Sneak Peek!

I don’t have the time to type an entire entry now, but I’ll give you all this sneak peek from my Visit to Lake Olmstead Stadium in Augusta, GA!

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It was a insane game, and you haven’t the slightest idea the terms of which I got those balls!

I’ll be at a game tomorrow in Savannah GA. Never know what may happen!

Until next time!

THE 2014 Rome Braves

This entry is 100% dedicated to this season’s Rome Braves. They are my team, and I can’t wait to go to my first game at the lovely State Mutual Stadium this year. That could be likely 1 of 3 dates. These dates are:

 

April 25th: vs. the Kannapolis Intimidators – Retro Night presented by 95.7 The Ridge (Flagship FM station of the Rome Braves Radio Network) & Cartersville Medical Center ~ This game will hopefully be a retro jersey night, which would mean an auction in which I would likely purchase a jersey or two, and former Atlanta Brave and San Diego Padre Ryan Klesko will be making an appearance. Autographs!

April 26th: vs. the Kannapolis IntimidatorsZOOPERSTARS Night presented by Life 93.5 FM ~ The Zooperstars are a hilarious between-inning inflatable “mascot” type group that entertains at minor league stadiums all around baseball. This video  is from a Rome Braves advertisement in 2010 about the Zooperstars. Whoever came up with this was a smart guy because it’s great entertainment!

April 27th: vs. the Kannapolis Intimidators – Daddy/Daughter Date Night presented by Q102 FM ~ Yeah…I’ll pass on that one if I can.

On another note, this is the 2014 Rome Braves Opening Day Roster:

Pitchers: Rafael Briceno, Tyler Brosius, Chuck Buchanan, Jared Dettman, Brady Feigl, Jeremy Fitzgerald, Yean Carlos Gil, Frank Lafreniere, David Starn (DL), Andy Otero, Carlos Salazar, Michael Swanner, Richard Tate, Andry Ubiera

Catchers: Victor Caratini, Bryan De La Rosa, Anthony Nunez (DL)

Infielders: Johan Camargo, Carlos Franco, Reed Harper, Joey Meneses, Mikey Reynolds, Jake Schrader

Outfielders: Blake Brown, Cody Livesay, Jose Morel, Victor Reyes

Now you might be wondering why some of those names are emboldened…

Frank Lafreniere: Frank was a member of the Rome Braves rotation all of 2013. He was a 4th round draft pick in 2010. I mention Frankie because I saw him pitch twice last season and was VERY impressed, and because I have 12 baseball cards (11 2012 Bowman Draft Picks & 1 2013 Rome Braves Team Set) that I will be trying to get signed this year at games. You will probably see those cards here one day once he signs them.

Carlos Salazar: Carlos was a 3rd Rounder last year, and is only 19 years old. He is a high ranking prospect and I’m looking forward to seeing him this season.

Victor Caratini: This guy I am very very pumped to see this season. He was their 2nd Round Pick in the 2013 Draft. His first season was impressive, with a .290 average and 25 RBI’s in 58 games. Caratini is a big prospect for the Braves and he will be very cool to watch as the season progresses.

Mikey Reynolds: Reynolds was a 5th rounder last year, and honestly is the only infielder with serious potential in my opinion (I’m known to be wrong about things a lot…)

Victor Reyes: Reyes is a non-drafted free agent, but is a big prospect right now, and made the Braves Futures Team (As did Caratini) that beat the Major League Team 13-4 last Saturday. I’m pumped to meet Victor.

 

And studying the roster, there is about 14 guys who are from Spanish-speaking countries. That means that “Dame la pelota por favor” will be used a lot this season.

 

Here’s a little ballhawking “Snagging Analysis” for State Mutual Stadium, home of my Rome Braves:

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The Red arrow represents the best place to snag a visiting team’s lineup card or maybe a ball or two after the game.

The black circle is the best section in the ballpark for foul balls. Those top row are never occupied unless it’s bobblehead night (Well, besides me and my family) and rightys consistently hit fouls into that section.

The red circle is the roof of “Bubba’s BBQ Barn.” They have fantastic BBQ and a terrible gutter system, But, if you’re there at the right time an get a healthy bounce, you can reach over all the little gremlins and get a nice foul ball.

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Ahhhh, The Applebee’s Home Run Hill, AKA the worst positioned hill in Minor League Baseball. Jeez. I hate it and I love it. It’s in such a bad place overall because of the lack of lefty power. But, it’s roomy. And from what I’ve seen on the Rome roster, there are 6 guys who will be starters that are either left-handed or switch-hitters. So, maybe I’ll snag a homer out there this year. Who knows?

This kinda shows my “roaming grounds” for homers. It also shows the BBQ Barn (left of picture) that catches a lot of foul balls.

This picture shows what it looks like from behind the home dugout. See the seating area in front of the BBQ Barn? That area is not the best seating in the park, and they rarely sell. That’s right behind the area where visiting teams warm up. I’ve snagged a good many baseballs over there.

See that auxiliary board on the grass area down the 3rd base line? Toss-up heaven! That’s where I snag the majority of my balls from the Rome Braves and get all my autographs. The only difficulty down there is the fact that kids migrate to open grass to goof off. That’s my only competition out there, and normally my only competition at Rome games.

This just gives you a closer view to that area I mentioned in the above photo. And honestly, the only issue I have there is the way water pools besides that concrete wall. Simple design flaw in my opinion.

Just to show off that area again. That glass in the “windshield” on the boat…doesn’t exist anymore. Foul balls destroyed that last season. Maybe they fixed it!

State Mutual sure is beautiful during day games! That final section in the upper level is the complementary tickets section. I sat there many times in 2013 thanks to my good buddy, Lynchburg Hillcats 1st Baseman Edison Sanchez!

Beautiful!

So, to wrap things up, I’ll be at State Mutual sometime at the end of April. There are some awesome players on Rome’s Opening Day Roster. I love/hate State Mutual Stadium for ballhawking.

OH, and I have a “maybe” baseball-themed Spring Break planned. Stay Tuned! The theme is…………….”1 league, 3 divisions, 2 stadiums, 1 goal!

Until next time, god bless and Go Braves! (And Athletics!)

Turn Back The Clock! Volume 2: Atlanta Braves Winter Fanfest 2007 at Turner Field

I remember this day like it was yesterday. Well not really, they is a lot I have for sure forgotten. February 3rd, 2007 was the first and only time I ever attending the Winter Fanfest events the Braves held. I was 9 at this point, so that was at the least 7 years ago this past week!

We set off for Turner Field for the free event, hoping to see some cool stuff and maybe meet a player or two!P1010397

 

I felt very welcomed to the comfy confines of the Ted.

I don’t remember the order in which we did certain things, but I know I did the Speed Pitch in Scouts Alley, which is the childrens play area near the Fan Plaza in the outfield. My little sister, who had recently turned 2, looked super happy to be at the home of the Braves. P1010394

She was fired up!

I would consult my parents about the order of the events we did, but they both are asleep (If you haven’t heard, Georgia got hit with a ice/snow storm yesterday and today and my dad had to work overnight, so everyone is lagging in my house today).

I think we went to the bullpen first to pitch off the bullpen mounds

P1010408I have no idea why I look so unhappy, I was sitting on the bench John Smoltz sat on each game before coming in to save 55 games in 2002!

We stood in line for a little while, then I was up! I happily remember that I DID throw 1 strike out of 3 pitches, and as a 9 year old throwing the regulation 60 Feet 6 Inches I felt good about my strike!

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After we finished up in the bullpen, I wanted “to shag fly balls like Andrew (Jones)” and so my dad and I got in line to go onto the field and shag fly balls in left field.P1010399P1010401

Not too long of a line considering 15,000 people attended this event.

To be honest, I missed all of the fly balls that the machine tossed me…P1010405P1010406P1010407

I did awful!

After this, we walked around and got in the line to run the bases! P1010400

I was flying around the bases faster the Rafael Furcal (It’s fun to think about these teams I saw when I was little that consistently won the division). P1010392P1010393

 

Here are some of the autograph sessions that were going on!P1010396Yes, that says Chipper Jones and Tim Hudson *facepalm*

The last of my pictures were taking in the Fan Plaza, where I got my picture taken with the 1995 WORLD SERIES TROPHY!P1010434And with that, we left Turner Field and headed home!

Fanfest was a great event, and it sucks that I didn’t accomplish more, such as get an autograph or two. Sadly, the Braves no longer do a Fanfest. They just do a “Braves Country Caravan” where a few players come to Academy Outdoors and sign autographs. Not nearly as good. Maybe it will make a comeback.

Until Next Time!

 

My Goals for the 2014 Season!

2013 was a record breaking season for me. I accomplished so many things, but I realized I never technically had goals for the season! So this year, I’m going to identify my goals before the season and get an idea of how to accomplish these goals by getting kinda technical about it!

#1: Snag 50 Minor League Baseballs

This goal shouldn’t be difficult if I can increase my amount of games by 2 or 3 games. I snagged 31 last season in 8 games.

#2: Snag 10 MLB baseballs

I snagged 5 balls in the single MLB game I attended last year, and BP was shortened by rain. Only the Braves took BP, and most players didn’t even take their full BP. I think if I make it to 2-3 MLB games this season, 10 balls is a reasonable goal.

#3: Visit 2 new Minor League stadiums

So far in my life, I have visited State Mutual Stadium, Grayson Stadium,Joseph P Riley Park, and AT&T Field. The stadiums relatively close to me (within 3 hours) that I could visit this year are:

Coolray Field (Home of the Gwinnett Braves, Triple-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves)- Coolray Field isn’t too terribly far, but it’s closer to go to Turner Field then to drive to Coolray. I think that I will be able to make it to Coolray at least 1 time this year.

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Lake Olmstead Stadium (Home of the Augusta Greenjackets, Single-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants)- this park is about 2 hours from my house, but a day trip is not out of the question. It may not happen this year, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m at Lake Olmstead this year or next year.

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Joe Davis Stadium (Home of the Huntsville Stars, Double-A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers)- This one is pretty much a done deal. 2 days ago, The Southern League announced that the Stars will be moving to Biloxi, Mississippi after the 2014 season. So, for my birthday this year, we are planning to attend the final game in Joe Davis Stadium, as the Stars take on the Mississippi Braves. This is the day before my birthday, so It will be a cool way to cap off a season.

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Regions Park (Home of the Birmingham Barons, Double-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox)- this is a long shot. 3 hour drive plus a time change makes Alabama trips difficult. I don’t think this will happen unless I take the trip by myself once I can drive.

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#4: Get 100 autographs.

I was probably very close to this last year so this should be easily reachable.

#5: Snag 3 lineup cards, 2 pairs of batting gloves, and 1 bat.

I got 3 lineup cards last season and 1 bat, but only 1 pair of batting gloves. So this should be reachable.

Thanks for reading guys! Can’t wait for the 2014 Season to start!

Turn Back The Clock! My St. Louis Trip!

To start this off, I want to thank Zack Hample for the idea of Turn Back The Clock entries. His entries are some of the most interesting ballhawking pieces I have personally ever read, so check him out! So this trip was 2010. I had just returned home from a amazing experience playing Travel Ball in Cooperstown NY. While my parents and I were in Cooperstown, my grandmother took my little sister and my 2 cousins on vacation  with her. She didn’t think it was fair for me to be left out, so she told me to plan a trip to anywhere I wanted to go. After careful deliberation, I chose St. Louis as my destination. I handled everything and bought the tickets for airlines and the hotel and then bought Cardinals tickets for June 15th, 2010. The day after the All-Star Break and they were playing the Dodgers. Now this was before I started ballhawking or really exploring stadiums. So all my pictures are from the same spot. My seat! First off, this is how I passed the time sitting at the gate at Hartsfield Jackson International Airport in Atlanta. DSCF0619 I was 12, and a total goofball so…. yeah. Skipping ahead to some baseball! We drove down into town from the Ramada near the airport in St. Louis into town and were on our way to Busch Stadium! But, my grandma missed the exit and we ended up crossing the Mississippi River and having to turn around in Illinois! But soon enough we were parking at Busch. We were about 3 hours early because we were planning to walk about a mile or so to eat dinner at a interesting restaurant called Max and Erma’s. They let you scoop your ice cream out of a old bathtub. It was interesting to say the least. By the time we got done, it was about an hour and 15 minutes before game time. So we headed back to the stadium and I bought a Albert Pujols Flag t-shirt and a Cardinals hat (both of which I still own). Then we entered at the 3rd base gate near our car and jumped on an elevator to the upper deck. we went to our seats and I started snapping photos! DSCF0648 Most Beautiful Backdrop in baseball in my opinion. The arch over RCF is simply beautiful! DSCF0649   The calm before the storm. 41,000 Redbird fans packed Busch this night. DSCF0650   I was at a loss for words. It was too incredible. I didn’t get the full experience because I was too young. Maybe I’ll be back one day soon. DSCF0651   10-time World Series Champions at this time! DSCF0653   I couldn’t get enough! I’m so happy I took as many pictures as I did. DSCF0654   Starting pitchers that night: Clayton Kershaw vs. Chris Carpenter. A battle of Aces! Sadly, this would not be Kershaw’s best night. DSCF0656   The bullpen. It was a hot week while we were in St. Louis. I believe it was 94 degrees at gametime. DSCF0657   Until I saw this picture, I didn’t realize how shallow the Upper Deck was. Interesting! DSCF0663 (2) The Coca-Cola Pavilion. DSCF0665   As a 12 year old, I guess this was really cool to me because I took 11 pictures of it… DSCF0666   No idea who was getting a check, but 2 newly inducted Hall Of Fame managers are in this picture. Joe Torre and Tony “My Pitcher bats 8th” LaRussa. Ironically, Chris Carpenter batted 8th in this game. DSCF0672   The one and only time I’ve seen King Albert in action. He was one of my favorite players back then, and I took 38 pictures of just him! DSCF0673 As I said, not the best night for Clayton Kershaw. DSCF0691   I want this framed in my room. One of the best 1st basemen of my generation up against the best lefty in the past 5 years! DSCF0704   Our seats were right below the television press box. I was within feet of Bob Costas and Jim Kaat and was oblivious!!!!!!!! DSCF0715   James Loney! DSCF0735   Does it get any better than this? DSCF0699

I took this picture because my Braves were beating the Brew Crew. Little did I know that the pitcher for Quad Cities would be pitching in the big leagues in 2013 ! Shelby Miller was the starter for QC that night, as detailed at the bottom of the Out-Of-Town Scoreboard.

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In the end, the Cardinals beat Kershaw and the Dodgers 8-1.

Here is the box score from Baseball Reference:

Box Score Cards-DodgersBox Score Cards-Dodgers 2Box SCore Cards-Dodgers 3

Thats all from St. Louis! I’ll leave you with 2 other pictures from the touristy things we did.

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The Clydesdales! at Grant’s Farm

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Kinda Artsy-Fartsy!

Until next time!

 

New Year, New Blog!

I have returned from the WordPress hiatus! Joe Webster is back in the ballhawking blog game! My life has been total chaos the past few months and I never got to blog about my games this season!

So now what? Why change blogs?

Farmin’ Braves Style just wasn’t going to work. I wanted it to be more then I could make it be, so I decided to create a new blog with a new name and a drag start in the New Year.

2014 will likely be the greatest season of baseball ever for me. I’ll be posting a tentative schedule for March/April that will knock your socks off!

Here’s an idea of what I will be posting on this blog:

1: Turn Back The Clock Entries- this is an idea I’m borrowing from Zack Hample. It’s basically posting about games from the past. I plan to do 4-5 of these, including my St Louis trip and my first MLB game!

2: Stadium Spotlights- I will post a few of these also. Spotlighting stadiums I’ve visited!

3: Overall Ballhawking News- Such as if I get a friend into ballhawking or someone has a big ballhawking accomplishment.

4: The games I attend: This one seems self explanatory but these will be my entries about the games I personally attend.

I think 2014 will be awesomeness I any wait to share it with my readers!

Until next time, y’all stay safe and Go Braves!

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