First off, it has been a little while since the post not because of a lack of enthusiasm for writing these entries, but because of school starting. This put me back quite a bit. There are a few more game recaps including this one coming up before two pieces entailing my 2009 season with the Pirates and the 2nd annual Pirates awards. Looks like a lot of writing coming up!
This was a meaningful game, as I had a chance to get Albert Pujols to sign my baseball for the only time this season. I did my research, and I figured out how to say what I thought would get him to sign, but it was to no avail, as I never really had a chance.
I did sit on the first base side, and it gave me a chance to get some Cardinals signatures. I got off to a good start as I positioned my self right along the Cardinals dugout.
This led to the first Pujols miss as someone asked him to sign, and he groaned and left never to appear again.
This immediately made me discouraged, and I was ready to head to my seat. This was supported when I saw a Cardinal signing along the first baseline. Despite my knee being a bit shaky, I went the fastest I could down there and found out it was outfielder (and possible Rookie of the Year) Colby Rasmus. Many say that he is a jerk and he never signs, but here he was signing, I had to pinch myself to make sure this was true. I pushed and pulled my way into line, and sure enough ended up getting him (pictured below)
I then headed off because I had heard that the Pirates Wives were hosting a fundraiser where they were selling autographed baseballs for $50 per ball with proceeds going to a charity (I believe the charity was for burn victims). I immediately bought 1 ball and was disappointed to discover that it was Nate McLouth (pictured below), as I already have several of his signatures. Still I wanted a picture with some of the Pirates Wives, and this is how it turned out:
I then went down to one of the entrances and bought myself the September edition of the Pirates magazine called Pirates Insider. I then decided to take a gamble and get another baseball this time faring a bit better and getting Travis Hafner (pictured below).
After that I went back to my seat, and got in position for potentially more autographs. But before anything else, I talked to the usher in my section about what happened during the Philly game where only those in the front row weren’t sent to their seat. The previous usher told me the reasoning was that, “nobody would sign.” I found that reason to be bogus, and was proven correct when I found out from this other usher, that it was because Phillies fans are rowdy and that they were trying to protect everyone.
While that explanation was much more credible I still was upset. Obviously, I was in Phillies colors, meaning I was technically speaking a Phillies fan, so I am more than certain that I could handle myself around a few passionate drunks.
With that knowledge, I went back to my autograph area. Before his interview with the Cardinals TV station, fifteen game winner Joel Pineiro (pictured below) started signing, and I was fortunate enough to get him.
That was all I got in terms of autographs, as no Cardinals signed during the time they stretched on the field.
Still, I moved from the first base side near the middle innings of the game, and went over to speak with a couple of friends who were at the game and on the other side of the field. Usually, the PNC Park ushers kick people out of sections that aren’t theirs starting thirty minutes before game time, but I had no problem getting in. It was going so well that I decided in the ninth inning to go down and try to get a baseball from the home plate umpire.
It was a hard task bad knee or not, but my knee was not feeling too well, making my chances slim and none. Still I made it to the section I was gunning for, a 100’s section with a clear path to the place where I could get a ball. I thought at that point that I stood a good chance, but it was getting harder and harder to be patient. A couple next to me started cheering for the Bucs, while I was cheering for the game to be over.
I needed the game to be over, because I should have already left the park at that time, and got a call from the person driving me that he was on his way. I had to act fast, and the fact that Andy LaRoche walked instead of becoming out number three was aggrevating. However all was good, when Moss popped out and became the third out. During this whole ordeal, the usher never even noticed me, and I never even saw the usher during the whole sequence.
I immediately headed down to the umpire entrance and saw the umpire. There was one problem, I had forgotten his name which meant I had little chance of getting a ball. The umpire was tossing up baseballs, and then it happened. One man screamed, “Mr. Barksdale, may I please have a baseball?” He then got a baseball. I thought, why not, and I tried the same tactic, however Barksdale was already gone.
Just as I was ready to call it a day, walking all the way down there for nothing, Lance Barksdale (pictured below) came out, and tossed me a ball, the last ball he threw that night. What a great way to end a decent night.