Wow these two days were two of the most frustrating as a ballhawk. I was just downright steamed. My workouts have paid off but I keep seeing mixed results and it has been downright frustrating.
Here is how Monday started:
I had just finished my second class and after an exhausting core session earlier in the day, I was ready for the day.
Of course, my day was going to start well. Hisanori Takahashi was manning the left field corner and a ball rolled to the warning track.
I asked for the ball in perfect Japanese and he specifically made eye contact. It was going to be a great start, except it wasn’t.
Some idiot did not seem to understand that when you do what I just did that you do not interfere, you move on to the next one.
All of the ballhawks knew that I had asked in Japanese and that the ball was mine.
Takahashi either had a sloppy throw or didn’t see that I am a fellow lefty, and the newb got the ball.
He tried offering me the ball back but there’s nothing I can do about.
I was rightfully ticked off and I didn’t want to hear about it from anybody. Him putting the ball in my face numerous times was just salt in the wound. Shut up, take your ******* ball and move on before I get really pissed off. This isn’t your kingdom, so be careful because next time you do that it won’t end well.
Okay moving on.
Even an usher felt bad for me and directed me to a ball I missed or either a ball he pocketed earlier and put in an easy spot.
“That was a douche move,” the usher said. “You didn’t deserve that.”
I thanked him and was glad to be on the board, even if it wasn’t the way that it should have.
I was able to track a Michael McKenry BP homer and beat everyone to it in the scrum.
Ball #3 should have been a caught McKenry homer, but I was just still off and I just gave in on it.’
Well at that point I had to talk on a radio show I do each week, so I tried to ballhawk while talking on the phone.
The Cardinals were stingy with toss ups, but a ball came to the wall and pitcher Joe Kelly retrieved it and I held my glove up.
I was talking about David DeCastro and how his injury affects the Steelers and then the ball went into my glove for ball #3. It was my 400th career snag. That was a memorable way to get it, but I wasn’t done.
The rain started coming down but the Cardinals continued BP. Players left the field and the coaches stayed. I came up empty the rest of the way.
By the bullpen I got balls 4 and 5 from Euclides Rojas and Herbie Andrade.
Ballhawk Erik Jabs gave me a ticket for section 142 that came in handy later as I got Travis Snider’s fourth inning toss up and then pointed to a father, underhanded it to him to give to his son. Applause from the section ensued.
Before leaving I would run into Point Park Women’s Basketball Head Coach Tony Grenek and I will be going to their first day of practice Wednesday instead of the Astros game as their BP is terrible. We were talking about pre-camp and how we saw the team and were in agreement. He owes me a trip to the national tournament after what happened to me last year. Was the highlight of the game by far.
Before we parted ways and I left for the day, I gave him a baseball for his son and he lit up.
Tuesday was another tough day. I had a big full body workout and I was up against the clock.
I needed to get a baseball by 5:40 as I had a class at 6 p.m.
I had an opportunity during Pirates BP and blew it. I cursed at myself for the rest of BP.
When the Pirates left the field I slammed my glove on the ground and continued swearing. I was pissed again.
I kill myself with all of these workouts and get jackcrap to show for it. Maybe a change of strategy is in order.
The clocked ticked and I went straight over to the first base side, where I got Kyle Lohse to toss me a ball right at the deadline.
I got to class right at 6 p.m.
I would be in the press box the next day and snagged eight baseballs but none of them count. I was told I could toss two up which I did and tossed the other eight back in.
Mark Strittmatter wanted to see my fastball but my body was worn out and with full blown dress clothes, my motion was restricted.
I cannot go any further but it was a nice experience.
Now here we are in September and the Pirates are over .500. I am sure fans are not pleased with the 3-9 record since the 19 inning win, but if you told me that the Pirates would be 70-63 going into the month I wouldn’t have believed you.
Physically I am in great shape.
I expect this to be my last full month of ballhawking. I sit on 198 baseballs and as long as I don’t do anything stupid, I will easily surpass my goal.
It has been a tale of Septembers for me. In 2010, I felt fine and had my best month in my rookie year. In 2011, I was tired, ill, stressed out and after dehydration felt it was a chore to come to the ballpark. It just wasn’t fun anymore and I tapered off.
Again, I have been training and expect myself to stay in good shape and make it through the season. I want it to end the way that I know it should.
Now as I like to say in workout terms for both myself and the Pirates, it’s go hard or go home. Enough said.