Okay…what I’m about to tell you took place on April Fool’s Day.
But the thing is, this story is no joke.
Without further ado…
I arrived at Maryvale Baseball Park at approx. 9:13 am for the morning workouts. The Brewers were playing the D’Backs later that day at 1:05 pm. I had some time, so, I wandered over to the minor league fields to watch some batting practice, fielding drills, etc. etc.
While watching the AAA team for the Brewers, Nashville Sounds manager and former Brewers star Don Money flipped a baseball to me. Baseball number 1 was out of the way.
As I walked past the catchers doing their catching drills, a baseball bounced over the fence (they were adjusting the pitching machine and didn’t have it quite lined up yet). I walked over and claimed ball number 2. One of the easier ones of the trip.
I wandered over to the AAA batting practice field. An unknown Nashville Sounds player hit one over the fence that I ran down on the bounce. The funny thing was that I wasn’t even trying to play for a baseball in this area. I was just in the right place at the right time.
This would prove to be my day.
The gates to the stadium opened at 11:30 am for the 1:05 pm game.
When I ran into the stadium, I was delighted to see the D’Backs take batting practice. Sweet!!
As I ran in, I noticed an easter egg lying out on the right field berm. On the run, with numerous people behind me, I scooped it up and continued over to left field.
When I arrived over in left field, I noticed yet another easter egg lying on the left field berm. I plucked this one off the grass for another easy souvenir.
An unknown D’Backs player (possibly Chris Snyder) hit one out that I snagged on the bounce for ball number 6.
As I was running back over to right field for a lefty group, I decided to take a slight detour over a small hill way behind center field. It was an easily overlooked area. What did I see? Yet a 3rd easter egg lying on the grass. It pays to take an extra second to look. Keep in mind, the stadium had been open for about 10 minutes when I discovered this one. Ha!
Justin Upton hit a BP bomb in my direction that I ran down and gloved on the fly.
Conor Jackson “jacked” one to left field that I snagged on the bounce.
D’Backs young stud Justin Upton hit another bomb in my direction. I took off in a sprint, camped underneath it and gloved it on the fly for double digits. Woohoo!
Conor Jackson hit another one to left field that I gloved on the fly. That made 3 gloved on the fly during BP.
After BP ended, I headed over to the D’Backs gate to try for some autographs.
A few players obliged.
From left to right: D’Backs LF Conor Jackson signed the baseball shown above. RF Justin Upton signed the game ball above and former star 3B Matt Williams kindly signed a baseball for me.
It was really turning out to be my day…it was about to get better.
In the top of the 3rd inning, D’Backs 3B Chad Tracy hit a bomb to dead center. It hit off the hitter’s eye above the yellow line and bounced back onto the field. Brewers CF Mike Cameron picked it up and turned to me standing on the right field berm. I held up my glove and he fired a seed right to me. I caught it for number 12 of the day and game home run number 3 for the trip.
Brewers RF Corey Hart stepped to the plate. I was sitting on the left field berm.
Crack! Holy crap-here it comes!
I’ll let the following video tell the rest of the story…
Now, if Ellen or Rachel Ray or Letterman or Oprah would just call…I’m waiting and willing!
Actually, someone did call. Bickley and MJ from 910 AM in Phoenix wanted to do an interview. Of course, I obliged.
If you don’t know who Bickley and MJ are-they’re the award winning sports talk show hosts in the Phoenix area. They’re two of the best in the business. I found out first hand.
Click here for my radio interview on 910 AM KGME.
I hope you enjoyed reading this blog as much as I enjoyed sharing it with you!!
CHRIS DAVIS – 3/27/09
MIKE WILSON – 3/30/09
CHAD TRACY – 4/1/09
COREY HART – 4/1/09
- 3 BP baseballs snagged on the fly
- 2 game home run baseballs (1 on the fly/1 toss-up)
- 4 BP baseballs snagged on bounce
- 3 easter eggs
- 1 toss-up baseball
13 baseballs total 4/01/09
+ 3 baseballs 4/02/09
+ 1 baseball 3/31/09
+ 10 baseballs 3/30/09
+ 3 baseballs 3/29/09
+ 9 baseballs 3/28/09
+ 6 baseballs 3/27/09
45 baseballs (7 days)
Today was a family day. We went to the zoo. We went out for lunch. We diddled-we daddled.
But, this is a baseball blog-not a family activity blog.
Fast forward to 5pm. Brewers were playing the Padres @ Peoria Stadium. I got there early for BP. I rushed through the gates like my pants were on fire only to find no batting cages or nets on the playing field. WTF!!!?? You have to be kidding me!
That sucked. So, what did I do you ask? I twiddled my fingers for an hour and a 1/2 until the first pitch. Talk about torture.
The game was uneventful and I just wandered around for 3 hours.
Brewers lost 6-5.
After the game concluded, home plate umpire Delfin Colon was walking off the field with his crew when I asked him for a game ball. He dug in his baseball pouch and tossed me one.
At least I didn’t go home empty handed.
- 1 ump game ball
1 baseball total 3/31/09
10 baseballs 3/30/09
+ 3 baseballs 3/29/09
+ 9 baseballs 3/28/09
+ 6 baseballs 3/27/09
29 baseballs (5 days)
Only 10 days until I arrive in Phoenix.
It’s getting close.
I can feel it.
I need to be on top of my game. For the sake of ballhawks everywhere, I need to perform.
Old faithful (my old glove) is ready.
My new faithful (new glove) is not quite ready. Just doesn’t feel right…yet. It will.
My bags are slowly getting packed.
Visualization of ballhawking is in full swing.
I will provide daily blogs. I will provide daily photos. I will provide daily everything.
From where I go to eat to what I go see. Not just baseball.
You will be right there with me-if you choose.
Beginning March 27th and going until April 2nd, you will be my blogger travel partners.
Please visit my Spring Training blogs daily. You won’t be disappointed.
Analysis is gonna sit this one out.
This one’s all about ballhawking, baby.
BTW, this was all inspired by my favorite MLBlogger…The Rockpile Ranter.
I’m ready to get it on.
HERE’S WHAT I WOULD LIKE TO ACCOMPLISH
(gotta set your goals…)
1. Land safely in Phoenix.
2. Snag 50 baseballs (I do not count them toward my season total).
3. Get a few autographs (Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, Yovani Gallardo).
4. Get a game used bat from a Milwaukee Brewers player.
5. Take some sweet photos.
6. Have my wife shoot some great ballhawking video.
7. Blog daily.
8. Return safely to Milwaukee.
The man pictured below is the reason the hot stove has cooled, considerably.
Mark Teixeira waves to Angels fans as if to say, “It’s been a great two months, please forward my fan mail to the east coast.”
Unfortunately, the hot stove is not the only thing that has cooled off.
During the cold months, I ask myself the following question almost daily…
“Why on earth do I live in this part of our great nation?”
Where was I?
I’m easily distracted.
Oh yeah, Wisconsin.
Why do I live in Wisconsin?
I must admit…I’m feeling mildly depressed.