I could’ve taken my choice of going to Cleveland, or staying in Pittsburgh today. The weather in Cleveland was forecast to be very nice, with a 5% chance of rain. Pittsburgh was predicted to have a 50% chance. I had to make a decision where I was going by 1 PM. After that time passed, I wouldn’t be able to make it to Cleveland by 3:30, thereby leaving me with PNC Park as my only option.
At 12:45 PM, this was the hourly weather forecast. It looked like there may have been a chance to at least get some BP in. I figured I’d save the gas and take the chance.
Wow, were they ever wrong.
It started pouring around 2:30ish, and didn’t stop.
McCutchen looked into the “crowd,” locked onto my location, and tossed a ball in my direction. The ball was coming in high. I had to jump up to make the catch. It was ball #1. My
streak had been preserved and extended. What a relief.
I spent the rest of the night going back and forth from right field to left field to center field (on occasion), trying to get another warm up ball.
Brandon Moss picked me out in the 6th inning and threw a ball right at me. The ball was intended for me. However, some random guy without a glove came running across the row and intercepted the ball. There was nothing I could do. Here he is:
Who sits like that at a baseball game anyway?
After the game was over (the Pirates won – finishing a sweep of the Brewers), I went down to the dugout. There, I watched the umpire toss a ball to a kid, which he dropped (the ball fell to the tunnel below and disappeared). Then, the umpire tossed a second ball to the same kid, which he also dropped down into the tunnel. What a waste. Luckily for Butterfingers, Bob Davidson came along and got one of the balls out of the tunnel and handed it to him.
I ended up with one ball, but did meet two readers of this blog after the game. I had noticed them prior to the game with their gloves and roster complete with player numbers and thinking, “They’re more prepared than I am.” I asked if they had snagged any balls on the day, and gave a ball away (one of the extras I bring from home) to one of the girls who had been shut out. There’s nothing worse than trying for a ball all day and coming up empty.
Here’s the McCutchen ball:
Which I somehow managed to screw up and number off-center. Argh.
Game: 1 ball (1 thrown)
Season: 294 balls (151 hit, 90 thrown, 53 device)
Games: 62 games (7 of which didn’t have BP)
Average: 4.74 balls per game
Career: 460 balls
Streak: 77 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
There was some rain forecast for today, but when I arrived at the ballpark at 3:55, the sun was shining, and there were only a few measly clouds in the sky.
While standing in line, I noticed a Brewers fan who randomly had a MLB baseball. He didn’t have a glove or a bag or anything. He had just walked up from the Riverwalk area. Had he just gotten a ball out by the river? Possibly.
Rather than standing there, I decided to head down to the Allegheny River and see if I could get on the board before the gates even opened. There is some tall grass landscaping on a slope that leads down to a 20 foot wide walkway which borders the river. Occasionally balls will get stuck in there that get hit out of the stadium or bounce on the stadium. I looked, but found nothing.
I stood outside the stadium until 4:50, when I returned to line. There was only one ball that I saw that had a realistic chance. I caught it out of the corner of my eye and watched it hit the top of the Clemente wall and stay in the ballpark. Like clockwork, within a minute, an usher appeared and picked up the ball.
When I returned to the line at 4:50, it began to drizzle. Great. Just great.
The drizzle was persistant, and was rather annoying. I was worried that the groundscrew would put the tarp on the field and batting practice would be canceled. Luckily, this wasn’t the case. The rain was light enough that it allowed BP to continue.
I got ball #1 of the day from Joel Hanrahan. He fielded a ball, and didn’t throw it back towards the infield, so I stood in the front row with my glove up for about a minute. He finally decided he didn’t want the ball anymore, and fired it at me. It was a little high and away, but I was on the board.
I got ball #2 from Mike Defelice. I remembered Shawn from Milwaukee giving me the tip of calling him Deefer. It worked.
There wasn’t a ton of home runs hit. And its a shame too, because there weren’t many people there during the first 30 minutes of season ticket holder time only.
Game: 3 balls (1 hit, 2 thrown)
Season: 238 balls (125 hit, 78 thrown, 38 device)
Games: 49 games (5 of which didn’t have BP)
Average: 4.86 balls per game
Career: 404 balls
Attendance: 11,471 (very April/May’ish attendance figure)
There isn’t much to write about.
Today was a Saturday and was Nate McLouth All Star bobblehead. The biggest crowd since opening day was expected. Here’s the view from General Robinson and Federal Street.
The Pirates made an alteration to their batting practice gate opening starting today. The gates still opened at 4:30 on Saturday, but center field and right field didn’t open until 5:30 PM, meaning all fans wanting to see batting practice would have to cram into 6 rows across 7 bleacher section in left field. Not good.
I got ball #1 from Matt Capps during the season ticket holder only portion of batting practice. That was it for the day. I got robbed twice by fans who were standing a row ahead of me. Had they not been there, I would’ve made the catches easily.
I made my first glaring error of the season. I had to jump for a home run ball, but I barely got off the ground. It hit my glove and some other fan got it. Rule of ballhawking, if a ball hits your glove, you should come away with the ball.
Left field was getting way to crowded, so I headed over to center field when it opened up. I still got shut out. None of the Rockies pitchers were showing me any love. Not surprising, since I got blacklisted yesterday by a jealous ballhawk snitch who told the Rockies I change my clothes to get more balls.
I tried for a ball at the bullpen and in the first inning from Nate McLouth. No luck.
Then, the rains came. The game was delayed for an hour and 37 minutes.
Game: 1 Ball (1 thrown)
Season: 119 Balls (51 hit, 54 thrown, 14 device)
Games: 23 games (20 with BP, 3 without)
Average: 5.17 Balls per Game
Career: 285 Balls
I attended today’s game with my wife. I had to wait for her to get home for work, so we didn’t get to the stadium until 4:55 PM, just in time before the 5 PM gate opening.
Usually I get 1 ball during the Pirates portion during the week (they only hit for about 10-15 more minutes after the gates open). Today, though, I had 4 balls by 5:04. I’ve never gotten off to a start like that in my life.
Ball #1 was tossed from Nyjer Morgan.
Game: 10 balls (4 hit, 4 thrown, 2 device)
Season: 84 balls (32 hit, 43 thrown, 9 device)
Games: 16 games (13 with BP, 3 without)
Average: 5.25 balls per game
Career: 250 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