Results tagged ‘ Mark McGwire ’

5-29-2011 Coors Field

I found this awesome baseball museum down the street from Coors Field as I was looking for a bathroom. (I drank a huge coke from Burger King earlier) It’s called B’s Ballpark Museum. It’s on Blake Street and this place was absolutely amazing. It costs $5 dollars to gain access but after that they have so many unbelievable baseball artifacts that it will literally blow your mind. Anytime you’re near Coors Field I highly recommend checking this place out. The first picture I took was a baseball artifact from Mile High Stadium. The last pitchers’ rubber used at Mile High. Greg Maddux was the final pitcher to throw from that pitchers’ rubber on August 11, 1994. The next two pictures will show you just what a pitchers’ rubber looks like. And what else is unique about these things is they’re dug up and rotated every few months. Take a look.

 

What really amazed me was not really what the pitchers’ rubber looked like but how the owner of the museum was able to acquire the item. I guess if you know someone who knows someone who knows someone else…

The next baseball artifact I came across was some Yankee Stadium history. In the picture below I have numbered each cubed artifact with a number. It was pretty impressive to see this stuff.

Number one is concrete from Old Yankees Stadium

Number two is wood from the Yankees dugout bench.

Number three is actual grass and dirt from Old Yankee Stadium

And number four is apart of the foul pole from Old Yankee Stadium.

The next series of artifacts was really something special. They’re apart of baseball history and it just floored me how this guy ended up with all this stuff. I didn’t get to meet the actual owner but there was a museum guide that showed me around. He didn’t really have that much information on how things were acquired but he knew quite a bit of information for each baseball artifact on display.

This is how the ushers at Tiger Stadium dressed in the early 1900’s.

In 1971 Tiger Stadium held the All-Star game that year. If you were around to watch it either live on television or you were actually at the stadium you would remember the at bat that Reggie Jackson had that sent a moon shot so far that people claim it would have traveled at least 600 feet or more if it hadn’t of hit one of the light poles on the roof of Tiger Stadium. Al Kaline recalls the moment and said he had the best view from the dugout. He couldn’t believe how far the ball traveled and it had so much steam on it if the light pole that the ball struck wouldn’t have been in the way it would have easily gone farther than 600 feet.

Here is the piece of fence on the light pole that the ball had struck.

Like I said. I don’t know how this guy was able to get some of this stuff. Probably through auctions or private sellers. If you thought the last artifact was totally awesome, wait until you see this.

In 1951 the New York Yankees faced the New York Giants in the World Series. Joe DiMaggio was coming up on the tail end of his career and the young Mickey Mantle had been called up that season to start his own career with the Yankees. Game two of the 51’ World Series, Joe DiMaggio was running to catch a fly ball hit by Willie Mays. With Mickey Mantle covering in center field that game, DiMaggio called off Mantle when he knew he would make an easy catch. As Mantle was putting on the brakes to allow DiMaggio to make that catch, Mantle’s spikes got caught in the outfield drain pipe. Those that witnessed this said, “Mantle dropped like he had been shot.”

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this.

Yes. What you’re seeing is the actual drain cover that Mickey Mantle tripped over. It wasn’t just a season ending injury. It actually plagued his entire career. Every game he played he complained of leg pain. When he tripped over the drain cover it tore ligaments in his knee. Not only that but when Mickey’s father was helping him into the hospital Mutt Mantle collapsed and was later diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease.  Injuries continued to plague Mantle throughout his illustrious career. Even though he was a 20x All-star and hit over 500 career home runs.

A lot of people don’t know who Joey Meyer is. Well, a lot of people that aren’t Brewers fans or Denver Bears fans or even Rockies fans know who he is. And I’ll be honest. I had no idea who this guy was until I stumbled upon this wonderful museum of baseball lore. There is a lot of speculation about how far a baseball should be measured or is measured. Normally they’re just honest guessed by baseball media personnel. But there are actually accurate, scientific ways to measure a home run ball. For the record, Mike Piazza has the longest home run at Coors field with a 496 foot blast that happened on September 26, 1997. But Joey Meyer is the man who hit the longest home run at Mile High Stadium. His home run was hit on June 3rd, 1987 and the blast reached 582 feet! And Joey Meyer is the ONLY Major League player to ever hit a walk-off home run against Roger Clemens! That happened on August 9th, 1988. Here are the seats that the baseball struck.

That’s not that actual baseball that hit the seats. But it is a signed baseball from Joey Meyer.

The next picture is of the Rockies dugout screen from Mile High Stadium. Check it out.

In 1961 Roger Maris was chasing the near-impossible home run record set by Babe Ruth. The thing was in 1961 is that baseball expanded from eight teams to ten. And also extended the playing season from 154 games to 162. So to break the record, Maris would have to do in in 154 games. When he reached the 154th game, Maris was at 59 home runs. He hit the record-breaking 61st home run on October 1st 1961 at Yankee Stadium in front of 23,154 fans. Tracy Stallard of the Boston Redsox was the pitcher that gave up the hit. I’m not going to go too in-depth of what Roger Maris went through when he was on the verge of breaking Ruth’s home run record. I’ll just say this. It wasn’t as glorious and awesome as the media made it when Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa broke the record. Or when Barry Bonds broke the single season home run record. But in this museum there stood the wall that the 61st record-breaking home run sailed over hit by the legendary Roger Maris.

I think those pictures that I posted in this blog pretty much hit on the most awesome stuff there. Some other things I made note of but didn’t take any pictures of were the last home plate used in Old Yankees Stadium, an on deck circle from Mile High Stadium, a bag of top soil from Safeco Field, some foul balls from various stadiums, and stadium seats from Ebbets Field, old Comiskey, and Old Yankee Stadium. And actual light fixtures from Ebbets Field. The place was simply amazing. So I urge you to visit this museum if you’re ever around Coors Field.

Now onto some baseball at Coors Field! Since it was a Sunday game I didn’t except anything to be going on. But the BP cage was up and the Rockies were taking some cuts in the cage. Although, it wasn’t the normal routine of batting practice. All of the Rockies coaches were on the field shagging baseballs. When I ran up to the gates I had about fifteen minutes to spare before they opened up and everyone seemed to be bunched up on the right side of the gates. So I took my place on the left side of the crowd which meant I would be first inside. And as I mentioned before since it was a Sunday game there shouldn’t be batting practice. But there was. So I was pretty excited about that. Here’s what I saw when I ran inside.

 

As soon as I took that picture there was a deep fly ball that almost reached the warning track. When it hit the grass it just died and I knew I had a shot at getting it because I was the first person in the bleachers, and no one else was around. So I asked for it and the coach that came over to retrieve it generously tossed it to me. Friday’s game I nearly got shutout and I had to literally fight for a baseball thrown by Mark McGwire. Today I didn’t want that kind of outcome for a baseball so I jumped on the first opportunity to get one and it paid off. I played the bleachers for twenty minutes or so until I made my way up into the concourse to wait in yet another line to be allowed into the rest of the stadium at 11:30am. I explained briefly of the stupid rule at Coors field that they only allow fans to be in the left field area until an hour and a half before first pitch in Fridays blog entry. When I was waiting in line I witnessed a foul ball land in the seats in the third base area. On Friday I witnessed a few baseballs being hit into the seats but I never saw anyone pick them up. But when I ran down there to look for them the baseballs were gone. I watched the area intently this time to see what happens to the ball and what do you know…the security guards that were wandering in the sections pretending to wipe down seats scoop up the baseballs and put them in their pockets. I think that is totally a disservice to the fans. Not because finding baseballs in the seats is sort of my bread and butter but when I watch kids find them it really brightens up their day. What does an usher need to pocket the baseballs for? Its possible that they might give them to kids later on but I think it would mean more for a fan if they found a baseball instead of being handed one by a stadium usher. What sounds better? “ Hey, check out my baseball I found at Coors Field!” or “ Hey, check out my baseball I got from some usher at Coors Field!”

When I was finally allowed to roam the entire stadium I quickly made my way to the Rockies side of the field. Rafael Betancourt, Matt Belisle, and Matt Daley were warming up but I was denied a baseball when younger fans asked for the baseballs when the players were done warming up. While I was waiting for a baseball I did notice huge lines through the sections. And then I noticed Rockies players signing autographs on the field. I took a picture of Jose Morales.

I wasn’t going to stand in line for one autograph when some Cardinal players were signing on the other side. So I started to make my way over there. That’s when I was stopped by security. Apparently on Sundays even when 99% of the fans in the stadium are all lined up in three sections to get Rockies autographs, and absolutely nothing is going on, on the field, fans can not cut through the sections. For some reason fans trying to have fun at Coors Field by collecting autographs, catching baseballs, and interact with players is strictly prohibited or at least highly frowned upon. But I didn’t want to give the security guards any trouble. I made my way to the top of the concourse, passed by a few sections and then tried to make my way back down a section that wasn’t crammed full of people waiting for autographs. I was abruptly stopped by yet another security guard and this time I was asked to produce my ticket. I didn’t want to be told I couldn’t have access to the section so I tried to explain my intentions but was told to continue on around the concourse. WHAT A RIDICULOUS RULE. The time was 11:52am. 68 minutes before first pitch and I wasn’t allowed to walk down a section to get to the Cardinals dugout??!! Are you kidding me??!! I expressed my frustrations by uttering some choice words under my breath and continued on around the concourse. When I finally made it down to the Cardinals dugout I hustled towards the left field foul pole where Brian Tallet was signing autographs. I’m not exactly complaining because I got Brian Tallet’s autograph but I was hoping for a more prestigious baseball player after going through all that crap to get to the Cardinals side of the house. Wouldn’t you agree? Maybe If I posted Tallet’s numbers. 16-24 W/L record with a career 4.63 ERA and 331 strikeouts.

After that I wandered back over to the Cardinals dugout, well, I mean behind row ten. I mentioned in Friday’s blog that if you don’t have a ticket for rows 1-10 behind either dugouts you can’t stand there ANYTIME. NO MATTER WHAT. EVER. EVER, EVER. The only other stadiums I know of that do this are U.S Cellular and Great American Ballpark. But U.S Cellular isn’t as extreme as the other two ballparks. They just restrict the first two rows. Great American Ballpark restricts the entire section behind the dugout, I think. Anyway. Tony La Russa was helping out some of the position players field some fungos and when they were done they had about six baseballs. They threw them all into the seats but I was one of the unlucky ones that didn’t get one. Partly because I wasn’t wearing my Cardinals hat. The reason why I wasn’t was because the Cardinals were being so unfriendly with toss ups I didn’t expect them to unload six baseballs into the crowd. I guess I should expect the unexpected.

I decided to keep wandering the ballpark after all those baseballs were thrown into the crowd. As I was crossing through the section I had  found myself in row nine by accident! ALERT THE AUTHORITIES! I HAVE JUST COMITTED A CRIME IN COORSFIELDVILLE! At that very moment I made every attempt to get out of row nine as fast as I could. Lives were at stake here, people! I’m kidding. Lives weren’t really at stake. I’m just trying to be funny. And I did make sure I got out of the row so I wouldn’t be hassled by security. Just as I turned to get out of row nine I heard the ever familiar voice of a security guard.

“Excuse me sir…” Said the voice.

I turned to face the security guard face to face. Man to man. “Yes?”

“You can’t be in this row unless you have a ticket.” Stated the guard.

“Yeah, I know. I wasn’t trying to be in your precious row, sir. In fact I was making my way out of your row because I know I’m not supposed to be there without a ticket. I’ve been to Coors Field before and I am fully aware of your rule.” I explained.

“Okay, sir. You don’t have to get excited about it.” He stammered.

I wasn’t about to argue. So I just left it alone and continued on my way. The more diplomatic approach to handle security guards. My seat was up in the 300 level and I thoroughly enjoyed the view. I’d much rather preferred seats in the lower outfield but for some reason Coors Field hiked up the prices to $50 dollars a seat in those outfield sections. I’m not sure why either. The Rockies ended up losing anyway, 4-3, against the Cardinals.

I’m snagging baseballs for charity this year. If you want to get some more information about it you can hit me up at my website. http://www.crowdrise.com/SnaggingBaseballsforPuppies/fundraiser/WaynePeck

Also if you want to follow me on Twitter, you can. Just get yourself a Twitter account and follow me @MLBwayneMLB. Simple enough. I’m also on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Wayne-Peck/111399878936587

I had a great weekend at Coors Field but I’ll probably never come back. Security is too strict for my blood, and frankly no fan should have to put up with those ridiculous rules.

Game; May 29th 2011 St Louis Cardinals vs Colorado
Rockies

Gameballs; One

Attendance; 40,158

Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $33.20 this season.

Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $14.50 this
season

 

4-23-2011 Safeco Field

     I totally forgot about the start time of 6:10pm. Which meant I got a late start leaving for the stadium. Which meant Id be stuck in Saturday afternoon Seattle traffic. Which meant I probably wouldnt be the first one at the gates. Which would probably cost me a baseball or two. So that sucked.

     When I got to the stadium no one was there at the right field gates. It was about 35 minutes until the gates opened and I was shocked. Usually there is a small crowd by now but not today. It was in fact Easter weekend. Maybe people had better things to do than attend Mariners batting practice.

     When I ran inside Jaime Navarro and Michael Pineda were in right field shagging baseballs. They usually stick the rookies in right field during batting practice because the more experienced players or the players with more seniority dont have to deal with the fans as much. Thats something you probably didnt know. Anyway. As batting practice continued there were a few baseballs hit into right field but nothing close. And since Jaime Navarro was with Michael Pineda I knew it was going to be nearly impossible to get a baseball from those two. Im pretty sure Jaime Navarro hates me. Ive spoken to him quite a few times and I usually get the cold shoulder. Mainly because Ive been saying his name wrong. I really didnt think about that until I started poking through a Mariners program left on a seat in the outfield. Ive been calling him “Jamie” and his name is pronounced ” Hy-may”. ( spelled Jaime ) Maybe he will forget my face and let by-gones be by-gones.

     So as the front row slowly started to fill up with would-be ball snaggers, I dont know who hit it, but the ball was sliced gently over to the front row but didnt quite have the distance or the momentum to make it to me. I reached for it and of course the security guard had to give his two cents.

     ” I can’t give it to you, man. Ill get in trouble.” He said.

     ” Yeah, I know.” I said back. But what I wanted to say was this; ” Yeah, I know. You cant touch or pick up any baseballs because youll get in trouble or get fired. But as soon as a five year old kid comes running down here youre free to do whatever you want with the baseball. Ive heard it all before, bud. You dont have to give me a line. You can just say ” I cant give baseballs to adults.”

     Of course when JAIME Navarro came walking over towards it and I asked him for a little help and he graciously waved at the security guard to just give me the baseball. HA! But you could tell in his face that he didnt want to give me the baseball. He was actually cringing at the thought. I politely thanked him anyway and wandered out of the aisle to let the others have a go.

     When I got to the other side of the stadium ( It felt like hours had passed going from one end to the other ) the Athletics were coming out onto the field to start warming up. I wanted to line up behind Jerry Blevins and Brad Ziegler to try and snag an overthrow. The crowd was light so I actually had many options of who to stand behind.

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     The problem, as you can see, was the dorky, red-headed, security guard standing there. ( No offense to Red-heads ) He’d probably get plunked first before I caught any overthrows from Blevins. Not only that, anything down the line he would surely stick his weak little foot out to stop it from going any further. Most of those security guards have good intentions..if they’d just stay home.

Once the pitchers completed their warmup tosses for the evening I headed up the line some more to get a better angle on Hideki Matsui. Here’s a picture of him before I got closer.

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     After I got down there it wasnt long before Kevin Kouzmanoff walked over and started signing autographs. I easily got him to sign my ticket stub for the game and I thanked him for the awesome game of catch the day prior. He happily obliged and we parted ways. Moments later Brad Ziegler came walking by towards the dugout so I chased him down for a quick picture as he signed autographs for fans.

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     I climbed over a few rows of seats to get around in front of the dugout. Brad Ziegler has a great charity foundation called Pasttime for Patriots and since Im a military veteran myself I thought it would be awesome to thank him for his foundation. So I did just that and he smiled warmly at me. I also had two Army wristbands that I got while in the service that I wanted to give to him but I knew he was kind of in a hurry to get into the clubhouse to get ready for the game. So I held off on giving them to him. I figured tomorrow would be a better day since its a Sunday game and the baseball players really dont do a whole lot before the game.

     After I could get in all the social activities with the Athletics I could around the infield I headed out to the outfield for some action. Unfortunatly I seriously picked the wrong spot. I was literally surrounded by little kids. Even though I had on my Athletics hat I knew that any time one of the players tossed me a baseball I would have the ever nagging urge to want to make a kids day. I didnt have a problem with giving baseballs away to kids but I also wanted to get my numbers up for my charities. I also got a picture of one of my favorite players, David DeJesus, hanging out in right field.

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     Everytime a baseball was hit to David this little girl would scream at the top of her lungs that she needed a baseball and that this was her first baseball game and that she’s never, ever, ever, ever gotten a baseball before and that she absolutely needs a baseball. Of course her parent(s) were no where in sight. She was just a lone renegade on a mission to get a baseball. Well, David DeJesus FINALLY threw one up to us. Luckily for me I caught it and I pointed at him in thanks. He pointed back at me and then kind of waggled his finger as an instruction to give the baseball to one of the kids standing around me. I made the mistake of pointing to the little girl beside me. David nodded and waved his glove at me. So I handed the baseball to the little girl. It did shut her up for about five minutes..but no one received a thank you. The little girl ran back to her Mother or Aunt or whoever was watching her at the time and happily exclaimed that she got a baseball. ” Did you say thank you?” The parental figure asked. ” Yes!” The little girl stated.

     Now enter little girls brother. Literally crying tears and leaning on the railing claiming he will never get a baseball while the parental figure tries to calm him down made me cringe. If I got another baseball It would be my duty to hook this little kid up with it. But I refused to give a child their way because theyre throwing a temper tantrum or crying or whatever. When I was growing up I never got what I wanted by doing such. So I wasnt going to condone that type of behavior and reward it by giving up the next baseball. And Jerry Blevins came over to help DeJesus out. So I knew he would be throwing a few baseballs up into the crowd.

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     Now everytime a baseball came out to right field I got to hear ” My brother needs a baseball!” “Give that one to my brother! He really needs a baseball!” ” No, dont throw it in this time! Give it to my brother! This is his first game he has ever been to! He needs that baseball!”

     I wanted to tear my ears off. Seriously. Her high ear piercing shrieks were giving me a headache. But there was a really good chance I could get a ball from Blevins. And the opportunity finally came. Blevins fielded a slow roller near the wall and I called out to him.

     ” Jerry! Would you toss that one up please!” I called out to him. Jerry looked at me and gave me one of those Johnny Cool upnods and then turned to fire it at me. He feigned the throw and then turned to fire it towards the batting practice ball bucket that was at the top of the diamond. Then without hesitation he turned laughing and pointed at me.

     “Here you go!” He yelled as he fired me a strike. The ball slapped into my glove and I quickly pocketed the baseball into my pullover pockets. Yeah, I felt bad about the kid that was still crying. But the thing is…he didnt have any baseball gear on, no glove, no Mariners hat, nothing. He just sat there with his head down crying. He was making absolutely no effort to get a baseball. So I did the next best thing. I told him where and how to get a baseball. I explained Chone Figgins little pre-game routine, and I told him that just because Mark McGwire cried doesnt mean you can cry. There is no crying in baseball.  

     Finally batting practice came to an end. I was utterly relieved. My head was still pounding from all of those kids screaming. Since it was military appreciate day at Safeco I wandered down to the Mariners dugout to snap some pictures. It was so busy with photographers, and fans alike in that area the security guards didnt even bother to run fans out.

Here are some pictures.

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     After the ceremony and the National Anthem were completed, Chone Figgins started to head off the field and I quickly jumped all over that opportunity. Since there were a ton of people down in front of me and I didnt have a whole lot of room to run to get his attention I just started jumping up and down in the row I was in. He threw the baseball high and way to the right of me. So I had to reach way across my body, and stretch way out over the row of seats to catch it. I dont know if he intended to throw it to me or someone behind me but I ended up with it anyway. All I heard was ” Catch it! Here it comes! Get it! Get it!” and then when I caught it all I heard was groans of disappointment.

     I sat in the outfield and ate a small personal pan pizza from one of the pizza places in the outfield. Gross. I think it made me sick to my stomach. And to make things worse here was my view for the first 30 minutes of the game.

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     The view was pretty bad. The sun was right in my face and I thought to myself that this would be the time when I home run ball was hit right to me. The time when I couldnt see. Aside from that, some annoying Athletics fan would say swing everytime a Mariner player was at bat and a pitch was thrown from the Athletics. It was truly annoying. The Athletics won 9-1 anyway. So after about a few innings of trash talking between the swing guy and some other Mariner fans, the Mariner fans were forced to end their trash talk when the Athletics started raking hits off Jason Vargas.

 

Game; April 23rd 2011 Oakland Athletics vs Seattle Mariners

Gameballs; Three

Attendance; 25.355

Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $9.60 this season.

Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $6.00 this season.

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