Sundays usually are rather uneventful. Typically, there isn’t batting practice since its a day game that follows a night game. However, today was another lucky Sunday at PNC Park – both teams would take a full batting practice.
For the first half hour, fans aren’t allowed to enter the seats. For whatever stupid reasoning, season ticket holders are allowed in from Monday-Saturday, but not Sundays. As a result, I stood behind section 141.
And got Ross Ohlendorf to toss me my first ball of the day.
Ohlendorf, a right handed pitcher, was wearing a glove on his right hand and throwing balls into the ball boy left handed. His toss to me was left handed and it just barely cleared the gate. Ross is the friendliest Pirates pitcher when it comes to toss-ups. I really hope he gets his season turned around so he can get some positive momentum going into next year.
Ross tossed up another ball that was right to me, but it hit the gate. An usher walked over and picked up the ball and pocketed it, right in front of six fans who were five feet from the ball.
At 11:30 when the stadium opened, rather than set up shop in left field, I went searching for easter eggs.
I found ball #2 in left field under a bleacher:
Ball #3 along the first base line in the handicapped seats:
And ball #4 a few feet away from my third ball.
I then realized that I was now on 1,499 career baseballs, so I made my way over to the Pirates dugout to try and get a player to toss me #1500. If you read this blog regularly, you may recall my 1,000th ball came last year in Cleveland via the glove trick.
The last Pirates group contained Matt Hague, Gorkys Hernandez, Jason Jaramillo, and Pedro Ciriaco. Once they finished their round, it marked the end of batting practice. On his way into the dugout, I called out to Pedro Ciriaco and asked if he minded tossing me a ball that was directly in his path as he approached. He obliged and flipped me a well worn filthy ball for #1,500.
Here it is:
After batting practice, Amy took this cheesy picture of me and the ball:
Anyhow, moments after I snagged that ball, the Marlins pitchers were finishing up their tosses down the right field line. I threw on my Marlins gear and headed over. It helped that I was *the* only fan there. Not even were any Pirates fans asking for balls. As a result, Clay Hensley threw me ball #6:
and Jose Ceda tossed me ball #7, even though he had seen me get one from Hensley. “You already got one,” he said. “Yes,” I replied, “it’s up to you if you want to give me another one.” Ceda stared at me awkwardly for a moment then threw me the ball.
At 12:00 I headed back to left field and caught a ground rule double off the bat of Jose Lopez here for ball #8.
By the way, there was a special 9-11 logo painted onto the field. Unless you’re under 10 years old, I’m sure we all remember where we were on September 11th 2001. I was a junior in college at Washington & Jefferson and woke up hearing some bewilderment next door. “Those are people jumping from that building!” Someone was yelling. I turned on the TV and watched it all unfold.
Game: 8 balls (1 hit, 4 thrown, 3 found)
Season: 381 balls (159 hit, 83 thrown, 87 device, 52 found)
Games: 71 games
Career: 1,503 balls
Remaining games to reach goal of 413: 5 (maybe 6 if I do an away game next weekend)
Needed to reach goal: 32 (6.4 per game)
Amy and I were up at 7AM today as we drove out to our new house with a building inspector. The purpose of the inspection was to make sure there wasn’t anything majorly wrong with our new house that we recently purchased. After living in dorms in college, a small townhouse, and a one bedroom apartment, it’s now time to get my dream house. Especially since our daughter is due in just seven and a half weeks. So, after spending just under $200k, I was hoping that there wasn’t going to be any needed fixes, since the house is newer.
We spent time standing around in the master suite while the inspector did his thing in each room and the bathrooms.
The most alarming thing that happened, for me, was the discovery of a stink bug. Here I am crushing it in the bedroom.
I hate those things.
After that, we moved downstairs to the family room, where the worst discovery was that the racks in the dishwasher could use replacing.
Lastly, after an inspection of the kitchen, it was down to the basement and the theater room.
There wasn’t really any bad news to be reported. A little bit of normal settling was found, but it shouldn’t be a major problem.
So, overall, the house inspection was a success. Amy and I went back to our apartment, took a 2.5 hour nap, then headed to PNC Park.
Upon entering, there were no balls, but after a few minutes of being shut out, I noticed a lefty slice a ball down the line. It settled by the fence in foul territory.
I ran over and was able to grab it with an extreme full body stretch.
Ball #2 was a scrum ball that another fan botched (in the black). It hit his glove, and trickled a few rows down to me.
Ball #3 was snagged via the glove trick by the foul pole in left field.
Herbie Andrade made it interesting as he fired balls at my glove as I reeled it in. I had some trouble at first because my glove is basically falling apart, with the lacing coming undone. Herbie hates me anyway since he saw me change into Diamondbacks gear earlier this homestand. He refused to toss me a ball the other day because of that very reason.
I would go the entire Mets batting practice without snagging another baseball. As they ran off the field, I glove tricked a ball near the bullpen, bringing my total on the day to six.
I stayed for the whole game, but didn’t snag anything else. It was a standing room only sellout crowd. Anyway, the Pirates won. The game ended in a timely fashion too, so hopefully there will be batting practice tomorrow.
Game: 6 balls (4 hit, 2 device)
Season: 205 balls (80 hit, 47 thrown, 53 device, 25 found)
Games: 34 games
Average: 6.03 balls per game
Career: 1,327 balls
Valentine’s Day brought the first workout for many Major League Baseball Teams. The Pirates first workout was today in Pirate City.
The Pirates have made some changes from their 2010 105-loss team. Gone are manager John Russell and under performers Zach Duke, Adam LaRoche, Lastings Milledge, and Delwyn Young. In are new faces such as Kevin Correia, Matt Diaz, Scott Olsen, Joe Beimel, and Lyle Overbay.
One interesting thing that the Pirates are featuring this year are the Spring Training Jerseys, which will also be used during batting practice.
Pedro Ciriaco gets ready to take some cuts:
Ryan Doumit runs through some catching drills:
Unfortunately, I didn’t take these pictures, they were posted by Pirates Tribune Review beat writer Rob Biertempfel.
I will be headed down to spring training in early March though – so keep an eye out for that!
In the meantime, on Sunday Feb 13th, when the Pirates were checking in at Pirate City, we were taking advantage of the 45 degree temperatures, exploring a trail along the Monongahela River.
What began as dinner by the river, ended in a hunt for a beaver dam, as we encountered at least 40 trees that beavers had chopped down and dragged away.
A look at a tree that was just too much for a beaver to take down.
We spent about an hour on this little ‘adventure,’ but failed to find any dams, despite looking all along the river.
The next day, while the Pirates were working out in Florida, I was enjoying Valentine’s Day.
I decorated a table and served breakfast:
Went to work, came home, and went on a dinner and dancing cruise on the Gateway Clipper.
A view of downtown from the Gateway Clipper as we approached from the Allegheny:
Passing PNC Park:
I also took a video of us passing PNC Park.
It was like 25 degrees with 30 mph wind, so I was quite frozen after taking that video – you’re welcome.
I’m looking forward to the 2011 season so I have some more baseball related stuff to report on.
It’s a custom made baseball case in the shape of home plate that displays 30 baseballs. Each shelf has tiny divots for the balls to be placed in.
Ballhawking wise, today was a tough day for me. It was a Saturday, which means that we have an extra half hour of BP, but it would yield very few opportunities.
The Pirates were missing Lastings Milledge, who isn’t allowed to participate in BP until his strained oblique muscle heals. The rest of the Pirates were doing an awful job of driving balls into the seats.
I got one and only one ball during the Pirates entire portion of batting practice, and it was a Pedro Ciriaco ground rule double that I chased down here:
When the Diamondbacks came out, I moved over to center field, as their first two or three groups feature primarily left handed batters.
In center field, fellow ballhawk Nick Pelescak and I were getting out ballhawked by two random teenagers, who kept getting lucky bounces or balls hit right at them. Nick told me, “These d-bags have four combined and we only have three. We need to step our game up.” A bit later, I snagged a ground rule double that took a room service hop right at Nick’s glove. One of the teens, featured here walking up the steps,
Game: 4 balls ( 1 hit, 2 thrown, 1 found )
Season: 525 balls (252 hit, 124 thrown, 72 device, 77 found)
Games: 82 games
Average: 6.40 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 5
Career: 1,103 balls
Streak: 178 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Jabs/Pelescak Combination in 2010: 926 balls
Balls needed to break single season record: 19
It was the last game of the homestand, and with only one nine game homestand remaining, I needed to have a decent day to have any chance of approaching the mygameballs.com single season record of 543 baseballs snagged in one season.
The day got off to a good start, as Sean Gallagher whistled at me to get my attention and threw me a ball.
However, the ball sailed high and over my head, and another ballhawk, known as Baseball Joe grabbed it in the next section over.
Game: 9 balls ( 3 hit, 2 thrown, 4 found )
Season: 517 balls (250 hit, 119 thrown, 72 device, 76 found)
Games: 80 games
Average: 6.46 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 5
Career: 1,095 balls
Streak: 176 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Balls needed to break single season record: 27