7-1-11 Nationals Park

Since Amy and I had been in Baltimore the past two days, we decided to attend the Pirates vs Nationals game in Washington DC on our travel day back to Pittsburgh.

We began the day on the pier in Annapolis, where our hotel was located,

and ate lunch at Jimmy John’s, a sandwich shop.  I got a turkey sandwich and was grossed out by the weird alfalfa greens that they put on it.  I’d never had them, and didn’t want to try them.  Gross.

We then went to Washington and Nationals Park.

At the gate, we were first in line, and we ran into Zack Hample, who had made the trip from New York City.

Zack is on a quest to snag 1,000 baseballs in 2011 – and he credited me breaking his record last year (with 544) as a motivational factor in his endeavor.

Upon entering the park, there were no balls to be found as batting practice hadn’t yet begun.  I decided to run over to right field,

but found out that it is now closed off until 5:30, thereby negating an hour of batting practice time there.

I went back to left, and noticed a ball in the bullpen, which I attempted to glove trick, but failed three times as I was reeling it in.  Jordan Zimmerman and Colin Balester watched in amusement.  Zimmerman threw a ball at my glove at one point to mess with me, which actually ended up in a perfect glove trick spot directly below me and to my right.

After failing and having the ball drop and roll away, Zimmerman threw me a ball for my effort.

I then went to work on the ball Zimmerman threw at my glove,

and reeled that one in for ball #2.

After that, I had some bad luck, including one clunk off of my glove, as I unnecessarily jumped to catch it.  (I was terrified it was going to hit Amy, who was two rows behind me.)  Trying to change my luck, even though the Nationals were still batting, I changed into my Pirates gear.
I also met a ballhawk named Alex from New Jersey from mygameballs

and chatted with Zack for a minute or two when there was some down time.

A bit later, I recovered after a few more close calls with this clean catch.

5:30 rolled around, so I ran over to right field.  I ran down to the front row and found Ball #4 in the front row.

I also noticed a ball in the gap in right field, so I glove tricked it, this time quickly and successfully for ball #5.  I then proceeded to get yelled at by an usher named Beni or Benji or something like that.  The same usher later demanded Alex to give away his baseballs because he was getting too many, and actually wasted about three minutes of my time questioning me where he, and that he owed him baseballs.  Pretty ridiculous. Especially because I personally watched him pick up at least three around 5:25 before I went over to right field.

I stayed in right field for the rest of BP.

And caught a Garrett Jones home run on the fly there.

I tried to get several tossups, but got completely ignored by all the Pirates pitchers, especially Daniel Moskos.

After batting practice, we left and actually got back home just as the game was ending.

Here are today’s baseballs:

Sweet spots:

Statistics:
Game: 6 balls (2 hit, 1 thrown, 2 device, 1 found)
Season:  270 balls (113 hit, 56 thrown, 63 device, 29 found)
Games: 46 games
Average:  5.87 balls per game
Career:  1,392 balls (I numbered all the balls wrong yesterday, so the first ball was 1382, which is the one I skipped.)
Attendance: 22,399

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