Results tagged ‘ Astros ’

3-20-10 Osceola County Stadium

Today was day 2 of the Spring Training trip and my dad and I were back at Osceola County Stadium to see the Astros and Yankees.

The day started off well when I went and watched some of the Astros minor leaguers at one of the practice fields,
photo(920).jpgand found this just beyond the center field batter’s eye.

It was the only ball I would get for about the first half hour or so.  When the Astros second string started hitting at the practice field directly adjacent to Osceola County Stadium, I was ready.
photo(921).jpgRodriguez would go on to knock in a run with a base hit here.  I captured it all on video:

Robinson Cano:
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My dad and I left the game after all the regulars came out of the game and headed for Bradenton FL.  We would see the Pirates and Rays the next day…

Today’s baseballs:
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The sweet spots:
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Spring Training Statistics:
Game: 8 balls
Trip: 22 balls
Spring Training Career: 30 balls in 5 games

5-31-09 PNC Park

Today was a Sunday game, a day game after a night game, so there was a good chance of there being no batting practice. 

I was pretty happy when I peered into the gate and saw the cage set up.

Upon entering the stadium, the Pirates were warming up in left field.  I walked over and sat down in this section.

It is a handicapped section.  Its a good spot for catching over throws. 
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I got ball #1 of the day from Ian Snell.  When he was done catching, he simply turned and threw me the ball.  I didn’t even ask for it.  Just another reason why Ian Snell is awesome.

I waited behind John Grabow, who was catching with Sean Burnett, for an overthrow, but it didn’t happen.

Batting practice was beginning,
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STATISTICS:
Game:  3 Balls (1 hit, 1 thrown, 1 device)
Season: 138 Balls (61 hit, 59 thrown, 18 device)
Games: 28 Games (24 with BP, 4 without)
Average: 4.93 Balls Per Game
Career: 304 Balls
Attendance: 19,566

5-30-09 PNC Park

Today was the first of three Skyblast dates throughout the summer at PNC Park.  Basically its an hour long concert/fireworks show.  The bands are always “B” List bands, with past bands being Smash Mouth, Styx, Live, PovertyNeck Hill Billies, etc.  The band tonight was the Zac Brown Band.

The stadium was sold out, so there would be some more competition than usual during batting practice.  I attended this game with my wife.  We were the 4th and 5th people in line.  Unfortunately, by the time the gates opened, the 3 people ahead of us had swelled to 11 through the process of sparing/cutting.  There went any chance for Easter Eggs out the window.

After about 5 minutes of batting practice, I got ball #1 from Ian Snell.  
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Ian gets a lot of crap for his inconsistencies, but he’s one of my favorite Pirates.  He’s definitely not stingy when it comes to giving away baseballs, so you have to respect that. 

One of the groups that came up was mostly lefties, so I abandoned left field and went into foul ball territory. 
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STATISTICS:
Game:  5 Balls (3 hit, 2 thrown)
Season:  135 Balls  (60 hit, 58 thrown, 17 device)
Games:  27 Games (23 with BP, 4 without)
Average:  5.00 Balls Per Game
Career:  301 Balls
Attendance:   37,167 (sell-out)

5-29-09 PNC Park

photo(25).jpgI have been in a slump recently.  The last decent day I had was May 11th in Cleveland when I snagged 9 balls.  The past 2 weeks it has seemed like all I could manage was 2 balls.  I needed to get back on track.  I’d seen my average dip from 5.7 per game to 4.8 per game.  Not good.

I attended today’s game with my wife.  We were third in line, and I was the first one into the seats, but there were no Easter Egg balls to be found. 

I got 2 balls during the Pirates portion of batting practice, which isn’t bad, since they only hit for 10-15 minutes while the gates are open.
photo(21).jpgSTATISTICS:
Game:  8 Balls (5 hit, 1 thrown, 2 device)
Season:  130 Balls (57 hit, 56 thrown, 17 device)
Games:  26 Games (22 with BP, 4 without)
Average: 5.00 Balls per Game
Career:  296 Balls
Attendance:  18,236

4-15-09 PNC Park

I was faced with the decision today of attending the Pirate game or skipping it.  This is the weather forecast as of 1PM. 

weather.jpgBatting practice would surely be canceled.  I may get shut out for the first time since Sunday August 31st, 2008.  I decided that since I am now in a competitive ballhawk league, that I had to go and at least try.  I knew that my average balls per game would probably take a hit.

I went with my wife Holly and we arrived at the gates around 4:40 PM.  The gates open during the week at 5 PM.  Walking past the Stargell statue, I peered into the park and saw that sure enough, the tarp was covering the field.  There was no batting practice today.

I entered the bleacher section at 5 PM and looked around for some Easter Eggs.  There was nothing to be found, since it had been raining and drizzling all day long.  Around 5:20, the Pirates pitchers came out to stretch.  I followed a group of 6 other ballhawks up the escalator to go into the seating bowl to possibly catch an overthrow.  Usually there are security guards that don’t permit entrance until 5:30, but there were none around.  When we got to the front row right behind Matt Capps, Tyler Yates and company, a field security guard walked over and told us to go back to left field.  Even though it was 5:24, he wouldn’t let us stay.

Meanwhile, the Astros pitchers came out to stretch.  I decided that I might have a better chance getting a ball from them since there was a couple little kids and four high school kids watching the Pirates pitchers.

I decided to take the chance.  I took off my Pirates sweatshirt exposing my black Astros shirt and donned my Houston hat and headed over to right field.

I lined myself up behind Russ Ortiz and Geoff Geary.  I was the only one in the stands behind the Astros pitchers.  I had 20 feet to my left and right without a soul in sight.    There were 4 balls in play, as 8 pitchers were throwing.   Jeff Fulchino finished his tosses and had a ball.  I asked him for the ball and he made eye contact with me.  He didn’t say anything, but went and talked to a fellow pitcher.   A couple minutes later, Fulchino tossed me ball #1

There were still 3 balls in play.  Wesley Wright finished his tosses and gave his ball to a fan a little further down the line.  It was a 10 year old kid wearing Pirate gear.  Tim Byrdak was joking around and told the kid that he wasn’t done with the ball yet and to toss it back.  The kid just stared at Byrdak confused and horrified.  Byrdak urged him to toss the ball back.  The kid then turned and ran away.  It was rather amusing.

Jose Valverde and LaTroy Hawkins finished their tossing next.  I asked for the ball.  Again, I was the only fan with Astros gear on, so Valverde looked at me and tossed me ball #2.  There was one ball left and it was being used by Geoff Geary and Russ Ortiz.  I snapped a picture on my cell phone.
0415091753.jpgThe Pirates got some good relief work from their bullpen and ended up losing the game 4-1.  Adam LaRoche accounted for the Pirates only run with a Home Run in the 9th inning.  It was too little too late. 

I tried to get a ball at the dugout after the game from an umpire and the Pirates pitchers, but failed to do so. 

As I was ready to leave, I decided to walk around for a minute and collect a ticket stub or two.  I notice in Section 124, about four rows back, a circular white object laying on the ground.  Seriously?  Could this be a ball?  Since I waited for the bullpen coach to come in, it took some time and the stadium was basically vacant.  I looked closer and sure enough, it was a major league baseball.  How did this get here?  Was it some little kid who didn’t really even care about it?  Did someone catch it and it trickled out of their glove during the game?  It was weird.  I looked around and didn’t see anyone looking for a ball.  There were only a half dozen fans left, waiting down at the dugout.  So, I picked the ball up, making it ball #4 of the day.    Usually, Easter Eggs that are found count as hit balls, but since there was no batting practice on this day, and it didn’t look like a game ball, I decided it was probably someone’s warm up ball.  I’ll chalk it up under the thrown category.

I’m glad I went to the game despite the rain. 

Here’s a look at today’s results: ( the media guide was free for being a season ticket holder.  The bobblehead was won at a spin-a-wheel g
ame where they are giving away all of the left over promotions from 2008)
100_0757.jpgAnd a closer look at those Astros balls.
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STATISTICS:
Game:  4 Balls (4 thrown)
Season: 17 Balls (7 hit, 8 thrown, 2 device)
Games:  4 Games (3 with BP, 1 without)
Average:  4.25 Balls per Game
Career:  183 Balls
Hit List:  183 ties me with former Pirate Chris Duffy for #3769  on the all time hit list.
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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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9-21-08 PNC Park, Astros @ Pirates

Today was the last home game of the season, and likely my last Major League Baseball game of 2008.  Since it was a Sunday afternoon game, there was no batting practice.  The only chance I had at a ball was to get one thrown to me.  When the pitchers came out, I elected to go on the Astros’ side, because there were too many Pirates fans crowded behind the Pirates’ pitchers.  I donned my Astros gear hoping it would increase my chances of getting a ball.  
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I set up behind the pitchers once they started throwing, hoping to catch an overthrow or wild pitch.  Unfortunately, no balls got loose.  After the pitchers were done throwing, I asked several of them politely for a ball.  None of them obliged, except for Chris Sampson, who tossed me a ball from 90 feet or so away.  He lobbed it so it would land on the warning track.  I reached out and caught it.  It was ball #1 of the day, and the only one that I would get.

I had purchased tickets from Stubhub behind the Pirates dugout, because last year, the players tossed all of their hats into the crowd after the game.  I was sitting in section 121 row A, but the ushers wouldn’t let anyone down into the lower 6 rows, so I got shut out.  Hats can only be thrown/tossed so far. 

After the game, I hat came from behind me.  I thought that some fan had thrown it.  So I didn’t really bother to go after it, even though it landed in the seat directly in front of me.  I looked back and a girl from the Bucco brigade had a big bag and was tossing out hats.  She was in the aisle between the dugout boxes and the infield boxes.  Since fans aren’t allowed down into the dugout boxes, I guess they tried to satisfy them by doing the hat thing this way.  I thought it was stupid.  I would rather have something from a player.

After a few minutes, John Grabow and Ian Snell came out and started tossing signed MLB baseballs and hats into the crowd.  I was lucky enough to grab one of Ian Snell’s autographed batting practice hats.  It was fitted, brand new, and still had the stickers on it ($27.99 price tag too!). 
921 hat.jpgSnell autographed it along the side of the sticker.
snell auto.jpgI came close to a couple of the baseballs, but it was pretty packed, and Ian and John were basically hand picking the people they were tossing to.  There was no randomly tossing the balls up in the air.

It was a great day to close out the season.  I managed to get 1 ball on a non-BP day, and I got an awesome BP hat.  If you’re wondering if I plan on wearing the hat, I definately am.  I’ve already removed the tags and have worn it once already.  It fits great!  I probably won’t wear it to BP’s because I don’t want it getting sweaty and ruined.

Below is a picture of the ball I snagged today:

921 ball.jpgStatistics:Avenbruce.jpg
Game:  1 ball
Season:  128 balls
Career:  166 balls
Hit List:  166 hits ties me with BRUCE AVEN for #3,931 on the all time hit list.  Aven was a one time Pittsburgh Pirate in 2000 and had a short career (obviously, with only 166 hits).

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Attendance: 20,311 (52.9% full)

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