8/16/09 Cubs vs. Pirates

            I almost didn’t want to go to the Pirates hotel this day even though it was on the same block and around the corner (the hotel is the Westin. EVERY baseball (and I believe sports) team in Chicago stays at that hotel, except two: The Yankees and The Cardinals because one of their pitchers, Darryl Kile, died in that hotel). I wanted to stay in MY hotel and just sleep. But that would’ve been a horrible mistake.

            The first people to come out where three players. I approached one of them randomly and got him to sign, and he signed he stupid autograph on the sweetspot for my 1st autograph and then I went over to the next player who after looking at some person’s cards was Charlie Morton. I got him to sign my 2nd autograph.

Charlie Morton Signing1

          The first player after some confusion was Steven Jackson. Then I saw a very tall player about to come out through the main entrance. He was Donald Veal and I got him to sign my 3rd autograph.

Donald Veal Signing1

Since it was the final game of the series all the players would have to check out before they leave for the game. I saw one player sign out, carry some luggage, and he just looked like a *star*. So one of the other collectors told me that he was Ramon Vasquez, and he signed my 4th autograph. And while getting Vasquez another player sneaked past everyone and was walking along the sidewalk. But since I saw that most of the players were tall, and this guy was, I ran over to get the guy (Kevin Hart) for my 5th autograph.

          Matt Capps had been taunting everyone by just sitting inside for an extremely long period of time. Some people were getting impatient, but I knew that he was waiting for someone. That someone was Joel Hanrahan. They both came out together and I got Matt Capps first for my 6th autograph and Joel second for my 7th autograph.

Joel Hanrahan Signing

. A guy that I recognized as Denny Bautista came out and I got him for my 8th autograph. I noticed his Colorado Rockies ring and said “Nice ring.”

All of the people at that point had exited through the main door but after a while two people exited for the door to get on the bus. Those two people were Brandon Moss and Zach Duke, who signed my 9th and 10th autographs respectively.

Zach Duke Coming Out To Sign

          Then two more players went to get on the bus: Luis Cruz and Delwyn Young. I went for Cruz first and got my 11th autograph and was worried that I would miss Delwyn, but I didn’t, and he signed my 12th autograph.

Delwyn Young Signing1

            Jesse Chavez came out after getting a Starbucks and signed for everyone (my 13th autograph) and then he got on the bus and Ryan Doumit and Jeff Karstens came out in quick succession, not together and I got both of them for my 14th and 15th autographs respectively.

           All of this had happened so fast that I needed to stop for a moment to take notes, but it was hard to get a break on that. When I started taken notes Jason Jaramillo came out and started signing and I was unprepared and only got him on one for my 16th autograph. So I tried to catch up on about the previous 5 or so people, but I only got 3 done because Paul Maholm came out and I got him for my 17th autograph. Since most of the players had already left there finally was time for a break to take notes on what had happened. After I finished with the notes I noticed that Garret Jones, who had been talking to people inside for a while had stood up and started making his way for the door. He came, was incredibly nice, and signed my 18th autograph.

Garret Jones Signing

              The next person was my last person, and everyone else’s at the hotel (Milledge and McCutchen wouldn’t sign). He was Andy Laroche. He came out and signed for everyone even though he was in a rush. He signed one ball for my 19th autograph because I accidentally called him the wrong name.

He got on the bus and as soon as he got on the bus left for Wrigley Field and so did I.

I went outside onto Sheffield Avenue before the gates opened to try and snag some baseballs.Sheffield Avenue

None came to me, or over onto Sheffield. The game time was 1:20pm which confused me a lot in that I wasn’t really sure about the schedule. After the Bleacher Season Ticket Holders got in early they let everyone else in, including the about 15 people on line for the Bleacher Box. I rushed over to the Left Field, general admission bleachers for the first while. It got crowded quickly because people wanna get a good seat since it’s general admission.

The wind was intense, really intense. At one point my Cubs hat got blown onto Waveland Street (I got it back) and it was so crazy there also. One guy pulled down my backpack, forcing me to fall, while going for a home run ball and I lost my Cubs picture roster. Luckily before I lost it I was able to identify some unknown players like #36 Randy Wells. Since I thought that nobody knew his name I asked Randy for a ball when it rolled to him. He tossed me my 1st ball in the insanely crowded Left Field, which got even more crowded and forced me to move to Right Field.
Lifetime Baseball No. 206

          I knew another unknown player’s number and name who was shagging over there, Justin Berg, and when a ball rolled to the wall I got him to toss it to me, but it fell short and hit of the railing. It was his fault, he retrieved the ball, and tossed it to me again, which this time it made it on the mark for my 2nd ball and people actually applauded. I don’t know why. I got the ball tossed to me once, it fell short (his fault), he picked up the ball again and tossed it to me a second time, and I caught it as one of the easiest catches ever, and people applauded. Was there something that I didn’t get???
Baseball No. 207 Lifetime

          But then I retreated after that to the foul line where the Pirates were throwing.

 

Pirates Throwing

          I didn’t see the Pirates give out any balls; they just threw them back to the bucket. So then I retreated to my Bleacher Box section which surprisingly had about 15 people including 6 or so kids. The Pirates hit no home runs into the bleacher box section except one. It was coming about 3 seats wide to my left and about 3 rows up. It was hit on a line so the ball traveled farther faster. I ran up the steps to get in position, turned around, and the ball clanged off the seat right next to me and ricocheted back onto the field. I was mad about that, I should’ve been more prepared. I did ask Chris Bootcheck for a ball that rolled to the ivy and he flipped up my 3rd ball.

Chris Bootcheck Baseball1

          Then another ball rolled to the wall, but this time the Hispanic Denny Bautista retrieved it. I asked him “Da me la bola por favor?” And he flipped up my 4th ball.

Catching My 4th Baseballs 81609

Even though just about every kid had gotten a ball in the Bleacher Box AND they continued to ask for more I could hear some people start to grumble, so I gave the ball to a little girl with a glove who hadn’t gotten a ball (the one in the the pink to the right of me with a glove).

And finally I got one more ball during batting practice. Bullpen Catcher Herberto “Herbie” Andrade retrieved a ball that rolled to the wall. I called out “Herbie, Herbie, Herbie!” And when he looked up I opened and closed the flap of my glove and said: “Da me la bola por favor?” And Herberto tossed up my 5th ball.
Herbie Andrade Tossing Me A Baseball

I decided at that moment to head over to the dugout to get ready for the end of BP when I saw Andrew McCutchen signing. At Wrigley they only let you down to some sections if someone is signing. Since someone was signing the ushers let me down with no hassle whatsoever and he signed my 1st autograph.
Andrew McCutchen Signing

Then I made my way over to the dugout. Remember how it was a 1:20 game? Well BP went on for another 20 minutes, but I saw that I wouldn’t have gotten any balls out there, so I waited for everyone to come in. And as I was sitting there a miracle happened right before BP ended: It rained. Not hard enough to force all the players to run in immediately, but hard enough that most of the people in the field level seats ran for cover. BP continued as normal and when they started coming in only 10 people were in the seats beneath me.
Pirates BP At Wrigley Field

I was looking at the players coming in to see if anybody was carrying a baseball. Jason Jaramillo who was batting picked up a loose baseball that was lying near the cage and he started walking in. I waved my arms and yelled his name to get him to throw me the baseball. He took the ball and threw it to me, but it fell two rows short and rolled into an empty row. I climbed over the rows to get to the ball and grabbed my 6th ball and climbed back into the cross-aisle. Then I saw a player (possibly Paul Maholm) walking in from the outfield with a baseball and I got him to toss me my 7th ball (clean catch).
Me Catching My 7th Ball 81609
 

And then I saw Jeff Karstens (who is easily recognizable) walking in with about three baseballs. I called him out and waved my arms and he tossed me the ball. It was falling short, so I leaned over the back row of seats and reached way out. I put my other hand on a seat to prevent me from falling and I reached out and caught my 8th ball in the tip of my glove. That was when a security guy remarked:

“Three is enough.”

3 Balls from 1 Minute Span

            Everyone other Pirates pitcher had gone in, so all I could do was wait for the game to start. But the game didn’t start. It rained all the way through and just when it started becoming extremely light and clear a guy from the Cubs dugout came out and made the “It’s Off!” sign with his hands. I was sitting in the third row right next to the dugout. All the Pirates players in it started walking off, but Garret Jones lingered a bit. I saw that he had a wristband, so I asked him for it. He walked over and tossed me my 1st game used item of the day! And then he ended up tossing the guy next to me his batting gloves. I went back up to put some stuff away and they had cut all the ushers off their jobs so I was able to walk freely down to the dugout again. I saw a guy coming from the Pirates dugout with 4 baseballs in his hand. I asked him for one and then he tossed me my 9th baseball, the final one at Wrigley for this year.

Final Ball at Wrigley Field 2009

My Next Destination? Chicago. More specifically: US Cellular Field.

 

Stats:

  • 20 MLB Autographs Today
  • 9 MLB Balls Today
  • 150 MLB Autographs in this Season
  • 189 Total Autographs in this Season
  • 214 MLB Balls in this Season
  • 235 Total Balls in this Season
  • 9 Thrown
  • 5 BP, 3 Pre-Game, 1 After
  • Attendance: Rainout (1)
  • Competition Factor: Rainout (1)
  • 6.11 Balls / 1 Game
  • 35 Consecutive Games with at least 3 MLB Baseballs
  • 25 Consecutive Games with at least 1 MLB Autograph
  • 20 Consecutive Games with at least 4 MLB Baseballs

 

 

Pirates Team Ball1
Thumbnail image for Pirates Team Ball2

Pirates Team Ball3
Pirates Team Ball4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not Pictured: Steven Jackson on the sweetspot.

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