31 July 2009
26 July 2009
19 July 2009
14 July 2009
12 July 2009
11 July 2009
10 July 2009
09 July 2009
08 July 2009
Yes, that really is me there... In case you don't follow the Diamondbacks organization religiously (meaning, pretty much everyone I know except myself!), this week until tomorrow at 4pm EST is the All-Star Game Final Vote, for which fans can vote for one of five players to round out the All-Star Game's rosters. Mark Reynolds (third baseman #27) is one player who is a finalist for the spot. So most of the sports radio stations, TV stations, Twitter, and Arizona blogosphere have been encouraging people to vote for Mark. In fact, Senator John McCain was on FSNAZ before yesterday's game to officially endorse Reynolds for the spot! He also Tweeted his support for Reynolds with this message: "Vote for Mark Reynolds for All-Star! He is a great athlete and an outstanding role model. Go D-backs, 3 in a row!"
After donning my shirt, and snagging my poster (which said "Reynolds 4 -President- -Supreme Court- -Congress- X All-Star Game 2009!" on one side, and "Decisions are made by those who make themselves heard and who VOTE. - Walter H. Judd Vote Reynolds 2009!" on the other) I was off to get gas and be on my way.
When I got to Chase, I parked ($12 parking.... but it kept the car cool, so I suppose it was worth it in the 108-degree heat!) and went directly to the ticket counter, where I exchanged my Junior Achievement Biztown Voucher (good for one free ticket in the bleachers) for one free ticket in the left field bleachers. Seeing as it was a day game on a Wednesday, I figured I'd be bound to get a good seat, and I did... section 140, first row, right out near the DBacks bullpen!
I waited for a couple minutes at the gate, waiting for it to open, and rushed inside to go watch batting practice.... which was cancelled. Big bummer. I was totally hoping to snag a couple balls from my section. So I was there about 2 hours early, and no BP going on... not even a player on the field throwing or anything.
I decided my best course of action would be to wander the concourse and see what I could see. I knew that the 3rd baseline was a good spot for autographs before the game, where different players would come out and entreat the fans, so I started to wander that way. I stopped to enter a couple contests, like guessing the number of balls in the case to win a raffle. I got plenty of positive comments on the shirt, too, by the way!
After a bit, I noticed that the relief pitchers and starters were moving out to throw for a bit near the bullpen, so I meandered over there to see if I could get a ball or an autograph. After just a couple minutes, Dan Haren's throw was misjudged by Esmerling Vasquez, and it skipped on by him and ended up at the base of the wall about 30 feet to my left. I waited a moment to give the kids that were standing there a chance to go for it (I mean, I'm not about to go shoving a bunch of kids around to get one ball that I could try to get anytime), but they didn't budge. After a minute, I moved over, said, "Hey, can I get in here to try and grab that ball?" and reached over the wall and picked it up! Thanks, Dan Haren! (I've also counted it in my MyGameBalls.com profile - a site dedicated to tracking balls that you get at games over time, so check my profile out on there!)
As the pitchers wound down, Vasquez was kind enough to come to the wall to sign a few autographs, and I was able to patiently wait my turn and get him to sign my ticket stub (yes, the ticket, since I wanted to try to get catcher Miguel Montero or Mark Reynolds' autograph on the ball I had just gotten). He signed it in loopy letters right across the tear-off of the ticket:
The game itself was nerve-wracking until the 8th inning. We were no-hit through four innings against Chad Gaudin of the Padres, and one-hit through 6. Meanwhile, the Pads jumped out to a 2-0 lead. However, in the 7th inning we got one back on a sacrifice fly, and we busted out for five runs in the 8th inning on an error, an RBI single by Alex Romero, and a three run homer to right field by Felipe Lopez. Chad Qualls scared everyone in the ninth by loading the bases with one out, but struck out one batter and induced a flyout to center field to end it. We captured out first series sweep of the season, and are on a five-game winning streak, our longest streak of the year. Also, the win took us OUT of last place in the NL West division! We've got a ways to go to be in any kind of contention for anything, but it's definitely an improvement over losing 2-of-every-3 games week in and week out!
Vote MARK REYNOLDS for the 2009 All-Star Game by going to MLB.com or DBacks.com and clicking on the "Final Vote" buttons! We need EVERYONE'S support... including you guys in DC and Michigan who I know read this blog!!!! Thanks in advance!!!!
05 July 2009
03 July 2009
My scorecards are a bit more complicated, because I like to keep track of each pitch during the game, not just the end results of an at-bat. Here's a scan of my scorecard from 4/14/2009, the St. Louis Cardinals vs. the Arizona Diamondbacks. First, the away team (Cardinals):Then the Diamondbacks:At the top of each page is the score and number of innings (you'll notice that this game was won by the Diamondbacks 6-7 in ten innings) and the stadium in which the game was played (Chase Field). Below that are the gameday conditions: home team/visiting team, date, my name, start time of game, end time, time played, attendance, wind and weather. These don't really affect anything, but they're nice reminders of what it was like that day. This game was GORGEOUS at 85 degrees and overcast with a nice strong 15mph breeze coming from the west. And it was a typical game, attended by about the average 25,000 people.
At the bottom of the page there's a "SUMS" table, which shows the inning-by-inning accumulation of runs, hits, errors, and men left on base (LOB). For example, in the Diamondbacks' half of the 5th inning, they scored 2 runs, collected one hit, the opposing team made two errors, and the DBacks left one man on base. The last column in that grid is the accumulation of hits, runs, errors, and LOB for the whole game. The Cardinals scored 6 runs on 11 hits, the DBacks made no errors against them, and the Cards stranded 9 on base.
Below this, there are the stats for the game's pitchers. The pitcher's name goes in the first column, followed by spaces for whether he won/lost/held/saved the game, how many innings he pitched, hits allowed, runs allowed, earned runs allowed (a technical term for runs allowed that didn't happen because of errors), walks (bb = base on balls), strikeouts, hit batters, balks, wild pitches thrown, and total batters faced. In this game, Max Scherzer (of Arizona) pitched 5 innings, gave up 3 runs (all earned) on 5 hits and 2 walks, struck out one, and faced 22 batters.
Below that, there's spaces for catchers' statistics (passed balls, of which there are almost never any), and for the names of the four umpires for the game.
The middle of the scorecard's where it's all at. The first columns allow spaces for batters' numbers, their names, and their fielding positions. Each position on the field is given a number: 1 = pitcher, 2 = catcher, 3 = 1st baseman, 4 = 2nd baseman, 5 = 3rd baseman, 6 = shortstop, and 7/8/9 = left/center/right fielder respectively. The squares in the center serve to show how each of these nine players fared in each at-bat of the game. There are other symbols too, but the main ones when scoring a game are F#, #-#, L#, P#, and K or a backwards K.
F# means that the batter hit a ball to one of the outfielders who caught it in the air before it hit the ground, expressed as "flyout to the centerfielder" (or right fielder, or left fielder). Both L# and P# mean that the ball was hit to an infielder who caught it in the air before it hit the ground. L for lineout (a very sharply hit ball the went directly to the infielder) and P for pop-up (a softly hit ball or one that went straight up in the air before coming back down into the infield).
#-# means that two (or more) infielders were part of a play resulting in an out (or outs). When you hear an announcer mention a "6-4-3 double play" what he means is that the shortstop (position 6, remember) got the ball on the ground, threw it to the second baseman (#4) who got a runner from first base out, then threw the ball to the first baseman (#3) who got the batter who was running from home out. Rarely, a runner will get in what is known as a "rundown" where the fielders have "trapped" him between two bases. In these cases, you could have a single play that looks like this: 2-5-2-6-1-7-2. That would mean that the catcher fielded the ball, threw it to the 3rd baseman, who threw it back to the catcher, who threw it to the shortstop who was covering third base, who threw it to the pitcher covering home plate, who threw it back to the left fielder covering third base, who threw it back to the catcher covering home plate who finally (FINALLY!) tagged the runner out. The runner, meanwhile, is just doing wind sprints back and forth between 3rd base and home, trying not to get tagged! Confused yet?
Other important things to learn would be how to score hits, walks, and errors. The little diamond in the center of each square box is a representation of the base path. The right corner of the diamond represents 1st base, the top corner represents 2nd base, and so on. When someone hits a single, you draw a line between "home plate" and "first base" and write "1B" (meaning "single") next to it. A double would have "2B", and a home run would have "HR." On my scorecard, Conor Jackson (#34, pinch hitter - PH as a fielding position) hit a home run in the 8th inning. The dot in the center of his box means that he touched all four bases safely during his time as a batter and runner, and scored one run for the team. The three small dots in the upper right corner of his box mean that he got 3 RBI - Runs Batted In - because of his home run. Essentially, during his time at bat, three runs scored, including him because of the home run. Also, notice how when Jackson hit his homer, I filled in the lines around the diamond for all the other players who scored on the play, and I put the little number 34 between third and home for them? That tells me which player moved that runner to home.
Walks and errors are similarly easy: on a walk, instead of "1B" you write "BB" for bsae on balls - the batter was given first base because he got four balls from the pitcher while at bat. On error, you would write E#, the number being the position number of the player who committed the error (shortstop, 3rd base, and 2nd base generally have the most errors). Sometimes, a player will bat and hit a ground ball which would have put him out, but the defense throws the ball to put out a different runner instead, and the batter reaches first base safely. This is called a "fielder's choice" play, represented by FC on the scorecard. It's not a hit, statistics-wise, and it's not an out. It just means that the fielder who initially got the batted ball decided to get a runner who was closer to scoring a run out instead of the batter. It was the fielder's choice... get it?
Aside from that, ignore most of my other weird markings until you've gotten some practice. They're things that are either uninportant and just quirks I like to do on my scorecards or they're for rarer plays which you won't see every game. Good luck trying it out, and don't get discouraged if you make your own errors... I know I have to scribble out something every game I watch still! (Notice the scribbles on the final score of the game on the DBacks side of the scorecard? Um yeah....)