Today was a Sunday game, a day game after a night game, so there was a good chance of there being no batting practice.
I was pretty happy when I peered into the gate and saw the cage set up.
Upon entering the stadium, the Pirates were warming up in left field. I walked over and sat down in this section.
It is a handicapped section. Its a good spot for catching over throws.
I got ball #1 of the day from Ian Snell. When he was done catching, he simply turned and threw me the ball. I didn’t even ask for it. Just another reason why Ian Snell is awesome.
I waited behind John Grabow, who was catching with Sean Burnett, for an overthrow, but it didn’t happen.
Batting practice was beginning,
Game: 3 Balls (1 hit, 1 thrown, 1 device)
Season: 138 Balls (61 hit, 59 thrown, 18 device)
Games: 28 Games (24 with BP, 4 without)
Average: 4.93 Balls Per Game
Career: 304 Balls
Today was the first of three Skyblast dates throughout the summer at PNC Park. Basically its an hour long concert/fireworks show. The bands are always “B” List bands, with past bands being Smash Mouth, Styx, Live, PovertyNeck Hill Billies, etc. The band tonight was the Zac Brown Band.
The stadium was sold out, so there would be some more competition than usual during batting practice. I attended this game with my wife. We were the 4th and 5th people in line. Unfortunately, by the time the gates opened, the 3 people ahead of us had swelled to 11 through the process of sparing/cutting. There went any chance for Easter Eggs out the window.
After about 5 minutes of batting practice, I got ball #1 from Ian Snell.
Ian gets a lot of crap for his inconsistencies, but he’s one of my favorite Pirates. He’s definitely not stingy when it comes to giving away baseballs, so you have to respect that.
One of the groups that came up was mostly lefties, so I abandoned left field and went into foul ball territory.
Game: 5 Balls (3 hit, 2 thrown)
Season: 135 Balls (60 hit, 58 thrown, 17 device)
Games: 27 Games (23 with BP, 4 without)
Average: 5.00 Balls Per Game
Career: 301 Balls
Attendance: 37,167 (sell-out)
Luckily, as soon as I walked in, Ian Snell was picking up a ball and tossed me ball #1.
Then, the cold spell began. I didn’t get any more balls during the Pirates portion of batting practice. The Cardinals came out. Still nothing. It was 5:50 and I headed to center field for the last part of batting practice. Chris Duncan is the Cardinals best home run hitter in batting practice, so I was there waiting.
He hit a few home runs that came close to me. One landed in an empty chair. I was the only one running for it. Some random guy sitting 2 rows behind the ball saw me running, and lazily got up and picked up the ball.
It was 6:00 PM, and I had only one ball. I was thinking to myself, “You really suck. You’re the worst ballhawk in the entire stadium.” Moments later, Duncan hit a ball into the 5th row of section 139. I was in Section 141 and took off running. Myself and a legendary ballhawk named Jim were both after the ball. We both arrived at the same time, however I entered the row that the ball was in, and he was one row up. I was able to snag the ball just in time to get ball #2. A few seconds later, Duncan hit a ball to the same spot, except another row up. Jim and I were off to the races again. Again, I got to the ball a split second faster and got ball #3. Walking back to my seat, I found an easter egg ball wedged between the cement and a seat back. There was a lady sitting close by, so I casually walked over and picked up ball #4. As soon as I picked the ball up, the Cardinals ran off the field, ending their batting practice. Not a bad finish after being stuck on 1 ball for almost an hour.
Game: 5 Balls (3 hit, 2 thrown)
Season: 113 Balls (50 hit, 50 thrown, 13 device)
Games: 21 games (18 with BP, 3 without)
Average: 5.38 balls per game
Career: 279 balls
I attended today’s game with my wife. I had to wait for her to get home for work, so we didn’t get to the stadium until 4:55 PM, just in time before the 5 PM gate opening.
Usually I get 1 ball during the Pirates portion during the week (they only hit for about 10-15 more minutes after the gates open). Today, though, I had 4 balls by 5:04. I’ve never gotten off to a start like that in my life.
Ball #1 was tossed from Nyjer Morgan.
Game: 10 balls (4 hit, 4 thrown, 2 device)
Season: 84 balls (32 hit, 43 thrown, 9 device)
Games: 16 games (13 with BP, 3 without)
Average: 5.25 balls per game
Career: 250 balls
Today was PNC Park’s Opening Day. I went today with my wife Holly. We got to the gates around 10:30 AM, and waited in line for a half hour. When the gates opened, I rushed in and was the 6th one into the left field bleachers.
Things were a little dry at first. Eventually, two balls were hit and Ian Snell came to the fence to get them. I asked him for a ball and he flipped one over his head without looking to me. It was ball #1 of the day. Luckily, for the first 30 minutes, only season ticket holders are permitted into batting practice, so I had plenty of room to roam.
Game: 5 balls (2 hit, 1 thrown, 2 device)
Season: 13 balls (7 hit, 4 thrown, 2 device)
Games: 3 (3 with BP, 0 without)
Career: 179 balls
Hit List: 179 ties me with Willy Aybar for #3809 all time.
Happy Easter everyone!
My friend Joe and I went to Great American Ball Park today.
It was an afternoon game, so I was worried that batting practice would be canceled. We waited in line for about 10 minutes to get in. At 11:40, when the gates opened, I rushed to left field. The Pirates were taking batting practice!
I was the first one there, but the stadium ushers must have picked up all of the Easter Eggs, because there were none to be found. Yesterday’s starter Paul Maholm was alone in left field. I shouted to him to congratulate him on his great start yesterday. I then asked for a ball. He looked up and threw me a ball. His aim was off and it was wide and to my left. It tipped off my glove and landed a row behind me. Luckily, there was still no one around, so I turned around and picked it up. It was ball #1. I asked Matt Capps, John Grabow, and Tyler Yates for balls in left center field, but was ignored. I didn’t feel like pestering them, so I found an open aisle about 6 rows back that wasn’t being blocked by those long railings I mentioned in Friday’s entry.
Freddy Sanchez soon launched a deep fly ball to left. It was right at me, in the center of the section. However, it was sailing over my head. I hate it when this happens. I don’t have latitudinal range, and get stuck. It happens often at PNC Park. The ball landed about 5 rows back, so I had to climb over the chairs to beat some Reds fan there by a split second. It was ball #2.
Game: 5 balls (3 hit, 2 thrown)
Season: 8 balls (5 hit, 3 thrown)
Average: 4.0 balls/game (8 balls/2 games)
Career: 174 balls
Today was the last home game of the season, and likely my last Major League Baseball game of 2008. Since it was a Sunday afternoon game, there was no batting practice. The only chance I had at a ball was to get one thrown to me. When the pitchers came out, I elected to go on the Astros’ side, because there were too many Pirates fans crowded behind the Pirates’ pitchers. I donned my Astros gear hoping it would increase my chances of getting a ball.
I had purchased tickets from Stubhub behind the Pirates dugout, because last year, the players tossed all of their hats into the crowd after the game. I was sitting in section 121 row A, but the ushers wouldn’t let anyone down into the lower 6 rows, so I got shut out. Hats can only be thrown/tossed so far.
After the game, I hat came from behind me. I thought that some fan had thrown it. So I didn’t really bother to go after it, even though it landed in the seat directly in front of me. I looked back and a girl from the Bucco brigade had a big bag and was tossing out hats. She was in the aisle between the dugout boxes and the infield boxes. Since fans aren’t allowed down into the dugout boxes, I guess they tried to satisfy them by doing the hat thing this way. I thought it was stupid. I would rather have something from a player.
After a few minutes, John Grabow and Ian Snell came out and started tossing signed MLB baseballs and hats into the crowd. I was lucky enough to grab one of Ian Snell’s autographed batting practice hats. It was fitted, brand new, and still had the stickers on it ($27.99 price tag too!).
Snell autographed it along the side of the sticker.
I came close to a couple of the baseballs, but it was pretty packed, and Ian and John were basically hand picking the people they were tossing to. There was no randomly tossing the balls up in the air.
It was a great day to close out the season. I managed to get 1 ball on a non-BP day, and I got an awesome BP hat. If you’re wondering if I plan on wearing the hat, I definately am. I’ve already removed the tags and have worn it once already. It fits great! I probably won’t wear it to BP’s because I don’t want it getting sweaty and ruined.
Below is a picture of the ball I snagged today:
Game: 1 ball
Season: 128 balls
Career: 166 balls
Hit List: 166 hits ties me with BRUCE AVEN for #3,931 on the all time hit list. Aven was a one time Pittsburgh Pirate in 2000 and had a short career (obviously, with only 166 hits).
Attendance: 20,311 (52.9% full)