I found this awesome baseball museum down the street from Coors Field as I was looking for a bathroom. (I drank a huge coke from Burger King earlier) It’s called B’s Ballpark Museum. It’s on Blake Street and this place was absolutely amazing. It costs $5 dollars to gain access but after that they have so many unbelievable baseball artifacts that it will literally blow your mind. Anytime you’re near Coors Field I highly recommend checking this place out. The first picture I took was a baseball artifact from Mile High Stadium. The last pitchers’ rubber used at Mile High. Greg Maddux was the final pitcher to throw from that pitchers’ rubber on August 11, 1994. The next two pictures will show you just what a pitchers’ rubber looks like. And what else is unique about these things is they’re dug up and rotated every few months. Take a look.
What really amazed me was not really what the pitchers’ rubber looked like but how the owner of the museum was able to acquire the item. I guess if you know someone who knows someone who knows someone else…
The next baseball artifact I came across was some Yankee Stadium history. In the picture below I have numbered each cubed artifact with a number. It was pretty impressive to see this stuff.
Number one is concrete from Old Yankees Stadium
Number two is wood from the Yankees dugout bench.
Number three is actual grass and dirt from Old Yankee Stadium
And number four is apart of the foul pole from Old Yankee Stadium.
The next series of artifacts was really something special. They’re apart of baseball history and it just floored me how this guy ended up with all this stuff. I didn’t get to meet the actual owner but there was a museum guide that showed me around. He didn’t really have that much information on how things were acquired but he knew quite a bit of information for each baseball artifact on display.
This is how the ushers at Tiger Stadium dressed in the early 1900’s.
In 1971 Tiger Stadium held the All-Star game that year. If you were around to watch it either live on television or you were actually at the stadium you would remember the at bat that Reggie Jackson had that sent a moon shot so far that people claim it would have traveled at least 600 feet or more if it hadn’t of hit one of the light poles on the roof of Tiger Stadium. Al Kaline recalls the moment and said he had the best view from the dugout. He couldn’t believe how far the ball traveled and it had so much steam on it if the light pole that the ball struck wouldn’t have been in the way it would have easily gone farther than 600 feet.
Here is the piece of fence on the light pole that the ball had struck.
Like I said. I don’t know how this guy was able to get some of this stuff. Probably through auctions or private sellers. If you thought the last artifact was totally awesome, wait until you see this.
In 1951 the New York Yankees faced the New York Giants in the World Series. Joe DiMaggio was coming up on the tail end of his career and the young Mickey Mantle had been called up that season to start his own career with the Yankees. Game two of the 51’ World Series, Joe DiMaggio was running to catch a fly ball hit by Willie Mays. With Mickey Mantle covering in center field that game, DiMaggio called off Mantle when he knew he would make an easy catch. As Mantle was putting on the brakes to allow DiMaggio to make that catch, Mantle’s spikes got caught in the outfield drain pipe. Those that witnessed this said, “Mantle dropped like he had been shot.”
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this.
Yes. What you’re seeing is the actual drain cover that Mickey Mantle tripped over. It wasn’t just a season ending injury. It actually plagued his entire career. Every game he played he complained of leg pain. When he tripped over the drain cover it tore ligaments in his knee. Not only that but when Mickey’s father was helping him into the hospital Mutt Mantle collapsed and was later diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease. Injuries continued to plague Mantle throughout his illustrious career. Even though he was a 20x All-star and hit over 500 career home runs.
A lot of people don’t know who Joey Meyer is. Well, a lot of people that aren’t Brewers fans or Denver Bears fans or even Rockies fans know who he is. And I’ll be honest. I had no idea who this guy was until I stumbled upon this wonderful museum of baseball lore. There is a lot of speculation about how far a baseball should be measured or is measured. Normally they’re just honest guessed by baseball media personnel. But there are actually accurate, scientific ways to measure a home run ball. For the record, Mike Piazza has the longest home run at Coors field with a 496 foot blast that happened on September 26, 1997. But Joey Meyer is the man who hit the longest home run at Mile High Stadium. His home run was hit on June 3rd, 1987 and the blast reached 582 feet! And Joey Meyer is the ONLY Major League player to ever hit a walk-off home run against Roger Clemens! That happened on August 9th, 1988. Here are the seats that the baseball struck.
That’s not that actual baseball that hit the seats. But it is a signed baseball from Joey Meyer.
The next picture is of the Rockies dugout screen from Mile High Stadium. Check it out.
In 1961 Roger Maris was chasing the near-impossible home run record set by Babe Ruth. The thing was in 1961 is that baseball expanded from eight teams to ten. And also extended the playing season from 154 games to 162. So to break the record, Maris would have to do in in 154 games. When he reached the 154th game, Maris was at 59 home runs. He hit the record-breaking 61st home run on October 1st 1961 at Yankee Stadium in front of 23,154 fans. Tracy Stallard of the Boston Redsox was the pitcher that gave up the hit. I’m not going to go too in-depth of what Roger Maris went through when he was on the verge of breaking Ruth’s home run record. I’ll just say this. It wasn’t as glorious and awesome as the media made it when Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa broke the record. Or when Barry Bonds broke the single season home run record. But in this museum there stood the wall that the 61st record-breaking home run sailed over hit by the legendary Roger Maris.
I think those pictures that I posted in this blog pretty much hit on the most awesome stuff there. Some other things I made note of but didn’t take any pictures of were the last home plate used in Old Yankees Stadium, an on deck circle from Mile High Stadium, a bag of top soil from Safeco Field, some foul balls from various stadiums, and stadium seats from Ebbets Field, old Comiskey, and Old Yankee Stadium. And actual light fixtures from Ebbets Field. The place was simply amazing. So I urge you to visit this museum if you’re ever around Coors Field.
Now onto some baseball at Coors Field! Since it was a Sunday game I didn’t except anything to be going on. But the BP cage was up and the Rockies were taking some cuts in the cage. Although, it wasn’t the normal routine of batting practice. All of the Rockies coaches were on the field shagging baseballs. When I ran up to the gates I had about fifteen minutes to spare before they opened up and everyone seemed to be bunched up on the right side of the gates. So I took my place on the left side of the crowd which meant I would be first inside. And as I mentioned before since it was a Sunday game there shouldn’t be batting practice. But there was. So I was pretty excited about that. Here’s what I saw when I ran inside.
As soon as I took that picture there was a deep fly ball that almost reached the warning track. When it hit the grass it just died and I knew I had a shot at getting it because I was the first person in the bleachers, and no one else was around. So I asked for it and the coach that came over to retrieve it generously tossed it to me. Friday’s game I nearly got shutout and I had to literally fight for a baseball thrown by Mark McGwire. Today I didn’t want that kind of outcome for a baseball so I jumped on the first opportunity to get one and it paid off. I played the bleachers for twenty minutes or so until I made my way up into the concourse to wait in yet another line to be allowed into the rest of the stadium at 11:30am. I explained briefly of the stupid rule at Coors field that they only allow fans to be in the left field area until an hour and a half before first pitch in Fridays blog entry. When I was waiting in line I witnessed a foul ball land in the seats in the third base area. On Friday I witnessed a few baseballs being hit into the seats but I never saw anyone pick them up. But when I ran down there to look for them the baseballs were gone. I watched the area intently this time to see what happens to the ball and what do you know…the security guards that were wandering in the sections pretending to wipe down seats scoop up the baseballs and put them in their pockets. I think that is totally a disservice to the fans. Not because finding baseballs in the seats is sort of my bread and butter but when I watch kids find them it really brightens up their day. What does an usher need to pocket the baseballs for? Its possible that they might give them to kids later on but I think it would mean more for a fan if they found a baseball instead of being handed one by a stadium usher. What sounds better? “ Hey, check out my baseball I found at Coors Field!” or “ Hey, check out my baseball I got from some usher at Coors Field!”
When I was finally allowed to roam the entire stadium I quickly made my way to the Rockies side of the field. Rafael Betancourt, Matt Belisle, and Matt Daley were warming up but I was denied a baseball when younger fans asked for the baseballs when the players were done warming up. While I was waiting for a baseball I did notice huge lines through the sections. And then I noticed Rockies players signing autographs on the field. I took a picture of Jose Morales.
I wasn’t going to stand in line for one autograph when some Cardinal players were signing on the other side. So I started to make my way over there. That’s when I was stopped by security. Apparently on Sundays even when 99% of the fans in the stadium are all lined up in three sections to get Rockies autographs, and absolutely nothing is going on, on the field, fans can not cut through the sections. For some reason fans trying to have fun at Coors Field by collecting autographs, catching baseballs, and interact with players is strictly prohibited or at least highly frowned upon. But I didn’t want to give the security guards any trouble. I made my way to the top of the concourse, passed by a few sections and then tried to make my way back down a section that wasn’t crammed full of people waiting for autographs. I was abruptly stopped by yet another security guard and this time I was asked to produce my ticket. I didn’t want to be told I couldn’t have access to the section so I tried to explain my intentions but was told to continue on around the concourse. WHAT A RIDICULOUS RULE. The time was 11:52am. 68 minutes before first pitch and I wasn’t allowed to walk down a section to get to the Cardinals dugout??!! Are you kidding me??!! I expressed my frustrations by uttering some choice words under my breath and continued on around the concourse. When I finally made it down to the Cardinals dugout I hustled towards the left field foul pole where Brian Tallet was signing autographs. I’m not exactly complaining because I got Brian Tallet’s autograph but I was hoping for a more prestigious baseball player after going through all that crap to get to the Cardinals side of the house. Wouldn’t you agree? Maybe If I posted Tallet’s numbers. 16-24 W/L record with a career 4.63 ERA and 331 strikeouts.
After that I wandered back over to the Cardinals dugout, well, I mean behind row ten. I mentioned in Friday’s blog that if you don’t have a ticket for rows 1-10 behind either dugouts you can’t stand there ANYTIME. NO MATTER WHAT. EVER. EVER, EVER. The only other stadiums I know of that do this are U.S Cellular and Great American Ballpark. But U.S Cellular isn’t as extreme as the other two ballparks. They just restrict the first two rows. Great American Ballpark restricts the entire section behind the dugout, I think. Anyway. Tony La Russa was helping out some of the position players field some fungos and when they were done they had about six baseballs. They threw them all into the seats but I was one of the unlucky ones that didn’t get one. Partly because I wasn’t wearing my Cardinals hat. The reason why I wasn’t was because the Cardinals were being so unfriendly with toss ups I didn’t expect them to unload six baseballs into the crowd. I guess I should expect the unexpected.
I decided to keep wandering the ballpark after all those baseballs were thrown into the crowd. As I was crossing through the section I had found myself in row nine by accident! ALERT THE AUTHORITIES! I HAVE JUST COMITTED A CRIME IN COORSFIELDVILLE! At that very moment I made every attempt to get out of row nine as fast as I could. Lives were at stake here, people! I’m kidding. Lives weren’t really at stake. I’m just trying to be funny. And I did make sure I got out of the row so I wouldn’t be hassled by security. Just as I turned to get out of row nine I heard the ever familiar voice of a security guard.
“Excuse me sir…” Said the voice.
I turned to face the security guard face to face. Man to man. “Yes?”
“You can’t be in this row unless you have a ticket.” Stated the guard.
“Yeah, I know. I wasn’t trying to be in your precious row, sir. In fact I was making my way out of your row because I know I’m not supposed to be there without a ticket. I’ve been to Coors Field before and I am fully aware of your rule.” I explained.
“Okay, sir. You don’t have to get excited about it.” He stammered.
I wasn’t about to argue. So I just left it alone and continued on my way. The more diplomatic approach to handle security guards. My seat was up in the 300 level and I thoroughly enjoyed the view. I’d much rather preferred seats in the lower outfield but for some reason Coors Field hiked up the prices to $50 dollars a seat in those outfield sections. I’m not sure why either. The Rockies ended up losing anyway, 4-3, against the Cardinals.
I’m snagging baseballs for charity this year. If you want to get some more information about it you can hit me up at my website. http://www.crowdrise.com/SnaggingBaseballsforPuppies/fundraiser/WaynePeck
Also if you want to follow me on Twitter, you can. Just get yourself a Twitter account and follow me @MLBwayneMLB. Simple enough. I’m also on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Wayne-Peck/111399878936587
I had a great weekend at Coors Field but I’ll probably never come back. Security is too strict for my blood, and frankly no fan should have to put up with those ridiculous rules.
Game; May 29th 2011 St Louis Cardinals vs Colorado
Snagging Baseballs for Puppies has raised; $33.20 this season.
Snagging Baseballs for Relief in Japan has raised; $14.50 this
Kauffman Stadium was hosting a 1985 World Series Championship Softball game featuring players from the 1985 World Series Champions Kansas City Royals, and of course their opponents the St. Louis Cardinals. The softball game started at 1:00pm, and gates opened at noon. I knew that batting practice wasnt going to be happening today. So I didnt get to the stadium early to be the first one in. In fact, I didnt get to the stadium until about 1:30pm. The softball game was already in full swing, and the Royals were ahead. Just like in 1985! Wow!
Once inside I quickly ran over to the left field seats because I saw Joe Beimel playing catch.
I was super excited because the stadium had probably 5,000 people inside for this softball game, and I was the only guy with Rockies stuff on! I thought it was a for sure thing! As soon as I got set up to ask for the ball from Joe, hoards of Rockies fans came over. Well, maybe not hoards but the railing filled up fast. Mostly little kids with a Royals t-shirt on, and a brand new Rockies hat on. Wow. Not to point anything out Mom, and Dad but your kid is wearing both teams colors. How confusing. But I knew what the parents were after. They wanted a player to throw their kid a ball. Joe would stop every once in a while, and look around to see all of these fans gathering at the railing. They all wanted one thing. A baseball. Unfortunatly, only one fan was going to get it. I was right behind Joe, and I kept telling myself to move to his left over by the foul pole. He would see me better. As soon as I did that five minutes later he turned around, and threw the ball to the person that took my spot.
With the softball game nearly in its last few innings, Melvin Mora came out with a glove, and a couple baseballs. He was helping Joe with some mechanics on pitching, and a few other players started tossing the ball around. Then they all dropped their gloves, and started doing wind sprints. Melvin Mora started to walk off towards the dugout. He still had a ball. So I followed him. I stayed a few rows up, and when he finally reached the dugout, he sat by a female reporter in a chair next to her. There were two more Rockies fans that had pens, and baseballs, and were calling to Melvin to sign. I took that opportunity. I ran down to the dugout, and called out to him for the ball. He gently tossed it to me, and I promptly thanked him.
Now I dont know if I wasnt paying close attention to the field or I had tunnel vision from trying to get Joe Beimel to throw me a ball but over in the right field corner were four baseballs just laying on the grass. No grounds crew, no players, no security in sight. I ran from the third base dugout all the way to the right field foul pole to set up shop. I switched to my Royals hat in the process, and I think I had to reallyw ait maybe 25 minutes before Josh Fields came over. I was the only one standing there. As Field made his way to the ball pile a younger kid joined me, and started to call out to Josh for a ball. I just held my glove out. As more kids ran down the stairs towards me, Josh looked to me, and held up a ball. I asked nicely for it, and he tossed me one.
Josh Field in fact threw all four into the stands. That was really generous of him to do that. He could have just gathered them all up, and tossed them into the bullpen. Thats what I expected him to do. But he didnt. He got all four to four different fans. Thanks Josh!
After the softball game ended I headed over to the spot where the Rockies warmed up. Since Ian Stewart already hooked me up yesterday for a ball there I was really kind of hesitant to go back, and wait on a ball. Plus security was being a real pain the in butt. I stayed as long as I could, but all the warmup balls were tossed several feet to my right, and left. I was in a bad position anyway. So I really didnt expect to get one. I just didnt want to get harassed by security. If you stand over by the bullpen they tell you that you have to go find your seats because the game is about to start. ( This is 15 minutes prior to game time ) I dont know why security thinks they have to enforce these rules. Especially at Kauffman Stadium.
Game: Kansas City Royals Vs Colorado Rockies May 22nd 2010 3:10pm
Game Balls: Two
So I decided to try my luck at Kauffman Stadium for the weekend. The Colorado Rockies were in town for a three game series. For the most part the Rockies ignored me during batting practice. Interesting enough the Royals werent even on the field at all. I caught up with some fellow Ballhawks that generally chase foul balls, and one of them has over 800 to his name. But he told me that he gives a lot of them away to the kids. So being that it was a Friday night the gates were supposed to open two hours before game time. So why were the gates opening up at 5:30pm then? Well, rumor has it that the Royals have put a complaint in to the upper management about the fans being inside the stadium while they take batting practice. I dont know why the Royals would complain about the fans being at the stadium. Wouldnt they want more of a fan base? Anyway. So for the rest of the season the gates are going to open up an hour and a half early to include weekends. Also, I was told that the batting cage was moved up to less foul balls reached the stands. Whether thats true or not I dont know. Its all about perspective I guess. But these two Ballhawks were pros. So I took their word for it. They also told me that David Glass ( owner of the Royals ) was looking for a way out of his contract, and to either move the team or sell it. In any case it was a real drag to take in all this news.
About the batting cage. If it was moved up intentionally to keep foul balls from reaching the seats they did a pretty good job. Because only three baseballs reached the seats in foul territory during batting practice. Batting practice was scheduled to end at 6:30pm. It was 6:27pm when I relocated from the outfield bleachers to the first base side where Jeff Francis was shagging many baseballs in the right field corner. I still didnt have a ball, and I was going into panic mode. I had two games left at Kauffman, and I was wondering if I should just cancel the rest of the games after this, and head home. At 6:29pm Jeff Francis shagged three ground balls in a matter of seconds, and didnt have any time to throw any of them in to the infield. He threw two in, and turned to the fans. I was shouting his name, and waving my Rockies hat wildly to get his attention so he would at least throw the ball NEAR me. I had kids lined to my right, and to my left. If it was high enough I would be able to snag it. Jeff reared back, and tossed a perfect throw three feet to my left. I would have to stretch out for this one though. I planted my right foot, and carefully eased over to my left towards the ball. I will be completely honest at this point. I do not know how this happened, but as I made the catch some chunky little 12 year old girl slammed right into my left hip. I dont know if she though she had a better angle on the ball than me, or she just came out of no where to try, and make the catch but she ended up chasing her baseball that she caught earlier down the aisle. I guess when she ran into me it jarred her ball loose. Anyway, she got her ball, and looked back at me with those sad eyes. I told her I was sorry for her running into me, and I hoped she was okay. Enough said.
Here is a picture of Kauffman from the 400 level.
You see Todd Helton on the Crown Vision? Well, I didnt mean to take the picture with him on the there but if you keep reading the blogs from the series youll be reading A LOT about him on Sundays Blog. I didnt stay up here long because I wanted to get a baseball from another Rockies player before game time. ( This picture was actually taken after I got my second ball. Oops) So back down to field level I went.
The Rockies position players were warming up, and Jason Giambi finally came out. The guy is massive. His arms are as big as my thighs, and he has these huge viens that are very visable on his arms. I dont know if he actually took steroids, but every time he was up to bat people behind the dugout gave him crap about steroids. So who knows. Ill have to check the Mitchell Report to see if his name was brought up. So as Im standing against the railing the ushers come down in their pretty little green shirts, and sun hats, and start ushering kids, and teenagers, and adults off the railing. Troy Tulowitski was busy signing autographs, and the ushers denied plenty of fans the opportunity to get an autograph from him. I didnt want to speak up, and defend anyone because I had two more games here, and I didnt want to be in the spotlight. So I ducked out of view, and sat down in the fourth row back. Once the ushers started back up the stairs I took position back on the railing. Three minutes to game time, and Ian Stewart turned around glove in hand to head back to the dugout. I called out to him, and he underhanded me the ball. I got a few praises from some Rockies fans, and I headed off to take a look around the stadium.
Odd. Why dont they move these sort of things more out in plain view? Its probably a conversation that goes something like this..
” Hey, lets get a statue of liberty, paint it up with Royals stuff, and just put it somewhere in the corner. Any corner will do.”
Whatever. So I continued around the stadium to take more pictures. Nothing great. But Kauffman is a beautiful stadium. Probably the most elegant, and down to earth that I have ever been to.
The water fountains. They are located in the outfield, and the Pepsi Party Patio is just below that. During the summer months when its a blistering 90+ degrees standing directly under the fountains is very refreshing if the wind is blowing the water around. The only downfall to this is the sun is constantly beating down on you during day games. So its kind a a lose/win or win/lose depending on how you look at things.
The game was decent. The Royals won. Which I guess is great. I didnt care much for the game. I was still more interesting in learning why the gate times were moved back. I still couldnt believe all that I heard.
Game: Colorado Rockies Vs Kansas City Royals May 21st 2010 7:10pm.
Game Balls: Two