9/06/09 @ Miller Park

The dreaded day game.

Ballhawk Mike and I were going to the game.  I’ve mentioned it before but it bears mentioning again.  “Big Mike” is a great guy.  To the best of my knowledge, he’s the longest tenured ballhawk in Milwaukee…22 years and counting.

I had to grab my breakfast on the run…
9_06_09 Giants vs Brewers @ Miller Park 002.jpg
…oops, wrong picture.

Here was my breakfast…
9_06_09 Giants vs Brewers @ Miller Park 003.jpg
…carbs, baby.  A ballhawk’s best friend.  Not exactly approved by Dr. Robert Atkins, but, what the hell, right?

As far as BP is concerned, you just never know what you’re going to get when attending day games.  Usually, the Brewers take BP on Sundays when they’re playing at home.

On this day, they decided their 66-70 record was good enough.  So, the Giants hit instead.
When we ran into the bleachers, the Giants were first starting to show some life.

merkin valdez.jpg
My 1st baseball on the day came from Giants relief pitcher
MERKIN VALDEZ.  After a polite request, he lobbed it up to me.  Unfortunately, it was falling short.  I had to reach all the way over the railing and risk falling to my death in order to secure the goddamn baseball.  Fortunately, I didn’t die (obviously, I wouldn’t be writing this blog if I had).  I was able to pin the ball against the concrete facing below the railing.  Once the ball was pinned between the wall and my glove, I slowly gained control of it.  Voila!  One baseball and I didn’t have to make National News or the obituaries. 

The things I do for a baseball…I think I may need to have my head examined.

A short time later, Aaron Rowand lifted one high into the air.  I was playing Rowand dead-pull.  This baseball was WAY to my left.  All I could do was put my head down and sprint to the spot I thought it would land.  As I was motoring through the bleachers, I looked up to find the baseball.  I picked my spot correctly as it appeared to be catchable. 
As the baseball made its final descent, I continued to close in on it.  Eventually, I would snag that baseball on the short-hop bounce after going down to one knee and leaning over a row of bleachers in a last-ditch effort to snag it on the fly. 

For my efforts…
9_06_09 Giants vs Brewers @ Miller Park 005.jpg

…a bit of a (ballpark) war-wound.

LET ME ASSURE EVERYONE:  I’m the only one that sustains injury in my attempts to snag baseballs at major league stadiums.

The action in left soon came to a screeching halt.  So, I headed over to right field. 
In right field, while bleeding all over myself, I was able to snag a Travis Ishikawa bomb on the fly.  Giants pitcher Sergio Romo was beneath me when I snagged it and gave me the shout of approval.  That one felt good.

Unfortunately, my knee did not.  After BP ended, I headed to the men’s bathroom to wash the damn thing up. (you didn’t think I would do it while BP was still going, did you?)

Before pre-game warmups began, I headed down to the Giants dugout for a tossup baseball.
While I waited for the players to come out, I watched the grounds crew…
9_06_09 Giants vs Brewers @ Miller Park 006.jpg

…how many people does it take to water the infield?

Don’t get me wrong-I’m not complaining.  If it creates jobs for people and prevents them from robbing, stealing and cheating-I’m all for it.  Think about it.

Eventually, the Giants players started to surface. 
One of the 1st guys out was the Kung Fu Koala Panda, Pablo Sandoval.  After he did a few sprints, he walked over to the stands and began to sign autographs.  After thinking about it for a minute and wasting precious time, I decided to try to get a baseball signed by him. 
As soon as I arrived, he finished signing one last photo and walked into the dugout. 
Maybe I should have had some bamboo or eucalyptus leaves with me or something.

I headed back to my dugout spot.

Soon, Ryan Garko and Jesus Guzman emerged from the dugout.  They began to throw right in front of the dugout with Ryan Garko directly in front of me.  Knowing that Garko is the veteran and would most likely keep the ball, I positioned myself exactly where I started.  When they finally finished throwing, Garko tossed the baseball right to me.

Upon further inspection of the baseball…
9_06_09 Giants vs Brewers @ Miller Park 008.jpg

…it was autographed!  Holy hell that’s cool!

After some quick analysis, I deemed the baseball to be autographed by:
San Francisco Giants hitting coach Carney Lansford.

My 1st snagged AND already autographed baseball.  How cool.

The baseball “Carney”…
carney lansford.jpgcarney.jpg
…the circus “carny.”

I would go on to snag only 1 more baseball.

In the top of the 8th inning, Travis Ishikawa lifted one high and deep to center.  Brewers CF Jody Gerut camped underneath it on the warning track and squeezed it for the 3rd out of the inning.  He was almost directly below me, so, I yelled his name.  As he was running in, he turned around to me and fired a seed straight into my glove.

The 3rd out ball…
9_06_09 Giants vs Brewers @ Miller Park 017.jpg
…and its unique markings on the leather.  What could that be from??  Could that be an imprint from the bat’s wood grain?
I would love to hear everyone’s theory.

The game ended up going into extra innings.  Around the 10th inning, a young lady (about 8 yrs. old) approached me and offered to buy a baseball.  Her offer?  Two dollars.
I told her she should keep her money.  I would give her one for free.  Sweet kid.

The Brewers won in the bottom of the 12th inning on a Prince Fielder walk-off dinger.
Pretty exciting stuff for a team that’s 15 back.  At least they gave us something to cheer about.

Sunday’s snags…
Thumbnail image for 9_06_09 Giants vs Brewers @ Miller Park 016.jpg
…five total with 4 shown (1 was given away).

2009 BALLHAWKING STATS

  • 5 total balls 9/06/09


2 batted baseballs

3 tossup baseballs


ATTENDANCE:  36,590

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
7/29/09 = 3   baseballs
8/04/09 = 4   baseballs
8/11/09 = 7   baseballs
8/12/09 = 6   baseballs
8/15/09 = 4   baseballs
8/16/09 = 3   baseballs
8/17/09 = 10 baseballs
8/25/09 = 10 baseballs
8/26/09 = 4   baseballs
8/28/09 = 18 baseballs (new Milwaukee record)
8/29/09 = 2   baseballs
9/04/09 = 5   baseballs
9/06/09 = 5   baseballs
___________________

336 baseballs (54 games)
6.22 average per game

Only 14 away from #1000…

6 Comments

What a crazy BP. Cool snags.

LB

Carney Lansford also played 2 seasons with my Red Sox. Hope you knee is okay.

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

How bizarre that they were warming up with an already signed ball; cool that he tossed it to you. I’ve always thought Merkin Valdez has a most unfortunate name – a “merkin” is a pubic wig. Wonder if his parents knew that?
Sue
Rants, Raves, and Random Thoughts

Way to sacrifice yourself for the sport! That Lansford ball is pretty sweet, and odd. Does he think that much of himself to autograph random balls, or did that get back in the bucket by mistake? Anyways, it’s cool for you! Good luck with #1400!
Brian
http://txbaseballfan.mlblogs.com

I meant “1000″. Combined the two numbers by mistake.

EVERYONE…
Thanks again for the comments. I’m short on time-preparing for career ball #1000!

“Happy”

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