Today was a dreaded Sunday afternoon game. Batting practice is always questionable on a day game after a night game. Luckily, the cages were set up when I arrived.
The Tigers were the only team to take batting practice today. When they started, there was only one player in left field doing all of the snagging.
The created a great chance for a glove trick ball. A ball rolled to the wall, and I reeled the ball in for ball #1 of the day.
Another ball rolled to the warning track, but I ruined my chance at it. I threw my glove out, and took one mighty tug on the string to get the ball close to the wall. The problem was, that the ball rolled underneath a 6 inch indentation at the bottom of the wall. I looked down and the ball was gone, tucked underneath the padding. I tried swinging my glove out and slamming it into the ball to try to get it to bounce out. It did a little bit, but not quite enough. I tried this about six times when I heard someone yell in my direction. “HEY!!” Startled, I pulled my glove up and stopped. I looked over and it was Pittsburgh’s own Jim Leyland. He had a big smile on his face. He walked over, picked the ball up, and handed it to a little kid on my left. The kid tried to give me the ball. I wouldn’t accept it. The kid’s father tried to give me the ball, “we have a whole bag of them here, seriously.” I wouldn’t accept it. “I’ll get one,” I said, “I like to earn them.” He was shocked. I heard him telling his wife about how I wouldn’t take the ball.
There was a ball on the center field warning track that I had my eye on that was untouched for at least 5 minutes. I decided to go over and glove trick it. When I got there, I managed to get the ball close enough to the wall to do the trick. Just then, Justin Verlander came over and said, “I need that.” He took the ball and threw it towards Joel Zumaya, who was back at shagging pop ups in deep left center. Verlander would throw a ball in his direction as soon as a pop up was hit, trying to confuse or possibly injure Zumaya. I’ve never seen such wreckless behavior from a team during batting practice.
I stood in the third row where Zumaya and Edwin Jackson were catching the fly balls, hoping for an over-hit. It didn’t happen.
Instead, a Tigers righty hit a deep home run to section 138 that I caught on the fly. It was ball #2 of the day.
That was it for batting practice.
During the game, I had to get up and move my seat three times because it was so crowded. There were no empty seats, so I stopped trying to get the outfielders’ warm up balls between innings.
Game: 2 Balls (1 hit, 1 device)
Season: 176 Balls
Games: 34 Games (4 of which didn’t have BP)
Average: 5.18 Balls per Game
Career: 342 Balls