I checked the weather forecast in the morning and saw that there was a 15% chance of rain between 3-5 PM. Good enough for me. I went to Cleveland.
There was some rain that I ran into on the way there, but when I got to Cleveland, the streets were dry. Apparently it had rained a few hours before. Surely there would be batting practice.
I figured that I might as well. I went and stood in line while the bright sun shone down. Surely they’d take the tarp off.
The tarp stayed on. I listened to the gate worker talk about how there was a 90% chance the game would be canceled due to thunderstorms, and that it would be made up tomorrow. I thought about just going home.
I had a build a pretty nice streak of games with at least one ball, dating back to August 2008, and I didn’t want to lose it. But I figured I’d put it on the line.
When the gates opened, I ran in. There were no other ballhawks here today. Just a few old ladies and a couple little kids in line. I looked for Easter Eggs. I figured maybe a coach was hitting fly balls before the stadium opened, and maybe one went into the stands.
I looked for a few minutes before finally finding a soaked ball in the front row by the bullpen. How did this get here? Maybe it was from the night before or earlier this morning? No matter, I was on the board with ball #1.
A few seconds after I picked up ball #1, a teenager appeared from beneath the bullpen roof and rolled ball #2 across the roof to me. Totally unasked for, but definitely appreciated.
It helped that the stadium looked like this.
Since the stadium was so empty, when the Progressive Insurance car shot
off its Tshirt and Scarf around 4:45, I was able to get both of them.
They were pretty nice. No annoying ads on them.
I got my final ball of the day at 4:47. It came from a kid maybe 8-10 years old wearing a “Willis 51” jersey. He was the pitching coach’s son, I think. The teenager in the picture is the kid who threw me ball #2.
A ball had gotten away from one of the Brewers’ pitchers and they left it in center field after they went inside. When the Willis brothers were coming out of the bullpen, I asked for the ball. They threw me the ball they were using and kept the ball that was in center field. No problem. It was ball #4.
I stayed until about 6:30, and the tarp stayed on the field the entire time. I decided to leave, because I had a trip planned to go to Baltimore the next day.
The game ended up being delayed 49 minutes. On the way home, I faced mother nature’s fury, a trifecta of lightning, hail, and tornados. It was bad.
And the sweet spots:
Game: 4 Balls (4 thrown) – (the EE had to have been thrown into the stands since there was no BP)
Season: 192 Balls (94 hit, 71 thrown, 27 device)
Games: 37 Games (5 of which didn’t have BP)
Average: 5.19 Balls per Game
Career: 358 Balls