Results tagged ‘ glove trick ’

4-20-12 PNC Park

The Pirates returned home to start a six game home stand.  Looking at this stretch of 6 games, I expected to put up big numbers.  First, all of the games except for Sunday would have 4:30 gate opening times, giving me more opportunities to snag baseballs.  Second, the Penguins had a win or go home playoff game, and since seemingly everyone is a Penguins fan, most Pittsburghers were likely to attend that game or watch it on tv.  Also, perennial top 3 mygameballs ballhawk Nick Pelescak will not be in attendance as he is attending a wedding out of the country.  So, more BP, decreased competition = more balls.  That wouldn’t be the case though.

Also, imagine the look on my face when I was driving to work Friday morning and checked the weather for this homestand.

What a rough break.  Hopefully the patterns chance.  I’m really looking forward to Monday and Tuesday…

Wait, they got worse, now Pittsburgh may get 6 inches of snow Monday.

So, today was important because it was likely the only BP I would get for the entire home stand.  There’s no BP Sundays usually, Monday’s game will get snowed/rained out, forcing a double header on Tuesday, which would eliminate BP, and Wednesday is a day game, so likely no BP.

Anyway, this is what happened for the first half hour:

And this:

And don’t forget this:

Nothing happened!  It was brutally slow.  Andrew McCutchen and Rod Barajas, the two best righties for BP homers must’ve hit in the first group before the gates opened.  I only had one chance for a home run, off the bat of Michael McKenry, but completely lost it in the sun and didn’t end up close to it.  If you come to BP at PNC Park, bring your shades.  I had glasses and they still didn’t help:

Bullpen coach Herbie Andrade must’ve felt bad for me, because he graciously threw me a ball as the Pirates ran off the field at the end of their BP at exactly 5:00.

I caught it here.

Then, there was a lull as the Cardinals didn’t start hitting until 5:15-5:20.  When they did, I used the glove trick in left field to snag ball #2.

When the rest of the park opened up, I headed over to center field and cleanly caught a Carlos Beltran home run on the fly here:

And a few minutes later caught another home run on the fly in the same row.  The only difference is that this time I had to jump to make the catch:

On a side note, most of the Cardinals pitchers were being complete a-holes.  I think they like playing the ‘heel,’ or bad guy.  Jaime Garcia for example, snagged a ball near the warning track and acted like he was going to toss it up.  He went back and forth pointing at two sections in center field to elicit noise so he could decide where to throw the ball.  After getting the crowd to be rather noisy he approvingly shook his head yes, then turned and fired the ball in towards the field.  On my way back over to left field, I heard one of the ushers mutter, “What a jerk!”

I spent the last 15 minutes of BP in left field.  Look how crowded it was at the very end of batting practice:

Anyway, we decided it was too hot for Olivia and left before the first pitch (78 degrees and sunny was the game time weather conditions).  We did come away with a few nice shirts though:

Here’s today’s baseballs:

2012 Stats:
Game: 4 Balls
Season: 44 Balls
Lifetime: 1,588 Balls

4-15-12 Nationals Park

It was Sunday and we were back for our second of two games at Nationals Park.

It’s such a pretty stadium:

Wait, not really:

Actually, after talking it over, it was unanimous between myself, Amy, and fellow ballhawk Nick that this is now our least favorite stadium.

At least this was a Sunday game, and there was no giveaway, so it wouldn’t be crowded early.  There was just one problem.  As we stood in line, we watched the video board which shows a live feed of the field.  There was no cage, and no activity at all going on.  We stood in line and debated what to do.  Finally, Amy asked the head supervisor if there was going to be batting practice, “Yeah, they’ll be out, I don’t know what time, but they’ll be out.”  At first I thought he was just making it up and had no clue.  But I decided that since we had stayed overnight, it would be a waste just to go home.  I took the supervisor at his word, and at 10:58 AM, 2 minutes before the gates opened, bought us tickets.

When we entered the field, there wasnt much action.

The Nationals came out and warmed up, but there was a few ballhawks that joined me in the second deck today, and I was unable to get a ball.

To make matters worse, the Nationals didn’t take batting practice, so after an hour passed, I still had nothing to show for my efforts.

I was able to get ball #1 with an assist from fellow ballhawk Nick Pelescak.  He said he saw a coach take two balls and toss them into the empty seats in foul territory.  So, at noon when the rest of the stadium, we ran over and Nick grabbed the first ball, and after looking around for the second, I spotted it under a seat three rows back.  Thanks for the assist Nick.

It was a nice clean ball, so I didn’t number it.  I’ve decided to stop numbering Easter Eggs and Glove Trick balls, since they have little to no importance except in my overall numbers.  I’ve decided to hang onto them to either get them signed or sell eventually to finance some more trips.

Anyhow, this is the spot where I found ball #1:

The Reds finally started taking BP around noon, and I glove tricked my second ball from the gap in center field.

Before doing so, I looked around and there were no kids around at the time to hand the ball to, and no one was standing over the ball as if to ‘claim’ it.  However, as soon as I started lowering my glove, this ballhawk went off and started screaming at the groundscrew who were fifty feet away in the center field service tunnel to get him the ball, in hopes that they would get it before I could:
What’s worse is that he’s a ballhawk, as he had Nationals stuff on and tried to get a ball in the second deck earlier, and then switched to Reds stuff in center field.  Luckily, I glove tricked the ball on the first attempt before any staff member could retrieve it.  Maybe he was mad because Nick owned him on a toss up in the second deck earlier, and saw Nick and I talking and figured we were friends.  I don’t know.

My third ball was a clean catch in center field here near the end of batting practice:

It was the only home run that came into the center field seats.

That was it for batting practice.  Before leaving I looked in the bullpen and saw that there were nine balls sitting there.  Four were super easy glove trick balls directly below the overhang.

However, I didn’t even try.  I waited patiently.

Eventually, Ryan Hannigan came out about twenty minutes after BP and tossed every single ball up to fans.  I got the second one he tossed up for ball #4 on the day.

We left before the game started as it was a long drive back to Pittsburgh.   I only snagged seven ball over the two games, but we still managed to have fun.

Olivia loves baseball trips and checking out the kids playgrounds in the different parks.

Here’s today’s baseballs:

2012 Stats:
Game: 4 balls
Season: 40 balls
Lifetime: 1584 balls

4-14-12 Nationals Park

Today we would head to Washington DC for a Saturday/Sunday trip.

Today’s game would be a 4:05 start, meaning the gates would open at 1:30.

We ended up not making it to Nationals Park until almost 1 PM, and ended up being about 20th in one of the many lines that had formed.   Several minutes before the gates opened, this was the scene:

It was chaos.  The Nationals were giving away a Stephen Strasburg bobblehead to the first 15,000 fans.  In DC, everyone is crazy about Strasburg, so there were 15,000 people that showed up early, making batting practice really tough.

As soon as I got into the stadium, batting practice was just getting underway, so rather than scurrying around in left field looking for balls (there was already about 100 people in there anyhow by the time I got in), I headed straight up to the upper deck in right field.  This was my competition:

As a result, I was able to get a trainer to toss up a ball that a Nationals batter hit to the track in right center field.

As a result, I was able to get a trainer to toss up a ball that a Nationals batter hit to the track in right center field.

During batting practice, Nationals park only allows fans in left field, center field, and the upper deck in right field for the first hour.  For some odd reason, right field, which is the largest section of outfield seats, is closed off.

It became quite clear rather quickly that I would have to go for toss ups, or glove trick balls.

There were plenty of glove trick balls in the bullpens, but the Nationals are militant like in prohibiting ball retrievers from the bullpens, so I didn’t even try.  I did glove trick this ball from the gap in center field for ball #2.

After hauling it in, I turned and handed it to a little boy on my right.  It was a classic Nationals training ball.

In the meantime, batting practice was ridiculously crowded.  Worse than probably any opening day.  There was literally no room to really move and catch any BP home runs:

And the Nationals and Reds didn’t hit too many anyhow.

I ended up spending much of batting practice right next to the batters eye and trying to get toss ups.

Eventually, I was able to get Sam LeCure to toss me ball #3.

That was it.   What a zoo.

Here’s today’s baseballs (2 pictured because one was given away to a kid):

2012 Stats:
Game: 3 balls
Season: 36 balls
Lifetime: 1580 balls

4-6-12 Camden Yards Opening Day

Amy, Olivia and I got up at 6AM today in order to drive to Baltimore to catch the Orioles home opener.  Amy and Olivia had never experienced an Opening Day (Amy always has to work them) so they were both excited.

Fellow ballhawk Nick Pelescak teamed up with me on this trip, and we all left around 6:50 AM.  After a stop, we arrived at the Camden Yards gates at 11:20 AM and were fourth in line.

It was pretty chilly today, so Nick and I played catch for a bit to stay warm while Amy and Olivia snuggled together.  At 12 noon, all of the gates opened.  Every gate in the park.  There would be no season ticket holder only time today.

PNC Park did the same thing yesterday.  However, Camden Yards opened their gates three hours early, while PNC Park opened theirs two.

Upon entering, the Orioles players were playing catch along the first base line, and had yet to begin batting practice.

I was able to get Matt Wieters to toss me ball #1 on the day.  It helped that there weren’t many other fans around.  Fellow ballhawk and Baltimore regular Matt Hersl congratulated me on the first ball of the 2012 season.  He told me that ironically, he got the first ball of the 2011 season – from Matt Wieters.

Since I was the first one to get a ball, I decided to move back about 10 rows so the other ballhawks could try their luck.  I also thought that maybe a player would see me in my Ripken jersey and long toss me.  As I was walking up the stairs I spotted an Easter Egg.

It was only about three rows up, so it likely was an overthrow that the players had while warming up before the gates opened.

Anyhow, I headed out to left field once batting practice got under way.  The first Orioles group didn’t display much power, but I did snag a ground rule double here:

It actually tipped off my glove, but I recovered to pick it up in the row in front of me.

As batting practice progressed, left field got more and more crowded, so I spent some time going back and forth between left field and center field.

While in center field I glove tricked ball #4:

and ball #5 from the gap:

I saw ball#5 get bobbled by fans in the front row while I was in left field.  So, when I used the glove trick, I offered it to the fans nearby, asking if one of them had dropped it down there.  They just smiled and shook their heads no.  Nice people.

Near the end of the Orioles BP, I noticed that the Twins all came out to warm up.  I made my way from center field to the third base line and was able to get this player to toss me ball #6.  After throwing me the ball, he headed straight to third base to take grounders.  Can I get some help on who this is?

After snagging the ball, I took a closer look at it, and it was an Orioles Park 20th anniversary commemorative ball.  That made my day.

20120406-163117.jpg
The Twins are very heavily left handed, so I spent their entire batting practice in center field.  While there, I glove tricked another ball, after which an Orioles staff member came down to speak with me.  He wanted to know what I was doing.  I explained it to him and he told me how he thought I was lowering things down onto the field to get signed because of the pen that is attached to my glove.  I told him, “I just use it to get the balls out of the gap, I’m not putting it on the field, is that ok?”  He responded by telling me, “By all means, you’re more than welcome to do that.  Me and a fellow employee we’re just wondering is all.”

Everyone is so nice on Opening Day.

My eighth ball of batting practice was a clean catch of a line drive home run here:

There were several arms flailing for it, and I just took a few steps down the stairs and made the clean catch.

It was my 8th ball of the day, which tied a personal best for me at Camden Yards.  I had snagged eight there two other times.  Batting practice was about over, so I headed over to the Twins dugout to try and get #9:

It didn’t happen though, but I was still more than happy with 8:

After BP, Amy, Olivia and I made our way to our seats.

Olivia had her own special seat that ‘the Easter Bunny’ brought her:

She really took everything in:

One of the cool things about Opening Day is the ceremonies that precede the game.  Here are the Twins lining up on the field:

And the Orioles came out of the bullpen area on a long Orange Carpet:

Here’s a video of the Orioles introductions:

And the National Anthem.  You always know you’re in Baltimore when the song reaches the “Oh say does that Star Spangled Banner…”  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, watch the Anthem:

It was a great Opening Day.  The Orioles ended up winning the game 4-2.  This was the view from our seats:

And here are today’s baseballs:

Amy bought me this shirt:

She’s the best!

2012 Stats:
Game: 8 Balls
Season: 13 Balls
Career: 1,557 Balls
Attendance: 46,773 (I think this may be the largest attended game I’ve ever been at)

Don’t forget about the Shirt giveaway – this Sunday.

4-5-12 PNC Park. Opening Day

Opening Day brings a new hope for all 30 teams in Major League Baseball.  Every team starts fresh from scratch.  Everyone is tied for first place.

It’s the same with us ballhawks.  There’s a website, mygameballs.com, where everyone starts even at zero to begin the season.

Last year on Opening Day, I snagged 13 balls.  The season ticket holder time came in handy, as I snagged 8 balls by 11:30.  You can read about that day here.

However, Opening Day 2012 was completely different.  All of the ticket scanners were ready to go at 10:50 AM, a good sign.

Several people asked what time the gate opened and were told, “Eleven.”

However, the minutes ticked away, and 11:00 came and went.  No security guards ever showed to unlock the gates or check bags.  Eventually, some guy appeared and talked to the ticket scanners.  The message he delivered was that the gate would open at 11:30 AM.

The line to get in had already swelled and split in two directions at the bridge.

Someone in charge had decided that there would be no season ticket holder time today.  ALL GATES would open at 11:30 AM, so there would be a mass rush and the bleachers would fill up quickly.

I was really disappointed.  To make matters worse, there was a relative of Manny Sanguillen’s who was allowed in the park before everyone else, and he went straight to the left field bleachers, so any balls that were in there, would be long gong.

When the gates opened and I ran in, the Phillies were already in the process of hitting.  Noooo!

I ran up into the upper bleachers hoping that maybe there would be an Easter Egg hidden up there.  When I did, I noticed a long fly ball head toward the left field wall.  Fellow ballhawk Nick Pelescak lined up to make the catch, but it fell short of the wall, hitting at the base of the wall and staying there.  I quickly ran down and looked.  The ball was directly below me.  I quickly used the glove trick and reeled in my first ball of the day to get on the board.  The whole glove trick took less than 10 seconds.  I lowered it over the ball and pulled it right up.  I was relieved because I knew that the day wouldn’t be completely ruined.  Whenever any of us are facing a shut out it creates unnecessary anxiety that makes the whole ballhawking experience much less enjoyable.

Anyhow, the left field bleachers filled up fast.  I only stayed there for the first group, and then headed over to right field, where it was drastically less crowded.  Even though the stadium had been opened for 20 minutes, I still looked for Easter Eggs, and I found one:

The ball was hit yesterday by Garrett Jones.  I made a mental note when I watched the ball hit the chain link fence, which basically killed all of the ball’s momentum.  I watched from left field as the ball softly disappeared out of sight – it had either fallen behind the fence or in a seat.  So, when I went to look, it was in the exact spot that I remembered.  Sometimes you’ve got to pay attention to every little detail during BP.

This was my view for most of BP, as I stayed in right field, and tried for toss ups from Joe Blanton, Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, and Kyle Kendrick.

I failed to get them to throw me anything, but managed to snag a Laynce Nix homer.  The ball was a mammoth fly, that I ran up and over a section to catch, but it was just beyond my reach.  Luckily, it landed in a seat and plopped calmly and slowly out the bottom of the seat, where I simply picked it up.

I made the snag here:

That was it for batting practice.  No where near as well as I did last year, but not bad given the circumstances.

After BP, I went and found my dad, who I attended this game with, and we went to Primanti brothers.  The line was pretty long, so while he stood in line, I went to go get a First Pitch program and also to check out the Budweiser Bow Tie Bar, a new area built behind section 101.

Here’s the entrance:

The bar:

Large fire pit warmers were located around the bar:

The bar has seven flat screen TVs:

And part of it faces the field:

Pretty nice.  It displaces the Root Sports station, which moved a section closer toward home plate:

After the quick visit to the Bow Tie Bar, we made our way to our seats to eat our Primanti Brothers sandwiches:

And watch the introductions:

I didn’t try ballhawking- I just stayed in my seat for most of the game.  I had a great view:

Near the end of the game, I ventured down to the main level to see Amy, who was working and this was the scene in left field:

Completely packed.  The cross aisle was completely filled.

In fact, this was the largest ever crowd to ever take in a game at PNC Park.  There were 39,585.

Lots of people came out to support their Buccos today.

Unfortunately, the Pirates laid an egg.  They scored 0 runs.  The first two batters, Alex Presley and Jose Tabata, had singles against Roy Halladay, and that was it.  No other batter got a hitter after those two.  Only two other batters reached base, by being hit by pitches.  The Phillies won 1-0, as the Pirates start the season 0-1.

The Pirates have the hardest schedule in baseball.  Look at their April and May schedule.  They don’t play a team that had a losing record in 2011 until they face the Astros in mid May.  All of the teams they play at the outset of the season were playoff teams or contenders last year.  We just can’t catch a break.

Anyway,
here are today’s three baseballs during the Phillies portion of BP:

2012 stats
Game: 3 balls
Season: 5 balls
Career: 1,549 balls

Tomorrow, I’ll be up and early for a road trip and my second Home Opener in as many days.

Shirt Contest: The Glove Trick

I assembled my glove trick today.

It’s the first time that I put the glove trick together since I had my glove redone this winter. The tape was used to tape the pen to a strap on the glove so it won’t fall out on the field. The pen holds the glove open. The rubber band holds the ball in place.

Amy, Olivia and I went to a deserted mall parking lot and I placed five balls on the ground. I then went up to the second level of the parking garage. From a height of about twenty feet, I glove tricked the five balls.

The height is way more challenging than the six foot wall at PNC Park. There was a wind to deal with today too, of about 15 mph. This was my first practice with the glove trick since the end of 2011.

Your challenge is this:

Guess how long it took to glove trick all 5 balls. You guesses should be in intervals of 5 seconds. For example, a guess could be 0:05, and that’s all you’d have to post in the comments.
I will also give each commenter 2 guesses. You can use both right away, or be strategic and save one or both for later, as I will close this contest after the FIRST CORRECT ANSWER.

I will then post the video for your entertainment and proof.

The winner gets this shirt:

Its never been worn, its one of the many free shirt giveaways from PNC Park that I got in 2011. It’s a size XL, but the PNC park giveaway shirts wear about a size small, so it fits almost like a large.

Good luck!

Contest closed. Here’s the video:

I’ve determined that the official time is 5:05.

I’ve got to get to bed, so I’ll comb through the responses, do the math, see who’s closest,  announce the winner, and email them tomorrow.

Goodnight all.

9-24-11 PNC Park

Today was the last night game of the year, and Steve Miller Band was playing a concert after the game, so there would be a sell-out crowd on hand tonight.  However, since there was some big cheerleading competition going on outside of PNC Park, there wasn’t a large crowd for most of batting practice.

I came into the game needing seven balls to get 418 and make my 2011 campaign a top 5 all time ballhawking season.  Sure, it isn’t any close to the 544 I snagged last year, but its a small consolation prize.

Things got off really slowly for me, and I only snagged one ball within the first half hour of batting practice.  That was a Pedro Alvarez opposite field home run that landed three rows back and took a giant hop into the upper bleachers, which I scrambled up the steps and grabbed.

My second ball of the day was glove tricked near the end of Pirates BP by the bullpen door.

Near the end of batting practice, things were going so poorly for me that I completely ditched left field and headed over into foul territory on the first base line as some Reds had come out to warm up.

There, I got who I think was Jared Burton to toss me ball #3 of the day after he finished his warm up tosses.

In the meantime, I noticed that Joey Votto was signing autographs near the dugout.  I never ever go for autographs – I got only one other one this year – Ryan Vogelsong – but I figured that this was a former MVP and that his autograph was worth something.  I got Votto to sign the sweet spot of a nice clean extra ball that I brought with me.

My fourth ball came a bit later as a pitcher airmailed Devin Mesoraco.  I picked it up and offered it back, by holding it up, but they already had a second ball and picked up immediately where they left off as if they never even lost the ball, so I put it away in my bookbag.

My fifth ball came from Edinson Volquez, sort of.  He caught the ball and rolled it towards the wall as if to get rid of it.  I walked over and reached far over the railing and grabbed it.  Then I held it up to see if Volquez or his teammates wanted it back.  They could’ve cared less, as they were talking.

At 5:30, I searched the right field wall for Easter Eggs and found one.

It was ball #6 of the day, and #417 of the season, tying Nick Pelescak’s 2010 mark.

I then returned to left field and got a toss up from Dave Sappelt.

He retrieved a ball from the wall and then tossed it up into the crowd.  I was in the second row, and it was right to me, just over the heads in the front row, much to the dismay of some 20 year old in the front row.

My 8th and final ball of the day was a clean catch of a Brandon Phillips home run ball.  I caught that one in the second row, and it caused some controversy with another fan.  The ball ticked off the fan in the McCutchen jersey’s glove and right into mine.  It sounded like a foul tip being caught by the catcher.

Well, he thought I robbed him, even though I was a row behind him, and he kept giving me sour looks throughout the rest of BP, and talking to his friends and gesturing in my direction.   Oh, and he’s not a little kid despite his tiny frame (its tough to tell from that pic)- he’s probably at least 20, and he already had a ball in his hand, so don’t feel bad.

In the meantime, batting practice had become too crowded to have much range.

I finished up with 8 baseballs, and then went back to spend the evening with my family.

Today’s baseballs:

Statistics:
Game: 8 balls (2 hit, 4 thrown, 1 device, 1 found)
Season: 419 balls (175 hit, 92 thrown, 88 device, 57 found)
Games: 77 games
Average: 5.44 per game
Career: 1,541 balls
Attendance: 37,388

9-10-11 PNC Park

It was a Saturday, so the gates open an extra half hour early.  However, I wasn’t able to take advantage of it, as I didn’t get to snag a ball until 4:50.  That was thrown by Alex Presley, pictured at right here:

My second ball of the day was a ground rule double that I snagged here:

A fan in the front row tried to knock it down, but they just slowed it down and it came right to me.

Ball #3 was a glove trick ball that I gave away to another ballhawk who hadn’t gotten one yet.

My fourth ball of the day was a clean catch of an Andrew McCutchen home run ball in section 136.  I had to get up on the bleacher to make the catch.

When the Marlins came out, I changed into my Marlins gear and caught a John Buck home run on the fly.

My sixth ball of the day was retrieved using the Cleveland Stick.  A ball had landed in the ivy on the ‘S’ in Pirates during the early portion of batting practice.  As soon as the rest of the stadium opened, I ran over and knocked it out with the Cleveland stick, and reached in with my hand to pick it up.  Pretty simple.

In the mean time, Burke Badenhop spotted me about eight rows back after I had snagged this ball and attempted to toss me a ball, but it ended up short.  I could’ve still gotten it, but a younger ballhawk ran by and caught it two rows in front of me.  Luckily, Badenhop had another ball in his back pocket that he tossed me for ball #7.  This time his throw was right on the money.

My final ball of the day was a towering home run hit by Mike Cameron.  I ran to my right, up some steps, and picked the only open row that was available to me and made the clean catch.  I had to manuever amongst these stationary fans:

I ended up catching it in the eighth row behind the guy in the gray shirt.

After BP I left, as Amy and Olivia were at home waiting for me.

Statistics:
Game: 8 balls (4 hit, 2 thrown, 2 device)
Season: 373 balls (158 hit, 79 thrown, 87 device, 49 found)
Games: 70 games
Career: 1,495 balls
Attendance: 34,063
Remaining games to reach goal of 413: 6
Needed to reach goal: 40 (6.7 per game)

8-16-11 PNC Park

On Monday, the ballhawks of PNC Park got groundscrewed.  That’s right.  It was perfect weather for batting practice, but due to a short and light shower at 4PM, the groundscrew decided to cancel batting practice so that they could essentially have a three hour break before they really had to do anything.

This was the seen from the bridge as Nick and I watched and waited, but never saw a cage.
PNC Park
So on Tuesday, I was hoping to get off to a good start on the longest homestand of the year.  Since Pedro Alvarez was sent down today, there weren’t any balls that left the stadium out onto the riverwalk.

When I did enter, I managed to catch a Michael McKenry home run on the fly here.

Moments later, at 5:03, the Pirates were done with batting practice and running off the field.

When the Cardinals came out, I was able to glove trick a ball that had rolled out of view just inside the bullpen door.

At 5:30, I ran into foul territory where I had kept tabs on a foul ball that was hit into the upper seating area above the cross aisle.  I was clearly able to see it from the upper bleachers, making it an easy run and grab mission.

While over there, I decided to look around a little more and found ball #4 behind the Pirates dugout

and ball #5 nearby.

I didn’t get anything else until the end of batting practice, but noticed a toss up as the Cardinals ran off the field hit the right field seats and settle on the warning track in center field.  Zac Weiss was perched above another ball on the warning track, and held the spot so I could glove trick that one as well.

I glove tricked the first ball on one attempt by Zac, the second one took much longer.  The lacing in my glove is slowly falling apart, and its causing the glove trick to be much less effective.  After about five minutes of trying, I finally reeled it in for ball #7, and gave it away to a group of kids.  (I made them answer a trivia question to get the ball, since all four of them wanted it.  One boy knew the answer to ‘Who wears #53 for the Pirates?’)

After that I left to go home and see Amy and Olivia, watch the movie the Source Code on Blu Ray, and walk to the local ice cream joint to have some ice cream.  A great night!

Here’s the six balls that I kept:

Statistics:
Game: 7 balls (1 hit, 3 device, 3 found)
Season: 346 balls (142 hit, 73 thrown, 83 device, 48 found)
Games: 65 games
Career: 1,468 balls
Attendance: 20,943

7-5-11 PNC Park

Amy was working today, so I don’t have any good pictures.

Upon entering the stadium, I found ball #1 about four rows back in left field.  It was good to get on the board early, because the last Pirates group did absolutely nothing.  Zero home runs.

When the Astros came out, I glove tricked my second ball over by the bullpen.

Most of the Astros pitchers seemed really lazy when it came to shagging, so I was hopeful that I could glove trick a few balls today, but a coach named Suba marched all over the field collecting the balls, as if it was his sole and only purpose with the team.

The first Astros group was weak, but the next group featured Hunter Pence and Carlos Lee along with Jason Michaels, probably the Astros three best BP hitters in that order.

After a couple rounds of going opposite field, Hunter Pence started letting loose and hitting some home runs.

In the span of a minute, I caught three balls cleanly, all on the fly, here:

Ball #3 was hit by Pence.  It was basically right at me.  I stood up on the bleacher as I made the catch, just out of habit.  Moments later he hit another home run that was slightly to my left.  I tracked the ball and caught it reaching forward and made the basket catch as several fans turned away, blinded by the sun.

Jason Michaels hopped in the cage and promptly hit a home run which I caught on the fly.  Since there was so much action in such a short amount of time, people started noticing me and asking me questions such as how many that was for me, etc.  No one gave me a hard time though.

During the Astros last group, I caught a ground rule double here:

It was a milestone ball, as it was the 1,400th ball that I’ve snagged.

Moments later I snagged another ground rule double, and then finished things off with a clean catch of yet another home run.

I gave away one of my extra decoy balls to a young boy whose father was asking me for ballhawking tips for his son.

I watched the game from the Club Seats.

I picked a great spot for a foul ball.  The only thing in front of me was a camera well,

and a wide open row to my right.

But as luck would have it not a single ball would be hit within three sections either way of me.

Here are today’s baseballs:

Sweet spots:

Statistics:
Game: 8 balls (6 hit, 1 device, 1 found)
Season:  280 balls (121 hit, 56 thrown, 64 device, 30 found)
Games: 48 games
Average:  5.83 balls per game
Career:  1,402 balls
Attendance: 18,151

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