Results tagged ‘ Andy Laroche ’

8-21-10 PNC Park

There was some rain in the forecast for today, so the Pirates started BP a bit earlier than usual.  The gates opened at 4:30, and the first group had already finished by that time.  Therefore, we missed out on Chris Synder, Andrew McCutchen and Ryan Doumit.

My first ball came off the bat of Andy LaRoche.  Nick Pelescak and I converged, and in an attempt for the ball, I lost my balance and began to fall forward, but caught myself by bashing the back of my lower leg on the bleacher.  It hurt, but I was able to make the catch.

Daniel McCutchen, aware of the Ballhawk League asked, ‘How many points was that one…”  “Do you get extra if you draw blood?”

In the meantime, I had noticed a ball on the field, directly against the two foot high fence in foul territory in front of the handicapped seats:
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On my way over, I found ball #2 laying in the aisle, and then made my way over to pick up ball #3 off of the track.

Ball #4 was also hit by Andy LaRoche.  He hit a foul ball into the seats down the left field, line.
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STATISTICS:
Game:  5 balls ( 2 hit, 1 device, 2 found )
Season:  469 balls (236 hit, 101 thrown, 63 device, 64 found)
Games: 72 games
Average:  6.51 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 5
Career:  1,048 balls
Streak:  168 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 28,759
Balls in the month of August:  119 (20 needed to break 1 month record)
Balls needed to break single season record: 74

8-6-10 PNC Park

Today was Andrew McCutchen bobblehead night, so I was in for a bit more of a crowded BP than the previous few days.

After entering the bleachers first, only to find two fans already there (with special vip guest passes), I would eventually catch an Andy LaRoche home run on the fly in the second row here:
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I would only get one other ball during the Pirates BP, and it was a ground rule double off the bat of Pirates future star Pedro Alvarez. 
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STATISTICS:
Game:  6 balls (2 hit, 3 device, 1 found)
Season:  393 balls (205 hit, 87 thrown, 50 device, 51 found) *fixed totals after checking mygameballs.com
Games: 60 games
Average:  6.55 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 5
Career:  971 balls
Streak:  156 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 30,711

8-3-10 PNC Park

There was a threat of rain throughout batting practice today.

In fact, it rained lightly for at least 15 minutes, usually a death sentence for batting practice at PNC Park.  The groundscrew was certainly ready to pull the plug.
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But we made it through and got a full BP today.

Upon entering, I found ball #1 laying in the front row near the foul pole.
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Throughout the rest of the game, I split time between left and right field, but Lastings Milledge was being inconsistent with his mid inning
toss ups.  Sometimes he would throw the ball to the crowd, other times he was content to let the bullpen pitcher take it. 

I decided to try Tabata one more time in the 8th inning.  I took my hat off to alter my appearance, hoping he wouldn’t remember me from four innings early.

It worked.  Tabata fired another ball right to me for ball #10 in the 8th.  Thanks Jose.
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The Pirates would go on to win the game as Joel Hanrahan earned his first save as a Pirate.

Here are today’s baseballs:
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Sweet spots:
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STATISTICS:
Game:  10 balls (5 hit, 4 thrown, 1 found)
Season:  374 balls (192 hit, 84 thrown, 43 device, 46 found)
Games: 57 games
Average:  6.56 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 5
Career:  952 balls
Streak:  153 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 13,623

8-2-10 PNC Park

With chief competitor Nick Pelescak out of action for the next two weeks, and my favorite BP team, the Cincinnati Reds in town, I was hoping I would have a big day. 

I would – setting a personal 2010 high for balls snagged.

The day would get off to a great start.  When I ran in, I spotted a ball in the front row. 

Before I could grab it, Andy LaRoche hit a home run into the front row.  I tried to make the basket catch leaning forward over two rows, but just missed it.  My glove killed the balls’ momentum and I just needed to pick it up in the front row for ball #1.  Seconds later, I grabbed that easter egg for ball #2 in this area:
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Sweet spots: (1 was given away)
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STATISTICS:
Game:  13 balls (9 hit, 2 thrown, 1 device, 1 found)
Season:  364 balls (187 hit, 80 thrown, 43 device, 45 found)
Games: 56 games
Average:  6.50 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 5
Career:  942 balls
Streak:  152 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 15,172

5-10-2010 PNC Park

It was another great day at PNC Park for me. 

There wasn’t a very big crowd, so there was plenty of room to run around during batting practice. 
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I would snag five balls during the Pirates portion of batting practice. 

Ball #1 was off the bat of Andy LaRoche.  It was a ground rule double that I snagged on the hop.

My second and third balls were off the bat of Lastings Milledge.  The second ball was a home run that I snagged after it bounced off a handicap seat, and the third was a ground rule double that bounced over the fence right next to the foul pole.

There was no pitchers in the outfield today, which was good.  They see the regulars get many home run balls and refuse to toss balls to us.  Delwyn Young was patrolling left field today, and I got him to toss me ball #4.
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That was it for me.    I should’ve stayed as Ronny Cedeno hit a home run that bounced onto the lowest rung of the Left Field Rotunda.  I would’ve defi
nitely snagged that ball, as I’m used to running up the ramp from my experience in batting practice. 

There was probably less than 5,000 people that actually attended the game as there was a Penguins playoff game.
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Here’s today’s baseballs:
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And the sweet spots:
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STATISTICS:
Game:  11 balls (8 hit, 2 thrown, 1 found)
Season:  113 balls (69 hit, 23 thrown, 10 device, 12 found)
Games: 15 games
Average:  7.53 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career:  691 balls
Streak:  111 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance:  9,045

8-8-09 PNC Park

O.A.R. is in town playing a post game concert to coincide with fireworks set off from a barge on the river, the Clemente bridge, atop the scoreboard, and buildings across the river.  Tonight was night two of the annual Skyblast Series, a popular Pirates promotion.

This game was the 700th game in the history of PNC Park, the seventh largest crowd in the history of PNC Park, and the largest ever Skyblast crowd.  Additionally, it was the largest crowd of the 2009 season.

Luckily, the skies were threatening earlier in the day, keeping some fans away from batting practice.  As a result, there were slightly less fans than attended yesterday.

Since it was a Saturday game, the gates opened a half hour earlier than during the week.  I was in line by 3:30, and was the first one into the stadium.  My plan was to get off to a big start by picking up a bunch of Easter Eggs.  Another Saturday special perk is that the entire seating bowl is also open to season ticket holders, rather than just the left field bleachers.  (Season Ticket holders are confined to left field only during weekdays).

I ran in and checked to lower bleachers.  Nothing.
I hopped up the steps and checked the upper general admission bleachers.  Nothing.
I ran over into foul territory and checked all of the upper and lower sections along the left field line.  Nothing. 
The only thing I did find was an old usher with a devilish wry smile on his face as I walked back up the stairs empty handed to return to left field.  I had a feeling he had pocketed several balls, as I’ve personally seen him do so at previous games.

I was shut out for the first twenty minutes of batting practice.  My plan to get on the board was to ask new Pirate Jose Ascanio for a ball in Spanish.

I moved down to the front row, waiting for Ascanio to snag a ball. 

laroche.jpgSoon, Andy LaRoche hit a line drive that carried fairly deep into the outfield.  It hit on the grass and took a medium sized hop towards the wall, right where I was standing.  I reacted and reached down over the wall and snagged ball #1.  Unfortunately, Ascanio was about ten feet away watching.  Now, I couldn’t ask him for a ball today, as he had just seen me snag one.  I’ll have to save that request for another day.

I didn’t get another ball until near the very end of the Pirates batting practice.  Many of the Pirates righties must’ve been watching the Cardinals take batting practice yesterday, because they took the exact same approach – trying to inside out every pitch to right field.

Luckily, Steve Pearce hit a towering home run towards me.  I had to hobble over one section and just managed to snag the ball at the last second.  After catching ball #2, I stumbled a bit and regained my balance by grabbing onto the bleacher back support.  (My range is improving a bit.  My back, which has ailed me for the last nine days, has felt markedly better since I started using a hydrocolater pad yesterday.  I even went without my back brace today.)

Upon inspecting the Pearce home run ball, I noticed an awesome green smudge.  Likely from the batting cage?
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and the sweet spots:
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STATISTICS:
Game:  5 balls (3 hit, 2 device)
Season:  260 balls (134 hit, 84 thrown, 42 device)
Games: 55 games (5 of which didn’t have BP)
Average:  4.73 balls per game
Career:  426 balls
Streak:  70 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance:  38,593

5-2-09 PNC Park

100_1095.jpgToday was fireworks and Polish night, so I wasn’t sure how crowded it would be.  Luckily, only 22,891 came out, so batting practice was fairly sparse for a Saturday.

I got into line at 3:30 (an hour before the gates were to open), and was the 8th person in the stadium.  I was the third one into the bleachers.  There were 2 easter eggs, but another ballhawk got them first.

About 10 minutes or so passed with no action.  I noticed a ball roll directly to the fence where the stands jut out towards the foul line in left field.  I decided to vacate my spot and go grab the ball.  I ran up the escalator to the main concourse, and then down the stairs and reached over the fence and grabbed ball #1.  Then, I immediately went back to the bleachers.  I snapped this picture when I returned to the bleacher area to illustrate where the ball was.  (The small yellow X)
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STATISTICS:
Game:  6 balls (3 hit, 2 thrown, 1 device)
Season: 64 balls (26 hit, 31 thrown, 7 device)
Games:  13 games (11 with BP, 2 without)
Average:  4.92 balls per game
Career:  230 balls
Average:  22,891

4-13-09 PNC Park : Home Opener

100_0696.jpgToday was PNC Park’s Opening Day.  I went today with my wife Holly.  We got to the gates around 10:30 AM, and waited in line for a half hour.  When the gates opened, I rushed in and was the 6th one into the left field bleachers.

Things were a little dry at first.  Eventually, two balls were hit and Ian Snell came to the fence to get them.  I asked him for a ball and he flipped one over his head without looking to me.  It was ball #1 of the day.  Luckily, for the first 30 minutes, only season ticket holders are permitted into batting practice, so I had plenty of room to roam.
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STATISTICS:
Game:  5 balls (2 hit, 1 thrown, 2 device)
Season: 13 balls (7 hit, 4 thrown, 2 device)
Games: 3   (3 with BP, 0 without)
Average:   4.33
Career:  179 balls
Hit List:  179 ties me with Willy Aybar for #3809 all time.
Attendance: 38,411.
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