Tagged: easter egg

PNC Park – Home Opener

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I arrived at PNC Park around 10 AM this morning for the Pirates Home Opener. Amy came with me, but unfortunately, she had to work the game, so I don’t have many pictures of my ballhawking today.

We walked to the stadium and were second in line behind Nick.
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Nick and I caught for about 20 minutes on the Roberto Clemente bridge. 
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Afterwards, Nick and I headed down to the Riverwalk.  While there, I was able to see seven balls in the sky heading towards the seats. 
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Eventually one of the balls bounced out of the stadium.  I dove here to snag the ball. 
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I got a little dirty, but it wasn’t too noticeable. 

Being on the board before going into the stadium is never a bad thing.

Upon entering the stadium, I heard Evan Meek call out to me.  I thought he said, “Jabs!” but I’m not sure.  Anyhow, he came over and shook my hand and asked how the offseason was and if there was anything new going on.  He asked if we were doing the Ballhawk League again, and I said yeah.

A minute later, Evan fielded a ball and turned and tired a strike to me for ball #2.
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Thanks Evan!

The Pirates players were wearing pullovers so I wasn’t able to identify all of them.  An unidentified righty hit a home run into section 134.  The ball settled under a bleacher and I scooped it up for ball #3.
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Ball #4 was chased down under the Rotunda.  Again, no clue who hit it.
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My fifth ball was another righty Pirates batter.  I snagged it off of the concrete after it bounced around a bit.  There were a few other gloves reaching for the ball, but I came away with it.
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I decided to head over to right field and center field at 11:30.  It paid off.  I found Ball #6, #7, and #8 there. 
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The Rockies had come out to hit in the meantime.

My ninth ball was glove tricked in left-center field.

I then noticed another ball in foul territory.
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I ran over and glove tricked it for ball #10.

Five minutes later, another ball was there. 

I went back to that area and glove tricked that one too for ball #11
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Ball #12 was tossed to me by Rockies ace pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez.  It helped that I had Rockies gear on and asked for the ball in Spanish.
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After snagging the ball from Jimenez, I noticed two balls in the ivy. I had forgotten my Cleveland stick, so I went to the Janitors closet and got a squeegee and prodded the ball closer to the fence so I could reach it.
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It was in terrible shape.
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That was it for batting practice.  The Rockies batting practice was very poor.  Not many home runs were hit at all.

The game was rather uneventful.  The Pirates lost 7-1 and played sloppy defense.

Highlights from the game were the introductions, where the players line up on the baselines:
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The Pirates side:
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There was a flyover after the National Anthem.
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Here was the view from my seat, where I sat for an inning. 
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It was really crowded in left field, so I went there to read the paper for a bit.

One of the non-baseball highlights was a ‘streaker’ who took to the field in the ninth inning:

He came from the left field stands and made it across the whole field.

Despite the Pirates loss, Opening Day was productive from a ballhawking standpoint.

Here are the balls I snagged today.
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And the sweet spots:
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STATISTICS
:

Game:  13 balls (4 hit, 2 thrown, 4 device, 3 found)
Season:  22 balls (8 hit, 4 thrown, 7 device, 3 found)
Games: 3 games
Average:  7.33 balls per game
Career:  1,144 balls
Attendance: 39,219

9-8-10 PNC Park

It was the last game of the homestand, and with only one nine game homestand remaining, I needed to have a decent day to have any chance of approaching the mygameballs.com single season record of 543 baseballs snagged in one season.

The day got off to a good start, as Sean Gallagher whistled at me to get my attention and threw me a ball.
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However, the ball sailed high and over my head, and another ballhawk, known as Baseball Joe grabbed it in the next section over.
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STATISTICS:
Game:  9 balls ( 3 hit, 2 thrown, 4 found )
Season:  517 balls (250 hit, 119 thrown, 72 device, 76 found)
Games: 80 games
Average:  6.46 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 5
Career:  1,095 balls
Streak:  176 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 13,113
Balls needed to break single season record: 27

9-3-10 PNC Park

Strong storms swept through the Pittsburgh area around 3:30 PM, putting batting practice in jeopardy.  However, they moved off to the east and the skies cleared by 4:30, so BP was a go for today. 

I came into today needing six balls to reach the exclusive 500 balls snagged in one season club.  It had only been done twice, by Zack Hample in 2008 and 2009.

Upon running in, I found ball #1 in the front row.  I almost passed it by, but noticed fellow ballhawk Nick Pelescak running quickly towards the spot, so I double checked, and it was right in front of me.  I leaned over and grabbed it for ball #1.
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My second ball was thrown to me by Chris Resop.  That’s the first ball that I ever got from Resop, so I was glad to add another player to my thrown list.  Thanks Chris.
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STATISTICS:

Game:  9 balls ( 3 hit, 3 thrown, 3 found )
Season:  503 balls (243 hit, 116 thrown, 72 device, 72 found)
Games: 78 games
Average:  6.45 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 5
Career:  1,081 balls
Streak:  174 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 19,734
Balls needed to break single season record: 41

8-28-10 Progressive Field

I knew coming into today that it would be my final game for the month of August.  To motivate myself to do well in August, I decided that I would try to break the one month record for most balls snagged in one month.  That record was 138 balls, snagged by Zack Hample in August of 2008.

Coming into today I needed to snag three baseballs to break that record.  I made the trip to Progressive Field solo, so I don’t have any great pictures of my performance, but I’ll do my best to illustrate the day.

I was probably about the seventh person in line.  My motivation factor has been declining throughout the season, so I wasn’t there hours before the gates opened to be first in line.  I didn’t even look to see if any of the other teams had taken batting practice.

Upon entering, apparently they did take batting practice because there were seven balls in the seats.  I was able to get two of them in the front row in right center field.  They were within a few feet of each other.  Those two balls tied the one month record.  I just needed one more.

It would come from Chris Perez. 
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Perez whistled and threw a ball in my direction.  There were some other folks near me, so I’m not sure exactly who the intended target was, but it ended up landing about seven or eight rows back in a completely empty area.  The ball must’ve hit an armrest on a chair because it took a fortuitous hop and landed in my row at my feet.  That was ball #3 of the month, #139 of the month of August, and the record breaker.  

I relaxed a bit and wasn’t being real aggressive running after baseballs, despite the crowd looking like this as the Indians wrapped up their BP.
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I left, taking home seven baseballs, which brought my total to the month to 143.

Here’s a recap of my busy month of August.  Click on any of the below links for a recap:

7-  8/28/10 Progressive Field
3 – 8/25/10 PNC Park
6 – 8/24/10 PNC Park
7 – 8/23/10 PNC Park
1 – 8/22/10 PNC Park
5 – 8/21/10 PNC Park
7 – 8/20/10 PNC Park
4 – 8/19/10 PNC Park
7 – 8/18/10 PNC Park
6 – 8/17/10 PNC Park
10- 8/16/10 PNC Park
6 – 8/13/10 Progressive Field
5 – 8/12/10 Progressive Field
4 – 8/10/10 Progressive Field
8 – 8/9/10 Camden Yards
5 – 8/8/10 PNC Park
10- 8/7/10 PNC Park
6 – 8/6/10 PNC Park
8 – 8/5/10 PNC Park
5 – 8/4/10 Camden Yards
10- 8/3/10 PNC Park
13- 8/2/10 PNC Park
Total:  143 balls in 22 games = 6.5 per game

This likely is my last game at Progressive Field this year.
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Today’s baseballs:
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Sweet spots:

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STATISTICS:
Game:  7 balls ( 1 hit, 3 thrown, 3 found )
Season:  494 balls (240 hit, 113 thrown, 72 device, 69 found)
Games: 77 games
Average:  6.42 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 5
Career:  1,072 balls
Streak:  173 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 16,372
Balls in the month of August:  143 (new record)
Balls needed to break single season record: 50

8-22-10 PNC Park

What?  A Sunday day after night game?  You know I usually don’t go to those.  But today, I did.

And here’s the reason why:
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The ball was soaked, meaning it was from the previous day’s batting practice. 
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In other news, my blog was featured today in Rochester Minnesota’s Post Bulletin newspaper.

Here’s the link.  Thanks to Alan Schuster of mygameballs.com for the tip.

STATISTICS: (note: corrected addition errors from previous entries)
Game:  1 ball ( 1 found )
Season:  471 balls (236 hit, 103 thrown, 66 device, 66 found)
Games: 73 games
Average:  6.44 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 5
Career:  1,049 balls
Streak:  169 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 24,730
Balls in the month of August:  120 (19 need
ed to break 1 month record)
Balls needed to break single season record: 72

8-21-10 PNC Park

There was some rain in the forecast for today, so the Pirates started BP a bit earlier than usual.  The gates opened at 4:30, and the first group had already finished by that time.  Therefore, we missed out on Chris Synder, Andrew McCutchen and Ryan Doumit.

My first ball came off the bat of Andy LaRoche.  Nick Pelescak and I converged, and in an attempt for the ball, I lost my balance and began to fall forward, but caught myself by bashing the back of my lower leg on the bleacher.  It hurt, but I was able to make the catch.

Daniel McCutchen, aware of the Ballhawk League asked, ‘How many points was that one…”  “Do you get extra if you draw blood?”

In the meantime, I had noticed a ball on the field, directly against the two foot high fence in foul territory in front of the handicapped seats:
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On my way over, I found ball #2 laying in the aisle, and then made my way over to pick up ball #3 off of the track.

Ball #4 was also hit by Andy LaRoche.  He hit a foul ball into the seats down the left field, line.
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STATISTICS:
Game:  5 balls ( 2 hit, 1 device, 2 found )
Season:  469 balls (236 hit, 101 thrown, 63 device, 64 found)
Games: 72 games
Average:  6.51 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 5
Career:  1,048 balls
Streak:  168 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 28,759
Balls in the month of August:  119 (20 needed to break 1 month record)
Balls needed to break single season record: 74

8-20-10 PNC Park

Another sunny day in Pittsburgh got out to a great start thanks to Joel Hanrahan.
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He threw me ball #1 near the beginning of batting practice, and then went on a generous binge of tossing balls to virtually every fan in attendance during the Pirates STH only time.  I believe every ball he shagged was flipped into the bleachers.    As a side note, Hanrahan’s toss to me was my 100th thrown ball of 2010. 

Ball #2 was a home run from Lastings Milledge that hit a bleacher and popped up into the air about 10 feet.  I snagged it when it was on the way back down.

Ball #3 was also a home run hit by Milledge.  It was hit deep over my head, and I had to dive on the concrete underneath this stairway
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STATISTICS:
Game:  7 balls ( 3 hit, 2 thrown, 1 device, 1 found )
Season:  465 balls (234 hit, 101 thrown, 62 device, 62 found)
Balls in the month of August:  114
Games: 71 games
Average:  6.55 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 5
Career:  1,043 balls
Streak:  167 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 23,695
Balls in the month of August:  114 (25 needed to break 1 month record)
Balls needed to break single season record: 79