October 2009

9/30/09 @ Coors Field

This would be my 2nd and final game at Coors Field on this trip.  Due to a family obligation, I would be flying out of Denver (on standby) early in the morning.  I would be skipping the last game of the series because I *HAD* to get back to Milwaukee earlier than I originally planned.

As it turns out, this was going to be my last game of the 2009 season.
I absolutely had to end my season on a positive note…

Kenny and I arrived at the ballpark around 4:15pm and a small line had already formed by the Rockpile Gate.  Shortly thereafter, our friend Don “The Rockpile Ranter” showed up with his son Hunter.  I had read all of Don’s blog entries where he talked about his son.  Finally, I was able to meet him.  One cool little dude.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t thinking straight, and failed to get a picture with Hunter.

We didn’t have to wait long and the gates to the stadium were open.

It also didn’t take me long to snag ball #1.  It came off the bat of Troy Tulowitzki and I fielded it on a bounce off the warning track.  It took a playable bounce unlike the Ryan Braun ground-rule double the day before.

That’s the only baseball I snagged during the Rockies portion of BP.
Soon, the Brewers took the field.

You could tell they were out of the pennant race…

9_30_09 Brewers vs Rockies @ Coors Field 003.jpg
…by looking at this picture.

It originally said:  COFFEY IS A FA_
The author was Yovani Gallardo and he was referring to teammate Todd Coffey.  Gallardo was trying to find a teammate who would give him a “G” to finish the sentence (those are his words, not mine).

Brewers reliever Carlos Villanueva walked over and began to hover over the missing letter.  He acted as if he was going to fill it in.
Some people yelled, “do it!”  Some yelled, “don’t do it!”
I think I yelled both.

Either way, Gallardo ended up scratching out the “A” and finishing FA_ with the following…
9_30_09 Brewers vs Rockies @ Coors Field 006.jpg
…might as well have a little fun, eh?

 

Eventually, I would snag ball #2 off the bat of Ryan Braun.  The ball was snagged on the bounce after it managed to elude my glove.  I say this because I’m pretty sure I should have caught it on the fly.  For whatever reason, I didn’t play back toward the railing as far as I could have. 

It’s kind of like an outfielder going back on a ball that’s on the warning track.  He knows the wall is coming but jumps prematurely or doesn’t play as far back as he could out of fear that he will strike the wall.  That’s what happened to me.  But, I still ended up with the baseball.

My 3rd and final baseball of Batting Practice came via tossup from Brewers 3B Coach Brad Fischer.  “Fisch” was walking toward one that had rolled down the left field line.  I saw this and ran over to the “well” (the large grounds crew opening down the left field line).  I held up my glove and flapped it once or twice.  Mr. Fischer spotted the Brewers gear and gladly tossed it up.

BP was not as good as yesterday, but, the same held true-most baseballs would land up in the pavilion.  The bottom row offers much room to roam, but, there just aren’t many front row jobs at Coors Field during BP.  That considered, I *still* would not have changed a thing regarding my game plan.

Sadly, Batting Practice for my 2009 season came to an end with another 3 baseball performance.

I needed to release some depression with nature…

9_30_09 Brewers vs Rockies @ Coors Field 007.jpg
…so, I stuck my head in the trees located in the beautiful batter’s eye.

After the sadness subsided, I met up with these two Rockies superfans…

9_30_09 Brewers vs Rockies @ Coors Field 012.jpg
…Ballhawk Dan and his daughter Emily.

As you may recall, I met Dan & Emily back at the 2009 Home Run Derby in St. Louis, MO.  Emily has attended over 300 Colorado Rockies games to date…wow.
Dan is a veteran ballhawk who has snagged 41 game home runs on the fly and an additional 33 by other means.  Very impressive.

After
more wandering around, I spotted the fan pictured below…
 
9_30_09 Brewers vs Rockies @ Coors Field 010.jpg
…wearing the blue jeans, black cap, sunglasses and toting the black backpack.

Being a loyal blog-reader of fellow ballhawk Zack Hample, I recognized him as the guy who shoved Zack going for a BP baseball that was hit into a tunnel back on 6/17/08Because of that fateful moment, Zack tabbed the guy as “pure evil.”

Having looked pure evil in the eyes many times over the years, I wanted to see if this guy lived up to the billing.

His name is Douglas and he’s a season-ticket holder in the front row at Coors Field.  He’s attended games in 50 different MLB stadiums including a few World Series and All-Star games.  His baseball-related resume goes on and on…
I know this because I ended up sitting next to him the entire game.  Actually, he turned out to be a pretty decent guy (the fact that he did NOT shove me into a wall probably had something to do with this perception).

My view during the game…
9_30_09 Brewers vs Rockies @ Coors Field 019.jpg
…again, was simply awesome.

Coors Field reminds me a lot of old Milwaukee County Stadium.  A gigantic front-row aisle to run for game home runs, an open well down the left field line and an overall fun atmosphere were just a few of the similarities.
I truly loved Milwaukee County Stadium and miss it dearly. 

Just when I was beginning to love Coors Field
…I started to love it a whole helluva lot more.

In the top of the 2nd inning, Brewers slugger Prince Fielder stepped to the plate.
Prince has been pretty damn good to me over the years.  I’d snagged three (3) of his game home runs at Miller Park (career #61, #67 & #97).

Make it four…
9_30_09 Brewers vs Rockies @ Coors Field 029.jpg
…Prince Fielder’s 158th career jack. 

My 54th career game home run snagged during actual MLB regular season games.
In addition, I collected the coveted “Clean Catch Pin” in the process for making it a clean snag.

WATCH THE VIDEO HIGHLIGHT 

Did you see the tip of the cap to Rockies CF Carlos Gonzalez?  It occurs at 17 seconds during the video highlight.  Carlos was staring at me, so, I tipped my cap to him.

Here’s Usher Bob (in purple coat), the gentleman who awarded me with the clean catch pin…

9_30_09 Brewers vs Rockies @ Coors Field 017.jpg
…with “Big Tom” (in white cowboy hat) looking on.

Here’s where the Fielder jack was snagged…
9_30_09 Brewers vs Rockies @ Coors Field 018.jpg
…marked by the red “X.”

Check out where Prince made contact with the ball…

9_30_09 Brewers vs Rockies @ Coors Field 032.jpg
…holy hell, look at how flat that side of the baseball is!

Prince is a stud.  Plain and simple.  I’m going to hate watching him in a Red Sox uniform.

 

Did you notice by the pictures how everyone was dressed at this game??  The temperatures were in the low 50’s with a 25 mph wind.  It’s safe to say-I froze my asss off wearing shorts and The Happy Youngster shirt.


The picture below warmed the Rockies faithful up a bit…

9_30_09 Brewers vs Rockies @ Coors Field 013.jpg
…showing the Marlins had defeated the Braves bringing the Rockies magic-number to clinch down to 2.

I was shivering so badly, I thought about leaving.  But, I couldn’t when there was an outside chance I could snag 2 game home runs in a single game for the 5th time in my snagging career.  I had done it on 5/29/99 (both on fly), 9/29/99 Game 2 (both on live bounce), 5/16/00 (both on fly) and 4/12/01 (one on fly/1 player tossup).

But, it wasn’t meant to be.
I was thrilled to end my 2009 snagging season with a bang.

After the game, I proudly posed with my newest prized possessions…

9_30_09 Brewers vs Rockies @ Coors Field 026.jpg
…the Prince Fielder home run ball & the Clean Catch Pin.

Today’s snags…
9_30_09 Brewers vs Rockies @ Coors Field 038.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

372 baseballs (including 7 game home runs) later…and my snagging season was over.


FINAL 2009 BALLHAWKING STATS

  • total balls 9/30/09


batted baseballs (including Prince Fielder’s game home run)

1 tossup baseball


ATTENDANCE:  41,465

 

 

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
9/08/09 = 8   baseballs
9/16/09 = 4   baseballs
9/18/09 = 10 baseballs
9/21/09 = 3   baseballs
9/24/09 = 4   baseballs
9/29/09 = 3   baseballs
9/30/09 = 4   baseballs
___________________

372 baseballs (61 games)
6.10 average per game

9/29/09 @ Coors Field

I was finally going to Coors Field.

 

I’d seen all the home run highlights over the years. 

I’d seen some of the same Rockies
ballhawks making home run grabs. 

I heard all about how the baseball travels farther in the
thin air. 

 

On TV, the place looked like it was built for
ballhawks. 

I *HAD* to find out for myself.

 

 

 

After an early morning flight from Milwaukee
to Denver, a long shuttle ride from
the airport to our hotel and an early check-in at the downtown Hyatt, Ballhawk
Kenny (my partner in crime as of late) and I were ready for the Mile-High
City.

 

Our day officially began with a short walk to find some
grub.  After lunch had concluded, we were
on our way to Coors Field.

 

The aforementioned Ballhawk Kenny in front of Coors Field…

9_29_09 @ Coors Field 004.jpg

Yours truly in front of Coors Field…

9_29_09 @ Coors Field 006.jpg

A look at the main stadium entrance behind home plate…

9_29_09 @ Coors Field 008.jpg

The outside concourse that extends down the left field line…

Thumbnail image for 9_29_09 @ Coors Field 007.jpg

…and the right field line…

9_29_09 @ Coors Field 009.jpg

 

When I walked up to the main gate and peered through, this
is what I saw…

9_29_09 @ Coors Field 010.jpg

…my 1st look at the left field bleachers.

 One word:  WOW.

Our self-guided tour of Coors Field rolled on.

 

On the walk around the stadium, I spotted the sign pictured
below…

9_29_09 @ Coors Field 017.jpg

…I’ve underlined the interesting part.

 

DANGERS OF WATCHING BASEBALL??

On the “danger-scale,” I would rank watching baseball
somewhere between pissing into the wind and farting on a 1st
date. 

I know, I know-it’s all about liability, but come on. 

 

Another sign I found particularly interesting…

9_29_09 @ Coors Field 019.jpg

…now that makes sense.

*I would like to personally
thank the
Rockies organization for taking the necessary
means to prevent/deter excessive public displays of affection.*
 

Not only is it annoying, but it’s quite unnecessary.  Who wants to watch that ****? 

I mean, get a ******* room for christsakes.

 

Moving right along…

Here’s a picture of me standing by the left field gate…

9_29_09 @ Coors Field 022.jpg

…giving my seal of approval.

 

How cool is the sign pictured below…

9_29_09 @ Coors Field 025.jpg

…!?!

 

How many teams (that you know of) have a sign that points fans in the direction of Batting Practice? 

ANSWER:  not many. 

Pretty goddamn cool if you ask me.

 

 

It was a touch past high noon.  Kenny & I were planning on meeting up
with one cool dude at 2:45pm.  We had a few hours to burn, so, we headed
back to the hotel.

 

After a few hours, it was time to head back toward the
stadium for our meet.

 

The meeting place? 

The Blake Street Tavern located 4 blocks from Coors Field.

 

The cool dude we were meeting up with?

None other than my all-time favorite MLBlogger…

9_29_09 @ Coors Field 033.jpg

…Don “The Rockpile Ranter.”

 

I started reading Don’s blog back in the offseason.  He’s a loyal fan of the Rockies
who tells it like it is.  He’s funny,
he’s witty, he’s a father and he’s one helluva good human being.  As an added bonus, Don compliments his
exceptional writing with great picture-taking. 
Want to read a quality MLBlog? 
Stop screwing around and click HERE.

 

Don and I outside the Rockpile gate…

9_29_09 @ Coors Field 026.jpg

Kenny playing a little catch with the “Ranter”…

9_29_09 @ Coors Field 029.jpg

Before we knew it, it was 4:30pm
and the gates to left field were about to open.

After a security check of my backpack and a scan of the
ticket, I was about to enter my 16th major league stadium.

 

When I ran in, it was a wonderful sight. 
The ballpark still looked like new and had an incredible flair to it.  A magnificent blend of yesterday and today,
Coors Field was beautiful and welcoming.

The Rockies BP was in full swing.  The gates to the stadium open 2 hrs. prior to 1st pitch (why all major league teams don’t do this??) at Coors Field, so, home team fans get to see their home team hit (now that’s logic).

It didn’t take long for me to snag my 1st baseball on the day.  It came off the bat of Chris Iannetta and I snagged it on the fly by my front row seats.  It was hit right at the wall.  I had to roll my glove over from the natural-method into a basket-style position.  Leaning out over the wall, the catch was made.

A little overview of the bottom-row seating in left field at Coors Field:

  1. Only fans holding tickets to the bottom row can stand in the front row and this includes Batting Practice.
  2. Fans holding tickets to the front row have access to employee bathrooms and the employee tunnels.
  3. During BP, you are not allowed to run from the bottom row up into the pavilion (I was warned after the 1st baseball landed 4 rows above my head and I attempted to run up after it).
  4. Stadium ushers are everywhere at all times checking ticket locations and are very polite about it in the process.
  5. The wall in left field is not very tall.
  6. It’s extremely easy to interfere with a baseball in play from the Coors Field bleachers.
  7. When sitting in the bottom row of seats, you MUST mind your “P’s & Q’s” while shagging BP.  It’s a privelege to sit there and you have to respect that. 

Take a look…
9_29_09 @ Coors Field 050.jpg

9_29_09 @ Coors Field 053.jpg
…simply awesome. 
Do you see the yellow railing in the photo above?  It’s that easy to reach over and interfere.
The green seats above? That’s the only seating for the bottom row.
The guy in the black Brewers sweatshirt?  That’s ballhawk Kenny sending his 1000th text message of the day.

Talk about room to move around.

Unfortunately, BP baseballs are not put in humidors and most players don’t hit front row shots during Batting Practice.  On top of that, everyone, seemingly, had a baseball glove PLUS everyone seemed to know how to judge, track and catch a baseball off the bat.

This made the bottom row of seats a bit less desirable from a BP standpoint.

When the Brewers came up to hit, they put on an absolute home run clinic.  Baseballs were flying everywhere.  At one point, Brewers SS J.J. Hardy hit four (4) consecutive pitches into the left field pavilion. 

You guessed it:  everything was flying over my head.  But, that’s okay…I play for the games.

I did manage to get Brewers ace pitcher Yovani Gallardo to toss me ball #2…
9_29_09 @ Coors Field 035.jpg

…and…

Brewers asss pitcher Seth McClung to toss me ball #3…
9_29_09 @ Coors Field 036.jpg

…when I asked him to toss a ball up, he said, “I saw you catch a few already.”
To which I responded, “yeah, and I give them away just like I do in Milwaukee.”

He couldn’t argue with the facts.

After the Brewers finished donating a hundred or so baseballs, BP was over.
It was time to see the stadium.

My 1st stop was the Rockpile in centerfield…
9_29_09 @ Coors Field 040.jpg
…no, those are not yeti frolicking in their indigenous state.  Those are grounds crew members retrieving baseballs that were hit into the batter’s eye.

A view of right field…
9_29_09 @ Coors Field 041.jpg

…a view of the left field line and foul pole…
9_29_09 @ Coors Field 045.jpg

…the 1B side…
9_29_09 @ Coors Field 043.jpg
…the 3B side…
9_29_09 @ Coors Field 044.jpg
…a view from the right field bleachers looking to left field…
9_29_09 @ Coors Field 074.jpg
…do you notice how much room there is between rows?

A great design…
9_29_09 @ Coors Field 071.jpg

…indeed.

Check out the purple row of seats that extend all the way around the stadium in the upper deck…
9_29_09 @ Coors Field 042.jpg

…signifying the altitude located exactly 1-mile above sea-level.

Here’s a view of the batter’s eye greenery…
9_29_09 @ Coors Field 082.jpg

A view of centerfield from the upper concourse in left field…
9_29_09 @ Coors Field 070.jpg

Eventually, I made my way back to my seat. 
I chatted with a few of the local ballhawks including Dan pictured below…
9_29_09 @ Coors Field 058.jpg

…standing with his back against the fence and arms crossed.  Dan is quite the accomplished ballhawk.  His current stats include 41 game home runs caught on the fly and 33 snagged by other means.  Very impressive, indeed.

Robert, another Rockies ballhawk, took the following photo of me…
9_29_09 @ Coors Field 068.jpg

Ballhawk Robert has an interesting story of his own.  Click here to read it courtesy of fellow ballhawk Zack Hample.

Another pose…
9_29_09 @ Coors Field 065.jpg

As far as the game is concerned, here’s where I sat…
9_29_09 @ Coors Field 056.jpg

…directly above the red State Farm ad in the front row.
The other red arrow is pointing to a seating section *WAY* out in centerfield called “The Rockpile.”  Adult seats out there cost $4 each and children’s seats cost only $1. 

Here’s where Ballhawk Kenny sat/played the game…
9_29_09 @ Coors Field 087.jpg
…with the red arrow giving me a fist pump.
The big fella in the scooter is “Big Tom.”  While I didn’t introduce myself, I hear he’s a pretty nice fella around these parts.

Again, look at how easy/tempting it is to interfere…
9_29_09 @ Coors Field 089.jpg
In the top of the 3rd inning, Brewers LF Ryan Braun launched one in my direction.  I jumped up from my front row seat and ran to my right, lining myself up with the baseball.  It kept coming…and coming…but fell short, bouncing on the warning track about 10 feet shy of the wall.  The ball then took a 12-foot bounce directly over my head.  The ball landed in the 3rd row of the pavilion above/behind me for a ground-rule double.  I was absolutely helpless on the play.  Either I was going to catch the damn thing on the fly for a home run or it was going to bounce way over my head.  Unfortunately, it was the latter.

A shot of my in-game meal…
9_29_09 @ Coors Field 086.jpg

…it may look like ****, but I assure you, it tasted great.
HOT DOG + CHEESE + CHILI = got extra underwear??

There was good news and bad news on this day…

THE BAD NEWS-
The Brewers lost 7-5 on a walk-off homer from Chris Iannetta in the bottom of the 9th.
I only managed to snag 3 baseballs.
None of the three were game home runs.

THE GOOD NEWS-
I didn’t shitttt my pants.

The sun finally set on my 1st day at Coors Field…
9_29_09 @ Coors Field 046.jpg

…with three lonely baseballs…
9_29_09 @ Coors Field.jpg




2009 BALLHAWKING STATS

  • 3 total balls 9/29/09


1 batted baseball

2 tossup baseballs


ATTENDANCE:  39,087

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
9/08/09 = 8   baseballs
9/16/09 = 4   baseballs
9/18/09 = 10 baseballs
9/21/09 = 3   baseballs
9/24/09 = 4   baseballs
9/29/09 = 3   baseballs
___________________

368 baseballs (60 games)
6.13 average per game

…after the game, Kenny and I went to a local establishment right up the road from Coors Field. While there, we had the chance to hang out for a bit with Brewers relief pitcher Mark Difelice.  He even bought us a round!  Mark was one cool dude… 

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