Results tagged ‘ Tom Gorzelanny ’
Today was the make up game of Friday’s rained out contest between the Pirates and Nationals.
When the gates opened, I ran in and found my first ball of the day in the front row near the bullpen.
I only got one other ball during the Pirates portion and it was a home run ball that probably was catchable by myself or Nick, but we both missed it and it bounced back onto the field. Evan Meek picked it up and tossed it to me for ball #2.
I also glove tricked ball #4 in left field when the Nationals were hitting.
My fifth ball of the day was a home run hit by an unknown righty. I made the clean catch here:
I then struck up a conversation with ex-Pirate Tom Gorzelanny. I asked him if he still had all the Dave Matthews Band CDs that I sent him a few years back. He said yeah and then started talking to me about DMB for a bit.
During the conversation, a batter hit a line drive that bounced on the warning track. I snagged it as it skipped off the warning track just to my left without moving or breaking conversation with Gorzelanny.
I was planning on asking him for a ball, and that ground rule double had just ruined it.
Anyway, the Nationals weren’t taking much initiative in collecting the balls from the warning track, so I glove tricked ball #7 here in left field,
and glove tricked #8 in section 141.
I was then tipped off by ex-ballhawk Andrew McDonald about another ball, and glove tricked that one for #9.
My tenth ball of the day was thrown in right field by Doug Slaten, who seemingly hooked up every fan on the wall.
After a few missed opportunities for home runs, I tracked down a Matt Stairs home run for Ball #11 that landed in the second to last row on the wall.
That was all for batting practice.
During the game, I decided to sit in the club seats because there was virtually no one there. Many fans stayed home to watch the Penguins game.
Here’s a view of the field from the club seats:
I had a perfect chance at a foul ball. The place was virtually empty.
In the second inning, new Pirate Brandon Wood made his bucco debut.
He took the first two pitches he saw. On the third John Lannan offering, he took a rip. He fouled the pitch off into the second deck. I jumped out of my seat immediately and went running throw the row to try and make the catch.
I ran to the end of the next section and made the catch at the end of the row seen here:
It was ball #12 and my first game ball of the season.
Anyhow, it rained on and off throughout the rest of the night, so I spent some time between innings in the club level to stay dry.
Here are today’s baseballs:
And the sweet spots:
Game: 12 balls (4 hit, 2 thrown, 5 device, 1 found)
Season: 77 balls (29 hit, 17 thrown, 21 device, 10 found)
Games: 11 games
Average: 7.00 balls per game
Career: 1,199 balls
2010 through 11 games: 77 balls (0 balls behind last year’s pace)
My 2009 Season Tickets had arrived. It wasn’t quite like the 2005 movie Fever Pitch in which Red Sox season ticket holder Jimmy Fallon rushes out into the street to greet the delivery man in his pijamas to get his tickets, but it was a day I’d been looking forward to.
This is my third year being a full 81 game season ticket holder. This year, the cost of my tickets dropped by about 30%. My entire plan cost me $798 for 2 tickets for an entire season, an amazing deal.
I was looking forward to seeing the design that the Pirates put together for the upcoming campaign. In recent memory, the Pirates had always featured five different stars on their season ticket stubs. Last year, Matt Capps, Tom Gorzellanny, Ian Snell, Freddy Sanchez and Adam LaRoche appeared on the season tickets which were designed after 2008 Topps Baseball Cards. Below is a picture of the last 4 years of season tickets:
On the left is the 2005 season ticket depicting Jack Wilson. Wilson was coming off of a fantastic 2004 season, his career year. The ’06 design stars Sean Casey in the picture above. The ’05 and ’06 tickets were very similar in design. The 2007 tickets featured elements of PNC Park in the background of the ticket along with front and center photos of the Pirates stars. On the right side of the above picture you can see Gorzelanny and the 2008 version.
So, what do the 2009 tickets look like?
The opening day ticket is on the front of the booklet to the right.
I flipped open the book to see what the ’09 design was. I was expecting to see Nate McLouth, Paul Maholm and Ryan Doumit make their debut on the season ticket stubs. Possibly Matt Capps and Brandon Moss would join them? (Freddy Sanchez, Jack Wilson, and Adam LaRoche were out of the question as they will likely be traded in ’09).
However, the Pirates made an unexpected change on their 2009 tickets:
They abandoned using player photos and went with Pirates related photos. I like the fact that they have the 2009 Topps Baseball Card border again. I’m not crazy about the photos though. I think they’ll become somewhat boring and generic, especially the Pirate hat and jersey ticket.
The Pirates did a similar design in the early 2000′s, where they featured PNC Park scenery like the Clemente bridge, Wagner statue etc.
Also in my season ticket package was a letter from Frank Coonelly.
The letter basically stated:
Thank you for your support of the Pirates. We are thrilled that you will be back with us again in 2009 and truly appreciate the faith that you have shown in us. We have made significant progress over the last year and are a much stronger organization than we have been in recent years. There are many reasons that Pirates fans should be excited not only for the upcoming season, but for the future as well, below are just a few of them:
1) We have hired two of the best coaches in the game at their positions in Joe Kerrigan and Perry Hill as our first base/infield coach.
2) Witnessing the continued growth of players such as McLouth, Maholm and Doumit, and being on hand to see who will be this year’s breakout performers. We have challenged our players to be the best players they can be and we are confident that our other young players will experience significant growth in 2009.
3) The improvement of the pitching staff. As a result of the trades we made last season, we now have far more depth in our starting rotation. We are confident that the increased competition for rotation spots coupled with the addition of Joe Kerrigan will make us a stronger club in 2009.
4) In just one year we have added significant talent to our system. Indeed, five or the players listed in our top 10 prospects were not in our organization a year ago. We are excited to follow the continued development of highly talented prospects such as Andrew McCutchen, Jose Tabata, Bryan Morris, Brad Lincoln, Pedro Alvarez, Neil Walker and others.
Off the field, we have increased out staff in order to provide you with the best possible service throughout this season.
Your continued support of the Pirates is greatly appreciated by everyone in this organization and we are glad you will be on board with us as we continue to return this organization to prominence. We are working extremely hard to build the winning organization that you so richly deserve.
Thank you and I look forward to seeing you at PNC Park in 2009.
Sincerely, Frank Coonelly
It seems like Frank is pinning a lot of his optimism for success in 2009 on Joe Kerrigan’s shoulders. Basically Kerrigan has to take the same group that was the worst staff in 2008 and turn them all around. We’ll see about that. It could be possible, but is it probable?
Today marked the kickoff of the weekend long Piratefest at the David L Lawrence Convention Center across the river from PNC Park. Friday is always the best day to go because the crowds are sparse. We got an assist from the Steelers hosting a pep rally at Heinz Field at 7, helping to thin the crowd a bit more.
Holly and I entered Piratefest early with the rest of the season ticket holders. Most people rushed toward the autograph line. However, since we got a lot of autographs last Sunday at Seven Springs, we thought waiting in line to get autographs of players we already got to sign would be a waste of time.
We walked around and bought two Pirates grab bags (filled with junk, as usual) and played the Chuck-a-luck game. I won 2 tickets on my first spin.
Wheel of Fortune was slated to begin at 5PM, so we signed up and waited for the entertainment to begin. Wouldn’t you know it, Holly was selected as a contestant.
Bob Walk served as the host and Jeff Karstens was the special Pirates guest. There was also some other lady on the stage. This is the first year that the Pirates have done Wheel of Fortune at Piratefest, and it showed. Bob Walk didn’t understand the rules very well and had to rely on help from the audience. The Wheel was a computerized wheel on a screen off to the left of the stage. Contestants had to say “Spin” to spin the wheel, and “Stop” to stop the wheel. Puzzles during Holly’s time on stage included “North Shore,” “Paul and Lloyd Waner,” and “Mario Mendoza Line.” Holly had bad luck with the wheel and landed on Bankrupt or Lose a Turn every other time.
Walker was a bit more into the game than Karstens was and made some conversation with me on stage. Hopefully he joins the Pirates at some point in 2009.
I wasn’t nervous on stage, it was actually pretty cool. I ended up coming in second place because Bob Walk helped the other contestant solve a puzzle by tapping on her booth with his knuckles. The phrase was “Knuckleball.”
Bob Walk asked the assistants to get me a different prize rather than the two tickets, but they gave me two infield box seats to a 2009 game anyway.
Holly took a brief video of me playing Wheel of Fortune. If you’d like to watch it, click HERE for the Youtube link.
I’ve also included a few additional pictures below of my Wheel of Fortune experience:
After Wheel of Fortune was over, we stuck around for Pirates Password. You may have seen the game on TV hosted by Regis Philbin. Two contestants were selected from the crowd by mascot Jolly Roger. He selected a 12 year old girl and a surly 60 year old bald man. The girl was paired with Zach Duke, and the older man with Tom Gorzelanny.
Duke and Gorzo each trash talked throughout the game, celebrating and rubbing it in the others face when they did well. There were three rounds, with Gorzelanny and the old man winning the game.
The man won 4 tickets and gets to deliver the line up card before a game.
We were ready to get up and leave since we had been sitting at the stage area for almost 2 hours, but Greg Brown announced that the Pirates would be unveiling their new uniforms shortly, so we stuck around.
The Pirates will wear four different uniforms in 2009. The Home, Road, and Alternate Jerseys are all new, while the Sunday pinstripe jersey remains unchanged. The Home and Road jerseys will now have sleeves for the first time since 2000. The last 8 years, the Pirates wore sleeveless jerseys with a black undershirt. The uniforms will also be constructed of a lighter material, called “Cool Base.” We checked out the new uniforms in the Pirates store and they are very nice. However I couldn’t consider paying $179 for a jersey.
The Pirates also abolished the red alternate jersey after two years. The red jerseys had become unpopular with many fans over the past two years. The new jersey is all black, features a “P” on one side and the player’s number on the other. I thought that it was a really nice looking jersey. I went back to the Pirates store 2 or 3 times and looked at the new alternate jerseys and really wanted to buy one, but didn’t. The new jerseys were selling for $95.
A final change will be to the Pirates batting practice caps. They will eliminate the red from the ear area of the batting practice cap and replace it with all black. So, the BP hat will be all black with a gold line going around the brim and ear area of the hat. They were selling for $32 in the store. Outrageous.
Frank Coonelly talked about the Pirates new uniforms while four Pirates modeled the jerseys for the crowd. The models were:
Matt Capps (Sunday pinstripe jersey)
Freddy Sanchez (Home Jersey)
Nyjer Morgan (Road Jersey)
Nate McLouth (Alternate Jersey).
If you’d like to see a Video portion of the jersey unveiling, please click HERE.
After the uniform unveiling we went over to the Season Ticket holder MVP zone. It is an area that only season ticket holders may enter. There are several couches, a pool table, a Wii station, and an air hockey table here. The best thing about the MVP zone is the ability to get Pirates signatures from players. The autograph lines are always 5 minutes tops. The general autograph lines can take up to 3 hours. We got autographs today from Neil Walker, Sean Burnett, Andrew McCuthchen and Jeff Karstens in the MVP zone. We also caught Matt Capps as he was walking around Piratefest and got him to sign our balls. I asked him what he thought of the new jerseys. He said he liked them and thought that they would be wearing them an awful lot.
With about an hour left in Piratefest we decided to leave. We took a picture of the Pirates 1979 World Series trophy and 2009 promotional items on our way out the door.
In regards to the promotional items, I am probably most excited about the hats.