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