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The Pirates are just a game out of first place. Thus, another sell out crowd today, aided by the fact that there was a skyblast show after the game.
There’s not much to speak of for this entry. I only planned on staying for batting practice and then getting out of there to be with Amy.
Upon entering, a ball landed in the upper bleachers. At this point, only Nick and Zac were in the left field bleachers, and I just happened to be the closest to the staircase when it hit, so I ran up and grabbed it for ball #1.
I made a clean catch a bit later for ball #2 – not sure exactly who hit it. Some Cub. Who knows?
While watching the Cubs, trapped in left field (because the rest of the stadium doesn’t open until 5:30), I watched Carlos Pena, Koyie Hill and others litter the right field wall with home runs. I was hoping to run over and pick some up, but like clockwork, at 5:22, ushers appeared and took all the balls.
They missed one however. Carlos Pena had hit one that hit the chain link fence at the top of the wall and disappeared.
When I ran in to look, it was still there, in the row behind the last row of seats, wedged between concrete and the seats.
That was it for batting practice.
I went for a run later on that night and ended up badly spraining my ankle afterwards. What luck.
Game: 3 balls (3 hit)
Season: 291 balls (128 hit, 61 thrown, 68 device, 34 found)
Games: 52 games
Average: 5.60 balls per game
Career: 1,413 balls
Attendance : 39,235
Today’s game would get off to a bad start before the gates even opened.
At around 4:15, the skies opened up, and it started to pour.
It washed out BP as the warning track was filled with water.
Game: 5 balls (2 thrown, 3 found)
Season: 164 balls (90 hit, 42 thrown, 11 device, 21 found)
Games: 26 games
Average: 6.31 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career: 742 balls
Streak: 122 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: *1 (denotes rainout)
Today was a little more difficult than yesterday, because far fewer balls were hit into the stands. Sometimes it just goes that way.
My first ball of the day was off the bat of Lastings Milledge. He hit a home run that popped out of my glove and I had to scoop up. I’ve had some bad luck the past few days with balls popping out. It might be time to get rid of the 40 feet of string that fills up the inside of my glove.
The second ball was another Milledge hit. This time it was a ground rule double that bounced over the fence. I ran to my right, and caught the ball barehanded as it bounced off a bleacher.
My third ball of the day was thrown by bullpen catcher Heberto Andrade. Someone on the Pirates hit a deep home run that hit off of the steel support of the general admission bleachers. Herbie looked at the ball for a minute, and then turned and fired the ball to me.
Ball #4 was glove tricked in front of the State Farm sign in left field.
Game: 7 balls (2 hit, 4 thrown, 1 device)
Season: 159 balls (90 hit, 40 thrown, 11 device, 18 found)
Games: 25 games
Average: 6.36 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career: 737 balls
Streak: 121 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Today was Memorial Day, and there was an autograph session of former Pirates that would begin at 11:30 when the gates were to open. So, the line to get into batting practice was easily the longest I’ve seen it all season.
And I was near the end of it.
When I finally got in, I managed to get two balls rather quickly from the lone pitcher who was in the outfield, Chris Jackubauskus. He tossed me ball #1 from about 100 feet away or so, then began tossing balls to the other folks in the outfield. The second ball came when he overthrew a group of people in the front row. I was right there to pick it up.
Game: 4 balls (1 hit, 3 thrown)
Season: 152 balls (88 hit, 36 thrown, 10 device, 18 found)
Games: 24 games
Average: 6.33 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career: 730 balls
Streak: 120 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
I wasn’t even supposed to be at this game. Thanks to a tree that fell during a storm last night, my place of work didn’t have power all day, thereby freeing me up for the afternoon and relieving me of my coaching duties for a day.
I spent the about 30-40 minutes on the riverwalk before the gates would open. Unfortunately, this is the most interesting to happen down there:
Game: 10 balls (5 hit, 1 thrown, 1 device, 3 found)
Season: 87 balls (53 hit, 16 thrown, 9 device, 10 found)
Games: 12 games
Average: 7.25 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career: 665 balls
Streak: 108 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
After missing yesterday’s game due to coaching, I was looking forward to attending my first game of the week today, on Cinco de Mayo.
I ran in, trailing fellow ballhawk Nick Pelescak. Nick broke to the left towards the bullpen, so I was left to search near the ushers. Surprisingly, there was a ball sitting there in the third row on the ground. I was on the board.
I got my second and third balls of the day during the Pirates BP in this area: The General Admission Bleachers.
The balls bounced on the walkway behind me and hopped up into the bleachers. I don’t know who hit ball #2, but ball #3 was off the bat of Ronny Cedeno.
I caught my fourth ball of the day off the bat of Jason Jaramillo. I caught it on the fly in the second row (which is an accomplishment, as I typically stay away from the first two rows).
That was it for the Pirates BP, and the Cubs came out.
I didn’t have to wait long to get my first Cubs ball, as Derrek Lee hit a high fly ball that bounced on the warning track, and six rows back into my glove.
Soon after, I glove tricked ball #6 in this area:
Game: 8 balls (4 hit, 2 thrown, 1 device, 1 found)
Season: 77 balls (47 hit, 15 thrown, 8 device, 7 found)
Games: 11 games
Average: 7.00 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career: 655 balls
Streak: 107 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Today was a bounce back day for me. After nearly being shut out yesterday, I got on the board quickly today.
Within the first 30 seconds of being in the park, I had a ball. Upon entering the bleacher area, I checked in the general admission bleachers (upper bleachers). Balls rarely go up there, but every now and then a power hitter will reach them, or a ball will bounce on the concrete and settle up there.
I ran up the steps and found ball #1 waiting for me in the front row.
I got ball #2 off the bat of Jason Jaramillo, who was hitting right handed. He hit a high fly ball to my right. I ran over a section, but lost the ball in the sun momentarily. The ball landed on a bleacher and settled near my feet, and I was able to reach down and quickly grab it.
Ball #3 came from Brandon Moss. He fielded a ball and looked to the bleachers. I held my glove up, and he fired the ball at me.
The Pirates wrapped up their portion of batting practice a bit early. There was a ball up against the outfield wall that I was waiting to use the glove trick on. I wasn’t going to do the trick with the Pirates in the field, because they all recognize me by now, and I don’t want to look greedy. Luckily, the Pirates jogged off the field, leaving the ball at the wall. I sprang into action and reeled in ball #4 with the glove trick.
The Cubs came out to hit, and Alfonso Soriano began shagging in left field.
Luckily, he was only focused on the balls that a coach was hitting him, and didn’t bother himself with any BP balls hit his way. A Cubs batter hit a line drive that trickled to the edge of the warning track. It was glove trickable, but not without drawing lots of attention to myself from throwing my glove a good 15 feet or more out onto the field. I decided to let it go.
Then, a grounds keeper walked by and kicked the ball to the base of the wall. “Maybe they’ll toss it up to one of yinz,” he said.
Game: 7 balls (4 hit, 1 thrown, 2 device)
Season: 224 balls (117 hit, 75 thrown, 32 device)
Games: 45 games (5 of which didn’t have BP)
Average: 4.98 balls per game
Career: 390 balls
Today wasn’t a great day for me.
I arrived to the ballpark late, around 4:55PM, and was at the back of a massive line. I probably was going to miss the first 7 minutes or so of batting practice. (There is only one guy who scans tickets for the first half hour or so).
Luckily, my friend and fellow ballhawk Jim, spotted me walking up to the line. He came and got me and let me stand with him in the front of the line. Thanks to Jim, I now had a very good chance of getting a ball early. Unfortunately, there were no Easter Eggs to be found.
Throughout the Pirates batting practice, there were a handful of home runs, but they carried farther than usual, over my head. I ended the Pirates portion of batting practice with nothing.
No worries, the Cubs had Soriano, Lee, Soto, Ramirez, etc. I’d be fine. However, all of the Cubs top hitters were practicing an opposite field approach. Very few home runs at all were hit into the left field bleachers.
I stayed in left field until the last group came up to hit. It was 5:45 or so, and I still had nothing to show for my efforts. I had maintained a streak of around 60 games of getting at least 1 ball. I started to feel that this streak would end today. It started in August of 2008.
In left field, I waited for my chance to snag a home run ball. The Cubs lefties weren’t hitting with much power, and the home runs they did hit, were hit to the right field seats.
6PM, still no baseballs. I had decided that I was going home after batting practice anyway. I had resigned myself to the fact that I was going to get shut out, and my streak was over.
However, Kosuke Fukudome lined a home run ball to section 141, the section directly against the right field wall.
My friend Jim took off after it and was first to the spot. The ball hit off of his hands, and fell to the floor. I was right behind him and saw the ball bouncing around in the aisle. Jim wasn’t able to locate it right away. I reached down and picked up my one and only ball of the day. Luckily, Jim beat about three teenagers in a race to a ball in left field earlier, so he was already on the board.
It was a rough day for BP. The top four ballhawks in PNC Park recorded tallies of 2, 2, 1, and 1.
Maybe tomorrow will be better. I hope.
Today’s one baseball.
Game: 1 ball (1 hit)
Season: 217 balls (113 hit, 74 thrown, 30 device)
Games: 44 games attended (5 without BP)
Average: 4.93 balls per game
Career: 383 balls
The only positive from the entire night was the beautiful pink sky at dusk.
Tonight’s game was the absolute worst game I’ve been to all season. Although it was a nine inning game, the game lasted FOUR hours.
During the Pirates’ portion of batting practice I got absolutely nothing. The Cubs’ portion of batting practice was just as bad. The Cubs’ fans outnumbered the Pirates fans at batting practice, so I didn’t even bother putting on my Cubs gear. The Cubs players were also remarkably stingy, notable Lester Strode, who even ignored a group of young Cubs’ fans when picking up two balls near the wall.
Luckily, around 5:40, Aramis Ramirez launched a homerun ball directly at me. I didn’t even have to move.
I caught the line drive on the fly, making it ball #1, and my only ball of the day.
I caught the ball in my usual batting practice spot, in the aisle between Sec 134 and 135.
After BP ended, I tried to get Ian Snell’s warm up ball, but bullpen catcher Herbie Andrade took it into the bullpen with him, totally snubbing me.
My seats for this game were located on the right field wall, in Sec 143 Row F. I figured that I could improve on my paltry one ball by moving back and forth between RF and CF
throughout the game. Nate McLouth throws a warm up ball into the stands at the top of each odd numbered inning, while the right fielder throws during even numbered innings. I made nine attempts to get a warm up ball.
Unfortunately, I think Nate knows who I am and refuses to throw the ball to me. On one Sunday back in June, I caught three of his warm up balls in one game. Two I had to jump for, and probably weren’t meant for me, possibly contributing to McLouth giving me the could shoulder ever since.
I didn’t receive a ball the entire game, so I moved down to Section 24 to attempt to get a game ball from an umpire as they left the field. By this time, it was 11:04 PM, and the only remaining fans in the crowd were Cubs fans. The place had a Wrigley Field feel to it, as chants of “Let’s Go Cubbies” echoed from every crevice of the stadium. In the picture below, you can see all of the Cubs fans standing in anticipation of the final out. U
Game: 1 Ball
Season: 104 Balls
Career: 142 Balls
Attendance: 17,929 (46.7% full)