June 2010

6-29-10 Progressive Field

Another day of snagging at Progressive Field in Cleveland.

I was the first one into the stadium, and despite there being early batting practice, didn’t find any baseballs on my first sweep through the sections.  I also checked Heritage Park, where there was nothing.

Upon returning from Heritage Park I spotted a baseball as another ballhawk/autograph hound was picking it up.  I was about five seconds too late.

Since the Indians have a new later batting practice schedule, this gave me plenty of time to search.  I went up and down every row and searched for about ten minutes before finally happening upon ball #1, hidden in the shadows:
6-29-10 (13).jpg
When the Indians began hitting, I would get ball #2 from Shin Soo Choo.  It was a home run that I caught on the fly in center field, fully extended in this area:
6-29-10 (3).JPG
STATISTICS
:

Game:  7 balls (5 hit, 1 thrown, 1 found)
Season:  266 balls (141 hit, 64 thrown, 25 device, 36 found)
Games: 40 games
Average:  6.65 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career:  844 balls
Streak:  136 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 11,401

6-28-10 Progressive Field

I arrived at Progressive Field early enough to be first in line, however, it wouldn’t matter, as BP wouldn’t even end up beginning until 4:50PM.

I had to wait as the Indians stretched, threw, and took a few rounds of infield.

Additionally, the cages hadn’t been set up early due to thunderstorms that moved through just south of Cleveland around 3-3:30 (the Indians likely took a wait and see approach – it ended up not raining in downtown Cleveland.

So, upon entering, I looked for an easter egg halfheartedly out of force of habit.  There was nothing in the seats, so I went over to Heritage Park, where this was waiting:
6-28-10 (22).jpg
It was a damp, wet baseball that had likely been there at least a few days.  It also was very badly worn, and didn’t look like it was a major league baseball.  It may have been hit into the trees sometime during the last week and a half when the Indians were out on the road.  After debating on whether to count it or not, I decided to – it is a baseball snagged in an MLB stadium.  I reached in an was just able to grab ball #1 without using my ‘Cleveland Stick.’

My second ball came from Shin Soo Choo.  He turned and threw a ball to a group of kids in the front row.  The ball sailed over their heads and into an empty row about six rows back.  I bent over and picked up ball #2.

None of the kids asked for the ball, but I could feel Choo staring at me.  I looked, and sure enough, there he was, looking right at me. 

I tossed ball #829 to one of the kids in the front row.  Choo saw this, whistled at me, took a ball out of his back pocket and fired a ball at me.  It was ball #3. 

He then ran off the field before I could get his picture to go hit.

I would get ball #4 off the bat of Travis Hafner.
6-28-10 (4).JPG
The ball bounced around and went into the tunnel next to the deck.

No one else was in the area, so I raced over to grab ball #10.  It turned out that was the last BP home run of the Blue Jays batting practice, because as I returned to my spot, the Blue Jays were running off the field.

Today’s baseballs (9 pictured because #829 was given away):
6-28-10 (19).JPG6-28-10 (18).JPG
STATISTICS:
Game:  10 balls (4 hit, 3 thrown, 2 device, 1 found)
Season:  259 balls (136 hit, 63 thrown, 25 device, 35 found)
Games: 39 games
Average:  6.64 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career:  837 balls
Streak:  135 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 11,577

6-20-10 PNC Park

6-19-2010 PNC Park

Today would be my first Saturday with batting practice at PNC Park.  All of the other days featured rain that wiped out BP.

I ran in just behind Nick Pelescak only to be stopped at the bullpen entrance to the left field bleachers by a security working who refused to allow anyone into the bleachers, despite many of us holding our Season Ticket Holder cards.  “We have to scan your tickets,” he said nervously as we all glared at him.

In the meantime, three balls flew into the bleachers.  I had my eye on one next to the bullpen, but Nick Pelescak put a verbal claim on it, so I would instead look for another ball that hit about three rows in.  It paid off.

When the man with the scanner came and finally let us all in, I ran in and found ball #1 in the front row, ball #2 in the front row another section over, and ball #3 in the left field corner.
6-19-10 (8).JPG
What a great start!

Ball #4 was a home run hit by Ryan Doumit.  It hit in the handicapped seats behind me and popped up in the air, right to me.

Ball #5 was thrown to me by Octavio Dotel.  Here he stands and watches another ballhawk use the glove trick. 
6-19-10 (1).JPG
STATISTICS:
Game:  9 balls (3 hit, 1 thrown, 5 found)
Season:  243 balls (129 hit, 60 thrown, 22 device, 32 found)
Games: 37 games
Average:  6.57 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career:  821 balls
Streak:  133 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 38,008

6-18-10 PNC Park

I had the opportunity to watch batting practice on the field today.  I had to be in the Pirates administrative offices at 4:15, where I would receive a lanyard and Suite tickets for tonight’s game.
6-18-10 (34).jpg
However, the downfall of this opportunity is that the participants must stay in a small 15×15 area or so in center field.  So snagging balls isn’t that easy.
6-18-10 (3).JPG
STATISTICS:
Game:  8 balls (4 hit, 2 thrown, 1 device, 1 found)
Season:  234 balls (126 hit, 59 thrown, 22 device, 27 found)
Games: 36 games
Average:  6.50 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career:  812 balls
Streak:  132 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 28,478

6-17-10 PNC Park

Had a good day today at PNC Park.

Shortly after running into the bleachers and finding zero easter eggs, Garrett Jones hit a ground rule double down the line that landed in the section to my right.  I ran over and claimed ball #1 as it rolled down the stairs after bouncing off a bleacher.
6-17-10 (1).JPG
My second ball was a Ronny Cedeno home run catch.  He hit a towering fly ball that I ran a section and a half to my right and made the clean catch in the third row back.
6-17-10 (2).JPG
As for the game, the outfield was crowded so I didn’t get close on any of the between inning toss ups from the outfielders.

The Pirates would also go on to lose their eleventh game in a row.

Tomorrow should be an interesting day – I’ll be in the park
extra early – details to come.

Today’s baseballs: (10 are pictured because one was given away)
6-17-10 (19).JPG
Sweet spots: (10 are pictured because #804 was given away)
6-17-10 (18).JPG
STATISTICS:
Game:  11 balls (8 hit, 1 thrown, 2 device)
Season:  226 balls (122 hit, 57 thrown, 21 device, 26 found)
Games: 35 games
Average:  6.46 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career:  804 balls
Streak:  131 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 23,170

6-16-10 PNC Park : Pedro Alvarez debut

The Pirates #1 prospect finally arrived in the major leagues.  He didn’t hit too many home runs in batting practice, but did hit one that cleared everything and sailed over section 139 in dead center on its way to the river.

As for my day, it got off to a good start.

I found ball #1 laying in the front row in left field when I ran in.

A few minutes later I got ball #2 from assistant pitching coach Ray Searage in left field. 
6-16-10 (1).JPG
He did a no look toss that fell about two rows short to me, but no one else was in the vicinity, so I had to to recover and get the ball.

My third ball of the day was a Lastings Milledge home run caught on the fly in this area:
6-16-10 (4).JPG

6-16-10 (18).JPG
This made toss ups difficult, and the closest I came was probably five feet from a McCutchen toss up in the 5th inning, but it didn’t happen.

By the way, here’s video of Pedro’s first major league at bat:

Here are today’s baseballs:
6-16-10 (22).JPG
Sweet spots:
6-16-10 (21).JPG
STATISTICS:
Game:  9 balls (4 hit, 3 thrown, 2 found)
Season:  215 balls (114 hit, 56 thrown, 19 device, 26 found)
Games: 34 games
Average:  6.32 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career:  793 balls
Streak:  130 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 15,218

6-15-10 PNC Park

Let’s get right to it.

Ball #1 was a ground rule double hit by Lastings Milledge that I snagged on the bounce near the foul pole.  It was ball #200 on the season.

Ball #2 was a home run hit by Lastings Milledge.  The ball actually would’ve been ruled a ground rule double because I ran down to the front row and leaned out over the wall to make this catch.

At 5:30, I chose to run over to right field to look for baseballs.
100_3238.JPG
I found ball #3 there and ran back to left.

Ball #4 was a ground rule double that an unknown White Sox batter hit.  I got up on the bleacher in the fourth row and fully extended to make this play.

Ball #5 was somewhat of a ‘scrum ball.’  A White Sox player hit a home run that hit off of the rotunda and ended up rolling to this wheelchair section.  One ballhawk dove over the railing and landed flat on the concrete on his stomach, his outstretched hand six inches from the ball.  I hopped over the railing and landed next to the ball, landing and grabbing the ball in one motion.

Alex Rios put on an absolute show during batting practice.

Ball #6 and #7 were caught on the fly off of his bat.

I ended with seven balls.  I should’ve had at least three more.  I was robbed three times, was lazy and didn’t move on one ball that trickled down right to where I would’ve been standings, and had another ballhawk glove trick two balls that I would’ve tricked myself had I been closer to the bullpen.

After batting practice I won a seat upgrade to right behind home plate.  I’d only stay in that area for a few innings before heading back to the outfield.

Here’s a few pictures from that location…
100_3248.JPG
The Pirates would go on to lose the game, their ninth in a row.  That means they now trail the Orioles by 6 games in the mild card, or race for the worst record in baseball.

After the game, they would bring up their top prospect Pedro Alvarez, which begs the question, why wasn’t this done on their off day yesterday?  So he could go 0-3 in the minors today?  Stupid. 

From ESPN.com:

Although Alvarez, 23, has significantly upgraded what previously was
a weakness — hitting left-handers — Huntington said a few hours
before the team’s latest loss that there are areas that need improving
before Alvarez is major league-ready.

Apparently, the Pirates changed their minds in only a few hours’ time.

“He’s
not going to be an accomplished player in all areas when he comes up,
but no player is,” Huntington said. “We’re looking forward to his
arrival here in Pittsburgh, whether it’s this week, next week or next
month. It’s going to happen here at some point, pending health and the
continuation of his progress and development.”

Who is going to get released?  We’ll find out tomorrow.  I sincerely HOPE it’s Ryan Church. 

In other news, John Russell is on the hot seat.  LINK

And, Ike Davis hit a home run ball in Cleveland tonight that I would’ve been all over.  LINK

Here are today’s baseballs:
100_3251.JPG
Sweet spots:
100_3250.JPG
STATISTICS:
Game:  7 balls (6 hit, 1 found)
Season:  206 balls (110 hit, 53 thrown, 19 device, 24 found)
Games: 33 games
Average:  6.24 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career:  784 balls
Streak:  129 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 12,693

6-12-10 Progressive Field

The weather forecast for today kept calling for thunderstorms, but every time I checked the forecast changed, and the storms kept getting pushed back to later and later in the day.

Eventually, I decided around 1PM to go for it, and hoped the weather would cooperate. 

It would.

Despite arriving at 3:45, I was still first in line.
6-12-10 (1).JPG
The boxes you see in the above photo were Shin Soo Choo bobbleheads.  I was a little worried that today would be very crowded because it was a bobblehead night and a Saturday.  However, the attendance was below 20,000.  Kind of sad for a franchise that once sold out 455 games in a row.

When I ran in, batting practice hadn’t yet begun, and there were no Easter Eggs.

After a few minutes, BP got underway and an Indians lefty hit a few balls into the Indians bullpen.

One of the balls was in a spot at the back of the bullpen that could be retrieved with the glove trick.  However, right when I began to set up for the glove trick, Tony Sipp ran by on his way to the bathroom in the Indians bullpen.  I decided to hold off on glove tricking the ball and instead asked Sipp for one of the three balls in the bullpen after he finished in the bathroom.

He nodded and flipped me ball #1.
6-12-10 (2).JPG
STATISTICS:
Game:  7 balls (3 hit, 2 thrown, 2 device)
Season:  199 balls (104 hit, 53 thrown, 19 device, 23 found)
Games: 32 games
Average:  6.22 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career:  777 balls
Streak:  128 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 19,484

6-11-10 Progressive Field

I decided to attend this game after checking Saturday’s iffy weather forecast.  I left right after work, so I didn’t get to the stadium until just before 5 PM.

I had missed the first 25 minutes of batting practice, which is never a good thing, but I would get on the board soon.

I was checking for any easter eggs that some folks may have missed when Shin Soo Choo hit a home run that landed in the trees in Heritage Park.  I tried to reach in and grab it so I could count it as a hit ball, but I couldn’t reach it. 
6-11-2010 (13).jpg
I pulled out my Cleveland Stick and used it to nudge the ball closer to the wall so I could get it.  It was ball #1.

The next round, Travis Hafner also hit a home run into the trees in Heritage Park, so I ran back over again. 

This ball would be a bit trickier because it was lodged in the branches of one of the trees.
6-11-2010 (12).jpg
STATISTICS
:
Game:  7 balls (3 hit, 4 device)
Season:  192 balls (101 hit, 51 thrown, 17 device, 23 found)
Games: 31 games
Average:  6.19 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career:  770 balls
Streak:  127 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 22,041

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 129 other followers