I arrived at Maryvale Park at 9:50 am for the morning workouts. A little later than I’m used to but, hey, I have 2 small kids…what do you expect?
Anyway, the big leaguers workouts near the cages offered zero chance at any baseballs, so I ventured over to the minor league fields. I discovered the Brewers AAA team was taking BP, so I settled in right field.
The field I was at had a short section of fence in right field and everywhere else it was pretty high. My only real chance was with the lefties in that small section of outfield.
HITTER’S EYE I I stood here X I RT FIELD LINE
It looked kind of like this.
I ended up snagging the following:
BASEBALLS 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5
- 3 Florida State League baseballs
- 1 Pacific Coast League ball
- 1 Official Minor League baseball
Not a bad start to the day-and the gates hadn’t even opened up yet!
The gates did finally open up at 11:30 am for the 1:05 pm game.
I started to run to the left field berm when I spotted an easter egg lying out in deep right center field. I plucked it off the grass for number 6.
Brad Nelson jacked one that I snagged on the bounce out in right-center field.
I asked Brewers relief pitcher Jorge Julio for a baseball in Spanish and his reply was, “oh wow” as he turned away from me. At the end of BP, I asked him again and he tossed it to me. I caught it and yelled, “gracias!” He said nothing. Until Brewers CF Mike Cameron pushed him and said, “say you’re welcome!” Julio then turned to me and yelled, “de nada!”
It was the top of the 5th inning, Mariners OF Mike Wilson jacked one in my direction. I was sitting halfway up the berm in left field. I got up, started sprinting up the hill to the concrete walkway and looked back up for the baseball. I picked it back up in the high Arizona sky and took another few steps to my left before catching it on the fly.
My 2nd game home run of the spring. This one on the fly. Damn, that feels good!
When leftfielder Ryan Braun ran out to take the field in the top of the 6th inning, he looked in my direction. Then he yelled up to me, “hey, nice catch!” So, I said, “thanks!” Ryan responded, “no problem.”
I love Spring Training.
After the game, I went down where the umps exit the field. Home plate umpire Jeff Macias tossed me a game ball after I politely requested one from his baseball pouch. Thanks!
10 baseballs today…not a bad day at the office.
- 6 BP baseballs snagged on bounce (5 of which were minor league balls)
- 1 toss-up baseball
- 1 easter egg
- 1 game home run baseball snagged on fly (Mike Wilson)
- 1 ump game ball
10 baseballs total 3/30/09
3 baseballs 3/29/09
+ 9 baseballs 3/28/09
+ 6 baseballs 3/27/09
28 baseballs (4 days)
I got off to an early start. I left my hotel around 8am and headed to Maryvale Baseball Park. I arrived at the park around 8:30 and started wandering around. Only a few of the big leaguers were out in the cages. Fielder, Gwynn, Jr., Rottino, Hall, Sveum and Yount. There was no potential for snagging so I wandered some more.
I found the Single A Brewers team hitting on one of the side fields, so, I set up camp.
A young player by the name of Rapoza #55 tossed one over the fence to me. Upon further inspection, it was a Florida State League baseball. Very cool.
About 20 minutes later, I spotted #14 PASCUAL, a minor leaguer for the Brewers. So, I yelled, “dame la bolla, por favor, senor!” He snapped his head in my direction and flashed a toothy grin. Between us, was a high netted fence that prevents baseballs from leaving the park in left field. Behind the fence is a parking lot, so, you can imagine how many windshields this net saves. But, it was now standing between me and baseball #2. So, I pointed over the top of this 80 foot fence. I then held up my glove for #14 PASCUAL. He looked up and fired it high into the sky. I took a few steps back, reaching the end of the sidewalk and the start of the curb and caught it. “Gracias!” To both #14 and baseball snagger Zack Hample for his bi-lingual snagging tactics.
It’s hard to see, but the baseball above (#2) was an Official Minor League Baseball with President Pat O’Conner’s stamped signature.
BASEBALLS #3 and #4
The stadium gates opened @11 am and I raced to the left field berm to claim my turf. The first Brewers group to hit was FIELDER/HARDY/WEEKS/KENDALL. The first 3 are BP studs. Prince jacked one to deep center and I took off after it. I chased it down on a bounce when I heard another one land about 100 feet away. I ran toward the sound and gloved it on a high 1st bounce. Two baseballs in 10 seconds!!
A few minutes later, I gloved one on the fly off the bat of J.J. Hardy.
It should be noted that there were a lot of people present with baseball gloves.
A few minutes later, Rickie Weeks hit a smash that I gloved on the fly.
J.J. Hardy hit another one I gloved on the fly.
The next group to hit included Bill Hall. Hall usually is a BP stud. Not this day. Although, he did manage to hit one in my direction. I took off after it and caught that one on the fly, too!
Upon closer inspection of the Bill Hall BP homer, I noticed it was an ’08 All Star game baseball. Cool stuff.
The 2008 All Star baseball used in Brewers BP at Maryvale Park 3-28-09. Ball was hit by Brewers 3B Bill Hall and caught on the fly. That unique blue mark was most likely from the hitter’s eye at Maryvale Park. (They have a blue metal backstop-this baseball must have been hit by another player beforehand).
The rest of the Milwaukee Brewers hitters did their best Pittsburgh Pirates imitation and failed to reach the warning track.
I decided to go down to the box seats for the 9th inning and a different view. While above the Brewers dugout, a baseball came popping over the dugout roof. I was in the 2nd row and reached out my hand and claimed it before it hit the ground.
Right place-right time.
Brewers won 4-2.
- 4 baseballs snagged on the
- 2 snagged on the bounce
- 3 toss-up baseballs
9 baseballs total 3/28/09
6 baseballs from 3/27/09
15 baseballs (2 days)