Results tagged ‘ Milwaukee Brewers ’

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

7/24/09 @ Miller Park

I had two (2) objectives:

  1. Snag as many baseballs as possible (like always)
    AND
  2. Give them all away.

I’ve always given away baseballs to deserving kids, but I’ve never given a whole day’s snagging away.  It seems I’ve always returned home with one.

I wanted to mix things up a bit.
Let the snagging tales begin…

4:30 pm – Arrived at Miller Park.

4:40 pm – Grabbed a bullpen patio table at Friday’s Front Row Bar & Grill.

5:10 pm – Spotted this…

7_24_09 Braves vs Brewers @ Miller Park.jpg

…nestled tightly against the rolled-up tarp.  Hmm.

5:10-5:22 pm – Plotted how I would snag said ball.

5:25 – Relocated to barricaded area down the left field concourse.

5:30 pm – Stadium seating bowl open.

5:30 pm – Sprinted like hell to tarp.

5:31 pm – hand-picked BALL #1 off field!  Yay!

5:47 pm – glove-tricked BALL #2 out of Brewers bullpen.

5:48 pm – glove-tricked BALL #3 out of Brewers bullpen (while I had been reeling up ball #2, ball #3 bounced into the pen in nearly the same spot).

5:55 pm – Snagged a MATT DIAZ BP homer off the railing (it ricocheted off the front railing and spun straight toward me in the 3rd row at a million miles per hour…landing safely in my glove without touching the ground).

6:05 pm – Snagged GARRETT ANDERSON BP homer on fly.

6:06-6:22 pm – twiddled my thumbs while hoping for homers as BP came to a bitter end.

6:30 pm – glove-tricked BALL #6 out of visitor’s bullpen.
Immediately handed it to a nearby youngster.

6:45-7:02 pm – gave the remaining five (5) baseballs away to deserving youngsters.

7:07 pm – 1st pitch.

8:25 pm – left the stadium (missed my wife and kids…needed some family time).

 

 

2009 BALLHAWKING STATS

  • 6 total balls 7/24/09

3 batted baseballs

3 device

ATTENDANCE:  41,941

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
___________________

247 baseballs (40 games)
6.18 average per game

 

 


7/10/09 @ Miller Park

I’m strapped for time so this entry will be short and sweet…my flight for St. Louis leaves in 5 hrs. and I still need to pack.

When I ran into the stadium, there were a bunch of the players’ kids shagging BP.  After about 2 minutes, a young man (maybe 13-14 yrs. old) tossed me BALL #1 as the players’ and their kids exited the field.

The Dodgers came out and BP homers were few and far between.  The stands were packed and the sun made shagging in left field nearly impossible.
So, I headed to right field. 

After little to no action over there, I asked BRENT LEACH for a baseball.  He turned and I had BALL #2.

Here’s what that ball looked like…
7_10_09 Dodgers vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 021.jpg

The Dodgers write “LA” on the sweetspot of their BP balls.

I don’t mind…gives the ball a little character.

Can you believe that was it for BP? 
Man-Ram hit three BP homers (2 of which went into the left field bullpen).

Everyone thinks their home stadium is tough to ballhawk in…I get that.
But, believe me, Miller Park is tough. 

No place to roam.
No place to run.
Strict ushers.
Huge crowds.
AHHHHHH!!

After BP, I wandered.

I wanted to gain access to this elite little picnic area of the stadium that I had never been to before.  It’s all-you-can-eat until 1 hr. after the 1st pitch.
It’s called the AirTran Airways Landing Zone.
It’s located directly on the field behind the rightfielder.

Here’s a few pics taken from the field bleachers above…
7_10_09 Dodgers vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 001.jpg

Here’s a few pics from inside…
7_10_09 Dodgers vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 009.jpg

…yeah, baby!  Just in time for the 1st pitch.

In the top of the 1st inning, Rafael Furcal lifted a long fly ball in my direction.  I thought…was this too good to be true??  It was.  The ball was caught right in front of the fence (and directly in front of me) for the out.

After eating 1 cheeseburger, 1 hot dog, 1 bratwurst w/ kraut, 2 cookies, some baked beans and a pulled pork sandwich…I could hardly move.

After the 3rd inning was complete, I left to go find another view of the game.

Here’s where I ended up…
7_10_09 Dodgers vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 012.jpg
…it’s called “The Point.”  Only two or three people are allowed to sit in this section per game. 

This is why…
7_10_09 Dodgers vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 013.jpg

…during a pitching change.

To my left…
7_10_09 Dodgers vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 015.jpg

…finally, to my right…
7_10_09 Dodgers vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 014.jpg

Trevor Hoffman blew the save in the 9th and the Brewers ended up losing in ten innings.

I did get an ump ball from Mark Wegner after the game to make it 3 on the day.

Finals…
7_10_09 Dodgers vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 020.jpg

…3 baseballs.  (only 2 are shown-1 was given away to a young Brewers fan on the walk out of the stadium)

2009 BALLHAWKING STATS

  • 3 total balls 7/10/09

3 toss-up baseballs


ATTENDANCE:  41,811

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
___________________

234 baseballs (38 games)
6.16 average per game

Now, it’s off to St. Louis.

If you’re watching the Home Run Derby on Monday night, watch for the yellow shirt in the right field bleachers at Busch Stadium.
My seat is located directly behind the right field bullpen in the 1st row on the railing.
I’ll have my trademark yellow “Happy Youngster” shirt on.

Hopefully, one of the big boys will hit me one or ten.

 

6/29/09 @ Miller Park

A Mets team without the likes of these guys…
carlos beltran.jpg
carlos delgado.jpg

Thumbnail image for jose reyes.jpg
…Beltran, Delgado and Reyes.

How exciting can this blog possibly be? 
I feel cheated by the injury Gods of Major League Baseball.

All lefties-all with power.  Do I need to remind you that I sit in right field? 
A perfect spot to snag baseballs from players like these.

What did I get instead?

These sluggers…
daniel murphy.jpg
argenis reyes.jpg

alex cora.jpg
Daniel Murphy, Argenis Reyes and Alex Cora.

Wow. 
Better pay attention during Batting Practice with those future Hall of Famers at the plate.

BALL #1 came from Mets catcher OMIR SANTOS. 
He was shagging BP out in deep centerfield.  I noticed there was a commemorative ball lying on the warning track.  The logo looked too big to be a Citi Field commemorative, but it was worth a shot.  I asked Santos for the ball but he tossed it in.  After he threw it in, he looked up to me.  I told him I was looking for a commemorative ball with the logo.  He almost acted like he didn’t know what I was talking about.  ??  Just in case, I went into further detail about what I was looking for.

After our discussion, every ball that came his way was further inspected.  If there wasn’t a logo on the ball, he would toss it in. 

Finally, after about 5 minutes, he fielded one.  I could see a commemorative logo where the MLB logo was supposed to be.  He looked up to me and tossed it up.

Turns out, it was a Shea Stadium commemorative from last season.
No biggie.  The effort he displayed was appreciated. 

QUESTION:  How many big leaguers would do what Omir Santos did?
ANSWER:  Not many.

I think I have a new favorite Mets player.

BALL #2 came via tossup from BOBBY PARNELL.
bobby parnell.jpgBobby tossed it a bit short.  While it was in the air, I heard Bobby say, “you got it??!!”  As I leaned out over the fence and made the grab.

tim redding.jpg 

BALL #3 came from Mets pitcher TIM REDDING. 
I wasn’t sure if he had seen me get a ball from either Santos or Parnell.   But, I asked him for a baseball anyway.  He turned around and said, “how many do you have?” 

I answered him and he still tossed it up to me. 

That was it. 
3 baseballs.

The Mets absolutely put everyone to sleep.  It was one of the worst displays of BP power I had ever seen.  I can only imagine the possibilities if the three big guns weren’t on the disabled list. 

I pride myself on snagging batted baseballs.  It wasn’t possible on this day.

2009 BALLHAWKING STATS

  • 3 total balls 6/29/09

3 toss-up baseballs


ATTENDANCE: 
39,872

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
___________________

220 baseballs (35 games)
6.29 average per game

BASEBALLS SNAGGED BY MONTH:

APRIL:  88 baseballs in 12 games (1 game home run ball)
MAY:    76 baseballs in 12 games (2 game home run balls)
  

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

Work sucks…I know. Here’s a silver lining.

So, it’s Jackie Robinson Day (April 15th) league-wide.  All teams are showing their support by wearing #42 jerseys in honor of Jackie’s retired #42.

I go to work that day like any other day.  Three tickets to the Brewers vs. Reds game later that night are waiting for me on my kitchen table when I finish work. 

Around 11am, my employer sends me on a special assignment (due to the nature of my employment, I can’t provide details).

This assignment was to take me into the afternoon before I could go home and get ready for the game.  Fine.  I have no choice.

1pm rolls around…2pm…3pm…4pm…now I’m pissed.  I’m about to miss Batting Practice. 

To make a long story short, I didn’t get relieved from my assignment until 930 pm.  I had not only missed BP, I had missed nearly the entire game.  Work sucks.

So, I walked out to my truck and got in.  I turn the radio to the Brewers game.  I’m cussing to myself.  The first thing I here is Brewers 2B Rickie Weeks is at the plate.  Soon, Bob Uecker gets excited because Weeks just hit a home run to the opposite field and near the visitor’s bullpen (near where my seats are located).  I cuss out loud-thinking…great, not only do I miss BP, I miss the freakin’ game AND I miss a home run opportunity right to my seats.  I’m ticked.

Until I get home.

When I get home, my house is empty.  No wife, no kids.  Hmm.  I look to the table where I had laid out my Brewers tickets and they’re gone!!  Did my wife go to the game with the kids??  Did she take it upon herself to avoid letting them go to waste??

At that moment, my cell phone rings.  It’s my wife.  She sounds excited.  She tells me she took the kids to the game so the tickets wouldn’t go to waste. 
Cool woman.  I’m very impressed.

She goes on to say how Rickie Weeks hit a home run near our section and that our 3yr. old daughter got the home run ball!!  WTF!?!?!

It turns out, the ball went into the Reds bullpen.  My daughter ran over and asked for the baseball.  Reds relief pitcher Arthur Rhodes tossed it to my wife who was holding our 2 month old son with our 3yr old daughter standing nearby. 

It gets better.

It turns out that the Brewers/Rickie Weeks wanted that home run ball back.  They wouldn’t tell my wife why they wanted it back (we’re assuming because it was Jackie Robinson Day).  They offered her a signed Trevor Hoffman baseball in return for the Rickie Weeks game home run ball.

?? 

She asked herself, “what would my husband do?” 
He would say, “hell no!”

So, she kept the ball.  Sorry Rickie…the Brewers staff should have tried harder.  A signed baseball for a game home run ball?  Someone’s on drugs.

BTW, when my 3yr old found out the Brewers wanted the ball she began to cry, stating, “why do the Brewers wanna take my ball?”  As tears rolled down her face. 
Poor kid.  You keep that ball…that’s your 1st career home run ball.  Way to go kid. 
Like father, like daughter.

Kudos to my wife for everything-plain and simple.  She rules.

The future ballhawk star with her 1st career game home run ball…
4_15_09 Reds vs Brewers 018.jpg                                  Damn, she looks tired.  Well worth it kid!!

A closer look at the prize…
4_15_09 Reds vs Brewers.jpgRickie’s black bat left a nice little black paint transfer mark on the ball where he made contact.

I guess missing the game wasn’t so bad after all!

 

7 Days of Spring…DAY 5 – 3/31/09

Today was a family day.  We went to the zoo.  We went out for lunch.  We diddled-we daddled.

3_31_09 Fun @ Phoenix Zoo 046.jpg                             My little slugger with Mommy at the Phoenix Zoo.

But, this is a baseball blog-not a family activity blog.
Fast forward to 5pm.  Brewers were playing the Padres @ Peoria Stadium.  I got there early for BP.  I rushed through the gates like my pants were on fire only to find no batting cages or nets on the playing field.  WTF!!!??  You have to be kidding me! 

That sucked.  So, what did I do you ask?  I twiddled my fingers for an hour and a 1/2 until the first pitch.  Talk about torture.

The game was uneventful and I just wandered around for 3 hours.
Brewers lost 6-5.

BASEBALL #1
After the game concluded, home plate umpire Delfin Colon was walking off the field with his crew when I asked him for a game ball.  He dug in his baseball pouch and tossed me one. 

At least I didn’t go home empty handed.


TOTALS 3/31/09

  • 1 ump game ball

_________

     1 baseball total 3/31/09

+
    10 baseballs 3/30/09
+   3  baseballs 3/29/09
+   9  baseballs 3/28/09
+   6  baseballs 3/27/09
_________

     29 baseballs (5 days)

7 Days of Spring series coming soon 3/27-4/2…stay tuned.

Only 10 days until I arrive in Phoenix. 
It’s getting close. 
I can feel it. 
I need to be on top of my game.  For the sake of ballhawks everywhere, I need to perform.

Old faithful (my old glove) is ready. 
My new faithful (new glove) is not quite ready.  Just doesn’t feel right…yet.  It will.
My bags are slowly getting packed.
Visualization of ballhawking is in full swing. 
I’m ready.

I will provide daily blogs.  I will provide daily photos.  I will provide daily everything. 
From where I go to eat to what I go see.  Not just baseball.
You will be right there with me-if you choose.

Beginning March 27th and going until April 2nd, you will be my blogger travel partners. 
Please visit my Spring Training blogs daily.  You won’t be disappointed.
Analysis is gonna sit this one out. 
This one’s all about ballhawking, baby.

BTW, this was all inspired by my favorite MLBlogger…The Rockpile Ranter.
Thanks, D.

I’m ready to get it on.

HERE’S WHAT I WOULD LIKE TO ACCOMPLISH
(gotta set your goals…) 

1.  Land safely in Phoenix.
2.  Snag 50 baseballs (I do not count them toward my season total).
3.  Get a few autographs (Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, Yovani Gallardo).
4.  Get a game used bat from a Milwaukee Brewers player.
5.  Take some sweet photos.
6.  Have my wife shoot some great ballhawking video.
7.  Blog daily.
8.  Return safely to Milwaukee.

cactus pic.jpg 

The Arctic Tailgate = mission accomplished.

Been away from home for a few days and not in the right state of mind to play with my wife’s $2000 laptop.  So, I am now catching up on everything I’ve missed.

I slept in the vehicle pictured below…
Jamboree-front shot 016.jpgMy vintage 23 foot 1977 Dodge Jamboree motorhome.  A true oldie but goodie in all aspects.  Normally reserved for Lambeau Field and Brewers opening day, this baby took everything we could give it and is still standing.

I arrived at Miller Park on Thursday around 3 pm and set up my tent in line (I had to save my spot).
My tent & chair 010.jpg           No, I did not sleep in this thing.  Come on people, this wasn’t my first rodeo.
           I’m a seasoned veteran.

While everyone’s tents were tearing and blowing away from the wind, my little fella stood strong in the 30 mph winds that were ripping outside Miller Park over the weekend.
A strategically chosen location and a few sandbags inside anchored this baby down
(I was a boy scout, you know).

            So, at 3pm on Thursday my wait began for this…
The goal=tickets 008.jpg            I had the blessing of this lovely lady that made it all possible…
Clara 2year pics 275.jpg                                                 What an unbelievable wife.

So, I waited, I mingled, I waited some more, I ate, I had a few beverages, etc. 
Then, the cavalry started to arrive.

The first arrival was Matt.  I play summer leagues with him.  He’s our 2nd baseman.
Matt was just in time for the free pizza the Brewers were providing.
Matt Rink in pizza line2009 001.jpg           That’s Matt standing in the pizza line with the white and pinstriped Brewers jersey.

After we grabbed up our free pizza, we headed to the friendly confines (no, not the rat infested, crumbling Wrigley Field…but, my motorhome.

            Me and my free pizza…
Me happy with free pizza 003.jpg           About 20 minutes later…
half-eaten pizza 004.jpg               Is it just me, or, does free stuff just taste better because it’s free?

Next arrival was a friend of mine (Brent) that works on the Grounds Crew at Miller Park.  Brent’s job is awesome.  During games, his assignment is to attend to the visiting bullpen.  So, if the players need a mound touch-up, he’s their man.  Basically, he gets to stand in the visiting bullpen, watch the game and shoot the breeze with the visiting bullpen arms. 
Talk about a sweet gig. 

The next to arrive was my childhood friend Justin.  Affectionately known as “Juddy” in our circle of friends, Justin and I have been best of friends since grade school.  He’s a real stand-up guy (although he fell down a few times over the course of this party). 

            Here’s “Juddy” and I guarding the tent…
Arctic Tailgate Party 2009 012.jpgIt was around 5 degrees (with windchill) outside but thanks to a few Wisconsin made barley pops, we were not feeling the affects.

Our next attendee to arrive was “Ballhawk Shawn.”  Shawn is a talented young ballhawk who has what it takes to break some of my records (apparently, he broke my single game baseballs snagged record of 13 by snagging his own 14.  That’s a great day of snagging.  Shawn has his own blog here.  He tells me he will start blogging a bit more once the season starts.  I hope so…he has some good ballhawking/autograph stories to share.

            Here’s Shawn doing some early season bunting drills…
Shawn practicing bunts 029.jpg           Pretty good form…but that left hands needs to stay further down the handle. 
           It got the job done, though-advanced the runner to third.

The next troop (literally) to arrive was my good friend and co-worker, Dan.  Dan’s a heckuva great guy and a veteran of the Second Gulf War.

            Here’s a picture of Dan telling some war stories using Juddy’s prop…
Iraq vet & good friend Dan 025.jpg            Here’s a picture of Dan taking a break to wet his whistle…
Dan telling war stories and downing a cold one 036.jpg                                                          Ahhhhhhhhhhh…

Our next arrival is a very talented man in the shirt-making industry.  You may have seen his link on the right side of my blog.  If not, you need to check it out.  He and his business partner specialize in Milwaukee themed shirts.  They are hilarious.  Their business used to be called Insomniac Ink.  They are now known as “The Milwaukee Shirt Guys.” 
They were responsible for the production of my new “Happy Youngster” t-shirts.

            Here’s a picture of Ross taking some cuts…

Ross about to square up on one 030.jpg
No, that’s not Boris Yeltsin pictured above…
boris yeltsin.jpg
It’s T-Shirt Ross!!

   Here’s a picture of Ross proudly displaying one of his soon-to-be world famous creations…
Ross w happy shirt 022.jpg                                              He just doesn’t know it yet.

The last to arrive was a very well-known ballhawk at Milwaukee County Stadium and Miller Park.  His name is Mike and he has lots of energy.  He’s a CPA by day and a ballhawk by night.  I believe his career game home run total stands at 26.  He has snagged over a thousand career baseballs since 1987.  He’s a fun guy to have around.

            Here’s “Big Mike” enjoying some heat from the fire…
Legendary ballhawk Big Mike by fire 021.jpg  Mike’s a former college offensive lineman turned accountant.  I’ve known Mike and his Dad for over 10 years now.  He gave me my first bit of ballhawking advice back in 1998.  I remember it vividly.  He said, “rule #1 of batting practice…never watch a baseball you can no longer catch.”  Great advice.  Thanks for all the tips over the years, Mike.

     Here’s a picture of the line of tents that surrounded Miller Park by midnight Friday night…
Tent line 005.jpg            Here’s another…
Another pic of tents 006.jpg            Here’s a group shot…
Group shot 019.jpg                                                  I was the cameraman.

            Here’s a picture of me pract
icing my swing for the upcoming baseball season…
More swing 034.jpg
            Dan and I in need of some sleep…
Dan & I needing sleep 026.jpg           Here’s a picture of pure party destruction…
party scene 007.jpg            More of our party destruction…
The destruction 047.jpg                I assure you…no one was hurt (physically) in the making of this scene. 
                A few feelings were probably hurt, though!

            Here’s another group shot with a strange lady who stopped by the party…
Group shot w strange lady who wanted to skip line 020.jpgThat’s her in the red coat.  We did not know her.  She heard a few of “Big Mike’s” stories and I think she was in love.  No, not really.  But, she did want to skip the line and get in our spot with us.  Are you kidding me, lady?  We’ve been here since Thursday and you want to get in line with us Saturday morning?  Whatever. 

I think I will designate the lady pictured below (in red coat) as the first official
                            “Happy’s yahoo of the day”
Strange lady told to hit the road 037.jpg         I told the lady to hit the road (not those exact words but something to that effect.
As you can see by the picture, “Big Mike” befriended the lady but that was as far as she got.  You can see her packing her bags and moving on in the picture above.
It’s all about principle…nothing personal, lady.

            Here’s a picture of two Gulf War (2nd) vets enjoying the fire…
Juddy & Dan 042.jpgI mentioned Dan was a veteran of the 2nd Gulf War…Juddy served in Iraq/Kuwait as well. 
You both kick some serious butt.  Way to go, boys.

Manny being Manny…
manny being manny.jpg

AND…

                                                     Juddy being Juddy…
Juddy being Juddy 024.jpg                                             More Juddy being Juddy…
Juddy with making same face 039.jpg
                             Juddy makes that face a lot.  You know the one. 
                             I love Juddy like a brother.  He’s like family to me.

Finally, 5 am rolled around and the last three standing were:  Dan, Juddy and I.  The rest of the fellas had retreated home. 
So, we decided to grab a quick nap before the line moved inside the stadium.

            Here’s a
pic of us standing in yet another line inside of Miller Park…
waiting in another line w sausages 049.jpgThose are the so-called “World Famous Racing Sausages.”  (I’ve seen those things run around so many times that it has lost its luster long ago).  But, they’re a staple of Brewers home games, so what the heck.

                                             Finally, around 9:30 am…
Ticket finishing line 009.jpg                                                         The finish line.

              I purchased my max. allowed (4) for Opening Day.  Mission accomplished.

                                                I came, I saw, I conquered.
I came I saw I conquered 044.jpg                     Special thanks to the boys for joining me.  What a blast!
                                    Now, let’s get this season going.

Think Spring!

            The man pictured below is the reason the hot stove has cooled, considerably.
mark teixeira pic.jpgMark Teixeira waves to Angels fans as if to say, “It’s been a great two months, please forward my fan mail to the east coast.”

                    Unfortunately, the hot stove is not the only thing that has cooled off.
wisconsin map pic.jpg
During the cold months, I ask myself the following question almost daily…

“Why on earth do I live in this part of our great nation?”

                                                            
                                                                Do I ski?
skiing pic.jpg                                                             NOPE.

                                                      Do I snowboard?
Snowboarding pic.jpeg                                                             NOPE.

                                                     Do I snowmobile?
snowmobiling pic.jpg                                                              NOPE.

                                                         Do I ice fish?
ice fishing pic.jpg                                  Used to.  But, not since moving to the city.

                               Although, I might start up again after seeing this…
bikini ice fishers pic.jpg                                               I need friends like these.

Where was I? 
I’m easily distracted.

Oh yeah, Wisconsin.

                                      Is it because of my favorite football team?
packers logo.jpg                      &
nbsp;                                       NOPE. 
I could fly to see them play.  Besides, they only play 8 regular season home games a season (only 3-4 of which I personally attend).

                      Why do I live in Wisconsin?

                 Take a look at some photos of the Milwaukee area over the past week.
milwaukee lakefront snow pic.jpg                                               ATTN:  Jake Peavy
                  I told you Milwaukee was a beautiful city…even in the winter months.

snow and lights pic.jpg                                                       Beautiful scene.
snow pic 2.jpg                             The ice scraper.  Milwaukeeans weapon of choice.
snow pic 3.jpg                                                     Shovels.  Ditto.
snow pic 5.jpg                      UW-Milwaukee students trudging to class during finals week.

snow pic 4.jpg                                                                 WOW!
snow pic 6.jpg                         Trucks loading salt to clear the roads and ruin our vehicles.
                        Milwaukee resident walking aimlessly in the wintery abyss.
snow pic 7.jpg                      Milwaukee area man arming himself with some tools of choice.

I must admit…I’m feeling mildly depressed.

                                          I think it’s time to think spring.
cactus pic.jpg
                                 Cactus League…here we come!

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