As a benefit to being a season ticket holder, I was invited to take batting practice on the field at PNC Park on Sunday. The Pirates were out of town, so the BP was with other fellow season ticket holders. We we able to choose from Friday, Saturday or Sunday. I chose Sunday during the Steeler game, because I was hoping that I would be in a really small group and get more time to hit in the batting cage. That wouldn’t really be the case as other fans had the same mentality.
The bad part about going to PNC Park during a Steeler game is trying to find a place to park, and then walking to the stadium through the parking lots and dealing with drunk Steeler fans. Two fans directed comments towards me and my Pirates gear. The first fan said, “Dude, put the bats away, you’re scaring everyone!” I think he may have been serious.
I brought my metal bats because I am most comfortable using my own bats, and secondly, the ball travels a bit further. I wanted to put one out today.
Anyhow, the other comment directed toward me was some guy who asked his buddies three times if Daniel McCutchen had just walked past.
Maybe there’s some resemblance with the hair… I don’t know. I hope not.
Anyway, after checking in at a table outside of PNC Park, we were led down onto the field. Amy had come along to take some photos of the action.
The only problem is that there was no action. My group was assigned to ‘catch in left field’ first. We were supposed to play catch with our guest or snag balls.
I started throwing myself popups I was so bored. It was worse than a Pirates BP.
Eventually, Ian Weir showed up with his cousin Josh – two fellow ballhawks that I knew and would be able to throw some with.
We threw in left field for awhile.
Mixed in some popups and grounders.
And after a half hour, moved over to right field, where we would shag fly balls.
We got two fly balls, shot out of a pitching machine high into the air before we would rotate to the back of the line.
It was better than the last group, where we basically stood around – at least there was somewhat of a challenge, albeit an easy one for someone that attends BP every day and catches flies all the time.
Anyhow, the pitching machine was pitching the balls, so I watched and tried to time when I should begin my stride after seeing the ball put into the machine.
After 10 minutes or so, we rotated into the cage.
Here I am on deck:
And here I am taking some cuts.
I only got 10 pitches, and was forced to change my bat after the first pitch. “You can’t use a metal bat!!” shouted some teenage intern operating the pitching machine. I was pretty mad because fellow season ticket holder Nick Pelescak informed me that he had been allowed to use his metal bat in his session just two hours earlier. Lame. How about some consistency?
Anyhow, I quickly grabbed a Ronny Paulino 35 inch 32 ounce wooden bat so I didn’t murder anyone with screamers off of my metal bat (by the way, no one was allowed in the infield anyhow – I still don’t see what the big deal was about).
Out of the 10 pitches I pulled everything, hit a couple flies, swung and missed at a few, hit some grounders, and hit one bomb that landed in foul territory that would’ve probably had a chance to clear the fence had I not been out in front of it. It landed on the fly here:
I felt like Brandon Wood. If you’ve watched him in Pirates BP, you know what I mean.
Anyhow, we were allowed to get back in the cage after everyone got 10 pitches.
What was important about Forbes Field, well, Amy took me there on our first official date one year ago today.
Some pics from what’s left of Forbes Field:
At the 457 deepest part of the park:
Forbes Field Historical Marker:
Home Plate, which is in a lecture hall across the street from the outfield wall:
Two great close ups that Amy took of Olivia and I at the outfield wall of Forbes Field:
Walking down some steps, I think it was 144 steps or something like that. It was a lot.
I’m planning on going to Cleveland on Thursday after work…