There are always lots of things to see at the ballpark. Obviously, there’s the game, but there’s also the crowd, the scoreboards, sometimes a skyline or body of water and the antics of the mascot. When we go to games at new parks, I like to look at the design of the park. One of the things that has caught my attention has been the images on the sides of the seats, because they are different at every park. Often, the seat bears the club’s logo, but sometimes it has a person, like Fred Hutchinson in Seattle, Hank Aaron in Atlanta, or a nameless, archetypal ballplayer, like in Milwaukee, Baltimore or Cleveland. Sometimes the logo is in color, and sometimes it’s the same color as the seat itself. Sometimes when a team moves into a new stadium, they change the logo on the seats – compare Old and New Yankee Stadiums. It’s always interesting, though, no matter what the ballpark. Have a look at some of the seats we’ve seen and sat in during our tour of Major League ballfields:
Safeco Field, Seattle:
It’s probably just as well I was unable to watch the Brewers game on ESPN last night against the Cubs. I had a lot more fun playing games (Shadows Over Camelot, Dilbert: Corporate Shuffle, and Imaginiff) with friends, than I would have had watching what looks to have been a tough loss. These are just the hightlights I caught:
- Brewers had the bases loaded in the first with one out, but only got 1 run out of it.
- Brewers Opening Day starter Jeff Suppan (who may just be worse than Jarrod Washburn) walked 3 batters with the bases loaded in the 4th, before being pulled for Jorge Julio who proceeded to walk the next batter on 4 pitches, increasing the Cubs lead to 5-1 (4 runs, 1 hit, 5 walks, 1 HBP).
- With the bases loaded and no outs in the 5th, Prince Fielder hits a deep fly ball, that would have been gone for a grand slam to tie the game up at 6, if not for Reed Johnson’s reaching-over-the-wall catch. A run scores on the sac fly instead, followed by a run-scoring grounder and a strikeout. “Productive” outs are highly overrated.
That was the cap to a disappointing week which really had but two bright spots:
- Yovani Gallardo doing it all for the Brewers’ first win, pitching well and hitting a 3-run homer on Wednesday
- A walkoff win in the home opener against the Cubs on Friday with Ryan Braun driving in Rickie Weeks for a 4-3 win.
Saturday looked good for awhile as well, with a late 5-3 lead, but a 9th-inning HR to Alfonso Soriano crushed that.
However, it is still early and the Brewers meet the Reds tonight with Gallardo on the mound, generally regarded as the true ace of the Brewers staff. We’ll see how they do…
It’s official. The Mariners have hired Jack Zduriencik (zur-EN-sik) as their new GM. Zduriencik has served the last several years in the Brewers organization as the head scouting director (official title Vice President for Player Personnel, or something like that). He has been widely regarded as great evaluator of talent, as evidenced by the success of the Brewers the last few years resulting in large part from some of his signings (Prince Fielder 1st round 2002, Rickie Weeks 1st-2003, Ryan Braun 1st-2005, J.J. Hardy 2nd-2001, Yovani Gallardo 2nd-2004, Corey Hart 11th-2000, and Matt LaPorta 1st-2007 who was the centerpiece of the CC Sabathia trade this summer).
The biggest question mark perhaps is whether his eye for professional talent is as good as his eye for amateur talent, as one of the biggest problems recently for the Mariners has been their lack of proper talent evaluation resulting in poor trades and poor signings.
As a Brewers fan, I am very sad to see Jack Z leave, even though it seemed inevitable to happen sometime. However, I am happy for Seattle and for the Mariners. I think it was a good decision (though really, any of the finalists for the position would have been pretty good), and I’m more excited for the future of the Mariners than I have been for a while. Let’s hope the Mariners and Brewers can both make something good out of this.
I’d like to hear a lot more of Bob Uecker yelling “Get up! Get Up! Get Outta Here! Gone!” Maybe taking the series back to Milwaukee for games 3 and 4 will help. So, far it’s been rather frustrating. I’d be very disappointed if they were getting completely rocked by the Phillies, but they’ve been close, even getting the tying run to the plate or in scoring position late in the game. So, it’s really been more frustrating than anything.
Yesterday, if Hall had fielded the bunt cleanly or Weeks caught the throw, or if Cameron had caught that ball he had in his glove, the Phillies would not have scored those 3 runs, and it’s a different game.
Today is a little fresher in my mind, so I have more to say.
Why, Corey Hart, are you swinging at the first pitch in the first with the bases loaded, one out and with the pitcher having just walked in a run!? To that point, not counting the earlier intentional walk, Brett Myers had 9 balls and only 7 strikes. Why are you swinging? If you don’t ground into an easy 1-2-3 double play, maybe we get another run or two (or more?).
Why, Prince Fielder, are you swinging at the first pitch with two on in the eighth and a brand new pitcher put in the game just to pitch to you!?
I wouldn’t be so upset at them for this, as I know sometimes it can work to swing at the first pitch. I recall a game earlier this year that Braun hit a huge home run on the first pitch once. However, first pitch swinging in critical situations like this was symptomatic of an overly aggressive approach at the plate today. The umpire was calling a very tight strike zone today (I thought he was squeezing Sabathia, especially on the first Brett Myers at bat that lasted 9 pitches, but then I realized Myers was getting a tight strike zone too). With the tight strike zone, the Phillies hitters remained patient, while the Brewers were swinging at anything close. To their credit, they made a lot of contact, but it was mostly weak grounders and popups to the infield.
Anyway… not your usual Photo of the Week kind of post, but as you can probably imagine, I’ve been a little preoccupied the last couple days.
I promised a post on why Ryan Braun is my favorite current Brewer and I will deliver… even if it is a few weeks late.