Results tagged ‘ Yovani Gallardo ’

9/29/09 @ Coors Field

I was finally going to Coors Field.

 

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

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

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

 

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

I *HAD* to find out for myself.

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

The aforementioned Ballhawk Kenny in front of Coors Field…

9_29_09 @ Coors Field 004.jpg

Yours truly in front of Coors Field…

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A look at the main stadium entrance behind home plate…

9_29_09 @ Coors Field 008.jpg

The outside concourse that extends down the left field line…

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…and the right field line…

9_29_09 @ Coors Field 009.jpg

 

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

9_29_09 @ Coors Field 010.jpg

…my 1st look at the left field bleachers.

 One word:  WOW.

Our self-guided tour of Coors Field rolled on.

 

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

9_29_09 @ Coors Field 017.jpg

…I’ve underlined the interesting part.

 

DANGERS OF WATCHING BASEBALL??

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

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

 

Another sign I found particularly interesting…

9_29_09 @ Coors Field 019.jpg

…now that makes sense.

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

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

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

 

Moving right along…

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

9_29_09 @ Coors Field 022.jpg

…giving my seal of approval.

 

How cool is the sign pictured below…

9_29_09 @ Coors Field 025.jpg

…!?!

 

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

ANSWER:  not many. 

Pretty goddamn cool if you ask me.

 

 

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

 

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

 

The meeting place? 

The Blake Street Tavern located 4 blocks from Coors Field.

 

The cool dude we were meeting up with?

None other than my all-time favorite MLBlogger…

9_29_09 @ Coors Field 033.jpg

…Don “The Rockpile Ranter.”

 

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

 

Don and I outside the Rockpile gate…

9_29_09 @ Coors Field 026.jpg

Kenny playing a little catch with the “Ranter”…

9_29_09 @ Coors Field 029.jpg

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Talk about room to move around.

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

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

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

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

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

…and…

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

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

He couldn’t argue with the facts.

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

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

A view of right field…
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…a view of the left field line and foul pole…
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…the 1B side…
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…the 3B side…
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…a view from the right field bleachers looking to left field…
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…do you notice how much room there is between rows?

A great design…
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…indeed.

Check out the purple row of seats that extend all the way around the stadium in the upper deck…
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…signifying the altitude located exactly 1-mile above sea-level.

Here’s a view of the batter’s eye greenery…
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A view of centerfield from the upper concourse in left field…
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Eventually, I made my way back to my seat. 
I chatted with a few of the local ballhawks including Dan pictured below…
9_29_09 @ Coors Field 058.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There was good news and bad news on this day…

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

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

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

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




2009 BALLHAWKING STATS

  • 3 total balls 9/29/09


1 batted baseball

2 tossup baseballs


ATTENDANCE:  39,087

2009 TOTAL BASEBALLS

4/7/09   = 5   baseballs
4/8/09   = 10 baseballs
4/9/09   = 10 baseballs
4/10/09 = 3   baseballs
4/11/09 = 5   baseballs
4/12/09 = 5   baseballs
4/13/09 = 11 baseballs
4/14/09 = 6   baseballs
4/21/09 = 5   baseballs
4/27/09 = 15 baseballs
4/28/09 = 9   baseballs
4/30/09 = 4   baseballs
5/01/09 = 7   baseballs
5/02/09 = 4   baseballs
5/08/09 = 11 baseballs
5/09/09 = 1   lousy ball
5/12/09 = 14 baseballs
5/13/09 = 12 baseballs
5/19/09 = 8   baseballs
5/22/09 = 3   baseballs
5/23/09 = 2   baseballs
5/26/09 = 3   baseballs
5/29/09 = 6   baseballs
5/30/09 = 5   baseballs
6/01/09 = 1   baseball
6/02/09 = 9   baseballs
6/09/09 = 4   baseballs
6/10/09 = 0   baseballs
6/11/09 = 2   baseballs
6/12/09 = 9   baseballs
6/23/09 = 6   baseballs
6/24/09 = 9   baseballs
6/26/09 = 9   baseballs
6/27/09 = 4   baseballs
6/29/09 = 3   baseballs
6/30/09 = 5   baseballs
7/07/09 = 6   baseballs
7/10/09 = 3   baseballs
7/20/09 = 7   baseballs
7/24/09 = 6   baseballs
7/27/09 = 8   baseballs
7/29/09 = 3   baseballs
8/04/09 = 4   baseballs
8/11/09 = 7   baseballs
8/12/09 = 6   baseballs
8/15/09 = 4   baseballs
8/16/09 = 3   baseballs
8/17/09 = 10 baseballs
8/25/09 = 10 baseballs
8/26/09 = 4   baseballs
8/28/09 = 18 baseballs *(new Milwaukee record)*
8/29/09 = 2   baseballs
9/04/09 = 5   baseballs
9/06/09 = 5   baseballs
9/08/09 = 8   baseballs
9/16/09 = 4   baseballs
9/18/09 = 10 baseballs
9/21/09 = 3   baseballs
9/24/09 = 4   baseballs
9/29/09 = 3   baseballs
___________________

368 baseballs (60 games)
6.13 average per game

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

6/24/09 @ Miller Park

It was blistering-hot in Milwaukee.  I had not even started to ballhawk and I was already drenched in sweat.  Disgustingly drenched. 

When the gates to the stadium opened at 5:30 pm, I ran in and searched for “easter eggs.”  As luck would have it, I found not one, but two!!  One in the right field bleachers (field level) and one in the right field loge level bleachers (2nd level). 

BALLS #1 & #2 were in the bag. 
Good start.

BALL #3 came (on the bounce) off the bat of this young phenom…
mat gamel profile photo.jpg
Brewers 3B MAT GAMEL.
 

If you don’t know the name, you will.  He’s an absolute hitting machine with a bright future.

How I snagged #3 was actually a bit interesting. 

It landed (on the fly) in the Toyota Tundra Territory out in deep right-center field.  It then bounced out of that section and landed on the concourse below.  It rolled about 10-15 feet (with me giving chase) into a restricted, gated-off area.  I thought it was lost before it rolled back out into the concourse where it was claimed.  I have the slight pitch/slant in the concrete that leads to a drain to thank for it rolling back to me.
 
Even a bit more odd was the fact that it was a Twins commemorative ball.  Somehow, the Twins commemorative found its way into the Brewers ballbag. 
Hmmm…

yovani gallardo profile pic.jpg

The Brewers were finishing up their portion of BP when Brewers ace
YOVANI GALLARDO ————————————————>
fielded a baseball.  I yelled for the ball and he
turned and looked up into the bleachers.  He wasn’t looking at me.  So,
I waved my glove and yelled again.  I was standing in about the 15th
row of the right field loge bleachers (2nd level).  He spotted my position and
lofted the ball to me.  It fell about 4 rows short, but, I ran down and easily claimed BALL #4.

The Twins were now on the field.

The Twins right handed hitters (Crede, Cuddyer, Gomez, Young) had hit well the previous day.  So, I headed to the left field loge bleachers.

Soon, Twins RF MICHAEL CUDDYER hammered one in my direction that I caught on the fly for BALL #5.  When I inspected the baseball, it appeared to have once been a gamer that was retired to the BP bucket. 

A few more baseballs were hit up in my area but it had gotten crowded and hard to move.

NOTE:  For those that think Miller Park is an easy stadium to ballhawk in, guess again. 
Try ballhawking in a stadium that averages nearly 40,000 but only opens up 1 & 1/2 hrs. before gametime.  Not to mention, there’s no real spot at Miller Park that’s open and easy to roam around in.  Strict ushers/security add insult to injury. 

Sheesh.

The Twins righties were finished hitting.  I headed back to right field.

When I made it out to right field, I noticed Twins pitcher FRANCISCO LIRIANO was standing in centerfield shagging BP.  I congratulated him on the victory the night before.  When the next baseball was hit to him, he turned and tossed it to me for BALL #6 on the day.
When I inspected it, I noticed it was almost brand-spanking new.  Not as new as the Cuddyer BP homer I had caught the day before, but, almost.

In the next 15 minutes, I managed to snag 3 more baseballs (all on the fly) from the following players…                                              
jason pridie.jpg

JASON PRIDIE – BALL #7 (given away to a young Twins fan)

                       
Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for brian buscher.jpg     BRIAN BUSCHER – BALL #8

Thumbnail image for jose morales.jpg     JOSE MORALES – BALL #9

That was it for BP.

Did I mention it was hot??
6_24_09 Twins vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 001.jpg
90 degrees with a heat index of over 100…hotdamn!

During the game, a very special family stopped by my seat to say “hello”…
6_24_09 Twins vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 005.jpg
…that’s “Brewer Jamie,” his awesome wife-Mary and their adorable daughter Rachel.

Another Miller Park regular stopped by the section…
Thumbnail image for 6_24_09 Twins vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 006.jpg

…the young man’s name eludes me at this time. 
In his hands, he held the newest addition to his growing memorabilia collection. 
A Jason Kubel gamer bat cracked during BP and given to him directly from Mr. Kubel.
Cool stuff.

I didn’t mention it in my last game blog (6/23/09), but I had the chance to formally meet another fellow member of our BALLHAWK LEAGUE. 

Big Glove Bob was in the house. 

For those of you who don’t know, Bob is a diehard Twins fan who has gained notoriety for sporting an oversized glove at the Metrodome. 

Hence, the nickname “Big Glove Bob.”

Bob’s blog tells it like it is and is always a funny read.
If you haven’t already, check his blog out here.

I had met Bob (briefly) back on 5/23/09
But, this time…
6_24_09 Twins vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 011.jpg

…we talked at length.

What a great guy!

The game ended with the final score:

Happy – 9
Brewers – 4
Twinkies – 3
6_24_09 Twins vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 012.jpg
                     Only 8 are shown (1 was given away to a small Twins fan).

A final look.
6_24_09 Twins vs. Brewers @ Miller Park 014.jpg

PICTURED TOP LEFT:  #850 (Michael Cuddyer-caught on fly) was my 200th baseball of the 2009 season.

Yeah, baby.

2009 BALLHAWKING STATS

  • 9 total balls 6/24/09

7 batted baseballs (4 caught on fly)

2 toss-up baseballs


ATTENDANCE: 
34,480

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
___________________

204 baseballs (32 games)
6.375 average per game

Would Randy Johnson consider the Milwaukee Brewers?

So, I was sitting around the house day-dreaming about the ’09 ballhawking season when I came up with an interesting notion…what if the Brewers contacted Big Randy’s people and Big Randy’s people contacted the Brewers people and talked about a possible 1 yr. deal to come pitch for the Brew Crew??!!

Allow me to digress for a moment.

The Brewers rotation WILL lose two big guns to free agency.

sabathia pitching.jpg

Adios big boy.

C.C. Sabathia is looking down the barrel of a 6yr/140MM offer from the Yanks (probably more).

sheets pitching.jpg

Ol’ Benny boy will become permanently MIA instead of just every 5th day.

Ben Sheets is looking down the barrel of a much smaller gun this offseason.  One that will still pay him 2-3 yrs @ 14-15MM per year.

Which leads me to the guys who will actually be there in 2009.

gallardo pitching.jpg                                                      Ace            
                                  YOVANI GALLARDO
stud

question mark pic.jpg                                                           #2 Pitcher          
               That’s a big question mark…insert “Big Unit” here (more about that later)

bush pitching.jpg                                                        #3 Pitcher
                                   DAVE BUSH…steady and reliable.

parra pitching.jpg                                                        #4 Pitcher
                              MANNY PARRA…young lefty full of ace potential.

suppan pitching.jpg                                                          #5 Pitcher
                   JEFF SUPPAN…what else we going to do with him and his salary?

Which leads me back to Randy Johnson. 

Here are a few things of note:

1.  The man is not returning to pitch for the D’backs.  This we know.  They offered him 2-3 million to come back in ’09.  He said he would’ve settled for 8 million. 
2.  He seeks a 1 yr. deal.  Low risk/high return.
3.  He is left-handed.
4.  He still throws heat.
5.  He is 5 wins shy of the elite 300 win club.
(imagine the marketing opportunities…souvenir flamethrowers, anyone?)
6.  He still has gas left in the tank. 

Take a look at his 2008 statistics

-30 starts
-11 wins/10 losses
-3.91 ERA
-.260 Batting Average Against
-184 Innings Pitched
-173 K’s

BRING RANDY TO MILWAUKEE!!  RANDY, COME TO MILWAUKEE!!&nbsp
;

(For Milwaukee travel and tourism information, click here).

randy johnson hand in camera.jpg

This blog post endorsed by:
The Milwaukee Brewers # 1 Fan and ballhawk “The Happy Youngster”

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