I spent the off day in Madison and I was able to watch the Thursday Packer game at a bar with Victoria. I would have preferred to watch it at our apartment but with it being on the NFL network I didn’t really have a choice. I left Madison at 2:55 on Friday afternoon and was parked in the Miller 1 parking lot by 4:30. I walked the parking lots and told people about my mission and Be The Match. I don’t *need* the thank you’s I get for helping spread the message but it definitely makes me feel good about what I’m doing. Thanks to everyone for the support! I ran into a few familiar faces in the general parking lot including a twitter follower that joined me earlier in the year (Eric on 7/2) as well as the younger brother of my friend Jess. I stayed with Alex and Jess in Chicago 12 nights this season. Thanks again you two!
I entered Miller Park at 6:25 on Friday and met my twitter follower (Jay) in section 124 for game photo “gross.” A gross is 144 if you didn’t get the corny joke of mine.
After getting the picture taken Jay and I went up to our seats in the loge level. A different twitter follower (Erin) asked if I could stop by for a picture so I went over to section 214 before the game started. I got a picture taken with Erin and her friend and then returned to my seat in section 221. Mike Fiers got the start for the Crew and delivered a ball to Ruben Tejada to open the game.
It was a rough first two innings for Fiers; giving up 4 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks while recording six outs. In the bottom of the second the Brewers got back in it when Travis Ishikawa hit a ground-rule double to drive in Lucroy. Gomez had been on first and he raced around the bases, touching home and then entering the dugout. That’s when he learned that it was a ground-rule double and had to return to 3rd base.
Segura followed Ishikawa and hit a come-backer to the pitcher, who got Gomez in a pickle and David Wright wound up tagging him out. The runners were able to advance to 2nd and 3rd on the play, and there was still only one out. Fiers was up, however, and he’s not the best batter. I was telling Jay that Fiers had been 0-22 with 12 strikeouts before getting his first hit (a bunt). He got the job done on Friday though, singling on an 0-1 pitch, driving in Ishikawa in the process. Atta boy, Mike! Fiers’ RBI-single reduced the Mets lead to 4-2.
After the 3rd inning they showed Packers linebacker Clay Mathews on the jumbotron. Everyone cheered and it was cool to see him in the stands. I read somewhere that a bunch of Packers were at the game on Friday. Go Pack Go!
Fiers was removed for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the fifth and then Parra started the 6th. Parra gave up three runs while only recording one out but two of the runs were unearned due to errors. 7-2 Mets. After the 6th inning I had Kathy, a 20-game pack holder that sits behind me, take a picture of me and Jay. He’s a great guy and he said he’s been to over 400 Brewers games, something that we have in common. He made a $40 donation to Be The Match for his ticket. Thanks Jay!
The Brewers scored a run in the bottom of the 9th but that was all they could muster. Final score: Mets 7 – Brewers 3. The loss didn’t hurt as bad as some of the late inning collapses earlier in the year, but it still hurt. Since the Cardinals lost the Brewers could have cut the wild card deficit to just 2.5 games. As is the lead is still 3.5.
I stopped at the McDonald’s in Johnson Creek on my way back to my parents’ house. With lawsuits and whatnot I guess this might be necessary…. But really?
It’s 1:40 AM on Saturday morning and I’ll be leaving in under 12 hours. I’ll be going to Saturday’s game with Victoria and 17 of her family members. I’ll be sitting in section 407 on Saturday and not my normal seat. I’ll let you know how I feel about this after the game. The sausage count should be a few closer to the century mark after the tailgate on Saturday.
If you want to learn more about Be The Match and how you can help, CLICK HERE
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!
If you want to learn more about Be The Match and how you can help, CLICK HERE
I woke up on Tuesday and started thinking back to 2001 and what happened on that fateful day. I was a freshman at Fort Atkinson High School and was in the blue wing when I heard a teacher and a student discussing something in a nearby classroom. I remember them saying something along the lines of “They think it might have been a helicopter.” I didn’t think much of it but when I went to my next class we turned the TV on and just sat there in silence. I can’t believe it’s been 11 years, and I can’t imagine what it’s like for those who lost love ones during the attack on our country. Never forget.
I will now detail my Tuesday. I was feeling good as I prepared for the final 21 games of the season. The Brewers are playing great right now and I’m hoping that can continue. I left for the game at 3:27 and made it to the Brewers 1 parking lot in 58 minutes (which I think is a new personal best). The recently increased speed limit from 55 to 65 on a stretch of highway 26 in Jefferson County deserves most of the credit. I walked the parking lots for about an hour and 45 minutes, and it looks like I may have some business cards left over. I probably have 700 or so left and I might go to the upper deck and just throw them all over the edge to make it look like the Brewers won something big. I am completely joking because I would probably get sued by multiple people due to paper cuts to their eyes from looking up to see what was going on.
Back to reality: I got my camera from my car and walked over to the Bob Uecker statue to take a look. I like the long shadow that projects the statue’s outline on the exterior wall of Miller Park on the left there.
They had a bunch of fire trucks at the park on Tuesday to help remember the first responders who saved lives and lost their own on 9/11 (and to honor those who currently serve). There were a lot more than what are pictured below (I should’ve counted, I did not).
I went inside at 6:30 and headed to section 121 for game photo number 142. My friend Jason, who has taken a few of the game number pictures for me (including Monday) stopped by again to help me out.
I then went up to the loge level and got a Polish Sausage for the first time since August 21st (the longest such streak of the season). A twitter follower, Sabrina, joined me for Tuesday’s game and she was in her seat when I got there at 6:55. They were just starting the national anthem and I noticed that there were 5 or 6 people on the roof track above the scoreboard. Usually there is one guy up there setting up the fireworks. I thought that maybe there would be a flyover and shortly after the anthem four fighter jets flew over. Apparently they had informed people about it on the scoreboard but I was in the process of getting to my seat and didn’t see it. I would’ve liked to have gotten a picture of the fly over but I had a Polish in my hand instead of a camera, and they don’t take very good pictures.
The game started with a ball from Marco Estrada to Michael Bourn.
In the bottom of the 1st the Brewers didn’t waste any time getting an early lead. With one down Rickie Weeks sent one to center that just cleared the wall. Brewers lead 1-0.
The game went quickly after that. Between the two teams 31 of the next 36 batters were retired. That brings us to Rickie Weeks batting in the bottom of the 6th. On the 2-2 pitch Weeks sent one to right center and deep.
It didn’t quite clear the fence but bounced off the angled wall and it took Bourn a second to coral it. Rickie headed for 3rd and dove in head first. I’ve always wanted to get a good shot of a player diving into a base and this will have to do for now. It almost looks like Rickie tripped but it’s because he had just taken off.
Braun stranded Rickie at 3rd so the triple was all for naught. Between the 6th and 7th innings I had Russ, a 20-game pack holder two rows in front of us, take a picture of Sabrina and me. Sabrina lives nearby and is a huge Brewers fan. She told me that one year she went to 81 games which consisted of 70 home and 11 away games. That’s pretty darn impressive. She lives a few miles from Miller Park which helps. Sabrina made a $40 donation to Be The Match for her ticket, so thank you Sabrina!
The bottom of the 7th saw the Brewers plate three insurance runs (which I accepted with open arms). Ramirez singled to open the frame and Lucroy followed suit:
Ishikawa was up next and he bunted to get the runners over to 2nd and 3rd.
Gomez was then hit by a pitch to load the bases with only one out. Segura grounded one to second baseman Dan Uggla and the Braves attempted to turn an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play. Gomez executed a nice takeout slide and with Segura’s speed he was *just* able to beat the relay throw to first. I thought he was out mainly because of how the first baseman reacted. The first baseman is probably the only guy (on the field) who knows for sure because he can feel the ball hit his glove and feel the baserunner step on the bag. People on twitter informed me that he was in fact safe and the umpire made the right call (nice job Lance Barksdale). Ramirez scored from 3rd on the play.
Taylor Green singled home Lucroy to give the Brewers a 3-0 lead. Aoki came through in the clutch once again and doubled to right. Here he is sliding into 2nd. You can see Ed Sedar (the third base coach) pointing to third to make sure Taylor Green stays put.
In the bottom of the 8th this happened:
Aramis Ramirez had homered and the fireworks guy I mentioned earlier did his thing. Here’s Ramirez about to give the Brewers a 5-run lead. That’s Russ’ head on the right there (the one who took the picture for us). He’s a great guy and is always trying to get the crowd into it during important parts of the game (sometimes to his wife’s dismay).
Brandon Kintzler, whose parents I met in St. Louis, got the 9th for the Brewers and retired three of the four batters he faced. Here’s the final pitch of the ballgame, which Dan Uggla flailed at and missed.
Brewers win! Brewers win! That will never get old. Final Score: Brewers 5 – Braves 0. Lucroy gave Kintzler knuckles for a job well done.
With the win the Brewers got to a .500 winning percentage, a place they hadn’t been since April 25th (that’s a long time). As I was writing this post I was paying close attention to the MLB scoreboard. The Brewers are behind 3 other teams for the final wild card spot, and tied with another (Philadelphia). They’re going to have to do some leapfrogging but they’ve been playing great as of late (I’m a poet). The fate of the season will likely be decided on the 10-day 10-game road trip. They play the Pirates, Nationals, and Reds, who have a combined record of 66 games over .500. Never say never.
If you want to learn more about Be The Match and how you can help, CLICK HERE
Monday was the first day of a six game home stand, and I was looking forward to heading back to Miller Park. I left my parents’ place at 3:20 and was parked 62 minutes later. I started walking to the will call windows to drop off my extra ticket for my twitter follower. While doing so the Miller Park sign caught my eye. I know I’ve taken a bunch of pictures of the home plate entrance but I thought the angle and sky were “pretty neat” on Monday.
I had almost three hours until first pitch and I spent about an hour and 45 minutes of that walking the parking lots and telling people about my mission and Be The Match. I always start by asking if they’ve “heard of the guy going to all 162 Brewers games this year.” A lot of times there’s at least one person in every tailgate that has heard about what I’m doing. Out of the 100 or so people I talked to on Monday only 5 or 6 had heard about it. I guess it makes since because if they haven’t watched every game on FSN this season, or happened to visit ESPN.com or MLB.com for the short window that there was an article, they wouldn’t have seen me. Long story longer I’m glad I decided to print business cards and walk around, it’s probably one of the better decisions I’ve made this season.
Back to Monday, I went inside at 6:20 and headed to section 120 for game photo number 141. My friend Jason has been to a bunch of games this year, including the June 1st with me, and he did the honors on Monday. Thanks Jason!
After getting the game number picture taken I went up to the loge level and got what the Chef’s Table had to offer. For the Braves series they have Atlanta’s Famous Chicken & Waffles. It probably doesn’t need a description but the menu read “Fried Chicken Drizzled With a Sriracha Honey Sauce Served Over Thyme Scented Waffles.” It was magtacular.
Joel was my twitter follower who joined me at Monday’s game, and this was his first trip to Miller Park since opening day. He had been in Connecticut for an internship but was now back in Milwaukee to finish up school. Joel was waiting in our seats by the time I got there at 6:55. He made a $40 donation to Be The Match for his ticket. Thanks Joel!
The game started with a fastball from Wily Peralta to Michael Bourn that was inside for a ball.
The game was scoreless as it entered the 5th but the Braves opened the frame with back-to-back singles. With runners on 1st and 3rd and nobody out Andrelton Simmons grounded to Jeff Bianchi at short who stepped on 2nd and threw to 1st to get the twin killing. Dan Uggla scored on the play but I’ll trade a run for two outs most days, especially with the possibility of a big inning looming. After the bottom of the sixth I had a woman two rows in front of us take a picture of Joel and me. It doesn’t need saying but it’s pretty obvious that Joel can actually grow facial hair and I cannot.
In the bottom of the 7th Maldonado singled and was pinch run for by Eric Farris. Segura, who was pinch hitting for Travis Ishikawa, walked, putting two on and nobody out. Jeff Bianchi attempted to sacrifice them over to 2nd and 3rd but Braves reliever Jonny Venters tried getting the force out at 3rd base. He failed miserably (threw it past Chipper Jones) and Maldonado was able to score. Segura and Bianchi moved up to 2nd and 3rd, respectively, AND there were still no outs. Thank you Jonny!
Pinch hitting Jonathon Lucroy walked on seven pitches and the bases were now loaded. Norichika Aoki came to the plate in the tie ballgame and hit one to left that was about two feet short of being a grand slam. It wound up as a double and he drove in Segura and Farris on the play. Atta boy! Finger Mustache!
Gomez was next up and despite getting down 0-2 in the count he was able work it full and hit the 7th pitch of the at bat to centerfield for a sacrifice fly.
When Bianchi touched home plate the Brewers had a three run advantage and still had a runner on third with only one out. Then this happened. BOOOOOOOO!
The Braves intentionally walked Ryan Braun because he’s the man and they’re scared of him (and to set up a potential inning-ending double play). Ramirez tried to make them pay but hit a chopper to third and Aoki was thrown out at the plate. Weeks walked to load the bases again but Taylor Green ended the frame by grounding out. I was hoping the walking of Braun would have backfired but the Braves got away with it this time.
Axford came in for the save in the 9th and worked a 1-2-3 inning. Here’s the final pitch of the game, which resulted in a weak groundout to Rickie Weeks.
Brewers win! Brewers win! Final Score: Brewers 4 – Braves 1. They look somber here but I think they’re just focused because they realize that they’re going to need to do this about 18 more times if they want a shot at the postseason. Let’s get it!
I didn’t mention this above but the Brewers threw out 4, yes F-O-U-R, (quatro) Braves on the basepaths Monday. That is a lot. Maldonado nabbed Jason Heyward trying to steal second base in the 1st inning. In the 2nd inning Maldonado picked off Freddie Freeman after the first pitch of Uggla’s at bat. In the top of the 4th Aoki fielded a single from Heyward and threw out Martin Prado trying to go first to third. And in the 8th inning Carlos Gomez threw out Prado again, who was trying to go first to third on a Freeman single. It was a great showing of defense and helped keep the Braves at one in the run column.
It’s past 12:30 on Tuesday afternoon and I’ll be leaving in less than three hours for game two of the series. Go Brewers!
If you want to learn more about Be The Match and how you can help, CLICK HERE
Sunday was a 1:15 start and I got up at 9:30 to take advantage of the hot breakfast that is offered. It’s normally a $15 breakfast but the Hilton St. Louis Downtown gave me two vouchers for the mornings I was there. Thanks again for everything! I should’ve gotten the waffles on Saturday morning as well. Delicious.
After eating breakfast I started getting everything packed for the trip home. I put my suitcase in my car and then walked to Busch Stadium. I picked up my ticket from will call at noon and was inside two minutes later. I debated where I should get the game number picture taken. I normally try to get a picture taken from the outfield seats looking in towards home plate but this is sometimes a boring picture. With the sky as blue as it was I decided on another picture from the upper deck behind home plate. I had already gotten this for game photo number 21 but as you can see the top half was all washed out due to the overcast skies.
Sunday’s game photo number 140 turned out much better:
I walked around for a bit and talked to a camera guy on the field level about getting an interview during the broadcast. He said if he mentioned it to the producer he would get shot down but said there would be a lady stopping by that could talk to the announcers. She stopped by after the game started but said that she wouldn’t be able to influence Sunday’s broadcast because they already had everything planned; darn. She also said that I should’ve stopped by on Friday and they may have been able to do something; double darn.
Joe Kelly threw a strike to Aoki to get the series finale underway. This was the view from my seat in section 153, it was a perfect day for baseball.
Aoki doubled on the 5th pitch of his at bat and had thought about trying for a triple. He returned to second base but the cutoff man couldn’t handle the throw, meaning Aoki probably would’ve made it safely (hindsight is 20/20 though).
The Brewers failed to score in the 1st despite the leadoff double which was a problem all game. As a team the Brewers were 2 for 14 with runners in scoring position. In the bottom of the 1st the Cardinals scored three runs. Two on a home run from Matt Holliday and the other on a home run from Carlos Beltrán. Marcum was on the mound and here he is after letting go of a pitch in the 1st inning:
A wild pitch from Kelly in the top of the 2nd allowed Corey Hart to score and the game was now 3-1. The bottom of the second saw the Cardinals get that run right back when Matt Carpenter doubled home Kelly. In the top of the 4th Jean Segura batted with runners on first and second and two outs. The first pitch he saw was weakly hit to center but just out of the reach of the second baseman.
It sounded like Segura cracked his bat on the base hit, but I wasn’t sure. I zoomed in on the picture and it does look like it’s fractured just above his hands, no? Nonetheless it was a 4-2 game.
Marcum followed Segura and had a chance to do some damage with two men aboard. He lined the first pitch towards the right field line:
I like that the ball looks like it’s almost resting on Marcum’s head. The first baseman ranged to his left and made the catch before the ball could reach the outfield. At least one run would’ve scored and with Segura’s speed at first who knows, they may have been able to tie it up.
There were no more runs scored as the game entered the top of the 9th inning. I watched the top of the 9th from above the left field bleachers so that when the game ended I could use the exit right behind me and be on my way. I was still hoping the Brewers would score two or more runs in the 9th but I didn’t want to get stuck behind people as I made my way to my car.
With one out Segura doubled off the Cardinals’ closer, Jason Motte. With two outs Aoki stepped in and the count went to 2-2. Down to his (and the Brewers’) last strike Aoki hit the 99 MPH pitch from Motte over the wall in right for a game-tying 2-run home run. It either bounced on the top of the wall and over or hit the railing beyond the wall, but it was close. It was a line drive so I wasn’t sure if it was going to “get up, get up, get out of here” or not.
The Cardinals failed to score in the 9th and the game went to extras. Travis Ishikawa singled with two outs in the 10th and was pinch run for by Eric Farris, who is a recent September call-up. Farris stole second and put himself in scoring position.
Lucroy struck out on four pitches and another scoring opportunity was squandered. In the bottom of the 10th Matt Carpenter singled off Kameron Loe with one out. Loe got Adron Chambers to swing and miss at a 2-2 slider for the strikeout. Lucroy couldn’t coral the low pitch, however, and it got by him [scorer ruled it a wild pitch]. Instead of a guy on first and two outs there were now runners on first and second with only one out. Allan Craig came to the plate for the Cards and hit the 0-1 pitch to right field. Aoki fielded it cleanly and made a nice throw to the plate. Carpenter executed a perfect head-first slide and the Cardinals were walk-off winners. Ugh. Final Score: Cardinals 5 – Brewers 4. The Brewers would have been 4 back of the Cardinals with a win but instead are 6 back, ouch.
I hustled back to my car and left the parking garage just after 4:45. I had called my Aunt and Uncle who live in Springfield earlier in the day and said I could stop by for dinner. I was parked at 6:10 and was able to watch the last quarter of the Packers game, which they wound up losing 30-22. Besides the Brewers win on Saturday it was a tough two days for Wisconsin sports fans. Badgers loss + Packers loss + Brewers loss in a crucial game = a depressing drive home. Thanks Dave for making me a few burgers and some broccoli. I pulled into my parent’s driveway at 11:18 to complete the 7-day 7-game road trip. This means I’m down to my last trip, albeit a 10-day 10-game eastward swing.
It’s past 12:30 on Monday afternoon and I’ll be leaving in a few hours for the first game of a three game set with the wild card leading Braves.
Rootsports Pittsburgh sent me two DVDs with the interview that I did with Dan Potash on August 26th. I’ve included it below. It was a little awkward at the end there when the cameraman just stuck around and got footage of me waving (and smiling). I thought it all was a little close-up, but that also prevents people from photo-bombing in the background. Thanks again to Rootsports for having me on their broadcast. I’m not a big fan of what one of the announcers says about Miller Park, but to each his own.
If you want to learn more about Be The Match and how you can help, CLICK HERE
I forgot to mention one thing from the marathon of a game that was Friday-Saturday. While sitting in the stands at 1:55 AM (during the 13th inning) my phone rang. I looked down and it was my Grandpa and Grandma’s number. I answered and it was my 85-year-old Grandfather on the phone, Wally. I asked what he was doing up so late (early) and he said he tuned in during the 7th inning and got intrigued. This is significant because Wally isn’t a big baseball fan, and in the past has compared watching baseball to “watching paint dry.” I think the fact that he knows I’m at every game and have devoted so much time to attending Brewers games and cheering on my team that it has kind of rubbed off on him. I know that you’re reading Grandpa, so I just want to say thank you for your support! And Happy Grandparent’s Day to you and Rosalie!
When I was trying to upload my pictures for Friday’s game onto my computer my memory card reader quit working. I knew I would need a replacement so when I woke up at 9:30 on Saturday I ate breakfast at the hotel and then drove to a Best Buy that was 9 miles away. When I returned to the hotel I worked on the blog and watched some college football. Around 4:00 PM I left for the game and stopped at Jimmy Johns for a late lunch/early dinner. I went with the Turkey Tom and it was delicious as always.
I got to the will call windows at 4:45 and was inside the park shortly thereafter. I don’t remember if I had included an image of the old scoreboard from Busch Memorial Stadium in an earlier St. Louis post but here’s another one anyways. Busch Memorial Stadium, commonly called Busch Stadium, or Busch Stadium II, was home to the Cardinals from 1966 to 2005.
On my way to the upper deck I stopped behind home plate on the second, or maybe third level. This picture is looking out from above the home plate entrance.
When I got to the upper deck I found a good spot to get game photo number 139 taken. I had asked two guys if one of them would be willing to take a picture for me. The one asked the other if they should help out a Brewers fan. Once I told him that I was going to all the games and raising awareness for Be The Match he gladly helped out (and he probably would have anyways). Afterwards I told him and his friend more about Be The Match and joining the registry.
I walked around in the upper deck for a bit and came across one of the many mini arches that are scattered throughout Busch Stadium. I believe this one is honoring all the players who have had their numbers retired by the team.
I went down to the 200 level where my seat in the Red Birds Club was. This is the (sweet) wallpaper that they have on the walls.
I got to my seat in section 253 and got situated for the game. Jake Westbrook was on the hill for the Cardinals and he got the game started by throwing a first pitch ball to Aoki.
Fiers got the start for the Brewers and he pitched a good game (albeit only 5 innings). Here he is about to unleash the first pitch of his outing.
In the top of the 2nd the Brewers struck first, taking a 1-0 lead on a bunt by Carlos Gomez that drove in Aramis Ramirez. Westbrook appeared to pitch around Bianchi and issued a four pitch walk. I was telling the guy next to me that he likely pitched around Bianchi because Fiers was not very good at the plate. Coming into the game Fiers was 1 for 25 with 15 strikeouts, and the one hit was a bunt single. Fiers quickly went down 0-2 in the count but he got a pitch to hit with the two strike offering and grounded a base hit up the middle that reached the outfield grass. Lucroy scored and Bianchi wound up at 3rd, and Fiers 2nd. Here’s Fiers after getting his first major league RBI. Nice job, Mike!
The 2-0 lead didn’t last long and the Cardinals pulled to within one in the bottom of the 2nd. In the top of the 3rd Corey Hart reached on an error and Ryan Braun scored the Brewers’ third run of the ballgame. At some point I went up into the concourse and got one of these:
It’s a big-boy pig in a blanket, if you will. They call it a “Bratzel” on the menu and it was pretty good. I’m not sure it was worthy of the $6.75 price tag but I figured I should give it a try regardless. They wanted $2 for a cheese cup so I opted for a little bit of ketchup that I just dipped the Bratzel in. FYI: I will be counting the Bratzel as a Bratwurst in the sausage stats.
In the top of the 7th inning Rickie Weeks hit a solo home run to lead off the frame. Here he is heading back to the dugout after giving the Crew a 4-1 lead.
Francisco Rodriguez pitched the 7th inning for the Brewers and gave up a run to make it a 4-2 game. In the bottom of the 8th Jim Henderson walked the leadoff man… again. Molina doubled and the Cards had runners on 2nd and 3rd with nobody out. Henderson gave up a sacrifice fly but then got a strikeout and a pop out to end the inning without giving up the lead.
The Brewers padded the 1-run lead in the top of the 9th inning. Ramirez connected for a one-out solo home run and Gomez later singled home Hart. Here’s Ramirez rounding third after his 22nd home run of the season:
Axford entered in the bottom of the 9th and retired three of the four batters he faced. Final Score: Brewers 6 – Cardinals 3. Here’s Axford about to throw the final pitch of the game:
With the win the Brewers pulled to within 1 game of .500 and are now 5 games back of the second wild card spot. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s, errrrr, today’s finale. It’s past 1:15 AM as I write this and I need to get some sleep. After the game tomorrow I’ll be driving right back to Wisconsin to get ready for the three game series with the Braves that starts on Monday night.
Go. Brewers. Go.
If you want to learn more about Be The Match and how you can help, CLICK HERE
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
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:
If you want to learn more about Be The Match and how you can help, CLICK HERE
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.
If you want to learn more about Be The Match and how you can help, CLICK HERE
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.
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