Results tagged ‘ Miller Park ’

5-15-11 Miller Park

Today’s game began at 1:10 PM, meaning the gates would open at 11:40 pm.  However, I was hoping to get in early at Friday’s, so we arrived at the stadium around 10:30 AM.

It proved to be a mistake, because the Friday’s early entrance doesn’t open until 11AM.  Amy and I were forced to stand in 40 degree temps with wind gusts of up to 50 mph for a half hour.  It was brutal cold.  Brutal.

Once we got inside, we walked around the left field concourse, and I took a few photos.  One of the escalator to the 200 level,

and another of a Walls of Honor section:

We were chased from the concourse by a cranky security supervisor who made us go to Friday’s, but failed to say anything to the other couples who were loitering around.

It didn’t really matter much, because the Brewers failed to take batting practice today.

When the gates opened, I ran through the narrow concourse behind the batters eye to the right field bleachers.

There, Ryan Doumit would toss me ball #1 of the day.

Doumit’s first throw was well short, and fell into the bullpen.  He tried again, but over shot me by 10 feet, and the ball hit a bleacher and bounced back onto the field.  His third try was right on the money though.  I definitely appreciated Doumit’s patience and willingness to make sure he hooked me up.

I decided just to stay in right field the entire day.   The view to my left:

My second ball of the day was a clean home run catch of a Garrett Jones home run ball.

Here I am holding up the ball for Amy to see.

The Pirates were hitting some home runs, but not very many into the seating areas.

My third and final ball of the day would be glove tricked from the Pirates bullpen.  I set up my glove trick,

Lowered the glove,

And reeled in ball #3 of the day

There wasn’t much action for the rest of batting practice, but at least I had Amy nearby to keep me in good spirits.

We left right after batting practice to go home.  The worst part of the day was walking back to the car in the biting cold, and being trapped in the lot.

Everyone was tailgating and blocking the aisles, and all of the exits were roped off.  The only way off was the one entryway where cars were streaming in.  Eventually we were let out.   We didn’t get home until 11:58 PM, as it was a ten hour drive back.  Amy helped make the drive back fun though, and it went fast.

Thanks for everything baby.  I love you!

Here are today’s baseballs:

And the sweet spots:

STATISTICS:
Game:  3 balls (1 hit, 1 thrown, 1 device,)
Season:  140 balls (56 hit, 35 thrown, 28 device, 20 found)
Games: 22 games
Average:  6.36 balls per game
Career:  1,262 balls
Attendance: 37,059

*Last year on May 15th I had snagged 115 baseballs through 16 games, so I am a bit ahead of last year’s record year, despite the poor weather we’ve had.

5-14-11 Miller Park

After a brief stay near Notre Dame in Indian, Amy and I continued our weekend trip through Illinois and Chicago.  The coolest scenery we passed, for me, was US Cellular Field in Chicago.

However, we didn’t stop to look around, as we were on a schedule to get to Miller Park about an hour and a half before the gates opened.  This would give us time to buy tickets, park, and familiarize ourselves with the exterior of the stadium, and find the correct gate to go into.

There wasn’t really anywhere to park around the stadium, but the stadium lots, so we parked for $10 and then walked about six minutes to the stadium.  There’s a nature trail that runs along the stadium, and a bridge spans a stream on the way to Miller Park.  We paused to get a quick photo.

You can see the large domed structure in the background, which of course is Miller Park.  By the way, the weather in Milwaukee was absolutely miserable.  It was 44 degrees with constant rain and drizzle.  The biting wind made it feel like 37 degrees, so needless to say, we couldn’t do much outside during our two days in Milwaukee.

I was very disappointed to find out that the gates to Miller Park wouldn’t open until 90 minutes before the first pitch.  Even though this was a SATURDAY.  The only way to see the Brewers take batting practice was to go into Friday’s restuarant, so that’s just what we did.

I went out to the Friday’s deck after a few minutes, which is just above the left field wall.  You’ll also notice that there’s a gap between the outfield wall and the deck, creating a perfect place for baseballs to fall into.

Well, there was a ball down there.

So, I lowered my glove and glove tricked it for my first ball of the day.

This was my view from the Friday’s deck.

I didn’t expect any home runs to come in there, mostly because there was an overhang.

I was wrong.

Rickie Weeks drilled a line drive home run that struck a table and stayed in the deck seating area, so I ran over and picked it up.  It was ball #2.

Another ball would land in the deck, but bounce back onto the field.  I really couldn’t run around in there with some people seated and eating.

After the Brewers finished up, the Pirates came out.  The batters stretched near the cage,

while the pitchers threw in the outfield near the front row of Friday’s.  Chris Resop recognized me and waved.

Joel Hanrahan looked genuinely displeased to see me.

He shook his head and shouted, “Don’t you get enough at home?!”

The only other interaction I had with a Pirates player was with Evan Meek, who saw me and asked if I had family in Milwaukee.  He also asked how long of a drive it was and who I came with.  Here he is looking up at me.

Once the gates opened, I ran upstairs to try for a home run ball in left field.  The Pirates were already batting, and the first group contained Andrew McCutchen, Ryan Doumit, and Jose Tabata.  I figured they’d be able to reach the seats.

However, they experienced a power outage, except for Doumit, but every one of his homeruns were swallowed up by the bullpen in left center.

After the first group, I walked up to the back of the bleachers, and found ball #3 tucked under a bleacher.

I made my way over to right field for the rest of the Pirates batting practice, since a majority of the team is left handed.  When I entered the bleachers, there were already several dozen fans there, but they all overlooked a ball that was in the front row, again, hidden under a bleacher.

It was ball #4 on the day.

While in right field, there was an amazing glove trick opportunity for four balls that were directly below me.

However, Euclides Rojas was in the bullpen unpacking gear, so I decided to wait.  Unfortunately for me, he then made his way over and picked up all four.  I politely asked for one, but despite being the only Pirates fan in right field, I was denied.  Every time I’ve ever asked Rojas for a ball, I’ve been glared at.  I miss old bullpen coach Luis Dorante.

Ball #5 on the day was thrown by Ross Ohlendorf, probably the most generous Pirates player.

He tossed many balls into the crowd, and was, as usual, going all out to catch every ball hit within 200 feet of him.  He had to throw the balls back in left handed, since his shoulder is injured.  His toss to me was also left handed.  It was inaccurate, over my head and to my right, but I was able to track it down before other fans got it.  “I got it Ross!” I called down.  “Thank you!”  He smiled and waved.

There was only one home run hit into the upper bleachers, and I didn’t get it.

There is a big overhang , so the lower bleachers were virtually worthless.  Many of the home runs went to center field and the Toyota Home Run Porch:

Near the end of batting practice, I glove tricked a ball in the Pirates bullpen.  It was at least 20 feet below, so it was pretty noticeable to everyone in the stadium.  The section below could be heard chanting “Go! Go! Go! Go!” as I slowly pulled my glove up with the ball tucked inside.  BP ended right after I glove tricked the ball, so I put on my backpack and went to meet up with Amy.

After BP, we walked around the stadium, exploring the concourse.

Our seats were in the upper deck, and here was one of the concourses up there.

We ended up sitting near the top of the stadium in the upper deck near the right field foul pole.

Pre game panorama:

Bernie’s Slide:

Scoreboard and roof:

Panorama during game:

After the game, we checked into our hotel, 10 minutes from the stadium.  We also scored this hotel for $25 from Priceline.  It was good too, because the price of gas keeps creeping upwards.

Today’s baseballs:

Sweet spots:

STATISTICS:
Game:  6 balls (1 hit, 1 thrown, 2 device, 2 found)
Season:  137 balls (55 hit, 34 thrown, 27 device, 20 found)
Games: 21 games
Average:  6.52 balls per game
Career:  1,259 balls
Attendance: 42,422

Amy took tons of photos.  Here’s the top three that have nothing to with my ballhawking, but were quality pics by my lovely fiancee:

#3 Jose Veras, concentrating on catching a ball during BP warm ups:

#2 Heberto “Herbie” Andrade blows a bubble

#1 Daniel McCutchen has pitched really well this year and was recently promoted to set up man to Joel Hanrahan.  The reason for his effectiveness?  This wildly distracting face upon delivering the pitch:

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