Amy and I got to the stadium about an hour early. Before heading into the bleachers, Nick and I caught on the Clemente bridge. Amy was snapping photos as we threw.
We probably caught for about 20 minutes.
Its always a good warm up before going into the stadium and running around for five hours or whatever it may be.
When the gates opened at 4:30, I ran in and found a ball by the bullpen.
Since it was Saturday, the entire park was open for business at 4:30, so I made my way over to foul territory to look for any potential ‘easter eggs.’
Despite having an extra half hour of batting practice today, things were slow. The Pirates batting practice is not nearly as good as last year. Home Runs into the bleachers were few and far between.
I got ball #4 of the day, and #1,150 lifetime off the bat of new Bucco Matt Diaz.
The ball bounced on the cross aisle in the picture below and up into the second deck of bleachers. Several of us ballhawks ran up, and after a short search, I spotted it and grabbed it.
My fifth ball was a home run catch off the bat of Ronny Cedeno. If the catch would’ve occured during the game, it would’ve been ruled a double however. I had to scale two bleachers to get into the front row, and reach low to catch the sinking liner before it bounced off of the left field wall. I was there though in time to make the catch here:
That was it for the Pirates BP.
The Rockies then came out to hit, so I moved over to center field, since they have a good bit of left handed power bats.
While in center field, there were a few glove trick opportunities, but I decided not to try it.
I didn’t get a single ball during the Rockies portion of batting practice. It was one of those days.
When the game started it was packed, so there was virtually no chance at an outfielder’s warm up ball between innings,
so I wandered the concourse for a bit.
I collected a few posters that people didn’t want.
Checked out some memorabilia for sale at a booth.
Some of the baseballs were interesting. There was Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, Willie Mays, etc autographed baseballs for sale.
As for the game, I stood here most of the night,
but headed over to left field just in time to miss a Seth Smith home run ball that landed RIGHT where I had been standing. That’s the way it goes sometimes. Wrong place at the wrong time.
One could argue I was again in the wrong place at the wrong time a few innings later. I was hanging out near the Prize Wheel when I noticed a disturbance in the bleachers above my head. Police officers and security guards hustled up the stairs to confront a man who was seated in the front row, aisle seat in Section 236. He’s the bald man:
I did not see the incidents that led up to him being asked to leave, but when I saw the police officer take out his taser, I started filming. Check it out:
The man eventually was escorted down the stairs. A fellow fan tried to high five the man wearing the USA windbreaker, which was thwarted by one of the security guards. So, the man in the USA jacket threw an elbow at him. At this point I was pretty much right on top of everything that was going on. I was also boxed in, as there were railings to my right and left, and concrete tables behind me. I had no where to go except where all the action was taking place. I kept my camera at chest level or so, so as not to draw attention to myself and slowly backed away.
Anyway, after throwing the elbow, the police officer discharged his taser, which appeared ineffective. You can hear the electricity in the video. The USA jacked man seemed to mock the officer. Going ‘ohhh’ when he was tased. That’s when the officer hit him. You can watch the rest of the video and make your own judgements.
It set off a string of USA chants and at least one more arrest that I saw. There were also several other verbal arguments that broke out. Security was everywhere for the last three innings.
Typically, ushers handle disturbing fans. If the fans don’t comply, then PNC Park security is called. If the fan is still belligerent, the cops are brought in. I attended 75 games in 2009, 88 games in 2010, and never have seen anything this escalated.
Anyhow, the video went viral and has over 9,000 hits today on youtube. I was also interviewed by KDKA-TV and WPXI. My interview is on wpxi’s website.
You can watch the story by clicking this link.
Season: 29 balls (10 hit, 6 thrown, 7 device, 6 found)
Games: 5 games
Average: 5.80 balls per game
Career: 1,151 balls
Today was our last day in Florida. When I looked out my hotel window, it was overcast and drizzling. Not good.
We still went to the field early just in case there was batting practice, and sure enough, there was. The rain had let up.
Spring Training Statistics:
Game: 10 balls
Trip: 32 balls
Spring Training Career: 40 balls in 6 games
Today was the first of three Skyblast dates throughout the summer at PNC Park. Basically its an hour long concert/fireworks show. The bands are always “B” List bands, with past bands being Smash Mouth, Styx, Live, PovertyNeck Hill Billies, etc. The band tonight was the Zac Brown Band.
The stadium was sold out, so there would be some more competition than usual during batting practice. I attended this game with my wife. We were the 4th and 5th people in line. Unfortunately, by the time the gates opened, the 3 people ahead of us had swelled to 11 through the process of sparing/cutting. There went any chance for Easter Eggs out the window.
After about 5 minutes of batting practice, I got ball #1 from Ian Snell.
Ian gets a lot of crap for his inconsistencies, but he’s one of my favorite Pirates. He’s definitely not stingy when it comes to giving away baseballs, so you have to respect that.
One of the groups that came up was mostly lefties, so I abandoned left field and went into foul ball territory.
Game: 5 Balls (3 hit, 2 thrown)
Season: 135 Balls (60 hit, 58 thrown, 17 device)
Games: 27 Games (23 with BP, 4 without)
Average: 5.00 Balls Per Game
Career: 301 Balls
Attendance: 37,167 (sell-out)
I attended today’s game with my wife. She was looking forward to getting some reusable grocery bags. I was looking forward to snagging some baseballs.
I was about the 6th one into batting practice.
That was it for the Pirates section of batting practice. I changed into my Rockies gear and talked to a few other ballhawks.
Game: 5 balls (1 hit, 3 thrown, 1 device)
Season: 118 balls (51 hit, 53 thrown, 14 device)
Games: 22 games (19 with BP, 3 without)
Average: 5.36 balls per game
Career: 284 balls
Today wasn’t looking good. It had rained continuously throughout the day. When my wife and I left for the ballpark at 4:25 PM, it was still pouring. We went anyway.
For the first half hour, nothing was going on in the stadium. The tarp was on the field, and there were no players to be seen. There was a random ball sitting in the middle of center field, but it would’ve been impossible to reach with the glove trick.
At 5:30, the Pirates pitchers came out to stretch and toss. The rain had relented a bit. I went down and lined up behind Jeff Karstens, hoping for an overthrown. It didn’t happen. I did manage to get Craig Hansen’s warm up ball. It was ball #1.
The Pirates left the field, and once again, nothing was happening. We went over to right field to await the Marlins to come out and catch.
The weather still wasn’t looking good. Water was starting to pond on the warning track.
Not too bad, I guess.
Game: 2 balls (2 thrown)
Season : 31 balls (13 hit, 12 thrown, 6 device)
Games: 8 games (6 with BP, 2 without)
Average: 3.88 balls per game
Career: 197 balls