January 2009

It’s go time!!

My wife just gave me some startling news…off to the hospital!!

(see what a loyal mlblogger I am?)

Wish us luck and I’ll be back in a few days!!!

“Happy”

Fan Fest a success!

First of all, no baby…yet.  Just a false alarm (10-76 in police code) last night.
                                                Any day now, little fella!
baby crying caricature.jpg
So, the Milwaukee Brewers On Deck event was a success.

Apparently, people started lining up @ 5am in the freezing cold so they could guarantee a spot in some of the autograph lines (Brewers fans are nuts-me included).

Trevor was officially introduced to Milwaukee.

Here are some pictures I promised Padres blogger – Kaybee of the man…
Trevor Hoffman @ Brewers On Deck 001.jpgTrevor Hoffman brought out on stage by Mr. Baseball-Bob Uecker to a packed auditorium at the Riverside Theater.  They concluded the show (in true “closer” fashion) with his introduction…and played “Hell’s Bells” to him walking out.
Awesome!!

Trevor Hoffman @ Brewers On Deck 002.jpgBob Uecker asking Trevor, “why Milwaukee?”

To which Trevor responded, “Coach Macha, Owner Mark Attanasio and former teammate Mike Cameron all showed a lot of interest in me coming to Milwaukee.  ‘Cam’ said Milwaukee’s a great place to play and the fans really come out to support the team.”

Trevor Hoffman @ Brewers On Deck 003.jpgTrevor about to tell Uecker that he’s “pumped about being the new kid on the block.”  Trevor also said, “it’s like being re-energized.”

Trevor Hoffman @ Brewers On Deck 004.jpgTrevor talking about his new teammate Tony Gwynn, Jr.  He said, “the first time I saw Anthony, (we called him Anthony back then) he was about 10 years old and about this big.  Now, he’s a grown man and his talent has developed.” 

Trevor Hoffman @ Brewers On Deck 005.jpgTrevor donning his new Brewers jersey…signing a baseball for a fan that has one sweet cow-lick.

Trevor Hoffman @ Brewers On Deck 006.jpgTrevor inking another baseball…damn, he looks good in that uniform!

Trevor Hoffman @ Brewers On Deck 008.jpgIt’s about to be Trevor Time in Milwaukee!!

Trevor Hoffman @ Brewers On Deck 009.jpgHere you go young man…one signed baseball from the greatest closer the game has ever seen.

Trevor Hoffman @ Brewers On Deck 010.jpgTrevor with one of his newest fans…(not the Happy Youngster).

Man, I can’t wait to see this guy run out of the pen for the first time!!

     The day also included the introduction of a few of the Brewers newest coaches.

Brewers coaches @ On Deck 002.jpg
From left to right-
New 3rd base coach-Brad Fischer.
New hitting coach (re-assigned to) Dale Sveum.
New bench coach-Willie Randolph.

Lots of experience on this staff.  Not pictured is new Manager-Ken Macha.

The day also included autographs!!

     Here’s some befor
e and after photos of the items we had signed…

Ryan Braun authentic jersey.

BEFORE: 
Thumbnail image for Braun 1982 jersey.jpgand

AFTER:
autographed Braun jersey.jpg 
Ryan Braun poster

BEFORE:
Thumbnail image for braun poster.jpgand

AFTER:
autographed Braun Bomber poster.jpgSweet…

    
     Here’s a picture of the young stud signing some autographs…
Braun signing @ On Deck 09 001.jpg
And remember the three game home run baseballs I wanted to have signed by Prince Fielder?

Well, we were only able to get one signed, so I chose the one from July 7, 2008 to be the one.  We asked him to inscribe “97th career home run” next to his signature.  He asked a nearby volunteer how to spell the word “career.” 
Hey, at least the guy can play baseball…!

The other two game home runs from Fielder will have to wait for another day to be signed.

All in all, a great day.

Go Brewers!

Brewers Fan Fest…Happy’s gameplan

Tonight (Jan. 23rd), here in Milwaukee, the Brewers will be holding their “Winter Warmup” event which will be emceed by Bob Uecker.  Many of the Brewers current roster will be in attendance.

The event tonight will be held at an historic downtown theater called the Pabst Theater.
I’m not getting my hopes up for tonight’s event…it seems like there won’t be many autograph/meet opportunities, just presentation type stuff.

But, the Brewers “On Deck” event, to be held Saturday, looks to be much more rewarding.

Not only will the Brewers be holding their Trevor Hoffman press conference, but they’ve also added Prince Fielder to the lineup of attendees.  Maybe they’ll hold a Prince Fielder announcement as well regarding his new 2-yr contract.

There is a long lineup of autograph opportunities available on Saturday. 
I’ve combed through the list, I’ve checked the prices and I’ve looked through my collection.
Who do I want autographs from?

Here’s my gameplan…(I always have a gameplan-it’s essential).

Get there early and get in line-everybody’s gonna want Ryan Braun’s autograph.  With only 250 autograph coupons available, they’ll be gone fast.  1 autograph ticket per person/per player.  I have to get there early with my daughter and we have to be among the first 250 people at the Ryan Braun autograph pay station.  I figure I’ll throw her little rear-end on my shoulders and make the mad dash!  Otherwise, she might get trampled by crazy Brewers fans like myself…shame, shame.

Ryan Braun profile photo.jpg     Here’s what I’m going to try to get signed by Ryan Braun…
Braun 1982 jersey.jpgIt’s my authentic Milwaukee Brewers retro Friday version of Ryan’s rookie jersey.  Straight from MLB and ready to be signed and framed…hopefully!!

Here’s what my daughter would like to get signed (at my discretion, of course-she’s only 3)…
braun poster.jpgOur Braunie Bomber poster…that would look sweet signed and framed, wouldn’t it?


TIP:
  When you get an item signed by a player, tell him exactly what you want.  Also, tell him where you want the autograph.  That way, there’s no confusion and you won’t be letdown.

My next course of action (if I’m lucky enough) will be to jump into Prince Fielder’s autograph line.  Like I said earlier, only 250 autograph coupons are available per player/per person.  That’s not a lot when you consider there will probably be over 10,000 fans in attendance.

Thumbnail image for fielder profile photo.jpg     Here’s what I’d like to get signed by the big bopper-Prince Fielder…
Prince Fielder (3) home run baseballs.jpgOf the 114 career home runs Prince Fielder has hit, 3 have safely found a home in my glove.
Career home run # 61
Career home run # 67
Career home run # 97
I’d like to get those signed and dated before he gets traded out of town.

If I’m able to get those autographs, my day will be complete.

Of course, I’ll be taking a ton of pictures for a great big blog that will be coming, too.
Kaybee, I haven’t forgotten about you…you won’t be disappointed!

Hoffman to be unveiled at Brewers “On Deck”

This story was just in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

The Brewers will unveil their prize off-season acquisition –
all-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman — at their “On Deck” event next
Saturday at the Midwest Airlines Center.

Hoffman, who agreed to terms last week and was officially signed
on Tuesday, will be introduced at a press conference open to the public
at 10:30 a.m. That presser will take place on the WTMJ Stage.

The Brewers also announced the schedule for player autograph
sessions, which I’m putting at the bottom of this post. Some autographs
will be free, others will cost as much as $25. The team is making
available 250 autograph vouchers on the day of the event for each
player and coach. Cash will be the only form of payment accepted for
autographs requiring money.

All fans who attend the “On Deck” even will receive a free Terrace
Reserved ticket to any one of the three games against the Cincinnati
Reds, April 13 – 15. Advance tickets for the event are $15 for adults
and $9 for children (aged 2 – 14). On the day of the event, tickets are
$20 for adults and $15 for children. 

Tickets are available in advance at brewers.com and by calling the
Brewers ticket office at 414-902-4100. A portion of the proceeds will
go to Brewers Charities and Make-A-Wish Foundation of Wisconsin.

Photo sessions with players and coaches will begin at 11 a.m. and
continue in 30-minute sessions until 4:30 p.m. Fans are advised to
bring their own cameras. Photos are free.

How sweet is that?

You can bet your bottom dollar that as long as my wife and I are not in a delivery room at the hospital, we’ll be front row for this!

One of my loyal readers…Kaybee, over at her S.D. Padres blog-Unfinished Business, will have plenty of pictures of one of her favorites-Trevor Hoffman after I return from this event.

It’s always a thrill to meet a true legend of the game…especially when he’s still playing!

Of course, I have to make time to stop by my favorite current player’s autograph table, too!
Ryan freakin’ Braun!

This event is going to rock…

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Check out my new t-shirts

So, if you’ve watched the youtube videos I’ve provided on this blog, you may know a little of the history behind my yellow-shirted ballhawking prowess. 

In case you missed those entries…click here for my Channel 12 interview.
Click here for my interview on Fox.

Those interviews kind of explain the history.

Alright…my shameless self-promotion is completed.

It’s time to unveil the new “Happy Youngster” shirts I will be wearing for the 2009 baseball season.

I designed the logo myself and my good friends over at the
Milwaukee Shirt Guys
created them for me.

Thumbnail image for HAPPY YOUNGSTER SHIRTS!!!!!!!!!!!.JPGIf you see a guy running after fly balls in Batting Practice (capitalized because it’s so damn important) like his pants are on fire, check to see if he’s wearing this shirt…it’s probably me!! 

And when that crazed maniac finally stops running when Batting Practice has concluded, come over and say “hello.”

Every great ballhawk needs a consistent look…easier to recognize. 
Mine just happens to be yellow!

So, whaddya think?

Happy’s guide to the Cactus League

I’ve visited the great state of Arizona for Spring Training on three prior occasions. 
This March/April will make it the fourth. 
I’m not a seasoned veteran but I do feel like I’ve learned a bit on the way.

I’ve attended games at the following parks:

  • Maryvale Baseball Park (Go Brewers!)
  • Peoria Sports Complex (Padres/Mariners)
  • Phoenix Municipal Stadium (A’s)
  • Scottsdale Stadium (Giants)
  • Tempe Diablo Stadium (Angels)
  • Tuscon Electric Park (D’backs)

Here’s my guide to maximizing your travels to the Cactus League…
(only based on my opinions/personal experience).

Best Cactus League stadium for watching a game:
scottsdalestadium.jpgScottsdale Stadium (SF Giants)

  • Originally built in 1955
  • Replaced in 1991
  • 12,000 capacity

This park is a beauty.  I attended in 1999 to catch a glimpse of Bonds.
Not the best for ballhawking when I was there due to crowds out on the berm.
Scottsdale is the nicest city in the Phoenix metro area (expensive, too).

Best steak:
pink pony steakhouse.jpgThe Pink Pony Steakhouse

(from Yahoo business overview)
In the days when downtown Scottsdale was truly still “the West’s most
western town,” this venerable venue was THE place to gather. For many,
it still is. The dining room is cowboy, but the bar is purely a sports
shrine. Baseball’s Cactus League games are played at the nearby
Scottsdale Stadium and both players and fans can be found drinking and
dining. Steaks and prime ribs hit home runs here.

Speaking of prime rib…let me tell you-it was awesome!

Best party bar:
dos gringos sign.jpgDos Gringos

Their slogan is “good place to day drink.”
I went to the one in Scottsdale.  Kind of an uppity crowd of 20’s & 30’s. 
Fun bar with good Mexican food and drink. 

When I went there, this is all I remember…
dos gringos girl.jpgMan or woman…lots of beautiful single people in this bar.

Best scenery of any Cactus League Park:
tempe diablo stadium.jpgTempe Diablo Stadium – Spring Training home of the Anaheim Angels of Californiablabla (whatever they’re called).

That
picture says it all.  Beautiful mountains beyond left field.  Bad for
ballhawking-if I remember correctly, they don’t have many seats to sit
in the outfield :(

Best Cactus League stadium to ballhawk:
Thumbnail image for maryvale berm left field pic.jpgMaryvale Baseball Park (Brewers)
 

Of
course, I’m biased a bit.  This park is a hawker’s dream!  The outfield
is one gigantic grass berm.  For a measly $6 berm ticket, grab a cold
one or ten, a blanket and run your butt off for the ball…it’s a
comin!!

It’s in the roughest part of Phoenix (West-side), but once you’re in the lot, the Phoenix Police Dept. takes care of the rest.

Last
year, I was able to shag baseballs for the Brewers during one of their
practices at this park.  Staff told me I had to throw the baseballs
back onto the field.  That was fine with me…gave me a chance to show
off my arm a little.
My catcher you ask?  None other than former star backstop-Ted Simmons.  What a blast!
I look forward to that opportunity again.

Other cool things to do:
Phoenix Zoo's Main Entrance.jpgVisit the Phoenix Zoo.

OR
phoenix hiking.jpgPut on your hikers and hit the many trails.

OR
grand canyon pic.jpgThe Grand Canyon…absolutely breathtaking.

A few notes:

  • If you go, do yourself a favor…rent a car!  Yeah, the Cactus League Parks are set up in close proximity, but you want the freedom.
  • If you want to be safe and budget a little…stay in Tempe (home of Ariz. State Univ.).
  • If you want to be safe and splurge a little…stay in Scottsdale.
  • I would not recommend staying on the West side of Phoenix near the Maryvale neighborhood.  (Trust me-I know crime statistics)
  • If you go to the Grand Canyon, bring food, water and a good pair of shoes.
  • It gets cooler at night so don’t forget the sweatshirts!
  • Tickets to most games (minus the Scrubs, err…I mean Cubs) are usually available day of game.
  • Go early and wander around the parks you attend.  This is your chance to reach out to your favorite players in a laid back setting…take advantage of it!  It’s pure heaven.
  • Bring a baseball (or something similar) and a pen to get autographs
    (when you least expect it-you’ll see a player you want an autograph
    of).  By pure luck- I ran into HOF’er Reggie Jackson back in 2000.  He
    got dropped off at Peoria Sports Complex.  I had an extra baseball in
    my backpack and had it signed.
  • Wear sunglasses and lots of sunscreen…yeah,
    seems elementary, but you’d be surprised on how many trips are ruined
    because of extreme sunburn.  When you come from the Upper Midwest, like
    me, your body is already a little paler than the next guy…it’s been
    hiding all winter.  Protect it!
  • Yuk it up with the players-this is your chance to interact!
  • Bring your glove!!!!!   (I refuse to elaborate on the obvious)
  • Hit up Jack N’ the Box.  It’s cheap fast food, but I’m obsessed with their burgers.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask the players whatever is on your mind.  I had conversations with everyone that would listen.
  • Don’t be afraid to talk to your fellow fans. 
    If you’re following a specific team, network with other fans of the
    same team.  You’ll meet people from all around and you might even learn
    make a new friend.
  • Am I forgetting anything?

Again…if anyone will be in the Phoenix area March 27-April 2, give me a holler.

Spring Training here we come…2009 Cactus League

It’s official…Trevor Hoffman is a Milwaukee Brewer.  I would blog about Trevor but that’s already old news.  My new job assignment and shift transfer is taking a little longer to adjust to then originally planned (over a year spent on the night shift will do that to you).

I want to talk Spring Training.
Less than 40 days until pitchers and catchers report.

This will be a familiar and friendly sight…
Thumbnail image for cactus pic.jpgSo will driving up and seeing this…
maryvale complex sign.jpgThe welcoming sign of Maryvale Sports Complex on the West side of Phoenix.

It’s official.  Our entire family will be leaving the wintry cold behind and head for “The Grand Canyone State.”

I love this state…
arizona map.jpgI need to live here someday…okay, maybe just during the winter months.
Kinda sick of shoveling.  Feel my pain?

We will be there during the last week of Spring Training. 
(After the players return from the World Baseball Classic)

I’ve gotta see my main man in action…
ryan braun spring pic.jpg                                            RYAN FREAKIN’ BRAUN

This picture is a delightful site…
maryvale berm left field pic.jpgThis is my territory-left field berm at Maryvale Sports Complex.
(I’ll share with you, but, don’t expect me to hold back-nothing personal)

Last year, I shagged baseballs on the outfield berm for the Brewers during one of their practices. 

Total count-26 baseballs
14 caught on the fly.
26 thrown back onto the field (they made me do it :(

That was a blast!

I’ve gotta run for now…the wife asked me to take her out to breakfast (shouldn’t it be the other way around?)  Oh well, can’t win em’ all.

My next post will be a Midwesterners guide to the Cactus League.  You know, a best of/worst of kinda thing.  Based solely on my experiences.

If anyone’s going to Spring Training in Arizona, give me a holler.
I know my guy D over @ The Rockpile Rant is headed down in February with the mobile blogging unit, anyone else?

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Trevor time in Milwaukee??

I apologize for the lack of blogging the last few days…I’ve changed shifts at work so there was a slight adjustment.  Now, let’s forget that-and get down to business.

This is the story (rumor) I’ve been waiting for.  I hope it’s not another hot stove whisper.  I hope this one’s for real (sorry Kaybee). 

Brewers GM Doug Melvin has stated he’s making the signing of this dude his #1 priority.
trevor hoffman pic.jpg                                         TREVOR FREAKIN’ HOFFMAN!!

ATTN:  BASEBALL GODS-Please make this happen.  Please?
I’ve been a good fan…really, I have! 

Guess who else is in the running for Hoffman?
dodgers_logo.jpgYeah…seeing that logo does not make me too optimistic.

But, before I get too down so soon after I was so high up…

This guy needs to come to Milwaukee.  Give him his two year deal and let’s get this thing done, already! 

GM Melvin states Hoffman will probably know where he’s playing by later today (WED.)

I know Hoffman has three boys and is from California…BUT…
Milwaukee’s a pretty decent place.  Just ask Jake Peavy, err…not really.

Forget that.
We’ve got a winning team and we can guarantee Trevor will be our closer.

I hope this is not another case of driving up the price just to sign with another team-like the Dodgers.

Besides, the Dodgers already have a closer-Jonathan Broxton (you know, the big fella with the really big **** and tight pants).

I could get used to seeing this in Milwaukee…

Goosebumps!!!

Goals for 2009

resolution (noun) 1.  Firm determination.  2.  An act of resolving to do something.  3.  A course of action determined or decided on.


goal
(noun) 1.  The objective toward which an endeavor is directed.  2.  The finish line of a race.

I prefer to use goal as the choice word when looking ahead to what I would like to accomplish.
While I hardly plan on 2009 being my finish line, I do have a few choice endeavors for ’09.

Here are a few:


1.
  Be the best father and husband a wife and little girl (boy very soon, too!) could ask for… because there’s always room for improvement.

2.  Squeeze the aforementioned healthy baby boy come end of January…because good health is the greatest gift.

3.  Always be there for my family…because everyone needs protectors. 

4.  Snag 150 baseballs/7 game home runs by the All Star Break.  300 baseballs/14 game home runs by season’s end…because this would set personal records.

5.  Catch a milestone game home run…easier said than done, but they’re fun!

6.  Make a new friend each day…because who couldn’t use more friends?

7.  Take lots of baseball road trips…I might visit your city!

8.  Limit bad decisions…we all make ‘em.  I just want to keep them at bay.

9.  Re-model my wife’s bathroom…I use it too, but let’s face it-it’s her’s!

10.  Watch lots of MLB Network…speaking of-you’ll have to excuse me…

smiley face.jpg
                                       What goals do you have?
 

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