With another dreaded day game on a Saturday for the Bucs with Philadelphians crowding up the place making things more difficult, Erik and myself went up to Cleveland.
The home away from home, CLE always provides action and opportunity.
Making about 6 or more Cle games throughout he season is going to be instrumental in meeting my goals for the year, and today was a good start with the remaining games left I have for Cleveland.
Ball 1 was found, followed by Ball2/3 via scrum as I was still searching around for found balls in the large RF area. Erik had found what had to have been an ushers collection of balls neatly placed in a row of 3, good for him, and F the ushers. The first 2-3 minutes were wild and filled with adrenaline with the found balls and hit balls raining in.
Ball 4 was a caught homer up the steps near the man in the picture below.
Royals players were avoiding toss ups on the RF side, but after a lot of hollering a ball came to the wall below me where I got Casey Coleman to connect with me for Ball 5.
Billy Butler didn’t provide much, but the one bomb he shot out to left center about 5-10 rows up was right in line with me, and stayed nicely where it landed, Ball 6.
Back over in RF for Ibanez, and Moustakas I backhanded a homer off the bat of Moustakas for Ball 7 which would complete the day.
With my work completed and not much else happening on a slow day at work I got the go ahead to leave when requested. Originally I had no plans of attending this game, but we were overstaffed at work.
Good thing I was able to make it, the gates operated on an evening game status, but what was bad is the Pirates were off from bp. The bleachers were a ghost town leading up to the Phillies bp, would have been very nice.
Anyway I got Ball 1/2 via scrum.
Ball 3 a toss up from Bob Stumpo who I believe is a Phils bullpen catcher.
Ball 4 a caught homer.
I miss chasing game home runs more often, a Gem of the Diamond is something I wish I could chase more often. Having two little ones to spend time with is bigger then that though, but I try to get as many chances as I can to stay for games. Whats better then being at the game with them.
First we hung out at the bullpen as Dominik wanted to say whats up to Herbie and try for a ball. Herbie has talked with Dom many times and waved to him then followed with a baseball over the fence, Ball 5 on the day as I caught it for Dom bare handed. Not sure he is ready to bare hand one.
Back to the start of bp, I ran late due to an issue with a volatile client about housing and such, never a good move when its close to leave time. A goal of mine is to never leave work in a stressed or anxious mood. Things ended smoothly to the day and I made it to the gates.
Ball 1 of the day was a toss up by Heberto Andrade.
Ball 2 a caught homer.
Ball 3 a caught homer, a guy from above in the handicap section tried to like pull it out of my glove, I had to rip downward to get him off me. Thankfully things ended smoothly.
Ball 4 a toss up again by Josh Collmenter, made a connection with him yesterday.
Prior to the game Dominik wanted to get his baseball signed by Manny Sanguillen, I got a fat burger, and asked Dominik to ask Manny if he knew Roberto Clemente. Manny signed his baseball and replied, “He was my best friend!”
I got to witness in person a Gregory Polanco Homer for the first time, and later we settled into seats under the Clemente Wall.
Gregory Polanco is a specimen, long, rangy, quick, powerful. Let him put on some muscle!!
Shianne laughed when he spit, commented on his dirty pants, and asked if Mccutchen could come home with us. Dominik and I were able to talk baseball for a good bit, and I reviewed with him a lot he learned in instructional baseball this year, I was happy to see his understanding and interest grow.
They both had some good Ritas and they both went wild for the Pierogi Race. Best time I had at a game in a while. My mother was there as well, and she was able to enjoy a good game with good times as well.
With Shianne in my arms, we were able to catch the fifth inning toss up from Andrew Mccutchen.
July 3, 2014
Ball 1, #200 on the year was a toss up from Jeanmar Gomez.
Ball 2 a toss up from Heberto Andrade.
Ball 3 scrum
Ball 4 Edinson Volquez toss up, giveaway to a little guy.
Ball 5 found.
To start the month of July the Diamondbacks were in town, it was a hot one too. US Soccer was on at 4pm, so maybe some people had intentions of watching, Josh Collmenter was all draped up and decked out in red, white and blue.
Josh would toss me Ball 5 of the day, he was one of the more easy to recognize Dbacks despite the red, white and blue.
July began however with a nice, crisp throw from Heberto Andrade. Ball 1.
Ball 2 was an adventure, a Jordy Mercer ball touched down on the lf crosswalk and found its way onto the concourse through some concrete and metal that blocks things off, somewhat. I like obstacles and tough scrums, and was mindful of one of those guys without a glove that is determined, and quite clueless on how to get a baseball. I knew this was his chance and he would have a beat on it, so instead of going around and losing time I jumped up over some concrete and crawled through some metal structure to grab the ball at an ushers feet. Cool scrum it was.
Ball 3 was a ball that was smacked down the line near the foul pole, I backhanded it off the track on a bounce.
Ball 4 was a rare toss up from Stolmy Pimentel.
Ball 6 a toss up in CF from an unidentified Snake.
Ball 7 a toss up from a random Snake that I gave to a kid I believe it was intended for.
Mismatched Snakes gear helped net 3 Snake toss ups.
Amazin Mets were in town to close out the month of June at PNC Park. I was hoping to get to 200 balls at this point of the season but with increased crowds and a day game things were tough. Both the Pirates and Mets put on poor showings, and a day game gate time for Saturday. Im still happy with where I ended up at to this point, and with what is to come.
Ball 1-Herbie Andrade toss up
Ball 3-Caught homer off the bat of Chris Young in the handicap section. This is up there with personal best catches of homers, no doubt. Playing in the bleachers, I had to track it up the steps, jump over chain to handicap section, find it in the sun, and extend out with a nice reach to get it. Web Gem..
It was a good day, my baby finished her last day of nursing school, and a bunch of PNC ballhawks showed up adding to the fun.
Ball 1-Scrum of Andrew Mccutchen hr upper bleachers.
Ball 2-Herbie Andrade toss up
Ball 2-Chris Young toss up
Both of these games were predicted to collide with thunderstorms yet neither did, the Reds however are now a poor bp team as seen and have little intention of throwing any baseballs into the stands.
Ball1-Herbie Andrade toss
Ball3- ricochet off railing to handicap seats
Ball1-Herbie Andrade toss
Ball2-Jeanmar Gomez toss
Ball3-Matt Latos toss
2 game total-6
Made it to Progressive Field with Zach W today.
Approach to Gate C where they were set up nicely for some increased security.
My thought is why cant some willing citizens be trained to efficiently wand you and check your bags over this long, and drawn out, irritating process.
Got to meet Shawn B, and Ken K on this trip. Always good to meet up with other ballhawks, have a throwing session, talk baseball, and hang. I never mind competition, it makes you better. And more competition would come in the form of Pgh ballhawks Scoonz, Ian W, Josh H. That made 7 of us.
Good time it was.
That’s a nice number of ballhawks getting together. With the crowds I have noticed in pictures taken by Erik J at Progressive Field to include the poor attendance my thought was we may have been running around freely. This was early.
School is out, and the Angels have a lot of stars so this may have been why the crowd took over good portions of RF making lanes and maneuvering somewhat of an issue.
I got on the board with 3 found balls, after having missed 2 that Shawn B ended up getting as he entered along a similar path.
Got close on a few during the entire Indians bp but came up short after the found balls, I switched into Angels gear to try to work toss ups. I got one players attention, I did a little familiarization at the gate but drew a blank with this guy who tossed me ball 4.
More toward CF I thought I had a sure toss up from Mike Trout waving and calling him out in all red Angels gear. Not sure if the young kid in front of me made any mention at all, he had an Ohio State shirt on, but the ball was sent briskly at him a row in front of me despite my ability to get Trout’s attention. This was disappointing as that toss up would have been such a gem. I also missed out on a Trout bp hr that landed in the row I had been playing when I took a risk on finding a ball that landed in Heritage Park. Cool that Josh H came up with it on the ricochet.
Long balls were coming in pretty well and despite the growing crowd I was able to catch Ball 5 and Ball 6 in the right center portion. Ball 6 was made possible as this guy was too absorbed in what Trout was doing at the time. Up side down too. A homer sailed in right over him, he had a decent glove on and could have made this one go foul. I asked him if he saw it coming in, his answer was no, and something about Trout.
Scoonz with orange hair, Pirates hat and Cleveland shirt.
Sunset over Home Run Porch
Post BP pic
During game on Home Run Porch, left to right; Shawn B, Josh H, Ian W, Scoonz, Zach W
Ball 7 can be credited to an assist to Shawn B after I tried to assist him in getting a ball that was about 4-5 deep in Heritage Park trees. Shawn had a Cleveland Stick and drew the ball close enough to the wall to grab. If you haven’t seen the added monuments in Cle yet it is much harder to get MLB balls out of there. Shawn didn’t have the reach and neither did Scoonz. My reach was able to just get enough of my pointer and middle finger on it to pull it up over the concrete divider.
A good day for all.
Ill start with being happy we got two batting practices in that forecasted tornado’s, heavy rain, and more and more rain on and off on and off.
Somehow between the hours of 3-7 on both Wednesday and Thursday the rain evaded PNC Park, hitting heavy and causing much delay later in both evenings.
Wednesday began with the opportunity to see Cutch who is hot like fire right now take a few rounds of bp, I was able to scrum Ball 1-3 off his bat.
Heberto Andrade connected with me for Ball 4.
Storyline of the day is that PNC staff are now having a security staff, white shirt type watch over season ticket holder time. It is now being enforced that no fan is to step over, or jump over a bleacher, never have I seen this in any of the 15 ballparks I have been to. Truthfully, myself and Erik Jabs have probably prevented more injuries now by catching flyballs in front of yinzers in la la land then we could ever as a group cause even the least bit of harm to. I cant understand why, as there are hardly ever collisions, bad contact or injuries caused by any of the most vigilant season ticket holding crew that calls PNC Park home. Im eager to see how they handle a large crowd of yinzers fresh off a few beers cause chaos on hit balls. Cant wait to see how that turns out.
Ball 5 of the day was a caught homer.
Ball 6 a double connect from the coolest dude in baseball as per a ballhawks view.
Ball 7 another caught homer.
Church on Arch Street corner.
Thankful for the game of baseball.
Again, Thursday was another dodged storm, and turned out to be another productive day.
Heberto Andrade hit me for Ball 1.
It was a good day for the ground rule double for me even though the track was heavy with soaked up water and contraindicated for a nice bounce.
Ball 2 was the first ground rule double.
Ball 3 a caught homer underhanded style at the wall. I get nervous as shit on these, especially with the sun that beats down on PNC.
Ball 4 was a ground rule double catch backhanded that Jose Tabata hit, Eucy Rojas with his catchers glove out in LF as usual went to make a nice catch but the ball sailed enough to bounce into ballhawk play.
Ball 5 was ball two thrown by Andrade.
Jeff Samardzija put on a show, one like no other pitcher Ive seen as of yet when taking bp cuts. One was deep into the bleachers to CF, 450 plus. One of his hits was right in line with me for an easy grab off the ground rule double, Ball 6.
I kinda like getting hit balls from pitchers and now have a caught homer from Adam Wainwright, Johnny Cueto and now the ground rule double from Samardzija. Jeff was hitting balls harder and way farther then all other Cubs in the group.
Junior Lake got his act together and finally started hitting some balls into the stands, one of which clanged around in the bleachers for an easy scrum for Ball 7.
Starling Marte was going hard in LF today, made some impressive, speedy grabs in LF. Starling Marte, Heberto Andrade, Eucy and Ray Searage.
Two game total-7 and 7, 14 total
Early on I felt like the best thing that could happen is for me to leave the field. For starters I forgot to pack my ticket the night before, thankfully Erik was able to deactivate one of his tickets and sold me a nice CF seat.
Gregory Polanco, Dominican bred phenom popped out twice, K’d once and rolled one over to second, but in his second at bat lined his first career hit into RF. Andrew Mccutchen would continue to do yard work and produce a homer into the pens in center allowing Polanco to score his first MLB run. Tremendous Potential!! Five Tool gem of a player by appearance. Bat Speed, Power, Big, Fast, Cannon. El Coffee, I love my coffee too.
Well I was off to a tough start at ballhawking, a ball I called out from Jeanmar Gomez for was badly underthrown to Jim.
I carefully tracked a high homer to center that was too deep to get on a bounce, bad ankle and all Erik tracked it well also. I kicked it away as I chased it and it changed course to Erik.
Frustration can build quick, I tried to put the left behind ticket, and the missed opportunities in their place, the past. Herbie Andrade got me going with a toss for Ball 1.
I then was able to hustle out a few scrums, one on the rotunda and one in the upper bleachers.
With the design of LF there are many different kinds of good scrums, Rotunda, upper bleachers, concourse scrums. I like that about PNC, makes ya need a combination of awareness, agility, speed. Ball 2 and 3.
Back in the bleachers I moved on a ball near the pens and got a good bounce when it was missed by a couple guys in the front row. Ball 4.
Herbie doubled the connect again, tossing up Ball 5 on his way in.
Ball 6 was courtesy of my Cubs gear as I got Bryan Schlitter’s attention near center.
Lastly, I got to make a nice running grab from the perspective of this picture to the Pirates Rally Pass booth, the ball just missing hitting it, Ball 7.
I got to pay back Erik when I tipped him off on 3 balls in a hidden place, he likes the challenge of where they were, things turned out well today.
Turned out to be a pretty good time.
After a long time without baseball I woke to the skies looking like this with the Brew Crew back in town.
Francisco Liriano has been generous more often then not lately, I connected with him early as I entered the bleachers for Ball 1.
Getting to see about two rounds of bp out of Cutch’s round and again I gloved a homer that was close to the wall and scorched for Ball 2. Wish we saw Cutch for a whole round, he can put on a show.
Ball 3 a scrum on a ball that rolled down nicely through about three rows of bleachers evading both Erik and Quick Zack Weiss. Ball 4 was some sort of a ricochet.
That commemorative vibe was in the air after Ian W snagged a mothers day commemorative.
Erik got one as well.
Things are going well when you haven’t connected with Herbie yet and your at 4 early. Herbie hit me for Ball 5 which was a commem, pink laces and all. The three of us were pretty psyched bout the cool surprise.
Ball 6 was a ground rule double, Ball 7 a second from Herbie, thanks.
Ball 8 a toss up from Sedar, I like how this pic turned out with his shadow, and bat lean.
Ball 9 a catch of a towering shot by Mark Reynolds, he will have you working out there. Love dudes like that.
Saturday was a 405 start so that’s a game killer right there, and of course there was a yinzer band playing with fireworks, this is Yinzer Heaven.
Behind the gates, jail like, for a half hour.
Mark Melancon was out in right center, despite a growing crowd I had the space to catch his toss up over the gate after getting his attention. Ball 1.
Ball 2 was given to me by cool usher Jim in CF. Ball 3 a scrum, Ball 4 a caught home run.
Ball 5 a scrum from Mark Reynolds.
And on into Sunday which was favorable for bp by both teams if not for a well timed shower to greet the afternoon, the tarp covered the field.
By the time I got into see the Pirates warm up the were off the field as I ran into the stands. K-Rod was warming with a Brewer coach unknown to me. I switched up and hustled over. As I arrived there they were wrapped up also, but Brewer coach spotted me and motioned to throw the ball he had, Ball 1.
Not often anymore do I switch up gear at the bullpen, but I gave it a shot today. Gallardo finished up his pre game warm up and promptly walked off with Jonathan Lucroy. Another Brewer coach unknown to me, whipped up a ball after a request, Ball 2.
End of stat line.
The Brewers have always provided a lot of batting practice action and I seem to get a lot of toss ups from the Brewers as well.
And then there are the Cubs who I wish weren’t in town, especially after being on a hot roll for the last few homestands.
The Cubs provided nothing toss up wise or hit balls. They have to be one of the worst bp teams….
Today my legs felt great, but I never got into a good groove. Made a nice grab of Ball 1 which bounced up in the air off a bleacher, I snagged it barehanded as it caught me by surprise. Ball 2 would be a Herbie Andrade toss.
Bal 3 was a found ball on the Clemente Wall, this rarely ever happens anymore.
End of Stat Line