Results tagged ‘ Red Sox ’

6-25-11 PNC Park

Today would be the largest crowd ever to witness a game at PNC Park, as 39, 483 would pack the park.

I was second in line behind Nick Pelescak.   Zac Weiss, another Pittsburgh ballhawk would be third.  There was lots of time to kill, so we stood around and talked a bit.

And played some catch in front of the gate.
Erik Jabs
What pitch am I throwing below?  It has to do with the Red Sox starting pitcher tonight…
Erik Jabs
When the gates opened, I found a ball in the front row of section 137 to put me on the board.

A bit later in batting practice, a ball hit off of a the groundskeepers vehicle and settled against the wall in foul territory.

It would’ve been an easy snag – just a reach over the fence.  So I ran over to get it.  Just as I was entering the seating area in foul territory down the line, a Pirate sliced a line drive of home run distance into the seats.  I was in the right place in the right time, as there wasn’t another fan within 100 feet.  I walked over and picked it up for ball #2.

In the meantime, the groundskeeper picked the ball up as I was making my way down the stairs.

My third ball was a ground rule double that bounced over the fence here, and nearly took out pitching coach Ray Searage, who was walking over to the fence to give a ball away.

I wouldn’t snag another ball until 5:30.

At 5:30, the center field and right field seats opened, and I found a ball on the stairs in right field for #4 of the day.

Moments later, David Ortiz blasted a ball way over my head.  I could tell it was going to carry, so I ran up the stairs towards the top of the Clemente Wall, hoping the ball would settle in a seat or empty row.  It hit a seat and completely lost all momentum, and I picked it up a moment later for #5.

In the next group, I noticed a ball had landed in the ivy in center field that might have been reachable.

I made my way down the stairs and as I was under the Clemente Wall walking to center field, I heard WHHHAPPP – the sound of a ball hitting the concrete.  A ball had cleared the Clemente Wall completely and was about twenty feet in the air above my head, as it rebounded off of the back wall.  I jumped up and snagged it for ball #6.

‘Wow, that was lucky,’ I thought.

Not but fifteen seconds later, the same thing happened.  Completely obstructed from the path of the ball, another home run cleared everything, hit a Red Sox fan, and deflected directly to me for ball #7.

Two completely lucky snags in a matter of seconds.  I was later told it was Jarrod Saltalamacchia who hit those two balls.

In the meantime, another ballhawk snagged that ball in the ivy in center field.  Nothing really happened in center field, except David Ortiz sauntered out to receive the adulation of Red Sox nation.
David Ortiz
I spent the last fifteen minutes in left field, and this was the scene.

There was no where to go.  I stayed over towards the foul pole where I had at least a half row of range, but no balls came withing fifty feet of me.

After batting practice, I left PNC Park for a bit.  I checked the bushes to baseballs, but didn’t find any.

I also took one of the best pictures I’ve ever taken after looking through those bushes.

Check it out:
Pittsburgh skyline
During the game, I didn’t do much ballhawking.  I spent a few innings in right center, and a few innings in my ticketed seat in the upper deck.

The Pirates ended up winning the game, setting the stage for a possibly sweep of the mighty Boston Red Sox tomorrow.

After the game Amy and I found a secluding spot in a park during the firework show and

Anyway, before heading home we stopped off at a Giant Eagle and picked up a few snacks for a possible road trip next week… It will probably be the last extended road trip for awhile because… well, we’re so pregnant.

And tomorrow is the baby shower!

Today’s baseballs:

Sweet spots:

Statistics:
Game: 7 balls (5 hit, 2 found)
Season:  251 balls (101 hit, 53 thrown, 60 device, 28 found)
Games: 43 games
Average:  5.84 balls per game
Career:  1,373 balls
Attendance: 39,483

6-24-11 PNC Park

The Red Sox were in town, bringing their well traveled fan base into PNC Park.

I got to the park early, and waited at the gate until I saw the Pirates pitchers begin to take batting practice.

When it got underway, I headed down to the Riverwalk and searched through the weeds, just in case either team took early batting practice.

There was nothing.  And no luck on the Riverwalk today.

When the gates opened, there were already seven people in the bleachers with guest passes, so the Easter Eggs were long gone.

In about the first minute of batting practice, I caught a home run on the fly in section 136.  Here I am labeling it:

My second ball also came during the first five minutes, and it was a glove trick ball.  After adjusting the band twice, I reeled it in.


The Pirates only hit until 5:06, which is a growing trend this year.  They’ve been ending between 5:03-5:06 lately.

During the Boston Red Sox first group, which featured a bunch of lefties, I was able to snag an Adrian Gonzalez ground rules double in the left field corner.

It bounced into the first row in the aisle where I picked it up.

Then BP slowed way down.

There were intermittent rain showers:

And a lot of standing around, while Red Sox lefties took their cuts.

(We are confined to left field until 5:30)

At 5:30, I went over into center field.  Can you find me in the picture below?

I narrowly missed catching a David Ortiz home run, but it was just over my head and landed a few rows back.

For the last group of Red Sox batters, I stood on the Clemente Wall in right field, where I caught a home run on the fly.  I was checking the rooftops below the wall for baseballs (which occasionally there are.  Its rare, but it happens), when I caught the track of a fly ball.  I was just re-entering the seats, and ran to my left and made a snag on the move.  I caught it in front of the guy in the black shirt:

Amy and I left right after batting practice.

Here are today’s baseballs:

Sweet spots:

Statistics:
Game: 4 balls (3 hit, 1 device)
Season:  244 balls (96 hit, 53 thrown, 60 device, 26 found)
Games: 42 games
Average:  5.81 balls per game
Career:  1,366 balls
Attendance: 39,330

Spring Training Day 2

Like I mentioned yesterday, I decided that I didn’t want to waste four hours of my day standing around at a run down parking lot behind the left field wall of McKechnie Field.  With my girlfriend Amy, we decided to make better use of our time in Florida and head to a different beach. 
DSC00475.JPGThere were thousands of sea shells on the beach, so we wrote something in ‘shelligraphy.’  Here’s the finished product.  I wrote ‘Amy.’
DSC00492.JPGAfter some beach fun, which included swimming in a cold, empty ocean, we headed to the Orioles Spring Training complex on the way to Bradenton.

When we arrived there around 11:30, and Orioles player named Anderson had just finished hitting.
100_7559.JPGHe and some coaches were picking up the balls in the outfield.

I called out to one of the coaches and asked if he could toss a ball over.  He did.
100_7573.JPGThen he asked, “How tall are you?”  “About 6’5″ I answered.  I must’ve looked way taller because my whole head was above the six foot fence.  I think there must’ve been a tiny mound or something I was standing on.  “You look way taller than that!”  The coach replied.

Not sure who he is, but thanks.
100_7560.JPGThere was nothing else going on at this point, so we walked around and took some photos.

100_7576.JPG
There were some cool trees bhind the center field wall:
100_7557.JPG
And a woodpecker that kept drilling holes in the trees above us:
100_7553.JPG
A view of Ed Smith Stadium off in the distance:

A look at the area behind the fences:
100_7579.JPGA baseball graveyard, protected by barbed wire:
100_7581.JPG
One that didn’t make it:
100_7580.JPGHere’s a short video of the area where I got the ball at:

After a few minutes, we headed back to our illegally parked car (we weren’t going to pay $9 for 15 minutes of standing outside of a baseball practice field).  We then made the trip to Bradenton.

When we arrived, these are the lineups that both teams would put on the field today:
100_7583.JPGThe Red Sox lineup was pretty disappointing – no David Ortiz, no Carl Crawford, no Adrian Gonzalez, no Dustin Pedroia.

We got there just as the game was starting and Mike Cameron was digging in for the Red Sox.
100_7584.JPG
Here was a view of our seats.  Notice the large crowd?  It was the largest crowd ever in McKechnie Field’s 42 year history.
100_7585.JPGHere’s some pictures from the game, taken courtesy of Counting Baseballs’ official blog photographer, Amy:

Jose Tabata, the Pirates starting left fielder, awaits a pitch.  Hopefully Tabata can improve on his power numbers this year:
100_7587.JPGJosh Beckett, Boston’s ace, took the mound for the Red Sox.
100_7588.JPGHere’s a short video of Josh Beckett battling Garrett Jones:

Panorama of a packed house at McKechnie Field:
100_7593.JPGPedro Alvarez prepares to react to a pitch:
100_7594.JPG
The Grandstand at McKechnie Field:
100_7598.JPG
John Bowker’s home run swing, as he watches a towering fly ball clear the right field fence:
100_7611.JPG
Brad Lincoln delivers a pitch:
100_7614.JPG
JD Drew, one of the very few regulars from the Red Sox, at the plate:
100_7647.JPG
Another long time Red Sox player, Jason Varitek:
100_7655.JPGBefore we left, we checked out the Pirates’ clubhouse store.  Check out the new Pirates hoody this year.  Amy is going to get it for me at PNC Park and use my Pirates’ clubhouse store discount.
DSC00497.JPGAfter the game, we headed back to the ocean for some beach fun.

Later, we had an epic game of miniature golf.  On the way back to the hotel, we passed a miniature golf place.  Trash talking ensued, and it was on.
DSC00638.JPGThe course had a big lake with fountains in the middle of it along with live gators.
DSC00504.JPGBy the third hole, I had a slim lead, and was feeling confident.
DSC00505.JPG
However, Amy, who typically slugs the heck out of the ball as if it were a driving range, started putting like a PGA pro golfer. 

This video just demonstrates my bad luck:

DSC00510.JPGI managed to hold a three stroke lead through the first 9 holes.  I had a little bit of trouble in one of the mini golf caves,
DSC00523.JPG
but bounced back with a ridiculous hole in one soon after, the only one of the day.
DSC00555.JPGI managed to keep a two stroke lead through most of the game, but started to get too overly confidant. 

DSC00589.JPGAnother cave brought more bad luck for me.
DSC00606.JPG
I tried to distract Amy by pretending that I thought that the caves were actually real and that the golf course was built around the caves.  The distraction didn’t work, as she worked her magic and tied up the score.
DSC00613.JPGThe game came down to the very last hole.  The score was tied up.  I went first and the ball came to rest several feet from the hole.  Amy came up and used pin point precision to put the ball 8 inches from the hole.  It was an easy tap in for her.   There was no way she could lose.  I had to sink a long put just to tie and keep my non-losing streak in tact.  I can’t remember ever losing in miniature golf to a girl.  That would all change today, I missed the putt, lost the game, and a private bet between Amy and I.

It was almost 11, so we went back to the hotel to relax before another day in Florida tomorrow.

6-9-10 Progressive Field

I decided to see the Boston Red Sox at Progressive Field.  It would be the first time I’d see the Red Sox in the regular season (I had seen them several times before in Spring Training).

I got to the stadium after 4PM, but was still the first in line.  The Indians were already hitting, so I was hoping to find a few Easter Eggs.  Unfortunately, when I got into the right field stands, I didn’t find anything, although a young kid did find one.

I checked in the bullpen briefly and saw this:
45235235.jpg
I went to work immediately, throwing my glove into the bullpen to nudge the ball closer to the wall, and then glove tricking ball #1.  With the ball in my possession, I ran over to Heritage Park to search the trees.
5236436426634.jpg
STATISTICS:
Game:  10 balls (6 hit, 1 thrown, 2 device, 1 found)
Season:  185 balls (98 hit, 51 thrown, 13 device, 23 found)
Games: 30 games
Average:  6.17 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career:  763 balls
Streak:  126 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 14,022 (with the Red Sox in town!) Surprising.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 129 other followers