Amy was working today, so I don’t have any good pictures.
Upon entering the stadium, I found ball #1 about four rows back in left field. It was good to get on the board early, because the last Pirates group did absolutely nothing. Zero home runs.
When the Astros came out, I glove tricked my second ball over by the bullpen.
Most of the Astros pitchers seemed really lazy when it came to shagging, so I was hopeful that I could glove trick a few balls today, but a coach named Suba marched all over the field collecting the balls, as if it was his sole and only purpose with the team.
The first Astros group was weak, but the next group featured Hunter Pence and Carlos Lee along with Jason Michaels, probably the Astros three best BP hitters in that order.
After a couple rounds of going opposite field, Hunter Pence started letting loose and hitting some home runs.
In the span of a minute, I caught three balls cleanly, all on the fly, here:
Ball #3 was hit by Pence. It was basically right at me. I stood up on the bleacher as I made the catch, just out of habit. Moments later he hit another home run that was slightly to my left. I tracked the ball and caught it reaching forward and made the basket catch as several fans turned away, blinded by the sun.
Jason Michaels hopped in the cage and promptly hit a home run which I caught on the fly. Since there was so much action in such a short amount of time, people started noticing me and asking me questions such as how many that was for me, etc. No one gave me a hard time though.
Moments later I snagged another ground rule double, and then finished things off with a clean catch of yet another home run.
I gave away one of my extra decoy balls to a young boy whose father was asking me for ballhawking tips for his son.
I watched the game from the Club Seats.
I picked a great spot for a foul ball. The only thing in front of me was a camera well,
and a wide open row to my right.
But as luck would have it not a single ball would be hit within three sections either way of me.
Game: 8 balls (6 hit, 1 device, 1 found)
Season: 280 balls (121 hit, 56 thrown, 64 device, 30 found)
Games: 48 games
Average: 5.83 balls per game
Career: 1,402 balls
Today was the fourth straight sell out game at PNC Park, the first such string of games in the ten year history of the ballpark. Also, the Pirates decided not to take batting practice today, which left just the Astros.
My first ball of the day was a clean catch on the fly in left field. I don’t know who hit it, but Amy got a pic of me labeling it after the fact:
There was a bunch of waiting around,
because the Astros as you may know suck. They are the worst team in baseball. Apart from Carlos Lee and Hunter Pence, there’s not much to look forward to in an Astros BP.
My second ball was a scrum ball that I corralled under a bleacher. Here I am after grabbing it:
The ball had a distinctive marking. Do you know who hit it?
Read backwards. Jason Michaels. There is a clear MICHAE and beneath that a PRO (from Pro Model on the bat). This is an ultra rare marking, and I only at least one other one where the player who hit it has his name visible on the ball from the bat.
We returned downtown later on in the day to watch the fireworks on the North Shore.
Here are today’s baseballs:
Game: 2 balls (2 hit)
Season: 272 balls (115 hit, 56 thrown, 63 device, 29 found)
Games: 47 games
Average: 5.78 balls per game
Career: 1,394 balls
The day began for me at 4AM. I had spent the previous week in South Carolina at Myrtle Beach.
I arrived at PNC Park at 3:45 PM and I was back in action for the first time since July 3rd, exactly two weeks off from ballhawking.
It was a much needed break. But I was ready to get back to one of my hobbies.
Upon entering the stadium at 4:30, batting practice had not yet begun.
After 5-10 minutes, it got underway and I snagged a ground rule double from Bobby Crosby, who was hitting in the first group. The ball barely cleared the wall, as it was a line drive.
I lined up with the ball and made the snag about three rows back.
Things were really slow during the first two groups, and I had the opportunity to talk to two of the Pirates relievers.
Things then slowed down to a ridiculously boring pace. The Astros weren’t hitting many home runs, as they appeared 100% dedicated to taking inside out swings to hit the ball to right field.
Luckily, near the end of batting practice, I snagged a ground rule double off the bat of an unknown Astro.
Also, at the end of batting practice, I got ball #7 thrown by Matt Lindstrom as the Astros were running off the field.
At the end of batting practice I gave one of my extra balls that I bring from home away to a young fan with a glove who had gotten shut out.
I left right after Batting Practice to go home and get caught up on some sleep.
(PS: As for Sunday, Nick and I went to the stadium, waited outside for over a half an hour and then left, as there were no signs of cages in sight. I’ll be back in action on Monday, and Milwaukee’s best ballhawk will be in attendance at the game…)
Game: 7 balls (3 hit, 1 thrown, 1 device, 2 found)
Season: 287 balls (153 hit, 67 thrown, 27 device, 41 found)
Games: 45 games
Average: 6.38 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career: 865 balls
Streak: 141 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.