Tagged: Ross Ohlendorf

5-13-09 PNC Park

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I knew today would be a tough day snagging wise from the start.  If you recall reading my entry from the Pirates Caravan, I won an opportunity to change 3rd base during the game and be recognized as the fan of the game. 

When I received my letter from the Pirates with information, it stated that I needed to be in the security office by 5:30PM to check in, or I would jeopardize the opportunity to change 3rd base.  This means that I would have less than a half hour to snag.

My wife and I arrived at the stadium and were near the end of the line to get in.  When we did get into the stadium, the minutes ticked away without me snagging anything.

I got nothing from the Pirates.

It was about 5:20 and I still had no balls.  Was I going to get shut out for the first time since August of 2008?   

Luckily, no.  All of the Cardinals pitchers were still warming up in right field when the Cardinals began hitting. 
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100_1337.jpgWe waited on the field for about 50 minutes before I was introduced.  Some movie “star” named  David Conrad was to throw out the first pitch.  He stood next to us on the field the entire time, but we didn’t talk.  Only one person from the crowd recognized him and asked him for a picture.  He is in the cast of the Ghost Whisperer on CBS, and also had a small roll in Wedding Crashers.

Here he is:
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Do you recognize him?  I didn’t.  My wife didn’t.

We then had to LEAVE the stadium, and re-enter through the gates to go to our seats.  Why they wouldn’t let us take the elevator up to the main concourse, I don’t know.  So, I used 4 tickets for the 2 of us (I used 2 of my season tickets for the first 30 minutes so I could snag a ball).

We reported to guest services in the 6th inning and were taken back down into the tunnel, where I joined the grounds crew.  No one really said much to me.  One guy said, “Here’s the base.”  No instructions.

A few pictures:
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100_1343.jpgI got to watch an inning from the top step:
100_1349.jpgThe third out came, and all of the ground crew and myself rushed onto the field.

I went to third base, as Freddy Sanchez walked right past me and changed the base.  It came right out, and was changed in a matter of seconds.
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After changing the base, I was going to do a Rickey Henderson pose,
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But decided I’d better just do a generic pose.
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And that was it.  We went back to our seats and watched the rest of the game.  The Pirates won the game, and I was shut out at the dugout by the umpire.

Here’s the one ball I got:
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STATISTICS:
Game:  1 Ball (1 device) (worst snagging day of the season for me)
Season: 108 balls (47 hit, 48 thrown, 13 device)
Games: 20 Games (17 with BP, 3 without)
Average:  5.4 balls per game
Career: 274 balls
Attendance:10,494

5-3-09 PNC Park

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It rained for most of the morning in Pittsburgh, in fact, it was still raining when I arrived at the ballpark at 11 AM.  This could mean only one thing:  no batting practice.  I was faced with possibly being shut out for the first time since August 2008. 

When the stadium opened the gates to the seating areas at 11:30, I went over to the left field foul line.  The rain had subsided.  Several bullpen pitchers from the Pirates were warming up.  I placed myself behind John Grabow and Ross Ohlendorf and waited for an overthrow.
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Directly to me.  I didn’t even have to move. 
Its not like he randomly tossed the ball up and I got into a scrum and stole the ball away from ticketed patrons.  He usually picks out people.  I caught the ball, waved thanks, turned and left the section.  I could hear some snooty lady and her rotund husband getting on the usher.  “He doesn’t have a ticket.  He shouldn’t be allowed to do that.  Don’t let him back in here. Check his ticket.”  Blah blah blah.

I went over to left field for the fourth inning to try and get a warm up ball from Nyjer.  I avoided the right field seats thanks to the afore mentioned rudest-usher-in-PNC-Park.

Left Field has a lot more sections and people, so I had very little chance.  The ball went to a group of people near the foul pole.

Inning 5.  I went back to center field.  I stood at the far edge of Section 140, away from the snotty lady.  I looked over and they were both staring directly at me.  I stared right back at them. I should’ve walked over and offered their spoiled kid a ball.  “Excuse me, would you like a ball? ….. Then bring a glove!” and walk away.    That’s what I felt like doing, I was in such a bad mood.

I didn’t get the 5th inning ball because it was tossed to the second row.  Predictably, the ball fell back onto the field.  The same thing happened in the seventh inning.  That’s why Nate prefers to throw the ball deep. 

Anyway, the miserable family got on the usher again after the fifth inning because 3 of us ballhawks entered the section.  The usher came over and told me that I wasn’t allowed to try for warm up balls anymore.  He said come back and try tomorrow when there’s different people around.   He told Nick and Bryan the same thing.  If you’re wondering, here’s what those “folks” looked like:
100_1122.jpg(To be civil, I am editing this paragraph from what I originally wrote.  I’ve taken out most of the colorful adjectives I originally had written.)  Its the guy eating, his son, and the lady in the orange.
100_1126.jpgI could’ve tried in the seventh and ninth, but out of respect for the ushers, I went and sat behind the Reds dugout to see if I could get some foul balls.  There are nice ushers at PNC Park, the ones in center field were just doing their job because the supervisor somehow got involved.

I didn’t get any foul balls, and I got shut out at the Reds dugout, so my day ended on a sour note.

To make it worse, the Pirates looked awful again, getting shut out.  They haven’t hit a home run now in a week. 

Adam LaRoche’s body language tells the whole story:
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A few shots from the game:
Johnny Cueto deals to Nyjer Morgan:
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Evan Meek (a big Dave Matthews Band fan):
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Jesse Chavez (tossed me my first ball of the day:
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Today’s baseballs:
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And the sweet spots:
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STATISTICS:
Game:  3 balls (3 thrown)
Season:  67 balls (26 hit, 34 thrown, 7 device)
Games:  14 games (11 with BP, 3 without)
Average:  4.79 balls per game
Career:  233 balls
Attendance: 13,670

5-2-09 PNC Park

100_1095.jpgToday was fireworks and Polish night, so I wasn’t sure how crowded it would be.  Luckily, only 22,891 came out, so batting practice was fairly sparse for a Saturday.

I got into line at 3:30 (an hour before the gates were to open), and was the 8th person in the stadium.  I was the third one into the bleachers.  There were 2 easter eggs, but another ballhawk got them first.

About 10 minutes or so passed with no action.  I noticed a ball roll directly to the fence where the stands jut out towards the foul line in left field.  I decided to vacate my spot and go grab the ball.  I ran up the escalator to the main concourse, and then down the stairs and reached over the fence and grabbed ball #1.  Then, I immediately went back to the bleachers.  I snapped this picture when I returned to the bleacher area to illustrate where the ball was.  (The small yellow X)
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STATISTICS:
Game:  6 balls (3 hit, 2 thrown, 1 device)
Season: 64 balls (26 hit, 31 thrown, 7 device)
Games:  13 games (11 with BP, 2 without)
Average:  4.92 balls per game
Career:  230 balls
Average:  22,891

4-20-09 PNC Park

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.
100_0875.jpgThe weather still wasn’t looking good.  Water was starting to pond on the warning track.
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Not too bad, I guess.

STATISTICS:
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
Attendance:  8,790