Today would be my final game of the season at PNC Park.
After missing yesterday’s (Saturday’s) game due to rain, I decided that I had to make it to the park one last time, even though it was raining when I left my house.
When I arrived at the park, there was basically no one there at all. Many people stayed away early, which turned out to be a good thing.
Around 11:15, pitchers began to meander out of the Pirates dugout and head toward the bullpen to sit and await to rain to ease up.
I stood by the fence above the bullpen and hoped someone would begin to throw.
Eventually, Charlie Morton (hidden by the bullpen roof) started to throw with Luis Dorante, the Pirates bullpen coach. I watched them finish up at 11:29, one minute before the gate would open to allow me to get close enough to ask for a ball.
There were two pairs of Dodgers playing catch.
I noticed that Ramon Tronsoco didn’t have a partner. I held up my glove and asked him if he wanted to throw a little bit. He nodded and tossed me a ball. Wow. I was finally going to play catch with a major leaguer. In uniform.
We began to throw, and after about ten tosses, I handed my p
hone off to a random guy behind me to take some photos. He had been asking me questions like, “Do you play for the Pirates? Are you friends with him? How do you know him?”
He got the following photos of me:
When I got home, I checked out Youtube for #1 Joe Beimel fan TroyfromWV, sure enough, he had uploaded a partial video of me and Ramon throwing together. Click here–> VIDEO PROOF!
After we threw for awhile, Troncoso’s throwing partner finally emerged from the dugout, and Troncoso tossed me the ball and indicated that he was done. I had ball #5. What a way to get it! I thanked Troncoso, and gave one of my decoy balls to the daughter of the guy that snapped some pictures of me.
When the game began, center field was too crowded to have a great chance at toss up balls.
Plus, the usher told me I had to stay out because I didn’t have a ticket. He was nice about it, and told me there was a big issue on Saturday Night where someone was injured in a fight for a toss up ball. He said the man was going to sue the Pirates, and that outfield between inning toss ups would be discontinued after this year. I was hoping he wasn’t serious, but he seemed to be.
In the second inning, I went up on the right field wall, and got Garrett Jones to pick me out and throw me ball #6 – oh wait, he grossly underthrew me, and the ball hit some guy that was sitting down. The ball caromed off of him, and rolled behind his wife’s backside and sat on her seat. It took them about 10 seconds to find it – and I could’ve easily grabbed it, but it would’ve been too awkward. I watched them oodle over the ball they had just snagged by accident, much to my frustration.
I decided to quit ballhawking and went up to sit in my season ticket seats one last time. I hadn’t sat there much at all this year, but I felt like I needed to say goodbye.
Even though the seats are cheap, and offer no chance at getting a ball – I always liked to just sit and watch a game there. In my seats you’ve got a great view, and they are in the front row of the section.
In the 7th inning, I sat behind home plate,
in hopes of snagging some promotional items from Pirates announcer Steve Blass in the “7th inning throw down.” Blass threw out a bunch of left over giveaway hats, grocery bags, Pirate dolls, candy, etc.
I got my finger tip on a Pirates Alternate hat, but it was just out of my reach and floated down to a lady two rows below me. I didn’t come away empty handed – I caught a piece of Double Bubble bubble gum. Yay.
For the 8th inning, I snuck down and sat behind the Pirates dugout. The Pirates ended up scoring four runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to acheive a walk off win.
I was expecting the players to toss their hats and a few baseballs into the crowd as a thank you to the fans – they’ve done it the past three years on Fan Appreciation Day.
It didn’t happen. The players disappeared into the dugout, gave their jerseys to those fans whose seats had been chosen, and
disappeared for good. Nothing was thrown into the crowd. Very disappointing.
I stayed around until almost everyone was gone, and took one last look at PNC Park.
Was this my last game of 2009? Maybe…
Game: 5 balls (5 thrown)
Season: 405 balls (211 hit, 124 thrown, 70 device)
Games: 80 games (10 of which didn’t have BP)
Average: 5.06 balls per game
Career: 571 balls
Streak: 95 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.