September 2011

9-9-11 PNC Park

Today was a pretty mediocre day for me snagging wise.

First off, I forgot my sunglasses, making it almost impossible to track home run balls.

Here I am trying to use my glove to block the sun.

I managed to snag a Brandon Wood home run on the fly before the Pirates left the field.  I had to make the catch on the run and caught it backhanded and below my waist.  I lost track of it for a second, but it was more of a line drive, so it didn’t completely vanish in the glaring sun.  Here I am numbering ball #1485:

I changed into my ridiculous eye-catching teal Marlins gear once the Pirates wrapped things up.  Look how bad I stand out.

It paid off as I got Alex Sanabia to toss me ball #2.  Here I am showing it to Amy:

My third and final ball was an awkward scrum ball.  It was a home run that landed and settled on an empty bleacher.  Three people grabbed the ball at the same time.  I had the ball wedged between my glove and my bare hand, another guy let go of the ball after a second.  However, the guy in the row behind me held onto the ball for dear life with one hand.  I had a better grip, so after an awkward twenty seconds, he finally let go.

Anyhow, after batting practice, Amy, Olivia and I went up to the upper deck to pick a new season ticket seat for next year.  Since the Pirates are raising prices, the only seats available for $499 for a full season plan are in rows S-Y.  I wanted to make sure the seats I get have no obstructions.

Here’s Olivia and I in the upper deck.

Statistics:
Game: 3 balls (2 hit, 1 thrown)
Season: 365 balls (154 hit, 77 thrown, 85 device, 49 found)
Games: 69 games
Career: 1,487 balls
Attendance: 24,527
Remaining games to reach goal of 413: 7
Needed to reach goal: 48 (6.9 per game)

9-7-11 PNC Park

Batting practice was rained out on both Monday and Tuesday, so today was my first baseball game in 15 days.  Today was special, as I brought Olivia and Amy to the ballpark:

She was a perfect angel and didn’t cry or fuss at all the whole time we were at PNC Park.

As for batting practice, my first ball was a ground rule double hit by an unidentified Pirate and snagged here:

That’s the only ball I snagged in the first half hour.

There were a handful of balls that landed in the seats, but it seems like any more that this is all we do:
At 5:30, I found a ball in foul territory hidden under a seat.

Ushers had combed through the rows a few minutes prior and picked up a couple more.

Back over in left field, I made a nice place on a ground rule double as I picked it from the first row as it was bouncing over the wall.

I got my fourth ball of the day in foul territory, as an Astros player hit a slow roller that settled about 6 feet out from the low wall past third base.  I ran over and tossed my glove out to nudge the ball closer so I could grab it.  In the meantime, Coach Suba was prowling around looking for baseballs and was walking over to retrieve the ball when I snagged it.  He said, “I don’t come into your yard and take your lawnmower.”  I didn’t want to argue so I just offered him the ball back.  “No, you can keep it, I just wish I would’ve known you were going to get it so I didn’t have to walk the whole way over here,” he said.

In the meantime, Wilton Lopez stormed over looking real pissed that I had taken a ball off the warning track and demanded that I give the ball back.  I threw him the ball back and he stormed off for a moment and acted like he was going to throw the ball back to the infield, but then broke into a huge smile and threw me the ball back.  He was just messing with me.  Although I snagged the ball two different times, by two different means, I’m only going to count it once.  I’ve seen some shady stat keeping by ballhawks where they’d count the ball as two, but whatever.  I’m counting it as a device ball in my stats.

Here’s Suba and Lopez a few seconds after all that happened:

My fifth ball was a home run that landed in section 134 that I was able to snag before another guy, who ended up losing his balance.  He was fine.  I supported him as he lost his balance.

And, my last ball of the day was tossed to me by a groundkeeper who happened by as I was about to glove trick a ball by section 101.

I wasted the last 10 minutes by the Astros dugout since there were no fans there – in an attempt to get a ball from a player as they ran off the field.  The Astros ended up hitting longer today and I ended up losing out on several home run balls that landed in the seats a vastly empty right field.

As for the game, we had seats in the club level, but I didn’t snag anything else.

Statistics:
Game: 6 balls (3 hit, 1 thrown, 1 device, 1 found)
Season: 362 balls (152 hit, 76 thrown, 85 device, 49 found)
Games: 68 games
Average: 5.33 per game
Career: 1,484 balls
Attendance: 12,330
Remaining games to reach goal of 413: 8
Needed to reach goal: 51 (6.4 per game)

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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