After my last baseball game on 3/16, my Mom said, “Don’t ask to go for a long time”. I assumed that meant for a couple of months, but when I got a perfect report card, I knew this weekend was the perfect time to go to a game. The Charlotte Stone Crabs came to The Dean on the 20th to play the Hammerheads, while the Ft. Myers Miracle came on the 21st to play the Cardinals. It was best for me to go on the 21st, so my Mom could go to the beach.
Here is the view when I got out of the car:
I was 1/2 and hour early, and I thought I was late when I heard the announcer talking. It turns out there were kids playing a game; the teams being “Blue Team” and “White Team”. I was relieved when I saw the scoreboard through the fence (which I failed to photograph) and saw names I didn’t recognize. I walked by the team shop, which was closed:
And back to the ticket booth to get my ticket:
I stole Malcolm MacMillan’s (The Ballpark Guide) idea. After walking around the stadium two or three times, I went to stand in front of Gate B, where I got this shot:
Just before then, I got some pictures of Gate A:
The gates FINALLY opened, and I rushed to the bleachers to get a spot for autographs. While I was waiting, several graphers came over, but they were primarily looking for top prospect’s autographs. We talked about Miguel Sano, who is the # 1 prospect in the Twins organization, and how he isn’t a great signer. We talked about Jose Fernandez, who was here last year as a Hammerhead, and how lucky you would be to get his autograph. Finally, the players walked out, and I was calling out their names. I was the only one to get autographs from half of the players. When Doug Mientkiewicz came out (as well as the top prospects), everyone swarmed over for autographs. Angel Morales was confused for Eddie Rosario, who is another top prospect. Here are the signers:
A.J. Petterson came up, and I called out “Adam” because the Miracle roster said “Adam Petterson”. He said, ” Does my name say Adam on that roster? It’s A.J.- that’s wack.”
Once I got all of my autographs, I went to get a hot dog and a soda. When I sat in my seat, the field was just about ready. Then, the rain came down. I was going to get soaked, and my food would have been ruined if I didn’t run under the small roof above the press boxes (by the way, it was drizzling while I was getting autographs). The entire stadium ran for shelter, and it was pouring. Here are the managers out in the rain:
The rain started coming down:
I got this shot of the seats:
That was how far the roof went over the stands. There was water pouring out under my feet. Here is the tarp:
After about 50 minutes, I saw one of the Cardinals talking to some fans. I thought: “Should I get autographs during a rain delay?” I walked out into the rain, and it was drizzling, so I went to the team shop to purchase a Palm Beach Cardinals logo ball. When I got back out, I saw # 16 in the Cardinals dugout. Then it hit me- Stephen Piscotty! He is the best player on the Cardinals, and to my surprise, when I called out his name, he looked over. I will remember Piscotty as the 1st autograph I ever got during a rain delay. I went on to get a lot of signatures from players in the dugouts.
After the tarp came off the field, I thought I should try and get a ball. I went up to Michael Gonzaels of the Miracle and asked for a ball. He tossed me a ball that was soaking wet, but I was happy!
A little bit later, the Cardinals and Miracle came out to play catch. I was waiting behind the Cardinals for an overthrow, and near the end, there was an overthrow. It landed in the dirt, rolled to the wall (quickly), and immediately rolled back to the players. Danny Stienstra tossed me that ball (number 2):
I walked over to my seat to take that picture. Finally, the National Anthem was performed and the game started at 3:00. The game was a lot of fun, and I was chatting with Mark from the Tigers game for a little while. I tried for a lot of 3rd out balls, and I was pretty successful with 3 of them, all from the Miracle.
At one point during the game, I was behind home plate, and a foul ball hit the press box. I came rolling down, and I jumped out of my seat looking for it. Everyone was pointing at it, and I didn’t know where it was. Another fan got it, but she tossed it to me because I was the first one to look for it.
There were a couple of (excuse my french) douche bags behind home plate yelling at the Miracle players. They were cursing at players and yelling rude things at them, like “You f***ing SUCK” and “You’re the worst prospect in the league”. I thought that they were either drunk or they were jealous of the players success in being drafted.
The score was tied, 5-5 entering the bottom of the 9th:
You can see the time was 6:09. The planned start time was 1:05.
In the bottom of the 8th, there was a 3-1 count on one of the Cardinals (I don’t remember who) and he checked his swing. The 2nd base umpire called it a strike, and it prevented the Cardinals from taking the lead. In the top of the 9th, when the Miracle put a runner in scoring position, Johnny Rodriguez, the Cardinals manager, came storming out of the dugout. He was cursing and yelling at the home plate umpire, and the whole stadium (well, the 30 of us that remained) went silent. On his way out, he yelled “You belong in high school” to the 2nd base umpire. After the game, I thought of saying I liked his argument, but decided not to.
For the rest of the game, I moved on top of the Cardinals dugout in case of a walk-off. We entered the bottom of the 10th, and Jonathan Rodriguez stepped up to the plate. He drilled a pitch, and everyone in the stadium knew it was gone. The 20 people left were so excited, including me:
That shot is a little blurry, sorry.
The final score:
Here are my player photo’s- I will start with Palm Beach:
Johnny Rodriguez (yes, he is arguing):
Mr. Walk off, Jonathan Rodriguez:
Jose Almarante- I asked him for a ball, and he laughed:
Michael Gonzales- he smiled after I took that picture
Right before the rain delay, I got a soda in a souvenir cup:
I also got this scorecard:
After the game, I found this magnet schedule:
I also got some pocket schedules, but I forgot to photograph them. Here are the 7 baseballs that I caught:
Now, for the best part- autographs:
1) Doug Mientkiewicz
2) Lance Ray
3) Andy Leer
4) Miguel Sano
5) Kennys Vargas
6) Corey Williams
7) Michael Gonzales
8) Stephen Wickens
9) Kyle Knudson
10) A.J. Petterson
11) Angel Morales
13) Ryan O’Rourke
14) Eddie Rosario
15) Kennys Vargas
16) RECORD- Single Game High 2013: Zach Jones
17) D.J. Baxendale
18) Nelvin Fuentes
19) Eddie Rosario
I bought this before the rain delay
20) Stephen Piscotty
21) Tyler Melling
22) Heath Wyatt
23) Juan Castillo
24) Jonathan Rodriguez
25) RECORD- New All Time Single Game High- Cody Stanley
26) Jonathan C0rnelius
The previous single game high was 24, set on July 21, 2012 at Roger Dean Stadium. I wrote a poorly done post when the blog debuted. Those weren’t the order of the autographs, but I wanted to show you how many I got.
Thanks for reading, and sorry this was up so late!