8.24.2008

Extras

When you get opportunities in life, you have to try to take advantage and make the best of them …

On Friday, as Kates and I were readying ourselves for Phoebe’s first Cubs game at Wrigley, I also got an offer I couldn’t refuse with two tickets to today’s Brewers game …With J.J. Hardy bobblehead day and CC Sabathia scheduled to pitch, it was a no-brainer for me, not to mention the fact the Brewers are deep in a pennant race and it might be my only chance I get to see a Brewers game this season -- I had to go … But it took a near 24-hour-period of negotiations with Kates before we came to an agreement that involved her getting the things she needed and me going to the game …

On top of that, my buddy Matt offered me a chance to catch Saturday’s White Sox game with him at The Cell … In an ideal world, with the Sox game slated for a 2:55 start, I could’ve said good-bye to Kates and Phoebe after the game at Wrigley, taken the train straight south to The Cell for the White Sox game and met up with Matty within the first couple innings …

And I thought last summer’s double-dip was a lifetime achievement. How awesome would it have been to do the Cubs and White Sox games yesterday and the Brewers game today!? … But I wasn’t even going to broach that one with Kates, and I declined the opportunity to catch the Sox game.

Still, life goes on.

So while Kates and Phoebe spent time with Kates’s mother, I took her pop to Miller Park for today's Brewers-Pirates game … We hit heavy traffic heading into the stadium and had to listen to the first inning on the radio as we moved into park. From the parking lot we scurried toward the stadium and could hear the crowd roaring inside.

Once the J.J. Hardy bobbleheads were in our hands, it was up the escalators to our seats -- waaaaaaaaay up in the left field corner. In fact, our seats were in the second to last row of the stadium, right in line with the foul pole so that I had to lean one way and Kates’s pop had to lean the other to see home plate …And it felt, to quote Rob Thomas, like “seven inches from the midday sun.”


We arrived as the Brewers were batting in the bottom of the second, but Sabathia hardly appeared to be the pitcher he was in his nine previous starts for the Brewers. After all, we’d been musing on the way to the game about the number of innings Sabathia had thrown since the trade, including the complete game he tossed in Monday night’s blowout …Today, CC only lasted six innings while giving up eight hits and one run.

On top of that Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder looked awful at the plate. Braun went 0-for-5, with three strikeouts and two double plays, all of which are almost unheard of stats for him. And Fielder was 0-for-4 with a walk …

We also watched the Brewers load the bases with no outs in the third and again in the fourth with one out. But they couldn’t get a run across either inning … Then when they had the 3-2 lead in the ninth, they failed to shut the door and allowed the Pirates to tie the game and send it into extra innings …

The first nine innings had shaped into such a disappointment that we hardly noticed the strong showings J.J Hardy and Bill Hall were putting together, and Mike Cameron had a 5-for-5 day, including the homerun he hit in the eighth inning to give Milwaukee the 3-2 lead. Suffice to say, that homerun was the only highlight worth mentioning from the first nine innings.

But the extra innings …

First of all, we didn’t waste any time upgrading our seats. Fans had started filtering out of the stadium in the eighth and the exiting crowds really got heavy when the game moved into extras. After each inning we moved further down the left field line, eventually ending up halfway between third base and the left field corner.

We also got treated to a bonus sausage race

And the day looked all but over when the Pirates loaded the bases with no outs on Carlos Villanueva. But Guillermo Mota came on in relief and got Brandon Moss to fly out to Cameron, who fired the ball to the plate and held the runners. Then a strikeout and a bouncer back to the mound and Mota -- miraculously -- was out of the inning …

Into the bottom of the 12th. Rickie Weeks walked and swiped second … J.J. Hardy had come up to-bat. With it being his bobblehead day, you just knew he had to be the one to do something … I snapped this picture of the moment ...

And then it happened. Hardly shot a line drive into center field and Weeks was tearing for home plate. The throw was off. Weeks crossed the plate standing up. And the Brewers mobbed Hardy as he rounded first base. The Brewers had won 4-3.

The crowd -- or what was left of it -- went nuts. In an instant, it was all worth it.

It was the Brewers fourth straight win and their 23 rd in their last-bat. It was the 21st consecutive sellout at Miller Park and the 45,163 who saw it made up the sixth largest crowd in Miller Park history.

And we got J.J. Hardy bobbleheads.

1 comment:

Matty said...

Eh, the Sox stunk it up anyhow... though we did have good seats. My uncle was at your Cubbies game and he ended up sitting next to Billy Williams and got his autograph. I sat next to a three year old and got a mustard stain.
You should have been there!