Results tagged ‘ Milwaukee Brewers ’
Throughout the day, I thought for sure that batting practice would be canceled. It was raining this morning when I left for work. Raining when I went to lunch. Raining when I left work. Drizzling when I left for the game. So, imagine my surprise when I walked past the left field gates and saw the screens and cage being set up. (The Pirates needed the extra BP after not hitting a home run in more than a week and getting shut out yesterday).
Upon entering the stadium, there was one Easter Egg ball, but another ballhawk got to it first. The Pirates portion of batting practice was slow for me. I got ball #1 when Jason Jaramillo tossed me a baseball before the Pirates finished up at 5:15. Jaramillo was very gracious to all three regular ballhawks in attendance, hooking us each up with a ball.
A few action shows:
I usually get shut out at the dugout, having only received one ball there this year before today. The umpire, Bob Davidson came off the field and tossed me a really nice rubbed up game ball. Ball #7.
Not a bad night after all.
Here’s today’s balls:
And the sweet spots: (the 4th ball from the pitcher in center had MVP written on it)
The umpire ball is at the front and center.
Game: 7 balls (2 hit, 5 thrown)
Season: 74 balls (28 hit, 39 thrown, 7 device)
Games: 15 games (12 with BP, 3 without)
Average: 4.93 balls per game
Career: 240 balls
This could’ve been the greatest game I’ve ever attended. CC Sabathia had a no-hitter until the 5th inning when Andy LaRoche hit a 40 foot roller in front of the mound. Sabathia tried to pick the ball up, but dropped it. LaRoche was half way down the line when CC dropped it, and ended up reaching. The home-town official scorer immediately ruled the play a hit. It should’ve been an error. That ended up being the only hit the Pirates got.
“He accomplished a no-hitter and wasn’t given what he deserved. That
should have been a no-hitter,” Manager Ned Yost said. “That’s a stinking no-hitter
we all got cheated from. I feel horrible for CC.”
I agree with Yost. I’ve never seen a no-hitter in person, and I also felt cheated.
Anyway, I got to the stadium at 11, and had to wait around for them to open the gates to go to left field. Usually there is an employee by the bullpen to scan tickets for early access to batting practice for season ticket holders, however, on this Sunday there wasn’t. While waiting for the gate to open I watched Tom Gorzelanny throw his side session and watched as the batting practice screens were wheeled out.
The Pirates would take batting practice. I got a ball #1 from Jason Michaels before the Pirates began hitting.
The first group in batting practice didn’t yield any home runs balls in left field. Luckily, I was able to get a second ball. Ball #2 was a home run hit by Jason Michaels to the aisle between Sections 134 and 135. I had to jump to catch this ball in the air. I misjudged it and actually caught it several feet behind my head as I jumped. Its hard to explain, but it was a nice catch.
That was pretty much it for the day. I wasn’t able to get anything from the home plate umpire after the game.
A look at today’s balls:
Game: 2 balls
Season: 112 balls
Career: 150 balls
Attendance: 21,293 (55.5% full)
I decided to try a new tactic today and stand in foul territory for the entire Pirates’ batting practice. As soon as the gates opened at 4:30, I hurried over to the corner seat right along the left field foul line. My reasoning was that the Pirates’ left handed hitters would be slashing the ball down the line, working on their opposite field stroke. Wouldn’t you know, that I didn’t get a single ball from a Pirates left handed hitter come remotely close to me.
I received ball #1 courtesy of Ian Snell. Snell is having a rough season, but he is an all around good guy when it comes to tossing balls into the stands. I called out his name and he fired a ball at me. It was probably about 65 mph, and it was a few feet over my head, so I had to leap for it to make the grab. In the picture to the left, Ian Snell is talking with Denny Bautista in
front of the Verizon Wireless sign.
Ian used to hang out in center
field all the time until we traded or demoted all of Bautista’s shagging buddies (Damaso Marte, Romulo Sanchez, Franquelis Osoria, Yoslan Herrera, Marino Salas, etc).
Ball #2 came soon after, courtesy of Jack Wilson. Jack pulled a line drive down the line foul directly at me. It bounced one time and landed right in my glove. Wilson tends to pull balls down the line into foul territory an awful lot – I’ve only recently noticed it. The Pirates batting practice ended uneventfully at 5:15 and the Brewers came out to bat. I immediately made my way over to the left field bleachers.
I set up shop in my usual spot – on the aisle between Sections 135 and 135. I was anticipating a barrage of home runs from the Brew Crew. The first group yielded no positive results, as I didn’t even get near any of the home runs. Many were going to right field and center field, as Prince Fielder was in the group. Fielder hit a couple out of the stadium over the right field wall, presumably sending them into the Allegheny. He also tattooed the batter’s eye in Center Field, which is 450 feet from home plate.
The second group included the likes of Ryan Braun, Gabe Kapler, Corey Hart and
Weeks, so I liked my chances of getting some action. Braun didn’t dissapoint, probably hitting the most home runs of any Brewer. I got ball #3 from Braun, a ground rule double that bounced on the warning track, and took a nice clean perfect hop directly to me, five rows back into the crowd. I got a nice little applause from several people close by.
A few short moments later, Corey Hart launched a line drive home run ball to the section I was standing in. The ball’s path was directly in the sun for most of its flight. For those of you who attend batting practice on a regular basis at PNC Park, you know that the sun is absolutely brutal in left field. I was able to position myself in the path of the ball, but had to stare into the sun for what seemed like an eternity. I waited until the ball came out of the sun, and was able to catch it (ball #4) without even moving. I once again received a polite applause, while several people came over and asked me, “Did you see that? How were you able to keep you eye on that? I lost that one in the sun!” Never attend batting practice without sunglasses
Ball #5 was a home run by Gabe Kapler (I think) that landed on the 134 side of section 135. It landed in a group of soccer moms and little kids who ducked for cover. The ball landed and trickled down three rows. I had jogged over to take a look, as I usually do, in case of a funny ricochet, and was able to toss my glove over the ball as it was rolling towards me. I had ball #5 in my possession. Almost immediately, one of these mom’s starting patting me on the arm with purpose, saying “Come on, I need that ball for my son, you already caught three!” I totally ignored her and walked away with the ball. She called me a hog. I didn’t care. If I was going to give the ball away it certainly wasn’t going to be to her. I don’t think I would ever give a ball to someone who asked or demanded it.
At this point, a man in a yellow shirt came up to me and offered me $20 or $30 for one of my balls. He explained to me that he was from Maryland and had made a four hour drive and wanted a ball for his son. I told him that I don’t sell balls, and that he could try asking one of the players for a ball. The guy ended up paying another ballhawk $20 for a warm up ball.
I had already had five balls on the day, and batting practice was going to be ending in several minutes. I had noticed a ball laying on the warning track, unnoticed by the players. I decided to get the ball to add one more to my total. I walked over, politely asked a group of youngsters if I could get the ball. They looked at me in amazement as I took out my glove with a string tied to it. I dropped the glove directly on the ball and pulled it up in a matter of several seconds. It was ball #6. I handed the ball to a 9 year old kid on my right. What made things better, was the man who purchased a ball for $20 was standing right right, three people away, there watching everything unfold. I was hoping he was kicking himself for paying $20 for a used BP ball. He could’ve gone into the Pirates clubhouse store and bought a brand new official MLB ball with a cube-case for $22.
After pulling off the glove trick, one of the kids asked, “Can I have that!” I told him he’d have to make his own.
Batting practice ended, and although I tried to get some extra balls throughout the night, I was destined to leave with the five that I kept. The umpires and bullpen pitchers ignored me as I stood above the tunnel in Sec 24 after the game and asked for a ball.
Game: 6 Balls (1 given away)
Season: 110 Balls
Career: 148 Balls
Streak: 7 games with at least 1 ball
Attendance: 21,931 (57.2% full)