Results tagged ‘ Casey McGehee ’

9/08/09 @ Miller Park

Due to many contributing factors, I am now officially waaaaay behind on blogging.

My good friend “Dino” was attending this game with me.  You may remember “Dino” from the Chris Coghlan incident back on May 13, 2009

“Dino” picked me up in his sweet little ride…
9_08_09 Cardinals vs Brewers @ Miller Park 001.jpg

We beat all the other die-hards into the stadium…
Thumbnail image for 9_08_09 Cardinals vs Brewers @ Miller Park 002.jpg
…the person with the arrow?  He’s staring down at his shoes out of pure boredom. 
C’mon Brewers fans…go to the games when they’re out of contention, too!

When we were waiting for a table out on the bullpen patio…
9_08_09 Cardinals vs Brewers @ Miller Park 004.jpg

…I spotted this through the windows.

A closer look…
9_08_09 Cardinals vs Brewers @ Miller Park 006.jpg

In action…
Thumbnail image for 9_08_09 Cardinals vs Brewers @ Miller Park 009.jpgThumbnail image for 9_08_09 Cardinals vs Brewers @ Miller Park 011.jpg
Thumbnail image for 9_08_09 Cardinals vs Brewers @ Miller Park 012.jpg9_08_09 Cardinals vs Brewers @ Miller Park 013.jpg
It may not look like I’m very excited…
9_08_09 Cardinals vs Brewers @ Miller Park 015.jpg
…but, I am.  I just usually keep my emotions in check.

Soon, Casey McGehee would hit me my 2nd ball of the day that I snagged on the bounce.
Not too long after, Ryan Braun hit one that I snagged on the fly.  I reached up and caught that one between an older couple right at their dinner table.  They were not paying attention, of course (and it scared the **** out of them).

Ball #4 would end up getting caught in the little protective netting that overhangs the bullpen.  I just used a mini-version of the glove trick to snag it out of there.

I would not have the glove-trick in my backpack long during this BP.

Check it out…
9_08_09 Cardinals vs Brewers @ Miller Park 016.jpg

…first, there was one.

Then, there were four…

…the two wit
h red arrows were glove-tricked.

In action (clockwise)…
9_08_09 Cardinals vs Brewers @ Miller Park 021.jpg9_08_09 Cardinals vs Brewers @ Miller Park 022.jpg
9_08_09 Cardinals vs Brewers @ Miller Park 024.jpg9_08_09 Cardinals vs Brewers @ Miller Park 023.jpg

And, the second one (clockwise)…
9_08_09 Cardinals vs Brewers @ Miller Park 025.jpg9_08_09 Cardinals vs Brewers @ Miller Park 026.jpg

9_08_09 Cardinals vs Brewers @ Miller Park 028.jpg9_08_09 Cardinals vs Brewers @ Miller Park 027.jpg

When the St. Louis Cardinals took the field, I was amped at the opportunities that lied ahead.
Pujols, Ludwick, Ankiel, Holliday, Rasmus…

Unfortunately, the Cardinals don’t care what the fans want, they just take a situational/directional approach.  Good for them-bad for us. 

I did not have a single chance at a batted ball during BP.
Back to the glove-trick.

At the end of BP, I noticed a few baseballs lying in the bullpen.  Two to be exact.
So, I went at it.  Within a minute, both were reeled in.  That includes the time it took to knock them closer.  All of Friday’s patio and a bunch of people standing along the railing above in the left field loge gave me a warm cheer.  I was so pumped, I took the last one (#8 on the day) and heaved it up to the fan’s cheering me in the loge bleachers.  A ton of kids took off after it with a young fan eventually securing it.

As for the game, my two tickets were here…
9_08_09 Cardinals vs Brewers @ Miller Park 035.jpg

But, we sat here…
9_08_09 Cardinals vs Brewers @ Miller Park 038.jpg

…right in Ryan Braun’s power alley.

You see, “Braunie” was sitting on 99 career home runs.  You would know this already if you follow the MILESTONE TRACKER on my website.

Unfortunately, Braun didn’t hit it. 
Actually, none of the Brewers hit much-losing 4-3.

2009 BALLHAWKING STATS

  • 8 total balls 9/08/09


2 batted baseballs

6 device baseballs


ATTENDANCE:  36,172

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
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
___________________

344 baseballs (55 games)
6.25 average per game

Only 6 away from career baseball #1000...

8/25/09 @ Miller Park

Wanna know how early I arrived at the ballpark?

So early,…
8_25_09 Reds vs Brewers @ Miller Park 002.jpg …that this guy was still on the clock.

Seeing that is a first.

So was the way I snagged Ball #1.  It came via tossup from one of the fine EMT’s (employed by Bell Ambulance) working the game.  He and his partner walked into the bullpen and started to pick up the 3 or 4 strays that were lying in the Brewers pen.  One of which, found its way into my glove.

fielder muscle.jpg
Speaking of finding a way into my glove, the big boy pictured to the right has contributed many baseballs to my collection. 

To date, I have snagged 3 of his 147 career dingers.
Hopefully, many more to come…I’m due for another one of his.

Balls #2 (on fly) and #3 (on bounce) were both hit by Prince. 

I love watching that guy hit.                                                                                                                                                                        PRINCE FIELDER   

       
When the rest of the stadium opened @ 5:30 pm, I ran up to the left field loge bleachers (2nd deck) in hopes of snagging a Casey McGehee homer. 
Turns out, I snagged two McGehee homers…both on the bounce.

That was it for the Brewers portion of BP. 
The time was 5:35 pm…time to change into Reds gear.

I stayed in left field for the first Reds group of hitters. 
Below me, these four (4) guys were shagging BP…
8_25_09 Reds vs Brewers @ Miller Park 004.jpg

…including WLADIMIR BALENTIEN. 

For the longest time, I could not figure out who he was.  For whatever reason, his name eluded me.  Nobody seemed to know who he was.  But, it didn’t seem to matter much, as Mr. Balentien soon lobbed a baseball backwards like a hook shot toward another fellow ballhawk named Casey (you can read his blog by clicking here).  The ball ended up short and fell back to the field.  Balentien tried a 2nd time with the same result.  By this time, I had grabbed a spot on the railing where this was taking place.  When Balentien tried the backwards hook a 3rd time, I reached way over the railing and managed to pin the ball between my glove and the concrete facade below.  I slowly gained control of it and had #6 on the day.

I continued to move around, eventually, snagging tossups from these two dudes…
micah owings.jpg…I gave this ball to one of my favorite ushers to give to a kid.
MICAH OWINGS
nick masset.jpg

NICK MASSET

The Masset tossup was my 300th baseball snagged on the season.

A quick pose with # 300…
8_25_09 Reds vs Brewers @ Miller Park 008.jpg

Unfortunately, that was it for BP.

During the game, Reds pitcher Arthur Rhodes spotted these four girls…
8_25_09 Reds vs Brewers @ Miller Park 014.jpg
…standing behind the bullpen. 

He tried to toss one of the girls (red arrow) a baseball.  I was talking to a few people and standing nearby when someone said, “hey, there’s a baseball.”  When I turned around, a baseball was rolling underneath an empty seat.  Surprised as hell, I walked over to it and picked it up.  I looked down into the bullpen and saw Arthur Rhodes pointing to one of the girls.  So, I pointed to the one with the blue tank-top and he nodded.  So, I gave it to her. 
That’s when I yelled, “Arthur!”  When he looked up at me I gave him the thumbs up. 
(No, the ball didn’t have a hotel room # written on it anywhere)

The game ended up going into extra innings. 

Check out where all the die-hard Brewers fans went…
8_25_09 Reds vs Brewers @ Miller Park 018.jpg8_25_09 Reds vs Brewers @ Miller Park 016.jpg8_25_09 Reds vs Brewers @ Miller Park 019.jpg8_25_09 Reds vs Brewers @ Miller Park 017.jpg

…someone forgot to tell those “diehards” that when the game is tied after 9 innings, the teams play extra frames.

The Brewers ended up blowing it…what else is new?
This season has been a disaster.

After the game, I decided I had to go for double-digits.  When the final out was recorded, I darted down the staircase for an ump ball.
jim joyce umpire.jpg

The man hooked me up.

He kept trying to find a worthier recipient than me.  After scanning the crowd about 5 or 6 times, he half-heartedly underhanded me one.

Thanks Jimbo.

Double-digits, baby.

JIM JOYCE

Eight (8) of the ten (10) baseballs snagged…
8_25_09 Reds vs Brewers @ Miller Park 020.jpg

…two (2) were given away.



2009 BALLHAWKING STATS

  • 10 total balls 8/25/09

4 batted baseballs

6 tossup baseballs

ATTENDANCE:  29,481

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
___________________

302 baseballs (49 games)
6.16 average per game

8/16/09 @ Miller Park

It was Sunday.  I was anxious. 
A day game you say?
Just this once.

Without further ado…my 1st home day game of the 2009 season.
(Opening Day doesn’t count)…

I walked up to the stadium and noticed the roof was closed…
8_16_09 Astros vs Brewers @ Miller Park 001.jpg

…roofs are overrated.

I did not have a ticket for the game.  So, I utilized an extremely cheap ticket option…
8_16_09 Astros vs Brewers @ Miller Park 002.jpg

…it’s called “The Uecker Line.”

On the day of each and every home game, exactly 108 tickets are sold to the first 108 people who stand in line at Window 12.  Each ticket can be had for the modest price of $1. 
Yeah, just a buck.  The seat location??  Named after beloved Brewers radio announcer Bob Uecker, the seats are located on the terrace level (top deck) behind home plate. 
The catch??  Of course there’s a catch…the seats are obstructed view seats that are located behind two gigantic green support pillars.  But hey, it gets you in the stadium.  Hardly anyone who buys “Uecker seats” actually sit in those seats, anyway.  So, who really cares, right??

Be advised:  If you want to purchase four (4) Uecker tickets, all four people in your group need to be in line or standing close-by.  If you want to purchase six (6) tickets, all six people need to be in line, etc, etc.  Also, tickets don’t go on sale until the gates to the stadium open.  Which, as you all know, is bad for ballhawking.  Who wants to be standing in line for tickets when others are already snagging baseballs??

But, as I already mentioned, it was Sunday.  I knew BP would not start until 11:30ish. 
The gates were opening at 11:00am, so, I had time.
You see, on Sundays at Miller Park, only one team takes BP.  Of course, the home team Brewers get first chance at it.  If they decline, they offer it to the other team.

Here’s my buck…
8_16_09 Astros vs Brewers @ Miller Park 004.jpg
…and…

…here’s my ticket…
8_16_09 Astros vs Brewers @ Miller Park 005.jpg

…!!

Not a bad deal, eh?? 

Okay, so, technically speaking…I could attend every home game at Miller Park for the grand sum of $81!!

That’s if I had a ton of extra time to stand in line to buy a ticket for every single game.
A good option for many…just not me.
(Remember, these tickets are not sold in advance)

When I FINALLY got my ticket (on game day, window 12 is *usually* just used for the sale of Uecker tickets-but not this time.  I swear two guys were applying for jobs at the window it took so long), I entered the stadium and observed a BP prepared field.  The only problem was that there were no players.  No problem, I thought.  Soon enough.

wandy rodriguez.jpg

In the meantime, I noticed Astros pitcher WANDY RODRIGUEZ was signing autographs down by the Houston dugout.

So, I joined the crowd and eventually, I handed him my ticket stub.  Wandy was signing a baseball card with a blue sharpie at the time he grabbed my ticket. 

When he was finished signing the card, I said, “You can sign with the same marker if you would like.”

What does he do??  He hands the kid his signed card and the marker and grabs another fans’ baseball and ballpoint pen.  He signs the ball and then signs my ticket stub with the same pen.  That’s great.  Just great.

Here’s the stub…
8_16_09 Astros vs Brewers @ Miller Park 008.jpg

…oh well, no big deal.

I’m used to it by now.

When BP finally got rolling, I was up in the left field loge bleachers.
I ended up snagging a Mike Rivera bomb on the bounce for Ball #1. 
I was relieved that I was on the board. 

When Brewers slugger Prince Fielder started to hit, I exited the left field bleachers and found myself standing right in big Prince’s home run alley in right field.

I wanted to snag a Prince Fielder BP homer for the little lady pictured below…
8_16_09 Astros vs Brewers @ Miller Park 006.jpg
…seated in the middle.

Her name is Lexi and she’s pictured above with her sister (left) and friend (right).
Lexi was celebrating her 11th birthday with her family at the ballpark (no better place to be).

As you can see by the picture, I DID manage to snag her a Prince Fielder ball. 
Happy B-Day Lexi!

My 3rd and final ball on the day came via a tossup from Brewers 3B Casey McGehee. 
Casey is one cool dude.  If you see him, be good to him…he’s one of the good guys.

Near the end of BP, check out who stopped by…
8_16_09 Astros vs Brewers @ Miller Park 007.jpg
…that’s Todd (Pops) and Tim (son) Cook.
They are easily one of the coolest Father/Son duos I have ever met in my entire life. 
I met Todd & Tim for the very 1st time back on 6/10/09 at Camden Yards in Baltimore.
I just can’t find enough good things to say about those two…they rock!

After we chatted it up for awhile, we parted ways.  We would be seeing each other the following day down at US Cellular Field in Chicago.  Yay!

I had made an agreement with my wife that I would leave after the 3rd inning to take care of a prior commitment.  No questions asked…no problemo.

Baseball Is Life…for sure.  But, sometimes there’s other things, ya’ know?

Two (2) of the three (3) baseballs snagged…
8_16_09 Astros vs Brewers @ Miller Park 009.jpg

…one (1) was given to Lexi.

2009 BALLHAWKING STATS

  • 3 total balls 8/16/09

2 batted baseballs

1 tossup baseball

ATTENDANCE:  41,863

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
___________________

282 baseballs (47 games)
6.00 average per game

8/12/09 @ Miller Park

I was watching BP from the crammed confines of Friday’s Front Row Bullpen patio.
As time rolled on, not one-not two-but three glove-trick opportunities presented themselves over the 1st 30 minutes. 
That’s two more than usual for those that are scoring at home.
Subsequently, all three were reeled up and all three were given away to smaller Brewers fans.

NOTE:  For those out there that say ballhawks take baseballs away from other people (kids, in particular), pay attention.  Not only do most of us (ballhawks) give a good percentage of our baseballs away, but we also create opportunities that normally would not be there.  For instance, take the glove-trick as an example.  Those three baseballs would not have made it into the hands of those kids if not for the glove-trick.  Those baseballs would have been picked up and tossed back in, only to end up back in the BP bucket for more use.

The guy pictured to the right is quickly becoming a favorite of mine.
casey mcgehee.jpgHe’s still considered a rookie.
He’s taken advantage of every opportunity.
He has a great attitude.
He treats the fans well.
AND
Most importantly, he’s a great Dad (click here).
His name??

CASEY McGEHEE

Casey ripped one onto the porch that almost hit a teenage girl. 
PEOPLE!!  You must pay attention.  Unless, of course, you like huge welts, black eyes, a deformed face, a fat lip, missing teeth, dizziness, shortness of breath, recurring headaches, loss of hearing or eyesight and hospital/emergency rooms.
I know it’s cool to hang out at the ballpark and all, but, when baseballs are flying all over the place-look the **** out!!

Anyway, the ball went underneath that young girls’ seat.  I picked it up on a small bounce and gave that one away, too. 
In case you’re wondering…I didn’t give it to the clueless girl.  I gave it to a nearby kid.

4 baseballs to 4 different kids.  That took care of every kid that was seated in the patio section.

clayton richard.jpg

When the Padres came out, I managed to get these two pitchers to each toss me a baseball.

CLAYTON RICHARD

edward mujica.jpg

EDWARD MUJICA

Mujica was a tough customer.  After I cracked a few jokes, made a few hand gestures and made it clear that I wasn’t going away…he finally tossed one to me.

That was it for BP.

As far as the game is concerned…
8_12_09 Padres vs Brewers @ Miller Park 001.jpg
…”Big Ballhawk Mike” sat with us for the game.

I was fortunate enough to hear his Tim Naehring home run story for the 1000th time (unofficial count).  If you ever run into “Big Mike,” ask him about it.  He’d love to tell you. 
Or, maybe just ask me when you see me…I’ve heard it a million times over.  It’s almost as if I was there.  But, I wasn’t.  If I was, the Naehring homer would have been mine.
Cocky?  Nah.  Confident?  Definitely.

Check out this close-up…
8_12_09 Padres vs Brewers @ Miller Park 002.jpg
…of one sweet ketchup stain.
I warned “Big Mike” about the exploding ketchup pumps at the concession stands. 
Did he listen???  Nooooooooo.

No homers hit during the game.

Final score:
Padres 6
Happy 6
Brewers 5

Damn…still can’t outscore the Padres!

The two baseballs I took home…
8_12_09 Padres vs Brewers @ Miller Park 037.jpg

…career #’s 924 & 925.

2009 BALLHAWKING STATS

  • 6 total balls 8/12/09

1 batted baseball

2 tossup baseballs

3 device baseballs

ATTENDANCE:  38,753

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
___________________

275 baseballs (45 games)
6.11 average per game

CHECK THIS OUT!!
8_12_09 Padres vs Brewers @ Miller Park 036.jpg

A few people told me I was in a picture that’s framed and hanging on the wall in the concourse down the right field line.

Sure enough…
8_12_09 Padres vs Brewers @ Miller Park 035.jpg
…that’s me!

The picture was taken during the celebration after the Brewers clinched the Wild Card.
Cool stuff.

5/08/09 @ Miller Park

The Cubs were in town to play the Brewers. 
I do not like the Cubs. 
Obnoxious yuppies everywhere.
Ron Santo is a *******.

Let the story begin…

What do you get when you mix a baseball game at Miller Park with 74 degree weather…??

5_8_09 Cubs vs Brewers @ Miller Park 001.jpg…tailgating AND

5_8_09 Cubs vs Brewers @ Miller Park 002.jpg…an open roof.

When I walked into the stadium, I was reassured of one thing…
5_8_09 Cubs vs Brewers @ Miller Park 003.jpg…Batting Practice!

A few minutes later, I had Ball #1 on the day (BASEBALL #100 on this young season).

Courtesy of a toss-up from this man…

5_8_09 Cubs vs Brewers @ Miller Park 007.jpg
…#56 JOE CRAWFORD.  Joe is the Brewers video coordinator and coaching assistant.

Ball #100 of 2009…
5_8_09 Cubs vs Brewers @ Miller Park 024.jpg…and 1st of the day.

Brewers pitcher BRADEN LOOPER was in the cage hitting. 
He hit a long drive into the Friday’s Restaurant patio.  It passed directly through one of the openings between the bars on the railing and hit the lady pictured below, right in “the’***”…
5_8_09 Cubs vs Brewers @ Miller Park 008.jpg…then bounced to the ground right to me for Ball #2.
X marks the spot where the ball passed through the railing.  She was sitting in the 1st seat on the railing when she was hit, then moved one seat over to the right.  I didn’t feel too bad for the lady…she wasn’t paying attention!!  I did feel bad enough, though, to give her the ball.

ATTN:  All clueless fans

If you enter any major league stadium while Batting Practice is in session-pay attention to the damn ball!  Unless you want to spend the night in a hospital or an afternoon in a dentist’s chair!

BREWERS 3B/Emergency Catcher CASEY MCGEHEE tossed me Ball #3 and Brewers Stud (and my favorite player) RYAN BRAUN jacked me Ball #4 which I caught on the fly.

Ball #5 was retrived via the glove trick from the little protective net above the Brewers bullpen.
Here’s a picture of the safety net…
5_8_09 Cubs vs Brewers @ Miller Park 009.jpgThe “X” is where the baseball was wedged.  A very tricky situation. 

First, I had to knock the ball out from its wedge between the edge of the net and the wire.  I only had one chance.  If I messed it up, it would have fallen into the bullpen.  Second, I had to glove trick it out.  No problems for this ballhawk.

I ran over to right field where Brewers pitcher BRADEN LOOPER tossed me Ball #6. 

I then took a peek into the visitor’s bullpen.  There was a glove trick opportunity.
Take a look…
5_8_09 Cubs vs Brewers @ Miller Park 010.jpg…I set it up and had Ball #7.

The Cubs took the field.

In the next 20 minutes, Ball # 8 (MILTON BRADLEY), Ball #9 (ALFONSO SORIANO) and Ball #10 (MIKE FONTENOT) were all snagged on the fly. 

BP was winding down so I took one final peek into the visitor’s bullpen.  There was another glove trick opportunity.  So, I went to work on it and had Ball # 11.

That was it for BP.

11 baseballs with the Cubs in town?  Unheard of.  I never imagined a BP with double-digits during a sold-out weekend game vs. the Cubs.

I was feeling good, so, I went over and paid a visit to a good friend…
5_8_09 Cubs vs Brewers @ Miller Park 011.jpg…that’s “Mickey the cameraman.”  Mickey used to shoot the game from my season-ticket section.  They’ve since moved him to a better spot.

Mickey’s been good to me, so, I handed him two baseballs I had snagged.

The game was drawing near.  There was much excitement in the a
ir.  Not only for the Brewers/Scrubs game to begin, but for this star’s return home…
danny gokey!.jpg

That’s American Idol star-Danny Gokey.
He’s from Milwaukee and I hear he’s on one helluva tear in the singing competition.

Good luck, Danny!  Make Milwaukee proud!

He was scheduled to throw out the 1st pitch and sing the national anthem.

I was in the box seats, ready to take a picture or two for my Mom and my Wife…both big fans of Danny.

Here’s Danny walking out to the mound to throw out the 1st pitch…
5_8_09 Cubs vs Brewers @ Miller Park 017.jpg…the pitch?  High and outside.

Check out the mob on the field…
5_8_09 Cubs vs Brewers @ Miller Park 016.jpg…all for Danny Gokey. 

The game was won by the good guys 3-2 courtesy of a Ryan Braun 2-run bomb in the bottom of the 8th inning. 

Eleven (11) balls would be the final tally…
5_8_09 Cubs vs Brewers @ Miller Park 023.jpgEight (8) are shown.  Three (3) were given away. 
That player card is of Brewers situational lefty-MITCH STETTER.  If you can get this guy to throw you a baseball, I want you to let me know.  You’d swear he gets fined for tossing baseballs to fans.  C’mon, Mitch!!  Loosen up!

And with a name like Mitch, you gotta step it up…

2009 BALLHAWKING STATS

  • 11 total balls 5/08/09

5 batted balls (4 caught on fly)

3 toss-ups

3 device

ATTENDANCE:  42,025

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
___________________

110 baseballs (15 games)
7.33 average per game

5/01/09 @ Miller Park

When I arrived at Miller Park on this day, I decided to give myself a bit of a stadium tour.  The gates weren’t open yet, but I thought what the heck, right?  If someone would ask what I was doing, I would just play dumb and act respectful.  It’s not like I’m harming anything…just looking, thank you.

When the gates finally opened, I was perched in the left field loge bleacher section.  Brewers seldom used 3B CASEY MCGEHEE cranked one near me and I tracked it down on the bounce. 

Remember the CUBS SUCK!! ball I mentioned a week earlier?? 
Well, the CUBS SUCK ball was reaching the end of the line.  I just couldn’t decide how to properly retire it.

Should I throw it into Lake Michigan for good luck?
Should I drive down to Wrigley Field and launch it onto the field from Waveland Ave.?
Should I burn it in a sacrificial offering to the Brewers Gods??
Maybe I should bury it, I thought?!?

None of these final resting places gave me any satisfaction.  So, what did I do with it, you ask??

I tossed it onto the field at Miller Park…right to the ballboy collecting the baseballs during Batting Practice.  I watched him as he scooped it up and tossed it into the bucket with the rest of the baseballs.

YES!!  A proper place for the CUBS SUCK ball.  Imagine the look on the player’s face who grabs that one out of the bucket for use!  Haha!!

A few big lefties were coming up for the Brewers, so, I moved to right field.

 

When I arrived in right field, this guy was shagging BP (like he always does) right below me…

marcus hanel.jpg

…Brewers bullpen catcher MARCUS HANEL (#55).

He was giving me some light-hearted crap about when I was going to change my uniform.  You see, Marcus knows I’m the biggest fan the Brewers have…but, he had seen me changing into my Pirates gear a few days earlier and gave me crap about it.  I just told him I had to do whatever means necessary to get a few baseballs. 

I responded by telling him I probably spend 10% of my annual income on baseball alone.  I told him, “now, that’s a real fan!”  I think this hit home with him.  A minute later, I heard a voice yell, “Happy!”  I looked down and it was Marcus Hanel!  He had a baseball waiting for me. 

What?? 

Marcus knows I’m the biggest ballhawk around.  He’s even made comments to my daughter about how many baseballs she must have.  He was going to give me a ball??
After he tossed it up, I said, “you’re a good man, 55!”  He waved and ran off the field.

Marcus Hanel really IS a good guy.  A hometown boy (born and raised in Racine, WI-just south of Milwaukee) who landed his dream job.  He’s very active with his charity…called KOOS FOR KIDS.  Check it out!

Before the Brewers portion of BP was completed, big lefty BRAD NELSON jacked a towering bomb in my direction.  I ran about 20 feet to my left and snagged it on the fly.

That was it for the Brewers BP.

The D’Backs were beginning to take the field, so, I made the switch.  The previous day had been really rough for toss-ups from these guys.  They wouldn’t look to the crowd at all and it didn’t seem to matter to most of them if you had D’Backs gear on or not. 
So, naturally, I feared my season numbers would slip a little.

D’Backs reliever CHAD QUALLS was out in left field shagging baseballs.  I went down to the front row and called him by full name.  He looked up at me and I told him he rocked.  He gave me a friendly wave…no baseball.  Ok, the seed was planted.  If one came out to him, he would certainly toss it up, right??  Not so fast.

chad qualls.jpg

He DID toss one baseball into the crowd.  But, he made me work for it AND he made me wait for it, too.  Twenty minutes after I yelled his name, he turned around with a ball and was scanning the crowd.  Presumably, for a D’Backs fan.  I saw this and bolted down to the front row.  I held my glove farther out than anyone else over the front railing.  I yelled out his full name a 2nd time and we made eye contact.  With a look of approval, he lobbed it up to me.  It almost fell short…but it didn’t.

I moved back to right field (I can’t sit still AND it’s good exercise) and saw D’Backs coach CHIP HALE shagging BP balls.  I got his attention and he nodded his head in approval when he saw my D’Backs gear.  He yelled up to me, “I dig the old logo!”  (I was wearing the not-so-old-school purple D’Backs shirt).  I then asked for a baseball.  He nodded.  Other people began to ask him for a baseball.  He turned to them and shook his head.  He then pointed across his chest at the D’Backs written on his jersey and gave a thumbs up.  He then pointed at them (wearing Brewers jerseys) and gave them a thumbs down.  He would reward the D’Backs guys.  After tossing a ball to the lower deck to BALLHAWK SHAWN, he tossed the next one up to me.

BP ended without any other hit balls or toss-ups.  Huh??  The D’Backs have so many power hitters…that was a weak showing.  And as far as toss-ups…what gives??  You would think they have to pay for each ball they toss into the stands or something.  Whatever.

I had some time, so, I took some pics of the stadium…

5_1_09 DBacks vs Brewers @ Miller Park 001.jpg

…the left field loge bleachers and Friday’s Front Row Sports Grill patio deck. 
See Bernie’s famous home run slide in the picture??

5_1_09 DBacks vs Brewers @ Miller Park 002.jpg

…looking along the wall down the left field line.  A lot of balls carom off that jut in the
wall when hit down the line. 

5_1_09 DBacks vs Brewers @ Miller Park 004.jpg

…all four (4) decks of Miller Park.  The field level (100’s), the loge level (200’s), the club level (300’s) and the terrace level (400’s).

max scherzer.jpg

When I was wandering around down by the visitor’s dugout, I saw a D’Backs pitcher signing autographs.  I saw it was the previous night’s pitcher Max Scherzer.  He had pitched great the night before and looked like something special.  So, I pulled a game ball out of my bag and tossed it to him.

Max Scherzer…

and the signed baseball…

5_1_09 DBacks vs Brewers @ Miller Park 021.jpg

For the game, I was strongly considering sitting up in the 2nd level below the press boxes directly behind home plate.

48 live in-game home run balls snagged but only 1 actual live foul ball snagged in my career.  I was 1-dimensional.  I needed to prove something to myself. 
So, I traded my ticket in for a more expensive seat in the 200 level behind home plate.  I was going to play for a foul ball.  That was my mission on this day.  To snag a live foul ball.

Here’s where I stood for the game…

5_1_09 DBacks vs Brewers @ Miller Park 005.jpg

The “X’s” mark the spots.  The captions say, “right-handed hitters” on the left X.  On the right X, the caption says, “left-handed hitters.”

Before the game started, I said hello to a few friends…

5_1_09 DBacks vs Brewers @ Miller Park 006.jpg

…former big league catcher and current Brewers TV play-by-play man Bill “Rock” Schroeder.
Bill gave me my nickname…”The Happy Youngster” back in May of 1999. 

If you don’t know the story, click here.

To the right of “Rock” in the neighboring visiting team TV booth was another Brewers alum…

5_1_09 DBacks vs Brewers @ Miller Park 008.jpg

…former Brewers TV color analyst and current D’Backs TV color-man-Daron Sutton (on the right-pictured with Mark Grace). 
Daron recognized me and said hello.  When asked if he remembered me, he said, “of course I remember you…the Happy Youngster!!  You’re the one who made the play in Spring Training!”

Very cool.  Thanks for noticing.

The game began and I waited out my foul ball opportunity behind home plate. 

When Brewers 3B Bill Hall was at the plate, I moved to this spot…

5_1_09 DBacks vs Brewers @ Miller Park 011.jpg

…left-center field, on the aisle. 

You see, if you’re following the MILESTONE TRACKER on my website, you would already know that Billy Hall is sitting on 99 career game home runs. 

Career #100 will, eventually, be mine I tell you!!

In the bottom of the 6th inning, with 1 man out and PRINCE FIELDER at the plate, my mission was about to be completed.

With a 1-1 count, Prince fouled one back to me.  It spun off his bat, struck the facing of the ribbon board and fell straight down to me where I claimed it on one bounce with my bare right hand.  YES!  I had my live foul ball. 

Gotta set your goals!!

Here’s where the Fielder ball struck the ribbon board…

5_1_09 DBacks vs Brewers @ Miller Park 016.jpg

…and fell straight down to me.

Here’s a picture of the Fielder foul ball…

5_1_09 DBacks vs Brewers @ Miller Park 022.jpg

That big, nasty, totally awesome black mark is where Prince’s black bat struck the ball and left a sweet, black pai
nt transfer onto the ball!!  Cool stuff. 

I’m a nerd, I know.

D’Backs starting pitcher Jon Garland proved to be too much for the BrewCrew as they fell 5-2.

When the last out was being recorded, I was sitting in the 4th row near the Umpire well.  As Home Plate umpire CB Bucknor was exiting the field, I politely got his attention and he under-hand tossed BASEBALL #7 to me.

Here’s a picture of the umpire well…

5_1_09 DBacks vs Brewers @ Miller Park 017.jpg

…located on the home plate side-next to the visitor’s dugout.  Very unique.

Here’s a picture of the CB Bucknor game ball…

5_1_09 DBacks vs Brewers @ Miller Park 024.jpg

…beautifully rubbed for game action.  I love getting ump balls.  I bring along 1 to every game just in case someone is signing autographs in my vicinity.

The man-CB Bucknor himself…

cb bucknor.jpg

The Happy Youngster himself…

5_1_09 DBacks vs Brewers @ Miller Park 020.jpg

…by the D’Backs dugout.  In my right hand, I’m holding the Prince Fielder game foul ball. 
In my left hand, I’m holding my glove containing the remaining 6 baseballs I snagged on this day.  Due to an extremely grumpy Miller Park usher (aren’t they all??), I had to rush the photo and failed to display the baseballs for all to see. 
You’ll have to take my word for it.

Final haul…

5_1_09 DBacks vs Brewers @ Miller Park 025.jpg

…7 baseballs. 

2009 BALLHAWKING STATS

  • 7 total balls 5/01/09

3 batted balls

4 toss-ups

(1 in-game foul ball)

ATTENDANCE:  42,810

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
___________________

95 baseballs (13 games)
7.31 average per game

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