5-3-09 PNC Park

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.
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:
A few shots from the game:
Johnny Cueto deals to Nyjer Morgan:
Evan Meek (a big Dave Matthews Band fan):
Jesse Chavez (tossed me my first ball of the day:
Today’s baseballs:
And the sweet spots:
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


  1. padreleigh

    Hi Erik…

    Yeah, I hate people like that. They need to mind their own business. Why should they care if you get a ball or not? If they want one so bad, they should bring a glove and compete with others, etc. They’re just miserable white trash. Screw em. I bring my glove to every game and I am starting to hear it from a lot of the regulars in my section of LF. “Don’t you have enough balls?””Let someone else get a ball.” Yet, NONE of these people ever bring a glove or try to get the ball. None of them stand up and ask, etc. They were even giving me crap about the game homer I caught. I just smile at them and hold up the ball. It’s fun. Kill em with kindness. It’s my hospitality training. Haha. Nice entry by the way.


  2. bigglovebob

    Erik- An usher demanded a payoff? How unprofessional. Geez. I agree with Padre’s assessment of those folks as white trash. I haven’t any catcalls, but then I move around and don’t get that many balls

    I would imagine someone like Zack that gets a ton of balls has to endure some ribbing from the crowd.

    I didn’t count that ball that I got an assist from another fan with. I will bring it to a game and give it to a kid.

  3. happyyoungster

    I know the feeling, bro. I find that one of the biggest challenges in ballhawking is dealing with all the rude, jealous people that have a sense of entitlement. They see you get a ball or two or ten-whatever it may be…and they get jealous like you’re supposed to give them all away or something. People can be very unreasonable.
    It’s ridiculous, actually.


  4. mikeindetroit


    Great writeup as always. What you are describing is why I do not see me EVER having a huge per game avg at the COPA. I never use my glove trick anymore (too many ushers and crowd mgrs know me now), nor do I ever go after third out balls by the dugout, or warmup balls in the outfield. Usually 3rd out balls and outfield (between inning warmup balls) have a ton of little kids waiting for them. I think an adult would get lynched at the COPA if he tried to step in and go for one of those. I have actaully made friends with a ton of ushers/crowd mgrs and been able to sit in choice ballhawk seats because of it. (I always pack extra Dubble Bubble and sunflower seeds to hand out to the ushers and crowd mgrs..fun stuff)
    BTW, I made sweet backhanded grab during the top off the 4th down the right field line on Fri night against the Indians. (Off of Asdrubal Cabrera’s bat). Mario Impemba commented on the catch and they replayed it twice on FSD. Pretty cool. (I actually lost it in the lights and got lucky..lol)
    Fun stuff…
    Mike in Detroit

  5. gobuccos25


    Pretty nice day. I also attended the game yesterday and am actually in the panorama at the top of the post. There’s a guy with a yellow brimmed hat on the left of the section 14 sign. Right above that is my brother in the black (runs raisethejollyroger.com), and to the left of him is me. Creepy. I was surprised not to see you by where the umps exit after the game. I got my only ball of the day from the home plate ump there. Tough loss on my one and only shot in the Lexus Club. Bummer. Good luck on more snagging…