I headed to Cleveland this morning along with Amy, Olivia, and fellow ballhawk Nick Pelescak. We left around 7:45 and after searching for affordable parking, got to the gates around 10:20, over an hour before they were to open.
The game was a 1:05 day game, and Progressive Field only opens 90 minutes open for day games, meaning that if there was batting practice, we’d miss half of it. It was a gamble, but it was worth taking as it’s early in the season.
The plan was to go there, and hope for loads of Easter Eggs that would be left behind by the Indians batters. I peered in and saw that the Indians were indeed hitting.
Nice, there would be Easter Eggs everywhere. Nick and I walked over to the Home Run porch and watched ball after ball land in the right field seats. Unfortunately, there was an usher pretending to wipe off seats who was going around and pocketing them all.
It was important to get on the board early, because we were going to get an abbreviated batting practice with the late gate times, and also there was a huge crowd lined up to get in.
All of the gates opened at 11:30, and I ran in. As I was looking for an Easter Egg, a home run landed a section to my right. I ran over to pick it up, as the only person around was an usher who was acting like he was wiping off seats. Well, the usher sprinted for the ball and grabbed it before I could. Perhaps realizing how over the top it was, he looked at it and then flipped it to me to put me on the board.
I found a second ball in the seats a few rows back before heading over to left field.
I should mention that the visiting Blue Jays were already hitting when the gates opened, so we missed at least half of BP.
I hate Progressive Field’s left field. It’s dangerously steep, and I always do poorly there. After getting shut out for a round, I headed back to right field.
While there, I watched a ball bounce into the trees in Heritage Park. I ran over and found it sitting just under the fence that separates the trees from the monuments.
In the Jays third group, which was all lefties, I caught a home run on the fly cleanly here:
And less than 20 seconds later corralled another home run that bounced off the concrete partition between the outfield wall and front row of seats here:
I failed to get anything else during batting practice. I thought I had a sixth one that I saw go into the trees at Heritage Park, but after a thorough search, I gave up. There were a couple teenagers there looking for the same ball, but none of us found it. After BP, I returned and systematically scanned every inch of the area behind this wall:
Eventually, I found it after BP had ended when I searched a second time. It was right up against the concrete out of view. It was my sixth and final ball of the day.
Back in Cleveland yet again.
However, it would not be a fun time in Cleveland today.
It would be a record low tying day for me. Record low in terms of balls snagged in 2010 and also record tying low for balls snagged at Progressive Field.
After being shut out for over fifty minutes, I snagged a Shin Soo Choo home run in this area:
It was too deep for me to get to in time to make the catch, so I settled for grabbing the ball off of the concrete.
It was about 5:20. My next ball wouldn’t come until about 6:15 or so.
It was that kind of day.
Season: 268 balls (142 hit, 64 thrown, 26 device, 36 found)
Games: 41 games
Average: 6.53 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career: 846 balls
Streak: 137 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Another day of snagging at Progressive Field in Cleveland.
I was the first one into the stadium, and despite there being early batting practice, didn’t find any baseballs on my first sweep through the sections. I also checked Heritage Park, where there was nothing.
Upon returning from Heritage Park I spotted a baseball as another ballhawk/autograph hound was picking it up. I was about five seconds too late.
Since the Indians have a new later batting practice schedule, this gave me plenty of time to search. I went up and down every row and searched for about ten minutes before finally happening upon ball #1, hidden in the shadows:
When the Indians began hitting, I would get ball #2 from Shin Soo Choo. It was a home run that I caught on the fly in center field, fully extended in this area:
Season: 266 balls (141 hit, 64 thrown, 25 device, 36 found)
Games: 40 games
Average: 6.65 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career: 844 balls
Streak: 136 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
I arrived at Progressive Field early enough to be first in line, however, it wouldn’t matter, as BP wouldn’t even end up beginning until 4:50PM.
I had to wait as the Indians stretched, threw, and took a few rounds of infield.
Additionally, the cages hadn’t been set up early due to thunderstorms that moved through just south of Cleveland around 3-3:30 (the Indians likely took a wait and see approach – it ended up not raining in downtown Cleveland.
So, upon entering, I looked for an easter egg halfheartedly out of force of habit. There was nothing in the seats, so I went over to Heritage Park, where this was waiting:
It was a damp, wet baseball that had likely been there at least a few days. It also was very badly worn, and didn’t look like it was a major league baseball. It may have been hit into the trees sometime during the last week and a half when the Indians were out on the road. After debating on whether to count it or not, I decided to – it is a baseball snagged in an MLB stadium. I reached in an was just able to grab ball #1 without using my ‘Cleveland Stick.’
My second ball came from Shin Soo Choo. He turned and threw a ball to a group of kids in the front row. The ball sailed over their heads and into an empty row about six rows back. I bent over and picked up ball #2.
None of the kids asked for the ball, but I could feel Choo staring at me. I looked, and sure enough, there he was, looking right at me.
I tossed ball #829 to one of the kids in the front row. Choo saw this, whistled at me, took a ball out of his back pocket and fired a ball at me. It was ball #3.
He then ran off the field before I could get his picture to go hit.
No one else was in the area, so I raced over to grab ball #10. It turned out that was the last BP home run of the Blue Jays batting practice, because as I returned to my spot, the Blue Jays were running off the field.
Today’s baseballs (9 pictured because #829 was given away):
Sweet spots (9 pictured because #829 was given away):
Game: 10 balls (4 hit, 3 thrown, 2 device, 1 found)
Season: 259 balls (136 hit, 63 thrown, 25 device, 35 found)
Games: 39 games
Average: 6.64 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career: 837 balls
Streak: 135 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
I decided to take a little road trip this weekend. My first stop was Baltimore’s Camden Yards.
I had been to the stadium several times last season, with little success. My best showing was a six ball day against the Mets, but other than that I have had terrible luck there. Luckily, at least the weather had decided to cooperate, as it was a nice spring day.
I left about half way through the game to drive to Philadelphia. The
plan was to stay overnight in Philadelphia, and then wake up early the
next morning and drive the rest of the way to New York City.
I was able to watch the Pirates at Diamondbacks live on the drive from Baltimore to Philadelphia.
MLB At-Bat for the Iphone. Love it. Don’t worry, I took this photo moments before leaving the Orioles’ parking lot, I wasn’t driving at that point. Also, I did put my seat belt on after taking the photo.
Game: 3 balls (3 hit)
Season: 12 balls (8 hit, 0 thrown, 4 device)
Games: 3 games
Average: 4.00 balls per game
Career: 590 balls
Streak: 99 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
2009 through 3 games: 13 balls, 1 behind last year’s pace.