Today was my final game of the 2011 season at PNC Park. I attended with Olivia and Amy, and unfortunately, there wasn’t any batting practice.
I was worried that I may get shut out because the Pirates players were to meet with fans at the gates, leaving me with just the Reds to get a ball off of.
At 11:30, when the main seating bowl opened, several Pirates were finishing some pre-game tossing before heading out to the gates to meet fans.
I was able to get Tony Watson’s attention as I stood about six rows deep and he fired me a strike for ball #1 when he was finished throwing. Here he is a few seconds after tossing me a ball, walking towards some fans to sign autographs.
I’ve gotten a ball at all 78 games this season – thanks to Tony for extending that streak.
I then headed to the first base side and changed into my Reds gear as the Reds came out to stretch and throw.
When the Reds started throwing, I stood behind Matt Maloney and snagged two balls within a few minutes.
They were overthrows that I corralled here:
However, they were both given back to Maloney, as he needed them to warm up. The first I tossed back, and the second I glove flipped to him. He promised to give the ball back when he was done.
Even though I snagged two balls, it was the same ball on two different occasions, so I’m only going to count it as one ball. I’ve seen lots of ballhawks count similar snags as two, even here at PNC Park, but that’s just padding your stats. You can’t snag the same ball twice. Period. Even if you give it back and get it again.
Unfortunately, some teenager moved in and count another overthrow which took the ball that I was awaiting out of play. It meant that my ball #2 was given away to someone else. Oh well. It goes down in my stats as a snag from Jeremy Horst, one of the least accurate long tossers in the league.
Horst, Maloney and Bill Bray were playing catch, so after Horst finished he left, and Maloney moved to the outfield side to throw at a distance of 60 feet to Bill Bray.
When he was done, he tossed me a ball as a thank you for giving back two baseballs to him.
Olivia was getting a little bit fussy, so we decided to leave before the game even started. It’s been a long season, so rather than being at the ballpark until 4:30, we found some other stuff to do without 28,000 other people.
On the way out, these Pirates players were at the gate:
That’s Pedro Alvarez, Jared Hughes, Mark Strittmatter, Ray Searage, Jason Jaramillo, Ross Ohlendorf, and Jason Grilli from left to right. We didn’t stop to talk or take pictures as there was a ridiculous line waiting to meet them.
Here are today’s baseballs: (only 2 pictured because one was given away)
This will be my last game of the regular season. As for playoff games, you may remember last year I attended a Division Series game in Cincinnati. You’ll have to stay tuned to see if I attend any playoff games this year…
Game: 3 balls (3 thrown)
Season: 422 balls (175 hit, 95 thrown, 88 device, 57 found)
Games: 78 games
Average: 5.41 per game
Career: 1,544 balls