It rained for most of the morning in Pittsburgh, in fact, it was still raining when I arrived at the ballpark at 11 AM. This could mean only one thing: no batting practice. I was faced with possibly being shut out for the first time since August 2008.
When the stadium opened the gates to the seating areas at 11:30, I went over to the left field foul line. The rain had subsided. Several bullpen pitchers from the Pirates were warming up. I placed myself behind John Grabow and Ross Ohlendorf and waited for an overthrow.
Directly to me. I didn’t even have to move.
Its not like he randomly tossed the ball up and I got into a scrum and stole the ball away from ticketed patrons. He usually picks out people. I caught the ball, waved thanks, turned and left the section. I could hear some snooty lady and her rotund husband getting on the usher. “He doesn’t have a ticket. He shouldn’t be allowed to do that. Don’t let him back in here. Check his ticket.” Blah blah blah.
I went over to left field for the fourth inning to try and get a warm up ball from Nyjer. I avoided the right field seats thanks to the afore mentioned rudest-usher-in-PNC-Park.
Left Field has a lot more sections and people, so I had very little chance. The ball went to a group of people near the foul pole.
Inning 5. I went back to center field. I stood at the far edge of Section 140, away from the snotty lady. I looked over and they were both staring directly at me. I stared right back at them. I should’ve walked over and offered their spoiled kid a ball. “Excuse me, would you like a ball? ….. Then bring a glove!” and walk away. That’s what I felt like doing, I was in such a bad mood.
I didn’t get the 5th inning ball because it was tossed to the second row. Predictably, the ball fell back onto the field. The same thing happened in the seventh inning. That’s why Nate prefers to throw the ball deep.
Anyway, the miserable family got on the usher again after the fifth inning because 3 of us ballhawks entered the section. The usher came over and told me that I wasn’t allowed to try for warm up balls anymore. He said come back and try tomorrow when there’s different people around. He told Nick and Bryan the same thing. If you’re wondering, here’s what those “folks” looked like:
(To be civil, I am editing this paragraph from what I originally wrote. I’ve taken out most of the colorful adjectives I originally had written.) Its the guy eating, his son, and the lady in the orange.
I could’ve tried in the seventh and ninth, but out of respect for the ushers, I went and sat behind the Reds dugout to see if I could get some foul balls. There are nice ushers at PNC Park, the ones in center field were just doing their job because the supervisor somehow got involved.
I didn’t get any foul balls, and I got shut out at the Reds dugout, so my day ended on a sour note.
To make it worse, the Pirates looked awful again, getting shut out. They haven’t hit a home run now in a week.
Adam LaRoche’s body language tells the whole story:
A few shots from the game:
Johnny Cueto deals to Nyjer Morgan:
Evan Meek (a big Dave Matthews Band fan):
Jesse Chavez (tossed me my first ball of the day:
And the sweet spots:
Game: 3 balls (3 thrown)
Season: 67 balls (26 hit, 34 thrown, 7 device)
Games: 14 games (11 with BP, 3 without)
Average: 4.79 balls per game
Career: 233 balls
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)