Results tagged ‘ Joel Hanrahan ’

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:

8-23-10 PNC Park

We were lucky to get batting practice in today.  There was a steady drizzle from 4 PM until the first few minutes of batting practice, but to the Pirates’ credit, they allowed BP to continue.

My first ball was tossed to me by a worker.  I spotted the ball laying on a bleacher and ran over to claim it.  A worker from one of the concession stands was walking by and picked it up and flipped it to me.

My second ball was a home run caught on the fly in this area off the bat of Delwyn Young.
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Ball #3 was tossed up by Pirates’ closer and all around good-guy Joel Hanrahan.  Here’s Joel having some fun with a fan’s rain gear:
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STATISTICS:
Game:  7 balls ( 2 hit, 3 thrown, 2 device )
Season:
  478 balls (238 hit, 106 thrown, 68 device, 66 found)
Games: 74 games
Average:  6.46 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 5
Career:  1,056 balls
Streak:  170 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 12,393
Balls in the month of August:  127 (12 needed to break 1 month record)
Balls needed to break single season record: 65

8-20-10 PNC Park

Another sunny day in Pittsburgh got out to a great start thanks to Joel Hanrahan.
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He threw me ball #1 near the beginning of batting practice, and then went on a generous binge of tossing balls to virtually every fan in attendance during the Pirates STH only time.  I believe every ball he shagged was flipped into the bleachers.    As a side note, Hanrahan’s toss to me was my 100th thrown ball of 2010. 

Ball #2 was a home run from Lastings Milledge that hit a bleacher and popped up into the air about 10 feet.  I snagged it when it was on the way back down.

Ball #3 was also a home run hit by Milledge.  It was hit deep over my head, and I had to dive on the concrete underneath this stairway
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STATISTICS:
Game:  7 balls ( 3 hit, 2 thrown, 1 device, 1 found )
Season:  465 balls (234 hit, 101 thrown, 62 device, 62 found)
Balls in the month of August:  114
Games: 71 games
Average:  6.55 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 5
Career:  1,043 balls
Streak:  167 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 23,695
Balls in the month of August:  114 (25 needed to break 1 month record)
Balls needed to break single season record: 79

8-18-10 PNC Park

I got on the board before the gates opened today.

I was standing on the Riverwalk waiting for a home run to land on the concourse, but left around 4:50 to head back up to the gate.  Just as I left, a passerby informed me that I had just missed one.  I turned and saw fellow ballhawk Nick Pelescak knee deep in the weeds, frantically searching for a ball. 

I turned around and jogged back and joined in the search.  After a minute, I found the ball in the weeds, for my first ball of the day.
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Upon entrance to the left field bleachers, I noticed a ball land near the foul pole, so I ran over and scooped that one up for ball #2.
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STATISTICS:
Game:  7 balls ( 4 hit, 2 thrown, 1 found )
Season:  454 balls (228 hit, 98 thrown, 61 device, 61 found)
Balls in the month of August:  103
Games: 69 games
Average:  6.58 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 5
Career:  1,032 balls
Streak:  165 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 12,242

8-17-10 PNC Park

Luck wasn’t on my side today.  There were at least 8-10 balls that I came up two feet short or less of snagging.  Either balls that were just out of my reach, or snatched up at the last second by random fans.

That said, I did find ball #1 laying near the bullpen when I ran in to get on the board early.

I managed to get Sean Gallagher to toss me a ball, but the ball sailed high, and despite my best effort to catch it by hopping up on a bleacher, it tipped off of my glove and landed several rows behind me.

I tried to grab the ball, but this ballhawk raced over and grabbed it a split second before I could, despite the ball clearly being tossed to me.
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He also cut my arm with his long fingernails.
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STATISTICS:
Game:  6 balls ( 2 hit, 2 thrown, 1 device, 1 found )
Season:  447 balls (224 hit, 96 thrown, 61 device, 60 found)
Balls in the month of August:  96
Games: 68 games
Average:  6.57 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 5
Career:  1,025 balls
Streak:  164 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 14,156

8-8-10 PNC Park

My plan for today was to go and search the Riverwalk weeds/tall grass for baseballs.  If I found one, my streak in tact, I would enter the stadium and try and get a few more baseballs, regardless of if there was batting practice or not.

There were a good number of balls that left the stadium the previous two days, and I had not yet searched outside to see if any got caught up in the grass.

After about five minutes of searching, I saw this:
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It was ball #1.
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STATISTICS:
Game:  5 balls (3 thrown, 1 device, 1 found)
Season:  408 balls (211 hit, 91 thrown, 52 device, 54 found)
Games: 62 games
Average:  6.58 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 5
Career:  986 balls
Streak:  158 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 22,716

8-7-10 PNC Park

It was a Saturday game at PNC Park – but it was also a Skyblast (Fireworks + George Thorogood concert), so there would be a sellout crowd on hand today.

My goal was to snag seven balls to give me 400 on the season.

I was second in line at the gate and was the first one into the bleachers.  There wasn’t anything going on in the cage, but a few Pirates must’ve taken some early swings because I found two balls laying in the front row here:
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I then made my way over to foul territory as a few of the Pirates position players were warming up.  New Pirates catcher Chris Synder threw me his ball as he walked off the field for ball #3.
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STATISTICS:
Game:  10 balls (6 hit, 1 thrown, 1 device, 2 found)
Season:  403 balls (211 hit, 88 thrown, 51 device, 53 found)
Games: 61 games
Average:  6.61 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 5
Career:  981 balls
Streak:  157 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 38,147

8-3-10 PNC Park

There was a threat of rain throughout batting practice today.

In fact, it rained lightly for at least 15 minutes, usually a death sentence for batting practice at PNC Park.  The groundscrew was certainly ready to pull the plug.
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But we made it through and got a full BP today.

Upon entering, I found ball #1 laying in the front row near the foul pole.
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Throughout the rest of the game, I split time between left and right field, but Lastings Milledge was being inconsistent with his mid inning
toss ups.  Sometimes he would throw the ball to the crowd, other times he was content to let the bullpen pitcher take it. 

I decided to try Tabata one more time in the 8th inning.  I took my hat off to alter my appearance, hoping he wouldn’t remember me from four innings early.

It worked.  Tabata fired another ball right to me for ball #10 in the 8th.  Thanks Jose.
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The Pirates would go on to win the game as Joel Hanrahan earned his first save as a Pirate.

Here are today’s baseballs:
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Sweet spots:
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STATISTICS:
Game:  10 balls (5 hit, 4 thrown, 1 found)
Season:  374 balls (192 hit, 84 thrown, 43 device, 46 found)
Games: 57 games
Average:  6.56 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 5
Career:  952 balls
Streak:  153 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 13,623

7-22-10 PNC Park

I got a Club level seat tonight.  The last time (link) I sat in the Club level, I caught two foul balls, and the visiting team was the Milwaukee Brewers.  This was the Brewers final game at PNC Park this year.
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Batting Practice was very frustrating.

I only got two balls during the Pirates portion.  One was a Lastings Milledge home run that landed underneath the left field rotunda. 
100_3488.JPG(Ball #3 says Blood Pressure Rising, which I responded “You’re telling me,” after snagging it – in regards to the frustrating BP)

STATISTICS:
Game:  6 balls (4 hit, 1 thrown, 1 device)
Season:  318 balls (171 hit, 71 thrown, 32 device, 44 found)
Games: 49 games
Average:  6.49 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 5
Career:  896 balls
Streak:  145 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 18,715

7-20-09 PNC Park

There was some rain forecast for today, but when I arrived at the ballpark at 3:55, the sun was shining, and there were only a few measly clouds in the sky.

While standing in line, I noticed a Brewers fan who randomly had a MLB baseball.  He didn’t have a glove or a bag or anything.  He had just walked up from the Riverwalk area.  Had he just gotten a ball out by the river?  Possibly.

Rather than standing there, I decided to head down to the Allegheny River and see if I could get on the board before the gates even opened.  There is some tall grass landscaping on a slope that leads down to a 20 foot wide walkway which borders the river.  Occasionally balls will get stuck in there that get hit out of the stadium or bounce on the stadium.  I looked, but found nothing.
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I stood outside the stadium until 4:50, when I returned to line.  There was only one ball that I saw that had a realistic chance.  I caught it out of the corner of my eye and watched it hit the top of the Clemente wall and stay in the ballpark.  Like clockwork, within a minute, an usher appeared and picked up the ball.

When I returned to the line at 4:50, it began to drizzle.  Great.  Just great.

The drizzle was persistant, and was rather annoying.  I was worried that the groundscrew would put the tarp on the field and batting practice would be canceled.  Luckily, this wasn’t the case.  The rain was light enough that it allowed BP to continue. 

I got ball #1 of the day from Joel Hanrahan.  He fielded a ball, and didn’t throw it back towards the infield, so I stood in the front row with my glove up for about a minute.  He finally decided he didn’t want the ball anymore, and fired it at me.  It was a little high and away, but I was on the board.

I got ball #2 from Mike Defelice.  I remembered Shawn from Milwaukee giving me the tip of calling him Deefer.  It worked.

There wasn’t a ton of home runs hit.  And its a shame too, because there weren’t many people there during the first 30 minutes of season ticket holder time only. 
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STATISTICS:
Game:  3 balls (1 hit, 2 thrown)
Season: 238 balls (125 hit, 78 thrown, 38 device)
Games:  49 games (5 of which didn’t have BP)
Average:  4.86 balls per game
Career: 404 balls
Attendance:  11,471 (very April/May’ish attendance figure)

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