I could only attend batting practice at today’s game because I had Dave Matthews Band tickets for later tonight.
Since today’s game was to begin at 12:35, I feared that there would be no batting practice. Usually on day games after night games, there is no batting practice. However, when I was walking to the Center field gate, I could see this.
I got to the gates at 9:45 AM, 15 minutes early, and was third in line. There were two non-ballhawks in front of me, so I felt pretty confident about being the first person into batting practice and claiming any Easter eggs.
I was the first one to the early entrance point, but the season ticket scanner wasn’t there. A few other security guards came and said we had to wait until the scanner showed up. I showed them I had season tickets and I even flashed my season ticket card. They said no one could enter until the scanner showed up. In the mean time, there were three fans with visitor passes in the bleachers.
Ryan Doumit crushed a homerun that landed in the bleachers. All I could do is stand helplessly and watch one of the visitor fans walk over and pick it up. One missed opportunity. Doumit hit another ball that hit near the bullpen. It bounced off a bleacher and rolled down to the front row. Luckily, the visitors didn’t see this one. When the employee who scans the early entrance finally showed up 6 minutes late, I ran in and claimed the Doumit HR ball. It was ball #1.
Game: 6 Balls (3 hit, 3 device)
Season: 26 Balls (12 hit, 9 thrown, 5 device)
Games: 6 Games (5 with BP/ 1 without)
Average: 4.33 Balls per Game
Career: 192 Balls
I attended today’s game with my best friend from my childhood days, Joe Filipowski. We got to the gates about 10 minutes before they were to open. I hate how the gates don’t open until 90 minutes before the first pitch. At 11:40, we were finally let inside. The Pirates were already in mid batting practice.
I checked for Easter eggs in left field, but there was nothing there. With some of the Pirates better hitters coming up and being left handed, we headed over to right field. I was shocked at how amazingly rude the Pirates were towards their own fans. I got totally ignored by Zach Duke, Jesse Chavez, Craig Monroe, Eric Hinske, Brandon Moss, and Donnie Veal in right field. I asked each of them for a ball on more than one occasion, but was ignored. The irritating part was that they were giving balls to little kids with Reds gear on, even though I was completely decked out in Pirates gear, including their new alternate batting practice jersey. It looked like it was going to be one of those days.
I decided to try and get a batted ball from one of the left handed power hitters. Nate McLouth hit one, but it was over my head and some guy just barely beat me to it. My friend Joe got the first ball of the day, but gave it away to a little kid. Jesse Chavez pointed the kid out and tossed it to him several rows up, but the kid missed it. Joe ended up catching up, but out of kindness gave it to the kid. He later said he regretted giving it away, it being the first ball that he’d snagged since the 1994 Home Run Derby at Three Rivers Stadium.
Moments later, Brandon Moss launched a deep fly ball to right field. I drifted over about 5 seats and camped out underneath it. The ball landed squarely in my glove. It was ball #1 of the day for me, and my first ball of 2009. It’d been over 6 months since I last snagged a ball, so it was good to finally get one. If you can find the #1 below, that’s the exact spot I snagged Moss’ Home Run.
I didn’t take any pictures during batting practice because I felt like having my camera around my neck would be a distraction for me and make moving around a little tougher. After Adam LaRoche and Brandon Moss’s group hit, I decided to move to left field. It would prove to be a little late because Andy LaRoche was absolutely raking balls into left field while we were in right.
I made my way over to where Matt Capps, Tyler Yates, and John Grabow were standing in left center field. I asked several times for some balls, but was ignored by Yates. At least Grabow looked at me, but decided to throw the ball into the bleachers instead. I made eye contact with Capps. He got a ball and pointed at me and tossed it. Out of no where, a Reds fan dives in front of me and steals the ball before it reached me. (I was in the second row, he was in the first). Luckily, another ball was hit to Capps. He turned around and made sure I caught this one, arching it perfectly. It was ball #2 of the day.
I then decided to move to the left field line where Ian Snell and Craig Hansen were hanging out. Since catching a HR ball would prove tricky here, I decided to try and ask every Pirate I could for a ball. I settled into the second row in one of the sections near the line. I chose an empty row so I could somewhat move. Moments later, Craig Monroe lauched a line drive in my direction. I barely had to move. There was some competition for the ball from some people in the front row, but since I am 6’5″, I was able to outreach them and made the snag for ball #3 on the day. The below picture shows the exact locations of balls #2 and #3: