June 2010

Busch Stadium 6-20-2010

     The Athletics were on the verge of being swept by the Cardinals. It wasnt really fun to watch. It was like a Major League team beating up on a Little League team. Quite pathetic if you ask me. Sometimes these interleague match ups are just so one-sided it makes me sick to my stomach. If the A’s wanted to win this, and avoid losing a fifth game in a row, they would have to battle hard.

     Kevin Kouzmanoff was the unsung hero of this game though. He had a four for four afternoon, and put one in the seats. But Matt Holliday also hit TWO home runs into the left and left center field bleachers. I knew I should have bought tickets there! I just knew I should have! Oh well. I cant win them all. As long as Im trying though.

     My first and only baseball came after the game from the pitchers that strolled in from the bullpen. Im not sure who it was so I can not give you the name. But one of the highlights was Kevin Kouzmanoff stayed well after the game to take pictures with fans, sign autographs, and just **** chat with everyone. I should have jumped on the chance to take a picture with him but I didnt. I dont know why. I could have easily got in there for a picture. I guess I just wanted to soak up the moment. Even Dallas Braden came out for a moment to see what was going on but hurried back inside the clubhouse. It was really a great series and I am glad I was apart of it.

     The A’s won, by the way, 3-2.

Game; June 20th 2010 Oakland Athletics Vs St Louis Cardinals

Game Balls; One

Autographs; None

Attendance; 41,417

Busch Stadium 6-19-2010

     Another glorious day at the ballpark! Busch Stadium always has something interesting going on here. Yesterday ( if youve been following along ) I was able to snag a baseball out of the garden using my glove on a string trick. Those who are ballhawking pros knows that, that trick came from Zack Hample. So I want to give credit where credit is due. I dont want to steal another mans trick and claim all the glory. So there you have it.

     Today wasnt as exciting as yesterday though. It was really hot outside and I kind of just wanted to chill out. I did find some fans that had McGwire and Canseco jerseys at the stadium though. That kind of brings back memories of the 80′s and 90′s. The Bash Brothers.

     As laid back as things were today I really didnt do a whole lot. I kind of chilled out in the bleachers and then I spent a lot of my time in the concourse trying to stay cool. You laugh. Im serious. As batting practice came to a close I casually strolled into the lower third base seating area like I had done this a hundred and one times. It was nothing to me anymore. I waited for the National Anthem to end and then I fixed my A’s hat back on my head. I straffed some rows and got into position. Mark Ellis again was playing his usual pre-game warm up game of catch with another player I couldnt regonize. It looked like Dallas Braden though. But I wasnt for sure. Usually pitchers dont warm up like that. But whatever.

     I wasnt sure if Mark Ellis had remembered yesterday but it was still worth a shot. I made sure security wasnt going to rain on my parade and I raised my glove as Mark Ellis was finishing up. He saw me and arched a beautiful toss my way and I nabbed it. It was a lot of fun catching those baseballs.

     After the catch I placed the baseball in my backpack and I headed towards my seat out in the bleachers. I watched the entire game just relaxing. It kind of felt good to just chill out and enjoy the game instead of racing around the stadium like a madman trying to catch baseballs. Dont get me wrong. Thats why I loved coming to the games but today I just wanted to rest.

     Matt Holliday again put a bomb into the seats and I really started pondering if I should start sitting out there for a Holliday home run ball. Chances are if I start sitting out there he will either quit hitting home runs all together or he will start hitting them into the right field seats. Anyway. The Cardinals wont he game 4-3 after Jason Motte having to come in to rescue Ryan Franklin.

     All in all I had a pretty decent time.

Game; June 19th 2010 Oakland Atheltics Vs St Louis Cardinals

Game Balls; One

Autographs; None

Attendance; 43,682

 

Busch Stadium 6-18-2010

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     This was going to be an exciting game. When was the last time I saw the Oakland Athletics play some good ol` fashion baseball? Its been a very long time. I think the last time I saw the Athletics was when I was a youngster watching Mariner games in the Seattle Kingdome.

     Of course when I got inside the stadium Tony La Russa was in the outfield shagging baseballs. I offered him to throw me one and he simply told me that the batters would knock one my way. I even pleaded with money. But good ol` Tony was stubborn in his ways and refused to toss me one. So I had to wait on grounders. My typical day down the third base line turned into me running up into the bleachers in Left Field because a lot of the Athletics players were throwing baseballs at the wall to see how they would carom. Most baseballs that were thrown into the wall simply died and just dropped onto the warning track. Other players wanted to see how well the baseballs richoceted off the signs above the flower garden over the left field wall. Not very.

     As the players continued to throw baseballs against the walls one was thrown against the sign. CLANG!! And the ball just dropped right into the flower garden. Fans reached, and strained to reach the ball. And even some baseball players tried to reach over and get it. They even used baseball bats to try and swat it back onto the field. As I wandered over there I started to get my glove ready to lower it down to snag the ball. I tied the shoestring onto my glove and pulled the rubber band over it as well. I inserted the Sharpie pen, and then looked around to see if security was enroute. This was my chance. I excused myself through the fans.

 

“Here. Let me try.” I started to gently lower the glove over the railing and I dropped it right onto the ball. I knew I had it.

” Wow!” A man exclaimed next to me as he watched.

” Youre going to me on Tv!” He said.

     I reeled up the glove and pulled the baseball out. I was off to a good start. As I was walking away another ball landed in the garden and some of the fans looked to me as if ” Hey, can you get the ball?”

     I sarted walking over and I noticed that security was on their way down to get the baseball. I only had maybe a few seconds to get this one. As I was putting my glove together for another attempt the security guard looked to me and shook his head. Busted. I decided against going for it even though I probably had plenty of time to get it.

     As batting practice game to a close I routinely walked over to the vistors side of the house and patiently waited for the National Anthem to begin and end. As it did the Athletics began their quick warmup tosses, and stretches. I was in line with Mark Ellis as he played catch with Kevin Kouzmanoff. It was too easy. I quickly had my second baseball of the night.

     Matt Holliday quickly put the Cardinals on the board with a first inning bomb into the left field seats. The Cardinals pretty much cruised to a 6-4 victory. The umpires were being stingy for some reason or maybe it was all the kids in the front rows that got the baseballs.

 

Game; June 18th 2010 Oakland Athletics vs St Louis Cardinals

Game Balls; two

Autographs; None

Attendance; 40,801  

Busch Stadium 6-16-2010

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     As soon as I ran into the stadium I quickly searched the vacant rows of seating for any easter eggs like I always do. After coming up empty a small glimmer of white caught my eye. You cant see it in the picture because I hastly retrieved ball number one of the day but I will gladly point out in the picture where I found the baseball. The baseball was neatly tucked away against the black railing horizontally along the green wall with “336″ on it. I just happened to look up there while I was putting my bag down, and I saw it. So I raced over to pick it up. I knew today was going to be a great day.

     I played back in the rows for foul balls. I counted at least four that could have been mine if I got a good bounce. But as we all know when you want a good bounce you wont ever get one. Youll only get a good bounce when you least expect it. As the Mariners pitching staff got loose on the field David Aardsma quickly got to work throwing baseballs to kids. He ignored just about every adult to include Mariners fans ( like me ) that were calling to him. I guess he is just one of those players that thinks the kids should get everything. Ryan Rowland-Smith started to approach the wall to talk with some of his friends, and low and behold there was a baseball directly in his path. I lined up with him, and when he got close enough I very nicely asked for the baseball. He smiled, and tossed me my second of the day. What a gentleman. 

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     Here is Ryan chatting with some of his buddies. So as I stood there to listen in on the conversation between Ryan, and his friends I noticed that john Wetteland had a small gathering of children that were respectfully listening to what he had to say. I could barely hear him so I started to move closer. He was explaining the doppler effect. As he finished explaining some kid raised his hand, and John awarded him with a baseball for whatever he had said. Then John said ” I have two baseballs left.” He stood in silence for about 30 seconds so I wandered over there to get a better listen.

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     John started to ask his question, and I soon realized that he was talking about everything he talked about on Monday! But this time he was handing out baseballs for the right answers! My third baseball was mine. No doubt about it! Johns question was this;

    ” What rare element was left on earth after the asteroid hit that wiped out all the dinosaurs?”

     My hand shot up in an instant! John stared at me for a moment, and then called on me. Did he remember me from Monday? If he did, and I got the answer right would he still toss me a baseball? John was a fair man. He would do the right thing.

     ” Iridium.” I answered. FOR THE WIN!!

    

 

 

Wettetoss.jpg     Ball number three was mine! Batting practice was FAR from over. I was on a roll! I thanked John, and resumed my precious spot in the rows of seats in foul territory.

     Unfortunatly, I could only snag three during BP. So I headed over to the dugout ( Visitor side ) and waited on the Mariners to come out to warmup.

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     The National Athem came, and went. The security guards were ushering people that didnt belong out of their sections. Ill have to say this though. Busch Stadium is quite relaxed when it comes to allowing people to wander the stadium. Great American Ballpark wont allow you down behind the dugouts unless you have an actual ticket for that section. Which is really lame. Anyway. Oh, and U.S Cellular has the same stupid rules.

     So the Mariners came out to warm up. I locked on to Josh Wilson. Him, and Jose Lopez threw around the ball for about 30 seconds, and then I started to move around in the row. I walked into his line of sight again, and waved my arms to him. He sent a rocket right to my glove. I think the baseball players have fun throwing to fans that arent right up in the front rows. If they arent having fun with it I sure am. I love to catch long distance throws. Was that my fourth baseball on the night? Yes, it sure was! I had all game long to break out, and get my fifth. So I carefully, and patiently waited for the right moment. I knew I had a for sure deal with the umpires. Well, not for sure…but I pretty good chance.

     Since this was like my 30th game this season at Busch Stadium I have officially befriended two security guards in the sections that I roam. So it was no porblem to get hooked up with awesome seats for this game. My tactic? I whined a little bit about the ticket I purchased off of Stubhub.com. The first security guard I approached I simply asked if this was an aisle seat. He wasnt quite sure because the seat was actually against the railing. Which technically it WAS an aisle seat. But it wasnt an aisle seat I was happy with. So I told him what I was all about, and I also told him I knew one of the security guards in the section. So they ended up sticking me in wheel chair seating. Which let me tell you. Those seats are the best in the house. Theyre right up on the concourse, and it allows a person such as myself to gain extra advantage on anyone going after a baseball, and it allows me to get a great jump on a ball.

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     Yeah. Right behind everyone! No one to worry about if I had to jump for a baseball.

 

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      Sorry about the picture quality. I was just snapping pictures. Anyway, to my left is the steel railing. One step back, and I can dash down the concourse. Oh I prayed for a foul ball! I prayed for one of those t-shirt thingies to get launched my way! I prayed for rain drops! Something so I could run that concourse to catch something! But alas…nothing came my way. So I went to plan B. Plan B was simply this; run down to the end of the aisle on the third out, and snag a third out baseball from the Mariners coming off the field. Well, it was the seventh inning. I had to act fast.

     The third out ball was a pop fly to the short stop. I made my move. I dashed down to the end of the aisle, and I came up empty. I was nearly crushed. But I kept my head up. I moved from where I had been sitting to a new seat. I sat as close to the dugout as possible.

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      So there I sat. As close as I could. I waited out the top of the eighth. Finally the bottom of the eighth came. The Cardinals grounded out to second base to end the inning so Ryan Langerhans ended up with the baseball. See the kid on the right of the picture? He was my only competition. Ryan Langerhans hooked me up immediatly.

 

AND THAT CONCLUDED MY FIVE BASEBALL NIGHT BECAUSE I WAS SO EXCITED I FORGOT TO GET NUMBER SIX FROM THE UMPIRE!

 

Game: Seattle Mariners Vs St Louis Cardinals 6-16-2010 7:15pm

Game Balls: Five

Autographs: None

Attendance: 40,020

 

Busch Stadium 6-15-2010

     Game two of the three game series between the Mariners, and the Cardinals. The Mariners lost last night 9-3 despite some pretty good offense by them. But Colby Rasmus, and Ryan Ludwick were on fire! I can not believe how many home runs those guys have already this season. They’re nearly tied with Albert Pujols!

     Well, the evening started out kind of hairy. I usually buy my tickets from Stubhub.com. Ive always had success with that website. I get my tickets really cheap. I can pick where I want to sit depending on my mood or what my mission is for the game, I.E if Im chasing a milestone home run I can get seats in the outfield, aisle seat in just about any row, or if Im looking to spend the extra money I can usually find a decent aisle seat behind the dugout or out in foul territory. Well, when I bought my ticket for todays game it didnt really print right. But I didnt think much of it. So when I got to the gate to have my ticket scanned it didnt scan at all! I was freaking out! The security guard told me to go to window 16, and have them re-print it. They did, and it still printed wrong! I probably was at that window for a good ten minutes. Ten minutes of precious ballhawk time being wasted! Finally the lady came back to the window with a standing room only ticket to get me into the game, and my stubhub ticket that had my seat number on it. So I was good to go.

     I hurried inside. I mean I sprinted inside. Security guards left, and right were telling me to walk. But I ignored their direction. To my surprise once I got inside there were still great spots to ballhawk at. So I really didnt lose all that much time. Once I got calmed down, and got situated, got my glove out, and found a spot the fun began. More John Wetteland anyone? I didnt record anything but he was at it again. He came over, and started talking about more geography questions, and just about everything else he could think of. Besides entertaining the fans he does help his pitchers out though. 

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 I really have to give the Mariners credit. Despite their losing season this year, and their inhability to stay consistant or even get their pitching on track theyre probably the most cheerful, upbeat, relaxed team I have ever been around. David Aardsma, and Ryan Rowland-Smith came over to the wall to chat with fans, and sign autographs. Even Don Wakamatsu got in on the action. Really a great group of guys.

     There were a couple of fans that were standing next to me that were demanding baseballs from the Mariners as they were warming up. One thing that I have learned is that just because youre in the stands, and the baseball players are busy warming up, and there is music playing, people talking, baseballs being hit, fans screaming- if youre right against the wall the baseball players can hear just about everything you say. So Ive learned to really watch my tongue when it comes to getting in coversations with other fans about specific baseball players. I keep my comments positive or I dont say anything at all.

     Anyway. So this fan is standing there harassing the players, and at this time I moved a row or two down so I wasnt caught up or accidentally accused of being associated with them. Josh Wilson finally had enough, and turned around to confront the unruley fans.

     ” Who are you talking to? A pack of dogs?” Wilson abruptly said.

     ” What?” Said the surprised fan.

     ” Who are you talking to? What the hell do you want?” Wilson added.

     ” A ball. Cant I have one?” Asked the fan.

     ” You cant say please or may I? You have to stand there, and act like you dont have any manners?” Wilson continued.

     ” I just want a ball.” Said the fan.

     ” No. You arent getting one. So go find somewhere else to stand.” Wilson errupted, and finally turned back around to continue playing catch.

     I couldnt help but to smirk a little. Josh Wilson was right on with what he said. I hate those kinds of fans that think baseball players are supposed to give them everything. Or fans that think theyre entitled to something at the stadium. Granted baseball players have more than any average fan does but that doesnt exclude them from being treated with respect. So props to you, Josh Wilson.

     I had a couple foul balls hit my way but I wasnt able to get a good position on them as they clanged off the plastic seats. I try to play back on them a little, and wait on a good bounce. I dont know if thats a good idea or a bad idea. Most of the time I get a good bounce or they drop down in the seats, and I can easily run over, and grab it. In fact my first baseball of the day was sharply hit, sliced into the seats, bounced down into the concourse, and then bounced back up into a row of seats. I played it on the hop, and I thought it was going to stay in the concourse aisle area. Well, it didnt. As I mentioned that it bounced back up into a row of seats, I actually had to jump over the steel gate that seperated the seats from the concourse aisle, and reach down and get the ball before it rolled down another row. The ball nearly hit one of the female security guards so after I got the ball I made sure she was okay.

     Batting practice had been ending 15 minutes early this entire series, and last series against the Reds. Today was no exception. The grounds crew started rolling up the mats around home plate which indicated another 5-10 minutes of batting practice was left. Nothing else came my way so I was left with just one baseball during batting practice. David Aardsma threw a lot of baseballs up into the seats. Mainly to fans in the left field bleachers, and to kids. I even asked him for a couple, and yes I said please! But no dice.

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     Thats how much room I had to run during batting practice. Im getting a little better about negotiating the seats, but my main concern is little kids getting under my feet while Im chasing down a ball. Even if its an accident, I really dont want to be that guy that stepped on a kid trying to get a baseball. So I make sure nobody is in the rows while Im watching. If someone steps into the row I usually find another empty row to stand in, and Im constantly looking around to have an idea of who is around me. The kids are generally down in the first few rows so I feel pretty confident but it really can take a second for some toddler to come creeping up behind me while Im not watching. I hate to think about it.

     I wandered around the dugout until the begining of the game. I would have had another ball thrown to me by Josh Wilson but the throw from Jose Lopez was dropped, and the baseball rolled to the dirt. Some fan was standing ten feet away, and he asked for it. Wilson delivered. Figgins, and Kotcheman were out stretching, and playing catch but neither one of them tossed the ball into the stands before the game. I only stayed until the third inning this game…as college home work was calling my name.

 

Game: Seattle Mariners Vs St Louis Cardinals June 15th 2010 7:15pm.

Game Balls: One

Autographs: None

Attendance: 36,113

Busch Stadium 6-14-2010

     My beloved Seattle Mariners finally made it into town for a three game series against the Saint Louis Cardinals for some interleague action. Ken Griffey Jr was offcially retired weeks ago so he wasnt the big draw. The Mariners have never played in the new Busch Stadium so it was a real treat to have them here.

     I scurried into the stadium once the gates opened, and quickly ran down to the third base side. ( Yes I kept a watchful eye out for my favorite security guard ) The stadium didnt really fill up to capacity until late in the third inning so batting practice competition was rather light. To my suprise there were quite a bit of Seattle fans. Everyone kept commenting on me being from “Marysville” when I walked by Seattle fans. I knew where Marysville was but I had no affiliation to that city. I really didnt figure it out until someone walked up to me, and asked me if I was from Marysville, and then they caught themselves, and commented on my shirt. I forgot I had a MARYVILLE Fire and Rescue shirt on. MARYVILLE ILLINOIS. I laughed a little, and explained I was raised in a town nearby Marysville, Washington.

     After standing around for five or ten minutes a foul ball came directly my way but out of reach. It bounced off the railing, and right into the flower garden by the foul pole. I went over to investigate but it was too far down to get it. Not even the famous glove trick was going to pull it out of there. It was wedged underneath part of the foul pole screen, and behind a plant. It took a security guard to get it, and he graciously gave it to a fan that wasnt an eight year old. I was surprised.

     Before I knew it David Aardsma was tossing the same fan that got the last one out of the flower garden another ball! She caught it, and quickly handed it over to me! She was wearing a Mariners shirt, and she told me since she already got the last one she wanted to give this one to me because I too were a Mariners fan. I thought that was awesome.

     Ryan Rowland-Smith came over to sign some autographs, and I commented on him giving his jersey to Todd Cook. Ryan was very chatty, and very nice to speak with.

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     After Ryan signed a bunch, and jogged to the dugout the real fun began. John Wetteland. We all know how talkative this man can be. If youve ever read some of Zack Hamples blogs or actually experienced this on your own at a baseball game youll know exactly what Im talking about. If you havent…Ill post the link to a short video I recorded of him talking to the fans. I recorded five minutes worth of video, but he talked to us for nearly 45 minutes. Its amazing how much information that man has to spread. Hes very intelligent, and its worth listening to him. The only reason I stuck around to listen to him was because I already had a baseball, and the Mariners didnt take BP. Thats probably why John talked to us as long as he did.

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     Here is John Wetteland, and David Aardsma helping Brandon League ( not in the picture ) with his pitching mechanics.

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     Here is another picture of Wetteland talking with Ryan Rowland-Smith.

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     John Wetteland approached the wall because a fan kept calling out to him about how great he was in the 1996 World Series.

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     John Wetteland going on about geography. Someone brought up the subject, and John jumped all over it.

 

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      More indepth lecture by Wetteland….

 

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     Fans would ask John for an autograph, and he would ask the hardest most off the wall questions to them. If they got it right, he would sign the ball, and give it back. ( He signed, and gave it back regardless ) He made it tough to get an autograph, and most people didnt have the patience, and simply walked off. I stuck it out because I thought it was an excellent one on one with one of baseballs greatest pitchers.

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     John explaining part of his question after signing a baseball. After signing a ball he normally held onto the baseball for an additional five or ten minutes. His questions were long, and drawn out. A lot of people had no idea what he was talking about. But if you really thought about it all its actually pretty easy stuff that a lot of people learned in highschool but never really paid any attention to it.

 

And now the link to the video of John Wetteland.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7dRcMAlg5w

 

( How do you embed the actual video into the blog? Anyone have any idea? )

 

     So after being entertained by John Wetteland for nearly an hour it was time to get back to work. I sought out my second ball over by the third base dugout. Josh Wilson, and Jose Lopez were playing a quick game of catch, and I capitalized on that opportunity. I was about 15 rows up from the dugout, and as I watched Josh look for someone to throw the ball to I frantically waved my gloved hand, and walked into his line of sight. The baseball arched skyward, and I was worried that someone was going to nab it before I could. But nobody had any idea a baseball was even being thrown my way. I didnt call to him or anything. I caught the ball over some older ladies in the row in front of me, and they all kind of jumped, and looked back at me with a smile.

     “Glad you caught that because we werent going to.” One of them said to me.

     ” No problem, ladies. Enjoy the game.” I said, and walked up the stairs.

     I stayed down in the section, and caught an aisle seat when the game kicked off. It was the first game of the series so I wasnt sure of the Mariners tendancies when it came to the third out baseballs. If the first basemen got it where does he normall walk, in front of the mound, behind the mound, where does he enter the dugout, the middle, the far right, the left…it was all a mystery. When the time came I would be ready though.

     The third out came with a long fly ball to the left field. Milton Bradley would end up with it. Its always a gamble with the outfielders. Some of them like Marcus Thames would always throw the third out ball into the left field seats. Every player is different. Milton Bradley likes to give the ball to kids or someone down the third base line. So I pulled up some real estate right by the Mariners dugout, and waited for Bradley to make his way passed me. As he did he totally ignored me. I took a step back, lowered my glove in defeat, and about headed back to my seat when he pretended to throw the ball to a bunch of kids behind the dugout decked out in Cardinals gear, and then he looked to me as he took the first few steps into the dugout, and flipped the ball behind his back right to me. I caught the ball by surprise, and thanked him. I didnt try for anymore third out baseballs after that. I generally dont because the competition turns into about a hundred eight year olds fighting for a good spot by the dugout everytime the inning ends. Even though most of the time the players dont have a baseball kids still race down there to get one.

     I thought this was going to be my night for another five baseball game. But sadly I couldnt even get a fourth one during the game. Colby Rasmus hit a deep drive in the third into the left field seats as I was heading over there. Ludwick hit one into the Cardinals bullpen. Even Ichiro got some good wood on the ball leading off the first! But I was not in any position to nab any of those. Towards the end of the game I made my way down to where the umpires leave the field.

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     As soon as the game ended I got down to my usual spot, and the umpire was quick to leave the field. He turned around and literally unloaded his pouch of baseballs into these kids baseball gloves that were standing there. I couldnt believe it. He didnt save any for anyone else. I was thoroughly bummed. The experience with John Wetteland made it all worth it though.

 

 

Game: Seattle Mariners VS St Louis Cardinals June 14th 2010 6:15pm.

Game Balls: Three

Autographs: None

Attendance: 36,098

 

Busch Stadium 6-6-2010

     I hate to keep talking about this but I still think about the little four year old that got plunked in the face by Randy Wolfs throw. At work today I discussed the topic with a few co-workers. I got mixed emotions. I thought the story was entertaining, and laughable at this point. At the time it was a little nerve-racking. Some of my co-workers didnt like the idea of me keeping the baseball. They informed me that I should have given the baseball to the kid because he “deserved” it. Other co-workers did their best to stick up for me. In the end it was an interesting debate. I thoroughly enjoyed telling the story, and talking about it. I also brought up the fact that I recieved some small injuries on my legs, and rib cage for going after the baseball after it rolled around under the seats. (Those plastic seats are very unforgiving) I also pointed out the fact that I was the one that kept calling to Randy Wolf that eventually got him to throw the ball in the first place. I also pointed out the fact that Ive been hit with a baseball before but no security guard came to my aid to wrestle the baseball away from the other fan that got it. ( I really have never been hit with a baseball. I just wanted to see what people would say ) The response to all of that? ” Well, thats different. Youre an adult. Thats a kid.” My arguement? “So?” I dont understand why a child should get the ball because he was hit, and an adult shouldnt even if he was hit too. Anyway. Id also like to give a shout out to Shawn, a fellow ballhawk, for leaving an insightful comment. Thanks brother!

 

     Alright. Game time! Todays game was an interesting one. It was the last game against the Brewers, and the Cardinals were hosting Purina-” Bring your dog to the ball park” day. So all these people showed up with their dogs. They got to walk around the warning track, and the rest of the field to show off their dogs. It was pretty neat. I had to enter the stadium on the first base side because I wasnt about to play the third base side today. Not after the incident yesterday. The Cardinals were going on the road starting Monday, and they would be back at home on the fourtheenth of June. So that would give the security guard enough time to cool off, and forget about what happened on Saturday. I hoped anyway. Heres a picture of the first base side entrance. 

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     There was so much shaded area on this side of the stadium. It was amazing. On the third base side during a day game a person would roast waiting outside. But on this side there were places to sit under the trees to stay out of the sun. It was really cool, and a slight breeze would come through, and it felt amazing. It was real luxurious on this side of the house. Since it was Dog day I only had to put up with a few people at the gates. Everyone else pretty much had their dog with them.

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     Here is a beautiful snap shot of St Louis, and the Arch from the first base side. They put a huge blow up dog outside the gates to let everyone know that this is where all the dogs had to enter the stadium. So much fun! I wish I had a dog to bring!

     So once in side I kind of made a costly error. I forgot about the screen they put out in front of first base to protect the first basemen as he takes fielding practice. So that means the chances of a grounder to come my way were drastically reduced. Ive seen a lot of baseballs hit over to the first base side. But I really thought it was more trouble than it was worth. So I quickly made my way to the center field bleachers. I took the front row, and waited patiently. More, and more people started to show up, and fill the rows.

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     The tall guy on the left ( 50 ) is Kameron Loe. I stood in the front row for about 20 minutes before something came my way. I reached over to try, and snag the ball but it fell too short, and hit off the wall. I scraped my finger on the concrete ledge in the process. So since I got injured that entitles me to the baseball. The Brewers that were shagging balls thought different, and didnt toss it up to me. Really, that was about it for where I was standing. Chris Capuano tossed one up to a kid that was standing next to me, and then batting practice abruptly ended after about 30 minutes of standing there. My jaw simply hit the floor.

     Well, the only thing I could do now was hope the Brewers came out with a couple warm up baseballs before the game. After I got something to eat, and drink I scampered down to the dugout area, and did my best to blend in. The security guards in the dugout area really didnt have a problem with people sitting in other peoples seats. It wasnt like Kauffman where they constantly came around to check tickets. Since ESPN changed the game from a day game ( 1:15pm ) to a night game ( 7:05pm ) a lot of people didnt show up or all of a sudden couldnt show up. So there were plenty of open seats in the house to really sit wherever you wanted. So I pulled up some real estate behind the dugout. I mean directly behind the dugout. Like the first row behind the dugout. Yeah, I was being brave tonight.

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     The dugout seats. I always love sitting right here. Since it was getting close to game time I had to keep a watchful eye on security, and anyone on there way down to claim these seats. Soon it was National Athem time. Still nobody kicked me out of the seat.

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     Then after that Casey McGehee, and Rickie Weeks came out to toss the ball around in front of the dugout. If this wasnt the perfect spot for that baseball I didnt know where was. They threw the ball about three times before they started to advance back onto each other. Who would end up with the ball? Rickie or Casey? Casey ended up with it, and I started calling to him. He looked at me, and then kept looking around. I knew what he was doing. He was looking for a kid to throw to. But since there werent any I ended up with the ball! I thanked him, and sat down for the game.

 

     I waited until the bottom half of the first inning to make my move. Or before the third out I should say. The Cardinals were batting so therefor the Brewers would end up with the third out baseball. On the second out I left my seat, raced up the stairs, crossed over one section, ducked security as he was busy directing some fans to their seats, raced towards the end of the aisle by the dugout, and on the last out Prince Fielder ended up with the ball. I adjusted my Brewers hat slightly, held up my glove, and begin asking Prince for the ball. He threw it directly to me, and I thanked him. I was gone in a flash. Its imparitive to get that first inning third out baseball because after that I would end up competing with about ten kids after they figured out what I just accomplished. So you have to handle business early.

     The game actually made it to extra innings. So I stayed down by the dugout to watch the Cardinals bat in the bottom half of the ninth. I prayed they didnt hit a walk off home run or something. Because from where I was to get to the place where the umpires leave the field well…Ill just say this. I wouldnt make it. Fortunatly for me the Cardinals didnt score. The Brewers scored one in their top half of the tenth though. So I left the dugout area, and wandered over to the section I needed to enter to get my final baseball of the night. Guess what? Security was gone! Can you believe that? I mean they were GONE! Like none in sight. So I took my time getting down to the bottom of the aisle, and as soon as the game ended I quickly pounced on the umpires leaving. Well, not literally. But he threw me one. So that was amazing.

 

 

Game: Milwaukee Brewers Vs St Louis Cardinals June 6-2010 7:10pm

Game Balls: Three

Autographs: None

Attendance: 40,467 

Busch Stadium 6-5-2010

Saturday. A disaster.  

     As I was standing on the third base side I kept calling to Randy Wolf, Jeff Suppan, and Carlos Villanueva for a baseball. I had a couple hard hit grounders hit towards my general area but I didnt want to step on anyones toes if they were going to go after them. Well, most of them ended up back on the field after they bounced off the wall.

     Finally I got Randy Wolfs attention, and I asked him for a baseball that he had. After about five minutes of calling to him I was relieved that he started to pay attention to me. I had about fifteen minutes left on the clock before batting practice ended, and I wanted to at least come away with one baseball. So Randy Wolf fielded a couple, and tossed one in. He turned and held up the ball. I raised my glove, and readied for the throw. This is where I really needed to take a picture. Randy Wolf wasnt exactly close. He was nearly in left center. So he and I had quite the distance between us. But he fired one over to me anyway. Now let me paint this picture for you. I had a small child to my right which at this point is irrelevant. I had a guy about my age to my left, and his girlfriend to his left. I had a two parents with a four year old two rows up to my left. Im facing the field, and Wolf as the ball sailed my direction. Well, not exactly. The ball actually was going more towards the parents with the four year old. Was the ball intended for that kid? I doubt it. I was the only one screaming for a baseball. Plus I had Brewers gear on. I instantly turned, and half hurdled the row directly behind me to make the catch. So I was basically straddling the seats. I reached out, and I could barely feel the ball brush the end of my glove.

     I really thought I had it. But it was such a terrible throw from Wolf. He is 4-5 with an ERA of over four. Anyway. The ball dropped down into the seats, and rolled right to me. I actually had to lunge for it because I could see other people scrambling for it. So in the process I busted up my rib cage, and chest against the seats. Which Im happy to report Im fine. But it still hurt. So once I returned to my area to shag anything else that came my way I was soon interupted by security.

     ” You need to give that baseball to the kid.” He said as he cleared his throat, and stepped beside me one row back.

     I simply ignored his direction. I replayed the whole thing in my mind, and I realized that Randy Wolf had thrown the ball, and this little four year old boy tried to also catch the ball. The ball hit him right in the face. So as I looked back at the security guard I glanced to the kid that was crying. His mother was holding him. You know in that motherly love type of way.

     ” Sir, you need to give the baseball to the kid.” He said again.

     ” Listen, Im not trying to be the bad guy here but when a baseball is thrown into the seats by a player every fan gets one opportunity to catch the ball. If you miss the ball, or you bobble it, or you drop it thats it. If you cant get the ball back yourself, and some other fan gets it youre out of luck.” I explained.

     ” The ball was thrown to that little kid by the player.” The security guard said.

     ” Thats arguable, sir. The ball was throw to the FANS. It just so happened that the boy was in the path of where the ball was traveling. So was that fan, that fan, and that fan. I just so happened to end up with the baseball.” I said as I pointed out all the other fans that went after the ball too.

     ” Youre a nice guy.” He retored in a sarcastic manner.

     ” Sir, you dont have any authority to come down here, and dictate or moderate who gets what baseball. Its an unfortunate accident that the kid got hit in the face with the baseball. But that doesnt mean he automatically gets the baseball. It wasnt “thrown” to him either. I made 100% of the effort to get Randy Wolf to throw the ball in the first place. So technically by YOUR rules the ball belongs to me.” I said in a more heated tone.

     ” You need to leave the stadium.” The guard raised his voice to me.”

     ” Under what law? Under what regulation? Whats your reasoning? Because some unfortunate kid took a Randy Wolf change up to his grill? Im not leaving the stadium. You security guards need to find a real job!” I exclaimed back raising my voice as well.

     He just stared at me. I stared at him right back. What bologna. Now Im on the black list on the third base side all because this kid took a baseball to his head. None of that was my fault, and no I wasnt going to GIVE that kid the baseball. Do you know how many baseballs Ive attempted to catch but misplayed them, and some other fan ended up with it? A lot. I never got some security guard to come down, and stick up for me. Maybe I didnt cry enough. Maybe my mommy wasnt there to cuddle me. Well, whatever. I left after that.

     As I walked up the stairs to leave I rounded the corner to enter the main aisle. Guess who was there to intentionally back up, and run into me? My favorite security guard. I didnt realize it was him so I pardoned myself, and kept walking. Until I heard his annoying voice again.

     ” I hope youre leaving the stadium” He called after me.

     ” No, Im actually not leaving the stadium. You cant kick me out because I havent done anything wrong.” I said as I turned to walk back to him.

     It was another stare down.

     ” Youre not….youre…well I cant say what I think of you…” He said, and turned around again.

     ” Youre out of line, and youre overstepping your job description. Usher people. Help people find their seats. Dont interfere with batting practice. Dont interfere with baseballs that come into the stands. You dont have any authority to tell people what they do with baseballs that they get. I wasnt the only person going after that ball. It just so happens I ended up with it. GET A REAL JOB.” I said as I hastly turned around, and left.

     Ill be at the Sundays game because I already bought tickets, and I was sitting in foul ball heaven. But I think Ill have to play the first base side for the game, and possibly the rest of the month until this blows over.

Game; June 6th 2010 Milwaukee Brewers Vs St Louis Cardinals

Gameballs; One

Autographs; None

Attendance; 40,467

Busch Stadium 6-4-2010

So Fridays game, right? It was very frusterating. But Busch stadium looked very elegant on a warm sunny day. Check out this cool picture I took.

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      Thats more or less the view you get from the freeway that runs right by Busch Stadium. Its actually kind of cool how close the stadium is to the freeway. Theyre doing a lot of work on the bridge right now because its said to be the most unsafe bridge in Saint Louis right now.

Here is a picture of the players entrance. Most of the opposing team players get carted in from the hotel, and they use this entrance. Ive never seen any player actually stop while on the cart to sign autographs. So if you are able to get one to stop email me or leave a comment on how you got the players to stop, and sign. The usually ride right on through.

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      Here is a picture of the walkway towards the third base gates from the home plate gates. The gates I usually enter are the third base gates. Its the easiest, and the fasted Ive found to the field level. Most people use the left field gates or the home plate gates.

     So once I was inside I felt like I should have played dead center field bleachers for Prince Fielder. After all that guy has been hitting home runs in major league stadiums since he was 13 years old. I decided to stay put on the third base side. I did play back a few rows to catch any direct line drives. I felt pretty confident but when those baseballs come in fast theyre already on the curve. So when they bounce they fly way right. I missed two by mis-judging them. But that was okay.

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     Trevor Hoffman was pretty friendly as he chilled in the shade in deep left field. He tossed about eight baseballs into the stands. I called to him on multiple occasions but he didnt pay me any attention. I stood my ground on the third base side, and eventually my luck struck. I wasnt sure who hit that, and by mistake I ended up asking a Cubs fan who was at bat all the while wearing a Brewers hat. I could only laugh at myself.

     The ball somehow was able to make its way passed four peoples attempts to get it, and I held my glove down, and it slapped me right in the pocket. I felt lucky. I dont have much luck at Busch Stadium. In fact I hate shagging baseballs at this stadium. The competition is high, and I never really have a breakout game. I usually come away with two if Im lucky. The players dont come out with baseballs anymore to warm up before the game anymore. I dont know why. The Reds didnt do it, and the Brewers didnt do it Fridays game either. The Cardinals did on the other side though.

     As the game progressed I played the first base side for foul balls. I should have stayed over there the entire game. I would have caught at least two. One from Holliday, and the other from Pujols. They both fouled one baseball each over to the entrance way to the first base side. But I was busy waiting on a third out toss up from Prince Fielder, and during Pujols foul ball I was setting up for the umpire ball.

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      I also learned that these white seats you see at the bottom of the picture are wheel chair seating area. Anyone is allowed to buy tickets for this area. It isnt a requirement that you have someone with you in a wheel chair, or you be in one too. Also, from where I took this picture there is a yellow outline where you can stand. They actually sell standing room only tickets. The security guard asked me if I had a standing room only ticket, and I quickly said I did to avoid any arguement. If she asked for my ticket I would have told her my wife had it. Always one step ahead of these guards. She didnt ask though.

     After the game I set up for the umpire baseball. I scooted passed some fans that were sitting in the front row. Actually the only two fans that were sitting there, and when the umpire came I asked him a ball. He overthrew me like crazy! The ball actually sailed over my right shoulder, and since Im left handed with the glove I tried to basket catch the ball but it was too late. Some lady caught it. And she said this;

     ” Wow! I caught a ball! I didnt know the umpires threw baseballs into the crowd!”

     Ugh. Yeah. They do.

     So I tried to make it to the dugout for the bullpen guys. I was blocked in by 42,000 fans. It was Fireworks Friday, and where I stood was the closest Id get to the dugout unless I pardoned myself about 50,000 times. It wasnt worth it. The front row of the dugout was blocked anyway. One ball.

 

Game: Milwaukee Brewers Vs St Louis Cardinals June 4th 2010

Game Balls: One

Autographs: Matt Holliday

Attendance: 43,261

 

 

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Busch Stadium 6-2-2010

     The last game that the Reds were going to be in town. It has been a great series against these two teams. With the Reds now in first place a win for them meant they would be two games up on the Cardinals. A loss would mean back to a first place tie. Both teams have Thursday off ( travel day ) so they would resume play on Friday. The Cardinals would host the Milwaukee Brewers for the weekend series, and the Reds would travel to Washington D.C to face the Nationals. What does that mean for me? Well, I have to buy a Brewers hat before Fridays game!

    
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     Adam Wainwright decided to stop as he entered the stadium to sign some autographs. Colby Rasmus also stopped to sign, and Jaime Garcia stopped as well. If youre interested in getting autographs from Cardinals players most of them drive in behind the baseball stadium. You have to get there early, and on nice days there are quite a few fans down there waiting.

     Once inside the stadium things looked rather promising. The Cardinals had already taken batting practice, and left the field. So it was just the Cincinnati Reds on the field, and they were about 10 minutes into their warmups, and conditioning on the field. Jonny Gomes was rather responsive to the fans, and within five minutes he threw five baseballs into the stands. One which he threw randomly into the seats but I couldnt find it in time. As I ran up the steps, and searched frantically down the rows I could hear other foot steps pounding on the concrete. I knew my time was limited. Fans were climbing down the seats, and eventually someone found it. Bummer. That would have been my first one, and my second one from Gomes on the season.

     I stood behind Bronson Arroyo, and he had about three baseballs at his feet. So I asked him about three times for a baseball as fans were asking him for his autograph. Bronson Arroyo declined autographs because he has carpal tunnel. Whats interesting enough is he declined the surgery needed to fix his problem because it only has a 60% success rate, and if it doesnt work out for him he is done as a Major League baseball player. Well, he can always fall back on his music.

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     You can get on Youtube.com, and watch some of the videos people have posted of him singing. Its really not that bad. I picture him as a country singer but its more like Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam. It really brings me back to when I used to live in Seattle. I might actually purchase his album next time Im in Cincinnati. Maybe.

     So after Bronson Arroyo hooked me up with a baseball, and Gomes threw one into the seats I eventually got Gomes to throw one right to me. It would have been awesome to have gotten that one in the seats but at least he was nice enough to throw another one. So that was two. Gomes also came over, and signed some autographs. Hes a pretty cool dude, and I love his mohawk haircut. Hes really down to earth, and has a great sense of humor. I love those baseball players that make the experience fun. Guys like Arthur Rhodes, and Brandon Phillips that dont want anything to do with the fans really put a sour taste in my mouth. But not everyone can be awesome like Gomes or Bronson. In fact before Bronson left the field, and because he cant sign autographs…

 

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     That would be yours truely, and my new found friend Bronson Arroyo. Look! We have matching hats! He was really nice about it too. We made small talk, and he took some more pictures. I had a fan take a picture of me with Bronson in agreement that I would take one of him with his kid with Bronson. So it all worked out.

     Johnny Cueto, and Fransico Cordero walked passed everyone but paid us no mind.

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     I had tickets to sit in the outfield bleachers on the aisle but I decided to not sit out there when I was offered to sit down by the dugout by the autographer group. Ive made some friends at Busch stadium which is ideal in this hobby. Having friends in high places means better seats, more baseballs, and a better experience. Although, Im still tracking Albert Pujols 400th career home run he hasnt quite came close enough for me to really worry about it. Im thinking he will hit it out around August/September time frame. If he doesnt go into another 20 game slump. Which I predict that he will. So I still have some time to sit whereever I want in the stadium.

     During the game some fool ran out onto the field. I failed to get any pictures. Sorry folks. I even looked around on Google.com for an article. The last fan to run out onto the field at New Busch Stadium was in 2007. It took six security guards to subdue the guy. This time it took two, with a clean tackle by one of the security guards that incidentially got his face cut open on the tackle. Ill find out on Friday if hes okay. Im sure he probably is.

     By the sixth inning I decided to start my relocation process to get behind home plate to get a baseball from the umpires. As I left Miguel Cairo kept calling out to the fans. As I was walking up the stairs I looked back to see fans pointing, and calling to me. I stopped to further investigate, and Miguel Cairo kept pointing to me, and holding up a baseball. I started back down to the dugout, and he tossed me a ball, and threw up the peace sign. I thanked him, and headed back up the stairs. Wow. That was weird. I guess he saw me make about five thousand attempts for a baseball down by the dugout, and then saw me leaving so he hooked me up with a baseball. Who knows. But I was happy. That was number three.

    I used last nights ticket for section 156 to dupe security. The ticket was a print out from Subhub.com so I just kept it folded so all they had to read was the section number, the row, and seat number. They never bother to unfold the ticket to look at the actual date of the game. So I always keep those tickets on hand in case I get stopped by security. I dont know how many people have actually thought of that trick but if you get good seats at Busch from Stubhub try to keep the ticket in good condition. Fold it up in four parts, and only allow the security guards to see the section. Act like you belong. Just kind of let them glance at the ticket, and they will allow you entry without any problems. But scout an empty seat out first before you head over to those sections. That way you can sit right down, and not look like you dont belong.

     Once the game ended, I had to climb over some seats to get to the first row. Once there I waited for the umpire. Unfortunatly this time he handed all the baseballs out to kids, and pretty girls. What a drag. He spoiled my four game baseball night.

 

Game: Cincinnati Reds Vs St Louis Cardinals June 2nd 2010 7:15pm

Game Balls: Three

Autographs: None

Attendance: 39,295 

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