Results tagged ‘ Washington Nationals ’
I didn’t feel like going through another toilsome batting practice in Cleveland, and storms were in the forecast there, so I drove down to Washington DC.
Two other ballhawks were in attendance at this game – Ian Weir from Pittsburgh, and Alex from New York City.
When the gates opened, the Nationals were just beginning to hit, so there weren’t any easter eggs.
I caught ball #1 on the fly off the bat of Wil Nieves. It was a home run that was caught in this area:
During the second group, I won a scrum for a Ryan Zimmerman home run ball that landed two rows in front of me in this area:
That would be all I would get during the Nationals batting practice. Argh. Did I make the wrong choice by coming to DC?
The Braves first group included Jason Heyward
You’re not allowed to go get those balls, as one kid began climbing over the rail, before a security guard angrily yelled at him. I motioned with my glove and string as if to say, “Is it ok if I throw this out there.” The security guard made the non-verbal signal, “Oh yeah, go ahead.”
I flipped the kid a decoy ball and then threw my glove out and nudged ball #8 close enough to the glass so that I could simply reach other and grab it. It took one fling of the glove.
I was about ready to leave the red seats to go check the left field bullpen when yet another home run landed in the gap in front of the red seats.
I glove tricked that ball for ball #9.
Batting practice ended soon after, and I was stuck on 9 balls – just short of double digits.
I really wanted to hit the road, but there were three balls laying in
After standing and talking with Alex for about 20 minutes, Eddie Perez finally came out to the bullpen. He collected the three balls, and I asked him for a ball in Spanish. He ignored me. I continued in Spanish to say, “There’s also one in the flowers over there near the wall.”
Eddie went over and got it and tossed it up to me. Ball #10.
Here are today’s baseballs:
Game: 10 balls (4 hit, 1 thrown, 5 device)
Season: 347 balls (177 hit, 76 thrown, 41 device, 44 found)
Games: 54 games
Average: 6.43 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 5
Career: 925 balls
Streak: 150 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
The weather forecast for today kept calling for thunderstorms, but every time I checked the forecast changed, and the storms kept getting pushed back to later and later in the day.
Eventually, I decided around 1PM to go for it, and hoped the weather would cooperate.
Despite arriving at 3:45, I was still first in line.
The boxes you see in the above photo were Shin Soo Choo bobbleheads. I was a little worried that today would be very crowded because it was a bobblehead night and a Saturday. However, the attendance was below 20,000. Kind of sad for a franchise that once sold out 455 games in a row.
When I ran in, batting practice hadn’t yet begun, and there were no Easter Eggs.
After a few minutes, BP got underway and an Indians lefty hit a few balls into the Indians bullpen.
One of the balls was in a spot at the back of the bullpen that could be retrieved with the glove trick. However, right when I began to set up for the glove trick, Tony Sipp ran by on his way to the bathroom in the Indians bullpen. I decided to hold off on glove tricking the ball and instead asked Sipp for one of the three balls in the bullpen after he finished in the bathroom.
He nodded and flipped me ball #1.
Game: 7 balls (3 hit, 2 thrown, 2 device)
Season: 199 balls (104 hit, 53 thrown, 19 device, 23 found)
Games: 32 games
Average: 6.22 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career: 777 balls
Streak: 128 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
I decided to attend this game after checking Saturday’s iffy weather forecast. I left right after work, so I didn’t get to the stadium until just before 5 PM.
I had missed the first 25 minutes of batting practice, which is never a good thing, but I would get on the board soon.
I was checking for any easter eggs that some folks may have missed when Shin Soo Choo hit a home run that landed in the trees in Heritage Park. I tried to reach in and grab it so I could count it as a hit ball, but I couldn’t reach it.
I pulled out my Cleveland Stick and used it to nudge the ball closer to the wall so I could get it. It was ball #1.
The next round, Travis Hafner also hit a home run into the trees in Heritage Park, so I ran back over again.
This ball would be a bit trickier because it was lodged in the branches of one of the trees.
Game: 7 balls (3 hit, 4 device)
Season: 192 balls (101 hit, 51 thrown, 17 device, 23 found)
Games: 31 games
Average: 6.19 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career: 770 balls
Streak: 127 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
I’ll be in attendance at Stephen Strasburg’s Major League Debut on Tuesday, June 8th.
Its probably one of the most anticipated games of the season to date, as Strasburg was the number one pick in the country last season. Scouts have called him the best talent to come out of the draft in quite some time, and his minor league numbers this season back that up.
He’s got a 1.30 ERA in 11 starts in the minors this year with 65 strike outs in 55 innings.
Anyone else headed to this game?
What’s your prediction for the number of Pirates he strikes out? I’m guessing 9.
It was a terrible weekend in terms of ballhawking for me. I had to miss the Friday and Saturday games at PNC Park due to coaching. I could’ve gone Saturday, but I wouldn’t have made the game until 8PM, thereby putting my streak in jeopardy, so I stayed home.
I decided to try and make up some ground by driving to Washington DC for this Sunday day game (after a day game.)
I got to the stadium about a half hour before it was to open. There was virtually no one there when I arrived.
Game: 3 balls (3 hit)
Season: 27 balls (16 hit, 3 thrown, 5 device, 3 found)
Games: 6 games
Average: 4.50 balls per game
Career: 605 balls
Streak: 102 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
2009 through 6 games: 26
I woke up at 6:45 AM in Philadelphia, left my hotel about 7:20, and was in New York City just shy of two hours later. This was the first time I had driven to New York City, so I didn’t know the ins and outs of where to park, so I parked in a stadium lot for $19. I was the first car in the entire lot.
I took a few pictures of the exterior of Citi Field from the parking lot:
I told Capps that we missed him in Pittsburgh. When they finished up, Burnett had the ball and tossed me ball #5 on the day.
The Nationals batting practice was just brutal. Very few home runs were hit into the stands, and I ended batting practice with five balls.
At one point during the bore-fest, I took a video of the Nationals batting practice which you can view below: (at least the Mets have good taste in music)
The game began, and I went to my seat in the upper deck (after being kicked out of the section behind the Nationals dugout).
In the first inning, I saw one of the more exciting plays I’d seen in awhile. Josh Willingham hit a ball off the wall with the bases loaded. Immediately, I said, “That’s a grand slam.” In the upper deck, I could see the ball was clearly to the right of the home run line. The umpires missed the call, and we got an instant replay review.
Since the umpires let the play go, I got to see Adam Dunn bowl over the catcher, and then watch Willingham get thrown out trying to stretch the play into an in the park Grand Slam.
Of course, the umpires got the call right, and much to Mets’ fans dismay, Willingham was awarded his grand slam.
You can watch the play below if you’re into excited bases clearing hits:
After a couple innings, I went exploring and took a few pictures of the concourse:
View from the upper deck:
Walking towards the right field foul pole:
Right field corner concourse:
Walking towards the Shea Bridge, under the Pepsi deck in right field:
The Shea Bridge:
View from behind the center field seats:
Food court area behind the center field score board:
Under the left field deck:
Left field corner:
Main concourse behind home plate, near the Jackie Robinson rotunda:
And the pearl of Citi Field, the Jackie Robinson rotunda:
I only stayed about half of the game, because I needed to try and get home before 10 PM, as I had to be up for work the next day.
Game: 5 balls (2 hit, 2 thrown, 1 device)
Season: 17 balls (10 hit, 2 thrown, 5 device)
Games: 4 games
Average: 4.25 balls per game
Career: 595 balls
Streak: 100 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
2009 through 4 games: 17 balls
With the Pirates having an off day, and Cleveland facing a 60% chance of storms, I decided to take a trip to a stadium I had yet to visit. Nationals Park.
I recruited several ballhawks from PNC Park to make the trip with me – Nick, Andrew, and Jamie.
After four hours and twenty three minutes, we were at the park.
And were the first ones in line at the Center Field gate, which opens at 4:35.
Game: 11 balls (4 hit, 1 thrown 6 device)
Season: 305 balls (155 hit, 91 thrown, 59 device)
Games: 63 games (7 of which didn’t have BP)
Average: 4.84 balls per game
Career: 471 balls
Streak: 78 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Not the smartest move due to my bad back, but I went to this game. I had looked at the weather for this week, and not surprisingly, there were scattered thunderstorms predicted for several days. Today turned out to be a rare beautiful day in Pittsburgh.
I parked my car on the North Side around 3:50. Usually, it takes me about eight minutes to walk down to the stadium and get in line. Today, it took three times as long. I couldn’t walk normally on account of the severe back spasms I’ve been having. I have to walk slightly bent forward, and with my knees bent slightly. In other words, I walk like a 95 year old man.
When I got to the gate, I put on a back brace that I had purchased at Dick’s Sporting Goods earlier in the day. I also had a bag of ice that I was going to strap in place underneath the brace, to keep my back muscles numb, and hopefully reduce the pain felt. Luckily, another ballhawk saw me struggling with the ice back and belt, and came over to help me get it on correctly.
When the gates opened, I was the first one through the turnstile. Usually I sprint to the bullpen to be one of the first ones down into the bleacher seating area. Not today. I was pushing myself, but was motoring along at a speed that was half a regular walking speed.
Surprisingly today, there were three Easter Eggs in the bleachers. Throughout the past month, it seems as the ushers have been picking them up and pocketing them all. Not today. Unfortunately, because of my limited abilities, I was too slow to find any of them.
I stood in the front row and hoped for toss up balls during batting practice. Typically, I can cover at least a full section to my left or right and make a home run catch. Home Runs usually hang in the air 3-4 seconds. Today, I was only going to be able to cover maybe five feet in either direction, rendering it pointless to play for any batted balls.
Game: 2 balls (2 thrown)
Season: 240 balls (125 hit, 80 thrown, 40 device)
Games: 50 games (5 of which didnt have BP)
Average: 4.8 balls per game
Career: 406 balls
Streak: 65 consecutive ga
mes attended with at least 1 ball
I have been in a slump recently. The last decent day I had was May 11th in Cleveland when I snagged 9 balls. The past 2 weeks it has seemed like all I could manage was 2 balls. I needed to get back on track. I’d seen my average dip from 5.7 per game to 4.8 per game. Not good.
I attended today’s game with my wife. We were third in line, and I was the first one into the seats, but there were no Easter Egg balls to be found.
I got 2 balls during the Pirates portion of batting practice, which isn’t bad, since they only hit for 10-15 minutes while the gates are open.
Game: 8 Balls (5 hit, 1 thrown, 2 device)
Season: 130 Balls (57 hit, 56 thrown, 17 device)
Games: 26 Games (22 with BP, 4 without)
Average: 5.00 Balls per Game
Career: 296 Balls