So, I bent down, picked it up and placed it into my left front pocket.
When we were allowed to enter Miller Park, I found the Brewers still on the field for BP. I spotted Brewers relief pitcher JORGE JULIO shagging baseballs out near the left field warning track. I asked him for a baseball and he tossed one up for a quick BASEBALL #1.
I ran over to take a peek into the Brewers bullpen for any glove trick opportunities. When I arrived, I spotted one. I pulled the necessary equipment out of my bag and pulled it up for BASEBALL #2.
I love finding easter eggs.
Brewers pitcher MITCH STETTER was shagging baseballs in left field. I yelled down to him for a baseball and he lobbed one up to me for BASEBALL #4.
Four quick ones and the Reds hadn’t even taken the field, yet.
When the Redlegs did finally start to hit the field, I moved over to right because I knew the big lefty sluggers would be starting things off.
I must admit, Batting Practice is not as fun without Adam Dunn on the Reds, but young sluggers JOEY VOTTO and JAY BRUCE both did their part to make up for his absence. It didn’t take Jay Bruce long to hit one out. When he did, I ran over and caught it on the fly for BASEBALL #5. Hitting in the same group was the aforementioned stud Joey Votto. Joey cranked one out in my direction, too. In the same fashion, I gloved his BP homer on the fly, too! That was BASEBALL #6.
I was cruising right along.
I looked down to the field and Reds pitcher AARON HARANG was shagging some BP right below my seats in right-center field.
So, I politely called down to him. I asked him if he would be willing to sign a baseball for me. He made a “toss-it-down” motion with his glove. So, toss-it-down I did.
Reds pitcher JARED BURTON was standing out in right-center field shagging some BP. When he fielded one close to the warning track, I told him that if he left it on the track that I could pick it up. He asked me if I had go-go gadget arms. I said, “not exactly, but close to it!” He took the baseball he had in his hand and tossed it up to me for BASEBALL # 7. I was a little surprised that he even tossed it, but what the heck…I’ll take it. I thanked him for the toss-up and then I told him I wasn’t kidding about picking i
t off the warning track. He said, “next one.”
A minute later, another ball was hit out toward him. He fielded it and lobbed it back toward the wall where I was standing above. I had the glove trick ready to go. He walked back toward it and kicked it closer to the wall below. I lowered my glove down and picked it off the track for BASEBALL #8. I thanked him for the opportunity and for being cool. Cool dude.
That concluded the BP portion of my day.
Before the start of the 5th inning, Brewers CF MIKE CAMERON was warming up with Brewers LF RYAN BRAUN. When Cameron was finished warming up, I let go one of my famous whistles. He turned, took two steps toward me and let it fly from shallow centerfield. The throw was going to be low so I had to lean way out over the small railing and make the catch. Of course, I made the catch…for BASEBALL #9 on the day.
When the 9th inning began, I scampered down to the box seats near the Reds dugout. I wanted to get my 1st ump game ball of the regular season. It worked in Spring Training for me a bunch of times, but that was exhibition. I wanted to do it when things counted. So, after the last out was recorded, I was in place. I ran down to the front row and called out to home plate umpire MIKE REILLY. He turned in my direction and reached into his ball pouch. He grabbed one and fired a strike to my waiting glove for BASEBALL #10.
I was glad to get that 1st ump game ball out of the way on this young season.
About 20 seconds later, the players and coaches were exiting the field. I scanned everyone’s mitts and hands. I spotted Reds 1B Coach BILLY HATCHER walking off the field. Billy had a ball in his hands and you could see he was scanning the crowd for a fan in Reds gear. I was decked out in my Griffey, Jr. #3 Reds jersey and cap. I yelled out “Billy, Billy Hatcher” and held up my glove. It was too easy…we made eye contact and he tossed me BASEBALL #11 on the day.
2009 BALLHAWKING STATS
- 11 total balls 4/13/09
2 caught on fly (hit)
1 easter egg (hit)
2009 TOTAL BASEBALLS
4/7/09 = 5 baseballs
4/8/09 = 10 baseballs
4/9/09 = 10 baseballs
4/10/09 = 3 baseballs
4/11/09 = 5 baseballs
4/12/09 = 5 baseballs
4/13/09 = 11 baseballs
49 baseballs (7 games)
7.0 average per game