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
Another sunny day in Pittsburgh got out to a great start thanks to Joel Hanrahan.
He threw me ball #1 near the beginning of batting practice, and then went on a generous binge of tossing balls to virtually every fan in attendance during the Pirates STH only time. I believe every ball he shagged was flipped into the bleachers. As a side note, Hanrahan’s toss to me was my 100th thrown ball of 2010.
Ball #2 was a home run from Lastings Milledge that hit a bleacher and popped up into the air about 10 feet. I snagged it when it was on the way back down.
Ball #3 was also a home run hit by Milledge. It was hit deep over my head, and I had to dive on the concrete underneath this stairway
Game: 7 balls ( 3 hit, 2 thrown, 1 device, 1 found )
Season: 465 balls (234 hit, 101 thrown, 62 device, 62 found)
Balls in the month of August: 114
Games: 71 games
Average: 6.55 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 5
Career: 1,043 balls
Streak: 167 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Balls in the month of August: 114 (25 needed to break 1 month record)
Balls needed to break single season record: 79
I got on the board before the gates opened today.
I was standing on the Riverwalk waiting for a home run to land on the concourse, but left around 4:50 to head back up to the gate. Just as I left, a passerby informed me that I had just missed one. I turned and saw fellow ballhawk Nick Pelescak knee deep in the weeds, frantically searching for a ball.
I turned around and jogged back and joined in the search. After a minute, I found the ball in the weeds, for my first ball of the day.
Upon entrance to the left field bleachers, I noticed a ball land near the foul pole, so I ran over and scooped that one up for ball #2.
Game: 7 balls ( 4 hit, 2 thrown, 1 found )
Season: 454 balls (228 hit, 98 thrown, 61 device, 61 found)
Balls in the month of August: 103
Games: 69 games
Average: 6.58 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 5
Career: 1,032 balls
Streak: 165 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
It was a Saturday game at PNC Park – but it was also a Skyblast (Fireworks + George Thorogood concert), so there would be a sellout crowd on hand today.
My goal was to snag seven balls to give me 400 on the season.
I was second in line at the gate and was the first one into the bleachers. There wasn’t anything going on in the cage, but a few Pirates must’ve taken some early swings because I found two balls laying in the front row here:
I then made my way over to foul territory as a few of the Pirates position players were warming up. New Pirates catcher Chris Synder threw me his ball as he walked off the field for ball #3.
Game: 10 balls (6 hit, 1 thrown, 1 device, 2 found)
Season: 403 balls (211 hit, 88 thrown, 51 device, 53 found)
Games: 61 games
Average: 6.61 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 5
Career: 981 balls
Streak: 157 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
With chief competitor Nick Pelescak out of action for the next two weeks, and my favorite BP team, the Cincinnati Reds in town, I was hoping I would have a big day.
I would – setting a personal 2010 high for balls snagged.
The day would get off to a great start. When I ran in, I spotted a ball in the front row.
Before I could grab it, Andy LaRoche hit a home run into the front row. I tried to make the basket catch leaning forward over two rows, but just missed it. My glove killed the balls’ momentum and I just needed to pick it up in the front row for ball #1. Seconds later, I grabbed that easter egg for ball #2 in this area:
Sweet spots: (1 was given away)
Game: 13 balls (9 hit, 2 thrown, 1 device, 1 found)
Season: 364 balls (187 hit, 80 thrown, 43 device, 45 found)
Games: 56 games
Average: 6.50 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 5
Career: 942 balls
Streak: 152 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.