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

8-30-12 (@ Chicago Cubs)

Thursday was the finale of the series and I left Alex and Jess’ place at 11:15. I got off the red line at noon and made my way down N Sheffield. I stopped at one rooftop establishment and asked them if I could get my game number picture taken in their seating area on the roof. They said it wasn’t possible. I don’t know about that but I understood that they were just following their policies. I tried 3643 N Sheffield and Tim (who was handing out the passes) said yes almost immediately. One of the security guys, Bueno, took me up to the rooftop and took game photo number 130 for me. Thanks guys!

If you’re interested in ever taking in a game from up here I recommend it. Some of the outfield is not visible, but all you can eat and all you can drink makes up for it. Their website is Wrigleyville Rooftops and they own two other rooftops in addition to the one at 3643. This was the view of the back of the scoreboard.

There is also a seating area and a bar on the third floor of the building. I probably wouldn’t try watching a game from here but it’s a great spot to get your eat on before heading upstairs.

I went downstairs, thanked Tim and Bueno for letting me in and went across the street to Wrigley. On my way around the stadium I stopped to get pictures of the statues that are located in the right field corner. The first is of Ron Santo, who played for the Cubs from 1960-1973, was a nine-time All-Star and won the Gold Glove five times. His number 10 is retired by the Cubs.

Nearby is a statue of Billy Williams who played for the Cubs from 1959 to 1974. He was a six-time All-Star and also has his number retired by the club. I included the guys with the instruments because I’ve seen them at Wrigley before and I’m hoping somebody will fill me in on their significance. I’m assuming it’s some sort of tradition but I’m not sure when it started or why.

I picked up my ticket from player will call, thanks to the Brewers, and was inside by 12:30. I went to my seat in aisle 220 and realized I wasn’t going to be able to make it all game without getting something to eat. I got a Chicago style hot dog and despite the hot dog itself being a little burnt, it hit the spot.

The game started at 1:20 when Brooks Raley threw a called strike to Aoki.

The Cubs scored three runs in the first two innings but the Brewers answered in the 3rd. After an Aoki groundout the next three batters reached base, giving Lucroy the chance to drive in a few runs. I’ll let the next five pictures do the talking.

Lucroy had hit the 1-1 pitch out onto Waveland and with the Grand Slam the Brewers took a 4-3 lead. Cody Ransom added an RBI single in the 3rd and the Crew had a two-run advantage. In the top of the 4th Ryan Braun hit “an absolute bomb” off of the centerfield camera hut, a 460-foot blast according to hit tracker online. 7-3 Brewers.

With two outs in the top of the 6th Lucroy singled home two more runs, giving him 6 RBI on the afternoon. I like that Braun is airborne out there at second base.

The 9-3 lead didn’t last long as the Cubs scored six runs in their half of the 6th. Ugh. The pitching staff walked four batters in the inning and three of them scored. A Cody Ransom home run in the 7th and another RBI single from Lucroy in the 8th gave the Brewers an 11-9 lead going into the 9th. K-Rod came in for the save and struck out Joe Mather to start the frame. This is how the rest of the inning played out: double, walk, RBI single, RBI double, walk-off RBI single, game over. Final Score: Cubs 12 – Brewers 11. You’d think ELEVEN runs would be enough, but it wasn’t. Honestly; all I could do was smile and laugh as I hurried out of Wrigley and onto the train. I’m past the point of being upset over late inning collapses, I’ve almost become numb to it. It’s sad but it’s better than getting super upset about it.

The thing that I miss most about being on the road all the time, besides Victoria (that’s a no brainer), is home cooked meals. Alex did me a solid and made some Chicky Chicky Parm Parm for dinner. That’s a reference to the amazing mockumentary Parks and Recreation (on NBC). One of the characters (Tom) informs the audience what he calls certain items, Chicky Chicky Parm Parm is what he calls Chicken Parmeson. Long story short the meal was delicious. I can’t thank Alex and Jess enough for letting me stay at their place 12 nights this season. You guys are awesome!

I got in my car at 8:15 and drove back to my parents’ place for the night. It’s past noon on Friday and game one of the Brewers-Pirates series starts in seven hours.

Oh, I almost forgot. In Wednesday’s post I said that Adam McCalvy, the Brewers beat writer, had mentioned my story to Bob Brenly and Len Kasper (the Cubs TV announcers). He said I might be hearing from somebody on Thursday regarding an interview. When I got to my seat on Thursday afternoon I tweeted at Len Kasper: “Hey. Did you guys possibly want to do an interview with me during the broadcast? I’m in 220, row 13, seat 14.” Someone responded to my tweet during the 3rd inning: “@Lenkasper just made fun of you on air for asking about an interview. Clearly must not know about your cause.”

I thought that was in poor taste and responded “@LenKasper made fun of me on air for asking for an interview? I’m the guy McCalvy talked to you about. Raising $/awareness for @BeTheMatch”

It was all a big misunderstanding and apparently McCalvy had never mentioned my name. So when Kasper just saw a tweet from a random fan he thought he’d make a joke about it on air. Here’s how it transpired on TV. There were mentions of me at three times, so the video is spliced, otherwise there would be over an hour of footage. Thanks to Len for promoting Be The Match!

Personal Stats:

Daily Stats:

Time inside Wrigley Field: 5 hours 2 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 5 hours 11 minutes
Transit miles: 8.8
Miles driven: 120.1
Sausages: 1 (Chicago style hot dog)
Pitches missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (363/363)
Current streak of pitches seen: 1,040

Season Stats:

Brewers current record: 62-68 (.477 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 547 hours 26 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 640 hours 41 minutes
Miles driven: 15,768.9
Miles riding in car but not driving: 2,138.1
Public transit miles: 450.6
Flight miles: 17,637
Total distance traveled: 35,994.5miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 144.55% (35,994.5/24,901)
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% (38,681/38,774)

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

8-29-12 (@ Chicago Cubs)

Alex was joining me for Wednesday’s game and I got off the L at 5:45 PM. This is was my view as I exited the train, before leaving the platform:

I met Alex at O’Malley’s and we had a beer before heading across the street and into Wrigley. Our tickets were in the upper deck and the conditions seemed right to get game photo number 129 from behind home plate.

We walked around and went out on the patio behind home plate in the upper deck. This was taken looking down Clark street towards the loop.

The deep dish pizza looked good so we each got a slice of sausage pizza and an Old Style. We went to our seats and ate while waiting for the game to start. The pizza was very good, and I can’t remember the last time I had deep dish pizza (before Wednesday).

Jeff Samardzija got the game started by throwing a called strike to Aoki. This was the view from our seats in section 524:

Aoki doubled on the 2-2 pitch and did his finger-mustache thing once he was safely at second. It looks like the umpire is saying: “Now wait just a minute! What does that mean!?!?” (Aoki had called time, thus the hands in the air)

Two batters later Braun singled and Aoki moved to third base. Aramis Ramirez grounded into a force out and just beat out the double play attempt, allowing Aoki to score the first run of the game.

The Cubs tied it in the bottom of the 2nd when Barney drove in LaHair with a groundout of his own. The game remained tied as it entered the 7th inning. Nyjer Morgan bunted for a base hit with one out and went to second on a throwing error by Samardzija. Segura singled home Morgan to give the Brewers a 2-1 lead.

With Aoki batting Segura tried stealing second base. The throw down to second was in the dirt and got by the shortstop and into shallow centerfield. Segura took off for third even though the second baseman had been backing up the play and had a great shot to get Segura at third. The third baseman, however, missed the catch from the second baseman and Segura was able to make it safely AND head home to give the Crew a 2-run cushion. Here he is as he starts his slide home. There must have been some Brewers fans in the upper deck (hands in the air) or some upset Cubs fans saying “hogwash!” at the two-error play.

In the middle of the 8th we left the upper deck and started making our way towards an exit. We watched the bottom of the 8th from the walkway behind the 200 level seating and then the top and bottom of the 9th from section 236 (I think). Axford came on for the save but walked the first batter he faced. Here he is about to pitch to Castro:

Axford struck out Castro and induced a Soriano ground ball that should’ve been a double play to end the game. Segura flipped to Weeks who made the turn at second base.

The throw was a little off target but Hart didn’t have to stretch too far to try and reel it in. It bounced off of Hart’s glove and Soriano was able to advance all the way to third base. Thankfully LaHair grounded out to Segura to end the game and the missed catch error didn’t come back to haunt them. Final Score: Brewers 3 – Cubs 1. Fiers pitched well once again, going 7 and 1/3 innings, giving up 4 hits, 1 walk, and 1 run while striking out 6. The streak of games with the pitching staff striking out at least 10 batters came to an end, after the 7 K performance on Wednesday. Apparently I shouldn’t have mentioned it during Tuesday’s post. It’s all my fault… (right).

Thursday’s game is a 1:20 start and I’ll be leaving in about 11 hours. Adam McCalvy (the Brewers beat writer) told me that he talked to Bob Brenly and Len Kasper, the Cubs TV announcers. He said I might get an interview during the game tomorrow, we shall see. Either way: thank you Adam for pitching my mission to them, it’s greatly appreciated!

Personal Stats:

Daily Stats:

Time inside Wrigley Field: 3 hours 40 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 3 hours 41 minutes
Transit miles: 8.8
Sausages: 0
Pitches missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (240/240)
Current streak of pitches seen: 677

Season Stats:

Brewers current record: 62-67 (.481 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 542 hours 24 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 635 hours 30 minutes
Miles driven: 15,648.8
Miles riding in car but not driving: 2,138.1
Public transit miles: 441.8
Flight miles: 17,637
Total distance traveled: 35,865.6miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 144.03% (35,865.6/24,901)
Sausages: 87 (34 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% (38,318/38,411)

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

8-28-12 (@ Chicago Cubs)

On Tuesday I slept in a little and then worked on Monday’s blog post. I left Alex and Jess’ apartment at 12:30 for downtown Chicago. I was spending the day with my sister, Eliza, and I took the blue line from California to Clark/Lake. I walked across the bridge on N La Salle, not a bad view looking east on the Chicago River:

 

My sister is currently looking for work in the U.S. and is staying with friends/acquaintances in Chicago for the time being. She was with some friends and someone offered his place while he was in Cabo. It’s a really nice high-rise at 345 N La Salle. This is the view out of his bedroom window. The John Hancock building is the one in the center with the two large antennas.

His apartment is on the 18th floor and the pool and tennis courts are on the roof (14th floor) of a connected building. We spent some time by the pool, and I swam a few laps.

The two tennis courts were to the left of the pool, not too shabby.

We went to a late lunch at Protein Bar, who’s mission is to “provide active, on-the-go people with healthy, flavorful choices while having a positive impact on everyone we meet and in everything we do.” I have to admit that they’re doing a pretty good job from what I could see (and taste). I ordered the Buffalo Bar-rito and the Wrigley Peeled blended drink. The Bar-rito consisted of all-natural chicken, organic quinoa, blue cheese, house-made vegan buffalo sauce and the Super 6 Salad Mix (romaine, spinach, broccoli, carrots, kale, purple cabbage). Not pictured is my beverage which had chocolate protein, 2% milk, all-natural peanut butter, banana, and organic agave nectar. My total was $14.04 but I could see myself eating here a couple times a week if I lived in Chicago. Good and good for you, hard to put a price tag on that.

We hung out and watched an episode of Newsroom (an HBO series that I hadn’t heard of). We jumped on the red line at 5:10 and were outside of Wrigley 15 minutes later. I bought two tickets from a scalper because at this time they’re cheaper than the box office prices (what happens when teams aren’t playing very well). We went to the centerfield entrance and I asked if there was any way I could get a picture taken from the bleachers despite not having a bleacher seat. The answer was no because you need a bleacher ticket to get into those seats. I understand the policy but was still a little bummed out. I try to get one game number picture looking in from the outfield towards home plate. Oh well.

We entered Wrigley at 5:43 and went to the upper deck to get game photo number 128. N Sheffield Avenue is beneath my left hand and this is looking North from the very top row of the upper deck in the right field corner.

Looking south you get a nice view of downtown Chicago. Alex and I are sitting in the upper deck today (Wednesday) and it’s a great spot to take in a game at Wrigley. It’s the best on hot summer days because you’re in the shade and there’s always a breeze (or at least some air movement) in the last row (row 9).

We had plenty of time to kill and Eliza wanted a hot dog, I passed (see sausage count). I opted for a soft pretzel because I couldn’t even remember the year in which I last had one. 2006? I have no idea. Our seats were towards the back of section 222 but for $20 a piece they were hard to pass up. The game got underway at 7:05 and Travis Wood delivered a called strike to Norichika Aoki. It looks like we were farther away than we actually were. Human sight is about the equivalent of 50 mm on a camera lens (not including peripheral vision). This picture was taken at 29 mm, meaning that it was zoomed out, increasing the viewing area (but making things seem smaller/farther away).

In the second inning Jeff Bianchi came to the plate with two on and two out, looking to give the Brewers the lead. He got the green light on the 3-0 count and sent one into the left field bleachers for his first major league home run. Brewers lead 3-0.

A Cubs fan had gotten the ball and of course threw it back, making it easy for Bianchi to hold onto his keepsake. I’m not a big fan of people throwing home runs back. In this case I’m glad they did because the Brewers didn’t have to negotiate with the fan to get it back. Cubs fans started the tradition but now a lot of other home team fans throw visiting players’ home run balls back. You have a piece of history, why throw that back? In 20 years you can look at that player’s statistics and say (while holding the baseball); “this ball contributed to his home runs, his batting average, his hits, his on base percentage, his slugging percentage and his total bases.” Personally I think that would be pretty cool, but to each his own.

The Cubs cut the deficit to two runs when Travis Wood took Yovani Gallardo deep in the 3rd inning. It was only the second home run that Gallardo had given up to a pitcher in his career. Between the 3rd and 4th innings I had a fan behind us take a picture of me and Eliza.

Eliza had never been to Wrigley Field before and she said she likes it. I’m not a Wrigley Field basher as some people are and agree with her conclusion. It’s almost 100 years old, I’m not sure what people want from it. Yes, it’s lacking in some amenities and some views are obstructed from support beams, but that’s part of what makes it unique. I do wonder what’s going to happen 20 years from now when it might not pass an inspector’s test with regards to safety and structural integrity. It’s going to be a National Historic Landmark in two years, meaning you can’t tear it down. Do they build a new stadium elsewhere? Do they try and vote on possibly demolishing it out of necessity (don’t know if that’s possible), building a new stadium on the same grounds while playing a season or two at U.S. Cellular Field? It’s going to be interesting to say the least.

In the 8th inning the Brewers added an insurance run when Rickie Weeks got in a rundown on a pickoff attempt, but stayed in the pickle long enough to allow Aoki to score from 3rd base on the play. K-Rod and Axford pitched perfect innings in the 8th and 9th, respectively, and the Brewers held on for the victory. Final Score: Brewers 4 – Cubs 1. When Axford struck out Soriano for the second out in the 9th it gave the pitching staff 10 strikeouts for the game. No big deal, right? Wrong. It marked the 8th consecutive game that the Brewers pitching staff struck out at least 10 batters. This marks the longest streak in the majors since 1900. Yes, 1900, 112 years ago. That’s pretty neat.

You may have noticed that there haven’t been many pictures of game action the last two posts. The lighting is weaker at Wrigley Field and the shutter speed on my zoom lens maxes out at about 1/80 of a second. With that shutter speed you can’t freeze action very well, so most pictures will be quite blurry or at least fuzzy. Thursday’s day game should provide me with a decent photo shooting environment.

Someone posted on twitter that the Brewers playoff chances have increased from .1% to .3% over the past two nights. So you’re saying there’s a chance…

Go Brewers!

Personal Stats:

Daily Stats:

Time inside Wrigley Field: 3 hours 59 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 4 hours 7 minutes
Transit miles: 13.4
Sausages: 0
Pitches missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (250/250)
Current streak of pitches seen: 437

Season Stats:

Brewers current record: 61-67 (.477 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 538 hours 44 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 631 hours 49 minutes
Miles driven: 15,648.8
Miles riding in car but not driving: 2,138.1
Public transit miles: 433.0
Flight miles: 17,637
Total distance traveled: 35,856.9 miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 144% (35,856.9/24,901)
Sausages: 87 (34 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% (38,078/38,171)

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

8-27-12 (@ Chicago Cubs)

On Monday I *only* slept until 8:30 and then worked on the blog post for Sunday. I walked down to Longman and Eagle for lunch on a recommendation from Alex. Clockwise from top left:

1) Longman & Eagle is on the left there, I actually walked right past it because there was no signage on the exterior. I think they’re working on putting up a new sign but I’m not sure.

2) The interior of the bar/restaurant.

3) The left side of the bar, which contains nothing but whiskey (it’s a whiskey bar).

4) My lunch, I had the Wild Boar Sloppy Joe, including crisp sage and onion, and a pickled jalapeño. I didn’t eat the jalapeño whole but I did slice it up to add some spice to the sandwich. I had Three Floyds’ Pride & Joy beer, which is an American “Mild” Ale. In all it was a great lunch.

I went back to Alex’s apartment and chilled for a bit before leaving for the game. I took the 74 bus at 4:35 and then jumped on the red line at Fullerton and Sheffield. Five minutes later I was at the Addison stop and outside of Wrigley Field shortly thereafter. Alex was meeting me outside of the home plate entrance and arrived 10 minutes after I got there. Monday was my 13th Brewers-Cubs game at Wrigley Field but the first time I noticed that the visiting team’s flags are hung to the right of the marquee. A Brewers flag is on the left, a city of Milwaukee flag on the right and the Wisconsin flag up top. Pretty cool. I feel stupid for not noticing this before but hey, better late than never.

Jamie, who works in the marketing department, had reached out and invited me to be a guest on the field during batting practice. I chose Monday because I knew Alex would be with me and he would enjoy it as well. Thanks Jamie! At some point Brian Anderson (the Brewers play-by-play guy for their TV broadcasts) was on the field and I introduced myself. He asked how things were going and we talked briefly. Brian is a great broadcaster and a great guy, hopefully he’ll be the announcer for years to come.

Even though I had game photo number 5 taken on the field back in April when I was there, I figured I should do it again. We took an insurance picture when the batting cage was still on the field in case we were asked to leave before they were done in the cage. We were allowed to stay on the field for a few minutes after the field was cleared though and Alex took another one for good measure.

Alex and I went up and we each got a Bison dog for dinner and then found our seats in section 33. The game started and this was my view as the first pitch was thrown:

It was that kind of night. I had bought tickets on the wrong side of the aisle and there were constantly vendors going up and down (it’s their job, I understand that). It seemed like there were more of them than usual though. This isn’t an exaggeration; one beer vendor would be at the bottom of the steps, and less than 60 seconds later there’d be a different beer vendor slicing through an empty row to patrol the same aisle. I must’ve looked like a maniac with all the bobbing and weaving as to not miss any of the action.

In the 1st inning the Brewers jumped out to a 1-0 lead when former Cub Aramis Ramirez drove in Braun with a double. Braun slid home safely as the catcher lunged for the off-line throw:

In the 3rd the Cubs picked up three runs on back-to-back-to-back RBI base hits from Rizzo, Soriano and Castro. In the top of the 5th the Brewers recaptured the lead after Braun doubled home Weeks and Ramirez hit a 2-run home run to give the Crew a 4-3 edge. Braun and Ramirez did their customary low-five after Ram-Ram touched home:

Right after taking that picture I showed Alex and then started to put my camera away. He asked if he could take some pictures and I obliged. I handed it to him and he asked if it was on. I looked over at the on-off switch and in the meantime missed the 1-0 pitch to Corey Hart. Thanks Alex! Haha, it’s not a big deal. This was the picture he said should make the blog. It’s a little blurry but he thought the LED ribbon board message was funny; “Happy Birthday Dave Kluge keep on praying for the Cubs!”

In the top of the 6th the Brewers added to their lead when Norichika Aoki drove in Gomez with a single to right. I know Aoki has been doing the finger-mustache as a sort of celebratory “beast-mode” thing with his teammates, but I’m not sure of it’s significance (or its origins).

They’ve probably talked about it on the TV broadcasts but being at every game I miss out on the inside scoop sometimes (not complaining). I will say that I am looking forward to watching games on TV next season. I’ve loved (most) every minute of the season but I do enjoy watching games on TV as well. Mainly getting the view from behind the pitcher’s mound so you can see the break of pitches and especially the instant replays of controversial calls on the base paths.

The Cubs got one back in the 6th and it was a 5-4 Brewers lead until Carlos Gomez hit a solo home run in the top of the 8th. Between the top and bottom of the 8th I had the gentleman in front of us take a picture of me and Alex.

Even though Alex is a Cubs fan he was kind of hoping the game didn’t go to extras because he had an early doctor’s appointment and it was looking like we wouldn’t get back to his place until after 11:30. The Brewers half of the 9th may have prevented extra innings but it did him no favors in terms of shortening the game. Aoki walked to lead off the top of the 9th and Weeks singled. After the 1-0 pitch to Braun three of the next ten pitched resulted in home runs for the Brewers. Braun, Ramirez and Hart went back-to-back-to-back and the Brewers took an 11-4 lead.

After Braun’s home run I got a bunch of tweets from people joking about it being “an absolute bomb” and a good time was had by all. I looked this morning and hit tracker online lists it as a 404 foot home run. I couldn’t see where it landed since it went out onto Waveland Avenue but I thought it was hit farther than that.

After Hart’s home run Sveum brought in somebody new from the pen. They didn’t fare much better and gave up a walk and two singles before getting the first out of the inning. Only one run would’ve scored on the second single but a throwing error allowed the second baserunner to score as well. 13-4 Brewers. After an Aoki walk and a Weeks strike out Braun singled to drive in Segura. 14-4 Brewers. Another pitching change took place and Sveum opted for utility man Joe Mather. In blowouts teams will sometimes use position players to pitch in order to save the bullpen from more work. Mather had pitched once before in 2010 as a Cardinal. It wasn’t his debut on the mound but it was still cool to see.

Mather gave up an RBI single to Bianchi but then got Maldonado to ground into a force out and the marathon half-inning was over. 14 batters, 54 pitches, and roughly 35 minutes later the 9-run half inning came to a close. The Cubs went down 1-2-3 in their half of the 9th and the Brewers picked up the W. Final Score: Brewers 15 – Cubs 4.

I raced down to the dugout after the game because I wanted to try and get the lineup card. A kid must’ve asked for it ahead of time because even before the coaches returned to the dugout after the post-game handshakes he had it in his hands. Darn. I think getting a lineup card would be sweet, but you have to be at the dugout right after the game and it’s not always easy to get there in a timely manner.

It’s almost noon on Tuesday and I’ll be leaving for downtown shortly. Eliza, my sister, is staying in Chicago for the time being and I’m meeting up with her for lunch. We’re hanging out for a bit and then she’s joining me for tonight’s game. It’s her first game at Wrigley and it should be a good time.

Personal Stats:

Daily Stats:

Time inside Wrigley Field: 5 hours 34 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 5 hours 52 minutes
Miles driven: .3 (moved my car from down the block to right in front of Alex’s place)
Miles riding: 2.9 (cab ride back from the Fullerton L stop)
Transit miles: 5.9
Sausages: 1 (Bison dog)
Pitches missed: 1
Consecutive pitch streak ended at: 316
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.71% (346/347)
Current streak of pitches seen: 187

Season Stats:

Brewers current record: 60-67 (.472 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 534 hours 45 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 627 hours 42 minutes
Miles driven: 15,648.8
Miles riding in car but not driving: 2,138.1
Public transit miles: 419.7
Flight miles: 17,637
Total distance traveled: 35,843.5 miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 143.94% (35,843.5/24,901)
Sausages: 87 (34 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: 99.75% (37,828/37,921)

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

8-26-12 (@ Pittsburgh)

Sunday’s game was a 1:35 start and I got up at 10:20, had breakfast at the nearby bagel joint for the third straight day, and left Mark’s place at 11:40. I was parked by 12:15 and outside PNC Park shortly thereafter. They close the Roberto Clemente Bridge to traffic and the section of Federal Street that runs along PNC park just north of the bridge. A giant Pirate Parrot bouncy house was on Federal Street. I wanted to give it a try but I figured that would be looked down upon.

I picked up my ticket from will call and headed to the upper deck once I entered the park. Game photo number 126 speaks for itself as to why PNC Park is one of my favorites. You can’t beat that view. Thanks to Brian who listened to my adjustment suggestions and took a great picture!

I took a couple of pictures of the home plate entrance from the upper deck. The first one is looking down towards the field level and the second shows the proximity of PNC park to Heinz field, where the Steelers play.

I walked around to the right field corner and got an aerial view of the Bill Mazeroski statue that I discussed in Saturday’s post.

I went down to the field level, got an iced tea and a hot dog and went to my seat. I had the exact same seat for all three games; section 108, row GG, seat 1. I’m really glad I wasn’t on the other side of the aisle and in section 107. Since the sections are so deep at PNC Park there are always people going up and down the aisles. The usher tried to keep people from going down during at-bats but he could only do so much. The first pitch was thrown to Aoki and the game got underway. Since I was in the shade I thought it was an absolute perfect day to be at a ballgame.

In the bottom of the 1st inning Dan Potash of Root Sports Pittsburgh stopped by to do an interview for the Pirates broadcast. Someone had tweeted at Root Sports and told them they should interview me. I also stopped by a camera guy on Friday and reiterated that sentiment. I haven’t seen the interview yet but I think it went well. I was reluctant to let my 1,500+ pitch streak end but I think it was worth it. I got instant feedback on Twitter from Pirates fans wishing me luck and thanking me for raising awareness for Be The Match. I should be able to get the video in the next couple of days. Thank you Ryan for tweeting at Root Sports, and thank you Root Sports for doing the interview!

The game was scoreless as the Brewers got their turn at bat in the top of the 4th inning. Braun and Ramirez went down quickly and the Pirates starter only needed four pitches total to retire both of them. Hart and Lucroy singled and Carlos Gomez stepped in to try and give the Brewers the lead.

Bang! The first pitch he saw was deposited into the bleachers in left field. Brewers lead 3-0.

In the top of the 5th Rickie Weeks drove in starting pitcher Mark Rogers and then Aramis Ramirez sent one to centerfield:

Now this is when my day got a little interesting. I looked at my twitter timeline as I do at various points throughout the game. Well, I’ll just include the back and forth between Tom Haudricourt, the writer for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal, and myself. Some background; there’s an ongoing joke between the announcers and sportswriters that the PNC press box is so high that they need oxygen up there.

I’m not disputing that a 411 foot home run (as hit tracker online measured it as) is well hit. But an absolute bomb? I think that description should be reserved for ABSOLUTE BOMBS. For example; Prince Fielders’ 472 foot home run that bounced into the Allegheny in 2006, or the countless other 440 foot home runs that are hit every season. Here’s a screen shot of McCutchen going up the wall, because he almost had a chance to rob it. The ball is below the “S” in “Pirates” that was sculpted into the bushes.

You can be the judge but there have been 1,226 home runs hit in the majors this year that were longer than that one. And since that fence is about 398 feet from home plate, the 411 foot estimate might be a little generous. I rest my case. I found out later that Haudricourt blocked me on twitter, meaning I can’t see his tweets anymore. (It’s something you can do if you get really annoyed with someone and don’t want them responding to your tweets)

Full disclosure: A tweet of mine isn’t included in that timeline stream above. Someone chimed in and said they agreed with Tom and he replied saying “Thank you, sir! I don’t get it, either. Some people like to argue just to argue.” I replied with “Not arguing to argue. Wow. I had said it jokingly, your ignorance escalated it. I won’t question anything of yours again.” That’s likely what pushed him over the edge. I probably should’ve have used a different word than ignorance, but I didn’t. Other people have backed me and said that they’ve unfollowed him because of how he reacted to me simply disagreeing with his wording. That’s not what I was after but their support is appreciated. I thought the back and forth was funny. My friends will tell you that I’m opinionated, and I’m guessing Haudricourt is the same way, to the point that he doesn’t want anyone to disagree with him. I honestly didn’t think he would even respond to my tweet, because he had never responded to any of my other tweets towards him (but they also didn’t question his wording). I apologize if I offended Tom or any of his supporters, I think the whole thing got a little out of hand.

I included this argument because the second half of the game was spent responding to people on twitter (and not much happened in the game). One person told me to “Grow up. Get a life/job. It was a bomb.” I didn’t like that very much. Arguing about a home run is one thing but telling me to get a life/job is ridiculous. I informed them that I’m fulfilling a dream and that I’m also raising money and awareness for something that saved my life: Be The Match.

Rant: over.

The Brewers tacked on a run in the 6th when Aoki drove in Jean Segura with a sacrifice fly. Ben Christensen, who I met at the MLB Fan cave back on May 15th was at the game on Sunday, and he stopped by after the interview to say hi. After people left the game in the 7th he came over and we took in the last two innings together. Between innings I had the usher take a picture of the two Bens.

Ben was in the MLB Fan cave until he was eliminated early on (why? I don’t know). He’s a great/funny/cool guy and he has spent the summer traveling around to different ballparks, occasionally catching his team (the Oakland A’s) in action. Ben is the one with the tattoos of every MLB team on his torso. Here’s that two part picture I took back at the Fan Cave.

Despite committing three errors in the game the Brewers were able to complete the shutout. Final Score: Brewers 7 – Pirates 0. It was the first road series that the Brewers have won in the second half, taking two out of three vs. the Buccos. After the game I jumped in my car, drove 307 miles, got gas, ate a snickers, and drove the remaining 175 miles to my friend Alex’s place in Chicago. I traversed the 482 miles in 7 hours and 13 minutes, averaging 66.8 MPH (including the stop). The Brewers start a four game series with the Cubs and as of right now there is a 0% chance of rain for the duration of the series. I likely just jinxed myself with that proclamation but I’ll risk it. Go Brewers!

Personal Stats:

Daily Stats:

Time inside PNC Park: 4 hours 25 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 4 hours 30 minutes
Miles driven: 486.9
Sausages: 1 (hot dog)
Pitches missed: 5 (four pitches during the interview and one in the fourth while looking at tweets of support from Pirates fans)
Consecutive pitch streak ended at: 1,598
Percentage of pitches seen: 98.33% (295/300)
Current streak of pitches seen: 157

Season Stats:

Brewers current record: 59-67 (.468 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 529 hours 11 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 621 hours 50 minutes
Miles driven: 15,648.5
Miles riding in car but not driving: 2,135.2
Public transit miles: 413.8
Flight miles: 17,637
Total distance traveled: 35,834.4 miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 143.91% (35,834.4/24,901)
Sausages: 86 (34 Hot Dogs, 30 Polish, 8 Bratwurst, 5 Corndogs, 2 Italian, 2 Cheddarwurst, Bison Dog, Chicken Apple Sausage, Blueberry & Merlot Venison Sausage, Sausage Race on a Stick, Elk Jalapeño Cheddar Sausage)
Pitches missed: 92
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,965 (6/30 – 7/6)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.76% (37,482/37,574)

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

8-25-12 (@ Pittsburgh)

Saturday morning I went to the same bagel place I went to on Friday, this time opting for the everything bagel and not the wild berry. I did almost nothing until I left Mark’s place at 3:45 PM. I went to Primanti Bros. for dinner and I was not disappointed. I went to the original restaurant that can be found on 18th street. I parked on Smallman Street and they charge $5 to park there, no matter if it’s 30 minutes or 12 hours, same price. This is looking southwest on Smallman Street.

The four parter below details Primanti Bros. and it goes clockwise from top left.

1) The exterior of Primanti Bros. It’s in the “strip district” but I saw zero strippers (which is a good thing).

2) The interior of the restaurant right when you walk in. This location is open 24 hours as the sign in the upper left says.

3) The bar and seating area if you turn left when you walk in.

4) My dinner: A “Pitts-burgher cheese steak” sandwich. All sandwiches come topped with with french fries, cole slaw and tomatoes. I forgot to ask for onions and it even says that they’re optional on the menu right next to where they detail what the sandwiches are topped with. I knew that the sandwiches came with french fries, but they pack a lot more on there than I was expecting. Nicely done.

After eating I drove the mile and a quarter to the parking garage on 6th street and started walking towards PNC park. I usually only get one game number photo from outside of a stadium but I made an exception on Saturday for game photo number 125.

I walked across the Roberto Clemente Bridge and picked up my ticket from will call. On the way back towards the river I took a picture of the Willie Stargell statue they have along the third base side of the park. Stargell played for the Pirates from 1962-1982, helped them win two World Series and was a 7-time All-Star.

In the left field corner they have a Roberto Clemente statue, which is fitting since the Roberto Clemente Bridge is just beyond it. Clemente also played for the Pirates his entire career, from 1955-1972. He finished his career with exactly 3,000 hits. He would’ve amassed more but following the 1972 season he died in a tragic plane crash while trying to deliver relief packages to the survivors of an earthquake in Nicaragua.

I went down the stairs to the river walk and and came upon this:

I forgot how much it was but you could rent kayaks for a given amount of time. Pretty cool. I made my way towards the right field corner and when I came up the stairs I was greeted by this statue of Bill Mazeroski.

Mazeroski hit the only walk-off home run in the deciding 7th game of a World Series. He did so in 1960 to beat the Yankees and a nearby plaque details the statue and the momentous home run.

I went inside at 6:00 and took this picture of the back of PNC Park. The right field foul pole is barely visible beneath that Pirates Charities sign.

I got my designated driver voucher and beverage (iced tea) then went to my seat in section 108. Jeff Karstens delivered the game’s first pitch, a called strike to Norichika Aoki:

Shaun Marcum was making his first start since being activated from the disabled list. Here he is about to deliver the first pitch of his outing in the bottom of the 1st inning.

The game was scoreless going into the bottom of the 5th and that’s when a Brewers error broke the game open. Gomez dropped a fly ball (he did have to come racing in to get it) that he should’ve caught. All four runs that were scored in the inning were unearned. The Brewers had some chances to score but didn’t come through. In the 5th Aramis Ramirez had led off the inning with a double but was stranded at 2nd. It was that kind of night. On the bright side Jeff Bianchi recorded his first major league hit, a single in the top of the 8th:

I watched the top of the 9th from here (because it was very close to an exit):

The Brewers loaded the bases with two outs in the 9th but Nyjer Morgan struck out swinging to end the game. Final Score: Pirates 4 – Brewers 0. It was fireworks night at the ballpark so the Roberto Clemente Bridge was closed until after the fireworks were over. I walked down a block and started walking across the Andy Warhol Bridge (7th street bridge). This was the scene as I started walking:

The fireworks started shortly thereafter. When I got to the other side of the bridge I put my camera on a ledge and started taking pictures of the fireworks. I must have moved it for one of the pictures, because this was the result:

For these shots the shutter was open for about two seconds, thus the need to set it on something. This one is a little better.

In hindsight I wish I would’ve stayed inside PNC Park and went to the upper deck to get the city in the background. I would’ve gotten home much later and that was the main argument against staying for the show. It’s past 1:45 AM and first pitch is in less than 12 hours. Right after the game I’m driving 8 hours to Chicago in advance of the Monday opener of a 4 game set with the Cubs. Good night.

Personal Stats:

Daily Stats:

Time inside PNC Park: 3 hours 52 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 4 hours 9 minutes
Miles driven: 11.7
Sausages: 0
Pitches missed: 0
Percentage of pitches seen: 100% (255/255)
Current streak of pitches seen: 1,552

Season Stats:

Brewers current record: 58-67 (.464 winning percentage)
Time inside stadiums: 524 hours 46 minutes
Time on stadium grounds: 617 hours 20 minutes
Miles driven: 15,161.6
Miles riding in car but not driving: 2,135.2
Public transit miles: 413.8
Flight miles: 17,637
Total distance traveled: 35,347.5 miles
Distance as % of Earth’s circumference: 141.95% (35,347.5/24,901)
Sausages: 85 (33 Hot Dogs, 30 Polish, 8 Bratwurst, 5 Corndogs, 2 Italian, 2 Cheddarwurst, Bison Dog, Chicken Apple Sausage, Blueberry & Merlot Venison Sausage, Sausage Race on a Stick, Elk Jalapeño Cheddar Sausage)
Pitches missed: 87
Longest streak of pitches seen: 1,965 (6/30 – 7/6)
Percentage of pitches seen: 99.77% (37,187/37,274)

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