I’ve been posting everyday (38 consecutive so far) leading up to opening day, and giving stuff away to thank my readers.
I post blog entries every day. All you have to do is leave a comment or retweet my blog link on twitter.
So, again, to enter:
1) Leave a comment.
You can enter up to seven times per week simply by leaving a comment. Non-pertinent, spam, or inappropriate comments will not be accepted. If you comment multiple times on the same blog entry, it still counts as one entry. For example, if you commented on three different blog posts from this week, you’d have three entries. If you’d comment three times on the same blog posting, it would could as one.
2) Retweet (RT) my posts on Twitter
You can find me on twitter under 333greystreet. Simply retweet my daily posts of my blog link and I’ll count that as an entry. My blog is connected to my twitter so that I automatically tweet once I post a new entry. Each day, I’ll search who’s retweeted me and enter those users into a hat along with the commenters. By the way, you do not need to retweet my every tweet, only the tweets that announce a new blog post and url. For example, if I tweeted, ‘Rerun of the Pirates Opening Day 2011 on tonight,’ if you retweeted it, it wouldn’t count as an entry.
At the end of the week on Sunday, I’ll have Olivia, Amy or myself choose a name from a hat and announce the winner.
I haven’t yet done a preview of the NL West, but I think the Dodgers will probably battle it out for third place. They were in turmoil last year, as owner Frank McCourt’s divorce drove them to the brink of bankruptcy. Last time I heard, the Dodgers were going to be put up for sale. New owners could help put the franchise back on track.
The Dodgers were frustrating for me last year when they came to PNC Park. They refused to toss a single ball into the stands, likely as a result of their financial problems. I reckoned that players might have been prohibited by coaches. Nonetheless, I still have one really decent game against the Dodgers, snagging 11 balls.
The Dodgers are led by Matt Kemp, who didn’t let Hollywood or his superstar girlfriend Rihanna slow him down in 2011.
He was many fans’ choice for MVP, and finished second to Ryan Braun as he hit .324 while leading the league with 39 homers and 126 RBI. Oh yeah, he also stole 40 bases. Had the Dodgers even been somewhat in contention, I believe he would’ve been the MVP.
It can be argued that the Dodgers have the best position player and pitcher in the National League. Clayton Kershaw led the league in wins with a record of 21-5, in ERA with 2.28, and strikeouts with 248. He won the Cy Young for his amazing season.
The 2011 Dodgers won 82 games. They need some more offensive punch besides Kemp to win in 2012. Their starting 2B, 3B, SS, and LF combined for 6 home runs last year.
How do you think the Dodgers will do in 2012? Leave a comment and throw your hat into the ring for the shirt.
There’s only 38 days until opening day, and 5 days until the first broadcasted game on MLB TV (Yankees vs Phillies). Also, the first listed Spring Training game on the MLB schedule is Wednesday 2/29 when the Phillies take on the Seminoles. Baseball is here my friends.
Rain was forecasted for today, so the Pirates were hitting early. Amy was working the game and was there with me on the Riverwalk. She had bought me two steak sandwiches.
It was still early, so I figured the big lefties weren’t up yet, so Amy and I were just talking with a ball landed literally two feet to my left and rolled into the river. I was upset that I wasn’t paying attention like I should’ve been.
The ball floated awhile and sank.
I caught my first ball of the day here, as it took one bounce in the stadium and right into my glove.
I misplayed another ball that rolled into the river, I just over ran it, because a big pack of pedestrians were walking toward the spot where it bounced out, and I was overly aggressive.
Amy then found a ball. Since she is an employee and was working this game, I counted it. It must’ve bounced out and hit the trees to my right, because it was just sitting in the grass. She found it when she went to go into the stadium to begin her work.
My third ball was another one that bounced out of the stadium. I played it just right and I caught it on the fly as it took one hop off the riverwalk and right into my glove.
Finally, I misplayed another ball. Another one bounced out, but I ran too far in on it. I was standing on the razor grass, so I didn’t want to jump and break my ankle, so I tried to reach up for it, but it was a few feet over my glove. Nick Pelescak had the play backed up, but it got past him too. Some random passerby picked the ball up as it slowly rolled toward the river. Had he not been there either Nick or I probably could’ve reached the ball, as it seemed to not have much momentum if some random guy was able to get it.
It started raining then, as usual, right at 4:35. This wiped out batting practice.
I still went in, and managed to find ball #4 in the fourth row,
and ball #5 in the front row.
I found them probably five minutes after the gates had opened. Zac Weiss was the first one in and had already covered this section, but must’ve just missed them in his haste.
I looked for more when the rest of the stadium opened at 5:30, but there was nothing else to be found, so I went home.
The game ended up being rained out, which is great, because it means it’ll be made up, which will give us an extra batting practice.
Game: 5 balls (2 hit, 1 thrown, 2 found)
Season: 118 balls (45 hit, 31 thrown, 24 device, 17 found)
Games: 19 games
Average: 6.21 balls per game
Career: 1,240 balls
Attendance: 1 (rain out)
My day got off to a great start before the gates even opened. I spent 4:15-4:50 on the Riverwalk outside of the stadium. I did the same thing yesterday, but not even one ball came out.
Today, that would be different. I misplayed one ball that rather than knocking down with my body, I let hit the concrete to play it on a bounce. The ball took a gigantic hop and went right into the river.
The second ball I had a chance on, I made sure to knock the ball down with my body. It was another home run that ripped through a tree, hit me, and settled in the grass, where I smothered it. It was my first ball of the day. It all happened here.
A few minutes later, I cleanly snagged another home run ball on the fly as it one-bounced out of the stadium here:
When the gates opened, Ross Ohlendorf tossed me ball #3. Ross is probably the best BP shagger in the National League. He really hustles after everything.
My fourth and final ball of the Pirates BP was hit into the upper bleachers. I raced up and claimed it about six rows back.
When the Dodgers came out to hit, I was able to glove trick ball #5 here:
Then snagged a ground rule double here,
and was tipped off by the guy in the picture below about another glove trick opportunity, which I reeled in for ball #7.
I went over to right field at 5:30 to look for balls, but there were none. I looked down at section 139, and there was a ball literally at another ballhawk’s feet that he didn’t see. From the front row of the right field wall, it was unmistakeably white and round – an easter egg. I ran down and picked it up for ball #8. It was laying in a little bit of water here:
but it wasn’t completely soaked.
I stayed in center field as Andre Ethier was hitting. I was robbed twice, but managed to get my glove on one of his home runs that I momentarily dropped, but recovered to pick it up here:
I had to reach down and try and make a basket catch, and it hit the bulge of string that I keep in my glove and popped out. Luckily, no one else was in the area though to grab the misplayed ball.
I only needed one more ball for double digits. I still had twenty minutes of batting practice to get it, and Jay Gibbons, the Dodgers best BP hitter was up. I moved up to the steep Clemente wall, where Gibbons had routinely peppered hoome runs the past two days. He hit a home run to my right so I took off to make the catch. However, the right field wall has cupholders that are low to the ground.
I stumbled on one and went straight down, tumbling down into the row below.
I tried to use the seat below to break my fall, but my left arm basically went right through the folded up chair. I bashed the side of my lower left leg, hit the outer portion of my left bicep, and left thigh on the seats and arm rests. It hurt bad, but I popped right up as the ball was about ten feet away in the row I’d fallen into. However, some random guy hastily climbed over three rows and snatched it from me at the last second.
Minutes later the same damn thing happened again. Gibbons hit a home run, I tripped on a cupholder, and this time sort of rolled down into the second row. The ball actually tipped off my glove as I was falling. Again, a random gloveless fan picked it up.
Double digits just wasn’t to be.
I got shut out for the rest of batting practice. I decided that I needed to get 10, so rather than leaving after BP like I had originally planned. I stayed. I decided to get 10 out of the way before the game started, so I went to this building on top of the scoreboard area to claim an easter egg that had to have been thrown there by a player, because its too far to have been hit:
Well, the area was off limits, so I quickly went in, expecting to see a ladder or something on the other side. Instead, I saw this:
Bathrooms. Apparently there’s no possible way to get on top of that roof.
I waited around until the game started and was able to get Garrett Jones to toss me ball #10 after he warmed up before the second inning began.
I added ball #11 before the sixth began with Andrew McCutchen’s outfield warm up ball:
That was all for today. Double digits! A great day.
Here are today’s baseballs:
Game: 11 balls (5 hit, 3 thrown, 2 device, 1 found)
Season: 113 balls (43 hit, 30 thrown, 24 device, 15 found)
Games: 18 games
Average: 6.28 balls per game
Career: 1,235 balls
Let’s get right to it.
My first two balls of the day were off the bat of Chris Snyder. The first was a home run that landed in section 133 near the foul pole.
There was no one there, so I simply had to run over and pick it up.
Snyder hit another ball that bounced over the fence. Several fans reacted to slow and deflected the ball right to me here:
At 5:30, I ran into the center field seats and found ball #1 laying in the front row, it was in the middle section here:
He didn’t hit nearly as many home runs as yesterday, but he did hit one home run that I chased down as it hit a seat a section away from me, and a few rows back:
That was it for batting practice. It was really lame. The Dodgers again, are the worst batting practice team I’ve seen all year.
During the game, I snagged Andrew McCutchen’s warm up ball before the first inning began. I stood in the third row, in the exact spot where the threw it yesterday, and he delivered a perfect strike to me. It was my fifth ball of the day.
That was it for my snagging. I was really tired, so I sat for much of the game. The Pirates ended up losing, knocking them back to .500 on the season at 18-18.
Game: 5 balls (3 hit, 1 thrown, 1 found)
Season: 102 balls (38 hit, 27 thrown, 22 device, 14 found)
Games: 17 games
Average: 6.00 balls per game
Career: 1,224 balls
Today got off to a great start.
I got to the stadium around 4:25 PM or so and went down to the Riverwalk. Look what was waiting for me.
While there, a ball bounced out that the youngest of us grabbed, and another one bounced out that I completely misplayed. I notice a high fly ball that looked like it had a chance. I ran up to the wall, because it looked like it might just barely clear the wall. It did, after bouncing at least twice in the stadium. When the ball reappeared into my field of sight, I was to far to the left, and totally misplayed it. I tried to dive for it, but missed the ball, and one of the ‘new’ ballhawks grabbed it.
The rest of the time we spent staring at the sky, but nothing else came out.
When the gates opened, I ran in and found ball #2 laying on the cross aisle by the handicapped seats in left field. A food service employee actually pointed it out to me. He saw me sprinting, assumed I was looking for baseballs, and said, “There’s one right there.”
My third ball was hit by Steve Pearce. It was a ball that landed in section 133 and it rolled down the stairs under the bleachers and I just waited for it and picked it up.
Game: 6 balls (2 hit, 1 thrown, 1 device, 2 found)
Season: 97 balls (35 hit, 26 thrown, 22 device, 13 found)
Games: 16 games
Average: 6.06 balls per game
Career: 1,219 balls
I was expecting a low output today. I wasn’t able to get to the park until almost 5, and I also had to leave during batting practice to take care of a prior commitment.
When I arrived, my friend Jim saved me a couple minutes by allowing me to join him and Nick at the front of the line.
As I was showing my season ticket ID to get into batting practice early, I noticed a ball bounce into section 138, the section closest to the bullpen. I ran in and located it, putting me on the board quickly.
Seconds later, the Pirates ran off the field, ending batting practice. They literally ended BP as we were entering the bleachers. Unacceptable.
The Dodgers weren’t ready to start yet, so we had to wait for them to throw and stretch their arms out. After about ten minutes of wasted time, the Dodgers started to hit.
I would get my second and third balls with my glove trick. Fellow ballhawk Jim gets an assist on both balls for pointing them out to me, as they were near the bullpen entrance, and I was stationed about three sections away.
Here’s the area of detail, snapped after the snags:
I would go on to snag my fourth and final ball of the day off the bat of Russell Martin. He hit a home run off of a bleacher in section 138 that rolled down a few rows to me.
I was hoping that Manny Ramirez would put some balls into the seats, but he didn’t. He hit one home run ball, snagged by fellow Ballhawk League member Nick Pelescak.
I had set up a video camera hoping to capture a few home run catches during the Dodgers second round, which included Manny and Matt Kemp.
Game: 4 balls (2 hit, 2 device)
Season: 9 balls (5 hit, 0 thrown, 4 device)
Games: 2 game
Average: 4.50 balls per game
Career: 587 balls
Streak: 98 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Spent@Game: $7.50 ($5 Ticket, $2 Transportation, $0.50 Parking)
Spent in 2010: $21.50 ($10 Tickets, $4 Transportation, $2.50 Parking, $5 Food)
Today would be my final game of the season at PNC Park.
After missing yesterday’s (Saturday’s) game due to rain, I decided that I had to make it to the park one last time, even though it was raining when I left my house.
When I arrived at the park, there was basically no one there at all. Many people stayed away early, which turned out to be a good thing.
Around 11:15, pitchers began to meander out of the Pirates dugout and head toward the bullpen to sit and await to rain to ease up.
I stood by the fence above the bullpen and hoped someone would begin to throw.
Eventually, Charlie Morton (hidden by the bullpen roof) started to throw with Luis Dorante, the Pirates bullpen coach. I watched them finish up at 11:29, one minute before the gate would open to allow me to get close enough to ask for a ball.
There were two pairs of Dodgers playing catch.
I noticed that Ramon Tronsoco didn’t have a partner. I held up my glove and asked him if he wanted to throw a little bit. He nodded and tossed me a ball. Wow. I was finally going to play catch with a major leaguer. In uniform.
We began to throw, and after about ten tosses, I handed my p
hone off to a random guy behind me to take some photos. He had been asking me questions like, “Do you play for the Pirates? Are you friends with him? How do you know him?”
He got the following photos of me:
When I got home, I checked out Youtube for #1 Joe Beimel fan TroyfromWV, sure enough, he had uploaded a partial video of me and Ramon throwing together. Click here–> VIDEO PROOF!
After we threw for awhile, Troncoso’s throwing partner finally emerged from the dugout, and Troncoso tossed me the ball and indicated that he was done. I had ball #5. What a way to get it! I thanked Troncoso, and gave one of my decoy balls to the daughter of the guy that snapped some pictures of me.
When the game began, center field was too crowded to have a great chance at toss up balls.
Plus, the usher told me I had to stay out because I didn’t have a ticket. He was nice about it, and told me there was a big issue on Saturday Night where someone was injured in a fight for a toss up ball. He said the man was going to sue the Pirates, and that outfield between inning toss ups would be discontinued after this year. I was hoping he wasn’t serious, but he seemed to be.
In the second inning, I went up on the right field wall, and got Garrett Jones to pick me out and throw me ball #6 – oh wait, he grossly underthrew me, and the ball hit some guy that was sitting down. The ball caromed off of him, and rolled behind his wife’s backside and sat on her seat. It took them about 10 seconds to find it – and I could’ve easily grabbed it, but it would’ve been too awkward. I watched them oodle over the ball they had just snagged by accident, much to my frustration.
I decided to quit ballhawking and went up to sit in my season ticket seats one last time. I hadn’t sat there much at all this year, but I felt like I needed to say goodbye.
Even though the seats are cheap, and offer no chance at getting a ball – I always liked to just sit and watch a game there. In my seats you’ve got a great view, and they are in the front row of the section.
In the 7th inning, I sat behind home plate,
in hopes of snagging some promotional items from Pirates announcer Steve Blass in the “7th inning throw down.” Blass threw out a bunch of left over giveaway hats, grocery bags, Pirate dolls, candy, etc.
I got my finger tip on a Pirates Alternate hat, but it was just out of my reach and floated down to a lady two rows below me. I didn’t come away empty handed – I caught a piece of Double Bubble bubble gum. Yay.
For the 8th inning, I snuck down and sat behind the Pirates dugout. The Pirates ended up scoring four runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to acheive a walk off win.
I was expecting the players to toss their hats and a few baseballs into the crowd as a thank you to the fans – they’ve done it the past three years on Fan Appreciation Day.
It didn’t happen. The players disappeared into the dugout, gave their jerseys to those fans whose seats had been chosen, and
disappeared for good. Nothing was thrown into the crowd. Very disappointing.
I stayed around until almost everyone was gone, and took one last look at PNC Park.
Was this my last game of 2009? Maybe…
Game: 5 balls (5 thrown)
Season: 405 balls (211 hit, 124 thrown, 70 device)
Games: 80 games (10 of which didn’t have BP)
Average: 5.06 balls per game
Career: 571 balls
Streak: 95 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.