I got a Club level seat tonight. The last time (link) I sat in the Club level, I caught two foul balls, and the visiting team was the Milwaukee Brewers. This was the Brewers final game at PNC Park this year.
Batting Practice was very frustrating.
I only got two balls during the Pirates portion. One was a Lastings Milledge home run that landed underneath the left field rotunda.
(Ball #3 says Blood Pressure Rising, which I responded “You’re telling me,” after snagging it – in regards to the frustrating BP)
Game: 6 balls (4 hit, 1 thrown, 1 device)
Season: 318 balls (171 hit, 71 thrown, 32 device, 44 found)
Games: 49 games
Average: 6.49 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 5
Career: 896 balls
Streak: 145 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
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.
After leaving PNC Park around 1:25, I made it to Progressive Field in Cleveland, and was in line at 3:32. I was second in line. This would be my second game of the day.
When I ran in, I didn’t find any easter eggs on the ground. I paced up and down each aisle and did manage to find ball #1 and ball #2 laying in seats. The second ball was an International League (AAA) ball – which the Tigers are known to use in lieu of major league baseballs. I was pretty happy because I didn’t have any of these yet this year. After snagging 300 some regular major league baseballs this season, any variation is a welcomed departure from the mean.
Within the span of a minute, I lost out on three home run balls in center field. All three balls bounced on this six foot wide concrete platform seperating the outfield wall from the seats:
The balls took huge hops and landed about 15 rows back, and I wasn’t able to get to any of them in time.
Ball #3 was thrown by an Indians pitcher (standing on the left of the two pitchers).
I had competition from behind, with two guys trying to reach other the seats to grab the ball. I got to the ball a split second before them, snatching it with my bare hand. Guess what? Another Metrodome commemorative!
Things then slowed way down for me. I wouldn’t get another ball for the next half hour.
I watched Miguel Cabrera pepper the left field bleachers with home run balls. There was only one usher there picking them all up, and he had his work cut out for him.
One of Cabrera’s homers nearly hit th
e scoreboard. It landed in the very top row of the bleachers (as marked by the red X in the picture below.)
At 6:00, I ran over to those left field bleachers to look for some easter eggs that the usher potentially may have missed. I searched the rows at the bottom, and watched as one teenager found one. I then ran up towards the top of the bleachers, and found this waiting for me, three rows from the top.
Yes, another Metrodome ball – my fifth commemorative of the day, and ball #9.
Things in left field weren’t going well, so I made my way back over to right field as the final lefties were finishing up.
Curtis Granderson ( i think – a black left handed batter ) – hit a deep home run to my left in right field. Again, it was going to be about two sections over, so I put my head down and ran over to where I judged it was going to land. I ended up making a really nice catch on the run for ball #10 of the day. I got a nice hand from the few people that were still in right field watching batting practice. It was also my fifth consecutive Metrodome ball snagged, and my sixth commemorative of the day.
Two pitches later, Granderson hit another home run to right field. This ball was high in the air, and I had plenty of time to weave and correct my route so I’d be in the right spot. I caught the ball with a basket style catch for ball #11. It was the last hit of BP, as the Tigers then ran off the field. I quickly snapped this picture right after batting practice ended to show all the room I had.
I love weekday batting practices at Progressive Field.
I left after batting practice, happy that after snagging 14 yesterday, I had snagged 15 today (albeit over 2 games). It was a new “one-day” record for me.
On my way out of the stadium, I had a few reminders from the trees that fall was here, and baseball season was almost over.
Farewell Progressive Field – See you next year
Game: 11 balls (8 hit, 2 thrown, 1 device)
Season: 390 balls (208 hit, 117 thrown, 65 device)
Games: 78 games (9 of which didn’t have BP)
Average: 5.00 balls per game
Career: 556 balls
Streak: 93 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Race for 400 in 2009: Need 10 in 3 games, 3.33 per game
Today was a weird and unconventional snagging day. I would catch zero balls off the bat, and only snag one ball thrown by a player. Yet, somehow I managed to break double digits.
I was the second one in line when I got to the gate. About fifteen minutes before the gates were to open, the old woman in front of me spared two of her friends, a father and his daughter, a little girl of about six years old. Little did I know that the daughter would go on to snag 12 balls of her own today, and assist me with three of my snags.
When the gates opened, I ran in to the bleachers and immediately found ball #1 about six rows back. I continued towards the visitor bullpen, and found ball #2 sitting in an aisle seat. I continued on towards the visitor bullpen and found ball #3 lying in the front row.
I wasn’t done searching. I walked over to the Indians bullpen and saw a ball laying in the front row. There were people standing in front of it, but hadn’t noticed it laying underneath the chair behind them. I walked in the second row, bent down, and picked up ball #4. It was extremely water-logged. I tried to write ‘433’ on it, but it was just too wet. I’ll have to wait until it dries out to re-label the ball.
When I picked up ball #4, I immediately noticed ball #5, which was about fifteen feet out, on top of the Indians bullpen.
I went to work. I tossed my glove out and pulled it in, knocking the ball a good ten feet or so closer. I took out my ‘Cleveland Stick,’ the collapsible six foot yard stick, and hooked the ball towards me. I reached over and grabbed the ball, for my fifth of the day. The father and daughter who were in line in front of me watched me make the snag.
After finding those first five balls, I tried to play for home run balls.
Game: 12 balls (4 hit, 1 thrown, 7 device)
Season: 275 balls (141 hit, 85 thrown, 49 device)
Games: 57 games (5 of which didn’t have BP)
Average: 4.82 balls per game
Career: 441 balls
Streak: 72 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
When I woke up this morning, I was paying the price for staying for the entire game yesterday. Also, it didn’t help that I lifted weights for an hour when I got home (just dumb bells – and it didn’t hurt my back at all at the time when I did it.)
When I took my first step to go downstairs this morning, my body locked up with another round of back spasms. Will these ever go away?
Luckily, by the time the afternoon rolled around, I was able to somewhat walk, and went to the game.
I was probably the 3rd person into the bleachers, managing to execute an award jog/walk to pass by other ballhawks that might feel silly sprinting in. There were two balls to be had, and Bryan Pelescak, another top notch ballhawk at PNC Park, got both of them. He would go on to snag at least seven balls today.
I got my first ball about fifteen minutes into batting practice. Mark Reynolds hit a monster shot into the second deck of the bleachers. Home runs rarely ever go up there. If balls do land there, its usually after bouncing off of concrete in the lower section. Reynolds’ home run landed about four rows back, and I scurried up the stairs after it. Luckily, no one else gave pursuit.
Before picking up the ball, I snapped a picture of ball #1.
A bit later in the round, another Diamondback came up and hit a home run right down the line. Luckily, I was standing nearby and was able to walk over and pick up ball #2 in the walkway between the left field rotunda and section 133.
I tried asking a few Diamondbacks for balls, but without luck. There was one D’back that was particularly devilish. He kept turning to the crowd and waving. Several times he flaunted the ball towards the crowd, before hurling it back in towards the infield. He gave up one ball, and it was one that he tossed into the second deck of bleachers. He likely just wanted to see a scramble for the ball.
I tried chasing down another home run, but it was picked up by an employee who handed it to a kid.
Walking back, I caught a home run (ball #3) at the very back of section 135, just below the second set of bleachers. I just happened to be in the right spot at the right time.
When 5:30 rolled around, and the rest of the stadium opened, I went over to center field to claim a ball from the center field batter’s eye. The area is covered in ivy, and spells the word Pirates. There is a fence that prevents any fans from entering the area to get balls. Well, yesterday, there was a ball about eight feet in that would’ve been reachable had I brought my ‘Cleveland Stick’ – that collapsible measuring device that I use to get balls out of Heritage Park. Unfortunately, the ball mysteriously had vanished.
Game: 6 balls (4 hit, 1 thrown, 1 device)
Season: 250 balls (131 hit, 82 thrown, 37 device)
Games: 52 games (5 of which didn’t have BP)
Average: 4.81 balls per game
Career: 416 balls
Streak: 67 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.