I managed to make it to the final game of the homestand – a Sunday game which followed a night game. I actually wasn’t even planning on staying – I had some extra tickets to sell, but of course I took my glove with me just in case. Much to my surprise, when I arrived at 10:55 AM, the Pirates were on the field taking batting practice. Also, the gates were to open at 11 AM, and I was the first one in line, despite my late arrival. I guess most of the fans slept in after the late ending of the Train concert last night.
I had heard that manager Clint Hurdle cancelled batting practice on Saturday, despite perfect weather in an attempt to break the Pirates out of their losing streak. That obviously didn’t work, as the Pirates flailed away at the plate on Saturday and mustered little offense.
So, on Sunday, he took the opposite approach and elected for BP.
Since the seating bowl doesn’t open until 11:30AM, all fans are confined to the riverwalk outfield concourse. I watched batting practice from behind section 141 in hopes that Pedro Alvarez or Garrett Jones would hit one over the seats and onto the concourse.
It didn’t happen, and my several requests to Andrew McCutchen were met with eye rolls. At first I thought, ‘wow, what’s your problem, its not like you have to sign autographs.’ I later found out that he had been benched for today’s game for being picked off the night before.
Around 11:08, there were already four easter eggs in the left field seats, and I was keeping an eye on all of them, noting the ones that weren’t picked up by the devious ushers. Then, I noticed several fans rush into the left field bleachers and pick them up. ‘Stupid guests,’ I thought, thinking that they had received early access guest passes from the Pirates front office. I then noticed a steady trickle of fans, and the left field bleachers began to fill up.
I ditched my spot, and headed for left field. The gates by the bullpen were wide open, and they weren’t supposed to be until 11:30 AM.
It worked out well, as I caught a home run on the fly in section 134. It was a catch on the run, outstretched and back handed.
Then five minutes later, several security guards started yelling at everyone that they had to leave because someone wasn’t at their post, and we weren’t supposed to be there until 11:30. It was about 11:18, so I was hoping that we could all just stay for 12 minutes, but it wasn’t to be.
They herded all the fans up like cattle, and slowly pushed us out. You can see the security guard in the white shirt with yellow sleeves in the picture below.
At 11:30, I ran into foul territory and found ball #2 along the third base line.
I continued around the field and ended up in foul territory along the right field foul line, where I found ball #3.
While there I decided just to stay, as some of the Padres started trickling out.
The Padres pitchers started warming up, and there were only two fans along the right field line. Me, decked in full Padres gear, and a random Pirate fan. It seemed a no brainer that I would snag at least one more ball.
It happened as Tim Stauffer finished up his throws and tossed me ball #5.
Moments later, Ernesto Frieri tossed me ball #6.
And I snagged ball #7 when Josh Spence threw a wild pitch that his catching partner couldn’t scoop and ended up in the seats. I offered the ball back, but they let me keep it.
At noon, all other gates to the stadium opened, and I tried my luck in left field, since the Padres are so heavily right handed, but it was so crowded that I could barely even move.
The Padres hit until 12:20, and as soon as they finished, I went home to be with my family.
Its Sunday night and I’m preparing for my trip to Cleveland to catch Alex Rodriguez’s 600th home run. I’m pressed for time, so let’s get to it.
It was another ridiculously hot day, as the east coast sweated out another day of this heat wave.
Upon entering the stadium, I found ball #1 in the seats near the left field foul pole in foul territory.
Game: 9 balls (5 hit, 1 thrown, 2 device, 1 found)
Season: 331 balls (172 hit, 73 thrown, 33 device, 44 found)
Games: 51 games
Average: 6.49 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 5
Career: 909 balls
Streak: 147 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
This entry will be short and sweet.
Upon entering the stadium – this was the scene:
The Pirates were big babies and didn’t take batting practice today. I can’t remember the last time a team didn’t take batting practice during a night game on a sunny day.
It was pretty hot and humid today, so I’m guessing John Russell didn’t want to get his players tired, despite only scoring two runs the night before. Memo to Russell: Your players are major leaguers, not little leaguers.
Luckily, there was a ball in the outfield that Carlos Garcia came out to retrieve. He had been working with an infielder at second base.
Game: 4 balls (1 hit, 2 thrown, 1 device)
Season: 322 balls (172 hit, 73 thrown, 33 device, 44 found)
Games: 50 games
Average: 6.44 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 5
Career: 900 balls
Streak: 146 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Today was a Sunday game, so one never knows what to expect. Sometimes there will be batting practice, sometimes not.
Since today was a day game following a day game, there would be a full batting practice with both teams hitting.
The Pirates hit first, but the gates aren’t open early to season ticket holders on Sundays. So, I had to stand and helplessly watch from behind the bullpen.
During this time, I watched as one usher pocketed a ball, while another picked up three and tossed them back on the field.
After waiting for 30 minutes, 11:30 rolled around, and someone from the security building should’ve come to let us in. It didn’t happen.
I watched as the staff members sat and played on their phones, as the time ticked away.
Game: 5 ball (3 hit, 1 thrown, 1 device)
Season: 361 balls (192 hit, 106 thrown, 63 device)
Games: 75 games (8 of which didn’t have BP)
Average: 4.81 balls per game
Career: 527 balls
Streak: 90 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Race for 400 in 2009: Need 39 in 5 games, 7.8 per game (I need a huge day soon…)
For whatever reason, the Pirates had today’s game scheduled for 12:35 PM, on a SATURDAY. Maybe it had something to do with Pitt having a football game at 6 today, but either way, it cost me a batting practice.
I got to the stadium at 10 AM, and this was the scene:
They were cutting the grass. In the meantime, there were only three other people there during the first ten minutes of season ticket holder time. Had there been batting practice, I would’ve been having a banner day.
Since there was nothing going on, I sat down and watched the autograph collectors scamper down to the front row whenever a Pirate player would poke their head out of the dugout.
Game: 1 ball (1 thrown)
Season: 356 balls (189 hit, 105 thrown, 62 device)
Games: 74 games (8 of which didn’t have BP)
Average: 4.81 balls per game
Career: 522 balls
Streak: 89 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Race for 400 in 2009: Need 44 in 6 games, 7.33 per game (I need a huge day soon…)