9-12-11 PNC Park

Amy pointed out that I forgot to mention that we attended a Renaissance Festival over the weekend.  Here’s a picture from that.

Shooting arrows was the highlight because I was surprisingly good at it.  Anyone, this really doesn’t tie in at all, unless I made some weird caption like, “Erik Jabs aims for 413 as the season winds down, to break his 2nd best single season mark.”

The Cardinals are in town now and have been really stingy this year at tossing up baseballs, so I was going to need some luck today.

Upon running in, I spotted a ball in the front row.  I ran over to snag it when out of no where a ticket seller who works at the windows on the first base side of the Honus Wagner statue shot out of his chair in the handicapped seats and raced down and grabbed the ball.  He literally snatched it as I was closing in and not but five feet away from grabbing it.  Nick Pelescak was right there too and might have grabbed it also.  We both gave him a look like, “Are you serious?”  He said he was going to give it to a little kid (even though he had already been there since God knows when and had a whole bag full of baseballs that he had already picked up from the hour of batting practice when there were no fans in the stadium).  Nick started saying some stuff to him, and I’ll try and get his name and picture tomorrow.  Anyhow, that ball was kind of important because it would end up costing me my first double digit game since June.

I got my first ball of the day from Jason Jaramillo:

Then I went on a hit-ball snagging rampage from the end of the Pirates BP through the Cardinals BP.  Every ball I snagged the rest of the day was a batted ball.

I caught a Pirates home run as I walked up the bleachers one after the other and made a pretty difficult clean catch here:

When the Cardinals came out, I snagged two Matt Holliday home runs within 20 second of one another.  They may have been back to back.

One was a home run that landed on a staircase and stayed on the steps.  I scrambled up the steps and grabbed it with my bare hand as another ballhawk reached for it a split second late with his glove.

The next pitch a ball landed about twelve rows up into the upper bleachers.  I raced up and snagged it as a few other ballhawks raced after it

It happened up here:

Ok, I’ll admit those two snags were kind of lucky.

My fifth ball of the day was a home run that I picked up after it bounced off a bleacher.  A young ballhawk who was maybe 10 years old tried to rip it from my glove, so after I had possession of it I asked if he’d gotten a ball yet.  Nick Pelescak standing nearby said, “Yeah he got one already,” so the ultra aggressive young fan just walked away.  There was a lot of random non-regulars there getting lots of baseballs today.

Ball #6 was really ridiculously lucky.  A deep home run landed in the wheel chair section and as I was drifting over, it hit something and took a soft ricochet right at me.  I snagged it immediately in the air.  That was truly lucky.

I was later told by Nick that ball #6 was hit by Albert Pujols.

After spending an unsuccessful round in right field for a group of solely left handed hitters, I made my way back to left field and immediately snagged a ground rule double near the bullpen:

Immediately, I thought it would be pretty cool to get one more ball.  I had gotten 8 balls on Saturday and Sunday, and wanted to continue that streak to three games.

By the way, look how EMPTY it was at 6 o’clock!

Anyhhow, ball #8 happened when Tony Cruz launched a deep fly ball that sailed way over my head.  Realizing it was headed toward the rotunda.  I just turned and ran underneath the rotunda, and when it started bouncing around the concourse, I tracked it down for ball #8.

For good measure, Cruz lifted another home run at the very end of batting practice that I caught right behind this lady’s head.

Amy and I had club seats for today’s game, but I didn’t feel like staying, even though I was on 9 balls and only needed one more for double digits.  I sold the seats after we left the park, and then we went and got dinner and I went to the gym.  I felt it was a better usage of my time than running all over the ballpark trying for one more ball.  Plus, we plan on staying at tomorrow’s game as we have tickets in a section that I’ve never sat in before…

Here are today’s baseballs:

Statistics:
Game: 9 balls (8 hit, 1 thrown)
Season: 390 balls (167 hit, 84 thrown, 87 device, 52 found)
Games: 72 games
Average: 5.42 per game
Career: 1,512 balls
Attendance: 13,278
Remaining games to reach goal of 413: 4 (maybe 5 if I do an away game next weekend)
Needed to reach goal: 23 (5.75 per game)

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