July 2010

7/20 Pirates vs Brewers PNC Park

 Considering the last time the Brewers visited PNC Park, I expected a big day and potentially a record setting day.

 I arrived at the ballpark and found myself in the middle of the line and soon later the Pittsburgh ballhawks generously let me move to the front of the line in front of them.

 When the gates opened, the ballhawks got their tickets scanned and ran and I followed soon. Considering that my knee was a little banged up, I caught up in enough time to see if there were any easter eggs but unfortunately did not see any. With that I ran up to the upper level along with Erik to search some more and came up empty handed.

 I then came down and prepared to start my day off with a bang. Sure enough, I ball came to left center and it rested close to the seats. Brendan Donnelly then came over and despite a couple of people asking him for the ball he casually flicked it up. I was in between the two people asking, and the ball came at an angle away from my glove hand and thus the degree of difficulty increased. Still I was able to make a clean barehanded catch on ball number 1.

 Ball number 2 came shortly after, as Ross Ohlendorf tossed up a ball that I easily caught in my glove. This ball was given away quickly to a kid, as it looked like the ball could have been meant for him.

 Soon after, Donnelly and Ray Searage both signed my first baseball.

 I came close on a few home runs, but a combination of my knee and bad route running ruined my chances on those as the Pirates BP ended.

 When the Brewers took the field I moved to center field and the Brewers were not tossing any baseballs up.

 I was rewarded, as Prince Fielder hit a home run that I was able to track down for ball number 3. The Brewers label many of there baseballs and this one said “you hang it we bang it”.

 After a while in center field, I was unable to snag anything else and I saw Fielder by the Lexus Club and proceeded to run over there. Sure enough, I made it with time to spare. Fielder was talking to someone and did sign one autograph but that was all he would do.

 There also was a baseball laying by the first base line and I went over to it but with no glove trick I was unable to get the ball.

 Brewers coach Stan Kyles also had a ball but he was tough as he kept saying that the people were too old to get the ball. I did not get that baseball either and came off empty handed.

 The game started and Jose Tabata and Delwyn Young switched the routine of tossups. Tabata tossed a jump ball in the second inning that was between Erik and myself and again I made the mistake of letting Erik get a row behind me. I was unable to time my jump and that combined with my knee allowed me to come up empty handed.

 It was not looking good for my record breaking day so I headed over to the bullpen.

 In my couple of innings over there there were two cats, a woman ejected from the ballgame that was trying to buy more tickets, a person who fell after posing for a picture and the mighty John Russell getting ejected.

 Despite all of this “nonsense” (inside joke) I was able to ask Luis Dorante to toss me a baseball. Dorante then tried to  throw the ball over the fence and failed and then threw the ball over to me for ball 4 on the day.

 I quickly thanked Luis and ran over to my seats to try and snag the record breaker before I had to go but Tabata threw the ball to right which ruined the process again.

 I then had to leave, but I was able to tie my record. I will be at the park on Saturday and it will be challenging as I expect a near sellout.

7/16/10 Pirates vs Houston Astros PNC Park

After yet another long week, I decided to cap it off at PNC Park with my free Pittsburgh Baseball Club ticket (my second one this year). With the All-Star Break over, I was expecting a large amount of snags for this game.

            While I left on time with my friend, we hit a lot of traffic and parked further away than usual, meaning I would have to run to get to the park and get a whiff of BP.

            Fortunately I made it with a little time to spare, and of course I nearly got shut out. The sun made things very hard to see and my only saving grace was All-Star Evan Meek who saw my glove and threw me a ball. The ball was surprisingly under thrown and I had to quickly react and made a lunging underhanded catch for ball number 1.

            The Astros batting practice brought nothing but frustration, as I have no Astros colors and also was unable to get any tossups despite asking a player for a ball in Spanish on multiple occasions.

            The sun still was a major detriment to me, and I was unable to really locate any baseballs.

            It also hurt that I had found three bullpen balls and I was unable to get any of them. I noticed the first ball in the bullpen after the Pirates finished BP, and D.J. Carrasco did not respond to my request and the ball remained where it was. I then asked a grounds crew man and he said that he couldn’t move the ball. I then left in favor of centerfield and better snagging opportunities but upon returning and getting nothing, I saw that the ball had vanished.

            I then talked to Nick of BHL and he was also victimized by the sun catching a BP home run and then dropping it. He would redeem himself later on.

            After the conversations, I noticed two more balls lying in the bullpen, with the police officer by the bullpen and I pretty much felt like I had the ball or even balls in the bag. I saw the officer go into the bullpen and asked very nicely but again was denied. Frustrated, I uttered a couple of expletives and moved on.

            It was at this point that my friend had arrived and was surprised to see my snag. I on the other hand was not pleased with myself as I felt I should have had at least three snags by now.

            Still undeterred, my friend moved into the PBC Club while I stayed in the hot hot heat. I decided to move towards the dugout as the outfield was not working for me. This move did not work out either. It was then when I noticed that my leg was a bit bloody because of the obnoxious people who just sit in the outfield. Honestly, you should just stay out unless you are trying to catch baseballs; you have no business being in there.

            I then played Press Your Buc on the Songwhale booth and came up with a whammy. It was then when I saw my vendor friend who actually got to be a vendor at the All-Star game and we had a nice conversation.

            I then walked over to the PBC Club and spun the Prize Wheel and again ended up with a $6 coupon, but because they didn’t mark my ticket I was able to spin again later. At this point I met up with my friend and we took our seats.

            I ate my dinner and no foul balls came up despite my being ready. Later on in the hotdog toss a hot dog came into our section but unfortunately it went well to the left of me and was snagged by an obnoxious buffoon in my section.

            Quickly recovering from the stinging defeat of free hotdogs, I whipped out my new phone and sent my first text message in an attempt to win a signed Ryan Doumit Pirates hat. I then decided to go down to centerfield to snag a tossup during the fourth inning.

            This allowed me to spin the prize wheel once again and I won a Ryan Doumit bobble head which I gave to Nick as I already had one. He told me that the tossups were all messed up and soon after Andrew McCutchen threw the ball to left centerfield and Milledge tossed the ball a little too short and I continued to stay at one baseball.

            I then received a text from Songwhale which said that I won the Doumit cap and I immediately got it. I then decided that I needed to try and get a second ball and went to the bullpen.

            I was stuck in the middle of the bullpen but a few minutes later I was much closer although I had to stick my head in the middle of a gate and it barely fit. Sean Gallagher went up to warm up and soon after was called back, but I was unable to get Herbie Andrade’s attention due to the end of the inning break activities. Gallagher and Evan Meek then warmed up and I quickly called to new catcher Erik Kratz and unfortunately he ignored me. Meek then was called back but he tossed a baseball to a couple of girls but when I asked him for a ball I motioned with my glove and he waved at me thinking that I said hi. I then asked Herbie again and quickly he tossed up ball number 2.

            I then thanked him and went up to the Hall of Fame Club as I wanted to get Dave Parker to sign my baseball as he was a celebrity bartender for the day. After a good ten minutes and another great talk with Dave Arrigo (one of the Pirates photographers) I got “The Cobra” to sign my baseball. I then had a nice five minute chat with Pirates radio personality Rocco DeMaro about my fantasy team and many other topics.

            I then went back up to the PBC Club and soon after met up with my friend, who I immediately gave baseball number 2 to. He had needed a ball for autographs and it was a fairly clean ball. A foul ball then came up to our section, but because my friend was blocking the way, I had no way of catching the ball. This angered me.

            After the game, a loss; we went back to the Hall of Fame Club where my friend got his ball signed by Parker and then we watched the Pirates postgame radio show Extra Innings, hosted by Rocco DeMaro and at the end of the show left.

            I will be at the ballpark on both Tuesday and Saturday of this week but I am not expecting much on Saturday’s game as I expect it to be a sellout due to the Steve Miller Band concert.

6/19/10 Pirates vs Cleveland Indians PNC Park

            I had high hopes on this day. Because of my age, inability to drive, work schedule and the Pirates being away, I have been unable to ballhawk as of late. This made me strive for a goal of snagging 10 baseballs with my previous high being four.

            I left early to get to the game and also to get my tickets and was at the stadium in record time. The wait however was seemingly never ending as many of the ballhawks started to come up to the ballpark.

            As the wait occurred I lathered up in sunscreen to protect my already burning body and then threw a baseball around with some of the ballhawks.

            After some more waiting, the gates finally opened and I raced in and was the first person from outside into the seating bowl. Unfortunately for me, some of the season ticket holders who were down on the field came up early and got any potential easter eggs before I even showed up.

            However, I quickly got ball number 1, as I had talked one of the people with the Pirates I know to throw me a ball up and it worked.

            Ball number 2 came quickly after as Herbie Andrade threw it up to me.

            Ball number 3 was much more drawn out as trainer Erwin Valencia had a ball that I told him to give to a lady and then he told me that he would get me the next one and sure enough it was mine.

            Erik gave me one of the Cleveland Indians shirts but it never served use as the players never tossed me up a ball.

            Soon after I began to feel terrible and soon I realized that I got dehydrated and after one inning, I left the game.