Last week I blogged about a game I attended at the Kingdome in 1999. The week before that, I blogged about being at Tiger Stadium in 1998, and the week before THAT, I blogged about snagging my 1,000th ball at Shea Stadium in 1996. Now let’s take a little trip back in time to Milwaukee in 1998 . . .
Wanna see ugly? Take a look at the monstrosity that was known as County Stadium:
Back in 1998, I pretty much thought that every old stadium was ugly, and now of course I miss them all.
Here’s another photo of the exterior:
Did you notice the large green banner that says, “We’re taking this thing national”? Well, this was the first season that the Brewers were in the National League. (Show of hands: who remembers them as an AL team?)
After wandering all around the stadium, I bought my ticket here . . .
. . . and had lots of time to kill before the gates opened for BP at 5:30pm.
As soon as I ran inside, the Brewers were clearing the field, so my first ball of the day came from the Phillies. Two pitchers were playing catch. One of them had thrown it wildly. The ball ended up on the warning track in the left field corner, and it just sat there. The wall was only about three feet high in that spot, and the ball was roughly five feet away from me. My solution was to use the “half-glove trick.” That’s what I call it when I use the string on my glove, but not the rubber band or Sharpie. All I had to do was swing the glove out and tug the string as it landed on the ball. Easy! I knocked the ball closer on my first attempt, and whaddaya know? Just after I leaned over and grabbed it, the nearest usher flipped out and started yelling at me. Given the fact that he’d scolded me one minute earlier for standing in the wrong spot, I figured he’d overreact to the glove trick, but man, I had no idea he’d get *so* pissed off. Long story short: we had a huge argument, he went to get security, I ran to the other side of the stadium, and that was the end of it. Dammit, Brewers! WTF?!
Out in right field, I got Yorkis Perez to throw me my second ball by asking him in Spanish. Then, after the Phillies finished taking infield/outfield practice (yes, major league teams actually used to do that), Mark Parent tossed me ball No. 3 at the third-base dugout.
When there was a lull in the action, I had my picture taken (with Miller Park, then in the early stages of construction, looming in the background):
(I was 20 years old, in case you’re wondering.)
I headed down to the front row for a closer look at the field:
While I was there, I got Phillies pitcher Mark Leiter to autograph my ticket:
Before the game, I wandered a bit and took a photo of . . . I don’t even know. The batter’s eye? The construction? Check it out:
I’m not sure what I was thinking, and it doesn’t really matter. I’m just glad that I had enough sense to take some photos and write all the details in my journal.
Just before the game started, I got my 4th ball from Phillies infielder Desi Relaford at the third-base dugout (and nearly got into it with a different usher).
Here’s where I sat for the first couple innings:
As you can see, I had lots of empty seats to work with, but of course there weren’t any balls hit near me.
In the 3rd inning, I headed toward the upper deck and stopped briefly to take this photo along the way:
This was the view once I got upstairs:
Here’s what it looked like to my right . . .
. . . and look! Here’s a “panorama” of the previous two images Photoshopped together:
I don’t remember where I sat or what I did for the rest of the game. All I can tell you is that I didn’t snag any more baseballs and that Brewers beat the Phillies, 4-2.
On my way out, I got a bunch of ticket stubs . . .
. . . and when I had some free time the following morning, I wrote about the game in my journal. Here’s the first page of my entry:
The entry continues here . . .
. . . and here . . .
. . . and if you want to hear more about the evil usher in the left field corner, keep reading here:
That usher really pissed me off . . .
. . . which is part of the reason why so many words are bleeped out.
Aren’t these old journal entries fun?! This one continues here . . .
. . . and here . . .
. . . and ends here:
So, uh, yeah, I was madly in love with Alli, but enough about that. Let’s talk about happier things, shall we? See the name Joe Kelly in the 4th line above? He was the groundskeeper when I worked for the Boise Hawks in 1995, and we’re still in touch! He’s one of my all-time favorite people in the world. You might remember him (wearing the brown jacket) in this unglamorous photo of me that was taken on 6/14/11 at Safeco Field.