Amy was working today, so I don’t have any good pictures.
Upon entering the stadium, I found ball #1 about four rows back in left field. It was good to get on the board early, because the last Pirates group did absolutely nothing. Zero home runs.
When the Astros came out, I glove tricked my second ball over by the bullpen.
Most of the Astros pitchers seemed really lazy when it came to shagging, so I was hopeful that I could glove trick a few balls today, but a coach named Suba marched all over the field collecting the balls, as if it was his sole and only purpose with the team.
The first Astros group was weak, but the next group featured Hunter Pence and Carlos Lee along with Jason Michaels, probably the Astros three best BP hitters in that order.
After a couple rounds of going opposite field, Hunter Pence started letting loose and hitting some home runs.
In the span of a minute, I caught three balls cleanly, all on the fly, here:
Ball #3 was hit by Pence. It was basically right at me. I stood up on the bleacher as I made the catch, just out of habit. Moments later he hit another home run that was slightly to my left. I tracked the ball and caught it reaching forward and made the basket catch as several fans turned away, blinded by the sun.
Jason Michaels hopped in the cage and promptly hit a home run which I caught on the fly. Since there was so much action in such a short amount of time, people started noticing me and asking me questions such as how many that was for me, etc. No one gave me a hard time though.
Moments later I snagged another ground rule double, and then finished things off with a clean catch of yet another home run.
I gave away one of my extra decoy balls to a young boy whose father was asking me for ballhawking tips for his son.
I watched the game from the Club Seats.
I picked a great spot for a foul ball. The only thing in front of me was a camera well,
and a wide open row to my right.
But as luck would have it not a single ball would be hit within three sections either way of me.
Game: 8 balls (6 hit, 1 device, 1 found)
Season: 280 balls (121 hit, 56 thrown, 64 device, 30 found)
Games: 48 games
Average: 5.83 balls per game
Career: 1,402 balls
Today was the fourth straight sell out game at PNC Park, the first such string of games in the ten year history of the ballpark. Also, the Pirates decided not to take batting practice today, which left just the Astros.
My first ball of the day was a clean catch on the fly in left field. I don’t know who hit it, but Amy got a pic of me labeling it after the fact:
There was a bunch of waiting around,
because the Astros as you may know suck. They are the worst team in baseball. Apart from Carlos Lee and Hunter Pence, there’s not much to look forward to in an Astros BP.
My second ball was a scrum ball that I corralled under a bleacher. Here I am after grabbing it:
The ball had a distinctive marking. Do you know who hit it?
Read backwards. Jason Michaels. There is a clear MICHAE and beneath that a PRO (from Pro Model on the bat). This is an ultra rare marking, and I only at least one other one where the player who hit it has his name visible on the ball from the bat.
We returned downtown later on in the day to watch the fireworks on the North Shore.
Here are today’s baseballs:
Game: 2 balls (2 hit)
Season: 272 balls (115 hit, 56 thrown, 63 device, 29 found)
Games: 47 games
Average: 5.78 balls per game
Career: 1,394 balls
This could’ve been the greatest game I’ve ever attended. CC Sabathia had a no-hitter until the 5th inning when Andy LaRoche hit a 40 foot roller in front of the mound. Sabathia tried to pick the ball up, but dropped it. LaRoche was half way down the line when CC dropped it, and ended up reaching. The home-town official scorer immediately ruled the play a hit. It should’ve been an error. That ended up being the only hit the Pirates got.
“He accomplished a no-hitter and wasn’t given what he deserved. That
should have been a no-hitter,” Manager Ned Yost said. “That’s a stinking no-hitter
we all got cheated from. I feel horrible for CC.”
I agree with Yost. I’ve never seen a no-hitter in person, and I also felt cheated.
Anyway, I got to the stadium at 11, and had to wait around for them to open the gates to go to left field. Usually there is an employee by the bullpen to scan tickets for early access to batting practice for season ticket holders, however, on this Sunday there wasn’t. While waiting for the gate to open I watched Tom Gorzelanny throw his side session and watched as the batting practice screens were wheeled out.
The Pirates would take batting practice. I got a ball #1 from Jason Michaels before the Pirates began hitting.
The first group in batting practice didn’t yield any home runs balls in left field. Luckily, I was able to get a second ball. Ball #2 was a home run hit by Jason Michaels to the aisle between Sections 134 and 135. I had to jump to catch this ball in the air. I misjudged it and actually caught it several feet behind my head as I jumped. Its hard to explain, but it was a nice catch.
That was pretty much it for the day. I wasn’t able to get anything from the home plate umpire after the game.
A look at today’s balls:
Game: 2 balls
Season: 112 balls
Career: 150 balls
Attendance: 21,293 (55.5% full)