September 2012

9-7-12 (@ St. Louis)

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.

Personal Stats:

Daily Stats:

Time inside Busch Stadium: 6 hours 51 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 7 hours 26 minutes
Driving miles: 26.5
Sausages: 0
Pitches missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (428/428) Awwwwwww yeeeeeeaaaaaaah!
Current streak of pitches seen: 869

Season Stats:

Brewers current record: 68-70 (.493 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 586 hours 13 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 686 hours 39 minutes
Miles driven: 16,338.6
Miles riding in car but not driving: 2,191.8
Public transit miles: 469.0
Flight miles: 19,777
Total distance traveled: 38,776.3 miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 155.72% (38,776.3/24,901)
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: 99.77% (41,223/41,319)

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

9-6-12 (@ Miami)

I worked on Wednesday’s post until early Thursday morning and didn’t go to bed until after 3:00 AM. I woke up at 6:00 AM to the sound of Claire’s roommate making breakfast. He was extraordinarily noisy and there was no way I was falling asleep while he was cooking. It comes with the territory though and I’m still grateful that I was able to stay with my sister’s friend’s cousin in a nice penthouse in downtown Miami. I think I was able to fall back asleep sometime after 7:00 and got another hour or so of sleep.

Bond, Claire’s boyfriend, had said he could take me to the ballpark and we left at 10:45. I had been hoping to get the stadium at 11:00 to take advantage of the food in the Diamond Club. We missed out on going over a drawbridge by about 30 seconds and we were stuck waiting for 15 minutes. I would get frustrated living there and getting stuck on my morning commute or on the way home. Bond says he tries avoid driving if he can for that same reason.

I was outside the Diamond Club Entrance at 11:16.

I dropped off my suitcase (thanks Angela!) and then walked around. The Marlins batting cages are visible through a wall of glass on the third base side of home plate.

I went to the seats in centerfield to get game photo number 137 taken (shout out to the self timer function).

Rotating the camera to the right gives you an up close and personal look at the home run sculpture from the side.

I walked up and over to the corner of the upper outfield seating area. This point is 448 feet from home plate.

I went back to the field level and re-entered the Diamond Club. This is the entrance that faces the exterior of Marlins Park:

Inside those doors is the dining area, which you can see below. On the far wall the food is served buffet style. There were too many choices to describe them all but I got a bunch.

Off to the right you can see a darkish room. It’s full of wine:

With my first plate I got some potato salad, green beans, a piece of cheese (that I didn’t like), some fresh fruit, and a monte cristo chicken sandwich. These pictures may have a strange hue because I took them without the flash (for the sake of not being an annoying tourist to the other Diamond Club visitors).

With my second plate I got carved turkey with cranberry sauce, pasta salad, cucumber salad, seared salmon, and the stuff in front that I can’t remember what it was.

On my third trip up I went with two desserts; a slice of “Wisconsin Cheesecake” (Yezzzzzir!) and a “State Fair Cream Puff”.

The game was scheduled to start at 12:40 and I got the desserts at 12:34. I quickly scarfed down the cheesecake and cream puff and went out to catch the first pitch.  I made it in time to see Josh Johnson deliver a ball to Aoki.

Marco Estrada started for the Brewers and got into trouble early. Here he is pitching in the 1st inning.

By the end of the 1st the Marlins had scored three runs and in the 2nd they added another run to make it 4-0. In the top of the 3rd Braun hit a sacrifice fly to center and the deficit was back at three. The RBI was Braun’s 99th of the season and he needs only one more for 5 straight 100 RBI seasons. If it weren’t for his glove at 3rd base he would’ve been in the majors earlier during the 2007 season, making it six straight (he had 97 RBI in just 113 games that year).

At some point between innings I went back into the dining area, went to the bathroom (yes, I washed my hands) and grabbed a Red Velvet Cupcake on my way back out to the seating bowl.

In the top of the 6th Braun bunted with one out and reached first on the single. Braun doesn’t bunt often but Josh Johnson was pitching a great game and he was trying to get a rally started.

Corey Hart followed Braun with a walk and the Brewers had two on with only one out. Lucroy stepped in representing the tying run but struck out swinging. Carlos Gomez got his shot and sent one to center and deep…

Unfortunately it fell short and the Brewers didn’t score in the 6th. In the 7th an Aoki sacrifice fly scored Bianchi and the Marlins’ lead was now 4-2.

The 8th inning saw the Marlins add two insurance runs and the Brewers went quietly in the 9th. Final Score: Marlins 6 – Brewers 2. The Crew had plenty of chances to score some runs but went 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position (men on 2nd or 3rd). They split the series 2-2 and it would’ve been nice to get 3 out of 4. The Brewers are going to need to work some magic down the stretch. I’m thinking if they get to 89 wins they might have a shot, but that means they would need to win 22 of the final 25 games. Doubtful? Yes. Impossible? Never say never. Sweeping the Cardinals in St. Louis would do wonders but there are other clubs to pass as well.

After the game I stuck around for a bit and got some pictures of the roof and the panels opening. I also got another game number photo taken. I like that the roof is open but I already have two game number pictures from behind home plate (135 from the upper deck, 136 from the field). What’ya think for the final slideshow, the one up top or the one below? I know the one with the roof open is a better picture, but you have to take the other pictures I took during the series into consideration. Tough call.

After getting some pictures I called Angela on the outside chance that someone in the Marlins office might live near the airport or be heading that way. She said she was actually flying to D.C. and another coworker (Joanne) was giving her a ride. Nice! We actually took Angela’s car and then Joanne took it back to the garage at the stadium. Thank you Angela!

I got to the airport at 5:00 even though my flight wasn’t scheduled to leave until 8:50. It had originally been an 8:10 flight but in July I got an email saying that the departure time had changed. I hadn’t consumed a Cuban sandwich while I was in Miami so I got one in the airport. It’s probably not the same as what I would’ve gotten in Little Havana, but it was still pretty good.

The flight wound up being delayed and didn’t take off until after 10:00. Awesome. In all I spent four hours and 37 minutes in the Miami airport. The flight landed at 10:25 (central time) and I was at my car 30 minutes later. A short 15-minute drive to my Aunt and Uncle’s place in St. Charles and it was bedtime.

I’m staying at the Hilton St. Louis Downtown the next two nights and I’ll be detailing my visit in Friday’s post.

Angela sent me the link to the interview I did on Fox Sports Florida on Wednesday. Check it out:

FS Florida interview

Personal Stats:

Daily Stats:

Time inside Marlins Park: 4 hours 40 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 5 hours 4 minutes
Miles riding in a car but not driving: 13.9
Flight miles: 1,070
Driving miles: 11.1
Sausages: 0
Pitches missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.31% (288/288)
Current streak of pitches seen: 441

Season Stats:

Brewers current record: 67-70 (.489 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 579 hours 22 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 679 hours 13 minutes
Miles driven: 16,312.1
Miles riding in car but not driving: 2,191.8
Public transit miles: 469.0
Flight miles: 19,777
Total distance traveled: 38,749.8 miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 155.62% (38,749.8/24,901)
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: 99.77% (40,795/40,891)

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

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)

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

9-4-12 (@ Miami)

On Tuesday I was planning on finding a transit center where I could purchase a transit card. I gave up after the rail stop I visited didn’t sell them. I walked into a US Bank, gave them a 20 dollar bill, and got 20 singles; easy enough. I then proceeded to make it rain. I am of course joking about making it rain, but having 20 singles makes it tempting. I took the C bus at 11:35 AM to Miami Beach and spent some time here:

At about 1:45 I went to CJ’s Crab Shack for lunch. I got the Crab Cake Dinner, and it was good. They add 18% gratuity no matter how big your party is and my total came to $34.23. Expensive but every place on Ocean Drive is expensive. At CJ’s they take the meat out of the crab, do whatever it is they do and then put the mixture back into the shell and cook it. I chose corn on the cob and hush puppies as my side.

After lunch I was craving a Piña Colada (even though I don’t think I’ve ever had one) so I went to Wet Willie’s. I could’ve sworn I just heard a song that mentions “Wet Willie’s on Miami Beach” and that’s partially what put me in the mood. They have many choices at Wet Willie’s:

I could get used to this:

I got on the bus at 3:15 and rode it back to downtown Miami. I got ready for the game and took a 5:20 bus to Marlins Park. While I was waiting for my ticket at will call I noticed that they have this on one of the parking garages, not sure if it is someone in particular or not.

I got my ticket from will call at 6:10 and went inside. They have a “Bobblehead Museum” on the main concourse of the stadium. I put it in quotations because it’s really just a giant collection, and I mean GIANT. They have so many that they can’t hold them all in the two-sided display structure and they periodically switch them out. If you look closely at the first picture you can see a couple of the racing sausage bobbles on the second row in the bottom left (the pole covers them up a bit). The bobbleheads are all on shelves that shift every so often so that the bobbles actually bobble. Well done, Marlins, well done.

I went to the upper deck to get game photo number 135 taken. I asked a nearby Marlins fan, who I found out is Zach, to take it for me. Thanks Zach!

Zach was with four or five girls and they all were 18 or 19 (I would guess). I walked over, gave them each a business card and told them about Be The Match and how easy it is to join the registry. I saw them in the concourse a little later and one of the girls said she would be joining the registry. Nice!

While walking around in the upper deck I noticed guard rails protecting the water fountains. I’m not sure if running into fountains is a regular occurrence at ballparks but at Marlins Park they are protected in case a service cart driver loses control.

I went to the same stand that I had gone to on Monday but this time I ordered a drink with mangos, carrot juice and fresh squeezed orange juice. Normally you have to take them at their word if they say “freshly squeezed.” At this stand you know for sure:

I saw a Sushi stand nearby and I considered getting a roll. $12 seemed a little pricey but it’s in a ballpark, I don’t know what I was expecting it to be. It came with a little wasabi packet and soy sauce packet. I think I put a little too much wasabi in the soy sauce the second time, because after dipping a piece in the mixture and putting it in my mouth I could feel the heat in my nostrils. Overall the spicy tuna roll was very good. I never thought I would use chopsticks at a baseball game, but I did.

The game started and Wade LeBlanc threw a strike to Aoki.

A Ryan Braun single scored Ricke Weeks in the 1st and the Brewers had an early 1-0 lead.

In the top of the 2nd Marcum batted with two outs and I thought to myself: “this is good, if he gets out we’ll have the top of the order due up in the 3rd, if he gets on base it will be a bonus and give us a chance to score here in the 2nd.” Marcum singled and then Aoki drove one to right field:

Bang! The ball cleared the right field fence and went into the Brewers bullpen. The Crew had a 3-0 lead once Aoki crossed the plate. Marcum is giving Aoki the finger-mustache thing and he returned the gesture (not pictured).

In the bottom of the 2nd the Marlins cut into the lead on an RBI-single from Murphy. In the top of the 3rd Aramis Ramirez was down 1-2 in the count and LeBlanc  threw him a high fastball. It was somewhat towards his head and Aramis got out of the way (mostly). The umpire ruled that it was a foul tip strikeout (the catcher hung on) while Ramirez started walking to first base because he thought (and so do I) that it hit his thumb. Ramirez quickly took off his batting glove to show the umpire his finger. Roenicke came out to argue:

The first base umpire came in to talk (I’m guessing he’s the crew chief) and then all four umpires had a pow-wow near the pitcher’s mound. They came to the conclusion that it didn’t hit Ramirez, or maybe that even if it did it also hit the bat. I don’t think Ramirez would take off his batting glove and show the umpire if it didn’t appear he had been hit. It was a weird situation all around.

In the 4th Giancarlo Stanton (who is a man-child at the age of 22) hit a bomb over the wall in center. The centerfield wall is 418 feet away so it was hit extremely well. The home run cut the deficit to one but more importantly I got to see the home run sculpture do its thing. It lights up, the Marlins go around on a track and water shoots up from the side.

In the 5th I got to see it in action again when Gorkys Hernandez hit his first major league home, a 2-run shot that gave the Marlins a 4-3 lead. The Brewers tied the game at four when Aoki drove in Nyjer Morgan with a 7th inning double. After Rickie Weeks reached first on an infield single Braun came to the plate with runners on first and third, trying to give the Brewers the lead. He swung at the first pitch and sent a dribbler towards third:

If you look closely at the picture above (you might have to click on it) you can see the ball in foul territory above Braun’s left (front) foot. It had a bunch of spin on it though and it rolled in the grass down the third base line for the go-ahead RBI. In the boxscore it’s the same as a line drive base hit.

The 5-4 lead didn’t last long because Jeff Bianchi hit a 3-run home run in the top of the 8th to increase the lead by 300%!!!

A.J. Ramos pitched the top of the 9th inning and was making his major league debut. The first three batters he faced were Rickie Weeks, Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez. What did the rookie do? He struck them all out, now that’s an impressive feat. Veras came on to pitch the bottom of the 9th and struck out two of the four he faced but the other two walked and singled, respectively. The single with two outs made it a save situation (since the tying run was in the on deck circle). Axford came in and retired the only batter he faced to pick up the save. Final Score: Brewers 8 – Marlins 4.

On my way to the bus stop I looked back at the stadium and noticed that the panels and roof were open. If I would’ve known they were going to open them after the game I might have stuck around to see them in action.

I took the 11 bus back to my host’s place but just over halfway there the bus driver stopped at a corner and got off the bus. I thought I heard something about “a smoke” but I wasn’t sure. There were two other riders on the bus but they got off after a minute or two of us just sitting there without a driver. I waited probably five minutes and then decided to walk the 8/10 of a mile back to Claire’s. I had no idea if that was smart or not because I’m not familiar with Miami or the neighborhoods. One block down the bus zoomed past me and I felt like a chump. At one point I saw a tiny lizard on the sidewalk (which was pretty neat) and literally 2 seconds later a cockroach scampered past (not neat).

It’s after 10:30 AM on Wednesday and I’ll be throwing out a first pitch in less than nine hours. I’m trying to decide if I should do the fake to third, look at first move while on the mound, but I’m thinking I might get booed.

Personal Stats:

Daily Stats:

Time inside Marlins Park: 4 hours 8 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 4 hours 45 minutes
Public transit miles: 15.8
Sausages: 0
Pitches missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (296/296)
Current streak of pitches seen: 410

Season Stats:

Brewers current record: 66-69 (.489 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 568 hours 38 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 667 hours 59 minutes
Miles driven: 16,301.0
Miles riding in car but not driving: 2,169.8
Public transit miles: 469.0
Flight miles: 18,707
Total distance traveled: 37,646.7 miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 151.19% (37,646.7/24,901)
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: 94
Longest streak of pitches seen: 2,192 (8/27 – 9/3)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.77% (40,221/40,315)

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

9-3-12 (@ Miami)

My Monday actually started on Sunday night. After getting back to my parents’ place I wrote the post for Sunday and packed for the seven game road trip. I left the house at 10:56 PM, stopped for gas in Janesville, and then drove four and a half hours until I reached St. Louis. I had made good time so I filled up before I went to the airport, which will make it easier once I get back from Miami. I parked in the $7 surface lot and was inside the airport by 4:40 AM. My flight took off at 6:36 and I was able to get about an hour of sleep. As we were over Miami I (barely) got a picture of Sun Life Stadium, which the Marlins called home from 1993 to 2011. It opened in 1987 and the Dolphins (NFL) have played there ever since. It’s just above the plane’s engine if you couldn’t see it.

I’m staying with my sister’s friend’s cousin (Claire) and she was planning on picking me up from the airport at 10:45 AM. I called when we landed to let her know that I was on time but at 10:35 she called back informing me her car wouldn’t start. I thought about taking the bus but opted for a taxi. The taxi was not cheap and the meter read $6.10 before we were even off of the airport grounds. It was $16.50 by the time he dropped me off 4.9 miles later but then he added $2 to the total. Long story short I found a great way to make a 20 dollar bill disappear in 12 short minutes. When I was dropped off at Marlins Park this was my first up close view of the new stadium.

I walked around and came to the conclusion that while the exterior of the stadium and the surrounding parking garages are clean, it’s nothing to write home about. It seems somewhat bland. I’m not sure what I was expecting but it was Labor Day and the crowd was sparse. As I walked along NW 14th Avenue on stadium grounds I came across this:

There were other letters built into the walkways and I swear I remember an O being one of them. I’m trying to think why an O would be included in their letter choice (Miami Marlins). I went all the way around the stadium and on the (western) side with the roof panel supports I took game photo number 134. A barricade pole “volunteered” its services and I used my camera’s self-timer function to get the job done. There really isn’t any exterior signage (they’re probably awaiting a suitable sponsor to shell out millions for the naming rights, Miller is taken).

I like the man hole cover design, very tropical. I was standing on one in the game number picture so I thought it deserved a mention.

Up near the stadium there was a band playing but not too many people listening nearby [read: zero]. I felt bad for the guys, it was an hour and a half before first pitch but it was dead out there.

I went to the player will call wind ow and waited for my ticket to be released. I picked it up just after 12:00 and went to the Diamond Club entrance. I had my suitcase with me and I needed to store it in the team offices for the game. I had already worked out the details with the Community Outreach Director and I waited in the lobby. They have a Marlins Park model in the lobby as well as a giant Marlins M on the wall:

I went up to the offices and met with Angela who I had emailed several times about my visit. She had reached out to me and asked if I would like to throw out a first pitch, which I will be doing on Wednesday. After dropping off my suitcase I headed upstairs to the main concourse. They have a pillar that details the Miami Orange Bowl’s history. It was originally named Burdine Stadium but was renamed for the Bowl Game. My Grandpa actually played in the 1948 Orange Bowl as an offensive lineman for the Kansas Jayhawks, who lost to Georgia Tech 20-14.

I walked to the left field corner where they have a Taste of Miami area with local fare. I had the pork sandwich and while it was only $7 it wasn’t spectacular by any means. I think I’ll try the Cuban sandwich during one of the other games. Not pictured is the Reyes of Sunshine smoothie I got. The Marlins have a player by the name of Jose Reyes, thus the strange spelling. It consisted of strawberries, bananas, mangos, coconut milk and agave nectar. That was also $7 but I think it was worth it.

Near the Taste of Miami area they have a small balcony for smokers. I’m not a smoker but it provides a good spot to get a picture of downtown Miami:

Similar to Miller Park the outfield panels can slide open. I’m hoping I can see them in action at least once during my visit.

I took an escalator to the upper deck to walk around, and was surprised with how empty it was. This photo was taken 20 minutes before first pitch. It’s sad; “build it and they will come” doesn’t always hold true. Professional baseball in Florida just doesn’t seem able to attract fans. With so many other warm weather activities to take up ones time I can *somewhat* understand. The Marlins aren’t having a very good season but I thought it would be a little bit busier, maybe because it was Labor Day people were especially busy.

I went down to my seat in section 11 and the game got started when Rickie Nolasco delivered a ball to Norichika Aoki:

Mike Fiers, from nearby Pompano Beach, Florida, got the start for the Brewers. He had lots of friends and family in the stands and they cheered every time he threw a strike and even louder when an out was recorded. Here he is about to deliver the first pitch of his outing.

In the top of the second I took a picture of the home run sculpture that resides in left centerfield. The sculpture cost $2.5 million and while I don’t want to see it in use, I kind of do. Maybe in a Brewers blowout win or something.

Lucroy reached on an error with one out in the 2nd and Gomez lined a shot to left that hit the top of the wall and bounced over for a two-run home run. Gomez likes to race around the bases and sometimes will almost catch his teammates that were on base in front of him. Go-Go looks like he’s hunting Lucroy down.

In the top of the 3rd Aramis Ramirez fouled a pitch off his foot/ankle. If you look closely at Ramirez’s left ankle you can see his pants partially wrapped around the ball. For good measure Ram-Ram singled on the next pitch.

The Brewers’ 2-0 lead didn’t last long and in the bottom of the 3rd a sacrifice fly from Reyes put the Marlins on the board. The bottom of the 4th inning was a long one, and the Marlins wound up scoring 5 runs. All of them scored while Fiers was still pitching. After facing 8 batters and only recording one out Fiers was removed for Livan Hernandez. The first run that scored in the inning was almost an out at the plate but a good slide allowed the Marlins to tie the game at two, eventually taking a 6-2 lead.

I forget when they came out onto the field but the Miami Marlins Energy Team made an appearance. I like that the umpire is keeping a close eye on the dancing, probably to make sure no rules are being broken.

The guy on the left is flying!!!

The Marlins hold a Sea Creatures race at some point during the game. It ain’t no Sausage race but like I’ve said before I may be a little biased.

The Marlins have also modified their mascot’s attire to match the new team colors. He went from Billy the Marlin to Billy and the technicolor Marlin outfit. I must admit that the Marlins’ new colors and logo has grown on me. At first I didn’t really like it but if I was a fan of theirs I would wear the new team colors proudly.

Braun drove in a run with a single in the 6th but the Marlins added a run of their own in the bottom of the 7th. The Brewers outhit the Marlins 10-7 but lost by four runs. Final Score: Marlins 7 – Brewers 3. I took the 7 bus to downtown Miami and walked the half mile to my hosts apartment on Biscayne Boulevard. The view from her apartment on the 44th floor is amazing, and even cooler at night (not pictured). The Miami River is the body of water that is visible and if you could see to the left in this picture you would see it open up into the Atlantic.

I slept for a few hours when I made it to the apartment and then worked on the post for the day. It’s 10:30 AM on Tuesday as I write this and I’m heading to the beach in a bit.

Oh, I almost forgot: my 2,152 pitch streak came to an end on Monday. Livan Hernandez was pitching for the Brewers and working quickly. I was looking at the scoreboard in the bottom of the 5th and missed the first pitch to Donnie Murphy. I had just been thinking that I had been saved by my peripheral vision a few times during the game. I hadn’t been paying attention but the pitcher’s wind up caught my attention and I was able to refocus. Not so much in the 5th, oh well.

Personal Stats:

Daily Stats:

Time inside Marlins Park: 4 hours 8 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 5 hours 11 minutes
Miles driven: 350.1
Miles riding in a car but not driving: 6.5
Flight miles: 1,070
Public transit miles: 2.3
Sausages: 0
Pitches missed: 1
Consecutive pitch streak ended at: 2,192
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.66% (290/291)
Current streak of pitches seen: 114

Season Stats:

Brewers current record: 65-69 (.485 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 564 hours 30 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 663 hours 14 minutes
Miles driven: 16,301.0
Miles riding in car but not driving: 2,169.8
Public transit miles: 453.2
Flight miles: 18,707
Total distance traveled: 37,630.9 miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 151.12% (37,630.9/24,901)
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: 94
Longest streak of pitches seen: 2,192 (8/27 – 9/3)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.77% (39,925/40,019)

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

9-2-12 (vs. Pittsburgh)

On Sunday Victoria and I left her Aunt and Uncle’s house in Sussex at 11:05. We drove separately to the interstate and then she drove us to the game. We were parked at 11:40 and I walked the parking lots for about 30 minutes, telling people about Mission 162 and Be The Match.

I went inside and met Victoria by section 119 where I got game photo number 133 taken. 82% of the season is over, wow.

After getting the picture taken we went over to the team store because the sweatshirt I had picked up from Nathan on Friday was one size too big. I had tried it on in the store when he handed it over, but after wearing it for a few minutes on Saturday afternoon Victoria and I agreed I should opt for the medium.

We headed to the escalator in the left field corner and came across Bernie’s Chalet and Bernie himself. I’m giving him a corny high five even though he’s actually waving.

Up to the loge level we went. I went to the Chef’s Table behind section 216 and got “Pittsburgh’s Own Isaly’s Style Ham BBQ.” It was pretty good but I’m not quite sure it was deserving of the $9.25 price tag.

As I was walking behind the press box in the concourse towards section 216 I heard the announcer say Bill the usher was throwing out a ceremonial first pitch. I wish I would’ve known that in advance because I would’ve made sure to be in my seat in time to see him throw. I asked the usher who was standing in for him behind 216 and he said Bill threw a strike but then rubbed his shoulder afterwards as if he had some discomfort. I’ll have to talk to Bill during the next home stand to get the lowdown.

Yovani Gallardo started off the game by throwing a ball to Brock Holt.

An RBI single by Gaby Sanchez later in the 1st gave the Pirates an early 1-0 lead. The Pirates’ lead didn’t last long. An error on a potential double play grounder allowed Braun to bat with two on instead of the bases empty. He didn’t miss the first pitch from James McDonald, driving in both Aoki and Weeks with a home run to left.

A leadoff home run in the top of the 2nd cut the Brewers’ lead to 3-2. In the bottom half the Brewers answered when Jeff Bianchi hit his second home run of the season. I love how happy Aoki appears to be while giving a high five to Bianchi.

Bianchi’s blast gave the Brewers a 4-2 lead and Rickie Weeks’ two-run home run three batters later doubled the margin.

A two-run single in the top of the 3rd cut the deficit to 6-4 but Carlos Gomez hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the 3rd to return it to four runs. Gallardo led off the bottom of the 4th with a home run of his own, the fifth home run of the game. I was telling Victoria before the pitch that the Brewers were on pace for 10 or so home runs. As the pitch was delivered to Gallardo I said “well, 11 now” (hoping Gallardo would go deep). Yovani did me a solid by sending one over the wall in left to give the Crew a 9-4 lead.

Later in the inning Aramis Ramirez singled home two more runs and the Brewers had 11 runs before the 4th inning was over.

Corey Hart came to the plate after Ramirez and on the 1-2 pitch this happened. Talk about perfect timing on my part (take a look at Hart’s neck).

The 91 mile per hour fastball hit Hart at the bottom of his batting helmet. He was a little shaken up but ran down to first and stayed in the game. If it would’ve been just a little bit lower there could have been some serious problems, and a lot more pain. Maldonado grounded into an inning ending double play and the trainer came back out to make sure Hart was still OK. I’m assuming Hart is telling the trainer where he got hit. Either that or he’s giving the trainer an between innings neck massage as Rickie Weeks watches.

Gallardo couldn’t make it out of the 5th and gave up three more runs before being removed with two outs in the inning. The Brewers lead was now *only* four runs (11-7). While four runs might seem like a nice cushion with the way the season has gone you can never have enough run support. A solo home run in the top of the 6th cut the deficit to three runs but Ramirez pushed it back to four with another RBI single in the bottom half.

In the top of the 9th Manny Parra was given the chance to get the final three outs but gave up a leadoff single and a five pitch walk. Roenicke had seen enough and brought in Axford. He got the job done by getting a fly out and two strikeouts. Here is Axford delivering the final pitch of the game, a 99 MPH fastball to get Harrison swinging:

Final Score: Brewers 11 – Pirates 7. This was the linescore after it was all said and done. 10 of the first 12 half innings saw runs being scored. Crazy stuff.

With the win the Brewers swept the three game series and have now won 11 of their last 13 games. It might be a little too late but I’m not giving up hope. They’re 6.5 games back of the Cardinals for the last wild card spot which is closer than the Cardinals were last year at this time. The Brewers’ playoff chance percentage has increased from .1% to .8% over the last week or so. “So you’re saying there’s a chance….” (Dumb and Dumber).

It’s almost 10:00 PM as I write this from my parents’ dining room table. I’ll be leaving in about an hour to drive to St. Louis. A 6:30 AM flight will take me to Miami where I will get picked up by my sister’s friend’s cousin and taken to Marlins Park for the 1:10 PM eastern time Labor Day matchup. The Brewers play the Cardinals in St. Louis after the Miami series, which explains why I’m flying out of St. Louis and not Milwaukee.

Personal Stats:

Daily Stats:

Time inside Miller Park: 4 hours 35 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 5 hours 17 minutes
Miles driven: 57.5
Miles riding in a car but not driving: 25.2
Sausages: 0
Pitches missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (342/342)
Current streak of pitches seen: 2,018

Season Stats:

Brewers current record: 65-68 (.489 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 560 hours 22 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 658 hours 3 minutes
Miles driven: 15,950.9
Miles riding in car but not driving: 2,163.3
Public transit miles: 450.6
Flight miles: 17,637
Total distance traveled: 36,201.7 miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 145.38% (36,201.7/24,901)
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: 93
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,965 (6/30 – 7/6)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.76% (39,635/39,728)

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

9-1-12 (vs. Pittsburgh)

On Saturday Victoria and I left her Aunt and Uncle’s place at 2:20 and went to The Boneyard Pub & Grille for lunch. It’s in Sussex and they’ve got a wealth of flat screens, making it an ideal place to watch a game. I had the Cowboy chicken sandwich, which consisted of a chicken breast topped with deep fried onions, bacon, cheddar cheese and barbeque sauce. It was very good.

We watched the first quarter of the Badgers game and left at 3:30 for Miller Park. Ed, a twitter follower, had given me his two tickets in section 116 for the game so I was going to try and sell mine for a donation. I don’t know if it was the Badgers game or the Brewers’ record, but there weren’t too many people buying tickets. I was outside Miller Park for over an hour before finally getting somebody to buy my two tickets. It helps that I’ve got a good story to go along with it. The two Pirates fans I sold my tickets to had actually seen my interview on Root Sports Pittsburgh last weekend. The Pirates fan paid me $60 for the seats which will wind up as a donation to Be The Match. Thanks for the donation!

I stopped by a tailgate and then went inside at 5:30. I met Victoria in our seats and we went over to the aisle between sections 117 and 118 for game photo number 132.

After Saturday’s game there are only 13 home games left! Where has the season gone? We went back to our seats and waited for the game to start. Ben Christensen, the former MLB Fancaver with the MLB tattoos, was at Saturday’s game and he was sitting in section 113. Victoria spotted him in the cross aisle behind us and I went back to say hi. It was his first visit to Miller Park and he was impressed.

The game got started and Marco Estrado delivered a called strike to Alex Presley.

A solo home run in the top of the 2nd gave the Pirates a 1-0 lead. In the bottom of the 3rd Carlos Gomez walked to open up the half inning. As an opponent I would think walking Go-Go is a No-No. Gomez stole 2nd and stole 3rd:

While Marco Estrada was batting Pirates starter A.J. Burnett threw a wild pitch and Gomez was able to score the tying run. Burnett wound up walking Estrada on four pitches, also a no-no. The one run is all the Brewers got in the 3rd and the game remained tied. Burnett had a no-hitter going until Rickie Weeks singled with two outs in the 6th inning.

In the bottom of the 7th Corey Hart walked with one out and advanced to second base on a Lucroy groundout. Gomez batted with two outs and drove the 0-1 pitch towards the left centerfield gap:

It made it all the way to the wall and Gomez had a stand-up double that gave the Brewers a 2-1 lead.

Jim Henderson pitched the top of the 8th and walked the first guy he faced on four pitches. “Here we go again” was echoing in my head. A sacrifice bunt and a strikeout brought McCutchen up with two outs. Henderson jammed the Pirates’ All-Star center fielder and he broke his bat. Unfortunately he got enough of it and the Texas-leaguer fell between Rickie Weeks and Carlos Gomez in centerfield and the game was tied at two. Not much you can do about that but walking the first batter of the inning allowed a run to score on the play.

The Brewers failed to score in their half of the 8th and Axford pitched the 9th inning to try and keep it a 2-2 game. A two-out single followed by consecutive walks put Axford in a tough spot. Presley took a ball but then Axford threw three straight called strikes, getting out of the jam without allowing a run. Here he is before delivering the final pitch of the at bat.

Corey Hart was due up first in the bottom of the 9th inning and I told Victoria “How about Hart hits the first pitch for a home run?” Long story short that didn’t happen. The Pirates closer, Joel Hanrahan, was on the hill and he throws gas (pitches very fast baseballs). Hart took a 97 MPH fastball for a called strike but then Hanrahan hung an 0-1 slider. I’ll let the next 8 pictures tell the story.

That’s Hart getting interviewed after the game. We didn’t see who shaving-creamed him, but it’s funny nonetheless. Hart had hit a walk-off home run to left field and the Brewers secured another series victory. Final Score: Brewers 3 – Pirates 2.

It’s past 10:00 AM on Sunday morning and I’ve got a long day ahead of me. After going to the 1:10 game at Miller Park I’m driving back to Fort Atkinson. I’m writing the post for Sunday, packing for the 7 day 7 game road trip and then I’m going to try and take a nap. I’m leaving my parents’ house at around 10:30 PM to drive to St. Louis. My flight leaves St. Louis at 6:30 AM and arrives in Miami just after 10:00 eastern time. The game in Miami is at 1:10 PM so I’m going to be cutting it close. Fingers crossed for no delays at either airport.

Personal Stats:

Daily Stats:

Time inside Miller Park: 3 hours 47 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 5 hours 30 minutes
Miles driven: 40.3
Sausages: 0
Pitches missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (273/273)
Current streak of pitches seen: 1,676

Season Stats:

Brewers current record: 64-68 (.485 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 555 hours 47 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 652 hours 46 minutes
Miles driven: 15,893.4
Miles riding in car but not driving: 2,138.1
Public transit miles: 450.6
Flight miles: 17,637
Total distance traveled: 36,119.0 miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 145.05% (36,119.0/24,901)
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: 93
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,965 (6/30 – 7/6)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.76% (39,293/39,386)

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

8-31-12 (vs. Pittsburgh)

On Friday I went to Jones Park (in Fort Atkinson) at 2:30 to throw off of the pitcher’s mound. I’ll be throwing out a first pitch in Miami on Wednesday and I haven’t thrown off a mound in years. I pitched one inning in Teeners back in 2002 (striking out the side on 10 pitches). My friend Josh met me at the park and we played catch as I backed up towards the mound. I thought we were getting close to the 60 foot distance until I turned around and realized the rubber was still 15 feet behind me. I probably threw 15 pitches off the mound. Six of them were strikes and I didn’t bounce a single one. All this means is that I will likely bounce it when it counts on September 5th. I’ll post footage of it after that game, assuming that it’s not too embarrassing.

I stopped and had lunch/dinner at Culver’s before leaving for the game at 3:30. I was parked in the Miller 1 lot by 4:20 and made my way back to the general lot to hand out cards and talk about my mission and Be The Match. As I was walking away from a tailgate I heard one of the guys say “he wasn’t invasive or anything, he was chill.” He wasn’t saying it sarcastically so that made me feel good, one thing I don’t want to be is annoying.

Friday was the Bob Uecker statue unveiling and they had a tent set up to house the ceremony. I had asked if I could attend but they had to try and squeeze 550 people into a 450 person tent. If you want to see the ceremony in its entirety you can click here.

I went inside at 6:20 and met up with my friend Jason. He had texted me offering to take the game number photo and we went down to section 116 to get the photo for game number 131. Thanks Jason!

To honor Uecker on the day of his statue unveiling Jason bought a Uecker seat. I took a picture of it with the Uecker seat location (way) off in the distance. The Uecker seats are in the upper deck, and go back from the two giant supporting beams (they’re obstructed view seats, thus the $1 price tag).

I went over and met with Nathan who had the final offering of merchandise that the Brewers have graciously provided me. We talked for a bit about baseball and what next year might bring for the Brewers. We parted ways and I thanked him for getting the apparel to me. Thanks again to Kathy, Tyler, and Jill for working with me and providing free stuff to wear. On Friday I got two t-shirts and a hooded sweatshirt.

A twitter follower had offered his two tickets to Saturday’s game so that I could sell mine for a donation. I met with Ed behind section 120 and he gave me his season tickets for section 116. Thanks Ed! I’ve mentioned on Twitter that mine are available for Saturday but haven’t gotten any responses. I might be forced to scalp mine, which isn’t always fun. The fact that the buyer would be making a donation to Be The Match should help my cause.

I met Matt, a twitter follower who agreed to join me for Friday’s game, in our seats as the national anthem was starting. After the anthem Uecker was announced and he made his way to the mound to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. He was getting a standing ovation as he walked out there.

He made a decent pitch but it was “juuuuuuust a bit outside.”

Mark Rogers was on the hill for the Brewers and the game started with him delivering a ball to Alex Presley.

The Brewers got on the board early as Aramis Ramirez singled home Nyjer Morgan and Rickie Weeks in the bottom of the 1st.

Corey Hart followed Ramirez’s 2-run single with a 2-run home run and the Brewers took a 4-0 lead. Here’s Hart rounding second as Pirates starter Jeff Karstens makes his way back to the mound.

Karstens gave up a single to Lucroy and was removed from the game because of right hip flexor discomfort. It also may have been due to a bruised psyche. In the bottom of the 2nd the Brewers added a run when a passed ball with the bases loaded allowed Nyjer Morgan to score. The bases were re-loaded when Corey Hart was hit by a pitch. Lucroy stepped in with a chance to hit grand slams in consecutive games. He struck out in a 9 pitch at bat and Gomez followed suit (on only three pitches though). Gomez swings extremely hard some of the time [read: most of the time]. This at bat was no different and on one of the swings his left hand came completely off the bat.

Garret Jones hit a solo home run in the top of the 4th and the Pirates cut the lead to 5-1. At halftime (the middle of the 5th) I had a fan a few rows in front of us take a picture of Matt and me. Matt donated $40 for his seat and I’m very grateful for his donation. If you’d like to make a donation to Be The Match, click here. If you want to find out more about joining the registry, click here.

The Pirates cut the lead to three with an RBI groundout in the 7th. The Brewers added four runs in the 8th, the first coming on an Aramis Ramirez home run off the scoreboard. This picture makes it look like Ramirez ran past third base coach Ed Sedar without giving him a high-five. Despite what it looks like he did not leave Sedar hanging.

Lucroy followed Ram-Ram with a walk and Gomez drove him in with a double. Segura’s single drove in Gomez and I got a (blurry) picture of Gomez after he crossed the plate. I showed Matt and he said it was blurry because Gomez is so fast. That is somewhat true but it’s mainly the fact that my camera isn’t the greatest, and freezing action at night doesn’t work very well. I saved the picture as “Gomez/big foot?” because blurry pictures always remind me of the grainy pictures of big foot that you see.

The Pirates tallied a meaningless run in the 9th and the Brewers picked up another win. Final Score: Brewers 9 – Pirates 4. If it hadn’t been for the collapse on Thursday at Wrigley the Crew would have a 6 game winning streak and they’d *only* be 6.5 games back in the wild card race (they’re 7.5 back instead).

I met Victoria at her Aunt and Uncle’s in Sussex, and she’ll be joining me for Saturday’s and Sunday’s games. We’re going to watch at least the first quarter of the Badger game (UW-Madison is our Alma Mater) and then head to Miller Park for game two of the series.

Personal Stats:

Daily Stats:

Time inside Miller Park: 4 hours 34 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 6 hours 35 minutes
Miles driven: 84.2
Sausages: 0
Pitches missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (363/363)
Current streak of pitches seen: 1,403

Season Stats:

Brewers current record: 63-68 (.481 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 552 hours 0 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 647 hours 16 minutes
Miles driven: 15,853.1
Miles riding in car but not driving: 2,138.1
Public transit miles: 450.6
Flight miles: 17,637
Total distance traveled: 36,078.7 miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 144.89% (36,078.7/24,901)
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: 93
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,965 (6/30 – 7/6)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.76% (39,020/39,113)

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