7/27/09 @ Miller Park

The Nationals were in town.  Would the infamous training balls be coming with them?
I was about to find out.

I was watching the Brewers take BP…the time was 5:10 pm.  Before I knew it, the Nats players were on the field and the Brewers were exiting. 

Huh?

The Brewers usually hit until approx. 5:35 pm.  What gives? 
More on this later.

After about 5 minutes of dead-time/stretching, Nationals’ BP began.

This guy was out near centerfield shagging BP…
7_27_09 Nationals vs Brewers @ Miller Park 003.jpg

…Nationals outfielder Willie Harris.

Willie fielded a baseball near the warning track. 
In my quest to confirm the usage of the lousy training ball, this was my discovery…
7_27_09 Nationals vs Brewers @ Miller Park 020.jpg

TRAINING BALL!

Yes, the Nationals were once again using this lousy imitation of a baseball. 

It appears smaller than an MLB ball.
It has larger laces than an MLB ball.
It feels like plastic.

Can the usage of training balls be compared to using training wheels or training bras?? 
You know-things that one would use when they’re not quite ready for the next step up?

Kind of like…the Nationals!!

Remember the International League balls I snagged in Toronto during Opening Week of the 2009 season??

The training balls are very similar…CHEAP!

Once the stadium opened, I ran over to right field.  I knew the big lefty would be coming up soon.  As I cleared the staircase to the loge bleachers and headed back down into the actual seated area, I saw a lefty in the cage.  It was not Adam Dunn.  When I made it down to around the 3rd row, the lefty lifted one in my direction.  I ranged over to my right about 10 feet, jumped down 1 row of bleachers and leaned forward. 

10 seconds in the bleachers=clean catch off the bat of Nick Johnson.

Austin Kearns followed Nick Johnson in the cage.  How that guy is still in the league baffles me.  Hitting after Kearns was the man I had been waiting for. 

Adam “the Donkey” Dunn.
(doesn’t he look like a big ol’ donkey?)
Thumbnail image for adam dunn.jpg
When he stepped into the cage, I looked around.  The majority of my competition was still standing in the 1st three rows of bleachers!  Did they not know Adam Dunn hits bombs? 

Soon, one was lifted high into the air.  It was a bomb to my right.  I put my head down and began to sprint through the empty row of seats (around the 7th row).  It was hit a whole section to my right.  I nearly got to the baseball before it hit the bleachers.  Luckily, it took a friendly bounce higher and even farther away from everyone else. 
I claimed the ball in row #10.

I would claim another one off the bat of Adam Dunn before he was finished.  That one on the bounce, as well.  Hooray for Adam Dunn and his big stick.

The buzz wore off when Dunn left the cage.  What followed one of the greatest BP hitters of all-time?  A bunch of punching-Judy hitters.  Great. 
I would wrap up BP by trying for a few toss-ups.

That’s when I spotted this friendly fellow…
7_27_09 Nationals vs Brewers @ Miller Park 004.jpg
…Nationals pitcher Garrett Mock.

Garrett was extremely friendly and very willing to give away a few souvenirs. 
After asking me where I was from, he tossed me BALL #5 on the day.

So, do you recall me telling you the Brewers finished their portion of BP a whole 20 minutes early?  Well, so did the Nationals.  The time was 6:05 and the cage was being taken down.

Hmm…still a mystery. 
Until this scene took over the field…
7_27_09 Nationals vs Brewers @ Miller Park 007.jpg

…Boy Scouts!

They deserved the opportunity to be up-close.  What a cool treat that must have been.

BTW, do you see that baseball in the above picture??  The one lying in the bullpen??

It ended up being tossed to me courtesy of this man…
7_27_09 Nationals vs Brewers @ Miller Park 015.jpg

…Nationals bullpen coach-Randy Knorr.

There were exactly 7 baseballs lying in the bullpen when Randy arrived.  Exactly 7 baseballs were tossed into the stands.  Thanks, Randy.

Right before the game was about to start, I headed over to the Nationals dugout for a warmup ball.  Christian Guzman and Alberto Gonzalez were warming up.  When they finished, Guzman tossed the ball to my waiting glove.

I figured another pair of Nats players would pop out and warmup.  I figured right.
Ryan Zimmerman and Nick Johnson began to toss.  After a brief intermission for the National Anthem, Nick Johnson tossed that ball to me, too! 
I, in turn, tossed it to a nearby youngster who was a bit late in getting down to the front row.

The Brewers were thoroughly spanked 14-6.  Largely, due in part, to Nats rightfielder Josh Willingham.  Mr. Willingham sent two balls over the fence each with the bases full of Nats.  Only the 14th time in Major League history that feat had been
accomplished.
That’s even rarer than the Perfect Game. 

Wow.

The eight (8) baseballs snagged…
7_27_09 Nationals vs Brewers @ Miller Park 019.jpg
…only seven (7) are shown.  One (1) was given away.



2009 BALLHAWKING STATS

  • 8 total balls 7/27/09

3 batted baseballs

5 tossup baseballs

ATTENDANCE:  37,311

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
7/10/09 = 3   baseballs
7/20/09 = 7   baseballs
7/24/09 = 6   baseballs
7/27/09 = 8   baseballs
___________________

255 baseballs (41 games)
6.22 average per game

9 Comments

I just got bak from a trip to d.c. and all the baseballs i got during the nats bps were training. the teams as bad as their baseballs. I also got bak-2-bak warmups from the nats twice this year. do u plan on making a trip to n.y. this year? Joe
baseballexperiences.mlblogs.com

The Scouts love their times on the field! The PawSox (Red Sox Triple-A Team) have nights where the Scouts can campout overnight on their field. It is a lot of fun.

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

Willie Harris and you actually have a lot in common. He hunts down balls in center better than any outfield. You hunt them down better than any ballhawker. Good going!
http://homerfoodandhistory.mlblogs.com/

They are always marching one group or another on the field at the dome. My guess is that will come to an end when they move to real grass next year. Gregb123 had a nice 2 day total of 8 balls at the dome. He agreed that it sucks for ballhawking. I am still waiting to see how exactly he got the 8 balls since that is a solid outing. I have only gotten 4 balls a handful of times and my record is 5 so I am curious as to his technique. Those training balls suck. But then again so do the Nats.

You know, I think it’s comical that teams buy inferior equipment just to save money. What does that say to the players? Nice post by the way, good job on the Dunn balls! He’s a stud that’s going to waste on a horrible team. Keep snaggin’!
Brian
http://txbaseballfan.mlblogs.com

on an unrelated note, did the Marlins ever deliver on the tix to the Brewers series in FLA?
-Todd
http://cookandsonbats.mlblogs.com

Happy – Congrats on being #5 on the latest Leader’s List!

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

Saw your Brew Crew last night at Dodger Stadium. What a game for Dodger fans. It will be interesting to see what happens in tonights game when Manny comes up the first time!

John
Baseballs 4 MADD – MLBallhawk
http://ballahwk.mlblogs.com
http://mlballhawk.com
@mlballhawk on Twitter

JOE…
No New York in the plans this season. Next year!

JULIA…
Wow, that does sound like a lot of fun-good for them!

JEREMY…
I’m flattered to be mentioned in the same breath as Willie Harris.

BOB…
So many true statements in that comment.

BRIAN…
I’m surprised the former Selig-led Brewers didn’t ask for the baseballs back when they were hit into the crowd at old County Stadium.

TODD…
no, those ********.

JULIA (again!)…
Thanks-congrats to you, too!

JOHN…
Yeah what’s up with all that??!!??

“Happy”

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