Batting Practice Experience (188th new thing).

October 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

I don’t think it’s any secret that Patrick and I are Atlanta Braves fans. On Day One Hundred Eighty-Eight we had the opportunity to see some of our favorite players up close and personal, and not in the say-hello-as-you-run by-them way of Day 178.

We participated in the Braves “Batting Practice Experience.”

In preparation for our on field up-close look at MLB players hitting practice balls, I grabbed a spare ball Glenn Hubbard had tossed to us at a Pittsburgh game last year and a sharpie. I was going to get signatures, and lots of them, and then maybe even sell the signed ball on ebay or something.

Patrick squashed that dream when he firmly informed me that autographs were not allowed. It said so right there on the ticket. I kind of wondered what the point was if not to get something signed by your favorite player. I mean, people actually pay seventy bucks for this opportunity. If they don’t get any player interaction, why bother? Sitting in the stands and watching batting practice before the game is free (if you have a ticket).

Fortunately, Patrick was wrong. Unfortunately, I had listened to him and left my ball and pen at home. So for us, it was mostly watching the players swing their bats from twenty feet away, behind a temporary barrier and batting cage.

We didn’t even talk to any of the players. I was afraid of saying something dumb and I think Patrick was kind of nervous. We realized it was Freddie Freeman’s birthday after he had come and gone (perfect opener to asking him if he remembered me jogging by and saying hello a couple weeks earlier).  And then we were going to have whoever was on the cover of the game day guide sign it with a borrowed pen, but Hinske had already batted and left, heartily exclaiming how good his practice felt.

We may not have fully taken advantage of this opportunity, but it was still pretty cool. I mean, how else would I have come to the realization that MLB players generally have really big butts?

Losing for the 10,000th time (145th new thing).

August 19, 2011 § Leave a comment

On Day One Hundred Forty-Five, Patrick and I went to the Braves game with Damon. It was a hot Sunday afternoon, but we had awesome seats three rows behind the home team dugout. The Bravos started off strong, scoring the first run, but failed to keep the lead throughout the game and the Florida Marlins walked away with a 3-1 victory. And I was witness to it- the Braves franchise’s 10,000 loss.

Damon had actually also seen their 10,000th win. Patrick and I had attended the following evening and seen the “10,000th fan” win a slew of prizes on the middle of the field, most with the number 10 somewhere in its title. The winners were a oh-so normal family of four, so I’m thinking it was rigged. I seriously doubt that I would have won had I walked through that same gate at the same time. Or maybe I am just jealous. Wouldn’t that have been an awesome blog post?

Either way, with the good comes the bad: while the franchise is over .500 all-time, having the 10,000th loss come only a few weeks after the 10,000th win shows how close it all is. I wondered if they would strip down the 10,000 fan the next day and whip them 10 times, take $10 from their wallet, and pluck 10,000 hairs from their scalp. I bet that one wouldn’t be awarded to a family!

Tomarita! (119th new thing).

August 1, 2011 § Leave a comment

Patrick and I went to the Braves vs Rockies game with Damon on Day One Nineteen, and it was finally my time to taste the Tomarita.

With a choice between strawberry and apple flavors, I chose the latter. The somewhat frozen, but mostly half melted in the heat drink came in a foot long plastic cup, fit with a lid and long straw. The plastic boasted the Bravos logo along the side of the container. For ten bucks, I was totally taking that souvenir home with me.

Unfortunately, the beverage itself did not compare to its plastic encasement. All I tasted was sugar. Sour sweet thick kool-aid sugar. I tried to drink the neon green liquid quickly, but the sweet and sour flavors slowed my sips. I was only able to finish two-thirds of the alcoholic drink before I gave up. I did keep the plastic cup though.

The Braves won. If I were superstitious I would get my face painted and drink a tomarita at every game, but fortunately I am not inclined to change my luck (or my team’s luck) by humiliating myself.

Ninety-Eight. Summer Dog.

June 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

On Day Ninety-Eight, Patrick and I attended a Braves game. Earlier in the season (when I had my face airbrushed actually) I saw someone eating a hot dog that looked pretty tasty. It had diced tomatoes and a thousand island type dressing covering the all beef meat on a bun. Since I had already had latex paint sprayed all over my face, and eaten dinner, I filed the image of the Summer Dog away as something new to try, later in the season. And that later came up on Day Ninety-Eight.

Patrick and I wandered up to the hot dog stand in the courtyard area of the Ted. Patrick ordered a Georgia Dog with vidalia onions and coleslaw. I got the Summer Dog. The monstrosity that came out was absolutely covered in some strange liquid that looked like thousand island dressing or even McDonald’s secret Big Mac sauce. I didn’t know which I would have preferred. It was actually a kind of combination of the two, with some spiciness that my sensitive palate didn’t care for. The sauce was overflowing off of the bun. I ate the meal, the entire thing, but like the Big Mac earlier this year, I don’t think I will revisit the Summer Dog anytime soon.

Eighty-Three. Super Geeky Baseball Nerd Fest.

June 13, 2011 § Leave a comment

Day Eighty-Three was Memorial Day. Patrick and I again had tickets to the Braves game, sitting in the blistering sun down the third-base line. So as a new activity, we completely dorked out and not only kept box score, but also listened to the entire game on the radio through our iPods.

It may have seemed antisocial, but it was more as though we were in our own little club, listening to Don Sutton and Jim Powell detail the plays going on right in front of our noses. We traded knowing smiles at Jim’s jokes while the people around us merely watched. We were fully immersed, like the grandmas you see with their 1990’s era radio earphones, but infinitely more nerdy by keeping box score. I even found my used baseball bingo card from the day before and played along.

Unfortunately the Braves didn’t win (my record is currently 2-5), but we had a pretty good time broiling in the hot sun with our beer, box score, and Braves radio broadcast.

Eighty-Two. Baseball Bingo!

June 13, 2011 § 1 Comment

Patrick and I planned on going to the Braves game with friends Damon and Jen. As a new activity on Day Eighty-Two, I printed out bingo cards from baseballbingo.org and brought them along for everyone to play.

We each had two bingo cards and the square listed plays or hits. 1B was a single, 2B a double, 3B a triple, and HR a home run. Those were pretty easy for any novice baseball fan. However, the numbered positions and letter codes can be a little harder to digest. Patrick taught me how to keep baseball box scores when we first started dating, and now we rarely forget the score book. Keeping score was definitely the key to me understanding the great game, and not just sitting back waiting for any bat/ball contact to get excited about. Baseball isn’t actually boring, like I thought it was as a kid. But for the uninitiated like Jen, we would help her out and direct her to the official scoring box just under the lottery jackpots’ billboard in the back of Turner Field.

I offered to buy the winner a beer, as a sort of incentive to anyone who thought about giving up on my game. I didn’t actually even have to follow through though, since I won. I swear it wasn’t rigged. I didn’t even know I had scratched out a row of plays until Jen informed me. I piped out a loud “Bingo!” and the game ended. Even if we only made it to the fourth inning, Baseball Bingo was pretty fun. I think it would be a great intro to scoring and a way to pass the time while still actually being involved in the game.

Day Sixty-Three. Model with Braves Greats.

May 31, 2011 § 1 Comment

On Day Sixty-Three, I went to a(nother) Atlanta Braves game with a big group of people. I was planning on trying a Tomarita (the Braves version of a Margarita), but since I had tried my first of the frozen beverages only a few days earlier, I opted for another new activity. My new activity for Day Sixty-Three was to have my picture taken with all of the bronze statues of past Braves Greats sprinkled around the courtyard in front of the ticketing window.

My friend Laura took pictures as I tried to imitate the positioning of each player.

Warren Spahn

Phil Niekro

Hank Aaron

Once again, the Braves lost, but the company was pretty awesome.

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