September 6th, 2012

9-5-12 (@ Miami)

Wednesday was a long day. After eating breakfast and finishing Tuesday’s post I went to Bayfront Park. It’s very close to where I’m staying and I walked along the waterfront to get there. There’s a water feature on the retaining wall for the high rise complex that my host, Claire, lives in.

At the southern entrance to Bayfront Park they have a Liberty Column to commemorate those who have died trying to leave Cuba and enter the United States. A nearby plaque reads: “Since 1959 thousands of Cubans have perished anonymously while fleeing tyranny in small boats or makeshift rafts. Although their names, like those of martyred refugees of other nations, are written solely on the pages of the sea; this column is a permanent testimony of the human need to be free.”

In the park they have a statue of Claude Pepper. He was in the U.S. Senate from 1936 to 1960 and a member of the House of Representatives from 1962 until he passed in 1989. At the base of the statue it reads: “Champion of the Elderly and the Disadvantaged”.

There is also have a fountain dedicated to Claude and his wife Mildred:

I walked up to the Bayside marketplace and got a smoothie from Enerjuicer. As I made my way back towards Claire’s place I came across a Christopher Columbus statue. I’m not going to get into a history argument, but while Columbus did do a lot of exploring, he also killed a lot of innocent people along the way. It’s something that they don’t tell you in elementary school, and then you find out the not so pretty details later on.

I made a pit stop here and listened to the Around the Horn and PTI podcasts. They’re both ESPN talkshows and I haven’t been able to see much of them during the season. I download the previous day’s podcast and listen when I can. It was very relaxing sitting here in the shade with a slight breeze.

Claire’s boyfriend, Bond, is originally from Thailand and he owns three Thai restaurants in Miami. He said he would like to treat me to a meal at one of his restaurants so he took me to 2B Asian Bistro on SW 8th street. Bond dropped me off because he had some errands to run but his brother Bas took care of me. This is the exterior of the restaurant.

It doesn’t look too special from the outside but the interior makes up for it.

The soup of the day was Carrot and one of the servers brought me a small bowl. It was some of the best soup I’ve had, and I’m not just saying that because it was free. I wanted to put it up to my face and try to lick the bowl (I didn’t though).

I ordered the pork potstickers as an appetizer. I asked for them fried but I’m pretty sure they came steamed. Either way they were delicious as well.

Even though I had just eaten Pad Thai at Noodles and Co. on Sunday evening I figured I should get it from an authentic Thai place. Bond had told me in the car that it’s the recipe that has been passed down in his family. It was Padmazing. Besides the rind from the lime wedge I ate it all.

I was stuffed at this point but Bas came over and said he had a dessert I would like. I asked how big it was and he said not very. A few minutes later this came to my table:

I found out later that it is called “Chocolate Bond” after it’s owner. I can’t thank Bond and Bas enough for providing me with arguably the best meal I’ve had all season. Simply amazing. It’s 1:00 AM as I write this sentence and I’m still not hungry (I was eating between 2:30 and 3:15).

I had about an hour to kill before I had to be at the park so I walked the streets of Little Havana. I went into a few shops and also went down SW 13th Avenue. On the corner of SW 8th Street and SW 13th Avenue lies a flame that commemorates the Bay of Pigs Invasion.

Beyond the monument above there is a bust and then a full statue:

Further down the street there is a statue of a mother and her child. On the base of the statue it reads “To the City of Miami” and “Motherhood is God’s Greatest Blessing.” There was also some Spanish and I’m guessing it says the same thing as above. I really like the exposed roots of the tree behind the statue.

I returned to SW 8th Street and walked back to the restaurant. I may or may not have stopped at a cigar shop on my way back, only time will tell… Bas was kind enough to offer me a ride and he dropped me off at the West Plaza of Marlins Park at 4:15. I went to the media entrance and called Emmanual, the Director of Broadcasting for the Marlins. He came and got me and we headed out to the field. I talked with Glenn Geffner, who is a radio broadcaster for the team, and we did a taped interview that he said would air during their pre-game show. When we were doing the interview in the first row behind home plate I got a good view of the fish tank that resides between the seating bowl and the field. Pretty cool.

Angela Smith, the Community Outreach Director who had reached out to me in the first place, was also down on the field. I talked with her and various other people while taking in batting practice. I talked to Eduardo Perez (former major leaguer and analyst on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight) and asked if he still had any sway with Baseball Tonight. I briefly told him what I was doing and gave him a card. He shook my hand and said he would take a picture of my card and send it to them. We’ll see if anything comes of it.

I had Angela take game photo number 136 when I was on the field. Thanks for everything, Angela!

The time (eventually) came and my first pitch was upon me. I had Angela use my phone to record the pitch. It’s high and outside, but I didn’t bounce it.

The Marlins photographer took three action shots and he emailed them to me after the game. This is the actual image size, so you can’t click on it to enlarge it in order to inspect my form. I probably took it a little too seriously, but that happens sometimes. I think I was so focused on not bouncing it that I forgot to smile. They mentioned Be The Match and that I was attending all 162 Brewers games.

I’ll be working on my mechanics a little bit over the next few weeks as I’ll be throwing one out at Miller Park on October 2nd. I’m sure there will be more people in the stands in Milwaukee which should add to the humiliation if I bounce it.

I went up to my seat in time for the first pitch and Nathan Eovaldi threw a called strike to Aoki:

In the top of the 3rd inning Craig Minervini, the Marlins in-game reporter for their TV broadcasts, stopped by for an interview. We talked about Be The Match and why it’s important to get more people into the registry and also about my baseball mission. Thanks goes to Craig and Fox Sports Florida for having me on their broadcast.

After I got done with the interview Rickie Weeks connected with a home run to left field that hit tracker online is listing at 418 feet. I’d say it would’ve gone a little further, but they’re the experts. Aoki had singled in front of Weeks so the home run gave the Crew a 2-0 lead.

After the 3rd I headed out to left field because I was also going to be doing an interview with Katherine. She’s the host of “Marlins Vision”, which is basically all the stuff that takes place between innings. I had a fan take a picture of the jumbotron while I was on.

Earlier in the game someone (Jay) had tweeted at me saying that a friend of his (Claudia) reads the blog religiously and she wanted to meet me. They happened to be out in left centerfield at the time of my interview with Katherine so I chatted with them for a while. In the bottom of the 5th a John Buck single cut the lead in half, 2-1. I walked with Jay and Claudia towards my seat in section 11 but we wound up watching the rest of the game from the concourse.

In the bottom of the 7th Rickie Weeks and Corey Hart each hit 2-run home runs which increased the lead to 6-1.

The five-run cushion didn’t last long and the Marlins scored four of their own in the bottom half of the inning. The 8th was scoreless for both teams but the Brewers added a few insurance runs in the 9th. Corey Hart doubled home Weeks and Lucroy and the lead was now 3. Here’s Hart after connecting with the 2-2 pitch:

Axford came on for the 9th and worked around a two-out walk to register a scoreless inning. Final Score: Brewers 8 – Marlins 5. Here’s Axford delivering the final pitch of the game:

Before we left I had an usher take a picture of the three of us. It was nice to have some company and I’m glad Jay reached out on Twitter. Claudia lives less than a block from the park and she gave both Jay and myself a ride home, saving me the hassle of taking the bus. Thanks Claudia!

Willy Peralta deserves a mention, who had gotten the start for the Brewers. Peralta was a September callup from AAA Nashville and he picked up his first MLB win. Nice job, kid! That’s baseball talk (kid) but I can also say that because he is almost two and a half years younger than me (I feel old). Here he is pitching in the 7th:

It is now after 2:30 AM on Wednesday morning, and I need to get some sleep. I’ll be at the park in about eight and a half hours and the Marlins got me a ticket for the Diamond Club, which is right behind home plate. It’s an all-you-can-eat area so I’m looking forward to getting my eat on before the game gets underway at 12:40.

Personal Stats:

Daily Stats:

Time inside Marlins Park: 6 hours 4 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 6 hours 10 minutes
Miles riding in a car but not driving: 8.1
Sausages: 0
Pitches missed: 2
Consecutive pitch streak ended at: 458
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.31% (286/288)
Current streak of pitches seen: 153

Season Stats:

Brewers current record: 67-69 (.493 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 574 hours 42 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 674 hours 9 minutes
Miles driven: 16,301.0
Miles riding in car but not driving: 2,177.9
Public transit miles: 469.0
Flight miles: 18,707
Total distance traveled: 37,654.8 miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 151.22% (37,654.8/24,901)
Sausages: 88 (35 Hot Dogs, 30 Polish, 8 Bratwurst, 5 Corndogs, 2 Italian, 2 Cheddarwurst, 2 Bison Dogs, Chicken Apple Sausage, Blueberry & Merlot Venison Sausage, Sausage Race on a Stick, Elk Jalapeño Cheddar Sausage)
Pitches missed: 96
Longest streak of pitches seen: 2,192 (8/27 – 9/3)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.76% (40,507/40,603)

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