Results tagged ‘ Prince Fielder ’

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

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.

5/01/09 @ 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

Brewers Fan Fest…Happy’s gameplan

Tonight (Jan. 23rd), here in Milwaukee, the Brewers will be holding their “Winter Warmup” event which will be emceed by Bob Uecker.  Many of the Brewers current roster will be in attendance.

The event tonight will be held at an historic downtown theater called the Pabst Theater.
I’m not getting my hopes up for tonight’s event…it seems like there won’t be many autograph/meet opportunities, just presentation type stuff.

But, the Brewers “On Deck” event, to be held Saturday, looks to be much more rewarding.

Not only will the Brewers be holding their Trevor Hoffman press conference, but they’ve also added Prince Fielder to the lineup of attendees.  Maybe they’ll hold a Prince Fielder announcement as well regarding his new 2-yr contract.

There is a long lineup of autograph opportunities available on Saturday. 
I’ve combed through the list, I’ve checked the prices and I’ve looked through my collection.
Who do I want autographs from?

Here’s my gameplan…(I always have a gameplan-it’s essential).

Get there early and get in line-everybody’s gonna want Ryan Braun’s autograph.  With only 250 autograph coupons available, they’ll be gone fast.  1 autograph ticket per person/per player.  I have to get there early with my daughter and we have to be among the first 250 people at the Ryan Braun autograph pay station.  I figure I’ll throw her little rear-end on my shoulders and make the mad dash!  Otherwise, she might get trampled by crazy Brewers fans like myself…shame, shame.

Ryan Braun profile photo.jpg     Here’s what I’m going to try to get signed by Ryan Braun…
Braun 1982 jersey.jpgIt’s my authentic Milwaukee Brewers retro Friday version of Ryan’s rookie jersey.  Straight from MLB and ready to be signed and framed…hopefully!!

Here’s what my daughter would like to get signed (at my discretion, of course-she’s only 3)…
braun poster.jpgOur Braunie Bomber poster…that would look sweet signed and framed, wouldn’t it?


TIP:
  When you get an item signed by a player, tell him exactly what you want.  Also, tell him where you want the autograph.  That way, there’s no confusion and you won’t be letdown.

My next course of action (if I’m lucky enough) will be to jump into Prince Fielder’s autograph line.  Like I said earlier, only 250 autograph coupons are available per player/per person.  That’s not a lot when you consider there will probably be over 10,000 fans in attendance.

Thumbnail image for fielder profile photo.jpg     Here’s what I’d like to get signed by the big bopper-Prince Fielder…
Prince Fielder (3) home run baseballs.jpgOf the 114 career home runs Prince Fielder has hit, 3 have safely found a home in my glove.
Career home run # 61
Career home run # 67
Career home run # 97
I’d like to get those signed and dated before he gets traded out of town.

If I’m able to get those autographs, my day will be complete.

Of course, I’ll be taking a ton of pictures for a great big blog that will be coming, too.
Kaybee, I haven’t forgotten about you…you won’t be disappointed!

A memorabilia collector, too…2007! Geoff Jenkins’ 200th Home run

On Sunday, May 20th, 2007, my wife and I attended the Milwaukee Brewers vs. Minnesota Twins game. 

Brewers outfielder Geoff Jenkins had always been a fan-favorite in
Milwaukee.  He was a fan of the “Happy Youngster”, too (you’ll have to
check out my website to see for yourselves). 

I knew Geoff was sitting on 199 career home runs.  I wanted #200.  I
had told Geoff on a few occasions (that season and the season before)
that I would retrieve his 200th for him.  We always had a laugh about
it…until this day.

I snatched it! 

After a few rounds of negotiating with multiple Brewers employees, they
finally had me negotiate with Geoff, himself (after the game, of
course).

The items pictured below all came in the trade for Geoff Jenkins’ 200th career home run baseball. 

100_2894.JPGPrince Fielder used this Marucci model bat for only a short time during the ’07 season.  Prince has tried almost every bat co. known to man.  He seems like he just can’t settle on one type.  I asked Prince during Spring Training about his choice in bats.  He said to me, “I use whatever I’m comfortable with at the time.”

BLOG PICTURES102708 013.jpgThe Geoff Jenkins bat. 

Four bats for the home run baseball.  Am I greedy?  Did I ask for too much?  Did I not get enough?  All in the eye of the beholder, I would imagine.

I will revisit the topic of trading game home runs back to players in the near future.  Always a popular topic with many different viewpoints…all of which I respect and would like to hear.

The end of the ’08 season…where do we go from here?

Now that the 2008 season is officially in the books, what’s next?  Many important decisions need to be made. 

I’ve started this blog because this is about the time depression sets in.  A long winter thinking back to the previous season and a winter made even longer shoveling snow and thinking spring.

Does Sveum return?  The players want him back.  What about the rest of the coaching staff?  Will Bill Castro remain the longest tenured coach in the league?

What player moves need to be made?  Bill Hall, Rickie Weeks, Mike Cameron…to name a few.

The starting pitching might be a mess if we can’t resign the big fella.  Lots of pressure to put on Yovanni Gallardo and Manny Parra if C.C. Sabathia doesn’t return.

Alcides Escobar has nothing left to prove in the minor leagues if you ask me.  That kid needs to play shortstop.  Does that move J.J. Hardy to third?  To the trading block?  I personally think he would be great at third.

Lots of talk of Prince Fielder being dealt.  I don’t see this happening with no viable replacement coming from within.

The bottom line is the Brewers have some work to do to keep pace with the Cubs, Cardinals, Astros and the young and improving Reds (Sorry Pittsburgh).

Let me know what you think…it’s a long offseason.

ONLY 183 DAYS LEFT TIL’ OPENING DAY…

 
 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.