MIAMI! I was so pumped up to be attending these two games in the middle of the week at a stadium that averages 25 fans a night. I was ready to put up huge numbers and get a little bit closer to my main goal for the year of getting to 100 lifetime balls. Unfortunately for me things got a little crazy. After a day spent at Islands of Adventure in Orlando I got a text informing me of the doubleheader for the next day. I was pretty upset and not even for ballhawking reasons. I wanted to go see this stadium before the Marlins moved and I thought it would be a 12 or 1 start time for the first game, so I had no chance of making that. It was a 3 and half hour drive from Orlando and being with my mom and grandma I knew they wouldn’t get up early enough to get there.
Luckily for me it was a single admission doubleheader starting at 4. This was bittersweet for me – it would wind up cutting a day off our vacation which meant we wouldn’t be doing anything in Miami, but I would get to cross an item off my bucket list (which I’ll probably publish on here in the offseason). That item being attend both games of a doubleheader. We called the Marlins to figure out the details of when we could get in and all that. We were told the parking lots would open at 1 and the gates at 1:30 so we left around 8 on the morning of the game.
Now comes the craziness. After eating at a Denny’s we drove up to the parking lot at a little before 1. The attendant there told us we couldn’t park until 1:30 and the gates to the stadium would open at 5:40. My mom believed her, so I yelled from the backseat that she had to be mistaken since the game started at 4. She didn’t even know about the doubleheader so she called someone and they told us they’d open at 2. So we went to Wal-Mart to kill time. A little after 1:30 we headed up to the lot and surprise! They wouldn’t let us in. She said it was 2 now and the gates at 2:15. We turned back around and went driving around the stadium when I took this picture
I had two options for that photo. Either hold the camera over a 6 foot gate and take it or try to aim it through a hole in the chain link. I went for the first one. And see the guy in the bottom right? He started walking towards me so being the quick thinker I am, I decided to bury my face into my camera and walk back to the van. I was sure he was gonna start yelling about something so I just wanted to get outta there. He got my mom’s attention though and said I could come through the gate to take a better picture. Whew. So he opened the gate for me and I got a photo without a portapotty in it.
And then 2:00 rolled around so we went back to go park. Surprisingly, we actually got in this time so I went to the pro shop to look for a Marlins jersey to add to my collection. Too bad for me, they only had one rack full of jerseys and they were all $300. Too much for this hillbilly. I could justify spending that much if it were Mark Lowell or Josh Beckett, or even Hanley Ramirez. But nope, it was filled with Anibal Sanchez, Logan Morrison, and Gaby Sanchez. I’ll pass. But you know what they did have? Tons and tons of Dolphins and Miami Hurricanes gear. My grandma wanted a hat and they didn’t even have any Marlins hats.
It was about time for the gates to open so we asked where that gate that opens early is, and he told us to go to this fancy lobby and wait because of the heat. So we did and at 2:15 they said it would be 2:30 when we could get in. At 2:30 they told us 2:45 and at 2:45 they told us 3. Well at about 2:55 they let us in. I decided to go down and just look for eggs since there wouldn’t be any BP so when I got to the top of the steps and I saw the Reds hitting, I was shocked to say the least. They only hit for about 9 or 10 minutes but still, it was nice to see. I tried to get a ball from the Reds players but that didn’t work, and I got beat out on the only home run I had a chance at. I finished empty handed but as I was leaving the seats, and usher stopped me and gave me two balls. One for each game he said.
Is it cheap? Yes. Did they require any skill or effort? No. Do they count? Hell yes. After the ushers and security guards at Great American started going out of their way to try and prevent me from getting balls, you best believe I count them. I started walking around at that point. Want to see what I saw?
Those people at the end of the tunnel? All workers. And notice the closed concession stand, it stayed that way. If I wanted a drink, I had to walk all the way to home plate from my seat in center field. And why was I even in my ticketed seat? Because when I tried to go down an aisle, each usher would stop me and ask for my ticket and send me back to my center field seat. And if I went through the seats? Someone would cut me off. Really guys, you have 347 people in your stadium. Let people sit where they want. This is how crowded it was for pre-game warm ups
Yeah, it was equal parts awesome and scary. For the first game, I had no chances at any balls. No third out balls, no warm up balls, no homers near me. Nothing. I did get one ball during the game though. In the third inning I went to try and find a drink when I found an easter egg. That should show just how many people are there and how many pay attention. Now I suppose it’s picture time since I have nothing to write about.
And that was it for game one. For game two, nothing really exciting happened. They announced that 22,000 people were there, but it was more like 1,000. Jay Bruce got the crap heckled out of him, which I really enjoyed. Mike Stanton made an amazing catch at the Marlins bullpen. And Drew Stubbs ignored me when I asked for a third out ball. The best part of the game? Marlins center fielder Bryan Petersen throwing his warm up ball into the stands every inning. At one point I thought about moving back a couple rows to give myself a better chance of getting one, but I decided to stay put. Sure enough, he threw it right to the freakin’ seat I was going to. Go figure.
- From both games combined: Reds 8, Marlins 8, Mike 3
- 45 balls on the season for a 2.25 average
- 66 lifetime balls for a .87 average
- 62 balls since 2009 for a 1.35 average
- 7 game streak of at least one ball
- 2 game streak of at least 2 balls
- No OTF chances, % staying still at .462 for the year
- 18 for 38 lifetime, for a .474 OTF%
- 66 balls = Delmon Young, Marco Scutaro, Doug Mientkiewicz, Karim Garcia, and Henry Blanco’s home run total.
- .474% = Same as last time, Kiki Cuyler’s SLG%
Vacation pictures will be next, but not too many since I have that damn limit in how many pictures I can upload. They’ll be on Facebook soon though, so add me on there.