Results tagged ‘ Matt Diaz ’

6-11-11 PNC Park

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

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

I hate those things.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sweet spots:

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

6-4-11 PNC Park

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sweet spots:

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

4-9-11 PNC Park

Amy and I got to the stadium about an hour early.  Before heading into the bleachers, Nick and I caught on the Clemente bridge.  Amy was snapping photos as we threw.
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We probably caught for about 20 minutes.
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Its always a good warm up before going into the stadium and running around for five hours or whatever it may be.
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When the gates opened at 4:30, I ran in and found a ball by the bullpen.

Since it was Saturday, the entire park was open for business at 4:30, so I made my way over to foul territory to look for any potential ‘easter eggs.’

There were two balls there.  I marked in the photo below where I found them. 
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I had only been in the stadium two minutes and had three balls on the day.  Unfortunately, things started to slow down.

Despite having an extra half hour of batting practice today, things were slow.  The Pirates batting practice is not nearly as good as last year.  Home Runs into the bleachers were few and far between.

I got ball #4 of the day, and #1,150 lifetime off the bat of new Bucco Matt Diaz.

The ball bounced on the cross aisle in the picture below and up into the second deck of bleachers.  Several of us ballhawks ran up, and after a short search, I spotted it and grabbed it.
DSC01209.JPGMy fifth ball was a home run catch off the bat of Ronny Cedeno.  If the catch would’ve occured during the game, it would’ve been ruled a double however.  I had to scale two bleachers to get into the front row, and reach low to catch the sinking liner before it bounced off of the left field wall.  I was there though in time to make the catch here:
DSC01211.JPGThat was it for the Pirates BP.

The Rockies then came out to hit, so I moved over to center field, since they have a good bit of left handed power bats.
DSC01213.JPGWhile in center field, there were a few glove trick opportunities, but I decided not to try it.
DSC01214.JPGI didn’t get a single ball during the Rockies portion of batting practice.  It was one of those days.

When the game started it was packed, so there was virtually no chance at an outfielder’s warm up ball between innings,
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so I wandered the concourse for a bit.
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I collected a few posters that people didn’t want.
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Checked out some memorabilia for sale at a booth.
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Some of the baseballs were interesting.  There was Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, Willie Mays, etc autographed baseballs for sale.

As for the game, I stood here most of the night,
DSC01227.JPGbut headed over to left field just in time to miss a Seth Smith home run ball that landed RIGHT where I had been standing.  That’s the way it goes sometimes.  Wrong place at the wrong time.

One could argue I was again in the wrong place at the wrong time a few innings later.  I was hanging out near the Prize Wheel when I noticed a disturbance in the bleachers above my head.  Police officers and security guards hustled up the stairs to confront a man who was seated in the front row, aisle seat in Section 236.  He’s the bald man:
DSC01238.JPGI did not see the incidents that led up to him being asked to leave, but when I saw the police officer take out his taser, I started filming.  Check it out:

The man eventually was escorted down the stairs.  A fellow fan tried to high five the man wearing the USA windbreaker, which was thwarted by one of the security guards.  So, the man in the USA jacket threw an elbow at him.  At this point I was pretty much right on top of everything that was going on.  I was also boxed in, as there were railings to my right and left, and concrete tables behind me.  I had no where to go except where all the action was taking place.  I kept my camera at chest level or so, so as not to draw attention to myself and slowly backed away.

Anyway, after throwing the elbow, the police officer discharged his taser, which appeared ineffective.  You can hear the electricity in the video.  The USA jacked man seemed to mock the officer.  Going ‘ohhh’ when he was tased.  That’s when the officer hit him.  You can watch the rest of the video and make your own judgements.

It set off a string of USA chants and at least one more arrest that I saw.  There were also several other verbal arguments that broke out.  Security was everywhere for the last three innings. 

Typically, ushers handle disturbing fans.  If the fans don’t comply, then PNC Park security is called.  If the fan is still belligerent, the cops are brought in.  I attended 75 games in 2009, 88 games in 2010, and never have seen anything this escalated.

Anyhow, the video went viral and has over 9,000 hits today on youtube.  I was also interviewed by KDKA-TV and WPXI.  My interview is on wpxi’s website.
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You can watch the story by clicking this link.

It’s a shame that drunk fans like that ruin baseball games for the real baseball fans.  I’m so tired of Fireworks nights and Concert nights.  Let’s Promote the team and baseball.  Let the drunks stay home!

Here’s today’s baseballs:
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Sweet spots:
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STATISTICS:

Game:  5 balls (2 hit, 3 found)
Season:  29 balls (10 hit, 6 thrown, 7 device, 6 found)
Games: 5 games
Average:  5.80 balls per game
Career:  1,151 balls
Attendance: 25,398

4-17-09 PNC Park

I was hoping to have a huge day today since the Penguins had a playoff game.  Sure enough, batting practice was pretty empty, but I didn’t have a stand out day.

My wife and I arrive at the park at 4:05 PM and were second in line.  I went into batting practice and looked for Easter Eggs, but there were none.  There were a couple ushers standing around and they must’ve picked up anything that came out.  I settled into my spot in left field and waited. 

An unidentified Pirate hit a deep fly ball.  He hit it right into the sun, but I was able to catch it on the fly… barely.  It almost went over my head.  Nonetheless, I had ball #1 of the day. 

Nyjer Morgan was shagging balls in the outfield and I called his name, he looked at me and tossed a ball, but it was headed for some random guy with a Pantera hat on.  The guy was holding a calendar and didn’t have a glove and looked out of place at batting practice.  He reached for the ball and missed it.  I picked the ball up on the deflection.  It was ball #2.  He kind of gave me a look like he expected me to give it to him, but I didn’t.  Since I called for Nyjer to throw the ball, I felt like I earned it, plus he didn’t have a glove and wasn’t prepared.

The Pirates portion of batting practice ended and the Braves came out to hit.  They weren’t hitting anything deep.  To make matters worse, batting practice looked like this:
100_0766.jpgI had so much room to roam and chase down home runs, but none were coming.  One finally did come out, but I misjudged the ball and it was over my head.  If I had been one row deeper I would have caught the ball.  I slammed my glove in disgust and muttered to myself.

I tried to chase down some other fly balls, but everything ended up falling short of the fence.  It was one of those days.
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STATISTICS:
Game:  3 Balls
Season:  20 Balls
Games:  5 Games (4 with batting practice, 1 without)
Average:  4.00 Balls per game
Career:  186 Balls
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