September 2010

9-22-10 PNC Park

A powerful thunderstorm rolled through Pittsburgh around 4PM, knocking out power and backing up traffic at every intersection.

I knew there wouldn’t be batting practice, but I went anyway.  Things had cleared up by 5PM and the sun was shining at least.

I thought I may get shut out, but managed to get a ball from Chris Carpenter as the Cardinals finished throwing.
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He rolled three balls from right center field to the fans along the right field fence in foul territory.  One ball was out of reach for everyone, so I went over and used my long arm to reach over and grab it just over the four foot fence down the right field foul line in right field.

Unfortunately, that would be the only ball that I got prior to the game.  My newly minted girlfriend of one day Amy was working this game, so I decided to stick around for the game.

There were virtually no fans at the game.  Seriously.  Check this out:

I thought for sure I could get an Andrew McCutchen warm up ball.  But it didn’t happen.

However, my luck changed for the better in the 2nd inning.  John Bowker stepped up to the plate and hit a home run to right center field, right in the area where I was hanging out talking to fellow ballhawk Ian Weir.

I knew I had a chance to make the catch.  However, at the last second, the ball started to die, and almost didn’t have enough carry to reach me.  I had to reach over a handicapped railing and make a basket catch.

Once I did, I raised the ball in triumph.

Here’s a screen by screen replay:

Here’s the VIDEO of the catch.

Here’s my posing with the home run ball.

Amy heard the crowd roar when Bowker hit the ball, and turned in time to see me catch the ball on the fly from her post.

Another cool fact is that the Bowker home run ball was Ball #1,111 of my career.  That would be the last ball I’d get for the night, but what a snag!

Here it is:


STATISTICS:
Game:  2 balls ( 1 hit, 1 thrown )
Season:  533 balls (253 hit, 131 thrown, 72 device, 77 found)
Games: 84 games
Average:  6.35 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 6
Career:  1,111 balls
Streak:  180 cons
ecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 11785
Balls needed to break single season record: 11

9-19-10 PNC Park

It was a Sunday day game, and there was no batting practice.  I still went to the game though.  Surprisingly, it would be my best game of the week.

From 11-11:30 on Sundays, fans have to stay on the Riverwalk.  They are not allowed to enter the main seating bowl, even if they are season ticket holders.  While I was waiting near the bullpens, Chan Ho Park got my attention and threw me a ball.  He threw it from center field, so I moved back 20 feet before he threw it to give myself plenty of room to make the catch.
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Park then motioned for me to give it to a little kid, so I did.  He hooked me up with a second ball for me to keep a minute later.  However, it was a little short and bounced off the flag pole base and over my head.

Luckily, few people were in the park at the time, so I chased it down easily here:
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I took 2 rounds on the field with 310-340-360-340-310 dimensions and had one home run – over the 340 sign in left center.

9-18-10 PNC Park

Ballhawking wise, today was a tough day for me.  It was a Saturday, which means that we have an extra half hour of BP, but it would yield very few opportunities.

The Pirates were missing Lastings Milledge, who isn’t allowed to participate in BP until his strained oblique muscle heals.  The rest of the Pirates were doing an awful job of driving balls into the seats.

I got one and only one ball during the Pirates entire portion of batting practice, and it was a Pedro Ciriaco ground rule double that I chased down here:
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When the Diamondbacks came out, I moved over to center field, as their first two or three groups feature primarily left handed batters.

In center field, fellow ballhawk Nick Pelescak and I were getting out ballhawked by two random teenagers, who kept getting lucky bounces or balls hit right at them.  Nick told me, “These d-bags have four combined and we only have three.  We need to step our game up.”  A bit later, I snagged a ground rule double that took a room service hop right at Nick’s glove.  One of the teens, featured here walking up the steps,
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STATISTICS
:
Game:  4 balls ( 1 hit, 2 thrown, 1 found )
Season:  525 balls (252 hit, 124 thrown, 72 device, 77 found)
Games: 82 games
Average:  6.40 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 5
Career:  1,103 balls
Streak:  178 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 25,981
Jabs/Pelescak Combination in 2010: 926 balls
Balls needed to break single season record: 19

9-17-10 PNC Park

I got to the stadium very late.  I was at the end of a massive line, and since there was only one ticket scanner, and people had multiple tickets to get scanned so they could get their Roberto Clemente busts, I had to wait almost 10 minutes to get inside.

Once I did get into the bleachers, the field was empty.  I had completely missed the Pirates BP.  However, I found out that the Pirates didn’t even take batting practice. 
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I thought I might possibly get shut out, but at 5:30, Ryan Church threw me a ball in center field to put me on the board.
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STATISTICS:
Game:  4 balls ( 1 hit, 3 thrown )
Season:  521 balls (251 hit, 122 thrown, 72 device, 76 found)
Games: 81 games
Average:  6.43 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 5
Career:  1,099 balls
Streak:  177 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 22,939
Balls needed to break single season record: 23

9-8-10 PNC Park

It was the last game of the homestand, and with only one nine game homestand remaining, I needed to have a decent day to have any chance of approaching the mygameballs.com single season record of 543 baseballs snagged in one season.

The day got off to a good start, as Sean Gallagher whistled at me to get my attention and threw me a ball.
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However, the ball sailed high and over my head, and another ballhawk, known as Baseball Joe grabbed it in the next section over.
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STATISTICS:
Game:  9 balls ( 3 hit, 2 thrown, 4 found )
Season:  517 balls (250 hit, 119 thrown, 72 device, 76 found)
Games: 80 games
Average:  6.46 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 5
Career:  1,095 balls
Streak:  176 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 13,113
Balls needed to break single season record: 27

9-7-10 PNC Park

I was back at PNC Park after a weekend trip to Washington State, and I was out of the swing of things, as I got zero balls during the Pirates portion of batting practice.

Luckily, as bullpen catcher Heberto Andrade walked off the field,
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he hit a fly ball into the bleachers, which I roamed to my right and caught to put me on the board.

At 5:30, I went to center field to look for easter eggs, but there were none.  Upon entering the section however, an unidentified Braves player hit a home run into the seats.  I had seen the ball land from about eighty feet away as I was on my way into the center field sections, but couldn’t find the ball.  Luckily, one of the ushers directed me to the spot, and I found the ball laying in the front row in a little puddle of water.

I decided to stay in center field because the group that was hitting included Jason Heyward (behind cage in picture below) and Rick Ankiel.
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STATISTICS:
Game:  5 balls ( 4 hit, 1 thrown )
Season:  508 balls (247 hit, 117 thrown, 72 device, 72 found)
Games: 79 games
Average:  6.43 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 5
Career:  1,086 balls
Streak:  175 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 11,070
Balls needed to break single season record: 36

9-3-10 PNC Park

Strong storms swept through the Pittsburgh area around 3:30 PM, putting batting practice in jeopardy.  However, they moved off to the east and the skies cleared by 4:30, so BP was a go for today. 

I came into today needing six balls to reach the exclusive 500 balls snagged in one season club.  It had only been done twice, by Zack Hample in 2008 and 2009.

Upon running in, I found ball #1 in the front row.  I almost passed it by, but noticed fellow ballhawk Nick Pelescak running quickly towards the spot, so I double checked, and it was right in front of me.  I leaned over and grabbed it for ball #1.
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My second ball was thrown to me by Chris Resop.  That’s the first ball that I ever got from Resop, so I was glad to add another player to my thrown list.  Thanks Chris.
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STATISTICS:

Game:  9 balls ( 3 hit, 3 thrown, 3 found )
Season:  503 balls (243 hit, 116 thrown, 72 device, 72 found)
Games: 78 games
Average:  6.45 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 5
Career:  1,081 balls
Streak:  174 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 19,734
Balls needed to break single season record: 41
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