Category: Miller Park

08-17-13 @ Miller Park – Reds vs. Brewers

Going to this game was kind of a last minute decision, but that didn’t stop my Uncle Jason and I from going to the game. This was a Saturday night game so the gates were scheduled to open at 4:10. We had to make a few stops on the way to the ballpark, so we got slowed down a little bit. We parked for FREE, and then walked a few blocks to Miller Park. Here was the view from about the half way point:

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As we got closer, Miller Park seemed to be glowing:

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We didn’t get inside until 5:45, but I was just glad that the Reds were still taking batting practice:

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I was only expecting to see 15 minutes of batting practice before the Reds would jog off the field, but for some reason they kept taking batting practice until almost 6:30. Jason and I went to the Left Field Loge, but didn’t come close to any homers because all the power hitters had already taken their cuts. At the end of batting practice I was one of the four or five people to get a ball from Billy Hatcher at the Reds dugout. I was thrilled to be on the board after such a brief viewing of batting practice. In the next picture Billy is walking into the dugout:

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The game was quickly paced, and seemed to fly by in no time. The first exciting thing that happened in the game was when Logan Schafer doubled to right field in the fourth inning. Both Khris Davis and Scooter Gennett scored off of Logan’s double. The only really exciting play from the game was when the Reds loaded the bases in the top of the 7th inning with one out. The Brewers were able to enduce a ground ball and picked up the double play to end the inning without allowing any runs!

Jason and I weren’t the only family members at the game. Another of my uncles, Kevin, and his son Elijah were also at the game (We also went to a Brewers game together last year on 06-18-12). In the 9th inning Elijah and I waited near the Reds dugout for the game to end. After the game ended Billy Hatcher rolled two balls across the dugout. I got the first one, and a middle aged guy got the second. I immediately turned to the kid next to me and offered him the ball, but he declined since the middle aged guy was his dad. The Kid appreciated it though. Then out of nowhere, it seemed, the Reds ball boy threw a ball to Elijah too. That’s a great end to the night!

Here is the box score, scoring summary, and game information:

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A Piece of The Game MVP:

Billy Hatcher: There were no other nominees. Seriously though, its not everyday you get 2 balls from the same person in one game. Thanks!

Player of the Game:

Logan Schafer: His double gave the Brewers both their runs for the game. He came through big time!

Here’s my final haul from the day:

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  • 2 balls in this game
  • 42 balls in 14 games this season = Avg. 3.0 balls per game
  • 6 consecutive games @ Miller Park with at least 1 ball
  • 24 consecutive games with at least 1 ball
  • Gotten at least 1 ball from 15 different teams
  • 86 total balls
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8-15-13 @ Miller Park – Reds vs. Brewers

I was planning on meeting Shawn Bosman at TGIs around 4:30, but didn’t show up until almost quarter after 5 due to trouble with printing my tickets. It’s a very long and unexciting story that I wont get into. Oh well, I still made it to Miller Park in plenty of time (Thank you, Dad!).

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Did I mention Shawn? Yes, before the gates opened I caught up with Shawn and also met his mother Sue. I was happy to hear that they would be visiting Target Field on August 27th when the Royals play the Twins at Target Field. Tony and I rarely get visitors at Target Field… (Mateo, if you’re reading this, when are you coming back?) so naturally I was instantly eager for this game.

Once the gates opened I headed to foul territory in left field. If I got a toss up right away then I would join Shawn in the Loge for the rest of batting practice. I wanted to be sure to get on the board. Mat Latos was shagging balls in left field and throwing almost every ball into the crowd, but he didn’t throw any my way.As batting practice went on, I didn’t think I would get a ball. Towards the end of batting practice someone hit a ball to left field and it went through here:

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The employee on the left was kind enough to throw the ball to me, but it didn’t help that he couldn’t aim (Thanks for trying pal). It’s the though that counts, right? Mat Latos watched the whole thing happen, but he just retrieved the ball and tossed it back to the infield. A few minutes later another ball was hit into the open gate on the field level, but this time the employee threw the ball to Mat Latos, who relayed the throw to me!

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In the previous picture Latos has his back turned towards the camera. It may have taken almost all of batting practice, but I was on the board! At the end of batting practice I moved here:

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As the players were coming off the field a Reds player (with a cool beard) threw a ball to me, but an autograph collector put his hands up in front of my glove and stole my ball. Bummer.

No one scored in the first inning, but the Brewers took the lead in the second inning when Khris Davis pounded a home run to the left field loge. 434 feet is a long ways. Khris Davis is one of the guys on the brewers who have stepped up and had a solid year so far. The Reds tied the game in the 5th inning Zack Cozart singled to center field, which allowed Devin Mesoraco to score on the play. In the top of the 6th inning I went to get some Nachos and didn’t get back until the 8th inning. All the lines were crowded because of the $10 vouchers. Thank you, Ryan Braun, for the free food. The insanely long lines combined with the concession staff’s slow pace really slowed things down a lot. This was the shortest line:

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I got the opportunity to spend 45 quality minutes in line, for some nachos. Was it worth it? haha, I’m really not sure!  I missed seeing Joey Votto’s home run to center field in the 6th inning. Votto’s homer put the Reds on top, 2-1 and it stayed that way the rest of the game. Following the game my dad and I headed out and called it a night. Besides the concession lines, It was a good night.

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The attendance was 36,076, but Miller Park looked a lot emptier than that. I think it seemed empty because 36,000 at Target Field is almost at full capacity where at Miller Park its only around 80%.

Here is the box score and scoring plays from the game:

scoring plays

A Piece of The Game MVP:

Mat Latos: Thanks for hooking me up with a ball today.

Player of the Game:

Tony Cingrani: He had a very solid outing of 6.1 innings while only allowing one run on four hits. Count them, he struck out NINE batters and only allowed one walk. He is, the Player of the Game.

Here’s my final haul from the day:

BALL

  • 1 ball in this game
  • 40 balls in 13 games this season = Avg. 3.07 balls per game
  • 5 consecutive games @ Miller Park with at least 1 ball
  • 23 consecutive games with at least 1 ball
  • Gotten at least 1 ball from 15 different teams
  • 84  total balls

4-3-13 @ Miller Park – Rockies vs. Brewers

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My dad and I got to Miller Park at 4:40 because I was headed to TGI’s to catch part of the Brewers portion of batting practice. Actually, my dad dropped me off and met me back at Miller Park for the start of the game. It was another cold day as the temperature was somewhere in the high 20’s to the low 30’s. Unfortunately the weather would only get colder as the night went on. Fortunately Miller Park has a retractable roof which meant that I would be inside a climate controlled environment. Oh, how I love Miller Park. I’d like to mention that this was the 3rd day in a row where I had spotted ice at the ballpark!

Once I got inside TGI’s and to the “Front Row” I was greeted by Shawn and his girlfriend. They had had no luck so far because of the Brewers hitters’ lack of power during batting practice. Eventually though, there were a few balls that made it up to the restaurant area. I was the first of the three of us to snag a ball on Wednesday. Khris Davis chased a ball to the wall and then tossed it up. However, it wasn’t intended for me, it was intended for Shawn. Because it was intended for Shawn, I moved 6+ feet behind him to let him have his space on the catch. Khris Davis threw it way over Shawn’s head, which was directly to me.

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Not more than 10 minutes later Rickie Weeks hit an absolute bomb to left center field. In case you forgot, WE were in left center field. The ball cleared all of our heads. The first thing it hit was a stair case that was 10 feet behind us.

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The second thing it hit was the inside of my glove, because I caught it when it bounced back.

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As the time got closer to 5:40 I started to plan where I would go for the Rockies portion of bp I knew the sun would be a very big problem just like the day before so I didn’t even think about going to the Loge. When the gates finally opened at 5:40 (read 5:45), I positioned myself here:

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I watched the pitchers warm up on the field and then got completely ignored as I asked for a ball when they had finished throwing.

Shortly afterwards I noticed this:

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Did you see it? In the previous picture there was a ball that had been stopped by the net. I moved over to the first row of section 127 and was in the perfect spot to get the toss-up.

Here’s a closer look at it:

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Coach Jim Wright threw it to me as he was heading off the field. Batting practice wasn’t over yet, but for whatever reason he left the field early. Anyways, here was my new ball:

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That was all the action in batting practice. Now let’s fast forward to the game. Our seats were in section 112 on the aisle. This was the view:

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I would’ve played for 3rd out balls the whole game, but most of the ushers don’t even want you to stand in the aisle for the duration of 1 out. For some reason I didn’t mind this as much as I had the night before. I didn’t even try to stand in the aisle tonight; I just enjoyed sitting down and watching the game with my dad. My dad and I both noticed that 1st base was occupied by both Gonzalezs’ at least once throughout the game:

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In the fourth inning I got up to get some Nachos. While I was waiting for the nachos to be made I thought I should get a picture looking towards the field. At that point I was photo bombed by person #1 who you can see in the next photo:

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Persons 1, 2 and 3 in the previous picture were all drunk, but they were in a good friendly mood. They were all friends who came to the game together. You might have noticed that he was pointing at something in the picture. Yeah, he was pointing at my Rockies hat. He started to jokingly reprimand me for being a Rockies fan. I let him have his fun and then we had a conversation while we ALL waited for our food. As we were talking, person #3 spilled her beer on person #1 and #2. I did my best not to laugh. About a minute before I finally got the Nachos person #1 started yelling, “YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL!! YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL!!” I turned my shoulder to see who he was yelling to and discovered he was hitting on a 15 or 16 year old girl. The girl only blushed, laughed, and tried to ignore him. Not surprisingly she thought it was hilarious and couldn’t help giving him her attention. Person #3 said, “Stop! She’s like 14!” Person #1 then continued, “SHE’S BEAUTIFUL!! ISNT SHE BEAUTIFUL?! SHE’S SO BEAUTIFUL!!” Oh the memories of Miller Park.

In the 8th inning I was returning to my seat from getting a napkin when I was asked to take a picture for 4 guys. I gladly took a few pictures of them, and then they rewarded me with a ticket for behind the Rockies’ On Deck Circle. They were awesome guys!

Starting in the bottom of the 8th inning this was my new view:

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The game lasted 3 hours and 31 minutes. My favorite part of the game was seeing Rickie Weeks’ home run in the second inning.

Here is the box score and the scoring plays from the game:

4-3-13 box score 4-3-13 scoring summary

Once the game ended I was the first to get a ball from Umpire Tony Randazzo. That ball concluded my visit to Miller Park.

On our way out of the stadium my dad and I got our picture taken by an usher:

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I took somewhat of a patriotic photo on our way to our car:

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A Piece of The Game MVP:

Rickie Weeks:   He provided me with my first hit ball at Miller Park.

Player of The Game:

Wilin Rosario:   He went 3-5 on the night, collected 2 RBI, and also crossed the plate for a run.

Here is my final haul from the game:

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Stats:

  • 4 balls at this game
  • 13 balls in 3 games this season = Avg. 4.33 balls per game
  • 13 consecutive games with at least 1 ball
  • 13 consecutive games with at least 2 balls
  • 7 consecutive games with at least 3 balls
  • 4 consecutive games @ Miller Park with at least 1 ball
  • 4 consecutive games @ Miller Park with at least 2 balls
  • 3 consecutive games @ Miller Park with at least 3 balls
  • 2 consecutive game @ Miller Park with at least 4 balls
  • Gotten at least 1 ball from 12 different teams
  • 57 total balls

4-2-13 @ Miller Park – Rockies vs. Brewers

The previous day I had been at Target Field for Opening Day. Immediately following the Twins game I packed for Wisconsin. My family and I left our house the next morning (Tuesday) on our way to Wisconsin. We were staying near Milwaukee at our relatives’ house for a few days. After eating an early dinner at my grandparents’ house, my dad and I drove to Miller Park, the home of the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers have been my favorite baseball team since I was very little, so I kind of adore Miller Park.

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We arrived at Miller Park at 5 (2 hours early) because I was going to go into Friday’s to talk with Shawn Bosman while my dad bought a new Brewers hat from the team store.

I noticed two things as my dad and I walked up to the stadium from the parking lot:

  1. The roof was closed because the temperature outside was no higher than 30 degrees.
  2. For the second day in a row I saw ice on the ground outside the ballpark (the previous day at Target Field) as I walked to a gate. This was a little depressing.

Friday’s Front Row Grill is located in left field of Miller Park.

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There is a “Front Row” that actually overlooks the field. Friday’s has an hour time limit on those tables, and you also have to spend a minimum amount of money to sit there.

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I got in free by saying that I was meeting Shawn, who was already inside. In the picture above, he is standing up facing the camera. Shawn is Milwaukee’s number 1 ballhawk. He has snagged over 1,650 baseballs over the last 9 years and 23 of them are game home run balls. Shawn had already been there for an hour or two, and had caught a bp homer on the fly that was hit by Ryan Braun. This is the view from behind the tables:

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The Left Field Loge overhangs to the right:

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There is also a bit of an overhang to the left from the Harley Davidson Deck, so in order for a ball to be hit here it has to be placed perfectly. Unfortunately, the Ryan Braun homer was all the action either of us were going to get while at Friday’s.

Shawn gave me a few tips to use around Miller Park and we talked until the gates opened. In case you are interested you can follow Shawn on Twitter by following @BallhawkShawn. Shawn also writes the blog The Inherent Dangers of Watching Professional Baseball, so you should probably check that out! We were already inside the park, but were contained to a small area of the concourse in left field until the other gates opened.

When the gates finally opened, the Rockies were just getting in the cage so we both went to the left field loge. Shawn caught two home runs in the first 5 minutes, but that was most of the action. After the first 10 minutes had passed, the sun was shining in through the windows on the first base side in the 400 level onto the left field loge. The sun was so bad that even when I used my glove to block the sun, I could still barely see the field. Just to give you an idea of how bright the sun was, here is a picture that I took 30 minutes later:

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One of the reasons I like Miller Park so much is because of the left field loge. Unlike Target Field, Miller Park offers outfield seating that is somewhat ballhawk friendly. I would much rather go for hit balls over toss ups any day of the week. But because of the sun, there was no way I could see the ball.

Every time the sun pierced my eyes, I felt my chances of getting a baseball were deteriorating. So, a few minutes later I decided to relocate here:

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I got my first ball of the day there from this member of the Rockies:

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I’m fairly certain that it is the same ball that he was holding in the picture above.

Since I know I’d be pushing my luck by trying to get another ball in this same spot, I decided to move to the Rockies dugout. I got my second ball from another “member” of the Rockies:

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Just before batting practice ended I got my third ball from Rick Matthews – the Rockies Baseball Operations Assistant. Here is that ball:

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I typically don’t like mooching off the dugouts because I know there are other baseballs to be snagged in other parts of the stadium. However, much like the day before, this was a very slow batting practice. Even though I prefer hit balls rather than asking for toss ups, I’m still fine with asking for toss ups. If I need to mooch off the dugout to get a ball, then I probably will.

When bp ended I moved to the Rockies bullpen, but was unsuccessful in my quest for ball #4. I met my dad back at our seats – on the aisle of section 218, directly behind home plate on the second level.

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This was PRIME foul ball territory. Unfortunately, the moment I got up to stand in the giant cross aisle I was yelled at by an usher. This usher was extremely jumpy and aggressive. He said (yelled), “STOP ROAMING, YOU CAN’T ROAM THIS AISLE! Let me see your ticket! Go sit down, you can’t stand here!” He was very unreasonable and I didn’t want to deal with him so I went to talk to the other usher near my section. This usher was NOT aggressive or jumpy. Yet, our conversation didn’t really go anywhere. I explained that I was hoping to catch a foul ball and that I had read the rules for Miller Park. There was no rule that said there was no standing in the cross aisles. This usher didn’t get mad at me, but he didn’t know how he should respond. When I asked why I couldn’t stand there he responded, “There are little signs on the wall that say no autographs.” I wasn’t talking about autographs. I clarified myself by saying, “I’m not trying to get the broadcasters’ autographs. I’m trying to catch a foul ball.” Again, he responded, “You can’t be here because there are no autographs.” This was really frustrating me so I decided to let it go. I’m not exaggerating about the ushers either. I was never rude to either of the ushers but they still thought that they should be grouchy and angry with me. The first usher seemed genuinely furious.

In the third inning something incredible happened. As Ryan Braun settled into the box, my dad leaned over to me and said, “Watch this, he is going to hit a home run!” Less than 5 seconds later Braun sent the ball to right field for a 2 run blast. That was the only specific baseball prediction I have ever heard my dad make. Wow, just wow. I just sat there and didn’t know what to say.

I sat with my dad for the first 5 innings and then watched the next inning and a half from the right field bleachers directly behind the Rockies bullpen. While I was there I encountered the most drunk and obnoxious people I have ever seen in my life. There were 5-7 guys who must have been just passed legal drinking age. They were absolutely hammered. I had already seen a bunch of really drunk people at the game, but these guys had to the most to drink by far. They had been heckling the bullpen catcher the whole time:

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They kept yelling crude and sexual insults at him – insults that I won’t share with you because they are so messed up. I really have no idea why they didn’t get ejected because a security guard talked to them twice, and the usher talked to them on at least 3 different occasions. On top of that, the few other people who were actually in the section were getting very annoyed with them. I don’t know why I stayed there for an inning and a half, because I couldn’t wait to sit by my dad instead of those idiots.

At the beginning of the 9th I went to stand at the top of the aisle nearest to the Rockies dugout in order to get to the dugout as soon as the game ended.

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While I was standing there I met a kid named Cole. Let me just say that I knew right off the bat that Cole was going to be a cool kid to talk to. I was right! Cole is 14 and is a grapher (autograph collector) at Miller Park. He has collected autographs since he was 4 years old and now he has hundreds of them.

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He goes to as many Brewers games as he can with his family. Last year he attended 35 games. We also talked a little about myself and ballhawking. I gave him my card and told him we should say in touch. Later that night he emailed me and told me he made an MLBlog called Cole’s Hot Corner. Don’t hesitate to check out Cole’s blog. He is a great writer! You can also follow him on Twitter by following @coleshotcorner.

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Once the game ended we hurried to the dugout. I tried to get a ball from the umpire while Cole tried getting autographs from the same spot. We were both unsuccessful because the ushers pulled us both aside. The first usher yelled, “What the hell do you think you’re doing?!” Cole and I looked at each other in confusion. The ushers continued, “That’s the ownership right there!” I said, “Yeah, ok?” The usher seemed to get way more furious when I said that. He responded, “You two just hopped over his row of seats and you’re scaring the ownership away! You are pissing him off!” I defended Cole and I by pointing out that we weren’t even in the same row as the owner. The owner was 2 rows ahead of us. They were yelling at the wrong people. Instead of yelling at Cole and me, they should’ve been yelling at the fans who actually did something wrong. Because of this, I had missed my 1 chance at getting one final baseball.

On our way out my dad and I had an usher take our picture.

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Cole and I said goodbye and planned on seeing each other the next day at the game. Just like the previous day, the game was very long. The Brewers lost 8-4. Here is the box score:

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A Piece of The Game MVP:

Undecided.

Player of The Game:

Carlos Gonzalez:              He went 2-5 and had 2 RBI. He helped his team win.

Here is my final haul from the game:

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Those booklets were left over from opening day, so I grabbed a few on my way out of the stadium.

Stats:

  • 3 balls at this game
  • 9 balls in 2 games this season = Avg. 4.5 balls per game
  • 12 consecutive games with at least 1 ball
  • 12 consecutive games with at least 2 balls
  • 6 consecutive games with at least 3 balls
  • 3 consecutive games @ Miller Park with at least 1 ball
  • 3 consecutive games @ Miller Park with at least 2 balls
  • 2 consecutive games @ Miller Park with at least 3 balls
  • 1 consecutive game @ Miller Park with at least 4 balls
  • Gotten at least 1 ball from 12 different teams
  • 53 total balls