Tuesday, May 12th vs. Florida Marlins.

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The day started out like any other. Little did I know the
day would get MUCH more interesting. To be more specific, the hour AFTER the
game will end up being more exciting than the actual game…

 

I got to Friday’s Front row and the place was empty. The
Brewers showed me NO love toss wise or long ball wise… that is until pitching coach
Bill Castro came out to watch Yovani Gallardo get some work in the bullpen.

 

Florida Marlins 303.jpg

 

Bill Castro threw me a ball lying in the back of the bullpen,
Baseball #1. That was it for the
Brewers part of BP. Time to switch over to my standard “USA Baseball jersey”
and Marlin’s cap.

 

The park opened and I jogged down to the left field corner. Within
15 seconds of the park opening, I got Baseball
#2
from Hayden Penn.
I saw Renyel Pinto tossing the ball with right hander Carlos Martinez. I asked
Renyel for the baseball in Spanish, and all he did was wave back. So I made my
way toward the dugout where Cody Ross was playing Catch.

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Baseball #3 Came from
infielder Chris Coghlan, halfway between the pitchers and Cody Ross.

 

“I think that was awesome when you went in to pitch a few
weeks back, Cody!” I hollered. I was talking about his April 26th outing
(http://florida.marlins.mlb.com/news/wrap.jsp?ymd=20090426&content_id=4434306&vkey=wrapup2005&fext=.jsp&team=home&c_id=fla).

 

“Haha, thanks man. You liked that?” He replied. A few
seconds later, an unidentified Marlins player threw a ball WAY over my head
into the empty stands. I’m talking maybe 20 or 30 feet over my head. It landed
in the empty seats a few rows behind me, and I scampered up the stairs and
retrieved Baseball #4. After
chatting it up with Alfredo Amezaga for about 5 minutes, I headed back to the
left field corner, where Renyel and Carlos finished playing catch.

 

Florida Marlins 308.jpg

 

One glove wag at Pinto and he threw me Baseball #5. I cleaned house in the left field corner, so it was
time to move on to the right field corner.

 

As soon as I got to the right field corner, I saw Brett Carroll
shagging fly balls. I made sure to make myself known as a “Marlins fan”. The
very first ball that Brett caught after our interaction, he whipped at me from
about 100 feet away for Baseball #6. Little
did I know, I would have a chance to speak with Mr. Carroll a little later… you’ll
want to keep reading for that, trust me.

 

I headed out to the bullpen and began talking to the bullpen
coach Steve Foster. Steve and I had quite the conversation about his middle
name, “Eugene”. No luck with the
baseballs.

 

Batting practice was about over, and I made my way to the
Marlin’s dugout. A huge crowd of grown men was swamping a corner of the dugout.
Usually that means a big name player is singing autographs. I squeezed my way
in and got Hanley Ramirez to sign a ball I got earlier in the day. I then moved
over the top of the dugout.

 

A Marlin hit a baseball off the net in front of third base.
It rolled towards me, stopping about 30 feet short. Matt Lindstrom came in
after batting practice, picked up the ball and threw it right to me for Baseball #7. He didn’t hold much back
on the throw, either.

 

After all the players settled in the dugout/clubhouse, I moved
to the bullpen once again. The starter for the Marlins would be John Koronka, a
journeyman to say the least.

 

Florida Marlins 339.jpg

 

 It would be his
Marlins debut. Koronka threw an amazing about of fastballs; I can only count 5
or 6 breaking balls out of his 40 or so warm up pitches. He concluded throwing
and bullpen catcher Jeffery Urgelles threw me the warm up ball, Baseball #8.

 

During the game, I played for Bill Hall’s 100th Career
HR, but no luck. My good friend Roy did snag Rickie Weeks’ HR, barehanded.

 

After the game I got a mystery ball, rubbed down for game
use… very possibly a third out. The Happy Youngster later informed me that it
was Jorge Cantu who rolled the ball over the dugout, Baseball #9. It was a good day at the ballpark, and the most
awkward event of the day was still to come.

 

Last season, a good friend and part-time ballhawk/full time
autograph aficionado Dan B. camped out in the parking lot after CC Sabathia’s
first day in Milwaukee. We hopped
the fence after the game and got CC to sweet-spot our baseballs. We like to
call ourselves the first Milwaukeeans to get his autograph. That night we also
got Ryan Braun to sign in the parking lot as well (an EXTREMELY rare occurrence).
It was pouring out that night. We have quirky luck in the parking lot. That
leads me into what happened on this night….

 

Long after the game ended, we’re talking maybe an hour and
15 minutes after the final out, Dan and I were chilling near the player’s lot.
We congratulated the Brewers as they came out and noticed a line of cabs.

 

Florida Marlins 367.jpg

 

Four Marlin’s players, one of which was Josh Johnson, got
into the cab on the bottom of the picture and took off. The rest of the cabs waited for about 30 minutes,
and figured no one else was coming out… and they left.

 

Ten minutes after the cabs leave, Marlin’s player Wes Helms
comes out of the tunnel and looks around. He seems very, very confused seeing
an empty lot. He looks up at Dan and I and asks “Where’s the cabs, guys?” in
his southern drawl. I explain to him that Josh Johnson left with a few other players, along with the cabs. He immediately whips out his iPhone and starts
texting. He looks back down the tunnel and hollers “HANLEY, THEY LEFT!” Wes
Helms, Hanley Ramirez, Jorge Cantu and Brett Carroll were stranded! They walked
around aimlessly in the parking lot, and Dan and I approached them near the traffic lights. Dan got
Jorge Cantu to sign a card and I got a nice picture with Brett Carroll.

 

Florida Marlins 369.jpg

 

Florida Marlins 370.jpg

 

Thats Brett Carroll. Wes Helms is on the right, and Hanley Ramirez/Jorge Cantu are even more to the right.

We then returned to our post above the tunnel and watched
Ryan Braun get into his car. Braun pulls up next to the Marlin’s players, honks his
horn, and waives them over! They all catch a ride with Ryan Braun. Funny stuff.

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The gems:

Florida Marlins 381.jpg

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Odd baseball:

Florida Marlins 382.jpg

 

9 baseballs at
this game.


All 9 thrown.


50 this season.

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