We got here SUPER early. About an 1 hour and 30 minutes before the gates opened.
And not a lot of people were there. Most of the lines at the gates looked like this:
First we bought our tickets at the box office, and I got this picture:
for the mygameballs.com scavenger hunt. And then, since it was about 32 degrees we went into the team store:
My friend Matthew ( you might remember him from my last game at Miller Park ) and I found this weird Carlos Gomez shirt.
I think it is supposed to be dirt, but it sure looks like ” Carlos Gomez ” just got sick to his stomach……
Anyway, after hanging out in the store for about an hour or so we headed over to Fridays!!!
I’ve always wanted to go there. We went in there just to grab some fries, because everyone was hungry ( The whole group was: Nick, Matthew, my Dad, my friend Leighton, and her dad ). We got a table outside, and this was the view:
When we got there the Royals had just started to come out of the dugout and warm up, so I really didn’t go for toss ups until the Brewers left the field, so the Royals wouldn’t catch on to my switching hats act. Anyway, after we finished up our fries, Nick and I left the restaurant to ballhawk in the stadium. First we headed up to the left field bleachers:
And got something. But it wasn’t a baseball. Back in October Ballhawk Shawn had a social media contest, and I won. So he gave me my prizes: A Brewers rally towel, A Yankees 2012 phantom World Series ticket, and a 2012 postseason lanyard (I’ll have pictures at the end of the post). Thanks, Shawn!
After having no luck in Left field, Nick and I met up with Leighton and Matthew. Leighton and I went up to the second deck in right field. I didn’t get any balls, but there were a bunch of frustratingly close calls. First, I miss played a line drive home run. At first it looked like it was headed right to me, but then it started slicing towards the foul pole, so I took a step over, reached up, and it bounced off the very top of my glove and went behind me to the competition ( Shawn, and Ryan Mortenson, who Shawn introduced me to about a minute earlier ). And right after that, another homer game right over my head and landed a few rows behind me. But what I did get was a good view of the redesigned Toyota Territory:
It looked so nice I decided to go check it out. This was the view:
It would have been pretty good for some toss-ups but it was kinda crowded in there, and there were a few guys who kept yelling at Brett Hayes, and Tim Collins ( The two players closest to the territory ). And the one toss up from Hayes went to the crazy guys, to (Most likely) shut them up. And then BP ended.
After BP I met up with Matthew and Nick at the bullpen. Nick and Leighton went to get autographs while Matthew and I waited for someone from the Royals to come to the Bullpen and toss out these:
After a few minutes the Royals ball/bat boy came to put some Gatorade cups in the orange box/cooler thing. After he did that we asked him for the balls and he tossed one to me and one to Matthew.
I was relieved to get on the board. Also, that was Matthew’s first baseball he’s ever snagged!
After we were done out by the bullpen we headed up to our seats. Not just any seats. The best foul ball seats in the big leagues. This was the view:
The bleachers were complete ghost towns!
But then again, it was an exhibition game.
For the first few innings I sat and watched the game from our awesome seats. One thing that kinda made me mad was when Ryan Braun’s name was announced in the lineup, and when he stepped to the plate, everyone cheered and kissed his butt. My dad and I were the only ones booing. And to make matter’s worse he hit a home run to dead center field in his second at-bat. Smh.
Anyway, at about the middle of the 4th inning I decided to go all out for foul balls. I mean, how pathetic would it be to sit in the best foul ball seats in the MLB, at a game with 10,151 attendance, and not snag a foul ball?
The first half inning I was told by an usher that “You really can’t stand here” (the aisle right below the press box) and to “Grab a seat in the back row” which really wasn’t a problem. While I was sitting there I got a really close call with a foul ball. A pitch got fouled off, right on line with me. It bounced off a seat about 3 rows in front of me, over my shoulder ( I was leaning forward, attempting to snare it after it bounced off the seat ), hit the blue wall right below the press box, and rolled under my seat. Then a scramble ensued for the ball, and some little kid ended up with it. It was frustrating. At that point I was not going to settle for sitting in the back row of the section. After the inning ended I went up to a different usher and asked if I could stand along the wall to go for foul balls, and she said yes.
This is where I stood for righties:
and this is where I stood for lefties:
After I had switched back and forth for about 4 batters in the top of the 5th, Salvador Perez ( a righty ) stepped to the plate. About 2 pitches into the count (I don’t remember the exact details) he fouled one back my way. I ran about 4 or 5 steps to my right, reached across my body with my glove hand and made the catch, on the fly:
It was great. I got a bunch of high fives from people. It was an awesome moment.
For the rest of the game I sat back, relaxed and watched the rest of the game. The Royals won 5-4
Talk about a great way to start the season! Thank God baseball is back!
2 balls at this game ( one pictured here because I gave my BP ball to Leighton )
2 balls this season ( so far )
14 balls lifetime
Ryan Mortensen: 4
It’s almost Opening day, and my first (exhibition) game is later this week, and I haven’t posted in a while, so I figured I should post my goals for the 2014 MLB championship season.
This might be setting the bar a little high coming of a 10 ball, 9 game season, but if you don’t set the bar high, how will you get anywhere? This probably will not happen, but who knows? If I am a little more aggressive ( Going for more than one baseball during BP, ballhawking in game, etc ) it very well could. But this also means stepping up the game when it comes to getting to games early. Ideally I would like to be there 30 minutes before the gates open, but that is sometimes hard to do with a 5 person family……. But, if we make it to enough games I could reach this goal. Which leads me to my next goal:
With the help of the awesome White Sox, and Brewers discount pricing we might be able to make this goal. The Sox offer $15 dollar lower corner seats on all Sunday home games. The Brewers have kids and seniors discount days where kids 14 and under get 50% off their tickets on weekday day games. I assume we will go to around 2 Cubs games, about 3 or 4 games on our summer road trip ( Details later ), and 2 or 3 games on short weekend trips.
4 new ballparks
This goal is the most likely to happen out of all my goals. I figure I will make it to Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Target Field in Minneapolis, and Citi Field in New York city ( we are going back to NYC this year, and we didn’t make it to a baseball game last year because of the unbearable heat ). We will most likely see at least 2 more ballparks on our summer trip.
1 line-up card
I have not had the best experiences while going for line up cards in the past, but its worth another shot. I really want one.
3 game balls
Using Miller Park and US cellular field’s non-ticket checking ushers to my advantage, this is possible. I will mostly try for third out balls, but there is a chance I could snag a foul ball at Miller Park. It has the best spot in the major’s for catching foul balls, so it could happen.
The Cubs might not do so well, but otherwise, I think 2014 is going to be great.
Spring Training has started, and a few solid free agents are still out there. Here are a few places I think they should go.
Seattle Mariners: Cruz would be an okay fit into the Seattle lineup. Without him in the lineup opposing pitchers could easily pitch around Robinson Cano. With Cruz it would be a lot more difficult to pitch to the top of the Mariners lineup. Realistically, there isn’t much room in the outfield, with Michael Saunders, Logan Morrison, and Corey Hart. I don’t see this happening unless Cruz is unsigned until the last minute.
Baltimore Orioles: Cruz would be a good fit in Baltimore. Their outfield is not full, with Nick Markakis being the only starter set in stone. If the Orioles want a solid outfield they need to go out and sign someone. Whether it be Cruz or Kendrys Morales. Morales would be a better fit, and is the more realistic option. But if the O’s want to make a splash and contend in the very talented AL east they should definitely sign him.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Ervin Santana would make the D-backs rotation solid. He could slide right into the 2 or 3 spot in the rotation behind Patrick Corbin or Bronson Arroyo. It could put them in contention for a wild card spot. But this most likely won’t happen because they just signed Arroyo.
Toronto Blue Jays:
Santana would give the Blue Jays rotation a good boost. He would be a good replacement for Josh Johnson, who left for San Diego in free agency. He would be a nice 1, 2, 3, punch with Mark Buehrle, and R.A. Dickey in the rotation.
Kansas City Royals:
If no one signs Santana midway through spring training I expect the Royals to re -sign him. It would be a key to the Royals contention in the AL Central.
Cruz: Seattle Mariners
Santana: Kansas City Royals
What do you think? Leave your predictions in the comments
December, 30th’s Chicago Bears loss to the Green Bay Packers made me think……. alot, about how baseball is better than football ( Don’t get me wrong, i’m a football fan ). The more I thought, the more reasons I thought of. So, I decided to blog about it.
#1: Teams. In football the whole team is built around one position: The quarterback. If you don’t have a good QB you don’t have a good team. In baseball the GM can choose what player/position to build around, or just build around a few players . A good example of this is, arguably the best organization in baseball, the St. Louis Cardinals. They have established a ” Cardinal Way” of doing things. In 2011 after they won the world series, their star player: Albert Pujols left in free agency. But the Cardinals already had a steady stream of prospects coming from the minor leagues to keep them in contention. Morle of the story: They didn’t build around one player. A football example: The New England Patriots. Imagine them without their franchise QB Tom Brady. They have no supporting cast! Their Receivers are mediocre and injury prone, and they have no running game! But somehow he manages to pull them into the playoffs. But: What if he retires or gets injured? They would be a terrible football team with no core.
#2: Players. Lots of pro football players aren’t very well behaved. You always hear about football players getting charged for DUIs, Sexual Harassment, Murder etc. For example: Aaron Hernandez. His career is going well on the field, he’s getting paid a lot of money, but then he goes and screws himself by shooting and killing a guy in the offseason. You don’t hear a lot of that about baseball players. I’m not saying baseball players are saints, but they are a lot better than football players.
#3: Stadiums/Fields. All football fields are the same. 100 yard fields at all the stadiums. Baseball stadiums are unique. I know that all the bases are 90ft apart but, you could have different outfield dimensions. You could have Ivy growing on the walls, You could have a huge green wall in left field, you could have a beach behind the outfield fence, you could have fish tanks behind home plate! You don’t see stuff like that at football stadiums.
#4: Fans. I have to say I like football fans. They add a another dimension to the game. They truly are the 12th man on the field. But sometimes it can go too far. They get in fights with other fans, drink tons of beer, then watch the game, drink more beer, get in more fights after the game, and then drive……… N0t good. Not all football fans are like that, and some baseball fans are. But most of the time it is football fans. Baseball teams stop selling beer after the 7th inning, so that helps. I’m not sure if football has anything like that.
#5: Injuries/Player safety. This is all you hear about on the news when it come to sports. Concussions, lawsuits about concussions, concussion safety. You hear about former players talking in interviews about how they might not let their own kids play football. The NFL is looking for ways to change the game to make it safer. It’s disappointing, because it really isn’t working. The bottom line is: Football is a dangerous game. I’m not saying people shouldn’t play it, because it is a great game, but the game really can’t be changed. Any changes they make won’t eliminate the risk of a concussion. Baseball doesn’t need to be changed. You don’t need to tackle people to win the game. Sure, injuries can happen, but they aren’t as common as in football. Head injuries can happen, but they are few and far between. You almost never hear about players committing suicide. I was shocked when I heard former Cub Ryan Freel had killed himself. I was disappointed. He really played hard. But that is the reason he got so many concussions. But a lot of players play 12 plus years in the league and never get a concussion. The nature of baseball is calmer than football, therefore resulting in less injuries.
I’m sure i’m missing a lot of points, but these are the big ones. What do you think? Can you think of any other points? Let me know what you think in the comments.
Happy New year!!!!!!
This offseason I will be reviewing all the baseball stadiums I have been to. I will be reviewing them based on 3 things: Ballhawking, Fan experience, and surrounding area ( the area around the Ballpark and city ). First up is Wrigley Field.
Wrigley Field is not the best ballhawking park. The first problem you run into is the ushers. They are very strict, but friendly ( most of the time ). They ask where you are going every time you walk in the cross aisle and It slows you down a ton. Before you walk in the cross aisle come up with an excuse just in case ( and don’t talk about ballhawking! They seem oblivious to it, and we don’t want that to change….).
The next problem you run into is tickets. In order to get into the bleachers you need a bleacher ticket. It is pretty annoying being contained to the seating bowl during BP. Second, if you want to go for third out balls you can’t enter the sections right behind the dugout unless you have a ticket there. If you don’t have a ticket you can only enter that section after the game. Those tickets price from around $90 to $110 depending on who the Cubs are playing.
The gates open 2 hours early almost every day. Before the gates open you can ballhawk on Waveland and Sheffield avenues for baseballs flying out over the bleachers. 2014 may be the last year this is possible, since the Cubs are putting up a ridiculously large jumbo tron in left field. Don’t bother bringing the glove or cup trick. If you are caught using it you could be kicked from the stadium. If you have any ballhawking questions please leave a comment.
The feeling of being at Wrigley Field is impossible to describe. It is surreal to walk in and see the Scoreboard, and the Ivy on the walls. Overall it is a great experience. It has a very friendly atmosphere. The crowds are large, especially in the summer. There are so many diehard fans, and friendly people. The food is nothing special, but it isn’t horrible. Beers and Soda is ridiculously over priced, so bring your own soda and water. I don’t think you can bring in beer or alcohol. I recommend to sit back relax and take in the scenery ( the best time for this is after BP and before the game starts. )
The Wrigleyville neighborhood has so many local places to eat, within walking distance of the park. If you need a quick bite to eat before hitting the road there are many fast food places also. If you are wondering about safety, there is a large police presence on gamedays. And Wrigleyville is one of the more safe places in the city, so you can enjoy a walk around the neighborhood.
I hope this brief review was helpful to you. If you have any questions please comment.
Offseason Boredom post #1: Things I’m planning on doing this offseason and reaction to recent cubs news
Now that baseball season is over you may ask what the heck I will be doing this offseason. Well here are a few things I will be doing until Pitchers and Catchers report in February. I also have a few things to say about the recent Cubs news.
Baseball related things
Reading baseball books- I know for sure I will be reading Ted Williams by Leigh Montville, Just tell me I can’t by Jamie Moyer and Larry Platt, but I need some ideas. If anyone has recommendations please leave them in the comments
Watching MLB network- Best channel on T.V.
Training for next season- I don’t just watch baseball, I also play it.
Non baseball things
Kendama- A highly addicting Japanese skill toy. It takes lots of hand eye coordination, and I am pretty good at it. Search it on youtube. It is SUPER fun
Watching Football- Lets go Bears! In Marc we Trest!
Watching Hockey- Lets go Hawks!
Watching College basketball- I LOVE watching college basketball. It is way more entertaining than the NBA.
Cubs Hiring Rick Renteria: This is going to be interesting. I really don’t like Theo and Jed’s choice here. I think they could have gone out there and gotten a solid coach ( not that Rick Renteria isn’t ) or former manager that has proved himself, and been in a winning culture ( cough… cough… Dave Martinez… cough…cough…..) . Rick Renteria hasn’t really been in a winning culture. One of the few good things about hiring Renteria is that he speaks Spanish, so that will be good for the young Latino and Hispanic players on the Cubs.
Keith Moreland stepping down as broadcaster: If you didn’t get to listen to Keith on WGN radio that is to bad. He brought great insights and stories to the radio booth. He wasn’t as great as Ron Santo was, but Ron was a different type of broadcaster that is impossible to replace, but Keith was pretty good. I am sad to see another Cubs radio broadcaster’s time with the Cubs end so abruptly.
Cubs and WGN tv possibly parting ways at the end of 2014: This stinks. The Cubs have always had at least some of their games on WGN every season. And with WGN being a national station this would be bad for Cubs fans who live all over the country. I guess money means more to the Cubs than their fans do…………
2013 was a great season. My family and I went to 9 games. 2 Cubs games, 3 Sox games, 2 Brewers games, A Pirates game, and an Indians game. I finished the season with 10 baseballs.
There are a few thank you’s I need to give.
First of all to my parents- Thank you for taking us to all these games, and for putting up with me talking about ballhawking all the time.
Zack, Erik, Mike, and Shawn- Thank you for taking the time out of your day ( and games ) to meet me. I look forward to seeing you next year.
Nice Ushers- Thanks for giving us more opportunities to ballhawk. Tell your colleagues to be nicer.
Everyone reading this- Thanks for reading my blog. It has been a great first season.
What should I write about in the offseason? Any Ideas? Baseball book reviews? Stadium reviews? Give me your ideas in the comments.
If anyone needs a few blogs to read this offseason here are a few I read:
Mateo Fisher’s blog: http://mateofischer.mlblogs.com/
Tony Voda’s blog: plouffesnewhairdo.mlblogs.com
Todd Cook’s blog: cookandsonbats.mlblogs.com
Zack Hample’s blog: zackhample.mlblogs.com
Stay tuned for an upcoming post with lots of pictures……
I couldn’t believe this was the last game of the season! It went by so quick! We got to the game around 30 minutes before the gates opened ( which I am pretty sure is a record for us when it comes to Sox games ). After we parked we bought our lower corner seats at the box office, put our dog Jett: Into the dog check and got in line 10 minutes before the gates opened. When we got in we saw this: No BP, 2 games in a row. As soon as we saw that we moved down by where there were 2 Royals playing catch: And got nothing. But then I got a call from my mom and she said that Steve Stone and Ron Kittle were signing autographs in the concourse: I had them sign my ticket and scorecard. By the time I found Nick and Jack the Royals were done playing catch. When Nick and Jack were in line for autographs I met ballhawk Shawn behind the Royals dugout. We talked about mygameballs.com’s new verification system, and other ballhawking stuff. I was kind of relieved when he told me he was also getting shut out. It drives me nuts being the only one getting shut out. After I said bye to Shawn; Nick, Jack, and I moved here: And didn’t get any baseballs, but Nick did. But I did have Nate Jones sign my ticket.
He is in the Cubs jersey at the bottom of the stairs. He was also wearing a Bears helmet.
In the bottom of the between the Eighth and Ninth inning we moved to the closed unguarded section ( yes, the ushers were actually checking tickets…… not a good sign….. ) to the Royals dugout. And after the top of the Ninth ended Nick, Jack and I moved here:
And a girl got Josh Phegley’s bat.
After that we left the stadium, picked up our dog, and left.
Its gonna be a LONG winter……
10 baseballs this season, 12 lifetime
Skipping school. Going to the Cubs game. Ferris Bueller style. We got to Wrigley field around 10 minutes before the gates opened, bought our rather expensive tickets at the box office, and then got in the small line under the marquee to get into the stadium. When we got in this was the scene: No BP. But this was going on in right field: After they were done talking they started playing catch and I moved here: After they finished playing catch I ran back over to where I was and got bullpen coach Euclides Rojas to throw me a ball: It is my ball ever at Wrigley Field. After that Jason Grilli came and signed autographs for EVERY SINGLE PERSON waiting: He even signed my brother’s shirt! I had him sign my baseball: He is THE best. After the Pirates went into the clubhouse I went into the concourse to buy a scorecard. But they were SOLD OUT! You got to be kidding me! I know the Cubs are pretty cheap but you really didn’t print enough scorecards? Unbelievable.
Like I said earlier they were pretty expensive, but they were great seats. This was the only Cubs game I have ever went to when I was pulling for the other team. The Pirates were still in the division race and we really wanted them to win the division. That is one of the reasons we went to this game.
But as usual we didn’t get any chances at any foul balls. As for the game the Cubs jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first but the Pirates came back and tied it. Eventually the Cubs pulled away and won 4-1.
But before the game ended lots of stuff happened. In the top of the ninth Nick and Jack ( my brothers ) and I went here:
In hopes of getting to the Pirates dugout at the end of the game to get a ball. At Wrigley field the ushers don’t let you go into the section right behind the dugouts. Even for a 3rd out ball. It stinks, I know, but at least they let you in at the end of the game. Anyway, as soon as the last out was recorded we ran down to the dugout. We told everyone good luck in the playoffs and then Garrett Jones randomly said ” here guys ” and slid this beautiful, game used, broken bat:
Nick and I grabbed it at the same time so we shared it. It’s a ” Max bat ” model AM22. It has a crack from about half way up the handle to around where the black part of the bat starts. Its pretty cool.
After that we went back to around where our seats were, had our parents hold the bat, and we went down by the Pirates bullpen because they were still warming someone up, to get their work in I think. When they were done warming up Rojas threw me a ball, AGAIN! Wow! Has anyone else gotten two balls from one player in one game?
Thats them on the bridge. I would have gotten a better picture but I really didn’t have a chance.
A good last game at the real, authentic Wrigley Field that I know and love……..
2 baseballs, 10 this season, 12 lifetime
8 ( I think ) straight Cubs wins when I am in attendance ( they have never lost a game when I have went ).
We went to this game straight from school, so we were on pace to get there about 45 minutes before the gates opened ( 5:40 ). And then Traffic happened.
The entrance to I-94 from I-894 was closed. To make a long story short we made it there with around 10 minutes to spare. We went and bought our tickets at the box office ( we used the $10 vouchers we got at the last game ) and got in line right when they opened the gates
When we got in the stadium we ran over to the right field bleachers. After asking the 2 Reds players that were in right field for a ball we decided to move around a bit. First we headed to the second deck in right:
( I borrowed that pic from my friend Matthew’s Instagram, he came with )
Then we made the trek over to the second deck in left.
And got nothing.
After a few close calls I got Chris Heisey’s attention and he threw me a ball. It was my 10th ball lifetime.
My brother Nick tried using the glove trick for a ball ( upper right in the photo above ) and an usher yelled at him. I guess the glove trick is officially outlawed at Miller Park….. After BP was over the grounds crew came into the ‘pen and tossed all the balls out. Both of my brothers got one.
The game was pretty exciting. It seemed like the Brewers played with lots of energy. They jumped out to an early 2 run lead in the first and didn’t look back. The final score was 5-1. Kyle Lohse pitched a complete game. Carlos Gomez tied a career high 5 RBIs.
So he went to the ball bag and grabbed one for them. But here is the interesting part. I saw from afar that it was a Rockies 20th anniversary commemorative ball. Has anyone else gotten a commemorative ball from the Reds?
Can you guess why? Leave you guess in the comments ( that excludes you Nick….. )
In the 9th inning we moved to the seats right behind the Reds bullpen ( right above the yellow UW Milwaukee sign when it is shown on TV ) to get in position for a ball after the game ended. One ball was thrown into the crowd and Nick caught it.
Another good game at Miller Park
1 ball, 8 this year, 10 lifetime
4 consecutive games with at least 1 ball