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7-19-11 PNC Park

I’ve been a Pirates season ticket holder for five years now.  2006 was my first year.  The Pirates attendance over the last five years has been pretty poor.  Most folks in Pittsburgh had given up on the Pirates, but that has all changed.  Everyone’s on the

bandwagon.

There were 26,058 tonight – at a Tuesday night game!  Last year on Tuesday July 20th, the Pirates drew 13,202 against the Brewers.  (I snagged 9 balls at that game by the way)  Attendance is doubled on weekdays now over last year!

Of course, it has a great deal to do with the Pirates being in sole possession of first place this late in the season for the first time since 1992.

ESPN has had the Pirates on their front page all day.  Sportscenter is talking about them non stop.  All of the local sports talk shows are covering them 24-7.

Welcome aboard yinzers.  Just don’t go back to talking **** about the Pirates when the Steelers season comes around.  I actually hate the Steelers and Penguins, due to the fickleness of Pittsburgh fans and how they all have turned on the Pirates and not stuck with them through the losing.  Seriously, I root against the Steelers.

Anyway,

There’s nothing really to discuss from batting practice.  When I entered, two balls landed near some ticket sellers that sit in left field.  I watched as a man snatched the first one up, and then hurriedly rushed to get a second ball that hit in the bleachers that would’ve been all mine, as only Nick and I were in the bleachers at this point, and he was over by the bullpen.  The ticket seller snatched up the ball and I just looked at him with a “Really???”  look.

I then noticed that he had dropped his glasses when he rushed to deny me from getting that ball, and he didn’t know it.

So I smashed the glasses with a firm stomp of my right foot to take out my glasses.

I’m not that mean.

I picked up his glasses and walked up to him and said, “You dropped these when you ran over there to get that ball.”  Surprised,  he said, “Oh, here you can have it for being so nice.”

In the meantime, the Pirates left the field at 5:01.  I’m not kidding, it might’ve been 5:00 exactly.  One of the perks of being a season ticket holder is early entrance to see the Pirates take BP.  Its not cool that they finish at 5:03 or thereabout every day now.  Maybe someone should write a letter and have all the early entrance folks sign it.  The purpose of the letter should be to have the Pirates open the Riverwalk and bleachers for early entrance at 4:30, just like they do on Saturday.  Especially with the bigger crowds coming out.  I’m sure Frank Coonelly would listen.  He seems to be very sensible.

In the meantime, here was the scene at 5:04, as some Reds trickled out:

After another ballhawk ran over and caught a ball in front of my face that I was camped out under, I knew it was going to be a bad day.  And it was.

I glove tricked two more balls during batting practice, bringing my total to three, and that was that.  The Reds were very disappointing in terms of hitting homers in BP.

I hung out with Amy for awhile, and noticed a very respectful bird:

Sad, but that was the most exciting thing that happened in pre game.

As for the game, I sat and watched a few innings in Section 124.

It was packed everywhere.  And it’s a Tuesday.  This just doesn’t happen here.

I decided to take a break around the fourth inning and read the paper in peace.  And then two guys started smoking near me.  If you want to smoke, fine.  Just don’t do it in a public place.  Already annoyed after they were busted, this happened literally two minutes later:

What the ****?

Anyway, an inning or so later, I sat down to read the paper.

The front page was all about the bandwagoners flocking to PNC Park.  That’s right.  There were 13,000 bandwagon fans there tonight.  Where were you all last year?

While I was reading a foul ball hit right here.

It literally hit right in front of my face against the screen.  There was no chance to snag it because I was inside the scoreboard area.  I just muttered, “Are you kidding me?”  Shook my head, and kept reading.  If that screen wasn’t there it would’ve hit me in my left shoulder.

I watched the 7th and 8th innings with Amy while I sat in between some boxes.  There was a TV off in the distance.

In the 9th, I was in the bleacher area to see my best friend Joel Hanrahan come into the game.

(Hanrahan dislikes me, I know as much after he rolled his eyes after seeing me in Milwaukee in May)

The Pirates won to increase their lead in the division over the Cardinals, who lost to the Mets.

After the game I happened to be in the suite level.  Check out the new water fountains they are installing at PNC Park:

I always thought the Let’s Go Bucs, Let’s Go Green was a sham.  A marketing ploy.  A pat themselves on the back kind of thing – but it’s not.  The Pirates are actually helping reduce waste by installing these fountains.  Hopefully they’ll be at a section near you soon.

You just hold your bottle under the spigot and a steady strong stream of water fills the bottle up quickly.  No holding in any buttons.

After filling up three water bottles, Amy and I hit the road.

Statistics
Game: 3 balls (1 thrown, 2 device)
Season:  295 balls (128 hit, 63 thrown, 70 device, 34 found)
Games: 54 games
Career:  1,417 balls
Attendance : 26,058 (on a Tuesday!)

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