Results tagged ‘ glove trick ’

5-21-11 PNC Park

Today was Amy and my 8 month anniversary, and we packed in a full day’s worth of activities.  We started by going around to garage sales and buying lots of clothes for our daughter.  There were some pretty nice things that we found that looked ‘like-new.’

Today was also Neil Walker bobblehead day, so a sellout crowd of 38,000 would be on hand.  Therefore, it was important to get on the board early.  When I ran into the left field bleachers, I found ball #1 laying in the front row in this area.

The Pirates BP was pretty tame, not too many home runs.

There weren’t many opportunities for toss up balls either, every request went ignored.

My second ball of the day was a long home run hit by an unknown Pirates batter.
Here Nick and I are racing for it.

Nick had the lead, but we both took a wrong route to the ball.  Since it wasn’t at the bottom of the rotunda, I figured it was on the rotunda.  I raced up and was correct.  It was sitting on the rotunda, waiting to be claimed.  Amy got this shot of us returning from the chase.

My third ball of the day was a clean catch in the front row of section 134.  I had to reach out over the wall and make the catch as there was some pressure put on me from the side.  I reached out and swiped at the ball and luckily made the catch.

Here I am just a moment after making the grab:

It was a particular sunny day, and I lost two balls in the sun.  One would’ve been an easy grab, and it zipped by my head.  The other I would’ve made on a cloudy day.  That’s one of the negatives of PNC Park.  Left field is the sun field, so folks in left get blinded by the sun, especially on fly balls.

I had another close call on a home run that was about two rows over my head.  The guy in the white jersey reached out and caught it right in front of Nick:

I then changed into my Tigers gear, but it wouldn’t matter much since it got so crowded around 5PM.

Check out the crowd:

That’s the downfall of PNC Park’s bleachers.  There’s not much room when it gets crowded.  There’s about six rows in the bleachers, and they get packed, severaly limiting a ballhawk’s range.

I did get ball #4 with the glove trick in left field before heading over to center field.

In center field I glove tricked ball #5 here:

Also, while in center field, I caught an opposite field Miguel Cabrera home run ball in the third row here:

The guy in the red shirt, who’s usually aggressive, backed off and let me make the catch.  I appreciated it, as I probably would’ve missed it had he tried for it.  It was a ball I had to reach high and to my left to catch, as it was slicing back towards right field.

My seventh and final ball came at the conclusion of BP.  The Tigers left a ball on the warning track in left field, so I went over and glove tricked it for my seventh ball of the day.

After BP, I went to turn in 54 tickets for Neil Walker bobbleheads.  I traded in a bunch of my season tickets so I could turn a profit on the bobbleheads.  I made the mistake of pulling out the tickets and counting how many I had.  As soon as I did, I was surrounded by people waving twenty dollar bills at me, offering to buy my tickets.  The game was sold out, so there was nothing left at the box office.  I relented and sold twenty of the tickets within 5 minutes.    So, I went back to my car with a pocket overflowing with cash and 34 bobbleheads.  Amy and I headed home to spend the rest of the evening baseball free.

Here are today’s baseballs:

And the sweet spots:

STATISTICS:
Game:  7 balls (3 hit, 3 device, 1 found)
Season:  150 balls (59 hit, 35 thrown, 33 device, 22 found)
Games: 24 games
Average:  6.25 balls per game
Career:  1,272 balls
Attendance: 37,958

5-20-11 PNC Park

Batting practice today was rough for me.  The Tigers were in town for an interleague matchup, which would lead to larger crowds.  During the Pirates batting practice, I ended up doing this for much of the time:

Standing around.

And more standing around.

I would not catch a single batted ball or get any balls thrown to me from the Pirates pitchers.

The few chances I did have were on scrum balls, where I just came up short.

On that last one, I bashed my knee off of the bleacher, and it all ended up being for naught.

I slowed down a bit after that, trying to be more careful, especially because Amy was at the game with me.  She hates to see me get hurt, and I didn’t want to upset her.

I didn’t get a single ball during the Pirates batting practice, so I changed into my Tigers gear, hoping maybe to at least have a ball tossed to me.

However, luck continued to elude me.  Here’s a home run ball that would be caught by a child in the front row.

When a ball finally rolled to the wall, I noticed that the Tigers pitchers could care less about it.

So I set up my glove trick and snagged it.

It was my first ball of the day, and it was about 5:25PM.  A few minutes later, the rest of the stadium would open, and I had been keeping tabs on a ball that was sliced into the seats down the left field line.  The only problem was, there was a bunch of other folks waiting to get the green light to run up the stairs to the ball.  The people I was up against had the advantage of running up escalators, while I chose to go with the steps in the middle, which meant I’d have to run twice as fast as them.  I ended up being the first person to the top of the stairs to reach the main level, and raced down to the lower level, where I found ball #2 waiting for me.

Here’s a shot that Amy took a few seconds after I had snagged ball #2

It just wasn’t my day today, and I knew it.

I wouldn’t snag another ball for the rest of batting practice.

I headed over to center field for the last group, while Amy stayed in left and took this really cool panorama:

After batting practice ended, the Tigers left a ball on the warning track.  They had run off the field, so I set up my glove trick:

Lowered it over the ball,

And pulled it in (after a couple readjustments with the rubber band)

Here are today’s baseballs:

And the sweet spots:

STATISTICS:
Game:  3 balls (2 device, 1 found)
Season:  143 balls (56 hit, 35 thrown, 30 device, 21 found)
Games: 23 games
Average:  6.22 balls per game
Career:  1,265 balls
Attendance: 24,396

5-15-11 Miller Park

Today’s game began at 1:10 PM, meaning the gates would open at 11:40 pm.  However, I was hoping to get in early at Friday’s, so we arrived at the stadium around 10:30 AM.

It proved to be a mistake, because the Friday’s early entrance doesn’t open until 11AM.  Amy and I were forced to stand in 40 degree temps with wind gusts of up to 50 mph for a half hour.  It was brutal cold.  Brutal.

Once we got inside, we walked around the left field concourse, and I took a few photos.  One of the escalator to the 200 level,

and another of a Walls of Honor section:

We were chased from the concourse by a cranky security supervisor who made us go to Friday’s, but failed to say anything to the other couples who were loitering around.

It didn’t really matter much, because the Brewers failed to take batting practice today.

When the gates opened, I ran through the narrow concourse behind the batters eye to the right field bleachers.

There, Ryan Doumit would toss me ball #1 of the day.

Doumit’s first throw was well short, and fell into the bullpen.  He tried again, but over shot me by 10 feet, and the ball hit a bleacher and bounced back onto the field.  His third try was right on the money though.  I definitely appreciated Doumit’s patience and willingness to make sure he hooked me up.

I decided just to stay in right field the entire day.   The view to my left:

My second ball of the day was a clean home run catch of a Garrett Jones home run ball.

Here I am holding up the ball for Amy to see.

The Pirates were hitting some home runs, but not very many into the seating areas.

My third and final ball of the day would be glove tricked from the Pirates bullpen.  I set up my glove trick,

Lowered the glove,

And reeled in ball #3 of the day

There wasn’t much action for the rest of batting practice, but at least I had Amy nearby to keep me in good spirits.

We left right after batting practice to go home.  The worst part of the day was walking back to the car in the biting cold, and being trapped in the lot.

Everyone was tailgating and blocking the aisles, and all of the exits were roped off.  The only way off was the one entryway where cars were streaming in.  Eventually we were let out.   We didn’t get home until 11:58 PM, as it was a ten hour drive back.  Amy helped make the drive back fun though, and it went fast.

Thanks for everything baby.  I love you!

Here are today’s baseballs:

And the sweet spots:

STATISTICS:
Game:  3 balls (1 hit, 1 thrown, 1 device,)
Season:  140 balls (56 hit, 35 thrown, 28 device, 20 found)
Games: 22 games
Average:  6.36 balls per game
Career:  1,262 balls
Attendance: 37,059

*Last year on May 15th I had snagged 115 baseballs through 16 games, so I am a bit ahead of last year’s record year, despite the poor weather we’ve had.

5-14-11 Miller Park

After a brief stay near Notre Dame in Indian, Amy and I continued our weekend trip through Illinois and Chicago.  The coolest scenery we passed, for me, was US Cellular Field in Chicago.

However, we didn’t stop to look around, as we were on a schedule to get to Miller Park about an hour and a half before the gates opened.  This would give us time to buy tickets, park, and familiarize ourselves with the exterior of the stadium, and find the correct gate to go into.

There wasn’t really anywhere to park around the stadium, but the stadium lots, so we parked for $10 and then walked about six minutes to the stadium.  There’s a nature trail that runs along the stadium, and a bridge spans a stream on the way to Miller Park.  We paused to get a quick photo.

You can see the large domed structure in the background, which of course is Miller Park.  By the way, the weather in Milwaukee was absolutely miserable.  It was 44 degrees with constant rain and drizzle.  The biting wind made it feel like 37 degrees, so needless to say, we couldn’t do much outside during our two days in Milwaukee.

I was very disappointed to find out that the gates to Miller Park wouldn’t open until 90 minutes before the first pitch.  Even though this was a SATURDAY.  The only way to see the Brewers take batting practice was to go into Friday’s restuarant, so that’s just what we did.

I went out to the Friday’s deck after a few minutes, which is just above the left field wall.  You’ll also notice that there’s a gap between the outfield wall and the deck, creating a perfect place for baseballs to fall into.

Well, there was a ball down there.

So, I lowered my glove and glove tricked it for my first ball of the day.

This was my view from the Friday’s deck.

I didn’t expect any home runs to come in there, mostly because there was an overhang.

I was wrong.

Rickie Weeks drilled a line drive home run that struck a table and stayed in the deck seating area, so I ran over and picked it up.  It was ball #2.

Another ball would land in the deck, but bounce back onto the field.  I really couldn’t run around in there with some people seated and eating.

After the Brewers finished up, the Pirates came out.  The batters stretched near the cage,

while the pitchers threw in the outfield near the front row of Friday’s.  Chris Resop recognized me and waved.

Joel Hanrahan looked genuinely displeased to see me.

He shook his head and shouted, “Don’t you get enough at home?!”

The only other interaction I had with a Pirates player was with Evan Meek, who saw me and asked if I had family in Milwaukee.  He also asked how long of a drive it was and who I came with.  Here he is looking up at me.

Once the gates opened, I ran upstairs to try for a home run ball in left field.  The Pirates were already batting, and the first group contained Andrew McCutchen, Ryan Doumit, and Jose Tabata.  I figured they’d be able to reach the seats.

However, they experienced a power outage, except for Doumit, but every one of his homeruns were swallowed up by the bullpen in left center.

After the first group, I walked up to the back of the bleachers, and found ball #3 tucked under a bleacher.

I made my way over to right field for the rest of the Pirates batting practice, since a majority of the team is left handed.  When I entered the bleachers, there were already several dozen fans there, but they all overlooked a ball that was in the front row, again, hidden under a bleacher.

It was ball #4 on the day.

While in right field, there was an amazing glove trick opportunity for four balls that were directly below me.

However, Euclides Rojas was in the bullpen unpacking gear, so I decided to wait.  Unfortunately for me, he then made his way over and picked up all four.  I politely asked for one, but despite being the only Pirates fan in right field, I was denied.  Every time I’ve ever asked Rojas for a ball, I’ve been glared at.  I miss old bullpen coach Luis Dorante.

Ball #5 on the day was thrown by Ross Ohlendorf, probably the most generous Pirates player.

He tossed many balls into the crowd, and was, as usual, going all out to catch every ball hit within 200 feet of him.  He had to throw the balls back in left handed, since his shoulder is injured.  His toss to me was also left handed.  It was inaccurate, over my head and to my right, but I was able to track it down before other fans got it.  “I got it Ross!” I called down.  “Thank you!”  He smiled and waved.

There was only one home run hit into the upper bleachers, and I didn’t get it.

There is a big overhang , so the lower bleachers were virtually worthless.  Many of the home runs went to center field and the Toyota Home Run Porch:

Near the end of batting practice, I glove tricked a ball in the Pirates bullpen.  It was at least 20 feet below, so it was pretty noticeable to everyone in the stadium.  The section below could be heard chanting “Go! Go! Go! Go!” as I slowly pulled my glove up with the ball tucked inside.  BP ended right after I glove tricked the ball, so I put on my backpack and went to meet up with Amy.

After BP, we walked around the stadium, exploring the concourse.

Our seats were in the upper deck, and here was one of the concourses up there.

We ended up sitting near the top of the stadium in the upper deck near the right field foul pole.

Pre game panorama:

Bernie’s Slide:

Scoreboard and roof:

Panorama during game:

After the game, we checked into our hotel, 10 minutes from the stadium.  We also scored this hotel for $25 from Priceline.  It was good too, because the price of gas keeps creeping upwards.

Today’s baseballs:

Sweet spots:

STATISTICS:
Game:  6 balls (1 hit, 1 thrown, 2 device, 2 found)
Season:  137 balls (55 hit, 34 thrown, 27 device, 20 found)
Games: 21 games
Average:  6.52 balls per game
Career:  1,259 balls
Attendance: 42,422

Amy took tons of photos.  Here’s the top three that have nothing to with my ballhawking, but were quality pics by my lovely fiancee:

#3 Jose Veras, concentrating on catching a ball during BP warm ups:

#2 Heberto “Herbie” Andrade blows a bubble

#1 Daniel McCutchen has pitched really well this year and was recently promoted to set up man to Joel Hanrahan.  The reason for his effectiveness?  This wildly distracting face upon delivering the pitch:

5-9-11 PNC Park

Today got off to a great start.

I got to the stadium around 4:25 PM or so and went down to the Riverwalk.  Look what was waiting for me. 

It was just laying there. 
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It had a nice scuff on it, so it likely bounced out of the stadium and just died in the grass.  None of the passers by noticed it.  Amazing stuff.

After a few minutes, several other ballhawks joined me on the riverwalk. 
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There were two younger ballhawks, Nick Pelescak, and another guy who stayed farther down towards the foul pole.

While there, a ball bounced out that the youngest of us grabbed, and another one bounced out that I completely misplayed.  I notice a high fly ball that looked like it had a chance.  I ran up to the wall, because it looked like it might just barely clear the wall.  It did, after bouncing at least twice in the stadium.  When the ball reappeared into my field of sight, I was to far to the left, and totally misplayed it.  I tried to dive for it, but missed the ball, and one of the ‘new’ ballhawks grabbed it.

The rest of the time we spent staring at the sky, but nothing else came out.
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When the gates opened, I ran in and found ball #2 laying on the cross aisle by the handicapped seats in left field.  A food service employee actually pointed it out to me.  He saw me sprinting, assumed I was looking for baseballs, and said, “There’s one right there.”

My third ball was hit by Steve Pearce.  It was a ball that landed in section 133 and it rolled down the stairs under the bleachers and I just waited for it and picked it up.

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Despite having empty bleachers and doing a ton of running around, Nick and I both had really sub par games.
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Here we are just coming up short on one of several scrums.
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The Pirates had put several righties in their last group, and it was a good round of BP, but after about 9 minutes, they ran off the field and the Dodgers came out.
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My fourth ball of the day came after the Dodgers came out to hit.  Here I am in my useless Dodgers gear:
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Ball #4 was a ball that rolled to the wall that I glove tricked.
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The guy in the Waner jersey below told me to give the glove tricked ball away to a kid.  I told him no.  
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The kid just got three anyway.  I hate it when people try to tell me what to do with the balls that I snag.  He clumsily got a ball, but I didn’t see him giving it away.  For the record, I gave two of my decoy balls away to kids yesterday.
In the meantime, it seems like most of the Pittsburgh ballhawks change their jerseys now.
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Dodgers BP absolutely sucked.  There was a lot of time to just stand around.
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Whenever a ball looked like it had a chance, it died and was routinely caught by one of the Dodgers pitchers.
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At 5:30, I headed over to center field,
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but found no balls there.  I stayed there for a few minutes, and had three opportunities, but failed on all three.  The first was a ball that was over my head, hit in the fourth row and bounced back onto the field.  The second was a ground rule double that bounced into the fourth row that a random fan beat me to, and the third was a ground rule double that I had tip off my glove after a fan in the front row also tried to snag it and knocked my glove out of position at the last second.
I returned to left field, talked with one of the friendly supervisors who gets a kick out of our ballhawking antics,
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and waited around for a home run.
They were few and far between.  I lost out on one scrum, 
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and the caught a Russell Mitchell home run ball on the fly for ball #5.
Here I am getting a read on the ball.
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The photo of the catch was obstructed as Nick was backing up the play.  
The ball was brand new without a spec on it.
That was it for batting practice.   Amy and I went up to the club level and ate, and made our way back down to the outfield for the beginning of the game.  Our seats were on the Clemente wall.
Before the game started, I meandered into the center field seats, but came up empty on the first inning toss up ball.  It went to the folks in the second row.
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Also, in the first inning, a ballhawk named Harold who has snagged 1,000 baseballs in 30 years had a prime opportunity to catch a home run ball off the bat of Garrett Jones.  He completely muffed it, and the ball fell back on the field.  Harold was booed mercilessly.  His botched catch caused the umpires to look at the replay and rule what should’ve been a home run a ground rule double.
Here’s Harold:
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In the top of the second inning, Jones warmed up, turned, and fired me his warm up ball.  It was ball # 6 on the day.
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#6, rubbed up, an ex-gamer:
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After that, Amy and I left to go have some time to ourselves as we have a busy week ahead of us.
Here are today’s baseballs:
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Sweet spots:
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STATISTICS:
Game:  6 balls (2 hit, 1 thrown, 1 device, 2 found)
Season:  97 balls (35 hit, 26 thrown, 22 device, 13 found)
Games: 16 games
Average:  6.06 balls per game
Career:  1,219 balls
Attendance: 11,373

4-25-11 PNC Park

Today was the make up game of Friday’s rained out contest between the Pirates and Nationals.

When the gates opened, I ran in and found my first ball of the day in the front row near the bullpen.
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I only got one other ball during the Pirates portion and it was a home run ball that probably was catchable by myself or Nick, but we both missed it and it bounced back onto the field.  Evan Meek picked it up and tossed it to me for ball #2.

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When the Pirates ran off the field, I got Daniel McCutchen to throw me a ball from center field, but it fell well short.  I was luckily able to glove trick it for ball #3.

I also glove tricked ball #4 in left field when the Nationals were hitting.

My fifth ball of the day was a home run hit by an unknown righty.  I made the clean catch here:
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I then struck up a conversation with ex-Pirate Tom Gorzelanny.  I asked him if he still had all the Dave Matthews Band CDs that I sent him a few years back.  He said yeah and then started talking to me about DMB for a bit.
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During the conversation, a batter hit a line drive that bounced on the warning track.  I snagged it as it skipped off the warning track just to my left without moving or breaking conversation with Gorzelanny. 
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I was planning on asking him for a ball, and that ground rule double had just ruined it.

Anyway, the Nationals weren’t taking much initiative in collecting the balls from the warning track, so I glove tricked ball #7 here in left field,
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and glove tricked #8 in section 141.
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I was then tipped off by ex-ballhawk Andrew McDonald about another ball, and glove tricked that one for #9.
DSC00344.JPGMy tenth ball of the day was thrown in right field by Doug Slaten, who seemingly hooked up every fan on the wall.
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After a few missed opportunities for home runs, I tracked down a Matt Stairs home run for Ball #11 that landed in the second to last row on the wall.
DSC00351.JPGThat was all for batting practice.

During the game, I decided to sit in the club seats because there was virtually no one there.  Many fans stayed home to watch the Penguins game.
425-1.JPGHere’s a view of the field from the club seats:
DSC00354.JPGI had a perfect chance at a foul ball.  The place was virtually empty.
DSC00364.JPGIn the second inning, new Pirate Brandon Wood made his bucco debut. 
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He took the first two pitches he saw.  On the third John Lannan offering, he took a rip.  He fouled the pitch off into the second deck.  I jumped out of my seat immediately and went running throw the row to try and make the catch.

I ran to the end of the next section and made the catch at the end of the row seen here:
DSC00357.JPGIt was ball #12 and my first game ball of the season.

Here’s the catch:
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And showing the ball off:
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Video:

The catch was featured on Sportscenter as a lead in to their top 10 plays.

Anyhow, it rained on and off throughout the rest of the night, so I spent some time between innings in the club level to stay dry.
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DSC00372.JPGHere are today’s baseballs:
100_9038.JPGAnd the sweet spots:
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STATISTICS:
Game:  12 balls (4 hit, 2 thrown, 5 device, 1 found)
Season:  77 balls (29 hit, 17 thrown, 21 device, 10 found)
Games: 11 games
Average:  7.00 balls per game
Career:  1,199 balls
Attendance: 12,457
2010 through 11 games: 77 balls (0 balls behind last year’s pace)

4-23-11 PNC Park

Today was a Saturday game, so gates opened at 4:30 rather than 5:00.  I was probably fourth in line or so.  Usually Nick and I play catch on the bridge, but it wasn’t closed off, so I stood and watched two older ballhawks argue about who loves baseball more.
4-23 and 4-24-11 (75).JPGOf course, there would be a threat of rain today, as a cold front passed by dangerously close to Pittsburgh, bringing storms just south of the city.  The wind was howling out to left field, which would hopefully benefit me by pushing fly balls out of the park.
4-23 and 4-24-11 (86).JPGAmy left before the gates opened to go to work on the inside of the stadium, but she took some cool pics.  This is probably my favorite:
4-23 and 4-24-11 (126).JPGWhen the stadium opened, I saw a few balls in left field on the foul line and went over to grab them.
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When I got to the spot, there were three balls there.  One was up against the fence, one was about six feet out, and one was only gettable using the glove trick.  Once I got into the seating area, I noticed Nick running right behind me, and he grabbed the one up against the fencing before I could get to it.  I was able to reach the one six feet out by leaning out over the fence and grabbing it with my glove.  I let the glove trick ball be, as I don’t like using the glove trick while the Pirates are batting.

My second ball was a ground rule double in section 134 that I snagged here:
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That would be all I would get during the Pirates batting practice.  45 minutes.  2 balls.  Poor.

Balls #3 and #4 were glove tricked off of the left field warning track.
4-23 and 4-24-11 (136).JPGMy fifth ball of the day was a home run hit by a Nationals batter.  I was starting to get blocked off by fans, so I took the open row five rows back as I tracked the ball.  It turned out that it was the perfect row and I caught the ball on the fly.
4-23 and 4-24-11 (138).JPGBall #6 was a home run that sailed over my head, hit off the facade of the general admission bleachers and carried back to the lower bleachers.  I out jumped another ballhawk and snagged the ball on the rebound.
4-23 and 4-24-11 (139).JPGMy seventh ball of the day was caught on the fly off the bat of Rick Ankiel in the third row in center field.  This was the view.
4-23 and 4-24-11 (141).JPGAnkiel lofted another fly ball two pitches later than I flat out missed.  It tipped off of my glove.  It was my worst error this year.

At 5:51, the Nationals ran off the field. 
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The was some light rain that was to arrive around 7PM, so the grounds crew wanted to make sure it had over an hour to put the tarp on the field.  It wouldn’t even start drizzling until game time.  That’s our grounds crew for you though.  It cost us about 25 minutes of batting practice.

The game was delayed an hour and eleven minutes by “rain.” 
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It actually was barely raining.  It was a little mist that terrified the grounds crew.  You can tell it was barely raining in the photo above by the amount of fans seated in the outfield sections.  If it was raining, they wouldn’t be there.

What a frustrating day.  I missed at least five balls including a game home run.  This was by far the worst ballhawking day of the year for me.

Here are today’s baseballs:
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Sweet spots:
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By the way, I injured myself after batting practice.  I had a huge bag and I filled it with 59 Andrew McCutchen Action Figurines, 59 First Pitch Magazines, and 59 Scratch and Win Cards.
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The bag was filled to the brim, so I had to carry it in front of me almost a mile to my car.  I couldn’t sling it over my shoulder.  Anyway, I ended up hurting my back, and having back spasms the rest of the night.  I couldn’t even run or jog.

The weight of the bag was about sixty pounds.  Carrying it out in front of me with my arms straight forward was definitely a work out. 
4-23 and 4-24-11 (196).JPGSTATISTICS:
Game:  7 balls (4 hit, 2 device, 1 found)
Season:  61 balls (25 hit, 11 thrown, 16 device, 9 found)
Games: 9 games
Average:  6.78 balls per game
Career:  1,183 balls
Attendance: 18,262

4-13-11 PNC Park

I got to the ballpark around 4:45 pm, and this was the scene at the Riverwalk.
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The stairs leading down were blocked off with caution tape because the Allegheny River was overflowing.  However, I went down anyway.  One ball bounced out as I arrived.  Had I been five seconds earlier I would’ve had it, but it wasn’t meant to be.

Here’s a different angle:
DSC01309.JPGMy first ball of the day once the stadium opened was snagged here.  It was a home run that I chased down here:
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The Pirates batting practice continues to be less than stellar, as they fail to reach the seats very often.  Once the Pirates were done hitting, I changed into my Brewers gear, and the action began.

The Brewers first group contained Carlos Gomez, Jonathan Lucroy, Ryan Braun, and Prince Fielder.  They hit a bunch of homers.

I snagged my second ball in section 134 off the bat Jonathan Lucroy.
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My third ball was a home run hit by Ryan Braun.  I could tell that it was going to be way over my head, so I ran back under the bleachers and snagged it under the rotunda.
DSC01313.JPGMy fourth ball was glove tricked right next to the Pirates bullpen door.
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I also saw this there:
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However, it was 5:28, and I had knocked it snug against the wall and couldn’t see it anymore, as I couldn’t lean out over the wall because of the fencing.  I gave up and let it go.  Totally forgetting about it.

I checked in right field for an easter egg or two, but there was nothing there, and I didn’t want to miss out on all the action in left field, so I returned to left.  The second group also put plenty of balls into the seat.

Rickie Weeks hit a home run ball that I chased down under the rotunda for ball #5.  And moments later, a batter that I believe was Casey McGehee hit a home run that also went under the rotunda which I tracked down.

Ball #7 of the day was a ground rule double hit by Weeks that I snagged here. 
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It was a hard hit line drive that skipped over the wall quickly, but I was able to stay with it to make the catch.

My eighth ball was a glove trick ball snagged right by the 325 sign:
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That was it for batting practice.   After batting practice, Nick tipped me off to a ball in the bullpen.  It was the same ball that I started working on at 5:28 that I had knocked against the wall.  I had totally forgotten about it.

Nick assisted me by going to the second deck of bleachers to guide me to the ball.  Remember, I couldn’t see it, because there’s a fence there, so I couldn’t see the ball below at all.  I was able to knock the ball away from the wall, and with my arm through the fence, was able to glove trick it.
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Thanks to Ian Weir for taking the picture.

Ball #10 came around 6:55 when Kevin Correia, the Pirates started finished his warm ups in the bullpen.  I asked politely for the ball, and he looked up and tossed it to me.
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Moments later, Ball #11 came from Jose Tabata in the first inning.  I noticed he was looking at a group of college aged folks, so I went and stood directly to their right.  Since I was the only one with the glove, he fired me a perfect strike.  He put some zip on the throw too. 
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Notice how small the crowd was at game time.  There was a Penguins playoff game, and I doubt that half of the 8,000 fans that bought tickets actually showed up.
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Remember those Allegheny River pictures from 4:45 pm?  The river was rising:
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Pretty cool huh?
DSC01327.JPGWell, despite the small crowds, I didn’t snag another ball.
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Here are today’s 11 baseballs:
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And the sweet spots.
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Notice that the Brewers weren’t writing those funny phrases on their baseballs like last year.  Disappointing.

STATISTICS:

Game:  11 balls (6 hit, 2 thrown, 3 device)
Season:  47 balls (17 hit, 9 thrown, 14 device, 7 found)
Games: 7 games
Average:  6.70 balls per game
Career:  1,169 balls
Attendance: 8,755

4-10-11 PNC Park

Some of you have come across my blog today from the sensational youtube video that I took.  If you’re looking for that game entry, click this LINK.

I uploaded that video last night before I went to bed, thinking that some of the regulars from my blog would get a kick out of it.  When I woke up in the morning, the video had 533 views.  I then left for the game.  (When I returned from the game, it had 26,000)

Throughout the day, I received numerous emails.  We’re talking about one every minute or so, from youtubers leaving comments.   Around 10:30am, I received an interview request from KDKA-TV.  A bit later, WPXI channel 11 contacted me. 

My first instinct was to decline the interviews, but the producers had said that many people were bashing the police, and they were sure that the Pirates and Pittsburgh Police would like me to say something.  I gave a TV interview to WPXI TV and KDKA on camera.  I wasn’t crazy with the result.  The interview was heavily edited and didn’t include any of the positive things I said about PNC Park ushers, security guards, and Pittsburgh Police.

I heavily criticized the man in the USA Jacket, calling the police action justified, and talked about how I was tired of all the fair weather baseball fans that came out for only fireworks, bobbleheads, and concerts.  I blamed the drunks for ruining the game experience for the true baseball fans.  I talked about how a fan like that has no place in PNC Park especially around little kids.

Of course, TV used snippets like, “I’d like to see what started it, etc.”

Anyhow, my blog has received over 11,000 hits today as of 9pm, and the youtube video has gone viral, amassing hundreds of thousands of views within the last two days.

Today, I did brief interviews or talked on the phone with msnbc.com, the Today show, Fox News, CNN, The Tribune Review, the CBS network, and several radio stations.  Most of them wanted permission to use my video and how to credit me.  I just asked that my blog be listed as the source, and not to use my name.

Anyway, as of 9pm, the video had 211,000 views and 1,292 comments.  Craziness.

I’d just like to say that PNC Park security had nothing to do with the arrest of the man, and they were trying to keep all fans safe by keeping them away from the maniac. 

On to the ballhawking that took place on Sunday.

I arrived 2 minutes before the gates opened and snagged my first ball of the day from Chris Resop in the bullpen as soon as I entered the park.

My second snag of the day was just behind the trash can in this picture.
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PNC Park opens the Riverwalk 30 minutes before the rest of the gates, but fans can’t access the stadium.  Not only season ticket holders.  So, all fans are confined to the outfield concourse/walkway.  Luckily, the Pirates were taking batting practice, and left handed power hitter Pedro Alvarez was up. 

He hit a home run that cleared the seats, and the blue gate.  Nick and I both were in position, and I was closer the gate, and he was a foot or two behind me.  I did a full extension leap to make the catch on the fly in the air.  It was easily my best catch of the year.

Nothing else happened as we all awaited 450 foot home runs. 
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One other ball did bounce out of the stadium far to my right, but I was beaten to it by a passerby who had a look-what-I-found moment.

Just before the stadium gates opened so that we could enter the general seating area, I watched an EMS guy pocket at least two baseballs.

Once the stadium opened, knowing that the left field bleachers had been pillaged, I headed over to foul territory.

This was waiting for me.
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Ball #3.

The Pirates batting practice was slow again, with very few home runs being hit.

I was lined up to make an easy catch, when the guy in the Colorado hat reached up with his bare hand at the last second to try to catch the ball that I had measured up. 
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His hand crashed into my glove and the ball fell onto the field.  He apologized.  I was a little annoyed, but it didn’t matter.  The ball was right below me, so I glove tricked it easily for ball #4.

Since Ty Wigginton is absolutely the laziest batting practice shagger I have ever seen, there were plenty of glove trick opportunities. 
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I glove tricked balls #5 and #6 off of the warning track.

One of them turned out to be a Salt River Fields Commemorative Ball, the third such one I had snagged in this series.
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My seventh ball of the day was this gem hiding in the bushes.
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I used a six foot long pole to dislodge the ball from the ivy, then I reached in and grabbed it.

I spent most of batting practice in center field,
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but nothing else happened, so I ended up with seven baseballs.  Not too shabby at all for a Sunday!

As for the game, the Pirates lost, and I spent most of the day in the left field bleachers.
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No, no tasings today folks.

After the game, I was interviewed.  Busy day.
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Here are today’s baseballs:
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and the sweet spots:
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STATISTICS:

Game:  7 balls (1 hit, 1 thrown, 4 device, 1 found)
Season:  36 balls (11 hit, 7 thrown, 11 device, 7 found)
Games: 6 games
Average:  6.00 balls per game
Career:  1,158 balls
Attendance: 18,043

PNC Park – Home Opener

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I arrived at PNC Park around 10 AM this morning for the Pirates Home Opener. Amy came with me, but unfortunately, she had to work the game, so I don’t have many pictures of my ballhawking today.

We walked to the stadium and were second in line behind Nick.
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Nick and I caught for about 20 minutes on the Roberto Clemente bridge. 
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Afterwards, Nick and I headed down to the Riverwalk.  While there, I was able to see seven balls in the sky heading towards the seats. 
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Eventually one of the balls bounced out of the stadium.  I dove here to snag the ball. 
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I got a little dirty, but it wasn’t too noticeable. 

Being on the board before going into the stadium is never a bad thing.

Upon entering the stadium, I heard Evan Meek call out to me.  I thought he said, “Jabs!” but I’m not sure.  Anyhow, he came over and shook my hand and asked how the offseason was and if there was anything new going on.  He asked if we were doing the Ballhawk League again, and I said yeah.

A minute later, Evan fielded a ball and turned and tired a strike to me for ball #2.
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Thanks Evan!

The Pirates players were wearing pullovers so I wasn’t able to identify all of them.  An unidentified righty hit a home run into section 134.  The ball settled under a bleacher and I scooped it up for ball #3.
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Ball #4 was chased down under the Rotunda.  Again, no clue who hit it.
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My fifth ball was another righty Pirates batter.  I snagged it off of the concrete after it bounced around a bit.  There were a few other gloves reaching for the ball, but I came away with it.
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I decided to head over to right field and center field at 11:30.  It paid off.  I found Ball #6, #7, and #8 there. 
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The Rockies had come out to hit in the meantime.

My ninth ball was glove tricked in left-center field.

I then noticed another ball in foul territory.
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I ran over and glove tricked it for ball #10.

Five minutes later, another ball was there. 

I went back to that area and glove tricked that one too for ball #11
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Ball #12 was tossed to me by Rockies ace pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez.  It helped that I had Rockies gear on and asked for the ball in Spanish.
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After snagging the ball from Jimenez, I noticed two balls in the ivy. I had forgotten my Cleveland stick, so I went to the Janitors closet and got a squeegee and prodded the ball closer to the fence so I could reach it.
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It was in terrible shape.
DSC0<br />
1156.JPG” src=”http://mlblogscountingbaseballs.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/dsc01156-thumb-550×309-2796131.jpg” class=”mt-image-center” style=”text-align:center;display:block;margin:0 auto 20px;” height=”309″ width=”550″ /></a></span><br />That was it for batting practice.  The Rockies batting practice was very poor.  Not many home runs were hit at all.</p>
<p>The game was rather uneventful.  The Pirates lost 7-1 and played sloppy defense.</p>
<p>Highlights from the game were the introductions, where the players line up on the baselines:<br /><span class=100_8828.JPG
The Pirates side:
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There was a flyover after the National Anthem.
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Here was the view from my seat, where I sat for an inning. 
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It was really crowded in left field, so I went there to read the paper for a bit.

One of the non-baseball highlights was a ‘streaker’ who took to the field in the ninth inning:

He came from the left field stands and made it across the whole field.

Despite the Pirates loss, Opening Day was productive from a ballhawking standpoint.

Here are the balls I snagged today.
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And the sweet spots:
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STATISTICS
:

Game:  13 balls (4 hit, 2 thrown, 4 device, 3 found)
Season:  22 balls (8 hit, 4 thrown, 7 device, 3 found)
Games: 3 games
Average:  7.33 balls per game
Career:  1,144 balls
Attendance: 39,219
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