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
I’d like to start this blog out by saying some great things about Dan Uggla. Not only did he sign autographs for about 15 people outside of the stadium on his way in, but he also signed for about 15-20 minutes inside the stadium prior to game time. So Id like to pay some serious respect to Dan Uggla. He gives a lot. He also signed about 15 autographs AFTER the game as well. I usually get to the stadium pretty early so I witnessed a lot of the Florida Marlins baseball players walking to the stadium.
Renyel Pinto walking towards the stadium. If you want Marlins autographs, and youre ever in St. Louis they stay at the Hilton across the street from Busch Stadium. On sunny days most of them walk in. Renyel, and I exchanged “knucks” and parted ways.
It was a great day for baseball. I, of course, was the first one inside the stadium. The security guards opened the gates late, and the ticket checker guy with his electronic ticket scanner wasnt even turned on when the gates were opened. So that delayed me about 2 minutes getting down to my spot. But it didnt matter. The crowd was small. Once I got down to the third base line I started to scout for easter eggs. I looked up to see a young man dressed like he just came out of the trash can hollering at the Cardinals players that were on the field. He was yelling that he wanted a baseball. I watched for a moment as I took my time walking down to the railing, and then I continued my search for easter eggs. Moments later I heard one of the Cardinals say…
” Hey, you want a ball? Here you go buddy!” And then I heard the ever so familiar sound of a baseball clanging around against the seats. I looked over to the noise, and I caught a glimpse of the white gem bouncing around in the seats. What was going on? Was that meant for me? I looked around for a second, and nobody was really persuing the ball. I figured there were going to be a mob running the ball down. So I casually walked down the row, trotted up the stairs, walked up through the aisle looking for the ball. Once I found it, I looked back to the field, and then around me again. Wow. Too easy.
So batting practice was kind of a loss. Nothing really came my way. I got out hawked by a guy that came 30 minutes into it, and then really everything else was out of reach. As I was standing there I waved to Chris Coghlan a few times, and he finally acknowledged me. He held up a ball, and I waved for him to throw it to me. One hopper, and into my glove. Nice. I thanked him, and continued to play the third base side. Nothing was really going into the outfield anyway. Chris Coghlan was the National Leagues Rookie of the year last year. So it was a real honor to get a baseball from him. The rest of batting practice was pretty boring. I had two baseballs.
Dan Uggla came off the field after stretching, and started to sign autographs. So I capitalized on that since I only had two baseballs.
There were two Marlins fans behind me, and they were saying how much Uggla was their hero, and saying he was Superman in disguise. Hence the smirk on Dan’s face. He truly is a great guy. He talked with the fans, laughed, and joked, and made it really special for a lot of baseball fans. Really a remarkable guy. So I asked for a picture with Dan, and heres how it turned out.
The picture is really great. The fan that I asked captured the St. Louis Arch in the background, and Dan even put his hand on my shoulder. The guy is really short but he has massive hands, and arms. I mean, hes like an animal. It was great. He shook hands with fans, and I got my patented “knucks” from him, and moved on. Thanks Dan Uggla! You made my day!
So I made my way to my seat after the players were all warmed up, and were off the field. I sat on the Cardinals side, first base side about 20 rows up. Foul ball territory. But not one ball came remotely close to me. I only got up once to chase one, but it landed on the railing, and took a wicked bounce way to my right. No chance. The Marlins started beating up on the Cardinals about halfway through the game. Then it started to drizzle a little bit so I knew that people would start clearing out to go home. I needed that to happen, because I was going to get passed security, and get down behind home plate. I wasnt happy with two baseballs. It was time to break out, and try to get some work done.
By the eight inning, the Marlins were up 4-0. In the previous inning, Uggla, and Maybin hit home runs. So a lot of Cards fans were out the door. I made my move. I walked the concourse looking for a security guard that was just kind of hanging out. You see…at Busch stadium, all the sections behind home plate have red fences guarding them so you have to go through in a single file line. That way no one can get passed security if they dont have a ticket to be in those sections. Its really criminal stuff. But I caught a security guard that was engaged in a conversation with about five fans. They were all hundled around her like they were trying to help me out. A squeeze play! I made a break for it. I scurried in passed her, and headed on down the stairs, broke to my right, and sat in the first seat of the row. Feewww!!
” Hello.” Said a voice. I was busted. Damn!
” Hey…no I dont have tickets for this row. Sorry, Ill move.” I was defeated. I knew who it was. No one says “hello” in such a sarcastic voice than security.
” You can stay, just move back a row.” She said, and walked away.
So I did. I moved back a row. But now I was in the middle of the row. This was unacceptable. If anyone else showed up I wouldnt be able to hurry out of the row, and down to the dugouts. It wasnt minutes later, and a group of five college kids sat down right next to me. Damn!! I had to move. Security had already told me once not to sit here, but I had to risk it. I moved one row ahead. The row I had orginally been kicked out of.
” Listen..I already told you once. You cant sit in this row.” The voice said in minutes.
” Sorry! I wasnt trying to disrespect your authority. I just need a quick exit to get down to the dugouts to get a ball after the game.” I said.
” Well, you cant sit in this row. And you wont be getting a ball either.” She explained.
” Why not?” I chuckled.
” Because that rarely happens. Players dont give out baseballs after the game.” She said.
” Ill move. Im sorry to have troubled you.” I said. I gathered my things, and down the stairs I went. I sat two rows back from where the umpires leave the field. I couldnt believe that security guard! She really doubted my baseball getting skills. Unreal!
The game ended. Finally! I let the row clear out in front of me, and I moved down to the front. I called to the umpire, and two more people showed up. He nodded to me, reached into his side pouch, and delivered a clean toss right to me. I squeezed down on it, and tipped my hat to him. Gah! I still had my Cardinals hat on! If I were to get anything from the Marlins, Id have to ditch this Cards hat, and fast!
I started to make my way to the Marlins dugout, switching hats on the fly. I didnt care who saw me at this point. Make your comments, who cares. I was on a mission. The bullpen players were enroute to the dugout, and as soon as they got into ear shot, I started making hand gestures for them to throw me a baseball, and calling to them. Chris Volstad, and Leo Nunez both pulled their hands out of their jackets, and showed me they had no baseballs. Dang. Three it was. Oh well. I had a memorable picture taken with Dan Uggla, I sat in great seats, and I came away with three baseballs. It was a battle but I did it.
Game: St Louis Cardinals Vs Florida Marlins May 19th 2010 7:15pm
Game Balls: Three