Results tagged ‘ Herbie Andrade ’

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

6-17-11 Progressive Field

I booked Amy and I tickets on megabus.com for a bus headed to Cleveland for the Pirates-Indians series.  It cost me $3 to go there, and $5 for the return fare, since I booked it a couple weeks in advance.  You can’t beat that.

This was my second game of the year at Progressive Field, which is way down from last year when I attended 19.

Upon entering the stadium and looking for baseballs, I found one in Heritage Park in center field.  Unreachable with my arm, I used the ‘Cleveland stick’ to reach under the wall and snag this one.

My second ball of the day was a Travis Hafner home run that landed several rows behind me that I was able to grab before a couple of other fans.

Moments later, Hafner hit another home run that I snagged on the fly for ball #3.

A couple minutes after that, I noticed a ball land in the trees of Heritage Park.  I ran over and was able to reach in and grab it without the use of any device.

In the meantime, there were a few balls in the bullpen.  I ended up glove tricking one of them after at least 10 attempts at knocking the ball closer to the wall.  Once the ball was close enough to the wall, I reeled it in for ball #5, and was given a round of applause by those fans who watched the whole ordeal.

When the Pirates came out to hit, one of the Buccos hit a home run that landed on the bullpen roof in center field.

I used the Cleveland stick – which reaches 6 feet (plus at least three feet of my arm length) to just barely reach it.

I gave it away to a father and son who stood closeby and watched the whole thing:

The father thanked me profusely and insisted that I take six blow pops in return for the ball.

Less than a minute after snagging ball #6, Daniel McCutchen ran past while doing sprints and flipped a ball up into the stands, right to me.  I didn’t even ask for it.  Maybe it was my bright gold shirt.  Regardless, it was my seventh of the day.

I finished batting practice in left field and was tossed #8 by Jeff Karstens.  I had given up asking Jeff Karstens for balls in 2009, because he had completely ignored every request that I ever put in for a ball.  I didn’t even ask for this particular ball.  A batter hit it off the left field wall, Jeff ran over, picked it up, looked at me, and fired it right to me.

After batting practice, I was thrown ball #9 in the Pirates bullpen by bullpen catcher Herbie Andrade.

I left right after that, despite needing just one more for double digits.  Amy was waiting in the hotel, and I wanted to go out to eat with her.

We went to East 4th street, where there are a few restaurants and was seemingly the only stretch of any street in Cleveland that wasn’t abandoned and boarded up.

We ate at Zocalo – a Mexican restaurant, and it was fantastic.  The entrance was a little iffy, but everything else was first class.

From the chips, to the quesadillas, to the dessert that we shared.  A++

From the chips, to the quesadillas, to the dessert that we shared.

A++

After that, we walked back to the hotel room for a brief 15 minute pit stop, and then went back out to explore the city.  We walked around for an hour or two, and watched the fireworks after the game from the rooftop on a parking garage downtown.

Those couple hours were by far my favorite of the entire weekend trip.

Here’s today’s baseballs (8 pictures because I gave one away):

Sweet spots:

STATISTICS:
Game:  9 balls (3 hit, 3 thrown, 3 device)
Season:  227 balls (87 hit, 49 thrown, 56 device, 226 found)
Games: 37 games
Average:  6.14 balls per game
Career:  1,349 balls
Attendance: 38,549

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:

8-2-10 PNC Park

With chief competitor Nick Pelescak out of action for the next two weeks, and my favorite BP team, the Cincinnati Reds in town, I was hoping I would have a big day. 

I would – setting a personal 2010 high for balls snagged.

The day would get off to a great start.  When I ran in, I spotted a ball in the front row. 

Before I could grab it, Andy LaRoche hit a home run into the front row.  I tried to make the basket catch leaning forward over two rows, but just missed it.  My glove killed the balls’ momentum and I just needed to pick it up in the front row for ball #1.  Seconds later, I grabbed that easter egg for ball #2 in this area:
8-2-10 (2).JPG
Sweet spots: (1 was given away)
8-2-10 (22).JPG
STATISTICS:
Game:  13 balls (9 hit, 2 thrown, 1 device, 1 found)
Season:  364 balls (187 hit, 80 thrown, 43 device, 45 found)
Games: 56 games
Average:  6.50 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 5
Career:  942 balls
Streak:  152 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 15,172

7-24-10 PNC Park

Its Sunday night and I’m preparing for my trip to Cleveland to catch Alex Rodriguez’s 600th home run.  I’m pressed for time, so let’s get to it.

It was another ridiculously hot day, as the east coast sweated out another day of this heat wave.
7-24-10 (2).JPG 
Upon entering the stadium, I found ball #1 in the seats near the left field foul pole in foul territory.
7-24-10 (20).jpg
STATISTICS:
Game:  9 balls (5 hit, 1 thrown, 2 device, 1 found)
Season:  331 balls (172 hit, 73 thrown, 33 device, 44 found)
Games: 51 games
Average:  6.49 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 5
Career:  909 balls
Streak:  147 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 36,967

9-23-09 PNC Park

I missed Monday’s and Tuesday’s games due to prior commitments.  I was able to catch part of them on tv, and believe me, it was brutal.  The crowds were as sparse as I had ever seen.

On Tuesday, fellow ballhawk league member and PNC Park ballhawk league member Nick Pelescak went on a rampage.  He texted me to let me know that he had caught 11 balls during batting practice.  The recognized official PNC Park record was 13 – set by me, back on June 13th 2009.

As the night went on, Nick would get a toss up ball during the game from Andrew McCutchen and Brandon Moss.  It would come down to the players coming off of the field for Nick.  Fortunately for him, Tim Tschida tossed him a ball as he walked off the field, giving Nick Pelescak the new PNC Park ballhawk record of 14 balls snagged in one game.  After just three months, my name had been erased from the record book.

I was glad for Nick – and was more motivated than ever to do my best to get the record back.  Since about June 21st or so, around when the Indians/Pirates series began, I have put myself through a rigorous workout schedule.  Every other day I lift weights – on the off days, I run three miles.

Today, I would forego my fitness and wellbeing to stay for the entire game, and maybe, just maybe, get that record back.

Around 2:45 PM, it started to rain hard, so I was about 95% sure that batting practice would be cancelled.  At 3:30, I got a text from Nick saying the tarp was on the field.  I decided that maybe I could get three balls today from pitchers and what not – and that would be a good day.

I arrived at the stadium a little after 4 PM, and faced no traffic at all on the way in.  Pittsburgh is officially a ghost town for the next three days.  The G20 summit is here, and it has basically transformed Pittsburgh into a military state.

I went down to the riverwalk to wait for Brandon Moss, Garrett Jones, or Ryan Doumit to send one out of the stadium.  Usually, the riverwalk is bustling with people.  Typically, I am asked no less than 50 times, “What are you doing?  Trying to get a ball?  Do they ever come out here?  How many came out today?  What happens if it goes in the river?”

Today however,
photo(416).jpgGhost town.

There were military choppers flying over every so often. 
photo(417).jpg

And to my right.
photo(421).jpg
Lots of room to run.  Sometimes on Saturdays it can get quite crowded for BP, since there’s very few rows.  On days like this however – there’s plenty of room to roam.

I got ball #8 in Phillips’ next round of BP.  He launched a home run that hit half way up the rotunda facade.  Typically, I would just stand and watch the ball, since it was directly down the line.  Since no one was here, I ran over towards where the ball was going to hit – just in case of a crazy bounce.  The ball would take a huge hop off of the rotunda, and fall in Section 133, where it would roll slowly down the steps up against the green wall in the picture below.  I was able to pick it up. 
photo(438).jpg
It was about 5:45, and I had snagged 8 balls already…

However, I would get shut out for the rest of BP.  I made a bad choice on two consecutive groups.  I stayed in left field when there were two powerful lefties peppering the seats with homers.  Then, I went over to center field for the last group, but got shut out there as well.

I decided that my new goal would be to put up double digits.

I got ball #9 in the first inning from Andrew McCutchen.
photo(423).jpg
It was rather funny.  Andrew finished throwing with Brandon Moss and turned to throw the ball into the center field seats.  He stopped and laughed, almost as if he was thinking, “These guys again?”  It was basically us four ballhawks that he sees all the time.  He paused and looked at us, and then threw me the ball in Section 139.  He has probably seen me the least, since I don’t typically stick around for the games.

Speaking of center field, look how unbelievably empty it was?
photo(424).jpg
photo(425).jpgThank you G20 and the Pittsburgh Media for scaring everyone away from Pittsburgh.  And yes, those pictures were actually taken DURING the game!

I would try every inning for another warm up ball from an outfielder so I could record a double digit game.  In the second inning, Nick caught Moss’ warm up ball. 

In the third, I went back to center field, but changed my appearance, taking off my Pirates Tshirt and wearing my black under armor compression shirt.  I also put on some ugly visor I had won after BP.  I was hoping he wouldn’t recognize me and throw me another ball.  No luck. 

In the fourth, Moss threw his ball to an older ballhawk on the right field wall who misplayed it, and the ball bounced into a teenager’s hand. 

In the fifth, I tried again with my altered appearance, but McCutchen threw it to some girl. 

The sixth inning rolled around, and I was the only person that stood up for Moss when he looked for someone to throw it to.  It helped that there were maybe 20 people sitting on the entire right field wall.  After scanning the crowd, he tossed me ball #10.
photo(426).jpgThank you Brandon!

I kept playing for more toss up balls in every inning.  In the ninth, with my altered image, I was able to trick McCutchen into throwing me another one.  I doubt he recognized that I was the same guy who he threw a ball to in the first inning.  He lobbed it up, and I took a few steps to my right and made the catch.  It was ball #11.

After catching each warm up ball, I switched the ball with an extra ball I had brought from home.  In the past, I had been given guff by ushers or non friendly season ticket holders for catching too many outfield warm up balls.  Now, I make sure that I hand the “decoy” balls to a little kid right in front of an usher or supervisors.  I’m hoping they’ll think, “That guy’s alright.”  I’ve got a whole box of them at home.  They are balls given to me by friends who agreed in the past to pay for their tickets to games with the balls they’ve caught.  Those balls obviously aren’t marked and don’t count in my stats.  Their sole purpose is to use to give away.

After getting McCutchen’s warm up ball, smoothing keeping it in my glove, while slipping the decoy ball out of my pocket and tossing it to a kid, I left the outfield with Nick to go to the dugout area.  On our way towards the main concourse we were stopped by a kind usher.  He told me something along the lines about how nice it was that I gave a ball to a kid and offered me a ball.  Of course I took it.  It counts.  An usher is a paid employee of the Pirates, not a fan, and balls given away by ushers, trainers, security guards count.  It was ball #12.  He told me that he had retrieved the ball from center field earlier and that it had gotten soaked when it rained earlier this morning.  The ball was certainly heavy, so I put it in my bag, and will hold off on numbering it until it dries out.

Nick was with me and noted, “You’re only two away now.”

I would need a miracle.

Enter Jayson Nix.

I sat down in the box seats and waited for the game to end.

My view (notice how utterly vacant the outfield seats are.)
photo(427).jpg
The view to my left.

And to my right.
photo(429).jpg
Plenty of room to run.

Nix would foul off a 1-0 pitch from Virgil Vazquez that would land in an aisle of the Lexus Club seats.
photo(430).jpg
As soon as the ball was hit, I was off.    The ball bounced off the concrete, and took a high hop in the air.  I was closing in on the ball and reached out and caught the ball out of the air.  It was my first career foul ball, and my first game ball of 2009. 

Not only that, but it was my 13th ball of the game.

Even more, it was my 200th hit ball snagged of 2009.

Guess what else?  Remember Nick Pelescak?  Guess who hit his first career foul ball which he caught earlier in the season?  Yeah, Laynce Nix.  And who’s PNC Park single ball record was I chasing?  Nick Pelescak’s.  Somehow fate had taken over.

Here’s a shot from Reds TV of where the ball landed.  I’m wearing the black under armor shirt with my hat on backwards:
foul ball STO.jpg
And a shot from FSN Pittsburgh, as I’m reaching out to make the catch:
foul ball fsn.jpg
I just needed to get a ball from Bob Davidson, and I would have my name back in the PNC Park record book, sharing Nick’s record.

The Pirates would go on to lose the game, and I tried my best to get Davidson to toss me a ball.  He looked directly at me, but tossed four balls to other kids. 

I quickly ran over to the Pirates dugout to try and get a ball from someone.

Didn’t happen.

I waited for the Pirates bullpen pitchers to come in.  Only Matt Capps had a ball, and he tossed it to a little kid.

All of the players had exited the field. 

All of the fans had left the stadium. 

A security guard came over and told me I had to leave.  However, I noticed that Herbie Andrade, the bullpen catcher, still hadn’t come in.  I bargained with the security guard to just let me wait for “that player,” and then I would be gone.

Herbie walked slowly in, lugging a huge bag of equipment over one shoulder, and carrying another burdonsome bag in the other. 

The entire stadium was basically empty now, except for me (standing in the front row above the tunnel), and Nick, who was standing a few rows behind me.

Herbie probably wondered, “What the F is wrong with these guys?” 

I felt awkward, so I spoke to him in Spanish.

“Tienes algunas pelotas extras para mi, Herbie?”

He paused and fumbled around with the bags.  Noticing that he was going to give me a ball, I continued, “Muchisimas Gracias.  Eres el hombre.”

He the tossed me ball #14.  I bid him farewell with, “Hasta manana.”  Seriously, Herbie is an awesome guy.

My friend Nick couldn’t believe my luck.  Within 1 inning, from the beginning of the 9th to the end of the game, I had snagged four balls.

I wanted one more shot at snagging a ball.  There was only one place to go.

Outside to the tall grass that was buzzing with insects.

I searched.
photo(432).jpg
I stomped around hoping to step on a ball.
photo(433).jpg
I continued to search.
photo(434).jpg
After about 10 minutes of searching, fearing I would be arrested as a suspected g20 terrorist, and feeling bugs crawling on my legs, I relented.

Did the thought of jumping into the river and swimming 17 feet down, feeling around for a ball, and grabbing it to get 15 for the night cross my mind? Yes.

Did I jump in the river and actually try it?  No.

Nick and I would share the PNC Park record of 14. 

Here’s today’s PNC Park record tying and personal best baseballs:
photo(436).jpgAnd the sweet spots:  (the usher ball is not numbered yet because it is soaked):
photo(435).jpg
And a look at my first career foul ball snagged, and first game ball of 2009:
photo(437).jpg

STATISTICS:
Game:  14 balls (8 hit, 6 thrown)
Season:  375 balls (200 hit, 112 thrown, 63 device)
Games: 76 games (8 of which didn’t have BP)
Average:  4.93 balls per game
Career:  541 balls
Streak:  91 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance:  15,980 (couldn’t have been more than 2,000-3,000 that actually showed)
Race for 400 in 2009:  Need 25 in 5 games,  5.0 per game (This could be do-able…)

5-5-09 PNC Park

100_1175.jpgHappy Cinco de Mayo!

I attended today’s game with my wife.  I had to wait for her to get home for work, so we didn’t get to the stadium until 4:55 PM, just in time before the 5 PM gate opening.

Usually I get 1 ball during the Pirates portion during the week (they only hit for about 10-15 more minutes after the gates open).  Today, though, I had 4 balls by 5:04.  I’ve never gotten off to a start like that in my life.

Ball #1 was tossed from Nyjer Morgan. 
100_1156.jpg
STATISTICS:
Game:  10 balls (4 hit, 4 thrown, 2 device)
Season:  84 balls (32 hit, 43 thrown, 9 device)
Games: 16 games (13 with BP, 3 without)
Average:  5.25 balls per game
Career: 250 balls
Attendance: 9,775

5-3-09 PNC Park

100_1131.jpg
It rained for most of the morning in Pittsburgh, in fact, it was still raining when I arrived at the ballpark at 11 AM.  This could mean only one thing:  no batting practice.  I was faced with possibly being shut out for the first time since August 2008. 

When the stadium opened the gates to the seating areas at 11:30, I went over to the left field foul line.  The rain had subsided.  Several bullpen pitchers from the Pirates were warming up.  I placed myself behind John Grabow and Ross Ohlendorf and waited for an overthrow.
100_1112.jpg
Directly to me.  I didn’t even have to move. 
Its not like he randomly tossed the ball up and I got into a scrum and stole the ball away from ticketed patrons.  He usually picks out people.  I caught the ball, waved thanks, turned and left the section.  I could hear some snooty lady and her rotund husband getting on the usher.  “He doesn’t have a ticket.  He shouldn’t be allowed to do that.  Don’t let him back in here. Check his ticket.”  Blah blah blah.

I went over to left field for the fourth inning to try and get a warm up ball from Nyjer.  I avoided the right field seats thanks to the afore mentioned rudest-usher-in-PNC-Park.

Left Field has a lot more sections and people, so I had very little chance.  The ball went to a group of people near the foul pole.

Inning 5.  I went back to center field.  I stood at the far edge of Section 140, away from the snotty lady.  I looked over and they were both staring directly at me.  I stared right back at them. I should’ve walked over and offered their spoiled kid a ball.  “Excuse me, would you like a ball? ….. Then bring a glove!” and walk away.    That’s what I felt like doing, I was in such a bad mood.

I didn’t get the 5th inning ball because it was tossed to the second row.  Predictably, the ball fell back onto the field.  The same thing happened in the seventh inning.  That’s why Nate prefers to throw the ball deep. 

Anyway, the miserable family got on the usher again after the fifth inning because 3 of us ballhawks entered the section.  The usher came over and told me that I wasn’t allowed to try for warm up balls anymore.  He said come back and try tomorrow when there’s different people around.   He told Nick and Bryan the same thing.  If you’re wondering, here’s what those “folks” looked like:
100_1122.jpg(To be civil, I am editing this paragraph from what I originally wrote.  I’ve taken out most of the colorful adjectives I originally had written.)  Its the guy eating, his son, and the lady in the orange.
100_1126.jpgI could’ve tried in the seventh and ninth, but out of respect for the ushers, I went and sat behind the Reds dugout to see if I could get some foul balls.  There are nice ushers at PNC Park, the ones in center field were just doing their job because the supervisor somehow got involved.

I didn’t get any foul balls, and I got shut out at the Reds dugout, so my day ended on a sour note.

To make it worse, the Pirates looked awful again, getting shut out.  They haven’t hit a home run now in a week. 

Adam LaRoche’s body language tells the whole story:
100_1130.jpg
A few shots from the game:
Johnny Cueto deals to Nyjer Morgan:
100_1121.jpg
Evan Meek (a big Dave Matthews Band fan):
100_1128.jpg
Jesse Chavez (tossed me my first ball of the day:
100_1133.jpg
Today’s baseballs:
100_1134.jpg
And the sweet spots:
100_1135.jpg
STATISTICS:
Game:  3 balls (3 thrown)
Season:  67 balls (26 hit, 34 thrown, 7 device)
Games:  14 games (11 with BP, 3 without)
Average:  4.79 balls per game
Career:  233 balls
Attendance: 13,670

5-2-09 PNC Park

100_1095.jpgToday was fireworks and Polish night, so I wasn’t sure how crowded it would be.  Luckily, only 22,891 came out, so batting practice was fairly sparse for a Saturday.

I got into line at 3:30 (an hour before the gates were to open), and was the 8th person in the stadium.  I was the third one into the bleachers.  There were 2 easter eggs, but another ballhawk got them first.

About 10 minutes or so passed with no action.  I noticed a ball roll directly to the fence where the stands jut out towards the foul line in left field.  I decided to vacate my spot and go grab the ball.  I ran up the escalator to the main concourse, and then down the stairs and reached over the fence and grabbed ball #1.  Then, I immediately went back to the bleachers.  I snapped this picture when I returned to the bleacher area to illustrate where the ball was.  (The small yellow X)
100_1090.jpg
STATISTICS:
Game:  6 balls (3 hit, 2 thrown, 1 device)
Season: 64 balls (26 hit, 31 thrown, 7 device)
Games:  13 games (11 with BP, 2 without)
Average:  4.92 balls per game
Career:  230 balls
Average:  22,891

5-1-09 PNC Park

100_1062.jpg
After a six day lay off to get better after my 4/25 ankle injury, I got back into action today.  I arrived at the gates at 4:10 or so, and was 3rd in line.

When the gates opened, I ran into the bleachers and immediately found ball #1, laying in the front row of section 138.  I walked around in each section before turning my attention to the action on the field, and found another Easter egg in Section 136 about 5 rows back, it was ball #2

The Pirates were hitting for about 10 more minutes, and then the Reds were going to hit.  Near the end of the Pirates portion of Batting Practice, Karstens threw a ball to a kid about 6 rows back.  Either the throw was a little off, and the kid completely missed the ball.  It ricocheted right to me, ball #3.  I was then faced with the choice of keeping the ball, or giving it to the kid.  I decided to be charitable and glove flipped the ball to the kid, who thanked me.

The Reds then came out to hit.  At the end of the Pirates portion of batting practice, a Pirate had thrown a ball into the crowd that someone misplayed.  The ball was laying on the edge of the warning track.  I didn’t even think about doing the glove trick, because it was directly in the sight line of a security guard. 

I changed into my Reds gear, and stood in the front row directly in front of the ball, and waited.  Jerry Hairston came over to left center field.

He walked over, and without hesitation flipped me ball #4.
100_1059.jpg
STATISTICS:
Game:  8 Balls (4 hit, 4 thrown)
Season:  58 Balls (23 hit, 29 thrown, 6 device)
Games:  12 Games (10 with BP, 2 without)
Average:  4.83 Balls per Game
Career:  224 Balls
Attendance:  14,238

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 128 other followers