September 2012

9-29-12 (vs. Houston)

On Saturday I packed up all my stuff and left my parents’ place for the last time this season. It feels like yesterday that I woke up at 3:45 AM to do my interviews at Miller Park on Opening Day. Time flies when you’re having fun. I got to Miller Park at 3:35 on Saturday and after dropping my extra ticket off at will call I went back to the general lot. I handed out 75-100 business cards and it looks like I won’t have many left after all. There are a bunch of registry drives coming up in the Milwaukee area.

I met Brandon, who joined me at the June 18th game vs. the Blue Jays, outside of the home plate entrance at 5:30. We headed inside and went to section 129 for game photo number 158. Thanks to Brandon for being patient with me. As we get further down the line the angle makes it a little more challenging.

Up to the loge level we went and I got another Polish to bring my season total to 33 Polish sausages (98 sausages overall). The game got underway and Marco Estrada threw a ball to Jose Altuve. I know it’s a little blurry, he’s just so fast…

In the bottom of the 2nd inning Aramis Ramirez and Corey Hart went back-to-back to give the Crew a 2-0 lead.

If you can’t tell they gave out rally towels again. I’m not complaining by any means and I actually really like the second picture with Corey framed by the towels. A two-run single by Aoki later in the inning doubled the Brewers lead to 4-0.

In the bottom of the 3rd Corey Hart got his second at bat in as many innings and he didn’t disappoint. His three-run home run in the 3rd gave him two home runs and 4 RBI in a span of 26 minutes; very impressive. Second time didn’t work out so well with the towels:

The Brewers led 7-0 after the 3rd and between innings the scoreboard displayed a Happy Birthday message to Brewers owner Mark Attanasio. His seats are right next to the Brewers dugout and he got some face time. He showed off a 2011 sport coat last year during the playoffs last year. In a word: Awesome.

The Brewers added solo runs in the 4th and the 8th. In the top of the 9th I took a picture of the scoreboard after there were two outs hoping it would represent the final linescore. Note the zero runs for the Astros:

Livan Hernandez was pitching and Martinez quickly changed that zero in the linescore.

I thought for sure that this would be the final linescore, that was until Castro singled and Bogusevic took Livan deep.

When the count went to 2-1 on the next hitter (Tyler Greene) I leaned over and told Brandon “one more homer and…..” [Livan will be gone]. Bang!!!

I was right:

Jose Veras came in and threw four pitches to finally shut the door. Final score: Brewers 9 – Astros 5. At some point I had Kathy, who sits behind me on Saturdays, take a picture of me and Brandon.

I think it was in the 8th or 9th inning when a foul ball came back into section 221 and deflected off some hands and hit a guy in the face. Police and medics came by and he was holding his nose for the rest of the game. I looked back at the 620 WTMJ booth and saw Uecker and someone else pointing out towards the injured fan. It looks like they were laughing but I’m not going to judge (they could’ve been talking about something else). It just so happens that Adam McCalvy made the picture (far left) and so did Bill Schroeder (far right). Yay!

I’m staying at Brandon’s parents’ place in Germantown and then heading to the game tomorrow before going back to Madison. Only four games left, where did the season go?

Personal Stats:

Daily Stats:

Time inside Miller Park: 3 hours 46 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 5 hours 46 minutes
Miles driven: 80.2
Sausages: 1 (Polish)
Pitches missed: 1 (missed the first pitch to Bogusevic in the 9th, looking at my phone)
Consecutive pitch streak ended at: 1,286
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.66% (296/297)
Current streak of pitches seen: 10

Season Stats:

Brewers current record: 81-77 (.513 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 670 hours 31 minutes 
Time on stadium grounds: 788 hours 2 minutes
Miles driven: 19,614.9
Miles riding in car but not driving: 2,306.2
Public transit miles: 552.2
Flight miles: 19,777
Total distance traveled: 42,250.2 miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 169.67% (42,250.2/24,901)
Sausages: 98 (38 Hot Dogs, 33 Polish, 12 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: 104
Longest streak of pitches seen: 2,192 (8/27 – 9/3)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.78% (47,202/47,306)

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

9-28-12 (vs. Houston)

I got up at around 10:00 AM on Friday, ate breakfast and worked on the post for Thursday’s series finale in Cincinnati. After pounding out the dents in my license plate I found out I’ll need to get a few parts if I want to reattach it to my car; darn. I unpacked from the road trip and left for Milwaukee at 3:30. I was parked about 60 minutes later and then dropped off my twitter follower’s ticket at will call. I headed back to the general parking lot to hand out my business cards and tell people about Be The Match. I actually ran across a gentlemen who was a donor back in 1990. It was cool to hear from someone who has gone through the donor process. He said that he and the patient (somewhat secretly) communicated through the medical institutions that handled the transplant.

I went inside at 6:20 and received the two freebies that stadium staff was handing out. There’s not a sponsor on the rally towel which is somewhat rare. That’s a replica of Bernie’s mustache on the right if you didn’t put Brew and Crew together… Get it? Hahaha (it’s past my bedtime).

I made my way to section 128 for game photo number 157. I asked a man that was standing nearby if he could help me out. After I started explaining what I was looking for he (politely) suggested his wife take the picture. After taking the picture I told them all about what I was doing and why and they seemed genuinely happy for me. Thank you Mike and Karen!

I went up to the loge level and got a Polish sausage, which brings my sausage count to (some would say an unimpressive total) 97. I’ll likely finish right at the century mark, that’s a lot of encased meat!

Carla was in her seat waiting for me and right after the national anthem the Brewers awarded Ryan Braun with the We Energies High Energy Player of the Year Award. I’m not sure who else would’ve won it but fans do the voting so who knows what could’ve went down. Nice job Ryan, well deserved.

The game got started and I completely forgot about the first pitch picture until it was too late. The third pitch Yovani Gallardo threw will have to do:

An RBI single in the top of the 2nd gave the Astros an early 1-0 lead. For the second time in less than 32 hours Carlos Gomez led off the Brewers half of the 3rd inning with a solo home run. Towel waving ensued:

The game didn’t stay tied for long and in the 4th the Astros put a 2-spot on the board and duplicated the effort in the 5th. The latter coming on back-to-back home runs from Brett Wallace and Jason Castro. In the bottom of the 6th Braun doubled home Ishikawa and Weeks, and the deficit was now two at 5-3. I tried to capture all of the towel waving after Braun’s double but it’s kind of hard to see.

Braun stole third base for his 30th steal of the season. It’s back-to-back 30/30 seasons for Braun (30 HR / 30 steals) and only the 11th 40/30 season in MLB history. Very impressive, especially considering the scrutiny he has been greeted with this entire season. Not the best picture of Braun below, but nonetheless.

After the 7th inning I had a fan a few rows in front of us take a picture of Carla and me. Carla lives in Appleton and goes to about 10 games a year. She has a 10 game pack and her seats are near the aisle in 216, which is basically the mirror image of my seats in 221. She has similar opinions regarding interleague play, the designated hitter, and instant replay, so we had a good time talking baseball and taking in the game. She made a $40 donation to Be The Match for her ticket. Thanks Carla!

The two clubs traded runs in the 8th, the Brewers’ run coming on an Aramis Ramirez triple to right field… Say whaaaaaaaaa!?! It was his 3rd triple of the year, which is the same number that he hit in 2009, 2010, and 2011… combined. He’s not the quickest player on the field, thus the infrequency of triples. It’s also partially due to the fact that Wrigley Field isn’t the best triples park (where he played his home games from 2004 to 2011). I think he’s pondering “what happened out there that allowed me to get to third without even having to slide?”

The answer to his question is that the right fielder had made a sliding attempt to catch the ball and it got by him and to the wall. The Astros hit another solo home run in the top of the 9th (their 4th solo blast of the game) to take a 7-4 lead. In the bottom of the 9th Schafer singled to lead off the frame and then Segura doubled with one out to drive him in. Lucroy was up next and he hit one to 3rd that was booted so bad Segura was able to score from second.

Eric Farris pinch ran for Lucroy and I was discussing with Carla if he was going to try and steal 2nd base. Staying out of the double play and getting into scoring position would’ve been huge, but you CAN’T get thrown out while representing the tying run. Aoki was at the plate and was leading the majors in extra base hits in September, and a double would have likely tied it. Instead Aoki grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the game. Painful. Final score: Astros 7 – Brewers 6. It’s sad but every time I see a 7-6 score I’m going to have flashbacks to that dreadful series in Philadelphia where each game ended with the Brewers on the wrong end of that score. [Shivers].

It’s past 2:00 AM on Saturday and I’ll be leaving in about 12 hours for game two of the Astros series. I’m staying in Milwaukee Saturday night and then heading to Madison on Sunday after the game. I’ll go to Monday’s game with Victoria and then return to Madison on Monday night. On Tuesday we’ll drive to the game and then stay at her Aunt’s place in Sussex. On Wednesday we’ll do the same but then we’ll be catching a 6:00 AM flight to Vegas on Thursday for my sister’s wedding. Long story short I’m going to be quite busy over the next 7 days. There will be a ceremonial first pitch thrown in there (10/2) and a trip down Bernie’s slide as well (10/3).

Goodnight (well… good morning).

Personal Stats:

Daily Stats:

Time inside Miller Park: 4 hours 9 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 6 hours 1 minute
Miles driven: 123.9
Sausages: 1 (Polish)
Pitches missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (288/288)
Current streak of pitches seen: 1,000

Season Stats:

Brewers current record: 80-77 (.510 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 666 hours 45 minutes 
Time on stadium grounds: 782 hours 16 minutes
Miles driven: 19,534.7
Miles riding in car but not driving: 2,306.2
Public transit miles: 552.2
Flight miles: 19,777
Total distance traveled: 42,170.0 miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 169.35% (42,170.0/24,901)
Sausages: 97 (38 Hot Dogs, 32 Polish, 12 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: 103
Longest streak of pitches seen: 2,192 (8/27 – 9/3)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.78% (46,906/47,009)

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

9-27-12 (@ Cincinnati)

Thursday was getaway day and the Reds had scheduled a 12:35 finale. It reduces the time between games but it also gives me a 30 minute head start back to Wisconsin. I left Mary Kate’s apartment at 11:30 and was parked in one of the $10 lots 15 minutes later. I picked up my ticket from will call and was inside Great American Ballpark by noon. I had already taken 8 game number pictures from inside and outside of the park so I had some trouble deciding where I wanted it taken. I ended up going to the top row of seats beyond the right field wall. There was no one within 15 rows of me and I tried propping my camera up like I had in Pittsburgh but it didn’t work too well. Shortly before the national anthem I gave up, walked down the steps to the nearest fan (Mike), and asked him politely if he could help me out. He’s a season seat holder and was very interested in my mission and was nice as could be. Thanks Mike!

The Brewers relievers had just made their way out to the bullpen so I went over to the edge of the stands to get a few pictures of their handshakes. Most of them have specific handshakes with each other, and it’s fun to watch. I remember seeing them do a handshake routine with some Miller Park staffers last season. It involved a handshake and then a sweeping [the floor] gesture while whistling. Oh the bullpen.

My seat was in section 112 but after seeing how empty the left field seats were I decided to sit there for a while. I couldn’t get there in time for the first pitch and stopped just to the left of the batter’s eye. Mat Latos delivered a called strike to Norichika Aoki to get things started.

I made my way over to the left field seats by the time the Brewers took the field for the bottom of the 1st. Ryan Braun warmed up with the ball boy that sits along the left field line to scoop up foul balls.

Wily Peralta started for the Crew and he bounced back nicely from his previous start. Here he is about to unleash a pitch in the 1st inning.

In the bottom of the 2nd Carlos Gomez made a great catch on a Jay Bruce fly ball to deep centerfield. It wouldn’t have been a home run but it was mighty close. Go-Go led off the top of the 3rd and I was thinking to myself that it would be cool if he hit a home run immediately after taking an extra base hit away in the previous half inning.

Bang! Wish granted. Gomez sent the 1-1 pitch over the wall in right field to give the Brewers a 1-0 lead. In the bottom of the 6th Wily Peralta struck out Reds starter Mat Latos. When the Brewers threw the ball around the horn after the strikeout Aramis Ramirez hung onto the ball and called out the trainer. Apparently Ramirez had pointed something out to Roenicke earlier in the game about Peralta and they had kept an eye on him. Roenicke and the trainer came out of the dugout in the 6th and Peralta was pulled from the game. It’s said to be a biceps issue but it doesn’t appear to be too serious.

The Brewers held the 1-0 lead and I slowly made my way around the concourse towards the right field corner. I had a hot dog along the way and the concession stand worker took my money with her gloves on. She then proceeded to pick up the bun and serve me the hot dog. Interesting… I considered saying something to her but I didn’t. I did stop by guest relations to let them know about the infraction. The lady at guest relations said that I should’ve said something. So I’m supposed to be a fan at the game and serve as the disciplinarian for the concession workers. Right……..

I got to the right field corner for the final half inning. I was hoping this would’ve been the final linescore:

Axford came on and struck out the first two batters he faced. One more out and the Brewers had the series. Ax started Todd Frazier off with a fastball that caught a lot of the plate and Frazier didn’t miss, sending one over the centerfield fence for a game-tying home run. The next pitch was singled to left and the Reds now had the winning run at first base. A nine pitch battle between Axford and Dioner Navarro followed. Two of the pitches were hit foul down the right field line that would have been home runs had they been 20-30 feet to the left. The 9th pitch of the at bat was hit to right center and deep. I thought Aoki could’ve had it but he played it on a bounce and the Reds were walk-off winners. It was a heartbreaking loss that sums up the season; so close yet so far. Final score: Reds 2 – Brewers 1. If the Brewers would’ve held on for the 1-0 win it would’ve been their second 1-0 win of the season, the other coming on June 22nd vs. the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field (I was at that game too!!!).

I got back to my car and was on the road at 3:33 eastern time. I stopped for gas at 7:30 and took a picture of the sunset.

It took me 7 hours and 15 minutes to traverse the 468 miles (which includes my 25 minute stop for gas and dinner). Not bad at all. It’s noon on Friday and I’ll be leaving in a few hours for the first game of the 6-game home stand. I’m going to try and walk the parking lots to hand out cards and “informationalize” people about Be The Match. Knee pain be damned! Let’s get it!

Personal Stats:

Daily Stats:

Time inside Great American Ballpark: 3 hours 28 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 3 hours 32 minutes
Miles driven: 477.7
Sausages: 1 (hot dog)
Pitches missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (255/255)
Current streak of pitches seen: 712

Season Stats:

Brewers current record: 80-76 (.513 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 662 hours 36 minutes 
Time on stadium grounds: 776 hours 15 minutes
Miles driven: 19,410.8
Miles riding in car but not driving: 2,306.2
Public transit miles: 552.2
Flight miles: 19,777
Total distance traveled: 42,046.1 miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 168.85% (42,046.1/24,901)
Sausages: 96 (38 Hot Dogs, 31 Polish, 12 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: 103
Longest streak of pitches seen: 2,192 (8/27 – 9/3)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.78% (46,618/46,721)

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

9-26-12 (@ Cincinnati)

Wednesday was a lazy day for me. I ate breakfast around 10:30 and then worked on the blog post for Tuesday. At 2:00 PM I decided to get some Skyline Chili for lunch and there’s a restaurant within a mile of my host’s place. I’m staying with a friend of Victoria’s (Mary Kate). The two of them were in the same hotdogger class (22). “Hotdoggers” are those who drive around in the wienermobile for a year after college. They weren’t partners but they are pretty close friends. Thanks MK for letting me crash for a few nights!

I left for the game just before 5:00 PM and was parked at Paul Brown Stadium by 5:15. I met Barry and we walked over to the ballpark where Barry took game photo number 155. I had already gotten one taken from outside the stadium (game #73 on 6/25) but that was from outside the home plate entrance. This was taken from outside of the right field corner and from across E Mehring Way.

After getting the picture taken we walked up Joe Nuxhall Way to the Holy Grail Tavern & Grille. It’s across the street from Great American Ballpark and it gets very crowded before home games. We had two beers and met up with a friend of Barry’s (Will). I met Will before and he’s a (somewhat) serious Reds fan. Barry gives him a hard time because he doesn’t always get there in time for first pitch but overall Will is a nice guy who supports his team.

At 6:40 we walked across the street and into the stadium. In the right field corner of the field level they have a restaurant called Mr. Red’s Smokehouse. I mentioned it in the post on July 21st and it’s similar to the Chef’s Table at Miller Park in that they have food that is popular in the visiting team’s city. They had a beer brat when the Brewers were in town but I opted for a turkey leg, and boy was it massive.

I’m not sure if you can tell but it’s almost as long as the bridge!!! I wish I could’ve seen the whole turkey. We got to our seats in section 128 with a few minutes to spare before Bronson Arroyo delivered a ball to Aoki.

The Reds scored a solo run in the bottom of the 1st but Marcum pitched better after that frame. In the 3rd Aoki homered with two outs and it was a laser that appeared to not get higher than 30 feet in the air (we’ll see what the apex is listed at when hittrackeronline updates their database). I looked this morning and they say it reached 56 feet at it’s apex, hmmmmmm. I took the picture just before Aoki did the finger mustache gesture, but you can see third base coach Ed Sedar doing it.

Weeks followed Aoki with a single and Braun doubled to put runners on 2nd and 3rd. Ramirez stepped in looking to give himself 100 RBI on the season. On the 0-1 pitch Ramirez lined one up the middle that shortstop Zack Cozart couldn’t coral, giving Ram-Ram his seventh 100 RBI season and first since 2008. I’ll be the first to admit that I was skeptical about the signing but he has performed better than even I was hoping for. I’m not afraid to say I was very, very wrong. Nice work, Aramis, my apologies.

Hart added an RBI single and the Brewers had a 3-1 lead in the 3rd. In the 6th Jeff Bianchi added some insurance with a sacrifice fly and then Braun sent some people home early with a 2-run home run in the 7th.

Aoki, who had himself a day, doubled home Bianchi in the 8th and Lucroy wrapped up the scoring with a solo shot in the 9th. Brewers win! Brewers win! Final score: Brewers 8 – Reds 1. With the Cardinals losing the Brewers pulled to within 3.5 games, and it’s now going to take the Brewers going 7-0 over their last 7 and the Cards going 3-3. Never say never.

Two things I thought were kind of cool that the Reds had on the scoreboard:

1) A mustache that was fixed on the screen and then the camera guy(s) would pan the stands and put it on people. This individual was curling his imaginary mustache.

2) “Walks will haunt!” The Reds put this on the scoreboard after a visiting team walks one of the Reds batters. It’s true, but after doing some brief research I’ve noticed there are some conflicting numbers. One website says a leadoff walk scores 38% of the time while another says 80% of the time. Interesting…… I had thought it was in the 70% range but I’ll keep digging. Either way, walks are bad so the scoreboard message is accurate (just ask the Brewers’ bullpen about the first 4.5 months of the season).

It’s 10:40 on Thursday morning and I’ll be leaving shortly for the finale of the three game set. Barring a miraculous finish and the Brewers making the playoffs today will be my last away game of the season. Wow, time flies when you’re having fun. There’s a 40-60% chance of rain from 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM so I’m hoping the game gets played. A 161 game season would mean that I’d just have to try it again next year.

Personal Stats:

Daily Stats:

Time inside Great American Ballpark: 3 hours 35 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 3 hours 40 minutes
Miles driven: 20.4
Sausages: 0
Pitches missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (297/297)
Current streak of pitches seen: 457

Season Stats:

Brewers current record: 80-75 (.516 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 659 hours 8 minutes 
Time on stadium grounds: 772 hours 43 minutes
Miles driven: 18,933.1
Miles riding in car but not driving: 2,306.2
Public transit miles: 552.2
Flight miles: 19,777
Total distance traveled: 41,568.4 miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 166.93% (41,568.4/24,901)
Sausages: 95 (37 Hot Dogs, 31 Polish, 12 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: 103
Longest streak of pitches seen: 2,192 (8/27 – 9/3)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.78% (46,363/46,466)

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

9-25-12 (@ Cincinnati)

On Tuesday I slept in and then worked on the blog for Monday. I hobbled around all morning and afternoon as sleep didn’t do much for the knee. I think the jogging for a quarter mile to get my license plate may have something to do with it. Barry, who works for the Bengals, picked me up at 5:35 and we were parked 17 minutes later. We parked at Paul Brown Stadium and made the 10 minute walk to the ballpark. Barry had found a great deal on StubHub for one of the all-inclusive areas (minus alcohol). The tickets are usually $85 but he found them for $13; score! Here’s the sign on the field level concourse for the Champions Club (sponsored by FS Ohio).

After taking the elevator to the club level and getting my wristband I came across a giant (Reds) C on the floor.

To the left they have hot dogs and typical ballpark food but the rest of the Champions Club has a bunch of other options. This is the seating area with the serving areas scattered along the outside.

My first time up I had some shrimp pasta with pesto sauce and a BBQ pulled pork sandwich. Both were very good.

My second time up I had a piece of pizza that I’m not 100% sure what was on it. I think it was bacon and hot peppers with barbecue sauce. I also had some beef fried rice. I think there was a little too much barbecue sauce on the pizza and a little too much oil in the rice dish. Overall I was satisfied with the offerings they had, and for $13 you can’t go wrong.

After eating we went out to the seating area to get game photo number 154. Barry said that he was going to get it in one take this time and he delivered. Nice job Barry!

The game started at 7:10 and Norichika Aoki took a ball from Reds starter Johnny Cueto.

Fiers got the start for the Brewers and he’s been struggling a bit as of late. His first two and a half months he was suspiciously phenomenal so some regression was expected. Here he is about to throw the first pitch of the bottom of the 1st. He usually has a nice beard going but on Tuesday he went with the mustache and the mustache only. I’m guessing he was doing it to try and change his luck.

Five of the first six batters in the bottom of the 2nd singled off Fiers and the Reds took a 2-0 lead. It could’ve been worse though and with one out Fiers induced an inning-ending double play. In the 5th the Brewers cut the deficit in half when Segura singled home Gomez. Segura tried going to third when the ball got past the catcher but was thrown out in the process. Schafer was set to pinch hit for Fiers and I would’ve liked to see him get a shot with Segura at second. The Reds came right back and scored two more runs in the bottom of the 5th.

At some point I took a picture of the Great American Insurance Group building that sits across the street from GABP. I like the clouds and the dark blue sky behind the building.

Aramis Ramirez hit a solo home run in the top of the 7th but that’s all the closer the Brewers got. Final score: Reds 4 – Brewers 2. It was a tough loss and with the Cardinals win over the Astros the playoffs are a long shot. If the Brewers win their last 8 games the Cardinals would have to go 3-4, and that’s just to force a one game playoff in St. Louis for the second wild card spot. Not impossible but it’ll be extremely difficult and the Brewers will need some assistance as well. No matter what happens the recent surge (24 wins in 30 games) has made the final month and a half much more exciting.

It’s past noon on Wednesday and I’m meeting Barry and his friend Will (a Reds fan) at 5:00 to have a few beers before game two of the series. I’m a little nervous that one of the next two games will get rained out. If that happens and the Reds (or Brewers) don’t need the game to be made up, then I’ll have to change this years journey to Mission 161. That doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Personal Stats:

Daily Stats:

Time inside Great American Ballpark: 3 hours 56 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 4 hours 0 minutes
Miles riding in car but not driving: 17.8
Sausages: 0
Pitches missed: 1 (Missed the 0-2 pitch to Weeks in the 4th when a vendor in the club level was handing out free popcorn and I lost focus)
Consecutive pitch streak ended at: 791
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.63% (272/273)
Current streak of pitches seen: 160

Season Stats:

Brewers current record: 79-75 (.513 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 655 hours 33 minutes 
Time on stadium grounds: 769 hours 3 minutes
Miles driven: 18,912.7
Miles riding in car but not driving: 2,306.2
Public transit miles: 552.2
Flight miles: 19,777
Total distance traveled: 41,548.0 miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 166.85% (41,548.0/24,901)
Sausages: 95 (37 Hot Dogs, 31 Polish, 12 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: 103
Longest streak of pitches seen: 2,192 (8/27 – 9/3)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.78% (46,066/46,169)

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

9-24-12 (@ Washington)

Monday’s finale was a 1:05 start and the original plan was to drive down to the Forest Glen Metro stop and take the red line to the green line to get to Nationals Park. I wanted to do this so when I returned to my car after the game I’d be closer to the outskirts of the DC Metropolitan area. I got to the Forest Glen park and ride around 10:45 only to find every single one of the 596 parking spaces taken. I didn’t physically see that every spot was taken but after going up and down a few rows and seeing the sign that said “Parking lot full?” (with suggestions) I knew it fills up regularly. When I got there another car was going up and down the aisles and after I drove past the lot 5 minutes later they were still doing it, confirming my assumption. I considered driving over a curb, parking in the grass and throwing an invisibility cloak over my car, but then I remembered that Harry Potter had joined me for Friday’s game only.

I drove north to the Wheaton park and ride but I couldn’t find it. There was a sign that said park and ride with an arrow pointing right. I turned right but never saw another sign for the park and ride. I drove around a mall looking for an additional sign but didn’t see anything. I was getting a little nervous about the time so I decided to head back to the Greenbelt Metro stop because I knew where it was. The Greenbelt station has over 3,300 spaces and luckily there were still a couple hundred left (I think).

I was inside Nationals Park at 12:18 and I’m glad I had wanted to get there extra early. If I had planned on getting there at 12:30 I probably would’ve missed the first inning. I went to the Red Porch seats for game photo number 153. If I look to be tinted a little red it’s because the red seats reflected their color pretty well.

After getting the picture taken I went to the area just inside the centerfield entrance and got my picture taken with Teddy. I whispered in his giant ear that he’d win one of these days.

I wandered a little and noticed a few banners on the parking garage beyond the left field corner. The sun’s reflection washes out the green certification logo, but you get the picture.

I went to the upper deck to get a picture of two things; the Capitol building and the Washington Monument. Mission accomplished:

They are both kind of small so you can click on the images to view a bigger picture. I walked towards the elevators near home plate in the upper deck and got a slice of tomato basil pizza at one of the concession stands. Not amazing, but still good. The concession stand workers refer to it as “Tom-B” in case you were wondering.

I took the elevator down to the main concourse and went to my seat in section 128. My former coworker’s husband works for a firm that also has an office in DC. John (who works in the DC office) was visiting Madison and went to Mallards game in June with people from my former place of employment. Pam (my former coworker) told John about what I was doing and he reached out to me. He offered me one of his season tickets for Monday’s game. Thanks John!

Jordan Zimmermann, who grew up in Auburndale, WI, was on the mound for the Nationals. My girlfriend, Victoria, went to school in Auburndale through the 2nd grade (OMG!!!). I hate OMG and LOL so I use them as a joke sometimes. The first pitch of the game was a called strike to Aoki.

Rickie Weeks walked with one out and then Aramis Ramirez hit one to center and deep…

…. where it was caught by 19-year-old Bryce Harper before crashing into the wall. Kids these days, I tell ya. A few of his teammates waited on the field to show their appreciation for his efforts.

Marco Estrada started for the Brewers, and here he is shortly after releasing the first pitch of his outing.

The Nationals took a 1-0 lead when Harper stole third base and then scored when Lucroy’s throw sailed into left field. The Brewers got that run back in a hurry when Corey Hart homered on the first pitch of the 2nd inning. Hart is playing through a partial tear to some tissue in the arch of his foot. You the man, Corey!

In the bottom of the 2nd Estrada retired the side in order. The last out was a fly out to centerfield from Kurt Suzuki. I think this picture of Gomez making the catch is a little funny because you can’t see his face. He was probably shielding the sun with his glove because it was right above the stadium behind home plate. Foreshadowing??? Perhaps…

In the top of the 4th Jonathan Lucroy grounded out to end the half inning and he broke his bat in the process.

The bottom of the 4th was a tough pill to swallow and the Nationals erupted for 6 runs. With two outs and two on Estrada was facing the pitcher which is normally a good position to be in. Zimmermann helped his own cause and he drove in Bernadina with a single. The next batter was Jayson Werth and he lifted what seemed to be a harmless fly ball to centerfield. It looked like Gomez had it all lined up but then at the last second he darted to his left and dove for the ball. It hit off the heel of his glove and it goes down as a sun-assisted 2-run double for Werth. Ugh. Harper walked and then Ryan Zimmerman connected for a 3-run home run to wrap up the inning to forget.

The Nats scored two more in the 5th and it appeared the game was out of reach. I tweeted this yesterday but I felt like if there was ever a game to leave early, this was it. I wanted to get on the road to start my 500 mile drive and a 7-run deficit, while not insurmountable, is pretty close. I couldn’t do it though and I stayed for the remainder of the game.

Zimmermann departed after six and two thirds to a nice ovation from the home crowd.  He gave up 4 hits, 2 walks, and 1 run while striking out 7.

During the 7th inning stretch Screech (the Nationals mascot) was on top of the home dugout. On a side note, shouldn’t he have wings and not arms?

Ramirez hit his 50th double of the season in the 8th inning to drive in Braun. The Nationals answered with three runs of their own in the bottom half. Final score: Nationals 12 – Brewers 2. That’s not a pretty linescore if you’re a Brewers fan.

Early in the game a helicopter flew overhead and after some zooming I realized that it’s Marine One.

I took the green line back to the Greenbelt station and left DC after the Brewers split the four game series. I made a pit stop on I-70 to handle some business. I got my license plate back! I won’t go into too much detail but I’m just glad I won’t be needing to buy replacement plates now. I stopped for gas and some snacks at 11:10 and then drove the remaining three hours to Cincinnati. My knee has gotten to the point that I am considering encasing myself in bubble wrap so I can just log roll everywhere I need to go (that might hurt just as much so I’ll keep brainstorming).

It’s 2:30 PM on Tuesday afternoon and Barry (who has joined me for 4 of the 6 games at Great American Ballpark) got us nice all-you-can-eat seats (not ballpark food) in the club level. Between the hours of 8 PM and 6 AM there is between a 50 and 70% chance of rain: this should be interesting.

Personal Stats:

Daily Stats:

Time inside Nationals Park: 4 hours 14 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 4 hours 15 minutes
Miles driven: 549.8
Public transit miles: 27.8
Sausages: 0
Pitches missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (334/334)
Current streak of pitches seen: 679

Season Stats:

Brewers current record: 79-74 (.516 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 651 hours 37 minutes 
Time on stadium grounds: 765 hours 3 minutes
Miles driven: 18,912.7
Miles riding in car but not driving: 2,288.4
Public transit miles: 552.2
Flight miles: 19,777
Total distance traveled: 41,530.2 miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 166.78% (41,530.2/24,901)
Sausages: 95 (37 Hot Dogs, 31 Polish, 12 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: 102
Longest streak of pitches seen: 2,192 (8/27 – 9/3)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.78% (45,794/45,896)

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

9-23-12 (@ Washington)

My aunt and uncle joined me for Sunday’s game and we left their house at 11:15. We drove down to Nationals Park and were at the player will call window by 12:20. After getting my ticket we went inside and made our way to the upper deck. My uncle Jon did the honors for game photo number 152. The capitol building is partially visible on the far left.

After getting the picture taken we went down the ramp in the right field corner to get to the second level. On our way down I took a picture of the Anacostia River from the ramp.

When we got down to the second level we started walking towards the right field corner. On the way I noticed an owl perched on a steel beam. WHOOO WHOOO!! (owl noises). The owl is right above the Miller Lite logo on the left side of the picture. It’s to keep pigeons from perching on the beam which is a good thing because I could see people getting surprises in the beer as they walk under.

Kyle (who had me on the field on Friday) had suggested Shake Shack so I had been craving a shake since Friday. After looking at the menu I asked the worker if the “concretes” were drinkable with a straw (I should’ve known they weren’t). He thought about it and then said yes. I went with that but then as he handed me the ice cream creation (with a spoon in it) he said “oh, I guess it isn’t. I was going to just take it but another worker saw what happened and gave me a chocolate shake. I tried handing back the ice cream but she said to keep it. That was very nice of her but what was I supposed to do with two desserts? My uncle Jon (who doesn’t really eat sweets) had half of it, so it wasn’t *completely* wasted. I also got a pulled pork sandwich from Blue Smoke and I was a little disappointed in the sandwich’s size. I should’ve put something next to it so you could scale the sandwich. It was $8.75 so I guess I shouldn’t have been expecting a monstrosity of a sandwich.

On our way down to the field level I noticed all the MLB team logos on the side of a parking garage (in case you forget).

Jon and Candy had seats in section 107 and mine was in 114. I told them that I would let them know if there were open seats around me so we could sit together. I got to my seat in time to see military members on the field to greet the players when they came out to start the game. The starting nine came out and shook hands with them, I assume signed a ball, and then the military members hustled off the field. Very nice, Nationals, very nice.

Shortly thereafter Chien-Ming Wang threw a strike to Aoki to get things started.

Yovani Gallardo got the start for the Crew and here is right before releasing the first pitch of his outing.

The game was scoreless going into the top of the 4th and Braun led off the inning by flying one to centerfield.

I think the ball is out of the frame. If not then I just lost it, kind of like Bryce Harper losing it in the sun. The ball landed a few feet from him and Braun wound up at second with a gift double. Danny Espinosa, the Nationals’ second basemen, was nice and took Braun’s ankle guard over to Garth Iorg at first. Sometimes the umpires do it, sometimes the player and coach meet halfway.

Aramis Ramirez flew out and Corey Hart singled, moving Braun to 3rd base. Lucroy was up next and he singled to right field, driving in Braun and giving the Brewers a 1-0 lead.

Logan Schafer had gotten the start in centerfield and he followed Lucroy with an RBI double. Atta kid!!! The Brewers had runners on second and third with only one out but failed to push another run across in the 4th.

In the middle of the 4th Teddy Roosevelt *almost* won the Presidents Race. Oh the humanity!!!

The Brewers’ 2-0 lead didn’t last long and the Nationals scored two runs in the bottom of the 5th.

On Friday and Saturday I saw a beer vendor using a contraption to slice off the tops of beer cans. This of course made it easier to pour the delicious goodness into cups for serving. I thought it was cool but think it’s even cooler now that I learned he invented the inspector-gadget-like device himself. I met up with John, a former coworker’s husband’s colleague who works in DC. I picked up my ticket for Monday’s game (he said he should be able to join me) and we talked for a bit. I brought it up and John told me that the guy invented it himself. Awesome sauce! He clips the device onto a can of beer and then I’m assuming pulls a trigger that starts the slicing process. You can see it takes the very top of the can right off, allowing him to quickly poor the can into a plastic cup. I don’t know how much time it actually saves but if nothing else it should get him more sales because people want to see the thing in action. Well done, sir, well done.

 

The game was tied at two as we entered the top of the 7th. The Brewers scored three runs and two of them wouldn’t have scored if the Nationals’ right fielder hadn’t lost a pop up in the sun. Thank you sun for the assist on Sunday. I didn’t take any pictures of the action because I was meeting up with Jon and Candy so that we could sit together. I didn’t miss any pitches but I was up in the concourse and then getting situated when the runs were scored. Braun added a sacrifice fly in the top of the 8th inning. Between the 8th and the 9th I had a fan a few rows behind us take a picture of me, Candy and Jon. Jon isn’t a huge Brewers fan because he didn’t live in Wisconsin very long, and some of those years Milwaukee didn’t have a team. He is a big Packers fan though, and Candy has adopted them as her team as well (i.e. the “Claymate” shirt). I can’t thank them enough for letting me stay at their house for four nights. Thanks Jon and Candy!

For the bottom of the 9th we walked over to the left field corner so we could exit right after the last out. Veras came in becuase it was a 4-run lead and not a save situation. Veras retired two of the four he faced but he walked the other two. The second walk brought the tying run to the on deck circle, so Roenicke went to Axford since it was now a save situation. Axford came in and threw four pitches, the last of which was lined to centerfield where Carlos Gomez made the catch. If you’re curious the ball is three rows above the W in “Watch MLB Tonight on MLB Network”, just to the right of the lady in red with her arms crossed.

Brewer win! Brewers win! Final score: Brewers 6 – Nationals 2. The Cardinals beat the Cubs 6-3 so the the Brewers still trail St. Louis by 2.5 games. The Cardinals have three at the Astros and then finish up with the Nationals and Reds at home. Hopefully both the Nationals and Reds will be trying to get the higher seed for a potential NLCS showdown. Having the second seed might be better this year since the top seed will be going to the wild card game winner’s park for the first two games of the NLDS. Go Astros! and Go Brewers!

I’m driving to the Forest Glen Metro stop on Monday and then taking the train in. After the game I’ll return via the train and then start my 8-ish hour drive to Cincinnati.

Personal Stats:

Daily Stats:

Time inside Nationals Park: 4 hours 57 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 5 hours 17 minutes
Miles riding in a car but not driving: 74.0
Sausages: 0
Pitches missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (331/331)
Current streak of pitches seen: 345

Season Stats:

Brewers current record: 79-73 (.520 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 647 hours 23 minutes 
Time on stadium grounds: 760 hours 48 minutes
Miles driven: 18,362.9
Miles riding in car but not driving: 2,288.4
Public transit miles: 524.5
Flight miles: 19,777
Total distance traveled: 40,952.7 miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 164.46% (40,952.7/24,901)
Sausages: 95 (37 Hot Dogs, 31 Polish, 12 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: 102
Longest streak of pitches seen: 2,192 (8/27 – 9/3)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.78% (45,460/45,562)

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

9-22-12 (@ Washington)

On Saturday I woke up around 9:30 and had some breakfast before leaving at 10:45. I parked at the Greenbelt stop and boarded the train at 11:20. We sat there for almost 10 minutes and then finally departed. Once I got off the train at the Navy Yard – Ballpark stop I walked towards the centerfield gate and had a nearby lady (Kim) take game photo number 151. I normally try to get the exterior ballpark picture from behind home plate, but someone I asked on Friday said that there really wasn’t good exterior signage by the home plate entrance. I told Kim my story and thanked her for helping me out. I then went to the player will call window near home plate to get my ticket. Since I was there I figured I should at least look if they have anything on the exterior. I think this would classify as exterior signage.

Those numbers on the ground represent the years that important events took place in Washington baseball history. On the right you can see those metal structures. Here is a close up of one of them.

I entered the ballpark at 12:40 which was pretty late for me given the 1:05 first pitch. I got a hot dog and a designated driver beverage (lemonade) and then went to my seat. I was in the same section and row as Friday, but 11 seats farther from home plate. Gio Gonzalez threw a called strike to Aoki to get the game underway.

Wily Peralta was pitching for the Crew and I was looking for a duplicate performance of Sunday’s dominance vs. the Mets. Here he is after releasing the first pitch of his outing:

The Nationals got to Peralta in the 3rd, scoring three runs on 4 hits, including 3 doubles. After walking a batter to load the bases with two outs Roenicke made the call to the bullpen.

Unfortunately Sunday’s performance was not duplicated. On Sunday he threw 104 pitches to get 24 outs (4.33 pitches per out). On Saturday he threw 73 pitches to get 8 outs (9.13 pitches per out). He walked four which is always going to escalate the pitch count. Hopefully it’s just part of the learning process (he’s only 23) and he can bounce back.

Livan Hernandez had entered for Peralta and got out of the bases loaded jam in the 3rd without allowing another run to score. The 4th inning, however, did not go as smoothly. The first seven at bats of the 4th went like this: groundout, single, walk, 3-run home run, single, single, (coaching visit to the mound), 3-run home run. Eeeeeeesh. The Nationals increased their lead to 9-0 in a span of a few minutes.

In the middle of the 4th (I think) the Nationals put on the Presidents Race. The four Presidents that run are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt. I think they should call it the Presidents *Event* for obvious reasons. This picture should explain it:

As you can see Teddy has zero wins on the year, and zero all-time wins in over 350 races. It’s a running gag and the fans cheer for him knowing that he’ll do something to lose, i.e.:

It’s their own thing and I don’t want to step on any toes; but let the guy win. Well, don’t *let* him win, but at least let it be an actual race. I’m curious if they tell the guy running in the costume “now if you disobey and win you will never be allowed in this ballpark again.” I took from my history classes that Teddy Roosevelt was a good president, so he deserves better. I’m not being too serious BUT if I was a betting man I might take a gambling friend to their first game and decide if I want to bet or not depending on if they pick Roosevelt to win the “race.”

The Brewers got on the board in the 6th with an RBI groundout from Braun and a sacrifice fly from Ramirez. A home run from LaRoche made it 10-2 Nationals after six. In the top of the seventh there was a scary moment if you were a Nationals fan. Gio Gonzalez, who is the Nationals’ best pitcher (perhaps even if Strasburg hadn’t been shut down) stumbled while letting go of a pitch to Maldonado. He laid face down on the ground for 2 or 3 seconds before finally getting up. I tried getting my camera out to take a picture of him just lying there but I wasn’t quick enough. This is after he got up and everyone came over to see what happened. I saw something similar in the highlights of a different game recently and the pitcher did something to his oblique muscle so I wasn’t sure if Gio was actually hurt. It wound up being a scare and all the fans gave him a standing ovation (I think he was just plain embarrassed). He pitched great on Saturday though, so there wasn’t much to be embarrassed about.

Roenicke started putting in the September call ups towards the end of the game to give them some playing time. With all of the games being close as of late, and the Brewers being right in the wild card race he hasn’t had the opportunity. Taylor Green hit a 2-run home run in the 9th but that’s all the offense could muster. Final score: Nationals 10 – Brewers 4. A close loss (I think) is harder to swallow because you can say “what if” about a lot of stuff. A blowout is easier to forget. It’s baseball: it happens.

Unfortunately the Cubs blew a save in the 9th inning and the Cardinals wound up winning 5-4 in 10 innings. The Cardinals now have a 2.5 game lead in the second wild card standings.

Right back at it tomorrow with a 1:35 PM first pitch. Gallardo is “toeing the slab” (baseball slang for pitching) and I’m hoping he can keep doing what he’s doing (pitching really well).

I missed 3, yes THREE pitches at the game on Saturday. Looks like it wasn’t just the Brewers who had a bad game.

1) I missed the fourth pitch to Maldonado in the 5th. I was looking at the out of town scoreboard and was telling the guy next to me that the Cubs had the bases loaded.

2) I missed the first pitch of the bottom of the 7th. I found a half full bag of peanuts under the chair next to mine (it wasn’t anybody’s around me) so I started eating them.

3) The first pitch to Taylor Green in the 9th. I was looking at my phone trying to get an update on the Cubs game.

One last thing, there are two home games left that my extra seat is available for; Friday, September 28th and Sunday, September 30th. I ask $40 for the ticket (face value) and you’d be sitting with me for the game. The money goes to the Be The Match Foundation. Also, I have other tickets for Monday, October 1st, so BOTH of my tickets are available for that game. You and a friend wouldn’t be sitting with me but the $80 for the two tickets would go to Be The Match. My season tickets are in section 221, row 6. Leave a comment if you’re interested.

Personal Stats:

Daily Stats:

Time inside Nationals Park: 3 hours 34 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 3 hours 51 minutes
Miles driven: 48.5
Public transit miles: 27.8
Sausages: 1 (hot dog)
Pitches missed: 3
Consecutive pitch streak ended at: 390
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.00% (296/299)
Current streak of pitches seen: 14

Season Stats:

Brewers current record: 78-73 (.517 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 642 hours 26 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 755 hours 31 minutes
Miles driven: 18,362.9
Miles riding in car but not driving: 2,214.4
Public transit miles: 524.5
Flight miles: 19,777
Total distance traveled: 40,878.7 miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 164.16% (40,878.7/24,901)
Sausages: 95 (37 Hot Dogs, 31 Polish, 12 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: 102
Longest streak of pitches seen: 2,192 (8/27 – 9/3)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.77% (45,129/45,231)

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

9-21-12 (@ Washington)

On Friday I woke up at 6:30 AM and couldn’t fall back asleep despite the fact I had gone to bed just four hours earlier. I was still thinking about the fiasco on I-70 and I realized I was just going to lay there so I might as well get up. I worked on the post for Thursday, watched some ESPN and MLB network, and iced my knee. I left my aunt and uncle’s place at 3:15 and stopped at the Jimmy John’s that’s a few miles from their house. I knew that I had needed gas, so earlier in the day I went to gasbuddy.com to find the cheapest gas nearby. It was at Costco ($3.69) and after devouring the Turkey Tom at Jimmy John’s I went to fill up. They’ve got a system down at the Costco gas station. There is signage telling you to only enter from one side and there are lines (2-4 cars deep) for each row of pumps. After putting in my credit card the screen read: “please insert your Costco card first.” DOH!!! Again: I’m an idiot (I’m not a member of Costco). I should’ve been suspicious when $3.69 was well below the average of the surrounding stations.

At this point it was getting kind of late so I decided I’d get gas after the game. Interstate 95 was very busy and I didn’t get to the Greenbelt Metro station until 4:30 which was about the time I had wanted to be at the park. This is the view of Nationals Park when you emerge from the Navy Yard – Ballpark stop:

I walked around to the media entrance and Kyle met me with my wristband. Kyle works in the Nationals Community Relations department and had invited me on the field for batting practice. I picked up my Brewers-provided ticket from will call and we headed inside. We took a few turns and went down the umpires tunnel to the field. The Brewers were already taking BP and I soaked it in. At some point I had Kyle take game photo number 150 for me.

When the Brewers were done in the cage we went back up the tunnel and took the elevator to the main concourse where Kyle and I parted ways. Thanks again Kyle! In the concourse behind home plate they have murals detailing the history of baseball in Washington D.C. There were more but I just took pictures of the first two. Washington D.C. lost two franchises to other cities. The 1901 – 1960 Washington Senators became the Minnesota Twins in 1961 and the 1961 – 1971 Washington Senators became the Texas Rangers in 1972. The Senators that later became the Twins won a world series in 1924, the only world series a Washington franchise has won. That’s more than the Brewers….. (so far).

I wandered a little bit but then went to my seat and waited for the game to start. Eventually (and right on schedule) Edwin Jackson threw a ball to Norichika Aoki to get things started. It would’ve made for a better picture if those people were in their seats, but what are you going to do.

Braun tripled with two outs but was stranded at second when Aramis Ramirez grounded out to short.

Marcum started for the Crew and he did well. Here’s the first pitch of his outing:

The first inning wasn’t too kind to Marcum, though. A two-out broken-bat single put one on and then Adam Laroche hit a 2-run home run to quickly give the Natinals the lead. I purposely spelled it N-a-t-i-n-a-l-s there. A few years ago Nationals was spelled wrong on Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn’s jerseys and they wore “Natinals” on their chests for a game. They’ve come a long way. The Brewers got one back in the top of the 2nd when Lucroy led off the frame with a solo shot. I was able to get the head of a random fan going up the steps *AND* cotton candy in the same picture!

The game then became a pitcher’s duel. Marcum lasted six innings and gave up just the first-inning runs while allowing 4 hits, walking none and striking out 3. Jackson’s line was more impressive: 8 innings, 1 run, 6 hits, 0 walks, and 6 strikeouts. Tyler Clippard came in for the 9th to try and secure the 2-1 victory for the Nationals. At this point I moved from my seat in section 108 to above the outfield seats in left. I was still hoping the Crew would make a comeback but wanted to be close to the centerfield exit so I could get to the Metro stop right after the game ended.

Aoki bunted for a base hit to start the 9th and moved to second on a passed ball. Weeks flew out while Aoki tagged and moved up to third base. With Braun at the plate and the tying run at third with only out I felt pretty confident the Brewers would tie the game. Braun ripped the 0-1 pitch to left and it was a new brand new ballgame. Braun stole 2nd and then Ramirez doubled, giving the Brewers the lead in the process. A wild pitch from Clippard let Ramirez get to third. Travis Ishikawa reached first and Ramirez scored. I say reached because originally the ground ball to the shortstop was ruled a throwing error but the official scorer later changed it to an infield hit. Either way the Brewers had a 2-run lead. Axford pitched the 9th and notched his 32nd save. That three-run 9th is a thing of beauty. Final score: Brewers 4 – Nationals 2.

 

Earlier in the day the Cardinals led the Cubs 4-2 in the bottom of the 9th and were one strike away from winning. What happened next? A bloop single, a game-tying 2-run home run (on a 1-2 pitch) and then a walk-off win in the 11th. Go Cubs Go! The Cardinals loss coupled with the Brewers win means the Cardinals’ lead in the second wild card chase is just 1.5 games (ONE in the loss column; you can’t make up losses).

This post was kind of short but it’s a quick turnaround. The remaining three games of the series have 1:05, 1:35, and 1:05 start times, respectively. Let’s win some day games!!!

Go Brewers!

Personal Stats:

Daily Stats:

Time inside Nationals Park: 5 hours 30 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 5 hours 38 minutes
Miles driven: 51.7
Public transit miles: 27.8
Sausages: 0
Pitches missed: 1 (I’m pretty sure I missed the 1st pitch to Ishikawa in the 2nd. I saw the count go from 0-1 to 1-1 and I couldn’t remember the first pitch)
Consecutive pitch streak ended at: 762
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.62% (264/265)
Current streak of pitches seen: 229

Season Stats:

Brewers current record: 78-72 (.520 winning percentage) (Highwater mark of the season so far: 6 games over .500!!!)
Time inside stadiums: 638 hours 52 minutes 
Time on stadium grounds: 751 hours 40 minutes
Miles driven: 18,314.4
Miles riding in car but not driving: 2,214.4
Public transit miles: 496.7
Flight miles: 19,777
Total distance traveled: 40,802.4 miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 163.86% (40,802.4/24,901)
Sausages: 94 (36 Hot Dogs, 31 Polish, 12 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: 99
Longest streak of pitches seen: 2,192 (8/27 – 9/3)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.78% (44,833/44,932)

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

9-20-12 (@ Pittsburgh)

Thursday was getaway day and I was a little upset that it was a 4:05 start and not the usual 12:35 first pitch that the Pirates have for series finales. It did give me a few additional hours between Wednesday’s night game though so it wasn’t all bad. I had breakfast at the Bagel Factory again and then returned to the apartment to work on the blog. I also sent out some emails and tweets to Washington D.C. TV and radio stations to see if they’d be interested in doing an interview. The Nationals just clinched a playoff spot (and there’s a lot to discuss) so I don’t think I’ll be getting an interview.

I left at 2:20 and parked at the same garage on Sixth street that I did for the previous five games in Pittsburgh. Since it was an afternoon game (and still within business hours) parking was $9.75 as opposed to the event rate of $5, darn. I got my ticket from will call and was inside the park by 3:05. The Pirates have some statues inside the left field entrance but this one stands out. It’s a casting of Ralph Kiner’s hands. Kiner played for the Pirates from 1946 to 1953, made the NL All-Star team six times in those eight years and won the home run title seven times. His number 4 is retired by the Pirates.

I went to the upper bleachers in left field for game photo number 149 and a very nice woman took the picture for me. I also had one taken from above the visitor’s dugout and I think I like it better. While the one from the outfield provides a different angle than the previous 5 at PNC, it’s kind of boring. I like that PNC Park is readable in the second one.

I was hungry and PNC Park has a Primanti Brothers on the field level concourse. I went with the “Pittsburgher” which is what I had on August 25th when I went to the original Primanti Brothers in the strip district. I ate half of it and then took a picture of the remaining 50%. $7.75 is more than what you’ll pay at one of the restaurants outside of the park, but considering the other options and their prices; it’s a pretty good deal.

Corey Hart was in the lineup for the first time since September 9th and it was nice to see him out on the field before the game. He was talking to the trainer as he did his pre-game stretches. You could tell he was in pain when he (gingerly) ran into shallow centerfield and back. On-going plantar fasciitis has been the reason for his absence from the lineup. Hart played exactly one half of the game, with Ishikawa entering at first base after the top of the 5th inning.

The game started and Aoki took a called strike from Pirates starter Wandy Rodriguez. This was the view from my seat in section 108.

Aoki singled on the next pitch and then stole second with Weeks at the plate. He moved to third on the play because of a throwing error charged to the catcher. Weeks walked and Braun grounded one to short that should’ve been a double play. The shortstop Barmes bobbled it briefly and they were only able to get Weeks at second, with Aoki scoring on the play. Ramirez stepped in and lifted the second pitch he saw to center and deep. It bounced on the top of the wall and over for a two-run home run. I’m pretty sure the ball is out of the frame on the first picture below.

Mike Fiers was on the hill for the Brewers and didn’t give up a run through the first two innings. Here he is pitching in the first:

Fiers was helped out in the second by a 4-6-3 double play. Weeks made the glove flip to Segura and he let it fly while leaping over the takeout slide of Neil Walker (it’s my favorite picture of the day).

In the top of the third the Brewers caught a break as Aramis Ramirez was called safe at the plate on a sacrifice fly despite never touching the plate. Starling Marte made a great throw from left and Ramirez didn’t slide. He stepped on Rod Barajas’ foot and not home plate but the umpire called him safe. I’ve voiced my opinion on instant replay before so I won’t go on a rant but I think if you can get the calls right at home (beer in hand on your couch) within 15 seconds of the play major league baseball should adopt this “amazing technology” that is instant replay.

The 4-0 lead didn’t last long and in the bottom of the 3rd Andrew McCutchen hit a three-run home run to cut the lead to 4-3. McCutchen had a great year against the Brewers (and a lot of other teams for that matter). In 15 games vs. the Crew he hit .322 with 6 home runs and 16 RBI. If you make projections over a 162 game schedule he would have had 65 home runs and 173 RBI. Not bad at all.

The Pirates tied it in the bottom of the 4th but it could’ve been much worse. The bases had been loaded with nobody out so only giving up one run feels like a win in that situation. It remained tied at four until the 6th inning, when the Pirates scored three times to take a 7-4 lead. It was looking bleak and the fact that the Cardinals had already won made it more depressing. A loss would put the Brewers 3.5 games back with only 13 to play (3 back in the loss column would’ve been the important number).

I was hoping for some magic and the top of the 8th inning began in a promising fashion. Gomez and Segura saw a combined 2 pitches, and both ended up in the outfield for singles. Nyjer Morgan pinch hit and popped one up on a 2-0 pitch; yarrrrrrgh. Aoki doubled off the scoreboard in right, scoring Gomez in the process. After a pitching change Weeks stepped in representing the go-ahead run. The 2-2 pitch was lined into left center:

The ball didn’t get much higher than where it was in the picture above. It’s peak was likely somewhere around 10-12 feet and it went all the way to the wall that’s 410 feet away!!! Strong. Like. Bull.

THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT!!! The two-run triple tied the game at seven. Braun was intentionally walked to set up a potential inning-ending double play. Ramirez snuck the 1-1 pitch up the middle for the go-ahead RBI.

The Brewers added an insurance run in the top of the 9th and Axford shut the door; striking out the side in the bottom of the 9th. Sweeeeeeeeeep!!! It’s a little blurry but you can see that Gomez, Aoki and Braun were all smiles after the game.

Final score: Brewers 9 – Pirates 7. Thursday was the 49th Brewers – Pirates games I’ve attended (14 have been at PNC). The Brewers have won 36 of the 49. Wow. I walked across the Roberto Clemente bridge and stopped along the way to take one last picture of PNC Park. Thanks for the memories!!!

I got in my car at 8:22 and started my trek to Ellicot City, Maryland. My aunt and uncle live here and while it’s not in DC it’s close enough. I can drive down to the northernmost Metro stop and take the train into the city. Now, a little pre-cursor to what happened on my drive. On Wednesday the guy at the will call window (after hearing I was going to DC) recommended I take a different route than the Pennsylvania Turnpike. I thought about it on Wednesday and Thursday but ultimately decided to take the Turnpike anyways. As I hit some minor construction including some stretches with a posted 40 MPH speed limit I started to second guess my decision.

Making it worse; at some point on I-70 East (after getting off the turnpike) I came across a racoon or an oppossom crossing the road. I saw it kind of late because it was moving somewhat quickly from left to right and my headlights didn’t pick it up right away. I thought about swerving right, then I thought about straddling it but ultimately I swerved left and tried straightening the wheel (I’M AN ENORMOUS IDIOT!!!). I was going between 65 and 70 MPH and I started fishtailing. I tried correcting but my tires didn’t catch. I honestly can’t tell you what happened next but I think I did a complete 360 (thank goodness I didn’t roll my car). There was a lot of squealing tires and I wound up sliding (somewhat hard) into the guard rail on the left side of the road. Luckily there weren’t any cars near me at the time (it was about 10:35 PM). At some point during the fiasco my car shut off, and after hitting the left guard rail my car rolled back and bumped into the right guard rail. My car wouldn’t start and my front end was taking up a good chunk of the right lane. A semi approached over the hill and I got nervous. I put my flashers on and started honking my horn. My 2004 Accord is black so I wanted to make sure they saw me taking up the right lane. I grabbed my phone and called 911 (something I don’t think I’ve ever had to do before). I got out of the car at first because I didn’t want to be in there if the immobile car was going to get t-boned. I jumped back in after a few cars passed and thankfully my car started and I was able to pull over. So many things raced through my head amongst the chaos including “will this prevent me from getting to the game tomorrow?”. Yeah, I’m an idiot. If you can’t tell I choose to beat myself up regarding stupid things I do, no one is harder on me than me.

The lady on the line transferred me once she learned no one was injured or in danger. As I talked to the new lady on the phone I inspected the damage, expecting to see a hanging bumper or a bent quarter panel restricting the movement of a front wheel. Luckily it wasn’t too bad but my front license plate and holder were completely torn off. I thought about going back to find it. The road was narrow, it was dark, and I didn’t feel like risking my life (without a flashlight, thanks batteries) to possibly get my license plate back. I called Victoria and then my mom to tell them I was fine (I don’t think they would’ve liked to learn about what happened by reading it).

My car still ran/runs fine and I made it to my uncle Jon and aunt Candy’s townhouse just before 12:30 AM. I went out and inspected the damage in daylight and it really isn’t *that* bad. I’m surprised because my neck is a little sore from when I hit the guard rail and my elbow is even more sore than it has been the past 2 months. I will be getting a new license plate holder (and license plate if no one finds it and returns it), but I don’t think a new bumper is worth it. I’ve tried to be as careful as I can all season (and driving in general) because spending money on preventable accidents is a waste of money. I also think I’ll leave it to remind me of how stupid I am. I know PETA will be happy with my decision to swerve (since no one was injured in the end) but honestly I think I would’ve been fine if I had just hit the darn thing. It was decently sized so who knows what would have happened, but swerving at 65 MPH is typically not a good decision. Overall I’m thankful that I’m fine and I understand it could’ve been a lot worse.

It’s 11:30 AM on Friday and I’ll be leaving around 3:00 PM to head to the park. It’s a 20 mile drive to the Greenbelt Metro station and then a 30 minute ride to the Navy Yard stop, which is about 1,000 feet from Nationals Park. I’ll be on the field for batting practice today thanks to a friend of Pam’s (John) who told me to call Kyle with the Nationals. I asked if I could get an interview to try and promote the Be The Match Registry and the Foundation, but he said they wouldn’t be able to fulfill those requests. It’s fun being on the field and all, I just feel guilty because I think I should be doing more to help Be The Match. Nonetheless; thank you Kyle for hooking me up with the batting practice pass!

Personal Stats:

Daily Stats:

Time inside PNC Park: 5 hours 10 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 5 hours 15 minutes
Miles driven: 246.7
Bumpers ruined & license plates lost: 1
Sausages: 0
Pitches missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (362/362)
Current streak of pitches seen: 727

Season Stats:

Brewers current record: 77-72 (.517 winning percentage) (Highwater mark of the season so far: 5 games over .500!!!)
Time inside stadiums: 633 hours 22 minutes 
Time on stadium grounds: 746 hours 2 minutes
Miles driven: 18,262.7
Miles riding in car but not driving: 2,214.4
Public transit miles: 469.0
Flight miles: 19,777
Total distance traveled: 40,723.0 miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 163.54% (40,723.0/24,901)
Sausages: 94 (36 Hot Dogs, 31 Polish, 12 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: 98
Longest streak of pitches seen: 2,192 (8/27 – 9/3)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.78% (44,569/44,667)

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

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