Pirates vs Phillies 4/8/12 PNC Park

“Gates are opening at 11:30 Sundays from now on.”

I should have known right then and there that Sundays were going to suck. In previous years, the gates opened at 11 AM for a 1:35 PM Sunday game. Just the Riverwalk would be open and no gates would be open for 1/2 an hour later. That would hold true and as expected there was no season ticket holder time, and we would be confined to the Riverwalk until noon, which essentially defeats the purpose of going to Sunday games.

Let’s rewind the tape a little bit here. I was first in line, and for 15 tosses caught with Baseball Joe who then randomly cut me off. I was looking forward to a long throwing session, so I was disappointed when it was cut short. Essentially it meant that I had to stretch much longer, which is not nearly as much fun.

Bag ready and first in line at the centerfield gate.

Erik and Nick did show up and came up with the same conclusion that Sundays are crap shoots and not really worth the time.

When noon finally did came, I decided to try right field when it became apparent that I would not be the first one in center for the two Easter Eggs there. I was a little too low for an Easter Egg, and was prepared to head down to center. I was in 142, and that entrance was not opened, and that ended up being a blessing in disguise.

A ball rolled to the wall, and Phillies reliever Mike Stutes went to the wall. I unfortunately did have my Phillies gear on at this point, and I figured he would not remember me from having to watch his glove the day before due to the gear. I guessed I figured right, because when I asked him for the ball, he said, “sure”.

I was prepared for the tossup, but forgot that I was in right field. Things are much tougher ballhawking wise there, and to make things even tougher, Stutes turned his back to me and did an over the shoulder toss. This put to risk the direction of the ball, distance, etc… The ball was slightly left of target, and I was having difficulties tracking it. I also quickly realized that a gloved kid was right behind me, which meant if I misplayed it, the kid would almost certainly get the ball. Fortunately, at the last moment, I found it and placed the glove in the right spot for ball #1. Thanks Mike!

Phillies reliever Mike Stutes. He let me watch/hold his glove and tossed me up a baseball the next day. Has a great Twitter presence as well.

BP was essentially a waste so I tried center and figured it wasn’t worth it. First base yielded no luck, but I figured I would try the dugout again. In an even stranger turn of events, the Phillies fans were nice once again to me, perhaps thinking I was one of them (you fools!) and let me into the front row, right at the steps area where all of the players would run down. I knew from Saturday that no one major would sign, and I wanted to try my luck at another baseball.

Phillies BP ended 10 minutes later, and of course Laynce Nix was the only one who signed autographs.

Then Third Base Coach Juan Samuel was putting the baseballs back in the Phillies bags. I asked him for a baseball in Spanish and he didn’t hear me. I did not panic, and a baseball fell from the bag far enough that I tried again. I asked again for a baseball in Spanish (so glad that I knew he was born in the Dominican Republic). He looked up saw me and it was another over the shoulder toss. It was his only toss and I caught it for ball #2.

Muchas gracias Juan!

That was it for BP, and I of course went to my spot by the bullpen where I again got exactly where I wanted.

From there I saw both team’s lineups and I got very excited.

April 8th Pirates starting lineup

Juan Pierre is starting. YES!!!

I did get to talked to Herbie Andrade and Euky Rojas as always, which is a treat.

I got to see the reliever file in as always and that was fun. I just had a feeling about this game after that walk off, and decided to stay for the duration of the game. Call me crazy, but I ended up right.

Another favorite part of being by the bullpen is watching that day/night’s starters warm up. I can immediately see either by their expression or by my judgment how they will fare in the game minutes later. Here are today’s starters.

James McDonald gets his warm up tosses in.

Vance Worley warms up for the Phillies in preparation for his April 8th start.

Snagging wise, I ended up with two more baseballs. The first was from Herbie Andrade. It was not intended for me, but rather for a little kid. The kid dropped it, and immediately I played hero, stopping the ball and giving it to the kid. Hey ball #3 for me which is great. Herbie gave me a thumbs up, and Euclides Rojas disappeared for a minute and tossed up a baseball of my own for ball #4, which was awesome.

As for the game, the Phillies scored in the first inning again, but the Pirates finally showed offense, their best offensive effort thus far in the season (… yeah not saying much).

David Herndon came in the ninth game with a 4-4 score and the Pirates got that lead off double again. Jose Tabata nearly blew the whole thing once again, but it was Andrew McCutchen who came through with a walkoff single off the centerfield wall and well over the head of buddy Shane Victorino. This meant the Pirates were 2-1 and had won a series against the Phillies in dramatic fashion.

Andrew McCutchen is interviewed on the field just moments after the walkoff win April 8th.

My next game is tentatively scheduled for a week from today, May 20 vs the St. Louis Cardinals. I had a nice throwing session today for 40 minutes. I was moving well, my arm felt great, I threw at least 200 times and my glove was not too bad. I also increased my velocity today and had no issues which was great, especially since my velocity and arm felt the same from start to finish.

Between now and Thursday, I hope to get three blog posts up. I have to blog about my core workouts and will review two books that I read, one of which has not even been released yet.

Until then, Let’s Go Bucs!

2 Comments

I just read through all three of the entries and would like to congratulate you on your quick start, and would like to say that I’m loving all the pictures and videos in the entries. They make them a lot easier to read than the previous blocks of text.
-Mateo
http://mateofischer.mlblogs.com

Thanks Mateo, and that was popular. I agree, I was having trouble uploading pictures last season, but I have a new computer and it makes things much easier.

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