September 13th, 2012
Wednesday was a rare 7:10 PM series finale. Since the Braves also had Thursday off I’m guessing the Brewers asked if they’d be alright with playing a night game, because night games typically get more people in the park. I’m not sure what an afternoon finale would have drawn, but Miller Park was 90.3% based on full capacity. Thank you, Braves.
About a month ago a twitter follower asked if my extra ticket was available for the 12th of September. I said it was but he had also asked if I could possibly get two more so his brother and father could join. It was a month before the game and I thought with it being a Braves series the two tickets next to mine would be taken but luckily they weren’t. They always come down for at least one Braves game. They’re from Menasha which happens to be where Braves utility man Eric Hinske is from. Casey graduated with Hinske’s younger brother Ryan, so Casey and Eric are on speaking terms.
I met the three of them in the Thomas parking lot right after the parking lots opened at 4:10. I parked 3 spots from them so it worked out pretty well. We had a few brats and a few beers, and it was a perfect day to tailgate.
Before we went inside I had a nearby tailgater get a picture of the three of us. From left to right you have Josh, Casey, myself, and Marty (who was celebrating his birthday).
At about 6:15 we went inside and over to section 123 to get game photo number 143. Casey did the honors and this was the first picture he took; nice work!
We went down towards the field and waited for Hinske come out and stretch, but he never did so. Josh and I went up to the seats in time to see Chipper Jones get presented with a gas grill and a year’s supply of Klement’s sausages. It was a little strange, but cool as well. Chipper Jones is in his 20th season with the Atlanta Braves and he is retiring after the season. He’s a first ballot hall of famer and is a great guy (from what I can tell). The picture is a little blurry because my camera was focusing on the giant sausages and not on the center of the frame. Ryan Braun was out there along with Craig Counsell, who now works as a special assistant to general manager Doug Melvin.
After the brief presentation of gifts it was time for the national anthem. Casey and Marty had stayed down on the field level for a bit, Casey wound up seeing Hinske and they exchanged pleasantries. Someone from Fort Atkinson (my hometown) informed me that the former pastor of the church I went to would be singing the national anthem and asked if I could record it. Josh and I stood up for the anthem and they announced Pastor John Wells, who is now the Pastor at the Methodist Church in Elm Grove. I had forgotten about it but quickly got my phone out and did the best I could to record the anthem. This audio doesn’t do his voice justice and his annual Christmas Eve singing of “Oh Holy Night” would give me chills on a yearly basis.
Yovani Gallardo delivered a ball inside to Michael Bourn to kick off the series finale.
Jason Heyward, who was batting 3rd for the Braves, hit a solo home run owith two outs in the top of the 1st. In the top of the 4th the Braves added another run but it could’ve been a bigger inning. They had runners on first and third with nobody out but Dan Uggla grounded into a double play. The runner on third scored to give the Braves a 2-0 lead but the double play greatly reduced the chances of a big inning.
Jeff Bianchi led off the bottom of the 5th inning and reached when Chipper Jones committed a fielding error on a grounder. With one out Aoki singled and Rickie Weeks sent one to right center and deep:
BOOOOOOOM!!! The ball bounced off the top of the wall and into the visitor’s bullpen to give the Brewers a 3-2 lead. Braun singled and Ramirez did the same. I thought the single from Ramirez was actually an error on Chipper Jones. It was a slow roller but Ramirez isn’t the fastest of runners and I thought he should’ve made the play. I am not the official scorer so I have no basis, but that was my opinion. My thoughts were somewhat backed up by Chipper’s reaction after the play, I think it’s pretty obvious he thought he should’ve made the play.
Lucroy singled on the very next pitch to drive in Braun and increase the lead to 4-2.
Logan Schafer walked to load the bases and Travis Ishikawa helped add some insurance. He cranked the 0-1 pitch into the gap in right center and all three baserunners came around to score.
Two batters later Gallardo got in on the action and drove in Ishikawa with a double of his own. In all, the Brewers scored 8 (yes, EIGHT) runs in the bottom of the 5th. Eight-run innings are always exhilarating (more so when it’s your team who’s “putting up a snowman”).
In the top of the 9th Chipper Jones came to the plate for likely the last time in Milwaukee. Most fans (me included) gave him a nice ovation, as we had done before his first at bat in each of the three games. I got the picture a little late but Chipper had just taken his batting helmet off and waved it to show his appreciation.
At one point in the 9th a fan came down the steps and rejoined the group he was with.
Brooms are commonplace when a sweep is possible but I thought they were illegal at Miller Park. The guy on the left asked the broom-bearer “where’d you get that?” I’m guessing the guy went up and took it from a maintenance cart, whether he asked to borrow it is beyond me. I thought it was funny mainly due to the friend’s reaction to the broom and how he asked the question.
Kameron Loe pitched the 9th and got Eric Hinske to fly out to center to end the game. This was the glorious linescore after it was all said and done. That 8-run 5th really sticks out (in a good way). Nice job fellas!
This is probably the latest I’ve posted about a game, but today (Thursday) is an off day, and I “took some time off.” I drove back to Madison on Wednesday night and Victoria and I are heading to a bar in a bit to watch the Packers take on the Bears. Despite attending 20 Brewers games in 20 days I felt ready for another today. That may have a lot to do with how well they’ve been playing. Only three games back of the second wild card spot. Let’s get it!
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