What’s worse than attending a Sunday afternoon game?
Attending a Sunday afternoon game with the Cardinals taking batting practice.
When I got to PNC Park, I stood outside for awhile and looked in. There were no cages set up, and the garage doors to where the screens and cage were kept, were closed.
After talking to fellow ballhawk Nick Pelescak before the gates opened, I decided to not enter the park, and just go home. I didn’t feel like running all over the place to try and get a ball. I would basically have to beg players to throw me a warm up ball, which is something I’m not fond of doing.
On my way walking back to my car, I got a call from Nick. The groundscrew had just rolled out all of the screens. I stopped in my tracks and turned around to head back towards PNC Park.
Unfortunately, the team taking batting practice on this Sunday was the St Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals are notorious for their line drive, opposite field approach, making home runs rare.
Luckily, when they began hitting, one Cardinals batter hit a ball to the left center field wall. I threw my glove out on the field twice to roll the ball to the base of the wall, and used the glove trick to reel up ball #1.
Game: 1 ball (1 device)
Season: 344 balls (181 hit, 101 thrown, 62 device)
Games: 71 games (7 of which didn’t have BP)
Average: 4.85 balls per game
Career: 510 balls
Streak: 86 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
I hadn’t been to a game since last Thursday, a span of 9 days had passed since I snagged my last baseball.
After missing Friday’s game, I was back in action today.
Batting practice was just beginning when I entered at 4:30, so there were no Easter Eggs to be found. However, there was a ball laying on the warning track near the bullpen.
As I started to set up my glove trick, a Pirates batter lofted a fly ball at my section. My glove was off of my hand. I dropped my glove to the ground. I realized the ball would fall short, so I hopped over a bleacher to get into a better position. The ball bounced on the warning track, hit the fence separating the bleachers from the bullpen, and caromed right to me. I caught the ball with my bare hands on the bounce. It was ball #1.
I then turned my attention back to the ball on the warning track. I had lost my rubber band when I was running into the bleachers (it fell off of my glove) and was working with a replacement rubber band that I didn’t have a feel for. Every rubber band is different and needs adjusted appropriately. After two readjustments, I reeled up the ball. However, as I was bringing it in, the glove hit to wall and the ball fell out. Great. Now the ball was partially under neath some padding and I would have to work more to get the ball. As I was making my second attempt, I was surrounded by groundskeepers.
I ended up finally getting the ball in the right spot so I could reel it in. It was ball #2. The groundskeepers thought the trick was really cool and asked a few questions about how it was done.
I got ball #3 tossed to me by Matt Capps.
Game: 6 balls (3 hit, 2 thrown, 1 device)
Season: 343 balls (181 hit, 101 thrown, 61 device)
Games: 70 games (7 of which didn’t have BP)
Average: 4.90 balls per game
Career: 509 balls
Streak: 85 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.