Results tagged ‘ Lastings Milledge ’

7-1-10 PNC Park

The Phillies were in town today for game 1 of a four game series.  Unfortunately for me, their fans travel well, and many arrived early for batting practice.

To make matters worse, the security ticket scanner, who only permits season ticket holders into the left field bleachers wasn’t at his post.  In fact, he didn’t show up until 5:11, allowing a steady stream of Phillies fans and non season ticket holders to stroll on in and crowd up the bleachers.
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I got my first ball during the Pirates’ first group off the bat of Delwyn Young.  He hit a ball that landed in the section directly next to the foul pole.  I ran over as three other folks converged towards the back of the section where the ball had landed. 

I realized though that the ball was rolling down towards the front row, so I quickly reversed course and ran down to the front row, where I picked up ball #1.

My second ball came from the next Pirates’ group and off the bat of Lastings Milledge.

The ball bounced off the concrete and took a hop up into the rotunda.  Several folks were frantically looking around, their heads swiveling hoping to pick up the ball.  I knew exactly where it was.  It had gotten caught up on the rotunda.  I took off and ran up the lower ring of the Rotunda, and there it was:
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STATISTICS:

Game:  4 balls (3 hit, 1 found)
Season:  272 balls (146 hit, 64 thrown, 26 device, 37 found)
Games: 42 games
Average:  6.48 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career:  850 balls
Streak:  138 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 25,323

6-19-2010 PNC Park

Today would be my first Saturday with batting practice at PNC Park.  All of the other days featured rain that wiped out BP.

I ran in just behind Nick Pelescak only to be stopped at the bullpen entrance to the left field bleachers by a security working who refused to allow anyone into the bleachers, despite many of us holding our Season Ticket Holder cards.  “We have to scan your tickets,” he said nervously as we all glared at him.

In the meantime, three balls flew into the bleachers.  I had my eye on one next to the bullpen, but Nick Pelescak put a verbal claim on it, so I would instead look for another ball that hit about three rows in.  It paid off.

When the man with the scanner came and finally let us all in, I ran in and found ball #1 in the front row, ball #2 in the front row another section over, and ball #3 in the left field corner.
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What a great start!

Ball #4 was a home run hit by Ryan Doumit.  It hit in the handicapped seats behind me and popped up in the air, right to me.

Ball #5 was thrown to me by Octavio Dotel.  Here he stands and watches another ballhawk use the glove trick. 
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STATISTICS:
Game:  9 balls (3 hit, 1 thrown, 5 found)
Season:  243 balls (129 hit, 60 thrown, 22 device, 32 found)
Games: 37 games
Average:  6.57 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career:  821 balls
Streak:  133 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 38,008

6-17-10 PNC Park

Had a good day today at PNC Park.

Shortly after running into the bleachers and finding zero easter eggs, Garrett Jones hit a ground rule double down the line that landed in the section to my right.  I ran over and claimed ball #1 as it rolled down the stairs after bouncing off a bleacher.
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My second ball was a Ronny Cedeno home run catch.  He hit a towering fly ball that I ran a section and a half to my right and made the clean catch in the third row back.
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As for the game, the outfield was crowded so I didn’t get close on any of the between inning toss ups from the outfielders.

The Pirates would also go on to lose their eleventh game in a row.

Tomorrow should be an interesting day – I’ll be in the park
extra early – details to come.

Today’s baseballs: (10 are pictured because one was given away)
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Sweet spots: (10 are pictured because #804 was given away)
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STATISTICS:
Game:  11 balls (8 hit, 1 thrown, 2 device)
Season:  226 balls (122 hit, 57 thrown, 21 device, 26 found)
Games: 35 games
Average:  6.46 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career:  804 balls
Streak:  131 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 23,170

6-16-10 PNC Park : Pedro Alvarez debut

The Pirates #1 prospect finally arrived in the major leagues.  He didn’t hit too many home runs in batting practice, but did hit one that cleared everything and sailed over section 139 in dead center on its way to the river.

As for my day, it got off to a good start.

I found ball #1 laying in the front row in left field when I ran in.

A few minutes later I got ball #2 from assistant pitching coach Ray Searage in left field. 
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He did a no look toss that fell about two rows short to me, but no one else was in the vicinity, so I had to to recover and get the ball.

My third ball of the day was a Lastings Milledge home run caught on the fly in this area:
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This made toss ups difficult, and the closest I came was probably five feet from a McCutchen toss up in the 5th inning, but it didn’t happen.

By the way, here’s video of Pedro’s first major league at bat:

Here are today’s baseballs:
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Sweet spots:
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STATISTICS:
Game:  9 balls (4 hit, 3 thrown, 2 found)
Season:  215 balls (114 hit, 56 thrown, 19 device, 26 found)
Games: 34 games
Average:  6.32 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career:  793 balls
Streak:  130 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 15,218

6-15-10 PNC Park

Let’s get right to it.

Ball #1 was a ground rule double hit by Lastings Milledge that I snagged on the bounce near the foul pole.  It was ball #200 on the season.

Ball #2 was a home run hit by Lastings Milledge.  The ball actually would’ve been ruled a ground rule double because I ran down to the front row and leaned out over the wall to make this catch.

At 5:30, I chose to run over to right field to look for baseballs.
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I found ball #3 there and ran back to left.

Ball #4 was a ground rule double that an unknown White Sox batter hit.  I got up on the bleacher in the fourth row and fully extended to make this play.

Ball #5 was somewhat of a ‘scrum ball.’  A White Sox player hit a home run that hit off of the rotunda and ended up rolling to this wheelchair section.  One ballhawk dove over the railing and landed flat on the concrete on his stomach, his outstretched hand six inches from the ball.  I hopped over the railing and landed next to the ball, landing and grabbing the ball in one motion.

Alex Rios put on an absolute show during batting practice.

Ball #6 and #7 were caught on the fly off of his bat.

I ended with seven balls.  I should’ve had at least three more.  I was robbed three times, was lazy and didn’t move on one ball that trickled down right to where I would’ve been standings, and had another ballhawk glove trick two balls that I would’ve tricked myself had I been closer to the bullpen.

After batting practice I won a seat upgrade to right behind home plate.  I’d only stay in that area for a few innings before heading back to the outfield.

Here’s a few pictures from that location…
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The Pirates would go on to lose the game, their ninth in a row.  That means they now trail the Orioles by 6 games in the mild card, or race for the worst record in baseball.

After the game, they would bring up their top prospect Pedro Alvarez, which begs the question, why wasn’t this done on their off day yesterday?  So he could go 0-3 in the minors today?  Stupid. 

From ESPN.com:

Although Alvarez, 23, has significantly upgraded what previously was
a weakness — hitting left-handers — Huntington said a few hours
before the team’s latest loss that there are areas that need improving
before Alvarez is major league-ready.

Apparently, the Pirates changed their minds in only a few hours’ time.

“He’s
not going to be an accomplished player in all areas when he comes up,
but no player is,” Huntington said. “We’re looking forward to his
arrival here in Pittsburgh, whether it’s this week, next week or next
month. It’s going to happen here at some point, pending health and the
continuation of his progress and development.”

Who is going to get released?  We’ll find out tomorrow.  I sincerely HOPE it’s Ryan Church. 

In other news, John Russell is on the hot seat.  LINK

And, Ike Davis hit a home run ball in Cleveland tonight that I would’ve been all over.  LINK

Here are today’s baseballs:
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Sweet spots:
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STATISTICS:
Game:  7 balls (6 hit, 1 found)
Season:  206 balls (110 hit, 53 thrown, 19 device, 24 found)
Games: 33 games
Average:  6.24 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career:  784 balls
Streak:  129 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 12,693

6-1-10 PNC Park

Today was a little more difficult than yesterday, because far fewer balls were hit into the stands.  Sometimes it just goes that way.

My first ball of the day was off the bat of Lastings Milledge.  He hit a home run that popped out of my glove and I had to scoop up.  I’ve had some bad luck the past few days with balls popping out.  It might be time to get rid of the 40 feet of string that fills up the inside of my glove.

The second ball was another Milledge hit.  This time it was a ground rule double that bounced over the fence.  I ran to my right, and caught the ball barehanded as it bounced off a bleacher.
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My third ball of the day was thrown by bullpen catcher Heberto Andrade.  Someone on the Pirates hit a deep home run that hit off of the steel support of the general admission bleachers.  Herbie looked at the ball for a minute, and then turned and fired the ball to me.

Ball #4 was glove tricked in front of the State Farm sign in left field.
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STATISTICS:
Game:  7 balls (2 hit, 4 thrown, 1 device)
Season:  159 balls (90 hit, 40 thrown, 11 device, 18 found)
Games: 25 games
Average:  6.36 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career:  737 balls
Streak:  121 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 11,334

5-31-10 PNC Park

Today was Memorial Day, and there was an autograph session of former Pirates that would begin at 11:30 when the gates were to open.  So, the line to get into batting practice was easily the longest I’ve seen it all season.

And I was near the end of it.
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When I finally got in, I managed to get two balls rather quickly from the lone pitcher who was in the outfield, Chris Jackubauskus.  He tossed me ball #1 from about 100 feet away or so, then began tossing balls to the other folks in the outfield.  The second ball came when he overthrew a group of people in the front row.  I was right there to pick it up.
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STATISTICS:
Game:  4 balls (1 hit, 3 thrown)
Season:  152 balls (88 hit, 36 thrown, 10 device, 18 found)
Games: 24 games
Average:  6.33 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career:  730 balls
Streak:  120 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 20,235

5-10-2010 PNC Park

It was another great day at PNC Park for me. 

There wasn’t a very big crowd, so there was plenty of room to run around during batting practice. 
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I would snag five balls during the Pirates portion of batting practice. 

Ball #1 was off the bat of Andy LaRoche.  It was a ground rule double that I snagged on the hop.

My second and third balls were off the bat of Lastings Milledge.  The second ball was a home run that I snagged after it bounced off a handicap seat, and the third was a ground rule double that bounced over the fence right next to the foul pole.

There was no pitchers in the outfield today, which was good.  They see the regulars get many home run balls and refuse to toss balls to us.  Delwyn Young was patrolling left field today, and I got him to toss me ball #4.
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That was it for me.    I should’ve stayed as Ronny Cedeno hit a home run that bounced onto the lowest rung of the Left Field Rotunda.  I would’ve defi
nitely snagged that ball, as I’m used to running up the ramp from my experience in batting practice. 

There was probably less than 5,000 people that actually attended the game as there was a Penguins playoff game.
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Here’s today’s baseballs:
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And the sweet spots:
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STATISTICS:
Game:  11 balls (8 hit, 2 thrown, 1 found)
Season:  113 balls (69 hit, 23 thrown, 10 device, 12 found)
Games: 15 games
Average:  7.53 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career:  691 balls
Streak:  111 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance:  9,045

5-7-2010 PNC Park

Since today is a Friday, I thought that it might by a little more difficult than the other two days this week, where I had snagged 8 and 10 balls. 

The Cardinals can be a tricky team to deal with due to their hitting approach.  Twice last year I only snagged one ball in games that the Pirates played the Cardinals.  My best game against the Cardinals was a 9 ball performance on May 12, 2009.  I would break that today.

My first ball was a Steve Pearce ground rule double that bounced over the fence and I caught in the second row.  It was career ball #6-6-6.  Hopefully the dubious distinction of being tied to that ball number doesn’t jinx Pearce in the big leagues.

Ball #2 was another ground rule double off the bat of Lastings Milledge, and ball #3 was a home run that I had to battle the sun for, and made the catch in the aisle way between section 136 and 137.

Near the end of the group, I got two balls within 10 seconds of each other.  Both were from Lastings Milledge.  He hit a home run that I caught on the fly, and as soon as I made the catch and started drifting back to my right to go to my spot, another home run was hit to my right.  I sprinted over and picked the ball up as it was trickling down the bleachers.

The Pirates finished up at 5:26.  The Cardinals began hitting.

I glove tricked ball #6 in left field, as none of the Cardinals’ shaggers had made it over to left field yet.

I then ran over to center field and found ball #7 in the center field seats. 

I returned to left field and got a home run from an unknown Cardinals player .  The ball hit two sections from the foul pole and ricocheted like a rocked directly at me.  I actually caught the ball between my side and my forearm, as I didn’t have enough time to react.  That was ball #8, and it was only 5:38, exactly half way through batting practice.
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Would I be able to continue this pace and challenge the PNC Park Jabs/Pelescak record of 14. 

No. 

Things slowed way down, as people started blocking off the rows, and limiting my range.

I did catch a Nick Stavinoha home run on the fly in section 137. 
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STATISTICS:
Game:  10 balls (8 hit, 1 device, 1 found)
Season:  97 balls (61 hit, 16 thrown, 10 device, 11 found)
Games: 13 games
Average:  7.46 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career:  675 balls
Streak:  109 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance:  16,473

4-21-10 PNC Park (Lightning Strikes Twice)

The day didn’t start off on the right foot, as I was a few minutes late to batting practice.  Fellow ballhawk Nick Pelescak already had seven balls by the time I entered the stadium.  Amazing.

I had some work to do to catch up, as we began the week tied atop the standings of the Ballhawk League (BHL).

As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, Andrew McCutchen and Lastings Milledge have been hitting in the last group of Pirates.  So, for the 10-15 minutes that we get to see the Pirates hit, at least there’s some right handed semi-power hitters in the group.

I got ball #1 off the bat of Andrew McCutchen.  It was a home run that landed in an empty section to my right that I ran over and grabbed.

Soon after, Lastings Milledge hit a ball onto the Rotunda that I ran up the ramp to snag as it slowly rolled down towards me.  That would be it for the Pirates portion.

Luckily, the Brewers have been good to me lately.  I changed into my Brewers gear.
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And then would get started on a nice roll in an empty park.
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“I’d better get my glove on,” I thought.  No less than seconds after I had my glove on my
hand, Duke delivered his second pitch of the game.  Weeks hit a slicing fly ball foul, directly at me.  I immediately stood up and went into ballhawk mode.  I took several steps to my left and made the clean catch on the fly.  It was my first foul ball since snagging my first last year on September 23, 2009.

Upon catching the ball I did a fist bump and a little bit of celebration, which must have caught the eye of Tim Neverett and Bob Walk, who commented on the catch.  It was also enough to get FSN to cut back to me.

Here’s the screen shot of me after catching the Week’s foul ball:

And even better:  The video

Someone in the Pirates brass must have seen the catch, because moments later I was approached by a Pirates representative with a mic in hand.  He introduced himself, congrulated me on my catch, and explained that he would like to invite me to be on the PNC Park game show “Know Your Buccos,” at the end of the second inning.

As instructed, I went over in the middle of the second and chatted with Joe Klimchak, who explained the game that I would be participating in.  Basically, four ‘fun’ facts about a Pirate are presented, and the participant must eliminate the false answer.

When we went live, Joe introduced me, telling the crowd about the foul ball I had just snagged, and explained how I could win the fabulous prize (a $65 Pirates sweatshirt.)

I had to figure out which of the following facts were false regarding Ronny Cedeno:
know your buccos 3.jpgI knew the Vizquel fact was probably true, given they are both Dominican.  I also figured that Old School sounded like a type of movie that a man of Cedeno’s age would enjoy.  I was torn between the First Job and the name of his cat.

I thought it over and just thought, “Who would name their cat Meow?”  “Come here Meow… that would just sound stupid.”  So I eliminated the cat named Meow.

After a few pressure filled seconds, it was revealed that Ronny does not have a cat named Meow, I had eliminated the false answer, and won the $65 jacket.
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If you’d like to check out a video of my Know Your Buccos spot, you can check out the youtube link below.

I went back to my seat and watched the rest of the game, glove in hand.

Lightning wouldn’t strike twice.  Would it?

Well it did.

Andrew McCutchen came up to bat in the fifth inning.
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He fouled off a pitch in the same spot as the Week’s foul ball.  I shot up out of my chair immediately when I saw the angle the ball took off the bat.  This time, the ball was dying on me.  It didn’t quite reach me, as it was about a row and a half ahead of me.  I reached down and got it to hit my glove and knocked it into the row directly below me.  I would liken the play to a catcher smothering a ball in the dirt.  The ball came to a dead stop and I picked up my second foul ball of the day.    Amazing.

That’s TWO foul balls in one game.

More FSN face time.

Here’s some more video proof for you:

Would I go on to catch my thirteenth ball of the night?  A third foul ball in the game?

It was certainly empty enough for it to happen, as the Pirates were getting blown out, and the weather had turned cold.
100_2610.jpgThere’s probably more fans at high school baseball games, but that’s Pittsburgh on week nights for you.  Low, low attendance, especially after 10PM, like it was in the picture above.

I would end the night with those two foul balls, a sweatshirt, twelve total balls snagged, and probably the best ballhawking performance of my career.

Here’s today’s baseballs:
Foul balls are in the lower right corner.
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And the sweet spots:
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And that sweat shirt:
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What a night.  What a two game stretch.

STATISTICS:
Game:  12 balls (10 hit, 1 thrown, 1 device)
Season:  51 balls (34 hit, 7 thrown, 6 device, 4 found)
Games: 8 games
Average:  6.38 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 2
Career:  629 balls
Streak:  104 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance:  12,192

2009 through 8 games: 31 (Currently I am 20 balls ahead of last year’s career high season pace)

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