Results tagged ‘ Ian Weir ’

Ballhawking thru two homestands

 Due to the rain, there were not nearly as many opportunities to snag baseballs. There was no batting practice every single game I went besides Saturday. I am not counting Wednesday towards my ballhawking stats as I was a media member and covering both dugouts (and there was rain galore again) I had no opportunites to snag a thing.

 Games: 6

 Balls snagged: 25

 Career Balls Snagged: 94

 Top Catches of the homestand:

 1. Saturday April 23 Pirates vs Nationals: Matt Diaz hit a ball that initially looked as though it was going to fall short of where I had set up shop, but it sailed longer. I was prepared to play it off of a bounce, and it did bounce, right off of my leg. I had no time to lick my wound and I dove on the concrete on top of the ball making the snag. It also was ball number 22 of the season.. BHL founder Erik Jabs said that I needed to snag 21 this month to keep pace, and it allowed me to pass this benchmark. Also it took me until July 20, 2010 last season to get to this point, so I am well ahead of my pace.

 2. Tuesday April 26 Pirates vs Giants: I had just missed an Andrew McCutchen toss up in the third as he under threw me. My back had been out and my leg still banged up from the Diaz hit and other injuries. I also had slightly tweaked my ankle. In the fifth inning, Cutch tossed up the ball and I knew this likely was my last chance. Ian Weir had snagged the third inning ball after my misplay, and if I missed it, he was likely to get it. Right behind me was a supervisor so I had to defend him as well. It was the exact same catch as the one on April 14 against the Milwaukee Brewers.

 

 Autographs:

1. Tim Lincecum- I don’t really chase autographs anymore, but with no BP on the field and nothing going on, I tried to get Giants ace Tim Lincecum. It was hard because he started in the middle of the autograph seekers and I was closer to the end of the line trying to gauge where he was. He then was skipping every two or three people, so I went where I thought he would sign, and I ended up correct. He signed the baseball thrown to me by Madison Bumgarner only minutes before. It was a great moment and a great add to a collection which includes Adam Wainwright, Billy Wagner, Ubaldo Jimenez, Andrew McCutchen and more which I cannot think of right now. Lincecum has a scribbly autograph much like Jimenez, so you really can’t tell that it was him who signed it.

Upcoming Dates:

 I plan on being an active member of this homestand. Being at 94 snags, I more than expect to surpass the 100 career snags on this homestand, which has visits from the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers. The Astros are not great when it comes to BP or toss ups, but you never know. The Dodgers have a new manager but with Matt Kemp, Andre Eihier and others it should be a fun BP. Here are the games I plan on going to at this moment:

 1. Saturday May 7 vs Astros

 2. Tuesday May 10 vs Dodgers

 3. Wednesday May 11 vs Dodgers

 4. Thursday May 12 vs Dodgers

 PLEASE HOLD UP WEATHER!!! WE HAVE ALREADY HAD ENOUGH RAIN!!

 Lastly fellow Pittsburgh ballhawk and BHL member Nick Pelescak asked me if I wanted to go to Washington to see the Nationals play the Giants, but I decided against it as I have finals this week. It actually didn’t seem that expensive to go so very well may take a road trip this year. He also offered to take me to Texas this summer, but with a summer job and limits I declined that invite. Perhaps Washington and Cleveland are possibilities this season.

Pirates vs San Francisco Giants 4/26 PNC Park

 Before I begin, let me explain. This entry is written in a Times New Roman font, and that is because I typed it on my computer before I placed it on here. I had a tight timeline when I first typed this and I figured this would work just as well.

This day started with a lot of promise. I had read a post from Twitter from @BucsInsider and saw that the first 15 people to meet at the Pirates Clubhouse Store would get a pair of tickets to the Pittsburgh Baseball Club for the game. Naturally, I never had a chance to experience this, so I decided to go and sure enough I landed a free pair of tickets to the game. To be honest, with rain in the forecast I would not have taken it otherwise.

 Here is a photo of me posing with the two tickets that I was given.

            When I was in one of my later classes, I saw the rain and groaned as I knew that batting practice was cancelled immediately. I then got a text stating that the tarp would go on the field at four, an hour earlier and it confirmed my worst fears that there would be no batting practice.

            I went to this game with my friend Andrew, and ultimately got the first spot in line. I was just ahead of Ian Weir and Erik and Nick opted not to go because the tarp covered the field.

      Here’s proof of the line behind me. I know not much of a line, but that was the line just moments before going into the ballpark.

           

    And then this is Ian and myself.

When the gates opened, I charged in ahead of the pack. The gates actually took longer to open, because they were trying to work the scanner. I immediately searched thick and thin for Easter eggs and overran one which Ian got. I have mixed feelings about it as of course I wanted to add to my total, but the ball was soaked and was bigger. It essentially was a play that was similar to how I performed on Saturday.

            Evan Meek then came out to throw with a fellow Pirate. I was too far away to see who it was, but he waved to me. He ended up tossing the ball to someone else, and it was almost time for the other gates to open, so I was getting ready to change into my Giants gear. All of a sudden, Meek was walking towards the bullpen. I was well aware that there was a ball in the visitor’s side of the bullpen, and I pointed it out to Meek (something along the line of “Hey Ev I think there is a ball in the bullpen” “Really, where? Oh I see it. Here you go”). He appreciated it, and ended up lobbing it up to me and with no competition I snagged my first ball of the day.

            I then went into the outfield and was about to start searching but I had a feeling that Ian had already searched the area between my time of getting the ball from Meek, and thus I went to the first baseline, where various Giants pitchers were warming up.

            The tarp was still on the field, however there was no rain, nor any impending threat of rain. Various pitchers were warming up, and I ended up getting lucky. Ian was right next to me and had his Giants gear, but I had a leg up on him, as I had gone on ESPN’s website earlier in the morning, and printed up the roster and some pitchers. I was able to correctly identify Madison Bumgarner, and after he finished his running, he picked up the ball. Everyone’s attention was elsewhere, and Ian was motioning for the ball. I somehow got a “Madison” out and before I even asked anything, I was thrown ball number 2, as I made an easy backhanded catch.

            I then tried other opportunities, however those did not work. I decided this was a good time to take a short break. Tim Lincecum had just finished pitching in the bullpen and came out. He ended up signing autographs, and I figured sure why not. I had him sign the ball that Bumgarner threw me, and although his signature much like Ubaldo Jimenez’s looks like weird scribble scrabble, it was cool to have his signature. Thanks Tim for rewarding the few fans that were there!

            I also got to see Brian Wilson but he didn’t sign autographs and his toss up went to the second deck. It was cool to see his beard.

  As for the game, it did not start on time. The game did begin at 7:50 even though no rain even fell. While we waited, we got to see Matt Cain warm up.

 

I missed on Andrew McCutchen’s first inning toss up and Garrett Jones’s second inning toss up although I was in the right section in both instances. With Cutch’s third inning toss up, it was clearly meant for me, however it was underthrown, and I had no play on it and I tried to recover but could not in time and was not happy about it. I continued the trend in the fourth as I was not even close on the Jones tossup.

           Meanwhile Charlie “Electric Stuff” Morton was dealing and pitch six plus solid innings. Good for Charlie after a poor start in his previous outing.

            With no homers heading out let alone my way, I knew that I had thus far snagged two baseballs and thus tied my mark from Saturday despite not even having any BP. In the fifth inning, I set myself up in a similar position to the catch from the Thursday game against the Brewers. Ian was unaware of this position as he had not seen this and neither Erik or Nick were in play, so Cutch gave me a chance, and I made a jump similar to that Thursday catch, and sure enough caught it on the top of my glove again. It was ball number 3 of the day.

            That was it for the day, as despite a cranky back yet again, I was able to run throughout the Riverwalk and left field. I left shortly after nine with the game in the sixth inning.

            The listed attendance for the game was just under 10,000 however clearly less people were at the game.

            I have a big day tomorrow with my media interviews. As a side note, I have been told not to post any of the quotes onto the blog and thus will respect these wishes. I may post an impressions post onto the blog, but we’ll see. Looks to be an exciting day.

            Three snags is pretty good for a non rain day and someone who was tired and had four classes or so. I am now at 94 career baseballs, and thus 100 total should be coming very soon.

          Ballhawking Stats:

     Balls snagged: 25

     Balls given away: 15

     Games: 6

4/7/11 Opening Day PNC Park

 I was getting over a nasal drip and allergies but despite being told that the game was “sold out”, I bought my ticket from Point Park University.

 It all came down to a good night’s sleep so after watching Survivor, I immediately went to bed to get that extra half-hour of sleep.

 I then fulfilled my obligations, and ended up contributing to a university radio show for two hours before getting some final preparations for the game in and then making the short walk from Point Park to PNC Park.

 I fully expected a line to back all the way until the street but the line was not nearly as long. I actually cut to the front of the line with all of the ballhawks, and no one complained which is great.

 I slowly but surely caught up with a lot of the ballhawks starting with Harold, Jim Saylor and Ian Weir before quickly jogging down the steps and trying to play homers off of the riverwalk.

 The Pirates had started BP early, because of the on-field activities scheduled for 12:40. The gates were expected to open at 11:30 so needless to say, us ballhawks were not pleased. During my couple of minutes down there after the long jog, I was beaten to a ball by both Erik and Nick and my reactions were not great.

 Still this was a game that I initially did not commit to, and thus this would be a strike (no pun intended) extra for me.

 Going into the game I want to snag at least three. That was what I snagged last season in my ballhawking debut, and I want an overall average of three or higher to make my ballhawking goal.

 Erik, Nick and I all went up early in hopes that the ballpark would open at 11 and it did. I got in just ahead of Ian and behind Erik and Nick. The familiar sprint was something I missed a lot and I started searching the lower portions of left field for easter eggs but was coming up empty. This was when the light bulb clicked. I decided to search the second deck as no one was up there.

 This ended up being a wise move, as when I went up, I saw a white speck and sure enough I was on the board with ball number 1. It was just too easy, and in fact I could not have asked for more. I was not feeling great and to get on the board like that brought a smile to my face. I quickly surveyed the ball and saw that it had a decent sized hole in it which meant that someone must have had a lot on their swing. I have no idea who hit it, but just for the heck of it will say Tabata.

 The first Evan Meek sighting of the 2011 season occurred after he threw a ball to Erik and Nick and actually said, “It’s 1-1 who’s going to come out on top”.He said that he would get us all later and I jokingly responded, “I thought what we had was something special” which drew a laugh out of him. He obviously knows/is more than willing to contribute to our collections.

 I did not get lucky though and he never tossed me up one. Also fans decided to sit in the most random places in left field and just blocked my path towards everything. It was very annoying and I swore quite a few times under my breath as it was clearly amateur hour. For obvious reasons, I will not repeat what I said on this blog, but it is ridiculous, we have gloves and moving around you just makes it that much harder and more likely for somebody to get hurt.

 I also was trying to take pictures for the blog and missed out on two snags which easily could have been mine, and at that point I thought that I was doomed.

 Pirates BP ended and I got nothing else, and I got quite upset as I changed into my Rockies gear. I knew that my chances of getting to my goal were getting more slim by the second as the sellout crowd of 39,219 fans filed into the stadium.

 I started out Rockies BP in left field and was coming up empty handed and decided to move my efforts to center field. After some time in center, nothing was happening and I was trying to figure out what to do. Left field was packed at this point and it would have been very hard to be mobile and right field was tough, so I decided to stay.

 Shortly after, an unknown Rockies player hit a ball to the warning track. I lined it up and knew that this was my chance. I had the corner spot in center and lined it up. Now I had a new glove and it was broken in very well but this was the first test of my new glove. I never had a chance to throw with anyone because I was sick and the weather was terrible. Also no one was throwing when I showed up. So this was it, and in short I blew it.

 The ball did a one hopper into my glove and it just fell out. To make matters worse, the fans in center let out a collective groan. The third bit of bad news was who saw it. Matt Lindstrom threw me my 64th and final ball of the 2010 season, and now he was a Rockies reliever. Would he remember me? No was the answer, but he provided another memorable moment.

 I asked Matt if he could help me out and toss me up the ball. He legitimately told me “You dropped it”. That was his actual quote and he mockingly sounded like a first grader. After the “grief” that Lindstrom gave me, he softly tossed up ball number 2.

 I then decided to go for the trifecta and challenge myself. I would ballhawk in right field. I only did this a couple of times last year and it did not go well. I think I will ballhawk a little more there especially with some of the hitters that the NL Central has. I first went up and chatted with Big Yellow, Randy Page. The last I had seen him, was when he came onto my radio show for a couple of segments to talk Pirates baseball, so of course it was great to see him.

 Of course once I went to right field, the Rockies hit a cold spell. I think maybe one of their hitters even made it over the wall during their entire BP time.

 I of course shifted my position and then of course is when that one home run came, right in a place where if I was situated in my previous spot, then I would have been able to snag it.

 Still a short time later, an unknown Rockies player had a ball close to the warning track and being the only person remotely close to wearing Rockies gear, I thought that I had a chance to snag it. It ended up that the player threw a terrible toss and it started to go down the stairway in the section I was in. I was closest to the steps and sprinted down the steps getting the ball ahead of five others chasing the ball and thus met my goal with ball number 3.

 I left right field after the snag, and moved back to center. I did contemplate chasing foul balls but the Rockies weren’t hitting many out. Troy Tulowitzki was hitting some balls out to left but not many people were able to move to try and get the snag so it got swallowed up by a sea of hands. I came close to a snag of a homer in center. It took a huge bounce and if the guy who snagged it had bobbled it, I would have made an easy snag, but it was not to be.

 Rockies BP ended a few minutes after and then the waiting game began. I clumsily looked for my bag that I had left in left field for five minutes until I found that it was moved down.

 I then headed to the bullpen, which ended up being my seat for the whole game, because I did not want to sit in my designated seat in the bleacher general admission area.

 I was able to watch Paul Maholm warm up which never gets old but he put the baseball in his back pocket and thus I did not get the toss up. I quickly grabbed my things, and moved over to the fenced area right by the bullpen as I knew how the whole move to that area thing would work and I looked quite smart as I got the closest spot that I could.

 Closer to the middle of the game, bullpen coach Euclides Rojas got my attention. He explained to me that he was going to throw me a ball but to give it to the little child standing to my left. I agreed and he threw me a nice easy to catch ball and I snagged it for ball number four. I immediately gestured a thank you with my glove and with him watching, quickly gave it to the child. I half expected him to throw another my way, but it was not to be.

 I then stood and enjoyed the game, and nothing else snagging wise came my way.

 Let me correct myself for a second, there was not much to enjoy about the game as the Pirates lost 7-1.

 The highlight of the game at least according to fan applause was a fan who in the ninth inning went onto the field. Two security guards responded a little late, but got on the field. I was surprised that only those two, who were stationed in right field were the only two out. The man encouraged the crowd and the ovation grew louder when he deked a security guard and made him fall onto the grass. Eventually though he was contained and the security person by the bullpen said that the man would be fined $500. The fans all cheered him amidst taking cell phone videos, and a minute or two later Pirates reliever Jose Veras mimiced the man’s actions.

 Lastly, the pregame stuff was all nice as the Pirates spent the majority of the time honoring Chuck Tanner who recently passed away. Also Jeff Banister was given the “Pride of the Pirates” Award. Former Pirates Manager and current Rockies Manager Jim Tracy, went out onto the field today with a mixed reaction although I would say that at least 80% of that reaction was in a negative direction.

 My next game will be on Saturday against these same Rockies, and Mr. Electric Stuff himself Charlie Morton is expected to go. I was supposed to be interviewed by my school paper but that will not happen. Hopefully I will be able to catch with the glove on Saturday before the game.

 

Thank yous 2010

 I consider myself to be a thoughtful person and thus the premise for this entry. This season could not be possible without this list of people and I feel that this is a way to express my gratitude to all those who have helped me. These names (some only first names I apologize) are in no particular order but every one of them have truly meant a lot to me. I apologize if there are some that I have forgotten on this blog (insert Kenny “Lemonade Man” Geidel and T.C. here) but this is my opportunity to thank you for the laughs, the injuries and your part in the 2010 baseball season.

1. My parents- I will be honest, I think my parents still have no idea about the concept of the BHL or anything related to it. My dad thinks that it is a total waste of time (maybe that’s why we don’t go to too many games together anymore). Still though, they have supported me this season and they made sure I was safe and often times went out of their way to provide me transportation. I am not ashamed to say to anyone how much I love and care for them.

2. Colston- Colston has helped me a lot this season as well. Throughout the process he has snagged a couple of baseballs this season, but by no means is he a future ballhawk. Colston went with me to about half of the games I attended this season and each has been a different experience for us. As a side note I should thank his mother in this entry because she also provided transportation from Lawrenceville to my home, often with downtown traffic, without complaining. It takes a great soul to do that, and Colston’s mother truly is a great soul. Thank you to both of you!

3. Erik Jabs- When I entered the BHL this year as a new member I had no idea what to expect however the advice and encouragement that he gave me before the season meant a lot. The league was certainly a fun experience and I will take some of the lessons I learned this year and apply them to next year. I hope to see you before PiratesFest.

4. Nick Pelescak- I still remember the freezing April day when you introduced yourself to me. Your words did encourage me to raise my game late in the season and despite a minor setback this past weekend with my illness, I raised both my average and my game. I enjoyed our constant runs from center field to left field but hate Tabata’s toss ups. Don’t worry I will get a Gem of the Diamond soon!

5. Ian Weir and Steve Uhlmann- You both were my main competition this season. Steve, although we never really had any conversations, it was great to ballhawk against someone my age. It was a shame that you left before the season ended, or else I am sure that this three way battle would have ended up much closer. Ian, despite the Rachel Ray impressions, raising the roof during Neil Walker’s at bat song and dancing terribly it was great seeing you at the ballpark. We went to a similar amount of games this season and we had some constant running as well. I think the difference between us was that I went a couple more games and I had that season ticket holder bp time. I hope you get a season ticket package because I look forward to the challenge.

6. Jim Saylor, Danny, Harold, Big Yellow and Baseball Joe- All of you represent the older generation of ballhawks and more importantly welcomed me with open arms. It was great talking with each of you before heading into the games. Jim, I look forward to more of the pranks you pull on me, and maybe I’ll get you back one of these days. I am mad that I missed out on that Pence Gem of the Diamond on Sunday and that will keep replaying in my mind throughout the off season. Danny, your encouragement simply put really kept me going. I really appreciate it and I know that my days will continue to come as a writer. Harold or shall I say “King of Right Field” I will have to try right field soon. I may not like it up there but I eventually will figure it out. Big Yellow, you need to give me dancing lessons. I have no confidence in Arthur Murray ballroom dancing and you dance with style. The conversations we had throughout the season have been very enjoyable. Baseball Joe, even though Nick and Erik think that your baseball is “cursed” I have still had above average days the both days I was to be “cursed”, therefore there is no curse. While you cannot speak, actions speak louder than words, and you truly are the biggest and best Pirates fan that I know. The team needs more people and fans like you. It has been a pleasure to get to know you this season!

7. Tim DeBacco- The opportunity that I had to job shadow this season really was one of my favorite moments this season. The fact that it also occurred exactly a week before my Point Park tenure really showed me that what I was doing was right and also gave me more information. Your support has truly meant a lot to me. Keep in touch and I hope that we’ll be able to connect even more next season. An extra thank you to Eric Wolff for arranging the job shadow opportunity.

8. Frank Coonelly- I am unsure if I ever mentioned on this blog what Frank Coonelly did this season. I may have briefly described our brief meeting at the rookie season ticket holder lunch, but the thank you is for something else. It was an interview that I did in April about whether or not athletes should be considered heroes or not. I was in 12th grade at the time and it was a part of my English research project. I gave Frank a call without any notification ahead of time and he took my call and gave me a seven minute interview. He answered every question openly, thoroughly and honestly.

9. Walt Srocki aka Camera Guy- Although you initially were confused by some of my snagging methods (aka me leaving the park to search the razor grass for baseballs that left the ballpark) you eventually got used to me. Thanks for letting me model the yearbook and media guide, I hope to do it again next season. It always is fun modeling, especially since I am no model. A big thanks for that script you gave me, it really helped since I have a journalism class where we are going over broadcast styles and scripts have a lot to do with what we are doing. Hope to see you early and often starting at PiratesFest!

10. Joe Klimchak- We have known each other since 2008 and since then have had a ton of conversations each if which has advanced me. Your kind words have always encouraged me. I look forward to seeing you at either PiratesFest 2011 and throughout the 2011 Pirates season.

11. “Hobbes”, “Boss” and “No-Nonsense”- You guys crack me up and it seems like I cracked you guys up too. Whether it was by the bullpen, the gates or even on the Riverwalk we always had great times. I hope to see you guys again during the 2011 season.

12. Jaclyn Mereyl and Karalyn Katchmark- Honestly who ever is my representative when I get a ticket plan desrves some kind of medal. I seem to change my plans so much that I drove these two crazy, but they put up with me throughout the season, and that is very tough to do. I had to have called one of these two at least once a week and they calmly answered with the usual “Pittsburgh Pirates this is…”. I believe that Karalyn left the Pirates before season’s end. It’s a shame that the only time I got to meet her was a time when I was sick as a dog. It was the night before Thanksgiving and I remember that night because it was the worst night of my life. I don’t want to go into it. Thanks so much for this season and Jaclyn good luck dealing with me next season. You might need it (I don’t know yet).

13. Evan Meek- Thanks for the relationship we had towards the end of the season. You have done a lot for me and I hope that I have done a lot in return. I hope to see you at PiratesFest in January. If you are reading this, please remember to keep in touch either via phone or email.

14. Ushers- There are so many ushers that have gone out of their way for me and I appreciate it. The ushers in center field often let me go for toss ups even when I didn’t have a ticket for the section. This is only a small thank you, but big things definitely come in small packages. Even though what you do is small, it definitely enhances the baseball experience. Just one favor, please don’t take away too many baseballs next season (and I mean it). With that in mind, see you next season!

15. Fred Davis- I tried to visit you as much as I could but sometimes with my short attention span and quest for baseballs we didn’t cross paths. You giving me the one program and the all-star medallion from the All-Star Game meant a lot to me. I hope to see you in shul as well as at the ballpark during the 2011 season.

16. Any one who reads this blog- I know that my blog isn’t as artistic or beautiful as the others, but I don’t have a camera. My cell phone does not include data/messaging and Colston can only take so many pictures. Once the series of the Jewish holidays ends, I should have pictures of the watch bp from the field event. Thank you for bearing with me. You truly keep me going and I thank you for your support of me this year and I ask for you to return next season when I hope to have a camera and bigger and better blog entries.

 

9/25 Pirates vs Houston Astros

 Considering that I had set a goal of 64 baseballs by the end of the homestand, things would be tough.

 I was not present for Friday’s game and by Saturday I was sick with a runny nose and sore throat. I had to go to today’s game and work through my illness.

 I quickly ran into the seating area in left field. Both Ian Weir and Nick Pelescak searched the lower seating bowl and thus I went to the top seating bowl because I got a tip from two of the ushers. A Pirates reliever then randomly threw a ball up to my area and I was a few rows up. With nobody else up there I got the ball but because I was getting ball number 1, ball number 2 would not have a person who threw it. Upon coming down the steps, I saw that I had missed a ball and ball number 3 was quickly mine. This put me at 60 baseballs on the year.

 That would be all that I got for the Pirates portion of bp. I snuck over early for the Astros portion of bp and asked both Jeff Fulchino and an Astros coach for a ball and they both declined my request. I decided to change things up and play for foul balls, and thus balls number 4 and 5 went into my glove.

 I also got three signatures in Michael Bourn, Jason Bourgeois and Nelson Figueroa.

 That was all in terms of snagging as I failed to snag the first inning Andrew McCutchen toss up because the ball was under thrown and I got it with the bottom part of my glove and people were playing with my glove.

 I did get to pose with the Songwhale prize of a signed Neil Walker bat but I do not have that picture yet.

 I did go to Fan Appreciation Day and I needed two baseballs to reach my goal. Did I get it? You’ll have to read on to find out.

9/22 Pirates vs St. Louis Cardinals PNC Park

 I decided that I wanted to show up at the gates early so I left my house at 3:00 to get to the bus. I got on the bus however that was the beginning of a long day.

 As the bus headed into Oakland, I got stuck in traffic. I was getting really annoyed as there was a large group of ignorant people in the back of the bus, and I was stuck with them. As I sat on a bus that was not moving, I called some of my friends and talked to my grandmother. It was getting really dark really fast in Oakland, and I asked my grandmother if it was raining at her Elk County home. Sure enough she said that it was raining really hard for an hour. I was not amused.

 Sure enough, a few minutes later it started pouring and I knew that there would be no BP.

 I later found out that the reason for the traffic was a gas leak which closed the road. People were getting off the bus and everyone was unhappy.

 I got off of the bus and was immediately greeted by poaring rain. I had coat or umbrella and thus had to take the full brunt of the rain.

 I walked to the stadium and immediately saw Baseball Joe and Nick Pelescak playing catch under the cover by the Clemente Gate. Despite being covered in rain, I joined right in and made some decent throws.

 After that, I picked up my tickets which were in the PBC Club. Ian Weir was also at the game so this could be my chance to pull away from him and perhaps seal third best PNC Park ballhawk in the BHL.

 Nick decided to leave before the gates opened, and I was the first into the seating bowl. I looked everywhere for a baseball in the left field seating bowl and found nothing.

 Some of the Cardinals were playing catch but it was not 5:30 yet so I was not allowed over there yet. They finished playing and they tried to throw the ball by the bullpen, but one landed on the field right in front of me. I was unable to get it and motioned Jim Saylor to get his 150th snag of the season.

 I was in my Cardinals gear and went over to the first base side. I was the first one over there and Mike MacDougal  just finished throwing and when he went over for signatures I quietly asked him for the ball and he threw me ball number 1 and I thanked him.

 Shortly after, Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright and Jaime Garcia all threw with each other.

 As they threw Jeff Suppan finished his running and both Erik Jabs and I asked him for the ball. Unfortunately for Erik, he didn’t have his glove on and Suppan threw me ball number 2. I quietly thanked him as well.

 When the trio finished throwing, they all talked and Carpenter threw three baseballs to the wall. I managed to bring one to the wall with my glove and got ball number 3. I was happy as I probably did better than I would have at bp.

 Nick later found out about this and I think he was mad that he left.

 As the Pirates relievers entered the bullpen, Evan Meek and I had a quick conversation and then parted ways.

 I had a couple of close calls at the game with snags.

 I took my seat at the PBC and just when I sat a foul ball came up, and I couldn’t get there fast enough.

 I ran to center field and got Andrew McCutchen to toss me his warm up ball. I had the ball sized up perfectly and it was going in my glove, but some man in front of me put his hand in my glove and caught it. I was **********. I sarcastically said “nice catch” and then under my breath called him a ******. That was such a wuss move. If I had caught that ball, I was going to give your kid one of the other balls I caught earlier, but whatever. I just have to push the next person who does that.

 Still three baseballs without BP was good. The Cardinals gave me two baseballs the last time they had a rain delay and they are a good team for snags when they don’t take BP.

 I may go to the game later today but if I do, I won’t be there that long. I have tickets for Saturday and Sunday, so we’ll have to see what happens.

                                                               

 

 

9/3 Pirates vs Washington Nationals PNC Park

 I had made big plans for this game, as I was at Point Park to work on an article for the student newspaper. I was really looking forward to interviewing students about the topic but the moment I got off of the bus it started to rain. This angered me, as no students were any where near where I was and Pirates BP was at risk.

 After waiting for a little while I walked down to the ballpark and the rain had stopped. I was somewhat surprised to see that the grounds crew was pulling the tarp off of the field and that the Pirates were getting ready to take BP. This was going to be great as there was a chance to see more BP.

 I went to the game by myself, and got close to the front of the line. The usual suspects were there, and Ian and I who were separated by two baseballs at the time were ready.

 I had a feeling that because the Nationals are a good bp team, that today had the potential to be a career day for me.

 When we were let in, I searched for easter eggs, and came up empty-handed. In fact most of the Pirates BP was very uneventful. The only Pirate that really was tossing up was Chris Resop, and he had already tossed balls up to Erik and Nick. I started to get a little discouraged until Resop came over to talk to Nick and I. He asked us about BHL and how things worked. Between the two of us, we probably spilled out a little too much, but it was well worth it as Chris is a very cool guy. As the conversation ended, he told me that he would toss one up to me.

  Sure enough, a ball was hit in the direction of Pirate Daniel McCutchen and Resop asked him for the ball. Shortly after Resop threw a perfect strike right into my glove for ball number 1. Thanks Chris!

 

 For a long while afterwards I fell into another drought. Ian however was nowhere to be found and I had crept up to one ball behind him. His cousin on the other hand was getting baseballs left and right and ended up with six. The fact that he was a kid hurt me a little bit. As Pirates bp ended, I felt stupid as I only had one baseball and considering the circumstances, I was not happy.

 Nationals BP got under way pretty quickly as the Pirates had a late start. I decided to play center field as I have fared pretty well there during recent batting practice. Again I was getting unlucky as I was in the wrong spot at the wrong time. Ian’s cousin was getting some more toss ups and if there was ever a time to be patient, then this was it.

 Things changed for me when Adam Dunn stepped to the plate. He was hitting monster home runs and sure enough one went onto the riverwalk and after being bobbled by at least two people the ball went into my glove for ball number 2.  

 Ball number 3 came shortly after on another Adam Dunn home run. I almost snagged another Adam Dunn home run, but Ian got to it a second before I did. He had and finished with two snags on the day meaning one more snag and I tied him for third best ballhawk at PNC Park.

 BP ended without another snag but I had an extra ticket and I decided to search the ivy outside of the stadium as there was no penalty. Sure enough I went out there and one minute in, found ball number 4. This tied me with Ian but more importantly tied my single game record for most snags in a single game. That would be the only ball I found in the ivy, but it was well worth it.

 I then went into the ballpark again, and went by the bullpen to try for a toss up. Everything was going well but at the last possible second I missed out on the ball from starter Zach Duke as he threw it to a girl. My record attempting snag would have to wait.

 I spent the majority of the game with Ian and his cousin. My tickets were listed for the 300’s section, however two generous people gave me a ticket to section 139 and I played a couple of toss ups from over there. My closest call while there was in the fifth inning, when the ball was meant for me but a guy got his hand on it at the last second. I was not pleased as I wanted this record very badly.

 After a while and a Kent Tekulve autograph, Ian and his cousin left the ballpark and I aggressively tried for the “elusive” fifth ball of the day.

 My quest took me to the bullpen where Herbie Andrade was throwing a ball up to a kid who was having a little bit of trouble. I motioned for Herbie to throw it to me and soon after ball number 5 was in my glove. I made sure to give it to the kid and Herbie gave me a thumbs up. Luis Dorante (and his new beard) saw the whole process and tossed me ball number 6. I thanked them both and left to try and get the last Cutch toss up.

 The toss up was going to be in section 140 and I was stationed for it and it was a little to my right. I did make the catch however for ball number 7. I gave the ball away.

 As a quick side note, congrats to legendary ballhawk and my buddy Jim Saylor for catching his second home run of the season. He caught a Ryan Doumit home run. Long live the king!

 With my seven baseball performance that day, I had caught up to and passed Ian and also set a personal record. Because of the success of the day, I made a snap decision to attend the next day’s game. How would I do? You’ll have to read my next post.

 

 

8/25 Pirates vs St. Louis Cardinals PNC Park

 I had been meaning to go to the ballpark either Monday or Tuesday but I was unable to do so and because I had tickets for today’s game I had to settle for that.

 I was at Point Park University earlier in the day for an orientation, and thus was very early in line.

 I made a cardinal sin (no pun intended) that Erik and Nick both did earlier in the season touching the baseball belonging to a person named Joe. The reason I did it was because it was still an hour and a half before the gates opened and I wanted to loosen up my arm a little. When I was informed about this I immediately shook it off and said clear cut that I would break the curse. With Nick and Erik’s per game averages higher and my average in between 1 ball and 2 balls, I did not worry too much about.

 While waiting, Erik finally showed up and I warmed up again. My arm wasn’t ready for long throws but I was warmed up. Eventually, I headed down by the river to catch a bp ball as many of the Pittsburgh ballhawks did as well. BP had started early most likely because the next day was a travel day but perhaps they are onto us.

 Before we headed up, we saw Chan Ho Park fetching a lot of the baseballs, and he asked us what we were doing. We were prepared to leave but when he left we stayed for a minute or two extra in case he decided to throw down some baseballs. When he didn’t we ran up by the gates.

 I got in and sure enough quickly ran in, but there was nothing to be found. It also hurt that just a couple minutes after getting in there, the team ended BP. At this point I was thinking that my chances of getting a baseball were slim. I proceeded to get some more water in me and take my Pirates gear on. Considering the fact that I came to the game straight from Point Park, I had no chance of bringing a change of clothes, so I just kept my white shirt on and hoping a mutual color would be okay.

 I ran into right field and there were no easter eggs for me. The Cardinals batting practice was pretty much dead and then fellow ballhawk Ian Weir got Trevor Miller’s attention and he looked up to see who had called him. We both motioned with a glove so it was going to be a close play. When he tossed it up though I knew that it was headed towards him. I played the honors system and sure enough he came up with it. Shortly after there was a home run that was easily mine if I wasn’t boxed out and this made me wonder if the curse did exist.

 I decided a trip to center field was in order to get Colby Rasmus to hit one my way and plus Trevor Miller was around there so perhaps a toss up could come my way as well.

 Unfortunately Rasmus was hitting the ball to right field and Miller never tossed one up my way. However my luck was about to change when Matt Holliday came up to the plate. He hit a home run to center field that bounced straight to me for ball number 1.

 I was glad as that nixed the potential curse that was looming over me. That was all that I was able to get during BP.

 I then had some down time and seeing that I didn’t pack dinner I spent $10 on two hot dogs and water. The prices for food at the ballpark are absolutely ridiculous.

 It was after I ate my food that I was approached to be with the camera guy and model either the scorecard, yearbook or media guide. I accepted and soon enough I modeled the media guide. Ian passed before the sequence occurred and both had a good laugh out of it. Unfortunately I have no video of it, but afterwards I got to keep the media guide and it was fun to do.

 As for the game Albert Pujols was chasing his 400th home run and I ran accordingly, but things never really worked out, and thus it was a down game. In the ninth inning, Andrew McCutchen tossed  the ball up to section 139. I lazily put my glove up and caught the ball for ball number 2. I was going to give the ball away, but a lady started complaining and said that I had no reason to be in the section, and thus I did not give the ball away. Before she could even try to get the supervisor’s attention, I was long gone.

 I snagged two balls, which was above my average and thus proved myself right about the curse. Unfortunately by being boxed in and letting Ian catch a ball earlier, Ian still leads me by two baseballs in the quest for the third best PNC Park ballhawk. I would have held a one ball lead if I had snagged both. My next game will be Friday September 3rd vs the Nationals which is the Pirates first game back from their road trip.

 

8/6 Pirates vs Colorado Rockies PNC Park

I got to this game later for a variety of reasons. First of all, I got home from my job a little later than I desired. Secondly, my friend said that he would come around five so I slowed my pace a little until he decided at the last minute to come early and make me rush. This chewed precious time off of the clock.

 

            When we got to downtown I was dropped off into a place where I had to run. Because of the extended work load this week with all I had going, I was extremely sore and hell week was in full effect. As I jogged to the stadium I was stopped by a father and son from Florida who wanted to know where a good place to eat was. Out of breath and with a sore knee, I decided to answer them and we talked all the way across the Clemente Bridge. Since the game before I have felt rather charitable as I paid Reggie Howze the “sax guy” after neglecting to do it the day before and now instead of snagging decided to walk and chat a little.

 

            By the time I got to the ballpark, the Rockies were already taking their cuts and the ballpark was open to everyone. This of course meant that things would likely not bode well for me.

 

            I quickly went back to the bullpen and saw Erik on my way there. My hope was to get the grounds crew to throw me a ball but nothing was heading that way. At this point I already had my Rockies gear on and decided to head over to the Clemente Wall.

 

            I have never snagged a ball from the Clemente Wall before and thus it would be hard for me to play but from yesterday’s BP section 141 in center field and section 142 in right field were hot spots. With 141 having a decent amount of people in it the decision to go to 142 where things were more spread out was a no brainer.

 

            Immediately a ball headed over to right field and landed close to the warning track. There Rockies reliever Randy Flores was trying to throw the ball to a child who despite having a glove was having some trouble with it. I motioned for Flores to toss the ball my way and sure enough he threw the ball in my general direction between myself and the kid. I made a barehanded catch for ball number 1 on the day.

 

At this point the usher in the section had come over towards us (I did not even see him at the time) and before I even gave it thought I gave the kid the ball as it was his. The kid and his parents thanks me and the usher told me that I had done the right thing. Still the snag counts, and hopefully I will be able to snag tossups there in a future game. It was a good thing I had caught that ball because otherwise it would have gone back over the wall.

After right field saw little additional action I went to section 141 where I saw Erik, Jim, Ian and some other Pittsburgh ballhawks. Although I was vocal in asking for baseballs even in other languages I did not receive any baseballs for the rest of the night.

 

It was a tough night as it was Andrew McCutchen bobblehead night and snagging was very difficult but I spent a lot of the game talking to Ian and running back and forth from left field to center field.

 

I plan on being at the next home stand and I believe that my first game will be Tuesday the 17th against the Marlins. I don’t expect many snags in this one, as I will be on the field (behind home plate) for BP. Believe me, I will try to get as many pictures as I can. I also have another rare opportunity that I will experience in the next homestand but I’ll talk more about it when the time comes.

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