Willie Bloomquist is one of my favorite players and when he announced his retirement it made me sort of sad. I was never able to get any memorabilia signed by him or meet him at any of the games while he was active on the field. But I’m happy he’s retired and doing the things he wants to do. He recently accepted a job with the front office with the Diamondbacks so there’s still a chance I can catch him at the ballpark to get something signed.
I recently connected with him on Twitter and asked him how retirement was going…
…seems like everything is going well at the moment.
The Angels were in town this weekend and I always try to make it out to the stadium to see them. Mainly I like heckling Albert Pujols because he seems to make it a point to ignore the fans. So whenever he takes his at-bats, I like to obnoxiously yell “Puuuujjjjoooolllls!”. On a positive note, I like to wave and cheer on Mike Trout because he always responds to his fans, and I like seeing that from him.
My girlfriend, Alexandra accompanied me for the game and we stopped at the Pyramid Ale House prior to game time. I ordered the beer battered fish, which by the way, was awesome but the service wasn’t so great…
…we’ve been here before and our last visit the service was sub-par as well. We both decided this would be our last visit here.
When I entered the stadium, I spotted my first baseball of the day on the ground near the Root Sports set up. Once the rest of the stadium opened up, I managed to find three more baseballs in the right and center field bleachers and one was hit my way and I was able to snag it on the carom.
Alexandra and I headed down to the Angels dugout and once at our seats, we found this stuck to the front of my seat:
Here’s a closer look at what it says:
This was the view from our seats during the game:
By the bottom of the fourth, the game was tied 1-1 until Nelson Cruz hit a high drive out of the park in the bottom half of the fifth. Then in the bottom of the eighth, Angels pitcher, Joe Smith walked Norichika Aoki and then literally tried to pick him off at first base several times. The crowd became extremely restless and then on about the sixth or seventh attempt, Mike Scioscia challenged the play:
It was the first time I’d ever witnessed a live challenge and so it was interesting to watch the umpires put on the headsets and watch the video over and over again. The call stood; Aoki was safe at first. It was still pretty cool to see.
The game had lasted well beyond three hours so we left after Robinson Cano belted a double into the gap. The Mariners had the lead at this point by one run. Steve Chisek would be in to close the game out and by the time I got home and checked the score, I learned he blew the save. The one thing I was happy about was the fact that Robinson Cano had extended my Beat The Streak game streak to 16 with his double to the gap. The Mariners losing in the 9th? Not so happy about that but it’s baseball.
Total Lifetime Games Attended: 120
Total Baseballs Snagged This Season: 4
Total Lifetime Baseballs Snagged: 339
Total Lifetime Foul Balls Snagged: 1
Total Lifetime Home Run Balls Snagged: 0
Today marked the day of a new age. A new baseball season and a new way of life. Baseball is slowly turning into a glamorous shot of reality of shot clocks, smaller strike zones and over-priced foods that barely cater to our taste buds. My favorite players were slowly fading out while the new, young rookies quickly filled their void.
I watched Albert Pujols for about 25 minutes while sitting in the lower first base seating bowl after the Mariners had taken their hacks in the batting cage. He looked tired and ready to retire, to be honest. There he stood, barely following the routine stretches that the trainer was directing. Like he had been in the Major Leagues so long that he was above all of the stretching and running and conditioning. It was for the rookies, his face said.
Eventually he picked up a baseball and played catch with Erik Aybar for about five whole minutes…
…then he stood behind the batting cage and talked to Jay Buhner for nearly the rest of batting practice. He did get into the cage, though. Pujols took about six total swings never once putting one into the bleachers. He never interacted with any fans, signed any autographs or even acknowledged our fan-existence.
I reminisced with a friend of mine about the time when Pujols was playing with the St. Louis Cardinals. Him and Matt Holiday would crush during BP. It was when I visited Coors Field for the first time some time ago and I thought it was quite impressive. The two All-Stars on the Cardinals were really putting on a show.
Now the stark reality of old age and being a veteran icon sets in. No real need to show the youngsters that you can crush BP home runs. Mostly, no one is interested in you anymore. It’s all about the Mike Trouts and the Mike Moustakas, and the Clayton Kershaws. Take a seat, Pujols.
After shagging six baseballs from around the stadium, I found myself out in centerfield. Mariners games are always a lot of fun for me, and for many years I was always happy about the food. Recently, with the rising prices of everything within in the confines of the stadium, the flavor has diminished. Maybe the flavor had been removed to pay for the new shot clock out in centerfield.
I tried a slice of pizza like always. Satisfying; killed the hunger pains immediately. Then I tried what’s called a “Baconburg”. I asked the guy what exactly a baconburg was and he replied with, “It’s a hamburger with bacon…” Ohhhhh, okay. Thanks for clarifying, smartguy. The bun was stale, the mayo seemed old and the whole thing kind of fell apart in my hands. I was not impressed to say the least.
The game itself blew by. David Freese blasted a two-run home run to centerfield to a fan who couldn’t hold on for the catch but was rewarded with the baseball anyway. Two sections over from where I was sitting. McClendon talks a big game but it feels like the Mariners are picking up right where they left off from last season. Barely any run support for their ace on the mound…and the defense is trying.
Safeco is in a unique location in Seattle…
…because we always get awesome sunsets.
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:
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:
And then I ran into Dave Coulier throwing fresh salmon around the market place…
…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:
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:
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:
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!!!
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…
…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:
Kyle Seager also went deep to add onto the Mariners 6-0 victory!
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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The plane ride into Denver couldn’t have been any worse. I normally don’t get airsick but I really felt like I was going to lose it at any moment. But I stayed strong. Once I got into Denver I had about 50 minutes to get off the plane, get my luggage, get my rental car, and get to the stadium. Coors Field wasn’t hard to find at all. So I was able to drive the 24 miles pretty quickly. There was some heavy traffic due to an earlier accident but I was able to find parking and get inside without any trouble. Although, I didn’t make the beginning of batting practice but It really didn’t make a difference. At Coors Field the fans have to stay in the left field bleachers for the first 30 minutes of BP. Then after that they allow everyone to roam as they please. Why they have these rules? I’m not sure. Another strange rule Coors Field has is you have to stay behind row ten when around the dugouts unless you have a ticket for rows one through nine. Even during BP. A lot of people come to the stadiums seeking autographs and with that stupid rule in place its nearly impossible to accomplish any of that.
I expected to find some loose baseballs laying in the rows but there was nothing. I’m pretty sure the guards that were pretending to clean the seats scooped them all up. The way things turned out was pretty disappointing. I figured, as I stood helplessly in front of a barricaded section with just a simple yellow plastic chain, that the sections would be opened up in uniform. But no. As the Cardinals came out onto the field the security guards opened the sections one at a time. Starting with the ones on my far right. So any chance I had at finding any loose baseballs in the rows would be gobbled up by the small group of fans running down to the front row three sections over on my right. Finally my section was opened and it seemed like the guard took forever to lower the yellow plastic chain. I don’t know why the stadiums have these stupid rules in place.
I stayed on the third base side for quite sometime. But the Cardinals baseball players seemed to ignore any request for an autograph or a baseball. One guy beside me asked Eduardo Sanchez for a baseball after he was done warming up and he turned to lob it directly to a kid instead. I thought that was kind of rude because the guy asked for the ball first and wasn’t demanding at all. Then he tried to get an autograph from Ryan Franklin but was told there were no autograph signings during BP. (Which was a lie) I just couldn’t believe the attitudes the Cardinals were giving their own fans! I decided to abandon my spot on the third base side and try the first base side. But I was greeted with equal treatment from Kyle Lohse. He was busy fielding baseball after baseball in right field and denied every fans’ request for a baseball. I could see that this three game home stand between the Rockies and the Cardinals at Coors Field was going to be a tough one in regards to snagging baseballs. But some good news is that some baseballs did trickle into foul territory on the first base side so I made a mental note of that and devised a game plan for Saturdays game. The only problem with Saturdays game is that it would be Todd Helton t-shirt day. That means a larger attendance turn-out.
So that brings us to the end of batting practice. I moved in behind the Cardinals dugout with about twenty minutes left. Well, I really didn’t know how long the Cardinals would be on the field so I really had to just guess when BP would end. I didn’t want to take any chances so I made sure I was behind that dugout. Matt Holliday and Albert Pujols were busy slugging it out to see who could hit the longest BP home runs and clearly Matt Holliday is the better man. It was pure entertainment and the fans absolutely loved every minute of it. I must admit, it was quite the sight to see Holliday drop some serious bomb-age. He was putting them nearly out of the sections in deep left field.
And that was it. BP was officially over. I stood behind the dugout in hopes to get one of the coaches attention to throw some baseballs into the crowd. And at that moment Mark McGwire emerged with a couple baseballs. I was actually shocked to see him. Or maybe surprised? I really can’t explain the feeling. It was just…different to see him. Anyway. He lobbed a baseball into the crowd, and I took a few steps to my right, reached way across my body and somehow managed to catch the baseball. Unfortunately, some dude had the tips of his fingers on the baseball as I caught it and he tried to rip it free from my glove. He made some comment that Mark McGwire had intended to throw the baseball to him and I just laughed at that idea. He started to call me names and then complained to security that Mark McGwire threw him the baseball and that I should give it back. But I wasn’t about to give the baseball to him after all the name calling. And I made sure to just walk away before security insisted that I give the ball to him. All in all? I think it was a fair catch on my part, and I feel a little better about being nearly ran over by that one dude at Safeco Field that came out of nowhere on 5-5-2011 at Safeco Field Although, I didn’t appreciate being cussed at and security not stepping in sooner. But hey. You win some and you lose some. Right?
The Rockies got blown out. 10-3 was the final score but it was a very interesting game for the first four innings. It was pretty much back and forth between the two teams until Colby Rasmus got hot and drove in three runs throughout the game. I had pretty awesome seats. They were right by the right field railing on the field end of the row. And I also witnessed Ryan Spilborghs throwing multiple baseballs into the right field seats. I’m glad to say that I got to experience some time at Coors Field but after this weekend I’m also proud to say that I’m not coming back. One thing I really thought was awesome was the Batters eye and the bullpens. Take a look.
Game; May 27th 2011 St Louis Cardinals vs Colorado Rockies
Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $32.80 this season.
Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $14.25 this season
Albert Pujols enters spring training with no hard feelings that a contract didnt come to terms with the Cardinals. Although, some major speculation that the Cubs would be highly interested in the Redbird slugger in the 2012 season. Rumors being highly hypothetical about the Washington Nationals signing Pujols have actually gained some momentum, and might actually turn into a reality in 2012. But regardless. If both clubs want AP, they will undoubtedly have to start saving money NOW. Pujols was initially offered an 8-year $200 million dollar contract which he respectfully declined. He countered that offer with a 10-year $300 million dollar offer to include part ownership of the St Louis Cardinals. None of this should come as a surprise as Albert Pujols is arguabley the best baseball player in the Major Leagues as of right now. Pujols has stood firm on his self-imposed deadline to cease talks about contract terms once he arrived at Spring Training. Well, he’s arrived. Talks are off. To include myself. Just kidding baseball fans! As I find out more on this SO WILL YOU.
Another legendary slugger makes headlines as well this week. Ken Griffey Jr is back in Seattle. No, he wont be starting in the outfield or filling a DH spot. Griffey will be working as a “special consultant” for the Mariners during Spring Training, and most likely throughout the regular season. Will he be at Safeco on opening day? Sources say he has some conflicts that require resolution prior to coming to Safeco, and no details were provided on what those conflicts are, so the answer is no. Griffey will not be at opening day on April 8th. Edgar Martinez, Dan Wilson, Jay Buhner, and John Olerud are also expected to help out during spring training. The reason for all these former Mariners showing up to help? New skipper Eric Wedge wants to signify just how important being a Mariner is.
Manny Ramirez wants to show the Tampa Bay Rays what hes really made of. “I just have a chip on my shoulder,” Ramirez said. ” I want to get here and get my stuff right and show people I can play.” A properly motivated Ramirez can be a very productive Ramirez. Boston Redsox fans can agree to that. Ramirez signed a one year deal with the Rays on the first of February, and the 37 year old seems pretty happy about his situation. Teaming up with a former teammate from Boston, Johnny Damon, Ramirez has big plans for this season but was very nonchalant about the fact that he is only 45 home runs away from the 600 home run milestone. ” I havent thought about it,” Ramirez said. “It doesnt matter, man. –600, 500, 800..because, you know, when you die, none of this matters. They could build you a statue or whatever, but it doesnt matter when you die.” Ramirez said. Well, if Manny Ramirez ever gets to 800 home runs Im sure they will build him a statue.
Stephen Strasburg returned to the Nationals at Space Coast Stadium earlier today. Although, he isnt scheduled to start in a Major League game until much later in the season, he was still able to throw with the pitchers and catchers today. ” It was just another day. It felt good.” Strasburg said. Strasburg is currently recovering from Tommy John surgery from last season, and he isnt quite able to throw off the mound yet but he has been able to throw from flat ground since January. Today he felt comfortable, and hes on track to make his full recovery.
Spring Training has finally arrived! Are you as excited as I am? Lets hope so! The 2011 Baseball season should be a fantastic year for players, and fans alike. But there is still some major unfinished business with some big name players around the league. So lets get started on these topics so we can kick off this first week of Spring Training on a good note!
Talk on Albert Pujols major contract details have still remained under the radar. With the fast approaching self-imposed zero hour clicking closer with every day so far nothing has been done. We all know by now that Pujols doesnt want to talk contracts when hes trying to focus on baseball even during spring training. But management is quite confused of the actual zero hour that Pujols has self-imposed. Is the deadline when he arrives in Florida, or when he begins his first workout, or at midnight on a particular day? No one is very clear on this. Except Pujols. And possibly his agent.
With the recent contract proposal made by the Cardinals to Albert Pujols being rejected sources are unsure of the details, and IF a deal will be made by the deadline. Apparently, the deadline is set for February 15th. Pujols has said that contract talks will cease on Tuesday so he can focus on the game. “Theyre working to get it set, ” La Russa said. ” Fingers crossed. In the meantime, we’ve got a really good club, and hes a part of it — and we’ve got to get ready.” stated La Russa. Its also been word on the block that even Matt Holliday, another Cardinal slugger, was willing to give up some of his own money to make the Pujols deal go through. “If they came to me and said, ‘Hey, this is what it’s going to take to get Albert done, would you do it again or do more?’… if that’s what it took, I’d be willing to do that.” Having realized what he said, he added, “Scott Boras probably wouldn’t like me to say that…” Holliday said on the Mike and Mike radio broadcast.
Of course if no deal is made before the Pujols self-imposed deadline that doesnt mean the end of the line for club and player. The Cardinals have a negotiating window for five days after the World Series has ended. And even after that window closes that doesnt mean the end of the line either. The Cardinals signed Matt Holliday out of free agency in the winter of 2009-10. The free agency market seems some what undetermined though. Just because this guy got a huge contract and that guy signed for a huge contract doesnt mean that Pujols will end up in the select elite few. For all we know NO offers towards Pujols may be the future but rumors state that the Baltimore Orioles are one team that will be bidding aggressively if Pujols hits the free agency market.
But like it or not I just dont see Albert Pujols pulling down $30 million dollars a year with the Cardinals. But Im just a fan of the game. Im not management or ownership. So I dont know what it takes to keep an athlete like Pujols on my team.
More Cardinals news. Jim Edmonds, as we all know, as been harassing Tony La Russa to become a Cardinal again. He even made an appearance at the 2009 Cardinals Winter Warm-up, and jokingly made a pass at Tony La Russa if he would consider allowing him to play on the team again. Finally its become a reality. A couple of weeks ago Jim Edmonds signed with the Cardinals again but in a minor league contract. He will be reporting to spring training camp in about five days, and he seems pretty optimistic about his ability to be productive on the field. Edmonds is also recovering from surgery on his left Achillies tendon, He has yet to undergo a physical for the club, and until he does, his situation remains uncertain with the Cardinals. ” I think its coming down to just the health,” La Russa said on Sunday.” He had the surgery. I havent talked to him in the last few days, but I know that the last time I talked to him he was hobbled…I think its health driven at this point.”
Edmonds will try to make the team this year, and join the Cardinals at spring training camp as a non-roster invitee. But if his health isnt 100% that will compromise him not making the team.
Hey, did you guys hear? Mark McGwire did steroids!
Until next time baseball fans! Spring Training his officially here, Im pumped, and Ill hit the highlights sometime this week!
When was the last time the Toronto Blue Jays were in the news? Its been awhile. But recent talks of the Jays trying resign Jose Bautista has been nothing short of a headache. Bautista stormed the 2010 season by breaking the single season franchise record with 50+ home runs. Bautista made a ******** $2.4 million dollars last season, and now is looking for quite a pay raise. Unfortunatly the Jays have countered his $10.5 million dollar offer with a $7.6 million dollar offer. Bautista is due to go into arbitration in about a month. The nearly $3 million dollar difference is the second largest gap in the Major Leagues. Only Josh Hamiliton has the largest salary gap involving arbitration at $3.3 million dollars.
Alex Anthopoulos has claimed that talks with Jose Bautista have been going well, and even though they havent came to a salary agreement, Anthopoulos is confident that something will happen prior to this going into arbitration. Whatever his strategy is, Anthopoulos doesnt plan on tipping his hand to the public anytime soon.
Remember Armando Galarraga? Remember Jim Joyce blowing the final out call that stole Armando Galarragas no-hitter away? Well, now the Detroit Tigers are looking to trade Galarraga away. Although the Tigers are still on the hook for Galarragas full salary if he clears waivers and they outright him to Triple-A Toledo next week. The Tigers are looking to fill their back end rotation with a stronger fifth starter which prompted to trade Gallaragga away.
More talk on Albert Pujols. Now sources are saying that the Florida Marlins are going to chase him if Pujols reaches free agency. The Marlins are moving into a new stadium for the 2012 season, and having Pujols on the team would make a great welcome gift to the fans. Not only that but when the Marlins get a new stadium that means the payroll increases for the Marlins which in essence would allow them to afford Pujols. The Marlins management have stated that they dont want to sign Pujols if they cant surround him with support like the Rangers did years ago with Alex Rodriguez. Albert Pujols hs kept the talk rumors to a minimum of what he wants to do. Whether he wants to stay in St Louis or seek employment elsewhere. But the Cardinals are on a deadline. Pujols wants to focus on baseball, and not contracts when spring training starts. So the days are numbered for the Cardinals.
Carl Pavano will be staying in Minnesota for the next two years. He will be pulling down $16.5 million for the two seasons, and that puts a big smile on Manager Ron Gardenhires face. ” He gave me an ulcer by not signing earlier.” Gardenhire said with a laugh. ” I had a big interest about what was going on with the team, too.” Pavano said during a conference call. ” Its not just about me.” He added.
The Minnesota Twins 2011 Winter Caravan has already kicked off, and Manageer Ron Gardenhire is onboard for the first leg. Gardenhire can expect many questions regarding Pavano during the 51st annual Winter Caravan but the skipper was confident that something wouldve worked out this week.
Jose Reyes of the New York Mets has been talking about wanting a long term contract but wants to get it done before spring training starts. ” I dont want to talk about my contract during the season.” Reyes said Wednesday during a kids charity event. ” I want to focus on doing my thing, trying to help this team win a lot of ballgames.” Understandably so but with injury-plagued seasons in the past Reyes may be forced to take less money with an extension before he goes into free agency for the first time in his career. ” The last two years have been a little rough for me and tough, because I wasnt able to stay healthy on the field,” Reyes said. ” This year is different. I feel good. I feel 100 percent.”
Until next time…