Tagged: Lastings Milledge

7-21-10 PNC Park

The weather looked a bit questionable earlier in the day, with the hourly forecast calling for a 60% chance of thunderstorms at 5 and 6PM.  Luckily, it didn’t happen, and batting practice was on.

After getting shut out during the first Pirates’ group, I got a Ronny Cedeno HR ball that sailed over my head and bounced into the general admission bleachers.
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I eventually found the ball after a short search in about the fifth row up.

My second ball was a home run snagged off the bat of Lastings Milledge.  It was a line drive right at me that I caught in the air.

In his next round in the cage, Milledge sent another shot to left field which I also caught on the fly here:
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STATISTICS:
Game:  8 balls (7 hit, 1 found)
Season:  312 balls (167 hit, 70 thrown, 31 device, 44 found)
Games: 48 games
Average:  6.50 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career:  890 balls
Streak:  144 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 13,532

7-20-10 PNC Park

Today got off to a really slow start.  I didn’t snag my first ball until near the end of Pirates batting practice.

Lastings Milledge hit a home run that ended up in the upper bleachers.  As I ran up to get it, another ball narrowly missed hitting me on my way up the stairs.  I continued up the stairs to snag ball #1.
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At the end of Pirates BP, Ross Ohlendorf tossed me ball #2.

That was all I got from the Pirates in the first 30 minutes.  A bit frustrating. 

Not long after the Brewers started hitting, Rickie Weeks hit a home run ball that was directly in the sun.  I tracked the ball most of the way, but lost it at the last second.  Luckily, the ball landed right next to me in the front row.  Another ballhawk inexplicably threw his glove at the ball, which missed and ended up on the field, so I was able to dodge the glove and snag ball #3.    It had the number ‘8’ written on it.

I used the glove trick to snag ball #4 near the bullpen.

A ball had settled up against the wall and made for an easy snag.  All I had to do was make sure Marcus Hanel, who despises the glove trick, wasn’t watching.
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I left after the third inning as I still needed to get to the gym and it was already almost 8:30pm.

Here are today’s baseballs:
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Sweet spots:
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STATISTICS:
Game:  9 balls (4 hit, 2 device, 3 thrown)
Season:  304 balls (160 hit, 70 thrown, 31 device, 43 found)
Games: 47 games
Average:  6.47 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career:  882 balls
Streak:  143 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 13,202

7-19-10 PNC Park

The Brewers were in town, which is a good thing.  The Brewers and Reds are my two favorite BP teams, as they put a good deal of balls into the seats.

Also in town was Milwaukee’s top ballhawk, The Happy Youngster.  If you’re not familiar with him, you can read his blog here.  Happy came in third place in the ballhawk league last year with 372 balls.

I had to exchange some tickets for games that I wasn’t going to attend, so I left early for the stadium – I ended up being first in line.

It paid off, because when I ran in, I found two balls laying near the base of the foul pole (picture taken a bit later):
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The balls were no less than about a foot from each other.

The first group for the Pirates produced nothing.  They were all lefties except for Andy LaRoche – who rarely if ever hits home runs anymore in BP.

When the Pirates final group came up containing the likes of Jose Tabata, Lastings Milledge, Ronny Cedeno and Neil Walker – I was ready.

I got ball #3 of the day from Cedeno.  It was a high fly ball that landed on the warning track and bounced over the wall.  I was three rows deep and got up on the bleacher. 
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Sweet spots:
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STATISTICS:
Game:  8 balls (5 hit, 1 device, 2 found)
Season:  295 balls (156 hit, 67 thrown, 29 device, 43 found)
Games: 46 games
Average:  6.41 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career:  873 balls
Streak:  142 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 12,375

7-1-10 PNC Park

The Phillies were in town today for game 1 of a four game series.  Unfortunately for me, their fans travel well, and many arrived early for batting practice.

To make matters worse, the security ticket scanner, who only permits season ticket holders into the left field bleachers wasn’t at his post.  In fact, he didn’t show up until 5:11, allowing a steady stream of Phillies fans and non season ticket holders to stroll on in and crowd up the bleachers.
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I got my first ball during the Pirates’ first group off the bat of Delwyn Young.  He hit a ball that landed in the section directly next to the foul pole.  I ran over as three other folks converged towards the back of the section where the ball had landed. 

I realized though that the ball was rolling down towards the front row, so I quickly reversed course and ran down to the front row, where I picked up ball #1.

My second ball came from the next Pirates’ group and off the bat of Lastings Milledge.

The ball bounced off the concrete and took a hop up into the rotunda.  Several folks were frantically looking around, their heads swiveling hoping to pick up the ball.  I knew exactly where it was.  It had gotten caught up on the rotunda.  I took off and ran up the lower ring of the Rotunda, and there it was:
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STATISTICS:

Game:  4 balls (3 hit, 1 found)
Season:  272 balls (146 hit, 64 thrown, 26 device, 37 found)
Games: 42 games
Average:  6.48 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career:  850 balls
Streak:  138 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 25,323

6-19-2010 PNC Park

Today would be my first Saturday with batting practice at PNC Park.  All of the other days featured rain that wiped out BP.

I ran in just behind Nick Pelescak only to be stopped at the bullpen entrance to the left field bleachers by a security working who refused to allow anyone into the bleachers, despite many of us holding our Season Ticket Holder cards.  “We have to scan your tickets,” he said nervously as we all glared at him.

In the meantime, three balls flew into the bleachers.  I had my eye on one next to the bullpen, but Nick Pelescak put a verbal claim on it, so I would instead look for another ball that hit about three rows in.  It paid off.

When the man with the scanner came and finally let us all in, I ran in and found ball #1 in the front row, ball #2 in the front row another section over, and ball #3 in the left field corner.
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What a great start!

Ball #4 was a home run hit by Ryan Doumit.  It hit in the handicapped seats behind me and popped up in the air, right to me.

Ball #5 was thrown to me by Octavio Dotel.  Here he stands and watches another ballhawk use the glove trick. 
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STATISTICS:
Game:  9 balls (3 hit, 1 thrown, 5 found)
Season:  243 balls (129 hit, 60 thrown, 22 device, 32 found)
Games: 37 games
Average:  6.57 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career:  821 balls
Streak:  133 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 38,008

6-17-10 PNC Park

Had a good day today at PNC Park.

Shortly after running into the bleachers and finding zero easter eggs, Garrett Jones hit a ground rule double down the line that landed in the section to my right.  I ran over and claimed ball #1 as it rolled down the stairs after bouncing off a bleacher.
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My second ball was a Ronny Cedeno home run catch.  He hit a towering fly ball that I ran a section and a half to my right and made the clean catch in the third row back.
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As for the game, the outfield was crowded so I didn’t get close on any of the between inning toss ups from the outfielders.

The Pirates would also go on to lose their eleventh game in a row.

Tomorrow should be an interesting day – I’ll be in the park
extra early – details to come.

Today’s baseballs: (10 are pictured because one was given away)
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Sweet spots: (10 are pictured because #804 was given away)
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STATISTICS:
Game:  11 balls (8 hit, 1 thrown, 2 device)
Season:  226 balls (122 hit, 57 thrown, 21 device, 26 found)
Games: 35 games
Average:  6.46 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career:  804 balls
Streak:  131 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 23,170

6-16-10 PNC Park : Pedro Alvarez debut

The Pirates #1 prospect finally arrived in the major leagues.  He didn’t hit too many home runs in batting practice, but did hit one that cleared everything and sailed over section 139 in dead center on its way to the river.

As for my day, it got off to a good start.

I found ball #1 laying in the front row in left field when I ran in.

A few minutes later I got ball #2 from assistant pitching coach Ray Searage in left field. 
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He did a no look toss that fell about two rows short to me, but no one else was in the vicinity, so I had to to recover and get the ball.

My third ball of the day was a Lastings Milledge home run caught on the fly in this area:
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This made toss ups difficult, and the closest I came was probably five feet from a McCutchen toss up in the 5th inning, but it didn’t happen.

By the way, here’s video of Pedro’s first major league at bat:

Here are today’s baseballs:
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Sweet spots:
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STATISTICS:
Game:  9 balls (4 hit, 3 thrown, 2 found)
Season:  215 balls (114 hit, 56 thrown, 19 device, 26 found)
Games: 34 games
Average:  6.32 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career:  793 balls
Streak:  130 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 15,218