June 2009

6/26/09 @ Miller Park

The San Francisco Giants were in town for a weekend series.
I took one look at the Giants statistics sheet (paying special attention to home runs hit) and thought about playing the 200 level (behind home plate) for foul balls. 
I did not have a ticket in my regular bleachers section for this game.
Yovani Gallardo was starting for the Brewers.  Matt Cain was starting for the Giants. 
On paper, the chances were good for foul balls.

I decided that is what I would do.  But, first things first…BP!

My 1st BALL of the day came via toss-up from Brewers recent call-up, CHRIS NARVESON.

BALL #2 was caught on the fly off the bat of Brewers 3B BILL HALL.  When I made the catch, I was standing on the left field outdoor patio of Friday’s Front Row.

BALL #3 was snagged on the bounce off the bat of MAT GAMEL.

The Brewers portion of BP was now over.  I walked back down to the lower patio of Friday’s Restaurant and peered into the “moat.”

Here’s what I saw…
6_26_09 Giants vs. Brewers @ Miller Park.JPG

…with the arrow pointing to the ball I glove-tricked for BALL #4.

When I reeled it up, I immediately gave it to a nice young lad who was attending the game with his grandparents.

The Giants were now on the field. 

I was not optimistic regarding their home run hitting prowess.  After all, the S.F. Giants are one of the lighter hitting teams around.

In the 1st group of hitters was the best offensive star the Giants have…AARON ROWAND.  Aaron hit one that I snagged on the bounce-BALL #5.

I wasn’t feeling it where I was.  So, I moved. 
While passing the visitor’s pen, I saw an easy glove-trick opportunity.  The ball was lying only 6 inches away from the wall and was directly below the chain-linked side.
BALL #6 = no challenge.

BALL #7 was snagged on the bounce up in the right field loge bleachers off the bat of TRAVIS ISHIKAWA. 

A few minutes later, I called down to BARRY ZITO.  He had a baseball and wanted to toss it into the crowd.  As he was scanning the crowd for a worthy recipient, I waved my glove in the air.  He saw me and gave a nod (as if to say, ‘there’s a Giants fan!’).  BALL #8.

Near the end of BP, I witnessed something amazing.
The guy pictured below…
6_26_09 Giants vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 004.jpg
…hit one out of Miller Park on the fly to right field! 
His name is Pablo Sandoval and he absolutely crushes the ball.  If you attend a Giants game, position yourself in deep right-center field when this guy is up!

The back panels of the stadium (behind the bleachers) were open, allowing the ball to travel straight outta sight!

That ended BP.

I wandered around the stadium trying to kill some time.

Eventually, I made it up to the 200 level.
Foul balls would be mine!!

This was my view to the right…
6_26_09 Giants vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 006.jpg

and to the left…
6_26_09 Giants vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 007.jpg

…foul ball heaven!!

Not so much.  It just was not meant to be.  Everything seemed to be spinning off the bat one level higher (club level) than usual.

I had played this section for foul balls twice before with success. 

The 1st time on 5/01/09 when I snagged a Prince Fielder foul ball.
The 2nd time on 5/09/09 when I snagged a Craig Counsell foul ball.

Not this time.

After the game, I was able to get an ump ball from Paul Nauert which ran my daily grand total to 9 baseballs.

The baseballs…
6_26_09 Giants vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 009.jpg

…of which only 8 are shown (1 was given away to a kid).

The umpire game rubbed ball is located at the very bottom.

2009 BALLHAWKING STATS

  • 9 total balls 6/26/09

4 batted baseballs (1 caught on fly)

3 toss-up baseballs

2 device


ATTENDANCE: 
37,345

2009 TOTAL BASEBALLS

4/7/09   = 5   baseballs
4/8/09   = 10 baseballs
4/9/09   = 10 baseballs
4/10/09 = 3   baseballs
4/11/09 = 5   baseballs
4/12/09 = 5   baseballs
4/13/09 = 11 baseballs
4/14/09 = 6   baseballs
4/21/09 = 5   baseballs
4/27/09 = 15 baseballs
4/28/09 = 9   baseballs
4/30/09 = 4   baseballs
5/01/09 = 7   baseballs
5/02/09 = 4   baseballs
5/08/09 = 11 baseballs
5/09/09 = 1   lousy ball
5/12/09 = 14 baseballs
5/13/09 = 12 baseballs
5/19/09 = 8   baseballs
5/22/09 = 3   baseballs
5/23/09 = 2   baseballs
5/26/09 = 3   baseballs
5/29/09 = 6   baseballs
5/30/09 = 5   baseballs
6/01/09 = 1   baseball
6/02/09 = 9   baseballs
6/09/09 = 4   baseballs
6/10/09 = 0   baseballs
6/11/09 = 2   baseballs
6/12/09 = 9   baseballs
6/23/09 = 6   baseballs
6/24/09 = 9   baseballs
6/26/09 = 9   baseballs
___________________

213 baseballs (33 games)
6.45 average per game

ONE FINAL THING…
I wanted to share the following photograph with my readers…
6_26_09 Giants vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 011.jpg…a “thank-you” card from a wonderful little Brewers fan whom I had given a baseball to.

The best part?  The 5 yr. old refers to me as “BroowrBoy.”
That’s awesome.  What a cool kid.

6/24/09 @ Miller Park

It was blistering-hot in Milwaukee.  I had not even started to ballhawk and I was already drenched in sweat.  Disgustingly drenched. 

When the gates to the stadium opened at 5:30 pm, I ran in and searched for “easter eggs.”  As luck would have it, I found not one, but two!!  One in the right field bleachers (field level) and one in the right field loge level bleachers (2nd level). 

BALLS #1 & #2 were in the bag. 
Good start.

BALL #3 came (on the bounce) off the bat of this young phenom…
mat gamel profile photo.jpg
Brewers 3B MAT GAMEL.
 

If you don’t know the name, you will.  He’s an absolute hitting machine with a bright future.

How I snagged #3 was actually a bit interesting. 

It landed (on the fly) in the Toyota Tundra Territory out in deep right-center field.  It then bounced out of that section and landed on the concourse below.  It rolled about 10-15 feet (with me giving chase) into a restricted, gated-off area.  I thought it was lost before it rolled back out into the concourse where it was claimed.  I have the slight pitch/slant in the concrete that leads to a drain to thank for it rolling back to me.
 
Even a bit more odd was the fact that it was a Twins commemorative ball.  Somehow, the Twins commemorative found its way into the Brewers ballbag. 
Hmmm…

yovani gallardo profile pic.jpg

The Brewers were finishing up their portion of BP when Brewers ace
YOVANI GALLARDO ————————————————>
fielded a baseball.  I yelled for the ball and he
turned and looked up into the bleachers.  He wasn’t looking at me.  So,
I waved my glove and yelled again.  I was standing in about the 15th
row of the right field loge bleachers (2nd level).  He spotted my position and
lofted the ball to me.  It fell about 4 rows short, but, I ran down and easily claimed BALL #4.

The Twins were now on the field.

The Twins right handed hitters (Crede, Cuddyer, Gomez, Young) had hit well the previous day.  So, I headed to the left field loge bleachers.

Soon, Twins RF MICHAEL CUDDYER hammered one in my direction that I caught on the fly for BALL #5.  When I inspected the baseball, it appeared to have once been a gamer that was retired to the BP bucket. 

A few more baseballs were hit up in my area but it had gotten crowded and hard to move.

NOTE:  For those that think Miller Park is an easy stadium to ballhawk in, guess again. 
Try ballhawking in a stadium that averages nearly 40,000 but only opens up 1 & 1/2 hrs. before gametime.  Not to mention, there’s no real spot at Miller Park that’s open and easy to roam around in.  Strict ushers/security add insult to injury. 

Sheesh.

The Twins righties were finished hitting.  I headed back to right field.

When I made it out to right field, I noticed Twins pitcher FRANCISCO LIRIANO was standing in centerfield shagging BP.  I congratulated him on the victory the night before.  When the next baseball was hit to him, he turned and tossed it to me for BALL #6 on the day.
When I inspected it, I noticed it was almost brand-spanking new.  Not as new as the Cuddyer BP homer I had caught the day before, but, almost.

In the next 15 minutes, I managed to snag 3 more baseballs (all on the fly) from the following players…                                              
jason pridie.jpg

JASON PRIDIE – BALL #7 (given away to a young Twins fan)

                       
Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for brian buscher.jpg     BRIAN BUSCHER – BALL #8

Thumbnail image for jose morales.jpg     JOSE MORALES – BALL #9

That was it for BP.

Did I mention it was hot??
6_24_09 Twins vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 001.jpg
90 degrees with a heat index of over 100…hotdamn!

During the game, a very special family stopped by my seat to say “hello”…
6_24_09 Twins vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 005.jpg
…that’s “Brewer Jamie,” his awesome wife-Mary and their adorable daughter Rachel.

Another Miller Park regular stopped by the section…
Thumbnail image for 6_24_09 Twins vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 006.jpg

…the young man’s name eludes me at this time. 
In his hands, he held the newest addition to his growing memorabilia collection. 
A Jason Kubel gamer bat cracked during BP and given to him directly from Mr. Kubel.
Cool stuff.

I didn’t mention it in my last game blog (6/23/09), but I had the chance to formally meet another fellow member of our BALLHAWK LEAGUE. 

Big Glove Bob was in the house. 

For those of you who don’t know, Bob is a diehard Twins fan who has gained notoriety for sporting an oversized glove at the Metrodome. 

Hence, the nickname “Big Glove Bob.”

Bob’s blog tells it like it is and is always a funny read.
If you haven’t already, check his blog out here.

I had met Bob (briefly) back on 5/23/09
But, this time…
6_24_09 Twins vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 011.jpg

…we talked at length.

What a great guy!

The game ended with the final score:

Happy – 9
Brewers – 4
Twinkies – 3
6_24_09 Twins vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 012.jpg
                     Only 8 are shown (1 was given away to a small Twins fan).

A final look.
6_24_09 Twins vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 014.jpg

PICTURED TOP LEFT:  #850 (Michael Cuddyer-caught on fly) was my 200th baseball of the 2009 season.

Yeah, baby.

2009 BALLHAWKING STATS

  • 9 total balls 6/24/09

7 batted baseballs (4 caught on fly)

2 toss-up baseballs


ATTENDANCE: 
34,480

2009 TOTAL BASEBALLS

4/7/09   = 5   baseballs
4/8/09   = 10 baseballs
4/9/09   = 10 baseballs
4/10/09 = 3   baseballs
4/11/09 = 5   baseballs
4/12/09 = 5   baseballs
4/13/09 = 11 baseballs
4/14/09 = 6   baseballs
4/21/09 = 5   baseballs
4/27/09 = 15 baseballs
4/28/09 = 9   baseballs
4/30/09 = 4   baseballs
5/01/09 = 7   baseballs
5/02/09 = 4   baseballs
5/08/09 = 11 baseballs
5/09/09 = 1   lousy ball
5/12/09 = 14 baseballs
5/13/09 = 12 baseballs
5/19/09 = 8   baseballs
5/22/09 = 3   baseballs
5/23/09 = 2   baseballs
5/26/09 = 3   baseballs
5/29/09 = 6   baseballs
5/30/09 = 5   baseballs
6/01/09 = 1   baseball
6/02/09 = 9   baseballs
6/09/09 = 4   baseballs
6/10/09 = 0   baseballs
6/11/09 = 2   baseballs
6/12/09 = 9   baseballs
6/23/09 = 6   baseballs
6/24/09 = 9   baseballs
___________________

204 baseballs (32 games)
6.375 average per game

6/23/09 @ Miller Park

The Brewers were finally back home. 
I had not attended a Brewers home game since June 9th. 

There was one problem from a ballhawking perspective, though…it was Little League Night at the ballpark.  Great for the little leaguers, bad for the ballhawks.

I had a game plan.

I would enter through Friday’s, grab a bite to eat and hopefully snag a few baseballs in the process.

I had a good friend with me at the ball game…

6_23_09 Twins vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 001.jpg

…that’s “Brewer Jamie” out on the Friday’s Bullpen patio.

That’s me getting amped up for some much needed BP…

6_23_09 Twins vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 003.jpg

…!!!!

BALL #1 came off the bat of PRINCE FIELDER.  It bounced around about 20 rows deep.
The effort it took to bend down and pick it up was the extent of the effort exerted claiming this one.

I noticed something funny…

6_23_09 Twins vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 019.jpg

…written on the sweetspot.

“NO POOPY PANTS”  

Good stuff.

At approx. 4:50 p.m., the Brewers ran off the field and the Twins came out to hit.
Usually, the Brewers hit until 5:30 p.m. for a 7:05 game. 

Not this day.  The thousands of Little Leaguers had to take the field at 5:45 p.m.  Therefore, the field had to be cleared.

 

Bring out the Twinkies.

An unknown Twins pitcher (possibly Nick Blackburn) fielded a ball near the wall. 
When he was below me, I said, “Can you toss one up?  The dirtier the better!”

He turned and tossed it up to me for BALL #2.

Little did I know…

6_23_09 Twins vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 002.jpg

…the ball had on a toupee!
As an added bonus, it was a commemorative ball.

BALL #3 was caught on the fly.  Thank goodness it didn’t touch the ground.  Thank goodness it didn’t touch anything except the bat of MICHAEL CUDDYER.

Out of box.
Into ball bag.
Into Coach’s hand.
Off bat.
Into my glove.

Take a look…

6_23_09 Twins vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 023.jpg

Holy pearl, Batman!

Soon, a ball was hit into the Brewers bullpen. 
It was near the wall where the glove-trick can be used.

I came…
6_23_09 Twins vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 007.jpg

     I saw…

6_23_09 Twins vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 008.jpg

I conquered…
6_23_09 Twins vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 010.jpg…BALL #4.

BALL #5 came via this fella…
matt guerrier.jpg

Twins pitcher MATT GUERRIER.

Soon after Mr. Guerrier tossed me that ball, this was the scene…
6_23_09 Twins vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 011.jpg…NO!!!  Come back!!

Eventually…
6_23_09 Twins vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 013.jpg…they were gone.

5 baseballs by 5:30 p.m.  With what should have been another hour to go. 
Oh, the possibilities.

Oh well.  It was Little Leaguers.  They deserved the opportunity to walk on the field and get “up close.”

The scene of little people…
6_23_09 Twins vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 016.jpg…wrapped all the way around the field.

While I was watching the parade, I ran into a few fellow ballhawks from the Chicago area…
6_23_09 Twins vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 017.jpg…Scott (left) and Chad (right).

We caught up for a bit, shared a few stories and strategies, then parted ways.

After about an hour, the Little Leaguers cleared the field.  It was game time.

In the top of the 2nd inning, with 2 outs and Joe Mauer at the plate, a fly ball was lifted to dead-center.  Brewers CF MIKE CAMERON camped underneath it on the warning track and made the squeeze.  I whistled for the baseball and “Cam” turned and fired a perfect strike right into my glove.  BALL #6-game used.

Thanks “Cam.”

That was it for the day.  No game home run chances.  No other baseballs.

The 6 baseballs snagged…
6_23_09 Twins vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 024.jpg…4 of which were commemorative.  Booyah!
The game ball is pictured bottom-right (I do not career # game balls because I use them for autographs).

2009 BALLHAWKING STATS

  • 6 total balls 6/23/09

2 batted baseballs (1 caught on fly)

3 toss-up baseballs

1 device


ATTENDANCE: 
42,008

2009 TOTAL BASEBALLS

4/7/09   = 5   baseballs
4/8/09   = 10 baseballs
4/9/09   = 10 baseballs
4/10/09 = 3   baseballs
4/11/09 = 5   baseballs
4/12/09 = 5   baseballs
4/13/09 = 11 baseballs
4/14/09 = 6   baseballs
4/21/09 = 5   baseballs
4/27/09 = 15 baseballs
4/28/09 = 9   baseballs
4/30/09 = 4   baseballs
5/01/09 = 7   baseballs
5/02/09 = 4   baseballs
5/08/09 = 11 baseballs
5/09/09 = 1   lousy ball
5/12/09 = 14 baseballs
5/13/09 = 12 baseballs
5/19/09 = 8   baseballs
5/22/09 = 3   baseballs
5/23/09 = 2   baseballs
5/26/09 = 3   baseballs
5/29/09 = 6   baseballs
5/30/09 = 5   baseballs
6/01/09 = 1   baseball
6/02/09 = 9   baseballs
6/09/09 = 4   baseballs
6/10/09 = 0   baseballs
6/11/09 = 2   baseballs
6/12/09 = 9   baseballs
6/23/09 = 6   baseballs
___________________

195 baseballs (31 games)
6.29 average per game

6/12/09 @ Oriole Park at Camden Yards

I was having a bit of bad luck during this Baltimore trip.  I was getting a little frustrated.
My fortunes would change on this day.

I headed out of my hotel around noon.
Based on my research, I set out on a mission to sample the finest crab cake Baltimore had to offer. 

The place?
Faidley’s.

After about a 7-10 block walk, I was at the front door…
faidley's outdoor sign.jpg
…so, I pushed open the door and jumped in line.  I didn’t know what to expect.

I looked up at the menu…
faidley's menu and signs.jpg
…the choice was easy.

I ordered the lump crab cake plain…
faidley's crab cakes.jpg
…I just asked for it between a roll.

Wow…absolutely delicious.  If you like crab cakes, you have to stop here.

While I was mowing down on my crab cake, I looked across my table and recognized this fella…
freeman speaking.jpeg

Recognize him??

How about now????
antonio freeman action.jpg
                                                          Yeah, baby.
 
That’s former Green Bay Packers star wide receiver ANTONIO FREEMAN.
He was born in Baltimore, MD and starred for my hometown Packers.  What are the odds??

After
lunch, I headed down to the Harbor and bought my wife and kids a few
things.  I wasted a few hours down there…then headed to the park.

I
HAD to get the coveted season ticket style ticket for the game that
evening.  As you probably already know, this gets you in left field 30
minutes ahead of everyone else without that style of ticket.  It’s
ballhawking heaven when you have this type of ticket-no question.

After
about 1 hr. of wandering around the outside of the stadium, I found a
scalper.  I offered him $20 for a $9 ticket just so I could get into
left field.  Worth every penny.

Before the gates opened, I mingled…
6_12_09 Braves vs Orioles @ Camden Yards 004.jpg
…with a few regulars. 

Pictured above: 
a very friendly Camden Yards usher who’s known for saying “hit me” to
those waiting in line.  When the fan says “hit me,” the usher holds out
a handful of baseball cards in one hand and a spray bottle in the
other.  For your efforts, you get to pick a card out of his hand and
get a spray of cool mist to the face.  Ahhhhh.

Here’s another Camden Yards regular…
6_12_09 Braves vs Orioles @ Camden Yards 002.jpg
 …by the name of Bob. 

Bob has been attending games in Baltimore for a very long time.  He’s a great fan of the game and enjoys ballhawking, too! 
He’s a retired baseball coach who, actually, once HAD a coach that was a former teammate of the great one…George Herman “Babe” Ruth. 
Wow.

Bob, it was a pleasure talking baseball with you!

Finally,
the gates to the stadium opened up.  I ran to the right field standing
room only area to survey the scene.  A few lefties were taking BP!

So, I stayed put for a minute to see how it would go. 
After
approx. 1 minute, I had BALL #1.  It came off the bat of FELIX PIE and
it was caught on the fly atop the elevated standing room only section. 

FINALLY!!  A ball snagged on the fly.  My specialty.

I
noticed Luke Scott was hitting in the same group.  It didn’t take him
long to loft one to my right.  I ran to the end of the standing room
only section.  I had run out of room. 
Wait!  There was time.  I
curled behind the right field bleacher seats using the small walkway
that runs in back.  The ball landed in the 2nd to last row and bounced
into the very last row of seats.  The ball was directly below me and
about 8 feet down.
The quickest way to obtaining that baseball was
straight down instead of running to the aisle and back over.  So, in
one smooth motion, I swung my feet over the back railing and jumped all
the way down, (the only people near me were other ballhawks running
after the ball) landing in between the last row of seats and the 2nd to
last row.  I picked up BALL #2.

The righties for the Orioles were now taking their swings…over to left field I went.

BALL #3 was soon snagged on a bounce off the bat of O’s 3B MELVIN MORA. 
Mora followed that bomb with another one, this time where I was able to snag it on the fly…BALL #4!

O’s
young slugger ADAM JONES soon began to put on a little hitting
display.  One went way up behind me and to the right.  I sprinted up
the aisle, flying through the sea of seats. 
BALL #5 was lying underneath a seat and was barehanded.

RULE #51:  NEVER use your glove to pick up a ball that is no longer in motion.

Before
the O’s portion of BP concluded, underachiever TY WIGGINTON lifted one
in my direction.  I ran down about 4 rows, bolted over about 3 seats
and caught it on the fly for BALL #6. 

Now, that’s more like it.

Bring out the Braves.

The big boppers for the Braves were hitting 1st, so, I headed back over to the right field standing room only section. 

After about 10 minutes of no Chipper Jones bombs, Braves catcher BRIAN
MCCANN took his turn.  It didn’t take McCann long to lift one up onto
the flag court. 

I ran forward and made a jumping catch over everyone else for BALL #7.

The standing room only section was crowded.  It was every man for himself. 

BALL #8 was hit to my left toward the foul pole.  I sprinted over to
the spot I figured it would land.  I was about 15-20 feet from the
brick wall down the right field line. 

I figured right. 

On the run and jumping off my left foot, I made a nice grab over about 4 other ballhawks. 

It felt good.  I had struggled with the weirdest fortune the previous two days. 

It felt good to shine.

After BP, I went over to watch young pitching phenom Tommy Hanson go through his warmup…
6_12_09 Braves vs Orioles @ Camden Yards 011.jpg

6_12_09 Braves vs Orioles @ Camden Yards 012.jpg

For the game, this was my view straight ahead…
6_12_09 Braves vs Orioles @ Camden Yards 018.jpg
…to my left…
6_12_09 Braves vs Orioles @ Camden Yards 019.jpg
…that’s the right field foul pole.

Finally, to my right…
6_12_09 Braves vs Orioles @ Camden Yards 020.jpg
…everyone crowds the front, potentially leaving the game home runs for me.

That’s my blue backpack…
6_12_09 Braves vs Orioles @ Camden Yards 021.jpg
…and glove.  I stood in front of that flag pole for nearly the entire
game.  If a homerun was coming, it was mine.  Confident?  Yes. 

But, it wasn’t meant to be.

After the game, Home plate umpire MIKE REILLY tossed me a game ball (BALL #9) near the umpire’s exit.

Take a closer look at the ump ball…
6_12_09 Braves vs Orioles @ Camden Yards 026.jpg
…do you see that circular residue?  It looks like a sticker was on the ball at one point.
I’ve never seen this before…any ideas??

My theory:  each major league baseball comes from the factory
individually wrapped in a piece of tissue paper.  That tissue paper
protects the baseball inside the box.  The tissue paper is secured
around the ball by a sticker to prevent it from coming off the ball. 
The sticker is not supposed to touch the ball.  In this case, it may
have.

The baseballs I did NOT catch on the fly…
6_12_09 Braves vs Orioles @ Camden Yards 025.jpg…as you can see the nice little scuff marks on them.

A really bad/bright picture of me taken after the game…
6_12_09 Braves vs Orioles @ Camden Yards 022.jpg…by the visitors (Braves) dugout.

Finally, the 9 baseballs…
6_12_09 Braves vs Orioles @ Camden Yards 024.jpg…all are shown.  The ump game ball is on top (I do not career # game balls).

2009 BALLHAWKING STATS

  • 9 total balls 6/12/09

8 batted baseballs (5 caught on fly)

1 toss-up baseball


ATTENDANCE:  28,469

2009 TOTAL BASEBALLS

4/7/09   = 5   baseballs
4/8/09   = 10 baseballs
4/9/09   = 10 baseballs
4/10/09 = 3   baseballs
4/11/09 = 5   baseballs
4/12/09 = 5   baseballs
4/13/09 = 11 baseballs
4/14/09 = 6   baseballs
4/21/09 = 5   baseballs
4/27/09 = 15 baseballs
4/28/09 = 9   baseballs
4/30/09 = 4   baseballs
5/01/09 = 7   baseballs
5/02/09 = 4   baseballs
5/08/09 = 11 baseballs
5/09/09 = 1   lousy ball
5/12/09 = 14 baseballs
5/13/09 = 12 baseballs
5/19/09 = 8   baseballs
5/22/09 = 3   baseballs
5/23/09 = 2   baseballs
5/26/09 = 3   baseballs
5/29/09 = 6   baseballs
5/30/09 = 5   baseballs
6/01/09 = 1   baseball
6/02/09 = 9   baseballs
6/09/09 = 4   baseballs
6/10/09 = 0   baseballs
6/11/09 = 2   baseballs
6/12/09 = 9   baseballs
___________________

189 baseballs (30 games)
6.3 average per game

6/11/09 @ Oriole Park at Camden Yards

I was ready to get on the board.  I was ready to put the previous day’s “bad-luck” performance behind me.  I say “bad luck” because it had little to do with performance and everything to do with weird (bad) luck.

I arrived at the park and found Zack Hample and his friend Jona (not Zack and Miri) already waiting in line. 

Since only those individuals in possession of a “season-ticket” style ticket gain entrance to left field, I was planning on watching Zack effortlessly (seemed that way) run around left field once again today, scooping up every ball that comes his way
(the day before, I watched helplessly from right field as Zack did exactly that).

To my surprise, Zack and Jona agreed to give me Jona’s season ticket. 
In exchange, all I had to do was purchase Jona a ticket to get into the stadium.
A kind gesture.  Thank you both.

So, at 5 pm, Zack and I ran into the stadium and around to the left field bleachers.

It didn’t take me long to get BALL #1, hit into the seats by an unknown Orioles player (possibly NOLAN REIMOLD).

Unfortunately, it also didn’t take very long for the Orioles to finish up their hitting.
Eleven minutes to be nearly exact.

Yup, after 11 minutes of Orioles hitting, the team ran off the field. 

No rain.  No power outage.  No natural disasters. 

So, I twiddled my thumbs.  Eventually, it started to rain and the grounds crew covered the field.

Robbed of a chance at self-redemption. 
$%^&!!

I went into autograph mode. 

Mariners closer David Aardsma signed my ticket. 

Later, during the rain, Mariners Bullpen Coach JOHN WETTELAND stood down the left field line.  He asked two kids if they had gotten a baseball.  They both answered yes.  Huh??  There weren’t any to be had?!?  I think they were frightened.

So, I asked Mr. Wetteland if there was an age limit on the ball he was trying to give away.

He reponded, “yeah…little kids and old ladies.”  He went on to explain, “I’ll tell you why old ladies.  If they’re still going to games at 90, they’re big fans of the game.  And if they’re big fans, they’ve probably been outmuscled for baseballs their whole lives, too.”

I told him, “great explanation.” 

He looked up at me out of the corner of his eye and smiled as he flipped me BALL #2.

One cool dude.

About 5 minutes later, John Wetteland began to sign autographs.  So, I had him sign the baseball.

20 minutes later, Mariners pitcher Jarrod Washburn began to sign autographs.  So, I pulled the game ball out of my backpack (I usually bring 1 to every game) and had him sign it.

The two signed baseballs and signed ticket…
6_11_09 Mariners vs Orioles @ Camden Yards 017.jpg…signed by John Wetteland, Jarrod Washburn and David Aardsma.

The game was wet and uneventful.
Final tally…2 baseballs. 

1 was given away to a young Seattle Seahawks fan in attendance.  Wrong sport, but, Steve Largent was my favorite player growing up.


2009 BALLHAWKING STATS

  • 2 total balls 6/11/09

1 batted baseball

1 toss-up baseball


ATTENDANCE:  12,260

2009 TOTAL BASEBALLS

4/7/09   = 5   baseballs
4/8/09   = 10 baseballs
4/9/09   = 10 baseballs
4/10/09 = 3   baseballs
4/11/09 = 5   baseballs
4/12/09 = 5   baseballs
4/13/09 = 11 baseballs
4/14/09 = 6   baseballs
4/21/09 = 5   baseballs
4/27/09 = 15 baseballs
4/28/09 = 9   baseballs
4/30/09 = 4   baseballs
5/01/09 = 7   baseballs
5/02/09 = 4   baseballs
5/08/09 = 11 baseballs
5/09/09 = 1   lousy ball
5/12/09 = 14 baseballs
5/13/09 = 12 baseballs
5/19/09 = 8   baseballs
5/22/09 = 3   baseballs
5/23/09 = 2   baseballs
5/26/09 = 3   baseballs
5/29/09 = 6   baseballs
5/30/09 = 5   baseballs
6/01/09 = 1   baseball
6/02/09 = 9   baseballs
6/09/09 = 4   baseballs
6/10/09 = 0   baseballs
6/11/09 = 2   baseballs
___________________

180 baseballs (29 games)
6.21 average per game

That’s not all…

I went to the Babe Ruth birthplace and museum.
Let me share a few pictures…
6_11_09 Mariners vs Orioles @ Camden Yards 002.jpg…the front of the house.  Located on Emory St.

A side street…
6_11_09 Mariners vs Orioles @ Camden Yards 003.jpg…looking down the block.

In front (once again)…
6_11_09 Mariners vs Orioles @ Camden Yards 004.jpg…looking down Emory St.

An actual Babe Ruth game used and signed bat…
6_11_09 Mariners vs Orioles @ Camden Yards 005.jpg…that was gifted to a young man on his 13th birthday back in 1935 by “The Babe” himself.

A view of the entire bat…
6_11_09 Mariners vs Orioles @ Camden Yards 006.jpg…now owned (and loaned to the museum) by former Orioles pitcher Mike Flanagan.

“The Babe’s” bedroom…
6_11_09 Mariners vs Orioles @ Camden Yards 007.jpg…where he was born on February 6, 1895.

Another view…
6_11_09 Mariners vs Orioles @ Camden Yards 008.jpg

Some amazing artifacts…
6_11_09 Mariners vs Orioles @ Camden Yards 013.jpg…including a signed Yankees ball, a 1920’s “Babe” game jersey and a bat he used during his record-setting 1927 season.  

Wow.

More amazing stuff…
6_11_09 Mariners vs Orioles @ Camden Yards 014.jpg…including his Player of the Century award, a pair of game used pants and a “Shoeless” Joe Jackson game bat.

A closer look at the “Shoeless” Joe bat…
6_11_09 Mariners vs Orioles @ Camden Yards 015.jpg…gifted to “Babe” back in the day.

Finally, a closer look at his game used pants…
6_11_09 Mariners vs Orioles @ Camden Yards 016.jpg…rare and priceless.

If you’re ever in the Baltimore area, stop by this museum.  It’s small, but, it’s only $6.00 to tour.  Plus, it’s only a couple blocks from Camden Yards!


6/10/09 @ Oriole Park at Camden Yards

I’ll start out by saying the ballpark here is absolutely beautiful.  The brick, the field, the picnic area in centerfield, the warehouse, the huge standing room only madeforhomeruns area…wow.

 

Pics…
6_10_09 @ Camden Yards 001.jpg

…the Legends Museum in front with the warehouse in the background (with arrow).

 

 

6_10_09 @ Camden Yards 003.jpg

…Eutaw St. sign with centerfield picnic area and left field in background.

 

 

6_10_09 @ Camden Yards 004.jpg

…EUTAW STREET GATE H-the centerfield entrance into the stadium.

 

 

6_10_09 @ Camden Yards 005.jpg

…looking through the EUTAW STREET gate and down the stadium walkway from the centerfield side.

 

6_10_09 @ Camden Yards 006.jpg

…looking down the same walkway but from the other side (right field side).

 

 

6_10_09 @ Camden Yards 008.jpg

…a nice shot of the beautiful brick warehouse from down the right field line.

 

6_10_09 @ Camden Yards 010.jpg

…the home plate entrance.

6_10_09 @ Camden Yards 029.jpg

…the picnic area in centerfield with the field (and batting cage!) in the background.

 

6_10_09 @ Camden Yards 030.jpg

…me in front of the EUTAW STREET entrance (sporting my Ripken #8 shirt).

 

6_10_09 @ Camden Yards 031.jpg

…two very special people. 

That’s Todd, his little man Tim and I.  Todd has a really cool blog and is an extremely cool Dad.  Todd comments on my blog from time to time and this was the 1st time we’d met.  His little guy is one cool dude.

You have to go to his blog and read about their travels.  Guys like Todd inspire me!

 

I came to Baltimore to see the stadium. 
Mission accomplished.

I came to Baltimore to catch Matt Wieters 1st career home run.
1 day down…no home run. 
Time will tell.
Mission pending.

 

Besides getting some bad advice from an “expert,” all is well.

Let me tell you…BP was the worst of my life.  I had a legitimate play on 1 ball the entire day.  I did not get that ball. 
All of the players around me stared straight ahead. 
Everywhere I went, the ball went elsewhere.
I’ve had better BP’s with the 1990’s Pirates hitting at County Stadium, a sprained ankle and 40,000 in attendance.

It was JUST one of those days that I can’t explain.

Oh well…I don’t have a precious streak I keep track of.  I don’t HAVE to snag a ball at EVERY single game to feel necessary.  I have nothing to prove. 

50 career game home runs snagged have taken care of that.

I came with the mission to snag Matt Wieters 1st career home run and return it to him without incident. 

I learned a few things from the Chris Coghlan fiasco. 

 

I’ll say no more other than to leave you with this picture I took on my walk back to my hotel…
6_10_09 @ Camden Yards 033.jpg

…that about sums up my day of ballhawking.

When the greatest raw power swinger in recent memory (Russell “The Muscle” Branyan) works on his directional hitting in BP, you know you’re in for a long day.

 

0 baseballs snagged.

Tomorrow is a new day.

 

2009 BALLHAWKING STATS

  • total balls 6/10/09

 


ATTENDANCE:  12,770!!!!
shameful # for such a beautiful park…

2009 TOTAL BASEBALLS

4/7/09   = 5   baseballs
4/8/09   = 10 baseballs
4/9/09   = 10 baseballs
4/10/09 = 3   baseballs
4/11/09 = 5   baseballs
4/12/09 = 5   baseballs
4/13/09 = 11 baseballs
4/14/09 = 6   baseballs
4/21/09 = 5   baseballs
4/27/09 = 15 baseballs
4/28/09 = 9   baseballs
4/30/09 = 4   baseballs
5/01/09 = 7   baseballs
5/02/09 = 4   baseballs
5/08/09 = 11 baseballs
5/09/09 = 1   lousy ball
5/12/09 = 14 baseballs
5/13/09 = 12 baseballs
5/19/09 = 8   baseballs
5/22/09 = 3   baseballs
5/23/09 = 2   baseballs
5/26/09 = 3   baseballs
5/29/09 = 6   baseballs
5/30/09 = 5   baseballs
6/01/09 = 1   baseball
6/02/09 = 9   baseballs
6/09/09 = 4   baseballs
6/10/09 = 0   baseballs
___________________

178 baseballs (28 games)
6.36 average per game

 

 

 

6/09/09 @ Miller Park

On my walk to the stadium, I couldn’t help but notice the roof was closed.

Take a look…

 


6_09_09 @ Miller Park 002.jpg…I didn’t think there was rain in the forecast. 
Was this a feeble attempt by the Brewers to cool off the red-hot Colorado Rockies??

 

The Rockies had just swept away the Redbirds in St. Louis during their 4-game series.  No easy task.

 

I arrived at the Beer Garden entrance around 5:26 pm.  The gates were set to open in 4 minutes (there’s rarely ever a wait in this area for those who don’t like lines).

 

When the gates opened, I ran up to the left-field loge bleachers.  The last pitches of the Brewers portion of BP were being tossed.

 

Bring out the Rockies.

 

I headed down to the field level down the 3rd base side to play for a warm-up ball from one of the pitchers.

 

Veteran lefty ALAN EMBREE finished his tosses and started scanning the crowd.  He had two baseballs in his glove.  One went to a fan to my left and the 2nd one was tossed to me- BALL #1.  Which, smelled like ICY HOT.

 

I headed back up to the left field loge bleachers.

 

None too many baseballs were being hit into the stands, so, I resorted to asking for them.

 

Rockies pitcher JOEL PERALTA was shagging BP in deep left-centerfield.  I waited for the appropriate moment (when a ball was hit to the wall) and said his name, followed by the polite request.

He turned and lobbed up BALL #2.

 

I headed to right field.

 

While I was in right field, the big lefties (Helton, Hawpe, Stewart) were jacking home runs all over the place…except where I was.

 

I resorted back to asking. 

Rockies speedy youngster DEXTER FOWLER fielded one near me and tossed it up for BALL #3.

 

Soon after, Rockies Bullpen Coach JIM WRIGHT tossed me BALL #4.

 

When BP was over, I headed over to the Rockies dugout.

When I got there, Rockies stud Ubaldo Jiminez was signing autographs…

6_09_09 @ Miller Park 014.jpg

 

 

 

 

Crappy looking autograph by a great young player.

 

I’m not complaining.

 

 

 

 

A minute later, I looked over to my right.  Rockies OF Ryan Spillborghs was signing autographs.

The signature…

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 6_09_09 @ Miller Park 015.jpg

…funny story.

Here’s the exchange between Spillborghs and I…

 

ME:  “Hey Ryan, how ya doing?”

RYAN:  no response

ME:  “Thanks for the signature.”

RYAN:  no response

 

I thought nothing of it-until he looked like he wanted to say something to me.  Finally, he spit out what was on his mind.

In a smug tone, Spillborghs said, “so, how many balls you get?”

I responded, “ahh, you were paying attention.”  I told him I had snagged only 4 baseballs.
Laughing, of course.

 

I decided to hang around the Rockies dugout for awhile…
tv chick with perky boobies.jpg

…not because I was interested in the Cardinals/Marlins score nor was it because I like cowboy hats.

 

On to the game.

A special person was in attendance this evening.  In the 3rd inning, I headed for a visit…
6_09_09 @ Miller Park 007.jpg

…with my Uncle Marvin (on left) and his friend Russ.

Uncle “Mar” is a great fan of the game.  In fact, Mar has made quite the name for himself throughout the state of Wisconsin for his contributions over the last 50+ years to Little Leagues in the Pittsville/Marshfield area.

Mar was awarded a lifetime achievement award honoring those 50 years of dedicated service.
I’m proud of you, Uncle Mar!

 

Two more special attendees are pictured with me below…
6_09_09 @ Miller Park 009.jpg

…(from left to right) Brian, Jamie and I.

I met Brian for the 1st time.  Brian created one of the most popular Brewers fan sites around.
BREWERFAN.NET

If you’re a Brewers fan, you have to check out this site.

The man in the middle, BrewerJamie, assists with the operations of Brewerfan.net.  Jamie is a close and personal friend of mine. 

Both true diehard Brewers fans.

 

Finals…
6_09_09 @ Miller Park 013.jpg

                                                         …4 baseballs
        (3 are shown-1 was given to BrewerJamie to give to his 5 yr. old daughter Rachel).

 

 

2009 BALLHAWKING STATS

  • total balls 6/09/09

 

4 toss-up balls


ATTENDANCE:  32,464

2009 TOTAL BASEBALLS

4/7/09   = 5   baseballs
4/8/09   = 10 baseballs
4/9/09   = 10 baseballs
4/10/09 = 3   baseballs
4/11/09 = 5   baseballs
4/12/09 = 5   baseballs
4/13/09 = 11 baseballs
4/14/09 = 6   baseballs
4/21/09 = 5   baseballs
4/27/09 = 15 baseballs
4/28/09 = 9   baseballs
4/30/09 = 4   baseballs
5/01/09 = 7   baseballs
5/02/09 = 4   baseballs
5/08/09 = 11 baseballs
5/09/09 = 1   lousy ball
5/12/09 = 14 baseballs
5/13/09 = 12 baseballs
5/19/09 = 8   baseballs
5/22/09 = 3   baseballs
5/23/09 = 2   baseballs
5/26/09 = 3   baseballs
5/29/09 = 6   baseballs
5/30/09 = 5   baseballs
6/01/09 = 1   baseball
6/02/09 = 9   baseballs
6/09/09 = 4   baseballs
___________________

178 baseballs (27 games)
6.59 average per game

 

 

 

 

6/02/09 @ U.S. Cellular Field

I was pondering whether to return to “The Cell.” 

The day before, the rain appeared to be a non-factor.  As it turned out, BP ended up being washed out. 

It was a new day and the rain again looked like it would stay away.  But, as most of you guys/gals already know, this is not an exact science.  It’s hit or miss.

BP or no BP…that was the question.

You can imagine when I burst through the gates and entered the seating area, I was thrilled to see the White Sox hitters still taking their cuts.  So, I took off for the left field bleachers.  I had to make up for the 1 ball showing the day before.

BALL #1 came from an unknown White Sox player who was shagging BP out in left field.  I asked him for the ball and he hooked me up.  I’m just not sure who the donor was.

The last Sox group was hitting.  By the looks of it, they had some making up to do, too!  A good number of baseballs were reaching the seats.

BALLS #2 & #3 were both caught on the fly off the bat of PAUL KONERKO (about 5 minutes apart).  Paulie was peppering the left field seats with souvenirs.

paul konerko.jpgPAUL KONERKO…

such an under-rated player.  The guy has 300+ career taters, 1600 career hits, almost 1000 career RBI and he’s still going strong.

Yet, he’s rarely mentioned in the same breath as the rest of the stars of today.  WHY??  His image is not tainted.  That can’t be it.  So, WHY??

That was it for the White Sox portion of BP.

Bring out the A’s.

Within 10 minutes, two A’s tossed me baseballs.
ANDREW BAILEY tossed me BALL #4.
LANDON POWELL tossed me BALL #5.
landon powell.jpg
Landon Powell…

This guy is hard to miss.  He’s 6’3” tall and weighs 250 lbs.  He’s a helluva big guy and this year (’09) is his 1st taste of the big leagues.

I’m rooting for him.

Giambi, Cust and Sweeney were now hitting.  So, I moved to right field.

Soon, “The Giambino,” one of my all-time favorite players, jacked one in my direction.  I ranged to my right approx. 15 feet and made the grab on the fly for BALL #6.  I caught the ball over the top of another grown man with a glove.  No physical contact-just spirited competition.  A guy wearing no glove (imagine that) blubbered, “yeah, way to steal it!” 

Usually, in these types of situations, I ignore stupidity.  This time, I couldn’t help but respond.

To which I responded, “yeah, I stole it.  Stole it right out of the air.”

Whatever pal.  Save your useless negative energy on someone who cares.

A few minutes later, a ball was hit into the visitor’s bullpen.  I noticed a young man streak to the spot directly above the ball and start to fish into his backpack.  After pulling out a few simple supplies, the young man dropped a cup on a string device into the bullpen.  Interested, I continued watching him.  A few seconds later, he reeled up the ball. 

Very nicely done.  He looked efficient and confident in the process.  All executed 20 feet from two separate security guards.  They never batted an eye.

I moved back to left field.  Soon, a ball was hit into the gigantic black hole called a bullpen.  It came to a rest about 15 feet from the back wall. 
After a few tosses to knock it closer, BALL #7 was soon reeled in. 
I gave it to the nearest kid.

About 5 minutes later, another ball was hit into the Sox bullpen.  It was a little further out.  I didn’t want to chance it, so, the aforementioned ballhawk with the cup trick, went to work on it.  He was using his glove to try to knock it closer but it wasn’t working and he was getting nervous.

That’s when this guy intervened…
Thumbnail image for 6_2_09 A's vs White Sox @ U.S. Cellular Field 004.jpg…A’s pitcher Dallas Braden.

Dallas noticed the young ballhawk attempting to glove-trick the ball out of the Sox bullpen.  So, he quietly went up to the gate that leads into the bullpen.  Then, he laid down on his stomach and trench-crawled to the corner and up the steps.  He paused for a second, then sprinted toward the ball.  He did a hook-slide next to it, picked it up and in one motion…fired it back onto the field.  Then, began to jump up and down with his hands above his head.

Here’s a file photo of Dallas Braden…
dallas braden.jpg

About 20 minutes prior, Braden was eating a lollipop.  A fan near me asked him, “do you always eat a lollipop before the game?”
To which Dallas Braden responded, “nah, I usually drink a 40 before the game.”

Funny stuff.

The whole trench-crawl/ambush the baseball in the pen ordeal drew some attention.

Wilford Brimley, out of retirement from selling medical insurance and now working for the Chicago White Sox, scolded the young fan…
6_2_09 A's vs White Sox @ U.S. Cellular Field 001.jpg…damn whipper-snappers.

6_2_09 A's vs White Sox @ U.S. Cellular Field 002.jpg6_2_09 A's vs White Sox @ U.S. Cellular Field 003.jpgI’m not quite sure what was accomplished.  It looks like the young ballhawk gets his glove and string back.  ???

Wilford exits the bullpen…
wilford brimley.jpg 6_2_09 A's vs White Sox @ U.S. Cellular Field 006.jpg

See the resemblance??

Buy Liberty Mutual dammit!!

!!!!

As it turns out, the young ballhawk is a member of the Ballhawk League!

His name is Greg and he’s from New York. 
He keeps track of his stats on Zack Hample’s blog.

A picture of Greg and I…
6_2_09 A's vs White Sox @ U.S. Cellular Field 007.jpg…before the game.

When BP was wrapping up, I was camped above the A’s dugout.  When the players and coaches ran off the field, BALL #8 was tossed to me by A’s Coach TYE WALLER.

BALL #9 was tossed up to me by the aforementioned DALLAS BRADEN.

A young Oakland Athletics pitcher by the name of Vin Mazzaro was set to make his major league debut on this evening.
Apparently, he’s one of Oakland’s young guns.  So, I grabbed a front row seat above the visitor’s bullpen to watch him warmup for his big debut.

Here’s a few shots I took…
6_2_09 A's vs White Sox @ U.S. Cellular Field 018.jpg
Thumbnail image for 6_2_09 A's vs White Sox @ U.S. Cellular Field 030.jpgVIN MAZZARO 6/2/09 pitching line…
6.1 IP/3 hits allowed/0 earned runs.

During the game…
6_2_09 A's vs White Sox @ U.S. Cellular Field 036.jpg…I consumed my customary White Sox meal.

Nothing further to report, sir/ma’am.

Final score:

Happy Youngster 9
A’s 5
Sox 0…
6_2_09 A's vs White Sox @ U.S. Cellular Field.jpg                     9 TOTAL BASEBALLS (8 are shown-1 was given away to a kid).

2009 BALLHAWKING STATS

  • 9 total balls 6/02/09

3 batted balls (all caught on fly)

5 toss-up balls

1 device




ATTENDANCE:  20,519

2009 TOTAL BASEBALLS

4/7/09   = 5   baseballs
4/8/09   = 10 baseballs
4/9/09   = 10 baseballs
4/10/09 = 3   baseballs
4/11/09 = 5   baseballs
4/12/09 = 5   baseballs
4/13/09 = 11 baseballs
4/14/09 = 6   baseballs
4/21/09 = 5   baseballs
4/27/09 = 15 baseballs
4/28/09 = 9   baseballs
4/30/09 = 4   baseballs
5/01/09 = 7   baseballs
5/02/09 = 4   baseballs
5/08/09 = 11 baseballs
5/09/09 = 1   lousy ball
5/12/09 = 14 baseballs
5/13/09 = 12 baseballs
5/19/09 = 8   baseballs
5/22/09 = 3   baseballs
5/23/09 = 2   baseballs
5/26/09 = 3   baseballs
5/29/09 = 6   baseballs
5/30/09 = 5   baseballs
6/01/09 = 1   baseball
6/02/09 = 9   baseballs
___________________

174 baseballs (26 games)
6.69 average per game

6/01/09 @ U.S. Cellular Field

A blog in pictures.

At the Waukegan train station, I looked to the sky…
6_1_09 A's vs White Sox @ U.S. Cellular Field 001.jpg…and Mother Nature was not cooperating.

I arrived at U.S. Cellular Field…
6_1_09 A's vs White Sox @ U.S. Cellular Field 003.jpg…still no rain.

So, I grabbed a spot in line.
 
When I ran up the ramps and into the seating area, this was the sight…
6_1_09 A's vs White Sox @ U.S. Cellular Field 006.jpg…mother#*%*! sonofa#@*&$&.  Why the ****?  Throw me a ******* bone wouldya?

No Batting Practice (capitalized for importance).

The Oakland A’s pitching staff was out warming up…
6_1_09 A's vs White Sox @ U.S. Cellular Field 004.jpg…maybe my only shot at a ball today.

brad ziegler.jpg

After he completed his warmup tosses, A’s closer BRAD ZIEGLER was kind enough to toss me my first baseball on the day.

That was it for pre-game warmups.  So, I wandered over to the A’s dugout for the chance at an autograph.

Who came walking out from the home dugout??
(where the underground batting cages are located)…
6_1_09 A's vs White Sox @ U.S. Cellular Field 008.jpg…none other than the “Giambino” himself, Jason Giambi. 

Jason stopped by the small cluster of fans located in our area and began to sign autographs.  I quickly tossed my backpack down and grabbed the game ball out (I bring one to every game for this exact reason).

Booyah!

The Giambino…
6_1_09 A's vs White Sox @ U.S. Cellular Field 009.jpg
6_1_09 A's vs White Sox @ U.S. Cellular Field 010.jpg
6_1_09 A's vs White Sox @ U.S. Cellular Field 011.jpg

6_1_09 A's vs White Sox @ U.S. Cellular Field 013.jpg
Jason Giambi…one of my all-time favorite players.  I had met him in Spring Training of 2001.  The year after he won his MVP.  He was cool back then and he was still cool now.

He did what he did and owned up to it.  Gotta respect him a bit for that.

Here’s the baseball Jason signed for me…
6_1_09 A's vs White Sox @ U.S. Cellular Field 020.jpg…sweet.  That kinda made up for the lack of BP.

Before the game, I purchased my customary slice of pizza and souvenir soda.  Which, by chance, is one of the tastier deals of any ballpark around.  $8.25 for a jumbo slice of pizza and a bucket of soda.  The pizza is delicious.

Anyway, while I was waiting in line…
…I saw this guy.

Fellow ballhawk and friend, BRIAN, over at TXBASEBALLFAN, brought up an interesting topic.  He asked if it was cool to wear another team’s clothing to a game where that team is not even playing. 

My response:  It is a bit odd.  Further enhanced when it’s a Cubs fan (for me). 

At Miller Park, there’s always a few guys wearing their Cubs gear when the Cubs are 1000 miles away.  They do it just to rub it in our faces.  I guess the same is true for “the Cell.”

Just before the 1st pitch…
Thumbnail image for 6_1_09 A's vs White Sox @ U.S. Cellular Field 017.jpg…the grounds crew finally takes that disgusting rag off the field.

Then, this guy…
6_1_09 A's vs White Sox @ U.S. Cellular Field 018.jpg…very amusing. 

It had rained earlier in the day, they covered the field, yet, they still have to water the area around home plate.  Funny stuff.

The game would provide 0 baseballs for this ballhawk.

Final tally…
6_1_09 A's vs White Sox @ U.S. Cellular Field 022.jpg…1 lousy ball.

I hate rain.  At least when it’s mentioned in the same breath as a baseball game.

2009 BALLHAWKING STATS

  • total ball 6/01/09

 

1 toss-up ball




ATTENDANCE:  26,038

2009 TOTAL BASEBALLS

4/7/09   = 5   baseballs
4/8/09   = 10 baseballs
4/9/09   = 10 baseballs
4/10/09 = 3   baseballs
4/11/09 = 5   baseballs
4/12/09 = 5   baseballs
4/13/09 = 11 baseballs
4/14/09 = 6   baseballs
4/21/09 = 5   baseballs
4/27/09 = 15 baseballs
4/28/09 = 9   baseballs
4/30/09 = 4   baseballs
5/01/09 = 7   baseballs
5/02/09 = 4   baseballs
5/08/09 = 11 baseballs
5/09/09 = 1   lousy ball
5/12/09 = 14 baseballs
5/13/09 = 12 baseballs
5/19/09 = 8   baseballs
5/22/09 = 3   baseballs
5/23/09 = 2   baseballs
5/26/09 = 3   baseballs
5/29/09 = 6   baseballs
5/30/09 = 5   baseballs
6/01/09 = 1   baseball
___________________

165 baseballs (25 games)
6.6 average per game

5/30/09 @ Miller Park

When the gates to the stadium opened, I went up to the loge level bleacher area.
When I arrived, I claimed BALL #1 via the coveted easter egg.

The Redlegs pitchers were warming up in the left field corner.
arthur rhodes.jpg

When he was finished tossing, I asked lefty reliever ARTHUR RHODES for the baseball.

He tossed it up for BALL #2.

BALL #3 came via one of the finer grounds crew members in the National League.  It was lying in the Brewers bullpen.  If he wouldn’t have tossed it up, I would have glove-tricked it. 
I’ll take it the easy way, that’s fine with me.

Reds outfielder CHRIS DICKERSON was shagging BP out in centerfield.  When one was hit close to the wall, I asked him for it.  Chalk up BALL #4.

I was standing in an area the Brewers call “the point” when RYAN HANIGAN launched one out to deep left-centerfield.  I was tight against the railing and caught it on the fly for BALL #5.

That was it for BP.

I wandered over to the Reds dugout where I saw this guy signing some autographs.
adam rosales.jpg

That’s Reds 3B Adam Rosales.  Adam was extremely friendly with the surrounding fans.  He seemed genuine and was signing autographs for about 10 minutes.  At one point, a kid (around 10 yrs. old) told Adam, “I have 4 baseballs to sign.”  Adam just laughed and signed all 4!

Here’s what I had autographed…
5_30_09 Reds vs Brewers @ Miller Park 005.jpg…next time, I’ll use a blue sharpie.  Will probably show up better.

Five (5) home runs were hit in this game but nothing within 100 feet.

The Miller High Life guy made an appearance late in the game…
5_30_09 Reds vs Brewers @ Miller Park 003.jpg                                           …for a common-sense check. 
                     He had thrown out the 1st pitch (spiked 5 feet in front of home plate).

Finals on the day…
5_30_09 Reds vs Brewers @ Miller Park 004.jpg5 baseballs
1 autographed Adam Rosales ticket stub
The Miller High Life-Barrelman logo cooler bag.

2009 BALLHAWKING STATS

  • total balls 5/30/09

 

2 batted balls (1 caught on fly)

3 toss-up balls




ATTENDANCE:  44,172

2009 TOTAL BASEBALLS

4/7/09   = 5   baseballs
4/8/09   = 10 baseballs
4/9/09   = 10 baseballs
4/10/09 = 3   baseballs
4/11/09 = 5   baseballs
4/12/09 = 5   baseballs
4/13/09 = 11 baseballs
4/14/09 = 6   baseballs
4/21/09 = 5   baseballs
4/27/09 = 15 baseballs
4/28/09 = 9   baseballs
4/30/09 = 4   baseballs
5/01/09 = 7   baseballs
5/02/09 = 4   baseballs
5/08/09 = 11 baseballs
5/09/09 = 1   lousy ball
5/12/09 = 14 baseballs
5/13/09 = 12 baseballs
5/19/09 = 8   baseballs
5/22/09 = 3   baseballs
5/23/09 = 2   baseballs
5/26/09 = 3   baseballs
5/29/09 = 6   baseballs
5/30/09 = 5   baseballs
___________________

164 baseballs (24 games)
6.83 average per game

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