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
Unfortunately, I missed the entire 3 game series at PNC Park vs the Cubs earlier this week. Monday it rained, so I stayed home. Tuesday, I had to coach, and wouldn’t have been able to get to the game until 7. Wednesday’s game was an afternoon game, and I had to work.
Not wanting to get completely shut out in Week 23, I made the two hour drive to Cleveland today.
I got there early enough so that I would be first in line.
It would be twenty minutes before anyone else showed up. While waiting, I ran into a ballhawk named Dennis from New York. He was on a 10 ballpark tour, and was familiar with other ballhawks such as Zack Hample, District Boy, and Greg Barasch. We talked up until the gates opened.
When the gates did open, I ran in to search for Easter Eggs. Usually there are a bunch, but the Indians didn’t hit early, so there was nothing. After an exhaustive search, I did find ball #1 several rows back in the section closest to the Indians bullpen.
I then turned my attention the Indians batting practice.
Eventually, the bullpen coaches and a cop got the squirrel to go into the Indians bullpen, and slammed the door shut. What is it with Cleveland and animal problems (remember those seagulls that cost the Royals a game a couple months ago
I didn’t stay for the game, and left, satisfied with my six snags on the day.
Game: 6 balls (5 hit, 1 thrown)
Season: 350 balls (187 hit, 102 thrown, 62 device)
Games: 72 games (7 of which didn’t have BP)
Average: 4.86 balls per game
Career: 516 balls
Streak: 87 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Today was a Saturday, which meant an extra 30 minutes of batting practice, since the gates open at 4:30 rather than 5:00.
When I got in, I immediately went into foul territory to look for Easter Eggs. I scoured every row, but found nothing. I then wasted 14 minutes of batting practice by staying in the left field foul area. I was hoping Nyjer Morgan or another lefty would slice one down the line, but it didn’t happen. I watched about six balls land in the left field bleachers during this time. I then made my way back to my normal spot in left field.
After a short lull, I got 3 balls in maybe a minute. The first ball went off of a ballhawk’s glove. He must’ve lost it in the sun. Either way, I reached down and picked up the ball for ball #1 of the day. Notice the hole in it.
Seconds later, a home run was hit at another ballhawk. He tried to snag it in his hat, but slightly missed it. The ball rattled around under the bleacher. He didn’t see it, but I did. I ran over and picked up ball #2 of the day.
Moments later, a home run was hit to my right. Myself, along with three other ballhawks closed in on it, and I was able to grab ball #3 off of the concrete barehanded in the knick of time.
I hit a dry patch. Near the end of batting practice, Stephen Jackson threw a ball to fellow ballhawk Nick. For whatever reason, Jeff Karstens turned and looked right at me and said, “There’s one over there,” and pointed in foul territory.
Game: 6 balls (5 hit, 1 thrown)
Season: 216 balls (112 hit, 74 thrown, 30 device)
Games: 43 games (5 of which didn’t have BP)
Average: 5.02 balls per game
Career: 382 balls
Ten games in ten days is quite a stretch. I’m not sure if I’ll make it to all of them, but we’ll see. It definitely makes keeping up with blogging a bit difficult. That’s why today’s entry is being completed at the ballpark on my IPhone.
The day started off with dark clouds, thunder, and lightning at the ballpark. Fortunately, it passed without raining. There would be BP.
I got shut out until around 5:20, when a Royals batter hit a ball that rolled onto the warning track in left field. I flung my glove out twice, knocked the ball closer, and reeled in ball #1 of the day. There were some skeptics watching me go for it, wandering how the ball was going to stay in the glove. So, when I pulled it off the track there was some faint applause heard.
I got ball #2 from a Royals righty who bounced it off of the warning track in left field. It took one bounce and landed in my glove two rows back.
The second Royals group was 3 lefties and 2 righties. I decided to go to the left field foul corner. Bad decision. I got nothing there. I went back to left.
The final Royals group was ALL lefties. I waited around in left for awhile, hoping to get a ball tossed up, but had no luck. Juan Cruz was especially rude. I soon noticed a ball in center field. No Royals were in any hurry to snag the ball.
I made my way over and used the glove trick to pull up ball #3 on the day. There was another ball there that was a bit farther out, but I let it go.
Batting practice ended soon after. I went to the upper deck, ending my ballhawking for the day.
At least it’s 6:32 pm and I’m already done with today’s entry!
Game: 3 balls (1 hit, 2 device)
Season: 210 balls
Games: 42 (5 of which didn’t have BP)
Average: 5.00 balls per game
Career: 376 balls
I decided to go to this game despite a gloomy forecast of rain throughout the afternoon and into the evening.
I had changed my mind several times about going. I had ultimately decided not to go, until the rain forecast changed from 60% chance to 50% chance at around 1PM.
Passing into Ohio, it was just overcast. Still no rain.
Game: 6 Balls (1 hit, 3 thrown, 2 device)
Season: 157 Balls (68 hit, 65 thrown, 24 device)
Games: 31 games (4 of which didn’t have BP)
Average: 5.06 Balls per Game
Career: 323 Balls
This was my first ever trip to Progressive Field in Cleveland OH.
I went with a fellow ballhawk, Amac, who was also making his first
appearance at Progressive. We left around 12:40 and arrived at the
field just before 4. On the way to the park, we stopped at a WalMart
which was a half hour outside of Cleveland to buy some Cleveland gear.
I purchased a Grady Sizemore Indians shirt, along with an Indians hat
and 5 other hats (they were only $3 each). Amac picked up a July 4th Indians shirt, an Indians hat and a small glove so that he could attempt the glove trick.
finding a place to park in Cleveland, which wasn’t that difficult, we
walked around the stadium to find the will call window. (View from outside the gates looking in)
there were 2 windows open, so we were able to pick up our tickets
before the gates opened. The guy at the window got my hopes up by
saying “I see you have some dugout seats here, nice!” He was lying. Our
seats were in Sec 518 Row D. I bought them off of ebay for $9.99 for
the pair. We never even sat in them though, we just needed to get into
The gates at Progressive Field open at 4:30 on
Monday-Friday, giving fans access to the Right Field seats and Heritage
Park. While we were in line, we scoped out our competition. There were
two old ladies, a “family” of four with two little kids, an
octogenarian with his grandson, and some guy from Kansas City. There
was no competition like at PNC Park. At 4:25, the gates were opened,
and we rushed in.
got my first ball immediately from Shin Shoo Choo in Right Field. I
called out to him, “Could you throw me a ball please?” He happily
obliged. Choo continued to throw balls to about 5 or 6 more fans before
going in to take his round of BP. He was a nice guy. I got my second
ball from a Anthony Reyes a couple minutes
later. I had called out to him several times, but he acted like he didn’t hear me. I waited for a ball to roll up to the wall and politely asked
him for it.
The right field and center field seats at
Progressive Field are about 4 feet back from the wall. In between the
wall, there are black boards and a small railing, so doing the glove
trick was impossible. The 80 year old guy that was there with his
grandson told me to get my stuff off the board between the railing and
the wall because the Indians didn’t like fans putting their things on
there. I took it off, but was a bit miffed. Who was this guy to tell me
this, and why didn’t he bother the other people that had their bags on
it? Two minutes later, a long fly ball came towards me and the old man.
It bounced on the warning track and was just about to land in his glove
when I snatched it out of the air before he could get it. I figured it
was fair game. The old man snapped, “You dirty rascal.” It was ball #3.
the Royals came out and took batting practice. I changed into my Royals
shirt and hat. I managed to get ball #4 from Joaquin Soria as he was
walking back from doing his sprint. I had a tough time identifying any of the Royals pitchers except for Soria and Kip Wells because they all had wind breakers on. So, make sure you print out a photo roster, especially of the pitchers.
It went cold after that, as I
didn’t get another ball until the end of BP. It came from Royals lefty Josh Newman. I was on the phone, and noticed a ball roll
to the wall. I walked down to the front row with my glove up. He
scanned the crowd, saw my Royals gear, and tossed me ball #5.
practice ended soon afterward, so we walked around the stadium for
awhile. I really liked the stadium, its concourses weren’t crowded, and
there were many great places to eat. We settled on Market Place (I
think it was called that). And got a combo meal for $8.75. For $8.75,
we got a hamburger, fries, and a small drink. It was a great deal
compared to PNC Park.
We also walked over to Heritage park
during this time. Heritage park contains many monuments commemorating
the history and players of the Cleveland Indians. We walked down the
stairs and went to the area closest to center field. In center field,
there are some tall trees (hemlocks?) in a 5 foot space. Behind the
trees is a black wall, serving as the batters eye. I
could see underneath this wall to see the base of the hemlocks. There
was a ball lying there. There was only about a 5 inch space from the
concrete to where this wall started, just big enough to slide an arm
in. I pointed the ball out to Amac, figuring I should give him the
first try, since I had gotten 5 balls and he had only gotten 2. He
tried to reach it, but couldn’t. I gave it a shot since I had longer
arms, and still couldn’t reach it, even with my first baseman’s mitt on
my hand. Then, Amac used the glove that he purchased at Wal-Mart
earlier in the day. He used some string that I gave him to do a
variation of the glove trick. The tossed the glove in and nudged the
ball closer, getting it fairly easily. Two older folks who were
onlooking were very impressed and said, “You should get some kind of
prize for figuring out how to get that!”
There was one other
ball in this section, but it was directly behind the trunk of one of
the hemlocks and it was impossible to get. Amac tried for 10 minutes
but was unsuccessful.
The game was starting soon, so we took a
spot in the left field Toyota Home Run Porch and hung over the rail and
watched the first three innings or so. We
were astonished that the Indians do not throw their warm up balls into
the crowd. They give them back to the bullpen catcher. We were hoping
to get a home run ball, but there was no such luck.
top of the 5th, we walked along the main concourse, looking for a
distracted usher so we could sneak down. We spotted a female usher who
was playing with a patron’s baby. She was totally distracted, so we
just walked right past her and took a seat in an empty row about 12
rows back of first base. We
stayed in those seats the rest of the game, hoping to get a foul ball.
There were about three that came our way, but none in our section.
game got very interesting in the 8th. The Indians scored 5 runs to take
an 8-5 lead and held on to win. After the game, they announced they
were throwing victory balls into the stands. We raced over behind the
dugout, but they were stupid soft toy baseballs. We waited until many
people left, and then walked through a few rows of the stadium looking
for season tickets. We found 8 Season Tickets that folks had left
behind and a few issues of batter up magazine.
Game: 5 balls
Season: 99 balls
Career: 137 balls
Attendance: 23,920 (55.1% full)