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)
Okay…so, the laptop came with us to Arizona. Wouldn’t ya know it, our internet connection would not allow me to log into mlblogs! You can imagine how ticked off I was.
But, better late than never, right?
Here it goes…
We left our home around 5 am on this day. The Milwaukee Airport is approx. 10 minutes from our home. When I pulled up to the baggage drive to drop off my family, my 3 yr. old daughter said to me, “are we in Arizona?” (I guess that 10 minute car ride felt like an eternity to her)
I didn’t think I was driving that slow 🙂
Our flight was on time. When we boarded and settled in, my daughter looked up at me with her big tear-filled brown eyes and yelled, “I wanna go home, now!” I thought we were about to have a meltdown. When the plane finally started to move, tears were replaced with a familiar smile. We’re about 30,000 feet in the air when my daughter asks me, “why are all the clouds on the ground?” Inquisitive 3 yr. old minds want to know, I guess.
Our 2 month-old infant, Jack, was crying and screaming for a majority of the flight. I know, I know. You’ve all been on a plane with a crying infant and you thought to yourself, please…just shut that kid up! But, come on…give them a break next time. If you have kids-you understand. If you don’t and you’re still judgmental, put on earphones, talk to yourself, do whatever…just suck it up, willya?
We finally arrived, got settled into our hotel and grabbed some lunch.
Finally…I was about to make my 2009 ballhawking debut. Look the hellout.
I arrived at Maryvale Baseball Park at around 2:30 pm for the open practice. I proceeded to head to the left field berm area. After about 3 minutes, Brewers 3B Casey McGehee hit one high into the Arizona sky. I ran about 10 feet to my left and about 10 feet down the grassy hill where I camped underneath it and caught it cleanly on the fly.
They say you can tell how you’re season is going to go by the 1st one of the year.
I hope so.
A few minutes later, Bill Hall hit one that was a ways from me. I ran it down on the bounce.
At this time, an employee informed me no one was allowed on the berm during practice…what? Whatever. She was only doing her job. It’s the people in charge that need their heads examined. Way to go Brewers. Take away the one fun thing left.
While the nice security lady was telling me this, McGehee hit another one. I snagged it on the bounce and kept it. Ha! That’ll show ’em.
I had moved over to the 1st base side when I yelled to Brewers pitcher Jeff Suppan. I asked him if he had an extra. He looked down at the baseball in his hands and fired it high in the air to me. I was standing over 100 feet away with no glove on (I took it off because I was no longer out in home run territory). So, I bare-handed it cleanly. I prefer the glove. Besides, bare-handing baseballs is over-rated. Guys want to look cool bare-handing a ball, but there’s too many little bones in the human hand to be screwing around doing that.
6:05 – first pitch Brewers @ Texas (Surprise Stadium)
In the bottom of the 6th inning, Rangers 1B Chris Davis smacked one to left and I snagged it on the first bounce. 1st game home run of 2009! Not an official stat, but cool just the same. I love the rush of snagging a game home run baseball.
Spring Training or not, on the fly or not, that feeling never gets old.
After the game concluded, the umpire trick paid off. Home plate ump Dan Bellino tossed me one near home plate.
- 1 baseball snagged on the fly (BP)
- 2 snagged on the bounce
- 1 toss-up ball
- 1 game home run baseball (Chris Davis)
- 1 ump game ball
- 6 baseballs total 3/27/09
The time has come…
no more waiting.
no more counting down days.
no more watching old Packers game tapes from the 1990’s to get me through winter.
no more cabin-fever.
no more anticipation.
The boys of summer are officially back.
I’m honored to share this wonderful day with all of my fellow baseball lovers across the U.S.A. (and Honest Abe, too). Happy 200th, BTW.
The annual rite of spring has arrived. Crack out the lumber and the pine tar. The bases and home plate. The cowhide and the ballcaps.
But, most importantly…bring on the ballplayers and their devoted fans. Without fans to fill the seats, the ballplayers and their respective teams mean nothing.
I hope and pray the 2009 season is fulfilling for me, personally. I have my goals in place and I’m ready. For me, it’s been a helluva long offseason.
Coming off their first postseason appearance in 26 long, agonizing years, the Milwaukee Brewers look to encore last season’s triumphant return to the playoffs with the entire offensive roster coming back fully intact.
Here’s my projected 2009 Brewers lineup:
1. Rickie Weeks (by default)
2. J.J. Hardy (the most underrated SS in all of baseball)
3. Ryan Braun (absolute freak)
4. Prince Fielder (signed and looking in shape)
5. Corey Hart (you better rebound, buddy)
6. Mike Cameron (take a few pitches, wouldya?)
7. Third baseman (whoever wins this job, his name better not be Bill Hall)
8. Jason Kendall (I’ll take his weak bat for that defensive prowess)
Here’s my projected 2009 starting rotation:
1. Yovanni Gallardo (one of the top young pitchers in the game-remember his name)
2. Braden Looper (great signing)
3. Manny Parra (young lefty stud would be perfect in the 3 spot between righties)
4. David Bush (workhorse)
5. Jeff Suppan (where’s that 2006 Cardinals form?)
I admit, before Looper was signed, I wasn’t feeling warm and fuzzy all over. It’s amazing how one relatively low-key signing can change all of that.
I think we’re ready.
I’m sure-as-hell ready!
Here’s to lots of home runs by the home team coming my way…!
Days left until “Happy” reports to Spring Training…
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.