September 19th, 2012
Monday was an off day and I spent most of it on the road. I left my parents’ place at 9:10 AM and made a pitstop in Janesville to drop off the Be The Match donations I’ve gotten so far. When people have joined me for games they’ve either made the donation in cash or written a check to Be The Match. I did this for two reasons. 1) It saves Be The Match the credit/debit card fees for online donations, which you can make here. 2) I can actually verify that they made the donation. I trust people but it’s also easy to say you’re going to do something and then forget (I do it all the time, believe me). I included $640 of checks from other people and then wrote a check for $1,700 and sent it off. I know this doesn’t prove that I sent it, but here it is anyways. Of course I have Brewers checks…
I stopped near Amherst, Ohio to fill up and get some dinner at Panera. I was tempted to try and push my tank to 600 miles (something I haven’t done before) but I relented. My gas light had been on for about 80 miles and signs said the next service plaza wasn’t for another 33 miles. The 33 miles wouldn’t have put me over 600 anyways so I filled up when my trip read 561 miles (roughly 36 miles per gallon, awwwwwww yeah).
My friend Dustin, who went with me to the games in Arizona, Los Angeles and Denver used to be roomates with a guy from Pittsburgh (Chad). Chad still has friends that live in PIttsburgh and last month I stayed with Mark and this time I was going to be staying with Mike. I found out on Sunday that Mike’s girlfriend just moved in with him and her place is vacant. So I’m writing this from the couch of my friend’s friend’s friend’s girlfriend. Whew. I feel blessed that all these people (that I barely know) are so willing to open up their doors and let me crash for a few days. Thank you Mike and Eirwen.
On Tuesday morning I went to Pamela’s P & G Diner on Walnut Street. I searched “breakfast” in google maps and this came up, so I figured it was worth a try. This is the interior of the restaurant:
I got the “Morning After Special” with the specialty hotcakes. I ordered the Banana Walnut hotcakes to go with my awkwardly named meal of two eggs and bacon (not pictured). When the waitress came with my massive breakfast and asked if I needed anything else I replied “another stomach”. Corny, I know. The hotcakes were delicious and I was stuffed after cleaning both plates.
I went back to “my apartment” and bummed around a bit before leaving for the day. I had been craving wings since the Packers game on Thursday, so I went to Fat Head’s Saloon (again). If you recall my post from August 24th I went to Fat Head’s and got five wings as well as the Southside Slopes “Headwich”. This time I opted for 10 char-grilled wings with the Fat Head’s Original sauce. Some were more charred than others but overall they were very good, and likely much healthier than the deep fried ones (the ranch might cancel some of that out though).
I left Fat Head’s at 5:15 and was parked at the garage on 6th Street twenty minutes later. When you cross Fort Duquesne Boulevard you get a nice view of PNC park from across the river. It had been raining on and off all day and the skies didn’t look very pleasant.
I walked over the Roberto Clemente Bridge and to the player will call window in the left field corner. I picked up my ticket and headed inside. I decided on the left field corner of the upper deck for the game number photo and took the necessary three escalators to get up there. From where I was planning on getting the picture taken this was the view to my left. The structure in the lower left is a circular ramp inside PNC Park.
There were zero fans within 12 sections of me so I decided to try and use the self timer function on my camera. I wedged my drawstring bag in the folded seat and placed my camera bag on top of that. I then put my glove on top of the bag and put my camera on that. Game photo number 147 was a success, thanks in part to my stacking and balancing prowess.
I think the picture above was the 7th attempt. I had to hit the shutter release, hobble down 6 steps and over 5 seats, then step up onto the seat and pose. This following is one of the “outtakes” if you will (don’t know why I’m including it). This is the only one that I wasn’t ready for and I think I’m glancing at the camera as if to say: “Seriously? I’m not ready!” (I had trouble stepping onto the seat that time)
I called Adam McCalvy after getting the picture taken care of to see if he had time to ask me the questions he had wanted to for his story. He said he did and we met behind home plate in the upper deck concourse. He’s thinking the story will be up right before the final homestand. I talked with Adam for 10 minutes or so and then we parted ways. My seat was in section 108 but I could tell that there weren’t going to be too many fans at the game. I decided to go for potential home run balls in the wide aisle between the field level bleachers and upper bleachers in left field. This was my view for the first pitch of the night, a strike from A.J. Burnett to Norichika Aoki.
Between the 1st and 2nd innings the sun started setting behind PNC Park and it made for a nice picture.
There won’t be any action shots because I was too far away to get anything significant. I do have a picture of a dog though. It was the 7th of 8 Pup Nights that the the Pirates had on the slate for 2012.
The Brewers scored one run in the top of the 2nd and held that lead into the 6th. Segura singled home Lucroy to double the lead (2-0 Brewers). The 7th inning saw the Crew push two more across and they duplicated the effort in the 8th. The Brewers took advantage of the Pirates’ inability to throw out baserunners, and stole seven bases. Weeks, Lucroy, Aoki and Gomez each stole one while Braun stole three, bringing his yearly total to 27. If Braun can somehow steal 13 bases in the next 15 games (highly unlikely, I know) he would get to the 40/40 plateau (40 home runs & 40 steals). The seven steals is the second most the Brewers have stolen in a single game. They stole 8 in 1992 vs. the Blue Jays, and also stole 7 against the Jays that same year. Pretty cool stuff.
The two runs in the 8th were the final runs in the game, and the Brewers staff pitched a shutout for the second straight game. Towards the end of the game I moved from the left field cross aisle to a section near the Brewers dugout. I talked with some Brewers fans that were down there and they had drove to the game and met a friend who had flown in from Vermont. I mentioned who I was (one of them had heard about me!) and I gave them each a business card. I also mentioned that I was going to try and get the lineup card after the game. Veras struck out Travis Snider to end the game and I raced down to the first row right above the Brewers dugout. Final score: Brewers 6 – Pirates 0.
I took a few pictures of the post-win handshake line and this one stuck out.
What’s happening on the far left there? Someone is airborne and I think it’s Nyjer Morgan, but I’m not sure. There were a bunch of Brewers fans above the dugout voicing their support. Braun gave a peace sign to the guys I had talked to before the game ended. “And also with you.”
When the coaches starting coming off the field I started yelling “JERRY! JERRY!” and then “NARRON! NARRON!” to no avail. I think it was Kranitz who finally looked up and the guy on my right (who I had told about my plan) beat me to the punch and asked for the card. As Kranitz (I think) disappeared the guy told me he asked for it to try and get it for me. An arm emerged and the lineup card was handed over. I took a few pictures (with the lineup card) for the guys driving to Vermont and made my way to the left-centerfield exit. Before getting there I stopped to get a picture at the scoreboard, showing the impressive linescore. Over the last two games the Brewers have given up a combined 5 hits and 0 runs. Nice job, fellas!
When I got back to “my apartment” I took a closeup up the lineup card. This will be framed in the near future, and will make a nice addition to a man cave at some point. The reason I went for the card on Tuesday is because it met my two requirements: 1) Aoki was in the lineup (I knew Narron wrote his name in Japanese) and 2) The Brewers won (I wouldn’t want to hang something up if it was from a losing effort). Picky? Perhaps. Logical? You bet. I noticed that it’s not signed by Roenicke. I wonder if I should try and get him to sign it at the bottom there, or just leave it in its original state. I also just realized that if I would have gotten it in Houston I would’ve had to either fold it or carry it with me on the plane as to not bend it. I’m glad I got it on a driving trip.
With the Cardinals winning on Tuesday the Brewers weren’t able to gain any ground in the race for the second wild card spot. We all need to become huge Astros fans for the next week or so (and Cubs fans for that matter, I know it’s difficult). The next 8 games for the Cardinals are against those two teams. Come on ‘Stros!!!
I did miss ONE pitch on Tuesday, and I’m not happy about it. When the Brewers were in the field a bunch of knuckleheads in and around the bleachers in left were yelling things at Braun including “Mmmmmm, steroids. NOM NOM NOM NOM!” Right before the bottom of the 7th started a guy yelled “Hey Braun, are you happy with the singles you’ve hit tonight!?” I said to the guy “Hey, you can’t steal bases if you’re hitting home runs, he’s got a chance at a 40/40 year now.” In the process of turning and saying that I missed the first pitch of the bottom of the 7th. Darn.
If you want to learn more about Be The Match and how you can help, CLICK HERE