Results tagged ‘ Nate McLouth ’

4-2-11 Nationals Park

The 2011 baseball season kicked off for me this weekend in Washington DC.  Fellow ballhawk Nick Pelescak, my girlfriend Amy, and I headed down for the weekend.

On the way there, winter gave us hopefully, a goodbye, as we traveled through heavy snow in the mountains of Pennsylvania.  The roads were untreated, and we had to keep it at 40 mph.  It was rather treacherous.

We grabbed some breakfast at McDonalds in Breezewood:
DSC00943.JPG
And continued on I-70 east.  Once the dawn arrived, the pictures of the snow turned out better, but trust me – the roads were much worse than this:
DSC00946.JPGWe got to Washington a little after 9AM, and shelled out $15 to park near the stadium.
DSC00947.JPGThe walk was through a construction zone. 
DSC00952.JPG
I had my phone handy as I was keeping an eye on the weather.  It had rained and snowed for most of the trip to Washington DC, and there was a large percent chance of rain today, but according to the weather sites, it looked like it wouldn’t start until around noon or 1PM.

When we reached the intersection across from the stadium, there was thick cloud cover, but it looked like batting practice would be a go.
DSC00960.JPG
We paused in front of Nationals Park for a few obligatory photos:
DSC00965.JPGAmy was the photographer for this trip.  We were in Washington for two games and she took over 900 photos.  She captured mostly everything.

Check out this awesome photo of the Washington Nationals logo she took with cherry blossoms:
DSC00967.JPG
She’s the best.

The walk to the center field gate from home plate was extremely cold and windy.  When we got to the left field gate, we peered in to see if the cages were up.  It was inconclusive.
DSC00979.JPGWalking along the exterior of Nationals Park, I was looking for any new decorations or improvements. 
DSC00982.JPG
It is probably the blandest most boring stadium I’ve ever seen from the outside.

When I rounded the corner to head towards the center field gate and the ticket offices, I noticed one change.  Do you see it?
DSC00993.JPG
There were large mirrored baseballs installed on the outside of the stadium/parking garage.
DSC01012.JPGAt the main box office, we purchased the cheapest ticket available: $10 each.
DSC01015.JPGI purchased tickets for today’s game and tomorrow’s game as well.
DSC01023.JPG
Then we headed over to the center field gate to stake our claim to the front spot in the line.
DSC01026.JPGAfter getting in line, I organized the string of my glove and tested out a new rubber band.
DSC01050.JPGDSC01057.JPG
DSC01052.JPG
We caught for maybe ten minutes before someone from the Nationals staff came out and enforced the no having fun unwritten rule that many staff members at MLB parks abide by.

10:30AM finally came and the gates opened.  Here was my first view of a major league baseball field in 2011:
100_8023.JPG
Nick and I were the first ones into the stadium, but I didn’t find any Easter Eggs.  Nick found 2.
100_8024.JPGBatting practice probably didn’t begin for at least 10 minutes until after the gates opened.  As the players were still warming up down the right field line.
100_8030.JPGAmy followed us back and forth between left field and right field for two full days taking lots of great shots.  Here’s one of the field from center field:
100_8045.JPG
And here Nick and I are in right field at the very beginning of batting practice.  I had checked the gaps behind the outfield walls for baseballs that I could glove trick, but there were none there.
100_8049.JPGAmy got lots of great action shots of the players too, because batting practice started out pretty bad for me.
100_8056.JPG
100_8072.JPG
I got shut out for at least the first two groups if not three.   

The bounces weren’t going my way, and the home runs that were hit were always over my head.
100_8091.JPG
It was one of those days for me.

What would’ve been my first ball of the day was knocked away from me by the kid in blue who cut a row in front of me and knocked the ball to the right where some other fan grabbed it.
100_8065.JPG
Finally, after a long drought, Rick Ankiel hit a towering blast toward right field. 
100_8095.JPG
The ball was hit directly between Nick and I who were both in the same row.
100_8089.JPGSince Nick had already snagged several, he laid back and allowed me to make the clean catch uncontested.  Thanks Nick!  It was my first ball of the year and first of the 2011 season.  It broke a weird streak.  In 2009 both Nick and I got our first ball of the year thrown by Ian Snell.  In 2010, we both got our first ball of the year off the bat of Bobby Crosby.  The streak ended in 2011 when Nick found his first ball and mine was from Rick Ankiel.

Anyway, back in left field, there was a lot of waiting around during the Nationals batting practice.  100_8122.JPGI was expecting Jayson Werth to put on a show during batting practice.  He disappointed, exclusively hitting ball after ball to right field, but did hit two home runs.  One of which I caught on the fly, high above my head, fully extended.

Here I am bringing the ball over to Amy to put in my backpack.
100_8156.JPG
That would be all that I would get during the Nationals BP.

The Braves came out to hit, so I changed into my Braves garb. 
100_8163.JPG
I decided to stay mostly in right field for the Braves batting practice, as they were very heavily left handed oriented.

I set up shop in the aisle about three rows back in right field.
100_8174.JPG
I had to stay in the third row because those handrails that you see in the picture severely limit my range.  Being boxed in by people is bad, but being boxed in by people and handrails is agitating.

Anyhow, soon Nate McLouth hit a dying line drive right at me.  I ran down to the front row and made the catch just above the outfield wall for my third ball of the day.
100_8175.JPG
Here I am inspecting the ball.
100_8178.JPG
The Braves batters put a good number of balls into the seats, but I couldn’t get to any of them.  Someone was either in front of me: (they are obstructed in the picture)
100_8180.JPGOr over my head:
100_8183.JPGOr literally three feet over my head
100_8194.JPG
Or I would get completely robbed.
100_8215.JPGAmy took so many pictures!  But there were so many near misses. 

Every time I came close, I had to navigate around railings or people standing in aisles.
100_8225.JPG
And as a result, I’d be too late.
100_8226.JPG
Near the end of batting practice I spotted three balls in the bullpen.  They were perfect for the glove trick. 
100_8252.JPG
I rigged up my glove and headed over to double my days total in a matter of one or two minutes.

When I got to the bullpen area, the Braves finished their BP and were walking off the field. 
100_8265.JPG
The crowd started to thin out.  I needed to work fast.
100_8266.JPGJust as I began to lower my glove, two ushers swooped in and told me I had to stop. 

I ended the day with three baseballs.

Amy and I decided that we didn’t want to stay for the game and we’d rather go back to the hotel room for a little bit and then go explore Washington DC.  Nick would stay at the game.

Before heading out, we posed for a picture at Nationals Park:
Us 4-2-2011.jpgOur hotel was the Renaissance.  It is a $409 a night hotel, but we got it for $116 thanks to Priceline.com
100_8433.JPG
Here I am outside of the hotel:
100_8281.JPG
There was an interesting Chinese themed courtyard too:
100_8282.JPG
After all, we were two blocks from Chinatown.

Here’s a snapshot of the room we received:
100_8305.JPGAfter some quality time in the hotel room, we decided to explore the lobby and the surrounding area.  Amy was super pumped for free lemon water:
Lemonwater.jpgWe headed out into the city.
100_8320.JPGWe walked around Chinatown.
100_8326.JPG
You really couldn’t miss it with the giant arched entry way.
100_8361.JPG
The picture with the Chinese man wasn’t planned by the way…

Amy made the Chinatown entrance look better.
China town wmeew.jpgThere was some cool stuff, such as museums on just about every corner,
100_8333.JPGAmy was pretty pumped about Auntie Anne’s, but we didn’t stop to share our customary Cinnamon Pretzel.
100_8334.JPGWe came across some really creepy areas,
100_8344.JPG

100_8362.JPG100_8352.JPG
but overall the area was decent.  The cherry blossoms added a nice touch to the city streets.
Beautiful.jpg
After walking around for awhile, we decided to head over to the Georgetown area to go find DC Cupcakes, a store that Amy had seen on TLC, which has its own series on that network. 

On the way there, we passed a Ben & Jerry’s store, which was spewing bubbles all over the road.
Ben and Jerry.jpg
Eventually we came to the store that Amy wanted to visit.  It was called Georgetown Cupcake.  I guess DC cupcakes sounds better as a show title.
100_8370.JPG
We figured that we would park up the street somewhere and then run in and grab a cupcake just to say that we’d been there.

However, upon rounding the corner, we noticed a line.
100_8373.JPG
That extended as far as the eye could see.
100_8375.JPG
So, that was pretty much out of the question.  We headed back through Washington DC to go pick Nick up at Nationals Park.  It was almost 5PM.

At least the trees in Washington DC were blossoming. 
100_8377.JPG
Its still cold and dreary in Pittsburgh.  And everything is still dead.

Here’s some shots that Amy took on the drive back.  The Cherry Blossoms were out in full bloom!
100_8386.JPG
100_8393.JPG100_8402.JPGBeautiful:
Monument 2.jpg
Washington Monument:
Monument.jpg
We arrived back at the hotel after picking Nick up and unpacked all of our things.  We would then go out for dinner at Ruby Tuesday’s and get the worst waiter ever. 

Chinatown at night:
DSC01069.JPG
We would then get up tomorrow and do it all over again.

Here are today’s baseballs:
100_8820.JPG
Sweet spots:

100_8819.JPG
STATISTICS:
Game:  3 balls (3 hit)
Season:  3 balls (3 hit, 0 thrown, 0 device, 0 found)
Games: 1 games
Average:  3.00 balls per game
Career:  1,125 balls
Attendance: 21,941

6-2-09 PNC Park

Today was the Mets’ second of four games in Pittsburgh, and my second attempt at getting a commemorative ball.

I got to the gates a little after 4 PM and was second in line.  When the gates opened, I jogged into the bleachers and was the first one there.  I saw a ball as I entered one of the sections.  I quickly ran down and grabbed ball #1, as other ballhawks were right behind me.  Much to my surprise…
100_1520.jpg
it was a Shea Stadium commemorative ball from last year.  Nice!  I still would’ve rather had a Citi Field ball, but I’ll take it. 

Moments later as I moved towards the foul pole, I found ball #2.  Finding two Easter eggs is an awesome start, usually there aren’t any.

Ball #3 came from Tony Beasley.  He made sure that all of the regular ballhawks got a ball today.  What a good guy.

When the Mets came out to hit, there weren’t many pitchers shagging in the outfield.  A ball was hit to the 410 sign in center field.  It was very glove “trickable.”  I started to make my way over to get the ball.  Just as I got to the bullpen, a deep ball was hit right at me.  Mike Pelfrey ran back and made the snag.  I thought, “Great.  He’s going to pick up that ball too.”  Luckily, Pelfrey didn’t see it, and walked back to center field.  Moments later, I reeled up ball #4.

I went back towards the foul pole when a fellow ballhawk and PNC Park regular, Dan, pointed out another ball to me.  It must have rolled to the 410 sign when I was walking back to my spot.  I went over and reeled in ball #5 after one failed attempt.  I think I will need a new rubber band soon.  The one I have might be getting to stretched out. 

In the middle of the Mets batting practice, Gary Sheffield launched a deep home run to my left.  I could tell it was a bomb, so rather than positioning myself in line with the ball, I ran back to the cross aisle that seperates the lower bleachers from the upper deck bleachers.  The ball hit in the cross aisle and rolled partly under the overhang of the upper level bleachers.  I reached down and gloved ball #6

I made a huge mistake by heading over to center field for the last group.  The final group taking batting practice was predominently left handed, so I figured I’d have a better shot.  There was only one right handed batter. 

Check out how empty batting practice was.  There aren’t many people in the left field bleachers.
photo(29).jpg
Within minutes, he was surrounded by security guards.  A man in a suit came out with a clipboard and the negotiating began.  It lasted about an inning.  I’m not sure what the kid asked for, but there were about 4 things written down on the sheet of paper on the clip board.

It got me thinking what I would ask for if I had caught the home run.  I decided that I’d ask for a game ball signed by Jaramillo, the chance to deliver the ball to him in person, and his word that he’d toss me 1 ball at any batting practice I attended (if he was in the outfield and I asked for one.) 

Later in the game, I was getting
thirsty.  I decided to go fill up my water bottle.  As I was passing this Nacho Express stand, something caught my eye.
photo(35).jpg
Yes, you guessed it.  Another Easter Egg.
photo(34).jpg
I had to almost lay on the ground to get that picture.  I had to reach around the side of the stand to get ball #8.  People probably thought I was a big weirdo for laying on the ground and reaching under a Nacho Express stand, but when they saw I pulled a ball out, I saw a few surprised faces.

I went back to center field in the ninth inning to try and get Nate’s warm up ball.  His throw hit some guys arm, richoted right in front of me, but I wasn’t ready and misplayed it.  Some one picked the ball up 2 rows ahead of me. 

I then headed to the dugout.  I had to run half of the way there, because Matt Capps got 3 quick outs.  I just barely made it to the dugout as umpire Ted Barrett was coming off the field, but was in a terrible spot, off to the side of the tunnel.  He gave two balls away, but not to me.

That was it for today. 

When I arrived home I had this waiting for me:
100_1514.jpg
I had been waiting all day for it, since I was off work today, but it didn’t arrive until after I left for the Pirate game.    It was my Super Deluxe copy of Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King, Dave Matthews Band’s new album. 
100_1515.jpg
The CD was released today, and I had ordered it off of the Warehouse (fan club) so I could get some bonus items.
100_1516.jpg
I spent the rest of my night looking through the booklets and watching the DVD.  I didn’t listen to the CD the whole way through until the next day because I wanted to blast it, and it was too late to do that.   I’d reccommend picking it up at Target or Best Buy for $9.99 this week.  It’s their best album since 1998.  Seriously.

Today’s baseballs:
100_1519.jpg
The sweet spots:
100_1518.jpg
STATISTICS:
Game:  8 Balls (4 hit, 2 thrown, 2 device)
Season: 151 Balls (67 hit, 62 thrown, 22 device)
Games:  30 Games (26 with BP/4 without)
Average: 5.03 Balls Per Game
Career: 317 Balls
Attendance:  10,459

5-17-09 PNC Park

100_1399.jpg
Since there was a lengthy delay last night, the game ended late.  I knew there was a good chance that there would be no batting practice.

I was right.

My mission was to avoid getting shut out for the first time since August 2008.  I began the day in the bullpen area waiting for two Rockies pitchers to finish their side sessions.  When the pitchers were done throwing, they handed them to the bullpen coach, who then tossed them into the bag.  I put in a request, but it was ignored.

I then went to the right field line as Rockies pitchers began to throw.  Many pitchers threw in doors today, but some came outside to catch.  I first lined up behind Jason Hammel and Taylor Buchholz (? i think). 
photo(3).jpg
STATISTICS:
Game:  1 Ball
Season:  120 Balls
Games;  24 Games (20 with BP, 4 without)
Average:  5.00 Balls per Game
Career:  286 Balls
Attendance:  14,545

5-4-09 PNC Park

100_1144.jpg
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.

The Brewers then came out and hit.
100_1137.jpg
Maybe I should’ve tried for foul balls during the game?

A few action shows:

Paul Maholm deals:
100_1145.jpg100_1150.jpg
Gallardo throws a pitch:
100_1151.jpg
After Matt Capps blew the save and gave up 4 runs in the 9th, I went to the Pirates dugout.  (the Pirates lost their SIXTEENTH game in a row to the Brewers).

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:
100_1153.jpg
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.
100_1152.jpg
STATISTICS:
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
Attendance:  8,482

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

4-21-09 PNC Park

I had several things working in my favor today. 

1)  The Penguins had a playoff game at the same time the Pirates had their game today.  This would lead to drastically reduced attendance figures.
2)  The weather forecast was menacing.  With dark clouds and some rain showers moving through around 4 PM.  Rain tends to keep folks at home also.
3)  It was a weekday game.  The Pirates do not draw on well on weekday night games.
4)  There was only one other decent ballhawk in attendance.
5)  I had plenty of space in my backpack.

I got to the stadium around 4:15PM and was second in line.  When the gates opened, I was the second into the bleachers.  I went over to my spot in left center field and hoped for a home run to come.  A Pirates batter drove a ball to left center field.  There were maybe four people there for the first ten minutes, so I ranged far to my left towards the bullpen.  The ball skipped off the bullpen wall.  Oh well.  I walked back and looked down.  I saw a speck of white under a bleacher.  A ball was lying tucked up against the concrete step and a bleacher support.  It was well hidden, but not anymore.  I reached down and picked up ball #1.

Craig Monroe was the next batter.  He hit a drive to deep left center.  The ball hit off a bleacher and bounced back onto the field.  Matt Capps walked over and picked it up.  I called out for the ball and Capps flipped it to me.  I had ball #2, and #199 of my career.

The Pirates ended their BP at 5:10.  I had two balls after 10 minutes.  Not bad.  The Marlins came out to take Batting Practice.  I changed into the Marlins gear that I wore yesterday.    Coach Bo Porter came out with a bat and started hitting line drives off the wall so Brett Carroll could get a read on how to play the richochets.    Bo’s second hit was a hard line drive that cleared the wall.  It literally almost took out two ushers who were standing in the aisle cleaning the water off the seats.  I didn’t get that ball, but moved over to the spot that Bo was hitting the ball so I could snag one if he hit it over the wall again.  Porter started hitting hard grounders at the wall, wary of what he had just done minutes early.  After Porter and Carroll were done playing balls off the wall, I asked Brett Carroll for the ball.  He briefly glanced at me and saw my Marlins gear and tossed me ball #3, and #200 of my ballhawking career.

The first group of Marlins weren’t hitting many home runs, so I tried to get some more baseballs from the pitchers.  I received ball #4 from an unidentified Marlin.
100_0913.jpg
Can anyone help me out?  I got his attention and asked for the ball.  He looked at me and waved.  I asked him one more time for the ball in case he didn’t hear the first time.  He then flipped the ball up to me.

Another ball rolled to the wall and Renyel Pinto walked over to pick it up.
100_0911.jpg
I made my way over to the bullpen area.  There was a ball laying in the Pirates bullpen.  It was directly below me, about 5 feet out from the wall.  The ball was laying in a groove of dirt between the grass and a green carpet walkway.  It was in an indention of about maybe an inch or less.  I wanted to try the glove trick but I didn’t want to struggle with it.  It would’ve been hard to bat the ball closer to the wall with the glov
e to begin with because of the groove it was in.  Also, the main security office is directly behind the bullpen with large windows.  I felt I was being watched.  I didn’t want to risk it so I waited for someone to come out to the bullpen.  I waited for about 20 minutes until finally Jason Jaramillo and Joe Kerrigan came out to remove the bullpen tarp and get ready for Jeff Karsten’s warm up.  I asked Jaramillo first for the ball, but was ignored.  I then asked Joe Kerrigan and he picked the ball up, looked up to see who asked, and flipped me the ball.  It was ball #8 on the day, and a new personal one day record for me.

I decided to try for double digits, and stadium domination.  I asked John Baker for his warm up ball in center field before the game, but I don’t think he heard me.

The game then began.  I stood in center field for most of the game.  My plan was to try and get the outfielders’ warm up balls.

This was my view.  (picture was taken in about the 4th inning – notice the empty seats!)
100_0925.jpg
Before the first inning began, I found a fairly empty section in center field and stood with my glove ready, awaiting Nate McLouth’s warm up ball.
100_0916.jpgWhen he was done tossing with Brandon Moss, Nate turned and threw me his warm up ball.  It was ball #9.

I continued to roam the outfield in hopes of catching a home run ball or another warm up ball.  I snapped a few more pictures of random things, like Pittsburgh at night.
100_0924.jpg
In the 4th inning, I decided to try for a Marlins warm up ball.

I walked over to this unknown pitcher
100_0923.jpg
and asked for a warm up ball when he was done throwing.  He looked at me, saw my Marlins T-shirt and threw me ball #10.  Reynel Pinto whistled at me and called me over to the bullpen. I thought he was going to scold me because I heard him telling someone earlier in batting practice, “You already got one!”  I walked over and talked to him through the chain link fence.

“Aren’t you cold man?”  He said.  I told him I was, but I’d be alright.  I wanted to show my Marlins shirt off.  “You’re crazy man, this weather is terrible.”  I thought about asking him for a Marlins bullpen jacket, but that would’ve been a ridiculous request.

I was now 1 ball away from the PNC Park record for most balls in one game (as known to me).  A ballhawk with initials MG got 11 balls on 9/20/08 last year, the last batting practice of the regular season.  I would’ve liked to tie or beat him, as I was getting dissed earlier in the day by the same ballhawk.

I went over to the right field wall in the 6th inning.
100_0929.jpg
It was Brandon Moss’ turn to throw.  He threw the ball to the cluster of fans seated to the left of the foul pole, near the top of the section.  None of them had a glove.  I was standing half way up in the second section to the left of the foul ball.  The ball hit off someone’s hands, and bounced two rows down and rolled right to my feet.  I picked it up for ball #11.

I didn’t get any more warm up balls, so come the 9th inning, I was forced to decide to go to the Marlins dugout, or the Pirates dugout.  I decided to try my luck at the Marlins dugout, since I had been shutout every single game this homestand at the Pirates’ one.  No luck.  The Marlins weren’t in the mood to toss anything up after losing their second consecutive game to the Pirates.

No matter.  I had set a new personal record for balls in one day, and bounced back from my 2 ball performance yesterday in a big way.

Some pictures of the balls:
100_0930.jpg
100_0933.jpg
100_0932.jpg
STATISTICS:
Game:  11 balls  (2 hit, 9 thrown)
Season:  42 balls (15 hit, 21 thrown, 6 device)
Games:   9 games (7 with BP, 2 without)
Average:    4.67 balls per game
Career:  208 balls
Attendance:  9,917

4-20-09 PNC Park

Today wasn’t looking good.  It had rained continuously throughout the day.  When my wife and I left for the ballpark at 4:25 PM, it was still pouring.  We went anyway.

For the first half hour, nothing was going on in the stadium.  The tarp was on the field, and there were no players to be seen.  There was a random ball sitting in the middle of center field, but it would’ve been impossible to reach with the glove trick.

At 5:30, the Pirates pitchers came out to stretch and toss.  The rain had relented a bit.  I went down and lined up behind Jeff Karstens, hoping for an overthrown.  It didn’t happen.  I did manage to get Craig Hansen’s warm up ball.  It was ball #1.

The Pirates left the field, and once again, nothing was happening.  We went over to right field to await the Marlins to come out and catch.
100_0875.jpgThe weather still wasn’t looking good.  Water was starting to pond on the warning track.
100_0876.jpg
Not too bad, I guess.

STATISTICS:
Game:  2 balls  (2 thrown)
Season :  31 balls (13 hit, 12 thrown, 6 device)
Games:  8 games (6 with BP, 2 without)
Average:  3.88 balls per game
Career:  197 balls
Attendance:  8,790

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.
100_0763.jpg

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
41709line.jpg

4-13-09 PNC Park : Home Opener

100_0696.jpgToday was PNC Park’s Opening Day.  I went today with my wife Holly.  We got to the gates around 10:30 AM, and waited in line for a half hour.  When the gates opened, I rushed in and was the 6th one into the left field bleachers.

Things were a little dry at first.  Eventually, two balls were hit and Ian Snell came to the fence to get them.  I asked him for a ball and he flipped one over his head without looking to me.  It was ball #1 of the day.  Luckily, for the first 30 minutes, only season ticket holders are permitted into batting practice, so I had plenty of room to roam.
100_0687.jpg

STATISTICS:
Game:  5 balls (2 hit, 1 thrown, 2 device)
Season: 13 balls (7 hit, 4 thrown, 2 device)
Games: 3   (3 with BP, 0 without)
Average:   4.33
Career:  179 balls
Hit List:  179 ties me with Willy Aybar for #3809 all time.
Attendance: 38,411.
41309line.jpg

3-30-09 McKechnie Field, Bradenton FL

My dad and I headed to our last Spring Training game on this short trip: Reds vs Pirates at McKechnie Field in Bradenton FL. 
100_0449.jpg
We got to the field around 10:20 AM and the Pirates were already half way through their round of batting practice.  Luckily, we were once again able to access the spot behind the left field fence.  I was told by a guy on Saturday that during the week the area behind the fence was off limits.  He was wrong.
100_0453.jpg

FINAL SPRING TRAINING STATISTICS:
Total Balls: 9
Games Attended: 3
Average: 3.0
Hit: 6
Thrown: 2
Device: 1
Total Career Spring Training Balls: 9

Note: I do not count these balls in my totals.  They will be tracked in a separate category and I will not count them in my career ball totals.

Theme: MLB “fan | Get a free blog at WordPress.com
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 129 other followers