7/07/09 @ Miller Park

Do you remember when I went to Toronto during Opening Week of the season and the Detroit Tigers were using International League baseballs

More on this later…

My last game was on 6/30/09.  A whole week without games.
 
The baseball portion of my day started with the usual walk…
7_07_09 Cardinals vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 002.jpg

…with the arrows pointing to two popular Brewers bars located on W. Bluemound Rd.

Long Wong’s Chinese-American Sports Bar and Kelly’s Bleachers.

If
you’re ever visiting Milwaukee and want a great place to hang out
before, during or after ballgames, you have to check out these two
great establishments.
(No, I’m not on either places payroll).

My walk continued to the corner of W. Bluemound/General Mitchell Blvd…
7_07_09 Cardinals vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 003.jpg
7_07_09 Cardinals vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 004.jpg

…along Mitchell Blvd. Park.

Eventually…
7_07_09 Cardinals vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 007.jpg

…down the little pathway.

In the picture above, do you see what the red arrow is highlighting?
That’s a section of Miller Park’s roof peaking through an opening in the trees.

Further down the pathway…
7_07_09 Cardinals vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 008.jpg
7_07_09 Cardinals vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 009.jpg

…that parallels Interstate 94.

Finally, putting me into the NORTH General parking lot…
7_07_09 Cardinals vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 011.jpg…with the red arrow pointing to the Miller sign peaking above the trees down in the valley at Miller Brewing Company.

Finally, I had arrived.

When
I entered the stadium, Prince Fielder was hitting.  So, I took a little
stroll over to right field to see what he could do.  It didn’t take him
long to hit a bomb that probably traveled in excess of 450 feet.  I
retrieved that baseball after it bounced around a bit. 

I
waited patiently for more Fielder bombs but they didn’t come.  Earlier,
it was announced that Fielder would be participating in the 2009 Home
Run Derby down in St. Louis.  I thought he would be putting on a home
run clinic to tune-up for the event.  I was wrong.  Not due to a lack
of effort; he was trying, but most of his contact sent the balls on a
line.

I wandered over to left field to try my luck with Ryan
Braun. 
After about 5 minutes, “Brauny” sent one into the left field
bleachers that I retrieved on the bounce, as well.

Thumbnail image for 7_07_09 Cardinals vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 023.jpg
Remember how the Brewers write funny sayings/words on a large percentage of their BP balls??

Well, this particular ball had “KEEP ON SMILING” written on the sweetspot.

That ball was meant for me.

Near the end
of batting practice, I noticed an unusual amount of players’ kids
gathered on the warning track out in left-center field.

I noticed, but thought nothing of it. 
Until
I heard a baseball hit the bleachers and make a BANG! about 15 feet
from me.  I looked around and did not know where that ball came from. 
I looked up.  I looked right and left.  WTF?!!
I soon realized that a few of the players’ kids were tossing baseballs into the stands out of one of the ballbags.

So, I got in on the action. 
All together, approx. 10 of these baseballs were tossed up.

Here’s the one (1) that I snagged…
7_07_09 Cardinals vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 022.jpg

Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be an OFFICIAL LEAGUE ball.  Huh??

I looked closer and noticed the ball had a logo on it.  Yeah!
The BIGS2 video game. 

I do not play video games. 
Heck, I barely have enough time to blog. 
But, this was pretty cool. 

Am I counting it toward my season stats? 
Damn right.

Here’s why:
1).  The ball was obtained at an officially sanctioned MLB event.
2).  I did not purchase the ball.
3).  I was the 1st fan to obtain possession of the ball.
4).  The ball was not obtained through an announced stadium promotion (it’s not like the 1st 15,000 fans received one).
5).  It wasn’t just an official league ball.  It had a cool logo on it!
6).  I skinned my knee snagging it, dammit!

The Brewers left the field.  The Cardinals came out.

I don’t know what’s been going on around Miller Park, lately.  But, balls being hit into the stands are starting to become a bit of a rarity.  Opposing teams have not been hitting many during BP over the last few weeks.  Makes ballhawking a bit tough, don’t ya’ think?

Not to mention, I’ve never been a big fan of begging for baseballs, either.  I’ve adopted that tactic this season, largely, because of the ballhawk league.

As the Cardinals hitters did their best to avoid any baseball reaching the seats, my frustration grew.
Actually, during this BP, I counted 7 baseballs that were hit down the left field line.  All playable for those standing in the front row.  Just simply lean over.

Wanna guess how many baseballs made it into the bleachers at this point?
Three.

I didn’t get my next baseball until Cardinals reliever JOSH KINNEY Thumbnail image for josh kinney.jpgand his sweet fu manchu mustache tossed me one over in right field.

Regretfully, I didn’t take his picture.
But, as you can see by the artistic demonstration to the right, Mr. Kinney’s mustache was, indeed, a sweet one.

The next group of Cardinals hitters contained both Albert Pujols and Ryan Ludwick.

I sprinted over to left field as if my pants were on fire. 
Rumor has it, those two put on a homer display back on Memorial Day.

They both combined to hit approx. 4 into the bleachers.  Ooooh.
Major disappointment. 

What was even more disappointing??
The fact that I lost one of Pujols’ bombs in the sun.  The sun is brutal around 6pm at Miller Park during the summer.  Absolutely brutal.   
I saw the ball go up.  I fluently made my way through the swarms of clueless people.  I picked the exact spot it was going to land.  I looked back up to the sky and was blinded.
All I could do was cringe like a scared schoolgirl on prom night. 
Shakin’ naked in the fetal.
The ball ended up landing about 6 feet away from me. 

Of course, nobody else tracked it.  Of course, everyone else heckled.

BP ended and I had snagged 4 baseballs.  Not the best showing.
But, I always say, if they don’t hit ‘em or throw ‘em, can’t snag ‘em.

Time to wander.
I was looking to waste some time.

That’s when I ran into this big fella…
7_07_09 Cardinals vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 017.jpg
…Adam “Big” Rygg. 

The “Big Rygg” has his own Brewers blog in this network. 
It’s called THE BREWER NATION and it’s a well-written/well-informed blog about the Brew Crew.  Did I mention that Adam also works for the Brewers??

He’s a great fan of the Brewers and a good guy.  So, go check out his blog.  Do it-do it now.

I stopped, grabbed a couple hot dogs (relish, please) and made the trek back to my seat.

The 1st few innings were weird.
Allow me to explain:
1).  Cards infielder Skip Schumaker was thrown out at 2nd base attempting to tag up from 1st.  The fly ball was not deep and the throw utilized the cut-off man.  What??

2).  The Brewers had the bases loaded and Mike Cameron was hit with a ground ball trying to advance to 3rd base.  Baserunner is out.  ???

3).  Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum was ejected from the dugout for arguing balls and strikes (Home Plate umpire Bill Hohn had a rough night-more on him later).  The weird part was that he didn’t come out to get his money’s worth. ???

4).  Brewers bench coach Willie Randolph was then ejected for the same reason in the top 1/2 of the inning.  ??

Some things you don’t see everyday.

One thing you do see from time-to-time:
The yellow-shirted fan snagging a home run ball.

Okay, it wasn’t a glamorous snag.  But, I’ll tell you anyway.

Do you recall my not-so-glamorous snag of Cardinals phenom COLBY RASMUS’ 5th career homer which just so happened to be my 50th career game home run?
If not, click here.

Do you also remember me saying how Brewers RF Corey Hart has hooked me up time after time over the years??
If not, click here and here.

Well, Corey was at it again.

It was the top of the 5th inning.  No outs.
Cardinals stud COLBY RASMUS jacked one that left the yard, striking an advertisement sign positioned at the front of the loge bleachers.  The ball ricocheted down to the field and rolled to Brewers RF Corey Hart.  Corey attempted to lob it into the visitor’s bullpen to the Cards relievers.  The problem good thing was that it fell short and merely bounced off the outfield wall.  The ball rolled on the warning track where it came to a rest closer to my location.
This time, though, Corey looked up to my section and lobbed it up.  Immediately, I realized it
would be over my head.  So, I jockeyed for position while backing up.  At the last possible moment, I jumped straight up with my glove stretched as high as I could.  I felt the ball hit the pocket as I came down in a small crowd of people.

Career game home run #51. 

Like I said-not glamorous, but I’ll take it.

The Colby Rasmus game home run snagged
 on 5/26/09…                                             AND           the one snagged 7/07/09…
Thumbnail image for 5_26_09 Cardinals vs Brewers @ Miller Park 010.jpg

                 Career HR #5                             AND                      Career HR #11

macha arguing with hohn.jpgToward the end of the game, I made my way down to the umpire well
located near the visitor’s dugout.  Fresh off two coach ejections and a
horribly called game, Home Plate umpire BILL HOHN flipped me a game
ball from the pouch to make it 6 baseballs on the day.

I think 2009 might be the year of the mustache.  (Giambi-look what you started!)

The 6 baseballs snagged on this day…
7_07_09 Cardinals vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 020.jpg

2009 BALLHAWKING STATS

  • 6 total balls 7/07/09

2 batted baseballs

4 toss-up baseballs

(1 game home run-Colby Rasmus career #11)


ATTENDANCE: 
36,557

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
6/27/09 = 4   baseballs
6/29/09 = 3   baseballs
6/30/09 = 5   baseballs
7/07/09 = 6   baseballs
___________________

231 baseballs (37 games)
6.24 average per game

9 Comments

Of course you should count the ball! Congrats!

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

51 Game Home Runs, I don’t know how you do it… And about the “Bigs” ball, they are used to promote the video game. They were used in BP at Citi Field also, so you should count it. And I’ll be making an appearance at Miller Park on August 14th, so will you be there? It would be nice to meet you, and are there any tips you could give me on Miller Park? Where should I stand during BP, should I go glove trick crazy, etc.
http://riveravenue.mlblogs.com
Alex

HY, nice report, man. I love the pictures of the little pathway and the route to the game. Great reporting, sir. Nice job with the HR ball.
-Todd
http://cookandsonbats.mlblogs.com

How in the world do you get so many balls at games?! I have gotten two in my life, one from paul byrd, the other from Jeremy Burnitz. Haha. keep blogging! My blog is birdland blog, please check it out for me!
-birdland

Hi Happy…

Nice snag of game home run #51. Keep on trucking….

Leigh

Nice job bro! Two HR balls from the same guy, in one year & he’s not even on the Brewers?! Great stuff! I wish that stupid Little League I glove tricked last week would have been one of those video game balls. Would’ve been worth it then. “Keep on Smiling”, perfect!
Brian
http://txbaseballfan.mlblogs.com

Sorry, Little League “ball”. I type too fast.

For the record, the video game balls used earlier this season at Citi Field were official MLB balls…but this one (1) you got is still cool. Congrats.

JULIA…
sweet.

ALEX…
August 14th? I plan on being there. Look forward to meeting you. If you want, e-mail me and I’ll tell you what I know.

TODD…
Thanks! How’s the little man?

BIRDLAND…
Positioning, glovework and lots of luck!
I’ll check out the blog.

LEIGH…
thanks a bunch!

BRIAN…
I read about that on your blog. Weird!
Continued luck to you!

ZACK…
way to go-you just ruined it for me. ;)

“Happy”

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