The day started off in the morning, meeting at a park in Virginia somewhere to have the home run derby and skills challenge. A lot of ballhawks were there hanging out and catching up, and for some incredibly stupid reason, I took zero pictures.
Afterwards, we walked over to a restaurant and ate, mingled, and won “door prizes” courtesy of Alan (MGB founder) and some other folks. I didn’t take pictures there either (IDIOT!).
I also neglected to take any pictures at the gate hanging out with everyone, as well. Maybe I was distracted.
Fast forward to BP time, where I started off here:
For some reason, I was allowed over here yesterday, but today, I was getting a lot of crap from the center field ushers about having to wait to go over to right field even though the day before, I was there. And, there were people there now. I slipped past him when he wasn’t looking, went up a staircase, and down a separate one and was in right. I had a decent amount of space to move:
…and if you look close enough, in the mini pizza wedge off to the right, you can see the Cooks doin’ their thing.
In this photo, you can see the other ballhawks in their neon green shirts (you can click to enlarge):
I don’t like wearing the shirts during BP, because yes, its fun to spot your friends at any second, but I don’t want the players recognizing such a neutralizing color. So I wait to wear the shirt.
Things were getting a little dicey as the day went on. The Nationals hit for a short while, but I was still scoreless. When the Brewers headed out, I went over to left field mainly because nobody was over there, and eventually got new call-up Jimmy Nelson to toss me my 1st ball and get me on the board. The Brewers also weren’t hitting much, so I didn’t snag much during their session either. I went over to the left field bullpens. Why you ask?
I eventually got Lee Tunnell to toss me one of those pregame. He’s awesome.
I spent the game here:
After running around for two hours in the 90 degree heat, I pounded down 2 apple cider things (not sure what they were called, but they were cold, and refreshing). I took turns alternating innings on the aisle with someone new that I met, he goes by the name of Happy Youngster. You can check out his twitter here. We spent a lot of time talking, and hes a really cool guy. If you ever get a chance to see him, tell him I said hello.
After the bottom of the 5th inning, Marco Estrada struck out Tanner Roark, and then Jonathan LuCroy tossed me the strikeout ball for my 3rd and final ball for ballhawkfest. Here is a photo of everyone who came:
Let me try and do this right: Starting with me on the bottom, you have… me, Rick Sporcic, Kellan and Tim Cook, and Alan Schuster.
The next row up left to right is Rick, Grant Edrington, Todd Cook, and Harrsion Tischler.
The last row features Mateo, Greg, Tak, and Happy.
Also, thanks to Mateo for unknowingly letting me screenshot the photo and use it.
And finally, my final haul for the weekend. It’s hard to write about every single thing that happened,but overall it was a very fun weekend and I’m glad I was able to attend.
After the game, a post-game Austin Mahone concert was about to begin, which was my cue to head out of there.
3 balls (213-215)
Final score: Washington 8, Milwaukee 3
The time for Ballhawkfest weekend was upon us, and I decided that if I was going to drive all the way down to Washington for a game, I might as well go the night before, enjoy the city, and spend 2 nights. So this was the first game of the weekend, between the Brewers and Nationals. I got to DC in plenty of time, and made my way over on the metro to Nationals Park:
There I ran into Rick Gold, and we caught up for a little while, and eventually it was time to head inside. The first half hour, I didn’t snag anything. Most Nationals were stretching and tossing. When the upper deck was opened at 5:30 I believe, I ran up there and eventually found this:
I noticed the Nats were still tossing:
…so I had time to get back down and quickly headed back downstairs to lower right and still had time to spare:
Shortly after that, I got Gio Gonzalez to toss me my 2nd of the day, and a few minutes later, Adam LaRoche hit a liner into the seats that I grabbed quick for ball No. 3 on the day.
After all this, it was still pretty empty:
Eventually the Brewers came out, where I got a toss-up from Matt Garza:
My next ball was kind of a fluke. I snuck over by the Milwaukee dugout, since BP had just ended. They were still putting the balls into the buckets by the dugout steps, when Rob Wooten looked up at me and I flapped my glove quick. He pulled a ball out of his back pocket, and tossed it to me for ball No. 5 on the day. That never happens.
For the game, I stayed here:
I eventually became bored there and wasn’t scoring any game balls, so I wound up here:
No home runs to report. After the game, I caught coach Lee Tunnell heading out of the bullpen and got him to hook me up with my 6th and final ball of the night.
Mateo was at this game as well, and we caught up in the 9th inning in the outfield seats. During the post game fireworks, I watched him try to unsuccessfully cup trick a ball under the flowerbeds in left field. Then, I headed back to the hotel on the metro excited for the next day.
Final score: Milwaukee 4, Washington 2
6 balls at this game (#’s 207-212)
Man, what grad school will do to you. I’m currently writing about these games almost 6 months after I attended these. Life has been a whirlwind with school, taking 15 credits, learning French… oh, and I got engaged. Did I mention that? So you’ll be seeing a lot more of Natalie in my posts. But on to baseball…
I knew that initially when I bought these tickets, It was a 4:05 start. So there was a decent chance of BP. But the night before, it rained and they called for a day/night double header. This was cool because it was single admission, so I got to watch 2 games for the price of 1. But there was likely going to be no batting practice. I’d have to really try to keep my streak alive.
Unfortunately, my laptop between September and now died… and I lost all of my pictures from this game, and the next. Eventually, Todd Cook will send me some pictures he snapped and I can throw them in. But basically I hung out with him and his boys for 18 innings of baseball. It was pretty fun. There was a little BP for this game, it ended early. The Marlins never came out. And I can recall it was “Take your dog to the park” day. But here is what I snagged on the day:
Ball 1 – Dillon Gee toss up
Ball 2 – Homer hit to left field (unknown player)
Ball 3 – Tom Goodwin toss up
Ball 4 – Greg Burke toss up
Ball 5 – Donovan Solano pregame warmup ball
Ball 6 – Jake Marisnick threw me the 3rd out ball when Juan Lagares flied out to end the 6th inning for the Mets. That one felt good 🙂
The Marlins beat the Mets 3-0 in game 1, and the Mets won 3-1 in Game 2. This day was really fun, and I’m disappointed that I lost my pictures.
Rays @ Yankees
Honestly, I don’t remember anything about this game. The only thing I remember was that I caught an Alex Rodriguez BP homer on the fly in what was likely one of his last games as a MLB player. Other than that, I can’t remember a thing.
Yankees lost, 8-3.
Ball 1 (180) – A-Rod BP homer on the fly
Ball 2 (181) – unknown toss up from TB
Ball 3 (182) – unknown toss up from TB
Brewers @ Mets
You’ll never believe what happened at this game, and I have zero pictures to prove it. That’s how life is, I guess. I went to this game last second because there was going to be nobody there. This game meant nothing to both teams, so I thought it’d be a good day of snagging. BP was probably the weakest I’ve ever seen, and I got 1 ball hit into the seats that I caught off a ricochet, and I got a Brewers relief pitcher to toss me a ball in right center during the Brewers’ portion of BP.
I snuck down behind the Brewers’ dugout easily, and watched the game from there. During the course of the game, this kid who was sitting by himself, no more than 13 years old was just heckling all of the Mets players. He was pretty funny too. I can’t remember how, but we got to talking. He showed me that his cousin was Yuniesky Betancourt of the Brewers. They were in town for the last road trip of the year and following the team. He was telling all sorts of crazy stories from the locker room, and told me how they felt about the Carlos Gomez incident, which was pretty cool too.
At the end of the game, jokingly I said “You should take me to the locker room.” And he said he would. So at the end of the game, I found him just as I was leaving Citi Field. I happened to turn around and he was about to enter down by the Jackie Robinson Rotunda with his father (Yuni’s brother). I ran over quick, and got stopped by the security guard. I told him I was with the Betancourts and pointed to them… at this point, the kid turned around and recognized me and waved back, leading to the guard letting me in. So here I am just sitting here in the tunnel outside of the Brewers locker room. All the players are walking past me to the bus, but no Betancourt yet. The kid came back out, said it’d be a few more minutes, but handed me a ball from the locker room. I didn’t care, I counted it. I had to move out of the way so a small cart could get through, and when I did this, the Betancourts came out and were whisked away by security. I didn’t really see any point in hanging around any more, so I went outside and met up with Zack and had a catch in the parking lot for about a half hour:
and later headed home.
Ball 1 (183) Unknown Met
Ball 2 (184) Unknown Brewer
Ball 3 (185) Betancourt’s cousin
I will never lose pictures again. Lesson learned. On to 2014!
The day after being at US Cellular field, it was on to Milwaukee via Amtrak:
Good old Wisconsin. We had some time to kill, so we walked around the downtown area for a while. The hotel wasn’t in the greatest neighborhood Milwaukee had to offer, and maybe it’s because I’m used to killing time in New York City, but we were sort of… bored – would be the word I’d use. But we kept on walking around and got a bite to eat:
Also, don’t forget- no cooters near the riverwalk:
Tee hee. After that, it was time to grab a cab over to Miller Park:
Sweet. I walked around to do the usual lap around the stadium, and.. it was pretty routine looking. There were memorial tiles along the walkway for the players with retired numbers… …I continued around the back: and past a Brewers private party tent of some kind: There was more of that until we got to the back of the stadium where the stadium scoreboard and windows are: As you can see, it’s nice… but I feel like it’s lacking that little extra something that wows you. Still nice, nonetheless. I did think the roof was nice though: …and headed past the “Harley Davidson” deck and over to the left field gate: …and waited here as we were 1st in line: Now, I was going to go in early for the TGI Friday’s deck, but you have to have a 35$ minimum and an hour max to sit and eat. Plus we already had eaten. I also had texted Shawn Bosman to see if he wanted to meet up. He was already inside, so I had to wait until 5:30 to go in. The Brewers are another team that does the 90 minutes of BP like some other teams, which I’ll never understand. If I ran a team, I’d think my fans would want to see the hometown crowd hit. Whatever. It was 5:30, and I ran upstairs to the bleachers in left field: There were about three balls below me, and it was fairly quiet in the park. The players definitely heard me, but weren’t throwing anything up. I saw Shawn miss out on a ball that someone knocked out of his glove, and other than that, nobody was reaching the seats. I moved over to right field, but on the field level. While I was there, everybody was hitting homers up to the bleachers. You can tell because the Dodgers player in right, is looking up at the bleachers: I decided to head up to the bleachers above me. on the way, a homer reached the concourse behind me, slamming off the staircase. I just missed it narrowly, and it was becoming one of those days where luck wasn’t on my side. Once I got to the bleachers, here was my competition: Not too bad. Of course, nothing came up there either. It was one of those days. I did, however, get Paco Rodriguez: …to throw me my first ball of the day. It was also my 25th straight MLB game with a ball. It felt good to get Miller Park on the board, since I didn’t know when I’d be back. I took one last photo of the view from where I was: very nice. I quickly ran around to here: …and got ignored by the two guys there. It might’ve helped if I knew their names. It was time to tour the inside of the ballpark: and eventually, we got to the top. I couldn’t believe the trip was a success: It was a nice view though, and I figured I’d take a nice picture: We kept walking to the furthest point of the park, where as you can see, it was oh-so-crowded: That’s me, hanging out with all of my friends. We got some funny looks, but I didn’t care because honestly, I have no idea if or when I’ll ever be in Wisconsin again. I like this picture I took from the top corner in right:
and to my right was the Mountain Dew Deck: …which I didn’t really feel like going to. It’s similar to the bullpen bar at US Cellular, where you need to be 21 and hang out there, etc. Only difference is that this one isn’t on the warning track, this is about 600 feet from home plate.
I made my way back around to the bleachers, since it was empty: … and I had faint hopes to catch a home run: We hung out there for a few innings until a group of guys who for lack of a better word, were “bros” sat behind us and were annoying so we headed to our seats. Although I didn’t forget to snap a photo of this guy: Look at those pants! Also, there is some cool architecture at Miller Park. Check it out:
I’m not sure who won, maybe it was the chorizo. From our seats, I could see Nori Aoki would throw his warm up ball for every inning into the crowd.Here I am trying to go for one: I did not get one. The game was about to end , so I ran over to here: When the usher wasn’t looking, I snuck down quick and blended in with the crowd. To save you some time, this is where I wound up: … I failed to get any other balls for the light. Lame sauce. But it was a fun time. Here I am with my stadium sign shot: and one with Natalie for fun: It was on to Chicago the next day for our twenty-four hour train ride back to New York. Peace out, Wisconsin!
- 1 ball at this game
- 104 career balls
- 25 straight MLB games with a ball