8-4-09 PNC Park

Today got off to an awful start – I was denied entrance upon the gates opening.  I had arrived at 4:15, waiting in line for 45 minutes, and when it came time for my ticket to be scanned, I heard that heart stopping sound, “beep-beep-beep-beep-beep-beep.” 

After attempting to scan the ticket thrice more, the employee told me that I couldn’t enter the park, and had to walk halfway around the park to Customer Service.  I was unbelievably irritated. 

On Monday, I had traded in several tickets that I won’t be able to use for a future game.  Of my three season tickets, I traded in two from today’s game.  The man who made the exchange hastily canceled the tickets in the computer system, and canceled the wrong seat numbers. 

By the time I got a ticket reprinted and got back into the ballpark, the Diamondbacks were already hitting.  I had missed the Pirates batting practice – and I wasn’t happy. 

To show my displeasure, I flung my backpack about eight feet, hoping it would slam off the bleacher, as to let the world know that I was ****** off.  Of course, the strap from the bag caught on the back support of the bleacher and caught the bag.  I couldn’t even slam my backpack down in disgust right today.

Once I entered the bleachers, I immediately spotted a ball on the warning track.  After flinging my glove out onto the field several times to nudge the ball closer, I reeled in ball #1 of the day.

Ball #2 came from (I think) Conor Jackson.  He came over to the warning track after I had used the glove trick.  I kept my glove out of view and on the bleacher, to look helpless.  I also got an assist from my Diamondbacks gear, as he happily tossed me ball #2.

After wasting some time in foul ground at 5:30, I headed over to the right field wall.
The wall, dubbed the Clemente Wall, is dubiously steep, and tough to catch balls because of it.

I did manage to get ball #3 off the bat of a D’backs lefty.  It was hit a section to my left, and I walked over to get it.  Keep in mind, I am still suffering from bad back spasms, so I can’t move quickly.  Another ballhawk, Harold, was going for the same ball.  He pulled up and let me get this one, possibly aware of the fragility of my back.

Harold is widely known by the PNC Park faithful as having caught 830 some balls over the past 30+ years at PNC Park and Three Rivers Stadium.  He attends nearly every game and can be seen roaming the top of the Clemente Wall throughout BP.

Near the end of batting practice, I snagged ball #4 on the ricochet.  It bounced several rows back and shot up in the air, sailing back towards the field.  I braced myself against the railing seen in the picture below, and gingerly leaned out, snagging the ball barehanded. 
Game:  4 balls (2 hit, 1 thrown, 1 device)
Season:  244 balls (127 hit, 81 thrown, 36 device)
Games: 51 games (5 of which didn’t have BP)
Average:  4.78 balls per game
Career:  410 balls
Attendance:  11,294



  1. padreleigh

    Hi Erik….

    I’ve just caught up on reading some of your older posts. That was some debate about the use of devices. Another aspect of the debate is whether or not a stadium allows their use period. I feel that snagging balls with devices and counting them in our league is discriminitory. I do 90+% of my snagging at PETCO Park. The rules here forbid me using a glove trick or similar device at all. So, in any type of ballhawking competition like the Ballhawk League I’m at somewhat of a disadvantage. I’m sure there are a number of stadiums that don’t all devices as well where others in the league do their snagging. Alot of the guys who snag at stadiums on the East Coast that allow devices pad their stats up to 30+% or more with device balls. See my point? So, to be fair, in any kind of league the practice counting balls obtained by devices shouldn’t be allowed because some of us can’t do it. This would make it a fair playing field. I am all for the folks out there keeping those device balls in their personal stats like Mygameballs.com, but think they shouldn’t count in the ballhawk league. I hope everyone out there sees my point. I also like Zack’s idea about a point system. I’m all for that. Before next season I second the motion that a point system is established for the 2010 ballhawk league. Details of the point system to be voted on or established at a later date. We can all catch BP homers and have balls thrown to us, etc. , but we all can’t use glove tricks. Think about it folks…

    Leigh Barratt
    San Diego, CA

  2. padreleigh

    Also, congrats on being mentioned in the article. It’s nice to see some new blood getting some press.