Tagged: Major League

Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati 7/26

So, now that I was settled in Cincinnati, I was actually able to make it to the game early for batting batting practice. The Reds museum offers a ticket to what they call a “BP tour.” Basically, they charge you $15 so you can get into the stadium at 4:30pm for batting practice, as opposed to 5:15pm for season ticket holders, or 5:40pm for everyone else. Is it worth it, you ask? Well, let’s see…

The first day I did this, when we entered into the stadium, there was no one on the field. The cages were set up, but no one was taking batting practice. And it wasn’t until about 4:50pm that players started to come onto the field to begin batting practice. The Reds weren’t hitting many balls into the stands, but finally when Jay Bruce was hitting with the second group of hitters, he lifted one just over my head, which I ran up the stairs to retrieve from a seat. But that was it.

I ran to RF when the rest of the stadium opened at 5:40pm, and found a ball in foul territory in LF down the line. Then, I decided to hang out in the LF bleachers, where I caught a HR on the fly from an unidentified Mets player, who was hitting in the 3rd and final group. At the conclusion of batting practice, as I was walking up the stairs, an older man, who was at the game with his grandson pulled me aside and asked me if I’d sell him the ball I caught, and how much I wanted for him. I told him that I wouldn’t be able to sell it to him, but instead, I gave it to his grandson. He was overwhelmingly grateful and shook my hand twice, and really couldn’t thank me enough.

I always love to give away balls, especially when it means so much more to other people, and they truly appreciate the kind gesture.

For the game itself, I decided to splurge on a ticket. I spent $60, which is the most I’ve ever spent on a ticket to a regular season game. I’ve gone to a few Yankees vs. Red Sox games in Fenway, and spent $50, but that was years before the age of stubhub. Nowadays, I rarely even spend $20 on a ticket. This is how close I was:

In the picture above, you can see I’m sitting on the railing, directly above Jose Reyes. In the picture below, you can see that I’m directly behind the camera crew, on the 3B side of home plate.

Well, the purchase of this seat paid dividends! In the top of the 4th, Justin Turner fouled a ball back, and in was retrieved by Carlos Beltran in the on-deck circle. He then tossed it right to me!! That was it for balls from the game, but my day wasn’t done yet.

In the picture above, you can see Terry Collins sitting on the top step. Well, I had a post game request for him. When the game ended, with the Mets victorious, I waited to see him come out of the dugout to step onto the field to shake hands with everyone. When he emerged from the dugout I shouted his name, and he looked at me. I asked for the lineup card. He looked at me confused, and sorta shrugged his shoulders. When he returned to the dugout, I was unsure what the result was going to be, but about 7 seconds later, he sought me out, and this was the result:

FRIGGING AWESOME!!!!!

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The past month of my life

Well, anyone that knows me, and sees me on any sort of a regular basis, knows I have not been anywhere in sight lately, as I’ve spent most of my time out of New York.  I spent the weekend of May 15th-18th in Chicago, for a friend’s birthday and a Cubs game, then flew to Kansas City, getting to the airport 21 minutes before my flight was scheduled to leave thanks to the CTA (Chicago Transit Authority).  DO NOT trust Chicago Public Transit system.  It SUCKS!  Wrigley Field, is wonderful though.  It was May 16th, the Cubs had a 4-0 lead going into the top of the 9th on this beautiful Saturday.  Kevin Gregg comes in to blow it.  4 run lead in the 9th.  He gave it away.  He got some help from….wait for it….Aaron Heilman! SHOCKING!  The Cubs are good though, so they did ultimately win in the Bottom of the 9th.

Then, I went to Kansas City, and just walked into Kauffman Stadium (my 2nd to last MLB stadium, though I don’t actually count this game), in the Bottom of the 8th in a game vs. the Orioles on Saturday night.  2 stadiums in one day or 5 hours.  Impressive, eh? Beautiful stadium.  They did $250 million worth of renovations this past offseason.  What a great ballpark.  And the city of Kansas City was very nice as well.  They have a downtown called the power and light district.  It’s apparently a new area designed in KC.  VERY nice, lots of fun. I was impressed by how much I really enjoyed Kansas City.  If it wasn’t in the middle of nowhere, I could live there.

Next day, Sunday, I was scheduled to fly home, after the Royals 1pm game.  Got to the ballpark early for batting practice, around 10:40am.  It was a lot of fun hanging out on the Pepsi Porch, that is in left field in Kansas City.  I wandered around the park, trying to chase down a ball, quite unsuccessfully.  Ultimately, at the end of BP, just as two Orioles pitchers were finishing warming up, I screamed to them to ask for the ball, and they tossed it to me.  The seats I got for the game were pretty damn sick.  1st row on the field, just to the outfield side of the 3rd base dugout.  Around 3:20pm, I get an email and a phone call from delta telling me my flight was canceled and the next available flight was 6:55am TUESDAY!!!! WTF!?!?!  So I of course make some calls, FLIP OUT,pagination:widow-orphan;
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I’m on the phone screaming, telling the guy to tell me every
available flight out of Kansas City.  He’s both confused by what I’m saying, and
refusing.  He says I need a destination
and I basically start naming every city in America
that comes to my head where I know someone. 
Los Angeles, Atlanta,
Boston, Rochester,
Buffalo, Ft.
Lauderdale, Chicago,
etc.  No joke.  I named like 15 different cities before I
just got so frustrated I hung up without saying anything more.  Apparently there was not a single available
delta flight leaving Kansas City
before Tuesday.  UGH!!  Ultimately, I made the most of my
Monday.  I took a tour of the ballpark
and drove to Nebraska, just to go
there.

 

The following weekend was a trip upstate for Jared and Sonia’s
engagement party, which included a detour to Cleveland
for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Orlando Magic and the
Cleveland Cavaliers.  For those who don’t
remember, this was the game in which LeBron hit a 3 to win the game at the buzzer.  Cleveland
fans SUCK!  Being surrounded by 20,000+
******** sucks. I hate Cleveland
fans.  Browns fans I’ve always called the
worst fans in sports, but Cavs fans prove it is all Cleveland
fans.  It must suck not having won
anything since 1964, and only appearing in 4 championship games since then.

 

The following weekend, May 29th, began my journey
to upstate New York, and California,
which was ultimately altered.  It began
with a weekend in the poconos.  Monday,
was a Coldplay concert at Darien Lake
(Buffalo area), and Tuesday, I flew
to San Diego.  I was finally going to go to every single
Major League Baseball stadium.  And on June 2nd, 2009, I completed
one of my first life’s goals. 

 

Petco Park
is a gorgeous stadium.  Very nice, yet
very simple.  I really enjoyed it.  I also attended the game on June 3rd,
with a whole group of people.  Got a ball
in the 5th inning.  The 3rd
out baseball, from LF Will Venable.

 

June 4th was a trip up to Los
Angeles for the Dodgers.  Got a ball at this game from J.C. Romero
during batting practice.  This also
happened to be Game 1 of the NBA Finals, between the Orlando Magic and the Los
Angeles Lakers.  Now, I had planned my
trip to southern California in
April, and it never even crossed my mind that my favorite team, the Orlando
Magic, could be playing in the NBA Finals, and against the L.A. Lakers, giving
me the opportunity to go to a game! Unfortunately I could not obtain tickets to
Game 1, although the Magic lost by 25, so I guess it was for the better.

 

June 5th and 6th were spent in
Vegas.  LOVE Vegas.  June 7th was Game 2 of the NBA
Finals, and this game I went to.  The
Magic lost, of course, because Courtney Lee missed a layup at the end of
regulation.  June 9th was
another trip to Dodger Stadium, though I spent most of this game watching Game
3 of the NBA Finals on a tv in the stadium, surrounded by Lakers fans.  The Magic won. 
It was glorious.  The only reason
I went to this game was because I got free tickets.  And I did attend batting practice and got 2
balls.  1 from a random Dodgers coach and
1 from Padres closer Heath Bell , who I found, sitting on the left field wall
with the fans.  He greeted me warmly with
a handshake, as I was wearing a Padres jersey.

Heath Bell.jpg

He is one helluva great
athlete.  Really loves and enjoys the
game.  He hung out with the fans for a
good 15-20 minutes, until batting practice ended.

 

After some flight rearranging, I flew to Orlando
the next day, so I could go to game 4 of the Finals on June 11th.  The Magic lost again in heartbreaking
fashion.  I can’t go watch this team
play.  3 games, 3 heartbreaking
losses.  UGH!  June 12th, I made a trip to Tampa
Bay to see the Tampa Bay Rays play the Washington Nationals.  It’s a nicer stadium than I first thought
when I made my only other trip to Tampa
last September.  I really liked it.  Got 2 balls at this game – 1 from Grant
Balfour, and a 3rd out ball, which basically fell in my lap and was
pure luck from Nationals catcher Josh Bard. I stopped at the hard rock casino
on the way home.  Bad decision.

 

I returned to Tropicana Field the next day for a Ludacris
concert. VERY disappointing.  He sang
everything, without cursing!!! It’s Ludacris, how is he not gonna
curse?!?!?  He basically just said random
words without rhythm for 50 minutes. 
This is the second piss poor ludacris concert I have seen now.  The 2 worst concerts of my life, after the
first time I saw him was one of the best. 
I will never ever pay to see him again.

 

I returned to upstate NY on Sunday, and went to Cleveland
on Monday, June 15th, for a

rick_vaughn.jpg

Cleveland Indians vs. Milwaukee Brewers game.  It was Rick Vaughn bobblehead night!!!!  I missed BP for the game unfortunately, as I
got to the stadium around 6:40pm.  But I did get my Rick Vaughn bobble!!! For
those who don’t know, Rick “the wild thing” Vaughn is from the 1989 movie Major
League.  One of the best movies ever, not
just baseball movies.

 

Well that is the quick summary of my past month, in the
sports world.  I’ll be updating again
soon, maybe with an interesting story, maybe with something more in detail, who
knows what.  I was just trying to get my
life caught up.

And for anyone that’s keeping track, basically me, I’ve been to 9 MLB stadiums so far this season: New York Mets (Citi Field), New York Yankees (Yankee Stadium), Boston Red Sox (Fenway Park), Chicago Cubs (Wrigley Field), Kansas City Royals (Kauffman Stadium), San Diego Padres (Petco Park), Los Angeles Dodgers (Dodger Stadium), Tampa Bay Rays (Tropicana Field), and Cleveland Indians (Progressive Field)