September 8th, 2012
On Friday I left my Aunt and Uncle’s place at 11:50 and was parked downtown 35 minutes later. A little background info: In the middle of August I got a notification that @hiltonstldwntwn (Hilton St. Louis Downtown) had followed me on twitter. I thought that was odd but then they tweeted me a few minutes later; “Hey @Brew_Mission162 we love what you’re doing & would like to help during the next STL series. Please send a direct message for more info!” I got in touch and they said they would like to offer one complimentary room on September 7th and 8th when the Brewers were in town.
Long story short I jumped at the opportunity. I’m grateful that my Aunt and Uncle have hosted me for the first two series vs. the Cardinals, but staying just 4 blocks from the stadium definitely makes things easier. I checked in and met Chris, who had helped set everything up. I was assigned room 827 and went up to the 8th floor to get situated. When I walked around a corner I came upon this:
They put me up in the Presidential Suite; wow. After passing the first bathroom I came to the main living area:
Along with some goodies there was a panoramic of downtown St. Louis with this written on the back: “Welcome to the Hilton St. Louis Downtown!!! We hope you enjoy the games this weekend! ~ The Hilton Team ~ ” I’m extremely grateful that they offered me a room for two nights, putting me up in the Presidential Suite wasn’t necessary but I appreciate it. Thank You!!! And thanks to Chris for working with me!
On Thursday I had tweeted at KSDK News Channel 5 (among others) and asked if they wanted to do a story on my mission. Tracy Clemons got back to me on Friday morning and said he’d like to meet me outside of Busch Stadium. After dropping my stuff off in my room I left for the stadium and was outside the third base entrance at 1:05. Tracy met me shortly thereafter and he recorded a short interview. He had said it would likely air during the 6 o’clock news but the inclement weather derailed that. I don’t think it aired at 10 either, so I’m not sure if/when it will be aired. We shall see. Either way, thanks to KSDK for giving me the opportunity help raise awareness for Be The Match and thanks to Tracy for pitching the story to the news team.
I went back to my room and worked on the post for Thursday. Afterwards I was able to watch Around the Horn and PTI and then the weather coverage. This was my view at 5:38:
Six minutes later it got worse. I had been trying to get a picture of the lighting strikes but wasn’t quick enough with the trigger finger.
The rain slowed (somewhat) and I left at about 6:50 for the 7:15 first pitch. As I neared Busch Stadium this was the scene:
I got my ticket from will call but then saw people leaving the stadium and I figured the game wasn’t going to start on time. At this point the rain had stopped momentarily. I thought it was a good time to get (potential) game photo number 138. If the game wound up not being played then I would’ve gotten it taken on Saturday before the doubleheader. I already had a game number photo taken outside of Busch Stadium back in April but I thought the conditions were ideal for another. When I say ideal I mean for the photo, not for a baseball game. I think the clouds and the scene explains what game number 138 was like:
I went inside at 7:22, walked around in the concourse, and got a picture of the field from behind home plate. Thank you Miller Park roof for guaranteeing that games will start on time (barring a roof failure). Don’t get me wrong, I love open-air stadiums, maybe even more so than ones with roofs. *BUT* when you consider the fact that games won’t get delayed it really becomes a toss up. Miller Park’s roof is especially beneficial for people (like myself) who live over an hour from the park, because nothing is worse than driving all the way to a game, waiting for 3 hours, and then finding out they’re going to postpone it.
Adam McCalvy, the Brewers beat writer, had given me his flip cam to get some footage of my travels and experiences during the Miami series. Adam wasn’t in Miami but we had agreed that I would give it back to him in St. Louis. I went up to the upper deck, where the writer’s press box is located, and talked with him for 15 minutes or so. This is just inside the door to the press box on the fourth level of the stadium:
I told Adam when I handed him the flip cam that he might be disappointed with the 15 minutes of footage I got. Without specific instructions I can sometimes be useless so I wasn’t sure if he was going like what I recorded. To my surprise he texted me later and said that he thought it would work perfectly. He’s going to be doing a story for Brewers.com and will also be interviewing me at some point before the season is done. While talking with Adam we heard that the new start time was 9:30 PM. After leaving the press box I went down to the field level and got some nachos. They were good but I feel like they always put on too much cheese. I also think they should’ve had pico de gallo instead of salsa, but maybe that’s just me.
I returned to the upper deck because I thought about getting the game number picture up there with the tarp in the background. By the time I got up there the tarp was off the field and they were getting ready for the game to start. I got another game number pic but think that the first one turned out much better. I told the guy who took the picture for me about my mission and about joining the registry, as well as some nearby fans who were in their early twenties. I just realized that I can’t say that anymore about myself. As a 25-year-old I’m clearly in my *mid* twenties, oh boy…
Adam texted and said he had moved the clips to his computer and asked if I could get some more video and then return the flip cam to him at Miller Park. I got back to him but he was busy and I stayed in the upper deck for the start of the game. Here’s the first pitch from Kyle Lohse as he delivers a ball to Norichika Aoki:
The Cardinals scored two runs in the bottom of the 1st and took the early lead. Adam got back to me and between innings he leaned out of the press box and dropped the flip cam down (it’s not very far). I stayed in the upper deck for one more half inning and then headed back down. I took the stairs to the field level and almost didn’t make it for the first pitch of the next half inning.
My seat was in section 153 and I talked to some nearby Cardinals fans throughout the night. This question almost always comes up “did you drive down here for the series?” and then I respond by saying “I’m actually going to all 162 Brewers games this year.” I gave the three guys my card and I think it was a father, son, and the son’s friend, but I’m not 100% sure. After hearing about my effort to raise money and awareness for Be The Match, Stephen, who I believe was in his 50’s, asked if I had a pen. I said I had a Sharpie but he got up to go find one. He came back and handed me a $150 check for Be The Match. Wow. Thank you very much Stephen! If and of you would like to donate to the cause you can click here.
In the top of the 4th inning the Brewers got on the board when Taylor Green drove in a run with a groundout. He hit it about 12 inches on the fly but it got the job done.
In the top of the 7th Travis Ishikawa pinch hit for Yovani Gallardo and drove the 1-0 pitch to right field for a game-tying RBI double.
With runners on 2nd and 3rd and only one out I was thinking the Crew could’ve tacked on another run or two but it wasn’t meant to be. A0ki grounded into a fielder’s choice and Weeks struck out swinging.
In the top of the 8th the Brewers scored two runs with two outs and took a 4-2 lead. Gomez singled to drive in Hart and then proceeded to steal second base.
Maldonado drove in Gomez with a single but was thrown out for the final out of the inning while trying to stretch it to a double. Nonetheless the Crew had a 2-run lead and needed to just six outs from the bullpen to win the series opener. In the bottom of the 8th Jim Henderson walked the leadoff batter (always a no-no) but then retired the next two batters he faced. On the 2-2 pitch to Yadier Molina Henderson tried his luck with a 95 MPH fastball but it found a lot of the plate. Molina didn’t miss, sent it over the wall in left, and just like that the game was tied at four. Eeeeeeesh.
The top of the 9th through the top of the 11th saw 15 batters come to the plate, and they all were retired (eventually). Rickie Weeks had singled in the top of the 10th but was thrown out trying to steal. Replays showed that he was in fact safe. For all the things Selig has done for baseball you think he would realize that home runs aren’t the only calls that affect outcomes of games. In the top of the 11th Maldonado sent one deep to left center that hit about 6 inches below the top of the wall. I wasn’t watching Maldonado run but heard from twitter followers that he was jogging, thinking it was a home run. Once he saw it wasn’t he tried to get to second base but was thrown out in the process. Double eeeesh.
In the bottom of the 11th Kameron Loe came on to pitch for the Crew and gave up back-to-back singles to start the inning. Ryan Jackson tried to sacrifice the runners over but Corey Hart made an amazing play on the bunt and threw out Allen Craig at 3rd (with shortstop Jeff Bianchi covering the bag). Whew! A wild pitch during the next at bat allowed the runners to advance anyways. Braun came in and played between third basemen Taylor Green and Bianchi to make sure a dribbler didn’t win the game. Loe struck out Bryan Anderson but then walked Daniel Descalso. With two outs and the bases loaded Loe induced an inning-ending grounder to Hart and the Brewers escaped the jam. Hart and Loe came through in the clutch and helped to prolong the game and give the Brewers a chance.
As the game entered the 13th I texted Adam, who had been at the park for over 12 hours at this point; “The Brewers are getting at least one run this inning. Not promising anything in the bottom half, though.” With one out Braun stepped in and on the 1-1 pitch…
The crack of the bat echoed in the now nearly empty ballpark (this picture was taken at 1:48 AM). Braun rounded third and when he touched home plate the Brewers took a one run lead.
Axford issued a two-out walk to a pinch-hitting Lance Berkman but I think he may have been pitching around the “Big Puma”. The count went full on the next batter (Descalso) but Axford got him to ground out to end the game. Brewers win the marathon! Final Score: Brewers 5 – Cardinals 4. Game time was 4 hours 30 minutes which doesn’t include the 2 hour 20 minute rain delay before the game got underway.
I tried getting the lineup card after the game and politely asked Rick Kranitz if I could have it as he was walking off the field. He told me it wasn’t his to give away and then disappeared into the tunnel. Darn. Not 20 seconds later did I see Jerry Narron (I think) emerge and give it to another Brewers fan. Double darn. As I was standing there Braun was getting interviewed by Craig Coshun in the camera well and an unbelievably idiotic Cardinals fan was next to me yelling: “Those steroids sure help, don’t they!!!” and other steroids related taunts. I’m assuming you could hear it on the broadcast and if I was some sort of lawless maniac I would have punched the guy. I am not said maniac so I just glared at him and said: “Are you kidding me right now?” I also brought up Mark McGwire and he said he despises him as well. Comparing Braun to McGwire is totally unfair though. Braun hasn’t changed since he got into the league and is putting up better numbers this year than he did last year *WITHOUT* Prince Fielder behind him in the lineup. Aramis Ramirez has been a very good replacement in the 4-spot so that last part doesn’t hold too much weight but you get my point.
I got back to the hotel at around 2:30 AM but didn’t go to bed until almost five. For some reason I wasn’t very tired. How is this possible, you ask? I have no idea; I had been awake for for almost 20 hours. It’s past 3:00 PM on Saturday and the game tonight is at 6:15. The weather is supposed to be perfect today so there shouldn’t be any delays.
If you want to learn more about Be The Match and how you can help, CLICK HERE