Tag Archives: John Baker

Florida Marlins vs. Albert Pujols and the St.Louis Cardinals

After having been completely spoiled at the Florida Marlins Fan Fest and the pre spring training practice at Roger Dean Stadium, I have to admit that I was definitely looking forward to today. Not because I was craving more autographs, but because I have been fortunate enough to meet every player on the Florida Marlins and feel like I know each and every one of them. At this point, they feel more like my buddies than players, and while the attitudes displayed today were more those of a professional ball player, the great memories that have been had at those last two events will forever out shine any instance of arrogance or having a chip on their shoulder.
Each and every one of our players are beyond grateful to be playing on that field and it clearly shows through their kindness and generosity.
However, after 3 losses thus far in Spring Training, it was quite evident that some egos had been bruised and some spirits were low. This did slightly affect the number of autos to be had, but did not take away from the game or fun loving atmosphere.

Today began like any other day for us. We rose early, hit the road for our 75 mile drive, and as usual, we were the first to arrive. I was eager to see all of the familiar faces and I was also dying to see the famous Albert Pujols. Everyone I had ever spoken to about him commented on his out of this world stature. A friend of mine even said that upon meeting Pujols, he saw that one of Pujols thighs was as large in thickness as my friend’s waist! I was terrified, but wanted to see the giant for myself. Upon seeing him today, I was shocked. His pants hung loosely around his legs and his once enormous muscles were no longer protruding from his jersey. It appears as though our friend recently lost a significant amount of weight. What ever could have made him lose all of that weight and muscle mass? A little odd, no?

After waiting for what seemed to have been a couple of hours, our friendly Florida Marlins emerged from behind the gates and I was thoroughly relieved. I had no desire in gawking at the Cardinal players like everyone else did, I was more interested in greeting my favorite players. Cody Ross, John Baker, Dan Uggla, Andrew Miller, Gaby Sanchez, and yes, even Hanley Ramirez were all as wonderful as ever. It is always a pleasure with these guys.

The game began, a few homers were hit, a few runs scored,  a few errors were made, and unfortunately my Marlins lost the game, but it was still as fun and exciting as it always is and that is what makes it worth going. After the game, many players dispersed the field with anger in their eyes. Even Dan Uggla left the field with a solemn look on his face, but not before he stopped to give two of his bats away to two little boys. We exited quietly with out requesting anything from any players. We understand what it must feel like to the players after a loss. After all, I am a die hard baseball fan and I feel every emotion with the players, from the joy expressed when a player scores a run to the agony felt after an excruciating loss.

As always, attending the games, capturing terrific photography(wish I was able to get more!), and experiencing these memorable moments is always a pleasure. Look out for next week’s game where I will be taking Mario to Jupiter to watch the Marlins take on the Orioles for his birthday!

My buddy, Fred, isnt too fond of tobacco. Can ya blame him?

My buddy, Fred, isn't too fond of tobacco. Can ya blame him?

Albert Pujols hocking a loogie. Eww....

Albert Pujols hocking a loogie. Eww....

Junior and Senior.

Junior and Senior.

St.Louis Cardinal pitcher, Kyle McClellan

St.Louis Cardinal pitcher, Kyle McClellan

Andrew Miller may not have been feeling it today, but he still looked great!

Andrew Miller may not have been feeling it today, but he still looked great!

Jeremy Hermida hasnt been having much luck on the field as of late...

Jeremy Hermida hasn't been having much luck on the field as of late...

But he is on FIRE at the plate! (this was the home run swing!)

But he is on FIRE at the plate! (this was the home run swing!)

Brett Hayes enjoying the scenery.

Brett Hayes enjoying the scenery.

Hayes getting to work.

Hayes getting to work.

Brett Hayes

Brett Hayes

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Filed under baseball, florida marlins, Photography, Real Life, Sports

25 Signatures and One BIG Piece of Wood

The Infamous Tatianas bat-- before

The Infamous Tatiana's bat-- before

When Mario gave me my own baseball bat for my birthday last year, I had no idea what to do with it. Sure, it was pretty awesome having my own bat with the name “The Infamous Tatiana” engraved into it, but what could I use it for? A door stop, a reaching pole, a self defense weapon? All very likely choices, but Mario suggested taking it to the few games left in the season and trying to get signatures.

If you have ever read any of my posts about going to games, you will know it is damn near impossible to get any Marlins player to come by the buses after a game (except for Andrew Miller). Be that as it may, I still tried to bring my bat and with many unsuccessful attempts, I finally gave up and left the bat locked away in my dark closet at home.

An entire 5 months passed by and the 2009 Fan Fest was now upon us. Mario thought it would be a great opportunity to try to get a couple of signatures. So, I got my silver Sharpie and black bat and made my way to Dolphin Stadium. Upon arriving, Andrew Miller had begun to pass out free donuts. When he saw Mario, he said it was good to see him and asked if I was around. I went to greet Andrew, wished him all the best, and alas, I received my very first signature! Mario said that it may be the only one I would get and to try not to be too disappointed. I knew that I would get at least one or two more because I was willing to wait in the ridiculously long autograph lines.

We walked onto the field at approximately 12:00 pm and made our way to the first line. We had NO idea who was signing, but my goal was to get all the Marlins players to sign (with the exception of that damned Taylor Tankersley!). When I finally reached the table, I was relieved to see Anibal Sanchez and Zach Kroenke. Bam, 3 signatures. I was pretty darned pleased with myself… until I looked to my left and saw Jorge Cantu. I quickly ran to the end of that line and about 30 min later when I was the 2nd in line, Jorge began to get up and leave. “Jorge, me puedes firmar si tienes un momento” (“Jorge, can you please sign if you have one moment”). To my surprise, Jorge Cantu responded to my begging in his native tongue and turned to sign just one last time and then he disappeared. I then saw John Baker, one of my absolute favorite Marlins, emerge from the crowd. I prayed that he would come to our table. Instead, he sat at the one directly next to mine. I took that moment to attempt to talk to him. He turned around, greeted me, shook my hand, and held a good conversation with me for a couple of minutes. John Baker was actually so interested in what I had to say, that he turned the chair around a bit so he could hear me better. It was amazing and John is just simply a stand up guy.

So far, this day was turning out to be amazing. I was happy with the few autographs I had gotten and if the day was to end right then and there, I would have been very pleased. Andrew Miller remembered me, Jorge Cantu went out of his way to sign on last item for me, and John Baker was the coolest guy ever! I was in heaven, but the day just kept getting better. Now, we did hit our rough patches and got shut down by a few (Chris Volstad, Wes Helms, Tony Perez, etc) and I did get into a physical altercation, but as the seconds, minutes, and hours went on, I kept meeting more amazing players and getting more signatures on my bat. My once completely bare black bat was now quickly turning to silver from all the players that had left their mark on it.

As the day progressed, I was lucky enough to bump into John Baker again by the gated area and I called to him for his autograph. I didn’t think he would come over because he had just finished signing for an hour, but to my surprise (again) he came over for me (and only me) looked at my bat and gave me a chuckle as he signed. “The Infamous Tatiana, huh?” I couldn’t help but smile and blush.

By the time I reached the V.I.P. party that afternoon, there was barely enough space left on the bat for more signatures. Cody Ross, Alfredo Amezaga, Jeremey Hermida, and that darned Chris Volstad had all looked for nice clean spots to leave their mark. Even Hanley Ramirez was left looking for a good spot to put his John Hancock!

At 6:00 pm, I sat down and spun my now silver bat around. I stared in awe as I saw each unique squiggle and I nearly got myself sick trying to figure out whose squiggles was whose. Upon my arrival to my home at 6:30 pm, I patiently sat down and went over each encounter in my head. I finally ended at 25 different autographs, 25 different experiences, 25 new memories created to be cherished. While other fans have to deal with self involved and money hungry players, I have the pleasure of having the friendliest and most caring. I never realized just how lucky I truly was to have the Florida Marlins as my team until this day.

25 Signatures:

1. Andrew Miller
2. Anibal Sanchez
3. Zach Kroenke
4. Jorge Cantu
5. Alfredo Amezaga
6. Hanley Ramirez
7. John Baker
8. Matt Lindstrom
9. Rick Vanderhurk
10. Burke Badenhop
11. Cameron Maybin
12. Ricky Nolasco
13. Chris Volstad
14. Logan Kensing
15. Fredi Gonzalez
16. David Samson
17. Billy The Marlin
18. Cody Ross
19. Jeremy Hermida
20. Gaby Sanchez
21. Ryan Tucker
22. Jack McKeon
23. Brett Carrol
24. Emilio Bonafacio
25. Leo Nunez

Completely

Completely

and

and

totally

totally

badass.

badass.

The first of the day - Andrew Miller

The first of the day - Andrew Miller

And the very last - Hanley Ramirez

And the very last - Hanley Ramirez

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Filed under baseball, fan fest, Real Life

I’m Baaaaack!

If there was ever anything that would get me back to this blog, it was yesterday’s 2009 Florida Marlins Fan Fest and an eagerness for the brand new season filled with fresh faces and hope. Despite the many efforts of others (Wax Heaven, Dinged Corners, etc.) this economy had me worrying about only one thing since the day my husband became unemployed. I could not longer focus on baseball, writing, or other joys in my life. I had to concentrate on work, especially after the major “Black Friday” held at my company where about 30 people were laid off in one day. I needed to prove my worth, and when it came down to it, I was one of the valuable players and have been ‘guaranteed’ employment.

Like usual, the day began early for us. We arrived at the stadium at 8:30 am. Andrew Miller walked around early morning and passed out free donuts, and surprisingly enough, he remembered us! As usual, it was deserted until about a 1/2 hr prior to the Fan Fest beginning and 2009 tickets going live. The ticket lines were filled with Yankee fans that couldn’t wait to get their hands on tickets for Father’s Day weekend when the New York Yankees will get shut down by the Marlins :). I purchased my two tickets and then quickly rushed inside.

Compared to last year’s Fan Fest, this year’s was a bit less organized. It was held ON the field, versus outside of the stadium, which was simply awesome, but very chaotic. For the first time, fans could access practically every part of the stadium with out security chasing them down, and if you were V.I.P. you were spoiled beyond belief.

All the Marlins players (with the exception of a few) were friendlier than I could have ever imagined. For the most part, they were happy to be there and each took as much time as they could to sign for and pose with everyone. Some went out of their way (John Baker, Ricky Nolasco, Dan Uggla, Jorge Cantu) and some just couldn’t be bothered (Chris Volstad, Wes Helms).

I’ve learned that the majority of people that were there were only interested in one thing. An autograph. The moment a certain popular player would emerge, everyone’s animal instinct would come out and the area would suddenly turned into a mosh pit. I was waiting patiently for Gaby Sanchez to sign my bat, when Hanley Ramirez came out and I knew my life was over. I was at the very front of the stage the players were on, and there was a huge mob behind me. This was just not good. People were pushing, shoving, stepping on, falling on, leaning on, elbowing, punching, you name it!

At one point, a very large man put all his weight on top of me, crushing me, stepping on me and scratching my arm so hard that I immediately started to bleed. He didn’t even so much as apologize or make sure I was okay. So, I took matters into my own hands and nearly knocked the wind out of him when I socked it to him in the ribs. I was sick of people thinking they could get away with treating each other like garbage and harming each other physically for a measly signature. Children were getting stepped on and punched. If it wasn’t for the fact that I loved my bat so much, I would have smashed it up against someone’s head. There is no excuse for that kind of behavior.

Despite my little altercation, I was able to meet Burke Badenhop which made my day because he is also another very nice Marlin. After meeting him, Mario and I ventured into “back stage” to see if we could track down any other Marlin’s whose signatures I needed. We struck up a conversation with two girls who were desperately looking for Dan Uggla. After asking one of the women that escorted the players around the field if Dan was still there and not receiving the answer they hoped for, they decided they would leave. They gave us their “VIP” passes (season ticket holders were the only one’s able to receive those) and she told us about a special party going on up stairs.

Mario and I made our way up and our eyes widened when we saw who was at the party. Andre Dawson was just leaving, as was Brett Carrol, but Alfredo Amezaga, Cody Ross, Cameron Maybin, Jeremy Hermida… they were all there and there was no one nearby to tell you to leave them alone. They were all socializing with fans, signing, posing, and having a good time! We were able to gain access as I guilted the woman at the table to let us in. (You needed a company name to enter and the girls didn’t provide us with one) It was the most amazing scene. For once, you could approach these players with out a large mob. I was finally able to calmly meet Hanley Ramirez and other ‘hard to access’ players. If we had these passes from early morning, I doubt we would have left the room and I highly doubt I would have gotten into that altercation earlier in the day.

Like annoying party guests, we were the last ones to leave the V.I.P. party room. We made our way down stairs at 6:00 pm to watch the grand finale- – fireworks. It was an amazing 10 hour day. We accomplished a lot, met practically the entire team, and left with ear to ear grins on our faces. The Florida Marlins may not be an ‘amazing all star’ team, but we have relatable players that care about their fans and take the time to show them that.

I can’t wait until Opening Day!

Before

Before

After

After

The Infamous Tatiana and her 25 autographs!

The Infamous Tatiana and her 25 autographs!

Robert Andino, myself, and the new guy

Robert Andino, myself, and 'the new guy'

Chasing down Cameron Maybin

Chasing down Cameron Maybin

In the Marlins Clubhouse

In the Marlins Clubhouse

Doin it up V.I.P. style, baby!

Doin' it up V.I.P. style, baby!

Jeremy Hermida--totally nice and funny

Jeremy Hermida--totally nice and funny

Chris Volstad- Finally got the little...err... big bastard!

Chris Volstad- Finally got the little...err... big bastard!

Me and Hanley Ramirez... kinda.

Me and Hanley Ramirez... kinda.

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Filed under baseball, fan fest, Real Life

Instant Replay: Yay or Nay?

I’m sure at some point this season alone, your team has some how been affected by a bad call. Some of you have been lucky and your team recovered from that bad call, but unfortunately for some that single bad call is what cost your team that game. Whether it’s calling a ball a strike, a strike a ball, or even considering a ball going into foul territory is a home run, I believe instant replay would be beneficial.

It seems as though that the only people that are against instant replay is the 70 year old baseball commissioner and his 60 year old minions that believe change is a horrible thing, unless of course it is time to change their Depends.

If there were ever a time for instant replay, it would be now. We are in August. These games determine who goes to the post season, and who doesn’t make it. Last night, a bad call from the umpire landed the Phillies a 2-run home run hit by Shane Victorino. While some of the fans knew it was a foul ball, most of the stadium, as well as Victorino, tried to play it off as a home run. And while the Marlins still won (8-2), it angers me that this ridiculous call could have really affected us.

I don’t think ANYONE wants mistakes like that being made in the post season.

So, what’s your opinion? Yay to instant replay, or nay?

Forget new stadiums, this is what we really need in baseball.

Forget new stadiums, this is what we really need in baseball.

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John Baker and The Florida Marlins

By George, they finally did it!

The Florida Marlins have been lacking a good catcher for quite sometime, but they seem to have finally made quite the catch! (No pun intended) While the 27 year old is currently only batting .238, he seems to have been the most productive catcher this year for the Marlins. In only 59 at bats, Baker has already hit 4 home runs and driven in 14. While the California native still needs to polish up his reflex skills and release, as recently proven to fans by Rockies speedy center fielder, Willie Taveras, Baker has definitely been a great asset to the team in the short time he has been with them. In yesterday’s game alone, he impressed both his team and the crowd by making his at bat count and getting a 2 run HR. Later, Baker came up to bat and while he did not homer a second time, he did drive in another run. Baker has become one of my favorites as of late, and in order to show this, I have developed my very own nickname for him: John The Baker.

When Matt Treanor is ready to return off of the DL, I can confidently tell you that Baker’s spot is secure. (Sorry Paul Hoover) Treanor and Baker will be switching off in the catching position, but I have a hunch Baker will see more playing time if he keeps this up.

It’s great to have you with us, John The Baker!

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Topps Can’t Get It Right!

While looking through our cards for John Bakers to add to our Marlins binder, Mario stumbled upon a 2007 Topps Heritage Taylor Tankersley card that made him grin. Once I saw it, I knew I had to share it with you guys. Check out the cartoon on the back…. Can someone say… irony?

Umm…. chances are he’s staying in the minors now. Atleast until the Marlins decide to
make an idiotic decision and bring him back up.

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Filed under baseball, Baseball Cards, Collect With Me?, Real Life, Sports