I woke up at 6:30 and I didn’t even know if I was going to this game. I told my Mother that I wanted to be out the door at 10:30, and thankfully, we left at that time. We arrived at Roger Dean Stadium at 11:00 AM, and there were already a lot of people outside:
That was shocking. I went to purchase a lawn seat, and the lady behind the counter said they were all out, and the only thing left was SRO (?). That was weird, considering lawn seats went on sale two hours ago. I settled for an SRO (I’m a die-hard fan, why not?) and tried to go into the team shop, but they were closed. I went to go and wait in line, and this was my view:
There were millions of Cardinals fans and very few Tigers fans. There was a man behind me who was talking about the Cardinals and how he would watch them on TV in the 1960’s. He was clearly a smoker, but I enjoyed hearing some of his stories. Here is what the stadium looked like from my spot in line:
After what seemed like 2 hours in line, the gates opened. I ran over to the bleachers and pulled out my glove. I decided to try to get a ball or two, and right when I got to the bleachers, a ball sailed over my head. This guy was standing in front of me, and dropped all of his stuff and ran to retrieve the ball. I was a little disappointed (I never got a ball from a game before), so I went to sit in the bleachers to try to get one that came my way. I was watching BP, and I heard a loud bang next to me. A ball landed on the staircase! I went to get it:
You can see where I was sitting. Just to the right of me is the staircase, and that is where it landed.
This was my first ever! Nothing else landed on the bleachers, so I was happy to get one of two. As the players left to get ready, I got out my autograph materials. I saw the third base coach for the Tigers, Tom Brookens, signing autographs down the third base line, and I got his autograph. When I got back to my spot, I saw #14 for the Tigers signing. I thought for a second, “Who is #14?”. Then it hit me- AUSTIN JACKSON! I pulled out one of my cards and was trying to hand it to him. While I was doing it, another fan who was STANDING IN THE WAY was calling me “rude” and told me that I had no manners because I was “pushing” him. I was reaching out over him to try to get Jackson’s autograph, and I wasn’t even in contact with his body. He wasn’t even getting an autograph, and was standing in the way of everyone. I went to the other side of him and handed Jackson my card. He signed it and went to play catch. Here is a terrible shot of him striking out:
I guess it looks blurry when you look at it close-up. Several other players came and gone, and I won’t go in-detail about it. After the National Anthem, I went to get a hot dog and a soda. It cost me $10.50! Not to mention a $12 ticket for Standing Room Only (a.k.a. SRO). I got a spot to SIT DOWN at Surprise Stadium for $7! (BTW, the Red Sox game cost $20 to get an SRO) After I got my hot dog, I walked around to find a spot to stand, and there wasn’t a spot! I had no view of the game for the 1st inning. Thankfully, I found a spot where I could look through some railing to see the plate and take picks (hence the Austin Jackson picture). During the fourth inning, I found a spot on some stairs:
If you look to the left, where everyone is standing, that is where I was. I took this picture a little later in the game; when I first got here, there were people on the entire staircase. Here is the sky:
I love how blue the skies are compared to Arizona. I lived there for 7 years, and my Mom came back from Florida last May after finding a house. She said there were blue skies and puffy white clouds. In Arizona, there were clear, nearly colorless skies. Look at the bottom-right corner of the picture above. That is what the skies in Phoenix looked like to me, and on the top-left corner is the sky in Florida.
I walked over here because of an open spot. The man standing next to me said, “You can stay here until my friend comes back.” Then, he noticed my Red Sox merchandise – “Well, I guess you can stay”. He was wearing a Red Sox cap as well. We went on to talk about baseball and the Red Sox. Unfortunately, I never got his name (Sorry!), but I gave him the link to my blog, so feel free to leave a comment. I was in that spot for most of the game, and in the 8th inning, I went to an usher to ask if the line-up card would be available after the game. He said they either throw it away or keep it somewhere (I don’t remember where). Here are the crowds at the Dean:
Did I mention they oversold this game? Roger Dean Stadium holds 6,800 people, and 7,629 were at the game. After the game, I got three Tigers to sign a ball and Adron Chambers to sign a ball. He was on the Cardinals side signing well after the game, and I rushed over there to get him to sign for me.
My high school (Santaluces) PE coach is in the Palm Beach County Hall of Fame:
His name is Sam Agresti (I call him Coach Agresti), and he is the wrestling coach for my school. He has been with my school since it opened in the early 80’s. Another person from Santaluces, Darin Downs, never showed up at the ballgame. That was disappointing. I walked behind home plate and sat in one of the seats:
That wasn’t directly behind the plate, but who cares. Here is what the lawn looked like after the game:
Think about that much trash at a major league stadium. The grounds crew has to do a lot to keep stadiums clean. Here is a stand that I thought had an interesting name:
And my favorite radio station (they play too much Guns and Roses):
My mom said she called me 5 times, but I didn’t hear. She was already pulled up when I left the stadium. Here is the final score:
Sadly, I didn’t find any ticket stubs.
While I was in the car, I counted my autographs, and I had 15! Here is the Austin Jackson autograph:
Here is Trevor Bell and Jose Alvarez:
Here is the Chambers ball I talked about:
Danny Worth, Hernan Perez, and Bruce Rondon:
Tyler Collins and Jose Ortega:
Tom Brookens, Ramon Santiago, and Brad Davis:
Jose Ortega (this one was after the game, as well as the Brad Davis autograph on the next picture):
James McCann and Brad Davis:
Here is my ticket stub:
(You might have noticed that I don’t have a scanner) My St. Louis Cardinals 2013 Pocket Schedule:
The reason I am holding these up is because there isn’t enough light, and I need to be standing next to my window. Here is the Marlins ball that I bought, along with the baseball cards:
The ushers were handing out these Grapefruit League schedules:
Those are all of my souvenirs. My friend Ben gave me a ticket stub from the Marlins/Cardinals game the following day (Thanks). I couldn’t leave out my player shots. Here is Bruce Rondon:
Avisail Garcia walked off the field with an injury:
Matt Tuiasosopo hit a home run:
Jaime Garcia started for the Cards:
And Shawn Hill for the Tigers:
Here is Jose Ortega:
That is all. Unfortunately, before I went to this game, my Mom said not to ask to go to another game for a little while (I can’t blame her with gas at $4.00 a gallon and a full tank for one game!), so I think my next game will be Marlins/Diamondbacks in May.
After catching that foul ball during BP, I wanted to catch more baseballs. After getting “The Baseball”, by Zack Hample (which is a great read), I have been wanting to start ballhawking. That might be what I will be doing at the Marlins game.
Thanks for reading!