Category Archives: All-Star Game

Some Original Photos from the All Star Home Run Derby and Parade

We were fortunate to have a good friend in Minneapolis the last few days, Corey; who has written for the site before. Next year we figure to be part of the entire All-Star experience from start to finish in Cincinnati, or die trying. For now – enjoy the awesome camera work on these original photos you can’t see anywhere else. BstJ1jrIUAA5sdo This is the famed rainbow that appeared during the home run derby before Todd Frazier starting taking his first round cuts. BstJOf5IQAEIyJh So I just learned that these guys are known as ‘Minnie’ and ‘Paul’, and they’re exactly 500 feet from home plate. It was mentioned during the game that they have never been reached. BstJmznIIAAgBGV Yasiel Puig during All-Star workout day. BstJ352IIAA7l6r Here are the contestants of the Home Run Derby. BstJkVwCAAA4VB3 The Captain taking some cuts during batting practice of All Star workout day. BstKCz7IcAAVrrh A great shot of Jeter during the parade. When you think back to the 2014 All Star Game in the Twin Cities, you’ll think of two main things: Jeter…. BstKHeZIgAAXQCe And Mike Trout. Who looks like he’s signing a ball for a fan here in the middle of the parade. What a great dude. BstKJZWIUAA3_NE Lots of respect for Miguel Cabrera, who admitted over the past few days that he isn’t fully healthy. BstKNWkIgAArame Giancarlo Stanton rides alone. BstKO3_IQAAEh-v Andrew McCutchen didn’t go without accumulating some stats in this All-Star Game, he singled to lead off the game. You know, the play that Jeter almost made right off the bat. BstKEjjIAAAClud Here’s another one of our favorites Jose Abreu, aka Big Cuban Stud. BstKL5rIAAE05My Jose Bautista in his salmon-colored sports coat. BstKQ9gIIAA1ya_ One of the most talked about arms in the game today, Clayton Kershaw. Up close and personal. BstKP4uIYAEEXyk Paul Goldschmidt BstKR79IAAAEgdU Yasiel Puig had a ROUGH couple of days in Minneapolis. This is a great and symbolic shot, really. Puig is such a kid that you figure he was in awe of everything and having such a great time (kid in a candy store) the focus just wasn’t there. And that’s okay. He will have more All Star Games.

Mike Trout grabs MVP honors in an outstanding All Star Game

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[Box Score]

[Hardball Talk] [ESPN] [Rob Neyer] [SweetSpot] [Deadspin] [NY Times]

The melody line – the take home message in this wonderful All Star Game of 2014 – was that Derek Jeter is passing the torch to the new face of baseball. It is absolutely fitting that Mike Trout won the MVP of this game and despite a great night from Jeter, and a home run from the man who has kept Trout from two MVP awards at a college age; it was Trout who shined the brightest in the game of stars and had the biggest hand in the American League’s victory.

I thought this was one of the best Midsummer Classics in recent memory from an entertainment standpoint. The hitters really did their job, putting a lot of hard balls in play and it seemed that the game featured about five or six well struck balls off the wall.

The game had a little bit of everything. It is absolutely amazing the kind of arms that each side was able to trot out to the mound one after the other. It’s also a credit to the great hitters in the game today that there were eight runs scored. The game also featured some great defensive plays, second to no one was Dee Gordon’s grab and throw to rob Michael Brantley of a hit.

It was just a well-played, outstanding ballgame. It represented our sport as well as any one thrill sport games could have. And how about that Corvette Stingray that Mike Trout took home? OMG.

Click through the jump to see five great moments from the 2014 All-Star Game.
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The 2014 All-Star Game Awaits

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In about an hour, the 2014 All Star Game takes center stage as a celebration of the baseball season’s midway point. It’s actually kind of sad that the season is half over (and if we’re being honest with you and ourselves it’s more than halfway over). This year’s All Star emeritus is Derek Jeter, so the game will be centered around cameras nobbing him and rightfully so.

ESPN had a cool article the other day about some of the different personalities and their favorite All Star Game memories titled ‘Midsummer Memories’. It had us re-living some of our favorite moments of All Star’s past, and if asked to pick just one moment it’s really hard to do. Every midsummer classic from our youth is special in it’s own way.

We really loved that 1992 game when Ken Griffey Jr. homered and was named the MVP. It was special to see it live, as that was the moment that Junior really kind of announced his presence on the grand stage. That was the moment when he started to come into his own. He was pretty dominant for the next decade.

The All Star game is neat, and tonight will have it’s share of epic moments. There are a nice collection of the game’s best players that serve as a great snapshot for where the game is at today. That’s the best part about every All Star game; you look at the names that dot the roster and I think it says something about the game at that particular moment.

The last two games have featured shut-outs. Tonight, we’re fairly sure both teams will score and we’re fairly sure the starters (Felix Hernandez and Adam Wainwright) of the game will be going full-bore as their teams have a shot at the playoffs and they want the opportunity to host that extra game. I think it’s going to be a terrific display of the game’s greatest players tonight. I can’t wait. The only bad part is soon after this game the season will begin to melt away like sand through an hourglass. There’s nothing about that which is positive.

But it’s been a remarkable and fulfilling first half of baseball. If the second half is this much fun, we’re in line for one of our most entertaining finishes ever. Good for our favorite sport!

Our All Star Ballot

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In past years, we voted a lot and had a lot of homer picks. Guys like Jay Bruce and Bryce Harper would still be getting votes even though they’re among the least deserving players in baseball for this season. Hell, we would even give Jeter some sentimental votes.

This year – we don’t have time to vote several hundred times. One ballot of integrity is above. These are the guys we think are most deserving.

The 2013 All Star Game

84th MLB All-Star Game

[Box Score]

I have to be honest: I love the All Star Game, and I love baseball more than just about anything in life; but I wasn’t especially entertained last night. In fact, I think it was a display to the outsider of just how boring three hours of our product can be to the rest of the world.

That said, the arms are absolutely incredible in today’s game. The pitching seemingly gets better every year, and last night’s game was as much of a display of that as anything else. I would still have preferred to see a few more big hits (I see you Prince Fielder with your triple) and a little more action. The game’s lack of exciting moments had be chatting with my friend from work through much of the game.

Last night’s game was really about a legend’s last ride. And it was a special moment that you’ll never forget. Synonymous with the year, the city, the game itself; forever when you think of this game one of the first things you’ll have to think about is Enter Sandman and Rivera trotting out to the mound by himself. Props to Jim Leyland for making sure that the perfect moment went down the way it did – if you’re questioning why he threw the 8th just think about the possibilities that could have led to him not throwing in the game at all if things had fallen apart for the American League.

I didn’t even realize until I read this Deadspin post that Mariano Rivera’s first three hitters he set down in an All Star Game were as follows: Charles Johnson, Mark Grace, Moises Alou. The last three – a one, two, three inning – featured Jean Segura, Allen Craig, and Carlos Gomez. Look at those names for a minute and realize the greatness it takes to just span across the eras. That’s what makes baseball so special.

In a game of fathers and sons, Mariano Rivera has been so dominant that he’s had a chance to dominant a father’s era of hitters and now his son’s stars. It’s truly remarkable.

In an All Star game that featured only one defining moment, that moment belonged to the Most Valuable Player (like he needs a brand new Chevy vehicle).

While unspectacular, another All Star Game in my lifetime is in the books. It’s time to look towards what we know will be an action and drama-filled second half of baseball. And judging by how bored I am on this evening without baseball, we hope it gets here quickly.

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AL wins exhibition game and is rewarded with home field advantage in season’s most important series

I don’t really have to explain how it’s stupid to have an exhibition game between the two leagues determine for one team who gets home field advantage in the World Series, particularly given the way the rosters are put together….however.

For now I’ll enjoy the pitching show the AL put on tonight. They only gave up three hits to an all-star NL lineup.  Here is the pitching numbers from the night.

AL pitching 7.16

For the offensive side, Jose Bautista ended up with the game winning hit – a sacrifice fly in the 4th inning.  JJ Hardy and Jason Kipnis added the 2nd and 3rd RBIs.  The best offensive play on the night was clearly Prince Fielder legging out a triple.

Prince triple 7.16

Not the most graceful slide I’ve ever but kudos for the hustle

The NL didn’t fare well.  Never getting more than a hit in any inning and only advancing a man to 3rd base once.

It’s fun to see all these guys get together and play a game and mostly have a lot of fun doing it.  It was fun to see Mariano Rivera get the MVP in his last game (not sure why they didn’t use him for the save).

A few final thoughts:

  • Fantasy owners are pissed at Matt Harvey for knocking the knee of Robinson Cano.
  • Neil Diamond is old and its hard to get New York fans to sing a Boston song.  I’ve never seen more disinterested New York fans as I did during the first verse of “Sweet Caroline”.
  • Has there been a better player than Carlos Beltran who has played for 5 different teams and seemingly been written off several times.
  • I have no idea how Joe Mauer didn’t throw out Andrew McCutchen.  Perfect throw.
  • Manny Machado made another ridiculous play at 3rd.  When is this guy moving to shortstop?

Try to enjoy tomorrow.  It’s the only day in the year with out a game played by any major sport.  Maybe read a book or do something productive with your life.  You’ll only have one day to do it.

 

Let’s Go All-Star Breaking

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It’s hard to believe we’re already technically past the midway point of the Major League season. The next few days are always a celebration of the season gone by, with a collection of stars and infinite possibilities of exciting match-ups that you don’t usually get to see. There will be one or two memorable moments during the All-Star break that live on forever as part of 2013 All Star Game history.

The summer is officially half done and it’s going to be a dogfight second half for a lot of teams. But over the next few days we’re going to try to enjoy the best that the respective leagues have to offer and hope to see some new memories carved out. Sure, it’s just an exhibition game. But there’s always something special about the Home Run Derby and All Star Break that makes us feel like a kid again. There’s still an innocence to it. And for all the criticism that the baseball world undertakes for being too old and too traditional, that’s one thing we don’t mind remaining innocent and old-fashioned.

We’ll still keep things rolling here through the week as best we can while trying to find a few nuggets in the game and All Star Monday. The worst part about the All Star week is of course, there’s no baseball again until Friday. What the Hell are we going to do all week? Wednesday and Thursday are shot.

On the All-Star Game Selection Show on FOX & It’s Selections

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I made sure I watched the nationally-televised All Star Game Selection show on FOX which was shown before Baseball Night in America.

How obvious is it that the MLB is trying to think of ways to make the grand old ballgame a little bit more like the conglomerate National Football League?

Tonight you could watch a cartoonish at-best cast of Matt Vasgersian, Harold Reynolds, and Dan Plesac tell you who our 2013 All Stars are. This was a show that was quietly done on Sunday evenings in the past and when I was a kid in the mid and early 1990′s there was no show. You read about the All-Star vote leaders in the paper and the final selections on the Monday before the game took place. You might have heard the night before on Baseball Tonight if you were one of those lucky kids who grew up with cable television (I was not).

Here are the selections:

American League

Starters
C: Joe Mauer, Twins
1B: Chris Davis, Orioles
2B: Robinson Cano, Yankees
SS: J.J. Hardy, Orioles
3B: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
OF: Mike Trout, Angels
OF: Adam Jones, Orioles
OF: Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
DH: David Ortiz, Red Sox

Pitchers
RHP: Clay Buchholz @, Red Sox
LHP: Brett Cecil, Blue Jays
RHP: Bartolo Colon *, A’s
RHP: Jesse Crain @, White Sox
RHP: Yu Darvish, Rangers
RHP: Felix Hernandez, Mariners
RHP: Hisashi Iwakuma, Mariners
RHP: Justin Masterson, Indians
RHP: Joe Nathan, Rangers
LHP: Glen Perkins *, Twins
RHP: Mariano Rivera, Yankees
LHP: Chris Sale, White Sox
RHP: Max Scherzer, Tigers
RHP: Justin Verlander, Tigers

Reserves
C: Jason Castro, Astros
C: Salvador Perez, Royals
1B: Prince Fielder, Tigers
2B: Jason Kipnis, Indians
2B: Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox
2B: Ben Zobrist, Rays
SS: Jhonny Peralta: Tigers
3B: Manny Machado, Orioles
OF: Nelson Cruz, Rangers
OF: Alex Gordon, Royals
OF: Torii Hunter, Tigers
DH: Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays

National League

Starters
C: Yadier Molina, Cardinals
1B: Joey Votto, Reds
2B: Brandon Phillips, Reds
SS: Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies
3B: David Wright, Mets
OF: Carlos Beltran, Cardinals
OF: Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies
OF: Bryce Harper, Nationals
Pitchers
LHP: Madison Bumgarner, Giants
LHP: Aroldis Chapman, Reds
LHP: Patrick Corbin, D-backs
RHP: Jose Fernandez, Marlins
RHP: Jason Grilli, Pirates
RHP: Matt Harvey, Mets
LHP: Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
RHP: Craig Kimbrel, Braves
LHP: Cliff Lee, Phillies
LHP: Jeff Locke, Pirates
RHP: Adam Wainwright, Cardinals
LHP: Travis Wood, Cubs
RHP: Jordan Zimmermann, Nationals

Reserves
C: Buster Posey, Giants
1B: Paul Goldschmidt, D-backs
1B: Allen Craig, Cardinals
2B: Matt Carpenter, Cardinals
2B: Marco Scutaro, Giants
SS: Everth Cabrera, Padres
SS: Jean Segura, Brewers
3B: Pedro Alvarez, Pirates
OF: Domonic Brown, Phillies
OF: Michael Cuddyer, Rockies
OF: Carlos Gomez, Brewers
OF: Andrew McCutchen, Pirates

Final vote candidates:

NL
Yasiel Puig
Ian Desmond
Freddie Freeman
Adrian Gonzalez
Hunter Pence

AL
Steve Delabar
David Robertson
Koji Uehara
Tanner Scheppers
Joaquin Benoit

The All-Star Game I’ll always love for tradition’s sake. It’s baseball’s chance to grab the nation for a minute as it takes a short breath from the nightly NFL and NBA news. It’s my favorite sport taking center-stage at midseason.

But it’s logic is all fucked up. The MLB All-Star Game is a little bit of everything. “This time it counts” but at the same time there are open discussions of Mariano Rivera starting the game, and then they’re sending whatever future Hall of Famer is on his farewell tour to the game (Chipper Jones, Cal Ripken etc.) but it also showcases the game’s young stars like Bryce Harper last season and possibly Yasiel Puig this year. Guys like Andrew McCutchen get in this year over a guy like Jay Bruce and some guys like Grant Balfour who should be there are left off the roster altogether.

At the end of the day, the thing that makes the All-Star Game flawed is what makes it great. I still get amped over seeing a young talent like Yasiel Puig take on an old dog making his last uproar like Bartolo Colon. The thought of seeing Bryce Harper against Yu Darvish is a very tempting thing for a baseball fan. At the end of the day, I’m okay with how baseball handles the All Star Game. It’s flawed, but there’s no absolute way to get everything perfect for it.

Ah yes, and we almost forgot one thing.

Yasiel Puig and the All-Star Game Final Vote

Yasiel Puig

It’s tough to put Yasiel Puig’s start to his career into perspective, because this is the internet age and every rookie that comes up is the greatest prospect we’ve ever seen and the latest and greatest new toy. But here is something to chew on while you’re trying to denounce Mr. Puig:

Clearly, all the buzz is about Puig becoming an unprecedented All-Star just 30 or so games into a career. It really hasn’t been done before. People want to see it. Respected writers are lobbying for it. Hell, even Colin Cowherd wants to see Yasiel Puig there because Puig is “polarizing” to him. If you’re a baseball player and Colin Cowherd talks about you, you know you’re big time.

That’s the nature of sports today. Most people want to see new things after a number of years of the same old moniker.

Puig is on the Final Vote ballot – fans have a chance to send him to the game if he gets enough ‘N5′ text messages to 89269. The man built like Bo Jackson whose approach reminds me of Vlad Guerrero who has seemingly injected life into the floundering Dodgers just might be in the All-Star Game after just a month in the big leagues. We’re definitely intrigued by ‘Little League Puig’ as Harold Reynolds called him (Reynolds was lobbying for Puig votes on the FOX pregame show also).

Hopefully this kid is part of the week at Citi Field. He’s one of those rare guys who just seems to catch your eye and make you a fan; and it kills us not to vote for a guy like Ian Desmond who is probably more deserving of the spot. It’s just more epic for the sport if Puig gets in.

Bryce Harper is an All-Star Starter

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Bryce Harper was elected by the fans to start in his first All-Star game today, becoming the youngest player since Ken Griffey Jr. made the lineup in 1990.

The real good read, though; is one that will tug on your heart strings. Harper spent time with a terminally ill young man yesterday prior to the Nationals game. For all the talk about Bryce Harper being a bad guy when he entered the realm of professional baseball, it just seems an inaccurate report by the unnamed scout.

When Mann asked Harper if he could meet Gavin, Harper did not hesitate. On the field, he gave Gavin the hat off his head and signed it for him. After a while, Gavin sat down in the air-conditioned tunnel between the dugout and clubhouse.

Because of where his tumor is located in his brain, Gavin has lost control of the muscles in his face. “If you ask him something, he’ll be happy, but you can’t see it,” Rupp said. “The nonverbal communication isn’t there. I was kind of telling Bryce that. I said, ‘When you talk to him, even though inside he’s happy, you don’t visually see it.’ So it’s kind of hard to have a conversation with somebody.”

Harper asked questions to draw Gavin out. Gavin sat in a folding chair in the Nationals dugout. Harper leaned forward and his elbow on his left knee so his eyes would be at the same level as Gavin’s.

The conversation meandered from topic to topic. They talked about Harper’s pregame routine. Gavin asked Harper about his favorite ballpark to play in, his most memorable home run, his hardest pitcher to hit off of. Gavin loves Ohio State football, and Harper’s girlfriend just transferred there, and they talked about that. They talked about Las Vegas, Harper’s home town. Harper’s father grew up rooting for the Reds, and Gavin likes them almost as much as the Nationals, and they talked about that.

Harper traded one of his wristbands for one of Gavin’s neon wristbands. Harper asked Gavin to sign a baseball for him. They hung out for an hour.

“I can’t say enough. A guy who is 20 years old, to take that much time,” Chris Rupp said. His voice quivered and his eyes watered. “When I was 20 years old, I didn’t have that maturity, to do what he just did.”

And then finally, there was a game played today. Davey Johnson said after yesterday’s game that he was going to give Bryce Harper ‘the rest of the weekend off’. That would have sucked for everyone, including the Nationals who are finally starting to get rolling towards that last call for the train to the World Series.

Harper did what a gamer does, text messaging his manager ‘play me or trade me’. Harper responded about how you would have expected. Lineout, bases loaded walk for an RBI, RBI single, sac fly to tie the game; 3 RBI on the day in a 5-4 Nationals win to put them 3 games over .500 on the year.

Thank them by being in the Home Run Derby, we say.

MLB.com thinks you should already know your All-Star ballot

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MLB.com has released it’s All Star ballot, and if you have an official MLB account you received an email today with a suggestive image of who you should vote for.

For the most part, all of the guys pictured above will be in the midsummer’s classic. But there are a few sneaky characters in that shot, one particularly sneaky dread-locked man.

Are you telling me that in two calendar months plus that Coco Crisp is still going to have All-Star numbers? I know that Oakland is the king of claiming prized junk from the impound lot of baseball, but I don’t think Crisp gets there. He’s just hot.

I also don’t like Carlos Santan’s odds of being there – he’s from Cleveland so you can forget about him getting any type of fan vote to earn a ticket to the game. He can OPS .950 all he wants, he’s still from Cleveland and Cleveland players get snubbed.

The rest of these guys shouldn’t make any plans for that mid-July weekend. They’ll be occupied with exhibition. Except Cano. He’ll probably be suspended by then.

You can pretty much vote an unlimited amount of times each day. You want to see Alcides Escobar in this game? Knock yourself out. Stay up all night and experiment to see if you can make it happen.

Cincinnati to host 2015 All-Star Game?

There is a report out of a local Cincinnati affiliate that the Reds have a good shot to host the All-Star game – the first since 1988.  If true, it would be great for the city.  As a historic baseball town with a great fan base (for the most part) Cincinnati will be a great host to the game of baseball.

I may start checking out flights in early July 2015 soon.

This is where the Reds played last time they hosted an All-Star game

UPDATE 9:45 PM ET: Hardball Talk is acting like it’s a done deal. Rejoice!

How I Showed Up To The All Star Game Last Minute And Scored a “Cheap” Ticket From Matt Cain’s Agent

The following was written by David Franco over at Next Level Ballplayer. David is a former teammate of mine and is nice enough to write for Diamond Hoggers from time to time. You can follow him on twitter here. The following is an excerpt from his adventures of getting into the All Star Game and watching the game with Matt Cain’s agent. The full story is at MLBeef.

3:55pm-ish:  It’s now officially decided that I’m getting dropped off at Kauffman.  Now starts probably the most ridiculous part of the evening…  The drop-off.

The drop-off scenario is kind of tricky when the car you’re in doesn’t want to park in the stadium.  The goal becomes to get as close to the stadium as possible without getting into a point of no return.  Luckily time is on our side, with 3 hours until first pitch.  The road that you turn off to head into the stadium has no stopped traffic.  There are plenty of cars on the road, but traffic is moving.

We are driving down the street with the stadium on our left, approaching the left turn that we would take into the parking lot if we were planning on parking.

Me: Just pull off on the right side of the road up here and I’ll walk.  This is as close as we’re going to get… right here is good…  right where those two cars just pulled off…

M-in-Law zooms past my desired drop off.

M-in-Law:  I want to get you closer than that.

It’s too late to argue. Now our lane now looks like we’re about to get back on the freeway if we continue straight.

Wife:  Mom, you gotta make a U-Turn here!

M-in-Law:  I can’t!

Wife:  Yes you can!!

M-In-Law and Wife as the car is making a fast-and-furious-type U-turn that may or may not have been legal: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

We aren’t close to hitting any other cars, but both of them are literally screaming until we are straight again… I consider opening my door and jumping out.

Me: Okay, just pull over and let me out here… Don’t turn right up there into the stadium… Once you go in, you won’t be able to get back out… Seriously, you don’t want to turn in here…  Don’t go in here!

M-In-Law (As if I had specifically asked her to turn into the stadium):  I’ll just pull in and then turn around.

Me:  There’s no turn around!  All lanes are one way coming into the stadium!

She turns in.

Now we’re in those 50 yards of road before cars have to pay for parking.  She goes down half way and stops.  I can’t get out of the car soon enough.  I want to explain why this was such a horrible decision, but it’s no use now.  I say goodbye and close my door with absolutely no idea how they are going to get out.

I feel like a middle school kid whose mom drops him off at the movie theater to meet his friends, only she pulls down the wrong way of the one-way drop off lane, then hops two wheels up on the curve as she comes to a stop.  All the while, she stops traffic and causes a scene… I’m debating whether I’d rather be that middle school kid… back to the moment.

Other people are watching now.  There are six lanes, all with sporadic cars coming in each.  The first attempt to turn around results in a horn honk from a car and a my M-in-Law slamming on her breaks.  Then she gets across 2 lanes and has to stop horizontal to let a few cars in Lane 3 get by. Meanwhile she’s holding up cars in Lane 1 and 2…

I feel like turning away and never looking back, but I can’t help but watch.  She almost side swipes someone in Lane 5 before getting to the empty Lane 6 which she must have assumed was her safe lane out… wrong.  As she’s picking up speed and coming up to the street, a Ford truck turns in, both hit their breaks, and then they come to a full stop facing each other.

4:15pm:  At this point I’ve seen enough.  I can’t stinking watch any more of this.  I turn towards the stadium, take a deep breath.  Not sure where to go, so I just start walking.

4:17pm:  I’m wearing a Miami of Ohio baseball hat.  Practically the first tailgate I walk by has Miami of Ohio corn hole boards set up.

4:22pm:  Sipping on a silver bullet and eating baseball-shaped cookies with my new best friends who (like me) graduated from Miami.  The fact that I’d never met them before had no bearing on their hospitality… The “drop-off catastrophe” is a distant memory.

4:27pm: PrimeTime calls.

PrimeTime: Hey dude. I have good news and bad news. Good news is that I found you a ticket. Bad news is that it’s $270 (Matt knows that’s a lot of money to me).

Me: Cool man. Where are the seats?

PrimeTime: Actually you’d be sitting with Matt Cain’s agent (yes the Matt Cain who was the starting pitcher for the National League All Star Team) in the Field Box section.  I don’t know where they exactly are, but I’m sure their good.

Me: So the $270 is face value?

PrimeTime: Yep.

I think about it for a second, but at the end of the day there is no way I’m saying no to this deal. A last minute Field Box ticket for face value from the agent for the NL’s starting pitcher tonight…  Seems too good to be true.  I call Landon Williams (Matt Cain’s agent) and he answers.  This is really happening.  In less than 20 minutes after being dropped off I have a ticket locked up and am good to go.

4:41pm:  Landon is on his way to the stadium from his hotel. I have some time to kill and want to check things out. I say goodbye to my Miami friends and head towards the fan fun area.

4:46pm:  I see a “Hit a Homerun for the Troops” deal where they have five batting tees set up and for every wiffle ball you hit over the fence they donate a buck to a charity. I notice that a few older kids are hitting and feel that it’s safe for my 29 year-old self to take a few hacks.  Plus the line is short.

Now by the time I get to the front of the line the average age of the five kids hitting on the tees can’t be more than 10.  I look behind me and notice that I’m about twice the size of everyone else waiting to hit.  It’s like I’ve found myself at Disneyland in a line to hug Daffy Duck.  The kid right behind me makes it worse when he taps me on the mid back (about as high as he could reach) to ask, “Are you in line?”

What a punk.  Calm down little man.  Yes I’m in line…  I’m feeling awkward.

The lady calls me up to tee #2 and I promptly hit my first ball for a home run. I don’t even feel good about it. Check out the kid on the tee behind me in the video.  That’s what I was surrounded by.  And worst of all, I was flying solo.  At least if I was with a buddy, we could wager $5 on whoever could hit the most homers.  If needed, the tiebreaker could be that each of us randomly picks an unknowing kid to compete in the homer off (I’ve thought through this too much).  Anyways, I line out and ground out to end my three swings and quickly move on… I definitely should have left $2 to make up for my last two lame swings.  I feel like I’ve personally let down the troops.

5:07pm:  I make my way to the front of the stadium and Landon calls.  He just parked and is on his way.  He’ll call me when he gets to the stadium.  When I hang up I look down and notice that my phone battery is blinking.  Crap.  I quickly write down Landon’s phone number just in case and pray that my phone holds on long enough to meet up and get my ticket.

5:15pm: Landon calls.

Me: Hey man… hello… hello?

Phone is dead. Not good timing.  Never met Landon before in my life and have no idea what he looks like.  On top of that I don’t want to keep Matt Cain’s agent on a wild goose chase trying to find some random guy who wants a ticket.  After all I’ve been through to get to this point, is this seriously going to happen now?!?!  I’m kind of panicking.

I need to borrow a phone.  In this day and age that shouldn’t be hard right?

Wrong.

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