I hate to keep talking about this but I still think about the little four year old that got plunked in the face by Randy Wolfs throw. At work today I discussed the topic with a few co-workers. I got mixed emotions. I thought the story was entertaining, and laughable at this point. At the time it was a little nerve-racking. Some of my co-workers didnt like the idea of me keeping the baseball. They informed me that I should have given the baseball to the kid because he “deserved” it. Other co-workers did their best to stick up for me. In the end it was an interesting debate. I thoroughly enjoyed telling the story, and talking about it. I also brought up the fact that I recieved some small injuries on my legs, and rib cage for going after the baseball after it rolled around under the seats. (Those plastic seats are very unforgiving) I also pointed out the fact that I was the one that kept calling to Randy Wolf that eventually got him to throw the ball in the first place. I also pointed out the fact that Ive been hit with a baseball before but no security guard came to my aid to wrestle the baseball away from the other fan that got it. ( I really have never been hit with a baseball. I just wanted to see what people would say ) The response to all of that? ” Well, thats different. Youre an adult. Thats a kid.” My arguement? “So?” I dont understand why a child should get the ball because he was hit, and an adult shouldnt even if he was hit too. Anyway. Id also like to give a shout out to Shawn, a fellow ballhawk, for leaving an insightful comment. Thanks brother!
Alright. Game time! Todays game was an interesting one. It was the last game against the Brewers, and the Cardinals were hosting Purina-” Bring your dog to the ball park” day. So all these people showed up with their dogs. They got to walk around the warning track, and the rest of the field to show off their dogs. It was pretty neat. I had to enter the stadium on the first base side because I wasnt about to play the third base side today. Not after the incident yesterday. The Cardinals were going on the road starting Monday, and they would be back at home on the fourtheenth of June. So that would give the security guard enough time to cool off, and forget about what happened on Saturday. I hoped anyway. Heres a picture of the first base side entrance.
There was so much shaded area on this side of the stadium. It was amazing. On the third base side during a day game a person would roast waiting outside. But on this side there were places to sit under the trees to stay out of the sun. It was really cool, and a slight breeze would come through, and it felt amazing. It was real luxurious on this side of the house. Since it was Dog day I only had to put up with a few people at the gates. Everyone else pretty much had their dog with them.
Here is a beautiful snap shot of St Louis, and the Arch from the first base side. They put a huge blow up dog outside the gates to let everyone know that this is where all the dogs had to enter the stadium. So much fun! I wish I had a dog to bring!
So once in side I kind of made a costly error. I forgot about the screen they put out in front of first base to protect the first basemen as he takes fielding practice. So that means the chances of a grounder to come my way were drastically reduced. Ive seen a lot of baseballs hit over to the first base side. But I really thought it was more trouble than it was worth. So I quickly made my way to the center field bleachers. I took the front row, and waited patiently. More, and more people started to show up, and fill the rows.
The tall guy on the left ( 50 ) is Kameron Loe. I stood in the front row for about 20 minutes before something came my way. I reached over to try, and snag the ball but it fell too short, and hit off the wall. I scraped my finger on the concrete ledge in the process. So since I got injured that entitles me to the baseball. The Brewers that were shagging balls thought different, and didnt toss it up to me. Really, that was about it for where I was standing. Chris Capuano tossed one up to a kid that was standing next to me, and then batting practice abruptly ended after about 30 minutes of standing there. My jaw simply hit the floor.
Well, the only thing I could do now was hope the Brewers came out with a couple warm up baseballs before the game. After I got something to eat, and drink I scampered down to the dugout area, and did my best to blend in. The security guards in the dugout area really didnt have a problem with people sitting in other peoples seats. It wasnt like Kauffman where they constantly came around to check tickets. Since ESPN changed the game from a day game ( 1:15pm ) to a night game ( 7:05pm ) a lot of people didnt show up or all of a sudden couldnt show up. So there were plenty of open seats in the house to really sit wherever you wanted. So I pulled up some real estate behind the dugout. I mean directly behind the dugout. Like the first row behind the dugout. Yeah, I was being brave tonight.
The dugout seats. I always love sitting right here. Since it was getting close to game time I had to keep a watchful eye on security, and anyone on there way down to claim these seats. Soon it was National Athem time. Still nobody kicked me out of the seat.
Then after that Casey McGehee, and Rickie Weeks came out to toss the ball around in front of the dugout. If this wasnt the perfect spot for that baseball I didnt know where was. They threw the ball about three times before they started to advance back onto each other. Who would end up with the ball? Rickie or Casey? Casey ended up with it, and I started calling to him. He looked at me, and then kept looking around. I knew what he was doing. He was looking for a kid to throw to. But since there werent any I ended up with the ball! I thanked him, and sat down for the game.
I waited until the bottom half of the first inning to make my move. Or before the third out I should say. The Cardinals were batting so therefor the Brewers would end up with the third out baseball. On the second out I left my seat, raced up the stairs, crossed over one section, ducked security as he was busy directing some fans to their seats, raced towards the end of the aisle by the dugout, and on the last out Prince Fielder ended up with the ball. I adjusted my Brewers hat slightly, held up my glove, and begin asking Prince for the ball. He threw it directly to me, and I thanked him. I was gone in a flash. Its imparitive to get that first inning third out baseball because after that I would end up competing with about ten kids after they figured out what I just accomplished. So you have to handle business early.
The game actually made it to extra innings. So I stayed down by the dugout to watch the Cardinals bat in the bottom half of the ninth. I prayed they didnt hit a walk off home run or something. Because from where I was to get to the place where the umpires leave the field well…Ill just say this. I wouldnt make it. Fortunatly for me the Cardinals didnt score. The Brewers scored one in their top half of the tenth though. So I left the dugout area, and wandered over to the section I needed to enter to get my final baseball of the night. Guess what? Security was gone! Can you believe that? I mean they were GONE! Like none in sight. So I took my time getting down to the bottom of the aisle, and as soon as the game ended I quickly pounced on the umpires leaving. Well, not literally. But he threw me one. So that was amazing.
Game: Milwaukee Brewers Vs St Louis Cardinals June 6-2010 7:10pm
Game Balls: Three
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