Wednesday, October 3, 2007

10/03 - The Calm Before The Swarm...

I only live a few blocks from Wrigley Field, so I walk by it quite often on non-game days, especially this week in anticipation of this weekend's playoff series against Arizona. A little cloudy with a hint of rain yesterday, but beautiful warm sunshine today. Feels more like June than October. At first glance, the activity level in the neighborhood looks pretty normal, a far cry from the chaos and madness that will descend upon it this weekend. But in taking a second look, I can definitely see and sense an undercurrent of excitement.

Souvenir stands open for business on the street corners. People taking pictures of the marquee and posing in front of the Harry Caray statue. Beer trucks double-parked in front of bars unloading their wares. Guys on the rooftops making last minute adjustments, somebody in front of Murphy's with a power-washer hosing down the sidewalks. The fire house for Engine Co. 78 got a facelift recently with a new brick driveway and a picnic table. And not long ago, the fire hydrant at Waveland & Kenmore received a fresh coat of purple paint.

But it wasn't just around the park - it was inside as well. That old brick and concrete house of dreams was definitely getting lots of attention. The beep-beep-beep of forklifts as boxes of food and other assorted sundries are unloaded, workers everywhere sweeping up and wiping down. Some of the grounds crew inspecting the newly laid sod in the outfield while others getting ready to spray paint the NLDS logo on the grass by the dugouts. Even Harry seemed to be clearing his throat, ready to sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" again. Everyone stepping lively, moving fast and all in good spirits.

I had to chuckle as I made my way around the park - it kinda reminded me of stories my mom used to tell me about how the high school girls back then would spend all that time primping, prepping and getting all gussied up before their big date...

Then I stopped short as a chill went down my spine, for it was at that moment I realized this marvelous beauty of a baseball cathedral was getting ready for her own big date - a date with Destiny.

Go Cubs! Make Wrigley Field (and us) proud!

More pictures...

Friday, September 28, 2007

09/28 - Magic Number is Zero!!!

They say a picture's worth a thousand words.
Well, here's two thousand words' worth...

Congratulations to the 2007 Central Division Champions, the Chicago Cubs!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

09/18 - No Gold Glove This Year

As much as I like watching the game from the bleachers (best seats in the park, IMO), I don't think I'll ever used to shagging balls inside. I always seem to get tangled up in the seats and benches, usually earning a bruise or two in the process.

Today was no exception. Beautiful night for a game, strong wind blowing out, so of course I'm inside. And once again I was treated to watching several balls go over my head and out onto the street. Ahh... but there was one ball that was staying in and had my name on it. Nice high drive down the line. I stepped up into the aisle, then went along the top row, tracking the ball all the way. Once I got under it, I reached up as high as I could, even had the "claw" grip going on the glove (just the fingertips on the inside) and it just wasn't enough. Ball tipped my glove as I was falling backwards (giving me another bruise on my leg) and ended up out onto Waveland - the ball, not me.

Could have been worse, I suppose. At least the ball didn't bounce off my head and out, like Jose Canseco a few years ago in Boston...

Out of the Ballpark Totals:
Tuesday, September 18: BP-15 [W-12,S-3], HR-0, Foul-0, Roof-1 [A-1,C-0]
Season: BP-392 [W-304,S-88], HR-11 [W-9,S-2], Foul-5 [W-4,S-1], Roof-38 [A-22,C-16], Windshield-2 [W-1,S-1]

Monday, September 10, 2007

09/10 - Sweep!!!

Cubs swept the Cardinals today. Ok, so it was only a one-game series, a makeup of an earlier postponed game. But hey, a win is a win, especially when it's of the 12-3 variety and especially when it's against the Cardinals.

Batting practice was understandably boring, given the strong winds blowing in. Only four made it to Waveland and one to Sheffield. Nothing came out during the game, though Jim Edmonds put a charge into one that went into the left field bleachers for a home run. He's always had tremendous power the other way - I got one of his a few years ago, a blast that cleared Waveland and bounced against the Budweiser building. Had he hit this one yesterday (when the winds were gusting out), he might have been the first one to hit an opposite-field street homer since the bleacher expansion.

Out of the Ballpark Totals:
Monday, September 10: BP-5 [W-4,S-1], HR-0, Foul-0, Roof-0
Season: BP-367 [W-283,S-84], HR-11 [W-9,S-2], Foul-5 [W-4,S-1], Roof-37 [A-21,C-16], Windshield-2 [W-1,S-1]

Key: W-Waveland, S-Sheffield, A-Addison, C-Clark

Thursday, September 6, 2007

09/06 - Aramis Goes Bus

Aramis Ramirez nailed a charter bus today during the game, leaving a window rather significantly smashed. Unfortunately the ball left the park about five feet foul, so it was all for naught as the Cubs lost to the Dodgers, 7-4. Got kinda ugly at the end (again) but I suppose you already knew that.

Once again, I was inside the park as it was a 'value day' at Wrigley, if you can call a $17 ticket a value. I guess it is compared to $32 regular price and $40 for the 'prime' games. Anyway, I had fun watching the balls fly over me and out of the park during batting practice - five on each side. Luis Gonzalez put on quite the display by launching several bombs out onto Sheffield. Nothing came out during the game, even though there was a pretty decent wind.

Out of the Ballpark Totals:
Thursday, September 6: BP-10 [W-5,S-5], HR-0, Foul-1 [W-1,S-0], Roof-0
Season: BP-362 [W-279,S-83], HR-11 [W-9,S-2], Foul-5 [W-4,S-1], Roof-37 [A-21,C-16], Windshield-2 [W-1,S-1]

Key: W-Waveland, S-Sheffield, A-Addison, C-Clark

Thursday, August 30, 2007

08/30 - Waveland's Revenge...

Yesterday, even though Prince Fielder was sure to put on a show over on Sheffield, I [stubbornly] stayed on Waveland during Milwaukee's BP in the hopes that Ryan Braun would be equal to the task. Well he wasn't, Prince blasted, and I learned a lesson. Or so I thought.

So today with the wind blowing in again from left, I - and just about all the other ballhawks (at one point, I think we had ten over there) - played Sheffield during BP for both teams. Our reward? A big fat zero. Don't know what Prince did last night or what he ate before coming to the ball park, but he didn't do squat during BP.

Meanwhile as we fruitlessly stood watch on Sheffield, two balls came out over on Waveland. Needless to say, none of us got them. Which begs the somewhat rhetorical question... if a ball comes out and there's no ballhawks around to catch it, did it really come out?

Out of the Ballpark Totals:
Thursday, August 30: BP-2 [W-2,S-0], HR-0, Foul-0, Roof-2 [A-2,C-0]
Season: BP-326 [W-255,S-71], HR-10 [W-8,S-2], Foul-4 [W-3,S-1], Roof-35 [A-21,C-14], Windshield-1 [W-0,S-1]

Key: W-Waveland, S-Sheffield, A-Addison, C-Clark

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

08/29 - It's about time...

Finally - Sheffield gets more action than Waveland... at least in batting practice as strong north winds put the damper on any balls hit to left field. Only one made it out to Waveland in BP, probably from Soriano as it was before the gates opened. It was hit right at me, just had to take one step in and caught it all the way across the street in front of the yellow brick building. Pretty impressive blast, considering it was into the wind. No telling where it would have landed had it been hit yesterday (strong southwest winds).

But that was it for Waveland and me as I stayed there the rest of BP. Meanwhile the other ballhawks gathered on Sheffield for the Prince Fielder show. And it was a pretty good show - six came out, compliments of Prince, Geoff Jenkins, Gabe Gross, and switch-hitting Johnny Estrada. Sounded like a good mix - some down the line, some deep to right-center and at least one bounce-out.

So for those of you scoring at home, that's the Sheffield Brewers 6, the Waveland Cubs 1.

Strangely enough, the final score of tonight's game was also Brewers 6, Cubs 1.


Out of the Ballpark Totals:
Wednesday, August 29: BP-7 [W-1,S-6], HR-0, Foul-0, Roof-0
Season: BP-324 [W-253,S-71], HR-10 [W-8,S-2], Foul-4 [W-3,S-1], Roof-33 [A-19,C-14], Windshield-1 [W-0,S-1]

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

08/14 - Move Over Barry...

...and make room for Jacque Jones!!!

No, Jacque didn't suddenly hit 596 homers to take over the career record. But he did hit the second homer to make it all the way out to Sheffield Ave this year at Wrigley. Bonds hit #752 a few weeks ago that barely cleared the back railing in straightaway right. Jones hit a majestic shot to right-center that cleared the street and bounced up against the wrought-iron fences in front of the rooftop buildings. I think the Southwest How Far Did It Fly measured it at 410 feet, but it looked like it went farther. So Jacque Jones is now King of the Sheffield homers, at least so far this year.

After a brief scramble, one of the pickle boys (aka street drummers) ended up with it and then proceeded to offer it up to me for $500. Thanks but no thanks. He spent the rest of the night entertaining offers from fans still inside the bleachers - kinda looked like he had a streetBay auction going. But after the game, he still had the ball. Said he could get $200 for it easy on eBay.

BP was pretty lame, considering the wind. Cubs hit seven out and the Reds did nothing although Dunn did blast a deep foul ball onto Sheffield during the game. And that was it.

Oh, yeah - Cubs lost 6-5, but you'd never know it from the way the fans were dancing in the streets afterwards.

Out of the Ballpark Totals:
Tuesday, August 14: BP-7 [W-3,S-4], HR-1 [W-0,S-1], Foul-1 [W-0,S-1], Roof-0
Season: BP-291 [W-235,S-56], HR-9 [W-7,S-2], Foul-4 [W-3,S-1], Roof-29 [A-18,C-11], Windshield-1 [W-0,S-1]

Friday, August 3, 2007

08/03 - New Team, Same Story

So much for the Mets shaking things up on the street... Didn't happen. But hey, at least they took BP, which is more than I can say for the Cubs. Of course, the Mets only hit four out so it almost didn't matter.

With a righty going for the Cubs, Moises didn't start for the Mets so he didn't take BP . My educated guess tells me that David Wright was the force behind the few that did come out, though someone said Lastings Milledge connected on one.

Maybe Moises will come out and play tomorrow...

Out of the Ballpark Totals:
Friday, August 3: BP-4 [W-3,S-1], HR-0, Foul-0, Roof-0
Season: BP-277 [W-225,S-52], HR-8 [W-7,S-1], Foul-3 [W-3,S-0], Roof-29 [A-18,C-11], Windshield-1 [W-0,S-1]

Thursday, August 2, 2007

08/02 - Nothing doing

Day game after a night game means...

Yep, you guessed it - no batting practice.

Wasn't much of anything else going on either. No street homers, no foul balls, and near as I could tell, no roof balls either.

Must have been something going on inside though, as 40,988 paid their way into Wrigley. I think this set another 4-game series attendance record, breaking the record set just a few weeks ago when the Barry Bonds Magical Mystery Tour was in town.

One more day until Moises and the rest of the slugging(?) Mets come to town.

Out of the Ballpark Totals:
Thursday, August 2: No BP, HR-0, Foul-0, Roof-0
Season: BP-273 [W-222,S-51], HR-8 [W-7,S-1], Foul-3 [W-3,S-0], Roof-29 [A-18,C-11], Windshield-1 [W-0,S-1]

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

07/18 - Seinfeld Comes to the Corner

Remember Seinfeld - the show about nothing? Well, it felt like a Seinfeld episode outside the ballpark today. Nothing happened.

Sure, there probably were a few Kramers and Costanzas walking around and they most likely were either just getting in or out of some weird/funny/crazy situation, but in terms of baseball activity - absolutely nothing. No batting practice, no home runs, no foul balls, no roof balls - nothing.

So we ballhawks did what we do best - sit around the corner and tell stories. And boy, were there some whoppers...

Note: Once again I am woefully behind in my updates. I'll try to catch up over the next few days.

Out of the Ballpark Totals:
Wednesday, July 18: No BP, HR-0, Foul-0, Roof-0, Windshield-0
Season: BP-236 [W-190,S-46], HR-7 [W-7,S-0], Foul-3 [W-3,S-0], Roof-22 [A-13,C-9], Windshield-1 [W-0,S-1]

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

06/26 - Timing is Everything...

...or not.

Today was the Majestic Michael Barrett 2007 Home Jersey giveaway at Wrigley Field. Only problem is, Michael Barrett was traded to the San Diego Padres last week. But somehow I don't think the 100 random winners were going to refuse their jerseys. Could be interesting on Sunday though when it's the exclusive limited edition Michael Barrett bobblehead doll in home uniform giveaway. This one goes to the first 10,000 fans.

Cubs Marketing Director Jay Blunk was taking this all in stride, quipping during an interview that he had a whole team of interns working on painting all the bobbleheads to look like Mike Fontenot...

No batting practice today as a torrential downpour dumps about 4 inches of rain in a couple hours totally flooding Wrigley Field in the afternoon. Check out this video footage from WMAQ-Channel 5.

Grounds crew did a heckuva job getting the field ready for the night game, which the Cubs won for their fifth in a row.

Out of the Ballpark Totals:
Tuesday, June 26: No BP, HR-0, Foul-0, Roof-0
Season: BP-179 [W-147,S-32], HR-7 [W-7,S-0], Foul-3 [W-3,S-0], Roof-18 [A-9,C-9]

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

06/20 - Good-Bye Michael

If a picture's worth a thousand words, then maybe this is what Jim Hendry was trying to say. Check out the rub-off area to the right of the ball...

Gonna miss you, Michael. On July 25, 2005, I caught your 10th homer of the season (career #64). On July 20, 2006, I caught your 10th homer of that season (career #80). And seeing as how you're sitting on nine homers this year, I was really looking forward to maybe catching #10 again. But fate (and Jim Hendry) intervened so I guess I'll just be happy with the two I caught and see where you end up playing next year.

In the meantime, welcome to the Cubs, Rob Bowen. That was a nice blast to the left-center bleachers last weekend for your second homer of the year. Now if you can just start pulling it a little more down the line each time, maybe your 10th of the year will make it out to Waveland and into my glove...

Out of the Ballpark Totals:
Season: BP-174 [W-143,S-31], HR-7 [W-7,S-0], Foul-3 [W-3,S-0], Roof-18 [A-9,C-9]

Friday, June 1, 2007

06/01 - Birthday Bash

Oh man, where to begin...

Well for starters, today was Carlos Zambrano's 26th birthday - and boy was there a party at Wrigley, complete with fireworks! Bottom of the 5th inning, Big Z and Michael Barrett did a little finger-pointing in the dugout after Michael's two errors in the top of the inning. Carlos pointed at his own head, as if to say Michael should play a little smarter. Michael returned the favor by pointing at the scoreboard, as if to say Carlos should pitch a little better. A scuffle ensued, players and coaches stepped in, and Carlos was sent to the clubhouse. Michael soon followed and big surprise, they started fighting again. Although Round 2 was out of sight of the TV cameras, post-game comments revealed Michael suffered a pretty bad cut lip and went to the hospital for some stiches.

Somewhere, AJ Pierzynski is smiling...

- There was a Rex Grossman sighting at the 7-11 before the game.
- "Kite-man" makes an appearance - he's this older fellow that shows up every now and then and proceeds to fly a kite on Waveland, near the firehouse. Don't ask me why - he just does.
- Found out that on July 20, 1969, Ron Santo hit a home run in Philadelphia at almost exactly the same time Neil Armstrong was taking the first steps on the moon.
- BP was uneventful - only five came out. Legendary ballhawk Rich Bhurke got three of them, including one that bounced off of Waveland, landing in the second floor balcony of the Beyond the Ivy rooftop building.
- The new Klondike NASCAR ice cream bar was easily the most popular giveaway outside the park today.

And finally, on the slim chance that us Ballhawks ever get an inflated opinion of ourselves, I got this little reminder about where we fit in the grand scheme of things. Late in the game, a man and his two kids are walking down Waveland. As they pass by, Dad points at me, Rich, Dave etc., and tells his kids in an almost reverent tone "Look - these are the guys that catch the home run balls." But he was interrupted by his kids who kept telling him "Look Dad, free ice cream. Free ice cream."

Out of the Ballpark Totals:
Friday, June 1: BP-5 [W-5,S-0], HR-0, Foul-0, Roof-0
Season: BP-141 [W-120,S-21], HR-5 [W-5,S-0], Foul-2 [W-2,S-0], Roof-14 [A-8,C-6]

Monday, May 28, 2007

05/28 - Moe and Tell

So as I approach the corner today, I see Moe standing in front of the Budweiser house with about 25 people around him. I get a little closer and I can see him motion with his hands, look up, and start to walk down towards the alley.

"Ah..." I think to myself. "He's telling the Sammy Sosa home run #62 story again."

Yep, good ol' #62. The one I almost had on the fly. The one that just missed hitting a women and her baby stroller. The one that Moe scooped up on the sidewalk before getting pushed and shoved into the alley. And the one that somebody unjustly pried out of Moe's hand (tearing a few ligaments in the process) at the bottom of a huge pile of [in]humanity.

I know Moe gets tired of telling the story all the time, but even after almost 10 years, people still want to hear about it, so Moe usually obliges. Today's audience was a bit larger than usual as I believe it was one of those Jay Buckley baseball tour groups. Never been on one, but I hear good things about them - seems like a great way to see a bunch of games in several cities in a short period of time. Everything's arranged ahead of time - coach buses, hotels, tickets.

Hmm... Wonder if there's a market out there for Ballhawk Baseball Tours. Let's see... We get into Moe's car, everybody chips in - ok, shovels in - for gas money, we stay in truck stop motels and either head east to hawk behind Fenway's Green Monster or head west to go swimming in AT&T/SBC/PacBell's McCovey Cove. And of course hit about a hundred or so minor league parks along the way.

Actually we kinda do that already down in Florida during Spring Training. Moe does the driving, I check the schedule and for the best team power/wind direction combination, and every two hours Andy chimes in with a "When do we eat?"

Out of the Ballpark Totals:
Monday, May 28: BP-11 [W-11,S-0], HR-0, Foul-0, Roof-0
Season: BP-116 [W-95,S-21], HR-5 [W-5,S-0], Foul-2 [W-2,S-0], Roof-14 [A-8,C-6]

Sunday, May 20, 2007

05/20 - One Good Slam Deserves Another

Not much happening outside the ballpark today. About 30 degrees colder than yesterday and those nice southern winds replaced by some gusty blasts from the Northeast. Only one team took BP today, but it didn't matter - nothing came close to coming out.

Given the wind direction and a couple of hard throwers on the hill, I decided to play roof balls. Konerko sent one my way in the second inning but a big CTA bus kept me from running into the street, so I had to watch it bounce up high over me and onto the roof of the auto body shop behind me on Addison. Paulie came up again in the 3rd, and once again lifted a high "foul ball off to the right and out of play" as Pat Hughes would say. This time there was no traffic, so it was an easy grab for me.

That was it for roof balls - only two - so I spent the rest of the time just enjoying "watching" the game by listening to Pat and Ron on the radio. Those guys know how to paint a picture. For example...

It's the top of 5th and Tadahito Iguchi is at the plate. Zambrano delivers and Iguchi fouls it off straight back. Ball deflects off of Barrett and nails Pierzynski who's standing in the on-deck circle. The way Pat & Ron described it, I felt like I actually saw it, and considering the whole Barrett/Pierzynski brouhaha from last year, I definitely enjoyed it as well.

But I have to give AJ credit - he certainly knows how to rise to the occasion. Top of 7th, bases loaded, and he manages to rip a line drive blast through the wind just far enough to make the basket in deep right center for a grand slam to ice the game for the Sox. I guess Derrek Lee's not the only one who knows how to make a grand statement during the Crosstown Rivalry.

Cubs rally but it's not enough as the Sox win, 10-6. Cubs still take 2 out of 3 though.

Out of the Ballpark Totals:
Sunday, May 20: BP-0, HR-0, Foul-0, Roof-2 [A-2,C-0]
Season: BP-105 [W-84,S-21], HR-5 [W-5,S-0], Foul-2 [W-2,S-0], Roof-14 [A-8,C-6]

Thursday, May 10, 2007

05/10 - Close But No Cigar

It was "value day" today at Wrigley, so with a relatively cheap bleacher ticket in hand, I went inside today. Of course, Murphy's Law came into play, and I spent most of BP watching balls go over my head and out onto Waveland. Oh well. Couldn't complain too much since it was a beautiful day and we had great seats - top row of the bleachers. True, the front row gives you the chance to scoop a homer out of the basket, but the top row gives you something to lean against, as well as not having to worry about a spilled beer waterfall from above.

So there we were, top row of the bleachers, top of the 5th, with the Cubs on the short end of a 5-1 score. Jason Bay of the Pirates is up and launches a nice high blast that's heading in our general direction. Actually, it's heading in our very specific direction. I'm standing near the aisle trying to figure out if I need to get on the bleacher or not. Ball keeps coming right at us and I quickly come to the conclusion I need to get taller, fast. But I get tangled up trying to turn around, step up onto the bleacher and still keep my eye on the ball, so all I can do is lean over and stick my glove up as high as I can.

Not high enough - guy on the other side is already on top of the bleacher seat, leans over and makes a terrific grab. I think he actually leaned back over the railing a bit, so if he hadn't caught it, there's a good chance that would have made it onto Waveland.

Of course, the guy throws it back, the fans cheer, and I'm left to second-guess myself for the next few batters, replaying the sequence of events back in mind. Then I took the only logical course of action - I had a cold beer.

Out of the Ballpark Totals:
Thursday, May 10: BP-7 [W-7,S-0], HR-0, Foul-0, Roof-2 [A-1,C-1]
Season: BP-73 [W-57,S-16], HR-5 [W-5,S-0], Foul-2 [W-2,S-0], Roof-12 [A-6,C-6]

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

05/09 - Short and Sweet

Wow - last night's game took 4:39 to play. Tonight's game took less than half that - 2:06 to be exact. Of course, not having to play 15 innings had a lot to do with it, but so did Jason Marquis throwing a 3 hit complete game shutout. And with the Cubs scoring only one run (Soriano's leadoff homer that stayed in the park), well, it makes for a quick game.

And as you might have guessed, a 1-0 game means not too much is happening out on the street. So I suppose the highlight of the evening was hearing the correct pronounciation of Xavier Nady's name over the PA system.

This may be hard to convey using just text, but last night, the announcer was going with a short 'a' in both his first and last name - sounded like "zah-VEE'-er nah-DEE'". Somebody from the Pirates organization must have said something because tonight, the a's were long and it sounded more like what you'd expect - "ex-ZAE'-vee-er NAE'-dee".

Of course, hearing two distinctly different pronounciations of a professional athelete, immediately brought to mind WKRP's Les Nessman and his news story about Chi-Chi Rodriguez. I won't even begin to try and type the phonetics on that one - instead, let's go to the video, thanks to YouTube:

Out of the Ballpark Totals:
Wednesday, May 9: BP-8 [W-7,S-1], HR-0, Foul-0, Roof-0
Season: BP-66 [W-50,S-16], HR-5 [W-5,S-0], Foul-2 [W-2,S-0], Roof-10 [A-5,C-5]

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

05/08 - Extra! Extra!

So many innings... so many stories.

I could talk about how Soriano's baserunning adventures tonight gave Ron Santo fits in the booth ("Oh mannnnn...", "Boy oh boy oh boy"). Or Pat Hughes reliving his rockin days talking with tonight's 7th inning stretch guest conductor, Kevin Cronin (lead singer, REO Speedwagon). Then there was the crowd chanting "Rocky! Rocky! Rocky!" in the 10th inning as Rocky Cherry was manning the mound for the Cubs. They were so loud I started wondering if Clubber Lang was pinch-hitting for the Pirates.

But for tonight's entry, I'll have to go back to batting practice and our newest ballhawk, Mike. Mike's been hanging around the corner for awhile now, glove always in hand. Not sure how old he is - maybe 11-13? He's gotten a few balls before but always on a bounce. The other day one came out and just grazed the tip of his glove on the fly, so he was getting close. And today was the day.

A nice high batting practice blast down the left field line, up over the bleachers and coming down right about the middle of the street. Only it never hit the street as Mike ran up, glove stretched high overhead, followed by the nice muffled 'plop' as the ball landed in his glove.

The only thing better than hearing that sound was seeing the toothy, mile-wide grin on Mike's face - a grin that easily lasted the rest of the night. In fact, I'm guessing he's going to sleep with that ball tonight.

Out of the Ballpark Totals:
Tuesday, May 8: BP-7 [W-6,S-1], HR-0, Foul-1 [W-1,S-0], Roof-0
Season: BP-58 [W-43,S-15], HR-5 [W-5,S-0], Foul-2 [W-2,S-0], Roof-10 [A-5,C-5]

Sunday, May 6, 2007

05/06 - Foreign Substance From Our Nation's Capital

Well, this bleacher expansion has at least done one good thing - the street value of a bleacher ticket has dropped way down. Second half of last season, fans were giving them away on Waveland but that was understandable with the Cubs in last place and stumbling along in the final throes of Dusty's Death March.

This year, even with the Tribune Co. raising prices and the Cubs on a modest yet impressive winning streak, bleacher tickets are still being obtained at reasonable prices. Got one today for $10 and saw another go for $5. Not bad for a weekend game in halfway decent weather.

So, yes, I went in again. I think I'm already close to a season high for going inside and it's only May. But I did stay outside for BP and was rewarded with one *OFFICIAL* TRAINING BALL by Rawlings, complete with Commissioner Allen H. Selig's signature and PRACTICE stamped under the MLB logo.

In other words, it wasn't a real Rawlings Major League ball - it was one of their low-end versions made in China. Kinda ironic that the Washington Nationals, the team from our nation's capital, are using practice balls made in China. Then again, the MLB official game balls come from a Rawlings factory in Turrialba, Costa Rica, and apparently under less-than-ideal working conditions. I guess all the foreign substance references in the MLB rulebook doesn't apply to the baseball itself...

Out of the Ballpark Totals:
Sunday, May 6: BP-4 [W-3,S-1], HR-0, Foul-0, Roof-1 [A-1,C-0]
Season: BP-51 [W-37,S-14], HR-5 [W-5,S-0], Foul-1 [W-1,S-0], Roof-10 [A-5,C-5]

Saturday, May 5, 2007

05/05 - Tony Armas Trivia Time

Wind blowing in, no batting practice, and a bleacher ticket in hand. So I decided to go inside today and see if the Cubs could continue their recent winning ways. They could and did, defeating the Nationals for the second straight day. Got kinda close at the end, but Ryan Dempster shut the door as the Cubs evened their record at 14-14. Rich Hill pitched another gem, Lee extended his hitting streak to 13 games and Ramirez hit one into the basket. Don't go making plans for October baseball quite yet, but at least they're starting to look like a winning team.

Meanwhile, back in the bleachers... Guy next to me stands up at one point, looks around, and says "There's nothing digital in this place. Can't tell who's hitting. Very antiquated."

I guess he didn't see the two electronic scoreboard strips hanging down from the first and third base upper decks that are constantly flashing game information in betweenst a bunch of advertising. And the two smaller, yet quite visible, electronic scoreboards hanging down from the roof along the first and third base lines. Oh, and then there's this rather large green scoreboard towering above the center field bleachers - antiquated, yes, but there's another electronic strip underneath it that clearly shows who's hitting. Crack me up...

Yes, I love the bleachers, and those who frequent them. From longtime Cubbie blue diehards to Trixie-come-lately wannabes and wannabe-seens, it's definitely an experience. I mean, where else can you hear someone say "Hey, you know Tony Armas has four body parts in his name?"

Out of the Ballpark Totals:
Saturday, May 5: No BP, HR-0, Foul-0, Roof-1 [A-1,C-0]
Season: BP-47 [W-34,S-13], HR-5 [W-5,S-0], Foul-1 [W-1,S-0], Roof-9 [A-4,C-5]

Friday, May 4, 2007

05/04 - Five will get you two hundred..

With all the health issues Ron Santo has to deal with, it's just a good thing high blood pressure isn't one of them. His first day back on the job in a couple weeks, and he has to watch Zambrano give up four runs in the first inning to the Nationals, quite possibly the NL's worst team. ¡Ay, caramba!

But the Cubs battle back to a earn a 6-4 victory, thanks to a Derrek Lee two run homer and quite a few doubles by his teammates. Lee's homer stayed in the park, as did Austin Kearn's three run blast in the first inning, so not much action out on the streets today. As opposed to a couple Mondays ago (April 23) when the Brewers were in town.

As I wrote in my original post for that day, I went home after batting practice when the wind shifted and started to blow in. So I missed all the excitement but after talking to several folks today, it sounds like Aramis Ramirez's 200th career home run that night went down something like this...

Ramirez crushes one to left-center where it goes off the hands of a fan in the top-row of the bleachers - that much I saw on tv. The ball keeps going, makes it over the back railing and down to Waveland. A passer-by and the hotdog guy are the closest to the ball and I'm told there was a bit of a scuffle for it. The passer-by emerges victorious and holds the ball up in triumph.

Naturally, there's a bunch of folks from the bleachers leaning over the railing and checking it all out. By now, I guess it becomes apparent that perhaps the passer-by has seen better days. So a few of the fans start throwing some change down for him, and at some point, one guy even tosses a five dollar bill. Well that gets the passer-by's attention, so in gratitude he tosses the ball up to his benefactor. Not sure what happened to the ball after that, or if its new owner even realized that it was Ramirez's 200th career homer.

Again, I'm piecing this all together after talking to several people, so these events may or may not have actually happened as described above. But I've seen stranger things outside the park, so who knows. At the very least, it makes for [what I hope is] an interesting story. And serves as a reminder to myself not to leave the ballpark until the game is over.

Out of the Ballpark Totals:
Friday, May 4: BP-2 [W-2,S-0], HR-0, Foul-0, Roof-0
Season: BP-47 [W-34,S-13], HR-5 [W-5,S-0], Foul-1 [W-1,S-0], Roof-8 [A-3,C-5]

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

04/25 - New Streak Begins

Wouldn't have believed it if I didn't see it, but the Brewers' Rickie Weeks put one out of the park and on to Waveland. Pretty remarkable, considering the 20+mph winds blowing in from the northeast. But he kept it low and ripped it down the line, just barely clearing the angled fence by the edge of the bleachers.

No idea who got the ball since I was once again watching from the comfort of my couch at home. Judging by the throw-back efforts, my guess is it was NOT one of the regular ballhawks. Whoever threw it back was slightly off with their aim as the ball landed in the seats behind the Cubs bullpen. I've seen other throws end up in the bleachers, i.e. they just didn't throw it far enough to make the field, but this was the first time I've seen it so far off line to end up in the regular seats.

Interestingly enough, this homer probably wouldn't have made it out in the old bleachers configuration. If you remember, the high fence behind the family section went all the way across. With the new configuration, the height of the railing follows the walkway, so where the steps go down, so does the railing. Scott Rolen had a similar home run last year - line drive that curled around the foul pole and barely made it over the railing. In the old configuration, that would have just slammed against the back fence.

So the street homer streak begins again, though now we take a little break as the Cubs go on the road for a week.

Out of the Ballpark Totals:
Wednesday, April 25: No BP, HR-1 [W-1,S-0], Foul-0, Roof-0
Season: BP-45 [W-32,S-13], HR-5 [W-5,S-0], Foul-1 [W-1,S-0], Roof-8 [A-3,C-5]

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

04/24 - Street Streak Stopped

Not much to report on today. Took a walk around Wrigley this afternoon - checked in with the autograph hounds by the Harry Caray statue, saw some Brewers players come in, said hello to some of the workers, and took a look through the right field knothole opening. A few Cubs getting loose on the field, and one Brewer doing push-ups and sit-ups.

Well, I certainly didn't need to be reminded of my own lack of conditioning, so after checking the wind (gusting in pretty good from the northeast), I decided to head home and take care of some other pressing matters. Yes, I know - hard to believe, but there are other things in life besides ballhawking.

So no ballcounts today, and no confirmation on if Ramirez's homer last night made it to the street or not. Len & Bob did talk about it on tonight's broadcast - they seemed to think that it did make the street. Since it was Ramirez's 200th, evidently there was some attempt by the Cubs to get it back, but the way Len & Bob described it, there was no way to be sure that they were getting back the right ball. Could have been quite the melee out there or maybe it was a solitary passer-by.

Meanwhile, Prince Fielder continues to own the Cubs - he hit another homer tonight. Cubs are losing 4-0, it's the top of the 9th, bases are loaded and Fielder is up again. I think I'll just stop typing now...

UPDATE (5/4/07): My sources tell me nothing came out during BP and Ramirez's HR did make it out. See 5/4/07 post for details.

Out of the Ballpark Totals:
Tuesday, April 24: BP-0, HR-0, Foul-0, Roof-0
Season: BP-45 [W-32,S-13], HR-4 [W-4,S-0], Foul-1 [W-1,S-0], Roof-8 [A-3,C-5]

Monday, April 23, 2007

04/23 - Four in a Row??? YES!!!

Cubs take some early BP around 3:30 and with the wind blowing hard out to right, I set up along Sheffield. My patience is rewarded when two balls come out. The first one almost hits a construction worker as he's loading tools onto his truck. He seems a bit confused when I give it to him, so I start to explain about batting practice, but quickly realize he speaks almost no English. I'm guessing he's Russian or Eastern European.

So I try sign language - I point to Wrigley, then the ball and motion with my arm showing how it came out of the park. Pretty obvious, right? Well, not quite. My new friend turns and makes like he's going to throw the ball back - he thought I was telling him he had to return the ball!

I chuckle a bit, and stop him before he gives up his souvenir. I point to him, then the ball and motion for him to hang onto it. Just then the second ball comes out, bounces up against a tree and rolls out into the street. I pick it up, show him the ball and then put it in my pocket and point to myself.

Ah... I think he gets it now. He smiles, and turns to his co-worker coming to the truck, shows him the ball, and starts talking a mile a minute. Needless to say, I didn't understand a word of it, but I certainly got the meaning. It's not just little boys and girls that enjoy getting a baseball for the first time...

Weather turned nasty around 4:30 or so. Wind shifted, temperature dropped about 15 degrees in 5 minutes, and skies started to cloud up. So I went home. I'm pretty sure both teams had a regular BP session but the wind was blowing straight in from center at about 20 mph, so I'd be surprised if any made it out. I'll try to find out tomorrow and update the counts if necessary.

Ok, so now I'm home watching the game on TV and I'm not 100% sure, but it looks like Ramirez's homer (200th of his career) went through a fan's hands in the top row and out onto Waveland. If that's true, then that makes it four games in a row with a street homer. The Streak Continues!!! Well, maybe. I'll have to check on that tomorrow as well.

Bad news is Brewers have tied it up to take it into extra innings. Good news is Albert Pujols is nowhere near Wrigley Field. Unfortunately, Prince Fielder is. He jacks a homerun to the right-field basket in the top of the 12th. Brewers win 5-4.

UPDATE (5/4/07): Six more balls came out during regular BP after I left. And Ramirez's homer did make it out. See 5/4/07 post for details.

Out of the Ballpark Totals:
Monday, April 23: BP-8 [W-1,S-7], HR-1 [W-1,S-0], Foul-0, Roof-0
Season: BP-45 [W-32,S-13], HR-4 [W-4,S-0], Foul-1 [W-1,S-0], Roof-8 [A-3,C-5]

Sunday, April 22, 2007

04/22 - Street Streak at Three

Well, it took extra innings but the "consecutive games with a street homer" streak was extended to three today as Albert Pujols blasted a three-run homer to deep, deep, left-center in the 10th to win the game for the Cardinals. Final score was 12-9, more akin to a football score, which seemed appropriate given that Bears placekicker Robbie Gould was the Guest Conductor for today's 7th inning stretch.

Quite a few homers today (Edmonds, Barrett, Duncan, Rolen, Ramirez and Pujols) but only Pujols' left the park. Rolen's blast almost made it though. Landed in top row of bleachers where it bounced off a fan's hand, over his head to the walkway area behind the bleachers where another fan tried to grab it in mid-air but she deflected it back even further towards the street. I thought for sure the ball was coming out at this point, but then it hit the railing and bounced back onto the walkway where a small scrum ensued.

Back to the Pujols' homer... I was playing him straightaway to left so all I could do was watch the action farther down Waveland by the alley. Dave was in the lead of those chasing the ball, but by this point in the game, there are always people everywhere outside the park, so as luck would have it, a passer-by (looked like a vendor) got close to it first. A glove goes flying, ball bounces back into the street, and Dave and VendorGuy are pushing/pulling each other trying to get to it. VendorGuy had position though, and eventually grabbed the ball from the ground.

Batting practice was somewhat of a disappointment considering the gusty 20mph winds from the South and the combined slugging potential of both teams. Even with the bleacher expansion, I was expecting more like 18-20 out instead of nine.

Brewers are next team in but the weather is supposed to take a turn for the worse - about 20 degrees colder, wind blowing in, and scattered showers. The street-homer streak is definitely in jeopardy...

Out of the Ballpark Totals:
Sunday, April 22: BP-9 [W-8,S-1], HR-1 [W-1,S-0], Foul-0, Roof-1 [A-0,C-1]
Season: BP-37 [W-31,S-6], HR-3 [W-3,S-0], Foul-1 [W-1,S-0], Roof-8 [A-3,C-5]

Saturday, April 21, 2007

04/21 - Bartman in the Bleachers???

The south winds that ballhawks dream about aren't quite here yet - still some easternly flow to it off the lake. So BP wasn't anything too exciting - one from the Cubs and three from the Cardinals. But the sun was shining, temps in the 70s, and the Cubs were putting the hurt on the Cards, so it was a pretty good day all around.

Michael Barrett delivered the big blow with a three-run blast in the first inning. Given the wind direction and my personal belief that "catchers always pull", I positioned myself down the line again. Sure enough, I see the ball coming up, almost right at me. I ran across the street, right up to where the stairs lead down from the bleachers, and was all ready to make a nice basket catch. All of a sudden, a fan reaches out and tries to make a barehanded catch over the railing.

Holy Moises Alou - it's the return of Bartman!!!

Ball goes off his hand, over my head, and heads down Waveland towards the firehouse. Wes gives chase, but ball bounces right into the hand of a passerby, who proceeds to pull out his cell phone and call everyone he knows...

Out of the Ballpark Totals:
Saturday, April 21: BP-4 [W-4,S-0], HR-1 [W-1,S-0], Foul-0, Roof-0
Season: BP-28 [W-23,S-5], HR-2 [W-2,S-0], Foul-1 [W-1,S-0], Roof-7 [A-3,C-4]

Friday, April 20, 2007

04/20 - First Street Homer!

Finally... some warm weather. Lots of sunshine, temp in the low 60s. Not a great wind, so BP was poor (only one out) but no one seemed to mind. Ballhawks were out in full force today - Rich B. and Wes making their first appearances of the year, to join Moe, Dave, "Old School" George, Rich R. and myself.

Game moved along rather quickly - scoring only one run through six innings will have that effect. So with the Cubs nursing a 1-0 lead, we head to the seventh inning when things got interesting.

Wes scored a ticket so he was in the bleachers, near the left-field line and I was shadowing him from the street. Preston Wilson up for the Cardinals with a man on. Cra-a-a-ck! I see Wes start to run to his left along the back concourse, so I follow suit out on Waveland. Then I see Wes put the skids on and turn back to the right, so I try to do the same. By this time I can finally see the ball and it's hooking big time towards the left-field foul pole.

Thankfully the ball is hit high enough, so I've got a chance to catch it on the fly, but I lose sight of it behind one of the poles for an instant, and when I pick it back up, it's coming right at me. Hits my glove, bounces off my chest and down onto the street rolling away from me. I look up; not too many people around but I'm not taking any chances so I toss my glove ahead of the ball, slowing it down enough so I can pick it up.

I look around and the closest person to me is the Hot Dog guy - if you've been to a game, you know who I'm talking about. He's out there almost every game, dressed up in this hotdog costume, walking up and down Waveland handing out coupons for a local establishment and every now and then he raises both hands and does this little dance that cracks me up every time I see it.

I suppose if I had to lose the ball to someone because of my misplay, I'd want it to be to the Hot Dog guy. And I am somewhat embarassed that I didn't catch it on the fly. But George says "Hey, it's not an error if you end up with it." I like the way he thinks, so I hereby do appoint "Old School" George as official scorer for the ballhawks.

Unfortunately, that homer proved to be the game-winner for the Cardinals, as the Cubs lose another one run game, 2-1. Maybe this will get Lou ticked enough to schedule early BP tomorrow.

UPDATE: YouTube strikes again - someone actually recorded my throwback of the Wilson homerun. Kind of hard to make it out, but clearly not one of my finer efforts. Only got about two thirds of the way to the infield. I'd like to blame it on the bleacher expansion, but truth is, I'm just over-the-hill...

Out of the Ballpark Totals:
Friday, April 20: BP-1 [W-1,S-0], HR-1 [W-1,S-0], Foul-0, Roof-2 [A-1,C-1]
Season: BP-24 [W-19,S-5], HR-1 [W-1,S-0], Foul-1 [W-1,S-0], Roof-7 [A-3,C-4]

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

04/17 - Alfonso Pipp?

With Felix Pie's impressive debut today in center field, should Alfonso Soriano be worried, a la Wally Pipp back in the Lou Gehrig days? Well, I can think of 136 million reasons why he shouldn't be. But once he recovers from his hamstring tweak, I'm guessing he'll be back in left field, with either Pie staying up with the big league club, or Jacque Jones shifting to center in an attempt to showcase him for a trade.

Regardless, it was an impressive debut, and I got to see it first-hand, i.e. from inside the ballpark. Decided to take advantage of the Cubs' "value days" and sat in the bleachers. Maddux pitching for the Padres was an added bonus, and watching Pie get his first major league hit, rbi, and gunning down a runner at home in the 10th inning with a superb throw was just pure gravy.

This one went 14 innings, ending with the Cubs on the short end of a 4-3 score. I think Vegas is now taking bets on when Lou tosses his first base...

Out of the Ballpark Totals:
Tuesday, April 17 : BP-6 [W-6,S-0], HR-0, Foul-0, Roof-1 [A-0,C-1]
Season: BP-23 [W-18,S-5], HR-0, Foul-1 [W-1,S-0], Roof-5 [A-2,C-3]

Monday, April 16, 2007

04/16 - "Michael ok"

That was the subject line of an e-mail I got this morning from my brother. I thought it odd - why wouldn't Michael (his son, my nephew) be ok? Then I read the e-mail and became aware of the shootings at Virgina Tech, where Michael is a senior. Thankfully, he was at a job interview on Monday so he was nowhere near the campus.

Still, as the day unfolded and each hour brought more and more tragic news, I couldn't help but think "what if". Pretty unnerving, especially since my brother had just been in Chicago over the weekend for a campus visit with his other son. We spent Friday night catching up on what's going on with all his kids (he has a daughter in college too) and their career plans. Great kids, smart kids, and bright futures for each of them. Yet, here it is, just a few days later, and things could have been so much different.

Can't even begin to make sense of it all - I'm just thankful Michael's ok. My heart goes out to the families and friends of those who died, and all of the Hokie Nation. I know it's not much, but taking a cue from the Washington Nationals, I plan to wear a Virginia Tech hat this season outside of Wrigley as soon as I can find one.

"We are Virginia Tech"

Out of the Ballpark Totals:
Monday, April 16 : BP-6 [W-6,S-0], HR-0, Foul-0, Roof-0
Season: BP-17 [W-12,S-5], HR-0, Foul-1 [W-1,S-0], Roof-4 [A-2,C-2]

Sunday, April 15, 2007

04/15 - Wearing Jackie's Number A Nice Touch...

...but emulating his baserunning would have been better.

Cubs down 1-0, and Soriano starts the bottom of the sixth with a lead-off double. Theriot is up next and smacks a single up the middle. Ryan Freel, a converted infielder with a not-so-great arm, is playing center field for the Reds. So if you have one of your fastest runners on second base in a close game, wouldn't you send him home on a hit? I would. But the Cubs didn't so Soriano is on third, Theriot is on first and I'm muttering to myself.

But then the genius of the Cubs baserunning strategy hits me. It's Jackie Robinson day and Soriano is one of the Cubs wearing #42. So maybe, just maybe, he's going to take this to the next level. Wouldn't it be cool if he decided to make the ultimate tribute to Jackie by trying to steal home?

Alas, 'twas not to be. Jones and Lee strike out, and Barret flies out to right. Inning over with Soriano stranded on third. Cubs lose 1-0.

Not much came out during BP, thanks to a strong North wind. MLB had said they were going to use special commerative balls during the game, so after the first inning, I went around and played roof ball. Got one from David Ross of the Reds, but no special markings - just a regular MLB ball. Found out later that another ballhawk, Rich, also got a roof ball, but his was normal too. Late in a game, Barrett hit a long foul ball that made it out of the park, and that too was just a normal ball. So I'm thinking that once again, Bud was blowing smoke...

Out of the Ballpark Totals:
Sunday, April 15 : BP-1 [W-0,S-1], HR-0, Foul-1 [W-1,S-0], Roof-2 [A-2, C-0]
Season: BP-11 [W-6,S-5], HR-0, Foul-1 [W-1,S-0], Roof-4 [A-2,C-2]

Saturday, April 14, 2007

04/14 - Fairweather Hawk

I don't think it got much over 40 degrees today, and a cold breeze blowing in off the lake dropped the wind chill to the low 30s. At least that's what told me from the comfort of my home. I like to think I'm a dedicated ballhawk, but even I have my limits.

But I did check with my sources and needless to say, nothing came out during BP. Or the game for that matter. Cubs did win though, 7-0. Even had a suicide squeeze. Good-bye 3-run homers, hello small ball? Perish the thought...

Out of the Ballpark Totals:
Saturday, April 14 : BP-0, HR-0, Foul-0, Roof-0
Season: BP-10 [W-6,S-4], HR-0, Foul-0, Roof-2 [A-0,C-2]

Friday, April 13, 2007

04/13 - Friday the 13th

On my way to today's game, I stopped by that gate area in right field where you can see into the park just to make sure there was going to be BP that day. Sure enough, the Cubs were on the field and Carlos Zambrano was in the cage. Based on the ferocity of some of his swings, he looked plenty mad. As manager Lou Brown would say "Good, I like that kind of spirit in a player..."

Unfortunately, none of that ferocity translated to much of anything in BP, for either team. Plenty of fireworks inside the park during the game though, as Big Z blasted a double AND a homerun. Cubs up 5-0 after four innings with your ace on the mound - sounds like a win, right? Yeah, right...

Reds score six runs in the top of the fifth and hold on to win the game. Zambrano gets the loss, but Will Ohman is the one who walked in the tying and go-ahead runs. That's Ohman, as in Omen. On Friday the 13th, no less. Cue the Twilight Zone music...

Out of the Ballpark Totals:
Friday, April 13 : BP-2 [W-0,S-2], HR-0, Foul-0, Roof-0
Season: BP-10 [W-6,S-4], HR-0, Foul-0, Roof-2 [A-0,C-2]

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

04/11 - Snowed Out

Well, I suppose if it's warm enough in January to wear shorts as it has been for a day or two these last few years, it shouldn't come as a surprise that it can snow enough in April to postpone a baseball game. Anyone in Cleveland can surely relate.

So no game today at Wrigley - rescheduled for the Thursday after the All-Star game (July 12).

Out of the Ballpark Totals:
Wednesday, April 11 : Nothing - snowed out
Season: BP-8 [W-6,S-2], HR-0, Foul-0, Roof-2 [A-0,C-2]

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

04/10 - Different Day, Same Result

Ok, so the novelty of Opening Day has worn off, but the results are still the same - another Cubs loss. But hey, eight games do not a season make so keep the faith, right?

A little more sunshine made things a bit warmer, but even with some nice Southeast winds, only four balls made it out during batting practice - and they were all of the bounce-out variety. Went home after batting practice and listened to the game on the radio. Which brings me to...

Sounds of the Day: Ron Santo was in midseason form on the radio. Lots of "Geez" and "Man oh man" and "Gosh" all over the place. Even in a loss, or perhaps that's especially in a loss, the man still paints a beautiful baseball picture.

Out of the Ballpark Totals:
Tuesday, April 10 : BP-4 [W-4,S-0], HR-0, Foul-0, Roof-0
Season: BP-8 [W-6,S-2], HR-0, Foul-0, Roof-2 [A-0,C-2]

Monday, April 9, 2007

04/09 - BrrrOpening Day 2007

About 40 degrees at first pitch, but quickly got colder as the wind kicked in off the lake, bringing a little bit of flurries here and there. Cubs lost, but you probably already knew (or guessed) that. The Bears' Devin Hester threw out the first pitch but I was kinda hoping he'd 'return' the ball to home plate, spike it and do a little dance...

Not much of a batting practice - understandable, given the weather. Maybe a half-dozen made it into the bleachers, and I think only two - both by Houston - made it out onto the street.

Pre-Game Sight of the Day:
The U.S. Army Golden Knights decided to drop-in, literally. About 10 troopers parachuted into Wrigley Field, carrying various flags and banners and landing in the outfield. Very cool.

In-Game Sight of the Day: After enduring the usual [mostly] good-natured barbs and insults from the left field bleachers with a smile, The Astros' Carlos Lee caught a fly ball for the third out, turned around as if to toss us the ball, but stopped at the last second, laughed, and then trotted in towards the dugout. I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship...

Post-Game Sight of the Day: As my girlfriend and I were leaving the park, we encountered quite possibly the politest drunk fan ever. Given the crowds, a slight collision was inevitable, but even as she staggered towards us, she was coherent enough to say "Excuse me" and apologize well before she bumped into us. A refreshing change of pace from the usual drunken masses.

UPDATE: "Old School" George tells me two balls came out on Sheffield during BP, so I've updated the ballcount totals.

Out of the Ballpark Totals:
Monday, April 9 : BP-4 [W-2,S-2], HR-0, Foul-0, Roof-2 [A-0,C-2]
Season: BP-4 [W-2,S-2], HR-0, Foul-0, Roof-2 [A-0,C-2]