8/15/09 @ Miller Park

We had a family get-together planned, so, I decided I would attend BP and then leave to go to the party.  I rarely ever *just* attend BP, but it made sense on this day.
That’s exactly what I did.

The gates at Miller Park open 2 hrs. prior to gametime on Saturday and Sunday games that fall between Memorial Day and Labor Day.  So, at 4:05 pm, the gates opened their arms to the waiting guests.

After watching 15 minutes of bunts and singles, my favorite Brewers player, Ryan Braun, launched one high into the air.  I could tell it was a bomb, so, I turned my back to the ball and started to sprint up one of the staircases located in the left field loge bleachers.  When I reached around the 12th row, I turned around to find the ball.  A second or two later, it landed a couple rows deeper.  That’s where I gloved it on a bounce for my 1st ball on the day.
Yay for Braun…he’s the real deal.

When the Astros came out to hit, ‘Stros’ bullpen catcher Strech Suba was trying to get into the visitor’s bullpen.  For whatever reason, the gate to the bullpen was locked from the inside…with nobody around!  He struggled with the door for about 1 minute or so when I spoke up. 

I said, “Hey Strech, it’s locked from the inside.”

He said, “Is anyone in there?”

I responded, “Nobody.”

After about 10 more minutes, two (2) groundskeepers came walking through the bleacher seats behind me.  They walked up to the front row and then jumped down into the bullpen to unlock the bullpen door.  First time I had ever seen that.

Strech thanked them and entered the bullpen.  By that time, the Astros had hit 4 or 5 baseballs into the bullpen (oddly enough, there were only about 8 home runs hit during the entire Astros BP – 4 or 5 of which landed in the right field bullpen).
BTW, I absolutely hate the Miller Park bullpens…but, that topic needs an entry of its own. 

Strech started to pick them up when I said, “At least we know the bullpen is secure.”

Laughing, he responded, “Yeah, no kidding.”

When he picked up a baseball that was lying nearby, I asked him if there was any chance to get it from him.  Without hesitation, he tossed it up to me.  About 3 seconds later, another guy about my age asked for a ball.  Strech told him he was too old. 
Ha!  Pays to kissass be nice.

Lance Berkman and Carlos Lee were hitting in the same group.  I had a decision to make.  Should I stay in right field with less competition or move to left and compete against everyone and their mother??  I decided to bank with Berkman and less competition.

It did not pay off. 

Baby-face Berkman did not hit a single home run to the 2nd deck! 
Carlos Lee, you ask? 
He launched about 6 shots to deep left-center field.  Ahhh!!
lance berkmanclown.JPG

For that, Lance gets the clown treatment.

BP was winding down, the Astros were sucking and I only had 2 baseballs.

bud norris.jpg

Quickly, I spotted this young pitcher shagging in left-center field…


When he fielded one nearby, I politely asked for it to be tossed up.  He turned around and lobbed it right to me for #3.  He was totally cool about it and even gave me a wave and a grin.

I’ll be rooting for him.

My 4th and final ball on the day came via the glove-trick out of the Brewers bullpen.  There was only one and I was able to knock it closer (something I rarely waste my time doing because of strict rules) and reel it up.

Four (4) balls and BP was over.  Time to head back to the party.

8_15_09 Astros vs Brewers @ Miller Park 006.jpg
8_15_09 Astros vs Brewers @ Miller Park 005.jpg2009 BALLHAWKING STATS

  • 4 total balls 8/15/09

1 batted baseball

2 tossup baseballs

1 device baseball


The infamous Houston Astros “H” can be seen in full-force above.

How lame is that?


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
4/14/09 = 6   baseballs
4/21/09 = 5   baseballs
4/27/09 = 15 baseballs
4/28/09 = 9   baseballs
4/30/09 = 4   baseballs
5/01/09 = 7   baseballs
5/02/09 = 4   baseballs
5/08/09 = 11 baseballs
5/09/09 = 1   lousy ball
5/12/09 = 14 baseballs
5/13/09 = 12 baseballs
5/19/09 = 8   baseballs
5/22/09 = 3   baseballs
5/23/09 = 2   baseballs
5/26/09 = 3   baseballs
5/29/09 = 6   baseballs
5/30/09 = 5   baseballs
6/01/09 = 1   baseball
6/02/09 = 9   baseballs
6/09/09 = 4   baseballs
6/10/09 = 0   baseballs
6/11/09 = 2   baseballs
6/12/09 = 9   baseballs
6/23/09 = 6   baseballs
6/24/09 = 9   baseballs
6/26/09 = 9   baseballs
6/27/09 = 4   baseballs
6/29/09 = 3   baseballs
6/30/09 = 5   baseballs
7/07/09 = 6   baseballs
7/10/09 = 3   baseballs
7/20/09 = 7   baseballs
7/24/09 = 6   baseballs
7/27/09 = 8   baseballs
7/29/09 = 3   baseballs
8/04/09 = 4   baseballs
8/11/09 = 7   baseballs
8/12/09 = 6   baseballs
8/15/09 = 4   baseballs

279 baseballs (46 games)
6.07 average per game


Take a look at the following photos…when I saw this, I wanted to throw up.  Luckily, the “prized” possessions were tucked safely behind display glass.

8_15_09 Astros vs Brewers @ Miller Park 001.jpg


8_15_09 Astros vs Brewers @ Miller Park 004.jpg

Thumbnail image for 8_15_09 Astros vs Brewers @ Miller Park 002.jpg

Are you kidding me??

Mat Gamel was just sent down to the minors and Billy Hall was just released!!
What are the Brewers trying to pull??  Who are they trying to fool??

I know the team needs money for starting pitching and all, but this is ridiculous.

Let’s review:
I catch a home run ball that I cherish and ask for two (2) bats in trade.  Team says no.
Team charges out the wazoo for game used items of scrubs.  I say no and so should everyone.  Craziness…absolute craziness.

Does anyone else hear the rift between teams and fans widening?? 
I sure as hell do.

Insane…whaddya think?


  1. cookandsonbats

    Mr. Bud Norris played a staring role in our Miller Park experience this weekend as well (entry still in the works). I will concur on your props-to-Norris position. On another note, is Mat Gamel a real person? I’ve never heard of him. Therefore, I can safely determine that his bat is not worth $1,200.

  2. Txbaseballfan

    I have yet to do the “BP only” thing. Seems pretty cool though. The Rangers gift shop has similar stuff: $250 for a Josh Hamilton autographed 2008 HR Derby ball, and they also have autographed stuff of guys that aren’t even on the team anymore! But you know, there’s bound to be one sucker out there that will actually buy one of those things. Not me, I’ll stick to getting my own autographs thank you very much.
    One cool thing they sold, the Ballpark switched from a manual out-of-town scoreboard to a video board, and they are selling the old individual #s for $25 each. I almost bought one, then couldn’t decide what I was going to do with it and passed on it.

  3. bigglovebob

    Ouch Happy! Those prices are insane! The Twins Pro Shops can actually be quite reasonable in comparison. I got a authenticated Morneau BP hat that shows good use for $65. They also sell the line up cards right from the dugout for $25 a pop. A Morneau game used bat is $500 and Mauer is $600. Jerseys start at $200 for the utility guys and go to $400 for the everyday non-stars and climb to 1K for Nathan, 2K for Morneau, and 3K for the hometown hero. At Twinsfest they mark the jerseys of scrubs down nice and low. You can get an authentic team issued jersey for a obscure September call up or a bench coach for as little as $25 to $50.

  4. happyyoungster

    I can only imagine.

    Rest assured, Mat Gamel is real. But, unfortunately, some of the Brewers staff are a bunch of fakes.

    Those manual scoreboard #’s sound pretty cool. I enjoy that kind of stuff. You know, the weird stuff you just never thought would be around.

    The Twins have always seemed a bit more reasonable-like they’re actually living in the real world with the rest of us grunts and hacks. I might have to make it up to the Cities for the Twins Fest. Sounds like fun.


  5. txfilmmkr

    A few comments:

    1. Game used balls are $30 at MMP, but everything else is priced more reasonably, not that I’d ever buy any of it.

    2. The Houston Hs do suck.

    3. Bud Norris is a breath of fresh air in Houston.

    4. I’m bummed because I’m missing the last Florida game today and won’t get a chance to call Chris Coghlan out for being a punk.

    Don’t be so hard on Lance, he’s been taking it easy since coming back from the DL.

  6. "D" The Rockpile Ranter

    Sup Happy,
    Stuff like that really gets my blood boiling. $1200.00 for a used bat. I don’t fuc*kin thing so. $800.00 for a helmet, not if Jesus Christ wore the thing. Then $25.00 for a $15.00 baseball. You made your point perfect brotha. The media punk’d you and made you out to look like you were holding CC’s HR ball for randsom and in my eyes it looks like they’re trying to rape their fans. Shame on them and next time just puke on the glass case. Maybe it will send a messy message. Take care Happy…D

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