Epically Long Entry
I’m stealing Jen’s title. Because I can’t think of a better way to describe this entry 🙂
Saturday was amazing. Absolutely amazing. The day itself was pretty miserable, since it was boiling hot in my house and I was watching the minutes go by, but once I got to Petco Park, all that was forgotten. I had a great, great time at the ballpark 🙂
I got to Petco just before the gates opened at 5:00 pm. Jen and her friend Courtney were right outside the gates, and Kylie was already in line. She slipped out, though, and she was really really hyper. It was pretty funny. Hyun Young arrived just as the gates were opening, so we got in right away.
We headed up to the concourse and then split ways. Jen had to cheer for the Rockies in this game (thanks Tom) and Kylie of course is a Rockies fan, so they headed off to the Rockies dugout. Hyun Young and I went to see our Padres. We walked down the stairs towards the field, and what do you know, there’s already a player signing. I just had to smile when I saw who it was.
First of all, Eck’s on the DL. He doesn’t need to be out there signing for the fans. He should be hiding out in the clubhouse recovering. But this guy was out there signing for the fans!! So within five minutes of entering the stadium, Hyun Young had the autograph of her favorite player. Eck was sooo nice. He made eye contact with every person he signed for, asked how they were doing, and smiled at them. What a guy!!
Padres BP was pretty interesting. I wasn’t really watching where all the balls went, but I’m pretty sure that it was pretty lame. At least, compared to Colorado’s batting practice. But it was cool to see the players walking around. But…I had a hard time figuring out who they all were. I saw Chad Gaudin, and I reconized the guys in the cage, but all the dudes in the outfield I had no idea. Oh well.
Dude behind the screen juggling baseballs.
Now, Tom was supposed to be at this game, but things just didn’t work out this time. I can’t say that I really did anything special for him, like Jen and Kylie were doing with their voicemails and all that. But he should be proud that I recognized a Rockies player during batting practice and even tried to take a picture of him. Tom’s been talking about Todd Helton and his 2000th hit picture for a looong time. So, here’s my lame attempt at a picture of Helton.
We definitely missed you, Tom. I hope you can make it out next time 🙂
OK, so during Rockies batting practice, Hyun Young and I went to get our programs. There was this amazing usher at the top of our section. She asked if we got any autographs and obsessed over Eck. She was so nice!! Every time she saw us, she smiled and waved. It was really cool.
We got our 5 for $5 meals, which I forgot to take a picture of again. The hot dog was amazing, the lemonade was amazing, and that cookie is like the best cookie I have ever eaten. I would easily buy five of those for $5. Wow. I even ate the popcorn, though I don’t like popcorn, but hey, Rockies BP was pretty boring so I needed something to do 🙂
After dinner, we went back down by the field. The players were going to start coming out to stretch, and I wanted to be down there to get autographs. Plus, Mat Latos himself was down there talking to some friends.
If you don’t know who Mat Latos is, that’s great, cause I don’t expect you too. But you should know now since I’m going to tell you. Latos is supposedly the next Jake Peavy. He’s the most prized pitching propect in the Padres organization right now. And he made his major league debut yesterday. He was in uniform the night before, though, and met with these people before the game. When Hyun Young and I went down there, we were really close to him, and it was really cool to hear him talk about how he found out he was going to the big leagues and all that. I took a lot of pictures of him, ’cause hey, how often do you get to be that close to a Jake Peavy?
It was really cool to see him. He was adjusting his uniform, hardly believing he was in a Padres uniform. And the guy’s just a kid, you know. He really hasn’t spent much time in the minors. It must have been so surreal for him to be there.
Starter Kevin Correia and the pitching coach walked out to the bullpen.
Around this time, players started coming out to stretch and get ready for the game. Drew Macias, Will Venable, Kyle Blanks, Everth Cabrera, Tony Gwynn.
Macias started signing, and I got his autograph.
Then Edgar Gonzalez came over to sign. I didn’t try to get his autograph that hard, because there were a ton of little kids and he was mostly signing for them. Plus, it was about time for National Anthem and all that good stuff, so I was ready to go back to my seat. But then Edgar left and Kyle Blanks came over, so I got his.
Hyun Young and I went back to our seats, and the game started. Yay for first pitch!
In the first inning, the first batter walked. Two outs later, Brad Hawpe doubled him in. Ugh.
In the bottom of the first though, we got that run back. The first two batters struck out, and they were really frustrated.
But then Adrian walked, Kouz singled, and Will Venable was hit-by-pitch. So, bases loaded. Kyle Blanks walked in the tying run! It was great. Then, Eliezar Alfonso struck out, stranding three. Just great, Alfonso.
And so, the game went on. Kevin Correia threw six innings, allowing only three hits and one run. He walked four and had two strikeouts. He stuggled early on, but he settled in and had a great outing. He did have a lot of very well-hit balls off of him, though. There were a ton of towering shots that seemed like they would be heading out that our outfielders caught. The guys were busy out there. So overall, a great, great outing for Kevin, and he had a beautiful sac-bunt.
Kouz is amazing, by the way.
In the fourth, it was really cool because Correia walked two guys and when one of the guys tried to go for third, he got thrown out! Best thing Alfonso did all night. But the coolest part about it was seeing it unfold in front of my eyes. I knew that the guy going for third was going to be out, because Alfonso had plenty of time. It was great!
In the middle of the fourth, I saw something that I had never seen in San Diego before: Friar Races. Yes, I know you’ve heard about the Sausage Races in Milwaukee, but I bet you’ve never heard of Friar Races. And let me tell you, it was hilarious!! You’ve got these four huge floppy friars, and they’re trying to run. A couple of them tripped, and I think the Swinging Friar came in last. It was soooo funny!! 80’s Friar won 🙂
In the bottom of the sixth, Kyle Blanks stuck out and Alfonso popped out. Then Edgar Gonzalez came up to the plate. I decided to call my sister, who was also at the game, so I was a bit distracted when I heard this sickening sound and saw Edgar just fall to the ground. Oh man he went down fast. He had been hit in the head with Jason Hammel’s 93-mile-per-hour pitch.
It was terrible. Buddy and the trainer rushed out and Edgar was on the ground for at least five minutes. I just kept saying over and over, “Please let him be OK, please let him be OK, please let him be OK.” The people around me probably thought I was muttering an incantation or something, but I was just praying like crazy. It was soooo scary, and I was on the verge of tears.
Finally, finally, he sat up. Even from where I was, you could tell that he was dazed. I was just so thankful that he was alive and concious.
Then finally an emergency/medical vehicle came and took him off the field. He was able to walk to the vehicle, with help, which was very good.
I kept thinking about Adrian through this whole time. I thought he was in the dugout, but turns out he saw the whole thing on TV, when he was in the video room. He said that he wanted to get up, but he thought he would collapse if he tried to stand. Man, that would have been terrible if he was in the dugout while it happened. I have siblings, so I can imagine what he was feeling. Oh man. Adrian left the game in the next inning, and I think that was definitely for the best. Adrian needed to be with his brother at the hospital.
After this whole incident, Luis Rodriguez came in to pinch-run for Edgar. Jason Hammel left the game after walking Drew Macias, which is understandable. Hammel hit three guys that night, and he was probably really shaken up after hitting a guy in the head. He wasn’t the only one. I was in shock for a couple innings. Everth Cabrera walked, so we had the bases loaded. Then Tony Gwynn came up and lined a pitch that was destined to go up the middle and drive in some runs. But the pitcher caught it. Grrrrrrrr.
In the seventh inning, Greg Burke had a quick 1-2-3 inning.
Bottom of the seventh, it was showtime.
Chase Headley led off the inning, and he led it off with a bang. Pinch-hitting, he hit a blast to right field to finally break the 1-1 tie. Yahoo!!
Next up was my baby, and of course he doubled to get some momentum. Two outs later, Alfonso finally did something good and singled in Kouz. Yay for an insurance run!!
Luke Gregerson pitched the 8th and got two strikeouts.
Josh Fogg pitched the bottom of the eighth just as the fog was rolling in. Well, it looked like fog, but I think it was some smoke from fireworks or something. But it was still kind of creepy.
We got this alert between the eigth and ninth inning.
And, according to Gameday: “San Diego Padres second baseman Edgar Gonzalez left the game due to an injured head.”
I know that’s not funny, but for some reason it really cracks me up. I mean, an “injured head”? Why not a “concussion” or “head contusion” or something more technical?
Anyways, it was Heath time in the top of the ninth. I love his entrance!! It’s amazing. And Heath was great. It was really weird because I kept calling him Heater. I like have never called him Heater, but being out there, watching him try to save a game, it just came out. And so, Heater it is!
Heater was great. He allowed a single to start the inning, but Heath ALWAYS makes things interesting. Then, he got a great double play thanks to Kyle Blanks at first and Everth. It was a great play. Then he struck out Troy Tulowitzki to end the game. Hehehe.
It was a great, great game. We played very well, even though we left a ton of runners on. It was soooo much fun to get out there and see how my boys are doing.
Kouz made two amazing defensive plays. I was very proud of him. And he had two hits. Which was great 🙂 He is soooo amazing!!
And Everth, oh my goodness!! This guy is incredible. I watched him make some great, great plays. I mean, this guy can flat-out play. Sure he hasn’t been hitting much lately, but his defense is soooo good!! Wow. I love Everth 🙂
Oh, and Eliezar Alfonso is officially my most hated Padre. Even if Joe Thatcher was on this team, I would still hate Alfonso more. He was hitting pretty well a few weeks ago, but now he’s like a runners-in-scoring-position killing machine! He’s left so many runners on it’s not even funny. This guy is frustrating me. I can’t wait ’til Nick and Henry get off the DL!!
So, after the game we made our way out, high-fiving the amazing usher on our way. We met up with Kylie, Jen, and Courtney and took pictures, which was really funny because Kylie was still super hyper. And I mean, her team didn’t even win!! We were trying to get a picture of all four of us with the Petco Park sign in the background, and it was amazing.
It was just so funny!! It was great to meet Kylie, watch a game with Hyun Young, and enjoy some Padres baseball. I had a great time. Again, thanks so much Hyun Young for buying me the ticket and all that. We’ll have to do it again sometime 🙂
The Padres ultimately lost the series, 3 games to 1, but I was there for that one. That’s why they won, you know. First, my hypnotising worked, then I was wearing my lucky jersey, and Hyun Young had the baseball that her teacher caught at a game that Correia was pitching. Plus, it was signed by Eck. So, I am 3-0 this season 🙂
It was definitely one of the best games I’ve been to. Bloggers are amazing 🙂
(yay for all the pictures being mine)
We are all struggling in this economic time. Some are just getting by, some are holding tightly to their jobs as their co-workers are cut down all around them, and some are searching desperately and disappointedly for a job. So when a man joined this blogosphere and announced that he was going to sell all his possessions, move into his car, and travel all over the United States watching his favorite baseball team, we were captivated. I mean, this guy must be insane! To give up everything and just watch baseball is probably something we only dream of. We would love to put our worries aside and just watch baseball. Well, Tom Walsh did that. He travelled to nine stadiums, caught many games, and met a lot of people. But the dream didn’t last. Eventually, the economic situation caught up with him. The Baseball Across America journey is not over though. Sure, Tom’s reached a big bump in the road, but I know that he’ll be back out in the Rockies Roadster as soon as he can.
We have gathered here today to give messages of encouragement to our fellow blogger in this time. Tom’s been an inspiration to us all, and well, I’ll just let the messages do the talking.
From Kaybee (http://kaybee.mlblogs.com)
Tom, I’ve been reading your blog for quite a while, and it’s definitely one of my favorites. Not because you have great analysis on the Rockies or anything, but because of how much you really put yourself into your entries. When you write about your journey, it’s like we’re right there next to you, experiencing the same things that you were. I’ve had so much fun watching your journey so far, and it is so sad that is temporarily over. But one of the things that has always stuck out to me about you is that you believe that everything happens for a reason. I know it isn’t always easy to believe that, especially when something really hard happens. I believe that these experiences make a person stronger, and even if they can’t see it when they are going through it, these trials in our lives really do happen for a reason. I really admire the way you hold fast to that.
I want to thank you for keeping up your blog, for commenting on my blog, for my support group and my Timeout and all that. You’ve been a great friend, and I really hope your journey can take you to San Diego someday soon. Still praying for you man, and I can’t wait for you to get back on the road.
Baseball Across America PETCO Park: To be accomplished…
From Jen (http://ajroxmywhitesox.mlblogs.com)
Back in January, you created a support group for Kaybee. Back then, I’d only been blogging for about a month, but you’d been one of my most consistent commenters. And since Kaybee was another one of my consistent commenters and I’d suffered a baseball loss like hers before, I was more than glad to help you out with her support group. Now in return, Kaybee has one for you and Baseball Across America, which I’m more than glad to help with again.
As you started your journey, I looked forward to every entry you made because it was like taking your journey with you in a way. I got to learn about places I haven’t been yet but want to visit. I got to hear about the various fans, and I learned more about the Rockies as well. And so many entries included pictures that just amazed me, as I’ve told you numerous times.
What I don’t think I’ve said numerous times is that your blog is one of my favorites. Because you’re a great writer. Because you’re a great photographer. But mostly because you put so much of yourself into these blogs, and we all get to see how amazing of a person you
are. You gave up everything to find the good in people all across this country. You found it, and you shared it. You’ve had more of an impact on people than I think you realize. It’s definitely more of an impact than I can accurately express.
Your journey is only on a hiatus, Tom. When you can afford it again, I know Baseball Across America will start up again. You’re too good of a person to just let it end. You’ve made some great friends on your journey, some you’ve met and many you haven’t. Until you can
resume this amazing journey, keep writing and keep being Tom Walsh. We’ll always be here.
Baseball Across America Turner Field: Mission accomplished
From Hyun Young (http://hyunyoung.mlblogs.com)
I am incredibly sad that your journey has ended for now and I wish you for the best. When I read your post about this, you brought tears to my eyes. Your incredible journey across America inspired so many people not just in blogosphere, but everywhere you went. It is absolutely heartbreaking when something that was so brilliant and exciting comes to an end. It’s almost too scary to turn to a next chapter in life, but it’s something that happens to everyone. For me, going to high school next month is a nerve-wracking thing. I will get used to the new world eventually. The journey did not reach the finish line and it will not for a long time. You have an obstacle that is blocking you right now, but very soon, you will overcome it and keep going on and on. I thank you for what you do for MLBlogs and you have a friend in San Diego. Another chapter will wait and I pray that it will be a very positive one. Every single of us, the incredible bloggers, are here for you anytime, anywhere.
Baseball Across America Rogers Centre: To be accomplished…
From Jeremy (http://homerfoodandhistory.mlblogs.com)
We all run into financial trouble along the way. One way or another, the all-mighty buck can be humbling. Our big baseball trip again this year is Detroit (only 3 hours away, but still a good distance). I think it is amazing that you got experience all those cities, ballparks and places. Your journey has been truly impressive, and I honestly think people should be paying you to do it (i.e. sponsors). I’ve admired the all the places you’ve been to, and all the people you’ve seen along the way. If you were to ever come to the Toronto area, I’d definitely buy your Jays ticket. Good luck with everything! I hope that opportunity knocks for you, and I hope you find something you like. I’m currently looking for the same thing, as I’ve been stuck in an endless cycle of acquiring temporary employment. I lose my job grounds keeping at Mahoney Park in Hamilton, Ontario in late September. Again, what you have done already is amazing, and I hope one day you make all the way north to my area. There will be a Jays ticket waiting for you.
Baseball Across America Chase Field: Mission accomplished
From Jane (http://janeheller.mlblogs.com)
Hi, Tom. It’s She Fan Jane. Or, as you like to call me, Joan Wilder from “Romancing the Stone.” Now listen up. Yes, your trip has stalled and your dream has been put on hold. But that’s how it is sometimes. And you’re not the type to take defeat lying down. Neither am I. When I tried to get my Yankees book published after having written 13 novels, I had lots of rejections. Everybody said, “A baseball book by a woman? It’ll never sell.” I could have given up, but I didn’t. And then along came an editor who said, “I love the book and I’m willing to pay for it.” We can never take no for answer and we can never give up. Somehow, you’ll find a way around your current problems, and solving them will make you even stronger and more
determined. I’m rooting for you!
Baseball Across America Wrigley Field: Mission accomplished
From Jeff and Allen of RSBS (http://redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com)
Hold your head up high! The game is not over until you hit the showers and as far as we can tell, you’re still super dirty! Okay, so that was a poor analogy, but you get what we’re saying. Truth is, whether you’re at Chavez Ravine, Busch Stadium or a shantytown at the base of a mountain, as long as you got an internet connection you’re still touching our lives (and even
without one you still are, though the travel and phone bills may add up). We at RSBS proudly support you wherever the journey takes you and if that means you have to give us your views on the Rockies, from Colorado, then so be it. We got your back. Say the word and we’re on it (DISCLAIMER: This support does not include inflicting bodily harm on other humans, animals or
insects, unless said human, animal or insect is wearing a Cubs jersey, in which case, you needn’t say anything else, just ignite the bat signal like I taught you when you were here in Chicago and one of us will go kick some serious tail).
Jeff & Allen
Baseball Across America Yankee Stadium: To be accomplished…
From Emily (http://deconstrucingthoughts.mlblogs.com)
A day at the ballpark with Tom Walsh was a day to remember. How lucky I am to have spent some time with you while you were on your incredible journey. As we go through life, sometimes we encounter random strangers, people who come in and out of our lives, and some of us got to encounter Tom Walsh, a unique stranger with a phenomenal voyage. I have a lot of fond memories of that day, my favorites come in no particular order, but they are just moments that make me smile on the day I encountered Tom Walsh. The first one is when I sat outside those gates behind home plate lusting after that Ubaldo Jimenez shirt. I have got to get me one of these, Tom, you better get here. Fortunately for you, you did get there, and I got a shirt, and all was well in the world. I remember trying to tell you that I was the coolest person you’d ever meet, and it was a sentence that I couldn’t even finish. We got to reminisce on Greality and think about the deliciousness that is Teriyaki Bowl. I got to witness probably some of the best butt pictures I’ve ever seen (not taken on my command though, lest we forget). We talked about my experiment and how dense I still am. We talked about the minor leagues and two dollar Tuesday, maybe that was what it was. Two and Tuesday make sense. You got to meet my weird friends and harass Manny Ramirez. You get a lot of experiences on your road, so you may not remember the events that occurred that evening, but I do. I remember that night fondly and it’s because of the unique encounter with a stranger. The impact that you can have on people is phenomenal and I can only hope that we will all be so lucky to encounter such a unique stranger. I meant what I said when I commented on your blog, kid, you’ll move mountains.
Baseball Across America Fenway Park: To be accomplished…
From Julia (http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com)
TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
Unlike most of us – you actually took the journey! You did not sit around saying “should of, could of, would of”…you did it! How brave you are to face that unknown. To place that “one foot in front of the other” and walk out the door. It took courage to do that my friend; a courage that few of us will ever find.
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
You did not let the fear of the unknown stop you. You have a deep faith in your fellow man – you knew that you would find friends where ever you went. And you did! You knew that if you took that path a world of adventure awaited you.
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
Tom, the path you took was different from most. It was unconventional. I’m sure many told you you were crazy to be taking such a journey. But you did not let that stop you. You believed in yourself and in what you wanted to do. You knew this was something you needed to do. It was more than just visiting ballparks around the country. It was about discovering who we are; discovering, in a way, who you are. The stories you told of the people you met! You are right – we all have a story. But sometimes it takes a very special person like you to help us find that story within ourselves. Not many of us our very good at looking inward and seeing what is there. I think because most of us are afraid of what we will find. You gave us the courage to take that look and you inspired us to find the good that is there.
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
It is rare that we get the chance and go back and take another path in life. Even if we go back to the beginning – we are never the same. Our journeys shape and mold us into different people. You without a doubt are a richer person for what you have done and seen. I know, it ended much too soon. But Tom – as hard as it is – DO NOT BE SAD! Yes, the journey did not end on your terms, but look at what you did! Do you know that you carried all of us who read your blog on your back for the whole trip? You brought to life the people and events that you encountered along the way. You allowed us the opportunity to walk along with you. For that we are all richer. Do you have any idea how much you touched all the lives of not only the people you met on your trip but also the people who followed you from afar? I am so grateful that you let us – me- come along for the ride.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
You took the road less traveled Tom. And it has made a difference. You make a difference Tom. Please – do not waste any energy over “what ifs”. Build off of what you’ve done. I know you care so very much about the people in this world – take what you have learned from your journey, no matter how brief it might have been, and make it better. That was the message of your journey. Now do it! God bless you Tom and thank you.
Baseball Across America Minute Maid Park: Mission Accomplished
From Kylie (http://kylie.mlblogs.com)
*Tom. I didn’t know what to expect when I shouted that name at a vaguely familiar man in a Rockies jersey, but I was willing to try my luck in hope of finding something good. Come to think of it, that’s precisely what you did when you decided to put all you owned into your journey. You put everything you had into what you wanted to do, and yeah, it didn’t go forever, but damn you did more than most of us could ever accomplish. Because, for once in my life, I’m short on words, I’m going to steal from myself in the comment I left on your blog entry. You wonder if you had an impact, if you made a difference. The way you live your life has certainly had an impact on the way I will be living mine. Anyone who has read your blog can read about the people you’ve met who you’ve changed in some way, and something they read there has probably done the same for them. There’s no need to worry about that, but I’m surprised you would worry at all. Of course, if you were to worry, it **would** be about something unselfish like if you helped anyone else, while I’m here worrying that my Tulo jersey will get lost in the mail (knock on wood!). I know you might also be worried about what’s ahead, even if you would never admit to it, but if anyone can handle it, it’s the guy who threw his whole life in the back of a Taurus and took off across the country without knowing what he’d encounter within the next twenty-four hours. It’s the guy who stayed in random people’s homes and talked to everyone he saw. It’s the guy who loved a team who couldn’t win and watched them become a team who couldn’t lose. You’ve handled everything thus far. Why should the rest of your life be any different?*
*The best piece of advice I’ve gotten recently came from a good friend of mine–“Don’t be so quick to await the destination when you have the journey.” You aren’t quite the awaiting the destination type, but you’ve got journey-enjoying skills, and now’s the time to use them. I’ll be up in Colorado in a few months and if you need anything, I’ll be there. Slowly, because I’ll probably be on the bus, but, you know, eventually I’ll make it.
So go. Shine.*
Tom, we’re all here for you as you go through this tough time. I hope this helped, and that you will eventually get to all the ballparks that are “to be accomplished.” Who knows where life will take us, but let’s enjoy the journey that gets us there.
“In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” Psalm 16:9
Baseball Across America Coors Field: Mission definitely accomplished 🙂
(Thanks to Tom Walsh for first and last pictures)