8-23-11 PNC Park

I attended only one out of the final five games of the homestand.  Things have been busy lately with a new baby, a tripled workload at work (100 students to 325), and a house to upkeep.

I made sure to attend this game though as Zack Hample would be in attendance.  Hample if you don’t know is a New York City ballhawk on his way to snagging 1,000 baseballs this year.  He has already attended over 100 games this year and is planning on visiting all 30 major league stadiums this year.

Before the gates opened, we got a picture, taken by Ian Weir:

The man on the left is one of Zack Hample’s clients, I believe his name was David (Zack has a business that charges $500 to attend a game with him), Zack is in the yellow shirt, them Nick Pelescak, Zac Weiss, and myself.  The children are David’s.

Once the gates opened, I got on the board early by getting a toss up from Jason Grilli.  He’s been with the team for only a short amount of time, so he hasn’t been made anti-fan by Joel Hanrahan yet.

My second ball of the day was a clean catch right behind Ian Weir here:

Ball #3 was a ground rule double that skipped over the fence quickly and off of Ian.  He slowed it down and deflected it right to me here.

My fourth ball was another clean catch in the second row of section 136.  I had to climb over a bleacher or two to get into position.

When the Brewers came out I got ball #5 off the bat of Ryan Braun.  He hit it to the back of section 135, so I scooped it up as it was rolling under the bleachers down towards the front row.  One of the ushers started heckling me screaming at me “You just stole a ball from that kid!”  and “You’ll get yours.”  The kid had already snagged three balls of his own, and he was two rows below where the ball had hit.  Since there was a sparse crowd, if I wasn’t there the ball would’ve eventually rolled down to him, but you would’ve thought that I ripped the ball from his hand.

I later went up and confronted the usher (who’s not a regular in left field) and explained that I didn’t steal a ball from anyone.  The ball was on the ground when I picked it up.  I further pointed out that I gave my sixth ball of the day, which was glove tricked in left field to a young fan in the front row nearby who hadn’t gotten one yet (in the light blue).

The family was ecstatic.  The usher, who I guess was upset that I had already gotten too many baseballs possibly realized he overreacted and was happy that I gave one of mine away.  I typically always give the glove trick balls away if I have to ask someone to let me in to the front row for access to the ball below.

Anyhow, my seventh ball of the day was thrown by Frankie De La Cruz here:

I was making my way over to center field, and De La Cruz was retrieving a ball.  I was above the bullpen and just held my glove up and he threw me a perfect strike.  Here he is over in center field.

After BP was over, I took off and went home, stopping off at GetGo later that night to get 27+ gallons of gas for free.

My next game will be 9-5-11.  Yeah, it’s basically a 2 week break.  I thought about attending 9-3 with Nick in Washington DC, but heard from him that there wasn’t batting practice due to a concert.

I don’t know if I’ll get to too many more road games.  I’d like get to most of the few remaining home games at PNC Park and then possibly a playoff game in October.  We’ll see.

My goal is 413.  I have 11 games left (3 of those are day games – which I’ll leave if there’s no BP).  So I need to 57 balls in those 11 games which is 5.2 a game.   My average this year is a tad over 5.3.  Should make it somewhat challenging.

Statistics:
Game: 7 balls (4 hit, 2 thrown, 1 device)
Season: 356 balls (149 hit, 75 thrown, 84 device, 48 found)
Games: 67 games
Career: 1,478 balls
Attendance: 21,411

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