The day began for me at 4AM. I had spent the previous week in South Carolina at Myrtle Beach.
I arrived at PNC Park at 3:45 PM and I was back in action for the first time since July 3rd, exactly two weeks off from ballhawking.
It was a much needed break. But I was ready to get back to one of my hobbies.
Upon entering the stadium at 4:30, batting practice had not yet begun.
After 5-10 minutes, it got underway and I snagged a ground rule double from Bobby Crosby, who was hitting in the first group. The ball barely cleared the wall, as it was a line drive.
I lined up with the ball and made the snag about three rows back.
Things were really slow during the first two groups, and I had the opportunity to talk to two of the Pirates relievers.
Things then slowed down to a ridiculously boring pace. The Astros weren’t hitting many home runs, as they appeared 100% dedicated to taking inside out swings to hit the ball to right field.
Luckily, near the end of batting practice, I snagged a ground rule double off the bat of an unknown Astro.
Also, at the end of batting practice, I got ball #7 thrown by Matt Lindstrom as the Astros were running off the field.
At the end of batting practice I gave one of my extra balls that I bring from home away to a young fan with a glove who had gotten shut out.
I left right after Batting Practice to go home and get caught up on some sleep.
(PS: As for Sunday, Nick and I went to the stadium, waited outside for over a half an hour and then left, as there were no signs of cages in sight. I’ll be back in action on Monday, and Milwaukee’s best ballhawk will be in attendance at the game…)
Game: 7 balls (3 hit, 1 thrown, 1 device, 2 found)
Season: 287 balls (153 hit, 67 thrown, 27 device, 41 found)
Games: 45 games
Average: 6.38 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career: 865 balls
Streak: 141 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
I had seriously considered going to Cleveland today rather than dealing with the sellout crowd at PNC Park. However, I decided I just didn’t feel like driving four hours round trip for the fourth day in a week.
So, I gave PNC Park another try. One small thing going in my favor would be that the gates would open at 4:30 today, as is the PNC Park policy for Saturday games.
Upon entering, batting practice hadn’t yet begun and the pitchers were throwing in left field.
Evan Meek noticed Nick and I hustling around looking for easter eggs and shouted, there’s one up there, gesturing towards the upper general admission bleachers.
After a lengthy search, no ball would be found.
After batting practice finally began, I would get ball #1 tossed to me by Pirates starting pitcher Brad Lincoln.
During the second group of Pirates hitters, I would snag a Garrett Jones home run in left field. It was an opposite field shot that was a row in front of me, and I ended up trapping the ball against the bleacher on a short hop here:
I do believe that I will attend over 85 games, but so will Nick Pelescak, so the question may end up being who attends more?
As for the Total Balls in one season – its too early to tell if I’ll be able to continue to average over 6 balls per game.
I won’t be in action on July 4th, but have several trips lined up for next week.
Another day at PNC Park, and another crowd of Phillies fans to deal with throughout batting practice.
Luckily, PNC Park has season ticket holder early entrance, where the season ticket holders get thirty minutes of BP without the general public. That would be huge for me today, as all four of my baseballs would come during the first thirty minutes.
I was second in line behind Nick Pelescak, so I knew that I probably would be second into the bleachers, putting me at a slight disadvantage for grabbing easter eggs. However, Nick brought a curse on himself about two minutes before the gates opened by accidentally touching a cursed baseball.
The baseball in question is brought by a semi regular man who is disabled and can’t speak, but loves to play catch with a minor league baseball. I played catch with him last year and had a ridiculously awful game. The only explanation was that I had touched that baseball. I thought to myself, “That ball is cursed,” and haven’t touched it since. Whenever he gestures to toss me the ball, I make a frown and wave him off.
After watching Nick have some terrible luck on Thursday, I realized that he had played catch with Baseball Joe in line. I warned him later on that night to stay away from the cursed baseball.
Well, Nick was handed the ball by another ballhawk and immediately realized that he was again, cursed.
Two minutes later the gates opened, and for the first time ever, Nick’s ticket wouldn’t scan. Also, out of nowhere, another ticket scanner appeared and scanned my ticket, thus I bypassed Nick and was first into the bleachers. The curse of Baseball Joe. His misfortune was my luck, I found ball #1 laying in the front row.
My second ball came about two minutes later off the bat of Jose Tabata. It was a home run that would’ve landed in the first or second row. Two other ballhawks had the position and were lined up to make the catch. I was in the third row, hoping that the ball would continue to carry, but it didn’t. At the last second, both ballhawks who were positioned to make the catch had to bail on their position because they lost the ball in the ridiculously bright sun.
I never lost sight of the ball, and made an outstretched basket catch, for ball #2 here:
Game: 4 balls (3 hit, 1 found)
Season: 276 balls (149 hit, 64 thrown, 26 device, 38 found)
Games: 43 games
Average: 6.42 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career: 854 balls
Streak: 139 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
The Phillies were in town today for game 1 of a four game series. Unfortunately for me, their fans travel well, and many arrived early for batting practice.
To make matters worse, the security ticket scanner, who only permits season ticket holders into the left field bleachers wasn’t at his post. In fact, he didn’t show up until 5:11, allowing a steady stream of Phillies fans and non season ticket holders to stroll on in and crowd up the bleachers.
I got my first ball during the Pirates’ first group off the bat of Delwyn Young. He hit a ball that landed in the section directly next to the foul pole. I ran over as three other folks converged towards the back of the section where the ball had landed.
I realized though that the ball was rolling down towards the front row, so I quickly reversed course and ran down to the front row, where I picked up ball #1.
My second ball came from the next Pirates’ group and off the bat of Lastings Milledge.
The ball bounced off the concrete and took a hop up into the rotunda. Several folks were frantically looking around, their heads swiveling hoping to pick up the ball. I knew exactly where it was. It had gotten caught up on the rotunda. I took off and ran up the lower ring of the Rotunda, and there it was:
Season: 272 balls (146 hit, 64 thrown, 26 device, 37 found)
Games: 42 games
Average: 6.48 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career: 850 balls
Streak: 138 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Back in Cleveland yet again.
However, it would not be a fun time in Cleveland today.
It would be a record low tying day for me. Record low in terms of balls snagged in 2010 and also record tying low for balls snagged at Progressive Field.
After being shut out for over fifty minutes, I snagged a Shin Soo Choo home run in this area:
It was too deep for me to get to in time to make the catch, so I settled for grabbing the ball off of the concrete.
It was about 5:20. My next ball wouldn’t come until about 6:15 or so.
It was that kind of day.
Season: 268 balls (142 hit, 64 thrown, 26 device, 36 found)
Games: 41 games
Average: 6.53 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career: 846 balls
Streak: 137 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.