Results tagged ‘ MLB ’

3-22-2014/3-23-2014- Sydney Cricket Grounds

Awesome couple of games at the Sydney Cricket Grounds! I had a great time walking around, seeing the sights, learning about the history there and watching some Major League Baseball!

As you could probably imagine, I didn’t sit in my assigned seating while attending the games. I met up with Zack Hample and we pretty much wandered all over the place taking pictures, eating crappy stadium food and catching baseballs. Here’s a picture of the lone baseball I caught during the weekend series:

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It was thrown to me by David Hernandez.

So let me begin from the time I got to the stadium. I managed to eat this monster burger prior to game time…

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…it was massive. And messy. And it fell apart in my hands and I basically needed a fork to eat it by the time the burger made the bun all soggy. But it was soooooo good! It had organic lettuce and beets on it and BBQ sauce and mayo… yum!

After lunch I ran into Zack outside and we had our pictures taken in front of the Sydney Cricket Grounds:

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Yeah, I was wearing an Arizona Diamondbacks hat because I needed something to cover my head. The sun has been intense the last couple of days and the top of my head was sun burnt. They didn’t have Dodgers hats in my size so I opted for a Dbacks one. After picture time, we ran inside. The stadium was beautifully put together for Major League Baseball-and when the clouds started to darken and the rain started to come in, we ran for cover and started taking more pictures. It was an absolute gorgeous stadium.

Once the game got started, I sat first row in front of the Miller Party Deck. The seats were so crappy that the first six rows were empty because you couldn’t see the field. It was a horrible set up but I took full advantage of sitting that close to the outfield.

Even though Paul Goldschmidt went 2-4 with a single and a double, Kershaw was on the mound and after the Dodgers took a quick 1-0 lead in their top half of the 2nd inning, it only took a Scott Van Slyke -run bomb down the right field line to solidify a win for the Dodgers.

The final score was 3-1 Dodgers and Kershaw earned his first win of the 2014 MLB season.

The second game was much more exciting. After meeting up with another Ballhawk from San Diego, Leigh and his wife Dolly, Zack and I headed back out to the Miller Party Deck. We pretty much talked about baseball and played catch throughout the entire game, though.

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The Dodgers struck early taking a 1-0 lead in the top of the first and never looked back. By the top of the eighth inning, it was 7-0 Dodgers. Until Mark Trumbo started to make things happen. Jumping on a fast ball, he buried a two-run shot into the left field bleachers. 7-5 Dodgers in the bottom of the ninth. I was hoping for a solid comeback by the Diamondbacks but with three errors throughout the game and some sloppy pitching, the damage had already been done and the ball game was nearing an end.

The Dodgers have swept the two game series in Australia and would go home the winners.

I really don’t have any plans for the rest of my stay in Australia. I’ll probably get caught up on some blogging (like right now) and manage some of my other websites. Maybe sit around and drink some coffee in the lobby or just kick around town. It’s supposed to rain for the next four days, so I will continue to check the weather and plan accordingly.

I did make a rough draft of what I’d like to do this season regarding trips to baseball stadiums, etc…

I have made a tentative plan:

April 8th-12th: I’ll be in San Francisco and on the 9th I plan to make it out to AT&T Park. I have been there before and I’m hoping to get a Hunter Pence bobblehead.

May 10th-14th: I plan to return to San Francisco for more baseballs games.

July 19th: I plan to attend the 25th anniversary of the 1989 World Series reunion in Oakland.

August 1st: Traveling to Houston to try to get a Lance Berkman bobblehead and it’ll be my first time seeing Minute Maid Park.

August 9th: Traveling to Cincinnati to see Ken Griffey Junior get inducted in the Reds HOF.

September 13th: Paul Goldschmidt bobblehead night at Chase Field- never been there before.

Everything is subject to change and probably will change. Hopefully it all goes as planned.

I also hope to make it to the All-Star game this year, too.

I have a couple new websites, so check those out!

My blog about the Seattle Mariners, and my Facebook page about the Seattle Mariners! Plus, my Twitter!

 

 

 

 

Australia Day # 2

Oh. My. God. Look at this:

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I found this spider while walking around in the forest around the Taronga Zoo. I’m not kidding when I say this; it was larger than a silver dollar coin. And I saw a lot of them. And seeing them kept me on the sidewalk. Yikes!

Further up the walkway I heard lots of birds chirping and singing and mimicking each other. It was really great to hear all of that. It was around 8am when I arrived to this area so the sun had just come up and the forest was alive with critters. I saw lizards and birds and spiders and rodents- such a sight! I love birds and when I saw these little guys, it was just breath-taking:

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They were super-friendly and they allowed me to get really close to get some good pictures. I think they were just as curious about me as I was about them. They would chirp and whistle at me-such a great experience because I usually see these kinds of birds in pet stores.

Now for a little bit of a history lesson regarding the area I was in today.

Bradleys Head is another place where military history and stunning landscapes combine to offer a complete harbour experience.

Just next to Taronga Zoo, the convict-built battery at Bradley’s Head was built after four American warships arrived in Sydney Harbour undetected in 1839. Sydneysiders were feeling uneasy so a circular parapet was later installed to enhance Sydney’s protection. Today, the mast of HMAS Sydney (I) towers over the parapet as a striking monument to the WWI warship.

Defence ditches, added in the late 19th century after British troops left Sydney and remnants of earlier fortications are other features of this unique harbor side location.”

Here’s a picture of me in front of one of the cannons that was built in the 19th century:

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Here’s a website that you can look at to see more of the military relics that I visited down at Bradleys Head. It was very interesting to learn about Australian history and to take in all of this on such a crisp early morning at the harbor was really awesome. I just had to be careful not to run into anymore of those spiders. The most interesting military relic I saw was the rifle wall.

On my way back towards the zoo (which opened at 9:30am) I found a very small patch of beach that was right across from South Sydney:

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Australia is coming up on fall season so the water wasn’t warm like I thought it would be. It was still nice to walk in the sand and wade around in the water. Australia has a lot of interesting creatures that I’d like to stay away from so I didn’t venture out too far. I learned about lots of these crazy little critters that like to bite and sting when I was at the museum yesterday.

I’m not going to bore you with the details of what I saw inside the zoo too much. If you’ve ever been to a zoo you’ve pretty much been to all the zoos. I’ve probably seen lions and bears and Komodo Dragons at just about every zoo I’ve ever been to. This zoo did have Koala bears, though and I think those are just the best bears in the world! Check it out:

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After I left the zoo I learned from seeing one of Clayton Kershaw’s tweets that you can actually get your picture taken with a Koala bear! How cool would THAT be?! I was totally bummed that I didn’t pay more attention to the unique experiences that the zoo offered. While I was walking around I passed a guy who looked awfully familiar, though. I had to do a double-take and I then turned around to follow him to get a better look. I swore it was Brian Wilson. I mean, he has that god-awful, hideous beard that can not be mistaken, right? But the hair kind of threw me off. When I entered the Platypus House, he was getting a picture taken with a couple of Diamondback fans so I approached and quickly asked for a picture as well:

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He was very soft-spoken and nice, and I think he was just trying to enjoy his time at the zoo with his lady friend (she’s in the back ground looking on) so I didn’t want to really engage in conversation. I just thanked him for his time and left it at that ( I secretly followed him around the zoo for another 15 minutes just because he’s Brian Wilson).

I left the zoo and snapped a quick photo as I exited…

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…and headed back to South Sydney. On foot. It was approximately 6.6 miles to the historic Sydney Opera House and I managed to walk about 4 miles of that in 80 degree heat with a massive blister on my right foot. The only reason why I didn’t complete the 6.6 miles to the opera house was because there was a bridge connecting South Sydney to North Sydney and pedestrians are not allowed to walk on it. A real bummer. I had to flag down a cab to take me the rest of the way (which cost me $17 AUS dollars). Cabs are very expensive in Australia, by the way. So if you ever come out this way, avoid them if you can.

Once I arrived at the opera house, I was ready to end my day anyway. I was STARVING. One thing I noticed about Australia (and I don’t know if its just because I am so active or because its hot) is I can’t seem to eat enough. And food out here is pretty expensive as well. Dinner cost me about $20 AUS dollars. I got a lot of food but like I’ve said, it’s not filling me up. It’s kind of weird.

Anyway. I made it to the opera house and it was basically the epicenter for tourism:

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And then of course I had to get a picture of the historic Sydney bridge across the way (and also learned you can climb to the top from Tony Campana’s Instagram video)…

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…I might actually have to go back to the bridge to do the infamous bridge climb. I’m deathly afraid of heights so I don’t know if I will be able to handle it. We will see and I’ll definitely blog about it if I go for it.

Yesterday, I ran into this guy:

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These are actual life-sized Black Rhinos that have been painted up and placed all around Sydney in an effort to raise awareness of this endangered species. There’s approximately 125 of them and I found one (this one) yesterday and I found about seven or eight more today. Here’s the website in case you want to see more about what these are about. I’m going to do my best to find all 125 of them while I’m here and I’ll post every single one of them on my blog. Here’s the ones I found today:

 

Number two:

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Number three:

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Number four:

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Number five:

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Annnnnddd number six:

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Tomorrow is Friday so I hope to make it out to Bondi beach or maybe head back to the Sydney Bridge to climb up it. I really don’t know what I’ll be doing. Baseball games are coming up this weekend, though, and I am thoroughly stoked and ready to start the 2014 season! After all, it’s what I came out here for to begin with!

What would complete my day without having seen a giant game of chess, right?

 

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If you haven’t read what I did in Australia on day number one, check it out here!

Also, check out my other blog here! It’s all about the Seattle Mariners!

 

 

 

 

Australia Day #1

I woke up this morning at 5am. Super early, I know. I wanted to get a head start on the day because I needed to find my way into down town Sydney to pick up my game tickets for this weekends games at Sydney Cricket Grounds. My friend, as some of you may know him as “PadreLeigh” had them in his possession from a friend who was selling them to me who could no longer make it to the games.

Last night I took a cab from the airport to my hotel. It was approximately 5 miles which included one toll road. I asked a few locals about how much it would cost in AUS currency to make it to my hotel and they all said “around 30-40 dollars”. No problem, I thought to myself. I can handle that. After a 35 minute cab ride and $67 AUS dollars later, I knew I had been taken for a ride. This morning, I took a cab into downtown Sydney to kick around and I told my story to the cab driver and he told me I had been ripped off. The tolled road should’ve been about $4 dollars and the actual cab ride should’ve cost me about $45. So fair warning to anyone who has a trip to Australia coming up. Pick your cabbies wisely. This cab driver was not an Australian.

Today wasn’t as eventful as I had hoped it to be. I wore my flip flops around town and walked roughly 4 miles in them. I ended up with a nasty blister on my right foot which pretty much made walking really not-so-fun. I eventually made it back to my hotel, put my walking shoes on and headed back out but with this blister, I really had to limit my walking and I was done with cab rides. I had brunch at a place called Salad Works. All healthy food and really good. I eventually found “PadreLeigh”, scooped up the tickets and walked back into the city.

First stop? St. Marys Cathedral:

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I didn’t go in (couldn’t take pictures inside, anyway) but the Cathedral was absolutely gorgeous.

Here’s a closer look:

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After taking in the pure beauty of that iconic structure, I hustled off to the Australian Museum:

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I learned all about rocks and the Australia gold rush and I also learned about wombats! Did you know the first wombat to ever walk the country of Australia was called a Diprotodon? Here I am with one:

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The Diprotodon was around millions of years ago. Pretty interesting, yeah? I also saw a baby crocodile:

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On my way back to my hotel for some dinner, I ran into this statue of some naked dude grabbing the one-horned dilapidated Mongaloid. It was pretty badass:

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I tried this Mexican cantina restaurant called Guzman Y Gomez and it was pretty good! It reminded me of a Qdoba or a Chipolte from the Americas. Most places, I’m finding are pretty healthy to eat at. Plus, I’ve been drinking a ton of water because the humidity is a little high out this way.

 

Bathroom selfie time:

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Welp! That concludes day one in Australia! Tomorrow I’m going to make it out to the Tangora Zoo in North Sydney and then I have tickets to the Team AUS versus the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball game at the Cricket Grounds.

Friday, I’d like to make it out to Bondi beach but all of this is subject to change. Hope all is well back in the States!

 

Hey, have you seen my Facebook page or visited my Twitter? If you haven’t, check it out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2014 Major League Baseball Season (Australia)

It’s almost baseball time! Guess where I’m at right now? I’m in Hawaii! I’m in Hawaii because I’m on my way to Australia to watch the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks open the ’14 MLB season at the historic Sydney Cricket Grounds! Awesome, right?!

I am so jet lagged, though. I didn’t get any sleep Saturday night and I slept a rough four hours on the six hour flight to Hawaii and now I’ve gotten something to eat and looking to rest up in an attempt to take on this 18 hour flight to the Outback! I went to Japan the year before last and met up with Zack Hample and had a freaking awesome time! This year we are meeting up again and hopefully we will be able to do some other stuff besides baseball while we are there.

Hawaii isn’t what I expected it to be. The airport is a little confusing and the $40 dollar cab ride smashed a huge hole in my wallet. It was actually poor planning on my part; I could’ve got a closer hotel to the airport. Live and learn and it’s all about the experience. You know how when you watch Tv and you see Hawaii on there and there’s all these lush palm trees and blue waters? I suppose I’m in a crappy location (Waikiki) but there isn’t much of that. The area is pretty run down and trashy.

Anyway. I’d take a bunch of pictures and upload them on here but Australia is going to be so much better. So I want to save all of my picture taking for that. Besides the Australian trip, I plan to make it to San Francisco a couple of times this year and I had the All-Star game all figured out but I don’t know if I will make it because I want to see the 25th Anniversary 1989 World Series Oakland Athletic reunion at the Coliseum this year. So we will see.

I hope all of you are doing well out there! I’m having a blast now that baseball season is back!

Hey, if you got time, check out my Twitter and my other blog!

 

 

Australia 2014

Oh, man! in 29 days I’ll be in Australia watching the DiamondBacks and the Dodgers play some baseball! If you remember a year or so ago, I watched baseball in Japan with Zack Hample! It was so awesome!

I really don’t plan to ballhawk much this year. I’m leaving that up to my good pals throughout the country. So my blog might become a little obsolete throughout the year. I’ve started a new blog if you’re interested in reading that. It’s called From the Depths of Safeco Field- and it’s basically all about the Seattle Mariners because, let’s face it; I’m a huge M’s fan. Maybe I haven’t proven my loyalty to them as much as it has looked…but trust me. Since 1989 I’ve been going to Mariners games.

 

See you all at the Safe and some of you at other ballparks!

 

Go Mariners!

 

 

Top 100 Blogs of the Year

It’s been quite the honor to be amongst the top 100 bloggers around the Major Leagues. I haven’t blogged much since I quit ball hawking, and I’ve even started a new blog called “From the Depths of Safeco Field” which I haven’t blogged on there much, either. I’m assuming its because its the off-season. Stay tuned for an epic trip to Australia with Zack Hample and Padre Leigh!

 

FANS
Zack Hample earns top spot again, with a possible return from the runner-up…
1. The Baseball Collector
2. Rays Renegade
3. The AustralianBaseballDigest
4. The Brewer Nation
5. A’s Farm
6. Beisbol 007
7. Cook & Sons’ Baseball Adventures
8. The Unbiased MLB Fan
9. mlbblogger
10. Pinstripe Birthdays
11. Ballparks on a Budget
12. The Baseball Haven
13. La Pagina de Tony Menendez
14. Rockpile Rant
15. Counting Baseballs
16. The Ballpark Guide
17. Three Up, Three Down
18. Dodger Blue World
19. Observing Baseball
20. Born on Third
21. Minoring In Baseball
22. 9 Inning Know It All
23. Phillies Phollowers
24. 7000 Coliseum Way
25. Where Everyone’s a Giant
26. Fish Fry
27. eltubeyero22
28. TheCutoffMan
29. Prospects2Pros
30. Blogging ‘Bout Baseball
31. Rockin’ Redlegs
32. You’re Killin’ Me, Smalls!
33. Los bigleaguers
34. Formerly Fausto: A Baseball Blog
35. baseballqueen
36. The Rays Rant
37. BrokeMets
38. Cream City Cables
39. The Yankee Dinosaur
40. Brewers Rumors
41. DYNASTY League Baseball from designer of Pursue the Pennant
42. A Piece of The Game
43. More Splash Hits
44. The Cub Den
45. The Best MLBlog
46. The Blue Jays Dugout
47. Cove Chatter
48. This is a very simple game…
49. Miami Carlins Fantasy Baseball
50. TheBaseballPHD
51. Rox Addict
52. Bjarkman’s Latino and Cuban League Baseball History Page
53. The Angels’ Ace
54. The Pittsburgh Peas
55. Unfinished Business
56. I’m Not A Headline Guy…
57. Battling Bucs
58. Brewers Farm Report
59. Collection of Baseball
60. Coco crisp’s afro
61. The Baseball Sociologist
62. Flashin’ Leather
63. Reds Country
64. The Ballhawker
65. One Strike Away…Twice!
66. Why Did My Dad Make Me a Mets Fan?
67. Talkin’ Rockies
68. Hoppers Fan
69. Major-League Obie Role-Based Projection System
70. Blue Jays Talk
71. Pinstripe State of Mind
72. Bleacher Boy
73. Balls and Strikes
74. Wrigley Regular
75. If You Write It, They Will Come
76. Plouffe’s New Hairdo
77. All Things Pirates: Breaking down the Buccos
78. Punky G. (G stands for Giants!)
79. Chasing Baseballs
80. Big Apple Baseball Blog
81. Dodgers Insider
82. steel city ballhawk
83. Royal Blues
84. Quisqueyanos en MLB
85. The Take: From 20th & Blake
86. Sarge’s Phillies Phantasy Camp Diary
87. Philadelphia Ballhawk
88. Baseball’s 28th Out
89. The ‘Stros Bros
90. Phillies Red Pinstripes
91. Dodger Familia Thoughts
92. Blue Jays Musings
93. Cubs Crossings
94. Head First Slide Productions
95. The Inherent Dangers of Watching Professional Baseball
96. It’s Always A Good Dre in L.A.
97. The Optimist Tiger
98. Pedro Beato Fan Club
99. 2r2d
100. Skood Sports

From the Depths of Safeco Field

Soooooooooooo here’s what’s been happening. I’ve been trying to delete all my blogs (including this one) but WordPress.com won’t let me delete any of them. I just have to keep them inactive or some crap. Not really sure what the deal is with that. Anyway, a few days ago I was running out of room for pictures on this blog and I started deleting pictures and it literally wiped out all my past entries. So, understandably, I was pretty pissed. I got over it and since I’m not “ballhawking” anymore due to other people whining and crying about some stupid Ballhawk of the Year award on www.mygameballs.com, (you can read all about the hoopla on Zack Hample’s blog since he was basically (and unfairly) targeted over the whole thing. I consider Zack a good friend of mine, and although he’s pretty popular, no one deserves their character attacked like his was) I really have no use for this blog or any of my other ones anymore. I still go to games, but my blog entries are going to be pretty boring, I suppose.

I’ve started a new blog. Its called From the Depths of Safeco Field. It’s registered on MLB.com so I’m hoping I’ll get it into the top 50 like this blog with quality entries. I really haven’t figured out which direction I want to take my new blog except that it’ll be all about (and only about) the Seattle Mariners. My favorite team in the Majors. I figured if I attend a Mariners game or buy season tickets or go to a Mariners Fan Fest, all those experiences will be well documented on this blog and also Collection of Baseball, if that make sense. Like I said, I’m not real sure what direction this blog will go.

I’ll certainly rant and rave and post my Blog Talk Radio Episodes on here regarding trades, free agency signings, players worth etc etc… so you can count on that! I have the most fun ranting about Mariners player acquisitions during the offseason and during the regular season.

Bud Norris’ Charity; CandleLighters- 10 W and 139 strikeouts have raised $34.75 this season.

Seattle Mariners/Seattle Humane Society Charity; 65 wins have raised $65 this season.

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Want to read more blogs from me? Check out this blog!

 

4/25/2013 Safeco Field

I have this buddy of mine in Milwaukee who chases down game home runs, right? His name is Shawn Bosman. Well, I’m headed to Chicago in September and him and I are going to hangout for like a week! I’m totally stoked about this trip, too. Here’s how the trip is going to play out. On September 13th, I’m going to fly out to Kansas City to partake in a little batting practice with some Kansas City Royals Alumni at Kauffman Stadium on the following day. I did this a few years ago and here’s a picture of me making a play on a fly ball in the outfield at Kauffman:

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After I’m all done with that (I’ll be there from 8am-12pm) I’m jumping in the car and driving to St. Louis to watch a game at Busch Stadium. Originally this trip was just to go to Kansas City, do the batting practice thing, and come home. But then I was like, “hey, the Mariners are going to be playing in St. Louis that weekend!” So that’s how I ended up extending the trip more Eastward. After that, I’m back in the car heading towards Chicago. I’ll be in Chicago from the 16th roughly until the 21st. I’m visiting U.S Cellular Field first and then Wrigley. I’ve been to Wrigley Field once in my whole life. I went there in 2008 for a meet and greet that the Cubs put on. I met Lou Piniella and Allan Trammel among others, but never took pictures and never blogged about it. So I’m seriously excited to see the field again, and maybe sit in the Steve Bartman seat along with watching Shawn snag home run baseballs like this one:

After Chicago, I’m heading up to Miller Park with Shawn (since he’s from Milwaukee and since we are meeting in Chicago), why not head back to Milwaukee with him? I should be at Miller Park on the 22nd of September if everything goes right. And since it’s an 11:10am start time, it’ll give me plenty of time after the game to head to Target Field in Minnesota. It’s not a very far drive, either. I was sort of surprised. 467 miles. After that, I’m going to attempt to catch a flight out of Minnesota to return to Seattle to catch one last game of the season at Safeco Field on the 25th. I really wanted to start this trip in Colorado at Coors Field, but their schedule didn’t mesh with mine, so boo to the Rockies.

My day started out at the Pike Place Market:

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And then I ran into Dave Coulier throwing fresh salmon around the market place…

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…this weekend Dave was doing some standup in Kirkland at a comedy club. It was really cool to see him in person, too. If you have NO idea who Dave Coulier is, he’s the dude from Full House. It took me like, 2.5 seconds to recognize him from that show. Truly awesome! Before I headed to the stadium (which was literally right up the street from the Market) I stopped in for this tasty treat:

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When I got to Safeco Field I met up with established book author Zack Hample. The man needs no introduction, all you have to do is Google his name and you’ll see who I’m talking about. And if you’re a regular reader of mine, you’ll know Zack and I hung out at Safeco two years ago when I went to Japan! Here we are hanging outside Safeco before the gates opened:

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When the gates opened, Zack went his way and I went mine. Well, actually, I hung out on the “party porch” or the ‘Pen area and watched batting practice. A few baseballs came my way here and there but I pretty much let the crowd have their fun. More towards the end of BP, I started my search for some good food. The thing about the Mariners, the team has sucked for the last few years really bad so the staff have worked extremely hard to bring awesome food to the stadium. Like these:

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I got them from Edgar’s Cantina. It’s a new addition to Safeco this year and I’m telling you, it’s well worth the visit. These little babies were $9.00 a haul but man, oh man, they were deeeeeelicious!!!

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I hate that they ripped all the seats out this area. If you haven’t been to Safeco yet this season, I’m standing in the area where there used to be seats. Now it’s another standing room only area. It’s nice and all, but I hate standing all game long.

After I gobbled down some mini-taco thingies from Edgar’s, I scooted down to the ‘Pen to grab me a Pen dog! Take a look at this monster…

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…It has all the fixings on it; cream cheese, mustard, ketchup, peppers…wow! Just full of flavor and a real treat! And a complimentary soda given out by the Mariners for being apart of the designated driver program? What could be better!

The Mariners put on quite a show to pull out the win. Carlos Peguero hit the third longest home run at Safeco and it sailed directly over my head:

meeIt was a monster home run, too! 451 feet! Barry Bonds hit the farthest at 462. And Raul Ibanez hit the second longest. Here’s the actual footage of the Peguero  home run:

Kyle Seager also went deep to add onto the Mariners 6-0 victory!

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I took the above photo for two reasons. The first reason was to show just how awesome the new scoreboard in centerfield is. And the second reason is to point out Albert Pujols’ nasty cold sores!! EEEEEEEEEEEWWWWWWWWW!! If you don’t see them, look harder! They’re there!! How gross!!

Alright, anyway. Enough of that. As you know I’m still doing some awesome donations this year. I’m not catching baseballs for anything, sadly. Maybe next year, folks.

Bud Norris’ Charity; CandleLighters- 3 W and 16 strikeouts have raised $10 this season.

Seattle Mariners/Seattle Humane Society Charity; 9 wins have raised $9 this season.

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Want to read more blogs from me? Check out this blog!

4/10/2013 Safeco Field

Ahhh! Baseball is back! And since I missed the Mariners home opener, I figured a nice first game of the year on Wednesday would suffice! And it was truly remarkable and one to remember! There were a couple big reasons why I wanted to attend this game. The number one reason was to meet Bud Norris. If you’re following me on Twitter, you’ll know I tweet at him a lot concerning the fact that he’s been able to keep Angels Slugger Albert Pujols to a ridiculously low batting average. Which I find that incredible. Also, here’s a little back story on Norris. When I was out in St. Louis, I sort of met him at Busch Stadium. He came out of the stadium after the game and signed a few autographs and I was able to snag an autograph from him. I started following him from then on and he’s made amazing progress in his career through hard work and determination. This year, Norris got the opening day nod for the Houston Astros.

The other reason why I wanted to attend this game was to gauge how the Astros play in the American League. I’m sure by now everyone knows that the Astros moved from the N.L Central to the A.L West and so far they’ve adapted quite nicely. I’m slowly becoming an Astros fan, believe it or not. Yeah, yeah, my loyalty still lies with Seattle just because I was raised in the area for 90% of my life and grew up watching the Mariners in the Kingdome, but every once in a while I like to shift my loyalty to other teams and especially to my favorite players.

A few days prior to this game, I decided to come up with some alternative charity ideas because this year I’m not chasing baseballs in stadiums like I have in the past. Those days are probably in the books, folks. It was fun while it lasted. The reason behind my decision (not like anyone cares) to stop chasing baseballs like a mad man is because I want to enjoy my time at the stadium. I want to try different foods and catch up with friends and talk to people and take awesome pictures and not worry so much about how many baseballs I can snag. So this year, I’m donating money to certain charities. Here’s the breakdown:

For every Mariners win (on the road and at home) I will donate $1.00 to the Seattle Humane Society. I created Snagging Baseballs for Puppies, just so you know, so I’m a huge dog lover AND I’ve got inside connections with the Seattle Humane Society because of that.

For every win that Bud Norris puts up, I will be donating $2.00 to the Candle Lighters. And the Candle Lighters is a charity that Norris is involved in. So I’m pretty stoked to be able to donate some cash towards that. Also, in conjunction to every win he posts, I’ll be donating $50 for every shut out win he throws!

And finally, for every baseball Shawn Bosman snags, I’ll be donating .10 cents to the Wounded Warrior Project.

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This year is going to be awesome! So let’s get to Safeco, shall we?

So I’m down on the lower level, right? The Astros are starting to trickle out and I’m looking for Bud Norris! I couldn’t find him anywhere for the better part of batting practice. And then, he appeared out of the dugout! I was standing next to two Astros fans but it wasn’t hard to spot him. I pointed at him and sort of waved and got an awesome wave back! So now all I had to do was wait. I wanted to ask Norris in person how he’s able to handle Pujols so well!

I wandered around in the lower seating bowl and snapped a few pictures of the new Edgar’s restaurant (which I visited later) and of the new big screen. Here’s the shot of Edgar’s:

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Pretty awesome, right?? Well it was equally impressive walking around in there. The only thing I didn’t like is that they took out the seats. It’s basically standing room only in there and I since my knees are shot from tens years of military service, I can’t stand on my feet for an entire baseball game. Which sucks because I’d love to stand in there and watch a game. It’s all good, though. I had incredible seats behind the Astros dugout, anyway.

So batting practice was about to finish up, the grounds crew started pulling the BP equipment up and then the Astros started to run off the field. The four of us who were standing down the third base line started to yell and wave our arms at Norris and he came running over! Oh, it was awesome! I’d finally get my chance to meet this guy and ask him all about King Albert in person! Norris came over and started shaking hands and he signed an autograph or two and then I asked:

“Bud, so I have to ask you. In all seriousness, how do you manage to tame Albert Pujols?” I asked.

You see…for two seasons now, I’ve been tweeting to Bud about Pujols. Honestly, I am really impressed how he’s able to handle him. I even wrote up an amazing blog entry on A View From the Bullpen regarding Norris and his ability to wreck Pujols batting average. Click here to read it.

As soon as I asked him that question, I received a second handshake from him sort of like, “Oh, YOU’RE the guy who tweets me about Pujols!” Norris responded smiling, “I get that question from everyone.” he then added, “Pujols is a very aggressive first-pitch hitter, isn’t he.” he said.

“Yeah, he is. He is indeed.” I said. “So you just sort of go after that.” I continued.

I think he then said something along the lines of exploiting his [Pujols] weakness or something like that. And it makes total sense! If you really watch Pujols, I mean, like, really watch him, he is an aggressive first pitch hitter. And as a pitcher, if you can throw him some nasty stuff that he will swing at, you can get ahead of him in the count and just wreck his day! It was an amazing conversation to say the least.

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I wished him luck on his season and off he went into the dugout. What a day so far. After BP finalized, I gulped down a free soda, ate me a cheeseburger (which is $9.00 now) and went to check out Edgar’s. The coolest thing was this:

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Crazy, right? You can look right into the visiting team’s bullpen! How cool is that?! After that, I went and found my seats and waited for the Mariners game to begin, Here was my view:

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Great seats right near home plate.

The Astros started pounding on the Mariners early just like the previous game and they didn’t let up until it was over. Shocked about how well the Astros played this road series, I couldn’t help but to secretly smile a little under my Mariners cap adorned on my head. I had a feeling the Mariners pitching wasn’t as strong as everyone has been claiming, and even though it’s just two weeks into the season, I’m thinking this might be a long season for Mariners fans if this keeps up.

The good news is that Safeco Field has ten different types of beers on tap to help drown people’s’ sorrows AND they have a humongous scoreboard out in centerfield! Plus, the hat trick is pretty neat. If anything, go to a Mariners game for the hat trick.

Real quick before I close this entry. I’ve added a couple more dates to my Chicago trip. I’m participating in some batting practice with the Royals Alumni at Kauffman Stadium on September 14th and then I’m heading to Busch Stadium on the 15th to watch the Cardinals vs the Mariners. Then I’m heading to Chicago (as most of you know) for a week and some change to visit US Cellular and Wrigley. Come say hi if you can. Also, I’m adding a Los Angeles trip and my trip to AT&T Park on May 3rd is nearly done. I just have to buy plane tickets.

My trips to the Oakland Coliseum, Safeco and Angels Stadium are pretty spur of the moment since I can pretty much make those one day trips. So anytime I can see the Astros play with Bud Norris pitching, and I have the day off and whatnot, you can pretty much count on me going to those games.

Okay, that’s a wrap! Until next time, faithful followers!

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Player Profile: Miguel Olivo

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Miguel Olivo has always been one of my favorite players. I first saw him playing baseball in Kansas City. I’ve heard plenty of stories about how durable he is. Like the time he took a back swing from Albert Pujols and played out the rest of the game with a concussion. Another time, Olivo passed a kidney stone and returned to finish the game. He’s also known for a lot of pass balls. That’s one stat I do not care about because he’s very reliable.

For the last couple of seasons, I’ve been going to a lot of Mariner games. I’ve even been to a few Oakland games where the Mariners were playing. Each game I attended, I made it a point to wave at Olivo and he generally waved back except when I went to Japan to watch the M’s and the A’s play. I think he was just too busy.

The above picture is myself and Olivo at the 2012 Seattle Mariners Fanfest where I got to meet him, ask him a question during the Dugout Dialogue and I even got a signed bat from him. And of course, the picture. The future of Olivo is unsure at this moment. Since he is no longer with the Mariners, I’m not sure where he will end up. The Mets have perked interest in him, but nothing has panned out as of yet. I hope a team within flying distance signs him. I think he’d make a great addition to any team and be a positive contributor.

 

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