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