Allow me to preface this entry with some background information about today’s batting practice.
1) There were a total of 3 home runs hit to left field… TOTAL
2) Only half of the Cardinals took batting practice, and it was the scrubs – only 3 righties in the entire two groups that did hit.
3) The sun was glaringly intense.
That being said, I would need some luck today.
Upon entering the stadium, there were no balls to be found in the left field bleachers, so I headed over to foul territory down the left field line. I regretted it almost immediately as I saw a large group of people near the Pirates dugout, so surely any ball that had been hit into the seats in foul ground was long gone. I searched anyway, and came up empty. When I was leaving to return to left field, a Pirates batter lined a foul ball that landed in the seats near me. I grabbed it for ball #1. How lucky.
As I said, the Pirates disappointed mightily in batting practice, hitting three home runs. One was over my head, bounced off of a railing and down to another ballhawk who was playing the front row.
The other two home runs should’ve been clean catches by me. The first tipped off of my glove as I battled the sun, and the second I completely lost and was caught by someone else two rows behind me.
At the end of batting practice, Heberto Andrade, bullpen catcher and PNC ballhawks’ best friend (except mine, since he’s seen me change shirts) accidentally over tossed a young couple with a baby in the front row. I was standing behind them and caught it, #2 on the day. Herbie motioned for me to give it away, so I did. He then whistled to the ballboy to throw him one more ball, which I was certain was for me, since I had just given the previous one away. Nope, he threw it to a group of random fans to my right. Here he is, walking towards the foul ground where I snagged ball #1:
The entire Cardinals first group was left handed. So there was really nothing to do until 5:30 except for wait for a glove trick opportunity, which wouldn’t come because Jason Motte was behind a real ***. The highlight of this time period was when Nick Pelescak, frustrated that Motte ignored his polite request for a ball, started harrassing Motte. Every time Motte would misplay a ball he was heckled and called a bum. Motte kept glaring into the crowd, but whatever. There’s nothing wrong with an opposing fan heckling a player tastefully – what made it funny was that Nick was in full Cardinals gear – heckling a Cardinals player.
Anyhow, at 5:30 I ran into center field to search for baseballs, as I noticed the ushers hadn’t come out to take them all yet. I found ball #3 in the third row in center field, and ball #4 in section 139.
Ball #4 was rather important because it was #300 on the season.
A minute later, holding ball #3 and #4 in my hand, I made a clean catch of a home run here:
Not sure who hit it, but at 5:33, the Cardinals ran off of the field, cutting way short their BP. There was no Lance Berkman, no Matt Holliday, and no Albert Pujols.
I was really lucky to even come away with five.
The Pirates would go on to lose the game 9-1 as they threw this lineup out there:
3B Chase D’Arnaud .227
SS Ronny Cedeno .252, .311 on base percentage
2B Neil Walker
CF Andrew McCutchen
RF Steve Pearce
LF Matt Diaz .355 slugging, ZERO home runs from a corner outfield
1B Brandon Wood .217
C Michael McKenry .606 OPS
If you’re not from Pittsburgh, you’re obviously not impressed. The Pirates really need to get a bat, but at what price? I don’t see Neal Huntingdon trading away any of our top prospects for what he sees as a 2 month rental player.
I’d really like to see Pedro Alvarez called up, and Carlos Pena (20 homers) traded for.
We’ll see, the trade deadline is just a week away.
Game: 5 balls (2 hit, 1 thrown, 2 found)
Season: 301 balls (130 hit, 64 thrown, 70 device, 37 found)
Games: 56 games
Career: 1,423 balls
Attendance : 39,102 (sellout)