart from reaching Maldonado’s throw. He wasn’t too happy:
This was the linescore going into the top of 9th:
Four errors is not going to get it done on most nights. It was reminiscent of the NLCS last year when the Brewers had 7 errors over the last two games of the series. The Brewers failed to score in the ninth and it was the seventh straight road loss for the Crew. Final Score: Cardinals 9 – Brewers 3.
Braun went 3-5 which was probably the highlight of the night. Cardinals fans might be the second worst behind the Dodgers fans in terms of Braun’s treatment. There were some really loud boos and who knows what was said in the bleachers while he was in the field. It’s funny because I’m pretty sure the Cardinals had a guy by the name of Mark Mcgwire who obviously took steroids and eventually admitted to using them. Braun has done neither and is having a better season than last year. That’s without Prince Fielder behind him in the lineup WHILE being under a microscope and viewed as a cheater.
I met Anne and Mike under the Stan Musial statue following the game and we walked across the street to the Metrolink stop. This is the view from the platform, looking back towards Busch Stadium:
It rained pretty hard this morning and right now there are thunderstorms and rain in the forecast for the rest of the day. There is between a 40 and 60 percent chance of rain from now until midnight so we’ll see what happens. Tomorrow is supposed to be nice and since a night game is already scheduled I wonder if they would consider having a doubleheader if today’s game is canceled. I want to see a doubleheader at some point in my life and I know it’s not going to happen at Miller Park unless the roof fails to close.
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First let me apologize for the sloppiness in some of my posts. I hate typos more than anyone and yet I can’t seem to publish a post without something being wrong. I have Victoria look them over when she gets the post in an email but by that point everyone who is subscribed has already gotten it. I think there were four in the post for Tuesday but I vow to improve. I think I’ll start reading them aloud as my last read through, instead of just reading them.
Wednesday was a day game and I left my parents’ house at 10:45. I parked in the Money lot at 11:50 and made a few phone calls before heading in. I checked to see if I could stop by an Aunt and Uncle’s place in Springfield on my way to St. Louis on Thursday. They’re leaving Thursday morning for the reunion so they won’t be around, bummer. I might stop by on my way back to Wisconsin on Sunday evening. I also confirmed with my Aunt Anne that I could stay with them over the weekend when the Brewers play the Cardinals.
The twitter follower who was joining me for the game, Marlene, had called and said she was waiting outside of the stadium near the home plate entrance. I met up with her, gave her my extra ticket, then went inside. It took me a little bit to put my stuff back in my drawstring bag after the inspection and I couldn’t find Marlene when I finally made it inside. I later learned that she had thought I left her to do my own thing once I was inside, which was not the case. I had to get the game number picture in section 102 (on the field level) and I wound up going over there while she went and sat in her seat.
After getting the picture taken I went up to the loge level and got my designated-driver beverage (lemonade) and another Polish. At this point I’m on pace to consume 121.5 sausages. That’s a lot of encased meat. I really wish I would have gotten a cholesterol test before the season, and then one after the season, for curiosity’s sake. My blood pressure hasn’t changed at all though, and it’s always right around the 110/65 range.
Since my seats are in the sun for the first few hours I asked Marlene if she wanted to stand in front of the press box for a few innings. She agreed and we set up shop behind section 218. One of the ceremonial first pitches was thrown by a kid who was a part of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. It was sad and heartwarming at the same time.
This was our view from behind section 218 when Mike Fiers was about to let go of the first pitch to Jordan Schafer.
Two first inning Astros errors led to a Brewers run and a 1-0 lead for the Crew. In the third the Astros tied it and in the fourth they took a 2-1 lead when Brett Wallace hit a solo home run to right centerfield. The Brewers answered right away and Izturis came through with two outs in the fourth. His infield single somehow drove in two runs, and the Brewers had a 3-2 lead. In the fifth inning Morgan and Gomez started the inning with singles, and then attempted a double steal. Here’s Morgan sliding into 3rd base:
Nyjer’s hands are in the 3rd baseman’s shadow, but they appear to be at least six inches off the base. The glove (with the ball inside) is touching his lower back. The umpire’s call? Safe. Brad Mills, the Astros manager, came out and argued for a bit then retreated to the dugout. If Major League Baseball had a better replay system this call would’ve been reversed within 20 seconds and time would’ve been saved because Mills wouldn’t have come out to argue. Next up was Ryan Braun and he took advantage of the blown call at third. He bounced a single up the middle and the Brewers had a 5-1 lead.
Gomez scored easily but I think this picture of him touching home plate is funny. I say that because Nyjer Morgan is there on the right signaling that he doesn’t need to slide. I think a good text bubble next to Morgan would be: “STOP!!! YOU’RE GOING TOO FAST, YOU MIGHT PULL SOMETHING!”
Corey Hart later doubled in Braun and Rickie Weeks followed Chart with a 2-run blast. If I can quote the arcade game NBA Jam: “He’s heating up!!!”
Two batters later Cesar Izturis hit a solo home run. Yes, you read that correctly. Izturis is not known for his power so it’s always a surprise when he puts one out. For a frame of reference he has 4,206 at bats in his career and a whopping 16 home runs, or one every 263 at bats. Seeing that he only has 155 at bats this year and already 2 home runs, you could say he’s on a tear. Later in the game he hit one over the wall down the right field line but it was 8 feet foul. He was that close to having a multi-home run game. Izturis’ homer in the fifth gave the Brewers a six-spot in the inning and a 9-2 lead. The following picture consists of a bunch of fans celebrating Izturis’ home run. In the background (between the two guys on the right) you can see Izturis and Sedar shaking hands as the former ran past.
After the 5th inning I had a fan a few rows behind us take a picture of me and Marlene.
Marlene is a diehard Brewers fan and I had a great time talking to her about the game of baseball and how much she enjoys it. She handed me an envelope before the game that had the $40 donation for Be The Match inside, and when I got home I also found a very nice note that she had written as well. If everyone was as kind as Marlene I think this world would be a better place. Thanks again, Marlene, for a great afternoon and for the donation.
Fiers deserves another mention. He pitched well once again, lasting 6 + innings (he pitched to 2 batters in the 7th), and gave up 8 hits, walked none, and allowed just the two runs. His ERA actually went up, to 1.88. He was named the Brewers pitcher of the month for July, and deservedly so, he’s been on fire. Get it? (His last name is pronounced “Fires”) for those of you who haven’t heard his last name said before. On this pitch he struck out Jose Altuve looking to start the top of the sixth inning:
In the bottom of the sixth Braun came to the plate with two outs and had a great at bat against the Astros hard throwing righty Fernando Rodriguez. The at bat resulted in this home run swing:
I was a little late on the picture but it was for good reason. I didn’t have my camera out for the beginning of his at bat but after the 13th pitch I figured I’d get a picture of whatever happened and mention the long at bat in the blog. The first pitch after that (the 14th of the at bat) he took Rodriguez deep for his 29th home run of the year. Here’s the pitch breakdown, which I took from the MLB.com Play-by-Play tab of the Brewers-Astros game:
It was crazy, seven straight foul balls on 95-96 MPH fastballs. I think if I were Rodriguez I wouldn’t have been so stubborn and after two or three foul balls I’d try to drop a curveball in there, but hindsight is 20/20. In the seventh inning Lucroy went yard and drove in Rickie Weeks in the process. Nyjer Morgan later singled home Cesar Izturis who had doubled earlier in the frame. The Astros scored two in the 8th to cut the deficit to nine, but that’s all the closer they got. Final Score: Brewers 13 – Astros 4. Braun, Gomez and Morgan came together after the win (as they normally do) for a post-game group hug.
This is the linescore after it was all said and done. 11 of the 13 runs were earned, so while 4 errors is never a good thing, I don’t think it was the deciding factor in Wednesday’s game.
It was the first sweep the Brewers have had at home this season, and while it was basically against a AAA team in the Astros, it still counts. The Astros are rebuilding and traded their veterans for prospects before the trade deadline and I can’t blame them. If you’re not very good now with the veterans you might as well try to get rid of some aging stars to build for the future.
I’m leaving tomorrow for St. Louis to protect against the uncertainty of possible car trouble. I’ll be getting to my aunt and uncle’s place around 7:00 PM so I’ll 24 hours before the first pitch of the Brewers – Cardinals game on Friday night.
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My sister Eliza flew in from San Diego on Tuesday afternoon and I picked her up from General Mitchell at 2:00 PM. She is the world traveler of the family and besides getting her MBA from the Chinese University of Hong Kong and living in Melbourne for a while she has traveled a lot, with an emphasis on “A LOT”. I can’t name every country she’s visited but in a ten week span beginning in July of 2011 she set foot on five continents. In the past two years she’s been to 30 countries, I have been to one (but I’ve traveled the States a lot…)
We had time to kill before the game and we went to El Fuego. It’s a Mexican restaurant that’s located just a mile and a half from the airport on West Layton Avenue. Clockwise from top left:
1) The exterior of the restaurant
2) One of the indoor seating areas. On the right hand sign there is a sign hanging that reads “Mercado Fresco”, which of course means fresh market. That’s where they make their Fresh Market guacamole.
3) The outdoor seating area where we sat, it was a beautiful day and it was nice being outside.
4) My lunch; there’s rice and beans on the left and then Bistec con Rajas y Queso in the middle which consisted of sautéed strips of steak with sliced peppers, onions and tomatoes topped with Chihuahua cheese. It’s named after it’s region of origin, not because they use Chihuahua milk, that would be silly. Not pictured are the corn tortillas that I used to make my tacos. In the background you can see the Corona that I was working on as well as the house chips that are brought to your table when you get there. It was an amazing lunch and I was so full the rest of the day that I didn’t eat dinner.
When we were leaving the restaurant we noticed an ass just standing outside. I did what every normal person would do…
In all seriousness though, you need to make a visit to El Fuego, the food was amazing and everyone is very friendly. If you need to kill time before or after a flight stop by for a meal, or just go because you like mexican food.
Eliza loves Target and while they have them in other parts of the world she says that it’s just not the same. We still had some time before the game so we went to the Target that’s on Miller Park Way. We were there for over an hour and I walked around with Eliza for a while, got tired, and took a nap in a rocking chair that’s on display by the baby cribs. I wasn’t planning on falling asleep but I found myself jolting awake every so often. We picked up a mixer-sixer from the grocery store next door and made our way to Miller Park.
We were parked by 5:35 and spent an hour throwing back a few cold ones and catching up. We were inside at 6:48 (cutting it close) and went to section 101 for game photo number 103.
Working my way around the field level won’t be easy, and I’m not really looking forward to trying to get the next 24 pictures at Miller Park. The field level usually fills up before the rest of the stadium which will make it difficult to maneuver at times. I’m up for the challenge though and getting there earlier should make it easier.
The national anthem had played right before getting the game number picture, and after the picture we headed upstairs and towards our seats in 221. I introduced Eliza to the Ice Man and then said hi to usher Bill on our way to the seats. Gallardo started for the Crew and he pitched well. Here he is in the first inning:
In the bottom of the first inning the Brewers staked Gallardo to a 1-0 lead when Aramis Ramirez singled to left field. He’s not in the best hitting position but he did have to reach for it and perhaps he was a little fooled with the changeup. He got the job done and that’s all that matters.
In the second inning the Brewers got a run on a sacrifice bunt that turned into a base hit and an RBI. Gallardo laid a perfect bunt down and it went up the first base side. Rickie raced home and scored the Brewers’ second run. The throw to get Gallardo at first glanced off his back and all hands were safe.
The Astros got one back in the third on a solo home run from Chris Snyder and they cut the lead to 2-1. The Brewers answered with three in the bottom of the third, all coming on a home run from Aramis Ramirez.
In the fourth inning Aoki stepped to the plate with one out. On the 1-1 pitch he fouled one back in my direction, I had my glove on (which I almost always do with a lefty at the plate) and quickly stood up. I could tell it was sinking fast so I stepped down one step, reached across the railing that divides the staircase and made the snow-cone grab. Nice!!! I had to check my glove because I wasn’t sure if I had held on. It’s a beauty, check out the smeared ink from where Aoki just nicked it with his bat.
I don’t think they showed it on TV because my Twitter account didn’t explode and I didn’t get many texts about it. I did get a few but they were from people that were at the game. I had brought a batting practice ball that I had gotten in 2010 to the game, and after the final out I gave it to a little girl that had brought a glove. She was ecstatic and her father thanked me profusely.
In the fifth inning Braun led off with a single and Ramirez followed suit. Corey Hart was up next and they brought in this guy to face him:
I’m not one to make fun of names because you really have no choice. Well, you can get your name changed but personally I think I would’ve accepted whatever name my parents gave me. Chuckie Fick; from an announcer’s perspective it could be a verbal accident waiting to happen. Fick came on and issued three straight balls to Corey Hart. Chart wasn’t taking on 3-0, and hit the offering over the centerfield wall for the second three-run home run in the past three innings. Hart right before him and Sedar do their little shimmy-shake or whatever it is on Hart’s home run trot. After Hart touched home the Crew had an 8-1 lead. You’d think that would be safe, but you never know…
In the middle of the sixth inning I had the lady behind us take a picture of Eliza and me.
I’m glad she’s back in the States but a little sad that I won’t be joining her at the Sykes (my mom’s side) family reunion this weekend. There’s a Sykes reunion every other year in Wautoma, Wisconsin and it’s quite the spectacle. My mom is one of twelve and I’m one of 22 grandchildren to my mother’s mother. Not everyone makes the trip but most do and it’s a lot of fun.
In the 8th inning the Brewers tacked on two more runs. Francisco Rodriguez came on for the ninth with a nine run lead. While Maxwell batted to lead off the inning Brewers bench coach Jerry Narron was yelling at the umpire from the Brewers dugout because he thought some pitches were strikes. Home plate umpire Brian Knight wasted no time in tossing Narron and then Roenicke came out to have a word. He must have said one of the trigger words and soon he was tossed as well. Here’s Knight about to make the throwing motion to signify “YOU’RE OUTTTA HERE!!!” The picture is a little blurry, you can blame the protective screen.
K-Rod retired the side in order in the ninth, and the Brewers were victorious once again. Final Score: Brewers 10 – Astros 1. The Astros traded a bunch of their bigger names away and I think their highest paid player is making $1.15 million or something like that. They’re rebuilding and I wish them nothing but the best in the American League next year. It could be brutal for a while but they’ll be back.
The moon phase was waxing gibbous, and Wednesday is going to be a full moon. At about 9:00 I got a picture of the moon and the Miller Park sign above the scoreboard. I had posted a similar picture earlier in the year, so this might be nothing new for some of you. It was a little cloudy, so this one is slightly different than the earlier picture.
I’m leaving in 20 minutes for game number 104, and I’m attending today’s game with another twitter follower. Perhaps the Brewers can pick up a sweep of their own.
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