9-17-08 PNC Park, Dodgers @ Pirates
The Dodgers do not hit many home runs in batting practice. They are also especially stingy when it comes to tossing balls into the stands. Maybe it’s the pressure of the playoff race, but they ignored every polite request that I made for a ball.
I got ball #1 of the day completely by accident. Since this was a Wednesday game, there weren’t many people at batting practice. About 5 minutes in, a Pirate hit a long home run that ended up going onto the concourse behind the bleachers. I ran over a section but the ball sailed 20 feet over my head. As I got to the spot, I slightly twisted my ankle on something. I looked down, and there was ball #1, just sitting there on the concrete. My first reaction was that maybe someone had dropped it, but there was no one even in the section. The ball must have been hit prior to the gates opening, and none of the ushers bothered picking it up. You’ll see in the picture at the end of this blog that it has a big scuff mark above Rawlings from hitting on the concrete.
When it came time for the Dodgers to hit, Manny came out to left field to shag fly balls. Some fans, including myself, tried to get his attention, but he didn’t so much as even glance over. Most left fielders, when shagging fly balls, will throw to second base after catching the ball. Manny however, kept throwing his balls to home plate, where they would roll in and interfere with the batter that was taking batting practice. I thought it was pretty funny, but that’s just Manny being Manny.
I only caught one ball during the Dodgers portion of batting practice. I think Casey Blake hit it, but I’m not positive. Anyway, when it was hit, I drifted to my right and made the easy catch. The ball looked brand new! Ball #2 was my final one of the day.
By the way, legendary ball hawk, Jim Saylor caught Adam LaRoche’s first home run of the night. He’s in the white shirt and dives onto the ground to get the ball. He has caught more home run balls in PNC Park history than anyone else. Click HERE for the video.
Game: 2 balls
Season: 119 balls
Career: 157 balls
Hit List: 157 ties me with Ricky Otero for #4,013th place all time
Attendance: 11,883 (31% full)