Results tagged ‘ glove trick ’

6-29-11 Camden Yards

Amy and I decided to head down to Baltimore for a couple games to see the Cardinals take on the Orioles.  We checked into the hotel, and Amy rested at the hotel while I left to go to batting practice.

The first ball I got was an absolute bomb that hit at the back of the seats near the bullpens and bounced back towards the field where I caught it.

Ball #2 was hit by another Orioles batter towards the foul pole.  I simply jogged over and picked it up easy.

My third ball was cheap, but it was still #3.  It was a ball that was misplayed by another ballhawk and bounced into the row in front of him where I snagged it with my glove.

Ball #4 was a clean catch here:

I barely had to move.  I’m not sure who hit any of the balls, but the first Orioles group was really good.  I mean really good.  I had snagged four balls from one group alone, but two other ballhawks had snagged five and I think six.  Impressive.  And they were all batted balls too.

The Orioles final group sucked, so I didn’t get my fifth ball until the Cardinals came out to hit.  It was tossed to me by pitcher Trever Miller, who I remember was the one pitcher who tossed up baseballs at PNC Park in recent series.

I moved over to center field when I saw a home run land in the gap in center field.  I was able to glove trick it for ball #6, but not without some difficulty.  It took four tries, but I was able to reel it in.

My seventh ball was a ground rule double that I caught next to a mom.  I immediately handed the ball over which she gave to her child.  She may have been able to make the play, but she was gloveless, so who knows.

My eighth ball was a clean catch of a Colby Rasmus HR with some competition from behind here:

No clue who hit it.

After batting practice, I went back to the hotel to explore Baltimore and go eat.

We made our way to the inner harbor,

and took a few photos.  One of the bonuses of ballhawking outside of Pittsburgh is that its like a mini-vacation.  I go to BP for an hour, and then I get to spend the rest of the time with the love of my life.  Can’t beat that!
We headed towards Barnes and Noble:

And saw the Hard Rock Cafe:

I ordered a California Club sandwich.

It was bad.   I felt like I was eating a salad sandwich with chicken, there was one thin fillet.  Not impressed.

While we were out, the citizens of Baltimore were extra friendly.  We kept getting warm smiles every where we turned, then it dawned on me.

It was because of our baby.

We walked around a little more before heading back to our hotel.  Baltimore isn’t as bad as the Wire portrays.  At least not the few blocks we saw.

Here are today’s baseballs (only 7 pictured because 1 was given away):

Sweet spots:

Statistics:
Game: 8 balls (6 hit, 1 thrown, 1 device)
Season:  259 balls (107 hit, 54 thrown, 61 device, 28 found)
Games: 44 games
Average:  5.87 balls per game
Career:  1,381 balls
Attendance: 17,405

6-24-11 PNC Park

The Red Sox were in town, bringing their well traveled fan base into PNC Park.

I got to the park early, and waited at the gate until I saw the Pirates pitchers begin to take batting practice.

When it got underway, I headed down to the Riverwalk and searched through the weeds, just in case either team took early batting practice.

There was nothing.  And no luck on the Riverwalk today.

When the gates opened, there were already seven people in the bleachers with guest passes, so the Easter Eggs were long gone.

In about the first minute of batting practice, I caught a home run on the fly in section 136.  Here I am labeling it:

My second ball also came during the first five minutes, and it was a glove trick ball.  After adjusting the band twice, I reeled it in.


The Pirates only hit until 5:06, which is a growing trend this year.  They’ve been ending between 5:03-5:06 lately.

During the Boston Red Sox first group, which featured a bunch of lefties, I was able to snag an Adrian Gonzalez ground rules double in the left field corner.

It bounced into the first row in the aisle where I picked it up.

Then BP slowed way down.

There were intermittent rain showers:

And a lot of standing around, while Red Sox lefties took their cuts.

(We are confined to left field until 5:30)

At 5:30, I went over into center field.  Can you find me in the picture below?

I narrowly missed catching a David Ortiz home run, but it was just over my head and landed a few rows back.

For the last group of Red Sox batters, I stood on the Clemente Wall in right field, where I caught a home run on the fly.  I was checking the rooftops below the wall for baseballs (which occasionally there are.  Its rare, but it happens), when I caught the track of a fly ball.  I was just re-entering the seats, and ran to my left and made a snag on the move.  I caught it in front of the guy in the black shirt:

Amy and I left right after batting practice.

Here are today’s baseballs:

Sweet spots:

Statistics:
Game: 4 balls (3 hit, 1 device)
Season:  244 balls (96 hit, 53 thrown, 60 device, 26 found)
Games: 42 games
Average:  5.81 balls per game
Career:  1,366 balls
Attendance: 39,330

6-13-11 PNC Park

After a poor performance on Sunday, I was hoping for some luck.  It wouldn’t happen, at least not on the Riverwalk.

A ball flew out of the stadium about 100 feet to my left and landed in the river.  The ball was very reachable with my water device, but the device failed.  It never was able to scoop up the ball, and after a minute or two, the ball sank.

To make matters worse, as I was attempting to snag that ball from the river, a ball bounced out of the stadium right where I had been previously standing.  It would’ve been an easy snag.  That one ended up in the river, and sank to its final resting place in the depths of the murky Allegheny as well.

When the gates opened, I snagged ball #1 off the bat of Andrew McCutchen.  It was a home run that landed in the front row near the bullpen.  I ran over and picked it up, as the other ballhawks were searching for balls down by the left field foul pole.  McCutchen was in the last Pirates group because he was given the day off from starting today, despite having an 11 game hitting streak, and being 6 for 12 lifetime against Mets starter Mike Pelfrey.  Cutch would later enter the game late and single to extend his streak to twelve games.

A few minutes later, McCutchen hit an absolute blast more than half way up into the second deck of bleachers.  I ran up and found it after a brief search for ball #2.

Ball #3 was glove tricked at the base of the wall in left field when the Mets were hitting, as the Pirates ran off the field at 5:05 again.  Lame.

My fourth ball was tossed by Jason Pridie.  I had asked him for a ball a few times earlier, and this time he tossed it high above the other fans right to me four rows back.

Ball #5 was glove tricked over by the bullpen.

My sixth ball was a home run hit by an unidentified Met.  It landed in a small crowd of people and shot straight up in the air.  I hopped up and snagged it.

Less than a minute later, I snagged ball #7 on the fly, on the run in section 134.  It brought a few grumbles from the crowd, as the average fan doesn’t like seeing someone get more than one ball, especially in such a short span of time.

A minute after that, I snagged ball #8, which landed on the cross aisle in left field, bounced off the upper bleachers, and rolled to the railing separating the wheel chair section from the aisle, where I had been blocked off from getting up onto the cross aisle.  I reached down and grabbed the ball.

Another ball was left unattended by the bullpen, so I went over and glove tricked that one for ball #9.

I then made my way over to right field and was able to snag a Daniel Murphy home run ball that landed in section 140.  It hit near the top of section 140, and I snagged it as it trickled down a few rows right to me.

That was ball #10, making today a total success.

I would snag another ball, #11 of the day behind section 141.  I caught it on the fly between the wall and the seats that you see here:

I had to jump for the ball, as the ball carried on me a little, and I was boxed in by the seats from behind.

Ball #12 came during the game and was thrown to me by Garrett Jones in the 5th inning.  I picked a nice open space on the Clemente wall and got him to toss me his between inning warm up ball.

That would be the last ball I snagged today, as I spent the seventh inning with Amy on her break.  She bought me this with her Pirates Bucks ($5 Gift Certificates that workers get every game):

It’s a therma base pullover – like what the players wear during BP when its chilly.  I am lucky to have such a wonderful fiancee.

It turned out to be a great day, despite it being the 13th of the month, but I’ve never suffered from triscadecaphobia.

Today’s baseballs:

Sweet spots:

STATISTICS:
Game:  12 balls (7 hit, 2 thrown, 3 device)
Season:  218 balls (87 hit, 49 thrown, 56 device, 226 found)
Games: 36 games
Average:  6.06 balls per game
Career:  1,340 balls
Attendance: 15,555

6-11-11 PNC Park

Amy and I were up at 7AM today as we drove out to our new house with a building inspector.  The purpose of the inspection was to make sure there wasn’t anything majorly wrong with our new house that we recently purchased.  After living in dorms in college, a small townhouse, and a one bedroom apartment, it’s now time to get my dream house.  Especially since our daughter is due in just seven and a half weeks.  So, after spending just under $200k, I was hoping that there wasn’t going to be any needed fixes,  since the house is newer.
We spent time standing around in the master suite while the inspector did his thing in each room and the bathrooms.

The most alarming thing that happened, for me, was the discovery of a stink bug.  Here I am crushing it in the bedroom.

I hate those things.

After that, we moved downstairs to the family room, where the worst discovery was that the racks in the dishwasher could use replacing.

Lastly, after an inspection of the kitchen, it was down to the basement and the theater room.

Amy and I sat down there and tossed a ball back and forth.

There wasn’t really any bad news to be reported.  A little bit of normal settling was found, but it shouldn’t be a major problem.

So, overall, the house inspection was a success.  Amy and I went back to our apartment, took a 2.5 hour nap, then headed to PNC Park.

Upon entering, there were no balls, but after a few minutes of being shut out, I noticed a lefty slice a ball down the line.  It settled by the fence in foul territory.

I ran over and was able to grab it with an extreme full body stretch.

Ball #2 was a scrum ball that another fan botched (in the black).  It hit his glove, and trickled a few rows down to me.

Ball #3 was snagged via the glove trick by the foul pole in left field.

Herbie Andrade made it interesting as he fired balls at my glove as I reeled it in.  I had some trouble at first because my glove is basically falling apart, with the lacing coming undone.  Herbie hates me anyway since he saw me change into Diamondbacks gear earlier this homestand.  He refused to toss me a ball the other day because of that very reason.

Ball #4 was a clean catch of a Matt Diaz home run that I caught here,

Followed by another clean catch of a Pedro Ciriaco home run, bringing my total to five balls on the day.

I would go the entire Mets batting practice without snagging another baseball.  As they ran off the field, I glove tricked a ball near the bullpen, bringing my total on the day to six.

I stayed for the whole game, but didn’t snag anything else.  It was a standing room only sellout crowd.  Anyway, the Pirates won.  The game ended in a timely fashion too, so hopefully there will be batting practice tomorrow.

Today’s baseballs (is it me, or does the Diaz home run look lopsided?)

Sweet spots:

STATISTICS:
Game:  6 balls (4 hit, 2 device)
Season:  205 balls (80 hit, 47 thrown, 53 device, 25 found)
Games: 34 games
Average:  6.03 balls per game
Career:  1,327 balls
Attendance: 39,273

6-9-11 PNC Park

Today was the final day that the Diamondbacks were in town, and I for one, am not sorry to see them leave.  They just don’t hit many balls into the stands, which makes for a boring batting practice.

To make matters worse, the Pirates did not hit today.  They skipped batting practice, so at 5PM, when the gates opened, the Diamondbacks were already on the field hitting.

Upon running in, I was able to get Charles Nagy to toss me ball #1.  Here he is talking to ex-Pirate Zach Duke.

My second ball was tossed to me by Esmerling Vasquez in left field:

And ball #3 was a ground rule double that I snagged in section 136.  Nick Pelescak gets an assist as he slowed the ball down by deflecting it.  Playing ground rule doubles can be a tricky thing.

I snagged it here,

and moments later I snagged another ground rule double for ball #4 in virtually the same spot.

My fifth ball was yet another ground rule double.  It hung up in the air and I snagged it over the man in the light blue shirt.

My sixth and final ball of the day was via the glove trick by the foul pole in left field.

The Diamondbacks stopped hitting at 5:42 PM, I immediately left the park when they were done.

Today’s baseballs:

Sweet spots:

STATISTICS:
Game:  6 balls (3 hit, 2 thrown, 1 device,)
Season:  192 balls (74 hit, 44 thrown, 49 device, 25 found)
Games: 32 games
Average:  6.00 balls per game
Career:  1,314 balls
Attendance: 12,468

6-8-11 PNC Park

After a dismal two ball day yesterday, things got off to a much better start.  I snagged two balls within the first fifteen seconds today.  That’s right, it took a full BP to get just two yesterday.

Upon running in, there were several fans already in the stands for a season ticket holder batting practice viewing event.  They were near the bullpen, so I ran towards the foul pole, where I found ball #1 in the third row back.  Also, a home run landed near the foul pole as I entered the bleachers and was picked up by a Pirates season ticket representative.  He tossed it to me for ball #2.

My third ball was glove tricked directly behind the left field foul pole after the Diamondbacks came out to hit.

(By the way, the Pirates ran off the field at 5:05.  Perhaps at 90 degrees it was too hot to take a full BP?)

By the way, the entire first group of Diamondbacks were ALL left handed, so there was virtually no chance of any batted balls landing in left field.  Rather than go over and play the Riverwalk for deep home runs, I elected to stay in left field and hope for a toss up.   It paid off as Josh Collmenter tossed me ball #4 of the day.

I had planned on running over to right field as four home runs landed there during the Diamondbacks first group, but I watched as the ushers systematically scanned each and every row and picked up all four.  So, figuring that there wasn’t much to be found in right, I ran over to foul territory to see if a foul ball that had been hit earlier in batting practice was still there.

It paid off as I found ball #5 in the handicapped section in foul territory.  As I was leaving to return to the right field bleachers, a batter hit a foul ball into the upper seats.  I simply turned around to go claim it.  I had seen where the ball landed, but I couldn’t find it.  Two other ballhawks started to come over to look and claim it for themselves, so I pulled some trickery and bent down as if I had found it, and stood back up holding the previous ball that I had found.  This bought me another minute or two, as the other ballhawks went back to their spots along front row in foul territory.  Eventually, I found the ball, it had rolled the whole way down to row A in section 130.  It was ball #6.

Back in left field, there wasn’t much action to be had.  I went the next twenty five minutes without anything until Xavier Nady hit a ground rule double that I snagged here:

The entire batting practice there were three home runs to left field.  That’s it.  It didn’t help that the Diamondbacks were being frugal and were tossing up precious few baseballs.  Nick Pelescak capped off batting practice by shouting at the Diamondbacks as they ran off the field, “You’re all a bunch of cheapskates!”

The D’Backs BP has been the worst I’ve seen this year.  One more game with them this year on Thursday, and then the Mets come into town for 4.  Hopefully the weather will cooperate.

Today’s baseballs:

Sweet spots:

STATISTICS:
Game:  7 balls (2 hit, 2 thrown, 1 device, 2 found)
Season:  186 balls (71 hit, 42 thrown, 48 device, 25 found)
Games: 31 games
Average:  6.00 balls per game
Career:  1,308 balls
Attendance: 14,015

6-5-11 PNC Park

It was a Sunday game, which was a day game following a night game, thereby decreasing the chances of batting practice.

I got to the stadium around 11AM, and saw no trace of the batting cage or screens.  So, I hung out on the bridge for twenty minutes, where I could see directly into the park.  I then left, resigned to the fact that there would be no batting practice.  Coupled with 35,000 people at the game, it just wasn’t worth running around all game for a ball or two.

I started walking back to the car when I got a text from my fiancee Amy, who was working the game.  She told me that they were wheeling out the screens and that batting practice would be on.

I jogged back to the park and made it into the left field bleachers by 11:35, 35 minutes after the gates had opened.

Only the Phillies would be hitting today.

And, it was packed.

I glove tricked ball #1 and ball #2 towards the left field foul pole:

The stadium was absolutely packed.  Check out the bleachers:

My view straight ahead:

I decided to move towards the foul pole where I would have slightly more room to move.

The move paid off, as I caught a Ben Francisco home run ball on the fly here for ball #3:

I didn’t snag anything else until the 5th inning.  A large group of people left the front row in center field, so I went down for a minute to give myself a chance at an Andrew McCutchen warm up ball.  He fired a perfect strike to me, while I was on the phone with Amy, who I was meeting up with for some food on her break.

That would be my fourth and final ball of the day.

Today’s baseballs:

Sweet spots:

STATISTICS:
Game:  4 balls (1 hit, 1 thrown, 2 device)
Season:  177 balls (67 hit, 40 thrown, 47 device, 23 found)
Games: 29 games
Average:  6.10 balls per game
Career:  1,299 balls
Attendance: 35,505

6-4-11 PNC Park

Amy and I spent the afternoon being shown a couple houses by a realtor and then headed to PNC Park.

Today was a Fireworks night, and the Phillies were in town.  AND it was the largest crowd ever recorded in PNC Park history.  That doesn’t make a good ballhawking environment.

When I ran in, there were no balls to be found, perhaps because batting practice got started a little later than usual because of this:

Fan-photo day with the players on Federal Street from 3-4 pm.

Immediately upon entering, Kevin Correia tossed me a ball to put me on the board.

I would go the next thirty minutes without snagging anything.  The home runs that were hit, were over my head and were gobbled up by other fans.  Eventually, a fan in the front row misplayed a home run ball.  The ball hit his glove square and fell back onto the field.  It was an easy glove trick opportunity.  I asked the fan, who was maybe 14, if he wanted me to get the ball for him.  He said yes, so I glove tricked it, and handed over ball #2.

It turned out to bring some good karma, because I snagged two more balls within the next minute.  One was a clean catch of a Matt Diaz home run ball here:

And another was a Chris Snyder bomb that sailed between the rotunda and upper bleachers and bounced into a concession stand, where it was thrown to me by a worker.

At the end of the Pirates BP, I was flat out robbed by a Phillies fan.  Daniel McCutchen looked directly at me and tossed me a ball.  This guy in Phillies gear, who the ball was clearly NOT intended for, quickly reached in front of my glove and intercepted it.

My fifth ball was glove tricked here during the Phillies BP,

and I glove tricked another near the end of the BP over along the left field foul line.   That was it for today.

There wasn’t much point of trying for home run balls unless they were right at me or toss ups.  Here was my view for the last 45 minutes or so of batting practice:

After batting practice, I left, went to the gym.

Here are today’s baseballs (five pictured because one was given away):

Sweet spots:

STATISTICS:
Game:  6 balls (1 hit, 2 thrown, 3 device)
Season:  173 balls (66 hit, 39 thrown, 45 device, 23 found)
Games: 28 games
Average:  6.18 balls per game
Career:  1,295 balls
Attendance: 39,441

6-3-11 PNC Park

It’s been about 10 days since my last game.  I’ve cut down on the road trips since last year, as an average trip to Cleveland costs $75 a game, and a trip to Washington or Baltimore averages about $100 a game in gas and tolls.  It wasn’t worth it to me.

Amy and I have spent the last ten days scouring the housing market.  I’ve decided that I want to have a nice house for my baby daughter (due in August) to grow up in.  Our current one bed room apartment just isn’t cutting it.

Amy and I have been putting together lists, driving around, and scratching off 80% of the houses we drive by.  We’ve toured six solid contenders so far, and are looking at houses in the $150,000-$200,000 range.  All of the ones we like are 200k, which is a huge commitment.  So, as you can see,  at least for the time being, I would rather spend my money on a house than ballhawking trips as I have in the past.

Anyhow, my first two balls of the day came from Brandon Wood.  The first one was thrown to me from left field, but fell well short.  The ball rested on the warning track, where I glove tricked it for ball #1.

I usually do not use my glove trick during the Pirates batting practice.  I figure that if I am seen using the glove trick it will make the Pirates pitchers less likely to want to toss me a ball.  However, since many of the Pirates pitchers seem to dislike the fact that I am there every game, I just went for it.

Wood did not see me use the glove trick, and turned and threw a perfect strike to me for ball #2 at the end of the Pirates batting practice.

My third ball was glove tricked during the Phillies BP in left field, and my fourth ball was a clean catch of a home run here:

My fifth and final ball was glove tricked in right field.

It wasn’t any usual glove trick.  It was the first time I ever glove tricked a ball from a top the Clemente wall.

I spent the last twenty minutes in left field, but didn’t get anything.  It was just too crowded.

Here are today’s baseballs:

Sweet spots:

STATISTICS:
Game:  5 balls (1 hit, 1 thrown, 3 device)
Season:  167 balls (64 hit, 38 thrown, 41 device, 23 found)
Games: 27 games
Average:  6.19 balls per game
Career:  1,289 balls
Attendance: 33,861

5-22-11 PNC Park

I wasn’t planning on attending this game.  I was expecting to drop Amy off at work, and then go home to package up all of the bobbleheads that I had sold.  Making batting practice more unlikely was the fact that it started to rain at 10:30 AM, a half hour before the gates were to open.

I could see the tarp on the field from the center field (Stargell statue) gate.  I thought about leaving, but I thought I noticed that the screens were out on the field in foul territory.

utside the stadium, there were plenty of festivities, including the March of Dimes finish line, right outside the left field gate.

I decided to walk up the Roberto Clemente bridge a little way to get a better look inside the stadium.  I saw the tarp still on the field, but the cage was up.

Obviously, I decided to stick around.

Amy and I stood on the bridge where we had gotten engaged on Valentine’s Day and took in the scenery, and talked until it was time for me to go into the stadium and her to go to work

When I entered the stadium, my first ball of the day came from Pirates pitcher Charlie Morton by the bullpen.

When Morton had finished throwing, I called out for his warm up ball.  A few seconds later, he tossed a ball up, which I caught.  A thirteen year old in front of me was none too pleased, but I hadn’t heard him ask for it.  I was going to give it to him until his dad started b*******.  He got a ball a minute later anyhow.

The whole stadium opened at 11:30AM, and there was still no action.  The tarp had at least been taken off the field, so I walked around the lower level looking for easter eggs, but predictably, there were none.

The Tigers trickled out to loosen up a bit later.  I asked two of the coaches for a ball, but was ignored.  Here’s ex Pirate manager Jim Leyland:

When the Tigers began hitting, I used the glove trick to snag ball #2 here:

And, I used it to snag balls #3 and #4  by the foul pole, as both balls had rolled there within 15 seconds of each other.

Since I was having good luck with the glove trick, I invited Jim to glove trick a ball on the warning track that I could’ve had.  I figured I’d repay the favor for him laying off on a Miguel Cabrera home run catch yesterday.

I made my way over to center field near the end of the Tigers BP and glove tricked a ball off of the warning track.  Originally, the ball bounced on the warning track, and I misplayed it.  The ball hit my glove and fell back onto the field.  There was a little girl right next to me, so when I glove tricked the ball, I turned and handed it to her.

My sixth ball of the day was an Andy Dirks home run that landed two rows behind me.  I hopped over a row and grabbed it

Batting practice ended at 12:15 PM, (The Tigers didn’t take a full BP, they only hit for about 30 minutes) so there was an hour and fifteen minutes until the game was to begin.

I left the game, and went to a nearby park to read my Sunday Papers – the Pittsburgh Post Gazette and Tribune Review.  I also bought a ‘water-ice’ drink, which was perfect on this hot sunny day.

I returned to the game, but was met with bad luck.  Garrett Jones tossed his warm up ball to me in the 4th inning, but this guy in the white shirt interfered.  The ball was glanced by his arm, hit my glove, and bounced below where a random fan grabbed it.

Basically the same thing happened in the fifth inning, when McCutchen threw his warm up ball to me.  I was awaiting the catch in the handicapped section in center field when a guy jumped out of his seat and intercepted it.

Here are today’s baseballs: (Five pictured because one was given away)

Sweet spots:

STATISTICS:
Game:  6 balls (1 hit, 1 thrown, 4 device)
Season:  156 balls (60 hit, 36 thrown, 37 device, 22 found)
Games: 25 games
Average:  6.24 balls per game
Career:  1,278 balls
Attendance: 25.124

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