Unfortunately, I lost half of my pictures from the beginning of batting practice due to a malfunction of my camera. I must’ve left it on in my pocket, and when I went to take a picture half way through batting practice, it was in Chinese. The format option must’ve been pressed, and everything got erased from my camera.
So, ball #1 was a home run hit by Ryan Braun to the handicapped seats in left field. I jumped over a railing and picked it up for my first ball of the day.
My second ball was snagged in the ivy in center field.
Ryan Braun hit it there about 5:20, and I kept my eye on it the whole time, thinking it might be reachable. It was, and at 5:30 when the rest of the stadium opened, I ran over and grabbed it.
My third ball was pointed out to me by one of the ushers in center field. Both ushers in center field are really cool guys.
Ball #4 was fielded off the bat of Craig Counsell. I decided to head over to foul territory for a bit as there were three weak left handers up, and there was no screen protecting third base. I figured that they would try to go the other way a few times. The strategy paid off, as Counsell sliced a grounder right at me.
Ball #5 was a ground rule double off the bat of Wil Nieves. I chased it down and grabbed it with my barehand as the ball was rolling all over the place under the bleachers:
That was it for batting practice. Five baseballs. It was pretty disappointing, but the Brewers were focusing on a opposite field approach, perhaps expecting Paul Maholm to work them outside all night.
As for the game itself, I wandered around and took a picture from the upper deck during pregame.
Then I sat in the club section for a couple innings waiting for a foul ball that wouldn’t come.
I then returned to the outfield areas hoping to snag a warm up ball.
An inning later, I snagged Jose Tabata’s 8th inning warm up ball for ball #7.
The ball was bobbled by these college aged kids in the front row.
I seized the opportunity by snatching it with my glove as it was being dropped by one of them.
Season: 54 balls (21 hit, 11 thrown, 14 device, 8 found)
Games: 8 games
Average: 6.75 balls per game
Career: 1,176 balls
Strong storms swept through the Pittsburgh area around 3:30 PM, putting batting practice in jeopardy. However, they moved off to the east and the skies cleared by 4:30, so BP was a go for today.
I came into today needing six balls to reach the exclusive 500 balls snagged in one season club. It had only been done twice, by Zack Hample in 2008 and 2009.
Upon running in, I found ball #1 in the front row. I almost passed it by, but noticed fellow ballhawk Nick Pelescak running quickly towards the spot, so I double checked, and it was right in front of me. I leaned over and grabbed it for ball #1.
My second ball was thrown to me by Chris Resop. That’s the first ball that I ever got from Resop, so I was glad to add another player to my thrown list. Thanks Chris.
Season: 503 balls (243 hit, 116 thrown, 72 device, 72 found)
Games: 78 games
Average: 6.45 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 5
Career: 1,081 balls
Streak: 174 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Balls needed to break single season record: 41
I didn’t feel like going through another toilsome batting practice in Cleveland, and storms were in the forecast there, so I drove down to Washington DC.
Two other ballhawks were in attendance at this game – Ian Weir from Pittsburgh, and Alex from New York City.
When the gates opened, the Nationals were just beginning to hit, so there weren’t any easter eggs.
I caught ball #1 on the fly off the bat of Wil Nieves. It was a home run that was caught in this area:
During the second group, I won a scrum for a Ryan Zimmerman home run ball that landed two rows in front of me in this area:
That would be all I would get during the Nationals batting practice. Argh. Did I make the wrong choice by coming to DC?
The Braves first group included Jason Heyward
You’re not allowed to go get those balls, as one kid began climbing over the rail, before a security guard angrily yelled at him. I motioned with my glove and string as if to say, “Is it ok if I throw this out there.” The security guard made the non-verbal signal, “Oh yeah, go ahead.”
I flipped the kid a decoy ball and then threw my glove out and nudged ball #8 close enough to the glass so that I could simply reach other and grab it. It took one fling of the glove.
I was about ready to leave the red seats to go check the left field bullpen when yet another home run landed in the gap in front of the red seats.
I glove tricked that ball for ball #9.
Batting practice ended soon after, and I was stuck on 9 balls – just short of double digits.
I really wanted to hit the road, but there were three balls laying in
After standing and talking with Alex for about 20 minutes, Eddie Perez finally came out to the bullpen. He collected the three balls, and I asked him for a ball in Spanish. He ignored me. I continued in Spanish to say, “There’s also one in the flowers over there near the wall.”
Eddie went over and got it and tossed it up to me. Ball #10.
Here are today’s baseballs:
Game: 10 balls (4 hit, 1 thrown, 5 device)
Season: 347 balls (177 hit, 76 thrown, 41 device, 44 found)
Games: 54 games
Average: 6.43 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 5
Career: 925 balls
Streak: 150 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.