July 2010

7-29-10 Progressive Field

After getting a favorable report from Nick Pelescak about Wednesday’s batting practice, I decided to make a third trip to Cleveland.  The Indians decided to open the entire outfield rather than just the right field seats on Wednesday, and they did the same thing today.

I began the day in left field and got ball #1 from Shelley Duncan on the left field wall.
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STATISTICS:
Game:  4 balls (1 hit, 2 thrown, 1 device)
Season:  351 balls (178 hit, 78 thrown, 42 device, 44 found)
Games: 55 games
Average:  6.38 bal
ls per game
2010 Game Balls: 5
Career:  929 balls
Streak:  151 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 34,455

7-28-10 Nationals Park

I didn’t feel like going through another toilsome batting practice in Cleveland, and storms were in the forecast there, so I drove down to Washington DC.

Two other ballhawks were in attendance at this game – Ian Weir from Pittsburgh, and Alex from New York City.

When the gates opened, the Nationals were just beginning to hit, so there weren’t any easter eggs.

I caught ball #1 on the fly off the bat of Wil Nieves.  It was a home run that was caught in this area:
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During the second group, I won a scrum for a Ryan Zimmerman home run ball that landed two rows in front of me in this area:

That would be all I would get during the Nationals batting practice.  Argh.  Did I make the wrong choice by coming to DC?

The Braves first group included Jason Heyward
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You’re not allowed to go get those balls, as one kid began climbing over the rail, before a security guard angrily yelled at him.  I motioned with my glove and string as if to say, “Is it ok if I throw this out there.”  The security guard made the non-verbal signal, “Oh yeah, go ahead.”

I flipped the kid a decoy ball and then threw my glove out and nudged ball #8 close enough to the glass so that I could simply reach other and grab it.  It took one fling of the glove.

I was about ready to leave the red seats to go check the left field bullpen when yet another home run landed in the gap in front of the red seats.

I glove tricked that ball for ball #9.

Batting practice ended soon after, and I was stuck on 9 balls – just short of double digits.

I really wanted to hit the road, but there were three balls laying in
the bullpen.

After standing and talking with Alex for about 20 minutes, Eddie Perez finally came out to the bullpen.  He collected the three balls, and I asked him for a ball in Spanish.  He ignored me.  I continued in Spanish to say, “There’s also one in the flowers over there near the wall.”
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Eddie went over and got it and tossed it up to me.  Ball #10.

It still had dirt on it.  Although, for some reason my camera didn’t focus that well.
7-28-10 (20).JPGAfter yesterday’s tough day, I was pretty happy I chose to come to DC. 
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I then hit the road for home.

Here are today’s baseballs:
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Sweet spots:
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STATISTICS:
Game:  10 balls (4 hit, 1 thrown, 5 device)
Season:  347 balls (177 hit, 76 thrown, 41 device, 44 found)
Games: 54 games
Average:  6.43 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 5
Career:  925 balls
Streak:  150 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 24,263

7-27-10 Progressive Field

I had an awful day at Progressive Field.

It started at 3PM with early batting practice.  Nick Pelescak, Happy Youngster and I took 10 minute shifts watching our bags while the other two were outside of the home run porch gate – trying to get a ball.
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No balls would even make it out, despite a good 40 minute or so session.

To make matter worse, at 4:30, I went to look for balls in the trees at Heritage Park, but it was closed for some private party.
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STATISTICS:
Game:  1 balls (1 device)
Season:  337 balls (173 hit, 75 thrown, 36 device, 44 found)
Games: 53 games
Average:  6.36 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 5
Career:  915 balls
Streak:  149 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 27,416

7-26-10 Progressive Field

With the Yankees in Cleveland, and Alex Rodriguez sitting on 599 career home runs, Nick Pelescak and I made the trip to Cleveland.  So did pretty much every Yankee fan from New York.

Nick and I arrived at the stadium, hoping to catch an early round of batting practice at 2PM and maybe snag a ball outside of the stadium at the Home Run Porch.

It didn’t happen as this was the scene:
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There was a mini baseball field constructed across the street from the stadium, so we spent a good 45 minutes or so throwing there.
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Curtis Granderson:
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Alex Rodriguez:
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Mariano Rivera:
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After batting practice was over, I checked Heritage Park and found one ball, hidden behind the stump of one of the trees:
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I used the Cleveland Stick to snag ball #5 of the day.

Check out the job they did blocking off the trees – I assume so folks can’t run back there to grab A-rod’s 600th:
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As for the game,  the porch was packed.
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So were the left field bleachers.
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But A-Rod would not go deep.

Some pictures from the game:

View from the bullpen:
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Mariano Rivera to Carlos Santana:
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Mariano Rivera:
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The Yankees won 3-2.

A-Rod did not go deep.

And I’ll be back in Cleveland tomorrow.

Here’s today’s balls (4 show because 1 was given away)
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Sweet spots (1 was given away)
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STATISTICS:
Game:  5 balls (1 hit, 2 thrown, 2 device)
Season:  336 balls (173 hit, 75 thrown, 35 device, 44 found)
Games: 52 games
Average:  6.46 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 5
Career:  914 balls
Streak:  148 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 27,224

7-24-10 PNC Park

Its Sunday night and I’m preparing for my trip to Cleveland to catch Alex Rodriguez’s 600th home run.  I’m pressed for time, so let’s get to it.

It was another ridiculously hot day, as the east coast sweated out another day of this heat wave.
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Upon entering the stadium, I found ball #1 in the seats near the left field foul pole in foul territory.
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STATISTICS:
Game:  9 balls (5 hit, 1 thrown, 2 device, 1 found)
Season:  331 balls (172 hit, 73 thrown, 33 device, 44 found)
Games: 51 games
Average:  6.49 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 5
Career:  909 balls
Streak:  147 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 36,967

7-23-10 PNC Park

This entry will be short and sweet.

Upon entering the stadium – this was the scene:
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The Pirates were big babies and didn’t take batting practice today.  I can’t remember the last time a team didn’t take batting practice during a night game on a sunny day. 

It was pretty hot and humid today, so I’m guessing John Russell didn’t want to get his players tired, despite only scoring two runs the night before.  Memo to Russell: Your players are major leaguers, not little leaguers. 

Luckily, there was a ball in the outfield that Carlos Garcia came out to retrieve.  He had been working with an infielder at second base.
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STATISTICS:
Game:  4 balls (1 hit, 2 thrown, 1 device)
Season:  322 balls (172 hit, 73 thrown, 33 device, 44 found)
Games: 50 games
Average:  6.44 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 5
Career:  900 balls
Streak:  146 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 18,611

7-22-10 PNC Park

I got a Club level seat tonight.  The last time (link) I sat in the Club level, I caught two foul balls, and the visiting team was the Milwaukee Brewers.  This was the Brewers final game at PNC Park this year.
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Batting Practice was very frustrating.

I only got two balls during the Pirates portion.  One was a Lastings Milledge home run that landed underneath the left field rotunda. 
100_3488.JPG(Ball #3 says Blood Pressure Rising, which I responded “You’re telling me,” after snagging it – in regards to the frustrating BP)

STATISTICS:
Game:  6 balls (4 hit, 1 thrown, 1 device)
Season:  318 balls (171 hit, 71 thrown, 32 device, 44 found)
Games: 49 games
Average:  6.49 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 5
Career:  896 balls
Streak:  145 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 18,715

7-21-10 PNC Park

The weather looked a bit questionable earlier in the day, with the hourly forecast calling for a 60% chance of thunderstorms at 5 and 6PM.  Luckily, it didn’t happen, and batting practice was on.

After getting shut out during the first Pirates’ group, I got a Ronny Cedeno HR ball that sailed over my head and bounced into the general admission bleachers.
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I eventually found the ball after a short search in about the fifth row up.

My second ball was a home run snagged off the bat of Lastings Milledge.  It was a line drive right at me that I caught in the air.

In his next round in the cage, Milledge sent another shot to left field which I also caught on the fly here:
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STATISTICS:
Game:  8 balls (7 hit, 1 found)
Season:  312 balls (167 hit, 70 thrown, 31 device, 44 found)
Games: 48 games
Average:  6.50 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career:  890 balls
Streak:  144 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 13,532

7-20-10 PNC Park

Today got off to a really slow start.  I didn’t snag my first ball until near the end of Pirates batting practice.

Lastings Milledge hit a home run that ended up in the upper bleachers.  As I ran up to get it, another ball narrowly missed hitting me on my way up the stairs.  I continued up the stairs to snag ball #1.
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At the end of Pirates BP, Ross Ohlendorf tossed me ball #2.

That was all I got from the Pirates in the first 30 minutes.  A bit frustrating. 

Not long after the Brewers started hitting, Rickie Weeks hit a home run ball that was directly in the sun.  I tracked the ball most of the way, but lost it at the last second.  Luckily, the ball landed right next to me in the front row.  Another ballhawk inexplicably threw his glove at the ball, which missed and ended up on the field, so I was able to dodge the glove and snag ball #3.    It had the number ‘8’ written on it.

I used the glove trick to snag ball #4 near the bullpen.

A ball had settled up against the wall and made for an easy snag.  All I had to do was make sure Marcus Hanel, who despises the glove trick, wasn’t watching.
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I left after the third inning as I still needed to get to the gym and it was already almost 8:30pm.

Here are today’s baseballs:
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STATISTICS:
Game:  9 balls (4 hit, 2 device, 3 thrown)
Season:  304 balls (160 hit, 70 thrown, 31 device, 43 found)
Games: 47 games
Average:  6.47 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career:  882 balls
Streak:  143 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 13,202

7-19-10 PNC Park

The Brewers were in town, which is a good thing.  The Brewers and Reds are my two favorite BP teams, as they put a good deal of balls into the seats.

Also in town was Milwaukee’s top ballhawk, The Happy Youngster.  If you’re not familiar with him, you can read his blog here.  Happy came in third place in the ballhawk league last year with 372 balls.

I had to exchange some tickets for games that I wasn’t going to attend, so I left early for the stadium – I ended up being first in line.

It paid off, because when I ran in, I found two balls laying near the base of the foul pole (picture taken a bit later):
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The balls were no less than about a foot from each other.

The first group for the Pirates produced nothing.  They were all lefties except for Andy LaRoche – who rarely if ever hits home runs anymore in BP.

When the Pirates final group came up containing the likes of Jose Tabata, Lastings Milledge, Ronny Cedeno and Neil Walker – I was ready.

I got ball #3 of the day from Cedeno.  It was a high fly ball that landed on the warning track and bounced over the wall.  I was three rows deep and got up on the bleacher. 
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Sweet spots:
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STATISTICS:
Game:  8 balls (5 hit, 1 device, 2 found)
Season:  295 balls (156 hit, 67 thrown, 29 device, 43 found)
Games: 46 games
Average:  6.41 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career:  873 balls
Streak:  142 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 12,375

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