August 2011

Batting Practice 8/24 West Mifflin

I was asked by my friend and fellow ballhawk Erik Jabs to join him for a BP in West Mifflin and considering it would get some more throwing in me, I was more than willing to do it.

Things got quite complicated though, as my plans changed numerous times. I ended up receiving last minute questions from my parents as to whether or not I would go to Harrisburg to visit my mother’s side of the family, most specifically my uncle from Arizona who I had not seen in a year and my aunt who is currently battling against stage four breast cancer. It was great to see everyone but it did throw a wrench in my plans. I would end up having to pitch BP Wednesday night after games Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon with BP, throwing, etc in there. Needless to say I was a little tired, but this was the only way my plans would work.

My best friend Colston picked me up, and we slowly continued (thanks more unneccesary Pittsburgh construction) towards La Haciendo which was right by Century III Mall.

Erik then met us and drove us to the field and we warmed up and threw to each other, before I toed the mound and got ready to pitch.

I started out a little wild, but soon found the zone with some consistency. Overall my pitching performance considering a tired arm went better than expected, and I even threw in some sidearm action to confuse Erik.

My hitting is never good, but I did better than expected and handled Erik’s knuckler quite well consistently hitting it out of the infield.

Fielding was a little hard as I was tired, a little peaved from all of the traffic, and to boot, the stadium lights were coming on.

Here is a link to a video of what I mean: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4Ye04IU-Zw&feature=channel_video_title

All in all, it was a fun session, and I would do it again.

It’s time for the Pirates to respect their faithful season ticket fan base

From the desk of Zachary M. Weiss

August 27, 2011

Dear Pittsburgh Pirates Organization,

I write to you today to make a very simple request, please fix the PNC Park experience for those of us who have been faithful to you. You brag about being the ‘best ballpark in America’ but in order to achieve this status you need to treat those fans that have been loyal for all of these years with some more respect; the season ticket holders.

There is a reason why us season ticket holders pay for our tickets, some of which are quite expensive and that is to watch the team, however, we also love meeting the players and getting to know them. Every weekday, the gates open at precisely 5 O’Clock and this is a problem. By the time us season ticket holders get into left field to watch the team hit, they are off the field. We are lucky to even see our team hit for three minutes, and it is a true shame.

It is my belief that opening the gates at 4:30 on weekday and Saturday games is very reasonable. It would allow for season ticket holders to experience an almost entire batting practice. This allows for us season ticket holders to enjoy a more complete experience each game. By allowing people such as myself see our players, whom children consider heroes, get some signatures or even try to catch a baseball or two, we would be very grateful. Us season ticket holders are a family, and these 81 home games are all we have together because of various things going on in our lives.

Another issue are the ushers that come in early. Many of them come into left field and pocket the baseballs. First and foremost, Major League Baseball prohibits ushers from collecting baseballs. Secondly, it would be nice to see us season ticket holders get at least some of them. I mean, I can understand the occasional baseball being picked up for the intention of giving it to a child, but there is a fine line. It also looks even worse when you are trying to go for a baseball, and ushers are running for the ball and stealing it as you clearly see them doing it. For many, it is a thrill to get a baseball, and my thrill in getting each baseball is raising money for The Children’s Institute, a great organization that does a lot of great things for some amazing children.

Each baseball they pocket is a potential $4.50 out the window and also excludes children. Also something to consider is that some season ticket holders support my initiative by pledging money towards my cause. Just think about it, ushers may have one baseball to give to a child, but that excludes the thousands of other kids that come to each game. Let’s keep it fair for everyone and make it an enjoyable experience for everyone.

One final issue I have that is worth mentioning, is something that was brought up by a staffer that us season ticket holders run into on a semi-regular to regular basis. To get in to early batting practice, a season ticket holder must present their season ticket holder ID card or ticket; however this is where the problem arises.

Many season ticket holders cannot make it to certain games, and thus place their tickets to ticket re-sellers such as Stubhub. Out of town people, fans of opposing teams and others then acquire these tickets and then pass the scanner to get season ticket holder BP time. It is my belief that in order to get in early for this time, that you must present your season ticket ID in order to get into left field. In the end, we all want the Pirates to succeed; we are all season ticket holders and furthermore fans of the team. We all just want our experiences to be more enjoyable each game and to make new memories that we can tell our co-workers, friends and families about. The more word spreads, the more excitement will build over the Pirates and even more business for the team. Think about it, the choice is yours.

Sincerely,

Zachary M. Weiss

Erik Jabs

Nick Pelescak

Ian Weir

And the rest of the Pittsburgh Pirates season ticket holder family

Pirates vs Milwaukee Brewers 8/24 PNC Park

I would be at this game by myself until right around game time, but going in, I already knew that even with a light drizzle, the grounds crew would take the mid-morning off and tarp the field. Even though it drizzled and the tarp came off, both teams opted to hit in the cages, which stunk for me.

Zack Hample was back at this game, and I was the only PNC ballhawk there with him. I warmed up again with Baseball Joe and a Brewers fan, and brought a big change of clothes due to the rain.

I searched left field on both levels thick and thin and obviously there were no baseballs there, but stranger things have happened.

I then talked it up with some of the workers until it came time for all of the ballpark to open. I then assumed a spot by the Pirates spot where I met Euclides Rojas and had another brief conversation.

The starter for this game Aaron Thompson was out throwing this session as well which was bizarre and something I have never seen before.

After an overthrow missed me, I knew that area was not a good place for me to be in, so I changed gears and focused on Ross Ohlendorf and Charlie Morton. After they finished running, Ross threw me the ball for ball number 1.

It was my 50th consecutive game with one ball, and although that is nothing for some, it is a lot for me, and something I am very proud of.

Zack was getting shutout by the Brewers and I went over there to see what was going on. Some fast reactions allowed for me to get ball number two from Kameron Loe just before he headed inside.

I should have received ball number three from Frankie De La Cruz. I asked him in Spanish and the ball was meant for me, but massively underthrown and caught by Zack. I was not pleased, but there was nothing more I could do.

I still did get my third ball of the day from Euclides by the bullpen.

I then got my tickets upgraded and saw the Pirates win a 2-0 game. Thompson pitched fine but Jason Grilli stepped up his game and it allowed us to win.

Pirates vs Milwaukee Brewers 8/23 PNC Park

I left for this game early, as I knew that traffic in Downtown would be bad as Pitt students were moving in (lucky us). I ended up arriving shortly after three, which placed me behind Ian Weir. I was more than fine with this.

Baseball Joe appeared a very short while later and we all threw around. I ended up throwing around 100-150 times at least, although Ian and I each overthrew a baseball that ended up inside the ballpark. It took a while but a Chevrolet worker finally gave us back the baseballs. Although technically the balls came from a Pirates worker, the one was already in my collection, and the other was in Joe’s collection previous to this game and thus did not count either of these.

Another reason for arriving early was that Zack Hample was coming straight to the game from Cleveland and I wanted to be sure to get a spot well in front of him.

All of us PNC Park ballhawks were in attendance today, Ian, Erik Jabs, Nick Pelescak and even Harold and Jim two of the more experienced ballhawks that started in the days of Three Rivers Stadium before there were such things as early access and glove tricks.

To make a long story short, we wanted to make sure that the record for most baseballs snagged at PNC Park (which was 16) would stay. We all banded together to try and get this done.

When Zack arrived, I was throwing again with Joe, and everyone else was by the gate waiting for it to open. He was at the ballpark because of “Watch With Zack” clients of his.

Because the Pirates played a doubleheader on Monday, BP was slightly pushed back, so we actually got to watch ten additional minutes of BP, which was great.

When I came into left field, I saw that people were already there (likely a group sales or season ticket ploy) and hid my disgust in my glove, knowing that there were not any Easter Eggs.

Within the first few minutes, Erik, Nick and myself all had a baseball. Mine came off the bat of Matt Diaz. There was a scrum in far left field, and I had just enough speed (although I was slower than usual with both speed and reaction) to get to the ball, my first on the day. Erik later called it the best snag of the season that he had seen me get.
I had a chance to snag a second, when a ball clear the left field seats, and I led a scrum charging after it. We all know that the ushers pocket every baseball they can, and sure enough I saw an usher running, and I pulled up to watch him get and pocket the baseball.

The Pirates soon ended BP, and Zack had not snagged a ball yet which likely had kept the record intact.

The Brewers started to hit very soon after, and not much was going on. There were no toss ups, not many homers, even from Ryan Braun and just nothing to be excited about.

A few minutes in, Zack finally caught a homer on the fly which was hit right to him. At last discussion, he ended up with seven, although he stated that he was disappointed that he didn’t really have to work for any of them.

I left where I was for right field around 5:25. I ended up spending a minute talking to a yellow shirted security officer who I knew was in the area when the usher went out of his way to steal yet another baseball. He admitted that the usher had no reason to take the ball, and there was a rule stating that he was not allowed to do so. The next time I see an usher pocket a ball, I will call them out on it, or at least get a picture of it and send it to the Pirates.

I somehow was the first into right field and second into center field, but did not see Easter Eggs in either of these areas. The Brewers still were not good at toss ups, and I was not in great spirits, that is until Prince Fielder came up.

Prince Fielder puts on an absolute show during BP. Often times, that alone can be worth the price of admission. He absolutely pulverizes balls into the river, and I was lucky enough for the second straight year to catch a ball on the fly from him in order to prevent it from being a splash landing. Considering that the ball comes at you at a speed of 115 miles per hour, it truly does not feel great when it hits your hand, but catching a Fielder homer, BP or not is a cool achievement. The catch was my second snag on the day.

That would be all of the luck I had during Brewers BP, and I had to take care of all kinds of things, before making my way to the bullpen.

Euclides Rojas has become my new buddy on the Pirates. I seem to dedicate at least a paragraph an entry on him, and it is the least I can do for him. I mean he has to put up with me, come on.

Seriously though, he always looks up by the bullpen to see if I am there and so he can wave. It is awesome, and I am the only person who gets that kind of a greeting. He evens asks how I am doing, which is awesome.

Also awesome as always, but especially this game was Herbie Andrade. I know that he pitches BP each game, and with me pitching BP this week to Erik Jabs, I wanted to ask him for some tips. He completely stopped what he was doing, and gave me a good two minutes or so of advice. It was so awesome that he did that, and I took his advice (more in that in a couple of entries).

Ross Ohlendorf made his first start back at this game and slumped giving up a seven spot in the second inning, en route to an ugly loss. He was very nice in the bullpen and he waved to me when I welcomed him back.

To make matters even better, after he warmed up, he gave the ball to Euclides, and he looked at me and threw me ball number 3. It was a low throw and somehow I trapped my arm under the ball and slowly pulled everything back up. This is my second ball of the season that I got in which the starting pitcher used the ball just moments before to warm up. It is cool to know that your ball was used in such an important moment, and each time you know how you got a baseball, you feel a bigger attachment to it, well at least I do.

I ended up going to the next game which actually proved interesting.

Batting Practice this week

Well apparently the throwing session from last week was good, because Erik Jabs told me that he liked that I was throwing the baseball over the plate.

This then turned into him telling me that he wanted to face some live pitching, and that I fit the bill. I am unsure as to why he chose me, a lefty to do this, but it is official that Friday in West Mifflin, I will be throwing him batting practice, and hitting a little myself.

I am going to make sure that I keep my arm fresh and active for this, and I am excited and this is the first time that I have ever been asked to throw BP. Here is the schedule for the week:

Monday- I will bowl at least three games of bowling

Tuesday- Throwing around and Pirates game

Wednesday- Throwing around and Pirates game

Thursday- Throwing around on street with my friend Andrew

Friday- BP with Erik and my friend Colston at West Mifflin

I am unsure of how I will do on Friday, but I obviously want to do my best and make myself proud. Regardless, I am sure that Saturday and next Sunday, some photos and videos will emerge of the whole thing. It should be interesting to see how I fare. I wish myself the best of luck.

A to Z Sports Year 2 Exclusive Sneak Peak

I am pleased to announce that A to Z Sports is back for a second year! I will once again be partnered with Andrew Goldstein, and we will talk all things Pittsburgh, Point Park and National sports. You never know what you will get!

Here is some basic information that you will need to start listening:

1. A to Z Sports will be on at a new time now: A to Z Sports was on last year Wednesdays from 10 AM until Noon. This fall semester, it will be on from 4 PM until 6 PM. This time spot is huge, and may get more people listening and reacting. It will be fun broadcasting to more people and for many it will be their first time listening to the show.

2. A to Z Sports is all over the social media scene: A to Z Sports can be found on both Facebook and Twitter! To find us on Facebook searched under A to Z Sports and click the “like” button. There you will get photos, statuses, news, contests and videos all involving the show and sports news. It is truly worth your while. If you use Twitter feel free to follow us @AtoZSportsWPPJ. There you will get news about sports, the show and we may even throw some exclusive Twitter contests on there as well.

3. We are a show on Point Park’s radio station WPPJ: This means you will not find us on your normal radio, or at least not yet. To listen to us go to http://www.wppjradio.com/ . From there you can listen on Windows Media Player or on ITunes. The site has just been rebuilt, so I am sure that people are just going through the motions right now and listening will be coming soon. If you are reading this post and you are a student who goes to Point Park, then the Point Cafe is the place to be, as they will have the radio show going in there.

4. A lot of the concepts we had last year are going to stick: Last year’s show was a trial, as often times the feeds weren’t up. This allowed us to experiment with what we thought went right and what we thought went wrong. Expect to see things such as This Date in Sports History, Word From the Weiss/You Know What I Mean With Andrew Goldstein and Who Am I, back on the show. Some of these were just fun and some of these showed true sports analysis, and in a sense are necessities to the show.

5. A lot of new concepts are on the way: I cannot reveal all of the new ideas that we have yet, however there are quite a few things that need to be changed or tweaked just a little. Last school year at 11 AM we had a weekly segment called “Kevin at 11″, and Director of Athletic Communications Kevin Taylor would come in and talk about Point Park Sports. A lot of times towards the end of the school year, it did not pan out due to constant rain and baseball/softball games. This year, we definitely will have Kevin back quite a bit, but we are going to get more focused on Point Park Sports. Other then the first show (which at 5 O’Clock we will discuss all of the fall sports in preview format) we will have Kevin, or one of the players and/or coaches from one fall sports team come in and discuss the season. This unique format will allow for us to have a different voice each week and also allow a look at one team instead of hearing the same types of things over and over each week. This is one of the new ideas, but there are others which I am sure you will notice in the coming weeks.

6. You have a say in our show: Last year was unfortunate, because not only did the feed for the radio not work, but the phones did not work as well. This year we are going to try to use the phones for a segment where you ask us questions and we will try to answer them. I have heard nothing in regards to the phone system though, but even if the phones are not working you can always tell us your opinion of the show. In addition to feedback on Facebook or Twitter, I can be contacted at zmweiss@pointpark.edu and you can voice your feelings on there. In addition, both Andrew and myself do opening words to start off the show, and other then week one (I already have my Opening Word for the first show), you can email me again at zmweiss@pointpark.edu with your name, year and major (if that applies) and idea, and the best one will be used by me on a show. I mean who does not like to hear their name on the radio? It is a great opportunity, and you never know what you are going to get.

7. When does A to Z Sports start this semester?: The summer has flown by very quickly, and school for me starts next Tuesday. A to Z Sports will have its first show on Wednesday August 31 from 4 PM- 6 PM and Andrew and I will meet on Thursday to plan the show. We have a pre-recorded interview we may use on this show about the Pittsburgh Pirates, but we will have to see when it will be best to use it.

I really hope that you tune in to A to Z Sports, and for more information about the show, feel free to contact me at zmweiss@pointpark.edu.

Pirates vs Cincinnati Reds 8/20 PNC Park

I woke up in good spirits despite the rain and shivering from the previous game. Because I had to watch my brother, I did not get to the ballpark until a few minutes after four, making me third in line.

I was unsure of what would happen today because the Pirates would not be hitting on the field. So I snuck over to the other side of the field after a hello from Herbie Andrade.

I then saw the Pirates pitchers come out and start throwing and Euclides Rojas said his hellos to me as well. I did not end up with a ball, and it ended up costing me more than likely another ball or two, but each of these is worth it so long as I don’t blow my cover.

I got over and changed into Reds gear fast enough to see Bronson Arroyo finish his throwing session, and he quickly flipped me the ball for ball number 1. It was a disappointing start, but it certainly got the job done.

I noticed lefties Jay Bruce and Joey Votto hitting in the first group, and with no ushers in sight, I thought this would be great. Things were not in control though, as people kept sneaking into the outfield sections.

I was trying to go for an Easter Egg and when 2:30 came, I went into right field and found a ball in section 142, it was ball number 2. I also noticed that people filed early into center field, so looking for Easter Eggs in center field was pointless.

I then was shutdown during BP, as I saw the Reds throw maybe one ball up in center field, two in right field and not sure about left field.

I expected the Reds to have one more group hit, so when they ended BP early, I was in center field hustling to try and get to the dugout. I know that first base coach Billy Hatcher tosses up a ton of baseballs during BP, and sure enough he tossed two my way for balls number 3 and 4. Thanks Billy!

The Pirates defeated the Reds, although some of the bullpen was not up to snuff. A fun game and being by myself, it was nice to attend an entire game for a change.

Pirates vs Cincinnati Reds 8/19 PNC Park

I ended up going to this game earlier than other ones, because my mom was a part of the Zumba party at the ballpark that comes each year. So we left the house at 1:30, and when we were picking up one of her friends, we ran into LaMarr Woodley of the Steelers. We congratulated him on a good game, and he waved to us and had a huge smile on his face. It was at his house, which I will not mention where the house is, but it was very cool for me, because Woodley has always been my favorite Steelers.

Before I begin the Pirate part of this I want to get something off of my chest. While I am a Woodley fan, I have not gotten into Steelers football yet. While I may change team gear when the Pirates are not hitting, I am a true Pirates fan, and I simply cannot get into the other sports until Pirates season is over. This means that either the Season Ticket Holder hitting on the field event or the end of the season (which ever comes last) is when I finally can turn my focus over to the Steelers and Penguins.

I was at the gate today at two, although I took a brief detour to get something and arrived at the gate at three, still first in line. I did see the forecast and saw that there was going to be rain, but I didn’t care. I need to reach my goal of 128 baseballs, I already had my ticket, and with my mom as my ride today, it made sense to stay.

I had a coat at the ready, and usually that means it won’t rain. I was in contact with a buddy of mine who updated me on radar (I have no internet on my cell phone) and things looked grim. I put my coat on, and got ready to brace for impact. Sure enough, thunder and lightning came and Nick Pelescak (whom I had warned not to come, but was already parked) told me to come with him under Diamond Pizza and ducked for cover.

It was a very hard rain, one that cancelled BP, although the grounds crew had already tarped the field. At some points, the wind was everywhere and we were momentarily concerned that a tornado may come. Also it was worth noting that the door to Diamond Pizza was circuited and it could have electrocuted someone.

Erik Jabs showed up as well so that he could redeem his tickets for all of the promotional shirts. Although Andrew McCutchen can be a jerk of a person, his t-shirt by far was the best of the season. It was the reason for an attendance of over 36,000.

Erik also brought a Reds shirt for me, which I paid him $5 for.

We all waited out the rain together, and they both made clear that they weren’t going to stay. I had no choice but to stay. I would be the number one ballhawk there, and could show some skills off and also had to wait on my ride. Plus with next to no competition, I was bound to get a baseball.

I remained first in line when the gates opened, and I was shivering. It was not good, but I got my t-shirt and other goodies.

I went into left field to look for baseballs, that I knew wouldn’t be there, but I had to pass time. The outfield was quite soaked, and there were no baseballs or really ushers to be found.

There was no action for a short while until close to 5:30 when Ray Searage came out of the dugout. He approached the puddled mess, and decided to go into the visitor’s bullpen and climb over the large area, which for him looked quite hard. Both Euclides Rojas and Mark Strittmatter had little trouble scaling over the same area. Meanwhile James McDonald and Mike McKenry both went through the puddles, and looked like little kids.

It was an interesting session watching McDonald pitch, as he spent about 90% of his pitches throwing fastballs. His off-speed looked pretty good.

Euclides Rojas at this point knows me, and he always looks for me now so that he can say hi, smile, wave and flash a thumbs up. Him and Herbie Andrade are my two favorite coaches, and they still seem to appreciate me.

Still I did not get the bullpen balls, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw a couple of Reds coming out to throw, so I left the bullpen, and only had time to throw on my Reds hat.

I ran over to the first base side, and knew that this was my best chance for a baseball. The Red I was focused on was Bill Bray. It wasn’t the most eventful of tossing sessions, as there was no long tossing, and it was spent mostly from a rather close distance. After they were done, I asked Bray for the ball, and despite the fact that my glove was doused with rain, I was able to make the catch for ball number one. I quickly ran over to the Pirates side and got ready for their throwing.

As I got there, Chris Resop was finishing his session with Jason Grilli, and when he finished, he looked at me and threw me ball number two. A lot of the other ballhawks hate Resop, but I am a huge fan of his and hope that he stays here for years to come.

At this point nothing much was going on as the start of the game was delayed. I had purchased a right field ticket because Jay Bruce and Joey Votto were in town and Kevin Correia who struggles at PNC Park was on the mound. On paper it made sense. Still, I was at my seat when I noticed Mike “Macy’s” Leake going to the bullpen. I still sat there for a couple of minutes, and then finally thought of going to the bullpen. I strapped on my Reds Cap, and went over.

I had a decent space where I had some separation, and when Leake finished, I called his name. He didn’t look up for whatever reason. It looked like the other two guys with him were doing something, and Leake was pacing and waiting. He then looked up, and saw me, the only person with a Reds cap on motioning for a baseball. He motioned to me that he was going to throw it, and I nodded. It was a perfect throw, but someone was trying to come in on it. I boxed him out and made a leaping catch. I liked the effort for ball number three, and Leake liked it as well.

I at this point was shivering and thought that I could not stay much longer, because I could get myself sick, and thus called my father to get a ride as my mother never even came into the ballpark. Plus I wanted to attend today’s game so, I left and happily did so.

Three baseballs considering a monsoon and no batting practice is pretty impressive and tells me that I can get any job done rain or shine. It was an exciting game, but the Pirates emerged with a loss, but they showed they could come back. Clint Hurdle showed that he is willing to be ejected, and Joel Hanrahan once again showed that he needs in more, and blew another non-save situation.

I am excited for today’s game. I am unsure what it will do for me as batting practice will be in the air, but FOX will be there, and that could make things interesting.

Pirates vs St. Louis Cardinals 8/17 PNC Park

For yet another game, I was all by my lonesome. Sometimes I prefer it, because it means that I can roam around without the worry of leaving someone behind, but it also means that I have to leave earlier to get to the ballpark and that is a definite minus. The Pirates are my team despite my problems with the way the ballpark is run, and I hate leaving at nine.

I was first to get to the ballpark yesterday, but because of the whole situation where my bag was nearly confused for a bomb, I took my bag to get my tickets and by the time I got back, Baseball Joe had arrived, so unfortunately I got the second spot in line.

It was not a total loss though, as despite throwing what I now declare to be around 150 pitches yesterday, I toughened out another 200 plus pitches. As I sit, here my left arm is thanking me for taking the day off. My velocity got faster as I continued, but my arm was thrilled when I was done.

When I got into the park, I was pleased to see that there were no fans on the field, but there were no Easter Eggs. As I searched in the general admission area, a couple of balls hit the lower area, but were scooped up by the time I got back down.

Very shortly after, the Pirates left the field, and I decided to wait by the bullpen as there was a ball on the Cardinals side of the bullpen and Mark Strittmatter was also using one with Michael McKenry. When they were at the door, I asked for a ball, and “Stritty” placed the baseball in his hands into my glove for ball number one on the day. I have heard and seen him as others trivia questions to earn the baseballs, and I did not have to go through any of that, which pleased me.

I then prepped for the Cardinals BP. I did not miss much, as neither Fernando Salas in left nor Jason Motte were tossing any baseballs up. Motte even swore loudly (with tons of kids listening) after he did not catch up to a baseball.

I decided to head to center, although I thought about looking in foul territory. I found no baseballs in center, but very shortly after, I finally got into a Cardinal player’s head and Corey Patterson threw me a ball, which I had to reach over the fence for to get ball number 2. I’ll take it everytime though.

That was it for BP, although I tried to get other baseballs.

I headed towards the bullpen afterwards, and I ended up somewhat scoring.

The Pirate Parrot often shoots yellow soft baseballs into the crowd, and for many years I wanted one, but never really came close.

The Pirates relievers always bring one of these balls into the bullpen with them. Often times Daniel McCutchen is the most animated with these balls, and he has hit many unsuspecting relievers. This time, him and Chris Resop took turns standing still and trying to hit each other. McCutchen hit Resop in the groan area, and celebrated in mock fashion. Somewhere along the line, Herbie Andrade tossed it up to me, without me asking. Resop, who now knows and likes me, asked for it back, and I happily threw it back. After he hit Herbie and then McCutchen in the thigh, he tossed it back to me, this time for keeps.

Although it was a funny exchange, this does not count to my collection.

Earlier, I was by the bullpen and Herbie and Euclides Rojas came in, and we all had a brief conversation. I love talking with them each time and the fact that they make the effort at each game I attend shows that they appreciate me coming. I love talking with and getting to know them. Many say Euclides is mean, but he is very nice and has a great story, you just need to get to see him and know him.

As for the game itself, it stunk and I left at nine. Matt Holliday did not hit career homer 200 in this series, which was disappointing for me, because I had already planned out what I would do if I caught the monumental snag. Oh well, the Reds series starts tomorrow, and I am ready for some fun with Cincy. I hope to meet Brandon Phillips, he seems very cool and interacts a lot with fans on Twitter. In the mean time, let’s go Bucs!

Pirates vs St. Louis Cardinals 8/17

Because I was worried about potential Batman traffic, I left to get onto the bus early. I got Downtown much earlier than I could have expected, and was first in line.

I then left my bag to go pick up my tickets for this game and today’s game, and when I came back I saw someone searching my bag and also saw that it was wide open. At this point I was very upset, but with official Pirates people there, I had to keep my cool. I place my bag right at the gate all of the time to hold my spot, as the ballhawks and other fans and “fans” line up and not putting it there put my front of the line priviledges at risk.

They thought I left my bag on purpose and that there was a bomb in there. Translation: I was a terrorist trying to blow up PNC Park. It is moments like these that make me question why I go to games. The guy that snitched about the “suspicious” bag was there, and I so wanted to give him a piece of my mind, especially when he tried to lecture me, but somehow I took the high road and ignored him. Maybe being a camp counselor did help a bit :)

It is ridiculous and clear that the person wasn’t a fan and had no idea what he was doing, and if I see him today maybe my temper will finally flare (look out Zambrano).

Finally, I ignored him as he continued to ignorantly stand by me, when clearly he had no reason to stand close to me. Baseball Joe finally showed up, and we threw back and forth. I probably threw at least 90 times, and perhaps way more.

Both Erik and Nick showed up, but because of business people who purchase group packing, there once again were “fans” on the field and thus there were no easter eggs in the left field seats. It is ridiculous that each game this has to happen, I mean the ushers already pocket almost every single ball, and I have even caught some in the act of doing it.

Luckily, I searched in the furthest section in left field, and a Pirates, my guess Mike McKenry (my head was down at the time). Hit a bomb right at me, that I snagged for ball number one and number 100 on the season. It was dumb luck, but at least a cool and memorable way to get the milestone ball on the season.

I am up against the clock right now, so here is a summary.

The Cardinals BP stunk, I played the wrong area, and got no more baseballs on the day. The Cardinals are terrible with toss ups.

I also found out about a new rule. Instead of 6:30, fans are now kicked out of sections they do not sit in after batting practice. This upsets me a great deal, and apparently fans complain. Fine then be that way, from now on, I will keep all of my baseballs, and purposely get in your way. See how you like it then! No more giving baseballs to kids, and no more nice Zac.

PNC seems to be getting lamer each day, and depsite a nice win, I am questioning why I go. I am highly considering not renewing my tickets next season, because of its lameness. Oh well, I will figure that out later.

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