Game two of the three game series between the Mariners, and the Cardinals. The Mariners lost last night 9-3 despite some pretty good offense by them. But Colby Rasmus, and Ryan Ludwick were on fire! I can not believe how many home runs those guys have already this season. They’re nearly tied with Albert Pujols!
Well, the evening started out kind of hairy. I usually buy my tickets from Stubhub.com. Ive always had success with that website. I get my tickets really cheap. I can pick where I want to sit depending on my mood or what my mission is for the game, I.E if Im chasing a milestone home run I can get seats in the outfield, aisle seat in just about any row, or if Im looking to spend the extra money I can usually find a decent aisle seat behind the dugout or out in foul territory. Well, when I bought my ticket for todays game it didnt really print right. But I didnt think much of it. So when I got to the gate to have my ticket scanned it didnt scan at all! I was freaking out! The security guard told me to go to window 16, and have them re-print it. They did, and it still printed wrong! I probably was at that window for a good ten minutes. Ten minutes of precious ballhawk time being wasted! Finally the lady came back to the window with a standing room only ticket to get me into the game, and my stubhub ticket that had my seat number on it. So I was good to go.
I hurried inside. I mean I sprinted inside. Security guards left, and right were telling me to walk. But I ignored their direction. To my surprise once I got inside there were still great spots to ballhawk at. So I really didnt lose all that much time. Once I got calmed down, and got situated, got my glove out, and found a spot the fun began. More John Wetteland anyone? I didnt record anything but he was at it again. He came over, and started talking about more geography questions, and just about everything else he could think of. Besides entertaining the fans he does help his pitchers out though.
I really have to give the Mariners credit. Despite their losing season this year, and their inhability to stay consistant or even get their pitching on track theyre probably the most cheerful, upbeat, relaxed team I have ever been around. David Aardsma, and Ryan Rowland-Smith came over to the wall to chat with fans, and sign autographs. Even Don Wakamatsu got in on the action. Really a great group of guys.
There were a couple of fans that were standing next to me that were demanding baseballs from the Mariners as they were warming up. One thing that I have learned is that just because youre in the stands, and the baseball players are busy warming up, and there is music playing, people talking, baseballs being hit, fans screaming- if youre right against the wall the baseball players can hear just about everything you say. So Ive learned to really watch my tongue when it comes to getting in coversations with other fans about specific baseball players. I keep my comments positive or I dont say anything at all.
Anyway. So this fan is standing there harassing the players, and at this time I moved a row or two down so I wasnt caught up or accidentally accused of being associated with them. Josh Wilson finally had enough, and turned around to confront the unruley fans.
” Who are you talking to? A pack of dogs?” Wilson abruptly said.
” What?” Said the surprised fan.
” Who are you talking to? What the hell do you want?” Wilson added.
” A ball. Cant I have one?” Asked the fan.
” You cant say please or may I? You have to stand there, and act like you dont have any manners?” Wilson continued.
” I just want a ball.” Said the fan.
” No. You arent getting one. So go find somewhere else to stand.” Wilson errupted, and finally turned back around to continue playing catch.
I couldnt help but to smirk a little. Josh Wilson was right on with what he said. I hate those kinds of fans that think baseball players are supposed to give them everything. Or fans that think theyre entitled to something at the stadium. Granted baseball players have more than any average fan does but that doesnt exclude them from being treated with respect. So props to you, Josh Wilson.
I had a couple foul balls hit my way but I wasnt able to get a good position on them as they clanged off the plastic seats. I try to play back on them a little, and wait on a good bounce. I dont know if thats a good idea or a bad idea. Most of the time I get a good bounce or they drop down in the seats, and I can easily run over, and grab it. In fact my first baseball of the day was sharply hit, sliced into the seats, bounced down into the concourse, and then bounced back up into a row of seats. I played it on the hop, and I thought it was going to stay in the concourse aisle area. Well, it didnt. As I mentioned that it bounced back up into a row of seats, I actually had to jump over the steel gate that seperated the seats from the concourse aisle, and reach down and get the ball before it rolled down another row. The ball nearly hit one of the female security guards so after I got the ball I made sure she was okay.
Batting practice had been ending 15 minutes early this entire series, and last series against the Reds. Today was no exception. The grounds crew started rolling up the mats around home plate which indicated another 5-10 minutes of batting practice was left. Nothing else came my way so I was left with just one baseball during batting practice. David Aardsma threw a lot of baseballs up into the seats. Mainly to fans in the left field bleachers, and to kids. I even asked him for a couple, and yes I said please! But no dice.
Thats how much room I had to run during batting practice. Im getting a little better about negotiating the seats, but my main concern is little kids getting under my feet while Im chasing down a ball. Even if its an accident, I really dont want to be that guy that stepped on a kid trying to get a baseball. So I make sure nobody is in the rows while Im watching. If someone steps into the row I usually find another empty row to stand in, and Im constantly looking around to have an idea of who is around me. The kids are generally down in the first few rows so I feel pretty confident but it really can take a second for some toddler to come creeping up behind me while Im not watching. I hate to think about it.
I wandered around the dugout until the begining of the game. I would have had another ball thrown to me by Josh Wilson but the throw from Jose Lopez was dropped, and the baseball rolled to the dirt. Some fan was standing ten feet away, and he asked for it. Wilson delivered. Figgins, and Kotcheman were out stretching, and playing catch but neither one of them tossed the ball into the stands before the game. I only stayed until the third inning this game…as college home work was calling my name.
Game: Seattle Mariners Vs St Louis Cardinals June 15th 2010 7:15pm.
Game Balls: One
So Fridays game, right? It was very frusterating. But Busch stadium looked very elegant on a warm sunny day. Check out this cool picture I took.
Thats more or less the view you get from the freeway that runs right by Busch Stadium. Its actually kind of cool how close the stadium is to the freeway. Theyre doing a lot of work on the bridge right now because its said to be the most unsafe bridge in Saint Louis right now.
Here is a picture of the players entrance. Most of the opposing team players get carted in from the hotel, and they use this entrance. Ive never seen any player actually stop while on the cart to sign autographs. So if you are able to get one to stop email me or leave a comment on how you got the players to stop, and sign. The usually ride right on through.
Here is a picture of the walkway towards the third base gates from the home plate gates. The gates I usually enter are the third base gates. Its the easiest, and the fasted Ive found to the field level. Most people use the left field gates or the home plate gates.
So once I was inside I felt like I should have played dead center field bleachers for Prince Fielder. After all that guy has been hitting home runs in major league stadiums since he was 13 years old. I decided to stay put on the third base side. I did play back a few rows to catch any direct line drives. I felt pretty confident but when those baseballs come in fast theyre already on the curve. So when they bounce they fly way right. I missed two by mis-judging them. But that was okay.
Trevor Hoffman was pretty friendly as he chilled in the shade in deep left field. He tossed about eight baseballs into the stands. I called to him on multiple occasions but he didnt pay me any attention. I stood my ground on the third base side, and eventually my luck struck. I wasnt sure who hit that, and by mistake I ended up asking a Cubs fan who was at bat all the while wearing a Brewers hat. I could only laugh at myself.
The ball somehow was able to make its way passed four peoples attempts to get it, and I held my glove down, and it slapped me right in the pocket. I felt lucky. I dont have much luck at Busch Stadium. In fact I hate shagging baseballs at this stadium. The competition is high, and I never really have a breakout game. I usually come away with two if Im lucky. The players dont come out with baseballs anymore to warm up before the game anymore. I dont know why. The Reds didnt do it, and the Brewers didnt do it Fridays game either. The Cardinals did on the other side though.
As the game progressed I played the first base side for foul balls. I should have stayed over there the entire game. I would have caught at least two. One from Holliday, and the other from Pujols. They both fouled one baseball each over to the entrance way to the first base side. But I was busy waiting on a third out toss up from Prince Fielder, and during Pujols foul ball I was setting up for the umpire ball.
I also learned that these white seats you see at the bottom of the picture are wheel chair seating area. Anyone is allowed to buy tickets for this area. It isnt a requirement that you have someone with you in a wheel chair, or you be in one too. Also, from where I took this picture there is a yellow outline where you can stand. They actually sell standing room only tickets. The security guard asked me if I had a standing room only ticket, and I quickly said I did to avoid any arguement. If she asked for my ticket I would have told her my wife had it. Always one step ahead of these guards. She didnt ask though.
After the game I set up for the umpire baseball. I scooted passed some fans that were sitting in the front row. Actually the only two fans that were sitting there, and when the umpire came I asked him a ball. He overthrew me like crazy! The ball actually sailed over my right shoulder, and since Im left handed with the glove I tried to basket catch the ball but it was too late. Some lady caught it. And she said this;
” Wow! I caught a ball! I didnt know the umpires threw baseballs into the crowd!”
Ugh. Yeah. They do.
So I tried to make it to the dugout for the bullpen guys. I was blocked in by 42,000 fans. It was Fireworks Friday, and where I stood was the closest Id get to the dugout unless I pardoned myself about 50,000 times. It wasnt worth it. The front row of the dugout was blocked anyway. One ball.
Game: Milwaukee Brewers Vs St Louis Cardinals June 4th 2010
Game Balls: One
Autographs: Matt Holliday
Okay so I seriously wasnt going to come to Busch Stadium today. It was raining all night, it was cold, and the weather was supposed to be bad all day. But when I checked Stubhub for tickets, I couldnt pass up these seats. I would be sitting right down where the umpires left the field, but 10 rows up all for a low, low price of $20 dollars. Someone was desperate to dump these seats. Well, Ill bite. Ill spend five miserable hours at Busch Stadium in the wet, and cold. All for the love of the sport. I knew batting practice wasnt going to take place. It was a 12:40pm game. It was raining on the way to the game. I was really putting my streak on the line. But I didnt care. Dan Uggla had made such an impact on my life last night at the game, and I was just so amped up when I got up this morning I had to do something. I had to go see the Marlins play again. Theyre a really great group of guys. Plus if Stan Musial can stand outside in this weather, I knew I would be okay.
I got into the stadium first. There were maybe ten people waiting in line. When I got inside I saw this, and I knew I had my first baseball.
The Marlin that is stretching out, well thats Josh Johnson. On September 7th 2008, Josh Johnson threw me my second baseball at Busch Stadium. With a crowd of 38,898. So youre saying to yourself; ” Well, thats cool. Now hes about to throw you your 48th?” No, Josh Johnson didnt hook me up with any baseballs. In fact, he took a couple laps around the track, grabbed his water bottle, signed a few autographs, and ran into the clubhouse. But the next turn of events are even better.
Check out this picture
See that black bag? Well, my friends, thats full to the brim with Major League Baseballs. I was the only person standing quietly behind the players waiting for my opportunity to get a ball. Meanwhile up in Big Mac Land, some obnoxious Cardinals fan was yelling down to the players to get a baseball. In the picture above thats Renyel Pinto on the far left, Coach St. Claire out in the distance with Dan Meyer. I dont know who the guy closest to me is. Okay so soon Brian Sanches came out. That same annoying fan in Big Mac Land kept calling down for a ball. The Marlins did their best to ignore him, and I dont blame them. So the player closest to me in the picture put on the catchers glove that was by the black bag. He got down in catcher position, and started taking pitches. Interesting enough I got in line behind them to catch any overthrows. My game plan was this; if I caught an overthrow I would catch it, and offer it back. That way the players acknowledge me as a fan that isnt greedy, or rude. If an overthrow got passed me or didnt happen, I would ask nicely for a ball, and make comments that they shouldnt throw a baseball to an unruley fan when they have a nice Marlins fan waiting quietly for a ball.
The ball came screaming in, bounced into the grass, and up into the stands. I was right there to snag it. Haha! I caught my first overthrow! I smiled, pulled the ball out of my glove, and held it up.
” Dan, do you guys need this back?” I shouted to them.
” Yeah. Just for a second, and we will hook you up, man. Thanks!” Dan Meyer called back.
I tossed the ball back onto the field, and nodded. I knew baseball players were good on their word when they said theyd hook a fan up. Well, most of them. I watched some more, and was smiling the whole time. Finally Dan Meyer got done, and Brian Sanches took position, and started throwing. Dan walked over, and started digging for a baseball. He pulled out a used, scuffed up, dirty baseball. Just the kind I like! He nodded to me, tossed me the ball, and thanked me for giving it back to them so they could warm up. You see pitchers are really kind of weird people. Dan Meyer was using a baseball that he was comfortable with. He didnt want to switch baseballs in mid-warmup because its all about mechanics, and being comfortable. If you watch baseball a lot, youll see pitchers tossing the umpire the ball, and asking for another one. Every ball is different.
It wasnt moments later that Brian Sanches was throwing me a baseball. I caught it, and thanked him. But I knew that he knew I had already gotten one. So before all the complaints came showering down on me from all the 15 fans behind me I held the ball up, and pointed to Brian to get his attention. He looked over at me, and noticed that I was the guy that already got a ball two seconds ago. I couldve kept it, I guess. But It was such a small crowd, and I didnt want to be a jerk about things. Especially to these Marlins. They were very nice. Brian Sanches asked if I already got a ball, and I nodded explaining that Dan Meyer had just tossed me one. I felt apart of the team though for about five seconds. I threw the ball back, and he tossed it to another deserving Marlins fan. The Marlins made their way off the field, and so I darted over to the Cardinals side. Knowing that the Cardinals are so stingy with their baseballs I had to try anyway. No dice.
Once I got to the Cardinals side I saw two more Marlins walking out of the dugout, and heading over to the left field corner. I did an about face, and beat feet back back over there. Changing hats back to Marlin colors I took position right where I was.
“Number 38! Throw us a ball!” Yelled some girls in the left field bleachers.
” Can I have a baseball?” Said a little girl with cotton candy in her mouth.
Oh boy. Kids, and girls. My worst enemies. But it was in my favor. Im the one that had the Marlins hat on. Im the one that knew these players first, and last names. ( Believe me it helps ), and I was the one that had the glove. Thats Burke Badenhop in the background ready to fire away. I was hoping for another overthrow. But then I was distracted by a gentleman to my right. He asked me where I was born. I told him Seattle. He asked me how I grew to like the Marlins so much. I told him Im a fan of baseball, and I like to favor the underdogs. He chuckled. I think he had an idea of what I was up to. But I didnt care. I wanted to get to my 50th baseball this game. It was important. Burke quickly finished up, and before I could call out to him the ball was enroute to me. Smack! Right into my glove. It kind of reminded me of how hard Alexei Ramirez threw me a ball. I thanked him, and moved on.
So I hung around the dugout for a little while. I conversed with the autographing group. They were all waiting on Hanley Ramirez, and Dan Uggla to sign. I showed off my picture of Dan Uggla, and I. I am so proud of that picture. Here. Ill post it again.
Alright. Sorry. Moving on. Ramirez got done warming up, and decided a youngster behind me should get the baseball. So I let it sail passed me. I could have snagged it, and ran. But I didnt want to do things like that. So I waited for another opportunity. Bryan Petersen was all done warming up as well, and he came strolling towards the dugout. I had moved down to the baseline after being rejected by Hanley, and I asked Bryan if he would toss me the ball. He pulled the ball out of his glove, looked at it, and gave it a toss my way. Not much competition. I asked, and recieved. 50th!!! After that Dan Uggla got stretched out, and came over to sign some autographs. I said hi to him, and “knucked” him after he was done. Him, and Cody Ross warmed up, and Ross ended up with the ball. If Uggla ended up with it he would have thrown it to me. But Ross threw it to the same little kid that Ramirez did. I couldnt help but to laugh. I nearly got outhawked by a kid in diapers!
The Marlins took a thrashing. They were beat 4-2. I waited patiently for the umpires to leave, and they gave all the baseballs to kids. He looked right at me, but didnt toss me one. So I scurried to the dugout to wait on the bullpen guys. Nothing there either. So I left with three. But I got my 50th! Bryan Petersen! You hooked me up, man! Thanks!
Game: St Louis Cardinals Vs Florida Marlins
Game Balls: Four