Tagged: Ronny Cedeno

7-2-10 PNC Park

Another day at PNC Park, and another crowd of Phillies fans to deal with throughout batting practice.

Luckily, PNC Park has season ticket holder early entrance, where the season ticket holders get thirty minutes of BP without the general public.  That would be huge for me today, as all four of my baseballs would come during the first thirty minutes.

I was second in line behind Nick Pelescak, so I knew that I probably would be second into the bleachers, putting me at a slight disadvantage for grabbing easter eggs.  However, Nick brought a curse on himself about two minutes before the gates opened by accidentally touching a cursed baseball.

The baseball in question is brought by a semi regular man who is disabled and can’t speak, but loves to play catch with a minor league baseball.  I played catch with him last year and had a ridiculously awful game.  The only explanation was that I had touched that baseball.  I thought to myself, “That ball is cursed,”  and haven’t touched it since.  Whenever he gestures to toss me the ball, I make a frown and wave him off.

After watching Nick have some terrible luck on Thursday, I realized that he had played catch with Baseball Joe in line.  I warned him later on that night to stay away from the cursed baseball.

Well, Nick was handed the ball by another ballhawk and immediately realized that he was again, cursed.

Two minutes later the gates opened, and for the first time ever, Nick’s ticket wouldn’t scan.  Also, out of nowhere, another ticket scanner appeared and scanned my ticket, thus I bypassed Nick and was first into the bleachers.  The curse of Baseball Joe.  His misfortune was my luck, I found ball #1 laying in the front row.

My second ball came about two minutes later off the bat of Jose Tabata.  It was a home run that would’ve landed in the first or second row.  Two other ballhawks had the position and were lined up to make the catch.  I was in the third row, hoping that the ball would continue to carry, but it didn’t.  At the last second, both ballhawks who were positioned to make the catch had to bail on their position because they lost the ball in the ridiculously bright sun.
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I never lost sight of the ball, and made an outstretched basket catch, for ball #2 here:
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STATISTICS:
Game:  4 balls (3 hit, 1 found)
Season:  276 balls (149 hit, 64 thrown, 26 device, 38 found)
Games: 43 games
Average:  6.42 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career:  854 balls
Streak:  139 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 30,339

6-19-2010 PNC Park

Today would be my first Saturday with batting practice at PNC Park.  All of the other days featured rain that wiped out BP.

I ran in just behind Nick Pelescak only to be stopped at the bullpen entrance to the left field bleachers by a security working who refused to allow anyone into the bleachers, despite many of us holding our Season Ticket Holder cards.  “We have to scan your tickets,” he said nervously as we all glared at him.

In the meantime, three balls flew into the bleachers.  I had my eye on one next to the bullpen, but Nick Pelescak put a verbal claim on it, so I would instead look for another ball that hit about three rows in.  It paid off.

When the man with the scanner came and finally let us all in, I ran in and found ball #1 in the front row, ball #2 in the front row another section over, and ball #3 in the left field corner.
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What a great start!

Ball #4 was a home run hit by Ryan Doumit.  It hit in the handicapped seats behind me and popped up in the air, right to me.

Ball #5 was thrown to me by Octavio Dotel.  Here he stands and watches another ballhawk use the glove trick. 
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STATISTICS:
Game:  9 balls (3 hit, 1 thrown, 5 found)
Season:  243 balls (129 hit, 60 thrown, 22 device, 32 found)
Games: 37 games
Average:  6.57 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career:  821 balls
Streak:  133 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 38,008

6-18-10 PNC Park

I had the opportunity to watch batting practice on the field today.  I had to be in the Pirates administrative offices at 4:15, where I would receive a lanyard and Suite tickets for tonight’s game.
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However, the downfall of this opportunity is that the participants must stay in a small 15×15 area or so in center field.  So snagging balls isn’t that easy.
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STATISTICS:
Game:  8 balls (4 hit, 2 thrown, 1 device, 1 found)
Season:  234 balls (126 hit, 59 thrown, 22 device, 27 found)
Games: 36 games
Average:  6.50 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career:  812 balls
Streak:  132 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 28,478

5-6-10 PNC Park

I wasn’t even supposed to be at this game.  Thanks to a tree that fell during a storm last night, my place of work didn’t have power all day, thereby freeing me up for the afternoon and relieving me of my coaching duties for a day.
e4543545345.jpgI spent the about 30-40 minutes on the riverwalk before the gates would open.  Unfortunately, this is the most interesting to happen down there:
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STATISTICS:
Game:  10 balls (5 hit, 1 thrown, 1 device, 3 found)
Season:  87 balls (53 hit, 16 thrown, 9 device, 10 found)
Games: 12 games
Average:  7.25 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career:  665 balls
Streak:  108 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance:  11,085

5-5-10 PNC Park

After missing yesterday’s game due to coaching, I was looking forward to attending my first game of the week today, on Cinco de Mayo.

I ran in, trailing fellow ballhawk Nick Pelescak.  Nick broke to the left towards the bullpen, so I was left to search near the ushers.  Surprisingly, there was a ball sitting there in the third row on the ground.  I was on the board.

I got my second and third balls of the day during the Pirates BP in this area:  The General Admission Bleachers.
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The balls bounced on the walkway behind me and hopped up into the bleachers.    I don’t know who hit ball #2, but ball #3 was off the bat of Ronny Cedeno.

I caught my fourth ball of the day off the bat of Jason Jaramillo.  I caught it on the fly in the second row (which is an accomplishment, as I typically stay away from the first two rows).

That was it for the Pirates BP, and the Cubs came out.

I didn’t have to wait long to get my first Cubs ball, as Derrek Lee hit a high fly ball that bounced on the warning track, and six rows back into my glove.

Soon after, I glove tricked ball #6 in this area:
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STATISTICS:
Game:  8 balls (4 hit, 2 thrown, 1 device, 1 found)
Season:  77 balls (47 hit, 15 thrown, 8 device, 7 found)
Games: 11 games
Average:  7.00 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career:  655 balls
Streak:  107 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance:  11,053

4-21-10 PNC Park (Lightning Strikes Twice)

The day didn’t start off on the right foot, as I was a few minutes late to batting practice.  Fellow ballhawk Nick Pelescak already had seven balls by the time I entered the stadium.  Amazing.

I had some work to do to catch up, as we began the week tied atop the standings of the Ballhawk League (BHL).

As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, Andrew McCutchen and Lastings Milledge have been hitting in the last group of Pirates.  So, for the 10-15 minutes that we get to see the Pirates hit, at least there’s some right handed semi-power hitters in the group.

I got ball #1 off the bat of Andrew McCutchen.  It was a home run that landed in an empty section to my right that I ran over and grabbed.

Soon after, Lastings Milledge hit a ball onto the Rotunda that I ran up the ramp to snag as it slowly rolled down towards me.  That would be it for the Pirates portion.

Luckily, the Brewers have been good to me lately.  I changed into my Brewers gear.
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And then would get started on a nice roll in an empty park.
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“I’d better get my glove on,” I thought.  No less than seconds after I had my glove on my
hand, Duke delivered his second pitch of the game.  Weeks hit a slicing fly ball foul, directly at me.  I immediately stood up and went into ballhawk mode.  I took several steps to my left and made the clean catch on the fly.  It was my first foul ball since snagging my first last year on September 23, 2009.

Upon catching the ball I did a fist bump and a little bit of celebration, which must have caught the eye of Tim Neverett and Bob Walk, who commented on the catch.  It was also enough to get FSN to cut back to me.

Here’s the screen shot of me after catching the Week’s foul ball:

And even better:  The video

Someone in the Pirates brass must have seen the catch, because moments later I was approached by a Pirates representative with a mic in hand.  He introduced himself, congrulated me on my catch, and explained that he would like to invite me to be on the PNC Park game show “Know Your Buccos,” at the end of the second inning.

As instructed, I went over in the middle of the second and chatted with Joe Klimchak, who explained the game that I would be participating in.  Basically, four ‘fun’ facts about a Pirate are presented, and the participant must eliminate the false answer.

When we went live, Joe introduced me, telling the crowd about the foul ball I had just snagged, and explained how I could win the fabulous prize (a $65 Pirates sweatshirt.)

I had to figure out which of the following facts were false regarding Ronny Cedeno:
know your buccos 3.jpgI knew the Vizquel fact was probably true, given they are both Dominican.  I also figured that Old School sounded like a type of movie that a man of Cedeno’s age would enjoy.  I was torn between the First Job and the name of his cat.

I thought it over and just thought, “Who would name their cat Meow?”  “Come here Meow… that would just sound stupid.”  So I eliminated the cat named Meow.

After a few pressure filled seconds, it was revealed that Ronny does not have a cat named Meow, I had eliminated the false answer, and won the $65 jacket.
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If you’d like to check out a video of my Know Your Buccos spot, you can check out the youtube link below.

I went back to my seat and watched the rest of the game, glove in hand.

Lightning wouldn’t strike twice.  Would it?

Well it did.

Andrew McCutchen came up to bat in the fifth inning.
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He fouled off a pitch in the same spot as the Week’s foul ball.  I shot up out of my chair immediately when I saw the angle the ball took off the bat.  This time, the ball was dying on me.  It didn’t quite reach me, as it was about a row and a half ahead of me.  I reached down and got it to hit my glove and knocked it into the row directly below me.  I would liken the play to a catcher smothering a ball in the dirt.  The ball came to a dead stop and I picked up my second foul ball of the day.    Amazing.

That’s TWO foul balls in one game.

More FSN face time.

Here’s some more video proof for you:

Would I go on to catch my thirteenth ball of the night?  A third foul ball in the game?

It was certainly empty enough for it to happen, as the Pirates were getting blown out, and the weather had turned cold.
100_2610.jpgThere’s probably more fans at high school baseball games, but that’s Pittsburgh on week nights for you.  Low, low attendance, especially after 10PM, like it was in the picture above.

I would end the night with those two foul balls, a sweatshirt, twelve total balls snagged, and probably the best ballhawking performance of my career.

Here’s today’s baseballs:
Foul balls are in the lower right corner.
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And the sweet spots:
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And that sweat shirt:
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What a night.  What a two game stretch.

STATISTICS:
Game:  12 balls (10 hit, 1 thrown, 1 device)
Season:  51 balls (34 hit, 7 thrown, 6 device, 4 found)
Games: 8 games
Average:  6.38 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 2
Career:  629 balls
Streak:  104 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance:  12,192

2009 through 8 games: 31 (Currently I am 20 balls ahead of last year’s career high season pace)