If you haven’t heard the Bryan Price rant, I suggest you click this link and have a listen. Although, entertaining, it’s really off-track and kind of appalling that he’d take a stance on this kind of issue with the media. Price has been coaching for about 15 years and started his coaching stint with the Seattle Mariners in 2000 so it’s hard to understand just where he’s coming from. He issued an apology for the excessive profanity but says he stands by “the message”. What message is he standing by, exactly? The media has a job to do and their job is to report things. Not only did Price drop 77 f-bombs but he continuously said “I don’t get it” as well as “you don’t have to be a fan of the Reds”. Yet, he asked the media on hand many times how does reporting certain things benefit the Reds? It’s not their job to be fans of the Cincinnati Reds, Mr. Price. And you said so yourself that they don’t have to be.
Honestly, it seemed like Price was trying to play the ignorant card. He’s been around long enough that he should understand all aspects of the media. He should understand if someone within the Reds organization leaks some information to the media concerning the whereabouts of players, their condition or if they are going to play or not, the media will report it. It’s their job to report things like that. If Price wants to keep things hush hush then maybe he ought to try doing his job better.
Remember this from a couple of days ago when I came to Safeco Field?
I ran into him again and this time I introduced myself and got a picture with Mr. Divish:
I’m not entirely sure he was too thrilled to get a picture taken with me but it was fun nonetheless.
The Astros were in Seattle for a three game set and I’d get to attend the first game of the series. I’ve been hoping for an opportunity to catch some home run baseballs and I figured since the Astros have a track record of sucking so much no one would attend this game. I was right. The attendance was roughly 15, 100 people. The last few games I’ve been sitting in the outfield and nothing has came remotely close to me. So when I got a text message from one of my buddies that he was coming out and wanted to shag BP home runs with me, I was stoked! The unfortunate part about it was he had prime real-estate seating down the first base side. Foul ball heaven. I figured, hey, nothing has been coming to me as of late, why not.
I bought a cheap bleacher seat for $14 then I upgraded to the lower seating bowl so I could sit with him. Batting practice was a blast. I caught an over-throw while standing in the ‘Pen from a toss-up that glanced off a glove. The ball bounced around and finally rolled to my feet where I easily scooped it up. My second ball came from a deep fly that I easily caught near the Mariners bullpen. Once the entire stadium opened up, I ran down to the lower third base seating bowl and picked up my third baseball that was sitting between the seats.
Jose Altuve lofted a soft fly ball into the third base seats and I made an easy catch and handed the ball to my buddy:
Before that Luis Valbuena pointed at us several times while taking some infield practice grounders. I was thinking he was going to hook us up with a baseball and when I turned my head to look out into the outfield, all I saw was a baseball trickle passed me along the wall. I scooped it up thinking it had been hit our way. But Valbuena had thrown it to the couple that was standing next (who had missed it) to us so we passed it down to them.
Here’s a picture of us all sitting in our awesome seats:
The kids seen in the picture above were extremely annoying. Later, after the game started, four more kids showed up and all six of them literally yelled and screamed and squirmed around in their seats. They did everything BUT pay attention to the game. I eventually moved down a row to an open seat next to my friends and watched the game in peace.
Luis Valbuena literally led off the game with a towering home run into the right field seats. Coincidently, the seats I was planning on buying before I ended up getting a cheap ticket. Then in the 8th inning, he hit another one nearly in the same spot. I felt really good about being able to catch both IF I had been out there. Take a look at these monster shots:
The one game I decide not to sit in the outfield…
The Astros went on to win it 7-5. Colby Rasmus went deep too but it was hit into the center field family section.
We had a few foul balls hit our way but they were hit a few sections over so I didn’t have much of a chance.
While on the way home from the game, I tuned into the post-game show with Shannon Drayer (@ShannonDrayer) and she mentioned Evan Gattis had a very unique story about him. I decided to look it up and read about it.
You can read the Evan Gattis story here.
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