Results tagged ‘ Reds ’
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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Well, I’m all done tinkering with all the baseballs I could identify. I have about 22 signed baseballs that I will put up for purchase, and all proceeds will go to my charity. You can check out the details here. The charity is called, Snagging Baseballs for Puppies. Some rules that you need to know: I will not accept cash. There is no exception to this rule, whatsoever. Also, all prices are negotiable but understand this; once you donate and receive the baseball, I will not accept the baseball back. It’s yours to do whatever you want with it. And in the event that you do not like what you’ve received, this is a tax-deductible charitable organization. So in other words, if you are unhappy with what you’ve essentially donated for, you can get your money back at the end of the year (most of it, anyway). Or whenever you do your taxes next. I’m not trying to be unreasonable, I just wanted to point some of these things to you so we are all on the same sheet of music.
So without further ado…
First row from left to right: Troy Glaus, Alex Gordon, Dave McKay, Gary Mathews Jr
Second row from left to right: Brian Moehler, Bruce Chen, Max Scherzer, Dusty Baker
Third row from left to right: Mario Soto, Jose Cruz, Jerry Lynch, Brian Moehler
Fourth row from left to right: Melky Cabrera, Torii Hunter, Kevin Seitzer, Edison Volquez
Fifth row from left to right: Rick Hacker, Bud Norris, Colby Rasmus, Brian Moehler
Last row from left to right: Jim Maloney, Ryan Hanigan
Here’s how this is going to work. I’m going to make things fairly simple to reduce any kinds of problems that may arise. All you have to do to get a hold of one of these prized possessions is leave a comment below claiming which baseball(s) you want (first come, first serve). Secondly, send me an email with your name and address and I’ll take care of the rest! Make sure you go to Crowdrise.com to make your donation! Don’t worry about shipping costs and all that jazz. I’m not really prepared to set up any kind of auction system if someone comes to me with more money for a baseball. It’s simple ,first come, first serve. So if you see a ball you want, jump on it.!I’m not sure how fast these baseballs will go. Also, the Dusty Baker ball and the Ryan Hanigan ball, the signatures are a little faded. And none of these baseballs are on authentic Major League balls.
Now for the best part. I have a 2009 Cincinnati Reds team ball up for purchase as well. And here’s the kicker; since I got Joey Votto on a separate baseball, I’m combining the two! Here, take a look:
The team ball with all those signatures that you see? That’s on an official Major League baseball. The Votto signature isn’t. The reason why I didn’t use authentic MLB balls is because they’re like $15-25 dollars a piece and these Rawlings balls, although, just as good for signatures, were quite a bit cheaper. So I could get more of my favorite players on many more baseballs. I just want you to be aware of what type of baseballs these signatures are on.
Anyway, to wrap this up, I’m listing the prices below:
Troy Glaus: $20.00 (No longer available)
Alex Gordon: $20.00 (No longer available)
Dave McKay: $10.00
Gary Mathews Jr: $10.00 (No longer available)
Brian Moehler: $10.00
Bruce Chen: $10.00
Max Scherzer: $10.00 (No longer available)
Dusty Baker: $15.00 (No longer available)
Mario Soto: $35.00
Jose Cruz: $35.00
Jerry Lynch: $10.00
Melky Cabrera: $15.00 (No longer available)
Torii Hunter: $35.00 (No longer Available)
Kevin Seitzer: $25.00
Edison Volquez: $15.00
Rick Hacker: $10.00
Bud Norris: $20.00 (No longer available)
Colby Rasmus: $15.00 (No longer available)
Jim Maloney: $10.00
Ryan Hanigan: $15.00
2009 Cincinnati Reds w/ Joey Votto: $75.00
There’s your prices, folks! Throw some bids my way in the comments section and we will see what we can work out! Remember, shipping is free, and this is a tax deductible charitable organization! All proceeds go to my charity and I thank you for looking!
More big news in the Major Leagues. The Blue Jays make headlines again for the second time in a week with sending Vernon Wells, their all-star centerfielder to the Angels of Anaheim. Faced with doubters, nay-sayers, and critics of his $126 million dollar contract taken over by the Angels, Wells is pretty confident that he will make a positive impact on the baseball team, and hopes to help get them to the playoffs.
The Tampa Bay Rays have picked up two veteran players. Johnny Damon, and veteran slugger Manny Ramirez. Damon, 37, signed for $5.25 million. He replaces Carl Crawford, the longtime Rays left fielder who in December signed a seven-year, $142 million contract with the AL East-rival Boston Red Sox. Ramirez, who will be 39 years old in May and is 45 home runs from 600 for his career, was guaranteed $2 million to become the Rays’ designated hitter.
The Kansas City Royals hung onto their slugger, Billy Butler. Butler says he thinks a 25-year playoff drought is nearing an end for the Kansas City Royals. Butler is full of hope, boosted by the Royals’ highly regarded minor league system. He’s part of the future, too, after getting a four-year, $30 million contract. When asked to comment on the recent departure of Zack Greinke, Butler stated ” He just didnt want to be here.”
The Cincinnati Reds re-signed many of the players that won the division last season. Mainly Johnny Cueto. The righty went 12-7 with a 3.65 ERA in 31 starts with Cincinnati last season.
And that is all folks! See you next time.
The last game that the Reds were going to be in town. It has been a great series against these two teams. With the Reds now in first place a win for them meant they would be two games up on the Cardinals. A loss would mean back to a first place tie. Both teams have Thursday off ( travel day ) so they would resume play on Friday. The Cardinals would host the Milwaukee Brewers for the weekend series, and the Reds would travel to Washington D.C to face the Nationals. What does that mean for me? Well, I have to buy a Brewers hat before Fridays game!
Adam Wainwright decided to stop as he entered the stadium to sign some autographs. Colby Rasmus also stopped to sign, and Jaime Garcia stopped as well. If youre interested in getting autographs from Cardinals players most of them drive in behind the baseball stadium. You have to get there early, and on nice days there are quite a few fans down there waiting.
Once inside the stadium things looked rather promising. The Cardinals had already taken batting practice, and left the field. So it was just the Cincinnati Reds on the field, and they were about 10 minutes into their warmups, and conditioning on the field. Jonny Gomes was rather responsive to the fans, and within five minutes he threw five baseballs into the stands. One which he threw randomly into the seats but I couldnt find it in time. As I ran up the steps, and searched frantically down the rows I could hear other foot steps pounding on the concrete. I knew my time was limited. Fans were climbing down the seats, and eventually someone found it. Bummer. That would have been my first one, and my second one from Gomes on the season.
I stood behind Bronson Arroyo, and he had about three baseballs at his feet. So I asked him about three times for a baseball as fans were asking him for his autograph. Bronson Arroyo declined autographs because he has carpal tunnel. Whats interesting enough is he declined the surgery needed to fix his problem because it only has a 60% success rate, and if it doesnt work out for him he is done as a Major League baseball player. Well, he can always fall back on his music.
You can get on Youtube.com, and watch some of the videos people have posted of him singing. Its really not that bad. I picture him as a country singer but its more like Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam. It really brings me back to when I used to live in Seattle. I might actually purchase his album next time Im in Cincinnati. Maybe.
So after Bronson Arroyo hooked me up with a baseball, and Gomes threw one into the seats I eventually got Gomes to throw one right to me. It would have been awesome to have gotten that one in the seats but at least he was nice enough to throw another one. So that was two. Gomes also came over, and signed some autographs. Hes a pretty cool dude, and I love his mohawk haircut. Hes really down to earth, and has a great sense of humor. I love those baseball players that make the experience fun. Guys like Arthur Rhodes, and Brandon Phillips that dont want anything to do with the fans really put a sour taste in my mouth. But not everyone can be awesome like Gomes or Bronson. In fact before Bronson left the field, and because he cant sign autographs…
That would be yours truely, and my new found friend Bronson Arroyo. Look! We have matching hats! He was really nice about it too. We made small talk, and he took some more pictures. I had a fan take a picture of me with Bronson in agreement that I would take one of him with his kid with Bronson. So it all worked out.
Johnny Cueto, and Fransico Cordero walked passed everyone but paid us no mind.
I had tickets to sit in the outfield bleachers on the aisle but I decided to not sit out there when I was offered to sit down by the dugout by the autographer group. Ive made some friends at Busch stadium which is ideal in this hobby. Having friends in high places means better seats, more baseballs, and a better experience. Although, Im still tracking Albert Pujols 400th career home run he hasnt quite came close enough for me to really worry about it. Im thinking he will hit it out around August/September time frame. If he doesnt go into another 20 game slump. Which I predict that he will. So I still have some time to sit whereever I want in the stadium.
During the game some fool ran out onto the field. I failed to get any pictures. Sorry folks. I even looked around on Google.com for an article. The last fan to run out onto the field at New Busch Stadium was in 2007. It took six security guards to subdue the guy. This time it took two, with a clean tackle by one of the security guards that incidentially got his face cut open on the tackle. Ill find out on Friday if hes okay. Im sure he probably is.
By the sixth inning I decided to start my relocation process to get behind home plate to get a baseball from the umpires. As I left Miguel Cairo kept calling out to the fans. As I was walking up the stairs I looked back to see fans pointing, and calling to me. I stopped to further investigate, and Miguel Cairo kept pointing to me, and holding up a baseball. I started back down to the dugout, and he tossed me a ball, and threw up the peace sign. I thanked him, and headed back up the stairs. Wow. That was weird. I guess he saw me make about five thousand attempts for a baseball down by the dugout, and then saw me leaving so he hooked me up with a baseball. Who knows. But I was happy. That was number three.
I used last nights ticket for section 156 to dupe security. The ticket was a print out from Subhub.com so I just kept it folded so all they had to read was the section number, the row, and seat number. They never bother to unfold the ticket to look at the actual date of the game. So I always keep those tickets on hand in case I get stopped by security. I dont know how many people have actually thought of that trick but if you get good seats at Busch from Stubhub try to keep the ticket in good condition. Fold it up in four parts, and only allow the security guards to see the section. Act like you belong. Just kind of let them glance at the ticket, and they will allow you entry without any problems. But scout an empty seat out first before you head over to those sections. That way you can sit right down, and not look like you dont belong.
Once the game ended, I had to climb over some seats to get to the first row. Once there I waited for the umpire. Unfortunatly this time he handed all the baseballs out to kids, and pretty girls. What a drag. He spoiled my four game baseball night.
Game: Cincinnati Reds Vs St Louis Cardinals June 2nd 2010 7:15pm
Game Balls: Three
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
I love baseball history. Great American Ballpark is full of history. Well, not the actual stadium. I mean the Cincinnati Reds have a lot of history. They put banners along the third base side of the stadium like this one…
And this one…
And this one. This is my all time favorite Reds highlight. Mainly because in my opinion no one will ever come close to breaking this record. Pete Rose was one of the greatest players in all of professional baseball. He deserves to be in the Hall of Fame despite what he did. Period.
And of course we cant forget this one…
The man that got caught snoozin` in the Mariners clubhouse. The man that doesnt want to retire. The man that says he still has some gas left in his tank. Ken Griffey Jr is another one of my all time favorite players. If he had stayed healthy his entire career there would be no doubt in my mind that he would be the one that broke the all time home run record. Not Barry Bonds.
The crowd was light today. Here is a picture of my favorite security guard that told me to have a seat yesterday. I didnt press my luck with him today. I worked the dugout instead. ( No batting practice today ) I made small talk with one of the security guards that was running people off left, and right. The only reason why he let me stay was because I actually had a ticket for the section right behind the dugout. I bought one ticket on the aisle for $30 dollars off Stubhub.com. Can you believe that? On the aisle no less! Anyway. So he let me stay. I asked him about some of the rules as well. He told me that unless you have a ticket you cant stand behind the dugouts during batting practice. If you want to go stand in a different section but have a ticket for infield box level you can. But you have to stand three rows back, and once the crowd thickens you have to stand in the row.
As I was standing there some Reds players started heading to the dugout. I identified one player. J.R Towles.
Kind of a strange picture, I know. Its the only one I could find. Anyway. So I called out to him, and held up my glove. He threw me a perfect strike, and I thanked him. The security guard got a kick out of how easy I got a baseball. I mean, he was talking to me about how other fans try so hard to get one, and they never do. I just smiled. I wasnt about to tell him how many baseballs I usually get at games. More Reds players were on their way over to the dugout, and I started to wave my hand, and glove in the air.
See the guy in the blue shirt with the hat on? He saw me catch the baseball thrown by Towles. So this guy started busting my chops about it when I was trying for another baseball. He told me since I already got one I should let other fans get one. What other fans? In this picture do you see any other fans trying to get a baseball other than me, and this guy in the blue shirt? If I had turned around, and taken another picture of the stadium seating there were even LESS people behind me! Most of the fans were trying to get autographs. Not baseballs. I paced back, and forth in the row, and he stayed right in front of me. He would look back to make sure where I was, and make adjustments as I did. I was really annoyed. I finally said something to him.
” What are you trying to do here, sir? Are you trying to keep me from getting another baseball or are you trying to get you a baseball?” I asked as I paced.
” You already got one.” He said again for like the fifth time.
” I promise you I will leave this stadium with more than one baseball today. I got one yesterday, and Ive gotten at least one baseball in the last 30 games Ive attended in a row.” I said. I didnt want to air my stats, but what the heck.
” Youve got enough. Let others get one.” He finally looked back at me as he spoke.
All I could do was laugh. I told him how ridiculous he sounded, and I made my way over to the Reds bullpen area.
Look. A sign that says players arent allowed to sign autographs, or throw baseballs to the fans. Moments before I took this picture Aaron Harang was busy signing two autographs inside the bullpen for some fans. Maybe family members? I dont know. It was memorial day so maybe some lucky soldier, and his wife got to take a tour of the bullpen, and meet Harang. Anyway. The security guards continued to mean mug me as I took pictures so I decided to leave.
The game was finally under way, and I had awesome seats behind the dugout. I had on my Astros hat so I was pretty much guaranteed a few baseballs. Just like at Kauffman Stadium when Todd Helton threw me three baseballs. After the bottom of the first ended Hunter Pence came trotting over to the dugout. He had caught the final out of the inning so I raised my glove, and he tossed a high arching throw right to me. All I saw was about four or five hands taking swipes at the baseball. I caught the ball, and chuckled at all the attempts to catch it. The people next to me high fived me, and told me it was proabbly because I was wearing an Astros hat. Yeah. Probably. Then some guy behind me told me to put on my Reds hat, and get a baseball from a Reds player. I told him I would have to run to the other side of the stadium to do that. It was too hot to be running around for baseballs.
The game was a straight pitchers duel. Not one run was recorded. The bottom of the sixth had ended, and Lance Berkman ended up with the baseball. I raised my glove, again and hollered out to him. He tossed me a perfect throw, and I squeezed down on the ball. People behind me of course started to make their comments about how I had two baseballs now, and I should be giving them to the kids. But I did have some encouragement from some fans in front of me. They told me to keep doing what I was doing. I had planned to.
Finally the game reached the bottom of the ninth. I had made my move to where the umpires left the field just in case of a walk-off.
The Reds failed to score in their bottom half the of the ninth inning. So into extra innings we went. But it didnt take long for the game to end. The Astros scored two off of a Lance Berkman double into right center, and the Reds couldnt get any runs across home plate. After the finaly out I stood up, dodged a security guard and slinked up against the plexi-glass window. See the stairs? Yeah. I was RIGHT in front of them. The umpires started heading towards the stairs, and I asked for a baseball. The umpire nearly underthrew me so I had to stretch a little, and basket catch it. As soon as I got the ball some lady behind me started huffing, and puffing. She protested to her husband that I was the guy catching all the baseballs from the Astros, and I had like six! Really, lady? I had four. Anyway. She shoulder brushed passed me to get down to where I was to get a baseball but by the time she got there the home plate umpire had given out all the baseballs or was out of sight. I could hear her complaining all the way up into the main concourse. It was extremely slow getting out of Great American Ball Park.
Game: Cincinnati Reds Vs Houston Astros May 30th 2010 1:10pm.
Game Balls: Four
So I was supposed to go to Great American BallPark on Thursday, and stay through Sunday. I had to cancel two out of those four games due to some college home work that I desperatly needed to catch up on. I am happy to report that I am pulling all As in all of my classes. But I had one class that needed some extra attention so thats the reason I wasnt at GABP on Thursday or Friday. I did get everything caught up, and I made it for Saturdays game, and Sundays game.
I arrived at my hotel room in Mason Ohio around 2pm. I checked in, and checked out my room for a few minutes, got something to eat, and drink, and started out towards the ball park. It was warm. So I knew it would be hot inside the stadium. Good thing for shorts, and a light t-shirt. I dawned my Houston Astros hat, and I arrived at the stadium. Great American has the same rules as Kauffman regarding the times the gates open. 1 1/2 hours before game time. So today the gates were going to open at 5:40. What I didnt expect was a full house. Should I have expected a near sold out crowd? The Reds were in first place, and they were playing very good baseball. They crushed the Astros the night before so why wouldnt GABP sell out tonight? Well, it nearly did. Not because of the aforementioned reasons though. BECAUSE IT WAS JOEY VOTTO FIGURINE NIGHT!! FIRST 20,000 FANS GETS ONE OF THESE!!
I kind of like the bobbleheads better. But whatever draws the crowds. Maybe Reds fans are easy to please. Who knows. Anyway. I didnt just run across this information on my own. As I approached the gates I read a flyer that was posted about a million times all over the stadium gates. READ IT, AND WEEP REDS FANS!!!
Can you believe that? The Joey Votto figurine ( well, actually 20,000 of them ) were lost in traffic! I wonder if the drivers used Mapquest or had a TomTom? Well, anyway. The Joey Votto figurine was not going to be given out tonight. But you wouldnt know that unless you got on Reds.com or actually came to the ball park. So 36,000+ were still going to show up.
So I continued around the ball park. I had plenty of time to kill. I wandered into the Reds Team store to have a look around. The air conditioned air felt good. It felt good to get out of the blistering heat. It wasnt too humid, but it was hot. The Reds are really pushing this 1990 World Series Champion thing. Ever since Redsfest theyve had all kinds of promotions for this new Hall of Fame exhibition for the 1990 World Series. I’ll have to admit. The Reds in 1990 were THE team. The Nasty boys? Larkin? Sabo? Sweet Lou? Yeah. Great team. So they have this giant 1990 WS trophy in the team store.
The team store is really unique. Its probably one of the better team stores Ive seen. Most are just filled with clothing racks, shelves full of stuff, and all kinds of memorabilia. Which is all aspects of things thats what a team store is supposed to have. But the Reds store has a little bit of history. They have signed jerseys on the wall by Hall of Famer Reds, and that huge trophy in the middle of the floor. Its pretty cool.
Once I left the team store I wandered around the stadium. For those of you that want Reds players autographs well I found your sport. Gate One. Thats where players from the Reds drive in. I walked in, and there was only one person standing there waiting for autographs. He told me that only two Reds have signed so far, ( Mike Leake, and Carlos Fisher ) and every player had already drove in except Miguel Cairo. Can you believe that? Only TWO players signed with ONE fan standing there waiting. ONE FAN! Wow.
Here are some more pictures from around the ball park.
See the Toyota Truck above the Reds logo? Well, if youre picked randomly you could have a chance to win that truck if a Reds player jacks a home run during the game. The catch? Yes. There is one. The home run ball has to hit one of the two strategically places signs that read ” hit it here” in the stadium for you to actually win the truck. Would a Reds player ever hit one of those signs with a home run ball? Not likely. They are placed so deep in the stands that it really would take a lot to hit the sign. Not saying it wouldnt happen though.
Joe Nuxhall. The Ol’ left hander. You know this guy pitched 2/3 of an inning for the Reds at the age of 15 in 1944? He later became an announcer for the Reds, and then passed away in 2007 due to cancer. They dedicated this gate to him. Season ticket holders meet here to enter the stadium two hours before game time. So in that thirty minutes before the rest of the fans enter theyre busy shagging fly balls, and harassing players for baseballs. Lucky!
So after my mini tour resumed I came to the main entrance of GABP. People were starting to show up so I went to stand in line. With the sun beating directly down on me I decided to retreat, and go wait at the Gappers Alley gates. Wise move. It seemed 20 degrees cooler on that side of the stadium. I waited for the gates to open, and I collected my Joey Votto figurine voucher upon entry. They gave us redeemable vouchers to get our Votto figurine after June 11th. I probably wont be back to GAPB so I just hung on to the voucher anyway. Maybe I could find some lucky Reds fan somewhere that didnt get one or wanted an extra figurine of Joey Votto.
It had been a year since Id had been to GABP. So when I came inside the stadium I was a little disoriented. I rushed down to the seating area, and I was quickly halted by ushers. Like five of these dudes were like ” Can we help you?!” All at the same time! It was so strange! I told them I was a huge Astros fan, and I was heading down to watch my favorite players throw the baseball around. Batting practice was in full swing so I ran down to the third base side to pull up my fair share of real estate. I will tell you this. If youre ever at GABP do not play the base lines. NOTHING came my way. NOTHING. Not one ball. Not even close. Not even within 10 feet. Barely anything went into the outfield bleachers. It was really pathetic. Batting practice ended, and I wasnt even on the score board yet. I asked a few Astros players for a ball, but they ignored me, and gave baseballs to Reds fans instead. I even asked Gustavo Chacin for a baseball in spanish as he walked by with one looking for a fan to give it to. He looked at me, and shook his head. Before that when he came out for warmup throws I tipped my hat to him, and told him to have a good game. He just kind of turned his back to me. What a jerk. He wasnt very nice to me at Busch stadium either when the Astros came to town there.
So I figured I would have a great chance to get a baseball from one of the position players when they came out 15 minutes before game time to warm up. Security guards were posted at the end of each row so I would have to interact with one to get a ball. So I walked down there.
” Excuse me. Can I stand here, and try to get a ball from of the the Astros players before the game starts? I wont be long, and Ill stay out of your way.” I said.
” Yeah. Sure. Just go find your seat after the players leave the field.” He said in an impatient tone.
Great. This guy was already in a bad mood, and I was in his little space bubble. After about five minutes of standing there I knew he was getting annoyed with me. Then Gapper, and Rosie Red came out, and they walked over to where I was standing. So now I was being pushed, and shoved up against the security guard by little kids. I stood my ground. I was nearly standing on my tippy toes not to brush up against this guy. It was hot. We were all breathing on each other. Kids were screaming, and yelling, and stepping all over me, and the guard. I knew he wouldnt tolerate this much longer, and as soon as the mascots left, and the kids backed off he looked square in my eyes, and told me to go find my seat. Simply put. There was no arguing. There was no pleading or begging. Just. Go. Find. Your. Seat.
My seats were the first row right behind the centerfielder. I figured Id have a great chance of getting a third out toss up, or a mid-inning warmup ball. Drew Stubbs, and Johnny Gomes played catch in between innings, and every time Gomes ended up with the ball. So by the sixth inning, I ran over to the left field bleachers thinking Gomes would end up with the baseball. Everytime he did he would toss it up into the seats. So I waited. Third out. Gomes came out to the field. I ran down the steps avoiding security. I planted against the railing, and on the last catch Stubbs ended up with the ball. Did he throw it back to Gomes? Of course not! Stubbs just so happened to throw it three feet to my left of MY SEAT I WAS JUST SITTING IN! AND WHATS WORSE IS THE GUY HE THREW IT TO DROPPED IT BACK ONTO THE FIELD! SO STUBBS HAD TO GET THE BALL AGAIN, AND HE JUST TOSSED IT INTO THE SEATS! I WAS SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO ANGRY!
But. You can not predict those things. Its all apart of the game. So I walked back to my seat in defeat. I didnt look around for who got the ball. I just enjoyed the rest of the game. Jay Bruce put two home runs into the right field bleachers. Ramon Hernandez hit two into the left field bleachers, and I think Miguel Cairo blasted one onto the batters eye grass. The Reds were winning like 12-1 by the eighth inning. My only chance to get a baseball at this point was from an umpire or the bullpen guys. The umpires are pretty much a guarantee at this stadium. The exit the field on the far left of the vistor bullpen, and they have to walk down these stairs that face the stands. So if you can get there first youll get a baseball. Umpires are kind of nice because its kind of like first come first serve. If you call to them, and ask nicely theyll hook you up. So thats what I did. By the top of the ninth the security guards all walk down to the bottom of the aisle, and sit down. The after the game ends they stand up, and face the stands. So I just followed one down to the end of the aisle, and before he sat down I sat down right behind him. Second row from the field. Perfect.
The ball game ended, and I stood up. I slinked into position, boxed out a few people, and waited on the umpire. He came walking as they always do. Head down. Hands in their pockets. I waited until he was within earshot. I held up my mit, and pointed to it. I smiled, and asked for a ball. Streak saved! Goodnight!
Game: Cincinnati Reds Vs Houston Astros May 29-2010 7:10pm.
Game Balls: One