8-21-09 PNC Park

There was a long line to get in before the gates opened.  It went back to Federal Street, and snaked left out of sight.
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Luckily, I was the first one in line. 

I ran in and found ball #1 laying against a concrete step in the bleacher area.  I was shocked.  Lately, there have been very few Easter Eggs, as ushers have been picking them up.

I would go on to catch ball #2 off the bat of Brian Bixler.  He hit a line drive that bounced on the warning track, and right into my glove.  The next batter, Jason Jaramillo, hit a home run that I caught on the fly.  It was ball #3.

That was it for the Pirates portion of batting practice.  I went under the bleachers, changed my clothes, and emerged in my Reds gear.

I decided to re-enter the bleacher area over by the bullpen.  That way, it would be less noticeable if any Reds players had previously seen me standing in my customary spot. 
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STATISTICS:
Game:  6 balls (6 hit)
Season:  311 balls (161 hit, 91 thrown, 59 device)
Games: 64 games (7 of which didn’t have BP)
Average:  4.86 balls per game
Career:  477 balls
Streak:  79 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance:  22,725

2 Comments

Erik,

This is Zac, and we met Friday at the park during BP. As a longtime reader, I was thrilled to finally get the chance to meet you. I hope next time we meet, that I am not bad luck and that least one of us will get a ball.

While I did get shutout at BP again, I as I told you was going more for autographs, and was going for autograph number 200 tonight. I also knew that I wanted a picture of the person that way I could mark the occasion. Well, I did get the Pirate Parrot first, and I knew that got #200 out of the way, and also didn’t need to take a picture because I already had one of him.

After that I went closer to third base and got Steve Pearce to sign. I was the last one he signed for, and after his aim was off in throwing my pen, he threw it again. I was worried because it was straight to my right hand, and I am left-handed, still I gathered myself and caught it. After that, I was kicked out of the section.

I did not give up though, as I slowly walked away knowing that I would be back. I passed the couple of minutes by talking to a couple of friends. Then I saw Ronny Cedeno signing and came over. I was a little late for him and saw that he was crowded and my reach would not help me. So I moved closer to the center and waited it out. My wait was not long, as Garrett Jones came over and signed my scorecard. I got both Andrew McCutchen and Lastings Milledge on the scorecard. I had the both of them already on my baseball, so I used the scorecard instead.

Dave Arrigo also took pictures of my autographs and me waiting for Cutch. I had 5 after that and no one else was signing, so I left just in time. It was hard to reach as the whole area was surrounded. After I got my last signature a supervisor was coming down to kick those out that weren’t in the section. I was leaving anyways, so his timing was great.

I then left my seats in the second inning in favor of going on the Riverwalk. Afterwards, I went to the bullpen in hopes of getting a ball. My hopes hit a snag as I had to stay behind the fence and someone already took the closest spot. The person asked Humberto Andrade for a ball and after saying please got one. They left then, and I had the corner spot.

Being in the bullpen area was pretty enjoyable as I got to see Jesse Chavez warm up. He was really throwing hard and before leaving the bullpen to pitch threw a fastball to an unprotected wall, leaving to a loud boom.

I then yelled down to Phil Dumatrait, “welcome back,” and he smiled and waved.

After a little while, Steven Jackson warmed up and finished, not needing to go in. So Luis Dorante had a ball in his back pocket, and I asked him if he would please give me the ball. It was then completely silent, and then one minute later he tossed me up a ball. I don’t collect baseballs much so I was thrilled to catch ball #1 of the day and ball #2 of the season.

I went back to my seat to try and get a ball from the umpire but had no such luck. Again it was nice to meet you and I hope to see you Wednesday vs. the Phils!

Gomes is a monster (at BP anyway) Was at the last Spring Training game at Winter Haven in March 2008 (Rays v. Indians). Caught one on the fly off Jason Bartlett in BP and went up into the bleachers, quitting while I was ahead & before all the college kids arrived and started “kamikaziing” around. Sat in the top of the bleachers as Gomes started hitting, had my glove off (big mistake). It was like a mortar attack! Woulda had at least one more easy but no way I was barehanding it.

Was at the game in thr Trop vs. KC where he hit three homers in one game. First one hit a woman, who toughed it out and stuck around. Next one just missed her. His third time up, EVERYONE turned to face her, and she had the famous deer-in-the-headlights look. Sure enough, number three, two rows directly behind her …

Fun blog BTW!

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