Pitch for Awareness
2010 National Tour
Milwaukee Brewers - July 6, 2010
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stadium photos
"Schlemiel, schlimazel,
hasenpfeffer incorporated!"
According to both the Kosher Nosh: Yiddish Dictionary
and the American Heritage Dictionary, schlemiel is a
habitual bungler and schlimazel is an unlucky person.
Hasenpfeffer is a peppery rabbit stew of German origin.
-- Source - http://ask.yahoo.com/20020207.html
Video - click here
Milwaukee means three things:
Pitch for Awareness,
Laverne and Shirley,
and breweries.
Lenny and  Squiggy
Andrew 'Squiggy' Squiggman
Leonard 'Lenny' Kosnowski
Carmine Ragusa  
The Big Ragoo
Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Outside and in the dirt... ball one!  Not one of my better efforts.

Whenever I take the mound I must always remember my ABC's...

a - alignment - decide where I will stand on the mound and get my feet set.
b - ball - make sure I have a good grip on the ball with my toes.
c - catcher - establish and maintain eye contact with the catcher's mitt.

Well I completed steps a and b... but didn't follow through with c.  As a result the pitch sailed to the left.

Poor mechanics = poor pitch

I could also attribute my sub-par performance to the weather.  Temps were in the mid 80s but the humidity was treacherous.  About
one hour before the game I changed from shorts and a shirt to long pants and my jersey topped off with a Brewers cap.  By the start
of the game I looked like Albert Brooks' character in the movie "Broadcast News" -- clothing soaked with sweat.  It felt like I had just
jumped into a swimming pool  fully clothed.  Sweat kept dripping onto my glasses, and when I'd wipe them down they were worse.  
So the weather wasn't very friendly today.

I could also point out that I spent a good portion of the day on my feet.  To avoid $30+ in cab fare , I opted to take the city bus to  the
game.  I took the 19 bus north to downtown Milwaukee where I got off and walked east about 1/2 mile to see Lake Michigan in all its
glory.  I wandered around for about an hour then hopped the 10 bus east toward the ballpark.  The bus dropped me off near the
park, but it was still a long walk to get there.

Though these were contributing factors, the bottom line is I threw a bad pitch.  End of story.

Miller Park - home of the Brewers - is situated between an interstate highway and residential neighborhood.  So unlike other
stadiums, there's nothing to do nearby.  Fortunately there is a TGI Fridays restaurant located inside the stadium.  The place was
empty and I was seated at a table overlooking left field.  After my long walk,  I gulped down two glasses of iced tea within moments.  
I then took refuge there to enjoy the view and the air conditioning.  Thanks to Chad and all the folk at Fridays for their hospitality.

It's amazing how commercial stadiums have become.  At Miller Park there is a special terrace for Harley Davidson owners, the Dew
zone sponsored by Mountain Dew, an area for Toyota owners, and a seating area sponsored by Air Trans (I'm typing this on an Air
Trans jet somewhere in the skies between Milwaukee and San Diego).  They even have an official sponsor for the  grounds crew
when they touch up the infield between innings.  And no, it's not John Deere.

The gates opened at 5:30 pm, but I didn't need to report until 6:30 pm. So I made my way down to the seats behind the Brewers
dugout where I caught the attention of the local Fox 6 sports reporter.  I told him my story and he taped an interview with me, and
had his cameraman taped my first pitch.  (The piece aired on their 10:00 news that same night.  I'll try and post a copy or website
link when I get the info).

There were 3 first pitches that night, and I was the third.  I had my ball and was all set to go - when I suddenly realized I forgot my
camera.  Fortunately my Brewers' escort grabbed the camera from my bag and got a few shots in.

As mentioned earlier the pitch was a dud... and they don't allow do-overs.  For all the time and expense it took to arrange this event,
I wish I had performed better.  I headed toward my seat kicking myself but the negativity was soon broken when a fan in passing
said, "Nice pitch."  I heard this phrase repeated several more times before I reached my seat behind home plate in the second deck -
just below the press box.  It's easy to forget what others see in my efforts vs. my personal judgement.  I must have a little Simon
Cowell in me.

The game was scoreless - and boring - until the later innings when the Giants (visitors) scored 5 runs after a few botched plays.  
Ironically the team recently benched their starting shortstop because of the large number of errors he was committing.  Well, his
replacement botched what should have been an inning-ending double play ball that allowed 2 runs to score.  A few gaffes later and
it was soon 5-0.

You could feel the air let out of the fans as if to say, "They blew another one."  I was tempted to leave, but couldn't go until the
highlight of the evening - the sausage races!  The Italian sausage jumped out to an early leave and left his competitors in his dust.  
With the race complete, the visitors holding a commanding lead, and the home team  showing no signs of life... I decided it was time
to hit the road.  I walked to the far side of the parking lot to catch the bus - only to find that it didn't start running until after the game.  
With two innings still to play I decided to splurge for the $30 cab ride back to my hotel.

Fortunately I made it back in time to see the Fox 6 news story.  The lead in was a re-cap of the home team's disappointing loss...
then my story... followed by the story of a man at another stadium/game who fell 30 feet while leaning over the rail trying to catch a
foul ball.  Talk about depressing bookends!       

Final score: San Francisco Giants - 6, Milwaukee Brewers - 1

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The alarm went off at 5:30 a.m.  Aurgh!  Since I didn't get to bed until after midnight, it was a short night.  Before I left the hotel I tried
to print up a boarding pass for my non-stop flight to San Diego on Air Trans.  After logging on to their website I was instructed to
select a seat.  A diagram of the plane's seating chart appeared and there was only one seat left - and it was a middle seat.  The flight
was 4 hours and I didn't want to get stuck in a lousy seat so I Iogged off and headed to the airport.  At the ticket counter the agent
informed me there were no seats left other than in the emergency rows.  So he had no other option but to bump me to business
class.  That meant wider seats, more leg room, and unlimited drinks.

We left on time and landed early.  So a shout out to Air Trans!!!        

I wasn't home 8 hours before the ground started to shake -- a 5.4 earthquake centered about 90 miles to the northeast.  I guess that
was California's way of saying "welcome home".
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