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.
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.
but I only spin PNC Park’s prize wheel under the left field bleachers.
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
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.
Balls in the month of August: 143 (new record)
Balls needed to break single season record: 50
There was some rain forecast for today, but when I arrived at the ballpark at 3:55, the sun was shining, and there were only a few measly clouds in the sky.
While standing in line, I noticed a Brewers fan who randomly had a MLB baseball. He didn’t have a glove or a bag or anything. He had just walked up from the Riverwalk area. Had he just gotten a ball out by the river? Possibly.
Rather than standing there, I decided to head down to the Allegheny River and see if I could get on the board before the gates even opened. There is some tall grass landscaping on a slope that leads down to a 20 foot wide walkway which borders the river. Occasionally balls will get stuck in there that get hit out of the stadium or bounce on the stadium. I looked, but found nothing.
I stood outside the stadium until 4:50, when I returned to line. There was only one ball that I saw that had a realistic chance. I caught it out of the corner of my eye and watched it hit the top of the Clemente wall and stay in the ballpark. Like clockwork, within a minute, an usher appeared and picked up the ball.
When I returned to the line at 4:50, it began to drizzle. Great. Just great.
The drizzle was persistant, and was rather annoying. I was worried that the groundscrew would put the tarp on the field and batting practice would be canceled. Luckily, this wasn’t the case. The rain was light enough that it allowed BP to continue.
I got ball #1 of the day from Joel Hanrahan. He fielded a ball, and didn’t throw it back towards the infield, so I stood in the front row with my glove up for about a minute. He finally decided he didn’t want the ball anymore, and fired it at me. It was a little high and away, but I was on the board.
I got ball #2 from Mike Defelice. I remembered Shawn from Milwaukee giving me the tip of calling him Deefer. It worked.
There wasn’t a ton of home runs hit. And its a shame too, because there weren’t many people there during the first 30 minutes of season ticket holder time only.
Game: 3 balls (1 hit, 2 thrown)
Season: 238 balls (125 hit, 78 thrown, 38 device)
Games: 49 games (5 of which didn’t have BP)
Average: 4.86 balls per game
Career: 404 balls
Attendance: 11,471 (very April/May’ish attendance figure)