Batting practice on a Sunday? It doesn’t happen very often, but occasionally it happens.
My day began at 7:20 AM, as I woke up extra early so I could go to the gym before heading to the ballpark. I wanted to make sure that I had plenty of time with Amy as soon as batting practice ended.
Our due date is fast approaching. For fun, we offered our guesses on when our baby would be born. I picked July 26. Amy picked July 30th. The baby is due August 9. Neither of us think we’ll make it that far as our baby is measuring up to be a big baby.
The Pirates came out and stretched, and at exactly 11:30, batting practice got underway.
My first ball came rather quickly – it was a clean catch of a homer caught here:
Realizing that there wouldn’t be many home runs hit, (yesterday there were 3) – I made my way over to foul territory in right field and lined myself up behind the Cardinals pitchers, who had come out to warm up. There was virtually no one else around, as everyone stayed in left field trying to catch batted balls.
The strategy paid off as Trever Miller tossed me ball #2 on his way into the dugout,
For the last group, I went back to left field where I offered to glove trick a ball for a young fan. I had the ball in my glove when Euclides Rojas foiled the attempt by throwing his glove at mine, jarring the ball loose.
Rojas marched over and grabbed the ball, then something really weird happened.
He flipped me the ball.
It was the first time Rojas had ever acknowledged me, let alone toss me a ball.
Anyhow, true to my promise, immediately I handed the ball away to the young fan.
Batting practice had finished at noon, so I left too to be with Amy.
Game: 4 balls (1 hit, 3 thrown)
Season: 305 balls (131 hit, 67 thrown, 70 device, 37 found)
Games: 57 games
Career: 1,427 balls
Attendance : 35,402
Amy and I decided to head down to Baltimore for a couple games to see the Cardinals take on the Orioles. We checked into the hotel, and Amy rested at the hotel while I left to go to batting practice.
The first ball I got was an absolute bomb that hit at the back of the seats near the bullpens and bounced back towards the field where I caught it.
Ball #2 was hit by another Orioles batter towards the foul pole. I simply jogged over and picked it up easy.
My third ball was cheap, but it was still #3. It was a ball that was misplayed by another ballhawk and bounced into the row in front of him where I snagged it with my glove.
Ball #4 was a clean catch here:
I barely had to move. I’m not sure who hit any of the balls, but the first Orioles group was really good. I mean really good. I had snagged four balls from one group alone, but two other ballhawks had snagged five and I think six. Impressive. And they were all batted balls too.
The Orioles final group sucked, so I didn’t get my fifth ball until the Cardinals came out to hit. It was tossed to me by pitcher Trever Miller, who I remember was the one pitcher who tossed up baseballs at PNC Park in recent series.
I moved over to center field when I saw a home run land in the gap in center field. I was able to glove trick it for ball #6, but not without some difficulty. It took four tries, but I was able to reel it in.
My seventh ball was a ground rule double that I caught next to a mom. I immediately handed the ball over which she gave to her child. She may have been able to make the play, but she was gloveless, so who knows.
My eighth ball was a clean catch of a Colby Rasmus HR with some competition from behind here:
No clue who hit it.
We made our way to the inner harbor,
and took a few photos. One of the bonuses of ballhawking outside of Pittsburgh is that its like a mini-vacation. I go to BP for an hour, and then I get to spend the rest of the time with the love of my life. Can’t beat that!
We headed towards Barnes and Noble:
And saw the Hard Rock Cafe:
I ordered a California Club sandwich.
It was bad. I felt like I was eating a salad sandwich with chicken, there was one thin fillet. Not impressed.
While we were out, the citizens of Baltimore were extra friendly. We kept getting warm smiles every where we turned, then it dawned on me.
It was because of our baby.
We walked around a little more before heading back to our hotel. Baltimore isn’t as bad as the Wire portrays. At least not the few blocks we saw.
Here are today’s baseballs (only 7 pictured because 1 was given away):
Game: 8 balls (6 hit, 1 thrown, 1 device)
Season: 259 balls (107 hit, 54 thrown, 61 device, 28 found)
Games: 44 games
Average: 5.87 balls per game
Career: 1,381 balls
Today got off to a terrible start.
When I entered the park, Lastings Milledge was in the cage, taking his final cuts. Milledge is in the last group of Pirates players to bat. Minutes later, at 5:03, the field was empty, as the Pirates ran off the field, leaving the PNC Park regulars stunned.
I hadn’t snagged anything yet, and I was prepared to face the fact that I might get shut out.
Half way through the Cardinals BP, I got Trever Miller to toss me a ball in center field to put me on the board.
Luckily, I had brought my Cardinals gear, whereas yesterday I just left it at home figuring that the Cards were too stingy to toss any balls up to their own ‘fans.’ However, Miller is a veteran, and older players typically seem to be more generous in throwing balls into the stands.
Later on in batting practice, I attempted to glove trick a ball in the corner spot in center field.
Game: 3 balls ( 3 thrown )
Season: 487 balls (239 hit, 110 thrown, 72 device, 66 found)
Games: 76 games
Average: 6.41 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 5
Career: 1,065 balls
Streak: 172 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Balls in the month of August: 136 (3 needed to break 1 month record)
Balls needed to break single season record: 57
When I got out of my car around 3:45, the skies were looking rather overcast. It wasn’t raining, so I was hoping batting practice would still be on.
It wasn’t. When it became obvious that batting practice wasn’t going to happen, I was faced with a decision. Go home, or put my 109 consecutive game streak on the line. I decided to stay, because I was hoping it would rain, and people would stay home. Also, there was a Penguins playoff game, so I hoped folks would stay and watch that. However, Pittsburgh crowds love fireworks, and 25,000 people still showed up.
Upon entering the stadium, I got ball #1 rather quickly from coach Ray Searage.
I then noticed several Cardinals playing catch in right field, so I went over.
Kyle McClellan, Mitchell Boggs, and someone else were playing catch, but when they finished, they were having an intense conversation as they walked off the field about different grips, so they ignored my polite request for a baseball.
Game: 5 balls (5 thrown)
Season: 102 balls (61 hit, 21 thrown, 10 device, 11 found)
Games: 14 games
Average: 7.29 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 3
Career: 680 balls
Streak: 110 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.