Results tagged ‘ Busch Stadium ’
I spent a lot of my first couple of years going to baseball games knee-deep in St. Louis Cardinal territory. I know, feel bad for me, right? I wasn’t a huge Cardinal fan by any means and I did put my living in the midwest to good use by traveling to other baseball cities like Chicago, Kansas City and even as far as Texas. While I was doing my thing at Busch Stadium, I did get the chance to meet Bronson Arroyo. I can’t recall which game it was or even the year because it was so long ago, but what I do remember was he was a super nice guy to me and so friendly.
He was down the third base line signing some autographs and as he started to walk by I quickly called out to him if he’d be willing to take a picture with me:
That wasn’t the only time I’ve met up with Arroyo. I’ve also met him outside of Busch Stadium when he was on his way back to the hotel (he declined signing an autograph because of his arthritic elbow) and I met him at a special Reds/fan meet and greet I attended a few years ago. He couldn’t sign autographs then either but offered pictures. Really awesome guy.
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I did this auction once before and it was pretty successful. I was able to raise quite a bit of money for the Seattle Humane Society (which is my charity of choice) and since I’m the founder of Snagging Baseballs for Puppies, all proceeds went to the shelter. Some of the history on these autographed baseballs is that they’re all authentic. I’ve met the current or former player in person and acquired the autograph. Some players I met at MLB Fanfests and some I’ve met at the stadiums I’ve visited. Like the Ryan Rowland-Smith autographed baseball, I met him at Safeco Field and got him to sign the baseball prior to him entering the stadium. Same with the Brian Moehler signed baseball. I caught up with him before a game at Busch Stadium.
So on with it, shall we? Below is a picture of the baseballs I’m parting with. Here’s the deal. Each signed baseball took a lot of resources, time and energy to get. I got a little bit of a personal time with that specific player so they mean a lot to me. So why am I parting with them? Because I’m trying to find great ways to make people happy and get some money donated to my charity. If you’d like one of these signed baseballs, leave a comment below or shoot an email to WaynePeck@Yahoo.com letting me know what baseball you want and a good address so that I can send it to you. When you claim a baseball, make sure you are able to donate. Although, donating is not required, it’s a nice gesture and kind of defeats the purpose of this whole thing if you don’t donate. The minimum donation amount is $5.00.
Here are the baseballs:
Top row from left to right: Rich Hacker, Brian Moehler
Second row from left to right: Dave McKay, Ryan Rowland-Smith
Baseball on far left: Jose Cruz
Third row from left to right: Glenn Braggs, Bruce Chen
Fourth row from left to right: Jim Maloney, Gary Mathews Jr
So there you go! Here’s the link to my official Seattle Humane Society charity page and all you have to do is click on the “Support Wayne Peck” link and you’re off and running! Thanks to all that have taken an interest thus far!
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A lot has been happening this week so I apologize that this Sundays blog has came so late. I will tell you about the game in a minute. I need to get some other things covered before we start talking baseball. First things first. My charity projects have been totally awesome. And thats mostly in part by my awesome fans that have pledged some money per baseball that I snag this year. So far I have snagged 26 baseballs this season and next week the Texas Rangers and the Chicago Whitesox come to town. So I am uber excited about that. ( First time using the word uber in my blog ) Also. A good friend of mine has put up $10 large towards Snagging Baseballs for Puppies. I think that is very thoughtful of him. So thank you, Ryan.
Something else I need to get off my chest. For years Ive had specific rules when I snag baseballs at games. One rule that Ive been sticking to is that I only count baseballs that I go home with. Well, on Saturday, David DeJesus threw me a baseball that I didnt count. But I caught it. Now we all know in professional sports if a player catches a ball and has positive control over it, its ruled a catch, right? Well, the same should go for me when Im snagging baseballs in the stands. I also looked back into my previous games and found that I had indeed caught a baseball, gave it away, and then counted it in my collection. It happened last year at Kauffman Stadium when I caught a career high of five baseballs. So naturally I should count the one thrown to me from DeJesus. Everyone agree? Good.
Oh, one last thing. Because I have SiriusXM radio in my car which means I normally dont listen to AM/FM radio but since my car is in the shop I had to drive a loaner today. So no SiriusXM. I know. Youre like, “So?”. Well, its about to get interesting. On my way to school I tuned into 99.9FM KISW the Rock of Seattle. The BJ Shea Morning Experience radio show was on and these guys were talking about how President Obama showed his birth certificate finally and then they asked the audience what sort of things are we tired of having to prove but no one believes us. Well, I texted in ” Ive snagged 124 baseballs from 7 different stadiums.” As I was pulling into the school parking lot the KISW radio team called me! They asked me if I wanted to be on the air and talk about this. I was all for it, of course… so here is the radio interview for your listening pleasure. Just fast-forward to about the 18 minute mark.
So lets talk about Sundays game. Shall we? Sundays game looked like this during batting practice ( Or lack there-of ) practically the entire time.
So it was pretty boring. Then the Athletics came out to stretch, and do their thing. More boring-ness.
Like I said. There wasnt a whole lot going on. Before the game on Sundays its pretty mellow and boring. I did have some Athletics fan chew my ear off for about 30 minutes though. So I kind of enjoyed that.
I did finally get the chance to give Brad Ziegler some U.S Army wristbands Ive been wanting to get to him. He has a foundation that I mentioned in my last few blog entries. Its actually a pretty awesome foundation. You should check it out. Brad Ziegler was sort of busy talking to what seemed to be a reporter. I overheard him mention his foundation but then they hugged. So Im not sure who the woman was. Then I waited for another Athletics fan to get his autograph, and then I moved in to hand him the wristbands. I briefly explained that I was in the Army for ten years, and I wanted him to have the wristbands. I was going to go on about giving one to David DeJesus but he seemed kind of taken back from the whole thing, and quickly thanked me as he was stepping away to go to he dugout. I thought it would be a better experience then that. I was sort of disappointed at first…but he probably receives so much stuff from fans. I left it at that.
So I pretty much spent the entire game standing in the new area at Safeco Field called “The ‘Pen”. And let me tell you. If you havent gone there yet, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? Well, actually. I take that back. Friday and Saturday games the ‘Pen is full of drunks. So its really not my scene. But Sundays game was calm, quiet and lots of older couples were in there. So it was pretty mellow. I ate here.
Remember how I said I was going to eat at a new venue every Sunday game and blog about it? Im telling you. If youve ever had good pizza you havent had great pizza until you eat a slice of heaven here. I had two slices of pepperoni and a small soda. It ran me about $14 and some change but so worth it. Its very messy so make sure you get lots of napkins. They are located on the left and right side of the venue. The awesome part about it is that this pizza didnt give me any heartburn.
Before I settled in the ‘Pen area I made sure to get on the board with at least one baseball today. I bet you cant guess who I got it from? I got it from Mark Ellis of course. My first baseball that Mark Ellis ever threw me happened at Busch Stadium on June 18th 2010. My second baseball from Mark Ellis happened a game later at Busch Stadium. And if youve been following this years blog entries youll know that Mark Ellis tossed me a baseball on Friday. So Mark Ellis is now tied with Todd Helton and Jonny Gomes for most baseballs tossed up by players. So todays baseball that he tossed me would give him the lead with four! I anticipate that he will continue to climb the ladder of most baseballs tossed to me by any player because Oakland comes to town two more times this year.
Unfortunatly, no home run balls were hit into the ‘Pen. I thought I would have dibs on anything hit into there too. So I was kind of disappointed. And I figured Id get a baseball from Brad Ziegler at the end of the game as well. But he threw one to some girl. I also didnt keep my Athletics hat on either while I was down there. So that probably made him think twice of who I was. I knew he remembered me though. So when I got home after the game I made sure I Tweeted him a thank you Tweet for accepting my wristbands. And sure he enough! He Tweeted back!
Game; April 24th 2011 Oakland Athletics vs Seattle Mariners
Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $20.00 this season.
Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $6.25 this season.
I’m probably the last guy on planet earth to have given my two-cents on this book. I mean I read it from front to back within seven hours after it was delivered to my house. Personally I wasn’t as interested in the history of the baseball as I thought I would be. I like Zack Hamples second book Watching Baseball Smarter better. That book is my favorite because it gave you an insight about the game. It gave you answers to all of those zany quirks and all of those ” Why does he do that?” questions.
The book goes well in-depth of how the baseball was created. Zack even draws out a timeline of the first baseball used in a game. It’s very interesting stuff. The last two-hundred pages or so pretty much tell you how to snag a baseball from a game. If you’ve ever read his first book How to Snag a Baseball at a Major League Stadium then you’ll probably end up skimming through this section like I did. Although there are key tips in this new book that weren’t in his first book. So if you’re a Ballhawk thats just starting out or all you want is just one baseball at a game then I would advise reading this section thoroughly. If you’ve already snagged over 100 baseballs or even 50 then I would say you’re on the right track and you can probably just pick through what you want and leave the rest.
I’m glad I bought the book. I love reading about baseball in general. Zack has an interesting way with words and his sense of humor isnt over the top. Its a great read and worth every penny.
Fans vs Fans
Well, another season is about to kick off. Im sure every baseball fan is getting ready for opening day. As I have stated many times I will be in Oakland at their Home Opener against my beloved Seattle Mariners. I really can’t wait and this week is killing me in anticipation. It’s hard to sleep at night knowing that in nearly 72 hours I’ll be at the Oakland-Coliseum trying to snag my 100th baseball. After I read The Baseball by Zack Hample I of course looked through his blog to try to find a blog entry of him at the Coliseum so I could get a leg up on the competition. You know, to find those tips and secrets that not everyone knows.
Well, to my surprise I found a lot of other blogs bashing Ballhawks. Do I consider myself a Ballhawk? Yes. I do. Its kind of bothersome to read these blogs that are floating out there though. I’ve never seen a physical altercation in the bleachers over a baseball and I’ve never witnessed any fights break out during games because a fan wasn’t sitting in their assigned seats. But one blog really stood out. http://mccarpie.mlblogs.com/archives/2009/10/ugh_ballhawks.html
Now I know she blogged this in 2009 and I even left a comment. But it’s just irritating that people draw these conclusions about Ballhawks. I have never seen anyone run over a kid. I have never seen anyone push the elderly out of the way. And I have been to plenty of baseball games. But thats not what bothers me the most. Its these self-righteous, holier-than-thou attitudes these people have and claim that every baseball hit into the stands should be given to the nearest five-year old. The Major Leagues has a huge job. They have to please everyone from the ages of 1-99. Thats a huge job. People that go to these game want to be apart of it. Hangout with the players. Walk around the field. Catch a baseball. Some people just want to sit in the cheap seats, eat a hotdog, and drink a beer. Tailgaters want to sit outside, drink beer, eat food until just before game time. Some people show up hours early to attend batting practice and shag home run baseballs. The bottom line is; ITS ALL APART OF THE GAME.
Another blog that was pretty explicit was this one http://www.millerparkdrunk.com/ Im not going to post any of the blogs about him bashing Ballhawks. If you want to read them you can pick through the blog and find them. But anyway. The point I am trying to make about this particular blog is this guy is a tailgater at Miller Park. His thing is to come to baseball games, drink beer, and eat food. Yet he complains and takes shots at guys like The Happy Youngster and Zack Hample for doing their thing at a game. Whats with all this hate? Cant a person just come to the baseball stadium and enjoy their time there?
Well, I’m not going to sit here and beat a dead horse. Its just nonsense and I guess that’s apart of life. I’ve had a few situations with fans resulting in name calling and crying kids. Like the time in Kauffman Stadium when I caught three baseballs in one game from Todd Helton. I was heckled by three college students that were obviously intoxicated. And the other time at Busch Stadium when Randy Wolf managed to drill some three year old in the face with a baseball when he air mailed it to me. Baseball will be around a long, long time. Any five year old kid today that doesn’t get a baseball will probably get one ten years from now when he goes to baseball games on his own. Like me.
Until next time…
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Here is John Wetteland, and David Aardsma helping Brandon League ( not in the picture ) with his pitching mechanics.
Here is another picture of Wetteland talking with Ryan Rowland-Smith.
John Wetteland approached the wall because a fan kept calling out to him about how great he was in the 1996 World Series.
John Wetteland going on about geography. Someone brought up the subject, and John jumped all over it.
More indepth lecture by Wetteland….
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.
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.
( 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
Game two of the three game series between the Cincinnati Reds, and the St Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals won the first game of the series which created a first place tie. I was thoroughly excited to be at the stadium today to watch this game. The Reds have been playing awesome baseball, and I really wanted them to take first place back.
Once I got to the stadium I ran around to the left field gates to see if batting practice was going to take place. What I didnt expect was 1,000 D.A.R.E students to already be in the stadium. They filled the first base side seats, and were being given some kind of lecture about drugs. So I raced back to the third base side gates, and pulled up some real estate.
Once the gates opened I knew that any chance of finding an easter egg was out the window. In fact once I got inside, and saw that both base lines were lined with kids, and parents I knew this would be one of those days at the ballpark. I was able to squeeze my way inbetween some kids, and waited patiently for something to come down the line. I didnt have to wait long before most of the Reds were done warming up, and Jonny Gomes kind of hinted to me that he was going to toss me a baseball. I dont know what it was but after we made eye contact I kind of knew that he was looking for a Cincinnati fan to toss a ball to. I nodded to him slightly, and put up my glove to about chest high. He tossed me a gem, and I quickly thanked him. I was standing by an older woman that had two kids with her that was astonished that Gomes threw me that. Well, at least the streak stayed alive, and I didnt have to really fight for a baseball.
Batting practice actually ended early for a D.A.R.E police car parade around the baseball field.
The people down by the dugout at the bottom of the picture were trying to get Dusty Bakers autograph. Him, and Mike Leake walked over to sign some autographs for the fans. If you get inside the stadium early enough you can get yourself a spot by the dugout just like these fans are doing, and probably get some pretty good autographs from players. Most of them walk over by request, and sign.
The game was an absolute edge your seat, well played, amazing baseball game. Probably the best game I had seen all year. Also note that before the game Scott Rolen came over to sign autographs, and I hooked him up with “Good Luck Knucks”. What did Scott Rolen do? Two home runs, and a double for the evening. He did very well. If youve been keeping up on my blogs throughout the season I also gave “Good Luck Knucks” to Dan Uggla when the Marlins came to Busch Stadium, and he hit a home run as well. As the season continues I kind of put a fine tune on my Good Luck Knucks. You know like personal rules that make it so it works everytime. I should probably write up a blog entry about my Good Luck Knucks.
So the game was a success for the Reds. They won despite having Nick Masset on the mound for an inning. I will tell you something else about the Reds bullpen. Arthur Rhodes ( despite him not being very fan friendly ) he has became such an asset for the Reds. With an ERA of .43 he has held just about every batter hes faced this season at bay. I really enjoy watching him pitch. By winning this game against the Cardinals the Reds were now back in first place in the National League Central division. So tomorrows game would be even more important to win because that would allow the Reds to gain some ground on the Cardinals. Unfortunatly for the Reds, the Cardinals had Chris Carpenter on the mound against Sam LeCure. LeCure got called up because Homer Bailey is on the DL with some shoulder problems or something like that. So we shall see. I was desperatly trying to come up with a way to jinx Carpenter so hed have a bad game but I couldnt think of anything.
As the ninth inning neared I beat out security again to get a baseball from the home plate umpire, and I was successful again in doing so. There wasnt much competition for a baseball, and the home plate umpire put it right in my glove. How about that. I didnt even have to catch it. So I made out pretty well at Busch. Two baseballs, and a Reds win!
Game: Cincinnati Reds Vs St Louis Cardinals June 1st 2010 7:15pm.
Game Balls: Two
This is me. Relaxing, and getting into the zone at Busch Stadium. It was hot, and muggy. But I felt good. I was well hydrated, and ready for some foul ball action. As I waited for the gates to open I watched Arthur Rhodes walked right by me, and into the stadium. Most of the baseball players come in this entry door on Stan Musial Dr. Just for future reference if youre after a certain players autograph.
Just passed the memorabilia stand there is a set of double doors. They go in there. Anyway. So the gates finally opened up, and I raced down to the third base side. For some reason the players were slicing everything to the first base side. The majority of baseballs were going over there. I thought about going over there to shag foul balls, but I knew as soon as I did that they would start hitting them to the third base side. So I stood my ground. My decision paid off, and it wasnt just moments later when I hot ground ball came my way. I mean right to me. The ball took a nasty bounce, and hit me right in the wrist, and then trickled down into my glove but rolled out onto the dirt. I frantically grabbed for it, and reeled it in as other people were reaching for it. I usually field those pretty cleanly but this one kind of got away from me.
See the usher thats standing on the field? Usually he stands right in front of me. But not today for some reason. He didnt even stand remotely close to me. I also noted that he doesnt come out with his glove anymore, and he doesnt stop any ground balls that come towards the fans. It think upper management recieved a complaint that the ushers were interfering with batting practice too much. I would have to agree, and support the complaint or the decision to keep the ushers out of the way. Fans should know the risk theyre taking when they stand this close to the field during batting practice. In fact Ive seen more people hit by overthrows from players than actual baseballs off the bats.
It seems like I get more baseballs within the first two hours after the gates open when there isnt batting practice. Ive only been able to get one baseball during batting practice at Busch stadium, and Im really thinking I need to change up my strategy. I pretty much ignored the Reds as they warmed up, and a few overthrows happened but nothing went into the seats. I positioned myself behind Jonny Gomes, and his throwing partner to catch another overthrow while batting practice resumed. As I was standing there I ended up chatting with an older gentleman from Quad Cities Illinois. Him, and I talked probably the rest of batting practice, and I totally lost focus. But we were talking baseball. We agreed on a lot of topics like steroids, players salaries, what the players have to pay for, what they dont have to pay for, etc etc etc. I mean we talked it up. Before I knew it batting practice was over.
Before we parted ways he asked me where I was sitting, and I told him I had purchased cheap bleacher seats because I chase foul balls. He offered me the aisle seat in the row he was sitting at which was about four rows up from the field. They were awesome seats, and I got to sit there for free. I told him I had to have the aisle seat though. I explained my ball snagging stats, streaks, and just about everything else to help convince him to allow me to take the aisle seat. So I wanted to dedicate this blog entry to Charlie, and his wife Mary for allowing me the opportunity to sit with you both. Charlie is a Vietnam Veteran, and he shared something with me. He did four years in Vietnam with only a two week break somewhere in the middle of all of that. Can you believe that? Four years in combat with only a two week break. He also said he “sometimes” got weekends off. Wow. I thanked him for his service, and it really was a delight to sit next to him. Thanks again Charlie. I will see you in September!
Three foul balls came to my location. The first one was a hot chopper that bounced all over the place, and It was just out of reach as I ran to the railing. The second one ( if I would have stayed in my seat ) I would have easily grabbed. It took one bounce, and right between everyone sitting in front of me, and bounced right off my vacant seat. I was too busy running to the railing to snag it on the fly. The third, and final one rolled to the wall, and bounced off the wall which sent it rolling along the wall right to the ball boy. I didnt even get up to make an attempt. If I did I would have got that ball. I couldnt believe I didnt get up, and go get it!
So then this happened.
And then this started.
Thirty minutes later….
And guess what else? Scott Rolen still gives, and gets a lot of love in St. Louis.
So after making it through my third official rain delay of the season, mis-playing foul balls, and having an interesting conversation about baseball with Charlie I had to explain that I would leave these wonderful free seats for more baseballs. Charlie, and Mary were okay with that, and we made a deal to meet up again in September for the final series against the Reds. I was excited to meet such great people! So off I went to get one final baseball from the umpire.
I didnt waste any time. Security had their hands full with fans leaving so I took that opportunity to dart right through, and down into the large swarms of people. I could hear security calling to me but I ignored her. I quickly found a vacant seat, and slumped down in my seat. I broke out my cell phone, and pretended to make a call. Security of course came wandering down the steps to find me but I blended in. As the final out was recorded I quickly made my way to the umpire exit area, and got the home plate umpires attention. He tossed me a gem, and I was out of there. I didnt wait around for the bullpen players. I rarely have any luck with those guys anyway.
Superman was in town. Im not sure what kind of crisis was going on in down town St. Louis. But whatever it was Im sure he had it under control.
Game: St Louis Cardinals Vs Cincinnati Reds May 31st 2010 3:10pm
Game Balls: Two