Results tagged ‘ Chicago White Sox ’

9-22-11 Progressive Field

I decided to head to Cleveland after work today.  Originally, I would’ve liked to have attended yesterday’s too, but I wasn’t feeling well and fellow ballhawk Nick Pelescak was already in Cleveland and reported a rained out batting practice on Wednesday.

I left work and drove to Cleveland and didn’t get there until 4:50 PM.  Batting practice had began at 4:30.  When I arrived, I had a few bad breaks and didn’t snag anything for the first twenty minutes I was there.  I didn’t even get to see the good Indians batters like Hafner, Thome, Santana or Sizemore.  I was regretting even going.  Why did I go?  Well, I wanted to move up another spot on this list and make my 2011 season a top 5 season.  By that I mean, the number of balls that I snagged would be fifth all time.

Last year I was the all time single season record holder with 544 before Zack Hample blew by me with a 30 stadium 130 game season.

Here’s the list:

My first ball of the day was a ball that bounced into the trees in Heritage Park.  I ran over and found the ball waiting just under the wall, so I reached in and grabbed it before an usher came rushing down and started looking for it as well.  I had already grabbed it, so I just left.  Since when do ushers try to get balls out of the trees in Heritage Park?

My second ball of the day was a nice catch that took some effort.  An Indians blasted a home run to my right.  I ran up about seven rows and cut across into an empty row and caught it on the fly backhanded here:

The White Sox BP typically sucks in Cleveland because they don’t have too many good lefties, and all fans are confined to right field until 6PM on weekdays.  Not a good combination.  However, I had some more luck.

I caught an Adam Dunn home run on the fly here:

I had to leap to make the catch, and there were two other ballhawks jostling for position on the ball a row or two back.

Ball #4 of the day was completely lucky and random.  Will Ohman fielded a ball near the wall and flipped it up over his shoulder without looking.  I was standing four rows deep right here:

And the ball was directly to me.  I didn’t have to budge an inch.  Later in BP, Ohman screamed at the crowd that he would get the balls on the field and keep them, and if they wanted a ball to catch a home run.  There were dozens and dozens of kids screaming ‘HERE HERE HERE’ on every ball that was hit to right field.  I can see why he was annoyed.  Even more annoying, is that it pretty much ruined it for everyone.  The White Sox pretty much completely stopped throwing balls into the crowd for the rest of BP.

My fifth ball of the day was glove tricked out of the Indians bullpen.  It was a home run hit by Adam Dunn that settled right below me.

Piece of cake.

At 6:00, I had thought about running over and getting a ball about 12 rows up in left field that all of the ushers had missed, but Nick Pelescak was going to be going for the same ball, so I decided to instead head into foul territory at 6.

There was some major competition there, as a big line of people, including several ballhawks rushed in to the seats.  In my haste, I dropped my Cleveland Stick.  I had a decided that I would run down and see if there’s any Easter Eggs, and then come back and grab it a minute later.

When I ran over I found ball #6.  It wasn’t just any ball though…  It was an Angels 50th Anniversary Commemorative Ball.  Rare.

And weird, since neither of the teams had recently played the Angels.  The White Sox played them last on August 24th.

I then went back to grab my Cleveland Stick but it was gone.  Someone had stolen it.  Or threw it away.  It was a terrible loss.  If you’re new to this blog, I use the Cleveland Stick to snag unreachable balls out of Heritage Park like this one:

Luckily today was my final game in Cleveland, so I’ll have a new device for next year.

After having no luck in left field, I made my way over to the White Sox dugout and waited for batting practice to be over.  I usually never do this, but I couldn’t pass it up.  Look how many White Sox fans were waiting to greet the team as they ran off the field:

Yeah.  None.

As a result, I got third base coach to toss me ball #7.  He’s about to duck into the dugout in the picture below (between the two fans):

After snagging my seventh ball, I left thereby closing the book on Cleveland for the 2011 season.

I made it home at exactly 9 PM and Amy and I watched the Season Premier of The Office.

Here’s today’s baseballs:

Statistics:
Game: 7 balls (3 hit, 2 thrown, 1 found, 1 device)
Season: 409 balls (173 hit, 86 thrown, 87 device, 56 found)
Games: 75 games
Average: 5.45 per game
Career: 1,531 balls
Attendance: 21,487

8-9-10 Camden Yards

With the Pirates hitting the road for San Diego, I thought about flying along with them to snag my one thousandth baseball at a stadium I’d never visited before.  I decided against it, since it’d be cheaper to do a couple day trips to Baltimore on Monday and Cleveland on Tuesday.  And so, I hit the road for Baltimore.
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I never fared well at Camden Yards.  Prior to today my ballpark high was six balls in one game.
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6-17-10 PNC Park

Had a good day today at PNC Park.

Shortly after running into the bleachers and finding zero easter eggs, Garrett Jones hit a ground rule double down the line that landed in the section to my right.  I ran over and claimed ball #1 as it rolled down the stairs after bouncing off a bleacher.
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My second ball was a Ronny Cedeno home run catch.  He hit a towering fly ball that I ran a section and a half to my right and made the clean catch in the third row back.
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As for the game, the outfield was crowded so I didn’t get close on any of the between inning toss ups from the outfielders.

The Pirates would also go on to lose their eleventh game in a row.

Tomorrow should be an interesting day – I’ll be in the park
extra early – details to come.

Today’s baseballs: (10 are pictured because one was given away)
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Sweet spots: (10 are pictured because #804 was given away)
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STATISTICS:
Game:  11 balls (8 hit, 1 thrown, 2 device)
Season:  226 balls (122 hit, 57 thrown, 21 device, 26 found)
Games: 35 games
Average:  6.46 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career:  804 balls
Streak:  131 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 23,170

6-16-10 PNC Park : Pedro Alvarez debut

The Pirates #1 prospect finally arrived in the major leagues.  He didn’t hit too many home runs in batting practice, but did hit one that cleared everything and sailed over section 139 in dead center on its way to the river.

As for my day, it got off to a good start.

I found ball #1 laying in the front row in left field when I ran in.

A few minutes later I got ball #2 from assistant pitching coach Ray Searage in left field. 
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He did a no look toss that fell about two rows short to me, but no one else was in the vicinity, so I had to to recover and get the ball.

My third ball of the day was a Lastings Milledge home run caught on the fly in this area:
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This made toss ups difficult, and the closest I came was probably five feet from a McCutchen toss up in the 5th inning, but it didn’t happen.

By the way, here’s video of Pedro’s first major league at bat:

Here are today’s baseballs:
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Sweet spots:
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STATISTICS:
Game:  9 balls (4 hit, 3 thrown, 2 found)
Season:  215 balls (114 hit, 56 thrown, 19 device, 26 found)
Games: 34 games
Average:  6.32 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career:  793 balls
Streak:  130 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 15,218

6-15-10 PNC Park

Let’s get right to it.

Ball #1 was a ground rule double hit by Lastings Milledge that I snagged on the bounce near the foul pole.  It was ball #200 on the season.

Ball #2 was a home run hit by Lastings Milledge.  The ball actually would’ve been ruled a ground rule double because I ran down to the front row and leaned out over the wall to make this catch.

At 5:30, I chose to run over to right field to look for baseballs.
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I found ball #3 there and ran back to left.

Ball #4 was a ground rule double that an unknown White Sox batter hit.  I got up on the bleacher in the fourth row and fully extended to make this play.

Ball #5 was somewhat of a ‘scrum ball.’  A White Sox player hit a home run that hit off of the rotunda and ended up rolling to this wheelchair section.  One ballhawk dove over the railing and landed flat on the concrete on his stomach, his outstretched hand six inches from the ball.  I hopped over the railing and landed next to the ball, landing and grabbing the ball in one motion.

Alex Rios put on an absolute show during batting practice.

Ball #6 and #7 were caught on the fly off of his bat.

I ended with seven balls.  I should’ve had at least three more.  I was robbed three times, was lazy and didn’t move on one ball that trickled down right to where I would’ve been standings, and had another ballhawk glove trick two balls that I would’ve tricked myself had I been closer to the bullpen.

After batting practice I won a seat upgrade to right behind home plate.  I’d only stay in that area for a few innings before heading back to the outfield.

Here’s a few pictures from that location…
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The Pirates would go on to lose the game, their ninth in a row.  That means they now trail the Orioles by 6 games in the mild card, or race for the worst record in baseball.

After the game, they would bring up their top prospect Pedro Alvarez, which begs the question, why wasn’t this done on their off day yesterday?  So he could go 0-3 in the minors today?  Stupid. 

From ESPN.com:

Although Alvarez, 23, has significantly upgraded what previously was
a weakness — hitting left-handers — Huntington said a few hours
before the team’s latest loss that there are areas that need improving
before Alvarez is major league-ready.

Apparently, the Pirates changed their minds in only a few hours’ time.

“He’s
not going to be an accomplished player in all areas when he comes up,
but no player is,” Huntington said. “We’re looking forward to his
arrival here in Pittsburgh, whether it’s this week, next week or next
month. It’s going to happen here at some point, pending health and the
continuation of his progress and development.”

Who is going to get released?  We’ll find out tomorrow.  I sincerely HOPE it’s Ryan Church. 

In other news, John Russell is on the hot seat.  LINK

And, Ike Davis hit a home run ball in Cleveland tonight that I would’ve been all over.  LINK

Here are today’s baseballs:
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Sweet spots:
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STATISTICS:
Game:  7 balls (6 hit, 1 found)
Season:  206 balls (110 hit, 53 thrown, 19 device, 24 found)
Games: 33 games
Average:  6.24 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career:  784 balls
Streak:  129 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 12,693

5-25-2010 Progressive Field

Today would be even more frustrating than yesterday. 

Batting practice wouldn’t even begin until 4:45 PM.  I stood and watched as the Indians took infield.  There was absolutely nothing going on in the outfield.  Pointless.

When batting practice did get under way, there were three balls hit into the right field and center field stands from once batting practice began until 6PM.  Three balls.  That’s both the Indians and White Sox combined!

I luckily got on the board quickly as I asked a ballboy for a ball that he was retrieving in the right field corner.  “Aren’t you here everyday?” He asked.  “Well, not everyday,” I replied.  The ballboy smiled and tossed me ball #1.
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In fact this was only my fifth game of the season at Progressive Field.

Not that it mattered since there were three balls hit into the stands, but there were a few groups in attendance, clogging up all of the rows and limiting my range.
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STATISTICS:
Game:  4 balls (1 hit, 1 thrown, 2 found)
Season:  143 balls (86 hit, 32 thrown, 9 device, 16 found)
Games: 22 games
Average:  6.50 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career:  721 balls
Streak:  118 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 14,441

Last year after game 22 I had 118 balls, so I’m at least doing better than last year.  However, game 22 for me was on May 15th.

5-24-2010 Progressive Field

I didn’t arrive at this game until almost 5PM, as I left after work.  The gates had opened at 4:30, so I was operating at a disadvantage from the beginning.  Couple that with that fact that only six balls reached the center field/right field seating area from the time I arrived until 6PM, and you have a recipe for a frustrating day.

I got my first ball of the day off the bat of Shin Soo Choo. 
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The stadium was pretty empty, so I ran over to the section the ball had landed in and waited for the ball to roll down to me as two guys searched frantically where the ball had hit.

I got my second ball of the day from Tony Sipp. 
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STATISTICS:
Game:  4 balls (2 hit, 2 thrown)
Season:  139 balls (85 hit, 31 thrown, 9 device, 14 found)
Games: 21 games
Average:  6.62 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career:  717 balls
Streak:  117 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 10,166

5-11-09 Progressive Field

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I attending this game with my brother, Jon.  It’s the first game I’ve attended with him since last year.  He’s not really into ballhawking as much as I am, but would snag a ball today.

We were third in line at the gate, but the two people in front of me sort of got out of line by standing in front of another gate.  So, I was first into the stadium.  Upon entering, I found ball #1 in the right field seats.  I watched helplessly as an usher picked up another ball I had spotted. 

Travis Hafner batted at the beginning of batting practice and peppered the right field seats with home runs.  I was able to grab ball #2 and ball #3 off of his bat within about the span of a minute.

It helped that the crowd looked like this for the first 30 minutes or so:
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STATISTICS:
Game: 9 Balls (8 hit, 1 device)
Season:  98 Balls (43 hit, 44 thrown,  11 device)
Games: 18 Games (15 with BP/ 3 without)
Average: 5.44 balls per game
Career:  264 Balls
Attendance:  14,567

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