April 15th, 2009

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April 15th,
2009. Reds at Brewers.

 

Earlier in the week, the tone was set for another crappy
snagging day. I learned I was to work until 3:45
PM, about an hour later than I prefer to leave. No way would I let
that happen. I weaseled my way out early, and we were off to the races. I got
home to find my setup still sitting where I set it the night before.

setup.jpg

 

Call me fair-weather. Tell me I’m not a true fan. Say what
you want, but it works.  

 

We got to Friday’s Front Row Grill at about 4:00. So far, so good. Batting practice was
uneventful for the first few minutes, until the heavens opened up… or so it
seemed. In a classic Milwaukee Brewers move, Brewers management made the park
10x less fan friendly than the year before. They put in a new deck above the
outside portion of Fridays, eliminating probably 70% of baseballs from getting
to fans’ gloves at Friday’s. Long story short, Yovani Gallardo was bunting. Bunting. And out of nowhere, a ball
lands directly next to our table. It came STRAIGHT down, there was no way it
was hit. I have no clue where this ball came from. I think it came from the picture below… but I snatched it as fast as
I could.

 harley nonsense.jpg

Baseball #1:

blog 002.jpg

 

Then came the bad news. A group of high-schoolers were
seated about 4 tables to my left. Great. They began to hoot and holler, saying
the dumbest stuff to the players. In case you didn’t know, saying stupid s***
to the players is not a good idea. It basically eliminates you and everyone around you from ballhawking
contention. They were begging for baseballs from Mark “Deefer” DiFelice while
Rickie Weeks stepped up.

 

Weeks can rake in BP. Weeks puts on a dead-pull show. It
took maybe 4 or 5 tries, but Weeks reached the restaurant, right to the kids
who were hollering. In all their stupor, they managed to pay zero attention and
not see the ball. It smashed a few glasses and a plate on their table. Imagine
a frag grenade inside a full glass of Coke. That’s what it looked like, honest.
I was laughing up a storm. The best part is still to come…

 

Only 2 batters later, Weeks stepped to the plate again. By
this time he was primed and ready to go yard a few times. I watched a few sail
wide left and wide right, and my moment came soon enough. When a ball is hit
your way, it just sounds different. You know the second it leaves the bat its
coming your way. I heard that sound. Knowing those kids were watching while
cleaning up their disaster area, I figured I’d do something slick… I Cadillac-ed
it. I let them know I’ve done this a ton of times before… I took my elbows of
the railing in front of me and just stood still, arms down. I didn’t put my glove up, all I
did was track the ball. At the last possible second, I began to lift my glove
hand and snatched the ball one handed. Baseball
#2:

blog 003.jpg

No smile, no yelp, no celebration. I turn and look in their direction
and say “I hope you guys took notes”. I sat back down and finished my burger. That
was how BP at Fridays ended. The second I get up to leave and I know they
cannot see my face, I crack up. Too funny. Time to switch into the Reds Gear.

 

The ballpark opens and I sprint down to the Reds dugout.
Everyone else who gets autographs goes in from behind home plate, easily 3
times closer than where I enter. I end up being third from the dugout, beating
nearly 20 people. I’m 6’2″ tall and 220 LBS. In other words I’m not fast. Come
on people.

 

 But anyways… I see Jay
Bruce warming up, playing catch in front of the dugout. All decked out in my
Reds stuff, I ask Jay if he could sign one for a Reds fan. “After BP buddy” is
what I got back. When you hear that, its almost a guaranteed “no”. 99 times out
of 99.5 times it’s a “no”. So I was disappointed and figured I would never get
his autograph. But I can say this much: Jay Bruce is a man of his word. When
all the players began to trot in from the outfield, he ran straight to me,
signed my ball first, and DIDN’T sign for any of the eBayers (D-bags at Miller
Park who sell their autographs for
their coke habits, and ruin it for the real fans in the process). Thank God Jay
knew the difference. I also got Chris Dickerson and Paul Janish. Danny Ray
Hererra signed later on.

blog 004.jpg

Bruce, Dickerson and Janish. Herrera not pictured.

Every player on the 2009 Reds has signed a baseball of
mine, has thrown one to me or batted a ball I have caught in the past 2 seasons
(in exception to Encarnacion, Taveras,  Volquez and Masset). I’ve got these guys on
lock. The Reds have been good to me, my last double digit game was against the
Reds. 2 Dunn’s, 3 Bruce’s, 4 Votto’s and 3 Griffey’s (BP homers). That was a
good day to say the least. I’ll blog about that one next time I get bored. 

 

The game was a good one, that’s all I have to say. I could
go on for ever and ever about Ken Macha being Jesus or about Rickie Weeks
finally getting it together, but I know my readers have spilt allegiances. It
was a welcome sight to see a crooked number up there in our favor (I say “our”
favor wearing a Reds shirt/hat talking about the Brewers). The game ended and I got a mystery ball at the Reds dugout. Baseball #3:

blog 008.jpg

 

Disappointing totals. But my day will come. You’ll be
hearing about a 15 or 16 ball game soon, I promise you that. I want to best my
own Milwaukee record of 15 in one
game.

Side note, I redid our living room. Like it?—–

blog 001.jpg

 

 

2009 Totals:

 

1 Hit

1 Easter Egg

1 Thrown

 

3 on the 15th of April.

 

4 Total in 2 games.

2/game.

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2 comments

  1. txfilmmkr

    Shawn,

    Good read. That’s pretty slick that you can go to Fridays and catch a bit of BP before the stadium opens.
    Jay Bruce is really good about signing. He’s a local guy for the Astros, from just down the road in Beaumont. He signed enough to probably get a cramp when they were in Houston earlier this month. He signed my big glove at the visitors baseline along with a few dozen other things for fans. Nice guy all around.
    Donny in Houston
    http://lonestar.mlblogs.com

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