Results tagged ‘ Pittsburgh Pirates ’

6-3-11 PNC Park

It’s been about 10 days since my last game.  I’ve cut down on the road trips since last year, as an average trip to Cleveland costs $75 a game, and a trip to Washington or Baltimore averages about $100 a game in gas and tolls.  It wasn’t worth it to me.

Amy and I have spent the last ten days scouring the housing market.  I’ve decided that I want to have a nice house for my baby daughter (due in August) to grow up in.  Our current one bed room apartment just isn’t cutting it.

Amy and I have been putting together lists, driving around, and scratching off 80% of the houses we drive by.  We’ve toured six solid contenders so far, and are looking at houses in the $150,000-$200,000 range.  All of the ones we like are 200k, which is a huge commitment.  So, as you can see,  at least for the time being, I would rather spend my money on a house than ballhawking trips as I have in the past.

Anyhow, my first two balls of the day came from Brandon Wood.  The first one was thrown to me from left field, but fell well short.  The ball rested on the warning track, where I glove tricked it for ball #1.

I usually do not use my glove trick during the Pirates batting practice.  I figure that if I am seen using the glove trick it will make the Pirates pitchers less likely to want to toss me a ball.  However, since many of the Pirates pitchers seem to dislike the fact that I am there every game, I just went for it.

Wood did not see me use the glove trick, and turned and threw a perfect strike to me for ball #2 at the end of the Pirates batting practice.

My third ball was glove tricked during the Phillies BP in left field, and my fourth ball was a clean catch of a home run here:

My fifth and final ball was glove tricked in right field.

It wasn’t any usual glove trick.  It was the first time I ever glove tricked a ball from a top the Clemente wall.

I spent the last twenty minutes in left field, but didn’t get anything.  It was just too crowded.

Here are today’s baseballs:

Sweet spots:

STATISTICS:
Game:  5 balls (1 hit, 1 thrown, 3 device)
Season:  167 balls (64 hit, 38 thrown, 41 device, 23 found)
Games: 27 games
Average:  6.19 balls per game
Career:  1,289 balls
Attendance: 33,861

5-22-11 PNC Park

I wasn’t planning on attending this game.  I was expecting to drop Amy off at work, and then go home to package up all of the bobbleheads that I had sold.  Making batting practice more unlikely was the fact that it started to rain at 10:30 AM, a half hour before the gates were to open.

I could see the tarp on the field from the center field (Stargell statue) gate.  I thought about leaving, but I thought I noticed that the screens were out on the field in foul territory.

utside the stadium, there were plenty of festivities, including the March of Dimes finish line, right outside the left field gate.

I decided to walk up the Roberto Clemente bridge a little way to get a better look inside the stadium.  I saw the tarp still on the field, but the cage was up.

Obviously, I decided to stick around.

Amy and I stood on the bridge where we had gotten engaged on Valentine’s Day and took in the scenery, and talked until it was time for me to go into the stadium and her to go to work

When I entered the stadium, my first ball of the day came from Pirates pitcher Charlie Morton by the bullpen.

When Morton had finished throwing, I called out for his warm up ball.  A few seconds later, he tossed a ball up, which I caught.  A thirteen year old in front of me was none too pleased, but I hadn’t heard him ask for it.  I was going to give it to him until his dad started b*******.  He got a ball a minute later anyhow.

The whole stadium opened at 11:30AM, and there was still no action.  The tarp had at least been taken off the field, so I walked around the lower level looking for easter eggs, but predictably, there were none.

The Tigers trickled out to loosen up a bit later.  I asked two of the coaches for a ball, but was ignored.  Here’s ex Pirate manager Jim Leyland:

When the Tigers began hitting, I used the glove trick to snag ball #2 here:

And, I used it to snag balls #3 and #4  by the foul pole, as both balls had rolled there within 15 seconds of each other.

Since I was having good luck with the glove trick, I invited Jim to glove trick a ball on the warning track that I could’ve had.  I figured I’d repay the favor for him laying off on a Miguel Cabrera home run catch yesterday.

I made my way over to center field near the end of the Tigers BP and glove tricked a ball off of the warning track.  Originally, the ball bounced on the warning track, and I misplayed it.  The ball hit my glove and fell back onto the field.  There was a little girl right next to me, so when I glove tricked the ball, I turned and handed it to her.

My sixth ball of the day was an Andy Dirks home run that landed two rows behind me.  I hopped over a row and grabbed it

Batting practice ended at 12:15 PM, (The Tigers didn’t take a full BP, they only hit for about 30 minutes) so there was an hour and fifteen minutes until the game was to begin.

I left the game, and went to a nearby park to read my Sunday Papers – the Pittsburgh Post Gazette and Tribune Review.  I also bought a ‘water-ice’ drink, which was perfect on this hot sunny day.

I returned to the game, but was met with bad luck.  Garrett Jones tossed his warm up ball to me in the 4th inning, but this guy in the white shirt interfered.  The ball was glanced by his arm, hit my glove, and bounced below where a random fan grabbed it.

Basically the same thing happened in the fifth inning, when McCutchen threw his warm up ball to me.  I was awaiting the catch in the handicapped section in center field when a guy jumped out of his seat and intercepted it.

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

Sweet spots:

STATISTICS:
Game:  6 balls (1 hit, 1 thrown, 4 device)
Season:  156 balls (60 hit, 36 thrown, 37 device, 22 found)
Games: 25 games
Average:  6.24 balls per game
Career:  1,278 balls
Attendance: 25.124

5-21-11 PNC Park

Today was Amy and my 8 month anniversary, and we packed in a full day’s worth of activities.  We started by going around to garage sales and buying lots of clothes for our daughter.  There were some pretty nice things that we found that looked ‘like-new.’

Today was also Neil Walker bobblehead day, so a sellout crowd of 38,000 would be on hand.  Therefore, it was important to get on the board early.  When I ran into the left field bleachers, I found ball #1 laying in the front row in this area.

The Pirates BP was pretty tame, not too many home runs.

There weren’t many opportunities for toss up balls either, every request went ignored.

My second ball of the day was a long home run hit by an unknown Pirates batter.
Here Nick and I are racing for it.

Nick had the lead, but we both took a wrong route to the ball.  Since it wasn’t at the bottom of the rotunda, I figured it was on the rotunda.  I raced up and was correct.  It was sitting on the rotunda, waiting to be claimed.  Amy got this shot of us returning from the chase.

My third ball of the day was a clean catch in the front row of section 134.  I had to reach out over the wall and make the catch as there was some pressure put on me from the side.  I reached out and swiped at the ball and luckily made the catch.

Here I am just a moment after making the grab:

It was a particular sunny day, and I lost two balls in the sun.  One would’ve been an easy grab, and it zipped by my head.  The other I would’ve made on a cloudy day.  That’s one of the negatives of PNC Park.  Left field is the sun field, so folks in left get blinded by the sun, especially on fly balls.

I had another close call on a home run that was about two rows over my head.  The guy in the white jersey reached out and caught it right in front of Nick:

I then changed into my Tigers gear, but it wouldn’t matter much since it got so crowded around 5PM.

Check out the crowd:

That’s the downfall of PNC Park’s bleachers.  There’s not much room when it gets crowded.  There’s about six rows in the bleachers, and they get packed, severaly limiting a ballhawk’s range.

I did get ball #4 with the glove trick in left field before heading over to center field.

In center field I glove tricked ball #5 here:

Also, while in center field, I caught an opposite field Miguel Cabrera home run ball in the third row here:

The guy in the red shirt, who’s usually aggressive, backed off and let me make the catch.  I appreciated it, as I probably would’ve missed it had he tried for it.  It was a ball I had to reach high and to my left to catch, as it was slicing back towards right field.

My seventh and final ball came at the conclusion of BP.  The Tigers left a ball on the warning track in left field, so I went over and glove tricked it for my seventh ball of the day.

After BP, I went to turn in 54 tickets for Neil Walker bobbleheads.  I traded in a bunch of my season tickets so I could turn a profit on the bobbleheads.  I made the mistake of pulling out the tickets and counting how many I had.  As soon as I did, I was surrounded by people waving twenty dollar bills at me, offering to buy my tickets.  The game was sold out, so there was nothing left at the box office.  I relented and sold twenty of the tickets within 5 minutes.    So, I went back to my car with a pocket overflowing with cash and 34 bobbleheads.  Amy and I headed home to spend the rest of the evening baseball free.

Here are today’s baseballs:

And the sweet spots:

STATISTICS:
Game:  7 balls (3 hit, 3 device, 1 found)
Season:  150 balls (59 hit, 35 thrown, 33 device, 22 found)
Games: 24 games
Average:  6.25 balls per game
Career:  1,272 balls
Attendance: 37,958

5-20-11 PNC Park

Batting practice today was rough for me.  The Tigers were in town for an interleague matchup, which would lead to larger crowds.  During the Pirates batting practice, I ended up doing this for much of the time:

Standing around.

And more standing around.

I would not catch a single batted ball or get any balls thrown to me from the Pirates pitchers.

The few chances I did have were on scrum balls, where I just came up short.

On that last one, I bashed my knee off of the bleacher, and it all ended up being for naught.

I slowed down a bit after that, trying to be more careful, especially because Amy was at the game with me.  She hates to see me get hurt, and I didn’t want to upset her.

I didn’t get a single ball during the Pirates batting practice, so I changed into my Tigers gear, hoping maybe to at least have a ball tossed to me.

However, luck continued to elude me.  Here’s a home run ball that would be caught by a child in the front row.

When a ball finally rolled to the wall, I noticed that the Tigers pitchers could care less about it.

So I set up my glove trick and snagged it.

It was my first ball of the day, and it was about 5:25PM.  A few minutes later, the rest of the stadium would open, and I had been keeping tabs on a ball that was sliced into the seats down the left field line.  The only problem was, there was a bunch of other folks waiting to get the green light to run up the stairs to the ball.  The people I was up against had the advantage of running up escalators, while I chose to go with the steps in the middle, which meant I’d have to run twice as fast as them.  I ended up being the first person to the top of the stairs to reach the main level, and raced down to the lower level, where I found ball #2 waiting for me.

Here’s a shot that Amy took a few seconds after I had snagged ball #2

It just wasn’t my day today, and I knew it.

I wouldn’t snag another ball for the rest of batting practice.

I headed over to center field for the last group, while Amy stayed in left and took this really cool panorama:

After batting practice ended, the Tigers left a ball on the warning track.  They had run off the field, so I set up my glove trick:

Lowered it over the ball,

And pulled it in (after a couple readjustments with the rubber band)

Here are today’s baseballs:

And the sweet spots:

STATISTICS:
Game:  3 balls (2 device, 1 found)
Season:  143 balls (56 hit, 35 thrown, 30 device, 21 found)
Games: 23 games
Average:  6.22 balls per game
Career:  1,265 balls
Attendance: 24,396

5-15-11 Miller Park

Today’s game began at 1:10 PM, meaning the gates would open at 11:40 pm.  However, I was hoping to get in early at Friday’s, so we arrived at the stadium around 10:30 AM.

It proved to be a mistake, because the Friday’s early entrance doesn’t open until 11AM.  Amy and I were forced to stand in 40 degree temps with wind gusts of up to 50 mph for a half hour.  It was brutal cold.  Brutal.

Once we got inside, we walked around the left field concourse, and I took a few photos.  One of the escalator to the 200 level,

and another of a Walls of Honor section:

We were chased from the concourse by a cranky security supervisor who made us go to Friday’s, but failed to say anything to the other couples who were loitering around.

It didn’t really matter much, because the Brewers failed to take batting practice today.

When the gates opened, I ran through the narrow concourse behind the batters eye to the right field bleachers.

There, Ryan Doumit would toss me ball #1 of the day.

Doumit’s first throw was well short, and fell into the bullpen.  He tried again, but over shot me by 10 feet, and the ball hit a bleacher and bounced back onto the field.  His third try was right on the money though.  I definitely appreciated Doumit’s patience and willingness to make sure he hooked me up.

I decided just to stay in right field the entire day.   The view to my left:

My second ball of the day was a clean home run catch of a Garrett Jones home run ball.

Here I am holding up the ball for Amy to see.

The Pirates were hitting some home runs, but not very many into the seating areas.

My third and final ball of the day would be glove tricked from the Pirates bullpen.  I set up my glove trick,

Lowered the glove,

And reeled in ball #3 of the day

There wasn’t much action for the rest of batting practice, but at least I had Amy nearby to keep me in good spirits.

We left right after batting practice to go home.  The worst part of the day was walking back to the car in the biting cold, and being trapped in the lot.

Everyone was tailgating and blocking the aisles, and all of the exits were roped off.  The only way off was the one entryway where cars were streaming in.  Eventually we were let out.   We didn’t get home until 11:58 PM, as it was a ten hour drive back.  Amy helped make the drive back fun though, and it went fast.

Thanks for everything baby.  I love you!

Here are today’s baseballs:

And the sweet spots:

STATISTICS:
Game:  3 balls (1 hit, 1 thrown, 1 device,)
Season:  140 balls (56 hit, 35 thrown, 28 device, 20 found)
Games: 22 games
Average:  6.36 balls per game
Career:  1,262 balls
Attendance: 37,059

*Last year on May 15th I had snagged 115 baseballs through 16 games, so I am a bit ahead of last year’s record year, despite the poor weather we’ve had.

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:

5-12-11 PNC Park

Rain was forecasted for today, so the Pirates were hitting early.  Amy was working the game and was there with me on the Riverwalk.  She had bought me two steak sandwiches.
DSC01039a.JPG
It was still early, so I figured the big lefties weren’t up yet, so Amy and I were just talking with a ball landed literally two feet to my left and rolled into the river.  I was upset that I wasn’t paying attention like I should’ve been.
51211.jpg
The ball floated awhile and sank.

I caught my first ball of the day here, as it took one bounce in the stadium and right into my glove.
DSC01042.JPG
I misplayed another ball that rolled into the river, I just over ran it, because a big pack of pedestrians were walking toward the spot where it bounced out, and I was overly aggressive.

Amy then found a ball.  Since she is an employee and was working this game, I counted it.  It must’ve bounced out and hit the trees to my right, because it was just sitting in the grass.  She found it when she went to go into the stadium to begin her work.

My third ball was another one that bounced out of the stadium.  I played it just right and I caught it on the fly as it took one hop off the riverwalk and right into my glove.

Finally, I misplayed another ball.  Another one bounced out, but I ran too far in on it.  I was standing on the razor grass, so I didn’t want to jump and break my ankle, so I tried to reach up for it, but it was a few feet over my glove.  Nick Pelescak had the play backed up, but it got past him too.  Some random passerby picked the ball up as it slowly rolled toward the river.  Had he not been there either Nick or I probably could’ve reached the ball, as it seemed to not have much momentum if some random guy was able to get it.

It started raining then, as usual, right at 4:35.  This wiped out batting practice.

I still went in, and managed to find ball #4 in the fourth row,
DSC01048.JPG
and ball #5 in the front row.
DSC01047.JPG
I found them probably five minutes after the gates had opened.  Zac Weiss was the first one in and had already covered this section, but must’ve just missed them in his haste. 

I looked for more when the rest of the stadium opened at 5:30, but there was nothing else to be found, so I went home.

The game ended up being rained out, which is great, because it means it’ll be made up, which will give us an extra batting practice.

Today’s baseballs:
DSC01055.JPG
Sweet spots:

DSC01051.JPG

STATISTICS:
Game:  5 balls (2 hit, 1 thrown, 2 found)
Season:  118 balls (45 hit, 31 thrown, 24 device, 17 found)
Games: 19 games
Average:  6.21 balls per game
Career:  1,240 balls
Attendance: 1 (rain out)

5-11-11 PNC Park

My day got off to a great start before the gates even opened.   I spent 4:15-4:50 on the Riverwalk outside of the stadium.  I did the same thing yesterday, but not even one ball came out. 

Today, that would be different.  I misplayed one ball that rather than knocking down with my body, I let hit the concrete to play it on a bounce.  The ball took a gigantic hop and went right into the river. 

The second ball I had a chance on, I made sure to knock the ball down with my body.  It was another home run that ripped through a tree, hit me, and settled in the grass, where I smothered it.  It was my first ball of the day.  It all happened here.
DSC01002.JPG
A few minutes later, I cleanly snagged another home run ball on the fly as it one-bounced out of the stadium here:
DSC01004.JPG
When the gates opened, Ross Ohlendorf tossed me ball #3.  Ross is probably the best BP shagger in the National League.  He really hustles after everything.
DSC01006.JPGMy fourth and final ball of the Pirates BP was hit into the upper bleachers.  I raced up and claimed it about six rows back.

When the Dodgers came out to hit, I was able to glove trick ball #5 here:
DSC01012a.JPG
Then snagged a ground rule double here,
DSC01011.JPG
and was tipped off by the guy in the picture below about another glove trick opportunity, which I reeled in for ball #7.
DSC01013.JPG
I went over to right field at 5:30 to look for balls, but there were none.  I looked down at section 139, and there was a ball literally at another ballhawk’s feet that he didn’t see.  From the front row of the right field wall, it was unmistakeably white and round – an easter egg.  I ran down and picked it up for ball #8.  It was laying in a little bit of water here:
DSC01014.JPG
but it wasn’t completely soaked.

I stayed in center field as Andre Ethier was hitting.  I was robbed twice, but managed to get my glove on one of his home runs that I momentarily dropped, but recovered to pick it up here:
DSC01016.JPG
I had to reach down and try and make a basket catch, and it hit the bulge of string that I keep in my glove and popped out.  Luckily, no one else was in the area though to grab the misplayed ball.

I only needed one more ball for double digits.  I still had twenty minutes of batting practice to get it, and Jay Gibbons, the Dodgers best BP hitter was up.  I moved up to the steep Clemente wall, where Gibbons had routinely peppered hoome runs the past two days.  He hit a home run to my right so I took off to make the catch.  However, the right field wall has cupholders that are low to the ground. 
DSC01017.JPG
I stumbled on one and went straight down, tumbling down into the row below. 
DSC01018.JPG
I tried to use the seat below to break my fall, but my left arm basically went right through the folded up chair.  I bashed the side of my lower left leg, hit the outer portion of my left bicep, and left thigh on the seats and arm rests.  It hurt bad, but I popped right up as the ball was about ten feet away in the row I’d fallen into.  However, some random guy hastily climbed over three rows and snatched it from me at the last second.

Minutes later the same damn thing happened again.  Gibbons hit a home run, I tripped on a cupholder, and this time sort of rolled down into the second row.  The ball actually tipped off my glove as I was falling.  Again, a random gloveless fan picked it up. 

Double digits just wasn’t to be.

I got shut out for the rest of batting practice.  I decided that I needed to get 10, so rather than leaving after BP like I had originally planned.  I stayed.  I decided to get 10 out of the way before the game started, so I went to this building on top of the scoreboard area to claim an easter egg that had to have been thrown there by a player, because its too far to have been hit:
DSC01019.JPGSee it?
DSC01020.JPGWell, the area was off limits, so I quickly went in, expecting to see a ladder or something on the other side.  Instead, I saw this:
DSC01021.JPG
Bathrooms.  Apparently there’s no possible way to get on top of that roof.

I waited around until the game started and was able to get Garrett Jones to toss me ball #10 after he warmed up before the second inning began.
DSC01027.JPG
I added ball #11 before the sixth began with Andrew McCutchen’s outfield warm up ball:
DSC01028.JPG
That was all for today.  Double digits!  A great day.

Here are today’s baseballs:
DSC01036.JPG
Sweet spots:
DSC01031.JPG
STATISTICS:
Game:  11 balls (5 hit, 3 thrown, 2 device, 1 found)
Season:  113 balls (43 hit, 30 thrown, 24 device, 15 found)
Games: 18 games
Average:  6.28 balls per game
Career:  1,235 balls
Attendance: 12,910

5-10-11 PNC Park

Let’s get right to it.

My first two balls of the day were off the bat of Chris Snyder.  The first was a home run that landed in section 133 near the foul pole.
DSC00981.JPG
There was no one there, so I simply had to run over and pick it up.

Snyder hit another ball that bounced over the fence.  Several fans reacted to slow and deflected the ball right to me here:
DSC00984.JPGAt 5:30, I ran into the center field seats and found ball #1 laying in the front row, it was in the middle section here:

It was also ball #100 of the season.
DSC00987.JPGSince the Dodgers batting practice was so awful, I stayed in right field because Jay Gibbons was the only batter really putting anything into the seats.

He didn’t hit nearly as many home runs as yesterday, but he did hit one home run that I chased down as it hit a seat a section away from me, and a few rows back:
DSC00985.JPGThat was it for batting practice.  It was really lame.  The Dodgers again, are the worst batting practice team I’ve seen all year.

During the game, I snagged Andrew McCutchen’s warm up ball before the first inning began.  I stood in the third row, in the exact spot where the threw it yesterday, and he delivered a perfect strike to me.  It was my fifth ball of the day.
DSC00990.JPG
That was it for my snagging.  I was really tired, so I sat for much of the game.  The Pirates ended up losing, knocking them back to .500 on the season at 18-18.

Today’s baseballs:
DSC00998.JPG
Sweet spots:
DSC00995.JPGSTATISTICS:
Game:  5 balls (3 hit, 1 thrown, 1 found)
Season:  102 balls (38 hit, 27 thrown, 22 device, 14 found)
Games: 17 games
Average:  6.00 balls per game
Career:  1,224 balls
Attendance: 13,497

5-9-11 PNC Park

Today got off to a great start.

I got to the stadium around 4:25 PM or so and went down to the Riverwalk.  Look what was waiting for me. 

It was just laying there. 
5-10 Ball in the grass.JPG
It had a nice scuff on it, so it likely bounced out of the stadium and just died in the grass.  None of the passers by noticed it.  Amazing stuff.

After a few minutes, several other ballhawks joined me on the riverwalk. 
5-10 waiting on the riverwalk.JPG
There were two younger ballhawks, Nick Pelescak, and another guy who stayed farther down towards the foul pole.

While there, a ball bounced out that the youngest of us grabbed, and another one bounced out that I completely misplayed.  I notice a high fly ball that looked like it had a chance.  I ran up to the wall, because it looked like it might just barely clear the wall.  It did, after bouncing at least twice in the stadium.  When the ball reappeared into my field of sight, I was to far to the left, and totally misplayed it.  I tried to dive for it, but missed the ball, and one of the ‘new’ ballhawks grabbed it.

The rest of the time we spent staring at the sky, but nothing else came out.
5-10 outside pnc park.JPG
When the gates opened, I ran in and found ball #2 laying on the cross aisle by the handicapped seats in left field.  A food service employee actually pointed it out to me.  He saw me sprinting, assumed I was looking for baseballs, and said, “There’s one right there.”

My third ball was hit by Steve Pearce.  It was a ball that landed in section 133 and it rolled down the stairs under the bleachers and I just waited for it and picked it up.

832u5832u4832u48923.JPG
Despite having empty bleachers and doing a ton of running around, Nick and I both had really sub par games.
DSC00600.JPG
Here we are just coming up short on one of several scrums.
DSC00601.JPG
The Pirates had put several righties in their last group, and it was a good round of BP, but after about 9 minutes, they ran off the field and the Dodgers came out.
DSC00626.JPG
My fourth ball of the day came after the Dodgers came out to hit.  Here I am in my useless Dodgers gear:
DSC00639.JPG
Ball #4 was a ball that rolled to the wall that I glove tricked.
DSC00709.JPG
The guy in the Waner jersey below told me to give the glove tricked ball away to a kid.  I told him no.  
DSC00649.JPG
The kid just got three anyway.  I hate it when people try to tell me what to do with the balls that I snag.  He clumsily got a ball, but I didn’t see him giving it away.  For the record, I gave two of my decoy balls away to kids yesterday.
In the meantime, it seems like most of the Pittsburgh ballhawks change their jerseys now.
DSC00662.JPG
Dodgers BP absolutely sucked.  There was a lot of time to just stand around.
DSC00715.JPG
Whenever a ball looked like it had a chance, it died and was routinely caught by one of the Dodgers pitchers.
DSC00722.JPG
At 5:30, I headed over to center field,
DSC00742a.JPG
but found no balls there.  I stayed there for a few minutes, and had three opportunities, but failed on all three.  The first was a ball that was over my head, hit in the fourth row and bounced back onto the field.  The second was a ground rule double that bounced into the fourth row that a random fan beat me to, and the third was a ground rule double that I had tip off my glove after a fan in the front row also tried to snag it and knocked my glove out of position at the last second.
I returned to left field, talked with one of the friendly supervisors who gets a kick out of our ballhawking antics,
DSC00781.JPG
and waited around for a home run.
They were few and far between.  I lost out on one scrum, 
DSC00791a.JPG
and the caught a Russell Mitchell home run ball on the fly for ball #5.
Here I am getting a read on the ball.
DSC00858.JPG
The photo of the catch was obstructed as Nick was backing up the play.  
The ball was brand new without a spec on it.
That was it for batting practice.   Amy and I went up to the club level and ate, and made our way back down to the outfield for the beginning of the game.  Our seats were on the Clemente wall.
Before the game started, I meandered into the center field seats, but came up empty on the first inning toss up ball.  It went to the folks in the second row.
DSC00879.JPG
Also, in the first inning, a ballhawk named Harold who has snagged 1,000 baseballs in 30 years had a prime opportunity to catch a home run ball off the bat of Garrett Jones.  He completely muffed it, and the ball fell back on the field.  Harold was booed mercilessly.  His botched catch caused the umpires to look at the replay and rule what should’ve been a home run a ground rule double.
Here’s Harold:
DSC00929.JPG
In the top of the second inning, Jones warmed up, turned, and fired me his warm up ball.  It was ball # 6 on the day.
DSC00940.JPG
#6, rubbed up, an ex-gamer:
DSC00942.JPG
After that, Amy and I left to go have some time to ourselves as we have a busy week ahead of us.
Here are today’s baseballs:
DSC00979a.JPG
Sweet spots:
DSC00976a.JPG
STATISTICS:
Game:  6 balls (2 hit, 1 thrown, 1 device, 2 found)
Season:  97 balls (35 hit, 26 thrown, 22 device, 13 found)
Games: 16 games
Average:  6.06 balls per game
Career:  1,219 balls
Attendance: 11,373
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 130 other followers