7-28-10 Nationals Park

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
the bullpen.

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.”
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Eddie went over and got it and tossed it up to me.  Ball #10.

It still had dirt on it.  Although, for some reason my camera didn’t focus that well.
7-28-10 (20).JPGAfter yesterday’s tough day, I was pretty happy I chose to come to DC. 
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I then hit the road for home.

Here are today’s baseballs:
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Sweet spots:
7-28-10 (21).JPG
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.
Attendance: 24,263


  1. jskool81

    Hi Erik,
    I’ve been a reader of your blog for a couple years, and love following your ballhawking adventures. I’m a Canadian baseball fan, and will be in Cleveland for on Aug. 7 and 8 for my first games at Progressive Field. Just wondering if you were planning on going to those games, as I’d be sure to find you and say hello. If not, I’d love to get any ballhawking tips for Progressive Field that you might wish to pass along.

  2. 333greystreet

    Malcolm, Thanks for reading my blog. I won’t be there 8/7 or 8/8 – I’ll be at PNC Park.

    For the Saturday game, get in line around 3:30 so you can be the first one in. Run in and search the seats for Easter Eggs. Also check in the trees at Heritage Park. Stand more towards center field for the Indians. At 5:55, go over and wait by the left field gate – at 6PM, run into the left field bleachers and look for more easter eggs. Its steep, so you may want to stay (if all righties are in the last group) or return to center field. Also, bring something that can reach 6 feet so you can get those hard to reach balls out of Heritage Park. If you read all my Progressive Field entries – you’ll know what I’m talking about.

    8/8 is a Sunday, so gates only open 90 minutes early instead of 2.5 hours. I’ve never been there on a Sunday, as it’s unlikely there will be batting practice on a day game after a night game. But hey, you never know.

    Good luck – let me know how it goes.

  3. jskool81

    Thanks for all the great info. I really appreciate it. I’ll definitely follow your advice. I’m not a serious ballhawk like you, but I’d certainly love to get a ball or two, if possible. I’ve just finished reading all your Progressive Field entries for the last two years, and have made a lot of notes, and thanks for the extra info. I’ve always been interested in your Cleveland stick; I suppose it’s folding? I’m trying to figure out what would work.
    Thanks again, and I’ll definitely let you know how I fare.

  4. 333greystreet

    Alex, Nice blog. Just a tip – when you insert a picture, maybe try checking the use thumbnail box and set the pixels to 550. Otherwise your pics will display as stretched out.

    No problem. Good luck.

    My road trip days are coming to an end soon when school starts back up. I have a few more mini trips in me this summer though.