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]